Just as ripping babies from their mothers at the border and throwing them in cages makes a mockery of America’s legacy of compassion for immigrants, and Trump’s tax breaks for the rich and endless fruitless investigations into people he considers his enemies make a mockery of democracy, Trump signing Bibles for Alabama tornado victims yesterday makes a mockery of Christianity, and even faith itself.
Trump’s faked empathy for people in a red state like Alabama, while victims of the California wildfires and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico got nothing but disdain from this president, says more about Trump’s narcissism and the fact that the people in Alabama are much more likely to be part of his base (and therefore vote for him in 2020) than people in California. And of course, as far as Trump is concerned, Puerto Rico isn’t even part of the United States, but a “shithole country” full of those brown people he doesn’t like, and as they can’t vote anyway, they certainly won’t be casting a ballot for him. So why bother helping them in their time of need? There’s nothing in it for him.
But beyond the selective “empathy” he’s showering on tornado stricken Alabamians, the Bible signing he staged for his evangelical base is far more unsettling.
Although it may seem like a minor thing, I actually think it’s one of the most sinister things Trump has done (outside of atrocities like throwing babies in cages at the border or taking away healthcare from those who most need it, etc.). Many people, even atheists and nonChristians, are also deeply unsettled by it.
How is it possible that people outside the Christian faith can see how diabolical this is, but Trump evangelicals, who pride themselves on how “Christian” they are, can’t? Maybe it’s because they have enough distance from the situation that they aren’t blinded to the truth: in signing Bibles as if he himself is the author, Trump is actually attacking true Christianity, which rejects everything he stands for. In signing Bibles for his gullible and cultlike base, he is also consciously or unconsciously equating himself with God (“I alone can fix it.”)
Trump and his dominionist and far right evangelical donors and sycophants (I’m looking at you, Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell, Jr.) have twisted Christ’s message of love and unity into its polar opposite. Instead of teaching compassion for the needy, humility, and a life of service, and the recognition that “God’s kingdom is not of this world,” these fake Christians celebrate greed, unfettered capitalism (no protections against corporate excess and exploitation), destruction of the planet in the name of corporate profits, the torture of children and families, the denial of healthcare, and the oppression and removal of basic rights for women and people of color. They turn a blind eye to sexual abuse and infidelity (as long as the guilty party is a Republican), and they worship a hateful, narcissistic, eternally angry, vengeful diety who hates the sick, the poor, and foreigners, and rewards the wealthy and powerful with even more wealth and power, to whom he has given “dominion” to rule over the rest of us.
“Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “All this I will give You,” he said, “if You will fall down and worship me.” — Matthew 4:9
If Satan is real, this is exactly what he would do. What better way to turn good people away from Christianity (or in the case of Islam, the Taliban/ISIS is used the same way) and at the same time attract sadists and sociopaths? Do you think the devil would be transparent and use things like pentagrams? Nope. That would be too obvious.
Trump signing Bibles (he not only signed them, he signed their covers!) as if he’s the author makes a mockery of Christianity (and the Abrahamic religions in general), as well as violates both the first and second commandments. God has not elevated a serial adulterer, sociopathic narcissist, torturer of innocents, and treasonous criminal like Donald Trump to some exalted favored status, and anyone who believes Trump is God’s chosen is listening to the wrong preacher.
Although Christianity can and has been used for the betterment of humanity, it has also been used to justify slavery, genocide, torture, and other atrocities. That’s why the separation of church and state is so important to democracy, and to my way of thinking, democracy is the most Christlike, humane form of government possible.
If you’re a Christian (and even if you’re not), I highly recommend these awesome progressive Christian blogs (and the last one by a former evangelical who discusses the abuses of the New American Evangelism from personal experience).
John Pavlovitz: Stuff That Needs to Be Said
Not Your Mission Field (Chris Stroop is an ex-evangelical who left his church because he recognized how toxic and abusive it had become)
Trump supporting evangelicals are today’s Pharisees. Many evangelicals of the dominionist persuasion (an increasing number of evangelicals and fundamentalists — and even some very conservative Catholics — have fallen prey to this dangerous Christofascist movement) even call themselves “prophets and apostles.” Use your God given discretion when dealing with people who claim to be “anointed” or have certain “gifts of the Spirit.”
