Day: December 23, 2017

Obama Was a State Sponsor of Terror


It should not surprise or shock anyone that President Barack Hussein Obama has been revealed to have derailed the investigation and prosecution of Iran’s terrorist sock puppet, Hezb’allah, and its drug-running operation in order to complete the fatally flawed Iran nuclear deal. Obama gave aid and comfort to terrorist groups and their state sponsors from the day he was sworn in, to the point of actual criminality.

Consider the case of Bowe Bergdahl, the deserter who left his post and his comrades in an Afghanistan combat zone to “find himself” and also to find the Taliban. Former U.N. ambassador and National Security Adviser Susan Rice, propagator of the Benghazi video lie, laughably said on the same talk show circuit that Bowe Bergdahl had “served with distinction.” This was the administration view of the man for whom Obama would trade key Taliban leaders in our custody.

President Obama welcomed and commiserated with Bowe Bergdahl’s parents in the Rose Garden on May 31, 2014. It would be stretching credulity to beyond the breaking point to believe President Obama did not know when it was announced we were trading five top Taliban commanders, soon to be free to return to the terrorist battlefield, for Bergdahl.

Even if Bergdahl was not a deserter, the trade would have been a bad deal. As Investor’s Business Daily noted in an editorial charging “Obama Gave Material Assistance To Our Taliban Enemy,” President Obama committed a federal crime by trading Taliban leaders for Bergdahl:

As former congressman and Afghanistan veteran Allen West points out, President Obama signed into law only months ago the National Defense Authorization Act, which makes it a crime to offer or provide any material support to terrorist groups. It makes no exception as to who and under which circumstances.


The Taliban is considered a non-state terrorist group to which Obama has returned five of the worst terrorists held at Guantanamo. They are not foot soldiers and this exchange was not at the end of a war, when prisoner swaps often happen. They are four-star general equivalents who will return to the battlefield to target and kill Americans again. If that’s not material assistance, what is?…


“We have a federal statute which makes it a felony to provide material assistance to any terrorist organization,” said Fox News judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano in support of West’s opinion. “It could be money, maps, professional services, any asset whatsoever, include human assets.”

hat Obama would endanger American security for a dubious photo-op and help empty a Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention facility he had pledged to close is beyond the pale. But then so is going to bed to rest up for a Las Vegas fundraiser the night four Americans were killed in Benghazi, including a U.S. ambassador, Christopher Stevens. Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Susan Rice couldn’t bring themselves to blame the terrorist groups that attacked in Benghazi, including Ansar al-Sharia, or even to utter the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism.” They preferred to spread the lie that a video was responsible, a lie they repeated on national TV, before the United Nations and to the parents of the Benghazi dead before their sons’ caskets:

Last Thursday, Judicial Watch issued a press release announcing that on Feb. 11 it had “uncovered documents from the U.S. Department of State revealing that top aides for then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, including her then-chief of staff Cheryl Mills, knew from the onset that the Benghazi mission compound was under attack by armed assailants tied to a terrorist group.”


The documents, obtained by Judicial Watch through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, make no mention of a reaction to an Internet video.


But they do contain references to an attack for which the al-Qaida-affiliated terrorist group Ansar al-Sharia had taken credit, information available to the State Department before it released the statement implicating a video.

President Obama and his administration precipitously withdrew from Iraq, snatching defeat from President Bush’s victory, and then ignored intelligence warnings on the rise of ISIS for a year: Obama once told CNN that the rise and expansion of the Islamic State was “not on my intelligence radar” As the Washington Examiner reported:

President Obama admitted to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, in a TV special “The Legacy of Barack Obama,” that his administration underestimated the Islamic State terrorist group.


“The ability of ISIL to not just mass inside of Syria, but then to initiate major land offensives that took Mosul, for example, that was not on my intelligence radar screen,” Obama said in a pre-taped interview that aired Wednesday evening.

Well, in order to see something on your radar, you actually have to look at it, and the fact is that President Obama from the start ignored his daily intelligence briefings, including the ones about ISIS that he ignored for a year. The fact is that President Obama, who famously dismissed ISIS as a “JV team,” ignored the intelligence reports of the rise of the Islamic State and the danger it posed. As Investor’s Business Daily editorialized, Obama’s later promise to “degrade and destroy” ISIS was an empty threat by a President who could have destroyed ISIS in the cradle but didn’t:

Degrade? Degrading has been the foreign policy of a president who recently said that he didn’t have a strategy yet for dealing with the Islamic State’s butchery after watching it train and prepare for a year in its Syrian base before its “sudden” expansion into Iraq.


A former Pentagon official told Fox News that Obama received specific intelligence in daily briefings about the Islamic State’s rise. The information was said to be “granular” in detail, laying out IS’ intentions and capabilities for at least a year before it seized big chunks of Iraqi territory and started beheading Americans.


Obama’s indifference to the briefings was an issue during the 2012 campaign, when former George W. Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen observed that Obama personally attended only 44% of them. Obama’s perceived lack of interest in a terror war, which he claimed was won prior to the Benghazi attack, mirrors his reported lack of interest in the rise of the Islamic State.

So with Obama’s turning a blind eye to the terrorist threats posed by the Taliban, Ansar Al-Sharia, and ISIS, even offering material aid and comfort to the Taliban, should we be surprised that he flew pallets containing $1.7 billion in cash to Iran, cash used to fund terrorist groups like Hizb’allah whose drug-running he excused and ignored?

Just as he was an accomplice to gunrunning in Operation Fast and Furious, which got Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and many others killed, now we know Pressident Obama was so intent on getting any kind of nuclear deal with the state sponsor of terror known as Iran that he was willing to derail efforts that were about to shut down Hizb’allah’s drug running activities inside the United States:

In order to keep the Iran nuclear deal on track, Obama gave a free pass to Hezbollah’s drug-trafficking and money-laundering operations, including crimes unfolding inside the United States, Politico reported.


A Drug Enforcement Administration campaign, “Project Cassandra,” was launched to target the Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah’s illicit networks, tracing the actions “to the innermost circle of Hizb’allah and its state sponsors in Iran,” according to the online political news outlet…


David Asher, a Defense Department illicit finance analyst who helped establish and oversee Project Cassandra, said the Obama White House “ripped apart” their efforts.


“This was a policy decision, it was a systematic decision,” Asher said. “They serially ripped apart this entire effort that was very well supported and resourced, and it was done from the top down.”


The closer Obama got to cementing the Iran nuclear deal, Asher said, the more difficult it was to conduct their investigation into Hezbollah activities.

Obama shut down the opportunity to end Hizb’allah’s drug trafficking operation, putting the lives of American youth at risk, in order to cement his legacy in the fatally flawed Iran nuclear deal. As Josh Meyer detailed in Politico:

But as Project Cassandra reached higher into the hierarchy of the conspiracy, Obama administration officials threw an increasingly insurmountable series of roadblocks in its way, according to interviews with dozens of participants who in many cases spoke for the first time about events shrouded in secrecy, and a review of government documents and court records. When Project Cassandra leaders sought approval for some significant investigations, prosecutions, arrests and financial sanctions, officials at the Justice and Treasury departments delayed, hindered or rejected their requests.


The Justice Department declined requests by Project Cassandra and other authorities to file criminal charges against major players such as Hizbollah’s high-profile envoy to Iran, a Lebanese bank that allegedly laundered billions in alleged drug profits, and a central player in a U.S.-based cell of the Iranian paramilitary Quds force. And the State Department rejected requests to lure high-value targets to countries where they could be arrested.

Coupled with his material aid and comfort to the Taliban, Obama’s obstruction of justice in shutting down Hizb’allah’s drug-running operation and failing to prosecute those running it constitutes crimes against the United States worthy of investigation, prosecution, and, yes, incarceration.

Daniel John Sobieski is a free lance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications. 

It should not surprise or shock anyone that President Barack Hussein Obama has been revealed to have derailed the investigation and prosecution of Iran’s terrorist sock puppet, Hezb’allah, and its drug-running operation in order to complete the fatally flawed Iran nuclear deal. Obama gave aid and comfort to terrorist groups and their state sponsors from the day he was sworn in, to the point of actual criminality.

Consider the case of Bowe Bergdahl, the deserter who left his post and his comrades in an Afghanistan combat zone to “find himself” and also to find the Taliban. Former U.N. ambassador and National Security Adviser Susan Rice, propagator of the Benghazi video lie, laughably said on the same talk show circuit that Bowe Bergdahl had “served with distinction.” This was the administration view of the man for whom Obama would trade key Taliban leaders in our custody.

President Obama welcomed and commiserated with Bowe Bergdahl’s parents in the Rose Garden on May 31, 2014. It would be stretching credulity to beyond the breaking point to believe President Obama did not know when it was announced we were trading five top Taliban commanders, soon to be free to return to the terrorist battlefield, for Bergdahl.

Even if Bergdahl was not a deserter, the trade would have been a bad deal. As Investor’s Business Daily noted in an editorial charging “Obama Gave Material Assistance To Our Taliban Enemy,” President Obama committed a federal crime by trading Taliban leaders for Bergdahl:

As former congressman and Afghanistan veteran Allen West points out, President Obama signed into law only months ago the National Defense Authorization Act, which makes it a crime to offer or provide any material support to terrorist groups. It makes no exception as to who and under which circumstances.


The Taliban is considered a non-state terrorist group to which Obama has returned five of the worst terrorists held at Guantanamo. They are not foot soldiers and this exchange was not at the end of a war, when prisoner swaps often happen. They are four-star general equivalents who will return to the battlefield to target and kill Americans again. If that’s not material assistance, what is?…


“We have a federal statute which makes it a felony to provide material assistance to any terrorist organization,” said Fox News judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano in support of West’s opinion. “It could be money, maps, professional services, any asset whatsoever, include human assets.”

hat Obama would endanger American security for a dubious photo-op and help empty a Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention facility he had pledged to close is beyond the pale. But then so is going to bed to rest up for a Las Vegas fundraiser the night four Americans were killed in Benghazi, including a U.S. ambassador, Christopher Stevens. Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Susan Rice couldn’t bring themselves to blame the terrorist groups that attacked in Benghazi, including Ansar al-Sharia, or even to utter the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism.” They preferred to spread the lie that a video was responsible, a lie they repeated on national TV, before the United Nations and to the parents of the Benghazi dead before their sons’ caskets:

Last Thursday, Judicial Watch issued a press release announcing that on Feb. 11 it had “uncovered documents from the U.S. Department of State revealing that top aides for then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, including her then-chief of staff Cheryl Mills, knew from the onset that the Benghazi mission compound was under attack by armed assailants tied to a terrorist group.”


