Norton Hall houses the president’s office at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. RNS photo by Adelle M. Banks

Report on slavery is only a start for Southern Baptists' reckoning with racism

(RNS) — Just over 100 years ago, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary was on the brink of financial collapse.

The school’s trustees were thinking about closing the doors.

Then a man named Joseph E. Brown made a $50,000 donation to save the school.

The seminary’s leaders hailed the gift as an answer to prayer. They eventually honored Brown, who also served as governor of Georgia and a member of the seminary’s Board of Trustees, with a professorship in his name.

They never had a second thought about where the money came from.

Joseph E. Brown, the secessionist governor of Georgia during the Civil War. Photo courtesy of LOC/Creative Commons


 This image is available for web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

Brown gained his wealth on the backs of incarcerated black men through the heinous practice of convict leasing. His business, Dade Coal Company, paid the state a fee for the work of incarcerated men and, in turn, worked these laborers under draconian conditions.

As journalist David Oshinsky has written, it was a fate “worse than slavery.”

The story of Joseph E. Brown and his connection to SBTS is just one of the many sordid tales unearthed in the seminary’s newly published “Report on Slavery and Racism in the History of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary."

Commissioned by the school’s president, R. Albert Mohler Jr., it gives “a candid acknowledgment of the legacy of this school in the horrifying realities of American slavery, Jim Crow segregation, racism, and even the avowal of white racial supremacy.”

The report on slavery and racism at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary does not shy away from an honest accounting of the institution's history. But it does leave readers with the impression that racism is solely a relic of the seminary’s past.

The report abruptly ends in the early 1960s with Martin Luther King Jr.’s controversial visit to the seminary. Historian Greg Wills, main author of the report, describes the backlash from donors that followed King’s visit, including a letter from one disgruntled Baptist congregation.

“We voted not to contribute even one cent to an institution whose president would permit a man like Martin Luther King to appear as a speaker before our future preachers,” the church wrote.

But there’s more to the story.

Evangelicals — including Southern Baptists — have continued to demonstrate complicity with racism since the civil rights era and to the present day. From slavery to Jim Crow segregation, and now in the post-civil rights era, the narrative of white racial superiority persists, particularly among white evangelicals.

Take, for example, an incident last year at a different SBC denominational seminary, where a group of professors at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, jokingly posed in sagging pants and tilted caps. One even held a gun.

The picture was widely circulated on social media and drew swift condemnation for racial insensitivity.

In a New York Times op-ed a black minister, Lawrence Ware, publicly renounced his ordination in the Southern Baptist Convention due to its flubbing of a resolution condemning the alt-right in the summer of 2017.

"As a black scholar of race and a minister who is committed to social justice, I can no longer be part of an organization that is complicit in the disturbing rise of the so-called alt-right, whose members support the abhorrent policies of Donald Trump and whose troubling racial history and current actions reveal a deep commitment to white supremacy," Ware wrote.

Boyce College on the campus of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., on Nov. 29, 2018. Boyce College is named for James Boyce, the seminary’s first president, who was a slaveholder. RNS photo by Adelle M. Banks


 This image is available for web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

And the support for Trump among many white evangelicals like Southern Baptists has caused what one reporter termed a “quiet exodus” of people of color from white evangelical congregations.

Black people and other racial and ethnic minorities express confusion and disillusionment with denominations that support a president who has trafficked in racist tropes and xenophobia.

In order to move forward in the journey for justice, the leaders at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary need to commit themselves to actions that affirm the dignity and humanity of black people and other racial and ethnic minorities.

Some of the actions SBTS could take in light of its recent report include strong public stances against mass incarceration and a repudiation of all signs of the “Lost Cause” mythology, including monuments, flags and other symbols that celebrate the Confederacy. The school could also take part in discussions about some form of reparations.

The report revealed much of the tragic past regarding SBTS and racism, but it ended the story too soon.

Racism is not a problem of the past — it is a persistent issue in the present, too. Another report or an addition to the current one must analyze the ways white evangelicals have supported racial inequality through political partisanship, the preferential treatment of the wealthy over the poor and other forms of institutional and systemic racism.

Today Albert Mohler, the president of SBTS, also serves as the Joseph Emerson Brown Professor of Christian Theology. Brown, the man who gained a fortune through the unjust practice of convict leasing, still holds a place of honor in the seminary.

But his presence is veiled.

In order to carry this report to its logical end, the school’s officials must commit themselves to unveiling the recent truth about racism, not just the events that took place 60 or more years ago.

(Jemar Tisby is president of The Witness: A Black Christian Collective,  co-host of the podcast Pass The Mic and author of “The Color of Compromise: The Truth About the American Church’s Complicity in Racism.” Follow him on Twitter @JemarTisby. The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily represent those of Religion News Service.)

Comments

  1. “Evangelicals — including Southern Baptists — have continued to demonstrate complicity with racism since the civil rights era and to the present day. From slavery to Jim Crow segregation, and now in the post-civil rights era, the narrative of white racial superiority persists, particularly among white evangelicals.”

    If this is true — and, of course, it is — it has significant implications for those who keep trying to peddle the myth that white evangelicals (or their predecessors) were largely responsible for the abolition of slavery in the U.S.

    Which is, of course, false.

  2. Protestant churches in the U.S., unable to agree on what God’s Word said about slavery, ended up with schisms between Northern and Southern branches: the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1844, the Baptists in 1845, and the Presbyterian Church in 1857. These splits presaged the subsequent split in the nation.

