By Bryan Fischer
Follow me on Twitter: @BryanJFischer,
on Facebook at “Focal Point”
In this week’s Wall Street Journal, Neil King, Jr. offers a
frankly disturbing profile of Russell Moore, the new head of the
Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC).
The tone is set by the title of the piece, “Evangelical Leader
Preaches Pullback From Politics, Culture Wars.” Since one man’s “pullback” is
another’s “full scale retreat,” social conservatives have a right to raise
questions about the new course Moore is setting for the SBC.
Conservative Catholics are already expressing alarm at Pope
Francis’s rebuke of the Church for being “obsessed” with issues such as the
sanctity of human life and the sanctity of marriage. If the SBC were also to
abandon the field of cultural conflict, as Moore seems determined to do, the
two largest organized religious bodies in the United States will have ceded the
field and the contest to our adversaries in the battle over societal values.
The Journal notes that Richard Land, whom Moore has replaced as
head of the ERLC, unhesitatingly spoke of a “radical homosexual agenda.” Moore
instead warns conservatives that gays and lesbians are not part of an “evil
While most homosexuals aren’t in some kind of sinister
partnership with nefarious forces, the same cannot be said of homosexual
activists. Wikipedia lists no less than 72 groups in the United States alone
whose mission is to normalize the “infamous crime against nature,” to demand
special rights on the basis of aberrant sexual behavior, to radically redefine
marriage and the family, and to demonize pro-family organizations as “hate
groups” for disagreeing with them.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the Southern Poverty Law
Center (SPLC) and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) are
in fact part of an evil conspiracy to celebrate behavior that according to
Romans 1 is “contrary to nature,” consists of “shameless acts” and causes
participants to “receiv(e)...in themselves the due penalty for their error.”
Yet Moore says that marriage shouldn’t be seen as a “‘culture
war’ political issue.” When bakers, florists and photographers are being
punished by government, when members of the military are being court-martialed
for supporting natural marriage and told told that pro-family groups are
threats to national security, and when the SPLC hate map is used by a shooter
to take a gun into the offices of the Family Research Council, that’s about as
cultural and political as it gets. Someone must stand in the gap and fight for
the First Amendment rights of these victims, especially their fundamental right
to the free exercise of religion.
We cannot and must not surrender when our most deeply cherished
values and the Constitution itself are being shredded. This is no time for the
sunshine soldier and the summer patriot.
According to the Journal, Moore says we must ,“tone down the
rhetoric and pull back from the political fray,” largely because of what he
calls the “visceral recoil” to conservative positions on social issues among
But this is to allow the least mature, least experienced, and
least wise among us to shape our message to the culture. Moore in this instance
seems prepared to follow rather than lead, to go with the flow rather than swim
against the current. But leaders do not follow public opinion, they shape it,
especially when the issues are matters of biblical morality.
Moore warns that we must not be “co-opted” by the political
process. But this seems to be what has happened to him. Even the Journal says
he “is responding to this (cultural) drift.” He appears to have been co-opted
by the slide of young evangelicals into moral relativism and by the Republican
Party elites who want the GOP, in the Journal’s words, “to back off hot-button
cultural issues.” Moore’s softer, gentler Christianity will give him a place in
their inner circle. But it is more important to stand for the right principle
than to sit at the right table.
Moore seems to have forgotten that Christ has not called us to
be nice but to be good. Nice people never confront evil, but good people do.
At one point, Moore says “Christianity thrives when it is
clearest about what distinguishes it from the outside culture.” I could not
agree more. But the clearest distinction we can draw between our values and the
values of secular society are precisely on the issues of life, marriage and
The one value Moore seems to be prepared to fight for in the
public arena is amnesty for those who are criminal trespassers on sovereign
U.S. soil. That hardly seems to reflect the biblical and American value of
respect for the rule of law.
Ralph Reed says the conservative movement has experienced “a
tough defeat” and now must adopt a “shift of tactics.” Someone needs to tell
Mr. Reed and Mr. Moore that surrender is not a tactic.
(Unless otherwise noted,
the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the
views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)