The condemnation came too little, too late, Jewish groups said.
On Feb. 21, President Trump condemned anti-Semitism, as Jewish leaders had been asking him to do for months.
“The President’s sudden acknowledgement is a Band-Aid on the cancer of Anti-Semitism that has infected his own Administration,” said Steven Goldstein, executive director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, in a statement on Feb. 21 after Trump called anti-Semitism “horrible.”
The reporter asked President Trump about the rise of anti-Semitism in America. His answer — or seeming lack of one — angered many prominent Jewish Americans.
“Donald Trump’s inability to simply condemn antisemitism boggles the mind,” said Stosh Cotler, CEO of Bend the Arc Jewish Action.
Excited and nervous on his first day of high school in Leskovac, Serbia, Saša Bakic waited his turn to introduce himself. After he said his name, his new teacher stopped him: “Are you Roma?” she asked. “Let’s make a deal—if you don’t skip school and stay quiet in class, I will pass you with a D.” Stunned and humiliated, Saša tried to protest amidst the class’s laughter, only to be told, “You are all the same.”
The history of the Roma—Europe’s largest minority—is pockmarked with stories of forced assimilation, enslavement, and even attempted genocide during WWII. Today, despite efforts of state and EU policy toward integration, many Roma in Eastern Europe are still mired in systemic poverty and social stigma.
The steady growth of Roma Pentecostalism in Europe, however, is another narrative challenging these sobering realities.
When Saša began attending church at age 8, he received a message of acceptance and encouragement. “The children’s sermons acknowledged that we were outcasts, but that we should love rather than hate,” he remembered, now working to complete his bachelor’s in theology. “The church told us, ‘Let’s make a better image of our community!’”
Trump has painted a picture of America where walls loom, refugees are banished without a merciful glance, families are torn apart, people of color are killed more frequently and with even less consequence, and the suffering are left to suffer all alone. I find myself praying for a presidency that is only bad rather than catastrophic. And I find myself resolved with a new certainty to never let the vision Trump has painted come true.
I am upset by the results of the election, and I am particularly saddened that 81 percent of white American evangelicals got into bed with a monster on Nov. 8. But I am also encouraged and have not lost hope.
Around 11:15 p.m. Tuesday, my 15-year-old daughter, frustrated by all she was seeing on the television, stormed out of the room and announced: “Dad, I am going to bed. I am embarrassed for my country.”
I did not celebrate Independence Day this past weekend.
The truth is the United States has never been an independent nation. Built on stolen land by stolen labor, sacrificing Natives and Africans and their descendants to the mythology of “manifest destiny,” greed, oppression, and white supremacy, this has never been a nation of liberty and justice for all.
The ignoble myth of white supremacy that permeates the foundation of this country and underlies the policies and institutions that form the context of our lives has been rearing its ugly head so much lately that it cannot be as easily ignored or denied as it has been in the past. The recent massacre in Charleston and the burning of African-American churches add even more reasons to the hundreds of thousands to awaken to the reality of racism that undermines best ideals of this nation. Our country has failed to atone for, or even critically examine, its history of racial oppression.
As presidential candidacies multiply and campaigning accelerates, we can expect much tawdriness to occur. These are difficult times in American democracy.
Money will pour into negative campaigning and ideological posturing. Lies will become the norm. Every word will evoke counterattack, and facts will lose their currency. Barbed sound bites will be mistaken for wisdom. Bullies claiming to be “Christian” will be among the loudest. On both sides.
What are people of faith to do?
We can assume, first of all, that truth-telling will be absent all around. We, then, need to be truth-seekers, reading beyond the sound bites and toxic jabs for actual insights into what candidates stand for and what is their character.
We can assume, second, that God’s name will be taken in vain by everyone. Every candidate will tell stories of personal faith, maybe even dramatic conversion. They will quote Scripture and claim to be promoting God’s work.
In fact, to judge by candidates’ behavior, their words will be insincere and their faith a concoction meant to satisfy the sweet tooth of religious leaders. We, then, need to do our own work of discerning whether they have any functional familiarity with Scripture and any real concern for Christian ethics.
As anti-gay preacher Fred Phelps passes on to whatever is his reward, we need to ask how he managed to inspire a following.
His was hardly an exemplary life. One neighbor remembers seeing his children in Topeka, Kan., in the 1970s and noticing they were bald. He was told Phelps sent his kids out to sell some product, and if they didn’t make their quota, he shaved their heads as punishment.
Many tell how Phelps and his followers at Westboro Baptist Church sent vicious faxes when gay men were dying of AIDS, picketed military funerals with “God hates you” signs, and blamed terrorist attacks and fallen soldiers on America’s growing tolerance of homosexuality.
He was consistent, that’s for sure. Brutish and bullying from home to pulpit to public forum. Filled with anger and hate. And totally unrestrained in how he expressed his rage.
For many in the US, Halloween is a time to dress-up as a character from a movie, a politician, a witch, vampire, and