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White House honors evangelicals ‘for all the good work they do’

President Trump greets people as he arrives to speak during a dinner for evangelical leaders in the State Dining Room of the White House on Aug. 27, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON (RNS) — The White House hosted a dinner Monday night (Aug. 27) for about 100 evangelical Christian leaders and senior-level officials, honoring evangelicals, as one participant explained, “for all the good work they do.”

Calling America “a nation of believers,” President Trump said at the event that they had gathered to “celebrate America’s heritage of faith, family and freedom.”

“As you know, in recent years the government tried to undermine religious freedom, but the attacks on communities of faith are over,” the president said. “We’ve ended it. We’ve ended it. Unlike some before us, we are protecting your religious liberty.”

Trump also took the opportunity to press evangelicals to turn out their supporters on Election Day later this year, according to an audio recording of the event leaked to The New York Times.

“I just ask you to go out and make sure all of your people vote,” Trump told the crowd, according to the Times. “Because if they don’t — it’s Nov. 6 — if they don’t vote we’re going to have a miserable two years and we’re going to have, frankly, a very hard period of time because then it just gets to be one election — you’re one election away from losing everything you’ve got.”

Trump then appeared to claim that if Democrats win, they “will overturn everything that we’ve done and they’ll do it quickly and violently.”

Attendees such as Paula White, a Florida pastor who serves as one of Trump’s closest spiritual advisers, said the event followed an afternoon of meetings between the evangelical leaders and White House officials. Others said the agenda of those meetings included issues important to both the administration and conservative evangelicals, such as religious freedom, immigration reform, criminal justice and prison reform and judicial nominations.

White, who called the event a “beautiful, memorable evening,” said, “Every table was hosted by a Cabinet member, senior adviser and — of course — the president and vice president had their own tables.”

According to a tweet by Johnnie Moore, a public relations consultant who serves as the unofficial spokesman for an informal group of evangelicals who advise the president, invitations for the event were sent more than six weeks ago.

Nonetheless, coming after a week in which the president was buffeted by the conviction of his former campaign manager and a guilty plea by his personal attorney on federal charges, and as the White House attempted to control the damage over reports Trump quashed an official White House tribute after Sen. John McCain’s death, the dinner provided a moment of praise for the president, who was repeatedly lauded by those who attended. 

President Donald Trump bows his head in prayer as pastor Paula White leads the room in prayer during a dinner for evangelical leaders in the State Dining Room of the White House on Aug. 27, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

One participant, Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of First Baptist Dallas, described the event to Fox News as a “beautiful state dinner,” and claimed it “almost turned into a campaign rally,” with evangelicals in attendance spontaneously standing and speaking about why they support the president.

Faith & Freedom Coalition founder and Chairman Ralph Reed said evangelicals have a “tremendous amount of appreciation and gratitude” for Trump and his administration.

“There’s a deep appreciation in the evangelical community for President Trump and his administration for making religious freedom, the sanctity of life, support for the state of Israel and many other public policy concerns such high priorities,” he said.

That was echoed in a gift White reportedly presented to the president and first lady on behalf of the group: a Bible signed by more than 100 evangelicals and carrying the inscription, “We appreciate the price that you have paid to walk in the high calling. History will record the greatness that you have brought for generations.”


RELATED: All the president’s clergymen: A close look at Trump’s ‘unprecedented’ ties with evangelicals


The dinner’s purpose appeared to be to take a victory lap for those key members of Trump’s base concerned with certain definitions of religious liberty. In his remarks at the dinner, Trump reportedly listed what he saw as his administration’s successes on faith issues, claiming among other things that he has “stopped” the Johnson Amendment, which prevented churches from promoting political candidates, though the executive order he signed last year does not do that; repealing the Johnson Amendment would take an act of Congress.

(Trump also did not mention various ongoing threats to nonevangelical faith communities in the United States. In May, a man in Florida was arrested on a charge of making a bomb threat against a South Florida mosque, according to federal prosecutors.)

Trump ended his remarks by telling attendees, “The support you’ve given me has been incredible, but I really don’t feel guilty because I have given you a lot back — just about everything I promised, and, as one of our great pastors just said, ‘Actually, you’ve given us much more, sir, than you’ve promised,’ and I think that’s true in many respects.”

First lady Melania Trump listens to President Trump give remarks during a dinner in celebration of evangelical leadership in the State Dining Room of the White House on Aug. 27, 2018. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)

The dinner also continued the evangelicals’ access to argue for further gains. Cabinet members including Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar mingled with Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., Samaritan’s Purse CEO Franklin Graham, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins and Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

Others at the dinner were Vice President Mike Pence, presidential advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, and Sam Brownback, United States ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.

Among the more notable attendees was J.D. Greear, the new president of the Southern Baptist Convention, who has vowed to distance the denomination from politics. In June, when Pence spoke at the SBC’s annual meeting, Greear tweeted that the address sent “a terribly mixed signal,” adding that “commissioned missionaries, not political platforms, are what we do.”

He tweeted again after Monday’s dinner that while he had accepted the invitation and “witness in the public square requires some presence in it,” he remains “just as committed as ever to decoupling the church from partisan politics.”

