Southern Baptist Convention elects new president, fends off far-right takeover
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Southern Baptists elected a new president on Tuesday, narrowly fending off a challenge from the right wing.

During a conference in Nashville, Tenn., the Southern Baptist Convention elected Ed Litton, senior pastor of the Redemption Church in Saraland, Ala. He won 52 percent of the vote.

Speaking at a news conference after the vote, Litton said, “We have to work and iron out some of our differences. Going forward, my goal is to build bridges, not walls.”

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“We want to be on the front lines of leading people to know God loves them,” he continued.

According to The New York Times, Litton beat back a challenge from Mike Stone, a Georgia pastor who was backed by the Conservative Baptist Network. The group, which was founded last year, has accused the convention of moving too far to the left and sought to move the denomination further to the right.

Litton beat Stone by 4 percentage points. 

Litton was nominated by Fred Luter, the first Black leader to serve as president of the convention. According to The Nashville Tennessean, Luter said Litton was the leader needed as African Americans grow more disconnected from the religion.

During his news conference, Litton addressed the issue related to minorities.

“The first thing I say is we want you here, we love you here. We can’t reach every man, woman, boy and girl in this nation without you here and I’m just so grateful for my brothers and sisters in Christ in color. We have much to learn from them," he said.

Also during the meeting, the convention considered a resolution rejecting critical race theory, which has become a target for conservatives.

The convention passed a resolution on race, though it did not explicitly address critical race theory, according to The Washington Post.

Instead, the resolution said, “We reject any theory or worldview that finds the ultimate identity of human beings in ethnicity or in any other group dynamic.”