Judging from the reactions I’m getting, I hold what appears to some to be wholly contradictory views of Donald Trump’s recent diagnosis with COVID 19.
On the one hand, I firmly insist that the duty of Christians is to pray for his healing and recovery. I think it is wicked and sinful to gloat over his suffering and, worse, to desire his death or (worst of all) his damnation.
On the other hand, I feel not the slightest compunction about saying that he is not a martyr, nor does he suffer innocently, nor do I think it beyond the pale to point out loudly that not only did he bring this disease on himself, but he deliberately, wilfully, and with malignant selfishess did all in his power to expose others–including children–to it.
So while I believe it a Christian duty to pray for his recovery, I do not feel the slightest sympathy for him and my chief hope is that any suffering he experiences might burn out of his soul this deeply evil selfishness that has characterized him his entire misspent life–and galvanized a whole MAGA subculture of cruels to imitate him.
To me, these reactions seem both logical and compatible, like two sides of the same coin.
My views on prayer for the man come straight out of the New Testament:
“But I say to you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from him who takes away your cloak do not withhold your coat as well. Give to every one who begs from you; and of him who takes away your goods do not ask them again. And as you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” – Luke 6:27-36
Note what Jesus does not say. He does not say, “Lie to yourself and everybody around you that your enemy is not your enemy.” Forgiveness presupposes real sin. Whereto serves mercy but to confront the visage of offense? So while I pray for this vile man’s recovery and for the forgiveness of his sins, I likewise point out loudly and for the civic health of the nation that he has a ton of real–and, as far as anybody can tell, completely unrepented–sins. And they directly affect the lives of millions of people around the world
This matters because his miserable cult of gaslighting bullies has, as is their custom, sought to turn the Christian demand for forgiveness into a manipulative lie that any criticism of this criminally negligent fool is “politicizing tragedy”.
Bunk. This is not “tragedy”. This is the utterly predictable result of a selfish swine who chose to recklessly endanger a host of people, including children, because nothing matters to him but himself. He knows perfectly well what is at stake.
He just didn’t care:
Only one minor correction to this information as of this writing:
“In a statement a few hours after the briefing, Conley said the information at the briefing had been incorrect. When he said 72 hours, he meant Trump was on his third day of his diagnosed illness, with the confirmation coming Thursday night. And similarly, Trump was on his second day of the antibody cocktail, so it was begun Friday.”
In short, this still means that as early as midday Wednesday there were indications Trump was sick. Taking Dr. Conley at his word, Trump must have been symptomatic on Wednesday. So all day Thursday he knew he was sick with something and it might be COVID. And he still went ahead with his events, etc.
This Administration of criminally negligent fools is 100% responsible for the Rose Garden Massacre and is also 100% responsible for doing everything in its power to kill a number equal to all the dead of WWII by Inauguration Day and all the dead of the Civil War by this time next year. Look at this feckless contempt for public health and ask yourself what conceivable good is being accomplished by letting these morons kill a million of us in the coming years.
Here’s Kellyanne Conway, who tested positive, selfishly doing all she can to spread COVID to Bill Barr while he in turn does his best to give it to others by shaking their hand. Barr now refuses to quarantine.
As of this writing, the Coney Rose Garden soiree is a superspreader event in DC. And that does not even scratch the surface of the 300,000 other people in the US who were diagnosed in a single week thanks to this moron’s encouragement of cult events like this:
It is, to my mind, perfectly compatible to both pray that this miserable sinner who is doing so much harm and inflicting so much death and pain be forgiven and healed while also begging God that we be delivered from his evil and that God do whatever he sees fit to cure him, not just of COVID, but of the repulsive selfishness that makes him behave like such a swine.
Nor could I care less about the gaslighting lies of those who scold critics for “judging”. I am commanded by Jesus to know false prophets, and their monstrous antichrist cults of personality, by their fruits.
Here are the fruits, not only of this mocking sadist, but of his vile cult of self-pitying bullies, who think this is a scream.
Or that time he famously mocked a disabled reporter:
I’m praying for his recovery. But there ain’t no way in hell I am letting his cult of bullies try to turn this swine into a martyr. May he make a swift recovery–and may his presidency die a swift death.
