It’s Very Biblical To Heed Biblical Warnings About People Like Trump

If we are going to talk about zero tolerance policies, let’s talk about zero tolerance for unbiblical cruelty toward our neighbor.

It may be very Biblical to enforce the law (though Sarah Huckabee Sanders deceitfully implied that the president is simply enforcing a law passed by Democrats requiring separation of families applying for asylum, while in fact he is using his discretion over border policy–Democrats passed no law requiring what Trump is doing; moreover those families are not illegal immigrants, they are doing something perfectly lawful–applying for refuge–though they may or may not win their cases).  And Jeff Sessions may believe that quoting Romans 13:1 settles everything (“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God”).

But it is very biblical, even more biblical, to heed the warnings of scriptural witnesses.  In the book of First Samuel, the people clamor for a king to rule over them.  Samuel the aged judge goes to the Lord, who instructs Samuel to give the people what they want, but to solemnly warn them first about “the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”  Samuel does exactly that (chapter 8): “he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen…he will appoint for himself commanders… and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots.  He will take your daughters to be performers and cooks and bakers.  He will take the best of your fields and olive orchards and give them to his courtiers….he will take…the best of your cattle and donkeys, and put them to his work…you shall be his slaves.  And in that day you will cry out because of your king, who you have chosen for yourselves; but the Lord will not answer in that day.  But the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel; they said, ‘No! but we are determined to have a king over us, so that we also may be like other nations, and that our king may govern us and go out before us and fight our battles.”  Battles against the disrespectful elites, no doubt.  So that we also may be like Russia and China and North Korea.  With courtiers like Scott Pruitt and Tom Price and Betsy DeVos.

Scripture also warns us (Proverbs 24): “do not envy the wicked, nor desire to be with them; for their minds devise violence, and their lips talk of mischief.”  Authority is a tricky thing, Mr. Attorney General.  Have you noticed in your study of the scriptures that some rulers are evil, not godly, in the end not legitimate, and come to bad ends?

And Sarah Sanders, have you read Isaiah 10 lately: “Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees, who write oppressive statutes, to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of their right…what will you do on the day of punishment…to whom will you flee for help, and where will you leave your wealth?”

And Vice President Pence, have you considered the opening chapter of the book of the prophet Isaiah: “Your princes are rebels and companions of thieves.  Everyone loves a bribe and runs after gifts.  They do not defend the orphan and the widow’s cause does not come before them….Therefore says the Lord of hosts…I will turn my hand against you…those who forsake the Lord shall be consumed…you shall be like an oak whose leaf withers, and like a garden without water.  The strong shall become like tinder, and their work like a spark; they and their work shall burn together with no one to quench them.”

 

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Is The Real Dick Cheney Being Displayed In A Human Zoo? If Not, Why Not?

Some version of “Dick Cheney” has popped up and endorsed re-upping on “enhanced interrogation,” AKA torture.  But is this real news?  “Dick Cheney” coming out in favor of torturing suspected terrorists and “enemy combatants” does have the ring of verisimilitude, but in these changing times, I have my suspicions.  Could the real Dick Cheney already be on display–preferably with Mike Pence–in an ethnographic exhibit, AKA a human zoo?  And if not, isn’t it about time?  Human zoos were quite popular in my grandparents’ day, even in my parents’ lifetime, and even continued into my own time, e.g. the Brussels world’s fair of 1958.  It is true that political correctness is sometimes simply courtesy, and yet is it too much to hope that Cheney and others of his ilk, could be properly displayed in a habitat clearly native to them?  Issues of the validity of extraterrritorial jurisdiction, frankly, should not even come into play if the exhibition were done sensitively.  For example, it would be very misguided if Rachel Maddow were allowed to fulfill her longstanding dream by interviewing Mr. Cheney in a zoo.

Junior Did Not Deny Telling Dad About The Meeting–Just Listen Again

Like many people I do not have time to watch TV.  But I do try to read sometimes.  I did not hear Donald Jr. say “no, I did not tell my dad about that meeting.”  I heard him say “why would I have?” and so forth.  I do not understand why some news organizations, mainstream or not, are so eager to jump to conclusions not actually based on careful sifting of evidence.

Also, Mike Pence’s spokesman, speaking today, did not deny that the Vice President may have met with Russians.

Finally, I do not need any more smoking guns.  It’s a political process, not a strictly legal process.  The president, if not an agent of a foreign adversary, is giving us a pretty good imitation of somebody who’s been turned.  Do we really need more than that–assuming we are putting country first, that is.

Too Soon For A National Day Of Fasting And Humiliation?

If the president of the United States is about to go down, I hope that we, the people, do not lose track of our role in enabling him.  The English and New English Puritans may have overdone the hair shirt sometimes, but this is a moment when the Puritan custom of days of fasting, prayer, and humiliation might well be good for us.  Some of us might wish to skip straight to the Day of Rejoicing over the downfall of Trump, but today should not yet be that day.

Maybe a few of us are not to blame for the low-rent mobster government that is now in place.  But many if not most of us did too little to protect American democracy and our constitutional republic.  That goes especially for the Republican Party, which suffered a hostile takeover and an astonishing loss of dignity.  But the Democratic Party and the apathetic nonvoters and the many millions of political independents–can we really say we are not at least partly to blame for the Wrestlemania presidency?  Are we embarrassed?  Do we want to look away?  Yes, but we also need, for our own sake, to reckon with our own failure to do enough to promote and defend civilization and culture and decency.

P.S.  I am not saying that those who voted for Trump are necessarily more blameworthy than those who voted for Clinton or someone else or no one at all.  Trump was garish and bombastic and offensive to many Trump voters, who nevertheless believed him the lesser evil.  That was then, Hillary is not the issue anymore.  She is not next in line if and when Trump goes down.  That would be Pence.  I only hope he turns out to be no worse than a conventional rightist meathead.  And some victims of Trump’s seduction may not yet or ever be penitent.  But we as a people (or we as an electoral college) might all do well to consider ourselves penitent victims of seduction, as we try to rehabilitate our democratic constitutional republic.

Snowflake-Elect Trump Demands Politically Correct Apologetics. Here Goes.

Dear Mr. Snowflake-In-Chief-Elect Trump:

The cast of “Hamilton” broke the fourth wall last night in the presence of Vice President-elect Pence. You demand an apology. Let’s recap what Aaron Burr/Brandon Dixon said: “We have a message for you, sir…We are the diverse America…alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not…uphold our inalienable rights. But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.” Before reading his statement, Dixon asked the audience to stop booing Pence: “there’s nothing to boo, ladies and gentlemen. We’re all here sharing stories of love.”

You say “the Theater must always be a safe and special place.” How, my poor snowflake-elect, are you going to get through your term as president of 320-plus Americans?  Mr. Dixon, on behalf of the cast, said to Mr. Pence “we are scared of you (based in part, Dixon might have said, on your history of active hostility toward LGBTQ Americans) but we hope you do right in your new position representing the whole country. How you, Trump, can say that Mr. Dixon, by owning his own alarm and anxiety, is guilty of harassing Pence is beyond me. You might try something that your detractors are supposed to be unable to do in response to you: that is, take Mr. Dixon “seriously but not literally.”  Doing so might give you some good ideas about making the USA an even more safe and special place than it is right now.

So far you, soon-to-be Snowflake-in-Chief, have communicated some signals of generosity and some of score-settling. My advice is to take the high road whenever you can, or you will consume yourself–which would be just your problem if you were not about to become president of the whole United States.

Paul Ryan: “Putin Is A Devious Thug”–Yes, We Knew That Already, But How About Trump?

Trump is a big strong man who is also begging Vladimir Putin to help him beat Hillary Clinton. Republicans from Mike Pence to Speaker Paul Ryan have responded to Trump’s remarks today by condemning Putin. We know plenty about Putin already. Could you brave defenders of freedom show some courage and say Trump’s words amount to treason? If Hillary Clinton asked for political help from Russian military intelligence, how long would it take for Republicans to call for her imprisonment–oh, they did that already, eh?