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Conservative Christians criticize progressives’ ‘destructive’ agenda

Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speak simultaneously during their first presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, on September 26, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Rick Wilking *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-CONSERVATIVES-LETTER, originally transmitted on Sept. 29, 2016.
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speak simultaneously during their first presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, on September 26, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Rick Wilking *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-CONSERVATIVES-LETTER, originally transmitted on Sept. 29, 2016.

Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton speak simultaneously during their first presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., on Sept. 26, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Rick Wilking *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-CONSERVATIVES-LETTER, originally transmitted on Sept. 29, 2016.

(RNS) Dozens of conservative evangelicals and Catholics have signed an open letter urging their progressive counterparts to “repent of their work that often advances a destructive liberal political agenda.”

The letter, posted online six weeks before Election Day by an alliance called the American Association of Evangelicals, includes criticism of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

“When Hillary Clinton stated during a 2015 speech at the Women in the World Summit that religious beliefs ‘have to be changed,’ she was openly declaring war on Christian believers and the Church,” the letter, dated Tuesday (Sept. 27), reads. “And now Progressives claim that supporting such a view is the Christian thing to do? This is spiritual abuse of the family, the Church and the nation.”

Others have said the quotation by Clinton, cited in the past by conservative outlets and columnists, has been been taken out of context.

Eric Metaxas took over some of Chuck Colson's roles after Colson's death, including part of BreakPoint, a radio show Metaxas wrote for in the late 90s. Photo courtesy Eric Metaxas

Eric Metaxas is one of the signers of the letter. Photo courtesy of Eric Metaxas

Although Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is not mentioned by name in the letter, some of the signatories, including author Eric Metaxas and theologian Wayne Grudem, have been outspoken in their support for him.

The letter writers, who say they “are not here endorsing or denouncing a political candidate,” cite what they believe are consequences of a progressive agenda. The results, they say, include a “growth industry trafficking in human baby organs and body parts,” a “Transgender agenda imposed by Obama-government edict,” and “(h)ostility towards Judeo-Christian religious liberty in our courts.”

They also denounce Sojourners President Jim Wallis and New Evangelical Partnership President Richard Cizik for promoting progressive causes and accepting funding from investor George Soros’ Open Society Foundations.

Sojourners founder Jim Wallis. Photo courtesy of Sojourners

Sojourners founder Jim Wallis. Photo courtesy of Sojourners

In response, Cizik, a 2009-2010 fellow of Soros’ foundation, defended his organization’s views and funding it received from the foundation, whose values of human justice “are in sync with our own.”

“We at the NEP have the biblical view that the problems the country faces are good jobs, climate change, economic injustice and racial prejudice, including toward Muslims, among other challenges, not funders like OSF,” Cizik said. “How sad, a dispute among brothers and sisters in Christ. Is this what the Prince of Peace wants? I doubt it.”

Sojourners spokesperson Michael Mershon also responded, saying, “History will judge many of the authors of this patently political ‘open letter’ not by their words, but by their vocal support for the most racist, misogynistic and divisive presidential candidate in recent American history.”

He said Sojourners has not received money from the Open Society Institute, the former name of Soros’ organization, since a 2011 grant.

“(T)he ‘American Association of Evangelicals’ will be called to account for supporting a decidedly anti-Christian, hateful political campaign,” Mershon said. “We will pray for them.”

About the author

Adelle M. Banks

Adelle M. Banks, production editor and a national reporter, joined RNS in 1995. An award-winning journalist, she previously was the religion reporter at the Orlando Sentinel and a reporter at The Providence Journal and newspapers in the upstate New York communities of Syracuse and Binghamton.

66 Comments

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  • “Dozens of conservative evangelicals and Catholics have signed an open letter urging their progressive counterparts to “repent of their work that often advances a destructive liberal political agenda.”

    As opposed to the extremely destructive, bring-on-Armageddon agenda of the conservatives. No birth control, no sex education, get the gays, dumb down religious liberty, and on and on and on and on and on.

