Saturday Ramblings: November 12, 2016



The person we acknowledge as our Rambler today has been one of our generation’s wilderness poets. This week Leonard Cohen died at age 82. Here is an excerpt from Larry Rohter’s remembrance in the New York Times:

Leonard Cohen, the Canadian poet and novelist who abandoned a promising literary career to become one of the foremost songwriters of the contemporary era, has died, according to an announcement Thursday night on his Facebook page. He was 82.

Mr. Cohen’s record label, Sony Music, confirmed the death. No details were available on the cause. Adam Cohen, his son and producer, said: “My father passed away peacefully at his home in Los Angeles with the knowledge that he had completed what he felt was one of his greatest records. He was writing up until his last moments with his unique brand of humor.”

Over a musical career that spanned nearly five decades, Mr. Cohen wrote songs that addressed — in spare language that could be both oblique and telling — themes of love and faith, despair and exaltation, solitude and connection, war and politics. More than 2,000 recordings of his songs have been made, initially by the folk-pop singers who were his first champions, like Judy Collins and Tim Hardin, and later by performers from across the spectrum of popular music, among them U2, Aretha Franklin, R.E.M., Jeff Buckley, Trisha Yearwood and Elton John.

…Mr. Cohen was an unlikely and reluctant pop star, if in fact he ever was one. He was 33 when his first record was released in 1967. He sang in an increasingly gravelly baritone. He played simple chords on acoustic guitar or a cheap keyboard. And he maintained a private, sometime ascetic image at odds with the Dionysian excesses associated with rock ’n’ roll.

At some points, he was anything but prolific. He struggled for years to write some of his most celebrated songs, and he recorded just 14 studio albums in his career. Only the first qualified as a gold record in the United States for sales of 500,000 copies. But Mr. Cohen’s sophisticated, magnificently succinct lyrics, with their meditations on love sacred and profane, were widely admired by other artists and gave him a reputation as, to use the phrase his record company concocted for an advertising campaign in the early 1970s, “the master of erotic despair.”

Rolling Stone has published a list of what they consider to be 20 of his most essential songs. Here is one of them. A fond farewell to our Rambler of the Week, the late Leonard Cohen.

• • •



This week Donald Trump became the 45th President of the United States, defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton to gain the White House.

Self-identified evangelicals overwhelmingly favored Mr. Trump, voting for him by 81%-16%.

  • Surprise — Franklin Graham had an opinion about this: “Did God show up?” he wrote on Facebook. “In watching the news after the election, the secular media kept asking ‘How did this happen?’ ‘What went wrong?’ ‘How did we miss this?’ Some are in shock. Political pundits are stunned. Many thought the Trump/Pence ticket didn’t have a chance. None of them understand the God-factor.”
  • Another surprise — so did evangelical leaders on the left, such as Jim Wallis, who said: “Donald Trump ran on racial bigotry and misogyny — not implicitly and covertly, but explicitly and overtly. In an America that is rapidly changing demographically and culturally, Donald Trump chose to run on white identity politics and to bring white nationalism back into the mainstream of American public life.”

To the label “Evangelical”:

There is so much to admire about you, your history, and the theology you represent. You mean “good news,” and came to identify a movement birthed by a commitment to the gospel, the euangelion, of Jesus Christ. Seventy years ago, those called “evangelicals” rejected the angry, condemning rhetoric of the fundamentalists, and they saw the error of theological liberalism that abandoned orthodoxy. They sought a third way that was culturally engaged and biblically faithful. I love that heritage.

But look at what you have become—little more than a political identity with a pinch of impotent cultural Christianity. You’ve become a category for pollsters rather than pastors, a word of exclusion rather than embrace. Yes, there are still godly, admirable leaders under your banner, but many are fleeing your camp to find a more Christ-honoring tribe. When more people associate you with a politics of hate than a gospel of love something is terribly wrong. I take no joy in saying it, but like Esau you have sold your birthright for a bowl of soup. You have exchanged the eternal riches of Christ to satisfy a carnal appetite for power. 

In the past I willing accepted your name as my own. I even worked for your flagship magazine. More recently I have avoided you because of your political and cultural baggage, but I’ve not objected when others identified me with you because your heritage was worth retaining. That passive acceptance is over now. What was admirable about your name has been buried, crushed under the weight of 60 million votes. I am no less committed to Christ, his gospel, and his church, but I can no longer be called an evangelical. Farewell, evangelicalism. 

With regret,


  • Mark Galli at CT hopes that the fissures this election revealed won’t lead to permanent divisions, but that evangelicals will seize the opportunity to do something exceptional: “…one wonders if the truly impressive witness would be a movement that, despite its serious political differences (as well as racial and ethnic divides), still worships and prays together, and warmly calls each other brothers and sisters in Christ.”

• • •


868Gary Ernst, incumbent treasurer in Oceanside, California, won reelection with 54% of the vote over attorney and community activist Nadine Scott. Only one problem: Ernst died September 23. Apparently, people really did not want Scott handling the city’s money.


Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, Republican State Rep. Marple had an interesting day.

Marple was sitting outside a polling place with his campaign signs on Election Day when a police officer recognized him. Marple had been charged with driving without a valid license in December 2014, and authorities had issued a bench warrant for his arrest after he failed to show up for a court hearing in October. When confronted by the officer, Marple drove himself to the police station and was arrested.

He was also re-elected to a fifth term.

Marple defended himself Friday, alleging that he is being targeted as a troublemaker because he strictly interprets the state constitution.


4451528Is it real or is it Rhonda? This week Rhonda Crawford was expected to win election as a judge in Chicago. But there were, uh, problems.

The former law clerk was fired from her courthouse job and criminally charged for donning a black robe and presiding over traffic cases that should’ve been heard by a real judge. The Illinois Supreme Court temporarily suspended her law license. So now, even if she wins (and her name was the only one on the ballot), she won’t be allowed to serve unless she is cleared of the charges.

Crawford explained that she’d been shadowing judges, observing how they work, when a judge she knew “encouraged” her to put on the robe and preside.


And then there is Swedish photographer Gustav Hallen, for whom the U.S. presidential election turned into an opportunity to find a marriage partner.

Hearing that Americans might be moving out of the country if Donald Trump were elected, he posted an auction on eBay offering to marry one of them. Hallen, 30 years old, listed his auction with a starting price of $50,000 for “Swedish Citizenship including marriage. The listing read:

“US just become the land of the free to leave. Why not move to a better place? Like Sweden?”
“Open for all suggestions female, male and others. Likes long walks and Netflix and chill.”


By the way, this was my favorite cartoon for the election:


And finally, stooping (or is it squatting) to the lowest point of this election cycle, the Rambler has reported before on the Spanish traditional Christmas figurines known as “caganers” (or “poopers”).

Sorry we missed this year’s versions, which were hot sellers before the election.

He goes low, HRC goes high, you know.

• • •


Were the choices in this year’s election rooted in the decline of the American family?

Did Luther turn from the Catholic tradition or was his “Reformation turn” toward the very heart of the Catholic tradition?

Can the United Methodists remain a united church?

Is your risk for the flu connected to the year you were born?

Why are seabirds attracted to floating plastic in the ocean?

Why WOULD anyone sing in church these days?

• • •



For some reason, it seems like a long time ago now since the Cubs won the World Series. One of the most wonderful things that happened in the context of the Cubs’ historic season was the spontaneous display of human emotion and expression that took place at Wrigley Field. Fans took chalk and began writing on “the Wall” of the stadium — the outer brick wall of Wrigley that runs parallel to Waveland and Sheffield Avenues.

Fans wrote their names, and the names of loved ones, especially those Cubs fans in their families who didn’t live to see the day when the Cubs reigned as champions. They wrote messages of support and thanks to the team and its players. It was personal, it was familial, it was an expression of community, long-suffering and now rejoicing.

Mary Szczypta, from Huntley, Ill., writes in chalk on an outer wall at Wrigley Field where others have written messages in support of the Cubs' championship run and in remembrance of friends and family who never saw the Cubs win the World Series, Monday, Nov. 7, 2016, in Chicago. Fans started writing messages encouraging the Cubs on the walls outside the famed ballpark's bleachers during the run to the team's first championship since 1908. Wrigley Field's days as the "Friendly Chalkboard" are coming to an end. The Chicago Cubs say they need to remove chalk messages and artwork left by fans on the ballpark's exterior walls due to offseason construction. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) ORG XMIT: ILCA201






Unfortunately, the display will not be permanent. However, the Cubs organization announced that they would take photos so that the affections of Cubs fans will be forever available to view — “While we hate to remove these cherished messages, chalk is a fleeting medium. To preserve these images, we will continue to photograph the outfield bleacher walls so we may share these postseason wall messages publicly in the future.”

