Trump at the Faith and Freedom Coalition: I am Pro-Life, Pro-Family, a Lover of Neighbors, a Good Samaritan, and John McCain May Be in Hell

Here is the video:

Some comments/observations:

0:34ff: Ralph Reed, the founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, says he founded the organization to make sure that evangelicals “are the head and not the tail of our political system once again.”  What does this mean?  It comes pretty close to theocracy.  Reed and his followers on the Christian Right want evangelical Christians to be running the country.  The church should have no place for this kind of power-grabbing, but, alas, evangelicals have supported it for nearly fifty years.

15:30ff:  The video that airs before Trump comes out clearly illustrates that the POTUS has delivered for the Christian Right.  He appointed conservative justices, got the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, convinced the Christian Right that he did something to defend religious freedom (he did not), created jobs, moved the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, got us out of the Iran deal, and gave people a tax break.  Sean Hannity thinks Trump belongs on Mount Rushmore.

The video ends by extolling Trump as the most pro-life president in history.   If you only view pro-life in terms of abortion, one might say Barack Obama was the most pro-life president in the American history.  Abortion rates dropped precipitously under his watch.   Yes, Trump appointed Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, but we still have no idea how these two justices, and their conservative colleagues on the court, will reduce the number of abortions.

Of course, if we define pro-life broadly, to include a respect for life after a baby is born, Trump may be one of the least pro-life presidents in recent history.  His failure to address climate change will place future lives in jeopardy.  His immigration policy shows very little respect for the lives of refugees.  And we could go on.

The video also notes that Trump is the most pro-family POTUS in history.  When did separating children from their parents at the Mexican border become pro-family?

The video suggests that Trump has defended religious freedom.  Granted, he has talked a good game, but he has done very little in terms of policy.

17:55ff:  Ralph Reed introduces Trump.  His introduction is a revealing synopsis of the what the Christian Right is all about.  This is a political movement that tries to advance God’s will through the pursuit of power and the control of the levers of government.  Reed says that evangelicals have “integrity” because they have stood with Trump, who he describes as “this good man.”  I will give Trump credit.  He is a master politician.  He has deceived conservative evangelicals into believing that he actually cares about them.

26:50ff:  Trump mixes prayer and fear-mongering.  He tells evangelicals to pray for him because they are one vote or one justice away from everything changing in America. As I wrote in Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump, this type of fear-mongering is a staple of Christian Right politics.

28:00ff:  Trump implies that since he was elected president “we are saying Merry Christmas” again. He makes it sound like no one was saying this under Obama or previous presidents.

31:00ff:  Trump keeps saying that he repealed the Johnson Amendment.  He did not. But it doesn’t matter, because no one is going to look it up.

33:00ff:  Trump has now spoken to this group six times.  I would have to go back and check, but I think the outline for all six speeches is roughly the same.

34:30ff:  Evangelical Christians start chanting “Four More Years.”

35:00ff: Trump  mischaracterizes the Virginia abortion law and continues to play to evangelical fears by suggesting that the commonwealth is killing babies after they are born.

36:15ff: The “Four More Years” chants continue.

42:00ff:  Trump says that “we are respected again as a nation.”  If my experience in Italy earlier this month is any indication, this is not true.  Trump, and the United States, is a laughing stock in the country of my ancestors.

43:00ff:  Trump gives a shout-out to court evangelicals Jerry Falwell Jr. and Robert Jeffress.

44:00ff:  The evangelical Christians in the room start chanting “U.S.A., U.S.A, U.S.A.”

44:20ff:  Trump says he wants to talk to the “17%” of evangelicals who do not support him.  Sign me up!

44:30ff:  Trump says that we should be “loving others the way Christ loves us.”  Just Google the name “Donald Trump” to see how he is doing on this one.

45:00ff: Trump claims that there were “tens of thousands” of people outside the Orlando Arena waiting to get into his recent rally.  This is not true.

47:00ff:  Trump has the audacity to talk about how much women support him in the wake of this.

49:30ff:  Trump is encouraging everyone to “love their neighbors.”  (Unless, of course, they are refugees, Muslims, or undocumented immigrants).

50:15ff: Trump talks about his efforts at criminal justice reform.  Glad to see that he was able to get this done.

55:40ff: Trump calls-up a woman named Natalie Harp who is battling bone cancer and almost died because of a medical error. Trump takes credit for her survival.  Harp takes the lectern and gives a pro-Trump speech, describing Trump as the “Good Samaritan” who saved her life.  She says that Trump believes in the “survival of the fighters, not the survival of the fittest.” (Not sure exactly what this means).  She then generalizes her personal story by suggesting that the United States was lying near death on the side of the road and Donald Trump as the Good Samaritan came along, picked us up, and made America great again.

And we all thought Trump was actually King Cyrus.

1:01:00ff:  Conservative evangelicals cheer Trump’s border wall.  He claims he has already “built a lot of it” and it has “made a tremendous difference, like day and night.”

1:03:00ff: Trump blames the Democrats for the crisis on the Mexican border.  He falsely claims that Democrats want “open borders.”

1:10:56ff:  Trump makes another really bizarre and nasty attack on John McCain.  He does not mention McCain by name, but implies that the recently deceased Arizona Senator and other Republican Senators  (Jeff Flake?) who opposed him are “gone now, they’ve gone on to greener pastures, or perhaps far less green pastures, but they’re gone.  They’re gone….I’m very happy they’re gone.”  Trump is happy that McCain died of cancer.  He suggests that McCain might be in hell.

