Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump stands during a service at the International Church of Las Vegas on Oct. 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Evangelicals, Trump and the politics of redemption

Jonathan Merritt, who writes On Faith & Culture for RNS, invited Peter Wehner — senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a contributing op-ed writer at The New York Times — to write this guest column on his blog.

(RNS) — We’re at a hinge moment in the public witness of American Christianity.

The evangelical Christian movement in America is being compromised and discredited by the way prominent leaders have associated themselves with, first, the Donald J. Trump campaign and now, the Trump presidency. If this is allowed to define evangelical attitudes toward political power, the public witness of Christianity will be undermined in durable ways.

I say this recognizing that the last election involved difficult choices upon which reasonable and well-intentioned people disagreed. I understand the argument of those who believed that Mr. Trump was the better of two bad options, whose policies would do less damage to the country than Hillary Clinton's.

But the worry is that now that the election is over and there is no binary Trump-Clinton choice, many evangelical Christians have lost the capacity to hold the president accountable when he transgresses norms, violates principles and acts in malicious ways. In fact, they have become among his most prominent and reliable public defenders.

Either by their public defense of Trump or their self-indicting silence, certain prominent evangelicals — including Franklin Graham, Eric Metaxas, Jerry Falwell Jr., Robert Jeffress, Ralph Reed and James Dobson — are effectively blessing a leader who has acted in ways that are fundamentally incompatible with a Christian ethic.

The same qualities that Mr. Trump showed during the campaign have continued in his presidency. He lies pathologically. Mr. Trump exhibits crude and cruel behavior, relishes humiliating those over whom he has power and dehumanizes his political opponents, women and the weak. He is indifferent to objective truth, trades in conspiracy theories and exploits the darker impulses of the public. His style of politics is characterized by stoking anger and grievances rather than demonstrating empathy and justice.

Evangelical Trump supporters aren’t responsible for the character flaws and ethical failures of the president. But by their refusal to confront those flaws and failures, they are complicit in the debasement of American culture and politics. Even more painful, they are presenting a warped and disfigured view of Christianity to the world.

A non-Christian I know recently told me that what is unfolding is “consistent with what sociobiology theorizes about religion: Its evolutionary purpose is to foster in-group solidarity. Principles serve rather than rule that mission.” This certainly isn’t my view of faith, but in the current circumstances – given what is playing out in public — this is not an unreasonable conclusion for him to draw. And he's not alone. This kind of perception is multiplying.  

I’ve worked in politics much of my adult life, including in presidential campaigns and at the White House. I understand that governing involves complicated choices, transactional dealings and prudential judgments. No one ever gets things exactly right, and all who choose to serve deserve our prayers for wisdom. Politics is certainly not a place for the pursuit of utopia and moral perfection; rather, at its best, it is about achieving the best approximation of the public good, about protecting human dignity and advancing, even imperfectly, a more just social order. That is why Christians shouldn’t exile themselves from politics.

But with political involvement come temptations and traps, and it is the responsibility of Christians to act in ways that maintain the integrity of their public witness. And that is why this moment is so troubling. It seems clear to me, and I think to others, that many evangelicals, even unwittingly, are subordinating the Christian faith to partisan loyalties and political power.

The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state,” Martin Luther King Jr. said. “It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool.” Today, far too many evangelical Christians are tools of the Trump presidency.

To be sure, the people with whom I have differences on this matter often do worthy work in other areas of their lives. But in this area, I believe their words and actions are harming the faith we share.

I’m speaking out at this time because I’m a Christian who places himself in the evangelical tradition and senses that some important lines have been crossed, some significant damage is being done, and some substantial repair work needs to take place. I hope others who share these concerns – who might feel anguished by what they perceive as the abuse of their faith – will take a stand in their own lives and in their own way. We can all be part of a politics of redemption.


  1. Totally agree! We as evangelicals need to take a stand for the Gospel. Trump is not leading from a position of brokenness and does not understand grace.

  2. Judging by his meandering, three point, writing style, I’m guessing Peter Wehner is about as conservative as a RINO on Election Day. Broad brushing Christians who support Trump as tools that are compromising their faith is pretty ignorant of just who we really are. I would suggest Mr Wehner take a few steps outside of his New York political ghetto and actually talk to some of us first.

  3. Are you the values voters who support a thrice married, twice divorced man who assaults women and is proud of it? The one who claims to be a Christian amd cites Two Corinthians, but slanders and reviles? The allegedly wealthy man who will find it far less easy than a desert quadruped to enter the kingdom of heaven? The one who lies routinely but is somehow not bearing false witness? The one who threatens a nuclear war, or to invade a country that has not harmed us in any way, shape or form, but does have a lot of oil?

    And a promise to get the gays. There is always that.

    No, you’re not compromising your faith, because your faith is in power, money, and dominion.

  4. Was a similar argument made when Evangelicals embraced Obama?

  5. Candidate Trump promised to Make America White Again. That promise is the tie that binds President Trump and many of the evangelicals who supported him. For most of the evangelicals who believe in and are persuaded by Trump’s promise, nothing will change their mind.

  6. And this is why these arguments stand discredited. If you are going to hold Trump to a standard, why not Obama, who fought for and endorsed abortion till the day of birth unopposed and all sorts of redefinitions on marriage and gender?

  7. Martin Luther King Jr. is IRRELEVANT in this context, brother Peter Wehner! Like totally! It’s a non sequitor on your part in the fallacious argument that, seeing as how “many evangelicals … are subordinating the Christian faith to partisan loyalties and political power … ‘the(ir) church must be reminded’ … (by) Martin Luther King Jr.” – especially by “Chapter 6: A Knock at Midnight” in his Strength to Love version (Harper & Row, 1963).

    Here’s why. He had no idea or experience of your idea and experience of so-called “church”. Both of you are talking about a totally different “church”. Check this out, from which you blindly and ignorantly pulled out a TOTALLY IRRELEVANT Martin Luther King Jr. quotable for a fruit-punchline, to see that the American “church” he was yak and yakking about wasn’t at all or any longer the American “church” you’re now yak and yakking about :

    “Many men continue to knock on the door of the church at midnight … Many will continue to come in quest of answers to life’s problems. Many young people who knock on the door are perplexed by the uncertainties of life, confused by daily disappointments, and disillusioned by the ambiguities of history. … Some who come are tortured by a nagging guilt resulting from their wandering in the midnight of ethical relativism and their surrender to the doctrine of self-expression. … Some who knock are tormented by the fear of death as they move toward the evening of life. … Millions of people do feel that the church provides an answer to the deep confusion that encompasses their lives. … The many who come and knock (there) are desperately seeking a … bread of faith … bread of hope … bread of love … bread of social justice … bread of freedom … bread of peace … bread of economic justice … The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. … (Otherwise) it will forfeit the loyalty of millions and cause men everywhere to say that it has atrophied its will.”

  8. H

    Maybe even jealousy as to motive.

    The article has 1 good point: The Evangelical Stigma is permanent as of November 6, 2016. God was already dead to the Jesus-rejecting world out there since 1950s, but now Bible Christians and Churches are dead to the Jesus-rejecting world out there.

    Thanks a lot, fellow siblings in Christ Jesus. Can’t wait for the Judgment Day for me & them. Get it over with, with Your people, O Jealous and Vengeful God, A Consuming Fire.

  9. Martin Luther King Jr.’s reference to “tool” wasn’t for Evangelical churches but Mainline Protestant & Catholic churches plus – get this – his own “Negro church”. Present writer from New York Times didn’t do his homework on the early 1960s context of that quotable.

  10. Define “we” and “Evangelicals” and “Gospel” and “grace” and you’ll realize you and I and The-81% and the article’s writer and RNS (I just love those guys & Ma’ams!) have all been speaking the extinct Christianese lingo of the Americanized Churchianity. And so I (dis)agree with you.