    It’s as though seemingly everywhere that slavery wasn’t legal the vast majority of Christians agreed slavery may or may not in it’s self be a sin but it invites ALL sins.

  3. There isn’t an exact equivalent of “white Evangelicals” between the 1800s and the 1900s. The best approximation, for me, is that the Abolitionists who were Christian were the “liberals” and even the federalists (see PCUSA Gardiner, for example), and the Enslavers who were Christians were the “conservatives” — they wanted to keep things the same and even extend things as they were to more territories and states.

    Sure, Abolitionists/Christians pushed for the extirpation of enslavement of black human beings (even though not all of them wanted for freed humans to have full & equal civil rights), and sure Enslavers/Christians fought to retain their enslaved property, but the takeaway is that “Christians” inhabited both poles of these positions. The Enslavers who considered themselves “Christians” were defiantly “Christian” about their fealty to chattel slavery. The defenses were to maintain their property, and to cajole opponents to change their minds to agree with them.

  4. It’s as though seemingly everywhere that slavery wasn’t legal the vast
    majority of Christians agreed slavery may or may not in it’s self be a
    sin but it invites ALL sins.

    Can you explain more what you mean here? I’m not sure I understand.

  5. Been there, done that, moving on, get a life, Jemar Tisby. Yeah, yeah, sure, “in order to carry this report to its logical end, the school’s officials must commit themselves to unveiling … racism” – blah blah blah – because, pay attention now:

    (1) “Over the past few years, the Southern Baptist Convention has made [all the necessary] efforts … [1] In 2012, the SBC … elected its first African-American president … [2] In 2014, the denomination … repudiated America’s ‘long history of racial segregation as well as the complicity of Southern Baptists who resisted or opposed’ racial integration. [3] In 2015, then SBC … was part of a summit … organized by Mission Mississippi, a Christian organization founded in the 1990s that is centered on creating racial reconciliation. [4] The SBC’s public policy arm, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission [ERLC], has also been … calling racism ‘anti-Christ.’ [5] In April at the MLK 50 Conference in Memphis, Tennessee, [ERLC’s president] declared that the ‘White American Bible Belt’ often paid homage to racism while calling it ‘Jesus Christ.'”

    NOW YOUR TURN. I want you to demand the same penances from the Methodist denominations for the same socio-historical reasons! Because, something you don’t wanna talk about these days:

    (2) “In the antebellum South, Methodism was largely connected to slave owning. All of the bishops within the Methodist Episcopal Church were slave owners from 1846 until slavery was abolished, and many members of the church were slave owners as well.”

    Source: (1) Michael Gryboski, “‘Full lament’: Southern Baptist Seminary releases report on its history of slavery, racism”, Christian Post, December 14, 2018. (2) Wikipedia, where else.

  6. This is an article about the SBC seminary. It focuses on their work to examine their past as seminary and as a leader in the SBC denomination.
    The report is about 70 pages long, and is fairly thorough, although it does stop in the early 1960s and jumps to 2015.

    So it’s not about Southern Methodists.

    Tisby studies the embrace of black chattel slavery by white enslavers. There’s a great body of work about this, and it includes the Christians and non-Christians who battled figuratively and physically to maintain and extend the rule of white slavers.

    One of the results of Tisby’s studies is a book he’s releasing in January about just this thing: how white Christians took on chattel slavery as their identity in Christ, and how that embrace of enslavement crossed denominational lines.

    It’s a grievous stain on the body of Christ, and it’s a soon that has kept Christians apart from each other here in the US because some of us want to break this hold of racism and some of us, unfortunately, want to deny our part in this and pretend it never happened.

    I’d get the book and read it, if I were you.

    “The Color of Compromise,” available in mid-January.

  7. Slavery was kinda like a highly addictive drug.

    They’re not just illegal due to the harm it causes the user but because of the harm they almost always cause others.

    Chattel slavery practically invites every imaginable sin to be committed against those who are owned.

  8. If, as you go tooting your own horn for Jemar Tisby’s attention, “in the US … some of us want to break this hold of racism”, I suggest you both start with wherever it was you both once matriculated. Because:

    (1) “History shows slavery helped build many U.S. colleges and universities”, APM Reports, September 4, 2017.

    (2) “Beyond Yale: These other university buildings have ties to slavery and white supremacy”, USA Today, February 13, 2017.

    (3) “How Slavery Shaped America’s Oldest And Most Elite Colleges”, NPR, September 17, 2013.

    (4) “How America’s Elite Universities Benefited From Slavery”, Time, November 7, 2017.

    (5) “9 Big Name Colleges You Didn’t Know Benefited From Slavery”, Atlanta Black Star, December 8, 2014.

    (6) “The Forgotten Racist Past of American Universities”, New Republic, March 26, 2015.

    (7) “America’s Top Colleges and Universities Have a Hidden Legacy of Slavery”, American Renaissance, October 24, 2013.

    (8) “Confronting Academia’s Ties to Slavery”, The New York Times, March 5, 2017.

    So, no, I still want the guy you’re shill-ing for to demand the same penances from the Methodist denominations for their good ‘ol days as slaveowners, as he’s demanding from SBC!

  9. Chattel slavery, of course, is quite a different thing than several other things called “slavery”.

  10. Remember, the current SBC Seminary and the SBC Seminary up to and ending with the Civil War are two totally different entities.