“By their fruits you will know them.” (Matthew 7:16-20)
I have one last concern, and it’s probably the most important one of all.
Trump’s evangelical supporters’ declarations that Trump was chosen by God (and their dangerous belief that any criticism of him constitutes disobedience to God) only feeds Trump’s malignant narcissism. Although he may not himself even believe in God (though I can’t prove this), the fact that so many people believe he was specially selected by God to usher in His kingdom must give him some pretty intense narcissistic supply. Anyone who is familiar with NPD knows that the more narcissistic supply you give to a narcissist, the worse and more abusive they get. Trump evangelicals are feeding and nurturing a monster.
I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their deeds.
– 2 Corinthians 11:3-15
If the devil wanted to kill a religion.
If the devil wanted to kill a religion, he would not be transparent or obvious about it. If it was Christianity he was trying to destroy, he would not woo people with pentagrams, blood sacrifice, black masses, and upside down crosses, and new commandments telling us to blaspheme God, rape, kill, and steal. That stuff is from the movies because it’s dramatic and scares most of us. If the devil exists, he knows being that transparent would drive most people off rather than attract them.
On the contrary, if the devil wanted to kill a religion (say, Christianity), he would package his diabolical agenda in a nice, “Christian” package. There’s a reason why he’s known as the “Father of Lies.” He would use crosses and Bibles and images of European Jesus. He would talk about vague “Christian values” or “the sanctity of the family.”
If the devil wanted to kill a religion, he would pick one or two culture-war issues that many religious people have glommed onto (in our culture, this means abortion and homosexuality) and weaponize them. This serves a dial purpose: (1) to deceive conservative Christians into believing his agenda is in fact “good,” and (2) to exert control over people, particularly women. Because people’s sex lives are so personal (and because these issues happen to be popular “culture war” issues today), these two things can be easily weaponized to instill shame and guilt, so those so deceived believe they are not being controlled but are in fact promoting “Godly morals.”
If the devil wanted to kill a religion, he would twist and pervert Scripture so it became its opposite. This would happen gradually, so the change would barely be noticed. Values once normally accepted as ungodly or evil — greed, money-worship, sexual abuse, child abuse, pedophilia, rape, dishonesty, and treachery, for starters — would be excused, receive “mulligans,” or even be celebrated and encouraged in some situations. Dominionist types believe the means justify the ends, which means that immoral or abusive behavior is okay as long as they help to bring about “God’s kingdom on Earth.” At the same time, values espoused by Jesus in the Bible — charity, empathy, unconditional love, and concern for the poorest and most vulnerable — would be dismissed (at best) or even be called sins (the dominionist evangelical God doesn’t favor those who are sick, poor or disabled, so helping them becomes a “sin”). This bears no resemblance to anything Jesus taught. Religion is simply being used as a handy vehicle to promote a diabolical agenda.
If the devil wanted to kill a religion, he would cherry pick verses in the Bible to dupe people into thinking his twisted perversion of the original passage is the Word of God. “See? It says so right here in the Bible!” Scripture can be — and is — interpreted many different ways, depending on the translation, what we “read” into the passage, and other factors. Much of the Bible is not as cut and dry as we’d like it to be. Being able to quote from the Bible doesn’t make you a good person or a good Christian. Even Satan can roll Bible verses off the tip of his forked tongue. He could even use some Bible verses to justify evil — and some “Christians” today do just that.
If the devil wanted to kill a religion, he would weaponize the religion against those people who most espouse the true values of that religion. Good and moral people with kind hearts have been leaving the American evangelical churches in droves lately, because what is being preached is diametrically opposed to what’s in their own God-given conscience. They deplore the hypocrisy, superstition, denial of science and truth, ignorance, hatred, intolerance, emotional abusiveness, and cruelty of the modern evangelical church. But the devil wouldn’t miss these good people, because they’d all be replaced by those most like himself — liars, hypocrites, narcissists, sociopaths, abusers, sadists, control freaks, and those without conscience, compassion, or love.
If the devil wanted to kill a religion, he would encourage believers to destroy God’s creation (in the name of God, of course) and take no responsibility for its stewardship. He would tell them it’s okay to dump toxic, life-destroying substances in the water and air. He would tell them that laws that protect them against those who would poison them are bad. He would tell them that to use the earth sustainably is a sin because it shows a lack of faith in God’s ability to replenish it. How is this different from telling teenagers it’s not only okay to trash their parents’ home during a party but that to clean up their own mess is wrong because it shows a lack of faith in their parents’ ability to do so?
