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Trump’s evangelical pander: a sin or a violation of law?

President Trump bows his head as pastor Paula White leads the room in prayer during a dinner for evangelical leaders in the State Dining Room of the White House on Aug. 27, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(RNS) — For a moment this week, it seemed as if the latest in a long line of President Trump’s political events with evangelical Christian leaders would pass without much notice.

Trump and the first lady hosted an event billed as a celebration of evangelicals’ contributions to our nation. Among the honorees were the Christian leaders who sit on Trump’s unofficial advisory board. What ensued was a political exchange designed to remind an important set of constituents what the president has done for them ahead of the midterm elections.

Normally, when Trump’s evangelical fan club enjoys the perks of presidential access — this occasion was billed as a “state-like dinner” — it hardly merits mention because its unfolding is so predictable: Evangelicals show up to laud the president, who in turn touts his own accomplishments on what supposedly constitutes their political wish list.

But this time the praise session backfired: On Thursday (Aug. 30), Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a watchdog organization, filed a letter asking that the advisory board stop meeting “until it complies with federal sunshine laws.”  

“It is clear that the President’s Evangelical Advisory Board is doing substantive work with the Trump administration behind closed doors,” Americans United wrote, “without any sunlight for the public to understand how and why decisions are being made.”

Americans United is alleging, in other words, that what many Americans, including evangelicals, regard as a sin is also against the law.


RELATED: Evangelicals’ White House meetings illegal, church-state watchdog says


It’s also a fraud: Many of the gains that Trump reminded his kitchen evangelicals of at dinner on Monday concern religious liberty — a conservative Christian priority in the face of legal and societal embrace of LGBT rights. Even evangelicals dismayed by the president’s appalling behavior and mixed record on international religious freedom have cheered his advocacy on domestic religious liberty protections.

But Trump’s religious outreach seems almost exclusively focused on evangelical Protestants, and especially on those who support him unconditionally. This is problematic in so many ways, but chiefly because it ignores the religious diversity of the nation and the political diversity even within evangelicalism.

President Trump greets people as he arrives to speak during a dinner for evangelical leaders in the State Dining Room of the White House on Aug. 27, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

It didn’t take Americans United, however, to tell us that Monday’s dinner was transparently a sham. The personage being celebrated, first of all, was not the evangelicals but the president. In remarks before dinner ostensibly about evangelicals’ good works, Trump discussed his own accomplishments between lingering applause for each item he mentioned. Pastor Paula White then gave the Trumps a Bible signed by more than 100 evangelicals, bearing an inscription that read in part, “History will record the greatness that you have brought for generations.”

But after reporters left the room, with the cameras off, Trump reportedly spoke about the upcoming midterm elections. In an audio file leaked to media, Trump is heard asking preachers to use the freedom he has supposedly given them to advocate for Republican candidates from their pulpits.

“I just ask you to go out and make sure all of your people vote. … You’re one election away from losing everything you’ve got.”

To give them courage Trump boasted, as he’s done before, of having stopped the Johnson Amendment, a provision in tax law that forbids congregations from engaging in direct electioneering.

Trump continually misreads the room on the Johnson Amendment. In fact, only an act of Congress can modify or repeal the Johnson Amendment; Trump has only weakened its enforcement. More importantly, few evangelicals are clamoring to endorse candidates from the pulpit.

No matter: In Trump’s mind, this is not a norm that helps protect the integrity of both religion and politics, but rather a power he can restore to a group that can and should use its status as faith leaders to campaign for the Republican Party.

A few in Trump’s evangelical circle seem to have caught on that their access to this White House is a one-way street. Some have privately excused their affiliation with Trump by saying they prefer to ignore the politics and try to help craft better policy when they can, rationalizing that they can do more good with access to the Trump administration than without.

And somewhat to their credit, a few guests evidently recognized the event’s grotesqueness. After all, someone leaked Trump’s private comments to the media.

(Jacob Lupfer, a frequent commentator on religion and politics, is a writer and consultant in Baltimore. The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily represent those of Religion News Service.)

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Jacob Lupfer

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  • Judas Iscariot sold out Jesus for thirty pieces of silver because he was disillusioned that Jesus did not deliver on helping the Jews gain political power against the Romans. Judas didn’t understand the nature of power as the Cross embodied it – he was blinded by greed. That was his fatal error. Today’s evangelicals who have cozied up to Trump in the hope of gaining political power will suffer the same fate as Judas Iscariot – they will go down in infamy.

  • If they keep it up they’ll be dumping Christianity, ordaining women, giving two thumbs up on abortion, performing same sex “marriages”, and otherwise heading off the grid.

    Good thing you don’t get near folks like that, eh?

  • There are no “contributions to the nation” from the Evangelical leaders at the dinner. These people have nothing to offer but division and that has been the case for 40 years.

  • “Americans United” is just one more low-octane half-zombie Cult, who were effectively defeated years before Trump even thought about running for president. This most recent stupidity of theirs, was doubtless inspired by excessive K-2 Marijuana Brownies marinated in fresh D-Con Pellets.

  • Vlady, Baby, it’s tough for me in America now. I can’t make the press say what I want and it’s TERRIBLE. It is SO BAD and all my team criminals are turning against me.
    WAAAAA. I still LUV you
    -Donald

    Donald, cheers up. We make GREAT Russiamerica together. We know how to keep pressers quiet in Russia. When it hotting up and mean oldie Jim Clapper says walls closing in on you, you just come to Russia and we put Mueller and press in Siberia yes? Then you come to Trump Tower in Moscow and I ride you bareback again and we watch golden showers with Kim Wrong Un -but he still think he has bigger missile than your little hands can hold.

