By now, pretty much every political pundit, social commentator, or dude with a computer and a Facebook account has commented on the violence that surrounded last weekend’s rally/riot in Charlottesville, Virginia.* I’m not sure there is anything that I can add to the conversation that hasn’t been stated more ably or eloquently elsewhere, but I still feel that I ought to say something—if for no other reason than to get myself on the record, and to sort through some of the things about the events (and the aftermath) that have been cluttering my mind.
The violence and identity politics on display in Charlottesville should be deeply disturbing to all who observed it, regardless of creed, politics, and ethnicity. For a county “dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal,” what happened in central Virginia must remind us all that those values need to be actively preserved and defended, especially when challenged by those who claim superiority simply because of their race or heritage.
Continue reading “Of Blood, Soil, and a Kingdom Worth Defending”
The following is a continuation of an ongoing email discussion between my cousin Mark (semi-reluctant Trump supporter) and me (unabashed Trump basher). (For part one of the discourse, click here.) In this week’s installment, we delve deeper into the repetition of past failures of the Republican Party, and the general competence of one Donald Trump to serve as chief executive of the United States.
Mark (via email, 6/29/16)
Where to begin? Well, let me start here. I’m just happy that I can have this discussion with you, and that we can share our viewpoints. It rarely happens anymore. In fact, I think it is part of the reason for the fractures we are seeing in races around the globe, elections around the globe, and in the two major parties here. Let’s start with that.
Continue reading “The Great Trump Debates of 2016, Part Two”
As we approach the presidential elections, much (okay, pretty much all) of the conversation has centered on the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. Conservatives in particular have struggled with their opinions about and obligation to their party’s candidate. Some of us (and I am on record as being a part of this camp) find the candidate so reprehensible that we cannot and will not, with good conscience, cast a vote on his behalf. Others, while less than enthralled with the idea of a Trump presidency, see the alternative of President Hilary Clinton as significantly worse, and are willing to hold their nose and vote along the party line. Still others are excited about having an outsider candidate crashing the party and shaking things up a bit, and are looking forward to voting for Trump in November.
Recently, I started a conversation with my cousin Mark (technically, second cousin, but we’re all family) about the merits and demerits of Donald Trump, with Mark voicing the “pro” side (with significant reservation) and me the “con.” This started on Facebook (in the comments of another family member’s post), migrated to email, and now—with Mark’s permission—is being shared here for the world to see. I thank Mark for his willingness to share this conversation, and for proving that there is still room for discourse even when opinions diverge.
Continue reading “The Great Trump Debates of 2016, Part One”
I have always sought to avoid political engagement on my digital media channels. There probably isn’t a forum more ill-suited to nuanced discourse than social media, and all it does is serve to annoy friends and family with differing views. And I prefer to keep my blog light, with fun anecdotes and remembrances that appeal to a wide audience.
Eventually, however, there comes a time and/or an issue on which it is necessary to declare, “Here I stand, I can do no other. God help me, amen!” In this case, I feel obligated, nay, compelled to make my “Luther moment” and speak out a in a strong yet hopefully winsome way against the presidential candidacy of one Donald Trump.
I do so as a Christian, as a conservative, and as an American.
As a Christian, I object to Trump’s wrapping himself in the trappings of an ill-defined faith in order to insulate himself from criticism. I see someone who makes grand claims about his faith (“I read the Bible more than anyone”) that would strike anyone who has actually read the Book as contradictory and self-serving. His statement that he has “never asked [God] for forgiveness” reveals an understanding of Christianity that my three-year-old son could easily refute. And his constant lowering of the discourse by referring to those he opposes as “losers” (and worse) while bragging about his accomplishments is antithetical to pretty much every word Jesus ever spoke. It doesn’t take a theologian to recognize Trump’s newfound religiosity and clumsy adaptation of Christian culture and language as a callous attempt to endear himself to an important voting bloc. That some religious leaders have embraced his shallow show of piety is disturbing on so many different levels.
Continue reading “Donald Trump and the Death of the Republic”
I’m not in the habit of offering book reviews here on this blog, this being the first, and I’m not likely to be doing this very often. However, I am going to make an exception in this case.
As Beth and I were preparing for young Samuel’s arrival, I determined that there might be some downtime at the hospital (less than I anticipated, as it turns out). I had heard a bit of a buzz surrounding New York Times columnist Ross Douthat’s new book, Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics, and decided it was worth the download.
It certainly was.
In Bad Religion, Douthat examines two predominant arguments concerning what he perceives to be American decline. The first blames a move away from traditional religious mores and beliefs for cultural rot. A second argument takes exactly the opposite approach, blaming the America’s corporate religiosity as an anchor that is preventing the nation from progressing.
Douthat offers an alternative view. “America’s problem isn’t too much religion, or too little of it,” he says. “It’s bad religion: the slow-motion collapse of traditional Christianity and the rise of a variety of pseudo-Christianities in its place.”
Continue reading “Book Review – Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics”