Christianity Politics USA

Enough of Presidents who Speak the Language of Christianity while Leaving out Christ

I had a revelation this week…after watching President Trump’s farewell speech, and President Biden’s inauguration speech, I realised that they are in many areas fundamentally the same.  So I wrote this piece for Christian Today. My original title was Make American Great Again/Build Back Better –  (perhaps it would have been better entitled – The Blasphemy of Civic Religion) – but CT went with this one.

Enough of presidents who speak the language of Christianity while leaving out Christ

This is my original article (the CT one is slightly edited)…

‘Make America Great Again’ has been replaced by ‘Build Back Better’. The media world (especially in the West) has been transfixed by the transfer of power from President Trump to President Biden. The speeches Trump gave as he left office and Biden as he entered it make for interesting comparisons. Whilst the former went largely unnoticed – the latter was praised as though it were the 21st Century Sermon on the Mount.

“All Americans were horrified by the assault on our Capitol. Political violence is an attack on everything we cherish as Americans. It can never be tolerated. Now more than ever, we must unify around our shared values and rise above the partisan rancour and forge our common destiny.” That reads like a Biden ‘unifying’ statement, but it actually came from Trump. In fact, as I read the two speeches what struck me, I had a revelation – just how similar both Trump and Biden were in the substance (such as it was) of their speeches. In the words of The Who “meet the new boss, same as the old boss’. (Won’t get fooled again).

What struck me in particular was the role that prominent role that religion, especially Christianity, played in both. Except it’s not really Christianity – it’s much more civic religion. In Trump’s case you could argue it was a kind of civic ‘Christian’ American nationalism, in Biden’s it is a civic ‘Christian’ American progressivism. The New York Times could hardly contain its delight, rejoicing it what it called “Biden’s Catholic Faith, an Ascendent Liberal Christianity’. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/23/us/biden-catholic-christian.html?smtyp=cur&smid=tw-nytimes

Paul Kelly in The Australian was typical of many in their use of religious imagery and enthusiasm for Biden’s speech. “This was a bid to restore America’s soul, a magnificent oration, a sacred speech for of grace and humility. His language was that of President and priest”. Others were equally fulsome in their praise – The CNN reporter reported that Biden was not just ‘commander in chief but also papa in chief; before going on to add that “todays inauguration felt more like a church service…he is the better angel President”. Other headlines in supposedly serious newspapers and broadcasters included “Biden is Moses…the light of the world…the hope of the world….In Biden we trust”. Trump was rightly mocked for his grandiose self-promotion and continual pseudo-religious boasting – but apparently it is now ok to openly praise Biden as the Saviour of America.

American Christian Nationalism and American Christian Progressivism.

American Christian nationalism and American Christian progressivism have many things in common – as exemplified by both speeches. I will mix and match quotes from both.

First comes national pride – “We are a truly magnificent nation” “ this is a great nation….we are good people” “America is the greatest nation in all of history”

Then an expressed confidence in the American people. “The greatest danger we face is a loss of confidence in ourselves – a loss of confidence in our national greatness,” “as long as America’s people hold in their hearts deep and devoted love of country then there is nothing that this nation cannot achieve”

Then follows a belief that American democracy and the American way of life is holy – “This is democracy’s day, a day of history and hope, of renewal and resolve.” “This is sacred ground..this is hallowed ground”.

In this civic religion faith means faith in America. “We must never lose this conviction and our sustained national belief in America”. What are the common objects we as Americans love, that define us as Americans? I think we know. Opportunity, security, liberty, dignity, respect, honour and, yes, the truth.”

That faith leads to a religious like devotion to America. “The work and prayers of centuries have brought us to this day. What shall be our legacy? What will our children say? Let me know in my heart when my days are through. America, America, I gave my best to you.”

I find it difficult to see what any of this has to do with Christianity which is meant to be following Jesus Christ. It is not wrong to have a pride in one’s nation, nor to seek to uphold democracy, but to exult it as a substitute for God is blasphemy – no matter which political wing it comes from.

