Southern Baptists ThisClose to Having a Black Leader

The Southern Baptist church is the second-biggest church in America (after Catholics), and the biggest church of all down South. Meaning that it also has thoroughly racist roots! And now, they're ready to put a black guy in charge. *Tear.*

The only reason we have "Southern" Baptists, of course, is because the South needed its own Baptist church that was cool with slavery. (I hear it's in the Bible!) And the Southern Baptists have the usual sickening history of racism that goes along with all powerful longtime institutions in the South. But—never-give-up-on-the-potential-for-human-progress alert!—the Southern Baptist Convention has elected Fred Luter (pictured), a black pastor, as its vice president. And many believe that Luter will be elected head of the whole denomination next year. From USA Today:

Southern Baptist leaders say half the churches started in the last decade were predominantly African-American or ethnic, and the number of churches with mostly minority membership increased from 13% to 18.5% between 1998 and 2008.

It doesn't change the fact that all that stuff they believe is mythology. But still. It's heart-warming. To think about all the old Southern Baptists who are now spinning in their graves. (Not Jesus.)

[Photo: AP]