By SUSAN K. SMITH
Crazy Faith Ministries
While there are many supporters of the president who were saddened at the news of his having contracted the coronavirus, there are many others who don’t support or like him, some of whom openly rejoiced at the news, and others who wrestled with the tenets of their faith as they tried to manage and understand what they should feel.
Trump Republicans, of course, are deeply concerned. Their desire is that he not only wins the November election, but also hold office for life, according to The Hill.
But other people, including some Republicans who have found themselves at odds with this president on matters from morals to policy, are wrestling with just what to feel, and when it comes to what to feel about his being infected by the virus which has caused the deaths of over 200,000 people in this country, they are even more confused.
At heart of the confusion for many is their faith. For Christians, it is the Golden Rule – do to others as you have them do to you – that has them stuck, coupled with the command of Jesus the Christ to “love your neighbor.” The words of Jesus command those who follow him to forgive people – for as long as you are alive – with the reminder that if we don’t forgive those who offend us, God will not forgive us.
But yet, we wrestle. This president has lied about the seriousness of the disease. He has held back needed funds for cities to effectively fight the disease, The Hill also noted. He has called COVID-19 a “Democratic hoax,” as reported by NBC News, and he has discouraged his followers from wearing masks and chided those who do, CNN reported. This, while hundreds of thousands of families are reeling from the pain of having lost loved ones to the virus in an environment so dangerous that they have too often not even been able to be with their loved ones as they have passed on, has produced a deep, simmering anger for many, compounded by unimaginable grief.
When the news came out that he was infected, I heard people say things like “serves him right,” and “mama said God don’t like ugly,” and “what goes around, comes around,” but I also heard and sensed a fair amount of confusion. “What would God want us to say?” someone asked. “How are we supposed to feel and what are we supposed to say? In all his rantings, he has scarcely mentioned all who have died.
The man who kept the truth from the American people, who refused to provide competent leadership as his nation swirled under the attack of the virus, is now sick.
It is not just lack of respect for this virus that has people reeling. It is his behavior, behavior which has caused stress for many since he began his political career. His racism and sexism, his stoking of racial hatred and encouragement of racial violence, his disrespect and disregard for Americans exercising their First Amendment rights as they have protested racial injustice – all of that, and more, have earned him the scorn of many in this country. His performance in the first debate between himself and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden earned scorn and criticism in this country and around the world, according to CNN, and his tirades, filled with misinformation about absentee, mail-in balloting in the upcoming election, have caused people stress, strain and confusion.
But now he’s sick, and we are a “Christian” nation. A man for whom many has been a tyrant, is sick with a virus that has shown no mercy, and people don’t know what to say or how to say it. In the play “Wicked,” there is a song called “No One Mourns the Wicked,” a song which was sung when the wicked witch of the west is killed. The munchkins in the Land of Oz were happy that the source of the suffering was finally gone.
Well, this is not the Land of Oz. This is America, an imperfect country for sure, but our country nonetheless, which we have seen this president dismantling, piece by piece, institution by institution, lie by lie.
God judges us all. God will judge the president and God will judge all of us for what we do or not do. Hopefully, God will show mercy for those of us who are struggling with what to feel, what to say, and how to say what we feel, as we watch this president struggle with the illness that he has mocked as being merely a “Democratic hoax.”
Rev. Dr. Susan K. Smith is the founder and director of Crazy Faith Ministries. Her latest book, Rest for the Justice-Seeking Soul, is now available through Barnes and Noble and Amazon. She is available for speaking. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.