Saturday, December 17, 2016

Trumpism, perfected child of Norman Vincent Pealeism

To be frank, the only thing I get about Christian support for Donald Trump is that it might turn out that some of his policies will be good for middle America. Otherwise I am at my wits end as to why Christians view Trump so favourably. (Yes, I know, some readers here are supportive and have explained their support. I remain a puzzled non-Trumper).

Anyhow, this article may be of interest to you, whether you love 'im or hate 'im or simply worry what he will do.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter; you have probably guessed that I don't like manufactured rightlets. As unreliable as Trump is, he appears to accept that there is no choice that is pro; whereas life is always plus.

Nick

Shawn Herles said...

" Otherwise I am at my wits end as to why Christians view Trump so favourably."

That's easy.

1. His opponent was Hillary Clinton.

2. In the wake of the Supreme Court inventing a right to gay marriage a wave of legal threats and persecution of faithful Christians was unleashed. This would have accelerated radically under HC. A Hillary Presidency was a serious threat to the independence and freedom of the Church.

3. Whatever his personal views Trump has promised to nominate only pro-life proponents to the Supreme Court. Hillary promised to radically expand abortion. Her first campaign speech was to Planned Parenthood, the group that likes to kill babies and sell their body parts for profit.

4. Mass immigration creates more Democratic Party voters and would have led to a permanent Democratic majority. Bad for the Church given the increasingly anti-Christian and militantly secularist orientation of the party. Trump will push the pause button on that front.

5. Trump and the Republican congress will legislate to protect Christian liberty.

6. Islamic immigration is a bad idea in general, and very bad for Christians and the Church. Trump will at the very least radically slow it down. Hillary would have continued and likely accelerated Obama's policy of the more the better.

7. Liberalism in general, and Liberal-Leftism in particular, is an anti-Christian and civilization destroying ideology. Trump's policies and the choices he has made for his governing team represent the most radical break with Liberalism in decades, more so than even Reagan's admin.

8. National sovereignty and independence is consistent with Biblical principles. Global government is not.

9. Trump's economic policies will be good for the working and rural poor. Hillary's would have continued the policy of shipping their jobs to Mexico and China, and would have continued Obama's policy of strangling small businesses with ridiculous levels of regulation.

10. Hillary's policies on terrorism were a joke, much as Obama's were. It is not an accident that terrorism in the US increased dramatically under his Presidency, which was more concerned with being politically correct than protecting Americans. More of the same was not acceptable. Trump's policies, and his brilliant choices for national security and defense positions, will put the security of Americans first.

11. Did I mention his opponent was Hillary Clinton?

Shawn Herles said...

A further point. If you look at polls and other sources for why conservative Christians supported Trump, by far and away the single most cited reason was the Supreme Court. Unlike New Zealand, the US Supreme Court can determine the direction of the country in a far more profound and long term way than whoever happens to be President for 4 or 8 years. This election, unlike any other in recent decades, was as much a choice about the direction of the SC as it was for the Presidency.

There is already one position to fill, and likely 2 or 3 more in the next few years. Conservative Christians were well aware of what a Hillary Presidency would have meant in that regard, and voted accordingly.

carl jacobs said...

You should think about Egypt and slender reeds. The US is fast becoming a post-Christian society. Trump offers to certain Christians the illusion of access - access to the vain hope that things can be reversed by executive action. It won't work. There are no political solutions to spiritual problems.

The Christian Coalition failed because it did not represent the broad culture. It's only noticable achievement was to reveal the heart of a nation, and that is the one thing the CC never intended to do. Trump is the imagined successor to that effort, and shows the state to which Christian political hopes have been reduced. I suspect they think that Trump is the last chance before there are no more chances and the US places itself on the European road back to paganism.

Trump will fail them, and in fact fail generally. Those who chain themselves to Trump will sink with Trump. The reed will break and pierce the hand.

We as Christians have to accept that we are now the cultural enemy. It's only going to get worse. But you can't deal with something until you face the truth of it.

Shawn Herles said...

Final point.

The title of your thread, and the issue it raises, leads me to suspect that you are missing the point. The point is not Trump himself, but his policies. It is the policies, and the direction they believe a Trump Presidency will take the US, that many US Christians are enthusiastic about. Trump himself is really irrelevant to that. Whether or not Trump is personally a Christian is irrelevant to that. The idea that evangelicals are only allowed to vote for a candidate goes to church every Sunday and ticks a bunch of doctrinal boxes is daft. For myself, whenever I vote in NZ for a specific candidate for PM, it is never the individual in question that is relevant to me, but the policies they bring to the table. Whether or not the candidate is personally a Christian is neither here nor there. Policies, not the individual person or their personality, are what's important.

