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President Donald Trump - Not a Strongman, But the Religious Right's Strong Tower
Saturday, November 21, 2020 12:30 PM

President Donald Trump - Not a Strongman, But the Religious Right's Strong Tower

Saturday, November 21, 2020 12:30 PM
Saturday, November 21, 2020 12:30 PM
I will sum up what it is about President Donald Trump I have observed and studied that I believe endears 80+% of whites and white evangelicals to him.
 
It has less to do with orthodoxy but everything to do with what they value. What they interchange with "biblical values." That in itself is a manufactured phrase from the era of the Moral Majority and Christian Coalition. It was then and even today, used as a wedge to further separate and elevate them above others.
 
Same with "evangelical Christian." It's not enough for white Christians to be just "Christian," as all Christ-followers and churchgoers were prior to the 1980's and the advent of Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority and Ralph Reed's Christian Coalition. Even then it wasn't about Christianity or furthering the Kingdom of God, but advancing a political agenda and solid political bloc with a nod and a wink from white preachers and pastors.
 
Tenets of which in some instances were antithetical to the teachings of scripture, even today. The most salient and simple being to love one another as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us. That love, for many right-wing evangelicals, comes with caveats and depends upon if you're a Republican. No Democrat, many believe could possibly be Christian.
 
And not just any Republican. There are litmus tests in addition to the claim of party and religion. And that's the rub.
 
They have to invent ways to be and remain separate and above. It goes to a point I will soon make as the goalposts must be constantly moved. Equality with others is not a thing to be desired it seems. Though God created us all equally in His image. When we get closer to that goal, they move the goalposts.
 
I would even submit to you that there are no such things as "biblical values." If so, in which of the Bible's 66 books are they listed? They're not. It's a matter of interpretation. Their interpretation. Their definition. That's why "biblical values" is such a nebulous term because for many, they have some idea or even their own ideas of what that is supposed to mean. And of course, since they get to define it, they get to define others as measuring up or not measuring up to their "biblical values."
 
Basically, it means what they religiously want it to mean. It's just like "evangelical." Though evangelical is legit, the way it is used in the political realm isn't.

Photo Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / ajc.com
 
President Trump understands and values what they do and they, in turn, reward him with their undying adoration and rock-solid support.
 
He knows what they want, what moves them, and how to exploit it for his highest and best use. He's the best I've seen at it. Certainly the most brazen. And the minuscule percentage of ethnic minorities that go along with the program are just as committed.
 
The President uses them all and the historical need of whites for superiority in every area, most notably the church to his advantage. And pastors are willing participants. That's why they can't speak against in the pulpit what they know some of the stuff he says and does is so biblically wrong. They are afraid of their congregations revolting. And many I would wager, do not disagree at all with most anything the man says or does, though they may find it somewhat distasteful. 
 
So, the pastors and preachers if not in hearty public agreement merely clam up and at times, when an incident such as the horrific George Floyd incident happens, they extend a weak hand of reconciliation, some muster tears, say how terrible racism is,  but most of us by now know that it's all game. Short-term guilt nothing long-term. Why? I just told you. The need for superiority.
 
And as far as "reconciliation," many don't really mean it because many believe they have nothing to reconcile. They will tell you in a minute, they didn't shoot the guy or they never owned slaves. Yeah, but they sure have benefitted from their ancestors who did.
 
Donald Trump, the candidate, tapped into what really is important to these folks. Not judging, but if you listen to any of his speeches and what they say, here is the list that surfaces -- and when he does the photo ops with the preachers in the Oval Office laying holy hands on him, it solidifies it all the more for them.
 
And President Trump is a master at exploiting all of this and what he knows is most important to his white evangelical base:
 
1) Money
2) Access to Power
3)The need to be superior
4) Selfishness
5) Greed
6) Fear
7) Security; and,
8) Protection. Fear of blacks, browns, "illegals" and other non-whites (and, "the progressive socialist left") rising up to take what they believe is rightly theirs - all theirs -  the entire country.
 
It's why we hear frequently from President Trump, "our country." With an emphasis on our. We all know what that means. Taken literally to mean the entire country (America) is literally "theirs."
 
Never mind their ancestors took it from Native Americans and beat, de-humanized, maligned, and exploited blacks as slaves to build it. No one but whites could own property in America for hundreds of years, blacks and Native Americans were forbidden. So, they could unfettered, accumulate and pass down generational wealth. Which leads us back to 1 through 7.
 
Then they wrap it all up neatly in the flag, with red white and blue ribbon, sprinkle it with a little Jesus and we have, what we have - an intolerant 80+% of white America. Most of whom, "evangelical Christians."
 
President Trump, not God, has become their strong tower. Their protector. Their wheel in the middle of the wheel. And this is what terrifies them most about his loss.
 
Never before in the history of this country has there been one brazen enough as this President to act on these classist and pious Pavlovian needs of this large swath of America. Donald Trump sensed it. In fact, inflamed it by leading the never-ending birther movement that raised doubts about where President Obama was born.
 
The Taxed Enough Already (the TEA Party) people grasped it early on, but even with intellectuals like Ted Cruz leading the pack, it lacked the "ump factor." The "it factor" needed to ignite it. Along comes Donald Trump who had the "it factor" to the nth degree and was the leader for which right-wing groups had long waited.
 
Groups that at one time didn't even like one another but that 1-8 list is the tie that now binds them. And President Trump is using them all. But they too are using President Trump. They all are using one another. And where is Jesus Christ in all of this? Where is the advancement of God's Kingdom in any of it? 
 
