Pastor Resigns From Southern Baptist Mission Board Over Legal Brief Supporting New Jersey Mosque

A pastor who had served as a trustee of the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) International Mission Board, led by “Radical” author and former Alabama pastor David Platt, has resigned out of his concerns over the board’s participation in an amicus brief supporting the construction of a New Jersey mosque.

Dean Haun, the pastor of First Baptist Church of Morristown, Tennessee, told the Baptist and Reflector this week that he wasn’t aware that the Board had joined in the brief until he started receiving email and phone calls from other pastors who were troubled about the matter.

The Mission Board, the SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty were among 20 groups that had joined the legal filing, including the American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, the Sikh Coalition, the Interfaith Coalition on Mosques and many others.

The matter centered around the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, which had sought to build a mosque in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, but was denied following community opposition. It sued in March of last year, and the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty assembled a coalition of faith groups supportive of the Society’s rights for an amicus brief to be filed with the court.

“It’s good when we can join hands with … folks we are sometimes on the other side of,” Brent Walker, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, told Baptist News in May.

The International Mission Board further states on its website that it joined the legal brief because it supports religious liberty for all people, and believes that if Christians only support freedom for themselves, it could be detrimental to the furtherance of the gospel.

“IMB supports freedom of religion for all people both in the United States and around the world. IMB signing the amicus brief regarding the New Jersey mosque is an agreement that all people deserve religious liberty, but it does not in any way support the mosque financially or with human resources,” its FAQ section outlines.

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“If one follows global news (e.g., Russia’s restrictive laws signed earlier this year, on-going battles in places like Egypt, Malaysia, or India on the right to convert to Christianity, etc.), it’s apparent that religious liberty is an ongoing global issue. IMB’s call on the government of these other countries to support the religious freedom of their citizens will ring hollow if, in the USA, we only support freedom of religion for Christians,” the Board states.

But Haun says that he disagrees with the reasoning of the Board as to why it joined the legal brief in support of the Islamic Society’s efforts.

“If we defend the rights of people to construct places of false worship, are we not helping them speed down the highway to Hell?” he told reporters. “I want no part in supporting a false religion even if it is in the name of religious freedom. Our Baptist institutions’ names will be on this brief setting legal precedents and supporting the right of mosques to be built all over our nation for years to come.”

Haun outlined that he does not wish to hurt the Board, but simply does not wish to be a part of the matter. He said that he believes God’s command not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14-15) supersedes the desire for religious freedom.

“While I love the IMB and have been grateful to serve for the past six years, I personally cannot be a party to our action,” Haun stated. “By all means, let’s stand for religious liberty in America. But first and foremost let us stand on our firm convictions that our alliance with God is paramount, that He will accomplish His ends without the necessity of evil alliances.”

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  • Scooter Valentine

    This must have been in some way, very difficult for him to do, yet I applaud his decision. As I was reading, I kept thinking “But what about Jesus?!” Meaning, why didn’t the others remember just one simple verse – I am the way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). Or even – For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5)

    We should ONLY be concerned with one religion’s liberty. We should be concerned with all people everywhere in regards to their eternal Salvation because God wants all to repent, all to come to Him and be saved. (2 Peter 3:9) We have to stop drowning out the Gospel and stop watering it down with the filthy rainwater of the World’s opinions and sinful desires.

  • Michael C

    If we refuse to defend freedom for all, none of us deserve it, ourselves. Haun does not seem to respect the freedoms he is granted here in our great nation.

    • Amos Moses

      anarchy is not freedom ……….. you present a false dichotomy ………. as usual …….. just more of your lies …………….

      • Michael C

        Allowing U.S. citizens to have places of worship is not “anarchy,” it’s called freedom of religion. Get into it.

        • Amos Moses

          that is NOT what freedom of religion meant …….. it had not one thing to do with other religions ……… ONLY the christian religion …………

          § 1871. The real object of the (1st) amendment was, not to countenance, much less to advance Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity (Atheism), by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects, and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment, which should give to an hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government. It thus cut off the means of religious persecution, (the vice and pest of former ages,) and of the subversion of the rights of conscience in matters of religion, which had been trampled upon almost from the days of the Apostles to the present age. The history of the parent country had afforded the most solemn warnings and melancholy instructions on this head; and even New England, the land of the persecuted puritans, as well as other colonies, where the Church of England had maintained its superiority, would furnish out a chapter, as full of the darkest bigotry and intolerance, as any, which could be found to disgrace the pages of foreign annals. Apostacy, heresy, and nonconformity had been standard crimes for public appeals, to kindle the flames of persecution, and apologize for the most atrocious triumphs over innocence and virtue.
          ~ Chief Justice Joseph Story

          • SFBruce

            You and Joseph Story have interesting ideas regarding what freedom means. I can’t say it any better or more clearly than Michael C already has: If only Christians have freedom of religion, no one has freedom of religion. Freedom of conscience and all the other rights enumerated in the first amendment are among the most basic rights essential to a successfully functioning democracy.

