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Some Evangelicals Opposing Pence Appearance at Convention

Some Evangelicals Opposing Pence Appearance at Convention
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By    |   Wednesday, 13 June 2018 10:44 AM

A small part of the Southern Baptist Convention is in opposition to Vice President Mike Pence addressing the delegation, CNN reported.

The conservative Christian is set to address 10,000 delegates, called messengers, at the group's annual meeting Wednesday, but young Southern Baptists in particular see his appearance as tying the convention to the Republican Party.

"By associating publicly with any administration, we send a mixed message to our members that to be faithful to the Gospel is to also align with that administration," said Garrett Kell, a lead pastor in a Virginia church, in a Tuesday speech on the convention floor, CNN noted.

The Virginia pastor suggested that Pence be disinvited and his speech be replaced with a time for prayer. His motion was rejected, as were similar resolutions from other Southern Baptists.

On Wednesday, another resolution will come to a vote that could prohibit politicians, except for local political leaders, from the annual convention, CNN reported.

The denomination has more than 15 million members and is the country's largest evangelical group, and more than 80 percent of white evangelicals voted for Donald Trump and Pence in the presidential election, but the smaller group sees a tie to Republicans as distracting from their primary goal, to bring followers to Jesus, the report said.

Kell and others said they were concerned that Pence's speech could jeopardize the safety of Southern Baptist missionaries and aid workers in countries that oppose the Trump administration. He added that the denomination's relationship with racial minorities could also be endangered.

"With the history of the Southern Baptist Convention, and with us trying to get over that history and unite, Pence coming is like one step forward, two steps back," said Maryland delegate Alishah Nemieboka.

Nate Akin, director of the pastor-led network Baptist21, said there was some truth to the generalization that older Southern Baptists are pro-Republican and younger ones are against partisan politics.

"There is a perception that Southern Baptists are in the pocket of the Republican Party. But to be a good Christian doesn't mean you have to be a good Republican — or a good Democrat, for that matter," Akin said, CNN reported.

The convention is also facing issues over treatment of women, with a resolution to be considered that acknowledges issues in the church's history, NBC News reported.

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A small part of the Southern Baptist Convention is in opposition to Vice President Mike Pence addressing the delegation.
evangelicals, pence, convention
Wednesday, 13 June 2018 10:44 AM
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