A group of more than 75 evangelical leaders released a statement Thursday declaring that the evangelical movement that is so often portrayed as backing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump does not represent them.
The statement, posted Thursday to Change.org, charges the media with representing evangelical Americans as white, conservative, older men. Such a portrayal fails to recognize the wide array of Americans who identify as evangelical Christians, the group said.
“We are not those evangelicals,” the statement reads. “The media’s narrow labels of our community perpetuate stereotypes, ignore our diversity, and fail to accurately represent views expressed by the full body of evangelical Christians.”
In its statement, the group identifies itself as multi-racial with black, white, Asian, Hispanic and Native American members. Its members, both young and old, “come from a wide range of denominations, churches, and political orientations.”
The group’s statement, which was first reported by the New York Times, condemns Trump over a variety of his most controversial political moments, including his backing of the so-called “birther” movement and his labeling of Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals. Citing the Gospel of Matthew, the group said Trump’s anti-immigration stances go against the teachings of Christianity.
The statement stopped short of offering an endorsement to Hillary Clinton, mentioning her only to say that she “is both supported and distrusted by a variety of Christian voters.” Instead, the group wrote that “we, undersigned evangelicals, simply will not tolerate the racial, religious, and gender bigotry that Donald Trump has consistently and deliberately fueled, no matter how else we choose to vote or not to vote.”
“We believe that racial bigotry has been a cornerstone of this campaign, it is a foundational matter of the gospel for us in this election, and not just another issue. This is not just a social problem, but a fundamental wrong,” it read. “We see this election as a significant teachable moment for our churches and our nation to bring about long-needed repentance from our racial sin.”