R. I. P. G. McLeod “Mac” Bryan–Baptist Champion of Human Rights
G. McLeod Bryan, Emeritus Professor of Religion at Wake Forest University, who formerly taught philosophy and religion at Mercer University and Mars Hill College, died today. “Mac” Bryan played a part in the U. S. Civil Rights movement, the Anti-Vietnam War and Anti-Nuclear weapons strands of the peace movement, and a supporting role in peace and human rights struggles around the world, including the struggle against apartheid in South Africa.
I don’t think I ever met “Mac” Bryan (perhaps once in the mid ’80s, before I knew who he was, but I may be misremembering), but everywhere I went among “peace and justice Baptists” from the U. S. South, I met his friends and students. I have lost track of the number of “Mac Bryan” stories I’ve heard at meetings of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America or at reunions of people whose lives intersected Koinonia Partners in South Georgia or other intentional Christian communities across the South. Many times when I’ve met Southern Baptists (or white Baptists who used to be Southern Baptist, or Christians in other traditions who used to be Southern Baptist) involved in ministry to prisoners, or the homeless, or working with Habitat for Humanity or Bread for the World, or working in some way for peace, justice, and human rights it would turn out that Mac Bryan had inspired them to get involved. (After all, Southern Baptists, a denomination born in defense of slavery and which was the strongest anti-Civil Rights denomination in the nation in the ’60s, is hardly known for the numbers of peace and justice activists it produces.) Mac Bryan hasn’t been the only catalyst of an alternative way of being Baptist in the U.S. South, but he has certainly been a major one.
A brief obituary is found on the Wake Forest website.
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