James Dobson on Biden’s election: “America and Western Civilization will never be the same.” (And other court evangelical news)

As I write, Washington D.C. is an armed camp. 25,000 National Guard members are ready to defend the U.S. Capitol during Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony on January 20.

Meanwhile, people are still dying of COVID-19. Incoming President Joe Biden is doing his best to deal with the pandemic and its effects while outgoing twice-impeached president is holed-up in the White House meeting with MyPillow guy Mike Lindell.

How are the court evangelicals responding?

Eric Metaxas is tweeting about martial law:

Ayanna Pressley has alopecia. But that doesn’t stop Eric from doing this:

The other night Eric Metaxas talked about those willing to die for conspiracy theories as courageous martyrs for Christ. He also shared this.

Not specifically court evangelical news, but one Trump evangelical apologized.

Yesterday a Liberty University graduate published a piece at The Bulwark that called the Falkirk Center a “slime factory.”

Apparently the Falkirk Center believes that American companies are “the left.” So much for free enterprise. Businesses can refuse to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple, but they do not have the right to silence conspiracy theorists?

Charlie Kirk forgets about the time the MyPillow guy bailed out Kyle Rittenhouse:

Lance Wallnau tells his followers that impeachment is really about the elites screwing the working class. The elites currently control the “seven mountains” (as in Seven Mountain Dominionism), but the Christian working class will overthrow them. Wallnau claims that in 2014 the late “prophet” Kim Clement prophesied the words “impeach, impeach.” The interpretation? Trump would be impeached twice by elites in both political parties and the people would rise up in a “new kind of war.” According to Wallnau, this all has something to do with China and COVID-19. It also has something to do with a Jezebel-spirited “witch” in the White House.

Court evangelical David Brody talks with “presidential historian” Doug Wead about Trump’s legacy. Wead expounded a conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton trying to get control of the Catholic Church. He also claims that Amazon is no longer selling the books of “distinguished” theologians. Wead says that “two impeachments will only get historians to notice all of Trump’s great accomplishments.” I beg to differ. I think two impeachments will get historians and millions of school children to notice that Trump was the only president to be impeached twice. 🙂 Wead calls for national unity. He says Biden doesn’t care about national unity because he called U.S. Capitol insurrections “terrorists.” Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up!:

I am not sure what is happening, but something is going on with Samuel Rodriguez and Twitter:

On Facebook, Jim Garlow calls attention to Trump’s “accomplishments” and still manages to get in a shot at the tech corporations who are persecuting him. He writes: “Never has a modern President accomplished so much (and been hated for doing so much good). If you want to see this before others (those who are re-writing history) remove it, you need to copy it now.” (He links to this article).

Here is Garlow on Facebook on January 13:

What happened today? 1. Highest number of Covid deaths in the US ever. Horrific. But Congress obviously had more important (and nefarious) things to do than to care about the American people. 2. And… 232 “Benedict Arnold” traitors of the US Constitution killed our precious Constitution this day, defying it’s very meaning … and – filled with hatred unlike anything we have ever seen – they are trying their best to destroy Donald Trump and the more than 74,000,000 people who voted for him. What a disgrace. Other than that, not much happened today.

On the same day, Garlow said this about the ten Republicans who voted to impeach Trump: “Remember the story of the 10 wimps who went into the Promised Land but they had no courage? “Well – they now have competition.” (He then lists their names). Here are some of his follower’s comments:

  • “They just flushed their career down the drain.”
  • “Every single one of them need to be aggressively primaried”
  • “Hope they enjoy their shortened career.”
  • “They betrayed our president”
  • “Just pray we have an election in 2020”
  • “Backstabbers”

Garlow also shared this post on Facebook from a “friend”:

Today is a day that will live in infamy. One of the greatest Presidents of all time, probably top 10 and certainly the greatest since Reagan, was for the second time the victim of a purely petty, partisan, pathetic, vindicate and groundless impeachment. That Trump has endured 4 years of illegal investigations, spying, lying and corruption and then had the election stolen in the most blatant and obvious fashion and HE is attacked for the VERY things they have done for the last 5 years! It is truly breathtaking and history will show that Trump was correct and that the Left, the Media, and the pathetic spineless RINO’s are the most shameful group of corrupt cowards ever to stain the floors of our Capitol. These are the 10 Republican lawmakers who supported the move to impeach Trump for incitement of insurrection”

Again, this post drew some interesting comments, including:

  • “Disgraceful and utterly absurd. The evil in the hearts of men is actually beyond my comprehension in this current day.”
  • “Well, they are soon going to regret their act of treason. They need to repent quickly.”
  • “Definitely top 10 and I would say top 5!! Republicans who voted to impeach, NOTED.”
  • “I hope every single one of them is voted out. They are nothing better than traitors”
  • “Shame forever”
  • “Not just spineless. Traitorous.”

