In the first presidential election since Russell Moore became the leading evangelical voice in Washington, America saw more of him than ever before.
With each TV news appearance and op-ed parsing the complicated evangelical vote in this year’s contentious election, fellow Southern Baptists took notice of Moore’s personal conviction against Donald Trump, his characterizations of Trump supporters, and the broader changes he’d implemented as president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) over the previous three years.
It’s clear that Moore represents a significant shift for America’s largest Protestant denomination, and many welcome his leadership; more than 1,200 championed their support on Twitter with #IStandWithMoore this week amid media coverage of his SBC critics.
However, others question whether Moore’s outspokenness—particularly his critical remarks made toward fellow Southern Baptists and evangelicals at large who supported Trump—betrays the role he was appointed to.
This week, The Wall Street Journal (followed by NPR and Religion News Service) outlined the backlash Moore faces from within his denomination. Some leaders critical of Moore’s stance are considering withholding their megachurch’s or state convention’s support of the ERLC (through the denomination’s Cooperative Program fund). They believe Moore does not represent their political views, and fear he will not be able to advocate for them on Capitol Hill after so vocally lambasting Trump.
On Monday, Moore apologized for any sound bites during the campaign that may have overstated his criticism of Trump defenders. He wrote:
I witnessed a ...1