As I watched the historic World Series game last night, I saw my first Hillary ads against Trump. It’s sad that this woman can score effective political points just by telling the open and public truth about Trump. So, of course, Trump supporters have to come up with an antidote to the truth.
Answering the call, there’s a new parachurch movement in Evangelicalism: Smacking down anti-Trump strawmen.
One of those straw men is “holier-than-thou.” I was on the receiving end of that one Wednesday from an old friend who insisted a few weeks ago that Donald Trump is the best Presidential candidate she’s ever had a chance to vote for!!!
Since holier-than-thou is “having or showing the annoying attitude of people who believe that they are morally better than other people,” it is a cheap and lazy shot at anyone who says he or she is not going to vote for an evil, lesser or not.
Ironically, the evangelicals who now are its slingers were once its slingees, and back then we knew that it was a fairly reliable sign of a troubled but defiant conscience — an awareness that one is willfully doing something sleazy.
It still is a reliable sign of a troubled conscience. In Evangelical mouths, it means “I’m going to cast a reckless vote for a sick, angry little man, because he’s our sick, angry little man and I thank God for him every night. (Seriously now: would I link to South Park if I was holier-than-thou?)
A superficially more sophisticated approach is some variety of “So you think God cannot work with flawed humans, huh? That’s a special kind of stupid.” That one has been a major theme of Evangelical Trump supporters seeking “biblical” cover for their intended vote.
You could call it “Forensic Theologizing,” in homage to what I’ve come to regard as one of the law’s sad truths: you can find some “expert” to say anything on the stand if the price is right.
Christian Reconstructionist Gary DeMar provides a prime example. He goes on and on and on to demonstrate mastery of irrelevancies. David, Samson, etc. — all the flawed and motley heroes of the Old Testament — apparently are types of Donald Trump, not Jesus Christ.
Who knew? Why was I not told? So what?
How does that guide our voting? Why Trump rather than Clinton? Isn’t she flawed, too — maybe even more flawed, albeit in the shadows rather than full daylight?
Are we allowed to vote for the Orange Baboon Tycoon because God can use him while ruling out that God could use the Conniving Shrew just as well?
But Forensic Theologizing is a straw man because the argument against voting for Trump (or Clinton) is not that they are beyond God’s control. It is that he is a dangerous narcissistic sociopath (and she a ruthless, greedy, warmongering abortion lover and foe of religious freedom). That’s my case at least.
If the one elected next Tuesday goes on to do wonderful things, the only thing that will surprise me is that God in his providence spared us, whereas I thought this election was a choice between Fire and Ice.
Neither will be out of His control. Either will be in our Litanies.
[A]nyone who’s been paying attention has long known that a lot of money, usually from secular sources allied to fanatic population controllers, has been used to create “Catholic organizations” that are little more than letterheads. And with those letterheads, expensive newspaper ads, press releases, and other forms of propaganda are confected, especially during election season. “Catholics for Choice,” “Catholics United,” and “Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good” are all examples of this scam: faux-organizations long on income and high in media visibility, but with virtually no base in the U.S. Catholic community.
This is an old tactic with an unsavory pedigree …
If there’s a lesson to be learned from this WikiLeaks business for the difficult future that awaits the Church in the United States, it has to do with the bishops becoming more assertive guardians of the “Catholic” brand. When “Catholics for Choice” takes out full-page newspaper ads asserting that “Public funding for abortion is a Catholic social justice value” (as happened during this election cycle), the local bishop should be at the forefront of the public challenge to such lies, making clear through the local press and social media that “Catholics for Choice” is not recognized as a legitimate Catholic organization by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops—and perhaps calling the newspaper’s editor or proprietor to inquire why the paper is accepting blatantly false advertising.
The local bishop is the trustee of the Church’s identity in the diocese entrusted to his care—just as he’s the guardian of the Catholic truths to be taught in his schools and the guarantor of the integrity of the sacraments administered under his authority. Given what’s coming in the near future, bishops had better prepare themselves now for being active defenders of the Church’s integrity in all these spheres of Catholic life.
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“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)