    -Vlad

  • Seems like conservative Christians are the only interest group politicians are not allowed to schmooze with.

  • (Hey that reminds me: I’ve been researching the topic “Racism in the gay community” for future use. Black folks can get more brotherhood from the KKK than they can get from some gay folks, it seems.)

    But no worries. My post is very insulting — deliberately so — towards AU and its supporters. So I have no real complaints about AU supporters or other libbies choosing insult as a reply. My dialogue door remains open to all comers: Charlotte, David, Anybody. Equal opportunity insults for all!

  • Jacob, I am sure this writing project of yours was a good way to end your summer internship, and now you’re off to freshman year at some no name college.

    A real writer would have asked herself how many other presidents did the very same thing, many times before penning such a piece of tendentious (look it up) trash.

  • So every conversation the President has with anyone needs to be public? Every consultation the President makes needs to be public? Did Obama do this? Any idiots out there who think that if Hillary had been elected she would have done that? All I see is more evidence of an anti-Christian agenda.

  • Homophobes must die, before they kill anymore innocent children in elementary school, like Jamel Myles.

  • Americans United for Separation of Church and State was originally “Protestants and other Americans ….”.

    It was founded by some of the most die-hard anti-Catholics of the time.

    One of the founders, Glenn L. Archer, and its first Executive Director focused on opposition to the political agenda of the Catholic Church. In 1949 the organization dubbed the Catholic hierarchy “more dangerous and clever than communism”.

    Archer petitioned the FCC to deny TV licenses to Jesuits because they were an alien organization. He demanded that Cardinals in the Catholic Church have their citizenship revoked. He asked the House Un-American Activities Committee to investigate the intentions, scope and achievements of Vatican espionage in the United States, charging that the Catholic clergy had learned American secrets hardly anyone except the president knows.

  • Well, I suppose everyone will die someday. That a least we all share in common despite our political, social and or religious differences. I believe in religious freedom for everyone and the evidence is pretty solid that there is a anti-Christian movement afoot in the United States. I think religious people, even Christians, have just as much right to being heard as anyone else and just as much right to practice their religion as anyone else. Do you?

  • Uncle Tom is insulting, but it isn’t a racist comment, especially when used by a person of color to describe another person of color. Since Floydlee is so subservient to the mostly white conservative cause and carries their message to a T, he fits the epithet well.

  • Yup. There are a LOT of people here who willingly suppressed their memories pre-November 2016.

    They also don’t understand the “beam in the eye” parable.

  • Laws and rules, decency and fairness have never meant a thing to Donald Trump. His kids and their mates have all been brought up in imitation of him. For more than any other people in the country, royal money and wealth are their only values, lies and selfish greed the only means by which they live.

  • As it appears, there are zero laws which have been violated.

    Lots of people dislike Trump.

    Sufficient people preferred him to elect him President.

  • The phrase “subservient to the mostly white conservative cause” seems to say “he disagrees with me”, nothing more.

  • Awwww….Still butt hurt your widdle candidate lost? Too bad!

    But thanks anyway for adding some puerility of your very own. You must feel so very proud.

  • Thank you for providing confirmation of how “libs are okay with racist comments, as long as they’re directed at those they disagree with!”. Too funny!

  • That’s also true of your comments, the bottom line is that someone disagrees with you. For that matter, every comment here boils down to, “someone disagrees with me.”

  • While you’re at it Uncle, study up on transphobia in the Black community or Black on Black crime. Who’s dying in Chicago? And who’s killing them?

  • The difference:

    I refrain from racial/ethnic slurs.

    “Uncle Tom”, like “off the reservation”, is unacceptable.

  • He didn’t win the popular vote, he was elected through an antiquated electoral college that long ago became a disservice to the people of the US.

  • The electoral college, like the rest of the Constitution, is indeed “antiquated”.

    But it is not a disservice.

    It was created specifically to prevent populous states from overwhelming less populous states in an electoral system. Our is a Federal system of sovereigns, not a democracy.

    For example, it prevented the zany if not looney citizens of California from overwhelming the saner folks in the rest of country. The majority Clinton won in California was the margin by which she won the popular vote.

    Most Americans would not care for California, land of the $100 billion bullet train to nowhere, to call the shots.

    So “an antiquated electoral college that long ago became a disservice to the people of the US.” is a slogan, a slogan coined by the losers in the last election.

    https://media.townhall.com/Townhall/Car/b/mle180130c20180130014014.jpg

  • I guess in your white crowd of friends. I notice that you didn’t call out R Brant with his comment above. You’re very selectively a PC police officer.

  • Not with the deadly anti-LGBTQ+ movement afoot in the United States and around the world. I think that children, even LGBTQ+ ones, have just as much right to go to school without being told to kill themselves as anyone else. Do you?

  • Ironically, as Trump’s appalling presidency approaches two years, I’ve been increasingly embracing the slogan,
    “Make America Great Again” . . . by removing Trump.

  • One could hurl similar slurs about the inbred idiots who populate the State of Texas, whose electoral votes were the means by which Trump swept the Electoral College. Clinton wouldn’t have swept the popular vote had she not also garnered the other 61+million votes from other states.