The documents, obtained by Judicial Watch through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, make no mention of a reaction to an Internet video.


But they do contain references to an attack for which the al-Qaida-affiliated terrorist group Ansar al-Sharia had taken credit, information available to the State Department before it released the statement implicating a video.

President Obama and his administration precipitously withdrew from Iraq, snatching defeat from President Bush’s victory, and then ignored intelligence warnings on the rise of ISIS for a year: Obama once told CNN that the rise and expansion of the Islamic State was “not on my intelligence radar” As the Washington Examiner reported:

President Obama admitted to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, in a TV special “The Legacy of Barack Obama,” that his administration underestimated the Islamic State terrorist group.


“The ability of ISIL to not just mass inside of Syria, but then to initiate major land offensives that took Mosul, for example, that was not on my intelligence radar screen,” Obama said in a pre-taped interview that aired Wednesday evening.

Well, in order to see something on your radar, you actually have to look at it, and the fact is that President Obama from the start ignored his daily intelligence briefings, including the ones about ISIS that he ignored for a year. The fact is that President Obama, who famously dismissed ISIS as a “JV team,” ignored the intelligence reports of the rise of the Islamic State and the danger it posed. As Investor’s Business Daily editorialized, Obama’s later promise to “degrade and destroy” ISIS was an empty threat by a President who could have destroyed ISIS in the cradle but didn’t:

Degrade? Degrading has been the foreign policy of a president who recently said that he didn’t have a strategy yet for dealing with the Islamic State’s butchery after watching it train and prepare for a year in its Syrian base before its “sudden” expansion into Iraq.


A former Pentagon official told Fox News that Obama received specific intelligence in daily briefings about the Islamic State’s rise. The information was said to be “granular” in detail, laying out IS’ intentions and capabilities for at least a year before it seized big chunks of Iraqi territory and started beheading Americans.


Obama’s indifference to the briefings was an issue during the 2012 campaign, when former George W. Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen observed that Obama personally attended only 44% of them. Obama’s perceived lack of interest in a terror war, which he claimed was won prior to the Benghazi attack, mirrors his reported lack of interest in the rise of the Islamic State.

So with Obama’s turning a blind eye to the terrorist threats posed by the Taliban, Ansar Al-Sharia, and ISIS, even offering material aid and comfort to the Taliban, should we be surprised that he flew pallets containing $1.7 billion in cash to Iran, cash used to fund terrorist groups like Hizb’allah whose drug-running he excused and ignored?

Just as he was an accomplice to gunrunning in Operation Fast and Furious, which got Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and many others killed, now we know Pressident Obama was so intent on getting any kind of nuclear deal with the state sponsor of terror known as Iran that he was willing to derail efforts that were about to shut down Hizb’allah’s drug running activities inside the United States:

In order to keep the Iran nuclear deal on track, Obama gave a free pass to Hezbollah’s drug-trafficking and money-laundering operations, including crimes unfolding inside the United States, Politico reported.


A Drug Enforcement Administration campaign, “Project Cassandra,” was launched to target the Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah’s illicit networks, tracing the actions “to the innermost circle of Hizb’allah and its state sponsors in Iran,” according to the online political news outlet…


David Asher, a Defense Department illicit finance analyst who helped establish and oversee Project Cassandra, said the Obama White House “ripped apart” their efforts.


“This was a policy decision, it was a systematic decision,” Asher said. “They serially ripped apart this entire effort that was very well supported and resourced, and it was done from the top down.”


The closer Obama got to cementing the Iran nuclear deal, Asher said, the more difficult it was to conduct their investigation into Hezbollah activities.

Obama shut down the opportunity to end Hizb’allah’s drug trafficking operation, putting the lives of American youth at risk, in order to cement his legacy in the fatally flawed Iran nuclear deal. As Josh Meyer detailed in Politico:

But as Project Cassandra reached higher into the hierarchy of the conspiracy, Obama administration officials threw an increasingly insurmountable series of roadblocks in its way, according to interviews with dozens of participants who in many cases spoke for the first time about events shrouded in secrecy, and a review of government documents and court records. When Project Cassandra leaders sought approval for some significant investigations, prosecutions, arrests and financial sanctions, officials at the Justice and Treasury departments delayed, hindered or rejected their requests.


The Justice Department declined requests by Project Cassandra and other authorities to file criminal charges against major players such as Hizbollah’s high-profile envoy to Iran, a Lebanese bank that allegedly laundered billions in alleged drug profits, and a central player in a U.S.-based cell of the Iranian paramilitary Quds force. And the State Department rejected requests to lure high-value targets to countries where they could be arrested.

Coupled with his material aid and comfort to the Taliban, Obama’s obstruction of justice in shutting down Hizb’allah’s drug-running operation and failing to prosecute those running it constitutes crimes against the United States worthy of investigation, prosecution, and, yes, incarceration.

Daniel John Sobieski is a free lance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications. 



Source link

Trump's First Year vs. Obama's Eight Years


Here are President Obama’s main accomplishments over eight years:

–Obamacare: This 2,000-plus page law with more than 10,000 pages of regulations and over 20 new taxes has not increased life expectancy but has taken away freedom of choice on what type of insurance everyone has to buy with greatly increased costs and deductibles.

–The Iran Deal: This took the country which is a top sponsor of terrorism and lifted its regime up with more power and money. It did not make the world or the U.S safer and stronger.

–The Paris Climate Accord: This transferred a massive amount of money and power from the U.S. private sector to its government and in turn transferred money from the U.S. to other countries. The policy is based on the belief that climate change/global warming exists and is the greatest threat to the world. So does Iran sponsor terrorists because of climate change? Does North Korea build nuclear weapons because of climate change? Does Russia take over more territory because of climate change? Do refugees from Syria and other countries escape because of climate change? CO2 is a clear, innocuous, non-polluting gas that allows plants to thrive and the billions of people to be fed. The reason Obama and other people want to regulate it is to have government control. But this accord certainly did not have its goal to make the U.S. stronger.

—- Regulatory avalanche: Obama added tens of thousands of regulations and burdens to businesses and individuals as fast as he could. This certainly helped empower and enrich the D.C. suburbs but not the rest of us.

I honestly can’t think of any policies that Obama passed or implemented that had the effect to help the U.S. economy and the people as a whole. The result of Obama’s high tax, high spending, high regulations was the slowest economic recovery in eight years and $10 Trillion more in debt along with more people being dependent on government.

Here are just some of Trump’s accomplishments in his first year:

—-He has been reducing regulations as fast as he can to free up the private sector. He has opened pipelines and drilling. Where Obama was trying to bankrupt coal companies and harm fossil fuel companies, he is building them up.

—He scrapped the burdensome Paris Accord.

—-He dumped the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement. I have not seen any country that has reduced their trade or refused to trade with the U.S as a result. Trump correctly believes that we should negotiate in smaller groups so they can be easier to monitor and fix.

—-He knocked the foundation out of Obamacare. While Trump has not been able to get rid of Obamacare, he has been whittling away. The tax bill gets rid of the individual mandate which may eventually kill it. Critics say getting rid of the mandate will increase costs and I would ask them to explain why costs went up so much with the individual mandate in effect.

—-The tax bill itself: Lowering rates for everyone and doubling the standard deduction means that around 90% will have a very simple return: This reduces the need for as many IRS auditors and bureaucrats along with reducing the need for as many tax preparers.

Since I am a tax professional, I will go into a bit more detail on the obvious benefits:

  • Lowering the tax rate on corporations and moving to the territorial tax system is tremendous. It makes the U.S. more competitive and takes away the impetus for tax inversions which moves headquarters to other countries. These provisions reduce the need for IRS auditors and bureaucrats along with tax accountants and lawyers who so often have been used to beat the high taxes.
  • Upping the exemption for estates. This reduces the need for as many IRS auditors and bureaucrats along with reducing the demand for tax accountants and lawyers who were used to get the wealthy out of paying the confiscatory rates that somehow the government believes it is entitled to.
  • While the tax bill isn’t perfect it is a heck of a good start. Once the economy picks up and the tax cuts generate more for the government, not the less predicted, as other previous cuts have done they can attack more of the still too cumbersome tax code.

Everything I have seen Trump do in his first year indicates his desire to help everyone who is a citizen of the U.S. I see no preference based on race, gender identity or class. He is rapidly trying to transfer the power and money from the government back to the people where it belongs. The government, after all is supposed to work for the people, not the other way around.

What a great start to what will probably be an eight-year presidency. I look forward to more freedom and prosperity. Maybe someday a few Democrats will stop obstructing and recognize that capitalism is the system that has the greatest impact on reducing poverty and increasing prosperity.

Now I look forward to Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats campaigning throughout the U.S saying the sky is falling and Armageddon is upon us because heaven forbid that individuals and business are allowed to keep more of the money they earn to spend as they like instead of having the government confiscate it.

It is a glorious day in America. The U.S. and the world are stronger and safer when the U.S economy and the private sector are thriving with more freedom and fewer people are dependent on government.

On a day like this I think of one of my favorite songs. Louis Armstrong’s: “What a Wonderful World.”

Here are President Obama’s main accomplishments over eight years:

–Obamacare: This 2,000-plus page law with more than 10,000 pages of regulations and over 20 new taxes has not increased life expectancy but has taken away freedom of choice on what type of insurance everyone has to buy with greatly increased costs and deductibles.

–The Iran Deal: This took the country which is a top sponsor of terrorism and lifted its regime up with more power and money. It did not make the world or the U.S safer and stronger.

