Vice President Mike Pence's speech to the Southern Baptist Convention in Dallas this week has drawn criticisms from some in the audience who say the remarks — which praised President Trump — emphasized politics instead of faith.
"I know that sent a terribly mixed signal. We are grateful for civic leaders who want to speak to our Convention — but make no mistake about it, our identity is in the gospel and our unity is in the Great Commission. Commissioned missionaries, not political platforms, are what we do."— J.D. Greear, a North Carolina pastor and the denomination's new president
Why it matters: While the Trump administration has maintained strong support from white evangelical Christians, greater rifts exist among Southern Baptists, the largest protestant group in the country.
The backdrop: Before Pence's Wednesday speech, some members introduced a resolution calling to replace him as speaker in favor of a nonpartisan guest. Though it failed, the move had the support of 30% of members, reports NPR.
- Greear was one of the measure's backers. In a speech preceding his election as the group's new leader, he said:
"We believe that Jesus is the lord of the whole earth. ... He is the Christ, the son of the living God, that salvation is found in him, not in the Republican platform or the Democratic platform, and that salvation did not come riding in on the wings of Air Force One. It came cradled in a manger."— J.D. Greear