A list of faith leaders calling out the Religious Right for failing to abandon Trump

It’s some serious theological shade.

CREDIT: AP/ Evan Vucci
CREDIT: AP/ Evan Vucci

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has been grappling with scandal since Friday evening, when the Washington Post released a controversial video that showed him bragging about sexually assaulting women several years ago. The tape, along with similar audio recordings unveiled by CNN soon thereafter, have prompted many in the GOP to un-endorse or even decline to vote for the business mogul, saying his remarks are simply too much.

Yet many members of the Religious Right have refused to rescind their support for Trump by excusing away his remarks, condemning them but reiterating their support for his candidacy, or simply remaining silent.

Their steadfast support for Trump has not gone over well with many of their fellow faithful. Progressive and conservative Christians alike have begun expressing outrage at religious leaders who still back Trump, taking them to task on social media and in the press.

Here are a few examples. (Note: this list will be updated)

Beth Moore, prominent evangelical author and founder of Living Proof Ministries

Beth Moore had zero tolerance for evangelical leaders who refused to denounce Trump’s remarks, citing her own experience.

Russell Moore, head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s political arm

Moore has been a vocal opponent of Trump’s, insisting that the candidate represents the opposite of “everything [evangelical Christians] believe.”


But in the wake of the video release, he apparently couldn’t abide members of his religious circle who continued to support the businessman.

Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Mohler was quick to express frustration with his fellow evangelicals immediately after the news broke.

Mohler then published an Op-Ed in the Washington Post on Sunday, blasting his fellow right-wing Christians for sticking by Trump.


“They are wrong, I believe, to serve as apologists for Donald Trump,” he writes. “The release of the sexually-explicit tape revealed Trump in a light that must be the worst nightmare for the candidate’s campaign. It revealed a sexual predator, not merely a playboy.”

Eric Teetsel, former faith advisor to Marco Rubio

Teetsel has been an ardent opponent of Trump and his evangelical supporters for some time. He expressed none-too-subtle frustration with Christian conservatives who continue to support The Donald.

Collin Hansen, editorial director for the Gospel Coalition

Hansen penned a blistering critique of Religious Right leaders who support Trump in the Washington Post.

“To the older evangelicals planning to vote for Trump: You can try to explain the difference in electing a president and hiring a 23-year-old college graduate to evangelize students,” he writes. “You can say we’re electing a commander in chief and not a Sunday school teacher. You can say that God often raises up pagan leaders to deliver his people from their enemies. But no one is fooled by your arguments.”


“They can see you will apparently excuse anything in a Republican nominee so long as the alternative is a manifestly unqualified Clinton. And they will conclude that they don’t really need to listen to you when it comes to ‘traditional, biblical ethics.’”

“The 2016 presidential election will be remembered as the last spasm of energy from the Religious Right before its overdue death,” he added. “Grace abounds for Christians who fall short of the glory of God and call on the name of Jesus for forgiveness and salvation. But woe to the hypocrites who hold the most powerful leader in the world to a lower standard than they do the searching young believer who desires to serve God and neighbor.”, a conservative Catholic advocacy organization

“Newly released comments by Donald Trump…are disgusting and simply indefensible,” the organization wrote in a statement. “Catholic voters rightly will be unnerved by these developments.”

“In our own opinion the viability of Donald Trump’s candidacy is now in question. Furthermore, the good many hoped to achieve, in spite of Trump’s many well-known flaws, is also now in doubt. If Donald Trump is unwilling to step aside, the Republican National Committee must act soon out of basic decency and self-preservation.”

Rachel Held Evans, prominent Christian author, blogger, and speaker

Evans, who has deeply critical of evangelicalism in recent years—the tradition in which she was raised—demanded her spiritual brethren rebuke Trump after the tapes were released.

Andy Crouch, editorial director of Christianity Today

Crouch penned an extensive critique of Trump and the evangelicals who support him in Christianity Today. He accused evangelicals who side with Trump for “strategy” reasons of being idolators.

“…There is a point at which strategy becomes its own form of idolatry — an attempt to manipulate the levers of history in favor of the causes we support,” he writes. “Strategy becomes idolatry, for ancient Israel and for us today, when we make alliances with those who seem to offer strength — the chariots of Egypt, the vassal kings of Rome — at the expense of our dependence on God who judges all nations, and in defiance of God’s manifest concern for the stranger, the widow, the orphan, and the oppressed. Strategy becomes idolatry when we betray our deepest values in pursuit of earthly influence. And because such strategy requires capitulating to idols and princes and denying the true God, it ultimately always fails.