The Blasphemy of Civic Religion

This blasphemy is seen in so many ways. Whether it was the congressman ignorantly praying ‘Amen and Awoman’ or Rev. Dr Silverster Beaman praying in the Presidential inauguration prayer “In the strong name of our collective faith, Amen.”. Christians don’t pray in the name of ‘our collective faith’. We pray in the name of Christ – a name incidentally which was not mentioned at all in the prayer. In what sense does this have anything to do with Christ? American civic religion is Christless religion – he is only invoked as ‘your own personal Jesus’ – someone who shares the values of whoever is in power.

President Trump welcomed the new administration and wished them well. He wished them ‘luck – a very important word’. This is not wishing the blessing of God, or recognising his sovereignty or our own weakness. America’s ‘faith’ as referenced by both parties, is to believe that America is the greatest and best – and then rely on luck!

On the other side President Biden cited Augustine (how I wish he would follow Augustinian theology!) stating that a people are a multitude defined by the common objects of their love. For President Biden that means Americans are defined by values such as security, dignity, liberty etc as though other people do not have these values. But Augustine was writing in the context of the City of God. Christians are a people because of our love for Christ, his Word, his people and his world. To appropriate Christ for your own nation, and ignore what he says for all people is blasphemy.

An Augustinian President?

Biden’s speech was an eloquent call for unity. But actions speak louder than words. So far, the signs are not good. Biden, in direct opposition to his Catholic faith (and in direct opposition to the Christ he claims to follow) immediately announced that his administration would be supporting abortion overseas (seeking to promote abortion by tying it in with US aid money). Despite saying he would have a policy based on science not politics he went against science (and the Christian faith and the feminist movement) and on his first day signed an Executive Order on ‘Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation’. In so doing he at one stroke of a presidential pen destroyed women’s sports, compromised women’s safe spaces and, as Abigail Shriver, author of Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters put it; ‘raised a new glass ceiling over girls’. The values of the Biden administration were further seen in the appointment of his new transgender assistant health secretary – whose department has issued guidelines for ‘Covid safe orgies’.

The words were of unity. The actions were of a Woke President playing the dangerous game of identity politics. Sadly, it’s a game that far too many in the church are also willing to play.

Anyone can quote the Bible – even the devil managed to do that (please note – before all the angry e-mails arrive, I am not calling either Biden or Trump, the devil!). Biden’s quotation of Psalm 30 v. 5 “weep, ye may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning”, was entirely out of context. In that song it is God we are to exult, it is God we are to praise, it is his favour we are to seek…only then can our wailing be turned into dancing, our tears of sorrow into tears of joy.

If America is to be made great again, or built back better – it needs a true revival (as it has so often had in the past) of biblical Christianity – – not the nationalist version or the progressive version. If this were so, then both sides would play a great deal more heed to the words of Psalm 33:12 “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord”. Instead of pride in America – or boasting about making America great again or building back better – there would be humility, repentance and a calling upon the Name of the Lord – not the name of our great collective American faith! It is only in giving up our lives that we find them!

Encouragement for Real Christians

Meanwhile those of us who are Christians, of all nationalities, but especially perhaps our American brothers and sisters, should take strength and comfort from the Word of God – which (unlike Presidents and countries) endures forever. Psalm 33:22…’We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.”

David Robertson
Sydney
25th January 2021

Evangelicals for Biden – CT

A letter to Evangelicals for Trump -CT

PS.  The above article went straight to the top of CT’s ‘most read’.  Last weeks didn’t even register….which I find quite sad as I think it is both a better and more important article!  But c’est la vie!

4 tried and tested ways to slow down and reflect – CT

35 comments

    1. Absolutely they have. Because they choose to go to churches that preach what they want to hear, for a long time before they become senators and presidents.

  1. If I could draw, I’d do a cartoon of Biden holding a bible outside the church Trump used for his photo-op, when he was the potential target of insurrection himself.

