Brent Leatherwood was elected as the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission in 2022, through a unanimous vote by the board of trustees. He previously served the organization, often referred to as the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, in various roles including acting president, chief of staff and vice president of external affairs, and director of strategic partnerships.
Because of his extensive work in electoral politics and public policy, Brent brings an expertise in public policy and communications to the ERLC. Prior to joining the Commission, he served as the executive director of The Tennessee Republican Party, the most successful statewide political organization in the state, from 2012–2016. Before that, he was the director of communications and policy strategy at The Tennessee General Assembly, managed U.S. Congressional campaigns, and developed policy solutions in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Leading the ERLC’s advocacy in four primary areas—life, religious liberty, marriage and family, and human dignity—Brent has described the work of the organization as similar to that of “missionaries being sent into the public square.” He has also stated he desires the Commission under his leadership to be “a voice for the voiceless, to speak up for the marginalized, and to be a servant for the widow, the orphan, and the vulnerable.”
Brent has regularly interviewed with media outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Religion News Service, NPR, Christianity Today, Christian Broadcasting Network, and World Radio, representing Southern Baptists in the public square. He is also a regular contributor to The ERLC Podcast, a podcast designed to help Southern Baptists think biblically about today’s cultural issues.
Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, has called Brent a “gifted and godly man with firm biblical and baptistic convictions.” He has also been described as a leader who has “a strong faith, knowledge of Scripture, and an unbounding love for Jesus,” by Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board.
An enthusiastic Tennessean, who is originally from Chattanooga, he and his wife, Meredith, reside in Nashville and are the parents of two daughters and one son. Brent and Meredith are deeply engaged in their community and are active members of their church, where he has served as a deacon since 2014.