Greear tweeted that he did not sign the gift Bible, saying he wasn’t asked or aware it was being presented.


RELATED: How evangelicals teamed up with the White House on prison reform


While attendees tweeted smiling selfies from the dinner, other evangelicals took them to task on Twitter for their uncritical support for the president.

Historian John Fea, author of “Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump,” refers to Trump’s prominent evangelical backers as “court evangelicals.” He wrote a blog post Monday night suggesting attendees read the biblical accounts of the prophet Nathan, who, after sharing a story about a rich man who took everything a poor man had, called out King David, “You are the man.”

“Will there be a Nathan in the room tonight?” Fea wrote. “Somehow I doubt it.”

 

About the author

Emily McFarlan Miller

Emily McFarlan Miller is a national reporter for RNS based in Chicago. She covers evangelical and mainline Protestant Christianity.

About the author

Jack Jenkins

Jack Jenkins is a national reporter for RNS based in Washington, covering U.S. Catholics and the intersection of religion and politics.

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  • On the very same day that Eric Metaxas publishes his astonishingly mendacioius claims about how evangelicals spearheaded the American Revolution, the abolitionist movement, the Civil Rights movement, Cynthia Tucker publishes an article entitled “In the Hate of Dixie” which contains the following information:

    The National Memorial for Peace and Justice remembers more than 4,400 victims of lynchings committed between 1877 and 1950 in states across the country, but most in the South. EJI staffers documented 361 racial terror lynchings in Alabama alone, a number that, though awful, pales next to Louisiana (549), Georgia (592), and Mississippi (654).

    To commit a victim’s name to one of the more than 800 steel blocks that hang in the memorial, researchers needed at least two archival records to corroborate the act of racial terror. But Stevenson has emphasized the limits of that work: Countless victims will never be known, as those cruel acts of terror have been lost to history. Families fled and buried the stories of brutality. Relatives left behind learned never to speak of those horrible episodes.

    Official documents gave scant notice to the injustices that were woven into the fabric of civic life, often with the implicit or explicit support of local law enforcement officials.

    https://bittersoutherner.com/in-the-hate-of-dixie-monroe-county-lynchings

    That’s the bible-belt, white evangelical culture in which I grew up in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

    Metaxas’ outrageously untrue statements — as applied to white evangelicals — point to a fantasy land that never existed. They’re the quintessence of fake news.

  • I’m surprised Trump didn’t hire strippers to perform for his guests.

    These soulless grifters would have applauded him for it.

  • I saw some of the video. It looked like a convention of used car salesmen with their feathered, lacquered, colored hair and their trophy wives who looked more like 1950’s mannequins than real live human women. The whole spectacle creeped me out. Jesus may have dined with prostitutes and tax collectors but these people he would surely shun.

  • Whoa, you don’t like evangelicals?

    Uh, you could have said that in four words.

    1877 to 1950 …. really topical.

  • Metaxas is well known for his lying about history.
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/dispatches/2016/07/07/eric-metaxas-keeps-on-lying/

    http://newchristianity.blogspot.com/2013/06/liars-for-jesus-eric-metaxas-in.html

    Anyone with the gall to link abolition and civil rights movements to the reactionary bigoted beliefs of Evangelical Christians today lacks an honest bone in their body.

    As usual, conservative Christians want to tramp stamp achievements they not only had nothing to do with, but really outright opposed. In 30 years they will take credit for gay rights as well.

  • The New York Times reports:

    In remarks to evangelical ministers in the White House State Dining Room on Monday night, President Trump spoke in high-minded tones about religious liberty, abortion and youth unemployment. He noted a John Adams quote carved into the room’s fireplace: “I pray heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this house.”

    But once reporters and television cameras were ushered out of the room, Mr. Trump turned to the more pragmatic concerns of how evangelical leaders can use their pulpits to help Republicans win in the midterm elections, according to an audiotape of his remarks provided to The New York Times by someone who attended the event.

    Mr. Trump warned that if Republicans do not retain control of Congress, religious communities would lose all of the gains he had secured on their behalf. “They will end everything immediately,” he said, apparently referring to Democrats. He added, again without being clear whom he was talking about: “They will overturn everything that we’ve done and they’ll do it quickly and violently. And violently. There’s violence. When you look at Antifa, and you look at some of these groups, these are violent people.”

    Nothing I can add to Jabba the Trump’s remarks, and not becuase I think they have the slightest basis in reality.

  • What Trump has “given” to these Ayatollahs was “stolen” from you. Better get this thing in reverse gear before you find yourself in an Iranian-style nightmare. Your country is slip-sliding away now. The rich already have everything they want. The religionists do too. What about you? Do you like hearing about The Ark while your access to health care goes bye-bye? While your elections are subject to rigging for the rest of your life? While human rights and the environment are trashed as concerns?

  • He’s a pig and they’re craven toadies.

    That’s a pretty sane assessment of how sad Evangelicals have become.

  • Rigging the political process, eh? You mean like what Queen Hillary did
    against Bernie Sanders. during the last presidential election cycle?

    (I bet you voted for Queen Hillary too, now didn’t ya?)

