President-elect Donald Trump has had nothing but grief trying to secure A-list acts to perform during his inauguration festivities next month. One act he thought would be a sure thing was the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, who has sung at a number of presidential inaugurations.
But not so fast, Orange One…
One member of the prestigious choral group has resigned in a public letter, stating that she would never be able to look herself in the mirror again if she performed for the racist, sexist, divisive president-elect.
As reported in The Salt Lake Tribune on Friday, Jan Chamberlin has decided to resign from the choir rather than perform at Trump’s inauguration. The choral singer stated in her letter:
‘Since “the announcement,” I have spent several sleepless nights and days in turmoil and agony. I have reflected carefully on both sides of the issue, prayed a lot, talked with family and friends, and searched my soul.
‘I’ve tried to tell myself that by not going to the inauguration, that I would be able to stay in choir for all the other good reasons. I’ve tried to tell myself that it will be all right and that I can continue in good conscience before God and man.’
For Chamberlain, singing at the ceremony on Jan. 20 is a moral issue, saying:
‘I only know I could never “throw roses to Hitler.” And I certainly could never sing for him.’
Chamberlin has been a member of the choir for five years, and her objection to performing at Trump’s inauguration is quite heartfelt:
‘I also know, looking from the outside in, it will appear that Choir is endorsing tyranny and facism [sic] by singing for this man.
‘[The] Choir’s wonderful image and networking will be severely damaged and that many good people throughout this land and throughout the world already do and will continue to feel betrayed. I believe hereafter our message will not be believed by many that have loved us and adored what we have stood for.
‘I know that I too feel betrayed.
‘Tyranny is now on our doorstep; it has been sneaking its way into our lives through stealth. Now it will burst into our homes through storm.
‘I hope that we and many others will work together with greater dilligence [sic] and awareness to calmly and bravely work together to defend our freedoms and our rights for our families, our friends, and our fellow citizens. I hope we can throw off the labels and really listen to each other with respect, love, compassion, and a true desire to bring our energies and souls together in solving the difficult problems that lie in our wake.’
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) did not respond to inquiries regarding whether other members of the choir have complained or decided to drop out.
Church spokesman Eric Hawkins released a statement saying that participation in both the choir and the Inauguration Day performance is voluntary:
‘Only a limited number of choir members are participating, and none are required to participate.’
According to church officials, approximately 215 of the total 360 singers are expected to volunteer to perform at the swearing-in ceremony in Washington D.C. next month.
An earlier statement from Hawkins released after the performance was announced stated that the response to the choir’s performance “has been mixed, with people expressing both opposition and support.”
He also stated that performance by the choir is not an implied support of party affiliations or politics: “It is a demonstration of our support for freedom, civility and the peaceful transition of power.”
Some members of the church were distraught enough about their beloved choir performing at the Trump inauguration that a petition was launched to convince the choir to decline to perform. Randall Thacker, the church member who launched the online petition, stated that:
‘The thought of this choir and Mormonism being forever associated with a man who disparages minorities, brags about his sexual control of women, encourages intolerance and traffics in hate speech and bullying, was unacceptable.’
As of this writing, the petition has over 20,000 signatures.
Former choir singer Chamberlain posted a copy of her resignation letter to her Facebook page, and it can be read below.
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