ERLC Elects Kevin Smith as first Black Chairperson year: One after former SBC President Ed Litton called racism and sexual abuse the “most outstanding” stains on the denomination, adding that the convention must take steps to cleanse itself, The Southern Baptist Convention board of trustees unanimously elected Kevin Smith as the chairperson for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC).
Smith’s appointment marks the first time in the history of SBC that a black individual is assuming such a leadership role within the organization. He will replace Lori Nova of Hobbs, New Mexico as trustee chairperson.
The news about his appointment was disclosed by the ERLC during a recent assembly in Nashville, Tennessee.
“Over the last two years, our entity has been blessed by the leadership of Chairwoman Lori Bova,” Brent Leatherwood, president of the ERLC, said. “She’s been a constant source of wisdom and encouragement, and we are grateful for her time as chair. Our board has now turned over the gavel to Kevin Smith, a pastor with deep ties in SBC life, who personally understands the importance of cooperation as a Baptist. I am thrilled to work with him and our new executive committee in this upcoming season.”
Smith is the pastor of Family Church Village in West Palm Beach, Florida. He was a one-time director of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware. He has served on the ERLC board since 2018.
Smith previously sparked controversy following comments he made during the SBC annual meeting in Anaheim, California, where he addressed the state of race and politics in the SBC.
“I think some Southern Baptists lost their minds when a black man was elected president. Not all, but some,” Smith said, referencing former President Barack Obama. “I think some Southern Baptists were unloving to black people beginning in 2012 with the killing of Trayvon Martin. I don’t mean agree about politics or policy, I just mean giving a darn that somebody else is hurting who is supposed to be your brother or sister in Christ.”
“And I think some Southern Baptists just bent over and became political whores with this whole Trump stuff,” Smith said.