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June 19th, 2012
02:47 PM ET

Southern Baptists elect first black president

By Becky Perlow, CNN

(CNN) - More than 160 years after its founding as a pro-slavery church, the Southern Baptist Convention on Tuesday elected a black pastor for the first time to lead the denomination.

The election of the Rev. Fred Luter Jr. of New Orleans comes 17 years after Southern Baptist leaders apologized for the denomination's onetime support of white supremacist and segregationist policies.

It also cements years of effort by the church to overcome that divisive heritage.

"Just as some have said that in America race is the original sin, that certainly has been the case among the Southern Baptists," said Curtis Freeman, the director of Duke University's Baptist House of Studies. "It's something that the convention has never been quite able to [get] beyond."

Luter, 55, was unopposed in the election, which occurred Tuesday afternoon at the denomination's annual meeting in New Orleans.

He comes to the presidency after serving one term as vice president of the 16 million member organization, the second-largest denomination in the United States - behind only the Catholic Church. He will replace the Rev. Bryant Wright, the senior pastor at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Georgia.

In February, Luter told the Baptist Press that he felt called to help solve the church's divisive racial heritage.

"It was not on my bucket list, so to speak, but I think God ordained this because of the fact that what we're dealing with right now through the convention is trying to make the convention diverse," Luter said. "I think this will speak not only to our convention but to our country and throughout the world that this convention is serious about reaching all people."

The Southern Baptist Convention was founded by Southern slaveholders in 1845 after Northern Baptists opposed their desire to serve as missionaries. In recent years, the church has tried to shed that racist imprint, reaching out to minorities as both members and members of its clergy.

In a watershed moment in 1995, during its 150th anniversary, the church issued a formal apology for its onetime support of slavery.

Along with Luter's long journey to tear down the racial walls that plague his denomination, blacks have taken over the reigns of some state Baptist organizations while the church has encouraged racially diverse congregations to reach out to one another through missionary work.

In May, Luter told PBS that it is time to close the books on what the church once represented.

"I have a past, you have a past, everybody has a past," he told PBS. "This convention, unfortunately, has a past that we're trying to move forward from, and that's how I look at it. There was apology made, and so it's now time to move on."

Anthea Butler, an associate professor of religious studies at the University of Pennsylvania and a contributing editor at the online magazine Religion Dispatches said Luter's election was "inevitable."

"I mean, it's historic in one sense, but in another sense, it's pretty much par for the course because they were going after this all this time. They knew they had to come into the 20th, 21st century," said Butler.

Luter began as a street preacher in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward who later built the struggling Franklin Avenue Baptist Church from 65 members to more than 8,000 congregants.

He is known for delivering sermons at breakneck speed, said Franklin Avenue church administrator Larry Johnson.

"When you're preaching on the street, you have to be quick to get the attention of the people that are passing by 'cause if you talk slow, then the people just don't get the message," Johnson said.

He has refused to build barriers between himself and parishioners as have some pastors of large churches, and that has endeared him to members, Johnson said.

"He gives of himself to his congregation, and we love him for that. There's no fake about him. He's totally genuine."

Freeman said that Luter's first moves as president will likely be to find ways to bring the racially divided church together in hopes of increasing member loyalty, although this has proved difficult in recent months.

Following the February killing of African-American teen-ager Trayvon Martin by a Hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer in Florida, and the racial debates that followed, the president of the SBC's ethnic and religious liberty commission chastised President Barack Obama for taking advantage of the situation.

"The president's aides claim he was showing compassion for the victim's family. In reality, he poured gasoline on the racialist fires," Richard Land said at the time.

Critics were outraged at Land's comments, which he later retracted and apologized for to the community.

Luter's election could help change the entire ethos of the denomination, including a potential increase in minority members, Freeman said.

"Anybody who thinks this is just a kind of a show to try to say, 'Well, it's time. We have a black president of the United States, we might as well have a black president of the Southern Baptists [will be] in for a surprise because Fred Luter is a man of conviction, a man who's not just going do what other people are suggesting," he said.

Among other powers, Luter will hold authority to appoint the nominating committee that will choose the denomination's governing board, Freeman said.

"If Fred Luter's leadership in the Southern Baptist could bring at least a step toward better relations between black and white Baptists in the South, then we would all be deeply in his debt," Freeman said.

