Over 2,400 Sign Progressive Faith Leaders Call for Trump Meeting to Counter 'So-Called White Evangelicals'

William Barber
Civil rights leader Reverend William Barber, president of the NAACP in North Carolina, speaks to the media inside the state's Legislative Building as lawmakers gather to consider repealing the controversial HB2 law limiting bathroom access for transgender people in Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S. on December 21, 2016. |

More than 2,400 self-identified faith leaders and nearly 10,000 "moral activists" have signed an open letter from a progressive faith group demanding a meeting with president-elect Donald Trump in the hopes of having him advance a "moral agenda."

In an open letter created by the group Repairers of the Breach, the interfaith coalition asked that Trump meet with them prior to his inauguration.

Donald Trump
President-elect Donald Trump prays with pastors during a campaign visit to the International Church of Las Vegas and the International Christian Academy in Las Vegas, Nevada, October 5, 2016. |

"Since your election, our communities have been fractured by harassment and intimidation. People of color and religious minorities are afraid. Poor working people who you appealed to in your campaign are disappointed that you have attacked their union leaders while appointing Wall Street elites who use them to your Cabinet," stated the open letter.

"And while we know no human being is perfect, we wish to speak with you about these moral issues because far too much is at stake for you to succumb to your worst demons while in public office."

A representative of Repairers of the Breach directed The Christian Post to a press release from Wednesday regarding the open letter, wherein Repairers of the Breach President The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II called the letter a response to the "the theological malpractice of the so-called white evangelicals and others who placed themselves as the moral support of Mr. Trump."

"We contend from the most treasured values of our faith traditions and constitutional mandates that addressing the economic liberation of all people, ensuring every child receives access to quality education, healthcare access for all, criminal justice reform, and ensuring vulnerable communities have equal protection under the law are moral issues," stated Rev. Barber.

Signatories of the open letter include the Rev. James Forbes, president of the Healing of the Nations Ministries; the Rev. Traci Blackmon, acting executive minister for the United Church of Christ's Justice and Witness Ministries; the Rev. Katharine Henderson, president of Auburn Seminary; Imam Tahir Kukiqi of the Albanian Islamic Cultural Center of New York City; and Lisa Sharon Harper, chief church engagement officer with the progressive evangelical group Sojourners.

Lisa Sharon Harper
Lisa Sharon Harper is Senior Director of Mobilizing for Sojourners.

In an interview with CP, Harper explained that she signed the open letter both as an individual and as a representative of Sojourners.

Harper noted that she believed Trump needed to "engage with faith voices whom he has not heard yet in order to hear perspectives on the principles that faith guides us to in terms of just governance."

"Mr. Trump, during his campaign, talked from the very first speech to the very last speech about people of color, immigrants, Muslims, as if they were not full human beings worthy of full dignity and protection under the law," said Harper.

"What we are determined to do to is to lift up a faith witness that reminds the public and Mr. Trump that all of us, all of us are made in the Image of God and as a result worthy of full protection under the law."

Harper also told CP that a major concern of Sojourners were Trump's cabinet picks, including Jeff Sessions as attorney general, whom Harper said "has repeatedly undermined the work of the DOJ [and] the work of laws that protect those rights."

"For example, the Voting Rights Act. When the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013, Jeff Sessions went on record saying he didn't think that it needed to be renewed. He didn't think that it should actually be fixed," added Harper.

Repairers of the Breach's open letter is not the only message being sent by a large coalition of faith leaders. In late December, a group of California Episcopal Church bishops released an open letter to Trump expressing concern over his cabinet picks, especially the president-elect's choice for head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

"We join with the Episcopal Bishops of Massachusetts in questioning and challenging your choice for the head of the Environmental Protection Agency," stated the bishops.

"The great majority of reputable scientists recognize not only the reality of human-induced climate change ... We need you and your cabinet to work hard to prevent a bad future for all of the world's children and all of life on the planet."

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