4 Open Letters to Trump’s America

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To my children:

Since your births, our country has had two presidents from different parties with very different ideas. You know from our conversations at the dinner table that I haven’t always agreed with either President Bush or President Obama, but I am grateful for the role models they have been to you and to kids everywhere. In their speech, personal conduct, and in their commitment to their families, both men have represented what is good and decent about our country.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about our next president. While I want you to honor Mr. Trump because of the office he will occupy, the last thing I want you to do is emulate him. Your mom and I have always taught you, “People are the most important thing because people are created in the image of God.” So I hope to never, never, discover you have teased a disabled person, disrespected a veteran, objectified a woman, discriminated against an immigrant, used racist language, devalued those of other faiths, or bullied anyone. Even as kids you already know such behavior is unacceptable and completely unchristian. Sadly, there are some adults who do not. So, pick your role models carefully.

With love,

Dad

To my Muslim neighbors:

I know you are worried, as your texts on election night revealed. You’re not only worried about what new policies President Trump might pursue, but also how his rhetoric is creating more Islamophobia and inciting those who seek your harm. You may not always feel welcome in our country, but you are always welcome in our house. In addition, I am absolutely committed to defending your right to worship freely and to live out your faith publicly. I am very aware that my religious freedom as a Christian requires an equal commitment to your religious freedom as Muslims. In this I will stand with you no matter what opposition I face even from my fellow Christians.

With good will,

Skye

To Christians who did not vote for Trump:

Despair is never an option for those who believe in the empty tomb. Neither is retreat. Nor is protesting in the streets with signs declaring: NOT MY PRESIDENT. Donald Trump is our president. We did not choose him—the majority of Americans did not choose him, but now that the polls have closed we have another choice to make.

Rather than escaping, despairing, or complaining, we can choose what we did not choose. We can choose to accept this time and this place as our calling from God—our vocation as his people. We can choose President Trump, his supporters, our neighbors, and our fellow citizens and embrace them with the dignity of our love and prayers, understanding that to embrace is not the same as to endorse. Jesus embraced sinful and unjust people—people unlike himself. He chose to walk with them, touch them, and invite them into his community, and not from a posture of self-righteous superiority but with humility and self-sacrifice, with empathy and understanding.

Because Jesus willingly chose this world and to dwell among us, to share in our frail humanity, he was also able to confront the injustice of this world and disarm the powers of darkness. Likewise, if we are to change Trump’s America we must first choose Trump’s America. This is now our calling in Christ.

With hope,

Pastor Skye

To the label “Evangelical”:

There is so much to admire about you, your history, and the theology you represent. You mean “good news,” and came to identify a movement birthed by a commitment to the gospel, the euangelion, of Jesus Christ. Seventy years ago, those called “evangelicals” rejected the angry, condemning rhetoric of the fundamentalists, and they saw the error of theological liberalism that abandoned orthodoxy. They sought a third way that was culturally engaged and biblically faithful. I love that heritage.

But look at what you have become—little more than a political identity with a pinch of impotent cultural Christianity. You’ve become a category for pollsters rather than pastors, a word of exclusion rather than embrace. Yes, there are still godly, admirable leaders under your banner, but many are fleeing your camp to find a more Christ-honoring tribe. When more people associate you with a politics of hate than a gospel of love something is terribly wrong. I take no joy in saying it, but like Esau you have sold your birthright for a bowl of soup. You have exchanged the eternal riches of Christ to satisfy a carnal appetite for power.

In the past I willingly accepted your name as my own. I even worked for your flagship magazine. More recently I have avoided you because of your political and cultural baggage, but I’ve not objected when others identified me with you because your heritage was worth retaining. That passive acceptance is over now. What was admirable about your name has been buried, crushed under the weight of 60 million votes. I am no less committed to Christ, his gospel, and his church, but I can no longer be called an evangelical. Farewell, evangelicalism.

With regret,

Skye




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64 Comments

  • November 11, 2016

    MMcGee

    Hi Skye,
    I couldn’t respond soon enough. Thank you for being a prophetic voice. I resonate with your words so strongly. I grieve at what my church tradition has become. I have no doubt that I am one of many. Please continue to use your platform to encourage those of us see the beauty of the gospel and want a better way, a better church. Please continue to use your platform to help us answer the question, “what now?”.
    With appreciation,
    MM

  • November 11, 2016

    John

    Thank you for listening, proclaiming, and living.

  • November 11, 2016

    TJM

    Hi Skye,
    Wow…. thank you for the courage to post this. I am sure that you will take some heat for it. I owe much of the transformation in my life to how God has used you and your writings to reach my heart. I came to the conclusion about the evangelical church some time ago, and I briefly called myself a “none” and saw no hope. But I was primed by the revelations from your books “With” and “Futureville” to receive something new from God… and I did… though from an unlikely place: the Orthodox Church. (In searching for something new, God led me to someplace old… interesting, isn’t it?). There is something going on in Evangelical Churches that you have put your finger on (as you and Phil have been doing for a while with the podcast). I only hope, that with the tumultuous times coming, those feeling disaffected, turned out and otherwise lost within the walls of their own churches will find a safe place land, as I have, wherever that may be. All the best to you and your family. Thank you for being a voice for the Church.

  • November 11, 2016

    George H. Gardner

    You have accepted eight years of ineptitude from a president you still do not know. Who.is supposed to be so intelligent, but could not get his oath of office right. He supposedly got it right later and in private!
    Obviously you would prefer Hillary , the anti- Israel candidate who would prefer to continue Obama’s policy of national destruction. I really prefer to not be overrun by people who are here illegally, or “refugees” who are currently tearing Europe to shreds. We are becoming a 21st Century ancient Israel. Think about the reason God allowed their collapse and destruction.
    Furthermore, if you have any thoughts of the Clintons being caring or moral people, you have never read much about them… get a DNA test on Chelsea if you can, and pass the results on to your trusting children.
    I could rant on forever, but there are many things to do – while trying to avoid despotic liberals who are rioting in the streets.
    I will remain a Christ Follower, but I have been abandoned by my ungodly church and rejected by a publication that I have been reading since the early 1970s. CT has been hijacked and has become a magazine
    For radical Democrats. Count me Out.

