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Faith Leaders Slam Trump Ahead of Miami Rally

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The Florida Democratic Party held a press call with faith leaders to call out Trump for co-opting Christianity for political gain and for breaking his promises on issues critical to Floridians, from his mission to undermine the Affordable Care Act to his cruel immigration agenda. The call was led by 2018 Democratic Nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Florida Chris King, Minister Kevin Chambliss, and Executive Director of Vote Common Good Doug Pagitt.

Chris King:

Whether it is his immigration policies, whether it is his extraordinary effort to destroy the Affordable Care Act, or whether it is his economic policies -- which tend to me much more favored toward the wealthy and the well connected, than to those who are falling through the cracks, to the millions of people in Florida who don’t have health insurance and are living in poverty -- that’s not probably what is going to be talked about today in the church [during Trump’s rally]. But that is what is supposed to be talked about in the church. [...] People of faith have got to stand up and speak out this election. We cannot afford another four years of Donald Trump and the conscience of this nation, who we are as a country, what our values are about -- I think is at risk.

Kevin Chambliss:

Now, more than ever, we must remain steadfast and speak truth to power. We must hold this President accountable by calling out his rampant disdain for the Law and the diverse people of this Nation. We must speak up when he labels whole groups of people as rapists, murderers and thieves, we must speak up when openly mocks people with disabilities, and we must speak up when he unapologetically tries to use the government to discriminate against people because of their religious beliefs. Last but not least, must hold this President accountable for using his position of power to blackmail other countries into doing what he wants for his own personal gain. It is in times like these that we cannot remain silent, but we Stand and Speak with a loud voice for the voiceless and continue to Pray for better days for this Country that we all love so dearly.

Doug Pagitt:

Friday’s rally is Trump’s desperate response to the realization that he is losing his primary voting bloc — faith voters. He knows he needs every last vote if he wants a shot at re-election, as losing just 5% of the faith voters ends his chances. In addition, he is trying to use this part of his base to give cover for his broken promises and immoral policies.

In addition to the call, the FDP released an open letter to Trump signed by over a dozen Christian faith leaders hitting him on his countless broken promises to Floridians and failure to earn their support in his bid for re-election.

The letter concluded:

So, Mr. President, you are coming here to rally around a faith that you have failed to uphold. We need more than a sermon on your Christian values, we need you to act on those proclaimed values to uplift the poor, help the sick, and love thy neighbor. A person who cannot stay true to their values has no place in the Oval Office and you, sir, do not have the moral fortitude to deserve our support.

See also:

POLITICO: Trump works to avoid evangelical defections in 2020

Indeed, ahead of Trump’s Friday appearance, Florida Democrats issued a letter signed by 12 Christian leaders from five Florida counties that appealed to the president: “We cannot stand idly by while you attempt to co-opt our religion for your political gain and claim support from our community.”

The letter decried Trump for pushing policies that it said are antithetical to Christian faith: “There is absolutely nothing good or virtuous about tearing immigrant families apart, cutting programs for the poor while giving hundreds of millions of tax cuts to the wealthiest among us, or threatening to take away health care from those with preexisting conditions — all of which are lynchpins of your agenda.”

The evangelical community has never been 100 percent lockstep conservative. The 20 percent of white evangelicals who don’t like Trump include younger voters, college-educated voters and suburban moms,” said Diana Butler Bass, a scholar of American religion.

“That the Trump campaign thinks they could pull those people away after antagonizing them for three years shows a very thin understanding of the nature of American evangelicalism,” she added.