How to Think Straight About Trump

Quite a few conservative-ish Christians are not thinking straight about President Trump. The work of pollsters continues to reveal this. Conversations with believers, both online and in person, bear it out as well. My purpose here isn’t to pile up evidence critical of Trump’s character, political philosophy, and management style.

The weightier problem is the thought process many are using to evaluate the president. We’re not going to see what we need to see unless we put the whole matter in the right light first.

So here’s an effort at improving the light a bit—in six steps.

1. Understand that “the media” are irrelevant.

As soon as each new controversy regarding Trump’s conduct in office hits the news, supporters begin to point fingers at “the media.” They’re referring, of course, to the major television, web, and print outlets that are, in varying degrees, dominated by the left-leaning political perspective.

So-called conservative talk radio and TV are among the most consistent to use this sort of argument in Trump’s defense.

But they might as well complain about the traffic in California, the weather in Ireland, and how badly Nabisco has ruined the “Original” Wheat Thin. As true and unfortunate as these complaints are (especially the Wheat Thin!), they’re exactly as useful as the views of the liberal media for making a conservative evaluation of the actions of the president—any president.

What should matter to conservatives is how leaders measure up to conservative principles. Ranting about how unfair liberals are is worse than worthless—it’s a distraction from painful realities conservatives need to face about where they now stand in the Trump era, and what sort of future they should be aiming for in the post-Trump era.

2. Understand that Hillary is irrelevant.

More than nine months after the election, variations of “Well, at least we didn’t get Hillary,” or “Hillary would have been worse” or “I suppose you wanted Hillary to win!” are still commonplace. Conservatives are often characterized as being stuck in the past, and it’s interesting how stuck many of them are on that particular past.

Let’s stipulate that a Hillary Clinton presidency would have been an unmitigated disaster. That observation is of no use at all for measuring the effectiveness of the president we have now. For one thing, it changes nothing. I could mock the Three Stooges all day, and it wouldn’t raise my I.Q. a single point. I could decry the evil of Kermit Gosnell whenever someone criticizes my character—it wouldn’t make me a better human being. In both cases, I might manage to create the illusion that I’m smarter or more righteous than I really am, but the effort itself would be stupid and wrong, for one simple reason: these people are not standards for evaluating wisdom and virtue.

Hillary is a distraction. When it comes to making conservative judgments about what’s happening in the Oval Office, what standard should conservatives use? —not the opinions of liberal media leaders, and certainly not the expected conduct of presidents who never were.

3. Understand that past liberal Presidents are irrelevant.

Along with “but the media” and “but Hillary,” many on the right are quick to turn to “but Obama” and “but Clinton.” But these are all clutter and distraction. Just as the opinions of liberal media and the qualities of liberal presidents-who-never-were don’t change anything and aren’t a conservative standard, so also past actual presidents from the left are of no use.

As Trump-defenses go, the Obama or Clinton reference tends to go beyond irrelevant and cross over into just weird. Here’s a common sequence:

  • Critic: President Trump should not have done A. It’s wrong, foolish, and not conservative.
  • Defender: Yeah, well Obama did A all the time, and Clinton, too!
  • Critic: (Scratches head, shrugs, walks away. How do you answer a counterargument that just made your own point for you?)

4. Understand resemblance to Reagan and Bush.

A bit of reasoning on the right—usually dressed up a lot to make it sound smarter—amounts to this:

“They” said Reagan was an idiot. “They” also said Bush was an idiot. Now, “they” say Trump is an idiot. Therefore, Trump is brilliant, like Reagan!

Well, that settles it—unless you already understand that it’s never been weighty to conservatives what “they” say about presidents (see item 1, above). And unless you understand that I’m not a brilliant scientist.

  • People said Galileo was wrong.
  • People said Einstein was wrong.
  • People say I’m wrong.
  • Therefore I’m a brilliant scientist like Galileo and Einstein!

