Tuesday, September 04, 2018

In Plain View, Then And Now

Here I am. Come and get me.

The President has been predictably and justifiably assailed for one of his Labor Day tweets:

This was too much even for a Fox News' legal analyst. and therefore

“When the president says these things—basically, ‘I want you to use the Justice Department to help the Republican Party’—that is fodder for the cannon of Bob Mueller and the never-Trumpers,” said Napolitano. “It’s his using his own words out of his own mouth to help put him in a box of the use of government for political purposes.”

But after the first 731 counts of impeachment, #732 really doesn't matter.  And while the Special Counsel will find several criminal matters for which Mr. Trump can be charged, there is serious doubt whether a sitting President can be indicted, and the President expects to be addressed as "Mr. President" for several more years, perhaps until death.

Republican members of Congress will of course do little more than wring their hands- and most of them will not do even that. As if a child, the President continues to test limits, which has served him extremely well so far.

In January, 2016- before evangelical leaders drummed warned him about saying offensive and bizarre things about Christianity- Trump was interviewed by CNN's Jake Tapper and maintained

he now enjoys a "very great relationship with God" and "a very great relationship" with the evangelical Christian voters so important to candidates in Iowa.

"I live a very different life than probably a lot of people would think," Trump said. "I'm talking about over the last number of years, I'm leading a very good life. I try to lead a good life and I have. And frankly, (it's) the reason I'm doing so well in Iowa."

No Bible-believing Protestant or even observant Catholic would ever say "I live a very different life" than it appears. At least the former would claim to be "a new creation" or "a new being."  Believing "we all sin and fall short of the glory of God," she would never brag about "leading a very good life," especially in light of Psalm 14:2/Romans 3:10-12 and Mark 10:18.

Nor would many dedicated Catholics, nor any dedicated Protestants, brag that they have a "very great relationship with God." Very few, especially among the latter, would boast of "a great relationship" with the Almighty. Many would claim a "personal relationship" with God, which they would attribute not to themselves but to Jesus Christ.

 Even a "personal relationship" is somewhat controversial in Christianity. A Protestant minister in New York City has written

The Gospel is not about you per se.  It’s about a new creation, an entire world that is remade with God at the center.  The good news is that God is creating a brand new state of affairs, completely toppling the existing world order. Amazingly, in this new domain, outcasts, sinners, fringe-dwellers and those crying out for God’s mercy are brought in and honored through forgiveness awarded them by faith because of Christ’s sacrifice.  God does indeed care about them - but they are not the focus.  The focus is God’s glory and mercy.

At least rhetorically, Christians put the emphasis on God and his mercy, not on themselves.  Trump early on reversed that focus. Some evangelicals have claimed that the President has changed- but if so, it is apparently the only change that has occurred in a long, long while. Donald Trump is the Donald Trump he has been for decades.

And that was enough for evangelical voters in the fall of 2018,   There was seemingly no end to the ways in which Trump, by words and action, past and present, would say something which would normally offend believing Christians.  He brazenly made it quite obvious, and dared those voters to cast a ballot for his opponent.

They did not, obviously. And now President Trump breaks nearly every norm, openly flouts the rule of law, and obstructs justice in plain sight.  Here I am; come and get me.

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