Christianist Cult of Trump…

I will admit up front here that I cherry-picked the quotes below and the Facebook shot from a very long, agonizingly long, article from a Catholic site entitled Patheos.  The author is Mark Shea who is evidently a regular contributor to that venue.

The gun debate is an obvious case in point.  Virtually everything I have had to say about it turns on a very fundamental moral point, summed up here:

2018-02-25_09-16-35.png

The Christianist cult of Trump advertises itself to the world as the face of Real Christianity.  So proud is it that it routinely declares the pope a heretic as it cheers for the lies, corruption and sometimes appalling cruelties to the poor and contempt for common decency that characterize this Administration.  And the world watches and believes them when they say they are the true representatives of the gospel. They see when Christians give Trump a mulligan for fornicating with porn stars and join in declaring his victims to be liars. They see every lie and cruelty excused and know Christianists are full of crap.

via Why Don’t you Talk about Theology Instead of Politics, Mark?

Like many theologians, the author just can’t seem to come to the point directly. He needs to circle around it many times. But I think what I pulled out of the post is tantamount to what “Christianist cult of Trump” is doing to damage the face of Christianity.

But then again I firmly pray that these cult members are actually a minority fringe whose time will come.

I want to close out this post with another quote re-inforcing the damage these fringe groups are doing.

2018-02-25_11-58-04.pngAt a certain point in “God and Donald Trump,” the recent theological gymnastics on display from Tony Perkins and Jerry Falwell, Jr., among others, to explain ongoing conservative Christian support for a president who (allegedly) paid off a porn star weeks before Election Day so she would keep quiet about their (alleged) affair become clear. There will be no point at which Trump’s most loyal evangelical and charismatic supporters declare they have had enough. Because to do so would be to admit that they were wrong, that God wasn’t behind Trump’s election, and that their Holy Spirit radar might be on the fritz. That it was, after all, about something as temporal and banal as hating his Democratic rival.

via Millions of Americans Believe God Made Trump President – POLITICO Magazine

Of course, they are wrong that God put Trump in the Oval Office.  We now know that Russian trollers did it. 🙂  Will there come a point in time when Christianity will totally morph into a political organization without any reference to the spiritual one or even to the messages of Jesus? Will the word “Christian” like the word “gay” become something totally different than its previous definition? The jury is still out on that.

 

Politics As A Cure for Spiritual and Social Loneliness?

Most of us can probably cite at least a couple of reasons for the conditions we find ourselves in today. Some blame the Internet, some religious exclusivity, or maybe religious politicization. Others say it is just plain self-centeredness. I don’t suspect that many put loneliness as part of the mix but maybe it is deeper than we realize.

2018-01-08_18-18-38.pngWhen politics is used as a cure for spiritual and social loneliness, it’s harder to win people over with policy or philosophical arguments. Everything is shaped on a deeper level, through the parables, fables and myths that our most fundamental groups use to define themselves…

Trump’s supporters follow him because he gets his facts wrong, but he gets his myths right. He tells the morality tale that works for them.

It should be said that people on the left and on the right who try to use politics to find their moral meaning are turning politics into an idol. Idolatry is what happens when people give ultimate allegiance to something that should be serving only an intermediate purpose, whether it is money, technology, alcohol, success or politics.

Source:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/30/opinion/when-politics-becomes-your-idol.htm

I can certainly see some truth in the words above.  It is now a well-known fact that the rural areas of the nation are where most of the Trump voters came from. Many in that area are more isolated than their urban neighbors. Most likely, they are also less educated but maybe that is another story.  Does that make them lonely, it could, especially among us senior citizens.

I have never understood why senior citizens would vote Republican when one of their fundamental goals is to make drastic reductions to Social Security and Medicare? They see services for the elderly as dreaded “entitlements” that need to be eliminated. For seniors to be Republicans is like cutting off your nose to spite your face.  It is widely known that one of Mr. Trump’s primary support groups are people over 65. I think I have some experience with that group.

There are many seniors, including me to some extent, who are isolated from the mainstream.  We spend the majority of our time by ourselves. Some choose, like the current Oval Office occupant, to spend many hours a day in front of the TV. For the most part, they only know the world through cable news networks or probably just one of those networks. Since politics is the major source in their lives they take the topic on as a friend that they no longer have.

