NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)—When Ferguson, Mo., exploded two years ago with racial unrest that spread across the nation, the newly elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention was moved to action.
Together, with an interracial group of his fellow ministers, the Rev. Ronnie Floyd penned an article that called on Southern Baptist pastors, churches and laypeople to repent of racism and injustice. “Silence is not the answer and passivity is not our prescription for healing,” it read.
It was one of the most strongly worded denunciations of racism ever released by leaders of a denomination founded in a split over slavery, and it set in motion events leading to a “national conversation on racial unity” that took place at the SBC’s annual meeting in June.
Speaking to the membership of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination was Rev. Jerry Young, president of the nation’s largest historically Black denomination, the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A.
The discussion followed a series of steps by Southern Baptists to overcome their history and address racism that include the election of its first African American president in 2012 and an increasing focus on opposition to racism by the denomination’s public policy arm.