Monday, January 26, 2015

ERLC, Moore call for integrated churches...but...

Russell Moore, our leader for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, 

The ERLC has a conference coming up  in March in Nashville on "The Gospel and Racial Reconciliation". Speakers include Moore, Frank Page, Danny Akin, along with Fred Luter, Tony Evans, and others. Most are African American.

Dwight McKissick was not invited to be a speaker, not that I'm saying he should but he did make an appearance in the article where SBC leaders call for integrated churches:

Dwight McKissick was included in the article as saying, "The church lasks the moral authority to address the world about race before we set our own house in order." 
The article further notes that McKissick pointed that the denomination continues to employ all white as top executives and seminary presidents.
"It is obvious the rhetoric and reality is not matching, he said," 

For a lesson in rhetoric vs. reality, the link at the end of this sentence is the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission's staff directory page. The Executive Staff is all white. There is one, out of 25, African American on the page. She is a consultant.

Danny Akin comments on the SBC and racial reconciliation with the words that, "My grief is we're late to this party...We should have been leading the way. Not much of a party at ERLC HQ, it seems.

I like Russell Moore and think he is hitting better notes that his predecessor. I said so early on after he was given the position of CEO of the ERLC.

Moore had the opportunity to build his team from the ground up at the ERLC. He selected, quite quickly, a team that included no African Americans. His choices, seems to me from the SBC hinterlands, were sound but express the familiar principle that there are only so many high level jobs in the SBC and her entities and we like to hire people we know well and are comfortable with. This is an explanation (one that I offer for Moore, not one that he has offered to my knowledge), not an excuse.

Perhaps other issues were on his mind in 2013.

Brethren, blame the messenger if you like on this but these are optics that everyone sees. We could have been addressing this business of integration in both churches and our entities before last year's flame up of racial issues. Moore is one of the SBC's point men on racial issues. He should be expecting his own employment structure to be scrutinized and I'm sure he has a response prepared.

The headline I would be surprised to see is this one (maybe he has called for this, I haven't see it):

ERLC Moore calls for greater diversity in top SBC positions

It's pretty safe to sit in D.C. look at the camera and call for action by SBC churches.

1 comment:

foxofbama said...

Interesting post. When the ERLC has Taylor Branch on a panel to talk about Selma with Mike Hubbard of the Bama St. House, and my state senator Phil Williams, a ocnversation framed in the Jazon Zengerle piece New Racism, New Republic (Easy Google), then I might begin to take them serious. As it stands now they can't even be honest, own their fundy history of Pressler's resistnace to Brown V Board, and the racsim of key takeover fundy machinator Jesse Helms!!!....Read Wuthnow's Rough Country, Connect the dots