I can remember my grandma in the 1950s being obsessed with TV wrestling.  She never missed her wrestling show and would shout and scream at the bad guys on the flickering black and white tube.  No matter how much we tried to convince here that TV wrestling was fake she simply would not believe it. I think the same thing kinda holds for many who are supporting Mr. Trump today.  There are many seniors who have pledged allegiance to him no matter what he may do. That totally misguided faith puts a stain on all of us over 65.

Politics has a place in everyone’s life but it should only be for intermediate purposes and not as an idol onto itself.

Was 2017 the Craziest Year in U.S. Political History?

Here we are starting out another new year. I’m just happy we survived 2017 without too much permanent damage or at least damage we can’t undo when sanity finally returns. I’m sure you are like me in thinking that the current Oval Office occupant is the worst in our nation’s history.  But maybe he isn’t, at least quite yet.  I choose two years from the reference source below at possible proof of that:

1865: An assassination, a racist, a political fracture

2017-12-30_16-03-03.pngThen, five days later, came the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. “Here was the rebellion put down in the field,” Grant later observed, “and starting up in the gutters.” The Great Emancipator and head of the Republican Party was succeeded by Andrew Johnson, a Democrat and an unapologetic racist, throwing American politics into turmoil. The Ku Klux Klan loomed just over the horizon. The events at Appomattox Court House had briefly promised regional harmony, but the radical change in leadership at the White House hinted that the deep fracture between North and South would harden into a permanent feature of our national life, a source of lunacy that bedevils us to the present day.

1968: ‘It’s hard to think of a more chaotic year’

2017-12-30_16-08-10.pngIt’s hard to think of a more chaotic year in contemporary American history than 1968. After years of mounting social discord over civil rights, civil liberties, changing codes of behavior and the war in Vietnam, many citizens now firmly believed—be it with hope or dread—that a revolution was nigh. The year began with the Tet Offensive, which convinced many Americans the war was unwinnable, and ended with the presidential election victory of Richard Nixon, a man whose political career had been said to be over just six years before. In between, turbulence reigned.

Source: Was 2017 the Craziest Year in U.S. Political History? – POLITICO Magazine

I don’t think any president really chooses his vice president thinking that he will not survive his term in office. In 1864 Lincoln was looking at the end of the bloody Civil war and chose his running mate to sound the theme of unity when the South returned from their traitorous ways.  Little did he know that a few short months later Johnson would be in charge of those times. Despite all the spin that they tried to give me recently at the Johnson Presidential Library in Tennessee Johnson did a terrible job. He basically tried to just do a little slap on the wrist and then return to everything the way it was before Fort Sumpter.

I lived through 1968 so I have a first-hand account of that year. Even though I was a naive twenty-two-year-old trying to just get through college, I knew things were bad. There were riots in many major cities, killings on college campuses and pure havoc at the political conventions that year. Things were bad and it was hard not to notice it.

If you want to feel a little better about today’s world browse through the source list above to see other bad years.  Things have been about as bad as now several times in our history and we survived each of those times.

Killing Religion With Your Political Cause..

2017-11-11_10-04-27I don’t know why the 1973 song “Killing me softly ”  by Roberta Flack got stuck in my head recently. Maybe it has something with my brain bleed of eight months ago but that is pretty much a stretch. 🙂  But those verses put the foundation together for this post.  If you want to see the lyrics click here.

Now on to the purpose of this post. There are simply too many in this world who are killing religion with their various causes. They put God into situations that she would certainly not put herself in. By doing this they are possibly poisoning the well of religion for many generations to come. It is a known fact that recent generations of Americans are much less religious than their parents or grandparents. I’m sure this poisoning effect is much the reason for this trend.

Far too many people put religious spins on their prejudices to try to give them some validity. An example of this is the recent allegations against Roy Moore who is a rad-con candidate for the Senate in Alabama.  He is accused among the dozen or so allegations, of sexual harassment of a 14-year-old girl while he was in his thirties. Anyone who has looked beyond the surface on these allegations has to come away with considering them to be valid.  But instead, some Alabama politicians are putting a religious spin on it.  They say that since Joseph was much older than Mary so it is ok for Mr. Moore. Some are even comparing Moore to Jesus who was wrongly persecuted by his enemies.  Religious spin for political purposes poisons the religious well.

