Bishop of Portsmouth: ‘We have seen clear evidence of Donald Trump’s sexism, racism, and contempt for the disabled’

The Rt Rev Christopher Foster.
The Rt Rev Christopher Foster.
Portsmouth Crown Court

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SOMETIMES the church is accused of not being relevant, especially to younger people.

So I was glad to meet a group of young people recently who came to Portsmouth Cathedral to quiz a panel which included me and other local faith leaders.

Their questions included asking if the rise in racism and political instability affecting our own nation had anything to do with Brexit, and asking what faith leaders might say now about our relationship with Europe.

But they also turned their eyes further afield to the US presidential elections, which many of us have been following with increasing incredulity.

Recent experience may suggest that few politicians are squeaky clean.

And there may be serious questions about Hillary Clinton’s handling of her personal email account.

But during the campaign, we have seen clear evidence of Donald Trump’s sexism, racism, and contempt for the disabled, and there seems to be no doubt that he is viewed as a bully of the most blatant kind by many both here and in the USA.

Recent guidelines produced to help our clergy remain as professional as possible say that they should ‘resist all temptation to exercise power inappropriately.’

They are urged to build others up and harness their strengths, not to bully, manipulate or denigrate.

You might find it difficult to imagine your local vicar as someone who wields enormous power, but they are local leaders with some influence.

They must use it wisely.

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And so I feel compelled to pray that the US will elect a president least likely to misuse the power they will be given, particularly in this world where there is so much exploitation of the weak, so much slavery, human trafficking and oppression.

I pray too that they will elect a person at least willing to consider the model of Jesus, who agreed that he was a king, but not quite as anyone understood it in his day.

He is the sort of king who deliberately laid down his power to demonstrate that true love uses no coercion, and that true love stands adorned only with gentleness and humility, rather than the armour of bullying and manipulation.

Yet it was a love that proved stronger even than death itself.