Roy Moore: A New Low for Evangelicalism

As mentioned in the previous post, there is now a beautiful young woman on the horizon of my world.  As you have probably suspected, this is just a crush, exactly the sort of thing experienced by young teenage boys who are just starting to find their way in the world of love, romance, and dating.  (That I, at my advanced age, am still capable of such a thing–well, I leave it to you, dear reader, to form your own estimation of me in light of that.)

Crushes suck, but when you get to the other side you would gladly do it all over again.  Every time.  Why?  Because there is a payoff:  You have this beautiful young woman on the edge of your world and you are trying oh so hard to be the very best you that you can possibly be because she’s oh so worth it…

And then there’s Roy Moore.

ICYMI:  Alabama just had a special election to fill one of their US Senate seats.  Roy Moore was the Republican candidate.  He lost.  It was in all the papers.  (Kids:  Old school slang.  Ask your parents.)

Moore was the odds-on favorite in this election, until allegations surfaced that he had had inappropriate sexual relationships with as many as nine different women, some of whom were way underage.

Formerly the chief justice of the Alabama supreme court, Moore was an arch-conservative firebrand who said and did all the right things to reach those who believe that we need to “take our country back” for Jesus Christ–outlaw abortion, run off all the gays and the Muslims, put prayer back in public schools, the whole bit.

When the allegations surfaced, the big question was whether Moore’s evangelical supporters would stick with him.  They did.  To the tune of 80 percent, according to all the exit polls.

James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, was emphatically in Moore’s corner.  “I have been dismayed and troubled,” said Dobson, “about the way he and his wife Kayla have been personally attacked by the Washington establishment.”

This is where we are in evangelicalism:  I now feel exactly like an English professor at Sarah Lawrence College.

I have spoken previously in this space about the “post-evangelical wilderness”.  Despite what you may think, this “post-evangelical wilderness” is not simply some fanciful construct created by young punk bloggers living in their parents’ basements with nothing better to do with their lives than sit around all day in front of their computer screens and write whatever strikes their fancy. This post-evangelical wilderness is a real place inhabited by real people with real stories.  I found myself in the post-evangelical wilderness through a series of life events/challenges which all converged over the course of the previous decade, when I suddenly looked up and found that I was no longer quite the young hot-blooded evangelical that I had been back in happier times–and also that the world of evangelicalism around me had quietly morphed right before my very eyes into something almost unrecognizable to me.

This has accelerated over the past year, as I have watched my faith–the faith that proclaimed the Gospel to me and discipled me and gave me a spiritual home through a goodly portion of my collegiate and young adult existence, and has been very good to me over the years–sell its very soul right out from under me, linking arms with some of the worst specimens of humanity to elect a president who is the complete and total opposite of anything even remotely Christ-centered or Christ-shaped–even going so far as to claim that as a Christian I have a moral imperative to support this president.

This Roy Moore thing has just dumped several truckloads of nitroglycerine on that fire.

Almost two decades ago, and it really doesn’t seem that long ago at all, evangelicals, including me, were all up in arms because of allegations that our then-president Bill Clinton was having inappropriate sexual relationships with White House interns.  We believed that he ought to be impeached because character matters.  The Democrats and the liberal media all doubled down on their support of their guy and they all called us out of line because look at all the good things he was doing and how dare we get our panties all up in a wad over some quaint pedantic notion like character because what he does in his bedroom is his own business.  But we persisted because by God CHARACTER MATTERS!!!!!  But now here we are and suddenly character doesn’t count for jack shit.  Not when there’s tax reform legislation to pass and Obamacare to repeal and Supreme Court justices to appoint and Roe v. Wade to overturn and we’ve got to have our Republican majority so we’re giving you a president who brags incessantly about sexually exploiting women.  And if you don’t like that then by God we’ll give you Roy Moore the child sexual predator.

The world outside of evangelicalism is watching this shitshow.  We know that some things are right and others are just wrong.  We know that Jesus treated people with love and respect, especially those on the outer fringes of society, and that he calls on us to do likewise.  Moore’s treatment of the women with whom he had relationships flies in the face of this, and to believe that his positions and/or voting record excuses all of this–no, people.  It doesn’t.

Every person with whom you will ever come eyeball to eyeball is a person created in the image of God, and a person for whom Jesus Christ died.  Thus, every person has intrinsic worth and deserves to be treated in that fashion.  Roy Moore’s actions fly completely and totally in the face of this.  It is therefore impossible to support Roy Moore while maintaining that people have intrinsic worth because they are created in the image of God and because Jesus died for them.  The two just don’t square.

