A Christian radio commentator says Southern Baptist conservatives who want to withdraw financial support for their denomination’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission neither hate agency head Russell Moore nor are they persecuting him. They are just tired of political posturing that goes back far before the candidacy of President-elect Donald Trump.
Janet Mefferd, whose nationally syndicated radio show airs on 100 radio stations across the United States, said in a blog Jan. 11 that media reports of the Southern Baptist Convention’s top official for public policy under fire for “anti-Trump comments” are missing the point.
Mefferd, a non-Southern Baptist who clashed with Moore in 2014 after he made a blanket statement that Christian talk radio makes people hate Christianity, said the successor to 25-year ERLC President Richard Land has been upsetting conservatives for years.
Mefferd said Moore, who took over the ERLC in 2013 after teaching at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., has long “caricatured and discredited conservatives,” describing himself as “a survivor of Bible Belt America” and taking swipes at Religious Right leaders such as the late Jerry Falwell.
Mefferd said Moore not only criticized Trump but at one point piled up enough tweets to bait the candidate into labeling him “a nasty guy,” an appellation Moore appeared to wear with pride.
She said Moore once worked for Congressman Gene Taylor, a blue dog Democrat from Mississippi who nonetheless supported Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker and voted with her 82 percent of the time.
Mefferd said Moore stated he would attend a same-sex wedding reception and denounced reparative therapy, the idea that people who are gay can learn to be straight.
Moore supported the building of a controversial mosque in New Jersey, Mefferd said, but so far has been silent on a Dec. 23 U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel.
“There is much more to say, but to those who would defend Moore for his ‘gospel courage’ or ‘bold leadership,’ please understand that conservative objections to his ERLC leadership have a substantive and years-long foundation,” Mefferd said.
“Opposing Moore isn’t about being mean, dodging important biblical challenges or wanting ‘lemmings’ instead of ‘leaders.’ Conservative Southern Baptists are simply tired of Moore’s hypocritical lectures, his pejoratives against conservatives, his rude behavior on the national stage and his political stances that don’t align with those held by a large number of the Southern Baptists who pay his salary,” she said.
J.D. Hall, a Southern Baptist pastor, blogger and radio host, said on the Jan. 11 Polemics Report radio podcast that many of the facts cited by Mefferd were previously reported by him and fellow bloggers at Pulpit & Pen.
“He’s a progressive liberal all the way around,” Hall, lead pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church in Sidney, Mont., and a director of a Calvinist network called Reformation Montana, said of Moore.
“Trump is the least of our problems,” Hall said. “Matter of fact, what he said about Trump is mostly true. Whether or not he should of said it is something else altogether.”