Because Eventually You Have to Get Off the Fence

The fence can be a valuable place for a spell.

Many times it’s helpful to sit between two extremes and to try and find the specific spot of balance that brings compromise. It can be the place where civility and dialogue are cultivated. The fence can allow you to hear differing sides and to broker understanding between them and to craft a way forward. 

But other times sitting on the fence will only get you splinters in your rear end and a nightmare all around you. These are such times.

Though I’d love to find a gentle, diplomatic way of saying them, there are things that need to be said right now without couching or softening: 

Donald Trump is not stable, rational, or normal by any measurement we use for adults.
It’s unacceptable that a President-Elect sides with a Russian ruler over a sitting US President.
Tossing out taunting social media exchanges toward China regarding nuclear weapons is fully reckless.

It’s not alright that the next ruler of the Free World spends more time trolling people on Twitter than taking security briefings.
It’s not acceptable to eliminate healthcare for tens of millions of people without an alternative.
It’s indecent to suggest any religious or ethnic group should be required to register with the Government.
It’s not okay to defund Planned Parenthood when millions of women depend on it

I say these things as a registered Independent and nondenominational Christian. This current crisis in our country is not about the Republican Party. This is about this President Elect and this specific group of Republican leaders, and about the danger they present to all of us. These are not political statements, they are affirmations of our shared humanity. They speak to the worth and safety of the diverse population of this country. They should be nonpartisan priorities. I like to think they are.

I hear the same comments every day by the fence-sitters:
“Both sides are the same.”
“Hillary is as dishonest as Trump.”
“They’re equally bad.”

That’s simply not true and it’s okay to say so. 

Yes, in a perfect world the fence would be a great spot.
Staying in the middle as a polite, objective observer would be wonderful.
But, this isn’t a perfect world.
Things are not always equal. 
The dangers are not always balanced.
Sometimes diplomacy is irresponsible and enabling.
Sometimes silence is participation.

Sometimes the fence is the seat of the coward.

Saying that “both sides are wrong” right now is a cop-out and shows you’re not paying attention or you’re blinded by obligation or affinity:

Both sides are not trying to take away people’s healthcare or right to marry, or their freedom of speech or religion, or of the Press.
Both sides are not filling their leadership with white supremacists and bigots and billionaires.
Both sides are not talking about building walls or registering Muslims or getting reparative therapy for gay people.
Both sides aren’t the source of the exponential rise in hate crimes against marginalized communities.
Both sides aren’t commandeering the Church as a weapon of bigotry and exclusion.

Avoiding these realities simply to maintain some party line is tantamount to treason.

I’m all for understanding people’s hearts and motives, and for finding common ground to build upon, but there comes a time when you need to call out vile stuff clearly and without needing to be balanced or nuanced or polite. 

Both Christians and Muslim families will suffer without access to healthcare.
Conservatives and Progressives will be in the same danger if an impulsive Tweet drags us into war.
The non-wealthy who voted Red and those who voted Blue will endure the same financial burdens if big business stewards our resources and determines our tax codes.

I am a pastor and a person fully committed to the bigger table, and that includes the most Conservative citizens of this country—but I also know that if people come to the table with chainsaws, you don’t let them destroy it. When the Germans were registering Jews, claiming that “Jews have their faults too” would have been a disastrous response and partnership in genocide. Sometimes you need to sacrifice decorum for decency. Sometimes you just need to say that something is horrible when it is.

Every fight for justice in History has been marked by naming evil as evil, regardless of the source. It’s been fought by people who stepped down from the fence and took sides, even if it meant standing in opposition to church or party or tribe.

If your loyalty to a faith tradition or political party or religious denomination supersedes your responsibility to the people you share this world with, if it prevents you from speaking clearly, if it allows you to permit the victimization of others—it’s time to discard it.

Sometimes you just need to get your rear end off the fence for the sake of humanity.

Good people of all political and religious affiliations—this is an invitation to take a side.




207 thoughts on “Because Eventually You Have to Get Off the Fence

  1. Amen, Jon. Thank you so much. I have a little plaque at home that says: “Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.”
    You speak the truth eloquently and I thank you for that.
    Things that matter are rarely easy. We need to fight back on all of this nonsense. This man(?) isn’t fit for the office of President of the United States. He is, I believe, mentally unstable. “Both sides” have their faults but one side is far more dangerous.
    I’m on one side: the side of humanity. Trump and his followers are clearly not.

      • Both of us see out of the eyes of our social location and experience – we can’t get around that. And because we come from entirely different experiences and social locations, we are having a hard time seeing each other clearly. And we see the current situation from those eyes.

        Let me tell you a little something about myself. I have a tattoo on my forearm of the Goddess Quan Yin. She’s the Goddess of compassion. I put that there to remind myself of what is the most important thing in my life: compassion. (And no, having a Goddess on my arm doesn’t conflict with my Christianity – to me, She is just one aspect of God. And please DO NOT include in your response something about abortion not being compassionate. We will simply never agree on that issue.)

        I was flipping the question back to you, not because I *really* ask it – I really don’t like to, but I *could* ask it. In reality, I try not to call anyone, or anything evil. From my perspective, every evil in the world comes from human suffering. We humans do horrible things because we are suffering, and want the suffering to end. We do horrible things because we’re afraid, and don’t like fear. We do horrible things because we imagine that the “other” (however we see the “other”) is dangerous or evil. My particular answer to theodicy is that either God is not omnipotent, or God is not loving, or God is spending all of God’s time in a ball in deep, deep grief. I’d prefer answer #1. Answer #2 makes no sense to me (just like a loving God who sends people to eternal torment for one lifetime of simply not believing makes no sense.) Answer #3 would just be heartbreaking.

        As we’ve argued about in the past – I actually don’t think either of us (or 95% of the people of the world who aren’t sociopaths) have bad intentions. We all actually want and need pretty much the same stuff- love and acceptance, safety and security, a roof over our heads, clean water to drink, food on the table, warm clothes to wear, good health care, and some fun in life. Some of us (like me, and I suspect you) also want a deep connection to God.

