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In his farewell address as president last week, Mr. Greear warned of “an SBC that spends more energy condemning things like CRT than they have of the devastating consequences of racial discrimination”. And another past President of Congress, Rev. James Merritt, said, “I want to be blunt and straightforward: If some people were as passionate about the gospel as they are about critical racial theory, we would win this world for Christ.” Tomorrow. “
Even if you believe, as I do, that some interpretations of the Critical Race Theory have problematic, illiberal elements, it is hardly in danger of asserting itself in the more than 47,000 congregations of the theologically and politically more conservative convention than most denominations. What pervades many Southern Baptist Churches these days – and it’s not just limited to Southern Baptist Churches – is a topic that was not mentioned at the annual meeting last week: QAnon conspiracy theories.
Dr. Moore, who was an influential figure in the Southern Baptist Convention until he split from the denomination a few weeks ago, told Axios, “I speak literally every day to pastors of virtually every denomination who are exhausted with theories supported by their churches or communities blow. ”He said that for many QAnon takes on“ all the characteristics of a sect ”.
Bill Haslam, former two-time Republican governor of Tennessee, a Presbyterian and author of Faithful Presence: The Promise and the Peril of Faith in the Public Square, put it this way in a recent interview with The Atlantic:
I have heard enough pastors say that they cannot believe the growth of QAnon theory in their churches. Their churches had become battlefields for things they never thought they would be. It’s not so much the pastors preaching this from pulpits – although I’m sure there are some of them – but more people in the church who believe that theories reflect their Christian beliefs.
According to a recent poll by the conservative American Enterprise Institute, nearly a third of white evangelical Christian Republicans – 31 percent – believe QAnon’s claim that “Donald Trump secretly fought a group of child smugglers, including prominent Democrats.” “. and Hollywood elites. ”White evangelicals are much more prone to conspiracy theories than non-white evangelicals. However, there were no Southern Baptist Convention statements or resolutions calling QAnon “incompatible with the Baptist Faith and Message” as six SBC seminar presidents said late last year about racial critical theory and “any version of critical theory.” Too many Southern Baptist leaders, faced with all sorts of internal problems and dangers, would prefer to turn their attention and judgment to the world outside their walls. That’s not quite what Jesus had in mind.
The drama that is going on within the Convention is representative of the greater struggle within American Christianity. None of us can completely escape the downsides and downsides of our communities and our culture. The question is whether those who profess to be followers of Jesus are more able than recently to rise above them, to be self-critical instead of just criticizing others, to shed light on our own dark corners, even add grace and empathy in tough and angry times.
That happens every now and then, here and there, and when it does it can be a fervent witness. But the painful truth is that this is nowhere near and in fact Christian faith has all too often become a weapon in the arsenal of those who worship at the altar of politics.
Instead of advocating for the victims of sexual abuse, their reflex is to defend the institutions that cover up the abuse. Countless people who profess to be Christians are influenced more in their moral feelings by Tucker Carlson’s nocturnal monologues than by Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.