SBC president: 'Gut-wrenching' tragedy in Orlando points to greater global issue

by Joni B. Hannigan, Editorial Staff |
Ronnie Floyd, president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and senior pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, held his final press conference as president of the SBC on Monday, June 13. He discussed the recent mass shooting in Orlando. | Photo by Chris Carter via BP

ST. LOUIS (Christian Examiner) – Orlando's "gut-wrenching" mass shooting, as well as a recent car bombing in Baghdad, stand as unprecedented attacks in an increasingly violent world where religion plays a role, Ronnie Floyd told Christian Examiner after his final press conference as Southern Baptist Convention president June 13.

But whether in the United States or internationally, human life is valuable, Floyd said, as is religious freedom.

"This is a great time to remind everyone that each person in this world has been made in the image of God, and we need to value human life. What happened in Orlando is inexcusable and deplorable," Floyd said in the press conference, referencing the recent massacre of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando by a shooter who has been investigated for ties to Islamic extremists.

Southern Baptists "stand against any prejudice, any bigotry, anything that is wrong in relation to devaluing human life, regardless of what someone does or how someone chooses to live. We value people. That's who we are, and that's what we need to continue to be," Floyd said.

"I can't imagine what their parents are going through," Floyd said.

Smoke rises over a residential neighborhood bordering the commercial district of New Baghdad where a series of car bombs killed at least 19-25 June 9, 2016. | Facebook via Joni Hannigan

In comments to Christian Examiner follower the news conference, Floyd was reminded of the most recent suicide bombings in Baghdad last week that killed about 31 people in a shopping district a block from a residential neighborhood and at other points throughout the city.

"We must step up as a nation," Floyd said. "Obviously this is a global issue. What we are doing is not working. We have never fought a war like this."

Floyd said he is aware that people of all religious faiths suffer here in the United States and internationally in the name of religion.

"I pray for every person who is suffering religious persecution across the world," Floyd said. "We can't police the world, but what we can do is call for religious freedom."