DRAGONS COME IN MANY COLORS

“For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”

2 Thessalonians 2:11-13-NIV

“POWERFUL DELUSION” CHRISTIAN’S SUPPORT OF DONALD TRUMP

In the United States of America devout evangelical Christians staunchly believe that the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States is the result of the righteous will of God. That Trump, a New York billionaire, who had shown no real interest in Christian values in his past, is the “Chosen one of God” to bring about their idea of God’s kingdom upon the earth. Sadly, other Christians who ought to know better,  have fallen for what is obvious strong delusion.  To some Mr. Trump has become a hero of almost Messianic  proportions.

In reality, President Trump has been the biggest supporter of right wing evangelical causes in the history of the presidency. While outspokenly pro-choice on abortion in the past, Trump has appointed dozens of anti-abortion judges to the federal courts. His two appointments to the United States Supreme Court, Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsich, are on record in their belief that the landmark abortion case of the 1970’s, Roe V Wade, should be overturned which would essentially allow the states to ban abortions in all cases. Those on the religious right have often labeled those advocating choice as “Baby Killers.”  Evangelical leaders more often than not oppose abortion even in cases of rape and incest.  The age of the rape victim matters little to most who hold to this viewpoint. One of Trump’s most popular promises to the religious right is his desire to repeal the Johnson Amendment. This legislation signed by President Johnson in 1964 forbade churches from actively participating, especially fund raising,  on behalf of political candidates or else they would lose their tax exempt status. Evangelical and other religious institutions have been finding ways to skirt the Johnson Amendment for years even with the law. Trump’s support for repealing the law only validated them. Religious leaders have expressed that this is a free speech issue. Those favoring the Johnson Amendment feel this serves to secure the wall between church and state.

Prominent evangelical preachers have often been seen placing their hands on the president and praying over him inside the oval office of the White House.  Trump in 2019, appointed prosperity gospel minister, Paula White, a controversial and ethically challenged in the past televangelist, as White House Spiritual Advisor. White’s teachings are surrounded by the idea that one’s faithfulness to God, especially sending her church money, will result in you receiving riches in return. White now claims  that political opponents of Donald Trump “operate in sorcery and witchcraft” and that “Any persons [or] entities that are aligned against the president will be exposed and dealt with and overturned by the superior blood of Jesus”. She has suggested that criticism of her belief is “a political ploy just to hurt our president”.

Evangelicals praise of Trump has a reached completely absurd levels during his presidency. Keep in mind that many of these same preachers were quick to condemn the morality or the lack of “character” of other presidents, especially the one’s they disagreed with.  Christian televangelists loudly condemned former President Bill Clinton in the 1990’s for his extra marital affairs and his lack of “morality,” demanded his removal from office after an affair with a White House intern was exposed. Let’s examine the words of Franklin Graham, the son of legendary minister Billy Graham, who now heads his late father’s organization.

On Bill Clinton he had this to say back in 1998. “Graham, in a 1998 Wall Street Journal op-ed written in response to Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky, skewered Americans for succumbing “to the notion that what a person does in private has little bearing on his public actions or job performance, even if he is the president of the United States.”

On Donald Trump’s extra marital affair with former porn star “Stormy Daniels” after it was discovered that Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohn, had paid 125,000 dollars to keep her silent days before the 2016 election, Graham said this.  ” I don’t have concern, in a sense, because these things happened many years ago — and there’s such bigger problems in front of us as a nation that we need to be dealing with than other things in his life from a long time ago. I think some of these things — that’s for him and his wife to deal with.”

Similar sentiments have been expressed by prominent right wing religious leaders such as Gary Bauer, the President of American Values (conservative values advocacy organization) and Dr. James Dobson, the head of Focus on the Family.

Other evangelical leaders have threatened violent consequences if Donald Trump is ever legally removed from office. Christian Pastor, Rich Wiles, a promoter of a wide range of conspiracies warned that  President Donald Trump’s supporters will “hunt down” Democrats and bring “violence to America” once the president leaves office. In another interview with Newsweek magazine, Wiles said this “If they take him [Trump] out, there’s gonna be violence in America. “That’s all there is to it,” he asserted. “However he leaves, there’s gonna be violence in America,” Wiles went on. “I believe there are people in this country, veterans, there are cowboys, mountain men, I mean guys that know how to fight,” he said, “and they’re going to make a decision that people who did this to Donald Trump are not gonna get away with it.”

Televangelist, Jim Bakker, most famous for the 1980’s scandal involving his headship of PTL Ministries that resulted in him serving time in a Federal Prison, now back on television with a new ministry has been unabashed in his support for Mr. Trump. Bakker has marketed a book “Trump Prophecies” for a 35 dollar donation plus shipping and handling. On Trump, Bakker claims “Attacks On Trump Are A Sign That ‘America Is In A War Against God.” Bakker  has stated on his television program, The Jim Bakker Show,  that “Only saved people can love Trump.” He had previously stated that supporting President Donald Trump “is a test whether you’re even saved.”

