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?

Joe Biden is president-elect. What are the court evangelicals saying?

Yesterday the Electoral College made it official. Joe Biden is President-Elect of the United States.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump is still tweeting about election fraud:

So now that the election is in the books, what are the court evangelicals saying? (Let’s also remember that some of these court evangelicals are coming off a very “big” weekend in Washington D.C.)

We begin by checking-in on the Liberty University Falkirk Center gang. They are the subject of a new Politico investigation.

Saturday afternoon’s Jericho March looked like an extension of Eric Metaxas’s radio program. He may be angling for a late-night talk show gig on Newsmax.

Yesterday he did his radio show from a hotel room in Washington D.C. because he was going to Mike Pence’s Christmas party. The Liberty University Falkirk Center fellow jokingly called the party a “super-spreader” event. Not funny.

Metaxas spent close to twenty minutes talking about his “music video and his role in the Jericho March on Saturday. We learned that the video’s lyrics were written by John Smirak, a writer at court evangelical James Robison’s blog The Stream. Metaxas described the video as both “funny” and “speaking the truth.”

Falkirk Center fellow Jenna Ellis joined her Center colleague Sebastian Gorka on his radio show. Ellis said that the Supreme Court was wrong in their 9-0 decision to throw out the Texas election fraud case. Yes, you read that correctly. Jenna Ellis told the United States Supreme Court that it does not know how to interpret the Constitution.

She also said Congress will be engaging in a “false certification” on January 6 when it meets to certify the results of yesterday’s Electoral College vote. Ellis told a group of people she describes as “Trump delegates” to storm Washington D.C. and demand that their votes be counted.

Ellis remains optimistic:

And she is “completely dedicated to God and Country”:

Charlie Kirk, the co-founder of Liberty University’s Falkirk Center, still doesn’t believe Biden won:

Lance Wallnau, who spoke on Saturday at the Jericho March, is attacking Beth Moore. But hey, at least he still thinks she is an “evangelical.” 🙂

“WIDE OPEN”:

Wallnau also has opinions on the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Texas case. Yesterday, while wandering around Washington D.C. with his daughter, he blamed the Court’s refusal to take the case on Catholic justices. If Trump had appointed evangelical justices who were “time-tested spiritual warriors” things would have been different. I knew it would only be a matter of time before evangelicals played the anti-Catholic card on Kavanaugh, Roberts, and Barrett.

Over 250,000 people watched Wallnau’s video.

Here is Jack Hibbs yesterday on his Facebook page: “Turn off Fox News and CNN people because they’re not telling you the whole truth regarding today’s electoral college.” He then embedded this tweet from a former New York City police commissioner and convicted felon:

After the Supreme Court threw out the Texas lawsuit on Friday, Allen West, the Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, wrote:

The Supreme Court, in tossing the Texas lawsuit that was joined by seventeen states and 106 US congressman, has decreed that a state can take unconstitutional actions and violate its own election law. Resulting in damaging effects on other states that abide by the law, while the guilty state suffers no consequences. This decision establishes a precedent that says states can violate the US constitution and not be held accountable. This decision will have far-reaching ramifications for the future of our constitutional republic. Perhaps law-abiding states should bond together and form a Union of states that will abide by the constitution.”

Court evangelical Tony Perkins agreed with West’s call for a secession movement:

What was Paula White praying for last night?

Franklin Graham seems resigned to a Biden victory:

I would love to know what Johnny would say to Franklin today:

GOP nihilism

“It is particularly astonishing that 17 of the House signatories were elected by voters in the states whose election results was seeking to invalidate.”

Here is the editorial board of The New York Times.

What is left to say about a political party that would throw out millions of votes?

The substance of a lawsuit filed by the State of Texas, and backed by more than 17 other states, would be laughable were it not so dangerous. Texas’ attorney general, Ken Paxton — who is under indictment for securities fraud — asked the Supreme Court to overturn the results of the presidential election in four other states. As a legal matter, this is the rough equivalent of objecting on the grounds that the other side is winning. As political rhetoric, however, it is incendiary.

The Supreme Court was right to toss out the lawsuit. But that the Republican Party tried and failed doesn’t make the attempt any less odious. There are a lot of Republican leaders who, the history books will record, wanted it to succeed.

What makes this entire episode so sad is that the nation needs a vibrant, honest, patriotic opposition party. A party that argues in good faith to win more votes the next time around. Many Republicans, particularly at the state and local level, stood tall and proud against the worst instincts of the national party.

The health of a democracy rests on public confidence that elections are free and fair. Questioning the integrity of an election is a matter of the utmost seriousness. By doing so without offering any evidence, Mr. Paxton and his collaborators have disgraced themselves. Attorneys general are sworn to uphold the rule of law.

What is left to say about a political party that would throw out millions of votes?

The substance of a lawsuit filed by the State of Texas, and backed by more than 17 other states, would be laughable were it not so dangerous. Texas’ attorney general, Ken Paxton — who is under indictment for securities fraud — asked the Supreme Court to overturn the results of the presidential election in four other states. As a legal matter, this is the rough equivalent of objecting on the grounds that the other side is winning. As political rhetoric, however, it is incendiary.

The Supreme Court was right to toss out the lawsuit. But that the Republican Party tried and failed doesn’t make the attempt any less odious. There are a lot of Republican leaders who, the history books will record, wanted it to succeed.

What makes this entire episode so sad is that the nation needs a vibrant, honest, patriotic opposition party. A party that argues in good faith to win more votes the next time around. Many Republicans, particularly at the state and local level, stood tall and proud against the worst instincts of the national party.

