Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas thought it would be fun to dress up like “rappers” and name themselves “Notorious S.O.P.,” which refers to the seminary’s School of Preaching.
According to the faculty members, it was all part of a going-away party for a professor who’s fond of rap music. But it didn’t sit well with many people.
Southwestern President Paige Patterson issued a lengthy statement about the rapping professor, the photo and the bad judgment:
He preached a sermon recently in chapel in which he included a section of rap. I thought that it was great, and the students seemed responsive to it. He has since accepted a pastorate; and, as part of his departure, his fellow professors wanted to awaken memories and in so doing to tease him. That is par for the course around here. The president encourages our people to laugh at each other rather than to risk taking ourselves too seriously.
But, as members of the preaching faculty have acknowledged, this was a mistake, and one for which we deeply apologize. Sometimes, Anglo Americans do not recognize the degree that racism has crept into our lives. Such incidents are tragic but helpful to me in refocusing on the attempt to flush from my own system any remaining nuances of the racist past of our own country. Just as important, my own sensitivity to the corporate and individual hurts of a people group abused by generations of oppressors needs to be constantly challenged.