The church's membership has declined in recent years, according to an annual profile gathered by LifeWay, a resource arm of SBC.

From 2010 to 2011, although the church gained additional churches, it lost almost 160,000, or about 1%, of its members.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Baptist • Belief • United States

soundoff (379 Responses)
  1. LOL Religion

    Why any African American is a Christian is beyond me. Why would you accept the religion foisted upon your ancestors by their owners? The ONLY reason you're a Christian is that your ancestors were kidnapped, sold into slavery and then indoctrinated into the white man's myth so that he might better control you.

    But hey, whatever, now black folks can use Christianity to pick on the gays too – that's how you know you've really arrived in America; when you're no longer the most hated minority, right?

    June 19, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Woatalk

      For clarification, Christianity is in no way an Anglo-Saxon religion. It was founded in the Middle East.

      June 19, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • ms jackson

      Critical thinking has no place in religion. Christianity as it applies to the King James Bible is indeed Anglo Saxon. A little critical thought makes that crystal clea... oh, yeah. Right.

      June 21, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  2. JFB

    Interesting article but it should have been posted last night.

    June 19, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  3. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Sunday morning is the most segregated day in American and it occurs right in the Church.

    June 19, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  4. bill

    Here's a thought: if the Southern Baptists, founded to uphold their very wrong belief in slavery, have now acknowledged their stupidty and evilness, why still divide by North and South? If they truly are no longer a racist based "church", why not rejoin with the Baptist church? The best way to say one is truly sorry for the hate is to kill the organization that was founded on it, and not to continue to go forward.

    June 19, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Truth

      Well, in one way, slavery was a good thing. At least back then, blacks had some use, some purpose. Look at them now >_>

      June 19, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • phoodphite

      They would have to do a lot more catching up to everyone else to even begin to think about that – like allowing women to be pastors.

      June 19, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • OMG

      Elementary, my dear bill. After 160 years, the two branches have diverged. That's why all the Western religions cannot reconcile. It's a matter of evolution.

      June 19, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
  5. Grace

    Do us all a favor and go put on your bed sheets, you racist cowards.

    June 19, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • jim

      Has anyone told you today that you are a sycophantic, negr0philic IDI0T? I thought so!

      June 19, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Truth

      I agree. To hell with the New black panther party!

      June 19, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
  6. Grace

    There are some really hateful people leaving evil comments. People who cannot see beyond race are the real soulless animals on this site. How long wil certain evil people continue to spew hateful rhetoric about good people? Don't you get tired of being so evil? All of America is one big melting pot, so stop the hate. This man is qualified and America is inevitably becoming more diverse each day. I am so happy about this!!!

    June 19, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Truth

      Blacks commit 65% of all violent crimes in America, or more, despite the fact that they are only 12% of the population.
      This statistic can be easily at the FBI website, a breakdown of violent crimes reported by race.
      This "diversity" is ruining America, you fool. How bad do you think it will be, when blacks account for say, 25% of the population? 50%?
      The biggest problem facing America today, by far, is blacks. If they were to disappear (along with all their handouts, welfare, food stamps, free public housing, free cell phones, free internet, which by the way isn't "free", me, you, and everyone else that is working is paying for), all other problems in America would magically fix themselves, the economy included, in a matter of weeks.
      Oh, but just because you don't agree with me, despite the fact that I am telling the truth, I'm a "racist" now, right? Damn right I'm a racist. Damn proud of it, too. At least I don't have me head buried in the sand, like an ostrich.
      Enjoy your "diversity".

      June 19, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • jim

      That's because you're stupid! Maybe someday you'll wise up (but probably not).

      June 19, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • jim

      @Truth Grace's head is not in the sand, it's up her @$$!

      June 19, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • ms jackson

      Truth: I shook my magic 8 ball on behalf of all the people who have the same recessive genetic mutation as you (a direct result of close inbreeding, no doubt). The answer: Outlook not so good.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
  7. ArizonaYankee

    THE END,,,, Everything they touch is ruined...EVERYTHING....

    June 19, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
  8. Andrew

    SO. Baptists are a f@#%ing hate group. About as close to Jesus as my cat.

