Tag Archives: The Bible

Yeah, but what about … ?

They call it “what about-ism.” It’s when someone makes a critical statement about someone and you respond with “what about” the time so-and-so did something worse.

Donald Trump has accused Joe Biden of being “against the Bible” and “against God.” That he wants to “hurt God.”

I want to revisit that idiocy for just a moment.

You see, that Donald Trump — of all people! — would say such a thing is laughable on its face … except that it isn’t funny.

Biden is a lifelong practicing Roman Catholic. Trump has no religious experience that anyone has been able to identify.

Then there’s this:

Trump has admitted to never asking for God’s forgiveness; he once had a one-night stand with a porn star (allegedly) and then paid her 130 grand to keep quiet about an event he said never occurred; Trump also boasted to a TV host that he grabbed women by their genitals because he was a “celebrity” and that his celebrity status enabled him to “move on them like a bit**.”

Trump’s assertion about the presumed Democratic Party presidential nominee must be judged for what it is: a cheap, tawdry political stunt.

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 tries to re-define political ‘disloyalty’

Donald Trump’s blathering about Jewish voters endorsing Democratic candidates brought to mind a nearly six-decade-old commitment stated by a previous president of the United States.

Trump’s statement has been taken by some to be an anti-Semitic utterance from someone who presumes political candidates must be “loyal” to Israel and to Israeli government policies. So the rationale — if you want to call it such — is that Jewish voters would be “disloyal” to Israel if they back candidates who might be not quite as friendly to Israeli policies as candidates from the other major political party.

This is utter hogwash, claptrap, bull corn — whatever you want to call it — from the president.

In 1960, Sen. John F. Kennedy was running for president as a practicing Catholic. There were whispers that turned into shouts about whether a Catholic president would take his marching orders from the Vatican. Sen. Kennedy sought to assuage those concerns and he did so in a most brazen manner.

He attended a Texas convention of Protestant clergy, stood before them and said categorically that he would take the oath of loyalty to the U.S. Constitution. It would be to that document that the president would adhere.

Presidents do take an oath to defend the Constitution. They do not defend the Bible, or the Torah. Their loyalty first and foremost is to the secular document crafted by the nation’s founders in the late 18th century.

Donald Trump’s abject ignorance of the very oath he took in 2017 reveals the danger we face if we return this guy to office in 2020.

Study the Bible in church, not public schools

Hold on a second! Donald J. Trump now says he supports the notion of allowing public school students to study the Bible. He endorses the idea of students learning about the history of the Judeo-Christian holy book.

Let’s put the brakes on that one.

The founders created a secular document to govern the United States of America. The very first clause in the very first amendment to the U.S. Constitution establishes a rule that Congress “shall make no law” that creates a state religion.

Legal scholars and courts have interpreted that to mean that government agencies — and that includes public schools — must avoid traveling down the slipperiest of slopes by allowing religious study in tax-supported schools.

So what is the president trying to do? My best guess is that he believes that the U.S. Supreme Court — which includes two justices he has appointed — would rule in favor of Bible study in public schools if the issue ever to reach the highest court on appeal.

Trump wrote this on Twitter: Numerous states introducing Bible Literacy classes, giving students the option of studying the Bible. Starting to make a turn back? Great!

Legislators in six states are proposing Bible study in public schools. I guess it’s some sort of move to return “prayer in school,” which the Supreme Court rule in the early 1960s violates the First Amendment’s implied separation of church and state.

There’s a place for everything in this world of ours. I believe firmly that the place to study the Bible is in a house of worship. We should make our public schools the place where students can learn about math, science, civics, humanities, theater . . . and the whole host of curricula that teach them about their earthly world.

I’ll just offer this notion as well: If we are going to study the Bible in public school, do we then allow the study of works read by our non-Judeo Christian citizens?

That’s what I mean by the “slipperiest of slopes.”

Behar apologizes to faith community … good for her!

You think you “know” someone based on what they say on the air … and then they surprise you.

