Moore’s critique of Trump draws media focus
    December 11 2015 by David Roach, Baptist Press

    Southern Baptist ethicist Russell Moore has renewed his criticism of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, drawing a wave of media attention for denouncing the businessman’s proposal to temporarily prevent all Muslims from entering the U.S.
     
    “Anyone who cares an iota about religious liberty” should denounce Trump’s “reckless, demagogic rhetoric,” Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, wrote in a Dec. 7 blog post that had been shared 17,000 times on Facebook by the morning of Dec. 9. In addition, the post was republished by The Washington Post and The Christian Post.
     

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    Image captured from CNN video

    Media outlets across the country reported on Moore’s comments, and he appeared on CNN Dec. 8 to discuss Trump.
     
    A Dec. 7 press release from Trump’s campaign said the candidate is “calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” The release cited a Center for Security Policy poll that surveyed 600 Muslims in the U.S. this summer, according to the group’s website, and found 25 percent believed “violence against Americans here in the United States can be justified as part of the global jihad.”
     
    Moore wrote that government has “a limited authority” and “cannot exalt itself as a lord over the conscience.”
     
    “The government should close the borders to anyone suspected of even a passing involvement with any radical cell or terrorist network,” Moore wrote. “But the government should not penalize law-abiding people, especially those who are American citizens, for holding their religious convictions.”
     
    Baptists long have regarded religious liberty as a Bible-based principle, Moore wrote, noting that Revolutionary-era Baptist preacher John Leland – for whom the ERLC’s Washington office is named – specifically defended the religious liberty of Muslims.
     
    “Make no mistake,” Moore wrote. “A government that can shut down mosques simply because they are mosques can shut down Bible studies because they are Bible studies. A government that can close the borders to all Muslims simply on the basis of their religious belief can do the same thing for evangelical Christians.”
     
    On CNN, Moore said Trump’s proposal sounds more like “a science fiction movie released for Christmastime” than rhetoric from “the presidential race for the office held by leaders such as Washington and Lincoln.”
     
    Moore continued, “The freedom of religion is not a government grant. Donald Trump did not give it to us, and he can’t take it away. God gave us freedom of religion and conscience.”
     
    Some voters likely support Trump “because he is giving an appearance of strength and toughness over a president who seems not to know what to do,” Moore said. But Trump’s proposal to protect America by asking people, in effect, to “hand over [their] freedoms” is “a bad bargain.”
     
    “What we need is to have somebody deal with the repressive regimes and structures in the Middle East, and protect the homeland from terror, and do it within the framework of the U.S. Constitution,” Moore said.
     
    Amid discussion of Trump’s latest comments, Moore tweeted a link to an op-ed he wrote for The New York Times in September, arguing “evangelicals and other social conservatives” must “repudiate everything they believe” to support Trump. He noted Trump’s apparent character flaws, his support of gambling, his past support of abortion rights – though Trump now says he is pro-life – and his “slurs against Hispanic immigrants.”
     
    “We should ... count the cost of following Donald Trump,” Moore wrote. “To do so would mean that we’ve decided to join the other side of the culture war, that image and celebrity and money and power and social Darwinist ‘winning’ trump the conservation of moral principles and a just society.”
     
    (EDITOR’S NOTE – David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention's news service. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists' concerns nationally and globally.)

    12/11/2015 11:48:07 AM by David Roach, Baptist Press | with 0 comments
    Filed under: CNN, Donald Trump, Religious liberty, Russell Moore




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