June 11, 2018

Michael Curry and Donald Trump

I have described myself as an Episcopal Church activist, though I must confess that my activism on behalf of my church has, for some time, been meager. Since the 2016 presidential campaign, and especially since November 8, 2016, my activism has been focused mainly on our democracy and on the Democratic party.

Donald Trump’s election to the presidency was a tragedy, or so I thought at the time. Little did I realize the magnitude of the catastrophe it presaged. On November 9, I felt incapable of fully capturing my thoughts. In “Post-Election Depression,” I wrote
I slept less than three hours last night and took a pre-dawn walk trying to wrap my mind around the tragedy that befell our nation last night. I had hoped to write something insightful this morning, but I am overwhelmed with dispair.

For now, I want to call your attention to an essay by New Yorker editor David Remnick. It is called “An American Tragedy.” This is all I can offer this Wednesday morning.
Five days later, feeling a bit more communitive, I wrote another post, “More on My November 9,” though even that was more about my state of mind than about what I thought was happening to the country.

Having been obsessed with politics for the past year and a half, I have paid little attention to the General Convention of The Episcopal Church, which meets next month, the Lambeth Conference scheduled for 2020, or ongoing property litigation. (It is worth noting, however, that the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a decision favorable to the church on that latter front today.)

I was recently buoyed by the royal wedding that took place a few weeks ago and at which our church’s presiding bishop, the Most Reverend Michael Curry, preached. Curry’s words were intended for the royal couple, of course, but also for members of the Church of England, for all Americans, and for Christians generally. Love was the subject of his sermon—not a surprising topic under the circumstances—but one that was advanced with unusual passion and with a plea for universal applicability. Curry said, in part,
Well, think and imagine a world where love is the way.

Imagine our homes and families when love is the way.

Imagine neighborhoods and communities when love is the way.

Imagine our governments and nations when love is the way.

Imagine business and commerce when love is the way.

Imagine this tired old world when love is the way.

When love is the way, unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive.

When love is the way, then no child would go to bed hungry in this world ever again.

When love is the way, we will let justice roll down like a mighty stream and righteousness like an ever-flowing brook.

When love is the way, poverty would become history.

When love is the way, the earth will be a sanctuary.

When love is the way, we will lay down our swords and shields down by the riverside to study war no more.

When love is the way, there’s plenty good room. Plenty good room. For all of God’s children.

And when love is the way, we actually treat each other—well, like we’re actually family.

When love is the way, we know that God is the source of us all, and we are brothers and sisters. Children of God.

My brothers and sisters, that’s a new heaven, a new earth, a new world. A new human family.
(Text and video of the full sermon are available here.)

The world described by Bishop Curry is not the world President Trump aspires to build. Trump’s world is one of hatefulness, vindictiveness, racism, mendacity, greed, and narcissism. It is the opposite of the Christ-centered world described by the bishop. It is the world desired by the Devil himself.

Bishop Curry has reminded us of the world to which we should aspire. His is the antidote to the vision of the so-called Christians whose approval of the president seems to rise with every obscenity and absurdity committed by the devil in the White House.

The world described by Bishop Curry is not going to arrive anywhere, either in the U.S. or elsewhere. As Christians—even as non-Christian humanitarians—we should work for the advent of such a world, however. We can begin by opposing Donald Trump’s policies at every turn and by voting for Democrats—any Democrats, this November.

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