    June 19, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • phoodphite

      That is not nice!! You have no idea how close to Jesus your cat might be. lol

      June 19, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  9. OMG

    Do Baptists always block the fire exits during a sermon? What gives?

    June 19, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
  10. doreenpwashington

    A watershed moment! Good story!

    June 19, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • A dose of reality

      No matter how you dress it up, there are some fundamental difficulties with Christianity that are pretty hard to overcome.
      1. At its most fundamental level, Christianity requires a belief that an all-knowing, all-powerful, immortal being created the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies 13,720,000,000 years ago (the age of the Universe) sat back and waited 10,000,000,000 years for the Earth to form, then waited another 3,720,000,000 years for human beings to gradually evolve, then, at some point gave them eternal life and sent its son to Earth to talk about sheep and goats in the Middle East.
      While here, this divine visitor exhibits no knowledge of ANYTHING outside of the Iron Age Middle East, including the other continents, 99% of the human race, and the aforementioned galaxies.
      Either that, or it all started 6,000 years ago with one man, one woman and a talking snake. Either way “oh come on” just doesn’t quite capture it.
      2. This ‘all loving’ god spends his time running the Universe and spying on the approximately 7 billion human beings on planet Earth 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He even reads their minds (or “hears their prayers”, if you see any difference) using some kind of magic telepathic powers. He also keeps his telepathic eye on them when they are not praying, so as to know if they think bad thoughts (such as coveting their neighbor) so he knows whether to reward or punish them after they die.
      3. Having withheld any evidence of his existence, this god will then punish those who doubt him with an eternity burning in hell. I don’t have to kill, I don’t have to steal, I don’t even have to litter. All I have to do is harbor an honest, reasonable and rational disbelieve in the Christian god and he will inflict a grotesque penalty on me a billion times worse than the death penalty – and he loves me.
      4. The above beliefs are based on nothing more than a collection of Bronze and Iron Age Middle Eastern mythology, much of it discredited, that was cobbled together into a book called the “Bible” by people we know virtually nothing about, before the Dark Ages.
      5. The stories of Christianity are not even original. They are borrowed directly from earlier mythology from the Middle East. Genesis and Exodus, for example, are clearly based on earlier Babylonian myths such as The Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Jesus story itself is straight from the stories about Apollonius of Tyana, Ho.rus and Dionysus (including virgin birth, the three wise men, the star in the East, birth at the Winter solstice, a baptism by another prophet, turning water into wine, crucifixion and rising from the dead).
      6. The Bible is also literally infested with contradictions, outdated morality, and open support for the most barbarous acts of cruelty – including, genocide, murder, slavery, r.ape and the complete subjugation of women. All of this is due to when and where it was written, the morality of the times and the motives of its authors and compilers. While this may be exculpatory from a literary point of view, it also screams out the fact that it is a pure product of man, bereft of any divine inspiration.
      7. A rejection of the supernatural elements of Christianity does not require a rejection of its morality. Most atheists and secular humanists share a large amount of the morality taught today by mainstream Christianity. To the extent we reject Christian morality, it is where it is outdated or mean spirited – such as in the way it seeks to curtail freedoms or oppose the rights of $exual minorities. In most other respects, our basic moral outlook is indistinguishable from that of the liberal Christian – we just don’t need the mother of all carrots and sticks hanging over our head in order to act in a manner that we consider moral.
      Falsely linking morality to a belief in the supernatural is a time-tested “three card trick” religion uses to stop its adherents from asking the hard questions. So is telling them it is “wrong to doubt.” This is probably why there is not one passage in the Bible in support of intelligence and healthy skepticism, but literally hundreds in support of blind acceptance and blatant gullibility.
      8. We have no idea of who wrote the four Gospels, how credible or trustworthy they were, what ulterior motives they had (other than to promote their religion) or what they based their views on. We know that the traditional story of it being Matthew, Mark, Luke and John is almost certainly wrong. For example, the Gospel of Matthew includes a scene in which Jesus meets Matthew, recounted entirely in the third person!! Nevertheless, we are called upon to accept the most extraordinary claims by these unknown people, who wrote between 35 to 65 years after Christ died and do not even claim to have been witnesses. It is like taking the word of an unknown Branch Davidian about what happened to David Koresh at Waco – who wrote 35 years after the fact and wasn’t there.
      9. When backed into a corner, Christianity admits it requires a “leap of faith” to believe it. However, once one accepts that pure faith is a legitimate reason to believe in something (which it most certainly is not, any more than “faith” that pixies exist is) one has to accept all other gods based on exactly the same reasoning. One cannot be a Christian based on the “leap of faith” – and then turn around and say those who believe in, for example, the Hindu gods, based on the same leap, got it wrong. In a dark room without features, any guess by a blind man at the direction of the door is as valid as the other 359 degrees.
      Geography and birthplace dictates what god(s) one believes in. Every culture that has ever existed has had its own gods and they all seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams, and prejudices. Do you think they all exist? If not, why only yours?
      Faith is not belief in a god. It is a mere hope for a god, a wish for a god, no more substantial than the hope for a good future and no more universal than the language you speak or the baseball team you support.

