Like Button

Saturday, January 27, 2018

News Weakly - 1/27/2018

In Case You Hadn't Heard
A porn star is confirming that Donald Trump cheated on Melania with her. And the people are wondering why conservative Christians are being so quiet.

Now, to me this is not news. Christians (and the rest of the world) knew he was a philanderer before they voted him in. They knew about his "locker room talk" to which he admitted in his crude discussions of women and his views on them. One of the reasons I couldn't vote for the man was because we were all reasonably certain that he was an adulterer, and a man who will cheat on his wife will easily cheat on his nation as well. Why it is that other Christians who are actual Trump supporters are being silent on this is not something I grasp. Is it right to say, "Well, look, he's acting in our best interest in 'these' issues, so we'll keep silent in 'those'"? I think not, but that's between you and your God to decide.

Religious Freedom
A group called the Satanic Temple is suing Missouri because the state's informed consent law requires women to see an ultrasound of her fetus and pledge to read a booklet that states that the "life of every human being begins at conception." Since she does not believe that a non-viable fetus is a human being, her religious freedom was violated and the informed consent law "has essentially established a religious indoctrination program intended to push a single ideological viewpoint."

A couple of thoughts. First, the fact that the life of every human being begins at conception is not a religious ideology; it is medical fact. Second, if anyone is going to win a "religious freedom" argument in court these days, I'd bet it would be this "nontheistic religious organization dedicated to Satanic practice and the promotion of Satanic rights." (Notice how, when it suits them, they can argue that a religion does not have to have any basis in a belief in deity.)

Speaking in a Sound Bite World
Erykah Badu is a singer/actor/activist. She is under fire because she had the audacity to say, "I saw something good in Hitler" and "I love Bill Cosby." Bad ... really bad. Oh, of course, she has explanations for it all. The "good" she saw in Hitler she says is that he could paint well. And she loved Bill Cosby for "what he's done for the world." Her point was to think for yourself, not be driven by loud public voices (like, she explained, the crowd that called for Barabbas to be freed instead of Jesus).

I read some of the interview. She was asked, "Is anything being lost in how younger people absorb music?" She answered, "You can’t roll a joint on the cover of a digital download." I was amused that they're angry about her finding something good in some people but they didn't mind at all that she was bemoaning the loss of a place to prepare illegal drugs. But the real problem is this outrage over her Hitler and Bill Cosby comments. Don't find out what she said. Don't consider the ideas she's trying to put out, like "Don't get caught up in the public furor" and "Think for yourself." Oh, no. She didn't castigate these two hated characters as per the public furor and group-think crowd, so they're mad.

A Gospel Moment
Rachael Denhollander is one of Larry Nassar's victims. Nassar was sentenced to 175 years in prison after more than 150 women said in court that he sexually abused them. Rachael was one of them, but her impact statement was phenomenal. In the middle of her statement, she began, "In our early hearings. you brought your Bible into the courtroom and you have spoken of praying for forgiveness. And so it is on that basis that I appeal to you." She went on to tell him, "The Bible you speak of carries a final judgment where all of God's wrath and eternal terror is poured out on men like you. Should you ever reach the point of truly facing what you have done, the guilt will be crushing. And that is what makes the gospel of Christ so sweet. Because it extends grace and hope and mercy where none should be found. And it will be there for you. I pray you experience the soul crushing weight of guilt so you may someday experience true repentance and true forgiveness from God, which you need far more than forgiveness from me -- though I extend that to you as well."

Now that is a woman who has experienced the grace, mercy, and empowering of God and that is a powerful statement for the Gospel.

The Latest Baby Craze
In recent times the classical "baby shower" has been replaced with or augmented by a "gender reveal party", where friends and family gather to learn the gender of the nearly-arrived newborn. There is sure to be a new trend coming, now that we no longer believe in a "binary gender" paradigm. A "progressive OB/GYN ultrasound tech" refuses to tell her patients the gender of the baby. Instead, she suggests parents "do the responsible, loving thing and wait five or six years and then ask my child how they would like to identify." Then you can do the gender reveal party.

Must be true; I read it on the Internet


Craig said...