The health of a democracy rests on public confidence that elections are free and fair. Questioning the integrity of an election is a matter of the utmost seriousness. By doing so without offering any evidence, Mr. Paxton and his collaborators have disgraced themselves. Attorneys general are sworn to uphold the rule of law.

It is particularly astonishing that 17 of the House signatories were elected by voters in the states whose election results Texas was seeking to invalidate. They signed a letter directly challenging the legitimacy of their own victories and the integrity of their own states’ elections.

Read the entire editorial here.

The rush to build Trump’s border wall

Here is National Public Radio:

In the Coronado National Memorial — where conquistador Francisco Vázquez de Coronado entered what is now Arizona — contractors are pulverizing the wilderness in a rush to put up as many miles of border wall as possible before the Trump administration vacates Washington.

They’re dynamiting mountainsides and bulldozing pristine desert for a barrier the incoming Biden administration is expected to cancel.

“Wow! This is almost like busy work they’re doing,” exclaims biologist Myles Traphagen as he drives his truck up to the construction staging area and beholds the destruction for the first time. He specializes on the Arizona borderlands for the Wildlands Network.

“They’re cutting roads into a place where no vehicle could go, not a four-wheeler,” he says. “But now they’re cutting into the mountain to create access to build a wall.”

This is one of 29 construction projects being performed by 13 different contractors from San Diego to Brownsville, Texas. In Arizona, contractors have added shifts — they’re working all night long under light towers to meet Trump’s goal of 450 miles of new barriers before his term is over.

“There’s no doubt they’re accelerating the rate of construction,” says ecologist Ron Pulliam, who has been monitoring the wall’s progress on the Arizona border. “They’re trying to do as much as they can in the next 50 days. And Trump wants to fulfill his promise that he’s securing the border.”

Landowners and conservationists are irate. Gary Nabhan, a longtime author and ethnobotanist in the region, says Trump’s wall is forcing an unplanned experiment on the deserts of Southern Arizona.

Read the rest here.

Here are the 106 members of Congress who support Trump’s Texas lawsuit

Trump has joined a Texas lawsuit, initiated by an accused criminal, trying to overturn election results in four swing states. Learn more here.

106 of 196 GOP members of Congress support the lawsuit. Here are their names:

Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana’s 4th Congressional District

Rep. Gary Palmer of Alabama’s 6th Congressional District

Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana’s 1st Congressional District

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio’s 4th Congressional District

Rep. Ralph Abraham of Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District

Rep. Rick W. Allen of Georgia’s 12th Congressional District

Rep. James R. Baird of Indiana’s 4th Congressional District

Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana’s 3rd Congressional District

Rep. Jack Bergman of Michigan’s 1st Congressional District

Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona’s 5th Congressional District

Rep. Gus Bilirakis of Florida’s 12th Congressional District

Rep. Dan Bishop of North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District

Rep. Mike Bost of Illinois’s 12th Congressional District

Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas’s 8th Congressional District

Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama’s 5th Congressional District

Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado’s 4th Congressional District

Rep. Ted Budd of North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District

Rep. Tim Burchett of Tennessee’s 2nd Congressional District

Rep. Michael C. Burgess of Texas’s 26th Congressional District

Rep. Bradley Byrne of Alabama’s 1st Congressional District

Rep. Ken Calvert of California’s 42nd Congressional District

Rep. Earl L. “Buddy” Carter of Georgia’s 1st Congressional District

Rep. Ben Cline of Virginia’s 6th Congressional District

Rep. Michael Cloud of Texas’s 27th Congressional District

Rep. Mike Conaway of Texas’s 11th Congressional District

Rep. Rick Crawford of Arkansas’s 1st Congressional District

Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas’s 2nd Congressional District

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida’s 25th Congressional District

Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District

Rep. Neal P. Dunn of Florida’s 2nd Congressional District

Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District

Rep. Ron Estes of Kansas’s 4th Congressional District

Rep. Drew Ferguson of Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District

Rep. Chuck Fleischmann of Tennessee’s 3rd Congressional District

Rep. Bill Flores of Texas’s 17th Congressional District

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska’s 1st Congressional District

Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina’s 5th Congressional District

Rep. Russ Fulcher of Idaho’s 1st Congressional District

Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida’s 1st Congressional District

Rep. Greg Gianforte of Montana’s at-large congressional district

Rep. Bob Gibbs of Ohio’s 7th Congressional District

Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas’s 1st Congressional District

Rep. Lance Gooden of Texas’s 5th Congressional District

Rep. Sam Graves of Missouri’s 6th Congressional District

Rep. Mark Green of Tennessee’s 7th Congressional District

Rep. Michael Guest of Mississippi’s 3rd Congressional District

Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland’s 1st Congressional District

Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri’s 4th Congressional District

Rep. Kevin Hern of Oklahoma’s 1st Congressional District

Rep. Clay Higgins of Louisiana’s 3rd Congressional District

Rep. Trey Hollingsworth of Indiana’s 9th Congressional District

Rep. Richard Hudson of North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District

Rep. Bill Huizenga of Michigan’s 2nd Congressional District

Rep. Bill Johnson of Ohio’s 6th Congressional District

Rep. John Joyce of Pennsylvania’s 13th Congressional District

Rep. Fred Keller of Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District

Rep. Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania’s 16th Congressional District

Rep. Trent Kelly of Mississippi’s 1st Congressional District

Rep. Steve King of Iowa’s 4th Congressional District

Rep. David Kustoff of Tennessee’s 8th Congressional District

Rep. Darin LaHood of Illinois’s 18th Congressional District

Rep. Doug LaMalfa of California’s 1st Congressional District

Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado’s 5th Congressional District

Rep. Robert E. Latta of Ohio’s 5th Congressional District

Rep. Debbie Lesko of Arizona’s 8th Congressional District

Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer of Missouri’s 3rd Congressional District

