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.

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.

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.

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.

Some court evangelicals are still on board the sinking ship

Some of the court evangelicals are growing quiet as the Trump administration transitions (officially or not) into the Biden administration. But others are still fired-up.

Jack Graham looks like he has finally come to grips with the reality of this election. We are now living in “desperate hopelessness”:

Jack Graham calls Raphael Warnock, candidate for the U.S. Senate from Georgia, a “false teacher” based on this clip. Wow! But I am sure Graham believes Trumpism is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. (Philippians 4:8).

Is Tony Perkins sending a message to evangelical Biden voters?:

Gary Bauer actually believes there were 1 million Trump supporters in Washington D.C. this weekend:

Yesterday on Parler, Eric Metaxas wrote, “Trump has won the election. It’s only a matter of time before everyone accepts that. Be patient and pray!: He shared this article from The Epoch Times.

Metaxas is devoting his whole show today to a Lou Dobbs interview with Trump and Michael Flynn lawyer Sidney Powell. Metaxas is describing this conspiracy theory about voting machines as a “Second American Revolution.”

Jim Garlow is still doing election fraud prayer meetings:

Garlow is also rallying the troops. Here is what he wrote today on his Facebook page:

Praise God for pastors who have guts. Who act like real leaders! Who have courage. Who obey God rather than man, when man defies God. In CA, PRAISE GOD for pastors like Jack Hibbs, Rob McCoy, Jeremy H. McGarity, Shane N Morgan Idleman, Jurgen Matthesius, John McArthur, Art Hodges and others.

STAND WITH THESE PASTORS. THEY ARE STANDING FOR YOU. NOW, YOU STAND WITH THEM. SUPPORT THEM. ATTEND CHURCHES WHERE PASTORS HAVE COURAGE TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT. List other pastors here who you know who are doing what is right – holding indoor, in person services – not walking in fear – who know when the govt is manipulating the culture – and are willing to love God over being “politically correct” wimps!

List other pastors who are NOT, NOT kowtowing to despotic, totalitarian leadership. Support these pastors!

(NOTE: Because of my age & weight, I take Covid seriously. Very seriously! I not scoff at the disease. I know people who have died from Covid. And two of my friends ALMOST died. I am careful. Very careful. But I don’t accept the dishonest manipulation of the numbers & the hysteria.)

The entire population should NOT be locked down because some of us (15% or so?) have vulnerabilities or comorbidites. People like me can stay at home. But NOT the entire population! That is ludicrous. The lockdowns are NOT about the disease. It is because the radical Leftist-Dem-Progressives are drunk on power. They are inebriated on their authoritarianism. And it is morally, ethically, biblically and legally wrong.

Garlow also posted a letter from Mike Huckabee to Joe Biden:

Dear Vice President Biden,

While I’ve never made any secret of the fact that I support President Trump, I have tried to be fair and stick to the issues. I even defended you on my TV program from an early personal attack, so I hope you will see that I’m not addressing you now as a partisan. It’s vitally important to put the good of the nation ahead of politics, particularly at a time like this, when events are at a tipping point and could easily spin out of control. I think you understand the need to be very cautious, from your reluctance to heed some of your supporters’ calls to declare victory.

In that spirit, I am calling on you to put partisanship and political ambition aside and join President Trump in demanding an impartial investigation into the very disturbing allegations of voter irregularities and fraud in Tuesday’s election.

Surely you must realize that some of the election officials’ actions and unbelievable poll results (202% turnout? Stacks of ballots that were 100% for you?) stink like a boxcar full of shrimp in the Mojave. If you do prevail without resolving these issues, your Administration will go down in history with a permanent black mark of cheating on it, whether it’s true or not. Imagine what you would say if, in a close state, 130,000 ballots all marked for Trump were suddenly dropped off from a Ferrari in the dead of night, as has been alleged in Detroit.

You ran for office on a promise to be a healer and uniter; to be a President of all the people, even those who didn’t support you; and to restore honor, integrity and honesty to the White House. Do you really think that’s likely if you take power under this dark cloud of suspicion? Even after 60 years, the memory of JFK’s legacy is still stained by a mere accusation of mob-stuffed ballot boxes securing his victory.

Also, think back on how much grief your side has given President Trump for the past four years, with the constant attacks and attempts to block his every action. The “resistance” movement justified its rabid opposition by claiming Trump was an “illegitimate” President, on no other grounds than that he didn’t win the popular vote (which, having run yourself three times, you know is meaningless) and “Russian collusion,” for which not a scrap of evidence could be found.

Now, imagine dealing with over 63 million furious Trump supporters and a GOP Senate (and after 2022, possibly a GOP House) who have a very convincing case that the race and their right to choose their own leaders were stolen from them. Their “resistance” will make what Trump dealt with look like a cake walk. These aren’t just some underemployed sociology majors. They’re the people who actually make the country run: farmers, ranchers, truckers, firefighters, police and construction workers.

If you really want to prove that you will bring honesty and integrity to the White House, and that you will represent all Americans, then you must join us in demanding a thorough and impartial investigation of these highly suspicious voting irregularities and refuse to declare victory until Americans have been assured that the vote was honest, that all their ballots were counted and that none were negated by illegal ballots. The people’s faith in the integrity of our elections is more important than the ambitions of either party.

Speaking as a Republican and strong Trump partisan, I promise that if the investigation proves that you won legitimately, then I will congratulate you on your win and accept the loss gracefully. But in all sincerity, I am concerned that if you do not take a stand now to insist on fair and legal elections, then you may eventually win the office, but it will be a bitter prize that will rip this nation apart, bring you more problems than you can imagine, and brand you in history as a President who took office under a cloud of suspicion that will never be removed.

I can’t think of a better illustration of Jesus’ question in Mark 8:36: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

Gov. Mike Huckabee

Court evangelical journalist David Brody is hoping:

This is rich. The Liberty University Falkirk Center, an organization built around the idea that Christians are suffering at the hands of the “liberal” or “socialist” state, is posting about victimhood. You can’t make this stuff up.

Wait. It gets even better. Here is a tweet about how the need for self-affirmation” leads to people to “stray from objective morality.” This pro-Trump organization does not seem to see the irony.

Charlie Kirk of Liberty University’s Falkirk Center is also claiming that 1 million Trump supporters were in D.C. this weekend. And then he connects the rally to voter fraud.

It is pretty hard to hear a court evangelical like Falkirk Center spokesperson Jenna Ellis talk about “truth.” (And in all caps nonetheless!)

And this:

Ellis also tweeted this.

You gotta love Sexton. He’s an Amherst College political science major named “Buck,” but he loves the welders and plumbers. I guess humanities degrees are fine for people from first and second tier colleges.

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.