Letter: How do conservative Christians square support for Trump?

Graphic by Lori Deaton

My grandfather was a Western North Carolina Methodist backwoods preacher all his life. Because of this, I was exposed as a child to all kinds of evangelical Christians, conservative Christians, tent revivals and live sermons by Billy Graham.

In current-day America all the above, including Carl Mumpower (who recently criticized a transgender art show and talk at Asheville High) … continue to support President Trump and seem to believe that they hold some kind of moral high ground in current-day America. I note that President Trump was a longtime friend of the Grahams and attended Billy Graham’s birthday parties and funeral.

As a child, I believed that all Christians, especially the evangelicals, had a big problem with adultery, pornography and telling lies to wives and other family members. Because of recent [allegations], which are all over the news, that President Trump had an ongoing adulterous affair with porn star Stormy Daniels, which began a few months after his wife, Melania, gave birth to their son, as well as more women coming forward to claim other affairs behind Melania’s back, I must ask these Moral Majority hypocrites, how in hell can you continue to support President Trump and also claim that you are in a position to preach about the morality of any other American citizens, especially those who don’t like him, and I also must question why you helped him get elected in the first place?

I will be waiting for your reply to this and your public calls for the president to pray to his and your God for forgiveness and for God not to send him to the lake of fire and eternal damnation when he passes on, unless he publicly repents for his sins.

— John Penley

Editor’s note: Xpress contacted Buncombe GOP Chairman Carl Mumpower for a response to a summary of the points raised in the above letter, and he provided the following response: “The letter writer is correct that most Christians believe we hold America’s moral high ground. Most also support the president. The first position tracks to a few truisms. The time-tested values of the Judaeo-Christian faith ground Western European culture, and like it or not — in education, governance, medicine, business and morality — that history has set the world’s tempo. In contrast, we see nothing ethical about a movement sacrificing 58 million children as a matter of choice and convenience; treating gender exchange as a consequence-less social playground; endorsing liberal myopia and progressive pep rallies as appropriate public-school activities; and embracing recreational drugs, anger, entitlement and victimization as the four-points of a progressive compass. The last one’s simple: President Trump understands the American success equation — liberty + opportunity + responsibility = prosperity — and unlike most of his political peers, he’s not pretending that skipping ingredients will produce the same results.”



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85 thoughts on “Letter: How do conservative Christians square support for Trump?

  1. NFB

    It isn’t about religion or morality with them, it is political ideology — nothing more and nothing less.

    In 2011 a poll of white evangelicals showed that 70% said they could NOT forgive a president’s moral failings. In 2017 only 30% said they could NOT forgive a president’s moral failings.

    When Bill Clinton first ran for president many on the right (and not just white evangelicals) said that the adultery he committed against his first and only wife disqualified him from being president. “Character matters.” In 2012 many flocked to the presidential campaign of Newt Gingrich who committed adultery against his first and second wife (the later while he was railing against Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky) and in 2016 they flocked to the presidential campaign of Donald Trump despite his committing adultery against three wives (often rather openly.)

    It is called hypocrisy and it is called having been blinded by a rigid ideology. And it is the #1 reason so many reject churches as too many (but by no means all) have become political institutions rather than spiritual or religious ones.

    • Lulz

      LOL accusations of the exact hypocrisy that leftist do is hilarious. See Wanda Green and the insanity of 300k a year crony who couldn’t manage that. And yet was expected to manage the county LOL LOL.

  2. luther blissett

    “The time-tested values of the Judaeo-Christian faith–”

    There is no such faith. (Point us to a “Judaeo-Christian” house of worship in WNC.) It is a purely political concept invented by evangelical politicians to spackle over denominational fissures and avoid sounding like Billy Graham did when he was having his private chats about Jews with Nixon or Bob Jones III on Mormons and Catholics. (You’ll never hear Jews talk about “Judaeo-Christian” anything.)

  3. don

    ” Conservative christians and ISIS islamic radicals…. personally, I don’t see a whole lot of difference. They both need to go…. the sooner the better. Got that???

    • Phillip Williams

      Gee, Don – Pope Francis washing the feet of convicts and kissing lepers versus Jihadi John sawing off the heads of captives on youtube…..the murder of school children and moderate Muslim clerics and politicians in Pakistan versus the works of Blessed Mother Teresa in India or Dr Albert Schweitzer in Africa……The injunction of Christ to the woman taken in the act of adultery to “go and sin no more” versus the government of Saudi Arabia executing adultresses and the Taliban blowing out women’s brains for such immorality as wearing makeup – or honor killings and mutilation of women and girls who have displeased their male relatives…..