Robert Jeffress had a run-in with Illinois GOP congressman Adam Kinzinger. In a now deleted tweet, Kinginger wrote: “I believe there’s a huge burden now on pastors and clergy who openly spread the conspiracies of a stolen election, like @robertjeffress @beholdIsrael @FranklinGraham among many others, to admit their mistakes and lead their flocks out of darkness to truth.” Jeffress claimed he never said the election was “stolen.” (This is true. Although he came close). Jeffress, always ready to turn the other cheek, responded:

And Kinzinger’s response:

Jeffress’s exchange with the congressman seems to have re-empowered him. He was back on the Lou Dobbs show on FOX News last night to defend Trump’s legacy. Jeffress doesn’t regret a thing about his support of Trump and calls the twice-impeached, insurrection-inciting leader the greatest president in his lifetime. He talks about an “axis of evil” that tried to take Trump down and tells Dobbs to keep exposing the “darkness” and “lies” that are “sure to come” in the Biden administration.

Ralph Reed just can’t seem to let go. Trump lost. Loeffler lost. Perdue lost. This is a pretty risky thing to say in light of January 6, 2021. Does Reed really think that Biden’s inaugural will not be “marred by violent protests?”

Like Jim Garlow, Gary Bauer also turned to Facebook to call out the ten House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump. Here are some of the comments from his followers after he shared this Washington Examiner article:

  • “Remember that next Election Day; oh, I forgot–there will never be a fair election again.”
  • “They are so blind and deaf, they are Democrats in wolfs clothing, I call for them to be removed/recalled and even kicked out of the GOP”
  • “praying for their hearts and eyes to be lifted up to Jesus to bring healing and deliverance from deception and unbelief…”
  • “Satan worked on their emotions and won. Their hearts were hardened.”
  • “Wicked doesn’t even describe what they have done and will continue to do. The evil devils in the demonkkkrat (sic) party along with their friends the liberal activists in the media have no qualms about using and abusing some one else for power.”

A moderate Democrat and devout Roman Catholic will be inaugurated President of the United States on January 20, 2021 and James Dobson believes that “America and Western Civilization will never be the same.” Here is a taste of his monthly newsletter:

The Left has now achieved ultimate power in the White House, in the House of Representatives, and in the Senate. Consequently, as I warned in December, there will be no checks and balances within our system of government. The most radical ideas promoted by President Joe Biden and his majority party will be enacted. We can infer from what they have told us that the years ahead will bring more regulation, less freedom, more taxation, less religious liberty, more socialism, less democracy, more funds for abortion, less support for the sanctity of human life, less funding for the military, more illegal immigration, more restrictions on speech, less patriotism, more wasteful spending, less support for families, more regulations on business, more appeasement of China, Iran, Russia, and North Korea, less support for the electoral college, trillions more dollars for climate nonsense, more LGBTQ propaganda, less moral compunction, more governmental corruption, less oversight of elections, more “cancel culture,” fewer police officers, more gun control, and less government of the people, by the people and for the people. We can also anticipate quick passage of the horrendous “Equality Act.” You might want to keep track of these items as they occur. This is just the beginning.

America and Western civilization will never be the same, because it is not possible to back up on a freeway. Once radical changes are implemented, they will become ensconced in law and culture. I am most concerned about what all this means for the next generation. Children are extremely vulnerable to leftist curricula in the public schools. Specifically, I am worried about parental rights and the legality of home schooling. It is the only protection for kids.

In conclusion, I will let you interpret this Franklin Graham tweet:

The International Bonhoeffer Society calls for Trump’s removal

While court evangelical Eric Metaxas is invoking Dietrich Bonhoeffer to “stop the steal,” the real Bonhoeffer scholars are calling for the removal of Donald Trump from office. Here is the official statement by the executive board of the International Bonhoeffer Society:

January 11th, 2021

In light of the domestic terrorist attack on the Capitol and Congress of the United States of America, fueled and facilitated by white supremacy, invigorated by false narratives about what was a free and fair election, and incited by President Trump himself, the Executive Board of the International Bonhoeffer Society – English Language Section calls for the immediate removal of Donald Trump from office by the invocation of the 25th Amendment or impeachment.

In February of 2017, the IBS-ELS Board of Directors expressed our grave concerns about the rise of hateful and divisive rhetoric, violence, and distrust that came in the wake of Donald Trump’s election (February 2017 Statement). In January of 2020, we leaned into Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s legacy to see the world from the perspective of those who suffer, and expressed our concerns about threats the Trump administration posed to the most vulnerable among us, including people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, religious minorities, immigrants, and the poor. We called for “ending Donald Trump’s presidency” (January 2020 Statement). In both statements, we offered theological and ethical insight from Bonhoeffer on discerning responsible actions in times of crisis. The threat posed to American democracy by this insurrection amplifies the need for immediate action.

