A Southern Baptist seminary’s initiative to bring more ethnic and gender diversity to its campus may appear to be affirmative action. Still, a black Christian leader argues that the school is trying to do a good thing.
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in North Carolina started Kingdom Diversity Initiatives in 2013, aiming to have a 35 percent female student population and 20 percent ethnic minority by 2022.
For the 2016-17 school year, minority student enrollment was at 18.1 percent, and women’s enrollment was at 26.4 percent. Derryck Green of Project 21 (The National Leadership Network of Black Conservatives) says there is a difference between this program and the race-based affirmative action policy that generally benefits blacks at the expense of everyone else. He says the seminary is trying to bring underrepresented minorities into the institution to reach more people for Christ.
“I think that is what they’re trying to accomplish … to say, ‘Let’s go out and try to get more women; let’s try to get more underrepresented racial minorities, give them this training, equip them with the tools that they need, and they can go back into these cultural centers and communicate in the cultural language that’s spoken and understood,'” Green submits.
He concludes that broadening the Kingdom is good for the Church overall and for the Southern Baptist Convention, especially given the denomination’s support of slavery at the beginning of its formation.