Georgia reclaims its Judeo-Christian heritage

Today I was a guest on The Meetinghouse, a radio show hosted by Dwight A. Moody, a Southern Baptist pastor and former dean of the chapel and professor of religion at Georgetown College in Kentucky. We were talking about the Georgia election and the fact that The Peach State just elected a Christian pastor and a Jewish writer to the U.S. Senate.

We are glad to see that Georgia is advancing its Judeo-Christian heritage! 😉

On another note, I think my daughters will now stop playing this TikTok:

What happened today is a fitting ending to the worst presidential administration in American history

In Donald Trump’s inaugural address he talked about “American carnage.” Well, we got American carnage today.

A pro-Trump mob made up of people who believe that Trump won the 2020 presidential election breached police barriers and desecrated the inside of the capitol building, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s office. Trump and his surrogates encouraged this event–both directly and indirectly– and they are to blame for everything that happened today. History will hold them accountable.

Anyone who has followed Trump and his supporters over the last four years should not be surprised. The insurrectionists appeared brave and courageous in the execution of their goals, but it was actually fear that motivated them. The United States is changing. This morning we woke-up to find that a southern state, the home of the Vice President of the Confederacy Alexander Stephens, elected its first Black and first Jewish U.S. senators. Today’s rioters are scared to death about such change and for the last four years they have had a president who validated their fears and encouraged them to act upon them.

Many pro-Trumpers who were not involved in today’s insurrection are condemning today’s violence. Poppycock! Everyone with a platform, influence, and large numbers of social media followers who supported Trump’s outrageous voter fraud claims bear responsibility for what happened today.

The Trump presidency started with a reference to carnage and ended with carnage. What happened today is a fitting ending to the worst presidential administration in American history.

As all of this was going down today, I was strolling through Longwood Gardens on a scheduled outing with extended family. I am still catching-up on things and I think it might be best if I cover the day’s events in a series of posts rather than one long post. Stay tuned.

Some quick thoughts on the CNN documentary “Jimmy Carter: Rock and Roll President”

I’ve always been a Jimmy Carter fan, so I was eager to watch Mary Wharton‘s documentary “Jimmy Carter: Rock and Roll President” last Sunday night. On one level, it did not disappoint. I knew very little about Carter’s relationship with Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, the Allman Brothers, Johnny Cash, and Jimmy Buffett. For example, the part of the documentary that covered the 1976 Democratic primary was fascinating. The Allmans, Cash, Nelson, and Buffett backed Carter. The Eagles and Linda Ronstadt backed California governor Jerry Brown. It was no contest. Carter and his southern rockers crushed Brown and helped the Georgia peanut farmer win the presidency against Gerald Ford in November.

As you see above, the documentary includes interviews with some heavy hitters, including Carter and his son Chip. The former president tells some hilarious stories about his relationship with some of these artists, including one about Chip smoking pot on the roof of the White House with Willie Nelson.

This is a great documentary, but I wish Wharton would have said more about how Carter thought about the connections between his love of popular music and his evangelical faith. Wharton includes footage of Carter teaching Sunday School. She occasionally shows the interior and exterior of Carter’s church in Plains, Georgia. She includes a clip of Carter talking about how he explained his Christian faith to Bob Dylan when the folk hero visited the Georgia governor’s mansion. Carter also seems to have had an influence on the faith-based music and activism of Bono. But the faith angle is too peripheral to the story Wharton tells. For example, what did Carter and Dylan talk about? Did Carter have a theology of popular culture that allowed him to reconcile rock music with his Christian faith? How did he respond to his evangelical critics, the kind of critics who would eventually rally against him to form the Christian Right and boost Ronald Reagan’s victory over Carter in the 1980 election? Christianity shaped Carter’s moral core, but Wharton doesn’t seem interested in how his Christianity informed his love of Dylan, Nelson, Cash, etc. This was a missed opportunity.

A lot happened over Christmas break. How did the court evangelicals respond?

Earlier today, I wrote about some of the highlights of the last ten days. I mentioned the Nashville bombing, Trump’s handling of end of the year legislation, the president’s continued attempts at overturning the 2020 president election, and the support he is now receiving from at least twelve U.S. senators. Read that post here. It provides the necessary context for this post.

So what have the court evangelicals had to say since our last update on December 24, 2020?

