AP: The Southern Baptist Convention formally condemned the political movement known as the “alt-right” during a national meeting in Phoenix.

The denomination initially refused to take up a resolution repudiating the movement that emerged dramatically during the U.S. presidential election and mixes racism, nationalism and populism.

Pressure built on Southern Baptists to make some statement against the movement. They did so Wednesday after emotional appeals from attendees.

The resolution decries every form of racism, including what the denomination called “alt-right white supremacy” as antithetical to the Gospel.

The Southern Baptist Convention was formed in the 19th century in defense of slaveholders. It has been working to overcome its history.

GUARDIAN: Iraqis are being swept up in immigration raids across the US and targeted for deportation by the Trump administration, in a crackdown attorneys and advocates described as a “death sentence” for members of Iraq’s Christian minority.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) arrested more than 200 Iraqi nationals over the weekend who have been the subject of deportation orders following criminal convictions or pending criminal charges.

One hundred and fourteen people were detained in Detroit alone, most of whom are members of Iraq’s Chaldean minority – which, like other Christian groups, has been targeted for persecution by Islamic State and other jihadist groups.

ALJ: n mid-May the armed group the Popular Front for the Renaissance of Central African Republic (FPRC) marched into the town of Bria in the Central African Republic (CAR). Tens of thousands of, mostly Christian, civilians were displaced as the group faced off with anti-balaka fighters in the town, located some 600km northeast of the capital, Bangui. Around 85 percent of the town’s residents fled.

At least 60 people were killed in Bria, as the FPRC rebels, a faction of the Seleka, a Muslim-led coalition that toppled then President Francois Bozize in a coup in 2013, targeted the mainly Christian anti-balaka fighters and anyone they considered to be associated with the group.

Thousands of people – both Muslim and Christian – have been killed in the country and almost a million displaced since the coup.

DIPLOMAT: In early June, the Samoan Parliament passed a bill amending the constitution to transform the country from a secular to a Christian state. The objective of the amendment was “to insert in the Constitution that Samoa is a Christian nation to declare the dominance of Christianity in Samoa.” Of the Parliament’s 49 representatives, 43 voted in favor of the bill.

Samoa already had a reference to Christianity in the preamble to its Constitution, which declared that the Samoan government should conduct itself “within the limits prescribed by God’s commandments,” and that Samoan society is “based on Christian principles.”

Faced with continuing declines in membership and baptisms, Southern Baptist Convention President Steve Gaines implored delegates to the denomination’s yearly meeting to turn to God and put their emphasis on evangelism.

“I want to encourage you to be a soul-winner. I want to encourage you to be evangelistic,” said Gaines, who plans to appoint a task force for more effective personal evangelism.

Gaines, a Memphis, Tenn., pastor who easily won re-election Tuesday (June 13) as president of the Southern Baptist Convention, said he would emphasize spreading the gospel in his second one-year term.

The SBC, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, with 15.2 million members, has lost members for 10 years in a row and has baptized fewer people nine out of the last 10 years.