Now, there is a silly claim being bandied about that in voting for Trump US Evangelicals have sold out, that they swapped piety for power. Utter crap. Evangelicals are, like everyone else, supposed to vote for the policies they think are best for their country, and they did so. Trump the individual, is irrelevant to that. Some Christian leaders who are making that claim are also missing the point, and being more than a little hypocritical given that they allowed themselves to be used by a viciously anti-Christian liberal media in their campaign against a Trump Presidency and a Republican government. Pot. Kettle. Black.

At the end of the day Peter politics is about policies, not personalities. Understand that, and you may understand the enthusiasm for Trump, and realize that it's not enthusiasm for Trump at all, but enthusiasm for his polices, and for the bigger picture of what a Republican government means for the future of the US.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Shawn and Carl
Thank you for helpful clarifications and confirmations!

Clarifications: that Christians voted for Trump for a range of policy reasons (to say nothing of hopes about future direction of America) ... I certainly "get it" that US Christians are vitally concerned about (e.g.) where the Supreme Court heads.

Confirmations: nevertheless on policy matters alone, I share with Carl a deep concern that (1) US Christians are going to be disappointed (2) the post-Trump era for Christians will be vicious.

Shawn Herles said...

Hi Carl,

"There are no political solutions to spiritual problems."

I agree, but I do not support Trump in order to make the US a Christian nation again. That is, as you say, a meta-political issue involving long term cultural and spiritual change, and that is the role of the Church, not the government. I support Trump because his policies and general worldview are consistent with my own, which are, in US terminology, Paleo-Conservative, or to put it another way, conservative nationalism. In a real sense Trumpism is Buchananism.

And based on what I have seen so far, I think he has a good chance of succeeding as far as that goes. If there has been one consistent theme with regards to critics of Trump, it has been the fact that at every turn they have underestimated him. He kept winning, when everyone kept saying he would lose. He took on the seriously well funded establishments in both major parties, not to mention George Soros and his billions, and the power of the entire mainstream media, and beat them. He beat three of the most powerful political families in the US, the Bushes, the Obamas, and the Clintons. He repeatedly made fools of the ruling class and their media lapdogs. Politics is war and the outcome never certain, but I am confident that he will keep winning, and as far as is possible through political means, turn the US around for the better.

carl jacobs said...

Shaun is right about one thing. Trump won because the Democratuc Party had pre-ordained Hillary as the next candidate. No real getting I'd get candidacy occurred. If the Democrats had fielded any candidate with any credible capacity to reach across the aisle, Trump would have been crushed.

Trump is a product of Hillary's hubris.

Father Ron said...

Dear Peter, it is easy to discern from comments on this thread why some people like Mrs Trump little boy Donald:

1. He is a successful business man

2. He - when he feels like it - and finds it suits his cause - can impress on conservative Christians in the U.S. that he is 'biblical' and like them.

3, Despite his 3 marriages, he is faithful to his third wife (when he is not cavorting with his more scary mates on the way to or from a baseball game).

4. He wants to 'Make America Great' by withdrawing support from any international agency that supports non-American people.

5. His brand of isolationism will help employment in the U.S. by the erection of a surrounding wall and battlements.

6. He is aggressively heterosexual and just loves women (all of 'em)

Finally, I think America will see that he becomes the 'Last Trump' in power before Armageddon. (Then, hear his ploy: "I'm a geddonouterhere!)

carl jacobs said...

Ummm ... so. Let's try that again. This time without the phone adding its helpful corrections

Shawn is right about one thing. Trump won because the Democratic Party had pre-ordained Hillary as the next candidate. No real vetting of her candidacy occurred. If the Democrats had fielded any candidate with any credible capacity to reach across the aisle, Trump would have been crushed.

Trump is a product of Hillary's hubris.

Shawn Herles said...

"Mrs Trump little boy Donald"

Oh dear....

Along with "El Trumpo" this is just nastiness Ron. What happened to Liberals believing in tolerance and always being nice to people?

"1. He is a successful business man"

So was John Key. Experience in the real world of operating a business tends to ground a person in reality in a way that a lifelong career in politics does not.

