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How Did a Southern Baptist Leader Become America’s Top Lobbyist for Corrupt Policies in a Third World Nation

by | Apr 18, 2024 | News, Opinion, Politics, Religion, Social-Issues, The Church, US, World

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The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission’s (ERLC) Brent Leatherwood’s journey to the center of Southern Baptist policymaking reads not so much as a pilgrimage of faith but rather a trek through the thickets of political activism, where the compass often points left under the guise of “Christian justice.”

Leatherwood’s form of activism, which is a form of “third way-ism,” disguised as “conservatism,” suggests an attempt to straddle the divide between traditional conservatism and progressive ideologies.

Leatherwood’s political trajectory can be traced back to his tenure as the executive director of the Tennessee Republican Party, where his political savvy was honed not on the battlegrounds of polarizing rhetoric but within the more nuanced realms of policy and influence. His ascendancy within the ERLC began under the leadership of far-left political activist and Democrat staffer, Russell Moore, and was essentially a culmination of a career steeped in political strategy and engagement with civic issues.

Yet, it is precisely this background that should lead us to scrutinize the true north of his compass: Does his background point toward a synthesis of justice and Christian ethics, or is he merely using his Southern Baptist platform to advance an ideological agenda out of step with the majority of Southern Baptists.

The crux of the matter is whether Leatherwood’s political activism and policy inclinations harmonize with the chorus of voices within the denomination or is he, and the organization he works for, a rogue entity with no accountability.

In the aftermath of the tragic shooting at the hands of a “transgender” assailant at the Covenant Day School in Nashville—a school that his children also attend—Leatherwood’s response was to wield this moment of vulnerability as a fulcrum for gun control advocacy. It quickly became clear that this wasn’t a measured step toward school safety, it was an exploitation of grief for policy change.

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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.

Leatherwood told the lawmakers that Southern Baptists make up one-fifth of the population of Tennessee and have repeatedly called for ways to reduce gun violence, a seemingly veiled threat by the former leader of the TN Republican Party that he may use his power of leadership over Southern Baptists to sway the vote. “Other voices are saying there is too little time left in this legislative session to consider such a proposal. Little credence should be given to that,” he said in the letter, according to the Tennessean.

His battle did not end at the doorsteps of legislative reform but continued into the halls of public knowledge, where he sought to keep the assailant’s motives—a matter of clear public interest—shrouded in secrecy. It was only when a media outlet pierced this veil, releasing the manifesto that revealed these motives—the manifesto clearly indicated a motive that debunks the left’s prevalent “white supremacy” narrative, hence the massive orchestrated cover-up led by Leatherwood. After the leak, Leatherwood condemned the media with far greater vigor than he had condemned the attack itself.

Leatherwood’s advocacy doesn’t pause at the nation’s internal strife but extends its hand across its borders. Here in the United States, he has consistently used his SBC platform to lobby for lax immigration policies, an approach unquestionably at odds with the concerns many Southern Baptists have about national security and the rule of law. His open borders and amnesty activism further accentuate the schism between his political advocacy and the sentiments of a significant portion of Southern Baptists he claims to represent.

The dichotomy between his domestic and international policy stances is unmistakable. While Leatherwood speaks for, so he says, Southern Baptists, a body whose majority disagrees with him, he stands on the backs of conservative Americans to push policies that are anti-American while lobbying Congress to defend a corrupt nation halfway around the planet.

Let’s break this down a bit. Brent Leatherwood, speaking on behalf of over 13 million Southern Baptists, asks lawmakers to implement harsh and ineffective gun control policies in the United States which would only benefit criminals while also asking Congress to force the American taxpayer to send unlimited guns and weapons to Ukraine—who knows whose hands that will end up in.

Same with border control. As millions of invaders cross the American Southern border, Leatherwood lobbies for amnesty as he pushes Congress to defend the Ukrainian border at the expense of the American worker.

The greater question here is not only are Leatherwood’s political views unbiblical and progressive but what is the role of the denomination in public policy making? Should someone in such an influential religious position use his platform to push political policies—particularly, really bad political policies?

I’m not sure, but I’m inclined to believe that the Church has a duty to speak biblical truth to the conscience of the nation, including to lawmakers, that would influence policies that are God-honoring. But the alignment—or misalignment—of Leatherwood’s progressive political activism with the conservative political and Christian views of most Southern Baptists brings to light these questions. Where is the accountability?

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