‘Tricky’ endorsements

Lisa Sergent —  March 22, 2016

The young woman who summarized all of Baptist history in a five-minute rap video in 2013 has returned with a campaign video for J. D. Greear. Ashley Unzicker tells in beat-box rhyme how Southern Baptist Convention presidential candidate Greear would lead the massive SBC, saying “it’s tricky.” The rap is a parody of Run-D.M.C.’s “It’s Tricky” released in 1986.

Several leading SBC figures appear in the video, each repeating the line, “it’s tricky.”

They include the heads of three SBC entities: International Mission Board president David Platt, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission president Russell Moore, Southeastern Seminary president Danny Akin and former SBC president Bryant Wright. Their sound bites appear to have been recorded by the entity heads on cell phones.

A disclaimer on the video says the opinions expressed are those of the rap-artist, and not necessarily the opinions of the Southern Baptist Convention, International Mission Board, North American Mission Board, Greear or his church. A card at the end requests the viewer “keep all angry comments, blog posts, and e-mails to yourself.” The rapper may mean that to be funny, but it appears she means it.

And no, we won’t.

We don’t expect the heads of SBC entities to endorse candidates for SBC office. The next SBC president will appoint the people who name trustees and board members for denominational entities. Indirectly, they affect the budgets. Appearing in a particular candidate’s video—even a funny one produced by a well-meaning church member—could be interpreted as an endorsement. Is that ethical?

What’s next? Should Frank Page, Paige Patterson, Chuck Kelley, and O.S. Hawkins form a quartet to sing on Steve Gaines’s behalf? For many reasons, let us hope not.

Expressing support for your friends is admirable; but when they could, even indirectly, affect the flow of money in your direction, well, it’s tricky.

–  The Illinois Baptist Editors

Lisa Sergent

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Lisa is IBSA Director of Communications. A Missouri native, she moved to Illinois 22 years ago and arrived at IBSA a few years later. Lisa and her husband, Chris, have been married 19 years.