Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
Thousands of deeply religious Trump voters were in DC yesterday for the annual March for Life. They cheered Trump’s new Vice-President and his propaganda minister who touted their commitment to life in pious speeches. Later that same afternoon Mike Pence, who just hours before had described his crocodile tears for “young mothers and their unborn children” stood behind his new God as he signed a cowardly executive order persecuting legal US visa holders.
Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi is an Iraqi citizen who has worked with US forces in that country. He was on his way to join his wife and 7 year-old son in Texas when he was detained at JFK airport on the authority of that spiteful, pointless order. After ten years of dangerous work supporting our troops in Iraq, Alshawi cannot see his son, and cannot leave the airport, because of our President’s petty obsessions, and those of his supporters.
Care about a right to life? How does that concern translate to the “stranger” in your midst? Care about a right to life? Where is your concern for that very alive seven year old waiting for his father, his life thrown into limbo by an erratic, incompetent US President? It almost seems like the “right to life” movement has nothing whatsoever to do with life. In fact, it seems like these people care about nothing quite so much as limiting women’s control over their own sexuality.
Scour the scriptures. Read them backward and forward, upside down and sideways. You will not find one prohibition on abortion, a practice as old as civilization, maybe older. Meanwhile, you can drop a Bible open to a random page and likely find a passage condemning those who turn away refugees, strangers, the poor, the needy. Jesus was pretty explicit about the kind of matters that defined good and evil. Almost nothing in the present-day Republican Platform falls on Jesus’ good side.
‘America First’ has a dark history, a history utterly irreconcilable with Christian teaching and values. Slogans wielded by American Fascists in the 30’s have found their way back into our politics, rolling off the tongues of “conservative Christian” voters. We know what happened to refugees we refused back then. We know what that ideology, embraced by “good Christians” in the US and Germany and elsewhere produced. Though we may pretend ignorance, we know what will happen to the refugees we turn away now. We have no excuse.
Despite their proclaimed attachment to Jesus, who was himself a refugee from a Middle Eastern country rife with terrorism, so-called evangelical Christians backed Donald Trump at astonishing rates. White voters who call themselves “born again” gave Donald Trump higher support than they had given Mitt Romney or George Bush. But again, it was just the white ones. Curious, really, but somehow it is only the white Christians who see Donald Trump as their candidate. Either white Christians have some special insight on God’s will or the “white” part of their identity mattered a lot more than their “Christian” beliefs.
Those good, pious Christians who voted for Donald Trump have not offered help to Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi or his family or his not-so-precious, already-born child. But the ACLU will help them. Based on any sane reading of the Bible or Jesus’ own teachings, it is the ACLU, not the Republican Party or America’s “born-again” community, that is doing the work of God’s Kingdom in the world.
Looking at Jesus’ words, who is the Christian in this tableau? Who is the more genuine representative of Christ’s Kingdom in our world, evangelical Christian voters, or the ACLU?
“I have five brothers. Let him warn them so they will not also end up in this place of torment.” But Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the prophets; let your brothers listen to them.”
-Jesus Christ, again.