Several Southern Baptists decried the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission's social media post appreciating the appointment of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the United States of Supreme Court last April 7.
The Christian Headlines reported that Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission Acting President Brent Leatherwood commented on Jackson's appointment in an interview with Baptist Press. The comment was then tweeted by the ERLC and received a lot of pushback from pastors online.
"Despite the philosophical and legal differences individuals like me will have with her, Judge Jackson's confirmation is a history-making moment. We should appreciate it as such. If we lose the ability to do that, we lose something that makes America an exceptional nation," Leatherwood said.
Leatherwood also expressed hopes that Jackson, who will assume the post that will be vacated by United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer this summer, will decide in line with the founding principles of the country. In particular, Leatherwood said he is praying that Jackson will favor human dignity, religious liberty, and family protection in deciding court cases.
Jackson, currently a United States Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit Judge, was confirmed with a vote of 53-47 by the Senate. She will be the third Black justice and the first Black woman to serve in the Supreme Court.
A common concern raised by those who opposed Leatherwood's remarks dealt with Jackson's pro-choice stand, which is contrary to what Southern Baptists stand for. Texas-based SBC Pastor Tom Buck even urged that the ERLC be defunded for what Leatherwood said.
While Grace Baptist Church Senior Pastor Tom Ascol of Cape Coral, Florida posted a screenshot of the ERLC tweet and enumerated the anti-life stance Jackson holds. Ascol, who is a Southern Baptist Convention presidential candidate for the upcoming June elections in Anaheim, California, stressed that the ERLC should not have made such remarks.
Ascol stressed that ERLC is funded by SBC churches yet welcomed the appointment of Jackson who advocates abortion, is backed by the pro-choice movement, and is lenient on child sex abusers. Ascol emphasized that Southern Baptists shouldn't be appreciating Jackson's appointment but instead be weeping because of it.
Co-presidential candidate Bart Barber similarly commented on the matter in Twitter last April 7 but focused on the harm secular politics bring to the fellowship of Southern Baptists. Barber said that he has already commented on Jackson's response during the Senate inquiry on her confirmation, which gives an idea of where he stands regarding Leatherwood's remarks. But prompted to respond to the issue, Barber identified four aspects of how he feels about it officially in line with his nomination as SBC President.
"1. Offering a take on everything happening in Washington isn't even remotely part of the constitutional duties of the SBC President. 2. I intend to focus upon those duties. 3. I love and am shaped by the strong pro-life stand that Southern Baptists have taken for decades. 4. The fact that this is the sort of 'question for the candidates' that surfaces, and not anything to do with the core mission of the SBC or the president's role in that mission, confirms for me the urgency of remaining firm about my not contributing to this sort of distraction," Barber said.