As President of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), Russell Moore is not a preacher. Nor is he a prophet. His role is that of Chief Politician for the SBC. His job is to pander to certain groups and promote certain establishment candidates. When the establishment candidates prove vulnerable, then he dutifully goes on the attack seeking to rally support for the chosen hacks, while attacking the un-chosen ones. This is what all the hubbub is about this week with him and Donald Trump. Donald isn’t a part of the good ole’ boys network that makes up the modern Republican Party and by extension the Southern Baptist Convention. Therefore, Moore is duty bound to go on the attack.
Moore did a great job in his opening on Anderson Cooper’s 360 last Monday night. When confronted over Trump’s accusation that Moore is a “nasty guy” Moore admitted this was true and presented this as evidence that he needed the forgiveness of Christ. I commend Moore for this honest evaluation of his need for the gospel. But from there, Moore went in to “pander mode.” Just as he did in his anti-white New York Times commentary, entitled: "A White Church No More." There is no question that Moore is correct in proclaiming that Christianity is not a “white” religion. But then again, who ever said it was? Except for maybe a handful of rednecks in Alabama and the fictitious straw men that Moore creates. Indeed, as Moore stated, the next “Billy Graham” will probably not speak English. But we don’t need another Billy Graham. We need bold evangelists who preach the truth of sin and the necessity of repentance. This, Graham’s easy believism didn’t do. Praising Graham will win Moore accolades among Evangelicals. But it doesn’t address the problem. Criticizing Trump will also win Moore accolades, but this too misses the point.
Moore opined to Anderson Cooper that he gets calls every day from evangelicals who think we must be under God's judgment since the only presidential candidates are Trump and Hillary Clinton. My question for Moore is this: What does he consider the last 8 years of Barack Obama to be? God’s blessing? What about the 8 years prior, when George Bush drug the country into an endless war with no tangible objective in sight? Was this God’s blessing? What about the 8 years prior when Bill Clinton was having sex IN THE OVAL OFFICE with one of his interns? Was this God’s blessing? I think my point is clear. Moore sees Trump and Hillary as “judgment on America” yet Moore was strangely silent while the country went to pot for the last 24 years! Sure he criticized Obama on occasion, but criticizing Bush would have been unthinkable. Bush, after all, was a part of the club. And therein lies the problem with Moore and his credibility.
Moore says he cannot point to Trump as a good example for his 5 sons. Fair enough. Could he point to Obama as a godly example? Bush? Clinton? The trouble didn’t start with Trump, the trouble has existed for decades. Righteous indignation seems non-existent when examining the recent track record of the oval office. But Moore gives some presidents a pass, while giving others the sword. It would seem, that to Moore’s way of thinking, Trump’s biggest fault is that he hasn’t been hypocritical enough in his depravity. If he gave a public aura of decency, he would perhaps be praised by Moore as being “worthy of respect.” Obama appears decent in public, while endorsing the death and mutilation of babies behind closed doors. Trump, on the other hand, claims to be pro-life and his many warts are clearly seen. Such transparency seems to annoy Moore. He seems to long for the veneer of goodness, regardless of secret vileness. Trump doesn’t work for Moore. We need a hypocrite on par with Obama.
Moore bemoans Trump’s besmirching of “political correctness.” But this refusal on the part of America to call things as they are has led to countless problems for America and for Christianity. Moore implies that this is “racism” on the part of Trump and others like him; but this again is Moore pandering to minorities. He did the same thing last summer when he railed against the Confederate flag and declared his “embarrassment” to be from Mississippi. Moore is either historically ignorant of what the Confederacy stood for. Or he knows his history well and is willing to ignore it for the sake of political expediency. Both options are disturbing.
It seems that the real problem Moore has with Trump is that he is not a part of the Republican establishment. Moore’s chagrin is shared by the entrenched Republicans who are hell bent on seeing the continuation of the political “good ole boys” network that has served them and their pocketbooks so well. And in his support of the establishment, Moore betrays himself and the SBC at large as the Republican appendages that they are. For many years the SBC has served the Republican Party well by being the “court intellectuals” that paint the religious picture of the GOP’s importance. And now that a GOP leader has emerged that does not have the backing of the entrenched powers, Moore magically speaks out against him. How convenient, but not surprising. Moore’s job as President of the ERLC is to be the SBC (and the Republican establishment’s) chief politician. He doesn’t seem to take his orders from God. He seems to take them from the GOP.
Trump is no choir boy. This is not in question. But neither were any of the past presidents in recent memory. Nor were any of the candidates in this year’s cycle of charlatans. Some received Moore’s stamp of approval. Some did not. None were deserving of it. Moore, no doubt, will enjoy his 15 minutes of fame brought about by Trump’s tweet against him. It draws attention to Moore, as does the New York Times editorial. But make no mistake, the New York Times wouldn’t publish an editorial unless it is in accordance with their worldview. Moore may relish the attention, but it isn’t worthy of relishing.
In conclusion, America has been under Divine judgment for some time. Donald Trump is not the genesis of that regardless of what Russell Moore might say. Moore would serve his religious constituency better by speaking out on the issues of the day rather than trying to play kingmaker in a kingdom that is destined to fall. Pandering to the left does no service to the kingdom of Christ, nor does quoting Martin Luther King or denouncing whites (both of which Moore does in his column). Moore is a politician. But we don’t need more politicians. We need prophets. We need preachers. We need the truth. Let’s hope Moore remembers the difference between the two and starts speaking out for the eternal kingdom rather than gloating about his acceptance by the media elites who represent a kingdom that is doomed to fail.