TAC Bookshelf for the Week of June 11
Theres Nothing Authoritarian About Polands Judicial Reforms
Time to Dump John Oliver Into Boston Harbor
Anthony Bourdain, American Tour Guide
Vets Cheer as VA, DoD Take a Beating at Burn Pits Hearing
40 Years Ago Today: When Solzhenitsyn Schooled Harvard
Bernard Lewis: The Bush Administrations Court Intellectual
What if the Trump-Moon-Kim Summit Fails?
When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost. Billy Graham, who is soooo yesterdays news.Heres todays news:
Tony Perkins, the president of the conservative Family Research Council, contended Tuesday that the evangelical community has given President Donald Trump a mulligan when it comes to his personal behavior.
Yes, evangelicals, conservatives, they gave him a mulligan. They let him have a do-over. They said well start afresh with you and well give you a second chance. Perkins said in a interview on CNNs Erin Burnett OutFront.
However, Perkins noted that he doesnt think that evangelical support is unconditional.
That support is not unconditional. If the president for some reason stopped keeping campaign promises and then engaged in that behavior now, the supports gone, he said.
Write down that last quote. Trump has to break campaign promises AND cheat on his wife to lose Evangelical support today, according to the president of the Family Research Council. And the president is like,
Meanwhile,another American Augustine speaks:
These alleged affairs, theyre alleged with Trump, didnt happen while he was in office, Franklin Graham told CNNs Don Lemon on CNN Tonight on Tuesday.
Grahams remarks come after a Wall Street Journal report that Trumps lawyer, Michael Cohen, formed a private LLC to pay a former porn star in exchange for not speaking publicly about an alleged sexual encounter with the then-candidate.
CNN has not independently confirmed The Wall Street Journals reporting, and in response to the initial Wall Street Journal report about the affair, Cohen said the rumors had circulated since 2011 and that Trump once again vehemently denies any such occurrence.
Lemon questioned why evangelicals were so willing to call out, say Bill Clintons behavior but not President Trumps?
Graham argued that theres a difference between Clintons extramarital affair and Trumps alleged affairs.
This happened 11, 12, 13, 14 years ago, he said. And so, I think there is a big difference and not that we give anybody a pass, but we have to look at the timeline and that was before he was in office.
Rabbi Baruch Korffcalled and offered the use of his kippah.
I can understand voting for Trump for reasons of self-interest. His policies have been good for conservative Christians. But do you have to explicitly blow your moral credibility sky-high at the same time? Nobodys making you go on TV to say these things. And nobody is going to give you guys a mulligan on this.
UPDATE:Check out the words of former RNC chair Michael Steele, starting at the 1:40 point. Says it all, really:
Posted inChristianity,Politics,All Things Trump.Taggedcharacter,adultery,Billy Graham,Tony Perkins,Franklin Graham.
Friday Night Lights At The Super Bowl
82 Responses to Character Takes A Mulligan
Which lefties are significantly bothered by the Stormy Daniels scandal? I am sure there is a few out there but not many.
Most I read and know of are more snickering at the Trumps shark fears or using a Forbes magazine. Or they may debate if this hurts Stormys earning potential at strip club and websites. (I predicted incorrectly here and it appears she is making bucks on the scandal.)
Or we are laughing at Michael Cohen, Trumps lawyer, name is all over the Delware LLC documents! (I believe this is how the scandal was discovered.) Or how Fox News did not report on it before election.
Or we are laughing at Grahams Mulligan comments.
In truth, the biggest issue I have with the scandal, is that the payoff may have come from campaign donations to Trump campaign.
Otherwise, this scandal is Twitter joke time for Democrats!
Do Christian values matter at all when it comes to economic policy? Id like to understand how money being the be all and end all is the main tenet of Christianity because that is certainly the main focus of the GOP. They can pass that tax cut with 1.5 trillion unpaid for and then not pass CHIP for months because they want to argue over how to pay for it? There are really sick kids who havent been getting the care they need and parents who havent been able to sleep for worry over it. If I were a Republican, I would find the CHIP debacle more embarrassing than Stormy Daniels because it involves the whole party instead of just the President. There are plenty of other policies that are similar Trump makes the rich richer and the rest of us, well, we are just the fodder for the money machine.
78 on the list of their grievances against Trump.
Well, yeah. The intended audience isnt liberals, its a cohort of Trump supporters its desired to split off from him to make a coup against democracy more possible.
Look, its like this. Your house is burning down, but when the fire truck arrives you notice that the captain in charge is a guy you had heard was credibly morally challenged in his personal life. Why, he had been divorced, was rumored to have been with foreign prostitutes, even if he didnt drink or smoke. So as you see him unreeling the fire hose and lugging it towards your house, you get in his way and interrupt him about these accusations. Couldnt they send a fire chief who isnt so morally damaged as you? you implore. The chief inclines his stubby forefinger towards your house and points out it is burning down, which isnt great, and that only he can save it, which under the circumstances happens to be true. Deplorable that you are, you let him pass and he proceeds to turn on the hydrant. But then you think some resistant second thoughts, maybe you should call City Hall and have some of the politicos who cut infrastructure funding and hate his guts for complaining about it recall him from the field, instead. Talk about a Pyrrhic moral victory. Burn, baby, burn.
Good luck getting the next generation into the pews. These leaders have thrown the future of their own religion under the bus.
The left being the heirs to the sexual revolution proclaimed loudly their freedom to have sex when they wanted where they wanted, and why should Clinton or Monica be blamed for having a bit of fun. Marriage was an archaic institution anyway, the oppression of the patriarchy, unless of course it was gays who wanted to get married, in which case it was a tender expression of love.
Then Trump comes along expressing the same freedom and they shriek in horror, how dare he betray his wife, he made a solemn oath to her. How dare he seek pleasure for the sake of pleasure. Only the guys we deem cool are allowed to do so, no one else is.
This all happened only in your imagination. I followed the Lewinsky scandal closely; it was the dominant political news story of 1998. Certainly Clinton had many defenders, but their argument was that the Ken Starr investigation was partisan and out of control, and that Republican leaders some of them exposed as adulterers themselves were plainly hypocrites and cynical opportunists. It was never that adultery was good or that there was nothing wrong with Clintons treatment of Hillary.
Similarly, theyre not shrieking in horror over Trumps indifference to his marriage. Some feel sorry for Melania, but as I said to @kgasmart above, mostly they find the whole business of Trump bragging to a conquest about his picture on the cover of Forbes, then having her spank him with it, a condensed symbol (if you will) of the total, laughable package of never-ending ridiculousness that is Donald J. Trump.
Funny thing about mulligans your second shot is almost always worse than your first.
I reach into English history and see him as an American Ethelred the Unready a vain, stubborn, small-minded ruler who suspected anyone of giving him actual advice (as opposed to yes-man sycophancy) of being a traitor and whose grand ideas usually turned out to be very bad. Ethelred even hated immigrants he proclaimed a general massacre of the Danes living in England, which luckily was only carried out in a very limited area (but unluckily the sister of the King of Denmark was one of the victims). His reign ended with his older sons in rebellion, his wife fled back to her relatives in Normandy, a Danish army controlling half his territory and nobody much minded to mourn his passing. Alas for us, there is neither a Canute the Great nor an Emma of Normandy on the scene here to fix Trumps mess.
Saint MLK told Ralph Abernathy to mind his own business when confronted about his cheating.
But its fine to slay *Trump* for an affair over ten years old, prior to his hitting the White House, simply because he is Trump, even if it means shaming a current wife and son? Not to mention taking the word of a porn star as gospel truth?
And all the commenters think they have the moral high ground? LOL.
I used to think Europeans and liberals were wrong to scoff at American moralists as they insisted a leaders personal life was his own business. Now those voices loudly claim otherwise and now I think their original position was to a degree probably the right one. Go figure.
People support Trump, or still prefer him to alternatives, because they trust his basic intuitions more than those of vocal liberals. Its pretty easy to understand unless you hate him.
After telling me how to live my life, who to love, what to believe, what not to believe, what to do and what not to do and now you sit back and the prostitutes dont matter? The grabbing the you-know-what doesnt matter? The outright behavior and lies dont matter? Just shut up.
So Trump likes to come on to women and cheats on his wife? So what? Did anyone not already know that?
It all happened ten years ago, and Trump won despite whats pretty obvious, not due to denials.
Jefferson abused his female slave and fathered a child with her. All while claiming to be religious! Does that matter?
Its odd that he felt the need to buy her silence. After all, he has quite the history of enthusiastically advertising his prior indiscretions, and his supporters either refuse to know dont care or actually think its pretty awesome.
Really, it only makes his critics curious about what other secrets hes paid people to keep.
Rod, Rod, Rod. How many times do I have to say that character does not count. Elections are binary.
Completely missing Rods point.
As a whole slew of others already pointed out:
It is hard for me to see how they have not thrown away their credibility. Say that Trump was a choice of the lesser of two evils, say that you are disappointed with his character but see his administration as less damaging than Clinton, but dont pretend he has been born again or is a man of high integrity.
I do not know why they are incapable of admitting between two lousy choices they felt Trump was the less lousy choice, yes hes morally compromised, no were not defending his conduct
And I wish Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden would stop pontificating (pun intentional) on what Catholic doctrine about X really is, and simply say yes, Im Catholic, no, I dont vote my faith, and there are some doctrines I dont believe make good law under the U.S. constitution.
I pray for Donald Trump. No one is beyond the reach of Gods grace.
Ive heard many prayers for Donald Trump offered by Church of God in Christ pastors and ministers. The wording would not please Trump, or his most devoted fans, but they are in the same spirit as Aubrey Maturin.
Its the ones who DONT hold their noses that I cannot understand.
Amen. No matter who each of us voted for.
Rod while you are now a very good general-topic writer, and maybe no longer a journalist who has an obligation to know the facts underlying every word of praise or dispraise he publishes let me ask you something. Do you know that for years Billy Graham has allowed to be published, under his name, incontestably sinful advice about abortion?
Are you sure that Billy Graham ever allowed Jesus into his heart, fully? Double check your facts. Trust me when I say I am not sure. I have no doubt that Franklin Graham, Billy Grahams son, is a sincere Christian. But we need to pray for Billy a speaker with great gifts, and a popular preacher, but I am not truly convinced that his enthusiasm for Christianity was not, at its heart, a desire for worldly success.
Do a little research, if you want, on Billy Graham and abortion. He is just as important a person to do research on as anyone else! Pray for him: if I am correct in believing that he, a very very rich man, has allowed the promotion of abortion (in limited circumstances, he would say, in his sad defense), which is always violence against the most helpless, to be a part of his far-flung and profitable ministry, he needs your prayers, Rod. If I am wrong I would rejoice to be wrong! Sadly, I dont think I am.
Knowing the mistakes the Southern Baptists have made over the years on the abortion issue, and knowing how much so many of them have done to show their love for the Lord: all one can do is wish it were otherwise, and pray, and ask for forgiveness for all of us, who are so tempted to have so little love in our hearts, for those we have not met.
Rod, you might find this interesting:
[NFR: All white Evangelicals are to be held responsible by this ultra-righteous guy for the words and deeds of some? How is that fair? RD]
I find their hypocrisy amusing and pune for every moment they prostrate themselves before Trumps altar of hedonism. Sure, they are getting their thirty pieces of silver but every time the Perkins, Grahams, and Fallwells in America do this they prove to be more like the Parisees of the Bible than the disciples they claim to be.
I watch Chris Matthews religiously and was astonished when Steele got in a word (there are days when Chris interrupts his guests so much I wonder why he has them on the show) but found myself nodding my head when Steele said these hypocrites who are willing to let Trump slide are in no position to tell us what to do.
What, partisans are giving the leader of their party a pass? Pass me the smelling salts!
That comment seems to hit the root of it while Perkins, Falwell Jr, Jeffress and the others pretend to be religious leaders, what theyve actually turned into is just Republican operatives who also have second jobs involving religion.
Perhaps we just just understand all their comments in that context.
The funny thing about all of this is, we already know whos going to win the culture wars. 8% of 18-29 y.o.s are white evangelicals, 38% are unaffiliated. Im 33. I have no doubt that at some point, yall are going to come us begging for mercy. Youre going to get a boot. Because of the Tea Party, because of McConnell, because of Gorsuch, because of Trump. Pat yourselves on the back.
[NFR: The boot, huh? You gonna curb us? RD]
Add Bill Clinton to JFK, LBJ, and MLK in the lack of character in the sexual arena Yet, they are revered
What about Bill Clinton and Juanita Broderick, Jennifer Flowers, Katherine Willey and others and this very same media made and oh so holies made nary a peep ?
Also, what about Hillary Clinton ? Four men died in Libya under her watch
Thats far more evil than Trumps dalliances !
And turning the State Department into Pay to play What happened to the $ MILLIONS raised by the Clinton Initiative for Haiti ? Thats putrescent !
And what about the weaponizing of the government by Obama and his and to our enemies ?
Meanwhile, we worry about Trump and what he did with other consenting adults over a decade ago
As for the so-called Evangelical Leaders They arent MY leaders Jesus is !
Also, they dont speak for me !
And my faith is in Him and not them or anyone else
[NFR: All white Evangelicals are to be held responsible by this ultra-righteous guy for the words and deeds of some? How is that fair? RD]
Rod, you need to understand how the notion of collective blame works for the left.
There can be no collective blaming of, say, blacks or Latinos or Jews because that is (correctly) deemed to be racism.
As per your sh*thole threads, any attempt to assign blame to the residents of the sh*thole is resisted fiercely.
But when it comes to, say, sexual harassment, you will notice that the left holds all men to be culpable.
Similarly, above, all white evangelicals are culpable in the sins of a few.
Actually, some on the left will tell you that ALL white people are guilty, at least implicitly, of racism.
So collective guilt is just fine, so long as were only pointing fingers at the correct targets.
Re: Also, what about Hillary Clinton ? Four men died in Libya under her watch
Um, by that standard FDR and Lincoln are mass murderers. And lets not forget the marines killed in Beirut under Reagans watch and the deaths of 9-11 under Bush 43.
But in any rational mortal universe all those deaths are due to the actual killers and those who abetted them, nit to whoever happened to be in power in Washington at the time.
Re: Jefferson abused his female slave and fathered a child with her. All while claiming to be religious!
While Jefferson no doubt considered himself a morally upright person, he was not at all religious. He was a Deist who occasionally said nasty things about organized religion meddling in politics. In the modern world he would be the sort of well-to-so leftist who underpays the help and occasionally gets a bit handy with his secretary.
Back in the day when Bill Clinton was in the hot seat for his relationship with Monica I told all those that had an opinion that I did not care EXCEPT for his vulnerability to blackmail. I always thought that was the most damaging element of the whole affair. I could care less about the sex. That was HRCs issue to resolve, not mine nor the American publics.
Now we have Trump in office and its clear that he has many secrets he wants kept secret. I suspect they are:
1). His cheating on Melania (and the probable wrecking of his marriage and the loss of custody of his son Baron),
2). Illegal Russian oligarch money laundering via the purchases of his properties in the United States
3). Hundreds of millions of Loans from Deutsche Bank that financed his investments, possibly co-signed or sold to Russian oligarchs. The leverage this would create over the POTUS cannot be under stated
4). Potential collusion with Russian state actors by his son and campaign regarding targeting social media propaganda based upon data provided by Cambridge Analytics and given to the Russians
I will never understand the hubris Trump must have to think it was a good idea for him to run for president, given his real estate business. I have always thought he got caught up in the moment and compulsively decided to run for president, never thinking he would win. It was all a game for him, one that would generate hundreds of millions of dollars of media coverage that he could use to further his business interests. After losing he could blame illegal immigrants voting and market himself as the man that should be president except for those votes.
But, against long odds, he won. So here we are. We have a man that is intellectually and tempermentally unfit for office. A man that probably would not have won if his relationship with Russian oligarchs was made public. A man that is now ready to destroy all institutions, norms, and allies if it keeps him in office as POTUS. For what? Just so he wont lose what he cannot manage and what he should have never obtained in the first place.
And the most incredible thing is how The Republicans and evangelicals continue to prostitute themselves for this guy. He will throw them under the bus as soon as it is in his interests to do so.
You can defend Trump or condemn him but the simple fact is that there have been more media articles and blog posts about the hypocrisy of the religious right since Trump got elected than in the previous I-have-no-idea-how-many-but-a-whole-lot of years. If you seriously believe that this is not damaging the Christian Church especially among young people then you are delusional.
yes, Im Catholic, no, I dont vote my faith
Who are you to put words like that into their mouths? There are plenty of Christians who have issues with the GOP on economic, environmental, health and other policies.
All right Sara, Ill given you the long version. Ive gone into this in more detail before, and I didnt want to take up space here all over again, but maybe youre new here.
Im not Catholic. I dont have a position on what Catholic doctrine should be. I have a position on why Im not Catholic, because I dont accept the doctrine the church officially espouses, including the primacy of the Bishop of Rome and his extensive bureaucracy.
Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden are Catholic. I take that at face value, because they say they are Catholic, and Pelosi at least has said that taking communion is very important to her. Some of their fellow Catholics say they are not real Catholics, but I dont have a dog in that fight. What I do have an interest in is upholding the First Amendment of our common constitution.
I am fine with an American citizen who espouses the Roman Catholic faith running for office. I am fine with an office holder who is Roman Catholic voting for something their constituents support, which is opposed by the Roman Catholic Conference of Bishops. I believe that Roman Catholic prelates who try to coerce an elected officials conduct in office by blackmail should be charged with treason, e.g. Bishop Burke. I am fine with a Roman Catholic prelate saying in public I dont think Roman Catholics should vote for anyone who votes like this. Its a secret ballot, and each Roman Catholic gets one vote, just like each Protestant, Jew, Muslim, atheist, Buddhist, Hindu, etc. I think any priest who asks in the confessional And how did you vote in the last election my child? should be prosecuted for treason.
But, when an elected official responds to a criticism that a person of their faith should not vote a certain way, it is not helpful to upholding constitutional principles for them to pontificate about what the doctrine of their church really is. The Roman Catholic Church is a hierarchical in organization and doctrine. It is a top-down organization. Roman Catholic doctrine is NOT what Nancy Pelosi says it is. It is what the magesterium says it is.
So, I would prefer that Pelosi and Biden not pontificate about what the doctrine of their church really is, when they are not competent, by the doctrine of their church, to do that. Perhaps if they were Quakers, or Presbyterians, or even Baptists, they would be in a better position to do that. Ive been told by an American Baptist minister that if you have two Baptists in the room, you have three opinions.
What would have integrity would be if Pelosi and Biden said, yes, I know what my churchs position on abortion is, and I fully support my churchs position on abortion. I do not believe it is an appropriate use of the office I have been elected to, to vote as the bishops direct. I have doubts that the best way to reduce the number of abortions, to a smaller number or zero, is to adopt draconian criminal statutes. I have a sense that a majority of my constituents do not support such legislation, and they re-elect me in part because I dont either. It would be a betrayal of my oath of office to change my vote from what I promised my constituents merely because my bishop says I should. Finally, whether it is consistent with Roman Catholic doctrine or not, I accept Roe v. Wade as a sound expoundment of our federal constitution, essentially reserving this decision to the pregnant woman concerned, and her physician, not authorizing the police and the district attorney to intervene. Women remain entirely free to choose life.
Do I make myself clear? I am not putting words in anyones mouth, I am explaining what would have more integrity in my eyes, if they or politicians similarly situated said it, than the words they actually did say. I am explaining why, as a pro-choice Protestant, I do not see integrity in the manner Pelosi and Biden have handled this question.
And yes, I know there are plenty of Christians who are all over the map on every issue under the sun. Christians dont even have a consensus on the death penalty, for Gods sake.
The funny thing about all of this is, we already know whos going to win the culture wars. 8% of 18-29 y.o.s are white evangelicals, 38% are unaffiliated.
You dont really see the future. I remember when a significant number of hippies became Jesus freaks, which was part of the foundation of the later Megachurch presence in America. Nothing is less reliable than projecting present trends indefinitely into the future. As Muhammad Ali said, if you believe the same thing when youre fifty as when youre twenty, youve wasted thirty years of your life.
There have been comments here in the past about Soviet leaders expecting the older generation of Christians to die off, leaving a population of enlightened atheists. Except, as the years passed, people who got older joined the church, so there were the same number of older people going faithfully to church as ever.
Commenting on Sara Who are you to put words like that into their mouths? There are plenty of Christians who have issues with the GOP on economic, environmental, health and other policies.
A few articles ago I was challenged when I stated being a registered Republican that now longer votes that way. Somebody claimed, given my postings, this cannot possibly be true. Let me change one word in Saras quote. Christians == Republicans.
Who are you to put words like that into their mouths? There are plenty of Republicans who have issues with the GOP on economic, environmental, health and other policies. Now, Sara said it better and more concisely than I.
I feel sorry for Billy Graham for having spawned such a hypocrite.
Yuo have said this in the past, but I wish you would circumstantially expound it further:
I believe that Roman Catholic prelates who try to coerce an elected officials conduct in office by blackmail should be charged with treason, e.g. Bishop Burke.
Senator AB is a Catholic who professes that his faith is important to him, and has been photographed and observed receiving communion frequently in a Catholic church. He is also unqualifiedly pro-choice and while he may once or twice, in the past, taken the Im personally opposed to abortion, but line, he is firmly pro-choice and makes his stance on this issue a major issue in his political campaigns when his opponent id pro-life; and he occasionally insists, without explanation, that he regards his stance as perfectly compatible with his Catholic faith.
Why would it be treason for his Catholic bishop to threaten to excommunicate him for his stance, or, subsequently, actually to do so? That is to say, for asserting that it is perfectly compatible for a Catholic communicant, who in theory accepts the binding authority of the Church in all matters of Faith and Morals, to reject the view of the Catholic Church (if it be the view of the Catholic Church) that to be pro-choice (either in theory or in practice) is to be pro-abortion (whatever disclaimers said politician may make), and that to be pro-abortion in in itself to depart from the Catholic Faith, as well, perhaps more seriously, to mislead the faithful that a stance such as his is a legitimate one for a Catholic to take?
Why would it be treason for the bishops to excommunicate any or all professedly Catholic politicians or elected officials who takes such a stance? After all, such Catholic politicians, officials, public figures, or the like would be perfectly free to react by becoming Episcopalians, Unitarians, or anything else as I have long wishes such Catholics would do; they would not suffer in any way, save perhaps in the opinions of their former fellow-Catholics, as a result of doing so? Or if being Catholics-in-good-standing is significant for such officials, they could alter their political stances to remain good Catholics, and (a) face repudiation by their constituents, which, however sad for their careers, would bring integrity to their lives and consciences, or (b) resign from serving in any position which presents them with such a conflict between their political or official duties, and the religious beliefs which they profess, or at least profess to adhere.
Furthermore, since those public Catholics who find themselves in such positions can change their religion or denomination if they face spiritual discipline for upholding positions, or taking actions (including voting a certain way), which their Churchs magisterium regards as incompatible with sincere profession of the faith and practice incumbent upon its members, or can simply choose to ignore any attempt to discipline them, are you arguing that elected officials have a legal or constitutional right (while in office?) to be exempt from th