Category: Conservatives

Letter to Rev. Bryant Wright, Chief Pastor, Johnson Ferry Baptist Church

June 20, 2018
IndieDems.com
Tom Barksdale, proprietor
1025 Rose Creek Dr. – Suite 620
Woodstock, GA 30189

Gut-wrenching’ recording captures sounds of crying children separated from parents at the border

 Senior Pastor Bryant Wright
Johnson Ferry Baptist Church
955 Johnson Ferry Rd.
Marietta, GA 30068 

Dear Chief Pastor Wright,

In December, I sent you and several other leading American religious leaders a letter pointing out the growing chorus of religious and conservative voices speaking out in alarm about the danger to Christianity posed by a passive attitude toward the immorality, corruption, and sordidness of the Trump Administration. I highlighted the words of leading conservative spokesman David Brooks: “You can’t save Christianity by betraying its message.”

I asked for comments. Your only response was an email with a link to one of your sermons about how the second coming of Christ was the only solution to all our problems.

Since December, Trump’s words and deeds, and even those of some Christian leaders, have exponentially magnified the threat to American Christianity posed by “Christians” who either actively support Trump or remain silent in the face of his assault on the basic values of Jesus Christ, of democracy, and of common human decency.

An even more appalling and direct attack on Christian principles has emerged in recent days by the Trump Administration’s separation of children from parents accused of illegally crossing the U.S. border and the inhumane mass incarceration of the children in detention camps.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions compounded the anti-Christian inhumanity by citing the same Bible passages once used to defend slavery to defend separating immigrant families. As a native Southerner, his words were like a blow to my solar plexus. I have been saying for some time that the Trumpists’ racism, sexism, and xenophobia made it seem as if the last 60 years had disappeared and we were back to the time when you could lynch a black person on Saturday and attend church on Sunday and be reassured that your soul was guaranteed eternal salvation.

Or murder civil rights workers, spit in the face of black school children desegregating a school, bomb a black church, or beat senseless peaceful demonstrators on a bridge in Selma—and still be a good Christian, according to your Baptist pastor.

Sessions’ words sparked a revolting feeling of déjà vu all over again, of a return to the worst days of the Civil Rights struggle.

I have been heartened, therefore, by the actions and resolutions taken at the recent annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Dallas. In particular, I saw the resolution on immigration as denoting a decisive separation of the SBC from the policies of Trump and the Republicans. My positive view has been reinforced by the media’s conclusion that the SBC has taken a significantly new tack.

The most striking article appeared in The Atlantic: “Southern Baptists Call Off the Culture War: America’s largest Protestant group moves to cut ties with the Republican Party and re-engage with mainstream culture.”

Even more heartening, Rev. Wright, were your retweets of the positive coverage of the results of the SBC convention, and your tweet expressing thanks to Franklin Graham for criticizing the separation policy and urging people to “contact your members of Congress and call on them to stop this abuse against families.” I hope you continue to raise your voice against this despicable mistreatment and traumatizing of children.

One paragraph in the Atlantic article struck me in a very personal way: “(Southern Baptists) appear to recognize that tethering themselves to Donald Trump—a thrice-married man who has bragged about committing adultery, lies with impunity, allegedly paid hush money to a porn star with whom he had an affair, and says he has never asked God for forgiveness—places the moral credibility of the Southern Baptist Convention at risk.”  My goodness. Almost as if the author is plagiarizing words from my letter to you!

But there is no room for complacency. Many evangelicals—probably including some of your flock—are willing to continue to support a policy explicitly contrary to the teachings of Jesus. Read: Why many white evangelicals are not protesting family separations on the U.S. border. I hope you are dedicated to setting such people straight, with as much fervor as they display in opposing abortion.

The Growing anti-Trump Chorus

You should be encouraged that other Christians have begun speaking out against the mistreatment of innocent children.