1:22:00: Trump says, “we know that faith and prayer, not government regulation, defines the moral character of our country. We know that families and churches, not government officials know best how to create strong and loving communities.”  I have always been baffled by this kind of rhetoric because there are so many examples in American history of Christian churches failing to do the work of creating strong and loving communities.  The churches in the South failed to stop racism, segregation, and Jim Crow.  This is why they needed federal government regulations. Churches have been unable to drastically reduce abortion in this country, forcing the Christian Right to address the issue through government regulations. In the end, conservative Christians like government when it suits their needs (after all, they want to control it), but they have little use for it when it does not.  I guess you could say the same things for liberals as well.

Hopefully this summary will save some of you from having to watch this.

83 thoughts on “Trump at the Faith and Freedom Coalition: I am Pro-Life, Pro-Family, a Lover of Neighbors, a Good Samaritan, and John McCain May Be in Hell

  1. Jim in STL,

    You are bending to trendy dating conventions which minimizes the Person of Christ. I realize that you cloaked it in the garb of “accepted notation”, but I would have thought that you would have preferred to show your colors as a believer? After all, if you write substantive, meaningful material, you are going to be respected regardless of your dating notations, Jim.

    James

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  2. Because BCE is a commonly accepted notation in the professional realm of history. Although, I am just an amatuer.

    Are you now going to be concerned with the minimization and decimation of the Word of Christ that your shaker, The Donald, is doing every day? Or, is notation it for you? Should we get back to the children and their parents at our southern borders? Separation? Chain-link kennels? Arresting those who would provide water to desperate people in the desert? You might want to examine your priorities and not worry so much about notation.

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  3. Jim in STL,

    When writers cite a Century, accepted style does not always use B.C. or A,D. depending upon context. But since you asked me, let me make an addendum to my posting. I should have written “20th Century A.D.”

    Now back to the original question. Why did you use the expression, “B.C.E.?” Are you attempting to minimize the Person of Christ?

    James

    Like

  4. When you wrote “20th Century history” you missed the A.D. by this [hold hands way way apart] much. Why is that?

    Like

  5. Sheridan,
    The connotation of abuse is intentional physical, mental, or sexual. To state that our border agents are engaged in “abuse” is simply political rhetoric.
    James

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  6. James, I don’t have time to respond fully to your comment. However, your reference to the “dictionary definition” doesn’t pass the smell test. Anyone who read Paul in context would know exactly what he meant. But, for some reason you decided to nitpick his comment. For that, you get a “fail” grade.

    Like

  7. Jim in STL,
    I like the quote you gave at the end. We need to see if we can sign you up for The Tea Party.

    James

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  8. “Does that mean that believers don’t use dentists who are atheists, auto repair men who are drunks, dry cleaners who cheat on their taxes, roofers who are whoremongers, etc.?”

    To govern a nation?

    I don’t mean to be presumptuous, but I think that you may be disenchanted with our secular liberal democratic constitutional republic and the broad-based and universal principles upon which it was founded. You know, the one that has promulgated the unalienable rights of the people and led the way in securing the greatest freedom of religion and religious belief in all of modern history. The one “deriving [its] just powers from the consent of the governed” The one with the constitution that starts out:

    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    Is that why we’re so cranky?

    Like

  9. Unicorn,

    Or should we use the immortal words of the late Ed Sullivan? “We have a really big show tonight——a really big show.”

    Like

  10. Oh boy. Another flair up of lDDS. I believe that there was a pharma commercial on TV dealing with this a while back. If I remember correctly, side effects included greater cognitive clarity and rational thinking. Might want to check with the doc.

    Like

  11. Sheridan,

    Response to your 1st paragraph: I hate to admit it but I actually had to pay more taxes this year. But that was based on my portfolio doing better under Trump. When you make more, you pay more.

    Response to your second paragraph: While I will confess to being critical of the DEMs, I do think I have deified Trump. When have I ever said that he was flawless?

    Response to your final paragraph: I used the dictionary definition of abuse because Paul was promiscuously using the word rhetorically and not factually.

    James

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  12. I’m afraid that you confuse dispassionate observation with negative emotion. I assume that you are referring to your take on 20th Century history. Why not start in the beginning? Let’s say the 5th century BCE. And sure, starting in the Mediterranean region is fine. You start and I’ll head to the fridge for beers.

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  13. Remember Trump is a guy who likes to shoot off his mouth (or Twitter finger) as often as possible. Been that way since he first surfaced in the news back in the Eighties/Nineties. Any publicity is good publicity, and he likes being on top of the publicity pyramid. “LOOK AT ME!!!!!!”

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  14. Trump always struck me as more of a Mussolini type than any of the others you listed.

    Mussolini was Loud and Bombastic, and seemed to always have this vibe of being in over his head. Wanted to Make Italy Great Again to the point he renamed it “The New Roman Empire”.

    In 2016, both major parties managed to nominate their WORST possible candidate, leaving us with a choice between a Cersei Lannister and a Benito Mussolini.

    Like

  15. Paul,
    The definition of a cult is a bit more complex than you allow, but I am not sure how the word was even introduced into this discussion. Are you suggesting that Trump supporters are in a cult?

