This week, I was proud of America’s Christians for speaking out against the Trump administration and its treatment of immigrants who are seeking asylum in the United States. The American Baptist Churches USA and members of the United Methodist Church rebuked U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Protestants and Catholics alike have denounced Trump for his immoral stance on the issue.
Since Trump’s campaign began in 2016, I’ve been appalled at how many Christians have continued to support an individual who has revealed himself to be a pathological liar, a racist, a sexist, a xenophobe, a con-man, and an adulterer. He has sexually assaulted women. He has deceived and cheated people. He has fanned the flames of hatred and divisiveness. He has exploited his office for his own unethical personal gains. He has bullied those who disagree with him. He has praised ruthless dictators. He has wasted taxpayer dollars on his pleasure trips. He has flouted our laws. His administration, many already agree, is the most corrupt in U.S. history.
We wouldn’t allow our own children act in these mean, dishonest ways. Why do people just shrug when the president of the United States does so?
Trump, his entire family, and the people he hires appear to be utterly devoid of any spirituality, compassion, charity, humility, or ethics. The majority of the U.S. Congress, meanwhile, remains silently complicit because they are more interested in protecting their own positions than standing up for what they know is right.
And yet millions of Americans still somehow believe that these individuals of low character are worthy leaders and role models. But how? How can Christians who support Trump possibly reconcile their churches’ teachings with their support of elected officials who disregard those teachings with their every decision? The two cannot be reconciled.
The values of the Catholic Church are clear in “The Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching” posted on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website, and I’m sure that Protestant denominations have similar declarations. Our Christian values should outweigh any political ideologies. Our goals of “building a just society and living lives of holiness” should always be more important than our selfish desires for political power to secure personal gains.
Lately, every week in Mass, our petitions have included a plea that our elected officials will act in ways that are right and just. In my own private prayers, I regularly ask the Holy Spirit to guide these leaders’ decisions.
However, as the Trump administration has continued its daily assault on my values, I’ve been forced to conclude — sadly — that these people are truly not interested in rising to the occasion, serving this country, and working to the best of their ability for the good of all. They seek only to remain in power by pandering to the basest aspects of human nature: fear, greed, prejudice, and so on. Surely, at least a few of these so-called leaders have had a few qualms about the actions they are taking or supporting. But they continue to put their own self-preservation above any higher ideals.
A few days ago, Stephanie Wilkinson asked the White House Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders, to leave the restaurant that Wilkinson owns because Wilkinson believes that the Trump administration is “inhumane and unethical.” Wilkinson explained, “I’m not a huge fan of confrontation, [but] this feels like a moment in our democracy when people have to make uncomfortable actions and decisions to uphold their morals.”
More of us need to follow Ms. Wilkinson’s example and do the same.