‘False Piety and Self-Righteousness’ Used In Case Against GOP Nominee

November 2, 2016

By Jack Richardson IV

Jack L. Richardson IV is a Louisville attorney and former Chair of the Louisville Jefferson County Republican Party, member of the Kentucky Republican Party Executive Committee.  He is a former student at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, former member of the Foundation Board at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and currently an associate of the foundation.

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the Louisville Courier.  Jack Richardson IV has been gracious enough to give us permission to run this article.

Nothing sparks controversy and division faster than religion and politics and rightfully so because an error in either has profound consequences.  This presidential election is an existential choice between freedom and a generation of ingrained and institutionalized corruption.  There will be no redo in four years if we choose wrongly.

Consequently, the opinions of those that influence the ignorant masses matter, which brings me to the significance of recent statements made by R. Albert Mohler Jr., President of the Southern Baptist Theological seminary and Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, who recently weighed in on the presidential election.  On CNN and in his article in the Lexington Herald-Leader, Mohler was warning people within the faith community to keep their distance from Donald Trump.  Elsewhere they have said they would not vote for him.

I have been a member of the Foundation Board of Southern Seminary for years and am currently an associate of the foundation, a seminary student and have donated thousands as well as given annual grants to professors.  I and others on the board could not disagree more with Mohler’s position on Trump.  Moreover, many professors disagree as well, but can’t speak out.

Mohler’s house is divided.

Not all opinions are equal.  Some are informed, many are not.  Mohler’s and Moore’s “Never Trump” position I find borne of false piety and self-righteousness.  In this election, the premise is not based upon the greater righteousness or sinlessness of one candidate over another.  The correct premise is comparing the policies of each candidate and how that will impact the nation.

Trump was not my choice, but he is now.

I make no excuses for the man and if he were as bad as Hillary Clinton, his policy positions would still win the day for me.

We all know his sins.  As scripture says, any man who says he is without sin is a liar, 1 John 1:8.  At lease we know Trump’s sins.

We don’t know the sins of the “Never Trump” crowd, do we?  Do we know the sins of those who teach and preach in our religious institutions and seminaries?

I’m sure if some of the content of the discussions in closed-door meetings of Moore and Mohler while others were present were disclosed, the hypocrisy of their stand on Trump would be humiliating and humbling.  Perhaps that is what is needed.

In critical times when the choices are not good, a choice nevertheless has to be made and doing nothing is not an option.  As Charles Spurgeon, one of the most famous preachers of the last 150 years, said, “There is nothing more deadly than self-righteousness.”

At a charitable banquet in September in Louisville, Mohler, with great praise, introduced as the guest speaker Dr. David Platt, author of the New York Times Best Seller, “Radical: Taking back your faith from the American Dream.”  He is also president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board.

Dr. Platt condemned “Political Neutrality” as wrong.  I wondered how Mohler was going to reconcile this incongruity in his own position on Trump.

It’s not so surprising that Russell Moore is a “Never Trumper,” as he was always fond of reminding me that he was a Democrat.  Of course he could never reconcile how his support for the positions of his party was at such odds with his Christian faith yet he continued supporting what is abjectly opposed to what donors who support his institution pay him to do.

In other panel discussions, Moore justified his position by stating, “You can lose an election and live to fight another day.”  No, you can’t.  Clinton will pack the Supreme Court with leftists who will come after our liberties with a vengeance.

The big question I have is how many of the donors and those on the Seminary’s Foundation Board are aware of the political positions Mohler and Moore have taken.  How many throughout Baptist congregations would continue to support the institutions they lead?

At a recent God and Politics Forum at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with Cal Thomas, Mohler tried to support his previous statements that he could not vote for Trump.  Thomas clearly enunciated there and in his published columns the flaw in Mohler’s position, as have others.  Essentially Mohler’s position is a wasted vote and will place Hillary into the White House.  In 2012 millions of conservatives, (mostly self-proclaiming Christians) did not vote.  They in effect re-elected Obama.  They have relinquished any right to complain.

As Dr. Platt so aptly put it, “political neutrality” is wrong and I’m sickened and disgusted at the self-righteousness of those conservatives and Christians who believe they are accomplishing something with not voting because some candidate doesn’t measure up to their sin-meters.  They deal and negotiate and choose between sinful people every day of their lives, yet become super holy and falsely pious when it comes to voting in this election.  This is about policy, not personality.

