Tag Archives: Bible

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.

‘Comedian’ crosses a sacred line

Joy Behar calls herself a “comedian.” She also purports to be a political pundit, using her post as co-host of the TV talk show “The View” to express her views on politics and public policy.

I’ve never considered her to be either funny or insightful.

She has, however, now established herself as a boor.

This week, Behar decided to do something I find wholly repugnant. She ridiculed another person’s religious faith. The other party happens to be Vice President Mike Pence, a self-described devout Christian.

Pence supposedly said he receives guidance daily from Jesus Christ. Behar decided to ridicule Pence, saying that anyone who hears Jesus’s voice is “mentally ill.”

Oh, my.

I’ve long held true to some tenets in my own political commentary. I do not like to poke fun at people’s appearance, their name or their religious faith. Those three areas are off limits. Period.

Behar crossed that line with her hideous ridiculing of the vice president. She does not seem to understand how people of faith are able to receive guidance from holy Scripture. For her to suggest that Vice President Pence, or anyone who follows the teachings of Jesus Christ, are “mentally ill” because they receive daily guidance from the Holy Bible.

If Behar wants to criticize Pence’s policy statements or his extensive record as an elected public official, that’s fine. She is entitled to do that. She’s also entitled to utter distasteful comments about the vice president’s faith. The same Constitution that grants Behar that right also enables folks such as yours truly to call such commentary what we believe it is.

As a conservative political commentator noted in a pithy comment about Behar, had she declared that “gay people” are “mentally ill,” ABC-TV would have “fired her on the spot” and hauled her off the set on live television.

Disgraceful.

Oh, yes, and then there’s the Golden Rule

Golden-Rule-1

“Do to others what you want them to do to you. This is the meaning of the law of Moses and the teaching of the prophets.”

Matthew 7:12

Ah, yes. You’ve that said before, yes?

The New Testament of the Bible attributes that admonition to none other than Jesus of Nazareth.

I am extremely nervous melding Scripture with contemporary American politics. But the Golden Rule seems somehow appropriate to mention in this context.

Ted Cruz last night stood before the Republican National Convention and delivered a stem winder of a speech that said almost everything he was expected to say … except for this: “I hereby endorse Donald J. Trump for president of the United States.”

He didn’t go there. And why do you suppose he declined to take that step?

Because of what he described as the “slander” and “defamation” of this wife and father. Trump tweeted that unflattering picture of Heidi Cruz during the primary campaign. Then he implied that Sen. Cruz’s father might have been complicit in President Kennedy’s assassination. Sen. Cruz told the Texas convention delegates this morning that he couldn’t endorse someone who had treated two of his loved ones with such cruelty.

“I am not in the habit of supporting those who attack and slander my wife and my father,” he said.

It’s fair to ask: How do you suppose Donald Trump would react if someone had said anything like that about his father and his wife?

The Golden Rule can be found in many religious contexts, be it Judaism, Hinduism and Islam … in addition to Christianity.

Trump has said he is a “religious person.” Well, someone who knows and follows the teachings provided in the Holy Bible might be aware of what Matthew’s Gospel tells us about how to treat others.

The Golden Rule seems always to take a beating during the heat of a fierce political battle. Politicians say things about their opponents that they never would tolerate from others and none of this is unique to the current campaign.

Trump’s way of tossing out insults and innuendo as weapons against his foes — and against their family members — puts the Golden Rule into sharper-than-usual focus during this election cycle.

I know that critics of this blog will respond with rejoinders about how politicians dating back to the beginning of the Republic have said far worse than what Trump has uttered.

Fine. Bring it on.

However, at this very moment my particular focus is on a major political party’s nominee for the presidency of the United States of America. This man has failed to abide by the Golden Rule.

Pope Francis: evolution is biblical, too

francis

Pope Francis is my kind of holy man.

The head of the Catholic Church has declared that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and the Bible’s account of creation aren’t mutually exclusive.

Imagine that.

http://www.rawstory.com/2014/10/god-is-not-a-magician-pope-says-christians-should-believe-in-evolution-and-big-bang/

“Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve,” the pope told the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Of course, this is the same spiritual authority who has spoken out about climate change and global warming. And why not? He’s a scientist by training and education.

I’ve long been able to justify evolution with the way the Bible describes the creation of the universe. I’ve never been able to accept that Scripture’s account that God created Earth in six days and then rested on the seventh meant that he did all of that in seven calendar days as we understand the measurement of time.

The Holy Father also said he doesn’t believe that God is a “magician” who waved a “magic wand” that enabled him to anything he wanted. “That is not so,” the pope said.

Sure, it’s nice that I happen to agree with the Holy Father on this point.

He’s a lot closer to God than I am. But if I am interpreting his view of how the world was created, I am going to presume he sees the Bible as a sort of holy metaphor.

The world isn’t really 6,000 years old, as some have said in interpreting Scripture literally, word for word.

That’s what I have believed since I was old enough to read about such things. I’m glad that the head of one of the world’s great religions agrees with me.

Does he agree with your view of the world?