Thomas Reese on Giving Up Trump for Lent

President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House on Jan. 27, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

The Rev. Thomas J. Reese, a Jesuit priest, is a Senior Analyst at RNS. Previously he was a columnist at the National Catholic Reporter (2015-17) and an associate editor (1978-85) and editor in chief (1998-2005) at America magazine. The views expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of BCNN1.


(RNS) — I decided to give up Donald Trump for Lent, the 40-day period from Ash Wednesday (Feb. 26) to Easter Sunday when Catholics traditionally do penance. Most people give up something they love, like chocolate or television. Others give up something that is bad for them, like smoking or drinking.

For me, Trump is an occasion of sin that I should avoid. I need to cast him from my mind like a dirty thought. He makes me short-tempered, argumentative, angry and depressed. He is not good for my health, although he does get my heart pumping more than when I am on my exercycle.

I am not recommending everyone totally abstain from Trump, although most families would benefit from making the dinner table a “Trump-free zone.”

Cable news has made billions of dollars off Trump because both those who love him and those who hate him will tune in whenever he is on or discussed. I am going to change the channel during Lent, or just turn it off.

This may sound strange coming from a political junkie with a Ph.D. in political science. But why torture myself. I don’t need any additional information; I already know how I am going to vote. I also vote where the election outcome is preordained. Thanks to the Electoral College, my voting will not make any difference, although I will vote because I consider it a civic and moral duty.

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Source: Religion News Service