    And both the former and current seminaries role as “a leader in the SBC denomination” is open to some debate.

  11. The “and, of course, it is” may reflect your personal take as someone born and raised in the SBC who turned on it, then joined the Catholic Church and eventually turned on it.

    The various denominations are like that – they all expect you to conform to some norm or other.

    The role of white evangelicals in the abolition of slavery is no myth.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maryville_College#Integration

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_L._Anderson

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Cornish

    and on and on.

    Many of them paid dearly for their support of abolition, first in the South during the Confederacy, and then again when the North invaded and paid no never mind to whether or not the southerner whose neck they put their boots upon had opposed slavery.

  12. Methodist Church split in 1844 over slavery.

    Means c. half of the Church was against it.

  13. I’ve told you that there is a book coming out that talks about the various denominations. I’m sorry that’s not the answer you’re looking for.

    As to the white enslavers’ benefit from the bodies and minds of their chattel slaves, nothing in this list is a surprise to me.

    Sometimes Don Quixote is tilting at imaginary windmills, you know.

    Cheers

  14. SO WHAT. The pro-slavery, other half was in the South, where SBC was. Hence, like SBC, these Methodists were all “largely connected to slave owning. All of the bishops within the Methodist Episcopal Church were slave owners from 1846 until slavery was abolished, and many members of the church were slave owners as well.”

    (Must I remind you that NBC – Northern Baptist Church – never existed; nor were they at some point in time conjoined with SBC?)

  15. Certainly noting the SBC itself and the SBC Seminary, started and funded in 1877 – long after the Civil War – by wealthy individuals like John D. Rockefeller, are separate entities separately governed is more than a “nicety”.

  16. This Anti-Conservativism Blindness since the insulting defeat of Hillary by Donald, is super-blinding to all key details, indeed. I’ve never seen a nationwide brainwashing trance like this before. It’s almost Satanic. Shh I never said that.

  17. Not 1 to rebut “fine points” of argument, are you, MuttLocked?

    Rebut rhymes with Mutt there.

  18. Don’t give me that. Your In-It-Only-As-An-Anti-Evangelical Guru never knew, let alone discussed any of these “surprise”-surprising facts in his butcher shop wrapping papers:

    “The academy never stood apart from American slavery. In fact, it stood beside church and state as the third pillar of a civilization built on bondage. … The academy was … central to the development of scientific racism — [the theory of] the provable inferiority of certain racial groups — that would serve as a pretext for enslavement. … Some … professors proposed scientific theories … prov[ing] the inherent inferiority of black people … propagating scientific theories of white superiority … Enslaved people were used as experimental tools for universities.”

  19. Ah. This is clearer.

    I agree that slavery causes catastrophic harm to the enslaved, both in mind and in body. What a human being can be is destroyed by being enslaved.

    And to the enslaver, it also causes great harm, but mostly in the mind. Enslavers can gain great benefit from the bodies and minds of the enslaved. According to the records, the enslavers of the 1800s were some of the richest people in America, and enslavers bought and sold the bodies of their enslaved people based upon the talents and strengths of those bodies.

    A friend of mine is researching (and posting) how white slavers corrupted many, many teachings and warnings by otherwise virtuous men and women who warned about slavery and attempted to provide guidance to an idealized slavery. All the warnings about the corruption to the enslaver and all the warnings against cruelty to the enslaved were lost; what remained was the concept that white people were noble enough to be white slavers and black people were only worthy to be enslaved.

    It’s a catastrophic descent into evil gilded with “approval” from the philosophers and teachers.

  20. There are known facts as to why the three Protestant churches–Presbyterian, Methodist, and Baptist–split based upon the main issue of the American Civil War.

    They split over slavery.

    Different incidents led to the split, but without slavery as the main issue–can one man own and abuse another man?–there likely would have been no split.

    Some of the men/pastors/theologians we most revere were firmly on the side of slavery. Jonathan Edwards owned slaves, starting with his first at the age of 24. George Whitefield helped flip Georgia from a free state to a slave state in order to support a slave plantation which would support his orphanage.

    White Christians in America were deeply infused with the idea that slavery of others was not only agreeable but commendable, that white people were blessed by God by having chattel slaves.

    In May 1845, about 300 Baptist leaders representing about 400,000 churchgoers from Southern states gathered to form a new church association, one inclusive of slaveholders, called the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).

    This is from Tisby’s book. I quote from it not because it is the only source, but because it is a handy source. (I have an ARC at my desk right now that I’m reading from.)

  21. There’s a great follow-up discussion about this on Twitter, which I would ordinarily avoid cross-posting, but Alison C. Greene (@alisongreene) talks about this in her series of posts starting around 12:30 Eastern time on 12/13. She’s an historian of US religion & author, and has done quite a bit of study and research about this very topic of the SBC, the seminary, and their slave-holding past.

  22. And yet in her highly regarded The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America (NY: Simon & Schuster, 2017), Frances Fitzgerald states the following:

    “The Southern evangelical shift from emancipation to a defense of slavery had consequences beyond the matter at hand. In the first two decades of the nineteenth century, southern evangelicals had launched a variety of reform movements, among them the abolition of imprisonment for debt, the amelioration of prison conditions, and the expansion of suffrage. But the reform movements all lost momentum before reaching their goals. In defending slavery against hostile northern opinion, southerners began to regard the advocacy of any kind of reform as potentially threatening” (p. 52).

