Northern Baptist Convention (ABCUSA)
Resolution VII — Race Relations (1933)
Whereas, The peoples of the world include persons of various ethnic, linguistic, national, and religious background,
We deplore outbreaks of race hatred and discrimination, as seen in our own country, and in the persecution of Jews in Germany, and we call upon all followers of the Son of man to show forth his Spirit of justice and good-will for all.
Annual of the 1933 Northern Baptist Convention, Minutes Item 223, Resolution VII – “Race Relations,” pp. 238-239.
Resolution VI — Church and State (1934)
Whereas, it becomes necessary for Baptists to reaffirm from time to time their historic position on the relation of church and state, including especially complete separation of church and state, soul liberty and freedom from coercion in matters of conscience; and
Whereas, our brethren, both Christian and Jewish, in some countries, and especially in Europe, are at present suffering because of the violation of these principles by the state; therefore be it
Resolved, that we protest against the growing tendency to request financial aid of governments, on the part of churches and denominationally controlled, institutions, and that we protest the part of governments of extending their authority over religion, thereby restricting the free exercise and expression thereof.
Annual of the 1934 Northern Baptist Convention, Minutes Item 238, Resolution VI – “Church and State,” p. 194.
Resolution II — Denominational Affairs (1935)
(E) Study of Reports
Whereas, the Fifth Baptist World Congress, held in Berlin in 1934, made pronouncements on questions of War and Peace, Nationalism, Racialism, Moral Standards in Marriage and the Home, Temperance, Economics, and Relations of the Church and the State, that deserve the careful study of our people; and
Whereas, the report of the Commission on Christian Social Action as received by the Convention deals thoughtfully and comprehensively with similar questions; therefore be it
Resolved, that these reports be made available to our people for study and that we urge our constituency to give careful consideration to the material presented and the issues raised.
Annual of the 1935 Northern Baptist Convention, Minutes Item 210, Resolution II – “Denominational Affairs (e) Study of Reports,” p. 271.
Resolution I — The Historic Baptist Principles (1936)
(b) Church and State, Section 2 - Freedom of Worship
Whereas, our historic Baptist principle insists upon freedom of worship for believers; therefore be it
Resolved, that we reject the practices of Communism, Nazism, Fascism and other political regimes that deny such a right, and that our historic position is based on a different religious conception.
Annual of the 1936 Northern Baptist Convention, Minutes Item 257, Resolution I – “The Historic Baptist Principles (b) Church and State, Section 2 – Freedom of Worship,” p. 291.
Resolution V — The Church Leavening the World (1937)
(b) - Creating World Brotherhood
Whereas, the New Testament teaches that God has made of one all the races of men that dwell on the face of the earth; therefore, be it
Resolved, that in the spirit of Jesus we shall study the customs, life and ideals of the members of other races, nationalities, and religions in order better to understand and properly to evaluate them.
Annual of the 1937 Northern Baptist Convention, Minutes Items 233, Resolution V – “The Church Leavening the World (b) Creating World Brotherhood,” p. 277.
Resolution IV — The Church and Its Social Task (1938)
Whereas, more people today than ever before in human history are suffering the loss of freedom and are being persecuted because of their religious loyalties, therefore be it
Resolved, that we raise our voice in protest against such coercions and persecutions, including those suffered by our Hebrew brethren throughout the world, and express the hope that the moral conscience of the world and particularly of our own country may become active in helping to change this condition.”
Annual of the 1938 Northern Baptist Convention, Minutes Item 152, Resolution IV – “The Church and Its Social Task (b),” p. 175.
Resolution V — Social Issues (1939)
( c )
Whereas, we are told in the Bible that God hath made of one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and that we are His offspring; and
Whereas, there are existent even among Christians unchristian attitudes, movements, and institutions that cause tensions and misunderstandings between races, nations and groups, and tend to hatreds that eventuate in bloodshed and even in war; therefore be it
Resolved, that we condemn without qualification every institution of discriminatory character, every discriminatory law, every anti-racial organization, and all unfair tactics on the part of either labor or capital or any other movement that inflicts injustice and suffering upon any group of any race, creed or political affiliation. Furthermore, be it
Resolved, that we urge our people to the study of means for the removal of such evils. Furthermore, be it
Resolved, that we lend every effort to bring justice to any minority group that is being discriminated against because of race, color, religious beliefs, or political ideologies.
Whereas, the one-tenth of our population that is Negro is still hampered by discrimination in jobs, housing, travel and education; therefore, be it
Resolved, that we dedicate ourselves to work for equal opportunity for the Negro in every area of life, as is demanded by the application of our Christian Gospel.