I will pray for his recovery daily. I will also remind his cult every day that they have the blood of hundreds of thousands on their hands and are in no position to tell their victims to be silent.
The MAGA Cult of Sociopathic Narcissists see all human suffering as a matter of indifference or an object of mockery–except their own. They feel nothing if you suffer, except when they feel amusement. Only their suffering matters and is real to them.
This utter lack of empathy is also why, when you look at the timeline from last week, Trump only bothers to make his diagnosis public when he starts to feel the effects of the disease. It did not become real to him until he felt it. The lives of others meant nothing to him. It’s of a piece with the consistent selfishness and narcissism of his Cult:
Gun slaughter at a school? “Don’t blame me. Don’t touch my gun!”
Trump Depression? “My portfolio is doing fine. Get a second job, lazy.”
Refugees? “I’m white. I’m rich. I don’t live in a shithole country. Not my problem.”
Mass sterilization of refugee women? “The fewer browns I have to think about, the better.”
Children kidnapped into rape camps? “Meh. They should have obeyed the law. I believe in law and order. I’m good.”
Nothing ever matters to them but them.
This psychological pattern is so deeply true that when those the Cult hate express empathy, the Cult always projects on to them their own contempt for human suffering and accuse them of “faking it” because they cannot even imagine what empathy is like. This is why they heaped contempt on Obama for consoling victims of mass shootings. It is why they likewise sneered when Biden graciously stopped negative ads in response to Trump’s diagnosis. It was, for the Cult, all a gimmick, because that is what displays of empathy are for the Cult.
I’m not saying it’s easy for me to walk the tightrope of willing the good of this sadistic, selfish criminal and speaking what I think of him. I’m actually pretty terrible as it. But I think it is necessary to try to do both lest I be false to the gospel on the one hand or false to the testimony of my anguished heart on the other.
Trump lives an enormous and very literal body count of victims, both spiritual and literal behind him. Praying for him while not place their good before his seems to me to be as false to the gospel as refusing to pray for him. So as I close, let me just say that I think of this scene a lot as I contemplate the possibility of Trump dying and of my own deeply conflicted thoughts and feeling. I’ll leave you with it:
“If there is any person in the town, who feels emotion caused by this man’s death,” said Scrooge quite agonised, “show that person to me, Spirit, I beseech you!”
The Phantom spread its dark robe before him for a moment, like a wing; and withdrawing it, revealed a room by daylight, where a mother and her children were.
She was expecting some one, and with anxious eagerness; for she walked up and down the room; started at every sound; looked out from the window; glanced at the clock; tried, but in vain, to work with her needle; and could hardly bear the voices of the children in their play.
At length the long-expected knock was heard. She hurried to the door, and met her husband; a man whose face was careworn and depressed, though he was young. There was a remarkable expression in it now; a kind of serious delight of which he felt ashamed, and which he struggled to repress.
He sat down to the dinner that had been hoarding for him by the fire; and when she asked him faintly what news (which was not until after a long silence), he appeared embarrassed how to answer.
“Is it good?” she said, “or bad?”—to help him.
“Bad,” he answered.
“We are quite ruined?”
“No. There is hope yet, Caroline.”
“If he relents,” she said, amazed, “there is! Nothing is past hope, if such a miracle has happened.”
“He is past relenting,” said her husband. “He is dead.”
She was a mild and patient creature if her face spoke truth; but she was thankful in her soul to hear it, and she said so, with clasped hands. She prayed forgiveness the next moment, and was sorry; but the first was the emotion of her heart.
“What the half-drunken woman whom I told you of last night, said to me, when I tried to see him and obtain a week’s delay; and what I thought was a mere excuse to avoid me; turns out to have been quite true. He was not only very ill, but dying, then.”
“To whom will our debt be transferred?”
“I don’t know. But before that time we shall be ready with the money; and even though we were not, it would be a bad fortune indeed to find so merciless a creditor in his successor. We may sleep to-night with light hearts, Caroline!”
