Donald Trump attacked popular evangelical leader Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
It was a huge failure.
Moore replied with a tweet saying “Sad”, following it up with a Bible reference, to 1 Kings 18:17-19. The passage describes an encounter between Elijah and King Ahab, in which the prophet tells the king he has “abandoned the Lord’s commands and have followed the Baals” and challenges Ahab to bring his prophets of Baal and Asherah to a showdown on Mount Carmel. The context does not end well for the pagans; Elijah is victorious and they are all killed. Ahab dies in battle and his wife Jezebel is eaten by dogs. CT
Appearing on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press Daily,” Moore said he agreed with Trump. “I am a nasty guy with no heart, which is why I need forgiveness of sins and redemption through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Dr. Russell Moore is the theologian and ethicist who heads the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention. Presumably Trump was responding to Moore’s critiques of Trump. On Sunday, Moore complained about conservative silence in the face of Trump’s “reality television moral sewage.”
“What we have in the Donald Trump phenomenon is an embrace of the very kind of moral and cultural decadence that conservatives have been saying for a long time is the problem,” he said on CBS’ “Face The Nation.” In a weekend op-ed in The New York Times on the importance of racial reconciliation, he had some digs at racist supporters of Trump. He’s been expressing concern, as an evangelical, about the rise of Trump since early in the race.
So that’s the context for Trump’s tweet. Here’s why it failed.
It failed for 3 reasons:
(1) Trump’s Insult Game
The insults might not be charitable. Sometimes they might be deeply unfair. But they do have an air of truth. But point in fact Russell Moore is a wonderful representative of evangelicals and all the good they stand for. His outreach to journalists and other non-Christians (I kid, I kid) has been legendary, and his ability to explain orthodox Christianity to hostile crowds is a godsend. And, far from being nasty or having no heart, he is unfailingly kind and generous. I’m sure there are plenty of people who have their political and theological differences with Moore. But the idea that he’s not a good representative for evangelicals or is nasty is just so completely unfounded as to be laughable. Read full article at the Federalist
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) May 9, 2016