Think about this through the lens of “What does love require of me?”.  If you can make a compelling case that what love requires of you is to support Roy Moore and his inappropriate sexual relationships with underage women–no, people.  There is no such case to be made.  That’s all there is to it.

I cannot possibly imagine myself going after this beautiful young woman, trying oh so hard to be the very best me that I can possibly be because she’s oh so worth it–and then telling her that I supported this toxic waste dump and all his inappropriate relationships with underage women.

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Thank You Senator Flake

ICYMI:  Yesterday Arizona senator Jeff Flake announced that he would not be seeking another term.  That announcement was embedded in a remarkable speech which speaks truth with moral authority to the buffoonery currently in power.  Though some are critical of Flake for leaving the battlefield, as it were, this article takes a different view of things.

When we remain silent and fail to act when we know that that silence and inaction is the wrong thing to do — because of political considerations, because we might make enemies, because we might alienate the base, because we might provoke a primary challenge, because ad infinitum, ad nauseam — when we succumb to those considerations in spite of what should be greater considerations and imperatives in defense of the institutions of our liberty, then we dishonor our principles and forsake our obligations. Those things are far more important than politics.

Would that we could all have the courage to speak the truth in this moment in our nation’s history.

Here is Senator Flake’s speech in its entirety, along with a video.

If You Still Support Donald Trump After This Week

This has been a very sad and very difficult week in our nation’s history.  For those of you who have been living under a rock lately, let me catch you up and then let me try to wrap it up and put a bow on it, to the extent that is possible at this point.  A wound has been ripped open in our nation’s psyche and this will not just go away because the 24-hour news cycle is moving on, so I reserve the right to come back to this if future events warrant or if I feel like it.

ICYMI:  Several white supremacist groups, including the KKK and the Neo-Nazis, descended upon Charlottesville, Virginia, to protest the proposed removal of Confederate statues.  The protests turned violent when one white supremacist took a muscle car and plowed into a group of people who were counter-protesting the spectacle, killing one and injuring several others.

In the immediate aftermath, Donald Trump made a statement that there was blame to go around “on many sides”.  Faced with mounting pressure from his critics, Donald Trump made a follow-up statement on Monday singling out the white supremacist groups for condemnation.  But this statement felt forced and disingenuous.  Sure enough, Donald Trump reversed field the next day and issued another follow-up statement that laid blame on both sides.

At this point, it is perfectly clear where Donald Trump’s sympathies lie.  By equivocating blame, Donald Trump made an unquestionable statement that he stands with the white supremacists.

Trump supporters:  OK.  I am sure that you had your reasons for voting the way you did this past fall.  This was a very difficult election, and none of the available options was particularly appealing.  Honestly, I wish there was a way that both could have lost.

Perhaps you were concerned about terror attacks in Paris and Brussels and concerned that lax immigration policies typically favored by Democrats could lead to similar occurrences here on American soil.  Perhaps you were concerned about American manufacturing jobs vanishing overseas and the devastation this has wrought in certain parts of the country.  Perhaps you were concerned about Hillary, Benghazi, the emails, and if she really was that bad there was no way in hell you could support her.

Some of you have disabled children who will be at or near the front of the line if the death camps come to America.  Some of you are otherwise decent people who are struggling to make sense of it all.

But at this point, ambiguity has been replaced with clarity.  We all know now that Donald Trump stands with those who murdered six million Jews and others in Europe for no reason other than their race.  If you still stand with Donald Trump after this week…well, that option is not open to you if you are a decent human being.  Or a human being at all.

Does Donald Trump Think Badly of His Supporters?

Today I direct your attention to this opinion piece at CNN.com.  For those of you who missed it, there was a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville this weekend to protest the proposed removal of Confederate statues.  One white supremacist used his car to murder one young woman and injure several others who were there to protest their actions.  Donald Trump, in his statements this week, made it abundantly clear that he is with the white supremacists.

But why?  Why has Donald Trump gone out of his way to make it clear that he is with white supremacists?  Commentator S. E. Cupp offers his opinion:  Donald Trump has them confused with his base, the largely white and economically disenfranchised voters from the flyover states.  In Cupp’s opinion, Donald Trump will not change course until/unless an overwhelming majority of his supporters yank their support and let him know he is wrong.

Donald Trump Shows His True Colors

So I got home late tonight to find this gem sitting out there on my Facebook feed.

This afternoon Donald Trump issued a statement that, basically, both sides were to blame for the violence in Charlottesville this weekend.  This was a reversal of field from yesterday’s statement, in which Donald Trump yielded to pressure from his critics to specifically denounce racism and single out the racist groups who were responsible.

If you suspected that yesterday’s statement was disingenuous, well, here’s your proof.

