Earlier this year, I noted that the rise of Donald Trump “must shatter the hearts of progressives of faith in particular. After all, the success of the Trump campaign is a sign that America is in a state of spiritual crisis. The legions backing Trump have obviously abandoned the values of tolerance, civility, kindness, decency, humility, grace and compassion; had they held fast to those values, they would have laughed Trump right off the stage the day he announced.”
The “spiritual crisis” I spoke of has obviously worsened since then: the sight of Republicans condemning Trump’s racist remarks about US District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, only to turn right around and continue to support his candidacy, proves that avarice and amoral ambition govern the hearts of far too many folks in this country.
I imagine that progressives of faith who are parents have to be most horrified by the rise of Trump. It will be virtually impossible for those parents to teach their children right from wrong and to care for the “least of these” if their children see a President who believes wrong is right–and that might makes right. The Obama years have been great ones for progressive parents of faith: in Obama, they have seen a man their children can model themselves after, a man who embodies respect, love, tolerance, wisdom, patience and integrity. What will it say about our country’s values if Obama’s successor is a man as morally bankrupt and emotionally unbalanced as Trump?
Progressive parents of faith have a moral obligation to be outspoken in their opposition to Trump, to raise as much awareness as possible about the threat of Trump in letters to the editor and op-eds and face-to-face conversations with friends and neighbors, to condemn the false prophets who have found comfort in Trump’s den of iniquity.
Progressives of faith must denounce any religious figure who praises Trump. They must declare that judging someone on the color of his or her skin is an act of unmitigated evil–and that any religious figure who embraces Trump is embracing the evil of exclusion.
By standing up against Trump, progressives of faith are defending diversity. At his core, Trump appeals to those who regard Brown v. Board of Education as an act of judicial activism, who see the 1964 Civil Rights Act as an act of Congressional tyranny. Progressives of faith must make the case that the election of Trump would be, in effect, a hate crime committed against every person of color in this country.
Progressives of faith have a simple message: We’ve come too damn far to go back. Too many lives were lost in the fight to bring an end to legalized discrimination against people of color. Too many lives were lost in the fight to make sure that black and brown lives matter. To allow a President Donald Trump to build a literal wall of discrimination–to turn dogs and fire hoses on our Latino brothers and sisters–would be to dishonor the legacy of those who fought tirelessly against discrimination, to say, in essence, that they died in vain.
They did not die in vain. Martin Luther King Jr. and Medgar Evers did not die in vain. Every man and woman who fought to bring down the walls of discrimination in this country did not die in vain. They left a legacy–a legacy that progressives of faith must uphold by making the moral case against Donald Trump, to stand up in this hour of American darkness, to denounce Donald’s discrimination and decadence, to make it clear to those who support Trump that his vision is, as Proverbs 14:12 puts it, the path that may seem right, but only leads to destruction.