Category Archives: religious news

Good Book becomes part of POTUS’s political playbook

Shawn Thew/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

I will remain offended likely for a long time at the sight of Donald Trump prancing in front of the church near the White House, holding up a Holy Bible as if it was a political prop.

I’ve heard some chatter out there about how Trump was holding the Bible backward and upside-down.

What is perhaps most profoundly upsetting was the tactic he used to clear the path from the White House to St. John Episcopal Church. He used tear gas and dispatched heavily armed police tactical units to beat back peaceful protesters. You’ve seen the video, yes? It shows cops walloping protesters with their “defensive” shields while tear gas is billowing up around everyone.

This came after Donald Trump proclaimed his honoring of “peaceful protesters.” That ain’t how you “honor” them, Mr. President. They were out there to protest police brutality and to call for reform in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of rogue cops in Minneapolis, Minn.

Then he stands before the boarded-up church. He holds up the Bible. A reporter asked him if it was his Bible. He responded, “It’s a Bible.”

He doesn’t have a clue as to what it contains, which of course is the holy word by which faithful Christians seek to live. Donald Trump isn’t one of them.

No. He’s carnival barker and a con man. For him to use the Good Book in that fashion is anathema to the message delivered by Jesus Christ himself.

Donald Trump, as has been chronicled widely, doesn’t read anything. He reportedly has no need, being the self-proclaimed smartest human being in all of recorded history.

Instead, he uses Christendom’s holiest text as a political prop.

Disgusting.

It’s the clumsiness of it

I believe I have discerned why Donald Trump’s hideous photo-op at the Episcopal church near the White House has played so badly in the public’s mind.

This individual is so transparently phony!

It’s the clumsiness of that appearance and the obvious intent of his seeking to be photographed brandishing a Bible that has roiled the public mind.

He went to the church after delivering a stunningly grim national message, vowing to call up the military to put down demonstrations against the death of George Floyd, the man who died in Minneapolis after being asphyxiated by the cops.

He said he had “thousands and thousands of heavily armed troops” at his disposal to follow his orders to put down the demonstrators.

Then he traipsed off to the church. He held the Bible in front of the sign. He let photographers take pictures of him. Then he went away.

It was such an obviously blatant and empty gesture that offended many Christians and people of other faiths that he would use a church in such a hideous manner. There was not a single subtlety that could be interpreted.

And yet … there remain those who think he just is the leader we need in this time of dire peril.

Simply astonishing.

Trump sullies Good Book

“This is an awful man, waving a book he hasn’t read, in front of a church he doesn’t attend, invoking laws he doesn’t understand, against fellow Americans he sees as enemies, wielding a military he dodged serving, to protect power he gained via accepting foreign interference, exploiting fear and anger he loves to stoke, after failing to address a pandemic he was warned about, and building it all on a bed of constant lies and childish inanity.”

— Robert Hendrickson
Rector at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Tucson, Ariz.

The comments attributed to Robert Hendrickson speak so well, so eloquently to one of my enduring frustrations.

It is that Donald Trump is able to persuade the enabling class of voters to whom he clings that he actually speaks their language, that he feels their pain, that he cares about them, their concerns, their loved ones.

He trooped over to the Episcopal church in Washington on Monday to stage a ridiculous, clumsy and laughable photo op. Millions of Americans — me included — saw it for what it was. Others, though, see it as some sort of demonstration that Donald Trump actually cares about them.

How else can I say this, other than to say simply: No. He doesn’t care. Not about you, or me, or anyone other than himself.

For this amoral/immoral imbecile to grasp a Bible — a book of which he has zero knowledge or understanding — and display it in such a fashion soils and sullies the holy and revered text it contains.

Disgraceful example of pandering

Words damn near fail me as I seek some understanding of what I witnessed Monday from the president of the United States of America.

Donald Trump delivered some chilling remarks about how he intends to deal with those who protest violently in response to the death of George Floyd, the man who died when Minneapolis police officers choked the life out of him. Trump vowed to bring the force of the U.S. military to bear on those who vandalize private property.

Then, trailing the advance guard of police officers in Washington, D.C., who cleared out some peaceful protesters near the White House, Trump traipsed over to John’s Episcopal Parish House that had been damaged in a riot the previous day. He was carrying a Bible, a book I am certain he hasn’t read.

