By Pastor Rasheed Z. Baaith
“Should thy lies make men hold their peace? And when thou mockest, shall no man make thee ashamed?” (Job 11:3)
We so often hear “You cannot love God and mammon.” It is a scripture we can say without exaggeration that we have heard all our lives. Yet most of us interpret it wrongly. Mammon does not refer just to money. Stay with me on this. It is a Greek word and it describes lust, excesses, gluttony and dishonest gain. And here is where Donald Trump comes in, and in the final analysis mammon refers to an idol of materialism “which many trusted as the foundation of their world and philosophy.” In this case the world is America and the philosophy is racism.
All around us we hear people say they do not agree with what the President says but support him because of the “good economy.” In other words they are prepared to compromise their morality if Trump keeps putting money in their pocket. What that is called is situational ethics.
Situational ethics and politics seem to go hand in hand on every level. One of the issues in our community is how some of our leadership can literally be bought for a few pieces of silver. On the national level we see Black folks supporting an open racist for a White House photo shoot or a job or a pat on the back or 15 minutes of fame. (Omarosa) The question becomes what is the price paid for this kind of idol worship?
The price paid includes being at the table but refusing to speak honestly with whoever called the meeting. It includes putting yourself always above the future of your community; it means allowing those who despise your people and voice their derision to continue to do so with your support. But perhaps the greatest price paid is the selling of the soul to someone who cares only for himself.
Then there are those in America who have let their fear, their ethnocentrism and their resentment be of more value than their intelligence. But that too is part of the price of this money issued by Bank Trump. Don’t believe what your eyes see, don’t believe what you hear, and don’t believe what anyone says but me. Ii is a currency for those with a herd mentality. It is the currency of the desperate, backed by nothing of value.
America is in the midst of a struggle of identification, a struggle to determine what this country will be and who will be allowed privilege in it. I do not mean privilege as in unearned merit, I mean privilege as in being fairly treated as a citizen. Make no mistake, it is an existential struggle. We are in a time where the President of the country gives bigots license to be bigoted and the Republican Party supports that behavior with their silence. (If you do not speak out against it, then you support it.)
Finally there is this, what many of us do not recognize or refuse to understand is that Donald Trump and the Republican Party are determined to alter or eliminate the social construct of this country as it is now and as it was intended to be. From the education system to judicial system, from voting to drinking water. We can if we wish remain politically asleep. But if we do, the nightmares will be unceasing. And we will have sacrificed our children’s future.