In a speech, Donald Trump, the so-called “pro-life” President, made it clear how far he is from being a promoter of life. As indicated and filmed by many sources, Trump had no problem laughing and making jokes about people shooting would-be immigrants at the border. Morgan Gstalter, writing for the Hill, shows how Trump and his supporters have no concern for human life:
“And don’t forget, we don’t let them and we can’t let them use weapons,” Trump said of the border agents. “We can’t. Other countries do. We can’t. I would never do that. But how do you stop these people? You can’t.”
“Shoot them!” someone yelled from the crowd, according to reporters and attendees at the rally.
The audience cheered while Trump smiled and shook his head.
“That’s only in the Panhandle you can get away with that statement,” Trump joked. “Only in the Panhandle.”
Trump encourages his followers to think little of the life of others. He promotes a notion of a criminal invasion of the United States so as to suggest that the proper response, as given by a member of his audience, is death. He knows, right now, that it is against the law to shoot down those who come to the border, but it is clear, he is wanting things to change. He wants to militarize the border, and in doing so, he wants to encourage the military to mistreat migrants, leading, of course, to violence so that any and every excuse can be made to execute would-be immigrants at the border.
Nothing in this is something which Christians can accept. Not only does Christian teaching, following Scripture, tell Christians to welcome strangers, it tells Christians not to harm foreigners needing asylum but to find room for them and help them in their time of need. Sodom and Gomorrah were judged because of their mistreatment of outsiders.
Christian teaching rejects the bloodthirsty attitude demonstrated by Trump and his supporters. This is why Pope Francis has declared the death penalty inadmissible. Christianity promotes life, not just for some, but for all; it rejects the use of power and death, seeing that even if it is intended to be used for some good goal, the means is evil and unacceptable. It is worse, of course, when killing those in need is seen as the solution to their needs. Violence begets violence, the sword begets the sword, and those who use the sword or other means of violence will perish by it: this is why Jesus told Peter to put his sword away. Christians today must put away the means of violence when they encounter strangers coming into their lands if they want to follow Christ. “”When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong” (Lev. 19:34 RSV). Shooting them down, or dreaming about shooting them down, is as far from the justice of God as is possible.
Trump must never be seen as a pro-life president. All he does demonstrates his rejection of the dignity of human life. He uses abortion as a tool to con people to act against the dignity of life. The time has long been past for those who consider him to be pro-life and follow him in his dance with death to not only be rejected, but resisted by those who know and understand the dignity of human life. He might use the title of pro-life, but he does so with Orwellian double-speak. Of course, the fault here is not alone his. It has been the leaders of the so-called pro-life movement who have fostered this double-speak upon us. They have a political goal in mind, and that goal is not the promotion of life. This is why they can and have supported politicians who have nothing to do with being pro-life like Scott Brown. They offer a political three-card Monte: every time the desired card is chosen, such as the Trump card, it leads us further away from the dignity of life, so that the death of innocents ends up being a joke.
Donald Trump has made it clear what he thinks of human life. Christians follow the author of life, and so respect all life. The views of the two are radically different from each other. Christians must resist Trump like they have resisted any other would-be dictator who promotes an ideology that embraces death over life. So long as they do not do so, they undermine their own moral teachings, and in doing so, risk losing their very soul.
 Morgan Gstalter, “Trump Jokes After Rallygoer Suggests Migrants Be Shot,” The Hill (5-9-2019).
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