In the year 313 of our era, the Roman Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity, previously a prohibited religion, and launched the first Christian imperial dynasty.
All the emperors who succeeded him were Christians, until the accession of the Emperor Julian in 361. Never heard of him? Good, and may that be instructive in regard to this blog.
Julian was the last non-Christian ruler of the Roman Empire, and it was his desire to bring the Empire back to its ancient Roman values, in order, as he saw it, to save it from dissolution. He attempted to revive traditional Roman religious practices at the expense of Christianity. His anti-Christian sentiment caused him to be remembered as Julian the Apostate by the church.
He wanted to effect a permanent change in the empire, but in his short reign (361-63) was unable to do that. More to the point, he was on the wrong side of history. Christianity was growing exponentially, and there was not enough energy in the old Roman religion to counter it.
Still with me? Good, because I’m about to make my point.
Barack Obama spoke in Montréal this week to a rapturous audience of 6000 people. Without mentioning the name of his successor, he asserted his conviction that the Trump presidency was a temporary thing. In positioning himself against the need to tackle climate change, and withdrawing the US from the Paris Accord, Donald Trump placed himself foolishly, quixotically and unnecessarily against the forward movement of history.
It is Obama’s conviction, and mine, and, I trust, yours, that the present US administration is a temporary phenomenon, a historical blip. Twenty years from now (may it be so!) fewer people will remember Trump than remember Julian the Apostate.
Let us encourage one another with this thought!