They have the platforms, the resources and the power, yet, it's not God's truth but their "biblical values" that they push. But without the power of God behind it, they have to put their power behind it and it is an ongoing battle. Culture war they call it. Again, I will ask the question, in which of the 66 books does God command his people to fight "culture wars?" He doesn't. They're on their own and that's why they have to keep fighting so hard and getting angrier and angrier when things don't turn their way.
 
Newsflash! God does not give His people the power to fight battles that He hasn't ordained. We are in a spiritual battle not a culture war.
 
Evangelical pastors and preachers that are in the same corner, but who know better, nevertheless make no mistake, from their pulpits to their pews from Washington DC to the pine trees of Georgia they are all in. Thus their silence.
 
Once you understand a thing, you won't be bothered by the thing. And I am no longer bothered by any of this anymore. I was because as a Christ-follower, I couldn't reconcile so much of the behavior and rhetoric coming from those professing to be, like me, one who loves God and want to please him. Turns out that never was the case. Furthering God's Kingdom and discipleship, the cornerstone of our faith, never was the case.
 
It was then and is now all about 1-8. As long as I know better, I can handle all of this better. I now know better. I, along with the rest of America, are watching history unfold and while the end will not be pretty, it is predictable.
 
So given that President Trump is on the way out, many of them are panicked and holding up holy hands. But, the hands of the poll workers have already counted the ballots and it is now only a matter of time before the strong tower is no longer President. Panic, anger and suspicion are in the air.
 
Who will take care of them now? God? Many, I would wager, would rather bet on Trump.
 
Wednesday, November 18, 2020 11:26 AM

Wednesday, November 18, 2020 11:26 AM
Wednesday, November 18, 2020 11:26 AM

Wednesday, November 18, 2020 11:22 AM

Wednesday, November 18, 2020 11:22 AM
Wednesday, November 18, 2020 11:22 AM

Wednesday, November 18, 2020 11:20 AM

Wednesday, November 18, 2020 11:20 AM
Wednesday, November 18, 2020 11:20 AM

Getting Past Your Past
Wednesday, November 4, 2020 2:21 PM

Getting Past Your Past

Wednesday, November 4, 2020 2:21 PM
Wednesday, November 4, 2020 2:21 PM

How many times have you started to offer advice, spearhead a project, run for office, write a book, go for that great opportunity that seems a perfect match for your skills and interests, only to shirk back as you are reminded of a past mistake, an error in judgment or sin you feel disqualifies you? You quickly dismiss the idea and sadly allow yet another opportunity to slip away because you are held prisoner by a past you cannot change and one you cannot shake.

Take heart, you are not alone. Think of the smartest, sharpest, got it going on person you know.  Close your eyes and visualize them in their role (i.e., as CEO, doctor, banker, teacher, preacher, lawyer, actor, artist, architect, professor, politician, etc.).  I’ll wait. Got it? Eyes open?

At some point in life and in every storied career, every successful person has done something they wish they hadn’t, said something they’ve wished a thousand times they had not said, or acted in a way that didn’t reflect their true character. It’s called being human.

The major difference between success and failure is the absolute determination to keep moving forward despite human failure. The sheer determination to persevere.

Successful people have learned to take control over their past so that it can no longer take control of them, and so can you. These A.C.T.I.O.N. steps are designed to help you do just that: 

Acknowledge to yourself what you did was wrong – don’t try to justify it and don’t deny it.  Denial in the mind leads to depression in the heart. Depression is repressed anger; and the one person at whom you are most likely angry is yourself. Own it or it will continue to own you. 

Confess it.  Confession cleanses. Five of the most freeing words in the English language are these, “I’m sorry, I was wrong.” By not admitting the part you played, the burden doubles because you’re carrying the weight of your guilt and the weight of the result of your guilt. That’s a heavy load to carry.  If you can, go back and make things right beginning with these five powerful little words. If that’s not possible or if the one you hurt, wronged, or disrespected doesn’t or won’t accept it, then shake it off and keep moving. You would have done your part and the weight will no longer be yours to carry, but theirs. 

Take it to a higher power.  For me, that’s God.  Once you have owned up and ‘fessed up, it’s time to give it up. You have reconciled it internally, to the extent possible you have reconciled it externally; and now, you must reconcile it eternally. God freely forgives and by taking these initiatives, you have positioned yourself to be blessed, healed and set free – never to be bound again by your past. 

Ignore and cut loose those who refuse to accept you for who you are today because they want to continue to crucify you for what you did yesterday. You’re past that now. Misery loves company and these people themselves are stuck, and resent the fact that you no longer are. Ignore them and keep moving forward! 

Onward and upward. Reject the temptation to look back on a past that is now past history. If you are a visual person, as I am, do as I did. Once I did all I’ve lain out here, I wrote down on a sheet of paper things of my past that had held me hostage for years.  I placed the list in my fireplace, set a match to it and watched it and my past go up in flames.  If you don’t have a fireplace, go to your local grocery.  Have a plain balloon filled with helium and be sure they attach a string. Take it home and in the privacy of your home, take out a Sharpie, and do as I did with my sheet of paper. Write on the balloon those things that have held you hostage but you have now dealt with. Take it outside, let the string go and watch the balloon as it flies swiftly away, taking with it, your past, never to return again. Visualize these the next time you are tempted to look back. There is nothing left on which to look back. 

Never be held hostage again. Live life as God intended it to be lived – in Him – and always forward. Onward!

“When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”- Alexander Graham Bell 

 

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