President Donald Trump — Photo: DOD / Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro
“People who call themselves evangelical in the US seem to be uncritically accepting [of Trump].”
–The Rt Rev. Paul Bayes, a senior Church of England bishop, criticizing “self-styled evangelicals” who support President Trump without questioning policies antithetical to Christian teachings.
Speaking with the Guardian, Bayes, the bishop of Liverpool, said such evangelicals risked tarnishing the reputation of others who use the evangelical moniker.
“Some of the things that have been said by religious leaders seem to collude with a system that marginalises the poor, a system which builds walls instead of bridges, a system which says people on the margins of society should be excluded, a system which says we’re not welcoming people any more into our country,” Bayes said.
“Whenever people say those kinds of things, they need to be able to justify that they’re saying those things as Christians, and I do not believe it’s justifiable.”
Bayes added: “If people want to support right wing populism anywhere in the world, they are free to do so. The question is, how are they going to relate that to their Christian faith?”
Bayes said that there are “clear teachings of the gospel about love for all, the desire for justice and for making sure marginalised and defenceless people are protected,” saying that “if it looks as though those teachings are being contradicted, then I think there is a need to say so.”
His comments come amid the launch of the Ozanne Foundation, a British Christian charity he chairs that will work to eliminate LGBTQ discrimination by working with religious organizations around the world.
Bayes said the charity would offer “strong and clear advocacy, not only for LGBTI inclusion, but against other forms of discrimination and hurt in the church,” he said. “There is room in the church for people who strongly and clearly advocate for change, and I want to support them.”
Trump has courted evangelicals and conservative Christians both during his election campaign and since taking office. Earlier this year, he issued a “religious liberty” guidance that threatened LGBTQ healthcare, while the Department of Justice under Attorney General Jeff Sessions has openly supported allowing religious business owners to discriminate against LGBTQ people.
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