Monday, July 15, 2019

Who Is My Neighbor?

It's not exactly shocking that the guy who was fined for refusing to rent to black people and called for a ban on Muslims and called Mexicans rapists and called Puerto Ricans lazy and called for the execution of innocent black teens and equivocated with his "good people on both sides" statement about neo-Nazis might say something racist, as he clearly did yesterday. If only there had been some clear signs to warn us, you know? Still, the bluntness of Trump's "let the brown-skinned uppity women crawl back to the shitholes they came from" Twitter taunt might have been the most brazenly racist statement yet. It's not shocking, nor does his doubling down on the racist rhetoric today strike me as at all out of character. It's who he is, who he has always been. It's just the timing that gets to me.

The timing, in this case, had to do with yesterday's Gospel reading, which was the parable of the Good Samaritan. I heard it again, listened, tried to take it to heart. Who is my neighbor? How do I pass by those in need, excusing my non-action on good, pious, religious grounds? That's what the good, pious priest in the parable did. That's what the good, pious Levite in the parable did. That's precisely what the Samaritan - the hated, despised Samaritan who could check none of the proper religious boxes - did not do. "Which one, do you think, acted like a neighbor?" Jesus asked. Which one indeed.

So I listened to that Gospel reading, thought long and hard about it, and came home to read about Drumpf, the scion of German immigrants, doing his racist thing, which he does incredibly well, better than anybody.

There was plenty of outrage over the blatant racism, as there should have been. Non-religious people were outraged. Mainline Christians were outraged. This is the proper response. You know why? Because racism is a great evil, the antithesis of what Jesus taught. You know who was not outraged? Can you guess?

Maybe they were. I don't know for certain. But they didn't say anything. The most visible public spokespersons didn't say anything. My many Evangelical Christian friends didn't say anything, at least publicly.

Trump's whole schtick is exclusion, division, walls, keeping people out. It's what he bases his life on. If it is proper to speak of Trump's core beliefs, that is what they are.

Who is my neighbor? Who is my neighbor? Who is my neighbor? That's a trinitarian repetition.

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