    • November 11, 2016

      Jeffery

      Skye never claimed he was wanting Hillary to win. There seems to be so much confusion around this point. Just because someone states that they don’t approve of Trump, does not mean they approve of Hillary. I will not speak for Skye, but from listening to his podcast I would guess he would agree. I am despondent that our country chose Trump, but I would have never voted for Hillary either. Thank Skye. I agree with you 100%. The reality is that the watching unChristian world in America believes the term Evangelical means something that we all should mourn. I am praying fervently for our president elect. He needs it, and it is a Christian duty we need to take seriously.

      • November 11, 2016

        Michael

        I am curious. What choice for President would have encouraged you?

        • November 11, 2016

          Jeffery

          Someone with character. I am mostly aligned with conservative candidates but I no longer believe that either party is more Christian. This is probably the best thing that has come out of the election for me.

    • November 11, 2016

      Uzziah

      I’m still trying to determine whether or not this reply is intended as a parody of the kind of angry unreasoning political evangelicalism Skye is speaking out against. I sure hope it is intended as a parody, since it imported a whole host of assumptions about Skye and his views on the wider political realm that are not warranted by anything in his post.

  • November 11, 2016

    Gary Kay

    Skye,
    I have appreciated your messages at CCC in Omaha. I have to honestly tell you that I am disappointed in the nature of your 4 letters. I grasp from your statements that you would have preferred your children emulate the other candidate??

    The lessons from this election, in which the American people and the God inspired election system our forefathers put into our Constitution have spoken and chosen Donald J Trump.

    I am prayerful that we will soon be witness to a transformation that our country will watch with pride, forgiveness, and hope. May God’s hand rest on President elect Trump and guide and direct him to do what is best for all Americans and pleasing in His eyes.

    Doesn’t the story of Saul/Paul’s life and the sory of so many other hero’s of the Bible who began as deeply flawed men remind us to pray for, be optimistic, and to withhold judgement that is not ours to pass?

    It seems you have neglected to consider the power of Christ, who is in charge, to affect our path forward with our new President.

    Gary

  • November 11, 2016

    George A Garza

    Well Skye I have become an ardent fan of yours. I was first introduced to you by your awesome book “With”. I have been a J. Vernon McGee student for nearly 30 years. I listen to him daily on my phone. But you have slowly replaced him as my go to pastor. I’ve watched most of your YouTube videos and have gleaned much from each one of them. I look forward to meeting you one day. I was ministered by 3 of your letters today. But I do think you should have taken a little more time before you wrote one to the Evangelicals. With one broad stroke you made the same mistake you accuse Evangelicals of doing. Not all 60 million voters are narrow minded “uneducated white angry men”. But even if they were, they are as legitimate a people group as any other that should be ministered to not discarded into the ash heap of indifference. Skye, with your God given talent to speak there is no one in any better position than you to make a difference in the evangelical wayward slide. You have made a huge impact on my life and I pray for you daily. Thank you from a recovering Evangelical.

    • November 11, 2016

      admin

      George-

      I think you’ll notice that I was not lamenting “evangelicals” but rather the label “evangelicalism.” I remain committed to my sisters and brothers in Christ, and I know there are many—a great man—wonderful evangelicals. However, the label has lost all value and usefulness. That’s what I regret given it’s rich meaning and history.

      Blessings,

      Skye

  • November 11, 2016

    Denise

    Thank you Pastor Skye! God bless you.

  • November 11, 2016

    Jocelyn

    I have been eager to know your perspective on the election because I was certain you would provide well reasoned, thoughtful comments that would encourage and challenge me. Sure enough, these letters do not disappoint. Thank you.

  • November 11, 2016

    John Golden

    Sounds like you should have voted.

    Couldn’t resist. I was disappointed that you, whose voice has resonance among Jesus followers, gave people an out.

    I will not engage in #notmypresident rhetoric, because I want him to be my president. A role for which I have expectations. But I am not going to tell others not to. There are a variety of ways to protest, and this is a very valid expression of dissatisfaction by people wounded by their neighbors.

  • November 11, 2016

    Susan Galbraith

    Thank you – all four letters very much resonate with me. Earlier this morning I called the Islamic Center of Wheaton and left a message conveying my support. Not sure one middle age, white, Christian lady can have an impact but I felt I couldn’t simply stand by and do nothing. I also have stopped using the title, Evangelical, for the same reasons you listed but was a little afraid of admitting that (due to my own insecurities and desire to fit in). Your letter/admission has empowered me. Thanks again – Skye!

  • November 11, 2016

    Drew Boa

    Wise and brilliant.

  • November 11, 2016

    Tom Severson

    Skye,

    What do you want to be called, now that you are putting aside the evangelical identification/label?

    Warmly,

    Tom

    • November 11, 2016

      admin

      Good question. I’ll be writing more about that next week. -Skye

      • November 12, 2016

        Nathan

        Give us time. I’d like to believe that the term evangelical will be redeemed. Eventually. It was a powerful expression of grace for generations, and I don’t think a few years of the media grossly misunderstanding it will destroy it forever.

      • November 18, 2016

        Greg

        What’s wrong with “Christian”, “Christ Follower”, “Jesus Follower” etc. I don’t understand the original attachment to the term evangelicalism and now the disappointment of being in that camp because many in that camp have done something you don’t approve of.

