The Southern Baptist Convention, which represents some 16 million Americans and is the denomination most strongly identified with conservative Christian social values, passed a resolution today praising the election of Barack Obama, the United States’ first black president, while criticizing Obama’s policies.
The resolution said Southern Baptists “share our nation’s pride in our continuing progress toward racial reconciliation” signaled by Obama’s election. It commended the president for his demonstrated commitment to his family and efforts to keep America safe from terrorism.
At the same time it deplored many policies supported by Obama contrary to positions the convention has stated in the past. It faulted Obama’s support for federal funding of stem-cell research, federal funding of “pro-abortion groups,” stripping conscience protections for health-care providers and a recent proclamation recognizing gay pride month.
“In light of some recent statements that at least I would think are irresponsible by some Southern Baptists, we wanted to make it clear that we believe that the Scriptures direct us to pray for those in authority and that we will indeed pray for God to grant to our president godly wisdom and direction as he leads our country,” Daniel Akin, chairman of this year’s resolutions committee, said.
Richard Land, head of the SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said the resolution “has its hand on the pulse beat of where Southern Baptists really are.”
“Most Southern Baptists didn’t vote for him, and they didn’t vote for him because of their very strong disagreement with him on the life issue and some other issues,” Land said. “But at the same time they are very gratified that we have had enough racial reconciliation in America that we’ve come to the place that we can elect an African-American president.”