Dear Mr. Trump:
I write as a minister in the United Church of Christ, dedicated to the principles put forth by the Gospels, and as a citizen of the United States deeply committed to the common good of our people. My purpose in writing is to share with you that members of your Faith Council have misled you into believing that the policies you promote and the language you use are faithful to the teachings of Jesus. They are not.
It is not the job of any U.S. political leader to impose the Christian faith on the American people, but you have professed the Christian faith. So I write you as a fellow Christian with the humble hope of encouraging you to address errors in your thinking.
Jesus began his ministry by quoting the words of the Prophet Isaiah:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
As president, Mr. Trump, you have perused economic policies that would increase poverty. Economists from across the political spectrum have said your budget and tax proposals would bring the nation back to financial collapse. Concern over your budget proposals prompted this warning to members of Congress from the U.S. Conference of Roman Catholic Bishops:
A just framework for sound fiscal policy cannot rely almost exclusively on disproportionate cuts in essential services to poor and vulnerable persons.
Your economic policy, coupled with tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans, does just what the bishops have spoken in opposition against. The budget and tax plans under consideration by Congress today bring no good news to the poor: only pain and suffering. This has only been made worse by your attempts to dismantle and undermine the Affordable Care Act, legislation that extended health care coverage to tens of millions and lifted millions more out of poverty.
Jim Winkler, the General Secretary and President of the National Council of Churches in Christ USA, has written in response to your efforts to end the ACA:
The Bible teaches, ‘Since there will never cease to be some in need on the earth, I, therefore, command you, open your hand to the poor and needy neighbor in your land (Deuteronomy 15:11 NRSV).’ We have a responsibility to take care of ourselves and to take care of one another. We simply cannot remain silent in the face of this effort to do harm to our people.
There are many issues, Mr. Trump, Christians cannot be silent on as your rhetoric and policies tear apart the fabric of American society and endanger international peace.
White supremacy must always been condemned. There are never “two sides” to this issue, and good people do not associate themselves with a resurgent Nazi movement. You have aligned yourself proudly with the alt-right movement. I agree with the Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, professor of theology at Chicago Theological Seminary, who has written:
Don’t use the term ‘alt-right.’ Call this racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, Islamaphobic, homophobic, and xenophobic ideology by its correct name. This is neo-Nazism.
There is nothing Christian about discrimination, Mr. Trump. Your proposal for a Muslim Ban and a wall between Mexico and the United States are fundamentally based on bigotry and lies that accompany hatred.
Jesus calls on his followers to be peacemakers, but you have threatened nuclear genocide against North Korea and dismissed the power of diplomacy as a tool to contain North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. This is why hundreds of faith leaders from around the country have said to Congress that:
Holding to our core religious convictions that nuclear weapons are a threat to what God has created, we call on the United States Congress to immediately pass the bill introduced by Senator Ed Markey and Rep. Ted Lieu that would require congressional approval before any president could launch a nuclear first strike.
You have as president, Mr. Trump, endangered the future of the entire planet by withdrawing from the Paris Accords. Children across the globe will live – or die – with the reality of climate change because you have refused to protect God’s creation.
At the same time, you have weakened religious freedom in the United States. The Rev. Jennifer Butler, CEO of Faith in Public Life, should be applauded for her condemnation of your administration’s new rules on religious freedom that allow discrimination in the name of religion.
Love of neighbor, Mr. Trump, is what Christians are called to do. But every day you Tweet hate at one group or another. You side with those who hate. Your policies abandon those Jesus called the “least of these” and each day you bring us closer to war with nations such as Iran, by forgoing diplomacy and peacemaking in favor of an ideology that goes against nearly every Christian ethical understanding.
Mr. Trump, I implore you to prayerfully reconsider the totality of your worldview and to let God open your heart to new understandings. Wise leaders are not stubborn but rather are engaged in an on-going process of learning. Your Christian faith can be a source of inspiration and hope to you. First, however, you must reject the advice of the charlatans that make up your Faith Council and open The White House back up to a diverse and pluralistic group of faith leaders who can better advise you. Time is running short. Soon the damaged caused by your flawed understanding of the Christian faith might cause irreversible damage.
I pledge to help you, Mr. Trump, or to do everything in my power to resist you.
Rev. Dr. Chuck Currie