Loudmouth comedian/TV talk show co-host Joy Behar had popped off on “The View” not long ago about how Vice President Mike Pence hears wisdom from Jesus Christ. She said Pence must suffer from some sort of “mental illness” if he hears voices from the Lord himself.

Behar’s comment at the time offended people of faith across the land. I was one of those offended and said so in an earlier blog post.

‘Comedian’ crosses a sacred line

Then we hear from Pence, who told Fox News’s Sean Hannity that Behar had called him immediately after her ill-advised snarkiness and apologized to him for her remarks. Pence told Hannity that as a devout Christian, he extended God’s grace to Behar and accepted her apology, but then said he told her she ought to apologize to millions of other Americans of faith for her comment.

What do you suppose Behar did this morning? She apologized. On the air.  On a segment of “The View.” What’s more, she didn’t offer one of those phony “If I offended anyone” non-apologies. She didn’t try to explain anything. She didn’t say “That’s not who I am.” She apologized. Period.

We live in a strange time, folks.

I am not yet certain that Joy Behar quite understands how faithful individuals receive guidance from Scripture. She likely doesn’t quite get how that guidance doesn’t come in the form of audible voices. The very issue of faith is deeper than that.

The vice president is a man of deep faith and as a devoted Christian he is able and willing to extend grace as it is taught in the Bible.

That’s what he did. Joy Behar did her part, too, in telling the rest of us — through her apology — that she made a mistake.

Good for her.

Bible gives POTUS authority to blow up the world?

One of the many wonderful aspects of the Bible is that it can be interpreted in countless ways.

My understanding of the Bible I’ve read since childhood is that no one is entirely right or entirely wrong … if they believe in what they are interpreting.

So, when a preacher says that the Bible gives the president of the United States all the authority he needs to blow another nation to bits, well, that’s the preacher’s belief. It doesn’t have to be mine.

The Rev. Robert Jeffress is an avid Donald Trump supporter who went on “Fox and Friends” — the president’s favorite TV show — to proclaim that Romans 13 gives the president justification for attacking North Korea in the wake of that country’s threats to the United States.

I looked up Romans 13 in the Bible on my desk. I scoured through it and I don’t read anything of the sort. Then again, I’m not a biblical scholar. I’ll give Jeffress credit for studying the Bible more than I have. But as I noted already, we ultimately are left to our own value systems to interpret words written thousands of years ago. Believers can differ in their understanding of the holy word.

Some of them take the words literally; others — such as yours truly — take a more interpretive view of its contents. I won’t challenge Rev. Jeffress’s faith. I’ll just stand by a different view of the Bible’s contents.

The Bible I’ve read tells me Jesus Christ preached love and tolerance. I don’t know where he says it’s all right to destroy thousands of human lives because of a political dispute.

Is it in there? Somewhere? I don’t believe it is.

Why not debate climate change in public schools?


As a believer in the view that human beings are contributing to Earth’s changing climate, it causes me some pain to say the following.

I believe the Portland Public Schools system has made a mistake in banning texts that question the causes of climate change.

Oregon’s largest public school district has issued a directive that bans texts that cast doubt on what many scientists have said: that human activity has created a global warming crisis that threatens the planet’s ecosystem.


I grew up in suburban Portland, Ore., so this decision strikes me close to my heart. I attended Portland schools until the seventh grade; my parents moved us to the ‘burbs in East Multnomah County in 1962.

I have long feared that human activity — deforestation and the emission of carbon gases into the atmosphere — have contributed to the changing climate. Did you see the latest report that said April was the 12th consecutive month of record temperatures worldwide?

That doesn’t mean, though, that we cannot allow our students access to those who doubt the results of such activity.

This isn’t even close to the same thing as teaching the biblical version of Earth’s creation alongside Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theory. One theory is based on a faith-based belief; the other is based on science. Teach the scientific theory in public schools and teach other in church.

Climate change and its causes, though, seems to be fair game for an open discussion in our public schools.

