Written by Don Byrd
The Southern Baptist Convention’s Russell Moore, who took over for Richard Land as the head of the Ethics and Liberty Commission, says Southern Baptists have strayed from the historic Baptist principles and have gotten religious liberty wrong the last several years. ABP’s Bob Allen reports on the remarks, made in a recent podcast.
“You have some people who haven’t thought through that what our Baptist forebears were saying is right — that religious liberty is an image-of-God issue; it’s not a who-has-the-most-votes issue,” he said.
“That means we’re the people who ought to be saying the loudest: ‘We don’t want the mayor and the city council to say that a mosque can’t be in our town,’” he said. “The mayor and the city council that can say that is a mayor and a city council … that has too much power.”
He goes on to say that too often Southern Baptists “cry wolf” over problems that don’t rise to the level of religious persecution, or even government action. And then there is this: “Moore said most of the religious liberty battles Baptists fought in previous years were against efforts by the government to establish a state religion. Today, he said, most are about sex.”
He is wrong about one thing. Many Baptists have continued to fight against the state establishment of religion. The Baptist Joint Committee is supported by 15 national and state bodies of Baptists, from American Baptist Churches to Seventh-Day Baptists to the National Baptist Conventions and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
So….where, oh where could Southern Baptist laypersons have ever gotten the idea that Christians in America are under the constant threat of religious persecution? Where could they have heard that they should abandon those Baptist battles of previous years? Whatever could have inspired Southern Baptists to believe that the cause of religious liberty is best served by seeking political influence rather than making is an “image-of-God issue”?