Bishop of California response to President’s remarks on Haiti, other nations

Posted Jan 12, 2018

[Episcopal Diocese of California] The Diocese of California has developed, since the Haiti earthquake of 2010, a close relationship with the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti. The Diocese of Haiti is a full and equal member of the Episcopal Church, every bit as much a member of this religious family as California and every bit as much a member of our hemisphere as the United States. I personally have made six trips to Haiti to come to know, understand and work together with Haitians for their own rebuilding after the earthquake.

Haiti, I have come to learn, is an admirable nation, a great people. The most lucrative slave colony in the Caribbean – so profitable because of the intense brutality used on first the Native Americans and then the African slaves brought in chains to work there – Haiti threw off its European overlords, the first successful slave rebellion since the classical Roman period. From that remarkable beginning in a crucible of revolution, Haiti has sought a path forward that inspired an African American priest to move to Haiti and become the first African American bishop in the Episcopal Church.

I speak personally about Haiti today in light of President Trump’s unacceptable remarks about Haiti, but of course he did not confine his comments to Haiti alone, but slurred and insulted several other countries by name and many others by implication. Since I have been bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California, I have been holding up the resonant goal of the Beloved Community, invoked by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who wrote:

Love is creative and redemptive. Love builds up and unites; hate tears down and destroys. The aftermath of the ‘fight with fire’ method which you suggest is bitterness and chaos, the aftermath of the love method is reconciliation and creation of the beloved community. (1957)

The Beloved Community is the community of the whole, all of God’s people, all of life. The Beloved Community is our ideal and in the Beloved Community all find welcome in the arms of our Savior. In the shadow our President’s remarks have cast, I call on all people of faith and good will to shine the light of the Beloved Community.

Savior Christ, you pervade the whole world, your Father God contains the universe, the Holy Spirit holds all together with the power of love. Help us, we pray to live always in the light of this love and your presence, that the Beloved Community may be come to be for all of life. Give us the courage to stand against all that divides, degrades and dominates any and all of your children.

+Marc Andrus


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Comments (18)

  1. Roger Bowen says:

    Bishop Marc knows it, lives it, has it right. Love will prevail.

    Mesi anpil,

    Roger Bowen+

  2. Richard McDonnell+ says:

    Amen !!! Thank God for the Belived Community- I hope it spreads and engulfs the whole nation and the world Amen

  3. Dan Tootle says:

    Thank you Bishop Andrus. We stand in solidarity and love with our Haitian brothers and sisters.

  4. Vicki Gray says:

    Thank you, Marc, for invoking your own experience and the words of Martin in this crucial moment for our nation. Yes, where there is hatred, let us sow love.

  5. Bob Cross says:

    Amen! A profusion of hate requires a witness proclaiming that love will prevail. Thank you Marc.

  6. Dianne Aid says:

    Thank you Bishop for your words. We must keep our voices strong, too many seem to have settled back and said “That is who he is”.

  7. Davidson Bidwell-Waite says:

    Thank you Bishop Marc for your passionate commitment to fostering recognition of the people of Haiti as beloved sisters and brothers in Christ and icons of the struggle against oppression and all that devalues the human spirit. Writing from Assisi, I echoe Vicki’s Thanks for redirecting us to the words of St. Francis in the face of this crusade of hate.

  8. William E Smalley says:

    Great comments, Marc. They were much needed after the unfortunate and unwise Trump remarks.

  9. William E Smalley says:

    Great comments, Marc, and much needed after the unfortunate and unwise Trump remarks.

  10. Doug Desper says:

    “Thou shalt not bear false witness…” Remember that one? Mr. Trump is oafish in many comments, but he flatly denied that he said what he is being blamed for with regards to other countries. He claims that he said other words. The only “reporters” of the words from that room are people who are not known for truth-telling themselves, and (oh, heavens), are known to have political axes to grind. So, the liberal partisans in our Episcopal Church use this as a good way to hack away with their agendas…including accusing without clear evidence, after a denial, and rushing (and wanting) to instead believe the worst.

    I would hate to have a such a bishop or priest who acts with such impetuous self-righteousness.

