Russell Moore and Single Digit Jeb – photo: NAMB
by Horatio Bunce
“Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”
1 Thessalonians 5:20-21
“Dr.” Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission has had his share of the “news” limelight in recent months due to his Trash Trump on Twitter campaign which is mostly self-promotion and making merchandise of the people, but I guess every
business ministry has to get publicity somehow. And, like Glenn Beck, Moore has also criticized evangelical voters who selected Trump and has gone so far as to compare them to the Israelites who begged Aaron to fashion a golden calf for them to represent the “gods that brought us out of Egypt”. He even had his own presidential candidate forum in Nashville last August. Actually, his organization announced a “series” of forums, but only the first one happened. Moore claimed to have invited all candidates that were “polling at 10 percent or higher to be interviewed, including Hillary Clinton…”. Uh…..right. So of course, only Single Digit Jeb showed up. And they got to watch a video interview of Marco Rubio. Now keep in mind, this is in front of a crowd of 13,000 Southern Baptists. Apparently “tea party darling” soon to become “evangelical” candidate Ted Cruz wasn’t interested? Well, actually Russell didn’t invite the Southern Baptist candidates, nor “evangelical” candidate and winner of the 2012 TN primary, Rick Santorum:
“As for Southern Baptist GOP candidates, specifically former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Ted Cruz, and Gov. Rick Perry, Moore told Christian Examiner he did not invite them because that would have turned the forum “into a moment of identity politics instead of a time of conversation.”
“[T]o do so would have sent a signal that we were looking for spiritual qualifications for civil office,” Moore said.
HUH? Isn’t that what Moore is complaining about NOW when it comes to Clinton and Trump – their lack of spiritual qualifications for civil office (whatever that means)? Did he really think putting these “non-Baptists” in front of a crowd of 13,000 Southern Baptists did not have the effect of identity politics – requiring the same kind of pandering they all did for Iowa?
Other Southern Baptists have noted Moore’s expressed liberal views – which happen to align more with Single Digit Jeb and Marco Rubio than other candidates, who also just happen to be the only two candidates to get the face time with Southern Baptists at Moore’s Civil Forum. Let’s face it, they didn’t typically draw 13,000 to their rallies later in the campaign.
For me though, this isn’t why I’m not interested in hearing from Moore, his ERLC or the SBC on how best to pick the next King Saul. My objection goes back to 1992. Back then the SBC publication, Baptist and Reflector, gushed about the “Southern Baptist” team of Bill Clinton and Al Gore and how they were the “evangelical” candidates. I was a “young skull full of mush” Limbaugh fan and his “talent on loan from God” had plenty of ammo for why not to vote for Clinton/Gore. Moore was old enough to vote back then. Maybe he remembers the SBC pumping up Hillary Clinton’s husband and lock-box Al. Or since he works there, maybe he could get the archives folks to post some of those 1990’s editions (I guarantee that I will be watching for it). So when “Dr.” Moore, who obtained his training from the same folks that pushed Bill Clinton in 1992, can admit maybe, just maybe the SBC played a part in training this generation in looking for golden calves from Bill’s wife….well, he might be relevant again.