Monday, February 26, 2018

Conned By The Con Man

If the first twelve paragraphs of his op-ed in the Sunday New York Times are any indication, David Brody is either one of the most stupid- or conniving- people in the USA  Fortunately, Brody then let slip something accurate when he acknowledged

Finally, why in the world wouldn’t evangelicals get behind and support a man who not only is in line with most of their agenda but also has delivered time and time again? The victories are numerous: the courts, pro-life policies, the coming Embassy in Jerusalem and religious liberty issues, just to name a few. He easily wins the unofficial label of “most evangelical-friendly United States president ever.”

For all the rest, Brody, assuming he's sincere, is quite the sucker.  He writes

Evangelical leaders also see a civic obligation to speak godly counsel to him, on policy and personal matters. He is, after all, the president. And it’s paying off. I’ve watched Mr. Trump through the lens of the faith community for years, and he has delivered the policy goods and is progressing on the spiritual ones.

My reporting suggests Donald Trump is on a spiritual voyage that has accelerated in recent years, thanks to evangelicals who have employed the biblical mandate of sharing and showing God’s love to him rather than shunning him. President Trump told me that he “was exposed to a lot of people, from a religious standpoint, that I would’ve never met before. And so it has had an impact on me.”

It's hard to believe that even in the highly secular world of New York business and high finance, Donald Trump was completely shielded from religious people. Once he decided to chase the GOP nomination for President, however, wrapping himself in the flag of evangelical Christianity quickly became convenient.

It strains credulity to believe that when he announced for the race at age 69, Trump somehow, through the workings of the Holy Spirit, found Jesus or that he now "is progressing on the spiritual (goods)." Donald Trump rarely "progresses." He dives, recklessly, into whatever he comes to believe (or wants to be seen as believing), typically what the last person he has spoken to has told him.

Fortunately, we have corroboration. In his CPAC speech, Trump stated

In times of grief and hardship, we turn to prayer for solace and comfort. In recent days our entire nation has been filled with terrible pain and sorrow over the evil massacre in a great community, Parkland, Florida. This senseless act of mass murder shocked our nation and broke our hearts.

We turn to prayer for solace and comfort. This runs contrary to the belief of both Protestants and Catholics in the prayer model of described by the A.C.T.S. acrostic- adoration, confessions, thanksgiving, and supplication. (I can't vouch for the other monotheistic religions.)

Supplication has been described as "making requests to God, asking Him for our own needs, as well as praying for others" or "the action of asking or begging for something earnestly or humbly." It does not include asking God to make us feel better or comfortable or relieving our anxiety, as if He is the master psychiatrist.

Some people do get "solace and comfort" from praying and, well, good for them. But that should not be its intent. It's a kind of new age approach to prayer, what individuals such as Donald Trump who are not progressing spiritually believe they deserve from praying.

Of course, the worst problem with Brody's piece is the suggestion that the victory of Donald J. Trump was God's will.  Though he does not explicitly embrace it as his own, Brody approvingly writes

The Bible is replete with examples of flawed individuals being used to accomplish God’s will. Evangelicals I interviewed said they believed that Mr. Trump was in the White House for a reason.

It is possible that Trump is in the White House for a divine reason.  It may be to foster hatred and division among his countrymen. It might be to consolidate wealth further in the hands of  the 1%. It might be abort the USA's role as leader of the free world and to upend the Trans-Atlantic alliance. President Trump is accomplishing all three and it could be- accepting David Brody's reasoning- God's will. It would mean also that God has a very morbid sense of humor.

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