This election cycle has been filled with hatred. Donald Trump plays on people’s fears about the still-struggling economy in so many parts of the country. He blames people’s struggles to find work, any work, on immigrants and Muslims. He makes light of comments like rounding up all the Muslims to register them, and killing all the family members of terrorists. Us versus them. And he found an audience eating up all this hate speech.
I understand fear and joblessness. I have walked that terrible path. But I never blamed my Muslim and immigrant neighbors and friends. People’s struggles to find work and housing have so much more to do with bad decisions and wars under the Bush administration. Also, advancing technology independent of any administration is simply taking over jobs. We are united in our struggles, not divided.
Trump says the invisible enemy is our neighbor and friend of a different color, different culture, different religion. Plenty of people believe him. Tragically.
We have heard this same rhetoric before. Taken to its end, the hate speech leads to death. The Holocaust. The Rwandan genocide. The Bosnian genocide. Blaming the “other” for a bad economy or a country’s racial and nationalist/political divides. It’s terrifying.
Amazingly, Trump calls himself a Christian. Even more amazingly, many American Christians follow him. Endorse him. Cheer for him. Call Trump, “God’s man.” Excuse his horrible comments toward women as “boys will be boys” or “locker room talk.” As if every man treats women as objects. Evangelicals cheer, while satan laughs.
Have these people ever opened their Bible? Do they know Jesus at all? Do they even know about Jesus? When did Jesus ever scapegoat and hate entire groups of people? When did Jesus disrespect women? Instead, Jesus lifted up the Samaritan woman at the well. The Samaritan was born of hated foreigner group in Israel, she was a “sinner” according to Jewish culture because of her multiple marriages, and she was a woman. But Jesus lifted her up and shared with her the mystical secret of living water, something he never shared with the big important male religious leaders.
Trump wants to build a wall to exclude everyone who is the “other.” Jesus turns that wall into a table. He invites everyone, the rejects of the world, the poor, the homeless, the broken, the sick, the immigrant, the follower-of-another-religion who seeks the truth. Jesus feasts with everyone who seeks the truth of love, healing, and understanding. The table of the feast is the table of love.
There is no room at this table for people who hate others. The popular people of the world, the ego-driven people, the hateful people, are stuck behind a wall. They create their own walls of self-righteousness, and they reject the invitation to the feast of heaven.
Here’s news for you, Trump and all your followers, everyone who excuses and condones all your hatred. The people you reject and hate are the people who populate heaven. I’ve always wondered about those Christians who want to carpet-bomb Muslim nations, brutally maim and destroy innocent children and families and violently tear families apart through deportations, and detention centers. What would think if they found one of these precious Muslim or immigrant children in heaven, crying in the arms of Jesus?
The invitation to heaven’s wedding feast is going forward around the earth. Jesus has built his table, and he sends his sons and daughters to find the guests. These Jesus followers are often poor and hungry, thirsty, in prison, in war refugee camps, in the world’s lowliest places, looking for human love and kindness. The guests at the table are invited after they show their love by housing the homeless, feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, visiting the prison, working in the legal system to set the innocent captives free.
After the results of the election last night, I cry over this nation and its values. They are certainly not the values of the table of Jesus, the gospel of love.