Two pastors, two sides of Georgia’s evangelical split over Donald Trump

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WEST PALM BEACH, FL - OCTOBER 13: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the South Florida Fair Expo Center on October 13, 2016 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Trump continues to campaign against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with less than one month to Election Day. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

If you want evidence that the 2016 presidential contest has split conservative evangelicals in Georgia, look no further than Cobb County, one of the strongholds of GOP orthodoxy.

The Rev. Nelson Price is the retired pastor of Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta, one of the original “super-churches” in Georgia. He served as first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1991.

Like Ralph Reed of the Faith and Freedom Coalition and Jerry Falwell Jr. of Liberty University, Price is backing Trump, and took up the topic of that 2005 video in a column that appeared Thursday in the Rome News-Tribune:

The question is often posed, can a Christian vote for Donald Trump. My answer is, a Christian can vote for Trump without endorsing his temperament, language, and conduct.

 

Without listing a glossary of gross comments, it must be acknowledged he is all too often base, demeaning, opprobrious, and of late proven vulgar at times. Those factors are reprehensible.

 

Regrettably, the tapes are likely not the only time he has used such language. However, I don’t find his vacillating opponent to be a paragon of virtue, integrity, and honesty. Her language regarding Bill’s victims was not much better. Laughing about a child being raped lacks merit also. Neither is the beau ideal of righteousness…

 

We are electing a commander in chief, not an Exemplar in Chief. Some of his behavior is less than ideal, actually boorish. To vote for him one has to focus on some facts that overshadow his flaws.

Price’s priorities are a conservative U.S. Supreme Court, illegal immigration and religious liberty.

“It is a simple, but significant thing: Trump says we will be able to say ‘Merry Christmas’ again,” Price writes.

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Then we have the Rev. Bryant Wright, pastor of Johnson Ferry Road Baptist Church on the other side of U.S. 41 in Cobb County. Wright is part of the following generation of evangelical leaders. He served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention for two years, beginning in 2010.

Wright has fallen in with the likes of the Rev. Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the public affairs arm of the SBC. Moore is a decided opponent of Trump’s candidacy.

What follows is a series of Twitter messages from Wright, beginning the day after the Trump video became public:

This is the message that Wright was endorsing:


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