The billionaire reality-TV-host-turned-political-sketch-writer’s-dream recently caused more anger than usual with his suggestion that the US should ban Muslims from entering its borders.
Now, the natural reaction to this sort of stupid, unenforceable, borderline fascist nonsense is to close our own borders to the threat of a Trump invasion. Some 357,000 or so people have suggested that by signing a petition to the UK Parliament to ban Trump from entering the UK. But we’re Christians. You wouldn’t catch us trying to block, ban or bully things or people we don’t agree with. It’s just not our way.
So, in the spirit of being nice and repaying evil with good, let’s not pull up the drawbridges. Let’s welcome the politician with the Flock of Seagulls hairdo, even as we reject his politics of fear and hate.
Here are some suggestions of places that should open their hearts and their doors to Donald J Trump:
1. Our borders
Donald Trump clearly has some odd ideas about Britain. He recently told a journalist that 'We have places in London and other places that are so radicalised that the police are afraid for their own lives.' An assertion so ludicrous it prompted not-exactly-left-leaning Mayor of London Boris Johnson to debunk the ridiculous idea and say that: 'the only reason I wouldn’t go to some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump.'
So let’s not ban him. Let’s welcome him. Since he seems incapable of seeing it in his own country, let’s show him in the UK a country where the vast majority of us don’t fear our Muslim neighbours, but laugh with them. Let’s show him the former British soldier who lost a leg fighting in Afghanistan who brilliantly denounces islamophobia. Let’s show him how a Muslim charity got 60 volunteers to distribute supplies and moral support to victims of flooding in Cumbria. Let’s let him in, give him a decent curry and over a pint in a pub full of different ethnicities and national origins, explain to him what his name means in our slang.
2. Our Borders
I know. It shut down as a chain of book stores in 2009, but the principle holds true: be it in Borders or Blackwell’s, or Smiths or Waterstones, Mr Trump could do with reading a few more books. He could start in the history section, reading about where it ends when you try to gain power by playing on people’s prejudices against a race or religion. But, then, judging by what his ex wife says, maybe he won’t be that shocked.
3. Mexico’s borders
Trump has said some lovely things about Mexicans coming over to America. Like that he was sure some of them were not rapists or criminals. That 'some of them, I assume, are good people.'
'Why Mr Trump,' Mexicans and people of Mexican extraction across America must have said, blushing, 'you flatter us.' It’s time for Mexico to repay that kindness. Open your doors, Mexico! Welcome him in! But don’t waste his time with all that touristy stuff or the thriving culture or business districts, the vast majority of hospitable, hard-working, law-abiding, faith-filled, boring people. No, no, no. Look at his hair. Trump is an original. He’s basically a Hipster. Give him something less mainstream. Introduce him to some of your entrepreneurs in the pharmaceutical industry.
4. Hair salons
Seriously, guys. Open. Your. Doors. This man needs you.
5. The Church
Okay, those last two were mean. Sorry. We’re Christians. We should love people, even if they are inciting racial and religious hate at every opportunity, just to get a bump in the polls. Even when they spread lies that induce fear and division, just to gain power. But that doesn’t mean we should support them. And while a disturbing number of American Christians do, many don’t.
Russell Moore is something of a big deal in the not-terribly-liberal Southern Baptist Convention in the United States and has come out very publicly against Evangelicals supporting Trump, as well as arguing against Trump’s foolproof ‘closing the borders to people who admit they’re Muslims’ proposed security measures from a Baptist standpoint. So perhaps Donald Trump could do with some time in the Church. Not the liberal, progressive, namby-pamby Church – he’d hate that. But a hardcore, Bible-believing, no-nonsense, you’re-fired, not so much with the compromising, Baptist church.
We could pray for him. We could tell him about the Middle Eastern guy we worship, who started life as a refugee. We could mention the stuff about loving enemies, welcoming outsiders, driving out fear with love. We could forgive him and accept his foibles, let him know that Jesus accepts him, too.
But let’s not confuse that grace and acceptance with the idea that this man is fit to be the leader of the most powerful nation on earth. That would be a very, very bad thing.