Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Would The Founding Fathers Impeach Trump?


It is no secret that Evangelical Christians overwhelmingly vote Republican.  According to the Pew Research 78% of white Evangelical Christians voted for George Bush in 2004, 74% voted for John McCain in 2008, and 78% voted for Mitt Romney in 2012.  But in 2016 a record 81% of Evangelicals supported Donald Trump.



Let that sink in for a moment.  More than 8 out of 10 white born again followers of Jesus Christ voted for the least Christ-like person who ever ran for President!  I realize many will take issue with me when I claim Trump is the least Christ-like Presidential candidate ever, but I will stand by that analysis.  To explore that theory I would refer you to my post “A Look At The Facts” (8/20/2019).  In it I examined Trump’s behavior as it relates to four traits and/or issues:  Immigration; Hate and insulting speech; arrogance/pride; support and care for the poor.  I then quote 40 biblical passages that, in my opinion, reveals the 45th President of the United States has little if anything in common with a biblical lifestyle.  This was only a sampling of biblical texts that could be used against Donald Trump.



Yet far and away the most revolting fact to prove Trump’s non-Christian beliefs are his own words.  When asked if he has ever sought forgiveness from God, then-Candidate Donald Trump said no.  He went on to claim he never needed to seek forgiveness from God, that he had a very good relationship with God, and he doesn’t “bring God into that picture.”  Such a bold and irreverent statement should be met with disdain by Evangelical Christians whose fundamental belief is that “All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God. (Romans 3:23)”.  Repentance and forgiveness are the very heart of Evangelicalism.  For someone to identify with the Evangelical community yet claim they have never needed to ask God for forgiveness is considered heresy.  This is why it is astounding to know that white Evangelicals voted for this man at a historic rate.  The irony is incomprehensible.



One could make a case that Donald Trump has captured the Evangelical community and held it ransom.  His support within this group remains constant.  Nothing he does can jeopardize their loyalty.  Again, in his own words, he could stand on 5th Avenue and shoot someone and not lose any votes. Yeah, that’s really Christ-like!



But in the end evangelicals must bear the responsibility themselves.  Foundational to Christianity is the understanding that each individual must choose for themselves to follow Christ.  Being born into a Christian family does not make one Christian.  Becoming a member of a Christian Church does not make one Christian.  Faith is a matter of personal conviction and as such demands a decision.  Evangelicals are especially aware of this, placing an emphasis on the act of confession and the acceptance of Jesus Christ as one’s Savior and Lord.



It follows, then, that the believer is responsible for their actions and beliefs.  This is why I find it completely incomprehensible for 81% of white evangelical voters to throw their unfailing support behind Donald Trump.  Given the evidence of Trump’s life, his actions, his words, and the things that are important to him (which appear to be himself, his money and his power, in that order) it should be obvious that Donald Trump stands in direct opposition to the things of Jesus Christ.  Still, the 81% do not care.  Their personal values and morals have been so deeply compromised and replaced by their loyalty to Republican politics, and since Donald Trump is the current head of the Republican Party, their loyalty is to him.  It’s really that simple.



This is classic cultism.  A strong, charismatic, confident leader speaks authoritatively on all kinds of issues.  He feeds the faithful with just enough of what they want to hear in order to get their attention and gradually win their trust.  Then a curious thing takes place:  the more the masses trust the leader and view him as the solution to their problems, the more he begins to withhold the “candy” and replace it with his own ideas and values.  When I refer to the “candy” I am speaking of the things desired by the followers.  It can take many forms.  In the case of Trump, three things stand out in particular.  They are:

1.      Molding the Supreme Court toward a conservative majority in hopes of overturning Roe vs. Wade;

2.      Handing out tax cuts to supposedly increase personal wealth, i.e. wallet theology, including lowering interest rates on loans and lots of talk about improving the economy and increasing domestic manufacturing even if it does not actually happen;

3.      Deregulation in general, or in other words, freedom to do what you want without the big bad wolf of government telling you what you need to do.  This can take the form of giving lip service to school vouchers, loosening environmental protections, banking deregulation, and so much more.



