LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Dividing ‘us’ from ‘them’ incompatible with Christianity

The first true “Americans” arrived in the “lower 48” at least 23,000 years ago. Thus, today, they are referred to as “Native Americans.” All who arrived in the 14th century or later were immigrants, undocumented and un-vetted. Unless one has Native-American ancestry, one is certainly of immigrant stock.

There were many reasons for immigration to these shores. Some were “second sons” who would not inherit; some were ne’er-do-wells. Some were seeking religious freedom. Some were seeking the riches reported by early explorers, while still more were brought here as slaves to enable their “owners” to enrich themselves. Adding to the mix were criminals sent here as punishment or fleeing here to avoid same. The vast majority of present-day Americans are immigrants or their descendants.

Those who arrived after the establishment of the United States by predominantly English-speakers were looked down upon. This negativity became stronger beginning in the 19th century, and has continued to this day. As the “boomer” son raised in a rather prejudiced family, I heard and repeated many derisive terms applied to these “others.” Today, I am ashamed of my youthful attitude and expressions about my fellow humans.

I attended Sunday school as a child and church as a teen, and served in my church’s governing body as an adult. I consider myself a Christian. I retain certain thoughts gleaned from the Bible, such as “… suffer the little children … ,” that Jesus welcomed all, including the hated tax collector and the adulteress about to be stoned. He preached love for one another, forgiveness, and peace.

We know of these because the solely male church hierarchy decided which stories and words were to be codified in the Christian Bible. We need to be reminded that there are several Bibles as part of Christianity, each slightly different from the others while being considered the true word of God. Despite His traditional portrayal in art we, should remember that Christianity’s founder was born a brown-skinned Jew from Palestine.

I find it disheartening that a presidential candidate would purposely capitalize on the xenophobia that exists in some Americans today. He has maligned certain religions, nationalities, and “races” in order to win supporters. While ostensibly espousing Christianity, he seems to welcome a chosen few rather than welcoming ALL as Jesus did. One should not earn the support of others by disparaging select groups because of their ethnicity, their religion, their appearance, or their sexual orientation. But this political wannabe doesn’t seem to want to learn that. Sad to say, he has found more than 13 millions of possibly like-minded supporters!

This “businessman/reality show star/Only I … ” candidate is divisive. His rhetoric on stage and on Twitter will separate, rather than unite, Americans. It’s not what Jesus did. “Only I” is not what we need.

May God bless ALL Americans and the United States.

Alan P. Gaddis

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