        The problem is, we can’t seem to agree on how to get there, or even what it means to be there, or who should get that stuff, and why. We have mutually exclusive ideas about certain specific issues, and I have absolutely no idea how to bridge that gap.

        Frankly, I don’t want to think that you are evil, or don’t know any better. I really don’t want to think that way. It would be great if you could get there. Maybe we’d have ground for conversation.

        • Michelle, I dig you. I also have spent time in Buddhism; I think it helps in trying to bridge the middle ground. Peace and love to you.

          • Thanks, Eric.

            Something I just came across today is a quote from Thomas Merton, who was a Cistercian monk. I really love his writing.

            “I cannot treat other men as men unless I have compassion for them. I must have at least enough compassion to realize that when they suffer they feel somewhat as I do when I suffer. And if for some reason I do not spontaneously feel this kind of sympathy for others, then it is God’s will that I do what I can to learn how. I must learn to share with others their joys, their sufferings, their ideas, their needs, and their desires. I must learn to do this not only in the cases of those who are of the same class, the same profession, the same race, the same nation as myself, but when men who suffer belong to other groups, even to groups that are regarded as hostile. If I do this, I obey God. If I refuse to do it, I disobey God.”

        • Of course having a tattoo of a goddess on your arm doesn’t conflict with your Christianity. Because your Christianity has nothing to do with the historical faith as taught from the Bible and tradition. A very revealing phrase that, “my Christianity”.

          • –in Buddhism, there are no gods. no goddesses. (they are appropriated from the Hindus, which Buddha tried to stamp out.)

            Buddha teaches that there is no deity. Nothing to pray to. Nothing to worship. Nothing to praise. Nothing to have a relationship with. No afterlife. No redemption. No forgiveness.

            [Buddhism ….where is your compassion?]

          • First off, one of the things I cherish about this country is freedom of religion. We all get to practice our faith traditions (or mix thereof) however we want to.

            And second, to suggest that there is one “right” Christianity is to completely ignore Christian history, as well as current reality. (I was trained in seminary, so I might have the advantage here.) The history of Christianity from the very beginning was an amazing and interesting struggle of different ideas of what it meant to follow Jesus. There isn’t one “historical” Christianity, there are many. Yes, a particular strain of trinitarian theology and christology managed to become dominant, but if you study Christian history, you’ll see that it was, in some places, a close thing. And plenty of differing theologies are still present in Christian denominations and sects all over the world.

            Last but not least, I completely respect however it is that you wish to follow Jesus, and I expect the same respect in return.

            • Michelle, can I just send you all kinds of love right now?! Your sweet spirit radiates right through the screen! Thank you for sharing!

              • No respect for you lady, move on to an isolated area to continue you’re Buddhist Self . No body to believe in, No afterlife, No nothing. .. Especially if you don’t care about our New US President. Bye bye

      • I don’t think it is about comparing goodness or intelligence in one another. Its more about how we each feel about and treat humanity. I wouldn’t vote for a candidate that vowed to hurt you. I sure wouldn’t flash support of a leader that was excited about hurting you. I find it odd that you support such a reckless person because you live in this country, too. He’s not traditional, fine. Some people don’t want to be civil or fair or polite, I don’t get it, but OK you win, be disruptive, corrupt and rude. Just realize though, if we get vaporized, so do you. Can you hate feeding the hungry, giving kids an equal and good education, healthcare that doesn’t exclude people that need it most, social security benefits that help the elderly and disabled get by, diplomacy, immigrants, people who have different faiths and liberals so much that you are willing to open your arms to Russia and ignore that the President-elect is practically begging Kim Jong-un to test his long range nuclear capabilities on your country? We might have different beliefs, but you believe you are superior to more than half of the country’s population, that is a disorder. If you believe Mr. Trump is the best choice for humanity then this is actually about your ability to weigh safety and peril for yourself and humanity.

        The vocal disdain from Conservatives to Liberals drowns out that we are more than our politics. I believe that birth control is OK, that doesn’t mean I am sexually promiscuous. I am pro-choice though I would not choose to have an abortion. I hope other people don’t have an abortion, but I have never been in some of the situations many women are faced with.

        I have family values, they are likely similar to yours. I feel an obligation to help those that need help. I don’t want to punish the many honest people who need help because of the few that cheat the system. A hungry child needs food even if his parents are cheats.

        I live in the country and own guns as a necessity. I was shot in the face by a responsible gun owner on accident at age 5, but don’t want to ban guns. Reasonable gun control measures are necessary. The 2nd Amendment is not in danger.
        I love the diverse group of friends I have. All colors, many faiths and fascinating cultural backgrounds, many from other countries.
        I think that religion in public schools is harmful to non-Christian children, and actually to Christian children as well. Faith goes with a person everywhere and is taught by family and the church. Praying silently is absolutely OK.
        I believe there are more good Muslim people than jihadists. Just like there are more good Christians then there are Fred Phelps-like Christians.
        I don’t dislike you because we differ politically. In fact, some of my best friends are devout Catholics and there are many things on which we disagree. I find their devotion admirable, and even more so because they do not condemn me for my beliefs.
        What a boring world this would be if we all spoke, thought and dreamed the same.
        If unchecked, these next two weeks will be the last we remember of a country that has been great for a long, long time. Why? Because the administration wants to take, dismantle and destroy rather than repair, build, share and help the people they serve.
        I hope the best for all of us, for each and every one of us.

        • Thank you Tara for your beautiful words. There are many wonderful people on this site that agree with you or at least respect your voice. I certainly admire your words as I do of so many on this site. Again, thank you.

    • Hi Joe. I hope you are doing well today. Here are my thoughts on the matter as something of a historian.