Yes. Soften it as they would, their hearts were lighter. The children’s faces, hushed and clustered round to hear what they so little understood, were brighter; and it was a happier house for this man’s death! The only emotion that the Ghost could show him, caused by the event, was one of pleasure.
Here is my take:
We all need to pray very, very much for Trump. After all, he is over 70, thus vulnerable to serious complications from COVID. Of course, I cannot avoid thinking that if this prevents him from “reigning” for a 2nd term, it would be a very good thing for your country and for the world. However, we should still pray for him, either his recovery, or his salvation.
I don’t know if you had any time to read the recent book about him, by his niece, but I assume that some people around you did, and they could tell you more. However, even if maybe most people would say that a bad childhood is no excuse for behaviour such as his, growing up between an ineffectual mom and a dad who, at least in the book, sounds like a quasi-psychopath, Trump might not be totally responsible for many of the things he says and does. Some habits of thought and behaviour can be very solidly implanted in early childhood and difficult to correct later on in life.
Since the teaching of the Church about mortal sin states that three factors must be present, and based on what I have read about Trump in this book written by his niece, who is a fully qualified clinical psychologist, I think I can assume that, in many cases he is not, or has not been, sufficiently informed and fully able and free to make meaningful choices. Therefore, maybe we should not judge him as deeply evil, although he still is totally unfit to lead your country, but we do need to pray for him, for the light of Christ to reach deep within his soul, whether or not he survives this.
I am sorry, but I completely disagree with using his childhood to excuse him. My father was an alcoholic and my mother was a narcissist who openly favoured my brother no matter what he did (she literally wrote me out of the will in front of my face when I was in my teens in favour of my brother and then proceeded to just sigh the estate over to him when I was 23. I got nothing at all and she saw no reason to apologize or explain herself) and I could go on, BUT I am totally, absolutely, responsible for my choices. A bad childhood can bring many things. It can bring pain. It can cause naivete which can lead to being abused later in life as I was. It can cause bitterness and anger. It can cause depression and apathy. But it doesn’t excuse someone who is selfish, entitled, immature, irresponsible, a patholigical liar, a misogynist, and a beyond-believable pompous asshat. I had a foul childhood. I am not those things and could not make excuses for myself being those things.
I was not talking about a bad childhood, but about an evil role-model and enabler, his father, who has “shaped” him since childhood. His father was proud of Donald’s arrogance and bullying, which he considered to be “strength”, despised kindness and compassion which he called “weakness”, reveled in his son’s growing notoriety, considered cheating and lying as normal business practices. and often bailed his son out. And this is only a glimpse of what I remember of the book…
I am said this repeatedly the last seven months, ever since this scheissspiel began with me really not wanting to get on a plane to return home, but not really having much of a choice.
I dont want anyone to get sick, i dont want anyone to die. (Certainly not even trump, because i want to see him in jail). But contrary to religious belief, there are no rewards and there are no punishments in the universe. There are simply consequences— consequences to what they are doing, real consequences that have been born out across the planet. I have no control over whether they would do this or not. If one of them asked me should he go to church on Sunday, I would tell him not to. But I can’t stop them from doing it. And I don’t need to ignore the consequences of what they are doing.
Ever since this started, Trump has been in denial. The Republican party is been in denial. Conservative religion has been in denial. Story after story after story after story: we are religious and we don’t have to do what you say, because God will protect us, or our right to gather enclosed spaces to pray is greater than your right to be alive. And sorry about your grandma, but THE ECONOMY! There’s a great deal of similarity in the gun rights sector of our sociopathy: our rights to have as many guns of whatever type we want supersede your right to be alive. Sorry about your kids.
We, on the other hand – and by we, I mean non-conservative, non-religion based, reality-based, science minding, even liberal, secular, progressive— should be listening to the doctors and doing what we are told as far as social isolation, avoiding sources of contagion, staying in, and in general, protecting ourselves and our loved ones. I know that all of my friends are doing this. And we should be doing this regardless of what they are doing because we want to protect ourselves. And because we’re doing this, our risk of infection is far lower than theirs. And, I want to underline, We should be doing this in any case. Yes, their actions increase our risks. But our risks increase only slightly, because we are already doing everything we can to avoid contagion, whereas their risks increase exponentially.
