Christians and the Republican Party

Full disclosure, the best way to describe me is Agnostic. That is not to say I deny the existence of God or Jesus Christ I just can’t prove they exist or existed. In reality nobody can. The most devout followers of that and other deity based faiths can only prove existence by citing faith. However I cannot deny that the Bible exists and Jesus is a character (possibly real) in the Bible and there are teachings attributed to him. To be Christian is to be “a person who has received Christian baptism or is a believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings”. The key phrase in this definition is “and his teachings” which exist for all to read and interpret. To say you’re a Christian and not cite the followings of Christ is to be dishonest about yourself.

I’ve made a study of the Christian faith in most of its manifestations as well as other faiths. I find them fascinating not necessarily in the historical or Deity perspective but the actual teachings. All faiths discuss how the faithful should interact among others in and out of their faiths but I find the teachings of Christ to be particularly inspiring whether he existed or not. What is sad is that the strongest, loudest voices of those claiming to be Christ’s representatives on Earth walk the walk. They talk some of the talk but they also add in some things that are not there and also in opposition to Christ’s teaching take in huge sums of cash and bestow upon themselves power over others which is not within the teaching of Christ that I’ve ever been able to find.

No organized Christian religion from Catholicism through Latter Day Saints and beyond can say their doctrines fully embraces all the teachings of Christ cited in the Bible. For example all Christian faiths call for public prayers but in the Bible Jesus says in Matthews 6:6 “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Perhaps the worst group of people who say they ascribe to being Christians are the Evangelicals. Though there are multiple denominations of this belief system most take on as matter of doctrine things Christ never spoke of or things Christ did speak against. They add in their own believes based on spurious beliefs brought up over the centuries from people claiming this is what Christ meant and some actually make up verses attributed to Christ. Many Evangelical leaders make a whole lot of money preaching their Word of Christ and when confronted they essentially fall back on Calvinism and the Prosperity Theology.

Calvinism and Prosperity Theology essentially states that anyone who’s wealthy is wealthy due to the blessings of God. That’s an interesting position to take especially in context to what Jesus states in Luke 16: 19-31 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'” Briefly stated, just because you’re wealthy doesn’t mean you’re Godly.

In fact there are no passages in the Bible that specifically states that being a Christian will make you wealth and free from debt. As for what Jesus states about wealth in the Bible in Luke 16:13 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Preachers like Pat Robertson, Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen and the like who maintain mega-churches and have media access really hit people up for money and a lot of the money ends up paying them for their mansions and lavish lifestyles. They clearly prefer money to God if Jesus is to be believed.

Barry Goldwater had to deal with Jerry Falwell and his attempts to influence politics via the Republican Party. Goldwater hated Falwell and warned the party of the problems people like Falwell would bring them. The original Mr. Conservative said “Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.” As for what Jesus said in the Bible regarding getting involved in governmental/political matters we all know Matthew 22:20-21 regarding taxation and government rule. “And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” The Bible clearly states governments are to be obeyed whether they’re Christian or not. Evangelicals would have you believe that we were founded as a Christian nation. They cite that God is mentioned in the Declaration of Independence four times. They neglect to mention that God isn’t mentioned anywhere in our Constitution. Further, the Treaty of Tripoli, which was ratified by a unanimous Senate made up of our founders clearly stated we were not founded in any way as a Christian nation.

Even before Goldwater, Jefferson and Madison made their positions about mixing religion with government as dangerous to both government and religion. They wanted the wall of separation to protect both.

Today evangelicals who claim to follow the teachings of Christ support and control the Republican Party and demand they legislate evangelical teachings. Here’s the problem, most of the tenets of what they call the Christian Faith aren’t supported by Jesus anywhere in the Bible. They oppose any liberal views citing Jesus oblivious to the fact that Jesus is quoted speaking liberal beliefs that exist today. The Beatitudes can be seen as the foundation of liberal views. Further, Jesus supported welfare, opposed the death penalty, supported taxation, preached peace over warfare, caring for others, love thy neighbors, he opposed bigotry, racism and expressed love for those outside his faith, which happened to be Judaism. Evangelicals angrily demand government outlaw homosexuality, eliminate welfare, build up armies for war, cut taxes, discriminate against outsiders and others. These are all things Jesus would be appalled to hear.