In another remarkable aspect to the Cubs story, it was estimated that 5 million people attended the victory parade and rally for the team last Friday.

• • •



As a moral and political statement ahead of the presidential election, Texas priest Rev. Frank Pavone, a Catholic priest who heads New York-based Priests for Life, took an aborted fetus, laid it upon an altar and posted a live video on Facebook. Pavone said the fetus was entrusted to him by a pathologist for burial.

He said his efforts were part of a 9-day effort to get voters to vote for pro-life Republicans.

“In the chapel were only me and the baby, whose funeral has already been held and who has been laid to rest,” he said. “No family were present, because they rejected the child and had him killed. His body would have been thrown in the garbage had we not accepted it.”

The Diocese of Amarillo, Pavone’s diocese, released a statement opposing the priest’s action: “The Diocese of Amarillo deeply regrets the offense and outrage caused by the video for the faithful and the community at large. The action and presentation of Father Pavone in this video is not consistent with the beliefs of the Catholic Church.”

They are investigating Pavone’s act, remarking that it was contrary to the dignity of human life and a desecration of the altar.

• • •


Each year, British retailer John Lewis puts out a memorable Christmas ad that plays like a short story. The cinematography is always magnificent, and the emotional impact tangible.

Here’s the ad for this year. Enjoy!

• • •



  • Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others and forgive them from their heart.
  • Blessed are those who look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalised and show them their closeness.
  • Blessed are those who see God in every person and strive to make others also discover him.
  • Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home.
  • Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others.
  • Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians.

Pope Francis, preaching at a Catholic Mass in Malmo, Sweden as part of his recent ecumenical pilgrimage, proclaimed that Jesus’ Beatitudes are the Christian’s “identity card.” The pontiff then suggested these six updated blessings for Christians in the situations we face today.

All those who enact the six items, said the pontiff, “are messengers of God’s mercy and tenderness, and surely they will receive from him their merited reward.”

• • •


We’re going to miss Hillary Rodham Clinton, who came oh so close to gaining the White House this year as the first female president in the history of our republic. All of us here at Saturday Ramblings want to send her off with smiles today. Here is a compilation video of the great Kate McKinnon on SNL, whose Hillary impressions will forever endear HRC to us.

Okay, maybe that’s not quite the right verb…

203 thoughts on “Saturday Ramblings: November 12, 2016

  1. Good comment, Dana.

    Sometime around 1940…

    “Winston, do you think America will do right by us?”

    “America has always done right–after she has tried everything else.”


  2. I would add one thing more to what Rick Ro said; and he came to be in it with us.

    That’s what the Incarnation is about. The theodicidic question is never answered. God/Christ will not serve as our deux ex machina. The only substantive response is God’s presence in and among us–and, imo, the admonition to grow up and take responsibility for the crap we can control.


  3. Radagast,

    Sorry, but I don’t believe a word the P-e says. He’s merely a populist opportunist. Sometimes he can become very sentimental, as was evident in the interview after his meeting with Obama and on a few other occasions; but that’s not in the least atypical for lying bullies, who can sometimes appear to be very soft right before they get up and smash your skull. Though he is significantly bigoted, he’s not ideological, and that’s good as far as it goes.
    But now he’s announced that he’s appointing Bannon, a white nationalist ideologue and antisemite, as his “chief strategist”, which means that a neo-fascist will be exerting direct influence from within the White House, and will be within a few steps of the most powerful office in the world. No wonder the KKK and Alt-Right and every other racist in the country is in high celebration mode; they can hardly restrain themselves.

    No, I see nothing good here.


  4. Rad, no, just a part-time “survival English” tutor working for a socisl services sgenfy that helped migrant famworkers. I had a friend who worked as same for Catholic Charities in Erie. What *she* saw would not be a pleasant story. She was a nun, thus had access to many places that it was extremely hard to get into. The people who run thrm don’t want *anyone* to see how they force people to live, believe me.


  5. Robert F,

    A couple of things – sometimes we must look at points in history through the lense of what was happening at the time and not through our 21st century eyes. It does not change what happened at the time, and I especially understand your point about the Native American thing,

    Migrant workers – yes I understand they travel with the seasons and in other comments I have made here they were/are part of the landscape. But the recent surge throws all of that out of kilter.

    Read the transcripts from the 60 minutes broadcast with Trump that I believe was on tonight (did not see it first hand). He is mellowing on a number of things he said on the campaign trail as I expected – deporting undocumented immigrants unless they are performing criminal activity, wants to secure borders as first priority in attacking immigration issues…and will not be appointing a special prosecutor to look into Hillary.


  6. Letter to Congress? It only takes minutes for an intercontinental ballistic missile to travel from Russia to the US; the US nuclear deterrent depends on being able to retaliate within as little as fifteen minutes to incoming nukes. The nuclear deterrent requires that the President’s power to launch is absolute, and his order to do so (once he’s authenticated) can only be refused by an act of mutiny.

    Read my own link and quote below, when it gets out of moderation.



    ..while the military officers who would carry out a nuclear launch are required to work in pairs, where both must concur before they can execute a nuclear launch, there is no such check on the president’s actions.
    “The president has supreme authority to decide whether to use America’s nuclear weapons. Period. Full stop,” said the Arms Control Association’s Kingston Reif. A president could only be stopped by mutiny, he said, and more than one person would have to disobey the president’s orders.


  8. If the President on the spur of the moment wanted to launch a nuclear missile as a first strike attack, could anyone stop him?
    The President has the final authority to launch a nuclear weapon but can anyone stop him from doing so?

    Dan Holliday, I read.
    Written May 31, 2015
    Presumably, by the time the POTUS got into that position, they gained the scruples not to launch a needless nuclear annihilation of another nation. That said, there’s a chain of command that involves the Secretary of Defense who could refuse to relay the order (his codes —or those of the Asst. Sec. Defense in his absence— are required to launch) and then quickly call the Cabinet and Congress to report that the POTUS had gone crazy. The Cabinet can declare the President unfit in a letter to Congress.

    Furthermore, there’s a “must notify” part of the nuclear protocol that requires the DoD and whomever else inside the White House to notify senior leaders of the US government in the event of a nuclear launch. These leaders would include (and presumably not be limited to), Speaker of the House, President Pro Temp of the Senate, Majority/Minority Leaders of both houses of Congress, the Chairperson of the various oversight committees that are tied to war (Appropriations, Defense, Intelligence, Energy). The chain of command, that requires the Secretary of Defense and others to relay such an order is robust enough to handle such a statistically-impossible scenario of a “rogue president” ordering a launch.


  9. Again: if God doesn’t judge America for what it did to the Native peoples, then God’s not in the judging business. Ditto with regard to slavery.

    Recently read an article in Smithonian magazine about how President Grant instigated a war against the tribal peoples to take what is now the Dakotas away from them when gold was found there, despite the fact that the US had guaranteed their right to that land in perpetuity. Made my heart sink in shame.


  10. Correct, numo. Wherever there’s agriculture, CA, PA, FL, etc. Not just near the borders. And their living and working conditions are appalling, whether they are documented or not. If God doesn’t ever judge America for this exploitation, then he’s not in the judging business.


  11. Robert – thank you.

    My ancestors were undocumented, too, though mostly German, Swedish and Dutch.

    Btw, did you know thst PA has zero Native lands, and zero registered tribes? People were forced out or killed or died from disease during the colonial period and in the late 18th-early 19th c., for the most part. A tiny number remained until the early 1900s.

    Our state has this ghost population, one that’s never discussed in history classes.


  12. Rad, they’re so much a part of agriculture in PA (and the rest of the country), you might not see it, but if you did… Apples, grapes, potatoes, and similar crops. I know precisely because I worked with migrant farmworkers in western PA, in the Pittsburgh area and in Erie County. They’re all over the state, though they’re on a circuit that covers much of the East and Midwest.

    The thing is, the,legal folks are treated as badly as the undocumented. I was in one camp bunkhouse that was comparatively “goid.” It had 2 toilets, 2 sinks and absolutely no insulation or weather-proofing. It housed about 60 people. Iirc, there was *one* shower. I’m not certain they had access to hot water. This was on a apple farm north of P’burgh.

    Many legal migrants don’t even know that they hsve rights here, and few speak,read or write English.


  13. Robert,

    My great-great Irish Grandfather walked off the boat in 1843, two years before the potato famine, walked onto the dock and made it to Brooklyn, without ever being processed. You are correct. Within 10 years the Irish were immigrating in vast numbers, bringing with them disease, crime, overcrowding and as a result processes were put into place to deal with these issues. By the 1880’s they were being processed at Castle Gardens and by the early 1900’s Ellis Island.

