Dear President Trump

Loving My Enemy

Dear President Trump. Tear Gas????  I am undone. The most powerful person in the world is afraid of poor, terrorized, non-white parents and children.  Rather than deal with them fairly, justly, legally…. you gas them.  Does your fear know no end?  With all your millions and your 1% friends with their billions… you fear people legally seeking asylum.  Your America is not great.  It’s a gated community of frightened, spoiled, rich people hiding behind their walls. The Cows of Bashan have nothing on you. King Herod also knew fear around this season two millennia ago.  A child, from the backwater of Galilee, born in a barn in Bethlehem, scared him to death. Herod slaughtered an entire community of children because he feared a baby.  You, of course, are civilized.  You just gas them.  Like you, Herod got rid of people because he feared them.  Like you, Herod relied on sycophant priests and soothsayers of his day to bolster his ego and plot the future.  Like you, Herod divorced his wife to marry another and another and another. Like you, Herod built a high walled edifice, Masada, to hide behind and keep the riff raff out.  Like you, Herod abandoned God in favor of personal power and greed.  Question… Like you, Herod had many chances to repent of his evil actions and care for all people.  Herod refused to be just and loving and compassionate in his dealings with his own citizens and foreigners.  Herod made his choice.  What will you choose?  112918.

Dear President Trump. 14,000 children now in ‘custody’. Their crime? Scaring you…  With questionable courage you face down Fake News, Demonic Democrats and nefarious North Koreans.  But the kids need to be imprisoned with less rights than convicted criminals.  They terrorize Republicans.  They threaten America, arguably the greatest nation on earth.  They deserve to be sent away to die of starvation, illness, and/or torture and neglect.  Dear God, Mr. President, we treat prisoners of war with more compassion than you offer children from other countries.  Their crime is wanting to be American.  You are not making America Great Again.  You are making the rich and powerful of all your crony countries more rich and powerful. You support dictators and demagogues around the world.  You make yourself the world’s buffoon.  We Americans are an embarrassment to compassionate, justice loving people around the world.  Indeed, we have attained greatness. We are the world’s great American joke.  Macbeth described your world best.

“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”

Are you enjoying your strut? God has forgiven you, if you desire it… 112518.

Dear President Trump. This Thanksgiving I fear I am failing in my task of loving you. In my heart I spend more time hating your behavior, your politics, your duplicitous morality. Oh, I couch it in terms of obeying Christ’s commandment to love you, my enemy. But deep within me is a sadness, and anger, even a fear of you. At the heart of my failure to love you is my belief that you do not practice the love and discipleship of Christ that you profess and preach. Simply put your actions do not match your words. To be honest, neither do mine all too much of the time. That is why we Christians live in covenant community, why we are part of the ‘church’. We expect our sisters and brothers to help us act out the faith we profess. It’s a messy, often painful process. So, in my weakness and imperfection I write to you with as much love as I can muster. I will be a faithful law abiding citizen. But, I expect you to be a faithful, law abiding president. Please feel free to let me know if I am failing. I will continue to critique you with as much love as God gives me. 112418.

Dear President Trump. Thirty pieces of silver.  That was the price paid Judas to betray Jesus.  No, Judas did not kill Jesus.  I don’t believe he even hated Jesus.  He might even have been trying to prod Jesus into acting against the establishment.   But he made a deal with powerful people to sell out a powerful communicator, a trouble maker, an outsider.  You sold out Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi.  For so much more than 30 pieces of silver you put a price on the head of every journalist you ever disagreed with.  If the price is right, any journalist that any demagogue disagrees with, is fair game.  My father was a journalist.  A staunch conservative Republican, he hated corruption, greedy politicians and moral turpitude of any kind.  Fearlessly, he challenged greedy people and evil institutions regardless of their importance or value.  For his efforts, he endured criticism, ridicule and threats.  But he trusted his government and its institutions of justice to have his back.  You have destroyed that trust for anyone who might criticize you or your friends.  You have established the price for dictators everywhere to silence their critics.  Worse, you have given them permission to do just what you have done. You have sold out the 1stAmendment of our American constitution because you fear losing the ephemeral friendship and patronage of a foreign country. God forgive you.  I’m trying, but it is so very hard. 112218,

Dear President Trump. An armed security guard saved patrons of a club from a gunman by shooting at him, chasing him, and tackling the shooter.  Police arrived on the scene.  The shooter was white. The guard subduing the shooter was black.  The police shot and killed the black security guard.  Patrons tried to explain the guard was the hero. The shooter was taken into custody without injury.  And you want to arm untrained teachers, preachers and other civilians to meet out justice against gunmen bent on mass murder.  How dumb do you think we are?  You and the NRA are just painting a target on our backs, saying “Shoot me first.”  Jesus had an amazing comment on situations like this, “Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.”  That may not work for you because I assume you expect others to lie, cheat and steal from you as you do from them.  But most Americans expect to be treated with fairness, justice, kindness and yes, at times forgiveness and mercy.  We therefore teach our children to act accordingly.  God forgive you for turning neighbors into enemies because of the color of their skin, their poverty or their gender.  God forgive you for encouraging racism, misogyny, and solving problems with guns and anger and hatred.  In my anger I would have you treated with the same vileness and disdain and ugliness you perpetrate on others.  I would have God do unto you what you have done to others.  But God will continue to love you and forgive you and set you on a better path.  I pray it happens soon.  11.14.18

