Southern Baptist Resolutions are non-binding. Sometimes they make waves, but many times they are ignored. At worst, they are nitpicky or divisive. At best, our resolutions speak up for those in need. While other resolutions may receive more attention heading into the 2021 Southern Baptist Convention, I believe there is one issue that Southern Baptists can make a real, meaningful difference if we raise our voice together.
That issue is the genocide against the Uyghur people.
The Uyghur genocide, perpetrated by the Chinese communist government, is one of the most horrifying human rights violations of our day. I have written more about it for you to read by going here.
While governments around the world have begun to classify this horrific persecution as genocide, many religious groups have hardly begun to speak out. Southern Baptists have an opportunity to lead. By passing this resolution, or a version of it, we can draw attention to the concentration camps and ethnic cleansing of our time. We can educate onlookers. We can call companies and our government to action. Much of the language of this resolution is adopted from previous resolutions and intended to show a consistent moral witness on pro-life issues related to human dignity, genocide, and biblical justice.
Much will be said in Nashville about justice. What is it? How do we know it? When are we obligated to act on it? That conversation is worth having. If we want to show the world what biblical justice is, we have an opportunity to show them by denouncing genocide and ethnic cleansing.
Normally I am against publishing resolutions in advance. In this case, because there is so little awareness, I want people to have a chance to be educated and know what they’re voting for (if my resolution makes it to the floor for a vote, which is outside of my control).
We can make a difference. I pray the Resolutions Committee will choose to put this resolution forward for the messengers to adopt. If you plan to attend SBC 2021 as a messenger, I hope you’ll join me in supporting Uyghurs.
You can read the full text of my submitted resolution on Uyghur genocide below. I hope you will find it education, helpful, and practical.
“And the King will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40
On the Uyghur Genocide
WHEREAS, The Bible teaches that God holds human life to be sacred and created human beings in His own image; and
WHEREAS, Christ died to redeem men and women from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation who will one day worship together around his throne (Matthew 28:19-20, Revelation 5:9-10)
WHEREAS, Southern Baptists stated in 1999 (“Resolution on Halting Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing”) that “ethnic cleansing is a crime against humanity in which one ethnic group expels members of other ethnic groups from towns and villages it conquers in order to create an enclave for members of their ethnic group; and genocide is a crime against humanity in which one group dehumanizes and murders members of another people group—whether national, ethnic, or religious—with the intent to destroy that group completely”; and
WHEREAS, Southern Baptists in 1972 (“Resolution On Anti-Semitism”) decried the flagrant and cruel expressions of spiritual malignancy of the Nazi Holocaust, notorious for its concentration camps; and
WHEREAS, Southern Baptists in 2000 (“On Religious Persecution In Sudan And The People’s Republic Of China”) urged the administration and Congress to use every appropriate means to compel the governments in Sudan and the People’s Republic of China to stop the various atrocities and ongoing violations of religious freedoms; and
WHEREAS, God’s people should be committed to break the chains of wickedness, untie the ropes of the yoke, set the oppressed free, tear off every yoke, and care for the prisoner and the mistreated (Isaiah 58:6; Matthew 25:36; Hebrews 13:3); and
WHEREAS, Southern Baptists resolved in 2019 (“On Biblical Justice”) that “we commit to address injustices through gospel proclamation, by advocating for people who are oppressed and face wrongs against them”; and
WHEREAS, Southern Baptists resolved in 2018 (“On Reaffirming The Full Dignity Of Every Human Being”) that persecution of religious minorities constitutes a significant challenge which threatens the dignity and worthiness of human beings and likewise resolved that “we affirm the full dignity of every human being of whatever political or legal status or party and denounce rhetoric that diminishes the humanity of anyone”; and
WHEREAS, the U.S. State Department, Canadian Parliament, UK Parliament, Dutch Parliament, and Lithuanian Parliament have declared the actions of the Chinese Communist Party government against the Uyghur people to be a genocide; and
WHEREAS, credible reporting concludes that more than a million Uyghurs have been detained in a network of concentration camps in Xinjiang; and
WHEREAS, the Chinese Communist Party has employed advanced surveillance against the Uyghur people as part of an increasingly totalitarian regime that responds to dissent with persecution and torment; and
WHEREAS, atrocities reported by major media outlets against the Uyghur people by the Chinese government include forced abortions, sterilization, internment in concentration camps, organ harvesting, human trafficking, scientific experimentation, the sale of human hair forcibly taken from those in concentration camps, family separation and forced reeducation of children, and forced labor; and
WHEREAS, the BBC has reported extensively that Uyghur and other women in reeducation camps have been systematically raped, sexually abused, and tortured; and
WHEREAS, companies such as Apple Amazon, Nike, Disney, Samsung, Microsoft, H&M, and more have benefited from the forced labor of Uyghur people in concentration camps (according to a study from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute) or collaborated with local government to produce film movies in areas where Uyghur people live under oppression and forced labor; and
WHEREAS, Jesus’s parable of the Good Samaritan teaches us that we are not able to simply turn a blind eye when another human is abused and tormented; and
WHEREAS, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission has advocated for the religious liberty and freedom of the Uyghur People; and
WHEREAS, similar actions have been taken by the government of the People’s Republic of China, ruled by the Chinese Communist Party against ethnic Kazakhs, ethnic Kyrgyz, and members of other Turkic groups as well as similar acts of persecution against our brothers and sisters in Christ,
THEREFORE, be it RESOLVED that this Convention condemn the actions of the government of the People’s Republic of China and of the ruling Chinese Communist Party against the Uyghur people and other ethnic groups, and we stand together with these people against the atrocities committed against them,
RESOLVED, That we commend the Trump Administration for its designation of these actions against the Uyghur people as meeting the standard of “genocide,” and we likewise commend the Biden Administration for maintaining that designation,
RESOLVED, That we strongly urge the Biden Administration, the U.S. Ambassador-At-Large for International Religious Freedom, and the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, to continue to speak on behalf of the Uyghur People, and insist upon their human treatment, immediate release from reeducation camps, and religious freedom,
RESOLVED, That we implore the Biden Administration to admit Uyghurs to this country as refugees, and provide resources for their support and resettlement,
Be it further RESOLVED, That this convention implores companies who have benefitted from forced labor and the systematic torture and deprivation of the Uyghur people to cease all operations in Chinese areas where forced labor is employed, and likewise ask them to use their full influence and economic power to put an end to this genocide,
Be it further RESOLVED, That we implore Southern Baptists and all other Christians to educate themselves on the plight of the Uyghur people and advocate on their behalf,
RESOLVED, That we commend the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission for their ongoing advocacy for the Uyghur people, and for being among the first major organizations to advocate for their cause,
RESOLVED, That we ask for earnest prayer for the Uyghur people as they suffer under such persecution, as well as for missionaries and relief workers who bring them aid, and the message of hope found in the gospel of Jesus Christ;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That we call upon the Chinese Communist Party and the People’s Republic of China government to immediately cease all genocidal actions against the Uyghurs and restore to them their full religious liberty, as well as put an end to their captivity and systematic persecution and abuse.