Court evangelical Eric Metaxas: Why are we talking about COVID (269K dead) when the election fraud is the new 9-11?

Yesterday Attorney General William Barr told the Associated Press that his office has “not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.” Then a DOJ spokesperson qualified Barr’s statement and Trump retweeted it:

The number of GOP members of congress acknowledging a Biden victory is growing. Today Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that he will discuss an additional economic stimulus package with “the new administration.” Texas Senator John Cornyn said that “the verdict was rendered, and I think that’s becoming clearer by the minute.” Missouri Senator Roy Blunt does not think the election was rigged. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Nevada and Georgia have certified the election.

So how many court evangelicals are still hanging on?

Jenna Ellis, a member of Trump’s legal team and a spokesperson for Liberty University’ Falkirk Center, is not only hanging on, she’s doubling down. Here are some of her recent tweets and retweets:


Ellis dabbles in American history:

So much to parse here. Let me suggest a few things. First, a Trump lawyer is talking about “Truth” (with a capital “T”). Second, imagine what historians will write about Donald Trump and Jenna Ellis. Third, Jenna Ellis has not read much history of late. Most of the victors were white men. Today historians are writing a lot of good history about the oppressed and marginalized–historical actors who are definitely “worthy” of such coverage despite the fact that they did not have power when they were alive. Fourth, the Declaration of Independence does not say that truth “comes from the God of the Bible.” I”ll stop there.

Ellis and Giuliani trash William Barr’s aforementioned claim, but do it “with all due respect”:

Charlie Kirk, the founder of Liberty University’s Falkirk Center, is also doubling down on fraud claims:

Today Kirk appeared on the radio program of Eric Metaxas, his fellow Christian conspiracy theorist, court evangelical, and Liberty University spokesperson. Metaxas says that the Democrats are “domestic enemies” and compares them to the terrorist attacks on 9-11. He also wonders why so many people are talking about coronavirus (over a quarter million dead) when they should be screaming about this election fraud case. Here is the exact quote:

Not enough people are taking this seriously. This is like 9-11, but everyone goes “well, so what.” I don’t really understand how domestic enemies taking over the greatest nation in the history of the world would not be the only news show. When I hear people talk COVID restrictions I think, “are you people out of your mind, why are you talking about that. A meteor just his Washington D.C. and you’re talking about that crap.”

Metaxas once again compares efforts at stopping supposed voter fraud to rescuing a child from a rapist. “If we don’t fight to the death” against the Democrats stealing this election, Metaxas says , “we lose our souls.”


Earlier in the show, Metaxas goes full Alex Jones Infowars:

Lance Wallanu, known for hawking coins, is trying to sell books:

The Fourth Turning:

Court evangelical journalist David Brody is holding out hope:

Jack Hibbs, pastor of a Calvary Chapel congregation in California, retweeted this:


James Robison is still pushing the election fraud narrative. Here is a taste of his recent piece at The Stream:

In light of the prosperity and benevolence of our nation, respected spokesmen have said, “Second only to the birth of Jesus Christ was the birth of America.” Nothing can actually compare to the birth of Christ, but the miraculous birth of America is undeniable. In light of our present election dilemma, if truth does not prevail, the future is dismal. It can easily prove to be the certain end of hope, peace, security, stability, and life, with all the blessings freedom makes possible. Freedom as we have known it will be tragically limited, not only here at home but around the world. This does not have to happen on our watch—it must not happen!

Prior to the 2016 election, FBI agents and others within government actually set in motion methods by which they would defeat, impeach, and do whatever was necessary to destroy Trump, if and when he won the election. It’s hard to believe that some bureaucratic agencies established to help protect freedom would become agencies of a horrific assault on freedom. The individuals and agencies committed to overthrowing the election results found whole-hearted, unwavering support by what seems like 90 percent of all national media sources. They refused to report or acknowledge many undeniably positive achievements during President Trump’s entire term. It is difficult to imagine something happening like this in America, “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

How is Springsteen is Handling the Lockdown?