In addition to this there is the need to identify an enemy.  Trump is a master at this one.  Topping the list is probably the immigrants.  They are going to take our jobs away from us and increase the crime in our neighborhoods, we are told.   Therefore, they must be stopped.  Then there are the Muslims who supposedly have declared war on Christianity.  But it doesn’t stop there.  Trump can find an enemy around every corner and under every bush. 

·         The “liberals” who will take away your guns

·         Obamacare

·         Terrorists

·         The “Deep State”

·         The News media, aka “the enemy of the people”

·         The Democrats

·         Robert Mueller

·         The Intelligence Community (CIA, FBI, et al)

·         The Green New Deal



Once the enemy has been identified it becomes necessary to anoint someone who can protect the masses and keep them save.  It should come as no surprise that Donald J. Trump sees himself as the only person capable of fulfilling this role.  And he is not afraid to let you know it.

·         “I alone can fix it”, he has said numerous times in response to various needs;

·         “I am the Law and Order Candidate”, he claimed during the 2016 Presidential campaign.  I often think of this when I consider the record number of persons in Trump’s administration or his campaign who are now in jail or under indictment.  And then there is his relentless attacks on the law enforcement and intelligence communities.  Trump seemingly has yet to meet a law or regulation he believes is worth upholding.  He even disparages our military leaders, claiming he knows more than all the generals put together.  This thought is comical coming from a draft dodger!



It is eerie – and deeply disturbing - how much Donald Trump mirrors the techniques of a religious cult leader.  I pray the 81% will come out of their trance and face reality before the Church is completely lost.



But I must confess I doubt if they will.



I do not understand how intelligent people can look at the facts and conclude that an impeachment inquiry is not warranted.  I am not talking about impeachment itself.  That should only be decided after the facts have been sorted out.  Only by holding an inquiry can we begin to look at the evidence and then decide whether or not impeachment is in order.



It would be helpful to remember exactly what the United States Constitution has to say about impeachment.  It is defined in Article II, Section 4, where we find these words.



“The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”



The question then becomes one of definition.  What, exactly, did the founding fathers mean by “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors”?



These words were chosen very carefully and with considerable debate.  According to the website law.justia.com it took the framers of the Constitution several tries before they settled on these terms.  But what does it mean?  Again quoting from justia:

“Treason is defined in the Constitution.862 Bribery is not, but it had a clear common law meaning and is now well covered by statute.863 “High crimes and misdemeanors,” however, is an undefined and indefinite phrase, which, in England, had comprehended conduct not constituting indictable offenses.”

It is somewhat concerning that the authors of the Constitution could not be more precise in defining the grounds for impeachment.  To me, the phrase “high crimes and misdemeanors” covers just about any offense.  Granted, “high crimes” is a bit ambiguous.  It almost sounds like the term “felony”.  I would assume “high crimes” would be illegal activity of a more serious nature.  But the inclusion of “misdemeanors” broadens this considerably.



The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines misdemeanors as “crime(s) that is not very serious; a crime that is less serious than a felony”.  It goes on to offer an example: “defacing school property is a misdemeanor.”



I have to wonder if people who blindly defend President Trump understand exactly what the Constitution is saying.  It is amazing how many Republican Senators and Representatives have been saying that what Trump has done, according to what we have learned thus far from the Mueller report and Congressional hearings, is wrong but does not meet the required standard for impeachment.  Really?  Let’s take a look at what we know thus far.



1.       Emoluments.
Again turning to Article II of the Constitution: “ Clause 7. The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.”
In other words, the President shall not profit from his office beyond his standard salary.  A strong case can be established that Trump is indeed profiting from his real estate business as a result of his being President. 

