OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP

FROM AMERICAN RELIGIOUS LEADERS:

WE NEED YOU TO SPEAK

 

Dear President Trump:

The events that took place in Charlottesville, VA on August 12 grieved us. We were deeply troubled by the public display of racism on that day. It reminded us of a time years ago when such brazen displays of bigotry and white supremacy were common and were upheld by political leaders.

We love the United States of America. We have overcome much racial injustice, but we fear that without moral clarity and courageous leadership that consistently denounces all forms of racism, we may lose the ground that we have gained toward the racial unity for which so many of us have fought. Our nation remains divided racially and ideologically. We struggle to stand together to denounce racial inequality and injustice in our country.

Mr. President, you have, on occasion, denounced the KKK and the Neo-Nazis by name. And, on September 14, 2017, you signed a joint resolution condemning white supremacy. With your signature on that important statement, you also said, "No matter the color of our skin or our ethnic heritage, we all live under the same laws, we all salute the same great flag, and we are all made by the same almighty God.”

We thank you for signing the resolution and for your words expressing the profound solidarity of the American people regardless of skin color and ethnic heritage. The joint resolution was needed to provide moral clarity that white supremacy and white nationalism are outside of American values—indeed, it is outside human values—and will not be accepted in our country. We are grateful that the resolution addresses your role, Mr. President, to “speak out against hate groups that espouse racism, extremism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and White supremacy.” Further, we commend your commitment to “use all resources available to the President and the President’s Cabinet to address the growing prevalence of those hate groups in the United States.”

Now, we respectfully call upon you to respond to the resolution by speaking out against the alt-right movement. This movement has escaped your disapproval. We believe it is important for this movement to be addressed, for at its core it is a white identity movement and the majority of its members are white nationalists or white supremacists. This movement gained public prominence during your candidacy for President of the United States. Supporters of the movement have claimed that you share their vision for our country. These same supporters have sought to use the political and cultural concerns of people of goodwill for their prejudiced political agendas. It concerned many of us when three people associated with the alt-right movement were given jobs in the White House.

Alt-right ideology does not represent constitutional conservatism. The Constitution promotes the dignity and equality of all people. It maintains that we all have the ability to contribute to a just and free society.

The alt-right, however, attributes the uniqueness and achievements of America to the so-called superior capacities and virtues of Anglo-Europeans. American Renaissance editor and alt-right leader Jared Taylor said, “The alt-right accepts that race is a biological fact and that it is a significant aspect of individual and group identity and that any attempt to create a society in which race can be made not to matter will fail.” The core of the movement is the protection of white identity. Richard Spencer, a prominent leader in the alt-right movement, desires to transform our country into an ethno-state that serves as a gathering point for all Europeans.

We request upon you to join with many other political and religious leaders to proclaim with one voice that the “alt-right” is racist, evil, and antithetical to a well-ordered, peaceful society.

While addressing a political convention in Illinois in 1858, in a climate and country divided over slavery, Abraham Lincoln quoted Jesus, saying, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” The current and growing racial divide in America must be confronted, or the divided America of which Lincoln spoke will revisit us. We can see the haunting potential of this turn. Ferguson and Charlottesville may be a foreshadowing of things to come. We must set aside our political, ideological and racial differences, particularly on the issue of the alt-right. We cannot be divided and still defeat this new demonic racist force.

Yes, it is time now for Christian churches to come together for the sake of the nation and the Kingdom of God. Recently, two major denominations, which have not always seen eye to eye on social and political issues, have come together on the issue of racial bigotry and injustice. In the aftermath of violence and protests in Charlottesville, leaders of these denominations called white supremacy and the alt-right racist and evil. Jerry Young, President of the National Baptist Convention USA, said white supremacy cannot be dismissed with moral ambivalence. He explains, “There are not two sides when it comes to white supremacy. It is a belief system that is anti-Christian at its core and must be repudiated without confusion.” Steve Gaines, President of the Southern Baptist Convention, condemned the alt-right, describing the gathering in Charlottesville as “a gathering of hate, ignorance and bigotry” and stating the ideology violates core Christian beliefs.

These are powerful and strong words coming from the leaders of two historic Baptist Conventions, denouncing the alt-right by name. We also need healing and unifying leadership from our political leaders. President George H.W. Bush and Pastor Edward Victor Hill II modeled this type of leadership for us 25 years ago. They worked together to address the shared pain of the African American community and the nation in the aftermath of the exoneration of the police officers associated with the Rodney King brutality.

Our country desperately needs unifying leadership again. We need you, President Trump, to lead us in such an effort. America needs your voice and your convictions to defeat racist ideologies and movements in every form that they present themselves. America is profoundly fractured and divided. We can envision the change that could emerge if you would provide the moral leadership we so desperately need for racial healing. Our polarized nation could unite around your leadership on this critical issue.

