By Rev. Dennis Dillon, NY Christian Times —
There is a man in Washington who behaves just like a troubled kid with a mild mental disability – a brash, bombastic brat who bullies his way as far as he can go until his parents tell him to stop. He ceases reluctantly, and the moment they turn their backs, he continues his antics and escalates to a heightened level in anticipation of their return with another stern rebuke.
Our troubled president cannot help himself, and it is grossly unfair to expect someone so sick with hatred, bloated with ego, obsessed with status, drenched in privilege, and festered with arrogance to do anything differently from what Donald Trump does.
I am a true believer in the power of redemption, the awesome gift of salvation, and Christ’s magnificent love that can restore, revive, and repair the hearts of the wretched. But this man – the President of these United States – makes Nebuchadnezzar, Sennacherib, and the “pharaoh who knew not Joseph” look like saints. His thoughts propend towards evil and his deliberate bend towards White supremacy and fascism eats away at his heart like maggots consuming rotten fruit.
In this important season, America and our world are experiencing what is probably the greatest expression of racial solidarity but, sadly, White people get a bad rap from bad characters like ex-officer Derek Chauvin and President Donald Trump.
I am not a conspiracy theorist nor am I driven by the diverse winds of doctrines and prevailing theories during this perplexing duo of the coronavirus pandemic and American’s racial upheaval. Yet we must contend with the possibility that the Bible-waving man who does not know a single scripture may be divinely ordained for such a time as this . . .
To affect the deliverance of the children of Israel in Egypt, there was a pharaoh who knew not Joseph. He had no sensitivity to Joseph and his people, and disregarded all knowledge of the great work they did to help build a strong country and a solid economy. Because they were an immigrant people, he made their lives difficult and subjected them to a life of servitude, xenophobic attacks, and perpetual harassment.
God hardened Pharaoh’s heart because he was already so mean that he had sunken beneath the reach of the Redeemer’s hands. And yes, hate will do that to any man or woman who has an obsessive disregard for others and an oppressive heart that is bloated with the desire to subjugate and depress those they unduly fear. Pharaoh could not stop the rise of God’s people in Egypt, and Trump and his cohorts cannot stop the rise of Black greatness and this global Africa revival. Now like Pharaoh, he goes from mean to meaner and from dumb to dumber.
With the Holy Bible as his prop, St. John’s Church as backdrop, and a cameo cast of White House puppets, President Donald Trump illegally ordered the use of rubber bullets and tear gas to be released upon peaceful protesters to make a way for him to walk over to St. John’s Church for the most demeaning and disgusting presidential photo op Americans have ever experienced.
How arrogant and diddly dump can you be that you would show up at the people’s church without notifying the bishop or inviting the parish pastor to stand with you? Why would you show up at a church without seizing the opportunity to pray? And in such a season of crises, where are your clergy leaders and token Black representation among your entourage that would help to bring balance and validation to your momentary epiphany?
What the president did was sacrilegious, blasphemous, anti-Christian, and an indecent act that is so low you can’t get under it. The bishop of the church is duly outraged with righteous indignation, and it is a small ray of hope to see and hear some of Donald Trump’s “pro-KKK” evangelicals speaking out against his evil deeds.
The sad truth is that Mr. Trump did this Bible-raising act to cater to his base. He believes that these people, and most mainline Christians, are gullible enough to respond with favor because he stands before a church and holds up a Bible. He believes that because Christians are so passionate about faith and worship that he will gain political mileage if he calls for churches to reopen in the middle of this horrific pandemic that demands social distancing. And he also thought he would somehow gain favor and acceptance since the church was vandalized during the previous days of protest actions.
Mr. Trump does not know the bishop of the church across the street from the White House – despite the fact that many past presidents have attended Sunday services at the historic church on a regular basis. The head of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde, said on ABC’s Good Morning America, “He stood in front of St. John’s and held up a Bible as if it were spiritual validation and justification for his message (of hate) that is antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and to the God of Justice … In no uncertain terms, I have to disassociate us from that symbolic gesture and speak words of justice and peace to the nation.” In a twitter post, she also noted that “the president did not acknowledge the agony and the sacred worth of people of color who are rightfully demanding an end to systemic racism and the White supremacy in our country.”
This man has elevated “fake” and crooked to such lofty heights that it is now so high you can’t get over it … How interesting it is that this seasonal author of “fake” is also the master of these crooked and deceptive tactics.
Almost 600 years ago, Pope Nicholas V and subsequent popes gave authority to leading European men to go capture, kill, subjugate, and otherwise dominate the indigenous people and their lands in all parts of the world. They were already equipped with guns and swords, and now they were given Bibles. During the age of discovery, some explorers were even given missionaries so they could convert those who they did not kill – and this is not “fake” history.
Armed with papal authority, the Bible, and their swords, these men traveled the great expanse of our world and released terror everywhere. America is an end result of some of these Papal Bulls, and as much as President Donald Trump is too ignorant to know what he was doing in arrogance, he is calling for the swords (the military), asking for governors to dominate (subjugate), and then he rushed over to the church holding up a Bible!
The Bible, Christianity and the church has been unfairly used – by men like Donald Trump, the Jerry Falwells, Franklin Graham, Adolph Hitler, and popes the likes of Nicholas – to oppress, suppress and repress God’s people for hundreds of years, but that reign of terror is over and there is a new spiritual awakening. The so-called Christian Right Movement in America is spiritually bankrupt. The Bible did say that “not everyone that says Lord shall gain the favor of God; but those who do His will.”