Rep. Kenny Marchant of Texas’s 24th Congressional District

Rep. Roger Marshall of Kansas’s 1st Congressional District

Rep. Tom McClintock of California’s 4th Congressional District

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington’s 5th Congressional District

Rep. Dan Meuser of Pennsylvania’s 9th Congressional District

Rep. Carol D. Miller of West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District

Rep. John Moolenaar of Michigan’s 4th Congressional District

Rep. Alex X. Mooney of West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District

Rep. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District

Rep. Gregory Murphy of North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District

Rep. Dan Newhouse of Washington’s 4th Congressional District

Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District

Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District

Rep. Guy Reschenthaler of Pennsylvania’s 14th Congressional District

Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina’s 7th Congressional District

Rep. John Rose of Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District

Rep. David Rouzer of North Carolina’s 7th Congressional District

Rep. John Rutherford of Florida’s 4th Congressional District

Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia’s 8th Congressional District

Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho’s 2nd Congressional District

Rep. Adrian Smith of Nebraska’s 3rd Congressional District

Rep. Jason Smith of Missouri’s 8th Congressional District

Rep. Ross Spano of Florida’s 15th Congressional District

Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York’s 21st Congressional District

Rep. Glenn Thompson of Pennsylvania’s 15th Congressional District

Rep. Tom Tiffany of Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District

Rep. William Timmons of South Carolina’s 4th Congressional District

Rep. Ann Wagner of Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District

Rep. Tim Walberg of Michigan’s 7th Congressional District

Rep. Michael Waltz of Florida’s 6th Congressional District

Rep. Randy Weber of Texas’s 14th Congressional District

Rep. Daniel Webster of Florida’s 11th Congressional District

Rep. Brad Wenstrup of Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District

Rep. Bruce Westerman of Arkansas’s 4th Congressional District

Rep. Roger Williams of Texas’s 25th Congressional District

Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District

Rep. Rob Wittman of Virginia’s 1st Congressional District

Rep. Ron Wright of Texas’s 6th Congressional District

Rep. Ted S. Yoho of Florida’s 3rd Congressional District

Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York’s 1st Congressional District

Sadly, my representative, Scott Perry, is on the list. Like Perry, most of these congresspersons represent pro-Trump districts. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain by supporting this baseless lawsuit. These enabling representatives will soon become the lieutenants in Trump’s post-election lost cause campaign.

Finally, it seems pretty clear that Paxton initiated this lawsuit because he wants a pardon.

Eric Metaxas and Charlie Kirk talk “voter fraud” (and other court evangelical news)

Over fifteen million cases and 292,000 deaths.

COVID-19 continues to rage in the United States. Meanwhile, Donald Trump continues to give meaning to the phrase “lame duck president.” He is concentrating on last ditch efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

On Wednesday, Trump and seventeen GOP states filed a motion to join a lawsuit brought to the Supreme Court by controversial Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. The suit would invalidate 2020 election ballots in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. If the Supreme Court decides to hear the case (a very long shot), Trump wants Ted Cruz to argue it. Cruz has apparently agreed to do it. Things have certainly changed in four years.

By the way, evangelical Nebraska GOP senator Ben Sasse thinks Paxton is looking for a pardon from Trump.

Now that the context is set, let’s see what the court evangelicals are saying:

Greg Locke of Global Vision Bible Church says the pandemic is “fake” and he will not take a vaccine. When asked to define a “pandemic,” Locke said “COVID is not it.”

Eric Metaxas’s Christmas Show is back again this year:

Liberty University Falkirk Center fellows Metaxas and Charlie Kirk got together yesterday:

Metaxas says that “God acts in history” and he has acted on the side of Trump. He believes that only “mature” Christians understand this. In other words, if you are a serious (“mature”) Christian, you will know that Trump won the election. Metaxas, of course, is one of those mature Christians. He also says that since he “knows” Trump won the election it doesn’t really matter what we can prove in court. Anyone who disagrees is not only “arrogant,” but is working on behalf of evil and spitting “on the grave of George Washington.” (The “arrogance” of Metaxas’s claim to know the mind of God is astounding. He claims that God told him and some friends whom he trusts that Trump will have a second term).

Metaxas seems to believe he is Dietrich Bonhoeffer and all those who reject this conspiracy theory are the Germans who stood-by and watched Hitler rise to power. At one point, Kirk asks Metaxas what he thinks will happen with the election fraud cases currently in the courts and Metaxas says he is “too ignorant of the details to answer that question in any substantive way.” Unbelievable.

This stuff goes on for 40 minutes. At one point Metaxas says he believes that God will intervene on behalf of Trump, the criminals will go to jail, and the country will heal. Kirk, on the other hand, says he is preparing for war no matter what happens with the election results.

Meanwhile, on Twitter, Kirk suggests that recent leaks about the prosecution of Hunter Biden came from the Kamala Harris camp. Kirk never met a conspiracy theory he didn’t like–all in the name of Jesus.

Kirk, the founder of Liberty University’s Falkirk Center, continues the “election fraud” fight:

A woman believes that Jenna Ellis, Trump lawyer and Liberty University Falkirk Center fellow, is “sharing the word of God.” A part of me feels sorry for Ellis. She is a young lawyer with very little experience who the Trump is using because so few experienced lawyers are willing to touch these election fraud cases. Ambition is a powerful temptation.

Ellis quotes Robert Gagnon on “holiness”:

And this:

The Falkirk Center, the new center of evangelical Trumpism in America, just celebrated its one-year anniversary by telling people concerned about COVID-19 that they are “wasting their lives in fear of death.” Wait, doesn’t Liberty University have COVID restrictions? Don’t let Liberty University control its students’ lives! 🙂

Lance Wallnau says millions of Christians–a Christian populist movement–is “taking on the devil” and stopping Satan from gaining control of America. The Texas case is all part of God’s plan. God works in mysterious ways. Wallnau’s video has 277K views and 20k comments.

