Crazy Faith Ministries
The nation is changing right in front of our eyes. Things that are being done will have impact for generations to come. Many – not all, but many – of the people who wanted their country back are getting it; they are pleased at everything that the new president is doing and are not worried at all. This new president is promising them jobs; he is putting White supremacy back in its rightful place after it was bumped aside by a relatively aggressive progressive agenda. This is the backlash, not yet formally named, but a backlash just the same, no less virulent and dangerous than was Jim Crow, put into place after Reconstruction, or, as Rev. William Barber has pointed out, the “First Reconstruction.” This Third Reconstruction is taking on a life and character of its own, and it is troubling to watch.
Mikhail Gorbachev, the former president of the Soviet Union, said in an article in Time this week that “it all looks as if the world is preparing for war.” The new president flirts with current Russian President Vladimir Putin, acting as though what the Russian government is alleged to have done – hacked into the American cyber system in order to influence the outcome of the election – is no big thing, despite the fact that anyone with a modicum of knowledge and a sense of history knows that Putin is no friend of the United States.
The new president talks out of both sides of his mouth, having said at one time during the campaign that he knew Putin well, but saying just today, “I don’t know the gentleman.” There is no sense of safety or security in anything this man says or does. It feels like those who voted for him are in for a big letdown … but then, nobody really knows, because the new president is totally narcissistic, arrogant and unpredictable. He lies without thinking about it, even as he calls out the dishonesty of people who are not “with him.” He calls the media the most dishonest people in the world.
He has signed executive orders that will affect masses of people – from people who may lose their health care if the Affordable Care Act is repealed without a replacement, to the elderly and poor who will suffer if funds are reduced for Medicare and Medicaid, to women who may not be able to get health care if funding for Planned Parenthood is snatched, to literally millions of immigrants, documented and undocumented, who will bear the brunt of his “extreme vetting” of immigrants and his determination that people from Syria will no longer be able to come to the United States.
“America first” is his mantra, this man who sat in the National Cathedral on the day after his inauguration in a prayer service where he decided there should be no preacher. He had heard a sermon on his inauguration day, delivered by Pastor Robert Jeffries, a Southern Baptist preacher known for fiery rhetoric aimed at Muslims, Catholics, Mormons, LGBT and Blacks.
He has set his table. God, in this time of trouble, will have to show His/Her glory in mighty way.
Barber, leader of the Moral Monday movement, reminds us that we, American citizens stung by racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination, have been here before. In a telephone call Friday, he said that Woodrow Wilson had a private showing of the movie Birth of a Nation, in the White House in 1915. Presidents have ebbed and flowed when it has come to matter of racial justice; we the people have had to fight without knowing, sometimes, where God was.
But God was there; had God not been there, the weight of the evil of racism and all of the other “isms” would have crushed us long ago. The best thing we can do when we cannot spiritually “see” God in history is to “remember” that God has been in history and has never left us. It is that remembering that will encourage us and empower us to get up, once again, to fight the powers and principalities that seem never to be too far away.
Rev. Dr. Susan K. Smith is the founder and director of Crazy Faith Ministries and a communications consultant for the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference Inc. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.