By Chris Turner and Lonnie Wilkey
NASHVILLE — Former Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission President Russell Moore and then-ERLC board chair David Prince committed a “blatant deception” by consciously concealing from ERLC trustees information that was eventually leaked to the press ahead of the 2021 annual Southern Baptist Convention meeting and that was intended to “trigger a polity and trust crisis among SBC messengers.”
The claims were made in a letter obtained by the Baptist and Reflector and written by Jonathan R. Whitehead, attorney and ERLC at-large trustee. It was sent Sept. 17, 2021, to Ronnie Floyd, president/CEO of the SBC Executive Committee, Bruce Frank, chair of the SBC Sexual Abuse Task Force, and Julie Myers Wood, attorney with Guidepost Solutions, the third-party firm hired to investigate the SBC’s handling of sexual abuse claims.
And regarding the SBC’s sexual abuse crisis, Whitehead also states that ERLC staff was itself resistant to sexual abuse reform initiatives, writing that ERLC staff believed that the SBC and ERLC could “never satisfy” some of the victim advocates, namely Christa Brown who called for the SBC to initiate a sexual offender database.
According to Whitehead, the full ERLC trustee board had no knowledge of the explosive 4,000-word February 2020 letter Moore wrote more than a year before his resignation and prior to its being leaked to the press. Among many statements Moore made in that letter, he was critical of Floyd, SBC EC Chairman Mike Stone and actions taken by the EC to appoint a task group to study the ERLC’s impact on Cooperative Program giving. Later in that letter Moore wrote that some people “want me to live in psychological terror.” [Read more…]