  11. Do yourself a favor, brother Ben in Oakland. See if you and others like you here at RNS can see yourselves in the context of Martin Luther King Jr.’s quotable that was hijacked by the article’s writer to put me and fellow born-again Christians down because of Trump’s presidency. If not, say so, telling the writer what he needs to hear from you and your friends:

    “(Ben in Oakland & Co.) will continue to come (to church) in quest of answers to life’s problems. (They) are perplexed by the uncertainties of life, confused by daily disappointments, and disillusioned by the ambiguities of history. … (They) are tortured by a nagging guilt resulting from their wandering in the midnight of ethical relativism and their surrender to the doctrine of self-expression. … (They) are tormented by the fear of death as they move toward the evening of life. … (Ben in Oakland & Co.) do feel that the church provides an answer to the deep confusion that encompasses their lives. … (They) are desperately seeking a … bread of faith … bread of hope … bread of love … bread of social justice … bread of freedom … bread of peace … bread of economic justice” from the church.

    Then right here pops in that famous quote.

  12. Are you the eugenics supporting, baby killing pro abortionist voter who supported the queen of all liars, Killary? Or did you through your support behind the anti-American socialist Bernie Sanders who sold his voters out for a free sports car and ANOTHER house?

  13. No I didn’t vote for Trump, or anyone for that matter. But he is our president and he needs our prayers and support. Go read your bible again and work on your fractured doctrine while waiting for your next abortion. thanks.

  14. Your tone hardly matches that of a measured, humble, forebearing, Christian who speaks the truth with grace in the both the remembrance that we are all sinners and all made in the express image of God. As a staunch evangelical conservative, I recognize my obligation to pray for the president, but rather than unstinting support from the evangelical leaders cited, they ought to take him to the woodshed for a firm talking to. His words and actions do not demonstrate any sincere measure of Christian faith, nor apparently to attain that end. He desperately needs our concerned admonition.

  15. Obama is not now the President, we can’t change the past, but we ought to learn from it. Obama is wrong on many moral and spiritual questions, but that doesn’t abrogate the requirement that Mr. Trump act with integrity and rectitude.

  16. ” Christians who support Trump as tools that are compromising their faith is pretty ignorant of just who we really are.”

    Right, they aren’t tools.They are craven opportunists with a hand out. People who are seeking access to power and special privilege in exchange for their support. Tools would indicate being used but getting nothing in return. This is pure quid pro quo.

  17. A really excellent summation of the case now facing the evangelical arm of American Christianity.

  18. “But he is our president and he needs our prayers and support.”

    I sincerely doubt you took that attitude with the last president.

    “Go read your bible again and work on your fractured doctrine while waiting for your next abortion”

    “Are you the eugenics supporting, baby killing pro abortionist voter who supported the queen of all liars, Killary?”

    “did you through your support behind the anti-American socialist Bernie Sanders who sold his voters out for a free sports car and ANOTHER house?”

    So if either of them had won the election would you have stated that they would need our prayers and support? I somehow doubt it.

    Malice, dishonesty and self-righteousness appear to be your values.

  19. I’m not confused by history at all. in fact, I’m quite a student of it. and I’ve seen enough of conservative religionists to know that I much prefer the liberal religious.

    All i know is this: we all vote our values. And those who claim to be values voters voted for a man who betrays every single one of those values, who tried his hardest to convince everyone he wasn’t fit to be president. but the conservative voted for him anyway.

    He promised you two things: power over the lives of other people who don’t share your beliefs, and to make the obscenely wealthy even more wealthy still under the guise of his love for the poor and the middle class.

  20. Nope. Doesn’t work in reverse.

    I don’t see any betrayal of professed (but not actual) public values in favor of expedience in Ben, Myself and company. None of us ever took the position that being morally righteous gave us power and privilege over the lives of others.

    Moreover, ethical relativism has always been a feature of fundamentalist religious belief. They just don’t understand the term and use it to describe others.

  21. Conservative Evangelicals never had a use for MLK, except to try to put a religious “tramp stamp” on the civil rights movement. A movement they oppose on principle and action.

  22. So who was MLK talking to, then, in reference to “tool”? If not you and your circle weren’t the victims of this “tool”, who were? You’ve got to think this through, Spuddie. That’s hard, I know. Not your style. Stop with anecdote, or anti-anecdote. Study hard, review, get absorbed in it, become a participant in the talking-through, then … communicate.

    Answer the original and these questions too, please.

  23. It didn’t happen. They were at the forefront of demonizing him.

  24. Boy, you guys are always evasive when the question is put to you and your reasoning brains. Please answer the question, deal with the issue at hand, stop with the anecdote, anti-anecdote, pithy pitches and what not. Just, I don’t know … communicate, man. Do you see yourselves as the victims in MLK’s talking down to the tool who was the mainline Protestant & Catholic church institution in early 1963s (Evangelicals were still minding their own bizwax, except for them fools buying into the Billy Graham/Richard Nixon’s politicization of the American South) – or not? Why or why not? What, then, was MLK referring to by calling these American Christians and Churches as “tool”, seeing as how Evangelicals were still apolitical for the most part? C’mon, Ben in Oakland, just be straight about it or gay, whatever, it’s kewl, but just, please, answer the question of the day.

  25. From the tone of your rhetoric I would say we absolutely do have different definitions of grace and the Gospel. You will find the contextual definitions of both of those in the Sermon on the Mount and in Ephesians 2:8-9, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 etc…

  26. Mark you need to work on your fractured doctrine my friend.

  27. Learn your history. The demographic of Christian Evangelicals who support Trump come from the group that used to support segregation. MLK’s most vicious opponents.

    Your view of Evangelical Christian attitudes in the time of MLK seems fairly off. They have never been “minding their own bizwax”. It has always been from that crowd about minding the bizwax of others. Maintaining a rigid status quo of privilege.

    You are making a lazy argument to ride on the coattails of others. You are also trying to stretch metaphor beyond reasonable limits.

    I am sure you were trying to make a point about others being hypocritical but it smacks of avoidance of the issues presented.

  28. Now, see, there you go again. Stop speaking to yourself. Speak to me on point. Who’s the tool? Who’s the tool’s victims? Not the Evangelical Churches nor their victims as finger-pointed to by this article’s writer – that’s for sure. Yet he quoted MLK for such purpose not in the original context. Comment on that – and only that.

  29. Let’s be honest. Merritt only has a problem with evangelicals aligning themselves with Trump. To the degree that Christians align themselves with progressivism or leftist candidates he has no problem. A pox on both their houses.

  30. Don’t find your muddled point compelling enough to address. You are relying on pretty ahistorical views and playing an avoidance game to keep from addressing the criticism leveled in the article.

    I find the author suffers from far too much optimism and credulity in the professed values expressed by American Evangelical Christians. He is shocked by the hypocrisy, malice and self-interest expressed. I simply acknowledge subtext has become text. He is finally catching up to what others have already known here.

  31. Umm, could you tell approximately when Trump promised to “Make America White Again”? I would sincerely like to do a search.

  32. Of course not. Progressives aren’t stumping for exacerbating poverty and discrimination that conservatives do. It aligns more closely with actual positive religious tenets, as opposed to proof-texting to support bad behavior.

  33. The moment he accepted David Duke’s endorsement without any hint of disavowal.Coupled with putting two neo-nazis on the White House staff.

    Its ironic that both you and a KKK leader have the same taste in political leaders.

  34. Trump intentionally plays the role of the fool and the madman, which apparently Wehner is blind to see. And apparently Trump was trained in the rhetorical methods of the ancient Roman orator and thinker Cicero, again which Wehner fails to recognize. Instead he prefers his cultural prejudice that Trump is an uncouth bully and thus not a legitimate president.

    Evangelicals such as Wehner, and other Christians as well, often judge Trump according to their American religion of civility and its gospel of “niceness”. But Trump intentionally busts censured speech codes (“political correctness”) just as the Apostle Paul busted Roman censuring. In so doing Wehner and others think Trump doesn’t have the “charisma” to be a leader of Christians. But his “anti-charisma” (offensiveness) legitimates him in the eyes of his supporters (i.e., Christians and non-Christians alike who “get” what Trump is doing). It is mainly those intellectuals in the Knowledge Class, both liberal and conservative, who find Trump too crude to be a legitimate president. In other words, those who oppose Trump on Christian grounds of his being “offensive”, have a social location (such as the Ethics and Public Policy Center, U.C. Berkeley, or Fuller Seminary, etc.).