  • On June 14, the Migrants and Refugees Section at the Vatican tweeted a verse of Deuteronomy: “The Bible teaches that God ‘loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt’ (Deuteronomy 10:18-19).” Pope Francis twitter.com/Yt8i7b39VN.
  • “At a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on June 13, the nation’s Catholic leaders strongly condemned the administration’s immigration policies as immoral, with one bishop going so far as to suggest that Catholics who help carry out the Justice Department’s policies are violating their faith and perhaps should be denied Communion.”
  • On June 20, Pope Francis announced his support for the Bishops’ statement, putting himself on the record as opposing the Trump administration’s policy.
  • On June 19, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and 12 other Republican Senators sent a letter to US Attorney General Jeff Sessions calling for a halt to the practice of separating families at the border.
  • Four-star general warns Trump’s family separation policy echoes Nazis
  • And now, former First Lady Laura Bush has taken the unusual step of writing an op-ed column for the Washington Post, adding her voice to those denouncing this cruel and inhumane policy: “I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.”

Read More: Conservative Religious Leaders Are Denouncing Trump Immigration Policies

Trump’s Continuing Sins: His Contempt for the 10 Commandments

Trump continues to live in virtual daily defiance of God’s Commandment not to bear false witness. According to the Washington Post’s documented inventory, as of June 1 Trump made 3,251 false or misleading claims in 495 days. See also:

Trump’s lies about the Russia probe devolve into absurdityTrump keeps incriminating himself with nonstop lies

Trump, of course, has a history of not only engaging in adultery, but publicizing it and bragging about it.

The Stormy Daniels affair has highlighted Trump’s sins. He lied to the American people, claiming the affair never happened, and reversed himself only when the evidence became overwhelming. He also lied publicly about not knowing about his lawyer’s payoff to Daniels to keep her quiet, and then had his new spokesman announce the truth that he had recompensed his lawyer for making the payment.

What a mind-numbing display of hypocrisy so-called Christians display when they turn a blind eye to Trump’s ever-present contempt for God’s laws while waving in our faces those words in the Bible that supposedly ban abortion and gay rights.

The Mormon Church took Christian hypocrisy to new heights recently by severing its ties to the Boy Scouts in an apparent response to the Scouts’ decision to include openly gay troop leaders—while remaining mute on the gross immorality and God-defying antics of Donald Trump. See my blog Break with Boy Scouts Takes Mormons to New Heights of Hypocrisy

The criminality, corruption, and malfeasance of the Trump Administration has expanded since my December letter.

  • Former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was charged and pleaded guiltyin December 2017 to making false statements to the FBI.
  • Special Prosecutor Mueller has charged three other former Trump campaign officials with criminal conduct. This month, June 2018, additional charges were brought against one of them as well as one of his associates
  • An attorney associated with Trump pleaded guilty to lying to FBI investigators and was sentenced to 30 days in prison.
  • Environmental Protection Agency Chief Scott Pruitt has been revealed as a one-man band of pure, in-your-face corruption. See “A Running List of Scott Pruitt’s Corrupt Acts.” As of early June, there were at least a dozen ongoing investigations related to Pruitt by EPA’s Office of Inspector General, the Government Accountability Office, and congressional oversight committees. Read more.

Further reading:

The Known Facts about the Crime and Malfeasance in Trumpgate

The State of New York this week opened a new front in dealing with Trump’s corruption: N.Y. files suit against Trump, alleging his charity engaged in ‘illegal conduct’.

Trump’s Wanton Defiance of Jesus’ Golden Rule

You will recall, Pastor Wright, that these latest examples of moral decadence are a continuation of the acts Trump committed in the past, for which he has never apologized and for which you and other Christian leaders have never held him accountable. Trump’s more telling words and deeds are listed in the section of my original latter titled “The Republicans’ arrogant trashing of Jesus’ Golden Rule.”

________________________________________________________/
An American’s Opinion
From the Washington Post
Peter Daou‏Verified account @peterdaou 10h10 hours ago

TAKING INVENTORY OF “CHRISTIAN VALUES”: Back child molesters for the US Senate. Strip health coverage from sick children to enrich billionaires. Shrug at the slaughter of schoolchildren to appease the gun lobby. Steal immigrant babies and hold them hostage for political gain.
147 replies 2,521 retweets 4,029 likes
_________________________________________________________________________/

Trump’s daily tweets continue to remind us that “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is a concept totally remote to Donald Trump.