According to nbcnews, as of October 22, 2019, Trump has been in office for 1,019 days.  He spent 313 of those days at properties and resorts that he owns.  That is nearly one-third of his time in office.  According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) federal agencies spent  $13.6 million on 4 trips Trump made to Mar-a-Largo in a one month period from February 3 to March 5, 2017.  That is just 4 weeks.  It has been estimated that his trips to his Mar-a-Largo alone have cost about $64 million dollars, paid by taxpayers, of course.  Granted not all of this is recorded as profit for Trump, but surely a good portion is.  The point here is that there is no need to patronize his own properties almost exclusively.  Clearly, Trump violates the Emoluments Clause unashamedly.


2.      Foreign Influence in Our Elections.
The federal Election Commission has made istclear that any candidate who invites or accepts assistance in their election campaign from a foreign entity has broken the law.

Trump has not even attempted to hide his invitation to Russia, Ukraine, and China to aid his campaign.  The Mueller report and U. S. Intelligence agencies have identified many examples of Russia’s interference in our elections in 2016, 2018, and their attempts for 2020.  The question is whether Trump personally can be held accountable for this interference.  There is no debating his invitation for interference as he made these publicly.  It is equally clear that many in his campaign had direct contact with Russian operatives.  Surely, the candidate must be held accountable for such campaign abuses.


3.      Quid Pro Quo.
By now I suppose everyone knows what this term means.  Synonyms include “Extorsion” or “Bribery”.  That is, you do this for me and I will do this for you.  There is no doubt what so ever that Trump employed this in the infamous phone call with the President of Ukraine.  We have the reconstructed transcript of that conversation, along with the whistleblower report and the testimony of several witnesses under oath.  Remember, bribery is specifically identified in the Constitution as an impeachable offense.


4.      The Identity of the Whistleblower.
On November 4, 2019 Trump declared at yet another of his rallies that he now knows the identity of the whistleblower.  Whether he does or not is yet to be proven, but he clearly has not hidden the fact that he has been trying to find the identity of this person and is encouraging many others to seek the identity as well.  The problem is this is a clear violation of Federal law, which protects such information.  I do not know if this violation is a felony or a misdemeanor but either way it falls under the Constitutional definition for impeachment.


5.      Obstruction of Justice.
Obstruction of justice is defined by federal statute as any "interference with the orderly administration of law and justice".  The Mueller report clearly identified ten instances where Trump committed obstruction.  Since then, there have been multiple instances, including every time a witness refuses to appear before a Congressional Committee because the President ordered them not to comply.

Obstruction of justice was one of the articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.  This should be an open and shut case against Donald Trump.  He is not even making an effort to hide it.


6.      Perjury.
A case may be made to say that Trump committed perjury in his written testimony to Robert Mueller.  At the very least Mueller reported that Trump’s written answers were incomplete and indecisive.  In fact, in his testimony before Congress Mueller was asked whether he felt Trump was untruthful in his written answers.  The Special Counsel responded by saying, “I would say generally.”
However, it may be difficult to prove that Trump committed perjury even with this evidence.


These are the obvious offenses committed by Trump.  According to Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer, a close examination of Trump’s tax returns will reveal additional offenses and illegal behavior.  And then there is the question of treason.  Treason will be difficult to prove, I suspect.  I do believe that in time it will be proven that Donald Trump is guilty of treason, even if it does not go to court or faces impeachment.  His multiple connections to Russian authorities and his abundant actions that have benefitted them present serious questions.  Perhaps most significant is his sudden withdrawal of U. S. troops from Syria, leaving our Kurdish allies abandoned for the slaughter.  Add to this his betrayal of journalist Jamal Khashoggi who was brutally murdered by Saudi Arabian officials, to the silence of Donald Trump.



