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.

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 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.”

Trump’s HHS Dept. Ends 81 Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program Grants

I have linked a very important article from the LA Times below, that discusses the fact that the Department of Health and Human Services, under the leadership of Trump appointees, has canceled $200 million of annual funding for 81 teen pregnancy prevention programs nationwide.

This is just so incredibly naive. It boggles my mind how any rational person can think like this. I guess the thought process goes something like this:

  1. Teens should not be having sex.
  2. Giving teens condoms encourages sexual behavior.
  3. We will therefor not give kids condoms.

But this ignores one simple and certain fact: The kids are going to have sex anyway. And without sex education and contraceptives, they will spread STD’s and they will make babies. And many of those babies will be aborted.

This is a perfect example of why progressive ideology serves the society so much better. Realistic and thoughtful policy decisions, based on sound science and social study, rather than dogma, help to alleviate problems such as this. Teen pregnancy prevention programs reduce the spread of STD’s, reduce the number of pregnancies, and reduce the number of abortions. How can any rational person see that as a bad thing?

I am a practicing Catholic. There is nothing wrong with my moral compass. But I’m also a realist. And I am also in full support of a complete and total separation of church and state. We don’t have to share the same religion, but we do have to share the same government. And I don’t want your God in charge of my government. Your God’s place is in your home, not my statehouse.

Trump makes good on a threat to kill teen pregnancy prevention programs

by Michael Hiltzik

Experts in teen pregnancy prevention were nervously holding their breaths as the Trump administration stocked key positions at the Department of Health and Human Services with advocates of ineffective abstinence-only sex education programs and opponents of birth control.

Now their fears have proven to be justified. Over the last couple of weeks, 81 teen pregnancy programs around the country have been informed that their grants will end in the next fiscal year, or as of June 30, 2018. At least one program that funded educational outreach by Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, among other institutions, was cut off immediately — just as it was beginning the second year of a five-year plan. In all, more than $200 million in annual funding is being ended, according to an analysis by the Center for Investigative Reporting, which made the shutdown public.

Read the full article from the LA Times here.

Stuff That Needs to be Said

I stumbled upon a fascinating blog tonight, after following a link on Facebook. I’d like to introduce you to John Pavlovitz. John writes a blog called, “Stuff That Needs to be Said.” He’s right. This stuff does need to be said. And he says it well.

Here are links to a few of John’s posts:

Yes, I’m a Christian—But I’m Not With Them

The Christians Who Defunded Jesus

The Christians Making Atheists

Christians Need to Stop Saying “The Bible Clearly Says”

No, Christian—People are Not “Struggling With Same-Sex Attraction”

Democrats and Vanilla Centrism


Democrats are doubling down on the same vanilla centrism that helped give us President Trump

Last Friday evening, a diverse crowd gathered in an airless Los Angeles church for a Democratic National Committee “Resistance Summer” rally. The plan was simple: to invigorate the base with speeches, then run a phone bank to oppose the Republican healthcare bill.

Instead, Democratic Party officials quickly lost control of the event.

Less than five minutes into DNC Deputy Chair Keith Ellison’s introductory remarks, a group of people stood up and chanted vehemently, “Single payer now!” They unfurled a banner across an entire pew, and heckled the speakers so freely that an older woman made the sign of the cross, as if warding off their revolutionary spirits, and said, “Shame on you.” Ellison’s remarks about party unification were nearly inaudible because two attendees were standing and screaming at each other. California Democratic Party Chairman Eric Bauman simply stopped speaking. Halfway through the rally, two-dozen single-payer healthcare demonstrators — a fifth of the attendees — walked out, using a bullhorn to stage their own press conference on the sidewalk nearby.

Once again, the Democratic Party found itself unprepared to respond to its vocal left flank. Democratic Party handlers poked the demonstrators and begged them to sit, but the five-member security detail on hand stood at the back of the church, hands clasped. Their decision not to expel or otherwise silence the demonstrators was the right one.

Single-payer demonstrators weren’t the only attendees who hungered for the party to shift to the left. Those who demonstrated represented a variety of movements and political ideologies. One was a registered Democrat with the #RecallRendon movement, which has sought to push California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) out of office since he shelved Senate Bill 562, the state’s single-payer bill, in June. Another was a political independent with Our Revolution, a movement that seeks to continue the goals of Bernie Sanders’ presidential candidacy. Another was a self-described “revolutionary communist” with And yet these demonstrators, who had organized themselves on Facebook, had a clear, singular message that dominated the event.

The Democratic Party speakers, who rhetorically wandered through a variety of issues, including women’s rights and the 1st Amendment, did not.

Many party speakers noted, in response to the demonstrators, that they’d been vocal supporters of single-payer healthcare, and in some cases had co-sponsored bills to enact it. But they were ad-libbing on the defensive, instead of setting the agenda for their own meeting, or sharing a vision for how to make a unified push for single-payer healthcare. Demonstrators didn’t come to see legislators talk about their collective helplessness — they wanted a plan of action.

The event came on the heels of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s decision to release a series of slogans that sunk like a lead balloon with many in the base. While none were particularly inspired, one rankled the most: “Democrats 2018: I mean, have you seen the other guys?” The slogan made it abundantly clear that, after a bruising loss in November, Democrats wouldn’t be presenting new ideas or deeply examining their policy stances. Instead, they were doubling down on a visionless strategy of vanilla centrism, selling themselves as better than the worst dude.

Single-payer demonstrators weren’t the only attendees who hungered for the party to shift to the left. Polo Morales, a 40-year-old immigration advocate from Whittier, noted that the event platform said nothing about immigration — at a rally in a state with the United States’ largest immigrant population. Morales said that if the Democratic Party tries to swing to the center to win in 2018 without examining the root causes of its previous failures, then it’s going to have a “really difficult time” turning out the vote.

In an interview after the event, Ellison, who has supported single-payer healthcare, noted “social justice is often achieved through disruption. So that’s why I’m not out of joint about how the meeting went.”

Ellison said Democrats don’t need to go to the left, right or center; they need to go down, to the nail shops on the block, the college campuses and the union halls.

But while rhetorically compelling, Ellison’s argument is a straw man. No progressives or leftists I’ve met see their vision as incompatible with grassroots organizing.

Ellison says he’s keen on rebuilding trust between the Democratic Party and those it represents. “Look, how do you build a trust relationship?” Ellison asked. “You listen to me, I listen to you. When you count on me, when you call on me, you can count on me. But what have we had with the Democratic Party? Sometime around election time we call you and ask you to vote for us. Maybe we ask you for money and then you don’t see us again until we need more votes and more money.” One of the goals of the Resistance Summer events is to put the party in contact with the people it represents outside of an election year — a good and necessary idea.

So why wouldn’t Democrats, who could have easily seen these demonstrators were counter-organizing before the event, anticipate the concerns of the room and begin by directly addressing the single-payer advocates? The most radical course of action articulated that evening was to impeach Trump and put Vice President Mike Pence in office, a message that felt terribly lackluster for a crisis moment — that “better than the worst dude” vision again.

Demonstrators, on the other hand, came with a compelling vision — which made the Democratic Party’s pressing need for one all the more obvious.

Melissa Batchelor Warnke is a contributing writer to Opinion. Follow her @velvetmelvis on Twitter.

Copyright (c) 2017 Los Angeles Times

Are you interested in learning more about a growing, grass roots party that includes single payer health care as a central plank in its platform? Check out

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