Evangelical Declaration Petitioning Donald Trump

 Friends and fellow signers,

The declaration is now live at: https://www.change.org/p/donald-trump-a-declaration-by-american-evangelicals-concerning-donald-trump

Below is the declaration with the full list of signers followed by a press release sent today to members of the media. You can see that you are part of a very strong and credible group of initial signatories.

We hope each signer will share the declaration throughout your networks and constituencies, congregations, and communities, as appropriate, as an individual signer of the declaration.

Tell others it is available for them and all to sign at Change.org. We suggest you share this on twitter and facebook using this shortened link: http://chn.ge/2d5Airz and the hashtag: #EvangelicalsAgainstTrump and encourage others to do the same.

We encourage you to be in touch with members of the media that you know in your city, region, or nationally and tell them why you signed this. Write an op-ed or a letter-to-the-editor of your local paper. Please keep us updated via this email address on what you are doing and writing to promote the declaration so we can share that with all signers to help each other and amplify our reach.

This declaration that you signed with many others could help start a new conversation in the media, in the evangelical world, and in our broader communities; not just about the election and the important issues at stake, but also about the meaning and future of the word “evangelical.”

In order for this statement to have the greatest impact and potential to change the conversation around race in the election and what it means to be an evangelical, we need to get this declaration shared on social media and covered in the press.

This is a time for prayer and action.

————————————————————————————————-

A Declaration by American Evangelicals Concerning Donald Trump

Imperfect elections and flawed candidates often make for complicated and difficult choices for Christians. But sometimes historic moments arise when more is at stake than partisan politics–when the meaning and integrity of our faith hangs in the balance. This is one of those moments.

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.

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 in the unity of the body of Christ, but we acknowledge the diverse nature of a community whose faith is biblical and evangelical. And we are growing. Given the rich diversity within our unity, we call upon the political world to hear all our voices, and for the media to acknowledge that the evangelical community is quite diverse.

As evangelical Christians, we believe our hope and allegiance rests in the person of Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, and Lord of our lives. That is why no politician, party, movement, or nation can ever command our ultimate loyalty. As citizens both of the Kingdom of God and this world, we vote with humility, knowing that our favored candidates always fall short of biblical values. We recognize that despite our unity in Christ, we will inevitably disagree about which political stances come closest to the heart of God for our nation.

We believe that the centrality of Christ, the importance of both conversion and discipleship, the authority of the Scriptures, and the “good news” of the gospel, especially for the poor and vulnerable, should prevail over ideological politics, and that we must respond when evangelicalism becomes dangerously identified with one particular candidate whose statements, practice, personal morality, and ideology risk damaging our witness to the gospel before the watching world.

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.

Because we believe that racial bigotry has been a cornerstone of this campaign, it is a foundational matter of the gospel for us in this election, and not just another issue. This is not just a social problem, but a fundamental wrong. Racism is America’s original sin. Its brazen use to win elections threatens to reverse real progress on racial equity and set America back.

Donald Trump’s campaign is the most recent and extreme version of a history of racialized politics that has been pursued and about which white evangelicals, in particular, have been silent. The silence in previous times has set the environment for what we now see.

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.”

Whether we support Mr. Trump’s political opponent is not the question here. Hillary Clinton is both supported and distrusted by a variety of Christian voters. We, undersigned evangelicals, simply will not tolerate the racial, religious, and gender bigotry that Donald Trump has consistently and deliberately fueled, no matter how else we choose to vote or not to vote.

We see this election as a significant teachable moment for our churches and our nation to bring about long-needed repentance from our racial sin. Out of this belief we have written this declaration, inviting you to be part of what we have learned from one another and long to see in the churches and the world—a commitment to justice and the dignity of all human lives.

We invite you to stand with us, join in this declaration, and pass it along to your friends, congregants, pastors, students, and the diverse evangelical church.

