How will Catholic Supreme Court Justices respond to the ERLC?

Supreme Court of the United States considers Will McRaney v. NAMB briefs

Now that Will McRaney’s attorney has exposed and dismantled the weak and deceptive legal petition of NAMB to SCOTUS, what will the six Catholic justices of the Supreme Court think when they learn of the ERLC’s false brief and Dr. Russell Moore’s rants against working with Catholic lawyers?

The lobbying arm of the Southern Baptist Convention filed a brief with the Supreme Court in the case of Will McRaney v. the North American Mission Board (NAMB). How will that brief be received after the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) lied in an earlier brief it filed? How will the six Catholic Supreme Court justices receive a brief filed by an organization like the ERLC who’s chief recently engaged in an anti-Catholic tirade?

Six of the nine Supreme Court justices are Catholic. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett along with Chief Justice John Roberts are Catholic. You can read more about them here.

You might remember Russell Moore insulted Catholics and Catholic lawyers with an rant against the Thomas More Society. Dr. Moore, who often works with Catholics, said he did not like working with those Catholic lawyers.

“And I don’t like to have anything to do with something named after somebody who tortured my Protestant ancestors in England,” Dr. Moore said of the Catholic lawyers that he enlisted to file the brief with the ERLC.

How many of the Supreme Court Justices are Catholic lawyers? 1? 2? All 6?

Oops.

Dr. Moore should try to be more winsome. Perhaps he can work on that in his new job with Christianity Today.

Instead, he blamed the Catholics for all his troubles.

Dr. Moore told Southern Baptists that he wasn’t responsible for lies told to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals—despite the ERLC’s name appearing on the amicus brief.

The ERLC’s brief to the Fifth Circuit drew criticism from many Southern Baptist leaders.

The error was exposed and eventually the ERLC apologized to Southern Baptists. However, Moore and the ERLC have not apologized to Dr. Will McRaney–the one harmed by the lie and Dr. Moore’s former professor.

After that, the ERLC filed an apology with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The errors were serious and despite the ERLC’s protestations—were important assertions of fact that put the SBC at risk. These were serious errors of fact and not simply a typo.  

The ERLC’s lies were mentioned in McRaney’s filings with the Supreme Court. Now the ERLC’s lies are forever part of the record of the Supreme Court of the United States.

They have compromised themselves. Will future ERLC’s briefs be read through the lens of this public humiliation?

And for good measure to highlight Russell Moore’s hypocrisy, we have this. Russell Moore who does not want to work with Catholics, filed a brief with the Supreme Court—against McRaney again—and did so with Muslims and Mormons.

The stunning silence of the Southern Baptist Convention

And what about the rest of the Southern Baptist Convention? How does the SBC feel about the legal issues the Supreme Court is now considering?

Since 2017, the SBC’s Executive Committee has known about this case. They have known NAMB’s claims and now we are sitting with briefs before the Supreme Court.

And the response?

Silence.

Silence as NAMB attempts to claim prohibited powers over State Conventions and their leaders.

Silence as the ERLC attempted to deceive the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Silence as the ERLC filed briefs with Mormons and Muslims against a Southern Baptist.

None of this is about contract law. Despite what the Executive Committee has been told—the filings in this case from NAMB argues this is about autonomy, ecclesiastical abstention, ministerial exemption, and Baptist governance (which does not exist). Even hierarchy was mentioned before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Southern Baptists should remember: Qui tacet consentit or Silence implies consent.

The longer the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention and members of the SBC are silent—their silence will be taken as consent for the radical hierarchical claims advanced by NAMB and its cronies. A bad Supreme Court decision could shackle the SBC with legal liabilities and many other troubles.

Hoping the case will go away is not a strategy.

The SBC and the Executive Committee should intervene and repudiate the words of known liars like Russell Moore and the North American Mission Board.