On the day of the baptism of his godson, in May of 1944, Bonhoeffer speaks into a context much like our own, where the dominant church, consumed by the pursuit of its own power and preservation, has not only tolerated but supported authoritarian leadership. Bonhoeffer argues that given this troubling reality, Christians have lost their ability to proclaim a life-giving word to the world. Because “the words we used before must lose their power … we can be Christians today in only two ways, through prayer and in doing justice among human beings.” We call on Christians to band together with all persons of conscience and all institutions dedicated to truth and justice to fight for the preservation of democracy and seek justice for all human beings by holding accountable the leaders who have threatened American democratic foundations.

Jennifer M. McBride, President IBS-ELS
Lori Brandt Hale, Vice President IBS-ELS
Gaylon Barker, Treasurer IBS-ELS
John Matthews, Secretary IBS-ELS
Christian Collins Winn, Board Member
Michael DeJonge, Board Member
Stephen R. Haynes, Board Member
Matthew K. Jones, Board Member
David Krause, Board Member
Michael Mawson, Board Member
Keith Clements, Emeritus Board Member
Clifford J. Green, Emeritus Board Member
Barry Harvey, Emeritus Board Member
Michael Lukens, Emeritus Board Member

When one member of the House of Representatives tried to impeach Thomas Jefferson

I’ll bet you didn’t know that in 1809 Josiah Quincy (MA), the only Federalist in Congress, tried to impeach Thomas Jefferson. His attempt failed by a vote of 117 to 1.

Andrew Fagal, associate editor of the Papers of Thomas Jefferson at Princeton, tells us more in his recent piece at The Washington Post. Here is a taste:

On Jan. 25, 1809, Quincy rose to denounce the president as he had done numerous times in the past. This time was different, as Quincy alleged that Jefferson had failed to carry out his duties as chief executive. The president’s “high misdemeanor,” according to Quincy, was that he kept Benjamin Lincoln, the customs collector for the port of Boston, in federal office despite the man’s protestations that he was too old, and too feeble, to do his job. In 1806 Lincoln had written to Jefferson proposing to resign his office, but Jefferson asked him to stay on until he had appointed a successor. The president did so to nominate Henry Dearborn, his friend and the secretary of war, to this important position before his eventual retirement to Monticello. Jefferson wanted to reward his longtime ally with the Boston collectorship, but first, he needed to keep the long-serving Dearborn in the War Department until the foreign crisis with Great Britain over trade restrictions and the impressment of American sailors was resolved.

Quincy saw it differently, alleging that Jefferson unfairly allowed a federal official to be paid a $5,000 annual salary “for doing no services.”

Quincy’s motion received intense pushback in the floor debate that followed, as both Democratic-Republicans and Federalists objected to it. Seventeen Congressmen in total spoke against even considering the resolution, a high number for any House debate at the time. Thomas Gholson, an administration ally from Virginia labeled Quincy’s impeachment attempt as a “ridiculous proposition” while William A. Burwell, Jefferson’s former private secretary now a Virginia Congressman, referred to the ploy as something out of “Gulliver’s Travels.”

Read the entire piece here.

Franklin Graham “shames” the ten Republicans who voted to impeach Trump

Evangelicalism is an activist faith. Historically, evangelicals have preached a life-changing gospel. They have done amazing acts of service and justice in the world. We can’t ignore these things. Evangelicals have been a source of good.

At the same time, as Mark Noll reminded us in his 1994 book The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, evangelicals are a largely anti-intellectual bunch. This anti-intellectualism results in, among other things, a shallow Christian politics that leads them into the hands of populist leaders like Donald Trump.

If you want an illustration of all this, just look at Franklin Graham’s twitter feed today:

So far so good. A lot of good ministry and service here. This is what evangelicals do best.

And then, about thirty minutes ago, Graham drops this beauty:

It is worth noting that Graham is shaming at least three fellow evangelicals.

Meanwhile, Jenna Ellis of Liberty University’s Falkirk Center is asking Wheaton College writer Ed Stetzer a question:

I would offer some answers to Ellis here.

Notice how Ellis defines evangelical Christianity. How could Stetzer possibly think evangelicals sold out to Trump, Ellis believes, when Trump is pro-life, loves America, and believes in limited government? Again, Ellis’s tweet speaks volumes about the current state of conservative evangelicalism. I don’t know what church Ellis attends, but there is nothing in the Bible about American liberty or American patriotism.

Get up to speed on impeachment. What happens next?

CNN’s Zachary Wolf offers a very helpful summary here. The piece explains why the Senate might hold an impeachment trial after Trump leaves office. Here is a taste:

What’s the point of holding an impeachment trial for a former President? There is precedent for impeaching former officials. Read about that — it’s called a “late impeachment” — here. While the main penalty for a guilty verdict in an impeachment trial is removal from office, senators could vote to bar Trump from holding office in the future — remember, he has not ruled out running for president in 2024. He could also lose his six-figure pension and other post-presidential perks.

Read the entire piece here.

Did American exceptionalism survive Trump?

Bloomsburg writer Mihir Sharma says that Americans shouldn’t get so uptight about apparent threats to their democracy.

