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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Evangelicals can forgive Trump’s sins without fervently supporting him

Donald Trump with Christian leaders
Religious leaders pray with President Trump in the White House on Sept. 1, 2017.
(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

To the editor: There is a fundamental problem with evangelical Christian leaders’ support of President Trump on the basis that since Jesus forgave sinners, Trump should be forgiven and supported. After all, forgiveness is a fundamental principle of Christianity.

However, Trump has exhibited a nonstop assault on decency. His bullying, name calling, lying and policies have harmed so many people, especially those in vulnerable minority groups. This behavior begs for a reassessment of Trump by evangelical leaders.

I am not a Christian, but I strongly believe that the Christian teachings of Jesus present a clear mandate to stop supporting this evil.

Jeffrey Melzack, Walpole, Mass.

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To the editor: It is important to understand why thinking Christians must back Trump against any of his Democratic opponents.

True followers of Jesus must follow his teachings. According to the Didache, a 1st century Christian treatise, many of the policies now supported by Democrats on marriage, abortion and other cultural issues are immoral per the teachings of Jesus.

Christians are told to hate the sin but love the sinner. Driven by that command, Christians try to convert others with their actions and prayers. By attacking Trump, the left and the media are effectively siding with the Democrats and are therefore serving their immoral stances.

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Joseph John Rothengast, Raleigh, N.C.

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To the editor: Christianity Today editor Mark Galli says he shares Trump supporters’ stances on abortion and religious freedom, but he does not understand why they dig in their heels when defending what he considers immoral behavior.

In 1976, evangelical theologian Francis Schaeffer published “How Should We Then Live,” which greatly influenced the rising religious right. Schaeffer chided American evangelicals for taking a do-nothing attitude on such issues as racial inequality, abortion and the non-compassionate use of wealth.

Evangelicals can feel self-righteous hiding behind abortion to the exclusion of bigotry, the plight of immigrants and wealth inequality because taking in a homeless person, paying the legal fees for a struggling immigrant or trying to understand those who are differently gendered is too hard and costly to do.

Trump is white, wealthy and vociferously anti-abortion, so he is just what they need. They accept Trump’s immorality because they can go on feeling self-righteous about supporting him. He makes them comfortable about their own bigotry and greed.

Catherine Crook, Camarillo

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To the editor: Christianity Today’s welcome call for removing Trump does not go nearly far enough.

Who of us can judge whether the president is truly on the path to embracing Christ’s message? None of us, but that begs the point. Since the 1970s the evangelical right has had cravenly flexible moral standards when it comes to getting its agenda enacted into law in a country constitutionally dedicated to the separation of church and state.

For years I attended one of Orange County’s megachurches, where I witnessed the excuses made for the wealthy and powerful. I also witnessed the cruel treatment of LGBTQ people in the congregation.

The evangelical right plays to the human desire to fit in, but it also espouses an us-versus-them mentality, which Trump epitomizes but is antithetical to Christ’s message. Jesus died to take away our sins, not our minds, a pastor once told me.

I serve now as an elder at a progressive church where everyone’s welcome, even a man like Trump. Still, I don’t trust him to serve effectively as president.

Jean Ardell, Laguna Beach


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