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September 30, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — A major encyclical from hundreds of Catholic, Orthodox, and Evangelical Christian leaders is calling out their liberal counterparts.

Describing themselves as “an ad hoc fellowship of evangelical, Catholic, and Orthodox believers,” the American Association of Evangelicals issued “A Call to Repentance & Renewal” this week via an open letter to “pastors, leaders and believers who assist the anti-Christian Progressive political movement in America.”

It is an appeal to those who lead believers and yet acquiesce on causes antithetical to the Christian faith.

Beginning with the Christian teaching that everyone, including themselves and all Christians, are “called to repentance,” the leaders believe “our entire nation will be revived as we return to the Lord.”

Citing Martin Luther King's stand that “Christianity sets forth a system of absolute moral values,” they state, “We are not here endorsing or denouncing a political candidate, but reminding you of basic Christian morality.”

The letter does not officially endorse any political candidates but makes clear the authors' preferences, alluding to several politicized issues such as “hate speech” being redefined as anything contrary to the “anti-Christian politicians and global elites'” view of homosexuality, same-sex “marriage,” and “the transgender agenda imposed by Obama-government edict.”

The epistle does single out one political party for criticism on abortion “rights.” In delineating “the consequences of Progressive political activism,” the writers note that “trafficking in human baby organs and body parts” is both “funded and defended by the Democratic Party.”

Echoing the popular cliché “What Would Jesus Do?” the authors then pointedly ask, “What justification would Jesus offer for those who murder children and sell their body parts to the highest bidder?”

Included in a list of “consequences” of liberal leadership is the U.S. justice system's increasing hostility to religious freedom, as evidenced “in our courts, media and universities, including the suppression of conservative speakers, free thought and moral education.” 

Additionally, the letter criticizes “the widespread, political use of the IRS to intimidate conservative, patriotic and Christian groups.”

“This letter is important, because as I outline in my book, Abolishing Abortion, the beginning of building a culture of life is an attitude of repentance,” Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life told LifeSiteNews. “We have to repent for not doing more than we have done, for not saying more than we have said, and for allowing ourselves to be captive to our own fears.”

“The biggest obstacles to overcome abortion are not powerful government administrations or organizations like Planned Parenthood, but rather the fears and hesitations that abide with in our own souls.”

“Believers in the congregations are ready to support their leaders in all of this, and that is why an open letter like this can be very helpful for pastors and congregations to refocus their priorities and ask the Lord for the courage necessary to advance his kingdom at this moment in America,” Father Pavone said.

The letter's authors quote presidential candidate Hillary Clinton stating that “religious beliefs … have to be changed,” and, along with her saying “the unborn, ah, person, ah, doesn't have Constitutional rights,” her promised commitment to a pro-abortion litmus test for any Supreme Court appointee and her campaign promises to increase tax funding for Planned Parenthood and abortion worldwide, they interpret those stands as Clinton “openly declaring war on Christian believers and the Church.”

Father Pavone also constructively criticized his Catholic brethren. “We have a tremendous problem within the Church of giving into a far more restrictive interpretation of the prohibition on political intervention than the law actually indicates,” he said.

“In particular, it is ridiculous and untenable to hold that, as some diocesan memos sometimes say, we should not appear to criticize a candidate or a party,” Pavone said. 

“When the Democratic Party stands for abortion and the Republican Party stands for the unborn child, it is impossible to articulate the Church's stance for the unborn child without thereby appearing to favor the Republicans and criticize the Democrats.”

“The fact of the matter is that the church's position does favor the one and criticize the other, but that is not the church's fault,” Pavone explained. “If tomorrow, the parties reversed their positions on abortion, the church's position would remain the same.”

“We need a renewal of leadership across the Body of Christ,” Father Pavone concluded. “That leadership needs to be filled with confidence in our message and in our ability to accomplish our task of building a culture of life. And it needs to be free of self censorship.”

After its indisputable Christian morals appeal, the open letter seems to get sidetracked with other issues, such as the national debt, minority unemployment, racial tension, immigration, Islamic refugees, and the “shameless” practice of liberals who “falsely label those with political differences as ‘racists.’”

Finally, the letter concludes with a return to its main agenda. “Why do those who claim to share our faith in Christ continue to advocate for politicians who will pass legislation, and appoint justices and judges who will attack Christian liberty and persecute believers?” the writers ask. “Turning our nation over to the enemies of biblical faith does not honor Christ (or) promote love of neighbor.”

“(N)ow is the time to pray, to speak and to act with Godly courage. … We are bound together. Let us stand together,” the letter concludes.

Signers form a “Who's Who” of pro-life, pro-marriage, and pro-family leaders throughout the nation, including Christian researcher George Barna, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver, Pavone, Breakpoint's Eric Metaxas, American Family Association's Tim Wildmon, Institute for Creation Research's Dr. John D. Morris, Traditional Values Coalition's Andrea Lafferty, Voice of the Martyr's Peggy Dau, Vision America's Rick Scarborough, and civil rights activist and author Dr. Alveda King, niece of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Also signing the Call to Repentance are former Congressman Bob McEwen, Lt. Gen. Wm. “Jerry” Boykin, Maj. Gen. Paul E. Vallely, former Bush appointee and author Kay Coles James, radio host and actress Sam Sorbo, Asian Action Network's Herman Martir, Hispanic Prayer Network's Mark Gonzalez, and numerous Right to Life Society directors and leaders.

Joining them are megachurch pastors Miles McPherson, Dr. Jim Garlow, Carlton Smith, Jim Franklin, Steve Riggle, Steve Smothermon, Tim Throckmorton, Dr. Benny Tate, Dudley Rutherford, Dr. Larry Lamb, George Grant, Dave Welch, Bishop Harry R Jackson Jr., and the historic Azusa Street Mission's Herman Martir, as well as university presidents and seminary professors Dr. Everett Piper, Dr. Wayne Grudem, Dr. Jay Richards, Dr. Gerson Moreno-Riano, and Robert Schwarzwalder, and an ever-increasing host of other moral leaders.

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