Friday, October 2, 2020

Reflections on Our Attitudes About Trump and COVID-19

was startled to learn about the news that Donald and Melania Trump had been diagnosed with COVID-19. It certainly brought home the fact that if the rich and powerful can get it, so can the rest of us. But this article is not about the moral goodness or badness of a human being, dealing with an illness, or the precautionary measures needed against them. Rather, it is about looking at the reactions on social media and having to ask, “What is wrong with people?”

The reason I ask this is because a certain set of Americans are responding with malicious glee to the fact that two human being have been afflicted by a disease that seems to have called almost 208,000 deaths and afflicted 7.35 million people in the United States alone. I have seen people wish the President a painful death, and I have seen people seek to use this for a partisan gain. Even in the media, we are seeing the main discussion focusing on how it will impact the elections and the Supreme Court nomination process. Some of those carrying out this abhorrent behavior are self-professed Christians.

Once again: These Donald and Melania Trump are human beings, made in the image and likeness of God and worthy of as much respect and compassion as every other human being. If we claim to care about human lives, we need to show concern for these specific human lives as well.

Those who dislike the President will no doubt bring up a litany of his sins. To which I will respond with the words of Christ:

Do to others as you would have them do to you. For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? 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? Even sinners do the same. If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit [is] that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, and get back the same amount. But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as [also] your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:31-36).

The attitude of the Christian for the suffering must be one of compassion and caring that is not contingent on how they have treated us or how their affliction will benefit or harm us. Regardless of what one thinks of a person’s politics or character, we are not exempted from that part of God’s great commandment that tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves.

And if we invent excuses as to why someone who we dislike doesn’t count, we’re pretty reprehensible.


(†) Worldwide, we have 1.35 million deaths and 34.5 million cases.

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