CNN takes a close look at SBC honcho Russell Moore’s opposition to Donald Trump — and how opposing a man conspicuously hostile to Christian ideals almost cost him his job.
Moore is the 45-year-old president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the most public-facing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention. He was also a fervent opponent of Donald Trump in 2016, an anomaly in a denomination that overwhelmingly supported the Republican nominee.
Moore didn’t back Hillary Clinton either, but his critique of Trump was especially pointed. He called him “an arrogant huckster” and directed his Twitter followers to an essay warning that Trump was “what the Founding Fathers warned us about.” Even before Trump’s campaign was rocked by the Access Hollywood tape depicting him bragging in stunningly vulgar terms about sexually assaulting women, Moore compared the GOP nominee’s views of women to that of a “Bronze Age warlord.”
Moore peddles the same death-wish theology that Albert the Pious does — the aim of the well-lived life is the complete annihilation of self-interest and self-direction because your self is, dum-da-dum-dum, no damn good thanks to that unfortunate incident with the bad piece of fruit. That’s enough to establish that he isn’t a particularly clear-headed man with a firm grip on reality. Unlike the rest of the amoral snakepit that is the SBC, however, Moore is a decent man with good instincts and some backbone.
But in the end, Trump won. And he did so with the help of white evangelicals who voted. Moore suddenly found himself alone — and surrounded.
Like much of the country, many of Moore’s fellow Southern Baptists struggled to move past the bruising, personal rhetoric of the campaign. Some leaders pressed for Moore’s resignation, saying the election proved he was out of step with the majority of Southern Baptists.
There is merit to the complaint; Moore is out-of-step with the majority of Southern Baptists — as every decent, clear-headed adult ought to be.
I doubt very much that Moore will last at the SBC. This year, next year, 5-years from now, their influence will continue to dwindle, they will inexorably move to the margins of our shared public life — and they will bitterly recall that Moore warned them that they would deservedly share in the growing public disdain and outright contempt for The Donald. They will never forgive Moore for being right. Never.