(So how about that large research grant? I’ll just wait here by the phone.)

5. Understand what conservatism is.

Conservatism is not glandular. It’s not impulsive. It’s not even reactionary.

While it’s true that there is no single agreed-upon definition, there is considerable overlap in understandings of conservatism over the decades (and, by other names, over the centuries). Conservatism is a set of convictions and a way of thinking about human nature, the nature of society, and the role of government.

It’s a political philosophy, not a set of positions on current issues—much less a set of slogans and clichés.

A politician can favor a variety of the same policy preferences as conservatives, and utter lots of conservative-seeming soundbites, and not have a conservative way of thinking at all. And without a conservative way of thinking, none of his positions even begin to be truly conservative.

Russel Kirk is a lot to wade through, but his Ten Conservative Principles from A Conservative Mind are a good place to start. Thomas Sowel’s Conflict of Visions especially develops the sixth of the Kirk’s ten points (human imperfectability)—in a fairly accessible way. Edmund Burke’s political thought is wide-ranging and copious, but the The Burke Society is of some help for taking in digestable portions of his work.

A little grasp of what it means to look at society conservatively, rather than just repeating allegedly conservative reactions and touting allegedly conservative slogans, goes a long way toward putting our current president in the right light.

6. Understand how the sovereignty of God relates to rulers.

I often hear the argument that God must have given us Trump for a good reason, or, in the context of rejoicing over Trump’s rise to power, I see exaltations of the sovereignty of God in raising up and taking down rulers.

But where was this rhetoric when Obama was elected?

It’s certainly true that:

  • God raises up rulers and takes them down – Daniel 2:21
  • God directs the hearts of rulers – Proverbs 21:1
  • Rulers are God’s servants for promoting good and punishing evil – Romans 13:1-4, 1 Peter 2:14
  • Rulers are to be respected – 1 Peter 2:17

Let’s be clear, though, about some other facts, and what follows and doesn’t follow from the points above. It’s also true that:

  • God hardens the hearts of rulers as a form of judgment – Exodus 4:21, 7:3; Joshua 11:18-20
  • God disapproves of specific actions of rulers and punishes them – 1 Kings 16:30, 17:1
  • Scripture warns us against evil and foolish rulers and their oppressive ways – Proverbs 28:15-16
  • God works all things according to the counsel of His will, not just the good things – Isaiah 46:10, Ephesians 1:11

The sovereignty of God does not argue for giving any particular U.S. president a pass on bad behavior in office, nor does it offer us any assurance that a particular ruler will do more good than harm for his country and citizens relative to other rulers. Furthermore, in a system where law is king, the biblical call to “honor the king” is not a command to speak only praises of the head of the executive branch.

There is less than zero reason for thinking the Bible is more friendly toward Trump than other world rulers or other U.S. presidents—“less than” zero, because this president claims (at least sometimes) to have the thriving of Christians and Christian beliefs high in his values and goals.

That sets a higher standard for evaluating him, not a lower one.

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There are 52 Comments

Don Johnson's picture

The tragedy of the Trump fiasco is that he may very well have a long-term negative effect on conservative politics. He may well make conservative policies so odious that conservatives will have trouble getting elected for some time to come. I am glad when he actually does something conservative, but he is hardly a reliable conservative and so far has been largely unsuccessful in the legislature. It is maddening to hear unqualified support coming from people who ought to know better.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

TOvermiller's picture

On understand how the sovereignty of God relates to rulers, you remarked:

I often hear the argument that God must have given us Trump for a good reason, or, in the context of rejoicing over Trump’s rise to power, I see exaltations of the sovereignty of God in raising up and taking down rulers. But where was this rhetoric when Obama was elected?