    You also overlook that a candidate can win an election by an antiquated system of winner takes all of the electoral votes in a state, whether they won the popular vote in that state by barely a hundred votes or by thousands. So rather than having to win the votes of the general population, a candidate only has to campaign and win in certain states, which doesn’t have anything to do with the myth of preventing “more populous states from overwhelming less populous states.”

    The US Electoral College, a term that does not appear in the US Constitution, was a compromise over a popular vote for President and Vice President, because of slavery. Tying the number of electors from each sate to the state’s number of members of the House was a convenience mostly. The compromise was also based on poor communication systems in the late 18th Century. The excuse was that the electors would be in a position to be more knowledgeable about the candidates than the general populous.

  • You need to acquaint yourself with the rules of the road in American English.

    You have no idea of my race or age or much of anything else about me.

  • Clinton’s popular vote, sans California, left Trump with the popular vote.

    Apparently you:

    – do not understand the difference between the electoral vote and a popular vote.

    – do not know the background a long debate which the Founders invested in ensuring that small states like Rhode Island weren’t swamped by states like New York. It is the same reason both states have the same number of senators.

    – do not understand the difference between a democracy and a republic.

    – do not understand that the fact that a candidate can win an election with the electoral vote in a state, whether he or she won the popular vote

    Tying the number of electors from each state to the state’s number of members of the House was carefully planned after a very long debate.

    Prior to the 2016 election, the 1824 election of John Quincy Adams, 1876 election of Rutherford B. Hayes, 1888 election of Benjamin Harrison, and 2000 election of George W. Bush were not won by candidates who had the majority of the popular vote.

    It is only been in the last 16 years that whining complainers who have invested huge efforts into California particularly have suddenly “discovered” that we have a republic with an electoral college, not a democracy.

  • I do understand the difference in the popular vote and the electoral vote.

    I do know about the long debate that led to the compromise of a senate representing states and a House representing a state’s populous. That debate was NOT with regard to the electoral system.

    I definitely understand the difference in a democracy and a republic.

    I do understand winning an election with individual states’ electoral votes, whether a candidate has the popular vote.

    The long debate was over the form of election, NOT how many electors each state was allowed.

    Your ad hoc insults about your countrymen aside.

  • In order to change the electoral college an amendment to the Constitution is required.

    It may be of interest that such an amendment is not pending.

    The reason appears to be that except for a few Al Gore and Hillary Clinton supporters, everyone understands the system and why it exists, your ill-founded “ad hoc insults about your countrymen” aside.

    I’d find another worry to worry about because this one is not going away.

  • But just recently you guys were saying – as Gov. Cuomo put it – “America was NEVER that great”. Get your story straight!

  • Because Russia trolled dumb people like yourself into voting for him, just not enough to win the popular vote.

  • How about this: we need more information on the president so haters can have more to complain about! How about which TV shows he watches? Does he prefer toilet paper rolls up or down? Which shoe does he put on first? Did he ever watch the Dukes of Hazard? When did he first shave? In the TV debates, did he notice how much Hillary smelled? These are important items that must be addressed.

  • Don’t waste you’re time explaining to him what he does not wish to hear or understand. It’s the very people like him that wish to destroy this country and what the founders created.

  • They pretend to care about illegals because of “human rights”, but what they’re really interested in is stuffing the ballot boxes and stealing elections away from actual American citizens.

  • Just what I’ve garnered from your frenemies here. That you are very old and pretend to be someone important but won’t state who? And that you have multiple user names under which you post.

  • Dude, I was reading up on Black-on-Black crime before you were born. (Heh!!)

    Meanwhile I have only met one Black transgender in person, (some whites too), but from that person’s life and others too, I can tell you with NO hesitation, that Transgenderism is horrific, a living crawling escalating confusion that will mess up whomever its tentacles touch. That ain’t phobia, that’s fact.

    No, I didn’t say that Transsexuals are worse or inferior than anybody else. They aren’t. All humans created equal, all humans carry God’s image, the wages of sin is spiritual death, and all humans are sinners needing The Savior. But some choices, some sins, can hurt people REAL bad in this present life. “Trans” is one of them.

  • And by the way, you haven’t said one word in rational defense of the Cult of AU’s recent stupidity, so I am concluding that there is no such defense to be had.

    Meanwhile, you are welcome to use any irrational epithet against me that Disqus will allow from you. But you will quickly notice that, well, I give not a hoot.

  • I have a tendency to document my disagreements, as you know.

    Frequent exceptions are made with Spuddie since there is no substance to disagree with.

  • No prior president favored evangelical Christians (or any specific religious group) to such a degree as to have hidden backroom meetings with them like Trump.

    “Anti-Christian” = pointing out Christian dominionists acting badly and breaking the law.

  • “I believe in religious freedom for everyone”

    With notable exceptions for certain faiths and beliefs you are personally hostile to. Who is keeping Christians from speaking their mind? Nobody.
    What people are annoyed with is Christians directing policy for everyone else. You have your right to be heard. You do not have the right to demand that others follow along or take it seriously.

    You are annoyed that people are pointing out flagrant violations of 1st Amendment religious freedoms. That people won’t let Christian Dominionists bear undue influence on the government. You are such a snowflake.

  • Its a free country. Its also nothing any more offensive than what is usually said by Christians of a certain stripe here.

  • “A real writer would have asked herself how many other presidents did the very same thing,”

    The answer is none.

    Conservative miscreants have been showing how completely immoral they are. Evidently any kind of bad behavior is excusable if you can claim others did it first. Bullshifting is pretty much all they have because they can’t possibly defend the president on the merits of his action.

