A top Baptist leader condemned white supremacy as a form of idolatry completely at odds with Jesus Christ's teachings in the Gospels, after a racist gunman killed 21 people in El Paso and another gunman killed nine people in Dayton.
Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, called on Christians to reject the hateful ideology that has motivated a string of domestic terror attacks in recent years in the U.S. and abroad.
"White nationalism is not just another ideology, in a world filled with competing opinions," Moore wrote in an essay posted on his personal website. "White nationalism is a manifestation of an ancient evil that we as Christians, of all people, ought to recognize immediately."
"White nationalism emerges from what the Bible calls 'the way of the flesh,'" he added. "This is a form of idolatry that exalts one’s own creaturely attributes, making a god out of, for instance, one’s ancestral origins or one’s tribal culture."
The Bible is filled with examples of Christ and his disciples explicitly rejecting tribal, racial and cultural identity to build a church on faith and justice.
"For Jesus and for his Spirit-anointed apostles, there is no gospel apart from the exposure of sin, and the repentance demanded in its wake," Moore wrote, "and one of the oldest manifestations of this flesh-worshipping devil-worship is racial superiority."
Moore warned that Christians must confront the sin of racial superiority, because the "way of the flesh" inevitably leads to hatred, injustice and violence.
"Sometimes it comes into a store with an assault rifle aimed at innocents, or, as we have seen, in trains bound for camps," Moore wrote. "This sort of bigotry and hatred and self-worship is not just a danger to society, but to the one who is gripped by it himself or herself. It is a way that leads to hell."