In an age where the clarity of conservative conviction is often clouded by the fog of political double-speak, the ERLC’s endorsement of the recent Senate border bill is a bewildering affront to the very constituents it claims to represent. The bill, masquerading as a solution to the immigration crisis, is in truth a Trojan horse, ushering in an era where the floodgates are flung wide open, allowing thousands of illegal crossings a day before any semblance of enforcement rears its head.
This so-called border bill is an open invitation, a legislative red carpet rolled out to welcome a daily caravan of illegal aliens. It codifies a threshold so high that by the time action is mandated, communities will have already felt the brunt of this policy paralysis. According to this bill, thousands of illegal immigrants will be allowed to cross the border daily without intervention from border security. Not to mention, this bill provides over 70 billion in tax-payer-funded aid to overseas “border security” programs in places like Ukraine and Israel, while only appointing roughly 20 billion in funding to our own border crisis.
While the ERLC sings praises of “bipartisanship” and lauds the “hard work” of senators involved in this atrocious bill’s creation, it turns a blind eye to the concerns of its own Southern Baptist base. The bill’s language is not merely lax but loathsome to any who understands the repugnance of such legislation. Despite this, the ERLC has not only bought, but is parroting the leftist propaganda surrounding this bill and feeding it to Southern Baptists in the form of praise. At the ERLC, Heather Daniels writes:
These are lies and there is absolutely no sound reason to believe that the measures in this bill would reduce mass illegal immigration. The ERLC’s applause for what even many have now forsaken, including former Republican champions of the bill, is a grim revelation of its detachment from the conservative base of the Southern Baptists it purports to voice. There is a chasm, wide and growing, between the ERLC’s public positions and the rank-and-file Southern Baptists across America. The organization, led by Brent Leatherwood, like his predecessor Russell Moore, continues courting favor with the currents of a progressive agenda, contrary to the convictions of its conservative constituents.
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Leatherwood, in 2023, attempted to rally support for gun control measures in Tennessee on behalf of the Southern Baptist community. This push for what is clearly a minority view within the SBC, and certainly not a biblical view, further highlights the disconnect between Leatherwood’s personal political agenda and the broader perspectives within the Southern Baptist Convention.
And last May, in an open letter to Congress, Leatherwood sparked another controversy within the Southern Baptist Convention. Leatherwood’s perspective on immigration and the “pathway to citizenship” not only fails to represent the conservative views within the rank-and-file SBC but also represents a departure from a Biblical perspective on law and order.
Keep in mind, rank-and-file Southern Baptists don’t get to attend annual meetings and vote on policies and the annual meetings are designed in such a way to exclude the masses of smaller, more conservative churches that can’t afford to fly their messengers across the country for several days to attend and vote. That’s another issue, but not one that is irrelevant to the current political crisis in the denomination.
The history of the ERLC is marred by many examples that raise eyebrows and questions alike—questions of representation and responsibility. As the annual meeting looms on the horizon, the time is ripe for the rank and file to call for a reckoning. A censure of the ERLC and its leadership not only sends a signal of disapproval but also serves as a call to realign with its biblical mission that was meant to be the compass of Southern Baptist social engagement.