Dear President Trump:
Today’s Daily Lectionary readings are pleas for help. Pleas embody the deep longings of the soul.
Moses pleads to God to spare a stubborn and wayward people: “Then I lay prostrate before the LORD. . . forty days and forty nights; I neither ate bread nor drank water, because of all the sin you had committed, provoking the LORD by doing what was evil. . .” (Deut. 9:18)
The psalmist pleads for many things: “Give ear to my words, O LORD; give heed to my sighing. Listen to the sound of my cry” (Psalm 5:1-2); “Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me! …Do not hide your face from me.” (Psalm 27:7,9); and “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.” (Psalm 51:1)
What are your pleas, your deep longings, Mr. President? My pleas to God, and to all leaders in this nation, are for healing and justice:
- For leaders of this nation to model civil discourse and mutual respect across the divisions of political party, faith affiliation, gender and racial-ethnic identity.
- For the nation to turn away from its fascination with military might. At more than $600 billion, the U.S. military budget is more than the next twelve countries combined. And yet your budget, Mr. President, requests a military spending increase of $54 billion – at great cost to programs that are more likely to increase human security. Have we learned nothing about the limits of military power from our misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq?
- That we would have the courage to finally dismantle the hierarchy of human value upon which this nation was founded, so that our criminal justice, health care and educational systems, for example, no longer reflect the bias of race.
- That the nation will use its considerable resources to be a good global neighbor.
Langston Hughes once wrote, “I’m so tired of waiting, aren’t you, for the world to become good and beautiful and kind?” Mr. President, will you use the influence of your office to move the nation toward healing justice?
J. Daryl Byler