A Grudging Concession to Reality

Regarding last night’s debate, I pretty much agree with what Ezra Klein says here.

Thanks to WaPo, we have corroboration that Trump got the idea that Ukraine meddled with elections from Vladimir Putin.

The buzz today has focused on Christianity Today, which published an editorial calling for Trump to be removed from office.

… the facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents. That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.

The reason many are not shocked about this is that this president has dumbed down the idea of morality in his administration. He has hired and fired a number of people who are now convicted criminals. He himself has admitted to immoral actions in business and his relationship with women, about which he remains proud. His Twitter feed alone—with its habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders—is a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.

The editorial goes on to say that political expedience is no excuse for ignoring immoral words and behavior.

Christianity Today, which I understand to have the largest circulation of any Christian magazine in the U.S., is associated with evangelicalism and was founded by Billy Graham. But the editorial doesn’t surprise me. There are evangelicals and other evangelicals. Some of them are genuinely sincere about their faith. They aren’t all brainless goobers.

At the same time, I don’t think this represents any kind of shift. Because a lot of them are brainless goobers.

One clarification is necessary: Christianity Today is not far left. It’s not liberal, either. It’s not even loosely centrist. It is a conservative publication, it always has been, and Galli’s editorial doesn’t change its political orientation. The magazine will still oppose abortion rights and marriage equality, and the editorial itself is not exactly a comprehensive rejection of Trump and all that he represents. “Let’s grant this to the president: The Democrats have had it out for him from day one, and therefore nearly everything they do is under a cloud of partisan suspicion,” Galli wrote.

The piece is just as notable for what it doesn’t say. Missing from the editorial: the two dozen sexual-assault allegations against Trump, the migrant children who died in camps at the border, any mention of the racism and Islamophobia that have characterized this presidency from its first day. The editorial is not an act of courage but a grudging concession to reality. It also will not alter Evangelical support for Trump at all.

Trump’s reaction was predictable:

One assumes he meant “CT” instead of “ET,” unless he’s pissed at Engineering Today also. But one also doubts he ever read Christianity Today in his life. No centerfold.

Greg Sargent:

Indeed, the transactional cast to Trump’s rage over this is particularly instructive, once you understand that Trump and his top advisers have consciously enlisted the nation’s evangelicals as an army of Trump defenders in the war against impeachment, which is widely depicted in the evangelical movement as a kind of epic persecution of Trump carried out by the godless and the damned.

As Sarah Posner details in a terrific piece, this effort is concerted, multifaceted and highly organized. Numerous high-profile evangelicals regularly depict impeachment as a disruption of God’s plan for America to be governed by Christians in accord with “biblical” values.

Impeachment is merely the weapon that the secular, satanic left is wielding to carry out its broader pro-abortion, anti-religious-liberty agenda, which requires the removal of Trump, the savior of Christian America, all to keep the persecution of Christians going at full throttle.

Those who have already sold their souls are not going to petition to get them back. Sarah Posner:

In the eyes of evangelical loyalists, Trump is a salvific figure who must be defended to save Christian America from a catastrophic downfall at the hands of overweening Democrats. After 25 evangelical advisers met with him at the White House in late October, participants, including the Christian public relations guru Johnnie Moore, whom Trump appointed to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, pushed out photographs of them praying with the president on social media. (Moore did not respond to interview requests for this article.) In an interview the day after the meeting, evangelical adviser Robert Jeffress, the Dallas megachurch pastor and Fox News personality, said that most evangelicals “believe this impeachment is an attempt to overthrow the 2016 election and therefore negate the votes of millions of evangelical Christians.” These voters, he went on, “see it as a war for the soul of our nation.” Jeffress predicted that evangelicals would react “very poorly” to Republican senators voting to convict Trump in an impeachment trial.

Trump has given them the judges they want, so that abortion and LGBTQ rights can be destroyed. Trump supports their twisted vision of “religious freedom” that allows them to use the power of government to enforce their religious beliefs on others. Trump sanctifies their status as the dominant tribe, in other words. And that’s all they care about. Oh, and money and power. They like those, too.

Paula White, the over-the-top televangelist who serves in an official White House post as the adviser to his Faith and Opportunities Initiative, has the last word in Posner’s article:

White has a plan to protect Trump from those dark forces, vanquish his enemies, and to defend the “biblical” government that has elevated Christian right personnel and policy priorities. And she left no doubt that the multiple roles she plays — presidential personal pastor, White House employee and defender of Trump against his enemies — have merged into a single message of God’s wrath against anyone who dares criticize him. “Any persons, entities, that are aligned against the president,” she said on the One Voice Prayer Movement launch call, “will be exposed and dealt with and overturned by the superior blood of Jesus.”

These people are buggier than an ant farm, in other words. Reason and the fact that they are driving young folks away from Christianity doesn’t deter them.

7 thoughts on “A Grudging Concession to Reality

  1. At least some people in evangelical circles will be talking about the article in CT, and some of them are going to come out against Trump – this article gives them permission.

    It is tragic IMO how Trump is destroying the church, by helping to drive away the young. It's not that the church doesn't deserve to be burned to the ground, it's that Jesus and his teachings, as well as those of any enlightened master, are an important ingredient to life on this plane of existence. In a materialistic age, people are dying for spiritual nourishment.

    People speak of how Trump is stained by impeachment; he is already a sad sewer of a man. What pains me is how Jesus is stained by this whole sorry thing, far bigger than  Trump.

    His Twitter feed alone—with its habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders—is a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.

    The phrase “morally lost and confused” caught my eye. This is the kind of language and understanding that needs to be precisely directed right at the heart of the Trumpsters, particularly at those hyenas on the Judiciary Committee.

  2. Life is complicated on the moral high road.  This happens when there is a fork in the road or if some of those on the road are forked up.  

