With President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration just around the corner, one of the country’s largest Christian groups is pulling out all the stops to ensure that a Trump presidency does not negatively impact the country’s most vulnerable populations.
On Jan. 6, the National Council of Churches (NCC), the country’s “leading force for shared ecumenical witness among Christians,” released a letter calling for Trump to “take seriously his responsibility to bring our nation together and to heed the oath he will take to preserve, protect and defend America.” The letter was cosigned by the Conference of National Black Churches, the Ecumenical Poverty Initiative, the National Council of Churches USA, and the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference.
The NCC expressed concerns in their letter about plans the GOP hopes to carry out under Trump to repeal the Affordable Care Act and cut Medicaid. The group begged Trump not to repeal the ACA until a better plan is created to replace it:
‘While working to improve the ACA will benefit all Americans, repealing it without simultaneously offering a replacement is reckless and unnecessarily endangers the health of millions of people. This is certainly no way to make America great.’
The NCC also detailed the negative impact that cutting “safety net programs” like Medicaid/Medicare and food stamps will have on the country’s millions of low-income families:
‘For Congress to block grant, cut or merge these programs will have devastating impacts on low-income families. In fact, it will increase the number of people living in poverty, just as statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau show that poverty numbers are declining.’
Trump’s cabinet picks are also heavily criticized in the letter. Called out by name are incoming chief strategist Stephen Bannon, incoming attorney general Jeff Sessions, and incoming national security advisor Michael Flynn. The NCC did not mince words explaining the problems they have with these individuals, saying that they:
‘Epitomize extremist, racist and fringe world views that we believe are morally inconsistent with Christian principles of loving neighbor and antithetical to American values of “liberty and justice for all.”‘
According to the NCC, Trump’s cabinet nominees, with their “corrupted credentials,” “represent a bygone era of hatred that we have denounced and worked tirelessly to eradicate.”
The group ended their letter by imploring Donald Trump to not only replace the nominees listed above, but to put in place a policy agenda that protects those in the country who most need protecting. The final paragraph reads:
‘Before he takes the oath of office, we call on President-Elect Trump to preserve, protect and defend our nation by enacting a policy agenda that will improve the lives of the most vulnerable, not put them at greater risk. We urge President-Elect Trump to preserve, protect and defend our nation against people who have a documented history of racial hatred, bigotry and xenophobia. We encourage President-Elect Trump to preserve, protect and defend our nation by doing the hard work it will take to unify our country and move us toward a just, sustainable and equitable future that lives up to the ideals and promise of America.’
Donald Trump may have won overwhelmingly among the country’s white Evangelical population; however, it is clear that he still has a lot of work to do before he will have the support of the country’s many other religious individuals.
Featured image via Joe Raedle/Getty Images.