With no challengers for the position, Rev. Fred Luter Jr. prepares to become the first African American president of the Southern Baptist church. Raised in New Orleans, the 55-year-old’s journey to the pulpit has been an endearing ride.
It's a big step for a denomination that was formed out of a pre-Civil War split with northern Baptists over slavery and for much of the last century had a reputation for supporting segregation.
In recent years, faced with growing diversity in America and declining membership in its churches, the denomination has made a sincere effort to distance itself from that past. Many Southern Baptists believe the charming and charismatic Luter is the man who can lead them forward.
Although his election is not guaranteed, the SBC voting is only a week away and Luter Jr. looks to be a shoo-in.