Bishop Claude Alexander, Senior Pastor, The Park Church *

Onleilove Alston, Executive Director, Faith in NY*

Dr. Leroy Barber, Executive Director, The Voices Project*

Rev. William Barber, President, Repairers of the Breach*

Katelyn Beaty, Print Managing Editor, Christianity Today*

Dr. Timothy Tee Boddie, General Secretary, Progressive National Baptist Convention*

Rev. Dr. Peter Borgdorff, Executive Director Emeritus, Christian Reformed Church in North America*

Rev. Jonathan E.L. Brooks, Senior Pastor, Canaan Community Church, Chicago*

Deborah Brunt, Blogger and Author*

Rev. Dr. Tony Campolo, Author and Activist*

Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon, Author*

Dr. Shawn Casselberry, Executive Director, Mission Year*

Noel Castellanos, Chief Executive Officer, CCDA*

Rev. Eugene Cho, Pastor, Author, Activist*

Rev. Dr. Rich Cizik, President and Founder, New Evangelical Partnership*

Shane Claiborne, Author, Activist, and Co-Founder of Red Letter Christians*

Shani Dowell, Mother, Wife, Educator*

Rev. Joshua DuBois, Founder and CEO, Values Partnerships, Washington, DC; President Obama’s “Pastor in Chief”*

Rev. Dr. Gerald L. Durley, Pastor Emeritus, Providence Baptist Church*

Rev. Dr. Bob Ekblad, General Director, Tierra Nueva*

Michael O. Emerson, Author*

Jason Fileta, Executive Director, Micah Challenge USA*

Dr. Robert M. Franklin, Director of the Religion Department, Chautauqua Institution*

Rev. Dominique Gilliard, New Hope Covenant Church*

Rev. Wes Granberg-Michaelson, General Secretary Emeritus, Reformed Church in America*

Dr. Mimi Haddad, President of Christians for Biblical Equality, CBEInternational*

Rev. Cynthia Hale, Senior Pastor, Ray of Hope Christian Church*

Lisa Sharon Harper, Chief Church Engagement Officer, Sojourners*

Rev. Fred Harrell, Senior Pastor, City Church, San Francisco*

Rev. Dr. Bethany Harris, Church & Community Consultant, ReQuip Community*

Rachel Held Evans*

Rev. Dr. Peter Heltzel, Associate Professor of Theology, New York Theological Seminary*

Christopher L. Heuertz, Founding Partner of Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism*

Dr. Mike Higgins, Covenant Theological Seminary*

Michelle Higgins, Director of Faith for Justice, Director of Worship and Outreach, South City Church in Saint Louis, MO*

Rev. Daniel Hill, River City Community Church*

Al Hsu, Editor and Author*

David Husby, Director, Covenant World Relief*

Hyepin Im, President and CEO, Korean Churches for Community Development*

Carolyn Custiss James, Author*

Dr. Russell Jeung, Author and Professor, New Hope Covenant Church*

David W. Kersten, Dean, North Park Theological Seminary, Chicago*

Kathy Khang, Writer, Speaker, Activist*

Larry Kim, Cambridge Community Fellowship Church*

Ambassador Jo Anne Lyons, General Superintendent Emerita, The Wesleyan Church*

Rev. Carlos Malave, Executive Director, Christian Churches Together in the USA*

Rev. Michael A. Mata, Associate Pastor, Los Angeles First Church of the Nazarene*

Rev. Dr. Walter Arthur McCray, President, National Black Evangelical Association*

Rev. Brian D. McLaren, Author, former Pastor, Board Chair, Convergenceus.org*

David Neff, retired Editor-in-Chief, Christianity Today, former Vice Chair, National Association of Evangelicals*

Rev. Dr. James C. Perkins, President, Progressive National Baptist Convention*

Suzii Paynter, Executive Coordinator, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship*

Dr. Soong-Chan Rah, North Park Theological Seminary*

Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil*

SueAnn Shiah, Musician, Writer, Filmmaker*

Rev. Dr. Ron Sider, President Emeritus, Evangelicals for Social Action*

Dr. Barbara Williams Skinner, President, Skinner Leadership Institute; Co-chair, National African American Clergy Network*

