Last night, President Trump hosted about a hundred evangelical leaders, including Ralph Reed, Robert Jeffress, Eric Metaxas and others, at the White House for a “state dinner.” They should have boycotted.
Instead, conservative reporter David Brody tweeted exuberantly:
“Javanka” at @WhiteHouse evangelical dinner last night. They have been FULLY embraced by these evangelical leaders. They have prayed with both of them many times. The love is returned FULLY. @CBNNews @IvankaTrump @POTUS pic.twitter.com/rZhLCY54Kf
— David Brody (@TheBrodyFile) August 28, 2018
And the mostly white evangelicals closed the dinner with this: “ History will record the greatness that you have brought for generations. Amen”
This is a gross abuse of these leaders’ prophetic role in society: to love their neighbor by advocating for the rights of those who are marginalized. As we mark the 55th anniversary of the March on Washington, when people of faith assembled in our nation’s capital to fight for the poor black and brown masses, this group of leaders convened at our capitol to reaffirm their commitment to a bigot.
Here are three reasons Christians should have declined the invitation rather than pose for smiling photo ops with people whose policies are resulting in pain, suffering and even death for many Americans.
- Our democracy is under threat. The rights of black people and other people of color to vote are under a sustained attack from a resurgent white supremacy: from photo ID requirements in Texas to racist gerrymandering in North Carolina. And the Department of Justice is helping the racists. President Trump can stop this – I wish the leaders yesterday had asked him to take action.
- In the Supreme Court, we need a justice who rules with justice, protecting the people God tells us to side with: our neighbors who are sick, who are poor, who are beaten down, who are powerless. The judge that President Trump nominated, Brett Kavanaugh, has a record that suggests that he won’t rule with this kind of justice. He will not protect our rights, our health and our democracy. I wish that Evangelical leaders had pressed President Trump on this and pushed him to nominate someone who will serve with integrity.
- There are still roughly seven hundred kids who are separated from their families by President Trump’s inhumane and cruel immigration policies. Forty of them are under the age of four. We have toddlers who are effectively in solitary confinement. We need a national effort to unite these kids with their parents and open hearings to make sure that this horrible abuse of power never happens again.
As a mom and a pastor, I can’t imagine eating dinner with President Trump (not to mention being celebrated by him) without demanding answers. If these evangelical leaders don’t use proximity to President Trump to advocate for justice, they have sold their souls for a mere taste of power.