LifeSiteNewsDotCom

LifeSiteNews is a small anti-abortion activist group, pro-life journalism outlet, and news aggregator. It was launched in 1997 as a spinoff of Campaign Life Coalition. Both are based in Toronto. Unless you are a traditionalist Catholic or a pro-life culture warrior, you probably never heard of them.

They have had a lot of excitement lately.   For a year they have been fighting for their life as an organization. They had become very dependent on their Facebook page as their primary way to communicate with their network of donors, most of whom are Catholic families making small-time contributions. Facebook has been waging war against them.

Facebook ghetto

In addition to filtering them out of searches and giving them the “shadow ban” treatment, Facebook has refused to run their ads:

One response that our team received as the reason for Facebook’s disapproval of our ads is equally concerning. The ad pertaining to this response simply showed an image of a pregnant mother holding a photo of her baby’s ultrasound…

I do see that the ad has a fetus and while it involves your ad text and topic, it may be viewed too strong for Facebook to allow to show.

Such viewpoint discrimination is a direct attack on our shared life and family values, and is greatly affecting our efforts to fundraise and spread our news.

Yes, a pregnant woman showing off the ultrasound picture of her baby is “too strong” for Facebook. That is a transparent excuse that says Facebook does not like advocacy for babies. Facebook is enforcing the Culture of Death.

They do this by decreeing that accurately reporting on the abortion industry and Planned Parenthood is “fake news.” Truth is irrelevant; what matters is the narrative.

Facebook recently admitted to combating “fake news” by developing a system that ranks users’ trustworthiness on a scale from 1 to 10. This is determined by users’ opinions rather than objective investigations!

This means that aggressively pro-choice and anti-family Facebook users can rank LifeSiteNews as “untrustworthy” with the simple click of a button – just because they dislike the facts that we publish.

Facebook has therefore made it ridiculously easy for our highly organized, well-financed (George Soros, etc) and hateful opponents to have LifeSiteNews wrongly categorized as “fake news” and our traffic suppressed according to Facebook’s “terms of agreement.” Truth does not matter according to this mob-mentality-serving process.  

Sex scandals

If you are wondering where it was that you recently saw their name, it was because they landed the biggest Catholic scoop of August. In the middle of the Catholic summer of distress over new sex scandals, Archbishop Viganò released a letter that said that Pope Francis and the rest of the Vatican were aware of Cardinal McCarrick’s habit of pressing young seminarians for sex, and also that he had covered for homosexual priests who preyed on teenage boys. Pope Francis had rehabilitated McCarrick in spite of this knowledge.

Archbishop Viganò gave his letter to two conservative Italian journalists that he trusts. He also sent it to LifeSiteNews. Evidently that was the only English-language outlet that he trusts.

Since then, other traditionalist Catholics have gone directly to LifeSiteNews with background and new developments on these scandals.

Search and you will not find

Facebook is not the only internet service that is hostile to pro-life advocates. Several news aggregators have the habit of demoting LifeSiteNews as well as other conservative outlets. So for the past weeks we have seen searches that turned up dozens of articles and editorials that cited LifeSiteNews, but unless you type “lifesitenews” in your search, you will not see their original reporting on the first four pages of results.

Allies

I am not a Catholic. As a Lutheran, the Church of Rome teaches that I am condemned to hell as a Schismatic. Nevertheless I have several Catholic friends, and I find that traditionalist Catholics are my most trustworthy allies in the culture wars. I need strong Catholics to help rescue western civilization from the assaults of Satan.

Please consider giving a little support to LifeSiteNews, either with a few bucks, or by sharing their plight with your Catholic and pro-life friends.


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Media v Evangelicals 2018 part 8

Mass media, the legacy media, you know, those “Lamestream” guys, are keeping me busy tracking their continued attempts to wedge Evangelical voters away from President Trump. One way they do this is to pound on the hypocrisy angle at every opportunity. Of course, Evangelicals continue to provide lots of opportunities.

Hence the #MeTooForChurch series of exposes to detail those Evangelical pastors who have been caught in sin. Particularly notable this summer was the philandering scandal at Willow Creek, which is an Evangelical megachurch with a network of associated churches. Pastor Bill Hybels and his leadership team are out and the church is reeling. Almost every mass media outlet covered it, but all the articles seemed to be derivative of reporting by the Chicago Tribune and Religion News Service. There wasn’t an anti-Trump hook to this story, so it played out in the press the way most church scandals do.

Russkies at the Prayer Breakfast

The New York Times wins the prize for this latest reporting period for an article about the National Prayer Breakfast. The article ran on July 27. The National Prayer Breakfast happened back in February. Why such a late-breaking article? Well, the obvious answer is Russians.

Yes, the NYT ran a hatchet job about the National Prayer Breakfast in which they noted that a couple of Russians were in attendance, including Maria Butina, which, according to them, taints the whole affair and confirms Trump colluded with the Russkies to derail her highness’s path to victory. Now, I would have been content to scoff them and mock them and call them “fake news,” but I saw that one of my favorite media critics, Julia Duin, took them seriously and provided a better response. Here is an excerpt from her post, which includes a quote from the NYT:

The bottom line: I’m just surprised it took the Russians this long to discover what everyone else knew – that the breakfast and its parent organization, the International Foundation, have been organizing “secret” meetings between foreign government leaders and U.S. politicians … for years.

Doesn’t the same sort of thing happen at Vatican embassies around the world? Is this news all that surprising? The key question is documenting the money involved.

What’s more, participants appear to see ultimate value in meetings and relationships seemingly irrespective of the motives of those present.

I would sub in “evangelistic value,” in that the motive behind the breakfast is to pave the way for the spread of the Gospel in foreign countries by inviting their government officials to the breakfast.

Remember, the folks at the breakfast – and the Foundation – are using this as an opportunity to reach the Russians (and others) just as much as the folks from overseas are using it as a way to reach influential Americans.

Well, yes, one of the original reasons for holding a prayer breakfast targeted to Washington politicians was to use it to reach out to leaders of non-Christian nations to persuade them to treat their Christians better, and possibly to persuade both American and foreign politicians of the truth of the Gospel.

Usual Stuff

Of some interest over the summer were media digs at Evangelicals in ways devised to emphasize that journalists think Evangelical Trump voters are all hypocrites. Salon ran an article, but since it is Salon, maybe they don’t qualify as news media. Their article excoriated Evangelicals for being hypocrites on account of Trump’s immorality, and then they paused to celebrate the general rise of sexual immoralities, and then they also celebrated the rise of people who have dropped out of traditional churches. Typical.

The only reason to mention Salon is because they get promoted in the feed at the Google News aggregator. Google promotes their catchy headline, and that is what puts them on my radar.   Their headline stayed in the Google News Spotlight for several days.

Mike Pence, Christianist monster

There was a spate of articles that seemed intended to wedge Mike Pence away from President Trump, or to simply portray Mike Pence as a monstrous theocrat. Since they were all simply rehashing stuff I have written about before, there is no need to give a blow-by-blow. SSDD.

