Sunday, November 15, 2020

What Might Have Been

Media critic determined not to allow reality to intrude upon his world is oh, so outraged:

Whether obscene (ludicrous) or outrageous (depends on what the meaning of "outrageous" is), it is accurate. That brings us, oddly, to a seemingly unrelated profile by the Atlantic's Emma Green of mega-church pastor Andy Staley, who is the son of Charles Stanley, whom Green explains was "a televangelist and former president of the Southern Baptist Convention who wrote the devotional that President George W. Bush used to read each morning."

Some Christian pastors believe that encouraging believers and non-believers in prayer and study of Scripture is more important than conducting an ideological crusade. Staley the Younger is far more interested in preaching the Kingdom of God than in promoting politics of the left, right, or even of the middle. As Green tells it, Staley refuses to reveal which presidential candidate he voted for in 2020 and 2016, says "he’s a conservative guy with conservative values," and says his daughter "is a die-hard Trump fan.

Staley refuses to reveal which presidential candidate he voted for in 2020 and 2016, states "he’s a conservative guy with conservative values," and describes his daughter as "a die-hard Trump fan." Moreover, he remarks "If you’re asking me, ‘Did Donald Trump inflame, or make worse, or stir up racial tension’—I don’t know the answer to that,” he said. “I don’t know that I would place that on the shoulders of Donald Trump.”  And yet

In Stanley’s view, the biggest way in which Trump has damaged the reputation of the church is in his penchant for name-calling and belittling people: mocking a reporter who has a disability during a campaign rally, for example, or calling people from Mexico criminals and rapists. He believes that the president’s attacks on journalists were “a terrible move”: “The first thing totalitarian leaders or governments do is they silence the media,” he said. When high-profile evangelical leaders publicly align themselves with Trump, “the perception is unavoidable” that they believe that kind of rhetoric is okay, especially among the young people Stanley cares most about reaching. Trump’s language “should undermine his credibility with Christians. It certainly undermined his credibility with the generation that, again, has low to no tolerance for any of that,” he said.

Even the man Green notes is "a child of the religious right recognizes "the first thing totalitarian leaders or governments do is they silence the media." In one of the many efforts of the President to do so:

Nonetheless, there are people on the right and probably centrists in the media who will condemn Amanpour. Largely disregarded is that what we have witnessed from Trump is a President who expected to get re-elected and flex his muscles as never before. Trump needed to restrain his actions (if not his rhetoric) as he geared up over over the last four years for a bid to gain the mandate of a second term. And he would have claimed a mandate as no others have, for reasons no others have.

Amanpour seems to understand this; Reverend Staley, also. Others do, too, though for many people it's difficult to acknowledge that our self-proclaimed "greatest country in the world" came within 41-42 electoral votes of going down that totalitarian road.

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