A motion made on first day of the 2022 SBC annual meeting will bring a vote to the floor of the convention to “abolish the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.” The vote is scheduled for 11:35 a.m., Wednesday, June 15.
The motion was made by messenger Joshua Scruggs from Bethlehem Baptist Church in Jacksonville, N.C. Scruggs declined an opportunity to comment on the motion before the floor vote.
“While I obviously disagree with the purpose of this move, I do appreciate the fact that it provides another opportunity for Southern Baptists to hear about the ways this entity faithfully lives out and brings the gospel to the public square,” said Brent Leatherwood, ERLC acting president.
According to the SBC Bylaws, “No entity shall be discontinued without a majority vote at two (2) successive annual sessions of the convention.” That means the motion would have to be voted on a second time at the 2023 SBC annual meeting in New Orleans if it is passed by messengers on June 15.
First known as the Social Service Commission, the work of the ERLC was first commissioned by messengers in 1947. In 1997, the entity was renamed to Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
“The ERLC continues to work in a long line of cultural engagement on a number of social issues,” according to an article by the ERLC, focusing specifically on three areas of importance — religious liberty, human dignity and cultural engagement.
The full text of the motion is:
“I move that messengers to the 2022 SBC annual meeting abolish the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, with the first of the two necessary votes taking place during the 2022 annual meeting and, upon an affirmative vote, the second vote be automatically added to the 2023 SBC annual meeting’s order of business.”
— Brandon Porter serves as associate vice president for convention news at the SBC Executive Committee.