Thursday, July 18, 2019

I Refuse to Hate: People of Faith Challenge GOP Racism, or What's Wrong with the U.S. Catholic Bishops?!

Chris Morley comments on Bilgrimage,

Are we supposed to notice how "robust", "emphatic", "Christian" and "loud" the USCCB response has been in opposing tRump's overt racism? 
Is The Onion in charge of their latest News Releases? 
USCCB Purchases Translation of Psalms and Canticles from Conception Abbey.

Chris's comment strikes me as on the mark. Just yesterday, I shared the following statement on social media:

People keep asking when the U.S. Catholic bishops will speak out about Father Pavone's perversion of the gospels, about Trump's ugly racist statements, about attacks on immigrants and abuse of children of immigrants. 
The U.S. Catholic bishops have ALREADY spoken as a body in 2016. They spoke loudly and clearly with their ominous silence as Trump rose to power. They told us all we need to know about them and their abdication of pastoral and moral leadership by that silence. 
What they told us is that, as a body, they wanted Donald Trump and not Hillary Clinton in the White House. 
Anyone who has watched their handling of the abuse horror show, in which the abandonment of pastoral and moral leadership could not be plainer, should not be surprised.

And, in a just-published essay, my friend Wendell Griffen, who pastors New Millennium Baptist church in Little Rock, Arkansas (and is a judge), entitled "Why claims of many 'evangelical Christians' to be followers of Jesus ring hollow," 

If you are wondering why this matters, remember that the German Christian community cooperated with and endorsed “patriotic” Adolf Hitler and the Nazi movement Hitler led in 1933 – despite all its racist and nationalist aspects – the same way so-called "evangelical Christians" are cooperating with, endorsing and cheering anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and anti-people of color policies of the Trump administration today. 
Remember that German pastors and church leaders were silent, or even cheered, as Hitler demonized Jews, Catholics, persons of color, immigrants and LGBTQ persons. 
The complacency and complicity of German Christians in the heresies of ultra-nationalism, racism and ethnocentrism and faux patriotism seem very similar to what one sees, reads and hears today from many so-called evangelical Christians in the United States. Recall that 81 percent of the people who self-identified as evangelical Christians voted for Trump in 2016. Trump is courting that voting bloc in his 2020 reelection campaign.

Here's another statement I shared on social media yesterday, which, to my mind, fits into the theme Wendell develops in this passage:

On the flight from Atlanta to Little Rock this afternoon, a little boy in the seat ahead of me began crying piteously as the plane descended. His father in the seat next to him picked him up, held him close, talked to him. 
I heard the father say the name Allah to his son. They were middle Eastern. 
I am told by the powers that be that these are people I must hate. 
I refuse to hate. The father’s tender solicitude for his little boy moved me to tears. 
The flight attendants were not nice. The father asked one, a young white woman, for water for his son, because his ears were hurting and swallowing might help. She did not offer assistance. 
An older flight attendant, an African-American woman, then came and demanded that the father strap his son in for the descent. She was not nice. 
The father strapped his son in and spent the descent leaning into the little boy’s seat and comforting him. 
I will not hate those I am told to hate. In this father’s love for his son, I saw God, the only kind of God who makes any sense to me. 
I refuse to hate. 

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