In the nation in which I now live, the majority religion is not my own. Several days ago, on the other side of the planet, an American politician released a statement about the people of this religion. The strategically placed sideshow that is Donald Trump just released a new spout of fireworks and the fires lit by the sparks will burn far further than intended.
The intent of Donald Trump’s remarks was to argue for limited access for people of this religion to the United States. The reason he gave was national security and the inference was clear: he believes any person of this religion is suspect in episodes of violence and acts of terror such as those which plague every continent of the world today.
It is impossible to know what the full impact of these prejudiced, damaging, and incendiary remarks will be. I can see only the beginning of their impact on me.
These people are my neighbors. They’re the lady across the street who helped me figure out how trash collection works. They’re the public transport drivers that wait for me when I’m late for school. They’re the gentle teachers at my children’s preschool, who stop to translate their instructions so my kids can keep up and who pray daily for the children to learn and grow in health and peace. They’re the flower seller who grew the roses for our garden.
I must walk down the street today, I must pass them and greet them and look them in the eye and be an American.
As an American, I’m ashamed. The people of this other system of belief are being lumped together, collectively accused, discriminated against, and outlawed for hate crimes with which most of them had nothing to do. . . in America?
This week the remarks of Mr. Trump are on the front page of the Jakarta News and the Jakarta Globe. The story is #1 for most comments in the Jakarta Post. There is the face and the words of the man who is seeking to lead and represent the most free country in the world. Do they know he doesn’t represent me?
Do your neighbors know he doesn’t represent you?
If you live in the United States 15 million of your neighbors are wondering. If you live in the United Kingdom, it’s at least 5%. We’re talking about millions of people who are as devastated by world events as you are (more so, because can you imagine the questions that arise?).
I’m not best pleased to be an American just now, but I’m thrilled beyond belief to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. O Church, get up! O Church, get up! Now is the time! Go out there armed with only the battle cry of Love and let the first one you meet know that you aren’t coming accusing, you aren’t coming to shun and mistreat and discriminate. Our Leader didn’t come to us that way.