Fundamentalist Racists

There was a more recent example. It was from an Alabama newspaper, but it also got featured prominently near the top of the default Google News page. This one was also intended to chide Evangelicals because they support immoral President Trump. They found a liberal Baptist history professor (he also has an MDiv but I don’t know if he was ever ordained). They quote him extensively saying the usual Leftist stuff:

There are broader issues at play, too, with Trump’s stand on Muslim immigration echoing past religious right alarms against non-Protestant immigrants changing the nation’s faith demographics.

“Trump is, at best, racially insensitive, if not racist,” said Leonard, a former religion professor at Samford University and retired divinity dean at Wake Forest University.

But many evangelicals like his style, Leonard said.

“Fundamentalists vest great power in the authoritarian leader who brooks no disagreement,” Leonard said. “They have an appreciation for Trump as an authoritarian figure.”

Baptists traditionally supported the separation of church and state, but shifted with the rise of the Moral Majority in 1979 and the election of President Ronald Reagan in 1980. Despite being divorced, Reagan was the choice of evangelicals over Jimmy Carter, a born-again believer and Baptist Sunday school teacher who did not agree with the religious right on many issues.

That is pitiful dreck through and through. “Trump’s stand on Muslim immigration echoing past religious right alarms against non-Protestant immigrants changing the nation’s faith demographics.” This assumes the Leftists’ worst construction of “religious right alarms” about Muslim immigration, insinuating that the concern is with all “non-Protestant immigrants” and alleging that the problem with Muslim immigrants is demographic, which of course is code for racist. I am calling B.S. on Dean Leonard and AL.com and the reporter, Greg Garrison.

I think Dean Leonard has slandered Fundamentalists as well as President Trump.

I recall debates among traditionalist Christians regarding the difficult choice between irreligious divorcee California actor Reagan versus Baptist Georgia farmer Carter. We voted for Reagan. I don’t recall anyone being called “immoral” for making that choice. But I have been called immoral for voting for President Trump, and in fact, I saw that “immoral” smear tossed around again just this week by NeverTrumpers.

And I resent Dean Leonard’s slander that “Baptists traditionally supported the separation of church and state, but shifted with the rise of the Moral Majority….” Did Baptists stop supporting the separation of church and state? He alleges in that article that Baptists want to use the power of the state to re-establish their dominant political position. He is wrong. Baptists are appealing to government to stop coercing Christians into forced speech that celebrates the sins of the protected classes. Baptists and other traditionalist Christians are appealing to government to stop meddling in local bathrooms. The key for Baptists and other Evangelicals is that Team Obama was using the federal government to elevate non-traditional religion over traditionalist religions; we simply wanted the State to cease establishing Leftist religion.

Evangelicals, whether Baptist or not (I am not a Baptist), are politically active because we are defending ourselves against the attacks of the Left, who have been using the power of government, as has been discussed here at Ratburger.org on previous occasions. Leftists may cry “theocrat” but the truth is that they are the ones on offense and we are the ones on defense, and it has been this way ever since the Reagan Administration.

I will close this time with an opinion column that ran at The Atlantic. It was by Peter Beinart, a professor of journalism at CUNY. It was more of the ‘Evangelicals are racists’ stuff that I have been writing about all year. This one seemed to pivot; Beinard did not address himself to Evangelicals and gave no indication that he expected to have any Evangelical readers. He was not trying to wedge Evangelicals away from President Trump. He was giving Leftists permission to consider Evangelicals to be horrible racist, sexist, homophobic, mean persons, as a way to encourage Leftist political activisms. He wrote on the topic of corruption, brushing off all allegations of corruption by Hillary, and focusing on the corruption of Trump. He wrote that Evangelicals were more concerned about people of color corrupting the complexion of America than about Trump’s political corruption.

I think we will see less of the media attempts to wedge Evangelicals away from President Trump.   We have seen a number of pundits and journalists wailing about how, for all their attacks, articles, shows, editorials, histrionics and shouting, the needle has not moved; Evangelicals who support President Trump have remained unmoved.

I will put links in the comments.


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Reflections from the Winter of my Life

Having just turned 74, with several medical conditions consistent with that age, awareness of the vulnerability and mortality I used to work so very hard to fend off and deny, is fully upon me. Although I still work one day a week as an anesthesiologist, much of my time is unstructured. I have completed all the tasks I set forth and have passed all the milestones in life to which I used to look forward. Now, I sense I am just running out the clock, one 90-day prescription renewal at a time.

My children are grown and educated without being indebted. I have actuarially-sufficient savings because, by choice, I always lived below my means. Looking back, I can clearly see how, by directing all my conscious energy toward single-minded pursuit of all the outward and visible tasks (B.A., M.S. M.D., J.D., medical licensure and board certification exams, bar exams, pilot’s license exams, including private, instrument, commercial, multiengine, flight instructor), I left myself no time or energy to examine the broader context of my life. One might say that then, I was a human doing rather than the human being I am today. As this human being, I have (too) much time to ruminate, and my inner pessimist has come to the fore.

These thoughts this Labor Day weekend, were provoked by my reading Herman Wouk’s “This is My God.” You see, at this stage of life, in lieu of external goals I am on an inner quest – for understanding. I earnestly long to understand the meaning of not only my life, but of life in the universe and its destiny. We are either blessed to cursed to live in a time when – if not answers – at least the ability to ask better questions has arisen by virtue of our exponentially-increasing knowledge of the physical universe and of our own biology.

The rate of increase of such knowledge and the technology following in its wake, is unsettling. That is the case to those of us who – in addition to seeing beginnings, meanings and ends of things –  also long to understand the context of our lives in the river of time. In that stream, we flail about, imagining we are free to move according to our will, yet often losing sight of the inexorable flow which takes us wherever it is destined. I suppose it is fair to say that nowadays some are aware of this and imagine we may eventually redirect the entire river. Who knows if humans may one day achieve such God-Like powers.

The main intellectual quest I find myself in this winter of life is an attempt to understand human ontology and, to do that it seems to me, I ought to have an intimate grasp of historical facts and also subjective human experience throughout history – even at times prior to written records. What was it like for early humans to merely subsist? To find water, food, shelter, clothing? To have children?  A third reading of “The Source” by James Michener has given me some insight into this, notwithstanding the fact the book is a work of fiction; it was based in much archeological research for which the author is renowned.

The story, set in a 1960’s fictional archeological ‘tell’ in Galilee, Israel, traces the roots of human existence in that area from the posited beginning to the present. Our ancestors first lived there in a cave adjacent to an artesian well (a source, or Makor in Hebrew) about 50,000 years ago. The particulars set forth in “The Source,” I believe, are generalizable to much of humanity in many times and at many places. It is a stark and plausible adumbration of much innate human behavior whose shadows (at least) are still apparent among us moderns.

I found myself moved to tears a few hours ago while reading the aforementioned “This is My God.”  In a chapter entitled “The Nature of Festivals,” Wouk recounts the deep agricultural roots of the Jews and says:

“But the Torah of Moses, which ordained the festivals,… prophesied that the glories would be temporary, that the people in their prosperity would lose their hold on the law and on their land, and would scatter into exile; and it ordained that the nation should go on observing the festivals wherever they dwelt, to all time. And so we do. Our people has lived for thousands of years in the faith that in God’s good time he will restore the nation to its soil, and that the festivals will take on, in their latter days, their ancient force and beauty.