Then there is the KKK who cloak themselves in religion as the reason for their racial hatred. Another radical fringe group who are doing basically the same thing is ISIS and radical Islam. They say their god tells them to kill everyone who is not an avid believer in their version of religion. They are killing religion with their causes.

It is common nature for us to look beyond ourselves for the deepest meaning of life. We want to believe that something or someone much wiser than us controls the high-level stuff. Most of us attach to one form of god or another for that knowledge. When others use religion to justify their radical beliefs they are poisoning the well for the rest of us. I’m pretty sure that God is neither a Republican or a Democrat and I’m absolutely sure he doesn’t hate people due to the color of their skin, or any other flippant reason we humans give as justification for our spiteful ways.

A Centrist Position??

Let’s get a political post in today without talking about the Oval Office occupant.  It was interesting to see the two Republican Senators who gave an impassioned speeches about these current times.  Their words reminded me of the McCarthy years in the 1950s.  I was just beginning to get my political legs then so couldn’t understand the obvious witch hunt that was going on by one Wisconsin Senator. But even more so, I couldn’t understand why so many of his party in congress didn’t speak up against that travesty.

Having to answer to your children and grandchildren why you didn’t stand for your principles in the face of such ugliness is a critical point in that fiasco and the one currently taking place. I have admitted here that while I am an avid social progressive I am also a fiscal conservative so I have never pledged my total allegiance to either political party. To me, there have always been good things in both organizations.  That is, until recently where the GOP is going off the rails to to speak with a very radical right agenda. It is pure spite to make it your goal to undo EVERYTHING your predecessor has done. Pure Hateful Spite…

Disliking the current Republican stands does not engender me more to the Democratic party, instead it caused me to go more and more into the “independent” mode. Both established parties have lost their principles and their focus on doing the people’s business.  One party has become about exclusion with the other wants to appease EVERYONE.  Neither of these new stands are appealing to me. So, what is the answer? I think it just might be a new group made up of moderates from both parties.

2017-10-29_09-50-31.pngIt’s a shame that good Senators like Senator Flake, and Senator Corker were driven from their party due to its swing to the  hateful isolationist exclusion mode.  The Republican base has moved so far to the right to deny them another term so the answer might just be to look for a more moderate base. That seems to be the current Centrist Project.

I have been following this group for almost year now and have contributed to their efforts.  We as a country need desperately to move beyond the extreme partisan politics of today.  We need to be driven by principled agendas that keep the focus on what is beneficial to the whole country.  I would love to find a party that contain branches of  both social liberalism and fiscal conservatism but not totally focused on either.

Click on the graphic above to see what The Centrist Project are about. You just might find them to be at least a partial solution to the problems of the country.  It is likely that the Centrist movement if it is successful will replace one of the political parties and to me it is uncertain which that will be. But something has to change or we just might not otherwise survive.  When your party abandons its core principles it is time for you to abandon your party.

I’m Taking Life More Personally Now…

With my brain trauma event, I seem to be taking life more personally now.  After some deep reflections, I have decided that what might happen twenty years from now should not be on my radar screen. Even ten years is questionable as I will likely not be around even then. Why should I fret over a time when I won’t even exist, especially since I leave no heirs to suffer the consequences of these idiotic times.

I have been weaning myself off politics for a couple of months now and I am seriously thinking of simply pulling the plug on that topic. It is just getting too dirty for me and I simply don’t see a way out of that condition anytime soon.  I will leave it to others to pull us back from the edge if that is even possible now. Summarizing,  I won’t spend any of my remaining days fretting about things I have little control over.

My recent personal reflections are not all negative in nature.  I have decided to take time each day to reflect on the good things that happened that day.  I will thank the Lord for every day he gives me.  Each one is considered precious in my mind now.  How I spend those days is also changing.  I won’t flitter them away waiting for better circumstances that will likely never happen.  I will do my best to make something good happen every single day that I have left. I will proverbially stop and smell the roses.

How is this going to affect my blog here at RJsCorner?  I know a large part of my viewership comes from my observations on politics. My hit count has already taken a serious decline, but that is ok.  I will just have to take the thought that doing RJsCorner more for myself than for anything else. I will continue with some additional fervor my photography and travel posts. They are an important part of my life, especially now.