        Serious question … I really don’t get why Christians get so caught up in being part of certain Christian camps, denominations etc. I don’t take pride in any of that. Just full of joy and gratitude that God’s given me the grace to be called a Christian.

  • November 11, 2016

    Lisa

    One comment: it seems you have closed ( and perhaps, locked) the door of grace to President-elect Trump. My hope and confidence rests in our God who saved me from my sins and has proven Himself faithful in all things.

    Peace!

  • November 11, 2016

    Rick-E-b

    Trying to think through the raw emotions I’ve witnessed the past few days as I will begin to talk with teens upset about the results of this election. A few different posts have helped give me direction as has yours. Thank you!

    Signed:

    Staff person from a para-religious organization working with lost teens & a work-in-progress Christ-follower

  • November 11, 2016

    Lynn

    Skye:

    I am very curious to know what the content of the letter to your children would have been if Hillary Clinton had won instead. I am a Hillary defined “deplorable” follower of Christ who voted for Donald Trump. NOTE: I did so, NOT because of some of his offensive campaign rhetoric, but because, after careful discernment, I determined that below the surface of his bombastic rhetoric there was actually a real positive message of change which our country desperately needs. Hillary’s message of more of the same, including the appointment of more liberal Supreme Court justices, did not appeal to my simple unsophisticated little mind.

    Lynn

    PS: I will grant you this, Hillary’s description of Republicans as “deplorable” is actually a slight improvement on Al Gore’s description of Republicans as “the extra-chromosome right wing.”

    • November 11, 2016

      Nate

      Out of curiosity, what elements of Trump’s policies were the deciding factors for your vote? Did you consider a third party candidate like Evan McMullin?

      I am not trying to attack/condemn/belittle your vote. I am genuinely curious.

      For the majority of people I know that voted for Trump, it came down to either an issue of abortion or the Supreme Court.

      Your brother in Christ,
      Nate

      • November 11, 2016

        Matt Mitchell

        The issue of the SCOTUS is the issue of abortion. That is what caused me to vote for Trump. Apparently I wasn’t alone.

        http://www.toddstarnes.com/column/exclusive-why-christian-conservatives-voted-trump

        • November 12, 2016

          James

          A lot of people cite abortion. In the coming term Trump will have the senate and the house on his side and whether or not the republican party cares about abortion will become clear. I only hope that if it turns out that they don’t Christians will not continue voting as though this issue differentiates the parties in anything other than rhetoric.

        • November 14, 2016

          Nate

          You most certainly were not alone with somewhere between 20 to 30% of adults in the US voting for him (total population of adults, not necessarily voters). A lot of people agreed with you for various reasons. For me, abortion isn’t the only issue for my pro-life stance. I also consider the death penalty among other issues.

          Thank you for taking the time to consider your stances before voting, even if you and I disagreed in the end. I believe an educated voter is essential for the success of our country.

          Your brother in Christ,
          Nate

      • November 11, 2016

        Lynn

        Nate, the Supreme Court was by far the biggest factor for my decision. Which also explains why I voted for Ted Cruz in the primary. Beyond that, I believe Trump’s economic plan (including his trade and tax policies) will be much better for the average American family.

        Thanks for asking,

        Lynn

        • November 14, 2016

          Nate

          I appreciate that you took the time to review his policies and make an informed decision. Ultimately, I decided differently. The great thing is that we both have the freedom to express ourselves.

          While I may not have voted for him, I am praying for him and the country.

          Your brother in Christ,
          Nate

    • November 11, 2016

      Uzziah

      Hi Lynn,

      When Hillary said that some Trump voters were “deplorables,” she explicitly said that the ones she was labeling thus were the ones who are “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic.” I’m curious why you would call yourself a follower of Christ while also openly (and unrepentantly, if I read your post right) claiming to be racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, and/or Islamophobic.

  • November 11, 2016

    John Slefinger

    Incredible and very brave response.

  • November 11, 2016

    Jerry Hibma

    Skye, Thank you for this thoughtful, prayerful posting of all 4 letters. As one who owns a business and has Muslims, Hindus, immigrants, refugees and other minorities working for me, I feel so much pain for them. Words do matter and what Trump said so many times to divide, show bigotry, anger and ugliness to those unlike him, has caused unspeakable pain and fear in so many.
    This morning I was prompted to call a Muslim man who has worked for me for 25 years. Listening to his pain, sadness, sense of despair was so sad and painful to hear. He knows I am a follower of Christ and was so grateful that I reached out to him.
    May we all as as followers of Christ, reach out with the love and compassion of Jesus to those who are different than us. There has never been a more important time to very intentionally ask God to show us those that are hurting and fearful of the next four years, and show them with actions and words we respect, honor and love them.

  • November 11, 2016

    Nancy

    Wow George…”get a dna test on Chelsea?”
    That’s absurd!
    No politician is pefect, none of us are. No one can save America, only God. But I do know that a great amount of False Witness has come against Hillary. That’s a huge mistake and Christians especially should know better! No wonder the world says, “Christians act nothing like Christ”. In most cases, unfortunately, it’s true!
    Thanks for that.

  • November 11, 2016

    Josh

    Thanks for this, Skye.

    I’ve appreciated your thoughtful approach when engaging these issues.

  • November 11, 2016

    Karen Mittet

    Skye,
    Thank you for having the courage to articulate your heart in these 4 letters. You have spoken my thoughts perfectly. It made my heart sink to read George Gardner’s reply, as he is perpetuating the hate language that we have come to normalize with Trump’s campaign. The Clinton’s have served this country for years and should be respected for their efforts. President Obama has lead this nation with grace and compassion for 8 years and should be treated with the dignity that he deserves. Perhaps some of his policies many disagreed with but he ruled with diplomacy instead of aggression, bringing to mind Jesus’ words to Peter, “Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword.”

