How Southern Baptists Got Immigration Wrong


Jon surveys Southern Baptists on the issue of illegal immigration, "dreamers," refugee resettlement, and border security over the past two decades and attempts to answer the question: "How did Southern Baptists get immigration so wrong?" It was not always this way.
 For Powerpoint: 00:00 Introduction 04:49 Financial Incentives 09:28 Then and Now 12:53 Russell Moore 16:36 Soros Funding? 19:55 Shift 20:48 Syrian Refugees 22:51 DACA 27:21 Clint Pressley 33:33 Amnesty with steps 35:44 Today 39:56 Questions


Welcome, welcome to the Conversations That Matter podcast. I'm your host, John Harris. This is of course the podcast that has changed, it's changed the game a little bit.
It's changed the way that denominations and the SBC in particular, I think have approached things in ways that sometimes aren't as detectable.
I just got an encouraging message from someone and I get messages like this semi -frequently, but someone told me that in a major publishing company, the person, it was someone they were working with to put a book out.
And apparently this person listens to the podcast, enjoys what we talk about, is
I think part of the Southern Baptist Convention, but their eyes have been really opened as to what's been taking place over the last few years in that denomination to move the needle to the left, both politically and theologically.
And it's just one of the things that I think I should probably remind people about every once in a while that some of what we do here, some of the things that you promote when you share this podcast around, when you pray, when you support on Patreon, however you do it, just even listening and subscribing and pressing the like and that kind of thing, it does make a difference.
And I think you need to hear that every once in a while. I know I do. So I just wanna let you know about that before we jump into it.
Today's podcast, I am actually gonna just jump into it pretty quick here, but it's gonna be about the immigration issue, particularly illegal immigration and the
Southern Baptist Convention's position or positions on this over the last decade and a half, almost two decades.
And the reason that I want to do it is because I've noticed the conversations that have taken place lately about this.
And I think there's some people that are coming up in the denomination who are surprised or just they weren't expecting to see what they're seeing with Brent Leatherwood and the
Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission for the Southern Baptist Convention support Senator Lankford's bill that just got defeated in the
Senate. Senator Lankford has been censored by his own party, the Republican Party in Oklahoma. And it's not a good bill at all.
We're not gonna get into the details of it, but I think some people were surprised that the Southern Baptists of all people are going to come out in favor of this.
How can this be? And it makes sense though, if you think about it, because the last few years of the
Biden administration, it's been pretty silent on the immigration front, if you haven't noticed. There's been little articles here and there, but you have not seen nearly what we saw during President Trump's administration.
Why is that? How come during President Trump's campaign in 2016, and then extending to about 2019, 2020, we saw so much on this issue coming from evangelicals and Southern Baptists in particular.
And then all of a sudden we don't hear much. There's the 2023 resolution that the Southern Baptists pass. And the reason
I think they passed it, this is just my own thought on this, is because they have to have every convention, at least one resolution on racial matters, right?
To show that they're not racists in the minds of people in the world.
That's my read of it after years of looking at this stuff. And so that was the issue they decided to go with.
But other than that, you can't really find anything. And so, except the few articles from the
ERLC that are pretty general. So anyway, with that being said, why do this podcast? Well, because I want people to know who are in the denomination, who seem surprised by this, that they shouldn't be, that this is actually something that's been going on for quite some time.
And I wanna explore the origin of it, how it started, how it's going. And maybe we'll talk a little bit about what would change the narrative in the
Southern Baptist Convention. But I think knowing where we're at, if you're a Southern Baptist, I think is important.
I think that will help you figure out if you still are committed to the denomination and you still wanna see change, it'll help you to know what to do if you know what's already been done and how the liberalization on the immigration issue has impacted
Southern Baptist. So, I have a slideshow prepared for you. And if you are a Patreon, I put the link in the info section on YouTube, if you're watching on YouTube, and I believe on Facebook as well, you can click on that link and it will take you to the slideshow if you wanna follow along or you want the information later.
It's all in detail, cited. So everything's got a primary source so you can see exactly what
I'm talking about. If you wanna check up on anything that I'm gonna be saying in this particular podcast.
So with that, let's talk about the Southern Baptist Convention. And we'll start here.
I think this is the first question people ask. So I'm just gonna get it out of the way. Is there a financial incentive,
John? Is there a reason monetarily that the Southern Baptists seem concerned with liberalizing their approach to immigration and promoting illegal immigration, really?
I mean, let's get to the bottom line here. That's what's going on. And I have to answer that very carefully.
Yes and no, or maybe, maybe might be the best answer. It wouldn't surprise me.
It's a safe assumption, but there's not a lot of publicly available information on this.
Now I'm sure there's tons of information for insiders, but that's one of the things about the Southern Baptist Convention. The insiders generally don't share.
So here's what I've written about this after looking for sources on it.
The Send Network, okay? The Send Network, this is for Southern. I should probably say this too before I start reading this. This podcast is for Southern Baptists, okay?
So when I say Send Network or ERLC, I'm kind of expecting that you know what I'm talking about. It's also for political conservatives.
I'm not gonna be debating border policy or immigration on this particular podcast.