Dear President Trump. King David abandoned a faithful soldier, Uriah the Hittite, to be killed by the Ammonites in battle.  Uriah was a good soldier.  His fatal mistake was having a beautiful wife, Bathsheba. After getting Bathsheba pregnant, David tried to cover it up by inviting Uriah home from the war to report and, of course to sleep with his wife and thus protect David.  Uriah refused the comfort of hearth and home while other soldiers suffered in battle.  Frustrated, David sent him back to the front lines with a note which was his own death warrant.  David showed contempt for a good soldier and callously abused loyal troops.  I suspect they lost faith in David as a King.  You, haven’t yet ordered a soldiers death to cover up your misdeeds, that we know of.  But to send American men and women into harm’s way and then deny them the right to have their votes counted in an election is callous, cruel and very Un-American.  Yet that is exactly what you are doing in the State of Florida’s elections.  They can bleed and die for you and our country but they cannot have their votes counted. You have abandoned them. They can swear allegiance to America but if they threaten your grasping for power, you spit in their faces, deny them the vote, with barely a shrug.  Is it fear that drives you to dishonor them and yourself? A reminder… Jesus says, ‘Fear Not’… You and I have much to repent my enemy.  111218

Dear President Trump. I am not much for quoting scripture as a weapon against others.  But every once in a while I come across a passage that slaps me in the face.  “But for the cowardly and unbelieving, and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters, and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Fortunately for both of us, I trust God’s love and forgiving Grace more than I trust an author’s desire for blood and revenge.  But then I heard you were cowardly enough to let rain stop you from honoring dead American soldiers from WWI. You sent the marines, General John Kelly, in your place. Yes, you may visit another cemetery later.  God knows I’ve been a coward at times, too.  But dear God, man, borrow an umbrella!!!  Your reputation as a tough guy is cracking. Sending troops to the border to repel the poor, the sick, the terrorized and their children.  Sending a marine to do your duty at a memorial.  Some of us may wonder if you really had bone spurs. What we know you do have, is the need to repent and act like the follower of Christ you claim to be. I do so pray.  111018.

Dear President Trump. Thank you. As a white middle class pastor I was raised on a theology of the coming “Kingdom of God”. My more conservative friends saw this as a supernatural experience, including variations such as: rapture, lakes of fire, angels battling demons and Christ returning earth to on a mighty steed to punish the evil, reward the faithful and rule forever on earth and in heaven. More sedate protestants simply expected they would rationally convince everyone to bring about the “Reign of God” on earth. Both sides kind of expected to wrap things up by the year 2000. One student gathering in the 1950’s had a huge banner proclaiming, “Hang On Jesus, Here We Come!!!” Took me far too long to get over everyone’s triumphalist gibberish. Oh, I childishly continued to hope we could draw things to a successful religious conclusion in my lifetime. But, alas, you have cured me of that fantasy. Your too successful championing of racism, sexism, misogyny, lust, greed, the desire for power, fear of “The Other” (the list goes on and on) has convinced me that Pollyanna had nothing on me. Instead, as I approach the completion of my seventh decade on this planet that God declared “GOOD” at creation… I find myself driven to the most fearful words of your and my Lord, “Take up your cross, and follow me.” So be it. 110818.

Dear President Trump. You were quoted today about the latest synagogue shooting, “”There must be no tolerance for anti-Semitism in America or for any form of religious or racial hatred or prejudice,” I whole heartedly agree. Sometimes, especially close to elections, you come out with almost liberal statements. Would it surprise you that most of the potential immigrants on our southern border are Christians? They worship the same Jesus that Pat Robertson, Franklin Graham and you worship. Why do you persecute, demonize and ridicule these Christians? Why do you make Christian Americans fear and loathe them? Jesus, of course said, ‘let the children come unto me…’ I doubt he meant tear them from their parents and put them in concentration camps. And yes, you and I represent Jesus on earth. Please remember your own words…”no tolerance for anti-Semitism in America or for any form of religious or racial hatred or prejudice,”. Good words. May God hold you and I to them. 102718.

Dear President Trump. Good people can make any system run well.  Bad people can destroy the best of systems. That’s why politics is so personal.   Some think you’re good and love you. Some think you are evil and hate you…. because it’s not the system, but the people that count.  I have been in democratic countries, socialist countries, communist countries, dictatorships, monarchies and anarchies. Some of each have worked wonderfully for the people. Some of each have been cruel and perverse abominations. All of history tells similar stories. It is the character of the people and the leaders that produce justice, prosperity and well being for all people instead of just the rich and powerful classes. As a former prosecutor I have seen justice carved out of horrible legal dilemmas and I have witnessed people destroyed by miscarriages of the legal system we live under. I have witnessed my government act with nobility, grace and bountiful generosity…. and I have seen pettiness, greed and needless pain inflicted on innocents by that same government.  I do not believe God cares one whit about our lofty ideas or grandiose promises or the minutia of our government. God cares about our actions. Are we using our government our laws and our patriotism to care for all people or just the select few. Inquiring people want to know. God wants to know.  You talk a grand game my enemy. But people are beginning to laugh at you to your face. God help you, and all of us, if your talk is just hot air. 093018.