Pardon my asking, but where have Mohler and Moore been over the last 30 years of Hillary Clinton’s life of political scandal?  And, if my memory serves me correctly, they swallowed the camel on Romney (if they are going to be theologically consistent), but choked on the Trump gnat.  It’s all contrived and disingenuous if not intellectually dishonest.  There is no scriptural basis for their positions.

Hillary hates the religious community.  In a speech before the Women’s World Summit on April 23, 2015, she was quoted: “Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will.  And deep-seated religious beliefs have to be changed.”

The recent release this week of leaked emails show Hillary’s disdain for religion and particularly Catholics and Evangelicals.  Religion is in Hillary’s cross-hairs.

At a recent fundraiser with Barbara Streisand, Hillary called millions of Americans irredeemable and deplorable.  That’s totalitarian code language for you are not fit for our re-education camps (our public schools today) so you need to be eliminated.

The “Never Trump” crowd barely ever mentions Hillary Clinton in their reasoning.  All the self-righteous “Never Trumpers” focus is on Donald Trump

There is no tomorrow after a Hillary Clinton presidency.  There will be no electoral means for a Republican or conservative acceptable to the “Never Trumpers” to regain the White House.

Wake up!  We are staring down the barrel of a permanently entrenched one-party government and ruling class.  The penalty for self-righteousness in this election will be the loss of your freedoms.

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John K

I am reading a book currently that is titled I Know Best by Rodger L. Simon. This book deals with Moral Narcissism in our society today and what it can mean for this Countries future. I would strongly recommend it to all Americans and especially our leaders in this country and churches. We are living in a world where actual ideals and even truth are beside the point. This book deals in depth the issues Jack Richardson IV is pointing out in this article.

Moral Narcissism has taken over our Church Leadership to the point that some promote and support non existent candidates.

“We live in our own skins with our own feelings, our joys and pains, reacting to our own friends, family, and coworkers. For most of us, that is our world, at least the most important part of it. The ability to exist comfortably within a social sphere is a significant measure of our sanity. If that ruptures, our peace of mind and that social sphere begin to disintegrate.

That has been the outgrowth of moral narcissism in our culture. It has divided us almost as no other phenomenon. America is a nation emotionally divided because it is ideologically divided and quite rigidly so. Our families are split, many of our lifelong friendships damaged or destroyed. Terrified to think anew, people retreated to the traditional views they had had for decades, in many cases since childhood. Now we often live in silence with each other, unable to speak about the most significant things for fear they will cause the situation to get worse, that we will alienate each other further and cause the social fabric to explode.

Almost all of this is because moral narcissism has made us adhere so closely to our ideas, even to identify our entire personalities with them in the most precise manner, when that would not be necessary at all. ”

Excerpt From: Roger L. Simon. “I Know Best.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/66ljbb.l

Excerpt From: Roger L. Simon. “I Know Best.

J C

“Mohler’s and Moore’s “Never Trump” position I find borne of false piety and self-righteousness.”

Goodness. Why don’t you say that to their faces, rather than lob such stones from over here in your ivory tower. Your rhetoric is unfit for the Kingdom.

    norm miller

    Your comment rings hollow, J.C., when you decry the insulation of the “ivory tower” while hiding behind the anonymity of two initials.

    Rick Patrick

    JC,

    First of all, Mr. Richardson is a lawyer and certainly does not need me to defend him. However, since he may not check this comment stream that often, let me simply say that I believe he has indeed said these things to Mohler and Moore face to face.

    Having served as a Trustee at their seminary, he has rubbed shoulders with them on a number of occasions, and each knows the other’s political views quite well. Thus, Richardson is not at all guilty of lobbing charges in print that he has not also spoken to their faces.

    On the other hand, your charge against Richardson has been made here in print, in the so-called “ivory tower.” I wonder whether or not you have spoken these words to Richardson face to face. Perhaps you have. If so, you have rescued yourself from hypocrisy.

    As for rhetoric being unfit for the Kingdom, Jesus called other people “snakes” and Paul recommended that the Galatian Judaizers cut off their man parts. The Kingdom appears to tolerate rhetoric much harsher than that used by Mr. Richardson here.

