Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the USA on Friday. It was a rainy day and the country remains divided because of a very nasty election campaign. So, the attendees for this momentous event were rather small compared to previous ones in the last couple of decades.
As expected, Franklin Graham, the hateful Christian bigot, was invited to pray for Trump and his administration.
Besides Graham, the other clergy giving prayers or readings on Friday were: Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York; Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles;, Bishop Wayne T. Jackson of Great Faith Ministries International in Detroit; the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference in Sacramento, Calif.; and Pastor and televangelist Paula White of New Destiny Christian Center in Apopka, Fla. Hier was the first rabbi from Orthodox Judaism to participate in a presidential inauguration, and Rodriguez was the first Hispanic evangelical leader.
Graham has last participated at a presidential inauguration in 2001, when then-President George W. Bush was sworn in for his first term. I have never liked evangelical missionaries like Graham who prey upon the destitute to sell the tablet of Christianity and Jesus as THE savior. In his speech, he again sold his brand of Christianity that is arrogant, exclusive and chauvinist, disregarding the message of his lord Jesus himself, as cited in the so-called New Testament. He condones mass murder using WMDs. He also considered former president Obama to be a secret Muslim. He is very hostile to Islam and Muslims, and has been in record condemning the faith of more than 1.7 billion Muslims for the hideous crimes of the few misguided adherents of the faith. In that he forgets that if such a selective criterion is used for condemning an entire faith, he need not go beyond his own faith to find out that the worst mass murderers in history since the days of Emperor Constantine have mostly been of Christian faith. Even a curious look into the last century is enough to make this case. But when it comes to such Christian crimes, evil pastors like Graham suffer from selective amnesia.
The fact that in spite of his hatemongering, Graham is invited to lead prayer service for a new president during the inauguration ceremony simply speaks volumes about the fundamentalist and fanatic orientation of these elected presidents who see themselves as the modern-day crusader kings of the Christian faith. Thus, behind the veneer of all those empty rhetoric of secularism no one should doubt the very Christian root of this country. It is there that many would see Bush Jr's invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan as an unfinished crusade against the Muslim world, thus, bolstering the claim of all those radical elements on all sides.
As we now move into the Trump-era too many things are uncertain about the direction the USA will head. Hundreds of thousands of concerned people all around the globe are rallying today (Saturday) protesting Trump's presidency. They are nervous and genuinely concerned about the world that we live in.
Will Trump bring peace or destruction, prosperity or misery? We can only hope for the former. But coming days and months would make things more clear for all of us to see where we are heading.