    We have a new President and let us band together as Christian’s in prayer, hopeful that Trump’s message of hate, intolerance and fear will be transformed to one of love, compassion, inclusion and empathy.

    • November 11, 2016

      Lynn

      Karen, your statement that President Obama has “ruled with diplomacy instead of aggression” is not factually correct. An article on drone strikes published on January 12, 2016 in the New York Times (a very strong defender of President Obama), reported that “Obama has authorized 506 strikes that have killed 3,040 terrorists and 391 civilians.” The use of drones to kill people is aggressive not diplomatic. I would argue that he has used both diplomacy and aggression neither of which have worked out very well. The world today is less safe than when he took office eight years ago. As Christians we need to acknowledge that we live in fallen and broken world where lasting peace will never be achieved by whoever occupies the White House. The best we can hope for is a President that will judiciously use his or her power to restrain evil.

  • November 11, 2016

    djneuensch

    Nancy–there has also been a lot of false accusations against Trump. He has never been considered racist until he ran for president. He hired and promoted people of all races, and extended generosity to people of many different backgrounds and ethnicity. I am sorry so many people are upset and afraid because he won the election, but I think the fear is due to media emphasizing his past and not focusing on what he was saying now. He has many faults, but his opponent was equally ‘deplorable’ and it was a difficult choice for many. I studied information about Trump (who was my last choice among the Republican candidates) and he was not as the media portrayed. He has not lived a Godly life, but he has apologized for many of the things that he has done. The media did not emphasize those apologies. He has surrounded himself with many Godly men including Mike Pence and Ben Carson. I am praying that God will work in Donald Trump and turn his heart toward Christ. I think the above letters are too quick to judge Trump, and to judge those who voted for him.

  • November 11, 2016

    Nate Fleming

    Right there with you, Skye, on all four points. I removed myself from the evangelicalism label (which I referred to as American Cultural Christianity) several months ago and have no regrets, especially after this election. I feel like I’ve actually grown in my faith as a result of getting rid of all the baggage.

    If you’re interested, you can read about it here:

    https://thimblerigsark.wordpress.com/2016/03/04/my-breakup-with-american-cultural-christianity/

    And as a longtime listener to the podcast, I look forward to listening to you, Phil, and Christian being “hold his feet to the fire” voices in the coming years.

    Sola Dei Gloria!

  • November 11, 2016

    john smith

    Some thoughts for you to consider. I voted for Trump not Hillary not because I like him, I dont but he stood for biblical issues important to me. I dont know what it will be like with him as president. I dont like him.This situation is SICK, because America is spiritually sick. But then, so is most of the world.Yes, he is full of himself, but at least he will not apologize to our enemies and blame the United States for the sins of the world. At least, he will stand up to the tyrants in the Middle East, China, and Russia, to name a few. At least he says he will. And he is right about the foolish trade agreements that have disadvantaged the United States. He also identifies that militant Islam has declared war against us, even though Hillary says we are not at war with Islam. Head in the sand will not work. Business as usual will not work.
    Another thing he is right about is that when Hillary says we are going to finance social entitlements by taking more money from the rich, more wealthy people are taking their money and business offshore – by the droves. I am not certain that they will ever risk coming back to the United States. I am talking trillions already gone. When people who took great risks, invested and only a few survived in business, are threatened, they are hurt, angry, and fearful of losing their fortunes… so bye, bye.
    One billionaire, George Soros (25 billion) makes money by taking it offshore, avoiding income taxes, and spending $11 billion to seek to destroy western civilization and the free enterprise system that has made him rich. I do not understand this guy.
    We must regain competitive advantage. I do not hear anyone speaking clearly about what we need to do to turn America around financially. The most important turnaround is spiritual, and again, few seem to realize that is the core problem of our nation (and world).

  • November 11, 2016

    Bryan Kozor

    Skye,

    Thank you for your thoughtful conversation. Many evengelicals do not think you can have a liberal mindset and still be a Christ follower. Be strong, and many thanks to you, Phil, and your families.

    Bryan

  • November 11, 2016

    WSODAD

    Skye,
    I grew up in the C&MA, and came to Christ as a young boy under the ministry of a dear pastor who just loved his people and their families. And I don’t remember him commenting on politics. But I was young.
    I so appreciate your book “With” … life changing … recommending it to lots of folks and planning to use it in a small group.
    But I am really struggling with your ongoing commentary on politics. It really is distracting me from your incredible God-given insights in “With.” Why are you doing this? Do you need all of this feedback from both sides? Has God called you to teach His Word? Has He called you to political prophecy? Please help me understand. When it comes to emulating leaders, what about adulterating David, or rock striking murderous Moses, or foul-mouthed unclean lips Isaiah, or bigamist Abraham, or murder-approving Saul (Paul) — oh no that doesn’t count since that was before he came to Christ. Got to agree, though, Obama talks so nicely to and about all people … it’s just that his actions betray his absolute, deliberate, commitment to spreading the scourge of abortion as deep in America as possible and as wide as possible around the world … Molech worship comes to mind. Should he be emulated?
    Whereas, all other political dimensions aside, at least Trump has openly committed to a 100% score pro-life position. Will he follow through? I don’t know. We do know what Obama has actually done.
    But again, what is your calling, brother? Is it amplified with your political commentary or diluted.
    I do love you, brother, and am eternally grateful for all God has done in my heart toward Him through “With.” Please reconsider this path you are on.

  • November 11, 2016

    Steve N.