    Perhaps Peter Wehner needs to read the medieval Christian thinker Desiderius Erasmus’s book “In Praise of Folly” before condemning Trump’s speech as “incompatible” with Evangelical Christianity. To Erasmus, the true Christian should act like a fool. Erasmus said that non-violent foolishness can make society happier than so-called wisdom or civility. This view comes from the writer of Ecclesiastes and the Apostle Paul. Paul put it this way (in almost Trumpian terms):

    “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void. For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to use who are being saved it si the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdoms of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside”.

    Let those who have ears and those who have eyes…..

  35. There’s Merritt and there’s Merritt. One a former Southern Baptist Convention cleric boss, the other an RNS honcho. Former a dad, latter hey, kiddo. But you knew that. Point is, you’re right. There’s this Vengeance of the Nerds I mean x-Evangelicals with a vengeance and Trump’s the trigger. Me? I couldn’t stand Evangelicals then nor now, but hey, I never give up on the God and Jesus of the original Evangelicals; they had got that right. I got saved through their ministry. Now, though, going to their churches is like going to concerts with lectures thereafter. Demons and demons everywhere. Sure enough years on end, Evangelicals recant. Join Orthodox. Join Catholic. Join Progressive Christianity – oohh soo godly-kewl. Me? I stop going to their churches. On a laity-sabbatical for a few years now. Until this whole thing blows over. Which is never.

  36. History lesson for you, historicismmaniac you. It was Liberal Protestants who sanctified Adolf HItler in the 1930s and 1940s. (Just like they did to Obama.) Guess who protested against those progressive Christians then? Neo-Orthodox Christians, the likes of Karl Barth. Note the word “Orthodox” there, as in “Conservative”. Conservative Christians saved Christianity – you dig? Liberal Christians destroyed Christianity – you dig?

    No, you don’t. It’s like talking to a brick wall.

  37. I beg to differ. Numerous Evangelicals embraced Obama and still do.

  38. Avoiding defining duly noted. Scared. Or just clueless. But vvvvoooocccaaallll, oh yeah. Try again. Define those words for me and yourself. Pull up commentaries, I don’t care. State your definitions.

  39. No, when did Jesus tell Caesar to care for the poor, the widow, the prisoner? I missed those verses. I did read where He told those who were His disciples to do that, though. And I imagine they were to do it out of their own pockets, with their own hands, utilizing their own time.

    Is the god you follow the God of Jesus? Or is he Caesar? You have confused the kingdoms of this world with the kingdom of God.

  40. Okay, let’s do a search on that one too. Maybe we’ll find some “hints.”
    Note that David Duke’s statement was given on 2-25-16. Hat-tip to WaPo (Glenn Kessler, 3-1-16), for the following info. Emphases mine.


    (News Conference)
    Question: “How do you feel about the recent endorsement from David Duke?”

    (Trump): “I didn’t even know he endorsed me. David Duke endorsed me? Okay, all right. I disavow, okay?

    — Reuters on YouTube, Feb. 26 (the day after Duke’s statement)


    Six years earlier, NBC’s Matt Lauer:
    “When you say the (Reform) party is self-destructing, what do you see as the biggest problem with the Reform Party right now?”

    Trump: “Well, you’ve got David Duke just joined — a bigot, a racist, a problem. I mean, this is not exactly the people you want in your party.”

    — NBC’s “Today Show,” Feb. 14, 2000


    Bloomberg’s John Heilemann: “How do you feel about the David Duke quasi-endorsement?”

    Trump: “I don’t need his endorsement; I certainly wouldn’t want his endorsement. I don’t need anyone’s endorsement.” — Bloomberg Politics, Aug. 26, 2015

    Heilemann: “Would you repudiate David Duke?”

    Trump: “Sure, I would do that, if it made you feel better. I don’t know anything about him. Somebody told me yesterday, whoever he is, he did endorse me. Actually I don’t think it was an endorsement. He said I was absolutely the best of all of the candidates.” — Bloomberg Politics, Aug. 26, 2015


    Okay. There’s enough “hints” on record, to prove that Trump did NOT promise anything like “Make America White Again.” But perhaps Alwayspuzzled will have something on it.

  41. Trump is going to act no differently than other presidents–as a sinner with his own personality and baggage. Just because he is not putting up a facade doesn’t mean he is any worse or better a sinner. We are all sinners in need of God’s saving grace. Pray for Trump. Pray for Congress. Pray for the judiciary.

  42. That was about the most uninformed piece of crap I have read in at least a week.

    “It was Liberal Protestants who sanctified Adolf HItler in the 1930s and 1940s.”

    Hardly. It was the ultra-conservatives/reactionary, the military and the old aristocracy. The fairly anti-semitic and reactionary Lutheran Church loved Hitler.

    Neo-Orthodoxy has zero to do with anything resembling your POV here. It was an idea which was rejected by and large by Protestant evangelicalism. Do some homework on the view.

    Note the term “Neo” and in not quite. “Orthodox” in that context is not synonymous with “Conservative” either. Since conservative is typically more apropos of political alignment than theological orthodoxy

    You are making a ridiculous argument by intentionally conflating and confusing terms. I am not sure if you are just ignorant or just being dishonest.

  43. When you can put God into a box of personal faith and it does not matter how your run your business, act in the public square, or how you act within the realm of power, government being one of them, then Jesus as Lord only within segments of your life. Either following Jesus transforms every sector of our lives, or it is simply a faith of convenience that works for our personal gain.

    I think you are well intentioned but have not thought through the implications of a faith that has no good news for our current reality — it only gets you to heaven when you die. The result is that it’s entirely possible to support a horrible person leading our nation all while he does whatever he pleases… may God forgive us.

  44. Yep, he dodged acknowledgment of the endorsement and yet appealed directly to his supporters of the Neo-Nazi Alt Right crowd!

    Trump still navigating White Supremacist support

    David Duke 8/12/17
    “We are determined to take this country back. We’re gonna fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believed in. That’s why we voted for Donald Trump because he said he’s going to take our country back.””

  45. Numerous? A handful which most of you consider “Not really Christian” for being on the progessive/left leaning side.

    By in large the Evangelicals voted against him and were the backbone of opposition to him.

  46. The way we treat the poor and vulnerable in our society says a lot about who we are. The government has given the American people an excuse to not personally care about the poor and Christians have bought into it. Instead of “loving our neighbor as ourselves” like Jesus taught, we now outsource compassion to the bureaucracy. This way, when we see a poor person we can just walk by and think “Why doesn’t he get some benefits?” The parable of the Good Samaritan teaches that it is you, not someone else’s job to help the suffering. When you outsource compassion for the poor to a bureaucracy, you get Kitty Genovese syndrome among the population. You may recall, nobody helped her because everyone thought someone else would. Or that it was not their business. She ended up getting raped and stabbed multiple times and died.

    Ever since government got involved in the poverty business back in 1960’s under Lyndon B. Johnson’s “war on poverty” they have funded that war on poverty with social security money (which is now under funded), spent multiple trillions of dollars on it, and the poverty rates have remained basically the same. So, in effect, what these programs did was not to end poverty, but to fund poverty as a life choice and way of life. We perpetuated it. We aren’t helping the poor, we are enabling sloth.

    I know you mean well, too. But we have a fundamental difference of opinion of the place of God’s people in this problem. We cannot abrogate our responsibilities by pushing them off to Caesar.

  47. No doubt you saw David Duke’s comments today in Charlottesville about Candidate Trump’s promises. Trump’s message was clear enough to the white supremacists, although he did frame it in a way that he and his more squeamish supporters could deny any racists motives.

  48. So Trump actually HASN’T promised to “Make America White Again” after all.

    But we have some grand-standers and wanna-bees (on both the Fringe Left and the Fringe Right), who seriously desire to put those words in Trump’s mouth anyway, to serve their own little cult purposes and perspectives. I think that’s the real problem.