Maybe sometimes we need an international voice to help us keep things in perspective. Here is a taste of Sharma’s piece, “World shouldn’t laugh at U.S. too soon“:

Remember: Donald Trump was impeached once and might be again. He has been repudiated by several influential leaders of his own party. He has lost re-election and all his attempts to overturn the result have failed. His party has been rewarded for its embrace of populism with the loss of not just the White House but also of both chambers of the legislature. And Trump himself has been cornered into conceding defeat. That is what you might objectively call a drubbing.

Such a drubbing is not, I hasten to assure you, the usual result of electing a populist. Generally, such leaders ensconce themselves comfortably in power and their victory margins seem mysteriously to grow with each election. There are far too many places where voting is always free but rarely fair, and where democratic despots seem never to be deposed. I wonder how we can even drum up the enthusiasm to mock America, which is emphatically and demonstrably not one of those countries.

I don’t want to minimize the damage that Trump could and did do to America. And it is an open question whether another four years in power would have left the U.S. completely incapable of resisting his corrupting influence. Yet, in comparison to other nations — from Russia to Turkey, Hungary to India — American institutions have demonstrated their value and resilience. Liberal democracies are only as robust as their institutions are independent and their officers are honest. And, because institutions and officials in the U.S. preserved their integrity, Trump was forced to fight a free and fair election — and will have to leave after he convincingly lost it.

In America, judges — even those appointed by Trump — threw out dozens of frivolous court cases. That’s what an independent judiciary does and it is also why populists in places such as Poland and India are reducing judges’ freedom to maneuver.

In America, even Republican officials such as Georgia’s governor and secretary of state stood up to their party’s leader, bluntly refusing to follow his bidding. I’m struggling to imagine an equivalent phone call between, say, Vladimir Putin and a provincial leader from United Russia.

And in America, an adversarial media actually reported on Trump’s corruption in power, as well as his attempts to retain it illegally. We were told in great detail about the colossal ineptitude of his legal team and the poverty of their arguments. In India, the media — even those so adept with puns — would never present the case for ruling-party venality and ineptitude as clearly.

Face it, the death of American exceptionalism has been greatly exaggerated. 

Read the entire piece here.

Ten Republicans voted for the second impeachment of Donald Trump. At least three of them were evangelical Christians

Adam Kinzinger (IL) attends Village Christian Church of Channahon, Illinois, a non-denominational evangelical congregation that appears to have some connection to the Church of Christ tradition.

Liz Cheney (WY) identifies as a United Methodist.

John Katko (NY) is a Catholic.

Fred Upton (MI) identifies as a Protestant.

Jamie Herrera Beutler (WA) is an evangelical Christian who attends City Harvest Church in Vancouver, WA. (She is pictured above).

Dan Newhouse (WA) is an elder at Sunnyside Presbyterian Church, a member of the Presbyterian Church-USA. This church has some links to evangelicalism. The pastor, Mike Souza, is a graduate of Denver Baptist Bible College, Colorado Christian University, and George Fox University.

Peter Meijer (MI) does not seem to make religion a central component of his political identity.

Anthony Gonzalez (OH) is a Catholic.

Tom Rice (SC) is a member of Trinity Episcopal Church. It is is an evangelical Anglican congregation. Interestingly enough, Rice also objected to the certification of the Electoral College vote.

David Valadao (CA) is a Catholic.

Donald Trump just got impeached for the second time. How are the court evangelicals handling it?

The days of the Trump court evangelicals are ending. Right now the big question is whether their king will make it to January 20. The House of Representatives impeached Donald Trump today. Ten members of Trump’s own party voted to impeach him, making this the most bipartisan impeachment in U.S. history. We are now waiting to see how the Senate will respond.

The court evangelicals do not usually respond to current events in real time, but there a few things to report.

The Twitter feed at the Falkirk Center at Liberty University is saying nothing about the impeachment or the insurrection. The feed is filled with tweets about free speech.

Jenna Ellis believes conservative principles are founded on God’s word. (I assume she believes “liberal” principles are not). The verses she quotes in tweet below are all about paying “evil” with “evil.” So apparently she believes that the impeachment of Donald Trump was a form of evil. Ellis wants you to think she is taking the high road here, but she is really manipulating scripture to take yet another shot at her enemies. I don’t expect to see tweets of love toward Joe Biden anytime soon.

Blessed are those who lose their Twitter and Facebook feeds for promoting conspiracy theories:

Richard Land is preaching moral equivalence:

Jim Garlow is still holding his “election integrity” prayer meetings:

Today on his Facebook page, Garlow wrote: “The House of Representatives vote. Despicable.”

Robert Jeffress is gearing-up for Sunday morning:

What does White mean by this tweet?:

Interesting:

Actually, forgiveness, redemption, and restoration begins with taking a hard look at the mistakes of the past:

Franklin Graham endorsed Mike Pence’s use of scripture last night:

Thaddeus Stevens: “In rebuilding, it is necessary to clear away the rotten and defective portions of the old foundations, and to sink deep and found the repaired edifice upon the firm foundation of eternal justice….”