    Skye – whole-hearted agreement with you on the first three letters. They are thoughtful, well written and what I would expect from a Christ follower. But I don’t find the same level of clear thinking in the fourth. Given the binary nature of our national election system and two very flawed candidates, I think evangelicals, Catholics and other people of faith took a very logical position to look beyond the candidates to the political parties behind them – what their platforms said and what those parties have valued in the past. One party offered only more of the same we’ve seen in the last 8 years: verbal abuse of people of faith, a committed effort to remove religious values from the public square, denying people of faith the opportunity to live out their First Amendment freedoms (including causing them to close businesses and pay for conscience-violating medical procedures), seeking to end all restrictions of the murder of innocent children through the horror of abortion, and the abandonment of inner city children to a failed educational system whose only goal seems to be the welfare of the teachers unions and a particular political party. The other party’s platform and actions stands in stark contrast on all points. No, the Republican Party is not perfect and I disagree with many of it’s policies. But why would you expect any rational evangelical, Catholic or person of faith to vote for Hillary and the Democratic Party? To vote for the one who labeled them “deplorables” and completely ignored them throughout her campaign? Not going to happen in a thousand years!

    I also don’t buy the argument that Christians should have withheld their vote in protest. We have a responsibility as Christians to seek the welfare of our cities (and our land) and that includes exercising the privilege of voting for our elected officials. To be honest, the thought of voting for a man whose personal morals are a public mess made my hair stand up, but the thought of voting for the woman whose corruption and continual lying made me sick to my stomach.

    Evangelicals have much to be ashamed of in our failure to impact the culture as Christ calls us to, but voting Republican in this particular election is not one of them in my opinion.

  • […] What happened during this campaign and election led Skye Jethani to write a farewell letter to evangelicalism: […]

  • November 12, 2016

    Alan

    Skye,
    I have been greatly challenged and blessed while reading your books, and really appreciate the “With God Daily” posts I receive.

    Because of the wisdom and insight I have received through your writings, I am disappointed that some elements of these “4 letters” reveal that you have formed conclusions from incomplete and inaccurate information. It’s understandable that my valedictorian daughter, who is brilliant but is averse to confrontations, and therefore shies away from political discourse, makes herself susceptible to media headlines and revisions of events. The headlines and revisions have been harmonized with Clinton campaign messaging, often echoed by Republican politicians and pundits. Any doubt that ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC and PBS news organizations were all-in for Clinton were erased in the early morning hours Wednesday as state after state went for Trump. The large panels assembled on each of these networks were filled with teary eyes and hollow faces etched with shock and grief. Because reporting by these networks and their print magazine and online partners was so consistent with White House and Clinton and sometimes Republican messaging, it’s totally understandable that so many like my daughter who are not political junkies believed so much of it. But my daughter is not trying to lead or teach others in this realm, as you are. That is why I am much more disheartened by your failure to search out these allegations about Trump to see if they are true.

    I’ll start with my bottom line, because addressing the even the abbreviated details is lengthy. I have many many Christian friends and family members who are appalled by the Clintons, but just believed it was wrong to cast their vote for Trump. I didn’t come to the same conclusion about Trump, not that my hope is in Trump or I think he’s a perfect gentleman. But I see a lot of evidence that “common knowledge” about his words and actions is wrong, while his faults approach negligible when contrasted with Hillary Clinton. When the evidence exposes many of the false Trump narratives, and a believer still finds Trump’s faults beyond what they can vote for, I respect their commitment to follow their conscience. I just don’t think it’s right for their conscience to be driven by the false narratives.

    I will specifically address some of the allegations where the facts appear beyond dispute.

    Trump teased a disabled person – The widely publicized assertion pertains to a reporter from the Washington Post and NY Times. The papers attempted a fact check of Trump’s reference to Muslims celebrating the attacks on 9-11-2001, but they failed to check the Post’s own archives, where their own reporter wrote about the incident. When confronted with the Post story, they tried to awkwardly back pedal. Trump spoke about the back peddling, making gestures of someone caught in a lie who flails around trying to explain away the lie. In his gesture he flapped both of his hands. A Clinton-aligned organization captured 1 still frame of Trump’s movement and posted it next to a photo of the reporter, whose right arm is paralyzed. Catholics 4 Trump pointed out the flaws in this attack, with copious evidence. Including, the reporter’s paralyzed arm is fixed in position – it does not flap around the way Trump was flapping both his hands. Even in the still-frame image in the anti-Trump hit piece, it’s plainly seen his hand is blurred because it is moving, not locked like the reporter’s hand is. Further proof on the Catholics site includes videos of Trump using the same flailing gestures at other times to describe people trying to explain their way out of awkward situations like the Times did. In the other instances, he was not describing disabled people. The reporter then claimed Trump knew about his disability because he knew him well based on about 12 times he interviewed Trump, but the interviews were across 7 years (about twice a year) and ended 23 years ago. When Hillary Clinton and 25 stories claim Trump mocked a disabled person, and only 2 or 3 stories that have the full facts debunking that attack, I don’t blame my daughter for falling into the Clinton trap. But people like you and Russell Moore who are trying to instruct others should do a better job confirming facts before joining the Clinton chorus.

    Trump disrespected a veteran – This could refer to Trump’s so-called “attack” on Sen. John McCain, or Captain Khan, whose father spoke at the Democrat National Convention. Again, there’s a Clinton-aligned narrative, and then there are the facts. In both cases, Trump responded to attacks. McCain spoke about a large Trump rally in Arizona, and called people of his own state at the rally “crazies”. Trump responded with a number of statements I compiled: He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured, OK? Perhaps he’s a war hero, but right now he’s said some very bad things about a lot of people. I am not blaming John McCain for his capture. If he gets captured, he gets captured. Many people get captured. They are brave men because they are in the field. I like the people who don’t get captured, and I respect the people that do get captured. If somebody is a prisoner I would consider that person a war hero, but we have a lot of war heroes that weren’t prisoners also, and we should give them credit too. Captured or not, all our soldiers are heroes! I am not a fan of McCain because he has done so little for our veterans, and he should know better than anybody what the veterans need, especially in regards to the VA. He is yet another all talk, no action politician who spends too much time on television and not enough time doing his job.