Jerry Falwell Jr., the son of the late Christian televangelist and founder of Liberty University, in Lynchburg, Virginia, who now leads the movement was asked,  Is there anything President Trump could do that would endanger that support from you or other evangelical leaders? He adamantly declared “No.” Followed by why he feels Trump is doing God’s will. It’s clear in the minds of these evangelical leaders that the end justifies the means. It appears they have forgotten the words of Jesus when he said, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” Mark 8:36. Space does not permit us to list all of the quotes from so called “Christian” pastors on their undying loyalty to President Trump. A simple google search can surely keep the reader busy!

In addition to their public proclamations, religious groups have raised millions of dollars towards Trump’s re-election campaign in 2020. It’s fair to say no other president in American history has obtained this kind of devotion from Evangelicals.

As president, Donald Trump has displayed little of what might be considered Christian “Values.” Still, Trump supporters believe he is “draining the swamp,” or getting rid of corruption in Washington, D.C., yet his own administration appears to be one of the most corrupt in history. Numerous associates of his have been indicted and convicted of crimes, others have been forced to resign in disgrace.

2015-16 THE ROAD TO THE WHITE HOUSE

According to numerous Trump associates, Donald Trump ran for president as a publicity stunt. He never actually believed he could win. On the day he announced his intention to run in a carefully crafted scene at Trump Towers, actors from a local talent agency were paid fifty dollars each to stand in the crowd pretending to be cheering supporters. To many, Trump’s words about Hispanics and others were not only alarming but downright race baiting. Mainstream media was “outraged” as they gave almost non-stop coverage to Trump’s speeches and appearances in the coming months. The three cable news networks gave him far more coverage than any other presidential candidate. Keep in mind this was not because Trump had much that was monumental to say, but because it was giving them huge Neilson ratings which translated into millions of dollars. Even to people who would never vote for him, Trump’s outrageous words and the people at his events were entertaining and often comical. CNN, MSNBC, and of course FOX News created a monster! Little did anyone, including members of the Republican Party, realize that his divisive rhetoric was striking a chord with millions of Americans feeling alienated. According to Republican Senator, Lindsey Graham, now one of Trump’s most ardent defenders, in 2015, ” Do you know how to make America great again? Tell Donald Trump to go to hell.” This was after Trump proposed banning all Muslims from entering the United States.

Trump on the campaign trail hurled vile insults at his political opponents. He insinuated that the wife of Republican Senator, Ted Cruz of Texas, was “ugly.” He suggested that Senator Cruz’s father was involved in the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy. He gave them labels that were repeated over and over again until they were ingrained in his supporters minds. “Crooked Hillary,” “Lying Ted” Cruz. “Little Marco” Rubio, insinuating the Florida Senator had a small member! Trump publicly mocked and mimicked the mannerisms of a disabled member of the media. He degradingly referred to the bodily functions of Fox News anchor, Meghan Kelly, while mocking her coverage of him. He suggested that the federal judge presiding over a law suit involving his fraudulent Trump University, which he later settled for 26 million dollars, would not be fair to him because he was a “Mexican.” Worst of all Trump exploited the fears of so many. He blamed the presence of  undocumented immigrants from Mexico for his supporters inability to succeed in life. He promised to build a five thousand mile wall along the border to keep the Mexicans out. While this rhetoric greatly alarmed many, including people who lived through Nazi Germany in the 1930’s due to Trump’s shameless use of propaganda buzz words, it was music to the ears of his supporters. His rallies consisted of his followers loudly chanting, “Build that wall” and “Lock her up” as he called for imprisoning his political opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Trump’s chances for being elected appeared greatly damaged when late in the campaign an audio tape was leaked that contained an unused portion of an interview with the television program Access Hollywood. On the tape, Trump is heard speaking in a vulgar manner about women and even bragging about grabbing them by their vaginas. The content shocked many but did not negatively sway his supporters. He dismissed it as just “locker room talk.” There is little doubt that the tape would have ended the campaign of anyone else. Trump also degraded Senator John McCain and his military service because he had been a prisoner of war in Vietnam. In his words, the future president said McCain was not a hero and that he liked people that “weren’t captured.” Past interviews over the years on the Howard Stern radio program revealed Trump boasting of extra marital affairs, dodging the Vietnam era draft, and walking into the dressing room where female contestants in his Miss Universe beauty pageant were naked. In spite of this, his evangelical supporters never wavered.

To the amazement of everyone, Donald Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States in November of 2016. His election victory was one of the closest in American history, as he actually lost the popular vote by 2.9 million votes but won in the electoral college do to very close victories covering three key states.  The 77,000 votes in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin  altered the course in American history.