      I think many Americans are complacent after 241 years as a nation. Only three of our American wars were fought on American soil, and the last one was 152 years ago. We have never had a mentally and emotionally unhinged President—that we know about. We have been conditioned to think that such leaders gain and exercise power ONLY in other countries around the world—like banana republics, Middle Eastern countries, or African countries—like Uganda under Idi Amin Dada. We have been conditioned by our American enculturation process to believe that Washington, Jefferson, Adams, etc. created a nearly perfect government unlike any other on Earth where “nothing really major” can go wrong. We believe that all the really crazy and brutal things that happen in foreign governments CANNOT POSSIBLY HAPPEN HERE. As a people, we have become fat, dumb, satisfied, and complacent that IT CANNOT POSSIBLY HAPPEN HERE.

      Look. I do not hate Donald Trump. In fact, I like a lot of things about the guy. It does not bother me that he is a Republican. I am not a Democrat. I am an Independent voter. I was once a Democrat but wrote to them and ask them to remove my name from their membership rolls, which they did. On balance, I do not like the Republican platform though, and I especially do not like the so-called Religious Right.

      For many years, I admired Donald Trump. The only things I knew about him were that he was incredibly rich, he had built a big business, and talk show hosts like Larry King would ask him to come on their shows and answer questions about various issues. None of that raised any red flags with me. He did get in a verbal bout with Rosy O’Donnell—but really—who cares? Celebrities like Taylor Swift and Katy Perry do this frequently. I thought Trump was a flamboyant person—but also a good-hearted and emotionally stable person.

      I come from a large extended family with a long and well-documented genealogy going back to the early 1700s in colonial Virginia. Serious—and I mean really serious—mental health problems are everywhere in my family on both sides. Research suggests that our family mental health issues are gene-based rather than totally environment-based. I have paranoid schizophrenic cousins. I have relatives who have spent time and in some cases died in mental hospitals. Numerous past and present relatives of mine have committed suicide. Major clinical depression and problems with intense anxiety are everywhere in my family. Personally, I have major clinicaL depression and intense anxiety problems that started in my crib at the hand of my severely mentally ill mother who was mostly depressed but took occasional short walks into psychosis. I take anti-depressant medications, and I have had many years of psychotherapy withe the best clinical psychologist in my urban area—and have spent close to half a million dollars of my hard-earned money on therapy. You learn a lot more than the average person about mental illness and the nature of psychological problems after spending 64 years in a family like mine—and I learned an awful lot about clinical psychology from my therapists—particularly one who became a personal friend and intentionally taught me a lot of extra knowledge along the way. I feel that I know mental illness and personality disorders better than just about any ordinary person on the street. I can spot mental health problems in people only moments after meeting them—and they turn out to be true.

      All politics aside—I mean all of it aside—every bit. All that I know about mental health problems informs me that Donald Trump has serious and dangerous psychological problems that are treatable—but probably have gone unidentified (clinically) and untreated all of his life. I am not talking about schizophrenia and things like that. I am talking about one or more combined and severe personality disorders that exist in the compulsive narcissism range—and can be dangerous in the right set of pressure circumstances that push a person’s key emotional “buttons.” In my honest opinion, Americans just elected their first dangerously mentally ill President, and all of his strange behaviors and unusual ways of doing things speak to the mental health issues that roil around in his brain day and night. World history and governments are filled with people who were seriously mentally disturbed in one way or another, but they were still able to function at high levels to get certain things done—but those things that were done often turned out to be evil in the pages of history—and most historians agree that these people were both highly functional and highly evil—or just plain “crazy” in one way or another.

      So, just to quickly summarize and conclude my point Joe, every cell in my body, every internal alarm bell I have, all of my experience with mental health issues and unhinged people, and everything else I can bring to bear leads me to conclude that Americans have indeed elected the most mentally unhinged and dangerous person to ever occupy the Oval Office at The White House—and we are all going to watch that play out the American stage starting on January 20, 2017. I just hope that ourselves, wives, sons, and daughters survive it—and I am really concerned about the prospects for ending up in a World War III scenario where we exchanging nuclear weapons with some country like Russia or China because Mr. Trump’s mental problems pushed us there or because they prevented him from resolving a major crisis using a level-head and straight, prudent thinking.

      I agree. We needed someone like Mr. Trump to break out of the box, end the gridlock in Washington, D.C., and make our government functional again. The swamp does indeed need to be drained, although you and I might disagree about what specific things do and do not need to be drained. Donald Trump without the mental health issues would be okay with me—even his being a Republican.

      Bottom line. I think Donald Trump is somewhere on the “crazy” spectrum in his brain circuits—and we are all going to end up paying dearly for it. That is my honest, heartfelt opinion—and that comes from a person who liked the historical Donald Trump—before I really got to know him and observe him every day for more than a year during the Presidential campaign. Americans who have been conditioned to be complacent and think that the bad things that happen with other leaders and other governments around the world CANNOT POSSIBLY HAPPEN HERE are about to find out that it can HAPPEN HERE. It took 241 years for it to happen, but as the old saying goes: “There is a first time for everything.” Our first time starts on January 20. I truly, earnestly, and sincerely believe everything I have said here in this post.

      • I have said that to myself too—but—the problem with it is that sign that Harry Truman kept on his desk. It said “The buck stops here.” Ultimately, the President makes the decisions within his range of legitimate authority and is not obligated to implement or pull back on anything his advisors may advise. The buck really does stop here. The notion of checks and balances among the three segments of the federal government does not comfort me either. President Andrew Jackson willfully violated two U.S. Supreme Court rulings during his administration. In one of those, he famously said: “The U.S. Supreme Court has made its ruling—now let them enforce.” Jackson knew that the high court in his time could only issue rulings—but had no power, police, or army to enforce them—so Jackson just ignored them and did what he wanted to do instead.

        The Congress can remove him from office if he does something illegal, but the constitution does not make “mentally unhinged and dangerous” a criterion that can be used to remove a person from office. There is a law that says the Vice-President can take over if a President is killed or becomes incapacitated to the extent that he or she is no longer capable of discharging their official duties. But can you imagine the maelstrom that would ensue over whether the President really is incapacitated or not—and what that term specifically means and how it should be applied. Major sh*t storm!!!!

        Wat you said is a comforting thought—but I know the things that can easily unravel it.

        • re Trump. I notice some things about him too. When he speaks in public, his sentences are strangely broad, and not very descriptive for a man of his high intelligence & education. And he often pings everything back to some elemental/personal issue he has. I keep straining to find something more in what he says. Now, I’m kind of use to it. And figure that his communication style has served him well, who am I to question it?
          But it took some adjusting.

          With Obama, I would get frustrated because I felt he was shaping everything he said within an inch of his life. (Hillary too). Many times I heard Obama talk about stuff, and I thought ‘oh, it must be opposite day!” To me, he was like a triple secret-agent.

          I think Trump has some mental challenges, but I don’t see that there has been deep dysfunction in his personal life. People love him, and they like being around him. Apparently, people that know him say how different he is on a personal level. Super gracious, and polite. Also, I don’t see that he has caused anyone any serious mental, or physical harm , nor has he been arrested for any anti-social behavior. Of course I know, that his money could have shielded him from some consequences. But he’s not like Howard Hughes, or other eccentrics. Every personality has its quirks.

          • If so Leslie, I wash he could show me and all the rest of the American people that personal side at home that you talked about. It sure would calm a lot of nerves. we can hypothesize all we like, but the proof is in the pudding as the old cliche says. The pudding is served on January 20, so I guess we will ALL begin discovering the truth—one way or another—in 13 days. Have a good evening.

          • Leslie,

            You cannot say Trump has caused no personal harm when he has bankrupted small businesses by refusing to pay them, sexually assaulted multiple women, some of whom are suing him and has been involved in over 35, 000 thats 35 THOUSAND lawsuits! Clearly he has harmed a great many people already. No stable person is involved in 35,000 lawsuits! Thats 500 lawsuits for every year he’s been alive. 714 lawsuits for every year since he turned 21. Who lives like that? Someone who thrives on conflict – to an extreme degree. Is that who we want as the most powerful man in the free world? I could go on. I find Trump terrifying. I’m a retired prosecutor and I’ve dealt with a lot of people with varying degrees of mental health issues in my career and he scares the shit out of me!

      • You forgot the Aleutian Islands Campaign in WWII, 75 years ago. Didn’t really impact many people since Kiska and Attu are so remote, but is was US soil none the less. As were Guam and Wake Island. I believe a not insignificant event occurred in Hawaii during that war as well.

      • Dear Charles:

        As I see it …

        It is not Mr. Trump’s instability which drives us to WW III. In my unprofessional opinion, he is unstable and that raises the ‘danger’ level significantly.

        But that is not what DRIVES us to WW III.

        It is rather the necessity to gain access to Russian and Asian resources in order to forestall the inevitable collapse of global Capitalism.

    • Yup, ’cause openly plotting a war with a major nuclear power (like Hillary Clinton was doing) is the mark of a stable mind with humanity’s best interests at heart.

      • Dear Zaklog the Deplorable and Anonymous:

        You’re going to war whether you want it or not. Lacking the economic muscle to set international trade rules, a military build-up in Asia is underway.

        Although unmentioned in the Presidential campaigns, war was always a foregoing conclusion. The election was a referendum as to whether the US would provoke that war with Russia or China. They picked China.

  2. Only five comments on yesterday’s ideology-free post, so, like clockwork, back to the “Your side is vile and mine isn’t,” click generator. Divisiveness sells advertising.

  3. I would like to share this post, but wanted to confirm one of the sentences: “Both sides are commandeering the Church as a weapon of bigotry and exclusion.”
    This is included in the litany of “both sides are not”. Was this sentence intended to also have a “not”?

  4. I have friends who have shared your posts, and I have read them. I have never shared one until today. When I shared, I put on my post that I will not share any other posts for a week, but I will repost this message every day for a week—
    and every day ask people who have not read to please read. What you say is important. How you say it is inspired. Thank you.

  5. Hey John, since you’re so eager to address all the (imaginary) hatred among Trump supporters and his “white supremacists”, could you just briefly address this? It seems important.

    • So Dylan Roof is not considered representative of white conservatives, why are these horrible people representative of Black Lives Matter when there is no connection whatsoever to that activist movement?

      • Dylan Roof should be executed for the senseless murder of human beings. The four people in Chicago should be tried, convicted and sentenced per state and federal statutes.

        The point, as you prefer to ignore – is the duplicity and willful refrain of the commentator.
        The fact remains – the commentator seeks every opportunity to divide and stoke the flames of resentment – when of course, the circumstances fit his political world view.

        • The title of that video you posted is “BLM Kidnapping.” That is what I was referring to.

          Look, no single crime is necessarily representative of anything, even when the people who do it say it is. People do horrible things to each other for all sorts of reasons, and pointing that out doesn’t add to the conversation at all. Posting that video stokes the flames of resentment just as much as anything John might have said.

          • Yes, but you see, John is lying and supporting lies. Has he even once denounced the rash of “hate crime hoaxes” in the last two months intended solely to slander people he disagrees with politically? I point to real, vicious, hateful crimes & I am being divisive. He spreads complete falsehoods about his political enemies, and what is he doing?

          • Trump is responsible for all the fighting that has gone on after the election. He stirred up a lot of animosity and managed to embolden the people looking for a fight and who already were hostile.

        • That is simply NOT TRUE. The Black Lives Matter movement (no, I don’t speak for them) uses, and advocates for, completely non-violent means of protest, and has never, ever advocated violence. Just because some individuals who might *say* they are connected to BLM doesn’t mean they are. And just because there might be riots at a protest is about as significant as saying that a football team advocates violence because some people riot when they win.

          But of course, no matter what I say, you’re not likely to believe it, so I’m probably wasting my fingers typing this.

          • I suggest you cease your damned lies before I’m forced to humiliate you with all the clear evidence against your them.

            • Go for it! Find the real evidence from a reputable source. (Evidence that isn’t 2nd or 3rd hand crap from some right-wing website.)

              You won’t find it, because it’s simply not true, no matter how much you want to believe it.

              • Michelle – is it a mistake or an unwillingness to understand the duplicity in your position?

