Southern Baptist Notables Endorse, Embrace GOP Presidential Contenders

Getty Images Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz
Getty Images
Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz

The campaign trail is cutting an ever-widening swath through Southern Baptist notables.

In short:

— Paige Patterson is among the Southern Baptists on a Ted Cruz religious liberty advisory board; R. Albert Mohler Jr. is on a Marco Rubio pro-life advisory board; and Rick Warren is on a Rubio religious liberty advisory board.

— Cruz has been endorsed by Jerry Johnson, president of National Religious Broadcasters, and by his Houston pastor, Gregg Matte of First Baptist Church.

— Donald Trump now has former candidate Mike Huckabee’s daughter as one of his senior advisers.

— Ohio Gov. John Kasich has garnered endorsements from former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi and from Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley.

Cruz advisory board

The Ted Cruz campaign announced its 19-member religious liberty advisory board on March 1.

In addition to Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, the board includes Mark Harris, pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C., and a former U.S. Senate candidate; Tony Beam, North Greenville University’s vice president for student services and Christian worldview; and home rehab personalities David and Jason Benham.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council in Washington and a Southern Baptist, is the advisory board’s chairman. Also on the board are Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, and Ryan Anderson, a senior research fellow with the Heritage Foundation.

Rubio advisory boards

The Marco Rubio campaign announced its 10-member pro-life advisory board on Jan. 19 and its 15-member religious liberty advisory board on Jan. 5.

In addition to Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., the pro-life Rubio panel includes Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood director turned pro-life advocate; Ravi Zacharias, president of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries; Scott Klusendorf, president of the Life Training Institute; Francis Beckwith, professor of philosophy and church-state studies at Baylor University; and Steve Aden of the Alliance Defending Freedom serving as director of its Center for Life Alliances.

In addition to Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Southern California, the Rubio religious liberty panel, according to a report by WORLD Magazine in January, includes Thomas White, president of Cedarville University in Ohio; Wayne Grudem, research professor of theology and biblical studies with Phoenix Seminary; Thomas Kidd, distinguished professor of history and associate director of Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion; and Doug Napier, executive vice president of the Alliance Defending Freedom.

The Rubio religious liberty board also included Samuel Rodriguez, who was listed on the similar board with the Cruz campaign. Baptist Press attempted to check with the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference but had not received clarification by its March 3 mid-afternoon deadline.

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SOURCE: Baptist Press
Art Toalston