Back when Russell Moore was President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), Dr. Moore decided to help his buddy Kevin Ezell by filing an amicus brief in the case of McRaney V. NAMB. The ERLC’s amicus brief was false. The ERLC was forced to apologize for it. The ERLC even notified the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals about it. And that issue is not dead. McRaney’s superb attorney Scott Gant of Boise, Schiller, Flexner included it in McRaney’s amended complaint.
Let’s examine part of the amended complaint relevant to the ERLC:
NAMB has also engaged in egregious misconduct by its intentional and strategic silence before the Fifth Circuit in this case when a co-SBC-agency—the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC)—filed an amicus brief supporting NAMB’s request for en banc review, containing blatantly false misrepresentations about Southern Baptist polity, on issues before the court of appeals. The ERLC amicus brief inaccurately described the SBC as a “hierarchy” that serves as an “umbrella Southern Baptist governing body over all of the various groups of churches.” After a firestorm of outrage about the ERLC’s false statement, the ERLC ultimately confessed its errors to the Fifth Circuit—albeit only after the conclusion of proceedings before the Fifth Circuit. NAMB, however, allowed the Fifth Circuit to deliberate based on these misrepresentations. NAMB not only failed to disclose that the amicus brief supporting it had been filed by another arm of the same organization (which one of Plaintiff’s experts, Professor Barry Hankins of Baylor University, has described as “analogous to Chevrolet issuing a brief on behalf of Buick, both companies being constituents of General Motors”), but NAMB stood by in silence while the ERLC advanced statements NAMB knew to be false—false statements that an SBC task force appointed to study the incident called “a major legal error.” As that task force explained: “The brief was filed in a federal appeals court on August 21, 2020 with known factual and doctrinal errors.”
Long story short: the ERLC allowed or caused to be filed a demonstrably false statement that it knew was false with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The only relevant question at this moment is: What did Russell Moore know and when did he know it?
And that brings us back to yesterday’s news that the ERLC will provide Will McRaney’s legal team documents but wanted secrecy to do so.
The ERLC documents it is producing to comply with Will McRaney’s subpoena must be very bad for Russell Moore. Why else request confidentiality? They had to know the press would point out the confidentiality request.
Yet, they were willing to risk it.
What does that tell you?
Whatever is hiding in Russell Moore’s emails must be very bad indeed.
It is the only thing that makes any sense. If there were nothing to hide, they would not request secrecy. Yet here we are.
If we assume the ERLC is not totally incompetent—I know. I know what you are thinking. However, I think it reasonable to assume they are somewhat competent.
And it is reasonable to assume they knew the price of the confidentiality request would be media attention with everyone wondering: “What did Russell Moore know and when did he know it?”—regarding the false amicus brief that the ERLC filed on behalf of the then-ERLC President Russell Moore’s good buddy Kevin Ezell.
The Southern Baptist Convention deserves to know not only what Russell Moore knew about the false legal brief. The SBC should get all the facts about every single person in the ERLC who approved the false legal brief.
Also, one wonders if NAMB and NAMB’s attorneys deserve sanctions for their silence about the false legal brief.
As the amended complaint notes, “NAMB, however, allowed the Fifth Circuit to deliberate based on these misrepresentations…NAMB stood by in silence while the ERLC advanced statements NAMB knew to be false.”
That doesn’t seem very honest.
It also doesn’t seem very Christian. However, who is still under the delusion that Kevin Ezell is remotely a Christian?