Andrea Smith, NAIITS*

Dr. T. Dewitt Smith, Jr., Co-Chair of the National African American Clergy Network, Former President of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.; Senior Pastor, Trinity Baptist Church of Metro Atlanta*

Maria-Jose Soerens, Executive Director, Puentes*

Rev. Gail Song-Bantum, Executive Pastor, Quest Church*

Rev. Margot Starbuck

Rev. David Swanson, New Community Covenant Church, Chicago*

Rev. Greg Thompson, Trinity Presbyterian Church*

Lenore Three Stars, Oglala Lakota*

Rev. Steven Timmermans, Executive Director, Christian Reformed Church in North America*

Rev. Jemar L. Tisby, President and Co-Founder, Reformed African American Network*

Rev. Dr. Al Tizon, North Park Theological Seminary*

Nikki Toyama-Szeto, Author and Speaker*

Rev. Harold Dean Trulear, National Director, Healing Communities USA*

Sandra Maria Van Opstal, Speaker, Author, Activist*

Rev. Gary VanderPol, Author, Senior Pastor, Church Without Walls, Berkeley, CA*

Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes, Associate Professor of Practical Theology, McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University*

Rev. Jim Wallis, President and Founder, Sojourners*

Michelle Warren, Advocacy & Policy Engagement Director, CCDA*

Rev. Colin P. Watson Sr., Director of Ministries and Administration, Christian Reformed Church in North America*

Dr. Daniel White Hodge, Director of Center for Youth Ministry Studies and Associate Professor of Youth Ministry, North Park University*

Rev. Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Author and Director, School for Conversion*

Sarah Withrow King, Interim Director, Evangelicals for Social Action*

Dr. John D. Witvliet, Director, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship*

Judy Wu Dominick, Writer, Activist*

Rev. Ken Wytsma, Lead Pastor, Antioch Church; President, Kilns College*

*Organizations and titles listed for identification purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the position of the institution.

For Immediate Release:

Contact: Michael Mershon

October 6th, 2016

michael [dot] mershon [at] gmail [dot] com (240) 204-4196

 

“A DECLARATION BY AMERICAN EVANGELICALS CONCERNING DONALD TRUMP” IS RELEASED

“Trump’s racial and religious bigotry and treatment of women is morally unacceptable to us as evangelical Christians”

A racially diverse and gender-inclusive group of over 75 American evangelical Christian leaders today released a powerful new statement condemning the bigotry expressed by Donald Trump in his campaign for President.

The statement is signed by several current and former heads of denominations, pastors, academics, authors, activists, artists, and leaders of faith-based organizations and networks. It will be shared on Change.org as a petition, so that many others can sign, and will be delivered to the Trump campaign.

The statement is particularly critical of Trump’s use of racial bigotry: “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.”

Drafters and signers include Americans of African and European descent, Latino/a, Asian American, and Native American. They are women and men, as well as younger and older evangelical Christians, and come from a wide range of denominations, churches, and political orientations.

“We believe in the unity of the body of Christ, but we acknowledge the diverse nature of a community whose faith is biblical and evangelical,” the statement says. “And we are growing. Given the rich diversity within our unity, we call upon the political world to hear all our voices, and for the media to acknowledge that the evangelical community is quite diverse.”

Indeed, the statement attempts to correct the conflation within American politics of theological evangelicalism with right-wing, partisan politics.  “A significant mistake in American politics is the media’s continued identification of ‘evangelical’ with mostly white, politically conservative, older men,” the statement says. “We are not those evangelicals.”

Key drafters of the statement include Noel Castellanos, Lisa Sharon Harper, Carolyn Custis James, Soong-Chan Rah, Barbara Williams Skinner, Nikki Toyama Szeto, Gary Vanderpol and Jim Wallis.

The statement concludes by asking all evangelical Christians to “stand with us, join in this declaration, and pass it along to your friends, congregants, pastors, students, and the diverse evangelical church.”

