In these times of difficult conversations and sometimes fractious words, we celebrate the political diversity of our churches. We are thankful that the U.S. church is not beholden to any political party.
Since November’s presidential election some in the American church have rejoiced that their candidate won (or that the other candidate lost), some are cautiously at ease with the results, and still others remain in a state of shock and anger at the election results.
Whatever the varied reactions, we believe our time calls for a prophetic word.
As Jeremiah wrote, we should not say, “Peace, peace!” where there is no peace. We mourn the absence of biblical shalom in the U.S. today: everything is not at peace. Our God is a God of truth, who brings thoughts, words, and deeds out of shadows. By the light of Christ, we see what needs to be transformed.
In that light we are troubled by the new access to power of a man who has signaled that he may not stand up for the dignity and welfare of all people.
President Donald Trump has bragged about sexual assault and berated his female accusers. He has repeatedly disparaged African Americans, Latinos, and other communities. He has denied what is true and promoted what is not. He has threatened political opponents, called for torture of U.S. enemies, and has failed to quickly and unequivocally denounce and distance himself from race-based crimes committed in his name.
We recognize that many voted for the President in spite of—not because of—these patterns.
But now is the time for the body of Christ to stand together against the devaluing of women and their bodies, xenophobia, inflammatory racialized rhetoric, and other harmful speech and behavior.
Some perceived greater political good cannot offset the President-elect’s words and actions. We cannot “just make the best of” our current moment without calling him to accountability. Calls for “national healing” ring hollow when they fail to acknowledge the division, fear, and hostility that the President-elect has done much to enable and incite. Rather, we stand united to promote the dignity of all people.
To that end:
1. We will pray for President Trump, elected officials, our nation, our churches, and each other.
2. Rooted in the teachings of Jesus and the prophets, we will tell the truth about the world around us, and we will speak up for those who have been marginalized and taken advantage of.
3. We will actively resist the temptation to overlook or normalize values, speech, and behavior that are in conflict with what Scripture calls us to.
4. In the name of Jesus, we call President Trump to repentance for dishonoring the image of God in others.
5. We will fix our eyes on Jesus and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, redouble our efforts to honor the image of God in all people and to love all our neighbors as ourselves.
We implore all Christians to take on these same commitments, and to model the repentance to which we call President-elect Trump.
Our calling comes from the God who raised Jesus from the dead. The same power on display in the resurrection enables us to promote the well-being of others and to seek God’s justice for all people.
We commit ourselves—and call on fellow Christians—to walk more worthily of such a calling in these challenging days.
Organizations of lead signers below are listed for purposes of identification only.
Abram Kielsmeier-Jones, Pastor, Writer at Words on the Word
The Rev. Dr. Randall Balmer, John Phillips Professor in Religion, Dartmouth College
The Rev. Traci D. Blackmon
Dr. Walter Brueggemann, Professor Emeritus, Columbia Theological Seminary
Dr. Gregory W. Carmer, Pastor
Dr. Heath W. Carter, Assistant Professor of History, Valparaiso University
Noel Castellanos, President, CCDA
The Rev. Eugene Cho, Local Church Pastor, Founder of One Day’s Wages, Author of Overrated
Shane Claiborne, Author, Activist, Co-founder of Red Letter Christians, www.shaneclaiborne.com
Kristin Kobes Du Mez, Associate Professor of History, Calvin College
Thomas Getman, Humanitarian Consultant, former World Vision International Executive
The Rev. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, General Secretary Emeritus, Reformed Church in America
Dr. Mimi Haddad, President, Christians for Biblical Equality
Dr. Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor Emeritus, the Divinity and Law Schools at Duke University
The Rev. Dr. Peter Goodwin Heltzel, Associate Professor of Theology and Director of the Micah Institute at New York Theological Seminary
Dr. Wesley Hill, Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies, Trinity School for Ministry, Ambridge, PA
The Very Rev. Timothy Jones, Priest and Author
The Rev. Dr. Deborah Kielsmeier, Pastor
The Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, Senior Minister, Middle Collegiate Church, New York, NY
Dr. Brian McLaren, Author, Speaker
David Neff, retired Editor-in-Chief, Christianity Today
The Rev. Michael L. Pfleger, Pastor, The Faith Community of Saint Sabina, Chicago, IL
The Rev. Dr. Soong-Chan Rah, North Park Theological Seminary
The Rev. Fleming Rutledge, Author of The Crucifixion, named Best Book of 2016 by Christianity Today
Arbutus B. Sider
The Rev. Dr. Ronald J. Sider, President Emeritus, Evangelicals for Social Action
C. Christopher Smith, Founding Editor of The Englewood Review of Books, author of Reading for the Common Good
The Rev. Dr. Linda E. Thomas, Professor of Theology and Anthropology, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
Jemar L. Tisby, President of the Reformed African American Network & Co-Host of Pass The Mic
Dr. Noah Toly, Director of the Center for Urban Engagement, Professor of Politics & International Relations, Wheaton College
Dr. Miroslav Volf, Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology, Yale Divinity School, Founder and Director of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture
Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes, Associate Professor of Practical Theology, McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University
Michael Wear, Author of Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House About the Future of Faith in America
The Rev. Dr. Will Willimon, United Methodist Bishop, retired, Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry, Duke Divinity School, author of The Fear of the Other: No Fear in Love (Abingdon)
The Rev. David Wright, Esq.
The Rev. Jill Zook-Jones, Priest
Stand with us and add your voice to the appeal at change.org.
Media outlets interested in covering this letter can contact Abram K-J.