    James

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  16. Sean,

    You asked many question your most recent posting. I will try to address them, but you will have to let me know if you think a salient point of yours has been ignored.

    First of all, you seem to be assuming that someone posting on Dr. Fea’s site has been stating that Trump is a Christian. As far as I know, no one who regularly posts here has ever stated that, Sean.

    Second, the fact that you might hold an advanced degree in history does nothing to salvage your apparent ignorance of history in the middle of Europe in the 20th Century. Again, if you are comparing the treatment of various persecuted groups in Auschwitz, Treblinka, Bergen Belsen, etc. to our camps on the border, then you are trivializing true horror.

    Third, you posited the definition of a concentration camp. That effort was similar to another authority giving us the definition of a nation, a head of state, or even an automobile. There can be many nuances to all of those nouns; each expert authority will stress various characteristics. Regardless of one’s working definition, Sean, my point is that NAZI-type concentration camps are not operating on our border. The use of the term “concentration camp” has been applied to the border centers purely for rhetorical reasons by the opponents of Trump. Ironically, many of these facilities have existed long before the 2016 election and Mr. Obama had a hand in their maintenance and upkeep.

    Finally, you listed several examples of people who have died along the border. No death is trivial, especially if it happens to someone you know. We all hate to see these deaths. People die daily in voluntary sporting events, in our all-volunteer military, in the police department, in the fire department, and in boating accidents. When illegal immigrants volitionally engage in unsafe practices, there will sadly be casualties. Our border agents seriously attempt to prevent these deaths, but statistically some tragedies are going to occur. Sadly, there is no way to avoid it. That does not imply that someone on our side directly facilitated it. Furthermore, actuarial tables tell us that a certain number of people of all ages are going to die every year regardless of their location or their pursuit at the time. The human body is not perfect. The good news is that Christian doctrine holds that this will not always be the case.

    James

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  17. James, from things you have previously written about yourself, I assume that you are at a point in your life where you are no longer adversely affected by Trump’s policies. So, you now feel free to express your biases – gleefulness at Trump’s grandstanding, thrilled about being entertained by Trump, and joyful about Trump being an “iconoclast.”

    James, I am sorry to say this, but I do believe that your brain is stuck in two modes of thinking. And those two modes of thinking manifest themselves in your rhetoric here. Those two modes are (1) Deifying Donald and (2) Dissing Democrats. To be honest, I am beginning to find your rhetoric quite tiresome and, to quote a Tweet from your favorite demagogue, “Boring.”

    Lastly, James, when you responded to Paul and his lamentation about abuse at the border you said “there is no abuse as defined by any legitimate dictionary.” NO ABUSE AS DEFINED BY ANY LEGITIMATE DICTIONARY??? That was a LOL moment for me. It revealed to me the absurdities you resort to in order to justify your position. I guess with you the ends justify the means. Sad.

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  18. Anyone who with a straight face compares the detention facilities at the border with Nazi death camps is historically ignorant, has lost the ability to make moral distinctions and grotesquely trivializes the actual horrors committed by the Reich.

    Indeed, those conflating these circumstances are, in a very real sense, engaging in a curious form of Holocaust denial — because they obviously have no idea what occurred. Either that, or they are cynical propagandists.

    Either way, they are not to be taken seriously, whether Jewish or otherwise.

    These facilities have problems. Abuses have occurred (not just under this administration). Unsafe conditions must not be allowed to persist. Nevertheless, they are not in the same moral universe as an Auschwitz, a Treblinka, a Bergen Belsen, a Dachau — and to suggest they are makes a mockery of that genocidal evil.

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  19. Jim in STL,

    I won’t disagree with you that Christians should seek for righteousness and personal morality. Does that mean that believers don’t use dentists who are atheists, auto repair men who are drunks, dry cleaners who cheat on their taxes, roofers who are whoremongers, etc.? Of course, you might respond that these believers should not knowingly patronize unethical or godless providers. Well, yes…….if it can be documented that the wrongdoers are unrepentant. So let me ask you, Jim, if you think that Trump consciously and triumphantly promotes scoundrel-like behavior in others? Sure, he is flamboyant and is not, in my opinion, a regenerate man; but I don’t think he is any more or less moral on balance than most other politicians today. The others are just less transparent than The Donald. As the Good Book says, ‘“Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before them to judgement; and some men they follow after.” I Tim. 5:24

    I don’t want to be presumptuous here, Jim, but somehow I think that your low opinions about Trump are informed more by your political preferences than your religious views. Please correct me if I am in error here.

    James

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  20. James, I am a Jew. Many, many of my people went to those camps in World War II. Do you know what every single person I know in the Jewish community calls Trump’s facilities at the border? CONCENTRATION CAMPS. In fact they’re adamant that we call them CONCENTRATION CAMPS because we know exactly what this is going to lead to.

    I also have a Ph.D. in history and I have taught courses on World War II and the Holocaust. Thus, for you to tell me “you have not studied history” is patently insulting. How dare you try to tell me that I’m not qualified to do my job.

    The following is from a Newsweek story in which several prominent academics, one of them Jewish, has defended the use of the term CONCENTRATION CAMP to describe Trump’s facilities.

    “Rachel Ida Buff, a professor of American studies who teaches history at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, told Newsweek Ocasio-Cortez was “absolutely” correct to describe U.S. migrant detention centers as concentration camps.

