Whether same sex marriage is OK is a a major issue dividing conservative and progressive United Methodists. Many Episcopalian churches typically are on ‘the cutting edge’ of cultural warfare issues. Both of these denominations are losing members year after year in the U.S. while their numbers increase in other parts of the world which do not support same sex marriage.
Another cultural warfare issue is possible sharia/ Muslim influence on U.S. legal institutions. Moore has made many controversial statements, i.e. that the influence of sharia law is growing in the U.S. and that Ellison should not serve in Congress related to donations he has received and comments that he has made.
Here’s the letter that the Alabama pastors signed — should you want to sign it.
“Under ordinary circumstances, we clergy refrain from speaking directly about political candidates, and only speak to issues. But these are not ordinary circumstances.
“Even before the recent allegations of sexual abuse, Roy Moore demonstrated that his extremist values and actions are not consistent with traditional Christian values or good Christian character. He and politicians like him have cynically used Christianity for their own goals. But Roy Moore does not speak for Christianity, and he acts in ways that are contrary to our faith.
“Christianity affirms God’s love for the neighbor and care for the most vulnerable in society: the widow, the foreigner, and the orphan. But he has denigrated people from other countries and other faiths. He seeks to deny the most basic civil rights of our fellow citizens. He has used racial slurs and casually referred to state-sponsored violence against lesbian and gay families. He has sought to deny children without parents access to loving families on the basis of sexual orientation. Kindness and justice toward widows, orphans, and foreigners are priorities in the Bible but they are not priorities for him.
“Christianity thrives in religious freedom from government interference, and a government impartial toward people of all faith traditions. But instead he has sought to entangle government with religion. He has preached vehemently against Islamic religious law but he has sought government affirmation of his religious extremism and nationalism. He has claimed civil rights only apply to Christians.
Christianity rejoices in the truth and affirms the rights of abuse survivors to tell their stories without silencing. Christianity abhors sexual coercion and violence. We acknowledge that many people have been victims of sexual assault and abuse in our own places of worship. Clergy misconduct has done real and lasting harm, both physically and spiritually. We repudiate the actions of religious and political leaders like Roy Moore who have sought to silence, to cover up, and to be complicit in the sexual abuse. These actions reopen the wounds of anyone who has been abused by leaders who should have been committed to compassion, to justice, and to healing God’s world.
Why is this important?
We clergy write and sign this letter not as representatives of our own congregations but as individual faith leaders compelled by conscience to speak.
Our intent is not to tell anyone how to vote, but to urge the people of Alabama to vote their conscience, regardless of political affiliation. Roy Moore has done harm to our government; he has done harm to our Christian witness, and he has done harm to vulnerable people.
We do not make this statement lightly. We do so with much prayer and discernment. We believe no follower of Jesus Christ should be silent while the words of our Lord and Savior are perverted for partisan power, while our Bible is appropriated as a weapon for a false “culture war,” and while the name of our God is blasphemed by the hypocrisy of those who claim the name of Christ
Dr. Dave Barnhart, United Methodist, Birmingham
Rev Angie Wright, United Church of Christ, Birmingham
Rev. Matt Lacey, United Methodist, Birmingham
Rev. Jennifer Sanders, United Church of Christ, Birmingham
Rev. Ramone R. Billingsley, Baptist, Birmingham
Rev. Cat Goodrich, Presbyterian Church (USA), Birmingham
Minister Cara McClure, Non Denominational, Birmingham
Rev. Jaime Pangman, United Methodist, Cullman
Rev. Eva R. Melton, Baptist, Birmingham
The Rev Tyler C Richards, Episcopalian, Birmingham
Rev. Laura Stephens-Reed, Baptist, Northport
Rev. Sally G. Harris, Lutheran ( ELCA), Bessemer
Rev. Wayne McLaughlin, Presbyterian, Homewood
Rev. Matt Reed, United Methodist, Northport
Rev. Emily Freeman Penfield, United Methodist, Birmingham
The Rev. Kelley Hudlow, Deacon, Episcopal Church, Birmingham
Pastor Adam Mixon, Baptist, Birmingham
Rev. Eric Hall, Baptist, Birmingham
Rev. Carolyn Foster, Episcopal, Birmingham
Rev. Raul Dominguez, United Methodist, Cullman
Rev. R.G. Wilson-Lyons, United Methodist, Birmingham
Rev. Dr. R. Lawton Higgs Sr., United Methodist, Hueytown
Rev. E. Tramaine Solomon, Baptist, Lineville
Rev Steven W. Barber, United Methodist, Haleyville
Rev. Paul Eknes-Tucker, United Church of Christ, Birmingham
Rev. Sonya Gravlee, United Church of Christ, Trussville
Rev. Daniel Stallings, Baptist, Montevallo
Rev. Malcolm Marler, Episcopal, Birmingham
The Reverend Pamela A. Canzater, United Church of Christ, Birmingham
Rev. Horace Blount, United Methodist, Birmingham
Bishop Antwon B. Womack, Non-Demonational, Birmingham
Rev. Charles Perry, Unity, Birmingham
Rev. Dollie Howell Pankey, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Birmingham
Joe Elmore, United Methodist, Vestavia Hills
Rev Bud Precise, United Methodist/United Church of Christ, Birmingham
Herb Williamson, United Methodist, Bagley
The Rev. Louie Skipper, Episcopal Church, Hoover
Dr. Everett B. Kelley, Baptist, Lincoln
Dr. Kevin Higgs, United Methodist, Birmingham
Rev. Stephanie York Arnold, United Methodist, Birmingham
The Rev. Tom Duley, United Methodist, Vestavia Hills
John Gregory, Chaplain, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Leeds
Pastor Marcus Singleton, United Methodist Church, Huntsville
Rev. Katy Smith, Episcopal Church, Birmingham
Rev. Tommy Morgan, Christian Church (DOC), Alabaster
Rev. Joe Genau, Presbyterian Church (USA), Homewood
Ava Rozelle, Associate Pastor, United Methodist, Pell City
The Reverend Lawrence Willson, PhD, United Methodist, Birmingham
Rev. Thomas Osborne, Episcopal, Florence
Rev. Elizabeth Cole Goodrich, Presbyterian, Birmingham
The Rev. Mikah Hudson, United Methodist, Birmingham
Rev. Baxter Chism United Methodist, Pinson
Carolyn Garner, Christian, Philadelphia
Rev. Deborah Gibson, Epley United Methodist, Birmingham
Rev. Lydia Casey, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Birmingham
Rev. Dale Capron, United Methodist, Gurley
Rev. J. Shannon Webster, Presbyterian, Birmingham
Shelaine Bird, Presbyterian (USA), Mountain Brook
Rev. Cathy C. Hoop, Presbyterian Church (USA), Tuscaloosa
Rev. Doreen McGoldrick Duley, United Methodist, Vestavia
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, Pastor, Greenleaf Christian Church; President & Sr. Lecturer, Repairers of the Breach; National Co-Chair, Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call For Moral Revival
Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, Co-Director, the Kairos Center for Religion, Rights, and Social Justice; National Co-Chair, Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call For Moral Revival
Comments: About cultural warfare issues: Why not call a spade a spade. Let’s ask that these 50 progressive pastors — and others who oppose Moore based on these issues — state up front where they stand on cultural warfare issues. One of the hot issues of the 2016 elections was amnesty versus control of U.S. borders.
For progressive pastors, does the Biblical ‘care for the stranger’ standard translate into support for ‘open borders’ and sanctuary protection for all those who somehow can get in?
Instead of support for open borders, why not do what America can so people elsewhere have the freedoms that are available here. Cameron Jackson