THE ROOTS OF TRUMP

Starting in the late 1970s, prominent American Evangelical leaders such as the late Reverend Jerry Falwell, the founder of Liberty University in Virginia; Pat Robertson, the founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network, CBN, and others formed a coalition that became known as the “Moral Majority,” in order to enhance the influence and power of their brand of Fundamentalist Christianity in the USA. They were assisted by powerful conservative politicians such as the late Senators, Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond, as well as numerous members of state and local governments. They were able to raise millions of dollars in their desire to return America to its “Christian roots.” Claiming to be alarmed by a moral decline in our society, such as perceived abortion on demand, the rising divorce rate, children born out of wedlock, increased abuse of drugs and alcohol, the banning of prayer in public schools, and the increasing influence of the “homosexual agenda” they began to fund and support political office seekers who were seemingly sympathetic to their cause.

In 1976, Presidential candidate Jimmy Carter, a self-professed Born Again Christian, received a sizeable majority of support from Evangelicals in his election victory over President Gerald R Ford. Carter, a moderate to conservative Democrat, seemed in accord with their values being pro-life and calling for a more moral and decent America. After taking office, President Carter greatly disappointed Evangelicals because he did not fight hard enough to advance their agenda.

Enter Ronald Reagan.  Future President Ronald Reagan, the former California Governor, narrowly lost his bid to over take President Ford for the 1976 Republican Presidential nomination.  Reagan, that year, obtained strong support from Southern Conservatives, many with Evangelical roots. One wonders if he would have defeated Carter had he won the nomination that year. During the 4 years of Carter’s presidency, Reagan courted religious conservatives, especially those from the South, as well as powerful business men unhappy with the economic direction of the Carter administration.

ELECTION 1980

The mood of the country was dour entering that election season. The economy was hurting through run away inflation, high interest rates, unemployment, and a gasoline “shortage.” Foreign affairs did not look much better, as the Soviet Empire seemed to be expanding across the globe. Fifty two American hostages were being held by Iranian militants with the approval of their government after they took the American embassy in IRAN by force. Carter, not wanting the hostages harmed, appeared weak in his efforts to free them as they were held throughout the year. Nightly newscasts showed Iranians burning American flags and chanting, “Death to America.” Reagan and his supporters greatly benefited from President Carter’s political misfortunes.

Reagan, a natural in front of the cameras from his previous career as an actor, waxed nostalgic about a rosy American past that really never existed other than on TV shows such as Leave It to Beaver, Father Knows Best, and the Donna Reed Show from the 1950s and 1960s, one where white American families lived in comfortable suburban houses, where the Mother stayed home, the Father went to the office in a suit and tie while earning enough to have the “American Dream,” and the children attended predominately white schools never getting into trouble as they gleefully recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Reagan campaigned on the idea and even said he was going “To make America great again!” Election day in November of 1980 saw Ronald Reagan win an impressive landslide finishing with 489 Electoral votes. Evangelicals thought their time had come.

Throughout the Reagan years, his support from the Christian Right never waivered but they were not completely satisfied with Reagan’s commitment to their ideology.  He appointed conservative but mostly socially moderate judges to the Federal bench, like when he made Sandra Day O’Conner the first female Supreme Court Justice and later on placing Justice Anthony Kennedy to the US Supreme Court. The landmark Supreme Court decision from the early 1970s, Roe v. Wade, was no closer to being overturned. In fact, some wondered if they hadn’t been played by Reagan, after all, as Governor of California in the late 1960s, he supported and signed into law a bill that greatly expanded women’s access to abortion in the state. When addressing them at conferences, President Reagan sounded passionate for their causes, but only minimally delivered as President. In addition, the more libertarian conservatives in the Republican party had very little use for the Evangelical movement. Arch conservative Senator, Barry Goldwater, said to be the inspiration of the modern day conservative movement, did not hide his contempt for the religious right. One of his most notorious quotes about them is, “Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.”

ONLY PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THEIR HOPES

Following the Reagan years, religious conservatives passionately threw their support behind George Bush in 1988 and in 1992, Senator Robert Dole in 1996, and George W Bush in 2000 and in 2004. While not achieving all of their aspirations, the alternative Democrats, particularly Bill and Hillary Clinton,  served as a lightening rod to rally them to action. Still after all the years and after all the money and after all the votes, their idea of the Kingdom of God had not been established upon the earth! There were still abortions, the rights claimed by homosexual men and women appeared to be expanding, and there was little indication that things would change anytime soon.

CHANGING DEMOGRAPHICS

Throughout the history of the United States of America, the white male has had most of societies rules slanted in his favor. It began with black slavery in the American South and the gross mistreatment and exploitation of immigrants, especially those of darker skin such as the Chinese on the West coast in the 1800’s and early 1900’s, and Mexicans in the Southwest and even free Blacks in the North. While the Civil War did end slavery, no provision was made for the well-being of suddenly freed African Americans. They were left to fend for themselves. Angry Southern whites suffering from economic hard times following the war, made Blacks their scapegoats. Jim Crow laws were created resricting the rights of  Southern Negroes, such as implementing huge obstacles in their ability to earn a living, vote, or obtain anything resembling a quality education. Segregation prohibited Blacks and Whites from eating together, sitting together in public places, intermarrying, going to the same schools, etc. Blacks were regulated to living in undesirable places which soon became slums. Blacks were often lynched on the thinnest of evidence when accused of a crime, many without even lawful trials.