    Sociology professor Richard Lachmann at the University at Albany, SUNY, agreed, telling Newsweek: “Concentration camps are any place where large numbers of people are held in poor conditions because of their nationality, ethnicity, religion or other characteristics rather than as individuals convicted of crimes.”

    On May 14, 2019, a child named Josué Ramírez Vásquez died in one of Trump’s CONCENTRATION CAMPS. He was 2. Explain to me, James, how a two-year-old child has the capacity to consent, as you claim he did, to being tortured to death in one of Trump’s CONCENTRATION CAMPS.

    On December 24, 2018, a child named Felipe Gómez Alonzo died in one of Trump’s CONCENTRATION CAMPS. He was 8. Explain to me, James, how an eight-year-old child has the capacity to consent, as you claim he did, to being tortured to death in one of Trump’s CONCENTRATION CAMPS.

    On December 8, 2018, a child named Jakelin Amei Rosmery Caal Maquin died in one of Trump’s CONCENTRATION CAMPS. She was 7. Explain to me, James, how a seven-year-old child has the capacity to consent, as you claim she did, to being tortured to death in one of Trump’s CONCENTRATION CAMPS.

    There are many others.

    Does this really seem like living a Christian life to you? Does this really seem like it’s a faithful practice of Christ’s teachings? This is totally in line with the values Christ preached, isn’t it? I mean, there’s got to be a Bible passage where he said it’s okay to lock up children in concentration camps. That’s in Matthew too, right? Can you quote me the verse, please? After all, I’m a Jew, so that New Testament stuff is Greek to me. Literally.

    Would you want one of your own children to be incarcerated in one of these facilities? Would you feel good about that? Would you feel that Christian charity is being done to your children if they were in these facilities? Do you think Christ would look at these facilities and say, “Yes, Donald Trump, this is exactly what I think Christians should be doing. Please keep up the good work!”

    Here are the names of the women who have been raped and sexually assaulted by Donald Trump. Natasha Sotynoff, Jessica Leeds, Rachel Crooks, Melinda McGillivray, Temple Taggart, Mariah Billado, Bridget Sullivan, Tasha Dixon, Samantha Holvey, Cassandra Searles, Erin Burnett, Lisa Belkin, Jill Harth, Ivana Trump (brutally raped), Lisa Boyne, Kristin Anderson, Summer Zervos, Cathy Heller, Karena Virginia, Jessica Drake, Ninni Laaksonen, and a woman who did not give her name whom Trump brutally raped when she was 13. When do these women receive justice? When do they start receiving respect and compassion? When will we start taking seriously what happened to them and how it affected them?

    Have these women been treated in accordance with Christian values? After all, it was Jesus who said, “You gotta grab ’em by the p*ssy,” right? Oh, wait, that wasn’t Jesus who said that. Who was it who said that? It’s on the tip of my tongue. Help me out here.

    Would you feel comfortable with your 16-year-old daughter hanging out with Donald Trump? Would you want your wife to be alone with him?

    All I can say is, what a wonderful, compassionate, Jesus-like Christian is this man Donald Trump. How perfectly he puts into action the essence of Christ’s teachings. How powerfully he reflects the values that Christ brought to the world. How right you are, James, to approve of this man, to approve of his deeds, to approve of his values, and to be amused by his “interesting” antics while children die in custody and women’s lives are ruined by his predations. If Mr. Trump’s values are representative of Christianity as a whole–which, according to you, it seems that they are–I thank God that I had the good sense not to be a Christian.

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  21. I describe him and his actions. He’s a scoundrel and that does me no great harm. As I say, there are lots of immoral and unethical scammers that prey on people. Maybe they eventually seek redemption and forgiveness. I expressed no hatred for him, the individual, The Donald. What he is doing – his actions – based on his depraved character and his ability to do great harm in the position he now holds are what I was focusing on. There was a time that virtue and morality and ethics were a big thing in the Christian realm. And I think that it probably still is in the greater part but you probably just dismiss them as lefties.

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  22. This is also typical of Evangelicals, when they have no answer to a reasonable argument they attack the person’s motives. This has happened to me many times. If I don’t agree with your view, it must be because I have a psychological problem, maybe some deep trauma in my past from a bad church experience.

    No, actually I spent a lot of time studying and thinking about faith through the lens of reason. And the stuff we’re taught is not factually accurate nor does it make logical sense. As to the rest of it, you two engage in a lot of projection and yes there are a lot of paid trolls by right-wing and foreign actors.

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  23. Sean,

    I am still waiting for your facts. I respect your passion, but it is not a substitute for verity.

    James

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  24. Paul,
    Thank you for providing a specific report. Let’s analyze it.

    Lucio Sevier was employed or at least asked to tour a facility by a group of lawyers bringing a legal action against the government. In other words, she/he was not a totally disinterested party.

    When the government is forced to house hundreds of people in a facility designed for a hundred or more, there will be problems. Yet you speak as if these problems are intentional or by the sinister plan of the government. Can we be honest here, Paul. If fifty of my friends and relatives spend a week at my house which has roughly 2,400 square feet, some of them might unjustly challenge my hospitality.

    Fortunately, the DEMs have agreed yesterday to the funding bill requested by the administration and the facilities at the border will be improved.

    Do you also know of the stress and strain on the border control officials who are overwhelmed by the illegals? Do you have sympathy for them?

