An American Baptist leader says the United States is following President Donald Trump into moral bankruptcy by allowing his administration to pile up policies that punish the poor.
Jeffrey Haggray, director of public witness and advocacy for American Baptist Home Mission Societies, said in a posting on Facebook Oct. 13 that Trump’s “mean-spirited neglect and maltreatment” of vulnerable citizens has plunged the country “into dangerously deep moral territory.”
“The public statements, tweets, policy decisions and executive orders from the Trump administration endanger the health and well-being not only of millions of Americans, but also that of countless millions of the world’s inhabitants,” said Haggray, executive director of the national ministries arm of American Baptist Churches USA.
Haggray, whose agency portfolio includes addressing ethical, social and policy matters through messages and advocacy to both church and society, criticized Trump’s attempts to “undermine and sabotage” the Affordable Care Act, the health care bill signed into law in 2010 by President Obama, and “mean-spirited insults of Hurricane Maria’s victims in Puerto Rico.”
Puerto Rico is home to one of 34 regions that cooperate with the American Baptist Churches USA. American Baptist Home Mission Societies is currently working with other agencies to raise $1 million for the U.S. territory devastated by Hurricane Maria Sept. 20.
Trump has been accused of “adding insult to injury” by criticizing Puerto Rican leaders in the aftermath of unprecedented disaster and rationalizing that damage wouldn’t have been as bad if the island hadn’t already been so poor.
Haggray also took aim at the president’s refusal to extend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) to protect immigrant “dreamers” brought into the country illegally as children against deportation and allow them to obtain work permits.
After Trump rescinded DACA in early September, American Baptist Home Mission Societies issued a call for bipartisan congressional action to restore protections implemented during the Obama administration in 2012 for an estimated 800,000 childhood immigrants living in the U.S.
Other “evil overtures and actions” by the president, Haggray said, include “his vigilant efforts to extend huge tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans at the expense of public programs that protect the welfare of all Americans” and “irresponsible war-mongering statements against North Korea and Iran that threaten harm to the entire planet.”
Although Trump enjoys “unfailing allegiance from self-described ‘right-wing evangelicals,’” Haggray said, such policies are contrary to Scripture.
“Throughout the Holy Bible, maltreatment of poor and vulnerable people is regarded as sin,” the executive said. “There is no disputing that biblical fact. Moreover, God consistently reserves the harshest judgments and punishments for human leaders whose job it is to protect the poor.”
Haggray said the president’s “moral depravity with respect to concern for the poor threatens the well-being of each of us if we refuse to hold his administration morally and politically accountable to do the right thing by promoting policies and actions that care for the most vulnerable and voiceless among us.”