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Dear President Trump:

Today’s Daily Lectionary readings contrasts those who abuse their power to oppress others, with those who use their power to support life for others.

In the Old Testament reading, God compares King Jehoiakim with his father Josiah. While Josiah acted justly and judged fairly the cause of the poor and needy, Jehoiakim built a spacious house without paying his workers, profited from dishonest gain, shed innocent blood and was oppressive and violent. (Jeremiah 22:13-18) In the Gospel reading, Jesus declares, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” (John 6:51) In the Epistle reading, creation itself groans to be “set free from its bondage to decay.” (Romans 8:21)

Weaving

Photo by Howard Zehr

Mr. President, in your Inaugural Address you said that, “Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves.” Further, that “Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families.”

I know it is still early in your Administration, but so far, your Executive Orders and Memos seem to have done more for Wall Street than for ordinary American workers and families. You have cut regulations for businesses, but have not called for raising the minimum wage or increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit. Instead, you have ordered a hiring freeze for some government workers and your budget proposals would likely result in the loss of tens of thousands of civil servant jobs and the loss of health insurance for millions.

I commend you for emphasizing the creation of jobs. But let those jobs pay a living wage. Let those jobs come with health insurance. Let those jobs contribute to the sustainability of the planet.

Mahatma Gandhi, the late leader of the Indian independence movement once quipped, “President means chief servant.” But he also noted that this is not without personal reward, as “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

Indeed, the point of having power is to serve others. May we all find joy in doing this.

Sincerely,

J. Daryl Byler

 

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