Southern Baptists Condemn Racist Letter Received by Arlington Pastor

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At Cornerstone Baptist Church Arlington, Senior Pastor William Dwight McKissic Sr. is used to getting mail from strangers. 

But this one letter stood out.

"I wasn't surprised at the content of the letter,” McKissic said. “I'm not naive. I know people like this gentleman exists. So, it wasn't a shocker that a racist wrote me a letter."

The letter, which McKissic shared on his Facebook page, came addressed from a man named John Rutledge and included the repetitive use of racist terms directed toward African-Americans.

"He used words like 'savages,'” McKissic said. “He used words like diminished intellectual capacities."

In part of his letter, Rutledge, who is in Colorado, wrote, "For the Negro, nothing is ever enough."

"To read a letter that was obviously penned by a white man who was using the word negro in a way that, if I substituted the 'n-word' that I can't say on your station, that is really what he meant," McKissic said.

NBC 5 contacted Rutledge by phone. He confirmed he wrote the letter and stands by it.

Cornerstone Baptist Church Arlington
Pastor William Dwight McKissic Sr of Cornerstone Baptist Church Arlington

"If he takes it as racist, I can't dispute that if that's the way he wants to take it,” Rutledge said. “But I do want to offer this in defense. The Negro is constantly looking for ways to be offended. They find racism in everything, no matter whether it's the statues of Confederate war heroes or the names of schools."

J.D. Greear, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, condemned the letter in a tweet that said, in part, "I'm infuriated and this has no place in any gospel-believing association."

McKissic agrees with him.

"I don't believe the majority of the Southern Baptists are as racist as this letter would indicate,” McKissic said. “Although this man was in Southern Baptist for 50 years and he's no longer."

McKissic said, despite the racist letter, he will continue building strong Baptist relationships.

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