Concerns about the afterlife in this life with Trump

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Concerns about the afterlife in this life with Trump

or at least some insight into what I should be doing, praying for, anything.”

Many religions create theologies with elaborative and fictive narratives of reward and punishment systems as a form of social control, like the Christian concept of Heaven and Hell. I don’t think after death one is likely to go to Heaven or Hell in an afterlife. Sadly, Trump gets off the hook of going to Hell.

I do, however, believe that crushing setbacks, grinding poverty, racial, gender, sexual orientation and religious profiling, to name a few, that many Americans, like myself, confront and navigate through daily, is unquestionably a living Hell.

The belief in an afterlife, in my opinion, can create complacency and indifference to present social justice issues and crimes against humanity like the Holocaust, American slavery, lynching, and the immigration crisis presently at the U.S. - Mexico border.

For example, in the case of enslaved Africans, the belief in an afterlife was passed on to my ancestors as an intentionally Christian theological concept as a form of social control to maintain the status quo of perpetual servitude. The indoctrination of an overjoyed and jubilant afterlife wasn’t to make them better Christians but instead obedient, subservient and God-fearing slaves.

For African American slaves, however, the belief in an afterlife was a coded critique of an unfulfilled life denying them of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in this life. The belief in an afterlife functioned as an eschatological hope and aspiration that their future progenies would indeed have a fulfilled life that they could only purportedly experience in death.

People -across the country as well as the world-have taken to the streets in protest. Social justice and pro-democracy organizations are now employing intersectional approaches to stem the deleterious and regressive laws of this administration.

And it brings to the fore the now urgent need to speak up like Rev. Martin Niemoller, a Protestant pastor who was an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler. Many know his world renown quote - “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist…”-

Janson Wu, executive director of GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), wrote in his article “Resistance and Solidarity in the Era Trump” in Boston Pride Guide 2017 a remake of Niemoller’s famous verse. In speaking out against the normalization of hate and prejudice, Wu, like Niemoller, is letting us know who are today’s present-day targets: “When they come for immigrants, they come for LGBTQ people. When they come for women, they come for LGBTQ people. When they come for Muslims, they come for LGBTQ people. And the inverse is true: when they come for LGBTQ people, they come for everyone.” While many Americans might feel fatigued from the daily dramas emerging from the White House and feel hopeless with thoughts of an afterlife, we can alter the dystopian pall Trump has cast by living in the present moment fighting back optimistically. One way is to vote in November. Moreover, while there are now a plethora of materials evident of the afterlife, like the New York Times bestseller “Proof of Heaven” by Harvard-trained neurosurgeon Eben Alexander, MD., I feel the concept- real or imagined- can potentially deprive us of living fully present in this life - missing small miracles, random acts of kindness, and the beauty of a sunrise and sunset in a single day.