In a stunning statement of solidarity against Donald Trump, more than three dozen evangelical leaders have signed onto the “Chicago Invitation,” a declaration of the pursuit of Christianity that does not include being lumped in with those that Donald Trump and the GOP have painted as conservatives.
For years, the Republican Party has attempted to claim the support of religious people of all stripes, insinuating that the “morality” which leads one to be Christian also necessarily leads one to the GOP. But since the nomination of Donald Trump, and especially since he was elected, the gap between evangelicals who actually are conservatives and those who continue to vote the tenets of Christianity has widened, largely along diversity lines.
These evangelical leaders, including many people of color, signed on to the declaration in hopes of countering what they call a “false narrative” that evangelical Christianity is represented by the majority-white, socially conservative supporters of Donald Trump that find their voices in people like Jim Bakker, Jerry Falwell Junior, and Joel Osteen.
The group was partially concerned with the media’s portrayal of who, exactly, supports Donald Trump — since exit polling in the 2016 election largely reported upwards of 80 percent of evangelicals as supporters. The group, Sojourners and Evangelicals for Social Action, says that number represents only white evangelicals, and that when diversity is included in polling, the number is far, far lower:
Sadly, in 2018, several false narratives around the identity of evangelicals in the United States undermine Christian witness and distort American politics. Often, evangelicals are identified in the media and by the public as being predominantly white, right wing, and unconcerned about the poor and oppressed. When evangelicals of color and younger evangelicals are accurately accounted for, the picture changes significantly. For example, evangelicals of color voted overwhelmingly otherwise.”
Most importantly, what these diverse Christian leaders have committed to stands in direct opposition to the principles of the Trump administration — as does, most Biblical scholars would argue, the Bible itself:
We commit to resisting all manifestations of racism, white nationalism, and any forms of bigotry — all of which are sins against God. We commit to resisting patriarchy, toxic masculinity, and any form of sexism and to always affirm the dignity, voices, and leadership of women.”
It is a timely declaration, given the turn of events with the US Supreme Court and the expected backlash from women in the November midterm election.
Featured image via Rodolfo Clix/Pexels