Finally, an interesting facet of those who claim to be Christian today involves “end of days” theology. They are big believers we are in the final days as predicted in the Bible and the rapture is coming and an antichrist will rule supported by false prophets. A few things about this. The only book in the Bible that talks about this is Revelations. That book was written by the Apostle Paul who never met Jesus Christ. Further, scholars believe most of what he was referring to involve the Emperor Nero whose numeric name was actually 666. The term “rapture” doesn’t appear anywhere in Revelations. Many have interpreted and expanded what the final days would be like. To take this belief at face value, Christians must beware of false prophets and the anti-Christ and who best represents false prophets than those who use the Christian faith to get rich in violation of the teachings of Christ and who best represents the Anti-Christ than a leader who claims to be “Christ like” but has nothing Christian in his history to back it up and in fact has done many unchristian things like adultery, stealing, lying, living up to the seven deadly sins. I of course am referring to Donald Trump, the current idol of the evangelical movement in our country. I don’t believe in end days theology as advertised. However if I did, I would say it’s the Evangelical Movement and Donald Trump who are ushering in the tribulation and with no rapture coming, those who help them in power will stay here suffering with the rest of us.

If you want to call yourself a Christian, then read the New Testament and carefully study what Christ taught and realize that Donald Trump, Judge Roy Moore, Pat Robertson, Paul Osteen, Franklin Graham Jr aren’t following all the teachings of Christ so are not Christians in the strictest sense. They more mirror that other group I talked about.


Who to Blame and Fear More? Trump or his supporters?

I recently posted a Twitter Poll asking the question “Biggest threat to civil society and rule of law in the United States, Donald Trump or those who still support him?” It was only up for a day and only had 84 votes but the results came back as I expected; 46% for Trump and 54% for his supporters. The most common response I had to the poll was “where’s the both button?”
Though close, I agree with giving the edge of who is to fear and blame more to Trump’s supporters rather than Donald himself. Here’s why I think this is the case.
Trump’s support in the country hovers just above 30%. That number is key because that was his support in the GOP primaries. Since he competed with numerous other Republican candidates, the remaining 70% couldn’t center on one candidate and Trump’s support was solid so he won. As for the general election, although he was able to pick up some additional support from Independents and even some Democrats of the “Never Hillary” crowd, his core support was still only just above 30%. Since that core support turned up in four battleground states, a total of only 70,000 votes from those who showed up to vote swung those states to Trump and gave him the electoral college win, because voter turnout was just above 50% nationwide.
Now in Europe, there are other groups of hard core right wing white nationalists working to win votes in parliamentarian government. Of the European population, that group is a fairly consistent 30% too. As with the GOP primaries, the remaining 70% have multiple parties to vote for, the ones who get that solid and consistent 30% have been winning. In fact just yesterday Austria has elected a conservative White Nationalist with just over 30% of the voting population. You go back to the 1930’s in Germany, the Nazis, who were the White Nationalists of the time, actually at best only won only 30% of the seats in the Reichstag.
Regardless of the time or place in the world, historically and socially there always seems to be around 30% of the population that supports essentially an extreme right wing dictator to rule. I will add that there are studies that show that conservatives tend to want to be led and told what to do by authority figures. You can Google that research. Their selections are rarely in their best interests and often end up harming them. Combine the solid 30% voting bloc to low voter turnout and assistance from say other nations and rightwing media confusing the issues and propelling “fake news” to an intellectually lazy population, you end up with a Donald Trump as President.
Donald Trump is as Rex Tillerson says, “a fucking moron.” He’s unfit to sit in the Oval Office and he is dangerous to our Republic, Rule of Law, Civil Society and National Unity. However that’s only because he’s inept and unable to learn about the office he holds, the Congress he works with and the nation he’s supposed to govern. If Donald Trump hadn’t ran for office, that same 30% who voted for him would’ve voted for someone even worse for the mere fact they’re more intelligent. It could have been a Ted Cruz or Rand Paul. 30% of eligible voters will literally support people and things not in their best interests and they will always vote in unison while the rest of the country either doesn’t vote at all or are easily distracted with making “protest votes” for people who haven’t a chance.
The 30% who supports Donald Trump also in large numbers support Vladimir Putin. They support White Nationalism, bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia, antisemitism, etc. They believe in untenable views that the government shouldn’t tax them, but must continue to provide them with roads, infrastructure, and government assistance like Social Security and Medicare. They oppose regulations that protect our air, water and food supplies because regulations are government interference. Their entire belief system amounts to cognitive dissonance and they are committed to that belief because that’s what their guts tell them, even though it never works out in their best interests. These people always have and always will exist and they are the danger we face.
The only solution is for the remaining 70% to keep themselves educated to what’s in the nation and their best interests. They must get politically motivated to cancel out the influence of the 30%. The remaining 70% must also get smart and realize they may not get the choice they want and may have to vote for the lesser of two evils. Protest votes are quite literally throwing your votes away. Those who say otherwise have a hard time finding evidence where a protest candidate actually won and election and made things better. Think about how protest votes for Ralph Nader in Florida got us George W. Bush and protest votes for Jill Stein and others may have swung Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin to Trump.
We are a complex and large society. As such we require a complex and large government of professionals and intellectuals to operate that government or it will fail. That is what’s happening now in this country. We have an inept President and a Tea Party GOP running Congress. Congressional leaders ran on breaking government and don’t know how to run it for the best interests of all the people. It’s beyond them. However they’re there because 30% of the nation voted for them and the majority of the rest either stayed home or threw their votes away.
Trump’s supporters would support any moron intelligent or otherwise taking the stage to lead them. They are gullible, intellectually lazy, generally angry but most of all, dangerous when their candidate is in power. Only way to cancel their influence is to vote better people in, whether they meet your complete litmus test or not. Idealism is nice to have, but pragmatism is what keeps the nation running and keeps society safe.

