Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has been condemned in open letters by scientists, national security officials, Gold Star families, students from his former alma mater, Silicon Valley business leaders, leading economists, and ex-Congressmen from his own party. He can now add evangelical religious leaders to that list.
94 religious leaders from a“wide range of denominations, churches, and political orientations” have signed a scathing open letter condemning the racist rabble-rouser for his divisive an un-Christian policies. They are also fighting back against the domination of white Republicans over political Christianity and the co-opting of the conservative movement by radical extremists:
A significant mistake in American politics is the media’s continued identification of “evangelical” with mostly white, politically conservative, older men. We are not those evangelicals. The media’s narrow labels of our community perpetuate stereotypes, ignore our diversity, and fail to accurately represent views expressed by the full body of evangelical Christians.
Instead, they rightfully celebrate our nation’s diversity as an expression of the gospel and as a pivotal keystone in the American experiment:
We are Americans of African and European descent, Latino/a, Asian American, and Native American. We are women and men, as well as younger and older evangelical Christians. We come from a wide range of denominations, churches, and political orientations.
We believe that racism strikes at the heart of the gospel; we believe that racial justice and reconciliation is at the core of the message of Jesus.
We believe the candidacy of Donald J. Trump has given voice to a movement that affirms racist elements in white culture—both explicit and implicit. Regardless of his recent retraction, Mr. Trump has spread racist “birther” falsehoods for five years trying to delegitimize and humiliate our first African-American president, characterizing him as “the other” and not a real American citizen.
He uses fear to demonize and degrade immigrants, foreigners, and people from different racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. He launched his presidential campaign by demonizing Mexicans, immigrants, and Muslims, and has repeatedly spoken against migrants and refugees coming to this country—those whom Jesus calls “the stranger” in Matthew 25, where he says that how we treat them is how we treat him.
Trump has steadily refused to clearly and aggressively confront extremist voices and movements of white supremacy, some of whom now call him their “champion,” and has therefore helped to take the dangerous fringes of white nationalism in America to the mainstream of politics.
Mr. Trump has fueled white American nationalism with xenophobic appeals and religious intolerance at the expense of gospel values, democratic principles, and important international relationships. He mocks women and the sanctity of marriage vows, disregards facts and the accountability to truth, and worships wealth and shameful materialism, while taking our weakening culture of civility to nearly unprecedented levels with continuing personal attacks on others, including attacking a federal judge based purely on his Mexican heritage, mocking a disabled reporter, and humiliating a beauty pageant winner for her weight and Latina ethnicity—to give just a few examples.
For this reason, we cannot ignore this bigotry, set it aside, just focus on other issues, or forget the things Mr. Trump has consistently said and done. No matter what other issues we also care about, we have to make it publicly clear that Mr. Trump’s racial and religious bigotry and treatment of women is morally unacceptable to us as evangelical Christians, as we attempt to model Jesus’ command to “love your neighbors as yourself.”
The letter was published as a petition on Change.org. As of publication, it has 7,000 signatures.
It is welcoming to see this reminder that the toxic brand of Christian extremism that is closely connected to the white supremacy movement and interwoven into the Republcian Party is not nearly as prevalent as the media makes it seem.
By any measure, Donald J. Trump, the self-professed “Christian” whose “favorite book is the Bible,” is a morally repugnant and proudly unrepentant sinner. He is a narcissist who worships at the alter of Mammon and who sees his fellow men as cattle to be exploited for his own gain, women as objects to be used for his own pleasure and discarded once he’s through with them.
The position of the Presidency is to be caretaker of the American people, a shepherd to guide the flock into better times and safer pastures. Donald Trump is not a man we can trust with that role – or one who deserves it.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.