In an open letter to President Donald Trump, a group of prominent evangelical Christians asked him to more unequivocally condemn the alt-right movement and white supremacists, following a white nationalist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, Aug. 12 that left one woman dead, CNN reported.

The letter specifically singled out the alt-right “by name” and called on the president to “join with many other political and religious leaders to proclaim with one voice that the ‘alt-right’ is racist, evil, and antithetical to a well-ordered, peaceful society.”

The letter was signed by renowned leaders like Southern Baptist Convention President Rev. Steve Gaines, former Southern Baptist Convention President Rev. Fred Luter and the distinguished Bishop T.D. Jakes, who mentors Trump's top spiritual adviser, Rev. Paula White.

Trump drew a large amount of criticism over his response to the Charlottesville protest. He said at the time that "both sides" were to be blamed for the violence that ensued and that there were "some very fine people" among the white nationalist protestors.

In face of the mounting criticism, on Sept. 14, Trump signed a resolution condemning white supremacy, saying: "No matter the color of our skin or our ethnic heritage, we all live under the same laws, we all salute the same great flag, and we are all made by the same almighty God."

While the preachers' letter included Trump’s quote and thanked the president for passing the resolution, it also told him the alt-right movement “has escaped your disapproval. We believe it is important for this movement to be addressed.”

The alt-right is a neo-reactionary movement comprised overwhelmingly of white supremacists, white nationalists and white separatists. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, its leader Richard Spencer calls for “peaceful ethnic cleansing” to create a white ethno-state.

“The alt-right, however, attributes the uniqueness and achievements of America to the so-called superior capacities and virtues of Anglo-Europeans ... The core of the movement is the protection of white identity. Richard Spencer, a prominent leader in the alt-right movement, desires to transform our country into an ethno-state that serves as a gathering point for all Europeans,” the letter read.

Richard Spencer Richard Spencer, a leader of the so-called alt-right movement, speaks to the media at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, Feb. 23, 2017. Photo: Reuters

As a movement, the alt-right today is largely anonymous, with its proponents posting on online platforms like Twitter, 4chan and 8chan’s /pol/ and Reddit, using anonymous profiles. The alt-right rose to prominence during last year’s presidential election.

The letter reminded the president of this, saying: “This movement gained public prominence during your candidacy for President of the United States. Supporters of the movement have claimed that you share their vision for our country. These same supporters have sought to use the political and cultural concerns of people of goodwill for their prejudiced political agendas. It concerned many of us when three people associated with the alt-right movement were given jobs in the White House.”

CNN reported this letter followed the decision of the country’s largest protestant denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, to condemn and denounce the alt-right.

Earlier,  drama had ensued when the Southern Baptists rejected an effort to condemn and denounce the alt-right at their annual meeting. Pastors then forced a vote on a resolution that condemned "every form of racism, including alt-right white supremacy." The resolution was subsequently passed.

The letter to Trump can be read at It was a collective effort, drafted by Southern Baptists Rev. Dwight McKissic and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary Dean Keith S. Whitfield.