The Falkirk Center at Liberty University, ground zero for evangelical conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election, is getting heat from the Liberty student body. As of December 30, 400 Liberty students and recent graduates have signed a petition calling for the university to close the Falkirk Center. The petition states: “We are also concerned that the Falkirk Center has become a gateway for many wolves in sheep’s clothing–people who claim Christ’s name because it is convenient for their personal or political gain.” It specifically calls out Falkirk “fellows” Eric Metaxas, Allie Beth Stuckey, Sebastian Gorka, Jenna Ellis, Ryan Helfenbein, and co-founder Charlie Kirk.

The petition is similar to what I wrote about the Falkirk Center in a Religion News Service piece on September 9, 2020.

The Falkirk Center’s social media feeds did not address the petition. They continued to double-down on abortion, church closings due to COVID-19, and “socialism.” Perhaps this tweet was meant as a subtle response to the petition:

Charlie Kirk, the founder of the Liberty University Falkirk Center, did not mention the student petition, but defended Trump’s veto of the Defense Authorization Act on the grounds that it would rename military bases named after Confederate leaders:

Kirk believes that Josh Hawley’s decision to object to the Electoral College votes is a sign of courage:

He is also attacking Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensberger for his refusal to “find votes” for Trump:

And yes, he still believes that the Democrats stole the election:

Liberty University Falkirk Center fellow and Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis was still claiming that election fraud is real:

According to Ellis, those who claim Trump lies are engaging in some kind of leftist philosophy about the definition of words:

The election was rigged and everyone who loves the Constitution knows it:

Don’t concede. Never concede:

Jenna is working for the Lord:

All she has done is part of the sovereign will of God:

And in good “Christian” form she is bragging about advancing her career as she trashes someone else’s career:

But at least she will keep speaking truth and reminding everyone that she is trending on Twitter:

Are Liberty University Falkirk Center fellows allowed to drink beer?

Another Liberty University Falkirk Center fellow, Eric Metaxas, continued to claim that “the election was stolen.” He describes the 2020 election as the equivalent of “stabbing Lady Liberty in the throat,” “murdering Uncle Sam,” and “desecrating all the young men who died for liberty over the centuries.” Metaxas believes that if Joe Biden gets inaugurated on January 20, 2021 it will be a “miracle.” Biden, Metaxas says, “was involved in one of the most wicked, treasonous acts in the history of the greatest nation in the world.” Watch here (after the five minute mark).

In other court evangelical news:

Self-proclaimed prophet Lance Wallnau is worried that Biden and Harris will “rule” America:

It is all a spiritual battle for “rulership on earth”:

On Wallnau’s Facebook page he says that we are “in the spiritual fight of our lifetime” and we are entering a week that will “change America.” His source is Trump election fraud lawyer Sidney Powell. He believes that any member of Congress up for election in 2022 should be protesting the Electoral College results on January 6. Christians must “enlarge their presence” to make sure Trump stays in office.

Court evangelical journalist David Brody believes journalism is dead.

But apparently good journalism continues to live at the Christian Broadcasting Network. This is some hard-hitting stuff from Brody:

And this:

This next tweet may be true. But it says more about evangelicals than Trump:

Brody gives a signal boost to violence on January 6:

Brody retweeted Dinesh D’Souza:

Pastor Jack Hibbs is retweeting the president:

Hibbs is also going on Newsmax in support of Trump. Just another court evangelical doing his part.

Jim Garlow’s prayer meetings for election integrity are continuing into the new year. Last week he was marching around the Georgia capital with a few followers, including Messianic Jews with shofars.

Garlow also engaged in a Twitter debate over who is the “adult” in the Senate:

Robert Jeffress continued to remain quiet on election fraud. He is back to his usual talking points about the Democrat “administration of death.” There is an interesting and ironic part of this interview in which Jeffress criticizes liberal Protestants for getting too political.

Gary Bauer is doing what Trump court evangelicals do:

We are back from break. What happened?