    We now have the processes in place to do immigration correctly. We need to fix it to do it efficiently. What’s wrong with that? What’s more humane, letting folks wander willy-nilly into the country with no ID, no way to get services, no way to get a proper job and in turn be taken advantage of, or do it the correct way? Is it responsible to let undocumented workers in when they may be carrying a disease once thought eradicated in the US and initiate a pandemic? I am not anti-immigration by a long shot – heck I don’t even have issues with the small number of undocumented that come across the border, but it is irresponsible to encourage hordes to cross and then state we are mean spirited if the problem i getting out of hand. Those who live close to the borders are stating there is an issue. Those of us far away from the borders (Yes Robert – you and I live in the same state) should also understand their plight.


  14. Andrew,

    Oversimplification of things. See my other posts on immigration. That would mean everyone is mean spirited which I just don’t see. What really is the point is that there some issues that need to be dealt with that many in the US feel are being ignored. Facing issues means we talk about it and not ignore.


  15. You’re right, of course, Radagast. The First Peoples of the Americas certainly regret their original romanticizing of European undocumented immigrants.


  16. Numo,

    Undocumented workers have existed for many years and is in all honesty, part of the economy in the south and west. In the past we could absorb these numbers, but because of the rhetoric of the current President the number of undocumented workers has increased many fold, mostly coming from central and south America. This has caused many issues including problems in processing, health pandemics and of course some elevation in crime, especially the drug trade.

    It has also caused issues for those who are entering legally as it is clogging up a current overburdened system. Trump’s rhetoric has been extreme, but we have not been giving this the attention it deserves, which again goes to a portion of the American people who are not being listened to and who are directly affected by this. I can assume life can be hell for the undocumented worker… why encourage that for people if we really can’t handle everybody that comes in?

    Numo – you also mention what I believe you mean “ruthless cosmopolitans” (my typing is bad so I can sympathize) and there in a way you peak my interest_ lately I have been thinking that the divide in this election may also have a larger urban versus rural component and it gives me a tangent to move in for more reading.


  17. P.S. – I’m waiting for people of a certain bent to stsrt using phrases like “rootless cosmopolitans” as well. Wait, though… they will likely be much more direct.


  18. I never implied that everythjng exists in a wonderful stste. There are indeed many, many problems but vilifying all illegal immigrants, all people of a certain faith… hmm, who did that, 80 years ago?


  19. I’m all for ignoring any government request to know my race because I doubt anyone really knows what their race! I’m very pale but my uncle looked like Malcolm X.


  20. Tell that to our bank account. My husband is retired GS12, and, although the government picks up 60% of our health insurance, we’re still on the hook for $400 a month, plus co-pays. We don’t have Medicare (which isn’t free, either, and doesn’t cover all costs), because our current insurance covers more and is less expensive. Single payer health insurance isn’t free–it’s paid for by everyone’s taxes–but it would have a lot less paperwork and lower medication costs for the government as a result of buying in larger quantities. It’s a much better system than our current insurance-driven mess, which is something the rest of the industrialized world has already figured out.


  21. “actually, he can order a nuclear strike without consulting anyone”

    Folks – please start doing your homework here…. in times of peace no, in times of war there are lots of checks and balances… sorry, not that easy – you all are watching too much Hollywooed movies….


  22. I’m not necessarily agreeing or disagreeing with your 1 and 2, but there’s certainly a #3…

    3) The flawed two-party system that drives our nation’s politics. C’mon, the train wreck of this past election could be seen coming during the primaries, when one side began promoting two seriously flawed candidates in Sanders and Clinton and when the other side stuck sixteen potential candidates on the podium and said, “Everyone out for a pass and let’s see who gets open!”

    On one side I thought, Oh, gosh…the Dems are setting themselves up for failure;
    And on the other side I thought, I can’t believe GOP leadership is so clueless as to just throw a bunch of people at us to see who sticks.

    This country could really use 2-3 viable more “party” options, but the current system won’t ever allow that to happen.


  23. –> “There are also verses in the Bible that talk about God knowing and choosing you from the foundations of the world; that doesn’t mean you existed or were a person then, does it…?”

    That’s actually one of the areas that I use in support of the theory of evolution. If God truly did plan for me to exist EXACTLY AS I AM TODAY, with this nose and these eyes and this body and the TRAITS I’VE INHERITED FROM MY MOTHER AND FATHER, then think about it…

    That means…
    He stitched together the meeting of my mom and dad, and to make THEM exactly as they were He stitched together the meeting of THEIR moms and dads, and to make THEM exactly as they were He needed to stitch together the meeting of THEIR moms and dads…etc etc, all the way back to the dawning of man and woman.

    That requires:
    1) a lot of patience!
    2) a lot of working out details at a level that’s incomprehensible!

    Kinda like how evolution might work: Incredible patience combined with a stitching together of details at a level that’s incomprehensible.


  24. Wesley, you could play the middle-of-the-road game and throw both candidates under the bus. Tweaking my comment right above your comment, maybe something like:

    “Tell me how our push for Trump or Clinton helps anyone find the Good News of Jesus. How are we conveying the Christ message of hope and forgiveness when we’re promoting Trump or Hillary as ‘God’s chosen’.”


  25. There aren’t many things you and I agree on, Mule, but Joe Bageant is one of them. I wish he had been around for this election–both sides would have been better off if we had listened to him.


  26. To a True Believer, there is no such thing as “humor”.
    Only constant, sleepless, unsmiling Concentration on The Cause.


  27. Well put. An aquaintence of mine often says race is a social construct, that biology doesn’t bear it out. That What we identify as race is more often culture. Now, his background is in political science, so he’s probably just talking out of his butt, but it makes me think about how we all draw lines. And we all draw lines.


  28. There seems to be a lot of romanticizing of both legal and illegal immigration and a huge sensitivity to any words that bring opposing views to light. There also seems, at least at this site, to be a very one-sided view of the issue and to look at it or examine it in detail beings much criticism and accusations of inhuman treatment or bigotry.

    First – there have beeen other times in history where the US has limited imigration. This has not been because we as a citizenry are in-human or unsympathetic but because infrastructure can’t support the volume at that moment in time. Where I live we’ve has a large influx of immmigrant groups – and in its current iteration it is immigrants from Napal and Bhatan ala Catholic Charities. I have interacted with these groups, worked with them on the Soccer field and integrated them into my practices because they, on their own do not have permits – a wonderful and hardworking people. That being said, our school district is struggling with english as a second language services, class sizes, problems between groups etc. These immigrants are very smart and focused on moving forward, but the district at this time canot handle all the services needed and still provide an education for all. And… there is also a lot of negative speech about Americans from these communities… I understand it given their situation AND don’t get overly upset as we shouldn’t with comments going the other way – growing pains.

    Second – the current immigration system is broken – and I speak with knowledge here. From a technical prespective one of my accounts that I oversee supports the help desk for the US immigration service so I know the phone calls that come in. Like the VA the system and process is painfully slow and broken for those wishing to become citizens and there is much frustration when immigrants have to start from square one when they miss a dealine due to government ineptitude. When you add that much more to a system that cannot handle the current volume you have many that go off the radar. Couple that with ouright undocumented immigrants and all the services needed in the communities where they settle and you have ever growing issues. It is irresponsible to turning a blind eye to these issues.

    I liken it to the deer issues we have in Western Pennsylvania – we have folks here that don’t want any deer harmed because they romanticize and say they are cute and precious, all the while their population explosion causes havoc in the communities and lots of deseased and dead deer because there is not enough food for the existing population let alone population explosion. And with no natural prdators to cull the herd local officials have to take action, which is met, by certain groups with hate mongering speech, but no soluton to deal with the issue. (Please do not directly infer things from my example).

    We have a problem here folks. And all the God speak in the world is not going to solve it if we do not look at it head on… not fair to the existing immigrants here trying to move forward, those who have been here for a while trying to eek out a living nor those coming into this country under false pretentions.


  29. It is that ineluctable quality that signals that I don’t need to be followed in a department store.

    I guess if whiteness doesn’t exist, then white privilege doesn’t either, and I need not worry about having it.


  30. That really is my feeling. Jesus said to care for the least of these, not to worry about your own religious freedom. And I’m training to be a pastor and fill a quasi-pastoral role in my congregation right now. Really unsure as to how to proceed without either villifying people who voted for Trump or acting like his hatred is politics as normal.


  31. But I cannot deny that personhood begins at conception as there are plenty of verses in the OT that talk about God knowing me in my mother’s womb.

    There are also verses in the Bible that talk about God knowing and choosing you from the foundations of the world; that doesn’t mean you existed or were a person then, does it pilgrim?