    Nice work, David.

  2. Patrick Deneen’s book. ‘Why liberalism failed’ explains this similarity. All are liberals. But his solution, as many others’ is a return to pre industrial agrarian times. How can christians begin to dream an talk of not a return to an already failed past , but have a fresh vision for our society? Not civic religion but heaven’s rule on earth. Why not ‘build back better’ plus pray for revival? Jesus healed the thankless after all!!

  3. As I read through your comparison of the Biden/Trump speeches, they reminded me of Nebuchadnezzar.
    God have mercy.

  4. An excellent post. I’ve been reading Isaiah recently and noted that God insists his word (as you quote) is the one thing certain… the one thing that remains forever… the one thing that will always succeed in its affirmed goal. Appearances, power brokers, even the earth itself is transient. Only God’s word is reliable.

    We need to rediscover this for all other ground is sinking sand.

  5. Well said! Neither man seemed to really follow Christ, but I must say that at least President Trump did not go around touting what a good Christian he is. President Biden, on the other hand, seems to think that the fact that he spoke to the pope will take him into eternity. He has done more things to promote disunity in office in one week than many before him. Please keep the U.S. in your prayers. We certainly do need a revival, a real one!

  6. Very disappointed that you conflate Biden and the Democrats with Trump who has a good track record when it comes to being genuinely pro life and also pro free speech and religious freedom, not to mention his refusal to allow transgenders in the military. Also Trump got rid of a lot of red tape as part of his ‘drain the swamp’ pledge and helped small businesses.

    Democrats are like many on the left, the end justifies the means, and they are therefore very dangerous. The postal vote harvesting was almost all carried out by Democrats in the key swing states. Despite the Biden Catholic gloss the Democrats have become increasingly atheistic in outlook and in practice. One of their first acts was to try and remove gender specific pronouns in the House! They represent an attack on God’s order of man, woman and the family. They have immediately acted to spread the murder of children in the womb around the world – something Trump would not even have thought about. Trump was a supporter of Israel in the Middle East and moved the embassy to Jerusalem and brokered peace deals with Arab states – an achievement that would have been shouted from the rooftops if he was a Democrat.

    Facebook, Apple, YouTube, Google, Amazon, Twitter: all huge monopolistic financial supporters of Biden and all a direct danger to free speech; who can shut down any expression of Christianity or conservatism they want to under the usual left wing banners of diversity and equality or misrepresentations of ‘hate speech’, with no debate allowed. They hated Trump and hated the way he used their platforms to his advantage in 2016. Twitter shut Trump down but left Khomeini and other direct supporters of terrorism carry on! Their policy when it comes to being challenged is not to debate or even allow debate but to shut up the opposition.

    Clinton let it be known (the leaked emails) America would do little to stop China invading Taiwan and you can expect China to act pretty soon with aggressive moves to see what they can get away with. The world is a more dangerous place with Biden as president. I will pray for him unreservedly as a leader but I will also pray that God raises up men and women of courage to investigate properly the election fraud.

    Some of Trump’s tweets make you cringe but his political actions were almost always good in the sight of God and I include in that building a wall between Mexico and the USA to keep out the constant stream of criminals and drugs. If you look at his speech (hardly anyone has, it’s long and boring) prior to the Capitol break in you will see absolutely nothing that can be construed as incitement to violence other the usual metaphorical encouragement to ‘fight’ for justice in the examples cited of voter fraud.

    I pray for God’s leading and direction for Mr Biden but Trump would have been a better president for both Christians and ordinary people; Biden has the corporate world, climate change fanatics and the LGBT faction salivating.

    1. I can’t really agree. Yes, Biden’s christianity does not give the outward appearance of being centred on the real Jesus. But then neither did Trump’s. Although he was surrounded by evangelical advisors the image they presented to the wider public for four years was a really sorry spectacle I just cannot see would honour God whatever policies they enacted. I also agree that the media coverage of Trump was very negative. But being a christian is primarily about showing people what Jesus looks like, not having a political agenda. There is no evidence that the vote was fraudulent, in fact Trump increased his vote substantially. His handling of COVID has been catastrophic and just turned it into a political issue. Insisting on calling it the China virus was just silly, regardless of what one thinks about the origins. Etc etc.

