Home / News / Southern Baptist Convention elects its first black president – Augusta preacher likens him to playing "house 'n*****' role" on the "plantation"
Southern Baptist Convention elects its first black president – Augusta preacher likens him to playing "house 'n*****' role" on the "plantation"

Southern Baptist Convention elects its first black president – Augusta preacher likens him to playing "house 'n*****' role" on the "plantation"

At its annual meeting, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) today elected native New Orleanian Fred Luter as its president.  Although Luter was the only elective for office, the SBC acknowledged that his presidency represents a historic moment.

The Baptist Press reports that he was nominated by David Crosby, pastor of First Baptist Church in New Orleans, whose three-minute nomination speech was interrupted four times by enthusiastic applause. "[Luter] would likely be a candidate for sainthood one day if he were a Catholic," Crosby said in describing Luter as "the fire-breathing, miracle-working pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church."

Southern Baptists "are already a convention with great diversity in our membership ranks and our churches. If we are faithful in our work this diversity will continue to grow," the Baptist Press quotes Crosby as saying. "We need Pastor Fred at the head of the table, helping us understand our mission field and our mission. It is time to tap the great resource of his experience, wisdom and passion for this wider purpose. "

In 2011 Luter became the SBC's first African American first vice president and in 2001 was the first African American to preach the convention sermon. He also served on the committee that proposed a revision of the Baptist Faith and Message in 2000.  He is a popular preacher at revivals, state conventions, evangelism conferences and other Southern Baptist gatherings.

Slavery and The Plantation — Black pastor accuses Luter of playing the "house n***** role."

The Southern Baptist Convention is known for its support of slavery in the past. The Baptist Press writes that some observers felt it was appropriate that Luter's election took place on the day many celebrate "Juneteenth" and the anniversary of slavery's end in the United States.

But a news station in August, Georgia, paints a different story.

WRDW-TV Channel 12 interviewed two local pastors for their reactions, one of whom had very unkind words to say, calling Luter a "house nigger."

Bishop Willie JacksonBishop Willie Jackson of Christ Centered Outreach Ministry told Channel 12 (see the link and the video clip below to fact check):

For most of us, we see it as a political — of it being politically motivated, anyway.  I applaud him in a sense, but on the other hand, I see him as on the plantation, and playing "house nigger" role.  Here is a man that is not even seminary trained and they have him — they've chosen him over all of the other Southern Baptists.  I see it in the same way that I saw Michael Steele of being president of the Republican Party.

Andy Jones, minister at the First Baptist Church of Augusta had a different view:

Making a historic decision today is very good for the Southern Baptist Convention, for the South, good for Baptists in general.   I think this is certainly a way to go in the right direction. You know, Dr. Martin Luther King said that the most segregated place in America is churches at 11 o'clock on Sunday mornings.

The First Baptist Church of Augusta's original building on Green Street was the birthplace of the SBC in 1845.  The church separated from the Southern Baptists over issues involving slavery.

(The news video will load in 1-2 seconds.)

About D.

  • You know, I realize a Black man is saying it, but somehow I feel offended by his use of words. Then again, such words neither I nor my sons' father condoned.

    I told my older son about this story and he agreed that it was not only offensive, but uncalled for. When I first told him, he said, "What?" I told him again and he was obviously offended by the second minister's words. We both agreed that it doesn't matter what the Southern Baptist Convention did in the past, that was uncalled for.

    • Deborah_B

      I couldn't believe he said that! How hateful.

  • Willie Jackson only said out loud what millions of people, both black and white, say every day. It is an offensive word, but nevertheless it still ubiquitous and so far, no other word captures the same essence — with all of its historic complexity. Mr. Jackson is exactly right though, in that this appointment is window dressing. It's an attempt to blunt criticism of the SBC for their racial prejudice. The simple fact is that Fred is a token black… one the SBC can point to and say 'hey, we're not prejudiced anymore' while the overwhelming majority of SBC churches in the south will have a lily white crowd in the sanctuary come sunday morning.

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