Yet another concern that may one day prove to be treasonous is Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear deal.  When Trump violated the terms of that international treaty and imposed sanctions on Iran for no reason whatsoever he opened the door for Iran to begin building nuclear weapons.  There is no doubt at all that Iran was complying with the terms of the agreement before Trump’s betrayal.  Let it be absolutely clear – Iran did not break the agreement.  Donald Trump did.  In doing so, the deal was no longer applicable.  Trump got what he wanted, namely an Iranian government building a nuclear arsenal.  It remains to be seen what will result from this, but from where I stand, our nation is less safe now, and that sure sounds like treason to me.  Again, our friends at Merriam-Webster define treason this way:

1 : the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance or to kill or personally injure the sovereign or the sovereign's family

2 : the betrayal of a trust : treachery

The Constitution clearly identifies treason as worthy of impeachment.



We find ourselves in a horrible position.  The corrupt behavior of this President stands in direct violation of his oath of office.  I would remind the reader of the other three times this nation was submitted to an impeachment of a president.

The first time was Andrew Johnson.

            Johnson was impeached on eleven articles.  The most serious charge was violation of the Tenure of Office Act.  This stemmed from Johnson’s firing of Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, who opposed Jonson’s plan for reconstruction following the Civil War.



The second occurrence was Richard Nixon.

            Three articles of impeachment were drawn against Nixon and presented to the House of Representatives.  The three charges were obstruction of justice, abuse of power and contempt of Congress.  All three centered on the Watergate investigation.  Of course, Nixon resigned rather than face impeachment.



The third occurrence was Bill Clinton.
            Clinton was charged with two articles of impeachment.  The first was perjury based on his lying under oath.  The second was obstruction of justice.



All three have a common theme in that they involve domestic violations.   While this is certainly serious and worth pursuing one could argue that the safety and security of the United States was not threatened by anything these three Presidents did.  Furthermore,  it is worth pointing out that none of these were convicted by the Senate.   But the case against Trump is different.  Not only has he caused domestic havoc, I would say that he has indeed threatened the safety and security of this nation by extending his violations to the international scene.  In particular, the fact that Russia adversely interfered with the 2016 election and is continuing to do so with Trump’s blessing is cause enough for alarm.  The violation of the Iranian nuclear deal likewise represents a clear and present danger.  Add to this Trump’s bribery of Ukraine and the withholding of defensive support to that nation in obvious violation of Congressional appropriations, and one has to ask just what else needs to occur before Congress is satisfied that this man is a national threat.



I cannot emphasize enough the contrast in severity between Donald Trump and the three previous impeachment proceedings.  Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton were all charged with administrative misconduct.  One could argue they simply used poor judgment and were caught with their hands in the cookie jar.  Based only on legality, Clinton’s case is especially personal and lacks any hint of a threat to national security.  I do not mean to minimize Clinton’s offense.  He clearly violated his oath of office and, in my opinion, deserved to be convicted.  But his impeachment pales in comparison with what we are faced with today.  Clinton escaped conviction largely due to partisan politics.  Republicans only held 55 Senate seats at the time.  67 votes for impeachment were required for a conviction, meaning that twelve Democrats had to vote with all the Republicans to remove Clinton from office.  In the end, no Democrat rendered a guilty vote on either Article.  Even Republicans failed to vote unanimously against him.  On Article I only 45 Senators voted guilty.  On Article II 50 Senators voted guilty.



The current Senate consists of 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats, and 2 Independents.  Ideally, that should not make any difference.  All Senators are expected to look at the facts and judge impartially on the guilt or innocence of the accused.  In reality, however, we know a good number will remain loyal to their Party rather than to their Country.  The question for the ages is:  how many?



I find it astounding how many members of Congress are saying that Donald Trump’s actions are wrong but do not rise to the level of impeachable offenses.  History suggests otherwise. Let us not forget that “misdemeanors” are impeachable offenses, according to the Constitution.  Too bad we cannot ask the Founding Fathers how they would vote in an impeachment trial of Donald Trump.  That is the soul-searching question that every Senator should be asking themselves in the days to come.


G. D. Gehr
November 6, 2019
Comments encouraged

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

A Look At The Facts


I had two episodes recently involving faith and Donald Trump.  The first one involves a sermon I preached about three weeks ago.  The second one was an email I received from a friend asking me the following question.

