An African-American Southern Baptist Pastor Navigates Race, Faith And Politics | KERA News

An African-American Southern Baptist Pastor Navigates Race, Faith And Politics

Oct 26, 2018

Terry Turner lives at the intersection of religion, history and politics. The pastor of Mesquite Friendship Baptist Church comes out of the deep traditions of the African-American church, and he's past president of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.

Turner sat down with KERA for the second in our series of Friday Conversations about faith and politics.

Interview Highlights

On balancing African-American history with conservative theology: "As an African-American Southern Baptist pastor, it gets difficult sometimes, simply because we find in our society, racism is still very prevalent. But I can say that knowing that we're working on the race relationship in all areas of life has made a difference for me. We've not arrived yet, but we're working at it."

On whether he talks politics in church: "Not really. I talk social issues. I draw that line based upon my biblical principals. When I look at a social issue that violates the rights of any person, I then deal with it from the pulpit."

On how he saw President Obama: "Obama was difficult for the evangelicals; Trump is not difficult. I was happy to see [Obama] get elected, because I never thought I'd see a black man become president. And yet it broke my heart."

On how he sees President Trump: "I can look at President Trump and say he's promoting a great agenda when it comes to biblical morality. But I don't know if he's saved or not. I think when it comes down to abortion and the same-sex marriage issues that he's coming out against, evangelicals love that aspect of him, but they won't deal with him when it comes to his lack of knowledge, maybe, concerning the racial climate that he's promoting in society."

On Southern Baptists and politics: "Southern Baptists find themselves, right now, losing credibility simply because they can't define themselves without a [political] party. As long as they stay with the Bible, they're fine. They don't stay with the Bible on every issue. It's a thin line."