In a 2001 episode of “The Simpsons,” Lisa leaves Christianity. However, she still wants to reap the benefits of opening presents on Christmas morning.
At the end of the episode, Lisa says, “I wanted to spend Christmas with you guys … I’m still Buddhist, but I can worship with my family, too.”
Marge replies, “So, you’re just going to pay lip service to our church?” Lisa affirms this and Homer responds, “That’s all I ever asked.”
Though Homer’s reply is comical, this exchange has eerie similarities to our current administration. Normally, the comparison between Lisa Simpson and President Donald Trump would be a poor one; however, the parallels of paying lip service to Christianity to simply profit from the political benefits are clear.
As women raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we see extending a hand to the poor and needy as a pillar of our faith. Some of the most vulnerable among us are refugees. A statement released in December 2019 from the church’s governing First Presidency stated in part:
“We are deeply committed to living the two great commandments to love God and love our neighbor. We feel tremendous joy in helping all of God’s children, no matter where they may live in this world. It is therefore with great concern and compassion that we observe the plight of more than 70 million people around the world who have fled their homes seeking relief from violence, war, or religious persecution.”
According to data on Google Trends, Trump has tweeted about God hundreds of times. Though notably, the first occurrence wasn’t until January 2016. He recently tweeted, “Happy Sunday! We want God!” then went golfing.
Unfortunately, his administration has intentionally continued to separate immigrant children, some still infants, from their parents and guardians. These actions are in stark contrast to Christian teachings and the LDS Church strongly condemned family separations in its 2018 statement.
After peaceful protesters were cleared away using tear gas, Trump posed in front of a church with a Bible in hand. However, he must have missed the dozens of Bible verses on welcoming the stranger, because, in 2017, he wrote an executive order that barred refugees from entering the country in order to conduct an unnecessary review of the vetting process that never even occurred. This ban exposed refugees of many faiths, including Muslims and Christians to further risk of violence, persecution and death.
Trump has insisted he is the one including the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance and falsely criticized Democrats for removing it. Yet, he has wanted to charge families fleeing unspeakable horrors to pay to seek refuge in our country. Does a nation that is “under God” ask the helpless to pay for our compassion?
His administration has slashed the number of refugees admitted to historic lows for three consecutive years. One of the main arguments for this was debunked by a study carried out by the Department of Health and Human Services that found “refugees are a major benefit to the United States, paying more in taxes than they consume in public benefits, and filling jobs in service industries that others will not.”
As former and current Republicans, we are united in our commitment to Christ’s teachings to welcome the stranger. We applaud Joe Biden’s plan to reform inhumane immigration laws like family separations and recommit the U.S. to welcoming refugees and people seeking asylum.
We are heartened by his statement given on World Refugee Day wherein he pledged to welcome up to 125,000 refugees. This would be greater than the 85,000 cap under the Obama administration and almost seven times greater than the number allowed under the Trump administration.
We’re tired of a head nod meant to appease religious followers while carrying out inhumane and unspeakable acts. We will not allow our Christian principles to be exploited for political gain. The empty words, symbols, and photo shoots are not sufficient to convince us that Trump’s actions are in any sense “Christian.”
As the Marge Simpsons of America, we plead with our religious peers to let actions speak louder than tweets.
Christie Black, Mesa, Ariz., is a stay-at-home-mom and activist, volunteering with various humanitarian and advocacy nonprofits. She can be reached through email at email@example.com .