Tag Archives: Holy Bible

Evangelical leaders: lukewarm to man of faith

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

A story I read in the newspaper this morning offered a curiously ironic tale of how a key political demographic group is awaiting the arrival of a new president of the United States.

The evangelical Christian movement — with leaders such as Dallas preacher Robert Jeffress, Franklin Graham, Tony Perkins — is giving Joe Biden a wait-and-see welcome as he prepares to become president of the United States.

The irony? Joe Biden is a man of deep and abiding faith in God and in Jesus Christ. The man he is replacing as president of the United States has what one could say generously has a flimsy relationship with Scripture. Yet the evangelical movement clung furiously to the notion of Donald Trump getting re-elected to a second term.

Why the love affair with The Donald? It’s purely political. He appointed judges who adhered to evangelicals’ world view. They are anti-choice on abortion; they favor prayer in public schools; they rule consistently against gay Americans’ rights. What does Donald Trump think about all of that? No one can say with any degree of certainty that he endorses any of it. He just makes the correct political appointments.

They’re getting now a man who attends church daily. He prays to God. His faith has held him up as he has battled unspeakable personal tragedy — such as burying his wife and infant daughter and then his grown son many years later.

President-elect Biden’s personal faith journey isn’t enough to persuade many faith leaders to back him with anything approaching the zeal they demonstrated for a guy who has only a passing acquaintance with faith and whose personal behavior betrays virtually every tenet found in both the Old and New testaments of the Good Book.

The headline in today’s Dallas Morning News declared that the “religious right” is “wary of Biden but not hostile.”

The irony of the evangelicals’ tepid response to the election of a man of faith, though, still screams loudly at me.

Hurt the Bible, hurt God?

Shawn Thew/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Hmm. I have to wonder whether Donald J. “Demagogue in Chief” Trump is campaigning like a man who believes he is going to lose his job as president of the United States.

He said today that Joe Biden wants to “hurt the Bible, hurt God.”

I am shaking my noggin in utter disbelief.

How do I assess what flew out of Trump’s mouth?

For instance, how does a worldly politician “hurt God”? Well, I won’t go there. You get my drift. The Almighty is beyond being “hurt” by a mere human being.

However, I do want to discuss the utter astonishment at hearing Donald Trump — of all people — accuse a political foe of denigrating issues and matters of sincere faith.

Joe Biden is a lifelong Catholic. He smudges his forehead with ash on Ash Wednesday. He goes to Mass regularly. He takes communion. Trump? His association with matters of faith is, um, for show only. I need only to point you directly to that hideous photo op across the street from the White House a few weeks ago when Trump stood in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church, holding an upside-down Bible. He didn’t go into the house of worship. Oh, no. He stood outside to have pictures taken.

Donald Trump has no basis on which he can criticize another individual’s religious faith. Donald Trump has never sought forgiveness for his sins; he has never admitted to mistakes; he once referred to a New Testament book as “Two Corinthians.”

Trump’s desperation has become evident as he stands in public places and says things such as what he said today about Joe Biden.

Consider, too, that he said Biden is “against guns. He is against God.” Think of the idiocy right there. Guns and God juxtaposed in adjoining sentences.

When I discuss the incoherence Trump displays while speaking to the nation, this is precisely to what I am referring. To think, therefore, that Trump brags about “acing” a cognitive exam, which is given to determine whether someone is afflicted with dementia.

So, we are witnessing Donald Trump trying to find something, anything, to hang on a foe who at this moment seems headed for a smashing victory over a president who doesn’t have a clue about the job he was elected to perform.

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.

God should not become a political tool, Mr. POTUS

Mr. President, I am having trouble understanding your relationship with the Almighty.

You invoke God in public speeches. You mention him by name. I heard you interpret a portion of God’s holy word at the National Day of Prayer event at the White House.

I hear all this stuff, Mr. President, but then I keep wondering: Does he really mean it?

It’s difficult for me to question anyone’s faith, Mr. President. It’s such a deeply personal matter. Whether you’re a Christian, or a Jew, or a Muslim, or Hindu, or Buddhist, how we worship should be of no on else’s concern. Isn’t that what “religious liberty” is all about? Well, I think it is . . . but that’s just me, I reckon.

Here’s the deal, Mr. President, about why I wonder about your religious sincerity. You keep mentioning your own political ambition in light of these holy matters. You did it again at the White House this week.

I heard you say that the word “God” was rarely spoken in public before you took office, which I thought was a silly assertion. You made that goofy campaign promise in 2016 to ensure that business owners ordered their employees to wish customers a “Merry Christmas” rather than “Happy Holiday” when they purchased items at Christmas time. No president can force anyone to do such a thing. Yet that was what I heard you imply.

I have to wonder, too, about one of the Ten Commandments and whether you violate it when you insert yourself into discussions about God. The Third Commandment instructs us — according to my New Living Translation of the Bible: “You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.” 

One of the many fascinating aspects of the Bible is how one can interpret its meaning. I take that passage to mean, Mr. President, that it is wrong to reap personal or political gain from the use of the Lord’s name.

Hey, it’s just my reading of the Bible, a book I’ve been reading since I was a little kid.

Thus, I run into this sincerity question whenever I hear these references come from you.

I will attach this link to this blog post, Mr. President. It speaks to the kind of questions I believe surface in the minds of many Americans when they hear you say such things.

Here it is.

Tread carefully, Mr. President. The Good Lord is watching. He knows every single thing about every one of us.

POTUS autographing Bibles? Oh, sure . . . you bet!

I held out a glimmer of hope that Donald Trump would travel this week to Alabama to tour tornado damage, throw his arms around victims, tell them he loves them and not do anything peculiar.

That was not to be.

