Some kids will spend Christmas in border cages

Being a sorry excuse for a human being is not an impeachable offense. But President Trump’s deplorable treatment of poor people and immigrants during the holiday season is reason enough for his evangelical supporters to question their hero’s devotion to Christianity.

Trump and his henchmen have a perverse way of celebrating Christmas.

The holiday season is the season of giving, but on December 4, the Trump administration proposed taking food out of the mouths of almost 700,000 people by withdrawing them from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, which provides aid to the poor and disabled. Meanwhile corporate executives will feast this holiday season on the big tax breaks they took last year from Republicans. 

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) called the Trump food stamp cuts “Immoral at its core. President Trump’s cruelty could not be clearer: Passing trillions in tax cuts for millionaires, billionaires and corporations-on top of the massive giveaways to corporate agribusiness in the 2018 farm bill-while taking food assistance from the unemployed.” 

Then, there’s the holiday humanitarian crisis on the Mexican border.

Humanitarian crises conjure up images of refugee camps in Africa in the minds of most Americans. We reach out to those unfortunate people abroad but ignore the misery within our own country caused by our own government.

While we’re at home with our families during the holidays, thousands of people – men, women and children – will spend Christmas in cages in prison camps on the U.S. side of the Mexican border. A few weeks ago, one of the children in Trump’s border manger, a 16-year-old Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez, became sick and died in one of those camps.

Hope Frye, the executive director of Project Lifetime, which monitors the border prison camps, testified before the House Oversight Committee about the “hideous conditions” she found in them.

“Some children were too traumatized to even interact with us. Children who were lucid enough to interact with us were glad to see us. They were grateful for the opportunity to sit in an office which was warmer than their cages, to sit on a chair not on a concrete floor…”

Frye continued “The children we saw were filthy wearing the same wet and mud stained clothes in which they traveled. Many were covered in mucus and vomit. Babies had soiled diapers.” 

Americans should enjoy the holidays with family and friends. But we should be mindful that thousands of immigrants seeking a better life for themselves and their children have been separated from their families by a cold, cruel and callous president.

In the 2016 national presidential exit poll, a quarter of the voters (26 percent) identified themselves as evangelical or born-again Christians. An overwhelming majority (80 percent) of them voted for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. Most evangelicals still turn a blind eye to Donald Trump’s failings, but at least some devout Christians have risen above hypocrisy to have the courage to challenge his questionable morality.

Mark Galli, editor in chief of Christianity Today, wrote, “this president has dumbed down the idea of morality in his administration.” Galli went on to say that Donald Trump is “a human being who is morally lost and confused.”  

Pope Francis made the same point back in 2016 when he said, “A person who only thinks about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not a Christian.”  

For Christmas Day, the president and his evangelical supporters might want to read the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew. Jesus preached:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.”

If Donald Trump really wants to put Christ back into Christmas, he might want to start with himself. He should be mindful of the poor and the people who have come here to seek a better life for themselves and their families.

Brad Bannon is a Democratic pollster and CEO of Bannon Communications Research. He is also the host of the radio podcast “Deadline D.C. With Brad Bannon,” which airs on the Progressive Voices Network. Follow him on Twitter @BradBannon. 

Tags border crisis Donald Trump Donald Trump; evangelical Hillary Clinton Pope Francis Rosa DeLauro SNAP benefits USDA

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