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IN PRAISE OF THE POPE, AMNESTY, AND ENVIRONMENTALISM: MEET THE ERLC’S RUSSELL MOORE

~~Russell Moore was inaugurated as the eighth president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of The Southern Baptist Convention on September 10, 2013 and has quickly transformed the agency into a champion for social justice.  Indeed, Moore’s public statements on a host of issues, such as illegal immigration, environmentalism, Romanism, racial reconciliation, and the Trayvon Martin shooting often are spoken with a politically left-leaning tone and have raised serious concerns among rank and file Southern Baptists. 

Russell Moore’s Democrat Party Past

Moore does not hide his past affiliation with the Democrat Party.  In fact, he speaks with great pride about his service to former 4th District Mississippi Congressman Gene Taylor.  Moore writes, “I started my young adulthood working with the greatest public servant I’ve ever known, a pro-life, Roman Catholic, Democratic United States Congressman named Gene Taylor.”(1)   Let that sink in:  “The greatest public servant I’ve ever known.”  This great public servant twice voted for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House and voted with Pelosi 82 percent of the time. (2)   In his 2010 campaign for reelection, which he subsequently lost to Republican Steven Palazzo, Taylor bragged to the heavily Republican district that he voted for McCain in the 2008 presidential election, but when pressed about his 2000 and 2004 votes for President, he said, “I’m not being evasive. I just don’t remember.” (3)  Most people would believe it to be very unlikely that a ten-term congressman and the greatest public servant Russell Moore has ever known would not remember how he cast his vote for the highest office in the land.  It is undeniable the Democrat from Mississippi had a profound impact upon an impressionable Russell Moore – an impact that affects him to this day.  It should be noted that Moore gave at least $4,800 to the Gene Taylor for Congress Committee in 2010. (4)

Russell Moore’s Pragmatic Ecumenism
While it is undeniable that Moore is solidly pro-life, anti-homosexual marriage, and believes that homosexuality is a sin, his positions on a number of issues are baffling to conservative evangelicals.  For example, in a recent tweet, Moore praised Time Magazine’s choice of Pope Francis as Person of The Year. (5)   A review of the comments associated with the tweet indicates surprise among Moore’s followers.  Indeed, the tweet begs the question, “why would Moore praise the selection of the leader of a false religion as Person of The Year?”  Perhaps the question can be answered by postulating that Moore has a bigger goal in mind:  “[Dr. Moore] has allied with the Roman Catholic Church and other religious groups to make the case that overhauling the U.S. immigration system is a Christian goal.” (6)  Who are these “other religious groups?”  Two groups deserve special mention.  First, is the ultra-liberal group Sojourners, headed by Jim Wallis, who recently affirmed his support of same-sex marriage. (7)   Wallis has consistently taken positions on social issues that are to the left of conservative evangelicals.  Second, is the Evangelical Immigration Table, which defines itself as “a broad coalition of evangelical organizations and leaders advocating for immigration reform (read: amnesty) consistent with biblical values.” (8)   Unbeknownst to most conservative evangelicals, the EIT is funded by none other than the radical Socialist, left-wing financier, George Soros.  As a result, the usually ecumenical Eric Metaxas disassociated himself from the EIT.  He tweeted, “Did you know George Soros was behind the Immigration thing I signed but then had my name taken off? Yikes.” (9)  And a few hours later, Metaxas tweeted the following: “Anything Soros is behind is worth quitting.  So glad I’ve had my name removed from this.” (10)   Undeterred, Moore apparently believes his goal of immigration reform outweighs any potential questions that might arise from associating with radicals, religious or otherwise. 
Moore’s support for immigration reform is well documented, and perhaps best illustrated by this infamous quote:  “…our Lord Jesus himself was a so-called “illegal immigrant.” (11)  This statement is as absurd as it is unbiblical.  Moore merely makes the assertion without specifying which, if any, Egyptian immigration laws Jesus’ family violated and without cites no biblical evidence.  Moore further writes, “The Christian response to immigrant communities in the United States cannot be ‘You kids get off of my lawn’ in Spanish.” (12)  Few, if any, evangelical proponents of legal immigration advocate such an approach to the problem of illegal
immigration.  However, Moore often employs this type of rhetoric to claim the moral high ground in order to brand dissenters as uncompassionate and unbiblical.  It is interesting that Dr. Moore refuses to use the term “illegal immigrant,” but instead prefers the term “undocumented immigrant.”  It is clear, regardless of the term Moore employs, that he is squarely in the camp of granting amnesty to illegal immigrants residing in the United States and is willing to work with even the most liberal theologians and politicians to achieve his goal. 

