President Donald Trump retains support among prominent evangelical Christians, but many evangelicals are pleading with fellow Christians to resist Trump’s message.
Writing in Vox Tuesday, Pastor Ed Stetzer reminds evangelicals that Trump’s line on refugees does not square with Christian teaching.
“President Donald Trump is trying to fool evangelicals like me,” he writes. “This time, it’s using a false threat of an invasion from a “caravan” of poor people marching through Mexico to seek asylum legally.”
“It should be obvious to everyone. But it isn’t — research shows that evangelicals tend to have strong political opinions when it comes to immigration, so they are distinctly open to this fear-driven message,” he warns.
Stetzer, who is also a professor, has researched contemporary Christian opinion on immigration. He’s also studied voting patterns.
“We found, as other research projects support, that white evangelicals are highly motivated to support President Donald Trump around the issue of immigration,” he writes. “As his rhetoric around the caravan shows, President Trump clearly knows this.”
Stetzer chides fellow Christians for being susceptible to a message of fear.
“It makes little of the depth of God’s love for us in Christ by teaching us that our love for others is conditioned by country, race, or ethnicity. Regardless of political affiliation and positions, evangelicals need to see this culture of fear of others for what it is: un-Christian,” he writes.
Stetzer then lays out the values that should guide Christians’ attitudes around immigration.
“First, the Christian faith demands we love immigrants and refugees,” he notes. “Second, evangelicals need to be taught to love the stranger.”
He observes that love of refugees is not at odds with sensible immigration reform and he, once again, reminds fellow evangelicals that politicians may not always be aligned with the values espoused by Jesus.
“Our evangelical witness would be in a better place if we were less easily fooled,” he says.