      And yes, Yes, YES – I know about the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition and the Salem Witch Trials – but those things happened centuries ago – and many Christian denominations seem to finally be taking Jesus’ teachings to heart and moving forward – whereas some religions appear to be trending back towards the Dark Ages……

      Oh well – in the words of an olde English proverb: “Who is so deafe, or so blynde, as is hee, That wilfully will nother here nor see. “

      • Tourist

        Glad you know you’re history. It’s still in the making Phillip. Muslims killing Hindus killing Christians killing Jews killing…..
        More people have died violent deaths in the name of god(s) then anything else in human history, and it won’t stop. Fear of no after-life seems to ruin the only real life we know truly exists. But you go pray to your god if it helps you sleep better.

        • Phillip Williams

          Just saying that I haven’t seen many of the main Christian denominations in the past say, 100 years, killing off anyone in great numbers, unless you count the Irish troubles and that was and is Christian against Christian – or more like Scotch-Irish unionists versus mostly native Irish separatists. Some folks suggest the Holocaust was a Christian endeavor, but I don’t agree – it was a Nazi endeavor that was enabled by a National Socialist police state. And the Catholic Church didn’t resist much outwardly because Vatican City was inside Mussolini’s fascist Italy and I doubt that the Vatican Swiss guards in their orange and purple pantaloons could’ve done much against the Wehrmacht or the Waffen SS or even the Italian Carabinieri……

          I have been a practicing Christian all my life, and I don’t think my faith has ruined or damaged my life. My Grandparents were devout Christians – and although poor, loved their family and their neighbors and helped everyone in every way they could. And a lot of my neighbors and friends growing up were the same way – the common denominator that tied them together was their faith, and it worked for them. Their lives impressed me so much that I wanted what they had, and have been following the Way for most of my nearly 54 years. Of course there have been challenges and questions – but I have thought them over and over and at length, and the same answers always come back. I reckon if it was good enough for Paul and Silas, it is good enough for me.

          It is no good making blanket condemnations on much of anything. Religious people of all faiths have contributed much good to the planet, and I am pretty sure that, if the Universe could start all over again, and humans came on the scene, they, being…well…human, would invent and embrace religion – all over again. And I do sleep very well – have for years, thank you.

          • Peter Robbins

            I believe there was a bit of a tussle in Bosnia. Lebanon, too.

          • Phillip Williams

            Yes, I was sure I had overlooked something. The Christian/Muslim violence in the Balkans and the Middle East has been around for millennia – the only times the Balkans were stable were when the Habsburgs or the Communists had it under military control and shot or imprisoned anyone who acted up. And when those outside controls left it was like pulling the damping rods on a nuclear reactor – folks who had lived and worked together and had even intermarried suddenly started killing one another.

            As for individual relationships with God, Nature, the Universe, one’s inner self, etc. – I have always thought that whatever a body believes and practices – or does not believe/practice – in faith or philosophy is OK so long as it helps him/her to be a better person and not to cause harm to others.

          • Peter Robbins

            An’ I figgers, Pogo, that if a man’s gonna be wrong ’bout something, that is the best thing to keep bein’ wrong about ’til forever. — Porkypine

    • Lulz

      LOL you mean like load up the cattle cars to take them to the camps gotta go?

    • Skip Helms

      Basically correct. Evangelicals support the president because he offers them the best platform to impose their beliefs on everyone else. Bimbos, corruption, possibly money laundering and treason are easy to overlook if you can bring the infidels to heel. Don mentioned ISIS and I would add the Taliban along with state theocracies like Iran and Saudi Arabia have no problem limiting their educational, intellectual and creative potential to enforce their religious agenda. The resulting autocracy is also handy for destroying a free press and our proven systems of checks and balances.

      The important thing to remember is that these folks cannot be reasoned with. They can only be re-marginalized. We have to be occasionally reminded that they can’t be in charge. In November, let’s see what the other 65% has to say. sh

  4. Jason

    If you haven’t noticed; Christians are pathological rationalizers…..

    It’s insane that they’re allowed to vote

    • Elizabeth

      Let’s be fair. Not all Christians are pathological rationalizers. A lot of people are pathological rationalizers. Many of those call themselves evangelical Christians. But there are still Christians who are broken people trying with God’s grace to love God and love others.

  5. Enlightened Enigma

    Wow, Dr. Mumpower can express himself better than anyone around here…brilliant response, Dr!
    Trump good friends with the Grahams ? doubtful, though he did visit once …
    Wonder who Hillary had affairs with ? Now THATs a story!

  6. Mike

    It’s the art of the deal- you ignore what a bigoted misogynist adulterous narcissistic …ok I’ll stop…person the president is and he’ll support your agenda, mmmmkkayyyyy?

