Firing Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) head Russell Moore would damage race relations because it will make ethnic minorities feel less welcome, a Southern Baptist pastor has warned.
In a blog entry on Christmas Eve, Texas-based pastor Dwight McKissic of the Cornerstone Baptist Church tackled the speculations about firing Moore because of his outspoken opposition to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump. For McKissic, sacking the ERLC head would pave the way for the second-largest religious denomination in the U.S. called "Trump Baptist Convention," Baptist News Global relays.
"We shouldn't give Trump that kind of influence over our convention," said McKissic in his blog, adding, "We shouldn't by default say to the public we value loyalty to the Republican brand over a critical evaluation of a Republican nominee for president."
Aside from that, McKissic said firing Moore would solidify the Southern Baptist Convention's (SBC) definition as a Republican organization. He said minorities think Democrats are more sensitive to equality issues, and that Moore can relate to the woes of the minorities.
"Russell Moore really feels our pain. In many ways he is being treated as a racial minority by the convention in this situation," said McKissic. "So to fire Russell Moore is to say to minorities, you are only welcome in the SBC if you remain silent regarding your political views," he added.
Moore drew flak from Trump's evangelical supporters because of his criticism of the Republican and those who backed him during the campaign period. Abilene Baptist Church pastor emeritus Bill Harrell said there are large churches under SBC that are planning to defund the ERLC until the issue is settled, NPR reports.
The Louisiana Baptist Convention is one of the organizations mulling over withholding funds from ERLC because of Moore's political stance. Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who is also a Southern Baptist pastor, also conveyed his shock at Moore's audacity to "insult" the convention that is paying him.
In response to the backlash he has earned, Moore released a statement on his website explaining that he did not intend to criticize Trump's supporters. He also apologized for his anti-Trump comments.