taking the words of Jesus seriously

There are many evangelicals — even among white evangelicals — who agree with the editor of Christianity Today, the top evangelical magazine, and want Donald Trump removed from office. As with the editor Mark Galli, we believe the impeachment hearings make clear that the president has gone too far with his lying and abuse of power.

We know the vast majority of white evangelicals will stand firm in supporting the president in spite of these moral failings, because they say that they like his policies. They are thrilled with his appointments of conservative judges to the courts, hoping these judges will support their “family values” on such matters as abortion and gay marriage. They endorse Trump’s policies toward Israel, especially his support for moving the capital of Israel to Jerusalem and of the prime minister’s desire to annex the West Bank. They even, for the most part, join him in denying global warming.

We Red Letter Christians, who go by this name because the teachings of Jesus in many Bibles are highlighted with red letters, differ from mainstream white evangelicals in that we claim that Trump’s policies often are contradictions to what Jesus actually taught.

We believe that giving huge tax breaks to the rich while cutting programs that help the poor is contrary to Jesus who had a preference for the poor. While we support the rights of the state of Israel, we also support the Palestinian people’s right to a state of their own, and do so in conjunction with the six million Arab Christians who live in the Middle East. We take seriously the Constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law and challenge the anti-democratic voter suppression efforts many politicians have embraced to cling to power. We take seriously the biblical mandate to be good stewards of God’s creation and join with those who are committed to saving the environment. We believe that the ethno-nationalism that is so evident in many of Trump’s pronouncements, especially about immigrants at our southern border, is diametrically opposed to what Jesus taught about treating aliens as we would Jesus himself.

It seems like duplicity that the same white evangelicals who sanctimoniously called for Bill Clinton’s resignation in light of his sexual indiscretions now look past the moral failures of this current president and affirm his claim that he is the “chosen” by God to lead our country.

When, during the Clinton years, we Red Letter Christians went into the Oval Office, we did so in order to call the president to repentance rather than to lay hands on him to give him a sign of divine ordination, as did some evangelical leaders.

We know that the overwhelming majority of white evangelical voters will again vote for Donald Trump, but in doing so they will hurt the reputations of their churches. We Red Letter Christians hope they will search their hearts and search the scriptures and do what is right, as God leads them.

For the sake of our nation’s integrity and the most vulnerable in our society, we call on fellow Red Letter Christians to support the current impeachment inquiry and removal of Donald Trump. Now is the time to shine the light of truth. Please join us in praying that the truth will be revealed and set us all free.

TAKE ACTION: Add your name to the statement

Rev. Dr. Tony Campolo
Shane Claiborne
Lisa Sharon Harper

Rev. Dr. William Barber, II
Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove
Rev. Sharon Risher