  7. Elizabeth

    All good points. Unfortunately most of them are 100% correct. As somebody who identifies both as a follower of Jesus (a Christian) and as a political conservative (ideologically slow to move toward change out of caution. The next thing isn’t always the right thing. And broken systems take time to fix. And I do think the government shouldn’t be a “big business.”), I’ve been very disappointed in the hypocrisy of “evangelical Christians” which does seem to be more of a political movement in the name of god (little g) than a religious or spiritual awakening. I am encouraged in the Christian world that there is a challenging of this group, though it is small now. People like Jen Hatmaker are leading the charge. The Liturgist Podcast is another place to find this movement. But as Mumpower said in his quote, the goal of the current evangelical Christians is “prosperity.” I’ve read the Bible cover to cover and the goal of Jesus was never “prosperity.” I’m dumbfounded that this is still being promoted. My only solace is that evangelical Christians are now seen as a political movement and I can have some persona distance as a Christian who believes in Jesus’ greatest commandments – to love God and love your neighbor. Loving others has nothing to do with prosperity.

  8. Jason

    Trump’s been saved! He’s invited baby Jesus into his heart…. so WHATEVER SINS he’s committed prior to his presidency are ALL water under the bridge…. so deal with it liberals!!!!

  9. Don Yelton

    I love all these responses. Man the progressives are rushing back into the dark ages as fast as possible. Shut the Christians or so called Christians up. Ignore the activities of the Democratic party big wigs. I will not mention the Kennedys who had affairs in the swimming pool in the White House, killed a lady and left her in the Water, and oh there was that wonderful attorney in NC, John Edwards. Let talk about them. Please talk about the millions of babies that are thrown in the trash and even the god Obama promoting partial birth abortion.

    Now for this supposedly bible scholar that quoted all kind of bible. Why did you leave David out. Remember the man after Gods own heart that arranged to kill a generals wife to get a lady that he considered. beautiful? God like people can forgive and forget. But we come along and will not forget how it was discussed in 2004 to pay for abortions at the Democratic State Convention while the young ones next to me were writing a resolution for protections of animals. You heard me right, kill the babies but protect the puppies. Now before you say a word I love dogs and they are mostly better than people but they do reflect the disposition of the owner. John you sound really bitter so just keep reading that bible and put yourself to the test. You will fail as we all do but Trump is trying in a Swamp of political hacks, Mostly Democrats that stop everything and don’t leave out some Republicans like Linsey Graham, John McCain, just to name a few. We all have sinned and come short of earning out salvation. Faith is life and hope the energy to live it.

    • Tourist

      It would be nice if religious hypocrites cared about the fetus after it was born (at least for the first 18 years) or maybe a state raised child was your intent? And let’s not forget the tax exempt churches all over the country. I could go on.

    • Peter Robbins

      When challenged by the prophet Nathan, King David confessed and repented. He didn’t shout “witch hunt” and “hoax.”

  10. Tourist

    What does religion have to do with any of this? If it’s about character, why do we need to invoke Christianity? Character can be determined by action(s), or the lack of, not by faith. The largest growing group in the USA is Atheists and this argument is an example as to why. Stop looking to your God and start looking in the mirror.

  11. Don Yelton

    I see you did not post your name. Wonder why??? Actually the government response is not always correct. Grandparents, Uncles and Aunts, blood relatives have no greater right to a child than a total stranger. How many are use to make money on buy having foster kids? You ASSume a lot in your reply. Without a God you see where man ends up. So have a good journey and when it all ends maybe someone will relieve you of any pain. Hope in Obama did not fare to well. When you look in that mirror remember that is all you got. YOU.

    • Tourist

      I’m comfortable with being alone (except for science and reason.) It takes a lot of courage to be an atheist. “God created the universe” is too simple of an answer and is relegated for weak mind minded people. And please use some grammar next time. What in the world does this mean?
      “How many are use to make money on buy having foster kids?”

      • Don Yelton

        there is money that exchanges hands with adoption or foster care. I notice you avoided no name for you. And, do you really understand that science tries to explain how and the Godhood addresses how. What is you scientific background and why does science always permit mistakes like TCE at CTS ? Science is not a fixed thing.

        • Tourist

          God explains nothing. He created the Earth in 7 days? That’s not an explanation. It’s a rationalization for people who don’t want an explanation. They want promises. YOU want promises of an after-life in Heaven out of fear of a Hell. Science uses reason, logic, observation, data, through experimentation and yes it does make mistakes because it’s not afraid to. The Bible is an ancient collection of desert scribblings from the Bronze Age. The New Testament was written 300 years after Jesus’ death. I went to church for my first 13 years and then never went back. I am sorry you’re not strong enough to deal with life alone. But you are alone. So love your neighbor and do good.

  12. Peter Robbins

    Quit complaining. We’re only getting what, as I remember it, the Republican candidate promised on the campaign trail: “We’re gonna sin, sin, sin. We’re gonna sin on every level. We’re gonna have so much sinning, you may get bored with sinning. You’re gonna say please, please, Mr. President, stop all the sinning. We can’t take any more sinning. But I’m gonna keep on sinning and sinning and sinning and make America great again. ” It must be on youtube somewhere.

  13. Carl M.

    That perfected progressive skills of obfuscation, denial and vilification never cease to amaze – as the posts on this letter so ably demonstrate.

    • Peter Robbins

      Carl, glad you’re here. Could you elaborate on the President’s understanding of the word “responsibility”?

