The Weekend Watering Hole, December 17th, 2016: Men of a Lesser God

With so many evangelical “Christians” having supported Trump in the election, I was curious to find out how they’re reacting to the intelligence community’s reports of Russia’s interference in the election on Trump’s behalf.

The Christian Post is totally silent on the topic. They’re still more concerned with: abortion; not being allowed to discriminate against gays; abortion; the “War on Christmas” (Bill O’Reilly says it’s over, “we won”, although Franklin Graham seems to disagree); and abortion – not necessarily in that order.

Raw Story had a recent article about Franklin Graham praying for Trump to succeed in ‘bringing back jobs’ (nobody on the right seems to notice that President Obama managed to create a few million jobs and reduce the unemployment rate to [what should be] a fairly acceptable rate, despite the Republican blockade.) The article briefly mentions Vladimir Putin. Two quick excerpts, each of which earns its own separate (but brief) rant:

“During an interview on Tuesday, Graham praised Trump for finding a way to “work with the thugs” like Russian President Vladimir Putin “so that we can have peace in this world.”

First, I realize that, at the time of the interview, Graham may not have heard – or paid attention to – the stories that were coming out about exactly HOW Trump had been “finding a way to ‘work with the thugs’ like…Putin”, BUT, did/does Graham actually think that a Trump/Putin cooperative (or whatever you want to call it) could possibly bring about “peace in this world”?

Second, in the last few years, bigoted conservatives have re-defined the term “thug” to mean “black man.” I certainly haven’t seen any attempt by any conservatives trying to ‘find a way to work with’ those “thugs” – well, except by killing or imprisoning them, which I don’t consider to be ‘working with.’

“That’s the problem with the politicians in Washington,” he said. “They sit down there and they do nothing. Now we’ve got a man who’s coming into the White House who wants to get things done. And I hope and I pray — we all as Americans, we need to pray for the president-elect and vice president-elect.”

Mr. Graham (I refuse to use the honorific “Reverend”, he’s no more reverent than I am), we’ve HAD a man in the White House for eight years who has wanted to “get things done”, but the Republican-controlled Congress forced our entire federal government to “sit down there and…do nothing.” So go pray for your own soul, god-boy, if you have one, and leave the rest of us out of it. Maybe if you start repenting now, your god might forgive you for not listening to his son.

Graham was interviewed by Christian Today on November 13th on his reaction to Trump’s election victory. Some excerpts:

In an interview with Christian Today, Graham said there was “no question” that God had a hand in the election of Trump as the next President of the United States, and predicted a “huge impact” from his nominations to the Supreme Court.

He revealed that Trump had told him personally that he will repeal the controversial Johnson Amendment of 1954, which prevents church leaders from endorsing or opposing political candidates from the pulpit.

According to polls, white evangelical Christians backed Trump by 81 per cent to 16 per cent – a larger margin of the evangelical vote than was achieved by a Republican candidate in the past three elections.

Graham said Trump is a “changed man” from when he made his notorious lewd comments about women…

“What you see is what you get. Politicians are pretty good at smiling and being one thing in public and then when the doors are closed, they are different people.”

Donald Trump, by contrast, is the same in private as he appears on television, Graham said.

“He’s not polished, like a lot of politicians. He’s a little rough around the edges. But he means what he says. People need to understand that he’s a very powerful person, very strong, he’s got a very good family, great children. He’s going to put together maybe one of the best teams in Washington that we have seen in years.”

Graham said there was no question that God a hand in the election. “The vast majority of the evangelical community supported Donald Trump because he has said he is going to support Christians, not only at home but around the world.

“So when we see Christianity being attacked worldwide, not just by militant Muslims but by secularism, it’s refreshing to have a leader who is willing to defend the Christian faith.”
~~~~~
One aspect of the election result that was truly a surprise to so many was that Trump’s moral character was apparently not a problem for many leading Christians. Some students at Liberty even set up a petition to distance themselves from Trump and the support he received from Falwell. The petition stated: “Associating any politician with Christianity is damaging to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But Donald Trump is not just any politician. He has made his name by maligning others and bragging about his sins. Not only is Donald Trump a bad candidate for president, he is actively promoting the very things that we as Christians ought to oppose.”

According to Graham, the key to assessing Trump’s character is to look at the people in his team.

“Donald Trump has surrounded himself with strong evangelicals and for me as a Christian, I’m very pleased with that,” he said.

Graham did not say whether he considers Trump to be a Christian or not – “Only God really knows a person’s heart” – but, “You can tell a lot about a person by the people that they surround themselves with. Our current president claimed to be a Christian but you don’t see that in the people around him.

“Trump has strong evangelical Christians surrounding him. I’ve known Ben Carson for many years. He is a wonderful man of God. Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas – another fine Christian gentleman. Mike Pence. These are the people that he surrounds himself with.”

Graham also knows Mike Pence and has spent time with him: “He is a man of God, he is a very strong evangelical. Donald Trump has surrounded himself with some strong Christians which is very encouraging.”

Graham said: “He’s [Trump] told me that he’s going to work to have that repealed. It will be huge. I think that the Johnson Amendment was a stupid thing. It was somewhat racial in the sense that Johnson did not want black pastors at that time to speak out against him.”

He and many other evangelicals welcome the prospect of that change which will have a massive impact on the way churches and other religious groups engage in politics.