He stood before the church — with its boarded-up windows and doors — and posed for pictures. He stood there for about 90 seconds brandishing the Holy Book, holding up over his head, staring down at it, looking oh, so solemn and somber.

The rector of the church, the Bishop Mariann Budde, called it a disgraceful display of political posturing. She said she is horrified that Donald Trump would use the church where she preaches as a political prop in that fashion.

Given the juxtaposition of Donald Trump’s message and his appearance at the historic church, I have to endorse Bishop Budde’s view that we all witnessed one of the most callous, callow and shallow displays of political pandering many of us have ever seen.

It was made even worse by the belief among  millions of us that Donald Trump — unquestionably the most amoral man ever to hold the office of president — has not a scintilla of understanding of just how Jesus Christ himself would view what the rest of us saw.

It was disgusting in the extreme.

Keep it in church, not in City Hall

The mayor of Wylie, Texas, a town not far from where my wife and I live, clearly is a 15th-century man.

Eric Hogue is getting some serious criticism for declaring that women cannot lead prayer in public places because the Bible forbids it. What? Eh? Seriously?

Hogue cites passes from 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy — two books in the New Testament — that says women should remain silent in church. They can’t lead prayer while worshiping, the mayor interprets from Scripture.

Some folks have called on him to resign.

Hogue happens to pastor a church in Wylie, a town of about 51,000 residents in Collin County. He said his congregation interprets the New Testament passages literally.

Fine, Mr. Mayor/Preacher. Here’s a thought for you to ponder.

You are entitled to lead the church any way you see fit, presuming you continue to have the support of your congregants. However …

You took an oath to lead a secular government, led by a secular document — the U.S. Constitution — that expressly forbids the mixing of religion in public policy. If the mayor chooses to disallow women from leading, say, invocations to start city council meetings, I suppose that’s his call to make. He says he can’t go against his “conscience.”

The mayor just shouldn’t allow his religious beliefs to dictate public policy as he is empowered to enact according to the oath of office he took when he became the leader of a secular local government.

Will evangelicals ever find, um, ‘religion’ when it comes to Trump?

Our nation’s evangelical Christians still seem to be all in with Donald John Trump.

He is their guy. He nominates judges to the federal bench who will rule the way evangelicals want them to rule. Therefore, Donald Trump — who has no known active association with any church that anyone can detect — is just fine in their version of the Good Book.

The rest of the Christian community — and you can count me among that crowd of patriotic Americans — are still scratching our noggins over this clown’s vise grip on the evangelical movement.

I harken back to the time he referred to the apostle Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians as “Two Corinthians.” No faithful Christian ever would refer so clumsily to that New Testament book, right?

And then … we had Donald Trump just this past Easter weekend wish us all a “happy Good Friday.” That made me chuckle, given that Good Friday is arguably the most somber day in all of Christianity; it’s the day Jesus Chris was crucified. The joy arrived three days later, according to Scripture, with Jesus’ resurrection.

Still, this president remains the main man among evangelicals.

I don’t get it.

A meme showed up on my Facebook feed. I want to share it here. It’s a grossly overstated critique of evangelicals’ fawning fealty for this cult figure, but it speaks for many of us who are thoroughly and profoundly disgusted with the outcome of the previous presidential election.

Donald Trump doesn’t even have a passing acquaintance with the Holy Word as printed in the Bible. It is not just evident. It is obvious to any of us who have read holy Scripture and who come away with our own interpretation of what it instructs.

Numbskull preachers need to get a grip

I hate speaking ill of men and women of the cloth … but the religious numbskulls around the country who are defying “stay at home” orders to celebrate Easter need to have their heads examined.

I won’t mention their hearts, because they must think their hearts are in the right place by flinging open their church doors on Easter.

These individuals claim to be trumpeting their “God-given right” to conduct worship services in churches full of parishioners. How does one cope with such nonsense?

They have no right given by the Almighty to put others in jeopardy while we are in the midst of a fight against COVID-19, the strain of coronavirus that has killed tens of thousands of Americans.