  32. says that I have ~ 6.25% “Iberian Peninsula” heritage, about 1/8 “Irish”, about the same “Scandinavian” and all the rest is “UK”. I already suspected Moorish influence because of an inconsequential blood condition.

    I don’t know what the hell “race” means…


  33. Now health insurance means treatment for free.

    Only if you work for the government (or are retired from working for the government).


  34. Your first line – Internetmonk has turned into a relatively serene place to ask questions.

    Yes. Let’s keep it that way. We don’t need another forum for bitterness and bile. Part of me wonders, can we talk about something else? Couldn’t we move the conversation on from the limits of evangelicalism, to, ‘What do we want to be a part of? ‘What’s inspiring, moving, worth listening to, worth getting excited by?’

    Alexander Shaia – ‘We are all yearning on this planet right now for genuine forms of community… community that doesn’t repress our individuality, but celebrates it, nurtures it, calls it forth in to the light’ [sic]

    That’s something worth building. Certainly in the isolation of modern cities. How? well that’s tough.


  35. I used to work with undocumented immigrants myself. I have friends who work with kids who are terrified that their parents will be deported. So…

    Spare us your “magisterial” pronouncements and you snark, Mule. You’re by no means the only person qualified to remark on this. Further, your bullying comments about people of all backgrounds other than your own (now and in the past) are flat out ugly and racist.

    Go back to “artiste'” site, for the love of God. I see no godly love in your caricatures of others.


  36. Whatever you think is necessary with regard to our immigration system, dehumanizing language about undocumented immigrants only serves to demonize people made in God’s image as much as yourself. Cheap, callous jokes minimizing their humanity minimizes your own. Kissing religious icons is fine; but every human being is a living icon of God, and it makes little sense to kiss religious icons and then turn around and make light of the suffering of the living icons. It reduces your practice to an empty religious ritual, and puts you on the path toward hell rather than theosis.


  37. I can see your world Numo. It sickens and angers me. It should not be so. I can’t stand the chest beating and rotten filth of the misogynist bastards.


  38. I speak their language. I probably talk to more undocumented people in a week than you all do in a year.

    I know a lot of stories. For every journalist fleeing possible political violence in her own country, there’s a police informant fleeing MS-13 retribution, or a MS-13 gang member evading capture, or a 16 year old girl sold into sex slavery by her family. There is a lot of romanticization of immigrants that corresponds with their demonization by the other side, and the truth is that they are a mixed bag, just like we are, with the exception that they weighed their options and found it to be a good gamble to break the law coming here.

    Our country needs a deep discussion on immigration, and a complete overhaul of our broken immigration system, but we can’t have it with borders that are as porous as ours currently are, by executive decree. At the present, we might as well throw up our hands and declare everybody in the world virtual American citizens. Maybe you all’d be OK with that, but they won’t relocate to your parts of the country.


  39. Careful, there–I never said that. I merely pointed out that compared to going straight to heaven, life on earth is a pretty rough gig. It’s hyperbole and it’s meant to highlight that personhood at conception has serious implications that I have never seen anyone grapple with before–in my opinion, most likely because they don’t actually know the astoundingly high rate of miscarriage in human reproduction. I am quite curious to know what you come up with.


  40. AnnieOly

    I’m not really singling you out, but come on. How can you judge Trump’s soul? You are relying on heresay, statements out of context, and those made over the past decades. There are plenty of people who know Trump more intimately than you that describe a different person. Nowadays, having a college education means brainwashed, entitled, spoiled, and inhabiting an artificial world. As proof, just look at the temper tantrums going on across the nation.

    People who voted for trump don’t want babies or other vulnerable people killed because they are inconvenient, want jobs for themselves and their neighbors, regardless of their culture, want laws in this country respected, and to be protected from groups that want to kill Americans. They don’t see Clinton caring on whit about them at all.


  41. SottoVoce

    I have long pondered the question on the rate of natural abortions. Originally, it was my rationale for reincarnation before I became Catholic. I’m afraid I never resolved the issue in my mind, I will meditate on it and get back to you. But I cannot deny that personhood begins at conception as there are plenty of verses in the OT that talk about God knowing me in my mother’s womb. But If your soul is created at conception, what is God’s plan for those that are never are born? As far as the goodness of the Deity, yes, He is Love. Tell me again why you think that life on earth is without love and joy?


  42. –> “How would you reconcile the rate of miscarriages in humans with the notions of a good deity and personhood at conception?”

    What, are you saying that trite Christian cliches “God is in control” and “God has a plan” don’t work for you? (Note sarcasm)

    But my real answer will proabaly sound weak to you: that “Life sucks” and “God is good and loves us” are not mutually exclusive.


  43. “I get up and go to work, pay my taxes etc and just want to be left alone.” you say bluesurley. My gay friends say exactly the same thing but are worried they won’t be allowed to go to work, pay their taxes, and be left alone. The VP elect Pence attempted to pass a law as Indiana governor that would have meant that here in Indiana, you could be fired from your job just for being gay. Only a public outcry prevented it. But now, we have a like minded Congress & President, so gay people may well find themselves soon unable to do the simple things in life you’ve mentioned you seek.


  44. numo,
    Just to be clear in case it’s not, since your response appears to be to my comment: the text in block quotes is from a Lou Reed song meant as a criticism of American anti-immigrant bigotry.


  45. Beg to differ. Lots of countries in Europe do. Single payer-type systems. We are one of the only, possibly the only, western industrialized nation that lacks some system of universal healthcare.

    I’ve heard lots of people express what you just did. But it’s just not true. And as a follower of Jesus, I find throwing up our hands in the face of such great need to be incompatible with my faith.


  46. Christiana, Nixon was not impeached. He resigned from office after three articles of impeachment were approved in committee but before the full House voted on them. Bill Clinton WAS impeached by the vote of the full House but since he was not convicted by the Senate he remained in office. Ironic, isn’t it, that the guy who wasn’t actually impeached left office and the guy who was impeached didn’t leave office.

    Impeachment is a long, arduous, two-step process that is not finished until the Senate completes its part.


  47. Mule, that’s an ugly comment. I don’t understand how you can take such a view if you are, in fact, married to a Latin American.

    Please keep the dudebro racism off this page. It’s not for that (afaik; obviously, it’s up to CM to make a call on the post I’m referring to.)


  48. As to your second paragraph, I had in mind the culture warriors, who seem much more of a force in America, not perhaps their beliefs per se, but certainly their approach to how that plays out politically and publicly.

    As to the first, I knew that, but was more focusing on the current situation. That said Catholicism is and has been a big tent, and even when the Pope has not been so Jesus-shaped, there have been those lower down the hierarchy who were. Refuge could be found if one wanted. I’m not saying it’s ideal, only that it has some characteristics that make it more resilient, broad, flexible and open than evangelicalism has been trending.


  49. ‘Are the election results rooted in the decline of the American family?’
    No, I think the results are rooted in a couple of other areas.
    1. The complete failure of American Christian culture – and evangelicals in particular – to stay true to the good news of the gospel. Instead of trading that for political power and culture wars on issues that Jesus never asked us to focus on.
    2. A failure of our education system. Part of the purpose of a good education system is to give it’s students the tools to think and make decisions with. A well educated student should not be vulnerable to being manipulated by the worst impulses of human nature – racism, misogyny, nativism, etc. They should know better. Polls indicate that college educated people tended to not be Trump voters. So it seems obvious that junior high and high schools are not getting this message across, and as it turns out, that’s a real threat to our democracy.


  50. I appreciate your concern, but I’m not writing this out of any kind of bad experience of my own. This seems to me to be the logical (and intensely disturbing) implications of Seneca’s view (and possibly your own, though I’m not as familiar with the Catholic position and don’t want to strawman you). How about you engage with my argument? How would you reconcile the rate of miscarriages in humans with the notions of a good deity and personhood at conception?


  51. Yes, the nuclear football is near the POTUS at all times, and he may order a strike at will. All he needs is his authentication codes, to prove that he is indeed the President; once that’s established, military commanders are obligated by their oaths to follow his order to launch a strike, even if they have reason to think he may be insane.


  52. Hi SENECA,
    actually, he can order a nuclear strike without consulting anyone

    is a story about Nixon after his impeachment in the days prior to his departure from office when he was often depressed . . . . he made a statement to an aide that he could leave the room and within half an hour, twenty million people would be dead . . . . . the aide told the proper authority who notified all of those in charge of releasing the nukes on the command of the Commander in Chief, to wait until there was confirmation from the Pentagon

    I think if more people realized how the nuclear weapons thing is set up, then they may have taken more seriously ‘demeanor’ and ‘stability’ and ’emotional maturity’ of a certain candidate


  53. Learning from others… I came to the conclusion a long time ago that americans are incapable of that… the only way to be “Great!” is to do it all by yourself – to h__ with everyone else. And this election makes this even clearer. We don’t want other cultures here – we don’t want them near us and we definitely don’t want to learn anything from them… we are the greatest; we must be the greatest and by golly we’re going to keep trying to be the greatest – and the greatest don’t have to learn nutt’n from nobody!