–The Paris Climate Accord: This transferred a massive amount of money and power from the U.S. private sector to its government and in turn transferred money from the U.S. to other countries. The policy is based on the belief that climate change/global warming exists and is the greatest threat to the world. So does Iran sponsor terrorists because of climate change? Does North Korea build nuclear weapons because of climate change? Does Russia take over more territory because of climate change? Do refugees from Syria and other countries escape because of climate change? CO2 is a clear, innocuous, non-polluting gas that allows plants to thrive and the billions of people to be fed. The reason Obama and other people want to regulate it is to have government control. But this accord certainly did not have its goal to make the U.S. stronger.

—- Regulatory avalanche: Obama added tens of thousands of regulations and burdens to businesses and individuals as fast as he could. This certainly helped empower and enrich the D.C. suburbs but not the rest of us.

I honestly can’t think of any policies that Obama passed or implemented that had the effect to help the U.S. economy and the people as a whole. The result of Obama’s high tax, high spending, high regulations was the slowest economic recovery in eight years and $10 Trillion more in debt along with more people being dependent on government.

Here are just some of Trump’s accomplishments in his first year:

—-He has been reducing regulations as fast as he can to free up the private sector. He has opened pipelines and drilling. Where Obama was trying to bankrupt coal companies and harm fossil fuel companies, he is building them up.

—He scrapped the burdensome Paris Accord.

—-He dumped the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement. I have not seen any country that has reduced their trade or refused to trade with the U.S as a result. Trump correctly believes that we should negotiate in smaller groups so they can be easier to monitor and fix.

—-He knocked the foundation out of Obamacare. While Trump has not been able to get rid of Obamacare, he has been whittling away. The tax bill gets rid of the individual mandate which may eventually kill it. Critics say getting rid of the mandate will increase costs and I would ask them to explain why costs went up so much with the individual mandate in effect.

—-The tax bill itself: Lowering rates for everyone and doubling the standard deduction means that around 90% will have a very simple return: This reduces the need for as many IRS auditors and bureaucrats along with reducing the need for as many tax preparers.

Since I am a tax professional, I will go into a bit more detail on the obvious benefits:

  • Lowering the tax rate on corporations and moving to the territorial tax system is tremendous. It makes the U.S. more competitive and takes away the impetus for tax inversions which moves headquarters to other countries. These provisions reduce the need for IRS auditors and bureaucrats along with tax accountants and lawyers who so often have been used to beat the high taxes.
  • Upping the exemption for estates. This reduces the need for as many IRS auditors and bureaucrats along with reducing the demand for tax accountants and lawyers who were used to get the wealthy out of paying the confiscatory rates that somehow the government believes it is entitled to.
  • While the tax bill isn’t perfect it is a heck of a good start. Once the economy picks up and the tax cuts generate more for the government, not the less predicted, as other previous cuts have done they can attack more of the still too cumbersome tax code.

Everything I have seen Trump do in his first year indicates his desire to help everyone who is a citizen of the U.S. I see no preference based on race, gender identity or class. He is rapidly trying to transfer the power and money from the government back to the people where it belongs. The government, after all is supposed to work for the people, not the other way around.

What a great start to what will probably be an eight-year presidency. I look forward to more freedom and prosperity. Maybe someday a few Democrats will stop obstructing and recognize that capitalism is the system that has the greatest impact on reducing poverty and increasing prosperity.

Now I look forward to Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats campaigning throughout the U.S saying the sky is falling and Armageddon is upon us because heaven forbid that individuals and business are allowed to keep more of the money they earn to spend as they like instead of having the government confiscate it.

It is a glorious day in America. The U.S. and the world are stronger and safer when the U.S economy and the private sector are thriving with more freedom and fewer people are dependent on government.

On a day like this I think of one of my favorite songs. Louis Armstrong’s: “What a Wonderful World.”



Source link

From Puritan Zionism to a Christmasy Hanukkah for Jerusalem


In between Thanksgiving and Christmas, President Trump gave to the nation of Israel perhaps one of the biggest Christmas gifts of all time: the long awaited recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.  While Israel has never seen it any other way, the nations of the world have been reticent to acknowledge the obvious.  Jewish people have been waiting since ancient times for Jerusalem to once again be its capital, particularly since 1948, when Israel was born following the great consequential aftermath of both world wars.

Yet the Jewish return to the land of Israel with Jerusalem as its capital was actually predicted by more than a few Puritans and pilgrims who gave to America its first Thanksgiving.  The Puritans and pilgrims prided themselves in going back to the teachings of the Bible without interferences coming in from the Protestant state church.  Their crusade was a biblical one, in great contrast to the time of the Crusades in previous centuries, when European crusaders were sent to Jerusalem to protect the holy land from the Muslims.

Many Puritans were convinced that Israel would one day be regathered back to the land, with Jerusalem honored as its capital, not merely because of the divine authority of the Old Testament itself, but also because of the writings of Paul in Romans 11, not to mention the book of Revelation.  Moreover, they made such predictions based on biblical prophecies, irrespective of the fact that at the time, the Ottoman Empire was running the Middle East and had pushed up as far as the gates of Vienna.

Swiss theologian Theodore Beza (1519-1605) was perhaps the first significant Reformer who unleashed what should be understood as a form of Protestant Zionism when he taught that “Israel” in the New Testament refers to the Jews rather than to Christians.  Many in the Catholic Church for centuries had presumed that the Church is the true “spiritual” Israel.  Undergirded by its allegorical interpretation of the Scriptures that was deemed more spiritually minded, the importance of Israel’s covenantal history tied to the Promised Land was ignored.  Thus, while the Medieval Church did expend much time, energy, and blood during the Crusades, the holy land was to be taken from the Muslims for themselves – not for the Jews.  This was largely because Catholicism after Augustine buried Jewish eschatology under a replacement theology that taught that the New Testament Church completely supplanted Old Testament Israel.  (Eschatology is the study of the last things related to ultimate salvation.)

Yet the early Catholic Church before Augustine strongly held to a premillennial eschatology.  Early Catholics believed that the Second Coming of Christ would usher in upon the Earth His promised Messianic Kingdom as anticipated in the Bible, particularly in the Old Testament and the Gospels.  premillennialism essentially means “before the kingdom,” with the term “millennium” standing for the Messianic Kingdom.  However, Catholicism after Augustine subscribed to amillennialism, which means there will not be a millennium after all, as the Church essentially became the kingdom of God on Earth that inextricably tied religion to the state for centuries to come.

Leaders of the Protestant Reformation like Luther and Calvin generally held to this Catholic default position during the 1500s, but more and more Protestants began to reconsider the early Church’s eschatological views.  This time around, however, when Puritan and pilgrim divines went back to biblical prophecies, they not only began to recover a premillennial eschatology again, but depicted the coming Messianic Kingdom in much more Jewish terms than previously envisaged.  Hence, the birth of what is today called Christian Zionism goes back to the Puritans and pilgrims.

With no small thanks to the publishing success of the Geneva Bible, Beza’s views on the future salvation of Israel became widely dispersed among the Puritans in England, Scotland, and New England.  Early on, the Anglican rector of York, Edmund Bunny (1540-1619), looked forward to Israel’s future restoration to the land and called on fellow Christians to love the Jews and minister to them with the gospel.  In 1608, English theologian Thomas Draxe wrote a commentary on Romans 11 called “The World’s Resurrection or the General Calling of the Jews.”  Draxe taught that the Jews are still peculiarly God’s people by virtue of the fact that God gave them His everlasting covenant in the Old Testament, which could not be forfeited.  In great contrast to Luther’s belligerent anti-Semitism, Draxe strongly discouraged Christians from acting likewise precisely because they are so indebted to the Jews and their Old Testament heritage.

In 1621, English lawyer Henry Finch predicted that the Jews would physically return to the promised land of Israel and that this homecoming would be a sign of the impending apocalypse.  Finch also sharply distinguished Israel from the church, as he sharply criticized those who said God’s promises have been transferred to the church as untrue “allegories.”  Finch presumed that God’s covenant given to Israel was eternal and that a revived Jewish state would one day cause consternation in the world.  Not surprisingly, Finch was arrested, tried, and forced to acknowledge that King James was his only sovereign – not some future Jewish king!  Such eschatological views were strongly suppressed by both the government and the Protestant state church that included book-burning.  William Gouge (1575-1763) was briefly put in jail in 1621 for publishing one of Finch’s works in his own name.

Thomas Goodwyn (1600-1680), who was Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658)’s chaplain, was also an early Puritan Zionist.  It was Cromwell who dethroned and beheaded the king of England for treason toward the end of the English Civil War (1642-51) – all of which was a precursor to the American Revolution.  At relatively the same time, English divine Robert Maton wrote that the Second Coming of Christ is connected to the restoration of the Jews to their homeland.  The English Civil War provided an opportunity for Puritan Zionists to write their theological works without being shunned or persecuted by the royalist state church that had even less influences on the other side of the Atlantic.

Contrary to popular opinion, more than a few American Puritans also rejected the notion that North America was slated to become the New Jerusalem of the New World.  According to Puritan expert Reiner Smolenski, some of the American Puritans even associated the apocalyptic theme of the woman running away into the wilderness to escape the pressures of the Antichrist (Revelation 12:6) with their own colonial experience.  In other words, rather than set up the New Jerusalem in the new world, they wanted to run away into the wilderness of North America to escape the clutches of the Antichrist in Europe before the restoration of the Promised Land to Israel.

Neither should such apocalyptic views be considered dangerous in themselves.  It is simply not true that Christian Zionists are helping to facilitate the end of the world, as all too many have suggested.  It is the Islamo-fascists and the leftist compromises with them that are at the heart of the problem, as their policies of dividing up the Promised Land of Israel have done nothing to foster peace in the region.  Such foolish policies have left the entire Middle East in flames today with no signs of improvement anywhere on the horizon.  Perhaps it is time to finally acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel’s capital after all?

