Select Page
Day 138 – Putting America First Doesn’t Mesh Well With Christian Ideals, Mr. President.

Day 138 – Putting America First Doesn’t Mesh Well With Christian Ideals, Mr. President.

Photograph by Waiting for the Word of a painting by Harold Copping

Dear Mr. President,

Over the weekend, I read a few articles reporting how evangelical Christians believe you’re doing God’s will by pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord. What a load of nonsense. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why so many of these so-called Christians adore you. You are a bona fide liar, narcissist, tax dodger, draft dodger, adulterer, insulter and manipulator of anything to make yourself appear more – well, what else – like God. You’ve been on the cover of pornographic magazines (Playboy, March 1990), you’ve bragged about your marital infidelity, and your “grab ‘em by the you-know-what” comment will probably be the most memorable thing you’ll ever say. Your private bedrooms probably contain more gold than the golden bull-calf idol described in Exodus chapter 32. You’re about to strip 23 million of America’s poorest and neediest of healthcare in direct contrast to Christ’s and St Paul’s nobler examples. You are not just un-Christian. You are unholy.

I can hear the hypocritical uproar right now: “You’re judging him! Stop judging our elected leader! God put him in office!” Suuuure He did – who knew that God works through Russian hackers? And yet I’ve heard it all before: “Mr. Trump is taking baby Christian steps!,” as Jerry Falwell stated shortly after being photographed with you – right next to your proudly displayed Playboy magazine cover. Just yesterday I heard the one about God choosing severely flawed messengers to do his will: “Noah was a drunk, Abraham was too old, Isaac was a dreamer…give Trump a chance – he’s doing God’s will!” Those who believe this disturbingly flawed line of reasoning should also recall that God also used perfectly evil people to do His will: the Pharaoh Ramses, Herod, and Judas Iscariot all spring to mind.

To live is to take sides, and one can’t take sides without judging. To favor you Falwell-style is to judge you nonetheless. So let me judge you the way your (ever dwindling) followers judged Obama. How many evangelicals lapped up the postdictive decree that the Washington Monument cracked during an earthquake in August 2011 as a sign of God’s displeasure with Obama? And now, why the dead silence about the enormous sinkhole that opened up right in front of your Mar-a-Lago estate only 2 weeks ago? Yes, God does work in mysterious ways. Those who twist God’s word don’t.

And speaking of God’s word, I have had since January 20 a terrible premonition of America’s future based on something you said twice during your inauguration speech: “America first. America first!” The Bible documents three times (Matthew 19:30, Mark 10:31, Luke 13:30) that Jesus said, “The last shall be first, and the first shall be last.” I do believe God does have the power to change your heart and the wrong path you’re putting our nation on. But you’re 70. The time for baby steps is over.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

Day 114 – In America, We Are Not Required to Worship God or Government, Mr. President. Or You.

Day 114 – In America, We Are Not Required to Worship God or Government, Mr. President. Or You.

Photograph by Ryan Godfrey

Dear Mr. President,

It was a pleasant surprise to many Americans that you made a professional and somewhat uplifting commencement speech at Liberty University. You largely stayed on script and avoided political mudslinging. Bravo, sir. More of that please. However, I must take issue with the rhetoric you employed while speaking at the largest Christian college in the U.S. Your speech writers really knew their audience, as you touted your faith to the crowd.

You said, “In America, we don’t worship government, we worship God.” It’s like when you’re at a Kenney Chesney concert and he shouts, “How are you doing, Cincinnati?!” and the crowd goes wild. He’s just using buzzwords to get the crowd worked up. That comment was met with applause by the throngs of people who believe America is an inherently Christian country. But really, let’s dissect that statement. First, I don’t believe anybody on either side of the aisle is stating that government is a force to be worshiped. Government is an institution to bind people to the social contract that was actually designed not to intertwine with religion in any form or fashion. Separation of church and state, anyone? And while the pilgrims you spoke of did bless this country in the name of their God, they also founded this country to escape religious persecution. So this line that was met with such fervent applause really has no depth.

Since you hit the campaign trail, you began to tout your supposed religious beliefs as Christian. Yet your behavior both on the campaign trail and during your presidency thus far has been as far from Christ-like as you can get. Christ taught love, compassion, inclusion and to turn the other cheek. You model hatred, prejudice, selfishness and revenge. Would Christ turn away the fleeing refugees of a war-torn country and inspire his people to hate them? Would Christ not heal certain sick people because they had a pre-existing condition, so they must deserve their illness? It really disgusts me that you use religion to control a large segment of the population. If you’re going to be Christian, model the behaviors of Christ for your citizens, don’t just shove religious values down our throats by legislating the morality of a sliver of the population.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

Day 64 – Why You are Not a Good Christian, Mr. President.

