Muslim Press has conducted an interview with Raymond J. Lawrence to discuss Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and the future of the world if he becomes president of the United States.
The following is the full text of this interview:
Muslim Press: Dr. Lawrence, what similarities do you see between Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler?
Raymond J. Lawrence: Trump is using the same tactics that propelled Adolf Hitler to the Chancellorship of Germany in 1933. Hitler's signature tactic was "the big lie." By repeating a lie again and again he found that the public seemed to lose its bearing, and even its awareness that the lie was a lie. Or they came to believe that the lie was insignificant in the larger scheme of things. The same sort of thing is happening in the U.S. today. Trump of course is not focusing on Jews as Hitler was. He focuses primarily on Muslims and Hispanics. They are the main objects of Trump's big lie. It is quite frightening to me that so many Americans either believe Trump's lies, or disregard them as inconsequential. I believe that Trump as President would ultimately do for the U.S. what Hitler accomplished for Germany. But this time, with nuclear weapons abounding, World War II will seem like child's play.
MP: Do you really think Trump is as evil as Hitler?
Raymond J. Lawrence: Hitler was not evil or destructive until he possessed significant political power. He was a foot soldier in World War 1, was wounded in a gas attack. After the war he became an artist, a painter, and a writer. He was a rabble rouser but accomplished little harm. Once he gained political power he was able to inflict death and destruction on millions.
MP: What would happen if he becomes president of the United States?
Raymond J. Lawrence: We don't know how far Trump may go with such political power as the U.S. President has, but neither do we want to find out. Clearly Trump has no regard for truth. Nor does he have any compassion for the marginal people. He has no concept of justice. He steals from the poor and gives to the rich, and mainly to himself.
MP: How do you explain the rise of Trump in America?
Raymond J. Lawrence: I think in part the rise of Trump stems from the great mass of alienated citizens who do not share fully in the nation's prosperity. When so many people work hard just to keep up, and when they see so many fat cats with far more money than they need, it's not a far reach to become resentful. Resentment leads to a wish to blow the system up, which Trump promises to do.
MP: What's your take on his anti-Muslim bigotry?
Raymond J. Lawrence: Trump's anti-Muslim posture is similar to bigots in every generation who turn their rage on anyone who is different. It's nothing new. What's new is the possibility that such a bigot might well become President of the U.S. That would be a catastrophe.
Raymond J. Lawrence is an Episcopal cleric, recently retired Director of Pastoral Care, New York Presbyterian Hospital, and author of numerous opinion pieces in newspapers in the U.S., and author of the recently published, Sexual Liberation: The Scandal of Christendom.