      1. I agree about the handling of the Covid crisis but that is no different to us in the UK or many other Western Nations. I strongly suspect if there’s no Covid and no postal voting scams that Trump would have won a clear victory.

        The reason there is so much anger amongst the 75 million who voted for Trump is that the evidence – and there was a lot of it in the form of sworn affidavits – was thrown out before it was even examined! Therefore just repeating there is no evidence like the left wing media is meaningless. No judge wanted to be the one who overturned an election, even if it was fraudulent. Even the Supreme Court were reluctant to set this precedent. Republican observers were blocked from being present in counting rooms and this in itself ought to be enough to declare a result invalid. Ballot harvesting took place as did corruption – but if there is no correct legal recourse then anger is entirely understandable.

        The real question is how extensive was the election fraud and would it be enough to overturn close elections in the critical swing states? Several Republican Representatives and Senators know fraud was committed and have been brave enough to continue the fight. Most of them are Christians and some have given up because it is so difficult to go back and prove the evidence of fraud is correct. In some cases ballot papers have been deliberately mixed up and/or illegally disposed of.

        Here’s the text of a discussion between Senator Rand Paul and a left wing media journalist that illustrates the issue quite well. Rand Paul is not a Christian but is a principled man standing up for truth:

        https://www.foxnews.com/media/rand-paul-abc-george-stephanopoulos-clash

        I am not being dogmatic as like millions of others I have been denied a forensic audit of the alleged irregularities.

      2. About being denied a “forensic audit” (well said!), please could I refer you to another comment on this page that I posted few minutes ago in reply to another, which mentions a couple of relevant blog posts of mine and links to a spreadsheet of election integrity court cases so far? (q.v.)

    1. Some of the observations above just do not correlate with ours across the Atlantic (UK). The populist era in politics goes right back to JFK but was enhanced, fortuitously, by a Hollywood actor and our own first woman Prime Minister. The famous line of Regan’s was biblical “Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall”. And, like some heaven sent miracle, he did. This is one dictionary definition of Christianity:
      “the religion based on the person and teachings of Jesus Christ, or its beliefs and practices.” Surely that is undeniable? So what’s all the fuss about, John?

  7. If the media including the BBC can talk quite matter of factly about the British variant and the South African variant I can’t really see the objection to calling the original infestation the Chinese or Wuhan virus. And the Chinese state engaged in a major cover up for weeks after they were aware of its high degree of human transmissibility. So there is serious moral fault there which should make us even less squeamish about calling a spade a spade.

    1. That’s the point. It’s matter of fact. UK variant or South African variant sounds like a neutral or scientific statement. ‘China Virus’ in the context of a Trump tweet just sounded like finger pointing of the playground variety, which is poor no matter what one thinks of how the Chinese responded. If Trump had spent less time tweeting and more time dealing with it, the thing would be gone and the diplomats can argue behind the scenes. The fact remains, China seem to be pretty clear of it, and we are still up to our necks nearly a year on.

      1. I’m not sure I would believe anything that came out of China….and I tend not to see the world through Trump or anti-Trump eyes.

