“The constitutional freedom of religion is the most inalienable and sacred of all human rights.” Thomas Jefferson
Virginia Board of Visitors Minutes – 1819
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I am a Christian. I am a Christian Pastor. I am a Christian Pastor of a Lutheran Church. I could easily write about the sickening comments of Mr. Trump from a “Jesus” perspective and make a strong argument based on any number of Biblical texts teaching us that redemptive violence is not even remotely how a Christian is to respond to anything…at all…ever. As Christians, as followers of Jesus, we are to respond in a way OTHER than violence.
After all, Jesus was arrested, beaten, whipped, and executed…what was his response? How did Jesus respond to violence done directly to him? Don’t the followers of Jesus believe that God, the Son of God, the Prince of Peace, the Creator of ALL things could have responded in force? Doesn’t Jesus say in Matthew 26 that He could have called upon an army of angels (“more than twelve legions” actually – Matthew 26:53) if he wanted to? But no…Jesus says very clearly “PUT AWAY YOUR SWORD!” (vs 52…my paraphrase). Jesus’ response to direct and brutal violence?
“PUT AWAY YOUR SWORD”
So, as a Christian Pastor I say with my very small public voice to Mr. Trump,
“Stop being a freakin’ idiot and put away your damn sword!!” (bold print intended)
I know as a Pastor I shouldn’t be political. I am after all a pastor to people with opinions all over the political map. I love clean debate with thoughtful people about ideas and philosophies that are different than mine. This is how we grow. This is how we learn. Compromise (contrary to many politicians opinions today) IS the way of democracy.
But what happened yesterday is no longer a sharing and debating of ideas. It is no longer philosophical. It is no longer one side mud-slinging to the other side. What happened yesterday is scary and anyone who knows anything about history knows that it is scary.
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I understand that my opening comments are from a Christian perspective and that not everyone is a Christian…not everyone is on the same page when it comes to using the Bible, faith, theology or the Jesus story to arrive at a plea to Mr. Trump to put down his freakin’ sword. That is ok…in fact it is more than ok. It is the point of this country. It is the point of our society, our way of life. We don’t have to all use our religion to to find common ground. We can use our humanity and it is our humanity that our founding documents lift up as the starting place for all that our society holds dear.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (people) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
Preamble – Declaration of Independence
July 4, 1776
One of those rights made explicit in the Bill of Rights reads as follows:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Bill of Rights: Third Article
Did you read that? No law prohibiting the free exercise of Religion? Mr. Trump said this as reported by CNN.com,
“I think we should definitely disallow any Muslims from coming in. Any of them. The reason is simple: we can’t identify what their attitude is,”
Mr. Trump…do you realize what you are saying when you say this crap? Do you realize that even though you clearly are not acting as a person who follows Jesus (again…which is fine in a country with Freedom of Religion as a value), do you realize that you also are not acting as an American? That freedom of speech, freedom of religion…hell, even freedom of “attitude” are all allowed and celebrated in this country! Are you really this hateful or are you actually that dense, that blind, that oblivious, that power-hungry for the highest office in the land, that freakin’ stupid? Really Mr. Trump? Really?
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This is not a religion issue (though I approach it as one). This is not a political issue (though I certainly fall on a specific side of the isle). This is most certainly a ‘humanity’ issue. If this country was based on ANYTHING…it wasn’t simply freedom, but rather humanity. It was founded on a basic principal that people should be treated equally not because of their religion, their citizenship, their color, their income, their education, or even their attitude (Mr. Trump…that is aimed at you). It is founded on the basics of humanity and respect of others…why? Because we exist…because we breathe…because we all experience pain and joy…because we are human…
Mr. Trump, if you don’t give a shit about humans, if you don’t give a shit about people, if you want to “keep them out” then stop calling other people weak and foolish and take a good look in the mirror.
Strength? Stand up for humanity…
Courage? Protect freedom of religion…
Wisdom? Defend the Bill of Rights for more than only Evangelical Christians…
Mr. Trump…you may have the money to run for President…but you most certainly don’t have the strength, courage nor wisdom for the gig. Get the hell off of the podium and go back to reality TV and make room for respectable candidates on BOTH sides.