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Disingenuous ERLC Head Calls for Felony Charges Against Officer Who Released Trans Shooter’s Manifesto

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Yesterday, we reported that someone had released the manifesto of the transgender Nashville school shooter who killed six innocent people earlier this year. Audrey Hale, a woman who identified as a transgender man, who previously attended The Covenant School in Nashville, a private Christian school, was shot and killed by police officers during her deranged shooting spree. Brent Leatherwood, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) also has children enrolled in the school.

Leatherwood, along with a minority coalition of other parents in the school, had been seeking every possible way to stop the release of the shooter’s written manifesto to the public, and had been successful in preventing the release for several months.

The Nashville shooter was revealed, as suspected, to be racially motivated in her attack. In fact, the manifesto, which was released yesterday, clearly demonstrated a motive that was built upon the ideologies of Critical Race Theory and anti-white sentiment. Leatherwood, knowing this, had claimed that the release of the manifesto and the motive for this person’s attack was not important and would “re-victimize” the parents and students at the school.

However, in the 2019 El Paso shooting, the ERLC believed that the motive for the attack was important. But that attack was motivated by “white supremacy,” a narrative they had been pushing as a dangerous and deadly ideology.

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But since the motive for the Nashville shooting went against the narrative of “white supremacy,” it became clear that the release of the information wouldn’t be deadly to others, but would instead be deadly to Leatherwood’s and the ERLC’s cause. After the release of the Nashville shooter’s manifesto yesterday, Leatherwood held a press briefing with arguably one of the most disingenuous displays of passion I’ve ever seen—it was borderline sociopathic.

It was abundantly clear that he was not passionate about the supposed “re-victimization” of people, rather, he was upset that what he was desperately trying to cover up is now known to the public. And what he was trying to cover up is the fact that the shooter was motivated by an ideology and narrative that he has staunchly pushed over the last several years. And for that, he’s calling for the felony prosecution of the person who released the manifesto.

The notion that the release of this manifesto would “inspire” copycat attacks is bogus and dishonest at best. If he were truly concerned about stopping copycat attacks like this one, he would know that releasing this manifesto would expose to the public the toxic nature of Critical Race Theory and hope that the public would begin to reject such ideologies instead of embracing them. But he does know this—so then why did he want it hidden? Everyone knows that if this had been a racially motivated attack against black children, he would be fighting tooth and nail for its immediate release.

Leatherwood, as the head of the ERLC and successor to Russell Moore, has been a staunch advocate of Critical Race Theory and other anti-white ideologies over the years. In 2020, Leatherwood penned an article at the ERLC proclaiming that the United States has been racist since the very first explorers set foot on American soil. He writes:

Since explorers first set foot on the shores of what would become our nation, we have been marred by racist ideology. Whole economies were set up on the premise that one race should enslave another. Even institutions that may have been well-meaning in their design were created from one particular racial perspective to the detriment of our brothers and sisters of color.

Of course, this is an absurd claim that every single American explorer was “racist,” but what makes it worse is that Leatherwood continues to push this narrative today. “We must first recognize the evil of white supremacy in our midst and call it out for what it is,” he writes, painting it as the primary evil of today, indoctrinating people like Audrey Hale into believing the only solution is to kill white people. He continues:

we should speak not just for the sake of the church, but for the purpose of bettering the public square where, currently, white supremacy has gained a foothold in our politics. It has done so through the vehicle known as the Alt-Right Movement. While attempting to disguise itself as some form of political conservatism, this “movement” is nothing more than a scheme to peddle white nationalism.

Of course, Leatherwood isn’t calling for the killing of white people, by no means. But what he is doing is laying out a case that “white supremacy” is an ongoing and unsolved deadly and oppressive problem in this nation that needs resolution. And while Brent Leatherwood says he believes the gospel will solve the problem, people who aren’t Christians won’t get that. For them, this false narrative of white supremacy (which, by the standards of ideologies like Critical Race Theory, extends to LGBTQ, women, and even children in some movements, as oppressed people) can only be solved by the elimination of the oppressors—white people (or those they deem aligned with “whiteness”).

Are we saying that Leatherwood is directly responsible for what this trans-shooter believed in her written words in this manifesto? No, of course not. But I do think it’s safe to say that he understood that the narrative he has promoted over the years was congruent with the motive revealed in this manifesto, and that, at the very least, was embarrassing to him.

But what’s really peculiar is that while he was desperately fighting to hide the anti-white sentiment in the manifesto, Leatherwood was also desperately using the tragedy as a reason to push extreme gun control legislation. And he did so under the official banner of the Southern Baptist Convention, claiming that it was the will of Southern Baptists to do so.

In a letter addressed to Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, House Speaker Cameron Sexton, and all members of the legislature, Leatherwood presents an appeal from both his personal experience and on behalf of the majority Southern Baptist sentiment, according to The Tennessean. He urged lawmakers to ensure that no school in Tennessee ever has to endure the same nightmare as the Covenant School tragedy again.

On official Southern Baptist ERLC letterhead, he wrote the following letter:

I believe that we haven’t heard the end of this yet. Something else is being hidden, something in that manifesto will reveal something more sinister. The disingenuousness of Leatherwood’s post-release press briefing and the look on his face, the fake tears, and the fake passion tell us that it is much more than the “re-victimization” of the families at this school that he’s concerned about.


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