Trump, Shithole Countries, and Jesus

You may have seen or read a recent news story concerning Trump’s comments about immigrants:

President Trump grew frustrated with lawmakers Thursday in the Oval Office when they discussed protecting immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal, according to several people briefed on the meeting.

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said, according to these people, referring to countries mentioned by the lawmakers. [source: Washington Post]

Fr. James Martin, SJ posted this response on Facebook [link]:

“Why are we having all these people from sh#*hole countries come here?”

1.) They are our brothers and sisters in need.
2.) They are often fleeing war, violence or famine.
3.) There are children among them.
4.) The Old Testament asks us to care for the “alien.”
5.) Jesus asks us to welcome the “stranger.”
6.) Jesus asks us to love one another.
7.) We will be judged on how we care for the stranger.
8.) They come bringing hope.
9.) It’s the right thing to do.
10.) That’s who we are.

One more reason: Jesus himself was from a “sh#*hole” place. Nazareth was a minuscule town of 200 to 400 people, where people lived in small stone houses, and, say archaeologists, garbage (that is, s#*t) was dumped in the alleyways. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” says Nathanael when he hears where the Messiah is from.

God, in other words, came from a “sh#*hole” place. And he pointedly asked us to welcome him whenever he appeared as a “stranger,” or as one of our “least” brothers and sisters. That’s why we have all these people come. Because Jesus came.


Washington Post Opinion Piece – How Not to be a Scoundrel

Distinguished person of the week: One man wouldn’t join in Trump’s skulduggery

By Jennifer Rubin

I cannot tell you why so many White House staffers cited in Michael Wolff’s book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” did not quit on principle or come forward with their concerns about the president’s fitness for office. What can I say? People are careerists; they become addicted to the power and prestige that comes with working in the White House. (And sadly, with this president, the best and brightest and most morally grounded people did not go work in the White House in the first place.)

Nevertheless, in all that we have learned over the past week and all the anecdotes about those facilitating possible obstruction of justice and enabling a non-functional president, one person managed to do the right thing. Mark Corallo, former spokesman for President Trump’s legal team, did not simply follow along. Trump and his advisers, returning home on Air Force One this past summer, busily drafted and redrafted a misleading statement to explain the infamous June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower. “Mark Corallo was instructed not to speak to the press, indeed not to even answer his phone,” according to Wolff. “Later that week, Corallo, seeing no good outcome — and privately confiding that he believed the meeting on Air Force One represented a likely obstruction of justice — quit.”

He should be an example to others in government service, really in any line of work. No job, no relationship is worth sacrificing your reputation and credibility. Shade the truth here, lie there. Soon you’ll have lost your soul. C.S. Lewis wrote about the phenomenon, the urge to stay in the “Inner Ring” that drives even good people to do bad things:

To nine out of ten of you the choice which could lead to scoundrelism will come, when it does come, in no very dramatic colours. Obviously bad men, obviously threatening or bribing, will almost certainly not appear. Over a drink, or a cup of coffee, disguised as triviality and sandwiched between two jokes, from the lips of a man, or woman, whom you have recently been getting to know rather better and whom you hope to know better still—just at the moment when you are most anxious not to appear crude, or naïf or a prig—the hint will come. It will be the hint of something which the public, the ignorant, romantic public, would never understand: something which even the outsiders in your own profession are apt to make a fuss about: but something, says your new friend, which “we”—and at the word “we” you try not to blush for mere pleasure—something “we always do.”

And you will be drawn in, if you are drawn in, not by desire for gain or ease, but simply because at that moment, when the cup was so near your lips, you cannot bear to be thrust back again into the cold outer world. … And then, if you are drawn in, next week it will be something a little further from the rules, and next year something further still, but all in the jolliest, friendliest spirit. It may end in a crash, a scandal, and penal servitude; it may end in millions, a peerage and giving the prizes at your old school. But you will be a scoundrel. … Of all the passions, the passion for the Inner Ring is most skillful in making a man who is not yet a very bad man do very bad things.

