Thursday, June 21, 2012

Southern Baptist Convention Elects Black President

The predominantly white Southern Baptist Convention made history and headlines late Tuesday when they elected Fred Luter, Jr. their first African-American president. Luter is pastor of Franklin Baptist Church in New Orleans.

Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson has his reservations. Richardson, who is chairman of the Conference of National Black Churches and pastor of Grace Baptist Church in New York, said there is a danger that Luter’s election could be window dressing. He believes there still resides in the denomination some racism and some reluctance to catch up with the rest of America. In looking at the reputation of the Southern Baptist denomination, Richardson said Luter’s election, and the value and validity in it will be determined by how consistent, how reflective, his election is in the operation and life of the denomination.

During a press conference Tuesday night, Luter addressed the denomination’s past.
“We cannot avoid that this convention started as a result of slavery. All of us have a past and all of us have done some things in our pasts that we are not happy about,” he said. “We cannot do anything about that past. It is done and over with. However, we can do a lot about our future.”

"I do not want to just be a symbolic image. I will do all I can to ensure this is not a one-and-done deal, but something we can see from years down the line.”

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