Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Politics doesn't exist in a vacuum. Neither does religion. In fact, politics (how we manage our societies) and religion (our understanding of divinity and our relation to divinity and thus to one another) are two of the most fundamental things that impact our lives and our society and the world at large. History is told from the perspective of how politics and religion shaped events. Politics and religion are almost always intertwined in some way or other.

This leads me one of Donald Trump's tweets yesterday, in which he stated "if there is no Wall, there is no DACA." This is the Wall (he capitalizes it) that, according to the Department of Homeland Security, will cost $21.6 billion (about the cost of one and a half aircraft carriers) to build and its efficacy is greatly disputed. This is the Wall that Trump said over and over again that Mexico would pay for. Now he wants you and I--Mr. and Mrs. American Taxpayer--to pay for it. But he's not asking us, he is demanding it and, essentially holding 800,000 people (the DACA "Dreamers") hostage in order to have his demands met.

Trump, by way of executive order, eliminated the DACA protections for these hundreds of thousands of young adults who were brought into the U.S. illegally as children--through no fault of their own--and who have been contributing to American society ever since. Trump then (in the infamous "shithole" meeting) torpedoed a bipartisan deal to reinstitute DACA legislatively. Now he appears to be running an old-fashioned mafia-style protection racket: "It would be a real shame if something bad were to happen to those Dreamers. Give me $21.6 billion and I'll make sure nothing bad happens." Now he has made clear his intention: to use the dreamers, and each of their futures, as leverage to get his Wall. This is despite the fact (or perhaps because of the fact) that both Democrats and Republicans overwhelmingly support DACA, as do 70-80% of Americans.

So here's where the religion part comes into the mix. 81% of white evangelical Christians voted for Donald Trump. But Christianity teaches that we should take care of the powerless in our midst: the marginalized, the poor, the immigrant, etc. Jesus confronted the powers of his day (the legalistic Pharisees, the opportunistic Sadducees, Herod and his administration, the Roman empire) by nonviolently but boldly exposing their hypocrisy and oppressiveness.

So why are so many Christians silent today about what Trump is doing to 800,000 DACA Dreamers? One would expect a deafening outcry from the followers of Jesus. Why isn't Trump's white evangelical Christian base--who he supposedly listens to--telling him that this is not acceptable?


Blogger Horseman Bree said...

The answer to that question is obvious to anyone living outside the American bubble: the Trump supporters are even less Christian than the average American (if that is possible). They have never actually read the Bible for comprehension; they have only heard preaching which supports their personal preferences (which include most of the seven Deadly Sins); and they certainly have not internalised the Two Great Commandments, even if they have heard them recited. Basically, the teachings of Christ are irrelevant to many, if not most, "Christians" in the US (and, to be fair, also in most other countries - but the proportion claiming to be Christian is much smaller outside the US, so their effect is less damaging).

2:32 PM  

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