    Only a scumbag responds to an accusation of bad actions with “but …. did it”

  • LOL, loser. 25 years of trying to pin something on HRC and Republicans came up empty. You missed your chance.

    Now its just bullcrap you say to deflect from the mounting convictions and friendly witnesses piling up against the president.

  • So obviously he was the beneficiary of the collusion.
    It helped that he was easily blackmailed by Russia.

  • Aww poor little brain damaged conservative can’t form new memories for the last 2 years. Either that or you are too spineless to defend what Trump has done as president. Take your pick.
    Brain damage or spineless?

  • That was stupid. Do I have to point out to you that the AFL-CIO is not a religious group? Are you really that ignorant? LMAO!

    Holy crap! You can’t even bullshift correctly.

    So now its safe to say when you say “but Hillary…” or “But Obama…” you are not only a garbage person looking to excuse bad behavior, but that you are completely ignorant of basic facts.

    http://quotegeek.com/quotes-from-movies/billy-madison/1122/

  • What difference does it make? You cry about special interests in the WH… so there you have it.
    I guess it only matters if it’s Christian…
    Bigot.

  • Not likely. But we will see what Feinstein and her staff coughed up. She’s been uncomfortably close with the chicoms for years. Even was on the FBI watch list.

  • Rick Brant, lover partner of Bob Arnzen, you come to Moscow again and we make you feel homely again nice with DonnyBoy. You just bend over and feet wide apart like Bob Arnzen do so well and then Donny ream you like he did last time that you like so much yes! Then you rub hands in Puerile output you love so much to do yes.

    DonnyBoy love you so much too even with carrot face and tiny hands.

    -Vlad


  • Rick Brant, small butt hole lover partner of Bob Arnzen, you come to Moscow again and we make you feel homely again nice with DonnyBoy. You just bend over and feet wide apart like Bob Arnzen do so well and then Donny ream you like he did last time that you like so much yes! Then you rub hands in Puerile output you love so much to do yes.

    DonnyBoy love you so much too even with carrot face and tiny hands.

    -Vlad

  • You treat the AFL-CIO like a religion, citing chapter and verse from their scriptures of propaganda as though they were gospel.

  • As to blackmailed by Russia:

    What president when confronted with clear and convincing evidence that the Russians were attacking the DNC servers ordered his cyber defense team to stand down?

  • “What people are annoyed with is Christians directing policy for everyone
    else. You have your right to be heard. You do not have the right to
    demand that others follow along or take it seriously.”

    Actually Christians do have that right.

    If a Christian successfully advocate for a law, you’ll be following it and taking it seriously or paying the consequences.

    As to the ” ‘1st’ Amendment”, while you occasionally wave it around above your head like a medicine man, based solely on your constant comments you have zero idea of what it actually says.

  • Are you complaining because prior presidents favored Jews or some other group that you prefer to Christians?

  • Thanks again for confirming you’re a-ok with death threats -as long as they’re directed against Christians!

    I, on the other hand, abjure death threats against ANYONE. The depths of your hate filled anti-Christian bigotry can be clearly seen.

  • Don’t see much that he’s done as President that I really disagree with or that needs defending. Maybe a little too soft on illegal immigration. Plus disappointing Syria policy – he’s been listening too much to Neocons.

  • Did you remember to get all your pencils and erasers? And don’t forget that last year the teacher kept telling you to stop touching yourself!

  • Tis that time again to save many from the horrors of religion:

    Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

  • That’s not good enough David. Now it’s looking like you can’t even offer me a substantive, detailed fight on the issue of transgenderism (let alone the Cult of AU.)

    My understanding is that some pretty intelligent folks occasionally tune in to this RNS gig. This is not the place for hog-slop laziness! You have to be able to give readers more than a couple of worn-out labels.

    Wanna represent the LGBT community here? Then do it right, or bail out and pay Charlotte to post for you!

  • And by the way Charlotte, if David does start paying you to post for him, I expect a 40% cut since I was the one who recommended you.

    I accept Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal, thanks. No checks, and definitely No Bitcoin!!

  • And by pointing out that blindingly obvious fact you’re moving the goalposts / flinging poo / a bigot / a lying sack of crap.

    I think that covers his/her entire repertoire. Did I miss anything?

  • Probably closer to the truth than you think. This is one of Lisa Strom’s various incarnations and she is very likely a child. Better to simply flag and block than to try and spar with someone not on your level.

  • Which includes:

    One of the most corrupt cabinets since Warren Harding, using government agencies to attack people of color, miserable failures in diplomacy, attacks on the free press, child abduction/concentration camps/taking hostages, trade wars, open support for white supremacists, promoting discrimination, looting public resources to benefit the uppermost wealthy, bending over those who work for a living over a proverbial barrel…

    I can’t find ANYTHING worth defending him over. Obviously neither can most of his supporters, since they never seem to want to address what he does.

    ” Maybe a little too soft on illegal immigration.”

    My guess is executing them at the border would be just right by you. Right?

  • Such a snowflake. Who was being threatened here Sparky? Any person? Any specific threat? Nope.

    There was nothing illegal or even overly improper there. BTW its not like you are so up in arms when your fellow Christians say “kill the gays” or “death to atheists” , so your hypocrisy is duly noted and ignored.

  • “Point out a faith I would deny religious freedom to”

    Atheism and Progressive Christians, and Islam come off the top of my head.

