Christian Leader Says He’s Ditching the “Evangelical” Label; Where Was He for the Past Few Decades?

Credit where it’s due: Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, is openly criticizing evangelical Christians who are jumping on the Donald Trump bandwagon, despite the candidate’s obvious disdain for evangelical values and actions. Moore at least sees through the façade.

Now, in a piece for the Washington Post, he explains why he’s not calling himself an “evangelical” (at least until the election is over) and how secular critics were right in our criticism of the Religious Right:

shutterstock_229247320

For years, secular progressives have said that evangelical social action in America is not about religious conviction but all about power. They have implied that the goal of the Religious Right is to cynically use the “moral” to get to the “majority,” not the other way around.

This year, a group of high-profile old-guard evangelicals has proven these critics right.

He goes on to say that there’s hope (for his side) since younger evangelicals are parting ways with the old guard and following a Christianity that isn’t automatically tied to the Republican Party.

But let’s be clear: This isn’t just about Trump. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio — and Ben Carson if he still matters — are also candidates whose goal is to use religion as a way to get into power and then make life worse for poor people, minorities, non-Christians, the LGBT community, and everyone else who doesn’t fit into their ideal Christian mold.

This isn’t new. It’s been going on for decades.

Evangelicals helped create this political reality. Just because they don’t like the guy who’s winning doesn’t mean they’re not to blame for making it happen. They’ve long rewarded candidates for speaking their language and promoting this warped idea that we live in a nation that ought to reward you for being a Christian. If they’re upset because the GOP frontrunner is someone who seems to have only discovered religion last year for the sake of political expediency, let them squirm.

To put it another way, evangelicalism was ruined long before Donald Trump got here. It’s a toxic way of thinking — in addition to just being flat-out wrong on matters of science and sexuality.

If Moore really cared about these issues, he should have ditched the evangelical label — and the SBC, while we’re at it — a long time ago.

(Image via Shutterstock)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.