Concerns with the American Charter and Russell Moore’s Involvement

Cody Libolt
Jan 5, 2019 · 4 min read

My main concerns with the American Charter are:

1) Its call for pluralism (Article 14)

2) Its compromise position on individual rights (Conclusion)

3) The creators and signatories.


Here is the full document.
Importantly, here is the list of who is involved.

Why is Russell Moore signing this? It is a document about “tolerance” created by a large number of liberals and Muslims.

Here are some passages that trouble me:

Freedom of religion and conscience will make pluralism more likely, just as pluralism will make this freedom more necessary. Pluralism represents and respects a “dignity of difference” that must not be leveled by coerced uniformity. But without freedom of religion and conscience, and the civility that accompanies it, social pluralism may well give rise to a “danger in difference” that yields conflict, weakness, and disunity. A healthy democracy requires enough common ground to nourish and protect the freedom to be faithful to disparate ultimate beliefs. When rightly ordered through a respect for freedom of religion and conscience for all, a pluralism based on the dignity of difference has proven itself the only solid and enduring foundation for peace, strength, and harmony. (Article 14 — Dignity of Difference, 26)

“Pluralism” means something. It is not merely an approach that gives liberty to people of differing views. It is an approach that grants credibility to people of all views.

While it is true that we live in a society composed of many cultures, some cultures are better than others. Pluralism denies that truth.

As our society expands its protections for freedom and rights for all, especially for minority groups that face discrimination, it is essential that we ensure that freedom of religion and conscience be protected. Although it is not always possible to uphold both nondiscrimination and religious liberty claims in particular cases, both claims should be taken seriously, and both sides should seek common ground. Religious and ideological factors are today an inescapable dimension of the search for peace, order, and stability around the world. These aims will be achieved only by recognizing the rights of all, including the indispensable place ultimate beliefs have in human life and, therefore, the crucial importance of freedom of religion and conscience for all. The wisest and most successful settlements of religion and public life are nothing more than the best so far. The “great experiment” remains just that. We therefore present this declaration as our best judgment of today’s peril and promise for freedom of religion and conscience. And we call for a renewal of the American covenant through which “We the people” once again pledge to each other our dedication to these unifying first principles and to the resolution of present and future controversies within their framework. We set out this Charter in the hope that others will advance and refine these affirmations in their turn, attempting always to build a freer, more open, and more just America — an America that promotes the flourishing of all its people while also contributing to a more just and more peaceful world. (Conclusion, 29–30)

The document calls for a more “open” America. What is meant by this? Is it referring to the leftist paradigm of “open societies” vs “closed societies”?

In signing this statement with a large number of prominent leftist and Muslim leaders, Russell Moore, a paid advocate for the interests of SBC members, continues his pattern of speaking up for non-Christians while saying nothing about the massive and escalating infringements of the rights of Christians in this country.

To sign on with a document supported by a coalition of this type is to signal affinity for their concerns — which ought not to be.

While Christians ought to care about equal rights for all, principled Christians should not lift even one finger to assist the agenda of groups explicitly hostile to Christianity or to the security of our nation.

There is a limit to how much “tolerance” should be given to those who profess a desire to overthrow the government — and who then run for office(!) It is concerning to see Russell Moore taking a stand for groups that are known to take advantage of tolerance until they come to power.

In light of Moore’s previous statements about rights (he holds that rights are never absolute), it is particularly troubling that he has signed a document such as this, that offers no principle for adjudicating competing claims:

“It is not always possible to uphold both nondiscrimination and religious liberty claims.” (Conclusion, 29)

From Moore’s previous words, it would seem that expediency and compromise are the only standards on offer. Read about Moore’s position here and here.

What the SBC and faithful Christians need today is more voices for individual rights. That is something you will not find in Russell Moore, nor in this document of “tolerance.”

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