Journalism is dead, except at the Christian Broadcasting Network:

Court evangelical journalist David Brody’s claim about the death of journalism is rich in light of the fact that he is getting his understanding of constitutional republicanism from Lara Trump:

The speaker list for the December 12 “Jericho March” in Washington D.C. includes: Michelle Bachmann, Michael Flynn, Mike “My Pillow Guy” Lindell, Eric Metaxas, Abby Johnson, Cindy Jacobs, Fr Frank Pavone, Kelly Kullberg, and Dennis Prager.

Johnnie Moore is praying for health care workers, but he says nothing about the president who seems to be ignoring COVID-19 and his fellow evangelicals who oppose masks and social distancing. Is this what a “modern day Dietrich Bonhoeffer” would do?

Tony Perkins is on board with this crazy Texas lawsuit. He can’t “wrap his head” around how people are ignoring all the election fraud. Perkins should take it up with state legislatures (GOP and Democratic) and the Supreme Court (with three Trump appointees). His guest, Louisiana Congressman Mike Johnson, thinks that the Court will take this case. Perkins says he “trusts” Johnson’s judgement. Johnson knows this case has no chance. He is blatantly lying to Perkins. If he is not lying, he is delusional.

Actually, John Hagee, history does not repeat itself and prophecies of a Trump victory in the 2020 election will not come true:

Franklin Graham is pushing the voter fraud narrative:

Texas drive-through ballots will count

I am continually shocked that there are people in the United States of America who want to do everything possible to prevent others from voting.

I am glad to see that the Texas GOP did not get their way. Here is The New York Times:

A federal judge in Houston on Monday rejected Republican efforts to invalidate more than 127,000 votes that were cast at drive-through locations in Harris County, a Democratic stronghold that includes Houston, the nation’s fourth-largest city.

The lawsuit was one of the most aggressive moves by Republicans in an election marked by more than 400 voting-related lawsuits. And it came as Texas, long considered reliably Republican in presidential elections, has emerged as a swing state this year, with polls showing an unusually close race there.

Harris County, the most populous county in Texas, is home to one of the state’s largest concentrations of Democratic voters. It had set up 10 drive-through voting sites to offer a safe, in-person voting option amid the pandemic, and polls were open for 18 days.

But in a lawsuit, Republicans argued that Chris Hollins, the Harris County Clerk, did not have the authority to allow drive-through voting in the county.

Read the rest here.

Learn more about the original Juneteenth proclamation

Juneteenth proclamation

Today the National Archives revealed the original Juneteenth proclamation, also known as General Order No. 3.  Check out NPR’s coverage of this story:

“Based on what’s going on now in this country, there was a need to talk about Juneteenth, the freeing of enslaved people in 1865,” says Michael Davis, a public affairs specialist at the Archives. “I was curious to know if we had the actual document of General Order No. 3 in our holdings.”

So Davis reached out Trevor Plante, who directs the Archives’ textual records division. Plante found that the order was issued by the district of Texas, which helped him locate that command’s order book — used as the official record of orders issued.

Plante found that book yesterday in the stacks of the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C., and located the now-famous order within — handwritten by the major general’s aide, F.W. Emery, and still in good condition. It bears the number three because it was just the third order that Granger had issued since taking over the Texas command.

In 1865, the book was in Galveston, then the Union Army’s headquarters for the district of Texas. Later on, Plante says, it would have been sent to the War Department in Washington, D.C., and then on to the National Archives, where it has been since probably the 1940s, available for researchers to request and peruse.

With the document’s fresh resurgence, it will now be digitized and added to the Archives’ catalog, as well as highlighted on the National Archives and Records Administration’s African American history page. The Archives’ museum and buildings are currently closed to the public and its in-person services suspended, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But in the future, there may be keen interest in viewing the physical version of Order No. 3.

Read the entire piece here.

Here is a transcript:

General Orders

No. 3.

The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.

The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.

          By order of Major General Granger

                    F.W. Emery

                    Major A.A. Genl.

Get your facts straight on Juneteenth

Juneteenth_Memorial_Monument_-_George_Washington_Carver_Museum_-_Austin_Texas

The Juneteenth Memorial Sculpture Monument at the George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural, and Genealogy Center, Austin, Texas

Check out Afi-Odelia Scrugg‘s helpful piece at The Washington Post. A taste:

National Geographic says, “As newly freed Texans began moving to neighboring states, Juneteenth celebrations spread across the South and beyond.”  CNBC says the holiday spread “as part of the Great Migration of former slaves” out of Texas.

In fact, emancipation celebrations were commonly observed all around the country during the late 19th and early 20th centuries (and, for the record, the Great Migration began around 50 years after the Civil War ended, and it didn’t involve only Texans). They marked the days each state was freed, not the Texas holiday. Washington, D.C., celebrates Emancipation Day on April 16, the date Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act. Some counties in Tennessee, for example, observe Emancipation Day on Aug. 8. The first celebration was held in 1871. The state wasn’t subject to the Emancipation Proclamation because Tennessee was under Union control by June 6, 1862 — four months before Lincoln wrote his preliminary draft. But historians think Aug. 8 marks the date that then-Tennessee military governor Andrew Johnson freed his personal slaves in Greenville, Tenn. Johnson eventually became Lincoln’s vice president and then successor after his assassination. Emancipation Day celebrations in  Ohio attracted thousands and were a stop for campaigning politicians. Ohio has recognized Sept. 22 as Emancipation Day since 2006. That effort was led by a high school history class in Washington Court House, near Columbus. Their testimony for the holiday mentions Juneteenth and urges Ohio to follow Texas’s lead in designating an official emancipation holiday.