  8. Terence all I see is the republican side just repeating allegations of fraud but not presenting any evidence. No judge would want to overturn an election? They did in 2000, when Bush’s win was very controversial. Many of the judges appealed to this time were even appointed by Trump, and they still threw the cases out as having no merit. The overall republican reaction was not one of united concern, but a mix of acceptance, silence, and Trump shouting off in the media. It is likely Trump would have done a lot better if he had handled COVID properly, but….. he didn’t.
    Someone once said that a great person makes you feel small, but a truly great person makes you feel great. In his overseas policy, Trump went for option 1. Much as the Chinese and Putin do. Actually if you have might, you don’t need to throw your weight about. Two images from schooldays: 1) the self made butcher and his wife who turned up at chapel on Sunday each in their own Rolls’ 2) The far richer family whose son got out of the car half a mile down the road because he didn’t want to be seen coming to school in a vintage Rolls that probably cost more than the other two combined. Tread softly, and carry a big stick. Be generous and outgoing, not self interested. It was a big mistake and just reflected badly on a regime with a very public christian persona.
    Much as I dislike modern left wing wokeness, such as we see more and more in Scotland, I think we are well shot of Trump. The problem with both right and left wing is their inability to see their own faults. They do not understand that they don’t live in the world that they think they do. I can see Jesus saying ‘a plague on both your houses!’ The left do not see Jesus as God and King, and even try to portray him as a Galilean revolutionary. So they cannot understand the concept of a Republican christian. Although the Right emphasise many traditional virtues, they seem to care more about wealth and security than people. Price of everything, and the value of nothing.

    1. Most countries of the world, but not the USA, are signed-up to comply with the Criteria on Free and Fair Elections, which places upon the state itself, rather than any aggrieved candidate said to have lost an election, an obligation to ensure the integrity of the voting and the counting of votes. There is some prima facie evidence for the widely believed allegation that the USA has failed to ensure this integrity and a claim that is credible that this omission has led to electoral injustice, because Trump “really” won the presidential election.

      I worked out what could and should be done about this early after 3rd November and have blogged about the solution twice, on 18th November and 20th January. These two blog posts of mine address the points you make, I urge you to read them. They are easy to find on JohnAllman.UK, being so recent and therefore near the top of the home page and the sidebar list of post titles.

      In my email this week, I received the following link, which is to a spreadsheet about litigation to which the mainstream media have afforded little or no media coverage. Although I cannot vouch for the spreadsheet’s accuracy, not having compiled it myself or fact-checked it, prima facie it refutes the cliched false accusation that Trump has lost every court case for want of robust evidence.
      http://wiseenergy.org/Energy/Election/2020_Election_Cases.htm

      1. Thanks John. I will endeavour to look into it. However I am so glad to see the back of him that I (almost) couldn’t care less if it was rigged. But in that case I think there would have been a lot more noise from a lot more people, for example Pence obviously wasn’t at all convinced. The far greater concern is the damage done to biblical christianity in the four years. My prediction (not prophecy..:-)) The USA will break up within the next 5-10 years.

  9. Thanks John, some interesting thoughts even if the writer does seem to be thrashing around in sea of treacle . If Trump had decreased his vote on all those indicators that are mentioned, then it would also have been a clear case of fraud, so we are no further forward.

    We have to remember we are talking about a heavily divided country in which vaste swathes of populations are finding it increasingly hard to live together and about which ‘In God we trust’ seems to be less true every day. But then, the same nation remember, that helped defeat the nazis but had to have it so that white soldiers didn’t take orders from a black officer, beat a black army sergeant to death for daring to sit in the wrong bus seat, and still practised racial segregation for 30 years after the war. Not that the UK has been much better. I was reminded last night of a book I read on the Battle of Bannockburn in which we are told that ‘the troops ate a light meal as befitted a holy day’ Just ponder that for five minutes or so and recall that two christian nations were fighting.

    Christian nationalism is a non starter.

    I don’t know if Trump is a Nazi, but he comes over as a nasty bully who threatens, and that will be picked up by the left wing press, even if they do have a touch of selective hearing regarding the actual words he uses. The US church supports him, in large numbers, and seeks to defend its ground. Someone called Beth Moore recently wrote a similarly themed article to some of David’s about Evangelicals for Trump or Biden, and was given the headmaster’s study treatment by a megachurch pastor.

