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Holy Twitter! Trump takes on a top Baptist theologian

Left, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters in Charleston, W.Va., on May 5, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Chris Tilley. Right, Russell Moore leads a June 9, 2014, panel discussion. RNS photo by Adelle M. Banks

(RNS) Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, has mounted a Twitter war with the Southern Baptist Convention’s chief ethicist, the Rev. Russell Moore.

Moore punched first. Outspokenly #NeverTrump from the get-go, he ramped it up this weekend with an op-ed in The New York Times and an appearance on “Face the Nation.”

Moore called Trump’s campaign “reality television moral sewage” on “Face the Nation.”

In the Times, he swung at Trump’s followers citing “threats and intimidation from the ‘alt-right’ of white supremacists and nativists who hide behind avatars on social media.”

Trump struck back via social media at dawn Monday (May 9).

Moore was on it by breakfast time. First, he posted that Trump’s tweet was “sad.”

And then, for good measure, the theologian called down the lightning, citing a passage from the biblical Book of 1 Kings.

Artist Gustave Dore's woodcuts of the Bible include the passage in 1 Kings where the Prophet Elijah confronts the priests of Baal

Artist Gustave Dore’s woodcuts of the Bible include the passage in 1 Kings where the Prophet Elijah confronts the priests of Baal.

This passage is a throwdown between the prophet and the pagan:

“When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?”

“I have not made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the Lord’s commands and have followed the Baals. Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”

Spoiler alert: It doesn’t end well for the followers of Baal.

Elijah destroys the pagan priests and Jezebel winds up eaten by dogs.

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About the author

Cathy Lynn Grossman

Cathy Lynn Grossman specializes in stories drawn from research and statistics on religion, spirituality and ethics. She also writes frequently on biomedical ethics and end-of-life-issues

45 Comments

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  • Dammit Donnie! Now I have to defend you for saying something absolutely correct for once in your life Russel Moore and the rest of the SBC are a bunch of self serving theocrats and bigots.

  • This is too funny!!!! And I mean that in a very sad sort of a way.

    HaaaahaaaaaaahaaaaaaaaaaaaHaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!! I mean, tears of sadness. Yesssssss, precioussss! Yessssss!!!!! Tears of sadness.

    Moore criticizes 2Rump for his alt-right followers? For moral sewage? And all of that lyin’ for Jesus, proclaiming love e sinner and hate the sin when you really mean dominionism, all that promoting I mean not promoting because that would be endorsing but all of that only-southern-baptist-style-Christians-are good-and-moral, proclaiming your love for gay people while vilifying us and blaming us for every single heterosexual based fault, is what exactly?

    Infighting is so funny. It’s like two wolves arguing who is going to eat the vegetarian for dinner.

  • King Ahab(Israel) &wife Jezebel blievd it was their right (FREEDOM) 2 worship any god.Trump & Moore also bliev in SAME FREEDOM.
    But as story goes, they were NOT FREE to worship any other gods…for the 1 GOD killed those that did so.

  • So you are not a big fan of religious freedom. Because as far as I can tell, the freedom to worship any god or none at all is one of the primary liberties of the Bill of Rights. In the first Amendment no less!

    In this day and age you have to put up with people who may worship more than one God or people who worship a different one than you, or none at all. You don’t get to stone them to death or harass them or attack their ability to exercise their faith.

    Your disgust with one of the bedrocks of democratic society is duly noted. I am repulsed, but I acknowledge your right to your views.

  • Joe Bauer: If “God wants Trump”, it is only because he is fed up with our rejection of God in so many ways as a nation. God will allow us to suffer the consequences of choosing such a flagrant ne’er-do-well as Trump to be the Republican nominee. But we will be suffering under Hillary after Trump loses support of the cross-over Democrats who voted for him in the primary.

  • JohnStefanyszyn: You refer to both “Trump & Moore” as believing in “other gods”. Who do YOU believe in, Allah? It’s not clear to me what you’re saying.

