Monday, February 11, 2019

Christianity Subordinated

Proudly Never Trump in 2016, Erick Erickson- lawyer, blogger, talk show host, and intense evangelical Protestant- now promises to vote for Trump-Pence in 2020 while

Some of my concerns about President Trump remain. I still struggle on the character issue and I understand Christian friends who would rather sit it out than get involved. But I also recognize that we cannot have the Trump Administration policies without President Trump and there is much to like.

Erickson cites taxes, deregulation, the ACA, Israel, the Paris accord and the agreement with Iran, "shifting foreign policy focus to the western hemisphere, and "solid executive appointments, including to the judiciary."  As could be expected, Erickson adds

We have a party that is increasingly hostile to religion and now applies religious tests to blocking judicial nominees. We have a party that believes children can be murdered at birth.

The Democratic Party does not apply religious tests to judicial nominees.  Rather, a few of President Trump's nominees have made it clear not only that their religious views inform their judicial philosophy, but that they believe divine law trumps secular law in consideration of legal issues. Andrew L. Seidel explains

Questions of religion are fair game the moment nominees argue that their duty to their god is superior to their duty to this country. The issue is not the religious belief itself, but the ability of that nominee to honor their oath of office. If they cannot, We the People have a right to know. And the Senate has a duty to ask.

These questions cannot be blocked by a Senator, as Ted Cruz recently did, whining  about a "theological inquisition."  It would be better (or at least more transparent)  for a nominee to defend his or her judicial philosophy in light of theological precepts the candidate holds.That would require a willingness to defend her judicial approach with its philosophical underpinnings. 

Alas, under questioning they choose to hide their rationale and Christian faith. Similarly, Erick Erickson chooses not to tell us what Democratic official "believes children can be murdered at birth,." He may be referring to Virginia governor Ralph Northam, though surely the latter does not represent an entire party, especially now that he is under attack from some of its most prominent members.

A few days (not coincidentally) before the Northam blackface scandal, the Governor was asked about a hypothetical situation prompted by the mischaracterization by conservatives of an abortion bill briefly considered by the state's House of Delegates.  Although the bill pertains to second and third trimester abortions, Northam unwisely responded

If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered, the infant would be kept comfortable, the infant would be resuscitated if that's what the mother and the family desire. And then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.

Characteristically apoplectic, Republicans erupted in false outrage, contending- as it would appear Erickson is- that this is infanticide. However, it's likely the critics understand that

When an infant who might have otherwise been terminated in a third-trimester abortion is born, doctors and parents don’t then decide whether to kill the baby. They choose whether to take extreme, painful measures to try, against the odds, to keep a baby with severe congenital deformities alive.

It's unsurprising that as a forced birth advocate Erickson, though arguing in bad faith, would attack Democrats for support of abortion rights and questioning of judges about the impact of religious belief upon their judicial philosophy.

Nonetheless, when Erickson suggested in September of 2016 that he would vote for neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump, he accused the latter of "corrupting the virtuous and fostering hatred, racism and dangerous strains of nationalism." Erickson argues that the 2+ years of President Trump have been characterized by successful, conservative activity.

Erickson is elated that the policies have been very conservative and, in his opinion, successful. However, Donald Trump's presidency has been marked no more by extremist policies- which a President Cruz also would have promulgated- than it has been by lies, repeated regularly and enthusiastically; public demeaning of friend and foe alike; and boasts of the President's endless greatness.

These are not Christ-like virtues, and Erickson wrote at the time

That I see so many Christians justifying Trump’s immorality, defining deviancy down, and turning to anger and despondency about the future tells me I cannot in good faith support Trump because his victory would have lasting, damaging consequences for Christianity in America.

Now Erick Erickson supports the man whose victory appears it will have lasting, damaging consequences for Christianity in America.  That would be troubling from an atheist, far more so from someone who claims a deep Christian faith.

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