    Meanwhile 50,000 christians are in labour camps in North Korea eating grass soup and the odd dead rat (when they can find one) and a tiny amount of rice each day. Yet their numbers grow, and they pray for Kim Jong Un to be saved.
    The best I can find in my heart for him is a one way ticket to Mars.
    …..
    (to the Tune of Holst’s Jupiter)
    And there’s another country I’ve heard of long ago
    Most dear to them that love her
    Most great to them that know
    We may not count her armies
    We may not see her King
    Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering
    And hour by hour and silently her shining bounds increase
    Her ways are ways of gentleness and all her paths are peace

    1. There’s too much to say about this original blog and all the comments following. So I apologise in advance, because my comment is not solely about it.

      I was actually led here from your latest post about the dangers of ‘wokeness’ in Scottish politics.

      Many have made some excellent observations and critiques in comparing the left from the right in both the USA, UK and Scotland, Trump vs. Biden, etc, etc..

      The one thing I’d like to say is that as a Christian, the daughter of pastors, and a black disabled woman living in Scotland, I am disappointed at the amount of times the word ‘woke’ or ‘wokeness’ has been misused, with seemingly little thought to its origin or intent, throughout this piece and the one on CT.

      I don’t know if it was deliberate, but I cringed inwardly every time I read it as it is clearly a word coined by the African American community and adopted by black people universally, to describe something of great value and importance to us .

      The word is supposed to invoke a sort of collective elevated way of living and thinking, to understand and align yourself with the truth of a situation (especially regarding black oppression), and in so doing, allows black people the same dignity and rights within a society as any other race. To be woke is to understand right from wrong when it comes to black lives. For me, this original intent is aligned with Christianity as it speaks to opening our eyes to truth, showing compassion and mercy, not discrimating due to colour, asserting value to each and all.

      So to see it used repeatedly (and I think unecessarily), by white people throughout the media, in a NEGATIVE connotation, is painful, frustrating and harmful.

      As journalists, we have many words at our disposal. Can we not select some of them? I understand that as humans we like short-hand, so we use words or phrases to illustrate what we desire. But why is it that a word coined by black people must be reduced and minimised to become the meaning of ‘all that’s currently WRONG with the world/politics/leftism gone mad’? Think about it.

      As a Christian, I feel compelled when I see it to say: Enough.

      Let us not cause more accidental or purposeful pain or offense.

      The same goes for the way that the work towards equal representation for those from BAME communities or those with disabilities, (by making conscious efforts to employ or appoint them to roles), is greeted with negativity and snobbery. I am not for appointing or hiring those with zero skills, but I am all for employers consciously training on the job or starting apprenticeships, so that there is a balancing of the very uneven scales. Truthfully, it has been proven time and again that those who fall into those groups, would likely never be given these opportunities without it.

      In my case, I fall into every category that is usually casually discriminated against:
      female,
      black,
      disabled

      I am a mostly invisible in society. Noone thinks about what life would be like if that was you. But I ask you to think about it. And then circle back to whether or not the misuse of ‘woke’ is harmful.

      Things really do have to change.

      As Christians, surely we can see that there is work to be done to enable EVERY part of God’s Kingdom to be re-affirmed in their identity in Christ. Like us or not, we are ALL part of the Bride, and we have been patiently petitioning God to hear our cries for mercy, justice and love.

      Yet as we know, it is through partnering with us that God usually brings about His changes.
      How we long for the day that these things no longer need to be said, where people are not only said to be valuable but finally SHOWN it.

      Like I said; this was not directly about this post, but inspired by the article I mentioned and this comment thread.

      I welcome any thoughts or responses about my comments.

      In Christ
      Anna Marie

      1. Anna – Thanks so much for this. It is a helpful contribution.

        I disagree about the use of the term woke – whilst it may have begun in the African American community (and in the sense you talk about is a worthy aim) it has changed into something else. A bit like the use of the word ‘gay’.

        It has not been adopted by black people universally – at least not according to some of my black friends. I also know black people who use the word ‘woke’ in the same way it is used in the article. Woke in todays terminology has nothing to do with truth.

