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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Juncker.PNG

European Union Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker

There’s an old joke in politics that says a gaff is defined as when a politician accidently tells the truth. That’s not a bad definition. Generally, those in high office are masters at concealing their true beliefs and motives.

But every now and then, the mask slips. Barak Obama famously accused rural Americans of bitterness and of clinging to their guns and religion.

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Pence_Pompeo

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence.  Fred Reed rightly criticizes these neo-conservatives for their belligerent foreign policy and tendency to conflate U.S. interests with those of Israel, but misses the mark when recommending an alternative.

“Pence A Christian? POMPEO?: There Are Christians Who Love and Christian Who Hate,” a recent article by veteran journalist and commentator Fred Reed caught my eye this week. Reed, a gifted and independent-minded columnist, takes an approach to politics that can, I think, fairly be described as Libertarian.

As to his religions background, in his biography on his website he writes, “In general my family for many generations were among the most literate, the most productive, and the dullest people in the South. Presbyterians.” That said, in reading him over the years, my sense is that he has rejected the faith of his forebears and now seems rather hostile to the Presbyterianism of his family. Writing about the Catholic churches of Mexico, he commented in one column, “In any of these them (sic), before Protestantism cast its drab cloak of half of the faith, a traveler could enter and understand everything he saw.” In the same column, he has high praise for Russian Orthodox ceremony as well.

All that said, Reed has a wonderful talent for exposing the many nonsensical pieties which in our time are presented to the public as the very height of wisdom. In his article Reed – the author has a penchant for ribald language, which I have edited out as both unnecessary and inappropriate for this blog – makes many spot on observations about the anti-Christian foreign policy espoused by supposedly Christian government officials. On the other hand, some of his statements are wide of the mark. My comments are interspersed.

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MAGA

MAGA’s dead. Long live the empire.

Three years ago, during the last presidential election cycle, many Americans found in Donald Trump a candidate whose ideas resonated with them. Trump was an outsider, we were told. He cared about forgotten Americans. The sort of people who lived in unfashionable places and had unfashionable jobs. Who drove unfashionable cars, wore unfashionable clothes and held unfashionable opinions. He was, we were told, the antidote to the sort of scripted, empire building, establishment politician – the Jeb Bush’s of the world, for example – that many of us had come to loath.

My own take on Trump was that I didn’t know if he was for real of not. Hoping that a politician will keep his word is always a gamble, and generally a losing one. As the Bible warns us, “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.” As Christians, we know where our help comes from. Our help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth. And it is him that we trust.

And yet knowing that, we also know that God not only determine the ends, but he also ordains the means by which he will accomplish those ends. And one of the institutions he has ordained for executing justice in this world and allowing his people to live peaceful lives is civil government. Paul calls the civil magistrate “God’s minister” and tells us he is put in his position to punish evil doers and praise the good. I mention this as a way of saying that, even though Christians look to God as our ultimate defender, there is nothing wrong with their supporting candidates for public office. In fact, one could argue that Christians have a duty before God to be involved in politics to help ensure that justice is done and evil avoided.

It had been my hope that Donald Trump would at least make some headway in restoring sanity to our republic. I didn’t expect him to be perfect. There is only one perfect man, and he wasn’t on the ballot in 2016. But it’s not unreasonable to hold a man accountable for his words. Donald Trump promised, among other things, to end the senseless foreign wars, to restore vitality to a hollowed out middle class and, most famously, to build that wall and to stop the flood of illegal immigrants, migrants and bogus refugees.

And if it’s fair to hold a man accountable for his words, we need to ask, So how is Donald Trump doing on his promises?

I’m afraid the answer is not very well.

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More Than These_2

“It is my firm conviction that the pro-life movement has been a convenient, effective tool in the hands of the Roman Catholic Church leadership in their drive to desensitize the average Christian to Rome’s heresy, idolatry, and blasphemy.”

    – Pastor Ralph Ovadal

Last week’s post, devoted to a discussion of the movie Unplanned, was intended as a warning to Christians. Far from being the Christian film many have touted it to be, Unplanned would be better described as an effective recruitment tool for the Roman Church-State.

Although the movie was financed, at least in part, by Evangelical money, and presented to Evangelicals as a Christian movie, the screen play and the directing were done by two Roman Catholics. But more concerning is the central figure in the movie, Abby Johnson, who, having been raised Baptist, converted to Roman Catholicism after she was asked to leave her Episcopal Church upon leaving Planned Parenthood and becoming pro-life.

In that post on Unplananed, this reviewer quoted at some length from a book titled More Than These by Pastor Ralph Ovadal. When I cited the book, I was under the assumption that I had reviewed it some time ago. But to my surprise, after checking to confirm whether this was so, I found out that no such review had been posted on this blog. What is worse, a search of the internet revealed that, apparently, no review of the remarkable book has been written by anyone else either.

This post is intended as a partial remedy to this sorry state of affairs.

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Russiagate

Okay, okay, okay. I confess. In the two full years of the Mueller investigation, I’ve written scarcely a single word in this space on the subject.

That’s not an accident. It’s entirely by design. Not anything nefarious, mind you. The truth is, I’m bored by political scandals.

Maybe some of that goes back to my early imprint of Watergate. I remember as a kid constantly hearing about it for, what then, seemed like my whole life. Of course, since I was all of seven or eight years old at the time, the couple of years it was front and center in the news pretty much was my whole life. My understanding of it was roughly that the President had done something bad, and some old guy Senator asked some question about what the President knew and when he knew it. The next thing I knew, we had a new President, oddly, a man named after a car company, whose main attribute seemed to be a penchant for falling down staircases.

Now my boredom with Watergate obviously had a lot to do with my young age. But fast forward forty-five years, and, remarkably, my attitude toward political scandals is not all that much different. For my part, I’d much rather write about ideas than about the Mueller investigation.

That said, with the close of the investigation into President Trump’s alleged Russian collusion, I think a few words on the topic are in order.

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