Neither is it a coincidence that Jewish Christian scholar Alfred Edersheim wrote that Christmas is rooted not in paganism, but in the Jewish Festival of Lights called Hanukkah.  Commemorating the re-dedication of the Temple (165 B.C.) following its desecration at the hands of Antiochus Ephiphanes, Hanukkah begins on the 25th of the Hebrew month Kislev, which normally occurs in December.  John 10:22 makes reference to Hanukkah, and Jesus often characterized Himself as the Light of the World (John 8:12; 9:5; 12:35-36, 46) that refers back to Isaiah 9:1-7.  This opens the door for December 25 to become the exceptional day when the Jewish Messianic Light of the world was born on Christmas Day.

Happy Hanukkah to Israel and its capital city, Jerusalem!

Mark Musser is a part-time pastor, author, missionary, and farmer who lives in Olympia, Washington.  He is a contributing writer for the Cornwall Alliance.  His book Nazi Oaks provides a sobering history lesson on the philosophical foundations of the early German green movement, which was absorbed by National Socialism in the 1930s and proved to be a powerful undercurrent during the Holocaust.  Mark is also the author of Wrath or Rest, a commentary on the warning passages found in the epistle to the Hebrews.

In between Thanksgiving and Christmas, President Trump gave to the nation of Israel perhaps one of the biggest Christmas gifts of all time: the long awaited recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.  While Israel has never seen it any other way, the nations of the world have been reticent to acknowledge the obvious.  Jewish people have been waiting since ancient times for Jerusalem to once again be its capital, particularly since 1948, when Israel was born following the great consequential aftermath of both world wars.

Yet the Jewish return to the land of Israel with Jerusalem as its capital was actually predicted by more than a few Puritans and pilgrims who gave to America its first Thanksgiving.  The Puritans and pilgrims prided themselves in going back to the teachings of the Bible without interferences coming in from the Protestant state church.  Their crusade was a biblical one, in great contrast to the time of the Crusades in previous centuries, when European crusaders were sent to Jerusalem to protect the holy land from the Muslims.

Many Puritans were convinced that Israel would one day be regathered back to the land, with Jerusalem honored as its capital, not merely because of the divine authority of the Old Testament itself, but also because of the writings of Paul in Romans 11, not to mention the book of Revelation.  Moreover, they made such predictions based on biblical prophecies, irrespective of the fact that at the time, the Ottoman Empire was running the Middle East and had pushed up as far as the gates of Vienna.

Swiss theologian Theodore Beza (1519-1605) was perhaps the first significant Reformer who unleashed what should be understood as a form of Protestant Zionism when he taught that “Israel” in the New Testament refers to the Jews rather than to Christians.  Many in the Catholic Church for centuries had presumed that the Church is the true “spiritual” Israel.  Undergirded by its allegorical interpretation of the Scriptures that was deemed more spiritually minded, the importance of Israel’s covenantal history tied to the Promised Land was ignored.  Thus, while the Medieval Church did expend much time, energy, and blood during the Crusades, the holy land was to be taken from the Muslims for themselves – not for the Jews.  This was largely because Catholicism after Augustine buried Jewish eschatology under a replacement theology that taught that the New Testament Church completely supplanted Old Testament Israel.  (Eschatology is the study of the last things related to ultimate salvation.)

Yet the early Catholic Church before Augustine strongly held to a premillennial eschatology.  Early Catholics believed that the Second Coming of Christ would usher in upon the Earth His promised Messianic Kingdom as anticipated in the Bible, particularly in the Old Testament and the Gospels.  premillennialism essentially means “before the kingdom,” with the term “millennium” standing for the Messianic Kingdom.  However, Catholicism after Augustine subscribed to amillennialism, which means there will not be a millennium after all, as the Church essentially became the kingdom of God on Earth that inextricably tied religion to the state for centuries to come.

Leaders of the Protestant Reformation like Luther and Calvin generally held to this Catholic default position during the 1500s, but more and more Protestants began to reconsider the early Church’s eschatological views.  This time around, however, when Puritan and pilgrim divines went back to biblical prophecies, they not only began to recover a premillennial eschatology again, but depicted the coming Messianic Kingdom in much more Jewish terms than previously envisaged.  Hence, the birth of what is today called Christian Zionism goes back to the Puritans and pilgrims.

With no small thanks to the publishing success of the Geneva Bible, Beza’s views on the future salvation of Israel became widely dispersed among the Puritans in England, Scotland, and New England.  Early on, the Anglican rector of York, Edmund Bunny (1540-1619), looked forward to Israel’s future restoration to the land and called on fellow Christians to love the Jews and minister to them with the gospel.  In 1608, English theologian Thomas Draxe wrote a commentary on Romans 11 called “The World’s Resurrection or the General Calling of the Jews.”  Draxe taught that the Jews are still peculiarly God’s people by virtue of the fact that God gave them His everlasting covenant in the Old Testament, which could not be forfeited.  In great contrast to Luther’s belligerent anti-Semitism, Draxe strongly discouraged Christians from acting likewise precisely because they are so indebted to the Jews and their Old Testament heritage.

In 1621, English lawyer Henry Finch predicted that the Jews would physically return to the promised land of Israel and that this homecoming would be a sign of the impending apocalypse.  Finch also sharply distinguished Israel from the church, as he sharply criticized those who said God’s promises have been transferred to the church as untrue “allegories.”  Finch presumed that God’s covenant given to Israel was eternal and that a revived Jewish state would one day cause consternation in the world.  Not surprisingly, Finch was arrested, tried, and forced to acknowledge that King James was his only sovereign – not some future Jewish king!  Such eschatological views were strongly suppressed by both the government and the Protestant state church that included book-burning.  William Gouge (1575-1763) was briefly put in jail in 1621 for publishing one of Finch’s works in his own name.

Thomas Goodwyn (1600-1680), who was Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658)’s chaplain, was also an early Puritan Zionist.  It was Cromwell who dethroned and beheaded the king of England for treason toward the end of the English Civil War (1642-51) – all of which was a precursor to the American Revolution.  At relatively the same time, English divine Robert Maton wrote that the Second Coming of Christ is connected to the restoration of the Jews to their homeland.  The English Civil War provided an opportunity for Puritan Zionists to write their theological works without being shunned or persecuted by the royalist state church that had even less influences on the other side of the Atlantic.

Contrary to popular opinion, more than a few American Puritans also rejected the notion that North America was slated to become the New Jerusalem of the New World.  According to Puritan expert Reiner Smolenski, some of the American Puritans even associated the apocalyptic theme of the woman running away into the wilderness to escape the pressures of the Antichrist (Revelation 12:6) with their own colonial experience.  In other words, rather than set up the New Jerusalem in the new world, they wanted to run away into the wilderness of North America to escape the clutches of the Antichrist in Europe before the restoration of the Promised Land to Israel.

Neither should such apocalyptic views be considered dangerous in themselves.  It is simply not true that Christian Zionists are helping to facilitate the end of the world, as all too many have suggested.  It is the Islamo-fascists and the leftist compromises with them that are at the heart of the problem, as their policies of dividing up the Promised Land of Israel have done nothing to foster peace in the region.  Such foolish policies have left the entire Middle East in flames today with no signs of improvement anywhere on the horizon.  Perhaps it is time to finally acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel’s capital after all?

Neither is it a coincidence that Jewish Christian scholar Alfred Edersheim wrote that Christmas is rooted not in paganism, but in the Jewish Festival of Lights called Hanukkah.  Commemorating the re-dedication of the Temple (165 B.C.) following its desecration at the hands of Antiochus Ephiphanes, Hanukkah begins on the 25th of the Hebrew month Kislev, which normally occurs in December.  John 10:22 makes reference to Hanukkah, and Jesus often characterized Himself as the Light of the World (John 8:12; 9:5; 12:35-36, 46) that refers back to Isaiah 9:1-7.  This opens the door for December 25 to become the exceptional day when the Jewish Messianic Light of the world was born on Christmas Day.

Happy Hanukkah to Israel and its capital city, Jerusalem!

Mark Musser is a part-time pastor, author, missionary, and farmer who lives in Olympia, Washington.  He is a contributing writer for the Cornwall Alliance.  His book Nazi Oaks provides a sobering history lesson on the philosophical foundations of the early German green movement, which was absorbed by National Socialism in the 1930s and proved to be a powerful undercurrent during the Holocaust.  Mark is also the author of Wrath or Rest, a commentary on the warning passages found in the epistle to the Hebrews.



Source link

The Anti-Conservative Mind


The Age of Trump has shattered old alliances and forged new ones.  Leaving many reeling and disoriented, the Trump phenomenon brings a fresh opportunity to examine the first principles of conservatism.

This coming year supplies an excellent starting point for this project.  It marks the centennial of the birth of Russell Kirk.  His landmark 1953 book, The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Santayana, gave post-World War II conservatism much of its intellectual coherence – a coherence that is now in shreds.

At the time Kirk wrote, liberalism dominated the academy as orthodoxy in American politics and culture – so much so that Kirk originally wanted to title his book The Conservatives’ Rout.  It eventually appeared in print not as The Conservatives’ Rout but as The Conservative Mind.  It became a bestseller, and it helped several generations of budding conservatives grapple with the intellectual tradition they suspected they might be part of.  Kirk stitched together a retrospective genealogy for an Anglo-American affirmation of “an enduring moral order,” of the weight of custom in human judgment, the prescriptive power of the past, and the need for gradual reform of the ills of society, along with prudence, healthy diversity, suspicion of utopian schemes to remake man and the world, fear of concentrated power, a respect for and deference to localism, and the primacy of voluntary action within face-to-face communities as opposed to the collectivism of the modern bureaucratic state.

Implicit in Kirk’s retelling of Anglo-American intellectual history lies an alternative temperament we could call “the Anti-Conservative Mind.”  As an ideology, the Anti-Conservative Mind is more unified than the Conservative Mind.  It animates a self-conscious movement.  It marches in lockstep with what it assumes is the winning side of history.  The Anti-Conservative Movement knows its enemy.  It holds itself together by means of what sociologists call the “negative reference group” – the dreaded conservatives.  Conservatives, if they do mobilize, scramble to sand-bag against the rising sea.  Anti-Conservatives topple every impediment to their vision of final human emancipation from the past. 