We are praying, and call upon God’s people to humble themselves and pray that you would take the bold and moral step to denounce the alt-right. And we pray that we may see the beauty of people from all racial backgrounds dwelling together in unity, from which the blessings flow; and then we may see—God Bless America (Psalm 133:1).

 

Initial Signatories: 

Dr. Bruce Ashford
Provost
Professor of Theology and Culture
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, NC

Rev. R. Marshall Blalock
Pastor, First Baptist Church
Charleston, SC

Rev. Alan Cross
Executive Director, Community Development Initiatives
Missional Strategist, Montgomery Baptist Association
Montgomery, AL

Dr. Nathan Finn
Dean of the School of Theology and Missions, Union University
Jackson, TN

Rev. Micah Fries
Senior Pastor, Brainerd Baptist Church
Chattanooga, TN 

Dr. Steve Gaines
President of the Southern Baptist Convention
Senior Pastor, Bellevue Baptist Church
Cordova, TN

Dr. J. D. Greear
Pastor, The Summit Church
Raleigh-Durham, NC

Bishop T. D. Jakes
Senior Pastor, The Potter’s House
Dallas, TX

Rev. Kenneth Jones
Senior Pastor, Como First Missionary Baptist Church
Fort Worth, TX

Dr. Fred Luter
Pastor, Franklin Avenue Baptist Church
New Orleans, LA

Dr. William Dwight McKissic,
Senior Pastor, Cornerstone Baptist Church
Arlington, TX

Dr. Russell Moore
President, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
Nashville, TN

Dr. John Ogeltree
Senior Pastor, First Metropolitan Church
Houston, TX

Dr. R.A. Redwine
Senior Pastor, Soldier Creek Baptist Church
Oklahoma City, OK

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez
President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
Sacramento, CA

Dr. Manuel Scott, Jr.
National Evangelist for the National Baptist Convention
Los Angeles, CA 

Dr. Walter Strickland
Associate Vice President of Kingdom Diversity
Assistant Professor of Systematic and Contextual Theology
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, NC

Mr. Lawrence Ware
Co-Director of the Center for Africana Studies and Diversity Coordinator
Philosophy Department of Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK

Dr. Jerry Young
President of National Baptist Convention
Senior Pastor, New Hope Baptist Church
Jackson, MS

Dr. Danny Akin
President
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, NC

Dr. Michael Bell
Senior Pastor, Greater St. Stephens First Church
Fort Worth, TX

Dr. René F. Brown
Pastor, Mount Zion First Baptist Church
Baton Rouge, LA

Mr. Dan Darling
Vice-President of CommunicationEthics and Religious Liberty Commission
Nashville, TN

Dr. Tony Evans
Senior Pastor, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship
President of The Urban Alternative
Dallas, TX

Dr. Robert E. Fowler
Senior Pastor, Victory Missionary Baptist Church
Las Vegas, NV

Rev. James D. Gailliard
Pastor, Word Tabernacle Church
President - The Impact Center
Rocky Mount, NC

Dr. Ronnie W. Goines
Founding Pastor, Koinonia Christian Church
Arlington, TX

Dr. Joel Gregory
George W. Truett Endowed Chair in Preaching and Evangelism
George W. Truett Theological Seminary of Baylor University
Waco, TX

Dr. John Jenkins
Pastor, First Baptist Church of Glenarden
Glenarden, MD

Dr. Ed Litton
Senior Pastor, Redemption Church
Mobile, AL

Dr. Rayford E. Malone
Pastor, Greater Beulah Baptist Church
Dothan, AL

Dr. James Merritt
Lead Pastor, Cross Pointe Church
Duluth, GA

Rev. Vance Pitman
Senior Pastor, Hope Church
Las Vegas, NV

Dr. C. J. Rhodes
Pastor, Mt. Helm Baptist Church
Jackson, MS

Dr. Ed Stetzer
Executive Director, Billy Graham Center for Evangelism
Wheaton College
Wheaton, IL

Mr. Jemar Tisby
President, Reformed African American Network
co-host "Pass The Mic" podcast
Phillips County, AR

Dr. Maurice Watson
Senior Pastor, Metropolitan Baptist Church
Largo, MD

Rev. K. Marshall Williams
Pastor, Nazarene Baptist Church
Philadelphia, PA

Dr. Keith S. Whitfield,
Dean of Graduate Studies
Assistant Professor of Theology
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, NC

 

 

 

Add your name to the letter:

Name *
Name

Jayson Rowe
Student, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, NC

Brent Hobbs
Lead Pastor, New Song Fellowship
Virginia Beach, VA

Cory Zimmerman
Student, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, NC

James Forbis, Jr.
Pastor of Discipleship and Missions, First Baptist Church Willow Springs
Willow Springs, MO

