Religious hypocrisy

Jun 29, 2020 by

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President Trump’s recent action using tear gas on citizens so that he could have a picture of himself holding a Bible (“Scripture Sacrilege,” Editorial, June 15) was a classic example of God vs. empire. Having the leader of the empire standing with a cluster of empire people in front of a church (God’s home) holding a Bible (God’s Word) for the purpose of using God to promote his own policies and election was blasphemy. In contrast with this blatant act of religious hypocrisy (using sacred symbols for political goals), the statement by the Episcopal Church bishop was a courageous declaration of faith, calling on the president to not just hold the Bible but open it and discover what it says about loving all people, even those with whom we do not agree, and to see what Jesus said about caring for the poor and the stranger. It was a marvelous summary of the content of the Book the president was using as nothing more than a photo prop.

It is a classic expression of religious hypocrisy to use police and military to move the common people out of the way just to get a picture that does not reflect how the president lives nor how he views other people. The pastor of the church represented the true spirit of faith as he admonished the president for standing outside and using the church for political ends instead of coming inside to be changed by the message of Jesus.

Our country is in the midst of spiritually and physically stressful days. We would be helped much more by a message that invites us to become one people with whom the poor find food, mercy and forgiveness. More than ever before, we need the church, with its message of hope, understanding, compassion and honest justice (Luke 4:18-19).

Rather than a religious picture, it would be more helpful to have a spiritual challenge inviting us to come together as followers of Jesus, joining with godly followers in Jewish and Muslim faiths to care for refugees, the poor, the hungry and the unemployed. Rather than judging and excluding, we can share in what many religious groups are already doing to put political divisions aside and re-create a world where love and truth abound, where mercy and forgiveness are a daily experience and where together we rediscover what it means to be human beings sharing a common planet.

Donald Blosser
Goshen, Ind.

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