Christian Leaders’ Feckless Tolerance of Trump Continues

The Southern Baptist Convention’s Crisis of Morality

Let’s hope the new leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention can overcome the considerable shortcomings of its own. The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary on May 30 fired its long-time President, Paige Patterson, for allegedly lying about and mishandling complaints of student rape. Here is my write-up: Leader’s Disgrace Deals Heavy Blow to Southern Baptists.

Three men have accused Paul Pressler, Patterson’s closest ally in bringing about the “conservative revolution” in the SBC, of years of sexual molestation.  Also, according to the Baptist Press, Frank S. Page, the former president and chief executive of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, resigned in March from the top role in the SBC because of a “morally inappropriate” relationship.

There’s more.

My Questions
  • How can anyone who calls themselves a Christian support a President who exhibits utter contempt for God’s Commandment and Jesus’ Golden Rule?
  • What Bible passages establish that the 10 Commandments can be abandoned in order to support a President who appoints Supreme Court justices who will rule against abortion?
  • What practical steps do you and other Baptist pastors intend to take to implement the spirit of the resolutions adopted at the SBC meeting? What will you ask your congregation to do?
  • Have you preached a sermon denouncing the horrendous Republican policy of separating immigrant children from their parents? If not, why not?
  • (Original version) Have you thought of asking your congregation to sign a petition demanding that President Trump abandon the family separation policy? Laura Bush’s op-ed in the Washington Post on June 17, it seems to me, would be an excellent reference to start a draft.
  • (Revised version) Have you thought of asking your congregation to sign a petition demanding that President Trump immediately mobilize the resources to return all the kidnapped children to their parents?
  • Why can’t America’s religious denominations denounce Trump’s lies and adultery as strongly as they denounce abortion and/or gay rights?
  • Why do so many Christians focus so relentlessly—in some cases, almost exclusively—on things Jesus Christ never said anything about—like abortion and gay rights—while virtually ignoring Jesus’ core message, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”?
  • Why do we almost never hear Christian clergy citing Jesus’ strong denunciation of the rich? Much less preaching a sermon based on those words?

I look forward to your answers.
Sincerely,
Tom Barksdale

Leader’s Disgrace Deals Heavy Blow to Southern Baptists

The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary on May 30 fired its long-time President, Paige Patterson, for allegedly lying about and mishandling complaints of student rape.  Patterson for decades has been one of the most powerful leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest American Protestant denomination and a giant force in American evangelicalism. Beginning in the 1970s, Patterson was the leading architect of the takeover of the SBC by hardline religious conservatives. The Washington Post’s description:

“The takeover, which lasted over a decade, was no holds barred, with Patterson keeping files on ideological opponents and cultivating spies in seminaries, according to historical accounts. A 1991 profile in D Magazine…said Patterson had been ‘likened to the Rev. Jim Jones and Joe McCarthy’ by his critics in the denomination. ‘He’s been reviled as a power-mad fundamentalist on a witch hunt for heretics.’ ” (See also Southern Baptist seminary drops bombshell: Why Paige Patterson was fired and Why Southern Baptists can’t shake their racist past)

Patterson’s conservatives left no doubt about their primary concern: they were disturbed by the rising tide of the feminist movement and increased debate about abortion.  Their chief goal was to keep women in their subordinate place and out of the pulpit. Patterson made the Biblical words calling on a wife to “submit to the servant leadership of her husband” the chief a chief element in Baptist theology.

“By the mid-1990s the seminaries and state conventions were largely purged of moderates and liberals. Many women who were studying to be pastors or who taught classes that included male students were forced out or left.”

But a darker side of Patterson’s stand emerged this year when recorded comments surfaced of his counseling abused women to remain with their husbands and making remarks seen as objectifying a teenage girl and criticizing the physical appearance of female seminary students.

Events became more ominous when a former student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary stated that in 2003, when Patterson headed the school, she had reported to him that she had been assaulted by a man she had been dating, and  Patterson encouraged her not to report the incident to the police and to forgive her alleged assailant.

A few days later, Southwestern trustees cited a second incident in 2015. A Southwestern female student had reported to Patterson that she had been raped, and police were called. But Patterson allegedly emailed campus security and “discussed meeting with the student alone so that he could break her down.”

