In the eye of the beholder

Dear President Trump,

Lately I’ve been a bit all over the place, one day accusing you all of prideful incompetence and the next lamenting at how effectively you’ve installed stunningly conservative federal judges and dismantled key environmental and consumer safeguards. I do think both extremes fairly represent your administration, though the former likely serves as something of a cover for the latter. One of the key safeguards I didn’t mention the other day that is coming under fire is being able to trust that healthcare professionals will do their jobs no matter who they are treating. It defies logic that you could have come up with this on your own so who is promising you what for this step backwards into the dark ages? Or is it that someone is threatening you with something dire if you don’t do it?

Regardless of who is behind this move and what is motivating you to make it, I think unpacking the logic you/they are touting will be useful. First, it seems pretty clear this is meant to appease a certain sect of Christians who almost certainly believe that if they assist anyone they believe has committed a mortal sin or if they assist someone in committing what they think is a mortal sin, they themselves will be punished and will go to hell. This is the only logical thing I can come up with to try and understand the vehemence behind the objections to caring for other beings in need and setting aside the oath not to do harm. It especially doesn’t make sense in light of their central teacher’s strong, strong convictions that we are not to judge one another, we are not to cast the first stone because who among us hasn’t sinned, that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, and that we are to love our enemies. Jesus didn’t build in escape clauses letting us off the hook from this high bar of radical love and compassion. I think Jesus and the other wise ones knew that sin, just like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder and the beholder’s eye is subject to all sorts of influence and distortion so to cut through all that parsing and debate about what is and isn’t a sin or how sinners should be treated, he told his followers not to judge and instead to love.

May we all be safe when we go to the doctor for help.
May we all be happy to provide everyone care.
May we treasure each one’s health.
May we challenge our prejudices and make peace with each other.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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