Progressives tell their own story in this manner, hailing victories over the illiberal past and vaunting their plan for redemption in the future.  But there is another side to their story: the record of what they dismantled in the culture and civilization of the West.

What if conservatives were to turn the tables on the progressives and tell their opponents’ story in terms of their longing to “wipe the slate clean” by stoking the fire on the Altar of Progress?  What if conservatives adopted a rhetorical strategy that named their opponents the Anti-Conservatives?  Russell Kirk subtitled The Conservative Mind “From Burke to Santayana” and later “From Burke to Eliot.”  Surely the same type of genealogical reconstruction might be done with their opponents.

I am not saying the story of radical movements in Europe and America has not been told – far from it!  I am suggesting that conservatives now gather up the threads of that story and rename it to show that conservatism is an affirmation and progressivism is a denial.  We might title this study “The Anti-Conservative Mind” and rework the summary of Kirk’s dissertation at the University of St. Andrews – “a study in politics, literature, and philosophy to trace historically the course of Anti-Conservative thought in Britain and America from the beginning of the French Revolution to the present day.”

Although many texts could be used in this corollary to Kirk’s project, few articulate the Anti-Conservative mind more clearly than progressive historian James Harvey Robinson.  In his book The New History, Robinson examined “The Spirit of Conservatism in the Light of History” – the title of the volume’s final essay.  In thirty pages, conservatism is tried, convicted, and banished for its crimes.  It is possible to distill from this essay a few principles of Anti-Conservatism:

The Anti-Conservative Mind affirms conscious human progress, a comparatively recent phenomenon in the world, a movement that is accelerating, certain, and indefinite.

The Anti-Conservative Mind wants something it calls “our thought” in the present to be “revolutionized” in light of the accumulating knowledge of modern science.

The Anti-Conservative Mind lives in something it calls “our own day” – the standard by which to measure and judge all preceding generations.  The past, even the recent past, is relative barbarism compared to the wonders of the anticipated future.

The Anti-Conservative Mind deliberately “undermines reverence for the past” and works to weaken the past’s authority over the mind and habits of man.

The Anti-Conservative Mind deploys the study of history as a weapon.  Once the province of the conservative, history can and should be turned on the conservative to defeat him as the enemy of progress.

The Anti-Conservative Mind rejects a fixed human nature.  The study of the past shows man to be entirely a product of historical circumstances and therefore entirely a product of nurture, not nature.  As such, the Anti-Conservative Mind believes that man can be altered at will.  Education must be used to radicalize boys and girls and prevent the conservative temperament from being transmitted to posterity.

The Anti-Conservative Mind maintains a mystical faith in human betterment.  In Robinson’s words: “Even those of us who have little taste for mysticism have to recognize a mysterious unconscious impulse which appears to be a concomitant of natural order. It would seem as if this impulse has always been unsettling the existing conditions and pushing forward, groping after something more elaborate and intricate than what already exists.”

The Anti-Conservative Mind believes that only those who agree with the radicals are entitled to an opinion.  Radicals think and operate on a “higher plane” than conservatives.

The Anti-Conservative Mind knows that the conservative’s sins are legion.  Chief among them is his poverty of imagination and intelligence.  He is complacent and lethargic.  He is dead weight on the chariot of progress.  Indeed, the conservative commits the unforgivable sin.  Robinson spotted the guilty party: “[a]t last, perhaps, the long-disputed sin against the Holy Ghost has been found; it may be the refusal to cooperate with the vital principle of betterment. History would seem, in short, to condemn the principle of conservatism as a hopeless and wicked anachronism.”

In 1912, Robinson sounded profound, and his sweeping vision counted as penetrating insight into the pattern of history.  Only two years later, Europe plunged into the bloodiest war to date in human history.  Promises of progress seemed confused at best.  Slaughter had become scientifically, technologically efficient, and the will to use that efficiency proved vigorous and widespread.  The great tragedy was that the Great War turned out to be merely the First World War of the brutal twentieth century.

An expanded study of what has held together the Anti-Conservative Mind over the centuries might show more clearly than ever before what holds together the Conservative Mind.  And what gives coherence to the conservative mind may not be at all what unifies the brand of “movement” conservatism on tap at Beltway think-tanks and media outlets or that helps the Republican Party rally the troops.  Indeed, this project might well redraw the boundaries between liberal and conservative in American life.  Unexpected similarities and differences might appear.

The conservatism that the Anti-Conservatives have always feared and opposed goes much deeper in human nature, history and American culture.  It has not been routed.

The Age of Trump has shattered old alliances and forged new ones.  Leaving many reeling and disoriented, the Trump phenomenon brings a fresh opportunity to examine the first principles of conservatism.

This coming year supplies an excellent starting point for this project.  It marks the centennial of the birth of Russell Kirk.  His landmark 1953 book, The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Santayana, gave post-World War II conservatism much of its intellectual coherence – a coherence that is now in shreds.

At the time Kirk wrote, liberalism dominated the academy as orthodoxy in American politics and culture – so much so that Kirk originally wanted to title his book The Conservatives’ Rout.  It eventually appeared in print not as The Conservatives’ Rout but as The Conservative Mind.  It became a bestseller, and it helped several generations of budding conservatives grapple with the intellectual tradition they suspected they might be part of.  Kirk stitched together a retrospective genealogy for an Anglo-American affirmation of “an enduring moral order,” of the weight of custom in human judgment, the prescriptive power of the past, and the need for gradual reform of the ills of society, along with prudence, healthy diversity, suspicion of utopian schemes to remake man and the world, fear of concentrated power, a respect for and deference to localism, and the primacy of voluntary action within face-to-face communities as opposed to the collectivism of the modern bureaucratic state.

Implicit in Kirk’s retelling of Anglo-American intellectual history lies an alternative temperament we could call “the Anti-Conservative Mind.”  As an ideology, the Anti-Conservative Mind is more unified than the Conservative Mind.  It animates a self-conscious movement.  It marches in lockstep with what it assumes is the winning side of history.  The Anti-Conservative Movement knows its enemy.  It holds itself together by means of what sociologists call the “negative reference group” – the dreaded conservatives.  Conservatives, if they do mobilize, scramble to sand-bag against the rising sea.  Anti-Conservatives topple every impediment to their vision of final human emancipation from the past. 

Progressives tell their own story in this manner, hailing victories over the illiberal past and vaunting their plan for redemption in the future.  But there is another side to their story: the record of what they dismantled in the culture and civilization of the West.

What if conservatives were to turn the tables on the progressives and tell their opponents’ story in terms of their longing to “wipe the slate clean” by stoking the fire on the Altar of Progress?  What if conservatives adopted a rhetorical strategy that named their opponents the Anti-Conservatives?  Russell Kirk subtitled The Conservative Mind “From Burke to Santayana” and later “From Burke to Eliot.”  Surely the same type of genealogical reconstruction might be done with their opponents.

I am not saying the story of radical movements in Europe and America has not been told – far from it!  I am suggesting that conservatives now gather up the threads of that story and rename it to show that conservatism is an affirmation and progressivism is a denial.  We might title this study “The Anti-Conservative Mind” and rework the summary of Kirk’s dissertation at the University of St. Andrews – “a study in politics, literature, and philosophy to trace historically the course of Anti-Conservative thought in Britain and America from the beginning of the French Revolution to the present day.”

Although many texts could be used in this corollary to Kirk’s project, few articulate the Anti-Conservative mind more clearly than progressive historian James Harvey Robinson.  In his book The New History, Robinson examined “The Spirit of Conservatism in the Light of History” – the title of the volume’s final essay.  In thirty pages, conservatism is tried, convicted, and banished for its crimes.  It is possible to distill from this essay a few principles of Anti-Conservatism:

The Anti-Conservative Mind affirms conscious human progress, a comparatively recent phenomenon in the world, a movement that is accelerating, certain, and indefinite.

The Anti-Conservative Mind wants something it calls “our thought” in the present to be “revolutionized” in light of the accumulating knowledge of modern science.

The Anti-Conservative Mind lives in something it calls “our own day” – the standard by which to measure and judge all preceding generations.  The past, even the recent past, is relative barbarism compared to the wonders of the anticipated future.

The Anti-Conservative Mind deliberately “undermines reverence for the past” and works to weaken the past’s authority over the mind and habits of man.

The Anti-Conservative Mind deploys the study of history as a weapon.  Once the province of the conservative, history can and should be turned on the conservative to defeat him as the enemy of progress.

The Anti-Conservative Mind rejects a fixed human nature.  The study of the past shows man to be entirely a product of historical circumstances and therefore entirely a product of nurture, not nature.  As such, the Anti-Conservative Mind believes that man can be altered at will.  Education must be used to radicalize boys and girls and prevent the conservative temperament from being transmitted to posterity.

The Anti-Conservative Mind maintains a mystical faith in human betterment.  In Robinson’s words: “Even those of us who have little taste for mysticism have to recognize a mysterious unconscious impulse which appears to be a concomitant of natural order. It would seem as if this impulse has always been unsettling the existing conditions and pushing forward, groping after something more elaborate and intricate than what already exists.”

The Anti-Conservative Mind believes that only those who agree with the radicals are entitled to an opinion.  Radicals think and operate on a “higher plane” than conservatives.

The Anti-Conservative Mind knows that the conservative’s sins are legion.  Chief among them is his poverty of imagination and intelligence.  He is complacent and lethargic.  He is dead weight on the chariot of progress.  Indeed, the conservative commits the unforgivable sin.  Robinson spotted the guilty party: “[a]t last, perhaps, the long-disputed sin against the Holy Ghost has been found; it may be the refusal to cooperate with the vital principle of betterment. History would seem, in short, to condemn the principle of conservatism as a hopeless and wicked anachronism.”