    “Recapitulating their old sermons, evangelical preachers proposed [after the South’s defeat in the Civil War] that the South was the most spiritual part of the country, the only one to hold to the truth of the New Testament Gospels, a sacred soil and the saving remnant of pure Anglo-Saxon culture. The terrible ordeal of war was, they explained, a part of the divine plan, the judgment of God, not on the sin of slaveholding, as northerners saw it, but on an insufficiency of religious zeal. The defeat, they preached, was a purification process – a baptism in blood – that would serve to steel them against the worldliness and the apostasy of the North. Thus turning inward, evangelicals once again sanctified the social order, championing states’ rights, white supremacy, and the existing economic arrangements. Their message was defensive and isolationist – except for its promise that the South would rise again by fulfilling its God-given mission to Christianize America and bring the Gospel to the rest of the world” (p. 225).

    I take it that the 19th century in which she is placing Southern evangelical resistance to abolitionism is 1800-1900?

  23. Yup, the article contains “this months” buzz words of hate against churches and whites: alt-right; white supremacy; gosh, I almost missed “white evangelicals”
    Oh and a new one for Trump – “racist tropes and xenophobia.” my, my

  24. Yeah, I don’t think we’re in disagreement here.

    For me, it’s critical not to divide this into Us/Them Good/Bad, because very few white Christians held to any kind of equality of nature of black human beings. It is a case, I think, of “there are two extensions of white supremacy, one clustered in the North and one clustered in the South. Of the two, one was worse, but neither were good.”

  25. It’s possible to read this article as an analysis of the report issued by Dr. Mohler.

    The report is 72 pages. It’s not hard to read.

  26. It has a lot in common with PTSD and cults.

    On the theological front I think you’ve hit the nail on the head.

  27. BWAHAHA

    Good 1

    Man if there’s a dollar earned to every such buzz word spat, whipped, regurgitated, telekinesized (not a word, sorry) … by just one Anti-Evangelical, Anti-Conservativism regular around here, well, you can finish my sentence, I think. I’m thinking, Jackpot!

    And this “stephen matlock” – what a (master)piece of work

  28. Stephen, no disrespect intended for what the blacks endured, but, did you know that certain tribes in Africa picked people from other tribes to sell to the slaverunners. You don’t think they benefitted?

  29. As I have stated elsewhere, I believe these articles are intended to keep unhappy people unhappy and without a sense that life can be better and is better. The focus is on the past. The present may not be, in some’s opinion, better, but, the present isn’t enslaving them as these articles potentially can, emotionally.
    Let’s let the black community move on and prosper, rather than holding them back because of their anger.
    Moses is dead.

  30. a. Yes
    b. This is an article about the behavior of the SBTS and its leadership in promoting white slavers and even in being led by white slavers.

  31. Weird to hear this about stories that make white people look bad, and yet we live in a country that celebrates the 4th of July because we don’t let the past evaporate.

    I’m OK with exploring what has been done in the past to deny the value of our black brothers and sisters, and simultaneously work with them to promote their equality and their full participation in American society.

    I disagree with Henry Ford who famously said “History is bunk.” History is the record of how we got here. If we white people in the past benefited enormously from the bodies and labor of chattel slaves (the richest Americans in antebellum America were in the South, and their riches were the direct results of the people they owned and abused), then we have to reckon that our current elevation in economics and political power are a direct result of that benefit.

    We don’t start from a line where everyone just says “Go.” A lot of us are favored in our lives by our white-centered culture that gets us a head start in nearly everything, or at least does not push us back simply for being white.

    This article by the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and published by their own choice is an attempt to examine the past and to make changes in today’s culture that laments the past and makes amends through choices today.

    A Christian denomination like the Southern Baptists seems to be doing their theological duty by repentance. If I recall correctly, such lamentation and repentance was also displayed in the Christian Scriptures.

    I see what the SBTS is doing here as part of their responsibility to bring healing and to purify their gospel message, which was thoroughly corrupted by white racists who used the cross of Jesus as a tool to justify slavery.

  32. I clarified one of your earlier comments with that.

  33. Indeed, yet the religion he founded still lives.

    The impact of chattel slavery by white enslavers left an indelible mark on our culture, our society, our government, and our power structures. The Electoral College and the Senate both exist as ghost of the white slavers controlling the government from 250 years ago.

    So while it’s convenient for white people, who made this country about us, to demand that we forget the past, it’s still true that white slavers and their demand for the creation, support, and extension of slavery still corrupts our national conversations and even what we demand we do not speak about.

  34. and nothing. I clarified one of your earlier comments with my comment. It isn’t only whites who profited from slavery.

  35. And yet the religion Moses founded still lives on.

    The concept of “justice” in Moses’ religion is not a forgetting of the past, but a recovery of what was taken and a restoration of what was pushed aside.

    White Christians have a past, a past that has made us “white.” We can deal with it now, which is painful, or we can deal with it later, which will be more painful.

    I’m all for exposing the past and the people who made the past what it was. Living, breathing humanity that made terrible choices & that caused misery and death for millions of people.

    We can do better. We can explore the past and change how we behave.

  36. In America, the vast majority of slave-holders were white. The only people enslaved were from Africa. The only people in perpetual chattel slavery were African-descended, and the only power that controlled this government was the white people of this nation.

