Reclaiming Jesus: Speaking Up for the Integrity of Our Faith
Evangelicals who support Donald Trump and his presidency are destroying the good news of Jesus Christ. In this Easter season, Jim Wallis and a diverse group of church elders listed below have banded together to fight for the Soul of the Nation by issuing the declaration of Reclaiming Jesus.
The current administration is at war with the values of Jesus Christ so clearly enumerated in the Bible. People who say they are Christians but support the Trump administration (the TRUMP EVANGELICALS) are creating a religious dissonance the is fracturing the integrity of our faith.
Reclaiming Jesus declares: “We believe that each human being is made in God’s image and likeness” (Genesis 1:26), therefore, “Racial bigotry is a brutal denial of the image of God (the imago dei) in some of the children of God” and that causes us to “reject the resurgence of white nationalism and racism in our nation on many fronts, including the highest levels of political leadership.”
It continues to say we must also “reject misogyny, the mistreatment, violent abuse, sexual harassment, and sexual assault of women” because “[w]e believe we are one body. In Christ there is to be no oppression based on race, gender, identity, or class (Galatians 3:28).”
The declaration further asserts our treatment of the poor and vulnerable is literally a test of our relationship to Jesus. If “we believe that how we treat the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the stranger (meaning immigrants and refugees) the sick, and the prisoner is how we treat Christ himself (Matthew 25: 31-46),” we have another theological, not just a political issue at stake.
Reclaiming Jesus also states, “We believe that truth is morally central to our personal and public lives” and that Jesus promises, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8:32).” But the TRUMP EVANGELICALS don’t seem to care about the pervasive, persistent, and pathological “lying that is invading our political and civic life.”
The declaration additionally reminds us that, “We believe that Christ’s way of leadership is servanthood, not domination” and that is why “we reject any moves toward autocratic political leadership and authoritarian rule.”
The church elders also agree that “‘America First’ [is] a theological heresy.” “We believe,” says our declaration, that “our churches and our nations are part of an international community whose interests always surpass national boundaries.” Therefore, we “reject xenophobic or ethnic nationalism which places one nation over others as a political goal.”
Finally, the TRUMP EVANGELICALS cannot call themselves consistently “pro-life” when their political choices and allegiances do not support the lives of the poor, racial and religious minorities, immigrants and refugees, low-income families and children.
From Easter to Pentecost, we will all be taking this to the churches for civil discourse, discernment, and action. Use this declaration as a signal that church leaders have broken the silence by speaking with one voice in unison to address the national moral, political, and even constitutional crisis we now face.
Signatories to Reclaiming Jesus
- Bishop Carroll A. Baltimore, President and CEO, Global Alliance Interfaith Networks
- Rev. Dr. Peter Borgdorff, Executive Director Emeritus, Christian Reformed Church in North America
- Dr. Amos Brown, Chair, Social Justice Commission, National Baptist Convention USA, Inc.
- Rev. Dr. Walter Brueggemann, Professor Emeritus, Columbia Theological Seminary
- Dr. Tony Campolo, Co-Founder, Red Letter Christians
- Dr. Iva Carruthers, General Secretary, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference
- The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate, The Episcopal Church
- Rev. Dr. James Forbes, President and Founder, Healing the Nations Foundation and Preaching Professor at Union Theological Seminary
- Rev. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, General Secretary Emeritus, Reformed Church in America
- Rev. Dr. Cynthia Hale, Senior Pastor, Ray of Hope Christian Church, Decatur, GA
- Rev. Dr. Richard Hamm, former General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
- Rev. Dr. Joel C. Hunter, Faith Community Organizer and Chairman, Community Resource Network
- Rev. Dr. Jo Anne Lyon, General Superintendent Emerita, The Wesleyan Church
- Bishop Vashti McKenzie, 117th Elected and Consecrated Bishop, AME Church
- Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, Jr., Co-Convener National African American Clergy Network
- Dr. John Perkins, Chair Emeritus and Founding Member, Christian Community Development Association
- Bishop Lawrence Reddick, CEO, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
- Fr. Richard Rohr, Founder, Center for Action and Contemplation
- Dr. Ron Sider, President Emeritus, Evangelicals for Social Action
- Rev. Jim Wallis, President and Founder, Sojourners
- Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, Director, NCC Truth and Racial Justice Initiative
- Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, Co-Convener, National African American Clergy Network; President, Skinner Leadership Institute
- Bishop Will Willimon, Bishop, The United Methodist Church, retired, Professor of the Practice of Ministry, Duke Divinity School