On December 23, 2016, after the President-elect’s comments about a new arms race, a surprised media spewed forth a firestorm. To give one example, on the influential Politico website, a Darren Samuelsohn article – subtitled, “The President-elect has upended long-held conventions on nuclear proliferation” – began as follows: “[DT] is alarming critics by … disregarding the basic tenets of world order surrounding nuclear weapons. … [DT has] an interest in vastly expanding the U.S. nuclear arsenal, even if it means restarting an arms race.”
While some report that the President-elect’s comments may have been taken out of context, nonetheless, such a development, or a similar one in the future, should come as no surprise considering DT’s love of professional fighting and boxing (he is even, due to once making Atlantic City the world’s boxing capital, an inductee to the NJ Boxing Hall of Fame). After all, and in the way that humans, as well as animals, chase after objects of desire, it is almost a no-brainer that any individual who likes to watch and promote fights, would be, were such a person in charge of a military, more likely to stir up trouble than an individual whose excitement was derived from more civilized pursuits. Moreover, and as a cohort of mine commented about my psychological assessment, such “might help explain why [the President-elect] supports the use of torture by the various police and surveillance forces of the United States.”
[From the previous, readers should not at all conclude that I, the author, am against the concept of a justifiable war. Also, and for instance, I am aware that the dreadful destruction of Aleppo may be largely the result of Obama’s lack of appropriate military action. However, I make the point that someone with a passion for fighting would be the type to jump the gun when it comes to the use of force. Also to consider in the case of DT, who is a renowned egotist, is that anger comes from the bruising of an egotist’s ego (Esther 3:5); and, from anger can more readily spring violence.]
One of the people who should be the least surprised by the President-elect’s inflammatory remarks about a new arms race is Cardinal Timothy Dolan: in November, a week after the American presidential election, at the Catholic Archdiocese of NY headquarters, I had a few meetings, including with a Vice-Chancellor. On that fateful November day (when the moon was at its closest to the earth in 69 years), I also spoke to Fr. Brian McWeeny, the Archdiocese’s Director of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs. We got into a chat about the President-elect and the evils of casino ownership.
(Of course, while casinos are not all bad, nonetheless, casino owners necessarily break God’s all-important law to “Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself”: unlike other businesses that, ideally, always provide a fair service or good in exchange for money, casino owners’ greater benefits come from putting their clients into greater financial miseries. How many limo rides of the Donald were funded by the losses of desperate individuals convinced by flashy and distorted advertisements to blow their much-needed resources in a Trump casino? How many people committed suicide after a loss at one of his casinos? And, to those readers who claim that any individuals who lost their money were free to choose, I respond that Eve, too, was free to choose. However, she chose wrongly – after she was deceived by the snake.)
To this disapproving conversation about casinos, Fr. McWeeny responded with, “It’s not as bad as boxing!” Of course, I agreed. After all, from a Jewish, theological perspective, there are numerous divine commands to protect the body’s health and integrity (from a Christian standpoint, “The body is the Temple”).
That day, to Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s office, I relayed this conversation along with other concerns regarding the President-elect, such as his being a fan of professional fighting – which can be more violent than boxing. I continued this dialogue in a letter to the Cardinal, excerpts from which follow:
“Regarding his [DT's] love of fighting, it was widely reported that the President-elect did not go to the recent Ultra Fighting Championship (UFC) league fight in Madison Square Garden only due to security issues that the Secret Service felt that it could not overcome. (Although, like father, like son, Donald Jr. attended – to celebrate his wedding anniversary!) To understand the grotesque nature of UFC [very different, say, from wrestling] … months prior to one fighter, Charlie Ward, being signed to the UFC, he killed another fighter in a caged match run by another fighting league! …
“That the President-elect is a fan of fighting, that is, that he gets satisfaction out of seeing persons both being physically hurt and hurting others, is not only sickening but immensely troubling considering that he is scheduled to be our national military’s commander-in-chief in about a handful of weeks! … one does not need a PhD in social science to recognize that anyone who enjoys fighting would, by nature, be a less peaceful person than someone repelled by fighting. Meaning, someone [who enjoys fighting], who is also in charge of an army, may decide to use armed force instead of diplomacy – just because he likes to!”
Dear Readers, please, remember the U.S. Constitution’s Preamble: “We the People … in order to form a more perfect union.” As peace is inclusive, while war, with opposite sides, is exclusive, more peace makes any union more perfect, while conflict imperfects any union. Hence, were any warmonger in charge of our nation, such would go against the primary purpose for our government’s existence.
“… Because [the Messiah] is the Prince of Peace [Isaiah 9:6] …of course, Rev. Lorenzo [Reverend Lorenzo Ato, whom I had met and who was earlier mentioned in the letter, is the Archdiocese's Director of both Pastoral Ministry and Hispanic Communications], [your office manager] … and … Fr. Brian [McWeeny] agreed that those who enjoy fighting are satanic [see next paragraph]. To quote Rev. Lorenzo, he said that the professional fighting of the UFC was ‘no good!’ and ‘evil!’”
Dear Readers, to remove hype and to make plain, theological sense of a term, “Satan” is a Hebrew word, appearing, for instance, in the Book of Job (1:6, etc.). From an Orthodox-Jewish perspective, Satan is a force of destruction. From a Christian/Catholic perspective, Satan is what destroys (in contrast, Jesus saves); and, Jesus rightly called Simon Peter “Satan” when Simon Peter was doing something destructive (Mt.16:23, etc.).Meaning, traditionally and simply, satanic behaviors would be the doings of even the otherwise best people were such people engaged in destructive activities.