I generally refrain from making public comments regarding politics, political parties, etc. But sometime last year, I posted some related thoughts here. I wrote this when President Obama was in office, and insisted on this perspective as pastor throughout his tenure. Ultimately, we should thank God for our President, whomever is elected. If government smiles upon us and grants us freedom and protection as God-fearing Christians, then I will be grateful. If it exemplifies Christian virtue and dignity, I will especially rejoice. But if not, then I must still respect my President and pray for him (or her).

Thomas Overmiller
Pastor | www.studygodsword.com
Blog & Podcast | www.shepherdthoughts.com

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Thomas, I appreciate the reminder. Any government is better than no government and so there is always some divine mercy involved and cause for thankfulness. At the same time, the political philosophy that dominates in Washington as well as at the state and local levels has an enormous impact on what sort of society we live in, minister in, and raise our children in. So I caution against too much distance from what's going on in that arena. "Politics" is just about all tactical stuff, and tends to be focused on where the clash of agendas is happening and the maneuvering involved in getting anything done. But political philosophy is part of worldview and much of it relates directly to our theology. For unbelievers, it relates directly to whatever religion or "religion replacement" they embrace. It has to do with several of the really big questions of life.

More on the media...

An observation I accidentally left out:  I really think it's best if conservatives stop paying attention at all to what liberal media are saying about presidents. The dynamic that develops is that we find it so abhorrent to agree with anything that is coming from these outlets, we can't resist the urge to react defensively. This is quite unhealthy when they happen to be partly right.... because we're too busy pushing back to offer criticism where it's due--and needed.

The radio and TV "conservative" talk seems to have nothing much more to say these days than how bad the media are. So pointless. We can't do anything about them. We, as in conservatives, can do plenty about our own leaders.

Mark_Smith's picture

1- If the media is irrelevant, why has the media spent all of this ink and time talking about how bad Trump is? Why have they had a steady, constant, negative drum beat against him. They are relentless. Are you saying that has no effect on the country, the President, and the people?

As an example, how much has the main stream media covered the DNC chair's issue with her IT person. Something weird happened there. Crickets on the coverage though. This does matter.

2- If Hillary is irrelevant, why has the media and Congress, including a bunch of Republicans, insisted that there was some kind of manipulation of the facts and even manipulation of them through "the Russians" that led to Trump being elected rather than Hillary. Yes this does matter. Have you missed the countless headless and Congressional hearings on this matter? 

3-Yes, past past Presidents do matter. Truth is not in a vacuum. You cannot complain about Trump's ethical issues while ignoring Bill Clinton's. The media majored in that. It was patently dishonest. Does it exonerate Trump? No, but it does impact the political and cultural environment.  

 

I don't have time to write any more, but it is naive to act like you can analyze Trump in some ethical vacuum. The political atmosphere matters, and it is toxic against anything remotely conservative. 

Jim's picture

How many people "like" Trump do you know?

I don't mean a billionaire (of which I know none) or even a millionaire of whom I know half a dozen.

I mean a character like Trump's?

I had a boss who was Trump like but to a very small degree. The man creeped me out but I survived him.

I personally, like others, think he has a mental disorder.:

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper reiterated his concern about President Donald Trump's ability to effectively lead the country on Wednesday night.

"What caused concern is this ... Jekyll-Hyde business where he'll make a scripted teleprompter speech, which is good, and then turn around and negate it by sort of, unbridled, unleashed, unchaperoned Trump. And that to me -- that pattern -- is very disturbing," 

JBL's picture

I don't believe Aaron is saying that the neither the media nor Hilary are irrelevant to national dialog.

What I take Aaron's point to be is that Trump's performance as President has nothing to do with his antagonism to the media or the fact that Hillary would have been a worse President.  Yet these are the rationales that people are using to justify Trump's performance.

Trump has been given a great opportunity to implement health care reform, budget and tax reform, and immigration reform.  He inherited Republican majorities in both house and Senate, and he has squandered it.  I am not surprised, and could have predicted this last June.  