This morning I listened to the debate on impeachment that took place on the floor of the house. The defenders of Donald Trump were arguing that the impeachment of Donald Trump would divide the country and undermine national unity. Mike Pence said essentially the same thing last night when he refused set in motion the process to invoke the 25th Amendment.

As I listened, I pulled David Blight’s Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory off the shelf. The book has a lot to say about calls for “unity” and “healing” in the wake of a tragedy. Here are some pertinent quotes:

p.3: “Americans faced an overwhelming task after the Civil War and emancipation: how to understand the tangled relationship between two profound ideas–healing and justice.”

p.3: “Human reconciliations–when tragically divided people unify again around aspirations, ideas, and the positive bonds of nationalism–are to be cherished. But sometimes reconciliations have terrible costs, both intentional and unseen. The sectional reunion after so horrible a civil war was a political triumph by the late nineteenth century, but it could not have been achieved without the resubjugation of many of those people whom the war had freed from centuries of bondage.

p.53: “In 1866-67, all sides in the epic Reconstruction debates seemed to hear and speak in the tones of requiem. But this requiem was badly out of tune, its harmony discordant.”

p.55: “But in the minds of radical leaders healing could wait. As the House of Representatives was about to vote on the Fourteenth Amendment., [Thaddeus] Stevens declared: ‘in rebuilding, it is necessary to clear away the rotten and defective portions of the old foundations, and to sink deep and found the repaired edifice upon the firm foundation of eternal justice….’ The tragedy of Reconstruction is rooted in this American paradox: the imperative of healing and the imperative of justice could not, ultimately, cohabit the same house.”

Historians call for the second impeachment of Donald Trump

Here is the statement from the Historians and Legal Scholars for Impeachment.

As American historians and constitutional scholars, we support the impeachment and removal of President Donald J. Trump. Throughout his presidency, Trump has defied the Constitution and broken laws, norms, practices, and precedents, for which he must be held accountable now and after he leaves office. No future president should be tempted by the example of his defiance going unpunished.

One of Trump’s earlier abuses of power did result in his impeachment on December 18, 2019, for attempting to coerce a foreign power to interfere in the U.S. presidential election of 2020. But since November 2020, Trump has refused to accept the results of a free and fair election, something no president before him has ever done. Instead of engaging in the peaceful transfer of power, he encouraged an insurrection by a mob of his supporters on January 6, 2021, urging them to march on the U.S. Capitol, to “fight,” in his word, and halt the constitutionally prescribed process of counting the Electoral Votes that would confirm former Vice President Joseph R. Biden as President-Elect.

By fomenting violence against the Congress and seeking to subvert constitutional democracy, which resulted in the killing of a Capitol police officer and the deaths of several rioters, Trump has violated his oath of office to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. He is a clear and present danger to American democracy and the national security of the United States. He has disqualified himself from continuing to serve out even his few remaining days as president, as well as from ever again holding, according to the Constitution, “any Office of honor, Trust or profit under the United States.” We urge members of the House of Representatives to conduct a speedy impeachment and the Senate to hold a prompt trial as the Constitution stipulates.

Signers include: Eric Alterman, Fred Anderson, Rick Atkinson, Sarah Barringer Gordon, Mia Bay, Thomas Bender, Mary Beth Norton, David Blight, Claire Potter, Patricia Bonomi, Eileen Boris, Taylor Branch, John Brooke, Richard D. Brown, Kathleen Brown, Jon Butler, David Chappell, Ron Chernow, Joseph Crespono, Robert Dallek, Andrew Delbanco, Gregory Downs, Mary Dudziak, Jeffrey Engel, Michael Dyson, Nicole Eustace, Ann Fabian, Daniel Feller, Michael Flamm, Francois Furstenberg, Neal Gabler, Gary Gerstle, Jonathan Gienapp, Todd Gitlin, Lawrence Glickman, Adam Goodheart, Eliga Gould, Edward Gray, Steven Hahn, Karen Halttunen, Andrew Hartman, Nicole Hemmer, Eric Hinderaker, Martha Hodes, David Hollinger, Benjamin Irvin, Meg Jacobs, Karl Jacoby, Jacqueline Jones, Joseph Peniel, Jane Kamensky, David Kennedy, Kevin Kruse, Christine Heyrman, Dahlia Lithwick, Staughton Lynd, Louis Masur, Kevin Mattson, John McWhorter, Steven Mintz, Timothy Naftali, Mae Ngai, Rick Perlstein, Jack Rakove, Eric Rauchway, Daniel Rodgers, Renee Romano, Doug Rossinow, Jonathan Sarna, Virginia Scharff, Stacy Schiff, Kevin Schultz, Robert Self, Rick Shenkman, Manisha Sinha, Jason Sokol, Thomas Sugrue, Jeremi Suri, Sam Tanenhaus, Gil Troy, Ted Widmer, Sean Wilentz, Alan Wolfe, Conrad Wright, Rosemarie Zagarri, Jonathan Zimmerman, and Michael Zuckerman.

