Category Archives: Christianity

an argument that trump should be removed from office

This editorial in a recent Christianity Today edition offers reasons why Christians should support removal of President Trump. It gives me pause..

Christianity Today – Dec. 19, 2019

In our founding documents, Billy Graham explains that Christianity Today will help evangelical Christians interpret the news in a manner that reflects their faith. The impeachment of Donald Trump is a significant event in the story of our republic. It requires comment.

The typical CT approach is to stay above the fray and allow Christians with different political convictions to make their arguments in the public square, to encourage all to pursue justice according to their convictions and treat their political opposition as charitably as possible. We want CT to be a place that welcomes Christians from across the political spectrum, and reminds everyone that politics is not the end and purpose of our being. We take pride in the fact, for instance, that politics does not dominate our homepage.

That said, we do feel it necessary from time to time to make our own opinions on political matters clear—always, as Graham encouraged us, doing so with both conviction and love. We love and pray for our president, as we love and pray for leaders (as well as ordinary citizens) on both sides of the political aisle.

Let’s grant this to the president: The Democrats have had it out for him from day one, and therefore nearly everything they do is under a cloud of partisan suspicion. This has led many to suspect not only motives but facts in these recent impeachment hearings. And, no, Mr. Trump did not have a serious opportunity to offer his side of the story in the House hearings on impeachment.

But the facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents. That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.

The reason many are not shocked about this is that this president has dumbed down the idea of morality in his administration. He has hired and fired a number of people who are now convicted criminals. He himself has admitted to immoral actions in business and his relationship with women, about which he remains proud. His Twitter feed alone—with its habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders—is a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.

Trump’s evangelical supporters have pointed to his Supreme Court nominees, his defense of religious liberty, and his stewardship of the economy, among other things, as achievements that justify their support of the president. We believe the impeachment hearings have made it absolutely clear, in a way the Mueller investigation did not, that President Trump has abused his authority for personal gain and betrayed his constitutional oath. The impeachment hearings have illuminated the president’s moral deficiencies for all to see. This damages the institution of the presidency, damages the reputation of our country, and damages both the spirit and the future of our people. None of the president’s positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character.

This concern for the character of our national leader is not new in CT. In 1998, we wrote this:

The President’s failure to tell the truth—even when cornered—rips at the fabric of the nation. This is not a private affair. For above all, social intercourse is built on a presumption of trust: trust that the milk your grocer sells you is wholesome and pure; trust that the money you put in your bank can be taken out of the bank; trust that your babysitter, firefighters, clergy, and ambulance drivers will all do their best. And while politicians are notorious for breaking campaign promises, while in office they have a fundamental obligation to uphold our trust in them and to live by the law.

And this:

Unsavory dealings and immoral acts by the President and those close to him have rendered this administration morally unable to lead.

Unfortunately, the words that we applied to Mr. Clinton 20 years ago apply almost perfectly to our current president. Whether Mr. Trump should be removed from office by the Senate or by popular vote next election—that is a matter of prudential judgment. That he should be removed, we believe, is not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments.

To the many evangelicals who continue to support Mr. Trump in spite of his blackened moral record, we might say this: Remember who you are and whom you serve. Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness to your Lord and Savior. Consider what an unbelieving world will say if you continue to brush off Mr. Trump’s immoral words and behavior in the cause of political expediency. If we don’t reverse course now, will anyone take anything we say about justice and righteousness with any seriousness for decades to come? Can we say with a straight face that abortion is a great evil that cannot be tolerated and, with the same straight face, say that the bent and broken character of our nation’s leader doesn’t really matter in the end?

We have reserved judgment on Mr. Trump for years now. Some have criticized us for our reserve. But when it comes to condemning the behavior of another, patient charity must come first. So we have done our best to give evangelical Trump supporters their due, to try to understand their point of view, to see the prudential nature of so many political decisions they have made regarding Mr. Trump. To use an old cliché, it’s time to call a spade a spade, to say that no matter how many hands we win in this political poker game, we are playing with a stacked deck of gross immorality and ethical incompetence. And just when we think it’s time to push all our chips to the center of the table, that’s when the whole game will come crashing down. It will crash down on the reputation of evangelical religion and on the world’s understanding of the gospel. And it will come crashing down on a nation of men and women whose welfare is also our concern.

Mark Galli is editor in chief of Christianity Today.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/december-web-only/trump-should-be-removed-from-office.html?fbclid=IwAR2A3oHRAoNgCbrr3lk7381-OUDxLItyLeygK4sLjoIWJAkpEuIl2rRIBsM

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Science vs. Darwinism | WORLD News Group

Ann Gauger received her bachelor’s degree from MIT, did a postdoc at Harvard University, and received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington’s department of zoology. Her scientific writing has appeared in Nature, the Journal of Biological Chemistry, and other scientific publications. These establishment credentials are helpful because she’s also

involved with the Discovery Institute, the world leader in developing and explaining intelligent design theory, which many establishment scientists despise. He

via Science vs. Darwinism | WORLD News Group.

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‘Nobody can hurt me’ | WORLD News Group

Well, President Trump? How big are your cajones?
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On the night before her final hearing before Pakistan’s Supreme Court, Asia Bibi had a dream. “I saw in a dream that all the doors of the prison are open,” she described, “and I’m worrying that if the jail superintendent comes she will be very furious.”

Hope can burn from the faintest wick. For Bibi the dream was a fresh fire. A field worker who does not read and a mother of five, Bibi is in her late 40s or early 50s and has been jailed since 2009. From a dispute with two Muslim women, who alleged she blasphemed Islam after one asked Bibi to bring her water, she has been on death row.

