One of the nation's top Christian magazine publications called for the removal of President Trump on Thursday, one day after the House of Representatives passed two articles of impeachment against him.
In an editorial titled "Trump Should Be Removed From Office," (Christianity Today) editor-in-chief Mark Galli invoked the mission of the magazine's founder, Billy Graham, to "help evangelical Christians interpret the news in a manner that reflects their faith."
"We want (Christianity Today) to be a place that welcomes Christians from across the political spectrum, and reminds everyone that politics is not the end and purpose of our being," Galli wrote. "That said, we do feel it necessary from time to time to make our own opinions on political matters clear—always, as Graham encouraged us, doing so with both conviction and love. We love and pray for our president, as we love and pray for leaders (as well as ordinary citizens) on both sides of the political aisle."
Galli acknowledged that Democrats "have had it out for [Trump] from day one" and that the president "did not have a serious opportunity to offer his side of the story" during the impeachment process.
However, "the facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents. That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral," Galli said.
He explained, "The reason many are not shocked about this is that this president has dumbed down the idea of morality in his administration. He has hired and fired a number of people who are now convicted criminals. He himself has admitted to immoral actions in business and his relationship with women, about which he remains proud. His Twitter feed alone—with its habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders—is a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused."
Democrats said Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate the dealings of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter in that country, withholding aid for a time as part of a "quid-pro-quo." Trump and the White House repeatedly have denied doing anything wrong.
Galli recalled a (Christianity Today) piece written in 1998 during then-President Clinton's impeachment, reading, "Unsavory dealings and immoral acts by the president and those close to him have rendered this administration morally unable to lead."
"Unfortunately, the words that we applied to Mr. Clinton 20 years ago apply almost perfectly to our current president," Galli continued. "Whether Mr. Trump should be removed from office by the Senate or by popular vote next election—that is a matter of prudential judgment. That he should be removed, we believe, is not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments."
The Christianity Today editor-in-chief urged his readers to remind themselves "you are and whom you serve," warning them by asking "will anyone take anything we say about justice and righteousness with any seriousness for decades to come" if they don't "reverse course" with their support of Trump.
"We have reserved judgment on Mr. Trump for years now. Some have criticized us for our reserve... To use an old cliché, it’s time to call a spade a spade, to say that no matter how many hands we win in this political poker game, we are playing with a stacked deck of gross immorality and ethical incompetence," Galli wrote. "Just when we think it’s time to push all our chips to the center of the table, that’s when the whole game will come crashing down. It will crash down on the reputation of evangelical religion and on the world’s understanding of the gospel. And it will come crashing down on a nation of men and women whose welfare is also our concern."
Protesters have been cleared from a park by tear gas, moments before US President Donald Trump marched through to a Washington DC church.
The forced removable of demonstrators from Lafayette Park, allowed Donald Trump to stage a walk to St John's Church following an address at the White House.
Moments before Mr Trump's address, US Secret Service agents, Park Police and National Guardsmen suddenly marched forward, directly confronting the protesters as many held up their hands, saying, "don’t shoot".
Law-enforcement officers then aggressively forced the protesters back, firing tear gas and deploying flash bangs into the crowd to disperse them from the park for seemingly no reason.
The park was cleared for the President, who walked through it minutes later to the church, for a photo opportunity in which he posed with a Bible.
Mr Trump, standing alone in front of cameras, raised the black-covered Bible for reporters to see.
"We have a great country," Mr Trump said. "Greatest country in the world."
Religious leaders slam Trump's 'lack of compassion'
The Right Reverend Mariann Budde, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, to which St John’s belongs, said she was "outraged" by the moment and noted that Mr Trump didn't pray during his visit.
"He took the symbols sacred to our tradition and stood in front of a house of prayer in full expectation that it would be a celebratory moment," Rev Budde told The Associated Press.
"There was nothing I could do but speak out against that."
Rev Budde said the church was "just completely caught off-guard" by the visit, with "no sense that this was a sacred space to be used for sacred purposes".
