In a blistering speech to a gathering of Christian thinkers, the chairman of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission declared the end of the politically connected "Religious Right."
Speaking to an audience at The Institute on Religion and Public Life last week, Russell Moore tore into Christian leaders who have backed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
"Some of these mostly evangelical political leaders have waved away misogyny and sexually predatory language as 'locker-room talk,' thereby defining deviancy down," he offered.
Looking back on the birth of the Religious Right, Moore argued that today's version has become the very people the founders of the movement cautioned against.
"The people who warned us to avoid 'moral relativism' now tell us that we should compare our choices not to an objective moral standard, but simply to the alternative," he pointed out.
Continuing, he said today's evangelical conservative political lobby has lost its mooring. "A religious right that is not able to tie public action and cultural concern to theology of gospel and mission will die – and will deserve to die," he said.
And in fact, he added, is destined to die as younger evangelicals rediscover confessional, orthodox faith, and fidelity to moral issues like life and marriage, but not to political parties.
Dr. Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of First Baptist Dallas, has been backing Trump since the primaries and was no doubt one of the targets of Moore's speech. He says the only way to rescue culture is to engage with it politically.
"As I read his speech, I had to wonder if Russell would have criticized Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a pastor, for using politics to pursue the civil rights movement," he tells OneNewsNow.