      • Lulz

        You mean millions for Iran, fast and furious, weaponizing the IRS against political groups, etc? The only reason the last administration smells of roses is because the communist media hid his flaws.

        • Peter Robbins

          I didn’t ask for a demonstration of how the President diverts attention by tossing around wild counter-accusations. I know how that works, lol. What we’re trying to figure out here is why so many good evangelicals persist in trusting a man who betrays them with his every word and deed.

  14. Carl M.

    ob·fus·ca·tion /ˌäbfəˈskāSH(ə)n/ noun 1. the action of making something obscure, unclear, or unintelligible: “when confronted with sharp questions they resort to obfuscation”

    • Peter Robbins

      I asked about the word “responsibility,” which you said Trump understood to be an essential element of “success”. Some people would look over the President’s career and see nothing but evasions of responsibility — over and over and over — while well-meaning, if gullible, people made excuses for him. But that can’t be true. Can it?

    • luther blissett

      It’s obfuscatory to set out two (dubious) parallel premises and imply that there’s some kind of causation between them.

      The honest position would be to say that the self-proclaimed arbiters of American morality don’t care that the president is an amoral crook as long as it a) annoys liberals; b) hurts the worst off; c) gets judges appointed for life who aren’t sure it was right to end “separate but equal.” Nobody’s fooled by the whited sephulchers. It’s a purely transactional relationship.

    • Peter Robbins

      Grand prize question: Does the phrase “the emperor has no clothes” obfuscate or clarify?

  15. cecil bothwell

    Many of us liberals, probably most, don’t have a big problem with the Trump’s sexual escapades. That’s Melania’s problem. We have enormous problems with his crooked deals, his racism (from way back, with the rentals), his endless lies, his aimless foreign policy, his disrespect for the law generally and the FBI and Justice Department specifically. For Carl Mumpower to defend Trump is deeply laughable. Mumpower who has always held himself as some sort of paragon of virtue (ripping off a drug dealer, for one simple example), would seem to be the sort of honorable Republican (and there are many) who wouldn’t countenance lies and deceit, but power corrupts. Being head of the local GOP has clearly poisoned Mump’s soul.

    • Peter Robbins

      One reason that con men and cult leaders prosper so easily is that they understand the psychological reluctance of the mark to admit to himself that he’s been had. Too many sunk costs — financially and emotionally. A baseless faith seems better than none. Then again, some of the President’s staying power may have less charitable explanations. As always, I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt.

    • Lou

      Actually, I believe his soul was poisoned long before he weaseled his way in as head of the GOP. (Gross Old Party)
      The fact that he counsels people with mental and emotional problems and gets paid to do so is truly disturbing.

  16. Phillip Williams

    “Rum tum trumpledum,
    Bacon fat and rumpledum,
    Old Saint Mumpledum,
    Pull his tail and stumpledum:
    That don’t mean anything, you know, but it keeps you marching.”
    (the Soldier’s Ghost in “Saint Joan” by George Bernard Shaw)

  17. don

    Great to see the elaborate explanations/affirmations from all the good Christians… can’t say I disagree entirely. After all, the basic tenant of being a Christian is to turn the other cheek and forgive…. at least as I was taught. It’s the so-called “conservative christians” that I singled out earlier that -I repeat- are no different in their hate and intolerance than the radicalized muslims of ISIS, Al Qaeda et al. Again, we need to do be free and done with all of these disillusioned and delusional followers and their ayatollahs. AND AGAIN… the sooner the better. We’re dead serious about this…. make no mistake about it. Humanity and the small planet we all inhabit simply cannot afford you all any longer. Seriously. Bye.

    • Peter Robbins

      Forgiveness is fine. But without contrition, it’s enabling. It’s co-dependency. The President needs some tough love. The psychologists taught us that.

  18. Carl Mumpower

    A cursory review of the Bible notes that in past times, as in this time, good and noble men and women were in short supply. God made persistent use of broken, inadequate and less than perfect people – especially those with the courage to attempt to reach for something bigger – something better than the vanities of most human pursuits. Christians find traction in President Trump much like God found traction in Paul.

    And then there is that very practical American Success Equation that was mentioned and ignored. We get the importance of liberty, opportunity and responsibility as the key to prosperity. That latter word extends far beyond economics – it means to prosper – and that is a very broad undertaking. Without exception, progressives advocate the pretense we can leave out ingredients and still help people prosper.

    Christians resist that betrayal of values and America’s historical path to success – we appreciate our less than perfect President for doing the same.

    • luther blissett

      This is the “heads I win, tails you lose” strategy of modern-day pharisees: “in the bible God works through awful people” will be forgotten as soon as the holier-than-thou Pence takes over. It doesn’t apply to one’s opponents, but whatever: they don’t really believe it, so neither should we.

      “The majestic equality of the law: that forbids both rich and poor from sleeping under bridges, begging in the streets, and stealing loaves of bread!”