In order to facilitate Mr Trump's statement there, she said, she believed tear gas was used in the area between the White House and the church.
Rabbi Jack Moline, the president of Interfaith Alliance, slammed the fact peaceful protesters near the White House were gassed and shot with rubber bullets so Mr Trump could hold his photo opportunity.
"Seeing President Trump stand in front of St John’s Episcopal Church while holding a Bible in response to calls for racial justice — right after using military force to clear peaceful protesters out of the area — is one of the most flagrant misuses of religion I have ever seen," Rabbi Moline said in a statement.
"This only underscores the President's complete lack of compassion for Black Americans and the lethal consequences of racism."
Biden, Pelosi, call clearing of Lafayette Park a disgrace
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden accused the President of "using the American military against the American people".
"He tear-gassed peaceful protesters and fired rubber bullets. For a photo," he tweeted.
Meanwhile. US Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, said the actions against protesters were a dishonor to "every value that faith teaches us".
Officers withdrawn from Washington DC
Police officers from Arlington, Virginia, which borders Washington DC, have been withdrawn from the national capital.
In a statement released to media on Monday night local time, administrators and the police chief ordered their officers to cross the Potomac River and return to Arlington.
An arrangement between Arlington and Washington DC, allowed the Virgina-based officers to police the city, however the safety concerns led to the withdrawal.
"At the direction of the County Board, County Manager and Police Chief, all ACPD officers left the District of Columbia at 8:30 tonight," the statement read.
"The County is re-evaluating the agreements that allowed our officers to be put in a compromising position that endangered their health and safety, and that of the people around them, for a purpose not worthy of our mutual aid obligations."
By most measures, Greg Locke was already a controversial Christian pastor. The Washington Post recently published a profile on him, his church in Tennessee, and his millions of online followers.
As the Post put it, Locke’s critics make the case that he’s “spreading a dangerous message of hate that is taking root in some conservative churches.” The same report noted that his ministry has also divided his community outside Nashville, especially after Locke held a book-burning event where he and followers threw copies of the “Harry Potter” and “Twilight” series and Disney merchandise into a giant bonfire.
Locke was also on the steps of the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection, a day after speaking at a pro-Trump rally where he reportedly delivered “one of the clearest and most violent prayers of the day.” The Post added that the pastor has also blessed the members of the right-wing Proud Boys from his pulpit, and relied on its members to provide “security.”
It was against this backdrop that Newsweek took note of an especially memorable sermon Locke delivered earlier this week, which might make him even more controversial.
Ahead of a Monday anti-abortion rally in front of the Supreme Court in Washington D.C., right-wing Pastor Greg Locke told his Tennessee congregation “you ain’t seen an insurrection yet” ... The Global Vision Bible Church pastor made the provocative statement during a sermon in Mt. Juliet, near Nashville, on Sunday. During the sermon, the pro-Trump pastor railed against Democrats who he said could not be Christians if they supported abortion rights.
A video of Locke’s tirade has made the rounds via social media — as of this morning, it’s been viewed on Twitter 2 million times — and it’s worth watching if only to appreciate just how enthusiastic the pastor is about his message.
“If you vote Democrat, I don’t even want you around this church. You can get out. You can get out, you demon,” Locke declared. “You cannot be a Christian and vote Democrat in this nation. I don’t care how mad that makes you. You can get as pissed off as you want to. You cannot be a Christian and vote Democrat in this nation.... You cannot be a Democrat and a Christian. You cannot. Somebody say, ‘Amen.’ The rest of you get out! Get out!”
As part of the same rant, the pastor added, “I ain’t playin’ your stupid games.... I’m sick of it. Everyone wanna talk about the insurrection? Mmmm. Let me tell you something: You ain’t seen the insurrection yet. You keep on pushing our buttons, you low-down, sorry compromisers, you God-hating communists, maybe you’ll find out what an insurrection is.”
Clearly, there’s a lot to unpack with a message like this, raising questions about theology, Christian nationalism, and the prospect of religio-political violence. But there’s also a legal question.
