The answer to the often asked question, "How can you be a Christian and vote for a candidate who supports abortion?" is simple. If I let that single issue determine how I cast my vote, to the exclusion of all other issues, I will be contributing to the election of many incompetent politicians who do not support representative democracy, equal rights and individual freedom, regardless of their stance on abortion. In most cases, they're really not pro-life so much as they are interested in how they can profit off of that position in terms of getting elected. I'm free to practice my Christian faith because of constitutionally guaranteed religious liberty. If the religious liberty of those who hold a different faith perspective than I do is in jeopardy, then so is mine.
It seems to me to be a little bit on the inconsistent side (I'm really being tongue-in-cheek here, so bear with me) to moan and complain about Christians being captives in an immoral, pagan, Babylon-like culture, while supporting politicians, specifically one in particular, who spent their entire life crafting a public image that bears the same marks as Babylonian paganism. Since the rhetoric is being used, I'll consider that permission to put my point in those same terms. If the secular culture of America is analogous to that of ancient Babylon during the captivity of Israel, then Trump is the chief Babylonian.
There's no such thing as a "Christian" way to vote. Voting for candidates who promise a short list of political reforms judged to be "favorable" to right-wing Christians, while those votes support candidates from a party in which the current direction is to dismantle voting rights, the representative democracy and the constitution that limits government power, overturn religious liberty in favor of an established, approved religion and set up an oligarchy of the billionaire class. I don't believe for a minute that every candidate who claims to be pro-life holds that position out of conviction. It's a bargaining chip.
American culture and society.
Christian practice cannot be legislated into acceptance. If it isn't motivated by the inward spiritual transformation that occurs in conversion, then it becomes dead ritual. If it is visible, then the practice of values like honesty and integrity, sense of community and purpose that includes a lifestyle of simplicity, avoiding excess and being good stewards of common resources, having a desire for the common good, the equality, giftedness and inherent rights of all humanity and living a life that promotes peace, are the influences Christianity contributes to society and culture, as well as government in a democratic union. If it does not do this, then it is not Christian.
a danger to Democracy.
And apparently, a danger to the real Christian church.
Rachel Maddow led her show off this evening with a story about Gerald Lyman Kenneth Smith. Smith passed away in 1976. He retired in the 1960's in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, purchasing and renovating a Victorian mansion, and then, on the property he owned, building a large statue of Jesus Christ, known as the "Christ of the Ozarks" on Magnetic Mountain, overlooking the town. A nearby hillside provided a place for 6,000 seats and the backdrop for the set of a seasonal Passion Play, depicting the last days in the life of Christ. The tourist attraction also features a Bible museum.
Smith was not the original white Christian nationalist, but he was a passionate advocate for it all of his life. He was a Nazi sympathizer prior to and during the Second World War, his rhetoric was virulently anti-Semitic and violently racist, referencing "mongrel" races and using many of the same sources the Nazis did for their anti-Semitic rants against the "conspiracy of international Jewry". He founded both the America First political party, and please make the connection to that name, and ran as its nominee for President in both 1944 and 1948, never earning very many votes, but gaining enough support to finance the campaigns, and the Christian Nationalist Crusade. The latter earned a citation for being anti-Semitic from the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai Brith.
Bubbling beneath the surface of Republican party politics for a long time, the intersection of far right politics with some elements of the Evangelical branch of American Christianity has brought this pseudo-Christian Fascist cult to the surface and revealed that a number of politicians adhering to this philosophy have already been elected to state legislatures, several governors and members of both the House and Senate.
White Christian Nationalism will also destroy democracy. It will use democratic tools to get elected, and will then dismantle them, as it is already doing. Since it promotes inequality between people, those who are, in its perspective, "less equal" or subservient in some cases, are not extended any rights that permit them to participate in the government through the prescribed means, mainly the ballot box. And what we're seeing, through Trumpism and some of its promoters, is virulently anti-Semitic and violently racist, particularly against African Americans, though they also consider Latinos as "mongrels" and part of the plot to "mongrelize" America.
My television would normally not be tuned in to Meet the Press on a Sunday morning. It was tuned to NBC from something I was watching last night, and I left it there while getting breakfast in the kitchen. The panel discussion caught my attention, because they were putting up polling data and discussing its effects on the mid-term elections. I got teased in to sticking it out because of an appearance by former Vice President Al Gore but the panel discussion, featuring host Chuck Todd, along with Yamiche Alcindor, Maria Teresa Kumar, Stephen Hayes and Jake Sherman, was quite informative.
Informative, that is, in that what appears to be a round-table discussion with media-types that attempts to appear intellectual, authoritative and spontaneous can make some observations while looking at facts, and at the same time, miss some obvious points altogether. I'm sure that these discussions are not anywhere near as spontaneous as they appear, and that the talking points have been outlined before they go on camera. The presence of Kumar and Alcindor lent some credibility to the discussion, and they helped insert some perspective that didn't support what's becoming the tired, old narrative about the party in power losing in the midterms, which was the theme that Todd kept pushing.
Though the whole program was not blatantly one-sided, it was pretty clear, especially in that panel discussion, that Kumar and Alcindor, who try to be objective and unbiased, were put in the awkward position of having to correct and challenge misinformed or irrelevant statements, or redirect the conversation when facts were ignored. Though I don't watch this program very much, that seems to be the pattern of the other panel discussions I've seen there over the past year. Sherman and Hayes just took up time, made their comparisons and analysis of 2022 in comparison to the GOP waves that occurred in Clinton and Obama's first terms, avoiding most of the relevant facts of the discussion.
In a systematic, thorough, well-organized, articulate manner, the January 6th committee has made its case against the former President. Minds have been changed. I don't expect that those who are loyal to Trump, rather than to America, will acknowledge any of what the committee has laid out, but that's not as large of a constituency as it might seem. Will it lead to an indictment, a conviction, and the massive relief that would provide as people realize America really is a country based on the rule of law? If it doesn't, then there's no justice in America.
The future of American democracy and the Constitution of the United States is now at stake. It has proven to be one of the strongest political documents in world history up to this point. It has been challenged, and the challenges have been met with the enforcement of its principles as necessary. It has held. That's what needs to happen now. The Republic and the Constitution need to be defended, and in the process, to be strengthened in order to continue to support the enduring foundational principles that make America a nation. And doing that is in the hands of the Democratic party's leadership, including President Biden, the justice department and Attorney General Merrick Garland.
I hope Attorney General Garland makes Mitch McConnell regret derailing his nomination to the Supreme Court. I hope, when this is over, that they wish he'd been on the court instead of at the justice department.
I am able to write what I write, believe what I believe and practice my Christian faith as I do because I am an American, and the Constitution of the United States gives me that right. And as Thomas Jefferson said, "But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." Those who have been paying attention should have noticed a sharp change in the direction of the Republican party as its agenda becomes more pointed toward obstruction and opposing the extension of rights to citizens they do not deem as worthy to have them than it has focused on agenda that will actually use the resources of government to resolve, as best it can, some of the besetting problems of our society and culture in this day and age.
But this pseudo-Christian cult is a group that is coming on with the attitude that they are on a mission from God, and that it doesn't matter what they do, including whatever means they may deem necessary to grab the government out of the hands of the "godless liberals" because they are more loyal to their cause than they are to the United States Constitution. And because they believe that their cause is righteous, and they think that God will hold their coattails and cheer them on, they are dangerous. We saw just a hint of the anarchic violence many of those who are philosophically compatible with this pseudo-Christian movement were willing to commit on January 6th. If democracy continues to prevail by handing the rule of law over to the "libs" that these people hate, which by the way is also not a Christian value, that will become a common occurrence in state capitals and in Washington, DC.
The best weapon we have in our hands is our freedom of speech and our freedom of conscience. And freedom of speech and conscience depend on exercising it by voting and casting an informed ballot. Informed. If people don't vote, then it won't take an insurrection to overturn democracy and set up an autocratic dictatorship. It will happen when the democratic process turns in on itself as people vote for leaders who will dissolve it for them.
We need to think creatively. West Virginia would have benefitted tremendously from both of the signature bills that the Biden Administration has proposed and the people there need to know that. And they need to know who's standing in their way. We don't have much time, Democrats. The GOP is offering nothing. We should be out in front on this.
