An Appeal to Christians in the United States

Monday, February 1, 2016

To those who have signed “An Appeal to Christians in the United States,” 

We have self-consciously refrained from bombarding you with follow-up emails regarding the Appeal, but we are writing now to give you an update on developments and ask for your continuing help in its dissemination. The public rhetoric that occasioned its development has only gotten more strident and abusive, suggesting that the message of the Appeal deserves to be brought to the attention of as many who would want to join its affirmations as possible.

Here is a summary of what has happened thus far. As of this writing 2,618 church leaders and members have signed the Appeal. They represent many different backgrounds and denominations--small town pastors and pastors of large city churches; lay leaders; presidents of eight Presbyterian theological seminaries; a variety of other seminary presidents; Hispanic evangelical church leaders; Episcopal bishops; Mennonite pastors and church members; Pentecostals and evangelical leaders; African American church leaders; Lutherans from Minnesota and Calvinists from Michigan; Catholic friars and sisters; activists for the homeless; distinguished theologians, biblical scholars, and historians; Baptist pastors and Methodist leaders.

We are beginning to get the Appeal before the public. It is on a number of Facebook pages and websites--including the websites of several seminaries. At their request, it has been sent to White House staff. The Christian Century has published an announcement of the Appeal and it has appeared in the Nebraska City NewsPress, the Asheville Citizen Times and the Raleigh News and Observer. More recently an article in the Presbyterian News Service referenced the Appeal.

Please continue to do what you can to get the word out to friends and colleagues. Those of you working to get the Appeal in your local papers, please continue to make contacts and do what you can to have reporters see the Appeal and the diverse backgrounds of those who have signed it. In case they might be of use to you, a series of quotes from a variety of signers appears at the end of this communication. In your personal and media contacts let people know that the Appeal can be signed online via this link, andthat the names of signers can be seen via this link,

Thanks again for your commitment and help.

The Clergy Appeal Team

Some statements by signers 

"Daily we face a clamor of voices filled with fear and pride that presume our security means harming those we label 'other' or 'enemy.' I choose life and peace with all those signing this "Appeal to Christians in the United States." 

Weldon Nisly, Mennonite pastor, Seattle, Washington

"Thank you so much for this timely and significant effort to create a collective Christian voice on this important matter.
I am signing on."

Rev. Dr. James L. McDonald
President and Professor of Faith and Public Life
San Francisco Theological Seminary

"Like many other United Methodists, I have been concerned by the barrage of political rhetoric we have been subjected to in the past few weeks. I’ve received some great sermons from pastors attempting to help their congregations think like Christians about matters of terrorism, immigration and our responsibility to our sisters and brothers in other faiths. Of particular concern is that some candidates are invoking, in utterly inappropriate ways, the Christian faith as a rationale for their words and deeds.

So when my friend Erskine Clarke of Columbia Seminary assembled some of his friends and wrote an eloquent appeal to their fellow Christians, I was honored to sign on. I think it is a great act of witness. Now I share the appeal with you and hope that many of my Ministry Matters friends will find hope and help through these words."

Will Willimon, Methodist Bishop in Alabama and former Dean of the Chapel, Duke

"As an Evangelical Christian I wanted to be sure to express to the rest of the world that our primary allegiance is to the gospel. This gospel requires of us to love the stranger, welcome the refugee, and denounce othering in every form."

Rev. Dr. Gabriel Salguero
Pres., National Latino Evangelical Coalition
Pastor, Lamb's Church

"This statement addresses the most powerful idol holding sway over the world today: fear. I signed as an act of resistance. As Christian people we are called to live in faith, hope and love. Those who lead (and seek to lead) must be held to this same high calling."

Scott Black Johnston, 5th Avenue Presbyterian Church, NY

To sign the petition or receive more information, click here.