Vacation is over. What did I miss? Here is a small taste of what has happened in American politics over the last ten days:

  • A bomb exploded in Nashville on Christmas morning. We are learning more every day about the suicide bomber. Fortunately, no one other than the bomber himself was killed. As far as I know, Trump did not comment publicly on the bombing. He played golf.
  • Trump refused to sign the Consolidated Appropriation Act. It included $900 billion for COVID-19 relief, including a $600 check for Americans making under $75,000 a year. Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin negotiated the bill on the president’s behalf while Trump was busy trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Trump’s major problem with the bill was the $600 dollar COVID relief check for individual Americans. Trump wanted to give Americans $2000.
  • Trump eventually signed the Consolidated Appropriation Act on December 27. Because he signed it one week late, many Americans did not receive unemployment compensation during the final week of 2021. Why didn’t Trump sign it? It is hard to tell. But he was probably upset with Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell for declaring that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election. While Trump held his personal grudge, millions of Americans went without federal help during the Christmas holiday. The president played golf.
  • Meanwhile, Democrats and some Republicans supported Trump’s claim to raise the sum of the relief checks to $2000. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, Georgia GOP Senators fighting for their political lives in tomorrow’s Georgia run-off, supported the president. But McConnell did his best to make sure that the American people would only get $600
  • Just before we went on break, Trump vetoed the Defense Authorization Act. This bill, which is the standard act to fund the military, had bipartisan support. In fact, this bill has passed with bipartisan support since 1961. Trump vetoed the bill because it included provisions for renaming military bases named after Confederate leaders. He also claimed it protected social media companies. On December 28, the House of Representatives overturned Trump’s veto by a vote of veto 322-87. On January 1, 2021, the Senate overturned the veto 81-13. It was the first time in the Trump presidency that Congress overturned one of his vetoes.
  • On the same day the Senate overturned Trump’s veto on the Defense Authorization Act, Missouri Senator Josh Hawley said that he would object to the 2020 Electoral College vote when the Senate meets to certify it on Wednesday. Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, upon hearing about Hawley’s stunt, called it a “dangerous ploy” and added: “Let’s be clear here: We have a bunch of ambitious politicians who think there’s a quick way to tap into the president’s populist base without doing any real, long-term damage.” The next day, GOP senators Marcia Blackburn (TN), Mike Braun (IN), Ted Cruz (TX), Steve Daines (MT) Ron Johnson (WI), John Kennedy (LA), and James Lankford (OK) said they would join Hawley. So did Senators-Elect Bill Hagerty (TN), Cynthia Lummis (WY), Roger Marshall (KS), and Tommy Tuberville (AL). Cruz’s office issued a press release. Let’s be clear. This protest will not change the election results. Both houses of Congress will certify the votes of the Electoral College and Joe Biden will be inaugurated President of the United States on January 20, 2021. It will now just take a few additional hours. Read Peter Wehner’s recent article at The Atlantic if you want to understand what is really going on here.
  • If my calculations are correct, 22,715 people died of COVID-19 since my last blog post.
  • Yesterday, January 3, 2021, The Washington Post released part of a phone call between Trump and Brad Raffensberger, Georgia’s GOP secretary of state. The President urged Raffensberger to “find” 11,780 Trump votes in Georgia. Trump threatened Raffensberger by telling him that if he did not find the votes he might face “criminal” charges. Here is a clip from their one hour conversation:

Listen to the entire phone call here.

So what have Trump’s court evangelicals had to say over the holiday break? I will cover that in my next post, which will appear later this morning. Stay tuned.

Why white evangelicals criticize the Black church

In the 1980s, when I was a student at a small Christian college, some of my professors warned us about the “liberal theology” of the civil rights movement. What Martin Luther King Jr. did was notable, they said, but he could not be trusted as a theologian. As I look back on this now, I think it is fair to say that a lot of my classmates at the time interpreted this teaching to mean that the civil rights movement was somehow flawed, even unGodly, because its leaders did not tow the line of traditional evangelical theology. That is certainly how I interpreted it.

We now know, through some really good historical work, that white evangelicals were never completely on board with the civil rights movement. What I was getting in college was pretty standard stuff.

Back then I understood why my professors warned us about the civil rights movement. The school I attended had its roots in the fundamentalist-modernist controversy of the early 20th century. (It was founded, in part, by C.I. Scofield). The fundamentalists were not only fighting liberal theology in the denominations, but they were also, by extension, at war with the “social gospel,” the Protestants who believed that Christianity required its adherents to work for social justice as a means towards Christianizing the nation. Fundamentalists believed that social gospelers confused the true Gospel with moral activism. The true Gospel was about getting people “saved.” The social gospel was a form of “works righteousness.”

When it comes to race, we are in the midst of something similar to the fundamentalist-modernist controversy of the early 20th century. The stuff they taught me in college is still with us. The Black church’s roots in the social gospel scares a lot of white evangelicals today. Consider Audrey Farley‘s recent piece at The New Republic: The Conservative War Against the Black Church.” Farley writes in the context of the upcoming George senate run-off between Raphael Warnock and Kelly Loeffler.