As regular readers may recall, under federal tax law, tax-exempt houses of worship are not allowed to intervene in partisan politics. Ministries can obviously speak out on moral and spiritual issues of the day, and they can get involved in ballot referenda related to various policies, but churches and other houses of worship can’t take steps to help (or hurt) candidates or political parties.
This law was created in 1954, thanks to the efforts of then-Sen. Lyndon Johnson, and for the most part, it wasn’t especially controversial — that is, until the religious right political movement started pushing for the law’s repeal, as part of a larger effort to further politicize faith communities.
In fact, Donald Trump was so eager to curry favor with social conservatives that he repeatedly boasted that he’d repealed the law, despite the fact that this never actually happened.
All of which leaves us with a question: Did Locke go too far when he delivered a partisan sermon? Can the pastor of a tax-exempt church tell his followers that Democratic voters are demons who are unwelcome in his congregation?
The folks at Americans United for Separation of Church and State, whom I know well, this week urged the IRS to launch an investigation. Rachel Laser, the group’s president, wrote in a complaint to the agency, “Now, when our democracy is threatened by white Christian nationalism like never before, the IRS must investigate blatant Johnson Amendment violations like Locke’s remarks and enforce the federal law that protects the integrity of both our elections and our houses of worship by ensuring nonprofits don’t engage in partisan politics.”
Whether the IRS will take an interest in the matter remains to be seen. Watch this space.
Contrary to what we learn from progressives in education and the media, the history of the Democratic Party well into the twentieth century is a virtually uninterrupted history of thievery, corruption and bigotry. American history is the story of Democratic malefactors and Republican heroes. Yes, it’s true.
I begin with Andrew Jackson. He—not Thomas Jefferson or FDR—is the true founder of the modern Democratic Party. Progressives today are divided about Jackson. Some, like historian Sean Wilentz, admire him, while others want to remove him from the $20 bill because he was a slaveowner and a vicious Indian fighter. He was, in this view, a very bad American.
I support the debunking of Jackson, but not because he was a bad American—rather, because he was a typical crooked Democrat. Jackson established the Democratic Party as the party of theft. He mastered the art of stealing land from the Indians and then selling it at giveaway prices to white settlers. Jackson’s expectation was that those people would support him politically, as indeed they did. Jackson was indeed a “man of the people,” but his popularity was that of a gang leader who distributes his spoils in exchange for loyalty on the part of those who benefit from his crimes.
Jackson also figured out how to benefit personally from his land-stealing. Like Hillary Clinton, he started out broke and then became one of the richest people in the country. How? Jackson and his partners and cronies made early bids on Indian land, sometimes even before the Indians had been evacuated from that land. They acquired the land for little or nothing and later sold it for a handsome profit. Remarkably, the roots of the Clinton Foundation can be found in the land-stealing policies of America’s first Democratic president.
The Democrats were also the party of slavery, and the slave-owning mentality continues to shape the policies of Democratic leaders today. The point isn’t that the Democrats invented slavery which is an ancient institution that far predates America. Rather, Democrats like Senator John C. Calhoun invented a new justification for slavery, slavery as a “positive good.” For the first time in history, Democrats insisted that slavery wasn’t just beneficial for masters; they said it was also good for the slaves.
Today progressive pundits attempt to conceal Democratic complicity in slavery by blaming slavery on the “South.” These people have spun a whole history that portrays the slavery battle as one between the anti-slavery North and the pro-slavery South. This of course benefits Democrats today, because today the Democratic Party’s main strength is in the north and the Republican Party’s main strength is in the South.
But the slavery battle was not mainly a North-South issue. It was actually a battle between the pro-slavery Democrats and the anti-slavery Republicans. How can I make such an outrageous statement? Let’s begin by recalling that northern Democrats like Stephen Douglas protected slavery, while most southerners didn’t own slaves. (Three fourths of those who fought in the civil war on the confederate side had no slaves and weren’t fighting to protect slavery.)