In 1912, Robinson sounded profound, and his sweeping vision counted as penetrating insight into the pattern of history.  Only two years later, Europe plunged into the bloodiest war to date in human history.  Promises of progress seemed confused at best.  Slaughter had become scientifically, technologically efficient, and the will to use that efficiency proved vigorous and widespread.  The great tragedy was that the Great War turned out to be merely the First World War of the brutal twentieth century.

An expanded study of what has held together the Anti-Conservative Mind over the centuries might show more clearly than ever before what holds together the Conservative Mind.  And what gives coherence to the conservative mind may not be at all what unifies the brand of “movement” conservatism on tap at Beltway think-tanks and media outlets or that helps the Republican Party rally the troops.  Indeed, this project might well redraw the boundaries between liberal and conservative in American life.  Unexpected similarities and differences might appear.

The conservatism that the Anti-Conservatives have always feared and opposed goes much deeper in human nature, history and American culture.  It has not been routed.



Source link

Fasting for Christmas


This Christmas, I’ll be fasting.

There is, of course, a long tradition of religious fasting, including the Nativity Fast celebrated in both the Eastern and Western branches of Christianity.  Fasting is also an important part of the Mormon faith, as it is among Buddhists and Muslims at other times of the year.  In every case, fasting is considered a means of drawing closer to God and gaining self-discipline and control. 

Among the many advocates of fasting have been Benjamin Franklin, Hermann Hesse, and Mohandas Gandhi.  Not all of these were political conservatives, but I believe there is an important connection between fasting and conservative thinking.

For me, fasting is a time of reflection, reading, walks, and beautiful music.  It is a time to withdraw and reflect, a state of mind that is inherently “conservative.”

Contrary to popular myth, fasting is not particularly difficult.  Whether it’s an “intermittent” fast of 14 to 24 hours or an “extended” fast of more than one day, in my experience, fasting is actually quite pleasant once the initial cravings are overcome.  This is the point: cravings are overcome by mental discipline.

It is the same mental discipline that distinguishes conservatives from liberals.  When a difficulty arises, liberals always resort to the easy and undisciplined “solution” of writing checks on someone else’s account.  Just this past week, they’ve tried to preserve higher taxes by opposing the GOP tax bill.  For true conservatives, limited government is an article of faith.  They recognize that life cannot be “saved” in the absence of individual responsibility.

Aside from its many other benefits, fasting is a wonderful exercise in mental discipline.  It’s true that the “water only” four-day fast that I recently completed involved some “hunger pangs” during which the body was sending out strong signals, urging me to relent – and the fridge was only steps away at the time.  But the mind can control the appetites of the body – another connection between conservatism and fasting.  At its core, conservatism always involves a denial of excess.

Perhaps the greatest attribute of conservatism is prudence – the care one takes with others and with the world in which one lives.  Prudence also applies to fasting, which has traditionally been regarded as a powerful exercise in self-control and healing.   

In my case, I overcame hunger pangs by focusing my mind on the known benefits of fasting.  I knew that even as a vegan, my body was feeling heavy and bloated.  I needed to escape from the routine of consuming and digesting food.

And I did.  I was energized.  I slept less, felt less tired, and experienced a higher metabolism and a clearer mind.  Like Kafka’s Hunger Artist, I was reluctant to end my fast, which became easier the longer it continued.  Several of my friends were incredulous.  How could fasting get easier the longer it went on?  I felt, as Kafka put it, that I “alone knew … how easy it was to fast.” 

Among classic writers, by the way, Kafka was the most incisive in what he said about Big Government.  In The Metamorphosis, he wrote, “Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy.”  Aptly put.

Was Kafka a conservative?  I believe he was.  His writing is filled with a defense of the individual and with fearful intimations of the rise of totalitarianism.  His novels and stories constitute a monumental plea for the freedom of the individual from authoritarianism of all kinds.  The Castle is the most compelling anti-authoritarian book of its time.  And yes, Kafka was a vegetarian.

Like Kafka, I don’t fast for weight loss.  (Kafka, “possibly an anorexic,” did not need to lose weight.)  Nor do I fast for ethical reasons.  Peter Singer may believe that turkeys have the same rights as humans, but I don’t share that belief.  There is nothing particularly sinful about roasting a turkey or cooking a ham.  I just don’t think meat and other animal products are healthy in my particular case.

For me, fasting is a time to surrender and simplify.  A time for rest and contemplation.  And what better time than during the holidays?

Lately, I’ve been re-reading Thomas Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain, a book that means much more to me now than it did in my twenties.  And yes, Merton was a vegetarian and an advocate of fasting.  Merton was a natural conservative who wished to discover the “permanent things” and to discard what was ephemeral and distracting.  Like all conservatives, he was committed to the pursuit of truth, and he understood that truth pointed back to the inherited traditions of his civilization. As a Trappist monk, he devoted himself to the uninterrupted celebration of those traditions, including the celebration of Christ’s birth.  That, as he describes it in The Seven Storey Mountain, is what led him to the monastic life of the Trappists to begin with.    

This brings us back to Christmas.  I’ll be fasting during the holidays, in part because it seems appropriate as a counterbalance to the excess that always accompanies the season.  There was a time when Christmas was simpler.  It heralded the arrival of a fruitcake from my aunt in Michigan or a Swiss Colony box from one of dad’s colleagues at work.  Now the only way to enjoy that simplicity is to make Christmas simple.  There are many ways to do that.  Fasting is one of them.

What I want for Christmas is a peaceful time of reflection and rest accompanied by fasting, but as a conservative, I believe in self-responsibility and individual choice.  I don’t presume to influence others.  It doesn’t work, anyway.  Tell someone else what to do, and he will do the opposite.  Ban pizza, and he’ll be texting Papa John’s in minutes.    

To be clear, I’m not fasting on Christmas Day.  That would be a bit much, and it would hurt the feelings of those who work to put together the Christmas dinner.  I’ll save the fasting for before and after.

And I hope that this Christmas, for you and for me, will be blessed with joy, peace, and well-being.

Jeffrey Folks is the author of many books and articles on American culture including Heartland of the Imagination (2011).

This Christmas, I’ll be fasting.

There is, of course, a long tradition of religious fasting, including the Nativity Fast celebrated in both the Eastern and Western branches of Christianity.  Fasting is also an important part of the Mormon faith, as it is among Buddhists and Muslims at other times of the year.  In every case, fasting is considered a means of drawing closer to God and gaining self-discipline and control. 

Among the many advocates of fasting have been Benjamin Franklin, Hermann Hesse, and Mohandas Gandhi.  Not all of these were political conservatives, but I believe there is an important connection between fasting and conservative thinking.

For me, fasting is a time of reflection, reading, walks, and beautiful music.  It is a time to withdraw and reflect, a state of mind that is inherently “conservative.”

Contrary to popular myth, fasting is not particularly difficult.  Whether it’s an “intermittent” fast of 14 to 24 hours or an “extended” fast of more than one day, in my experience, fasting is actually quite pleasant once the initial cravings are overcome.  This is the point: cravings are overcome by mental discipline.

It is the same mental discipline that distinguishes conservatives from liberals.  When a difficulty arises, liberals always resort to the easy and undisciplined “solution” of writing checks on someone else’s account.  Just this past week, they’ve tried to preserve higher taxes by opposing the GOP tax bill.  For true conservatives, limited government is an article of faith.  They recognize that life cannot be “saved” in the absence of individual responsibility.

Aside from its many other benefits, fasting is a wonderful exercise in mental discipline.  It’s true that the “water only” four-day fast that I recently completed involved some “hunger pangs” during which the body was sending out strong signals, urging me to relent – and the fridge was only steps away at the time.  But the mind can control the appetites of the body – another connection between conservatism and fasting.  At its core, conservatism always involves a denial of excess.

Perhaps the greatest attribute of conservatism is prudence – the care one takes with others and with the world in which one lives.  Prudence also applies to fasting, which has traditionally been regarded as a powerful exercise in self-control and healing.   

In my case, I overcame hunger pangs by focusing my mind on the known benefits of fasting.  I knew that even as a vegan, my body was feeling heavy and bloated.  I needed to escape from the routine of consuming and digesting food.

And I did.  I was energized.  I slept less, felt less tired, and experienced a higher metabolism and a clearer mind.  Like Kafka’s Hunger Artist, I was reluctant to end my fast, which became easier the longer it continued.  Several of my friends were incredulous.  How could fasting get easier the longer it went on?  I felt, as Kafka put it, that I “alone knew … how easy it was to fast.” 

Among classic writers, by the way, Kafka was the most incisive in what he said about Big Government.  In The Metamorphosis, he wrote, “Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy.”  Aptly put.

Was Kafka a conservative?  I believe he was.  His writing is filled with a defense of the individual and with fearful intimations of the rise of totalitarianism.  His novels and stories constitute a monumental plea for the freedom of the individual from authoritarianism of all kinds.  The Castle is the most compelling anti-authoritarian book of its time.  And yes, Kafka was a vegetarian.

Like Kafka, I don’t fast for weight loss.  (Kafka, “possibly an anorexic,” did not need to lose weight.)  Nor do I fast for ethical reasons.  Peter Singer may believe that turkeys have the same rights as humans, but I don’t share that belief.  There is nothing particularly sinful about roasting a turkey or cooking a ham.  I just don’t think meat and other animal products are healthy in my particular case.

For me, fasting is a time to surrender and simplify.  A time for rest and contemplation.  And what better time than during the holidays?

Lately, I’ve been re-reading Thomas Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain, a book that means much more to me now than it did in my twenties.  And yes, Merton was a vegetarian and an advocate of fasting.  Merton was a natural conservative who wished to discover the “permanent things” and to discard what was ephemeral and distracting.  Like all conservatives, he was committed to the pursuit of truth, and he understood that truth pointed back to the inherited traditions of his civilization. As a Trappist monk, he devoted himself to the uninterrupted celebration of those traditions, including the celebration of Christ’s birth.  That, as he describes it in The Seven Storey Mountain, is what led him to the monastic life of the Trappists to begin with.    

