Rev. William Barber, the founder of the Poor Peoples Church, reacted to Trump’s declaration that churches are essential” by saying, “church buildings are important, but after all, they are just buildings”. Barber also said, ” those buildings are not more important than doing the lords work- like helping the poor, blind, sick, lame, the leper. That’s what Jesus did”.
Trump Is the phoniest proponent of Christianity walking the planet. He even sounds insincere when he touts the importance of prayer. He sounded like a delusional conspiracy theorist this week claiming restrictions on going back into the churches is a movement by the Democrats to mistreat religious Christians. His declarations are never backed up with evidence, he just makes up lies to rally his fans. His position is stupid because there are as many practicing Christian Democrats in this country as there are Republican Christians. He cannot fool those who know how politically and narcissistically motivated he is. His statement is a blatant dog-whistle to right-wing evangelicalls whose vote he needs to have a chance at winning re-election.
When asked in the past about his favorite Bible passage, Trump could not recount one. He said, “there are just too many to name”. Translated this might mean, “there is no way I have read the Bible enough to recall anything”. Based on many of the proverbs, he is also a sinner. Adultery in particular is named countless times in the proverbs as a dastardly sin. The Bible talks about compassion, empathy, charity. Trump’s lacks these traits. However, he has concocted a pseudo-religious persona who espouses the importance of religion, the Bible, and church without actually practicing any of the teachings. He is quite the salesman and has found a way to rally the religious-right around his words, and to ignore his egregious actions.
If the evangelicals looked into Trump’s seedy history, they would have to confront their own hypocrisy. Jesus preached against lying, cheating, adultery, and self-obsession. He was devoted to helping the sick, the poor, and spreading love. Trump’s behavior aligns with nothing similar to Jesus’ s view of a good person. His Trump Foundation Charity was a scam and it cost him millions of dollars in legal fines. Unless his supporters want to reinterpret what Jesus meant when he talked about goodness and virtue, it’ s time to admit their own religious hypocrisy. If they admit this, they will at least eliminate one character flaw of their own.
In contrast to Trump, Joe Biden is a man who talks about faith, suffering, recovery, love, and public service with warmth and emotional intelligence. He uses feeling words when he talks about his personal tragedies and those feelings come through in the tone of his voice. There is no bragging about himself, rather he focuses on how we all need to care about and help each other. Biden is Catholic and often quotes scripture and describes how he follows these teachings in his life. Trump is crass, angry, vindictive, arrogant, and dishonest. The pandering to his religious base is an act for votes.Who will Trump blame if his rush to reopen America causes the virus to spread and lead to a spike in deaths? Infection rates are still increasing in states that voted for Trump in 2020, but this hasn’t stopped him and his supporters from waging war against masks and congregating.
Many faith leaders across the country have spoken out against Trump’s rush to re-open churches in fear for the safety of their congregations. Sensible clergy have found ways to continue to worship with their congregations virtually showing patience, maturity, and authentic faith.The president has dangerous ideas like taking Lysol to treat COVID and that masks are optional. He takes unnecessary risks like taking hydroxychloroquine despite warnings that it can cause heart- related deaths.Large gatherings are considered dangerous by all the scientists working to fight this disease, yet Trump is beckoning Christians to church this Sunday. Hopefully, Americans will choose life and health over listening to the politically,- motivated, dangerous leadership of a president whose actions related to COVID-19 has devastated America. The world may think he is a joke, but Americans aren’t laughing.