    What other lands have done is irrelevant.

    This is an article about the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary & how their leadership and their school profited on the bodies and lives of enslaved black Africans.

    The handwaving about others is interesting, but it’s an attempt to change the subject to anything other than the topic of this article.

  37. SOME “White Christians in America were deeply infused with the idea that slavery of others was not only agreeable but commendable, that white people were blessed by God by having chattel slaves.”

  38. Generally ” a book coming out” does not count as a citation.

  39. Technically “about the behavior of the antebellum SBTS and its leadership”.

    The current SBTS was founded in 1877.

  40. RNS knows where it sells its articles.

    The articles are market-driven, not learned treatises.

  41. It’s en vogue today to criticize people for what happened hundreds of years ago when there are plenty of problems within the Southern Baptist leadership that we should examine and criticize today. First of all, SB leadership is known to be full of two-faced freemasons who take anti-God oaths behind closed doors.

  42. With your interest in facts one would expect:

    – your acknowledgement that the current SBTS and the one being discussed share only their names.

    – your acknowledgement that the white racists who used the cross of Jesus as a tool to justify slavery were all dead by the early 20th century.

  43. No, the Electoral College and the Senate do not exist as ghosts of the white slavers controlling the government from 250 years ago.

    The Founders chose those structures based on ancient Roman models, balancing the good of the civus Romanus with the fact that pure democracy has inevitably led to catastrophe when applied to any political body too large for every citizen to know every other citizen.

    Stick to what you know.

    I am sure there is somehing.

  44. Let’s make a clear distinction between historical events and anyone currently alive.

  45. Irrelevant because you don’t want to fit it in with your political correctness, my friend.

  46. Check a Bible dictionary for, “Moses is dead”, and you’ll understand, unless it interferes with your political correctness

  47. Irrelevant because it changes the subject.

    The subject is the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) and its place in creating, promoting, and extending chattel slavery. The subject is the same SBTS acknowledging much of this, and attempting to change its behaviors and its philosophies to accommodate that reality.

    Cheers.

  48. If you were doing my work for me, then you would drop the political correctness and seek the truth

  49. Your goal should be to help, not keep people down. Learn about what I wrote Stephen.

  50. I thank you for your concern about my actions. Anyone who wants to offer me advice is not someone I ignore.

    However, I am staying focused on the subject of this article. That is what we’re talking about here: white slavers in the Southern Baptist Church, and the black chattel slaves whose lives and bodies enriched them. All the many ways you attempt to change the subject are interesting to me to watch, but they aren’t working as a deflection.

    The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS), after a year-long period of research, issued a paper that explained their corporate responsibility for participating in the creation, implementation, and expansion of chattel slavery by white slavers. Several presidents benefited directly from their slaves, and the seminary was “saved” by a large donation from one the presidents who benefited greatly from the bodies and lives of their owned humans.

    That topic is what Tisby responded to, as have others. It’s an investigation into our past. The same desire to celebrate the Fourth of July–our history–is the same desire to lament the foundation of American prosperity, which is slavery.

    I’m okay with exploring this past, because I don’t consider anyone to be a demon or an angel. People are people, and by looking at what they did as well as the consequences and then, as people who can think, considering how we might act differently, we can change our behaviors and perhaps even our attitudes.

  51. and lamenting on the past changes nothing – for the victims, or the perps. again, Moses is dead

  52. The reson we want celebrate the 4th of July is to celebrate the fact that we are a representative republic. Not to mention to celebrate the good we have done for the world.
    To imply American prosperity was built on the backs of slaves is an insult to the men and women who built this country into what it is.
    Are there items to be embarrassed and ashamed of; yup. But all in all, we’ve done pretty well overall.

  53. Indeed, Moses is dead. And yet his religion lives on in the three main monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

    This seminary, which teaches Christianity as a subject and philosophy, is doing its duty to investigate the past. It is a way to honor the philosophical standards of Christianity, which (a) claims to be true, and (b) has as its founder someone who claimed to be Truth itself.

    Nothing about investigating the past and repenting of the past is beyond our responsibility. Acknowledging that the past has made us what we are today is reasonable and responsible.

  54. I am indifferent to the indignant reactions of white people who are just now learning that our country was built on the backs of our black chattel slaves.

    Cheers.

  55. And I’m indifferent to something that happened 300 years ago. Get over it.

  56. You are free to be indifferent.

    This is an article about the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, which is investigating its past, lamenting and repenting of their participation in the creation, implementation, and expansion of slavery.

    I appreciate that you have no interest in this topic.

    Cheers.

  57. Don’t forget the country was really built on the backs of Irish, poles, Chinese, Italians and Scott’s.

  58. I can’t “forget” something that didn’t happen.

    The richest people in antebellum America were in the South, and were rich because they were white slavers with vast holdings of black chattel slaves.

    The founders of this country held slaves, and their choice to enslave humans was the foundation of their riches and their political power.

    George Washington was a slave-owner and chased down escaped slaves while President.

    Have many peoples contributed to the founding and extension of these United States? Sure.

    Only one group did so under compulsion and without repayment. Hint: it wasn’t the “Don’t forget the country was really built on the backs of Irish, Poles, Chinese, Italians and Scots.”

    The early American settlements (pre-1789) comprised mostly those of British extraction. There were very few, if any, “Irish, Poles, Chinese, Italians and Scots.” There were, however, plenty of people from the various nations of West and Central Africa, who oddly enough don’t seem to be distinguished by their origin or their achievements.