The statement and its first 78 signers are below:

A Declaration by American Evangelicals Concerning Donald Trump

Imperfect elections and flawed candidates often make for complicated and difficult choices for Christians. But sometimes historic moments arise when more is at stake than partisan politics–when the meaning and integrity of our faith hangs in the balance. This is one of those moments.

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.

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 in the unity of the body of Christ, but we acknowledge the diverse nature of a community whose faith is biblical and evangelical. And we are growing. Given the rich diversity within our unity, we call upon the political world to hear all our voices, and for the media to acknowledge that the evangelical community is quite diverse.

As evangelical Christians, we believe our hope and allegiance rests in the person of Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, and Lord of our lives. That is why no politician, party, movement, or nation can ever command our ultimate loyalty. As citizens both of the Kingdom of God and this world, we vote with humility, knowing that our favored candidates always fall short of biblical values. We recognize that despite our unity in Christ, we will inevitably disagree about which political stances come closest to the heart of God for our nation.

We believe that the centrality of Christ, the importance of both conversion and discipleship, the authority of the Scriptures, and the “good news” of the gospel, especially for the poor and vulnerable, should prevail over ideological politics, and that we must respond when evangelicalism becomes dangerously identified with one particular candidate whose statements, practice, personal morality, and ideology risk damaging our witness to the gospel before the watching world.

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.

Because we believe that racial bigotry has been a cornerstone of this campaign, it is a foundational matter of the gospel for us in this election, and not just another issue. This is not just a social problem, but a fundamental wrong. Racism is America’s original sin. Its brazen use to win elections threatens to reverse real progress on racial equity and set America back.

Donald Trump’s campaign is the most recent and extreme version of a history of racialized politics that has been pursued and about which white evangelicals, in particular, have been silent. The silence in previous times has set the environment for what we now see.

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.”

Whether we support Mr. Trump’s political opponent is not the question here. Hillary Clinton is both supported and distrusted by a variety of Christian voters. We, undersigned evangelicals, simply will not tolerate the racial, religious, and gender bigotry that Donald Trump has consistently and deliberately fueled, no matter how else we choose to vote or not to vote.

We see this election as a significant teachable moment for our churches and our nation to bring about long-needed repentance from our racial sin. Out of this belief we have written this declaration, inviting you to be part of what we have learned from one another and long to see in the churches and the world—a commitment to justice and the dignity of all human lives.

We invite you to stand with us, join in this declaration, and pass it along to your friends, congregants, pastors, students, and the diverse evangelical church.

NOTE: Affiliations listed for identification purposes only

 

Bishop Claude Alexander, Senior Pastor, The Park Church

Onleilove Alston, Executive Director, Faith in NY

Dr. Leroy Barber, Executive Director, The Voices Project

Katelyn Beaty, Print Managing Editor, Christianity Today

Rev. Dr. Peter Borgdorff, Executive Director Emeritus, Christian Reformed Church in North America

Rev. Jonathan E.L. Brooks, Senior Pastor, Canaan Community Church, Chicago

Deborah Brunt, Blogger and Author

Rev. Dr. Tony Campolo, Author and Activist

Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon, Author

Dr. Shawn Casselberry, Executive Director, Mission Year

Noel Castellanos, Chief Executive Officer, CCDA

Rev. Eugene Cho, Pastor, Author, Activist

Rev. Dr. Rich Cizik, President and Founder, New Evangelical Partnership

Shane Claiborne, Author, Activist, and Co-Founder of Red Letter Christians

Shani Dowell, Mother, Wife, Educator

Rev. Joshua DuBois, Founder and CEO, Values Partnerships, Washington, DC; President Obama’s “Pastor in Chief”

Rev. Dr. Gerald L. Durley, Pastor Emeritus, Providence Baptist Church

Rev. Dr. Bob Ekblad, General Director, Tierra Nueva

Michael O. Emerson, Author

Jason Fileta, Executive Director, Micah Challenge USA

Dr. Robert M. Franklin, Director of the Religion Department, Chautauqua Institution

Rev. Dominique Gilliard, New Hope Covenant Church

Rev. Wes Granberg-Michaelson, General Secretary Emeritus, Reformed Church in America

