Prominent Southern Baptist leaders were among those taking to social media Dec. 2 to affirm and defend Donald Trump’s 46-minute video in which he repeated blatantly false accusations that the 2020 election was rigged against him and should be overturned.
A Washington Post columnist called the video “the most petulant 46 minutes in American history.” Facebook and Twitter slapped warning labels on the Trump video, which was filmed at the White House and released online and via social media.
In the video, Trump escalated already debunked accusations about the election that even his own attorney general, previously considered a Trump loyalist, had said the day before have no basis in fact.
Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, and a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, used his Twitter account to link to the Trump video and added this comment: “This election is stained with suspicion and covered with criminality. As the President states … the investigations must continue for the sake of this election and those yet to come.”
Graham’s Trump endorsement appeared on his Twitter feed amid promotions for Christmas worship events at Prestonwood, one of the largest churches in America. While praising Trump, who is a well-documented serial liar, Graham also recently used Twitter to accuse former President Barak Obama of “one of the most condescending outbursts of lies I’ve ever seen.”
He also recently retweeted Trump attorney Jenna Ellis, who complained of being the victim of “a barrage of threats and false accusations from Dems and ‘reporter’ activists.” Ellis added in that tweet: “Do your worst. I’m not intimidated. I won’t back down. My mission is Truth, my God is the Lord Jesus Christ, and my client is the President of the United States.”
Graham is not alone among Southern Baptist leaders echoing Trump’s false accusations about the election results. Brad Jurkovich, pastor of First Baptist Church in Bossier City, La., and spokesperson for the Conservative Baptist Network, also took up the cause Dec. 2.
Also linking to the Trump video, Jurkovich said: “It would be so easy to quit. Many others would have. Not President @realDonaldTrump. He has the courage and conviction to do what’s right for America. This is real leadership. Praying for him, his family, his entire team, and our nation.”
The day before, Jurkovich had tweeted support for Trump attorneys Ellis and Rudy Giuliani, saying, “They love America and value freedom and integrity for all of us.”
Ergun Caner, a Southern Baptist leader who teaches at Arlington Baptist University in Texas, has changed his own Twitter name to read “President-Elect Ergun Caner, D.Theol.” From that account Dec. 2, he called out Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to ask, “Are you listening? We will NOT care about the Senate issue unless you PUBLICLY STAND with @realDonaldTrump — its ALL or NOTHING. We’d rather be right and lose, than lie and win.”
As a Texas resident, Caner would not be eligible to vote in Georgia’s two Senate run-off races in January. Caner is former president of Brewton-Parker College in Georgia and former dean at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in Virginia.
On the other hand, Georgia pastor James Merritt, also a former SBC president, tweeted Dec. 3 a link to a USA Today article about Trump allies urging Republicans to boycott the Senate run-offs. Merritt said of the pro-Trumpers saying not to vote because the system is rigged: “These people are completely and totally unpatriotic and care nothing about America. When you put party or personality above country and your civic duty to vote you prove to be the real danger to America.”