"With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility"
I don't even necessarily disagree with Trump:
Trump: I do respect him, but I respect a lot of people. That doesn’t mean I’m going to get along with him. He’s a leader of his country. I say it’s better to get along with Russia than not. And if Russia helps us in the fight against ISIS, which is a major fight — and Islamic terrorism all over the world — that’s a good thing.Who I disagree with, is the President.
O’Reilly: But he’s a killer though. Putin’s a killer.
Trump: There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think? Our country’s so innocent?
It is tempting, as a pastor, to stand in a pulpit and rain fire and brimstone down on your congregation. When I was having trouble with my congregation (a two-way street, I assure you), a friend of long standing in the ministry (and longer standing as a friend) sent me a tape of a pastoral rant where the preacher denounces, in detail and high umbrage, every member of his congregation. I laughed until I cried, because it was so true, because it was so much what I wanted to do.
But he and I knew we couldn't; no pastor can. The pulpit is a place of privilege, and it is not owned by the pastor. It is controlled by her or him, but not owned. It is owned, in the Protestant tradition, by the congregation. Yes, that's fundamentally different in the Catholic tradition, but the restraint still applies: you can't be a shepherd to your flock by telling them in no uncertain terms that they are wolves in sheep's clothing. Wolves they may be; but wolves attack when provoked. And provoking them doesn't turn them away from being wolves.
That's the least lesson about it; the greater lesson is that your position of privilege is one of responsibility, not unleashed authority. As a lay member I can stand up in a congregational meeting (disrupting worship services would be a grave mistake) and denounce the congregation in unequivocal terms. I can go before the governing council of the church and name names and curse families, if I choose. I might even get away with it; I've known church members who do.
But as the pastor, the leader of the congregation, the person chosen to shepherd them? I don't have the privilege of speaking my mind. In that role I have great responsibility, and that gives me great power; but I can't use that power to flail at others. The more I do so, the more I reveal how small I am, how unfit I am for the privilege of leadership. If I think my congregation is corrupt and full of sin, it is my responsibility to correct it, to guide it, to cleanse it. It is not my job to say: "What, you think you're so innocent?" Because they are never so evil as to relieve me of my responsibility to them. If I think they are, I have one choice: resign. If I don't, then I accept them as they are, and I accept my responsibility toward them.
Donald Trump private citizen can tweet opinions like that until his fingers bleed. Donald Trump POTUS dare not ever say such a thing. For the simple reason that he is in charge, now. For the simple reason that, when you point a finger, three more are pointing back at you. He wants to be innocent of the charge of being a killer himself, yet what decisions will he make in the next four years that lead, directly, to the deaths of others? He wants to defend his position by pointing to the hypocrisy of others: but those "others" are him, now. He is the President. He is in charge. He is responsible. First he said our government was populated with Nazis; now he says it is populated with assassins.
The buck stops with him, whether he likes it or not.