Someone’s recently pointed out that Christians should be making more of a noise about Donald Trump. Muslims are called on to condemn terrorists (like somehow any sane person would condone such vicious attacks…) but surely Christians must also condemn hatred, especially when it appears to come from ‘one of our own’. I have a tendency to sit at home and tut and sigh (either audibly or not, depending on my mood) and generally despair of the moronic statements that Trump keeps spouting. But that’s not enough. I don’t have a stage (Trump, on the other hand, has rather an expensive one). I don’t even have a soapbox (I’m more of a showergel kinda guy, anyway). But even if one person spots a Christian roundly condemning such hideous drivel, then that’s a good start.
There is plenty that could be said. He’s certainly spewed enough venom to require a whole vat of antidote. But where to begin?
Fear. Remember what the angels said in the Christmas story? “Fear not.” The Bible makes it pretty clear that the only thing we should fear is God. Donald Trump is stirring up fear in people. He’s preying on terror, and nurturing it to a point where it drives people to make irrational decisions. Frankly, he makes the work of a terrorist easier when he capitulates to the fear that they’re trying to instil in people, and leads others to do the same. It strikes me that, though his words appear to come from a place of strength and resolute determination, they in fact stem from cowardice and discrimination. This is so damaging. In the same way that so many Muslims fear being tarred with the same brush as a fanatical terrorist, there must be millions of Americans who reject the vile hatred that Trump is extolling. I just wish more of them could be heard. (As an aside, I wonder how the phrase, ‘giving [enemies] Aid and Comfort’ from Section Three, of Article Three of the Constitution might be interpreted here – it’s the section on Treason… It seems to me that maybe Trump is playing into the hands of his enemies by stirring up discord and division)
Refuge. The American people is made up in part of many ‘refugees’. This is a valuable part of its heritage. People who have fled the tyranny of the UK (sorry guys, our bad) and who have fled disasters like the potato famine. People who have turned to a new home looking for a new hope. It’s ironic, then, when such a country forgets its past, when it would rather close the door to all, than offer any solace to the new generation of hope-seekers; a generation that could continue to build America into a greater nation. Trump’s slogan is ‘Make America Great Again’. I don’t see how preventing any Muslims from coming to America will make it ‘great again’. Quite apart from anything else, that’s a British slogan, which makes much more sense when your country is called ‘Great Britain’. When you’re called the ‘United States of America’, your slogan should really be ‘Make America United Again’. That’s precisely what Trump seems to be battling against. It seems to me that what America needs now, far more than greatness, is unity. Don’t jeopardise that by giving in to fear, and driving away those who most need you.
Love. The idea of love seems to crop up once or twice in Jesus’ teaching. I seem to recall something about loving your enemies, and praying for those who persecute you. But that seems to have fallen by the wayside a little here (a bit like the Good Samaritan – wasn’t he left lying by the wayside too?). Peace gets the occasional mention too. It doesn’t seem like slamming the door in someone’s face is going to be a step towards peace. Being insular, well that’s not encouraged. Judging others, that’s kinda frowned upon (don’t worry, I get the irony of that statement being made in a post like this). Stirring up discord, well that’s not generally held up as a high ideal. Trump just doesn’t seem to have much love to offer. He seems to rely much more on human strength than on godly characteristics. And that’s not ok.
I could go on and on. I could write about the sheer absurdity of trying to stop Muslims entering America (like somehow a terrorist couldn’t lie to gain access to the US…). I could have a little chuckle over the comparison between Trump and Voldemort (though, given Trump is real, this is no laughing matter). I could suggest that, following the recent hashtag, ‘#youaintnoMuslimbruv’ in the wake of the terrorist incident a couple of days ago, Americans might like to start trending ‘#youaintnoAmericanbruv’ to @realDonaldTrump. But maybe I’ve said enough for starters. Donald Trump, you are stirring up hatred and preying on people’s fear. The world doesn’t need fear, we need hope. We don’t need strength in isolation, we need unity.
“…clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience … Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”