What some viewed as forced political homage at the altar of a foreign god (Russell Moore would probably fall here – but more on that to follow), others saw as an unparalleled opportunity, not only to brush up with the fame and bravado that is Donald Trump, but also a chance to publicly, wholeheartedly, endorse the presumptive Republican nominee (Robert Jeffress would be in this camp.)
Nevertheless, nearly 1,000 evangelical “leaders” gathered Tuesday in New York at the summons of Trump’s “evangelical” point-man, who, as an authentic Christian will know, is not actually himself a Christian. Ben Carson, the most media-noticeable face to emerge from the non-Christian cult of Seventh Day Adventists, organized – by specific, targeted invitation – the Trump enclave.
According to Christian Post op-ed writer Michael Farris, a founding organizer of the 1980’s Moral Majority political movement, while invitations to the event were specific, dis-invitations were also extended. In his case, he received a personal visit to explain why he would not be receiving an invite. Apparently he’d been too vocal in his criticism of Trump.
The enclave was intended to bolster what used to be known as the “religious right” or the “moral majority” firmly into the Trump camp. Mike Huckabee, himself a Southern Baptist and former candidate, now Trump supporter, stated that Trump would look back at the meeting as “the seminal event and turning point in taking you to the presidency.”
Prior to the event, the Trump campaign released a list of members on his evangelical executive advisory board. The list reads like a who’s who of TBN-worthy silk suits, including, of course, Ronnie “Armani” Floyd of the Southern Baptist Convention. Floyd, though, was listed merely as “Senior Pastor, Cross Church,” which surely comes as a blessed relief to Biblically-astute Baptists who know the former SBC president to be only just a TBN time-slot away from being the next Creflo Dollar.
The advisory committee includes the likes of Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Robert Morris, James Robison, Paula White, and James MacDonald. Notable Southern Baptists included First Baptist Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress, whose own political man-crush on Trump has been evident for months, and Richard Land, former president of the Ethics And Religious Liberty Commission. Franklin Graham, who compared Trump to Moses and King David, spoke at the event, encouraging evangelicals that Trump gives more hope for America.
Present, too, was Jerry Falwell Jr. who has declared absolution and affirmed Donald Trump to be a Christian. Falwell and his wife even had a photo op with “the Don,” his wife noticeably posed and grinning in front of a framed Trump edition of Playboy magazine.
Absent from the “round up the vote” effort were some equally notable names. Albert Mohler, President of the SBC’s flagship Southern Seminary, tweeted out that he was not in attendance at the vote gathering gala. Neither was Russell Moore, current president of the ERLC. It is also unknown if newly elected SBC president Steve Gaines was in attendance. Equally unclear is if Gaines considers Trump a “brother in Christ” as he does the cult-member Carson.
But Moore, whose chagrin for Trump has been made abundantly clear as, for months, he’s effectively told Christians, particularly Baptists, not to vote for him, was found present on Twitter expressing his terse outrage at the event. (It’s unreported whether Moore received his own personal visit of dis-invitation; presumably Trump’s recent calling him out – many would say correctly – as “A nasty guy with no heart,” was sufficient notice that his absence was expected.)
The hypocrisy of Russell Moore oozes from his tweets. The man has frankly lost all “ethical” credibility. (Outraged Baptists ought also see to the loss of his ivory towered lobbying job, too.) Moore’s liberal social agenda has aligned the SBC with everything from Muslim mosque builders to the very crux of apostasy on the planet, a/k/a Rome … but he’s gonna blast attendees at an American political rally? (Anyone remember when Moore lauded the Pope being named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year?)
Calling out those in Trump’s attendance for applauding rightly identified charlatans, Moore fails to acknowledge his own applause and fawning over Pope Francis. ((Is that aroma called “Papal Eau de self-righteousness?” Where does he buy that … and, is it paid for with tithes and offerings or is it a love-gift from the Vatican?)
How is it a more egregious sin to meet with a man that may become our President, and applaud those in attendance, than it is to intentionally – not by invitation only – hand-hold with Islam or voluntarily back slap with the antichrist of the Tiber? Moore mouths one anathema all the while caressing more certain curse-worthy causes deemed acceptable to him, though hardly amenable to Bible believing Southern Baptists from whose tithes and offerings he is paid.
Well, when YOU are the President of the “ETHICS” agency of the largest protestant denomination in America, then you get to make that call. You get to define right from wrong. You also become, apparently, conspicuously immune to response-worthy criticism and, when legitimate queries are forthcoming, you, too, can assume your own form of smug, Pharisaical self-righteousness in response to presumptuous questioning upstarts from amongst the plebian tithers that support you.
If anything, perhaps, surely someone in the crowd of spiritual superstars cornered Trump and shared the Gospel with him, despite what Falwell has pronounced. Since Moore wasn’t present, maybe Ronnie Floyd did it; but … then again … it seems Trump doesn’t need the false promises of a “name it – claim it” theology. He already had a room full of charlatans at his beck and call … missing, of course, one notable, if not ignoble, ethicist.
[Contributed by Bud Ahlheim]