In an open letter to President Trump, evangelical leaders are asking him to openly denounce the so-called "alt-right" – an amorphous group they suggest includes some faith-based and pro-family groups.
(Story updated on October 6, 2017)
The letter commends the president for speaking out against the KKK, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists, but notes the alt-right has escaped President Trump's disapproval.
"We believe it is important for this movement to be addressed," says the letter, "for at its core it is a white identity movement and the majority of its members are white nationalists or white supremacists .... The core of the movement is the protection of white identity."
"Many of them, if not most, support the notion of white supremacy," he tells OneNewsNow. "They claim to be the ones who are responsible for America being what she is. The alt-right is a group of people who share Nazi and racist, white supremacist viewpoints.
"They seem to be the Klan without the hoods, from the best I can tell," he adds.
No doubt, some within the movement are racist. But the term "alt-right" came to prominence during the 2016 campaign – and many on the left, to score rank and dishonest political points, labeled all of President Trump's supporters as part of the movement.
That, of course, would include several pro-family and pro-life organizations that are nowhere near racist. Trump advisor Dr. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Dallas, tells OneNewsNow that while some of those who signed the letter may have been duped into signing, others knew exactly what they were doing.
"They have been never-Trumpers from the beginning," says Jeffress. "They cannot hide their disdain for the president – and the fact is what they cannot forgive the president for is that he got elected in spite of their objection."
Dr. Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, is one of the initial signatories of the letter. When asked, he couldn't name the three alt-right advisors the letter charged Trump with having on his White House staff. One, he knew, was Steve Bannon, who exited his White House role last month.
"He would be the major one that we had in view, and I think that's who Dwight and Keith [Whitfield] had in view when they made that statement," says Akin. "To be honest with you, I'm not sure who the other two were that they had in mind."
Dr. Keith Whitfield, also of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, joined Akin in signing the letter. During an interview today on American Family Radio, he refused (when asked) to identify who on the White House staff is "associated" with the alt-right – but he did say there are more than three. (See more from interview below)
Jeffress says for the record, there are no credible accounts of Bannon expressing any racist sentiments.
More from the Whitfield interview
During the radio interview, Dr. Whitfield said the "alt-right" is a danger that needs to be exposed and confronted.
"We think the group's agenda is a white nationalist, white identity agenda," he stated. "We think this curtain needs to be pulled back to see what's at its core and where it came from."
All those involved in the radio segment seemed to agree that anyone with racist views, including those with white supremacist beliefs, need to be condemned. President Trump has already done that – and condemned the alt-right as well, according to November 2016 tweets (post-election) from reporters with The New York Times:
"I disavow and condemn the alt-right. It's not a group I want to energize – and if they are energized, I want to look into it and find out why." (quoted by NYT reporters who met with Trump)
Whitfield admitted he was unaware the newly elected president had said that.
The letter also says: "It concerned many of us when three people associated with the alt-right movement were given jobs in the White House."
When asked to name the three, Whitfield replied: "First, I've already said I don't believe there's a white supremacist in the White House. Second, I don't think Donald Trump's a white supremacist."
American Family Association president Tim Wildmon, lead host of the program, described the letter as "irresponsible."
American Family Radio is a ministry of the American Family Association, the parent organization of the American Family News Network, which operates OneNewsNow.com.
10/6/17 - Section labeled "More from the Whitfield interview" added.
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