“Is there a biblically based argument to demonstrate that according to the teachings of Christ one cannot concurrently follow the ideology of Christ and Trump?”

Because both are related to each other I will address the together in this post.  I will start with the sermon.  I used as my text Matthew 5:33 which reads:  "Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.' But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”

            I used these words of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount to show that as a Christian our words are important and we need to be truthful in all our interactions.  At one point I said that our speech has consequences and if we are not honest and speak with integrity those consequences will not be favorable for us.  I went on to explain how the Jews of the first century would split hairs over how they swore an oath.  If an oath was made using the Name of the Lord it was considered binding and irreversible.  If, however, the oath was made in the name of anything other than God’s name it was not considered binding.  This is the motivation for Jesus’ teaching in this passage.  Our Lord says we should not need to reinforce our words with additional conditions.  Just say what you mean and mean what you say.  That is the only recipe for integrity.

            I then used the illustration of the 34 people indicted or who pled guilty during the Robert Mueller investigation.  Many of those 34 people spent time in jail because they were caught lying under oath.  Their “yes” did not mean “yes”, in other words.  I then added that we have a President whose documented lies while in office now number over 10,800.  This is not my opinion.  It is documented in numerous fact-checking sources, especially Politi-fact.

            I knew it was questionable to mention that from the pulpit but I felt justified with the facts.  I did not offer any commentary on policies or ideologies.  Jesus did not address those things in this passage.  You see, I try to be true to the scriptures when I preach.  Nevertheless, after the service I was reprimanded by a lady who told me she did not appreciate me saying that the President was a liar.  I should show more respect for the President.  She then said, “It is obvious where you are coming from.”

            I do not apologize for speaking the truth.  In fact, the Bible is clear that we need to speak the truth – even to power, if need be.  The scriptures are filled with examples:  Moses; Elijah; Elisha; Amos; Jeremiah; John the Baptist.  Even Jesus spoke truth to power, rebuking Herod and, to some degree, Pilate.  God told the prophet Ezekiel that if he does not warn the people of their sin, he will be responsible for their fate (Ez. 33:7-9).

            Then, out of the blue, I received an email from my friend Jason.  It came about 2 weeks after my sermon.  Jason did not hear that sermon as he lives some 200 miles away from where I was preaching.  Jason asked: “Is there a biblically based argument to demonstrate that according to the teachings of Christ one cannot concurrently follow the ideology of Christ and Trump?”  He was looking for specific references from the Bible.  I am not sure why he asked.  I did not bother to seek the details.  I figured that if he wanted to fill me in, he would.

            Here is my response to him.



Yes I think there certainly is biblical evidence.  But its hard to simply point to a verse or two.  What one needs to do is take into consideration the full teachings of the Bible and, more importantly, the person of Jesus Christ.  Still, I have compiled a list of scriptures to address just a couple of topics that are prevalent today.  For the most part I just listed verses of the Bible without commentary.  Let God’s Word speak to you and see what you think. 



No matter what I say a true Trumpist will not accept it, I am sure.  They will call it “Fake News” or “Alternative Facts”.  It is sad that we have become so incredibly divided and entrenched in our ideology that we no longer are willing to LISTEN to other views and, as Jesus said, “Count the cost” of discipleship (Luke 14:28-33).

The real problem lies with hermeneutics - - that is, with how we interpret the Bible.  For example, do we place equal authority on the New Testament and the Old Testament?  Does the New outweigh the Old?  As Christians should we look only to the New?  Do the words of Jesus take priority over the words of Paul or Moses?



Most people will pick and choose what works best for them based on what they want the outcome to be.  The problem with that is WE tell the Bible what it should teach, rather than letting the Bible teach us.



ON IMMIGRATION:



Exodus 22:21 (NIV)
21  "Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt.




Exodus 23:9 (NIV)
9  "Do not oppress an alien; you yourselves know how it feels to be aliens, because you were aliens in Egypt.




Leviticus 19:34 (NIV)
34  The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.