“Despite this discussion [of the President-elect], and regarding another comment of Fr. McWeeny – that [DT] was God’s preferred choice over Hilary Clinton – I, paradoxically, agreed that the Donald was God’s preference. … [I knew that] had Clinton won, in four or eight years down the road, the nation would have been steeped in even worse anti-establishment fervor so that the backlash against the ruling political system would have been even more dramatic. Thereby, a candidate even more abrasive than [DT] would have been riled up to victory. …
“… On page E1604 of the December 6th, 2016, Congressional Recorder, House Representative Alan Grayson (FL) made the following remarks: For fear of a president becoming like a monarch with dictatorial power, the Constitution gave to Congress the power to declare war. However, ‘starting in the 1950′s, Congress began authorizing the President to make the determination for war.’ This was how ‘the president was allowed to determine war in Vietnam in 1964 and again in Iraq in 2003.’ Rep. Grayson brought to the House knowledge of a 2011, Rutgers Law Review article, titled, ‘Restoring the Congressional Duty to Declare War,’ by Alfred Blumrosen [an eminent scholar, RIP] & Steven Blumrosen. The article “challenged the constitutionality of all U.S. Wars fought since WWII.”
“I mention this House speech because, considering the conversations at the Archdiocese that are detailed in this letter, that is, conversations about the [President-elect's] propensity to enjoy a fight, I think that you should please use your enormous influence to make sure that Congress does not unconstitutionally continue to invest war-making powers in a president.”
(Note: Congress reconvenes January 3, 2017. Therefore, dear U.S. Readers, PRESSURE your senators and representatives to heed Rep. Grayson’s warning! Considering that intelligence reports claim that Russia interfered with the American election, Congress, in fact, may be, now, more amenable to the idea of not allowing a future president to determine war.)
It was a week after the sending of my as-of-yet-unanswered letter to Cardinal Dolan that the world’s media ignited with headlines of nuclear experts being caught off-guard by the President-elect’s surprising tough-talk about a new arms race and a reinvigoration of America’s nuclear arsenal. But, I was not surprised – and neither should have been Cardinal Dolan, who, as America’s most-prominent Catholic, I should think is ethically compelled to use the full force of his office to bring attention to these critical matters of world importance.
With that in mind, I was, again, unsurprised by the President-elect’s comments about a new arms race. However, I was stunned when, on December 28, after concluding a what-I-thought-to-be-a-final version of this article and readying it for an email to my editor, I made an online discovery. Namely, only “26 minutes” prior it was reported that the prayer service at January’s Presidential Inauguration would be led by Cardinal Timothy Dolan – in whose office there was clear agreement that DT’s behavior, regarding both his love of fighting and his casino ownership, was “satanic”!
Also, Rev. Lorenzo Ato, regarding character traits shared by the President-elect, commented, “Satan, yeah.” [Regarding these assessments of DT's character by those in the Catholic Church, this article's lack of any mention of a concurrence from the Archdiocese Vice-Chancellor, who was briefly discussed at this article's start, is not due to him having stated that he felt otherwise. Rather, the Vice Chancellor's comments, here, are being omitted because our meeting pertained to a different topic.]
The same day that it was announced that Cardinal Dolan would lead prayer services at the Inauguration, the President-elect appeared, in his first formal press conference in half-a-year, side-by-side with controversial boxing promoter Don King, who, 50-years ago, killed a man that owed him $600. Bizarrely, Mr. King, who was recently still promoting boxing, commented that DT could help negotiate peace in the Middle East.
I wonder, for what will Cardinal Dolan pray at the Inauguration? Considering that DT, as past U.S. presidents, is expected to have continual access to a nuclear launch device from a short time following the oath of office, I would think, regarding the Inauguration, that the Cardinal should be praying from well before.
Although, and to conclude with some true gallows-humor, perhaps his Eminence plans a public adjunct to the Inauguration’s prayer service? Heeding a, unquoted above, lighthearted-but-still-serious-enough request in my letter to him, maybe Cardinal Dolan plans to perform on the Donald an exorcism!… Thereafter, and as God, Creator of all, wants everyone to repent, were the exorcism successful, and returning to mention of Simon Peter, as he, Simon Peter, repented of his satanic activity to become the much-venerated namesake of Saint Peter’s in Rome, the Donald, of his satanic wrongdoing, also, of course, could repent. (Fake news site, thespoof.com, ran a New Year’s Eve story titled, “Democrat’s Last Hope: Trump Exorcism.” The author of this spoof piece, obviously unaware of my serious-enough, true request to Cardinal Dolan, fantasized that “Vice-President Joe Biden … took time … to talk to Governor Martinez about an idea … to have an exorcism performed on Donald Trump. … The governor … wants to be in step with what other GOP lawmakers are doing to address any possible demonic possession of the President-elect.” Meaning, in a truth-is-stranger-than-fiction moment, this spoof piece is not far from the truth at all.)
Bio: Rabbi Chaim Gruber, ultra-Orthodoxly ordained in Jerusalem while also schooled in Berkeley, CA, is often, paradoxically, a left-wing Biblical literalist. He specializes in creating peace from the instances of unmistakable overlap among the three Abrahamic faiths and logic. The Rabbi can be contacted via VeryEasyToRemember.com and BreakTheCycleOfViolence.com.