Donald Trump: The Man And The Myth

Started by Dave Likeness, December 09, 2015, 04:00:51 PM

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Charles Austin

My dear friend, Craig, do not demean yourself or go intentionally nutso by comparing the medieval (that is built hundreds of years ago) wall around (and it does not go all the way around) Vatican City with Mr. Trump's anti-immigrant wall. And do yourself a favor by not roaming the internet and scooping up whatever detritus bounces into your shovel.
BTW, am I supposed to thank you for directing me to a website which leads me to places where I can get cannibis extract and access to "mature," but teen-age hot women in New Jersey? Good grief!
Iowa-born. ELCA pastor, ordained 1967. Former journalist. Retired in Minneapolis. English major. Elitist snob? Probably.

D. Engebretson

Quote from: John Mundinger on February 19, 2016, 09:13:04 AM
And, fwiw, I think Pope Francis does understand the primacy of the Gospel.

How can one understand the primacy of the Gospel apart from Christ?
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Dave Likeness

@ Pastor Lou Hesse

To quote Detective Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) in the
film "Dead Pool":   "Opinions are like butt-holes everyone
has one."



Team Hesse

Quote from: D. Engebretson on February 19, 2016, 09:39:05 AM
Quote from: John Mundinger on February 19, 2016, 09:13:04 AM
And, fwiw, I think Pope Francis does understand the primacy of the Gospel.

How can one understand the primacy of the Gospel apart from Christ?


Even more to the point....how can one claim to understand the Primacy of the Gospel AND confess the reality of purgatory and the need for penitential satisfaction? Since Jesus IS the lamb of God who has taken away the sin of the world, to claim the need for a purgatory or an additional penance beyond Jesus' work is to deny the vicarious atonement won for us by our Lord on the cross.
Lou


I gotta go, I volunteer at one of the local grade schools on Friday....

John Mundinger

Quote from: D. Engebretson on February 19, 2016, 09:39:05 AM
Quote from: John Mundinger on February 19, 2016, 09:13:04 AM
And, fwiw, I think Pope Francis does understand the primacy of the Gospel.

How can one understand the primacy of the Gospel apart from Christ?

Are you suggesting that the Pope is not known by Christ?
Lifelong Evangelical Lutheran layman

Whoever, then, thinks that he understands the Holy Scriptures, or any part of them, but puts such an interpretation upon them as does not tend to build up this twofold love of God and our neighbour, does not yet understand them as he ought.  St. Augustine

Dan Fienen

Having himself questioned the religious faith of other Republican candidates, it seems at least a bit hypocritical of Trump to protest against someone, even the Pope, to question his faith.  In my estimation, a better criticism that the Pope could have made was that someone who is more interested in building walls than bridges is not acting in a good Christian manner.  Really I would have thought that he was questioning Trump's behavior than his core beliefs, and whether his behavior was consonant with his putative Christian faith.

As to immigration policy in general, surely nations no less that individuals are bound by the same kinds of limitations.  It has been argued that the United States should not try to be the policemanperson for the world.  Neither can it be the welfare office for the world.  World poverty cannot be solved simply by shipping all the poor people to the United States and letting us take care of them.  We simply do not have the resources to do that.  We cannot even successfully be the welfare office for Central America.  That is not to say that the current immigration situation is anything but broken, or that we are already doing all that we reasonably can to help people who have become for political, economic or social reasons refugees.  But the solution cannot be simply to fling wide open the  boarders and invite anybody and everybody to come in, we'll take care of everybody somehow.

The governments of the United States (Federal, State and Local) have a number of responsibilities to carry out and always have limited resources to do them.  Surely the first responsibility of government is care for those who are already citizens and legal residents, isn't it?  That means not only providing some sort of civil welfare safety net, but also providing protection from enemies foreign and domestic, protection and recovery from natural disaster, care for the public infrastructure, administration of justice, education, etc., etc.  In the process of accomplishing this, they are do it in such a way that people still have enough resources left to normally take care of themselves.  There are limits to how much can be siphoned off the citizens and residents before the whole system starts to break down.  Even the Socialist paradises of Scandinavia are not without economic problems.

