I read this article today from the Washington Post: Trump’s Politicization of the National Prayer Breakfast is Unholy and Immoral.
Here are the first couple of paragraphs:
“At the 68th, and perhaps last, National Prayer Breakfast…Arthur C. Brooks…spoke on the themes of his wonderful 2019 book “Love Your Enemies.” President Trump then prefaced his speech by saying: “Arthur, I don’t know if I agree with you… I don’t know if Arthur’s going to like what I’m going to say.”
It was a strange moment in U.S. religious history. The command to love your enemies, of course, came from Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. “Love your enemies, bless those that curse you, do good to them that hate you.” It might be expected for a president to express how difficult obeying such a mandate can be. Trump decided to dispute the command itself.
Of course, the opinion piece went on to say how wrong it was of Trump to turn the Prayer Breakfast into a political speech and to “take shots at” his enemies rather than loving them. (To clarify, that’s what Trump was doing, when he said, “I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong. Nor do I like people who say, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ when I know that is not so.” Those were the examples used in the Washington Post piece of Trump failing to love his enemies. )
What excites me is that we can once again thank President Trump for helping Liberals understand a simple Bible truth which they have found complicated and even problematic for decades before.
What is “love”? And who are our “enemies?” And how do our answers to these questions affect the Progressives in their Quest for Social Justice?
Back when Obama was using the National Prayer Breakfast to talk about Islam and Christians who do evil, was he loving his enemies? When Mother Teresa condemned abortion at the Prayer Breakfast in 1994, was she loving hers?
I’ve noticed it’s much, much easier for people to answer these questions when they hear that The Orange Man said unflattering things about his enemies, in an apparent contradiction of Jesus’ clear words about love and forgiveness and humility, etc. etc.
But when it’s a gay teenager or a Stay-at-Home mother or a black businessman who feels that he or she has been mistreated, we suddenly want to argue that quoting Jesus’ words is tantamount to “biblical abuse.” (Here’s an entire book that was written about the history of quoting Scripture to cover up injustice.)
“Loving our enemies” is complicated for everyone in America–except for Donald Trump, who should just do the obvious thing and be more like Jesus.
For the record, I agree that Donald Trump is extremely arrogant and self-focused. I can’t stand listening to him speak for more than a few minutes, because he seems to think he’s the most important and interesting person in the world. And when something unfair happens to him?… oh, my goodness, we will hear about it forever after. It’s as if he believes that no one has ever been more strong, smart, and powerful while also taking the role of the most lowly, abused victim in the world.
Sound familiar, America?
This President represents us perfectly.
We know exactly what the Bible says about loving our enemies, but when someone lies about us…gas-lights us… asks us to use a nursing cover in public… what do we do?
We encourage each other to fight.
Stand up for your rights!
Stop letting those Bible Thumpers use their cherry-picked Scripture to silence your story!
Thank you, Donald Trump, for once again helping us embrace a concept that isn’t nearly as “grey” as we’ve been pretending for decades.
Thank you for revealing our hypocrisy and giving us the chance to practice what we preach.
God, help us.