  • PoqVaUSA: Correction, I said that “trump & Moore” believe in FREEDOM. This FREEDOM claims it right for each to worship any god. It also proclaims right for homosexuality, bisexuality, gay marriage, fornication, adultery, paedophilia (in some nations), subjection of women, derogatory speech, corruption, to hate, to murder, to war. It is for this self-FREEDOM that Eve & Adam took of the forbidden tree of knowing (defining) good & evil for their self-interests, self desires. Satan asked Eve if they were FREE to take of any and all the trees.
    The answer is NO, but she disobeyed & TOOK, CLAIMED this FREEDOM believing also the lie of satan that she would not die. But the penalty for sin, for missing the mark/this error, is death and Lord Jesus is the ONLY WAY to LIFE.

  • Yes we get that you have issues with living in a place which does not have religious police enforcing arbitrary rules of your faith. Like Iran and Saudi Arabia. Most people, especially those who appreciate freedom, do not.

  • Iran & Saudi Arabia believe in SAME FREEDOM…they believe that they have the FREEDOM & Right (&Religious FREEDOM) to live according to their religion of Islam. They both have confessed this FREEDOM.They believe that it is their right, just as the Vatican (official state) believes in their right to be a Catholic state. This is FREEDOM…each defines right in their own eyes. Christ said to worship the One Creator Who is GOOD and to do this GOOD to the fellowman. But man prefers to have FREEDOM to worship any god and to define “good” as per his desires… for some it includes treating women as possessions, to be homosexual, to be bisexual, to fornicate, to do adultery, to do abortions, to hurt with speech, to claim another’s land&home, to kill, war…..BUT none of these are GOOD in the eyes of the One Creator. Strange how people can justify to live in this FREEDOM seeing the fruit of it.

  • Seriously? God wants Trump? And you know this how? How about not invoking the most sacred name, at which every knee shall bend, with a full-time huckster. Keep Jesus out of this.

  • Good one, Iggy! Good one. I’m laughing so hard my ribs are cracking. Oh wait… here comes a white light. It’s it’s Trump! He put his hand on my side and my ribs are whole. Oh, Donald! You are the Second Coming.

  • So God is fed up with “our” rejection of God in so many ways? So God punishes us, including you? Your God is weak and abusive, and like you know who God is because He probably talked to you and told you what fraud, phony and fake Trump is? Are you Baptist from the South?

  • i am not sure God cares. We haven’t demonstrated that we do. He gave us the choices to mirror our behavior. (honestly i like Trump better but that might just be to show other career politicians, if they don’t clean up their presence is not required. America is full of smart people and it doesn’t mean we have to go to a Trump.)
    In the end, God can make his plan come to pass with any pieces he chooses. he may change his mind, he may forgive, he may do anything and odds are he will. Right now though, i think he is tired of being told where he belongs, what he means by marriage, and what we want to call right that he calls evil.

    Hopefully he has a plan for Trump, or whomever. Personally I don’t think we’ve earned anything from him except possibly on an individual level.

  • I dislike the policies and behavior of both these two. But I’ve got to give Moore points for this:

    “reality television moral sewage”

    That’s hilarious!

  • A good portion of what passes for Christianity dishonors Christ, and always has.
    Ted Cruz said god wanted him to run for president, to be president. Then he quit.

  • I won’t assume what portions those are, Ben, but in general I agree with you. This is not a reason to support Trump,however, and I was attempting to get Joe Bauer to see that Trump is not a reason to praise God. It seems that like a lot of U.S. christians Joe has confused conservative politics with the gospel.

  • God never told any of them to run since his son, Jesus, already became King of God’s kingdom or heavenly government (Daniel 2:44; Matthew 4:17). That government will soon start its millennial rule after replacing all of men’s governments! And hallelujah, which means “praise Jah”, the shortened name of Jehovah, the only true God (Psalm 83:18)!

  • God’s kingdom or heavenly government will soon replace them all (Daniel 2:44)…Amen! Then we humans will finally know and enjoy the “real” life! ❤️?☝️

  • Ya think?