Boarder security is important for a number of reasons, not just economic.  It is not paranoia to say that there are people who would like to come to the United States to kill America and if possible disrupt our government.  To simply open the boarders and invite any and everyone to come in invites those who would harm us to have free access.  And it is not just terrorists but other sorts of criminals as well.  There is also the problem of smuggling to contend with.  And that is not only illicit drugs, but counterfeit pharmaceuticals and other counterfeit goods that pose real dangers to Americans.

How many additional people can the United States governments care for without causing them to neglect their other responsibilities?  How does it help the people of the countries south of our boarders if they can simply export their problems to US to deal with relieving them of the burden of caring for their own people and possibly being forced to make painful (for the ruling elite) changes?  Also, the current immigration system and policies leave undocumented immigrants more open to coercion and exploitation.  Our whole system needs to be reformed in ways that not only looks after the interests of the United States and its citizens and legal residents, but also cares as best as we reasonably can for those who seek to relocate here.

Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

George Erdner

Quote from: D. Engebretson on February 19, 2016, 08:44:41 AM
I am not a Donald Trump supporter, so my comments are not attached, as such, to him.

But I wonder if the question about the building of a wall on the boarder should not be seen in a context a bit more broadly than just slamming the door on people and a complete lack of mercy.  I am not saying that the wall is or is not the best idea to address the immigration issue.  But I do question whether it is right to deem it as only an act of selfish exclusion and has nothing to do with concerns some might have about boarder security.  And, as the pope has done, to deem those who make such suggestions as automatically excluding that person as Christian.

It is not a Christian, or even a religious, observation, but there is much truth to the saying that "Good fences make good neighbors". No one is suggesting that a border wall should not have well maintained and managed gates. No one is suggesting that a border wall would prevent legal movement between the US and Mexico. Tractor-trailers will continue to bring Mexican goods into the United States. Legal immigrants and legal guest workers will continue to be able to legally pass through the gates into the United States. The only people who will be inconvenienced from entering the United States from Mexico because of a wall would be drug smugglers and illegal aliens.

Why didn't the Pope, or anyone else, address the fact that the walls Donald Trump is talking about would include bridges where needed to cross the Rio Grande, and simple gates scattered along the rest of the border? Why does everyone have to resort to harping on inaccurate summaries of the entire situation?

Michael Slusser

Has any of you noticed any pundit, news outlet, or political candidate quoting the end of the Pope's reply to the reporter's question?

I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that. We must see if he said things in that way and in this I give the benefit of the doubt.

Peace,
Michael
Fr. Michael Slusser
Retired Roman Catholic priest and theologian

LutherMan

http://thefederalist.com/2016/02/18/5-problems-with-pope-francis-comments-on-donald-trumps-faith/

5 Problems With Pope Francis' Comments On Donald Trump's Faith

Pope Francis is not known for speaking clearly in the way that his immediate two predecessors did.

So it's always a gamble to parse his attempts at communication too deeply. Returning from Mexico, he was asked about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Having been on the religion beat for years, I'm duty bound to point out that early reports of what this pope or that has said are frequently in error or mistranslated. So everyone slow your roll. But here's how the New York Times put it:

    "A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian," Francis said when a reporter asked him about Mr. Trump on the papal airliner as he returned to Rome after his six-day visit to Mexico.

Oh no he di-int! Here's the full quote:

    "A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not of building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel. As far as what you said about whether I would advise to vote or not to vote, I am not going to get involved in that. I say only that this is man is not Christian if he has said things like that. We must see if he said things in that way and I will give him the benefit of the doubt."

Our media, currently in the throes of one of the most damaging co-dependent relationships with a candidate the country has ever seen, immediately ran with headlines about how Francis was definitively saying Trump is not a Christian. If Trump is like an addict whose illness is in part the result of family dysfunction, then the media are his crazy parents who can't stop enabling him. Francis is playing the role of the out-of-town uncle who thinks he's helping but is just furthering the dynamic. OK, maybe that analogy isn't working. But there is no way that Trump suffers from being criticized by the Pope, and the media enablers get to spend even more time obsessed with their favorite subject.

In any case, here are a few problems with Pope Francis' comments, however well-intentioned they may have been.
He's Not Exactly Communicator Of The Century

Judging another person's faith is always risky, and Francis' straw man approach doesn't help. He speaks of a person who thinks "only" about building walls. Of course, no person in the world thinks "only" about one thing, so he can say, as he does subsequently, that he is giving Trump the benefit of the doubt. Read the full quote again. It's a trainwreck: a strawman version of this person isn't Christian, and he's not Christian if he has said things like that, and I will give him the benefit of the doubt now.