    • don

      And a cursory view of the bible also tells us -very clearly- how our oppressors will fare. First Genesis…. then Exodus…. remember? We all know the benevolent entity (lol ;) that was sent down from the heavens to free us from your “good and noble men and women”. Try and remember while you’re endlessly postulating and pontificating about your god borne patriotic prosperity lol.

      • Peter Robbins

        I don’t think he’s pontificating here. I think he’s enabling deplorable conduct — by explaining (albeit feebly) why this particular President’s complete lack of character shouldn’t matter because the Bible tells us so.

        • don

          yep, that too. good point. pretty pathetic. it won’t end well….. that’s for sure.

          • Peter Robbins

            I do agree, of course, that the President compares favorably to the Apostle Paul, what with St. Donald’s celebrated knowledge of Two Corinthians. No wonder he transformed the lives of so many people when he came into their hearts with his message of hard work, self-control and personal responsibility.

    • Tourist

      Carl, you’re right. The President is less than perfect. Everything else you wrote? BS

  19. Stan Hawkins

    It is good that we can have this forum to offer a healthy debate on this issue. I appreciate Mr Penley’s question. With all due respect however and no anomosity intended, more important questions need to be asked.

    To be clear, I am just a simple man with many flaws. I am a Christian, and do not claim any higher or lower ground than any other. As C. S. Lewis wrote, “it is not for us to judge whether a Christian is a good Christian or a bad Christian.” But, we can all probably agree, there exists no perfection in any of us. Chances are for many of us, we have fallen short of the Laws of Nature, would agree that we are sinners, and have cast claims against others while carrying around unsavory baggage ourselves. Christians believe that our world is broken and will only be restored to perfection upon Christ’s return. Our calling in this life is to share this message while doing as much good as we can to lighten the load of the baggage.

    The problem of most of what I see in this debate, beginning with Mr. Penley’s position, is that we must take someone down in order to elevate our positions. This is where we most often fail in really solving problems. Yes, our President is imperfect just as we are. This should be where we should have agreement since we are all imperfect and can be a good place to start. Like most, I too am conflicted with the noise from our nation’s capital.

    But, what questions should we really be asking:
    1. Why are so many children being raised in a one parent households?
    2. Why are our K-12 age children falling far behind other leading countries?
    3. Why do college professors discuss how aimless and un-engaged many college students are?
    4. Why do we have seemingly an epidemic of violence in some of our nations cities?
    5. Why do we not see securing our nations borders as a priority?
    6. Why do we struggle to attract our brightest and most ethical people to a life of service in government?
    7. Why do so many people nearing retirement age have so little of a nest egg?
    8. Why are so many single elderly female retirees struggling to live on $1,100 per month?
    9. Why does it costs $12,000 to bring a beautiful new life in to this world?
    10. Why do our young people have over a trillion dollars in student loan debt, while we depend on foreign workers to get the important work done?
    11. Why do we have over 20 trillion dollars in public debt?
    12. Why do we have a public media that is seemingly always late to the real story, is early to what it thinks is the story, backtracks later when the facts come out?

    I could go on, but chances are you get the point. Accountability is a hard thing to accept. To be responsible one has to first believe in accountability. Yet, we all fall short. One of my business mentors some years ago had a saying and it goes like this: “ to expect different results while perpetually doing the same things over and over again, is the first sign of insanity”.

    There have been many “change agents” down through the years; all imperfect. When our friends in Europe were in the cross hairs of Hitler and his band of thugs; The names of Churchill, Patton, Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhour, and all the many of our ancestors stepped up to face the nay sayers. Where would we be today if they simply believed we should just keep doing the same things over and over again? Christ, in a parable, said we should first take the boulder out of our own eye, before casting one in the eye of another. That makes sense to me.

    • Peter Robbins

      If Christian religion teaches that the public cannot hold its officials to high standards of virtue and turn away from those leaders when they don’ t measure up, then it is well that modernity has expelled Christian religion from the public square and reduced it to something more like entertainment. The pagan Romans gotcha y’all beat on that one.

      • Stan Hawkins

        Accountability truly is in short supply. Why is it when conservative leaning folks raise some really good questions concerning the social issues confronting our society, the liberal leaning folks want to talk about character flaws? Do the liberals contend that only conservatives have character flaws?

        It is not that I disagree with shining a light on character. A certain amount of decorum and respect for groups of people would be a nice way to have that discussion.

        Who can I talk to that will discuss accountability for the state of the questions I raised without attacking, demeaning, or changing the subject? I look forward to that day.

        Otherwise, I guess we can keep doing the same things over and over again while hoping for different results. Charlie Brown would be proud.

        • Peter Robbins

          Do liberals contend that only conservatives have character flaws? Ask Al Franken.