    If there is one thing we learned from the impeachment debate, it is that no room for any position other than the politically correct one is allowed in the Republican party.  Some Republicans did not speak, and only weighed in with written position statements.  These I have not read, and I did not probably hear all of the orally presented ones, but I did hear quite a sample. Most followed a similar theme and I assume the written responses did also, but that is just an assumption.  

    Of special interest are two oral presentations.  One tried to blend Republican politically correct with Russian politically correct.  This made some news coverage as the politician voicing this position was called out for introducing Russian propaganda (Russian politically correct if you will) on the floor of the United States House of Representatives.  Shouting and gavel pounding ensued, and it made good TV news fodder. 

    The other oral presentation that inspired my interest was one that did not garner media coverage.  This (unidentified for me) Republican attempted to argue both a Christian politically correct argument with a Republican politically correct argument.  He compared the impeachment hearing to the trial of Jesus before his crucifixion.  As one can imagine, this was a classic case of a square peg and a round hole type analogy.  My guess is he was trying to say the Democrats could be accusing Trump of being  the King of the Evangelicals but that sure does not fit.  One can see from Trump's twitter rant that he might view himself as at least editor in chief of Evangelical publications.  So what, Trump considers himself editor in chief of every news service but Pravda.

    The problem on the moral high road is that the glove that fits for the evidence does not fit for Russian politically correct, Republican politically correct, Evangelical Christian correct, or morally correct arrived at in any other way in a one size fits all manner.  One glove does seem to fit the truth and reality and the dress code for the moral high road quite well.  Right now the problem seems to be  that gloves which fit  turtles are only made in Russia and do not meet the dress code.  

  3. I have come to the conclusion that Trump fits the description of the AntiChrist in that he claims to be a savior and has fooled a bunch of Christians.  We should find someone to shave his head and expose the number 666.  Whatever Christ represents, Trump is the opposite.  Nancy Pelosi says that she prays for the president.  I believe her and so do I but I'm sure my prayers are a lot different from hers.  I perceive him to be like a volcano about ready to explode.  If that happens, it can cause a lot of damage to our system and the country.  Somebody on TV said if Trump gets re-elected, he will go about exacting revenge on all he perceives as his enemies.  Heaven help  us.

    As for the debate, I heard Amy Klobuchar got good reviews.  For some reason, I don't like her.  Maybe it's just me.

  4. I'm concerned, but there's time for trends to change, that Bernie and Liz need to join forces and consolidate their popularity to bump Biden in the primary. What seems to be happening is the anybody-but-trump Democrats are taking Trump's attacks on Biden as a reason to endorse. Trump has to continue to attack the Biden's as a rather exotic defense of the Ukraine shakedown. The facts about Hunter, and Joe's refusal to criticize the evident pay-to-play should stink with voters, but contempt for Trump among Democratic voters seems to be working for Joe.  

    What might dent Trump's standing is the likely (IMO) violence that will erupt around Trump's impeachment. I think Trump is stupid enough to dog-whistle for it and pretend it's not what he meant. Domestic terrorism is (again, IMO) something Trump toys with in his mind as a weapon against his enemies. 

    Trump may skip the debates if he can't control the questions. That will hurt his standing. The USSC will decide on the outcome of Trump's tax returns before the election. If there's stuff in there that's as damaging as Trump's desperate attempts to suppress his returns suggest to me, that may be crucial. 

    I think Trump's on defense for a lot of the next year and he doesn't do defense. 

  5. Repentance is central to believers in Jesus, which is central to Christianity.  It’s made clear there is no middle ground; either you believe or you don't.  A sign of belief is the need for repentance of sins.  Also central is ALL have sinned because NONE are perfect.  None.  

    And yet, here's Trump on the subject:

    "Moderator Frank Luntz asked Trump whether he has ever asked God for forgiveness for his actions."

    "'I am not sure I have. I just go on and try to do a better job from there. I don't think so,' he said. 'I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don't bring God into that picture. I don't.'"

    To the Christian, God IS that picture!

    "Trump said that while he hasn't asked God for forgiveness, he does participate in Holy Communion."

    "'When I drink my little wine — which is about the only wine I drink — and have my little cracker, I guess that is a form of asking for forgiveness, and I do that as often as possible because I feel cleansed,' he said. 'I think in terms of 'let's go on and let's make it right.'"

    Trump’s use of “little” belies his level of sincerity and lack of depth of reverence or sincerity; and when has Trump ever tried to make anything right, let alone ask for forgiveness?  Trump’s instinct is not to make right, but to cover up, get away with, cast off blame. 

    To insist someone like this is a Christ-type, let alone a Christian, goes beyond ignorance and requires a level of deceit and calculation that is not of Christ, or Christianity. (Note that the Bible is full of "types"; Christ and anti-Christ types.)  Trump is antithetical to Christ; he is a type of antichrist.

    It’s clear to the honest, independent observer that has a basic understanding of The Gospels that these Trump supporting Christian evangelicals are not followers of Jesus Christ.  

    That they are driving people away from Christianity with their un Christ-like deceptions and ignorance is a testament to the spiritual side of people that something is inherently not right with them.  If by their fruits we shall know them, then it is by their fruits we can discern for them its not about Christ:

    Mathew 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

    Titus 1:16 is instructive:

    They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.”

    These people are not of God.  They are a tribe drunk on hate and ignorance, led be false prophets whose only agenda is money and power. 

    Wake up people!  



  6. The politization of religion is only one reason for it's declining influence:

    "U.S. Church Membership Down Sharply in Past Two Decades"


    It's one more demographic change the Republican party will have to adapt to or die. So far it seems their attempts include only lying harder and more often, appealing to more base instincts, and cheating the democratic process.


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