When you have the world listening to your every word, as Pope Francis does, maybe sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as opposed to mealy-mouthed descriptions of what the gospel is not, might be a bit more helpful. That said, if he really, truly believes that policy differences damnably separate people from the body of Christ, he should get a thousand follow-up questions about politicians who support the legal killing of unborn children, the redefinition of marriage, the fighting of unjust wars, and more.
Of All The Things To Question Trump's Christianity Over

So Donald Trump seeks limits on immigration and the building of walls — real and metaphorical — as a means to accomplish that. And Pope Francis says that if he "only" thinks about such things, he's not Christian. That's what you pick for the ground on which to question someone's faith?

As a Lutheran, I don't believe that works justify. Here's a 30-second Lutheran PSA in the form of Paul Speratus' great hymn "Salvation Unto Us Has Come" which basically explains this better than I ever could:

    Salvation unto us has come
    By God's free grace and favor;
    Good works cannot avert our doom,
    They help and save us never.
    Faith looks to Jesus Christ alone,
    Who did for all the world atone;
    He is our one Redeemer.

    It was a false, misleading dream
    That God His Law had given
    That sinners could themselves redeem
    And by their works gain heaven.
    The Law is but a mirror bright
    To bring the inbred sin to light
    That lurks within our nature.

But even if one's church does teach that good works justify and lead to salvation, one might think of much more fertile ground to target. Such as Donald Trump's repeated adultery and bragging about same, his multiple divorces, his refusal to honor his own debts, his abortion cheerleading, his constant lying, his gratuitous insults, and worst of all, his belief he doesn't need to be forgiven for anything.

Differences on policy prescriptions about the flow of immigration are not the ground I would have gone after, if I were to judge a self-professed Christian's faith. (Which, again, I would not. Worry about yourself, and all that.)
The Comments Enabled Trump's Feigned Indignation

Donald Trump quickly responded to Francis' comments with a Facebook post that read, in part:

    For a religious leader to question a person's faith is disgraceful. I am proud to be a Christian and as President I will not allow Christianity to be consistently attacked and weakened, unlike what is happening now, with our current President. No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man's religion or faith.

Ooft. Yes, Donald Trump's religious depth is on full display there. Not that Americans care or even necessarily should care, in political terms. And pay no mind at all that this is the same man who spent roughly 110% of last week claiming Ted Cruz is not a Christian. For example:

See, judging another self-professed Christian's faith is not such a good look, no matter who is doing it.
Are We Sure Building Walls Is Bad?

There is absolutely no question that Christians are called to love our neighbors as ourselves. How we manifest that love when it comes to others is actually open to some debate. Consider how you manage your own home. If you're Christian, you should believe in caring for those who are impoverished. Very few would argue, though, that this means you must open your home to everyone who seeks shelter. Prudence is also a virtue that helps guide the Christian. This is complicated even more when you deal with the reality that the United States might be inhabited mostly by Christians but does not set policy according to the New Testament.

There is an entire book of the Old Testament (Hint: It's Nehemiah) about a godly man who is called to Jerusalem to, wait for it, ... build a wall around it. There are walls around portions of various cities, including the Vatican and Jerusalem. There are walls around our dwelling places. And there are even metaphorical walls that enable us to have healthy relationships. So no one thinks "only" about walls (except Nehemiah, hey-oh!) and walls aren't even necessarily bad, Biblically speaking.
Two Kingdoms, Y'all

People always say that this is a Protestant doctrine, but really it goes back to Jesus and was well expounded first by Augustine. Basically, the church and earthly government are different. The business of the church is to preach the Gospel, forgive sins, deliver mercy. The business of the government, and of heads of state, is to be the means through which God provides temporal order. So the job of the president includes, importantly, keeping citizens safe. Christians can disagree about all manner of how to enact any policy, when Scripture doesn't mandate a particular one, but they should always be motivated by love of neighbor. And, as I discussed previously, there are all sorts of thoughts on how to rank concerns for neighbors. One's obligation to your nearest neighbor of wife and infant daughter are more pressing than obligations to neighbors in other countries.