  11. Doug Desper says:

    A further thought: Bishop Andrus and others were not in the White House meeting room and therefore are believing the words of a few who are not known for truthfulness. Others in that meeting said that Mr. Trump did not use the slur words that a couple of people attributed to him. False accusers have been caught and revealed for their lies before and this may or may not be such a time. For Bishop Andrus to prefer to believe such people tips his hand. No, Mr. Trump is not what they want. Got it. So, why attribute wrong when it’s a “he said/he said” disagreement over words heard in a closed door meeting? It’s because to liberals Trump will be wrong the moment that his feet hit the floor out of bed until he goes back, and then he’ll still be wrong just because he isn’t suitable in some way, namely in politics. Mr. Trump can be boorish and plain wrong, but not always, and to rush to blame when there is no clear understanding from witnesses in the room lowers the credibility of clergy who want to weigh in. “Thou shalt not bear false witness….” likely includes blaming just for the sake of simply disliking another person. This Church could fare so much better if more turned off CNN and MSNBC and simply stared at the 9th Commandment for awhile.

    For now, please file away any more talk about “respecting the dignity of all persons”, and claiming that “all are welcome” and that all that we do is based on the Baptismal Covenant. When clergy rush to blame and condemn someone then all the “dignity” talk rings very hollow.

  12. Tony Oberdorfer says:

    Doug Desper once again is correct. But I would go on to say that if indeed President Trump said what his enemies are alleging he said, there are tens of millions of decent Americans who agree with him whole-heartedly and would voice the same opinions if they weren’t afraid of the consequences. With few exceptions, the vast majority of African states are places which despite enormous natural resources and huge amounts of foreign aid since achieving independence have been turned into hellholes by their corrupt and/or incompetent rulers and the connivance of many foreign NGOs. Those who continue to suffer are the native populations who in many cases lack the resources to do more than keep their heads above water. I’m sure that despite all the holier-then-thou whining by American and African politicians who have axes to grind, there are many intelligent blacks in Africa and the United States alike who would say if they could that they couldn’t agree with President Trump more. I’ve traveled in Africa so I know whereof I speak and I bitterly resent the usual chorus of uninformed or politically biased fellow Episcopalians, clergy and laity alike, for whom the present situation is a golden opportunity to continue working towards their ultimate goal which is President Trump’s impeachment.

  13. John D Poynter says:

    Thank you, dear Bishop Marc, your comments inspire us all. For me, Satan is loose, never in the history of this country has a citizen so ill-qualified to preside over the vast authority and interests of not only our own land, but to lead to world toward a better place for the Beloved community, occupied the White House. He seems determined to dismantle the country, punish his opposition, and all who demonstrate civil consciousness. And he seems to benumb near him, his minions run around priding themselves in their Evangelical masks, calling themselves Christians, acting like Philistines. Dear Lord, spare us. And give us courage to rescue the needy.

  14. Bill Louis says:

    Thank you Doug and Tony for having the courage to say what many of us think. John’s hateful comment is typical of the progressive left when we don’t agree with their point of view. To imply a fellow Christian is a minion of Saten or acting like a Philistine is in fact the act of a hypocrite. John and his ilk are why many of us are leaving the Episcopal Church.

  15. B.D. Howes says:

    I am disgusted by those who jump on any opportunity to sow division and hate in the name of equity and love. They should take care when reminding us of our baptismal covenant for, as the saying goes, be careful what you ask for . . .

  16. P.J. Cabbiness says:

    Haiti is certainly not an admirable nation. Corruption, violence, pestilence and poverty are not virtues, especially when these conditions are perpetually maintained by both the people and the national leadership.

  17. PJ Cabbiness and others need to study history more carefully. Unfortunately, many if not most former colonies were exploited by their former invaders. These places were divided up in ways that suited their invaders with complete disregard of the indigenous peoples. Arable land was often used to grow crops such as tea, coffee and cotton instead of food. The USA is fortunate that most of the early settlers were farmers. This resulted a plentiful food crops. Haiti and Salvador have suffered devastating earthquakes from which they are still recovering. In our own country there are still a lot of people suffering from the recent hurricanes. There are still people without permanent homes, etc. It takes a long time to recover from natural disasters. These people need our help not criticism. The USA is probably the richest and most powerful country in the world and should surely try to help others in need.

  18. Joe Prasad says:

    Perhaps by now, the public ought to realize that President Trump is used to using words that may not be decent. Why get too upset about that? Trump does not fit the profile of a conventional politician. It is better to criticize his policies that do not benefit public at large.

    Regarding Haiti, the people there are paying a heavy price for the Haitian revolution in 1700s (?). The West accepted the French Revolution and all the ideals it stood for but somehow they could not accept a Haitian revolution where slaves were the participants. Some powerful people/nations with vested interests have made it their business to keep Haiti in perpetual poverty.

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