Local officials have issued orders that limit gatherings of human beings; they are instructing us to maintain proper “social distance” from each other to stem the rate of infection during this worldwide pandemic.

That hasn’t stemmed the idiocy coming from some of these religious crackpots. They proclaim the First Amendment guarantee of religious freedom allows them to conduct these services, even though health officials issue dire warnings of the consequences of flouting these restrictions.

Well … the First Amendment makes no guarantee of anyone’s right to jeopardize the health — and the lives — of other human beings.

Scripture reminds us as well that we can pray without ceasing anywhere we wish. We do not need to sit in a church pew to celebrate Easter. We are fully able to do that very thing in our living rooms.

Thus, the religious goofballs are off their rocker by insisting that their parishioners must flock to church on Easter.

POTUS wishes us a ‘happy’ what?

What’s next from Donald J. Trump? Oh, he might decide to wish us a “Happy Pearl Harbor Day.” Or, maybe it’ll be a “Happy 9/11.”

Today, the president of the United States, sent out a Twitter greeting that said: “HAPPY GOOD FRIDAY TO ALL!”

This, of course, comes from the individual who once cited a New Testament passage from “Two Corinthians.” 

OK, for Christians around the world, Good Friday is not a day to be, um, “celebrated.” It marks the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. That’s in the Bible, too, Mr. President. The Gospels tell us about that terrible event.

The happiness arrived three days later when, according to Scripture, they went to the tomb where Jesus’s body was interred … and he wasn’t there.

Easter is Christianity’s most joyous day, Mr. President. It’s when we celebrate Jesus’s resurrection. It gives us faith in an eternal life that awaits Christians.

But … what does it matter to this fellow? You see, the evangelical leadership will look straight past this president’s Biblical ignorance.

Amazing.

Don’t heed the calls of wacky preachers

The reports are coming out around the country about wacky preachers deciding to forgo the warnings about the coronavirus pandemic.

They’re going to open their church sanctuaries wide for worshipers on Easter. They’re nuts. What’s more, so are the parishioners who listen to them and pour into churches, sitting next to their fellow parishioners … and exposing themselves and others to potential exposure to the deadly virus.

Let’s see, it’s killed 9,000-plus Americans, infected nearly a half-million of us. The numbers are climbing steadily. Governors are telling us to stay home, imploring us to employ “social distancing,” seeking all manner of ways to stem the infection that is ravaging the nation.

In spite of all that, we hear now that some preachers are wanting to fill their church pews on Christianity’s holiest day.

How in the name of brotherly love can they do this?

My wife and I are staying home for Easter. I might take a moment that day to say a prayer reaffirming the faith I have followed since I was a little boy. I also might offer a prayer of thanks to our pastor who is employing some Earthly common sense and keeping our church closed to in-person worship on Easter.

To those who might consider endangering themselves or others in this perilous time, think long and hard about the potential danger that awaits you.

Trump wants to fill church pews before virus is eradicated

This is a tough message to deliver, but I’ll do so anyway.

Donald Trump could be complicit in the deaths of potentially thousands of Americans if churches across the country open their doors for worshipers on Easter. Why? Because there is no way in the world that the worldwide coronavirus pandemic will be over by then.

And yet the president of the United States is calling on the United States to get back to its “normal” living and he has targeted Easter as the date when that should happen. That’s a “beautiful deadline,” Trump has said. He wants church sanctuaries to fill up with worshipers on Easter. Yep … go ahead and cram yourselves into those pews, sitting right next to someone who might carry the virus.

Ah, but here’s the good news: The president has virtually no actual power to mandate such a dangerous, reckless and thoughtless order. That power rests in the hands of governors, who have the authority to resist calls to allow churches and other houses of worship — as well as schools and assorted businesses — to reopen.

However, should a governor be foolish enough to follow the president’s lead, then they, too, would join Trump in his complicity in the deaths of possibly thousands of Americans.

Donald Trump is fixated on the nation’s economy. He needs to focus at least as much attention on the safety, health and well-being of those he swore an oath to protect against all enemies. Hasn’t he called the coronavirus an “invisible enemy”? Well, yes he has.

The president is neglecting the oath he took. I’d say he “should be ashamed,” except that this clown has no shame.