Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., a Southern Baptist Convention leader, once wrote that evangelicals should not support Donald Trump, recently did a 180 and announced he would be voting for the man he once said would become “the Great Evangelical Embarrassment.”
Which is to say his judgment needs work.
Now, instead of condemning Trump’s bigotry, cruelty, and racism, Mohler is fully defending his actions. Even the tear-gassing of protesters on the way to a hasty photo op outside a church.
Mohler basically posted a “both sides” argument in a recent “news briefing” on his website, trashing St. John’s Episcopal Church for being too LGBTQ friendly.
Finally, as we’re thinking about this spectacle, there were ironies abounding. One of them is the theological character of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, DC. It is a very liberal church in a very liberal denomination. The Episcopal church in the United States has increasingly moved itself to the far left of American theology and American public life. It has been openly affirming LGBTQ, and you could just go through the list of the issues of liberal activism for a matter of decades.
There were many in the media and American Christian life, and in particular in the Episcopal church who said that they did not like the picture of the president holding the Bible in front of St. John’s Episcopal church. But those who know the Bible as the inerrant and infallible, verbally inspired Word of God will profoundly also not like what is done to the Bible inside the St. John’s Episcopal Church. And furthermore, you could extend that through the Episcopal church in the United States, generalized as a denomination. It just adds to the pain and the consternation of this unique moment in American public life.
In short, tear-gassing Americans outside the church may be troubling, but teaching people inside the church that LGBTQ Americans deserve love and respect is far worse.
Mohler also said the Episcopal Church is “likely to go the way of the dodo” — that is, extinct. He didn’t back that claim up with any evidence. He also neglected to mention that his own tradition is rapidly losing members, possibly due to its refusal to accept LGBTQ people.
It’s not a good look to call out the teachings of another denomination — one known for being welcoming and inclusive — while conveniently ignoring the sexual abuse scandals and bigotry running rampant in your own.