Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Enemies in Politics

Below is the text of the invocation delivered yesterday at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, OH:

When I wrote yesterday that I generally hate Presidential election politics and wouldn't be watching the convention, this is exactly why. In the eyes of this pastor - and, one can infer, in the eyes of the Trump campaign, since they have issued no denunciation - the Democratic Party is the "enemy" which must be "defeated" in order to "unite" the country.

This is just shy of calling for a politico-religious holy war. Democrats can only be "defeated" in the sense that they may lose some elections. Whoever wins in November, there will still be tens of millions of Democrats in the United States. How do you propose to "unite" the country once you've declared them the "enemy"?

This is terrible, awful, horrible on so many levels. It's bad politics, it's bad theology, it's bad liturgy. That this man would be invited to give such an invocation, and that these words would not be immediately denounced by the party that invited him, is proof positive that, for the Republican Party as it now stands, politics is no longer about trying to make the country better. It is war, a war against their fellow Americans.

I still choose not to be afraid of a Trump Presidency. And I choose not to be afraid of this man and his words of division and hate, uttered in the name of God. But I am saddened beyond my ability to express that our public square, our most visible civic spaces, have become the playground for hatred, division, and strife. I imagine sometime in the next few days someone at the RNC will refer to Democrats as "cockroaches", and the imagery will be complete.

Wake me in December.

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