                You posit – murderer, Dylann Storm Roof speaks for ALL white people, but the newly arrested black perpetrators in Chicago, Jordan Hill, Tesfaye Cooper, Tanishia Covington, and Brittany Covington, are ALL rogue actors – unaffiliated with BLM, though their inhumane and criminal actions demonstrate clearly what many BLM supporters embrace… anti-white violence.

                Why does the BLM movement never hesitate to go support vicious thugs when they happen to be black?

                In fairness, I don’t think the Chicago thugs are BLM members directly but they have certainly and clearly demonstrated the antisocial behavior the BLM promotes.



                Or how about this one?


                Huh, this seems like a trend.

                Or how about Micah Johnson? Or what about Ismaaiyl Brinsley, you know the one who posted about his plans online along with #ShootThePolice and #RIPMikeBrown.

                But, of course, if I had no other reason to oppose them, I would oppose Black Lies Matter because their entire movement started with a lie. Michael Brown never said, “Hands up. Don’t shoot.” He was rightly shot while attempting to assault a police officer.

                Now, proceed with your childish disqualifications and No-True-Scottsman fallacies.

              • I posted two replies which are currently caught in moderation (presumably because of the links they contain). We’ll have to wait until John passes them through

                • So far the video you shared is about teenagers certainly not legitimate BLM representatives. It is horrendous and I hope those kids get some help

                  • Help? You hope those kids get some help? I hope they get prison the rest of their worthless lives. They are not only sufficiently depraved to have committed such an evil act; they are so far gone they thought they would be praised for publicly displaying it.

                    What is so wrong with you? Really? Are you that completely disconnected from the ideas of right and wrong, good and evil? These are not the acts of “troubled youths”. These acts are demonic.

                    • Zaklog,
                      our comment is judgmental, hateful and thoroughly unchristian. while I hate what was done,those individuals and made in the likeness of God and their lives are sacred. While they stand in opposition to what we want our society to be only love is powerful enough to heal them so that they turn away from violence and toward God.

                • John P. will not pass them through. WordPress has automatic moderation settings that do not require human eyes. All a blog owner has to do is choose his preferred settings and lock them in with mouse clicks. You can create a list of words you do not wish responders to use, and any response that contains one of those words will throw your post into automatic moderation mode. You can also specify a limit on the number of URLs in posts. If a person uses more than one URL link in a post, the computer automatically throws it into moderation. I have had numerous posts thrown into moderation. and John P. never—and I do repeat— never—comes to actually moderate and pass you through or not pass you through anymore. It is like having your response locked in a closet forever. I just thought you might like to know.

                • Where are the BLM representatives calling for any violence?

                  Sorry Zak this does not hold up your claims against Black Lives Matter.

                • You need to think critically and ask questions. As well a young black woman said in the video- burning things is not going to solve anything. But were we the BLM representatives saying burn things down? It’s what the reporters focus one and who they link the burning to and you made the leap to think think it was BLM motivating the violence when they did not do it. Making false connections does not support your false assumptions.

                  • Please cease your lies, Faith. The black woman in that video was not speaking out against burning houses and businesses down. She was saying don’t do it to us, go to the suburbs and do it there [to white people.]

                    Cease your lies.

                    • Zak , Faith is right,
                      I watched the whole video and there are several different people speaking in the news report and there is a black woman who said, “acting out ain’t gonna solve anything”

                      you have to watch the whole video to see the whole picture.

                    • Considering what’s happened to black people in the New World in the last 400 years, you need to drop to your knees right now and thank the Lord they haven’t done all grabbed AK-47s and M16s and killed us all.

                      Once again: Was the woman a representative of BLM??

                • Was it verified that BLM representatives approved of this or encouraged it? You have to establish that before you link the two together. Just because you see a group of people chanting dead cops does not mean it is BLM saying this.

              • Or how about this one?


                Huh, this seems like a trend.

                Or how about Micah Johnson? Or what about Ismaaiyl Brinsley, you know the one who posted about his plans online along with #ShootThePolice and #RIPMikeBrown.

                But, of course, if I had no other reason to oppose them, I would oppose Black Lies Matter because their entire movement started with a lie. Michael Brown never said, “Hands up. Don’t shoot.” He was rightly shot while attempting to assault a police officer. This is what all of the actual evidence demonstrates.

                Now, proceed with your childish disqualifications and No-True-Scottsman fallacies.

                • The reporters did not verify, if all these example are officially sponsored BLM protests. It is not verified that the chants used were approved by BLM or that the people chanting them were instructed by BLM or lead by their representatives.

                  Any movement can be co-opted by others and should not be confused with the real movements objectives. See the Black Lives Matters website and what they stand for:

                  In their statements they say: “We are committed to embodying and promoting justice, liberation and peace in our engagements with each others. ”

                  We should not slander organizations without proper research. You can contact BLM and ask them if they were responsible for this but that is what reporters should have done in the first place.

                • What Faith said, and I’ll repeat it. Just because a protester (or rioter, or relative of someone) says or advocates for a position, DOES NOT MAKE THEM REPRESENTATIVE OF A MOVEMENT. Do I have to repeat myself over and over again? If I said that Paul Hill or Scott Roeder (who murdered doctors who performed abortions) were representative of the pro-life movement, and that the pro-life movement advocated for the murder of abortion doctors, you’d be screaming at me. (I don’t say this, and I actually don’t believe it, either.)

                  People of all stripes say and do all sorts of horrible stuff, but that doesn’t mean they represent other organizations or people. Anonymous posited that somehow I thought Dylan Roof spoke for all white people. No, that’s not what I said, and not what I meant. I would call that projection. 🙂

                  Look, let’s be real here. When a white person says or does something horrific, no one says “those white people, they are so violent and horrific.” No one says that (and I don’t say it, or think it.) When a black person says or does something horrific, people often say “those black people, they are so violent.” Don’t you see this double standard?

                  People should be responsible for their own actions and speech, and held accountable for it. But to suggest that a few people’s actions speak for a larger movement or group of people is simply wrong. And if you call me a liar, it’s because it seems that the standard of rational conversation has sunk to a new low in this country, and I’m typing my fingers off probably in a completely vain attempt to inject some rationality.