Yes, I also signed it.

Mike Pence quotes Ecclesiastes; says it is time for the nation to heal

Last night the House of Representatives asked Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment. He refused to do it.

Here is the letter he sent to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi:

The next to last paragraph caught my attention. Pence quotes part of Ecclesiastes 3. He writes, “The Bible says that ‘for everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven…a time to heal…and a time to build up.'”

Here is the entire passage:

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace

There are a lot of ways one could manipulate this passage. For example, one could say that it is time to “uproot” this president and “tear down” his administration so we can “build up” democracy. Or perhaps this verse is telling us that it is a time to “weep” and “mourn” for what Trump put the nation through during the last four years. For Pence and the GOP, maybe the last four years was a “time to speak” instead of a “time to be silent.” And so on. This is why I hate it when politicians try to use Bible verses to justify their specific political decisions.

Pence goes on: “In the midst of the global pandemic, economic hardship for millions of Americans, and the tragic events of January 6, now is the time for us to come together, now is the time to heal.”

But is it really?

Pence’s call for healing rings hollow. It comes from a man who stood faithfully behind Trump for four years. The Trump administration, including Pence, had a lot to do with the spread of the global pandemic, the economic hardship Americans are now facing, and the events of January 6.

Yes, we need to heal, but first we must remove Trump from office and crush his ability to get back into the political arena, a place where he can continue his divisive and disruptive ways. If Pence is serious about healing, he would do his part to cast Trump into the dustbin of history and make sure that his attempts to propagate a “lost cause” movement are weakened.

Remember that Lincoln’s conciliatory Second Inaugural Address took place after the Confederacy was all but defeated.

The House will impeach Trump, but will the Senate convict?

If you asked me this question twenty four hours ago I would have answered, “probably not.” But now I am not so sure.

Today we learned that Mitch McConnell, the outgoing Senate majority leader, said that Donald Trump did commit an impeachable offense by inciting the January 6, 2021 insurrection. He is pleased that the House will impeach (again) the president tomorrow. But will he allow a trial to take place?

Here is The New York Times;

Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, has told associates that he believes President Trump committed impeachable offenses and that he is pleased that Democrats are moving to impeach him, believing that it will make it easier to purge him from the party, according to people familiar with his thinking. The House is voting on Wednesday to formally charge Mr. Trump with inciting violence against the country.

Read the rest here. Or at CNN.

Meanwhile, John Katko of New York became the first Republican to announce that he will vote for Trump’s impeachment tomorrow. Liz Cheney is the second Republican. CNN is reporting this as I type.

Trump still thinks he did nothing wrong. Today he doubled-down.

CNN and other outlets are reporting that congressmen Paul Gosar (AZ), Andy Biggs (AZ), and Mo Brooks (AL) worked closely with Ali Alexander, one of the organizers of the event that led to the protest.

Stay tuned.

Here is the article of impeachment against Donald Trump

There is a very good chance that Donald Trump will be the second president in United States history to be impeached by the House of Representatives. Read the article of impeachment here. And here:

Resolved, That Donald John Trump, President of the United States, is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors and that the following article of impeachment be exhibited to the United States Senate:

Article of impeachment exhibited by the House of Representatives of the United States of America in the name of itself and of the people of the United States of America, against Donald John Trump, President of the United States of America, in maintenance and support of its impeachment against him for high crimes and misdemeanors.

Article I: INCITEMENT OF INSURRECTION

The Constitution provides that the House of Representatives “shall have the sole Power of Impeachment” and that the President “shall have the sole Power of Impeachment” and that the President “shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Further, section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution prohibits any person who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against” the United States from hold[ing] any office…under the United States.” In his conduct while President of the United States–and in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed–Donald John Trump engaged in high Crimes and Misdemeanors by inciting violence against the Government of the United States in that:

On January 6, 2021, pursuant to the 12th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, the Vice President of the United States, the House of Representatives, and the Senate met at the United States Capitol for a Joint Session of Congress to count the votes of the Electoral College. In the months preceding the Joint Session, President Trump repeatedly issued false statements asserting that the Presidential election results were the product of widespread fraud and should not be accepted by the American people or certified by State or Federal officials. Shortly before the Joint Session commenced; President Trump, addressed a crowd at the Ellipse in Washington D.C. There, he reiterated false claims that “we won the election, and we won it by a landslide”. He also willfully made statements that, in context, encouraged–and foreseeably resulted in–lawless action at the Capitol, such as: “if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.” Thus incited by President Trump, members of the crowd he had addressed, in an attempt to, among other objectives, interfere with the Joint Session’s solemn constitutional duty to certify the results of the 2020 Presidential election, unlawfully breached and vandalized the Capitol, injured and killed law enforcement personnel, menaced Members of Congress, the Vice President, and Congressional personnel, and engaged in other violent, deadly, destructive, and seditious acts.