I just wanna inform you about where Southern Baptists have been on it. And assuming that most of the people in the
Southern Baptist Convention are politically conservative, they overwhelmingly voted for Donald Trump, you already have a particular stand on this issue as I do.
And so I'm not gonna be debating that. This isn't for convincing people who are not already on this side.
So not all the podcasts are like that, but this one is. So the Send Network offers churches resources, including grants to resettle refugees that they have, and they have at times partnered with World Relief to accomplish this.
Now, according to World Relief, their organization receives $925 per migrant, plus an additional 200 that is distributed according to need.
Volunteers for their organization teach asylum seekers how to use credit cards, file taxes, and use their
EBT card to access resources like food stamps. In 2022, 66 % of their annual budget came from public grants.
And this ranges from year to year. Some years it's higher. In 2016, I think it was like close to 75%.
So they get well over half of their money coming from the government.
And this is an organization that's a ministry, right? I mean, it's World Relief, but the Southern Baptists have a relationship with them on some level.
Just recently, Send put out a statement about the relationship that they have with Send Relief for Afghan refugees specifically.
So does it go into other areas as well? I'm not sure, but I'll tell you this. According to the
Department of State, Send Relief operates a refugee processing center in Boston. So something's going on.
There's money coming in somehow. Though financial incentives may play a role, something more deeply rooted in ideology seems to have swayed convention leadership,
I believe. And so I'm not satisfied with these explanations and you'll hear them that it's just bags of cash.
That's all it is. It's just a bunch of money. The Southern Baptist Convention was bought off just like so many organizations.
And if we could just stop the money, the dark money coming from Soros front groups and things like that, then everything would change.
And I'm sure that money does talk. I'm sure that it has a major influence.
I'm sure that there's incentives in this area, including the area of immigration. But I'm not satisfied fully with that as an explanation for everything because you do have a significant amount of people in the denomination who are aspiring for leadership.
I sat next to them in my seminary classrooms who have bought into this stuff without any financial incentive for them.
They're not aware of this stuff. They know what they've been told by their professors and that kind of thing, but they're buying into it ideologically.
They're being convinced that this is the right thing to do. They're being taught. They're finding information that's steering them in this direction.
And it's not all money. They don't have money. Some of them don't even plan to work for immigration resettlement ministries and that kind of thing.
They're not in that world, but they're buying into the argument. And I'm not talking about the whole
Southern Baptist Convention. Remember, they're conservative for the most part politically. But I do know that the people that end up taking the reins of leadership who climb the ladder, they end up buying into this pretty strongly.
So yes, I think financial incentive plays a role, but I don't think that's necessarily everything. Now, I wanna share with you a tale of two resolutions because there are two resolutions that if you compare them,
I think it offers a lot of, it shows you like from where they came and where they are now, the difference between the two places, how they went from a politically conservative organization to an organization that is pushing the needle left on the immigration issue.
And so I wanted to compare the 2006 resolution on the crisis of illegal immigration and it's 200, 2023 resolution.
So 2006, 2023, both of these resolutions are on basically the same topic, but they are very different in how they approach it.
Now, there's some things that are the same, both call for strong borders, but the more recent statement gives government the responsibility to, quote, care for migrants, unquote.
So the government now has that responsibility. That wasn't in 2006. It refers to the United States as a nation of migrants, unquote, those buzzwords are making their way into the
Southern Baptist Convention and it promotes using immigration to diversify churches. So in order to match revelation and how churches are supposed to look, immigration serves as a mechanism by which that can happen.
That wasn't anywhere in the 2006 resolution. Now, the other thing is the term illegal is gone.
In 2006, you could call them illegal immigrants. They came here illegally, but now that language is gone as well as calls to restore trust among the citizenry, that the government has betrayed its citizens.
They're not enforcing the laws on the border, on immigration. That language is gone in the 2023 resolution.
They're not talking anymore about, quote, punishing employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.
That was in the 2006 resolution, no longer. And there's a couple other differences as well. The main shift
I saw was that the Southern Baptist in 2006 wanted the federal government to enforce existing laws, but today they want the creation of new, more compassionate ones.
That's what's going on. So the Southern Baptist Convention has oriented itself. It was really more for the members of the convention.
The consequences that would fall upon them if the government continued to kick this issue down the road and didn't actually deal with it and really ultimately failed to enforce our own laws.
That was the concern more. And it wasn't that they weren't concerned about immigrants who are taken advantage of by employers who wanted to exploit them and that kind of thing.
That's in the 2006 resolution, but you get this sense of reading it. They want the government to do its job and they're concerned with the members of their organization.
You don't see that in 2023. It is much more, it says, yes, we ought to secure the border, but it's much more focused on the migrants as victims and that things need to be done for them, including the government has the responsibility now to care for them.
So that's a big shift. Now, how did that happen? That's not a very long time between 2006 and 2023.
Now in today's news cycles, maybe it is, but it didn't used to be a very long time. I mean, it's less than 20 years and yet they've really done a huge shift on this.
And one of the people I think most responsible, of course, is Russell Moore. That shouldn't surprise regular listeners of this podcast.
Russell Moore engineered a lot of this as the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the ERLC. And he carried on, it's carried on today, that same work by Brent Leatherwood, who was the current president of the organization.