        I also don’t agree that you are ‘invisible’. As a black, disabled person in Scotland you most certainly will not be. I don’t know who told you that – but they are lying.

        Even more importantly you are not invisible in the eyes of Christ.

        And it is not the case that being a woman, or being disabled, or being black – automatically means that you are discriminated against. It may mean that – but people are discriminated against for many reasons. For example the ‘woke’ position on abortion discriminates against both the disabled and women.

        THere is unquestionably racism, mysogny and prejudice towards the disabled – including, sadly, within the church. It is an evil. But we fight that evil – not through woke ideology – but through the love and Good News of Christ.

        Blessings…

    1. @Jean

      I have read the tedious article you set as homework for David myself, without noticing any “interesting points” at all myself. I wasn’t therefore frustrated to discover that one couldn’t comment on the article itself.

      Which “points” did you find “interesting”? Subject to David’s moderation, please feel pick and express the best one or more points you noticed in your reply, by all means, as many or as few as you hope will spark my belated interest after all, or the interest of David or his readers.

      1. For my tuppence worth, it’s essentially a Biden eulogy with very little in the way of analysis, padded by a lot of quotes from people with ‘Professor’ in their job title, speculation (Trump’s masculinity problem), the bit about the tone deafness of previous leaderS when clearly the allusion is to Trump and him only, and about 3 lines dealing with the subject of the article, which amounts to just a statement of the obvious which they could have got from just about any catholic priest and most of their congregation, over three quarters of the world or more.

        The interesting bit of the article for me was the observation that the ‘white protestant’ religion of the American settlers gave rise to the African American church. The obvious problem with the article for me is that it seems highly unlikely that any of the writer, the Professors quoted, or Biden, or Trump would be any more able to give a clear statement of the gospel than fly. The explanation of their dilemma (how can..?) is both that christianity minus the gospel can take any one of a number of ridiculous forms which make no claims to be reconcilable to any one ‘same belief system’ (whatever that is) and that because they have no more understanding of what they are writing about than the aliens who think that earth is inhabited by metal boxes on four rubber wheels, they are doomed to remain in confusion.

      2. You have a way with words. 🙂

        So, as well as presidents who speak the language of Christianity while leaving out Christ, and clergy who do the same, we also have to be aware that there are journalists who write articles about presidents, including those presidents who use the language of Christianity sometimes, using the language of Christianity themselves (the journalists) in their articles, but leaving Christ out too.

  10. I’m slipping lately. I keep forgetting the five minute pause and read before hitting ‘send’. The REALLY interesting bit about the white protestant and African American church connection for me is that it is seen as a paradox. And I’ve no idea whatsoever what an ‘old fashioned’ catholic is.

  11. Thanks John, and that is also one way of looking at it! I’m just thinking again about the article writer, who is not identified specifically e.g. as a religion correspondent. It certainly isn’t impossible that I have been harsh on the journalist, but that would mainly be because so little of the article is made up of their own thoughts and words. Specifically, having read the article again once or twice, I am a) still struggling to see how it addresses its title, and b) pretty confident that if one eliminates every paragraph that begins with ‘He (i.e. Professor X,Y or Z) says/argues that…’ the article would boil down to something like ‘Joe Biden voted against R vs W in 1973. He has now changed his position. This has antagonised many Catholic bishops. In particular, Bishop B says you cannot be a Catholic and a Democrat. If you want to watch his popular online video here is the link. THE END’

    Of course there is a fairly irresistable line of reasoning from his 1973 vote to where he appears to be at now. No-one is going to get to be US President on a Democrat ticket at the present time without the required set of values. But bishop B flags up the issue that confronts any thinking christian voter in this age. If the party that most espouses a christian worldview is nevertheless an unappealing choice, what does one do? Living under a first past the post system in rural southern England, our parliamentary elections are pretty much a foregone conclusion, but I would still think about my vote. In Australia where voting is a legal requirement, I dare say the perspective is different.

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