President Trump’s conduct on January 6, 2021, following his prior efforts to subvert and obstruct the certification of the results of the 2020 Presidential election. Those prior efforts included a phone call on January 2, 2021, during which President Trump urged the secretary of state of Georgia, Brad Raffensberger, to “find” enough votes to overturn the Georgia Presidential election results and threatened Secretary Raffensberger if he failed to do so.

In all this, President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institution of Government. He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of Government. He thereby betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore, Donald John Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy, and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law. Donald John Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.

Today Congress called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment. The House will vote on this call tomorrow. If Pence does not invoke the 25th, the House will move toward impeachment based on this article.

What is the difference between invoking the 25th Amendment and impeachment? Watch presidential historian Jeff Engel explain here.

John Bolton’s book will confirm everything we already knew about Trump’s character

Bolton

There will be a lot of bombshells in John Bolton’s book, but it will tell us nothing new about Trump’s narcissism. It will only confirm what we already know.

Nevertheless, Stephen Collinson’s piece at CNN on the former National Security Adviser’s forthcoming book is worth reading.

Here is a taste:

So the President’s decision to risk exposing his supporters to coronavirus — and anyone they might later meet — at an indoor rally on Saturday and extraordinary revelations from former national security adviser John Bolton might be shocking. But they merely add to a bulging file of evidence about Trump’s incessant preoccupation with his own interests and image.

Read the rest here.

And I will also join the chorus of those calling Bolton a coward for failing to testify before the House during the impeachment trial.

John Bolton’s Book is Coming

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Get ready. June 23, 2020.

Here‘s The Washington Post:

John Bolton is forging ahead with plans to publish a scathing memoir about his time in President Trump’s White House and is in negotiations with network television channels to promote the book, according to people familiar with the talks.

Bolton, who served as national security adviser from April 2018 to September 2019, plans to publish “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir” on June 23, after embarking on a media tour to promote the book the weekend before, according to people with knowledge of the negotiations who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations.

The White House has not formally signed off on the tome, and officials in the Trump administration have delayed the book for months due to a classification review process led by the National Security Council.

Read the rest here.

“When Trump demanded to know whom he’d voted for in 2016, McCabe was so shocked…”

McCabe

I finally got around to reading George Packer’s piece in The Atlantic on Trump’s attack on American institutions. It is chilling.  It reveals a mafia-style presidency.  It sheds new light on the fact that Trump demands loyalty to him, not to American institutions. And he surrounds himself with right-wing Christians like Bill Barr and Mike Pompeo to carry out his tyranny.  This passage on how Trump treated former FBI Director Andrew McCabe is revealing:

“Your only problem is that one mistake you made,” McCabe later recalled Trump saying. “That thing with your wife. That one mistake.” McCabe said nothing, and Trump went on: “That was the only problem with you. I was very hard on you during my campaign. That money from the Clinton friend—I was very hard. I said a lot of tough things about your wife in the campaign.”

“I know,” McCabe replied. “We heard what you said.” He told Trump that Jill was a dedicated doctor, that running for office had been another way for her to try to help her patients. He and their two teenage children had completely supported her decision.

“Oh, yeah, yeah. She’s great. Everybody I know says she’s great. You were right to support her. Everybody tells me she’s a terrific person.”

The next morning, while McCabe was meeting with his senior staff about the Russia investigation, the White House called—Trump was on the line. This was disturbing in itself. Presidents are not supposed to call FBI directors, except about matters of national security. To prevent the kind of political abuses uncovered by Watergate, Justice Department guidelines dating back to the mid-’70s dictate a narrow line of communication between law enforcement and the White House. Trump had repeatedly shown that he either didn’t know or didn’t care.

The president was upset that McCabe had allowed Comey to fly back from Los Angeles on the FBI’s official plane after being fired. McCabe explained the decision, and Trump exploded: “That’s not right! I never approved that!” He didn’t want Comey allowed into headquarters—into any FBI building. Trump raged on. Then he said, “How is your wife?”

“She’s fine.”

“When she lost her election, that must have been very tough to lose. How did she handle losing? Is it tough to lose?”

McCabe said that losing had been difficult but that Jill was back to taking care of children in the emergency room.

“Yeah, that must have been really tough,” the president told his new FBI director. “To lose. To be a loser.”

As McCabe held the phone, his aides saw his face go tight. Trump was forcing him into the humiliating position of not being able to stand up for his wife. It was a kind of Mafia move: asserting dominance, emotional blackmail.

“It elevates the pressure of this idea of loyalty,” McCabe told me recently. “If I can actually insult your wife and you still agree with me or go along with whatever it is I want you to do, then I have you. I have split the husband and the wife. He first tried to separate me from Comey—‘You didn’t agree with him, right?’ He tried to separate me from the institution—‘Everyone’s happy at the FBI, right?’ He boxes you into a corner to try to get you to accept and embrace whatever bullshit he’s selling, and if he can do that, then he knows you’re with him.”