If the devil wanted to kill a religion, he would blaspheme God by attributing his own dark and destructive nature to that God. Such a “God” would therefore be constantly angry, war-mongering, narcissistic, compassionless, sadistic, rejecting, hate-filled, and authoritarian. Such a “God” would favor the most powerful and ruthless with riches and material goodies while meting out unspeakable suffering on the most vulnerable, who he hates. He would tell us to steal from the poorest to give to the richest. He would “punish homosexuals” by sending hurricanes that destroy entire cities (that kind of twisted reasoning we hear from the likes of Pat Robertson have no basis in logic at all). He would call social justice and altruistic behavior “socialism” or even “communism” and ruthlessness and cruelty “law and order.” He would be a God devoid of mercy or grace. He would be a God who, were he to meet the Jesus of the Bible, would reject, deport, and even kill him because of his dark skin, poverty, and compassion for the “least of these.” In fact, there would be precious little difference between that “God” and himself.
If the devil wanted to kill a religion, he would tell believers they must vote for and support a certain highly immoral, narcissistic, and cruel person and tell them they will go to hell if they do not. He would gaslight those who can see through the hypocrisy and lies by attributing that same false idol’s depraved values and actions onto them.
It’s not just Christianity that has been perverted into its opposite. The same thing is happening to Islam, once known worldwide as a religion of peace. The Taliban, ISIS and Sharia Law are extremist factions of Islam that twisted this peaceful religion into a cult of war and death.
I don’t know if I believe in a literal devil or not. But I do believe in evil, and in the idea that evil forces exist in this world. The modern American evangelical churches are a hotbed of evildoings in these times. In my opinion, it’s much better to be an atheist. I know plenty of wonderful atheists who are extremely good people who always try to do the right thing, so it’s a total myth that a belief in God is a requirement to have morals or a conscience.
How does one avoid being duped into worshipping a false God? Observe what sort of fruit a church or a religion is bearing. If they bear only rotten fruit, or their teachings and values are authoritarian; or they talk about hell, death and punishment more than they talk about God’s grace or mercy; or if they weaponize their doctrine against the most empathetic or the most vulnerable; or even if you just feel really uncomfortable in that church or with those people, run away!
What if the far-right God is the true God?
Even though this article is less than four months old, I’m reblogging it because it provides a kind of lead in to the article I plan to write later on today. I also think its message is comforting in these turbulent times. Stay tuned for my later post!
I’ve been thinking a lot about the nature of God lately. The insidious rise of Christian fascism in this country is forcing me to do so.
The radical religious right’s beliefs about God — punishing, angry, and intolerant — are incomprehensible and repugnant to me. The prospect of the Old Testament Law-based Christian theocracy this radical group of zealots are attempting to impose here in America fills me with terror, righteous anger, and makes me literally sick to my stomach.
No matter how hard I try to understand these far right religious leaders, their dominionist views, and their need for total control over every aspect of our lives (this is the same group that talks about “small government”), I just can’t. I don’t get it at all. They might as well be aliens from another planet.
Their message and plan for America (and yes, eventually the world)…
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Fundies: I Hope This Breaks Your Hard Hearts
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Flee from Christian Fundamentalism
A training manual rests on a shelf in the library of my church. It claims there is no such thing as poverty in the United States. Evidence point? People defined as poor in the United States own and use cellular telephones and other modern conveniences. People who own such things cannot possibly be classified as poor. Therefore, no authentic poor people live in the United States. True Biblical poverty exists only in foreign countries, and it looks like this photograph:
This training manual was prepared and published by The Heritage Foundation, apparently for use in American churches. Some person unknown to me brought this despicable, God-hating training manual into my United Methodist Church and sneaked it onto a library shelf. Best I can tell from flipping through this training manual, it is designed for adult Sunday school teachers so they can teach the members of their Sunday school classes…
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The Frightening Close Relationship between Christian Nationalism and President Donald J. Trump
Also please read this article from ThinkProgress: Why Christian Nationalists Love Trump
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Flee from Christian Fundamentalism
Why do so many American Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals support Donald J. Trump and his Presidency—even though the man shows few signs of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and shows numerous signs of being a compulsive liar and immoral reprobate? There is a very good and highly detailed answer to this question. Author Jack Jenkins has begun laying it out in spades with a new article in a planned series at ThinkProgress. Basically, it has little to do with any sort of traditional faith in Jesus Christ per se and more to do with being spiritually deceived by an evil American theopolitical movement called ChristianNationalism.