This brings us back to Christmas.  I’ll be fasting during the holidays, in part because it seems appropriate as a counterbalance to the excess that always accompanies the season.  There was a time when Christmas was simpler.  It heralded the arrival of a fruitcake from my aunt in Michigan or a Swiss Colony box from one of dad’s colleagues at work.  Now the only way to enjoy that simplicity is to make Christmas simple.  There are many ways to do that.  Fasting is one of them.

What I want for Christmas is a peaceful time of reflection and rest accompanied by fasting, but as a conservative, I believe in self-responsibility and individual choice.  I don’t presume to influence others.  It doesn’t work, anyway.  Tell someone else what to do, and he will do the opposite.  Ban pizza, and he’ll be texting Papa John’s in minutes.    

To be clear, I’m not fasting on Christmas Day.  That would be a bit much, and it would hurt the feelings of those who work to put together the Christmas dinner.  I’ll save the fasting for before and after.

And I hope that this Christmas, for you and for me, will be blessed with joy, peace, and well-being.

Jeffrey Folks is the author of many books and articles on American culture including Heartland of the Imagination (2011).



Source link

Is the Second Amendment Unique?


The case for American exceptionalism is often overstated. It is true that our Constitution, at least when it was first written, was a revolutionary document, in both senses of the word: it represented a huge shift in the way that the state was conceived, but also an attempt to free a citizenry from perceived oppression.

Because of the unique historical circumstances in which it was written, the Constitution put in place laws that appear to be similarly unique. However, when looked at in a historical perspective, many of these (such as the right to free speech) are unique in extent rather than quality: they make a right that was de facto in early modern England into a de jure provision.

There is one part of the U.S. Constitution, however, that may well be totally unique: the Second Amendment.

The 27 words that make up the amendment, “a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” are perhaps the most controversial, and perhaps the most misunderstood, in our entire Constitution. I’m not going to add another interpretation to the hundreds already available. Instead, I want to look where the amendment came from, and then look at whether it is, indeed, unique.

The Historical Context

Given the context in which the constitution was written — that of a new country keen to free itself from the clutches of an overbearing English tyranny — it is strange that the Second Amendment is actually based on English law. Specifically, the English Bill of Rights of 1689 codified what was regarded as a natural right to self-defense. This bill essentially limited the power of the English king to disarm his subjects, after Charles II had tried to disarm Protestants, whom he viewed as a threat to his power.

Interestingly, the same debate that rumbles on today about the importance of a “well-regulated militia” dates back to this time. In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the question of whether English Bill of Rights created a new right, or merely codified an existing one, was tackled. The Supreme Court found that the English right at the time of the passing of the English Bill of Rights was “clearly an individual right, having nothing whatsoever to do with service in the militia,” and therefore predated the bill.

In any case, by the time the Second Amendment was passed in 1791, the understanding of the earlier bill had developed. Before the U.S. became independent, the American colonies had an approach to firearms regulation that had been inherited from English Common Law. By 18th-century England, for example, armed travel had been limited to a few well-defined occasions such as assisting justices of the peace and constables. Members of the upper classes also had a limited exception to travel with arms. What we would now consider standard concealed carry was even more restricted back then, and the city of London banned public carry of handguns entirely.

In short, the Second Amendment developed from English common law, and is therefore not unique in a historical context. However, the fact that the amendment appears in a constitution, and can therefore not be watered down by successive legislation, means that it has slowly become unique as the laws it was based on were themselves changed.

The International Context

Another way of assessing the uniqueness of the Second Amendment is to look at whether there are any other countries that currently guarantee a right to bear arms in their constitutions. This immediately rules out many countries, and notably UK, simply because they do not have a written constitution.

Interestingly, the uniqueness of the Second Amendment has made occasional appearances in political speeches in recent years. Marco Rubio claimed in a speech to the NRA in 2014 that the amendment was unique among modern nation states.

Was he right to say this? Yes, broadly.

Very few constitutions have ever contained an explicit right to bear arms, and those that do also include restrictions that make them quite different from the Second Amendment. In a New York Times op-ed from 2013, Tom Ginsburg and Zachary Elkins concluded that there are only two countries where a comparable right is afforded: Mexico and Guatemala.

Here are the relevant clauses in those constitutions:

• Guatemala Article 38: “The right to own (‘tenencia’) weapons for personal use, not prohibited by the law, in the place of inhabitation, is recognized. There will not be an obligation to hand them over, except in cases ordered by a competent judge.”

• Mexico Article 10: “The inhabitants of the United Mexican States have the right to possess arms in their residences for their protection and legitimate defense, except such as are expressly forbidden by law or which have been reserved for the exclusive use of the Army, Navy, Air Force and National Guard. Federal law will determine the circumstances, conditions, requirements, and places in which the bearing of arms by inhabitants will be authorized.”

Superficially, these clauses look like the Second Amendment. However, read them closely and a major difference is apparent: both give government and/or the judiciary the right to remove arms from its citizens.

The Verdict

The Second Amendment, in contrast to the provisions of the Mexican and Guatemalan constitutions, explicitly bars the government from infringing the right to bear arms. In this sense, it is unique: rather than permitting individuals to bear arms at the whim of the state, this right is regarded as “natural”, and therefore outside the power of the state.

The strange paradox here is that regarding the right to self-defense, and by extension the right to bear arms, as a “natural” right is a philosophical position inherited from England, and that in that country this right was gradually diminished by hundreds of years of extra legislation. In this sense, the Second Amendment actually may be regarded as unique in a historical sense, in that it represents an 18th-century view of human rights. Of course, it is no less worthy for that: if the right to self-defense is one inherent to humanity, then it should be protected in every state and era, irrespective of the views of the government.

The case for American exceptionalism is often overstated. It is true that our Constitution, at least when it was first written, was a revolutionary document, in both senses of the word: it represented a huge shift in the way that the state was conceived, but also an attempt to free a citizenry from perceived oppression.

Because of the unique historical circumstances in which it was written, the Constitution put in place laws that appear to be similarly unique. However, when looked at in a historical perspective, many of these (such as the right to free speech) are unique in extent rather than quality: they make a right that was de facto in early modern England into a de jure provision.

There is one part of the U.S. Constitution, however, that may well be totally unique: the Second Amendment.

The 27 words that make up the amendment, “a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” are perhaps the most controversial, and perhaps the most misunderstood, in our entire Constitution. I’m not going to add another interpretation to the hundreds already available. Instead, I want to look where the amendment came from, and then look at whether it is, indeed, unique.

The Historical Context

Given the context in which the constitution was written — that of a new country keen to free itself from the clutches of an overbearing English tyranny — it is strange that the Second Amendment is actually based on English law. Specifically, the English Bill of Rights of 1689 codified what was regarded as a natural right to self-defense. This bill essentially limited the power of the English king to disarm his subjects, after Charles II had tried to disarm Protestants, whom he viewed as a threat to his power.

Interestingly, the same debate that rumbles on today about the importance of a “well-regulated militia” dates back to this time. In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the question of whether English Bill of Rights created a new right, or merely codified an existing one, was tackled. The Supreme Court found that the English right at the time of the passing of the English Bill of Rights was “clearly an individual right, having nothing whatsoever to do with service in the militia,” and therefore predated the bill.

In any case, by the time the Second Amendment was passed in 1791, the understanding of the earlier bill had developed. Before the U.S. became independent, the American colonies had an approach to firearms regulation that had been inherited from English Common Law. By 18th-century England, for example, armed travel had been limited to a few well-defined occasions such as assisting justices of the peace and constables. Members of the upper classes also had a limited exception to travel with arms. What we would now consider standard concealed carry was even more restricted back then, and the city of London banned public carry of handguns entirely.

In short, the Second Amendment developed from English common law, and is therefore not unique in a historical context. However, the fact that the amendment appears in a constitution, and can therefore not be watered down by successive legislation, means that it has slowly become unique as the laws it was based on were themselves changed.

The International Context

Another way of assessing the uniqueness of the Second Amendment is to look at whether there are any other countries that currently guarantee a right to bear arms in their constitutions. This immediately rules out many countries, and notably UK, simply because they do not have a written constitution.

Interestingly, the uniqueness of the Second Amendment has made occasional appearances in political speeches in recent years. Marco Rubio claimed in a speech to the NRA in 2014 that the amendment was unique among modern nation states.

Was he right to say this? Yes, broadly.

Very few constitutions have ever contained an explicit right to bear arms, and those that do also include restrictions that make them quite different from the Second Amendment. In a New York Times op-ed from 2013, Tom Ginsburg and Zachary Elkins concluded that there are only two countries where a comparable right is afforded: Mexico and Guatemala.

Here are the relevant clauses in those constitutions:

• Guatemala Article 38: “The right to own (‘tenencia’) weapons for personal use, not prohibited by the law, in the place of inhabitation, is recognized. There will not be an obligation to hand them over, except in cases ordered by a competent judge.”

• Mexico Article 10: “The inhabitants of the United Mexican States have the right to possess arms in their residences for their protection and legitimate defense, except such as are expressly forbidden by law or which have been reserved for the exclusive use of the Army, Navy, Air Force and National Guard. Federal law will determine the circumstances, conditions, requirements, and places in which the bearing of arms by inhabitants will be authorized.”

Superficially, these clauses look like the Second Amendment. However, read them closely and a major difference is apparent: both give government and/or the judiciary the right to remove arms from its citizens.

The Verdict

The Second Amendment, in contrast to the provisions of the Mexican and Guatemalan constitutions, explicitly bars the government from infringing the right to bear arms. In this sense, it is unique: rather than permitting individuals to bear arms at the whim of the state, this right is regarded as “natural”, and therefore outside the power of the state.

The strange paradox here is that regarding the right to self-defense, and by extension the right to bear arms, as a “natural” right is a philosophical position inherited from England, and that in that country this right was gradually diminished by hundreds of years of extra legislation. In this sense, the Second Amendment actually may be regarded as unique in a historical sense, in that it represents an 18th-century view of human rights. Of course, it is no less worthy for that: if the right to self-defense is one inherent to humanity, then it should be protected in every state and era, irrespective of the views of the government.



