The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention issued a non-apology apology Wednesday afternoon for filing a false legal brief with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The non-apology lacked any actual apology to the people harmed by the ERLC’s now admitted lie—Will McRaney and the judges of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. There remains no personal apology or contact from the ERLC to McRaney or any attempt so far to correct the lie told to the federal court.
Instead, the ERLC offered an apology and explanation to the Southern Baptist Convention.
“But there’s no avoiding the fact that there were problems with language in the brief, specifically, language and statements that inaccurately describe Baptist polity and church autonomy and that are inconsistent with the positions the ERLC has repeatedly taken. We wish, instead of joining Thomas More Society’s brief, that we had written our own. We fully recognize this brief created concern and unnecessary confusion. Before we say anything else, let us say – we apologize.” the ERLC said in a release published by Baptist Press.
The ERLC offers incompetence as its defense for spreading lies before the US appeals court.
What’s worse is that the ERLC’s apology is only to the Southern Baptist Convention and not the parties harmed by the lies. No doubt, that’s just what Jesus would expect from the pastors, theologians and Christian ethicists running the ERLC and the SBC.
Compounding its lie in the amicus brief, the ERLC is now trying to assert that Kevin Ezell has a Get out of Jail Free Card to mistreat people because he works with the SBC.
For example, from its statement to Baptist Press, “But the fact that they are organized by and for our churches also means these bodies are inherently religious, and therefore protected by the First Amendment and fully autonomous from interference by the state.”
Are they really this incompetent?
The church is not free from interference by the state if someone in the church commits a crime or injures someone. In fact, if two autonomous Baptist churches were to get into a dispute about the property line between the churches—would the state not be competent to settle the dispute? Of course, it would. Caesar has some jurisdiction even when it comes to dealing with institutions enjoying First Amendment protection.
What the ERLC is doing in this case is trying to pretend that Kevin Ezell’s false, sinful and disgusting acts against Will McRaney are inherently religious. What a despicable use of money given by Southern Baptists to spread the Gospel!
But, hey, what else can you expect from an organization run by a lifelong Democrat and SBC Elite?
This is a scandal. Simply put, the SBC used missions resources to attack a Southern Baptist whistleblower—Will McRaney. Randy Adams, executive director of the Northwest Baptist Convention said it best, “NAMB enlisted three state attorney generals, the ERLC, and First Liberty, among others, in a failed effort to deceive the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. In so doing, they demonstrated a willingness to jeopardize the entirety of the SBC to protect one SBC leader and entity. It’s a classic example of an ‘end-justifies-the-means’ ethic.”
Jesus and the people of the Southern Baptist Convention deserve better than this.
There must be an apology to Will McRaney.
There must be restitution for the harm done to him—biblical justice demands this!
There must be an apology to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and there must be a public repudiation of the amicus brief sent to the judges who reviewed the ERLC’s lies.
Further, there must be a change in leadership. If the ERLC is serious about being sorry, then there must be resignations. Otherwise, it is just cheap talk from folks not really interested in repentance—just holding onto power and money.