Moore became known outside Southern Baptist circles, mainly because of his major media op -eds and interviews on racial issues, including immigration reform.
He had a habit of using opportunities on progressive platforms to critique political conservatives in his own denomination.
In a USA Today interview, he compared people who use terms like illegal alien and anchor babies to those who dehumanize unborn children by calling them embryos and fetuses.
So this is where you start seeing that the pro -life issue gets brought into this, that if you say illegal immigrants or illegal alien, you are now like someone who's an abortionist, who just doesn't see a baby for who a baby is, doesn't see a life there.
So it's part of being pro -life now. And that's one of the things Russell Moore introduced to the Southern Baptist Convention, or at least made popular.
In a New York Times op -ed, he opined that the man on the throne in heaven, so Jesus, is a dark -skinned
Aramaic -speaking foreigner who is probably not at all impressed by chance of make America great again.
So this tells you where Russell Moore stands, and he's been this way for a long time. It's interesting to me how long it takes people to catch on to this, even in 20,
I don't know, 18, 19, when I really started. I mean, I've been writing actually against Russell Moore for a while.
People weren't paying attention to me at that point, but I think my first thing against Russell Moore was like maybe 2014 or 15.
And it took a while for people, even more politically conservative leaders in the denomination to figure this out.
If you go back, this is one of the most interesting things. If you go back to 20, I think it's 16, it is. Because in response to the article that Russell Moore wrote, this op -ed in the
New York Times, Donald Trump went on Twitter and just said that Russell Moore is a nasty guy and he doesn't represent evangelicals.
You look on the response to that particular tweet, who was defending Russell Moore? And it's everyone.
It is everyone you, it's just about everyone you consider today to be a conservative in the denomination is defending
Russell Moore. And it's incredible to me. We're just,
I don't know what it is about conservative. Maybe that's another podcast, but why are we so delayed on these matters?
And we can't see what's right in front of us sometimes. It's very fascinating to me. But that was what
Russell Moore brought. Here's a quote from 2019 leading the way summit in Washington put on by the
National Immigration Forum. He said, an evangelical Christian who despises immigrants is an evangelical Christian who is self -defeating and self -loathing because most of the body of Christ on earth right now, not to mention heaven is not white, is not middle -class and is not
American and doesn't speak English. This is the kind of thing Russell Moore did quite a bit.
And he loved to do this kind of thing. He did this kind of thing to promote a straw man.
You know, who's this person who despises illegal immigrants? I don't know who that is. There's someone who despises, that's a pretty strong word, hates them.
I'm sure there's people like that, but where? And he's saying evangelical Christians. There's evangelical Christians who despise immigrants.
And that created this crisis, this problem that needed to be addressed, but there wasn't actually a problem like that.
The problem is a difference of agreement on border policy and what a nation is and how to protect a nation and that kind of thing.
It's not that there's someone who just hates, who just despises immigrants. This is a classic leftist tactic. But I mean, what would you expect from Russell Moore?
I mean, that's kind of who he is. Now, Moore influenced a generation of Southern Baptist millennials, my age, to include liberal approaches to immigration under the pro -life banner and taught them to invoke a general image of God or gospel language to justify policy approaches.
So you'll hear it like this, that, well, these immigrants are made in God's image, therefore we should give them amnesty.
They won't say that word. They'll say restitution -based path to citizenship or something. You know, basically amnesty.
We should, and they'll do that not just on that issue. They'll do it on other issues as well. They'll do it on other, especially racial issues.
Or they'll do it on even the abuse quote -unquote issue that these women who claim to be victims, we haven't been able to verify it, but they're made in the image of God.
And based on that, we should believe them. Well, what does that even mean? It's just a weaponizing the term image of God and to assume that the people who are on one side of a political issue or a social issue don't believe that those women are made in the image of God.
That's the accusation. And that's what Moore's done. He's a slanderer and that he's being used by the devil. That's the ultimate thing that's going on here.
Russell Moore is a slanderer and he does it in the most subversive cunning ways because he makes these arguments of these strong men.
But the assumption is that his opponents don't believe that certain people are made in the image of God or a gospel language.
So, you know, this is a gospel issue or if you really believe the gospel, then you really, this is what you need to do. So it's manipulating people because everyone who's a
Christian wants to be for the gospel. So then it uses their most precious teaching and the most precious story to then influence them politically.
And that's what's been done ever since. His most controversial work in this area took place in conjunction with the
Evangelical Immigration Table and National Immigration Forum, which have received funding in part from George Soros' Open Societies Foundation.
Leaked Open Societies Foundation board meeting notes from 2015 specifically identified Southern Baptists as recipients of funding for refugee advocacy.
That's a quote from that document. And I have held these documents, hard copies of them in my hands.
I am familiar with them. There is a website, Capstone Report actually put them out, but I've actually seen these firsthand.
Moore also received grant money according to leaked National Immigration Forum documents for participating in an immigration reform campaign.
