Prominent evangelist Beth Moore is no longer affiliated with the Southern Baptist church. The 63-year-old author and lecturer, who was criticized by some churchgoers for her opposition to Donald Trump, broke news of her departure from the church during a phone interview with Religion News Service.
“I don’t identify with some of the things in our heritage that haven’t remained in the past,” Moore told the faith-based outlet in an interview published Tuesday. “I love so many Southern Baptist people, so many Southern Baptist churches, but I don’t identify with some of the things in our heritage that haven’t remained in the past.”
CNN reports that Moore’s spokesperson declined to expound on those comments.
She is also parting ways with publisher LifeWay Christian, which will reportedly continue distributing her books, but not publishing them.
Moore fell from grace with some evangelicals after criticizing then-candidate Trump after seeing video of the 2016 Republican nominee unwittingly boasting that because he’s famous, he “can do anything” to women. The comments were caught on a on a hot mic during a taping of the TV show “Access Hollywood” several years earlier.
“This wasn’t just immorality,” she said of Trump’s claim. “This smacked of sexual assault.”
It was after that revelation Moore began speaking publicly about her own experiences with sexual abuse.
Moore said she understands that evangelicals support Trump in large numbers because he vowed to stack the courts with judges who oppose abortion rights. But she was surprised people of faith — particularly those who were critical of former President Bill Clinton’s sexual conduct — stood by the 74-year-old Republican following those comments.
Instead, it was Moore who lost her flock.
Between 2001 to 2016, Moore’s Living Proof Ministries built its assets from roughly $1 million in to nearly $15 million, RNS reports. The organization reportedly lost nearly $2 million between 2017 and 2019.
“He became the banner, the poster child for the great white hope of evangelicalism, the salvation of the church in America,” Moore said of Trump. “Nothing could have prepared me for that.”
The Southern Baptist church itself was rocked by a series of sex scandals in 2019 when it was reported that 380 of the church’s leaders and volunteers had faced sexual misconduct claims over a period of 20 years. In February, the New York Times reported the Southern Baptist Convention had expelled two churches over sex abuse — and two more in connection with LGBTQ inclusion.
Moore’s rise to prominence shaped-up in an unusual fashion. She began spreading the word of God during the aerobics craze of the 1980s while teaching an exercise class at First Baptist Church in Houston. After attracting a healthy following, she sent a Bible studies manuscript to a publisher that was put into print in 1995.
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