So if Donald J. Trump becomes president, his primary responsibility would be to those who are entrusted to his care, namely U.S. citizens. As a Christian, he should pray for everyone throughout the world and show love to them in his vocation as a Christian, but in his vocation as president, his duty would be to keep Americans safe.
On Being A Disciple

Let's leave with a good word from Ignatius of Antioch, the church father who was born around the time of Christ's death. This was a man every Christian should aspire to emulate. He was enthusiastic, self-sacrificing, and utterly fearless in defense of the Christian faith. He cared about those under his care and was vigilant against heresy. He prayed unceasingly that those under his care would have faith and courage in the hour of their persecution. This bishop was also martyred for his faith in Christ. And when he faced death, about to be martyred in horrifically violent fashion, he said, "Now I begin to be a disciple."

If Ignatius of Antioch could speak this way about becoming a disciple of Christ, how much more do we have to learn? So let's worry less about the faith of others and more about our own. In what ways can those of us who profess to follow Christ begin to be his disciples?

Rev Geminn

Quote from: Team Hesse on February 18, 2016, 05:14:49 PM
Quote from: Rev Geminn on February 18, 2016, 04:08:27 PM
Quote from: Team Hesse on February 18, 2016, 03:17:20 PM
Quote from: Rev Geminn on February 18, 2016, 12:06:44 PM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on February 18, 2016, 10:46:54 AM
Quote from: Rev Geminn on February 18, 2016, 10:39:57 AM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on February 18, 2016, 10:34:40 AM
Quote from: Rev Geminn on February 18, 2016, 10:26:57 AM
Ha!  That memory tortures me everyday BUT remember that before being the founder of cities Cain was a rule following farmer.  From farmer to city dweller.  The grandchildren of the farmer are now city dwellers. :-[


What rule was he following? Up to that point in the story, God has commended, "Be fruitful and multiply" and "You can eat from all the trees, except one." There are no reasons given why God accepted Abel's sacrifice and not Cain's. Rules about sacrifices won't be given until Mount Sinai.

At the end of Genesis 3 God curses Adam to work the ground i.e. farming.  It's been understood that Cain accepts this as his lot in life whereas Abel doesn't by becoming a shepherd.  That's all.


The Human ('adam) was created to farm the garden God had planted. And, all the animals were brought to the the Human to name them - which is having control over them. From the beginning the Human was a farmer and cared for animals. The curse was that growing food would be harder work than it had been in the garden God had originally given the Human. Actually, Adam was not cursed. The ground was, and the curse was removed in Gen 8:21.

I think your understanding is mistaken.  There's a huge difference between working the ground pre-fall and post fall.  Many have likened this initial task to a gardener and not a farmer.  Notice Genesis 2:16 and Adam's source of food and then notice Genesis 3:18.  Big difference, eating from a tree (fruit which is natural, is "good") and eating from the field (bread which is the result human ingenuity).  Lots to think about here.  Also, Adam was cursed along with the ground, just as Eve was cursed with the multiplication of pain in child bearing which is directly related to Adam's new occupation of a cursed farmer.   More hands will be needed to work the ground.   Cain accepts this as his lot in life whereas Abel does not as evidenced by his being a shepherd which relates back to life in the garden.  There's so much to unpack in these great texts.


So, are we to believe farming is a less worthy vocation than sheep herding?


Be careful what you say with your mouth full....


Lou (its lunch time)

Are we to believe that city dwellers are less worthy than country dwellers? 

Be careful what you say about the values of limited government...

Scott (who just ate toasted bread with peanut butter (thanks farmers!!)) ;D


I don't understand the correlation you are attempting. I know waaay too many country dwellers who are also fans of big government and I know there are city dwellers who are not fans of big government.


I readily admit to being a fan of limited government and a country dweller. So?


You did not address my question.


Lou

I answered with a question related to the question you asked.  You wanted to know if we should believe if farming is a less worthy vocation than sheepherding which is why I asked if you believed city dwellers are less worthy than country dwellers.  It's the same question when one ponders the texts being discussed.  It's also the wrong question to ask.  A simple reading of Genesis reveals that both farmers and cities are not seen in a positive light.  Farming which leads to cities leads the people further away from full trust in the Creator (Luther writes about the problems of cities in his Genesis commentary as well).   This way of life finds expression in the Egyptian empire which is where Moses (the writer) and Israel have just been.  What's more, Abram is called out of the land of Mesopotamia which is synonymous with the Egyptian empire.   Remember too, that Egyptians detest shepherds for a reason, probably because they couldn't control them because of their nomadic lifestyle.  There's a tension between these two "vocations" in the text.  Like I said before, there's much to unpack. 