    Lydia

    JC,

    Both Mohler and Moore are public figures who have made public statements. It is perfectly ok to respond to them publicly. It is ok to respond to words and actions of public figures. If your rule is it has to be said to their face, can you guarantee facetime? It sure would protect them from dissent on their public words, wouldn’t it? Which is exactly what they want,

    Moore, the SBC entity employee, claims many who pay him are immoral for supporting Trump. If that does not reek of false piety and self righteousness, I don’t know what does. At the very least, he should step down and refuse the money and perks he receives from such immoral people. He can be a real man, for once.

Tom Fillinger

I am re-posting this – previously posted on 10/24. The current political drama has drawn some folks into the mud and caused them to start favoring ‘Political Slush’ over ‘Sound Theology’. I could name names but then I may become tainted as well. Let the Word of God reign supreme. Read Psalm 2:4-5.

Pragmatism is a blight on Theological integrity. God is SOVEREIGN. He does not need our feeble and fruitless compromises in the direction of history and the fulfillment of his purposes. What Does The Text Say?!! Do right and trust His beneficent and wise ordering of all events.

    norm miller

    If pragmatism by definition and practice could *never* accomplish something positive or righteous, then I would agree with you.

Jeff

Whoever is running this site needs to realize they are bearing false witness against Mohler and Moore. They are not neutral in their political views.

Christian’s need to learn that the church does not grow through political process. There is too much damage done by Christians supporting an unrepentant adulterer and sexual predator. Hillary is bad too. No amount of Hillary badness makes Trump’s flaws ok. It is not false piety when a person acts according to their faith. It’s people like Robert Jeffress, James Dobson, and Jerry Falwell who are doing damage to their gospel witness by having one standard for Democrats and a different standard for Republicans.

    tom

    Jeff: Amen and Amen!!

    Rick Patrick

    Jeff,

    The charge of “bearing false witness” is both serious and inaccurate. Jack Richardson has just as much of a right to his opinion of Mohler and Moore as they have a right to their opinion of Trump. Those who “run this site,” including yours truly as Publisher and Kyle Gulledge as Editor, are not “bearing false witness” when we publish the opinions of well respected Southern Baptist laypersons such as Jack Richardson. Goodness, Richardson has even served as a Trustee at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky!

    On the much lesser charge of whether or not we are “neutral” in our political views, I am inclined to agree with you. I think it is fair to say that, like most Southern Baptists, Kyle and I have a much greater appreciation for the platform of the Republican Party than that of the Democratic Party. Who says that we have to be “neutral?” Is CNN neutral? Is the New York Times neutral? Is the Huffington Post neutral? Most news outlets, including websites, have an editorial philosophy or point of view that is clearly reflected in their content. We make no apology for ours.

    Regarding your statement, “Hillary is bad too,” I am in complete agreement. In fact, I believe much of Richardson’s article is seeking to elaborate upon this very point. The issue is not that Trump is fantastic. Richardson includes a paragraph that basically says, “Trump is bad too.” But the larger issue, it seems to me, from Richardson’s perspective, is that Mohler and Moore have gone to great lengths to disparage Trump, but have spent relatively little time criticizing Clinton.

    Finally, your point about people having one standard for Democrats and another for Republicans can also be applied to Mohler and Moore. I think Richardson is pointing out that they appear to have a double standard when it comes to their criticism of Presidential candidates. I happen to agree with Mr. Richardson. Clearly, you do not. That is one of the great things about free speech in America. We are free to share our opinions publicly. Blessings upon you today.

      Robert Vaughn

      Rick, I think Jeff was not referring to SBC Today’s neutrality or lack thereof, but rather to Jack Richardson’s charge of “Political Neutrality” in reference to Mohler and Moore. I wondered about that too where I read it, whether “neutral” fairly describes their positions. Not being one who hangs on their every word (or hates their every word), I don’t know whether it is accurate or not. To me, neutral would be advocating withdrawing from the process and not voting. Is that what they are saying?

    norm miller

    Whoever is *reading* this site needs to realize that the author of the article, and not this site, is the owner of the post. Would you say the Bible bears false witness b/c it reports the lies of others? (That is not to say the author of the posted article is a liar.)

    The church grows thru the sharing of the gospel. But that most important mission of the church can be hindered by the political process. Let’s talk James Madison and the Separation of Church and State, e.g. One can make the case that the church grew b/c of Madison’s political involvement.

