Religious Americans have mixed feelings about President Donald Trump, and they’re similarly divided over the ongoing impeachment inquiry.
Some people of faith, including many of the president’s evangelical advisers, have rallied around Trump, offering prayers of support and arguing that impeachment could tear the country apart. In September, before the impeachment inquiry began, 99% of white evangelical Christians opposed impeachment, according to Public Religion Research Institute.
Other religious Americans are more concerned for Democratic congressional leaders and hope that the impeachment inquiry will lead to Trump leaving office. On Oct. 13, members of this camp held a day of prayer in support of impeachment, encouraging participants to ask God for the truth of Trump’s controversial dealings overseas to come out.
This edition of ReligionLink highlights these and other religious responses to the impeachment inquiry and suggests sources that could come in handy over the next few months.
On the impeachment inquiry
- Read “The House of Representatives’ big impeachment vote, explained” from Vox on Oct. 31, 2019.
- Read “Democrats moving toward next phase of impeachment inquiry with key vote” from CNN on Oct. 28, 2019.
- Read “For the first time ever, a majority of Americans support impeaching Trump” from Public Religion Research Institute on Oct. 28, 2019.
- Read “Trump compares impeachment probe to ‘lynching,’ again prompting political firestorm around race” from The Washington Post on Oct. 22, 2019.
- Read “Congress approval, support for impeaching Trump both up” from Gallup on Oct. 16, 2019.
- Read “9 things everyone should know about the impeachment process” from Vox on Oct. 9, 2019.
- Read “Poll: Half of voters support impeaching and removing Trump” from Politico on Oct. 9, 2019.
- Read “Memo: Trump prodded Ukraine leader to investigate Bidens” from The Associated Press on Sept. 25, 2019.
- Read “Nancy Pelosi announces formal impeachment inquiry of Trump” from The New York Times on Sept. 24, 2019.
On religious responses to impeachment
- Read “White evangelicals stand behind Trump despite impeachment inquiry: survey” from HuffPost on Oct. 21, 2019.
- Watch “Prominent faith leaders differ on impeachment” from The Associated Press on Oct. 21, 2019.
- Read “Bringing grievances to his conservative base, Trump assails impeachment inquiry” from The New York Times on Oct. 12, 2019.
- Read “Evangelicals see Trump impeachment as an attack on their values” from Bloomberg on Oct. 11, 2019.
- Read “Religious right sticks by Trump as political heat rises” from The Associated Press on Oct. 11, 2019.
- Read “Are cracks showing in Trump’s support with evangelicals?” from The Washington Post on Oct. 11, 2019.
- Read “Christian leaders call for Day of Prayer in support of impeachment inquiry” from Religion News Service on Oct. 8, 2019.
- Read “Franklin Graham on impeachment: ‘Our country could begin to unravel’” from Religion News Service on Oct. 2, 2019.
- Read “Robert Jeffress goes all in on ‘Civil War’” from Slate on Oct. 1, 2019.
- Read “How evangelical leaders surrounded Clinton during the last presidential impeachment process” from The Washington Post on Sept. 27, 2019.
- Read “Clinton recruits spiritual advisers” from The Associated Press on Sept. 16, 1998.
Gary Bauer is president of American Values, a conservative advocacy organization, and a commissioner for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. He regularly comments on what’s happening in the White House and, in 2000, ran against John McCain for the Republican presidential nomination.
Bauer criticized President Bill Clinton during his impeachment proceedings, condemning his moral failures. Now, Bauer is an outspoken supporter of Trump.
The Rev. Traci Blackmon serves as associate general minister of justice and local church ministries for the United Church of Christ and senior pastor of Christ the King United Church of Christ in Florissant, Missouri. She has criticized many of President Donald Trump’s policies and joined dozens of other faith leaders to call for prayers in support of the impeachment inquiry. Arrange an interview by contacting Connie Larkman.
