Despite having been through two divorces, despite allegations that he had extramarital affairs with an adult film star and a Playboy model and paid both of them hush money to keep quiet, and despite multiple allegations of sexual abuse against him, President Donald Trump continues to be quite popular among far-right Christian fundamentalists such as Tony Perkins, James Dobson, Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell, Jr. But those white evangelicals certainly don’t speak for Christianity on the whole.
Trump also has his share of Protestant and Catholic critics, and one of them on the Protestant side is the Rev. Dr. Bill Holmes — a Louisville, Kentucky-based minister and retired physician who has no kind words for Trump’s presidency in a blistering Aug. 12 op-ed for the Courier-Journal.
“Today,” Holmes writes, “the stench of moral decay, especially in politics, is creeping across America.” And one of the most disturbing examples, according to Holmes, is Trump and his supporters’ attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. Although Omar has been a naturalized U.S. citizen since 2000, she is originally from Somalia — and Trump supporters, at a recent rally in North Carolina, were chanting, “Send her back, send her back” in reference to the Democratic congresswoman.
“As I recently watched the men and women standing behind President Donald Trump and chanting ‘Send (her) back!,’ I tried to imagine who they are, where they come from, and how they got to this point in their lives,” Holmes writes. “Most likely, they would get up the next morning and, like most of us, go to work and school hoping to make a better life.”
Holmes continues, “No matter where they came from or what they now do in life, all had this in common: they were cheering for Trump and chanting slogans aimed at racial minorities, especially those who have had the audacity to speak out against social inequities and injustice.”
The minister is critical of both Democrats and Republicans in his op-ed, writing that “Democrats beat each other up for political advantage, while Republican leaders fail to lead — placing their party’s power and their personal gains above all else.”
Holmes describes Trumpism as “a national malignancy” and “a cancer from within that threatens the foundations of our democracy.” Nonetheless, he urges readers to avoid giving into pessimism.
“We have some very difficult days of uncertainty ahead,” Holmes asserts. “We must stay engaged and not succumb to despair. We cannot hang our harps on a tree by a river in Babylon and there weep over what is no more or, in fact, never was. We can neither deny the reality of our time nor linger in an abyss of despair.”