              • Initially I wanted to remind you not to “feed the trolls” as we agreed to in the last post but your reply was so articulate and intelligent that I wanted to see you kick ass. And you did. Thank you for expressing what this site is all about. Too bad we have to deal with one man who has many different names spew his hatred and his religion all over us. Oh, well, we’re used to cleaning up after children. I’m never going to stop your voice. I love it!

                • Thanks, Ann.

                  I feel really conflicted about the thing about not feeding trolls. On one hand, I know that everyone who comments is a human being, worthy of love and compassion, and may potentially be open to listening to what other people have to say.

                  And I also know that there are people who post here just to get a rise out of saying things that they know will upset others.

                  But one of the things I think has been a problem is that we all live in our bubbles, our echo chambers, and that perhaps, there is something worthy in the effort to share perspectives.

                  The thing about trolls is that, basically, there isn’t much there there, except their own desire to cause a stir.

                  I know that I often fail, but my goal has always been to respond with respect and compassion, no matter what someone throws my way. Because, in the end, treating each other with respect and compassion, no matter what our differing points of view, is the only way forward – the alternative is chaos and a nightmare scenario.

                  • Me too, Michelle and Ann

                    I guess we need to respond to their claims with a well thought out response but not meet their insults with insults. That is hard for people to resist. But I will take time.

                    In addition, I think someone had to say something about Zak’s claims about the Black Lives Matters organization.

                    Thank you for having the courage to do that Michelle.
                    You gave me courage to speak up and say something.

                  • Michelle, I certainly agree with you. Especially when I have had a bad “Trump chaos overload” day it is comforting to what has become to me a safe place to speak out no matter the constant chatters of the naysayers. Thank you

          • You’re all the ones who are utterly silent when confronted with four black teens kidnapping and torturing a mentally handicapped white boy while screaming “F— Donald Trump!” and “F— white people!” and I’m the hateful one here?

            • Zak. This is “France.” If you are going to live in France, you have to know the hidden language and the subtle nuances of the culture. I am an anthropologist, and I know how this sort of dance works in France and how to interpret it. It goes like this:

              Example A

              “If four African-American people beat up a disabled white boy in a totally beastly manner, all they are doing is expressing the legitimate pent up rage induced by their privileged white oppressors. Sure, it is a beastly act, but it is also a protest against their oppressors for turning them into the vile beasts that they have become. In that regard, it is no different than the outraged people of Boston tarring and feathering English tax collectors. That being the case, privileged white people who are truly moral will recognize the situation for what it is and cut the four African-American brutals some significant slack to officially recognize their pain and all the evils white people have done to them and their people. The disabled white boy is just written off as unfortunate collateral damage because, even in a civil law suit filed on his behalf by his parents, no damage judgement will ensue because the four African-American assailants have no collectable assets. As the attorneys say, “You cannot collect blood from a turnip.”

              Example B

              Michael Brown stole three cheap cigars from the corner store. Sure Michael stole the cigars. No one disputes that. But you have to understand that it was not just a theft. It was also a protest against the hard life privileged white people have imposed on people like Michael. In his brain, Michael said, “I need a smoke but ain’t got no money. I ain’t got no money because of what white people did to my momma and me. So, I’m also taking these three cigars out of white America’s hide as a protest action.” The black people in the neighborhood remember the day Michael was born. They remember how hard his life was growing up and how he never had anything and never could get any kind of break in life no matter how hard he tried. The local African-American neighborhood says: “Give Michael some slack because of his hard life. Those cigars only cost 7 cents each. You gonna take an oppressed and abused boy’s life for just 21 cents? Cut the boy some slack. He deserve it because of all his pain. You privileged white people just don’t understand that do you? In your world, a theft is a theft and the person must pay for their crime. That sort of regularized thinking is just not how us oppressed people think and do things. You just do not understand black America ‘cayuse you all his away sipping your expensive champagne.”

      • Fine, as long as you pray that God might reveal to you if it is you who are wrong and siding with falsehoods and hatred. Are you willing to do so?

        • Yup, asking someone to admit the possibility that they might be in the wrong is clearly the sign of an ego out of control.

          • No but this is,

            You said:
            “I suggest you cease your damned lies before I’m forced to humiliate you with all the clear evidence against them.” – words and music by Zaklog the Great

            • She is lying. There is clear evidence against her claims. My ego is irrelevant once again. That post was not about me, but about the truth.

              • Zak

                In your statement you didn’t say you were interested in the truth. You said you wanted to humiliate her. That is ego out of control. It is the want of the self to be vindicated and to see your foe not only defeated but shamed that is the work of the ego. Unfortunately you are letting the worst part of yourself rule you thoughts, rather than the best.

                If you have something legitimate against BLM you don’t have to yell or embellish the points. It says in he Bible: “‘Do not hate a fellow Israelite in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in their guilt.” Those are wise words for everyone.

                Myself included.

                • n your statement you didn’t say you were interested in the truth. You said you wanted to humiliate her.

                  Not what I said. Perhaps you should take a look again. And putting words in your opponent’s mouth to make them appear the worse is not a kind thing to do.

                  • You said in an above comment in response to Michelle on January 6 at 4:33pm

                    “I suggest you cease your damned lies before I’m forced to humiliate you with all the clear evidence against them.”

                    this leads me to believe you are not aware of what you are saying to people in your comments. Are you okay ? Perhaps you should explain why you are denying what you said because it is there.

                    • Now, work with me here, Mouse. If someone says they are “forced” to do something, does that generally mean they like doing it? That they enjoy doing it? That they want to do it?Hmmm?

                      Stop your damned lies.

                    • Actually the technique you are using, i.e.: change the meaning of the word in order to create a lie to justify a lie, is well known among bullies and egomaniacs.

                    • Mouse, what word did I change the meaning of?

                      Also, Mouse, I asked you a direct question which you failed to answer. Why did you not answer my question?

