Tag Archives: Bible

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.

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.

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.

Trump was ‘chosen’? By whom and for what purpose?

There can be little if any doubt that Energy Secretary Rick Perry has swilled the Donald J. Trump Kool-Aid, the elixir that turns Trump foes into slobbering sycophants.

The lame duck energy boss, who’s leaving office at the end of this week, has declared that the president is the “chosen one” who got elected in 2016.

Really? I could swear I heard the former Texas governor declare that Trump was a “cancer on conservatism.” He said that during the 2016 presidential campaign when Perry was one of a large group of Republicans challenging Trump for the party nomination.

Perry told Fox News that Trump was “sent by God to do great things.” I am resisting the urge to upchuck my breakfast.

I will not delineate the areas where I believe Trump has fallen flat on his face as president, other than to say that Perry’s phony-sounding fealty to Trump has the sound to my ears of a cult follower.

“God’s used imperfect people all through history. King David wasn’t perfect. Saul wasn’t perfect. Solomon wasn’t perfect,” Perry said in the interview, which aired this past Sunday.

Oh … my.

You may go now, Mr. Secretary.

What Bible is Franklin Graham reading?

The Rev. Franklin Graham inherited the mantle of his late, great father, the Rev. Billy Graham, in preaching biblical doctrine as pitched initially by Jesus Christ.

I do not deny Franklin Graham’s influence on the nation’s evangelical movement. However, I have to wonder which version of the Holy Bible empowers him to say:

That a Democratic candidate for president, Pete Buttigieg, should “repent” for his “sin” of being gay, and that it’s OK to throw his support behind Donald Trump, who has cheated on all three of his wives and who has acknowledged that his celebrity status enables him to grab women by their pu***.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Franklin Graham in 2000 when he came to Amarillo for a series of “crusades” at Dick Bivins Stadium. He came across as a pleasant man and we had a cordial visit. I recall asking him about his political activism and he spoke forthrightly about his support for politicians who espouse their Christian faith.

However, the man’s support of Donald Trump continues to perplex me. He looks past this president’s lengthy life prior to becoming a politician, a life that has included an endless array of behavior, conduct and lifestyle that spits in the face of the holy figure he purports to worship.

Juxtaposed with that we hear Rev. Graham suggest that “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg must repent because he is an openly gay man who also happens to be faithful to his husband. Graham recently cited the Old Testament passage that calls for gays to be put to death, for crying out loud. He also did not mention that Jesus called on us to love everyone unconditionally.

Buttigieg’s presidential campaign has caught fire in recent weeks. He has emerged from a no-name, unknown Midwest mayor to become a legitimate contender for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. Many conservatives, though, are focusing on his sexual orientation.

Franklin Graham is one of them.

Perhaps this matter illustrates one of the beauties — or curses, if you choose to call it that — of the Bible. We are free to interpret it any way we wish. We can take certain passages and mold them to suit our own bias.

I choose to draw a different interpretation from the Bible that Franklin Graham and I both read.

As for his support of the serial liar, philanderer, pu*** grabber Donald Trump . . . well, that’s his call. It doesn’t make sense to me.

Too funny to let pass

There’s really very little to add to this item that showed up on my Facebook feed this evening.

I had seen the president’s Twitter message hailing the possible return of Bible studies to our public schools. I already have commented on that notion, suggesting that church — not our public schools — is the place to study God’s holy word.

Then there’s the response from the individual who thought it appropriate to remind Donald Trump about what the Old Testament says about adultery, a sin about which the president has actually boasted.

I’m out.

Yes, there is a church-state ‘separation’

A former colleague of mine used to insist that because the United States Constitution doesn’t contain the phrase “separation of church and state” that the concept somehow is not relevant.

Well, I would remind him that the First Amendment about a prohibition against writing laws that establish a state religion implies the separation graphically.

Enter the new man nominated to become the U.S. attorney general, William Barr. He has declared his skepticism about the “secular” state the founders created in the late 18th century. He wants to invoke “God’s law” when enforcing the laws of the land.

I am going to presume he means the laws of the Christian God. But what about the laws of all the other gods that Americans worship? The Islamic god, the Jewish god, the Hindu god, the Buddhist god, the Shinto god? Do they matter? Of course they do! Or at least they should.

Except the founders created a Constitution that say there should be no law passed “with respect” to a particular religion. It stipulates there should be “no religious test” for anyone seeking public office.