Meantime – and it has been a long meantime! – these holy days, diminished as they are in substance and in pomp, are bulwarks of Judaism in exile. In Israel, even among the non-religious, they have speedily become national celebrations. To neglect them is to neglect the dikes that hold back the sea of oblivion, and to cheat oneself of pleasant and informing experiences (my emphasis). Words are dry and tenuous compared to vivid acts like clearing the home of leaven (ritually removing all traces of yeast before Passover) and marching with a palm branch. You can listen to a hundred lectures and read forty books on what Judaism is, and learn learn less than you can by carrying out in a single year the duties and the pleasure of festivals.”

The tears resulted from a realization so near that I am surprised I never saw it before. I not only did not identify with the religion and practices of my grandparents, all of whom were Ashkenazis from Eastern Europe who fled pogroms around 1900; I positively rejected all of that in a vain effort to be NOT like my father. Believing I might invent myself de novo, severed from those ancient cultural roots, I tried to fashion myself as his negation. If he was a Jew, I was not. Imprinted by childhood memories of the Depression, he lived out an intense need to have enough money and material things and to believe he had control of most everyone and everything in his vicinity.

He insisted I had to become a doctor and tried to “toughen me up” for life with criticism. He did manage to convince me that the world is generally not a safe place (this, he surely learned, himself, as part of trans-generational Jewish cultural history); this made me hyper-vigilant; I never quite lived up to his expectations of me – I never quite ‘got it right’ in his eyes. The silver lining in all that was that I was also driven to excel, which I did manage to pull off, in the eyes of most everyone else. That long list of degrees and accomplishments, in reality, was my way of manipulating the world at large to get it reassure me that I actually am a worthwhile person, despite what my father thinks. It was also my way of being sure I would always have enough, as I secretly bought into his Depression-based fears of scarcity (all the while denying it vehemently).

The essential insight I had this morning was simply this: here I am, single-mindedly (again!) trying – before I die – to understand the human nature and subjective experience of all those who came before me and lived long enough to procreate yet, all the while, rejecting my own real and uniquely accessible history going back over three millennia!

How and why my ancestors lived is explicitly laid out in the Torah, the Talmud and the extensive oral tradition. Today’s tears are tears of grief and regret over having intentionally denied myself and my children “of pleasant and informing experiences.” That is, I denied me and my children the possibility of having been in-formed, of allowing us to be formed within a known, comprehensible and even a reassuring context. I’m not sure, but I suspect that those who grow up in modernity “in-formed” with such traditions can navigate more surely the river of life in the many dimensions in which we all must navigate.

Much of modern anxiety, an attribute of our times I think,  derives from not only the increasing pace of the current of the river of our lives but also from the absence of landmarks and other navigational aids which culture – including knowledge of history – used to provide. As did I, our culture is about the business of ignoring or revising history. Doing so, in my experience, is a grievous error.

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The Immorality of Trump

Is there a difference between political morals and personal morals?

When the ramping up and campaigning began in 2015, I was dismayed to see Donald Trump in the top half of the candidates who announced.   I perceived him as a bombastic arrogant New Yorker of low morals.   Is that an unfair characterization?

Well, bombastic and arrogant seem undebated; even his fans acknowledge that, and New Yorker seems not to be considered a drawback; he won lots of Southern votes.   What I want to address in this post is related to the way his fans call him an “honorable man” and a “principled man.”   Well, perhaps, but with qualifications.

Sexual Morality

Remember the “Access Hollywood” tape?   Journalists thought it would be an “October Surprise,” but in fear that they would be scooped (they had been holding it back for many months) they rolled it out in mid-September of 2016.   It made no difference to the polling numbers.   This puzzled journalists who knew that Evangelicals’ support was key to Trump’s base.   They had expected the Trump campaign to wilt.   The NeverTrump pundits were even more distressed than Leftist journalists.   They faulted the journalists who broke the story for not waiting until mid-October to drop their October Surprise.

We remarked at the time that it was old news.   Evangelical voters had already absorbed the understanding of Trump’s sexual immorality, and had decided to support his candidacy anyhow.   When the Nevers railed at “rationalizing” and said it was “immoral” to support such an immoral man, we brushed them off.   Our response was “but Hillary.”   The choice was clear.

And there was no question about the immorality of Donald Trump.   He had famously bragged about adulterous affairs with “top women” who were wives of “A-list” men whose names you would recognize.   He clearly had been planning to take up a wife number three at the very time he was planning the wedding with wife number two.   There were rumors of other affairs besides the ones he bragged about.   He said rude things.   He implied in the “Access Hollywood” tape that he was willing to take advantage of his star status to treat women badly.   He was uncouth.   He made reckless accusations in obvious bad faith.

Nevertheless, we chose to support Donald Trump.   He won the Republican nomination on the strength of support among Evangelical voters.   By the time the fall campaign season neared the debates, the revelation of the Access Hollywood tape was only one additional piece of evidence for an aspect of Mr. Trump that was already well known.   And the emotional distress of the Nevers over that issue was revealing of their true position.   Their failure to see that other issues were more important and more relevant was indicative that their moral values did not match our moral values.   Though they are mostly not Christian, they clamored about Trump’s sexual immorality.   They invoked Biblical teachings.

Though we are Christians and promote conservative teachings about sexual morality, we brushed aside their histrionics and continued to support Donald Trump, the unapologetic serial adulterer who famously opined that he felt no need to seek forgiveness.

Does this mean, as the Nevers say, that we have “jettisoned morality”?

No.  It only means that we made a different political calculation than they did.

Political calculus

I don’t care how many times the Nevers stamp their feet and shout that the choice in November of 2016 “was not binary,” that election was a choice between only two outcomes.   But it does beg the question:  why were Evangelicals determined to keep Hillary out of the White House?   Even if that left only one choice, to vote for an immoral man?

With the choice set before us, we chose to support immoral Trump over “moral” Hillary.

So now to explain.   Many of us would question that Hillary Clinton is “more moral” than D.J. Trump.   We are considering the entire range of personal morality, and not just sexual morality.   There are many aspects to the human moral condition.   Perhaps it is appropriate to weigh different vices and virtues differently when making political decisions.

Morals

One of the reasons that western civilization always prized Socrates, Plato and Aristotle was because they were exploring what makes something a virtue and what makes something a vice.   They were looking for a way to make distinctions between good and bad human behaviors, and this became the foundation of western philosophy.

It would have been far better to have grounded western philosophy in Solomon, for the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord.   This may not be commonly recognized as it once was in America, but this is common to us Evangelical voters.   We use the Bible as our source for moral learning.   (As the universities embraced modern post-Enlightenment thinking, there was a deliberate shift of philosophy away from the Bible and to a line of thinking that is more directly descended from the Pagan philosophers.   Ethics for business and journalists is a field that draws on the language of philosophy and not on religious language.   When journalists hear terms they think are religious, they think “dog whistle.”)