His only victories are using the executive pen to roll back regulation and getting Gorsuch appointed to the Supreme Court.  Both may prove to be fleeting, since executive orders can be changed by the next administration, and the jury is still out on Gorsuch as to whether he will fall more in line with the Scalia or Roberts philosophy.  

He is an inspirational figure for mindless Republicanism, but not for conservatism nor Christianity.  He has governed as such and will be judged as such.

John B. Lee

David R. Brumbelow's picture

Some good news about President Trump:

WASHINGTON (BP) -- President Trump's proposed 2018 federal budget has drawn praise from advocates of teen sexual abstinence for asking Congress to double the percentage of sex education funds devoted to abstinence-based approaches.

Of the approximately $1 billion in federal funding for sex education annually, about 10 percent currently goes to programs that advocate delaying sexual activity. The figure will increase to 20 percent if Congress adopts Trump's proposed budget for fiscal year 2018, said Valerie Huber, president and CEO of Ascend (formerly the National Abstinence Education Association).

"We applaud President Trump for his immediate efforts to give more youth the skills they need to avoid sexual risk," Huber said in a news release, adding "this is a good step in the right direction."

http://www.bpnews.net/48953

David R. Brumbelow

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Maybe I can clarify a bit on the relevance question.

John is correct that I'm not saying the liberal media's impact on the country doesn't matter. But I am saying that their impact on the country doesn't argue one way or the other for how conservatives should evaluate Trump.

To put it another way, how bad "they" are has no impact on how good or bad Trump is. But what we tend to do is get outraged at what the left is saying, then react with disproportionate defensiveness toward Mr. Trump, often backing things that conservatives would never have backed a decade or even three years ago.

...and all of the outrage at the left also has no impact on them at all. They're not going to start thinking, "The conservatives are mad at us; let's be more fair." 

So all the fuss over "the media" is just a big energy drain. What conservatives really should do is put that energy (and lots of $) into conservative messaging aimed at the general population. But "the left is crazy" is not effective messaging. It's all preaching to the already convinced. Waste of time.

Regarding the budget

Have read some good things about it. The best parts may well go the way of tax reform and Obamacare repeal.

Joeb's picture

Hey Don from what I can tell you lean Libertarian. I hope you like my guy Rand  Paul . I'm not one but I like this guy a lot. 

I think Trump is a Carnival Barker and his mouth gets him in trouble.  I think the Republicans in the two house of Congress are worse.  What a bunch of babies. No matter how much I don't like Trump and disagree with some of his stands this Country can't take anymore of this fighting and getting nothing done. 

My God these so called conservatives in Congress are total idiots.  The Freedom Cacus being at the top of the idiot board.  You got to have some compassion for what Trump has to put up with.  Its not the Democrats now it's THEM THEM THEM.  

If I were a major business owner I'd sure want to move my business to Ireland.  Why would any one want to pay taxes and watch these Republican Bozos continuing to fight amongst themselves.  It's a joke.  They can't even get a budget past.  The Freedom Cacus does not want to spend a dime and the others are to afraid to do anything. 

I left the Conservative ranks politically years ago.  At least as a way of doing business in the Gov. There is only a few sane Republicans in both houses like Rand and they make fun of him. 

Again Trump's not the problem besides saying stupid things.  The problem is the Freedom Cacus and the rest of the Republican crew.  My God compromise amongst yourselves and get the show on the road.  

Half a loaf is better than none and that's all we have with Obama's years and Trumps time so far. NOTHING. 

You have to give the Democrats credit when they held all the reins of power at least they got Obamacare done whether you like it or not.  THEY GOT THE JOB DONE.  

Private Business has been sitting on Hugh amounts of cash waiting for these guys to get their acts together for a whole decade. The Chinese are laughing at us. We are our own worst enemies.  

Who cares if Trump is not a true Conservative.  All you need is to get him to sign period and he has shown he is willing and ready to do that. So where is the argument.  Mark is right.  Wow I usually save that for Bert because Bert is usually always right.  Again  Conservative mildly conservative in this case it  is irrelevant.  

