J.D. Greear, Ronnie Floyd, Al Mohler, and Other White Southern Baptists Condemn White Supremacy as a ‘Scheme of the Devil’ After Dwight McKissic, E. Dewey Smith, and Other Black Christians Plead With Them to Speak Up About Trump’s ‘Stand Back and Stand By’ Comment During Debate

Ronnie Floyd (right) president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) Executive Committee and former president of the SBC, prays over J.D. Greear, current president of the SBC, during the Executive Committee’s meeting June 10, 2019 at the Sheraton Hotel in Birmingham, Ala. | Matt Miller

Senior officers of the Southern Baptist Convention reaffirmed the denomination’s repudiation of white supremacy as a “scheme of the devil” Wednesday after a controversial call by President Donald Trump to far-right activists to “stand back and stand by” during the presidential debate on Tuesday.

“When asked to condemn white supremacy, every single one of us should be ready to do so. Racism is, sadly, not extinct, and we know from our Southern Baptist history the effects of the horrific sins of racism and hatred,” SBC President J.D. Greear said on Twitter Wednesday afternoon.

“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.”

In addition to Greear, the statement was also endorsed by SBC senior officers: Marshal Ausberry, first vice president and president of the National African American Fellowship of the SBC; Noe Garcia, second vice president; Ronnie Floyd, president of the SBC’s executive committee; John Yeats, executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention; and Alabama Baptist Kathy Litton, director of planter spouse development at the North American Mission Board.

The SBC statement came as prominent black Christian leaders reacted strongly to the president’s failure to clearly denounce the activists during his first presidential debate with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, and urged evangelicals to speak up.

During Tuesday’s debate, moderator and “Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace asked Trump if he was “willing tonight to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down and not add to the violence in a number of these cities as we saw in Kenosha and we’ve seen in Portland?”

Trump said “sure” he was “willing to do that,” but noted that “almost everything I see is from the left-wing.”

Biden then mentioned the Proud Boys, a far-right group led by Enrique Tarrio who’s half black and half Cuban, while Wallace said white supremacists.