Prominent Southern Baptist leader Russell Moore attacked Republican frontrunner Donald Trump over the weekend, and The Donald shot back on Twitter Monday morning. Moore called Trump’s campaign “reality television moral sewage,” and Trump called Moore “a nasty guy.”
Russell Moore is the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and he had been opposed to Trump’s candidacy throughout the primary. Speaking on CBS News “Face the Nation,” Moore declared that “character matters” is a key tenet of conservatism and that “virtue has an important role to play in our culture and our politics.”
“What we have in the Donald Trump phenomenon as well as in the Hillary Clinton phenomenon is an embrace of the very kind of moral and cultural decadence that conservatives have been saying for a long time is the problem,” Moore declared. He attacked “conservatives who were saying in the previous Clinton era that character matters, and rightly so, who now are not willing to say anything when we have this sort of reality television moral sewage coming through all over our culture.”
Trump shot back on Monday morning, tweeting this:
.@drmoore Russell Moore is truly a terrible representative of Evangelicals and all of the good they stand for. A nasty guy with no heart!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 9, 2016
The Donald’s decision to defend himself is not surprising — after all, Moore did hit him pretty hard. The irony is that Trump, a man with a very checkered religious and moral past, is attacking Moore as a “terrible representative of Evangelicals and all the good they stand for.” This attack is likely to lose Trump whatever currency he had among believing Christians familiar with Moore’s work.
Moore spearheaded an early movement of believing Christians against the real estate tycoon — his efforts are nothing new. His influence likely led the Christian Post to oppose The Donald on Super Tuesday. That outlet declared that “Trump does not represent the interests of evangelicals and would be a dangerous leader for our country.”
The Christian Post further added that Trump is not a Christian. “There are certain non-negotiable actions need to become a Christian: One must repent of their sins and follow Christ as Lord and Savior. Trump doesn’t talk this way, even when urged to.” Indeed, beyond any offensive statements he has uttered, The Donald has bragged about cheating on his wives and sleeping with other men’s wives. Given this history, his statement that he cannot remember asking God for forgiveness is rather telling.
Next Page: Trump is not a good standard bearer for Christians concerned with morality.
In a recent New York Times op-ed, Moore declared that opposition to the real estate tycoon would put evangelicals “on the right side of Jesus.” He attacked the xenophobic elements of Trump’s platform, insisting that “the man on the throne in heaven is a dark-skinned, Aramaic-speaking ‘foreigner’ who is probably not all that impressed by chants of ‘Make America great again’.”
To say that Trump is a terrible standard bearer for believing Christians who value morality highly should not be controversial. For all of his attacks on political correctness, The Donald is not exactly a standard bearer of traditional morality.
Polls have shown that Trump won people who identify as “evangelical” in many states, but Ted Cruz beat him in areas where Christians actually go to church. Nevertheless, there is a silver lining in The Donald’s success — it reminds Christians that we are primarily citizens of heaven, not of earth.
Over the weekend, Moore declared that many Christians cannot vote for either Trump or Clinton. These voters “believe there is something more than politics: a good conscience.” Trump’s response? People like this are “nasty…with no heart.”