Here is Bruce Springsteen in his memoir, Born to Run:

In the late afternoon, I drove to the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge. There, usually, on a clear day the Twin Towers struck two tiny vertical lines on the horizons at the bridge’s apex. Today, torrents of smoke lifted from the end of Manhattan Island, a mere fifteen miles away by boat. I stopped in at my local beach and walked to the water’s edge, looking north; a thin gray line of smoke, dust and ash spread out due east over the water line. It appeared like the smudged edge of a hard blue sheet folding and resting upon the autumn Atlantic.

I sat for a while, alone, the September beach empty beneath the eerie quiet of silent skies. We live along a very busy corridor. Planes are constantly flying just off the Eastern Seaboard on their way to Kennedy and Newark airports, and the low buzz of airplane engines is as much a part of the sound tapestry at the Shore as are the gently crashing waves. Not today. All air traffic grounded. A deadly On the Beach, science-fiction-like quiet unfolded under the sand.

After a short while, I headed home to join Patti and pick-up our children from school. As I drove over the gravel of the beach club parking lot, I hesitated before pulling into traffic on Ocean Boulevard. Just then a care careening off Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge shot past, its window down, and its, recognizing me, shouted “Bruce, we need you.” I sort of knew what he meant, but…

Bruce responded to the crisis of 9-11-01 with his album The Rising. Will he respond with a similar album during this crisis? I hope so.

Springsteen played disc jockey again today at Sirius XM’s E Street Radio.  Rolling Stone covered it. A taste:

Before playing Tom Petty’s “The Waiting,” Springsteen vented some frustrations. “The toughest thing about the lockdown is not knowing what the future holds,” he said, “the feeling of your whole life being placed on hold, time seeming to move quickly, but slowly.”

Springsteen originally planned on releasing a new E Street Band album this year and supporting it with a tour, his first since 2016, but he’s been locked away in his New Jersey home these past few months. “Empty and unused time, I don’t care for — especially at 70,” he said. “I’m counting my days and, my friend, I’ve got things to do that involve me and you. My son is 25 and he’s worried about the time it’s taking out of his life!”

He then compared himself to Muhammad Ali in the late Sixties, when the boxer’s refusal to serve in Vietnam took him out of the boxing ring for nearly four years. “He was at his prime,” Springsteen said. “I’m in my late prime, [and he was] at his prime, and the years he could have spent boxing were taken away from him.”

He concludes the sad thought by reflecting on his late Aunt Eda, who died in 2012 at the age of 90. “She always said, ‘Just live every day as if you’re going to live forever,” he said. “I like that. I think she meant, ‘Greet each day on its own terms as an opportunity for life’s possibilities. Breathe it in. Let the world open up before you and prepare yourself to accept it in its entirety, on its own terms with a vengeance.’ Well, I’m ready and I hope you are, too. But right now, the waiting is the hardest part.”

Read the rest here.

Glad to know Bruce, at the age of 70, still thinks he is in his “late prime.”

Is the 9-11 Era Over?


Ben Rhodes, former deputy national security adviser to Barack Obama, makes the case at The Atlantic. A taste:

The first months of this crisis suggest that the world order that emerges on the other end is likely to be permanently altered. America’s response to 9/11 committed the familiar mistake of hastening a superpower’s decline through overreach; the Trump presidency, and our failure to respond effectively to COVID-19, show us the dangers of a world in which America makes no effort at leadership at all.

Enormous upheaval, however, also offers the opportunity for enormous change. And that is what America needs. This is not simply a matter of winding down the remaining 9/11 wars—we need a transformation of what has been our whole way of looking at the world since 9/11. Yes, we have a continued need to fight terrorist groups, but the greatest threats we face going forward will come not from groups like al-Qaeda or ISIS, but from climate change, pandemics, the risks posed by emerging technologies, and the spread of a blend of nationalist authoritarianism and Chinese-style totalitarianism that could transform the way human beings live in every country, including our own.

