October 20, 2020

Using God for Political Purposes

I am in the process of writing a post entitled “Five Six Seven Views Of God and the Corona Virus”. The Post keeps changing the more I read and think about it. In considering all the different ways that I have heard people express their view of God and the Corona Virus, there was one particular viewpoint that stood out to me. That is, the viewpoint that God can be used or invoked to further a political agenda. For the record, this is a viewpoint that I find particularly offensive.

This viewpoint was reinforced for me this week from events having to do with the Black Lives Matter movement. Dan, a friend from High School posted the following on Facebook [emphasis mine]:

I promised myself that I wouldn’t write about Trump anymore, but this is such a perfect example of the “Straw Man” fallacy I talked about last week that I couldn’t let it go. (Mike’s note: Dan had posted on Facebook last week about different types of logical fallacies. The “Straw Man” fallacy is one where someone “deliberately misrepresents another person’s argument, re-frames it as something extreme and ridiculous, and then attacks that “Straw Man” instead.”)

First of all, let’s make one thing clear. Trump lies. He lies with such frequency and consistency that if you take any statement he makes, either in person or on Twitter, and believe that the EXACT OPPOSITE is true, you will be right 90% of the time. And the 10% of the time when he does say something that is true, he is taking it out of context to twist the meaning.

So let’s get back to today’s “Straw Man” example.

You’ve probably heard about the controversy surrounding the removal of monuments. For the most part, it’s about whether statues should be erected (or remain erected) to honor people who were fighting to keep slavery legal. I don’t want to get into a lot of detail about this particular aspect of the story.

Then, the protests expanded to include other statues; notably, the one shown above, called the “Emancipation Memorial.” It was erected in 1876 to commemorate Lincoln’s freeing of the slaves. Looking at the picture, it’s not hard to see why many are objecting to the imagery there. (Defenders say, “But it was paid for by the freed slaves themselves!” Well, they had just been freed, so I doubt that they had much say in the design, and the intent was clearly to show Lincoln as a benevolent father figure.) But even if the merits of taking down the statue or leaving it alone are up for debate…

Let’s have a look at Trump’s comments, made at a recent press conference:

“I think many of the people that are knocking down these statues don’t even have any idea what the statue is, what it means, who it is. Now they’re looking at Jesus Christ. They’re looking at George Washington. They’re looking at Abraham Lincoln. Thomas Jefferson. Not gonna happen.”

Now, there is no evidence that anyone has suggested tearing down monuments to Washington or Jefferson, but you can see that he threw that little shred of truth in there about Lincoln, taken out of context.
The more important thing here is the comment about “Jesus Christ.” The claim was repeated at a church rally in Arizona; that “we’re seeing a call for statues of Jesus Christ to be torn down.”

This is far worse than just the “Straw Man” I talked about last week. It’s not just that Trump is lying to make his opponents seem “extreme and ridiculous.” He is using this blatant and bizarre lie for the specific and sole purpose of stirring up fear and anger among his Evangelical base toward the Black Lives Matter movement and anyone who would support them. This is incredibly dangerous, not least because many of his followers are just stupid enough to believe him.

Here are some of my initial thoughts about Dan’s post.

1. I find it incredibly offensive to use God for Political purposes. In the words of Bruce Cockburn (singing about Indigenous issues)

Went to a pow wow, red brother
Felt the people’s love/joy flow around
It left me crying just thinking about it
How they used my saviour’s name to keep you down

– Bruce Cockburn, Red Brother, Circles in the Stream 1977

In Canada, indigenous issues are very much at the forefront, and the church played a significant, you might even say leading role in supporting the political agenda against First Nations people.

2. No doubt you have heard or read about Trump using a Church and a Bible as a prop, and squelching constitutionally protected protest along the way. That previous occurrence, along with how he has co-opted a large swath of the evangelical movement, demonstrates the pattern of using God for political purposes. This latest event is just another example of how he does this.

3. In every lie there is a grain of truth. It is what makes the lie believable. In this particular case, one particular activist, Shaun King, stated:

Yes, I think the statues of the white European they claim is Jesus should also come down.

They are a form of white supremacy.

Always have been.

In the Bible, when the family of Jesus wanted to hide, and blend in, guess where they went?

EGYPT!

Not Denmark.

Tear them down.

After receiving much backlash, along with numerous death threats, King defended his position. “If your religion requires Jesus to be a blonde haired, blue eyed Jesus, then your religion is not Christianity, but white supremacy.” “I am a practicing Christian. I am an ordained minister and was a Senior Pastor for many years. If my critiques of the white supremacy within the Christian world bother you to the point of wanting to kill me, you are the problem.” (Secondary quotes from Newsweek).

So why call Trump’s comments a lie? This is where the Straw Man fallacy comes in. He is taking the comments of one person, and using those comments to characterize the entire movement. “Now they’re looking at Jesus Christ.” He is using it to inflame his supporters. And I agree with Dan, what Trump is doing is wrong.

4. Dan has no axe to grind with Evangelical Christianity. He wrote to me that:

My father is a Christian with a very strong faith. My mother attends church regularly, and always taught us to be respectful of all faiths, whether we hold that faith ourselves or not… I mentioned Evangelicals specifically because they are the most vocal supporters of trump, but I find it distressing that more Christians don’t speak out more forcefully about what Trump is doing… any Christian who believes, or worse yet repeats, the lie about “tearing down statues of Jesus,” … is either a moron or a racist; possibly “both,” but not “neither.”

5. To use God for political purposes is immoral. I will leave you with the words of our own Chaplain Mike:

My fundamental problem with Donald Trump is not his “policies.” My problem is that he is the singularly most inappropriate, untruthful, incompetent, corrupt, and self-aggrandizing person ever to be considered for such high office. He and those who are using him to advance their agendas are destroying the foundational ideals and institutions of this nation.

As usual, your thoughts and comments are welcome.

Comments

  1. An interesting thought that I read about Trump the other day: he lies all the time, but it’s brazen, shameless, transparent lying. And a sufficient number of voters seemed to prefer that kind of lyer to the sophisticated, spin-doctored, smooth-talking politician who you can never pin down. Will it happen twice?

    What is it about politics that two US political parties between them can’t rustle up someone who is both truthful and convicing?