              • Dear Zaklog the Deplorable:

                Somewhere on the internet, I found this text:

                ‘…taking their numbers into account, Muslims are over a hundred times as violent against other Americans as other Americans are against them …’

                Would you know anything about that, Zaklog the Deplorable?

                And do you agree?

                  • Their point is that you have ‘an avidity to punish”, in Thomas Paine’s words. You also are ready to believe the worst of people you don’t like just because it suits you and gives you an excuse to demand their punishment for the satisfaction of your ego.

                    • You also are ready to believe the worst of people you don’t like

                      A) That was based on statistical fact. I can demonstrate it again, if you would like.

                      B) Are you really this blind? You are describing, in this part at least, the viewpoint of Pavlovitz and all of his fans. For instance, I have not heard a one of you denounce the rash of faked “hate crimes” since Trump’s election whose primary purpose is to slander his political opponents.

                      C) Why do Jesus and the Bible talk about Hell and punishment? It’s in there quite a bit? Is it just to satisfy God’s ego?

                      Or is it possible that punishment for sin is a part of justice? And that justice is a good thing? (Yes, mercy is good too, but there is a time for each of them.)

                  • Dear Zaklog the Deplorable:

                    I know it was you.

                    I observe that you are very quick to question others’ integrity.

                    I don’t need to question yours. I merely let your words stand and speak for themselves.


                  • I totally get it and have read carefully your point. I guess they (the righteous ones) are trying to debate what “is” is. Clintons major defense in the Lewinsky case.

  6. I agree, John. People have to resist these extremists who will make our country less safe and accepting of others. This man (trump) has no idea what he’s doing. Just look at his cabinet choices and his tweets. Scary.

  7. Dear John Pavlovitz and Readers:

    A midpoint between two factions doesn’t necessarily constitute ‘holy ground.’ God’s kingdom may exist on another hill entirely.

    While the anti-China saber-rattling rhetoric of Emperor-elect Gaius Caligula is both outrageous and unacceptable, the same behavior would be exhibited toward Russia had Senator Clinton been elevated. We should acknowledge that.

    In the end of the day, the argued ‘better differences’ are limited to very narrowly defined identity issues, including one candidate’s disgusting remarks about women. But to imply that BEYOND those identity/personal issues exist true substantive policy differences simply doesn’t fly.

    Both factions are utterly determined to drag us into WW III as the sole means of forestalling the collapse of global Capitalism..

    God’s kingdom is the only politics allowed the Christian. It’s time to stop pimping out Jesus Christ and obliging him to whore for our preferred party.

  8. John P supporters:
    What will you do to protest against trump? You could join the Women’s March in Washington or you can find out if your city is one of 30 nationwide that is planning to organize a march. If not, why not get together to start a grass root movement to form a march in your community? March for women, the environment, health care, etc. Then write. Protests matter and your senator should hear from you. Donate to organizations that are on the side of women and the poor. Ask yourself, what will you do?

    • And don’t forget kidnapping and torturing a mentally-handicapped white boy. That’s a great way to protest Trump. Just don’t forget to livestream it on Facebook.

    • Thanks for the great ideas Ann, lovely !! And you will find people of all sorts of faith and diverse cultures there. It’s a beautiful thing.

    • Dear Ann:

      Protest is a political trap.

      You may desire that our course change, pray that our course change, weep for our course to change, preach for our course to change, and protest for our course to change. But so long as you are unwilling to break the bonds of nation even if the course DOESN’T change, it WON’T change. The state counts on this. THAT is why ‘protest’ is a failed strategy.

      Protest is a political trap. Protests are tolerated [barely] because they bleed off irritation, leaving the public more manageable. Expect local party bigwigs [and others in their general orbit] to be present and to channel activism into ‘acceptable’ partisan [Democratic] response. The Democratic Party is where reform movements go to die.

      But you are entirely correct that a principled response is necessary. BUT …

      Unless you are willing to PUNISH the state to the point that it must retaliate against its own people, you don’t even have its attention. Those unwilling to withstand repression are never free. Efficacious action means creating conditions that make the state effectively ungovernable. You don’t need to [and shouldn’t] raise a hand against the state. You CAN offer it ZERO support.

      My own campaign of many years It consists in saying NO to domestic policy, NO to elections, NO to jury ‘duty,’
      NO to judges, NO to judicial rulings, NO to police, NO to foreign policy, NO to sanctions, NO to trade agreements, NO to hostile diplomacy and [above all], NO to the narrative proffered to shape our existence to conform to the crime state.

      Not everyone can articulate or adopt as strident a position.

      You CAN adopt an ‘occupation perspective.’ That simple act frees us to ‘see’ the world very differently. When Hitler overran the Netherlands, the Dutch saw themselves and their roles very differently. With militarized police, ubiquitous surveillance and armies of government spies in countless organizations, that shouldn’t be so hard to imagine.

      The sense of seeing ourselves and the state differently – as a ‘thing apart’ – matters far more than ANY ‘protest’ strategy. Not everyone can take as strident a position as I have. But, you can [and must] take a position that ‘matters!’

      We can end discussion with the state [which has no intention of listening to us or to changing] and with those who articulate the national narrative. We can articulate a separate narrative based on a separate vision. THAT needs to be the core of our Christian existence.

      You don’t HAVE to ‘disprove’ or argue continually against official narrative. You can REJECT it and be done discussing it.

      THAT is why any state EVER sees FAITHFUL Christians with a jaundiced eye; at heart, they really are, revolutionaries. And theologically, there’s no escaping it. Revelation shapes fidelity to Christ and apostasy with the world in terms of gaining life eternal, or losing life here and now. Every Christian can contextualize her/himself and our society in the spiritual struggle found in the Revelation. THAT [not today’s news headlines/stories/press-releases/word-campaigns/political-attacks] must define who we are and what we’re about.

      • What form does this saying “no” take? The elections will just go on without us all saying “no” out here. In fact, I’ll bet that if no one had said “no” to the election this year, we might be inaugurating Hillary Clinton (or even Bernie Sanders) as our next President instead of Donald Trump. So much for saying “no” to elections. SOMEONE is getting elected, whether we say no or not.

