Father Brian Harrison, a St. Louis-based Catholic priest and theologian, has had enough with the Washington Post, specifically its alleged “Evangelical Christian Republican” columnist, Michael Gerson.
In his “Open Letter” to the Washington Post, Fr. Harrison shows that the Catholic Church is far from unified in its position on illegal immigration and other political issues not covered by the church’s official and authoritative teaching. It would seem, in fact, that Harrison is speaking less to Gerson or the Washington Post than he is to his his fellow clerics, Catholic and otherwise, who remain quiet for fear of offending the politically correct in their congregations.
Speaking for the majority of conservative Christians, Harrison asks Gerson what drives him to excoriate a president “whose policy decisions are so much more pro-life, pro-family, pro-religious freedom, and anti-judicial activism than anything we could have ever hoped for from Hillary and the Democrats.”
Harrison takes great exception to Gerson’s repeated claim that Trump is guilty of “dehumanizing” whole classes of people. As Harrison sees it, Gerson has fallen into the habit of absorbing crude, liberal generalizations about Trump’s motives. He cites, for instance, the willful misinterpretation of Trump’s campaign opening remarks, “They’re not sending us their best people – they’re sending rapists and murderers – and I assume some of them are good people.”
As Fr. Harrison explains, there is nothing dehumanizing about this comment. Trump, he argues, “was obviously not characterizing illegal immigrants in general–and much less Mexicans or Hispanics in general!” But for those like Gerson intent on dehumanizing the president, it is essential not only to twist Trump’s words but also to deny the facts on the ground. Says Harrison, “Everyone knows parts of the southern border area are chronically violent: people smugglers, sex slavery traffickers, drug vendors and so on, are all very active down there.”
Harrison also takes Gerson to task for distorting the meaning of Trump’s ban on refugees from certain troubled countries. Again, this was not a dehumanizing of whole classes of people, Harrison insists. How could it be, he asks, if “89% of the world’s Muslims just as free as they had previously been to apply for US visas?”
Harrison notes too that Vatican Council II’s Declaration on Religious Freedom speaks only about religious freedom for citizens. It says nothing at all about the morality of accepting would-be citizens based on their compatibility with the traditions of the host country. The Catholic Catechism places the onus on the immigrant to adapt: “Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them.” The Muslim migrants to Europe apparently have not read that part of the Catechism.
Harrison is on his firmest ground in attacking Gerson’s seeming tolerance of abortion enablers in the Democratic Party, including Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill.
Says Harrison to Gerson, “You conveniently pass over in silence those in our public life who–in direct contrast to the President!–really and literally are dehumanizing a whole category of undoubted human beings, namely, the pain-capable unborn infants whom all but three Democrat senators recently voted NOT to protect from being mercilessly torn apart by late-term abortions!”
Concludes Fr. Harrison, “May God change your heart, Mr. Gerson, and forgive you for constantly and publicly bearing false witness against President Donald Trump!”