A quick survey of social media and blogs strongly defending Russell Moore and the Southern Baptist Convention reveals that they all have one thing in common. They are on the teat of the SBC spoils system and are compensated by Russell Moore.
Like baby pigs suckling on the mother sow, these seemingly run-of-the-mill supporters of Russell Moore – in light of the news of the denomination’s executive committee launching an investigation into how his liberalism is affecting financial giving – are wards of the Southern Baptist Convention’s spoil system.
While it may look like grassroots support for Moore, it’s actually astroturf. These outspoken supporters of Moore are almost all interconnected within the ERLC’s vast spoils system, a network carefully crafted by the former Democratic staffer to provide denominationally-funded perks, kick-backs, and compensation for defenders. Make no mistake about it, the man who wanted to be the Democratic governor of Mississippi has implemented pew-funded bribes to those who will defend him from conservative criticism.
Consider the blog, SBC Voices, which has run four articles in defense of Russell Moore in the last 24 hours (they are ordinarily lucky to maintain four blog posts per week on average). The once-prominent but now dying SBC pastor’s blog enjoyed wide readership. However, Moore wisely took unofficial ownership of the platform in 2017 when he appointed Miller to the ERLC Leadership Council, an honor for the small-church Iowa pastor (and an odd offering, considering he’s a tiny church pastor). Since his appointment, Miller has gone from recommending the SBC dismantle the ERLC to becoming its biggest champion. The blog could now be renamed ERLC Voices.
Consider the blog post written by Louisiana pastor, Jay Adkins (published by the ERLC’s SBC Voices). Adkins recommended for years the SBC should “jettison the ERLC. However, Adkins – another small church pastor – has been appointed to the ERLC’s leadership council as well (equally as curious, considering his lowly estate). And now, guess what? Adkins is out throwing elbows for Russell Moore in the blogosphere.
Consider the blog post written by victimologist, Susan Codone, advocating for Russell Moore (also at the ERLC’s Manchurian blog). She engaged in fragility’s “catastrophizing,” claiming the executive committee was engaged in “war-like tactics” and insisting that their investigation is somehow hurting abuse victims and causing them to lose their salvation. Codone was given a speaking position by Russell Moore in Birmingham and launched her career as a professional victim.
Consider Bart Barber, a popular small-church pastor from Texas who is a regular fixture in social media cheerleading leftist leaders (he recently had a feminist and race-baiting Cultural Marxist popular with the ERLC, Dwight McKissic, preach at his church). His social media has been used prominently to insist that outraged conservatives in the SBC are just a tiny minority. Unshockingly, Bart Barber was appointed by the ERLC as a “research fellow” and given press at the ERLC website, an incredible honor for such a small-time pastor.
Pulpit & Pen has already reported how the “research fellow” appointments are used by Russell Moore as knee-breakers and lackeys who do his dirty work in social media. After we ran the article exposing Moore’s weaponizing of the research fellows (who don’t appear to ever do research) against his enemies, the ERLC panicked and immediately took down its public list of names before cleaning it up of more controversial characters and putting it back up again.
Thomas Kidd, the liberal Baylor professor who has been campaigning against Donald Trump and begging evangelicals not to vote Republican over the course of the last year, has been on a non-stop tirade against conservative Southern Baptists and the executive committee since their pronouncement of an investigation was made. Kidd is likewise a research fellow for the ERLC and he is compensated well by constant coverage of his work in the ERLC’s various publications.
Or consider a highly inappropriate tweet by an actual ERLC trustee, Christine Hoover, whose job it is to steward the entity on behalf of Southern Baptists. Hoover publicly expressed her disdain toward the executive committee in a widely-heralded and sensational tweet. One doesn’t have to look far to see that Hoover has a conflict of interest, and has been doled out speaking gigs on the Southern Baptist dime by Russell Moore.
On and on it goes. Russell Moore, who like his mentor, Albert Mohler, is a savvy and consummate politician, has carefully commandeered small-time but influential wards of his state and compensated them well with money, prestige, power, and influence. They are all indebted to the spoils he’s handed out from the Southern Baptist Convention’s four-million-dollar ERLC budget, the majority of which is spent on favors, back-pats, and book endorsements to Moore’s supporters.
The resistance to the executive committee on behalf of these few outspoken Moore supporters looks like it’s genuine. But in reality, it’s a litter of piglets slobbering milk from the teat of the SBC spoils system.