    What do you think of the forces and groups which funded and facilitated the migrant journeys through Mexico knowing that the U.S. border facilities are taxed beyond the maximum?

    James

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  25. Sean,
    Thank you for being more specific.

    Your concentration camp allegation (strongly supported by Ms. AOC) has been strongly challenged by nonpartisan Jewish and other organizations. After all, victims of the NAZIS were taken to camps against their wills. This cannot be said of the residents of the U.S. border camps. These people have come here volitionally. If you think the starvation rations and housing conditions of the true concentration camps in World War II are comparable to our border camps, you have not studied history.

    As far as the rape allegations against Trump, none have been reliably substantiated. The fact that he was a womanizer is not Christian; it is also not Christian to make false charges which cannot be documented by reliable witnesses. Did you not read “…in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” ? Matthew 18:16

    James

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  26. Sheridan,

    I don’t think you will find many orthodox evangelicals in agreement with the doctrines of Mrs. White. The fact that she is a friend of The Donald has generally the same significance as the friendship the DEM candidates have with members of the religious left. At least Trump did not go and kiss her ring as many of the DEMs did with Al Sharpton a few months back.

    James

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  27. Drat! You’ve found me out, Paul. I receive a monthly Koch brothers stipend (filtered through a Russian shell company) to infiltrate select blogs — John’s has been identified as influential and thus a danger to the Dominionist Protocol — and spread non-conforming, despicable (you have to say that in a Daffy Duck voice) opinions. (I can’t speak for James. He may be a Skull and Bones operative.) It is John’s outre commitment to intellectual diversity which permits this, so I understand your vexation.

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  28. Jim in STL,

    In paragraph two you state that you don’t hate Trump, but interestingly spend your entire posting seething with venom toward him. “…for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Matthew 12:34

    James

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  29. Paul,
    Corporate lobbyists know no party loyalty for the most part. Obviously, you have not watched the careers of former administration officials, judges, congressmen and senators from both parties. That is one of the reasons so many of these guys don’t depart Washington once they leave office.

    James

    Like

  30. Jim in STL,

    Ha ha. Well, I will remain disappointed in you, but I can handle my negative emotions. 😀

    I just need to work at improving your grasp of world history in the 20th Century.

    James

    Like

  31. Tony,

    I have noted the same sentiments from Paul. I don’t know exactly what happened in his previous church(s) to fuel this rancor toward Christians. Of course, the evangelical world is not immune from producing disaffected former members.
    James

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Sean, amen. He talks about wanting facts, here’s some:

    In a medical report first obtained by ABC News, Lucio Sevier wrote that the conditions in Ursula, the largest CBP processing facility in the country, “could be compared to torture facilities,” citing “extreme cold temperatures, lights on 24 hours a day, no adequate access to medical care, basic sanitation, water or adequate food.”

    Boy, that doctor describing those conditions should be more polite.

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  33. “Tony,” based on your commenting style, forgive me if I think you are not a reliable arbiter of what constitutes meanness. You defend everything despicable and then complain that everyone else is mean as a way to deflect. In fact, I think you and “James” are assigned by to be here for some reason.

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  34. Paul: based on your commenting style (and don’t get me wrong, I kind of enjoy the pugnacity), you’ll forgive me if I don’t consider you a reliable arbiter of meanness.

    On a more harmonious note, we can both appreciate that John provides this engaging forum for a robust exchange of differing perspectives, up to and including the occasional dash of horse-hockey and horsepucky.

    Like

  35. You want to talk about what’s happening at the border without using the words “concentration camps,” which is what they are, or without referencing the fact that children have died there? You want to talk about what the President has done to women without using the word “rape”? You want to talk about denial of proven science without using the word “denial”? No, I refuse to normalize these things by using watered-down words to discuss them. These things are happening and have happened. To normalize them with language is to consent to them. I don’t consent to the incarceration of innocent children which has led to the deaths of some of them. I don’t consent to the rape and sexual assault of women. I don’t consent to the denial of proven science. No one should consent to these things, least of all someone who claims to be guided by religious conscience.

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  36. Thank you, Jim in STL. You said what was needed to be said and I, for one, am grateful. You have a way with words – I especially liked the phrase “the mammon priestess Paula White.”

    And, dare I say, I bet many people will agree with everything you wrote. Again, Thank You!

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  37. I’m sorry about your disappointment. Also too, I believe that you probably meant that It is both fair accurate in a historical analytics kind of way..

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  38. Well Dr. James, thank you for taking the time to form a diagnosis as to my condition. But I have to say that you seem to be a bit blind to your own. Since you started commenting here you have continually let it be known that you uncritically disdain liberals and DEMS (presumably short for Democrats). You have continually stretched the bounds of credulity in doing so and in your uncritical apologetics for your guy, The Donald. I think that it would be easier for me to defend a diagnosis of lib/DEM Derangement Syndrome (lDDS) on your part than your diagnosis of TDS in my case.

    First of all, I don’t hate The Donald. He is what he is. There are lots of The Donalds in the world. That he is a lying, P-grabbing buffoon is pretty easily verified with…oh, what do they call it again?….oh yeah, facts. In addition to his constant mendaciousness, he’s incoherent, malevolent, barely literate, ignorant of history, his role as president, the law, and everything else outside of a 1-foot radius around his brain case. His actions and words easily fall within the authoritarian’s handbook of operations and he continues to defy, demean and undermine democratic conventions. He’s mean spirited and vindictive.

