Southern Baptists expel church as pastor defends blackface and Native caricatures

The Southern Baptist Convention has expelled Matoaka Baptist Church whose pastor defended his blackface performance and his impersonation of a Native American woman.

Events leading to expulsion: The pastor, Sherman Jaquess, dressed in blackface for a church event, claiming to impersonate the late soul singer Ray Charles.
* Jaquess also portrayed a Native American woman at a “Cowboys and Indians” church camp event.
* These actions were highlighted by community activist, Marq Lewis, who accused Jaquess of promoting hatred and viewing African Americans and Indigenous Americans as lesser.
* Jaquess has not offered an apology and defended his actions, saying he pays tribute to Ray Charles and does not have a “racist bone” in his body.

Expulsion procedure: The decision to oust the Matoaka Baptist Church was made by the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention.
* The official reason for the expulsion is that the church was “deemed not in friendly cooperation with the Convention”.
* The Convention cannot dictate whom a church employs as a pastor but can remove a church from its membership.
* The church has the right to appeal this dismissal at the SBC’s full annual meeting.

Committee’s response: Community activist Marq Lewis praised the Committee’s decision.
* He expressed relief that the Southern Baptist organization chose not to associate with these actions.

Other Issues: The Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention has seen its third leadership setback due to its anticipated appointment of an interim president falling through.
* In a separate issue, the Committee had recently cut five full-time staff positions and two contractor positions amidst tight finances.

View original article on NPR

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