Day 64 – Why You are Not a Good Christian, Mr. President.

Photograph by Olga Caprotti

Dear Mr. President,

I thought that Republicans in particular believe that this great country was founded on Christian values.  Indeed many Republicans profess to be Christian — one who comes to mind is Vice President Pence given his remarks during the 2016 vice presidential debates. That said, I am very puzzled by these claims in light of the policies, executive orders, and congressional actions that have transpired since the 2017 inauguration of the Trump administration.

I’ve been reading the Bible to understand the contradictions between Christianity and the policies, executive orders, rules repeals, and legislation being considered since January 20.  How do things like the immigration ban, repeal of the rules, and threats to the health and welfare of working Americans mesh with Christianity?

The following verses from Matthew 25:  31 – 46 seem to sum up what it means to be a Christian, or not.  For your reference, the verses are:

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.”

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’”

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’”

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’”

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’”

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’”

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

To me, verses 31-40 describe Christian actions and values, and verses 41- 46 do not.  Your policies and actions do not seem consistent with Christian values or values of human decency.  Please enlighten me as to where I am wrong, or am I?

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

Day 16

Day 16

Painting by Henry Ossawa Tanner

Dear Mr. President,

I grew up in the church. Not literally, like some cartoon mouse in a kids show, but we did go to church most weeks. As a hard-working businessman yourself, you’ll appreciate that the only Sundays we didn’t go to service were the weekends that one of my parents was working.

That is not a unique story. Millions of Americans attend church services every week. I’ve learned over the years, though, that part of my religious childhood was a little odd: While at church, I actually listened. I don’t mean to sound sanctimonious, but it seems that a lot of churchgoers might not be paying attention from the pews. Yet, if we do pay attention at church, we grow with messages from the parables, the Psalms, the Gospel, and more.

I bring this up today because the National Prayer Breakfast this past week was a missed opportunity. The church brings us hundreds of stories that can guide us. You could have reminded the nation of any of those freeing, uplifting, inspiring stories. Instead, you opted to fret about ratings for a reality TV show. Here’s the transcript if you need a refresher.

Instead of praying for our nation, you prayed for higher ratings for your old TV show. Instead of sharing a message of forgiveness like, say, the parable of the prodigal son, you used the National Prayer Breakfast as an opportunity to mock another person. The event is organized by the Christian group The Fellowship Foundation with the intent to build connections among our government, not to verbally attack opponents.

My childhood in the church informs my daily life, and I do regularly ask myself, What would Jesus do? It led me to my chosen career. It led me to my parenting style. It led me to deep self-reflection and an awareness that I am flawed but can do better tomorrow.

Mr. Trump, please ask yourself that question whenever possible.

Why should we ask this of ourselves? Because the teachings of Jesus show us that all are equal, so regardless of our religious affiliations, there is value is considering what Jesus would do.

Jesus fed the hungry, not his bank accounts.

Jesus overturned the moneychangers’ tables, not Dodd-Frank.

Jesus healed the weak and sick; he didn’t take away their access to healthcare.

Jesus washed the feet of a sinful woman; he didn’t grab her pussy.

Jesus would help others. He would not worry about ratings. Frankly, if we’re measuring by popularity, at the moment of his execution Jesus had low ratings. Very low. But he had a vision of kindness and equality, and that vision could have been shared at the National Prayer Breakfast.

I’m sure I came across as pious or pompous earlier. That wasn’t my goal. I shared my story because I think we connect on this one. I was raised in the church, but over the course of time, people change. I am now an agnostic, but the teachings of Jesus stay with me. I share this because I saw you at the church service over Inauguration weekend. I spent enough time in church to recognize the “bored church face.” I feel you, man, and I’d guess you may be agnostic or atheist yourself, or at least not a regular churchgoer.

Let me assure you, there are lessons there for us, too. You don’t have to be a devout Christian to benefit from reflecting on the question. Please ask yourself and your administration to consider the question regularly. What would Jesus do?

We can answer that more often than we might think. We have evidence from the Gospel. We can make logical connections based on what we know of his life. I’ll close with an obvious example: At his birth, Jesus’ parents were fleeing Bethlehem to escape a massacre. Yes, Jesus was a refugee. What, indeed, would he do?

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

Pin It on Pinterest