A taste:

Conservatives claim long-standing tradition for their suspicion of the political, citing scripture on the supremacy of the spiritual realm, ignoring scripture on structural sin, and generally pretending that Jesus and centuries of his followers didn’t make broad demands for a new society and instead sought merely crumbs for the poor and outcast. History, however, reveals the privatization of sin and the intense cynicism toward material politics to be relatively recent inventions, developed precisely to counter racial progress and other social reforms. It illuminates how conservatives’ individualist theology is little more than a pretext for upholding the status quo—a ruse that secular institutions have nevertheless taken seriously.

Read the entire piece here.

When it comes to Raphael Warnock, I think it is fair to say that white evangelicals have an antagonistic relationship with the black church. But I also think that white evangelicals in Georgia will not vote for Warnock because he claimed to be a “pro-choice” pastor. In other words, white evangelicals in Georgia will not vote for Warnock for the same reason they will not vote for Jon Ossoff: abortion. The story of American evangelical political engagement is indeed a complicated one.

You don’t congratulate someone who just robbed a bank (and other court evangelical news)

Yesterday Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell finally acknowledged that Joe Biden was the “President-elect of the United States of America. He also warned GOP senators to stop contesting the election.

Meanwhile, House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy has not said a word.

Trump continues to raise millions on his election fraud claims through his Trump Make America Great Again Committee. 75% of the money he raises can be used for his own political activity, including rallies, travel, and supporting other candidates. In other words, Trump is is building the infrastructure of a shadow presidency.

So what are the court evangelicals saying today?

The Liberty University Falkirk Center crowd is still fighting:

Interesting tweet from a Trump-supporting “think tank.” Truth?:

So far the Falkirk Center has yet to acknowledge Joe Biden as President-elect.

Liberty University Falkirk Center fellow Jenna Ellis is not going down without a fight:

But she also seems to have been less than truthful about how things ended at a previous job.

Ellis also retweeted Trump. “Tremendous evidence”:

She also retweeted Hershel Walker:

And of course she is quoting scripture:

Charlie Kirk criticized Mitch McConnell for congratulating Joe Biden:

In this tweet, Kirk claims to care about “unity & healing”:

More on “congratulating” Joe Biden:

And in other court evangelical news:

Lance Wallnau believes Mitch McConnell is now part of the “deep state.” He says that God is doing an “autopsy” on this election and if evangelicals keep praying we will all see that Trump won.

Court evangelical journalist David Brody interviewed Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the author of the recently dismissed Texas voter fraud lawsuit.

Jim Garlow is still holding “election integrity” prayer meetings.

Ralph Reed is rallying pastors in Georgia:

Tony Perkins is also focused on Georgia:

The people have spoken. The Electoral College voted. Who will be the first court evangelical to acknowledge publicly that Joe Biden is the next President of the United States?

A “MAGA Civil War” in Georgia

Georgia governor Brian Kemp were Trump loyalists. Then election day came and things got crazy. All we need now is for Herschel Walker to weigh-in.

Here is Marc Caputo at Politico:

A new schism — this one between MAGA forces — is taking shape, further threatening GOP unity in advance of the Jan. 5 runoffs for the state’s two Senate seats.

At the center of the conflict is pro-Trump trial lawyer Lin Wood. His advocacy for President Donald Trump — and his unsubstantiated claims of election fraud — have been so extreme that he’s now taken to publiclydiscouraging people from voting for Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, arguing that the runoff elections are already rigged.

Amid party fears that a MAGA boycott could cost them control of the U.S. Senate, Trump privately spoke by phone this week with Wood to tell him to “knock it off,” a source briefed on the discussion told POLITICO.

Axios was first to report on the call to Wood and lawyer Sidney Powell, whom Trump had dismissed from his legal team after she espoused expansive conspiracy theories.

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who helped build the modern Republican Party in Georgia, theorized the lawyers were whipping up conservatives because “they understand that if they’re out there saying more and more radical things, they’ll get more publicity.”

“It’s one of the nuttier things I’ve seen in a long time in politics,” Gingrich told POLITICO, adding that it’s OK for Trump to question whether the vote against him was rigged — as long as he tells Republicans to vote for Perdue and Loeffler, and to not listen to Wood.

“Lin Wood and Sidney Powell are totally destructive,” Gingrich wrote on Twitter Thursday. “Every Georgia conservative who cares about America MUST vote in the runoff.”