Jonathan Watson
Assistant Professor of Christian Studies
Charleston Southern University
Charleston, South Carolina

Cody Barnhart
Student
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Maryville, TN

Dr. Russell L. Meek
Assistant Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew
Louisiana College
Pineville, LA

Rev. Robby Pearson
Hixson, TN

Michael Turner
Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church Jonesboro
Jonesboro, IL

Neal Thornton
Pastor, Coats Baptist Church
Coats, NC

Ryan Hutchinson
Executive Vice President
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, NC

Dr. Eric Costanzo
Senior Pastor, South Tulsa Baptist Church
Tulsa, OK

Dr. Mary Ann McMillan
PEACE Training Director
Saddleback Church
Lake Forest, CA

Cory Barnes
Assistant Professor of Christian Studies
Shorter University
Rome, GA

John Plum
Lead Pastor
TurningPoint Church
Tulsa, Ok

Malcolm Finkley
Lead Pastor
Life Church
Grand Prairie, Texas

David Gass
Lead Pastor
Grace Family Fellowship
Pleasant Hill, Missouri

Dr. Isiah Joshus
Shiloh Church of Plano
Plano, Texas

R. Benjamin Kellum
Pastor
Anointed Word Temple of Praise
Irving, TX

Justin Woulard
Pastor
Central Baptist Church
McComb, MS

Rev. Chris Autry
Lead Pastor
Faith Community Church
Barre, VT

Wayne Cooper
Pastor - Teacher
Lincoln Avenue Christian Church
Pasadena, California

Louise Stith

Jessie Packard

Joshua Cypert
Student
Boyce College
Fayetteville, AR

Dr. Douglas E. Brown
Senior Pastor
Great Commission Baptist Church
Fort Worth, TX

Herschel Peters
CEO, Herschel M. Peters Association, LLC
Atlanta, TX

Bishop J. Peters
Faith Tabernacle Church
Pastor

Rob Pochek
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Charlottesville, VA

Keelan Cook
Senior Church Consultant
Union Baptist Association
Houston, TX

Dr. Josh Ellis
Associate Director
Union Baptist Association
Houston, TX

Travis Hurley
Director
Dream of Destiny
Joplin, MO

Clayton Hall
Pastor
Lake City Baptist Church
Grand Rivers, KY

Ashley Marivittori Gorman
Curriculum Writer, Bible Teacher, Author, Speaker
Southeastern Seminary / The Summit Church
Durham, NC

Ron Nelson
Missionary
Sowing Seeds of Joy
Arlington, TX

Dr. Larry Steven McDonald
Dean and Professor of Christian Spirituality
North Greenville University
Greer, South Carolina

Michael Crayton
Pastor
Chosen Generation Christian Center
Fort Worth Texas

Stephen Morgan
Digital Communications Coordinator
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
New Orleans, LA

Jason Fowler
Director of Library Services
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, North Carolina

Joshua Alley
Student
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, NC

Darrel Auvenshine
Pastor
Southside City Church
Fort Worth, TX

Jacob Orr
Student
Boyce College
Fort Worth, TX

Rev. Clyde Broadus III
Former Police Officer & Deputy Constable
Arlington, VA

Joseph Stegall
Lead Pastor
Providence Baptist Church
Nolensville, TN

Doug Echols
Senior Pastor
Bethel Baptist Church
Yorktown, VA

Michael Lovely
Pastor
First Baptist Church
Van Alstyne, TX

Daniel McCrosky
Pastor
Expressway Baptist Church
Freeport, PA

Hannah Smith
Denton, TX

Jeff Estes
Church Planting Team
Arkansas Baptist State Convention
Morrilton, AR

David Bruskas
Lead Pastor
North Church
Albuquerque, NM

Dianne Goulet
Wiggins, MS

Shane Newton
Senior Pastor
Walden Chapel Baptist Church
Danville, AL

Mike Enoch
Director
Kekistan Development Outreach
New York, NY

Dr. Ant Greenham
Associate Professor of Missions and Islamic Studies
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, NC

Kirk Morris
Graduate
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Matthew Daniel
Student
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, NC

Robert White
Pastor, Freedom Church
Bedford

Terry Randolph
Pastor, Gethsemane MBC
Flint, MI

Matthew Branum
Student
Hannibal LaGrange University

Rick Morris
Chief of Campus Security
North Greenville University
Tigerville, SC

Curtis Williams
Christian Education Pastor
Zion Travelers M. B. Church
St. Louis, MO

