Evangelical Christian theologian Roger E. Olson posted a provocative open letter on the subject of reconciling Christianity and political support for President Donald Trump.
Pastor Olson said he was “constantly assailed with questions such as ‘How can you call yourself ‘evangelical’ now that ‘evangelical’ means being a supporter of Donald Trump and the far-right wing of the Republican Party?’ I have not given up calling myself evangelical and will not, but I have to admit that holding onto the label and identity is becoming increasingly difficult.”
President Trump’s “sh*thole” comments were the impetus for the open letter.
“His language and attitude, are extremely offensive—not just to certain countries but to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who loves people of all nations,” Pastor Olson explained. “Jesus was a citizen of a ‘sh*thole country’ if there ever was one. Of course, I don’t mean to call it that for myself; what I mean is that Trump’s category would include first century Palestine. In fact, however, we evangelicals believe the whole world is a “sh*thole country” compared with the glory from which Jesus came when he was born in Bethlehem.”
Dr. Olson is the Foy Valentine Professor of Christian Theology of Ethics at George W. Truett Theological Seminary of Baylor University.
“Trump’s language and the worldview it expresses are absolutely contrary to everything truly, authentically evangelical (or just Christian!)” Olson continued.
“My fellow evangelicals who continue to support and even defend Trump in spite of everything he has said about the weak and vulnerable people of the world: It is time to admit you have been wrong and stop defending the indefensible,” he urged.
“Trump’s labeling of certain countries as ‘sh*thole countries’ because they are impoverished (often as a result of European and American colonialism and exploitation!) is blatantly racist—given their common racial identity. But, even worse, it is not only vulgar but also blasphemous—insofar as God loves the people of those countries, too,” Pastor Olson preached. “To label them “sh*thole countries” from the seat of power and privilege because they are poor and weak is to stand against Jesus who loved this world so much that he came into it to save it rather than just condemn it as it deserves (John 3:16-17).”
Read the full open letter.