Organizers are comparing the rallies to “revival” meetings, with live worship music and speeches from prominent progressive Christian pastors. The list of speakers includes Christian authors, ministers and activists like Brian McLaren, John Pavlovitz, Rev. Jacqui Lewis, Shane Claiborne, and Nadia Bolz-Weber.
White evangelical Protestants have been staunch supporters of the Republican Party, often because of its conservative stance on culture war issues such as abortion access and LGBTQ equality. Eighty-one percent of white evangelicals voted for Trump in 2016.
But some evangelicals ― particularly evangelicals of color ― have spoken out against
Vote Common Good believes other issues should inform how evangelicals vote this year ― topics like immigration, health care, poverty, and care for the environment.
Progressive Christians are outraged by the Trump administration’s restrictive refugee policies and its separation of immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border, Pagitt said. They were dismayed by the White House’s efforts to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency’s mandate and the Trump administration’s sweeping overhaul of the U.S. tax code, which skewed overall in favor of the wealthy.
On its website, Vote Common Good says it is encouraging people to vote “with religious, racial, and gender minorities” and against policies and politicians who “promise special privileges for any religion, including our own.”
“We need candidates who would not turn their back on the poor and the sick, who would not separate children from their parents, who support liberty and opportunity for all people,” Arkansas pastor Robb Ryerse, Vote Common Good’s political director, said in a statement. “Although I consider myself an Eisenhower Republican, I think people are more important than party, and that’s why I’ll proudly vote for Democrats who share my values.”
Although I consider myself an Eisenhower Republican, I think people are more important than party, and that’s why I’ll proudly vote for Democrats who share my values. Robb Ryerse, pastor and political director of Vote Common Good
Vote Common Good says it is nonpartisan and simply supports the candidate in any given race who is more closely aligned with evangelical values. However, the group is only backing Democratic candidates this year, and one of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s vice chairs, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), helped select the tour stops.
The group has also offered to help personally train Democratic candidates who want to learn how to address religious voters, particularly evangelicals.
The organization’s support for the Democratic Party is tied to its overarching goal this year ― to shift congressional power away from the GOP as “a reaction to the policies, actions, and tone of the Trump administration and Congress in recent years,” Vote Common Good said in a statement.
While other progressive Christian leaders have largely tried to avoid labeling themselvesas part of the religious right or left, Pagitt said he thinks its important to call out the lawmakers responsible for unacceptable policies.
“Religious leaders often talk about the policies that bother them, but then they don’t want to talk about the people who set those policies,” he said.
“The need to flip Congress has some of us behaving in ways we have never had to before,” he added. “These times call for a response that matches the outrageous nature of what’s happening. This is not a typical partisan conversation.”
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.