Read the entire piece here.

Oklahoma Senator James Lankford was behind Trump’s decision to move the Tulsa rally date

BOK

Tulsa’s Bank of Oklahoma Center will host Trump’s June 20, 2020 campaign rally

Trump claims he did not know that June 19th, 1865 was an important day in African-American history. I guess he forgot that he released a statement on Juneteenth last year.

Juneteenth celebrates the date when Union Major General Gordon Granger and 2000 Union troops landed in Galveston, Texas to announce the end of the Civil War.  In accordance with Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation (which became official on January 1, 1863), Granger also and announced that “all slaves are free.”

When asked about Trump’s decision to schedule a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the place that just celebrated the 99th-anniversary of a 1921 race massacre, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, a Republican, said: “I would certainly say that the more diverse our staffs, the more we avoid these public issues that come about. So I don’t have a good answer for that because I’m not on his staff and don’t know what his plan is,”

Scott is right. But even if Trump didn’t have any people of color on his staff, one might think he would have some educated white people who knew something about American history.

After much public outcry, Trump decided to push the rally to June 20. Oklahoma Senator James Lankford was one of the people who convinced Trump to change the date.

Here is the Associated Press:

“There’s special sensitivities there in Tulsa, but Juneteenth is a very significant day, so my encouragement to the president was to be able to pick a day around it,” Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., said Sunday. Lankford said he was among several people who had spoken with Trump.

Lankford said he had called Trump on an unrelated matter and that Trump broached the issue. He said Trump told him he was thinking about rescheduling and asked Lankford’s opinion.

“I suggested, ‘Yes, I think that would be a great idea. It would be very, very respectful to the community,’” Lankford said. He said Trump immediately said he didn’t want to do anything that would show disrespect to the black community.

“He didn’t see it as disrespectful to be able to do it on Juneteenth,” Lankford said. “Other people interpreted it differently and so he moved the rally date.”

Read the entire piece here.

Lankford is a Trump supporter and lines-up with Christian Right values, but has, on a few rare occasions, criticized the president:

  • He criticized Trump’s photo-op in front of St. John’s Church.
  • He has criticized Trump’s handling of the coronavirus.
  • I participated with him in a National Association of Evangelicals briefing in Washington D.C.
  • He made a subtle criticism of Trump’s handling of the Charlottesville race riots.

It is also worth nothing that the BOK Center in Tulsa has not held an event since the coronavirus lockdown and all events following Trump’s June 20 rally, including concerts by The Black Crowes, Justin Bieber, Poison, and Toby Mac, have been cancelled or postponed.

The Author’s Corner with Thomas Richards

Breakaway AmericasThomas Richards Jr. teaches history at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy. This interview is based on his new book, Breakaway Americas: The Unmanifest Future of the Jacksonian United States (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2020).

JF: What led you to write Breakaway Americas?

TR: This book began with two seemingly disparate nineteenth-century histories: Texas and Canada. As a first-year graduate student, I was particularly intrigued by two works on Texas: Andrés Reséndez’s Changing National Identities at the Frontier and the late Andrew Cayton’s essay “Continental Politics: Liberalism, Nationalism, and the Appeal of Texas in the 1820s,” found in the edited volume Beyond the Founders. Both authors argued that the Anglo-Texans who migrated to late Mexican Texas and the Republic of Texas were not US expansionists or filibusters. Rather, they were genuinely attracted to various aspects of life in Texas, much of which they believed improved upon that of the United States.

At the same time, I started researching the 1838 “Patriot War” on the US-Canadian border, in which Americans invaded Canada in an effort to restart the failed Canadian Rebellions. As with Texas, this struggle has often been portrayed as American filibusters seeking to expand US territory. Yet, American Patriots rarely mentioned the United States, and, if they did, it was with disdain – just like many early Anglo-Texans. After all, the United States in the late 1830s was mired in economic depression, social unrest, and political dysfunction. To my surprise (and delight as a historian), American Patriots even routinely references the Republic of Texas to explain their goals, as they hoped to create a “northern Texas” that offered them land and prosperity, in contrast to a US seemingly on the decline.

After seeing such similar rhetoric in such disparate places, I widened my gaze: what did Americans in Oregon Territory think about the United States? Or those in Mexican California? What did the Mormons think as they moved to the Salt Lake Valley (then part of Mexico)? Or even “removed” Natives in US Indian Territory? If both Anglo-Texans and American Patriots forecasted a permanent US decline and better alternatives beyond US borders, what did these other groups think? Sure enough, they held similar notions of the future – although the ideals each group sought to realize were markedly different.

JF: In two sentences, what is the argument of Breakaway Americas?

TR: Until the mid-1840s, a majority of Americans did not believe US expansion would occur in the near future, and therefore those who migrated beyond US borders sought to create their own “breakaway Americas” that improved upon the United States. Yet, while their prediction was quite logical, it turned out to be utterly wrong, as a series of unforeseen and unlikely contingencies drastically changed the trajectory of US politics, making what once appeared unlikely to become “manifest destiny.”

JF: Why do we need to read Breakaway Americas?

TR: For three reasons. First, from a historiographic standpoint, this book proves that explaining US expansion through the ideology of “manifest destiny” needs to be permanently abandoned. While historians have long demonstrated that this ideology masked the violence and racism of US conquest, most continue to assume that a majority of Americans – both within the United States and beyond its borders – predicted and supported US expansion. This was simply not the case.