  54. You must be a proctologist Donalbain, because that is the view you chose to take on it. It was humor, no more and no less than Bill Maher calling a republican female a cun_!


  55. Very janky predictors regarding this election hasn’t prevented the experts and pundits from continuing to man their posts in the media, or from collecting their checks, without missing a beat. Look, there they are, on CNN and FOX, in the New York Times and the Boston Herald, analyzing and prognosticating away. Why, you’d almost take them for End Times prophets…

    No, janky predictors haven’t stopped any of them, why should it stop us?


  56. senecagriggs,
    How is the P-e going to continue the Obamacare provision prohibiting insurance companies from refusing coverage to those with preexisting health conditions, without compelling healthy people to purchase insurance that will provide the funds to pay for all those with unhealthy people? I.e., how will he avoid just keeping all of the main provisions of Obamacare? I’m assuming that he isn’t planning for the preexisting applicants to pay much higher premiums, because what would be the point of that? That wouldn’t be reform of any kind; the insurance companies were already sort of doing that before Obamacare.


  57. The sympathy sisters will cry and write a million songs about poor Rosita and Joaquin…

    These words are so callous it makes me want to wretch. Will you play them off as irony, a la the Alt-Right?

    Here’s a song from a dead sympathy sister, and you know what you can do with it:

    Give me your hungry, your tired, your poor, I’ll piss on ’em,
    that’s what the Statue of Bigotry says
    Your poor huddled masses, let’s club ’em to death,
    and get it over with and just dump ’em on the boulevard…


  58. Yes, Dana. He strikes me as a pitiable figure. But no less dangerous, and not to be less opposed, for that.


  59. Robert – yes.

    Klasie – double yes.

    I feel too sick about the many incidents of harassment, verbal and physical attacks, racist/antisemitic graffiti and posters, the “lynching” group on FB ahd much more to even begin to want to respond to any of the above.

    On top of that…. modt vommeners here are men. I do not think most of you have any idea of how much misogyny and sexual assault has been “normalized” by thd words and behavior of the pres.-elect. Survivors of assault abd sexual abuse have been really suffering throughout the entire campaign season, and even more so now. So many dudebros have been using certain quotes as license to freely harass women.

    A lot of you do not live in our world, and you do not see how bad things are for an awful lot of people who are, overwhelmingly, US citizens. You don’t have to be fearful, but they do. There have been hateful incidrnts *in schools* all over the country (and a depressing number of verfied ones in my state).

    For you, things might seem OK. But this was not a normal election cycle, by any stretch of the imagination, and it’s hardly going to be a “business as usual” administration.


  60. The whole “Nukes” scenario was always political. Yeah he asked about them. But NO, NO and NO can he simply set them off. Dr. Strangelove was a movie [ and quite a brilliant one at that. Say it again recently ].
    But this isn’t a move and he would have to convince a heckuva lot of powerful people for nukes to actually be released and we would be under imminent threat if that actually happened.

    Finally, there was no “HATE” speech by Mr. Trump. That’s also simply a political ploy by the opposition.

    I DID end up voting for Mr. Trump, but not until the last moment. I’m a very conservative Evangelical and he was NEVER my guy. But ultimately there were only two choices, him or Hillary. The D.C. corruption was far more entrenched with Hillary.


  61. John, they’re promising what they can’t actually deliver. That’s all. It’s part of the “you can have everything you want” syndrome.

    You actually can’t. Reality kicks utopia in the butt 100 per cent of the time.

    Health insurance, at least initially, was to cover emergencies and it could do that.

    Now health insurance means treatment for free. But it’s never free.


  62. Exactly.

    There is no such thing. Genetically most of people of European descent have a fairly large portion of “Western Asian ” and Mediterranean DNA. I have that, but also African, South African (Khoi/San) and Southeast Asian (via Madagascar) DNA. Yet I would classify as “white ” everytime.

    No, people obsessed with colour are just channeling their inner racist pigs. Yes. Racist pigs. I said it. I am sick and tired of that.


  63. How horrible that some white people have been sidelined and not listened to, made to feel unimportant and devalued. Such a thing has never happened to any other people in the history of this nation….!!!


  64. “The real grievance of the worker is the insecurity of his existence; he is not sure that he will always have work, he is not sure that he will always be healthy, and he foresees that he will one day be old and unfit to work. If he falls into poverty, even if only through a prolonged illness, he is then completely helpless, left to his own devices, and society does not currently recognize any real obligation towards him beyond the usual help for the poor, even if he has been working all the time ever so faithfully and diligently. The usual help for the poor, however, leaves a lot to be desired, especially in large cities, where it is very much worse than in the country.” – Otto von Bismarck, 1884

    Health insurance as a portion of one’s incomet and the government paying the rest was established in Germany by Bismarck in 1883 for all industrial laborers; later that was expanded to all citizens. Accident insurance followed. Pension/retirement payments for all followed. (Current system is that a portion of everyone’s taxes goes toward health care, and everyone also pays a reasonable premium as private insurance to not-for-profiit insurance companies, strictly regulated by the gov’t. You go to whatever doctor you want; doctors are not State employees, as in Britain. All health care is paid for with no additional out-of-pocket expense to you.) At one time, there were more immigrants to the US from Germany than anywhere else, even Ireland; that came to a screeching halt with Bismarck’s social reforms. He was concerned about stanching the flow of young men out of the country, and also that people not remain so poor and hopeless that they would foment revolution, as was happening elsewhere in Europe.

    I wonder if we could possibly learn something from history, and from another culture besides our own.



  65. The “abortion battle” for my wife and me was, is, and always will be about the unborn. As adoptive parents (after 14 years of trying to have children) we are very aware that our son’s birth parents could have opted to not give birth. If my own mother had been pregnant in today’s climate of “convenient children”, she might have felt pressure to not have me, as she was told that one of us might not survive the birth. We both did. This is not about politics, race, or any other battle. It is about human life. This is very real and personal, folks.


  66. SottoVoce,

    God does love you and will walk with you through all those dark alleys if only you will call on him. People who go through hard experiences (like having your family hacked to death) can still smile and have joy in their hearts once again.


  67. What the hell is “Whiteness”. Define it for me, Mule. Where must my forbears have hailed from for me to be an inheritor of “Whiteness”. What language must I speak, how “pure” must my blood be? What in the hell is “Whiteness”?


  68. That “someone at the top” of Catholicism (I presume you’re not referring to Jesus Christ) happens to be a really nice and kind guy at this time. Former times have seen some S.O.B.s in that position who make the President-elect look like a choir boy (so far). Jesus-shaped they weren’t. Let’s hope that the next one is good, like this one; it’s not guaranteed, you know.

    I’m also not clear what you mean by it not be a feature of Catholicism elsewhere. Are you saying that for committed Catholics (not including those who are baptized in the Church but otherwise only show up there on their wedding day and the at death) in other places around the world, say Europe, Africa, Latin America, a candidate’s position on abortion and sexuality is not a strong influence on their voting habits? Can you substantiate that claim with some references?


  69. StuartB
    How can you say abortion is about white nationalism when its black babies that get slaughtered the most? Margaret Sanger was all about eugenics and getting rid of the “weeds” (black). Abortion definitely hurts women by killing them before they are born and the mothers who will not only mourn their dead child but live the knowledge that they killed him or her.


  70. ENOUGH of worry and despair!!!!
    for everyone who is bummed out by the events of this past week, check out that wonderful John Lewis Christmas Ad for 2016 provided by Chaplain Mike in today’s post. Oh, the healing properties of the presence of joy!
    It puts a lot into proper perspective. Woof ! 🙂

    I found it even better than last year’s wonderful Sainsbury’s Christmas cartoon from the UK


  71. I’d find it impossible to pick an absolute favorite, but “Everybody Knows” is right up there. And it fits this election season perfectly.


  72. Depends on which Catholics you talk about. T. Mattingly at Get Religion has identified 4 different “subgroups” of Catholics; some are radically different than others.



  73. Trump isn’t a monster. He is, I believe, a very frightened human being underneath everything else in his life, and his experiences have contributed to the narcissism that is behind all his other issues. But a monster, no. That’s not fair, nor is it fair to so designate Clinton.

    (I am not registered with any party and I didn’t vote for either of them.)



