Monday, the Rev. C.J. Conner published the following open letter to President Donald Trump.
In it, the pastor implores the president to do something meaningful to prevent the continued erosion of Christians' First Amendment-protected rights in America. He also invoked the memory of broken promises made by one of his predecessors.
The following is Conner's entire letter, as published:
Dear President Trump,
I thank God every day that you are my president. Tens of thousands of other pastors do too.
Thousands of us have sacrificed our standing in our denominations. Some have been fired from our congregations for supporting you. We have suffered in many ways, but our families have suffered the most.
We have sacrificed for you, Mr. President. We sacrificed gladly because the future of not just America, but the future of Western Civilization hangs in the balance.
In 1980, President Reagan aggressively courted pastors for support and the support of Christian voters. He promised to end the scourge of National Planned Parenthood's abortion mills. He didn't. After eight years of delivering the Christian vote to uphold the value and protection of all human life in every stage and circumstance we had nothing to show for it. Reagan failed us.
In your speech to the joint session of Congress, you passionately said that "Education is the civil rights issue of our time."
Mr. President, all the greatest universities and colleges throughout the United States were started by the most faithful pastors of their times, most unknown to us today.
And so two of the greatest civil rights issues of our time are education and Christian freedom.
The two are inseparable.
Christians established and nurtured the American System of Education. We built the greatest system of education in world history and have watched it be destroyed by radicals who love the cross as a fashion statement but have successfully pushed docile Christians out of the public square. The radicals who want to erase God from the history of the universe have been helped by the media of fake news.
Today's media apparatus do to Christians what they did to African-Americans years ago.
Christians in this country are pursued and attacked by government and fake news in tandem.
More astounding is that new mysterious ICANN pursued by Barack Obama is reported by pastors as blocking the blogs of Christians in America, attacking the right to free religious speech and enacting a "soft coup" against the Constitution of the United States of America, attacking our sovereignty with the click of a button.
Mr. President, you know about the Houston five pastors who were sued for opposing bathroom laws—that would have been required to be enforced inside churches and that violate our understanding of deeply held religious beliefs. You remember them being ordered by activist judges to turn over their sermon notes to the government. The issue of protecting the lives of our children, our daughters and our sons is just as sacrosanct as protecting all human life in every stage and every circumstance.
You might have heard about the persecution of pastors who support a wall on the southern border of the United States. No doubt you are aware of years of conversations by radical activists in America to make biblical preaching unlawful hate speech, not only on issues of marriage, but now today on issues of national sovereignty and immigration.
These may seem like inconsequential issues in the overall scheme of the colossal mess you have inherited from Barack Obama, but the cumulative effect is heinously pernicious and foreshadows horrible things to come.
Mr. President, truly the only thing that can stop you from Making America Great Again is if you fail to act quickly to protect our Christian freedoms so that we can freely do the work that helped to Make America Great in the first place.
Our freedoms of speech and religion are so perilously at risk, Mr. President, that I beg you to please don't forget us.
We have watched for 40 years as our freedom to preach the gospel and inspire a nation to greatness have eroded.
The risk to our protected freedoms as Christians and pastors now are so serious and imminent that we don't have years to wait for you to do something about it.
Once we lose our Christian freedoms, we will never win them back.
The social contract that is at the heart of America may only be reclaimed with a second Civil War.
Pastors have always been indispensable to protecting, ensuring and instilling the American Way of Life and the Judeo-Christian values that make us who we are.
I pray that you will be a better president than Ronald Reagan when it comes to keeping your promises to Christians. I pray that you can take actions now that will protect Christians from persecution in America in the decades and centuries ahead.
And we pray for you and your whole family, President Trump. You truly have been given to lead us "for such a time as this."
God bless America, and may God bless you and your family.
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