‘Our Lord Isn’t Woke.’ Southern Baptists Clash Over Their Future – The Wall Street Journal
Written by on June 11, 2021
Evangelical Christians were a regular presence in the Trump White House. They laid hands on the president as they prayed for him, stood at his shoulder as he signed executive orders, and saw vindication for their support in his antiabortion policies and conservative judicial appointments.
Now, the Southern Baptist Convention, the country’s largest and most influential evangelical denomination, is at war over what direction it will take after the Trump presidency.
One faction argues the SBC should step back from its role in electoral politics in order to broaden its reach and reverse a 15-year decline in membership. Another faction says the denomination has been drifting to the left, and the way to retain and attract members is to recommit to its conservative roots and stay politically engaged. Each side accuses the other of straying from the SBC’s core mission.
The internal fissures exploded into public view when Russell Moore, the SBC’s top lobbyist in Washington and a frequent critic of Donald Trump, unexpectedly announced his resignation in May. Last week, letters he wrote criticizing other high-ranking SBC officials over their handling of sex-abuse allegations and attitudes about race became public.
Mr. Moore’s sudden departure comes as the group’s president, J.D. Greear, ends his term this month, leaving two of the denomination’s most prominent jobs, which help define evangelicalism, open at once.