This week, President Donald Trump’s old skittishness about condemning white supremacy and white supremacist groups has once again been put into the spotlight by his own doing. At his first debate with his Democratic rival Joe Biden, Trump waffled on moderator Chris Wallace’s direct request that he condemn white supremacy on the spot. And then on Thursday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany danced around a question from Fox News’ John Roberts, where he asked her to condemn white supremacy on the White House’s behalf. McEnany ultimately did not do so, instead citing past instances in which Trump has condemned white supremacist terror groups.
Kayleigh McEnany dances around a question from Fox News asking her to categorically condemn white supremacists. Very bizarre. pic.twitter.com/7xoyMHPTxa
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 1, 2020
In the wake of this, there have been many calls for other influential organizations to affirm their own condemnations of white supremacy and the Southern Baptist Convention did heed that call. SBC President J.D. Greear released a new statement affirming a 2017 SBC declaration that called alt-right white supremacy “anti-Gospel,” saying that “when asked to condemn white supremacy, every single one of us should be ready to do so.”
We denounce and repudiate white supremacy and every form of racial and ethnic hatred as a scheme of the devil intended to bring suffering and division to our society. We re-affirm what Southern Baptists said to this in 2017: https://t.co/f6LepFAGYv (2/3)
— J.D. Greear (@jdgreear) September 30, 2020
Greear’s statement seemed carefully worded to acknowledge that denouncing white supremacy once is not enough, and Christians should be ready to affirm and re-affirm their commitments whenever asked. This may be particularly true of the SBC, which has acknowledged and apologized for its roots as a pro-slavery organization a number of times in the past. It’s something for the White House to remember in the days ahead: defensiveness won’t end this news cycle.