  • Spuddie will be okay once he stops drinking all that Democrat Kool-Aid.
    After all, if it smells like cyanide, and tastes like cyanide, then chances are the cup is full of….

  • I mean gerrymandering, voter suppression, GOP encouragement of anyone, including foreigners, who can hack for the GOP, illegal use of churches for politics, and GOP court decisions inviting unlimited secret money for election influence. Should I thank you for your attitude being a good example of what people need to be standing against? Yeah, probably.

  • Sorry, that sounds more like an Arkham Asylum assessment to me. (Too many liberal Jokers in the Democratic Party already. Just tint their hair green and they would be perfect matches.)

  • Said the man who thinks he is persecuted by the Liberal/Satanic/Atheist/Gay cabal.

    Do you call them The Legion of Doom in your head?

  • Hillary?
    But what about Mitt Romney?
    Mike Dukakis?
    Ross Perot?
    I heard that Walter Mondale was a real slippery character!

    Ever notice how obsessed conservatives these days are with people who haven’t been relevant to politics for several years?

    As if they are afraid of talking about the corrupt, incompetent, racist slimeball they currently support in the White House. Go figure.

  • Quoted: “[The Apricot Wonder] then appeared to claim that if Democrats win, they “will overturn everything that we’ve done and they’ll do it quickly and violently.” 

    There’s no “appearance” about it. He absolutely DID — directly and explicitly! — say that, if victorious in November, Democrats will use “violence” against their rivals. 

    Actually, in that one little snippet, he used variations on the word “violence” four times, in an effort to reinforce this point: 

    “If the GOP loses, he said, ‘they will overturn everything that we’ve done and they’ll do it quickly and violently, and violently. There’s violence. When you look at Antifa and you look at some of these groups — these are violent people.’”

    He made this point stunningly clear, and he did so without equivocation: Democrats WILL use “violence, violence” against the precious snowflake Rightists. 

  • I assume this event is the beginning of a new Trump tradition . . . the annual Bigot Banquet.

  • Well, you know how Trump bungles the language. What he really tried to say was “they will overtum everything with violins.”

  • Lucifer addresses his hyper hypocritical dissembling bible thumpers and nation’s dumbest, most naive, gullible, foils and the moon eyed lemmings ate it up. A mental health intervention for the Dictator wanabe and righteous indignation for the sacrilegious fascist Evangelicals.

  • “Because if they don’t — it’s Nov. 6 — if they don’t vote we’re going to have a miserable two years and we’re going to have, frankly, a very hard period of time because then it just gets to be one election — you’re one election away from losing everything you’ve got.”

    Trump then appeared to claim that if Democrats win, they “will overturn everything that we’ve done and they’ll do it quickly and violently.”

    Wow, can we fear monger much? This is nauseating.

  • The upside to Evangelicals licking Trump’s boots is that it’s destroying their future for generations to come.

    They’ve actually accelerated their own demise.

  • A white house dinner to celebrate lies and hatred. Scary, amazing waste of taxpayer money. All should be concerned and fearful.

  • The notion that if the Democrats win they will overturn everything that this Administration has done doesn’t present as fear mongering.

    It is mild compared to the rhetoric on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.

  • Trojan Horse
    Trump Horse
    When Trump is out of office; the idiom ‘Trojan Horse’ will have a new name for the 21 century — the Trump Horse.

  • Combine Trump’s personal paranoia and the Evangelical’s cultural paranoia and you get votes, votes, votes. This gathering demonstrates that there is some truth to Voltaire’s claim that “Religion began when the first scoundrel met the first fool”. This gathering was a truly awesome collection of scoundrels.
    This gathering also demonstrates the truth of the old saying, “You dance with the one that brought you.” In this case it works both ways.

  • How many people claiming to be Christians are actually walking the path of Jesus??

    If you are going to after every representative who has had sex outside of marriage, then Washington will be pretty empty.

  • And it’s sure gonna be one huge “Concept” you’ll get to talk to, 10 seconds after you die (Heb. 9:27).

    P.S. That “Concept”, he sure gonna talk back to you too!!!!

  • I hope so, as I would like to give him or her a piece of my mind, that is if this concept of yours appreciates honesty.

  • Will the evangelicals be recounting during dinner the many times the Liar-in-Chief has broken the 10 commandments?

  • Not quite. The 1st, 2nd, and 4th groups can offer a little fight, but these days, the Atheists essentially qualify only as “Target Practoce.”

  • Who knows, as it was a pretty backward time and place. They should all be grateful to the Romans for bringing some civilized advancements like road building, aqueducts, medicine, architecture, hygiene/sanitation, etc.

  • I would not couch it as a lie, as it is more of a fairytale or a fictional character. Our collective humanity has to have room for fictional stories with call them “lies”. Did you not let your children have Santa Claus and flying reindeer, without calling it a lie?

  • “White House honors evangelicals ‘for all the good work they do’” for whom? Trump? Atheism (since they do such a good job of turning people away from faith? The accuser (in supporting Trump’s false accusations)?

  • Oooh Atheists are coming to take away your mythical right to put a Christian tramp stamp on government and public works! Run! Flee!!!!