I'm not even going to bother with the rest of your claims because there is no possible way anyone could discern any of them from anything anyone here has actually said. They are just a string of Pharisee style moral judgments, sneering at someone else's moral failings, or possible moral failings, as some of them seem to only exist in your imagination, and silly caricatures of his policies.

The irony is that if anyone here says anything about homosexuality that is not uncritically positive, you always respond with the claim that we are not supposed to be Pharisees and ever judge anyone. And yet here you are bringing up the number of failed marriages Trump has had.

As well as adding nothing of substance to the debate, your post displays a fair amount of double standards Ron.

Shawn Herles said...

Seriously Peter, I am struggling to understand how Ron's last post on this thread made it through moderation. Apart from failing to address any of the issues raised by anyone, and instead engaging in sneering put downs, it slanders other contributors to your blog by falsely attributing motivations and reasons for supporting Trump that nobody has made, and which attack the character of myself and others.

Glen Young said...


Ron,

Despite two failed marriages(one to a woman and the other to a man),+ Gene
Robinson (retired);is now a senior fellow at the Soros funded "Center for American Progress".From there, he can be an "ardent advocate for same-sex marriages because they are so loving and faithful.He represents all that is admirable about "Apostolic Succession",unlike that dreadful Napoeoan Tamiti.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Shawn
On reflection, in the light of your comment above, I should have rejected Ron's comment: it is a sneer and its slight humour at the end does not really redeem it.

Ron: no more sneering, speculation about motivations ... and, please note Glen's excellent point about another famous American with a history of failed marriages ... goose, gander, etc.

Shawn Herles said...

Hi Carl.

You may be right, that another Democratic candidate might have had a better chance against Trump, but I am not so sure. The problem of the Democratic party's disconnect from rural and working class people, especially in the Rust Belt, is deeper than just Hillary, and the possibility of Keith Ellison becoming the DNC Chair is a good example of that. It's the curse of the coalition of the fringes. The New Zealand Labour party has a similar problem, as do many other center Left parties in the West.

carl jacobs said...

Shawn

Trump won because Hillary was more distasteful to more voters than he was. Plus there were a lot of late-breaking votes for Trump (like me, for instance) who swore we wouldn't vote for him, but flinched at the last. We just couldn't passively accept a malignant presence like Hillary in the White House. Better the buffoon then Mrs Moriarty. At least he is an obvious buffoon.

Anyways, it occurred to me today that Trump might be the first impeachable President. He is going to make so many political enemies so fast, I wonder who would stand up for him in a fight? It's a pleasant thought. Perhaps we can yet save the Republic. Now would be as good a time as any to draw up articles of impeachment. Criminally negligent stupidity sounds like a good charge. I guarantee he will justify it by March.

Trump is no Conservative of any sort. He will prove that by March as well. But it will be hard to tell because of all the blood. Trump will find out the hard way the politics is a blood sport and he doesn't know how to play it. Rather like the Black Knight at the Bridge, except Congress will play the role of King Arthur.

Brian Kelly said...

"Confirmations: nevertheless on policy matters alone, I share with Carl a deep concern that (1) US Christians are going to be disappointed (2) the post-Trump era for Christians will be vicious."

You may be right. OTOH, if anyone here is good on prognostications, he or she should be managing a hedge fund - or working a race track. I am old enough to recall the massive gloom among liberals this time in 1980 with the claims that an aged warmongering B movie actor (actually the former Governor of America's largest state) was going to lead the world into Armageddon in confronting the Soviet Union, which everyone knew would be around forever ...
As for speculating about the 'post-Trump era', remember three things:
1. we haven't yet had 'the Trump era';
2. the next VP (and who knows - next President?) Mike Pence is a firm evangelical Christian (and very articulate);
3. the Obama era was *dreadful* for Christians, both in the US and abroad (bullying of African states, appeasement of Muslims), and Clinton would have been Obama's third term in the ongoing effort to wipe out Christianity from American life and replace it with secular liberalism supported by the tax payer (yes, that is what Obama, Clinton, Podesta and cafeteria-Catholic Kaine are all for).

Teaching Ethical Theory this week, I was reminded again that a Christian's response to the real world of politics is pragmatic not ldealistic. We are never faced, sub caelo, with the 'perfect choice' but rather with choosing the greater of two goods or the lesser of two evils. That's how it always is. The virtue of phronesis or practical wisdom means seeing your way through all the actual dilemmas and choices before you and making a rough calculation.

Shawn Herles said...

Carl,

"Anyways, it occurred to me today that Trump might be the first impeachable President."

