We are on vacation in Minnesota happily visiting relatives and visiting my boyhood home in the northern lakes. Sadly, however, there is no vacation from Donald Trump. As your minister of a Universalist Church it is my moral obligation to speak out and as members of a Universalist Movement it is your obligation as well. Before Charlottesville and after Charlottesville, we have stood unequivocally for tolerance and justice. As Universalists, we reject all forms of discrimination: racism, ethnocentrism, Anti-Semitism, sexism, heterosexism, religiocentrism, ageism and handicappism.
When Donald Trump attacked the enemies of racism and fascism—thoughtful conservatives, moderates, liberals, and progressives—and supported the Alt-Right White Nationalists and White Supremacists (including the Neo-Nazis, KKK and Skinheads), there should have been no more question about where you stand. If you are a Universalist and were a Trump supporter, that should have been the red line. It has been reported by members of his own White House staff that his Tuesday Trump Tower comments truly reflect the president's privately held beliefs; beliefs that he has fumed about in the White House for months. But, they were shocked when he publicly vented them. Pay attention to the fact they were not shocked by his privately stated beliefs, only that he publicly stated them.
You should not be surprised. Trump’s biographer has long reported that "The Donald" has had racist beliefs all his life; that African American people are inferior. A number of people associated with “The Apprentice” have stated he used the term “nigger” more than once when referring to African American participants and staff. I need not mention his own frequently self-stated misogynistic views on women. Whether you support some of his economic policies and ideas (although no one is quite sure what those are), the intolerance of this president and administration for people who are different can no longer be tolerated. This is not about being Republican or Democrat, but about being an American. As the Declaration of Independence absolutely clearly states:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
My father fought in some of the worst battles of WWII against Nazism. Over 400,00 Americans died fighting fascism in that war with all its Nazi torchlight parades, Death Camps (which he helped liberate), and Sieg Hiel salutes. Over 500,000 died in the Civil War over the cause of slavery. We cannot turn our country over to these most Un-American of Neo-Nazi, KKK and White Nationalist philosophies. Our President has validated these people and actually compared Robert E Lee to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. It is now up to us to repudiate and remove that validation and unequivocally state not in our church, not in our community, not in our country!
I have to add an essential footnote here. Don’t become completely distracted by this latest brouhaha by the President’s comments Tuesday (these blowups seem to come at least weekly now), when every day in practically every government agency, there is an attack occurring on everything we hold dear as Universalists, most importantly starting with tolerance. He’s actually distracting us from everything else he is really destroying. These are eating away at our rights and our American values just as surely as the events in Charlottesville and the murder of Heather Heyer by a White Supremacist.
Environment, including climate change and animal, plant and elemental nation rights,
Immigration attacks against Muslims and Latinos,
Health Care for the middle class, poor, elderly and disabled,
Voting Rights and suppression,
Unions and union workers,
And so on.
Because of this, in the end, Donald Trump is most certainly not fulfilling his constitutional responsibility to be the President for all the people of this country.