Christian Nationalism has its deepest roots in three recent, man-made, heretical philosophies known as Christian Reconstructionism, Dominionism, and Theonomy—all being approximately synonymous with each other. Basically, these three philosophies call for turning the United States into a Christian dictatorship—based on Old…
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What the Old Testament has to say about not taking care of the poor.
We Christians already know the Gospels are filled with writings about Jesus instructing his followers to take care of the “least among us” — the poor, sick and otherwise afflicted. We also know Jesus preferred the poor and less fortunate over the rich Pharisees of his day. There’s not much argument about how Jesus felt about the greedy and the selfish, which is why the Christian Right usually references the Old Testament with its harsher, angrier God. They can always find something there to use to make their greed, lack of compassion, and exploitation of the less fortunate for their own nefarious purposes (usually to enrich themselves) seem somehow moral, even God’s will. They’re good at cherry picking from the Old Testament to excuse their un-Christian views, and cherry pick they must, because there’s plenty in the Old Testament that condemns those who worship mammon and turn their backs on the less fortunate.
No matter what version of the Bible is used, the message conveyed is the same: we are to take care of and show compassion for the least among us, not exploit them and take away the little they have to enrich the already-wealthy. This is exactly what the christians in the current Republican Party (that is not a typo; I will not use a capital C to describe them because in my view they are not Christians) are trying to ram through the Senate in dark secrecy (which is in itself evil and dishonest). Their “healthcare bill” is a lie. It is nothing but yet another huge tax break for the richest 1% that will strip healthcare away from middle class and poor Americans, including the disabled and elderly (many who rely on Medicaid if they are in nursing homes or residential treatment since Medicare only pays a limited amount for long-term services); children, people with pre-existing conditions, older people like me who are still too young for Medicare (which, along with social security, might be gone by the time we hit age 65 or whatever the magic age is now) and families of limited means of any health insurance at all.
The huge irony here is this is the so-called pro-life party, but all they are is pro-birth. They care more about “the sanctity of the embryo” than about a sick child who needs medical care who they would gladly deny the right to see a doctor if her parents can’t afford it. If she dies, oh well, too bad, it was either “God’s will” or “her parents should have made better choices.” These sociopaths and their sycophants will continue to get their Cadillac health care plans though, paid for by our taxes, while many of us must sacrifice our own right to see a doctor if we become sick, or risk losing everything we own. Mike Pence once said that people who will lose their insurance “don’t need healthcare — they need more Jesus.” Well, Mr. Pence, since you’re apparently one of God’s chosen ones who seems to know exactly what the rest of us who are less blessed than you need, why don’t YOU give up YOUR Cadillac plan and rely on faith healing for yourself and your own family? If our only option after you rob us of healthcare is appealing to God for a cure and that’s supposed to be good enough for us, why isn’t it also good enough for you? Give up your healthcare plan so at least we’re all on a level playing field. No? I thought not. Of course, you don’t believe in fairness, because as one of God’s Elect, you deserve healthcare and I do not.
The hypocrisy and callousness of these swamp creatures is staggering.
Many innocent people will die if this abomination passes. I look at Mitch McConnell, the turtle-faced, dead-eyed, smirking, Koch Brothers-funded ringleader orchestrating the secret dealings to pass this cruel travesty that will help only the most wealthy and the corporations (people just like himself), a “man” who has the temerity to try to ram this bill through in dark secrecy without anyone knowing what’s in it except him and a few of his equally wealthy cronies — and he makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. He — perhaps more than anyone else in this administration (and they are all horrible human beings from everything I have seen of them) — reminds me of the Undead — some demonic swamp creature who seems to garner pleasure from the idea that millions of people will suffer and die. And he’s not the only one.