    Did I mention telling lies about transgender people, including the “transsexual agenda”? Or the lies calling them sexual predators, when it is really heterosexual men that women have to be concerned about? Or the lies about gay people and gay marriage? Or the perversion of scripture into one law: get the gays?

    “When Hillary Clinton stated during a 2015 speech at the Women in the World Summit that religious beliefs ‘have to be changed,’ she was openly declaring war on Christian believers and the Church.”
    When you write a letter like this, isn’t that exactly what you are doing? Attacking Christian believers and the Church? Oh, I get it. That doesn’t count.

    Since they don’t want Mrs. clinton, and neither Stein nor Johnson have a chance, I assume they are just fine with adulterous tRump, gambling tRump, Two Corinthians 2Rump,fornicating 2Rump, divorced tRump, gambling trump, lying trump, and all of the other incarnations of Donnie that stand in stark opposition to what these so-called Christians claim to believe?

    In short, it’s all about power, money and dominion for religious conservatives.

    Again.

    Or in short, its just the Only True Christians (TM) flinging their Theo-poo (TM) at the Not true Christians.

    Again.

  • I don’t care if Christianity changes it’s beliefs. It is none of my business and contrary to the First Ammendment. What I care about is their actions. Because they are the majority they have acted like the government was theirs to do with as they wished and have run roughshod over the constitution. Now they are being challenged and they play the victim, declaring that war is being declared on them. Absurd! But their freedoms are limited by the laws of our land. They cannot trample on the civil rights of others nor can they use that freedom to discriminate as they are attempting to do using their Republican lackeys.

  • This letter is 100 Proof antisemitic conspiracy theory nuttery.

    They even throw in a blood libel. After ranting about Soros and the organizations he may or may not have contributed money to, they say:

    “Please repent and turn away from those who attack the Church. Say “no” to blood money. Refuse funds from anyone attempting to put the Church and America in chains”

  • Attacking George Soros for his manipulative tendencies for which he alone is accountable as an individual, not as a member of any particular class of citizenry, hardly rises to the level of anti-Semitism. It is unequivocally, anti-Soros-ism.

  • Metaxas and Grudem both have long been rumored to harbor pretty vile anti-Semitic views. It would seem that they’re both coming out of the closet on that issue, so to speak, with their ‘George Soros is the new Rothschild’ conspiracy garbage.

  • Soros is generally a positive force, while the Koch Bros, Adelson, and their ilk are on the wrong side of the finest Judeo-Christian values.

  • An odd choice, since just a few days ago the leader of Hamas strongly defended Donald Trump’s comments regarding Obama’s handling of ISIS.
    Plus, Netanyahu recently said he’s fine with whichever candidate wins. I seriously doubt you know more about the safety of Israel than Bibi.

  • It’s a great fundraising ploy, we need money to save the hateful exclusionary parts of our beliefs. We can drive gays and non christians out of the country but we need your help$.

    As long as people believe in the literacy of the bible these people will flourish. Since the bible will never change they will never change.

    Good thing we have a secular govt, the courts, as well as the majority of our population to keep these people at bay; because they are coming for our government.

  • Not according to:
    http://www.cincinnati.com/story/opinion/editorials/2016/09/23/enquirer-endorses-hillary-clinton-donald-trump/90728344/
    Enquirer: It has to be Hillary Clinton
    http://warontherocks.com/2016/03/open-letter-on-donald-trump-from-gop-national-security-leaders/
    Republican national security community on Trump: We commit ourselves to working energetically to prevent the election of someone so utterly unfitted to the office.
    http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/editorials/20160907-we-recommend-hillary-clinton-for-president.ece
    There is only one serious candidate on the presidential ballot in November. We recommend Hillary Clinton.
    http://www.usatoday.com/opinion/
    Donald Trump — is, by unanimous consensus of the Editorial Board, unfit for the presidency.
    http://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/editorial/2016/09/27/hillary-clinton-endorsement/91198668/
    Hillary Clinton is the only choice to move America ahead

  • Really? You want to go back to an era when the government inserts itself into your bedroom, into your visits with your doctor, into who you can choose as a mate (must be different sex but same race), what FDA approved drugs you may use, etc? While you are at it, i assume you would like to change the curriculum for vocational courses to teach the use of stone tools and outlaw the teaching of complex and irrational numbers.

