Trump presidency

I was sent away to religious schools when I was young. There was some form of service every day. Divinity was a mandatory class. And during school breaks, I was deposited once weekly at the local church for a maintenance dose of God, His Son, and the Holy Spirit.

I mention this only to establish that, while the Church and I have since parted ways, the Bible loomed large in my youth. And I was inculcated in all things mainstream Christianity had to say about faith and morality — with a special emphasis put on attending to the poor and needy. Also addressed was the qualifications for leadership.

On that subject, Paul had this to say in a letter to Timothy.

The overseer then must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher, not a drunkard, not violent, but gentle, not contentious, free from the love of money.

He must not be a recent convert or he may become arrogant and fall into the punishment that the devil will exact. And he must be well thought of by those outside the faith, so that he may not fall into disgrace and be caught by the devil’s trap. Deacons likewise must be dignified, not two-faced, not given to excessive drinking, not greedy for gain.

Paul reiterated the qualifications for leadership in a letter to Titus

An elder must be blameless, the husband of one wife, with faithful children who cannot be charged with dissipation or rebellion. For the overseer must be blameless as one entrusted with God’s work, not arrogant, not prone to anger, not a drunkard, not violent, not greedy for gain. Instead he must be hospitable, devoted to what is good, sensible, upright, devout, and self-controlled.

It’s a clear message and comports with the teachings of Jesus. But the qualifications are completely and cynically ignored by the evangelicals in their promotion of a hedonistic, money-grubbing, arrogant, intemperate, undignified, multi-married buffoon.

None more so than Pastor Robert Jeffress. Here’s his philosophy

“Evangelicals knew they weren’t voting for an altar boy when they voted for Donald Trump. We supported him because of his policies and his strong leadership.” 

It is conservative evangelicalism’s core hypocrisy that while they claim biblical literalism underpins their philosophy they also literally ignore the Bible.

“Porn star, what porn star.”

And Jeffress, in an interview with Fox News, makes it perfectly clear that in his estimate Trump’s sins are irrelevant to his suitability as a leader.

“Evangelicals still believe in the commandment: Thou shalt not have sex with a porn star. However, whether this president violated that commandment or not is totally irrelevant to our support of him.”

It’s one thing to say that you don’t believe the accusers – or that a man has a right to due process. (Trump’s favorite ‘outs’). But Jeffress bulldozes through those niceties to reveal the cynical expedience of his position — the Bible be damned.

How can he square his support for the unChristian Trump with his supposed adherence to all things biblical? He can’t. And that points to the essential truth of today’s conservative evangelicals. They are not a religious movement. They are a political faction. Their Bible isn’t an instruction manual. It is a blunt tool to accumulate power.

Robert Jeffress has long been a political gadfly. He has no core value beyond “just win baby”. In 2012, he dismissed the Mormon Mitt Romney as a cult member, until his boy, Rick Perry oops’ed himself to failure. At that point, he became a Mitt man in hopes of defeating the thoroughly biblical Barack Obama.

In 2016, he was a Ted Cruz cheerleader. Then on Ted’s political demise, he threw his support to the least Christian man to run for President since we started keeping score. Without shame or hesitation, he embraced the biblical illiterate as his standard bearer. No Trump sin was too large to be expiated — while no Clinton sin was too small to avoid damnation.

This perversion of Christianity doesn’t stop with leadership selection. The poor get knocked down. The foreigner is scorned and spat on. Christ’s demand that his followers shed their wealth is dismissed and the ‘prosperity Gospel’ is created from whole cloth.

Conservative evangelicals support the transfer of wealth to the already wealthy. They despoil God’s creation. They despise the ‘least of these brothers and sisters’. They answer violence with violence. And value war over peace. Jesus spoke no word of nationalism – his was the Kingdom of Heaven. Evangelicals are America Firsters and clutch the symbols of white supremacy.

Conservative evangelicals have wandered so far from the tenets of Christianity that if Jesus were to return today they would dismiss him as a swarthy, foreign socialist.


Chickens in the ‘Home of the Brave’. Fear and Loathing in Conservative America.

March 1, 2018

Conservatives crow of their steely strength in the face of adversity — ‘America strong’ — while at the same time fret endlessly about all the threats to their way of life. Their leader, Donald Trump, is an exemplar of their knee-knocking courage. One moment he announces a willingness to stare down a lunatic firing an AR-15, the next […]

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Trump’s Plan to Defeat Addiction is to Execute Drug Dealers.

February 26, 2018

The word in Trump World is that the big guy’s solution to drug addiction is to knock off the drug dealers. And there we were thinking all we needed was a wall. As he often does, he floated the idea as a joke. (From Axios) He often jokes about killing drug dealers… He’ll say, ‘You know […]

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Chutzpah: A Conservative Tells Democrats to Stop Playing Politics with the Russian Investigation

February 24, 2018

Marc Thiessen slavishly followed the conservative playbook in writing a Washington Post op-ed piece on Russian interference in the 2016 elections. He cooked the evidence and blamed the Democrats. The title of his article set the tone: “Democrats are crippling America’s response to Russian interference.” As has repeatedly been pointed out —  and equally often ignored by Republicans —  the GOP controls both branches […]

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How Do Evangelicals Get from Jesus to Trump?

January 29, 2018

Why do evangelicals want bakers to be able to deny gay couples wedding cake? They say it is their ‘sincerely held religious belief’. And as justification, they point to biblical verses saying homosexuals are an abomination — or words to that effect. But the same book has laundry lists of other things that are abominations and deserve punishment […]

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Why Not Have IBM’s Watson Call Out Political Lies?

January 29, 2018

A recent Jeopardy contest featured the two best human trivia minds and Watson, an IBM computer. In this contest of speed and knowledge, Watson kicked human ass. And unlike humans, Watson has no political opinions, nor bias. So my suggestion is that the next time a politician gives a speech — or holds a press conference — let’s […]

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Tony Perkins Gives Trump a “Mulligan” for Adultery with a Porn Star.

January 23, 2018

Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, has reacted to the revelation that Donald Trump was shtupping a porn star a year after he married his third wife, and months after son Barron was born, with a yawn. He told Politico in a podcast: “We kind of gave him—‘All right, you get a mulligan. You get a […]

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Another Republican Governor Wants Out of Trump’s Offshore Drilling Insanity

January 13, 2018

South Carolina’s Governor, Henry McMaster, has joined Florida’s Governor, Rick Scott, in asking Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke, for an exemption from Zinke’s plan to open all waters to offshore drilling. It’s likely that the relatively unremarked rollback of EPA regulations gave Zinke confidence that his ‘drill everywhere’ initiative would be greeted with approval by Trump’s MAGA zealots and the Republicans in general. He was wrong. […]

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Is Mar-a-Lago a Shithole?

January 13, 2018

Trump talks about his love for the American worker, but meanwhile, he hires foreign laborers as seasonal employees for Mar-a-Lago. Last July, the Trump organization requested permission to hire 70 non-Americans for the upcoming season. He justifies this hypocrisy by claiming that he can’t find any Americans to fill the position. It will come as no surprise […]

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