        • Peter Robbins

          And, by the way, I didn’t attack you in any way. I responded, quite politely, to the only relevant point in your comment. Maybe you’re too sensitive. I didn’t respond to your additional twelve-point query because it has nothing to do with the letter to the editor on which we are commenting. But if you want to discuss the national debt (Number 11), go ahead and explain how Trump’s strong sense of responsibility forced him to forgo tax cuts for his Mar-a-Lago friends in order to keep the debt from ballooning out of control. That might be germane.

          • Stan Hawkins

            Peter, I did not feel that you attacked me in any way. But, you miss my point entirely. Mr Hensley asked for a response from conservative Christians as to what we will do about Trump.

            Just to be clear, as long as he is not afraid to engage on the tough issues confronting our country, many of which I pointed out in my initial remarks, we will be forgiving of his short comings. We can debate who’s flaws are greater but that usually leads to no where. What gets done is most important.

            Why not engage on the over a trillion dollars in student loan debt for our young people, while at the same time companies cannot find qualified employees, and we import workers for all kind of jobs leaving our borders porous to boot?

            Surely, there is someone willing to engage on a macro level on these issues?

    • luther blissett

      The correct answers to most of those questions are “because Americans were taught for decades that social democracy was immoral and giving tax cuts to rich people was virtuous.” A certain strand of Christian latched on to Matthew 13:12 (“For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.”) and decided that it meant enriching the rich and impoverishing the poor.

      • Stan Hawkins

        Thank you for bringing light to the scripture written by Mathew, who by the way was a despised tax collector in his day. There is no doubt, that as the rock and roll song goes, “every rose has its’ thorn.” This scripture, according to our beliefs, is referencing the concept that through belief in Jesus Christ much is expected of those who have abundance. Should they not fulfill those expectations or believe, then said abundance may not ever appear or may disappear; think Michael Milken, Bernard Madoff, Andrew Fastow, etc. Abundance, however, is not necessarily financial and may be simply peace, love, security, health, and so on.

        There is no doubt that today many are unhappy with their journey and station in life. I would most likely disagree with your assessment of how we got to where we are today because your statement does not take ownership of the problems. However, I get the meaning that there are obvious structural problems with our society in the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. I have never won an argument or a debate by pointing out personal flaws in my opponent. We see this today in our elected representatives and leaders. Yet, we see throughout our society, constant pressure to label somebody as something or another while not really knowing what the other is really talking about. Example; I don’t really know what you mean by inferring that I have been taught that “social democracy is immoral?” I don’t remember that teaching.

        Christians believe that we are imperfect, but have a free ticket on a train, if you will, with a known destination. To reject this free ticket and get aboard a train with no conductor, and an unknown destination progressing as we go seems like a big chance, and may be the source of much anxiety and unhappiness we see today.

        Throughout history, many imperfect people were used to accomplish great things. Saul, then Paul on the road to Damascus, Churchill ( a blowhard of his time ), Abraham Lincoln, Henry Ford, Martin Luther King, John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Teddy Kennedy, and today we have another. I am giving him a shot because I have heard no other willing to address the real structural problems with the twelve questions I raised earlier. He may let me down, but at least I will be able to say I gave him a shot. That’s the best I can do for now.

        • Peter Robbins

          Okay, I think I see a little better what you were trying to say. Perhaps you could explain, for openers, why you praise Trump’s character flaws with such faint damns. He’s a bit more than “imperfect” in a run-of-the-mill sort of way, don’t you think? When it comes to imperfect, Trump is in a whole other league than ordinary mortals. Would you give the Devil and the Anti-Christ a shot, too?

          Then explain why you think Trump is addressing in a serious way your 12-points. Offhand, I can’t say he’s doing much for the national debt by watching it grow (like Chance the gardener in “Being There”). He’s not doing anything to improve the media by spreading the “fake news” meme and lying every other time he tweets. He’s not doing anything for education by appointing an unqualified crony to be Secretary of Education. He’s not doing anything to make federal employees feel appreciated by calling the former FBI Director names on Twitter and firing his top people from a distance. His border wall is a joke. His other immigration ideas are despicable and racist. He has no plan to increase Social Security payments or to encourage household savings — at least that I know of. He has no proposals on student debt or urban conditions that I know of. He’s not exactly a role model for stable, two-parent marriages. On top of all that, he has no governmental experience; he has no ability to get anything done — at least anything more complicated than a bankruptcy filing; his White House is in chaos; his campaign and business affairs are under criminal investigation; and, oh yeah, he’s not exactly the wizard he thought he was on foreign relations and trade. And that’s just your list of issues. We haven’t gotten into climate change, environmental policy, financial protections, health care, etc., etc.

          I could look into these topics more deeply and give a more thorough accounting, but why bother? I wouldn’t think Trump’s character flaws were tolerable even if there existed dozens of unsolved problems that he actually were competent to handle. So now it’s your turn. Tell us what Trump is doing to make America great again and what you think he’s realistically capable of doing in the future. Then we can evaluate whether you’re taking a reasonable gamble on this grifter.

