From Rev. Chuck Currie’s blog:
I’ve joined religious leaders across the nation in calling for an end to partisan attacks on President Obama’s faith. Please add your name. Faith should not be used as a political weapon. – Rev. Chuck Currie
As Christian leaders, pastors, and most importantly followers of Jesus Christ, we are greatly troubled by recent attempts to use faith as a political weapon. From Rick Santorum’s claim that the President’s theology is “not a theology based on the Bible,” to Franklin Graham’s implication that the President may be a Muslim, to the drum beat of false claims about Obama’s so-called “war on religion,” these cynical attempts to use faith as a weapon of political division are bad for our country and especially harmful to the Christian witness.
We can disagree about what it means to be a Christian engaged in politics, but Christians shouldn’t bear false witness. And the teachings of Jesus and the prophets call us in our imperfection to put the most vulnerable among us ahead of our self-interest. As the President said at the last Easter Prayer Breakfast, Jesus “took on the sins of the world – past, present and future – and he extended to us that unfathomable gift of grace and salvation through his death and resurrection.” This gift of grace should remind Christians to enter the public square with a spirit of humility and respond to all we’ve been given (and forgiven) by serving our neighbor and protecting the vulnerable. That’s how we strengthen our witness. Using faith as a partisan tool weakens it.
No politician or government will ever reflect God’s will perfectly, but we prayerfully call on political leaders and members of the media to return to the issues Jesus and the prophets were most concerned about and to stop using faith as a weapon to advance partisan politics and self-interest.
Kathryn M. Lohre, President, National Council of Churches & Director, Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Clare J. Chapman, Esq., Interim General Secretary, National Council of Churches
Rev. Canon Peg Chemberlin, Executive Director of Minnesota Council of Churches
Dr. Sharon Watkins, General Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Rev. Dr. Richard L. “Dick” Hamm, Former General Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Jim Winkler, General Secretary, General Board of Church and Society, United Methodist Church
Dr. Joel C. Hunter, Senior Pastor, Northland – A Church Distributed
Ron Sider, President, Evangelicals for Social Action
Rich Cizik, President, New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good
Steven Martin, Executive Director, New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good
Rev. Michael Livingston, Director, Poverty Initiative, National Council of Churches
Rev. Jennifer Butler, Executive Director, Faith in Public Life
Rev. Beau Underwood, Partnership and Outreach Coordinator, Faith in Public Life
Burns Strider, President, American Values Network
Eric Sapp, Executive Director, American Values Network
Deborah Fikes, Executive Advisor, World Evangelical Alliance
Rev. Dr. Franklin I. Gamwell, Shailer Mathews Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Religious Ethics, the Philosophy of Religions, and Theology, University of Chicago Divinity School
Rev Elizabeth Shannon, Associate Chaplain, Eckerd College St Petersburg, FL and Co-Moderator, Presbyterian Peace Fellowship
Rev. Jonathan Hall, Pastor, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Ventura, CA
Lisa Sharon Harper, Director of Mobilizing, Sojourners
Rev. Bryan N. Massingale, Associate Professor of Theology, Marquette University
Bishop Roy I. Sano
Rev. Dr. G. Wilson Gunn, Jr., General Presbyter, National Capital Presbytery
Rev. Dr. Stephen Gentle, Senior Pastor, National City Christian Church Washington, D.C.
Bishop Joe Wilson, retired United Methodist Bishop
Rev. Chuck Currie, United Church of Christ minister
Stephen Sapp, Professor of Religious Studies University of Miami Coral Gables, FL
James Salt Executive Director, Catholics United
Wes Granberg-Michaelson, General Secretary Emeritus, Reformed Church in America
Rev. Thomas J. Reese, S.J. Senior Fellow Woodstock Theological Center Georgetown University
Bishop C. Joseph Sprague, The United Methodist Church
Rev. T. Michael McNulty, SJ Justice and Peace Director Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM)
Brian D. McLaren, author, speaker
Mark C. Johnson, Ph.D., Executive Director, Fellowship of Reconciliation
Bishop Sharon Rader
Robert T. Hoshibata, Resident Bishop, Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference, United Methodist Church
Forrest C. Stith, Retired Bishop, United Methodist Church
Rev. Julian DeShazier, Senior Minister, University Christian Church Chicago, IL
Rev. Steve Copley, Director, Justice for Our Neighbors of Little Rock, AK
Reverend J. Stephen Jones, Southside Baptist Church Birmingham, AL
Marci Glass, Pastor
Rev. Michael McLaughlin
David Ensign, Pastor, Clarendon Presbyterian Church
Jill Tolbert, Pastor, Presbyterian Church U.S.A.
Rev. Heather Wood Davis, Presbyterian Church U.S.A.
Rev. John Wimberly, Pastor, Western Presbyterian Church Washington, D.C.
Julie Bailey, Associate pastor, Evergreen Presbyterian Church Memphis, TN
Rev. Dr. Bob Cornwall, Pastor, Central Christian Church Troy, MI
Rev. Randolph Bracy, Jr., Senior Pastor, New Covenant Baptist Church Orlando, FL
Rev. Angie Wright, Pastor, Beloved Community Church Birmingham, AL
Rev. Dr. Leslie Copeland Tune, Baptist minister
Rev. Fritz Gutwein, Associate Director, Presbyterian Peace Fellowship
Rev. Davis Bailey