Republicans, meanwhile, to one degree or another, all opposed slavery. The party itself was founded to stop slavery. Of course there were a range of views among Republicans, from abolitionists who sought immediately to end slavery to Republicans like Abraham Lincoln who recognized that this was both constitutionally and politically impossible and focused on arresting slavery’s extension into the new territories. This was the main platform on which Lincoln won the 1860 election.
The real clash was between the Democrats, north and south, who supported slavery and the Republicans across the country who opposed it. As Lincoln summarized it in his First Inaugural Address, one side believes slavery is right and ought to be extended, and the other believes it is wrong and ought to be restricted. “This,” Lincoln said, “is the only substantial dispute.” And this, ultimately, was what the Civil War was all about.
In the end, of course, Republicans ended slavery and permanently outlawed it through the Thirteenth Amendment. Democrats responded by opposing the Amendment and a group of them assassinated the man they held responsible for emancipation, Abraham Lincoln. Republicans passed the Fourteenth Amendment securing for blacks equal rights under the law, and the Fifteenth Amendment giving blacks the right to vote, over the Democrats’ opposition.
Confronted with these irrefutable facts, progressives act like the lawyer who is presented with the murder weapon belonging to his client. Darn, he says to himself, I better think fast. “Yes,” he now admits, “my client did murder the clerk and rob the store. But he didn’t kill all those other people who were also found dead at the scene.”
In other words, progressives who are forced to acknowledge the Democratic Party’s pro-slavery history promptly respond, “We admit to being the party of slavery, and we did uphold the institution for more than a century, but slavery ended in 1865, so all of this was such a long time ago. You can’t blame us now for the antebellum wrongs of the Democratic Party.”
Yes, but what about the postbellum crimes of the Democratic Party? From Democratic support for slavery, let’s turn to the party’s complicity in segregation and the Ku Klux Klan. Democrats in the 1880s invented segregation and Jim Crow laws that lasted through the 1960s. Democrats also came up with the “separate but equal” rationale that justified segregation and pretended that it was for the benefit of African Americans.
The Ku Klux Klan was founded in 1866 in Pulaski, Tennessee by a group of former confederate soldiers; its first grand wizard was a confederate general who was also a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. The Klan soon spread beyond the South to the Midwest and the West and became, in the words of historian Eric Foner, “the domestic terrorist arm of the Democratic Party.”
The main point of the Klan’s orgy of violence was to prevent blacks from voting—voting, that is, for Republicans. Leading Democrats including at least one president, two Supreme Court justices, and innumerable Senators and Congressmen were Klan members. The last one, Robert Byrd, died in 2010 and was eulogized by President Obama and former President Bill Clinton.
The sordid history of the Democratic Party in the early twentieth century is also married to the sordid history of the progressive movement during the same period. Progressives like Margaret Sanger—founder of Planned Parenthood and a role model for Hillary Clinton—supported such causes as eugenics and social Darwinism. While abortion was not an issue in Sanger’s day, she backed forced sterilization for “unfit” people, notably minorities. Sanger’s Negro Project was specifically focused on reducing the black population.
Progressives also led the campaign to stop poor immigrants from coming to this country. They championed laws in the 1920s that brought the massive flows of immigration to this country to a virtual halt. The motives of the progressives were openly racist and and in the way the immigration restrictions were framed, progressives succeeded in broadening the Democratic Party’s target list of minority groups.
While the Democratic Party previously singled out blacks and native Indians, progressives showed Democrats how to suppress all minorities. Included in the new list were Central and South American Hispanics as well as Eastern and Southern Europeans. Many of these people were clearly white but progressives did not consider white enough. Like blacks, they were considered “unfit” on the basis of their complexion.
During the 1920s, progressives developed a fascination with and admiration for Italian and German fascism, and the fascists, for their part, praised American progressives. These were likeminded people who spoke the same language, and progressives and fascists worked together to implement programs to sterilize so-called mental defectives and “unfit” people, resulting subsequently in tens of thousands of forced sterilizations in America and hundreds of thousands in Nazi Germany.
