Donald Trump’s recent statement on preventing Muslim immigration to the United States deserves to be rejected and condemned with the strongest language possible. This call for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on” is another in a string of statements and positions that should disqualify Trump from holding elected office in the United States. This statement against Muslims goes against America’s most central values.
I refrained from writing about Trump on my blog because I viewed him spouting buffoonish statements in an effort to stroke his ego. I thought drawing any attention to him, even in the form of negative criticism, only gave him what he wanted. His current lead in national GOP primary polls has not concerned me given the diluted field of candidates. My assumption has been if there were fewer candidates, more voter support would coalesce around a more mainstream Republican.
But when a figure gains regular national attention and has been able to shape political debate, it is responsible to name and condemn his malicious rhetoric. This uncivil rhetoric has been particularly aimed at Latinos, African Americans, women, and Muslims. As others have pointed out, we have seen throughout history how language like Trump’s marks the beginning of nativistic movements and scapegoating of minorities, including the internment of Japanese Americans. I applaud members of the Republican party, like House Speaker Paul Ryan, for unequivocally condemning Trump’s recent statement.
Trump preys on human fears. He does not call us to be better versions of ourselves. His ugly and imprecise language pulls on emotions, but does not lead us to rational thought. Xenophobia, racism, and sexism are entirely unwelcome in our body politic.
Trump calls himself a Christian. I see little of Christ in these and other divisive statements he has made. Jesus did not belittle others. He did not engage in demagoguery. He certainly did not vilify whole swaths of people in response to the evil actions of a few. Christ calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Luke 10.27). He goes further and demands his followers love their enemies (Matthew 5.44). Trump’s positions show little love for others unlike himself. He professes a love for an imaginary America that never existed and would be a nightmare if it did. Selfless love for the orphan, widow, and stranger dominate God’s political agenda (see: Psalm 146). Trump’s fictional America is marked by xenophobia and utter selfishness.
I largely stayed silent as Trump maligned my Latino, female, and African American friends and neighbors. But my silence was a mistake and I will no longer keep quiet as he demonizes my Muslim friends and neighbors.
I pray for God to forgive Trump the man and to bring him to repentance. I also pray God would damn his presidential campaign.