Sadly, this mistreatment of other races started from the very beginning of our Nation and continued well into the 20th centuary. It was not until the late 1950’s that civil rights laws began to make it possible for minorities to take their rightful place in American society. Slowly but surely, these minorities (including women) began to gain influential places in society in the strongholds of white males. There was no greater parody of the white male’s fear than the sitcom character, Archie Bunker, in the hit 1970’s series, All in the Family. Archie worked hard and played by societies rules to support his family as a blue-collar worker. Being lesser educated, Archie and co-workers easily blamed the abuses of their corporate masters on minorities and women in the work-place and in society in general. This generation fought WWII against Japan and won and were now fighting them in the economic world and feared they were losing their grip.

While Archie Bunker was fictional, he represented the feelings of millions of decent but misguided people. These biases were passed on to many in the succeeding generations in opposition to Affirmative Action programs that gave employment hiring preferences to women and minorities. Through manufactured outrage from conservative political groups many were fed a strawman that had the hard working middle class white man supporting slackers, mostly people of color with their tax dollars through social welfare programs. Even when data has proven this a gross exaggeration, the stereotype lives on to this day.

BARACK OBAMA

Barack Hussein Obama was a rising popular Illinois politician, a law professor at the University of Chicago who was elected in the 1990’s to be an Illinois State Senator. After having some moderate success as a state legistlator, he used his youthful looks and energy as well a charismatic manner of speaking to be elected to the United States Senate in 2004. Almost immediately, Obama was seen as presidential material by members of the Democratic party. He was in great demand as a campaigner on behalf of democratic canditates for offices all over the United States. By 2008, Obama fever had consumed Democrats especially young people, black and white. In 2008, Obama was elected in a landslide over Republican challenger, John McCain, and again in 2012 by a sizable margin over Mitt Romney.

In the years following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, many well-meaning Americans developed an irrational fear of Muslims, particularly immigrants. Seeing Muslim women wearing hijabs and men in traditional Islamic garb set off an alarm in many. Due to his unusual name and the fact that his late Father had a Muslim background, Obama detractors on the far right insisted he was indeed a “Muslim.” In truth, the future president was raised by his white American mother born in Kansas and Christian grandparents in the state of Hawaii and never practiced the Islamic faith. Obama, the son of a black African father was seen as the “First black President.”  Many felt that Obama’s election as president would be a major breakthrough for racial equality and that we had truly taken a step forward.  Tragically, we quickly found out that this wasn’t the case. Obama becoming President set off a panic in the already alienated whites in America. Quickly “The Tea Party” formed and came to the fore front. Millions of mostly white middle to lower middle class Americans found a channel for their deep seeded fears. Funded by billionaires such as Charles and David Koch, rallies were hosted throughout the country.  There are numerous examples of blatant racism in many who opposed Obama. Including the claim that he was not a “real American,” a “secret Muslim,” and a usurper of the office. It was more than coincidence that people like Donald Trump demanded to see his birth certificate. Can anyone recall another president forced to show proof of his birthplace? This was pure racism.  Racist signs and images were often found at these Tea Party events.

The presidency of Barack Obama was in a way doomed from the outset. There was simply no way anyone could live up to the expectations that he inspired. Washington, D.C. is a complicated place and presidents do not have dictatorial  powers. Almost everything has to be passed by a Congress representing a variety of powerful special interests. Still, he had some success in turning around a badly bruised economy that he inherited upon taking office and providing healthcare to millions who otherwise could not afford it. In spite of high personal popularity, many, including people in his own party, felt things were not improving fast enough. While millions of new jobs were created in the Obama years and the stock market soared from 7,800 to almost 19,000 before leaving office, those in middle America were still struggling. It seemed most people were working again but they weren’t really getting ahead. Like with most recent presidencies, the rich got richer, the middle class stayed stagnant, and the poor got poorer. No serious historian would argue that Obama didn’t leave with the country in better economic shape than when he found it. Still, it wasn’t the utopia so many expected.

Even worse for Obama was that his policies enraged conservatives, often for no other reason than he supported something and they felt an obligation to oppose it. For example, Obamacare was based on a policy implemented by none other than Republican Governor Mitt Romney, of Massachuttetes. Further adding fuel to the fire was President Obama’s policies on social issues such as homosexual rights, abortion rights, and the nation of Israel angered the evangelical community. Barack Obama and his party were according to them, the epitome of America’s “Moral decline.” Most of them believe President Obama implemented same sex marriage. In reality, the United States Supreme Court did, with Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Reagan appointee, casting the deciding opinion.