    You revile and attack all three and seek to suppress the expressions of such beliefs. You have posted enough stuff attacking all three as beliefs and defamed people who have them.

  • Trump’s financial troubles in the late 90’s/Early Aughts marked him for an easy mark for blackmail. Pretty much nobody outside of organized crime would finance him at one point

    Just remember, you may know him as the reality show host, but people in NY (and NJ) have known what kind of hapless businessman he was for a long time. He has a long history of not only failure, but burning investors.

    ” She’s been….”

    Sorry Sparky, but 25 years of trying to pin anything on HRC came up empty. You already made it clear you either lie or don’t know facts when you bullshift. You lose.

    Trump already has members of his staff convicted and confidants coming out of the woodwork as friendly witnesses. The crap is piling up and all you can do is fact free deflection

    My
    Attorney
    Got
    Arrested

  • One is a violation of the 1st Amendment Establishment clause. Your example isn’t.

    If you can’t tell the difference between a labor union and a religious group, you should probably seek a different church.

    “I guess it only matters if it’s Christian”

    Yes it does!

    Because only Conservative Christians seek to undermine 1st Amendment freedoms by entangling church and state. I see no other group even coming close to such efforts.

  • You missed the basic facts of this article. Trump is meeting evangelical leaders behind closed doors, in secret. He deliberately pandered to them for votes.

    Your example was lazy. You either didn’t read it, didn’t read this article closely, or are just full of it (like 99% of all bullshifting arguments)
    Obama invited the press for what was only a half hour meeting and did not even bother with much more than PR.

    Of course there is still the crux of your argument, where you are such immoral slime that you approve of shady behavior because others have done it before.

  • Well we already know Trump loves whores. So the close association with Evangelical Christians comes as no surprise.

  • There is that pesky old Establishment Clause codifying the separation of church and state to deal with. I can understand why people who hate religious freedom might find such things inconvenient.

  • You are a bigot and a liar. You want to treat illegal aliens as less than human because it gives you a chance to vent against people of color in a socially acceptable forum.

    Illegal aliens aren’t stealing any elections away. That role goes to Republicans with gerrymandering, voter roll purges, and disenfranchise efforts.

  • You’re making assumptions that don’t exist based upon your well known hatred for Christians.
    As always, atheists, liberals and other haters of those that have faith need to find a reason to demonize the President and Christian voters.
    The fact that some of trumps base happens to be of faith and therefore they can’t meet with the president is preposterous.
    Run along, your intellectual dishonesty is nauseating.

  • You are flinging poo and missing the point wildly. Your argument comes down to, “it isn’t so bad”. Infantile excuse making to say the least. Dishonest as hell. Your example was stupid beyond measure and you can’t even be bothered to explain yourself there.

    Trump is meeting in secret with a specific religious group in order to pander and set policy. He is establishing an official religion. He is violating the law and Constitutional principles. That is a compelling reason to oppose him.

    This is different from meeting any other type of group and meetings which are open to the press. Your attempt to normalize this clearly improper behavior is repugnant. But it is not surprising from you at all. You are shameless in such things.

    Trump’s Evangelical base is seeking (in secret meetings) favor to violate rule of law, civil liberties of others and attack constitutional principles.

    I find it funny that you can’t even rely on your usual bullshifting. Because there is no prior example of this kind of action from prior presidents.

  • Actually, no. I believe in religious freedom for all groups. I believe the government should not restrict religious expression and practice except in extreme circumstances: such as radicalized groups outside the US that would like to cross our borders to cause mayheim. Or radicalized groups inside the US (Christians included) that advocate harm for others because their behavior is sinful/immoral/unethical and so forth. I will stand for the right of these groups to state they believe a practiced to be immoral just as those who practice the practice have a right to speak their minds as well. But what I see is more instances of pressure applied to certain conservative conversations not to refute them but to silence them which in my eyes makes the liberal side of the house look weak.

    Absolutely agree “you have the right to be heard. You do not have the right to demand…” I absolutely agree with this for all sides including the side that wants to pass laws forcing people to violate their conscience and support behaviors they may not agree with.

  • ” such as radicalized groups outside the US that would like to cross our borders to cause mayheim.”

    Which haven’t really come forward despite your claims to the contrary. You are against fictional people. You have served as a stooge for those who wish us harm with such positions.

    https://www.cnn.com/2017/01/31/us/islamerica-excerpt-grayzones/index.html

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/11/16/the-islamic-state-wants-you-to-hate-refugees/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.79b62f0fa03c

    “I will stand for the right of these groups to state they believe a practiced to be immoral”

    A nice way of saying you support discrimination using religion as an excuse.

    “but to silence them which in my eyes”

    Nobody is silencing conservative Christians. You are just annoyed that your ideas are being criticized or have social consequences. You were hoping that calling personal prejudices a religious belief, it would be beyond discussion or criticism. In a free society such ideas have no place. If you find your ideas are finding less acceptability in society, it isn’t being silenced. Its a good sign that they are unworthy of respect. That they are immoral.

    “wants to pass laws forcing people to violate their conscience and support behaviors they may not agree with.”

    That is garbage and untrue. You want people to pass laws permitting you to violate the civil liberties of others. You want special permission for your religious beliefs to be given power over others. You do not support acts of conscience. You support acts of malice. You aren’t Friedrich Bonhoeffer here, you are George Wallace. Seeking a special privilege and segregation of a despised minority.

  • Someone should tell that to all of the Christian children who told Jamel Myles to kill himself for being gay.

  • Wrong again, Spudareno!

