What are our responsibilities regarding the world that corrupts and wounds the people we serve? Despite our embracing differences and human rights, there was a bit of a hubbub (so archaic but so fitting...) when the CPSP expressed its support of the LGBTQ concerns. And now there have been some interesting letters to me regarding Raymond's recent comments about the Lord's Prayer as a political tool.
The CPSP does not back candidates or contribute to political parties. However, we are citizens and religious leaders, and we do have the obligation to speak truth to power. Our priesthood is not reclusive but out in the highways and byways, reaching into places of suffering and imprisonment, providing therapy to individuals and families in deep crisis and chaos. When cruel politics hits us and our ministries, when the state seeks to tear down our chapels of care, we have every reason to resist and speak.
Do we already forget that our new President has filed for candidacy in 2020? The rally in Florida where Mr. Trump had his wife recite the Lord's Prayer, was entirely political and received tax advantages, the ones we all pay for. The Prayer of our Lord (I speak as a Christian) was used for specific effect and not a reverent act; we should all be offended and even frightened.
The word "narcissist" has been thrown around lately by both professionals and lay people. I am impressed by the “borderline" quality of the actions and attitudes of Mr. Trump. Things like "let's you and him fight" (furthering the differences between evangelicals and progressives), blatant lies, the denial of any error, all things either black or white, impulsivity and inconsistency, the rejection of boundaries (laws and conventions do not apply) and discipline, no concern for consequences, the use of any tactic in the moment, and the need to have an enemy to attack. He is also brilliantly intuitive about the weaknesses of others, which forms the basis for his nicknaming his enemies.
I lived for 20 years in Palos Verdes, CA. The Los Angeles Trump National Golf Club was built literally in my neighborhood by the ocean; as is his pattern, he took over a failed enterprise already under construction. Mr. Trump continually broke agreements and contracts with our city, which had granted him many concessions to begin with. The art of the deal is pure borderline...make an agreement, break it, make threats, mockingly beg for forgiveness, force concessions, then break that agreement. This caused dissension and sorrow in our community, and most of us wished the thing would fall into sea, which one hole did do. We could call his behavior callous or dishonest or untrustworthy or reprehensible...he calls it business. He assumes the stances of a demagogue. It is also patently clinical…so I say it is a duck.
When a parent acts in these ways, it leads to lots of business for us therapists. We provide care to children and "adult children" that embraces every resource to help the patient cope with that destructive world they were raised in, and find the healthy boundaries that lead to the hope of a good life. Then there are those who cling to this parent and themselves deny and ignore every abuse and lie...they project themselves onto the abusive parent so that any criticism of the parent is an attack on them, thus protecting the authoritarian abuser. And some of us still wonder how the German people could deny the holocaust as it was happening…it could happen anywhere.
We are chaplains and therapists grounded in a psychoanalytic awareness of the human condition. You and I serve in the places where people don't want to be...the hospitals, prisons, nursing homes. You and I serve in the emotional prisons of addiction, depression, physical and emotional abuse, psychosis, acute and chronic distortions of the reality we believe to be true.
You and I are in a here and now that needs our very best care. Our skills, beliefs, and commitment bring peace and comfort and hope. And, once in a while we must speak truth to power and point out the public actions that harm the soul.
Bill Scar, CPSP President