We Evangelical voters recognize all sorts of aspects to human morality.   Chastity, Temperance, Charity, Diligence, Patience, Kindness, and Humility were the classical “Seven Virtues” of Christian antiquity.   To those can be added Courage, Justice, Prudence, Faith, and Hope.   They come down to us through the generations.

While we may commonly recognize President Trump as lacking in chastity, prudence, temperance, humility and faith, we also thought he had shown a solid core when it comes to courage, diligence, and justice.   We see this in opposition to his 2016 opponent, Ms. Hillary Clinton.   We think of her as lacking in courage (triangulation and focus-group testing and scapegoating provide the evidence there).   We think of her as lacking a sense of justice (her attacks on Bill’s bimbos is recalled).   She showed a lack of both faith and courage, plus a lack of trustworthiness (which is an aspect of justice), when she disallowed a military response to Benghazi.   Her e-mail scandal, plus the baggage of many scandals from the Obama Administration, counted against her as moral failings.

This sort of evaluation did not necessarily leave us with a sense of balance, but it did leave us with a sense that there were other factors in the political decision that could outweigh Mr. Trump’s moral failings.

Fear

I posted this past weekend about the fears of Evangelical voters.   These have been very badly mischaracterized by Leftists in journalism, religion and politics.   The fear that a Hillary Administration would crush individual liberties was paramount in the consideration of many Evangelical voters.

We did not look to Donald Trump as some sort of spiritual savior.   We did see in Candidate Trump a clear alternative to the Party of Death and Mrs. Clinton.   We were far more concerned with fears that a renewed Democrat Administration could kick the final props out from under western civilization.   That would not endanger our salvation, but it would deprive our grandchildren of liberty.

We made the right choice.

President Trump has exceeded our expectations.   And, every day when I get up in the morning, Hillary is not my president.

Progress

I had been thinking about this when I stumbled across a post at R>.   (I was browsing there in the wake of their banning of our friend Ms. Hypatia.)   The interesting post was by one of their popular Catholic ladies.

She posted to describe how she has turned 180 degrees around in her thinking, just in the past year.   She was an ardent NeverTrumper all through the campaign, and for the first half of 2017.   In the past year she has experienced a complete change of thinking.   She posted to describe her thoughts, and to say that, though reluctantly, she now supports President Trump, and, in fact, strongly supports President Trump.

Her reasoning is that the ascendency of the Left is endangering western civilization to a far greater extent than she had previously realized.   The revelations of how deeply entrenched the Deep State is in the Department of Justice, the FBI and other agencies shocked her into looking more carefully at the threat within, and the hysterical groupthink swarming of Leftist mass media, with their transparent lies, confirmed for her that the pro-Trump conservatives were actually on the right track.

Here are delightful excerpts:

I’ve had to revise practically all my opinions. Maybe the outward civility and personal rectitude of people like George W., Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and Marco Rubio actually were a liability. Maybe “principled politicians” like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz really are insufferable and out of touch. Maybe we needed a crude, narcissistic president to make headway in a crude, narcissistic culture. And maybe Trump’s not as bad a person as I’d thought. Maybe he does have some core principles and values down there somewhere, under all the bluster and mess. In any case, he’s getting stuff done, and his media-baiting has served the good purpose of exposing their extreme bias, thank God.

His enemies have proven to be far worse than I’d imagined. I knew Obama was a covert narcissist and a leftist ideologue, a Marxist even. I knew he was governed by an evil worldview that saw America as needing to be taken down some pegs, while peoples marginalized by colonialism were given a leg up. I knew he’d set out to be the great un-Reagan and un-Churchill. He had a Saul Alinskite political MO: ends justify whatever means; isolate a target (like marriage) and destroy it. Pose as high-minded, even-keeled, and above the fray, while really being deeply nasty and harboring contempt for American institutions and the rule of law. And oppose all things Judeo-Christian and conservative, except insofar as they provide a handy cover for a leftist social justice agenda. I knew his appointees were bad guys — either ideologues like him, corrupt opportunists, or both.

But even I couldn’t have believed it was  this bad — that the Justice Department and the FBI would shamelessly deploy the awesome tools of their trade to destroy Trump and elect Clinton, that the mainstream media would openly abandon even the pretense of objectivity to become flagrant propagandists while demanding the deference due to true reporters, that it would become almost impossible to have a conversation with an anti-Trumper (since to defend him is to be instantly shunned as a racist and a fascist), that so many of our institutions would be so decimated so fast.

It’s weird and ironic, but true: our best hope for national salvation lies in rallying round Trump.

I’m back with Rush and Drudge and Ricochet. I’m practically stalking Mark Steyn and Victor Davis Hansen. Now it’s David French and Jonah Goldberg I can hardly stand to read. Forget about  Commentary and  The Weekly Standard. How can they not see what’s really going on here?  Who  cares how sleazy and corrupt Trump and his inner circle have been over the years? It’s nothing, just nothing, in comparison with the depth and extent of the corrosion at the heart of things in Washington DC. If we care about our country, we’ll make electing Republicans this November our top priority.

And then the capper came in the comments:

Why is Donald Trump the only person capable of saving the Republic?

Because he happens to be the President right now, and if he’s impeached, the corrupt DoJ and FBI plus their media sycophants will be vindicated and strengthened. Pence will be horribly weakened. The already divided Republicans will be more demoralized and divided, plus alienated from the voters. If he’s strengthened, on the other hand, he will be in a great position to clean house, plus do lots of other good stuff. Weak-kneed Republicans will be more likely to come on board, etc.  I’ll have hope that America can actually be turned back around.

With good moral devout Catholic married white female Nevers like her coming around to a full-throated energetic support for President Trump, I am taking heart and renewing hope that we can forestall the collapse of western civilization for a few more years.

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Fraidy Cat Evangelicals

There is a Liberal strain of Evangelicalism that gets a lot of favorable coverage in Leftist Mass Media.   They are both political liberals and theological liberals.   The thing that makes them popular with Big Media is the way their spokespersons use credentials as “Christians” to bash American Christianity.   In particular, these are the liberal Evangelicals who are Democrats who oppose President Trump, and they oppose Christians who support President Trump.   So we are at the intersection of religion and politics and the culture war.   Lamestream media promote Leftist Christians as a way to drive a wedge between President Trump and his base.

I am writing to address one particular thing that gets said by liberal “Christians.”   I saw it recently on several Leftist blogs, where they were riffing on coverage of the release of a new book.   It did not generate much in the way of media coverage, primarily because Big Media was chasing Mueller investigation squirrels and Charlottesville anniversary racism squirrels.   However, I thought it worth addressing because we have seen it before and we will see it again.

Fear

The topic was “Fear.”   It was said that 81 percent of ‘Evangelical Voters’ had been motivated to vote for Donald Trump by fear.

Well, I agree, but, I strongly disagree with the things that were said.   Some of the things that were said are that the Evangelicals who support President Trump are “mean” “selfish” “racist;” you know, all the usual Leftist blather.   But stick with me and eventually I will get around to a theological point.

The book this time is Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump, by John Fea, who is a liberal Evangelical and a history professor.   Last month The Atlantic ran a long feature by Fea.   Near the top, the professor gets to spiritual issues:

Moses told the Israelites to “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today.” The Hebrew God told Job: “At the destruction and famine you shall laugh, and shall not fear the beasts of the earth.” The Psalmist wrote: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.”