          • Stan Hawkins

            Peter, based on your last paragraph, I regret that you are not willing to entertain providing our President a reasonable doubt or shot to take on some of the challenges discussed. Given that, I will just speak of the issues in this way. In business school and later when I forgot some of my teaching, I was reminded a few times that there are at least four initial steps to take in addressing a problem: 1) What is the problem? 2) Why does the problem exist? 3) What are we going to do to repair the problem? 4) How will we know we are on the right track in the repair? By the way – – and regrettably these are the steps we can’t get past due to the nature of discourse by our leaders and thus their constituents, on all sides because it requires an understanding and taking ownership of what has transpired over the last 40-50 years. It is there we will find what not to do.

            As for Trump; true enough, he is unorthodox; and we all would appreciate some restraint in his tweets. On the other hand, when CNN was showing only a few hundred people at his campaign rallies to protect the other candidate, You Tube sites were showing crowds of 15,000 – 25,000. One might surmise that there is some truth to some of the liberal media malignment tactics. This brash posture in part became what attracted so many to say — “we can’t just keep doing the same thing over and over again & expect different results.” Mueller has said he was not under criminal investigation by the way. If that changes, so be it.

            You might want to check out the Inspector General’s report released today over the internet and revisit whether or not the DOJ and FBI leadership during the 2015-2017 time period are what you think they are?

            I will give you some credit to acknowledging that there are a host of issues that we need to revisit. That is a good place to start, and naturally requires more than this forum. I wish you well, and hope you will be surprised by a few positive actions that are possible to accomplish given the chance.

          • Peter Robbins

            One point of clarification: I believe the President has been informed that he is the subject of, but not yet the target of, a criminal investigation. A person can go from being a subject to a target very quickly.

        • lisa delille bolton

          mr hawkins

          i am a liberal and a christian and believe we do better when we connect with God’s love within ourselves and one another, and make a serious effort to live by the Golden Rule

          as a nurse practitioner, all i know of biology and chemistry and physics and physiology and science has only strengthened my faith in the amazing creative loving energy of the divine. To me, “creation vs evolution” is the wrong question.

          i found a lot of inspiring and hopeful references to finding common ground in former president Obama’s speech to the kids at U of Illinois.

          If you take time to read the entire text —


          — he sheds some light on the dynamics behind your list of excellent questions.

          the Bible — old, yes, yet containing much relevant wisdom in my view — calls the love of money the root of all evil. the story of the loaves and fishes being miraculously enough to feed a huge crowd means that we have enough to go around if we share

          it is hard for people who worship money to share:
          this may also shed light on the answers to your questions

          i’m in nashville tn and appreciate that this forum is in place

          re president Trump: i disagree with him and his policies completely, except for his response to the recent and irresponsible unsigned op ed in the new york times

          his maverick approach has resulted in a lot of much needed conversations happening — better than civic silence, in my view

          as we say in yoga class, namaste: meaning the divine within me bows to the divine with you


          • Stan Hawkins

            I am not completely sure what your point is, but I will make a few comments as if we were sitting beside one-another in church after service.

            1. The story of the fishes and loaves true enough are about the disciples first giving the food to Jesus, whereby He then performs a miracle. True enough an example of sharing with Jesus can do many wondrous things.
            2. When you say “much of the Bible is relevant, I would say “all of it is relevant and that being old is a good thing.”
            3. In a Democracy, the loser usually concedes and then works to win back voters. This time, the losers did not concede after calling me “a deplorable”. Obama seemed to backtrack from name calling in this speech you reference, but can’t help himself in chiming in with partisanship. At least he did not ridicule me for “clinging to my guns and religion” this time.
            4. Why would Obama say in the transcript of this speech, “we don’t need a Messiah?”
            5. I noticed he did not mention the explosion of student loan debt that occurred under his watch with these students. I believe now it is nearing 1.5 trillion dollars.

            I could go on, and I am glad we share a mutual Christian belief. The first part of Obama’s speech should have been one he gave when he first started traveling the globe on an apology tour for America as President. We conservatives would have appreciated that a bit more I think. Obviously, we have partisan differences and that is fine. Where responsible people come together, put forth their sweat and effort, with God’s grace we can achieve great things. I agree more civility would be a great thing in the spirit of namaste.

    • Lulz

      Really? You mean like forcing people to go against their beliefs and the suing them out of existence ala the baker and the gay wedding cake? Your problem is you hate that people don’t believe the same as you do. And will either force them into compliance or simply exterminate them from society.

      • hauntedheadnc

        No, my problem is that I hate any attempt to use the law to turn LGBT citizens into second-class citizens.

        I’m also curious as to whether you don’t know or do know and just don’t care that you can use your “deeply-held religious beliefs” to discriminate against anyone for any reason. Don’t like a woman going around with her head uncovered, or a woman wearing pants, or a woman wearing jewelry like a common harlot? Deny her service. Don’t like an interracial couple? Deny them service. Don’t like gays or lesbians? Deny them service. The worst versions of the “religious liberty” laws would even make it legal for doctors and first responders to deny medical care to LGBT people. Does that matter to you, or does it not?

