As you may have recently read, lawyers and doctors who have been able to visit government facilities that are housing migrant children have spoken out against the horrifying conditions they are facing.
There is extremely limited access to food, water and hygiene supplies. Many of the facilities are filthy, and children are being locked in cages for hours at a time. The details are awful.
Dr. Russell Moore, the President of The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, is one of many Christian leaders speaking out on the conditions the children are facing. He tweeted, “The reports of the conditions for migrant children at the border should shock all of our consciences. Those created in the image of God should be treated with dignity and compassion, especially those seeking refuge from violence back home. We can do better than this.”
For some reason, Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University, has taken issue with him calling the children image bearers of God who deserve better.
Who are you @drmoore ? Have you ever made a payroll? Have you ever built an organization of any type from scratch? What gives you authority to speak on any issue? I’m being serious. You’re nothing but an employee- a bureaucrat.
— Jerry Falwell (@JerryFalwellJr) June 25, 2019
In his own tweet, Falwell wrote to Dr. Moore, “Who are you @drmoore ? Have you ever made a payroll? Have you ever built an organization of any type from scratch? What gives you authority to speak on any issue? I’m being serious. You’re nothing but an employee—a bureaucrat.”
There’s a lot to unpack here. First, it’s not clear what Falwell found so objectionable about Russell Moore’s tweet. Falwell is an outspoken supporter of President Trump, but these types of facilities have operated at different capacities over several presidential administrations.
Also, what point is Falwell even trying to make? Because Dr. Moore is employed by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention (of which he is the president), that makes him unqualified to say children “created in the image of God should be treated with dignity and compassion”?
And, government lawyers have literally argued against providing this children with soap and toothbrushes. It hardly seems like a stretch to say, “We can do better than this.” In fact, four children have died in government custody in the last six months. Prior to that, it had been a decade since a child had died in similar government custody. Saying “we can do better than this” is an objective fact.
Also, Falwell Jr. said this: “Have you ever built an organization of any type from scratch?” It should be noted that Falwell Jr.’s father founded Liberty University, the school of which Falwell is currently president. Even the Liberty website says, “With the passing of the founder in 2007, his son, Jerry Falwell Jr., became chancellor and president of the university.”
Falwell Jr. seems to think that an influential Christian leader with a large platform and power to challenge fellow Christians to action shouldn’t speak out against injustice.
What other point is he possibly trying to make here?
Jesse Carey is a mainstay on the weekly RELEVANT Podcast and member of RELEVANT's executive board. He lives in Virginia Beach with his wife and two kids.