The Portland school system has slammed the door on those who have raised legitimate concerns about the notion that Earth’s climate is changing and that humans are the primary cause of that change.

Do I accept those concerns? No. That doesn’t mean they’re coming from crackpots.

The students would do well to be exposed to competing ideas on this important global issue.


Obama ‘pretends to be a Christian’? Really?


How in the world does Mike Huckabee possibly know what’s in another man’s heart and soul? What on God’s Earth qualifies him to make such a claim by saying another man “pretends to be a Christian”?

That’s what the former Arkansas governor and current Republican candidate for president has done with Barack Obama.

He said the president “pretends to be a Christian,” suggesting quite openly that the president’s profession of faith in Jesus Christ — which he has made several times during his presidency — is somehow inauthentic.

Huckabee has stepped in it with this ridiculous assertion.

What’s more, he contends that the president and his administration are making it more difficult for Christians to worship as they please.

Let’s hold on here.

I would challenge Gov. Huckabee to offer a single example of how Christians these days are less able to worship in their church. He needs to provide specifics on how individuals are being punished or harassed or ostracized by the federal government because of their religious faith.

If he’s referring to the case of Democratic Rowan County (Ky.) Clerk Kim Davis, who’s made news by refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples based on her religious belief, well, that argument is a non-starter. Davis took an oath to serve all the people and she has no right under the secular law to which she swore to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

As a friend of mine noted on social media, the only authority that can judge someone’s faith “isn’t from Arkansas.”

Kim Davis redefines hypocrisy


Oh, my. I don’t know where to begin with this little item.

Rowan County (Ky.) Clerk Kim Davis remains on the job, even though she refuses to follow the oath she took to follow the laws of her state and nation. Those laws say that gay couples are entitled to be married.

That’s not God’s law, Davis says. So, she’s refusing to follow the law.

Davis’ marital history

Then there’s this: Davis is married to her fourth husband. She’s been divorced three times. That’s not as big a deal as this next tidbit, which is that she gave birth to twins five months after divorcing her first husband.

Five months. Do that math and recall your sex education teaching about human gestation.

I believe Scripture has plenty to say about sex outside of marriage, not to mention adultery. But, hey, who’s keeping track?

In another interesting twist, the twins were fathered by Davis’s third husband, but were adopted by her second husband. I mention that only because it, well, doesn’t exactly fall into the category of a “traditional family.”

Davis has brought all this scrutiny on herself by declaring her strong belief in God’s holy word.

However, she works for a secular government agency. She is drawing a paycheck financed by the public, many of whom, I’m quite certain, disagree with her refusal to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

And no matter what the county clerk says, God’s word does not supersede the oath she took when she took public office. The oath requires her to follow the law of the land.

She’s refusing to do so. Davis needs to quit her job … immediately.


Where do these people find forgiveness?

The loved ones of the men and women Dylann Roof allegedly shot to death have done what?

They have forgiven the young man? They say that if God can forgive him, how can they not?


This one is going to take some time for me to process.

Roof stands accused of killing nine people at a church in Charleston, S.C. It appears to have been a racially motivated massacre. He is known to have said he wanted to start a “civil war” and that he believes blacks and whites shouldn’t mix.

So, he went to a Bible study, was welcomed by the African-American church members. He sat with those victims for an hour — and then he opened fire.

Today, he went to court for an arraignment and several family members said they forgive this individual for committing a monstrous act of terror against them and those he killed in cold blood.

I consider myself a committed Christian. I know what Scripture says about forgiveness, how Jesus Christ urges us to love one another, no matter the sin. He didn’t distinguish among sins, never said one sin was greater than another.

What the young man is accused of doing, though, crosses a line that makes his alleged sin far greater than, say, using impolite language.

Could I forgive someone for doing something that Dylann Roof is accused of doing?

Hypothetical questions are tough to answer.

Perhaps one day, I could.

One day.


From my perch halfway across the country where this carnage occurred, I harbor intense anger toward this young man.

I stand amazed that those who are suffering such intense grief and heartbreak can find it in them to forgive.