1. I’m with you, in that Trump’s multiple affairs and lack of self control was a reason not to vote for him. However I have to wonder why is this one so much worse than the others? Especially coming from a sociopolitical viewpoint that doesn’t hold biblical sexuality in high regard. These are the same folks who celebrated Hefner, and ignored/joked about the Weinstein’s of the world for years. I agree that Trumps’s behavior was wrong, but the selective political outrage rings hollow.

2. Atheists (in general) cling to two claims. A. That’s it’s not a religion. B. That science takes the place of God. Here we see them denying both of those to try to advance an agenda. Yet, somehow, they aren’t labeled as “science deniers”.

3. I hadn’t seen the Badu story, but again, these are the same folks who ignored the fact that P-BO smoked weed. More inconsistent selective outrage.

4. True examples of Christians publicly proclaiming the gospel are increasingly rare, and powerful when they get out there.

Off topic.

Every Easter a significant number of folks tout the narrative that Jesus was crucified because he was a political threat or rebel. Yet, Barabbas was a legitimate revolutionary and they let him go free.

Stan said...

On the Trump adultery story, it's odd to me that, especially in the current climate that suggests that all males are serial sexual abusers, the Trump story is largely going under the radar. There one day and gone. "Meh." It's equally odd to me that Christians don't seem to care.

Craig said...

The whole Trump morals thing mystifies me. Nobody who voted for him did so because of his personal morality, many did so in spite of his moral failings. Ultimately, he’s simply an example of the societal repercussions of the sexual revolution. Those on the left really have no coherent reason to criticize Ttump, given their acceptance of numerous forms of sexual immorality.

Craig said...

I don’t think it’s not caring as much as it is being stuck with one of two horrible choices for POTUS.

Stan said...

By "not caring" I mean I hear no "pro-Trump" Christians speaking out against it.

Craig said...

I feel like many are like me, who have already spoken out and don’t feel like we need to repeat ourselves.

Not that it’s necessary right, but that’s what I’m thinking.

Stan said...

Maybe, but I've heard mostly silence with some actual defense (like "Oh, that's just the Trump-hating media speaking"). I hope you're right.

Craig said...

I can only speak for myself when I say that I see no reason to continue to beat the “Trump is an immoral/amoral person when it comes to his sex life.” dead horse. Continuing to repeat it doesn’t seem helpful.

Marshal Art said...

Craig is on the right track regarding Trump. The position of Christian supporters/voters of Trump have indeed made their position known. The alternative was worse. I would add that Trump personal affairs affect no one but him. Clinton's policy positions, as well as her behaviors in various political roles harmed many, including some would argue, led to deaths. Her abortion position certainly does.

There's no need to repeat one's self with every allegation popping up every other day. What's more, allegations aren't enough, nor should they be enough, to call for a lynching. Proof would be nice, even if the allegation is of the type that most, even the Christians you reference, would be inclined to believe is true. It is then that it is even more important to refrain from passing judgement for one's own sake.

Another point in this particular story that I find fascinating: Trump is, as you make clear, the subject of ongoing moral condescension due to his personal sexual life. He was considered unworthy of the presidency for that reason. But now, we're to simply accept the word of a whore over his denial. What makes her word more trustworthy?

As to Rachael Denhollander, my first thought was that if Dan T's "embrace grace" means anything...if "embrace grace" is "a thing" must mean this.

Stan said...

Marshal, I agree ... but not. You suggest that his immoral proclivities affect only him. I would argue that a man who views women as objects and marriage as frivolous would also regard his duties as president in an equally poor, even dangerous way. On the other hand, the more rational of his opponents admit that there are currently no grounds for impeachment. This is not a call for dismissal. It just makes us look like "Character counts ... as long as it's their president. Ours? Not so much."

Craig, this "What makes her word more trustworthy?" is the kind of defense I hear from Trump supporters, including the Christian ones. (From what I read, the affair was admitted, just not the payout she claimed he made to keep her silent.)

On Rachael Denhollander, we all agree that what she said was remarkable. I was fascinated with her fine line. "No, Mr. Nassar, what you did was not excusable. You do not deserve mercy. We will not 'embrace grace' in the sense that we decline to point out how radically evil you are." Followed with, "Your only hope is the forgiveness of Christ obtained by faith in Him. I hope you find the guilt you need to find that faith." I was impressed.

David said...

