The Great Temptation – Revised (T)rump version

magajesus

“…and satan took the evangelical church to the pinnacle of the Supreme Court and said ‘fall down and worship me & I will give you the justices of your dreams and the church said ‘what position do you want us to assume your majesty?”

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A Moment of Silence Won’t Make School Kids Safer.

WHEEL

Saturday, the Florida Senate Republican majority refused to pass any legislation to make school kids safer from guns. However, they did have a moment of silence.  Their silence screams “it’s OK with us when a 19 year old with an AR-15 kills 17 adults and teens – we are OK with the loss of life, injuries and trauma that result.”

Their refusal to act speaks louder than any speech. I’m sure there will be more speeches, thoughts and prayers.  No real doubt – because somewhere, sometime for someone, the slaughter will sadly happen again. No matter how big the body count, the Florida Senate Republican majority along with most current GOP leaders prefer a moment of silence to action.

Forbidden Observances

PuritanChristmasBan

“Merry Christmas” has become the rallying cry of the jingoism of the (t)Rump pseudo-nationalistic ideology. However, Christmas has not always been popular even among Christians. In 1647, the Puritan-led English Parliament banned the celebration of Christmas, replacing it with a day of fasting and considering it “a popish festival with no biblical justification”, and “a time of wasteful and immoral behavior.” On May 11, 1659, the Massachusetts Bay Colony legislature officially banned Christmas and gave anyone found celebrating it a fine of five shillings

“For preventing disorders arising in several places within this jurisdiction, by reason of some still observing such festivals as were superstitiously kept in other countries, to the great dishonor of God & offense of others, it is therefore ordered … that whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas or the like, either by for-bearing of labor, feasting, or any other way, upon any such account as aforesaid, every such person so offending shall pay for every such offense five shillings, as a fine to the county.”

Cotton Mather, New England’s most influential religious leader, told his flock in 1712 that “the feast of Christ’s nativity is spent in reveling, dicing, carding, masking, and in all licentious liberty…by mad mirth, by long eating, by hard drinking, by lewd gaming, by rude reveling!”

Most Western churches mark Dec. 25 for the liturgical celebration of Christ’s birth though the date is historically unreliable and most likely inaccurate. Many Eastern Orthodox churches mark the incarnation on Epiphany typically the first Sunday in January. Some, who are in the Puritan tradition make no big deal about it. Roman 14:5 tells us “one person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind.” That seems like a wise policy that spares making “much ado about nothing.” Sadly, Trump’s hijacking and distortion of the day to celebrate the wonder of the incarnation is far more damaging than any supposed “war on Christmas.” Slogans may pump up the crowds but it’s not the faith the church has confessed in the words “for us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.”

So then, either way, have a Merry Christmas, an incredible Incarnation, an effulgent Epiphany, and Happy Hanukkah or for any neo-pagans, a Super Saturnalia!

Yes, indeed, “unworthy to lead.”

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“…the crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon come to an end. Beginning on January 20th 2017, safety will be restored. The most basic duty of government is to defend the lives of its own citizens. Any government that fails to do so is a government unworthy to lead.”                                                                    Donald J. Trump (7/21/16)

8/12/17 – Charlottesville:

3 dead (Lt. H. Jay Cullen, Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, Heather Heyer); 33 injured

10/1/17 – Las Vegas:

58 dead, 489 wounded

“You fascists bound to lose…”

 

19321932 – Berlin / 2017 – Charlottesville

 

 

“All You Fascists”
(Words by Woody Guthrie, Music by Billy Bragg)

I’m gonna tell you fascists
You may be surprised
The people in this world
Are getting organized
You’re bound to lose
You fascists bound to lose

Race hatred cannot stop us
This one thing we know
Your poll tax and Jim Crow
And greed has got to go
You’re bound to lose
You fascists bound to lose.

All of you fascists bound to lose:
I said, all of you fascists bound to lose:
Yes sir, all of you fascists bound to lose:
You’re bound to lose! You fascists:
Bound to lose!

People of every color
Marching side to side
Marching ‘cross these fields
Where a million fascists dies
You’re bound to lose
You fascists bound to lose!

I’m going into this battle
And take my union gun
We’ll end this world of slavery
Before this battle’s won
You’re bound to lose
You fascists bound to lose!

 

 

 

“Give me that alt-right religion…”

secondcomingcolor

“We reject the false doctrine that the Church could have permission to hand over the form of its message and of its order to whatever it itself might wish or to the vicissitudes of the prevailing ideological and political convictions of the day.”

