According to polls, 70 to 80 percent of Americans think Donald Trump is a terrible president. The interesting thing about that to me is that he’s not doing a single thing he didn’t say he was going to do before he was elected and all of his character flaws were out there for all to see in no uncertain terms throughout his campaign. So the question is, why did we elect him anyway? Don’t give me that “he was better than Hillary” line. I don’t think anyone believed that for a second whether you were against Hillary or not. I think the real reason is that we’ve been conditioned by the people I’ve mentioned earlier (the power elite) to view the world through the singular lens of one or two issues. Of those 5 issues I outlined in Part 2 of this discussion (race, abortion, gay rights, gun control and border security), the one that is most responsible for Donald Trump being president is abortion. I’m not here to speak for or against abortion in the context of this discussion, but I do assert that injecting it into the political debate is tantamount to cardinal Constitutional sin of mixing church and state. That issue has become the acid test of weather or not you are a true believer as far as the so-called Christian Right is concerned. If evangelical Christians had stayed home or voted against him, Donald Trump would not be president today. I remember a Public Radio interview of a well respected Christian evangelical minister from somewhere in the Midwest (I can’t remember his name or the state he was from) a few days before the election. In the interview, he quoted some scripture that suggested that sometimes God uses evil men to carry out His will, as justification for his supporting Trump. I don’t say this to ridicule, but it seems that you can take bible scripture out of context to justify pretty much anything you say or do. Since Trump’s election and all that’s transpired since, I haven’t heard a word from evangelicals on the subject of morality, when prior to the election they were on seemingly every news channel preaching and judging (mostly against those they defined as liberal) all the time. They are currently in moral bankruptcy and can’t be taken serious on anything regarding ethics or morality. I think that’s bad for the Christian Church and the country. I think that as Americans, if we truly believe in democracy, we must take abortion out of the political arena and leave the debate to the theologians and medical ethicists where it belongs. We have to accept that true believers can never compromise on this issue. The idea that the government has no business writing laws governing what a human being does with his or her body will never be acceptable to them, given the truths they have established around this issue. To continue to allow it to dominate American politics will ultimately bring our democracy down.
When I was a teenager, if a young girl or a woman had a child out of wedlock, the community ostracized her. She and her illegitimate child were the subject public scorn and derision of the worst kind. The stigma followed them for life. Tradition and established norms and morays prevented wholesale adultery and sexual promiscuity, not the law. This was possible because the majority of the community believed things should be that way. In today’s world, no one cares who is having sex out of wedlock other than families of the people involved. That is simply the way society has moved. Many of us may not like it, but most people wouldn’t advocate addressing that issue by rule of law. The same is true for the issue of abortion.
Abortion is a matter of conscience, not a matter of government. Just as many Christians may not be capable of viewing that issue as anything other than the unborn being fully formed humans, created from God’s will and entitle to all the protection of law afforded any other human being, many other Christians and non-Christians see it as the fetus being an extension of the mother’s body and its fate, as the fate of any other component of the woman’s body, is determined by the woman herself. Those Christians who believe latter point of view also believe it is God’s will for the mother, not society or the government to decide the fate of the fetus. Neither side will ever be convinced to moderate their belief by the other side because the beliefs are founded in faith. To adapt one point of view over the other as a mater of law would be to tyrannize those who subscribe to the other point of view. A law compelling to have an abortion, all women who become pregnant out of wedlock or after already having had a certain number of children, is just as bad as a law forbidding those same women to have an abortion. Abortion is legal because the majority of Americans believe it should be legal. That doesn’t mean anti abortion groups shouldn’t do all they can to influence people to shift to their point of view, as long as the influence is projected honestly and not through deceit or intimidation – never through force of arms or law. As Americans we are free to practice our beliefs and religion anyway we choose. Groups like the Quakers and Amish have done so for hundreds of years without imposing their beliefs on anyone other than their own. They live as they do by choice and not through force of arms or law. They too don’t believe in abortions. As Americans, we must be willing to press our points in all matters of morality as much as possible through friendly persuasion and not through force of arms and law.
Consider the chaos and mayhem experienced by theocracies throughout the world. In the Middle East, all of the conflict is between Sunni Muslims, Shite Muslims and people of the Jewish faith. When you analyze the beliefs of these groups, they are almost identical except for what could be considered a few very superficial differences. In the past ten years, they have murdered and brutalized each other by 100s of thousands if not millions. And yet, no problems get solved. The reason is there can be no democracy in matters of faith, even though many of the participants consider themselves practicing democracies. Many leaders in our democracy seem to be advocating that America adapt a Christian theocracy in place of our current democracy, the first step being to render abortions illegal, and punished by imprisonment or death. Think how that would play out in the long run. Much of the political leadership in our country for the past ten years has been driven by a competition of one-up-man-ship in which each candidate is competing to demonstrate that he is more of what he thinks the electorate wants him to be than his opponent. Consequently, he doesn’t just want everyone to have access to firearms; he wants everyone to have access to military assault riffles. His opponent doesn’t just want the people in his state to have that right; he wants them to be able to enter into any other state and exercise that right. Imagine that kind of one-up-man-ship in a theocracy. The Bible doesn’t just say, “Thou shalt not kill”. It also says, “If thine eye offends thee, pluck it out”. Would there then be painful public blinding for anyone convicted of watching pornography? These are the kinds of laws people in Afghanistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia live with every day. As I said earlier, the founding fathers called for strict separation of church and state because they knew first hand how oppressive religion could be when given the power of law. Traditionally, our democracy has sought to limit itself to guaranteeing level playing field to seek happiness in anyway we see fit and let morality remain a matter of individual conscience. Christ Himself didn’t advocate converting the gentiles through force of arms and the law, but through friendly persuasion and tolerance and acceptance of them where they were at the time. He didn’t try to make them wrong, but convinced them to follow His teachings of their own free will.
The issue of what to do about homosexuality I think will ultimately take care of itself as more and more families are confronted with the reality of it in their own families. Public attitudes about it are already light years different from where most of us thought they would be by this time 20 years ago. The other two issues (gun control and border security) we can debate and resolve provided we can respect each other’s position on the issues and not see them through the lens of people who love America verses people who hate America. Certainly, we can gain enough perspective on them so we are not blinded to the need to tackle the real issues that government can have a positive impact on and that will have a much greater role in determining the quality of our lives, such as healthcare and environmental integrity. Finally, we must find ways of being more compassionate of one another. Those critical of the shortcomings of black Americans must temper their criticism with some understanding of what life must be like after generations of negative psychological programing combined with the oppressive laws and legacy of Jim Crow. Those of us critical of white people must temper their criticism with some understanding of what life must be like for people who were programed at birth to believe they are entitled to everything the world has to offer at the expense of everyone else, and by that logic, constantly manipulated in a way that causes every 3 or 4 generations of them to endure catastrophic losses defending the myth of white supremacy and racial superiority, disguised as personal freedom or the economy or tax relief or whatever the politically correct name or phase des jour for it happens to be at the time. Those of us critical of homosexuals and gender ambiguous people must temper our criticism with some understanding of what life must be like for people born with genders and identities completely out side of and sometimes in server conflict with how they are anatomically constructed. We must all recognize that the myth of the genetic inferiority of black and other people of color and the myth of genetic superiority of white people are toxic to both groups – different sides of the same self-destructive coin. If we are willing to do that, we may be able to have a more pragmatic government that can support us in making personnel sacrifices for the good of the country when we must and aid us in enjoying the prosperity we’ve created for ourselves when we do. Wouldn’t that be great!