It was after a Maundy Thursday, or maybe Good Friday service and Paul, lapsed Catholic and attending all the Holy Week services for the first time in a very long time, was hearing all the readings and listening with a critical ear.
Allow me to paraphrase my wise hubby, “So, all these politicians cutting services like healthcare, food stamps, etc., to the poor are calling themselves ‘Christians,’ and yet, on the night before he died, Jesus Christ said to his closest friends, ‘Love one another as I have loved you’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourselves’; where in that was cutting food stamps and healthcare from babies?”
I go over it again and again in my head, trying to sort the cognitive dissonance which happens every time a “Christian” quotes the bible in support of the latest outrageous Trump Regime policy, usually with Old Testament scripture. And you know what? I am done trying to justify it, or even understand it. Folks are calling themselves Christian who are really, from my view, worshipers of the worst elements of the Old Testament, the judgy-est, most damning texts. What we’re seeing is not Christianity, it is a new cult built around the most revolting, all-too-human figure currently occupying the White House.
While understanding that Jesus did not tell us to throw the old rules out with his coming, I do believe he told us to filter all that we do through his new covenant, that we love one another:
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35
What we are doing to innocents brought here by desperate parents fleeing unimaginable violence will haunt us for years to come. The Trumpist cult that is now the GOP is fond of quoting the bible; here is one quote that has always intrigued me, as a student of psychology:
“The Lord passed before him, and proclaimed,
“The Lord, the Lord,
a God merciful and gracious,
slow to anger,
and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,
keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation,
forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin,
yet by no means clearing the guilty,
but visiting the iniquity of the parents
upon the children
and the children’s children,
to the third and the fourth generation.” – Exodus 34:6-7
This doesn’t sound much like a merciful God. But as a student of psychology, I understand how mental sickness, like many other things, rolls downhill, or through generations. The man who hated his father for beating his mother becomes an abusive husband; children who are sexually violated become abusers themselves (sometimes). God doesn’t need to send specific punishments upon our babies, we do it for Him when we allow our sick, abusive behaviors to dominate and take us over. Our sins roll down onto our babies when we don’t actively address and heal our wounds.
I wonder how many people have had a conversation with a friend the night before he or she died? I have. When my friend Jeff and I talked, seriously and lovingly, alone for the last time, we had the gift of knowing it probably was the last time, and after I fed him beef stroganoff and we did our usual ridiculous cutting up, we talked of Love. It was a conversational treasure I will carry within my heart the rest of my life, and is the conversation which resonated within me that Holy Week when Paul pondered Jesus’ last words to his disciples.
Jesus, the original rule breaker, chastising those fussing at him for dining with prostitutes and tax-collectors, and choosing his last words carefully, mindful of the importance, tells his followers to “love one another as I have loved you” and “love your neighbor as yourself”.
There is nothing of love in this:
Who are we becoming as an American People? This is what keeps me up at night. A populace which claims Christianity, but acts in distinctly unchristian ways? There is nothing of God in this policy and nothing of God in the people who revel in it. What we do know is that separating children from their parents in this manner results in trauma, the exact results of which may not be known for years.
The sins of the fathers will rain down upon us in ways we cannot even imagine if we let this stand, and they won’t be divinely sent. We will have seeded the clouds all on our own. We must not. We must contact our government representatives today and tell them this cannot stand. Here is a link to find out who your representatives are: https://www.house.gov/representatives