    But what I hate is his destruction of decency and any sense of honor or protocol. What I hate is someone that is completely untethered to any moral or ethical substrate running amuk for the entertainment and edification of political anarchists, authoritarians and dominionists. What I hate is having someone with the attention span and comprehension of a common worm in charge of my future. And I’m probably not doing justice to the worms.

    He has always been an authoritarian in his family- and business-life and he expects the same in his current public life. I’m not the one that has placed him on a gold-plated pedestal and declared him God’s anointed ruler. I heard one of his chief supporters, the mammon priestess Paula White, open his most recent Florida rally by stating that anyone not fully supporting Trump is an enemy of God and in communion with demons and Satan. Hey, pretty strong stuff. This, of course, plays right into a totalitarian/authoritarian discourse.

    And on and on and so forth and so on. Day in and day out. Week in and week out. year after year.

    If I had only one criteria for my vote in 2020 it would be to support the candidate with the fewest rape allegations and one that did not confess to grabbing women by the P…well, you probably get it. And, if you want to count that as two criteria please do.

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  39. The swamp has been drained? Every agency has been taken over by corporate lobbyists who are enriching themselves and their cronies. That’s the government you want.

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  40. Tony, I’ve spent a half century in the evangelical world and I’ve heard nothing but contempt for liberals by the good people in the pews. Back in the day “liberal” professors got drummed out of Messiah. The scapegoating of anybody who disagrees or has a different view is palpable.

    The idea that there are good humble people of faith who are respectful and that liberals condescend to conservatives is utter horse hockey. Nobody is meaner or more condescending than evangelicals and that has been true for a long, long time.

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  41. Republicans used to be in favor of efforts to lower greenhouse gasses through things like cap-and-trade, but then Al Gore expressed concern for the issue, and he’s fat so from that day on it became a hoax.

    And I wish that was a joke, but sadly, no. The number one thing that Republicans like about Trump is that he trolls liberals. We’ll destroy the planet to spite liberals.

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  42. Sean,
    I’d love to discuss these matters with you if you would agree to stop using inflammatory talking points coming out of the DNC and in the more extreme cases from the office of AOC. Will you agree to stop the hyperbolic talk about killing children, sexual assault, racial violence, ecological catastrophe, etc.? I believe we could have a genuinely productive discussion if the inaccurate rhetoric were toned down, Sean.
    Can we talk without the sloganeering?

    James

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  43. Jim in STL,

    I will enjoy seeing the Washington Swamp reel as it continues taking its due lumps while you rest in St. Louis and seethe about Trump. You seem to be an amiable man but you are being immobilized by Trump Derangement Syndrome.

    James

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  44. Jim in STL,

    I am disappointed in your attempt to smear Trump’s success with the tint of totalitarianism. It is neither fair nor accurate.

    I assume you approve of FDR. Did he not come to Washington to shake things up? Some of the shaking was necessary at the time. Was he in a class with dictators? Your hatred of Trump is clouding your thinking, Jim.

    James

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  45. I don’t explain the entirety of Trump voters as gullible.
    Those who think he is wise, or Christians who think he may be one of them, must be gullible because he isn’t those things.
    Obviously he got a lot of votes. I have to wonder about our logic, (I voted for him, but never again will).
    My number one concern is the terrible compromises so many Christians are making. It’s not an overall good thing for the church in the United States.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Alex,

    I agree with you that pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord is not as clearly Christian in its basis as are certain other matters. Probably the closest Christian angle on this matter would be the ceding of certain aspects national sovereignty to a very secular internationalist group. It becomes one of the “camels nose under the tent” arguments to keep us from going the way of anti-faith EU bureaucracies. Actually, there are better arguments against the Paris Accords which don’t even mention faith and values.

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  47. Jeff,
    That explains why many Christians have adopted the position uncritically, but I’m not sure your analysis explains why it actually became the prevailing position. Democrats also want to do something about the opioid crises. The republican/church’s response is not to deny opioids exist. Democrats want to do something about healthcare. The Republican/church’s response is not to deny that death exists. There is a lot of ground, and more every day, between the democratic position and the embarrassing position that climate change does not exist.

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  48. Jeff: you say a significant number of people are gullible. That’s indisputably correct, on both sides of the political divide. You posit that as the central explanation for why people voted for Trump. “The rubes was flim-flammed! If only they had the discernment of those who see things more clearly, and who are not susceptible to dangerous, carny hucksterism.” (I wrtie this as someone who did not vote for Trump, but who also finds the hysteria which has greeted his presidency, from day one, to be completely absurd and in many cases, untethered from reality.)

    Are you willing to accept that there are many (non-wicked) people who voted for Trump, who were not duped, who had no illusions about his low character, who disliked his juvenile and frequently ad hominem tweeting, but when faced with a choice between him and a woman of equally questionable character and unwelcome policy aims, they made a knowing, rational, lesser-of-two-evils decision based on their political preferences?

    I understand that it’s a decision with which you (and Dr. Fea, and most of the regular posters on this blog) vehemently disagree; indeed, find unfathomable. But it was made by tens of millions of Americans who do not buy into the Cult of the Donald, who are not white supremacists or any other genus of deplorable, who have never worn a MAGA hat, but who nevertheless did not want 4 more years of statist progressivism, with its woke coercion, identity politics scriptures, mandated redistributive “fairness”, tax and spend Euro-socialism, quasi-religious eco-alarmism and all the rest.