    Of course I attack and revile destructive ideologies that I believe are harmful to individuals, and to America as a whole. YOU DO THE VERY SAME THING! Not a day goes by without you attacking and reviling Evangelicals, Fundamentalists, Conservatives, etc. But I never “seek to suppress the expression of such beliefs”. People have to right to be as stupid and dumb-azzed as they want, just as I have the right to call them out on it!

    You seem to think that if you disagree with/attack/revile someone’s religion/ideology, that is equivalent to denying religious freedom to them. LOL, that’s a snowflake understanding of religious freedom! Religious freedom means believers are free to believe, gather, and worship as they want. It does not mean that others have to affirm and play footsie with them.

  • Establishing an official religion??!!

    In the words of eblabulus: “you now have no credibility; we’re done.”

  • Odd, then, that you never complain about Muslims and Jews schmoozing with our politicians, only Conservative Christians. Hypocrite, much?

    Then there’s the pesky old reality that all these religious groups schmoozing with our politicians has never lead to the establishment of any church, synagogue, etc. Looks like that old anti-establishment clause is working just fine!

  • I want to treat illegal aliens as illegal aliens. Don’t matter what their color is, kick them out!

    “gerrymandering” – As if Democrats never did that, LOL. The very name has Democratic associations!

    “voter roll purges” – Yes, purging voter rolls of illegals, those multiply registered who vote several times, and dead people who still somehow manage to vote, does hurt Democrat’s chances. Democratic motto: “Vote early and often!”

  • For someone so apparently good at believing in things that never happened, done by people who never existed, all in the distant past, you’re remarkably abject at recognizing real events right in the here and now. I guess with all that absurdity so far down your throat you might as well swallow, but shouldn’t you still leave some room for reality?

  • Imagine the result were President Obama to have had a private dinner with a large politically active group of atheists, and deliberately refused to release what was discussed. “They had a right to have their voices heard. We talked about some things. Don’t worry; be happy.”

  • The National Popular Vote Interstate Contract currently has 11 states and Wash. DC signed on, totalling 172 electoral votes. When they get to 270 the EC becomes effectively moot. When they get close to 270, red states will begin subversion efforts.

  • Christianity’s sine qua non is mostly a fan fiction written after the fact by a deranged madman permanently separated from reality. Imagine “Better Call Saul,” as conceived and written by E.L. James (50 Shades) while on psychotropics, as a religion.

  • Move to North Korea or China, where a hate filled anti-religious bigot like yourself would be more comfortable. So sorry the old Soviet Union is not available to you. The Christians there outlasted you bigots, LOL!

  • LOL. Typical SJW hysteria.

    Silly Puddie, capital punishment is not the penalty for the crime of illegal entry. Detainment and deportation is.

  • Well, at least anti-American scum like yourself are open about wanting to subvert the US Constitution and overthrow our Republic. Many of them especially want to tamper with the Bill of Rights, taking away the freedoms Americans have long cherished. Such people pose an existential threat to our land.

  • “You missed the basic facts of this article. Trump is meeting evangelical leaders behind closed doors, in secret.”

    Believe it or not he has every right to meet anyone he please behind closed doors in secret.

    “He deliberately pandered to them for votes.”

    Unlike Barack Obama who assiduously avoided the African American community, the Planned Parenthood afficionados, the AFL-CIO, and so on.

    You either didn’t read it, didn’t read this article closely, or are just full of it (like 99% of all bullshifting arguments).

  • Insults and blanket dismissals are not much of a rebuttal. But it then again I can understand your reluctance to address anything Trump dies. The man is just plain terrible at the job.

    Neither do you read very well (or honestly). Although it isn’t the punishment as of yet, I doubt you would object, if it became so. Your remark makes that obvious.

  • Wrong again, Puddie! Capital punishment as a penalty for illegal immigration does not fit the crime. Detention followed by deportation does. Your “obvious” detector is on the fritz – if it ever worked at all, that is!

  • Evasive response. But a lie. It’s not about immigration law, it’s about excuses to act maliciously to people of color.

    You don’t oppose or deny gerrymandering, you just want to be on the side using it. Meaning you are self involved immoral slime.

    There is no evidence of illegals voting like that. You are a liar covering up for obvious disenfranchisement of citizens.

    By all means give me a source to your assertions. Otherwise you’re do e here. I have zero reason to believe a word you say.

  • See my above comment re: capital punishment.

    Oh, and your obvious detector is on the fritz – if it ever worked at all!

  • Untrue. But nice try with bullshifting. You are conceding my point that it is inappropriate and a violation of the establishment clause. But adding on the fiction of pretending I endorsed the same bad behavior you are.

    So it’s wrong, you know it, but want to attack me with fictional claims. Funny.

    But by all means, cite to the secret meetings behind closed doors where those religious groups sought to give their religious beliefs color of law. None of your examples so far fit the bill.

    Your flailing about here looking for an equivalent here is amusing.

  • No he is not conceding your point.

    “But by all means, cite to the secret meetings behind closed doors where
    those religious groups sought to give their religious beliefs color of
    law.”

    Apparently you don’t know the meaning phrase “color of law”.

    When the Nazis passed laws legalizing the mass extermination of Jews, THAT was an example of doing something under the “color of law”.

    Your flailing about here looking for a hook to hang your diddily dislikes is amusing.

  • If people pass laws violating the civil rights of others, you have a remedy.

    Your attempt to characterize perfectly legal constitutional laws as “violat(ing) the civil liberties of others” a priori makes it clear you don’t have a case.

