Top Southern Baptist Official Says Trump Must Go

  Rob Boston

This blog has been highly critical of evangelical Christian leaders who have continued to support President Donald Trump even in the face of his incitement of last week’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

In fairness, we should note that there is at least one prominent figure from this community who has taken a different approach, a man who has condemned Trump and unequivocally called for him to resign or be impeached: Russell D. Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the public policy unit of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Moore and Americans United don’t see eye to eye on many issues, but there’s no denying that in this case, he’s taking a principled stand – one that might even cost him his job.

In a recent essay, Moore doesn’t hesitate to call the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol what it was: “an insurrection of domestic terrorists, incited and fomented by the President of the United States.”

Observed Moore, “The President invited mobs to Washington – promising a ‘wild’ time – and told them to march to the Capitol. Despite the fact that there was not one thing that Vice President Pence could have lawfully done, the President called him a coward, and whipped up crowds against him who, many of them, then chanted ‘Hang Mike Pence!’ while constructing gallows on the Capitol grounds. An American flag was thrown down and replaced with a Trump flag, while another insurrectionist paraded a Confederate flag through the Capitol. Police officers were attacked. Congressional leaders hid while the doors buckled from mobs seeking to attack them. People are dead. The Capitol is ransacked. Administration officials are resigning in protest.”

Added Moore, “If you read nothing else, read this: If you can defend this, you can defend anything. If you can wave this away with ‘well, what about…’ or by changing the subject to a private platform removing an account inciting violence as ‘Orwellian,’ then where, at long last, is your limit?”

Moore goes on to debunk several Christian nationalist talking points. He noted that President-elect Joe Biden won fair and square and that the mob that assaulted the Capitol was not composed of antifa infiltrators.

Moore doesn’t hesitate to call out right-wing evangelical hypocrisy, writing, “If President Obama tried to overturn an election, and incited his supporters to storm the Capitol, to desecrate the flag, to kill innocent people and to terrorize many others with pipe bombs and hand-ties and weapons, every evangelical Christian would be, rightly, denouncing such with the strongest possible terms (and many would be suggesting that we were in the reign of the Antichrist), and every one of us knows that is true.”

Finally, Moore states without hesitation that Trump must go.

“If I were the President, I would resign,” he writes. “If I were the Vice President, I would assemble the cabinet in accordance with the 25th Amendment. If I were a Member of Congress, I would vote to impeach. And if I were a United States senator, I would vote to convict. And I would be willing, if necessary, to lose my seat to do so. As a matter of fact, I am willing, if necessary, to lose this seat.”

Moore’s essay is written in the context of Christian ethics and cites specific scripture references. This isn’t surprising, given Moore’s audience. In fact, it’s necessary. But no matter what you may believe or not believe about faith, Moore’s important statement is well worth some of your time.

Photo: A mob attacks the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Screenshot from Washington Post video. 

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