Whereas, there is widespread propaganda against the Jew in the United States, sometimes disseminated by so-called Christian groups; and
Whereas, the Jew has made such a great contribution to religious truth and to civilization; therefore, be it
Resolved, that we oppose every form of discrimination against the Jew and call upon our members to work for justice for this group in every walk of life.
Whereas, there are frequent incidents of discrimination against Orientals in America; therefore, be it
Resolved, that we call upon our people on all occasions to prove themselves Christian neighbors and friends to our Oriental population, especially in order that extreme reaction to the Far Eastern situation may not make more difficult the lot of those Orientals who are in our midst.
Annual of the 1939 Northern Baptist Convention, Report of the Resolutions Committee, Item 223, Resolution V – Social Issues, Sections (c) – (f), pp. 269-270.
Resolution VI — International Relations (1939)
Whereas, throughout the world today there are groups suffering distress and misery, and whereas the paramount contribution of the church to the international situation is to maintain our ecumenical fellowship with our Christian brethren, and bonds of understanding and sympathy with all peoples; therefore, be it
Resolved, that we record our sympathy with such groups; specifically the people of China, who are victims of an undeclared war that has brought devastation and untold misery; the Christians of Japan and others there of like spirit; the people of Czecho Slovakia, whose territory has been forcibly annexed by Germany and who are enduring the woes of a conquered people; Christians in Germany, who are suffering for their faith; our Baptist brethren and other Christian people in Russia, who suffer disabilities for religion’s sake; Jews in Germany and other lands, who are enduring sore persecution. Furthermore, be it
Resolved, that we make our sympathy for these oppressed people practically effective through whatever agencies are available for the alleviation of their distress, such as:
- The Church Committee for China Relief…
- The committee appointed by the General Council of the Northern Baptist Convention for aiding German Christian Refugees, which asks our people to assist them, (1) To find families that will adopt children, (2) To find those who will sign affidavits of support or help financially in some other way, (3) To help in creating among our constituency such attitudes as will promote understanding and guard against propaganda in regard to the refugee problem.
Annual of the 1939 Northern Baptist Convention, Report of the Resolutions Committee, Item 223, Resolution VI – International Relations, Sections (c), pp. 271-272.
Resolution III — Threats to Spiritual Freedom (1940)
Whereas, the rights of minorities recognized by free peoples are today being violently challenged throughout the world and abolished wherever totalitarianism in any of its forms gains control of government, be it
Resolved, that we reaffirm our faith in the democratic way of life and call on our churches to encourage and support all governmental authorities, local and national, in protecting the liberties of all our racial, social, political and religious groups, according to the Bill of Rights in the Constitution, and to oppose all movements, of whatever name or purpose, that seek to suppress or limit freedom of speech, press, assembly or religion guaranteed under the Constitution.
Annual of the 1940 Northern Baptist Convention, Report of the Resolutions Committee, Resolution III – Threats to Spiritual Freedom, Section (b), p. 349.
Resolution VI — International Relations (1940)
Resolved, that we require of all relief agencies that they show the same consideration to refugees from minority groups, whether Jewish or Christian, as is given to the oppressed members from state church bodies.
Annual of the 1940 Northern Baptist Convention, Report of the Resolutions Committee, Resolution VI – International Relations, Section (b), p. 355.
Resolution V — Social Issues (1941)
Whereas, anti-Semitism and all racial antagonisms are definitely Un-christian; therefore, be it
Resolved, that we reaffirm our belief in the equal rights of man. Furthermore, be it
Resolved, that we seek by every method of aggressive good-will to remove every practice of a discriminatory character, every discriminatory law, every anti-racial organization and all unfair tactics that inflict injustice or suffering upon any individual or group on account of race, creed or political affiliation.
Annual of the 1941 Northern Baptist Convention, Report of the Resolutions Committee, Resolution V – Social Issues, Section (b), p. 224.
Resolution V — Social Issues (1942)
Whereas, We are contending against the theory of race superiority as expressed by the Axis powers through their leaders; and
Whereas, This theory is discredited by the findings of science and is contrary to the tenets of our religion; and
Whereas, We see mounting evidence of practices based upon acceptance of this theory in our own country; therefore be it
Resolved, That we reaffirm our fundamental belief in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, and that we call upon our churches, our industries, and the government to be impartial in the granting of liberty and opportunity to all, regardless of race or culture. Furthermore, be it
Resolved, That we call the attention of our constituency to the fact that scientific men state there is no difference in the blood plasma of different racial stocks and that we deplore the practice of segregation of blood plasma on any racial basis.
Annual of the 1942 Northern Baptist Convention, Report of the Resolutions Committee, Resolution V – Social Issues, Section (e), “Race Relations,” p. 267.