  • You even attack your fellow Christians when they do not share your own prejudices. You demonize entire classes of people just for its own sake. You have claimed your religious belief entitled you to break laws and attack others.

    You are entitled to your beliefs, but you are not entitled to demand everyone follow them. Something you frequently call for. Attacks on religious freedom in their plainest form.

  • No, I did not concede anything. I think it is fine for them to do so; neither inappropriate nor a violation. What I point out is your inconsistency and hypocrisy in objecting to Conservative Christians schmoozing, while giving Muslims and Jews a pass. Never a peep from you about them! Hypocrisy, thy name is Spuddie!

  • Bwhahaha! What laws have I broken, and who have I physically attacked? You’re becoming unhinged, Puddie!

  • Of course you did. Your whole thing was “what about …” that allegedly identical type of incident (which really wasn’t) trying to pretend I endorse the same behavior. Therefore it is supposedly OK.

    “while giving Muslims and Jews a pass”

    Because it never happened.

    What you point out is your need to lie and cover up bad behavior by the president.

    There is no history of secret closed door discussions between the president and religious leaders of before this. Your attempts to find an example of that is pathetic.

  • You had no trouble with child abduction and concentration camps for kids. I doubt you would be upset if we start executing people at the border.

  • Child abduction and hostage taking does not fit the offense either. But that is what the government did and was forced to stop. Something you supported and made excuses for.

    Rule of law, due process and proportionality are clearly not as important as acting maliciously to people of color here.

  • Ricky Bob you not get so upset about your hands in puerile as usual.

    Next time you just come to Trump Tower Moscow. DonnyBoy he even give you ruble at par with dollar there, nice deals always from Donny. Then you receive golden showers with mouth open just like your mom did and on your keyboard again too. You get better job here too. In Russia lots of jobs for dumb peasants as you and Bob.

  • Ricky Bob Shawnie you not get so upset about your hands in puerile as usual.

    Next time you just come to Trump Tower Moscow. DonnyBoy he even give you ruble at par with dollar there, nice deals always from Donny. Then you receive golden showers with mouth open just like your mom did and on your keyboard again too. You get better job here too. In Russia lots of jobs for dumb peasants as you and Bob and stu​pid fat Shawnie.

  • DonnyBoy this Bobby Rick Arnzen is real goody boy to you yes. Very obedient and sucks hard on command.

    You get good staff from jail there. Good here in Russia too use lowlife to get dirty jobs done.

  • Again, the government did NOT engage in “child abduction and hostage taking”, which would have constituted crimes.

    You have been advocating against the rule of law and due process on the topic illegal immigration for at least a year.

  • They are creating laws as per the US and their state Constitutions in accordance with their perceived goals, as anyone would do. That is their right and duty. No different than individual state laws regarding drivers’ licensing or incorporation. How they distribute their electoral votes is expressly up to them. Maine proportions theirs; it isn’t winner take all. Downeasters would be appaled you’re calling them traitorous scum. That you’d see this particular states’ right as subversion says more than enough. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and say you don’t really believe it, the word just popped into your head because I used it first.

    “Many of them…” is just like “I hear many people saying that…” “Such people pose an existential threat to our land.” reads like “Blood and Soil.” Your anger and logic are adrift, even as you try so hard to stake them (through the heart) of a convenient Constitutive Other. In short words, you’re nuts.

  • I have no trouble with placing children – who were put in danger by being illegally brought across the border by irresponsible adults – into safe custodial centers (preferably with their parents) until such time as they and their parents can be deported to their homelands.

    There, I fixed your sentence.

  • I will get back to you when you learn how to read and directly address what others say. MAGA hats are highly flammable. Be careful burning all those strawmen.

  • Coming from a doofus who quotes Dominionist memes like “there is no separation of church and state”, I find that amusing.

  • The purpose is never to “persuade” a progressive – that’s not going to happen. The real and underlying purpose is to present facts and rational arguments for the benefit of other readers who may be more open-minded (yes, there are some like that who hang out here), and to encourage those few who already know better.

  • Sorry, but you’ve already outed yourself as an enemy of the Republic and a subverter of our Constitution.

  • So, you’ve backed off from your hysteria that I advocate breaking laws and committing physical attacks on others? No evidence to back that up, eh?

    Sorry, don’t have a MAGA hat; don’t accept its premise. America has always been great. Since it’s never lost its greatness, we can hardly make it great “again”!

  • These leaders are not ‘offering’ theocracy to us. they are bent on imposing it. If Pence gets in as president, he’ll impose it.

  • you’d be first in line to send they into foster homes and then farmed out to right wing Xian families to be adopted. That was the goal all along. Trump and his nefarious minions set up this prison system on the fly with no preparation. Fascism is coming starting with innocent children. Shame on you and other Trump enablers. Shameful.

  • They engaged in kidnapping and tricking parents into leaving the room so they could be abducted. Parents and children didn’t even get to say good bye. Fascism. Utterly devoid of any humanity. What kind of government takes children from their parents with NO intention to give them back to their parents?? The Germans did it to the Jewish children. Now the Trumpians do it. Monstrous and shameful.

  • You are correct, and such is already happening with Trump anyway, step by step. Even though Trump was never a man who cared about religion or remotely believed in it, he discovered that he could woo the fundamentalist flock like the Pied Piper. There really is nothing Pence could give to Evangelicals that Trump is not already giving them. Pence sees it as his “calling”, Trump sees it as his con deal, but the results are the same.