“Enthusiasm for a candidate like Trump gives our neighbors ample reason to doubt that we believe Jesus is Lord,” he adds. “They see that some of us are so self-interested, and so self-protective, that we will ally ourselves with someone who violates all that is sacred to us — in hope, almost certainly a vain hope given his mendacity and record of betrayal, that his rule will save us.”

Diana Butler Bass, historian of Christianity and theologian

Bass’ criticism of the religious right was short and to the point.

Ed Stetzer, speaker and theology professor at Wheaton College, an evangelical Christian school

Noah Toly, professor of politics and international relations at Wheaton College

Toly called out “so called leaders among evangelicals” in a Tumblr post.

“Trump’s departure from Christian teachings at this point is absolute,” he writes. “It’s not a matter of tone, convention, or word choice. When it comes to the ways he treats women, Trump not only falls short of Christian standards, but he falls short of human decency. In these recordings, he admits to — and celebrates — being a sexual predator. Christians should condemn that behavior for the vile filth that it is. Instead many fantasize that it doesn’t exist or doesn’t matter.”

“Let me make one thing clear: Evangelical Christians shouldn’t vote for Trump,” he added. “Evangelical Christians tempted to vote for Trump should acknowledge that they don’t get to vote for ‘fantasy Trump,’ the decent person with a loud minority of indecent supporters.”

Erick Erickson, prominent conservative blogger and radio host

Erickson when on a lengthy diatribe about Trump’s latest scandal.

Erickson also wrote an Op-Ed in the Washington Post entitled “Donald Trump is finally an evangelical bridge too far.”

“While evangelicals probably will not publicly walk away from Trump, I suspect we will see them start to fade into the shadows as defeat draws near,” he writes. “If they are still concerned about saving the Supreme Court, they might want to publicly call on Trump to get out of the race in favor of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. That is the final option.”

Rev. William Barber II, pastor and head of the North Carolina NAACP

Barber published an Op-Ed in CNN on Monday decrying not just evangelicals who still back Trump, but also those who are rescinding their support, arguing their change of heart is hypocritical.

“As an evangelical Christian, I am deeply disturbed by the hypocrisy of the outrage at Trump’s comments on sexual assault,” he writes. “Yes, it is outrageous for anyone to talk the way he did about another human being. But the violence of the Trump tape isn’t new. What’s new is that the woman he was talking about looks like the wives and daughters of the white men who’ve rallied the religious right behind Donald Trump.”

He then offered the following:

When Trump promised a wall to keep out Mexicans, many who are now “outraged” cheered him on. When he pledged to ban all Muslims from traveling to America, they celebrated his defense of “religious freedom.” When he supported voter suppression laws that sought to abridge the right to vote for African-Americans, Latinos and poor people, they stood with him. When he announced that he would repeal the Affordable Care Act, a move that would devastate the lives of many poor working women and men, they endorsed him. When he said he did not support making the minimum wage a living wage, they lifted him up as what America needed. When he announced an economic plan that would take us back into recession, hurting many working families, they declared him the one for the country. When he unashamedly vowed to block gun laws that would help keep assault weapons off the street, they applauded him. And when Trump mocked women, people with disabilities, and his political opponents, the religious right stood by their man.

But now he has gone too far?

Richard Rohr, Franciscan Friar and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, NM

Jim Wallis, President of progressive evangelical advocacy organization Sojourners

Anthea Butler, professor of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania

Wil Gafney, Episcopal priest and professor of Hebrew Bible at Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, Texas

Gabe Lyons, author of Good Faith

Paul Raushenbush, pastor and former editor of Huffington Post’s religion section

Danielle Shroyer, Christian author

Carol Howard Merritt, pastor and author

Wayne Grudem, evangelical theologian

Grudem, who previously supported Trump, published an Op-Ed in Townhall on Sunday condemning Trump and asking him to drop out of the race.

“I previously called Donald Trump a ‘good candidate with flaws’ and a ‘flawed candidate’ but I now regret that I did not more strongly condemn his moral character,” he writes. “I cannot commend Trump’s moral character, and I strongly urge him to withdraw from the election.”

Jennifer Butler, Presbyterian minister and head of Faith in Public Life