ST. LOUIS, Mo. The Southern Baptist Convention meeting in St. Louis has passed a resolution calling on Christians to stop displaying the Confederate battle flag.
The resolution was first proposed by an African-American pastor, the Rev. Dwight McKissic. The proposal presented to thousands of delegates at the denomination’s annual meeting on Tuesday was less strongly worded than the original. It added a paragraph saying that the flag serves for some not as a symbol of racism but as a memorial to loved ones who died in the Civil War.
It also called on Christians to “consider prayerfully whether to limit, or even more so, discontinue” the flag’s display.
But on Tuesday, the convention approved a motion from the floor to remove the added paragraph and strengthen the language by calling on Christians to simply discontinue the flag’s use.
The SBC has also approved a resolution expressing love and compassion for the victims of the Orlando shooting and their families.
The nation’s largest Protestant denomination adopted the resolution at its annual meeting in St. Louis on Tuesday. Southern Baptists consider same-sex marriage and sexual relations to be sinful, but the resolution says “we regard those affected by this tragedy as fellow image-bearers of God and our neighbors.”
At the same time, the thousands of delegates to the meeting of the Nashville-based convention also adopted a resolution seeking protection for the religious liberties of those who oppose gay marriage and transgender bathroom access.
Convention President Ronnie Floyd told an audience of thousands attending the convention in St. Louis on Tuesday that he believes racism is from Satan, and it is up to churches to defeat it. Floyd has made racial unity a priority of his presidency.