    I find it funny that you are so hateful of religious beliefs other than your own that even non-belief is seen as an inherent threat to your existence.

  • Who said I was hateful of anybody? For me, attacking atheism is no different from working a good crossword puzzle. ( The EASY kind!! )

  • But which God do they worship? Mammon, also known as Greed? Do they worship Satan also known as the Devil? The Devil is known as the great deceiver and Trump certainly fits the bill.

  • If their churches and Bible are to be believed, the Triune God of Father, son, and Holy Ghost.

    Since you’re an atheist, trying to palm anyone off as “the Devil” is pushing your envelope.

  • Attendees such as Paula White, a Florida pastor who serves as one of Trump’s closest spiritual advisers, said the event followed an afternoon of meetings between the evangelical leaders and White House officials.

    Paula White ministers to a largely Black congregation in Florida. I wonder how some of them feel about her political inclinations?

  • Hypocrites are they these “evangelicals” as they support a guy guilty of lying daily, adultery, cheating, hating half the human race and blatant bigotry!!! Time to send all of them out to the manure pile!!!

  • “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” 2 Cor 11:13

  • Unfortunately for you and Paul and the rest of Christianity, there was no resurrection and never will be.

    From a major Catholic university’s theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

    “Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
    Jesus and Mary’s bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

    Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

    Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus’ crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary’s corpse) into heaven did not take place.

    The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

    Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus’ mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus’ followers.

    The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary’s special role as “Christ bearer” (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus’ Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary’s assumption also shows God’s positive regard, not only for Christ’s male body, but also for female bodies.” ”

    “In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him.”
    http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

    The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

    With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

    An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

    p.4

    “Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God’s hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus’ failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing.”

  • Thanks, Ben. Neither Trump nor these fake Xians really care a flip about religious liberty or our constitutional heritage of church-state separation.

  • My pleasure. Just doing my bit to expose the utter hypocrisy of these so called Christians.

  • Which is strange for Miller and Gorka as white America would never and has never run a Jew or a Hungarian for President. White America has never run a white person for President who was of Spanish, Danish, Polish, French, Greek, Italian, Russian, or other non-Anglo ancestry.

  • Gays are just people who have no attraction to the opposite sex. Besides, any kind of sex outside of marriage supposed to be a sin.

    Where do you and out President fit in on the seven detestable sins?

    1. Greed – Wanting too much of something.

    2. Gluttony – Similar to greed, but gluttony is the action of taking too much of something in.

    3. Lust – The need to fulfill unspiritual desires .

    4. Envy – Jealousy; wanting to have what someone has.

    5. Sloth – Being too slow or lazy at doing something.

    6. Wrath – Vindictive anger; angry revenge.

    7. Pride – Being too self-satisfied

  • To add: One of the biggest problems we have in this Country is that we eat too much, drink too much, and smoke too much, and then complain about the over-crowded healthcare system. And then, up to 15,000 Americans are killed by drunk drivers every year, and many more by hand guns in the wrong hands. And I just want to know what the Christian position is on those issues, because two men getting married to each other does not affect my life one way or the other.

  • You simply didn’t notice that my marriage has destroyed yours and that I am forcing you to celebrate my marriage by baking flowers and planting cakes.

    And the proof? Who needs it?

  • Couching all fictional stories as lies will rob children of their imagination, from Tarzan to Superman, from Snow White to Popeye, from King Kong to Lassie, and thousands of other fictional characters that we do not have to call lies. With religion, people are actually teaching fiction as fact. That is a different story.

  • Do not judge too quickly. It could all be “fake news”. On the other hand, if he is guilty, God is a forgiving God, and he could ask to be forgiven. I do not know what the statute of limitation is, but I think he can ask at the last seconds of life, and then he can get into heaven. Anyway, the “business of religion” appears to be one giant sarcasm.

  • You nailed it! The problem is that your comment is perceived by the religious right as hate speech. Because people are emotionally attached to their belief systems, they react emotionally. There are some good things about religion that brings families and communities together for births, deaths, marriages, etc. It is when religions are used to manipulate facts from fiction, and manipulate politics, manipulate a woman’s right to choose, or just to extract great wealth from working class people, that we enter into realm that must be questioned.

  • Key words “attacking atheism”. Atheists question people’s religions and even criticize what they think is wrong with their dogma. You want to “attack” their right to do this by put labels on anyone who questions your beliefs.

    As a Christian, if you were to question Muslim’s perception of God and God’s commands and instructions in the Qur’an and the Hadith, would that make you some kind of atheist/non-believer? Jews do not believe that Jesus was a prophet or the Son of God, are they getting into heaven? Please do not dodge these questions.

  • Most of what the religious right says is hate speech. They are the descendants of segregationists. They are not ones to show concern for the feelings of others. I feel no need to do so with them.

    I am not anti religion by any stretch of the imagination. I am anti “acting like a dbag in the name of your religion”. Believe whatever works for you. Just play nice with others.

  • From the course notes of a large Catholic university’s graduate theology class:

    “Heaven is a Spirit state (no physical bodies abide so where is the resurrected, ascended body????)
    Christ’s and Mary’s bodies are therefore not in Heaven. For one thing, Paul in 1 Cor 15 speaks of the body of the dead as transformed into a “spiritual body.” No one knows exactly what he meant by this term.

    Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

    The physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus’ crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary’s
    corpse) into heaven did not take place.

  • From the course notes of a large Catholic university’s graduate theology class:

    “Heaven is a Spirit state (no physical bodies abide so where is the resurrected, ascended body????)
    Christ’s and Mary’s bodies are therefore not in Heaven. For one thing, Paul in 1 Cor 15 speaks of the body of the dead as transformed into a “spiritual body.” No one knows exactly what he meant by this term.

    Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

    The physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus’ crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary’s
    corpse) into heaven did not take place.

    The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

    Only Luke’s Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus’ mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus’ followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary’s special role as “Christ bearer” (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus’ Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would
    be derived by worms upon her death. Mary’s assumption also shows God’s positive regard, not only for Christ’s male body, but also for female bodies.”

  • Some added tidbits:

    According to Reimarus as referenced in R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

    “Reimarus (1774-1779) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God’s hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus’ failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing.”

  • From: K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998. p.55

    “Stories circulated to the effect that Alexander of Macedonia was not only the son of Philip II, but also of the god Zeus-Ammon (Plutarch, Parallel Lives, “Alexander” 2.1-3.2); Plato was the son of Ariston and the god Apollo (Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers 3.1-2), and Augustus was the son of Octavius as well as the god Apollo (Suetonius, Lives o f the Caesars 2.4.1-7). The extraordinary character of these elites reputedly stemmed from both their divine origins and their kingroups. Their kin-groups provided one form of legitimation-political right to the throne and/or social status (thus the importance of Joseph in Matthew’s genealogy). Their divine procreation provided another: their honor was divinely ascribed, and their greatness as leaders derived from divine paternity.”

  • I am a classic, orthodox Christian, and none of these so-called evangelicals represent me or my beliefs. They have sold their souls to a liar, bully, racist, misogynist demigod. But what may be even more scandalous is the silence of all those influential mega-church pastors. Where is the prophetic voice calling out these sycophants? So glad the food was amazing.

  • I would say -You know I am filled with unconditional love for you, so please tell daddy what the real story is?

  • Is that what Jesus was about? If anything, he was an unmarried man of 30, running around with a bunch of other young men, telling everyone to love each other. That would have be grounds for bullying from today’s young Christians.

  • From the course notes of a large Catholic
    university’s graduate theology class:

    “Heaven is a Spirit state (no physical bodies abide so where is the resurrected, ascended body)

    Christ’s and Mary’s bodies are thereforenot in Heaven. For one thing, Paul in 1 Cor 15 speaks of the body of the dead
    as transformed into a “spiritual body.” No one knows exactly what he meant by this term.

    Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we
    were while living on earth as an embodied person.

    The physical Resurrection (meaning a
    resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus’ crucified corpse),
    and Assumption (Mary’s corpse) into heaven did not take place.

    The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus’
    earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

    Only Luke’s Gospel records it.

  • 1 Corinthians 15:14 ►

    “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”

    Interesting how the attestation/stratum
    analyses used by the Jesus Seminarians, e.g. Professors Crossan, Borg and
    Fredriksen, agree with what is currently being taught in graduate theology
    classes at many large Catholic universities (e.g. Catholic U, Notre Dame).

    i.e.

    Major agreements achieved but by different
    methods:

    1. There was no physical resurrection (i.e.
    Heaven is a Spirit State)

    2. And it therefore follows there was no
    ascension and no assumption.

    3. There is/was no original sin. A&E were
    fictional characters living in a mythical land.

    4. And it therefore follows, baptism does not
    erase original sin since there is no sin to erase. Limbo therefore is a
    non-issue.

    5. Jesus was crucified but details of the deed
    have little historic verification.

    As per Professor J.D. Crossan,

    From Crossan and Watts book, Who is Jesus????

    “My best historical reconstruction would be
    something like this. Jesus was arrested during the Passover festival, most
    likely in response to his action in the Temple. Those who were closest to him
    ran away for their own safety. I do not presume that there were any high-level
    confrontations between Caiaphas and Pilate and Herod Antipas either about Jesus
    or with Jesus. No doubt they would have agreed before the festival that fast
    action was to be taken against any disturbance and that a few examples by
    crucifixion might be especially useful at the outset. And I doubt very much if
    Jewish police or Roman soldiers needed to go too far up the chain of command in
    handling a Galilean peasant like Jesus. It is hard for us to imagine the casual
    brutality with which Jesus was probably taken and executed. All those
    “last week” details in our gospels, as distinct from the brute facts
    just mentioned, are prophecy turned into history, rather than history
    remembered.”

  • According to Reimarus as referenced in
    R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus,
    Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

    “Reimarus (1774-1779) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force
    God’s hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a
    call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly
    political kingdom of God. After Jesus’ failure and death, his disciples stole
    his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial
    security and ensure themselves some standing.”

