The Southern Baptists have always been a bit…well…quirky, in addition to tiptoeing the line between evangelicalism and fundamentalism. The whole organization is set up as an enormous patriarchy with (spoiler alert!) old white men in charge.
What they do is important, especially right now, especially in politics. Their numbers have declined by a historical 200,000 in just the past year, and that makes them unsettled. When 15.5 million people are nervous, we need to pay attention. Trump won the election because 81% of white evangelicals voted for him.
I discussed my opinions before as to why I believe they did, and they did so in very large numbers. However, there were a few high-ranking ministers within the SBC who spoke out against Trump from day one. The primary voice of that movement was Dr. Russell Moore, the SBC’s head of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the denomination’s chief policy spokesman.
Dr. Moore wrote scathing op-eds for both The New York Times and The Washington Post, in which he called Trump out for his womanizing, lack of moral compass, destruction of families via bankruptcies, racism and identity politics, his boorish behavior, and his lack of respect for the Christian faith and its traditions. Trump responded to all of this with a nasty Twitter rant.
Unfortunately, because Trump won the election, this has all backfired on Dr. Moore in a spectacular fashion. He is not being praised for taking a stand; he is not even being left alone. There is a public outcry for his job.
The Southern Baptists are as tribalistic as can be, and there is always the desire to kick out dissenters. Over the years, this has evolved from religious dogma to political stances. So when we hear these ministers talk about the importance of acceptance and coming together as a nation, we first need to know what is going on behind their curtain.
One of the louder voices calling for Dr. Moore to step down is Southern Baptist Minister Reverend Mike Huckabee. His Bibleship has propagated so many lies this election season, and spread such vitriol, most days I don’t think he remembers he’s a Christian…or maybe he just doesn’t care. He long since sold his soul to the devil. (NPR)
Trump and his supporters and surrogates really do epitomize the abusive tactics of the fundagelical church. They bully you, are misogynistic, see themselves as above the law, while all the time the white man wins. If you dare speak out, have the audacity to criticize, hint that you think for yourself, you will pay and pay dearly. The SBC has a history of vilifying leaders who speak out. It is sad that we cannot look to our community leaders, to the so-called Christians around the corner, for guidance on repairing the damage done to our nation.
Doing what is right is not always doing what is popular. I do not have to agree with Dr. Moore on anything to admire his fortitude and strength.
The end result of this, though, is the Southern Baptists have no moral high ground, and it needs to stop talking about “godless Liberals.” Winning does not mean they were right about the man.
For white evangelicals, especially Southern Baptists, this was not just party over country; they chose Donald Trump over their god.