So, and that was with Muslims specifically coming to the United States. National Immigration Forum is saying, we gave this guy
Russell Moore a grant and this is what he did for us, basically. This is the results that we have. Regardless of his effective political maneuvering, things were already going in Moore's direction before he took the reins though of the
ERLC in 2013. So this relationship actually with the Evangelical Immigration Table started with Richard Land, Russell Moore's predecessor.
Of course, Land wasn't there all that long. And there were also people like Eric Metaxas in the organization at that point.
It wasn't known. I think Eric Metaxas left in what, 2011, 2012? But during Moore's time, it was definitely clear that the
Evangelical Immigration Table was on the left. And even the picture of Moore here, you can't see it, but he's,
I believe this is the one where he's talking with, actually, maybe it's in the last one. Yeah, you can see it.
Michael Ware is standing there. Michael Ware, who was an Obama faith advisor. Now the shift,
I believe, started though somewhere around 2010, 2011. The shift that we did not see in 2006,
I think that's when it started. Around the time of the Great Commission Resurgence Initiative in the Southern Baptist Convention, language on immigration, which commonly appeared in mainline liberal denomination, started showing up in the
SBC. The 2011 resolution on immigration and the gospel referred to Jesus as an immigrant and refugee.
It condemned nativism and it called for a compassionate path to legal status with appropriate restitutionary measures.
And of course, they all say we're not for amnesty and we want the border secured, but that's basically amnesty with more steps.
That's what that is. Of course, it also called for things present in the 2006 resolution, such as emphasizing that undocumented immigrants were in violation of the law of the land.
So it had some of this, but a shift, of course, was beginning at that point. And we've seen that ever since.
We saw with the Syrian refugee crisis during the height of that in 2017, Ed Stetzer and Danny Akin joined
Tim Keller, Max Lucado, and other evangelical leaders to call on President Trump to support refugees.
In an ad sponsored by World Relief and published in the Washington Post, the message was simple.
President Trump's temporary moratorium on refugee resettlement pending a proper vetting process was inconsistent with Christ's compassion and Christians who desire to receive many thousands more people should oppose it.
So World Relief, of course, isn't one of these organizations that's getting tons of money, as I talked about earlier, from the government for refugee resettlement.
And of course, they're not gonna want those numbers to decrease. That's their bread and butter. And they put this out there, but guess who signs it?
A bunch of Southern Baptists joined to sign this. And if you remember correctly, this moratorium was supposed to be temporary.
This was, the understanding was, we're not vetting these people. We don't know who's coming in. We need a better way to do this.
And until we can figure that out, we gotta stop. That's what it was. And people thought at the time, and it was just like, it was, let's just react without thinking through what's going on, that all these poor refugees, they're not, they need to escape the countries that they're in and they need to come to the
United States and we're prohibiting them and it's not compassionate. But it's not compassionate to your own citizenry when you're not even vetting them.
And that was the problem. And it didn't last forever. I think it lasted, what, seven months, something like that. And then there was a process put in place by the
Trump administration to actually properly vet who was coming. So there were a lot of people, I think, even with good intentions, who signed these kinds of things, but just did not do their homework.
And they followed the leader. They just trusted, well, the evangelical leaders that I'm friends with are signing it. And so I think it's probably fine.
And it wasn't. And that's one of the mistakes we can never make again, unfortunately. We probably just need to do our homework on things or else keep our mouth shut and not engage in it when there's issues more complicated than we have the bandwidth for.
Well, then there was the DACA issue. The DACA issue. Now, some of you might remember DREAMers, the
DREAM Act, which failed to pass Congress. The Obama administration decided to step in and create an executive order referred to as DACA.
And later in 2017, Russell Moore, this was during Trump's administration, anticipated that that particular program started by President Obama was going to end.
And that program allows certain migrants brought to the United States by their parents to remain. It was migrants who were under 16,
I believe. I'm trying to remember the year. I think it was before 2010 or something. But the people at the time that Russell Moore's advocating for this, some of them could be in their thirties, right?
These aren't necessarily, they're not children, which is how they always portray this, is like these little children, how dare you?
They're not all children. And it's even many of them who came, for some of them up until their teenage years, they spent their lives in a foreign place.
It's always presented as they've always just grown up in the United States. That's not even a hundred percent true, but that's how it's presented.
And you had Donald Trump not wanting to renew this. And the
Southern Baptists then again came together. Now this was actually a meeting Russell Moore called and he had 50 evangelical leaders, including though past Southern Baptist presidents.
He had four of them. And they endorsed the underlying policy aim of DACA and urged
Congress to provide a pathway to permanent legal status and or citizenship. So amnesty with steps.
World Relief again sponsored a message to President Trump urging him to renew DACA and allow 700 ,000 illegal migrant dreamers to stay in the country.
Additional Southern Baptists at the time signed, including Beth Moore, Karen Swallow Pryor and Micah Fries. And there's many more,
I'm just not listing all of them. In an interview for the left -wing National Immigration Forum, Walter Strickland from the
Southeastern Baptist Evangelical Seminary where I went and Travis Wussow from the
ERLC and Jose Ocampo, a DACA recipient on staff at Hickory Grove Baptist Church discussed their support for DACA.
Now I'm gonna play for you a clip here. There's a reason that I went out of my way to highlight this because there's so many things
I can talk about and highlight, but I really want you to hear this particular clip.