      June 19, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Jerry

      Well there goes the neighborhood!

      June 19, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • OMG

      doreen, you've obviously posted a smarty-pants argument against religion, but it ain't fool-proof. 1. Maybe God waited billions of years and then attended to humans because S/he/it loves us so much. 2. Maybe Christianity sounds like a mish-mash of older myths and legends because God revealed partial Truths to the ancients. 3. Maybe the Bible is rife with contradictions merely to confound the incorrigible smarty-pants. 4. Maybe your blind man can indeed find the doorway using his other God-given senses to detect outdoor odors and wind flow. 5. Maybe this story about the first black president of the Southern Baptists is evidence of divine intervention.

      June 19, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • phoodphite

      Does anyone have the Cliff Notes on this post?

      June 19, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Truth

      Or maybe you are foolishly believing in a magical, imaginary man in the sky.
      Naaah, that can't be the case, now can it? You religious people are always right, you're on God's side! /sarcasm off

      June 19, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • jim

      @OMG You are as dumb as a bag of hammers! Get a clue dipshlt!

      June 19, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
  11. Republican

    i tea parties proude and love rebulicans. i hop this preachers man is rebulican likes all us southern baptist. gets smarte likes me and vote tea parties proude.

    June 19, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • jim

      U R a gud kristan.

      June 19, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Dexter Hightower

      Did you really put the word 'smart' in your comment?

      June 19, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  12. A dose of reality

    Top Ten Signs You're a Christian
    10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.
    9 – You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
    8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.
    7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!
    6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
    5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.
    4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs – though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."
    3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.
    2 – You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.
    1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history – but still call yourself a Christian.

    June 19, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • niknak

      I dig it!
      I may have to copy and save that for my next time debating some fundie somewhere.

      June 19, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • chedar888

      Well said.

      June 19, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      wowsers... very well said. I too would like to copy and paste this from time to time.

      June 19, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Robert

      Bravo!!!

      June 19, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • Stephanie

      Very well put. I too will be copying this for future reference. Especially when being accosted in my local mall by a rapid "christian" trackker.

      June 20, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  13. Truth

    A man of god? First off, he's not a "man", he's black. An animal.
    Secondly...how can a black be anything of God? I thought that required having a soul...blacks don't have souls.

    June 19, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • WDinDallas

      Input from the Southern White Baptists. I am so glad I converted to Catholicism. All races, all countries, all one with Christ.

      June 19, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • LIES

      @truth...too bad your mammy didn't teach you better. You are probably, poor, uneducated ex-convict that had a bad
      in and up your butt experience with a Black. It' does hurt your in your guts; but, you'll get over it!!

      June 19, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • wayne

      Eureka! and all the world's scientist say Neanderthal man is extinct.

      June 19, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • wayne

      Eureka! all the world's scientist say Neanderthal man is extinct; but I think we just found ONE still exists. D@mn you're life must really suck! Next time, stick to cave paintings instead of commenting in a modern discussion.

      June 19, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • Woatalk

      @Truth. You racist pig! Good thing this site is anonymous. God says to love your neighbors as yourself. How can you judge or hate someone, without ever meeting them. God knows who you are and will indeed take care of you and others like you. Have a blessed day.;-)

      June 19, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Stephanie

      Wow, your parents and family must have all been either neo nazis, no class white trash, or you are a zombie with no brains. Maybe all of the above. As for being called an animal, I would not insult the animal kingdom by calling you an animal. You are an insult to the human race and I certainly hope you have not reproduced or if you have, that your progeny will run as far away from you as possible so as to wash the stink of your opinion from themselves. You are an example of what can go wrong with humans.

