Republican Policy Has Pushed Me Back to Catholicism

Stephen Colbert isn’t the only one thinking more about God lately.

Following Donald Trump’s win and accompanying policy pushes, the callousness of the proposals have pushed me back toward Catholicism and the values that were instilled in me during my adolescence.

Pope Francis refugees
If you know me, this is likely the last topic you'd expect me to write about. I admittedly drifted very far away from the church as I hit my teens, especially during my college years. Much like the way I drifted from the Republican Party after voting for George W. Bush twice, it was the archaic social positions that forced me to reevaluate my faith in the Catholic Church.

Specifically, it was the anti-homosexual rhetoric that left me feeling further away from God. Because the God that I was taught to believe in – the Jesus presented to me during my formative years – cared about everyone. In short, that was the foundation of my belief in Jesus and Catholicism. There was always a pursuit of something greater, of something beyond ourselves. The goal in life was not merely to ensure success for me; it was to ensure success for all of us.

My late Nana worked for a diocese in Long Island and her good friend, a Monsignor, helped instill these values in me. They went to “work” every day to make life better for the unfortunate or those in need. As a 10 year old, I just assumed that was the entire reason for the diocese to exist – to help those who needed it.

I grew up in Connecticut and the Priest at the church we frequented on Sundays – I’m certainly not going to lie in a piece about Catholicism because we didn’t go every Sunday – had a passion for helping refugees. When the collection plate was passed, it was always for refugees and helping families escape the most horrible conditions imaginable.

In fact, my most distinct memories of those services are when the Priest would have a refugee family in attendance. He’d bring them to the front, share their story and explain how our donations were helping these people chase the American dream.

I can’t admit to being the sentimental type in high school, but those moments moved me and those stories changed me. I couldn't imagine how someone could look at those people – horrified from the past, crying tears of joys about the future – and think about telling them they were unwelcome.

Yet as soon as Donald Trump began President, that is exactly what the Republican Party did. They continued their portrayal of refugees as criminals and terrorists. Rarely in my life have I been so angry about political policy because it was so untrue, it was so disgusting and, sadly, it was believed by so many who have never met a refugee in their life.

Still, what put my rage over the top was the ridiculous support of evangelical Christians for this type of abhorrent racism. There’s no other way to put it. If you look at refugees as potential terrorists because their skin is darker than yours, you are racist.

Throughout 2016, I refused to believe that those of the Christian faith would support Trump. He was the antithesis of everything that Jesus taught. The most obvious is that lying is – and I fact-checked with Moses – a sin. Trump lied every single day of his campaign and it never mattered.

Jesus taught us to help those in need, feed the poor and care about your fellow man. That message has been shockingly absent from the Christian right’s agenda. The most shocking is the embrace of a health care plan that would devastate the poor and sick in this country. Few will say the Affordable Care Act is perfect, but the goal of that law was to reduced the uninsured. The purpose behind the law was pure, if the execution has been off.

The American Health Care Act – ACHA or TrumpCare – is simply a tax cut for millionaires. That offends me, personally. Our government should try to help as many of our citizens as possible, not just the rich ones. That’s not our government right now.

It has all caused me to think more about God, Jesus and the Pope. One of my favorite follows on Twitter has become Pope Francis, because he is delivering a message that appeals to my understanding of the Lord. We have one go at life and we have to make the most of it, for the others who live on this planet with us and for future generations.

America has become such a ridiculous existence in 2017 that the Church is defending the science of climate change, while our President thinks it’s a Chinese hoax to raise taxes on billionaires.

Colbert talks to God
I had not realized how much I thought about God – or how much Stephen Colbert discussed it – until I read this article positing that Colbert’s ratings bump might not be 100 percent related to mocking Trump. At first, I found the article insane. Yet, it has stuck with me for days because there is a kernel of truth lurking.

I watch Colbert, and have watched Colbert, because he makes me laugh. However, the “God talk” has increased over the past few months and it has certainly appealed to me. I don’t change the channel. I don’t wish he would avoid the topic. Quite the opposite – I’ve found myself belly-laughing at Leviticus jokes and wondering what the heck is happening.

It turns out I may have lost my way when it comes to my faith. I took for granted that others, especially those claiming to be Christians, always have their neighbor’s best wishes in mind. They don’t. That doesn’t mean I need to forget them.

I’ve tried to become a better person over these long nine months since Election Day. I am well aware my positions have annoyed people that I know on social media. I don’t really care.

The God I believe in would want me to do whatever I can to ensure that the sick, the needy and the poor receive the help they so desperately deserve. I can’t turn my back on them. I hope you can’t either.

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Comments

  1. Jesus is always there for you.

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