Influential Southern Baptist leader Russell Moore issued a blistering criticism of President Donald Trump and the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol last week and said that if he were a member of Congress, he “would vote to impeach” the president.
“This is not about politics. This is about our country, about the rule of law and about the sanctity of human life,” Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, wrote in a Jan. 11 op-ed posted on his website.
“The president invited mobs to Washington — promising a ‘wild’ time — and told them to march to the Capitol,” he continued. “Despite the fact that there was not one thing that Vice President [Mike] Pence could have lawfully done, the president called him a coward and whipped up crowds against him who, many of them, then chanted ‘Hang Mike Pence!’ while constructing gallows on the Capitol grounds.
“An American flag was thrown down and replaced with a Trump flag, while another insurrectionist paraded a Confederate flag through the Capitol. Police officers were attacked. Congressional leaders hid while the doors buckled from mobs seeking to attack them. People are dead. The Capitol is ransacked. Administration officials are resigning in protest.”
To those defending Trump’s behavior or “changing the subject to a private platform removing an account inciting violence as ‘Orwellian,’” Moore asked, “where, at long last, is your limit?”
Moore stressed that the country “must turn to our Constitution, to the founding principles of this nation, in order to address this.”
The Southern Baptist leader said he understands his stance might cost him his job, but admitted it’s a risk he’s willing to take. In 2017, more than 100 Southern Baptist churches displeased with Moore’s posturing during the 2016 presidential election threatened to withhold funding from the denomination.
“I don’t speak for anyone else, only myself. But you deserve to hear from me what I honestly think. If I were the president, I would resign,” he wrote. “If I were the vice president, I would assemble the cabinet in accordance with the 25th Amendment. If I were a member of Congress, I would vote to impeach. And if I were a United States senator, I would vote to convict. And I would be willing, if necessary, to lose my seat to do so. As a matter of fact, I am willing, if necessary, to lose this seat.”
“Again, I might be wrong. But, if so, propose what can be done to make sure that justice is done and that this never happens to our country again.”
Moore joins a chorus of pastors, influential church leaders, and Christian artists who have condemned the violence in Washington last week. However, few have weighed in on a possible second impeachment of the president.
In a recent appearance on CBN, the Rev. Franklin Graham forcefully spoke against those who broke into the Capitol building, calling them “thugs” who “broke the law.”
However, Graham called the move to impeach the president a “waste of time” and warned it will only heighten political tensions.
“On one hand they talk about unity and bringing the country together but yet you’ve tried to impeach the president a second time,” he said.
“They’re just putting fuel on the fire with this impeachment and it’s going to make the people on the right even more, I think, frantic and I think this is a big mistake.”