    In summary, Trump was responding to McCain’s attack on Trump’s Arizona supporters, he did express respect for POWs like McCain, and criticized McCain for his failure to effect improvement of the VA system for veterans despite his decades spent in Washington.

    Captain Khan’s father said to Trump, “Let me ask you, have you even read the United States Constitution? You have sacrificed nothing, and no one.”
    Trump responded, “Captain Khan, killed 12 years ago, was a hero, but this is about RADICAL ISLAMIC TERROR and the weakness of our “leaders” to eradicate it!”
    “Mr. Khan, who does not know me, viciously attacked me from the stage of the DNC and is now all over T.V. doing the same – Nice!”
    “This story is not about Mr. Khan, who is all over the place doing interviews, but rather RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM and the U.S. Get smart!”
    “I was viciously attacked by Mr. Khan at the Democratic Convention. Am I not allowed to respond? Hillary voted for the Iraq war, not me!”

    Again, I don’t see the disrespect for a veteran.

    Trump objectified a woman – There are cases where he clearly did this, though I don’t see that as a pattern of his recent or current behavior, and he has repudiated this behavior multiple times this year. In context, as far back as the late 1970s he was placing women in positions of leadership and authority high up in his businesses, way ahead of the property development and construction industries. Many women who competed in his Miss Universe contests have credited him with helping them become very successful in life. A front page expose in the NY Times in March attempted to portray Trump as boorish and inappropriate toward women. I think they named 9 women in the story, of which 5 spoke very positively about their experience with him. Of the remaining 4, 2 of them were on record by the next day repudiating the Times story and pointing out the enormously positive impact Trump has had on their lives. So 2 of the 9 named in the Times article are critics of Trump’s treatment of women. On balance, my message to my kids would be, Trump has some bad history regarding treatment of women and how he has viewed relations between man and women. He has also had a very positive impact on the lives of many women. Live in a way that shows honor and regard for women as Trump has done toward many, but do not fall into mistreatment and objectifying women as he has also done. And don’t follow his worldly pattern of dishonoring marriage vows.

    Trump discriminated against immigrants/used racist language – I’ve seen Trump criticized on these issues, but when I watch his speeches and read the transcripts, I don’t see any evidence he has spoken out against legal immigrants or anyone based on their race. He has said that most women who are trafficked across the southern border are sexually abused in the transit, and he has asked, who is raping them? He has pointed out, accurately, that hundreds of thousands of felonies, including sexual assault and murder, are committed by illegal immigrants. He has said there are decent people who are illegals, and not all illegals are felons. He has said allowing millions of people to enter our country illegally is harmful to low-wage Americans and legal immigrants, who are of the same race as the illegal immigrants. He has said those here illegally who want to be Americans must first return to their home countries and return through legal means. People of the same race and indeed the very same people are welcome here, but only if they come in accordance with our laws. How can that possibly be racist? Compared to the gaps in the votes in 2012, Trump narrowed the gap by 8 points with Hispanics and 7 points with Blacks – implying that a lot of Hispanics and Blacks realize the empty platitudes and promises of Obama and Clinton are far more harmful to their communities than the words and policies of Trump.

    Trump devalued those of other faiths – I assume this is related to his plan for a temporary ban on immigration from countries with high terrorism risk, specifically his plan to resist what he calls “radical Islamic terrorism”. One of my daughters served Muslims in Asia for 15 years. I got to hang out with the Muslim “uncle” over there who was her driver and put his life and the lives of his family on the line to keep my daughter safe. She was once saved from terrorists by local police. I now work with Muslim refugees from a number of countries in my local area. I find that from reports they hear in the media they fear they will be hated and persecuted when they come to America. But in the context of relationship when they are comfortable discussing these things, they share our concern about the threat of the terrorists. The terrorists kill a lot more local Muslims than they kill outsiders. They kill a lot more Muslims than are killed by Western military forces. They recognize that the terrorist sects of Islam consider Islam to not only be a religion, a way to approach God, but also a form of government and a system of laws with an obligation to expand and control the planet through military conquest, which begins by replacing the governments of all the majority Muslim nations. They recognize our government has a responsibility to protect Americans from terrorists. They for the most part would not have left their homes if their homelands had been safe from terrorism and war. They mostly would prefer their homelands be secure so they could return home, or stay there if they haven’t left. They recognize the policies of President Obama and Hillary Clinton have been catastrophic for Muslim countries, and they are hopeful that Trump will bring positive change. It is not helpful to misrepresent Trump’s aim as opposition to the religion of Islam, when he has repeatedly stated his opposition is to “radical Islamic terrorism”, those who would use terror and force to seize control over Muslim nations and eventually overthrow the government of the USA.

    Isn’t it much better to approach our Muslim friends and neighbors with kindness and truth than with fearful or even fluffy untruths? Our hope and confidence can’t reside in Trump or new government policies, but I think we can advocate for government policies and a new leader to aim in a direction of hope, and perhaps away from the policies of perpetual international catastrophe.

    I was impressed that in one of your books, you rebuked yourself for some critical comments you’d made in the previous book. On the issues of your 4 letters, I hope you can look a little more into the facts and adjust your communications away from these popular but false narratives.

    Finally, I don’t think we can address Trump in a vacuum, separate from the larger picture of this election. For every sector where there’s a perceived fault in Trump, those faults are far overshadowed by those of Hillary Clinton.

    Did Trump tease a person’s disability? No. My daughter says he doesn’t look very presidential when he demonstrates a person flailing to get out of a lie. But Clinton used a lie to leverage a person’s disability for personal political gain. No comparison.

