American Evangelicals take stand against Donald Trump

On Thursday, Oct. 6, 94 prominent American evangelicals issued an open letter against Donald Trump as a petition on This petition identifies the diverse voices of the Evangelical church, condemns Trump’s racist positions and identifies them as fundamentally and biblically wrong. The petition will be delivered to Trump once it garners 25,000 signatures.

John D. Witvliet, director of the Calvin Institute of Worship and professor at Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary, was one of the 94 American Evangelicals to sign the petition. He said that one of the main purposes of the document was “to testify that racism is a foundational matter of the gospel.” The statement identified themes of “racial justice and reconciliation” in Jesus’ ministry, themes which Christians are to pursue in their own lives. Witvliet expressed that racial issues are “fundamental matters of Christian life and witness” that are “not incidental or secondary to the gospel we proclaim.”

According to Witvliet, the second purpose of the petition was “to give voice to the profound agony this election is causing for thousands of Christians who long to resist racism — many of whom are ignored or misrepresented in the media.” The petition dismisses the misconception that all evangelicals support Trump’s platform; instead, it draws attention to the diverse views within the evangelical community.

The petition particularly addresses Trump’s racist attitudes: “We believe the candidacy of Donald J. Trump has given voice to a movement that affirms racist elements in white culture — both explicit and implicit.” Examples of Trump’s racism include statements which slander Muslims, immigrants, migrants, refugees and Mexicans. The evangelical community condemns these statements as incompatible with Christ’s call to serve the stranger.   

Witvliet said: “Too many Christian voices have excused the racist and misogynist elements in this election.” Witvliet is especially concerned with how ignoring Trump’s racist positions will affect children. “While many children in some Christian communities have often heard Christian opposition to one candidate, they have not heard Christian opposition to the other as clearly. And far too many children have failed to hear explicit Christian resistance to racism.”

In addition to condemning Trump from a biblical standpoint, the statement also says Trump’s racist actions are morally unacceptable: “This is not just a social problem, but a fundamental wrong. Racism is America’s original sin. Its brazen use to win elections threatens to reverse real progress on racial equity and set America back.”

The petition also addresses Trump’s inappropriate treatment of women as well as his idolization of materialism, condemning them as immoral and in opposition to Biblical teaching. It concludes with an invitation to share the declaration and to embrace the opportunity “to bring about long-needed repentance from our racial sin.”

This statement is relevant to all members of the body of Christ, including those in the Calvin community. On October 12, the petition still needed 4,844 signatures to reach its goal. According to Witvliet, “all of us are called to discern ways to engage in the public square and in social media wisely and faithfully.  All of us are called to resist racism. All of us who are eligible are called to exercise our privilege of voting as an act of faith-informed conscience.”