  • The stone tools will be the “newest” innovation of the liberal progressives. Homosexuality is a sin. It’s been that way since the beginning of time. Time to get used to it.
    Jesus also said that He would forgive and heal a homosexual of their sin. There is no need for any return to Sodom and Gomorrah.

  • Why should I consider your opinion as opposed to highly trusted conservative sources? No facts, no logic, just a baseless claim.

  • Your sect is a small part of all of Christianity, only a portion of which agree with your sect. Christianity, especially, ihas been and is loosing adherents. Christians are less than a third of the world population. So why should I accept your personal beliefs when they are not widely accepted by all Christians, much less the world.

  • I love you moral people. Yopu are just fine with are just fine with adulterous tRump, gambling tRump, Two Corinthians 2Rump,fornicating 2Rump, divorced tRump, gambling trump, lying trump, and all of the other incarnations of Donnie that stand in stark opposition to what you so-called Christians claim to believe?

  • Inhospitable behavior, greed and indifference to the poor the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah (as described by Ezekiel) seems to be a Republican thing. Hence their nativism, support of predatory lending, and attacks on social services.

  • Religious freedom means nobody ever has to give a flying turd what your religion says about any subject. Least of all civil liberties. You can call it a sin, but you can’t give your ideas force of law.

  • Read the Constitution. Your religious views aren’t worth squat as the justification for our laws. Believe whatever you want, but nobody is compelled to care.

  • The Bible says more, much more than your cherry picked opinion. Homosexuality is a sin. Sodom and Gomorrah were chock full of unrighteous people – including homosexuals.

  • Please quote the chapter and verse where Jesus said that he “would forgive and heal a homosexual of their sin.”

  • I hold no brief on behalf of the Koch Bros. Personally I’m annoyed by all supremely wealthy people who think that their wealth empowers them in a way that denigrates the rest of us, but I remain unpersuaded with respect to Soros. Given the initiatives he has chosen to support I fail to see his application of Judeo-Christian values.

  • The government is increasingly inserting itself into every aspect of our lives anyway, that is the nature of government. Checks and balances never last. When queried as to what kind of government the Constitutional Convention proposed for us, Benjamin Franklin replied, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” The founders themselves were doubtful how long the “experiment” would last. I would argue that we have done surprisingly well given the history of the so-called civilized world, but I hardly expect it to last, largely because (and this is a view I’m entitled to as a member of this Republic) we are rejecting the basic precepts of both the Old and New Testaments with regard to what we owe to God and our fellow creatures. Unbridled license in human behavior of whatever sort has never redounded to the benefit of a culture or a nation. I cite Rome, Greece, Egypt, and ancient Israel.

  • Jesus said, “Strait is the gate and narrow is the way, and few there be that find it.” Christianity’s lasting power does not rest in sheer numbers or in the political process. It is about transforming lives for eternity. While numbers are shrinking in the decadent and decaying West, Christianity is gaining a multitude of converts in parts of the world where people really understand and experience deep and daily suffering. Christianity provides a consolation and legitimate hope that many in the self satisfied West can never comprehend. Call it Pie in the Sky if you will, but I’m wagering that Pie will taste better than any produced on the finest kitchens on earth. This is not an unquestioning blind and thoughtless faith, but a faith framed in specific evidences and examples that occur daily in a myriad of ways that are difficult , if not impossible for the skeptic to conceive. As St. Paul taught, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” as fine and brilliant a philosopher as any of the Greeks.

  • Not a complete list of the sins of S and G by a long shot. As confirmed by additional prophets.

  • But the big ones. Few people in modern times realize just how taboo inhospitable behavior to strangers/travelers was to ancient peoples.

