Thursday, March 17, 2016


With each passing day, Donald Trump becomes more dangerous. Things have gotten so bad that people in the media, entertainment industry, politics, the clergy, and academia have begun to compare the rise of Donald Trump with the rise of Adolph Hitler or Benito Mussolini in the 1920’s and 30’s.

The comparisons are valid.

Some have to do with the physical characteristics of the three men. If you were to look at photos of the three men side by side you could see the eerie similarities – the tightly pursed lips, the jut-jaws, the squinting, anger-filled eyes, and the menacing scowls. There’s also the poisonous, hate-filled rhetoric we’ve become all too familiar with. Then, there are the outrageous ideas, the banning of all Muslims from entering the United States, the notion that Mexicans are rapists and criminals, the ten foot wall, etc.
How would he accomplish such outrageous things? Would he be like the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and just tell congress, the courts, and the nation, “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone.”?

The notion seems insane, but if his most recent statements are any indicator, Mr. Trump is as close to being certifiable as any presidential candidate in our history. 

At the last Republican debate, he was asked if he stood by his statement, made early in the campaign, that he would order American soldiers to use “worse than torture” on America’s enemies or to kill the wives, mothers, fathers, and children of terrorists. When Moderator Bret Baier reminded him that the acts mentioned were illegal under U.S. military law and the Geneva Conventions, Trump blathered, “They won’t refuse. They’re not gonna’ refuse me. Believe me.” When Baier pressed him, he insisted, “I’m a leader, I’ve always been a leader. I’ve never had any problem leading people. If I say do it, they’re going to do it.”

There you have it – from Donald Trump’s lips to America’s, and God’s, ears. They’ll do it because he says they’ll do it.

A day or so after he made the statement, he modified it and said he wouldn’t ask America’s fighting men and women to do things that are illegal. But, Trump being Trump, a day or so after that he said he would just change the laws, including articles 93, 118, and 128 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which holds any military member, at any level of service or command, liable for their actions, including torture, murder, or assault.

Simple, isn’t it? It’s amazing what can happen if you give a lunatic a pen and a phone.

Could he actually get people to do these evil things? Most of us wouldn’t, even if ordered to do so, but even when there are laws in force to prevent such evil, men sometimes cross the line, at My Lai in 1968, for example.

Would Donald Trump’s supporters be willing to commit My Lai’s on an industrial scale? They seem to adore him and they seem to be willing to follow him wherever he leads.

Recently, Trump had his Florida faithful raise their right hands and take the following loyalty oath: “I do solemnly swear that I, no matter how I feel, no matter what the conditions, if there are hurricanes or whatever, will vote on or before the 12th for Donald J. Trump for President.”

Trump said his followers were just having fun. Does fun mean acting like Hitler’s Brownshirts or Mussolini’s Blackshirts?

Would they, if ordered by Donald Trump, kill the wives and children of terrorists? Would they do “more than torture?”  I fear they would, especially if their loyalty was to Donald Trump rather than the Constitution or sound morality.

It would all be bad enough Donald Trump’s “army” was small, but, as we have learned, he has millions of Americans willing to follow him wherever he goes.

In 1955, a German academic named Milton Mayer wrote in retrospect about the rise of Adolph Hitler and the failure of the German people and world leaders to stop him before it was too late.

His words, written in the aftermath of the Third Reich, serve as a warning to us of what could happen if we ignore the cancer of hate that’s growing in our midst today:

“I do not see, even now. Many, many times since it all happened I have pondered that pair of great maxims, Principiis obsta and Finem respice—‘Resist the beginnings’ and ‘Consider the end.’”

A frightening possibility looms on the horizon. In all likelihood, Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee for president. If that happens, we must find a way to stop him. As Mayer said, we must “Resist the beginnings” and “Consider the ends.”

I’m not sure how that would work its way out in practical terms. All I know is that we must try…all of us!