The allegations prompted thousands of conservative women SBC members to petition for Patterson’s removal. Faced with the damning evidence, the Board of Trustees acted.

The Washington Post’s headline on the article detailing Patterson’s demise summed up the irony: “How women led to the dramatic rise and fall of Southern Baptist leader Paige Patterson.”

My initial response to the revelations about Patterson and his forced retirement was posted in a comment on one of the Washington Post stories:

“Does any half way intelligent human being fail to see the twisted, perverted thinking that underlies the outlook of Southern Baptist clerics? The only difference regarding Patterson is that his perversion became too obvious to ignore. He got caught red handed. The rest of them still fervently believe the crud about wives having to obey their husbands. In the 21st Century, Southern Baptists believe women are no better than chattel. To understand the rot that pervades the hearts and minds of Southern Baptist pastors, you need only to remember two things: 1. Their predecessors fervently believed that Jesus ordained slavery as a positive good. The Convention was founded to preach that gospel. 2. The next generation fervently believed that segregation was perfectly legitimate and helped maintain it for 100 years.

Why anybody would believe that the current crop of medieval-minded misogynist yahoos are preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ escapes me.”

On re-reading it, I hesitated to post it on this blog, feeling that maybe it was a little extreme. But then I read more about the beliefs and practices of Patterson and his conservative Southern Baptists cohorts. And I got 21 thumbs-up on my “extreme” comment from other readers.  Big deal, huh? Well, the average number of approvals on any article is decidedly in single digits. And I would say that 5 is the usual highest. Twenty-one is earth shattering. And there were a much higher number of double-digit approvals for other commenters than are normal.

In short, the Patterson conservatives’ conquest of the Southern Baptist Convention has left it more isolated than ever from mainstream America. From the Post article:

  • Data released June 1 by the movement shows membership falling for the 11th straight year, to 15 million — down 1.3 million since 2006.
  • Baptisms — a core marker of the faith — were fewer in 2017 by 26 percent compared with a decade ago, according to an internal survey published by LifeWay Christian Resources, the research arm of the denomination.
  • Enrollment at Southwestern is down by almost half since Patterson arrived there.

Seems hypocrisy and a distortion of Jesus’ message can only get you so far.

Video Watch Party Spotlights Abuses at GA Immigration Detention Center

Event: Carolyn Hadaway’s Monthly Video Watch Party

  • Date: Thursday, May 24
  • Time: 6:30pm – 9:00pm
  • Place: Private home near the intersection of Canton Hwy and Jamerson Rd/Shallowford Rd.; Woodstock, GA 30188. Close to Cherokee – Cobb County border.

Topic: Immigration. Special guest speaker is JoAnn Weiss, Chair, Board of Directors, El Refugio, a hospitality house located in Lumpkin, GA, providing assistance to the families of inmates of the next-door Stewart Detention Center, one of the United States’ largest detention centers for suspected illegal immigrants, run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

  • Ms. Weiss will discuss the growth of the immigration detention system since 1996 (especially since 9/11/2001) and the role of prisons for profit. She will examine the violation of civil and human rights at the Stewart facility and the work of El Refugio in running its hospitality house.

POC: Carolyn Hadaway, 678-687-7753chadaway.volun@gmail.com

Note from IndieDems proprietor, Tom Barksdale:

Lumpkin is “just up the road” from my hometown in Southwest Georgia, and even closer to the Jimmy Carter homestead in Plains. The El Refugio web page provoked a flood of personal memories by stating that “Partners from Koinonia Farm (www.koinoniapartners.org) offer hospitality for family members needing a place to stay overnight during the week.”

Koinonia Farm was born the same year I was, in 1942. It’s mission statement says “We are Christians called to live together in intentional community sharing a life of prayer, work, study, service and fellowship. We seek to embody peacemaking, sustainability, and radical sharing. While honoring people of all backgrounds and faiths, we strive to demonstrate the way of Jesus as an alternative to materialism, militarism and racism.”