  • lies and more lies.
    Apparently you are unaware the Pennsylvania and other states have uncovered YUGE child sexual abuse by priests and covered up by bishops. Catholic Hierarchy needs to be charged with covering up egregious crimes and torture of children under Racketeering laws. International crimes tracing back to the Vatican. Cardinal Dolan in NYC and other corrupt practices needs to be sent packing. They are all like Cardinal Law….enablers and leading coverups for pedophiles–with impunity for decades.

    That is not anti-Catholic. That the reality. Get stuffed.

  • you are nauseating….defending the indefensible Trump and his kidnapping of children, and before that putting in place a policy that sends the parents to jail when parents have the RIGHT under US and international law to seek asylum in the US. Trump is an international terrorist.

  • We cannot have an Establishment church under our Constitution but that is JUST what the Tea-evangelical right-wingers want. Fascism is coming. Christian fascists. Example A. is Pence, DeVos, Sessions, Franklin Graham, Pat (EFFING) Robertson.

  • learn a little religious history Ricky-boy. Your ignorance is showing. Some of us studied Christian theology and Christian history in Theology School. Stop BS-ing.

  • you need to reread this thread before you accuse Spuddie. You are factually incorrect. It was NOT Spuddie.

  • poor widdle-snowflakes. Churches on every corner and 99% of Congress Christian and you think Christianity is in danger? ludicrous.

  • The hysteria is all yours. Trump is about to explode into flames with his anger and inflammatory lies. The government is in chaos. There’s a sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. Women are being denied birth control or protection from violence on campuses. LGBT are being targeted for attacks. What complete bigots and are-wipes you boogers are.

  • No, the religious right and a horde of Liberty University lawyers took the Freedom of Religion act and twisted it to exploit a law supposed to allow Native peoples in prison in the southwest to use peyote or grow their hair long. The Evangelicals use it to discriminate and persecute. It would seem you defends this perversion of what was meant to protect religious people’s rights.

  • Trump didn’t have every right to meet with Russian officials in the Oval Office, have top secret materials on his desk, give away secrets on Russia given to the USA by the Israeli’s and NOT have any other Americans in the room. We only found out about it when Russian TV posted in utter glee how much secret info. they got out of Agent Orange.

  • Because Mitch McConnell told him NOT TO so close to the election otherwise he’d be seen as interfering with the election. Meanwhile TRUMP/PUTIN/GOP/Trump campaign was enabling just that. You can’t spin that.
    Trump is being blackmailed now. Do you care?? Traitor if you say, No.

  • his poll number are down
    people didn’t like that he couldn’t honor John McCain.
    Face it. Trump is unfit, incapable of even the basic norms of decency and respect for a war hero and courageous senator. Go ahead Bobble head. Dismiss McCain. We’re waiting.

    Voters were really turned off by Dumpy sulking in the white house and then playing golf. 25% of his time in the WH has been on the golf course, playing–and cheating–at golf.

  • You are making false assumptions here. Move along silly woman, that isn’t what is taking place here at all, not on my part. Which means that you don’t know me or much of my posting here.

  • that was directed to Bob Arnzen. Sorry, it wasn’t meant for you.
    Bob is well known for breaking into hives when he faces real women. We scare him.

  • I agree with you on transphobia. Bigots should join the 21st Century.
    Marlo Thomas: “Free to be, You and me.”

  • Wherever did you pick up that adoption tripe? I said nothing of the kind. What I DID say was they should remain with their families until they can all be deported together to their homelands. And somehow in your unstable state you start talking about adoption!

    LOL….There derangement is strong in this one!

  • I never said Christianity was in danger, pennywise. I was referring back to Charlotte’s death-wish-for-Christians comment, which I see she has cowardly deleted.

  • Your comment is truly “Exhibit A” for Trump Derangement Hysteria. Get professional help, pennydreadful.

  • Not really. Just relax. Enjoy the kavanaugh hearings. Enjoy a sunset. Stop watching MSNBC and all will be okay.

  • Ivanka is a brainwashed little rich girl who is emotionally enmeshed with her father. There’s nothing ‘real’ about her. She belongs to a cult. The Trump cult.

  • Idk. Attractive. Intelligent. Business owner. Women’s advocate. Successful. I’ll take that all day.
    In all honesty, if she was a liberal movie star; you’d be falling all over her. To bad you’re so angry.

  • Sorry, but citations from CNN and WP can in no way counter the overwhelming evidence experienced by those of us who have served in the areas mentioned.

    Gay rights do not take precedence over other constitutional rights that are written down clear — including religious freedom.

  • Translation of your post from wingnut: Facts are inconvenient and make you look ignorant and silly.

    You are still pushing that stolen valor line of argument? You are forgetting, I know your shtick by now. The Air Force doesn’t have a Civil Affairs MOS. The Army takes care of that sort of thing. You are full of it. You have no personal knowledge to speak of. You are just a bigot who wants to pretend their prejudice needs to be taken seriously.

    “Gay rights do not take precedence over other constitutional rights that are written down clear — including religious freedom.”

    There is no constitutional right to discriminate in public accommodations, government services, and open commerce in general. Religious belief does not create exceptions. Your right to act like a malicious bible thumping bigot ends where you harm others in service of your faith. It didn’t wash when losers like you claimed racial segregation was God given, it doesn’t with this new form of segregation you want.

    So you made it clear that you really have no clue how civil liberties work, nor care.

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