Saturday, December 12, 2015

Faith, Like God, Works In Mysterious Ways

Members of Rutgers Presbyterian Church in New York City, "horrified by Mr. Trump's call to deny people entry to our country based solely on their religion," have approved a resolution asking that the appropriate bodies of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. "review" the Republican's "standing/membership in our denomination." (Registering American citizens on the basis of their religion evidently is O.K., but never mind.)

Trump identifies as "a Presbyterian" (by which he means the PCUSA rather than the Presbyterian Church in America or the Orthodox Presbyterian Church) but no longer attends the church in which he was baptized nor any other in the denomination.  Hence, the PCUSA- which has definitively and publicly supported immigrants and refugees- has determined there is nothing it can do.

That's probably fortunate because individual churches in sects based on the divinity of Jesus Christ already read too many people out of their congregations. Still, Rutgers Presbyterian Church is not alone in believing Jesus would have been far more welcoming than Trump of the strangers in our midst.

Carly Fiorina, too, has criticized Trump because he wants "to use a religious test and ban people from coming into this country," though it's understandable she would knock anyon who has called her ugly. But Fiorina, a nominal Episcopalian, has more in common with the GOP's leading presidential candidate than either she or Trump ever would acknowledge.

The Art of the Deal, Trump contended in August, of one of his books, is "my second favorite book of all-time. Do you know what my first is? The Bible! Nothing beats the Bible." (Also, "Nobody Beats The Wiz.")  It didn't take his befuddlement at being asked what his favorite verse is to figure out that Trump was blowing smoke up our posterior.  Similarly, Fiorina was posturing- or hopefully, she was- when at The Faith and Freedom Conference last month she maintained (video below)

I do think it's worth saying that people of faith make better leaders because faith gives us humility, faith teaches us that on one of us is greater than any other one of us, that each of us are gifted by God. Faith gives us empathy, we know that all of us can fall and every one of us can be redeemed.  And faith gives us optimism, it gives us the belief that there is something better,that there is someone bigger than all of us. And so I think it's important that we elect a leader of faith and that we elect a leader, as well, who knows that more prayer,not less, is necessary in public life and in all our lives.

Faith gives us humility, empathy, and optimism. It appears faith also gave us Syed

Farook, an American citizen, (who) worked for the San Bernardino County Department of Health for the past few years and had a young daughter, his shocked father told the Daily News.

“I haven’t heard anything,” the elder Syed Farook told The News before his son’s name became public. “He was very religious. He would go to work, come back, go to pray, come back. He’s Muslim.”

And while apparently still very religious and filled with faith, Syed Farook went out and murdered 14 people at a Christmas/Chanukah/New Year's party in San Bernardino, California.

There is an obvious superficiality, as well as hostility and economic self-interest, enervating Donald Trump.   However, Donald Trump is not the only candidate in the GOP race making things up, nor is immigration/refugee policy the prime topic for dishonesty. Consider the feces being tossed around by Fiorina, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio about Planned Parenthood.

"Faith" may be the only issue more abused than abortion. Faith can be confidence that the New England Traitors will be in the NFL playoffs this season, that snow will fall in upstate New York this winter, or that ISIL will not be obliterated in the next month or two.  It is what also motivates many terrorists, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, and innumerable politicans for whom it's a convenient catchword meant to please some and offend none.

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