About dayum time!!!
Congratulations! Rev. Fred Luter Jr. is set to become the first African American president of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination organization when convention delegates vote next week in New Orleans.
It’s a big step for a denomination that was formed out of a pre-Civil War split with northern Baptists over slavery and for much of the last century had a reputation for supporting segregation.
In recent years, faced with growing diversity in America and declining membership in its churches, the denomination has made a sincere effort to distance itself from that past. Many Southern Baptists believe the charming and charismatic Luter is the man who can lead them forward.
Many Southern Baptist leaders, when speaking of Luter, mention how respected he is for his determination to stay in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, destroying Franklin Avenue and scattering its members.
Luter said the disaster shook his faith and he didn’t know at first if the church could recover. A photograph from that time shows Luter on a helicopter tour of the city, wiping tears from his eyes as he gazed at the flooded buildings and vans of his church.
He told the Baptist Press the tragedy showed him that “life is like a vapor on this side of eternity. What you have today could be gone tomorrow. You can’t put your trust in earthly things.”
As David Crosby, of First Baptist New Orleans, puts it: “It’s such a note of grace and favor from God that a man of this caliber would step forward to become the first African-American president of the SBC.”
This sounds nice and all, but we have a couple of questions that need to be addressed. If he is elected, do you think it will have less to do with his qualifications, and more to do with demonstrating how the new Southern Baptists aren’t racists? Similar to how Michael Steele was elected head of the RNC right after Obama’s election. We support the organization “turning a new leaf” but we have to question the timing and motives behind the election. Just sayin’.