Racial tensions simmer as Southern Baptists hold key meeting

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Race-related tensions within the Southern Baptist Convention are high heading into a national meeting next week. The election of a new SBC president and debate over the concept of systemic racism may prove pivotal for some Black pastors as they decide whether to stay in the denomination or leave. The SBC was founded before the Civil War as a defender of slavery. Only in 1995 did it formally apologize for that legacy. Yet since 2000 its Black membership has been increasing while white membership declines. Over the past year, however, several Black pastors have exited in frustration over what they see as racial insensitivity within its overwhelmingly white leadership.