A Quick Note—Please Read

Hi folks. I have added some extra information for you about the American Social Gospel Movement at the end of my earlier article.  If you want to read it and learn some more, just quit reading at the end of this short note and scroll down to the article I wrote this morning—the one headed by the Cornel West graphic item.

Also, if you want to do so, please spread my article below around out on social media. I think the rest of our country needs to know that the fundies killed off a big part of the social justice movement that once existed in American Christianity—and now they are trying to keep what they killed off dead—and are even trying to kill off what is left of the movement in our Mainline Christian churches—very sad—and an abandonment of a big part of the WHOLE gospel message in the New Testament.

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Powerful Criticism of “The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel”

by Charles S. Garabedian

cornel west

Social Justice is Doing God’s Love in Public for Our Neighbors

The Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical Scribes and Pharisees of our own time and place are at it again. They have just authored another dubious manifesto entitled The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel. What lies at the root of this new manifesto?

Well, in the fundie world, baptisms and new church memberships have been trending downward for numerous consecutive years. Seventy to 88 percent of the children raised in fundie churches abandon them between the ages of 18 and 24—and never go back to those churches—or other churches like them—for the rest of their lives.

Fundie pastors like to opine that the children in their churches are running from a stern-faced Jesus because they have been lured away by the magnetism of a sinful world. Instead, here at the Flee from Christian Fundamentalism blog, we contend that these fundie children are running away from many other things—and rightly so. They are running from the poor fundie understanding of the Bible and its words; spiritual abuse (as well as sexual and physical abuse) by pastors, church staff members, and parents; packs of fundie lies and rot docterns; stupid rules created by their pastors; an absence of true love in church; science denial; social studies denial; basic fact denial; politicized churches, fundie indifference to human suffering, and a host of other equally good reasons for fleeing. As you can easily see, these reasons have little or nothing to do with running from Jesus or being magnetically drawn to a sinful world.

Fundie pastors, church staff members, and parents have become famous for running from the truth. Rather than turn around and face the truth square in the face, fundie leaders create personal fantasy reasons for why their children are fleeing from their churches and why so many people no longer take fundie Christianity seriously. Their recommended cure for these imagined ills is always the same: double-down, triple-down, or quadruple-down on hammering  fundie right doctrines into the heads of their church kids; writing doctrinal manifestos on various subjects; creating blasphemous, homespun theologies such as complementarianism; and other such inane garbage. Then they have the unmitigated and quite fallible human gall to stamp all of this idiocy with “Officially Approved by Jesus.”

AAA

You may read a copy of The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel at the following safe link:

The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel

This member of the United Methodist Church read it over. I could have spent a couple of weeks doing research to criticize this fundie rag up one side of the wall and down the other. I decided not to do so because it would have been a waste of my time. However, I do think Pastor John Pavlovitz (https://johnpavlovitz.com/) in North Carolina chased it down the road with the lit match it so richly deserves. You may read what he had to say in the slightly edited and reformatted version of his original article below:

 

Jesus Was a Social Justice Warrior

by

Pastor John Pavlovitz

 

Clenched Fist

 

Recently, a group of Evangelical church leaders released a document called The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel, which has since been electronically co-signed by 7,000 clergy members throughout America.

Following on the heels of last year’s Nashville Statement, it is yet another attempt by a group of Bible Belt conservatives to lecture the rest of the nation on how to properly follow Jesus—as if Jesus himself wasn’t fit for the job—as if he needs their help.

I’ll let you read it for yourself, but here’s a spoiler alert:

Like it’s equally pompous brother from Nashville, it too is filled with sanctimony, self-righteous gas-bagging, and all kinds of Bible-verse-footnoted religious speak—designed to serve as an iron-clad apologetic of a compassion-free Christianity.

I’ll share with you two revelatory statements that bookend the piece, one from the preamble and another from the afterword:

From the Preamble

The Bible’s teaching (in the areas of race and ethnicity, manhood and womanhood, and human sexuality) is being challenged under the broad and somewhat nebulous rubric of concern for “social justice” If the doctrines of God’s Word are not uncompromisingly reasserted and defended at these points, there is every reason to anticipate that these dangerous ideas and corrupted moral values will spread their influence into other realms of biblical doctrines and principles.

