Well over 12,000 Christians signed an online petition shortly before Tuesday’s election day condemning President Donald Trump and his government’s “corruption and hatred”.
By Monday morning, more than 12,700 Christians had signed the petition entitled “Christians Voting Against Trump”. The petition was launched by Faithful America, which describes itself as the largest online community of Christians working for social justice.
“Our values and our votes are proof that Donald Trump and the religious right do not represent all Christians – either this election season or ever,” the petition says. “As Christians, we reject the corruption and hatred of this government,” the petition says. We will never vote for Donald Trump and Mike Pence”.
The petition further outlines Faithful America’s hope that under a different leadership the United States will reunite separated immigrant families, support refugees, uphold the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare), protect the rights of the LGBTQ, end racial injustice, defend democracy, help the poor and heal the planet. “We vote for love, dignity and social justice – not for Donald Trump,” it says.
Loyal American campaign manager Nathan Empsall, a bishop priest, said in a press release e-mailed to the US on Newsday in Washington that “members take the teachings of Jesus seriously. Empsall suggested that Trump considered the Bible “just another political prop”.
“The mother of Jesus, Mary, sang that God strikes down the mighty and lifts up the poor and lowly. In this election, grassroots Christians will also reject the deadly narcissism and corrupt power grabs of Donald Trump,” Empsall said. “We look forward to a better future and open a new chapter in this hateful government by voting to promote gospel values such as love, justice, dignity and empathy.
In additional comments to Washington Newsday, Empsall said that “there are many Christians who held their noses and voted for Trump in 2016 because they believed the office would tame its worst impulses. Four years later, they have seen that Trump’s hateful selfishness is not just an excess of the campaign trail, but a signature of his approach to government.
“Equally important is the number of Protestants and Catholics who did not go to the polls in 2016, but who now vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. They tell us that this time they are motivated not only by Donald Trump’s deadly failures over COVID-19, but also by his refusal to condemn white supremacy as the evil that it is,” he said.
Faithful America volunteers have sent approximately 1.75 million text messages to organize progressive Christian voters in key states of Arizona, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. In addition, nearly 300 ministers made a commitment to the organization to preach and demand that every ballot be counted if Trump and his supporters attempted to disenfranchise voters or discredit the results.
“From Trump’s failure to condemn white supremacy to his never-ending attacks on the religious beliefs of all who question him – even Mitt Romney and Billy Graham’s Christianity today – the president has consistently sought to divide Americans along religious and racial lines,” Empsall said in the press release.
Surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center from September 30 to October 5 revealed that the majority of white Christians support Trump over Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. The incumbent president is strongly favored by white evangelical Protestants, with a 78 percent lead over just 17 percent. Among white non-evangelical Protestants, 53 percent prefer Trump and 43 percent prefer Biden. Among white Catholics the results are similar: 52 percent support the Republican incumbent and 44 percent the Democratic candidate.
The Hispanic Catholics support Biden just as much as the black Protestants. Among Hispanic Catholics, only 26 percent support Trump, compared with 67 percent who support Biden. A full 90 percent of black Protestants support the former vice president and only 9 percent support the president. Overall, without dividing Christian groups by race, 54 percent of Protestants support Trump and only 41 percent support Biden. Catholics, on the other hand, support Biden with a lead of 51 to 44 percent.
Throughout his presidency, Trump has relied on the support of white evangelicals. His government has taken a firm stance against abortion and fought for the legal protection of the LGBTQ community – two issues that are close to the hearts of many in the faith community. The 2016 polls showed that about 80 percent of white evangelicals supported the president – almost the same support as he received just before election day, according to Pew Research polls.
“As Christians, we are called to love God and to love our neighbor in everything we do, even on election day. This means that we use our ballots to stand up for the values that Jesus taught: Love, justice, dignity and empathy – fundamental Christian values that Donald Trump sees as weaknesses,” Empsall told Washington Newsday.
This article has been updated with additional comments by Nathan Empsall….