During the 1930s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt sent members of his brain trust to Europe to study fascist economic programs, which he considered more advanced that anything his New Deal had implemented to date. FDR was enamored with Mussolini, whom he called the “admirable Italian gentleman.” Some Democrats even had a soft spot for Hitler: young JFK went to Germany before World War II and praised Hitler as a “legend” and blamed hostility to the Nazis as jealousy resulting from how much the Nazis had accomplished.
Yes, I know. Very little of this is known by people today because progressives have done such a good job of sweeping it all under the rug. This material is simply left out of the textbooks even though it is right there in the historical record. Some progressive pundits know about it, but they don’t want to talk about it.
Indeed many progressives have been working hard to come up with lies that can be passed off as facts. Progressives have a whole cultural contingent—Hollywood, the mainline media, the elite universities, even professional comedians—to peddle their propaganda. From the television show Madame Secretary to the front page of the New York Times to nightly quips by Stephen Colbert, the progressive bilge comes at us continually and relentlessly.
In this bogus narrative, Republicans are the bad guys because Republicans opposed the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. For progressive Democrats, the civil rights movement is the canonical event of American history. It is even more important than the American Revolution. Progressive reasoning is: we did this, so it must be the greatest thing that was ever done in America. Republicans opposed it, which makes them the bad guys.
The only problem is that Republicans were instrumental—actually indispensable—in getting the Civil Rights Laws passed. While Lyndon Johnson pushed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with the backing of some northern Democrats, Republicans voted in far higher percentages for the bill than Democrats did. This was also true of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Neither would have passed with just Democratic votes. Indeed, the main opposition to both bills came from Democrats.
Interestingly enough the GOP is not merely the party of minority rights but also of women’s rights. Republicans included women’s suffrage in the party’s platform as early as 1896. The first woman elected to Congress was Republican Jeanette Rankin in 1916. That year represented a major GOP push for suffrage, and after the GOP regained control of Congress, the Nineteenth Amendment granting women’s suffrage was finally approved in 1919 and ratified by the states the following year.
The inclusion of women in the 1964 Civil Rights Act was, oddly enough, the work of group of racist, chauvinist Democrats. Led by Democratic Congressman Howard Smith of Virginia, this group was looking to defeat the Civil Rights Act. Smith proposed to amend the legislation and add “sex” to “race” as a category protected against discrimination.
Smith’s Democratic buddies roared with laughter when he offered his one-word amendment. They thought it would make the whole civil rights thing so ridiculous that no sane person would go along with it. One scholar noted that Smith’s amendment “stimulated several hours of humorous debate” among racist, chauvinist Democrats. But to their amazement, the amended version of the bill passed. It bears repeating that Republicans provided the margin of victory that extended civil rights protection both to minorities and to women.
The exercise of power over the life of one’s offspring is not a new construct. In ancient Rome, for example, the paterfamilias, or family patriarch, maintained a legal right to dispose of children deemed unwanted or unfit after birth. Likewise, a widespread preference for male children has compelled parents in China and India to terminate the lives of their daughters for centuries. Gender-determination ultrasounds have been used more recently to terminate these lives prior to birth, but the brutal infanticide of daughters remains common.
What is startling about the “women’s rights” argument for abortion ubiquitous in modern Western culture is that it reframes the act of abortion as a means to women’s freedom, whereas historically it was, by and large, a reflection of male dominance.
The same questionable argument for abortion as a necessity for women’s freedom steered the majority opinion of Roe v. Wade. Justice Harry Blackmun found a right to abortion in an eisegetical reading of the Fourteenth Amendment. He concluded for the Court that a “right of personal privacy” could be found in the “penumbras” emanating from the Fourteenth Amendment, among other places, and that this right included a woman’s right to “terminate her pregnancy.”
Penning his concurrence with the majority decision of Roe v. Wade, Justice Potter Stewart said the Court had shown that “freedom of personal choice in matters of marriage and family life is one of the liberties protected by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.” The irony here is that the due process clause mandates that no person be deprived of life without the due process of law—a protection that, thanks to Roe, unborn children no longer enjoy.