To meet those challenges, Americans will have to rethink the current orientation of our own government and society, and move past our post-9/11 mindset. Any serious effort must change our government’s spending priorities. It makes no sense that the Pentagon budget is 13 times larger than the entire international-affairs budget, which funds the State Department, USAID, and global programs at other agencies. The entire pandemic-preparedness budget is a rounding error compared with a trillion-dollar plan to modernize America’s nuclear-weapons infrastructure. Smart investments in research and development, including for agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, used to help make America a global leader in health, science, and technology; now we are behind countries such as Germany and South Korea—countries we helped rebuild or build during the Cold War—in developing and deploying COVID-19 tests.

We need to change the way we think about national security and foreign policy. In the Obama administration, efforts to ramp up climate-change and global-health security didn’t mesh well with America’s sprawling counterterrorism infrastructure, or with the interests of Congress. These defining challenges must become the focus of far more personnel—at the White House, the State Department, and other agencies—and they must galvanize partnerships outside government. Meanwhile, if we are to continue to deploy the rhetoric about democracy that we have used since 9/11 toward our adversaries, we and our allies must live up to it ourselves.

We need to change our attitude about government itself. The multidecade assault on the role of government in American life led to a Trump administration that disregards expertise and disdains career civil servants. The COVID-19 crisis has revealed that government is essential; that public service is valuable; that facts and science should guide decisions; and that competence matters more than Washington’s endless gamesmanship.

Donald Trump is the embodiment of trends that have been advancing for a long time—the crudeness of our culture, the meanness of our politics, the disintegration of our media. All those trends have accelerated since September 11, 2001. As we go through an indeterminate period of time separated from the normal rhythm of our lives, Americans are going to be forced to consider what’s most important to them. The answer, so far, appears to be family, community, and a sense of decency—whether it’s in the heroism of health-care workers or in the video that your friend shared of some random act of kindness. Our politics and government should reflect that decency in the priorities we set at home and the actions we take abroad.

Read the entire piece here.

Reflecting on September 11, 2001

bb810-911-9-11-world-trade-center-remember-e1315503842504I have posted a lot about this day at The Way of Improvement Leads Home. Here are some of those pieces:

Why September 11 is About Vocation

September 11th, Patriotism, and the Human Spirit (at Patheos)

The Mike and the Mad Dog 9-11 Tapes

Teaching St. Augustine on 9-11-01

Harvey: 9/11 Changed Nothing

Teaching 9-11 With Help from Springsteen

Rise-Up: Springsteen in Pittsburgh

How Did You Experience 9-11?

The Rising at 15

An Oral History of 9-11

What George Bush Said About Muslims After 9-11-01

The Boatlift of 9-11

Mike Piazza’s Post 9-11 Home Run

How Long Will Americans Tolerate This Man as Their President?

Today I watched Representative Ilhan Omar’s speech on Islam, religious liberty, anti-Muslim bigotry at the Council of American-Islamic Relations.

Here is the controversial part of the speech:

Here’s the truth: far too long we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen. And frankly I’m tired of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it. CAIR was founded after 9/11, because they recognized that some people did something and then all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties. 

I do not take Omar’s remarks here in a sinister way.  Yet, Donald Trump chose to interpret them in that way.  Here is his tweet:

Trump’s decision to post this video with the burning 9-11 towers doesn’t surprise me.  Trump is an idiot and he is never going to change.  But there are no doubt millions of Americans who are praising Trump for this tweet.  They represent much of what is wrong with America right now.  Some thoughts:

  1. The Omar quote Trump used here is woefully out of context.  Let’s also remember that her entire speech focused on the difference between patriotic American Muslims and the Muslim extremists who attacked the U.S. on 9-11.
  2. Let’s also remember that Trump claimed that he saw “thousands” of people in Jersey City “cheering” as the World Trade Center “was coming down.”  As we now know–this did not happen.  It was yet another example of Trump’s embrace of a politics of fear.  And then there was Trump’s comments a few hours after the World Trade Center fell.  Instead of showing compassion for the lives lost in this tragic event, Trump was on the radio bragging that his building on Wall Street was now the tallest building in New York City.  (In actually, is the 32nd tallest building in NYC).  So let’s consider the source and the hypocrisy evident in this tweet.
  3. One can condemn both Trump’s tweet and Omar’s February 2019 tweet about Jews.
  4. This tweet is yet another appeal to Trump’s anti-Muslim white evangelical base as we get closer to the 2020 election.  Expect to see much more of this garbage. Strongmen use fear to stay in power.
  5. In this tweet Trump exploited the families of those killed on 9-11 for political gain.  Sadly, this is politics as usual.  Despicable.
  6. The New York Post seized on Trump’s words, thus further degrading public discourse in America: NY Post

I still believe that a President should set the moral tone of a nation. (Wow, what a crazy idea!). Trump is a deeply immoral man who is incapable of leadership.  Even if you think Omar should have been more specific in her condemnation of the 9-11 terrorists, we should not stand for this kind of gutter-politics from the President of the United States.

What saddens me the most, of course, is that white evangelicals played a major role in getting this man into the White House.  I know not all white evangelicals who voted for Trump like this kind of rhetoric.  I have met dozens of them on the road over the last year.  But let’s not pretend that these voters don’t share responsibility for the mess Trump is making of our country.  White evangelicals gave Trump this platform.

Song of the Day #2

Can’t get through a day like this without listening to “The Rising.”  I’ve written a lot about this song (and the album by the same name) over the years.  I’ve always seen it as a song about vocation.

Can’t see nothin’ in front of me
Can’t see nothin’ coming up behind
Make my way through this darkness
I can’t feel nothing but this chain that binds me
Lost track of how far I’ve gone
How far I’ve gone, how high I’ve climbed
On my back’s a sixty pound stone
On my shoulder a half mile of line

Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight

Left the house this morning
Bells ringing filled the air
I was wearin’ the cross of my calling
On wheels of fire I come rollin’ down here

Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight

Li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li – li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li – li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li

There’s spirits above and behind me

Faces gone black, eyes burnin’ bright
May their precious blood bind me
Lord, as I stand before your fiery light

Li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li – li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li – li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li

I see you Mary in the garden
In the garden of a thousand sighs
There’s holy pictures of our children
Dancin’ in a sky filled with light
May I feel your arms around me
May I feel your blood mix with mine
A dream of life comes to me
Like a catfish dancin’ on the end of my line

Sky of blackness and sorrow (a dream of life)
Sky of love, sky of tears (a dream of life)
Sky of glory and sadness (a dream of life)
Sky of mercy, sky of fear (a dream of life)
Sky of memory and shadow (a dream of life)
Your burnin’ wind fills my arms tonight
Sky of longing and emptiness (a dream of life)
Sky of fullness, sky of blessed life

Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight

Li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li – li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li – li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li…

See all our 9-11 posts here.


Teaching St. Augustine on 9-11-01


Peter Candler was a graduate student at Duke Divinity School on September 11, 2001.  He was scheduled to give an 11:00am guest lecture in a theological class on St. Augustine’s City of God.

He describes what happened on that day in a piece published Monday at The Washington Post.  Here is a taste:

This was what the students came to hear from Augustine. They came to hear him argue that when the common interest of a public is not grounded in love for its own sake, and when human rights are not grounded in a universal human calling to love God and one another, then we inevitably serve some other god than the God of Love. We worship at some other altar than that of true mercy and freedom, and above all we end up worshiping an idol whose shifting forms disguise his one name: domination. In our desire for mastery over others, we will merely become slaves to the lust for domination that we mistakenly call freedom.

Read the entire piece here.


*The Rising* at Fifteen


In honor of the 15th anniversary of the The Rising, I listened to Bruce Springsteen’s 9-11 album several times on my recent drive from Mechanicsburg to Princeton and back.