It’s all there; every conservative Christian dog whistle, every terrifying, fundamentalist, sky-is-falling talking point—every familiar hot button Evangelical trope.

And the writers position themselves as authorized by Divinity in these weighty and urgent matters. But here’s part of the closing, talking about the genesis of this lofty, anointed, God-ordained proclamation:

From the Afterword

Fourteen men met in Herb’s House coffee shop in Dallas, Texas, having all expressed our growing concern with much that was taking place within evangelical circles under the banner of “Social Justice.”

Fourteen men.

At Herb’s House Coffee + Company.

In Texas.

Sounds super spiritual, don’t it? Sounds like exactly the place to be hearing revelation from the Almighty on matters of equality, sexuality, and diversity.

Fourteen (predominately white) dudes over 50, sitting around somewhere in the reddest of red states, bloviating to one another about the evils of the world and imagining themselves qualified to tell tens of millions of Christians they’re doing it wrong.

And here’s the real kicker: these same 14 dudes are among the most ardent supporters of President Trump and his administration. These 14 supposedly Christian men have repeatedly signed off on and supported and defended:

  • His vile words about women.
  • His unrepentant serial adultery.
  • His race-baiting diatribes.
  • His ignoring the murders of unarmed black men.
  • His cabinet filled with supremacists.
  • His dismantling of healthcare for millions.
  • His ICE harassment of undocumented migrants
  • His separation of families and caging of children.
  • His incendiary language about Muslims.
  • His disregard for victims of gun violence.

How do these men, renting out their pulpits to shill for an amoral predator like Donald Trump, have the absolute brass testicles to declare to anyone what God would have Christians do?

If these 14 men were being at all honest with themselves and with us, here’s the real statement that they’d have made this week:

We are terrified.

We are afraid of gay people and transgender people and brown people and Muslims—in a time when others are rapidly abandoning such fear.

We are white, conservative, old men, and we realize that we are rapidly dying dinosaurs—approaching extinction.

We see the culture becoming more intelligent, more scientifically aware, more connected across faith traditions and borders, and far less willing to be dictated to by white, conservative, old men—and we are panicking.

We’ve made our bed politically with a man who is antithetical to every word and deed of the life of Jesus in the Gospels, and since we can’t change him or risk severing those ties now—our only option is to rewrite the Jesus story; to retrofit him to the monster we’ve created.

We want a Christianity that secures our privilege, that hordes our power, that doesn’t require us to be at all confronted or inconvenienced by Jesus.

We will do anything to resist equality, curb diversity, and keep marginalized people where they are—even betray the very heart of the Gospels.

I could spend a lot of time here arguing the minutia of their sprawling Social Justice Statement, but I don’t need to.

Jesus has already done that.

Don’t rely on me, see for yourself.

Read the Sermon on the Mount from front to back and see what was happening, what Jesus was calling people to.

Meander on your own through the life and ministry of Jesus in the four New Testament biographies of Jesus.

Go anywhere you’d like: to him feeding multitudes on hillsides, to him railing against the hypocrisy of politically tainted religious leaders, to him sharing his affinity with the hungry and the imprisoned, to him challenging the religious systems oppressing the poor.

I contend you’ll see the same truth that these overwrought Evangelicals are doing everything to ignore in their verbose manifesto:

  • Jesus was a social justice warrior.
  • He was a compassionate caregiver and status quo changer.
  • He was a gentle healer and radical activist.
  • He was a wall-destroyer and barrier-breaker and least-lover.
  • He was a shepherd to the people of the street.
  • He was a holy terror to the wolves who were wielding religion like a hammer against them.
  • He poured out his life in acts of service and generosity and empathy and sacrifice.
  • He made selfish, powerful, entitled religious people the most uncomfortable—because he welcomed everyone to the table and declared them equal.
  • With every breath he preached social justice, and with every act he engineered it.

In short, Jesus was everything these 14 men in a coffee shop in Texas, and those like them, despise—and they have no interest in emulating him.

The writers of The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel use a ton of flowery words and religious code language to simply say:

We don’t want to give a damn about people who aren’t like us.

I’m sorry—but in the spirit of Christian love—I’m calling BS on it.

If we try and have a Christianity without social justice, we cut out the beautiful, beating heart of Jesus, and we are left with only a lifeless corpse of religion to drag around.