    Travel was considered very difficult and dangerous for most. So it was an obligation not to mistreat travelers. Punishment for such actions shows up in many cultures in that region of the world.
    Homer’s Odyssey is practically a treatise on the subject (based on a much older oral tradition).

  • He didn’t specify homosexuals. He died for all of our sins – homosexuals included. They do not commit the unforgivable sin.

  • I never understood why so many right wingers despise George Soros so much that he’s become this kind of mythical bogey man on the far right. All I can think of is the Religious Right hates Soros because he’s a Jew.

  • The only people taking America back to Sodom and Gomorrah are the GOP with their support of serial adulterer with Trump.

  • Clinton and the United Methodist Church she belongs to have been life long supporters of Israel whereas Trump said he would be neutral on Israel. You’re full of it.

  • If you had a brother, sister, son or daughter who was either lesbian or homosexual – would you consider them sinners for their genetic predisposition ?

  • The pro-terrorist. anti-Israel “two state solution” on which Hillary and Obama keep trying (and they don’t hide it!!) to force Israel to surrender.

  • It is not a genetic predisposition. Homosexuals are sinners – that isn’t dependent on whether they are related to me or not, patrick. Christ said they are sinners.

  • ISIS is not exactly a friend of Hamas, just as the Bloods and the Crips ain’t exactly friends. Just the way it goes.

    However, both ISIS and Hamas are terrorists, and both hate Israel. Hamas most of all.

    “Bebe” is just glad to be rid of that naive pro-terrorist president Obama. But make no mistake: Bebe is “fine with both candidates” because Bebe and Israel no longer trust ANY American President to do the right thing.

    Isreal and its leaders know that they’re on their own, they know they can’t trust us. (But they also know that America is blind, weak, and helpless in the Middle East without Israel’s assistance. So Israel takes pity on us and tries to be our friend anyway.)

  • Clinton is the evil of two lessers. So we Christians have no choice but to vote for the lesser of two evils. Gotta vote for Trump!

  • You need to listen to what your friend Hillary says at the bottom of her stump speeches, not just the top.

    She always says “I support Israel” at the top. But she doesn’t talk specifics till close to the bottom, and sometimes she doesn’t do it at all — she just leaves you with the kewl soundbite but no facts.

    But Hillary’s commitment, Hillary’s “fact” if she is elected, is that libbie pro-terrorist “two state solution.” She’s going to impose it regardless of her being a Methodist or not.

  • Both candidates are bad, but Hillary has stated EXACTLY which pro-terrorist weapon she’s gonna shoot at Israel if she gets elected. She is really messed-up on her mess.

    At least Trump might give Israell some fairness and show them that America might be trustworthy again someday.

  • Gosh, I didn’t know that Soros was Jewish.
    Well, no problem. Hopefully American Judaism will have Soros deported to Israel by November, so that he can stand trial for supporting all these pro-terrorist, anti-Israel, ne’er-do-wells !!

  • Actually, you could vote for Johnston or Stein. But you choose the one who betrays everything you allegedly stand for.

  • When Jesus died for all our sins, was it on passover (per Matthew, Mark and Luke) or on the day before passover (per John)?

    If the Bible doesn’t get even that right, why should we believe any of it.

  • Our Constitution is worth quite a lot. You are welcome to read and believe the Bible, but no one else has to care.

  • But handing your daughters over to be ganged raped was all hunky dory. Not one word of criticism anywhere in the bible for that hospitable suggestion.

  • Both conservatives and progressives have agendas and priorities that are destructive. You only have to look at what is happening in the U.S. today to see the effect of them.

  • I don’t understand how it is you seem to be such an expert on Soros to make up all these bogus lies about him yet you didn’t know something actually true about him, like his Jewish faith?

  • “The biggest threat to the United States right now is HILLARY.”

    That is such a pitch-perfect parody of wingnuttery. You’ve got it nailed!

  • “that naive pro-terrorist president Obama.”

    Bin Laden sleeps with the fishes. GWB didn’t even bother to try to hunt him down. I guess it depends on which sort of pro-terrorist naivete you prefer.

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