In the wake of the Supreme Court leak on the Roe v. Wade decision, secular and religious groups have been at each other’s throats trying to figure out what to do next as the longstanding Supreme Court decision guaranteeing women the right to abortion is overturned. What’s sad, however, is that the most influential branch of the Southern Baptist Convention has been working overtime to defend exemptions for abortion and decriminalize abortion for women who seek it.
At the 2021 annual meeting, Josh Wester, an ERLC employee at the time who now works for current Southern Baptist Convention president, Ed Litton, argued passionately against a resolution that sought to eliminate any exceptions to abortion and criminalize it to the fullest extent possible. You can watch that exchange below:
However, the resolution, known as the Southern Baptist Resolution on Abolishing Abortion that Wester argued against, was passed and came into effect. Yet, the ERLC one year later, despite the fact that Southern Baptists spoke loudly and clearly, continues to advocate for contradictory policy.
In a letter to state lawmakers signed by Brent Leatherwood and various other religious leaders including Roman Catholic priests and certain “pro-life” groups, the group asserts that women are “victims” of abortion and should not be criminalized for murdering their children.
Women are victims of abortion and require our compassion and support as well as ready access to counseling and social services in the days, weeks, months, and years following an abortion.
As national and state pro-life organizations, representing tens of millions of pro-life men, women, and children across the country, let us be clear: We state unequivocally that any measure seeking to criminalize or punish women is not pro-life and we stand firmly opposed to such efforts.
Clearly defying the will of Southern Baptists, whom Brent Leatherwood and the ERLC supposedly represent, presidential candidate Tom Ascol is calling on pastors to support his immediate removal from office.
“The SBC has a rogue entity in the ERLC,” Ascol wrote in a post on Twitter Thursday. “The messengers spoke loudly & clearly about our commitment to abolish abortion & see equal protection under the law for preborn children. The ERLC has defied the will of the churches who own it.”
Ascol then quoted a copy of the resolution and then said “I urge Southern Baptists to call on their trustees to immediately remove [Brent Leatherwood] as acting President of the ERLC. By signing this open letter he has used SBC resources to smear our name & defy our clear resolve to protect the unborn”
“The ERLC—along with all the other institutions & agencies of the SBC—belong to the churches of the SBC. Glenn Leatherwood’s defiance of the will of the messengers is another clear example of SBC elites rejecting the clear, biblical convictions of those who pay their salaries,” he added. “It is past time to hold these entities accountable to the churches that own them.”
Ascol then called on Southern Baptists to go to Anaheim where the 2022 annual meeting will be held to make their voices heard.