Corallo resisted that urge, did the right thing and quit. For that he may be remembered as a single honest man among a pack of scoundrels. For that we can say, well done, Mr. Corallo.


From the Southern Poverty Law Center:

The Family Research Council (FRC) is hosting its annual Values Voter Summit Oct. 13-15, a rogues’ gallery of the radical right, this year keynoted by President Trump himself.

The FRC is an organization that has relentlessly vilified LGBT people – portraying them as sick, vile, incestuous, violent, perverted, and a danger to children and the nation. Because of its demonizing lies about the LGBT community, it has been named as a hate group by the SPLC.

Like its host, the Values Voters Summit claims it stands for “values.” But whose values?

1. What’s the Values Voter Summit?
2. What can you do?

What’s the Values Voter Summit?

The Values Voter Summit is an annual political conference bringing together some of the most extreme groups on the right, including multiple designated hate groups. It was founded in 2006 and is hosted by the Family Research Council.

Who’s Family Research Council?

The Family Research Council (FRC) is an organization that often makes false and intentionally dehumanizing claims about the LGBT community based on discredited research and junk science. The intention is to denigrate LGBT people as the organization battles against same-sex marriage, hate crime laws, anti-bullying programs and the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. To make the case that the LGBT community is a threat to American society, the FRC employs a number of “policy experts” whose “research” has allowed the FRC to be extremely active politically in shaping public debate. Its research fellows and leaders often testify before Congress and appear in the mainstream media. It also works at the grassroots level, conducting outreach to pastors in an effort to “transform the culture.”

Here’s their statement on “homosexuality:”

Family Research Council believes that homosexual conduct is harmful to the persons who engage in it and to society at large, and can never be affirmed. It is by definition unnatural, and as such is associated with negative physical and psychological health the effects. While the origins of same-sex attractions may be complex, there is no convincing evidence that a homosexual identity is ever something genetic or inborn. We oppose the vigorous efforts of homosexual activists to demand that homosexuality be accepted as equivalent to heterosexuality in law, in the media, and in schools.

Read more about the Family Research Council.

What can you do?

Bigotry is not an American value. You can stand up for equality and speak out against the bigotry displayed by the Family Research Council. Here’s how:

  • Let people know that President Trump is lending the legitimacy of his office to a hate group that relentlessly demonizes LGBT people and works to deny them of their equal rights. Share this message on social media.
  • Expose the Family Research Council’s true values. Download this image and share.
  • Educate yourselfRead our profile on the Family Research Council.
  • Take action against hate in your community. Follow our 10 Ways to Fight Hate guide.

Mark’s take:

This is what Trump’s America looks like. This is what the conservative rights means when they say “Make America Great Again.” This what they mean when they say “Take our country back.” And they do it, in large part, in the name of Jesus Christ.

This is an affront to Christianity. Anyone who has read Jesus’ words knows that He was accepting, welcoming, and loving. He preached to, and associated with, the outcast, the marginalized, the poor, the sick, the sinners.

Jesus commanded us to love one another. He said not one single word about homosexuality. Not. One. Word.

The people that host and attend these events are bigots and haters. And Trump stands arm in arm with them.


Donald Trump & Franklin Graham: Both Dead Wrong

Trump on DACA

President Trump on Tuesday ordered an end to the Obama-era executive action that shields young undocumented immigrants from deportation, calling the program an “amnesty-first approach” and urging Congress to replace it with legislation before it begins phasing out on March 5, 2018.

“I do not favor punishing children, most of whom are now adults, for the actions of their parents,” Mr. Trump said in a written statement. “But we must also recognize that we are nation of opportunity because we are a nation of laws.”

The statement was released shortly after Mr. Trump, who had called the issue a personal dilemma, dispatched Attorney General Jeff Sessions to announce that the government will no longer accept new applications from undocumented immigrants to shield them from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA.

Administration officials said the roughly 800,000 current beneficiaries of the program — brought to the United States illegally as children — will not be immediately affected by what they called an “orderly wind-down” of former President Barack Obama’s policy.

“Only by the reliable enforcement of immigration law can we produce safe communities, a robust middle class, and economic fairness for all Americans,” Mr. Trump said, calling the DACA program an “amnesty-first approach.”