    Much of what I read on this blog, and in the pages of the NYT, the WaPo, the Atlantic, the New Yorker and on and on — you know, all of our self-designated “thought leaders” (I’m not referring to John or to you) — often drips with condescension for the purported Trump lemmings. Are there mindless, yea verily the Orange Messiah Hath Come! Trump worshippers? Absolutely. John spends a significant amount of time documenting their antics. But in my personal experience, they do not represent a majority of Trump voters, even though it pleases the media to peddle that dismissive narrative. Do you think such people do not exist on the Left? Did you watch the epic meltdowns in the wake of Herself’s impossible — so said all the smart people — defeat? Did you witness the eight year beatification of Obama the Lightworker? Were any of those folks gullible? Or merely smart and virtuous, fiercely independent thinkers?

    The gullibility charge — as an overarching explanation for voter choices which appall you — is of a piece with “those benighted voters just don’t understand their economic interests” sneering and the time-honored Fox News Hypnosis unified field theory for the behavior of unenlightened voters. I don’t assume most Hillary supporters were gullible, even though I can’t imagine voting for her. I simply disagree with their vision for the country.

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  49. Because the democrats made doing something about the future regarding the climate an issue they want to address. We have reached the point where many Christians see being a Republican and a Christian as synonymous. And any policy the democrats hold as evil. There can be no shared ideals, values, or policies.
    So a people who should recognize our role as stewards perhaps better than others have to distance themselves from that and even ridicule the very idea.

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  50. You assume a positive outcome. How quaint.

    This kind of optimism and enthusiasm was very popular in 1930’s Germany when they were building the 1,000-year Reich. Not to mention those other movers and shakers and the utopias that they built, like Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Joseph Stalin, Benny Mussolini, Francisco Franco, etc., etc., etc., so on and so forth.

    “Shake things up!” the people said. “Make (fill in the blank) great again!” the people insisted. “Lock (fill in the blank) up!” the people demanded. “We’ll just look the other way!” the people promised. Well, unless you were on the down side of those systems or were one of the leftovers having to face reality and having to pick up the pieces after the inevitable collapse.

    Congrats. Enjoy the ride.

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  51. Yes. Gross incompetence, ignorance, and bluster will flush the system. Not. Same swamp, different names, no rules. Truth downgraded and replaced by fantasy. Morality and ethics turned upside down by a morally and ethically devoid leader and his followers. Congrats.

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  52. Why was pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord even a theme of the faith and freedom coalition? Was this a religious accomplishment? Why would they embrace that as something Trump did for Evangelicals?? Is the American Evangelical church TRYING to become a scapegoat??

    But honestly, the line has become pretty blurry between scapegoat and legitimate reason efforts to avoid a climate crises have failed.

    It’s a reality I’ve been slow to accept.

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  53. What sort of moral inversion do you have to buy into, James, to dismiss as merely “original” and “interesting” the following: denial of proven science on climate change and the deliberate worsening of its effects; killing children in concentration camps; raping and sexually assaulting women; subverting the Constitution as the agent of a foreign power; and sanctioning racial violence. If that’s your definition of “interesting” and ‘original,” it’s clear you are totally unmoored from any sort of moral compass, whether it’s rooted in Christianity or otherwise.

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  54. I have a slightly different take. I don’t think he is a great con man.
    I think a significant number of people are gullible. To me Trump’s primary “qualification” that got him the presidency wasn’t his overblown business and deal making acumen. It was his self-promotion for years that was largely a fake portrayal, and really helped by his so-called reality show. Too many Americans love that kind of stuff.
    He turned the primaries into more reality show.
    Basically, he is a pretty bad con man that should be seen through easily. But many people like professional wrestling, and the reality shows. They like shows about people yelling at each other about the sexual affairs and things like that.
    Donald works for them.

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  55. Ugh. I can’t imagine how I would feel if I watched the video — the synopsis makes me ill enough. Thank you for sparing from some form of Trump rally-PTSD.
    His whole attitude toward McCain (alive and dead) is positively disgusting — I pray McCain has entered eternal rest, but I don’t entirely mind his “ghost” haunting on Trump’s back 🙂 but he really needs the Holy Ghost on his back more.
    The mentality of the Evangelical base continues its downward spiral into new and more frightening territory every day.
    For whatever amount of time I’ve left under the “Evangelical” banner (it’s looking shorter and shorter all the time) I’ll gladly stand with that dissident 17%.

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  56. Jeff,

    Four personal adjectives came up for discussion in your posting. You did not challenge the fact that Trump is “original” and “interesting.” You did, however, question if he is “honest” and “selfless.” That is a fair challenge to the current president, but it’s also a valid question for any president or presidential candidate. After all, it’s not like Honest Abe the Railsplitter is present among today’s crop of politicians. I suppose we have to weigh honesty and selflessness on a sliding scale these days.

    Let me give you one exemplary name from the top tier of each party since the middle of the 20th Century. On the Democrat side I have always thought that Adlai Stevenson was a model of integrity and on the GOP side, I’d place Ronald Reagan in the same circle. But today? It’s mostly robotic, canned politicians driven by focus groups and sound bites. Accordingly, I like having Trump who is at least interesting and original.