    The foundation of the American Constitution incorporated their enslavement, and forbade any attempts to change their status from 1789-1808, 20 years in which chattel slavery was protected by the Constitution. Throughout the antebellum years the courts and legislatures held black chattel slaves as incapable of having civil rights. After the American Civil War and the end of de jure slavery, Jim Crow took over. In the South white supremacists, unpunished by federal government anxious to turn away from the past, resurrected slavery all but in name, and restored white supremacy to the point where they overturned the legally elected government in Wilmington SC by a coup–the only such coup in America.

    The great waves of migration from Europe increased until there were huge numbers escaping Europe. On the west coast we had Chinese and Japanese immigrants. The number of “Irish, Poles, Chinese, Italians and Scots” increased substantially.

    But all that doesn’t take away from the fact that in the early years (ca. 1500-1850) there were three main groups of people in the land where “America” would be founded: Europeans, mainly British, with all the political power, black permanently enslaved people from Africa, and the indigenous whom we were exterminating and pushing off their lands.

    This is just reality. Nothing in here is too painful to look at. We shouldn’t try to hide the past and we shouldn’t try to pretend it didn’t happen.

  59. Alfred Mohler is the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and this reports comes from his direction to investigate the past.

    If you don’t want this seminary to talk about their past, you should take it up with them.

  60. Although, I appreciate your Christian concerns about slavery, I stand by my post. What happened hundreds of years ago is shameful but the apostasy in the SB church today is much more relevant to all of us. Albert Mohler is diverting attention away from the problems in the church today.

    All of the reformers called the Pope, antichrist and they believed the whore of Babylon was the Church of Rome, yet Alfred Mohler has only praise for the pope of Rome. It won’t be too long before the SBC unites in Pope Francis’ Ecumenical movement, along with the apostate Lutherans and the apostate Pentacostals already there. The time is late and the shepards are leading the sheep to disaster. Remember, the bible says only a remnant will be saved. Romans 9:27-29

  61. If my book ever gets published it contains a section where a former slave owner openly fears she will never be free of her past actions.

  62. I think that’s an accurate summation of your feelings.

    The thing is, this stuff happened, and the brothers and sisters in the Baptist Church are speaking up and saying this matters to them. I’m choosing to listen to them, and to seek peace and conciliation. We can’t have that conciliation until we agree on the facts and the offense.

    If you’re not interested, I say this most sincerely–that’s fine for you. Go on about your day.

    It’s not your place to tell me and others what to care about, though. I’m sure you know this?

  63. LMK if I can help in any way. I’d be happy to give it a review when it publishes, or provide beta support, or just leave it up to you.

    Jefferson said much of this:

    And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest.–But it is impossible to be temperate and to pursue this subject through the various considerations of policy, of morals, of history natural and civil. We must be contented to hope they will force their way into every one’s mind. I think a change already perceptible, since the origin of the present revolution. The spirit of the master is abating, that of the slave rising from the dust, his condition mollifying, the way I hope preparing, under the auspices of heaven, for a total emancipation, and that this is disposed, in the order of events, to be with the consent of the masters, rather than by their extirpation.

    Even he, while owning slaves and continuing his actions as a white enslaver, knew that the American slavery system was destructive not just to the enslaved, but to the enslaver and to the enslavers’ nation.

  64. I’m sure these are of interest to you. You should start your own seminary and pursue those interests.

    In the meantime, one of the philosophical centers of Southern Baptist theology and thought feels it important enough to investigate the past, and repent and lament from that past.

    That’s what this article is about, and that investigation, including repentance and lamentation, is what I’m interested in.

  65. Indeed. I’m reading some other works about the rise of the Protestant theology, and for decades I’ve heard Wesley’s praise for George Whitefield. I did not know until this year that George Whitefield, originally against chattel slavery, endorsed it when it meant profit for him, and encouraged Georgia to convert from a non-slave-holding state to a slave-holding state so that his plantation could help support his orphanage.

    It made me blink, to witness his transformation in print, excusing his change because the “needs of his ministry demand it.”

  66. Love of money can make people do terrifying things.

    FWIW American slavery when the civil war broke out wasn’t identical to what it was like when Whitfield blundered.

  67. So that’s how this article was produced, you’re saying: On account of him being a “hefty … leftist”, Jemar Tisby got himself writing faster than his brain could keep up with. And that just widened the scope for error for him when sorting the SBC’s report out.

    In other words, ideology and ideological interests blind, and he doesn’t even know that about himself. Kinda like Luke 6:41-42 in this edited version of mine:

    “Why do you [Jemar Tisby] look at the speck that is in your [Southern Baptist] brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your [Southern Baptist] brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite [Jemar Tisby], first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your [Southern Baptist] brother’s eye.”

  68. Well, if The Guardian says, Freemasons exist and operate, who are we to question conventional MSM wisdom, right? For instance:

    (1) Ian Cobain, “Two Freemasons’ lodges set up at Westminster are continuing to operate: Integrity or influence? Inside the world of modern Freemasons”, The Guardian, February 4, 2018.

    (2) Ed Vulliamy, “Secret agents, freemasons, fascists … and a top-level campaign of political ‘destabilisation'”, The Guardian, December 5, 1990.

    But OMG (mercy, Jesus) – Freemasonry-practicing Southern Baptists?! But it’s true, by their own admission!

