Just like our nation’s rituals, traditions, and customs for campaigns and elections, our nation’s rituals, traditions, and customs for the inauguration of a new president—the prayer services, the ceremony, the pomp and circumstance—make certain assumptions about the person who is being inaugurated.
Our rituals assume that the person being inaugurated at least believes that truth exists, and considers themselves in some way morally bound to tell it.
Our rituals assume that the person being inaugurated has at least some shred of concern for the country and its people rather than his or her own self-indulgence.
Our rituals assume that the person being inaugurated has at least some semblance of a moral compass, believes in the existence of good and evil, and believes that they are morally bound to do good.
And just as the moral wasteland of Little Donnie’s candidacy put the lie to the assumptions behind our nation’s campaign and election traditions, so too is the impending moral abyss of Little Donnie’s presidency putting the lie to the assumptions behind our nation’s inauguration traditions.
And so, we too must change our approach—particularly those of us who are part of the Episcopal Church, the denomination that has historically been most closely linked with many of those traditions and rituals.
We cannot uncritically laud someone who has demonstrated exactly none of the fruits of the Spirit, who proclaims himself a Christian while standing against everything Jesus Christ preached and lived, who has said countless hateful and vile things and repented of exactly none of them.
We cannot uncritically laud the rhetorical and civil structures of this country that so utterly failed in their moral duty to speak truth to the American people and challenge Little Donnie’s lies, omissions, pretensions, and falsehoods.
And we cannot uncritically laud a political system that would enable such a person to take power in defiance of the will of the people and give him such unfettered ability to sow hatred, cruelty, violence, and chaos in this nation and around the world.
No, we must change our approach. We must be prophetic, not just priestly. We must do everything we can to throw our bodies and our institutions in between Little Donnie and his henchmen, and the vulnerable children of God they would seek to oppress, harm, expel, or kill.
And we must loudly proclaim, in word and deed, the same message Jesus proclaimed in the Gospel of Matthew: The Kingdom of God is coming, when charlatans and tyrants like Little Donnie will be humbled and laid low, when the lowly and oppressed will be lifted up and honored.
To continue as we have, and pretend that all of this is normal, would be a profound abdication of our moral responsibility. The center has fallen and all of our assumptions and our patriotic pieties are laid waste, in the wake of Little Donnie’s earthquake of immorality.
We must repent, we must resist, we must reclaim, we must renew, and we must rebuild—or we will surely fall.