And thus we have the President’s pictures in a hospital, working away for the American people, signing blank pieces of paper with a- wait for it— SHARPIE!!! We have the merry go round of new cases, shutting down, cases being reduced, people saying oh well it’s over, cases on the rise, concern in government, and shutting down again. To be fair, this isn’t just the United States, but everywhere in the world because what we really have here is a failure of leadership…
EVERYWHERE IN THE WORLD!
COVID exhaustion is the result of too few of us carrying the social responsibility of too many other people’s irresponsibility, selfishness, narcissism, sociopathy, ignorance, and despite. This plague will continue until there is a cure or a vaccine, because certainly, the pro-life crowd that support Jabba the Trump will do nothing but whine about how inconvenienced they are, how difficult it is, how hoaxy it is.
As one meme goes: god sent a plague, and made it so that people could be heroes just by staying home and watching TV. And even that was too much of a sacrifice.
Justice requires a trial, with arguments, evidence, witness testimony, and a verdict.
If Trump dies now, there won’t be a trial.
I have no way of peering into Trump’s mind and soul, but if he dies, he dies a martyr to his followers because he genuinely took a risk, and suffered the consequences.
If he survives, he may brush off COVID-19 as “no worse than common cold” which might have even worse outcome.
Hard to tell which of these is better. There may well be a third option that I didn’t consider
The third option is that it makes a real change in healing his narcissism. I am reminded of Ste. Thérèse of Lisieux and her ‘miracle.’ She prayed for the conversion of Pranzini – who kissed the Crucifix when he was on the scaffold to be guillotined.
Ste. Thérèse, pray for him, and for the United States and the world.
On the other hand, there is a chance that, if Trump dies, his reckless actions since he caught the virus – and now goes on believing without much evidence that he no longer can spread it – might mean that he would take with him a substantial part of his team and even many of his supporters, which to say the least would not really be a disaster…
I realize that Lance walnau is a protestant, not Catholic. However, this was just too good to let pass by:
“I think Americans on the left are striving, they’re fighting with their maker. Fighting with Trump is fighting with God. This will really get them all torqued. They’re fighting God because they’re fighting Trump.“
I have a VERY hard time praying for this man. My mother was a narcissist. My brother is a narcissist. They are NOT people of goodwill and neither is Trump. They are enemies to all that is good and true. The most I can wish for him – is that enough to be a prayer? – is that he gets a damned good dose of this so that he he MIGHT take it more seriously and so that his followers can see that he is NOT untouchable and will start to doubt all he stands for.
This malignantly evil man – and I have never called anyone that before – is out of the hospital. And immediately, he took his mask off in front of God knows how many people, not giving a damn about them, and went to make a video downplaying the virus (a video that you know will be edited and reedited to show how “great” he is) and praising his immensity! I’m sorry, Lord, but I find myself praying that he gets every horrendous symptom of the disease, collapses in public, mews and cries and soils himself like the pathetically vile person he is and is left a completely dependent invalid, abandoned by all. I pray for forgiveness for typing this, but, dear God, the deaths that can be laid to him, the damage to the country, and the endless lies he’s spews . . .
Please don’t feel bad.
When ifirst heard this on Thursday, my first reaction. Was that this was a con– deflect attention from his taxes, show how butch he is, avoid another debate with biden, give currency to the idea that Covid is not so bad, show his evangelical base that god favors him.
One day he is on oxygen and getting a battery of treatments, then Suddenly he’s home and all is well. It may be real, it may be a con. But this is what we are reduced to in this country – uncertainty. andchaos is what trump thrives on.
You have a point. I was reading comments about his illness and treatment earlier this morning in cbc.ca, and there are so many discrepancies that do, as I think of it now, strongly suggest a con. I had not thought about it before reading your comment, but given Trump’s proficiency at lying, it makes a lot of sense. However, we might still be lucky, and some members of his entourage who have tested positive will share their virus with him. After all, Trump is really taking many stupid risks… He is asking for it!