Trump could not be more wrong on this issue, from the perspective of a caring and compassionate human being, and especially from the perspective of a Christian.

Matthew 25:31-46 (NIV)

The Sheep and the Goats

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”


Scripture and Immigration

The Bible has a lot to say about immigrants and immigration.  In fact, the Hebrew word ger, the closest word to our concept of an immigrant, appears 92 times in the Old Testament alone.  We encourage you to do a Bible study on the topic of immigrants in Scripture.  Here are some passages to start you out.

A few words about Franklin Graham

I have supported Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse, and especially Operation Christmas Child for many years. Although I have often disagreed with Graham’s politics, I have looked the other way, giving him the benefit of the doubt in light of the good works done by these organizations. But I have now parted ways with Franklin Graham.

  • Graham says immigration is “not a biblical issue.” [source]
  • Graham is vehemently anti-gay. [source] and [source]
  • Graham said that those who voted to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee from Charlottesville are the ones to blame for violence. [source]

Stand Up & Speak Out

If you are a Christian, and especially if you are a gay Christian, it’s time to make your voice heard. We, as caring Christians, and thoughtful people, must be heard over the loud screams of hatred and bigotry. Find a way to get involved. The 2016 general election was a travesty. It must not be repeated. Here are a few resources:



‘We Are Living Through a Battle for the Soul of This Nation’

The former vice president calls on Americans to do what President Trump has not.


In January of 2009, I stood waiting in Wilmington, Delaware, for a train carrying the first African American elected president of the United States. I was there to join him as vice president on the way to a historic Inauguration. It was a moment of extraordinary hope for our nation – but I couldn’t help thinking about a darker time years before at that very site.

My mind’s eye drifted back to 1968. I could see the flames burning Wilmington, the violence erupting on the news of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, the federal troops taking over my city.

I was living history – and reliving it – at the same time. And the images racing through my mind were a vivid demonstration that when it comes to race in America, hope doesn’t travel alone. It’s shadowed by a long trail of violence and hate.

In Charlottesville, that long trail emerged once again into plain view not only for America, but for the whole world to see. The crazed, angry faces illuminated by torches. The chants echoing the same anti-Semitic bile heard across Europe in the 1930s. The neo-Nazis, Klansmen, and white supremacists emerging from dark rooms and remote fields and the anonymity of the web into the bright light of day on the streets of a historically significant American city.

If it wasn’t clear before, it’s clear now: We are living through a battle for the soul of this nation.

The giant forward steps we have taken in recent years on civil liberties and civil rights and human rights are being met by a ferocious pushback from the oldest and darkest forces in America. Are we really surprised they rose up? Are we really surprised they lashed back? Did we really think they would be extinguished with a whimper rather than a fight?

Did we think the charlatans and the con-men and the false prophets who have long dotted our history wouldn’t revisit us, once again prop up the immigrant as the source of all our troubles, and look to prey on the hopelessness and despair that has grown up in the hollowed-out cities and towns of Ohio and Michigan and Pennsylvania and the long-forgotten rural stretches of West Virginia and Kentucky?

We have fought this battle before – but today we have a special challenge.

Today we have an American president who has publicly proclaimed a moral equivalency between neo-Nazis and Klansmen and those who would oppose their venom and hate.

We have an American president who has emboldened white supremacists with messages of comfort and support.

This is a moment for this nation to declare what the president can’t with any clarity, consistency, or conviction: There is no place for these hate groups in America. Hatred of blacks, Jews, immigrants – all who are seen as “the other” – won’t be accepted or tolerated or given safe harbor anywhere in this nation.

That’s the America I know. That’s who I believe we are. And in the hours and days after Charlottesville, America’s moral conscience began to stir. The nation’s military leadership immediately took a firm stand. Some of America’s most prominent CEOs spoke out. Political, community, and faith leaders raised their voices. Charitable organizations have begun to take a stand. And we should never forget the courage of that small group of University of Virginia students who stared down the mob and its torches on that Friday night.

