I Ask for Forgiveness on Behalf of White Christian America

Jeremy S. Kleidosty
Jyväskylä
Finland

As someone who has grown up in white evangelical churches, been privileged to study and live overseas, and worked in a majority-Muslim country in the Middle East, I found myself deeply compelled to write an open letter. I hope people will join with me in my commitment to use all the tools at my disposal, words in my case, to stand with those who are targeted by hatred. My letter is below. Feel free to adapt and share according to your circumstances, but please keep it in the spirit of reconciliation and prayer offered here.

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To my friends, colleagues, former students and family who are female, Muslim, Mexican, victims of assault, disabled, mentally ill, Jewish, LGBT, racial minorities, undocumented, immigrants, or otherwise part of the groups targeted for hatred in this election:

I ask your forgiveness on behalf of white Christian Americans like myself for the overwhelming support they have given to the candidate who mocked you, insulted you, and violated your dignity as fellow human beings. This man who in his vanity and greed personifies all that is un-Christ, who traffics in innuendo, conspiracies and lies, and who finds affinity with the world's most egregious tyrants will sit in a position of unparalleled power because of the votes of tens of millions of Americans, and especially white evangelicals. Their views are not mine, but they are my friends and family and I continue to love them and be one of them.

Donald Trump will be my president and I will do as the Bible commands and pray for him to lead wisely. Too much is at stake to wish him ill or to hope he fails. However, I will never affirm his values or his treatment of you. Between now and January 20th there is a space for reflection, for preparation, and for proactive actions that can mitigate what may be to come. Following his inauguration I will not forget his words, but I will set them aside and judge him by his deeds.

If the weight of the office he is about to occupy crushes his bigotry and egoism, then it may be he can govern on behalf of all Americans and in a way which respects the people around the world who are impacted by American policies every day.

If he continues to be the man he has been for his entire adult life, if he continues to speak as he has spoken during the campaign, if he acts in a way that threatens you harm, I commit to doing what I can to support you, shelter you, and be your advocate. Right now we are living abroad and our means are limited, but I dedicate my words to the causes of Christian love of all who are made in God's image, to the making of peace, to finding common ground in our shared humanity, to tolerance, and to the civic love that is the foundation of true and stable democracy.