Source link

Good Riddance, Evangelicalism Incorporated


Trump’s base in 2016 was defined not by race or class, but by belief in God.  Evangelical Christians and Catholics came together and pushed Trump to the win, in defiance of the media, academia, Hollywood, the professional class, elite Republicans, the Democrat masses, libertarians, and self-professed moralists.

Both the pope and many prominent Protestant leaders expressed antagonism toward Trump, so this mass of religious voters defied their church elders as well.

This was nothing less than stunning.  It was perhaps one of the great revolutions in America’s religious history.  Rather than a serious study of this event, we have had a spasmic flood of pedantry from the very people whose authority these Christian voters rejected in the first place.

I count myself among evangelical Trump voters.  As I am sure this issue is for almost everyone in America, the historical questions feel very personal.

I resent being mocked and reviled by secular liberals who I know hate all religion.

My patience has worn thin with people claiming to embrace a new liberal Christianity that I recognize as a warmed over version of the liberation theology my radical leftist family held in the 1970s and 1980s.

Conservative Christians who position themselves as valiant defenders of the Bible and Trump opponents have been exposed in brutal ways as the “Evangelical Deep State.”

Many so-called conservative Christians pulled a fast one on Alabama by handing a Senate seat to Doug Jones to banish Roy Moore for sins he probably never committed.  But my prediction is that in upcoming months, Doug Jones’s radical sexual agenda will terrify many Christians in Alabama. Black Christians will realize the Democrats will do nothing for them, while the national anti-Moore Christian voices will be remembered as detestable traitors.

After 2016, the left went slumming, scrambling to become experts in religion overnight and sending out an army of infiltrators to flip our churches to their politics.  Unfortunately, the left is still so beholden to the LGBT lobby that it must do this while still making no compromises on the question of homosexuality.  Stars like Rachel Held Evans and James Martin talk themselves in circles with the impossible goal of getting the faithful to accept sodomy with no complaints or resistance.

To cash in on the newly discovered power of the Christian vote, some on the left decided to pitch a not so novel alliance of feminists and Christian conservatives against the trans movement.  This strategy shined through at the Values Voter Summit in October 2017.  The panelists told a crowded room of faith-based voters that they had three rules to resist trans ideology: (1) cite no religious arguments, (2) include but do not attack gays, and (3) do not express any resistance to homosexuality.

The esprit of “common ground” reprised the 1980s, when Ed Meese allied with Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon against pornography, because Christians objected to depravity and feminists objected to exploitation of women.  Pornography continued to proliferate, feminists grew ever more anti-Christian, and Christians never found their renaissance of chastity.

History repeats itself in 2017.  The fruit of this hopeful alliance of lesbian feminist Julie Bindel and Catholic activists pushing for female safety in restrooms was no headway against the trans agenda at all; a feminist-emboldened #MeToo movement that Christians got roped into; and a new war on men, patriarchy, and heterosexuality.  It was, in other words, a flaming Hindenburg.

Meanwhile, carefully scripted religious “leaders,” meant to win over Christian conservatives, play both sides, stressing the importance of upholding the Bible’s sexual mores while camouflaging their concessions to the LGBT lobby.

This “have your cake and eat it too” game has led to preposterous and downright dangerous positions.  We have key leaders in the Catholic Church refusing to change doctrine on homosexuality but also refusing to discipline or banish rogue parishes that teach children that God made them gay.

In the Southern Baptist convention, some leaders say homosexual orientation is innate (and by implication God-given, though they will not say this directly) and condemn efforts to change sexual orientation.  Yet they proclaim that homosexuality is a sin.  For someone who has been sexually abused or otherwise prompted to feel unwanted sexual attraction, this incoherent position means that it would be a sin for him to say he wants to stop being gay and a sin to do anything gay.

The backdrop for our current moment is a massive, systematic failure of religious leaders to provide for the spiritual needs of the Christians they lead.  The endlessly repetitive articles promising to diagnose a nonexistent spiritual crisis among evangelicals all serve to mask the true problem.  Evangelicalism is doing what it has always done.  Evangelicalism, Inc., has imploded.

While many Christian leaders condemn Trump voters for bringing politics into their faith, that charge is best leveled at the Christian leadership.  They gave the faithful no hope that anyone but Trump could hear them and help them live their faithful lives without being constantly oppressed by ungodly forces like the LGBT lobby.

For all the reasons above, Timothy Keller’s recent piece in the New Yorker, sporting the utterly hackneyed title “Can Evangelicalism Survive Donald Trump and Roy Moore?,” was not bad, but offensive.  The opening paragraphs belabor the etymology of terms, perhaps to intimidate the reader into thinking Keller’s insights are beyond criticism.  Catty swipes about people who support conservative politics appear intermingled with self-important reminiscences of his life planting a church in Manhattan.

We get it.  Tim Keller is a famous author.  He is well connected, and liberals like him.  But he speaks for a cadre with fading relevance.  Evangelicalism will survive.  His class and vision will not.  That’s sad in some ways.  In other ways, it is biblical.  Isaiah 5:8: “Woe to those who add house to house and join field to field until there is no more room and you alone are left in the land.”

Trump’s base in 2016 was defined not by race or class, but by belief in God.  Evangelical Christians and Catholics came together and pushed Trump to the win, in defiance of the media, academia, Hollywood, the professional class, elite Republicans, the Democrat masses, libertarians, and self-professed moralists.

Both the pope and many prominent Protestant leaders expressed antagonism toward Trump, so this mass of religious voters defied their church elders as well.

This was nothing less than stunning.  It was perhaps one of the great revolutions in America’s religious history.  Rather than a serious study of this event, we have had a spasmic flood of pedantry from the very people whose authority these Christian voters rejected in the first place.

I count myself among evangelical Trump voters.  As I am sure this issue is for almost everyone in America, the historical questions feel very personal.

I resent being mocked and reviled by secular liberals who I know hate all religion.

My patience has worn thin with people claiming to embrace a new liberal Christianity that I recognize as a warmed over version of the liberation theology my radical leftist family held in the 1970s and 1980s.

Conservative Christians who position themselves as valiant defenders of the Bible and Trump opponents have been exposed in brutal ways as the “Evangelical Deep State.”

Many so-called conservative Christians pulled a fast one on Alabama by handing a Senate seat to Doug Jones to banish Roy Moore for sins he probably never committed.  But my prediction is that in upcoming months, Doug Jones’s radical sexual agenda will terrify many Christians in Alabama. Black Christians will realize the Democrats will do nothing for them, while the national anti-Moore Christian voices will be remembered as detestable traitors.

After 2016, the left went slumming, scrambling to become experts in religion overnight and sending out an army of infiltrators to flip our churches to their politics.  Unfortunately, the left is still so beholden to the LGBT lobby that it must do this while still making no compromises on the question of homosexuality.  Stars like Rachel Held Evans and James Martin talk themselves in circles with the impossible goal of getting the faithful to accept sodomy with no complaints or resistance.

To cash in on the newly discovered power of the Christian vote, some on the left decided to pitch a not so novel alliance of feminists and Christian conservatives against the trans movement.  This strategy shined through at the Values Voter Summit in October 2017.  The panelists told a crowded room of faith-based voters that they had three rules to resist trans ideology: (1) cite no religious arguments, (2) include but do not attack gays, and (3) do not express any resistance to homosexuality.

The esprit of “common ground” reprised the 1980s, when Ed Meese allied with Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon against pornography, because Christians objected to depravity and feminists objected to exploitation of women.  Pornography continued to proliferate, feminists grew ever more anti-Christian, and Christians never found their renaissance of chastity.

History repeats itself in 2017.  The fruit of this hopeful alliance of lesbian feminist Julie Bindel and Catholic activists pushing for female safety in restrooms was no headway against the trans agenda at all; a feminist-emboldened #MeToo movement that Christians got roped into; and a new war on men, patriarchy, and heterosexuality.  It was, in other words, a flaming Hindenburg.

Meanwhile, carefully scripted religious “leaders,” meant to win over Christian conservatives, play both sides, stressing the importance of upholding the Bible’s sexual mores while camouflaging their concessions to the LGBT lobby.

This “have your cake and eat it too” game has led to preposterous and downright dangerous positions.  We have key leaders in the Catholic Church refusing to change doctrine on homosexuality but also refusing to discipline or banish rogue parishes that teach children that God made them gay.

In the Southern Baptist convention, some leaders say homosexual orientation is innate (and by implication God-given, though they will not say this directly) and condemn efforts to change sexual orientation.  Yet they proclaim that homosexuality is a sin.  For someone who has been sexually abused or otherwise prompted to feel unwanted sexual attraction, this incoherent position means that it would be a sin for him to say he wants to stop being gay and a sin to do anything gay.

The backdrop for our current moment is a massive, systematic failure of religious leaders to provide for the spiritual needs of the Christians they lead.  The endlessly repetitive articles promising to diagnose a nonexistent spiritual crisis among evangelicals all serve to mask the true problem.  Evangelicalism is doing what it has always done.  Evangelicalism, Inc., has imploded.

While many Christian leaders condemn Trump voters for bringing politics into their faith, that charge is best leveled at the Christian leadership.  They gave the faithful no hope that anyone but Trump could hear them and help them live their faithful lives without being constantly oppressed by ungodly forces like the LGBT lobby.

For all the reasons above, Timothy Keller’s recent piece in the New Yorker, sporting the utterly hackneyed title “Can Evangelicalism Survive Donald Trump and Roy Moore?,” was not bad, but offensive.  The opening paragraphs belabor the etymology of terms, perhaps to intimidate the reader into thinking Keller’s insights are beyond criticism.  Catty swipes about people who support conservative politics appear intermingled with self-important reminiscences of his life planting a church in Manhattan.

We get it.  Tim Keller is a famous author.  He is well connected, and liberals like him.  But he speaks for a cadre with fading relevance.  Evangelicalism will survive.  His class and vision will not.  That’s sad in some ways.  In other ways, it is biblical.  Isaiah 5:8: “Woe to those who add house to house and join field to field until there is no more room and you alone are left in the land.”



Source link