“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48)
At today’s National Prayer Breakfast, President Donald J. Trump refused to accept that Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) made a faith-based decision when he voted “guilty” on the First Article of Impeachment against Trump for abusing his Presidential power in furtherance of his own re-election campaign.
He refused to believe devout Catholic and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would pray for him. And he made sure to do it in front of an audience that included the Speaker herself.
It is one thing to disagree with someone on matters of policy. To pretend you know someone’s heart for their faith and basically call them a liar is another matter altogether.
Everyone’s faith journey is uniquely their own, even when you sit through something as liturgical as a Catholic Mass.
Each person sits in their house of faith carrying their own personal hopes, dreams, burdens and worries. This is the uniquely personal relationship we have (if we are believers) with a God who seems at times remote, inscrutable – even contrarian – to us.
But for Christians, if Christ is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy and represents the new Ark of the Covenant, the new Temple, then it is on his Gospel that we should base our actions.
I am far from perfect in doing this. A former GOP voter who has been against Trump’s presidency since he announced his candidacy, I have tweeted things that in any other situation I would never have done.
But I have done so with the conviction that I am speaking out for democracy, the preservation of the Constitution and the Republic, and trying to point out the dangers of the slide into fascist autocracy we seemingly are headed.
I have done so with the conviction Trump was never qualified – by experience, temperament, or character – to lead this country.
I wish I were as good a Christian as Speaker Pelosi and could say I have prayed for Trump personally, although recently I have become genuinely concerned about the state of his health. He seems unwell to me, sometimes beyond animated, other times as if he is drugged.
This is more than “Trump being Trump.” If he is facing a mental and physical decline of some sort, and his Cabinet, staff and family are covering for this, it not only goes to being against the interests of the nation, but also against his personal interest.
You don’t feed delusion with fantasy.
I do pray for the nation, for good governance, for wisdom of leadership.
Following the path of Christ -the Way of the Cross- is not easy to tread. As he stumbled, fell, and rose again throughout his march down the Via Dolorosa, so do we who call ourselves Christians in our own daily lives.
But it is clear in Christ’s words that we don’t judge one another’s faith as we make our individual walk.
Perhaps if we better accepted this, we might better tolerate each other even within our political divides.