“We welcome everybody here!” the Presbyterian minister* screamed at President Donald Trump. She followed up her open invitation to “everybody” with, “You’re not welcome on my street.”
Well, which is it?
Watching the video of the Reverend Susan Rothenberg screaming at the president’s motorcade quickly reveals that when she claims, “we welcome everybody here,” she is using a different definition of “everybody” than, well, everybody else. In Rothenberg’s mind, President Trump’s sin that earned him scorn was his presence in her neighborhood to pay his respects to those killed during a terrorist attack at the Tree of Life synagogue and to show his support for their families and the survivors. You know, dastardly stuff like empathy and showing care and concern.
Throughout the video, which can be seen below, Rothenberg screams at the president, pausing long enough to explain to the person taking the video that “We don’t want him here. We don’t want him on our street.” She then continues with her tantrum.
Trump derangement syndrome is part laughable and part scary. In this instance, however, the fact that a professed minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ stood on the sidewalk and screamed at her president takes this case of Trump derangement syndrome into the realm of theology. You see, the Bible is pretty clear about how all of us are to respond to the civil authorities God has placed over us and how ministers are to conduct themselves.
1 Timothy 3:1-7 provides a series of qualifications for elders, better known as pastors. Among other qualifications, the Apostle Paul lists: “sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable.” I challenge you to watch the video and tell me that Reverend Rothenberg demonstrates any of those four qualifications.
To be fair, pastors are sinners, too. Paul’s not saying that any slip-up that results in the loss of temper, for example, automatically disqualifies someone. Reverend Rothenberg may usually be characterized by gentleness and self-control. If so, I trust that she will seek forgiveness for her actions caught on camera.
However, what’s even worse than her temper tantrum is whom it was actually directed to. By showing such blatant disrespect for the president, Rothenberg was demonstrating her contempt for God. In Romans 13:1-2, the Apostle Paul commands us to “be subject to the governing authorities.” He goes on to explain why. “For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed.”
Like the rest of us, Reverend Rothenberg isn’t required to agree with President Trump, nor is she required to vote for him in 2020. But the Bible very clearly condemns her disrespectful tone and actions directed at him. Of all people, ministers should demonstrate their love for God by showing respect for the authority figures that God has placed over them. By her actions, Rothenberg has called into question her qualifications to be a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
*Disclaimer: I believe that the Bible clearly teaches that women cannot be pastors (1 Timothy 2:12)
As President Trump visited Squirrel Hill to pay his respects at the Tree of Life Synagogue, the Rev. Susan Rothenberg, a Presbyterian minister who lives a few houses away, yelled that Trump was not welcome in the neighborhood. https://bit.ly/2qjKJ0x
Posted by WTAE-TV Pittsburgh on Tuesday, October 30, 2018