~~~~~

I can’t even continue reading this hypocritical, delusional, un-American, unconstitutional idealization of an American Theocracy. I glanced further down in the article, and knew I would go ballistic if I continued. As it is, I had to take a 1/2 xanax and lie down for a while before I could finish writing this post.

How can anyone say that “Trump is a changed man”, then say that “what you see is what you get”, when what we see is the same loudmouthed, bigoted, ignorant blowhard that we’ve seen for the past, say, 30 years? How can Graham say that “only god really knows a person’s heart” to gloss over Trump’s obviously un-christian views on the one hand, yet label Obama as not being a christian, without such a caveat?  And the “surprise” “that Trump’s moral character was apparently not a problem for many leading Christians”, that doesn’t trouble these die-hard two-issue – abortion and ‘teh gay’ – “men of god”? Theirs is not a god that our country should go anywhere near, let alone follow.

When this particular interview with Christian Today occurred, it was only a few days after the election. Yet nothing in my searches in the time frame SINCE the election indicates that ANY of the right-wing evangelicals have any public opinion about a foreign government intervening in the U.S. Presidential election on behalf of one candidate. Until Graham or any of these bully-pulpit religious fanatics denounce Trump’s tightly-woven bond with Russia, I can only conclude that they are happy to be associated with any monstrous regime.  As long as they can get their way on those two issues, they’ll bow down to any despot. Fuck them and the four horses of the apocalypse that they rode in on.

This is our very late Open Thread–talk about whatever you want.

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The Watering Hole; Thursday July 2 2015; Recent Supreme Court Decisions and Wingnut Analysis Thereof

As we all know, there are times when no matter what one says or how s/he says it, it remains virtually impossible to summarize the ignorant subtleties implicit in various statements of position by those who, in their own definition, are consummate (right wing) experts on the topics at hand. It’s for this reason I’ve decided that today I’m turning the bulk of this post over to a well known far right spokesman, and in the process allowing him to explain, in his own words and without interruption, exactly what is so wrong about a pair of recent Supreme Court decisions.

So. Courtesy of C&L and/or his blog, here’s the complete transcript of Bill O’Reilly’s “Talking Points Memo” of June 29th. It is his response to the Supreme Court’s recent rulings in favor of both the American Care Act and gay marriage. It’s admittedly a somewhat lengthy dissertation, but since it’s typical of O’Reilly, it doesn’t really demand much more than a quick skim to gather in the points he pretends to make. In the skimming process, you’ll notice that O”Reilly does not, as is his habit, spare the vitriol — nor does he offer any hint whatsoever that he’s more than remotely familiar with the Constitution in re those matters he’s chosen to discuss. He does amply demonstrate, however, that ignorance does NOT always define bliss.

Enough chit chat. Here goes, as they say, nothing:

The court’s acceptance of Obamacare and gay marriage was predictable. In fact our “Is It Legal?” team accurately foretold what would happen last week.

The Supreme Court is made up of nine individuals who see America in very different ways. Some see a country that needs to be changed; others believe we are a settled nation where established law should be upheld.

Generally speaking we have an activist court, not judges who are able to put ideology aside.

Chief Justice John Roberts provides a vivid example. He believes the Congress should make laws, not judges. That was the intent of the Founders.

So Roberts jumped through legal hoops to justify Obamacare.

No matter the legal problems, Roberts ignored them, deferring to congressional approval of the affordable healthcare law.

To his credit, Roberts is consistent. He voted against gay marriage because, again, he doesn’t want the court to make law, which the gay nuptial decision does.

Most of the other justices are consistent, as well. They often decide cases through a prism of what they believe to be right for the country, not what our original system of checks and balances dictates.

Here’s how crazy the system has become. Liberal Justices Ginsburg and Kagan each presided over a gay marriage. In Ginsburg’s case, four.

Yet they did not recuse themselves when the issue came before the court.

Come on! We either have a fair legal system or we don’t, and right now we don’t.

The Factor’s philosophy has been consistent for nearly 20 years. I believe every American should have an equal shot to pursue happiness and prosperity, and that the government must provide oversight to provide that opportunity for all.

But I do not believe the government has a right to impose upon me or any other American rules that deny my freedom to express myself, practice my faith, or earn my living.

If a baker believes marriage is a sacrament instituted by his religion, the government should leave the baker alone.

Even though the Supreme Court has now ruled that gay marriage is legal, it has no constitutional right to force anyone to participate in it.

To do so tears up the social contract forged by the Founders.

Americans who sincerely believe that judges do have the authority to redefine marriage have a perfect right to celebrate their victory, provided they are following their consciences.

However, they do not have a right to demonize those who disagree based on the same principle: conscience.

Yesterday Fox News analyst Father Jonathan Morris was walking in New York City close to where the gay pride parade was taking place.

