• 72°

Southern Baptist leader’s message: Listen to fears in Ferguson

By Bud Kennedy

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

On a day when reactions were predictable, one man’s was not. That is, unless you’ve followed the Southern Baptist Convention’s Russell D. Moore and his online columns promoting compassion over knee-jerk reactions.

On a day when some on the political right posted hostile social-media comments bashing protesters or mocking African-American commentators, Moore wrote that white Americans are too quick to dismiss the anger and that “the old zombie of Jim Crow still moves about” in America.

In the latest blog post meant in part to draw a younger and more diverse Baptist following, Moore wrote: “One of the things I’ve learned over the past year is that nothing brings out more hate mail — nothing — than when I say too many black kids are being shot in America.”

Instead of pounding a hard-line authoritarian, the way white Southern Baptists did in the 1960s, Moore wrote that African-American men are more likely than whites to be arrested, sentenced, executed or murdered in an imperfect justice system, and “we cannot shrug that off with apathy.”

Moore returned a call Tuesday, phoning from the Nashville office of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

His comments are based in part on what he hears from Southern Baptist worshippers, he said, including African-American pastors.

“The most striking comment was when a pastor told me he had been helping his son through his college applications, and he had been praying his son would not get into certain schools because this father feared for his son’s safety,” Moore said.

“That’s something white people just don’t understand firsthand.”

Moore, 43, grew up in Biloxi, Miss., near the waterfront home of Confederate States President Jefferson Davis.

In other columns, he has spoken sharply against domestic violence, defended Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Brantly against criticism from Ann Coulter and Donald Trump, and called for Southern Baptists to worry over divorce more than same-sex marriage.

In a column that turned conservative radio on its ear, he criticized talk hosts’ opposition to increased legal immigration and said Christians’ response must be more than “Get off my lawn!”

My church is not in his denomination, and I don’t agree with every column. But it’s refreshing to read something thoughtful instead of comments bashing people of another color.

I’ll add here that my father, the first Bud Kennedy in the family, was a conservative farmboy from rural Oklahoma and a faithful elder in several Churches of Christ in west Fort Worth.

At the height of 1960s desegregation, whenever race would come up or if a co-worker told a racist joke, he frowned and said 12 words: “My Bible says all men are equal in the eyes of God.”

In our house, there was no further discussion.

Moore said Baptists have begun to realize the church should speak up for worshippers of all colors and do more to include races and “look like heaven.”

Even if it means catching heck.

Bud Kennedy is a columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Comments

Local

Pedestrian hospitalized after being struck by police car

Local

Torch Run returns to Rowan streets, raises money for Special Olympics

Crime

Fish arcade company drops suit against Rowan County Sheriff’s Office

Crime

Man faces kidnapping, assault charges after woman escapes at Webb Road Flea Market

Local

Natoli promoted to assistant county manager, will retain human resources director title

Education

Attendance restriction lifted for RSS graduation ceremonies

Business

Rowan Chamber of Commerce will host in-person Power in Partnership on Thursday

Business

Rowan EDC will undergo name change, alter board requirements with updates to bylaws

Nation/World

Israel strikes Gaza tunnels as truce efforts remain elusive

Nation/World

Supreme Court to take up major abortion rights challenge

Nation/World

Biden boosting world vaccine sharing commitment to 80M doses

Crime

Man charged for stowing away on Norfolk Southern train, impeding railroad operations

Local

Group will protest treatment of Georgia woman during 2019 traffic stop

Crime

Man overdoses at Piedmont Correctional Institute

Crime

Sheriff’s Office: Two men escape from jail, found in bushes on Fulton Street

Ask Us

Ask Us: When will North Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue be resurfaced?

Local

Political Notebook: Rowan’s lawmakers pass 140 bills into the opposite chamber before deadline

Local

Police chief to present use of force policy; city manager to present 2021-22 budget

Crime

Blotter: Rockwell man arrested on charges of felony larceny, possession of stolen vehicle

Coronavirus

CDC director says mask turnaround based solely on science

News

Catawba College hosts three in-person commencement ceremonies

Local

With high case loads causing numerous staff departures, Child Protective Services seeks more positions

Education

Livingstone College graduates celebrate ‘crossing the finish line’ during commencement celebration

Coronavirus

Rowan sees 4 new COVID-19 deaths as mask mandate lifted, vaccines administered continue decline