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A Critical Reading of Ben Carson’s Offensive Prayer at Trump’s Cabinet Meeting

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Donald Trump opened the beginning of his recent bizarre Cabinet meeting to the press with a statement expressing his now-usual hyperbolic self-praise of his alleged historic achievements since taking over the Oval Office, and touting the Congressional tax bill.

Near the conclusion of his remarks, just before he asked the media to exit, Trump inappropriately invited his Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson, to “say grace” for the secretaries gathered around the table. Trump used the occasion to fling yet another insult at reporters by scolding, “You need the prayer more than I do I think, you may be the only ones. Maybe a good solid prayer and they’ll be honest. Ben, is that possible?”

Carson, a staunch follower of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, sermonized while those assembled solemnly bowed their heads. Included are Carson’s remarks with my editorial additions in italic:

“Our kind Father in heaven, (yes, indeed, invoking an all-powerful patriarch is, indeed, more than symbolic for this administration), we’re so thankful for the opportunities and the freedom that you’ve granted us in this country (though, unfortunately, the Trump administration desires to limit or eliminate many of these “opportunities” and “freedoms” from, for example, Muslims, hopeful immigrants, Dreamers, Transgender people, women and girls, lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, working-class and poor people, people with disabilities, people who need affordable health care, people dependent on Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security, anyone who won’t bow down and kiss the kleptocrat’s ring, especially members of The Resistance, and, of course, our democratic institutions, such as the media, the independent judiciary, the intelligence community, and the list goes on ad infinitum).

“We thank you for the president and for Cabinet members who are courageous (or more accurately, spineless in standing up to this president), who are willing to face the winds of controversy (don’t you mean, the strong tail winds of the rich, the well-placed, the corporate lobbyists?) in order to provide a better future for those who come behind us (who now will be enormously burdened by the increased national debt that this tax “reform” will produce).

“We’re thankful for the (Republican lock-step) unity in Congress, that presented an opportunity for our economy to expand (read as resurrecting its “trickle down” economics, which has never lived up to the hype, but has, instead, significantly increased economic disparity between the uber-rich and the rest of us), so we can fight the corrosive debt (by increasing it by an estimated 1.5-2.2 trillion dollars) that has been destroying our future (and will continue to do so unless we vote these political incompetents who are morally bankrupt out of office).

“And we hope that that unity (who do you think you’re kidding, Ben?) will spread even beyond party lines (in our terribly divided country, which your administration has done all it possibly could to exaggerate and exploit), so that people recognize (your deceit and hypocrisy that) we have a nation that is worth saving (unless you and your co-conspirators continue to go along your path of destruction). And nations divided against themselves cannot stand (as you plagiarize the great Abraham Lincoln to whom you don’t hold a candle).

In this time of discord (which your administration has furthered), distrust (how could we ever trust these Trumpians?) and dishonesty (hey, take a look in the mirror), we ask that you will give us (by your words and actions, you have no right to ask for anything) a spirit of (false) gratitude (which you already possess), compassion (of which you are not capable) and common sense (maybe when Hell freezes over).

And give us the wisdom (of which it is far too late for all of you to develop) to be able to guide (I certainly hope not) this great nation (and better once you are all out of office) in the (hopefully near) future.

We ask in the name of the Father (Trump), the Son(s and daughter of Trump), and the Holy Spirit (you mean “endless spigot ” of tax breaks pumped to the already rich and powerful), Amen.”

Regarding Ben Carson’s book, which he co-authored with his wife Candy, A More Perfect Union: What We the People Can Do to Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties, I would answer the question the title poses that he and the entire Trump administration apologize for the harm they have wrought on our nation, and then immediately resign.

Carson wrote in the book:

“And as someone who has performed brain surgery thousands of times, I can assure you that the Constitution isn’t brain surgery.”

That’s for sure, and therefore, I advise Dr. Carson to return to his previous profession. And I respond to his Cabinet meeting prayer with my own invocation: 

We the People, please try to forgive them, for they know not good from evil, right from wrong, truth from lies, reason from irony, and empathy from narcissism. Amen.

Dr. Warren J. Blumenfeld is author of Warren’s Words: Smart Commentary on Social Justice (Purple Press); editor of Homophobia: How We All Pay the Price (Beacon Press), and co-editor of Readings for Diversity and Social Justice (Routledge) and Investigating Christian Privilege and Religious Oppression in the United States (Sense), and co-author of Looking at Gay and Lesbian Life (Beacon Press).

Written by Warren Blumenfeld

December 20th, 2017 at 11:46 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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