Thursday morning court evangelical update

Donald Trump spoke yesterday about election fraud. Trump said that the United States electoral system is “under siege.” He held up charts and graphs that no one could read. Reminder: Trump delivered this speech on December 2, almost one month after Election Day. Within the last week nearly all the states, including Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Nevada certified the election and confirmed a Biden victory. This is sheer madness.

Court evangelical Eric Metaxas posted Trump’s video message on his You Tube page:

He also posted a video of a “Stop the Steal” rally in Georgia. The speakers at this rally attacked GOP governor Brian Kemp. One speaker compared the Trump conspiracy theorists to Jesus Christ.

Today Eric Metaxas is turning to convicted criminal Roger Stone as his election fraud expert.

Finally, Metaxas talked about his “faith influences his support for American principles as well as the president.” His embrace of these voter fraud conspiracy is rooted, he claims, in the “God of scripture who moves in history.” This is bad history and bad history. Today someone asked me if Metaxas really believes his stuff or his promotion of the voter fraud conspiracy is “just a grift.” I think Metaxas actually believes he is a modern-day Wilberforce and Bonhoeffer. He acknowledges that his friends think he has “gone nuts,” but he said that their concerns are “absurd.”

Today conservative journalist Jonah Goldberg had a hilarious tweet:

Charlie Kirk, the founder of Liberty University’s Falkirk Center, is still pressing the election fraud narrative:

Trump lawyer Sidney Powell joined last night’s “election integrity” prayer meeting.

Robert Jeffress is still making predictions about Donald Trump. Right Wing Watch gets this right:

Paula White is praying. I wonder what she wants to “change”:

Jack Graham:

Trump may be giving the Democrats a fighting chance in the Georgia Senate race

On January 5, Georgia will hold two run-off elections to decide who will fill the state’s U.S. Senate seats. Incumbent David Perdue (R) is running against Jon Ossoff (D) in one race. Incumbent Kelly Loeffler (R) is running against Rafael Warnock (D) in the other race. Perdue and Loeffler got the most votes in their races on November 3, but neither candidate got 50% of the vote. Georgia law states that if a candidate does not get a majority of the votes a run-off takes place between the top two candidates.

This election is so important because if Ossoff and Warnock can upset their GOP opponents the Democratic Party will gain control of the United States Senate, giving Biden’s party control of both houses of Congress.

Republicans are getting nervous and it has everything to do with Donald Trump’s refusal to concede the presidential election. Here is Andrew Desiderio and Marianne Levine at Politico:

…Republicans are increasingly seeing Trump’s posture as not just rhetoric. They view it as a self-serving quest that could imperil the GOP’s grip on the Senate by depressing turnout in two runoffs races that will decide which party controls the upper chamber. And they are publicly hoping he will refrain from pushing his false fraud claims when he visits the Peach State this week to campaign for Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.

Even as Trump urges his supporters to vote for Perdue and Loeffler, he is continuing to hammer Georgia’s secretary of state and governor — both Republicans — for what he calls a “fraudulent” result in favor of Biden. Trump even said he was “ashamed” of his endorsement of Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp in 2018, and on Monday called him “hapless.”

Republicans in Georgia are exasperated with his rhetoric, and they’re publicly urging the president to avoid talking about the Nov. 3 election.

“It’s time for this to be over,” said former Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), who previously held Perdue’s seat. “When he comes he needs to not be talking about his race, he needs to be showing his support for the two candidates in Georgia and put to rest anybody who makes any comment about the fact or has any idea about not voting because they might think these two candidates aren’t doing enough to question the election.”

Read the entire piece.

White evangelical voters helped Joe Biden nationally and in Michigan and Georgia

In the 2020 election, 27% of voters identified as either “white evangelical” or a “white born-again Christian.”

According to Edison Research, 76% of them voted for Trump and 24% voted for Biden. This means that Biden received four million more white evangelical votes than Hillary Clinton received in 2020. (Biden is currently leading Trump by more than 6 million votes nationwide).

Here is some exit polling. If these exit polls are correct, it appears that the white evangelical vote helped Biden in Michigan and Georgia. (We don’t have polling for the evangelical vote in Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania, or Wisconsin).

Biden won 29% of the white evangelical vote in Michigan. In 2016, Clinton won 14% of that vote.

In Georgia, Biden won 14% of the white evangelical vote. In 2016, Clinton won 5% of that vote.

In Iowa, Biden won 24% of the white evangelical vote. In 2016, Clinton won 25% of that vote.

