Tag Archives: Trump

Are You Sure that All Lives Matter?

I have struggled for the past four years with understanding how so many Christians can support a man with Trump’s moral failings. I’ve been discipled in Christian values my entire life and what I observe with Trump and his followers is foreign to anything I was ever taught about Christian values.

It was pounded into my brain that all Christians cling to a similar set of values, even though we might have differences in theology, religious practices, and lifestyles. I might be a Baptist, and you a Catholic, but our values are the same, even if you don’t eat meat on Friday. We always shared the same values with unknown-tongue talking Pentecostals, Saturday church-going Seventh Day Adventists, and Whiskey-palians (as my father used to call them).

All of us valued love for other people. We might not always act like it, but we all knew that every person had value. This idea of loving all people was so ingrained into us Baptists that we took it upon ourselves to do everything we could to make sure the whole world is saved. We were taught that loving others was important enough that many volunteered to give up their lives to preach the gospel to the four corners of the world, which included even the communists, Chinese, and the savages. Every life has value.

Another value we shared is that certain behaviors are to be avoided. The extent of this depended on your Christian tradition, but I’m thinking of things like sobriety (both alcohol and drugs), speech (for most of us, this included George Carlin’s seven dirty words), honesty (not only in what we say but also how we act), and kindness (don’t be a bully, use your manners). There are certain things Christians do and don’t do because of our values.

Somewhere along the way, culminating in the election of Trump in 2016, Christians are no longer identified by values. We have substituted policies for values. In other words, A Christian is no longer identified by a value like loving others or avoiding certain behaviors. Christians are now known by their political policies. These policies include abortion, restrictive immigration, obtrusive law and order, military dominance, and an overarching economic policy of money is good.

Values no longer matter. Policy is now king. It’s permissible to elect a vulgar, dishonest, hateful, greedy candidate as long as he advocates the correct policies. In fact, I’m amazed at how often I hear people say something like, “I know Trump is a bad (vulgar, despicable, obscene, hateful) man, but I support him because I agree with his policies.”

How many “Christians” have you heard make this statement?

I’m aware that some of you Trumpers are going to call me out because, after all, you do oppose abortion—the ultimate value. Opposing abortion is not a value; it’s a policy. The value is to protect life and being against abortion is one policy that sometimes values life. But not always.

Opposing all abortions is not life-affirming; it can be quite destructive. What about the young couple who are excited about having a child and take all the medical precautions to have a healthy baby, only to learn after five or six months they will have to decide between the mother or the baby, they won’t both survive?

Or, what about the 15-year-old who is raped and gets pregnant? Her family is unwilling or unable to help her. She can take a year out of her life, drop out of school, have a baby she can’t possibly raise, and destine herself and her baby to a life of poverty. Don’t tell me that people will help her. Sure. They drag her into a pregnancy help center, show her some videos and give her a handful of baby clothes to take home, but who’s going to pay the medical bills, provide childcare while she finishes school, supplement her minimum wage job, and be there for emotional support?

Don’t forget the woman who has been told by her doctor that her baby won’t survive more than a few hours after birth and that the infant will have severe painful deformities. Sure, she could have the baby, but who will pay the hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical costs required to try and save the life? How do we affirm the mother’s life after we’ve condemned her to a life of poverty?

These are all hard questions, and fortunately, they are not faced by most of us. But the point is valid—refusing abortions without exception is not always based on valuing life. Anti-abortion is a tool that usually puts value on life, but it’s not the only policy that’s necessary. Refusing to eliminate all abortions does not mean a person doesn’t value life.

The abortion rate has been on a steady decline for decades, even during Democratic administrations. This reduction is occurring while Republicans are waiting for the magic number of Supreme Court Justices to overturn a law. In the meantime, pro-life policies are making an impact. Things like education, birth control provided by insurance, increased support for the poor are all policies that contribute to reducing abortions. Advancements are happening while Republicans are fighting these policies. They don’t want teens to be educated about birth control; they fight against affordable health insurance; they oppose assisting the poor while standing in picket lines in front of abortion clinics wrapped in the righteous robes called, “Right to Life.”

