Last week, the Progressive National Baptist Convention convened virtually to reaffirm their dedication to the Civil Rights cause. While usually hosted locally, it went virtual to maintain Covid safety. The event included an assortment of worship services, discussion panels, and policy resolutions for consideration. The denomination also celebrated its 60th anniversary.
Most notably, the denominational leadership denounced the growing number of Republican-led voting restrictions that are being considered.
"There is not a voter fraud problem in the United States," the resolution proclaims. "There is a voter suppression problem in the United States." Rev. Raphael Warnock, the recently elected Georgian senator, spoke at the convention in support of this endeavor, encouraging the denomination to continue fighting for voter rights. "If we don't check what they're doing in Georgia, they'll be able to nullify the votes and the voices of the people after they have already been cast," argued Warnock in a keynote banquet speech.
Another resolution affirmed the value of critical race theory. This topic has become a rallying point among conservative Evangelicals and Republicans alike. The resolution argues that the theory is not being taught on elementary levels but rather for graduate-level education. The resolution proclaims that the theory is valuable for explaining how "systemic, institutional racism has been at work in every aspect of American life since before the nation was even formed."
Another resolution expressed support for Congress funding a long-term study of the cost required to provide reparations for African-Americans. A similar resolution declared that gentrification - described as the process of pricing poor residents out of their homes - is creating a "state of emergency in Black America which requires a righteous action agenda,"
Founded initially after Martin Luther King Jr. and several Baptist ministers failed to replace the head of the National Baptist Convention, the convention came to be in 1961. It currently contains more than 700 congregations worldwide.