Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Trump Went To Church

President Trump in front of St. John's Episcopal Church on June 1, 2020, after the church was attacked by rioters.
And everyone had a meltdown. Funny how people, who are themselves far from perfect, are quick to judge and condemn the President when he seeks to honor places of worship. But I thought it was a beautiful and hopeful moment, especially for those of us who have been deprived of our churches for months. From The Federalist:
We were told groups of more than 10 people were simply not doable. Outdoor services were deemed unsafe. Even parking too closely in a lot or having too many people in a vehicle during drive-in services was prohibited. Police surveilled churchgoers, recording the license plate numbers of service attendees as “the only way we can ensure that your decision doesn’t kill someone else.” The message from the media and oppressive leaders has been clear: Church gatherings are deadly.
But now the game has changed. As brutal anarchists take to the streets alongside masses of peaceful protesters, all the media’s cards are on the table. Progressive governors have shown their hand. The coronavirus scare tactics have largely ceased. Believing fast food is essential while the Lord’s Supper is nonessential has always been ridiculous. But believing worshiping is lethal while looting is warranted is downright infuriating.
Are large gatherings dangerous, or aren’t they? In running interference for riots and condemning the president’s call for dominating the violent mobs, the media and leftist governors have answered that question. If the mitigating factor for large groups of people is no longer public safety but righteous anger, then Christians undoubtedly qualify. (Read more.)

And the next day, Trump visited the Shrine of St. John Paul II in Washington, DC, accompanied by the First Lady Melania, who is a Catholic. From The National Catholic Register:
Amid burgeoning conflict regarding the president’s response to riots across the country, President Donald Trump visited the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday morning. While a shrine spokesman said the visit was initially planned as the signing of an international religious freedom executive order and had been scheduled some time ago, Washington’s archbishop called Trump’s visit to the shrine “reprehensible.”
According to the White House daily press guidance, Trump had a scheduled visit to the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in the city’s northeast at 11:20 a.m. on Tuesday. The president’s visit now comes shortly before he will sign an executive order “to advance international religious freedom.”
A spokesperson for the shrine said on Tuesday that the White House “originally scheduled this as an event for the president to sign an executive order on international religious freedom.”
“This was fitting given St. John Paul II was a tireless advocate of religious liberty throughout his pontificate,” the shrine stated. “International religious freedom receives widespread bipartisan support, including unanimous passage of legislation in defense of persecuted Christians and religious minorities around the world.”
He added that “the shrine welcomes all people to come and pray and learn about the legacy of St. John Paul II.”
The revamped visit, following nights of civil unrest in Washington, was met with criticism from Washington’s archbishop. (Read more.)
The President and the First Lady at the St. John Paul shrine in DC on June 2, 2020
The President and the First Lady pray before the altar of the shrine

I find it reprehensible that a prince of the Church would rebuke a pro-life president for visiting a Catholic shrine. I wish the U.S. bishops would be as quick to denounce pro-abortion politicians as they are to criticize Trump. From Catholic Vote:
CatholicVote President Brian Burch released the following statement in response to the visit by the President and First Lady to the St. John Paul II Shrine in Washington, D.C.

“The fact that the President of the United States chose the shrine of Saint John Paul II to announce a new Executive Order protecting religious minorities should have been celebrated by all those who love the Church, religious freedom, and the courageous example of St. John Paul II. It is regrettable that the Archbishop of Washington chose this occasion to engage in a partisan attack on the President, especially when the country is in desperate need of healing and unity. Millions of Catholics in the United States, including many within the Archbishop’s own flock, are grateful for today’s Executive Order. The protection of religious minorities is a bipartisan issue that has enjoyed unanimous support in Congress as well as the Trump and Obama administrations. Today’s unfortunate partisan attack needlessly politicizes this important issue, and distracts from the plight of vulnerable religious minorities around the world.”

You can read the Executive Order for yourself here, or below is our summary for you.
Statement by Archbishop Gregory:

The Executive Order would:
  • Require the Department of State and USAID to deliver long-term strategic plans to implement how they will advance the cause of international religious freedom in U.S. foreign policy;
  • Provide $50 million per year for programs that advance international religious freedom;
  • Require international religious freedom efforts be integrated into U.S. diplomatic efforts. Specifically, the EO would require the Secretary of State, along with Chiefs of Mission, to develop international and country-specific action plans for prioritizing religious freedom and would make religious freedom a priority in bilateral and multilateral fora;
  • Require international religious freedom training for all personnel assigned to positions overseas; and
  • Provide flexibility for the use of economic tools – including the realignment of foreign assistance, visa restrictions, or sanctions – to advance the Administration’s International Religious Freedom agenda and priorities.
(Read more.)

 The media falsely accused Trump of using tear gas on protestors. From The Federalist:
Following days of violent riots and looting in cities across the country, Washington, D.C., announced a 7 p.m. curfew on Monday night. About the same time, President Donald Trump addressed the nation from the Rose Garden. Afterward, he walked through Lafayette Park to St. John’s Episcopal Church, which rioters had set on fire the night before. Standing before the church sign, which reads “All are welcome,” President Trump, who previously said he’d be paying his respects to a very special place, held up a Bible.
The speech announcing the country would return to rule of law and protection of civil liberties, the walk through a park that the night before had been given over to rioters, and the visit to the vandalized historic church where every president has worshiped since James Madison, were reassuring to many in the country.
For the media, however, these actions were further proof that Orange Man Bad is literally the worst, restoring rule of law is criminal, and standing in front of a church holding a Bible is an assault on the American conscience. They focused on how the Park Police had cleared the area ahead of the city-wide curfew declared by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.
Facts were no barrier to their narrative. They spun a tale of violent, jack-booted cops running rampant through the streets over innocent docile protesters, using tear gas to clear the area. It turns out none of that was true. Every single major media outlet falsely reported that Park Police were unprovoked when they used “tear gas” to clear the area. If any of that were true, it might mark the first time in history that cops without gas masks launched tear gas in an area that the president of the United States easily walked through minutes later.
After thousands of false tweets, print stories, and broadcast stories to the contrary, local journalist Neal Augenstein of WTOP reported that a Park Police source said “tear gas was never used — instead smoke canisters were deployed, which don’t have an uncomfortable irritant in them.” Further, the source said the crowd was dispersed because of projectiles being thrown by the “peaceful protesters” at the Park Police and because “peaceful protesters” had climbed on top of a structure in Lafayette Park that had been burned the prior night. (Read more.)

More on Trump's executive order on religious liberty, HERE. And the Daughters of St. Paul pray for the looters, HERE.


julygirl said...

It doesn't hurt to remind people of the ultimate message of redemption, reclamation, Love and hope that is found in the Bible. This is what the President was attempting to do, but was instead Laughed at and mocked. This President does not claim to have all the answers, and is aware of his human limitations. The Bible is an ancient text and does not belong to only "Bible Pounders", but to all the people on earth. When I first read a page of the Bible I did not believe in anything except my OWN strength and fortitude, but upon reading it I was soon captivated by the beauty and wisdom found there.

elena maria vidal said...

If Trump is being condemned for his human limitations and rebuked for going to churches and shrines, then all of us would have to stay away since we are all sinners.