Heh, yeah I have heard that claim from the dwindling number of #NeverTrumpers in the party, and more than a few Dems, which is telling. I don't take it seriously.

"He is going to make so many political enemies so fast,"

He seems to be making a lot of friends fast, even with many of his former opponents.

"Perhaps we can yet save the Republic."

We already have.

"Trump is no Conservative of any sort."

I disagree. His governing ideology, clearly expressed many times, of "America First" is the oldest form of genuine US conservatism, Paleo-Conservatism, before the people at National Review, and the donor class, redefined it as perpetual war, globalism, mass immigration, multiculturalism, libertarian economics, and giving in to Liberals at every opportunity, often by purging genuine conservatives for crimes against Liberal political correctness. John Derbyshire for instance.

Trump has steamrolled over every single enemy and opponent so far. I can't see any left who are any threat. Jonah Goldberg and his crowd can either get on board, or watch from the sidelines.

But their control over the party is over.

Andrei said...

"Trump will find out the hard way the politics is a blood sport and he doesn't know how to play it."

Well he is going to play it his way which has worked so far

Liberals heads are exploding - the latest excuse is that the "evil russkis" hacked the election - tin foil hat stuff

Another laugh is the Chinese taking that underwater drone - supposedly it was for measuring "ocean salinity" just like Gary Power's U2 was a weather reconnaissance aircraft - the USA has to come up with new lies

Anyway they will get their toy back - in pieces after it has been dismantled and detailed drawings and analysis made of how it was made

Most of its components were probably made in China in any case

Can Donald Trump save the USA from its decline? Only time will tell

danielj said...

greeting rev Peter I am often astonished by what I read from many of your commenters...I hope that what I say here is not just the flip side of the same coin. It may well be... I am livid.

really upset with my fellow americans...half of us could not even be bothered enough to vote. we are, to a significant degree, a spoiled and immature nation, taking what we have for granted. not willing to even get off the couch when a facist playbook is opened up right in front of our faces.

And almost half of those who voted, deemed the solution to fear, anger, uncertainty...was to toss in a cluster bomb, a human nexus of pathological excesses, The solution was to celebrate our darker side. It will have consequences, already has, DJT kicked over the rock, and what crawled out will not easily be stomped out. And boys, the man matters. As a retired counselor and spiritual healer, I say, its very dangerous to give power to such an unhealed and non selfreflective pathological individual. In fact, DJT has a uniquely dangerous combination of psychological/spiritual maladies.

And I am quite upset with american evangelicals, 80% voted for DJT. I have been tempted to go visit my old evangelical seminary, stand in the chapel and yell out, WTF! Its one thing for secular citizens to fail to see, or not care...such is the failure of education and the success of apathy.

Quite another thing for christians not to recognize, care about, and indeed align with,an embodiment of such an anti Christ typology. They say...The Supreme court... well, the devil is quite willing to help grant us pro life in the womb, if we will give back anti life, out in the world.

This is not going to be good...cant call on evil and not expect it to show up. As the song lyric goes if you see the devil hitchhiking, dont pick him up. He'll want to drive!

Shawn Herles said...

"Quite another thing for christians not to recognize, care about, and indeed align with,an embodiment of such an anti Christ typology."

Well, personally, I see no evidence for that claim, or the fascist one. To some Liberals every Republican President from Nixon to Reagan, to both Bushes was "literally Hitler" and their elections were the beginnings of a fascist revolution. I remember the same claims about Bush 2 very clearly. It gets old real fast, and the voting public is not buying it either.

Nationalism does not equal Fascism, though Liberals have spent decades desperately trying to convince people they are the same thing. In reality, real fascism of the Italian and German varieties were forms of imperialism, not nationalism.

Even if his opponent had been another person, I would find your psychological views of Trump dubious, but given his opponent was Hillary it's more than a little difficult for me to take them seriously.

Personally I think a lot of people just need to calm down. The hysteria from some quarters is seriously disconnected from reality. And some people in both parties need to take a long, hard look in the mirror, and ask themselves why so many millions in middle America felt as though they were forgotten, despised, hated for simply being white and Christian, and had lost control over their country and their lives. Especially when the elites in both parties were all on board shipping what few jobs they have left to Mexico and China.