  74. Yep. It is clearer and clearer that Abortion is a cover issue.

    Aside – push someone who is SCOTUS! SCOTUS! SCOTUS! about the Abortion issue… Ask them specifically what RvW was about? Ask them if they have ever read the legal summary in the decision? Ask them what the specific legal effect of “overturning” RvW would be? I mean – if this issue TRUMPS ALL AND EVERY OTHER ISSUE – they must know, in detail, right? Be prepared to be bewildered by the void at the center of their political identity.

    The is even better proof that reading article after article that begins with the Pelvis, brushes lightly against other issues, and then dismissively moves back the the Pelvis in the conclusion; the hand wave that nothing else can possibly matter.

    Simply put – this construct CAN NOT be an honest one.


  75. No more than Hillary collecting millions of dollars from countries that persecute gays and mistreat women just as bad.


  76. YOu are so right! It is horrible how white people are subject to increased police stops. It has hard how straight people get fired for their sexuality. It is hard how Christians are subject to violences for wearing the items of their faith.


  77. You are right. There was a racist, sexist, monster, and then there was someone who used the wrong email computer. Both had egregious failings. BOTH SIDES!!!!


  78. Working man’s rebellion?
    Electing a “billionaire” who wants to cut taxes on the rich is NOT a rebellion of the working man.


  79. Well done. YOu found it hilarious that a woman should be sent to hell because of the way she sounds. You fit perfectly into the misogyny of the Trump America.


  80. I love that song, Christiane. This verse has resonated with me since the seventies (written from memory . . .):
    And Jesus was a sailor, when he walked upon the water,
    And he spent a long time watching from his lonely wooden tower,
    And when he knew for certain only drowning men could see him,
    He said, “All men shall be sailors then, until the sea shall free them.”
    But he himself was broken, long before the sky would open,
    Forsaken, almost human, he sank beneath our wisdom like a stone.


  81. Mr. Trump already indicated his desire to keep the worst aspects; your 26 year old child can remain on your insurance and no matter how ill you are, you cannot have your insurance taken away.

    I truly don’t understand how you can view these as the worst aspects of the law. Or was that line sarcasm? Are we supposed to just toss people when they get sick? Survival of the fittest? I can’t wrap my head or my conscience around that one.

    They are two of the most popular provisions, in case you didn’t know, which probably explains why trump is keeping them.


  82. This election was an anomaly and I doubt that his kids will run for the top spot as did the Clintons and Bushes.

    Like the list of Presidents in a Harlan Ellison story from the Seventies:
    “Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Kennedy, Kennedy, Kennedy, Kennedy, Kennedy, Kennedy, Kennedy, Kennedy, Kennedy, Kennedy, Kennedy…”


  83. Mule, have you ever read the book Enemies of Eros, by Maggie Gallagher? She wrote it when she was quite young, but it’s insightful and thought-provoking on the societal effects of the sexual revolution. I think you would enjoy it.


  84. From Jeff Beck’s new album “Loud Hailer,” I give you this gem of spritiual overcoming, “Live in the Dark.”


  85. Would that be 53% of white, college-educated women who voted? ‘Cause that’s a much smaller number . . .


  86. Yes. And I’m already trying to open the dialog with “Yay, Trump won, he was God’s choice”-people with the Good News that they seem to have lost sight of.

    My comments tend toward, “Tell me how your push for Trump helps anyone find the Good News of Jesus. How are you conveying the Christ message when you’re promoting Trump as God’s man.”


  87. Seneca, I wish I could accept your reassurances, but I think we are really in for it.

    My future daughter in law if from Latvia, a Baltic state, and her parents still live there near Riga. If/when Trump disbands NATO, under Putin’s guidance no doubt, I expect Latvia and all the Baltic states will come under Russian rule once again.

    Then we have three family members in the military. And there is no knowing about the stability of Mr. Trump’s mind or emotional state. And so, more worry.

    Then, there are the nukes. I think very soon we will know Trump’s mind fully on this issue. A spoiled rich-kid, who never served his country, nor could he be bothered to pay taxes . . . . always ‘loop-holes’, always deferments, but something tells me he will want to play with his nuclear arsenal, so I am keeping in touch with my family and friends, and I am keeping my conscience clear and taking time to do a bucket-list of things before we all get blown to kingdom come when Donnie Boy decides to make his move. Why not be ‘prepared’ if that is what we are facing.

    I really feel for the young people. And sadly for many of the people who voted for Donald. They got what they wanted but I don’t know if they know what that entails. They will find out soon enough, as will we all.

    I won’t say ‘Nazi’, no. But I think ‘demagogue’ is not too far from the truth. All that hate-speech has been given a mandate, sadly. Teachers are already reporting the results among the school children. Yeah, I guess the children WERE listening.


  88. At the very least, Trump has to throttle immigration hard, unfortunately, brutally hard. The sympathy sisters will cry and write a million songs about poor Rosita and Joaquin, but it is the one thing on which Trump’s constituency will hold his feet to the fire.

    It sounds like, with Kris Kobach on board, his sympathy for unbridled immigration and its corporate enablers will approach Cornelius Lucius Sulla’s level of ZSG.


  89. This sounds like Obama’s third term, no, I mean W’s fifth term, no, I mean Slick Willie’s seventh term.

    If the corporate suzerainty over every aspect of our public and private lives continues unabated or even increases in the next four-eight years, what happened in 2016 will be dwarved by the results thereof.

    Everybody can’t have everything, but everybody’s gonna have to give up something.


  90. It was meant as a reminder to use it to check on other statistics to see if something makes sense. If Trump had won the popular vote then he could have had a majority in the votes of both sexes. Since he didn’t he either had to have not gotten the majority in one or the other (or both). Since we know he was more popular among men than women voters that means the majority of women must have voted elsewhere. Same thing if someone says the majority of non-Christian voters voted for Trump or non-White; it is impossible for him to have won both the X and non-X majorities.


  91. Against Abortion, Against Homosexuals, Against Evolution — the new Trinity.

    “You know when a preacher’s in trouble — he stops preaching about what he’s for and starts preaching about what he’s against!”


  92. For some reason, putting women in their place is a VERY BIG part of the alt-right and of the hyper-grace crowd.

    And others have observed that a lot of the MenaGAWD who preach “Woman, Submit!” come up to my chin and are muscled like wet noodles. Like Douggie ESQUIRE who cosplayed as General Patton and 18th Century Nobleman while keeboarping his Handmaid; like Flutterhands Piper with his matron-with-the-vapors mannerisms, righteous scold Twitter-finger, and fear of “Muscular Women”. These guys have to lord it over wimmen because if they try it with a man, every other man’s big and strong enough to fold them up and stuff them into a trash can.

    Like that trailer-trash Ku Kluxer in a Sixties-era interview, “If ah can’t be better than a n*gg**, who do ah got to be better than?”


  93. Frankly, I can’t stand the religious philosophizing from both sides of Christianity. The Presidential election is not about electing the moralizer in chief. I think anyone who chastises Christians for voting for either candidate is ignorant. Really, it is just lipstick on a pig – and the pig is fundamentalist separatism. I think we would all be better off if “evangelicals” started on a foundation of critical thinking and analysis, and left the religion for last. Trump might be a racist gasbag, and Hillary might be a baby-killing empiricist, but at the end of the day, these were our two major party candidates, and everyone had to make a choice. Pretending that a person can’t be evangelical or Christian or whatever based on how they voted is just stupid. I’ll take the first amendment, please.


  94. The message is clear: you do what you have to do to win.

    “A crown based on lies,
    Game of Thrones!”


  95. The only segment of society for which there is no punishment for hating.

    The Party Can Do No Wrong, Comrades.


  96. Remember Clinton won the popular vote and lost the electoral vote.

    We are now hearing that from every media outlet and anyone with a (D) behind their name, wagging finger and all.


  97. A pair of Los Angeles talk show hosts who are known for their outrageous and sarcastic takes on current events played one of their more hilarious bits this evening.

    John & Ken on KFI?
    (With or without the bullhorn)


  98. Except for your comments regarding the national debt and the coarsening of society, I certainly hope so. I can’t see healthcare for as many people as possible, a continuing diversity of society, leaving healthcare choices to patients and their doctors, continuing the right of people to marry whom they love, and leaving Hillary Clinton alone after 30 years of calumny, as bad things. If Trump supports these things, I will be surprised, but very happy.


  99. Again, Seneca, I am going to take this opportunity to remind you that nearly two-thirds of the human race is naturally miscarried, aka aborted by your detestable monstrosity of a deity. (And don’t forget that the Bible contains an abortion procedure in the OT that priests were required to perform in order to fulfill the Law. Not one jot or tittle will pass away, right?)

    Or, to put it another way (I am pretty comfortably assuming you believe in hell and the age of accountability here): if personhood is conferred at conception, then two thirds of all people who have ever existed got to go straight to heaven with not even a chance of screwing over their eternal destinies. Boom, get out of jail free, no pain, no grief, just eternal bliss forever and ever, amen. They are, after all, without sin, right?