This is again, this is a group partially funded by George Soros or Open Societies, National Immigration Forum.
And this is Walter Strickland from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary along with two other Southern Baptists.
And here's what they had to say on this particular radio. I think it was a radio broadcast. I'm grateful to be on the call this morning to voice my concern for the nearly 800 ,000 immigrants who find themselves in a place of uncertainty and insecurity as a result of action that is not their own.
Followers of Jesus are called to do justly and love mercy. This means that standing on the side of dreamers is the job of Christians who are looking to do justice.
Good morning, my name's Walter Strickland, first vice president of Southern Baptist Convention, professor of theology and associate vice president for CUNY University at Southeastern Seminary.
I'm here in Washington, DC today to be the voice for those who are voiceless.
And today we're speaking on behalf of dreamers. We're here in DC to talk to staffers of the vice president of the
United States and also those in Congress to see if they will be willing to pass a permanent solution for dreamers that's timely so that those people who are brought here to this country as children who have called
America their home for the majority of their lives, if not almost all their lives, who know no other place as home to have a legal pathway towards citizenship.
And so there's about 800 ,000 people who are currently in the
DACA program that we're advocating for. And there's another several million or a million and a half plus who are dreamers who were here in DC for speaking on behalf of, and we're hoping to do what the
Bible calls us to do, which is to uphold the rule of law, but at the same time have a compassionate view of humanity and human flourishing.
And so we're gonna call upon our legislators today to make a legal pathway for dreamers to become citizens.
And our final speaker today is Jose Ocampo, who is an evangelical
Christian, a DACA recipient and a student at Wingate University in North Carolina.
Jose, please go ahead. Good morning. First of all, I just want to say I'm grateful for being here and given the opportunity to have a platform to be a voice for myself and for other dreamers in the country.
I'm extremely grateful for DACA. It has changed my life. Jose, do you belong to a church or a faith community?
Yes, ma 'am. I go to Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. And do folks know about your status?
Yes. I do attend the Latin Campus of Hickory Grove and my pastor, the main pastor there is aware.
He's actually, because of him, I've had the opportunity to come here. From my perspective as a pastor at Hickory Grove here in Charlotte, with a community that is filled with guys like Jose, dreamers that are seeking to invest their lives, not just in the church, but in the community, it makes perfect sense.
Not just for Jose, but for me. It makes perfect sense to have a legislative solution to dreamers so we can have them as a part of not just our community, but as a part of the
United States of America. And I'm very open about my situation because I do feel that we need to voice who we are.
In order to change, we have to voice who we are. So my church knows and they've been extremely supportive.
They've always looked out for me. If any opportunities come, they let me know, especially somebody who's been my mentor, which is a pastor's son, has always looked out for me, especially his wife.
They always try to find solutions and help me to be able to continue to achieve my goals and my dreams.
So I love my church, I love my community. They've been extremely supportive and they've helped me out tremendously.
Well, we have his servant saying that this is hard to listen to, seeing where we are now.
And I agree, it is hard, seeing where things have led. Now, the reason I wanted to play for you that clip specifically is because Clint Presley, who's the pastor of the individual who's an illegal migrant that they've hired at their church, who's still working there, is running for president of the
Southern Baptist Convention. And he is, from my understanding, portraying himself as conservative and concerned about the leftward drift and all that kind of thing.
But yet this is what he was saying. Now, you could make the argument, well, that was like six, seven years ago.
Does he still believe that? Well, I mean, I don't know. I mean, the guy's still on staff. I don't know what his status is, but this is someone who was pushing the needle left, who was helping push the needle left in the denomination.
And I think one of the things, I don't wanna mean to discourage people too much about this who wanna retake the
SBC, but you gotta be careful of this. There are a lot of people in the Southern Baptist Convention who are noticing that there's been a wind change.
Biden's pushed the needle so far. And because Biden has pushed the needle so far, there's an opportunity now to cash in on those who are upset about how far
Biden has pushed it. I don't know if anyone caught last night. Biden is not in his right mind. I mean, it's very easy to be against Biden right now.
And so this is something for their conservative audience in their denomination.
This is something that they have to be careful. If they push the needle too far left, then you know what happens.
And so I did an episode, what was it? Maybe two or three weeks ago on those who went woke and now wanna kind of crawl back and say, we're against that, we're conservative, or we're concerned about that.
And it's very easy to do that after the casualties have been picked off. After the battle's been fought, people are dead, and then you go on the battlefield and say,
I don't like what the other side did. That's how it feels a little bit to some people who were in the trenches at that time. And one of the things
I said was, you can't be 100 % cynical on this. There are people who legitimately change their mind, but it takes time to test that.
It takes time. It takes years sometimes to test that. And then the requirement is that that person's gotta contradict.
They gotta own up to what they said. They gotta contradict it and say, I don't believe that. One of the reasons I didn't vote for Trump in 2016 was that.
I was like, he's like been a conservative for what, five seconds? Or he says he is. I don't know what this guy,
I don't trust him, I don't know. And then it took four years for me to see, okay, some of the things he said he was gonna do, he actually tried to do them.
