WHEREAS, In the past 18 months there have been at least 30 arson-blamed first at African-American churches; and
WHEREAS, The desecration and destruction of churches is a particularly heinous form of hatred; and
WHEREAS, Violence against churches risks crippling one of society’s most effective institutions for mediation and reconciliation; and
WHEREAS, Racial bigotry in all its forms is absolutely contrary to the tenets of biblical Christianity; and
WHEREAS, Attacks against any church constitute an attack against the entire believing community; and
WHEREAS, Christians are enjoined to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2); and
WHEREAS, The Southern Baptist Convention is on record for its vigorous opposition to racial injustice and is taking significant steps toward racial reconciliation; Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED, That we the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention meeting June 11-13, 1996, in New Orleans, Louisiana, do hereby deplore these despicable and abominable acts of lawlessness and racism; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That we pledge to pray for, support, encourage, stand with, and assist our sister churches and fellow believers in the African-American community who have been victims of these criminal acts; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That we target our efforts toward racial reconciliation in those communities hardest hit by racial violence against churches; and
FINALLY, BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, That we call upon local, state, and federal governments to investigate promptly and vigorously these hate crimes, apprehend those who are responsible for these cowardly acts of bigotry, and prosecute perpetrators of church arson to the fullest extent of the law.
New Orleans, Louisiana
This resolution is posted at www.sbc.net/resolutions.