Is Trump ultimately harming Christianity?

Conservative Christian Rod Dreher [who’s written extensively about the “Benedict Option”] opines in the NYT:

Is there anything Donald Trump can do to alienate evangelicals and other conservative Christians who support him? By now, it’s hard to think of what that might be. These are people who would never let men with the morals and the mouths of Mr. Trump and Mr. Scaramucci date their own daughters. And yet, Team Trump has no more slavishly loyal constituency.

This is not only wrong, but tragically so. The most pressing problem Christianity faces is not in politics. It’s in parishes. It’s with the pastors. Most of all, it’s among an increasingly faithless people.

The truth is, Christianity is declining in the United States. As a theologically conservative believer, I take no pleasure in saying that. In fact, the waning of Christianity will be not only a catastrophe for the church but also a calamity for civil society in ways secular Americans do not appreciate.

Is Dreher correct? Though Trump garnered Evangelical support, does his Administration bode well for Christian dominion [no pun intended] over the religious landscape of America?

 

 

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Deja Vu

During the previous Administration, we saw the Democrat base act as a legion of strident apologists, regardless of Obama and companies’ complicity in actions immoral, unethical and/or unConstituional. We also had a political opposition who invented no end of absurd conspiracies about POTUS’s background, ideology and “true” intentions. (Muslim Kenyan Marxist etc….)

Now, in the current Administration, we have much the same……with one glaring difference: blatant hypocrisy and sycophancy. We’re witnessing an emotionally fellating devotion to one man……..just as was claimed, the Left had found their political messiah…..the “One”, as it was alleged. Shrugging off of national security threats and maligning acts of integrity, in favour of protection of the cult of personality. As much as I have principled reasons for leaving the GOP and moving wholly to the LP…….I don’t think I ever envisioned the Right acting like such…….Leftists.

To be sure, there are wild eyed fantasies of Trump ushering in a regime of Fascism and oppression – fomenting the laughable Leftist movements to “resist”…..
While this behaviour is expected of the Left…..where went the responsibility and accountability on the Right? Was it ever there? If so, will they ever regain it……or are we destined simply to have two sad clowns in this political theatre?

On Charlie Gard

This is what happens when we allow the CITIZEN to be related to a caste lower than the State. I have almost no words for how tyrannical this is.

I had to get my thoughts together to try and figure out the best way to write about this tragic little boy, who was sentenced to die by the European Court of Human rights. The court ruled that Charlie, who was born with a rare genetic condition called infantile onset encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, will be allowed to “die with dignity” regardless of the wishes of his parents, who wanted to take him to the United States for one last attempt to save him with a highly experimental therapy.

His care, their trip over to the United States, and the experimental therapy would have cost British taxpayers nothing. So why did this court assert its authority over this family?

There’s a larger issue here than Charlie’s life. It’s about parental rights. It’s about a group of black-robed jerks wielding their authority over parents. It’s about a court preventing parents from doing everything possible to save their child.

Let’s put the issue of the sanctity of life aside for a moment. Let’s set aside the court’s lack of respect for the life of a little boy. Let’s put aside the fact that this court literally decided to force these parents to stand by and do nothing while their child is killed.

What bothers me is this court’s “authority” to sentence this child to die despite the wishes of his parents.

What bothers me is the hospital’s claim that it somehow has the authority to prevent Charlie’s parents from taking him not just to the United States for one last shot at life, but home to die.

How can a hospital claim that right, and how can a court that claims to be a court of justice affirm it?

This decision literally have the state greater authority over the life of a child than his parents.

This decision took away the right of Chris Gard and Connie Yates to act in their son’s best interest and to fight for his life.

Source: On Charlie Gard

Please read the rest at The Liberty Zone……

Cavuto on Trump

Refreshing honesty from the GOPs favorite media outlet.

“Mr. President, it’s not the fake news media that’s your problem, it’s you. It’s not just your tweeting, it’s your scapegoating, it’s your refusal to see that sometimes you’re the one who’s feeding your own beast.”

“They didn’t tweet disparaging comments about a London mayor in the middle of a murder spree. You did. They didn’t create that needless distraction. You did. They didn’t get you off your very valid and very promising agenda. You did. They didn’t turn on a travel ban that you signed. You did.” – Neil Cavuto, 6 June 2017

How I Lost at Patriotism – And How We All Lose

Still feeling mixed feelings after another Memorial Day. Feelings about my own service, the loss of Brothers; the direction of our Republic and the fractious society within. Posting snippets of an article from The Angry Staff Officer:

Back again to the soft May sun of the Ohio day. The birds chirp in the background and now the veteran’s voice is rising, in strident tones, and I am shifting uncomfortably in my seat because his talk smacks of nationalism and jingoism. But the audience loves it. They love being told that there is a divide between true patriots and the rest of the country. They love hearing that this is the greatest nation in the world that can do no wrong. They love being able to heap admiration and praise onto the 1% of those who’ve served without having to take the time to deeply analyze why those young men were bleeding in Vietnam in the first place. Because this version is simple. Because this definition of patriotism is black and white, or, I suppose, red, white, and blue. They know where the lines are, and they can say that they support the true patriots.