And that built up a trust, and I'm not saying Trump's perfect at all, but it built up a trust that wasn't there before.
And that's just how we should be on everything, right? And not bashing anyone who saw in 2016 that he was a better choice or whatever,
I get that. So I didn't wanna take a rabbit trail on Trump, but it's the same way with leadership in the
Southern Baptist Convention. You gotta show me, where has Clint Presley owned up to this and said,
I don't agree with that anymore, right? That's the kind of thing. And of course, I'm preaching to the choir.
This is for conservatives, political conservatives and theological conservatives. This is, I'm not arguing against or for his point right now.
I'm just saying, for people who already have come to the conclusions that many of us have come to on immigration,
Clint Presley was on the opposite side of that. And so I just want you to know that. And he's,
I can't remember who all is running for a convention president. I know there's a guy who's even to the left of Clint Presley quite a bit from what
I understand. And so I'm just saying, be careful of this. You gotta make sure that the people who say they're conservative and wanna fight, that that really is where they've been consistently or at least where they haven't been there that they've owned up to it.
And they're showing now fruits of different fruit. Keybone, Keybone is the other, oh yes, yes.
T. James Boone just told me Keybone is the other guy. And I don't know enough about him, but I understand he's very far to the left.
Okay, so let's keep going though with, cause we've got more to talk about here.
So that was the DACA issue and how Southern Baptist responded to that. And then you had restitution -based immigration reform in 2019, denominational leaders, including
Danny Akin. Yeah, if you notice Danny Akin's name comes up a lot with this stuff. Brent Leatherwood, Bart Barber, and Dean Insara all signed an evangelical call for restitution -based immigration reform published by the evangelical immigration table.
The statement portrayed deportation as unjust. It insinuated the United States government was to blame for separating families, right?
So it's not that the coyotes or the families themselves are making unwise decisions that put their families in jeopardy here.
It's that the United States government, in order to vet and make sure and ensure that these children are not being smuggled in for things like sex slavery, they're separating the families, yeah, okay.
And supported a restitution -based pathway to legal permanent residency for illegal migrants. So again, amnesty with steps.
For the next four years during Joe Biden's presidency with the exception of the 2023 resolution, there was no significant and specific action taken on immigration issues, despite the fact that illegal migrants poured across the
Southern border at record numbers. Now think about this. If you have an ethics arm for your denomination, you would expect, hey, that's a big issue.
It's actually a huge issue right now. We've had more people pouring across the Southern border. It's not sustainable.
Our cities are changing. I've seen this firsthand in places I've been to. And this is all happening and you're not saying anything.
You said a lot during Trump's presidency against what he was doing, but now where's the concern? Crickets, right?
And so they were at the time in 2019, of course, so they wanted this amnesty with steps.
Every so often the URLC though would produce articles and podcasts reinforcing general
Southern Baptist views on immigration, but they did not support states like Texas, which desperately attempted to address the problem when the
Biden administration would not just a few weeks ago. They don't support that. They're not getting behind them, right?
So that brings us to where we are today. And that brings us to where we are on Senator Lankford's bill and I thought
I had a slide for that and now I'm looking for it and I don't know if I do actually have a slide for it.
That might've been it. So I'll just, I suppose, end with that though.
I wrote some notes down on this. So you have about two seconds ago, so this month, this is the recent news, right?
This is why I'm doing this podcast now in a way. You have a bill that is proposed by Senator Lankford and all of a sudden
Brent Leatherwood and the URLC take a strong significant stand, right? They're gonna champion this bill that got defeated.
And the bill would essentially require the Secretary of Homeland Security to exercise emergency authority in order to respond to the border crisis if over 35 ,000 illegal migrants crossed a week.
Okay, so under that number, I guess you don't have to act,
I guess. Yet it would prohibit this authority if the weekly crossings were under 24 ,000.
So you have a minimum number here of 24 ,000 that are going to just be ensured that they can come in,
I guess. So they're gonna come in just at a different rate. And of course, the Department of Homeland Security already possesses this ability to secure the border through existing law, but refuses to.
So predictably, the law did not pass. And the Republican Party of Oklahoma censored Senator Lankford for his role in attempting to get a bill through that was so out of step with conservatives in the state.
A similar divide though exists between Southern Baptists and their own leaders, okay? So you have Senator Lankford, who is a
Republican Senator in Oklahoma, censored by his party because he's out of step with them. The same thing's happening with people like Brent Leatherwood.
He's out of step with people in his denomination. What's gonna happen? Is the denomination capable of censoring him?
Now, I know they don't have censoring, but showing up and actually voting overwhelmingly for a different candidate for president who will put people on the committee of nominations that will then put people on these various entity committees trustee boards in order to change the denomination.
That's the question. And that's been the question since I've gotten involved in this. And I've, unfortunately,
I've only pretty much seen defeat after defeat with slight little things that maybe you could say that might've been a victory.
And usually they're rear guard actions. It's pretty much been defeat after defeat. Can something change this year?
I don't know, but that's what would have to happen. Something similar to what the people of Oklahoma have done to Senator Lankford, that's the starting point.
And I wanted to end this with a quote, this whole presentation that the
Southern Baptists are funding these institutions that do not share their understanding of scripture, but they also don't sometimes even share their understanding of the gospel.