The guy will sign on the dotted line. Donald Trump President. That is all the Republicans need and they don't appreciate that like they should.  In this case I'd say it is bordering on sin on the part of these Republican lawmakers for not putting the good of the nation ahead of their personal petty infighting. 

Don what do you think.  

Don Johnson's picture

Joeb wrote:

Hey Don from what I can tell you lean Libertarian. I hope you like my guy Rand  Paul . I'm not one but I like this guy a lot. 

Joe, as usual your comprehension level leaves a lot to be desired. The libertarians are godless fools, and Rand Paul is one of the biggest fools of them all. Good grief. 

Trump is utterly incompetent, but those guys are the enemy of religious liberty.

 

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Don't know much about the libertarians... other than that, in general, they seem to align socially with the left and fiscally with the right. Foreign policy seems pretty much left as well.

As for Trump's conservatism being irrelevant...  Not in this universe. There are several reasons for this:

  • He ran as a conservative candidate
  • He kept a conservative candidate from being nominated by getting nominated himself
  • He continually tries to identify vaguely with the right
  • Conservative and "political right" overlap but are not the same thing; Trump's presidency reinforces confusion between the two (the gist of conservative vs. "the right"--this category, in popular usage, includes both genuine conservatism and Nazi "unite the right" types, as in Charlottesville. But the two couldn't be more different--properly understood.)
  • Conservatives in large numbers are vocally and energetically identifying with Trump's agenda daily, even defending his most egregious missteps. Right now, everything Trump does sticks to conservatism like tar. Real-deal conservatism will be trying to detach itself from that for a long, long time. (The "do anything to defeat Hillary" crowd did not think this through when they were pushing for his nomination. Many still don't see it.)
  • So, it's mostly about perceptions. If the pres. openly rejected conservatism and claimed to be something else, it would help, but he's not going to do that... mostly because, I'm pretty sure, he does not really know conservatism from libertarianism from populism from egalitarianism from alt-right white supremacy. He might not be racist or in favor of alt-right, but I don't think he understands why that isn't conservative--and, so far, is not exactly getting out in front of the problem of the confusion on that point.
JNoël's picture

As I read Aaron's article, I find I mostly agree with it; a few things here and there that I don't entirely agree with.

For me, the "so what" is that this article will help rightly thinking conservative Christians point out the flaws in the thinking of many of our Christian brothers who are not looking at Trump in the right way. FB post after FB post is filled with how much better Trump is than Hilary, how bad the media is, similarities to Reagan (seriously?), and God's sovereignty. But Aaron is right: those things are not the point. We need to assess Trump as a president in an intellectually honest way. I am very frustrated with Congress, but, in one way, I am actually glad they are as inept an incapable of agreeing on anything as they currently are because I am afraid of the things Trump may accomplish that might actually be bad for our country if the Republicans in Congress actually started working together. But I digress.

Trump is not a conservative. Trump has a life-long track record of being a disrespectful, hedonistic, self-centered scoundrel. Those are simple, objective truths about the man who needs our daily prayers as much as Obama did and as much as Hilary would have.

So every time your Christian brother mightily defends President Trump by bringing up any of Aaron's six posted points, kindly respond with whatever the relevant truth about Trump is that is outside those six points and encourage your brother to try to judge Trump for the specifics in question.

 

Ashamed of Jesus! of that Friend On whom for heaven my hopes depend! It must not be! be this my shame, That I no more revere His name. -Joseph Grigg (1720-1768)

josh p's picture

As a libertarian allow me to dispel some ignorance. There are different kinds of libertarians (thickists and thinnists among other classifications). The basic principle that most arrange under is that no person or group has a right to commit an act of aggression against another person or group including their property. To call them anti-religious Liberty is absolutely absurd. I suggest a little more reading before branding people in ignorance. There is a lot of information out there so it shouldn't be hard. Check out Reformed Libertarian as an example of some who are not "godless fools." 

