[Rushtalk] The Retribution for Evangelicals Who Sold Their Souls to Trump Is Coming / yes there is christian communism.

Carl Spitzer cwsiv at juno.com
Sat Nov 3 11:08:41 MDT 2018


On Sat, 2018-11-03 at 00:51 -0400, John Quayle wrote:
>                     Dennis, I would agree with you, but that certainly
> isn't the flavor of this piece that Carl has
> offered...................
> 
> 
> 
> On 11/2/2018 11:03 AM, Dennis Putnam wrote:
> 
> > I believe the correct word is commended.
> > 
> > On 11/2/2018 10:48 AM, John Quayle wrote:
> > 
> > >                     Are we therefore condemned?!? 
> > > 
> > > 
> > > 
> > > On 11/1/2018 3:11 PM, Carl Spitzer wrote:
> > > 
> > > >    
> > > > The Retribution for Evangelicals Who Sold Their Souls to Trump
> > > > Is Coming  
> > > > Trump is arguably the logical culmination of some strains of
> > > > right-wing evangelical Christianity in America History News
> > > > Network  October 14, 2018, 4:35 AM GMT  
> > > > 
> > > > Print Comments 
> > > >  Pastors praying over Donald Trump (Photo: Screen capture)
> > > > 
> > > > 
> > > > This Advent season, while watching Donald Trump in front of a
> > > > garishly green-and-red banner which proclaims “Make America
> > > > Great Again,” take the opportunity to reflect on the Faustian
> > > > bargain which allowed conservative evangelical Christians to
> > > > “Keep Christ in Christmas” while seemingly divorcing
> > > > Christianity from Christ. That Republican supply side economics,
> > > > exemplified by Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell’s cruel tax
> > > > “reform,” contradicts Matthew 5:3 is clear. That Trump’s
> > > > draconian immigration policy, which involves splitting families
> > > > apart, violates the essence of Exodus 22:21 is obvious. And it
> > > > shouldn’t have to be said that the new nationalism, this new
> > > > fascism, with its “blood and soil” metaphysic, stands in
> > > > opposition to the sublime universalism of Galatians 3:28.
> > > > 
> > > > For those 81% of white evangelicals who voted for Trump, and
> > > > more troublingly for the profoundly inhumane, greedy, wrathful
> > > > ideology that he embodies, and who have seemingly forgotten
> > > > their scripture, I have another passage to remind them of:
> > > > Matthew 4:10. Following the dark Adversary who took Christ up
> > > > “an exceeding high mountain, and she with him all the kingdoms
> > > > of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All
> > > > these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and
> > > > worship me.” And Christ, choosing to follow the small, humble,
> > > > yet sacred path, rejected the temptations of worldly power
> > > > declaring, “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt
> > > > worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”
> > > > 
> > > > America’s conservative evangelicals, however, have taken up that
> > > > diabolical offer. Witness the self-debasement of a man like
> > > > neurosurgeon and current H.U.D. secretary Ben Carson offering
> > > > prayers for Trump last December 19th, with the president
> > > > “quipping” to the press that they “need the prayer more than I
> > > > do…. Maybe a good solid prayer and they’ll be honest, Ben, is
> > > > that possible?” Or when at that same meeting Vice-President Mike
> > > > Pence (one for whom we are perennially reminded of his piety
> > > > while he seemingly forgets Matthew 6:6) offered a master class
> > > > in saccharine sycophancy when he groveled to Trump with “Mr.
> > > > President, I’ll end where I began and just tell you, I want to
> > > > thank you, Mr. President. I want to thank you for speaking on
> > > > behalf of and fighting every day for forgotten men and women of
> > > > America… the forgotten men and women of America are forgotten no
> > > > more, and we are making America great again.”
> > > > 
> > > >                            SPONSORED
> > > > 
> > > > Or if those examples condemn the powerful at the expense of
> > > > regular evangelicals, consider that 80% of white,
> > > > self-identified evangelicals in Alabama voted for the disgraced
> > > > and disgraceful losing pedophile Roy Moore. Presiding over this
> > > > nightmare of abandoned principles (or perhaps more disturbingly
> > > > the embrace of principles that were always there) is Trump
> > > > himself, the philandering, vulgar, immoral New York real-estate
> > > > developer of seemingly no authentic faith who promised
> > > > evangelicals that “I am your voice.” The Public Religion
> > > > Research Institute reported that over the past five years the
> > > > “percentage of white evangelical Protestants who said that a
> > > > politician who commits an immoral act in their personal life
> > > > could still behave ethically shot up from 30 to 72 percent. The
> > > > percentage saying such a politician could not serve ethically
> > > > plunged from 63 to 20 percent.” The difference, it would seem,
> > > > is a certain Fifth Avenue resident who promised them that “If I
> > > > become president, we’re gonna be saying Merry Christmas at every
> > > > store …. You can leave happy holidays at the corner.” What
> > > > easily bought faith! In 2017 all it takes for many right-wing
> > > > Christians is to be taken to the top-floor of Trump Tower, be
> > > > shown all the kingdoms of the world, and they’ll gladly
> > > > prostrate themselves before an idol for a bit of temporal power.