            From Thomas Jefferson’s autobiography, regarding the Virginia Statue of Religious Freedom, “…an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word ‘Jesus Christ,’ so that it should read ‘departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion’ the insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of it’s protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and infidel of every denomination.”

          • Jason Todd

            So you want to defend an ideology that mandates death to homosexuals? Are you out of your mind?

          • SFBruce

            Of course, I’m opposed to capital punishment for LGBT people, as well as those who’ve committed adultery, and disobedient teenagers, and so are some Muslims, just as there are Christians who believe Leviticus 20:13 should be practiced by the state. I hope and trust it constitutes a very small minority of Christians. Despite this, I support freedom of religion for Christians, too.

          • Jason Todd

            Christians, real Christians, don’t follow Mosaic law. Jesus came to fulfill that. I am a real Christian.

          • SFBruce

            I think you’re saying that you don’t support the death penalty for gay people. If I’m understanding you correctly, that’s one thing we can agree on. But some Christians disagree. According to the Washington Post, Roger Jimenez, Pastor of the Verity Baptist Church in Sacramento, had this to say about the terrorist attack on the Pulse nightclub, “…I think that’s great. I think that helps society. You know, I think Orlando, Fla., is a little safer tonight….The tragedy is that more of them didn’t die. The tragedy is — I’m kind of upset that he didn’t finish the job!” I can’t be sure, but my guess is that Jimenez also considers himself a “real” Christian, as does virtually every person who identifies as Christian. Again, it’s my belief and hope that there are very few Christians with this view.

          • Jason Todd

            Roger Jimenez is a selfish moron. In spite of our sociopolitical differences, I would never praise anything like that.

          • Michael C

            that is NOT what freedom of religion meant …….. it had not one thing to do with other religions ……… ONLY the christian religion

            The First Amendment was ratified in 1791 (when Joseph Story was 12 years old).

            Here’s what the First Amendment says (in part);

            “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”

            Are you suggesting that the founders of the United States of America did not know the definition of the word religion? Do you think they were unintelligent?

            Are you a citizen of the United States?

        • Off Shore

          This great nation was founded and built by and for professing Christ fearing people. Read the founders writings and you will see exactly what we are saying.

          • Michael C

            This great nation was founded and built by and for professing Christ fearing people

            …who thought that everyone should be free to believe and practice their faith no matter their religion. Read the First Amendment and you’ll see exactly what everyone’s saying.

        • Jason Todd

          Islam is an ideology, not a religion.

          • tatoo

            No, it is a religion, and it is prominent in many many nations.

          • Jason Todd

            Still wrong.

    • Jason Todd

      Islam isn’t about freedom. It’s about misogyny, mutilation and murder.

      • tatoo

        Like all religions are.

        • Jason Todd

          Wrong. Try again.

    • getstryker

      Yeah . . . remember that when they fling your sorry ‘bottom’ off a high building . . . it’s the future you and your ‘undiscerning’ ilk are rapidly moving the U.S. into.

  • james blue

    Well he has to live by his own principles, or they wouldn’t be principles. However, he shouldn’t expect other to stand for him when his religious freedoms are being jeopardized.

    Martin Niemoller isn’t quoted so often for fun.

    • Amos Moses

      abandoning Christ is not a “principle” ….. it is anarchy ……..

      • tatoo

        No, it is just smart.

  • And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the Lord.

    • Kimberly Winn-Elliott

      I notice that folks simply scrolled by this portion from the Word of God. I guess it doesn’t support their opinion.

  • NCOriolesFan

    Ironic here in the USA, Christians would support the religious freedom for Muslims but in Muslim majority countries like Pakistan, Egypt and Indonesia, Christians are a targeted minority.

