Addressing Racist Rhetoric in the U.S. Elections- Updated

The Servant Team of the Order of Ecumenical Franciscans is deeply concerned about certain directions that the present Presidential debates are taking.


We are updating this letter originally  sent September 13, 2015.  Our concerns have not lessened.  The continued attacks by varied candidates running for President of the United States on varied communities  has not diminished.  The hateful recent verbal attack on the Muslim Communities in the United States and around the globe is wrong and need to be resisted.  In New York, Boston, and elsewhere across the nation, Muslims are being harassed and terrorized.  We need to stand with our Sisters and Brothers, especially at times of risk.  We need to say NO! to fear that breeds hate, and lead to violence.

As followers of Jesus in the way of St. Francis,
we work to reach out across lines of cult and race to reclaim the Most High’s original community of sisters and brothers of the one creator. We cannot stand by silent as any person seeking to be President of these United States speaks words of hatred and exclusion toward people who live in our midst and do our work.

For many years now, the food of the US has been planted, harvested, packed, shipped and prepared by sisters and brothers who have crossed our southern borders. We are all enriched by their labors. To have Donald Trump and others speaking of these members of our community as thieves and “no goods” is outrageous.  This must be resisted.

We call for those preaching this hatred to stop, and for women and men of good will to speak out against this racism and violence.

The language of hate is often coded, but was understood by two Boston adults, who beat a homeless Hispanic man. They pointed to Donald Trump as their inspiration. The use of hate speech threatens all people of color.  Citizens of this nation need to promote the “Beloved Community,” not walk down a road of racism.

As followers of Jesus in the way of St.Francis, the members of the Servant Team of the Order of Ecumenical Franciscans call for an end to these racist attacks, and for a shift toward building a community of love and respect and full participation.

About John Michael

Pastor, teacher, husband, dog walker, gardener, petrocollapse agitator, contemplative, hiker. Currently serving as a Formation Coordinator for OEF and Dean of VT/NY conference of Lutheran Synod.


  1. Dear Siblings,
    I cannot agree more with your assessment of the current, (ludicrous in my mind) political hate mongering taking place in both public and social media forums as well as church groups and town halls.

    I have made a point to only speak love and peace on social media and websites, and to PRIVATELY engage those who are stirring the pot of racism and classism on a personal and non-violent dialogue. I refuse to give public platform to ANY of their rhetoric…which seems to, in many cases, de-escalate the conversation so that we may, as scripture tells us, “reason together.”

    If, after discussing issues the friend/relative/church member remains hate-full in their words or actions, I tell them I will contribute, work and support (with twice as much zeal and effort) people and campaigns that stand for equality and social justice for ALL people groups. (Often making campaign donations to opposing view candidates, in THEIR names!) This has, thus far, shut down the public hate speech and has no doubt made me an enemy or five, but still…the wagging tongues of racial hatred and inequity are silenced…if for only a little while.

    I leave my hate mongering acquaintances with the assurance that I will pray that they see the Light, love and possibilities of a Beloved Community, and that their us/them dualism becomes a “we” reality in their words and deeds. Oh…and that they may begin receiving emails and thank you notes from the opposing political parties and organizations. ?

    May we ALL speak the Truth in love and grace, and point the way to the ones who have gone before, blazing the trail for justice, freedom and equality for all.

  2. While I agree that All people should be shown love, respect, and extended grace just like our Father shows us, the United States is a nation of laws that should be respected also. The United States is the most generous nation in the world, but you would not know it if you only get your news from the big media companies. Our laws, while not perfect, are in fact far more lenient and merciful than the neighboring countries to our north and south. In those countries, if you are found to be in the country “illegally” you are automatically deported. I believe that we have many hard working and good natured people crossing our boards and ignoring our immigration laws each day looking for a better way of life for themselves and their families, but we also have many people that seek to do use harm and we need to have a system in place to filter out the bad so that we can ALL live in peace. During this Presidential election cycle we will hear many ideas on dealing with our immigration system as well as many other topics. I believe that we should keep an open mind to those ideas and not be so fast to label them as hateful or racist when they are simply ideas to help keep our nation safe. It is true that the way that these ideas are delivered can sometimes sound in-compassionate, but by keeping an open mind we can find some validity even through the speakers aggressive tone.

    To touch on your comments on Trump, I do not think that he represents the majority of Republicans just like Hilary’s views do not represent the majority of Democrats. They are both people that believe that government is the answer to all of our nation’s problems, but how many politicians do you know that live their lives the way that they think we should be living ours? They speak of climate change, but fly around in their private jumbo jets all over the world to promote themselves and their businesses. They speak about human rights, but accept money from terrorist organization that commit some of the most evil human rights violations on earth. They are in fact part of the “Elite Class” of people that can not relate to the average American or the problems that we face on a daily basis. They are skillful and cunning to play upon our emotions and seek to divide us by gender, race, economic class, ethnicity, political beliefs, and religion. Let me ask you this, how many politicians do you know that are part of the lower or middle class? I would argue probably <1% and isn't it funny how all that changes once they are in government for a while? This is why our system of government works better than any ever created, because we are free to replace our public officials when they are not doing what we elected to do. We got rid of our king because we chose freedom over tyranny. The problem is that unfortunately most Americans believe what they hear coming out of a politicians mouth, than actually researching their voting history, following OUR tax money that they spend, and then holding them accountable. The term, career politician, should be a thing of the past. Do you believe that God created only a select group individuals to govern us? Of course not. There are many bright citizens of all races, genders, economic classes, and religions that would be great leaders and would bring a wealth of knowledge and ideas to the table. I work in the healthcare profession and am blessed to touch the lives and speak to people from all over the country and the world. During my daily interactions with these people I have found that while we may not see eye to eye on everything, we actually agree upon more than what we disagree if we take the time to hear each other out. Only when we listen to each other, rather than shutting down the conversation when we hear something that we don't like can we find common ground and ultimately the solution to our problems.

    I really appreciate this opportunity to share a few of my comments with the OEF community today and I look forward to sharing a dialogue with you in the future. May God bless you all.


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