The man with the least amount of understanding and familiarity with the contents of the Holy Bible of any president of the United States autographed copies of the Good Book for those who waited in line to receive his signature.

Social media exploded over that one!

The spectacle — while not nearly as weird as the paper towel-throwing stunt he performed in Puerto Rico in 2017 — did seem, um, peculiar.

Normally, one autographs books they have written.  Donald Trump appears to have utterly zero understanding of what the Bible instructs those of us who follow the teachings of the prophets and, oh yes, of Jesus Christ himself.

As the Huffington Post reports:

It was an unusual move. Typically, people autograph books they’ve written. 

The Bibles may have been the closest things on hand for Trump to sign during his visit. Volunteers had their own, and Bibles were also being distributed at the Providence Baptist Church in Opelika along with clothing and other goods, according to The Associated Press.

The community has mobilized in the wake of the EF-4 tornado that struck rural Beauregard last Sunday and killed 23. It was the deadliest tornado in the nation since 2013.

Trump perked up the church crowd, which cheered when he autographed the cover of a 12-year-old boy’s Bible. The president and Melania Trump together signed the cover of 10-year-old girl’s Bible decorated with pink camouflage. One woman at the church called Trump’s visit a “godsend,” according to pool reports.

The Post notes that religious scholars are split. They say past presidents, such as George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, have signed Bibles. Others call it an act that borders on “sacrilege.”

I don’t know. It just seemed to my way of thinking a bit . . . bizarre.

Those who were gathered at the Opelika, Ala., church were happy to receive the autograph. They’re hurting and perhaps were looking for any token of comfort they could get from the president.

I’ll leave this issue with one of the Twitter responses: “When a man embodies all 7 deadly sins — lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride — is signing Bibles it means it is time to re-evaluate your religion.” 

Constitution and Bible: depends on who’s reading ’em

I have decided that the U.S. Constitution is like the Holy Bible in this important aspect.

Interpreting either piece of work is the product of who’s reading either of them. Specifically, it’s the product of the individual’s bias, perspective, philosophy, world view and spirituality.

Some legal scholars say, for example, that the Constitution allows for presidents to be indicted while they are in office. Others say it allows no such thing.

Biblical scholars also suggest that the Book of Genesis’s description of the universe’s creation means what it says in black and white: that God created our world in six days and then rested on the seventh day. Others interpret Genesis in a more, um, liberal fashion, that six days doesn’t mean six calendar days.

So here we are as we look at the troubles afflicting Donald John Trump, the embattled president of the United States.

I tend to side with those who believe the Constitution allows for a sitting president to be indicted. I heard some clap trap back when the House GOP was looking to impeach President Clinton that the president is “too busy” to deal with a criminal indictment. That’s nonsense, given that a president has plenty of legal assistance at his disposal. It’s an especially dubious a notion with Trump, inasmuch as he doesn’t work nearly as hard as he says he does at the job of governing, let alone as hard as any of his predecessors.

Will this president face a criminal indictment? Beats me. That depends, I suppose, on whether the prosecutors have the stomach to withstand the political firestorm that will erupt were they to deliver a criminal complaint to the White House.

I have looked at the Constitution, too. I do not see where it prohibits such an eruption from occurring. Then again, that’s just my highly visible bias and me.

Left hand, meet the right hand

I consider High Plains Blogger to be a forum for commenting on politics, policy and life experience. I use it to comment on those matters with with great glee.

For a moment, though, I want to veer far from any of those topics. Well, maybe “life experience” might qualify.

I learned something today in Sunday school that had me scratching my noggin about our secular world and how we human beings morph the Holy Word occasionally into something quite different.

We are studying Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount. Then we ran into this passage from the Gospel of Matthew 6:3. According to Scripture, Jesus Christ instructs us, “But when you give to someone in need, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.”

Given that I am far from a biblical scholar, I wasn’t aware of those words of wisdom — until I saw them today.

Why scratch my head? Because in our contemporary society, we now use the reference to our “left hand not knowing what the our right is doing” as a pejorative. We scold individuals or those who run institutions by saying that “the left hand doesn’t know … ” You get the point, right? Of course you do!

However, according to New Testament Scripture, Jesus Christ himself tells us to avoid letting each of our hands know what the other is doing. How in the name of all that is holy did this bit of divine instruction become a metaphor for criticism?

I might never use that saying ever again when I witness confusion unfolding before my eyes. I’ll have to get creative.

There. Now, back to more worldly matters.

Holy Father believes in science

Check this out from Salon.com:

“When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so.”

Who said that? None other than Pope Francis I, the head of the Catholic Church and God’s spokesman on Earth.

He added that God “created human beings and let them develop according to the internal laws that he gave to each one so they would reach their fulfillment.”


Imagine all of this for a moment.

The Holy Father is saying something many of us have believed for our entire lives, that the biblical version of creation is compatible with the scientific version of how the universe was formed.

You can bet that religious fundamentalists are going to take serious issue with what the pontiff is saying here, that the Bible means what it says in Genesis — that God created the universe in six calendar days then rested on the Sabbath.

This notion, of course, flies in the face of science and the idea that the world was created over, um, a whole lot longer span of time. You know, as in billions of years.

Many of us mainstream Christians long have believed in both ideas. My faith tells me that the world is part of God’s plan. However, I cannot deny the evidence compiled over centuries that the evolution of the universe contains elements that the Bible does not mention.

Does that mean the Bible isn’t God’s inerrant word? No. To me, at least, it means that God ignored all the complexities that were occurring in the world he created.

As the pope himself said: “The Big Bang, which today we hold to be the origin of the world, does not contradict the intervention of the divine creator but, rather, requires it. Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”

It works for me, Your Holiness.




Commentary on politics, current events and life experience