Christian Faith Leaders Launch "Matthew 25 Pledge" in Response to Rising Church/State Conflict

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Jazmine Steele

Phone: 202.681.9766

Email: jsteele@sojo.net

A group of Christian faith leaders from across the country today formally launched a new “Matthew 25 Pledge.” The pledge reads simply “I pledge to protect and defend vulnerable people in the name of Jesus” and has grown in response to rising fears among targeted, vulnerable populations including immigrants fearing deportation, people of color facing racial policing, and Muslims confronting rising Islamophobia.  

People who sign the pledge will have access at www.Matthew25pledge.com to resources, including toolkits, around the three initial issues of immigration, policing, and solidarity with Muslims.  These issues have become flashpoints in a growing confrontation between church and state.

               Recent events serve to make the launch of this initiative particularly timely.  The Administration is rolling out new policies to crack down on immigration. A woman in Colorado, Jeannette Vizguerra, recently entered into sanctuary in a Unitarian Church; a woman in Arizona, Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, was deported unexpectedly; on February 8th, ICE agents targeted 8 men outside a hypothermia shelter run by Rising Hope United Methodist Church; and Daniel Ramirez Medina, among the first of the immigrants to obtain Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) from the government, was detained in Seattle.  The Administration’s crackdown is causing a church response.

            Election year racial rhetoric as well as key Administration appointments to senior roles in the White House and the Department of Justice have raised serious doubts about the Trump Administration’s commitment to eliminating racial bias in policing. And news reports indicate that the Administration will soon be releasing another travel ban that targets Muslim-majority countries as Muslims in America are fearing increased Islamophobia here at home.

            Leaders in the Matthew 25 Pledge movement held a press conference call today. A recording of the call can be found here.

“New political policies and practices are creating a direct conflict between church and state. Some of the commands from the White House are directly at odds with the commands of Christ. If the government tells churches that they can’t help, assist, harbor, or welcome immigrants and refugees, they will be putting themselves in direct conflict with Christian ministries and preventing our religious liberty to express obedience to Christ.”

Jim Wallis, President and Founder, Sojourners

“Over the past 30 years, our immigration system has become increasingly ineffective, illogical and inhumane.  We have brothers and sisters in our churches who are performing needed jobs or running productive small businesses, caring for their citizen children and contributing to our neighborhoods who are now terrified by new immigration policies that detain and deport them with the same energy and focus as ICE would spend formerly on human traffickers or drug dealers -- many without a hearing.  I know children running from life-threatening violence in El Salvador that are now priority targets.  Jesus is standing by them, grieving with them, seeking justice; we who are His Body must follow.  The Matthew 25 pledge is a way to stand up together in His name.” 

Rev. Alexia Salvatierra, Faith Rooted Organizing UnNetwork

"As Christians our primary allegiance is not to partisanship or political power but to the Gospel and the Gospel calls us to speak up for the vulnerable. The Matthew 25 imperative compels me to do so with civility and conviction and I can do no other."

Rev. Dr. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition

“Now is the time for faith leaders to address the fear of the vulnerable in our nation.  Regrettably, thousands of men, women and children in our nation are in crisis because of the Administration's travel ban, change in immigration deportation enforcement along with a prevailing sense of despair in many Muslim, Jewish and immigrant communities that do not feel welcomed in our nation. In light of this, it is imperative that Christ-followers stand and defend the rights and well-being of these individuals. That is why the Matthew 25 Pledge is crucial to embrace. Our faith demands this action!"

Noel Castellanos, President, Christian Community Development Association

“The Matthew 25 Pledge aligns organically with the Progressive National Baptist Convention, for it is codified in our mission statement to be "a voice for the voiceless." For nearly 56 years, the PNBC has made protecting and defending the vulnerable its core raison d'etre, just as Jesus did. There is no gospel where there is no good news to the least, the lost and the left out.”