I also hope my creativity posts increase to take up some of the space left behind and of course I will continue “having my say” on non-political topics.  If none of this interests you then it is time for you to delete my blog from your reading list.  I do hope that there are some of you who stay around so that I am not totally talking to myself.  🙂

With my stats going down I may also need a little additional encouragement from those who continue to hang around RJsCorner.  Life goes on a day at a time now…. at least for me.

A Drone Level View

Banner- Looney Bin

The new RJsCorner will include politics as it has in the past but instead of getting bogged down in the day-to-day insanity I will be taking a higher level view. A good older analogy for this is looking at the forest instead of individual trees. But a more modern example is taking a drone level view.

A major problem with our political, especially federal processes, is that most of our elected officials seem to think that what they do is of primary importance in everyone’s daily lives when in reality it is mainly about the contractors, lobbyists, and the corporate media as opposed to the priorities of the general population. The term “Inside the Beltway” is an apt title for this phenomenon. Yes, we normal folks are affected now and then by what they do but we are most part primarily focused on our daily lives.

We should all celebrate the fact that government processes move at a snail’s pace so little radical change is possible in the short term, even a presidential term. An example of this is the current drive to get rid of Obamacare and replace it with a Republican version. Given the diversity of opinion on this topic, it is not likely that any extreme view will be adopted. Instead, they will continue to be kicked down the road until it becomes much more urgent and on more people’s radar screens.

It is my intention to continue to cover the political process but only via a weekly post within the subcategory “Inside the Beltway Loony Bin”.  I will try not to get bogged down on who said what to whom as I have in the past. Instead, I will be taking, even more so than in the past, a Will Rogers view of the topic at hand. That is, finding the humor and irony instead of getting upset about what is happening. One of Will’s most famous quotes is “All politics is applesauce”. He never went on to explain that exactly but most likely it means that they start with a fresh product but then pulverize it to something completely unrecognizable. In my day we said that baloney. I don’t know what the kids call it today, but it is important to recognize it when it happens.

So, my goal in this category is not to get upset about the insanity inside the beltway; to take a higher level view. If you have a different idea about all of this I would love to hear it.

 

Looking Back On A Weird Year..

TL Banner  Here we are at the end of another year so I guess it is time for some reflections on life.  Tomorrow’s post will be looking forward but let’s look back on this one. To say the least it has been a very interesting year.

Healthwise it has been a good one for both my wife and me as we had no major health events and that is good for people our age. I have tried to stay fit as best I can.  My weight is  the same as it was this time last year and I actually managed to get in more exercise than I have in recent years. I got a Vivofit exercise tracker a few months ago to help me keep track of my walking which is my major source of exercise now. It keeps reminding me that is it time to get up and walk some and that is a good thing even it is annoying sometimes.  My goal for this year has been 2 1/2 miles a day and I have pretty much managed to accomplish that. I will try to do even more in the coming year.

Politics was abusively upfront for the entire year.  We saw the dirtiest political season in my memory. One candidate continuously told vicious lies without challenge and the other acted like she was preordained to the Oval Office.  A new word “Post-Truth” is added to the dictionary for 2017 and I think the president-elect is the source of it because his blatant lying this year has proved that truth no longer matters to many of us. The mud slinging was b2016-12-17_14-46-07.pngeyond anything I could have imagined.  And then the election happened. I thought the November 8 was going to be the end of this maddening rhetoric but it seems it is just the beginning. I and most of us are victims of extreme abuse in this arena. Too bad there is not a law against what just happened.

Some Personal Joys of the year for me were my frequent trips in my self made micro-RV “in search of America”.  I made several trips throughout the Midwest and literally took hundreds of pictures. It will take me this entire winter season to post what I found and the get ready for the 2017 trips. I took these trips alone as my wife is finally reconciled to the fact that we now enjoy different interests.  She is a homebody and I am a wanderer.

I got one thing off my bucket list this year and that was a weeklong trip to Disney World. In some ways it was better than I imagined and in others it was a disappointment but that is generally how life goes isn’t it? The Star Wars stuff was amazing, the crowds even in early April were suffocating. And the costs, well, I try to ignore that part…

I don’t have much corporate hope for the year 2017 so“God Save The Country”  will by my siren call for the coming year at least in the political and maybe even cultural arenas…

Tomorrow I will try to find a sliver of silver lining for 2017….