> > > > 
> > > > Christianity, by its own definition, is a countercultural faith,
> > > > one which stands in opposition to the things of this world while
> > > > still being in this world. But humans being humans the history
> > > > of the religion is replete with moments where Augustine’s City
> > > > of Man has overwhelmed the City of God in the heart of the
> > > > believer. From Constantine’s usurpation of the Roman Church to
> > > > Henry VIII’s appropriation of ecclesiastical power, Christians
> > > > have been more than willing to sell their allegiance for thirty
> > > > pieces of silver. Trumpian Christianity is but one chapter in a
> > > > long lineage of hypocritical capitulation of principle to
> > > > sovereigns in the name of worldly power.
> > > > 
> > > > A supreme irony, for one of the most important aspects of the
> > > > Constitutional principle of disestablishment is that it
> > > > preserved the independence and sanctity of religious practice
> > > > from the machinations of a meddling state. But while there is a
> > > > long custom of right-wing evangelicals bellyaching about their
> > > > perceived oppression (when such calls for “religious freedom”
> > > > are often really just a justification for denying the rights of
> > > > others) there are now no compunctions about jumping into bed
> > > > with the most manifestly irreligious of presidents in modern
> > > > history, for whom the only scripture is that of Norman Vincent
> > > > Peale’s prosperity gospel combined with an endlessly renewable
> > > > faith in himself, regardless of what reality dictates. 
> > > > 
> > > > There is an irony in all of this. Since the resurgence of
> > > > politicized evangelical Christianity with the ascendency of
> > > > Ronald Reagan, many apocalyptic minded conservative Christians
> > > > made a sort of prophetic parlor game out of conjecturing who the
> > > > potential anti-Christ could be. Figures from Hal Lindsey, to Pat
> > > > Robertson, Oral Roberts, and Jerry Falwell often fingered world
> > > > leaders or liberal politicians as being in league with Satan..
> > > > An irony since if the anti-Christ is supposed to be a
> > > > manipulative, powerful, smooth-talking demagogue with the
> > > > ability to sever people from their most deeply held beliefs who
> > > > would be a better candidate than the seemingly indestructible
> > > > Trump? Well I don’t believe in a literal anti-Christ, and to
> > > > accuse Trump of being one gives the president far too much
> > > > credit. At his core he is simply a consummate narcissist with
> > > > little intelligence and less curiosity, one who has somehow
> > > > become the most powerful man in the world. And that’s certainly
> > > > dangerous enough without invoking anything supernatural. Still,
> > > > it’s surprising that evangelical Christians, who for years
> > > > preached about such a figure, seem to lack the self-awareness to
> > > > identify something so anti-Christian in Trump himself. Or worse
> > > > yet, they certainly recognize it, but don’t care.
> > > > 
> > > > I don’t wish to engage the “No True Scotsman” fallacy;
> > > > conservative Christians presumably arrived at their faith and
> > > > their conclusions for their own reasons, and the fact that I
> > > > disagree with them on a litany of issues theological and
> > > > political, from abortion to taxes, does not invalidate the
> > > > legitimacy of their own faith. But there is something undeniably
> > > > strange and supremely hypocritical in seeing the embarrassing
> > > > spectacle of religious leaders bow to such a spiritually
> > > > illiterate man, a moral midget. Jerry Falwell Jr., cognizant
> > > > enough of the disjuncture between personal piety and support of
> > > > Trump but apparently not cognizant enough to avoid uttering
> > > > inanities like the following, has compared the president to King
> > > > David. That is to say that he acknowledges Trump’s copious
> > > > personal failings (and steadfast refusals at contrition for any
> > > > of them) but sees the president as a tool of the Lord meant to
> > > > enact Christian policy, and so it behooves evangelicals to
> > > > support him. One imagines that whatever makes it easier for the
> > > > good Rev. Falwell to sleep better at night, but perhaps he is
> > > > the sort of man whose sleep is untroubled, for hypocrisy has a
> > > > handy ability to cleanse the conscience.
> > > > 
> > > > Currently evangelical Christianity in the United States is
> > > > certainly still classifiable as a flavor of orthodox Nicene
> > > > Christianity. But it’s not like there isn’t precedent for the
> > > > church to contort itself to the heresies of a totalitarian
> > > > regime. Consider the promulgation of an Aryan “Positive
> > > > Christianity” in the Third Reich, in which all Jewish elements
> > > > of the faith were expunged, and the gospels rejected in favor of
> > > > a deadly and noxious blood-and-soil ideology, where the “Fuehrer
> > > > is the herald of a new revelation.” This consolidation of all
> > > > the Protestant denominations of Germany featured no Apostle’s
> > > > Creed, or Nicaean, rather only allegiance to the state, a
> > > > complete capitulation to the Prince of this World and an ascent
> > > > to the temptation upon that desert mountaintop. We must remind
> > > > ourselves of such compromises, bargains, and contracts as a
> > > > perennial threat to the inner life of the faithful. While there
> > > > is certainly no corollary to such a phenomenon in the United
> > > > States today – yet – one must be vigilant and on guard to those
> > > > like Rev. Falwell who see no blasphemy in comparing a president
> > > > to the Anointed One.