The Rev. Jen Butler is the founder and CEO of Faith in Public Life, a progressive, faith-based organization that advocates for better policies on immigration, LGBTQ rights and other issues, and often speaks out against President Donald Trump’s leadership. She is ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and previously served as chairwoman of the White House Council on Faith and Neighborhood Partnerships. Contact Butler through Michelle Nealy.
Sister Simone Campbell is executive director of Network, a Catholic social justice lobby in Washington, D.C. She has organized several “Nuns on the Bus” trips, raising awareness of issues like immigration reform and economic justice. Contact her through Lee Morrow.
Along with around 100 other religious leaders, she signed a statement calling for prayers in support of an impeachment inquiry.
Tony Campolo is a prominent evangelical pastor who helps lead Red Letter Christians, a progressive Christian movement aimed at building a more just society. He is also an author and a professor emeritus at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. Campolo served as a spiritual adviser to President Bill Clinton.
Shane Claiborne is a Philadelphia-based Christian activist and author. He is a co-founder of Red Letter Christians, a Christian group that focuses on people at the economic and social margins and organized a day of prayer in support of an impeachment inquiry.
The Rev. Kaji Dousa is senior pastor for Park Avenue Christian Church in New York City. She sued the Trump administration in 2019, arguing that the government violated her religious freedom rights by putting her on a watchlist in response to her immigration-related activism.
The Rev. O’Neal Dozier is the founder and senior pastor of the Worldwide Christian Center Church in Pompano, Florida. He supported President Donald Trump in the 2016 election but then left the Republican Party in 2017 because of his frustration with the Trump administration’s failure to condemn white supremacy. In October 2019, he described the impeachment inquiry as an answer to his prayers, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
The Rev. Peter Goodwin Heltzel is an associate professor of systematic theology at New York Theological Seminary. He is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and serves on the denomination’s Anti-Racism/Pro-Reconciliation Team for the northeastern region.
Heltzel helped organize a statement from Christian leaders in support of the impeachment inquiry.
John Fea is an American history professor at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania. Fea writes often about the role of religious leaders in the Trump administration and is the author of Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump.
Franklin Graham, the fourth child of Billy and Ruth Graham, is president and chief executive officer of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and of Samaritan’s Purse, a relief organization. He often speaks out in support of President Donald Trump, celebrating his approach to religious freedom, border security and other issues. Arrange an interview through Kaitlyn Lahm or Scott Knuteson.
The Rev. Jack Graham leads Prestonwood Baptist Church, a Christian megachurch in Plano, Texas. He is a member of President Donald Trump’s evangelical advisory council and spoke out in support of Trump during the impeachment inquiry. Graham previously served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The Rev. Robert Jeffress is senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas and a contributor to Fox News. He serves as one of President Donald Trump’s evangelical advisers.
Ralph Reed is the founder and chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, which aims to help people of faith be engaged citizens. He previously served as chairman of the Georgia Republican Party and senior adviser to the 2000 and 2004 Bush-Cheney campaigns. Reed’s forthcoming book argues that American evangelicals are morally obligated to support President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.
Emilie M. Townes is dean of Vanderbilt Divinity School in Nashville, Tennessee, where she also serves as a professor of womanist ethics and society. She is an ordained American Baptist clergywoman. She is an expert on Christian ethics, womanist theology, cultural theory and economic justice.
She joined dozens of other religious leaders in calling for prayers in support of the impeachment inquiry.
The Rev. Jim Wallis is a Christian author and commentator and the founder of Sojourners magazine, a periodical that tries to promote social change through Christian values. He has served on the White House Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and can comment on policies related to race, immigration and other religion-related issues. Arrange an interview through Meredith Brasher.
The Rev. Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove is an author, preacher and religious activist. He is the co-founder of Rutba House, an intentional community in Durham, North Carolina, aimed at breaking down divides between the homeless community and other residents. He helps lead the Red Letter Christian Movement, which speaks out regularly against President Donald Trump, and the Poor People’s Campaign and serves as associate minister of St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church in Durham.