(RNS) — Yesterday I got a call from my cousin Jerry. He was not a happy camper. The conversation went like this.

JERRY: Hi, Mark. What are you going to do about what Trump said?

MARK: What did Trump say?

JERRY: He said any Jewish person who votes for Democrats hates Israel and hates their religion. I always vote for Democrats and I love Israel and I love my religion. You’ve got to do something about this.

MARK: What do you want me to do?

JERRY: Write a column.

MARK: About how you vote Democratic and love Israel and your religion?

JERRY: No. About how any Christian person who votes for Republicans hates America and hates their religion.

MARK: But I don’t believe that.

JERRY: Look. What’s more American than accepting the results of elections when you lose and peaceful transitions of power? About welcoming immigrants? About equal justice for all. The Republicans are against those things. 

MARK: Not all of them.

JERRY: What about the Constitution? Didn’t Trump say he wanted to suspend it?

MARK: Just once.

JERRY: And didn’t he say he would be a dictator the first day of his new term? How American is that? 

MARK: Not very, I guess. Maybe he was joking.

JERRY: And then there’s the religion part. Christianity is about turning the other cheek and loving your enemies, isn’t it? Didn’t Jesus say his kingdom was not of this world? Wasn’t he all about helping the poor? Didn’t he say it would be hard for a rich guy to get into heaven? I mean, I’ve read the Sermon on the Mount. Republicans these days act like they think it’s just a bunch of woke baloney.

MARK: Like people of every religion, including ours, Christian people sometimes do things that don’t, well, conform to the noblest tenets of their faith. That doesn’t mean they hate their religion, any more than claiming, say, that immigrants are poisoning the blood of our people means you hate America.

JERRY: You’ve got to be kidding.

MARK: OK, OK. But if they say they love America and Christianity, then, as Pope Francis said, who am I to judge? You might as well say that the prime minister of Israel hates Israel and hates his religion.

JERRY: I do say that.

MARK: So be it, Jerry. I just don’t like getting down in the mud with these people.

JERRY: You sound like Michelle Obama. I just don’t like people in glass houses throwing stones. And no one lives in a glassier house than Trump.

MARK: Well, let’s leave it at that.

JERRY: All right. But think about writing what I said.

MARK: I’ll think about it.

JERRY: Thanks, Mark. Bye.

MARK: Bye, Jer.

(This imaginary conversation has been lightly edited to remove vulgarity.)

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