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Protect church and state from Trump brand
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To the editor:   

Now that I have registered as a voter who is not affiliated with any party – i.e., Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or Mickey Mouse (?) – my inner voice has surfaced in a full-throated manner.

With Trump still at the helm as the reptilian conscience and voice of his professed party, the GOP has dived to new lows in terms of mostly facile accomplishments (too many to name). Ironically, his (mis)leadership has also resulted in new lows. He has set democracy back to such an extreme degree that many people in democracies around the world can see that the GOP’s lame claim to “being” a democracy – since Goldwater set the stage and Reagan delivered a performance – has seldom been substantiated by fact, reason and truth.

And to think there are still those of Christian faith who bloviate with such exclamative words as “Our President is Chosen by God. Hallelujah!” Not me. Never. We need Old Testament-style prophets storming the land with loud pronouncements of “Love cannot exist without a heart, soul and mind that are aligned as Jesus demonstrated for all to see and for all to practice in their daily lives.”

Heaven on earth.

As an avid reader of various translations of the Bible – and, yes, one who has read the Koran, Buddhist texts, the Book of Mormon, the Upanishads and other writings of the “wisdom traditions” – I think that the deepest and most meaningful message we can absorb in our daily lives are the words of Jesus as shown in his every action.

Yes, Christians have a free-speech right and a religious right of free expression to spread the word as their doctrine and orthodoxy teach them and their interpretations of the Holy Spirit moves them to speak and act. But keep in mind that anyone has that right without being relentlessly browbeat with a coercive, holier-than-thou manner – a manner, I confess, seems like a far distant cousin to what might be called loving your neighbor, as Jesus taught.

There are sound reasons for separation of church and state, all the more evident in a Trump-branded age. For example, I will now exercise my personal faith statement and freedom of religious expression as follows: To me, God is grand and cosmic, to a fair degree a mystery, all holy, and not limited in any way to a gender label, skin color, ethnic group, political party or ideology. The best of what humanity can bring to life on earth is God’s holiest invitation, enclosed with a message of hope and expectation. Jesus is a stark, yet loving, reminder that this invitation must be responded to day in, day out, amidst constant pains and sorrows. He showed us that we must seek to apply the most loving means of connecting and reconnecting and, as best we can with the gifts we’re blessed with, reach out to our fellow humans, no matter what label they somehow get stuck with and, as a consequence, adds to the burden of their lives.

Do I sound non-Christian or anti-theological? No and no. Our founding fathers knew human nature well enough to see that an official or definitive position on religion would be beyond combustible. And today? They’re right. It is combustible despite no official church.

I can imagine Jesus returning, all right, and joining hands with the most intelligent of these reasonable and conscientious men and admonishing us, saying, “We can bring heaven on earth, but not this way! I bestowed you the spiritual tools! Use them!” 

The Christian evangelical, Jim Wallis, says it well: “Don’t go right, don’t go left; go deeper.”

Do you think Jesus would agree?

Richard Joel Holmes