Now does this mean that farming is a less worthy profession than shepherding today or is living in a city somehow wrong?  No, because that's not the point as evidenced by the Scriptures.  The issue is faithfulness to God, to Jesus, to his ways.  Doing what's expected, following the rules is not always god pleasing either as evidenced by Cain in Genesis and the Pharisees later on.  Abel is faithful even though he does not do what's culturally expected which is just like what we see with Jesus in the gospels.  His faithfulness to God does not always translate to godliness in the eyes of the people or the Pharisees for that matter.   We see this theme continually play out in the Scriptures.

I said be careful what you say about limited government because like your line about farmers there's much that we benefit from when it comes to government, particularly big government.  For example, the Interstate Highway System or the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.  In other words, I'm giving you a hard time. ;D I believe this has to do with the New York Values I was raised with that limited government guys like Cruz detest. :o  I couldn't resist. ;)

In Christ,
Scott+

Michael Slusser

Quote from: Michael Slusser on February 19, 2016, 10:34:27 AM
Has any of you noticed any pundit, news outlet, or political candidate quoting the end of the Pope's reply to the reporter's question?

I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that. We must see if he said things in that way and in this I give the benefit of the doubt.
LutherMan found an example in The Federalist. Good Catch.

The other thing I haven't noticed people commenting on was Phil Pullela's question:

I would like to ask you, what do you think of these accusations against you and if a North American Catholic can vote for a person like this?

Pullela's choice of accusations was you are a political man and he even said that you are a pawn, an instrument of the Mexican government for migration politics. Then Pullela went on with Trump's intention to build 2500 kilometers of wall. The two were put next to each other by Pullela, but not explicitly connected. Pope as pawn of the Mexican government was the charge.

Peace,
Michael
Fr. Michael Slusser
Retired Roman Catholic priest and theologian

LutherMan

Quote from: Michael Slusser on February 19, 2016, 10:59:04 AM

LutherMan found an example in The Federalist. Good Catch.


That was our own LCMSer, Mollie Hemingway...

Richard Johnson

Quote from: George Erdner on February 19, 2016, 10:26:07 AM

It is not a Christian, or even a religious, observation, but there is much truth to the saying that "Good fences make good neighbors".

Just as one can quote Scripture out of context, so can one quote Robert Frost. The poem actually is arguing against the wall that the narrator's neighbor insists on building. The concluding lines:

It comes to little more:   
He is all pine and I am apple-orchard.   
My apple trees will never get across   
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.     25
He only says, "Good fences make good neighbors."   
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder   
If I could put a notion in his head:   
"Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it   
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.    
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know   
What I was walling in or walling out,   
And to whom I was like to give offence.   
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,   
That wants it down!" I could say "Elves" to him,    
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather   
He said it for himself. I see him there,   
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top   
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.   
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,    
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.   
He will not go behind his father's saying,   
And he likes having thought of it so well   
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."   
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

LCMS87

Quote from: Michael Slusser on February 19, 2016, 10:34:27 AM
Has any of you noticed any pundit, news outlet, or political candidate quoting the end of the Pope's reply to the reporter's question?

I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that. We must see if he said things in that way and in this I give the benefit of the doubt.

Peace,
Michael

Here's another one, Fr. Slusser, also from the Federalist.  It quotes the whole question and the entire answer. 

Michael Slusser

Quote from: LCMS87 on February 19, 2016, 11:32:56 AM
Quote from: Michael Slusser on February 19, 2016, 10:34:27 AM
Has any of you noticed any pundit, news outlet, or political candidate quoting the end of the Pope's reply to the reporter's question?

I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that. We must see if he said things in that way and in this I give the benefit of the doubt.

Peace,
Michael

Here's another one, Fr. Slusser, also from the Federalist.  It quotes the whole question and the entire answer.
Thank you! It is very careful and well done.

Peace,
Michael
Fr. Michael Slusser
Retired Roman Catholic priest and theologian

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