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Melanie Whitehead Ardmore, OK
Timothy McPherson Branson, MO
Fred Chesbro Chicago, IL
Amy Ackerberg-Hastings Rockville, MD
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Patti Lehman Lititz, PA
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Pastor Vondel Stevens Pampa, TX
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Charles Petersen Tomales, CA
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Ann Stokes Marietta, GA
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Nancy Patrick Sioux Falls, SD
Michelle McGowa Manassas, VA
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Rev. Greg Jarrell Charlotte, NC
Laine Randall Garden City, GA
Deborah Moore New Bedford, MA
Rev. Jennifer Helms Jarrell Charlotte, NC
Laura Clifford Lexington, KY
Timbre Cierpke Nashville, TN
Soraya Javaher Broken Arrow, OK
Evelyn Clark Bangor, ME
Peggy Meisch North Branch, MN
Jimmy Few Columbia, SC
Angel Alicea Jr. Orlando, FL
Rev. Daniel Bradfield Signal Hill, CA
Nancy Griffith Clarksville, TN
Gann Herman Durham, NC
Josh Myers Oklahoma City, OK
David McMinn Leander, TX
Byron Eubanks Arkadelphia, AR
Mary Tidey Telford,  PA
Crystal Marie Gurnee, IL
Chelsea Maxwell Ames, IA
Margaret Hill Genoa, OH
Nicole Raichart Moses Lake, WA
Dennis Rockow Madison, OH
Brian Blackburn Belleville, MI
Jeff Magee Port Townsend, WA
Tad Raichart Moses Lake, WA
Richard Johnson Wonder Lake, IL
Loren Roberts Pasadena, CA
Mike Stavlund Falls Church, VA
David Schneider Alamosa, CO
Audrey Garcia San Antonio, TX
Michelle Flowers Ijamsville, MD
Miguel Garcia San Antonio, TX
Michael McGowan New York
Michael Brennan St Paul, MN
David Strausbaugh Greencastle, PA
Stephen Payne Ruston, LA
Robin Shropshire Roanoke, VA
Brandon Thompson Overland Park, KS
Michal Frye Spokane, WA
Frank J. Coe Forest Hill, LA
Charlotte Rowe Troy, MI
Patricia Hull Wichita Falls, TX
Rebecca Heskamp Mars Hill, NC
Richard Staley Cambria, WI
Cynthia Nettles Baytown, TX
Ann Karas Springfield, OR
Julia Carmichael North Port, FL
Mike Foster Spencer, NY
Diane Sylvester Los Angeles, CA
Connie Ft Myers, FL
Hilda Dewey Riverside, RI
MaryJo Ft Myers, FL
Kevin Prior Lake, MN
Bonnie Shannon Morgantown, WV
Kimberly Seman Macon, GA
Cindy McLennan Boston, MA
Carol Columbus, OH
Kelly Strain Cape Girardeau, MO
Kathy E. Norwood Dallas, TX
Debi Marshall Liverpool, NY
Jon Newswanger Salem, OR
Jeffrey Glogiewicz Caguas, Puerto Rico
Janet Lindsey Kennewick, WA
William S.F. Gilman, III Fitchburg, MA
Deb Celina, OH
Jennifer Chivers Santa Cruz, CA
Minister Stephen Roach Knight Asheville, NC
Lance Link Tampa, FL
Cheryl Carrollton, TX
Eva Howard Camden, OH
Andrea Mauer Albert Lea, MN
Julia Wiggins Ocean City, NJ
Adam Kelley Columbia, SC
M. Munroe Austin, TX
Shael Morgan Gainesville, FL
M. Clark Birmingham, AL
Sheri Yates Fort Worth, TX
A. Coleman Clayton, GA
Carol S Ahrens Freeport, IL
Teresa Ernst Lancaster, PA
Kenny Martin Greenup, KY
Zigmond Pohopin Punta Gorda , FL
Jessica Short-Long Jefferson City, TN
Cathy Garrett Brandon, MS
Jessica Baker Concord, CA
Mary Wilt Mt. Juliet, TN
Teresa Julian Tampa, FL
M Shimer Emmaus, PA
Dana Baker Medford, MA
Rev. Geoffrey Knowlton Princeton, MA
Brad Scott Romulus, MI
Jaime Riddle Virginia Beach, VA
Blake Brinkman Rochester, MN
Susie Taylor Seadrift, TX
Blake Brinkman Rochester, MN
Cynthia Reimer Georgetown, SC
Marvin Bolt Corning, NY
Nickie Nelson Palmer, AK
Ronald Turner St Petersburg, FL
Kevin A. Smith Aberdeen, NC
Rev. Ryan C. Mulkowsky Lilburn, GA
Janene Roch Austin, TX
Liz Cooper Thousand Oaks, CA
Mindy Perry Camas, WA
Dwayne Wenger Morgantown, PA
Karla Morgan Anoka, MN
Krista Dulaney Canton, OH
Carlos A. Rodriguez Puerto Rico
Sarah Carter Phoenix, AZ
Richard Johnson Rock Hill, SC
Joshua Rausch Lincoln, NE
Prometheus McRoberts Danbury, TX
Judith Garrett Benbrook, TX
Margaret Richards Riverhead, NY
Anita Barry Los Angeles, CA
Ian Cole Bourbonnais,  IL
Nathan Shorb Bellingham, WA
Allan-Charles Chipman Richmond, VA
Renee Hayes Trinity, NC
S.R.A. Miller Port Hueneme,  CA
Rodney Evans Honolulu, HI
Rev. Rosie Wynter Rydalmere, NSW, Australia
Rev. Scott Hutchinson Perkasie, PA
Matthew Dunbar Maplewood, NJ
Lisa Head Plymouth, IN
Justin Allen Birmingham, AL
Stephanie Evans Burnt Hills, NY
Mark Jordan Dixon, IL
Carrie Bailey Hampstead, NC
Karly Murphy Chicago, IL