Second, from an informational standpoint, this book brings together a wide range of people and groups rarely examined together (and sometimes hardly examined at all): Mormons, Removed Natives, Anglo-Californians, Anglo-Texans, Americans in Oregon Territory, and even the American Patriots who invaded Canada. All of these groups are fascinating, both for their shared prediction that US borders would forever stop at the Rocky Mountains, and for how much they differed among one another, all while embracing various aspects of American culture and society.

Third, from a presentist standpoint, this book places a great deal of weight on the concept of historical contingency, by which I mean that the past is just as much shaped by unlikely and unpredictable in-the-moment events as it is by larger structural forces. For those who lament our current political dysfunction and seemingly unbreakable cycle of hostile partisanship, the concept of contingency offers hope for the future. To be sure, it can also offer despair – no one knows how the next unpredictable event will play out (indeed, my book laments the violence of US expansion that resulted from the contingencies of the late 1830s and 1840s). Yet, at the very least, just as nothing was destined in the past, nothing about our present moment is “baked in.” Change can happen in unforeseeable ways.

JF: When and why did you decide to become an American historian?

TR: Ironically, my personal story directly contradicts the argument of my book: there is almost nothing contingent about my journey to becoming an American historian. Indeed, it may have been “baked in” as early as age three, when my father took me to Gettysburg for the first time. In kindergarten, I wrote a story about Ben Franklin. I majored in history as an undergraduate at Penn, and immediately started teaching it at a Philadelphia high school the following year. No one who knew me was surprised when I returned to graduate school at Temple to get my Ph.D. in history. While I have other historical obsessions beyond simply the early American republic–Byzantium, for example–I cannot read ancient Greek, so American history was the most logical obsession to pursue.

JF: What is your next project?

TR: I am writing a trade book that will tell the story of early American politics through the lens of the various “roads not taken” – or, more accurately, roads taken that eventually led to dead ends. For example, I’m writing a chapter on the rise and fall of female suffrage in early New Jersey, and another chapter on the Kentucky court fight of the mid-1820s, in which two courts claimed legitimacy and sparred over economic relief measures for the poor. Once again, I’m placing an importance on contingency: these moments that seemed so alien and anomalous in retrospect, could have, under only slightly different circumstances, turned into the norm.

JF: Thanks, Thomas!

How Politics Shapes American History Textbooks

McGraw Hill

In a nice piece of investigating reporting and research (which she writes about in this companion piece), New York Times education reporter Dana Goldstein compared middle school and high school textbooks read by students in California and Texas.  These books, published in 2016 or later, had the same publishers and credit the same authors.  Yet they sometimes tell the story of United States history in different ways.

Here is a taste:

The books The Times analyzed were published in 2016 or later and have been widely adopted for eighth and 11th graders, though publishers declined to share sales figures. Each text has editions for Texas and California, among other states, customized to satisfy policymakers with different priorities.

“At the end of the day, it’s a political process,” said Jesús F. de la Teja, an emeritus professor of history at Texas State University who has worked for the state of Texas and for publishers in reviewing standards and textbooks.

The differences between state editions can be traced back to several sources: state social studies standards; state laws; and feedback from panels of appointees that huddle, in Sacramento and Austin hotel conference rooms, to review drafts.

Requests from textbook review panels, submitted in painstaking detail to publishers, show the sometimes granular ways that ideology can influence the writing of history.

A California panel asked the publisher McGraw-Hill to avoid the use of the word “massacre” when describing 19th-century Native American attacks on white people. A Texas panel asked Pearson to point out the number of clergy who signed the Declaration of Independence, and to state that the nation’s founders were inspired by the Protestant Great Awakening.

Read the entire piece here.  The graphics are amazing. You need to read it for yourself to really appreciate the work that went into it.

A few comments:

  • In the passage of the article I excerpted above, the Texas request to include the clergy who signed the Declaration of Independence and the reference to the First Great Awakening influence on the Revolution has David Barton and Wallbuilders written all over it.  Barton, and other conservatives who embrace his view of Christian nationalist history, have sat on the Texas Board of Education-appointed committee that approves textbooks and social studies standards.  I have been following this off and on since 2009. I even wrote an op-ed in the Houston Chronicle addressing Barton’s involvement.  For the record, there was only one member of the clergy who signed the Declaration of Independence.  It was John Witherspoon, the Presbyterian minister who also served as president of the College of New Jersey at Princeton.  And the influence of the Great Awakening on the nation’s founders is a problematic claim.  Yet we see evangelicals like radio host Eric Metaxas and pastor Greg Laurie--evangelicals who probably get their history from Barton– making such statements all the time.   But I digress.
  • This article reminds us that educational publishing is a business.  If Texas or California politicians and government officials want their history framed in a certain way, the textbook companies are happy to do it.
  • It is good to see Goldstein note that U.S. history textbooks, of both the California and Texas variety, have come a long way.  Many of them do a nice job of covering slavery, women’s rights, and immigration.  For example, students no longer read about slaves who prefer slavery to freedom because of kind masters.
  • Of course a textbook is only one tool at the disposal of a middle school or high school history teacher.  A good teacher might even try to show bias in their textbooks, perhaps through an exercise such as Opening Up the Textbook.  Goldstein’s article might be a nice starting point to get students to see that their textbook (or any piece of published material, whether it be hard copy or on the Internet) has a bias.
  • A bit of snark to the end this post.  Goldstein’s article assumes students actually read the textbook.

 

What if Great Britain Purchased Texas in 1843 and Freed all the Slaves?