Meaning: Koinonia Farm was an interracial haven smack in the middle of segregated Georgia during the darkest days of segregation and on through the Civil Rights struggles of the 1950s-60s. Its inhabitants paid a heavy price of having to endure the isolation, intimidation, and violence all too common in that era.

Koinonia communal living did not include schools, and “home schooling” did not exist even as a concept. Koinoia’s children had to attend the local, segregated schools, where living together on a farm with black people pegged them as stranger than space aliens. To most of the locals, they were literally Comminists, a term I heard leveled at Koinonia whenever the topic came up. The children endured unspeakable acts of mental and physical harassment.

In 21015, former AJC journalist Jim Auchmutey wrote a book centered on the experience of one of those students: The Class of ’65: A Student, a Divided Town, and the Long Road to Forgiveness. It’s on Amazon with a five-star review. You want to read this book. Amazon sums it up well:

Being a student at Americus High School was the worst experience of Greg Wittkamper’s life. Greg came from a nearby Christian commune, Koinonia, whose members devoutly and publicly supported racial equality. When he refused to insult and attack his school’s first black students in 1964, Greg was mistreated as badly as they were: harassed and bullied and beaten. In the summer after his senior year, as racial strife in Americus—and the nation—reached its peak, Greg left Georgia.

Forty-one years later, a dozen former classmates wrote letters to Greg, asking his forgiveness and inviting him to return for a class reunion. Their words opened a vein of painful memory and unresolved emotion, and set him on a journey that would prove healing and saddening.

The Class of ’65 is more than a heartbreaking story from the segregated South. It is also about four of Greg’s classmates…who came to reconsider the attitudes they grew up with…

I have said to myself many times that the Trump era has left me feeling as if 60 years of presumed progress in America’s racial relations has been erased, and I have been transported in time back to the days when the “N” word was common currency, violence against minorities was normal, and anyone practicing equality for blacks, like Greg Wittkamper, had to be a Communist, not a “real” American. And you could become governor of Georgia by wielding an ax handle as a symbol of your noble resistance to segregation.

Johnny Isakson, David Perdue, Karen Handel, and Barry Loudermilk don’t need an ax handle to symbolize their warped views. They’ve got Donald Trump in the White House.

Georgia Republicans Firmly in Ranks of Tut-tut Republicans

Headline: Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) blasts White House aide’s McCain remark as ‘pretty disgusting thing to say’

IndieDems Comment:

The more despicable the Trumpists become, the more Republicans like Graham, Johnny Isakson, David Perdue, Barry Loudermilk, and Karen Handel fall all over themselves to plant another kiss on Trump’s behind. Just imagine: Graham his Republican colleagues criticize him for refusing to fire the aide or to issue an apology–and Trump does not fire the aide or apologize.

  • At one time, if someone had called Graham a sissy, I would have come to his defense. No more. His track record shows the term simply defines him.

The fact that Senator Graham’s anodyne response to WH staffer Sadler’s despicable remark represents the epitome of Republican criticism, demonstrates beyond the shadow of a doubt what a morally and intellectually corrupt, burnt-out case the Republican Party has become.

  • Just to mention three of the multitude of bellwethers that showed Republicans they were headed for the sewer: nominating for president someone who bragged about sexually assaulting women, approved calling his own daughter a “piece of a–,” and mocked a handicapped person.

The more that Republicans like Isakson, Perdue, Loudermilk, and Handel rally behind Trump as he intensifies his assaults on the moral fabric of American, the more one has to ask: are we witnessing the consequences of where all that Russian money that has been flowing into Republican coffers went?

It’s abundantly clear: Isakson, Perdue, Loudermilk, and Handel will remain Trump’s faithful lapdogs until he destroys America. Pigs will fly before they exercise any oversight of the Trump Executive Branch.

And Graham, once a critic of Trump, became more and more one of his lap dogs the more Trump engaged in lies, insults, and slander. Isn’t it likely that Trump is ensuring Graham’s fealty by dangling an important office in his face, like a cabinet position? Given the rate of turnover, an opening is always a possibility.

Nikki Haley has already sold her soul to the Trump devil to burnish her foreign policy credentials at the U.N. Why should Graham be any different?