TRUMPS BUSINESS RECORD DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE CHRISTIAN   

As a flamboyant New York businessman, Donald Trump began to gain attention in the early 1980’s. Mr. Trump inherited millions from his father, a successful real estate investor. Groomed from a young age by Fred Trump to take over his real estate empire , Trump was mentored by several controversial figures including the late and infamous lawyer, Roy Cohn, who served as Senator Joseph McCarthy’s henchman during the “Red Scare” of the 1950’s. McCarthy and Cohn destroyed the reputations of numerous Americans by outrageous claims that they were part of a great “Communist” infiltration in the United States. Celebrities were blacklisted, members of media had their careers destroyed, and others did not regain their reputation for decades. Thankfully, McCarthy and Cohn were finally exposed as red baiters and sabre rattlers by more responsible people, including members of the Republican Party such as Senator Prescott Bush, the father and grandfather of two future presidents. One witness  in a Senate hearing indignantly asked McCarthy, “Have you no sense of decency?” Like McCarthy, Roy Cohn went away to an almost life in exile. Still, he maintained powerful friends in New York business circles, including Fred Trump. The influence of Cohn can be surely seen in the future president’s best selling book, “The Art of the Deal” from the 1980’s. In the book Trump boasts about the skill of truthful and not so truthful exaggeration when promoting business deals.

While Mr. Trump has marketed himself as a “great businessman,”  in truth his results have consisted of both great success and monumental failures.  Trump has enriched certain people while at the same time left others destroyed in his wake. During the 2016 presidential campaign, numerous workers and contractors came forward with evidence that he stiffed them out of large sums of money for work they had done on his behalf. Trump has filed for bankruptcy four times costing his creditors millions. By the mid 1990’s, not one U.S, bank would do business with him. As a result he was forced to seek help from foreign banks, including according to his son Eric, Russian banks, to finance his projects. “We don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.” Eric Trump, in a 2004 interview.

To anyone with the least bit of reason, it is obvious that President Trump does not want his business records made public because it will reveal his ties to foreign financing and the obvious conflicts of interest that this would being to his presidency. While every U.S. president since Richard Nixon has released their tax returns to the public, Trump has gone to court to keep anyone from seeing his.

“FAKE NEWS”

We are told in scripture that Satan the Devil is the “Father of all lies.” In his effort to deceive the world he transforms himself into an “Angel of light.” 2 Corinthians 11:14. This delusion can come in a number of forms. Often it has come by the arrival of a new world leader promising to return a society to its “former glory.” Adolph Hitler in Germany in the 1920’s and 30’s through the use of propaganda convinced millions that he and only he could save Germany. Donald Trump in his acceptance speech at the 2016 Republican Convention proclaimed, “I alone can fix this.” One of the most effective tools of propagandists is to totally discredit all of their critics. Adolph Hitler, during his rise to power in Germany use to to rail against a number of scapegoats. “Communists,” “trade unions,” “Socialists,” “liberal Democrats,” Jews,” “Slavs,” non whites. One of his constant claims was that “Leftest newspapers” were unpatriotic and out to get him. Since his rise to power, Donald Trump, has sadly, used some of these same scapegoats. One of his favorite targets are what he claims is the “Fake news media.” That anything negative reported about him is simply “Fake news.” The term has been repeated so often by him and his supporters that we now have millions upon millions of Americans who refuse to believe anything reported about Trump if it’s critical.

Starting with the rise of right wing talk show host, Rush Limbaugh in the early 1990’s and Fox News later, conservative Americans have mostly adopted talk radio and Fox News as their only source of “truth.” If Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, or any other of their “sources” don’t validate it, they simply refuse to accept it no matter how obvious. For decades, people have been fed an exaggerated claim that American news media is controlled by “liberals.” In doing this they ignore facts that greatly discredit their claims. 1- American media is owned by a handful of giant corporate conglomerates such as Disney, General Electric, Westinghouse, and a multibillionaire Australian businessman named Rupert Murdoch. Hundreds of radio and television stations are owned by just a few large corporations such as Clear Channel, Cumulus, and Sinclair Broadcasting.  The overwhelming content of these stations are right wing talk programs that truthfully only present one point of view. These stations also happen to be among the largest financial  contributors to the Republican Party.

Nevertheless, people on the American right continue to insist that the free press is involved in a giant socialist conspiracy. The claim that there is a  dominant “Liberal media” was actually coined in the late 1970’s and early 80’s. Rich Bond, a former Chairman of the Republican National Committee,  admitted as such when he said in an interview that they decided to advance the idea of a biased “Liberal media” as a form of “working the refs.” The idea was similar to a sports coach hounding referees throughout a contest in order to get their team more favorable rulings.

Donald Trump and his handlers have mastered this concept by repeating the term “Fake news” over and over again. If you talk to diehard Trump supporters you will find that nothing critical of him, no matter how documented, is to be believed. Often they will simply blurt out “Fake news!!”