In North Carolina, Biden won 14% of the white evangelical vote. In 2016, Clinton won 17% of that vote.

In South Carolina, Biden won 13% of the white evangelical vote. In 2016, Clinton won 11% of that vote.

In Ohio, Biden won 18% of the white evangelical vote. In 2016, Clinton won 20% of that vote.

In Texas, Biden won 13% of the white evangelical vote. In 2016, Clinton won 12% of that vote.

In Virginia, Biden won 19% of the white evangelical vote. In 2016, Clinton won 14% of that vote.

Why is Amy Coney Barrett’s Christian faith off limits, but Raphael Warnock’s Christian faith is fair game?

Conservative news websites are freaking-out because Georgia senate candidate Raphael Warnock decried the “moral bankruptcy” of the American church for supporting Donald Trump in such large numbers.

Watch this 2016 speech at Howard University:

He is right. I hope Georgia elects him to the United States Senate.

Conservatives are also upset about remarks Warnock made about militarism.

Jack Holmes of Esquire makes a great point when he asks why Amy Coney Barrett’s faith is “off-limits,” but Warnock’s faith is “fair game.” Here is a taste:

We saw this ahead of the nomination hearings for Amy Coney Barrett, when Republicans got pre-outraged about potential Democratic questioning that might probe Barrett’s religious faith—including her membership in People of Praise, a Catholic group with rituals and traditions thatfall outside mainstream Church practice. Senator Dianne Feinstein blundered her way through some questioning on this front during hearings on Barrett’s appointment to an appeals court in 2017, but there was virtually no Democratic probing here this time around, surely at least in part because the pre-outrage was so intense. This stuff works.

Among the early outrage merchants was Senator Marco Rubio, who issued a statement on September 26 that was preemptively indignant. “Sadly, I expect my Democratic colleagues and the radical left to do all they can to assassinate her character and once again make an issue of her faith during her confirmation process,” he said. Assassination by radicals! That does sound bad. Questioning someone’s fitness for public office based on their religious beliefs is completely unacceptable, you see. It shouldn’t factor into how you assess their candidacy at all. Just ask Senator Marco Rubio, who offered some thoughts on Wednesday regarding Raphael Warnock, the Democratic candidate in one of Georgia’s two upcoming Senate runoff elections.

Never mind that what Warnock is saying appears to be an adaptation of the Sermon on the Mount delivered by Jesus Christ, a guy who never was big on militarism. And never mind that Warnock can often be found speaking from the pulpit of Ebenezer Baptist Church, once home to Martin Luther King, Jr., who himself said, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

Read the entire piece here.

Here is your Thursday morning court evangelical update

More and more Republicans are implying that it is time to move on from this election and admit defeat. I wish more would step up and proclaim Biden president-elect so that the country can move forward, but most of them seem more concerned about party loyalty than what is good for the nation right now. Many are probably afraid that Trump will somehow exact some kind of revenge if they dare speak out against his claims of widespread voter fraud. Others are worried that if they criticize Trump it will hurt the Republican cause in the two Georgia Senate run-offs on January 5. If Trump voters don’t show-up for that run-off election, and the the Democratic candidates (Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock) win, the Democrats will gain control of the U.S. Senate.

Let’s check-in if anything has changed among the court evangelicals. Remember, I have used this term to describe the pro-Trump evangelical leaders who regularly visit the White House for photo-ops with the president and to supposedly advise him on policy matters. Based on this definition, I am not a Biden court evangelical. I have never been to the White House. Nor do I expect to be part of some kind of Biden faith-advisory council! 🙂 )

The folks at the Falkirk Center at Liberty University is still pushing voting fraud. Today they interviewed Rudy Guiliani:

Today in my Pennsylvania History class we continued our conversation about the Whiskey Rebellion. We talked about how George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and the Federalists believed that the followers of Jefferson and the members of the Democratic-Republican societies they established in the west were a threat to American ideals. But many of these societies were articulating their grievances against Hamilton’s excise tax on whiskey in very American ways. In other words, they were appealing to the principles of the American Revolution, particularly the resistance to the 1765 Stamp Act.

Washington condemned the whiskey rebels and their societies as threats to national unity, but despite all Washington’s well-rehearsed concerns about partisanship he was not above the fray. He wanted national unity on his terms. He failed to understand that in the 1790s there were two visions of American identity among the people and these visions were at odds with one other.

I thought of this again as I read a Falkirk Center tweet from Ryan Helfenbein. He wants to “proclaim Christ and defend America.” Whose America?