  49. You don’t even know what that means. And I’m not your friend.

  50. “thrice married, twice divorced man who assaults women and is proud of it”

    Seems to me Trump was a democrat during that time. He’s obviously repented and become a republican since then.

  51. Absolutely. There are things Trump has said and done since the election that bother me, but I refuse to pile on like the libhole left and MSM.

  52. Trump’s messaging gave you the option of willful self-deception, and you took it. Your choice.

  53. “The one who lies routinely but is somehow not bearing false witness”

    You’re talking about Hillary and Bathhouse Barry, right?

  54. “And a promise to get the gays. There is always that.”

    I’m not going to comment on that. What you do in your few time is nobody’s business.

  55. “Your tone hardly matches that of a measured, humble, forebearing, Christian who speaks the truth with grace in the both the remembrance that we are all sinners and all made in the express image of God.”

    My tone comes from being an old rock-n-roller who has seen too much in my short lift time. My tone comes from someone who knows and understands what real redemption is all about. I didn’t grow up in a cushy Christian home with loving parents. Not everyone in the kingdom of God is going to fit your nicely shrink wrapped sanctimonious cookie cutter mold. Basically, if don’t like the heat go back to the kitchen.

  56. “I sincerely doubt you took that attitude with the last president.”

    Projection much. You don’t know me, where I’m from, or what I’ve seen.

  57. Grace is closely related to God’s benevolence, love, and mercy. Grace can be variously defined as “God’s favor toward the unworthy” or “God’s benevolence on the undeserving. It can also be described as God’s unmerited favor towards men. In short, the Gospel is “the good news”. But to be more specific there is the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Mark 1:1), the Gospel of His son (Romans 1:9), the Gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20-24), the Gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15), the eternal and everlasting Gospel (Rev. 14:6). Let me know if you need more clarification. I also suggest that we dialogue without sinking into childish ways. Remember the lost are also probably reading our posts.

  58. MLK jr was a republican. Most evangelicals are republicans. What’s your point?

  59. Mark, remember that the lost are also reading your posts.

  60. Thanks for taking my words out of context. My advice for you at this point in your life is to stop talking. And I’m suggesting a speaking fast of at least six months. Six months of only listening. You’re welcome.

  61. Scott is speaking for all evangelicals. Scott has no boundaries.

  62. “Candidate Trump promised to Make America White Again.”

    Could you have come up with a more lame democrat talking point than that? Did you steal that from Mad Maxine’s speech writer?

  63. Nope. Just no a person who is full of BS when I see one. Especially when they appear to contradict their own sentiments within a post or two.

    You aren’t disagreeing with my conjecture concerning your prayers and support given for the prior president.

  64. Prior to the migration of Segregation loving Dixiecrats to the Republican party after the Civil Rights Act was passed. Of course if you were honest or knowledgeable about the subject you would not have made your last remark.

    My point which you avoided so badly was, Conservative Evangelical Christians today, those Trump loving Bible thumpers, are the successors to the ones who vehemently opposed MLK and considered white supremacy a vital part of their Christian faith.

  65. You were pretty clear about your context and talking out of both sides of your mouth.

    If you don’t like my posts, don’t respond to them. Put me on “block”. Otherwise, feel free to respond.

  66. Hey Spud. You’re the one on Adderall. Put yourself on block.

  67. Oh I get it. You’re a shill for Soros. What does he pay you per posting? More importantly, does he give you fresh straw to sleep on in your cage at night? It’s my fault. Sometimes I forget I’m not talking to a human being.

  68. Wrong again Spud, but thanks for playing. Remember to pick up the free gift on the way out.

  69. 2 Timothy 2:24. Get some sleep Mark. You have had a long day. You are not my enemy 🙂

  70. Every ignorant of dishonest conservative who thinks their clever trots that “Democrats were the segregationists” crap out. They know it is only half true and they always get corrected on it. I never see the point of it. Does anyone NOT call you guys out on this?

    “You’re a shill for Soros. ”

    YOU MEAN I CAN GET PAID FOR THIS? Where do I sign up? All this time I have been doing this as an amateur. Now you are saying they are paying people to voice their views online and show up ignorant and dishonest conservatives.

    By all means, forward the contact information for the Soros shill positions. You guys seem to know all about them. Maybe you are just taking the good ones for yourself

    If you give me a remark for “Saul Alinsky”, some racial slur about the last president, or “Benghazi”, I can complete my RWNJ Bingo card.

  71. It 3 pm. In musician terms I’ve had plenty of sleep.

  72. So you gave our last president your prayers and support? 🙂

  73. I bet you gave our last president the prayers and support you believe are essential for the person in the position. Right?

  74. “The one who claims to be a Christian amd cites Two Corinthians, but slanders and reviles?”.

    Unlike you, most people who become a Christian later in life have a lot of baggage to let go of. It is good to give new believers a lot of grace so they can hear the Holy Spirit and let go of the things in their past so they can embrace their new life in Christ. The same goes for President Trump. There were witnesses to his conversion during the campaign. It is no mistake he surrounded himself with Christians. Even picking Pence for VP. His wife is a devout believer, also with a past, and has obviously been praying for her husband and family. Give him a break. God certainly gave you one.

  75. Spuddle I thought the article was well written but please do not put all conservative evangelicals in the same boat.

  76. “exacerbating poverty and discrimination that conservatives do”

    Seriously? Exacerbating poverty and discrimination Are the brain child of the democrat party.

  77. Didn’t have to steal it. All I had to do was watch and listen to Trump and his zealots.

  78. These are great excuses Christian folk tell themselves to support basic indifference if not outright hostility to the poor or efforts to address them.

    To get a better perspective of what is really going on, think of this: Public assistance is not charity. Its public safety. Homelessness, starvation, not receiving critical medical attention are all things which create hazards for an entire community. Not just to those suffering from them. They undermine public order, create public health hazards, promote crime, and create political instability. We alleviate them through our public system because those who need such assistance are voters too and part of the same system as you and me.

    By alleviating the ravages of destitution and poverty we protect our system from the chaos of an angry underclass can create. It is what keeps the public from taking out our leaders and executing them in public squares in dissatisfaction.

    It is tumbril insurance

  79. I think we need some attention on the evangelicals who are not comfortable with Trump, but aren’t saying much either. They know better, but either they think the can keep a respectful distance, or they are worried about losing dollars and members — their silence is deafening.

    We have a president making ushering loose threats about nuclear war — and who is making a concentrated effort not to say anything negative about Putin. When Putin threw out American evangelical missionaries a year ago, in an effort to place the Orthodox church and all of religion under his control — that should have been a sign. Where are the principled evangelicals?

  80. In your ignorant opinion. But then, you think 2Rump is a good idea.

    Spuddie iswell informed, cites sources, and is logical. You don’t refute, you attack him.

    What do you have? Killary, baby killers, and the transparency of values voting.

  81. He didn’t convert, he conned. Because thats what he does. At least four bankruptcies, which means he conned a lot of other people, who ended up being screwed over by this good christian.

    If YOU declare bankruptcy, do you think you’d remain a billionaire?

  82. Really? because the reason Gorsuch wasappointed was the never ending hope of “good Christians” that they can get obergefell overturned– a direct attack on our marriages and families, our cvil rights, our wallets, our children, and our participation in society.

  83. Reviling,slandering. ST, Paul would be so proud!

  84. So this is your excuse about why the American church doesn’t need to be a witness… because they gave way to the government? That’s like a dog chasing its tail until it drops over dead from exhaustion.

  85. Why do you blab your mouth and hide your identity?

  86. But you DIDN’T vote, as you say.


  87. After Neo-Nazis rioted in Charlottesville Virginia, killing one person by driving a car into the crowd, Cheeto released a statement deploring “violence on all sides”. He avoided any discussion of white supremacists and their role in the incident.

    David Duke tied the protests in Virginia to Trump.

    “This represents a turning point for the people of this country,” Duke said. “We are determined to take this country back. We’re gonna fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believed in. That’s why we voted for Donald Trump because he said he’s going to take our country back.”