That's what it appears. And I don't know how to make more sense of this. I took a tweet, this was from a few years ago, and I probably could have taken a number of quotes that are similar, but Danny Akin said once that the refugee and immigration crisis is not a national issue, but a gospel issue.
And that kind of careless language gives the impression that you have a strong majority of leaders in the denomination, at least those who disagree or fail to do anything about it, who push the needle left, because they think it's a gospel imperative of some kind.
It's part of their duty as a Christian. It's part of the gospel. It's part of the central teaching of the Christian faith.
And if this is true, then that means that adopting a liberal framework on immigration is serious business, because it's not even a political issue anymore.
It's a cardinal issue of the faith. If that's true, then you have leadership that are so far apart from you, not just politically, but spiritually.
And that should be, I think, a major concern. So those are my thoughts on the
Southern Baptist Convention, where it's gone on the immigration. I've taken you from 2006, when it was still conservative on these issues to the present day, and just given you a whole file.
That's what my wife's calls them, a whole file on how we got from A to B. And hopefully that helps some people in the denomination who do wanna steer it in a conservative direction.
How does this stuff happen? It doesn't happen all at once. It happens in increments over time. So there's, oh,
I actually didn't plan to click on that. But now that I clicked on it, C .W. Johnson Jr., I guess says, it is an invasion.
We have a responsibility to protect our borders for our families. It is the law. Many people are being hurt from this invasion, both immigrant and fellow citizens.
I agree. And then Kat says, I don't know how to make sense of this,
John Harris, quoting me. Yeah, I mean, some things I don't, I can try. I think
I've made some sense of what's happened. Like here's at least the story of how it's played out. I don't know how to make sense of the conservatives as much.
It still baffles me. And I still, when people ask me, and I'll come up with an explanation that satisfies me the most, but it never completely satisfies me why conservatives are often so lame.
Like you have leftists who are able to fight for their stuff and conservatives generally just aren't. I think there's a new generation arising that that's not like that, to be honest.
I think that especially the Zoomer generation, there's gonna be some people in that that are not as willing to appeal to the gentlemanly code and just let the left walk all over you.
South Heaven says, this is clearly just critical theory in the Southern Baptist Convention. The illegal alien is now a victimized and oppressed class.
Jesse Davis says, Russell Moore polluted the SBC then fled the scene of the crime.
Fuzzfire says, as a Christian and Southern Baptist, is there a short, concise book that shows the current problems of the
Southern Baptist Convention? I'm not aware of one. I think Megan Basham's coming out with a book that will touch on some of this.
I have something more extensive coming out though before the convention this year. I meant to actually do it last year, believe it or not.
And it just, I couldn't. And, but I do have something that I've been producing over time little by little that will be an explainer for kind of, and I have a thesis.
I think I know where it started. I gave you a clue actually in this video but I think a whole host of issues started around the same time.
And then T. James Boone says, thanks for addressing this stuff, John. I appreciate you shining a light on things that corrupt actors in the
SBC and elsewhere that they try to keep in the dark. So any more comments or questions for me, you can go to johnharrispodcast .com
and there's ways to contact me there. My social media links are there. And if you wanna support the podcast, there are options there to support the podcast as well.
As always, I appreciate everyone's support. And I just, we should all pray actually.
I just pray and I hope we all do that. The people in these denominations will wake up.
The people who are true believers who really see what's happening, that their eyes will be open if they don't see and that they would have the courage to truly stand and to stand for the right things.
That's just not what we have. And I think, you know, in this one, I didn't wanna get too deep into the weeds on the policy stuff.
I've talked about it before a little bit, but I'm thinking about just loving your own, loving your own family, loving your own people.
This is such a fundamental issue in my mind, you know, because it does come back to loving your neighbor in this sense.
Like how is that applied? It's the order of Mars that Augustine wrote about. It's about proximity and how close people are to you.
Those are the people you have responsibility to love. And when you have people that seem to want to love everyone, but the ones in their own backyard, the ones they have a responsibility toward, they wanna take resources from them that they need and give it, that's where I have a hard time.
That's why I'm, you know, he who doesn't provide for his own household, same principle at play in this.
And so, yeah, I mean, that's, to me, if you're not willing to provide for your own, if you're not willing to protect your own, then it's just a wisdom issue.
You shouldn't be in leadership over organizations where you're gonna be called to protect, especially if you're a shepherd, right?
Or you're a pastor or you're exercising authority over pastors and shaping what pastors do, you should be pretty aware of where wolves are.
And so I'm not saying it's, you know, there's a spiritual, like it's heretics coming across the border to convince us of things.
I'm not saying that. I'm saying, though, there's a parallel here. There's a, if you're not willing to protect in one area, then why would you be willing to protect in another?
And it's the same principle for leadership qualifications in scripture. You gotta be able to manage your own household well.
So those are just some final thoughts for you. There are a few questions here.
Okay, I just wanna briefly get to these. Nate Werner said, hey, John, do you still keep up with woke teaching at Liberty?
When people send me stuff, and there's stuff like here and there, people will send me, and I'm like, well, maybe it's a big place that happens.
