ARLINGTON, Texas – The Southern Baptist Convention is a denomination that represents American Christianity to so many people.
This week during its annual convention, it wrestled with a topic brought up by Arlington pastor Dwight McKissic -- to denounce views of the alt-right and white supremacists.
"More and more of the alt-right people were identifying themselves as part of the Southern Baptist Convention, and I went 'Whoa!'" said Pastor Dwight McKissic of the Cornerstone Baptist Church.
Christine Wicker has been researching and writing on religion for years. She was also raised Southern Baptist. Wicker says it appears the pastor was trying to make a strong statement.
"I think he's trying to get them to reclaim their position," Wicker said.
This is all happening at a polarizing time too, politically and socially, even for the church.
"They [the church] are in a big struggle to figure out who they are -- to leave the 50's. Trump has come in and said look back to the good ole days," Wicker said.
The resolution didn't pass the first two times. Pastor McKissic heard from black pastors who represent 20 percent of the convention.
"I was aware of many who said they were going to leave, especially younger ones from all over the nation. I was pleading with them, 'not so fast'" said the pastor.
It prompted Alt-Right Leader Richard Spencer to prematurely put out this tweet: "So apparently the Southern Baptists Convention didn't denounce the Alt-Right after all. Interesting development!"
Later Wednesday night, Spencer tweeted: "Jesus never complained about racism. Paul enjoined slaves to return to their masters. Have these fundies ever read their bibles?"
By Wednesday afternoon, it got the required two-thirds majority vote. A full denouncement with some tweaks to the language of the resolution.
"The church should be the moral guardian of society," the pastor said.
The pastor is pleased with the vote but says he still wonders why it took so long to happen.
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