A financial supporter of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary criticized President Albert Mohler’s vocal opposition to presidential candidate Donald Trump in opposing op-ed pieces in the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Jack Richardson IV, an attorney and longtime member of the Southern Seminary Foundation Board, said he “could not disagree more” with Mohler’s recent Washington Post op-ed and CNN appearance urging evangelical voters to distance themselves to Trump after the release of video showing the Republican nominee making lewd comments about women in an 11-year-old tape.
Richardson, former chair of the Louisville/Jefferson County Republican Party, said he views the “never Trump” position advocated by Mohler and SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission head Russell Moore as “borne of false piety and self-righteousness.”
Richardson, currently an associate of the Southern Seminary Foundation — a subsidiary corporation of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary that assists the vice president of institutional advancement through giving annual gifts and finding prospective donors — said many professors disagree with Mohler’s position on Trump “but can’t speak out.”
“Mohler’s house is divided,” Richardson wrote.
Richardson said Moore’s opposition to Trump is less surprising, “as he was always fond of reminding me that he was a Democrat.”
Moore — who before taking over as Southern Baptists’ top spokesman for public policy and religious liberty concerns in 2013 worked at Southern Seminary as dean of the School of Theology and senior vice president for academic administration at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary — is a one-time aide to U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.), a member of Congress from 2003 to 2010.
“The big question I have is how many of the donors and those on the Seminary’s Foundation Board are aware of the political positions Mohler and Moore have taken,” Richardson said. “How many throughout Baptist congregations would continue to support the institutions they lead?”
In an opposing view column published alongside Richardson’s, Mohler said he understands that some of his friends disagree with him and will vote for Trump because they view it as the only way to defeat Hillary Clinton, but “surely Christians united in moral conviction owe each other that basic kindness of respecting conscience in the voting booth in this excruciating political predicament.”
“I believe I was right then, and that means that I cannot now vote for a candidate whose character is well known to lack the essential minimum of moral fiber that is absolutely necessary for leadership,” Mohler said. “I cannot argue with a straight face or a clear conscience that one set of moral rules applies to Democratic leaders and another applies to Republicans.”