Numbers 35:15 (NIV) This one also supports “sanctuary cities”
15  These six towns will be a place of refuge for Israelites, aliens and any other people living among them, so that anyone who has killed another accidentally can flee there.




Deuteronomy 10:19 (NIV)
19  And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt.




Deuteronomy 14:29 (NIV)
29  so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.




Malachi 3:5 (NIV)
5  "So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me," says the LORD Almighty.




Ephesians 2:19 (NIV)
19  Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household,




Hebrews 11:13 (NIV)
13  All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.






ON HATING OTHERS AND INSULTING PEOPLE:



Leviticus 19:17 (NIV)
17  "'Do not hate your brother in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in his guilt.




1 Samuel 2:3 (NIV)
3  "Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the LORD is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed.




1 Samuel 15:23 (NIV) This verse speaks directly to rulers & leaders, in this case, King Saul.
23  For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king."






Isaiah 13:11 (NIV)
11  I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless.






2 Corinthians 12:20 (NIV)
20  For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.




Matthew 5:43-44 (NIV)
43  "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'
 
44  But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45  that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.








REGARDING ARROGANCE & PRIDE



Psalm 5:5 (NIV)
5  The arrogant cannot stand in your presence; you hate all who do wrong.




Psalm 36:2 (NIV)
2  For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin.




Psalm 10:2 (NIV)
2  In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises.




Proverbs 8:13 (NIV)
13  To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.




Mark 7:20-23 (NIV) This one covers many topics!
20  He went on: "What comes out of a man is what makes him 'unclean.'
21  For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,
22  greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.
23  All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean.'"



Psalm 31:18 (NIV)
18  Let their lying lips be silenced, for with pride and contempt they speak arrogantly against the righteous.




Psalm 59:12 (NIV)
12  For the sins of their mouths, for the words of their lips, let them be caught in their pride. For the curses and lies they utter,




Proverbs 11:2 (NIV)
2  When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.




Proverbs 13:10 (NIV)
10  Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.




Proverbs 16:18 (NIV)
18  Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.




Proverbs 21:24 (NIV)
24  The proud and arrogant man--"Mocker" is his name; he behaves with overweening pride.




Jeremiah 49:16 (NIV) This one also speaks of the violence and hatred we are now seeing from the alt-right & Neo-Nazis.  They are clearly inspired by the words of our President and have credited him for their recent demonstrations.
16  The terror you inspire and the pride of your heart have deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks, who occupy the heights of the hill. Though you build your nest as high as the eagle's, from there I will bring you down," declares the LORD.




Ezekiel 28:2 (NIV)
2  "Son of man, say to the ruler of Tyre, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: "'In the pride of your heart you say, "I am a god; I sit on the throne of a god in the heart of the seas." But you are a man and not a god, though you think you are as wise as a god.




Amos 6:8 (NIV)
8  The Sovereign LORD has sworn by himself--the LORD God Almighty declares: "I abhor the pride of Jacob and detest his fortresses; I will deliver up the city and everything in it."




Zephaniah 2:10 (NIV)
10  This is what they will get in return for their pride, for insulting and mocking the people of the LORD Almighty.






AGAINST CATERING TO THE RICH (AS THE TAX CUTS DID, AND MANY OF HIS POLICIES ARE DOING)



Proverbs 22:16 (NIV)
16  He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives gifts to the rich--both come to poverty.




Matthew 19:23 (NIV)
23  Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.




Matthew 19:24 (NIV)
24  Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."




Luke 6:24 (NIV)
24  "But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.




Luke 16:21 (NIV)
21  and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.




Luke 16:22 (NIV)
22  "The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried.




1 Timothy 6:9 (NIV)
9  People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.




James 2:6 (NIV)
6  But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?




James 5:1 (NIV)
1  Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you.




Revelation 3:17 (NIV)
17  You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.




I did not even begin to address his racism and anti-Muslim comments and policies.  Those behaviors are also condemned in the Bible but I would need to study that in greater detail.



