ARTICLES OF FAITH

This conservative religious leader dared question Trump’s morality. Now he’s at risk of losing his job.

One of the few positive signs to come out of the last election cycle was the willingness of some religious-right leaders to call Donald Trump out for not following Christian principles. You would think this was obvious. After all, Trump is a twice-divorced casino owner who brags about sexual assault and celebrates the Sabbath on the golf course.

But political expediency beats eternal verities every time. Embracing a philosophy that the end justifies the means, most conservative evangelical leaders backed Trump with a fervor that should be reserved for the Second Coming. Now they are extracting vengeance on those who dared to dissent.

The chief victim is the highest profile: Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission at the Southern Baptist Convention. Last fall, Moore famously declared that Trump was “someone who not only characterizes sexual decadence and misogyny, brokers in cruelty and nativism, and displays a crazed public and private temperament — but who glories in these things.”

For this excursion into accuracy, Moore has been paying dearly. He was publicly threatened with the loss of his job by his boss, Frank Page, who was happy to blab to the media in advance of a meeting between him and Moore. “If the meeting doesn’t goes well, I’m fully prepared to ask him for a change in his status,” Page said in a thinly veiled warning.

Page was feeling the heat as well, since more than 100 churches said that they would pull funding from the SBC because of Moore. (To put the threat in perspective: there are 46,000 churches in the SBC.)

Moore was able to hold into his job largely by groveling. “I can—and do—apologize for failing to distinguish between people who shouldn’t have been in the same category with those who put politics over the gospel and for using words, particularly in social media, that were at times overly broad or unnecessarily harsh.”

But Moore is now on a short leash. “His wings are clipped, and they might get amputated,” said Bill Leonard, a professor of Baptist studies at Wake Forest University’s School of Divinity. “If he stays, he is certainly neutered on many of these issues. He’s got to be silent. He can only primarily speak out on issues that the Republicans and Trump administration would promote.”

Moore had been an advocate of putting faith above politics, a move that aligns him with many younger evangelicals. Instead, he got a lesson in how much his church is just a wing of the GOP.

It’s not as if Moore is  liberal, by any means. He’s suggested that believers boycott same-sex weddings, even of their own children. But the evangelical movement has conflated conservative religious principles with the Republican party. Even the advent of the heathenish Trump can’t make the leadership rise above its temporal concerns.

So Trump can, as he himself put it, shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and conservative Christians will turn the other way for want of a Supreme Court appointment. If that’s not the definition of putting Mammon above God, then nothing ever will be.

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20 Comments

  • ErikO

    More fake news and fear mongering.

    • Juanjo

      Proof Eric?

    • ChrisK

      I sure wish gifs were allowed on this site. It would be fun to gif your hilarious statement.

    • Heywood Jablowme

      @ErikO: “Fake news” is when YOU claimed to be for Jill Stein during the campaign, when you were a Trumpster all along. You’re a complete phony.

    • billybob2003

      “More fake news and fear mongering.” What does that even mean? This didn’t happen? These people don’t exist? I don’t have any fear about it. Just resentment that these evil haters relentlessly point their dirty fingers at us while “Dear Leader” is the complete opposite of “What would Jesus do”. They clap and cheer while he farts out “Nearer, My God to thee”. That tired old cliché says “I am a moron”.

    • 1EqualityUSA

      And we support them by making these haters tax exempt! Separation of church and state has never been more relevant.

  • DCguy

    Oh look, the right wing troll makes a vague comment trying to change the subject.

    Facts are facts, the religious right is not about religion, just about attacking and controlling others and pushing bigotry. Trump is their bigot hero so they of course are going to take down any leader that actually tries to point out they are violating the words of Christ.

    The right wing has no agenda other than stealing money and harming others.

    • Billysees

      “…the religious right is not about religion, just about attacking and controlling others and pushing bigotry. ”
      ” The right wing has no agenda other than stealing money and harming others. ”

      Correct…

  • jckfmsincty

    It’s a good thing that religion is becoming increasingly irrelevant.

  • natekerchel

    Fear mongering? That expression is not relevant with respect to this story. There is nothing in the story to cause fear for anyone on this site. Mr.Moore is not one of us, despite his criticisms of the beast in the White House. I bet he still voted for him. What happens to Mr.Moore is of no interest to me personally given his extreme homophobic stance. To see any kind of division within that repulsive group of people can only be heartening to all of us here – well except for you ErikO.

  • Rob91316

    So Moore actually adheres to the teachings of Christ and gets pilloried by the Christian community for it. How predictable!

  • 1EqualityUSA

    When the church hasn’t the talent to win hearts, oppression. Politics and religion are oppression.

  • Chris

    Definition of “schadenfreude:” Watching the religious right eat their own.

    Someone please pass the popcorn….

    • 1EqualityUSA

      Gorsuch may eat us. The GOP destroyed the checks and balances of the Senate. They’re politicizing the Supreme Court. They’ve destroyed democracy.
      NY Times:
      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/26/us/supreme-court-ruling.html

      ““Our country has changed,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority. “While any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions.””

      They ripped section 5 out of the Voting Rights Act. The eight states, for whom this part was pertinent, started their reindeer games again. Also decided by the Opus Dei-Care on the Supreme Court, Citizens United, making it nearly impossible to handle social issues legislatively due to inordinate amounts of money funneling into the Tedious Right via billionaires. Gorsuch’s easy answer, having Congress take care of these issues legislatively, doesn’t work when voter suppression and large pools of cash are stomping one side down politically. The Supreme Court is dirty. Unions are next. Separation of church and state has never been more relevant. This mixing of religion and politics is short-sighted and dangerous. Opus Dei Care may lay down a precedent that will disappoint us in a century or two from now. That is until the Euphrates dries up, and we call it a day. If religious leaders are incapable of winning hearts in appropriate settings, what makes them think they’ll win hearts using political paths; oppression wins no hearts.

  • Chris Vogel

    This would only be news if it were imagined that religious conservatives had morals. They don’t. They are religious conservatives because it authorises their arrogance, vanity, malice and willful ignorance. In short, they are natural supporters of the Scary Clown, SCP Trump

    • Alan down in Florida

      And Chris let’s not leave out that it pays well. Just as Joel Osteen, Franklin Graham and all the other television evangelists.

  • GayEGO

    Ah yes, money, money, money – “since more than 100 churches said that they would pull funding from the SBC because of Moore” , is something that Frank Page does not want to lose!

  • GayEGO

    Ah yes, as expected, money, money, money – “since more than 100 churches said that they would pull funding from the SBC because of Moore” , is something that Frank Page does not want to lose!

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