JNoël's picture

Not to hijack the thread, but I have a question about sovereignty that came up today in conversation.

Trump is president, therefore God ordained it.

But when did God ordain it? How long ago? For all time? September of 1945 (do the math)? June of 2015? Just prior to the primary? Just prior to the general election?

The question came up because of a discussion about how Kasich played spoiler to a possible Cruz presidency. I'm curious to hear what others think about this.

Ashamed of Jesus! of that Friend On whom for heaven my hopes depend! It must not be! be this my shame, That I no more revere His name. -Joseph Grigg (1720-1768)

Bert Perry's picture

There are a bunch of different kinds of libertarians, kinda like Baptists, really.  There are the "legalize dope and hookers and don't make me pay for anything" drunken frat boy type, and there are those whose understanding is simply what most economists believed a century ago--real money (gold), strict limits on banks, no central banking, and the like.  So to paint them with a broad brush is simply to admit that one doesn't understand the movement at all.  

I'm personally in the "classical liberal" or "paleoconservative" group, and I believe it reasonably conforms to the Scriptures.  

But that's a side note.  What's important about Trump vis-a-vis the media is that, for all his very real faults, Trump has antagonized them into showing their hand--a hand that's been so biased that when I was in college in the eighties, they were handing out "Impeach Rather" bumper stickers--most people got the joke.   He's a deeply flawed man who is showing us what's under the hood of our politics, and I praise God for that.

And let's be blunt; yes, Trump is a scoundrel, but it's not clear that he belongs in jail.  That's nicer than what I can say about Clinton or Obama, really.  No way all those Obama scandals worked out in his favor without his finger on the scale in a criminal way--the difficulty is proving he did it to a court.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

dgszweda's picture

JNoël wrote:

FB post after FB post is filled with how much better Trump is than Hilary, how bad the media is, similarities to Reagan (seriously?), and God's sovereignty.

This is probably a bigger indication of the friends you have on facebook than the how well Trump is viewed.  I am not seeing any of those posts on my facebook pages.

Joeb's picture

Way to go Don speak before thinking. Ooooops!   Someone correct me if I'm wrong is not Rand Paul's father a Fundamental Baptist.  He may be a Convergent to  

By the way Don I agree with your assessment of Trump but who cares if he is willing to sign on the dotted line of Conservative Bills.  

My point is the Conservative Republicans should use Dopey for all he is worth to forward their agenda.  Yet all those great conservatives in Congress can't seem to get a bill to his desk.  Again I blame them.  As long as Trump signs his name for the Conservative cause then who cares.  He is President at least until 2020 and willing to forward the Conservative agenda.  Hence he is a Conservative.  

I did not vote for him but at this point I don't care if Bozo the Clown is President as long as he moves the ball forward with fiscal conservatism as his highest priority in doing it.  

Shrink the Federal civilian work force through attrition where needed and build up defense and start paying down the national debt and work on infrastructure.  If all else fails tweak Obamacare if you can.  Cut tax rates for business and redo the tax code i.e. flat tax.  

If done fast enough the Democrats can't do anything about it.  The Business Community will respond.

 Develop all available energy sources.   Embrace Musk's  Transportation Tubes and other Tech.  This Musk guy is on the edge of revolutionizing the Space Business i.e. Bert's guys can put us on top of any Country Economically.   We are the innovators of the world period   

The goal is to put the Arabs out of the oil business and sink Russia Economically.  Devalue oil no Russian Problem.  When we see tech that's promising you do it for the long term instead of the quick buck.  

