Yesterday, a task force put together by leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention meant to study the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) released its final report. It essentially says that the ERLC has been a “significant distraction” from the denomination’s work in large part due to its leader, Rev. Russell Moore (below). Moore, the report says, was responsible for the loss of significant donations to the SBC because of his frequent opposition to Donald Trump.
You can read the report here. But I just want to draw your attention to one of the criticisms leveled against the ERLC that state directors said they regularly heard from pastors.
That brief list includes claims the ERLC isn’t very responsive and criticizes conservatives more than liberals… but there’s also this nugget about Rev. Moore:
Disrespectful and condescending responses to the questions of messengers. Repeatedly noted was the response given to Pastor John Wofford of Armorel Baptist Church at the 2016 annual meeting.
Disrespectful? Condescending? What the hell happened at that event?
Here’s the backstory: In 2016, Pastor John Wofford asked Rev. Moore why he supported the building of mosques in America “when these people threaten our very way of existence as Christians and Americans, they are murdering Christians, beheading Christians, imprisoning Christians all over the world”?
Moore’s response boiled down to the idea that religious freedom applies to everyone:
… What it means to be a Baptist is to support soul freedom for everybody. And brothers and sisters, when you have a government that says we can decide whether or not a house of worship can be constructed based upon the theological beliefs of that house of worship, then there are going to be Southern Baptist churches in San Francisco and New York and throughout this country who are not going to be able to build…
It’s not exactly a brave response. Moore didn’t even respond to the harmful generalizations of Muslims made by Wofford. He said the bare minimum: that if Southern Baptists wanted to build their own churches, then they had to support people of other faiths doing the same.
And for that, the SBC claimed Moore was being “condescending.”
It just shows you the moral bankruptcy among the leaders of the largest Protestant denomination in America. Or, put another way, conservative Baptists are furious that the head of the ethics arm of the SBC would dare to point out that their politics may be at odds with whatever Jesus said.
Rather than change their actions or attitude, they’d rather go after the messenger.