    James

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  57. Trump is indeed a great conman, deceiving many of my otherwise clear-thinking friends and family. When challenged on Trump’s accomplishments, they attempt to move the burden of proof onto me (i.e. I have to prove he has not helped the religious right) or go back to the old line “but Hillary/Socialism”

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  58. If Evangelicals aren’t the least bit leery about a politician who implies he’s glad his detractors are dead, they’re working for the ‘other side’.

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  59. Jim in STL,

    Yes. Hopefully historians in a hundred years will realize that the federal system needed a freakish jolt to aright itself. Nothing else has satisfactorily worked in my lifetime.

    James

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  60. I am glad you said he is original and interesting and not honest and selfless or something like that.
    Once when I was about to walk my young children across a busy street my only daughter got confused and ran out into the road. Cars were squealing as they braked and we’re swinging to her left and right.
    I thought the worst was about to happen but I had to watch.
    It’s like that but my concern isn’t the president.
    It’s the country my grandchildren will be growing up in and most importantly the church of Jesus Christ in this country.

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  61. Jim in STL,

    Ha ha. No doubt you put it in the freak show category, Jim. Call it as you see it, but positive change is being made in Washington. While Trump’s enemies keep being horrified by him, he just keeps marching forward. Accordingly, let’s have more of it! It might take a freak show to bring change to the calcified, corrupt Washington system.

    James

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  62. James, people are simultaneously fascinated and horrified at the rolling freak show. That is all. At least it will be well documented.

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  63. Jeff,

    You are proving my thesis as stated to John Brown in an earlier posting. You cannot live with Trump but you also cannot live without him.

    On a near daily basis, I scan the mainstream media and also the trendy lefty journals. They all claim to hate Trump but a plurality of their articles are about him. The reason is that Trump is the most original and interesting politician we have had in my lifetime.

    I did not care for President Obama, so I simply switched channels once I saw him come on screen. I did not hate the man; I just did not want to have him as a part of my life. The vehement anti-Trumpers, on the other hand, cannot help themselves. The Donald dominates their thinking!

    James

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  64. John,

    You are correct that The Donald likes grandstanding. I have to admit that I enjoy seeing him do it, too. He is a natural entertainer and even his foes can’t quit being obsessed with him. He commands attention even from those who do not like him. The late John McCain and the former Senator Flake could have had a fireside chat and inadvertently put the fire out by their lack of showmanship.

    Personally, I like having an iconoclast in the White House. It’s a refreshing change from the scripted politicians.

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  65. John: since you invoked the great Johnny Mac (“You Cannot Be Serious!”), I must say that was also my reaction to your assertion
    that Obama might be the most pro-life president in history.

    You cite the fact that abortions dropped under his watch to support this cause and effect claim. You attribute this trend directly to Obama? By that reasoning, Obama was also the most pro-gun president in history (ooh, he’ll hate that) because sales of weapons and ammo spiked dramatically under his watch.

    Obama, and his political party, support unrestricted abortion on demand, with no limitation. As a state Senator, he opposed the Born Alive Infant Protection Act (yes, and I’ve read his risibly tortured explanation that it would threaten the Precious, Roe v Wade.) He never uttered a negative word about the Left’s favorite abortion mill, Planned Parenthood. I’m sorry — I forgot the preferred euphemism: providers of women’s health care.

    We can have a separate discussion about what government programs should be provided — the size, scope and efficacy of the social safety net — after children are born. But Obama presided over a party that, based on its platform, is avidly and stridently pro-abortion, and he was in complete lockstep with unfettered and ever-expanding abortion rights. Your attempt to flip this reality on its head is unavailing.

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  66. I admit to being curious about what will probably be his next big speech, the one from the Lincoln Memorial, (of all places) on the 4th. I don’t know if I can watch it, or keep myself from watching!

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  67. Trump knew what he was saying was implying hell or some post death negative for McCain.
    I imagine he knows his crowd’s happy willingness to veer away from truth and grace for him.
    Some significant portion of the church is badly tainted. Personally I don’t think Trump instigated that. He’s just a hero to them. I guess he is a catalyst for more rotting though.

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  68. Sure I do. Or at least that would be my bet.

    You and I have been around heaven and hell talk for many years. Those are the lens we use. Donald Trump did not attend those sorts of churches. He went to Mainline Protestant churches where there is a wholly different emphasis. I wouldn’t be surprised if The Donald believed in some variation of Universalism. Try looking at the remark through the eyes of a man who probably knows more lines from Tom Jones’ songs than he does from Paul’s Roman epistle.

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  69. You are very, um, generous regarding “green pastures”. Trump isn’t the type to understand subtleties.

    No one can hold a candle to Trump and “grandstanding”

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  70. “Trump says, “we know that faith and prayer, not government regulation, defines the moral character of our country. We know that families and churches, not government officials know best how to create strong and loving communities.”

    I guess “only I can fix it” is a bit too much even for this crowd?

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  71. John,

    It’s hard to say that Trump was implying that John McCain is in hell. At his core, I don’t believe the Donald thinks in those eternal terms. His focus is primarily on this life.

    The reference to varying hues of green probably means nothing more than burial plots. Some of us are old enough to remember that great song by Tom Jones entitled THE GREEN, GREEN GRASS OF HOME which dealt with that very matter.

    While we are on the subject, I have to say that, in my opinion, both Flake and McCain engaged in far too much grandstanding and I can see why certain other Republicans might be glad to see them no longer in the Senate.

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