    I would not accuse Mohler or Moore of false piety. I know them both and have deep respect for their love for God. I would accuse them of bad judgement, however. Particularly Moore, whose early “Never Trump” rants jeopardized the tax exempt status of the ERLC.

    If “Never Trumpers” want to be consistent, then let’s her them castigate Hillary and her supporters to the extent they do such to her opposition.

      Jeff

      Rick,

      You must not listen to Dr. Mohler and rely on what you read. He spends more time speaking against Clinton and the Democratic Parth than he does Trump and Republicans. These two are villainized by this site for two reasons: they break the mold of how white southern baptists vote and they are Calvinists. There is no other reason why this was posted.

      (The ‘they’re not neutral’ comment was aimed at Mohler/Moore. I misused my pronouns.)

        Rick Patrick

        Jeff,

        Regarding Mohler, you have a point. In fact, it may not be fair to lump Mohler in with Moore in a group evaluation, for I agree with you that Mohler does say more critical things about Hillary than Moore does. Both, however, are nevertrumpers, which is the reason this was posted.

        Along with the author and with you, I believe they are out of step with how most Southern Baptists vote. It was this failure to represent our position, and the additional accusations made against Southern Baptists who vote for Trump, that resulted in the piece being published.

        You mentioned Calvinism as an additional concern. That was not raised by the author of the post or by anyone else in the comment stream. Obviously, like most Southern Baptists, I disagree with Mohler’s Calvinism and Moore’s Amyraldism. But soteriology is irrelevant to the present discussion.

        Lydia

        “You must not listen to Dr. Mohler and rely on what you read. He spends more time speaking against Clinton and the Democratic Parth than he does Trump and Republicans. These two are villainized by this site for two reasons: they break the mold of how white southern baptists vote and they are Calvinists. There is no other reason why this was posted.”

        Not sure where to start with the fallacies.

        Is Mohler “speaking” privately? Are you referring to his words during this election season in particular or his culture war radio broadcasts going back years…or what? you made a declarative statement without backing it up.

        Russ Moore has been making points here and there relating to “white SB’s” since his promotion in various media settings. . Why on earth would a man in his position promote a race culture war division? What is up with the group think of pitting groups against one another as believers? Are we not to judge fruit of individuals –not groups of white or black?

        If Moore s a Calvinist then all was pre ordained anyway so why is he stirring up hate and division for the politicized race war and insulting a lot of people who pay for his salary and perks?

        I hope the SBC eradicates the ERLC. Defund it. I see nothing but trouble for the foreseeable future. It was a bad idea. Cut the losses. Oops, I forgot Mohler controls SBC resources.

        norm miller

        Would to God that Moore, Mohler, et al, were as incensed about Calvin’s murder of Servetus and about the murder of Anabaptists by the Reformers as they are about the Donald. It seems hypocritical that the ‘nevertrumpers’ would diss the Donald and champion those (Reformation Day — blechh!)who killed their fellow believers because those believers — our Baptist forebears — rejected paedobaptism and were staunch in their conviction of believers only baptism. The Anabaptists were caught in a political situation and gave their lives for it when the Reformers were afraid to reject infant baptism. Kinda hard for me as a Baptist to champion those who were responsible for the murder of believers for political ends. Political correctness of that day was to baptize babies, and if you didn’t go along, then you were burned at the stake or drowned.

Lydia

Tom, it is amusing to see you defending Mohler and Moore. Of corse it is perfectly ok with Jeff that Moore “Bore false witness” against many SB’s who just disagree with him and hus using his position to campaign. He implied they were immoral. So it goes. Politics make for strange bedfellows, as they say.

Jeff, the official Republican Party despises Trump, too. :o)

    Tom Fillinger

    Lydia – I did not mention any person or persons in that post. I stated a valid and long standing Theological Principle – the God of the Ages is ABSOLUTELY SOVEREIGN and does not require the pragmatic manipulation of puny mortals to accomplish His purpose in the unfolding of history. Your repentance is awaited with an apology for the exercise of omniscience of which you do not possess. Thank You!

Lydia

Hi Tom Fillinger,

I responded to a “tom” without the “Fillinger”. Is that you, too?

    Ron

    What did “tom” without the “Fillinger” say other than “amen & amen” to which you could have responded? Did you mean someone else?

