AR Bernard explains why he left Trump's evangelical advisory board
AR Bernard has risen from relative obscurity among the big hitters of Trump's nominal evangelical advisory council to be headline making as the only one to resign in the wake of Charlottesville.
The senior pastor of the Christian Cultural Centre – a black majority magachurch in Brooklyn – told his congregation he had taken heat for joining the board, and had taken heat for leaving it.
He said he saw the controversy around evangelicals' refusal to abandon Trump as a sign 'God is at work'.
Explaining his decision to quit, he said: 'In a social and political climate such as ours, it often takes a gathering of unlikely individuals to shape the future of our nation on issues of faith and inner city initiatives.
'I was willing to be one of those unlikely individuals and that is why I agreed to serve on the President's Evangelical Advisory Board.
'However it became obvious that there was a deepening conflict in values between myself and the administration. I quietly stepped away from my involvement with the Board several months ago.'
He added: 'I am always grateful and honoured by any opportunity to serve my country.'
Preaching on the Sunday after his resignation, he said: 'Can we talk this truthful in church?'
He went on according to RNS: 'Speaking in absolute terms, I would love to be a Christian first. But America has created an environment that forces me to be first aware of the colour of my skin, then, the content of my character, and my Christian conscription.'
Speaking to MSNBC and CNN he said other members of the board shouldn't feel the need to resign but should be more open in criticising the President.
'I would love to see more of the evangelical leaders who are on the board make strong statements in reaction to it, and that doesn't mean they have to abandon him,' he said. 'But they should come out and say something of substance.'
He said the spotlight on clergy close to Trump gave them an opportunity to heal divides.
'I'm excited to play any part I can in the closing of the break,' he said.