The Gospel of John teaches Christians that “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” St. Luke writes: “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

Despite all these scriptural passages, it is still possible to write an entire history of American evangelicalism as the story of a people failing miserably at overcoming fear with hope, trust, and faith in their God. But it is also possible to find evangelicals, drawing deeply from Christian theological resources, who sought to forge an alternative history.

Fea then launches into a diatribe, reviewing historical points to trash American Evangelicals of the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.   He grinds the ax of how American Evangelicals were fearful anti-intellectual xenophobic racists.   After too many words, he wrapped that up with remarks about racist fear of Obama, and homophobic opposition to SSM.   He pivots to current times with this:

After a recent lecture on Trump and his evangelical supporters, a woman approached me at the lectern and identified herself as an evangelical who voted for Trump. “I am part of the 81 percent,” she said, “but what choice did I have?” I have heard something similar many times from evangelicals who voted for Trump.

He gives a brief review of the Hillary campaign, and then brings out the big trope:

Ironically, some evangelicals have found a savior. They sought after Trump, he answered them, and he delivered them from all their fears.

But other evangelical options are available. Evangelicals are people of hope, not fear. The practice of Christian hope points us to a life beyond this world, but it also requires us to act in such a way that models God’s coming kingdom. The Kingdom of God is characterized by the love of enemies, the welcoming of strangers, the belief in the human dignity of all people, a humble and self-sacrificial posture toward public life, and a trust in the sovereign God of the universe. Fear is a natural human response to social change, but evangelicals betray their deepest spiritual convictions when they choose to dwell in it.

This is a conflation of fears.   Throughout this essay he does what we have seen so often before.   He is mixing up spiritual fear with worldly fear.

Spiritual fear is fear of eternity.   In death there are two directions for your soul to take.   Eternal rest with Jesus, or else eternity in the place that is without God.   Christians can look forward to eternity in the full confidence that the spiritual debt they owe has been paid in full because they have been adopted into the family of God.   There is hope in the blood of Jesus there, and no spiritual fear.

Worldly fear is the fear of bad outcomes in this life.   For most white American Christians this does not mean fear of bad guys in the neighborhood.   That may be a real fear for some, but, politically, that is a law-and-order, justice system issue.   There was a great deal of fearmongering over this issue, but little of the Trump vote in 2016 was manifested as votes for personal safety.

Rather, these votes were for a secure future for children and grandchildren.   The fear was that America would descend into chaos.   First, in rough neighborhoods in blue cities that foolishly degrade and impede their own police forces.   But, later, nationally, as our overextended economy collapses into a new Depression.   These are thoroughly worldly fears.   They are genuine fears, and they are not much related to spiritual matters.

Further to the worldly fears of Evangelical Voters, we feared that the Democrat Party will transform America in an ugly way that will dismantle our free exercise of our traditionalist Christian religion.   We remembered that Hillary said that traditionalist religion “will have to change.”   She was running to become the theologian in chief.

Evangelical Vote for a Sinner

We preferred to vote for a flawed man with the baggage of a past history of sexual sins.   He was pledging to preserve religious liberty.   Our concern was not for our salvation, but for the ability of our grandchildren to live openly as Christians.   They may be saved by the blood of Jesus, but they may find themselves enjoying their spiritual freedom from the confines of a gulag.

It is Democrats who have made Christian business owners in blue states into second-class citizens.   It is Democrats who have threatened Christian colleges and high schools with a loss of accreditation.   It is Democrats who have forced the promotion of sin and forced our children to celebrate sexual sin in public schools.   It is Democrats who have said that traditionalist Christians should not be allowed to hold public office.   It is Democrats who have demonized any personality who has publicly lobbied for limits on abortion.   It is Democrats who promote euthanasia.   It is Democrats who pressed federal meddling into state and local bathrooms.   It is Democrats who deny real data-based science about the climate.   It is Democrats who deny the science of embryology as they promote abortion.   It is Democrats who corrupted the social sciences and humanities with anti-Western and anti-Christian activism.

So, yes, we fear the Party of Death.   They are anti-police, anti-law, anti-justice, anti-religious, anti-Christian and anti-American.   They are the Party that booed God.

We did not elect Donald Trump because we see him as some kind of spiritual savior.   We elected Donald Trump to postpone the day when the Left triumphs and dismantles Western Civilization.   That will be a dark day for everyone, not just for Christians.   Our concerns that led us to vote for Donald Trump were temporal, not eternal.

But they are very real and valid concerns.   Though they are not spiritual fears, the fears are well-founded.   That does not make us “fearful;” it means we have grave concerns that we express as “fears.”   There is a big difference.

Conflating theological concerns with worldly concerns is a deliberate attack on weak-minded Christians, intended to sew confusion and doubt among believers.   They impute to our support for our flawed champion a support of his past sins.   They called us “immoral” for voting for “immoral Trump.”

They are not being honest, which is their habit.   Leftists have always been liars.

Trust Jesus, and trust your instincts.   You knew you could not vote for Hillary.   However much they harangue you with President Trump’s personal faults, just remember that we are not putting our faith in President Trump for spiritual guidance.   The trust we place in President Trump is strictly worldly.   And he has proved to be surprisingly worthy of our trust, far exceeding our expectations.   President Trump should be rewarded with our full support.   He has worked hard to deliver on his campaign promises, rewarding our votes with a political delivery that is unlike anything we have seen in our lifetimes.

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Colorado v Christians

The process is the punishment.   Just a couple of weeks after the Supreme Court ended a six-year legal ordeal, the Human Rights Commission of the State of Colorado has started a new investigation of Jack Phillips the Christian Baker who owns the Masterpiece Cakeshop.

The complainant is a transgender person, who requested a birthday cake to celebrate “the 7th-year anniversary of my transition from male to female.”

Now this is harassment of a businessman for trying to exercise his traditionalist Christianity in his shop.   Even though the legal fees will be donated, this man has spent six years of time in a stressful series of hearings, interviews, interrogations, depositions, and other miscellaneous court proceedings, plus time spent with his own legal team.   He has been facing bankruptcy the entire time as the weight of the State of Colorado makes it difficult for him to tend to his family and his business.

When Leftists scoff that Christians are not under threat in America, Jack Phillips is exhibit A of the rebuttal.    He has just filed for a federal injunction against the Colorado Human Rights Commission.

“Colorado continues its practice of treating Phillips worse than other cake artists because it despises his religious beliefs and how he practices his faith,” the lawsuit claims.


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Eve and the Snake

I went with my husband to his lovely 150-year-old Episcopal church, St. Paul’s, this morning for Mass. I’m Catholic, but we both go to each other’s churches frequently, and we know many Catholic-Episcopal couples who do the same.

After Mass at coffee hour  we chatted with Cathy, a spry 81-year old lady who was coming to St. Paul’s for the first time in about 30 years — she’s been attending an Episcopal church closer to where she lives, but that parish has a priest who, after about 2 years there, has gradually done away with a number of their time-honored bake sales, special services and events, and instead is talking non-stop about social justice and how white people have to acknowledge their inherent racism. Cathy said it’s driving her and a number of her friends away, and she was hoping St. Paul’s was different; she’d heard Fr. Daniel is an upbeat, traditional young man with a friendly wife and four little children, which I can attest is true. Cathy says she’ll be coming back now to St. Paul’s.

