Earlier today, Louisville Baptist pastor Joel Bowman posted this open Facebook letter to likely incoming Southern Baptist Convention president Al Mohler regarding his support for Donald Trump in 2020.
Open Letter to R. Albert Mohler, President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Dear Dr. Mohler,
I am writing to you in this medium, because the likelihood of you meeting with me face-to-face is quite low. Moreover, your public remarks require my public response.
Sir, you said during the 2016 election cycle, to support then candidate, Donald J. Trump, would cause evangelicals to lose moral credibility. You also said if you were to support him, you would owe President Bill Clinton an apology, given your judgement of his character. Now, you are endeavoring to be president of the SBC, and suddenly, you announced not only your support for Trump, in 2020, but that you would vote Republican for the foreseeable future. Given your position, as well as the position you endeavor to hold, you did not have to voice support for any candidate or party, in 2020. Further, I think it would have been wise for you not to do this.
1. You owe Clinton an apology. Not to give him one speaks of lack of integrity on your part.
2. Given your influence among Southern Baptists and white evangelicals, as a whole, you have inextricably tied the evangelical movement to the Republican Party, for better or for worse, and,
3. Your book, “Conviction to Lead” no longer has a place in my library. It wreaks of hypocrisy and ecclesiastical opportunism.
It grieves me to say you have, in my estimation, lost all moral credibility. You no longer have a prophetic voice. Now, you simply blend in with popular, politicized evangelical thought. Rather than being an apologist for the Gospel, you have become an apologist for political conservatism. Your assertion that a vote for Trump or a Republican candidate is THE expression of a Biblical world view is myopic and tribalistic.
You once had my high respect, though we disagreed on some secondary and tertiary issues. As a Louisville pastor for 21 years with affiliation within the Louisville Regional Baptist Association, Kentucky Baptist Convention, and some involvement in the SBC, I am deeply disappointed. I feel like ripping your chapter out of the book, “Removing the Stain of Racism from the Southern Baptist Convention”. It is all meaningless chatter, empty rhetoric to me, now.
There was a time I was working toward stronger involvement within the SBC, through the Cooperative Program. Due, in part, to your recent remarks, I am placing this on hold. As an African-American of evangelical theology, I lack confidence in your leadership in the area of Biblical justice.
I pray the Holy Spirit convict you in this area. I say all of this with every ounce of love and respect I can muster, as your brother in Christ.
Rev. Joel A. Bowman, Sr.
Founder & Senior Pastor
Temple of Faith Baptist Church
I feel pretty sure that white evangelicals on average do not comprehend how differently their black brothers and sisters on average see the endorsement of Donald Trump. This is a key sentence:
I feel like ripping your chapter out of the book, “Removing the Stain of Racism from the Southern Baptist Convention”. It is all meaningless chatter, empty rhetoric to me, now.
Here is the most recent illustration of the vast gulf between Donald Trump, his supporters and the minority perspective. Donald Trump tweeted this about the angry, armed, white men who stormed the Michigan Capitol Building in a re-open Michigan protest.
The Governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire. These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely! See them, talk to them, make a deal.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 1, 2020
I cannot believe the results and reaction would have been the same if those protesters would have been angry black men carrying weapons into the Capitol. What a perfect example of white privilege that they were not arrested and got a commendation from the president.
Some of the rallies feature Confederate flags and Nazi slogans and Trump does and says nothing to discourage it. The protesters like him and that’s what matters. You simply have no credibility with most African-Americans if you tolerate white supremacy. There is nothing pro-life about that.