The spectacle of the smirks, backslaps, laughter, beer toasting, and glad-handing going on among McConnell, Paul Ryan, Mark Meadows, Trump, and so many other of these hate-filled white racist thugs at the Rose Garden party after “Trumpcare” passed the House back in May was a wake up call that sent chills through my soul. I realized with no uncertain terms that these creatures sold their souls for Mammon and walk on the side of darkness. If they profess to be Christian, it’s merely a talking point intended to gain support from the gullible red state religious types who blindly believe everything this cabal of Dark Triad power-mongers and their lying, gaslighting, fake news-generating pundits on Fox News, Breitbart, and InfoWars tell them. Their followers and supporters are in my prayers because to my mind, they are victims of a dangerous and powerful cult whose doctrine is anathema to anything Jesus taught.
Here are passages from the OLD TESTAMENT (I’ve included many versions of the Bible to illustrate it’s not just in the translation) that show that Jesus message in the Gospels is still God’s will for us. God is a constant and his love is for ALL of us, not just a chosen few.
Proverbs 22:16Verse (Click for Chapter)New International Version
One who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and one who gives gifts to the rich–both come to poverty.
New Living Translation
A person who gets ahead by oppressing the poor or by showering gifts on the rich will end in poverty.
English Standard Version
Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth, or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.
New American Standard Bible
He who oppresses the poor to make more for himself Or who gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.
King James Bible
He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.
Holman Christian Standard Bible
Oppressing the poor to enrich oneself, and giving to the rich–both lead only to poverty.
International Standard Version
Whoever oppresses the poor to enrich himself and whoever gives gifts to the wealthy will yield only loss.
The one who oppresses the poor to increase his own gain and the one who gives to the rich–both end up only in poverty.
New Heart English Bible
Whoever oppresses the poor for his own increase and whoever gives to the rich, both come to poverty.
Aramaic Bible in Plain English
He that harms the poor increases his own affliction and he that gives to the rich suffers loss to his soul.
GOD’S WORD® Translation
Oppressing the poor for profit [or] giving to the rich certainly leads to poverty.
JPS Tanakh 1917
One may oppress the poor, yet will their gain increase; One may give to the rich, yet will want come.
New American Standard 1977
He who oppresses the poor to make much for himself
Or who gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.
Jubilee Bible 2000
He that oppresses the poor to increase his riches and who gives to the rich shall surely come to want.
King James 2000 Bible
He that oppresses the poor to increase his riches, and he that gives to the rich, shall surely come to poverty.
American King James Version
He that oppresses the poor to increase his riches, and he that gives to the rich, shall surely come to want.
American Standard Version
He that oppresseth the poor to increase his gain , And he that giveth to the rich,’shall come only to want.
He that oppresseth the poor, to in- crease his own riches, shall himself give to one that is richer, and shall be in need.
Darby Bible Translation
He that oppresseth the poor, it is to enrich him; he that giveth to the rich, [bringeth] only to want.
English Revised Version
He that oppresseth the poor to increase his gain, and he that giveth to the rich, cometh only to want.
Webster’s Bible Translation
He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.
World English Bible
Whoever oppresses the poor for his own increase and whoever gives to the rich, both come to poverty.
Young’s Literal Translation
He is oppressing the poor to multiply to him, He is giving to the rich — only to want.Other VersesJames 2:13
For judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
Do not rob the poor because he is poor, Or crush the afflicted at the gate;
A man with an evil eye hastens after wealth And does not know that want will come upon him.
If you see oppression of the poor and denial of justice and righteousness in the province, do not be shocked at the sight; for one official watches over another official, and there are higher officials over them.On the oppressors:
Proverbs 22:22,23 Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted …
Proverbs 14:31 He that oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker: but he that honors …
Proverbs 28:3 A poor man that oppresses the poor is like a sweeping rain which leaves no food.
Job 20:19 Because he has oppressed and has forsaken the poor; because he has …
Psalm 12:5 For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now …
Micah 2:2,3 And they covet fields, and take them by violence; and houses, and …
Zechariah 7:9-14 Thus speaks the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and …
James 2:13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that has showed no mercy; …
James 5:1-5 Go to now, you rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall …
On those who give:
Luke 6:33-35 And if you do good to them which do good to you, what thank have …
Luke 14:12-14 Then said he also to him that bade him, When you make a dinner or …
Luke 16:24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send …