    • Iain Lovejoy says

      But Trump’s supporters deny vehemently that he lies. If faced with contrary facts they will say “fake news” or deny he said it, or say he was “joking” or “being sarcastic” or any number of verbal and mental gymnastics to avoid this conclusion. If they liked lying, they wouldn’t bother.
      The difference with Trump is that when he speaks the purpose is not to convey facts or information at all, but to gain applause from the audience, and what the audience want to hear is not facts or material promises but affirmation that they are in the right and supported, and attacks on their opponents, the truth ot falsehood of which is entirely beside the point. Conventional politicians, when they lie, will lie to try and convince those who do not support them to do so. Trump can lie blatantly because he is telling supporters what they already believe and want to believe. It is the content not style of lying that they like.

      • Exactly, Iain.

        “But all politician lie.” An example of “what-about-ism,” an attempt to deflect a legitimate criticism.

        All people tell untruths or partial truths from time to time. Some people prevaricate constantly, so much so that they are recognized as pathological liars and/or bullshitters. People who cannot recognize such are consumed by the same demon.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Hard to recognize something when you’re personally benefiting by NOT recognizing it.

          • anonymous says

            but wrong to crucify those who do speak out in warning of the demon because we had rather ‘look away’

      • “when he speaks the purpose is not to convey facts or information at all, but to gain applause from the audience, and what the audience want to hear is not facts or material promises but affirmation that they are in the right”

        And just look at what, and whom, and how, he is affirming. That alone should make any Christian step back and pause.

      • The secret of the demagogue is to make himself as stupid as his audience so they believe they are clever as he.

        — Karl Kraus, 1874-1936, Austrian writer

        • Very apropos. Only one caviat – I don’t believe he “makes” himself as stupid. I believe he is genuinely stupid. That’s not to say he has no smarts at all. His smarts are largely limited to conniving, manipulation and intimidation. Those have served him all his life and he is well versed in those. Even woefully ill-informed people feel clever around him because he genuinely is woefully ill-informed.

    • “What is it about politics that two US political parties between them can’t rustle up someone who is both truthful and convicing?”

      Now THERE’S a question. I think it boils down to several factors…

      1) our preferred methods of disseminating information (television and social media) are not conducive to dispassionate truthfulness. They are geared to entertain and inflame. Both Obama and Trump used Twitter – but it’s Trump’s tweets that define his presidency, and I don’t think that is a coincidence.

      2) we face intractable social, economic, and environmental problems in this country, and for the most part people (especially those in power, and/or who stand to lose the most if those problems are actually dealt with) do not want to face those problems. They want distractions, they want easy solutions, they want to be told it’s all ok. So they flock to voices who give them that.

      3) campaigns are expensive, districts are structured to favor one party over another, and primaries are mostly in the hands of partisan fanatics. All these things drive politicians to stick with the party come Hades or high water, even if the truth suffers.

      I could go on, but that’s a start.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        > “What is it about politics that two US political parties between them can’t rustle up
        > someone who is both truthful and convicing?”

        I reject this question, entirely. The difference in Scale between the current two candidates is stunning; it only disappears when one demands Honesty be treated as an Absolute, which is absurd.

  2. Iain Lovejoy says

    Abolitionists used God for the political purpose of abolishing slavery, and quite right too: a religion which had no interest at all in helping its fellow men and relieving their oppression in society would be a pretty anaemic one, but that’s not what is being criticised here. I’m not sure it’s about the good or bad of the political purpose, either: someone, say, opposed to mixed race marriages, or calling for a holy war against non-believers is also “using God for political purposes” but the wrongness of it is a different wrongness to what is described above.
    What is being described above is less “using God for a political purpose” and more attempting to exploit God for personal political gain. Trump has no interest in religion that I can see other than as a means of shoring up his political support – in so far as he purports to advance his evangelical support base’s agenda he does so so that they will vote for him, not because he thinks in doing so he is doing God’s will.
    NB The other way of using God for political purpose which is wrong, which I mentioned above, is to try and impose God on people by force. The abolitionist is working to free people held unwillingly as slaves, not to punish people who disagree with their views on slavery. The campaigner against mixed race (or same sex) marriages, on the other hand, or for the right to discriminate against gay people, is campaigning for the right to force people to accept their views as to who should get married, and punish people for not conforming to what their religion says is wrong.

    • Robert F says

      The Kingdom of God is a political realm, its program is the Magnificat, and it is opposed to the politics of oppression that have become routine in human affairs.

      • “Politics/political” can be defined in various ways. This general definition covers how I’m thinking;

        a : the total complex of relations between people living in society

        “the total complex of relations”

        I’m not talking about “partisan politics”, rather, I’m speaking to the ways that in view of Jesus’ teachings we relate to each other. Some people call that “morals” or “ethics”, but when it’s distilled it amounts to “politics”.

        The “sermon on the mount” is a political manifesto–give to the one who ask, don’t malign others, take care of your own problems before you try to correct others, don’t make a show of piety in public, treat others like you want to be treated, go the extra mile,…and much more.

        The Lucan gospel begins and ends with politics; 1:32-33 “reign on the throne of his father David…He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will never end.

        Mary’s song is highly charged politics, especially this section;

        He has demonstrated power with his arm; he has scattered those whose pride wells up from the sheer arrogance of their hearts.
        52 He has brought down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up those of lowly position;
        53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and has sent the rich away empty.

        In the last chapt. of Luke Jesus delivers his political road map to his disciples;

        “Thus it stands written that the Christ would suffer and would rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.”

        “the Christ would suffer”; Jesus was executed by the State.

        “would rise on the third day”; Jesus overcame the powers of the State.

        “repentance and forgiveness”; The Jesus message is a call to change the way we think and act, to realize we’ve been forgiven, and to proclaim the same to all people.

        The Jesus “politic” has at least three major elements; 1. a changed way of looking at/relating to other people (metanoia), forgiving those who have wronged us, that is, doing what Jesus did and not hold it against them as a debt, 3. non-violence.

        We need the same “political vision” as Christ the King.

        • “Forgiveness […] is not a psychological matter, or a religious matter, or a “spiritual” matter; it’s a political matter – it’s the centerpiece of the politics of the New Order. Politics is the art of the possible. And the only thing we can possibly do with the impossible natures we foist on each other is drop dead to the business of proving we’re perfect peaches and hand out pardon all around.”

          (from The Mystery of Christ… & Why We Don’t Get It, Robert Capon)

    • Robert F says

      In our historical and national context, as James Cone said, Jesus is Black. That’s a political statement, and a reality of God’s Kingdom as it exists in America today.

    • “The abolitionist is working to free people held unwillingly as slaves, not to punish people who disagree with their views on slavery. The campaigner against mixed race (or same sex) marriages, on the other hand, or for the right to discriminate against gay people, is campaigning for the right to force people to accept their views as to who should get married, and punish people for not conforming to what their religion says is wrong.”

