One of the country’s largest Christian groups has issued a sternly worded condemnation of President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet selections and policy agenda, warning that Trump will put America’s most vulnerable citizens at “greater risk” if he does not change.
The National Council of Churches (NCC)—which represents 38 denominations and faith communities, or roughly 45 million people—unveiled the statement on Friday afternoon. Co-signed by the Conference of National Black Churches, the Ecumenical Poverty Initiative, and the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, the letter implores the former businessman not to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or slash funding for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — better known as food stamps — saying such programs protect the poor.
“We have grave concerns about a proposed policy agenda that, if enacted, would put the most vulnerable among us in jeopardy,” the statement reads. “Throughout Christian scriptures we are instructed to care for the poor and the most vulnerable…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.”
“Stephen Bannon, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions and Michael Flynn 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.’”
Signers also blasted Trump’s controversial cabinet picks.
“Stephen Bannon, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions and Michael Flynn 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,’” the statement reads.
“These objectionable nominees represent a bygone era of hatred that we have denounced and worked tirelessly to eradicate,” it continues. “Their corrupted credentials, which include condoning and purporting racist, anti-Semitic, white supremacist, xenophobic and anti-Muslim ideologies, are not only unacceptable but they should disqualify them for service as public officials. We urge the President-Elect to protect the integrity of our nation by replacing these nominees with candidates who represent shared American values for the common good.”
The letter is part of an emerging trend of highly public, faith-fueled criticisms of Trump and his incoming administration. Many emanate from members of the newly energized Religious Left: In December, a diverse group of religious leaders presented Congressmen and women with a petition signed by 2,500 clergy decrying Trump’s “cabinet of bigotry” and demanding lawmakers reject them. Other groups have begun readying their churches to offer sanctuary for undocumented immigrants that Trump plans to deport, and historic alliances of American Jewish and Muslim groups have formed to combat the wave of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism that emerged during his campaign.
And while Trump won 80 percent of white evangelicals on Election Day, several members of the conservative-minded Religious Right—such as Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention—vocally opposed him during the campaign. In September 2015, Moore asked his fellow evangelicals to abandon Trump, saying that he opposes “everything they believe.”
One of the NCC member groups, the Presbyterian Church (USA), is the denomination Trump still claims.