I have written about The Rising several times here at the blog.  Here are some of those pieces:

Rise Up: Springsteen in Pittsburgh” (September 13, 2016)

Why September 11 is About Vocation” (September 10, 2011 and September 11, 2014)

Bruce Springsteen’s Spiritual Vision for America” (March 6, 2012)

Many of themes I wrote about–vocation, calling, courage, faith, hope, community, loss and tragedy–continued to resonate with me as a drove down the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

“May your strength give us strength

May your faith give us faith

May your hope give us hope.

May your love give us love.”

Over at Salon, David Masciotra reflects on the 15th anniversary.

Here is a taste:

“The Rising” demonstrated that Springsteen, already an uncontested legend, and his band, already one of the best in rock history, were not merely a classic rock expression of nostalgia. They could adapt to a rapidly changing world and musical landscape, even in the worst of circumstances and with the most brutal of muses, and provide music that sounded and felt built for the present.

Springsteen has often explained that he aspires to write songs with “blues verses and gospel choruses.” “The Rising” maximized that formula. “Lonesome Day” — one of Springsteen’s best songs — rocks with abandon, even while integrating country elements into its introduction and musical break, to describe a scene of devastation. “House is one fire / Viper’s in the grass . . . ” Springsteen sings. The chorus offers a secular prayer of revivification: “It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright, yeah!”

The simplicity of Springsteen’s faith claim that somehow, even if it is hard to imagine, everything will turn out alright is another force allowing the record to transcend its historical inspiration. “The Rising,” an anthem of life, death and love giving an awe-filled depiction of how firefighters moved through what Springsteen calls “secular stations of the cross,” soon became the campaign theme for Barack Obama’s campaign. “My City of Ruins,” making great use of music similar to Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready,” describes communal destruction and individual despair before a chorus of “Come on, rise up!” Its message of social uplift caused it to resonate in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and Christchurch, New Zealand, after the city suffered an earthquake in 2011.

Before playing “My City of Ruins” at a benefit for 9/11 survivors and family members in Red Bank, New Jersey, Springsteen said, “This is a song I originally wrote for Asbury Park. You write songs, and you hope that they end up where people need them. So, this is a gift from Asbury Park to New York City.”

The man in the parking lot was right. It seems that people will always need the songs of “The Rising.” When a friend takes her last breath, when a spouse slips away, when a natural disaster leaves a city in ruins, or when the victory of an unqualified, bigoted demagogue turns a national election into a lonesome day, Springsteen’s exploration of human tragedy and triumph — from the funeral of a lover to the house party of a friend — will inspire those in need to drop the needle and pray.

After Springsteen sings “I drop the needle and pray,” near the end of “Mary’s Place,” the Alliance Singers, a New Jersey gospel choir formed in the wake of 9/11 and personally recruited by Springsteen for “The Rising,” shout with church fervor and ecstasy, “Turn it up!”

That’s as good advice as any.

Read the entire piece here.

“A probationary member in a pastoral utopia of armed nostalgia”

<> on June 30, 2013 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Dan Johnson, a writer from Los Angeles, describes how, as a teenager, he used Civil War re-enacting as a means of escaping the world in the wake of September 11, 2001.

Here is a taste of his piece at Salon:

My first day back at school was Sept. 10, 2001. I went from being a soldier in a fictional approximation of a long-defunct 19th-century army to being a boy in a 20th-century educational system. At home my time was much more my own, but my status had been greatly diminished to that of a child. A teacher welcomed me back to the “real world” even though everything about a return to supposed adolescent normalcy felt unnatural.

I first saw footage of the planes hitting the World Trade Center on the cafeteria TVs. In the days after, I sat in my parents’ house watching moribund repetitions of structural collapse, airport security checkpoint footage and the omnipresent tears of victims’ families. The high-pitched roar of combat air patrols replaced the regular wash of passenger jet noise from planes landing at nearby Dulles Airport.