    “During the annual session of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), June 15-17, 1993, the messengers overwhelmingly approved a report on Freemasonry … [recognizing that] Some Christians, moral persons, and outstanding government leaders have been and are members of the Freemasonic movement … [And that] Freemasonry encourages and supports charitable activities”.

    Source: North American Mission Board, SBC, March 30, 2016, “Freemasonry Overview”.

  69. O will you stop it already, MuttLocked, with your, Lookamee “what I’m interested in” & stuff & junk. Let mclauchlan comment freely.

  70. I find your comments fascinating about SBC’s present ties to Freemasonry, much more than reports of their ancient practices of slavery. A breath of fresh air. Thank you.

  71. Good idea. But how would “you … take it up with them”? You seem to be the Know-It-All, Go-To, Groupie-Rep around here. Oh and uh do you charge per diem?

  72. Re: “First of all, SB leadership is known to be full of two-faced freemasons who take anti-God oaths behind closed doors.” 

    Huh? What’s your evidence for this? I’d love to know. 

  73. Here we go again. The racists who defend the actions of the founders of the Southern Baptist Cult have raised their ugly heads and dismissed their actions with statements such as “it happened long ago” and the like. Fact is the Southern Baptist Cult is and was a racist organization even with the so called “public apologizes”. The evangelicals/calvinists who control the organization preach their brand of hate and espouse the establishment of a theocracy that would enable the leadership to enslave everyone else. It is not now, nor has it ever been a Christian Church, period. They attempted to overthrow the Christian Church in England and were eventually thrown out of the country, ending up here. That is to our detriment as they have had a stranglehold on our government and culture since the beginning. Now they are experiencing a decline in their influence and are reacting just like a dying beast of prey, to no ones surprise. Bottom line, good riddance as they have gotten away with twisting The Christ’s message for far too long.

    BTW, what “right” do I have to refer to the SBC as anything other than a Christian Church? By the exact same right that my SBC brother “preacher” called my church a “social club”.

  74. The author’s concern regards the relationship between “Black people and other racial and ethnic minorities.” Fair enough. However, there was apparently no room for concern regarding the relationship between Southern Baptists and other faiths in general and smaller traditions in particular. Is this an oversight or does the author agree with historic attitudes toward other faiths?

  75. Wikipedia is not viewed as a legitimate source. Try an academic journal with peer reviewed articles.

  76. I know the scripture. You are displaying how you do not. I suggest you look it up

  77. We don’t have a provision in Disqus for citing academic journals containing peer-reviewed articles.

    A quick perusal of your posts after the last 12 months turns up zero citations from academic journals, so I suppose this is one of those “Do as I say, not as I do” situations.

  78. example: Slaves could own guns when George Washington was President.

    That right was loooooong gone by 1850.

  79. We should probably cease this exchange, as you seem wont to change the direction of this article to what you want to talk about, and I am not interested in that.

    You can respond, as you would, to this statement, but I will no longer be responding to you.

    All best to you.

  80. I think this would be more fruitful to compare what chattel slaves could do in the time periods you discuss (Founders v. Civil War), and compare what they could and could not do, by state. Otherwise this is simply too broad a statement to make, as each state regulated the conditions of chattel slavery differently. There was, AFAIK, no federal standards.

  81. The author of the article, or the author of the SBTS report?

    The SBTS report concerns Southern Baptists, so the original report would focus on Baptists.

    If you’re referring to the author of this article (and I don’t speak for him and don’t know him other than by some of his writings), I think this article is a response to the report, so it’s going to focus on Baptists. In other articles and works, the author, who is of the Reformed tradition, discusses other branches of Protestantism.

    Are you speaking about how Baptists themselves worked with other denominations/sects/cults/splits? (I mean nothing pejorative by that, but American Protestantism was richly diverse and diversifying all through the 19th century–in my own research for my classes I lost track at > 1000 separate branches of Protestantism, from the individual house churches to the broad denominations.) I’m not sure this article addresses that.

  82. I was surprised there were ANY states where that was legal.

    By 1850 that sort of thing was long over.

    Point is slavery was increasingly draconian.

  83. What is there to discuss, the SBC should go extinct based on the following:

    The Apostles’ Creed 2018: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus’ story was embellished and “mythicized” by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen
    (references used are available upon request)

  84. Thanks for asking. I remember I owe you 1 anyway (about the Matthew 28 passage).

    “During the annual session of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), June 15-17, 1993, the messengers overwhelmingly approved a report on Freemasonry … [recognizing that] Some Christians, moral persons, and outstanding government leaders have been and are members of the Freemasonic movement … [And that] Freemasonry encourages and supports charitable activities”.

    Source: North American Mission Board, SBC, March 30, 2016, “Freemasonry Overview”.

  85. A report that says “Some Christians, moral persons, and outstanding government leaders have been and are members of the Freemasonic movement” by no means constitutes anything even remotely resembling proof of your allegation that “SB leadership [is] full of two-faced freemasons.” It’s just not. And if you think it is — you’re delusional. 

  86. “full” vs “some”

    Just for that you tell me, “You’re delusional.”

    Which means you already knew there were Freemasons among Southern Baptists – just not to what extent – “full” vs “some”.

    NOW WE’RE EVEN.

  87. Re: “Which means you already knew there were Freemasons among Southern Baptists …” 

    It means I knew no such thing. And I still don’t. Because you haven’t borne the burden of the claim you made. 

