Friday, November 24, 2017

So Much For The Weak, Lowly, And Destitute

"Hope springs eternal," as the cliche has it. And hope sprang (sprang?) eternal with two Presbyterian ministers who prayed with President-Elect Trump in December.

The tall Scott Black Johnston is senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica, Qeens, at which Donald Trump's mother Mary was a member and her son baptized and confirmed. Patrick H. O'Connor is the senior pastor of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in the borough of Manhattan, closer to Trump Tower than any church.

Neither minister considers himself an evangelical and clearly neither is right-of-center politically. On the CNN website the day before Trump was inaugurated, they wrote

We hope, Mr. Trump, as you begin to lead this country, that you and your administration will listen to a diversity of Christians, and a diversity of leaders from other faiths, too. Local churches (and synagogues and mosques) are on the front lines as our nation seeks to address its most pressing issues: racism, homelessness, immigration, health care, economic opportunity and opiate addiction. We try to be mindful of how Scripture instructs us, over and over, to "give justice to the weak and the orphan; maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute." (Psalm 82:3)

How is that working out for the houses of worships which want the federal government to address "racism, hopelessness, immigration, health care, economic opportunity and opiate addiction?"  Answers come almost daily, and one came from The New York Times earlier this week as

The Trump administration is ending a humanitarian program that has allowed some 59,000 Haitians to live and work in the United States since an earthquake ravaged their country in 2010, Homeland Security officials said on Monday.

Haitians with what is known as Temporary Protected Status will be expected to leave the United States by July 2019 or face deportation.

The decision set off immediate dismay among Haitian communities in South Florida, New York and beyond, and was a signal to other foreigners with temporary protections that they, too, could soon be asked to leave.

About 320,000 people now benefit from the Temporary Protected Status program, which was signed into law by President George Bush in 1990, and the decision on Monday followed another one last month that ended protections for 2,500 Nicaraguans.

Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, is still struggling to recover from the earthquake and relies heavily on money its expatriates send to relatives back home. The Haitian government had asked the Trump administration to extend the protected status...

Haitians are the second-largest group of foreigners with temporary status. The protection is extended to people already in the United States who have come from countries crippled by natural disasters or armed conflict that prevents their citizens from returning or prevents their country from adequately receiving them. The government periodically reviews each group’s status and decides whether to continue the protections.

The program was ripe for elimination once Trump realized

The Obama administration renewed the protections for Haitians several times, after determining that conditions in Haiti remained precarious. But the Trump administration, which has sought greater controls on immigration, has said that the program, which was intended to provide only temporary relief, has turned into a permanent benefit for tens of thousands of people.

We wouldn't want that to happen, would we- helping the destitute permanently?  Reverend Johnston and Reverend O'Connor are in good company.   The President's right-wing agenda goes on, and all the efforts of well-meaning, patriotic individuals, ministers, Al Gore and others, to explain inconvenient truths amount to nothing next to the pursuit of Trump family profit and the right-wing agenda of the GOP.

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