‘Justice’ is what Jesus was doing and preaching and demanding of those who would follow him; and that justice is precisely what made the powerful want him dead.

You can draft any statement you want to resist that truth.

However, in the fourth chapter of Luke’s Gospel, Jesus declares his purpose:

16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read,

17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,

19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him.

21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

This is the real Statement on Social Justice & the Gospel.

Someone needs to tell these terrified, white, conservative, old men.

Just like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day—they’re missing it.

End of John Pavlovitz article

I did some on-line research to see how well The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel is being received in American Christianity. For the most part, it appeared to me that nonfundie Christians and even many famous conservative evangelicals, like Russell Moore at the Southern Baptist Convention, are rejecting it.

The people who are really running hot for this social gospel statement seem to be the ultra-conservative fundie Christians who would be most happy in churches like the infamous, hardcore Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) churches. This is not at all surprising to me.  Why?

In the first part of the 20th century, many American churches were part of a massive social justice movement here in the United States. It was all the rage in American Christian circles in the early 20th century. By the middle of the 20th century, the hardcore fundies had succeeded in killing it off in their own ranks—and they were dancing with glee on its grave. The baseline public argument they used to kill it off is summed up in my own words as follows—with a tip of the hat to curmudgeonly journalist H.L. Mencken:

We fundies are spending way too many of our precious church dollars on helping “the least of these.”  Most poor people, hungry, people, sick people, etc. are all going to die off in this world by age 80. Bodily life in this world is so very short. Therefore, serving their needs in this life is pointless vanity. The boiling fires of Hell are forever for those poor souls God throws into it. Therefore, we should quit wasting our precious church dollars on those Jesus called “the least of these” and shift nearly all of our church funds to evangelism alone.

In other words, the hardcore fundies gave Jesus, many of his words and deeds in the New Testament,  and “the least of these” the old middle finger and a hearty “f-bomb you” so they could forget half of the New Testament and tunnel-vision on evangelism.

Can you say evangelism? How about evangelistical? We hardcore fundies now have our own big word. It defines us. A big word like that makes us sound highly exclusive, very sophisticated, and wonderfully important. Don’t you think?” (Eye Roll)

If you are interested, you may read up on the famous American Social Gospel Movement that the hardcore fundies succeeded in killing off in the middle 20th century, and you may also read an article in The Washington Post to see how others are reacting to The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel.  Please just click on the following safe links:

American Social Gospel Movement

One Example of How “The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel” is Being Received

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Breaking News for Trump and the Fundies: Your Worst Nightmare Just Came True

The worst nightmare has finally come to Trump and his fundie supporters. Paul “I No Longer Expect a Pardon” Manafort has agreed to sing like a joyous canary to Robert Mueller and his team of investigators. Unlike yesterday when there were doubts about the terms of the plea agreement and what Manafort might agree or not agree to do,  CNN is now reporting that Manafort has agreed to spill the whole bag of beans—no holds barred—anything federal investigators want to know—your slightest wish is my command—not just about Trump—but a wide range of other issues that go far beyond just the Trump campaign and Russia.

A train whistle is sounding in the distance folks, and Robert Mueller is calling his righteous team of fellow wolves together to move in for the final…well…you know what wolves do—except these wolves are not in sheep’s clothing. They are working for God’s truth and justice—and they mean business:

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers [positions of authority] are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour (Romans 13:1-6).

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Hurricane Florence

by Charles S. Garabedian

Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence is shaping up as a major disaster because of flooding from the storm surge and extraordinary rainfall. Early this morning, an African-American lady called CNN to report that the first floor of her single-story home was flooded up to human chest level. She and three other members of her family had fled to the attic of her home to escape the still-rising water level. The attic apparently had a small window in it, but it may be too small for a person to squeeze through and get onto the roof of the house. In many instances such as this, the water keeps on rising into the attic, the people get trapped up there, and they may die from drowning. This highlights a problem that was experienced during hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Many poor African-American folks do not evacuate from their homes when called upon to do so in the face of an impending hurricane.  A lot of white people do not evacuate either.

My best guess is that a lot of these people who refuse to evacuate are very poor people who cannot leave their homes because they do not own an automobile or because they cannot afford the hotel and food bills for a long stay in distant places. They may also feel that they have to stay at home to protect it from looters that may steal what few earthly possessions they have in their homes.