People who refuse to say, “Black Lives Matter,” when it comes to racial issues, ironically refuse to say, “All Lives Matter,” when it comes to issues like abortion, gun control, climate change, immigration, and military superiority. For them, the life of a fetus matters, but the life of the mother doesn’t. The rights of a gun owner matter but the life of a shooting victim doesn’t. The life that wants to drive a gus-guzzler matters but the life of the rest of us on the planet doesn’t. The life of a citizen matters but the life of an immigrant doesn’t. The life of a soldier matters but the life of someone caught in the crossfire doesn’t.

If you want to support a candidate like Trump, that’s fine; it’s your right as an American citizen. But don’t tell me you are doing it because of your Christian values. You’re doing it because of your policies that are not based on Christian values. I’m tired of being insulted because I don’t share your values when the truth is, I don’t share your policies. My values are the same ones we grew up with; you’re the one who changed values.



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Why Hillary Will Lose to Trump

On October 27, 2015, I wrote these words on Facebook:

If I were younger I would be all over this movement Bernie Sanders is initiating. He is not really running for President, he is trying to do much more. It’s all about changing the way things are. If you are under 30, or perhaps even 40, that should appeal to you.

All the other politicians are doing nothing more than complaining about the “other side” or promising to do the same thing only better. Their goal is to get control of the current system.

Sanders comes along and tells us the whole system needs to be replaced – a revolution. If you are a young person and you’re not interested in something like that then something is wrong with you.

I’m not saying you must agree with Sanders on the basic issues, but surely you can see the need for serious change, not just new nameplates on existing desks.

I wrote these words three months before the first primary vote had been cast, before Sanders became a concern for Democratic Party leaders, and certainly before most people had even thought about their vote for the next President.

I’m not claiming to be clairvoyant or even a political expert. There was simply something about Sander’s message that dragged me back to the late 1960’s and early 70’s when my political identity was shaped by war protests, anti-government movements, civil rights demonstrations, and political assassinations.

The premise of Sander’s campaign is that the system is broken and needs to be replaced. All of the rhetoric about health care, tuition-free college, breaking up the banks, etc. simply provides examples of how the system should work. He has pointed out that most (and I mean nearly all) countries with advanced economies reflect these qualities that Americans think are unattainable. Within our current political climate they are unattainable. Continue reading

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Obituary for the Republican Party: 1854-2016

Few people today are aware that the birth of the Republican Party was a movement of anti-slavery activists in the northern states. That statement should cause a few folks to take off their hoods and scratch their heads. This new party was a powerful force in the north from shortly after its birth until 1932 when demographics changed. The party was named for its ancestors from the Revolution and their intense interest in republicanism.

The party grew big and strong, spawning many powerful and influential politicians. The Grand Old Party (GOP as it was nicknamed), provided 18 presidents, among the most notable were Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan. The most recent, and final president was George W. Bush, elected in a fiercely debated election ultimately decided by the Supreme Court.GOP

The Republican Party suffered significant losses under the presidency of Democrat Franklin Roosevelt. His “New Deal” coalition nearly broke the Republican Party, and dramatically changed the political alliances of the entire nation. Minority voters fled to the other party and the strength of the GOP eventually shifted from the industrialized north to the rural south. The Republican Party was the underdog party until the latter half of the 20th century and the election of several Republican presidents.

Ronald Reagan served from 1981 to 1989, and still to this day, Republicans invoke his name at the conclusion of prayers, and when they seek respect from the party faithful. The Republican Party has held strong to conservative values, and frequently claims to own the high ground on moral issues.

However, with the loss of the White House in 2008, the Grand Old Party suffered a serious setback and never recovered. In a touch of irony, the party, which was started by anti-slavery folks, found it unbearable that a black man was now president.

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