Lone Star

This is a fascinating short piece on Stephen Pearl Andrews, a lawyer in the Republic of Texas who wanted to sell large portions of Texas to Great Britain in the hopes that these new landowners would end slavery.  Here is a taste of Mark Sussman’s piece at JSTOR Daily:

In 1843, a New England lawyer almost managed to sell Texas to Great Britain. A convinced abolitionist practicing law in what was then the independent Republic of Texas, Stephen Pearl Andrews got it into his head that, in an attempt to free Texas’s slaves, he would invite a foreign power into North America and hand over a massive chunk of it. Andrews’s attempt to free Texas’s slaves by way of an invitation to foreign interference illustrates the strange bedfellows created by “the slavery question” in the nineteenth century. Andrews, in his quixotic vision, in his idealism, ambition, and occasional crankery, was an exemplary nineteenth-century American figure.

Andrews spent his late teens and early twenties teaching at a girls’ school in New Orleans opened by his brother and sister-in-law, where he was exposed to the reality of slavery. He grew close to a man named George, a slave at the Andrews’s school, who went about his work with a cheerful attitude until, one night, confiding as to the true nature of his condition. George’s reports of his own sorry treatment at the hands of his owners, from the everyday indignities to whippings, left Andrews with “a profound impression… of the tremendous power of that great national machinery of oppression, American Slavery.” That impression never left him.

Read the rest here.

Pro-Life Women for Beto O’Rourke

abortion

Earlier this month, New York Times religion reporter Elizabeth Dias did a story on evangelical women who are supporting Beto O’Rourke over Ted Cruz in the Texas Senate race.  One of the women quoted in that piece said “I care as much about babies at the border as I do about babies in the womb.”

Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa is a pro-life feminist and founder of an organization called New Wave Feminists.  In an op-ed in yesterday’s Dallas Morning News she explains why she just voted for Beto, a pro-choice candidate.  Here is a taste of her piece:

I run a large pro-life feminist group, not just a pro-life group. We were the ones removed as sponsors from the Women’s March back in 2017 because of our stance against abortion rights. And that was a real shame because while I am 100 percent pro-life, I’m also 100 percent feminist, and I saw the way Trump treated women as an absolute deal-breaker. Sadly, we were one of the few pro-life groups that took this position. 

However, during that election I started to see, as an independent, just how deep the GOP had its hooks in the pro-life movement. I saw the way these politicians used unborn children’s lives to get out the vote but then oftentimes forgot about those lives soon after. I saw the way pro-lifers compromised so many of their own upstanding ethics and morals to elect a man thrice married, who bragged about his infidelities and predatory behavior. And why? So they could get their Supreme Court seats.

And then I watched as they got two of those seats, and how they boasted that all of their compromise had been worth it because we now have a “pro-life” advantage on the Supreme Court and could possibly overturn Roe vs. Wade. All the while, Sen. Susan Collins was explaining that she voted yes to Kavanaugh only because he assured her Roe was “settled law.”

This was the last straw for me. That’s when the blinders came all the way off. This idea of eliminating abortion by simply making it illegal is far too low of a bar to set. Abortion must become unthinkable and unnecessary if we want to eradicate it from our culture. And the only way that will happen is by creating a post-Roe culture while Roe still stands.

Read the entire piece here.

The American Revolution in Texas Schools

Texas

The Texas State Board of Education has “streamlined” the state’s social studies standards in a way that limits what students will learn about the American Revolution.  Michael Oberg, Distinguished Professor of History at SUNY-Geneseo, describes the changes:

One of my favorite undergraduate professors, John Walzer, taught the course I took on the American Revolution a long time ago at Cal State Long Beach. One of his students once made a movie reenacting the Boston Tea Party. The local marina stood in for Boston Harbor, somebody’s fishing boat for The Dartmouth, and cardboard boxes for chests of tea. After the “Sons of Liberty” committed their act of defiance, the cameras followed them home. When they attempted to wash off their “Mohawk” disguises, no matter how hard they scrubbed, they would not come off.They were revolutionaries now, and there was no turning back.

I have always loved that story. It gets at the dramatic urgency of the colonists’ protest movement, and depicts that moment when defiant opponents of parliamentary taxation realized that their relationship to Great Britain as subject and citizen was broken beyond repair. The story of this film helps students see the excitement of the Revolution, but also its danger. It is a powerful and important thing for students to experience.

So I worry that if states like Texas have their way, we will lose the drama and the excitement of the Age of Revolution. In a set of revised learning standards, the Texas State Board of Education reduces the revolution to little more than a constitutional dispute with Great Britain, of value only because it produces the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and a new nation at its end. Nothing is at stake. Little will be lost. The revolution seems inevitable, and no more disorderly than a game of Canasta.

And here is another taste of Oberg’s piece at “Age of Revolutions”:

Given its history of social studies education and its highly politicized methods for revising curricula, it is easy to beat up on Texas. But here’s the thing. Too many of my students think of the Revolution primarily as a creature of the “Founding Fathers.” They associate it, barely, with the Revolutionary War, and know little of the protest movements that preceded it. They know little of the consequences of the Revolution, save for the fact that the United States emerged as a new nation at its end.

Texas offers its schoolchildren a highly truncated presentation of the Revolution, and that is both disappointing and a cause for concern. The state’s approach robs students of the opportunity to explore the contingencies, the rending compromises, and the internal conflict that characterized these years. It deprives students of the human drama, as ordinary Americans—Anglo-Americans divided by class and region, immigrants from Europe from a host of religious traditions, Africans and Native Americans in all their diversity—found themselves forced to choose sides. Revolutions never tolerate neutrality, and the American Revolution was no different. Our students are seldom asked to consider that the gains brought about by the Revolution often came at the expense of others. 

Read the entire piece here.

White Evangelical Women in Texas May Be Leaning Toward Beto O’Rourke

Beto
Here is Elizabeth Dias’s reporting at The New York Times:

After church on a recent Sunday, Emily Mooney smiled as she told her girlfriends about her public act of rebellion. She had slapped a “Beto for Senate’’ sticker on her S.U.V. and driven it to her family’s evangelical church.