  • No its the truth and the truth shall set you free. Think of the wealth many of these TV evangelist have cultivated for themselves and their families. Think of the scandals of adultery over the years and the false teachings of many of these so called right wing self righteous ignominious have inflicted on American politics. Most of these right wingers religious nuts know nothing of the meaning of the Bible. These false profits happily supported slavery, then Jim Crow then suppressing unions that only want to help the working poor,, civil rights. welfare and now universal health care.

  • Suicide is nothing to joke about. Why on earth would you want to commit suicide, unless you have committed an unforgivable crime against humanity. I mean, Hitler rightfully shot himself in the head.

  • Umm, I never attack the Atheists’ 1st Amendment rights. (How am I going to get any good workouts in this RNS forum if I don’t support the Atheist’s constitutional rights of speech and religion?)

    As for “labels”, you gotta use the right bait for the right fish. You want catfish, you need chicken liver. You want big panfish, you need nightcrawlers. Atheists love Incendiary Labels, so I give ’em what they want!

    As for your last paragraph, no problem. I’m a Christian Apologist, which means I don’t dodge your sincere questions — I run directly at them and enjoy the inevitable collision. Win or lose, that is what I was created for.

    It’s 12:30 am CT though, so let me start off tomorrow’s session (Friday 8/31) with **your** questions. Thanks!

  • “All the good they have done”. Like the OKC Bombing by evangelical Tim McVeigh. I’ll never forget the moment I looked out of my classroom window to see the column of smoke rising from downtown. That was a perfect example of the behavior of these “evangelicals”, better known as Calvinists. They are certainly not Christians.

  • With the Great Kibosh:

    Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    “The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother’s womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. “

  • Hope you took time to read the post, though. I do my homework to respond to all people — but I prefer sincerity

    First answer:
    It doesn’t make you an atheist. Merely means you disbelieve in the key claims of Islam & the Koran. Christians say Jesus is the Son of God, Muslims say that is “shirk” (blasphemy).

    Jesus says you gotta go through Him (John 10:35). Jesus days you gotta hook up with him by faith (John 3:16). Muslims (and Jews) disagree. No middle ground is rationally possible. Doesn’t mean God hates anybody.

    But it does mean somebody IS wrong about how sinful humanity gets to heaven. Can’t afford to make a mistake on this one, whether one is Jewish, Baptist, Muslim, or Methodist.
    The two Bible verses there apply to all folks, Jewish & Gentile.

  • Like I said before, you and I do not know what Jesus said, as it is all second hand and hearsay evidence, and not even in the language that Jesus what have used to communicate with his people.

    a·the·ist: a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods. –You believe in the God of Abraham, but if you do not believe in someone else’s God, then you are an atheist. God is just a concept!

  • Umm, if blacks/whites/others choose to attend her church, blacks/whites/others would naturally be aware of her political positions.

    My guess is that you actually went to her church and asked black members your question, they would indeed tell you how they feel about it — and then they would have some questions for you too.

  • McVeigh was an “evangelical”? Oh shoot.

    No need for blatant lies, Stan. Anyone with access to Wiki & Google can refute this.

  • He also has Chabad Lubavitch and Sheldon Adelson.

    Trump meets with Chabad rabbis in Oval Office. https://www.timesofisrael.com/trump-meets-with-chabad-rabbis-in-oval-office/

    Sheldon Adelson: the casino mogul driving Trump’s Middle East policy. The Las Vegas billionaire gave Republicans $82m for the 2016 elections and his views, notably staunch support for Netanyahu’s Israel, are now the official US line. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jun/08/sheldon-adelson-trump-middle-east-policy

  • Floydlee your ignorance is on display. Fact: McVeigh attended a Bapist/evangelical church in Michigian before he bombed OKC. That’s an irretributable FACT, not some of your fiction. The so called preacher is this “church” was referred to by McVeigh as his “spiritual leader”. Another fact is that you fell into my trap by telling yet another lie.

  • Jesus will have an easy time at judgment day. Take list of those attended evangelical dinner and turn them away. They are denying his Spirit in this life. the Lake of Fire awaits all of them in HELL. Greg Laurie is dead to me..

  • These evangelical leaders attended this dinner…no longer represent the church of Jesus Christ..They now worship at the altar of Trump. What a heavy price they will pay in HELL These are the ones Jesus never knew Matthew 7:21-23

  • Not really,Paul warns about those that will lead their flocks astray and to destruction.But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping. Americans no longer,read their bibles these days, they don’t study on GOD’s word and rely on these Wolves…

    Biblical Discernment is so important

    2 Peter 2:1-3 New International Version (NIV)
    False Teachers and Their Destruction

  • . When the mark of the beast comes….many evangelical leaders like Paula White,will be part of the deception. They will tell you from the pulpit and on tv, that it is not the mark of the beast and you have nothing to worry about, I feel sorry for this large Black congregation” please pray for them to be saved and to flee away from Satan’s pastor

  • That’s how Trump controls his bases through the usual fear-mongering, lies, divisiveness he loves to rile up the Trumpsters as always .Most are racists and afraid of anyone not white and push that Democrats are un-American, evil, hate their country. Trump encourages his base supporters to hate their own citizens. I believe most of them really do want democrats dead.

  • I believe Trump is the Antichrist. Events are unfolding as described in Revelation, Daniel and elsewhere in the Bible.The pulpit is for the word of God, and God ALONE. Make no mistake.it is IDOLATRY.

  • When Trump is telling pastors to replace the word of God with his own political agenda in their pulpits…..that is Antichrist.The bible says that the Antichrist will make a peace covenant with Israel and “many”. Trump is working on a deal that he calls the “ultimate peace deal” with Israel and as many as 20 other countries. Furthermore, the numbers 666 are all over Trump in plain sight.

  • There are many Christians right now that are WORSHIPPING Trump (yes, I said worshipping). It has become Idolatry. Trump has even told pastors to use their pulpits to help Republicans in Nov. The pulpit has no place for human politics. It is to worship God and to study his word.GOD wants to be GOD so badly..

    TRUMP wants to replace Jesus Christ, what he said is just the start, believing he can order pastors what to do. I believe, with ALL, MY HEART, Soul, Mind that GOD spoke to me and stated TRUMP is the biblical Antichrist, I have study GOD’s word every day, hours and hours I know it’s him the Antichrist

  • All of those evangelical leaders attending this dinner..Will pay a heavy price, they no longer represent the church of Jesus Christ……they now worship at the altar of Trump.

  • Of course.

    If they were real Christians they’d be sucking it up at the Altar of the Democratic Party, celebrating abortion as a sacrament.

  • I am sorry that you read my post as anything other than sarcasm. God is just a concept, not a real persons, and the stories of Jesus are mostly mythology. You are correct about everything else. Please don’t get caught up in the fantasy world, where every religion believes that they have the true spoken words of a concept. I can hear in your comment that you are emotionally caught up in religion, but please do not do this to your children. Let them use their own brains.

  • The “word of God” is just words written by other men. 1.5 billion people believe that the Qur’an is the verbatim words of God. And stop with the “666” BS, unless you really want to scare children.

    You keep referring to what the Bible says, so please tell the readers what prophesy the Bible says about the banner of Islam flying over 99.9% of the Middle East for the last 1500 years? Israel build one tiny viable independent Jewish State with hard work and sacrifice. It was not because the Bible gave them anything. Evolution has given you and I a brain, so please use it.

  • Please Gabriella, the stories in the Bible are mostly fantasy and fiction, starting with the earth day creation forward.
    Religion, politics, philosophy, the way we treat the opposite sex are all learned observation and repetition, and not God given. God is just a concept, and not a physical entity that controls the universe. Please think before you post, and not answer everything that comes out of your mouth with ancient texts, although I do like parts of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. And the Adam and Eve story is a great peace of comedy. Having said all this, I still love you.

  • My friend, Please remember that GOD loves you Jesus does not want us to be all about Democrats or Republicans, or all about this world. We’re Citizens of Heaven and Children of GOD… I will kindly explain that the pulpit is not the place to preach politics.That is not what is going to save souls. The Word of God is what is going to save souls. Causing division is not a pastor’s job. His job is to unit the church for one reason and one reason… We have Christians that called themselves and Democrats that call themselves Christians, I’m sure some on both sides have truly accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior… A Pastor is not supposed to,play,favorites, a pastor is not supposed to have favorites and tell us who to vote for….

    Republicans those in Congress the GOP, They love to tell the WORLD We’re Pro-Life, We’re Christians,their fruits says the opposite, Jesus said we would be known for our fruits Matthew 7:16-20. They are not pro-life, they are pro-fetus. I say that because once the baby is born, these heartless, wretched people have no problem taking that baby’s healthcare, education, anything they can away from them. They do not care about the lives of the poor, the sick, the handicapped, the mentally ill, the homeless, senior citizens were being thrown out of nursing homes and why are our veterans living under bridges. the GOP serves the Rich, are Democrats perfect, NO, Both Parties are Evil, Pastors should pray for them but not pick sides…

    The only side Jesus wants us to pick is between GOD or Satan Revelation 3:16…

    ,

  • Are You aware that at the meeting between Trump and evangelical leaders , all of them got down on their knees in front of him. They claimed to be praying for him but I think this is much more sinister. By their knee bending action, it was a sign of worshiping and paying omage to him not God. This was The gathering of the false shepherds. Some of them are plain evil, like Kenneth Copeland,

    Kenneth Copeland ” the name it and claim” prosperity teaching is nothing but witchcraft. They do the same thing,Witches do, Kenneth Copeland preaches Wicca he has called GOD the bigger Loser” in the universe Copeland claims that Satan Satan conquered Jesus on the Cross and took His spirit to the dark regions of hell” Copeland claims that EVERY Demon in HELL tortured Jesus when the Bible never says that

    Kenneth Copeland Claims that Adam & Jesus look and sounded exactly alike, the Bible never says that,

    Not only does Jesus get born again in hell, but so do others! What kind of Spirit-led teacher (Copeland) goes so far beyond the Scripture that he can speak where God Himself is silent? According to Copeland the suffering is not finished on the cross (the altar). Blood is not enough for the atonement. To me this is a very scary. Copeland presents a Jesus who does not fulfill the prophecies and typology of the Old Testament but is subjected to more suffering beyond His death and needs to depend on the Spirit like all of us to come back to life. He says that,Jesus took upon Himself the nature of Satan.

