Tidewater Metro Baptist Ministers’ Conference says its time to ‘speak truth to power’ and stand up for what’s right.
NORFOLK-President Donald Trump has proven himself unfit to serve. Virginia’s Tidewater Metro Baptist Ministers’ Conference delivered that statement earlier this week. The group, which includes 125 members serving at 50 Black churches around the Hampton Roads area, released a document saying they stood against Trump’s re-election campaign and called on other Christians to do the same.
“We believe that policies that have resulted in the needless deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans demonstrate gross incompetence and render one unable to serve,” the document said.
In the two-page document, members went line by line, detailing ways Trump violated Biblical principles. This wasn’t about political parties, the members said. It was about taking a stand for God.
“We believe that any policy that seeks to destroy access to healthcare of millions of Americans is sinful and demonstrates depraved indifference to the least of these,” the document says. “We believe that policies that seek to erode trust in the electoral system and to disenfranchise many, violate this nation’s most sacred tenet, that all men are created equal.”
The members referred to the push by Trump and other Republicans to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, as well as the president’s constant claims that this will be one of the most corrupt elections in history. He also repeatedly attacked the use of mail-in ballots, despite using the process himself. The Tidewater Conference said they saw these problems and felt called to publicly reject Trump’s position.
“We believe that practices that lead to chaos, empowerment of rogue and racist elements, and exacerbation of social and racial tensions, are the real source of anarchy and stoke violence, threatening our core belief that this is one nation, under God,” members said in the document. “We believe that one’s faith is not to be exploited for political expediency.”
Concerned over Trump’s actions
Typically, the Tidewater Conference stays out of politics. In fact, this is the first time in their 125-year history that they’ve made a political statement of any kind. Even so, group members said they were not offering an endorsement of any candidate, pointing to the conference’s political policy. It clearly states that “as a religious organization, this Conference shall not endorse political candidates.”
While the conference previously stayed neutral, members have attacked Trump’s decisions before. During the Washington D.C. protests earlier this year, group members criticized Trump’s decision to gas protesters and walk over to St. John’s Church for a photo op. Where was the call to prayer, they asked? Where was the call to stand against racism?
This time, it was different, however. Group members felt it was important enough that they offer a united statement. But to be clear, they weren’t endorsing, group members said. They were condemning.
“This is to express our sincere displeasure with the policies, practices and personal demeanor of the 45th President of the United States,” the group’s document reads. “We believe that those who hold public office must have a personal demeanor and integrity that inspires trust and confidence. We believe that any behavior, prevarication, manipulation of facts, denigration of women, demeaning of those who are disabled erodes public confidence and repeated instances render one unfit for office.”
The change in how they do things was necessary, said the conference’s president, Rev. Keith Ivan Jones. Speaking during a Sunday service at Shiloh Baptist Church, where he serves as pastor, Jones said God calls church congregations to “do the things that are necessary to change lives.” They’re also called to take a stand, he said.
“We are those who have to be about the business of changing the world, addressing the ills, speaking truth to power,” Jones told the congregation.
Brian Carlton is the managing editor for Dogwood. You can reach him at [email protected]