My brother is a believer and he was pretty high up on the Pharma Business at one time Unfortunately the older you are and the more you make you become a target for cutting. Like Bert my brother is highly intelligent and a logical thinker.  He has a BS in Biology from Bethel College a Masters in Micro Biology from Northwestern and a MBA from the Wharton School in Finance.  Of course the business world has changed he used to get two years severance built into his employment contracts so the last two times they laid him off they had to hand him a half a mil going out the door.  Now he is just happy to have a job period 

Now to business.  The last Pharma Company he worked for was only focusing on quick returns on drugs i.e. Pump and Dump and blow up the stock price.  It was his job to find promising companies with promising drugs to buy out but his thinking was you get products developed with 10 to 15 years down the line.  Unfortunately the CEO wanted drugs in the mental illness area.  Easy to drum up as being successful and vague to prove it isn't i.e. Pump and dump.  

In a meeting when my brother questioned the ethics of doing business this way and that is was no way to build the company guess what he got shown the door.  Needless to say 6 months later in the Paper the Pharma company was fined civilly by Uncle Sam for pumping and dumping  

Moral of the story is for Bert's guys to make our Country successful we need to hang in there for the long run not just go for the quick buck   That's what the private sector is guilty of   

 

G. N. Barkman's picture

Perhaps I'm wrong, but I seem to recall that Rand Paul's father is a Lutheran.  Where did this Fundamental Baptist bashing come from?

G. N. Barkman

josh p's picture

Yes Ron Paul is no fundamental baptist. He was raised Lutheran then went to a episcopalian church and is now I think at a SBC church. 

Joeb's picture

I asked for a check now you gave it to me.  It's Southern Baptist.  I stand to be corrected.  Only pointing out that the Guy And His Son Are Not The Heathens Don says they are.  While he is also questioning my comprehension. Good Grief Don.   

JNoël's picture

josh p wrote:

Yes Ron Paul is no fundamental baptist...is now I think at a SBC church. 

Some in the SBC may take offense in your comparison; I assume you mean SB's aren't generally Hard Right ("fightin' fundy")? Because the SBC hardly can be considered not fundamental in it's doctrines. But the SBC is definitely not Hard Right

Ashamed of Jesus! of that Friend On whom for heaven my hopes depend! It must not be! be this my shame, That I no more revere His name. -Joseph Grigg (1720-1768)

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

JNoel quoted "Trump is president, therefore God ordained it"... asked "when?"

It's a good question, but I think the bigger problem with how this is used is the "Therefore...." part. That is, we all accept that leaders are God-ordained, but what follows from that? It does not follow that leader A is better than leader B, since all of them are ordained. It also doesn't follow that if Leader A is ordained by God, we should judge him by an extremely low standard. 

All I'm really asking of conservatives is to take maybe 1/10th of the critical energy they devoted to questioning Obama's choices (and still devote daily to criticizing "the media") and apply that to questioning whether Trump is doing the right thing (or is even all that interested in what we think of as "right" in general.)

1/10th should be a really good start.

On libertarians... Yeah, I'm remembering now that even back in 50's when WF Buckley was getting National Review going, there were many libertarians of various flavors involved in the project, and several who contribute in various ways today. I don't personally think libertarianism is ultimately very conservative, because there are ideas about moral authority and human nature that just don't seem compatible. But there is a long history of libertarians and (other?) conservatives sort of helping each other out--as well as challenging each other's thinking on issues.

But in the recent election cycle the libertarian party ... seemed completely unhinged. (I think this is probably more who Don was thinking of.... not so much Rand Paul? ( who is a Republican))

Jay's picture

Not to hijack the thread, but I have a question about sovereignty that came up today in conversation.

Trump is president, therefore God ordained it.

But when did God ordain it? How long ago? For all time? September of 1945 (do the math)? June of 2015? Just prior to the primary? Just prior to the general election?

I think you will find that many people answer this differently on this board, and all of it, honestly, is speculation.

I would say that God knew that Trump would win, but the free will choices of humans was what made it an ordained activity.  Of course, I would also argue that God knows of an alternative where Hillary won the election as well, since He knows everything.

