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How I learned to care about social justice growing up Southern Baptist in Oklahoma


“How did you come to have a passion for social justice issues ?” That was one of the questions put to me this week when the tables got turned and I was the interviewee instead of the interviewer.

The answer immediately formed in my mind: Because that’s how I was raised.

But what might be shocking to some is to finish that thought by saying that’s how I was raised as a Southern Baptist in Oklahoma. These days, “social justice” and “Oklahoma Southern Baptist” don’t naturally fall together in the same sentence. Mark Wingfield But in my experience growing up in the 1960s and ’70s, this wasn’t so much of a stretch. Certainly, the definition of social justice I knew as a child and teenager wasn’t as expansive as it should have been, and it clearly did not include anything approaching a full measure of racial justice awareness. Yet at its core, what I learned growing up as a devout Southern Baptist in central Oklahoma offered the foundation for a belief system that in time would broaden through personal experience, hard knocks and friendships that formed me even more. Carefully taught

In their own simple ways, my parents modeled a […]

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