      It all boils down to who God is, doesn’t it? Is God a liberator, or a sexual morals policeman?

      At least for Christians, the answer should be, “God is Jesus”. And if we really want to know God’s priorities, we should learn Jesus’ priorities, and compare them to ours.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        It all boils down to who God is, doesn’t it? Is God a liberator, or a sexual morals policeman?

        And American Christians(TM) have given us their answer.
        Loud and In Public.

  3. Robert F says

    Right on. This is happening a lot. One person or a few tweet or make a comment on other social medial like the one about the statuary of white Jesus needing to come down — notice the tweeter wasn’t calling for such statuary to be illegally torn down by mob action! — and it is politically amplified by people of bad faith to create a panic among Christians that the “Woke mob” is coming to your church to tear down your statuary and throw rocks through your stained glass windows! Last week I heard someone say that “they are saying believing in Jesus is racist”, and I wondered where this came from, until I subsequently found blog posts at another site referring to the tweet by Shaun King as a wake up call to Christians that “they are coming to destroy your churches”, and I understood right away how it got started and amplified and magnified and distorted by bad faith politicizers, starting at the top and working its way down.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      and it is politically amplified by people of bad faith to create a panic among Christians that the “Woke mob” is coming to your church to tear down your statuary and throw rocks through your stained glass windows!

      Haven’t we heard this before from the pulpits both physical and broadcast?
      Like WITCHES(TM) during the Thirty Years’ War, English Civil War, and 17th Century Massachusetts?
      Like SATANISTS(TM) during the Satanic Panic of the Eighties?
      Like HOMOSEXUALS(TM) from the Sixties on?

  4. Robert F says

    The Emancipation Memorial is patronizing and degrading to Black people, it’s clear. You could easily imagine a dog in the place of the freedman. It’s disgusting. I’m sure the freedmen who underwrote its construction figured it was this or nothing, but it’s not this or nothing anymore.

    • +1

    • Iain Lovejoy says

      It occurs to me that a better statue might letting the freed slave finally stand up after 150 years, and with Lincoln’s arm round his shoulders instead of patting him on the head. It’s difficult actually to understand what the original sculptor was thinking.

      • Unfortunately, it’s not – it was very likely the same patronizing attitudes that helped the North make peace with Jim Crow and segregation.

      • The first-glance optics of the monument are an affront to modern sensibilities. I’ll grant you that. But Lincoln is clearly not patting the freed man on the head as is clear from pictures taken from a different angle. Optics notwithstanding, I’ve heard the composition of the monument defended as Lincoln calling upon the formerly enslaved people to rise.

        If the authorities decide to remove the monument, so be it. But before they decide–analogous to Chesterton’s “fence in the road” illustration–they should be required to read the full text of Frederick Douglas’s speech from its dedication for historical context.

        I read it over the weekend and its remarkable. Full text can be found here:

        https://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/oration-in-memory-of-abraham-lincoln/

        • Iain Lovejoy says

          It doesn’t look quite as bad from the front, I’ll admit, but is still looks like the other guy is kneeling down to Lincoln rather than getting up, although I presume the latter was what the sculptor presumably actually intended to convey. I have to say, though, it would scarcely be in keeping with its purpose as celebrating black emancipation if white people insist on keeping it up in the teeth of black people wanting it down.

        • Iain Lovejoy says

          I looked this up. While Douglass was all for a memorial, he didn’t like the statue as produced, indeed it appears I have unknowingly agree with him in my own comment:
          “At the memorial’s dedication in 1876, he made an apparently offhand remark, as reported by an attendee: “He [Douglass] was very clear and emphatic in saying that he did not like the attitude. It showed the Negro on his knees, when a more manly attitude would have been more indicative of freedom.”
          https://www.theroot.com/how-a-statue-of-a-freed-slave-kneeling-at-lincoln-s-fee-1790876027

          • Robert F says

            Imagine if it had shown Lincoln helping the freedman to stand up.

            • Iain Lovejoy says

              I think that is sort of what the sculptor was aiming for but in a sort of “wave hands in gracious invitation” way rather than “hold hand and pull up” sort of a way. This, and the fact the freedman is still on his knees combines to make it look really rather wrong.

              • Robert F says

                It’s bad art, poorly envisioned and executed. But then, they would’ve needed someone with the visionary ability of William Blake to adequately convey the moment of Emancipation.

  5. Robert F says

    Trump has no interest in religion that I can see other than as a means of shoring up his political support….

    He has no interest in politics either, as far as I can see. He’s interested in celebrity, himself as a celebrity, and he pursues policies based on boosting his celebrity.

  6. Robert F says

    Mike Bell, you hit the nail square on the head with this post.

  7. Thank you Mike B.

    It is beneficial to have perspective from a thoughtful person standing outside of our national circus. Not saying you all “up there” don’t have a circus of your own…

  8. Michael Z says

    At this point, I don’t think any of Trump’s followers are going to be convinced of their folly just because of being told they’re relying on straw-man logic. To turn their backs on him now would mean admitting to themselves that all the ways they’ve degraded themselves in following him, and all the moral values they sacrificed in order to defend his sin, were all for nothing. They’re going to keep grasping at any little scrap of argument they can hide behind to put off facing themselves and what they’ve become for as long as possible.

    • Christiane says

      I’m not so sure that all of Trump’s followers will continue to support him, now that the most recent information has surfaced. Even Liz Cheney, the extremely ‘conservative’ daughter of Dick Cheney, has raised questions already, these:

      “If reporting about Russian bounties on US forces is true, the White House must explain:
      1. Why weren’t the president or vice president briefed? Was the info in the PDB (President’s Daily Briefing) ?
      2. Who did know and when?
      3. What has been done in response to protect our forces & hold Putin accountable? ”

      Michael, I think the time has come for the Republican Senate to decide to INVESTIGATE this particular matter seriously and not to ‘look away’ or be distracted;
      because Liz Cheney’s last question focuses in on why the timing is so very critical: what is being done to protect our troops in the field? This time, they must do their jobs for the sake of our soldiers. No time to lose. And no places left to hide. This time, ALL Americans need to know the truth. It is beyond politics and political parties when our sons and daughters who serve are being hunted by those hired by the Russians for a bounty on their heads.

      Can anyone else see this but me? Or is it going to be same-old, same-old??? I have three serving military in my family, so I am personally alarmed by this news.