FEAR OF SOCIALISM

For decades one of the Right’s greatest bogeyman is to label others and their ideas as “Socialist.” To the woefully misinformed, socialism is identical to the communism of the old Soviet Union. Sadly, we have millions of people throwing around the word socialist but not knowing what it actually means. Just like with capitalism, socialism comes in a number of forms. For example, the European nations of Sweden, Denmark, Scandinavia, Holland and others live under the concept of Democratic socialism. Industry thrives and there is a free market economy and wealthy citizens prosper. Still, basic human needs are seen as a right. These countries offer free college, universal health care, free or very low cost public transportation, and up to six months paid maternity leave to expectant mothers and fathers. People living in these countries maintain many rights that other nations do not offer.  The idea is that society should be more about WE than about ME. These systems like any other form of human government have their flaws. Taxes are high and the costs of living is a challenge. Still, survey after survey shows that the people inside of these countries are the happiest and most content people on the planet.

Even more astounding is that many Americans renouncing “Socialism” as evil, fail to realize that many of the things that actually make their life better are in truth socialist. For example, Medicare, Social Security, public roads, police, fire protection, the military, public universities, unemployment benefits, disability compensation, public utilities, government funded research for health and public safety, regulations making sure the food we eat and the air we breath are safe to consume, the post office and much more. Consider Medicare. Unless you are very wealthy, a person over the age of 65 would be uninsurable in the private sector. The risk is simply too high for insurance companies to offer health insurance. Even if they did,  the costs would be astronomical. Yes, Medicare is socialist and most would say thankfully so! Millions upon millions of elderly citizens receive quality healthcare due to this program of single-payer government subsidized insurance.

Ironically, it is America’s wealthy class that benefits the most from socialism. For they benefit from special tax breaks for their industries, public roads going to their places of business, government contracts and even direct government subsidies. Pharmaceutical companies have marketed drugs and reaped huge profits from products that were actually developed by public investment in government research. What about billionaire sports owners getting hundreds of millions in tax payer dollars to construct large sports stadiums where their teams compete as they reap massive profits from their customers? Not surprisingly, it is often the wealthy class that are the greatest detractors of “Socialism.” It seems they favor socialism when it comes to their interests, but “Free Market” capitalism for everyone else.

JESUS WAS INDEED A SOCIALIST

To many people it is almost blasphamy to say that  Jesus of Nazareth was a socialist. No serious person would argue that he was a “free market” capitalist. Jesus and his followers taught and promised a future kingdom on the earth consisting of the complete brotherhood of man. He offered a parable that justified a worker doing only one hour of work and getting paid the same amount as the workers who had toiled all day. Matthew 20:1-16. Jesus saw no value in earthly riches. He fed the masses because he had compassion upon them. He healed the sick and never asked for payment. In scriptures throughout the New Testament the impending doom of the unjust wealthy is prophecized. James 5:1-6 “Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries shall come upon you.” There is not a recorded word of Jesus complaining about paying taxes. In fact, he said to, “Render until Caesar what is Caesar’s.” Matthew 22:1. Jesus urged the faithful to not take interest when loaning money. Which was in full accord with Jewish law found in the Old Testament. “You shall not charge interest to your countrymen: interest on money, food, or anything that may be loaned at interest.” Deuteronomy 23:19, Leviticus 23:35-37, Exodus 22:25. Jesus admonished us to pray, “Forgive us out debts as we forgive our debtors.” Matthew 6:12.

The Savior of all mankind clearly taught that we are to “Love our enemies,” “pray for  those who persecute us.”  Matthew 5:44. In addition, Jesus did not approve of Christians using weapons to defend themselves as seen in the example of his arrest prior to his crucifixion when he demanded that his Apostle, Peter put away his sword. Matthew 26:52. “For all those that take the sword will die by the sword.” Given this, it seems reasonable to assume that Jesus would not approve of the National Rifle Association.

The examples are numerous in scripture that Jesus would have no part in the political world, left or right. Still, the sentiments he expressed on a variety of issues proves that he would not be a hard nosed capitalist businessman seeking to conquor his competitors and charging “whatever the market will bear.” Jesus taught us to share and share alike.

“LOVE YOUR ENEMIES” 

Jesus astounded the people he addressed during his earthly ministry with an entirely new way of thinking. Contrary to every aspect of our fallen human nature, Jesus taught that we love our enemies and do good to those who persecute us. We ask, does Donald Trump show love for his enemies? Does he offer good-will to those who are critical of him? Of course he doesn’t. Mr. Trump belittles, mocks, and hurls false accusations against anyone who gets in his way. He labels his opponents with childish names such as  “Shifty Shiff,” “Nasty Nancy,” “Crazy Bernie, etc.” He has encouraged people in his campaign crowds to “beat the crap out of” protesters, once promising to “pay their legal bills.” Instances of violence have flared up at numerous Trump events throughout the country. Trump ridicules the members of the press covering his events to the point where they have been threatened with violence by the event attendees. Trump once waxed nostalgic about the “good ole’ days” when the police brutalized protestors.

