The Con Artist…

2016-08-10_08-12-37.pngThis post is not so much about Donald Trump as it is about  naiveté.  Con artists have been around since there was money to be taken from naive people. What David Johnston says in the source article is that Donald Trump is among the top tier of con artists.

I deliberately said something that was false. Donald, like a television psychic, immediately incorporated my false statement into his answer and that told me this guy is essentially at heart a con artist who tells you what you want to hear….

Q: What is it you want Christians to read in your book before they vote for Trump?

A: My concern is that ministers who say Donald is a good Christian and those drawn to him because he says (he’s a Christian) don’t know what he’s said in books or profanity-laced speeches. He has beguiled them… So my concern is that some of these pastors have an agenda that is more political than religious and that may have interfered with their good judgment here.

I have also had people express the view that even if Donald is aggressively antithetical to the most basic teachings of Jesus then his stance on abortion (he now says he opposes it) outweighs everything else….

Q: Why do many conservative Christians support him? What do they see in him?

A: Donald Trump has tapped into the economic terror — and I do mean terror —  that the bottom half of all Americans are living in and the fear the bottom 90 percent are living in. These people are looking for an explanation: Why am I working harder and making less?

Donald Trump, like all demagogues, provides an easy-to-understand rationale — it’s the Muslims, it’s “the other.” His answer is also more tax cuts for the rich — many of his proposals are heavily oriented to the rich. Our television media has created a culture in which we judge people on the presumed content of their wallets. But having money does not make us a better person. But we worship wealth. It is antithetical to Christianity, but it is becoming part of the dominant culture.

Source: Trump is conning believers about his faith, author says | Religion News Service

The quote above is from a religious news organization’s interview with a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter who has studied extensively and written a book about Mr. Trump. I continue to be amazed by the religious, and particularly Evangelical community, who seem to give up 90% of their fundamental beliefs in order to back someone who says that he is anti-Abortion even when his past actions don’t show that.  I can’t understand how naive they are?  Like most issues Mr. Trump has been all over the map on this topic, he tells you what you want to hear. Do they really think that abortion will be on his top 10 list of things to achieve if he were to sit in the Oval Office, or even the top 1000 for that matter.

If pro-life is so important to these religious groups how can they then be war hawks and for capital punishment?   Maybe they are just pro-“pre-life”? To them maybe it is “once you are out of the womb you are on your own”?  I don’t know, this dichotomy simply amazes me.  I as a follower of Jesus’ teaching am not willing to give up the 95% in order to naively believe that I will gain the 5%.  The numbers simply don’t add up for me.

How To Exclude…

I guess Mr. Gingrich is still trying to be the VP choice for the egomaniac  candidate. His words below are a total affront to the basic meaning of America.  It is equivalent to the witch hunts or at least the McCarthy years and taunts me as the primary dark side of politics and religion.  But before I get to that lets look at Gingrich’s statement:

2016-07-15_08-01-35“Every person here who is of a Muslim background” should be tested to determine whether he or she believes in Shariah, a legal code based on the Quran and other Islamic scriptures.Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich introduces Donald Trump during a rally at the Sharonville Convention Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, on July 6. Getty Images

If they do, he said, they should be deported — even if they’re U.S. citizens. Gingrich added that anyone who simply visits any website “favoring ISIS or al Qaeda or other terrorist groups” should be guilty of a felony, “and they should go to jail.

“The Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned Gingrich’s call to “test” Muslims in the U.S. as well as the truck attack.

“When former House Speaker Newt Gingrich suggests that American Muslims be subjected to an Inquisition-style religious test and then expelled from their homes and nation, he plays into the hands of terror recruiters and betrays the American values he purports to uphold,” CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said.

Source: Newt Gingrich Wants Tests for All U.S. Muslims After Nice Attack – NBC News

There are just too many politicians going as deep into the gutter of politics as possible today!  I wonder if Mr Gingrich would settle for making Muslims wear large cloth patches on their clothing so that everyone would know they are Muslims.  Maybe that is good enough for the “cafeteria Muslims”? What upsets me even more than his words is the lack of words against his thoughts by the rest of us.  This guy has gone completely off the rails so to speak!

Looking at this from a higher level brings out my disgust for the very concept of exclusion. It is happening far too often now in both politics and religion. America is the land of immigrants and Christianity is about inclusion. To turn both on their heads is shameful to say the least.

I know fear is a powerful emotion but it is just grabbing far to many of us in both realms. The current thoughts that drive exclusion are:

  • We need to only allow those who think, look, and behave like us in our midst….
  • Anyone who questions any of our personal principles must be avoided at all costs….
  • Our safety is much more important than our principles…

Too many in our religious circles have tunnel vision when it comes to what they they allow to challenge their fixed beliefs.  They want to exclude anyone who doesn’t tow the line.  They fear that if they allow differences of opinion that they will fall down a slippery slope into oblivian. Take out the word “religious” above and put in the the “political” and the same thing applies.