It is a very seductive way of thinking, as I know, since I once viewed service and conflict along those same lines.

Patriotism and love of country are noble things. They inspire civic virtue, that which our Republic requires to survive. But love of country does not mean accepting the United States at face value; it means always working towards making the country match its ideals of freedom, justice, and equality. Sometimes that means standing up and saying that things are wrong or disordered, which can be unpopular.

Source: How I Lost at Patriotism – And How We All Lose

And the money shot: In the end, “patriot” becomes yet another label we use to define our world view, which cheapens both the word and its meaning.

Ben Shapiro on POTUS

Here’s the sad truth: your problems right now are of your own making. Democrats were always going to try to pillory you. But you had a defense: they had no evidence. And you could say that freely, because it was true! You could go along with their investigations, just keep saying that you wanted everything out in the open more than they did, and everything would have been hunky dory. If you’re innocent, sunlight would show it.

Instead, you decided that you were so irritated by the necessity of investigation or the possibility that aides had deceived you that you ignored input and then attacked the investigators. In doing so, you looked guilty, you bred accusations of obstruction, and you seemed petty and vindictive. Why is there a special counsel now looking at Trump-Russia issues? Because you hired a National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, that everybody knew had connections to foreign governments, despite all outside advice; you then fired him when those connections became apparent; you reportedly asked the FBI director to let Flynn off the hook; you asked your deputy attorney general to involve himself in creating a justification for firing your FBI director; you fired your FBI director and then admitted on national television that you fired him thanks to frustration over the investigation – necessitating that the deputy attorney general put forth a special counsel.

This isn’t on Democrats. This isn’t on the media. This is on you, because you decided that the political universe would bow to you, and when it refused, you crapped the bed.

Hat tip: Pesky Truth

Yup.

Trump has gone from serial liar to serial victim….just ask him. I’ve never put a lot of stock in the GOP and it’s candidates/nominees……but I never thought they’d gravitate towards such a whiny little bitch.

POTUS and Partisanship

Jonah Goldberg nails it, and I’m not usually a big fan of his writing:

But no one cares, because the signature image of the Trump presidency so far is a goalpost on wheels. Being all-in for Trump means never having to say you’re sorry. Then there are the folks who are mostly-in for Trump.

Every day I hear people say on Twitter, “Yeah, he’s flawed but at least he’s not Hillary.” But what kind of standard is that? I’m glad Hillary’s not president. Truly. But if your yardstick for a Republican president — not candidate, but president — is now “He’s better than Hillary,” then you’ve filed down the yardstick to a couple inches. “Better than Hillary” strikes me as the minimum requirement for a conservative president, not an omnibus justification for anything he does.

More here

Words Matter, Mr. President

Leaving aside the inane use of adjectives and qualifiers [both verbally and tweet based], one would think that by now, POTUS would either have a grasp or keep somebody close at hand, to avoid making empty, false or confusing statements.

Donald Trump said he has given the military “total authorization.” That may sound great, but “total authorization” has no meaning. The military’s dictionary, (yes, it has its very own) includes “diplomatic authorization” and “letters of authorization,” but does not include “total authorization.” Perhaps Mr. Trump chose a non-existent term when he actually meant to say that he, as the commander in chief, had issued an order giving the military specific authorization to conduct operations limited in time and space.

Alternatively, perhaps Mr. Trump simply wanted Americans to know that he will exercise less oversight and control of the U.S. military as compared to his predecessors. Without clarification, we cannot be sure. There are at least fifteen different types of orders that the President, Secretary of Defense and military commanders can issue to those under their charge. They cannot, however, issue “total authorization.”

In the same vein, Mr. Trump’s characterization of recent military operations as “so successful” reveals that he has little idea what military success looks like. Trump’s crowing over a single missile strike against Syria or the use of the “Mother of All Bombs” in Afghanistan suggests that he equates action and aggression with success. As history has made clear, nothing could be further from the truth.

President Trump owes the nation – and the world – more careful language. Trump’s empty words may thrill his supporters, but they will not defeat the Islamic State or bring peace to a troubled region. If the American public is to trust him and intelligently support his foreign policies, especially with lives on the line, he must communicate coherently. The president should weigh his words before he speaks, provide clear explanations for his actions and measured assessments of progress. In short, Trump’s words need to mean exactly what they seem to mean.

Why Trump’s Words Matter, RealClear Defense – http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2017/04/20/why_trumps_words_matter_111211.html

Updated – Peeling back the Trump-Russia Onion

A long read, posted at Just Security……but worth it, to get at the multiple ties and circumstances of Trump financial dealings with Russian entities. Ties that must be taken into consideration given the House, Senate and FBI investigations of potential Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.

While names like Carter Page, Roger Stone and Michael Flynn dominate headlines amidst allegations of possible collusion with Russia, there’s another angle to Donald Trump’s connections to the former Soviet Union that’s only beginning to receive the attention it deserves. This is the series of murky financial dealings that often make little business sense. Taken on their own, many of these transactions appear perfectly legal. Viewed together, they show patterns suspicious enough that they should qualify for investigation under U.S. laws aimed at combatting money laundering, tax evasion, and other hard to track financial misdeeds. One particularly good example of this pattern involves Trump’s billionaire Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, and his former role as vice chairman of the Bank of Cyprus. His case is just one piece of the puzzle that may be reflective of other dealings that warrant much closer scrutiny.

Read the rest here: https://www.justsecurity.org/39409/money-russia-cyprus-trump-teams-odd-business-dealings/

Another article speaking to the same set of issues, at War is Boring: https://warisboring.com/trump-aides-and-russian-mobsters-pulled-strings-in-putins-massive-ukraine-gas-scheme-2ec3e6cef803

Before Donald Trump was president or a candidate, and when he was hurting for investors as Wall Street had all but shut down loaning operations to him, his businesses established extensive ties to Russian oligarchs, including some allegedly affiliated with organized crime.

At the same time, associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Russian government and future associates of Trump — most notably Paul Manafort, his future campaign chairman — were allegedly involved in a massive Eurasian natural gas and money laundering scheme worth billions of dollars, and part of Putin’s grand plan to control Ukraine.

At best, Trump may have had no knowledge of this scheme and these ties, but even this scenario highlights serious deficiencies in Trump’s judgment in terms of who he did business and politics with — and it is of urgent interest to the American people as Trump manages the nation as president.

 

The Myth of the Iraqi Surge

We are enduring the fallout today, of the myth that the Iraqi “Surge” was successful…along with the myths surrounding the withdrawal of US forces. These events, lived by the men and women on the ground….have become political memes, myths and talking points…without substance or experience from those who employ them. Having served 15 months in Baghdad during the Surge, I can attest to the sentiments of the author of this article…as well as the whitewashing that continues to this day.

CFR’s three guests — retired Gen. Raymond Odierno, former commander of Multinational Forces in Iraq and now a senior adviser to JPMorgan Chase; Meghan O’Sullivan, former deputy national security adviser under president George W. Bush; and Christopher Kojm, former senior adviser to the Iraq Study Group — had remarkably similar views.

No dissenting voices were included. All three had been enthusiastic promoters of the surge in 2006–2007 and continue to market the myth of its success. While recognizing the unmistakable failure of the post-surge American effort in Iraq, each still firmly believes in the inherent validity of that “strategy.”

I listened for more than an hour waiting for a single dissenting thought. The silence was deafening.

………………………….

In an orgy of killing in Baghdad and many other cities, the two main sects ethnically cleansed neighborhoods, expelling each other into a series of highly segregated enclaves. The capital, for instance, essentially became a Shiite city. In a sense, the civil war had, momentarily at least, run its course.

In addition, the U.S. military had successfully, though again only temporarily, convinced many previously rebellious Sunni tribes to switch sides in exchange for money, support and help in getting rid of the overly fundamentalist and brutal terror outfit, Al Qaeda in Iraq.

For the time being, AQI seemed to the tribal leaders like a bigger threat than the Shiites in Baghdad. For this, the Sunnis briefly bet on the United States without ever fully trusting or accepting Shiite-Baghdad’s suzerainty. Think of this as a tactical pause — not that the surge’s architects and supporters saw it that way.

America’s man in Baghdad, Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki, was already in the process of becoming a sectarian strongman, hell-bent on alienating the country’s Sunni and Kurdish minorities. Even 60,000 or 90,000 more American troops couldn’t have solved that problem because the surge was incapable of addressing, and barely pretended to face, the true conundrum of the invasion and occupation — any American-directed version of Iraqi “democracy” would invariably usher in Shia-majority dominance over a largely synthetic state.

The real question no surge cheerleaders publicly asked, or ask to this day, was whether an invading foreign entity was even capable of imposing an inclusive political settlement there. To assume that the United States could have done so smacks of a faith-based as opposed to reality-based worldview — another version of a deep and abiding belief in American exceptionalism.

From MAJ Danny Sjursen  at War is Boring