As far as I know, they fared better than a lot of other institutions, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's going on there in certain quarters.
Seth Evans says, why does Love Your Neighbor now equal any socialistic welfare program? Also, first time live viewer, and you read my comments, so awesome.
I read two of your comments now. C .W. Johnson says, I think
I read one of his comments, so this is the second one. How is the invasion hurting you? Stealing jobs that Americans went to college so they wouldn't have to work.
Tone, tone down, I think it's tone down. Tone down the rhetoric and welcome the chance to share the gospel. Well, I mean,
I think that we should share the gospel, obviously, with everyone, including those who come across the border, and if you're not a government official and you don't have any authority to enforce any of the existing laws, then as a church member, of course, you minister those things.
We minister to sinners of all varieties, whether they've broken that law or other laws, but that doesn't change, that shouldn't.
This is one of the things I've seen over and over is the people who are leftists in these denominations want to try to derail people from being concerned about the actual policy issues here.
The rise in crime, the unsustainability economically, the welfare state that's emerged from this and the degree of dependency.
It's not even good for the people who are coming here in every case because they are developing this welfare, generational welfare mentality.
It drives wages down. There's a whole bunch of economic consequences to all of this.
And in order to sort of stay, and there's an identity thing too, I maybe touched on that a little bit earlier, but there's a national identity thing going on that we weaken people's shared loves and what they have in common.
And so you don't actually, that neighborly feeling or the neighborly outlook that we ought to have is weakened significantly, which makes us susceptible to external threats and that kind of thing.
And of course, I was just, I'll just say personally, I was just in Los Angeles for my grandfather's funeral.
And I lived there for a little bit, I was born there. And I wish I had it, maybe
I could actually pull it up here because I know I had, there was a billboard that I saw when
I was there. And I want to pull it up because I took a picture of it. And for those, it's hard for people who aren't in border states to understand really what's going on there.
It's horrible. It is so unsustainable. The medical care alone, what it's done to the hospitals is incredibly detrimental.
And I think actually both, I know this is maybe a little, for people in my family listening, a little hard to hear, but I think both my grandfathers would probably be alive right now if there was not an illegal immigration issue and I'm serious about it.
They both lived in a sanctuary city and that did not do them. And I could get into the specifics, but I don't really want to.
Let me show you though, this is a, here's a billboard that I saw while I was there.
And it's in Spanish, of course, but the English translation of this, in game
HUD unavailable. I don't know what that means. Okay. The English translation is papers in cases allegedly impossible, lawyerangel .com.
And guess what's behind there? What kind of papers? Social security, permanent residency. We can get you papers.
We're lawyers who can get you papers. And it's in Spanish. Of course, everything's in Spanish now in the area that my grandparents lived.
And it's targeting illegal migrants. It's blatantly targeting them saying, we will get you social security cards.
And people outside of those areas say that's not happening. It's happening guys. And they are voting. It's totally happening because I, because my family's from there and I have friends there and they all see it and it's common knowledge.
So yes, it is hurting us in cultural ways as well. And so I think the leftists though, they often want to derail that concern to say, well, you should just be sharing the gospel with them.
Just put your efforts towards that. The two aren't in conflict. I can share the gospel. Well, I can't, I don't speak
Spanish, but someone who does, you can share the gospel and you can also push for policies or at least the enforcement of policies that already exist that will benefit your own.
The people who are citizens of the United States who have a claim, I should say this, who have a claim to the citizenship of the
United States. In other words, they've invested in over the course, many of them over the course of generations, they followed the process the right way and they're just gonna be cut in line now because of illegal migrants.
It's not right. All right, so that's my high horse. I guess I'm done with that.
We got, oh man, this is such a different, I can't get into this stuff. John, how long can a believer born in Christian be backslid in many years?
That's not a topic for this conversation. I don't wanna put a time limit on it necessarily.
I don't, cause I don't see one in scripture. I don't see time limits on those kinds of things. I see 1
John talks about a life pattern that you have. If you have a life pattern that doesn't match up to living in godliness, then you don't have fruit.
And so you're not of, and it's not that that's the basis of your salvation. It's just that you don't have evidence that you're truly a saved individual.
So, yeah, I mean, if I saw someone over the course of years living in sin and they're confronted about it and that's where Matthew 18 comes in, right?
If they went through a process of they've been confronted and they still continue to sin unapologetically, then yeah, you have to treat them as if they're not believers.
Okay, last question, sorry. What would make someone believe that the church in America can convert these illegals when our literal neighbors down the street reject
Christ? Convert Americans first, then we can talk about illegals. Well, I mean, we should work on converting everyone who's in our proximity.
And that might mean people who are illegal migrants who have moved in down the street, right? We should, that should be a concern of ours.
But it's, I guess I'm just repeating what
I said earlier. It's not that that takes away the concern of the damage that this does to the people that we should have more of an affinity toward or I should say responsibility.
We have more responsibility toward. Okay, this
CW Johnson has some interesting thoughts on some of this from the left.
Yes, American citizens also do commit crimes, obviously. No one's disputing that, but they are supposed to be here.
It's different when you have people who are not supposed to be here committing crimes. That's, those are crimes that should not have been committed.