    • tatoo

      Most Christians here do not support freedom for Muslims. Just read the comments here. So, naturally, Christians in Muslim countries are targeted.

  • Scott Davenport

    While thinking on this just now, I’m thinking Jesus would say “are they not building these houses to worship that which is imaginary and unreal? If so, let them build and have no part in it. Rather, expend your energies on helping others and worshiping our father”, or something along those lines…..

    • Grace Kim Kwon

      Lord Jesus would never have supported any construction of pagan worship places. The Muslims in the West do not need Christian helps to built their mosques. They have enough power and money and support. Some Christians are being confused; they are carrying out humanism instead of Christianity.

  • michael louwe

    So far, ie after so many donkey years, this “love yr enemy” tactic has not worked on Muslim countries. In fact, things hv gotten worse for Churches/Christians in many Muslim countries, eg Egypt, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, etc.
    ……. By right, Churches/Christians in the West should hv adopted God’s never-changing law of ‘hate yr enemy'(MATT.5:43) or quid-pro-quo.
    ……. Stupid is as stupid does.

  • Ray Nix

    I agree with the pastor taking a stand by resigning. These folks who would defend the right of a mosque to be built are totally self righteous and stupid. This country would not be what it is and has been if we were founded upon Islamic beliefs. It is very clear the Muslims have an agenda to transform this country from Christian to Islam, these people supporting this Mosque are supporting an evil religion that will also bring about their own self destruction as people sit back and let Islam widdle away at America. What fellowship has light with darkness, this man resigned from a group of ignorant men who do not have the wisdom of the God whom they claim to serve.

    • Mary Lyons

      Well said Ray!! It is heartbreaking to see so many professing Christians so quickly compromising with the world’s religion and have even allowed the new apostasy to creep into their churches that now has watered down the Gospel with the “comfortable” gospel. As the Lord says in 2 Timothy 4:3-5. “I charge [you] in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus Who is to judge the living and the dead and by (in the light of) His coming and His kingdom. 2. Herald and preach the Word! Keep our sense of urgency (stand by, be at hand ready, whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable, whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it be welcome or unwelcome, you as preacher of the Word are to show people in what way their lives are wrong) and convince the, rebuking and correcting, warning and urging and encouraging the, being unflagging and inexhaustible in patience and teaching. 3. For the time is coming when {people} will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but having ears itching {for something pleasing and gratifying}, they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold, 4. And will turn aside from hearing the truth and wander off into myths and man made fictions.

  • Grace Kim Kwon

    Western Baptists do not need to support the construction of any pagan worship places in the land. Promotion of any pagansims means helping out the child-abuses and religious oppressions. People get religious freedom everywhere where the Judeo-Christian values influence. For now, the Baptists should concentrate on the Christians’ religious freedom in the USA. If the Sodomites keep taking control of the culture, everyone will lose religious freedom anyway including the Muslims. People need Christian principles working intact for everyone’s religious freedom AND children’s safety.

    • tatoo

      Jude’s? You know nothing about the Judeo part.

  • Rhonda

    By resigning, he just left us out to dry with NO one on the board to oppose this stupidity. Mosques are not JUST places of worship and everyone knows it, but PC has silenced that fact

    • Inayawan

      Who cares? If the board is populated with this kind of rot just look at the SBC in general for the reason.

  • Robert

    This article mentions the interfaith coalition The WELS ,ELS and CLC synod churchs are not members of this inter faith coalition .
    The lutheran churchs mentioned are much mote Liberal and hold to higher critical biblical views . Luther as our churchs do hold to the old historical gramatical view of bible interpretations. A SIMPLE MEANING IS ( What the Bible says is what it means . ) the exception to this rule would be

    unless the bible ” it self” in its context of the verse .delegates a different meaning by way of . picture language etc.

  • Rev Donald Spitz

    It’s difficult when these supposed Christian organisations sell out the Lord Jesus Christ and worship false gods.
    Exodus 20:3 – Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

  • Chet

    Agree with the resigning pastor 1000%. To support such amounts to compromising the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and supporting the institution of “another gospel”, which is not of God Almighty of the Holy Bible…

  • Ax2root

    Commie World Council of Churches interfaith devil serving churches

  • gramma aac

    “Freedom of religion” is not a Biblical concept! “Thou shalt have no other gods…” IS!!
    God tells me to love my neighbor, not support his idolatry! “Love” wants him to know the truth.