      June 20, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  14. zacharye

    This just in:
    Religion was created out of the imaginations of an ancient ruling class that needed to unite regular people so that they would be easy to control. Thats what it continues to do to this day. Think for yourself and let christianity go the way of zeus and thor.

    June 19, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • WDinDallas

      Whoo hoo. The atheist is here. I thought you were on the Catholic blog.

      June 19, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • A dose of reality

      Ten Reasons You Know you are an Atheist.
      1. You were likely brought up a theist (probably a Christian if you live in the USA) and had to do your own thinking to rise above the beliefs that still occupy the mind of the believer. This usually involved being smart and working hard at school and college so as to get a good, accurate view of the natural Universe and overcoming significant social pressure to dumb yourself down and conform. In short, you had the guts to ask the hard questions and the brains to spot the weak answers. The more you came to understand the Universe, the less reason there was to believe in a god and the more you came to appreciate human nature, the more you understood why billions of us still do.
      2. While rejecting the supernatural elements of the Bible, you nevertheless retain a large amount of the morality taught today by mainstream Christianity. To the extent you reject Christian morality, it is where it is mean spirited – such as in the way it seeks to curtail freedoms or oppose the rights of $exual minorities. In most other respects, your basic moral outlook is indistinguishable from that of the liberal Christian – you just don’t need the mother of all carrots and sticks hanging over your head in order to act in a manner that you consider moral.
      3. You know a great deal more about the Bible than most believers. This is because you took the time to read it yourself and did not rely on the primary-color simple stories you learned in Sunday school. You have also probably done some research into the historical Jesus and have a good handle on where he REALLY fit in to the broader picture of the Middle East at the time. Needless to say, his miracles and other magic powers soon started to look pretty unlikely.
      4. Your knowledge of basic science and history is much stronger than that of your average believer. You likely have a basic working knowledge of physics, astronomy, evolutionary biology and cosmology and a good idea of the history of life on this planet. This acc.umulated knowledge puts you in a position to judge the claims of the Bible in a critical light and they are almost always found wanting. To the theist, this makes you “elitist” and ‘arrogant”.
      5. You relish your role as a religious minority in the USA, as this gives you an impetus to fight and you understand how others with unpopular, but doubtlessly correct views have felt throughout history. There is something altogether satisfying to you about having a deep conviction you are right and being viewed with disdain for your views by the errant majority. You feel a quiet confidence that future generations will look back on you as a member of a class of trailblazers, as religious supersti.tions go into inevitable decline in popularity.
      6. You are likely more environmentally aware than your theist friends and colleagues and unlikely to fall for claims of industry and wind-bag politicians concerning the impact of man’s activities on the environment. You could no more act in an environmentally irresponsible manner because “god will keep us safe” than you could jump of a ship, believing King Neptune will keep you safe.
      7. You generally have a live and let live atti.tude, but will fiercely defend any attempts by theists to thrust their views on you or your children, directly or through control of school boards, the legislature or the executive. While you are prepared to debate and argue passionately with the theist on an intellectual level, you would never wish them harm or ill will. You know you are likely to be smugly told you will “burn in hell for all eternity” for your healthy skepticism. This highlights what you despise about religion, as you would not wish a bad sunburn on another, simply because they have a different religious view to you. You have never heard of an evolutionary biologist strapping a bomb to himself and running into a church yelling “Darwin-u akbar”.
      8. You likely know more about other religions than your average theist. This makes you less fearful of them and enables you to see parallels. You realize that, if you were born in India, you would have been brought up with a totally different religion. You realize that every culture that has ever existed has had its own god(s) and they always favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams and prejudices. They cannot all exist and you see the error all faiths make of thinking only theirs exist(s). This “rising above” the regional nature of all religions was probably instrumental in your achieving atheism.
      9. You likely have a deep, genuine appreciation of the fathomless beauty and unbelievable complexity of our Universe, from the 4 nucleotides that orchestrate every aspect of you, through to the distant quasars, without having to think it was all made for you. You likely get more out of being the irrelevant ant staring up at the cosmos than you do in having to pretend that it was all made to turn in majestic black-and-white pirouette about you.
      10. While you have a survival instinct, you cannot fear death in the way the theist does. You know that the whole final judgment story, where you may be sent to hell if you fail, is Dark Ages nonsense meant to keep the Church’s authority. You also know that you were dead for 13,700,000,000 years before you were born. It is impossible for you to fear death, for the simple reason that you know the capacity to fear (or to feel pain or discomfort) itself dies. You will not even know you are dead. Fear of death is as meaningless to you as is the fear of a vacuum, the fear of not being born. You feel a lot more secure, and indeed a deep comfort, in this knowledge, than you would in trying to yoke yourself to some quasi-hope that every part of your intellect tells you is untenable.

