The thought has occurred to me that I should probably explain what I am hoping will happen as a result of the disastrous 2016 election. I’ve posted article after article lambasting the Trump presidency, but to what end? What’s the point?
So I’d come to some conclusions, and today I ran across an article by Tom Nichols that says exactly what I think. So he must be right, right? He was one of the very, very few NeverTrump Republicans who was willing to say before the election that he was going to vote for Hillary Clinton. I remember reading that article in The Federalist and feeling my jaw just drop. Yes! A voice of reason! Someone willing to say the unthinkable! The unsayable!
David Frum, along with other steadfast NeverTrumpers such as Jennifer Rubin, William Kristol, Max Boot, and, to a large extent, Jonah Goldberg, has taken a lot of hits from the right for his refusal to give any ground to the spirit of Trumpism, to admit any good done by Mr. Trump on purpose and on his own, has written a fascinating, sobering, and ultimately (ironically) hopeful book about the Trump Presidency. I think that it will be looked at in years to come as one of the premier books to come out of this period, looked back on with the attitude of “How could the American public not have known about all this? How could they have elected such a person?”
Much of the book’s information will be very familiar to anyone who has been following events for the past couple of years, but Frum puts it together into a compelling narrative. Were I to characterize its tone in one word, that word would be outrage. And we should all be outraged. Our election process has been hijacked, and all we can do now is to hope and pray that our Constitution and our Congress will hold the line (in the first instance) and come to their senses (in the second).
I went ahead and used one of my Audible.com credits to buy the audiobook and felt that it was well worth the money. I’m not going to make even a stab at a summary of the book’s ideas; I will just say that in my view it is imperative for the ideas in this book to be widely promulgated. Instead of my trying to persuade you myself, though, I’m giving you two opportunities below to get acquainted with Frum in much briefer formats.
First, Frum’s landmark article from The Atlantic on the eve of the election that is still sadly relevant today:
I just don’t know where to begin here. Dennis Prager, a well-known conservative commentator whose articles run once in awhile on National Review Online, has produced another head-scratcher titled “A Defense of Evangelicals Who Support Trump.” Just what we need! Erick Erickson, a true Christian conservative, has already written a rebuttal in which he says, “Dennis Prager Is Just Wrong Here.” To which I say, “Yay, Erick!” I want to do a little more eviscerating on points not covered by Erickson. My main divergence of opinion with Erickson is his insistence that Christians didn’t need to dirty their hands in the last election by voting for either major-party candidate or indeed by voting at all, but that’s a topic I’ve covered more than thoroughly and so I won’t go into it here.
The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind by Mark Noll, originally published in 1994 by Wm. B. Eerdmans, now available in several formats, including audio. (If you follow the link and purchase the book I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.)
For the purpose of this post, however, I want to concentrate specifically on some ideas that help explain why so many earnest, sincere Evangelical/ Fundamentalist Christians felt that they had to vote for a lying, cheating, adulterous playboy with a pro-choice Liberal Democratic background and a profane, vulgar vocabulary. Their votes reflected a failure of the mind in several different areas. I hope the following won’t sound too scathing, but we are in a predicament today that does not allow for mincing of words. America has elected an utterly unfit man to the Presidency, and Evangelicals helped to put him there. Why?
It has occurred to me often over the past year that there are a few terms that keep cropping up in political discussions and which are often used inaccurately, or at least sloppily. The terms have some overlap but are distinct ideas, and I think it’s helpful to parse them out. So here goes:
1. Whataboutism: the biggie, from which many other errors flow. Here is my definition:
What does it mean to “be a Berean”? Take a look at Acts 17:11:
Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. (NIV)
When Paul was on his missionary journeys one of the main ways he did his teaching and preaching was that he went to the local synagogue in each city.
I get this comment sometimes on my Facebook page, so let’s address it. Are we really better off with Donald Trump than we would have been with Hillary Clinton? It’s not a matter of re-fighting the election but of taking a good, hard look at what (if anything) has actually been accomplished by the election of a third-rate celebrity con man with no governing experience to the highest office in the land. I will be including links at various places to articles I’ve already posted as support for my ideas.
Ho-kay. I said that I was going to be commenting in a post on a commenter’s comment, so here it is. This is from a guy named Wes Curtis whom I taught in high school. He quotes or refers to a Wall Street Journal article that says the following:
“It was Mr. Comey who botched the investigation of Mrs. Clinton by appropriating the authority to exonerate and excoriate her publicly in an inappropriate press event, and then by reopening the probe right before the election. This gave Mrs. Clinton’s supporters a reason to claim they’d been robbed, which in turn stoked the ‘resistance’ that has overrun U.S. politics.” From WSJ 6/09
I was sitting this morning working on my summer Bible study material,Life Principles from the Kings of the Old Testament, and I was totally struck with the resemblances between President Trump and King Saul. Let me be clear here: I was in no way looking for this resemblance; I was just sitting here, minding my own business, working on Lesson One. And there the resemblances were, as plain as day:
Ho-kay. I write these general posts rather than just replying to a comment when I think the topic needs to be shared fully. So here goes, once again, with this whole idea of a Christian’s and a citizen’s obligation to respect authority.
As Ed, my estimable bro-in-law pointed out, “Obey them that have the rule over you” does not contravene “We ought to obey God rather than men.”