Thursday, March 03, 2016


“You foolish evangelicals! Who has bewitched you?”
Galatians 3:1 (New International Version – 21st century update)

If you happen to be an atheist, agnostic, Zoroastrian, Buddhist, Muslim, Druid, pantheist, or any other religious group I’ve failed to mention, please know that I have no bones to pick with you today.  I’m aiming my wrath at fellow evangelical and born-again Christians who’ve fallen under the spell of Donald Trump.

If the pundits and the polls are right, Mr. Trump appears to be well on his way to securing the Republican Party’s nomination for President. 

Far too many born-again Christians are flocking to this charlatan, like lambs to the slaughter. Even so-called Christian leaders are leading the parade. Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University is courting him. Pat Robertson recently told his flock that Donald Trump “inspires us all.” In a 2015 Charisma Magazine column, so-called “prophet” Jeremiah Johnson called Trump “the trumpet of God.”

How can this be? 

Do they love Donald Trump because of what columnist Cal Thomas called his “dark charms.” Well, fellow evangelical, how’s this, straight from the lips of the Donald himself, for charm? Back in the 90’s, he said this of a black accountant at Trump Plaza, one of his “great” business ventures - “laziness is a trait in blacks.” Then, in the next breath he went on to say “Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.”

Racism and anti-Semitism in one breath. How’s that for Christian virtue? Read that, fellow evangelical, then read the Sermon on the Mount and try to convince me that Donald Trump is worthy of your adoration.

Do you really love his patriotism and sense of duty? How’s this? In a 1997 interview with Howard Stern he spoke of the days when many of his fellow countrymen were serving and dying in Vietnam. What was the Donald doing? He told Stern “the closest he ever came to combat was his sexual adventurism.” He called it his “personal Vietnam” and also said “I felt like a great and very brave solider.”

I could go on and on about the way he’s slandered a good man like John McCain. I could go on and on about the way he’s slandered General John J. Pershing and the fabricated story of how Pershing ordered his men execute 50 Muslim insurgents in the Philippines, using bullets dripped in pig’s blood. General Pershing, who led the American Expeditionary Force during World War I, served this country with honor and distinction. He isn’t able to defend himself from the scurrilous claim. He died in 1948. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, with full military honors. Mr. Trump apparently hasn’t learned that it’s not good to speak ill of the dead. How about you, fellow evangelical?

Do you love him because he’s a genius when it comes to business? Do you really believe that? Are you aware that he has a string of business failures that’s longer than your collective arms? There’s Trump Steaks, Trump Airlines, Trump Magazine, Trump Mortgage, Trump Entertainment Resorts, and Trump University, bankruptcies, with a long trail of stiffed investors left in their wake.

Do you believe that’s the American way to conduct business? If so, all I can say is “shame on you.”

Do you really believe that he’ll make America great again? Do you really believe he’ll restore you to your “rightful” place on the throne of politics? Do you really believe he’ll make you the moral majority you should be? Is your ego bruised because we Christians seem to have been knocked off of our exalted political perch? Is this all more about revenge than it is Christian principle?

Do you think Donald Trump really cares about what you believe? Let me disabuse you of the notion. Donald Trump thinks you’re a fool. If he were to see Jesus face to face, he’d probably call him a chump, with all his mindless talk of turning the other cheek, being servants, loving one’s neighbor, and even loving one’s enemies. 

A few days ago, the Daily Beast put it succinctly.  “Trump is not trying to make great America great. He’s trying to make us the worst we can be to satisfy his own vainglory.”

They get it, fellow evangelical. Why don’t you?

I find the prospect of a Trump presidency as mind-boggling as I find it offensive. It’s even more mind-boggling and offensive to think that, if this doomsday scenario comes to pass, far too many of my fellow Christians will have played a major role in taking him over the top.

Fellow evangelical, it’s time for you to come to your senses. As the angel of the Church of Sardis said (Revelation 3), “Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die.”