By saying that both sides are to blame, Donald Trump basically said that his sympathies are with the white supremacists.

David Duke got Donald Trump’s message loud and clear.  He took to Twitter as follows:  “Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth about #Charlottesville & condemn the leftist terrorists in BLM/Antifa”.

There you have it, people:  Donald Trump is a racist.  He has made it abundantly clear that he stands with the KKK, the Neo-Nazis, and all manner of other white supremacists.

If you doubted that before today, doubt no more.  Donald Trump’s statement has removed all possible doubt.

If you continue to stand with Donald Trump after today, then you are just as much a racist as he is.

Mr. Falwell, your phone is ringing.

Mr. Graham, your phone is ringing.

Mr. Jeffress, your phone is ringing.

Mr. Grudem, your phone is ringing.

There’s Our President

This afternoon Donald Trump issued a statement on the protests and violence in Charlottesville.  He succinctly stated that “racism is evil”.  He called out the KKK and white supremacists specifically.  He even offered words of remembrance for Heather Heyer, who paid with her very life for the hatred that was expressed on the streets of Charlottesville.

It all sounded so good.  It all sounded just right.  Trouble is, Donald Trump had already betrayed every word he spoke today.  Given the chance to be presidential and denounce the Neo-Nazis who took to the streets of Charlottesville on Saturday, he instead saw an “…egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides. On many sides.”  He took two whole days to deliver today’s statement in which he finally denounced the evil of white supremacy by name.  And even today’s statement came only after self-congratulatory remarks about the economy and a nasty early morning tweetstorm in which he denounced/ridiculed Kenneth Frazier, a black CEO, for resigning from an advisory panel of business executives in protest of Donald Trump’s handling of the events in Charlottesville.

There’s your president, ladies and gentlemen.

There’s my president.

Contrast this with the statement issued by another influential Republican on Saturday:

It’s tragic and heartbreaking to see hatred and racism once again mar our great Nation with bloodshed. Heidi’s and my prayers are with the loved ones of those killed and injured in the ongoing violence in Charlottesville. The First Amendment protects the rights of all Americans to speak their minds peaceably, but violence, brutality, and murder have no place in a civilized society.

The Nazis, the KKK, and white supremacists are repulsive and evil, and all of us have a moral obligation to speak out against the lies, bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred that they propagate. Having watched the horrifying video of the car deliberately crashing into a crowd of protesters, I urge the Department of Justice to immediately investigate and prosecute this grotesque act of domestic terrorism.

These bigots want to tear our country apart, but they will fail. America is far better than this. Our Nation was built on fundamental truths, none more central than the proposition “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Ted Cruz, ladies and gentlemen.

Did you ever think we would reach the point of wishing that Ted Cruz was our president?

Yet here we are.

People:  We just had a national tragedy, in which Donald Trump had a prime opportunity to at least appear presidential.  Instead we come away wishing to God that Ted Cruz–Ted Cruz!!!!!!!!!–was our president.

Something is very wrong here.

A Massive Failure of Basic Christianity

ICYMI:  Several white nationalist groups came together to protest in downtown Charlottesville this weekend.  Someone, presumably affiliated with the white nationalists, took a car and slammed into a group of people who were protesting their display, killing one and injuring several.

Donald Trump, our president and racist-in-chief, spoke thusly:

“The hate and the division must stop and must stop right now….  We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides. On many sides.”

Notice that there was no specific mention of racism or white supremacy in this statement.  You can rest assured that this detail will not go unnoticed by the white supremacist groups involved in this outrage.  They will probably even take it as an endorsement, just as when Richard Spencer and others of the alt-right lunatic fringe took Donald Trump’s delayed, halfhearted “disavowal” of David Duke as an endorsement.

Evangelicals:  If you supported Donald Trump, you will have to answer for this.  These are the people whom you linked arms with to get your Donald Trump into the White House.  Your linking arms with those who preach and practice unmitigated hatred against those who are not white, in support of a candidate who has made said hatred a cornerstone of his message and agenda, is a MASSIVE failure of basic humanity, basic Christianity, and basic love.

I don’t need to tell you that the Lord hates this.  You already know.

Mr. Graham, your phone is ringing.

Mr. Falwell, your phone is ringing.

Mr. Jeffress, your phone is ringing.

Mr. Grudem, your phone is ringing.

I have said this before and will say it again:  Think about this through the filter of “What does love require of me?”  If you can make a convincing case that what love requires of you is to link arms with racists and white supremacists of the worst kind in support of Donald Trump and his agenda of hatred and anger against those who are not privileged white Christian males…no.  There is no such case to be made.  This is not what love requires of you.  That’s all there is to it.