Featuring essays by Elizabeth George on the future of our country


Along with the start of the GOP convention in its various locations, the Republican party through the Republican National Committee announced that--in a departure with tradition and in contradiction to the principle of open discourse and compromise among party members and delegates--there will be no Republican platform in the 2020 election. Instead, the GOP has announced it will stand behind their platform for 2016, and the GOP will additionally align itself with any future executive orders, plans, and programs that their candidate Donald Trump comes up with. At the moment, the plans and programs are a rather difficult to figure out, so we are left with wondering whether the past is indeed prologue or an array of people within the halls of government are beavering away on what the next four years should look like and feel like.

This puts the voters of America into a position from which they might have to choose between the various programs and strategies being offered in the Democratic platform available for view at demconvention.com or trusting a single individual's vision of what America should look like and be like as it moves into the third decade of the 21st Century.

I remain, admittedly, confused by the support being given to Mr. Trump from various groups of individuals who have been hurt by his executive orders and his actions during the last four years but among all these people, I am most confused by the support of people calling themselves Evangelical Christians, Pentecostal Christians, Charismatic Christians, Reformed Christians, etc. I also remain, admittedly, confused by the support being given to Trump from anyone professing an adherence to the Bible, the Word of God, or the Teachings of Jesus. Whether the individual is a member of a long-organized Christian religion like Catholicism or a more recent religion like Mormonism, it seems to me that support given to Donald Trump requires a Christian either to ignore or to obfuscate the meaning of at least two remarks attributed to Jesus of Nazareth in the Bible.

The first is from the Gospel According to Matthew. It has various translations but each comes down to: "For whatever you have done to these, the least of my brethren, you have done to me."

The second is also from the Gospel According to Matthew which, in the King James Version, is: "But Jesus said 'Suffer little children and forbid them not to come unto me. For of such is the kingdom of heaven.'"

In the spirit of full disclosure, I must say that although I was baptized Roman Catholic, although I went to parochial schools for eleven of my first twelve years of education, and although I attended church every Sunday and confessed my sins every other Saturday afternoon lest I be hit by a truck and die unshriven, I am not now a practicing Catholic nor have I attended a Catholic church service aside from weddings and funerals since I was 19 years old. But having attended Mass and having gone to Catholic schools for so long, I remember things: the names of many saints (very helpful in interpreting both medieval and Renaissance art), the Ten Commandments, at least three of the eight Beatitudes, what each depiction of each station of the cross stands for, the names of most of the Holy Days of Obligation, and the entire opening of the Mass in Latin. None of this, of course, makes me either a good Christian or a devout Catholic. These things just make me someone who likes to be able to understand religious art and religious symbols, a person who--given a Trivial Pursuit: Christianity Edition--would probably do fairly well.

It is because of the things I do remember that I find myself so deeply confused by the support given to Donald Trump from people who espouse the ideals of a life that follows the teachings Jesus of Nazareth, especially with regard to the two aforementioned quotations from the Gospel According to Matthew. Looking at those quotes, I am inclined to ask what the current administration has done for the least of its brethren? In a society such as ours in which the acquisition of money and possessions distinguishes people of value from people of lesser value, I assume that in the eyes of the administration "the least of my brethren" would be the poor, the working class poor, factory workers, miners, farm laborers, people suffering from drug addiction or mental illness, the homeless, the uninsured...The list stretches on and on. And I assume that an evaluation of candidates, made by a person affiliated with any form of Christianity, would have to include an examination of what the candidate has done for "the least of [his] brethren," for that is what Jesus of Nazareth is directing them toward.r

And in the second quotation about suffering the little children to come unto [Him], Jesus of Nazareth is not allowing children to be shooed away from Him as if they are lesser mortals unworthy of His time and attention. This seems to demand of adherents to Jesus's teachings an examination of exactly how the little children are being "suffered" by the Administration. It seems to ask Christians to pause and to say to themselves and each other, "What has happened to any and all children during the time of this Administration?"

I have watched very, very little of the Republican National Convention. Although I have turned it on three times, the amount of hatred being spewed and encouraged by the speakers has disturbed and sickened me. The number of lies being told has come close to breaking my heart. While I understand that--at the end of the day--people vote their own self-interest, I find myself wondering if this is indeed what Jesus of Nazareth would have people do.

Let me not lie about it here: the re-election of Donald Trump would do very little to hurt me. But I believe there comes a time when we are asked to set aside self-interest in the cause of something far greater ourselves.

I think this is what Jesus of Nazareth did. But then, that's just how I interpret the life He led and the way He died.

Elizabeth George



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