At one point in this video, David Barton, a self-proclaimed historian, suggests that Donald Trump’s tweets about election fraud should be taken seriously as a legitimate primary source. One of the first things we teach history students at Messiah University is how to evaluate sources. Barton is treating the Trump claim of election fraud in the same way he treats the American past. He collects stories about supposed fraud, adds them up without any larger context, and claims something happened. When he engages with the past he collects quotes from the founding fathers, adds them up without any larger context, and claims America is a Christian nation.

Eric Metaxas is encouraging people who are “losing hope that Trump can pull this off” to stay the course. He continues to speak with a sense of certainty that Trump will win this election. He also says that “Fox News has gone over to the dark side” and even implies that Fox is now working with George Soros. Then he tells his audience that he, Eric Metaxas, is now one of the only sources of honest news out there right now.

Metaxas says the Democrats are trying to steal the election and “there is nothing more disgusting” than this. Apparently at Metaxas’s prayer meeting on voter fraud the other night some guy blew a red, white, and blue shofar.

Robert Jeffress wants to make sure he is not misunderstood. He is still a court evangelical:

Gary Bauer is fighting the good fight as he sees it. He apparently has some disagreements with Twitter about Trump’s recent tweet.

Tony Perkins is still sowing seeds of doubt among his followers:

I am not sure Trump is doing much “leading” right now.

The people of Georgia will decide if the Senate remains in Republican hands

Two January 2021 run-off elections in Georgia will decide whether Republicans will remain in control of the Senate. Amber Phillips explains at The Washington Post:

Here’s what’s happening.

Georgia election rules set up a runoff between the top two vote-getters if no candidate gets 50 percent of the vote. There’s a special election Senate race that was already certain to go to a runoff. It will feature the incumbent, appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R), and Democrat and first-time candidate and pastor Raphael Warnock.

Georgia’s original 2020 Senate election with Sen. David Perdue (R) trying for a second term has suddenly come back online for Democrats. Perdue had more than 50 percent of the vote after initial votes were counted, but that’s steadily and slowly narrowed as Georgia finishes counting its ballots. With 99 percent of the vote in, Perdue has 49.8 percent. Democrat Jon Ossoff is exactly two points behind, 47.8 percent.

Which means Ossoff and Warnock will get another chance to unseat these two Senate Republicans in a little under two months.

But if you look at the data from November’s election, you’d rather be the Republicans than Democrats in these next round of races.

Let’s start with the special election. Warnock actually got the majority of the vote of any candidate, winning with nearly 33 percent to Loeffler’s 26 percent. But Loeffler wasn’t the only major Republican in this crowded race; she beat Rep. Douglas A. Collins (R). When you add in Collins’s votes into the general Republican tally, you get 46 percent voting for a Republican senator, a full 13 points more than Warnock.

Read the rest here.

If Biden holds on in Georgia he will be the first Democrat to win the state since Bill Clinton in 1992

Biden took the lead in Georgia early this morning. Right now, at 7:52am on November 6, 2020, Biden has 2,400,580 votes. He has already won more votes in Georgia than any other candidate in American history.

If Biden ends-up winning the state, he will be the first Democrat to do so since Bill Clinton in 1992. Jimmy Carter, a former governor of Georgia, won the state in 1976 and 1980.

Here are some previous results:

2016: Donald Trump (50.44%) over Hillary Clinton (45.35%)

2012: Mitt Romney (53.30%) over Barack Obama (45.48%)

2008: John McCain (52.20%) over Barack Obama (46.99%)

2004: George W. Bush (57.97 %) over John Kerry (41.37%)

2000: George W. Bush (54.67) over Al Gore (42.98%)

1996: Bob Dole (47.01%) over Bill Clinton (45.84%)

1992: Bill Clinton (43.47%) over George H.W.. Bush (42.88%)

1988: George H.W. Bush ( 59.75%) over Michael Dukakis (39.50%)

1984: Ronald Reagan (60.17%) over Walter Mondale (39.79 %)

1980: Jimmy Carter (55.76%) over Ronald Reagan (40.95%)

1976: Jimmy Carter (66.74%) over Gerald Ford (32.96%)

1972: Richard Nixon (75.04%) over George McGovern (24.65%)

1968: George Wallace (42.83%) over Richard Nixon (30.40%) and Hubert Humphrey (26.75%)

1964: Barry Goldwater (54.12%) over Lyndon Johnson (45.87%)

1960: John Kennedy (62.54%) over Richard Nixon (37.43%)

Things are getting intense in Georgia

Senator David Perdue canceled his third scheduled debate with challenger Jon Ossof after this happened:

Here is The New York Times:

Senator David Perdue of Georgia withdrew on Thursday from the final debate in his tight re-election race, a day after his Democratic challenger, Jon Ossoff, called him a “crook” and accused the vulnerable Republican of trying to profit from the coronavirus pandemic.

