Evangelical Trump Boosters Johnnie Moore And Sam Rodriguez Launch Yet Another Group

Image taken from video: Johnnie Moore in suit and tie against dark background, speaking to off-camera CBN hosts.
Johnnie Moore, evangelical adviser to President Trump. (Image from appearance on CBN, May 2, 2018)

The Christian Broadcasting Network reported on Wednesday that Samuel Rodriguez and Johnnie Moore “are teaming up to form The Congress of Christian Leaders in hopes of fostering unity in the Body of Christ.”

Moore, a former Liberty University vice president who is serving as president of the new group, is one of President Trump’s biggest boosters among evangelicals and an unofficial spokesperson for Trump’s faith advisory council. Moore was among evangelicals who mobilized in defense of Jared Kushner last year.

Rodriguez, who will be the organization’s chair, has been critical of some Trump administration moves on immigration, but has also given Trump cover. Rodriguez told Christians before the election that abortion was more important than immigration when voting; he was rewarded with an invitation to pray at Trump’s inauguration. In January, Rodriguez and his National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference gushed that Trump’s immigration plan was “a fulfillment of everything this administration has promised us since Trump’s inauguration.”

CBN reported that the group is nonpartisan and interdenominational. But what the group is actually going to do isn’t really clear.

Moore said, “I believe we ought to be in meaningful fellowship with believers across the denominational spectrum and we ought to embrace friendship whenever possible with those outside of our community.”

Rodriguez said, “Our aim at the CCL is to say ‘yes’ to all willing partners, private, denominational and governmental, and then apply uncompromising Christ-centered advocacy in support of uniting, growing, strengthening and empowering the entire church.”

Got it? Here’s more:

“We can have differences politically… we need to focus on what brings us together,” [Rodriguez] said. …

“In a hyperbolic time, when divisions of all kinds are on grand display, it is more important than ever to create space for people to connect and to facilitate a reasoned unity over issues of mutual concern,” Moore explained.

The group will not limit its work to the U.S., according to CBN, but will address the persecution of Christians around the world. “Communities of faith are also facing unbelievable persecution,” Moore told CBN.  “Our goal is to convene like-minded, high-impact leaders to strengthen the church, providing advocacy and assistance of all kinds to Christians in this country and worldwide.”

Maybe they’re still figuring out the details. “Over the next couple of months, Rodriguez and Moore will embark on a listening tour across the US and abroad,” CBN said. “They will announce the inaugural group of members in the fall.”

Religious Right groups have a knack for using the word “Christian” when they are really talking about the specific subset of Christians who share their own conservative theology and right-wing politics. “Anyone who knows me well knows that I have a deep and abiding passion for Christian unity and for Christian orthodoxy,” Moore told CBN.

As of Wednesday morning, there’s no content at www.congressofchristianleaders.com beyond a landing page graphic. The name may also cause some confusion internationally, given the existence of a bi-annual conference using the name Congress of Christian Leaders that has been held for the past two decades.