Resolutions target racism, abortion funding, Equality Act

Messengers to the 2021 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting approved a broad resolution on the Bible’s sufficiency regarding race and racial reconciliation June 15 but chose not to address specifically the contentious issue of Critical Race Theory.

Among nine resolutions passed, messengers also overwhelmingly endorsed statements on government policies that included:

— A denunciation of any attempt to rescind the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding of abortion.

— Opposition to the Equality Act, a far-reaching gay and transgender rights bill that critics warn would devastate freedom of religion and conscience, as well as protections for women, girls and unborn children.

The resolution quoted from Scripture and the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, the SBC’s confession of faith, regarding race and racial reconciliation before affirming the Bible’s adequacy on the issues.

It said SBC messengers “reject any theory or worldview that finds the ultimate identity of human beings in ethnicity or in any other group dynamic” and “reject any theory or worldview that sees the primary problem of humanity as anything other than sin against God and the ultimate solution as anything other than redemption found only in Christ.”

The resolution also repudiated “any theory or worldview that denies that racism, oppression or discrimination is rooted, ultimately, in anything other than sin.”

It also reaffirmed the resolution regarding racial reconciliation on the SBC’s 150th anniversary in 1995, in which messengers apologized to African-Americans for “condoning and/or perpetuating individual and systemic racism.”

The 2021 Resolutions Committee’s report showed it received 10 proposed resolutions on various theories regarding race, but it chose to combine them into a general statement.

In other resolutions business, the messengers’ passage of the statement on the Hyde Amendment was the latest in a four-decade-old series of resolutions opposing abortion and federal funding of the procedure.

The resolution served as a response to President Biden’s budget proposal issued in late May that failed to include the 45-year-old Hyde Amendment and other pro-life policies in federal programs. If Biden’s proposal succeeds, it would mark the first time since 1976 the Hyde Amendment has not been enacted.

The Hyde Amendment, which must be approved each year as a “rider” to a spending bill, prohibits federal funds in Medicaid and other programs from paying for abortions. The ban is estimated to have saved the lives of more than 2.4 million unborn children.

The resolution urged Biden and Congress to preserve Hyde and all other pro-life amendments. It also urged Southern Baptists to “work through all available cultural and legislative means to end the moral scourge of abortion as we also seek to love, care for, and minister to women who are victimized by the unjust abortion industry.”

Finally, in strongly opposing the Equality Act, messengers approved language that described the proposal as “one of the greatest threats to religious liberty in our nation’s history.”

The Equality Act fails to protect the freedom of religion and conscience of faith-based adoption and foster-care agencies, as well as religious hospitals and healthcare workers, the resolution said in echoing warnings already issued by the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. It also would threaten the Hyde Amendment and erode civil rights protections for women and girls, according to the resolution.

In addition to opposing the Equality Act, the resolution encourages “love and compassion” toward those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender and the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus to them.

— Tom Strode is Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.