The Pen

HuffPo Excited About "Moderate," Russell Moore

I’ve used the Huffington Post as an example of the type of media publication Russell Moore is trying to impress. I have mentioned dozens, and probably hundreds of times on the Pulpit & Pen Program, that one day we’ll see the Huffington Post, the arch-uber-mega-hyper-liberal publication founded by Arianna Huffington (pictured above), promote the socially progressive director of the ERLC. That is the day, I have said, you will know that political poles have reversed in the SBC.
That day has come.
We reported to you several weeks ago that the Baptist Message, a newspaper of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, ran an editorial from Will Hall, questioning whether certain of Moore’s actions and positions at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission represent Southern Baptists. From promoting open borders and amnesty to the gay-affirming behavior of Moore’s appointee, Karen Swallow Prior, we have covered all the concerns of Hall expressed in his editorial.
Then, we brought to your attention the support brought to Moore by one of his liberal, gayish friends in the press, Jonathan Merritt. Merritt, son of a Southern Baptist pastor and former convention president, is a left-leaning progressivist himself, whose immersion in Southern Baptist culture allows him to successfully walk the tightrope between worlds of conservatism and fabulous progressivism. Merritt, whose affinity for theological liberalism is far less nebulous than his sexual orientation, likened Pulpit & Pen and other “bloggers” criticizing Moore to “Crazy Uncle Carl.”
But, hey. Russell Moore has partnered with George Soros to push his DNC-building immigration agenda. He’s partnered with the radical Humane Society on animal rights. His appointee, Karen Swallow Prior, has demanded an end to all factory farms even if “the economy of our country be damned” and defended Planned Parenthood against charges of murder, saying that calling abortion murder is “unchristlike.” Moore has called Jesus an illegal immigrant – a charge so ridiculous that it first appeared in the Huffington Post. But we’re all “Crazy Uncle Carl.” Because the Baptist celebrity’s gayish son says so, and he’s not a blogger. He’s an online journalist.
Well, now the Huffington Post has chimed in. Columnist and liberal Lutheran pastor, Martin Marty, writes…

Back to Russell Moore, who is president of the always on-the-spot Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC. He succeeds Richard Land, usually tabbed a founder of the New Christian Right. Moore is perceived as being more moderate, but he knows that the word “moderate” does not always work in the SBC. And Jonathan Merritt, veteran commentator on things Southern Baptist, is not always seen as neutral when addressing his subject.

Marty then recalls the various issues with which Merritt (or himself, presumedly) would whole-heartily agree with Moore, including being “soft” on gay marriage and abortion, being ready to support illegal immigration, renouncing gay therapy, attacking the Confederate flag, and so on.
It’s here that Marty picks up on an important line from Merritt’s piece that I discussed in great detail in the last podcast (listen at the 35 minute mark)…

Was Moore right when he told Merritt: “One thing you have to remember about Southern Baptists is, if you’re 9 percent out in front of them, you’re a trailblazer. If you’re 10 percent out in front of them, you’re dead.”

Moore, you see, isn’t under any pretense that he is supposed to represent Southern Baptists. The “deft touch” (referenced by Albert Mohler at Moore’s ERLC inauguration) that Moore would need to “keep Southern Baptists behind him” is necessary because his ambition is not changing Washington or our culture, but changing the SBC. Land tried to bring change in the Beltway. Moore is trying to change the people and churches who pay his salary.
And with ERLC pulpit reversed, with the choir box becoming the anxious bench, who’s in Russell Moore’s Amen Corner? It’s the liberal media, the likes of the Huffington Post. Marty concludes…

I’ve not met Russell Moore, but I’ve read enough to wish him “Happy 9.5 percent in front” status, relief from Baptist wars, and freedom for happier Baptist worship.

[Contributed by JD Hall]