      • I see it. He ought to be summarily dismissed by the joint chiefs but that presents more problems. Congress absolutely must take it up. They are duty bound.

        • Robert F says

          Just because Congress is duty bound doesn’t mean the Senate won’t drop it like a hot potato.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Do you hear all the cocker spaniels yapping their LOYALTY, LOYALTY, LOYALTY?

          • Christiane says

            I think they will be advised by intel directly . . . . more is coming out in the news tonight

            • Christiane says

              oh wow,
              A LOT MORE IS COMING OUT IN TONIGHT’S NEWS . . . . .

              • Robert F says

                Whatever is coming out tonight the Senate will quash tomorrow, or the day after, or in week ….. it’s the pattern the ruling class has followed — act concerned and engaged about revelations for a while, then, after an undetermined but not-too long span of time, explain away, and finally join the president them calling it fake news.

                • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                  Cocker spaniels yap-yap-yapping their Loyalty.

                  Like an earlier Senate did for Caesar Caligula, Caesar Nero, Caesar Domitian, Caesar Commodus…

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      To turn their backs on him now would mean admitting to themselves that all the ways they’ve degraded themselves in following him, and all the moral values they sacrificed in order to defend his sin, were all for nothing.

      Sunk Cost Fallacy — the con man’s greatest friend.

      Get the suckers so emotionally-invested in the swindle (as well as financially) that they can’t back out, because that would be admitting to themselves that they got taken. Instead they will fanatically defend & support the con man even as he takes them to the cleaners. (Look at Televangelists, Megapastors, and Superapostles.)

    • David Greene says

      Yes, I believe part of the attraction of a straw-man argument, in addition to rile up the followers, is to avoid facing the reality of one’s own issues. If I focus on the sins of the other, imaginary or not, then I do not have to look at my own.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        I remember Straw Man sermons decades ago; it seems to be a popular sermon tactic, especially when Culture War against the Other is involved — “WAAAAUGH! DAKKA DAKKA DAKKA DAKKA DAKKA!”

  9. Now, there is no evidence that anyone has suggested tearing down monuments to Washington or Jefferson,
    In case you don’t get the news in Canada the Jefferson statue was torn down in OREGON.. Your article is fine but let’s get the facts correct.

    • Minor points that I’m sure MB will correct, if true. Now, what about the main point of the OP?

      • Dan Castellano says

        Let me correct that myself, since I was the original original poster.
        Regarding the Jefferson monument being toppled: I missed that. I should have checked my facts better. On the other side, Jefferson was well-documented as a racist, so there is that.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Jefferson was a very mixed bag.

          • Aren’t we all?

            Maybe no one should really have a statue.

            • That sort of nuance, while absolutely the case and to the point, is never clear in a time of emotional uproar such as we are living through now. It’s not until the dust settles and people have a chance to look back that some self examination goes on and some recognition of where people were over the top occurs. The righteous indignation gets spent if real change occurs and hopefully the middle ground of grey is rediscovered. This is not to downplay the current black lives matters protest but only to say that excesses always occur when mass protest is happening. People are not inclined to continue self examination when fighting injustices and their own dark side gets temporarily lost in the mix. It must always be found for lasting peace. Even the winners must eventually don the grey hat.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      The problem is “anyone”. That’s not a useful qualifier.

      Have any of the leaders of Black Lives Matter [an actual organization] suggested removing such monuments? No
      Have any Democratic party officials, acting in their official capacity, suggested removing such monuments? No
      Has a leader from a trade union or labor organization, acting in their official capacity, suggested removing such monuments? Not that I’ve ever heard.

      Has “anyone” suggested such a thing? Of course they have. Someone, somewhere, has suggested pretty much everything.

      Finding “someone” and pointing them out as a Them is fallacious, like finding that one guy with a science degree who doesn’t believe in Climate Change and then quoting that person as See-There-Is-An-Other-Side.

      BTW, I am 100% behind removing monuments to Jefferson and Washington. So I can guarantee you “someone” has suggested it. Important point: I don’t speak for anyone other than myself.

    • Clay Crouch says

      Did you not understand the part of the post about straw men? Thank’s for providing a perfect example.

  10. “Yes. All murals and stained glass windows of white Jesus, and his European mother, and their white friends should also come down. They are a gross form white supremacy. Created as tools of oppression. Racist propaganda. They should all come down.”
    From Black Lives Matter just to refute another of things you say are being made up. I don’t disagree with you but there is ample evidence some people want Christ removed. We all know Jesus wasn’t white but should we now tear it all down ? The very thing you see as a straw man and not true is very true and happening and being called for.

  11. Is it an act of despair to note that it’s possible that democracy is simply a failure? It asks the most out of the people and frankly, how few Americans seem up to the job! Self-government is hard work which is where the process breaks down. Most people wake up for five minutes every four years and then wonder why nothing works. If we treated our cars the way we treat our government they would sit in the front yard sans wheels with grass growing out of the engine block.

    Of course the vacuum created by the lack of participation is enthusiastically filled by the vested interests and the fanatics with axes to grind. Surprise!

    • Despair, and/or historical realism. Democracies have never had long shelf lives. 🙁

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > Most people wake up for five minutes every four years and then wonder why nothing works.

      Dunno. I had a backyard full of people from the neighborhood just yesterday. They all seemed awake.

      > why nothing works.

      MANY MANY MANY things work, thank you. The power was on, the water and sewer were flowing, there was no gun fire, there was food and beverages.

      • Adam check your privilege. (Sorry I couldn’t resist. Prepping for the next regime.)

  12. “The key deceit of Christian nationalism is that it is about religion. Though a seeming religious passion underlies its claims, Whitehead and Perry argue that Christian nationalism merely uses the Bible to impose its conservative political agenda. By asserting that they are true followers of Christ in a country that is founded on Christian principles, adherents of Christian nationalism can brand their political opponents as both ungodly and un-American…In other words, Christian nationalism is a political power broker masquerading as a religion…However, other surprising conclusions result from disconnects the authors find between Ambassadors of Christian nationalists and other faithful. For example, their research shows that Christian nationalism is not synonymous with evangelicalism. Survey data show that espousing evangelical Christianity does not correlate with enthusiastic support for border walls or with opposing stricter gun control — pillars of Christian nationalism. Nor does strong adherence to the Christian nationalist agenda correlate with one’s level of religiosity.” McDaniel

    https://www.ncronline.org/news/opinion/us-christian-nationalism-far-christianity-authors-argue

    https://thewayofimprovement.com/2020/06/25/a-conversation-on-christian-nationalism-in-america/

    • Clay Crouch says

      If it’s not religious, then why are some of evangelicalism’s most visible leaders (Graham, Falwell, Jeffress, etc) his biggest supporters? The the photo under the headline of the National Catholic Reporter piece you linked shows Trump surrounded by his Evangelical Advisory Committee. I find the simplest explanation is that evangelicals have found an ally in their culture war, a war which they consider to be sanctioned by Jesus and the Bible, ergo religious.