    Nah. couldn’t be. People would NEVER use the bible as a justification for whatever low impulses and violent tendencies they have.

  • What have I done to make things better?

    I support responsible sex education and birth control in order to make abortion a rarity.

    I defend my people against the attacks of dominionists who lie for Jesus– or Mohammed, or Buddha, or brahma– in order deal with whatever garbage they have going on in their minds. I oppose dominionism wherever it raises its ugly head, because I care about freedom of religion. But then, I’m an atheist. It’s what we do,

    I support marriage for gay people because I believe our families, lives, loves, children, faith, freedom, assets and citizenship, how we are treated by our government as every bit as important as those of a former republican congressman who is on his third fornicating and adulterous marriage.

    I give money to organizations that try to feed and educate the poor people of the world.

    I vote for people as much as I can who don’t believe that war is an acceptable means of conducting international relations.

    I could go on, but since I’m not really sure what you are asking, I’ll leave it at that for now.

  • Amen…Trump is the only one who can save America. WE ARE in the end times. We didn’t need a dominionist like Cruz who thought he was going to be King on earth. We only have ONE KING, Jesus! Didn’t need a North American Union from Cruz (Beck) either, so we’d be like the EU. But remember Huckabee and Carson are on Trump’s side. Can’t get this Commie Muslim out of the White House soon enough. God Bless America! You know there were 49 shootings/muders in Chicago again on Mother’s Day…(Black Lives Matter doing really good, as well as Obama’s pal Ram Emanuel.)

  • Good on you. So many people who comment in these things do nothing for anybody else.

    I have only one suggestion. Don’t write Jesus off because of some lying bastard who abuses his name.

  • “Can’t get this Commie Muslim out of the White House soon enough. God Bless America!”
    Reviling, slandering, and lying. and you support 2Rump. Got it.

  • Dr. Moore needs to shut up. It seems Moore discounts anyone as qualified unless they conform to his idea of what is best for the nation. Remember we elected a Baptist Sunday School teacher in 1976 and he turned out to be the worst president of the 20th Century. Perhaps Moore could save some of his scorn for Mr. Carter who recently said “I believe Jesus would approve gay marriage” . If adhering to religious dogma is the test, then Carter would have been re-elected and heralded as the best president instead of being scoffed as the worst.
    I was not a Trump supporter but have resigned to hold my nose (again) and vote for a lesser of two evils. I am a conservative and I am aware that Trump has supported many liberal causes and candidates (as well as republicans) but he claims to changing over the years and I am willing to give him the benefit of doubt. My thinking has certainly changed with maturity. Has Hillary changed from the godless baby killing, pervert loving, lying, cheating and generally dishonest person she has always been? No, she has doubled down and will be even worse than before. it is an easier decision for me to support Trump today than it was for McCain or Romney.
    The SBC needs to be more concerned with the numbers of Americans that support an avowed atheist socialist and a secular humanist immoral woman than a successful businessman who claims to be a Christian but not Christian enough for them.

  • “Moore discounts anyone as qualified unless they conform to his idea of what is best for the nation.”
    But isn’t that your opinion too? Are not elections simply people expressing and selecting based on who they think is best qualified and by virtue of that saying that those they do not select are not qualified?

  • I agree with Russell Moore, which is why I cannot support the Republican nominee if it is Donald Trump. I will not do as some and simply not vote, nor will I vote for the Democrat nominee. I will instead vote for another candidate of one of the other parties which are running for president that best reflects my worldview.

  • Moore is his usual hypocritical self when he goes out of his way to berate Trump while he “honors” Obama, who has done more to harm Christians than any president in history. Trump is the winner of Republican primaries and Moore needs to either get onboard or shut up. I’m sure he will not be so gracious to Mr. Trump should he become president as he is to Obama below:

    “However we voted in the election, let’s pray for God to bless our President. We can pray for him to be granted wisdom and health. We can pray that God would prosper his good ideas, and change his mind on his bad ideas. Moreover, we can teach our children to respect our President, starting with referring to him as “President Obama” or “Our President,” not as “Obama” or “the guy our parents voted against” or what have you.

