Saturday, January 07, 2017

Resistance to Trump/Pence Is Patriotic — and Christian

Many Facebook "friends" will not like this post if I decided to cross post it on Facebook, but given the danger I feel now grips the nation, hurt feelings are not enough to make true patriots silent.  In keeping with this mindset, I must once again state that I generally hold most Christians, especially judgmental, self-congratulatory evangelical Christians in extremely low regard.  The same holds true for "scamvangelists" enriching themselves by shaking down the ignorant and/or gullible and, of course, the Catholic Church hierarchy that feigns piety while still covering up the molestation and rape of children and youths. Contempt might even be an apt description of my view of such "Christians," all of whom share one attribute: they claim the Christian name, but when it comes to living the Gospel message they are anything but true Christians.  Indeed, they make the Pharisees of the Bible look like rather upstanding individuals in comparison.  Disgustingly, politicians and far too many in the media  continue to give deference to these false Christians and act as if there is something righteous and noble about them when in fact they are foul and sully the Christian name. Author Anne Rice once said that if these people are what it is to be a Christian, then she wanted nothing to do with being a Christian.  I concur with Rice 100%.  Sadly, I believe that if you were to put a group of whites, blacks, Asian, Hispanics and Middle Easterners in a row, these "godly" people would only see the whites as human.  The rest would be something "other" and "lesser."  

With a majority of Catholics and 81% of evangelicals having voted for Donald Trump, the moral rot of these people has placed, in my view, a dangerous, narcissistic, pathological liar in line to occupy the White House.   And now these same people want to the rest of us to normalize the sickness and danger that they have unleashed on the nation and the world.  A piece in Sojourner makes the case that resisting the Trump/Pence/Republican agenda is not only truly patriotic, but also truly Christian.   Here are excerpts: 
A conservative evangelical national leader called me during the election campaign. He reminded me how much he cared about abortion, religious liberty, and the Supreme Court. Then said, “But in Christian conscience, I cannot help put a man in the White House who is intellectually incompetent, has lived an amoral personal and public life, is dangerously immature, and is a racial bigot. I just can’t do that.” This evangelical leader’s refusal to support Donald Trump was genuinely prophetic, unlike the 81 percent of white evangelicals for whom Trump’s incompetence, immorality, immaturity, and racial bigotry was not a deal breaker.
[B]ecause the majority of white Americans, and white Christians, decided Trump’s great defects and dangers were not disqualifiers, he will soon be inaugurated president of the United States.
Power always produces accommodation, and already Trump is being normalized by the media and political world — with the elites adjusting to the new situation of power as they always do. Celebrity has replaced leadership, chest pumping has replaced unifying, tweeting has replaced press conferences and international policymaking, and profiteering looks to become a presidential business. The president-elect’s denials of facts — like intelligence community reports of Russian intervention in an American election — are breathtaking.
Many of us in the faith community have real moral concerns as we enter into this new administration, so how do we relate to it? Accommodation and compromise are not the only responses to power. And we cannot just sit with hope that the president-elect’s words and promises are not to be taken seriously — or that he doesn’t really mean all of his attacks on people for their race or ethnicity, their faith, their gender, their physical abilities, or their identity as Americans. A better response is resistance to all those things, in defense of vulnerable people in particular, in the hope that such resistance might deter, or obstruct, or defeat such behaviors and policies.
Our resistance to the political language and proposals that concern us must go beyond prophetic utterances and symbolic actions. Resistance must include a strategy to block dangerous and destructive public practices and policies and turn public opinion against them.
Here are six points for a resistance strategy. 
1. Engage Legislative and Legal Decision Making
This past Tuesday proved in just over 12 hours how righteous outrage can be channeled to change the minds of members of Congress. House Republicans were ready on Monday night to gut the independent office in charge of investigating ethics complaints against members of Congress. By Tuesday at noon, they had been flooded with so many calls from outraged constituents that they reversed course . . . 
Just next week, the Senate plans to vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act without, at the same time, replacing it with a comprehensive alternative. Repeal without replacement would endanger the health care of up to 22 million people who were uninsured before the passage of the ACA, and jeopardize many others with pre-existing conditions or other vulnerabilities. We need to mobilize all of our constituencies and allies to flood Congress with calls next week, calling on them not to repeal without simultaneously replacing the ACA.
Republican plans already afoot for the spring will require us to mobilize a fierce fight for the existence of the safety net itself, and the most basic nutrition and health care protections for our most vulnerable citizens. Legal battles against expected efforts to disenfranchise minority votes will also become imperative, and will need support from the faith community in particular.
2. Mobilize Your Church
It is high time for white churches and pastors to understand and confront why they failed in this election season to teach and preach about racism, and to be faithful to Christian principles about loving our neighbors and welcoming the stranger. Our original sin of racism in America — how it still lingers in all of our institutions and how it was effectively used in this election — was not faithfully addressed in the pulpits of white American churches. 
3. Use Media and Social Media for Moral Purposes
Engage the media, especially in your own communities. Letters to the editor, op-ed opinion pieces, radio show call-ins, and regular feedback to your local newspapers, television, and radio shows are more important than ever. . . . .  it is also time to engage your friends and relatives and fellow congregants who disagree with you on the issues now at stake in this country in thoughtful, useful, civil, and constructive ways.
4. Stand Up to Hateful Words and Acts
Verbal attacks and physical threats against people of color, including their children, are dramatically on the rise since the election. I continue to hear reports from black church leaders who find themselves under attack, and from African-American, Hispanic, and Asian-American young people being assaulted with words and actions, and from believers of other religions being singled out for abuse. That means that we, white people, and white Christians in particular, need to step up and stand up to such attacks.
5. Prepare for Civil Disobedience
The day after the election, my youngest son asked me, “Dad, how many days before you are in jail?” My 13-year-old understood that such issues were at stake. We don’t begin with civil disobedience; we start by taking personal, public, and legal actions to engage our deepest concerns. But we need to prepare and train for civil disobedience for whenever the times and circumstances call for such moral confrontations. We should enter this administration with the expectation that those who resist the Trump agenda may likely spend time in jail. 
6. Take Action
Resistance means putting faith into action. . . . . in standing up and speaking out for moral politics and for the people God has called us to protect.

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