Jesus, if he was about nothing else, was about inclusion. The founding fathers of our nation were also about inclusion. To twist their words for a personal agenda is both dangerous to us as a society and deadly to our basic principles.

Bill Gates: ‘we need an energy miracle’ to tackle climate change

I like the words below from Bill Gates but I especially like his optimism about being able to solve this huge problem.  The evidence of climate change continues to stack up in huge piles. The first step in solving this problem is to admit that we have a problem and that will take an about-face from one side of our political system. The GOP has been stuck in the adversarial mode here for as long as I can remember. Eventually they will have to  say “I was wrong” and that is an extremely difficult thing for any politician to admit. They see admitting to error as a weakness whereas I, and hopefully many others, see it as a strength.  It means that you listen to the facts and adjust your beliefs based on them.

2016-03-24_12-13-23.pngIn short, we need an energy miracle.

When I say ‘miracle,’ I don’t mean something that’s impossible. I’ve seen miracles happen before. The personal computer. The Internet. The polio vaccine. None of them happened by chance. They are the result of research and development and the human capacity to innovate.

In this case, however, time is not on our side. Every day we are releasing more and more CO2 into our atmosphere and making our climate change problem even worse. We need a massive amount of research into thousands of new ideas—even ones that might sound a little crazy—if we want to get to zero emissions by the end of this century.

SOURCE:  Bill Gates: ‘we need an energy miracle’ to tackle climate change | The Verge.

I can’t think of anything in this world that has been stuck in the same mode as our energy use has. We have been dependent on fossil fuels for well over a century now and with our ever increasing demand for more energy we are in big trouble if we don’t have a paradigm shift in this area.  We need to quickly adapt a better energy source before it is too late.

Solar.jpgIt is encouraging to see that solar and wind power have been increasing so much in the recent years. During our annual treks across this great country I see more and more wind turbines on the landscape. But even till now they only meeting a small percentage of our needs. We need a paradigm shift to make that happen. One way to do that is to make fossil fuels pay for the costs it is doing to our world. Let’s put a $3 tax on every gallon of gas and use the money gained for more alternative energy research.

I was happy to see that President Obama recently announced a ten year challenge to beat cancer. I just hope that some future president will do the same for alternative energy but do it sooner in his/her administration.

 

The Root Cause of Much of Today’s Terrorism

2015-12-13_08-59-12.pngIn fact, friends invariably called the 28-year-old Farook a “very nice person,” while his landlord even described him as a “very gentle person.” He enjoyed working on old cars and shooting hoops. For her part, the 29-year-old Malik was seen as “a good girl” and a good student who aspired to be a pharmacist. Before dressing in austere Islamic clothing, she was even viewed as a “modern girl.”…

By all accounts, that switch was piety. They simply got closer to their religion, immersing themselves in Islamic scripture…

We saw the same transformation in the Tsarnaev brothers of Boston, who were considered “nice” and “normal,” even partiers — until their mother made them stick their noses in their holy books and get religion. Within a matter of just a couple of years of becoming more fervent in their Muslim faith, these “typical American boys” were making shrapnel bombs and blowing off limbs of innocent bystanders at the Boston Marathon to “punish” fellow Americans for supporting wars in Muslim lands…

A similar change came over the Chattanooga jihadist, Mohammad Abdulazeez, who was described as “very friendly” — until he became intensely observant in his faith and saw it as his religious duty to fatally gun down five soldiers in Tennessee earlier this year.

Moreover, two brothers suspected in last month’s Paris terror attacks were born-again Muslims as well. Reportedly, they really began to change around six months prior to the attacks, when they stopped drinking and started studying and praying.

This phenomenon is well documented in virtually every FBI case of homegrown American terrorism: the more religious, the more radical.  “They think they’re doing something good for Allah,” al Qaeda informant Morten Storm, a former Muslim, said. “They really believe that.”

Islam is not a “religion of peace,” and won’t be until most of its followers — the Taliban, the Ayatollah, ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood, the mullahs of Saudi Arabia — reject tenets like jihad. To suggest otherwise is naive. Virtually everyone is hacking at the branches of this growing menace, and almost no one is striking at its root.

SOURCE: They’re ‘so nice,’ until they get religion and want to kill us | New York Post.

This is a very truncated report from this long article. If you are interested in this topic please read the entire article. I want to make it very clear that I am not against all Muslims anymore than I am against all Christians because of the KKK. But in all the recent cases of terrorism in the world the root is associated with that religion.

For those of us who have spent time studying the history of religions know that these times are not unique. Religion has been the cause for many of the world’s conflicts. The Crusades were probably the biggest example of religions going to war against each other but then there is also things like the Spanish Inquisition.

There can be no resolution for this latest round of religious wars until the Muslim religious leaders around the world reject portions of their religious documents that call for death to unbelievers.  But that is a very difficult thing to do. It is the same as asking the Christian biblical literalists to disavow portions of their religious document where God told his followers to kill everyone…

Until a religious anti-violence stand is taken there will always be those who “really believe” they are doing God’s work in killing others….