      June 19, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • niknak

      Kinda like what we do now with the NFL here.

      June 19, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      There are more of us then you would like to admit. Maybe the rapture will really be the sudden realization by the few remaining Christians that nobody believes in their fairy tale fiction anymore and they are alone with their crucifixes and dashboard Jesus like a 40 year old still living at home with their comic book collection and Star Wars action figures...

      June 19, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  15. WDinDallas

    Hopes he does better than Obama.

    June 19, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  16. Jesus Loves A N A L

    But is he black enough????

    June 19, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  17. NY Veteran

    This man was appointed by a bunch of white cynics that are the established religious right. It is an election year and they just made their chief spokesman, who is anti gay, and is black the man to face off against the democrats. Forgotten its a presidential election year? They didnt. It is as cybical as the appointment of Clarence Thomas to the supreme court.

    June 19, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • me138

      maybe folks just aren't as racist as you are?

      June 19, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • jim

      @me138 GROW UP! No one is influenced or insulted by your juvenile charge of "racism". It's getting really OLD! Find a new supposed insult!

      June 19, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  18. Robert

    This going to be interesting to watch, to say the least.

    June 19, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  19. JOE

    what would bieber say?

    June 19, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Huebert

      Oooh baby baby, yeah baby?

      June 19, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • WWJD

      What Would Justin Do?

      June 19, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  20. Dale

    Was he elected because he was black or because he was qualified for the job? If it was because of his skin color then nothing has changed in this country when it comes to racism. Except now, racism is not born out of ignorance, but fear from political correctness that states if you do not hire this person on skin color alone and not qualification, then you will be labeled as a racists.

    June 19, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • PAUL

      ARE YOU SAYING THAT BLACK PEOPLE ARE NEVER QUALIFIED IN WHITE AMERICAN JOBS?

      June 19, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      I think your point is mute since the qualifications for a religious leader are pretty low.

      June 19, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Thepiscopalian

      What was it in the article that suggested to you that he was not qualified? I found nothing to suggest that that was the case. Why did that even cross your mind? I think we got your number...

      June 19, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Mark

      Fred Luter was elected because he is TOTALLY qualified for the job. I live in San Diego and have been blessed to attend his sermons when he visits the area. The gentleman is an amazing man of God, his word and his beliefs.

      June 19, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Daisy

      If he were white, would you have asked if he's qualified? No - you would have just assumed he was.

      June 19, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • wayne

      Yep, good question because we all know, that after 147 years after slavery black people still haven't found out what a college or university education is; let alone working to gain experience in a particular field, beyond field hand, maid or factory workers. And the nerve of McDonald's Corp, Alcoa, Sam's Club, American Express, Citicorp, TIAA-CREFF, Merck and other Fortune 500 companies, jumping on the bandwagon to hire blacks because of their skin color. Man, what's this country coming too!

      June 19, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • jim

      @Paul Almost NEVER!

      June 19, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • ms jackson

      You and you're fellow closet-klansman seem to have a hive mind, incapable of uttering a single original or truthful sentence. Parroting ancient nonsense from the perch in your cage of ignorance. You know all the "deprivation" (only one ATV, wah!) you constantly moan about, like a baby with an unchanged diaper? You deserve every bit of it! The seemingly genetic inability to think for yourself is America's doom but India and China's new horizon. That's on you. Yep, religion and people like you (and not welfare) are going to end the so called "American Dream".

      June 21, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.