IT WILL be almost two weeks since the 2020 American elections took place. Taking place in an unprecedented time of a global pandemic and a deeply-divided nation promoted by a populist president, it was hailed by many as a life-changing event for most Americans.
Whichever candidate won, it was either going to be a repudiation of the inflammatory rhetoric and partisan politics of the current president and a return to traditional American governance; or it would be an affirmation that the socio-political schism was about to get wider.
It appears that the entire nation, and indeed the whole world already knows who the victor of that contest is. But true to his nature, the current occupant of the White House refuses to give up without a tussle, recklessly endangering not only the reputation, but also the national security of the United States.
But one victim of this president’s legacy is the division that is now taking place among the American faithful.
It’s totally disappointing that so many outwardly good Christians and Catholics are swallowing the line that “Trump is an imperfect man, but is being used by God for his purposes,” and hence the reason why people of goodwill should have voted for him. Many Catholic groups, in fact, supported and continue to support him for this reason.
Think about this for a second. While it is certainly true that up and down the millennia, God used “evil” people for his good purposes, the good work was actually done by the people, who saw in the bad person the light of the truth and did something about it. God did use Saul as a force for good, but not until he became Paul was he worth emulating as a person. If he had remained Saul without experiencing metanoia, I very much doubt that we would have a St. Saul that we venerate today.
Christianity is not at all a gnostic cult and we do not have a God that tries to hide his message in codes that only the knowledgeable will understand. What he has instead given us is a conscience that will guide us in our search for the truth. He will not disguise “good” as “bad” and vice versa, just to confuse his people. With a well-formed conscience, what is what should be apparent to all.
Trump is outwardly a very “bad” man with what some Christians believe to be “good” intentions. Fine, that may well be the case. But Biden is also an outwardly very “good” person, who admittedly belongs to a party that may have certain policy directions that are not necessarily in tune with the teachings of the faith. On balance though, it is easier to change policy than convert individuals. That’s why over time government policy has changed many times, while there are not many St. Pauls around the place.
Instead of praying for a “bad” person like Trump to “convert,” would it not be better, and perhaps in keeping with divine wisdom, to instead choose the inherently “good” person and pray that he withstands the pressures from his party in terms of policies that may not be consistent to the faith?
When God speaks, he will make clear his will to the faithful. It’s too much to assume that he will send a messenger to his people, have that person sow so much dissension and division, only for that person to be the bearer of his truth. I would like to think that our God is more kind, loving and merciful than that.
People of faith need to pray at this time. But instead of praying for the “bad” candidate to triumph and cause even more dissension and chaos, should we not rather save our prayers for the “good” person, so that he stays strong to the teachings of his faith?
And who is the “good” person in this fight? Well, you know the person who shares in the sacraments of your baptism and confirmation and that person is clearly not Donald Trump.