    Duke stated,”take a good look in the mirror & remember it was White Americans who put you in the presidency

  88. And you know that he intentionally plays the fool because? I see nothing in his current or past behaviour that suggests he is a fool of the ilk of King David or St. Francis, While Eramus wrote “Praise of Folly” as a satire, I see nothing of the same with this President and his evangelical sycophants.

  89. Why do you care? Maybe you should get some boundaries of your own. Mental illness doesn’t have to plague you all of your life.

  90. oh please. time to change your sheets. You’ve wet the bed again.

  91. Amazing . You know the hearts of men better than God? Wow.

  92. “If YOU declare bankruptcy, do you think you’d remain a billionaire?”

    That’s it? You vote for spend happy democrats who have run our country in the ground and you’re concerned about someone who had (past tense) financial difficulties with HIS OWN MONEY? Pull you head out of Hillary’s butt and get some air.

  93. You and Spud some have some pretty close cuddle time. From what I see, spud is a copy/paste artist. How much do you two make from Soros. Is it per post or per response?

  94. Always puzzled is perfect handle for your ignorant self.

  95. You don’t believe that Trump’s infamous Access Hollywood scene as a paid actor as playing the fool? Or that he acts as a crazy man in dealing with Kim John Un?

  96. Trump may not have been seeking or even wanting the white supremist support but he has it simply because they share some common goals. They are the toilet paper stuck on the bottom of Trump’s shoe and people have noticed.

  97. It is my belief that Trump hasn’t converted but is simply using these Evangelicals as they are using him. Time will tell.

  98. A key difference is that Obama was not surrounded by religious leaders upholding him as God’s chosen. Cannot speak for Obama’s faith which he kept private.

  99. I am waiting to see evidence of that. He cancelled the White House Easter Prayer breakfast – a tradition begun in 2010 under Obama to go play golf. He has surrounded himself by a coterie of evangelical religious advisors and I am not convinced it is for his spiritual growth but but for political leverage.

  100. As a non-evangelical, I also worry about the damage being done to American Christianity in general.

  101. Or, they simply have some common concerns. But Trump has reached out to gays too,so that shouldmake libbies happy (but it doesn’t).

    He envisioned himself sort of as a “uniter” person who would wrap us all in the American flag, but I don’t think it’s going to work. But at least he’s not a big hater of evangelicals like Obama and Hillary.

  102. Then let me comment on it instead. Ben was offering a falsehood. Trump’s not out to get gay people, and he’s clearly got pro-gay family members in his inner circle.

  103. I share a fellow Evangelical’s (over at Breakpoint) expression of shame of Robert Jeffress by quoting, “God’s name is blasphemed because of you”, from Romans. And it is. The Christian Right has brought heaven down to the level of scum and bottomfeeders. Like this article insinuated, that Evangelical Stigma is permanent. Yet here you are as a self-proclaimed “non-evangelical” feeling betrayed as well by my born-again Christian brothers and sisters. How come? if you don’t mind me asking. Never mind if you do. I find this troubling but that’s OK.

  104. There was violence on **both** sides, Spuddie. Even you cannot deny it. Not a one-sided gig.

  105. Obama had similar toilet paper stuck to his shoe as well, though from the opposite side. Toilet paper tends to show up often in America.

  106. BLUSTER best describes Trump’s presidential demeanor of late, according to Robert Parry, the veteran and best American investigative journalist there is:

    “We’re now seeing the results play out in a very dangerous way in Trump’s BLUSTER about North Korea, which was included in an aggressive economic sanctions bill – along with Russia and Iran – that Congress passed nearly unanimously, without a single Democratic no vote. … As his ‘signing statements’ made clear, Trump felt belittled by the congressional action. His response has been to ratchet up bellicose rhetoric about North Korea, BLUSTER appearing to be his natural default position when under pressure.” (Robert Parry, “Russia-gate’s Fatally Flawed Logic”, Consortium News, August 12, 2017.)

  107. I hate to be pedantic, but you haven’t even got the old saw right, it properly is rendered, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” I too am an old rock and roller who rejected the Catholicism of my youth, to follow the then popular half baked notions of the American version of Eastern mysticism. I also know what it means to be redeemed, and that redemption does not sacrifice courtesy and respect for those with whom I differ in order to be sounding brass when trumpeting the truth of the Gospel. Patience and kindness are inextricably linked to the declaration of God’s Truth, otherwise the message gets lost in the wind.

  108. The old “both sides do it” rhetoric is disingenuous.

  109. The comment’s not wrong. Label it what you will, but that was the promise of Trump’s candidacy, and he is trying to deliver on that promise as President, either explicitly or implicitly.

  110. Ad hominem attacks do nothing to help. Trump is inciiting racial resentment & his silence about hate speech is deafening.

  111. You don’t see that Trump played the fool as a paid actor in his infamous Access Hollywood reality TV scene?

    You don’t see that Trump played a crazy man with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un’s provocative threats?

  112. Again, nothing to refute what he has to say, and no, he doesn’t copy and paste.
    So now it’s Soror, Killary, and Bathhouse Barry. No wonder our country is in such a mess. What do they put in that koolaid you are drinking, I wonder?

  113. Some day, dear sir, you will educate yourself. Tax and spend democrats. VErsus us don’t tax and spend anyway republicans– who has been running the country for the most part since Reagan, who increased the deficit for some huge percentage points, despite his rhetoric.

    You might want to read the constitution about who controls the purse, and then look at the Republicans running congress, right this very minute.

    But no, you won’t want to, because that might disturb your narrative. And that would be…


  114. If there’s violence coming from both sides, then it makes rational sense to condemn the violence on both sides.
    Hence, kudos to Trump.

  115. If the targets were law enforcement officers — or, come to think of it, Bible-believing Christians — then yes, Obama really was often “like that.”

  116. You are defending neo nazis here?

    Oh dear. There was an intentional act of homicide from one side. The whole point for the neo nazis here was to incite a violent encounter.

  117. To the overall conversation: What is an Evangelical? clearly the term has morped along racial lines, as represented here and everywhere I see polling and statistical information and opinions. This conversation is clearly about White Evangelicals and their stance, as most of these conversations prove. That is problematic in itself, the people you are talking about do not exclusively represent the opinion of Born again Christians by any stretch of the imagination. I wish they would stop pretending to do so and they are so poorly representing the principles and precepts of scripture. Sad

  118. Violence in defense of oneself against violence is very different from violence initiated.

  119. This article is a good reminder of the fact that when we call ourselves Christians, whatever we do, say, support, or are complicitly silent about we also associate with the Gospel.

  120. The E-word is a dirty word now, as of November 6, 2016 (when and because, you know). I’m sad & glad at the same time. We deserve this Permanent Evangelical Stigma. It wish it were a Permanent Evangelical Stigma-tism on account of our stand for the ransoming Fatherly love of God for us and the rest of humanity through the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of His own beloved Son, Christ Jesus. That would’ve been worth it, with the promise of The First Resurrection of the Martyrs for Jesus anointing our chopped heads. No, what has befallen us with our cocky heads still intact and held up high, is the total opposite of all that good stuff – on account of our pornographically whoring after the Gods of Civil Religion and Politics. 1st in the 1950s led by Billy Graham and Richard Nixon. 2nd in the 1970s and 1980s led by Jerry Falwell and Ronald Reagan. 3rd in the 2000s led by Ralph Reed and Billy Graham again and George W. Bush. And now until 2024 led by Jerry Falwell Jr. and Robert “Nuke’em” Jeffress and Donald Trump.

    I tried to stop them all – did you? – from forsaking our First Love for God through Jesus, to no avail. So, God’s behind the dirtying of the E-word, come to think of it.

    But hey, never take my word for it. Trust hers here, better, because she obviously is in the know:

    Amy Black, “Evangelicals and Politics: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Headed”, Evangelicals, Magazine of National Association of Evangelicals, Fall 2016:

    “Throughout the 19th century, many evangelicals were active in social and political reform movements. … In the 1970s, (while) evangelicals tended to support Democrats … high-profile Christian leaders began to talk more publicly about politics, and … encourage theologically conservative Christians to get more involved. … Evangelical voters responded, providing strong support for Reagan in 1980 and 1984. … Since the 1980s, evangelicals have been a key Republican voting bloc in presidential elections (and) become an essential part of the Republican base. … The election of President George W. Bush energized conservative evangelicals (who, then) in 2004, … worked aggressively for Bush’s re-election, expecting that Bush would prioritize their agenda in a second term.”

