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NRA and President Donald Trump supporter Kenneth Clemens of Randleman waved flags to present an opposing point of view to the Rally for Our Lives rally at LeBauer Park in Greensboro on Aug. 1, 2018.

President Trump supporters, let’s talk.

A few weeks ago, Trump said that if four members of Congress, all women of color, had concerns about our country they should just “go back” to their countries of origin. Never mind that three of the four were born in the U.S. and the fourth came here as a teenager. And never mind that people who love our country will always look for ways to improve it.

As the poet Robert Frost said, “I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.” Patriots have “a lover’s quarrel” with the U.S. But these women should just “go back,” announced our president. This was disgraceful racism.

Then Trump spoke in Greenville before one of his adoring crowds. And as he spoke about one of the congresswomen, a chant broke out. “Send her back! Send her back!” Trump stood there for 12 seconds, drinking it all in without a word of disagreement. The next day he claimed he didn’t agree with the chant. Then later, he changed his story, and said the chanters were patriots.

Again, this is blatant racism, and it reminds me of what I sometimes heard as a child growing up in North and South Carolina. “Send ‘em all back to Africa!” It is immoral.

Meanwhile, Robert Mueller’s recent appearance before Congress supposedly was “a disaster” for our elected representatives considering impeachment. I see it differently. Once again, Mueller made it clear that there were many unethical, illegal contacts with Russia during the Trump presidential campaign. Several of Trump’s associates have been indicted and convicted in connection with the Russia investigation. But, of course, Trump himself refused to sit for an interview, and Mueller did not subpoena him. Mueller reiterated that his team found ample evidence for indictment of Trump for numerous instances of felony obstruction of justice. But DOJ guidelines prohibit indictment of a sitting U.S. president. Could Trump be indicted after leaving office? Yes, said Mueller.

If Trump is not impeached, then what exactly does a president have to do to be impeached?

As a Facebook meme points out, “If the only thing keeping you out of prison is that you are President, then you shouldn’t be President.”

But let me paraphrase what Trump supporters say to me.

“As a pastor, you’re not allowed to criticize the president, because that’s political, judgmental, and mean.”

My answer? The gospel of Jesus Christ is political, but not partisan. Guess who else spoke truth to political leaders. The biblical prophets, Jesus, and the modern-day prophets such as Martin Luther King Jr.

Remember, Jesus did not call King Herod a “fox” as a compliment but because he was conniving and violent.

“You need to set aside Trump’s comments, and concentrate on his policies that are so good for our country.” Well, unemployment is low, but wages are also so low that poor people are working two or three jobs and still not able to pay their bills. Trump’s environmental policies are destroying the planet for future generations and us. We are facing a trillion-dollar budget deficit, but once again, there are efforts to cut food stamps for 3 million hungry people. Trump continues to try to destroy Obamacare, but he doesn’t offer a good replacement for it. His border policies are cruel and ineffective.

“He has a rough tongue, but he’s like a firefighter who shows up to fight a fire in your home. You don’t mind if he has a salty tongue.”

Unfortunately, a more accurate image for Trump is a firefighter who shows up, throws gasoline on the fire, and then blames others for the blaze.

“You’re just a Trump-hater with Trump Derangement Syndrome.”

Nope. I’ve prayed for him to be wise and compassionate and to work for the common good of the country and of the world.

But his words and actions remain consistently abhorrent. I also pray that he will be held accountable by the American people.

Christians, let me be blunt. You cannot faithfully follow Jesus and pretend that what Trump is doing is OK because it’s not. If you say nothing, you are complicit. And, yes, I’m also talking to you: Rep. Budd, Rep. Walker, Sen. Burr and Sen. Tillis.

You were elected to represent us. You need to gather some courage and start speaking up to this immoral president and hold him accountable.

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Jeff Paschal is the pastor of Guilford Park Presbyterian Church in Greensboro and a News & Record columnist. He can be reached at jpaschal@guilfordpark.org.

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