> > > > 
> > > > 
> > > > Trump is arguably the logical culmination of some strains of
> > > > right-wing evangelical Christianity in America, from the
> > > > political theology of dominionism to the hermeneutics of
> > > > presuppositional apologetics, dogmas which see no inconsistency
> > > > to rendering all to a Caesar whom they have declared to be a
> > > > Christ. We may have yet to see the arrival in the United States
> > > > of a type of powerful, theocratic, fascistic Protestant
> > > > Falangism enabled by the opportunism of a Trump, and which makes
> > > > the traditional Christian Right look positively liberal. And
> > > > with the global rise of the new nationalism there is a
> > > > disturbing degree of collaboration between rightest religion and
> > > > racist ideology, from the Orthodox mysticisms of those in the
> > > > Kremlin who follow the crackpot historian Aleksandr Dugin to
> > > > Stephen Bannon who wishes to preserve his understanding of
> > > > Christendom not because all of us are children of God but
> > > > because only some of us are white.. Christianity, when allied to
> > > > the powers of the world, has a way of promulgating distinctly
> > > > anti-Christian beliefs. Do not read me as hyperbolic, the threat
> > > > is global, powerful, interconnected, and real. When 60,000
> > > > Polish fascists marched in November, promoting a Poland without
> > > > Muslims and Jews, they chanted “We want God” – a phrase from a
> > > > speech delivered in Warsaw by Trump earlier that year.
> > > > 
> > > > Nazi “Positive” Christianity was countered by the resistance of
> > > > the Confessing Church, the underground network of pastors and
> > > > parishioners who operated in opposition to the glorification of
> > > > worldly power as represented by the regime. One of the greatest
> > > > of souls and theological intellects was the Confessing Church
> > > > minister Dietrich Bonhoeffer, martyred by the Nazis at
> > > > Flossenbürg Concentration Camp in 1945. Witness to the rise of
> > > > compromised fascist Christianity in his own country, he aptly
> > > > diagnosed the equivocations and capitulations some Christians
> > > > were willing to make in order to sup at the table of power, but
> > > > he also understood that from a theological perspective there
> > > > should be nothing surprising about this. He explained that for
> > > > “evil to be disguised as light… is quite bewildering to anyone
> > > > brought up on our traditional ethical concepts, while for the
> > > > Christian who based his life on the Bible, it merely confirms
> > > > the fundamental wickedness of evil.” But even while
> > > > acknowledging the fundamental wickedness of that evil,
> > > > Bonhoeffer stood in opposition to it, and lived a life testament
> > > > to that gospel.
> > > > 
> > > > So, this Advent, if you’re looking for a bit of the promise of
> > > > that first Christmas consider this: whenever some persons trade
> > > > their faith for the treasures of this world, elsewhere a remnant
> > > > of true faith always seemingly endures. A faith that answers
> > > > power with mercy, hate with love, a shout with a whispered
> > > > prayer.
> > > > 
> > > > It’s written that nobody can serve two masters, even as many
> > > > evangelicals seem content to try and serve God, Mammon, and
> > > > darker gods aside. But a compromised faith, a tainted faith, an
> > > > implicated faith can only flourish for so long, and genuine
> > > > faith can never be extinguished. Writer and scholar Burke
> > > > Gerstenschlager writes for our current moment that “In the midst
> > > > of Propaganda and Gospel, we must resist … with love where there
> > > > is hate. Resist with kindness where there is abandonment. Resist
> > > > with grace where there is cruelty Resist with justice where
> > > > there is impunity. Resist with knowledge where there is
> > > > ignorance. Resist with truth where there are lies. Advent is our
> > > > season.” For if Bonhoeffer and the Confessing Church provide us
> > > > any Advent succor it’s this: even at the darkest of hours when
> > > > faith seems all but extinguished a faint light can still glimmer
> > > > so that we may see. And to those implicated, those
> > > > collaborators, those who’ve traded faith for power, and those
> > > > who chant “We want God” – consider that you should be careful
> > > > what you wish for. God may be precisely what we get.
> > > > 
> > > > 
> > > > -- 
> > > > ----CWSIV----
> > > > 
> > > >  ,= ,-_-. =. 
> > > > ((_/)o o(\_))
> > > >  `-'(. .)`-' 
> > > >      \_/     
> > > > 
> > > > America works when American citizens work.
> > > > Freedom and open source the GNU paradigm.
> > > > 
> > > > 
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----CWSIV----

 ,= ,-_-. =. 
((_/)o o(\_))
 `-'(. .)`-' 
     \_/     

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