Lying in State – “I will pray for you” – Hon. Elijah Cummings

The Honorable Elijah Cummings, the first African American to lie in State in the U.S. Capitol, was the son of sharecroppers. However courageous his parents and grandparents were, they knew that the lynching tree was just a breath away. They would have seen white nationalism up close. Neither they nor their son nor any other black man, woman, or child spoke of lynchings metaphorically. A lynching was a lynching; the body hanging from the tree was always black. The lynchers were always white.


Elijah Cummings knew the difference between an impeachment inquiry and a lynching. As Chair of the powerful U. S. House Oversight and Reform Committee, he oversaw his committee’s impeachment inquiry with great care and due respect, as an honorable man who knew the difference between a bi-partisan investigation of facts and a one-party lynch mob. He was a Democrat committed to the truth, due process, and justice.


Shortly after the Congressman’s death was announced, the president did a very presidential thing. He paid his respects:

  My warmest condolences to the family and many friends of Congressman Elijah Cummings. I got to see first hand the strength, passion and wisdom of this highly respected political leader. His work and voice on so many fronts will be very hard, if not impossible, to replace!”


· Jul 27, 2019
Rep, Elijah Cummings has been a brutal bully, shouting and screaming at the great men & women of Border Patrol about conditions at the Southern Border, when actually his Baltimore district is FAR WORSE and more dangerous. His district is considered the Worst in the USA……

….As proven last week during a Congressional tour, the Border is clean, efficient & well run, just very crowded. Cumming District is a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess. If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place.


Donald J. Trump
So some day, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President, without due process or fairness or any legal rights. All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here – a lynching. But we will WIN! (1 day ago).


With the exception of the group of psychiatric professionals who have expressed their diagnoses about the President’s mental health, most professionals adhere to the strict protocol resisting diagnosing a person the practitioner does not know. If a professional in the field cannot and should not diagnose, neither should we. Yet we know Donald Trump better than many people know their own families. I’m a retired clergyman, not a psychiatrist, but I recognize the behavioral signs of mental illness.


Common signs to be aware of include:

  • socially irresponsible behavior
  • disregarding or violating the rights of others
  • inability to distinguish between right and wrong
  • difficulty with showing remorse or empathy
  • tendency to lie often
  • manipulating and hurting others
  • recurring problems with the law
  • general disregard towards safety and responsibility
  • a tendency to take risks,
  • reckless behavior,
  • being deceitful with frequent lying.

Someone exhibiting this behavior may also:

  • lack deep emotional connections,
  • have a superficial charm about them,
  • be very aggressive,
  • and get very angry sometimes.

Other behaviors that may be signs of ASPD include:

  • don’t care if they have hurt someone,
  • are impulsive and abusive and lack remorse.
  • In the case of ASPD, abusive doesn’t necessarily mean violent.


To call a Congressional impeachment inquiry a “lynching” insults Elijah Cummings, all descendants of chattel slavery, and the U.S. Constitution’s provision for removal of a president from office after a public trial. An impeachment trial is not a lynching. Few people know that better than the Congressman who lies in State while the President lies.

Elijah Cummings was a man of character who practiced his faith, an exception to the rule of retaliation. The beloved Congressman from Baltimore is one of only two people on “the Hill” I’ve heard say of the president, “I will pray for you.”

— Gordon C. Stewart, author, Be Still! Departure from Collective Madness (2017, Wipf and Stock), Chaska, MN, Oct. 23, 2019

6 thoughts on “Lying in State – “I will pray for you” – Hon. Elijah Cummings

  1. Yes. And I find myself today again wondering how we are to understand, regard, respect those who follow, admire, support, etc. a person like Trump… rather than a person like Elijah Cummings?


  2. Yes. And today I again have to wonder how we are to understand, regard, or respect those who follow, admire, support, etc. a person like Trump… rather than a person like Elijah Cummings?


    • Nancy, I don’t know. Good communication begins with one’s readiness to listen — really listen in order to understand. I have a hard time listening when what I hear is hideous and stands against most of what I believe about how we should treat each other. I recoil every time I see you-know-who. I see a fraud, a snake oil salesman, a liar, a cheat, a crude man, a narcissist who surrounds himself with beautiful women and luxuries that go against the gain of the historic Presbyterian virtue of simplicity and the hollowness of ostentation. That set of ethics is slowly but surely replaced by the ethic of an entertainment consumer society that leaves us hollow, anxious, and primed to fall for the strong man, in this case, the guy and family who seem to have it all by the standards by the standards of the virtueless culture.

      All that seems like a digression, but I think it may speak to the dilemma of how to understand, regard, and respect those who take the bait of Trumpism. Paul Tillich what the world saw in Adolf Hitler was much more complex than evil. Hitler and his storm troopers are better described as ‘daemonic’ . Evil has no standing of its own apart from the good. What are living with the demonic — i.e. that twisting, the warping of goodness. Enough! Thanks for the conversation! So to speak. 🤓

      T.S. Eliot


    • I hope I walked enough of a line between actual diagnosis (which no one but his therapist can do responsibly) and identifying the behaviors that should turn on the yellow lights or the red lights. These behaviors were once considered outside the norm of mental health. Are they still in our culture at this culture, or have we lost it?


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