By about 5:30 a.m., CNN was reporting that a total of 500 people who stayed in dangerous, flood-prone areas last night (rather than evacuating early), were calling authorities and begging to be rescued. Because the storm is moving very slowly, the storm surge and flooding from excessive rain are expected to continue into at least Sunday morning. Personally, I expect a lot more of these “rescue me” calls will be coming in across the next 72 hours as the storm flooding gets ever worse.

Please have these folks in your thoughts and prayers.  If you can afford it, please donate to the American Red Cross, a church you know about that helps hurricane victims, or another legitimate aid organization that helps with hurricane rescue and recovery. Something tells me that these folks in North Carolina, South Carolina, and northern coastal Georgia will need all the help they can get.

As usual, FEMA will do what it can—and soon fall flat on its face because of the sheer scope of this building tragedy—and of course—of course—you already know what kind of excellent support President Trump provides to hurricane victims. Trump let Puerto Rico down with the hurricane Maria response last year, and 2,975 American citizens died. This number has been documented as true in recent academic studies by Georgetown University and Harvard University researchers, and the governor of Puerto Rico officially stands by that number of dead.

Yesterday, Trump was at his lies again—basically claiming that the 2,975 dead people are fake news generated by Democrats to make him look bad.  No one has to make Trump “look bad” because he does such an excellent job of actually being bad. “Look Bad” ain’t got nothin’ to do with it!!!

Yesterday on CNN, I saw an interview with the daughter of one of those 2,975 victims. Her mom needed emergency surgery in the aftermath of hurricane Maria, but the hospital had to turn her mom away because it had no electric power for the operating room and its equipment. Her mom—who could have been easily saved by surgery under normal conditions—died because no one could get the power to the hospital up and running soon enough. Apparently, the hospital had no emergency power source at some point, and there was no way to easily evacuate her mom to a mainland United States hospital where the surgery could be done. The daughter who told this sad story lives in Cleveland, Ohio, today.

Many direct deaths from hurricanes are not just people hit by windblown debris or subject to direct drowning. The dead are people who fall into a death trap because the hurricane creates unique circumstances that cause their deaths.  For example, when the power goes out and stays out for a long time, people at home who rely on oxygen concentrators are deprived of oxygen—and die—because that emergency oxygen tank they keep on hand lasts only one or two hours at best—not days.

Oxygen concentrators are electrical appliances that have to be plugged into a home wall socket to work.  I know because my dad used one at home to help him breathe in the few years before his death.  Turn that sucker off long enough, and you get a dead person in many cases.

Host Responses to Comments Below

Hi Ben. We should closely monitor “The 700 Club” to see if Pat Robertson has a pronouncement about which sin is being punished by hurricane Flo.  Pat almost always seems to know both the sin and the disaster (tongue in cheek).

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Trump: Big and Wet

by Charles S. Garabedian

Puerto Rico Hurricane Maria Roofless

Blue Tarps on Roofs in Puerto Rico

I guess you have seen the news item today where President Donald Trump says hurricane Florence will be, and I quote:

…tremendously big and tremendously wet.

Naw Donnie!!!  Really?!!!  Ya think?!!!

Just remember folks. This guy is the President of the United States—and the Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals are the two key groups responsible for supporting him and electing him. Since the day he was inaugurated, the fundies have supported him in nearly every outrageous, crazy, and evil thing he has done—supported him to the hilt—no matter what he does—even in the deaths of 2,975 American citizens in Puerto Rico. Most of these American citizens died right after hurricane Maria because Trump dragged his feet on getting storm relief aid to them—many think intentionally—because he dislikes Hispanic peoples. You may read the latest on Trump, hurricane Maria recovery, and Puerto Rico here:

The New York Times Article

Puerto Rico is still nowhere near full recovery from hurricane Maria, except maybe in some parts of San Juan. Across the rest of the big Island, the only roof many people still have is a blue plastic tarp—and more hurricanes are coming—maybe next week. A blue plastic tarp will last—oh—about 20 seconds when a hurricane hits it.

Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals!!! Yes, I am talking to YOU!!! How would you and your family like to ride out a hurricane in a half-wrecked home with a blue tarp for a roof? You fundies made all of this possible—including the 2,975 American citizen deaths in Puerto Rico—simply because you voted for Trump—and worst of all—you still support him and his evil Republican minions in the  U.S. Congress.

