Community of Christ President Stephan M. Veazey joined with 21 other religious leaders from the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA on Friday in issuing a call for President Donald J. Trump to resign immediately. If President Trump fails to do so, the religious leaders call first on Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him from office (although a temporary action, it would last at least until President-Elect Joe Biden is sworn in on January 20). As a last resort Congress should impeach the President in the House of Representatives and convict him in the Senate.
The faith leaders were acting as individuals who lead the member denominations in the NCC. This latest call came a day after another statement decrying mob violence at the U.S. Capitol. That statement began by quoting scripture: “See how they conceive evil, and are pregnant with mischief, and bring forth lies. They make a pit, digging it out, and fall into the hole that they have made. Their mischief returns upon their own heads, and on their own heads their violence descends” (Psalm 7:14-16 NRSV).
Both statements were posted on the NCC website. Here is the full statement regarding President Donald J. Trump:
Our faith instructs us to take seriously positions of leadership, not to lead others astray and to be careful about what we say and do. In Philippians 2:3-4 we are taught to “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves.Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.”
President Donald J. Trump’s actions and words have endangered the security of the country and its institutions of government by inciting a violent, deadly, seditious mob attack at the U.S. Capitol. His words and actions have placed the lives of the people he is supposed to serve in grave danger to advance his own interests. Further, he not only failed to stop or condemn the attack after the Capitol had been stormed but instead encouraged the mob by calling them patriots. This domestic terrorist attack resulted in at least five deaths, including a Capitol Police Officer, and more than a dozen police officers injured. The desecration of the Capitol building was also disgraceful and reprehensible.
For the good of the nation, so that we might end the current horror and prepare the way for binding up the nation’s wounds, we, as leaders of the member communions of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC), believe the time has come for the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, to resign his position immediately. If he is unwilling to resign, we urge you to exercise the options provided by our democratic system.
In addition, we recognize the need to hold responsible not only those who invaded the Capitol, but also those who supported and/or promoted the President’s false claims about the election, or made their own false accusations.
We grieve for our country at this difficult time and continue to pray for the safety and security, and ultimately the healing of our nation. Holding those who have abused their power and participated in these immoral and tragic actions accountable, in particular the President of the United States, is one step toward healing.Jim Winkler, General Secretary and President, National Council of Churches
Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer, General Minister and President, United Church of Christ and Chair, National Council of Churches Governing Board
Bishop W. Darin Moore, Presiding Bishop, AME Zion Church and Immediate Past Chair, National Council of Churches
Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church and Vice Chair, National Council of Churches
Rev. Teresa Hord Owens, General Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Rev. Dr. Néstor Gómez, The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Rev. Paula Clayton Dempsey, Director of Partnership Relations, Alliance of Baptists
Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate, The Episcopal Church
Senior Bishop Lawrence Reddick, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
Bishop Sally Dyck, Ecumenical Officer of the Council of Bishops, The United Methodist Church
Rev. Dr. Jean Hawxhurst, Ecumenical Staff Officer, The United Methodist Church
Rev. Eddy Alemán, General Secretary, Reformed Church in America
Rev. Jane Siebert, President, Swedenborgian Church of North America
His Eminence Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, Ecumenical Director and Diocesan Legate, The Armenian Church, Eastern Diocese of America
Dr. Kimberly Brooks, African Methodist Episcopal Church
Rev. Richard Tafel, Swedenborgian Church
Carole Collins, Director of Operation, Alliance of Baptists
Reverend Brenda Girton-Mitchell, Progressive National Baptist Convention
Rev. Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson, Chair, Conference of National Black Churches
Stephen M. Veazey, President (Head of Communion), Community of Christ
His Grace Mar Awa Royel, Bishop of California and Secretary of the Holy Synod, Assyrian Church of the East
Bishop Francis Krebs, Presiding Bishop, Ecumenical Catholic Communion
Rev. Dr. James Herbert Nelson II, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Presbyterian Church (USA)
The Community of Christ (which until 2001 was known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or RLDS; those identifiers were retained for legal reasons) is headquartered in Independence, Missouri. For more than a decade it has been a full member of the NCC.
The leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has not issued anything similar to this letter. Do you think the First Presidency should, and if so, what might that statement say?