It is troubling to me that Rev. Franklin Graham, a strong supporter of Donald Trump, would take to social media to call the nation to pray amid the protests that resulted from the death of George Floyd – without calling for justice and spiritual atonement. Graham’s call for prayer bothers me because nowhere in his statement did he urge churches to pray for George Floyd’s family, Breonna Taylor’s family, Ahmaud Arbery’s family, or the families of the thousands of men and women killed by law enforcement each year. Graham urges prayers for peace instead of justice; he wants prayers to stop the “violent” protest – not prayers to end the onslaught on Black and Brown lives in America. Thus Graham – like thousands of “evangelical” preachers across America – wants to fight with the sword while holding up the Bible.
I stand firmly on the strength and authenticity of the Bible, the power of the Church, and absolute faith and unshakeable trust in God. The problem is the mis-use of the Bible and the evil, misguided representation of Christianity. God’s righteousness is more about humanity than it is about pro-life and pro-choice; it’s more about human rights than it is about gay rights and family values; and it is about justice and human equality and not gun rights and national protectionism.
Here’s what God says in the Bible: “Away with your lofty hymns and noisy praise. I will not listen to the music from your instruments. Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteousness” (Amos 5:23-24).
To Donald Trump and those so-called evangelical preachers and pulpit hypocrites, I hate to be the bearer of this good news, but America is NOT going back. The prophetic scriptures are clear about the rise of the oppressed people and all efforts to “make America hate again” are doomed to utter failure. A White majority voted in Barack Obama as president, a White majority watched Oprah Winfrey and steadfastly tune in to Steve Harvey every day, and more than 80 percent of the global Black Lives Matter protesters that number in the tens of millions are non-Blacks and majority Whites.
There is a deeply spiritual shift that is taking place in our world, and America is at the center of this divinely imbued revolution. The seasonal reign of White supremacy is coming to an end and the new “New World” will be of equals. Blacks are now the youngest population in America, earning at almost the same level as White counterparts in most categories, and have surpassed Whites in many key areas. It wasn’t that long ago that it was against the law in America for Blacks to be educated, and today Blacks are graduating high school at almost the same level as Whites. Africa also has the youngest and fastest growing population of any continent, and while Europe is on the decline, Africa and a New America are on the rise.
This modern-day Trump-guided insurgence of White supremacy is too little, too late – largely due to the consciousness and fairness of a new progressive White world that is sick and tired of the evils perpetrated against their fellow humans. Undoubtedly, thanks belong to the scores of African leaders, activists, and trailblazers in the U.S. and globally who fought for justice and equality, many of whom suffered government-sponsored assassinations.
Most importantly, we thank God for the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart. For some in America, Europe and across the globe, White fear is real and releases a faulty ideology of nationalism. This is the motivation that fuels America’s White evangelicals and enrages Mr. Trump and his neo-Nazi/American confederate base. Be it the suppression of White women, the hatred towards immigrants, the repression of non-Whites or the protection of the old guard, this man thinks he is the vanguard of the Trump created pale, stale, White male.
Most of the Donald Trump blue collar White men are scared of the power and rise of a new majority, and they resent the positive change that is taking place in America – led by Blacks, women and other races. America is on the verge of a new majority, and the fact is that this country has probably twice as many Blacks as the census indicates.
Threatened by the power of women, confused about the culture of Blacks, afraid of the beliefs of others, obsessed with a false sense of perpetual supremacy, and dogged by the fear of being the impending minority, Trump and his pulpit of hypocrisy are preaching the wrong gospel from the right Bible.
They have the wrong combination. A faulty theology propagandized by a president who lies as easily as he brushes his teeth. Whisked away to the White House bunker because of security concerns for the President of the United States, our “tough guy” president felt demeaned and needed to elevate his sense of power and control. He rose from his bunker and held a briefing, called for the military, and then rushed to the nearest church and held up a Bible. Because tough guys cannot show signs of weakness, he proceeded to lie by saying he went down to “inspect” the bunker.
Maybe he thinks we are all gullible. Sorry, Donald Trump, that’s no longer the way it works in America. We are fully aware of your bullying tactics and we know you have enough ego to fill the Fresh Kills landfill, but you and this combination of some misguided evangelical leaders and your base of American nationalists are no match for a God of justice and a broad diversity of multi-generational Americans of all political parties, diverse cultures, many races, and both sexes.
Here’s God’s message: This post-COVID era and the season of global racial unrest will usher in a season of redemption, a path to global equality, and the RISE of a people subjugated, oppressed, and robbed for almost 600 years since Pope Nicholas issued Dum Diversas to King Afonso V giving Europe authority to go suppress Africa and the world!
It is not by coincidence that the virus quickly journeyed to Italy from where Nicholas issued the Decree, then went to Spain (Iberia) where Afonso received the Decree, and then devastated America and onto Brazil – the 2 countries that as a result of the Decree did the greatest damage to African people. And it is noteworthy that the presidents of both countries claim Christian alliances and are oppressive to indigenous and African people.
Now here we are at the tipping point of this coronavirus (crown-virus) pandemic and this 600-year pandemic of racism has gained global momentum such as the world has never seen. Like I said, I am not a conspiracy theorist – just a prophetic voice of God.
This is Dennis Dillon … thank you for reading.
Rev. Dennis Dillon is an award-winning journalist and Christian minister from New York. He is publisher of The New York Christian Times and pastors Rise Church New York.