If another hurricane hits Puerto Rico next week—many more American citizens will die—because a family cannot ride out a hurricane in an already half-wrecked house with a blue tarp over it. When are all you fundies out there going to wake up to your personal complicity in this evil via your unwavering support for Trump and his Republican Congress?  Why are you not tired of their lies?  Why are you not tired of all their evil?  Why are you not tired of children ripped from the arms of their parents?  Why are you not tired of the deaths? When will you turn away from all this Trumpian evil and go back to the kind and loving Jesus Christ of the New Testament?

Photo Credit: Dennis Rivera (AP)

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Vote Against Evil Trump and His Minions in the U.S. Congress

by Charles S. Garabedian

AAAA

The Radical Republican Party of Today Is Like This Guy

This blog has gone political and will continue to be so, off and on, until after the November 6, 2018 election. I am doing this for a good reason. I already knew Trump was crazy and a danger to our country two years ago. The recent article in The New York Times, by a high-level official in the Trump administration, is just one more proof of it. Moreover, the author of that article indicates that many more high-level officials in the Trump administration feel the same way and are cooperating with him or her to keep Trump from doing something crazy—like starting World War III by ignoramus accident. No doubt whatsoever, the President of the United States—for the first time in American history—is what CIA intelligence officers regularly refer to as a:

…clear and present danger to the United States of America.

Legal, moral, and political action by a majority of the American people is necessary right now. The only way to alleviate this situation is to vote against Republicans in the November 6 election, which is now only a few weeks away.  This is the key question:

Do you want your grandchildren burned to a crisp—all the way to their bones—like a rump roast baked by Hiroshima?

That is the raw seriousness of what is now at stake. All it takes is one idiotic misstep—just one small spark—to create a conflagration. It could be a sudden, bumbling military clash with Russia in Syria?  It could be entering a war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.  It could be an all-out Russian invasion of the Ukraine or the Baltic states by a Vladimir Putin, who already knows Trump is an idiot that can be played like a violin. One wrong move of Trump weakness or idiocy—and your grandchildren’s roast will be instantly well-done. This is serious folks—dead serious. We have a mentally and emotionally unhinged idiot in charge at the White House—our White House—you know—the one that belongs to the American people—you and me. Legal, moral, and political action by a majority of the American people is necessary right now.

The major thing I am begging you to understand is this. A vote for any Republican in the upcoming election is a direct vote for President Donald J. Trump. It will keep him in office and keep the craziness going—until something truly tragic happens—and I can assure you this tragic thing will happen. The American people need to put the brakes on this nonsense in the White House and the majority-Republican U.S. Congress that is supporting it—even though they too know Trump is unhinged and dangerous—and some readily admit off-camera that he is and they are scared to death of him.

Look. The American people have a long history of voting incumbent Republicans, Democrats, and Independents back into office over and over again—often just because they like him or her personally—his or her name sounds familiar—or as my mother used to say: “He’s just such a handsome man.” This simple-minded bullshit about voting has got to stop in this November 6 election. This is quite probably the most important election in all of American history—if we want our country to survive—and if we do not want Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals behaving like petty dictators and running every aspect of our private lives through Trump.

This is no time to vote your Republican U.S. Congressman or Republican U.S. Senator back into office just because he or she has “been there so long,” because her name is so familiar, or because you think he “just looks so handsome.” That might be okay in any other election—but not this one. This is no ordinary election. Your family, your nonfundie church, and your country truly are at stake in this election—for the first time in your lifetime. Even if you do not feel like doing it, you need to get to the polls and vote this time anyway.  When you step into that voting both, no matter how much you like your Republican U.S. Congressman or Republican U.S. Senator, it is absolutely necessary to pull the lever to vote against him or her in this unique election. This time—this one unique time—the safety of your grandchildren, the safety of your nonfundie faith, and the safety of your country truly are at stake.  This is not a matter of mere politics folks. This is now a matter of basic human survival.

