Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Catholic Herald on Trump as a "Proper Christian" vs. Rev. Joel Tooley, Who Attended Trump's Florida Campaign Rally

Tuesday, I read in the British Catholic paper The Catholic Herald Father Alexander Lucie-Smith's proposal that, in reciting the Lord's Prayer/Our Father at a Trump campaign rally in Florida, Melania Trump was perhaps "trying to tell us something" — namely, that Donald Trump is "a proper Christian," and this explains why (white) Catholics and (white) evangelicals elected him.

The following day I read this account of the arrest of a woman named Sarah in Fort Worth, while she was in the hospital being treated for a brain tumor (I'm repeating again a report I shared with you earlier today), and I wonder if Father Lucie-Smith is not the least bit ashamed for having tried to convince us that Mr. Trump is "a proper Christian":

An undocumented immigrant diagnosed with a brain tumor while in Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody was returned to a detention center from a Texas hospital, her lawyers said. 
The woman, a Salvadoran national identified only as Sara, was released from Huguley Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, and taken to Prairieland Detention Center against her will, according to her lawyers. 
"She told us they tied her hands and ankles in her condition," Melissa Zuniga, a member of Sara's legal team, told The Hill. "She's complaining of a lot of pain." 
Zuniga said Sara, 26, was cut off from communication with her family and lawyers, even after the hospital and ICE had cleared Sara's mother for unrestricted phone access.

Then this morning I read the report of Rev. Joel Tooley, a white evangelical (Nazarene) pastor who went to that Trump rally that Father Lucie-Smith believes was a demonstration of "proper" Christianity, and I wonder all over again if Lucie-Smith and The Catholic Herald aren't the least bit ashamed for having published this piece of tripe. Rev. Tooley says,

I can't explain it, but I felt sick [when Mrs. Trump began uttering the words of the Lord's Prayer]. This wasn't a prayer beseeching the presence of Almighty God, it felt theatrical and manipulative. 
People across the room were reciting it as if it were a pep squad cheer. At the close of the prayer, the room erupted in cheering. It was so uncomfortable. I observed that Mr. Trump did not recite the prayer until the very last line, "be the glory forever and ever, amen!" As he raised his hands in the air, evoking a cheer from the crowd, "USA! USA! USA!"

And then Rev. Tooley reports that the people who had just finished spitting out the words of the Lord's Prayer along with Melania Trump turned on the press and protesters, grabbing protesters in some cases, and threatening to "take them out." Rev. Tooley concludes that what he witnessed at this rally was not something salvific and redemptive, but its opposite: he witnessed a demonic weaponization of religion to pursue ends absolutely, unambiguously condemned by Jesus and the gospels.

Something tells me Father Lucie-Smith and The Herald may well not be ashamed for seeking to present Mr. Trump to the world as "a proper Christian." In that case, I'm royally ashamed on their behalf — and ashamed on behalf of all the (largely white) Catholics who continue to peddle, prop up, and propagate this toxic, hateful nonsense as an expression of authentic Christian values.

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' Father Lucie-Smith . . . . 

(I discovered Rev. Tooley's statement through an article about it by Lauren Markoe at Religion News Service.)

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