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Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) is the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest non-Catholic Christian denomination in the United States, with over 16 million members in over 43,000 independent churches.[1] As of June 1, 2013, the ERLC is headed by Russell D. Moore[2] and is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, with additional offices in Washington, D.C. and Cyprus.

Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
FounderSouthern Baptist Convention
TypePublic policy agency
Tax ID no.
  • 505 Second St
    Washington, DC
Area served
United States
Key people
Russell D. Moore, President
Websitewww.erlc.org [16]
Formerly called
Christian Life Commission


ERLC logo, 1997-2013

ERLC logo, 1997-2013

Formerly known as the Christian Life Commission (1953-1997), the entity with organizational predecessors dating back to 1907[3] received its current name in the course of a broad reorganization of multiple Southern Baptist entities in 1997 (Sutton, p 335).[3] the agency was founded in 1988 when The Southern Baptist Convention began reducing terminated its involvement participation with the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty in 1992[3] (Sutton, p. 300) due to conflicts over separation of church and state and whether Baptist organizations should play a role in partisan politics. It was led by Richard Land from 1988 to 2013. Land announced his intention to retire effective October 23, 2013, after the uproar that ensued from his controversial comments about the Trayvon Martin case that resulted in an official reprimand by the ERLC's executive committee.[4][5] Russell D. Moore filled the post afterwards.[6] Moore is an outspoken critic of then-Republican Presidential candidate, Donald Trump. His criticism of Trump has been controversial with several Southern Baptist leaders.[7]

The stated vision of the ERLC is an organization "dedicated to engaging the culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ and speaking to issues in the public square for the protection of religious liberty and human flourishing. Our vision can be summed up in three words: kingdom, culture and mission. Since its inception, the ERLC has been defined around a holistic vision of the kingdom of God, leading the culture to change within the church itself and then as the church addresses the world." [8]

At the Convention's 2018 annual meeting, a motion to defund the ERLC was rejected.[9]


The agency has many ministries to carry out its stated missions, including voter registration,[10] a think tank called the Research Institute,[11] and the Psalm 139 Project, which donates sonogram machines to crisis pregnancy centers.[12]

ERLC is involved in legislative advocacy. Its achievements include:

  • The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA)[13]

  • The Sudan Peace Act of 2002[14]

  • The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA)[15]

  • The North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004

Leadership history [3]

TitleOrganizational name
Russell Moore2013-presentPresidentEthics & Religious Liberty Commission
Richard Land1997-2013PresidentEthics & Religious Liberty Commission
Richard Land1988-1997Executive Director-TreasurerChristian Life Commission
Nathan Larry Baker1987-1988Executive SecretaryChristian Life Commission
Foy Valentine1960-1987Executive SecretaryChristian Life Commission
Acker Calvin Miller1953-1960Executive SecretaryChristian Life Commission
Hugh Alexander Brimm1947-1952Executive SecretarySocial Service Commission
Southern Baptist organized civic engagement prior to Cooperative Program funding beginning 1947
Arthur James Barton1920-1942ChairmanCommittee on Temperance
Arthur James Barton1914-1920ChairmanCommittee on Temperance and Social Service
Arthur James Barton1910-1914ChairmanSocial Service Commission

See also

  • Southern Baptist Convention conservative resurgence


Citation Linkwww.erlc.comhttp://www.erlc.com
Sep 19, 2019, 5:33 AM
Citation Linkerlc.com"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-06-06. Retrieved 2013-04-11. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
Sep 19, 2019, 5:33 AM
Citation Linkbooks.google.comSutton, Jerry (2008). A Matter of Conviction: A History of Southern Baptist Engagement with the Culture. B&H Publishing Group. ISBN 9780805447552.
Sep 19, 2019, 5:33 AM
Citation Linkwww.huffingtonpost.comAdelle M. Banks, "Richard Land To Retire: Southern Baptist Leader Will Step Down Following Ethics Probe", Huffington Post, 1 August 2012, Religion News Service
Sep 19, 2019, 5:33 AM
Citation Linkwww.bpnews.nethttp://www.bpnews.net/37942/trustees-reprimand-land-halt-radio-program-over-comments
Sep 19, 2019, 5:33 AM
Citation Linkweb.archive.orgAllen, Bob. "SBC leader says evangelicals paying price for ‘narrow vision’ of religious freedom" Archived 2014-04-13 at the Wayback Machine, Associated Baptist Press, 2014-04-11.
Sep 19, 2019, 5:33 AM
Citation Linkbaptistnews.comhttps://baptistnews.com/article/former-sbc-leader-says-erlc-out-of-touch-with-mainstream/#.WTBTtWjyuUk
Sep 19, 2019, 5:33 AM
Citation Linkerlc.com"ERLC: About". erlc.com. Retrieved 2018-10-15.
Sep 19, 2019, 5:33 AM
Citation Linkwww.theatlantic.comMerritt, Jonathan (16 June 2018). "Southern Baptists Call Off the Culture War". The Atlantic. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
Sep 19, 2019, 5:33 AM
Citation Linkwww.bpnews.netHastings, Dwayne (12 August 2004). "Focus on the Family signs on to ERLC's iVoteValues initiative". Baptist Press.
Sep 19, 2019, 5:33 AM
Citation Linkerlc.com""ERLC Research Institute"". Archived from the original on 2008-04-10. Retrieved 2008-04-14. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
Sep 19, 2019, 5:33 AM
Citation Linkweb.archive.org"The Psalm 139 Project: About" Archived 2014-06-06 at the Wayback Machine, Psalm 139 Project website
Sep 19, 2019, 5:33 AM
Citation Linkwww.bpnews.netOrtiz, Cindy (5 October 2009). "Report: U.S. Officials Unaware of Child Sex-Trafficking Problem". Baptist Press.
Sep 19, 2019, 5:33 AM
Citation Linkwww.bpnews.netStrode, Tom (22 October 2002). "President Signs Sudan Peace Act Seeking End to Regime's Atrocities". Baptist Press.
Sep 19, 2019, 5:33 AM
Citation Linkarticles.chicagotribune.comTucker, Neely (27 July 2003). "Government Aims to Halt Prison Rape: Disparate Groups Unite in Backing New Reforms". Washington Post.
Sep 19, 2019, 5:33 AM
Citation Linkwww.erlc.orgwww.erlc.org
Sep 19, 2019, 5:33 AM
Citation Linkwww.erlc.comhttp://www.erlc.com
Sep 19, 2019, 5:33 AM
Citation Linkweb.archive.org"Archived copy"
Sep 19, 2019, 5:33 AM
Citation Linkerlc.comthe original
Sep 19, 2019, 5:33 AM
Citation Linkbooks.google.comA Matter of Conviction: A History of Southern Baptist Engagement with the Culture
Sep 19, 2019, 5:33 AM