The Calm In The Eye Of The Storm…

ISOA Banner  Anyone who has experienced a hurricane knows that in the middle of the storm there is a point of almost complete calm when the eye of the hurricane passes over. Being that our national elections are tomorrow I thought it appropriate to try and write a calming post here today.  To do that I went all the way back to my 1976 mountain hiking in Colorado and my honeymoon in Maui Hawaii in 1986.

Click on any picture above to see a larger slideshow view

The first two are of the time I and a buddy hiked up to a mountain top lake at  14,000 feet in Colorado and spent the night in a tent. It was probably the most peaceful in my life. The night time air was super crisp, the water was near freezing, and the night time sky was beyond imagination.

The rest of the pictures are from Maui Hawaii.  If these don’t calm you down a little then maybe you need a tall glass of Jack Danial’s… maybe both..

Hang on, it will soon be over….

It’s Time For A Break…

2016-07-31_16-01-33.pngNow that the final segment of this political season is upon us maybe it is time to take a break from politics until at least the first debate.  That is what I intend to do. I don’t think I can handle all the mudslinging that will surely occur in the coming days and weeks. Ninety eight days from now it won’t matter, either we will have a nut case as president or one who will pretty much preserve the status quo. I’m pretty sure we as a nation can survive both possibilities.

I need to move on to other, more productive or at least thoughtful things. So the “In Search of America” and the “That’s Life” portions of RJsCorner  will take center stage for a while. I know my ratings will go down as they are always higher when I join in on the idiocy of politics but RJsCorner was never intended to be about ratings.  When I started this blog almost eight years ago on another forum it was meant to be my “public” journal.  That is, a place where I can think out loud about life. As the years have passed it has almost morphed into a way  keeping me mentally active.

I will be posting many more of my “In Search of America” pictures here as well as some more philosophical stuff related to Autism among other things.  Autism has become my study of choice for the last few months. I will be sharing those thoughts with you. I will also be sharing some parts of my private life to maybe show you how you too might want to dig into your own personal version and try to become a better person. Personal improvement is my ultimate  goal for this study.

If any of this interests you keep coming back to RJsCorner in the coming weeks.  If you are here primarily for the politics come back in the Fall. But one thing I do hope is that more of you can share your experiences via comments to my posts. While I get a healthy view count comments are few.   It is nice to know that someone is out  there and interested….

Cycles…

2016-04-18_08-35-14.pngI seem to go in cycles as far as my tolerance for politics goes. I regularly reach a point where it becomes intolerable to read another article about the absurdity of today’s election cycle.  This seems to be one of those times.   I just want this nomination process to end, the sooner the better so we can get to the next stage.

Not that the next stage will be any better but at least it will be different. I get it, many Americans are just pissed off about how politicians can say one thing and then turn around and do the opposite. I get it, but I don’t really see how this is all going to work out.  Will common sense finally return to the majority of us who vote in the election cycle or will the frustration end with one, or even two “Jesse Ventura” candidates come this November.  I or I don’t think anyone else has a clue.

So, here I am at RJsCorner now talking about almost anything but politics. Its time for another hiatus from the maddening drum of the current insanity.  I used to be a politics hound, I watched both the Republican and Democrat conventions every four years. It has been a couple of decades since I have done that. Most now just seem to be advertisements for the already chosen candidate. I suspect it will be different this time around, at least in the GOP.

Cycles… that seems to be the way of life, everything in cycles so why should I be any different. Turn, turn, turn…

Are You Conservative Enough…

2016-02-14_11-14-57.pngIt seems that the GOP presidential wannabes are constantly arguing that their opponents just aren’t conservative enough to be president. Of course, they wrap their radical ideology in the American flag and somehow that gives it legitimacy.  If any of them were to even hint of compromising on any issue they are quickly and firmly put down as not being conservative enough.  Are they winning votes when they do that?  Just how conservative is the electoral population vs the “conservative”candidates?  That is the general topic for this post.

But first let’s look at the conservative vs progressive divide a little. A conservative is one who primarily clings to the past whereas a progressive is always looking forward for better ways to do things.  A Conservative is change averse whereas a progressive embraces change. These are my fundamental definitions of these two groups. I think most of us would agree that it is not a good thing to be totally in either of these camps. A healthy balance is what is what I seek.