The Neglected Role of Women in the Early Christian Church

If you do not read any other posts on IndieDems, see the link in this  one.

As pointed out in our post Southern Baptists Discover–Gasp!–Misogyny in Their Ranks, women and supporters of women’s rights are up in arms over remarks by  Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson in which he “described a young man’s lewd comments toward a teenage girl as ‘biblical,’ and said the proper response to abuse within marriage ‘depends on the level of abuse to some degree’.”

Commentator Gracy Olmstead has expanded the debate in a rewarding way with an excellent review of the role of women in the early Christian church. You want to read this article. It covers a part of history that is too much ignored and explodes the idea that Jesus Christ proscribed a secondary role for women or that early female Christian were meek and mild followers of their male counterparts.

Southern Baptists Discover–Gasp!–Misogyny in Their Ranks

On May 7, conservative columnist and  former GW Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson, a vociferous critic of Donald Trump and the phony “conservatives” who support him, wrote an article “Evangelicals are having their own #MeToo moment.” An excerpt:

Paige Patterson — head of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and icon of conservative Baptist belief — is being called out for a story he told in 2000. An abused woman had come to him for counseling. Patterson recommended prayer. Later, the woman returned with two black eyes. In Patterson’s telling: “She said, ‘I hope you’re happy.’ And I said, ‘Yes . . . I’m very happy,’ ” because the woman’s husband had heard her prayers and come to church the next day.

Gerson went on to point out a number of prominent Baptists had risen in criticism. [‘We are shocked’: Thousands of Southern Baptist women denounce leader’s ‘objectifying’ comments, advice to abused women]

Here is IndieDems comment:

My, my. Over 2000 years after Christ treated his female followers with dignity and respect, followed by the Apostle Paul (allegedly) telling women Jesus wanted them to keep quiet in church and to obey their husbands; followed by the Catholic Church’s declaring women unworthy to be priests, much less hold any higher rank; 18 months after evangelical females–and about 52 percent of all white women–voted for a serial adulterer who had admitted to sexually assaulting women, called women bimbos in his tweets, and approved of someone calling his daughter a “piece of a–“; after all this, Michael Gerson and Southern Baptist Women are shocked, shocked–again–to discover there is misogyny going on in their ranks.

Not because the womenhad an epiphany about the phony baloney balderdash they have been listening to, but because some Baptist preacher finally made a statement that even evangelicals couldn’t stomach.

Real life again presents an incident that, if presented in a Saturday Night Live skit, would have unleashed a torrent of criticism that SNL had gone too far in tarnishing the wonderful, God-fearing evangelical community, the sole preserver of the true faith and morals in our sinful society.

It’s all too rich for words. A piece of advice to Gerson and the female evangelicals: try to see the light and see Patterson, not as an aberration, but as the exemplar of evangelical preachers. Then do what other Americans are doing in droves: abandon organized religion for being the hollow, hypocritical shell it really is.

A Message for Johnny Isakson, David Perdue, Barry Loudermilk, and Karen Handel

Now, calm down and try to understand this. That does not mean abandoning the teachings of Jesus or the 10 Commandments. It just means abandoning the false prophets who’ve already abandoned both but disguised it with demagoguery about how all you need to do is oppose abortion and gay rights and you are guaranteed entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven. That ain’t what Jesus was all about, my friends.

Trump National Security Adviser Applies Iraq War Justification to Iran

President Trump’s National Security Adviser, John Bolton, this week wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post justifying Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear accord, despite its continued support by our principle European  allies, as well as co-signers Russia and China.  IndieDems comment:

The notable features of Bolton’s polemic: 1) It repeats exactly the justification George W. Bush and his Boltonesque advisers gave for launching the Iraq war 2) beneath the bombast and braggadocio, it is a hollow nothing, offering no specific facts, no specific policies, no specific plan of action to obtain its deluded goals

Even for the mind-blowing Trumplandia, it staggers the human mind that with the United States still facing each day the disastrous consequences of the Bush/Bolton Iraq war, Trump and Bolton are repeating the same flawed reasoning, warped judgment, and Neocon unhinged predictions to set us on the road to war with Iran.
Remember? Bush and his Bolton Neocons assured us that if we went to war with Iraq and overthrew Saddam Hussein, peace and democracy would envelop the Middle East, and the new, democratic Muslim regimes would join us in permanently guaranteeing Israel’s security. Word for word, Bolton repeats the argument.