“WHEN A STRANGER ENTERS YOUR LAND”

In the Old Testament, Jewish law forbade the mistreatment of foreigners in the land. “Do not mistreat foreigners who are living in your land.  Treat them as you would an Israelite, and love them as you love yourselves. Remember that you were once foreigners in the land of Egypt.” Levitcus 19:33-34 NLT  “You shall not oppress a sojourner.” Exodus 23:9, “And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.” Deuteronomy 10:19 NIV. “You are to have the same law for the foreigner and the native-born. I am the LORD your God..” Leviticus 24:22. 

Donald Trump’s theme throughout the 2016 election campaign was to belittle foreigners that he felt did not belong in the United States of America. His targets were mainly people of dark skin tone. He claimed that they were mostly rapists and criminals. His message resonated with millions of white Americans who felt threatened by these people coming here and the possibility of them becoming victims of crime. In spite of the fact that there is no evidence that immigrants, documented or not, commit more crimes than American citizens, Trump exploited his supporters fears. He accused his opponents of advocating “open borders”  when in truth law makers in both political parties, in addition to Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have been trying for years to reform immigration in a constructive manner only to be blocked by those on the far right. Throughout his presidency Trump has harped on these fears.

The boy standing of pulling a metal fence .

For years refugees have fled central American nations towards the United States due to abject poverty and the danger of the Latin American drug cartels. These people along with their children have traveled thousands of miles in seeking a better life. Coming to the United States and declaring  asylum is a legal act and there have been procedures in place to handle these cases. During his first term Donald Trump has attempted to seal off the border and send these people back to where they came from. Thousands of families have been split up, children and babies have been taken away from their parents and have been locked up in what resemble cages. Tragically, some of these children have been abused and some have even died in custody! In addition, Mexican immigrants who have been inside the United States for decades, some since infancy, have been rounded up and deported. All of this has been widely praised by Trump supporters and loudly condemned by others including religious leaders. Keep in mind there are thousands of undocumented white Europeans in the United States that have come here to visit and simply never returned home. Has anyone ever heard the president vilify them? Surely not!

TRUMP AND ISRAEL

To the Christian Zionist there have been positive movements on the part of the Trump Administration when it comes to the nation of Israel. In a move that reminded many of President Harry Truman becoming the first world leader to recognize the new nation of Israel in 1948, Trump in 2018 became the first world leader to recognize Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel. This was a huge move and could truly have Biblical significance. That said, Jerusalem has officially been Israel’s capitol since 1980. Donald Trump’s policies on the surface appear to be more pro-Israel than any American head of state since Truman. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that Israel has “Never had a friend like President Trump.” Every American president since Israel’s regathering in 1948 has been pro-Israel. Most have supported what is known as a two state solution where the land is divided up into two nations. One for Israel and one called Palestine. Many attempts have been made to make this a reality but in the end it always seems to fall short. While President Obama secured record financial packages to bolster Israel’s national defense, many Christians labeled him “Anti-Israel” because he showed sympathy to the plight of the Arabs in the region. Obama condemned Israel’s annexing areas that have been predominantly populated by Arabs for centuries. In some cases, these people have been forced out of their homes to make room for Jewish settlements. It’s important to keep in mind that Zionist Christians clearly see the Biblical importance of the Jewish people returning to these lands but, it is unreasonable to expect people who do not hold to these beliefs to see it as anything but a land grab. That does not make them “Anti-Israel,” “Anti Semitic,” or “pro-terrorist.” We as Christians know that a two-state solution is not God’s plan and will not work, other well intended individuals do not.

Throughout the Bible the Jewish people have been chastised by the Lord for placing their faith in others and not the God of the Universe. It’s important to keep in mind that Donald Trump, Benjamin Netanyahu, and others are corrupt politicians in one way or another. As we write, Trump has been impeached and faces dozens of investigations into his past business dealings and Netanyahu has been indicted for corruption. Scriptures tell us that “The Lord raises up the basest of men.” Daniel 4:17. Throughout history God has used evil and corrupt leaders to accomplish his purposes in one way or another. Still, let’s not forget that they are the basest of men.

 

RED AND BLUE DRAGONS

“Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.”

Revelation 12:7

Longtime Bible Student elder David Doran, during a talk at the Jackson Convention in 2011,  admonished brethren not to take sides in worldly political matters, especially elders from the speakers podium. In political slang, Republican states are called “Red states.” Democratic states are called  “Blue states.” Brother Doran correctly stated that it does not matter if it’s a red dragon or a blue dragon, “It’s still a dragon” referring to the dragon in Revelation which is symbolic of failed and corrupt civil governments that in the end will be completely destroyed by God.  This is what the Lord’s little flock needs to realize. Sure, we may have our opinions and biases in worldly affairs. We certainly see the sinfulness of sin before our very eyes. Where we go astray is in thinking some new world leader is going to solve the world’s problems. Only our Heavenly Father and his son Jesus, the world’s savior, can accomplish this. We know from scripture, “There is none righteous, no not one.” Every possible form of government has been tried by the sinful and dying human race and not one has delivered on its promise. Human beings have tried forms of communism, socialism, capitalism, democracy, dictatorships, monarchies, and others. Yet, none have opened the eyes of the blind, unstopped the ears of the deaf, or made the tongues of the dumb sing. Isaiah 35. Injustice has reigned from Adam until the present.