The Barmen Declaration (1934)

Robert Jeffress, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas is an unabashed Trump enthusiast. Jeffress preached to Trump on Inauguration Day from the Old Testament example of Nehemiah, the humble servant who leads the effort to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, endorsing Trump’s border wall since “God is not against building walls” and feeding his already inflated hubris by urging him to ignore his critics, stating “we have never had a president with as many natural gifts as you.”   From what’s been seen so far, not only is this patently untrue considering the long line of predecessors but Trump does not need to have his grandiosity encouraged! Besides distorting and misapplying the Word of God that he is supposedly commissioned to steward faithfully, preacher Jeffress resorts to fawning over a man who is undeserving of praise, whether it’s his crudeness, especially towards women, his failing financial track record, fueling conspiracies and false allegations about birth certificates, eavesdropping and secret recordings, repeated blame shifting and demagoguery and demonization of the media and those who disagree or confront him about his distortions of reality.

On the 4th of July, at the “Celebrate Freedom Rally,” in that good old, Baptist patriotic amalgam of civil religion & American greatness, with a mega-flag along with his mega-Baptist choir, Jeffress called Trump “one of the great patriots of our modern era and a president who cherishes the sacrifice and service of those in our armed forces.” I suppose he was referring to Trump’s 5 deferments from serving in the Vietnam war or his petty tirades with the Gold Star Khan family or belittling of Sen. John McCain. Trump is not the only one who seems to have difficulty with distorting reality. It beggars the imagination how the good pastor could even consider Trump a great patriot. As for the song “Make America Great Again,” I’ll take “In Christ There is No East or West” any day.

It’s hard to take this silliness seriously. Sadly, Jeffress is sickeningly sincere. What’s missing from Jeffress’s messages, is Jesus’ gospel of the kingdom. The true gospel is greater than any one political party, political leader or country. It is for all people and all nations, none of which may claim special status. It is not limited to 4 years or 8 but eternal. Jeffress has joined the line of spiritual leaders who sell their birthright for a mega-mess of porridge, who join the ranks of court prophets, sycophants who abandon the truth and fidelity to God to rub shoulders with the mighty (1 Kings 22).

It would be great if this could be dismissed as a Southern Baptist aberration but the adulteration of anemic churchianity with politics, right, left or “alt,” subtly undermines and distorts the real work of the church.  The true Christian faith is misrepresented. Since the baptism of Jesus, the gospel of his kingdom has thrived in or despite a variety of political environments. It does not need the repeal of the Johnson amendment to succeed.  It does not rely on flag waving or coddling demagogues. It does require faithful men and women of integrity and boldness to refuse to worship a golden ego (Daniel 3) or a tempting political offer on a mountain peak (Matthew 4:8) when they see one.

 

 

 

 

Subversive Declarations…

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“…whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security…”

1776

Happy 4th (and human rights for some)

detained

On this 4th of July, as we remember and celebrate the freedoms declared in the “Declaration of Independence,” remember the numerous children (average age between 6-9) confined in conditions most Americans would not tolerate for their own children, such as four of the 35 children currently detained at Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania – aged three, four, seven and 16 – who have been at the Center for over 500 days. The imprisonment of children, started under the Obama administration, continues with Trump which means big business for over 250 jails and private prisons (such as GEO & CCA) at a cost of over $2 billion a year.

“Woe to the land that’s governed by a child”

trumpel

So the MAGA hatted, right wing agitators and provocateurs are in hysterics over a play with an assassination scene with a lead character resembling Dear Leader. They must have missed the day in school when Shakespeare was covered. Yes, dear followers its Shakespeare, a 16th century English playwright who like to have famous figures killed off in course of the drama. A few examples:

Richard the Second? Tortured and Executed

Richard the Third? Slain.

Romeo and Juliet? Teen Suicides.

Hamlet? Dead

Macbeth? Lots of dead.

Coriolanus? Killed by conspirators.

Titus Andronicus? Lots of blood. Rape. Mutilation. Severed Heads. Cannibalism.

Yes, ol’ Shakespeare was a mighty blood thirsty fellow!  Real dangerous stuff!

The orange haired bouffant buffoon currently ruining the country from the Oval Office joins the illustrious ranks of other famous politicians and blowhards who have been added to the cast of Shakespeare productions in the past such as Obama, Hillary, and Mussolini.

Will there be an executive order from El Trumpe banning English playwrights as unpatriotic and subversive?

Will the Department of Homeland Security crackdown on bootleg copies of SparkNotes?

I would recommend remedial courses in English literature for summer reading.

(Title: Richard III- Act 2, Scene 3)