Some five hundred religious leaders have endorsed presidential hopeful Joe Biden and his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, for the White House.
The advocacy group, 'Faith 2020', is compromised of prominent figures from a number of different faiths including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Sikhism. In a statement, they said they are supporting Biden-Harris to “lead us in restoring our nation’s values."
Evangelical clergyman and president of The Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute, Rev Rob Schenck, is among the signatories - the former pro-life campaigner has not pledged support for a Democratic candidate since Jimmy Carter in 1976.
"For the 44 years that elapsed in between, I voted straight-line Republican, but I guess as I get older, the core values I was raised with become more important to me," Schenck wrote on his website, announcing his endorsement of Biden. "Those values are especially relevant in the time of Trump-directed Republicanism - and they are directing me away from the principles, platform, policies, and even the personality of Donald Trump."
Schenck lamented that "evangelicals had long been champions of the down-and-outer, the stranger, and the marginalised," but, in the era of Donald Trump, they have become "inextricably linked to Trump’s anti-immigrant, old-world white privileged, angry, fearful worldview and big government militarised-federal-police-domestic-interventionist conduct."
He continued: "And then there is the pandemic. Whether Mr. Trump intends it or not, in the face of this crisis, he is read as callous, self-serving, and incapable when it comes to managing what is a massive threat to health, life and the economy.
"As if all these things were not enough to disqualify Mr. Trump from a second term, it is the injury done to the people of God in this country that troubles me the most. You don’t need to be a New Yorker like me to know Mr. Trump is charlatan. He has never been religious, let alone a believer. He is obviously a secular materialist to his core. He cannot and will not personally testify to any measure of Christian faith."
Schenck said that Trump had "played evangelicals" for his own gain.
Other Christian leaders in Faith 2020 include the progressive Lutheran minister, Rev Nadia Bolz-Weber and faith writer Lisa Sharon Harper.
Sharon Harper said told Huffpost that a second Trump term "could deal a mortal blow to our democracy."
“Faith leaders will be held accountable by God and history for how we used our voices right now,” she added. “Did we bless our neighbour or did we curse them? That will be the question.”
Other evangelical leaders, a huge number of whom voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 election, remain committed to seeing him win another four years in the White House.
Long-term supporter and member of Trump's Evangelical Advisory Board and White House Faith Initiative, Rev Robert Jeffress, recently tweeted a picture of himself standing alongside the President in the Oval Office with the caption: "No president in history has done more to protect religious liberty and the sanctity of life than President Trump."
In a speech at the recent Republican National Convention last week, Billy Graham's granddaughter Cissie Graham Lynch warned that the Biden-Harris ticket "leaves no room for people of faith."
"For Christians under the Biden-Obama administration, the floodgates of persecution were opened up to people of faith in this country," she added. "I want to encourage Christians, we cannot sit this election out."
Cissie Graham Lynch added that she was "so thankful for President Trump and his boldness and is unashamed of his faith in God."