Thursday 19th April 2018

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An Open Letter To Michael Gerson… The Washington Post’s Bitterest Republican Enemy Of President Trump

April 12, 2018 Featured Today No Comments

By FR. BRIAN W. HARRISON

(Editor’s Note: Fr. Brian W. Harrison, OS, STD, a theologian and a contributor to The Wanderer, sent this letter to columnist Michael Gerson concerning Gerson’s “ceaseless flow of columns” attacking President Trump. Fr. Harrison’s original heading on his open letter described Gerson as a “self-styled conservative Christian.” Fr. Harrison gave The Wanderer permission to reprint it as an open letter.)

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Dear Mr. Gerson,

Forgive me, but your ceaseless flow of columns depicting President Donald Trump as a monster/villain have finally goaded me into writing this protest. The last straw was your piece entitled “Trumpism can’t be treated as a normal political moment,” republished here in St. Louis in yesterday’s Post-Dispatch (Easter Sunday, April 1).
As one of the large majority of conservative Christians (I am an orthodox Catholic priest and theology professor) who voted for Trump in 2016 and continue to support him (for the reasons well summed up recently by your fellow Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen), I find it hard to imagine what the driving-force motivation must be that impels a self-styled evangelical Christian and Republican to keep up these unending tirades filled with utter execration and loathing of a President whose policy decisions are so much more pro-life, pro-family, pro-religious freedom, and anti-judicial activism than anything we could have ever hoped for from Hillary and the Democrats.
(Your criticisms of them are infrequent and mild in comparison with your obsessive anti-Trump onslaught).
You falsely accuse Trump of “dehumanizing” whole classes of human beings, but you yourself “dehumanize” him! Why do you always put the worst possible interpretation on what he says? For instance, do you really think the President would accept it as a fair statement of his position when you claim that “The stated purpose of Trump’s border wall is to keep out a contagion of Mexican rapists and murderers”? Of course not! The “stated purpose” is simply to stanch the flood of illegal immigrants.
When Trump remarked off-the-cuff two years ago that “They’re not sending us their best people — they’re sending rapists and murderers — and I assume some of them are good people,” he was obviously not characterizing illegal immigrants in general — and much less Mexicans or Hispanics in general! — as rapists and murderers. All he meant, plainly, was that the illegal immigrants include significant numbers of those criminal types.
And that of course is perfectly true — witness the notoriously violent MS-13 and other gangs in many of our cities, and the disproportionate number of illegal immigrants behind bars. Everyone knows parts of the southern border area are chronically violent: people smugglers, sex slavery traffickers, drug vendors and so on, are all very active down there.
Our President was demonized after Charleston for supposedly postulating a “moral equivalence” between anti-racist demonstrators (in fact, mostly hard-left “antifa” provocateurs) on the one hand and white supremacists and neo-Nazis on the other. But what he obviously meant — and soon clarified — in saying there were “good folks on both sides” was simply that as regards the stated and officially recognized purpose of that march — to oppose the pulling down of a statue of Robert E. Lee — there were good folks on either side of that debate, i.e., whether pulling down historic Civil War statues is the right way to go or not.
Again, that is a perfectly civil and reasonable comment for a president — or any other American — to make.
You also say in your April 1 column, “Trump proposes to ban migration from some Muslim-majority countries because Muslim refugees, as he sees it, are a Trojan horse threat of terrorism” (emphasis added).
Again, do you seriously think Trump would accept your description of how he “sees it” as fair and accurate? When you ascribe to him the view that “Muslim refugees” in general (i.e., not even Muslim immigrants in general, but precisely that innocuous subset thereof who are genuinely seeking refuge from war and/or persecution) are “a Trojan horse threat of terrorism,” you are plainly distorting his position. If Trump thought Muslim immigrants/refugees as such or in general constituted that threat, then why did his proposed travel ban — applying only to a handful of particularly lawless or terrorist-ridden countries — leave 89 percent of the world’s Muslims just as free as they had previously been to apply for U.S. visas?
Not that in any case there would be anything unethical, immoral, or unconstitutional in giving preference to Christian over Muslim immigrants to this country, whose culture, traditions and religion have for centuries been predominantly Christian. From a Roman Catholic standpoint, Vatican Council II’s Declaration on Religious Freedom, article 6, insists that citizens are to enjoy equality before the law, so that there should be no discrimination on religious grounds among citizens. But it says nothing at all against possible discrimination on religious grounds among those who are not only not citizens, but have never even set foot in the country where they are seeking the privilege (not right) of entering and dwelling.
Indeed, the papally-promulgated Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them” (art. 2241, emphasis added). Well, the British and European experience of massive immigration by Muslims, not a few of whom actively seek to implant and extend shariah law — sometimes with overt boasts that Islam will soon come to dominate the West — shows that this respect for the Christian spiritual heritage of their host country is by no means always present. The U.S. is therefore perfectly entitled to take this experience of our allies into account in vetting would-be immigrants.
Nor is it true that Trump “has attempted to systematically delegitimize all critical information as ‘fake news’” (emphasis added). Again, your generalization distorts the President’s position.
While you slanderously accuse our President of “dehumanizing” whole categories of people, you conveniently pass over in silence those in our public life who — in direct contrast to the President! — really and literally are dehumanizing a whole category of undoubted human beings, namely, the pain-capable unborn infants whom all but three Democrat senators recently voted NOT to protect from being mercilessly torn apart by late-term abortions! Trump, of course, recognizes their humanity and had promised to sign the Act to protect the little innocents, which had already passed the House, if the Senate had sent it to his desk.
Does that mean so little to you, Mr. Gerson? Mr. Evangelical Christian Republican Gerson? Aren’t you straining at a presidential gnat and swallowing a Democrat camel here? Indeed, what the Democrat senators who stalled that life-saving bill (including Missouri’s own professed Catholic Sen. Clare McCaskill) did was worse than just “dehumanization”: it could be described even as the “deanimalization” of those unborn innocents.
For our laws severely (and rightly) penalize anyone who disposes of cats, dogs, and other animals with the kind of shocking and barbarous cruelty that the “Party of Death” allows for these defenseless human creatures! What an unspeakable outrage! This is a party that is OK with literally allowing a class of humans to be treated more cruelly than we treat animals!
May God change your heart, Mr. Gerson, and forgive you for constantly and publicly bearing false witness against President Donald Trump!

Sincerely yours,

Fr. Brian W. Harrison, OS, STD
Associate Professor of Theology (retired), Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico,
Chaplain, St. Mary of Victories Chapel, St. Louis, Missouri.

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