The words “Christian,” “Christianity” or “Jesus Christ” are not mentioned in the Constitution. Nor does it mention “Jewish” or “Muslim” or “Buddhist” or “Hindu.”

So, to the AG-designate, I merely want to urge him to stick to enforcing the laws of the land, as enacted by Congress, signed by the president and affirmed by the courts.

Irony just doesn’t disappear

I cannot get past the irony of the U.S. attorney general citing Scripture as a justification for a policy that came from the Donald J. Trump administration.

It is fair to presume that AG Jeff Sessions was speaking on behalf of the president when he cited Romans 13 — a New Testament passage — to justify a policy that allows border security agents to take children from their parents who enter the United States of America illegally.

When Sessions told us how the Apostle Paul instructed his listeners to follow the government’s law, I was struck by this thought immediately: Has there been any U.S. president in the past century who is less familiar with biblical teachings that Donald Trump?

Thus, if Sessions was speaking on Trump’s behalf, are we then to believe that the president (a) endorsed what the AG said or (b) even knows what Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans.

I should note, too, that Romans 13 also has been used to justify human bondage, such as slavery. Given the president’s seeming tolerance of white supremacists (such as what he displayed in 2017 in the wake of the Charlottesville, Va., riot) then maybe it’s not such a stretch after all.

I was offended in the extreme to hear Sessions cite New Testament  Scripture to defend the policy that has resulted in roughly 2,000 children being separated from their parents while enforcing this so-called “no tolerance” immigration policy.

It is inhumane, cruel and about as non-Christian as it gets. What in the name of all that is holy and sacred would Jesus Christ himself think of this policy? None of us was around when Jesus walked the Earth, but those of us who know anything about the Bible might conclude he would be aghast at such a policy.

For the attorney general, speaking on behalf of arguably the most amoral president in U.S. history, to use the holy word to justify an inhumane public policy is shameful on its face.

Scripture does not justify cruelty

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s use of the holy word to justify a cruel government policy simply boggles my mind.

It also boggles the mind of many other Americans.

He stood in front of a nation and declared that the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans said that we all must obey the government. Therefore, the AG said, the Donald Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their parents who enter the United States illegally is justified by New Testament Scripture.

What an absolute abomination! What a profoundly offensive use of the Bible to justify cruel treatment of children.

Sessions cited Romans 13. Yes, Paul instructed us to obey the government. But that’s not all that his letter said. Paul refers to the Old Testament commandment to “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Look, the idea that the attorney general would invoke Scripture as a justification is insulting and demeaning on its face.

The Trump administration has decided to get tough on illegal immigration by taking children, many of them infants, from their mothers and fathers if they are caught entering this country without proper documentation. Hundreds of children have been separated from their parents with no assurance of when they will be reunited — if ever!

Someone has to tell me how that kind of policy is in keeping with the love and compassion that Jesus Christ taught the world while he was walking among us.

And think of the irony here. Sessions is the chief law enforcement officer in an administration led by a man with zero demonstrated commitment to the teachings brought in Scripture.

Therefore, does anyone actually believe that the attorney general is speaking for Donald John Trump while invoking a passage from the New Testament?

Shameful.

Faith on the rise? Yes, but here is a cynical view

Vice President Mike Pence posted this little nugget on Twitter.

Faith in America is rising again because Trump and our entire administration have been advancing the very principles that you learned here in the halls of College.

Yep, you read that correctly. The vice president says the serial philanderer president is “advancing the very principles” taught at Hillsdale College, a conservative faith based school in the Midwest.

I’m not usually prone to cynical responses, but I’ll offer one here to the vice president.

It well might be that “faith … is rising again,” but perhaps for vastly different reasons than any policy initiatives coming from the Donald J. Trump administration.

It might be instead that people are turning to God and praying that he protects us against the craziness that emanates from the White House. I know that’s a terribly cynical way of looking at an important part of many people’s lives.

As a practicing, church-going Christian I do not take my faith lightly. But for the life of me I cannot see how the president’s long history of self-aggrandizement, personal enrichment, hideous behavior with his first two wives (which he has acknowledged) and his serial lying along with his philandering have called Americans to answer the call of their better angels.

I am left only to presume that the vice president’s belief in a boost in religious faith in this country is a result of a sort of collective fear that Donald Trump is going to do something so stupidly irrational that he places the entire nation in harm’s way.