The world of the dot-com suburbs was in a state of flux. A promising future braided with the trappings of supposed progress threatened to unravel in the face of the new national pastime — brooding paranoia. In a time when nobodies from half a world away can fly planes into skyscrapers unimpeded, anything is possible. The lucrative undergirding of Pax Americana was suddenly in question.

There was a certain feeling of entrenchment in the re-enacting community that fall. We hobby soldiers did in literal what the rest of the country did in abstract — we dug into the bedrock of national mythos. It’s an age-old remedy in times of fear and insecurity. We sought our deliverance in the calm certitude of the past. Rarely is that enough.

As the world around me changed, re-enacting became an all-important excavation. I built a system of spiritual trenches to safeguard a comforting idea of history. I wasn’t alone. Far from it. The harder I dug, the more I found like-minded pseudo-soldiers doing the same.

I linked up with others in a vast labyrinth of breastworks cut into the loam of Americana to protect us from a future more intimidating than any of us could have imagined then.

Read the entire piece here.

The Mike and the Mad Dog 9/11 Tapes

Mike and Mad

I just stumbled upon this article at Deadspin.

As I have written here before, I spent a lot of time over the years listening to WFAN, New York City’s first sports-talk radio station.  Between 1989 and 2008 Mike Francesa and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo were the heart and soul of the station.  Their afternoon drive-time show “Mike and the Mad Dog” dominated the New York City radio airwaves, especially among men between the ages of 25 and 55.  (Francesa is still at WFAN.  Russo now has his own Series XM Radio channel).

I was living in Valparaiso, Indiana on September 11, 2001 and was thus not listening to Mike and Mad Dog.  I never really thought about how they would have reacted to the tragic events of that day until I read this piece.

I had no idea that they did a controversial show on September 12, 2011. I also did not know that this show was not preserved or made available to the media.  Keith Draper and Nick Martin have located a recording of the show and they have analyzed it extensively at Deadspin.

Here is a taste:

On Sept. 12, 2001, Mike and the Mad Dog host Mike Francesa drove to his local gas station to fill up the tank before coming into work. The station was owned by an “Arabic family,” and he said he could tell that the man working was understandably nervous given the previous day’s events, so he “gave him a slap on the back” before leaving the station.

 Francesa related this anecdote on the air later that day, as he and partner Chris “Mad Dog” Russo spent the six hours of their WFAN afternoon drive radio show occasionally discussing sports, but mostly the 9/11 attacks, and how they happened, who was responsible, and, critically, who should be blamed.

That broadcast, and the broadcasts on the days that followed, entered into a shadowy sports-radio infamy because of what was supposedly said. The Anti-Defamation League wrote a letter to WFAN program director Mark Chernoff denouncing how Francesa and Russo spoke about Jews and Israel, New York Post columnist Phil Mushnick wrote a number of critical columns about the duo’s 9/11 takes, and Francesa and Russo even addressed it for an upcoming 30 for 30 documentary.

But the actual tapes of the Sept. 12, 2001 Mike and the Mad Dog broadcast were seemingly not preserved and never made available. Mushnick asked WFAN for them and was stonewalled. The director of the 30 for 30 couldn’t locate them. Chernoff told us that WFAN doesn’t have them in an archive.

According to former WFAN employees, at the time the Mike and the Mad Dog show was recorded onto six-hour long VHS tapes. The video track was from a station security camera. But these tapes would only be stored for six months, at most, before they were re-used and recorded over. Only certain portions—say, an interview with a coach that might be replayed—were transferred off of VHS onto audio cassettes. In the days before the huge capacity of external hard drives, WFAN didn’t keep an archive filled with endless physical tapes.

Rumors continued to suggest that the tape was somewhere out there, however, and Deadspin was able to confirm that in the years afterwards there were—at the very least—two copies of the Sept. 12, 2001, broadcast of Mike and the Mad Dog.

Read the entire piece here.