    Did Trump disrespect the service of a veteran? No, in both cases he said the veterans were heroes. But Clinton has been reported by an FBI agent who served in the White House, by military officers working in the White House, by Secret Service agents, and by State Department security officers (as recorded in the FBI investigation of Clinton’s illegal email server) to routinely be rude, crude and abusive of military and security personnel who are trying to do their jobs. When military veterans died in Benghazi, Hillary Clinton stood by their caskets and lied to their family members about why they died, falsely promised to keep them informed, and falsely promised they could contact her staff at any time they needed further information. Those family members say they never heard from the State Department again, and when they called, their calls would not be put through and no one ever called them back. We could say Trump could have handled the 2 situations with McCain and the Khan family more smoothly, but there is no comparison of that to the disrespect and horrid treatment of people who risk their lives and lost their lives serving the country.

    Did Trump objectify women? Yes, and spoke about giving them unwanted kisses and gropes. Compare that to Bill Clinton’s long list of sexual assault victims going back to the late 1960s and continuing until the end of his presidency, including more than one rape. The list is steady with no more than 2- or 3-year gaps all the way. Defenders say, “Bill is not on the ballot.” But Hillary made it a practice to threaten and sometimes follow through with publicly attacking and attempting to destroy the lives of those women, and joining in the effort to deny Paula Jones access to justice through the courts. In terms of harm to women, Trump has done some and is accused of doing more, but his actions are totally amateur compared to the career criminal victimization of over 2 dozen women by the Clintons.

    On the other hand, Trump has helped numerous women achieve great professional and personal success. Hillary Clinton has helped the careers of Huma Abeddin, Cheryl Mills, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Donna Brazille. Schultz lost her job as Chair of the DNC when she was caught helping Hillary cheat in the Democrat primaries. Brazille lost her CNN job when she was caught stealing debate questions and sending them to Hillary. Abeddin and Mills have been caught up in Hillary’s email server crimes and mishandling of thousands of national security documents, and could face prosecution along with Hillary. In this realm of helping and hurting women, again there is no comparison.

    Anti-immigrant or racist language? Trump spoke truthfully about felonies committed by illegal aliens, while thanks to WikiLeaks we know the kind of actual racist language used by Hillary’s team. No comparison.

    Is it even possible to compare Trump’s talk about safeguarding America against radical Islamic terrorists versus the catastrophic policies of Clinton and Obama toward Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey and more? Policies that have led to hundreds of thousands of Muslims killed and millions who have fled as refugees? Is there really any compassion toward Muslims in helping perpetuate these calamities for 4 or 8 more years?

    Simply based on the issues raised in your 4 letters, it seems clear to me that using Trump to block the disastrous extension of the Clinton legacy is much better than “the lesser of two evils.” This doesn’t even touch on the contrast in platforms – Supreme Court nominees who believe in the rule of law, not man; taxation reform; replacing Obamacare; restoring national defense and national security; averting an administration who demonstrated “extreme carelessness” with national security; abortion; and 15 or so other elements of Trump’s contract with the American voter.

    Seek truth, speak truth in love.

    • November 12, 2016

      WSODAD

      Alan,
      Sooooooo spot on.
      Thankful for your thoughts!
      Skye- please reconsider this path you are on to blog on politics. Please reconsider what you calling is –teach God’s Word faithfully as you did in “With.” Reading some Mark Levin wouldn’t hurt either.
      Grace and peace,
      WSODAD

    • November 12, 2016

      Mark

      Thank you for providing a thoughtful defense of Trump. I couldn’t support him as a candidate but will certainly pray for him as President.

      • November 15, 2016

        Alan

        Thanks. I am just sad when I see believers buy into things that are easily found to be untrue, whoever the untruth is about.

    • November 28, 2016

      Chad

      Alan,

      I wish you had coached our president-elect on the power of language and to be more careful about his word choices. Your treatment of the subject seems much more careful than Mr. Trump himself! My perception was that he would throw a dagger, then backpedal to leave himself an out (as illustrated by his comments towards Senator McCain and toward Mexican immigrants, for example). If I say something offensive but then later somewhat moderate my words, am I absolved from all responsibility for what I initially said? (If that is true, I have been wasting a lot of time in my marriage apologizing when I could have just been “clarifying”!)

      This is behavior that was repeatedly on display by Mr. Trump, which Skye says he doesn’t want his children to emulate. I read my children that letter because even during the Republican primary my children’s public school teachers had made it clear that the tone of intolerance so explicit in Mr. Trump’s speech would not be tolerated at school. I was volunteering in the school that day and affirmed that position. (I would point out that was a time when no one was seriously talking about him as the Republican presidential nominee, so any suggestion that it was “liberal bias in the schools” holds no water.)

      Nonetheless Alan, I respect your view and will pray he comes to advocate powerfully for unity, so me and my minority friends whom I love and who were so offended can also find a way forward.

      What seems very clear is this: the human brain has an unbelievable ability to fit the facts to accord with its biases. None of us is objective. Any claim of absolute objectivity is deceitful or self-deceived. But what I love about Skye’s message is the encouragement to seek God himself. Not what Skye says. Not what Alan says. Not what my pastor or my church says.

      May the true church humbly find unity in the seeking and the finding! Grace and peace to you

  • November 12, 2016

    Allison

    Thank you for this!