For me, the best thing is to put an image in your mind of Jesus, and then one of Donald Trump or whoever you want to consider.  It may be helpful to take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle.  At the top write JESUS on one side and TRUMP on the other.  Then just think of traits, character issues, attitudes, statements made by both, and anything else you can use for comparative purposes.  Make a list.  I am pretty confident you will find that Donald Trump and Jesus Christ are nearly the complete opposite of each other.  Understand that the Bible clearly teaches that we are to imitate Jesus.  We are called to model our life after his.  Others are to look at us and see Jesus.  I don’t think you will find that in Donald Trump.



For me personally, the biggest thing I have trouble with concerning Trump is his arrogance and his lies.  He is deceitful.  He mocks others.  He cheats. And he is deeply prejudiced.  And yet he has a way of mesmerizing people who in turn follow him to their own peril.



But do not take my word for it.  Look at the evidence.  Read the scriptures.  Decide for yourself.



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Looking back on my response to Jason I know he will look at the evidence and make his own decision.  That is the kind of person he is.  It is easy to feel so strongly about an issue that we want to seek something in the Bible that will justify our position.  But that is essentially telling God what to say and do.  It’s getting the cart before the horse, and it just does not work.  We must let the Word of God speak to us and pray for the faith to accept what it says.



G. D. Gehr
August 20, 2019

Comments welcome.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Further Thoughts On Domestic Terrorism


In response to my last post on August7, 2019 (The Current War of Domestic Terrorism) a good friend of mine wrote the following.



I propose that if these military style weapons are to be constitutionally made available to the citizenry to protect them from their own government  ( which is ridiculous but is at the crux of the NRAs  2nd amendment argument) that a $50000 annual permit must be purchased in order to legally own one .  Are people allowed to legally own RPGs and Tanks ? Maybe it should be legal for people to own sidewinder missiles and F16 fighter jets?  Where does it end.  These last couple of weeks I was thinking about the moon landing . I have to think that one of Kennedy’s greatest achievements as President was inspiring a generation of people to believe they could with hard work and positivity ,do anything  even  put a man on the moon -and they did it!  What our leaders say matters!  And when those leaders inspire hate and discord we get what we have seen at the Tree of a  Life synagogue  and  El Paso the list goes on and sadly is getting longer everyday.   John Lennon said War is over - if you want it - and the only way these things will change is if people want it and make it into reality. I am hopeful that love will prevail. 

-          JK



He makes a great point.  Where does it end?  If the Second Amendment to the Constitution is intended to allow citizens unlimited ownership of arms, then what is to stop a deranged person from stockpiling tanks, missiles, or even nuclear weapons?  Such thinking sounds absurd, of course, but only because we recognize that there are limits and reasonable minds must decide where those limits are placed.



I heard this morning on NPR that until the Supreme Court heard the case of The District of Columbia vs. Heller in 2008 the Second Amendment was understood to apply to State militias rather than individuals.  In Heller, however, the Court ruled 5-4 that individuals also should have the right to bear arms.  However, even in saying this, the Court admonished that there were limitations to this right.  Specifically, the Court ruled that its opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.



And so the debate continues.  Where are the boundary lines to be established?  It seems to me that current conditions demand stricter regulations.  Above all else the role of government is to protect its citizens at all costs.  We know that unrestricted speed on the highway causes death, so we regulate how fast drivers are allowed to drive.  We know that safety belts in cars saves lives, so we have made their use mandatory.  We know that heroin, methamphetamines, cocaine and certain other drugs cause deaths when misused, so we regulate their availability.   These are common sense regulations that are accepted and undisputed.  Can anyone tell me why on earth this nation is so ignorant to think that something as dangerous and lethal as an assault weapon should be less restricted than a seat belt?  Let’s get real.  Any reasonable analysis of the facts will reveal that assault weapons have consistently been used to terrorize this nation.   Our government must step up and protect the public by banning these horrendous killers.

-George Douglas Gehr
August 9, 2019