This morning Elizabeth Dias is reporting that Johnnie Moore, an “unofficial spokesperson” of the court evangelicals, wants to have a meeting with Pope Francis about the way they have been treated in Antonio Spadaro’s and Marcelo Figueroa’s recent piece at La Civilta Cattolica. The article, which critically highlighted the Trump administration’s connection to Christian nationalism, the prosperity gospel, Catholic and evangelical “fundamentalism,” and the alt-Right, is said to have been read and approved by Francis.
Here is a taste of Dias’s piece:
The authors of the article accuse the groups of seeking a politically expedient alliance to promote a “nostalgic dream of a theocratic type of state” and a “xenophobic and Islamophobic vision that wants walls.” One of the co-authors, Antonio Spadaro, the editor of La Civiltà Cattolica and a person who is close to Pope Francis, has said that the Vatican’s Secretariat of State read and approved the piece.
Johnnie Moore, an evangelical advisor to Trump and a board member of the National Association of Evangelicals, sent a letter to Pope Francis requesting the meeting on behalf of some U.S. evangelical leaders, including those close to the president. He sent the request to the Archdiocese of Washington and other intermediaries on Aug. 3.
“Rather than being offended, we have chosen to attempt to make peace,” Moore says. “We would be willing to get on a plane tomorrow to Rome to meet with whoever, whenever to create a space for dialogue instead of conflict.”
Moore acts as an unofficial spokesperson for Trump’s circle of evangelical advisors. The group includes Trump’s longtime spiritual advisor, Florida televangelist Paula White; Baptist pastor Jack Graham; president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference Samuel Rodriguez Jr.; president of the American Association of Christian Counselors Tim Clinton; and past president of the Southern Baptist Convention Ronnie Floyd.
None were specifically named in the La Civiltà Cattolica article, which argued in broad strokes that fundamentalist evangelical and Catholic factions have united over time. The piece did call out White House strategist Steve Bannon and the social conservative group the Council for National Policy. The White House, Moore says, was not involved in his decision to reach out to the Vatican. The Archdiocese of Washington declined to comment about the letter.
I have already done a few posts about this piece here at The Way of Improvement Leads Home. The Spadaro and Figueroa article has its historical problems and leaves one with the wrong view that all evangelicals are the same, but it is correct in its central message.
Let’s see what materializes with this proposed meeting between Pope Francis and the court evangelicals.
In the meantime, I am curious about who Johnnie Moore is representing here. According to one biography, Moore is a “33-year-old author, speaker, media personality, communications executive and humanitarian who has been called one of the ‘world’s most influential young leaders’ and ‘a modern day Dietrich Bonhoeffer.'” (Apparently he does not attend my evangelical church. Yesterday’s sermon was on humility). Has he been hired by the court evangelicals? Are the court evangelicals now organized to such an extent that they have hired a media consultant such as Moore to represent them? Is he representing the National Association of Evangelicals, where he sits on the Board of Directors? Does he represent Trump’s evangelical advisory board, a group that includes Michele Bachman, Mark Burns, Ken and Gloria Copeland, James Dobson, Jerry Falwell Jr., Ralph Reed, and Paula White?