Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Long and Short of It: Evangelical Mulligans and Idiot Winds — Religion in the News

Lots of religion stories in the news these days: here are things that have caught my eye, which I want to pass on to you — some long, some short and sweet: 

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins on Trump's payment of $130,000 hush money to porn actress Stormy Daniels, re: their affair, as quoted by Travis Gettys

"We kind of gave him — 'All right, you get a mulligan. You get a do-over here,'" Perkins said.

Allisyn Camerota, as quoted by Brad Reed

Which biblical principle was it where Christ referred to "the mulligan?"

Gordon Haber on Stephen Strang's God and Trump

I'm reminded of Bob Dylan's Idiot Wind, in which he contends against a stupidity so massive it sweeps like the jet stream across the American continent, "from the Grand Coulee Dam / To the Capitol." . . . 
God and Trump is a terrible book, but it is an important book, in its way, for those of us struggling to understand how Christians can support a moral cretin like President Trump. 
Still, I think Strang left some stuff out. Because unlike the alt-right, which is pretty forthright about its ideals, most high-profile Trump supporters, Christian or otherwise, are not intellectually honest. If they were, we'd see a book explaining what's really behind all this cynical piety: that they want a white man in the White House, that they want conservative Christian values to be codified into law, that they want to hang onto their cash, and that everybody else can go to hell. Perhaps literally.

Charlie May on evangelical leader (and son of Billy Graham) Franklin Graham's denial of Trump's affair with porn star Stormy Daniels: 

Ironically enough, Graham also expressed that the United States has a "sin problem."

Robyn Pennacchia on Tony Perkins' claim that white evangelicals love the moral monstrosity in the White House because they're of being kicked around by Obama and liberals: 

How evangelical Christians were supposedly "kicked around" by Obama, I honestly have no idea. Being pro-choice, being pro-LGBTQ rights, not allowing discrimination, is not 'kicking around' evangelicals, it is not "bullying" them. It is merely preventing them from being able to bully others. Evangelicals claiming that Obama "bullied" them is like the school bully claiming he's being "bullied" because the school won't let him give anyone a swirly, even though he really likes giving nerds swirlies, or the prom queen suing the school because they forced her to be exposed to people who wear clothes she doesn't like. 
But I digress. 
The fact is, adultery is just not a big thing for evangelicals, at least so far as it concerns their more powerful leaders. As long as it's not gay adultery like Ted Haggard did, as long as it doesn't include child molesting like Josh Duggar did, you are basically all right and can definitely continue your career of swindling old people out of their Social Security through promises of eternal salvation.

Rod Dreher proclaims:

And Rachel Held Evans responds:

(She later corrected the "blesses" in her tweet, noting she intended to write "blessed.")

Former Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele to evangelical gurus defending the moral monstrosity in the White House: 

"I have a very simple admonition at this point," Steele said on "Hardball" on MSNBC. "Just shut the hell up and don't ever preach to me about anything ever again. I don't want to hear it." 
Steele added: 
"After telling me how to live my life, who to love, what to believe, what not to believe, what to do and what not to do and now you sit back and the prostitutes don't matter? The grabbing the you-know-what doesn't matter? The outright behavior and lies don't matter? Just shut up."

Fred Clark on Glenn Simpson's statement, in testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, that there has been "a lot" of inflitration of religious groups in the U.S. by Putin's folks: 

The tantalizing bit from Simpson's testimony here that hasn't prompted nearly as much follow-up reporting is his remark that "the Russian operation was designed to infiltrate conservative organizations" and that "religious" groups were specifically targeted for this infiltration. 
Simpson also said: 
"We have done some research on some religious groups having relationships with the Russians, having, developing, and pursuing relationships with various religious groups. … There has been a lot of that."
I would very much like to see some industrious journalists follow up on that. I would like to see them follow the money. 
Thinking through the roster of major players on the religious right, it's not hard to come up with a list of those who would be susceptible to such infiltration — or to come up with a list of those who would be eagerly receptive. . . . 
We need to know the names of those "various religious groups" that were "targeted" and — perhaps — "infiltrated" by Russians representing "banker-slash-Duma member-slash-Mafia" interests. And we need to know how this influenced them.

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