Not every Christian supports Donald Trump — at least, that’s the message put forth by a group of progressive, self-described evangelical Christian leaders who signed onto a new declaration of faith unveiled recently. There remain, of course, many, many such leaders who would never sign onto such an item, but those who have represent a segment that wants its voice heard.
The document in question, termed “The Chicago Invitation: Diverse Evangelicals Continue the Journey,” comes decades after a similar document rolled out termed “The Chicago Declaration of Evangelical Concern.” Some of those involved with the older work, which outlined a socially conscious vision for the modern American church, were involved with the 2018 effort.
The Chicago Invitation emerged during a meeting last month in the city, arriving after lengthy deliberation among those involved about their takes on the future of American Christianity. Pastor Jim Wallis, who’s among those leading the charge, shared during one of the previous gatherings of those concerned:
‘The question this meeting is asking about the future of evangelicalism has been answered by the voices of color and women in this room. They are pointing us to the evangel, the good news Jesus said he would bring to the poor in his opening statement in Luke 4. That’s our future, let’s listen.’
In other words, Wallis and those allied with him want to take the understanding of the place of non-white, non-male voices in the national and global political conversations and turn them into a more obviously integral part of modern American faith communities. That shift should be anything but profound; this is 2018 — but here we are anyway.
To that effect, the Chicago Invitation declares that dissenting voices in the evangelical communities will not be silenced, asserting that the prevalent picture of the faith as predominantly if not entirely white and conservative is false.
The document reads, in part:
‘As diverse evangelicals, our faith moves us to confess and lament that we have often fallen short of the biblical values and commitments proclaimed in the Gospel and affirmed in the 1973 Declaration… We commit to resisting all manifestations of racism, white nationalism, and any forms of bigotry — all of which are sins against God. We commit to resisting patriarchy, toxic masculinity, and any form of sexism and to always affirm the dignity, voices, and leadership of women.’
The declaration, signed by at least 39 faith leaders, comes in the midst of a national political environment where President Donald Trump only continues to dominate the right wing, Christian political conversation.
Last year, for instance, the Faith and Freedom Coalition hosted him, where he began his remarks by joking that he wanted to know who the 19 percent of evangelicals who didn’t vote for him were.
Well, no matter their exact proportion of the total evangelical population, they’ve now made themselves known in a new way. Meanwhile, Trump continues with his familiar rhetoric against those who dare dissent as the nation continues to prepare and get in position for the contentious, fault-line driven midterms.
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