      • They are basing it on their (the writers of the book and in the interview) research.

      • And yes, those names are some well known evangelicals, but is their deep down motive just religious, or is it also conservative political views and nationalism. It is that close relationship that is the issue. Just see the patriotic celebration Jeffress has planned at his church this week.

        They downplay anything that looks to criticize their idolized view of America, American institutions, and its history (systemic racism, statues, etc..). They look back at the past a almost flawless, and want to return to that.

        For example: “Survey data show that espousing evangelical Christianity does not correlate with enthusiastic support for border walls or with opposing stricter gun control — pillars of Christian nationalism. Nor does strong adherence to the Christian nationalist agenda correlate with one’s level of religiosity. In fact, the data show that people with high levels of religiosity (evidenced by the level of prayer and attendance at worship services, among other factors) are less likely to support stronger immigration controls or discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity.”

        • We can’t know their true motivations. What we *can* know is who they claim to be, who and what they support, and agrees with them. And whether or not they actually are true Scotsmen, I mean evangelicals, they readily claim the title, and few dispute it.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        I find the simplest explanation is that evangelicals have found an ally in their culture war, a war which they consider to be sanctioned by Jesus and the Bible,

        And Enemy of my Enemy is My Friend.

      • Christiane says

        he is their great white hope

    • The assumption behind this kind of viewpoint is that “real” religion is always good and so if it’s bad it can’t be real religion. But religion has always had both a benign and a malignant aspect. Claiming that Christian Nationalists aren’t really Christians or are simply using it to cover some merely political agenda reminds me of the response from many westerners to Islamic terrorism. They can’t really believe that! Well yes they do.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        The assumption behind this kind of viewpoint is that “real” religion is always good and so if it’s bad it can’t be real religion

        No True Scotsman Syndrome.

      • “What they found is that while white evangelicals and those with high levels of religious practices tend to be Christian nationalists, not all Christian nationalists are white or evangelical or particularly religious in their behavior. However, those who rank highly on the Christian nationalist scale are also highly likely to have some of the following beliefs: to feel that one needs to be a Christian to be “truly American,” that the US government should spend more money on the military, that people should show respect for America’s traditions, that public schools should pray to the Christian God, all of which are borne out in interviews with people who argue that when “you remove God, you remove God’s blessing”…At the same time, their data indicates a distinction between Christian nationalists and those who engage in religious practices such as believing in God, regular prayer, church attendance, and evangelizing. “As Americans show greater agreement with Christian nationalism, they are more likely to view Muslim refugees as terrorist threats, agree that citizens should be made to show respect for America’s traditions, and oppose stricter gun control laws. But as Americans become more religious in terms of attendance, prayer, and Scripture reading, they move in the opposite direction on these issues”… For those who feel white evangelicals are solely to blame for t current state of American politics, Perry and Whitehead’s work shows that the situation is much more complex. Similarly, for those who feel that America is a uniquely Christian nation in danger of losing God’s favor, this book argues that this belief is often associated with positions that may be in conflict with their own faith.”

        https://voice.dts.edu/review/taking-america-back-for-god-christian-nationalism/

        • Again, do they deal in the book with the fact that many evangelical leaders, pastors, and denominations actively espouse and support Christian nationalism?

          • There clearly is a big overlap, but as the above article states:
            “Samuel Perry (ThM, 2008) and Andrew Whitehead, however, contend that focusing on the category of “white evangelicals” misses a powerful cultural force behind many of today’s political issues. They argue that a belief system they call “Christian nationalism” is a stronger indication of stances on race, immigration, marriage, and sexuality than political leaning, religious affiliation, or religious practice. In other words, in their statistical models, being a white evangelical is not as strong a predictor of Trump support or anti-immigration sentiment as is holding Christian nationalist views.”

            As mentioned earlier, it is more complex that just pinning it on evangelicals, although there is a connection for many. However, many evangelicals do not fall into that category.

            I recommend listening to the interview in the earlier comment as well.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              Wondering Eagle keeps writing on Christian Nationalism — and getting a lot of blowback from Defenders of the MAGA Faith.

    • Iain Lovejoy says

      “Survey data show that espousing evangelical Christianity does not correlate with enthusiastic support for border walls or with opposing stricter gun control — pillars of Christian nationalism.”
      Taking a punt at it they are either falling for or using the standard trick used to dilute the right wing conservative and Christian nationalist nature of *white* evangelicalism – that of lumping in black evangelicals with white evangelicals to produce a completely spurious non-specific “evangelicalism” of a more moderate kind, when in fact the two religious movements / viewpoints share very little other than the name.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says
  13. Dan Castellano says

    Hi, all.
    This is my first time posting here, and I’d like to start by thanking Mike for sharing my earlier Facebook post.
    If you’d allow me, I’d like to offer a couple of anecdotes to underline the point that I was trying to make to begin with.

    1) In Tokyo, where I have lived for 30 years, there was a man named Asahara – the leader of the Aum Shinrikyo Cult – who orchestrated a Sarin poison gas attack on the subways of downtown Tokyo (this was in 1995). 12 people died, but the death toll could have been in the hundreds if Asahara’s henchmen had not luckily been incompetent buffoons.
    Asahara had 20,000 followers, who gave him all their worldly belongings, bringing his net worth to over $1 billion.
    In other words, they gave him all his power. Without these “believers,” Asahara would not have had the means to do what he did. In my eyes, they are as guilty as he is for the deaths of those 12 people, and for the painful after-effects of the Sarin suffered by hundreds more.
    I feel the same way about every single one of trump’s supporters.

    2) Much has been said recently about the problems with police culture in the United States with regard to how people of color are treated (and mistreated). The problem, however, is not with the small percentage of police who are blatantly racist, and who demonstrate this in their job. The problem is in the large number of police who turn a blind eye, or actively lie, in order to protect their “brothers in blue.”