No.  I am not a member of the Democratic Party. With the exception of healthcare, they too have in many ways abandoned those Jesus most beloved and called “the least of these” in favor of pandering to the worst so-called ideals of middle class and upper class Americans. That fairly recent Democratic abandonment of what my dad called “the little guy” is what put Trump in office. In that respect, they are in many ways no better than the Republicans. I am not a Republican because the Republicans abandoned those beloved ones Jesus called “the least of these” many decades ago and have allied themselves with all kinds of runaway greed and evil. Trump is just the tragic symptom of their deep disease of the mind and heart. Worst of all, the Republicans have politicized American churches. Because of it, the Republican Party now beds down Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical churches like cheap whores—and pretends that God himself is a card-carrying member of the Republican Party.  That is blasphemy plain and simple—because God is concerned about the things of God more so than the things of any Caesar—which Jesus basically alludes to in the New Testament.

I readily admit that I was once a Democrat Party member, primarily because of their concerns for “the least of these.” I remain very sympathetic to those concerns. In addition, I readily admit that I am in great sympathy with the Republican Party in matters of foreign policy. President Obama screwed up badly by failing to side with the Syrian resistance against Baby Assad in Syria from the very beginning—and got many innocent people killed in the process. I like Mr. Obama very much—but he screwed up badly there. Speaking softly and carrying a baseball bat with rusty steel spikes in it does wonders to restrain ambitious dictators like Baby Assad, Vladimir Putin, or Adolf Hitler. That is why Trump’s sell out to Vladimir Putin in Helsinki was just more than I could stomach.

Nowadays, I uneasily count myself as an unallied Independent. I say uneasily because I am moving in the direction of reforming myself politically—but it is a slow process of heart. If a Republican like Governor John Kasich of Ohio has a good idea that is not evil, immoral or fattening, I could support it.  If a Democrat has a good idea, like Medicare for everyone, then I could support it. If an Independent party member has a good idea, I could support it.  In other words, I am trying to step back a bit from party-based political rancor and look more objectively at matters of politics. An on-line Christian friend of mine, who lives in San Antonio, Texas, wrote a blog post a while back that encouraged me to move more in that direction—uneasily as I said—because today’s Republicans—as opposed to the much better Republicans of the American past like President Abraham Lincoln and President Dwight D. Eisenhower—are so incredibly radical and evil today—and Trump is the living proof of all the evil that they have become.

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Trump in Trouble: As Jesus Reforms His Church for the 21st Century

Change Ahead

Jesus Is Reforming His Church for the 21st Century

by Charles S. Garabedian

We begin with a brief word from the Apostle Paul, who is talking about Robert Mueller and many other dedicated, honest, and wise servants of the people in our unique American justice system and in our government:

The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong (Romans 13:4)

The Apostle Paul was a citizen of the Roman Empire, which to the best of my knowledge did not have a free press. Thomas Jefferson believed in a free press.  His belief in a free press (and that of our other founding fathers) was enshrined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  Indeed, Thomas Jefferson once said the following:

Thomas Jefferson on Newspapers and a Free Press

Our news media, although free and not officially a part of our government, has been known for many American decades as the informal Fourth Estate of our government—a tip of the hat to Thomas Jefferson. What are these traditional four estates of the federal government? They are as follows:

  • Executive Branch (President)
  • Legislative Branch (U.S. Congress)
  • Judicial Branch (U.S. Supreme Court)
  • The Free Press (American News Media)

Bearing in mind Romans 13:4, the The New York Times, our country’s most respected newspaper, struck President Donald J. Trump and all of his evil with an enormous Jeffersonian bolt of lightning last night. The eardrum-bursting crack of thunder that came with it is reverberating from coast to coast today——and will continue to do so for many days to come. The speculation is all gone now, and the cat of truth is fully out of the bag. You may read about it and watch some explanatory CNN videos below. I highly recommend both to you:

Full Text of The New York Times Article

What It Means: A Presidency Begins to Dissolve

Trump may call it treason if he likes. However, legally speaking, neither the anonymous author of The New York Times op-ed article nor The New York Times have committed any crime. Just as he misunderstands so many other things, Trump fails to understand what is really going on here. The Republican Party (and with it the Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals who support it) have walked all over Jesus and “the least of these” like a doormat for the past four decades. Jesus is now in the process of remaking his church for the 21st century. I believe Romans 13:4 is coming after Trump, the Republican Party, and Fundieland as part of this overall reformation process.

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