I have family in eastern Ohio, rural folks with old roots in Appalachia. They live in an area that has seen nothing of Obama's so-called recovery. There is desperate, grinding poverty, and an apocalypse level meth epidemic. The people there have lost all hope. That's a reality that is spread all through middle America, especially in rural areas. Parts of America have become an economic wasteland, and the people living in those areas treated as a joke or as deplorable ignorant rednecks by those living in DC, New York and LA, even by some so-called "conservatives".

And what did the Democratic party spend the last year and a half focused on?

Getting men wearing dresses into the girls toilets.

Well, Trump is the result, and rather than complain about those that voted for him, it might be time to do some serious soul searching.

carl jacobs said...

Shawn

Wise the Republican who keeps his distance from Trump.

The worst president in living memory is Jimmy Carter. He came into office expecting to be the national pastor, quickly got himself crosswise with the established power base in Washington, and watched his Presidency dissolve. Trump is expecting to be the national CEO. He's used to telling people what to do. Legislators won't be told, and they have the power to stick a political shiv between his ribs. Oh, but they will smile and shake his hand while the blade penetrates his skin. Like Carter before him, Trump is going to watch his presidency dissolve in a magnificent display of arrogance and political naivety.

Trump doesn't know Washington politics. He goes forth like a lamb among wolves, and there is no shepherd to protect him.

Brian Kelly said...

Obama's Executive Order pushing the transgender agenda in public schools in America is another reason Christian parents were concerned to et this man and his coronated heiress apparent off their hands, as this article from Touchstones explains:

http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=29-05-004-e

Glen Young said...


While reading Danielj's blog,the words,"physician heal thyself";came to mind.Luke 4/23
Wisdom and understanding are spiritual attributes which we should pray for.Not being able to discern the underlying agenda, upon which Obama and Clinton build their "new order"; shows a disturbing lack of reality.

Probably,not too many Conservative Christians believe that Trump will "make America great again";but that he will help bring about social and legal circumstances where GOD is not hindered from doing so,Deut.Ch.8.

The stark reality which faced the American voters was, a vote for Clinton was a vote to further entrench anti-Christianity,both socially and legally in America.A vote for Clinton was a vote to slide the bolt on the door which Obama had slammed shut in Christ's face,Rev 3/20.

Now, hopefully,there can be a personal choice, as to whether one is allowed to live and earn their living, by one's God directed conscience. That is why I support Trump.

Shawn Herles said...

Carl,

Personally I think Obama beats Carter, but they were both bad.

"Trump doesn't know Washington politics."

That's one reason why people voted for him. They did not want another insider, they did not want politics as usual.

"He goes forth like a lamb among wolves"

So far, in the primaries and from what I have seen of him as President-elect, he looks like a wolf among lambs.

We could argue this back and forth, but for both of us, we will just have to wait and see. He has four years. Lets see how he does. As much as I can be for any politician, I am quietly confident that he will deliver, as far as is realistically possible, on the issues he was elected on.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
I am only publishing this part fo your comment, just submitted:

"Trump is now a fact of American political life. Sadly, not only his electors will have to live with that fact. It is bound - because of U.S. influence around the world - to have a malign effect on the rest of us in the world community.
Jesus, mercy; Mary, pray!
"

The omitted part involves put downs of others on this site. No!

Brian Kelly said...

Shawn: "I have family in eastern Ohio, rural folks with old roots in Appalachia"

We had the lovely Appalachian carol last night, 'I wonder as I wander out under the sky / how Jesus the Savior / came for to die / for poor ornery people like you and like I / I wonder as I wander out under the sky'.

I think a lot of 'poor ornery people' in the Rust Belt felt they had nothing to lose in a globalised world run by multinationals and coastal elites. Brexit was a similar phenomenon in the UK - and I could underscore the secular, Christian-disdaining character of the EU as well.

In short, both Europe and America have Christian roots. The moneyed, educated elites despise this and have been seeking to reinvent the continents on secular foundations - foundations of sand and coercion - and borrowed money and imported people.

Maxine Schell said...

Yeah…Obama trumps Carter, in the bad President catigory. Clinton would have trumped them both.
I am an Independent voter. Have been for 65 years, but only twice voting "third party". In my lifetime, EVERY President has disappointed me at some point…even Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Regan, which I think were the best. Many voters only know of HRC since she became Sec of State. Many of us were very aware of the Clintons' policies and corruption from their Arkansas days, and thus were "never Clinton". Trump may turn out to be a failed President, but I am confident he can not get away with the corruption we'd have had with Hillary.

Peter Carrell said...

Thanks Maxine for commenting, and from the (new here) perspective of the "independent" US voter!