Dr. Timothy Tee Boddie, General Secretary, Progressive National Baptist Convention

"The greatness of America has always been fand will always be rooted in how our nation cares for the Matthew 25, "least of these" our brothers and sisters of ever race and background."  

Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, National African American Clergy Network

“Our American Muslim neighbors are experiencing unprecedented amounts of hate right now, in popular and political rhetoric, in legislative moves, and in the rise in hate crimes.  This is a time when American Christians (along with other communities) need to be standing up and showing what it means to live out the values and message of Jesus in our own contexts.  We need to do this with our words, as well as with our actions, in conversation and relationship with the American Muslims in our communities.  The Matthew 25 Pledge helps us to do just that.”

Catherine Orsborn, Campaign Director, Shoulder to Shoulder

A list of the first 104 key endorsers of the Pledge includes heads of denominations, heads of organizations, seminary presidents, academics, prominent pastors and others.  That list is below:

Bishop Claude Alexander, Jr., The Park Church*

Onleilove Alston, Faith in New York*

Rev. Dr. David Anderson, Bridgeway, Community Church*

Bishop Carroll A. Baltimore, Global Alliance Interfaith Networks*

Pastor Kip Banks, Sr., East Washington Heights Baptist Church*

Rev. William Barber, President, Repairers of the Breach*

M. Craig Barnes, President, Princeton Theological Seminary*

Jay Barnes, Bethel University*

Rev. David Beckmann, Bread for the World*

Ruth Lewis Bentley, PhD, National Black Evangelical Association*

Carol Bremer-Bennett, Executive Director, World Renew*

Rev. Dr. Timothy Boddie, PNBC*

Rev. Dr. Peter Borgdorff, Executive Director Emeritus, Christian Reformed Church in North America*

The Rev. Chloe Breyer, The Interfaith Center of New York*

Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS, NETWORK, Lobby for Catholic Social Justice*

Dr. Tony Campolo, Red Letter Christians*

Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon, Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) *

Rev. Dr. Michael Carrion, Senior Pastor, Promised Land Covenant Church*

Dr. Iva Carruthers, Proctor Conference*

Bishop Kenneth H. Carter, Jr., Florida Area, United Methodist Church*

Rev. Dr. Shawn Casselberry, Mission Year*

Noel Castellanos, CCDA*

Sr. Patricia Chappell, SNDdeN, Pax Christi USA*

Rev. Dr. Rich Cizik, President and Founder, New Evangelical Partnership*

Shane Claiborne, Red Letter Christians*

Rev. Walter Contreras, Pasadena Presbyterian Church *

Rev. Dr. Thomas R. De Vries, General Secretary, Reformed Church in America*

Joshua DuBois, Values Partnerships*

Erin Dufault-Hunter, Fuller Theological Seminary*

Rev. Dr. Gerald L. Durley, Pastor Emeritus, Providence Church*

Dr. Michael Emerson, North Park University*

Cynthia B. Eriksson, PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary Graduate School of Psychology*

Rachel Held Evans, rachelheldevans.com*

Jason Fileta, Micah Challenge USA*

Rev. Robert Michael Franklin, PhD, Chautauqua Institution*

Dr. Nicole Baker Fulgham, The Expectations Project*

Rev. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, General Secretary Emeritus, Reformed Church in America*

Joshua Graves, Otter Creek Church of Christ*

Monica Green, Saint Luke's Anglican Church Crescenta Valley*

Rev. Dwight E. Guinn, PhD, National Black Evangelical Association*

Rev. Dr. David P Gushee, Mercer University*

Dr. Mimi Haddad, President, Christians for Biblical Equality*

Rev. Dr. Cynthia Hale, Senior Pastor, Ray of Hope Christian Church, Decatur, GA*

Rev. Adam Hamilton, The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection*

Rev. Sekinah Hamlin, Faith and Credit Roundtable of the Center for Responsible Lending*