McCabe would return to the conversation again and again, asking himself if he should have told Trump where to get off. But he had an organization in crisis to run. “I didn’t really need to get into a personal pissing contest with the president of the United States.”

Far from being the political conspirator of Trump’s dark imaginings, McCabe was out of his depth in an intensely political atmosphere. When Trump demanded to know whom he’d voted for in 2016, McCabe was so shocked that he could only answer vaguely: “I played it right down the middle.” The lame remark embarrassed McCabe, and he later clarified things with Trump: He was a lifelong Republican, but he hadn’t voted in 2016, because of the FBI investigations into the two candidates. This straightforward answer only deepened Trump’s suspicions.

Read the entire piece here.

*2020: The Year of _____*

2020

It is quite common for historians to write books with a year for a title.  Some examples:

Charles Mann, 1491: New Revelations of the America’s Before Columbus

Adam Goodheart, 1861: The Civil War Awakening

Louis Masur, 1831: Year of Eclipse

David Traxel, 1898: The Birth of the American Century

Michael Rapport, 1848: Year of Revolution

It will only be a matter of time before we start to see books about 2020. It is only March and we have already witnessed the third presidential impeachment in U.S. history and a major pandemic. And let’s not forget that we have a presidential election in November.

2020: The Year of ______

Instead of Booing Him, CPAC Should Have Embraced Mitt Romney.

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This is a piece I wrote on last weekend’s CPAC that was never able to place.  –JF

The name of Mitt Romney was booed relentlessly at last weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Fort Washington, Maryland.

This year’s CPAC was noteworthy for the relative absence of Christian Right speakers and the general downplaying of the religious wing of today’s conservative movement, but it still spoke volumes about the nature of the movement’s view of the role of religion in public life.

Donald Trump has used his bully pulpit to attack Romney for voting in favor of removing him from office during the Senate impeachment trial.  At last month’s National Prayer Breakfast, the president made a less-than-veiled attack on Romney’s Mormon faith when he said: “I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong.”

On Saturday, as he spoke to the CPAC faithful, Trump called Romney “a low life.”

Trump’s followers on social media and conservative cable outlets have also excoriated Romney.  Pundit Ann Coulter dubbed him a “useful idiot” for Democrats.  Donald Trump Jr. demanded Romney’s remove from the Republican Party: “He’s now officially a member of the resistance & should be expelled.”

In the immediate wake of Romney’s vote, Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, the special interest group that stages CPAC each year, tweeted that the 2012 Republican presidential nominee was “formally NOT invited” to this year’s conference.  In a Fox News interview, he added: “This year I’d actually be afraid for his physical safety, people are so mad at him.

Schlapp may have been right about Romney’s safety at this year’s CPAC. Charlie Kirk, a pro-Trump activist who works on college campuses, encouraged the audience to boo every time Romney’s name was mentioned during the conference.

In a relatively successful attempt to work the crowd into a frenzy, Kirk claimed that Romney lied to the people of Utah about his conservative credentials while campaigning for his Senate seat.

These attacks on Romney at CPAC and elsewhere seem counter-intuitive when one considers that the Senator’s deeply held religious convictions informed his vote to remove Trump from office.

“I am a profoundly religious person,” Romney said as he fought back tears during his address on the floor of the Senate on February 5, 2020, the day before the removal votes, “I take an oath before God as enormously consequential.”

Whatever one thinks about Romney’s speech and its references to his Mormon faith, it is hard to argue with the fact that it was exactly the kind of faith-informed, conscience-driven style of politics that Christian conservatives have long championed.

Romney’s speech seemed to bolster, not undermine, what Kirk calls his “conservative credentials.” It was an exercise of religious liberty, one of the major political issues that led many conservatives to support Trump in 2016 and will lead them to pull a lever for the president again in November.

Why then would Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University, a Christian RIght school founded by his father in 1971 to fight for conservative evangelical values and the freedom to express those values in the public square, tell Romney, in a Fox News interview, to “keep his religion in his personal life?”

Falwell and Kirk recently founded the Falkirk Center, a Liberty University think tank designed to advance Judeo-Christian values and defend “religious liberty.”  Perhaps Falwell and Kirk should hire Romney as a spokesperson for their new center.

When Romney delivered his anti-Trump speech on the Senate floor, he was bringing religious belief and conviction to what John Roberts described during the impeachment trial as the “world’s greatest deliberative body.”  Romney’s integration of faith and politics was a direct assault on secularism in government.

Romney exercised his religious-shaped conscience at a crucial moment in our nation’s political history.  When future school children study his speech, they will inevitably think about it in this light.

Those who care about religious liberty for all Americans should cheer, not boo, Romney’s invocation of faith on the floor of the Senate.  Unless, of course, Christian conservatives care only about faith-informed politics and religious freedom when it benefits Trump or their own political agenda.