I seem to recall another president in my lifetime that Christians were up in arms, yelling for impeachment due specifically to his sexual activities. It seems to me to be a double standard that "their" president should be fired for his misconduct but "our" president's misconduct is old hat and ignored. I recall the defense of that president was that we don't need a moral president. How can the same defense be true for this one? Christians, be equal in your standards. We can't hold one president to a different standard than another for the same immorality simply because of the side they're on. If one man doesn't deserve to be president because of his immorality, another must not when he has the same immorality. Or, admit we were wrong about needing a moral president then. This double standard disgusts me and turns me even further away from politics.

Marshal Art said...

"I would argue that a man who views women as objects and marriage as frivolous would also regard his duties as president in an equally poor, even dangerous way."

They are two unrelated areas and as such, there's no reason to conclude that it follows if one area doesn't compel serious, mature consideration then no area does. Further, it suggests that every man looks at the same thing in the same way. Clearly, neither of us would behave in the manner Trump has with regard to marriage and sexuality because of how we feel about them. That doesn't mean every person regards them with the same degree of reverence. We who voted for him took a big chance given his behavior in that area of his life (as well as some other issues). Our "reward" for believing preventing Hillary from winning would pay off has indeed paid least so far. He's shown that he does not regard being president and his fidelity to the nation in the same way he regarded his fidelity to his wives and sexual morality.

None of us Christians who voted for him felt good about putting a sleaze-bag in the White House. We feel not so bad that a worse outcome was prevented. But more to the point, no one is truly giving him a pass on his past. We've already stated our position on that and new revelations, true or not, neither change that or oblige us to comment yet again.

Stan said...

I agree (basically) with what you're saying, David. The Right complained about Clinton's character and the Left said, "Character doesn't matter." However, he was not impeached for his sexual activity; he was impeached for lying to Congress -- an actual crime.

Marshal, you may be able to separate someone's views on adultery with the rest of their character. I'm not as agile as you are. When Mrs. Clinton favors killing babies in the womb, I think that view has to affect other things in life as well and don't want someone in office who isn't interested in taking care of the most vulnerable citizens. By the same token, when Mr. Trump sees women as sex objects and isn't too concerned about his vows to his wife, I see no reasonable expectation that he'll be too concerned about his vows to us.

To be clear, I do not see it as an impeachable offense. I'm not pushing for a Christian government. I just don't personally vote for -- your term -- sleaze bags nor do I make much effort in defending them.

Craig said...

While I had the same problems with Clinton as I have with Trump regarding morals, the fact that Clinton continued to engage in this behavior during his presidency did have something to do with the difference in reaction.

Marshal Art said...

But I don't defend the sleazebag aspects of his character. I never did and don't intend to now. But unlike you, I think choosing between lesser evils is not "unChristian" in any way when the potential for harm is likely. In the case of Hillary, it was certain as she was no different than Obama in the policies she supported. Now, we see that my choice has (at least so far) turned out to be a really good one...better than I expected. Hopefully, he'll continue surprising us in equally good ways.

David said...

And Trump is playing fast and lose with the law as well, if not flat out breaking it, getting as close to that line as possible. As for Clinton, yes he was for his lying, but calls for his impeachment came long before due to his sexual activity. And a man as brash and conceited as Trump who sees women as play things, I doubt he's being faithful now, he's just more careful about it.

Craig said...

It seems there are two issues.

1. Why is Trump being held (by the left) to a standard of behavior that they’ve been and are trying to normalize since the 60’s. The affairs, divorces, are just an example of Trump just accepting the norms of secular society.
2. Is it really possible to separate private character from public job performance.

I agree with some of the policy things Trump has done, but remain convinced that he doesn’t have the strength of character to be consistent.

Craig said...

Given the recent push to legitimize “open marriage”, it could be argued that Trump is more in step with society than we are.

Stan said...

Given the biblical standards of living, it would seem mandatory that we not be in step with society. :)

Craig said...

Completely agree with that.

Marshal Art said...

Me too.

Craig said...

Trumps (one of many) affair from before he was a candidate has people up in arms, but an affair between two of the FBI agents investigating him is no big deal.

Stan said...

While I can see a difference (one is running a country; the others are investigating possible crime), I've become accustomed to double standards on the Left.