Southern Baptists Call for Removal of Confederate Flag

Confederate Flag

Update: Dr. James Merritt speaks in support of the resolution calling for the ban of the Confederate Battle Flag.

Earlier today the members of the Southern Baptist Convention, which is meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling for the removal of the Confederate Battle Flag from public life. It reads in part:

… we call on all persons, along with public, governmental, and religious institutions to discontinue the display of the Confederate Battle Flag and work diligently to remove vestigial symbols of racism from public life as evidence of the fruits of repentance that we have made for our past bigotries and as a step in good faith toward racial healing in America, to the end that we truly become — in word and deed — ‘one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.’

Read the rest of the resolution here.

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21 comments… add one
  • David Kent Jun 18, 2016 @ 7:23

    Is this so called deacon actually saying that he flies the cbf at his church, and he thinks this OK because the flag has a dual meaning?! I’m no religious flag expert, but there has to be an alternative flag that he could use. Using one, religious or not, that’s also associated with slavery, pretty much sums up where his head is at. A christian racist would be my guess. People like this make me sick. They have no regard for other human beings unless they think exactly like they do. Christian my a##.

    • Andy Hall Jun 21, 2016 @ 10:46

      I think Overstreet meant that he continues to fly it at home.

      • David Kent Jun 22, 2016 @ 4:42

        I don’t know if that makes it any better, but thanks for the clarification Andy.

        • Andy Hall Jun 22, 2016 @ 5:05

          It’s still a shouty, spittle-flecked non-sequitur, if that helps.

    • Andy Hall Jun 22, 2016 @ 8:08

      FWIW, I don’t think I’ve ever encountered an SBC church where the Confederate flag had any role, or was even displayed. Individual SBC congregations are mostly autonomous, and tend to take on the characteristics of their membership, so there may be some, but I’m skeptical on that point. Individual SBC churches might also host heritage group events from time to time, but that’s more a function of their role as a gathering place in small or rural communities — there’s nothing particularly Confederate-y in SBC theology.

      What’s important about this resolution from the SBC is that it explicitly extends beyond what member congregations do as a group, and calls on all members of SBC congregations to put aside their veneration of the Confederate flag period, full stop. That’s bold and provocative, and leaves no doubt where the SBC stands as an organization.

      • David Kent Jun 23, 2016 @ 3:04

        “calls on all members of SBC congregations to put aside their veneration of the Confederate flag period”

        I hope you’re right Andy. The cbf certainly doesn’t have any place at a church. I’m going to think positive, and believe Mr. Overstreet isn’t a deacon of anything, anywhere. Having seen the civil rights battles of the sixties daily on the nightly news, I suppose I’m a little to thin skinned. Wallace’s segregation speech is etched in my mind forever. I’d hoped for a better 2016, and sometimes can’t believe that Kevin’s fight about black confederates, much less the cbf, are even issues today. Thanks for all the good info.

  • Mark Snell Jun 15, 2016 @ 9:10

    Joe might want to think about resigning from his deacon’s position. The first priority of the Disciples of Christ Church is “Becoming a Pro-reconciling/Anti-racist church” (from their website). Since the overwhelming majority of African Americans see the Confederate flag as a symbol of racism, Joe isn’t practicing what the church is preaching.

  • BemusedHumanist Jun 14, 2016 @ 19:48

    Yes, but why have they still not called for the deletion of Shelby Foote’s pro-South comments in Ken Burns’ Civil War? After all, the quality of the whole documentary is determined by his remarks. Students couldn’t possibly make up their young minds after listening to him in context.

    • Kevin Levin Jun 15, 2016 @ 1:20

      Thanks for the comment, but I have no idea what point you are trying to make.

  • Jimmy Dick Jun 14, 2016 @ 17:38

    It will be interesting to see how many choose the Confederacy over Christ.

  • Joe Overstreet Jun 14, 2016 @ 16:13

    Once again the Missouri Baptist, not the Southron Baptist call for the removal of our flag (What flag this time?) We Southron people have a right to decide for our selves. I am a deacon in the Disciples of Christ Church in Grafton,Virginia will continue to fly the Battle Flag which is the Cross of St. Andrew’s Cross. It is a very religious flag and a Soldier’s Flag and unlike the US Flag NEVER Flew over a slave ship. You all beat us in 1865, why, do you try to keep beating us in 2016. We are loyal Americans with a heritage we are proud of.

    • Kevin Levin Jun 14, 2016 @ 16:16

      We Southron people have a right to decide for our selves.

      And it looks like the participants in the SBC have done so as well.

    • TFSmith Jun 14, 2016 @ 16:40

      Seriously, could you be any more stereotypical? The Confederacy lasted – barely – 48 months. The southern United States, as an indentifiable and distinct region of the country, has had an existence at least sixty times as long… And if one considers post Columbian exchange and pre-American revolution, there’s another period of roughly 25 decades.

      And yet the neo-confederates can only point to the symbols of those four years as being of importance.

      How sad.

      • Kevin Levin Jun 14, 2016 @ 16:41

        Well said, though it is important to recognize that the history of its symbols extends beyond those four short years.

        • TFSmith Jun 14, 2016 @ 16:42

          Except for the typo in “identifiable”… Feel like I’m writing in a blue book in ink. 😉

    • Scott Ledridge Jun 14, 2016 @ 19:06

      Just don’t walk into church saying the CBF is a religious flag.

      Loyal Americans? Your other Southrons would disagree.

      • Ken Noe Jun 15, 2016 @ 5:26

        Calling the flag the “Christian cross” suddenly has become very chic this year, despite all those Confederate denials of that very assertion in 1861 and 1862.

        • Andy Hall Jun 15, 2016 @ 5:40

          “Calling the flag the ‘Christian cross’ suddenly has become very chic this year. . . .”

          It’s the central theme of Edgerton’s peripatetic performance art. The 1860s references linking the CBF to the “Southern Cross” were references to the constellation n the Southern Hemisphere, which was cited by authors like George Bagby of the Southern Literary Messenger as pointing the way toward expansion of the southern slaveholding empire, “ere the destiny of the Southern master and his African slave is accomplished.”

    • Michael Lynch Jun 14, 2016 @ 20:09

      Nope. It was the Southern Baptist Convention, not just Missouri Baptists. The SBC meets in a different city each year, and this year the meeting was in St. Louis. The delegates were from SBC churches all over the map.

  • Andy Hall Jun 14, 2016 @ 16:07

    From the SBC resolution:

    WHEREAS, the Southern Baptist Convention has repented “of any past bigotry” while bearing “witness to the devastating impact of racism”. . . .


    They forgot to mention that the SBC was established in 1845 after a split in the national Baptist organization over whether it was appropriate for slaveholders to serve as missionaries of the Gospel. The institution of slavery was not incidental to the founding of the SBC; it was the foundation of it.

    Still, it’s a welcome move for the SBC to stake out a clear and unqualified position on the matter. The church needs to concern itself with things spiritual, not temporal. There is the usual outrage and threats to leave the church from the usual suspects over this but, honestly, I doubt the SBC will miss those folks; if they’re quitting over this, their priorities probably weren’t very well aligned with those of the church to start with.

    One additional point for those unfamiliar with the SBC — it is a voluntary organization of Baptist congregations, and has little or no authority to enforce resolutions like this, so it remains up to individual congregations whether or not to follow this guidance going forward.

    • msb Jun 15, 2016 @ 0:42

      Well said, Andy, as usual. This is a heartening reversal.

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