Paula Cohen Columbus, OH
Kimberly Book Holland, MI
Eric Schmitt New Carlisle, OH
Rev. Glen Peterson Los Angeles, CA
Mary Charlotte Haussmann Charlotte, NC
Mary Butler Shreveport, LA
Jill Young Muskegon, MI
Catherine Martin Weyauwega, WI
Lori Drummer West Burlington, IA
Gladys Carter Greenville, WV
Cathy Del Hillcrest, NY
Sonja Lockman Orono, MN
Blake Egan Abbotsford, Canada
Rev. Kerra Becker English Midlothian, VA
Wendy Valdez San Bernardino CA
Rev Dr Dona Van Eck Pittsburgh, PA
Adam Lorenz Grand Rapids, MI
Rev. Rick Reiten Fort Collins CO
Kathleen Leslie Baltimore, MD
Lauren Fernandez Miami, FL
Donna Bell Superior, CO
Kelly R. Stoneham Shillington, PA
Maureen Steele Fort Worth, TX
Ea Smitherman Oak Ridge, TN
Sandy Drews Greensboro, NC
Rev. Kirk Lyman-Barner Americus, GA
Beth Hankoff San Jose CA
Allen Carr Oklahoma City, OK
Doug Messer Knoxville, TN
Pamela Baker Lincoln, NE
Shawn O’Donnell South Elgin, IL
Nathan Coyledean Arlington, VA
Kevin Norman Oakland, CA
Bob & Karen Melvin Pittsburgh, PA
Debra Bowers Denver, CO
Rev. Patricia Ross Gualala, CA
Marsha Jane Wood Kansas City, MO
Cathleen Falsani California
Patricia Starr Hanson Roseburg, OR
Elaine Carmann Davidson, NC
Kathrine Roberts Redlands, CA
Rev. Paula Snyder Belousek Lima, OH
Michael Houx Gladstone MO
Bruce Ward Tyler, TX
Lizzie Shore Los Angeles, CA
Michael Jensen San Diego  CA
Terry Bouchelle Lubbock, TX
Kathryn Matousek Des Plaines, IL
John C Orlando, FL
Joseph Jones Centerville, MA
Daniel Holwerda Spring, TX
Jolene Santema Eden Prairie, MN
Kari Crosman Richmond, ME
Karen Gilly Schacht Bellingham, MA
John Dykstra Washington, PA
Tiffany Bradbury Maumelle, AR
Beth Duley Terre Haute, IN
Rev. Alicia Wilson Baker Indianapolis, IN
Julie Moler Oklahoma City, OK
Sue Avis Las Vegas, NV
John Ketner Quincy, MA
Ralph Snearly Haines City, FL
Jerusha Staggs Kansas City, MO
Rev Harvey Johnson Colorado Springs, CO
Judith Sheriff Duluth, MN
Nancy Collins Statesboro, GA
Judi Dunkle Mechanicsburg, PA
Bailey Sutter Minneapolis, MN
Jake Dockter Portland, OR
Natalie Arizona
Bob Krummenacker Patchogue, NY
Rev. David Haberer Brooklyn, NY
Peter Walker Rocklin, CA
Tonya Walker Rocklin, CA
John Hubers Orange City, IA
Seph Kumer Erie, PA
Cheryle Friedman Vallejo, CA
Kristi DeLeurere Morgantown, WV
Timothy T Irwin Aloha, OR
Nyla Schroth Gaylord Holley, NY
Twila Loy St. Charles, MO
Mark Medrano Chicago, IL
Rex Loy St. Charles, MO
Vanessa D. Johnson Martinez, GA
Bruce M. Allen West Chester, PA
Rev. Paul J. Miller Bushkill, PA
Karen Lee Allen West Chester, PA
Kim Binkley Conway, AR
Lenore G. McCauley West Chester, PA
Michelle Waite Portland, OR
Jim Carroll Augusta, GA
William Scott Fuller Zionsville, IN
Adam Sproles Cary, NC
Cheryl Lindsay Orange Village, OH
Joe Davis Auburn, AL
Martin Carter Juneau, AK
Karen & Will Lozow Cleary Bloomington, IN
Steve Hixson Knoxville, TN
Joyce Mathai Bourbonnais, IL
Jennifer Buell Rapid City, SD
Lloyd Monroe Missouri City, TX
Alyssa Knudsen Spokane WA
Cindy Christ Crystal Lake, IL
Cynthia Currier Lowell, OR
Rev. James Farley Phoenix, AZ
Jane Silva Vista, CA
Dan Oliva Yakima, WA
Rev. Dr. Kim L. Nelson Stockton, CA
Debbie Shady Spring, WV
Karyn Hinkel Watertown, WI
David Justice Saint Louis, MO
Riley Ader Piedmont, SD
Todd Cullop Burlington, WA
Lori Smith Cathedral City, CA
Shawn O’Donnell South Elgin, IL
Cathy Holsing State College, PA
Nita Starr Midlothian, VA
Gordon McAlister Minneapolis, MN
Larry Poelma Charlotte, NC
Carol Dawkins Port St. Lucie, FL
Rev. Brian D. Hutchison Seattle, WA
Robbie Phillips Kansas City, MO
John Szatkowski Beverly, MA
Anne Goodrich Portage, MI
Shirley Kustet Mt. Zion, Il
Jackie Flaum Germantown, TN

About The Author


Tony Campolo is Professor of Sociology at Eastern University, and was formerly on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania. For 40 years, he founded and led the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education, an organization that created and supported programs serving needy communities in the Third World as well as in “at risk” neighborhoods across North America. More recently, Dr. Campolo has provided leadership for the Red Letter Christians movement. He blogs regularly at his own website. Tony and his wife Peggy live near Philadelphia, and have two children and four grandchildren.

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