Since Evangelical Christianity began infiltrating politics, officially in the late 1970s, there has been a disturbing trend to limit or remove rights from those who don’t meet the conservative idea of an American. Many of those initiatives come in the form of “religious freedom” laws, which empower discrimination, while other legislation targets immigrants who believe differently. The result has been a sharp division in American culture, and the redefinition of Christian theology.
Evangelical speaker, author, and university professor Tony Campolo said Christianity was redefined in the mid-70s by position of “pro-life” and opposing gay marriage. “Suddenly theology fell to the background,” he said. And somewhere in the middle of all the change, Evangelical Christianity crossed the line of faith and belief to hatred and abuse. Those who cruelly implement the actions of their faith are oblivious to the destruction they cause to their religion, or the people their beliefs impact. Is it fair to call it sociopathic?
Psychology Today listed sixteen characteristics of sociopathic behaviors, which include: Untruthfulness and insincerity, superficial charm and good intelligence, lack of remorse or shame, poor judgment and failure to learn by experience, pathologic egocentricity and incapacity for love, unresponsiveness in general interpersonal relations, specific loss of insight, and general poverty in major affective reactions (in other words, appropriate emotional responses).
We see examples of these kinds of behaviors in church leaders and followers. Franklin Graham, for example, stated that immigration as “not a Bible issue.”
His stand fits well with his conservative politics and vocal support of Donald Trump, but his callousness toward immigrants and those seeking asylum in the United States goes against everything he says he believes (Leviticus 19:33-34, Mark 12:30-31). Yet, Graham doesn’t see one bit of irony between his political stance and his religious belief. Nor does he seem to notice the horrific casualties in war-torn countries these immigrants are desperately trying to flee.
[adapted from “Has Evangelical Christianity Become Sociopathic? in Huffingtonpost.com. Mr. Rabel’s article was published on Facebook and is in the public domain.]
Almost no presidential administration has escaped the taint of a scandal or two. Scandal substantially tarnished the administrations of Ulysses S. Grant and Warren G. Harding. More recently, most of us recall Watergate, Whitewater/Lewinsky, and Iran-Contra.
TEAPOT DOME SCANDAL
I selected only a few to make my point. I could have mentioned many more. Readers can google “Presidential Scandals.” Seth Cline, a staff writer with U.S. News and World Report, began his article “The 7 Worst U.S. Presidential Scandals” (March 1, 2017) mentioning Grant.
If you research Trump administration scandals, you will discover a hefty list of Trump’s disgraces, and you will realize these articles have been published in the first eight or nine months of his presidency. We may have three more years to go. Simply untenable!
We should have done more than raise our eyebrows when, from the beginning of the Trump administration, nepotism (“favoritism shown to relatives in appointing them to jobs”) reared its ugly head. Nepotism is illegal (see 5 U.S. Code #3110, Sub-Part B: “A public official may not appoint, employ, promote, advance, or advocate for appointment, employment, promotion or advancement, in or to a civilian position in the agency in which he is serving or over which he exercises jurisdiction or control any individual who is a relative of the public official.”)
The responsibilities President Trump has given to his son-in-law Jared Kushner and his daughter Ivanka will prove extremely troublesome. Kushner is already a major subject of current investigations by the Congress. He and Donald Jr. are also under scrutiny for their involvement in questionable meetings with Russian operatives.
TRUMP AND DAUGHTER IVANKA
According to an article in Politico by Sarah Holder (July 26, 2017) “13 Trump Scandals You Forgot About,” Ms. Holder barely mentions some potential problems for Trump before listing 13 in bold type. Combining the most dubious, Holder documents that Trump and his family are taking advantage of his position to increase their own personal wealth.
Holder begins with “Foreign Governments Are Paying Trump. The White House is promoting Melania’s Jewelry and Ivanka’s Clothing Line, Trump has ‘jacked up’ Mar-a-Lago’s rates, with his campaign paying his businesses and the government writing him a $15,000 check” for use of the plush facility.
Secretary Wilbur Ross is keeping investments he oversees as Commerce Secretary and the Kushners tout Jared’s White House connections to do business in China. Jared Kushner failed to disclose key assets, while he and Ivanka are still raking in cash from their businesses.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP “BUDDIES UP” WITH RUSSIA’S VLADIMIR PUTIN
Bluntly, the above plus Donald Trump’s solicitous attitude toward Vladimir Putin and the obvious (proven) Russian interference in our most recent presidential election will, I suspect, prove the Trump presidency to be the most scandal-ridden administration in American history.
Trump supporters take the attitude, “Who cares?”
These actions/behaviors suggest that Trump is unfit to serve as president of the United States–that he is using the highest and most important office in America for his and his family’s personal, financial benefit.
Investigations will likely show a collusion with Russia during the campaign and still influencing the Trump presidency. Unacceptable!