    The Bible never teaches any of the things that Copeland preaches…The Copeland’s claim that they have the POWER TO CONTROL the Weather please have Discernment My Friend…

  • Please have Discernment My Friend, the Copeland’s are VERY EVIL, I can’t post the video on here so you must do it yourself. GO To Youtube and Search Satan’s Top 10 favourite Kenneth Copeland moments….

    GO To Youtube and Search- Kenneth Copeland “God is the Biggest Failure in the Bible”

    Watch those, Video My friend.. Take Care with LOVE in Christ

  • The pulpit is for proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ, not Trump or any other political agenda!
    That’s why we have separation of church and state. Pastors are there to preach GOD’s word, to study God’s word not to say HEY! VOTE REPUBLICAN!!! THIS NOV 2018, THANKS!!!

    The pulpit has no place for human politics. It is to worship God and to study his word. GET it Etc…

  • I am not sure where you live where there is ” separation of church and state”.

    Here in the USA we have the First Amendment which prohibits an establishment of religion, not separation of church and state.

    There was no pulpit at the White House meeting.

  • My friend, “Separation of church and state” is a paraphrased used from Thomas Jefferson the pastors invited to the Whitehouse will return to their own churches. I’m just saying using the pulpit to preach politics is what God sees as “Idolatry”. People go to church to learn about God. The pulpit is to preach God’s word, not Donald Trump’s. This is the beginning of what the bible calls “the falling away”. These Pastors will not be preaching the word of God this NOV, they will be telling their own church followers to vote Republican…

    Jesus told us this would be one of the strongest signs that the end would be drawing near in Matthew 24:5 He knew Satan would deceive many from the pulpit of Christian Churches. The Apostle Paul agreed with him in 2 Peter 2:1 these false pastors will lead their flocks astray and to destruction. he goes on saying in, 2 Corinthians 11:3-5.. But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.

  • These are modern-day Pharisees who are for the kingdom of Antichrist (Trump) in love with unrighteous mammoth and not the kingdom of Heaven. Trump is going to lead them all right into HELL, The Lake of Fire. I believe with all my heart Trump is the Biblical Antichrist, a lot of evidence this the number 666 is always around him. The Bible says the Antichrist (Trump)comes in peaceably and obtains power through flattery (telling people what they want to hear). At the same time, the bible says the Antichrist is vile….arrogant….and boastful. The bible also says that the Antichrist is a LIAR/deceiver.

    Trump just said Christians “are one election away from losing everything.” THAT IS A LIE, Our reward will be in Heaven and nothing on this Earth can be taken away from believers of the real Jesus Christ because we are not depending on Earth or America to give us anything. The Franklin Graham, Paula White, Kenneth Copeland, Robert Jeffers and many many more Millionaire Evangelist have fallen off the Trump Train into a Deceptive Ditch.

    Look at the so called “Christians” that Trumps surrounds himself with most of them are multi-millionaires and profited from tax cuts for the rich.. Are they afraid of losing their worldly lifestyles. Did a single one of them stand up for the truth of the Gospel of Christ? Maybe at one time… I THINK What Satan offered them was just too good to past up they have decided to make their HOME IN THIS World and not in Heaven…

    This WORLD is passing away, these multi-millionaires pastors the ones Trump surrounds himself with keep buying all these luxury boats, Jets and Cars without a Worry in this world… THESE multi-millionaires sleep peaceable at night knowing those that are Homeless sleep in the streets….

    Please read, 2 Timothy 4:3 Jesus said this would be one of the signs before he returns. Peoples would leave sound doctrine and go whoring after the things in this World…

  • Thank you, for responding,I know GOD is real. I know He exists.There’s no way such complex creations like the human body, Earth, galaxies, the sun ect. Just became to be out of no where. There is a master designer/inventer who is creating all of this, and that is GOD Himself! All of this stuff was thought out before it was created.Just as an artist draws a picture or a musician makes a song. Nothing that is complex and serves a function is made by chance. I never heard of a beautiful, complex song being made by “chance”, the beauty and the complexity of it proves that someone thought up what they were gonna create before they made it. The same thing goes for Earth and many more creations. GOD is the ultimate creator– the Most High. No one can create the way He does, they can only imitate. GOD is everything.You may not see Him physically, but everything around you is proof of the master creator.

  • God exists as a concept, that is why every culture has a different idea about this concept and what it expects of us. You even call it a “he” as though a concept has a penis. It is a concept, not a person! A watch is proof of a creator, but we do not know how many people collaborated to make the watch. Certainly you do not believe in all the ancient stories from ancient texts, or do you just buy one book only as the absolute truth??

  • The ordained Presbyterian, Chris Hedges, a modern day Jeremiah,,has indicated that Jesus did not come to earth for the purpose of making people rich.

  • TRUMP 2020….Dems. Kill babies 1 minute before They’re Born….!! Remember Obama’s foul mouth Pastor …”God Damn America…?? Progressive’s hijacked Dem party….We’ll love watching the Dems. lose again to a great American….God Bless President Trump….!!! MAGA….!!

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