Southern Baptists make statement at annual meeting

NASHVILLE, Tenn.-When Southern Baptist denomination met in their annual meeting in June 2022, the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution decrying the historic assimilation and treatment of Native Americans in the United States. The denomination has 47,530 churches and 14,525,579 members.

Their statement:

WHEREAS, The Bureau of Indian Affairs Investigative Report, released in May 2022, documents and records that the United States maliciously targeted Native American, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiian children as part of a diabolical plan to dispossess these people groups from their native lands by forced assimilation through the establishment of mandatory boarding schools; and

WHEREAS, Between 1819 and 1969, the Federal Indian boarding school system consisted of 408 Federal Indian Boarding Schools across 37 states or then-territories, including 21 schools in Alaska and seven schools in Hawaii; and

WHEREAS, The Federal Government sub-contracted with religious organizations (the report does not include Southern Baptists) to operate these schools in order to accomplish the forced conversion and assimilation of indigenous children to Christianity; and

WHEREAS, The degradation and dehumanization included forced removal of children from their families, forced child labor, removal of their tribal identity, confinement, flogging, withholding food, whipping, slapping, and cuffing, as well as discouraging or preventing the use of Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian languages, religions, and cultural practices; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Anaheim, California, June 14-15, 2022, encourage Southern Baptists to decry the methods of forced assimilation and conversion, as well as the dehumanization of fellow image bearers; and be it further

RESOLVED, That Southern Baptists stand in support of Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians-especially those who are a part of our own family of churches-as they process the findings of this report and discern next steps toward healing; and be it further

RESOLVED, That Southern Baptists earnestly pray for the families of those targeted by the atrocities brought to light in this investigation (Psalm 82:3-4; Isaiah 1:17; Jeremiah 22:3); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we condemn any federal government's policy, former or current, to replace "the tribal culture for its own" in an effort to ease their intent "to separate tribes from their territories."; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we declare the atrocities done against these people in the name of religious "conversions" as reprehensible, betraying the Great Commission (and our efforts to reach all nations with the gospel (Matthew 10:14; Matthew 28:18-20; John 3:8); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we stand against forced conversions and distorted missiological practices as contrary to our distinctive beliefs as Baptists in religious liberty and soul-freedom (The Baptist Faith & Message, Article XVII); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we place our confidence for salvation in God alone, which is "offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer" (The Baptist Faith & Message, Article IV; Romans 7:24-25); and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we remain committed to the evangelization of Native American peoples, calling them freely to repent of their sins and believe in Jesus for their salvation, even as morally neutral aspects of their culture are preserved and celebrated.