What more is there to say? We join a host of trusted voices in response to the recent presidential election, here are a few:
Countless articles and interviews have revealed that the failure of the evangelical faith communities is an inescapable reality in November’s election (see Barna’s summary). Whether we continue to identify as evangelicals or now reject the moniker, the political reputation of “evangelicals” is something we must all grapple with. And we must take our cues for action from the story of scripture, which constantly centers equal justice.
Previous to the presidential election we specifically denounced Donald Trump’s candidacy in light of his history of persistent and unrepentant racism, sexism, misogyny, and hate. He also incited disdain for the mentally and physically disabled. (View this denouncement of Donald Trump’s particular brand of bigotry, signed by FFJ’s Director, Michelle Higgins, as well as Rev. Dr. Mike Higgins, Rev. Traci Blackmon, Lisa Sharon Harper, Rev. Dr. Soong-Chan Rah, Rev. Jim Wallis, and many many other faith leaders.).
Our attitudes have not changed. Our responsibilities have not changed.
Our calling has not changed. We are called to resist the injustices of evil, indifference, deception, and division. We resist the evil heritage of this land out of respect for the lives of those displaced, despised and destroyed. We respect the office of POTUS by resisting the corruption that hinders its proper function. We will participate in God’s call to people of faith: to defend the cause of the needy and the marginalized, which includes dismantling any racial biases that corrupts sacred spaces. We will re-order the daily rhythms of our lives as inspired by the initial commitments that brought us together:
- Affirming and acting on the initiatives of the Forward Thru Ferguson report
- Continued education in the history of social justice movements and current sociopolitical affairs
- The practice of truth-telling in pursuing public justice specific to the St. Louis region, and that of this nation.
Above all, we denounce the idea that liberation struggles are only for people who do not believe that King Jesus is on the throne. This is not about manipulating the phrase “Jesus is on the throne” to silence calls to action. This is about resisting evil empires because Jesus is on the throne.
To our family and friends in the struggle, we stand with you. The God of justice and mercy has long known of the trials you have faced. He has not turned a blind eye to your suffering. He hears every cry for help. Jesus, God in the flesh, is at work. The Son of Man will bring the mighty down from their thrones. He will establish his Kingdom with righteousness and justice being the very foundation of his throne. He has promised to exalt the humble and replenish, strengthen, and restore the afflicted. God’s vengeance is a blessed assurance. There will be retribution for every evil done against God and his people.
In light of this hope, do not fear and do not be discouraged. Fight on, with your prayers and with your body. Participate in non-violent resistance to shift the structures that seek our destruction. Encourage our brothers and sisters who have grown weary to hold on! Remember that this is the Lord’s work, it will be done with or without us, but may we not miss out on God’s call to stay in the struggle.
To white evangelical Christians: contend with the betrayal that your brothers and sisters of color and others feel. Contend with the fact that, while you might not have supported Trump with a heart full of hatred against brothers and sisters and neighbors, many did. And your indifference to both their hatred and our suffering has done serious damage. One of the important things that all white Christians must do is to have HARD conversations with other white people. Call parents and grandparents, pastors, aunts and uncles, and friends. Explain to them the fear that many people in this country feel, and the real validity of that fear, rooted as it is in a long history of racism, oppression, and violence against people who are not white.
Do more than share articles about these events. Be ready to step into action to defend those who are put at risk in this political climate. Love is an action that requires us to follow Jesus, to risk more than just being “unfriended”.
Please follow the guidance of people of color, who have been doing this for longer than any of us. Listen deeply and speak little. Recognize the importance of black leadership and listen to the voices of the people who often go unheard.
Your brothers and sisters of color, Muslim neighbors, disabled and LGBTQ+ friends watched as someone who openly mocked and insulted them was elected President, and many of them are deeply wounded by the actions of their white brothers and sisters. This is a time to grieve and mourn with them, to commit or renew commitments to take real, difficult action to ensure that their voices and lives are respected and honored, and to think deeply about the actions our Christian faith demands.
A joint statement from our partners in the STL Community
Resistance is hard. “Living sacrificially” sounds pretty, but it means giving up many of the things that make us comfortable. It means giving up some of the things we’ve been conditioned to cling to for self-worth, and even cultural identity. Resistance is hard. That is why we must do it together.
In case you missed it: here is the statement we signed after the election in November.
This fight is not a new one. One year ago, our organizations came together to fight for justice in our region by calling for accountability to the recommendations outlined in the Forward Through Ferguson report that serves as a roadmap toward racial equity. We recognize that now is the time to renew our commitment to this fight and unite with even greater fervor to ensure equity for all. We recognize our responsibility to ensure that hate does not have a chance to bloom.
The change we seek can only be achieved by building people power from the bottom up. If you are looking for ways to get involved in this work, you can start by reaching out to one or more of the organizations listed below. There are many ways to plug in, and we welcome new energy and participation.