    If one of your Christian friends repeated the comment about “BLM supporters wanting to tear down statues of Jesus,” would you pretend you didn’t hear it? Would you defend them, saying, “He’s not racist; He really is a good person; He just wants to protect his faith”?
    Or would you say this to their face: “You are allowing yourself to be manipulated by the worst kind of conman, and you are empowering him to harm others. In doing so, you are doing harm, and you need to stop it.”
    Having read the comments above, I can say with confidence (and some relief) that most of you would choose the latter.

    trump is A problem, but he is not THE problem. He is a symptom of the problem that will need to be dealt with long after he is gone.

    • “he is not THE problem. He is a symptom of the problem that will need to be dealt with long after he is gone.”

      Agreed 100%.

      • The good news for everyone is in about 4 months the voters will decide the fate of President Trump and his policies. If the issues discussed here are mostly strawman issues , the strawman is very powerful. Major companies, an entire political party, entertainment business, media “influencers” and all the internet sites have chosen to report and support the issues brought up by a minority who are in control of events. The rule of law is quickly being replaced by the protesters and rioters without much opposition. Who decides who is going to govern ? The rule of law and the American citizen respect for it is the very foundation of the American political, social, cultural and economic system. That is why the dollar is the world currency . The only former President really safe in today’s climate is President Obama because of his achievements or because of his race. This is not good where we are headed.

        • “The rule of law is quickly being replaced by the protesters and rioters without much opposition.”

          Other than the President, the Republican Party, the police, and at least one major news network. Your panic is sadly unwarranted.

          “That is why the dollar is the world currency”

          And the fact that we were the only major economy (besides the Soviets) left standing after WWII is just a minor coincidence?

        • Clay Crouch says

          Dan, please stop lumping rioters in with protesters.

          When you mention the rule of law as our country’s foundation, perhaps you should first point your finger at the current occupant of the People’s House. That would go a long way in shoring up your credibility around here.

          • Clay Crouch, stay with the thought represented, not the semantics. Blocking a city street while protesting, peaceful?, taking over a public park and stopping others from using, peaceful? Yes there is a difference between peaceful protesting and the rioters but it was hard to keep separate . Not the main issue but part of it. President Trump gets enough fingers and fingers pointed at him here so I am not a part of the choir, that is for sure. Dan/ Eeyore , how will the Biden/Harris eventually Harris administration deal with the “problem” after Trump is gone, Re education camps, shutting down political speech and exactly what is the “problem”. America is the least racist and most welcoming country in the history of the world but it looks like that is coming to an end as hard lines are being drawn in both directions.

            • Michael Bell says

              Protest has always involved some inconvenience. It it didn’t it would be too easy to shrug it off.

              “America is the least racist and most welcoming country in the history of the world…” Those in Canada would beg to disagree.

              • https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-canada-has-a-long-documented-history-of-racism-and-racial/#comments

                Mike Bell, absolutely Canada is currently a very progressive and open society that is very welcoming to immigrants who add value to Canada. The great ally of the USA who is a great neighbor. However, history is history and of course without the terrible sin of slavery Canada has a better track record as they had a relative small amount of racial diversity except for the Indians. Off topic but due to many factors each country has their own unique history.

                • Michael Bell says

                  Note that your comment said “America is”, my emphasis on the “is”.

                  • Michael Bell, as someone noted before my language skills and understanding is lacking. My point was not about Canada per se but every country is so different in their position due to the cultural, social, historical , economic and geographic differences.
                    I have to say that your articles and input here is of great value to me. I come here to get a different perspective and you give me some clarity and perspective that I least consider. This article is a great example. I wish many of my friends would come here and hear the “other ” side that is presented here by people such as you and of course CM as well as others here. I thank you for your time , effort and involvement.

                • Michael Bell says

                  But I agree that Canada has its own set of historical issues, some of which I eluded to in the article.

            • David Cornwell says

              “America is the least racist and most welcoming country in the history of the world ”

              I can’t believe I’m even reading this!

              This entire paragraph — beyond my comprehension.

              • Slavery? The Indian Wars? The anti-immigration laws of the 20s? The Klan? Jim Crow? Japanese internment camps?

                If all that amounts to “least racist”, just how do you define “worse’?

                • Robert F says

                  Belief that the U.S. is the least racist country in the world is an article in the American faith. Didn’t you learn your catechism?

              • David Cornwell, are the words to big or is the thought too complex? Eeyore, just shows how much progress under the law has been made. However, I know the choir has its own songbook.

                • Michael Bell says

                  Speaking of logical fallacies… I believe this comment combines the “ad hominen” attack with the “binary choice” fallacy.

                • Given the responses of many people to the protests and the situations leading to the protests, perhaps we haven’t progressed as far as you assume we have.

                  • David Cornwell says

                    dan, Absolutely your thought is not complex. It’s probably fairly simple. However, your thought is not framed by good grammar. Without good structure, it floats out alone in the grammar sphere and opens itself to all kinds of interpretation. While you might mean well, it is easy to see the possibility of the other. When you try to reexplain it, then I see a different direction and motive.

                    When you want to oppose the majority you need to be at your best, sharp, on point, precise. You need to earn respect. Then perhaps others can learn by what you are saying.

                • Clay Crouch says

                  Dan, that choir book is called history. You should pick one up and give it good read!

                  • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                    Fake News.
                    Fake History.
                    “The Dwarfs are for the Dwarfs! We Won’t Be Taken In!”

            • Clay Crouch says

              Dan, I confess that it’s hard to separate your sentiments from your semantics. Especially since you have a well documented comment history. That’s called context.

              “Yes there is a difference between peaceful protesting and the rioters but it was hard to keep separate.” Maybe for folks who are loathe to acknowledge or worse, resort to endless “buts” and “what abouts” when the problem of systemic racism is the USA is brought front and center. If the shoe fits…

              Dan, how would feel about a Biden/Duckworth candidacy? Talk about a woman with gravitas.

              • Clay Crouch, I am sorry that my comments are so hard to understand. It is hard to tell the protesters from the rioters watching the events unfold. My language skills may be lacking but the thought is there unless you are a nit picking English major. If I was a protester and rioters/looters took over my protest I would stop as not to aid there efforts. It is called common sense..

                As Tammy Duckworth does not check the box that Biden needs , she will be a long shot. Biden is going to chose based on sex and race which is exactly what Martin Luther King would want. Senator Duckworth is a high caliber person of great accomplishments and devotion to our nation. I personally believe she would be a great asset to Biden but the mob will not accept her. This is a black woman spot and K. Harris has been taking speech lessons. Biden will be in office about 6 months and found unfit and then we have our first black woman President. Who would have thought Willie Brown’s girlfriend would move up so fast?

