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Faith Leaders in Mission Presbytery Issue Call for Decency with Statement of Conscience
In the final week of the 2016 presidential election cycle, a group of Presbyterian ministers appeal to decency amidst the charged rhetoric and harsh tone that has characterized the presidential race with "A Statement of Conscience from Presbyterians in Mission Presbytery*," an informal statement signed by 40 faith leaders of the Presbyterian Church USA.
The statement reads, in part: “We cannot remain silent when the very worst of human instincts are on public display.... As disciples of Jesus, we are called to embrace his vision of peace and justice in which the poor receive good news, the captives are released, the blind receive their sight, and all the oppressed are set free.”
Speaking with the San Antonio Express-News, Texas Impact board member Tom Heger says, "Part of what makes me most apprehensive about the political rhetoric is that it has given cover to latent white supremacy, right below the surface, to find its place in public as if it’s a valid moral position.” He continues, "The question of what would Jesus do is still serious.... Jesus spent all his time with the disposable, the damaged, and he called them brothers and sisters and children of God.”
The full statement is published below. (The statement is also available as a PDF for printing and offline access.)
A Statement of Conscience from Presbyterians in Mission Presbytery *
In this presidential election season, public discourse has taken a tone so contrary to our Christian vision of society that we, members of Mission Presbytery, are compelled to speak out.
We reaffirm our commitment to the Kingdom that Jesus preached, lived out, and commanded us to seek as a first priority. Even as we confess our own complicity in the sins of our society, we cannot remain silent when the very worst of human instincts are on public display. As disciples of Jesus, we are called to embrace his vision of peace and justice in which the poor receive good news, the captives are released, the blind receive their sight, and all the oppressed are set free.
We Stand Against...
- All forms of racial bigotry whether in public speech, governmental policies, or society’s institutions.
- All vulgar, disrespectful language and actions that demean women.
- All attempts to malign the most vulnerable people in our society--be they immigrants, the mentally and physically disabled, those in the LGBT community, and any others who are the targets of hate and ridicule.
- All attempts to falsely stereotype any segment of our society that only fuels prejudice and incites anger.
We Stand for...
- Public discourse that honors all people as beloved children of God.
- Public policies that respect the rights and seek to guarantee the safety of all Americans.
- The conviction that our society will be judged on how we treat the least among us.
That whatever the outcome of the current presidential election, the mission of the church will remain unchanged. We will continue God’s reconciling work in Jesus Christ, even as we wait and pray for the new heaven and new earth that is surely coming.
- Some accompanying scripture texts: Matthew 6:33; Luke 4:18-19; Isaiah 11:6-9; Matthew 5:9; Galatians 3:28; Romans 12:9-21; Matthew 25:31-46; 2 Corinthians 4:16-19; Revelation 21:1-4