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Russell Moore’s Slippery Terms

Guest Post

National Public Radio—the organization that speaks of infanticide as “women’s rights” issue—seems like a strange place for a pastor to go in order to talk about problems within the church.

After all, we are to judge the things of this world, not be judged by the world (1 Cor. 6:3).

But on February 16th Russell Moore went on NPR to talk about racism in the church. In the talk, Moore denounced the “white supremacist” churchgoers who keep sending him hate mail.

I have seen Moore’s slippery use of terms, but I do not doubt that in this nation of 325 million people there are a dozen white supremacists sending him hate mail.

Here’s the question, however:

Why does Moore see fit to join with those who hate the church in order to talk about internal problems within the church? Furthermore, does Moore seek to be a prophetic voice from the church to the world? Or is he merely a voice from the world to the church?

And why would a faithful Christian want to be the latter?

But enough about motives. Let’s talk about what Moore actually says in his interview.

Here we see an example of the language trick Moore and other “moderates” and Leftists are using to subvert the intentions of the American founders.

Moore said…

“How were people able to be so blinded to something as basic to both the Christian vision of reality and to the American founding documents of the dignity of all human beings?”

Note the emphasis on “the dignity of all human beings” supposedly to be seen in the American founding documents. But the problem is, that’s not the language used in those documents.

The Declaration of Independence speaks of “inalienable rights”—a term Moore explicitly rejects.

Moore doesn’t want to see the founding documents as supporting inalienable rights. Instead he re-interprets them to support “dignity for all human beings.”

This is a seismic shift in language that makes room for socialistic policies; it will easily follow that it is necessary for the state to intervene in the form of a “safety net” in order to preserve the “dignity of all human beings.”

By this shift in language from rights to dignity, Moore seems to appropriate the American founders to become allies to his communitarian viewpoint.

But in fact, their view—inalienable individual rights—is the opposite of what he has in mind. Do I go too far in speculating about the implications of the “dignity” language?

No, I don’t go too far in speculation because the actual position of Moore is as I have said: There ought to be a government safety net so that the government can care for “the least of these, the poor… those who’ve fallen on hard times,” in the words of one of Moore’s fellow travelers.

Where does the “human dignity” rhetoric lead? Exactly where Moore ends up: communitarian welfare statism.

There is one concept Russell Moore will neither advocate nor discuss—inalienable individual rights.

The kind of rights I have in mind (and those promoted by the Founders) are:

  • The right to one’s individual life
  • The right to one’s individual liberty
  • The right to one’s individual property

That last item, by the way, means that no one can take away what I produce, nor prevent me from trading it at a price agreeable to me.

If Russell Moore understood the implications of “human dignity,” he would know that dignity cannot co-exist with policies that treat each person as a tool of the collective, their work as something to be redistributed at the point of a gun to others for the sake of some “common good.”

Conservatives should pray for Russell Moore—that he will renounce his errors and that he will step down from his position of prominence within Southern Baptist life. Until that time, those of us who call ourselves Americans ought to consider pulling all funds from national SBC programs. Why finance an attack on our own values?

[Contributed by Cody Libolt]