Richard Hardin Crowder
Student Minister
Highland Baptist Church
Vicksburg, MS

Mike Miller
Senior Pastor
Central Baptist Church
Jacksonville, LA

Robert Walters
Pastor
Highland Creek Baptist Church SBC
Martinsville. IN

Stephen Stallard
Pastor
Mosaic Baptist Church
Brooklyn, NY

Glenn DeShields
Pastor
Bethlehem Baptist Church
Woodbury, NJ

C.J. Falcione
Associate Pastor
Gateway Baptist Church
Montgomery, AL

Heath Thomas
Dean, Hobbs College of Theology & Ministry
Oklahoma Baptist University
Shawnee, OK

Ryan Abernathy
Teaching Pastor
West Metro Community Church
Yukon, OK

Jess Alford
Retired Pastor/Juvenile Justice
Fellowship Baptist Church
Mayfield, KY

Shannon Thomas
Owner/Lead Therapist
Southlake Christian Counseling
Southlake, TX

Kathryn Adams
Atlanta, GA

Julian Davis
Pastor
New Covenant Bible Church
Birmingham, AL

Brent Aucoin
Professor of History
The College at Southeastern
Wake Forest, NC

Daryl Harris
Pastor
Bethesda Church Of God In Christ
North Las Vegas, NV

Andrew Shanks
Pastor
The Little Church in the Vale
Gates Mills, OH

Mark Bahr
Pastor
Good Shepherd Community Church
Dallas, TX

Dr. John Farissg
Trinity Baptist Church
Waldorf, MD

Brad Krantz
Lay Leader
Highline Christian Church
Burien, WA

Julia King
Dallas, TX

Bart Barber
Pastor
First Baptist Church
Farmersville, TX

Patricia Barkman
Christian, Mother, Patriot, retired Nurse.
West Springfield, MA

Michael Westmoreland-White
Theologian-in-Residence
Jeff Street Baptist Community at Liberty
Louisville, Kentucky

Johnny Ellison
Sr. Pastor
Green Acres Baptist Church
Warner Robins, GA

Ron Baldwin
Concerned Christian
Marietta, GA

Joel Lanier
Worship Pastor
First Baptist Church
Powder Springs, GA

J. Voyt Lynn
Pastor
First Baptist Church of Douglass
Douglass, KS

Rupert Ferdley
Apostle, Prophet, and General Overseer
Church of the Firstborn of Abraham's Bosom, Incorporated
Panther Burn, Arkansas

Shari Rosen
 

Rev. Dr. Samuel J. Lopez
Amazing Love Sanctuary
Denver, CO

James St. Johm
Associate Pastor
Freedom Church
Milledgeville, GA

Dr. Bob Parsley
First Baptist Church of Crofton
Crofton, MD

Bryan Carter
Senior Pastor
Concord Church
Dallas, Texas

Lori Deason
Lee's Summit, MO

Joseph Parker
Graduate, 2017
Mt. San Jacinto College
San Jacinto, CA

Johnny Castleberry
Superintendent
Golden Gate Church of God in Christ
Fort Worth, TX

Solomon Onita
Pastor Emeritus
The Redeemed Christian Church of God - Jesus House Texas
Stafford, Texas

Jerry Phillips 

Goldsboro, NC

Jerome Taylor
Pastor
Eastgate Baptist Church
Flint, MI

Jeremy Adkins
Worship Pastor
FBC Jacksboro
Jacksboro, TN

Griff Servati
Associate Pastor
First Baptist Church
Van Alstyne, TX

Edward Raburn
Student
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, NC

Steve Campbell
Retired History teacher
Sherman, TX

Dr. Tony Mathews
Senior Pastor
North Garland Baptist Fellowship
Garland, TX

Dr. Terry M. Turner
Senior Pastor,
Mesquite Friendship Baptist Church
Mesquite, TX

Dr. Randall Bush
University Professor of Philosophy
Union University
Jackson, TN

Leroy Armstrong
Lead Servant
Proclaiming the Word Ministries
McKinney, TX

Russell Whitfield
Student Minister
Cowpens First Baptist
Cowpens, SC

Otha Bell
Apostle
Speaking the Word of Faith Prophetic Teaching Ministries
Georgetown, TX

Carol Williams
St. Augustine, FL

Elliott Stratton
Deacon
South Congregational Church UCC
Springfield, MA

Richard Lewis
Sr. Pastor
Unity Baptist Church
Copperas Cove, TX

Fred Berry
Apostle
Azusa Street Mission
Los Angeles, California

Zam Lian
Member
First Baptist Church Avondale Estate
Norcross, GA

Jesse Furey
Director
Bonhoeffer Haus
Radford, Virginia

Sam Dula
West Region Church Planting Catalyst
NAMB
San Diego, CA

John McCall
Student
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, NC

Michael Worrall
Pastoral Apprentcie
Sojourn Church
Floyd, Virginia

Dylan Donley
Pastoral Apprentice
Bonhoeffer Haus
Radford, VA