At the 150th anniversary of the Southern Baptist Convention, the delegates could have considered many an issue. The main resolution they did pass included these words:
"..we apologize to all African-Americans for condoning and/or perpetuating individual and systemic racism in our lifetime; and we genuinely repent of racism of which we have been guilty, whether consciously (Psalm 19:13) or unconsciously (Leviticus 4:27)"
That 1995 convention admitted, "that the racism which yet plagues our culture today is inextricably tied to the past."
This was a difficult and courageous step for this mostly white Southern denomination born in slavery times. But the delegates took it, recognizing that they might even "sin through ignorance," in the words of Leviticus.
As we approach the presidential election, I would like to ask each one of my fellow white people to consider, as seriously as those Baptists did, our own prejudices, even unconscious ones. This is a matter too important for us to be prideful or defensive.
Let's all do our best to ensure that not one of us will look back to regret that racial prejudice influenced his or her vote. This is not just about treating someone else fairly. As the Southern Baptists understood, "our own healing is at stake."
Presidents come and go, but the people remain. Let us each know in our hearts that we have risen above any conscious or unconscious fears or hatreds handed down to us. Let us deserve that noblest American title, "We the people."
Larry Lamar Yates, Winchester