On Friday, January 8, the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) hosted a conversation with its president, Dr. Russell Moore, and policy communications director Jeff Pickering on the storming of the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday. During the conversation, Moore deemed signage at the “Save America” rally, hosted by President Trump in hopes to halt the certification of his electoral defeat, and a subsequent breaching of the Capitol, blasphemy because of their infusion with Christian symbols.
Moore called Wednesday’s events an “insurrection and act of domestic terrorism.”
Hours before Friday’s conversation, Moore sent a tweet in which he asked Trump to “please step down and let our country heal.”
Asked about the tweet on Friday, the ERLC president responded that “this is a moment where the entire country is waiting to see what will happen next,” and in light of this, “we have to have stable, unifying leadership in this country.”
Moore likened Trump’s reaction (or lack thereof) to unifying leadership during times of crisis in the past, such as President Bush calling the whole country together after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, President Obama after the Mother Emmanuel Church shooting, President Reagan after the Challenger explosion, and President Ford after Watergate.
If Trump were removed from office before the inauguration of Joe Biden on January 20, as Moore advocates, Vice President Pence would assume the position of president.
“Whatever one thinks of Vice President Pence, he carried out his duties on Wednesday with sobriety and brevity,” Moore stated regarding the Vice President fulfilling his Constitutional obligation to certify the electoral results of November’s election, against the wishes of Trump and his supporters.
During Friday’s conversation, Moore emphasized the religious, overwhelmingly Christian, signage infused with pro-Trump memorabilia at Wednesday’s rally. Following the insurrection, he penned an article for the Gospel Coalition in which he stated that he was trembling with rage following Wednesday’s events. “One of the reasons that I was so trembling with rage was because of the signage — building gallows along with signs that say ‘Jesus Saves’ — those two things do not go together,” Moore stated.
“That is blasphemy,” he continued. “That’s why we [Christians] have a responsibility to say this is what Christianity is and this is what Christianity is not.”
On Monday, Moore posted an article on his website, titled “The Roman Road from Insurrection,” in which he describes where the country can go from here by looking solely at the Book of Romans. He prefaced the recommendations with an analysis of what led to Wednesday’s mob and description of his own personal political convictions during the Trump presidency.
Using only lessons from the Book of Romans, Moore depicts a five-part path forward. His guidance is that truth cannot be brought about by lying, good cannot be brought about by evil, justice demands accountability, integrity demands consistency, and hope starts in lament.
Moore also focused on the Book of Romans during Friday’s conversation. He quoted Paul’s letter as seen in Romans Chapter 3 in which he states, “Let God be true as though everyone were a liar.” He connected this to Wednesday’s events, stating, “You cannot employ lies for the service of anything that is righteous,” in regards to some rioters believing that mobbing the Capitol was a means to a righteous end.
In closing, Moore asserted that Christians have a special role in the public square in the country as “we can pray for the coming of Jesus,” and that pastors addressing their churches over the weekend could focus on this message, along with lamentation. “Jesus is on his throne and there’s no one who can shoot his way in there.”