      Lydia

      Ron, sorry, I missed this. I was a bit surprised to see “tom” without the Filinger so heartily amen and amen Jeff’s comment that we are “bearing false witness” against Mohler and Moore. Tom has been an outspoken critic of both and has been staunchly anti CR. It goes to show politics makes for strange bedfellows.

Robert Vaughn

Jack Richardson: “Hillary hates the religious community.”

This is a hatred that will be visible in her presence and her policies. We talked about this (Trump v. Clinton) at the end of our adult Bible Study Sunday morning (we are not afraid to discuss such matters, of which a Barna Survey says God’s People Want to Know). The general consensus among our people (none of whom will vote for Clinton, but not all will vote for Trump) is that, yes, Donald Trump is an old reprobate, but his policies will not actively undermine Christian principles on such issues as abortion, homosexual marriage and so forth. Clinton will be active in her opposition to biblical Christian principles.

Bill Mac

It is troubling to hear people suggesting that the Republican party essentially owns the Christian vote, and that Christians who refuse to vote for the nominee are somehow stealing from the party and thus sinning against God. The author does not want Christians to be led by their conscience but rather by his conscience. How exactly does he know that closed door meetings with Moore and Mohler would reveal a hypocrisy that would humiliate them He suggests that perhaps these private meetings that contain some heinous sin should be made public. Why doesn’t he do it then? And if he doesn’t have proof of what he is saying, why is he saying it? Does he think catching Moore and Mohler in some egregious sin will help elect Trump?

Barry E Templeton

Why are the two still allowed to speak for the SBC? Moore has been so pro Muslim and liberalism which goes against everything the SBC stands for, or did.

    Tom

    Barry:

    You say that Moore has been pro liberalism. Can’t be–the CONSERVATIVE RESURGENCE got rid of all of them–wink-wink.

Chris

I think people should read Romans 14 before judging other people for not voting for Trump. Everyone should be allowed to vote their conscience even if you don’t like the way they are voting. People can vote for Trump, Hillary, Johnson, or no one, and still love Jesus. Christians need to stop demonizing other Christians for not voting “my way.”

I understand that a lot of Christians will vote for Trump because he promises conservative supreme court justices and they believe they have to vote for someone. Fine. Other people feel differently. Until you show the verse that says, “Thou shalteth voteth my wayeth.” Stop villifying everyone who doesn’t vote your way.

Jim Poulos

This is the overlapping of Ages that all of creation is travailing under. It is ‘this present evil age’, Gal. 1:4, and ‘the age to come, eternal life,’ Luke 18:30 No one at all, except the Lord Himself can unravel to the source of the problem.

If that is the case, a little humility should be expected from all those who name the name of the Lord.

Nelson Banuchi

As I see it, those voting for Trump are not doing so on the basis of any merits on his part but on the demerits of his opponent. This seems to be, also, the ground of your choice for Trump: “Trump was not my choice, but he is now. I make no excuses for the man and if he were as bad as Hillary Clinton [which he is,in my opinion], his policy positions would still win the day for me.”

Well, you might object and say your voting on the basis of his “policy positions.” What are his policy positions? Oh, you mean the Republican party’s policies because they are certainly not any policies he personally espouses, unless it is something to gain him approval from whatever crowd he seeks approval from.

    Bill Mac

    Nelson,

    As I see it, those voting for Trump are not doing so on the basis of any merits on his part but on the demerits of his opponent

    I don’t think that’s completely true. High profile evangelicals like Jeffress, Falwell, are enthusiastically supporting Trump. I have seen evangelicals excusing the Access Hollywood incident. I have seen them supporting the killing of the families of terrorists and suspect there are many who support the stealing of Iraqi oil, both of which are war crimes. There are certainly some Christians who are voting for Trump only as a foil for Clinton, but let’s not fool ourselves into thinking there aren’t evangelicals who eagerly support Trump.

Tom

That Southern Baptist can vote in good conscience for a candidate who has married three times and has said that he has never asked God for forgiveness tells me that all the concern over liberalism was a flat out lie. These are beyond sad days for Southern Baptists.

Lydia

Tom, now we know Hillary and her staff knew about Anthony Weiner, her chief of staff husband, sexting teen girl in 2011 and did nothing. They protected him. He subsequently went on to victimize even younger girls. She has consistently, over 30 years, been a predator enabler for for her husband and now Weiner for political expediency.

    tom

    How do you know?–you obviously hate anything Clinton so you wish to believe this IMO.

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