A Southern Baptist Convention seminary president apologized March 11 for his “unwise words” in a tweet about Texas Tech University football coach Mark Adams.
The apology tweet was graciously received by many in the SBC and beyond, but it was lambasted by the far-right crowd who agreed with the original statement that Adams was fired because of “cancel culture” and disdain for the Bible.
Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, tweeted March 9: “The insanity of the cancel culture strikes again. The coach was quoting the Bible! Amazing but no longer surprising.”
He was responding to news that the Texas Tech head football coach, who is white, told a Black player in an attempt to encourage him to be more coachable there is “always a master and a servant.”
The outcry over this comment was so great that Adams was suspended and then resigned. Against that backdrop, conservatives — especially white evangelical conservatives — were quick to declare: “But he was just quoting the Bible!”
Two days after tweeting his similar thought, Akin backtracked and issued a public apology: “I want to apologize and ask forgiveness for my tweet on this article. I was not sensitive or careful to the context and content of the statement of the Texas Tech coach. I loathe all aspects of human slavery. They are wicked. I deeply regret my unwise words and the pain they caused.”
The apology tweet drew hundreds of replies on Twitter — a social media world not known for civility. Many of those replies were affirming of the apology. But half skewered Akin for the apology.
Among the examples:
- “Way to be ashamed of Scripture.”
- “Apologizing for what God says in his word. Good job.”
- “Would you mind explaining what the ‘context and content’ of the quote that you discovered and caused you to change your mind? I’m sure you don’t ‘loathe’ Scripture telling slaves to obey their masters, right?”
- “What’s amazing is that you feel the need to trip over yourself to appease the mob re: anything resembling racism.”
- “You were right the first time.”
- “You are so embarrassing.”
- “You cannot apologize for telling what God Said. That’s above your pay grade.”
- “The coach should have never apologized for quoting Scripture, and neither should you apologize for pointing out the insanity of the reaction.”
One person even tried to school the seminary president on slavery in biblical times versus slavery in America: “There in context that is missing. Slavery in ancient Hebrew times was not what slavery became. The verses that reference slavery have important meanings and context that everyone should be able to derive meaning from without it being connected to the African slave trade.”
Akin’s apology and the comments it drew appear to illustrate the divide within the SBC, where Akin and other denominational leaders put in place by the “conservative resurgence” of the late 20th century now face continuous pressure from an even more conservative right wing aligned with white Christian nationalism and Trumpism.
Although forceful and loud, this ultra-conservative segment of the SBC has not been able to wrest control of the denominational apparatus.
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The curse of Ham: Black Baptists question their place in the SBC | Opinion by Alan Bean
What has John MacArthur actually said about race, slavery and the Curse of Ham? | Analysis by Rick Pidcock
The SBC rebuffed its most extreme factions but remains extremely conservative | Analysis by Mark Wingfield