Later at home my husband reminded me he’d heard a similar story from a friend who plays the organ at yet another lovely little Episcopal church a half hour away. That church too has a rather newly-hired priest who, our organist friend says, has eliminated their beautiful traditional music, changed the service and is also vocal  about social justice. The organist is actively searching for a new position in a  church that appreciates the beauty of traditional sacred music.

I remember when the priest before Fr. Daniel was hired at St. Paul’s (Episcopal parishes interview and hire their own priests when there is a vacancy.) That priest also went along for a year or two with the traditions in the parish, then slowly started to bend or weed out traditional things that some parishioners were quite fond of, and a number of people left the congregation as a result. There were several Masses I attended back then that had distinctly social justice-flavored sermons, and I visited much less frequently as those sermons became the norm.

I shake my head sadly when I think of this: all three of these Episcopal social justice warrior priests are women. And I think a snake has taken up residence in the seminary.

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What if all focused on giving and receiving Joy?

Right now, it seems like all the forces are focused on bringing anger to the world. Imagine if each of us, instead of worrying about what others are doing wrong, spent all that energy focused on bringing Joy to others. Imagine, when someone tries to bring joy to us, we are able to actually accept it.

It is easier to focus on what is wrong. It is easier to hate another, and to be honest, to hate what we don’t like about ourselves. Our brains look for what is going off, so we can protect. But if we charge around in protection mode all the time, we are not doing more than just staying alive. It is not living and thriving.

I am going to try to focus on giving Joy and Receiving it more. I need God to help me on this one.


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Media v Evangelicals 2018 part 7

Things have been sort of quiet since my last installment in this series, what with our mass media consumed 24/7 by Trump, Russians, Mueller, Manafort, and Michael Cohen. However there were a few items that might have slipped your notice.

A historian had a book tour. Eerdmans Publishing hooked John Fea up with a tour to promote Believe Me: The Evangelical Road To Donald Trump. This got a mild round of approving articles in the usual spaces. The book is evidently pretty dry, because if it had any juice he would have been treated to a higher-profile tour.

An evangelical Christian himself, Fea argues that the embrace of Donald Trump is the logical outcome of a long-standing evangelical approach to public life defined by the politics of fear, the pursuit of worldly power, and a nostalgic longing for an American past.  As insightful as it is timely, Fea’s  Believe Me  challenges Christians to replace fear with hope, the pursuit of power with humility, and nostalgia with history.

The book is loaded with all the old slanders against traditionalist Christians from the 18th century as well as more recent slanders. I can tell this from reviews, comments and an interview with the author; I have not read the book. It has become tedium that mass media like to pass along repetitive instances of liberal “Christians” criticizing traditionalist Christians using Bible passages.

Along that same line there was a book by a liberal Evangelical pastor named Rob Schenck, who told his personal testimony about how he converted from pro-life to pro-abortion. SSDD.

I saw a few new articles from some of my favorites about the press’s general ignorance of religion and religious issues. They are clueless and it shows. Sometimes their ignorance is good for a laugh.

The most recent instance of note was a long feature in the Washington Post. It is a profile of the Trump voters in a Baptist church in Alabama.

The presidency of Donald Trump has created unavoidable moral dilemmas not just for the members of First Baptist in Luverne but for a distinct subset of Christians who are overwhelmingly white, overwhelmingly evangelical and more uniformly pro-Trump than any other part of the American electorate.”

Gee, well, I suppose we can guess where this one is headed, can’t we?

So of course it is larded with the buzzwords you would expect. “Awkwardness” “predicament,” “self-reflection” and “compromising” give way to “whiffing on the big moral questions.” Problematic race history issues in the Southern Baptist Church are dredged up, just to whip up the outragey feels of this mess. Along the way is mixed in a journalism smattering of local color quotes of country Baptist people saying Christian things and saying country things and commenting on President Trump.

In a really nice turn, the reporter (Stephanie McCrummen) gave some space to a member who gave a great statement that is perhaps representative:

There was Terry Drew, who sat in the seventh pew on the left side, who knew and agreed with Trump’s position, and knew that supporting him involved a blatant moral compromise.

I hate it,” he said. “My wife and I talk about it all the time. We rationalize the immoral things away. We don’t like it, but we look at the alternative, and think it could be worse than this.”

The only way to understand how a Christian like him could support a man who boasted about grabbing women’s crotches, Terry said, was to understand how he felt about the person Trump was still constantly bringing up in his speeches and who loomed large in Terry’s thoughts: Hillary Clinton, whom Terry saw as “sinister” and “evil” and “I’d say, of Satan.”

She hates me,” Terry said, sitting in [Pastor] Crum’s office one day. “She has contempt for people like me, … and people who love God and believe in the Second Amendment. I think if she had her way it would be a dangerous country for the likes of me.”

Way to go, Washington Post. Him who has ears, let him hear. You may mock and scoff at these rubes all you like, but they see clearly what the Nevers on the Coast missed by a mile.

This long feature has a sub-plot about Pastor Crum preaching a series on the Ten Commandments, with a buildup to his sermon on Adultery. In the end the reporter was disappointed, as her readers will be, that Pastor Crum did not preach about President Trump. But in the end I think this feature is worth reading, with a very uneven mix of quotes from parishioners. In the early going I thought it was going to be simply another hit job, but it is better than that. You can still tell that the viewpoint of these simple Christians is foreign to the reporter and her organization.

I will put links in the comments. One link will be to media criticism of a Frank Bruni editorial in the New York Times, in which he describes what a dangerous ogre the theocrat Mike Pence is, on account of he believes things that traditionalist Christians always believed. Typical.


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TOTD 2018-07-27: The Limits of Religious Freedom

Religious freedom is a powerful and vital right.  More than any other right, it dethrones the State, placing it subordinate to the conscience of the individual and the Supreme Being he chooses to acknowledge.   This is why the Left cannot stand it – they cannot bear the competition.  Only the Party and the State  can define meaning – in essence, they want to establish Leftism as State religion, and block the free exercise of any other faith.  Social Justice is indeed a jealous god, wrathful and merciless.

That said, there are limits to religious freedom.  You cannot claim that heinous crimes are justified by your religion and expect to get away with it – no sacrificing children to Moloch (unless they are aborted fetuses).  You need some degree of common sense restrictions – you cannot form the Church of Rockso and claim tax exemption along with having cocaine consumption as a sacrament.  This is all common knowledge.

Now for a tougher situation.  The Church of Scientology is a fairly small, but extremely rich organization.  It does not acknowledge a supreme being, nor does engage in much charitable activity.  More than anything else, it resembles a corrupt business selling self-help techniques, while using mental manipulation to control its members.  The abuses and cruelties of this organization have been well-documented – there are numerous books, a documentary movie, and even a TV series.