Believing in Alternative Facts Will Get You Killed

Even Donald Trump supporters know he lies, he lies constantly and he lies about things he really doesn’t have to lie about. During the campaign Politifact checked and found that Trump lied 76% of the time. Throughout his current regime he’s been caught lying continuously about Muslims, being wire-tapped by Obama, his inauguration crowd size, his popularity, climate change, China, Russia, Obamacare, the list continues. Early in his reign when Chuck Todd confronted Kelly Anne Conway over Trump’s lies, she introduced into the political lexicon the term “Alternative Facts”. Todd correctly told her that alternative facts are “untruths” otherwise known as lies. She continued to sidestep the issue. Since then, the number and power of her “Alternative Facts” have grown, taking on a new reality outside of reality and creating havoc for the nation and world in which we live.

It has been revealed that Russian intelligence has orchestrated and pushed Fake News over social media in this country to rally Trump support both during the campaign and even today. Of course Donald Trump projects the term “Fake News” onto legitimate and established mainstream media when they print the truth about him. However the real “Fake News” that mostly comes from Russia or local conspiracy minded nuts like Alex Jones and basement dwelling dweebs on Breitbart often gets picked up by mainstream media and then retold to the rest of the world, giving it a higher degree of unintentional credibility. Pizzagate is a good example of this. Nothing existed to support the crazy allegations in the story, but the story was carried on mainstream media as kind of aside. Then a nut job drove down to DC and shot up the pizza shop based on the fake news, “Alternative Fact” story. Sad yet, many still believe this story to be true.

With Trump and Conway pushing the concept of Alternative Facts as a basis to make decisions that impact the lives of others, we have a real problem. Important decisions must be made based on reality not politically motivated “Alternative Facts”. However, the Trump Regime, Congress, State Governments and now some foreign governments are making decisions based on Alternative Facts not reality and they feel fine doing so while the world is left scratching their collective heads asking why?

Consider the claim that child vaccines cause autism. This has been proven to be an “Alternative Fact”. In 1998 a paper, that was later to be determined as fraudulent was published in the British Paper “The Lancet”. It claimed research demonstrated a direct link between vaccines and autism. The author of the study, Andrew Wakefield was found to have multiple conflicts of interests, manipulated evidence and data and violated numerous ethical codes. To date no link has been found and the story that is at the center of the belief was declared to be “utterly false”. However today people still believe it to be true. They deny the history of how the claim came to be and consider the theory, which has no basis in reality true. This has resulted parents not having their children vaccinated, which has resulted in childhood diseases once under control to start to break out again in higher numbers. Children are suffering and some are dying as a result.

Sadly, a growing number of Americans are becoming intellectually lazy. Worst yet our President and his administration appear to fall under that same category. Whether knowingly lying or having faith in “Alternative facts” our current administration ignore inconvenient truths in reality to make decisions for our nation as a whole. These decisions impact gun control (or lack thereof), healthcare, environment, food safety and even diplomacy. To act on, make decision on a falsehood is only to invite problems upon yourself and others.

If reality isn’t to your liking too bad. You can’t change reality by telling “Alternative Facts”. You must accept reality for what it truly is and then make decisions on how best to deal with the reality that is there. Mainstream media needs to take a stronger stance on reporting reality and calling out bullshit from alternative news sources like Breitbart, The Daily Caller, InfoWars, Sputnik, etc. When confronted they can’t defend their alternative facts without going deeper into the well of paranoia and doublespeak. These groups create and perpetuate “alternative facts” to push an ideological agenda that runs counter to reality. To allow them to go on unchallenged leads to our leadership making decisions that harm us all.

Media and ordinary Americans must educate themselves and call these liars out, especially those in the White House that Alternative Facts aren’t reality and making decisions based upon them is harmful to human life.