Bolton cites not one iota of evidence to back up his central claim that Iran is violating the nuclear agreement; he offers no specific plan of action for the U.S. to now prevent Iran from resuming its nuclear weapons program, short of all-out war. He does not remotely address how the U.S. is to accomplish its Herculean ambitions without the support of our principle allies–or with their opposition, given our contemptuous treatment of them.

And his long-proven-false Neocon canard that Israel is the linchpin of our Middle East policy? Bolton obviously has the genie on hand to work his magic, followed by carpet rides leaving Jerusalem every hour.

Break with Boy Scouts Takes Mormons to New Heights of Hypocrisy

Headline: “Mormons Break All Ties with Boy Scouts”
(Excerpts) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said on May 8 2016, it will sever all ties with the Boy Scouts of America, ending a century-old tradition deeply ingrained in the religious life of Mormon boys….
Church officials did not cite specific Scouts policy changes that spurred the split, but the two groups have increasingly clashed over values in recent years, particularly after the Boy Scouts’ move to include openly gay troop leaders.
  • The announcement also came less than a week after the Boy Scouts announced it would be changing its flagship name to Scouts BSA, promoting its decision last year to welcome girls into the program for the first time.
IndieDems Comment:
The Mormon Church is now, hands down, the leading example of pure Christian hypocrisy among our mainstream Christian denominations. It’s now surged ahead of its main challenger for first place, the Catholic Church. As always, the Southern Baptist Convention is close behind.
To understand the magnitude of the Mormon Church’s hypocrisy, look at what it considers normal as it turns its back on those “abnormal” Scouts for daring to grant equality to gays. Mormons–most prominently, Senator Orrin Hatch–have given either overt or tacit support to Donald Trump as he and his Republicans have waged war against America’s basic moral and democratic values.  Here is a partial list of what Trump has done that Mormons have endorsed, as they consign the Scouts to outer darkness:
  • Lived his adult life in total defiance of Jesus’ Golden Rule and God’s Commandments not to lie or commit adultery
  • Bragged about sexually assaulting women and called them bimbos
  • Demeaned John McCain’s military service
  • Mocked a physically handicapped person
  • Incited his followers to violence.
  • Used ethnic and religious slurs
  • Praised neo-fascists marching in a Nazi-like torch light parade in Charlottesville shouting “Jews will not replace us”
  • Called a Miss Universe “Miss Piggy”
  • Approved Howard Stern’s calling Ivanka “a piece of a–“
  • Made misogynist remarks about women’s physical appearance
  • Belittled a Gold Star American mother
  • Praised the murderous thug Putin
  • Called foreign countries “s—holes”
  • Accused Obama of engaging in a criminal conspiracy to hide his real birthplace
  • Lied about undocumented immigrants being mostly rapists and criminals
  • Supported a child sex pervert and brazen defier of the rule of law for the U.S Senate
  • Pardoned Sheriff Arpaio, who defied court orders and whose treatment of prisoners resembled Nazi concentration camps
  • Bilked innocent people of their money in a scam involving a phony university
All the above–all of it–is what Mormons consider normal, as they cloak themselves in self-righteous hypocrisy for opposing the Scouts’ exercise of the Golden Rule.

Republicans’ Reaction to Comedian’s Words Highlights Their Hypocrisy

The annual White House correspondents’ dinner this year, on April 28, invited comedian Michelle Wolf to deliver the evening’s comedic address. Her admittedly acerbic and occasionally vulgar remarks, especially those about the Trump Administration and White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, elicited sharply different responses from some audiences. Here’s IndieDems view:

it’s a measure of the extent to which Trump and his Republicans have prostituted and vulgarized our politics that satirical remarks by a professional comedian about Sarah Sanders have ignited such a firestorm of self-righteous criticism by Trump and his Republican–the same people who had no problem when Trump:

  • Bragged about sexually assaulting women
  • Called a Miss Universe “Miss Piggy”
  • Approved Howard Stern’s calling Ivanka “a piece of ass”
  • Demeaned the military service of John McCain
  • Mocked a handicapped person
  • Called African countries and Haiti “shitholes”
  • Said good words about neo-fascists marching in a Nazi-like parade in Charlottesville
  • Made numerous disparaging remarks about Rosie O’Donnell’s physical appearance
  • Labeled Megan Kelly a bimbo after she called out Trump for his Rosie remarks
  • Accused Obama of engaging in a criminal conspiracy to hide his real birthplace
  • Lied about undocumented immigrants being mostly rapists and criminals

In fact, Trump and his Republicans have told so many lies, they have made lying a Republican/conservative way of life.

These people who have spent three years marching with their President as he has taken American culture day by day into the sewer of vulgarity, crudeness, and hate, now rise to denounce the professional comedian Michelle Wolf for doing what she is paid to do: deliver a handful of comparatively mild satirical remarks. This exercise in pure hypocrisy proves the Republicans do not get it and never will. They must be destroyed in order to save our Republic.


Columnist Jonathan Capehart sums it up: Shut up about Michelle Wolf if you’ve been silent on Trump’s offenses

“The criticism of Wolf by Republicans, the press and the public was inevitable. Comes with the job, and some of it I agree with. What makes it galling is that those screaming the loudest about Wolf are mute when it comes to Trump. The former is a comedian hired to tell jokes at a dinner where jokes are traditionally told. The latter is the president of the United States. His words, even the jokes, carry weight. They have real consequences and affect real lives. But we’ve become so used to the garbage that sloshes from his Twitter feed and his presidency that we have grown numb to how it sluices over our collective national psyche.”


Georgia Republicans Continue Assault on Decency

Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker today published a column Decent society is unraveling right in front of us.”  Her most immediate motivation came from the incident involving members of the Syracuse University chapter of the Theta Tau fraternity, who simulated a sexual assault on a disabled student during an initiation ceremony. But Ms. Parker views the “fraternity gone bad” as “a symptom of a larger cultural disruption”—the waning regard for simple decency in American life.  The incident, she says, should horrify anyone with an ounce of decency, “assuming people still recall what decency is.”

Ms. Parker does not mention the Republican Party or Donald Trump, but her words describing an absence of decency leap from the page as explicit descriptions of Trump and his Republican minions:

  • “appalling and disgusting on many intersecting grounds””
  • “these overcast days of indecency, cruelty and behavior bereft of empathy”
  • “a fresh episode in what should be understood as a gradual unraveling of decent society.”

Remember Trump’s mocking of a handicapped person in a campaign speech?

Ms. Parker most telling words are these: “Permissiveness in the guise of non-judgment has aided in the triumph of selfish expression predicted by cultural historian Christopher Lasch in his 1979 book, ‘The Culture of Narcissism.’ ”

“Somewhere in his imagination, he may have envisioned a future president who would act out his infantile impulses on the world stage when he wrote that ‘the logic of individualism’ would be carried to ‘the extreme of a war of all against all, the pursuit of happiness to the dead end of a narcissistic preoccupation with the self.’ ”

What better description of Donald Trump has ever been written? Two companion pieces in today’s Post elaborate on the theme:

Helaine Olen: The Ronny Jackson mess perfectly sums up the Trump presidency

Trump can blame Democrats all he likes, but his nominee problems start with him

Since the dawn of the age of Trump-as-president nearly three years ago, IndieDems has pointed out that he and his Republican followers are creating an America bereft of decency. Trump’s allies include most particularly Georgia’s own Johnny Isakson, David Perdue, Barry Loudermilk, and Karen Handel.

Read More:

Georgia Republicans Comfortable with Colleagues’ Racist Speak
Georgia Republicans Follow Trump into the Sewer
Georgia Republicans’ Separation from Basic American Values
Georgia Republicans Welcome Dr. Strangelove as National Security Chief
The Known Facts about the Crime and Malfeasance in Trumpgate
Republican Family Values in Full Flower
How Does David Perdue Betray America? Let Us Count the Ways…
     (You can substitute any Georgia Republican’s name for Perdue’s)