Father Morris reports two men spit on him. He will tell that story on Hannity tonight.

Oppression runs both ways, and all Americans should consider that.

For example, Justice Scalia wrote a well thought out dissent to the gay marriage decision. He was immediately mocked:

STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: “Now, Justice Scalia was a little more nuanced in his criticism – writing that if he ever joined an opinion that began the way Justice Kennedy’s majority decision did, quote, ‘I would hide my head in a bag.’ I could have sworn he was already hiding his head in a flesh-toned cinch sack. Please come on my show, sir. Scalia also took issue with the majority’s view that marriage is about free expression, grumbling ‘Expression, sure enough, is a freedom, but anyone in a long-lasting marriage will attest that that happy state constricts, rather than expands what one can prudently say.’ Which is both a fiery dissent and the world’s longest Lockhorn comic.”

In a few months Colbert will be competing against Fallon and Kimmel, both talented and successful guys. He might want to think about alienating traditional Americans to the extent he has; could be very bad for business.

The deciding vote in the gay marriage decision was Justice Kennedy, a good man.

He clearly and honestly wrote that his decision was primarily based on emotion, that compassion dictates gay Americans have equal marital status.

Thus Kennedy forged a legal opinion using the concept of greater good. There is obviously nothing in the Constitution that allows the redefinition of marriage.

On a strictly constitutional basis, that decision has to come from Congress because it is law.

The Supreme Court deviated from that dictum, as it has in the past for political and personal reasons.

On healthcare the issue is again greater good. Obamacare is obviously yet another federal entitlement program designed to help poor Americans at the expense of non-poor Americans.

The president sold the law on the basis that it is a benefit for all. But only his party bought that; not one Republican member of Congress voted for it.

Subsequently, health insurance costs have risen for many working Americans, and a significant number of doctors are refusing to take government mandated insurance programs.

But the four liberal judges don’t really care about the overall impact of Obamacare.

They want free healthcare for the poor and will find a legal justification for it no matter what the actual law says.

Add in Roberts and Kennedy and presto, another enormous social safety net that benefits the have-nots survives a valid legal challenge.

The sad truth is most Americans have no idea what’s really happening to their country. These are complicated issues where both sides have legitimate points. But some important decisions are being made outside Constitutional authority.

If the trend toward big government and political activism by judges continues, the liberty of the individual is going to take a huge hit.

Already we have a guy running for president, Senator Bernie Sanders, who does not oppose a top income tax rate of 90 percent.

Conservative and independent-minded Americans should well understand what is occurring. Uber-left politicians and judges aided by a compliant media and vicious smear merchants on the net now have political cover and momentum.

They are hell-bent on crushing traditional beliefs and competitive capitalism, replacing them with so-called tolerance and forced asset sharing.

The tenets of victimization and grievance may soon dominate public policy even at the expense of public safety and majority opinion.

You see, in the brave new progressive world the rights and welfare of each American really don’t matter.

The promise of collective social justice dominates, and you will be dismissed as unworthy or even be branded a bigot if you get in the way of that promise.

That is the reality of America as we head into the 2016 presidential campaign.

Spread the word.

And that’s the memo.

There’s really not much to say in response to that “speech” other than to point out the fact (obvious to most anyone with a functioning mind) that O’Reilly is wrong on virtually every point he tries to make. I won’t waste my time or yours by citing chapter and verse, will simply cite one of his many premises, the one in which he states that There is obviously nothing in the Constitution that allows the redefinition of marriage, and then point out that there is nothing in the Constitution that ‘defines’ marriage in the first place. In fact, the word “marriage” appears in the Constitution as amended exactly the same number of times as do each the words God, Jesus, Christian, sin, sex — ZERO; right wing political “accuracy” regardless of source therein defined.

Overall, the one thing O’Reilly and his ilk, including each and every passenger in the Republican Clown Car, remind me of is statement which seems to almost entirely sum up their aims, their goals, and their collective philosophy. It reads:

“The National Government will regard it as its first and foremost duty to revive in the nation the spirit of unity and cooperation. It will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built. It regards Christianity as the foundation of our national morality, and the family as the basis of national life. Turbulent instincts must be replaced by a national discipline as the guiding principle of our national life.”

Sounds like one of the Presidential candidates, but which one? Huckabee, maybe, or Santorum? Carson? Cruz? One of the other ten announced so far? Or maybe one who’s still waiting in the wings?

The answer, regardless of how unlikely it sounds, is none of the above. Nor is it a paragraph from the Republican Party Platform for 2016 or from any other year. Nope. Those were word spoken on the first day of February, 1933, by Adolf Hitler in his “Proclamation to the German Nation at Berlin.” That’s not to say the GOP couldn’t use it, that it wouldn’t fit. I mean it’s really close to a perfect summary of their implicit goals, and I’m sure it wouldn’t be copyright infringement if they did so choose to put the words to current use.

And I’m sure O’Reilly would spout praise, for once, instead of his typical streams of ignorant vitriol.

OPEN THREAD