But then, across the parking lot, deep in conservative, Bible-belt Texas, she spotted a sign of support: the same exact sticker endorsing Beto O’Rourke, the Democrat who is challenging Senator Ted Cruz.

“I was like, who is it?” she exclaimed. “Who in this church is doing this?”

Listening to Ms. Mooney’s story, the four other evangelical moms standing around a kitchen island began to buzz with excitement. All of them go to similarly conservative churches in Dallas. All are longtime Republican voters, solely because they oppose abortion rights. Only one broke ranks to vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016. But this November, they have all decided to vote for Mr. O’Rourke, the Democratic upstart who is on the front line of trying to upend politics in deep-red Texas.

Read the rest here.  The article also notes that many white evangelicals in Texas are not happy with the rhetoric coming from Dallas court evangelical pastor Robert Jeffress.

What I Watched Ted Cruz Do Tonight at the End of His Debate With Beto O’Rourke Was Despicable

Fast forward to the 51:30 mark of tonight Ted Cruz-Beto O’Rourke’s debate.

 

Sadly, Texas evangelicals have Cruz’s back.  I am sure they cheered when he offered Beto this back-handed compliment.

Texas Social Studies Standards: Here We Go Again!

Hillary Congress

Should Texas students know something about Hillary Clinton?

The Texas State Board of Education voted last week to “streamline” the state’s social studies curriculum because there are too many historical names to memorize.  Here are some proposed changes:

  • Remove “San Jacinto Day” and replace it with “Constitution Day” in a first-grade unit on customs, holidays, and celebrations of the community, state and nation.
  • Remove Hellen Keller from a third-grade unit on “citizenship”
  • Amend the Civil War standards to recognize “the central role of the expansion of slavery in causing the Civil War and other contributing factors including sectionalism and state rights.”
  • Require students to learn about the “heroism” of those who “gave their lives” at the Alamo
  • Reinsert the phrase “Judeo-Christian (especially biblical law) into a 7th grade unit on “major intellectual, philosophical, political, and religious traditions that informed the American founding.”
  • Reinsert “Moses” and remove “Thomas Hobbes from a 7th grade unit on “individuals whose principles of laws and government institutions informed the American founding.”
  • Remove Hillary Clinton from a unit on “the contributions of significant political and social leaders in the United States.”

Some things to think about:

1. Teachers can do whatever they want to do in the classroom.  If they want to talk about Hillary Clinton they can talk about Hillary Clinton. If they want to talk about San Jacinto Day, they can do it.  If they want to talk about the Old Testament as a source of the American founding, they can do so. (Although I would urge them to do it carefully and responsibly, perhaps along the lines of Dan Dreisbach here).

2. These decisions are less about history and education and more about politics.  This is pretty obvious from the examples above.

3. It is important that students are exposed to a variety of voices in American history.  I say this not because I believe in political correctness, but because I believe that all human beings have dignity and thus have voices that should be heard.  If an American history course contains all white voices, this would be a problem.  If an American history course contains all black voices, this would a problem.  For more on my approach here see my Why Study History: Reflecting on the Importance of the Past.

4. In many ways, this entire conversation about standards and who is “in” and who is “out” misses the point of history education.  It favors “coverage” over historical thinking.  Rather than develop this idea here, I point you to other places where I have written about it:

John Fea, “Don’t taint teaching of history in Texas,” Houston Chronicle, July 26, 2009

John Fea, “The Texas Social Studies Standards Debacle,” The Way of Improvement Leads Home, January 15, 2010.

John Fea, “Why study history: A bill before the Pa. Senate is only part of the answer,” Harrisburg Patriot News, July 6, 2017.

Thanks to my colleague Cathay Snyder for bringing this story to my attention.

Can the GOP Save Ted Cruz?

Cruz

Ted Cruz’s campaign for Senate is in trouble.  His opponent, Beto O’Rourke, is closing in on him.  As Alex Isenstadt notes in a recent Politico piece, the GOP are taking campaign funds that it hoped to use in other Senate races (North Dakota, Indiana, Missouri) and spending the money in Texas.

Here is a taste of Isenstadt’s piece:

Now, Cruz is leaning on the president to turn out voters with the planned October rally. The president’s son Donald Trump Jr. is expected to host multiple events for the senator in the Houston area on Oct. 3.

Trump, aides say, was eager to help. The president personally drafted the tweet in which he announced the rally, which he wrote would be held in “the biggest stadium in Texas we can find.”

Since the 2016 race, Trump has repeatedly told Cruz that he’d like to help him get reelected. Final plans for the event, party officials say, are still being worked out.

Administration officials are among those who’ve privately expressed concern about the senator’s prospects. Those worries burst out into the open over the weekend, when Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, told donors at a Republican National Committee meeting that Cruz could lose, a person familiar with the remarks confirmed. The closed-door remarks were first reported by The New York Times.

The sight of national Republicans coming to Cruz’s defense would have been almost unthinkable a few years ago. After being elected in 2012, Cruz clashed repeatedly with GOP leadership — he once took to the Senate floor to call McConnell, the majority leader, a liar. But senior Republicans are putting all that behind them.

Read the rest entire piece here.

By the way, what does it say about Cruz’s campaign that he needs DONALD TRUMP JR to come to Texas to bail him out?

In a recent campaign stop, Cruz said that Texas liberals want the state “to be just like California, right down to tofu and silicon and dyed hair.”  I am not sure if this qualifies as the kind of Cruz “fear-mongering” I described in Believe Me”: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump.  Frankly, I am not sure what this statement qualifies as.

But I did get a revealing tweet on my feed last night: