Trump Used Bible, Protesters Sprayed With Tear Gas For His Political Stunt

Donald Trump’s political stunts.

(As has been the case on my blog for most of Trump’s term in office, any reference to his title is removed/and or changed from news stories which are quoted.  That is the case below.)

It was a most awkward moment for Trump as it is clear he did not know how to handle it, rather as if he never reads and is not sure how books work.  As we watched this absurd moment play out it became clearto me that God is getting soft with man.  In the old days, God would’ve struck that stain off the planet with a lightning bolt!

This video is simply stupefying.

 

People who gathered outside the White House to protest police brutality spent Monday waving signs and screaming for justice. They watched as police officers and National Guard units flooded Lafayette Square, delivering on a threat made by Trump. And just before the city’s 7 p.m. curfew went into effect, they were hit with flash-bang explosions and doused with tear gas.

It was because Trump, who spent part of the weekend in a secure bunker as protests roiled, wanted to have his picture taken holding a Bible at a battered church just beyond the gates.

That church, St. John’s — the so-called Church of the Presidents because every one since James Madison has attended — had been briefly set ablaze as the protests devolved on Sunday evening. After Mr. Trump’s aides spent much of Monday expressing outrage over the burning of a place of worship, Hope Hicks, a presidential adviser, eventually hatched a plan with others at the White House to have Trump walk over to the building, according to an official familiar with the events.

As Mr. Trump delivered a speech in the Rose Garden vowing to send the military to states where governors could not bring rioting under control but calling himself “an ally of all peaceful protesters,” the sound of explosions and the yells of demonstrators could be heard. After receiving repeated warnings to disperse before the city’s curfew, the crowd was tear-gassed.

Calvinism And Trump’s Impeachment

The one thing we all can agree on when it comes to the Impeachment Trial of Donald Trump is that this is all highly interesting, with many spokes of the wheel to explore.  That does not mean, of course, this is not frustrating or troubling for the nation.  But when it comes to historical and legal arguments, along with the Constitutional foundations from the Founders, there are ample reasons as to why this is simply fascinating.

One of the more disjointed attempts by Donald Trump’s legal team to assert that his removal from office if not merited came from Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz.  He tried to peddle his tonic to the nation that an “abuse of power” by itself is not enough to justify the impeachment of a president.   I was taken aback at such a claim.  I can just see historian Joesph Ellis roll his eyes as he learned of the professor’s claim.

Dershowitz argues that “abuse of power” is not an impeachable offense, because it’s not a statutory crime and therefore not a “high crime or misdemeanor,” as the Constitution requires.  It is clear that the Democratic senators will reject that upside-down argument mainly because it undermines the very intent of the Founding Fathers when drafting the Constitution.  It is also clear that Republicans, who are demonstrating partisanship is the only loyalty they have, will agree to whatever they are told by the defense team.

For the rest of us comes a great read today from Justia.  (A great place to bookmark and read each day.)

The Framers’ opinion of human nature was shaped in part by a shared religious viewpoint running through the Convention. More Framers were educated by or affiliated with Presbyterian or Calvinist churches than any other religious theology. James Madison was educated at the College of New Jersey, which became Princeton University, by the Rev. John Witherspoon. In Madison’s own words, he received a “strong dose of Calvinism” from Witherspoon.

The core belief of Calvinism that became the secular backbone of our constitutional order is this: every human is tempted to abuse power, and most will. The Convention was awash in this sentiment. The Framers’ debates were focused on how to construct a governing machine that would deter expected abuses of power.

The Framers’ greatest fear for the executive was that one person would come to see themselves as a God-given monarch, and that they would become untethered from accountability to Congress, the states, the people, and the Constitution. They worried the president would be self-serving and even incapable of being reined in by the Constitution’s checks and balances. They were instinctually scared of one person taking the power vested in them by the Constitution and diverting that power to further their selfish ends rather than the common good. They expected those in power to sink to the lowest common denominator and literally hoped that the system would be robust enough to resist such human depravity.

The Framers’ belief in human fallibility also meant that they knew they were incapable of creating a perfect system. They expected the power they deployed to be reshaped by power-hungry individuals to serve their own ends in ways they could not even imagine. That is why the Constitution did not come with a guarantee but rather an amendment process and an impeachment process.

Dershowitz has become an enabler of the very type of presidency that the Framers would have found to be a betrayal of the system they put in place. Trump has repeatedly said that there are no limits on his power, and Dershowitz is simply chiming in. That attitude alone justifies impeachment from the Framers’ perspective.

Which End Of Evolution Process Are Republicans On?

Why are students from other nation’s ranking higher in science than Americans? Why does the national business community wish to see far more attention to STEM in our public schools?

When the truly absurd mish-mash from evangelicals can trump logic, reason, and in many cases facts, we wind up with policies of this type, with students not qualified to enter many places of higher education.  To be scientifically wrong, and to be treated as if one is correct, is allowing the tail to wag the dog.

The Ohio House on Wednesday passed the ‘Student Religious Liberties Act.’ Under the law, students can’t be penalized if their work is scientifically wrong as long as the reasoning is because of their religious beliefs.

Every Republican in the House supported the bill. It now moves to the Republican-controlled Senate.

Republicans have again demonstrated what end of the evolution process they call home.  Simply, wow.

What is truly frightening is how the anti-science march has been taken up by so many conservatives.  How under-educated must a person be to view science as ‘liberal’?  From evolution, global warming, vaccines, there is an open attack on science and those who undertake the studies about it.  How is it that science is now scorned, and spreading ignorance is becoming acceptable?

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Jimmy Carter Preaching And Living Life Worthy Of Emulating

Every time I think there is nothing uplifting to read from current headlines there comes a story about Jimmy Carter.  Such as this one. 

For decades I have known the main lesson Carter has allowed us all to learn from is the one that starts the night of his election loss in 1980.  There are few who know the mental and emotional anguish which follow such a national event.  Carter surely had a long stretch of coming to terms with the loss of the presidency.

But Carter then emerged from his defeat to follow his passions with the Carter Center which allowed him to fight for the issues and pursue his goals on an international stage.  In so doing he showed the path to fulfillment and happiness did not take place in corporate board rooms where making money is central to all actions, but rather in human connections where lives are positively changed.

As Carter ages, he has not withdrawn but rather embraces life and uses his more fragile body as a means of demonstrating where his true strength lies.  Truly a most impressive man.  

Two weeks after fracturing his pelvis in a fall, former president Jimmy Carter was back at church on Sunday, teaching from the book of Job.

Carter, 95, has lived longer than any other former president in U.S. history. He was hospitalized Oct. 21 after falling at his home in Plains, Ga. — his second fall that month and third this year.

But during a sermon at Maranatha Baptist Church on Sunday, from a motorized lift chair before a congregation of 400 people, Carter said he has been “at ease with death” for years, CBS News reported.

Carter has been teaching at church since his teens, according to the Associated Press, and he refused to miss another Sunday school lesson because of his health. The Rev. Tony Lowden said Secret Service agents, friends and fellow churchgoers encouraged the ex-president to refrain from teaching after his pelvic fracture, which came two weeks after the former president fell and required stitches on his forehead.

But Carter came anyway.

“He is pouring out that you might see Christ while he is suffering,” Lowden told the crowded church, according to the AP.

During his lesson, Carter cited his history of health issues as the source of his philosophy on death. In August 2015, he announced he had melanoma — which eventually spread to his brain. Carter said he “assumed, naturally, that I was going to die very quickly.”

“I, obviously, prayed about it. I didn’t ask God to let me live, but I just asked God to give me a proper attitude toward death. And I found that I was absolutely and completely at ease with death. It didn’t really matter to me whether I died or lived,” Carter said, according to the church’s Facebook Live video of his sermon. “I have, since that time, been absolutely confident that my Christian faith includes complete confidence in life after death.

Donald Trump And Queen Victoria, New Title For Trying Times

Yes, you read that post title correctly.  I am about to write on the topic of Donald Trump and Queen Victoria.

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Each day I spend time somewhere back in the pages of history.  I always have several books going at any given time so I can decide on how I feel as to which era, or continent I wish to land with my coffee pot.   (Today it was Blueberry Crumble while I found myself in the late 19th century Europe).

For readers who might stop on this post months from now, it needs to be stated this week Trump has made a most dreadful series of comments which gives a whole new meaning to the messianic complex.  It has been most embarrassing for our country.

So it was quite ironic as I read Chapter 16 (The Road To War) of The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan that Britain finds itself being pressured by an ever-more confident Russia.  For all their efforts the Brits had not been able to match their diplomatic and political moves with their economic power.  How might Britain show they were more than a mere country among fellow countries?

How about changing the title of the monarch from a royal to an imperial title?  At the time the Russian Czar had a formal title and at times used his name in reference to an elaborate and lengthy list of territories he lorded over.  In time Vicotria will be known as both Queen and Empress.

This week we have seen that Trump believes he has been selected by God to lead this nation.  He now even stands in front of the White House press corps, while holding his hands in supplication, as he glances to heaven while revealing he was chosen to deal with China on trade issues.  Trump has found the title of “The King of Isreal” from a right-wing radio source, along with being viewed as “the second coming of God” to be worthy of embracing and repeating.

Clearly, Trump is shackled by the mere title of his office, given his selection by God to lead.  While Queen Victoria had a title change to check geopolitical spheres of influence Trump is in need of a title that will more resemble the Sun King, Louis XIV.  The fact that Louis was actually very religious and offered daily devotions all his life will not bother Trump, no more than any other fact on any other issue has proved to be a deterrent.

Trump clearly has a desire to be more than a mere mortal elected by humans to serve in government.  He fancies himself to reside in an elevated position of power and respect that communes with God and then speaks to the people.  People like Trump were once thought to be delusional.  Now a sizable segment of the nation calls him president and even are proud to have voted for him.

Can the large vats of Kool-Aid to be far away from being served?

What I was interested in learning was within hours of Trump claiming to be “the chosen one”  the term “antichrist” began trending on Twitter in the United States.

I think Trump should be labeled as nothing more than akin to a televangelist. He is a fraud and purveyor of blarney and bull.  That undereducated people fall for his lines are as much a sign that something is wrong with our society as it is that Trump is mentally unstable and in need of institutional care.

Finally, I wish to ask forgiveness from lovers of history for linking Queen Victoria with someone she would have found to be totally loathsome.

Donald Trump As Jesus Christ

This week has been utterly deplorable, thanks to Donald Trump.  He is disgusting.  What happened this week underscores why the majority of voters were correct when summing up Trump in 2016 as unacceptable.  It does need to be pounded home, again and again, that the under-educated in this country are to blame for the election outcome.  What happened this week is their fault, too.

They may now wish to hide from the news or pretend how awful it is to talk about the latest Trump messes.  But let us make clear there were enough examples in the campaign of 2016 as to why it prudent to have steered clear of Trump. Just how low of an IQ must one have to cast a ballot for what was most obviously a colossal disaster? 

This week the statements make 2016 look like a sweet picnic.

“I am the Chosen One.”

Then on the same say Trump embraced the titles of “The Second Coming of God” and “The King of Israel”.68760501_10157664746666057_1895678417039261696_n

Hancock Minister And Clergy Consultations

I grew up in a small rural community where everyone seemed to know each other.  It was not Andy Griffith’s Mayberry but there was a certain connectedness which could be truly felt, such as when it came to the local minister of the Wesleyan Methodist Church.  In many ways everyone knew him, as he preached on Sundays, visited the sick and shut-ins, and gave families, at the end of a life, words of faith.

So I was taken aback at the start of this year to learn that a lady connected with the church for decades, a former board member, and one who always tithed was not able to warrant a visit from the minister for months on end when unable to attend services.  Granted, I had been out of the community since 1982, but surely the foundations of what constitutes the role of a minister, in relation to a flock of parishioners, could not possibly have changed from what I knew as a child.  Certain foundations should always exist, right?

Clearly I was wrong.  The current minister has larger interests with his musical pursuits in places far afield from the bedside of a sick older woman.  Why care for those who once had cared for him?  There are dollars to be harvested in those churches that dot the landscape of the country.

Which brings me to the story in my local newspaper today.  And which made me think of Pastor Eric Hambrock in Hancock, my hometown.

It was reported based on a new survey that a large majority of Americans make important decisions without calling on religious leaders for advice.  The poll finds three-quarters of American adults rarely or never consult a clergy member or religious leader, while only about a quarter do so at least some of the time.

The poll finds that the lack of personal connection with ministers even includes people who identify with a specific religious faith, though those who are most engaged with their faith are more likely to have relationships with clergy.  Among religious adults who attend services at least twice a month, about half say they sometimes or often consult with a religious leader.

My concern is the role change that some ministers have implemented in their career.  With the decline in the ‘Mayberry’ way of acting, as an example when no pastoral visits are made to the sick, provides a visual clue as why the rank-and-file feel less connected to their pastor on day-to-day issues.  When a pastor is seen and heard in a wide array of local settings it seems more natural to turn to that person when seeking advice about life’s concerns.

I recall a very old sweet woman–who was a contemporary of my grandmother–who sat in a car near the church door on Sunday mornings.  I would tend to be early for Sunday School and talk with Mrs. Fowler through an open car window.  But our conversations would always be joined when the pastor came by to greet her.  Just off the side of the church, even when she would be later sitting in a far back pew, still warranted attention from the pastor and his friendly smile.  (Jerry and his wife were the epitome of what a minister and his partner in the profession should be all about.)

Being a pastor of a small town is not about bells and whistles.  It is about the sermons and the late night calls to a home out in the country.  That is how it once was, and where the role morphed into needing to be larger than where the county line ends is something I can not explain.

And so it goes.

Bible Tax

There are times when justice comes in strange ways. 

As a free trader I have voiced my concerns over tariffs.  Mindful of what China has done, and continues to do with currency manipulation and technological espionage, means there are policy moves which need to be taken to remedy justified concerns.  But trade wars are not the answer.

Needless to say evangelicals have salivated over Trump even though he has publicly demonstrated his worst character time and again.  Those types of people are not in favor on CP.  So this news makes for a bit of Karma that even those who play with snakes during services can not miss.

Religious publishers say Donald Trump’s most recent proposed tariffs on Chinese imports could result in a Bible shortage.

That’s because millions of Bibles — some estimates put it at 150 million or more — are printed in China each year. Critics of a proposed tariff say it would make the Bible more expensive for consumers and hurt the evangelism efforts of Christian organizations that give away Bibles as part of their ministry.

The two largest Bible publishers in the United States, Zondervan and Thomas Nelson, are owned by HarperCollins, and they incur close to 75% of their Bible manufacturing expenses in China, Schoenwald said. Together, they command 38% of the American Bible market, he said.