I tried to talk to someone about our immigration policies yesterday, and she immediately began talking about the tiny minority of that minority who are criminal. Why was it her first thought? Why is it always her first thought when the topic arises? This happens continually, in real life, on the internet, on Facebook. Why are "Christians" obsessed with the criminal minorities among the poor, the disabled, the ill, the elderly and the stranger among us?
NOTHING in Christian theology or tradition, the Bible or the words of Jesus suggests that Christians ought to focus on the tiny percentage of people who are criminals. NOTHING.
Some time ago, our Pope made it clear that Donald Trump is not a Christian, based upon Trump's plan to build a wall along the border between Mexico and the United States and not building bridges. There are many other positions that Trump has taken that are the antithesis of Christian principles, and his actions have certainly violated Christian ideals, yet people who call themselves Christian form a large part of his base, and they trumpet his crude and cruel ideas, as if he was the second coming!
Trump is not known to have ever been a Church going man. Citizen Trump never demonstrated any interest in religion. Now that he is in the oval office, he has not changed in this regard. There is NO evidence of any sudden conversion to the faith. He is not keeping the Sabbath holy. He does not spend his Sundays in church. He spends them on the golf course, as he always has. His hate-filled rhetoric has not stopped. He still maligns the poor, the sick, the stranger, and the disabled. He has become even more anti-Christian in his policies, no doubt due, in part, to pressure from the "Alt. Right" movement that is strong within the Republican Party these days.
He even supported American Nazis who marched through Charlottesville, chanting well rehearsed anti-Jewish slogans, saying that there were "good people" marching with the Nazis.
Despite all this, some Catholics continue to defend his indefensible positions and behavior. Instead of heeding the advice of our ultimate authority on faith and morals, i.e., the Pope, these Catholics are publicly saying demeaning and, at the least, dismissive things about our Holy Father. Then, they ride their Republican hobby horses roughshod over all our needy populations.
These people have traded in their religion for Republican ideology. When I saw this happening a few years ago, I coined the term RepubliCatholic.
By focusing attention on a tiny, questionably criminal minority of a minority, RepubliCatholics encourage a mean dialogue and support cruel policies.
As a Christian, one would expect that, when the subject of a vulnerable population comes up, the very first thing we would do is express a kind thought. When someone asks us what we should do about the poor, one would expect that a Christian would talk about how to improve their financial well being, but that isn't what happens these days. No. Instead, the RepubliCatholics talk about how to give LESS money to the poor, how to take food out of the mouths of their children and how the poor aren't really poor, that they are actually criminals who should be punished. The next thing you know, we will be opening poor houses again.
Donald Trump has labeled Mexican immigrants as "rapists" and "murderers" and says they "bring drugs." His speeches about the Mexicans are famous by now, but those of us who believe in the Christian message have become so overwhelmed by all the stupid, horrific things he has said and tweeted, that we cannot carry it all at once. Like a load of concrete that needs to be moved from one stinking pile to another, we can only carry bits of it at one time. He is so awful, so shocking, so extreme, that the burden on the psyches of those who adhere to Christian principles is huge. Every day, he dumps a new load of concrete on us. What do we do with the load we are carrying from 6 months ago, last week, yesterday?
RepubliCatholics are big supporters of Trump. To my everlasting shock, several of them have said that he's the best thing that has ever happened for the Christian Church. Considering that his policies are in direct opposition to the words of Jesus, I find it incomprehensible that they would say such a thing, but this is what happens when you subsume a religion into a political ideology. You begin to think that the political ideology IS your religion.
(To be accurate, I do know that Trump has claimed to be against abortion. He also wrote a 25 page memo pledging to bolster religious rights. It's all a bunch of hot air. Trump has pledged to do a lot of things that haven't materialized. See relevant article HERE.)
RepubliCatholics have no dedicated space in their minds for the vast number of immigrants who come here to escape brutal regimes, the ones who come here to protect their daughters from the gangs that rape them, the immigrants who refused to work for the drug cartels and are targeted for death. They are entirely focused on all those "bad" immigrants. That tiny little minority of a minority has all of their attention when the subject of minorities comes up. I can't remember ever hearing any kind words of sympathy or love for the plight of the stranger among us, the poor, or the sick from these RepubliCatholics.
When I try to advocate for poor people, RepubliCatholics immediately talk about all those bad poor people who are "gaming the system." Again, if it is even true, it is a tiny minority of a minority, but RepubliCatholics are focused on that tiny minority of the minority with laser-like precision.
If I advocate for disabled people, RepubliCatholics shoot straight to the claim that there is "massive fraud" in the system and that, supposedly, millions of people are "faking" illness. This is just a big fat lie. RepubliCatholics behave as if they have Superman's x-ray vision that can immediately diagnose whether or not a person is disabled, even if the disability is invisible to the rest of us.
I know, first hand, how very difficult it is to get any help as a disabled person. I, myself, was denied Social Security benefits the first time I applied, and I spent the next 10 years falling from one job into another because my illnesses kept me home for so many work days, I kept getting laid off. 15 jobs in a 10 year period that included at least 2 years of complete unemployment, before I finally got my Social Security. By that time, I was completely bankrupt and virtually friendless.
Long term need is enough to chase friends and relatives into the hills. Afraid that you'll ask them for help, they invent a reason to be mad at you and then dump your sorry ass. It is a humiliating, de-humanizing process, thanks to people like the RepubliCatholics who treat you like a criminal because you are sick and poor.
Once you DO obtain assistance, people who help you often treat you like an idiot that needs to be told what to do because, in their mind, if you are poor, even if as a result of inability to work, it means that you are doing something wrong and you need to be fixed.
Donald Trump reinforced the ridiculous idea that the poor are poor because they don't have the right kind of thinking when he recently justified creating the wealthiest cabinet in American history. He said "I just don't want a poor person" [to be in those positions] and he wants wealthy people "because that's the kind of thinking we want."
See video HERE
See article and video HERE
See another article HERE
History will record that Trump is the worst president we have ever had. In the meantime, those of us who haven't lost our minds or abandoned our faith to a political agenda, can only scream, cry, wring our hands and pray to the Lord that this anti-Christ is a short-lived blip in the historical narrative of American pseudo religiosity.
Those people who have aided and abetted Trump's hateful policies will have to find a way to live with themselves. Fortunately, our God is a loving God and, if the RepubliCatholics repent and recant their hatred of vulnerable populations, the Lord will probably forgive them. Judging from what I have seen so far, however, the RepubliCatholics will go down with Trump, loudly proclaiming him to be the best thing that's happened to Christianity EVER. That is why he is the anti-Christ.
Silver Rose Parnell
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