Miyoung Yoon Hammer, St. Luke's Anglican Church & Fuller Theological Seminary*

Lisa Sharon Harper, Sojourners*

Rev. Fred Harrell, Sr. Pastor, City Church San Francisco*

Rev. Blake Hart, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of South Carolina*

Scott Haskins, Immigration Resource Center of San Gabriel Valley*

Michelle Higgins, Faith for Justice*

Dr. Albert Y. Hsu, author and editor*

Hyepin Im, Korean Churches for Community Development (FACE) *

The Rev. Dale T. Irvin, PhD, President, New York Theological Seminary*

Tom Jones, Former Chair Social Justice and Peacemaking, PC(USA) *

Sister Carol Keehan, D.C., Catholic Health Association of the US*

Kathy Khang, Columnist, Sojourners*

Rev. Kate Kooyman, Christian Reformed Church in North America*

Dr. Mark Labberton, President, Fuller Theological Seminary*

Rev. Doug Leonard, AAI*

Rev. Jo Ann Lyon, The Wesleyan Church*

Rev. Carlos L. Malavé, Christian Churches Together*

Sister Donna Markham OP, PhD,      Catholic Charities USA*

Dr. Juan Francisco Martinez, Fuller Theological Seminary*

Rev. Bryan N. Massingale, Fordham University*

Rev. Michael-Ray Mathews, PICO National Network*

Rev. Dr. Walter Arthur McCray, National Black Evangelical Association*

Rev. John L. McCullough, Church World Service*

Rev. Dr. James L. McDonald, San Francisco Theological Seminary*

Bishop Vashti McKenzie, 10th District AME*

Brian D. McLaren, convergenceus.org*

Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, Jr., Senior Pastor, Trinity Baptist Church - Metro Atlanta*

Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, III, Trinity United Church of Christ*

David Neff, Christianity Today (retired) *

Rev. J. Herbert Nelson II D. Min, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, PC (USA) *

Anne Nolty, Fuller Theological Seminary School of Psychology*

Catherine Orsborn, Shoulder to Shoulder*

Dr. Suzii Paynter, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship*

Dr. Tyrone S. Pitts, General Secretary Emeritus, Progressive National Baptist Convention Inc.*

Soong-Chan Rah, Professor, North Park Theological Seminary*

Diane Randall, Friends Committee on National Legislation*

Stephen K. Reeves, Associate Coordinator of Partnerships and Advocacy, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship*

The Rev. Amy Reumann, Advocacy Director, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America*

Rev. Dr. Joshua Rodriguez, The Cityline Church / National Latino Evangelical Coalition*

Rev. Gabe Salguero, National Latino Evalgelical Coalition*

Rev. Alexia Salvatierra, Faith-Rooted Organizing UnNetwork*

Love L. Sechrest, PhD, Associate Professor of New Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary*

Ronald J. Sider, Evangelicals for Social Action*

Dr. Barbara Williams Skinner, National African American Clergy Network*

Dr. T. DeWitt Smith, Jr., Co-Chair, National African American Clergy Network*

Rev. Dr. Ervin R. Stutzman, Executive Director, Mennonite Church USA*

Rev. Adam Taylor, Board Chair, Sojourners*

Rev. Dr. Al Tizon, North Park Theological Seminary*

Rev. Dr. Liz Mosbo VerHage, Quest Church, ECC, Seattle, WA*

Rev. Dr. Javier A. Viera, Drew University Theological School*

Rev. Jim Wallis, Sojourners*

Michelle Warren, CCDA*

Rev. Dr. Sharon E. Watkins, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) *

Colin P. Watson, Sr., Christian Reformed Church in North America*

Rozella White, Mission Year*

Rev. Starsky D. Wilson, Deaconess Foundation & Saint John's Church*

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, School for Conversion*

Jim Winkler, National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA*

Ken Wytsma, Antioch Church*

 

*Organizations listed for identification purposes only

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