Bishop Harry Seawright (Courtesy photo)
Bishop Harry Seawright (Courtesy photo)

Bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church have joined a growing chorus of political and religious leaders supporting the impeachment of President Donald Trump, urging their members to be more politically active as the 2020 presidential campaign approaches.

In a joint statement crafted by Bishop Frank Madison Reid III, chair of the churches’ Social Action Commission, and the other “servant leaders” of the AME Church said that while its leaders warned of the looming “Trump tyranny” when he first ran for office in 2016, his impeachment is not cause for celebration.

“We take no solace in the fact that God’s revelation about Trump’s lack of Constitutional character and his divisive and destructive policies would push our nation away from democracy and toward dictatorship were right,” the statement read. “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a powerful and life-changing sermon entitled ‘Remaining Awake Through A Great Revolution.’ Will the Republican Party and its supporters continue to take the sleeping pills of white supremacy and privilege, or will we all hear God’s divine alarm clock calling us to stand up, speak up, and show up for freedom and justice for all?”

AME leaders are also calling upon their constituents to take an active role in the impeachment trial and the 2020 election, issuing the following list of requested actions:

1. A day of prayer and fasting for our nation. Let us pray that God will heal our land.
2. Contact both of your Senators by email and phone call to register your belief that the trial in the Senate should be a real trial with witnesses and cross-examinations so the country can get the facts.
3. Inquire of your Senators, “Do they believe that any person who holds a political office is above the law?”
4. Organize your church, faith community, family, and community for the upcoming 2020 Elections. Encourage, equip, and empower them to stay inspired and involved to do their part in the spiritual, political, and economic revival of our nation and world.

The commission members include Bishop Harry L. Seawright, president of the Council of Bishops, Bishop Adam J. Richardson, Senior Bishop Gregory G.M. Ingram, president of the General Board, Bishop Frank M. Reid III, chair of the Commission on Social Action, and Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker, director of Social Action.

Seawright, former pastor of Union Bethel AME in Brandywine and bishop of the state of Alabama, lives in Birmingham, where four little girls were killed in the ‪16th Street‬ Baptist Church bombing.

“I stand behind this statement because we are a liberated and reconciling church and that has been our history,” Seawright told The Informer. “And we pray that we continue to stand united. Being in Birmingham reminds how far we have come people and yet we how far we have to go.”

The AME’s statement came the same week that Mark Gallo, editor of the evangelical Christianity Today magazine, wrote an editorial calling for Trump’s ouster, calling him “a near-perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.”

“Whether Mr. Trump should be removed from office by the Senate or by popular vote next election — that is a matter of prudential judgment,” the editorial said. “That he should be removed, we believe, is not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments.”

Franklin Graham, son of famed evangelist and Christianity Today founder Billy Graham, said that his late father would never approve of the editorial and voted for Trump in 2016.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has yet not turned over the House impeachment action to the Senate because Majority Leader McConnell (R-Ky.) is refusing to set up a fair and objective proceeding agreeable to Democrats and Republicans.

Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.), who voted in favor of both articles of impeachment, agreed with Pelosi’s move.

“President Donald Trump is desperate for an exoneration and his enablers seem determined to break their oaths and conduct a sham trial to give him one,” Brown said in a statement. “The House of Representatives uncovered ample evidence to impeach the President.

“The American people now expect the Senate to conduct a fair trial, which requires hearing the House’s case for removing the President and seeking supplemental evidence to ascertain the truth,” Brown said. “The House should not transmit the articles of impeachment or name impeachment managers until the Senate commits to following the facts wherever they may lead.

“Unfortunately, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans appear more interested in covering up for President Trump than pursuing the facts,” he said. “They have no intention to honor their oaths to ‘do impartial justice.’ The American people deserve an impeachment trial that is serious, fair and reflects the gravity of the charges against President Trump.”

Hamil R. Harris

Hamil Harris is an award-winning journalist who worked at the Washington Post from 1992 to 2016. During his tenure he wrote hundreds of stories about the people, government and faith communities in the...

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