I am one who tries to learn the lessons of the past in order to not make the same mistakes over and over again. Understanding what needs to change and what doesn’t is critical to a healthy balance in life. Learn from the past but with an eye always to the future. The current crop of conservatives are always looking at their past as the good old days.

It seems that so much in today’s world, particularly our political establishments, are skewed too far in both directions. There just doesn’t seem to be a middle anymore. It is now a chasm never to be crossed. I don’t believe that is how most in our country think now. Pragmatism and critical thinking are becoming the norm for many of us, particularly among the millennials and beyond.

A radical conservative hates change, especially where it means he will have to relinquish some of his power. “Don’t rock the boat” is often their mantra.

A radical progressive wants to change things simply to change them. The “if it’s not broke don’t fix it” mentality is foreign to them.

I can see on the horizon a time when we reject an either/or mentality and embrace what works.  I may be wrong, I have certainly been wrong about many things in life, but I see in the not too distant future a total rejection of the status quo in favor of moderation and less conflict.   I believe this is coming in the coming decade if not sooner. This paradigm shift will result in some stressful times. That will be painful but a better future will result.

Call me a Don Quixote dreamer if you want but I think our better days are still ahead of us once we shed off the extreme partisanship in the world today…

 

Texas GOP Declares: “No More Teaching of ‘Critical Thinking Skills’ in Texas Public Schools”

2016-02-06_10-50-13

2016-01-18_09-18-02.pngIs our country about “obedience training” or critical thinking? That seems to be the question at hand at least for the Texas GOP. Should we have a subservient society or one that is educated to ask questions? Many of the leaders in Texas seems to think the former and like so many other things are trying to force that opinion on the rest of us!

If you haven’t figured it out by now I don’t hold Texas politics in much regard. There are just too many nuts that have come from their in recent years. Some became president and some want to get there now.  There is just too much swagger in Texas politics, and even Texas in general, for my liking.

Being a critical thinker I can’t even imagine a country whose citizens are discouraged from asking  questions. Critical thinking is what has made our country great and the lack of it will surely be our downfall. When we fall in line with whatever our leaders tell us we are on our way to becoming something other than the great democracy we have been. Stifling critical thinking is what allowed Hitler such a strangle hold on Germany for so many years. I regrettable think that it is possible for us to turn that way if the Texas GOP has there way! When critical thinking ceases then propaganda becomes “fact” and that is a scary thing!!!

In the near future I will be showing you more details about the critical thinking process in order to illustrate just how insane Texas politics is in this, and in fact most other areas of life.

 

Move Along…

2015-10-20_09-03-25.png

Sometimes it seems that the NRA is a police force who forces “their” laws on the rest of us. They have such a strangle hold on so many politicians as to get their way even when it is opposed by a vast majority of our citizens. Realizing that we have more gun violence in a day than Great Britain has in a year should be sobering to those in DC but somehow they simply ignore it and the obvious solutions. When will we finally get representatives who actually represent us in the nation’s capital? That answer is totally up to us if we just have the guts to do it….

What’s Good For the Country…

Just another afternoon snippet about my recent header work of late.  I added a “politics” box to the header with a sub title “Because it matters”. That sums it up for me. Yeah, I agree that politics is a very dirty business and taints everything it touches but it is so critical to the future of our country and the world that we all need to get involved.

2015-12-02_08-35-58Climate change is one of those issues that one of our political parties has decided to deny its existence even though 98% of the scientists are on the opposite side of that party.  Do we let politics determine if we are to reach the tipping point where it becomes unstoppable?  Do we doom future citizens of the world to the consequences of our political system?

Like it our not our government has the task of doing the people’s business where none of us as individuals can accomplish it.  We depend our our representatives to do what is good for the country.  When they don’t we have to step in and institute change.

The major threat to our democracy is that there are so many low-info voters and so many non-voters in our populace now. Thomas Jefferson said over two hundred years ago that a democracy depends on an informed electorate. I fear we are losing that as a country right now.

Too many seem swayed by harsh rhetoric putting it above common sense.  It is up to each of us to hold our noses and look out for the well being of all of us citizens of this earth.  If those yahoos in Washington won’t do it then it is time for them to go…

Like it or not Politics matters, it is as simple as that….