  20. Peter Leva

    It’s comical listening to Mumpower attempt to defend and deflect Trump’s violations of Christian theology. He really fails when he says Judeo-Christian values are the bedrock of morality. He fails to realize morality exists and evolves because most humans have an innate biological and psychological ability to desire fair treatment of individuals, justice, equality, and safety. Examples that show morality is not a stagnant judgement would be the outlawing of slavery in spite of Christianity not because of it, acceptance of biracial marriages, changing opinions of the age of consent for marriage and sex, outlawing child labor, the elimination of debtors prisons because poverty was once considered a moral and criminal offense, changing opinions on non-heterosexual sex, equal treatment for women, and many others. Christianity does not have a monopoly on morality. Morality emanates from compassion and a sense of fairness within the human psyche. The prohibition of murder and stealing existed before Christianity and has its roots in human desire to have safe communities that can prosper and flourish without fear. Mr. Mumpower your Bronze Age theology may have some inspirational values but in the 21st Century Information Age we have become too intelligent to believe it is the primary source of morality.

    • Don Yelton

      that is like the drum circle where women bounce boobs, and lick the hair under their arms. ?

    • Stan Hawkins

      No apologies here. Perhaps we can agree on, and look forward to all the bad apples being shaken from the tree.

      Of course, we should let the blind lady of justice and jurisprudence play a role as well as the omnipotent power in control.

  21. Don Yelton

    perhaps it might be wise to see how total legalization of wacky tobacco has some problems. It does slow development in young kids, it does show promise against some cancers. But as the bible says anything in excess is wrong, even wine and that would mean Asheville Beer City too. As you read these post you see why man alone will never solve his problems.

  22. Mickey Hunt

    Of course the characters of our elected officials and leaders matter, but there are many aspects of character. A person may be sexually chaste and yet be a coward. Or be sexually promiscuous and brave. Then there are the person’s goals and ideas. Every leader is a mix of all of this, and his or her character will influence how that person will act in their public role. But apart from that, character does not make any thing right or wrong. Trump may be or may have been an adulterous womanizer. He may be or may have been a racist. Or maybe not. I make no argument one way or another. In my view he is a juvenile, narcissistic, crude, and culturally ignorant person. That’s clear enough from what we’ve seen of him.

    Even with all that, I voted for him enthusiastically, and the reason? Because he was in sum and still is so much better for the office than Hillary Clinton. My vote for Trump was at least in part a meaningful vote against her.

    However bad or good Donald Trump might be as a person has no bearing whatsoever in whether abortion murders a child. It has no bearing as to whether homosexual practice is unnatural and destructive to individuals and society. It has no bearing on the issues of illegal immigration and trade barriers. The Left, and even to some extent the Right, often commit the fallacy, the sin, of the ad hominem argument. And this is the flaw in Mr. Penley’s whole outlook. He claims that supposed “evangelical” support for Trump cedes the moral high ground. Well, so what? Moral high ground is only perception, it doesn’t necessarily reflect reality. Often “moral high ground” is a media-created fiction that is used as a political weapon. Like those hotheaded anti-gun high school students from Florida who were granted a moral high ground that was completely independent of the rightness or wrongness of the positions they advocated.

    Some of the most evil people in history claimed, and achieved at least for a season, the moral high ground.

    Christians who support Trump may be the worst hypocrites that walked the face of the Earth. Or they may not be. They and Donald Trump might or might not burn in Mr. Penley’s lake of fire. But none of that has any bearing on the rightness or wrongness of the policies of the Trump administration. To rant about Mr. Trump’s personal failures contributes absolutely nothing to the public welfare except as a political weapon, as a raw use of power. As one commentator said here, the aim is to marginalize conservative Christians, which is justified because the policies that conservative Christians stand for are so evil, they believe. No reasonable person should take these personal attacks as a helpful discussion of the issues themselves.

  23. Stan Hawkins

    Just to add a footnote to this discussion; I would suggest that all of these comments, including my own, reveal that none are righteous enough, none are moral enough, to withstand the microscope of being human.

    Perhaps we can all agree that a circular firing squad achieves no good end as the finger pointed will always find its’ way back home. What then, should we do?


    It’s so simple.

    My vote was, is, and always will be purely political. It is not, nor should be construed to be, a tacit approval or ascent to anyone’s personal behavior, past or present. I vote for policy, more specifically, the policies that will best promote the interests of me, my family and fellow citizens. Within that is serious consideration for the fundamental protection of religious liberty, and more specifically, my Christian faith.

  25. Dennis Richardson

    Democrats are communists and America was founded as a Constitutional Republic. Covetousness is IDOLATRY Colossians 3: 5.
    Democratic women (and men) will be left behind when Jesus Christ comes for HIS church.

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