Her children, including one who is mentally handicapped, have grown up without her. Pakistan has had four prime ministers while Bibi has been behind bars. And multiple courts upheld a death-by-hanging sentence in her case, which has been pending before Pakistan’s Supreme Court since July 2015.

But on the eve of an expected ruling in October, she told her attorney, Saiful Malook, “From my dream I am very, very certain that my appeal is going to be accepted and I am going to be free.” Then she said, “I have such a full faith in God that I have [a] strong feeling that nobody can hurt me.”

To Malook, Bibi said, “I assure you, sir, you also don’t worry.”

The following day the Supreme Court ruled in her favor, saying she had been accused falsely and ordering her freed, but her ordeal was far from over. Islamic hard-liners sparked widespread protests, shutting down roads and services. Bibi was not guilty, but not free, and clearly needed to leave the country. On Nov. 7 authorities reportedly flew Bibi from the detention center in Punjab to Islamabad, where she remained in an undisclosed location. The government caved to the hard-liners, agreeing to review the Supreme Court’s decision for technical issues.

Malook told the story of Bibi’s dream at a church in the Netherlands, where he was forced to seek temporary shelter after threats against his own life. For offering to shelter him, the Netherlands faces threats too: On Nov. 13 Dutch officials had to close their embassy in Islamabad and withdraw staff over threats against Dutch diplomats.

The case already has become a watershed moment for Pakistan and the Muslim world, something like the 1979 Revolution in Iran. Hard-liners threaten Christians using the blasphemy laws, while their tactics threaten Pakistan’s democratic government. Two leading statesmen—Muslim Salman Taseer and Christian Shahbaz Bhatti—were assassinated in 2011 for defending Bibi.

The only thing more astonishing than the bravery and faith of Asia Bibi in the face of so much hatred and violence is the cowardice and retreat of nations more powerful than Pakistan. The United Kingdom granted shelter to those calling for the murder of Salman Rushdie and has allowed rallies parading the Hezbollah flag, but British leaders stayed silent on Bibi’s future.

The United States took in the very publicly threatened Russian Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Chinese democracy movement leader Wei Jingsheng, yet made no offer of asylum for Bibi. Privately U.S. officials say the situation is too sensitive to talk about, but while they remain silent the hard-liners are winning.

Besides wanting to kill Asia Bibi, Pakistan’s Islamist parties and their mullahs want to silence Western powers through fear and intimidation. They want to threaten violence in such a way that they get their way. Until Bibi is fully freed, they have made a sham of Pakistan’s rule of law and its court system. Unless the traditional protectors of freedom step forward in a public and profound way to offer safe passage, it will appear the greatest powers in the world can be lassoed by a jihadist-ruled street.

Weeks after a brave verdict, few are looking brave beside the farm worker and mother, Asia Bibi herself. Attorney Malook told the Dutch congregation: “I have not seen such a strong woman in my life, nor in any book story, who is behind the bars for more than nine years … and still can be so strong.”

https://world.wng.org/2018/11/nobody_can_hurt_me

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Death of a Martyr

I am not sure I agree completely with the author, but he has some points that bear consideration.
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WSJ 11/26/2018 By Tunku Varadarajan

North Sentinel Island lies 500 miles to the east of India in the Bay of Bengal. It is inhabited by 50 to 150 people—no one knows how many for sure—descended from Stone Age migrants from Africa who settled there 50,000 years ago. Their way of life has changed little since those primordial times. No one in the world outside knows their language.

By anthropological accounts, the Sentinelese are the world’s most isolated and inaccessible people. But John Allen Chau, a 27-year-old missionary from Washington state, also saw them as godforsaken and took it upon himself to convert them to Christianity. “Lord, is this island Satan’s last stronghold,” he wrote in his diary, “where none have heard or even had the chance to hear your name?”

Chau paid for his evangelical foray with his life. Last week— probably on Wednesday—he was killed by Sentinelese men wielding bows and arrows while attempting to approach them on their island. His body was most likely riddled, bringing to mind St. Sebastian, who had arrows showered upon him on the order of Roman Emperor Diocletian. (“And the archers shot at him,” wrote a hagiographer, “till he was as full of arrows as a hedgehog is full of pricks.”) Given the symbolism, and the obvious tragedy of his death, there will be those who ascribe nobility to Chau, and courage. After all, he ventured into hostile territory to propagate his faith. There can be no doubt that he was a devout Christian, even a fanatical one. One suspects that an element of fanaticism has driven missionaries throughout history to venture into far-flung places where they’re not wanted (at least initially). Chau is the latest in a long line of Christian martyrs, although perhaps the first with his own Instagram account.

But go easy on the romance of Chau and his messy, martyred end. He broke Indian law by entering the country on a tourist visa while pursuing an evangelical mission. Chau’s application would have been refused if it so much as mentioned the words “North Sentinel Island.”

No one is permitted to land on the island, not because India disapproves of foreign evangelists— it most emphatically does—but because it has adopted a policy since 1947 (the year of India’s independence) of leaving the Sentinelese entirely to themselves. The policy is called, pithily, “Eyes on, hands off.” The Sentinelese are observed from a very watchful distance, but there is a resolute prohibition on any physical contact with them.

There are epidemiological reasons for this, quite apart from the aesthetic and anthropological ones that advocate the leaving alone of an isolated people whom modern civilization has bypassed. Contact with the outside world—with men like Chau—would likely kill off the Sentinelese. Think flu, measles, chickenpox.

What we had in the end, was one man’s futile—and fatal— theater. But there’s a moral aftermath: The missionary found martyrdom, the Sentinelese a new lease on life. Out of this tragedy will come a vigorous new awareness of who they are, and what they don’t need. And that includes waterproof Bibles.

Mr. Varadarajan, born in India, is executive editor at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

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