Southern Baptist seminary takes heat over racist tweet

Southern Baptist seminary takes heat over racist tweet

This photo was deemed inappropriate by the Twittersphere this past April, prompting a public apology from the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. 

This photo was deemed inappropriate by the Twittersphere this past April, prompting a public apology from the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. 

By Kevin Payne

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth Texas, recently came under fire after a photograph featuring five white professors posing as rappers appeared on the seminary’s Twitter page.

The five men, including the dean of the School of Preaching, wore bandannas. hoodies, and gold chains and used their hands to flash signs for the camera.  One of the men even held what appeared to be a toy handgun close to his chest.  Written above the men in graffiti-style words was “Notorious S.O.P”, a reference to the School of Preaching and to the popular black rapper Notorious B.I.G

“The photo was meant as a joke for Vern Charette, a retiring professor who sometimes raps during his sermons,” David Allen, dean of the School of Preaching said

But, the joke did not go over as well on Twitter as the men hoped.  Many people said the image was both offensive and racist.  The image and the post has since been deleted and the seminary has issued an apology.

Paige Patterson, president of the seminary, also issued a lengthy statement concerning the post on the school’s website.  Patterson does not appear in the image.

In the statement on the website, Patterson encourages the school’s staff to laugh at each other rather than take themselves too seriously.  “But, as all members of the preaching faculty have acknowledged, this was a mistake and one for which we deeply apologize,” he wrote.

The Southern Baptist Convention has worked long and hard to overcome its racist history that began in 1845 after it split from the American Baptist Convention in defense of slave-holding missionaries.

“This is certainly not the image of our seminary that we wish to portray,” Patterson said.

Patterson invited critics to visit the campus unannounced and witness the love of Christ extended to all indiscriminately.  

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