The rivals had been scheduled to face off on Sunday on the Atlanta television station WSB, the third debate in one of two pivotal Senate races in Georgia that could determine which party controls the chamber. The candidates had committed to the debate in September, according to Mr. Ossoff’s campaign.

The news first broke Thursday evening when Mr. Ossoff wrote on Twitter that Mr. Perdue had canceled on him.

“At last night’s debate, millions saw that Perdue had no answers when I called him out on his record of blatant corruption, widespread disease, and economic devastation,” Mr. Ossoff wrote. “Shame on you, Senator.”

Read the rest here. It looks like all Perdue could offer in response was talking points about Ossoff’s apparent “radical socialist agenda.”

According to Real Clear Politics, it looks like this is a dead heat.

Stone Mountain: Monument to white supremacy

Stone Mountain

Rebecca Onion writes at Slate: “The Confederate memorial carving at Georgia’s Stone Mountain is etched with more than a century of racist history. But tearing it down won’t be easy.”

Here is a taste of her piece, “Hatred Set in Stone“:

The mother of all Confederate monuments looms in Georgia. It’s etched on the side of a 280-some-million-year-old monadnock: Stone Mountain, seven miles around at the base and covering 1,000 acres. The Confederate memorial carving—Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jefferson Davis on horseback—is on the north face, comprising 3 acres in area. It’s 400 feet above the ground; it’s the largest bas-relief carving in the world—blah, blah, blah, this thing is big.

The armed, mostly Black protesters who peacefully marched in Stone Mountain Park demanding the removal of the carving on the Fourth of July hit social media hard, but the idea that the carving, big (and legally protected) as it may be, needs to go has been gaining traction in recent years. In 2017, Stacey Abrams, then running for governor of Georgia, called for the carving to be removed. Richard Rose, president of the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP, interviewed by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Debra McKinney in 2018, called the carving “the largest shrine to white supremacy in the history of the world,” and said it should be brought down.

Read the rest here.

Even Trump is Criticizing Georgia Governor Brian Kemp

Virus Outbreak Georgia

Here is Rick Rojas at The New York Times:

President Trump on Wednesday criticized the decision of a political ally, Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, to allow many businesses to reopen this week, saying the move was premature given the number of coronavirus cases in the state.

“I want him to do what he thinks is right, but I disagree with him on what he is doing,” Mr. Trump said at a White House briefing. “I think it’s too soon.”

Mr. Kemp, a Republican, announced on Monday that he had cleared the way for what he described as a measured process meant to bolster the economy, as Georgia, like the rest of the nation, grapples with the devastation brought by the pandemic.

Yet the decision was immediately assailed, as public health experts, the mayors of Georgia’s largest cities and others warned that it stood to have perilous consequences. Mayors said the decision had caught them off-guard and questioned its wisdom. Business owners who were otherwise eager to revive their livelihoods said they would hold off.

The governor’s plan gives permission to gyms, hair and nail salons, bowling alleys and tattoo parlors to reopen on Friday. Then, on Monday, restaurants are allowed to resume dine-in service, and movie theaters and other entertainment venues can reopen.

“I love those people that use all of those things — the spas, the beauty parlors, barbershops, tattoo parlors,” Mr. Trump said on Wednesday. “I love them. But they can wait a little bit longer, just a little bit — not much, because safety has to predominate.”

Read the rest here.

Trump wants to “liberate” the people in states with Democratic governors who have instituted strict stay-at-home orders. He has encouraged “open-the-economy” protests in state capitol cities such as Lansing and Harrisburg.  These protests have been little more than Trump political rallies.

Now, when diehard Trumper Brian Kemp decides to open Georgia’s economy, Trump says it is too soon. Which Trump will garner the loyalty of the protesters in Lansing and Harrisburg? Will it be the “liberate the economy” Trump or the “not yet, it’s too soon” Trump? Historians are going to have a field day with this president and his response to the COVID pandemic.  And it’s not going to be a pretty story.