The first thing that occurred to me about President Donald Trump’s reference to all countries in Africa as s—hole countries, was wonder at the reaction of my fellow Christians who support him. And how, in light of the Sermon on the Mount, they square those words with the tenderness of Jesus’ message toward the world’s disadvantaged?

“Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the Earth.” “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” — the parallels go on, through to the talk’s end.

The evangelical-supported president referenced countries devastated by disasters (that happened years ago) or by insoluble civil wars as s—hole countries. The gentle founder of Christianity would concur … yes?

How much easier will it be now for terrorist recruiters on the African continent, who will point to that shameful denigration of their countries by the American president as proof of America’s condescension, if not animus, toward them.

Trump may be my Christian brother but I have come to believe that my brother, at this time in his soul’s journey, is racially divisive, if not worse; careless in the office he holds; and an inveterate deceiver. It is time for people of all faiths, or none, to acknowledge that reality.

A reformation of heart and mind in a 70-year-old man might appear a thing impossible to pray for, but it is something Christians should pray for. That is the Christian faith, as improbable as it seems.

Paul Baribault, Lewiston

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