In June 2017, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) formally denounced the alt-right movement in a second reiteration of a resolution to decry “every form of racism, including alt-right white supremacy, as antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” This is a rather forward attempt to resist any racist connotations that the SBC acquired during its earlier years. In fact, the “Southern” tenant in the religious organization’s name stems from disputes with its northern counterpart regarding whether or not slave owners should be permitted to be missionaries. After the Civil War, however, many freed black individuals began Southern Baptist congregations of their own, and by the middle of the 20th century, the SBC had become well known for its desire to attract minorities, having renounced it racist past in 1995.
And now, after days of controversy, the SBC has formally renounced the alt-right, dismissing the movement as an expression of white nationalism. This act reveals one thing about Southern Baptist: they do not know what the alt-right is. But, they themselves are not to blame, because the majority of American citizens are wholly ignorant regarding the ideologies of the alt-right and what it aims to do. In recent history, the SBC has condemned the flying of the Confederate flag and encouraged its members to accept and support the mass immigration of Muslim refugees into the United States. As the prominent Baptist speaker Russell Moore puts it, “freedom must be for all religions,” revealing that his religious organization may know less about Islam than the average Republican voter. Islam is not merely a set of religious principles or a morality that governs one’s life. It is an ideology of global conquest dedicated to the eradication of Western civilization, and to welcome them into one’s homeland in the name of “religious freedom” has no basis in the objective world.
So what is the alt-right? The Southern Baptist Convention clearly doesn’t know, as it has provided only a 1.5 page document referencing some (at time obscure) biblical passages along with a historical survey of socially liberal actions that the organization has committed in rejection of the traditional societal values.
Is this an over-reaction on behalf of the SBC as an attempt to make reparations for its racist past? Probably. One anonymous Baptist pastor associated with the convention states,
“The alt-right is mostly immoral people like Milo [Yiannopoulos], so you can have them. I don’t agree with a lot of things the SBC leaders do, but for the most part they have been solid on issues like gay marriage and abortion. Can’t say the same about most other Protestants and the [Eastern] Orthodox barely engage culture at all.”
The primary issue that Baptists who supported the resolution have with the alt-right appears to be that although the two groups may share similar opinions on social issues, the alt-right is “mostly immoral,” whereas older conservative values tend to encourage a particular understanding of morality. This is partially true, as the alt-right is an umbrella movement wherein a multitude of ideologies converge and dilute, including religious and moral values. Within the alt-right stands atheists, agnostics, Christian traditionalists (Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant), deists, and other ideologies that although are fundamentally at odds concerning some questions of morality and government, are in the same boat amidst the storm of progressive liberalism. They may not all get along, but in the words of Augustus Invictus at a recent alt-right rally, “Unite the right!”
Southern Baptists are taking a stand in the culture war at hand, aligning themselves socially with globalists who reject the rallying call of the alt-right to defend national identities. The radical leftist rhetoric associated with conflating white supremacy and the alt-right has infiltrated the Southern Baptist Convention, and it is my opinion that the organization itself will not survive the next century. As a Protestant denomination in the United States, it is becoming increasingly more liberal when it comes to social policy, which is an excellent indicator of its failure as a theological figure.
The alt-right is a constantly growing movement that encompasses more than simplistic racial identity politics, and is rooted more in the convictions of Western chauvinism and a rally to protect national identity than anything else. The SBC did not have an adequate understanding of the alt-right or what it stands for, and therefore its condemnation of the movement was ultimately hasty and done out of ignorance. Will we eventually see a turnaround down the road when evangelicalism recognizes the cost of a multicultural society? Or will the SBC continue to spiral downward in the abyss of cultural decay alongside other factions of Western civilization? Only time will tell.