PORTLAND, Oregon (Christian Examiner) – Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), known as the second most liberal politician in the U.S. Senate and an outspoken proponent of the gay rights movement, has been invited in a letter to jump off a bridge "in the name of Christ our Savior."
According to KOIN News, Portland's CBS affiliate, the letter was dropped on the doorsteps of the St. Johns neighborhood, though the station did not say how many copies were distributed. A local woman, who did not want to be identified, reported the letter to the media.
Please help Jeff Merkley walk over to the Fremont Bridge and jump off into the Willamette River on Christmas Eve; and help us prepare a grand feast of celebration Christmas Day.
"It almost makes me cry," the elderly woman told KOIN News. "It is so sacrilegious. Those are words from the Bible and they are using it in context of the demise of someone."
The woman said she had contacted Sen. Merkley's office about the letter and also said she was considering contacting the police. Sen. Merkley has not responded to the letter on any of his social media platforms and his office has not issued a statement either.
In the letter phrased as a prayer, the writer – "Hector" – asks God to "help Jeff Merkley walk over to the Fremont Bridge and jump off into the Willamette River on Christmas Eve; and help us prepare a grand feast of celebration Christmas Day."
The letter continues:
"Let there be wine & song; every kind of food & drink; let toasts be made and laughter & hugs; and then please accept our humble prayers of thanks. We pray this in the name of Christ our Savior."
The woman who brought the letter to the attention of the news station said the words were "not a prayer," but "a hate letter."
She also said the current political climate in the U.S. left her feeling compelled to share the letter.
"This is not the time to not say anything," she said.
It is doubtful the author of the letter will ever be identified if police do not choose to investigate, but it could be any one of Merkley's political enemies.
The senator has blocked off shore oil and gas exploration, advocated for same-sex marriage, argued in favor of abortion rights and recently proposed legislation that would have made it impossible for religious organizations to "discriminate" in the hiring process based on sexual orientation.
In other words, there would be no "religious exemption" for religious non-profits and universities to hire and fire in accordance with their doctrinal beliefs.