Russell Moore’s Environmentalist Agenda

On April 20, 2010, a tragic accident occurred in the Gulf of Mexico when the British Petroleum Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and spilled oil into the Gulf for eighty-seven days until it was capped on July 15, 2010.  Horrible images of wildlife covered in oil and video of the spewing well were displayed daily on the nightly news.  Understandably, people wept and prayed over what was a terrible accident.  However, Dr. Moore did not categorize this event as a tragic accident.  Writing on June 1, 2010, Moore referred to his hometown of Biloxi, Mississippi as “oil-drenched crime scene.” (13)  In the same blog post Moore writes, “Caesar’s sword is there, by God’s authority, to restrain those who would harm others (Rom. 13). When government fails or refuses to protect its own people, whether from nuclear attack or from toxic waste spewing into our life-giving waters, the government has failed.” (14)  Eventually, the Obama Justice Department agreed and charged BP with violation of environmental laws, the two highest ranking BP supervisors on the Deepwater Horizon rig with manslaughter, and a former Executive VP with obstruction of Justice. (15)   In the final analysis, Moore was in agreement with the criminalization of an accident.  It is telling that Moore cites Romans 13 to argue for the United States government prosecution of an oil company for a tragic accident, but ignores Romans 13 when advocating amnesty for illegal immigrants.
Moore promotes what he calls “creation care” in another blog post following the Gulf oil spill.  He writes, “There’s nothing conservative though, and nothing ‘evangelical,’ about dismissing the
conservation of the natural environment.  And the accelerating Gulf crisis reminds us something of what’s at stake…remember: real conservatives protect what God loves.” (16)  Once again, Moore speaks as if evangelical conservatives who oppose a radical environmentalist agenda oppose protecting our God-given natural resources.  Most conservative evangelicals are not looking for the next rain forest to cut down or the next stream to pollute, but favor an aggressive, yet balanced energy program that includes offshore drilling.  Unfortunately, energy production means that there will be unforeseen (not criminal) accidents occasionally.  Southern Baptists should call upon Dr. Moore to clearly articulate his position on “creation care” by asking him specific questions about energy production, etc. (17)

Conclusion

What is to be expected from Russell Moore during his tenure at the ERLC?  Expect more cooperation with and praise for the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church.  This is not to say that Moore agrees with the RCC doctrinally, but he will be very cozy with them on a number of social issues.  Secondly, expect Moore and the ERLC to be a champion for his view of social justice.  This means amnesty for illegals will be at the top of his agenda.  Unfortunately, it appears that the runaway amnesty train has left the station, never to return.  However, a conservative evangelical denomination should have no part in it.  The conclusion here is that Dr. Moore’s ecumenism, social agenda, and environmentalism are out of the mainstream of most conservative evangelicals.  Express your concerns by contacting him at http://erlc.com/erlc/contact/ or on Twitter at @drmoore. 

 

Footnotes:

 

~~1.  http://touchstonemag.com/merecomments/2006/03/conscience_fait/
2.  http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1010/44119.html
3.  http://majorityinms.com/2010/10/27/who-did-taylor-vote-for-in-2000-or-2004/.
4.  http://www.campaignmoney.com/political/contributions/russell-moore.asp?c...
5.  http://twitter.com/drmoore/status/410773045356146688
6.  http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1010/44119.html
7.  http://www.christianpost.com/news/jim-wallis-now-supports-same-sex-marri...

 8. http://www.redstate.com/2013/06/27/the-latest-george-soros-group-the-eva...
9.  http://www.nationalreview.com/article/362055/evangelicals-and-immigratio...
10.  Ibid.
 11. http://www.russellmoore.com/2011/06/17/immigration-and-the-gospel/
 12.  Ibid.
13.  http://www.russellmoore.com/2011/06/17/immigration-and-the-gospel/
14.  Ibid.
 15.  http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2012/November/12-ag-1369.html
16.   http://www.russellmoore.com/2010/05/01/the-gulf-of-mexico-and-the-care-o...
17.   Two attempts were made by this writer to contact Dr. Moore by email in 2010, but received no reply.
Subsequent attempts to contact Dr. Moore via social media resulted in this writer being blocked on Dr. Moore’s social media sites.  Additionally, a comment made on Dr. Moore’s blog was deleted.