  121. That’s better.

    Now re: patronizing phrase like “Remember the lost are also probably reading our posts.” Don’t do that, please. Nobody’s “the lost” around here, or rather everybody is, I included. Otherwise, what are we all doing here? RNS is much better than the real thing out there in ashrams, cathedrals, housechuches, Eucharistic Masses, temples, pagan altars, mosques, synagogues, atheistic lecture halls, and megachurches.

    But you’re right. You’re more lost than me. Aw Snap! Just kidding. No, I’m worst of all. But they’re all my spiritual brothers and sisters. Spuddie, too? The best that one is. I’ll get converted yet!

  122. Are you denying the violence of Antifa? It is sickening on both ” sides.”

  123. He does what he does because it is ultimately self-serving. What he says and does in no way demonstrates any fruits of the spirit within guiding him in order to justify legitimacy for the support of Christians.. I sometimes think that there is no genuine person in there and that he is a shell of a man who tries to reflect by what he says/does with what he thinks is valued by others that will keep him in undisputed power.

    Arendt wrote in ‘Totalitarianism’ about radical evil as being the manipulation of others’ perception of reality in order to increasingly concentrate power and wealth in the hands of the few. It sows chaos in order to take advantage of the fear that chaos brings and the twisting of facts to frighten.

  124. you’re a troll. he still treats women like crap. let’s not pretend otherwise. he’s a pathetic man. you hide behind a screen name so hide yourself too. pretend people of goodness.

  125. You could be a bot from Moscow, a member of the KKK, or a poster chid for hate bating. If you don’t have the courage to show your face and who is behind your screen name, you are neither a follower of Jesus nor a patriot. Bearing false witness is a sin. Keep that in mind while you live in your pretend land of fantasy.

  126. Hell yes!

    Only one group used intentionally lethal force. It wasn’t them

  127. But only one side initiated the violent action and used lethal force. It wasn’t the counter protesters.

    You only condemn “both sides” because it was initiated by the right wingers here.

  128. Tell that to all of the women who have been made CEO by Trump. Face it, you’re a liberal first, christian second, or third, or not at all.

  129. You could be a rabbit smelling his own hole and thinking it’s a daisy. Grow up.

  130. and yet, nobody cares about your past, or what you have to say. Run along and collect your check from Soros.

  131. Please tell me where I can sign up and get paid for this. I would love to turn my hobby into a paying gig. My wife complains I spend too much time doing this. I got mortgages to pay. The extra income would help.

  132. That was one deranged individual, not a whole group, and I am not excusing what this group stands for. Antifa loots, burns and destroys. You think this is okay?

  133. You ARE just making excuses here. It is only a lone individual when its not a group you are sympathetic to. Otherwise everyone is held accountable. That is how this recrimination usually goes.

    Clearly one side, was far more violent than the other, to the point of using deadly force. Which was entirely ignored by trying to blame the violence on “both sides”. But you would rather blame the victims of the deadly attack, than address the attacker.

  134. I would have believed that if not for the presence of Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka in his staff. They are clearly white supremacists. They hold positions of influence with the president. White Supremacists like David Duke feel emboldened by the Trump presidency.

  135. That is far from what I was saying but it’s hard to reason with people like you. You are too busy listening to the sound of your own voice.

  136. When one ignores the attempt to remove anti-discrimination clauses in government contractors, the abortive transgender military ban, the removal of guidelines for trans students in schools, and most of all Mike Pence as VP.

  137. Exactly as I was saying. They are seeking a quid pro quo relationship with Trump.

    “He envisioned himself sort of as a “uniter” person who would wrap us all in the American flag, but I don’t think it’s going to work. ”

    By insulting virtually every minority, the disabled and veterans. He appealed to the cretinous and they love the idea of using government to attack others.

  138. You weren’t trying reason. You were full of crap here. Especially when the protests and counter protests were dispersing without any major use of force by law enforcement, 2 hours prior to the attack with the car.

    You were attacking the people who were the victims of an intentional act of violence and looking to excuse our president’s feckless behavior in light of the incidents involved. Behavior guided by the fact that his strongest base support are the white supremacist cretins.

    When it comes to “both sides” lawmakers on both sides of the ideological divide are calling for Trump to issue an actual condemnation of the White Supremacists for the ISIS style terror attack during the protests. Not the half baked garbage he gave.

  139. The typical unthoughtful response of one who can’t frame a cohesive argument, but must insist on personal invective. For the record, I am no fan of George Soros. My Master is Christ Jesus. It is also, psychologically speaking, interesting to note that while you suggest that no one cares about my past or what I have to say, you didn’t hesitate to cite your own past in defending your point of view. That’s is quite interesting. As one who professes the same commitment to Christ, I can sincerely wish you well on your personal spiritual journey.

  140. Hp0, your funny! You also are a good writer. I appreciate the input and hope you understand that I was not judging you. I hope my definitions were satisfactory. We can agree to disagree.

  141. I completely agree. I am a conservative and a Christian. I have always been opposed to Trump. It has been revolting to see some of these so-called Christian leaders support and defend him. But no one ever interviews or talks to people like me. We are attacked by the Trump supporters and lumped together with them by others. It is disheartening.
    I think it would be a good thing if Christians left both parties and became Independents. It has been freeing for me personally. I no longer have to wince at a party’s platform or behavior. I can stand on my Christian convictions and not be tempted to engage in the tribalism that has taken over our two party system.

  142. As the Chief Executive he was the Chief Law Enforcement Officer, and he is a Bible-believing Christian. The assertion’s ridiculous.

  143. Antifa is at best a very loose organization of hobbyists. Punching a uniformed Nazi may seem silly or redundant even, but it’s no comparison to the mass murder and political assassinations engaged in by the right wing.

  144. Floydlee, I always appreciate your bull doggish determination to make what I consider to be balanced assessments. However, and this is not a reflection on you personally, but I’ve gotten so I roll my eyes when people punch and counterpunch with hyperlinks, mostly because I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s no such thing as objective reporting, and people usually link to those sources that affirm their own point of view. Your observation that both the Fringe Left and Fringe Right have motives other than objectivity…Well, that is gold to be taken to the bank. I’d love to research the archives of RNS to determine how many progressives/lefties vs. conservative/righties among those who comment here have tacitly admitted that fact. I make no book on the relative numbers. I wonder if RNS has an intern up for that.

  145. No, Obama was merely a much more nimble dancer than Trump.

  146. I’d love a comprehensive doctrinal statement from the former President as regards his affinity for God’s Word, of course, I’d love to hear the same from the present Chief.

  147. Ah, I understand, you believe Trump is the Anti-Christ. This is after Pres. Obama used the IRS for political purposes, fomented BLM, politicized the intelligence services, criminalized mens college sports, domestic family courts and environmental kangaroo courts, and tried to topple democracy in Egypt and replace it with the Muslim Brotherhood, all in totalitarian fashion.

  148. Nope, I don’t defend Nazi’s or KKK’s. (I don’t defend you either, by the way.)

    I might easily participate in a ***peaceful*** counter-protest or march against them. But not if YOU were participating. I strongly support carefully planned ***non-violent*** protests modeled by King. You don’t.

    These days, it’s hard to trust people. You got haters who apparently want to believe that Trump is the clandestine leader of all white supremacists. They just want to spin this tragedy to attack Trump. That don’t work for me.

    Also, you saw how some have turned to direct confrontation with the supremacists, knowingly inviting the violent fights.

    You’ve seen the pix and so have I.
    If you get right in somebody’s face, even if your cause is just, you still invite fighting. And you see that violence can lead to death.

    Violence coming from both sides. For you, that’s A-okay. You reject King’s pathway, as did the anti-racists. I cannot march with you, Spuddie.