Dr. Mimi Haddad, President of Christians for Biblical Equality, CBEInternational

Rev. Cynthia Hale, Senior Pastor, Ray of Hope Christian Church

Lisa Sharon Harper, Chief Church Engagement Officer, Sojourners

Rev. Fred Harrell, Senior Pastor, City Church, San Francisco

Rev. Dr. Bethany Harris, Church & Community Consultant, ReQuip Community

Rachel Held Evans

Rev. Dr. Peter Heltzel, Associate Professor of Theology, New York Theological Seminary

Rev. Mitch Hescox, Author, President and CEO, Evangelical Environmental Network

Dr. Mike Higgins, Covenant Theological Seminary

Michelle Higgins, Director of Faith for Justice, Director of Worship and Outreach, South City Church in Saint Louis, MO

Rev. Daniel Hill, River City Community Church

Al Hsu, Editor and Author

Hyepin Im, President and CEO, Korean Churches for Community Development

Carolyn Custis James

Dr. Russell Jeung, Author and Professor, New Hope Covenant Church

Kathy Khang, Writer, Speaker, Activist

Larry Kim, Cambridge Community Fellowship Church

Ambassador Jo Anne Lyons, General Superintendent Emerita, The Wesleyan Church

Rev. Carlos Malave, Executive Director, Christian Churches Together in the USA

Rev. Michael A. Mata, Associate Pastor, Los Angeles First Church of the Nazarene

Rev. Dr. Walter Arthur McCray, President, National Black Evangelical Association

Rev. Brian D. McLaren, Author, former Pastor, Board Chair, Convergenceus.org

David Neff, retired Editor-in-Chief, Christianity Today, former Vice Chair, National Association of Evangelicals

Suzii Paynter, Executive Coordinator, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship

Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil

Dr. Soong-Chan Rah, North Park Theological Seminary

Rev. Alexia Salvatierra, Faith-Rooted Organizing UnNetwork

SueAnn Shiah, Musician, Writer, Filmmaker

Rev. Dr. Ron Sider, President Emeritus, Evangelicals for Social Action

Dr. Barbara Williams Skinner, President, Skinner Leadership Institute; Co-chair, National African American Clergy Network

Andrea Smith, NAIITS

Dr. T. Dewitt Smith, Jr., Co-Chair of the National African American Clergy Network, Former President of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.; Senior Pastor, Trinity Baptist Church of Metro Atlanta

Maria-Jose Soerens, Executive Director, Puentes

Rev. Gail Song-Bantum, Executive Pastor, Quest Church

Rev. Margot Starbuck

Rev. David Swanson, New Community Covenant Church, Chicago

Rev. Greg Thompson, Trinity Presbyterian Church

Lenore Three Stars, Oglala Lakota

Rev. Steven Timmermans, Executive Director, Christian Reformed Church in North America

Rev. Jemar L. Tisby, President and Co-Founder, Reformed African American Network

Rev. Dr. Al Tizon, North Park Theological Seminary

Nikki Toyama-Szeto, Author and Speaker

Rev. Harold Dean Trulear, National Director, Healing Communities USA

Sandra Maria Van Opstal, Speaker, Author, Activist

Rev. Gary VanderPol, Author, Senior Pastor, Church Without Walls, Berkeley, CA

Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes, Associate Professor of Practical Theology, McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University

Rev. Jim Wallis, President and Founder, Sojourners

Michelle Warren, Advocacy & Policy Engagement Director, CCDA

Rev. Colin P. Watson Sr., Director of Ministries and Administration, Christian Reformed Church in North America

Dr. Daniel White Hodge, Director of Center for Youth Ministry Studies and Associate Professor of Youth Ministry, North Park University

Rev. Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

Sarah Withrow King, Interim Director, Evangelicals for Social Action

Dr. John D. Witvliet, Director, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

Judy Wu Dominick, Writer, Activist

Rev. Ken Wytsma, Lead Pastor, Antioch Church; President, Kilns College

 

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