My Turn: Religion, science out the window in this cult

STAFF FILE PHOTO

STAFF FILE PHOTO STAFF FILE PHOTO

By PAUL GUIMOND

Published: 07-08-2024 4:11 PM

 

With the emergence of the MAGA movement, religion and science were thrown out the window along with the baby and bathwater. Instead of religion and science leading America down the path of prosperity and righteousness, we encounter a malignant cult that is neither religious nor scientific.

Contrary to the claims of Donald Trump and his followers how religious they are, their actions aren’t indicative of people who have embraced God’s love. A good example of their anti-Christian stance is the villainization of Central American migrants. These people traveled hundreds of miles to our southern border in the hope of a better life. It’s the same reason 20 million white Europeans crossed the Atlantic ocean to the United States of America from 1880 to 1920.

Trump and his supporters have painted these migrants as murderers, rapists, lunatics, terrorists and disease infested. Where is the Christianity in these words?

Jesus of Nazareth taught his disciples and followers to “Treat others the way you would have them treat you.” He also warned the faithful, “If you want to avoid judgment, stop passing judgment. Your verdict on others will be the verdict passed on you.” The judgmental nature of Trump, MAGA and the Republican Party has blinded their ability to see all people in a loving light.

When you hear Trump and his ilk denigrating Central American migrants, consider this story told to me by an Orange World War II veteran. During a patrol on an island in the Pacific theater, this Marine stumbled upon Japanese cooking paraphernalia. He squatted down to inspect it and was immediately shot through the chest. During the ensuing firefight and chaos, someone grabbed him by his collar and dragged him to safety. He told me that the man who saved his life was a Mexican Marine. A man he never saw again. I’d argue that migrants have been a net positive for America, not the burden Trump and Republicans like to paint them as.

Republicans have demanded tougher immigration laws for years. In 2024, a bipartisan Senate subcommittee submitted the toughest and most comprehensive immigration bill in decades — the very bill Republicans were demanding. So what did Republicans do? At Donald Trump’s direction, they voted against the bill. I guess Republicans weren’t as committed to immigration reform as they led the nation to believe.

As for science, MAGA proved they were no friend of the scientific community when they rejected COVID-19 protocols. A once-in-a-century killer virus was minimized by former President Trump to the detriment of the nation. Instead of joining the fight against this virus, MAGA followers rejected wearing masks, social distancing, avoiding large groups, and declining lifesaving vaccines.

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Far-fetched conspiracy theories about COVID-19 vaccines hampered the nation’s ability to slow the spread of the killer virus. Instead of listening to the advice of our scientific community on how best to combat the virus, MAGA adherents ignored that advice. The end result of their dismissive attitude was that tens of thousands of Americans died needlessly.

In the field of psychology there is a concept known as the “Dunning-Kruger Effect.” In a 1999 paper, Cornell University psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger wrote that individuals have a “cognitive bias in which people wrongly overestimate their knowledge or ability in a specific area.

In fact, those who are the least skilled are also the most likely to overestimate their abilities.” Maybe this cognitive bias helps explain why Trump and MAGA followers were so willing to dismiss the advice of medical experts.

The Spanish flu of 1918 exposed the medical community for what it didn’t know and what it couldn’t do. One hundred million people died worldwide because medicine wasn’t advanced enough to contend with this deadly virus. But over time medicine and science improved. By the time the 2020 COVID-19 virus hit America, we were in a better position to contend with the threat. Best methods of treatment were employed and effective vaccines developed. Because of these medical advancements, millions of lives were saved.

If Trump, Republicans and MAGA had put as much energy into fighting COVID-19 as they did trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election, Trump probably would have been reelected. But they didn’t do that because Trump and MAGA are self-absorbed, self-serving. As a result, Christianity and science took a back seat to the “Cult of Trump.”

Paul Guimond lives in Royalston.