Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, recently made headlines after a video surfaced in the far-left watchblog named Right Wing Watch where he commented that voting wrongly or not voting at all is being “unfaithful.”
The flames are coming from mainstream Southern Baptist figureheads associated with the Bart Barber-Dave Miller-Dwight McKissic wing. More than anyone, these are the men who shift with whichever way the wind blows in the denomination. Recently, Mohler published a tweet explaining why he supports conservative candidates who support important issues such as the sanctity of life and marriage.
Now, we can add another to the list as new Ethics and Religious Liberty president, Brent Leatherwood downplays the role of voting in the Christian life saying he will not tell people how they should vote.
Leatherwood made these comments in a press briefing last Thursday according to multiple news sources. Stating the he “hopes” people will vote in ways that uphold marriage and life, he added that “I will say it’s not my role to bind anyone’s conscience in terms of how to vote.”
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Leatherwood, who is soft on abortion and who opposed a bill in Louisiana that would have ended abortion completely in the state, signed a letter recently calling on state legislators to decriminalize abortion in all instances for mothers who are seeking them. Leatherwood drew the applause of thousands attending the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in June when he echoed these sentiments, stating here’s the reality, you’re not going to get me to say that a woman who has willfully had an abortion should be behind bars.
Of course, the Bible does tell us how to steward our vote and while it doesn’t specifically tell us which party to vote for, it absolutely tells us what issues we should support. There is no ambiguity in Scripture about this and it’s not a free-for-all. Leatherwood has a responsibility as the “ethics” leader of the denomination to explain to people how to think biblically about issues. But since he can’t really do that on his own, it’s unsurprising that he can lead others to do so.
As we wrote previously, nobody is exactly sure why he appears to be moving in a different direction than many of his Southern Baptist, colleagues, but he is. Some say he’s just shifting with the wind—but the wind appears to be blowing in a different direction than him. As the Southern Baptist Convention drifts further left, Mohler’s conservative rhetoric appears to be moving sharply and decisively to the right on many issues.