    Of course, they are also without minds, memories, connections, virtues, desires, favorites, delights, hopes, sorrows, griefs, joys, or anything else to make them human. But I digress.

    Now consider the immeasurably dark lot that belongs to those of us who make it to our first breaths. Your supposedly all-loving deity could have called us straight to heaven to be with It forever and chose, for some reason, to throw us headlong into the ongoing trainwreck that we call Life. Hunger, neglect, grief, despair, fear, pain, illness, ignorance, death, and above all the possibility of eternal damnation are Its gifts to us. How can you say that these ills are all our fault and none of Its when the majority of us never have to experience them at all? What could we, the living few, have done to deserve to wander in the dark down here? Why should any one of us revere and worship a creature that would build a world this way?



    Hillary Clinton will NOT be investigated further. There is an outside chance that her security clearance could be removed but she is old, she is not healthy, there is no public office in her future.

    Obama Care, nobody knows what will happen EXCEPT, I suspect they’ll roll back the penalities if you don’t purchase insurance. Mr. Trump already indicated his desire to keep the worst aspects; your 26 year old child can remain on your insurance and no matter how ill you are, you cannot have your insurance taken away. In other words, the government will continue to meddle with health care and we will continue to move towards a two tier system; those who have the wherewithal to purchase decent health care; and everybody else [ who will be on Medicaid.] The people are convinced they deserve free health care. They will have it, in name only. You’ll have a nice wallet sized card saying you get healthcare – which is NOT the same as actually having health care.
    [ ECONOMIC FACT OF LIFE; Everybody Can’t Have Everything. ]

    The debt will continue to grow, Trump and Wall Street are hoping that the growth of the economy will bring a lot more money into the government coffers but politicans have shown through out millenia, they can spend it faster then you can produce it.

    Abortion will NOT be rolled back.

    Homosexual marriage will NOT be rolled back. I even have doubts they will restrict the flow of men into women’s bathrooms/showers.

    POSSIBLY, the flow of Muslim immigrants will be somewhat slowed – but there’s no guarantee.

    On the other hand, the illegal flow of Mexicans and Central Americans into our country will continue pretty much unabated.

    Less than 10 entertainment stars will actually pull up stakes and leave the country. They always promise, they never go.

    The culture will continue to coarsen.

    Finally, Mr. Trump is 70, Mitch McConnell is 74, Paul Ryan is 47. People, 70 year olds are NOT going to start the Third Reich of America. The Donald and Mitch are to old to mimic Adolph and Paul Ryan is a devout Roman Catholic. So let’s not compare Mr. Trump to Hitler, there’s simply no comparison.


  101. Amen, Tom! Leonard Cohen’s music has been the soundtrack of my life since 1he late ’60’s. Like Dylan, you wouldn’t actually call that singing, but the words were perfect that it didn’t matter.


  102. You are right. I and my Catholic friend and co-worker talk about this a lot. That said it’s pretty much a feature of AMERICAN evangelicalism and Catholicism; elsewhere, not so much.

    Also, the Catholics have someone at the top who isn’t a culture warrior and who actually says and does quite a few things that look pretty Jesus-shaped. The evangelicals just don’t have that, or anything close to that.

    I’m not ready to swim the Tiber, but sometimes I envy their system.


  103. ” … he probably is a fiscal conservative ”

    I hear he doesn’t pay federal taxes either

    SENECA, those nice young white boys in their ‘going-to-work’ clothes that lined up to vote for Trump are hopeful of a better situation for themselves financially;
    but I think Trump’s idea will be to give enormous tax breaks to the wealthiest and, if there isn’t enough money to do it, then I can see him borrowing billions from other countries to get the money to do it

    Those nice young men, so hopeful …… they deserve better than that.


  104. “””despite leftists lionizing him, they generally ignore his advice. “””

    You are certainly not the first to observe that – although internally many Leftists really dislike Moore.


  105. PS

    Michael Moore is remarkably far-sighted. I am surprised that despite leftists lionizing him, they generally ignore his advice. Joe Bageant was another such.

    Having sampled the outpouring of left-wing shock and unbelief from websites like Vox, Jezebel, Slate, and other Usual Suspects. I found that there was a deep division on the Left. You have a group whose self-righteousness would gag a mint-and-rue counting Pharisee. Then you had Mother Jones and Alternet, whose contributions were alarmist, but far more self-reflective.


  106. Abortion – they kill babies. That IS what it is all about.

    [ BTW, the much hated Mr. Trump is NOT particularly Pro Life. He is NOT an Evangelical, he is NOT against homosexual marriage, he is NOT a moral conservative, he probably is a fiscal conservative. ]


  107. I believe Michael Moore would agree with you. His answers on Morning Joe with Scarborough would bear that out. He seems to be the voice in the leftist wilderness trying to point the Dems to this untapped demographic.


  108. I had hopes, Oscar, as I started reading, but, alas, ALL CAPS showed up in paragraph 4. Almost made it through a whole comment. But hey, it’s progress. Lol.


  109. Control of sexuality is a large part of what constitutes a civilized society. Sexual anarchy benefits no one. We are in the unenviable position of having had a workable sexual constitution dissolve away underneath us at the same time that we cast away the rhetorical skills that would allow us to forge a new one.

    I have not yet been reconciled to contraception, much less abortion. Sexuality and “freedom” are not combinable. Marriage was meant to be an ascesis in the same way monkhood was.

    I’m not biting the apple of female “emancipation”. I have never seen more miserable females than the women of my daughter’s generation. All they do is complain about men.


  110. My thoughts on the Abortion issue, exactly. It’s primary purpose is to provide cover for other impulses.


  111. Well stated, sir! Other than the issue of the ACA, the prevailing attitude you just illustrated was my main reason for supporting Trump. It only got worse as the campaign wore on. It was (still is) widely reported that since people of my ilk supported Trump we were racist and all the rest. Names that put on any other demographic would be considered anathema in the current climate of those who have positioned themselves as our betters. It isn’t my fault I was born white. I get up and go to work, pay my taxes etc and just want to be left alone. To live in peace. To move on. I’d like to reach out and help those that are in need when I can. I truly feel bad for those that are having a hard time with this. But until we ALL can have a seat at the table….


  112. …although you can still get off relatively easily for making fun of subcontinentals (Indians and Pakis), something as hilarious as The National Lampoon’s pants-wettingly funny Foreigners Around The World would never see the light of day. The schoolma’rms of the Diversity Police would be out in full Puritan dudgeon.


  113. perhaps it has something to do with this:

    ” . . . . he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him”

    (from 1 John 4:16)

    could there be anything more rewarding than this union ?
    ” Faith is looking at Christ, entrusting oneself to Christ, being united to Christ, conformed to Christ, to His life.
    And the form, the life of Christ, is love; hence to believe is to conform to Christ and to enter into His love. So it is that in the Letter to the Galatians in which he primarily developed his teaching on justification St Paul speaks of faith that works through love (cf. Gal 5: 14).”
    (Benedict XVI)


  114. your comment evokes a kindred feeling ……. that men like Leonard Cohen belonged to a ‘tribe’ of people who can forgive almost anything but unkindness to others, the abandonment of a sense of ‘kindred’ recognition of our own humanity being connected up to how we encountered and treated one another, especially those who are fragile and therefore in need of kindness most

    But I don’t think Cohen’s passing is an ‘end’ to an era or a ‘tribe’ that could recognize one another wordlessly, no.
    I don’t see that happening at all


  115. Ha! My thought was opposite:

    Marry a Swedish photographer and move to Sweden!

    Oh, wait: he just watches TV?


  116. The last eight years have been a nonstop fiesta for the Diversity folks (although the celebration of diversity never seemed to include diversity of political opinion), and the white, heterosexual, broadly Christian male has been made to feel like the evil anti-Diverse, He Who Is By Definition Non Diverse.

    Right ON, Mule! The only segment of society for which there is no punishment for hating.


  117. And 53% of women chose him over their supposed bell-weather. and soul sister, Hillary! The whole demographics story will be fascinating to read once the story is completed, and people will be talking about it for years!


  118. I never thought the ‘abortion battle’ WAS about the unborn at all. It was a way for some people to act like they ‘cared’ all the while ensuring that the political system they supported demanded little from them in the way of serving their country or paying the taxes necessary for providing care for unmarried single mothers. And the political party? Corrupt enough to ‘use’ the sick portrayal of a people ‘caring about the unborn’ in order to get votes.