When the Church of Scientology is challenged, they run behind their tax exempt status, which was obtained by a relentless campaign of harassment against the IRS.  Eventually, the IRS bowed down before Scientology and its sociopathic leader, granting them a tax exemption.  So now the IRS is cast as official arbiter of whether or not some group is a religion.   While there is discussion that Donald Trump and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin have some interest in changing this, Scientology regularly swats away lawsuits  with the stamp of approval they extorted from the US government.  How do we work to break the power of this vile organization, without jeopardizing all religious freedom.

If that was a thorny issue, this one is acid-coated razor wire.  Political Islam is very tightly related with religious Islam, and Political Islam is blatantly incompatible with Western democracy.  Yet there are vast numbers of Muslims who like the good life in the US, and do not want to make women wear sacks and decapitate everyone who disagrees.   On the other hand, we see the continuing problem of Sudden Jihad Syndrome.  Some scumbag watches some ISIS videos online, then decides to kill as many people as possible.

I understand that some people here think all Muslims need to be expelled from the US.  I have had close co-workers who are practicing Muslims, and other Muslim acquaintances (even a guy named Jihad!) and I just can’t square kicking all of them out  (much less killing them) with freedom of religion.  CAIR and the various other terrorist-hugging mounds of porcine excrement certainly should get treated as enemy agents.  I want people facing treason charges and similar treatment to Nazi agents in WWII.  That still leaves a lot of people who follow Mecca Islam (to use Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s phrase) and have no real interest in decapitation.  Do we need to toss them out?  Hell, the Left hates us more than ISIS does.  Can we trust that they would not expel Evangelicals if they had the chance?

That said, we do need to be mindful of the people following Medina Islam, and who are inclined to dominate or destroy us.  How do we address this problem?


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LGBTQ routs Catholics in Boston

The Catholic Diocese of Boston has quietly conceded defeat and did not put up a fight.   The St. Patrick’s Day Parade of Boston is now a green copy of the Gay Pride Parade.   The triumphant Mayor Walsh has just installed the leader of the front group he created as leader of parade arrangements for the 2019 parade.   When I search for “St. Patrick’s Day Parade” at the diocesan website, there are no results.

BOSTON – MARCH 15: Massachusetts Congressman Seth Moulton marches with OUTVETS, a non-profit that highlights the rights and contributions of LGBTQ veterans, active service members, and their families. Long snubbed gay rights groups finally marched in South Boston’s famed St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 15, 2015. Because of this inclusion, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and other politicians chose to march for the first time in support. (Photo by Dina Rudick/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

The group OUTVETS was formed in 2014 by Walsh for the purpose of forcing an LBTQ presence into the parade.   Here is an excerpt from a recent press release by the Catholic Action League:

The Catholic Action League of Massachusetts today renewed its call to remove the name of Saint Patrick from the Evacuation Day/Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston. Yesterday, the organizers of the parade—the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council—announced that they had hired Bryan Bishop, the CEO of the homosexual organization OUTVETS, as the Director of Parade Operations. This decision means that Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, will now, effectively, control the parade.

OUTVETS was created in July, 2014 as part of Mayor Walsh’s campaign to force parade organizers to admit homosexual groups to the line of march. It was the third such contrivance fabricated for this purpose since 1992. Since 2015, OUTVETS has been marching in the parade with banners identifying their sexual behavior.

In 1995, the Veterans Council, under the leadership of the late John J. “Wacko” Hurley, and represented by Attorney Chester Darling, won a hard fought, 9-0 victory before the United States Supreme Court in Hurley v. GLIB, a decision which affirmed the constitutional right of parade organizers to control the message and content of their own parade.

During the 2013 Boston mayoral election, however, then State Representative Walsh promised homosexual activists that, if elected, he would compel the Veterans Council to reverse their position. Shortly after taking office in January, 2014, Walsh began a campaign of intimidation which included threats to boycott the parade, threats to withhold city permits, claims that the Boston Police could not prevent violent disruptions of the parade, and personally shouting, in a public forum, threats and obscenities at parade marshal Phil Wuschke.

In December 2014, with Hurley infirm and absent, a minority on the Veterans Council, led by former Boston police officer Brian Mahoney, and current City Councilor Ed Flynn, seized control of the organization and colluded with Walsh to admit OUTVETS. Flynn would be elected to the City Council in 2015 with support from allies of the mayor.

For many decades the theme of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade could be characterized as “Irish heritage + American values + Catholic religion.”

Currently the parade theme is better characterized as “Irish heritage + triumphant anti-Christian sexual confusion.”


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Detective time: can you find the lie?

I came across this New York Times article about abortion and wanted to show it to you. It is by somebody named Cindi Leivi and it is called, “Let’s Talk About My Abortion (and Yours).”

If you like playing detective, I’d like you to read it, and to try to find the lie that I see. The lie I’m referring to is a big lie, actually, but if you’re not paying attention you might breeze right past it. So think carefully as you read. I will put the lie below. Here is a hint: it appears in the first half of the essay. Continue reading “Detective time: can you find the lie?”


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Media v Evangelicals, 2018 part 6

I recently posted about events in the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting. This was not a media-generated thing; it was a genuine grass-roots uprising that gained strength after the Washington Post took it up. It cannot be considered a media-fueled problem. However, it is worth noting that Baptist media lean left and helped push a Progressive into the office of President of the Southern Baptist Convention.

I suppose the lesson there is that journalists lean left, even when they work for theologically conservative publications.

And now to continue my periodic reviews of the ongoing media campaign against theologically conservative Christians. The Trump era has seen the media focus on Evangelicals. Well, these things go in cycles, I suppose. I am not alleging any conspiracy; it is just that journalists think alike and are prone to groupthink and herd mentality. Also, they swarm like piranha when they think they smell blood in the water, so if there is any appearance of a potential issue that could be used to wedge President Trump away from his Evangelicals base, they dive in and start muckraking with great energy.

The New York Times published a feature/ exposé/ hit piece that focused on David Brody and the Christian Broadcasting Network. Their article is one of those anthropological looks at the primitives who voted for President Trump. Rather than give a link to their execrable site, you can learn stuff you didn’t already know by checking out the review by my favorite media critics:

https://www.getreligion.org/getreligion/2018/5/14/old-news-the-new-york-times-discovers-david-brody-and-cbns-niche-audience-power

The New York Times thinks of David Brody as a special “kind of PR man,” as Terry Mattingly put it in his review of their article. But Brody is just a good reporter, doing good reporting, who happens to enjoy great access to the Trump White House because his reporting is favorable instead of hostile. Mostly his reporting is neutral, but the mass media “Opposition Party” coverage of Trump and the Trump Administration has been so hostile that neutral looks like favorable to both them and President Trump.

Well, gee whiz, of course Christians are tuned into Christian niche media. That is because mass media is an anti-Christian swamp of Leftism.

Pro-Trump Evangelicals only get traction in Christian niche media. Here is an example that is worth your while:

https://www.onenewsnow.com/church/2018/05/27/evangelical-leaders-trump-is-generations-most-faith-friendly-pres

You can contrast that with another hit piece. This one is an LA Times op ed about Evangelical churches are leaner and meaner, bloc voting in ways that overmatch the “nones”; The LA Times is distressed that the “none of the above religion” crowd doesn’t pull more weight at the ballot box.

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-sager-loskota-evangelical-20180531-story.html

And here is a newspaper editorial that takes offense. They are handwringing because Christian niche media exists.

http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/op-ed/article211899489.html

Also, Leftist mass media continued to promote and celebrate liberal “Christians” who whine and complain about traditionalists who actually believe the Bible and try to live accordingly. Last month I wrote about the coverage of an anti-traditionalist group of liberal “Red Letter Christians” and their “Reclaiming Jesus” manifesto. Coverage continued, fueled partly because several of the signers went on tours to promote their latest books.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/christian-leaders-call-out-the-heresy-of-trumpism/2018/05/23/00f026c2-5eb5-11e8-9ee3-49d6d4814c4c_story.html?utm_term=.e8ae950ca3a9

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/23/us/anti-trump-evangelicals-lynchburg.html

 

Here are two very different Christian reactions to “Reclaiming Jesus”

https://www.onenewsnow.com/church/2018/05/21/religious-lingo-a-misguided-effort-to-erode-trumps-evangelical-base

https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/2018/05/26/christian-crowd-vows-to-reclaim-jesus-from-polarized-u-s/

And there was a press release from Gallup with polling on Evangelical voters. There was a small amount of media coverage, but I didn’t see anything worth sharing. Here is Gallup’s blog post.

http://news.gallup.com/opinion/polling-matters/235208/things-know-evangelicals-america.aspx

Every now and then we remark about how Leftism is a religion. Journalists have polled as 85 percent or so “no religion” or Atheist in surveys. But they are not irreligious. They are Leftists. It should not be surprising that, once the fig leaf of neutrality is pulled away, their naked hostility to traditionalist religions is on display.


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Southern Baptist Story 2018

A few weeks ago we learned that the Social Justice Warrior element in the Southern Baptist Convention is much more powerful than we had thought. The Southern Baptist Convention is hugely influential on the population of “Evangelical voters,” so all of us have an interest in this unsettling development.

Paige Patterson was dismissed from his job as head of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He was caught up in the #MeToo-for-Evangelicals excitement. In part, the fallout from anti-Patterson social media activism resulted in the election of J.D. Greear as the new President of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The events of the past two months were the culmination of a campaign that began in 2014. Paige Patterson gave a speech to the Awaken Conference that year. Awaken Conference is a youth conference. There was immediate push-back against Patterson’s sermon. The chattering went around and around in Baptist circles on the internet, and triggered a build-up that prompted a number of women to start dishing about slights from Paige Patterson.

The story had legs. It turned out that Paige Patterson has very old-fashioned ideas about complementarianism, which in part are reactionary to modern feminism. In that 2014 sermon, he brought up the translation of the Hebrew words used in Genesis for God making the man, and making the woman. The verbs are different words. The word used for God making the woman is a word that implies care of construction details and aesthetics.

I didn’t need to learn Hebrew to figure that out, either,” Patterson quipped.

He went on to tell a story about an angry woman who had just heard him speak who was “giving me what for” while her teenage son and a friend stood nearby.

About that time, a very attractive young co-ed walked by,” Patterson said. “She wasn’t more than about 16, but let me just say that she was nice.”

Thinking nobody was paying attention, Patterson said, the son commented to his friend, “Man, is she built.”

In the middle of the sentence she stopped, wheeled around, slapped a hand over his mouth, loosened his teeth and said ‘Young man, don’t you ever say anything like that again,’” Patterson said. “If you do, I’ll mop up the face of the earth with you.”

Patterson took it as an opportunity. “I said, ‘Ma’am, leave him alone,’” he said. “He is just being biblical. That’s exactly what the Bible says.”

It might help to understand that Paige Patterson was one of the leaders of the “conservative purge” that began in 1979 and continued through the 1980s in the Southern Baptist Convention. Since he is known as a conservative leader he makes an attractive target for the liberals.

His remarks were called “unbiblical” and “misogynistic.” They went around the internet, gathering steam, building an anti-Patterson movement. Then women started to tell stories about Patterson slighting women’s complaints about sexual harassment on campus that they alleged had not been treated properly by Patterson. Evidently he was like lots of administrators, a little too concerned about his institution, and perhaps not concerned enough about females, especially if he thought they had sort of invited bad behavior on the part of men.

But more stories came out, and more women got riled. The most damning of all was when a former student from when Patterson was at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary went to the Washington Post with her story from 2003. The Washington Post put two very capable, and hostile, female reporters on the story. They reported from the point of view of the women on full outragey attack mode against Patterson and all theologically conservative Baptists and the Southern Baptist Convention. This was not a media-generated problem for Patterson or for the Southern Baptist Convention, but Big Media attention did add a lot of pressure.

Their reporting is actually very good:

Then this spring came the case of a former Southeastern student named Megan Lively, who was 24 in 2003 when she says she was assaulted by a man she had been dating. She told The Washington Post that Patterson encouraged her not to report the incident to the police and to forgive her alleged assailant. A few days later, Southwestern trustees cited a second incident in 2015. Trustee Board Chairman Kevin Ueckert, in a June 1 statement, alleged that a Southwestern female student reported to Patterson that she had been raped, and police were called. “But in connection with that allegation,” Ueckert wrote, Patterson emailed campus security — Ueckert said trustees saw that email — and “discussed meeting with the student alone so that he could ‘break her down.’ ”

On June 4, Patterson’s attorney, Shelby Sharpe, released what he called a “character defense” that he said he compiled without any input from Patterson, just “as a person, not as his lawyer.” That document cited leaked friendly letters between the 2003 woman and Patterson in the months after the alleged rape, which Sharpe said disproved the idea that there was a rape and that Patterson mishandled it. Sharpe also said Patterson hasn’t been given access to the 2003 documents used to accuse him and hasn’t been able to defend himself. In the 2015 case, Sharpe said Southwestern trustees had seen the “break her down” email before — when rather than fire him they demoted him to president emeritus, with full benefits. He also said that the student had “given several different accounts of her story” and that Patterson “preferred there be no police presence so the young woman would not feel intimidated.”

Of course all this broke just in advance of the Southern Baptist Annual Meeting.

Patterson is out, fired, discredited and became such an embarrassment so quickly that he agreed to withdraw from a scheduled speaking slot at the Annual Meeting.

The Messengers voted 68 percent to give the presidency to a Progressive.

Of course, Baptist media also played a hand. There are several Baptist newspapers and they mostly lean left. The conservatives are making do with blogs and e-newsletters. Many of the Messengers (voting delegates) had never even heard of the conservative candidate, while J.D. Greear has been pumped by Baptist media for over two years (he was second last year to outgoing President Gaines).

In a side note, my favorite media critics noticed that the New York Times ignored the Annual Meeting until after Mike Pence spoke, and they only published then because they could write about the Messengers who voted to disinvite Pence.

The real damage here is limited. The key thing is that the Southern Baptist Convention President appoints members to boards and commissions, so a fresh cohort of liberals will be moving into decisionmaking roles in the Southern Baptist Convention.

I am not a Baptist, and would especially like to hear from any Ratburgher Baptists who would care to comment.


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