    There’s a time to vote. There’s a time to campaign. And there’s a time to petition. But, through it all, let’s be the people who, even as we speak with conviction, are marked by kindness and respect. When we have to differ with President Obama, let’s do that, with backbone. But let’s make sure we do all this with honor, with respect, with prayer, and, most of all, with love.

    Let’s render unto Caesar, as free people with natural rights. Because we know as believers that we will eternally say “Jesus is Lord,” we can as citizens temporally say, “Hail to the chief.” – Russell Moore

  • Excuse me, but Russell Moore is simply doing as we are exhorted to do, and that is to pray for all men and for our leaders all who are in authority over us, so that we may lead quiet peaceful lives in all godliness and reverence. ! Timothy 2:1-2.

  • Are you going to hold your breath until he makes the same exhortation for Trump should he be the next president? I know the answer but I’d just like you to consider it. What is good for the numbers and coffers of the SBC is not necessarily what is good for the nation.

  • Getting back to your comment I highlighted. Is that not what everybody essentially does when they vote? They are selecting one person and dismissing the other as either unqualified or not as qualified? I tell you what I’m not going to hold my breath over and that is how far down the food chain Mr. Trump will have to go to get a running mate, since he has as a matter of course engagement in the same slash and burn tactics you accuse Russell Moore of doing. Mr. Trump’s playbook seems to consist of only ad hominem assaults upon those who disagree with his vague positions.

  • Everett,
    That would include all wicked ones (Isaiah 11:4), and all in opposition to God’s kingdom, including political powers (Rev. 16:14,16; 19:17-19). Only meek persons will inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5; Psalm 37:10,11).

  • As Jesus himself said, you cannot slave for two masters; you will either love one, and hate the other (Matthew 6:24). God’s government OR man’s governments? Everyone will need to make their choice at the end. There is no place of fiery torment; only the grave (Eccl. 9:5,6,10).

  • He’s probably a fool who doesn’t understand the requirements for the office, and never read US history. Natural-born Citizen is a different class, and a special class of Citizen that can be a lawful President of the US.

    US Citizen requirement (for Senator for instance) – Naturalized citizen OR born in US to US parents.
    Natural-born Citizen requirement (for President) – TWO US Citizen parents at time of birth & born in US

    It doesn’t get any plainer than that. Every time I challenge a sCRUZ fan on this, they direct me to laws re-defining CITIZEN, but NEVER re-defining NATURAL-BORN CITIZEN.

  • This helps confirm my decision to leave the Southern Baptist crew years ago. Fact- their membership has fallen consistently for years now and for anyone in Moore’s role to act so self righteous and to interject himself into what the people decided is the frontrunner is beyond unreal. Thank God for Trump, our corrupt government is way past due!

  • Jonathon R: Just an observation. I don’t think God changes His mind. God sees the past and the future all in a single glance, so he doesn’t react to unexpected events. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. It may seem to us that He changes His mind, but that is because of our limited perspective.

  • Everett,

    That’s a very peculiar accusation to make. I and most people I know thought Romney was “qualified” to be President; it was just that he stood for lousy policies, ignorant analyses, and greedy grabbers.

    Nobody has ever accused Richard Nixon of being unqualified, yet he turned out to be the biggest killer of American soldiers and innocent Vietnamese of anybody.

    The answer to your question “Are not elections simply…” is No. And it’s a very silly question.

    Cheers,

    -dlj.

  • Russell Moore, Al Mohler, and Denny Burk are the reasons I am no longer Southern Baptist. Sadly, the more they talk, the more irrelevant the SBC becomes. Sad, really, because the SBC, for so many years, had a good thing going. Too bad the uber-fundies are now calling the shots. BTW, I’m not enamored with Trump either, but for me, it’s either vote for him, or not at all. and I’m going to elect Hillary or Sanders by not voting.

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