Jim Burt writes . . .
Let’s assume for a moment that “Christian” teaching and notions of morality track the teachings of Jesus as reported in the gospels. Namely, that the corporal acts of mercy, feeding the hungry, nursing the sick, visiting the imprisoned, clothing the naked, etc., are both sufficient and necessary to enable a person to receive a favorable nod on Judgment Day, while mere belief is insufficient.
It’s fair to say that most self-characterized “fundamentalists” and “evangelicals” don’t accept this as the essence of Christianity, adopting various theological gymnastics instead; or else regard it as merely a consequence of true and enthusiastic belief, rather than as the sine qua non of salvation . . . as Matthew tells us Jesus said unequivocally it was:
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.
All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’”
Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?”
The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Then he will say to those on his left, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.”
They also will answer, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?”
He will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”
Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.
One wonders, then, why 80% or so of self-characterized “fundamentalists” and “evangelicals” (hereinafter “fundagelicals” for short) embrace as their political leader a sociopath who not only rejects the corporal acts of mercy for his own behavior and for our nation but is a virtual poster boy for lying, cheating, abusing, sexually assaulting, debt-welching, family-destroying, and generally criminal behavior . . . and has a track record of never, ever, doing anything in his life for anyone but himself and, possibly, his immediate family.
It has been suggested that this is “tribal behavior.” It has been suggested that his supporters obtain their information about him and public affairs generally in a state of “epistemic closure” in which the only information they receive is tailored to exclude the negative truth and reinforce the positive falsehoods.
I suggest, though, that even if one or both these explanations are true, what has provided the necessary foundation for this situation is that the 80% or so of fundagelicals who support Trump have been schooled in sects which reject science, reject logic, reject the application of reason to any of their foundational propositions . . . accepting at face value the claims of their leaders and denying reality.
Worse, this group appears to hold the balance of electoral power for Republican officeholders at all levels.
Almost a century ago, the ancestors of today’s fundagelicals achieved substantial political power, resulting in Prohibition, the first Red Scare, and other negative developments, but they were shamed back into the shadows and largely withdrew from active involvement in politics after the famous Scopes Monkey Trial and the Depression, the latter of which showed the inadequacy of church-based charity and the efficacy of using government to — as the Preamble to the Constitution suggests — “promote the general welfare”.
What will it take this time to break their grip this time?
A massive Democratic turn-out in November and continued progress in “fair districting” (to combat gerrymandering) would be terrific first steps.
WheelTug just signed another airline, flydubai. That makes 24, I think. It remains a speculation, for sure; but don’t sell your Borealis.
Our RSPP, suggested in March at $40, got acquired at $45 in the stock of Concho Resources CXO. My smart friend had hoped for a lot more, but likes the combined company anyway, and is holding on. Not least because — while he hopes, with the rest of us, that fossil fuels will eventually fade away — he sees oil prices shooting back up first.
Quote of the Day
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.~H. L. Mencken
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