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Christian leaders call out the heresy of Trumpism

Maybe it takes a royal wedding to offer lessons in what a good sermon sounds like.

Maybe it takes one of the world’s most elitist institutions — a monarchy, for goodness’ sake — to provide a view of Christianity rooted not in conservative cultural warfare (or unrelenting support for President Trump) but in an egalitarian love that will “let justice roll down like a mighty stream.”

And the Most Rev. Michael Curry, who preached for a royal couple and the world last Saturday, isn’t finished with us yet. On Thursday, a group of Christians will march to the White House for a candlelight vigil inspired by a declaration titled “Reclaiming Jesus: A Confession of Faith in a Time of Crisis.”

The presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church, Curry is a prime mover of a statement suffused with a sense of urgency about “a dangerous crisis of moral and political leadership at the highest levels of our government.”

While Trump lurks behind almost every paragraph of this passionate assertion of faith, he is never mentioned. This reflects the desire of the endorsers to focus on what it means to proclaim that “Jesus is Lord.” The opening paragraph makes this clear: “We believe the soul of the nation and the integrity of faith are now at stake.”

At a time when social media and email inboxes bulge with manifestos about the dangers posed by Trump, “Reclaiming Jesus” is distinctive: Its vision contrasts sharply with the approach taken by Christians who are invoking religious arguments in apologetics for a president whose actions and policies seem antithetical to almost everything Jesus taught.

The Rev. Jim Wallis, a progressive evangelical Christian leader and the declaration’s main drafter, credited Curry for encouraging his colleagues to speak out. “The two of us talked and prayed about this for months before inviting a group of elders to join us for a retreat on Ash Wednesday” to discuss “a theological and biblical statement.”

Even if its implications about you-know-who are unmistakable, the call — issued by 23 prominent Christians with long experience in social struggles — “wants to be about Jesus, not Trump,” Wallis said in an interview. The hope is to challenge Christians to reach their political conclusions only after pondering what Jesus and his disciples actually said.

“What we believe leads us to what we must reject,” the signers assert, laying out six core propositions and the conclusions that follow.

If “each human being is made in God’s image and likeness,” then Christians have a duty to repudiate “the resurgence of white nationalism and racism in our nation on many fronts, including the highest levels of political leadership.” A belief that “we are one body” requires opposition to “misogyny” and “the mistreatment, violent abuse, sexual harassment, and assault of women.”

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