    I will repeat: A report that says “Some Christians, moral persons, and outstanding government leaders have been and are members of the Freemasonic movement” by no means constitutes anything even remotely resembling proof of your allegation that “SB leadership [is] full of two-faced freemasons.” It’s just not. 

    And if you think it is — I stand by my conclusion that you’re delusional. 

  88. “PsiCo … 3 months ago … a month ago … October 9, 2017 … May 6, 2015 … I’m not deluded at all. … I’m neither an ‘atheist’ nor ‘progressive.’ … The label of ‘Agnostic’ best describes my thinking. … [For instance, that, on the one hand, there is] a lot of misconceptions about Freemasonry … [which] didn’t emerge in the historical record until the early 18th. … What historical evidence there is of their origin, points to the Freemasons as having emerged from medieval stonemason guilds … [And that, on the other hand] an Agnostic really … can find rewarding … Buddhism, but there are others, such as some forms of Pantheism and Neopaganism. … [So, see that now?] I’m not deluded at all.”

  89. Got me … doing what, exactly? As I asked before … are you freaking insane? What are you carrying on about? 

    As for that proof you have that the SBC leaders are all freemasons … I’m still waiting for it. Either you have the courage and maturity to cough it up, or you’re just a rambling lunatic carrying on over stuff you don’t understand. 

    In other words … put up or shut up, loon. 

  90. QUESTION: If, as you’ve claimed, “I’m not deluded at all”, how come you now can’t remember saying that?

    ANSWER: You ARE delusional! It’s you who are deluded. Otherwise, upon reading the following words “3 hours ago”, you’d have recognized your own words. But you didn’t. Instead, your reaction to these, your very own words (and what D.U.M.B. EGGNOG-stick words they all are!), was: “What on earth are you blathering on about? Are you insane?” See that? Even you call your very own words, “blathering [and] insane”! That proves your Delusions As An EGGNOG-sticky PsiCo!

    REFERENCE: “PsiCo … 3 months ago … a month ago … October 9, 2017 … May 6, 2015 … I’m not deluded at all. … I’m neither an ‘atheist’ nor ‘progressive.’ … The label of ‘Agnostic’ best describes my thinking. … [For instance, that, on the one hand, there is] a lot of misconceptions about Freemasonry … [which] didn’t emerge in the historical record until the early 18th. … What historical evidence there is of their origin, points to the Freemasons as having emerged from medieval stonemason guilds … [And that, on the other hand] an Agnostic really … can find rewarding … Buddhism, but there are others, such as some forms of Pantheism and Neopaganism. … [So, see that now?] I’m not deluded at all.”

  91. Again, I ask, what does any of your insane drivel have to do with your claim the SBC leaders are all freemasons? 

  92. And “again” you call these, your very own words, “blathering [and] insane drivel” – with the “conclusion that you’re delusional.”

    FOR THE EGGNOG-STICK RECORD: “PsiCo … 3 months ago … a month ago … October 9, 2017 … May 6, 2015 … I’m not deluded at all. … I’m neither an ‘atheist’ nor ‘progressive.’ … The label of ‘Agnostic’ best describes my thinking. … [For instance, that, on the one hand, there is] a lot of misconceptions about Freemasonry … [which] didn’t emerge in the historical record until the early 18th. … What historical evidence there is of their origin, points to the Freemasons as having emerged from medieval stonemason guilds … [And that, on the other hand] an Agnostic really … can find rewarding … Buddhism, but there are others, such as some forms of Pantheism and Neopaganism. … [So, see that now?] I’m not deluded at all.”

  93. Again, and to repeat, nimrod: What does any of your insanity have to do with the SBC leaders all being freemasons? Get back on your meds and answer the freaking question already. 

  94. And “again, and to repeat, [PsiCo]:” you call these, your very own words, “blathering … insane drivel … [and] insanity” – then make the “conclusion that you’re delusional.” WHO DOES THAT?!

    FROM THE EGGNOG-STICK ARCHIVES: “PsiCo … [writing on] November 6, 2018 … October 4, 2018 … October 9, 2017 … May 6, 2015 … I’m not deluded at all. … I’m neither an ‘atheist’ nor ‘progressive.’ … The label of ‘Agnostic’ best describes my thinking. … [For instance, that, on the one hand, there is] a lot of misconceptions about Freemasonry … [which] didn’t emerge in the historical record until the early 18th. … What historical evidence there is of their origin, points to the Freemasons as having emerged from medieval stonemason guilds … [And that, on the other hand] an Agnostic really … can find rewarding … Buddhism, but there are others, such as some forms of Pantheism and Neopaganism. … [So, see that now?] I’m not deluded at all.”

  95. Re: “And ‘again, and to repeat, [PsiCo]: you call these, your very own words, “blathering … insane drivel …” 

    What makes it “insane drivel” is that you took different words of mine from several different places and stitched them together as though I’d intended them to be that way. I didn’t. The end result is nonsensical … but not because of me, because of you

    What makes it “insane drivel,” also, is that it has nothing whatever to do with your contention that the SBC leaders are all freemasons. You’ve said that many times without offering proof. 

    Take your meds and grow up, you blathering wingnut, then cough up your evidence for that claim. Nothing I said can ever be that evidence, so shoving snippets of my own words together IS NOT GOING TO DO THAT. 

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