Elephant in the Room | Opinion | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Elephant in the Room 

Taking a Gander: Will the religious right find the courage to call out Trump?

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For most of my life, I've refrained from the use of angry expletives. My own children could probably count my curse words on the fingers of one hand, but whatever virtues I displayed during their childhoods, the patent depravity of Trump's life and presidency have created such anger that I find myself regularly using the F-word and invoking God's name in a manner that falls short of praise or prayer.

Usually, these acts of verbal irresponsibility are done sotto voce, but sometimes, they threaten to peel the paint off the walls of our home. I know I'm not alone in this; surely others are alarmed by the inaction of our country's supposedly moral religious leaders. On one hand, they have declared that God has created our great nation, while, at the same time, making sure their heads don't rise above the foxholes. It's incredibly chicken shit for them to choose moral abdication; that's exactly what it is. How can the so-called "people of God" be so intimidated by a thug who will soon be only a has-been and a career criminal?

Under Trump, the administration, the Department of Justice and our legislative bodies have been corrupted beyond imagination. The worst of it is Trump's refusal to accept anything other than his own, alternative reality. He has been defeated—fair and square and whether he finds his way toward a proper transition to the Biden win or is dragged, kicking and screaming, from his presidential bunker, the voice of the people will not be ignored.

Utahns, bless their little hearts—and I have to boldface that phrase—are no less complicit in Trump's lawlessness than any other religious groups. While it's true that Utah's voice is almost insignificant because of its diminutive population, its predominantly "Morpublican" base helped pave the way for the president's seditious acts. Because what could be more seditious that corrupting a legitimate election process? If Utahns aren't damned worried about the future of their country, they should be.

A religious tradition touting the "revelation" that Mormonism will save the Constitution when it's hanging by a thread has been abandoned for the false premise that an evil leader can somehow fulfil God's purposes. Whatever happened to "by their fruits, that ye shall know them"? Despite what naïve people thought back in 2016, there should no longer be any question. Trump's long history of grifting, fraud, sexual assaults and extortion made him a disastrous choice for president.

It's a sad plight. The hatred Trump has stoked, using the Christian right as his clueless choir boys, has gone far beyond the White House walls. So many—in America and beyond—have been sucked into the sewage of his reign. While most Americans can't imagine our democracy actually failing, the notion of "It could never happen here" is now being replaced by "Well, maybe it actually could." All demagogues and despots believe that they can operate without considering the throngs that allowed them to grab such power.

I'm not happy with myself; I'm not happy with the direction this country has taken under Trump's rule; and I'm upset that our country, built on the foundation of secular law and order, has been hijacked by extremists. I fear we may be headed back to the dark ages of our country, when the cause of religious freedom and the voice of the people were worth no more than the parchment on which they were written. It's as though the Puritans, who escaped their mother country for broader religious freedom in early America, remain very much in control, imposing their beliefs on everyone else.

I keep thinking that moral people, with the encouragement of their religious leaders, will make a clear statement on our White House disaster. (I must be hopelessly naïve.) But seeing that religions, themselves, have helped create the monster that has come so close—oh, so close—to destroying the greatness of our country, I may be waiting in vain.

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More by Michael S. Robinson Sr.

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