It’s Donald Trump’s first overseas trip and he goes right to the capital cities of the world’s three main religions – Saudi Arabia (Muslims), Israel (Jews), Vatican City (Catholic Christians).
He said he wants peace among the world’s religions. Trump’s national security adviser explained that he is “seeking is to unite peoples of all faiths around a common vision of peace, progress and prosperity.”
However, Trump is hardly the authority for religious cooperation. Trump has promoted religious favoritism and discrimination backed by government authority, thus intimidating religious and other minorities. Trump and his staff are well known for virulent anti-Muslim rhetoric. Trump was also accused of tweeting an anti-Semitic image and trafficking in anti-Jewish tropes, and some Trump supporters have been accused of trafficking in anti-Semitism. Also, Trump has had a well-publicized feud with Pope Francis.
On this trip, Trump is visiting the three religions he has insulted and intimidated with the power of government. No one should be fooled that Trump’s pilgrimage has anything to do with promoting religious peace, or peace of any kind. Could it be, rather than a mission of peace and cooperation, a mission of intimidation? Could it be more likely that Trump is trying to project himself as the most powerful man in the world, both politically and religiously, above even the religions of the world?