First of all, let me get this out there… I’m afraid. No, I’m not afraid that Mr. Trump will end democracy as we know it, and no, I am not afraid that life will somehow devolve into a scene from the movie “The Purge.” More than anything, I am afraid because for the first time in a long time, I have felt my color. I have been told to “speak American” when conversing in Spanish and I have seen the licentiousness with which some have approached being an “American.” Somehow, being an American is being white. Since when? I am also afraid because more than ever, being a Christian is a thing that allows us to be critical of those who are not, and worse, it allows us to place judgement on others who do not fit into the “Christian ideal.” I am afraid because as of this afternoon, we will engage with a person who has fooled us all into believing that he is somehow the long-awaited salvation that this country needs. There are even those religious leaders who have declared him as being “sent by God,” as if God really would take the time to anoint a megalomaniac whose message was anything but what Christ himself taught. I am afraid, not because we will have a president who blatantly lies and mocks those he believes to be of a lesser status than he, but because he is setting a precedent that will affect even those who have not been born yet. I am afraid because more than ever, the call to serve the Gospel is a difficult choice between living a life that is comfortable, and living a life that is declared worthless and not worthy of being part of the “American way.” I am afraid that today, and tomorrow, I will have to make the decision to take a stand and live out the Gospel values that I have held so dear. As a person in relationship with God, and as a member of the clergy, I am afraid because there will be those who will hear a message of hate and anger wrapped up in the false face of Jesus. Sure, it will look pretty and it will feel good, but it won’t be real. On the contrary, like fluff, it will dissipate as soon as the wind blows and as soon as things get real. Today, as Mr. Trump takes the oath to become the new president, the Bible on which he makes that oath will be soiled with the lies and falsities of a people who have grown comfortable with God, a people for whom God is as easily manipulated as the spray on tan of our new president. Today, I sit in awe of what may lie ahead, and while I cannot deny that I am afraid, I also pledge to delve deeper into the heart of God and to be a person who lives their life as an example of the Christian message. No, it won’t be easy, but there can be no denying that life must continue and as we move into tomorrow, the redeeming power of God’s love will bring us into a new day where the tans we have are real and the orange we see is that of a glorious sun rise. Today, I will not be afraid because God is with me, because I am loved, and because I am beautiful, as are you. My dear people, know that you are beautiful and that you are loved, and that we will be alright.