Sanders' message resonates with voters there because he sides with the marginalized and disenfranchised and against corporate wealth and power. He is exactly the right person to be critical of Senator Manchin's obstructionism. The political pundits say that if there's a Democrat challenge to Manchin's re-election bid in 2024, the party will lose the seat. And that's probably the case. But a true, independent populist, who speaks the language of the people like Sanders does, might just be able to pull it off.
West Virginians get ignored. It's not a big state, it's now down to just 4 electoral votes and it isn't high on the list of corporate headquarters or big business. I spent summers trudging up and down rural roads in the mountains, going up and down the "hollers" selling books to earn college money in Mingo and McDowell Counties. My parents grew up there and had to leave when there was no work to be found. It's a beautiful place, and yes, while it is remote, isolated and lacks a lot of educational and community resources, the people who live there are Americans who deserve to have the same opportunities as everyone else does. They want a hand up not a hand out, and that's what they could have had from this most recent bill that the Biden Administration wanted to get passed.
It was very clear, even before the Trump insurrection of January 6th, that there was absolutely no evidence anywhere of any "massive voter fraud" or that the election results of 2020 did not represent the will of the voter. In fact, since the hearings began, we've heard that members of Trump's inner circle never bought into his nonsense. They just went along with it for their own benefit. That is criminal fraud. And I devoutly hope that the Department of Justice prosecutes, gets rightful convictions, and sends a message to anyone else who might think about pulling something like this that it would be the wrong thing to do, and very detrimental to health, and personal freedom.
When I lived in Pennsylvania, I saw a pattern there that was the reason why a state with a million more Democrats than Republicans in the voter registration had such incredibly gerrymandered congressional districts and a state legislature with a veto-proof Republican majority. State elections are held in mid-term years, and Democratic turnout was always low. The state's Democratic senator was re-elected in a Presidential election year, while the Republican was narrowly re-elected in a mid-term year. When the court finally mandated the re-drawing of congressional district lines, the number of Democrats in Congress from the state went from 5 to 10. And that's still under-representation based on voter registration. The same needs to happen with their state legislature.
Given the percentages of unregistered adults, and the percentages of voters who don't cast ballots in any given year, the solution to these kinds of problems is simple. Turn out on election day, or with a mail-in ballot, but cast one. That's how Democracy works. Ballots come from voters who cast them to get the kind of government they want. If we want to put a stop to all of these Republican shenanigans, then we need to vote in every election and know who it is that we are supporting.
We need to win the midterms, people, nothing else matters right now.
Starting a discussion about unhappy Democrats and speculation about who needs to run in 2024 is irresponsible journalism. But then, there might be some motivation on the media's part to try and distract and dent the momentum Democrats have picked up with the overturning of Roe and the gun control legislation, along with job growth reports which now indicate that employment has grown past the place it was in this country prior to COVID.
The Biden Administration is head and shoulders above any recent Republican administration in terms of achievement and accomplishment and equal to the Clinton and Obama administrations in all categories. Democrats and Independents who still believe in and support representative democracy better wake up now and see what's going on. These media attacks are perfectly timed distractions, and appear intended to erase the gains made by Democrats over the issues of the past year. This is the GOP's M.O. and has been for quite some time now. Joe Biden is experienced in and seasoned by partisan politics. He has surrounded himself with some of the best advisors in the Democratic party. He was legitimately elected and the vote count was accurate, not fraudulent. Don't allow that to be taken away from you by media speculation and attempts to improve ratings.
As a Christian, I am deeply appreciative of the constitution's guarantee of my religious liberty and the freedom I have to live by my faith. It is a right for which I am willing to fight, if necessary. And that means I will also fight for the right of anyone else who is an American to have the right to believe according to the dictates of their own conscience. As Jefferson said, extending that right to other people neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.
There are people here who exhibit a hostile attitude toward anything Christian. I get that, and you might not think so, but I have a much better understanding of that than you realize. And I read it and consider it because there's a personal experience behind it and I'll learn something from it, I hope.
I'm a Democrat because I believe that I have a much better chance holding on to this right, along with most others I have, and because I believe that we have a much better chance of preserving our representative democracy, if Democrats are in the majority. There are millions out there like me, who express our faith with gentleness and reverence, respecting those who don't see things the same way, and at the same time, working to preserve and defend the representative Democracy that protects our rights and freedoms.
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