Sharing political opinions with co-workers or even on social media is in itself not sinful. Certain ways seem right to all of us. Where the problem comes from is when these biases enter the true Church of God. Far too often in recent years political sentiments have found their way onto podiums at our gatherings. More than a few times we hear elders condemning the works of the “Left” in our society while seldom, if ever,  criticizing the abuses of the right. While those on the right often say the right things when it comes to moral issues, few actually practice them. In their speech they spout moral ideals but very seldom live by it, effectively making a mockery of the Scriptures and themselves hypocrites!  They appear to have the “Letter of the law” but certainly not the spirit of it. Of course, followers of God oppose abortion upon demand, homosexual marriage and an overall lack of morality. Still, are we not admonished to separate the sin from the sinner? Is it our job to condemn others or is it our admonishment to love? Are we sympathetic high priests that place ourselves in someone else’s position or are we self-righteous and judgmental when we shouldn’t be? Yes, the Left is also hypocritical in that they want acceptance for “who they are” but rarely accept those who disagree with them, often calling them “haters”, bigots, and ignorant followers of religious “fairy tales.”

The sins and shortcomings of the left are obvious.  Still, are our elders taking an honest look at the right, especially the religious ones? These are the people mostly advocating for the world’s rich and powerful. These are the one’s dominated by nominal evangelical preachers who would obviously hate the truth and everything that we stand for. American right wingers show little concern for the concept of human equality, the well being of our eco system, and are often the most pro-war whenever there is an American conflict in the world. They oppose any form of reasonable gun control laws that might prevent mass shootings. Even worse, they show an almost contempt for the poor and disadvantaged. They are fighting against God because they wish to CONSERVE a society that is out of harmony with God’s righteous statutes.  When you line yourself up with Donald Trump, you are agreeing with Jerry Falwell Jr., Franklin Graham, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Jim Bakker, and others. As Bible Students we really ought to know better.

Ironically, both of America’s political movements have been greatly influenced by atheism. As one writer put it, “The left gave us Stalin, and the right gave us Hitler.”  On the left, humanist  thinking dominates. College campuses are filled with liberal professors that scoff at the very concept of God. In most ways they are less of a threat to the true church than the right. The left does not take God and religion serious enough to worry about it other than to tell people how “absurd” it all is. Still, few realize that the modern day conservative movement is influenced by the late Objectivist writer, Ayn Rand, a devout athiest. Many modern day conservatives including the late President Ronald Reagan, former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, current U.S. Senator Rand Paul, etc., speak glowingly about Rand’s gospel of selfishness. Ayn Rand in her own words declared that the entire concept of God is “Degrading to a man.” See this link, Jesus Christ vs Ayn Rand.  Ayn Rand and Jesus Christ are polar opposites on just about every subject. Modern day conservatism and libertarianism hold Ms. Rand in the highest esteem. Her ideology makes it ok to be selfish and self centered.  Music to the ears of the “Present evil world.” In addition to this, those on the far right, especially Trump supporters, show a strong affinity for extreme nationalism and alarmingly blind expressions of patriotism.

CONCLUSION

We are told in scripture that God would send strong delusion,  in the days of the Lord’s second presence. 2 Thessalonians 2:11-13 KJV
” And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:” As we know, there are many strong delusions hurled our way by Satan, the Devil, who was a liar from the beginning. Almost everything we see in the present world is marketed to us by exaggeration, half truths, and even out and out lies. When asked what the signs will be of his second presence and the “End of the age” our Lord said that, “Many will come in MY name (Jesus’ name) saying I am the Christ and will deceive many.” Matthew 24:5. That’s right, those coming in the name of Jesus have often, even with good intentions, been great deceivers.  If possible they will even deceive the true church of God.  “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the ELECT. Matthew 24:24. Many nominal Christians have referred to President Trump as a “Chosen one.” He has hinted at this very sentiment himself. Is Donald Trump a false messiah? We answer yes, as were many others from both sides of the political isle. We cannot serve God and man. We can either follow Donald Trump or follow Jesus of Nazareth. It’s not possible to approve of both. Should we not have learned from the Pharisees that the ends do not justify evil means? John 11:50

This article is in no way an endorsement of any political movement. We are to be citizens of Heaven. That is where our vote will be cast. We are not to let our fallen human biases influence the inner workings of the church. We recommend leaving our politics at the door of our gatherings or, if need be, in forums unrelated to God’s true plan. For it is truly “Strong delusion.”

In the words of Jesus and quoted by a dear sister, “Let the dead bury their dead.”

    

With Malice Towards None

 

The Restitution Bible Students