Hospitality: Reflection on Donald Trump Actions

trumps-actions

My Facebook News feed has been flooded with news about Donald Trump’s plans. Many of the posts had to do with the proposed Mexico Wall and the hot issues on immigration to the USA and travel ban for Muslims. These three topics have something in common. They all deal with the virtue of hospitality.

Donald Trump talked about the Mexico Wall and immigration during his presidential campaign. At first, I thought that all of what he was saying was just to get votes, nothing real. However, it seems like all of what he said is coming true in front of the world’s eyes.

“Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Mt 25:40) Jesus said that when he was talking about the judgement of the nations. He points out that the beggar, the stranger, the prisoner or the naked man we meet is indeed Christ Himself. To refuse acceptance of the immigrant, even if they are Muslim, is to refuse Christ Himself. People should not be refused acceptance into a country because of their gender, their skin colour, their race or their religion. Everyone should be treated equally. If Jesus were to knock on your door, would you welcome Him? I believe majority of us will if we knew that that Man knocking on our front door was Jesus. The beggar,the stranger, the prisoner, the naked man or the immigrant is no different. To welcome anyone is to welcome Christ.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.” (2241) The United States is indeed a prosperous nation compared to many countries and they certainly have the ability to welcome immigrants. Based on the above passage in the Catechism, countries that a prosperous are obliged, (not should or may) to welcome immigrants. In a time of violence in the Middle East, countries should not be turning their backs towards the issue. That will only make matters worse. Rather, we should all put our hands together to help bring peace of mind to those affected by violence.

Donald Trump, upon my research is a Presbyterian Christian and though may not be an active member, he is still a Christian. Here, I do not want to say that Trump is a bad Christian. We all have decided wrongly on certain issues in our lives. However, we can say that one’s decision is wrong for this and that reason. We should only condemn the action, not the person as a whole. Trump’s decision is of course, wrong according to the Catholic Teachings and is not morally correct. His thoughts about Muslims as terrorist are wrong too as there are many friendly and kind Muslims, like Edna Hadan. Trump’s behaviour towards immigrants is negative. I believe the reason for this is fear, an aftermath effect of the terrorist attacks that had happened in the recent years such as the one at Paris and Brussels. I understand that. However, we must understand that in any group, a gender group, a cultural group or religious group, there are “bad apples” and the Catholic Church too, is no exception, even among the Catholic Clergy. We must learn to express hospitality to our brothers and sisters and that means accepting the risks that come with it. Rejection of our brothers and sisters only makes matters worse and causes more separation and pain in the community.

My father was one of the thousands of Vietnamese Boat People who fleed Vietnam in the 1980s. He was sponsored to come to Canada. I am certain that in the beginning, there were those stereotypes that Vietnamese people were some sort of terrorist. However, that certainly never happened (some exceptions as mentioned above). The Muslim, Syrians and other immigrants from the Middle East are no different. They should be accepted into the United States just as thousands of Vietnamese people were accepted into the United States in the 1980s. Many of them reside in California and Vietnamese Communities are now scattered everywhere throughout the world.

“What can we do?” you may ask. In a democratic country, one may voice out their opinions. Of course, there is the option of writing a letter. In conjunction, let us all turn to God in prayer. We pray for President Donald Trump that he and the government body may make choices that reflect the common good of all citizens in this world, not just those residing in the United States. We also pray for the victims affected by the ban.

We should not say, “Oh, Trump is a bad man, bad president.” We are all human and there are occasions when we take the wrong path and the wrong path may cause pain in others. However, we should look at ourselves too. We should ask, “What am I doing to help the situation?”. We may continue to sit and complain about the issue. However, if we just do that, nothing will be changed.

Remember, that all of this is the earthly life and we should not be too worried about what is happening right now. We should examine ourselves to see if we are prepared to judge others. Jesus said to the scribes and Pharisees who were prepared to stone a woman who committed adultery, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (Jn 8:7). On the last day, when we are judged, we will be asked, “How did you treat the stranger? The beggar? The thirsty? The prisoner? The immigrant?” and most ultimately, God may ask, “How did you treat my Son?”.

About Vincent Pham

Vincent is a humanities student of the University of Toronto’s Trinity College of the Faculty of Arts and Science. He hopes to pursue a double major in Ethics, Law and Society, and Philosophy.
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