John Pavlovitz is a progressive Christian Pastor and Author in North Carolina. We’ve shared many of his thoughtful and challenging open letters in the past, but it’s been a while. And none may be as powerful as the latest, a scathing, pointed takedown of the hypocrisy of conservative Christian and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Without further commentary, here is Pavlovitz’ entire letter:
I’ve been trying to reach you for a few days, but I know you’ve been busy lately with this whole White House Correspondents Dinner business—which I imagine you’re already pretty sick of talking about.
Honestly, I am too. Please know this has nothing to do with that. This is about you—and it’s about Jesus. (Well, sort of.)
You see, I’m a Christian and I’ve heard you claim that you’re a Christian too—and watching you work recently, it got me thinking:
How does she do it?
What I mean is, how do you reconcile your supposed faith in Jesus of Nazareth, with your current position as a mouthpiece for this morally malignant President?
As a professed Christian, how do you make peace with the reality that you regularly mount the largest bully pulpit in the nation—and you lie for a living on behalf of a serial predator?
How do you square your Christianity with the realization that you are the most visible and vocal surrogate for a man who is by nearly every measurement—fully devoid of Christlikeness?
Look, all Christians (myself included), feel some measure of fraudulence as we live this life while claiming we’re trying to perpetuate the character of Jesus in the world.
None of us can avoid the hypocrisy inherent in professing faith in a perfectly loving, compassionate, merciful Savior—while being profoundly flawed human beings. That tension and duplicity are ever-present.
But this isn’t that. This is about actively working for the opposition. This is about purposeful betrayal of your namesake. This is about conspiring with the enemy.
I watch you every week as you repeatedly distort the truth, as you attack journalists who come carrying facts, as you vilify politicians who oppose your employer’s malfeasance,
as you categorically defend his every vile statement, every personal attack, every nonsensical Tweet, every baseless firing, every legislative assault.
I watch your face contort with the unmistakable tells of a person who doesn’t believe a word they’re saying; one who’s sold their soul and is now hopelessly trapped in a lie about a lie about a lie.
I wonder what Jesus-story you tell yourself, about the fact that every week you stand in front of a microphone and willingly perpetuate falsehoods that do great harm to millions of people?
That has to be rough—or maybe it isn’t. Maybe it’s a breeze for you now. Maybe you’ve convinced yourself it’s somehow all the Lord’s work.
Maybe you’ve been on this slippery slope of deception for so long that you actually believe the lies now too.
Or maybe your Jesus and my Jesus are just that different.
- Maybe your Jesus is good with deporting immigrants.
- Maybe your Jesus celebrates the poor staying poor.
- Maybe your Jesus is fine with affairs with porn stars.
- Maybe your Jesus is totally cool with supremacist Cabinet members.
- Maybe your Jesus amens the banning and the wall-building.
- Maybe your Jesus sanctions the fear of brown people.
- Maybe your Jesus is pleased with sick people going broke trying to not die.
- Maybe your Jesus applauds the racism and the bitterness and the cruelty.
- Maybe your Jesus somehow blesses the lies you broker in on behalf of the monster you work for.
If that is your Jesus, Sarah—then know you are evangelizing brilliantly right now.
You are spreading the Gospel of that Jesus exponentially.
You are a powerful preacher of that Jesus to the watching world.
But for my money, that Jesus is the reason so many people want nothing to do with Christianity anymore.
- It’s why the Church is hemorrhaging.
- It’s why the pews are emptying.
- It’s why people run from Christians.
I imagine you feel that thirty seconds of jokes from a comedian is terrible treatment; that you feel unfairly bullied, that feel that you didn’t deserve to be personally attacked. I imagine you feel like an innocent victim in all this.
Given the countless hours you’ve spent lying to the world and claiming Jesus while you’ve done it—I think you got off easy.
Well said, as always, Pastor. Well said indeed.