Leading Southern Baptists have voiced their concerns about the religious freedom report released earlier in September by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR). The report asserted that the phrases "religious liberty" and "religious freedom" were merely code words for different forms of intolerance.
"The phrases 'religious liberty' and 'religious freedom' will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance," the USCCR report stated.
Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), characterized the language used in the report as a "logical, moral and political disaster."
Moore suggested that the current U.S. administration is engaging in a culture war against religious people by labeling the words "religious liberty" as a euphemism for unlawful discrimination. He contended that all the other freedoms cannot exist without the freedom of conscience.
"This hostile attitude toward tens of millions of law-abiding Americans is tragic, and my prayer is that it would quickly give way to a recognition that soul freedom is worth defending for all," Moore told the Baptist Press.
R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, noted that the report received little public attention but he described it as a "bombshell."
In his podcast, Mohler voiced his concern that sexual liberty related to LGBT issues and gender identity had taken prevalence over religious liberty. He pointed out that the LGBT issues are not in the constitution while religious liberty is specifically declared in the document.
Mohler noted that the author of the report used scare quotes to refer to religious freedom and religious liberty. He asserted that by the use of quotes, the author was actually denying that religious freedom and religious liberty are "objective constitutional realities."
Gail Heriot, a member of the USCCR, has stated that she disagreed with majority of the opinions in the report.
"I'm troubled by the growing attitude that somehow anti-discrimination laws trump everything. We live in a more complex world than that," she told the Washington Times.