A number of prominent evangelical leaders have vowed to adopt the role of peacemakers as the US presidential election continues. President Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden remain neck and neck in the polls, with several contested states still yet to be decided.
Protests and demonstrations have erupted in various states including Michigan and Arizona, with some claiming electoral fraud at the polls.
In response to the uncertain political situation, nearly 200 evangelical leaders have signed a statement affirming the Biblical call to be peacemakers at times of deep division.
"As evangelical Christian leaders, we are deeply concerned for our church communities and for our country," the statement reads.
"We are called by God to walk in Christ’s footsteps to be peacemakers—not merely peacekeepers—in a nation grappling with toxic levels of polarization and the targeting of specific religious, racial, and political groups with violence. Peacemaking is not passive but rather an active commitment to be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers."
The statement, released by the Matthew 5:9 Fellowship, warns that elections "can create pressures to act in ways that dishonor Christ’s teachings and biblical values" and urges that Christians "must reject these pressures and not compromise our faith".
The signatories, who include Christian author Max Lucado and pastor Tony Evans, declare that they "condemn violence as a political tool and any language that incites hatred or violence" and that they "stand with the vast majority of Americans who want a peaceful, fair election, regardless of their political beliefs".
"We call on all Americans to respect and support each other, to build peace in their local communities, to advocate peacefully for their political perspectives," they write. "We reject any efforts to sow discord and divide Americans for political gain (Prov 6:16-19; Rom 16:17)."
The Matthew 5:9 Fellowship calls itself an invite-only network of Christian leaders "shepherding their communities to live out the Gospel and place their identity in Christ above partisanship and societal divisions".