Public Faith is a new group of evangelical leaders that has formed to give voice to a rising group of Christians that cannot bring themselves to jump on the Donald Trump bandwagon this election year.
Unlike other vocal members of the evangelical community, such as Jerry Falwell Jr. and Dr. James Dobson, the group does not “presume that there is one Christian way to vote, but we believe strongly that Christians should not leave their faith outside of the voting booth.”
On Monday (August 29), Public Faith unveiled their website. Their purpose is to “represent a Christian voice for the common good.”
The group was founded by 13 individuals from diverse backgrounds, yet who “share a commitment to orthodox Christian faith.” Among their founding members are professors of seminaries, attorneys, political strategists, writers, pastors, leaders of nonprofits, filmmakers and human rights advocates. In addition to their diverse professional backgrounds, they are diverse in other ways, consisting of men and women, African Americans, Latino Americans and Caucasians.
Among their founding members are two gentlemen, Michael Wear and Joel Hunter, who have served as deputy director of President Obama’s White House office of faith-based initiatives and spiritual advisor to the President, respectively.
A look at the “Political Vision Statement” featured on the group’s homepage reveals their key objectives. There is an emphasis on pluralism—“the inclusion of people and groups with deep differences.” According to Public Faith, a commitment to pluralism would require ending racial injustice, upholding religious freedom, fighting poverty and applying a holistic opposition to abortion.
These objectives share some common themes with those who have voiced support of Trump, yet there are some striking contrasts. While Public Faith concerns itself with social justice and poverty relief, Trump supporters have largely cited the election of conservative Supreme Court justices, defending Christian rights, maintaining gun rights and immigration control as their main objectives.
In their own words, Public Faith articulates their stance on the following issues:
On racial injustice
“Specific policies are needed to address this specific problem—particularly as it relates to the ongoing consequences of systemic racism affecting African-Americans, Latinos and other minorities.”
“We do not endorse a grand economic theory or utopian set of reforms, but we expect politicians to speak to how their policies directly alleviate poverty, combat unjust discrimination and increase opportunity for all, including the formerly incarcerated and immigrants.”
On climate change
“The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it (Psalm 24:1), and we have a responsibility to care for it. Climate change and environmental degradation has negatively affected the poor, in particular, who do not have the resources to protect themselves from the economic, social and physical impacts of the mistreatment of God’s creation.”
“We believe that abortion must be opposed holistically, from the economic patterns that often drive the practice to the societal values that justify it. This includes caring for mothers throughout motherhood, advocating for adoption, and other policies that treat mothers, babies and other family members as those made in the image of God.”