L. MILTON HANKINS
[This opinion-editorial first appeared in the Huntington WV Herald-Dispatch on September 11, 2017. Hankins is the publisher and editor of Columnist with a View. He lives in Ashland, Kentucky with his wife Deborah and furry buddy Jose. He is the author of two books “Ashes on the Snow” and “A Sensible Theology for Thinking People.” Both are available through Amazon.com.]
This past weekend, a mob of white men marched in Charlottesville, Virginia, carrying flaming torches and shouting, “Heil, Trump!” As a columnist in the Washington Post said, Trump might as well have “lit every one of those torches in Charlottesville.”
And now, after this weekend’s horrific murder, Trump just keeps piling on the hate. Yesterday he again cast blame on “all sides” and refused to disavow his advisers with ties to white supremacist organizations.
Not only did Trump stoke the fires of racism and white supremacy to get elected, but once in office, he chose white supremacists Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka, and Stephen Miller to be among some of his closest White House advisers.
That’s why we’re launching an emergency campaign to demand that lawmakers
1. CENSURE DONALD TRUMP. Censure is a formal, public statement of disapproval that requires a vote by Congress. A bipartisan vote would send a strong message to Trump and the world that his behavior is unacceptable and doesn’t represent American values.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP
2. BEGIN THE IMPEACHMENT PROCESS. For months now, we’ve been demanding that Congress begin the process to remove Donald Trump from office. Yesterday’s behavior was yet another example of just how unfit he is for the office of the presidency. And how urgently impeachment is needed.
3. REMOVE TRUMP’S WHITE SUPREMACIST ADVISERS FROM THE WHITE HOUSE. Congress controls Trump’s budget, which gives them tacit control of his staffing and the power to demand the removal of white supremacist advisers from their positions.
Our work ahead won’t be easy. But we have no choice but to work hard as we can for as long as it takes–to condemn, isolate, and ultimately remove racist, neo-Nazi sympathizers from the White House and confront the stain of white supremacy wherever it appears in our country.
Here’s some of what we’re doing together already:
CAPITOL AND SEAT OF GOVERNMENT
♦ Demanding that Congress immediately censure Donald Trump, and begin an impeachment inquiry.
♦ Standing with and amplifying the calls from allies and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle who are condemning hate, calling for congressional hearings, and demanding the immediate removal of Trump’s white supremacist advisers.
♦ Cohosting a huge Sunday night call to identify ways all of us can engage in the essential work of dismantling systemic white supremacy and its symbols in America.
♦ Growing MoveOn’s proven Video Lab–which uses compelling and accessible fact-based content to cut through smoke screens and lies about Bannon, Gorka, Miller, the rise of hate groups since Election Day, and Trump’s own hatemongering–and has already generated more than 300 million views in just over a year.
MoveOn members have opposed Trump’s to white nationalist adviser, Steve Bannon, since the beginning. We issued a clarion call of outrage mere hours after Trump’s announcement that he had appointed Bannon as a special adviser–and we’ve demand his removal ever since.
In December, we worked tenaciously with more than a dozen allies to deliver more than one million petition signatures to Congress, putting lawmakers on notice by channeling grassroots fury and pressure. And we promised that we would not yield. Then, alongside veterans groups, MoveOn members campaigned for Bannon’s immediate removal from the all-too-powerful National Security Council and cheered together when he was finally ousted.
And then in June, we demanded that Congress launch an impeachment inquiry over Trump’s flagrant abuse of power.
We know that our non-stop organizing is making a difference.
Trump’s approval ratings are tanking. Media reports indicate that Bannon is on thin ice, openly reviled as the “lunatic fringe.” And lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are speaking out against hate–but not nearly enough. Speaking out ourselves, and making sure our lawmakers join in and then take meaningful action, is what we must do.
With your help, it’s time to expand our efforts to demand the formal censure of Trump, to redouble our efforts to push for an impeachment inquiry, and to demand the removal of not just Bannon, but of Gorka and Miller, too–men who are equally dangerous.
We don’t have a moment to lose: news reports indicate that “alt-right” gatherings are spiking across the U.S.
It’s time to censure and remove the “alt-right’s” most powerful and dangerous champions from inside the White House–before this toxic tidal wave gains more ground.
Will you chip in $3 to help launch and drive forward the campaign to kick hate out of the White House? Want to support the work of MoveOn? The MoveOn community will work every moment, day by day and year by year, to resist Trump’s agency, contain the damage, defeat hate with love, and begin the process of swinging the nation’s pendulum back towards sanity, decency, and the kind of future that we must never give up on. And to do it we need your support, now more than every. Will you stand with us? Go to MoveOn.org to see how you can contribute. Chip in $3, or whatever you can afford.
Thanks for all you do–Jo, Stephen, Mark, Amy, and the rest of the team