The greatness of America is that – not always at first, and sometimes at enormous pain and cost – we have always met Lincoln’s challenge to embrace the “better angels of our nature.” Our history is proof of what King said – the long arc of history does “bend towards justice.”

A week after Charlottesville, in Boston, we saw the truth of America: Those with the courage to oppose hate far outnumber those who promote it.

Then a week after Boston, we saw the truth of this president: He won’t stop. His contempt for the U.S. Constitution and willingness to divide this nation knows no bounds. Now he’s pardoned a law-enforcement official who terrorized the Latino community, violated its constitutional rights, defied a federal court order to stop, and ran a prison system so rife with torture and abuse he himself called it a “concentration camp.”

You, me, and the citizens of this country carry a special burden in 2017. We have to do what our president has not. We have to uphold America’s values. We have to do what he will not. We have to defend our Constitution. We have to remember our kids are watching. We have to show the world America is still a beacon of light.

Joined together, we are more than 300 million strong. Joined together, we will win this battle for our soul. Because if there’s one thing I know about the American people, it’s this: When it has mattered most, they have never let this nation down.



People gather for a vigil in response to the death of a counter-demonstrator at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville outside the White House on August 13, 2017. Jonathan Ernst / Reuters


We Must Stop History From Repeating Itself

Heather Heyer posted on Facebook shortly before being murdered by a radical extremist in Charlottesville, VA last weekend, “If you’re not outraged you’re not paying attention.” I’d like to paraphrase her words:

If you’re not scared you’re not paying attention

Look at this image. This photo was not taken in Germany in 1941. This picture was taken at Madison Square Garden in 1934.

nazi msg

The election of Donald Trump by 62,984,825 Americans who embraced his “Make America Great Again” slogan, has emboldened the Nazis, Fascists, white supremacists, nationalists, the KKK, and other hate groups. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are 917 hate groups active in America today.

One of the rallying cries you often hear from these people who tend to label themselves as patriots (and even Christians) is “Free Speech.” It’s All-American, right?

Wrong! What they mean by “free speech” is the desire to spout their hateful comments without being shouted down and told to shut up. You can often hear them rail against the AntiFa groups (anti-fascist). These counter protesters frequently show up at rallies organized by hate groups, and shout them down.

And that is exactly what happened in Boston this past weekend. And it’s what happened in Charlottesville last weekend, when Heather was killed by a protester using his car as a weapon to quiet the counter protesters.

APTOPIX Confederate Monuments Protest

So I say again, If you’re not scared you’re not paying attention. The spread of hate must be stopped. We must step up, speak up, shout down, and shut down hate. All of us. Everywhere.

The radical extremists shout, “Take our country back!”

Take it back from who?

From you! And from me!

charlottesville 1

See these people? They are somebody’s neighbors. They are somebody’s co-workers. They are somebody’s sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, and cousins. We must confront them. We must stop them. They have been taught to hate. We must teach them that hate is wrong. And we must pray for them.

Matthew 5:43-48 (NIV)

Love for Enemies

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

New from John Pavlovitz

On Learning To Love Offensively (For Those Weary From The Fight)


More and more, I am letting what and who I care deeply about drive and move and fuel me. It allows me simplicity and clarity:

I abhor racism and bigotry, so I strive to see and treat all people equally and individually. 
I detest homophobia and transphobia, so I care for and support my LGBTQ brothers and sisters and their families.
I believe fully in gender equality, so I do my best to advocate for this equality.
I find poverty detestable, so I look for ways to contribute to eliminating it.
I can’t stomach hatred in the name of Jesus, so as a Christian I try daily to reflect Christ’s love as well as I can as often as I can.

[Full Post Here]

If Hopelessness is Trending in Your Head


The truth is, dear friend: there are far more people in this place working for equality, diversity, love, and justice than opposing them—and it isn’t even close. There are hundreds of millions of people in this world who (just like you) wake up every day trying to be the kind of person the world needs; lavish with compassion, overflowing with generosity, relentless with love. You are, even when you’re not aware of it, surrounded on all sides by like-hearted people who are not okay with the suffering around them either.

[Full Post Here]