By David Carlson

To my dear Evangelical brothers and sisters,

Although we have often stood on opposite sides when it comes to politics, I respect your commitment to viewing social issues through the lens of our common Christian faith.

I have long believed that your support for this president would not last, that the gulf between Biblical values and his stances and behaviors would become so wide that you would turn away, no longer defending him.

With his recent comments about immigration and third-world countries, I believe that point has been reached.

No, I do not expect you to vote for Democrats. But I do hope, in light of recent statements made by him, that you would demand that the Republican Party end its relationship with Trump.

Because of my own upbringing in Evangelical Christianity and my certainty that you love the Bible as much as I do, I would ask you to prayerfully take Trump’s recent description of the neediest nations as sh**hole countries and consider two passages of our sacred Scriptures.

The first is the Old Testament book of Amos. Although it takes only 30 minutes to read this prophet, I have never listened to God, as God speaks through Amos, without questioning a lot of what goes for success in America.

Amos is the prophet who tells us that God cares nothing about our prayers and hymn-singing as long as we neglect the poor. In fact, God turns a deaf ear to those without compassion for the neediest in our world. A deaf ear.

Closer to the heart of Christians are the words of Jesus in Matthew 25. Here, Jesus gives the clearest requirements for admission to heaven. Christians must feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and visit those in prison.

Why? Jesus does not say we should do this because it’s a nice thing to do. No, Jesus says that whenever we feed, clothe and visit the neediest, we are actually feeding, clothing and visiting Him.

Jesus never promises that He will be present in all churches who like to use His name. In fact, He says the opposite. Many might call Him Lord, Lord, but Jesus says He would never identify with them. The one place where Jesus always promises to meet us in this world, according to Matthew 25, is in the poor, the hungry, the naked, the sick and the prisoners.

Jesus is talking about those who live in what Trump calls the sh**hole countries of the world.

Perhaps there are some who regret Trump’s use of a crude word. I am not one of those.

There are indeed too many sh**hole countries in our world. What Amos and Jesus say so clearly is that when we turn our backs on those living in the s, we are turning our backs on God Himself.

To our discomfort, Jesus said that a person cannot love both God and money. It seems equally true to say that we do not love God if we have no compassion for the neediest in our world.

Want to find Jesus in our world? Don’t look for Him on Wall Street. He’s waiting for us in Haiti, Puerto Rico and our urban slums. Yes, He is waiting for us in the sh**.

Franklin resident David Carlson is a professor of philosophy and religion. Send comments to awoods@tribtown.com.