                • Clay Crouch says

                  It seems you and Donald Trump have the same problem telling the difference between rioters and a protesters. The rioters are looting and burning – that’s a bad thing. The protesters are, well, protesting and that’s a good thing. If I were protesting peacefully, I would continue to protest until the President decided to climb out of his WH Bunker to teargas and shoot rubber bullets at me and my fellow protesters so he can bravely stroll over to a church and hold up a Bible. Bravest President Ever.

                  At least we agree on Tammy Duckworth. Since you think Biden will fold within six months, may we mark you down as a YES for the Biden/Duckworth ticket?

                  • Clay Crouch, Absolutely , based on proven ability, courage, dedication and decision making Duckworth would be a tremendous asset and if she does become President when Joe is declared unfit , at least she is very capable. However, it is not going to happen, it will be a black woman as that is what the ticket calls for. I do not think Biden will fold I believe he will be declared unable to perform the duties of the President after the election.

                    • Clay Crouch says

                      So, is that a YES vote for Biden?

                    • If Biden is bold enough to make the best choice for VP and pick Duckworth then I would vote for Biden on the very high probability she would be President within a year. I do not agree with many of her policy positions but she is capable. As the progressive agenda is inevitable due to demographics and other issues better Duckworth than many others. However , I do not think Biden will be told by his handlers to pick Senator Duckworth.

                • Robert F says

                  It is hard to tell the protesters from the rioters watching the events unfold.

                  So just brutalize them all…let God sort them out. Sheesh.

                • David Cornwell says

                  dan, just slow down and write one phrase and then one sentence at a time. It isn’t that hard and you do not need to be an English major. You just toss stuff into the air and hope something sticks.

                  • Very mean spirited David especially someone who worships Capon in every other thread

                    • Clay Crouch says

                      Easy, tiger.

                    • David Cornwell says

                      I think you have me confused with someone else Stbndct. I’ve seldom mentioned Capon, even though I have read several of his books. Maybe twice in several years have I mentioned him. I do believe in grace.

                      Sorry if I sound mean spirited. I didn’t really intend it to be mean. Just hard. I’m thinking back to what my high school or college English profs might have said to me.

                    • anonymous says

                      pot kettle

                    • Stbndct, I think you’re referencing me as the “Capon worship” guy. David is certainly not “mean spirited.”

                  • David Cornwell, I am brushing up and just purchased my first book on writing skills. It is Writing Basics for Dummies which I hope to use to be able to communicate with you on a higher skill level. My poor writing skills have prevented you from enjoying and understanding the many faceted and nuanced levels of my comments. I am going to try to improve and make my comments easy to follow and perhaps clear to you so you can appreciate a different point of view. I have to admit my brain goes faster than my fingers and getting my thoughts down correctly is a challenge. My brain is just a little faster than my fingers and it is obvious I do not proof read. Thank you for your concern and advice.

                    • David Cornwell says

                      Well, dan, this paragraph was much improved!

                    • David, it is the power of the book, they wrote it just for me. I often think back to what my high school English teachers use to say to me and it always ended with “you failed”. I am illiterate in 5 languages and ignorant in 7.

                    • David Cornwell says

                      Another thing dan. Stop listening to that voice in your head that said “you failed.” That English teacher shouldn’t be living in your head forever!

                      You may not see this, but something needs to remind you of this.

        • Dan,

          Agreed that America will vote in 4 months. We can see he is failing. Americans will vote to correct. Even conservative base is struggling with the rhetoric at the moment. That is what is great about our country. Those of us of a conservative bent will wait for another chance in four years.

          I don’t agree with the violence, or destruction of property. Affect change in a non-violent way. There is no justification for violence and weakening of our political structure.

          Eeyore’s response is a one-sided view. I am looking at the bigger picture for the health of the country. I am hoping Biden chooses Duckworth as his vice presidential candidate. Time for some healing and coming together.

          • My “never in his life has he voted against a Presidential candidate with an R by their name” dad is NOT voting for Trump this election. The fact that Trump has lost someone like my dad is amazing.

            • Michael Bell says

              My own Dad’s comment was “He lost me with the ‘He fell harder than he was pushed comment.'”

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Agreed that America will vote in 4 months.

            Assuming there will be an election.
            “Temporarily Postponed(TM)…”
            Already laying the groundwork with Social Media tweets about “Will be the Most Rigged Election in History.”

            “President for Life — we really need to try that here.”
            — Donald J Trump

            And the Christians will chorus “AAAAAA-MENNN!!! HIS KINGDOM SHALL HAVE NO END!!!!!”

            • Robert F says

              Yep. It’s being set up by the Trump administration suing states that intend to use more mail-in ballots because of coronavirus concerns. If the states go ahead with expanding mail-in balloting, and the courts allow it, and Trump loses the election, he won’t leave office willingly. Watch.

              • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                Somebody said the best-case scenario is Trump Twitter-calls for a Second Amendment Solution and the streets fill with Boogaloo-boyz and Patriot Militias in an armed uprising.Guerilla Civil War II in the streets – and that’s the best-case scenario!

                Others involve setting aside the Fake(TM) election results by Executive Order (whiile the Christians rejoice “His Kingdom Shall Have No End!”) Or cancelling the election outright (same rejoicing).

                And then there’s the nuclear football plus toddler logic: “If I Can’t Have My Way, then Nobody Can!”

                After all, when it’s God vs Satan — “Whose Side Are You On?” — then Anything Goes.

        • David Cornwell says

          “The only former President really safe in today’s climate is President Obama because of his achievements or because of his race.”

          This is such nonsense. Why would you even say it? How are Clinton and Carter less safe than Obama? I’m not even sure what you mean by “safe.” Are you referring to physical safety? If you are referring to historical safety, as to reputation, I still do not understand. It takes many years to interpret the position of a President’s total reputation and achievements. Most of the time.

          • David Cornwell, the great progressive Woodrow Wilson is now in low regard and his legacy gone.. Jimmy Carter was a long time Southern Baptist and Bill Clinton was not to respectful of women, he did not keep his social distance space. Let us pretend there are 3 statues of Jimmy , Bill and Barrack, in the next 20 years which statue is safe? T. Roosevelt and FDR famous progressives are next . Who has the say, the mob or the citizens who vote? , or perhaps the choir.

            • You think all those people protesting aren’t voters? I’m quite certain many of them will vote in November, and you might be in for quite a shock.