Oh, dear God! Lincoln Project has a new video up with Trump spewing his nonsense about not letting the virus dominate our lives and bragging about all the great new treatments that, of course, only he can get, inter-cut with scenes of workers in full protective clothing taking out the dead in orange bags. For the first time since this horrendous virus start, I am in tears. Dear God, PLEASE end this nightmare. And, people, VOTE HIM OUT! Not third party, not sitting at home saying both parties suck. He needs to know that people despise him and want him gone!
How Christian Conservatives, Trump And Russia Formed An Unholy Alliance
..parents then started demanding was state support for their new schools — in essence a way to reinstate publicly financed, segregated schools. In 1976, the IRS rescinded the tax exempt status of whites-only Bob Jones University in South Carolina, which enraged segregationists to the point of galvanizing them into action.
And it was on this issue that evangelical Christian political activism in the South was based, not abortion. That only came later. In fact, according to Dartmouth historian Randall Balmer, Republican operatives worked hard to persuade them that they were better off making their public focus an opposition to abortion, on which they could make a moral argument, rather than a return to segregated schools, on which they could not. …..
..creepy level of admiration for Putin from white evangelical Christians and the NRA in recent years suddenly appears totally logical when you look at the country Putin is ruling. An almost exclusively white, “Christian” nation under a ruthless authoritarian who has systematically suppressed religious and sexual minorities. What Putin has in Russia is what a great number of Christian conservatives would like to see in this country
..The rest of America may wind up turning on Trump this November, but he will, again, win evangelical Christians in a landslide.
My Mom just wrote a scathing handwritten letter to her Bishop demanding to know why Trump wasn’t being officially prayed for at all the masses. She literally left me a picture on my bathroom counter that depicts Reagan, Pope John Paul and Trump with an “OR” in the middle and Nancy Pelosi, Biden and the muslim politician that wears the head scarf on the other side. I laughed when I saw it, but feel so, so sorry that she can actually buy into such insanity. It has literally sucked the joy out of her heart. You don’t nurse on Fox News and become a happy person.
I’ve been praying for the man, but have to admit that I was envisioning some of the stuff I’ve been reading about that occurs when patients have Covid fever-dreams. I guess we are all tempted to send directives to God. While in an induced coma, my brother-in-law saw devils and says he went to hell for weeks and weeks. It gave him PTSD, but didn’t stop him from his former ways. They almost pulled the plug on him. He says he thought he’d be in hell forever. After his ex-wife saved his life by insisting upon a second opinion (with the married mistress blubbering in the hallway!) he STILL went back to being a narcissistic money grubber who refuses to apologize for his actions and needs to hold all the power. I couldn’t believe it. It’s possible that he even got worse.
My husband is more cynical than I am. He says “bad weed never dies.”
We’ve had this conversation before, haven’t we? I can’t tell you anything about your mother that you haven’t told me already, but she sounds extremely angry. What is she angry at? I have no idea. But the generalized anger is very clear.
That sort of thing wears me outI think I told you before that my mother absolutely hated my two brothers. (The actual story is, of course, very long and complicated. I wrote a family biography five years ago that was quite the largest thing I’ve ever written – a novelette). She basically ruined the both of them. She didn’t ruin my sister, because my sister was a girl, and that’s OK. She didn’t ruin me, I am convinced, because I was the gay boy.
I’m going to offer you some unsolicited not-advice, just what i see. I know that you are a very nice person. In the two or three years that I’ve been visiting Mark’s place, you’ve always taken the side of kindness and openness. What I see here in what you write about your birth family is the conflict between being a nice person, and protecting yourself and your immediate family from being around such toxicity. On and off for nearly 25 years, I danced the same tango with my mother and my brothers. For most of about 25 years I had little to no contact with my mother. I was very fortunate, though, because I had a series of “foster mothers“ since I was a teenager, and they made sure I turned out all right.
Brother X was full of the toxic anger that my mother produced in him, always turned outwards. It wasn’t his fault, but I didn’t want to be around him anymore. I suggested that he see a therapist to deal with it, and his response was, “I saw a therapist once. He was a jerk. I didn’t go back.“ Brother Not-X turned all of that toxic anger inwards. He basically wrecked his life because of his self-esteem problems, courtesy of Mom, but he was a good guy.
Each side of that conflict above has consequences. For myself, what I learned was that a relationship that doesn’t make my life better is not a good one to be in.
I feel so sorry for her. Being a victim of a lie is so, so, so much worse when you can’t *see* the lie. I think she must have moments when a bit of light comes in through the cracks (she hates bad manners–an elegant lady to a fault…) so Trump, being such an uncouth man must make her cringe somewhere in her brain. She is a very proud lady, that’s the problem. Life never humbled her. She was very insulated in her world by my father. She in turn ceded her ability to think and reason to him as a form of allegiance–the ultimate 50’s housewife.
I don’t think Trump would have had my father’s support with the exception of his glee in seeing his culture enemies losing or at least threatened with being smashed down. Trump says the sh*t that other people won’t admit to thinking. Sometimes my Dad *would* say it out loud like a Trump– just to shock us all. My mother would admonish him, and he would get to be the gleeful bad boy. He was a huge character. A patriarch. –Loved a good intellectual fight (unlike Trump!). But when he died there was nobody to fill that void– his (bully) pulpit. Trump has the big personality but not the intellect or elegance of my father but my mother, devastated at the loss of her world grasps at having that large, painful void filled. Yes, it causes pain. Yes, I feel bad that I avoid interactions with her. I love her. She also scares me. Her kingdom is big enough for the two of us, –and to be 100% honest I’m financially beholden to her. (You don’t have a family of ten without needing a hand -up)
I’m thinking that she and I got off to a very bad start. I was her fourth child in six years and a third girl–a literal pain in the a*s from day one. Part of her has always resented that I think. My dad was the opposite. He doted on me and loved that I could disagree with him intellectually unlike my sisters who bowed to power. He couldn’t crush me, and loved that.
The biggest irony of all is that my libertarian father reminds me of Mark Shea–if, IF IF! –he (my Dad) had listened to the entire message of the Church. He thought you could pick and choose (ignore), just like he thought he could pick and choose what he liked about Libertarianism. That libertarian mindset has in many ways ruined my extended family. You just can’t put mammon before the gospel.
Ben, thank you very much for your kind words and honest advice. I can tell that you have found joy in your life by your sense of humor. This is a quality that I utterly love, and kind of a litmus test for everyone. Being able to find light and levity even in the most dark moments of history has been a mark of the saints. I love that Teresa of Avila said, “God save me from sad saints!”
It sucks that your Mom was so destructive–I’m so, so sorry. Parents are supposed to be proxies for God. I guess God knew all along that we would all f**k up our children to one extent or the other, and this creates the great test of life:
a. *admitting* we’re f**ked up
b. apologizing to the ones we love for the times we passed that buck
c. trying our best to rise above and pass on a real remedy to what is f**ked up
Hahaha, that won’t win any awards for eloquence, but hey–I never claimed to be a Chesterton, or educated at Oxford 🙂
You see what I mean? Thanks for the kind words–AGAIN!!
You wrote this: “Yes, I feel bad that I avoid interactions with her. I love her.” When I saw my mother for the last time– the first time I had seen her in 14 years, the first time I had talked to her in 4 years– yet another long story– we really didn’t have much to say to each other. I even asked her if she had anything she wanted to say to me, and her answer was no. Way too much water had flowed under that bridge. When I left her and drove off, I started to cry so much that I had to pull over and get it out of me, because I couldn’t drive. It was the second time that had happened. The first time had been triggered, or some reason, by Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances, but it was beyond clear that it was about my mother. not the music.
I realized then the truth of what you just said: I loved my mother very much, but I sure as hell didn’t like her. My parents loved me as much as they could, but they just didn’t love me very much. But unlike my brothers, I was lucky. There were other people who loved me, the most important being the parents of my best boyhood friend. They made sure I came out all right. The funny thing was, my foster mother was a saint, and my foster father was absolutely nuts. But their love for their children, and they included me in that, came well before any nuttiness or saintliness.