    I think the ‘abortion battle’ was a way to try to control women in a society where they had got past the chains and where they were no longer ‘dependent’ on men for achievement and self-preservation. For some reason, putting women in their place is a VERY BIG part of the alt-right and of the hyper-grace crowd.

    There were, are exceptions. But truth be told, when over eighty percent of ‘evangelicals’ proudly cast their vote for Trump, I don’t think there ARE many exceptions. I hope I’m wrong. I want to be wrong. But that election defined ‘evangelicalism’ to me in a different way. I have to ‘accept’ what it showed about the evangelical voters. And I am disappointed and relieved at the same time: there WERE too many ‘contradictions’ in the fundamentalist-evangelical world and this election puts some of those ‘contradictions’ to rest, and not in a good way.


  119. Trump, one family. One time. This election was an anomaly and I doubt that his kids will run for the top spot as did the Clintons and Bushes. Plus, he’s not even president yet! What if he’s as effective as Jimmy Carter? One term and out? The country’s demographics are not too promising to continue the working man’s rebellion.


  120. do white people bring anything to the Diversity Party besides contrition, or is Whiteness forever tainted by the historical accidents of the last 500 years?

    This is a fair question and well-phrased, and probably at least part of the grounds on which a general conversation of race (and ethnicity and gender and …) can be based. To the best of my knowledge the question has not been asked but rather the answer assumed to be “no” by those unwilling to engage with it on either side. (It could have been asked and I missed that conversation.) Those who do and have by and large find ways that the answer is “yes,” but those answers involve self-reflection and relinquishing some of the assumed or actual privilege that the white, heterosexual, broadly Christian male has enjoyed as a result of the historical accident. Human beings are not by nature good at such activities. Jesus points this out once or twice.

    If one can make that engagement, usually one finds that they are part of the “Diversity Folks.” It’s interesting how quickly a seat is made at the table for those willing to be open to other opinions – political or otherwise. That’s been my experience as a white, heterosexual, specifically Christian male anyway.


  121. I am met with great sadness at the passing of Leonard Cohen. I’ve only heard a snippet on a radio review of one of his newest songs, but ever since the election, my mind has circled again and again to his deep, intimate (and perhaps prophetic) voice saying, “You want it darker, We kill the flame.” I am at a loss as how to process the fear and hatred that was spewed this election season, slicing apart relationships between neighbors, family, friends, church members, in a much deeper and more visceral way than I ever would have expected . . . I’m emotionally spent. Seems all I can do at the moment is to make sure my own candle remains lit. I don’t want it any darker.


  122. Leonard Cohen was never a favorite of mine, but as evidenced by the number of artists and singers who eagerly performed his songs, he was held in esteem by his peers.


  123. Christians have ditched the culture wars for the promise of a win in the abortion battle. Which could be a good thing except that they’ve shown that character clearly no longer matters, morality no longer matters, holding to your promises no longer matters, none of it. They have joined forces with the very behavior they’ve claimed to find reprehensible (remember the outcry against Jimmy Swaggert for having taudry relations?) to maybe stop legal abortion. Maybe. The message is clear: you do what you have to do to win.

    My daughter has signed off on church because of behavior like this. My son has been pretty active in his church but tells me he is very much rethinking that and is leaning towards backing away because of what this election has brought forth. Strongly leaning towards backing away.

    Once you start believing that God picks your political leaders, all bets are off. Wonder how many people thought Nero was king because their God wanted him there? Would you tolerate this behavior from your pastor as long as your membership rose?


  124. I have to say that I considered both candidates the epitome of narcissistic obsession. The supporters of both Donald and Hillary were quite willing to close their eyes, ears, and minds to the egregious failings of their chosen candidate. It was a horrible election.


  125. IM has turned out to be a relatively serene pace to ask questions. Usually, I respect Jim Wallis (his link didn’t work), but I am struggling with his statement that the President-elect brought white identity politics back into the Overton window. Now, thinking back to before I was born, there was never any white identity politics that I could discern, just white supremacy, which was assumed to be as natural and as unchangeable as the composition of the atmosphere. This white supremacy was actual as well as psychological, and was rooted in a number of historical accidents that propelled Europe ahead of the rest of humanity in terms of social organization and lethality of their weapons. Anybody alive in 1350 would never have predicted white supremacy, although African blacks would not have been in the running either.

    As white people matured ethically, with a lot of the initial tutelage was supplied by WWII and the Holocaust supplemented later by Dr ML King, Jr.’s embrace of Gandhi’s methodology of non-violence, the suffocating umbra of unconscious white supremacy began to recede, creating current conditions. What white people face now is a different animal – do white people bring anything to the Diversity Party besides contrition, or is Whiteness forever tainted by the historical accidents of the last 500 years?

    The last eight years have been a nonstop fiesta for the Diversity folks (although the celebration of diversity never seemed to include diversity of political opinion), and the white, heterosexual, broadly Christian male has been made to feel like the evil anti-Diverse, He Who Is By Definition Non Diverse. That is a shitty way to feel, and I am not surprised that white people throatily rejected it. I think Buster the Boxer knows what I’m talking about. 🙂


  126. So I marry a Swedish photographer, have to move to Sweden and, in return, I get access to his Netflix password?

    I’m not saying yes. I’m just saying I want to be aware of my options here.


  127. I understand Mark Galli’s desire to hold people together, to forgive and move on, etc etc… and I want to walk through this situation with grace and Christ’s love and will try to forgive – BUT – quite a few (certainly not all) evangelicals have veered off the rails into what looks a lot like a cult to me. imo they have left the faith. I haven’t left – they have. I am now called to be a missionary to them. We are not coreligionists. And not only have they left the faith, but they’ve, with glee, sullied the name of Christ and the term evangelical in the eyes of the entire world! There’s no way I can consider myself “evangelical” or maybe even “Christian” anymore. It would be an exercise in futility and a waste of time to try and refurbish that label. In the coming years, one of the most powerful ways to open a door to witnessing to the other is going to be, “I didn’t vote for trump and I’m not an evangelical…” Those that can’t say that will have years and years of tough relationship building before they can even start at the basics.


  128. And the President-elect’s kids are going to be running his businesses while they are involved in transitioning….

    Keep moving along folks! There’s no huge, unprecedented, right-in-your-face conflict of interest happening here!


  129. Did I actually use the word “one” instead of “won? Lol! If my brain requires caffeine that much before doing anything in the morning, then I need an intervention. But I actually think it’s just the gray matter slipping away into non-existence.


  130. I should say: It’s all about abortion and sexuality, stupid (and when I say stupid, I’m talking to myself).


  131. I’ve read a lot of criticism of evangelicals for supporting the President-elect from significant evangelical voices, and much anguish expressed. I understand and sympathize with that. But the majority of Catholic voters also chose the P-e, and by a significant margin. If the religious right just one a huge battle in the culture war in this election, the majority of Catholic voters were fighting with them, and probably made the victory possible. Catholics are fully engaged in the culture war, and on the same side as evangelicals, though quieter about it. It’s all about abortion and LGBT inclusiveness, stupid.


  132. Hi OSCAR,

    not so fast …….. we are getting the ENTIRE TRUMP FAMILY dynasty all at once in the ‘now’, in the ‘present tense’, all together ……. the whole fam damily ……

    it looks like Donald’s CHILDREN are on the transitioning team …. all three of them

    and it looks like Jared Kushner, Donald’s son-in-law, is going to play a very prominent role in the White House

    so dynasties come and go, but this time we are getting the whole TRUMP CLAN at one time . . . . and dear Melania and young Baron will be living in the White House also

    we live in interesting times, OSCAR, and it will only get better (?)


  133. A pair of Los Angeles talk show hosts who are known for their outrageous and sarcastic takes on current events played one of their more hilarious bits this evening. They noted that for the past 35 years we, the voters, have been subjected to the continued reign of two political families, and now we want to permanently wash them from our memories. So what better way than to cast them into the lake of fire!

    With a background track of screaming and wailing the two hosts maniacally commented on each person and followed it with an audio clip that most represented what they hated about that person. First to go was Bill Clinton ( “I did not have sexual relations with that woman…”), followed by Hillary accompanied by a track of one of her more jarring, screechy, speeches. And for good measure, because of the rumors of her running for a position in the House, Chelsea.

    Next came the Bush family, Papa Bush (“Read my lips…”), followed by W, and finally Jeb (Mr. Low Energy).

    After this past year I have not heard anything SO funny! I sat in my truck and laughed harder than I have in quite a while. PLUS I quite agree with the hosts: I do not want to hear ANY of their names again!

    And if I could cast a “thing” into the lake of fire it would be the self serving and one sided moralizing that came from BOTH sides, both from candidates AND their groupies. Neither side had a mirror, apparently, to look into before they started their day.

    So, here’s to mirrors! And PEACE!!


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