THE Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Revd Paul Bayes, has criticised conservative Evangelical Christians in the United States for their “uncritical support” of President Trump.
Bishop Bayes told The Guardian that he did not think that it was “justifiable” for Christians to support “a system that marginalises the poor”.
He said: “Some of the things that have been said by religious leaders seem to collude with a system that marginalises the poor, a system which builds walls instead of bridges, a system which says people on the margins of society should be excluded, a system which says we’re not welcoming people any more into our country.
“Whenever people say those kinds of things, they need to be able to justify that they’re saying those things as Christians, and I do not believe it’s justifiable.”
He acknowledged that not all Evangelicals in the US were supporters of President Trump. There were “many, many Christians who are trying to proclaim the gospel as we’ve received it, even if that means political leaders have to be challenged,” he said.
But “some quite significant so-called Evangelical leaders are uncritically supporting people in ways that imply they are colluding or playing down the seriousness of things which in other parts of their lives [they] would see as really important.”
Last month, the Archbishop of Canterbury said that he could not understand Christians who supported President Trump (News, 1 December, Features,10 November). In his Christmas sermon, he criticised “populist leaders that deceive” (News, 27 December 2017).
Bishop Bayes, who is currently on a sabbatical until March, went on: “If people want to support right-wing populism anywhere in the world, they are free to do so. The question is, how are they going to relate that to their Christian faith?
“And if what, I believe, are the clear teachings of the gospel about love for all, the desire for justice, and for making sure marginalised and defenceless people are protected, if it looks as though those teachings are being contradicted, then I think there is a need to say so.”
He was speaking at the launch of the Ozanne Foundation, a charity that seeks to “help educate and advocate on LGBTI and gender rights around the world, particularly within religious organisations that are opposed to non-heterosexual relationships”.
It will be led by Jayne Ozanne, an Evangelical member of the General Synod who, in July, prompted a debate that led to a resolution to call on the Government to ban conversion therapy (News, 14 July). Bishop Bayes will chair the foundation.