With all the brouhaha about the so-called leader of the free world signing Bibles, there is something missing in the uproar: Separation of Government and Religion. For example, I ask, why is the U.S. head of government deliberately supporting (with his signature) Baptist parishioners’ by autographing the covers of their Bibles? Sure he was in Alabama surveying the devastating tornado damage and in the process visited a Baptist church. But do the parishioners who sought Trump’s signature even know whether he ever reads the “Good Book”? And I also have to ask: Do you think Trump, after a natural disaster, would go into a mosque and sign a copy of the Muslim holy book? How about visiting other non-Christian places of worship and signing hallowed tomes?
Most of us are aware that the guy who is supposed to govern ALL Americans, favors only those who fall at his feet, particularly evangelicals who somehow ignore such biblical verses as: “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.” (Proverbs 6: 16-19). Those characteristics unquestionably fit Trump, but “godly” followers merely shrug.
Back to separating government and religion. That is not part of the first amendment which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” But the Religious Right promotes aligning the Protestant Christian faith with government. In fact at the National Prayer Breakfast in February 2018, Trump declared in his address to his evangelical followers: “I will never let you down.” He promised to advance their religious right’s sociopolitical agenda.
In many ways this current federal administration promotes Christianity as the nation’s religion. Trump himself has issued directives/laws banning Muslims from entering the United States. He has also actively prevented people of color (Central Americans), who are primarily Catholic from legally seeking asylum, especially with his faux emergency declaration to fund his wall at the southern border, which Congress has rejected.
Consider Vice President Pence, who has made clear that if he were ever in the oval office, he would govern with evangelical fervor. Then there are cabinet members such as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who has clearly advocated using tax dollars allotted for public schools to be used for school voucher programs that often go to private Christian religious schools. There are many other examples that are the focus of news reports on an almost daily basis.
I share the view of Americans United for Separation of Church and State: “America should be a place where people of all religions and non-religious backgrounds should be welcome. It should also be a place where religion isn’t used to discriminate against women, LGBTQ people, minorities and other marginalized people.”