I think the real question is 'Is God's knowledge -determinative- or is it in conjunction with free will?'.  I would answer the latter.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Jim's picture

How to Think Straight About [any President]:

  • The US Constitution limits his power
  • Of all of our Presidents only impacted me personally
  • Bush # 43 and Obama impacted my middle son directly because he was sent to Iraq and to Afghanistan 

For me, aside from above: No President has negatively or positively impacted me. 

  • Taxes go up / go down / go up & I pay them
  • I benefit from a strong national defense that has provided a safe environment for living and working

I survived Obama & I will survive Trump

My role: https://twitter.com/jrpeet/status/822504518252425216

 

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

dgszweda wrote:

This is probably a bigger indication of the friends you have on facebook than the how well Trump is viewed.  I am not seeing any of those posts on my facebook pages.

I'd like to know a little bit more about how their algorithms work, though as you said, I suspect it just depends on what people you select as Facebook "friends."  I have both saved and unsaved friends, and the posts I see about Trump run the gamut from "Trump is the 2nd coming" to "Trump is evil incarnate."  The posts I see about him from my libertarian leaning friends go both ways, depending on the issue.  I wish the edges would even out, and I'd get more "middle-of-the-road" posts about Trump (simply the actual facts wouldn't be so bad), but I'm guessing those don't generate enough controversy and read counts.

Dave Barnhart

Ron Bean's picture

If the church could thrive under Nero I'm sure it can survive Trump. And Paul couldn't even vote.

 

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

josh p's picture

JNoël wrote:

 

josh p wrote:

 

Yes Ron Paul is no fundamental baptist...is now I think at a SBC church. 

 

 

Some in the SBC may take offense in your comparison; I assume you mean SB's aren't generally Hard Right ("fightin' fundy")? Because the SBC hardly can be considered not fundamental in it's doctrines. But the SBC is definitely not Hard Right

Ok you are probably right that sounds confusing. I believe RP is in an SBC church and I believe he would be on the left of that group. I agree that the SBC is fundamental in doctrine but I personally do not see them as seperatistic. As much as I respect RP I highly doubt that he would identify as a fundamentalist of any stripe and possibly even a conservative Christian. 

josh p's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:

JNoel quoted "Trump is president, therefore God ordained it"... asked "when?"

It's a good question, but I think the bigger problem with how this is used is the "Therefore...." part. That is, we all accept that leaders are God-ordained, but what follows from that? It does not follow that leader A is better than leader B, since all of them are ordained. It also doesn't follow that if Leader A is ordained by God, we should judge him by an extremely low standard. 

All I'm really asking of conservatives is to take maybe 1/10th of the critical energy they devoted to questioning Obama's choices (and still devote daily to criticizing "the media") and apply that to questioning whether Trump is doing the right thing (or is even all that interested in what we think of as "right" in general.)

1/10th should be a really good start.

On libertarians... Yeah, I'm remembering now that even back in 50's when WF Buckley was getting National Review going, there were many libertarians of various flavors involved in the project, and several who contribute in various ways today. I don't personally think libertarianism is ultimately very conservative, because there are ideas about moral authority and human nature that just don't seem compatible. But there is a long history of libertarians and (other?) conservatives sort of helping each other out--as well as challenging each other's thinking on issues.

But in the recent election cycle the libertarian party ... seemed completely unhinged. (I think this is probably more who Don was thinking of.... not so much Rand Paul? ( who is a Republican))

Yes from my perspective the libertarian party is a clown show. Possibly as bad as the republicans which is really saying something. 

Jim's picture

Ron Bean wrote:

If the church could thrive under Nero I'm sure it can survive Trump. And Paul couldn't even vote.

^^^^^^^ This ^^^^^^

The 1st century Christian never contemplated "How to Think Straight About Nero"

Joeb's picture

Jim you are spot on with that statement.  Bravo Bravo Bravo.  

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