An Open Letter to My Fellow Evangelicals about Trump

I have been an evangelical Christian my whole life. My father was an evangelical pastor for over fifty years; my uncle served on the national board of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE). I have taught Christian theology at three evangelical institutions of higher education for thirty-six years. I served as a contributing editor of Christianity Today magazine—evangelicalism’s leading publication. I have written several books about evangelical Christianity. My evangelical credentials are impeccable.

Now, however, I am constantly assailed with questions such as “How can you call yourself ‘evangelical’ now that ‘evangelical’ means being a supporter of Donald Trump and the far-right wing of the Republican Party?” I have not given up calling myself evangelical and will not, but I have to admit that holding onto the label and identity is becoming increasingly difficult.

Recently Trump reportedly called many of the countries from which many American evangelical Christians have come “sh*thole countries” and held up as better countries ones that may be more economically affluent but are very secular. His language and attitude, are extremely offensive—not just to certain countries but to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who loves people of all nations.

(Note: My blog’s host has asked me not to print the vulgarity in its entirety here even though it has been publicly repeated on television news programs and in newspaper articles. I comply with their wish with some reluctance. Also, I believe Trump said this even though some who were present say they don’t remember saying it and Trump now denies saying it. Certain U.S senators were present when he said it and insist that he did say it. I believe them partly because this fits what I observe as Trump’s character and speech patterns.)

Jesus was a citizen of a “sh*thole country” if there ever was one. Of course, I don’t mean to call it that for myself; what I mean is that Trump’s category would include first century Palestine. In fact, however, we evangelicals believe the whole world is a “sh*thole country” compared with the glory from which Jesus came when he was born in Bethlehem.
 

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