Stated Clerk calls on President Trump to condemn all forms of prejudice

February 28, 2017


News Release

February 28, 2017

President Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Trump,

On behalf of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), I want to express profound concern over the level to which interethnic hatred has risen in the last year. Sad to say, racial prejudice and interethnic antagonism have always been a part, albeit often hidden, of the fabric of American life.

That said, rhetorical violence and, in some cases physical violence, have emerged in overt and powerful ways in recent months, especially where Muslims are concerned, admittedly exacerbated by violent acts on the part of a few people sympathetic to radical forms of Islam.

Moreover, this kind of hate-borne violence is now manifesting itself in what appears to be an overt reemergence of the anti-Semitism that has been such a blot on the face of America for so long. The senseless attacks on Jewish cemeteries are only the most obvious examples.

These acts of hate-borne vandalism bespeak a deeper, deadlier hatred that is the sort that led to fascist crimes against humanity decades ago. Among the most frightening aspects of that history is how many “regular” citizens were either oblivious to or “chose not to know” what was happening to Jews, homosexuals, and others who were “different.” And, if we are honest, it is not dissimilar to the experience of many Black Americans and other people of color here in the United States for generations.

In the face of our current realities, where hatred and prejudice have become all too evident, it is imperative that we, the people, be able to look to our leaders to bear witness to the best that is in us, to lift up the promise of our Statue of Liberty that all are welcome, and to speak in ways that unite us rather than divide us.

You, as our president, are elected to be a living symbol of our unity as a people, and to remind us with regularity that even the least among us is of as much value as the most prominent. On behalf of our Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) community, we urge you to condemn all forms of prejudice against Jews, Arabs, and all who are seen as “different” and make clear that you and all the leaders of our nation are committed to the healing of our divisions, so that our future as a nation can be one of justice for all and peace for all our communities.


Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

  1. This letter speaks the loudest voice that a wise leader can easily hear and act on. I wish the letter was written to my president, South Sudan, who has been so mute to the church leaders' advice. We need your help brothers in the US.

    by Thudan James Gai

    August 3, 2017

  2. Dear J. Herbert, I must take issue with one phrase in an otherwise excellent letter where you refer to acts of violence against Muslims: "admittedly exacerbated by violent acts on the part of a few people sympathetic to radical forms of Islam." This comes perilously close to the blame-the-victim excuse which I cannot believe was your intent. The shooting of two Indian-American men in a Kansas bar, the burning of two mosques in Texas are no less deplorable than the attacks on Jewish cemeteries. They are equally indefensible actions exacerbated only by the racist, xenophobic rhetoric that has sadly become part of our national dialogue. I commend you for speaking out on behalf of the church, but I would urge you to choose your words more carefully.

    by Christianne Chase

    March 6, 2017

  3. Copies made to be distributed to our church members and friends tomorrow. Thank you, J. Herbert, for this timely statement -- CB, Bethesda (MD) Presbyterian Church -- a Public Sanctuary Church

    by Rev. Charles Booker

    March 4, 2017

  4. Thank you Dr. Nelson for standing up and speaking out on this issue on behalf of the PC(USA).

    by Rick Johnson

    March 3, 2017

  5. Please read this letter and I beg you to do this as the letter suggests. Do something to stop this. I never have seen such hatred and violence that you can help stop! You are your president and carry a lot of weight...prayerfully consider what you can do!

    by SarahJane Essebaggers

    March 2, 2017

Leave a comment