  149. Hi, brother Mark Webb. Just wanna touch baseball base with you.

    Quite a “let’s (dis)cuss together” time around here this weekend, huh?

    Great, isn’t it?

    Yeah, I know, not really. RNS not exactly a Trump rally, that’s for sure. I made a wrong detour myself.

    But never left!

    I hate Trump now. Just kidding. Partly. Partially.

    3x I hated him. At AlterNet they hated him … how many days now he’s in White (Christian) House? … twice that number squared. Me, I hated him for killing Yemenis, bombing Syria, and now giving that North Korean Dick Taytor his nuclear phallic middle finger. And yet, and yet what are our born-again Christian brothers and sisters in his inner cabal doing about these? Shouldn’t there be healthy tension by now among them over Trump? And shouldn’t Trump have fired one or 2 of them by now for daring to rebuke his sins? Man, why are they all committing this Conspiracy to Silence over Sin? What an example they set for the poor peasants back in their local multimedia megachurches.

    But I digress.

    Point is: pick your battles wisely around here. Many are pros in pushing the right buttons on commentators. Soros trained them well. Just kidding.

    And always ask repliers, Friends or Foes? And respond civil-like. It took me awhile to get used to this strange way of (dis)cussing.

    Anyway, you shouldn’t have burned the otherwise nicely built bridges there with Edward & Scott (no relation).

    You come back now, y’hear? And – ROCK THE CASBAH. (Whatever happened to The Clash?)

  150. 10 months Trump’s POTUS now. So Hillary – I remember thanking God for the miracle of her losing – but am now following her new career as lay preacher and am surprised RNS hasn’t scooped her on that let’s-religionize-DNC-too tactic – is IRRELEVANT to the comments at hand.

    If you mean, Had she won and since then, would RNS have invested in this magnitude of scandalization of Evangelicals, with whom I identify (as much as Jesus identified with Judas until the actual Betrayal, mind)? No way! I’m with you on that.

  151. One of the white supremacists pulled an ISIS style motor vehicle attack on the counter protesters. That crosses a line from an incident with potential for equivalent blame to entirely to being entirely the focus of fault for violence here. Nothing justifies that. Nothing. Not a thing.

    Doesn’t matter how rude or belligerent one might think the counterprotesters may have acted, that incident puts them clearly on the side of victims of violence in a way which cannot be excused or minimized by their own actions.

    Trump refused to acknowledge or denounce what is rightfully called a terrorist attack in a protest by white supremacists. Who, by the way, have not denounced the attack as a rogue action from their side. His behavior is typically feckless and lets white supremacists off the hook by minimizing the intentional and malicious act which left one person dead and 19 injured.

  152. I sincerely doubt Hillary would be ad libbing belligerent rhetoric designed to spark a nuclear exchange with a rogue state.

    I also sincerely doubt she would be making excuses for NEO FRIGGIN NAZIS WHO PERFORMED AN ISIS STYLE TERRORIST ATTACK.

    But she is no longer relevant to any discussion in 2017 going forward. But I guess anything to avoid discussing the merits of our Incompetent in Chief has to be comforting.

  153. Nope. That is the lamest excuse so far.

    “You don’t see that Trump played a crazy man with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un’s provocative threats?”

    So convincing that both Japan and South Korea are wondering whether he is stupid enough to bluster his way into their countries being attacked.

    We are supposed to make our enemies quake with terror, not our allies.

  154. Not playing the fool. Just getting away with being the fool.

  155. Japan and South Korea are afraid of the US over North Korea? Now that is foolish and crazy.

  156. Actually, many scholars have pointed out that Trump is apparently trained in the speech methods of the ancient Roman orators Cicero and Quintilian. But from your value perspective, it is understandable that Trump can do nothing right.

  157. “Trump is apparently trained in the speech methods of the ancient Roman orators Cicero and Quintilian. ”

    As interpreted by a man-child with a limited vocabulary, inattentiveness to details, impatience with criticism and a malicious motormouth. Evidently every one in the 4th grade is trained in such speech methods according to your standards. 🙂

    ” it is understandable that Trump can do nothing right.”

    It helps that Trump has done nothing right.

  158. You’re taking this way too seriously. It was a play on words, a joke.
    Be well.

  159. I looked to see if one exists and while Bill Clinton’s faith is well-documented, nothing like that immediately appeared in the results. However, this did, from Barry Goldwater, the Republican nominee in 1964:

    ““I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across the
    country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I
    must believe in the ‘A,’ ‘B,’ ‘C,’ and ‘D.’ Just who do they think they
    are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their
    moral belief to me? And I’m even more angry as a legislator who must
    endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some
    God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate.
    And the religious factions will go on imposing their will on others
    unless the decent people connected with them recognize that religion has
    no place in public policy.”

    The article from which that was excerpted commented on how that was somewhat different from the pithy proclamations from every President from Reagan on.

    That, to me, was very interesting, considering how our Religious Right likes to herald the past as somewhere containing a golden era when just about everybody was a fundamentalist. It seems to me the sentiment provides evidence for my informed opinion that the right-wing is nostalgic for a time which never was.

    I am interested in what the positions on theological issues are of the leaders of my church, but as for those of any politician, I could care less. The constitution prohibits religious tests for public office. I have no interest in the specifics of what any candidate for public office believes about faith, because we are not Pharisees electing a Grand Pharisee.

    As a resident of Kansas I am aware of how others allow religious prejudice to inform their votes. In Sam Brownback’s first race for the Senate in 1996, his opponent was Jill Docking. Just before the election, robocalls were made asking “Did you know Jill Docking is a Jew?” While it is impossible to tell today how effective that was [Brownback won 56%-43%] I cannot accept that those who made the robocalls and those who voted for Brownback because of them acted morally in doing so.

  160. Merely that when controversial issues came up, Obama was smoother in his responses, whether he was always honest is another question.

  161. In the final example you cite I absolutely agree with you. While the source of the calls may be established, we cannot now know who voted primarily on that basis. As for the time that never was, I largely agree with you, with the caveat that there was a time not so long ago when the moral arguments and precepts of traditional American Christianity were not under the same level of assault and disdain that exists today. I would add that the “assault” I refer to is philosophical rather than physical, but I believe that could change.

  162. This is where you and I differ: you say “there was a time not so long ago when the moral arguments and precepts of
    traditional American Christianity were not under the same level of
    assault and disdain that exists today.” That seems to be not based on facts to me, though of course, defining what ”
    traditional American Christianity” actually is can help us navigate that, and doing that is difficult because the Republic is so young and the phrase has got to mean so many different things to just about everybody.

    Let’s skip the period before 1776, though Salem’s Puritans in 1692 would no doubt have said exactly the same thing.

    The Adams supporters would have said the same thing about Jefferson’s deism, francophilia, and dalliances with his slaves.

    The conservative New England Puritans’ descendants would have said the same thing about disestablishment [removing state established churches ala The Church of England, Scandanavian Lutheran Churches, etc.] in the 1820s.

    The Millerites definitely said the same thing in the 1840s.

    The Abolitionists said it from the 1830s until the Emancipation Proclamation.

    Social Gospel adherents in the Gilded Age said it about Social Darwinism.

    Xenophobic Populists said it from the 1880s till they died out in the 1910s.

    Benjamin Harrison said it about Native Americans’ resistance to forced Christianization.

    The moneyed class said it about the New Deal.

    Lemuel Boulware and Joe McCarthy said it in the 1950s.

    Antiwar clergy said it during the Vietnam War.

    So what is different?

    A few missionary atheists like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and the like.

    The need to respect the rights of other religious adherents like Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, etc., who were not here in as large a numbers 100 years ago.

    Do you honestly think a Protestant Clergyperson today faces greater disdain than the first church planters to set up shop in dusty frontier towns in the Old West? (Not to mention that the outrage Mormons practicing polygamy aroused in those days) You think the stock characters in Western movies, gunslingers, gamblers, dance hall girls, grubby miners, etc. treated these pioneering clergy BETTER than bourgeious hipster jacknapes treat clergy today? For a good fictional portrayal of the frntier preacher’s treatment, note Russell Crowe’s performance as “Preacher” (a former gunslinger turned Pastor) in the movie “The Quick and The Dead.”