            • As a Christian who kinda agrees with scripture, NO statue should be safe. They are all idols that should never have been built and should come down. The fact that it is mainly a secular movement that is causing us to (finally) get rid of our idols should cause all Christians deep shame.

              • Rick Ro. I think the Taliban agree with you on the statues, except they blew them up. I also think putting a face on a doll is making an idol.

                • Rick Ro. says

                  I did go to an extreme that I probably don’t fully buy into myself, but all this statue stuff has given me pause to consider the scriptural aspects of idol making.

            • David Cornwell says

              dan, you need to read an up-to-date biography about Woodrow Wilson. You are assuming a lot. And I have great regard for Jimmy Carter. Having been a Southern Baptist has nothing to do with it. I’m not even sure his church has a choir.

              • Rick Ro. says

                Yep. And Carter’s main problem was he surrounded himself with semi-idiots. If he’d had smarter people in his cabinet, he might’ve been perceived a bit better.

              • Rick Ro. I think the Taliban agree with you on the statues, except they blew them up. I also think putting a face on a doll is making an idol.

              • The Democrats always held major fundraisers on their Jefferson – Jackson dinners and events. I guess they did not know their history then. Woodrow Wilson , was the president of Princeton who now will have nothing to do with him. The only guy that if untouchable is Robert Byrd, the friend of Clinton Biden and most Democrats. He even won 2 states in 1960 President election because he was a typical , racist Democrat but of course that is history. Poor Woodrow , he thought he was a progressive but now 100 years later he is not. We should learn from history , not disavow or change it. I hope the PC crowd does not realize Jacksonville Fl is named after Andrew not Michael Jackson or they will be upset. Who is credited with founding the Democrat Party?, I hope it is again Michael Jackson or the Democrats will have to change their stationary.. Robert Byrd king of pork and Democrat icon. We was a wizard in and out of the Senate.

            • “Jimmy Carter was a long time Southern Baptist…”

              Carter left the SBC some time prior to the year 2000. He DENOUNCED the SBC, one reason being their stance on women.

              If I remember correctly, Robert Byrd denounced his prior racist stances.

              Say what you will about Bill Clinton. However, his failings come no where close to the present berserk Cheeto Head child presently in office. He was gov. of my home state of 45 years and things actually improved during his administrations.

              Ask me if I care about statues, why doncha.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > This is my first time posting here,

      Welcome

      > 1)… I feel the same way about every single one of trump’s supporters.

      I am willing to grant some grace. Especially in recognition of the reality of Mental Illness. There is an issue with the tone of fanatical media, in which I would include FOX News, that really appeals to those suffering – and it is suffering – from any of the myriad types of Mania.

      This shouldn’t be a problem for a Democracy. Cognitively challanged people will always exist, always have. Participation should drown them out.

      > 2) . The problem is in the large number of police who turn a
      > blind eye, or actively lie

      True.

      > If one of your Christian friends repeated the comment about “BLM s
      > supporters wanting … Or would you say this to their face…

      There is a third option. Get out there and make sure more other people participate. Those Christian Friends need to be drowned out. Not of Facebook but in real life. The instances of any individual changing their perspective through online interaction are terribly rare.

      Honestly, I don’t think I have any Christian friends left saying such things. That grace has expired.

      • “Participation should drown them out.”

        Unless the media of communication, either explicitly or implicitly, amplify their voices. Which is what I alluded to in one of my earlier comments.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      More a “Focal Point” than just a symptom.

  14. Trump has about 4 months to build a statue of himself, just so in five months some folks can tear it down.

  15. Dana Ames says

    I am weary.

    I just found out that a family member younger than I dropped dead of a heart attack a couple of years ago. His mother, my oldest cousin, died in April. Another cousin, to whom I am closer, is having troubles with dementia and lack of self-care, possibly heralding her last illness. I live too far away to help other than in prayer. My generation in my family is shrinking, and I’m sad and feeling my mortality. I awoke this morning sore all over my body because of the tension. No energy for engaging the topic today; guess I said all I mean to say on it previously. Today, all I can say is: Dostoyevski, Crime and Punishment.

    And more wisdom from Fr Stephen:

    https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/glory2godforallthings/2020/06/29/and-justice-for-all-the-hearts-true-desire/

    Dana

    • Dana, I’m very sorry.

      Similsr circumstances in my life and in that of my relatives since 2006. I am now older than one of my brothers was when he died.

      Although I’m not big on verbal prayer anymore, you and yours are in my thoughts and what praying imcan do.

    • Robert F says

      Hang in, Dana. Just breathe.

    • Michael Bell says

      So sorry to hear that Dana. I always appreciate what you bring to the table here.

    • Sorry Dana. Hold in there.

  16. Mike Bell – Excellent post!

    That statue is really disturbing, certainly belittling, patronizing, e5c. – all the more so because Lincoln wanted abolition, but, like a lot of others who did, his opinion of Black people was basically white supremacist. (Though obviously not quite like the views held by the KKK..)

    Still, many white people who were pro-abolition were about getting rid of the sin of slavery, and very much NOT mof the view that Black people should have the same basic legal and human rights as white people. For far too many, that was anathema.

    If that seems like I’m overstating the case, I’m not. At all. The Grimke sisters (South Carolinians, born to one of the ruling families of their state and the South, left due to abolitionist beliefs) ran into ALL kinds of problems with Northern abolitionists after moving North, because they *were* about as close to the equal rights thing as any white person could get at that time. They suffered for it, too.

    Again, the statue: Lincoln as both patriarch and “white savior.” No wonder Frederick Douglass – and many other Black folks – were appalled by it.

    The saddest thing is that there were Black visual artists who could have done a far better job if they’d gotten the commission. Sculptor Edmonia Lewis is one; many of the others were painters, and a lot of them were expats in Europe because there really was nowhere in this country that they could live peacefully and make art. (Paris was light years ahead of Manhattan as the capital of the visual arts in Europe; still, Lewis and other women artists who went abroad ran into the same kinds of chauvinism re. women as artists that all women did, well into the last quarter of the year 20th c. I believe Black women had more of a chance of standing up to that, simply due to the survival skills that all Black people develop, then and now.)

  17. Michael Bell says

    Thanks everyone for their contributions today. Thanks especially to my friend Dan for the viewpoint that he was able to bring. I don’t think I have had so many complements for a post before, and it was really Dan’s inspiration that brought it to fruition.

    • Dan Castellano says

      Thank you, Mike. I’m happy to have been able to contribute even a little to this interesting and thoughtful conversation. It’s been great to read some viewpoints that differ widely from the people who generally lurk on my Facebook wall.