A coalition of liberal clergy is demanding that a Southern Baptist seminary pay reparations to a black college for its past history of slave ownership.
The group EmpowerWest, headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky asks in a letter for Southern Baptist Theological Seminary to transfer a “meaningful portion of its financial wealth" to a historically black college, Simmons College.
Southern Seminary, also located in Louisville, is the oldest seminary associated with the Southern Baptist Convention according to The Courier Journal newspaper’s story about the reparations demand.
The seminary also has a sordid history of racial prejudice, including its founders owning black slaves, a fact that was publicized by the seminary itself last year in a 71-page report commissioned by the seminary’s president, Albert Mohler Jr.
Simmons College, founded by former slaves in 1879, is also located in Louisville.
“For years we have strategically sought to minister to and with the black Baptist community,” Mohler tells OneNewsNow. “But what we have here is a demand for reparations, and what is honestly a very self-serving and transparent demand for reparations.”
Beyond the demand for reparations, Mohler told EmpowerWest in a reply letter that any support for Simmons College is out of the question over doctrinal issues, since Simmons has aligned itself with the liberal Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
According to the Courier Journal, the two black ministers asking for the financial transfer are both Southern Seminary graduates. One of them, Rev. Kevin Cosby, is also president of the college, the story stated.
“They acknowledged the damage. This is about repair," Cosby, referring to Southern Seminary, told the newspaper. "Repair is a Christian response to damage."
Southern Seminary has an endowment of approximately $95 million and the letter requests some of those funds be transferred to Simmons College, the newspaper reported.
“Our responsibility as a seminary is to glorify God and to strengthen His church by serving the Southern Baptist Convention,” Mohler tells OneNewsNow. “And that is where our accountability lies.
Mohler also points out to OneNewsNow that the financial demand is coming from a minister who leads Simmons College, making the request more than a little self-serving.