    Then look at Robert Mitchum as the corrupt preacher in “Night of the Hunter” from the 1950s!

    The Irish Movie “Calvary” features Brendan Gleeson as a priest in Ireland who is disdained for his position as a clergyman because Ireland is in post traumatic shock over the revelations of scandals of sexual abuse by priests and abuse of women by its Magdalen Homes. At one point Gleeson casually strikes up a conversation with a young teenage girl on a public beach and her father comes over and protectively pulls her away. That is normal there (an Irish psychologist confirmed that when I discussed with him this movie) but it would be highly unusual here.

    For these reasons I do not believe the assertion about how American culture has changed is not based on facts.

  163. I hope to reply shortly. Presently, the day’s fatigue prevents me.

  164. If he went into community theatre he could play The Governor (Charles Durning in the movie) in Larry L. King’s “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” and his signature song, “Dance a Little Sidestep,” but so could every ex-President back until Ford at least. I would imagine of that series of POTUS #s 38 through 46 his naturalness in the role would only possible be exceeded by Clinton’s and Reagan’s, but not by that much.

    The most “honest” President we’ve had since my infancy* was Jimmy Carter and he was disdained for it. YMMV. *(I say Infancy instead of birth because Truman was President when I was born and Eisenhower became Prez before I was one. Truman also was known for plain dealing and he was especially unpopular soon after the election of 1948 and on until the end of his full term).

  165. Sorry – just saw your comment. Partly because in our family I have relatives who would hold this man up as God’s servant along with the rest of the those surrounding the President either directly or as the POTUS prayer shield. And uphold themselves as being true Christians. Putting us in the land where it is not just theological differences that exist within the bigger Christian community but a public re-definition of what being Christian is/means. I hope that makes sense – I have tried to take a personal impact where my kids see their family and home church as being the exception and Evangelicals as the cultrually normative expression of Christianity. At a time when religious none’s are growing, Trump’s vocal evangelical supporters are not needed.

  166. Yesterday you said the leftists were engaging in violence. Now they were just getting in people’s faces?

  167. Ah yes, the “lone wolf” defense. Convenient but obsolete.

  168. It was good enough for the Dems when James Hodgkinson was the terrorist.

  169. So, some white supremacists like some of Trump’s policies. James Hodgkinson and Omar Mateen liked Democrat policies, too. What people have “noticed” is that we are ever-increasingly polarized and that violence, hatred, defamation, other-blaming and pervasive vulgarity have become the political order of the day while the actual, substantive goals of the people are blocked or ignored altogether.

    It is small wonder that people are so weary of the establishment in its entirety that they are looking ANYWHERE else for the barest hint of forthrightness and initiative. Trump may indeed fail to deliver it, but if so then ultimately someone else will and the Dems are most likely NOT going to like the results any better.

  170. That might be hard to pin down, since his views have an annoying way of “evolving.”

  171. True but not the point. The point is he was painted as a lone wolf (of which I’ve never been convinced, as he knew rather too much about the activities of those on his hit list) but his crime was unfortunately applauded by far too many liberals.

  172. I’d be surprised if Trump DID know about Duke’s endorsement, for the only time I ever hear anything about Duke is when some lib complains about him. Is he still on ANYBODY’S radar? Those of us who are old enough remember him in the news back in the 80s but since then I’ve no idea where he is or what he’s doing.

  173. Anyone who applauded or excused that attack was wrong, period.

  174. So goes the standard Democrat response. And I believe that is the standard Republican response to this episode as well.

  175. Saying it’s a “lone wolf” is in my mind a method of excusing it, whether we’re talking about the Congressional Baseball shooting or the Charlottesville terror attack (the Attorney General having confirmed that DoJ is classifying it as domestic terrorism). .

  176. Saying it’s a “lone wolf” is not a method of excusing the action but of “excusing,” if you want to call it that, those who are on the same side of the political divide as the malefactor but did not participate in the act or condone it. Since more than enough violence has sprung from both of those sides, it either works for both or it works for neither.

    I, for one, did not join in the crowing about the damage Hodgkinson and Mateen did to the Dems, for I knew that sooner or later some Republican kook would make similar headlines and the same act would play out in reverse. I simply wish we could see less propaganda and fist-waving and hot air and more effort toward the results that the American public wants badly enough to throw out the Washington establishment over. Because if that doesn’t happen, we’re not going to see any peace for a long time.

  177. I’m okay with evolution in that sense, as long as the evolution is logical, rational, and consistent with scripture. In the former chief executive’s case, I suspect that criteria may not be met. But then, at present, I’m not sanguine about the present chief executive in that same regard. My primary failure has been not praying enough for both of them.

  178. “I’m not sanguine about the present chief executive in that same regard” Ditto me. Lord knows I didn’t want him as a candidate

  179. So that’s what you mean, sister Linda Lee Davidson: (1) Your Evangelical “relatives … uphold themselves as being true Christians” – which suggests that you and the rest of the American Christian population aren’t? And (2) they have no regard or tolerance for “theological differences that exist within the bigger Christian community” in America – much less the desire for going forward together with you on account of these “theological differences”? And (3) they’re all into a “public re-definition of what being Christian is/means” in America – and when The-81% managed to kick Hillary Clinton out of the White House, you’re starting to believe they’re going to succeed? Worst of all, (4) way ahead of you on their own and no questions asked, your very own “kids see … Evangelicals as the culturally normative expression of Christianity”, even though you’ve been telling them that “religious none’s are growing” in number?

    What can I say?

    (1) Will it make any difference to know or be reminded that editorial and supportive non-Evangelical folks over at Religion & Politics, at Religion Dispatches, at Sojourners, and over here at RNS, all “uphold themselves as being true Christians”, albeit as true as the next Sir & Ma’am?

    (2) Clearly, to you “theological differences that exist within the bigger Christian community” in America, is a good thing, whereas the opposite is the case with your “relatives”. How is this disagreement a bad thing, though? Why can’t the two sides just get along while agreeing to disagree – like all the people here at RNS? It’s quite beautiful, actually.

    (3) Trust me, being one myself, Evangelicals aren’t cut out, or empowered, even from on high, to make any attempt at the “public re-definition of what being Christian is/means” in America, happen. Take courage and comfort in the gospel truth that God and Satan and Christ Jesus won’t allow that ever to happen.

    (4) And trust me, being one myself, that “Evangelicals” are no longer “the culturally normative expression of Christianity”. Once upon a time, maybe, but that was when they separated themselves from the flesh, the world and idols. Now they’re a bunch of political whores, like the rest of the Christianese speaking American Churchianitysts. In the footsteps of ancient Israelites who lusted after the political and military might of the surrounding Gentile nations. God got angry, then; He’s much angrier now because of the Evangelicals. Tell that to your “kids” for me, please.

  180. Snowflake? The left has zero originality. You can’t even come up with a good insult. What a loser.

  181. “Hp0, your funny” meaning “Hp0, you’re funny”

  182. Because “loser” is so original. Did I trigger you, snowflake?

  183. How about God’s unmerited favor towards women?

  184. blasphemers, who cannot comprehend how ELOHEEM appointed trump as you president. and even supported by, THEIR Only Begotten Male Child.

    whether you, are appointed a horrible or less horrible leader all are appointed by ELOHEEM till The End of This Sixth Day again. as you, call obama good and trump bad because you do not know good from bad.

    there, was nobody at that rally defending ELOHEEM or THEIR Son. they, were all defending either their black or white idolatry of men.

    nor does the money trail for any of your churches lead, to ELOHEEM or THEIR Son. it is all, used in support of the subtle talking beasts of the fields individual idolatry’s.

  185. Thank you for your time and response. Christianity is a big tent from my perspective. We should be able to agree to disagree but still be part of the family. (Disagreement is bad when de facto shunning happens). But the seeming current public narrative of Trump’s religious advisors presents a skewed version of that tent. And it is a sad version of the Gospel message. I am concerned about the growth of religious none’s and do not see the current situation as helpful as all.

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