By Sharayah Colter
June 28, 2022
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – On Nov. 28, 2021, Conservative Baptist Network leaders traveled to Jackson, Miss., the city that became the epicenter of the abortion debate in America through the introduction of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case onto the national stage. That fall night in Jackson, pro-life Americans gathered to do what pro-life advocates have been doing since 1973: they prayed for an end to abortion.
Some evangelicals have said they thought the Supreme Court would never overturn Roe v. Wade – that it was too unlikely to warrant a glimmer of hope.
Others agreed it was incredibly unlikely but chose to keep begging God for a miracle.
A few months after the Family Research Council’s Pray Together for Life event in Jackson, Miss., in a moment that will be recounted to future generations on the pages of history books, the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey in a 6-3 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
On June 24, 2022, the unlikely became reality.
“The SCOTUS decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is a tremendous, long-fought victory for life and liberty,” said Texas pastor and Conservative Baptist Network steering council member Jeff Schreve. “Many of us voted the way we did in the 2016 election for this very reason. Although we were chastised by elites for being ignorant and foolish one-issue voters, we praise God for His vindication. Multitudes of babies will now be saved from brutal dismemberment and given the opportunity to live.”
Schreve referred to the 2016 presidential election between then-candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. During the campaign season, Trump committed publicly to nominate pro-life judges for the Supreme Court if he had the opportunity; conversely, Clinton promised to vigorously defend “women’s rights” in her administration if elected.
“Do you want to see the Court overturn Roe v. Wade?” moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump during a debate.
“Well, if we put another two or perhaps three justices on, that’s really what will happen, and that will happen automatically, in my opinion, because I am putting pro-life justices on the Court,” Trump said. “I will say this: It will go back to the states, and the states will make a determination.”
Millions of Christians heard from then-candidate Trump a plainspoken promise to do something for which they had been praying for decades. Daring to believe it might be possible to reverse the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision—a decision responsible for more than 63 million deaths—82 percent of born-again Christians voted for Trump, according to exit polls conducted by Edison Research.
“What millions of Southern Baptists heard from their ERLC president, though, was an outpouring of disdain for Donald Trump,” Louisiana pastor Brad Jurkovich wrote in a first-person article for the Conservative Baptist Network June 25. “Dr. Moore consistently showed a condescending attitude toward anyone who claimed to follow Jesus and who supported Donald Trump—the one presidential candidate who clearly had the conviction to see Roe v. Wade overturned.
“Many Southern Baptists, like myself, were left wondering why they were employing someone like Dr. Moore who openly questioned their Christian witness for simply supporting a presidential candidate who promised to nominate pro-life judges to our nation’s highest court.”
Though Moore issued an apology for some of his remarks, he continued to publicly oppose Trump throughout his tenure as president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC). As recently as the 2022 SBC Annual Meeting, other Southern Baptist leaders have continued to follow suit in speaking derogatorily of those who voted for Trump. Family Church campus pastor Kevin Smith, who serves as the vice chairman of the board of trustees for the ERLC, can be seen in a video recording making comments during an SBC 2022 9Marks event that were later described by Louisiana pastor and Conservative Baptist Network steering council member Corey Smith as “crude and unbecoming of a Christian, let alone a pastor.”
Despite opposition from inside and outside the Southern Baptist family, Georgia pastor and steering council member Mike Stone expressed gratitude for the Court’s historic decision and fortitude to continue standing for life as the battle now returns to the states.
“Today is a day for which pro-lifers have prayed, worked, and voted for years. We have prayed in our churches and homes,” Stone said of the June 24 Court victory. “We’ve worked in our communities and pregnancy centers. And we have lobbied and voted our convictions on what we see as the most pressing moral issue of our time.
“Although many crude and condescending comments have been made about pro-life voters, the overturning of Roe and Casey show why many true conservatives held their noses without bending over in the least,” Stone said in apparent reference to Kevin Smith’s comments at the recent 9Marks event. “The work is incomplete, and it now continues state by state, heart by heart, and life by life. But this is a glorious day of celebration.”
Rod Martin, a layman and Conservative Baptist Network leader, concurred and pointed to the importance of applying existing law to pre-born babies, seeking to provide them equal protection under the law.
“Half a century of tireless work by millions of people was not in vain,” Martin said. “But the battle now begins in earnest. The 14th Amendment guarantees that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. The infant in the womb is a person, and we must now fight state by state and in Washington as well for recognition of that personhood in the law, and for the application of the Constitution to the abolition of abortion from this land.”
Conservative Baptist Network Press reached out to Moore and 9Marks leaders Mark Dever and Jonathan Leeman to offer their perspective on the role the 2016 presidential election played in last week’s overturning of Roe and Casey and whether Christians were right to have voted for then-candidate Donald Trump considering the Court victory, but no response was received by the time of publication.