Southern Baptists Elect First Black VP

Terry Tang and Travis Loller, Black America Web, June 15, 2011

Members of the Southern Baptist Convention elected an African-American pastor to its No. 2 position for the first time on Tuesday, signifying an effort to diversify its leadership and flock at a time of declines in overall membership and church attendance.

Fred Luter Jr., the head pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, was elected with 1,558 votes, or 77 percent. Some of his supporters had expected him to be unopposed, but he picked up a local Arizona challenger in Tuesday’s session. Rick Ong, a deacon at First Chinese Baptist Church in Phoenix, received 441 votes, or 23 percent, according to results from the Baptist Press.

The move to elect Luter comes at the same time the SBC is making a push for greater participation among what it sometimes calls its “non-Anglo” members in the life of the convention, particularly in leadership roles.


His election also sets up the potential for his election to the top position of president when the denomination holds its annual meeting next year in Luter’s hometown of New Orleans.

It’s a big step for a denomination whose history is rooted in a split over race. The denomination originally formed in 1845 in a split with the American Baptist Convention over the question of whether slave owners could be missionaries. The SBC was silent or actively opposed civil rights through the 1970s, and many congregations excluded blacks. It was not until 1989 that convention declared racism a sin.



Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.

11 Responses to “Southern Baptists Elect First Black VP” Subscribe

  1. (AWG) AVERAGE WHITE GUY June 15, 2011 at 6:06 pm #

    I’m confused.

    Why is racial profiling wrong when identifying suspected criminal but is encouraged with identifying “firsts”?

  2. Jim Crow Nostalgia, please hurry back! June 15, 2011 at 7:13 pm #

    So the White Southern Baptists think they will stem their decline by foisting a black into the leadership position?

    That should do it. Look for the pews and collection plates to begin filling up again with devoutly penitent and generous tithers. “We stopped going to church when we couldn’t have a black at the head of our denomination. Now that we’ve done the right thing by embracing diversity and promoting transformative leadership into the position that it has always deserved, earned, and was mandated in the New Testament, we’re returning to church in droves.”

    Whenever you see blacks put in “leadership,” you are seeing another tactic in the planned demise of White Humanity. White girls can’t resist powerful men, no matter their race, color, or smell. Blacks are promoted into leadership so they will become desirable to White girls, who will then date them and give them mulatto babies.

    Look for this black Baptist “leader” to be outed for having a White girlfriend, whom he keeps instead of his black wife.

  3. ATBOTL June 15, 2011 at 7:15 pm #

    Were nearing the day when the South is not signifacantly less PC than the rest of white America.

  4. Seek June 15, 2011 at 7:21 pm #

    The recent vote is merely a coda to the SBC’s 1989 declaration that “racism” is a sin. Never mind that no such point can be found in the Bible, either in content or in context. The real problem is that most Christians are simply incapable of realism on the subject of race. Having declared preference for one race over another to be evil (as long as it is whites doing the preferring), the ascension of the “non-Anglo” Fred Luter to the top post was but a formality.

  5. Question Diversity June 15, 2011 at 8:01 pm #

    I stopped paying attention to the SBC as a credible Christian church when I found out they “officially” declared “racism” to be a “sin” circa 1990. In other words, they’re doing exactly what God told them not to do in His final revealed commandment in Revelation — Don’t put words in His mouth, don’t take words out of His mouth. SBC became apostate on that day.

  6. Anonymous June 15, 2011 at 8:46 pm #

    “It was not until 1989 that convention declared racism a sin.”


    So it was the Baptist Convention that “declared” racism is a sin!

    I was wondering who did that, because God sure never did! You would at the least think racism would be in the top Ten Commandments of what “Thou shall not do”. Funny, I don’t see it anywhere in the top Ten. Nor in the whole Bible.

    I listened to these Baptists and their preachers on radio and they are really far gone when it comes to race. They were so concerned when they found out that a supposed 70% of black girls have abortions! They spent many hours and days on this subject alone. Nary a word about Whites who had abortions, though.

    They also push for White Christians to adopt African, Chinese or any nonwhite babies. They sure are not your grandfathers Baptists. The same goes for all Christian denominations of today, including the Catholics.

  7. Paul Jones June 16, 2011 at 6:32 am #

    As a believing Christian in today’s “post-racial” world, it is not easy to put up with what has been going on for decades as far as racial issues – from white, Evangelical Christian couples adopting black Haitian babies after the earthquake there, to earlier times when Sammy Davis, Jr. married Mae Britt, and said “God said to take a wife but he didn’t say anything about her color.”

    Sometimes I think matters are a little like in the ex-Soviet Union, which permitted an “official” Christian church to exist as long as it supported the ruling dogma of Communism. So today in the culture of the West and the United States, taken over by the Franz Boas school of Anthropology in the 1930’s with its tenet that there are no significant differences among racial groups, especially as regards inherited intellectual capacities, Christian churches are allowed to exist if they conform to the myth of racial equality.

    Maybe my departed uncle from the South put it best when he said as regards different races of mankind, “We can all get to heaven but we don’t have to be sitting on each other’s laps to get there.” Keep the true faith.

  8. Jeff June 16, 2011 at 7:20 am #

    No wonder. The vast majority of Christians worldwide are non-white.

  9. Xenophon June 16, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

    I’ve never trusted Christianity (nor Islam nor Judaism) because of this very problem which crops up over and over in its “universalist” doctrine over the centuries. If you start out with the concept of guilt and shame (the Adam and Eve myth), then it is easy to use those hot buttons on other topics, i.e. “racism”, in order to engineer desired social goals. I haven’t been in a church in decades and I don’t miss it.

  10. German boy June 16, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

    I grew up a Southern Baptist in Dixie and was away from the church for about 20 years. I went back to a Southern Baptist church in Oklahoma and got into a debate with the pastor about why he was trying to recruit Mexicans into the congregation. After about a month of this political correctness and nonsense I left the church and the Southern Baptist. I am now a Catholic, and the Catholic Church still maintains the racial divisions that the SBC used to have. I do not know what in the hell is wrong with the Southern Baptists, but theologically speaking they are completely and totally different from the 1980’s.

  11. Anonymous June 17, 2011 at 7:59 pm #

    I was raised in an Assemblies of God home. I’ve attended a Southern Baptist church for 10 years now. Unfortunately, I found out that the pastor is soft on illegal/legal immigration and have quit going to this church.

    I’ve been trying a conservative Presbyterian church in my area for several Sundays. It seems like a nice church but I hope they don’t start the P.C. nonsense too. Some days, I think maybe of just staying at home and reading my Bible and praying and not bothering with church at all. It is so discouraging to see so many churches infected with tripe!