  • November 12, 2016

    Barb Anderson

    Skye,
    Thank you for another compelling piece filled with thought-provoking words. Yes, Evangelicalism as it was derived originally represented a different approach to bringing forth the gospel. Sadly, it has allowed itself to become a powerful political tool for those seeking the support of the “church.”
    Having been raised in the Lutheran tradition, I have never considered myself an “Evangelical”; but I have been worshipping as an “Evangelical” for the last 40 years of my life. I stopped using the title a few years ago because I was embarrassed by its rhetoric, its association with hate, criticism, and judgement. I also witnessed the damage it did to our children who did not fit the “norm” for “good” Christian children.
    Today I seek to be like Christ and I am grateful for your commitment to that walk of faith. I pray the Evangelical church as it currently stands will endure its necessary reformation and that those who still embrace its title will courageously examine their hearts in the presence of God. May we find the courage to speak like Isaiah, seek to hear God’s words to us, and graciously stand up for justice, mercy, and humility.
    Thank you for unashamedly and humbly speaking out, encouraging your children to live Christ-modeling lives, and bravely saying what we need to hear inspiite of the reaction it might create in those who know you as a “former” Evangelical leader. God-willing more of us will cast off the protective clothing of our church affiliated robes and be willing to simply be imperfect, grace-needing and greater grace-giving Christians.

    Onward, Christian soldiers,
    Barb

  • November 12, 2016

    Ellen Lewis

    Alan,
    Thank you. That was a charitable and fair deconstruction of the narrative.

    • November 13, 2016

      Alan

      Thanks. I’m relieved my note didn’t spark a flurry of “Skye bashing”, because I really love him and the teaching in his messages.

      The truth is there really are Christians who are ugly in how they speak toward various groups and those who aren’t aligned with their political positions.

      Bottom line, unconditional endorsement of Trump and his history by a Christian is a problem, but piling on in false accusations against Trump doesn’t really indicate we are better people.

      A LOT of people I love have the same opinions of Trump on the same issues – not because they want to applaud false accusations, but because they don’t know the accusations are false. I don’t insist that Bible teachers become political junkies, but I do hope when they do opt to enter the political discourse they will do so supported by truth.

  • November 12, 2016

    Isaac

    Skye
    Thank you so much for what you have written and shared in your teaching and podcasts. I do not know where I would be with the church without your thoughtful voice in the middle of this craziness.

    I have lived six years in post-apartheid South Africa and have many friends here that would want the “good old apartheid days” back. I see similar themes between these two countries. But unlike here in South Africa It looks like my friends in the states may actually get “the good old days” back. Trumps policy and ideology may actually bring prosperity and “security” to christians in America.

    Without my experience here I would most likely be right with my friends in the states in supporting Trump, and “thanking God” for the election win. I don’t know what its going to take to open the eyes of the evangelical church in America but I’m praying it happens in the least painful way possible.

  • […] Read:  4 Open Letters to Trump’s America by Skye Jethani […]

  • November 13, 2016

    Ellen Lewis

    Alan,

    This is what you did. Paragraph 2478 from the Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church:

    2478 To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way:

    Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.

  • November 13, 2016

    Ellen

    Alan,
    The Catechism reference is in this section.
    PART THREE
    LIFE IN CHRIST

    SECTION TWO
    THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

    CHAPTER TWO
    “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF”

    ARTICLE 8
    THE EIGHTH COMMANDMENT

    You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.253
    It was said to the men of old, “You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.”254

    • November 15, 2016

      Alan

      Wow – thanks!

  • November 21, 2016

    CCC Member

    Skye- I have enjoyed your sermons at CCC in Omaha, NE. My bible study went through your book “With” and found it very insightful and challenged me to grow in my faith. I will admit, upon first hearing of your 4 open letters and you no longer claiming the title “evangelical”, I was distraught and couldn’t wait to read them for myself. After reading them, I understand your perspective but would like to ask, if the Christian Church is truly living in “exile” and no longer perceived as “relevant” by so many in the world, is God calling for accommodation/adaptation for the sake of his reputation? I simply identify myself a “born again Christian”, which sparks plenty of questions and conversation. Due to the timing of your letters and since they were in response to a Trump victory, would you still self-identify as an Evangelical had Hillary won the election?

    • November 21, 2016

      Skye Jethani

      I’ve felt the word “evangelical” is problematic for years before this election. And my issue isn’t simply that over 80% of white evangelicals voted for Mr. Trump, and I am certainly no supporter of Mrs. Clinton. My concern is that in our culture now identifies “evangelicals” primarily with politics rather than theology. The word no longer helps us present the gospel to our neighbors but instead create a political barrier. That would likely be true if 80% of evangelicals voted year after year for Democrats as well. And I absolutely do not think we should adjust our convictions to fit the culture. I do think we ought to adjust our terms and names in order to avoid unnecessary barriers to the gospel.

  • November 21, 2016

    CCC Member

    Skye, thank-you for your response. Again, I do understand your perspective and why you feel the way you do. I agree, we should not adjust our convictions to fit into a culture or the ever changing trends in relation to culture. And as a fellow deliverer of “good news”, I’m all for avoiding unnecessary barriers to delivering the gospel. Grace and Peace be with you Skye.

  • November 21, 2016

    Monica Lee

    I am so glad I found you! It restores my faith since it has been shaken by my own “evangelical” family who sent me very lopsided rhetoric on how God wanted us to vote for trump. First of all, I am a 52 year old college educated woman who can make her own decisions. I was further dismayed -shaken when I found a FRC pdf being promoted on a leading female evangelists website and social media. When I read through the document it was so clearly written not to inform or educate a reader but to paint a picture to vote for this Republican candidate. I was even FURTHER dismayed when I fact checked the sourcing on the document that “was 503 (c) approved for churches” that some of the sourcing came from the news outlet Brietbart. Ouch. Discouraging. What baffles me most is how Christians can sit next to their minority brothers and sisters in Christ and be ok with the undisguised racism that was being spewed. This is a testing time for us to let them know we stand with them and love them. Your words speak how I feel, so thank you.

  • November 22, 2016

    Leslie Singh

    I’ve been wanting to say, thank you, and welcome to the factionless.

  • […] “4 Open Letters to Trump’s America” by Skye Jethani on SkyeJethani.com […]

  • […] blogger Skye Jethani followed a day later, publishing an open letter “to the term ‘evangelical’” itself that claimed he would no longer accept the label as his […]