Resolution III — Moral and Social Issues (1944)
Whereas, present conditions reveal the unjust, undemocratic, unchristian and, therefore, dangerous attitudes and practices in relation to Semitic, Negro and other minority racial groups in our country; and
Whereas, We believe in the New Testament statement in Acts 17:26 that “God hath made of one blood all races of men,” and commit ourselves to the lordship of Christ in all of life; therefore, be it
Resolved, That we dedicate ourselves and seek to commit our churches to the teaching, preaching and full practice of Christian relationships with all people; that, as members of the majority racial group in our country, we seek every possible way of enlarging our fellowship without discrimination; that we actively work for equality in housing, education, economic opportunity in every field of honorable endeavor, and the unrestricted practice of the privileges and responsibilities of free citizenship with full civil and religious liberty; and that, to this end, we call upon all Northern Baptists to co-operate honestly and sincerely as followers of Him who came “not to be ministered unto but to minister” and as Christian citizens of our country; and
Whereas, Anti-Semitism and racial antagonism are increasing in this country at an alarming rate; therefore, be it
Resolved, That we do everything possible, through our Councils and Home Mission Societies, and from the pulpit, in the church school and in our publications, to encourage the spirit of brotherhood and good-will.
Annual of the 1944 Northern Baptist Convention, Report of the Resolutions Committee,
Resolution III – Moral and Social Issues, Section (j), “Race Relations,” p. 275.
American Baptist Resolution on Anti-Semitism (1962; Affirmed September 1983; Modified 1997)
We register our opposition to anti-Semitism which persistently raises its ugly head, creating tensions, hatred and violence. Remembering the deep foundation which Christianity has in Judaism, let us build upon that foundation so our own faith might be deepened and our understanding and appreciation of our Jewish neighbors might be enriched. The New Testament can never be properly used as a basis for anti-Semitism, but rather an understanding of Jesus, who was himself a Jew, must strengthen the bonds between the Jews and Christians. We call upon our Baptist people and fellow Americans to strive for the elimination of all prejudice and discrimination against the Jewish people in every walk of life, and to work for a closer relationship between our Christian and Jewish groups.
Annuals of the 1962 American Baptist Convention and the 1983 American Baptist Churches USA, Report of the Resolutions Committee; ABCUSA Website, Resolutions Archive, General Board Reference # – 8118:9/83.
American Baptist Resolution on the Middle East and Arab-Israeli Issues (December 1980)
A Christian approach to the complex situation in the Middle East should be one of moral realism. It should acknowledge that all concrete initiatives and human solutions are imperfect and inevitably partial, and cannot eliminate all the human suffering and injustice experienced in the area. Nonetheless, efforts can and should continue toward a total peace settlement for all the peoples involved in or affected by the conflict. With this in view, and in accordance with the ABC/USA Policy Statements on Human Rights and Military and Foreign Policy,
We state our convictions as follows:
- We advocate a mediating role for our government in the search for a just and lasting peace in the area.
- We express our regret for the deep suffering inflicted upon both Jew and Arab by the conflict, its antecedents, and its by-products, and in particular, the losses experienced by the refugees on both sides. We further regret where neglect or errors committed by the Western nations have, in some way, contributed to this situation.
- We affirm the right of Israel to exist within secure and internationally recognized borders as a Jewish state, and its right to continue to serve as a haven for Jews, and a home for their culture and tradition.
- We affirm the right of self-determination of the Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank (called Jude and Samaria by others) and the Gaza Strip.
- We affirm the need to maintain, protect, and equally provide for the basic rights of minority citizens, including freedom of worship and religion.
- We deplore the use of violence and applaud those who courageously participate in face-to-face negotiations as representatives of their respective peoples.
We call upon all parties in the Middle East to accept the following principles for achieving peace:
- Direct negotiations among all parties (Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, and appropriate representatives of the Palestinian people).
- Agreement on the part of the negotiating parties to desist from terror and violence.
- Commitment by all parties to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the other parties.
- Full recognition of the State of Israel as a sovereign state by all parties.
- Recognition by Israel that the Palestinian Arab people have the right to self-determination.
- Security agreements endorsed by all parties, by the United Nations and backed by the major powers.
We call upon our people:
- to pray for those presently involved in negotiations, in efforts toward reconciliation, and in partnership in the struggle for human dignity and justice and a reduction of tensions in the area;
- to study the Scriptures with care to avoid over simplifications and distortion;
- to inform themselves through a careful reading of responsible publications regarding the Middle East.
Adopted by the General Board of the American Baptist Churches - December 1980
115 For, 12 Against, 3 Abstentions
ABCUSA Website: General Board Reference # – 8049:12/80