        “No” to police and judges? “No” to trade agreements? What does that even mean?

        • Dear Jeff Blanks:

          SOMEONE is getting elected, whether we say no or not.

          I had to smile [warmly] at that! I’ve sometimes asked, ‘if we get the same grungy bunch of guys whether or not we vote, why do we vote.’

          Realize that SOME of what I write intends to shift people out of ‘standard narrative’ mode. But to answer your question…

          Judicial decisions and trade agreements all too often attack the working class. And wars always pit workers against each other. I call workers to unite and to defend their class interest. Clearly, I evaluate division NOT on a partisan [political] so much as social basis.

          On a more serious note, the fascistic right for all its mistakes [it makes plenty], it is VERY correct to say that we depend FAR too much on the state.

          Of course, the right would abhor any sizable minority claiming that much ‘independence’ from the state. My campaign of ‘NO’ is a reminder to the right that it also is far too compliant ever to be genuinely ‘free.’ So the right should take its own council.


  9. –although I wish PP would disappear altogether, they make a huge profit on their services, plus they have tons of donors. [ It’s shocking that pastor Pavlovitz loves planned parenthood so much.]

    Planned Parenthood does not need $500 million a year from tax payers. At the very least, they should pay us back from their profits. ($120 million a year surplus.)

    • The money that Planned Parenthood gets from the US Government is, wait for it… reimbursements for services rendered to participants in Medicare and Medicaid, just like every other health care provider.

      Planned Parenthood provided cervical cancer screenings, breast cancer screenings and other (non-abortion-related) essential women’s healthcare to millions of women who would be up sh*ts creek without a paddle without it.

      That’s why it’s so important. It actually literally saves women’s lives.

      • And not for nothing but people in the market for Health Care are choosing Planned Parenthood. This is the free market at work. The Government shouldn’t pick winners and losers among health care providers. That is what I would expect economic conservatives to say.

    • … :-). and Thomas Sowell has a really interesting take on why African-Americans switched from Republican to Democrat party, and why they should switch back.

  10. Can I just make a plea to everyone to please address your comments to a specific person? Sometimes in all the replies, someone will say “I agree” and I don’t know if they agree with John P. or the statement that preceded theirs or… whatever. It gets kinda jumbled when no one knows who you’re addressing. Thanks.

  11. I’m not sure if it will do any good to point out a few things, but I’ll give it a try…

    A huge assumption is being made here, namely that when someone says “both sides are wrong” they mean that both sides are wrong about the same things. By someone saying “both sides are wrong,” they could very well mean that they think both sides are getting things wrong, sometimes the same things and then sometimes different things. The logical flaw in the reasoning tends to invalidate much of what the rest of the piece tries to convey.

    The part about what both sides aren’t trying to do has great rhetorical flair, but unfortunately it is also logically and factually flawed and on occasion completely inaccurate:

    -No, neither side is trying to take away people’s healthcare. The Dems (without any input allowed by Republicans) created a system that was destined to die under its own weight. Nearly every serious, nonpartisan analysis predicted everything that has been happening and will continue to happen: insurance companies bowing out of the markets after the government subsidies ended, insurance companies needing massive rate increases to cover the costs of the required coverage, millions of people LOSING the types of coverage that President Obama promised them that they could keep, the failure of young people to enroll in the insurance programs (in spite of the government threats and fines), etc, etc, etc. ALL of these things and more were predicted, and all have come to pass. The Republicans want to create a better system that anticipates the flaws that the Democrats didn’t, and that allows for MORE freedom and flexibility, and that recognizes the power of market forces to drive down costs of both supplies and services, etc. And they want to do this and more while doing what the Dems DIDN’T do, namely get input from the opposition and include their ideas (like child coverage ’til 26, preexisting condition coverage, etc).

    -As much as I can’t stand Trump, he’s been in favor of the right to marry for LONGER than either Clinton or Obama. Say what you want about him, that fact is well documented.

    -The Democratic party has done MORE to try and limit freedom of speech, freedom of the press, etc than any Republican in recent memory. They did this by being the LEAST transparent presidency in modern times, fighting more FOIA requests and dragging their feet on compliance than any other presidency since FOIA became law. They did this by limiting press access to stories, and to information, and to sources, AND by actually taking legal action against various members of the press. This has been documented frequently by even the most liberal of news sources.

    -The “reparative therapy” line is stupid, as that applies to perhaps a few Republicans (AND a few Democrats if the truth be told). A few people out of hundreds does NOT make any sort of movement toward creating the next misguided Exodus International, let alone a government version of E.I.

    -There have been more documented fabrications/lies told by liberals claiming violence over the last 6 to 12 months (blamed on Trump and his supporters and/or conservatives), than there have been documented cases of actual violence perpetrated by idiots wearing Trump hats. And it has been documented several times over the last many months by actual news sources that there has been NO statistical increase in documented hate crimes nationally, and that most of the alleged documentation of the increase has been found in the exaggerated hyperbole of activists, not in actual proof/evidence/support.

    I guess my point is that emotions don’t replace facts, proof, evidence, statistics, etc. Passionate rhetoric doesn’t make what this piece says true or accurate. It just makes it full of rhetorical flare that might seem convincing until one thinks about it.

    • Passion and feelings connect with my heart much better than facts or figures. I know God is a feeling God. He is not a facts and figure God at all- he didn’t even create statistics. The best way to know someone loves you- is how they treat you. So, treat people with kindness and let them know you love them. That’s why people flocked to Jesus.

      • So, treat people with kindness and let them know you love them.

        Tell me, is it treating someone with kindness and letting them know you love them to make up a story in which people just like them commit horrible hateful crimes for the purpose of gaining political advantage?

          • I am referring to the numerous faked “hate crimes” that various Trump-haters have fabricated over the past two months to paint their political opponents as vicious maniacs. The ones that, Pavlovitz, for instance has never condemned.

      • Sunny, –while its true that Jesus attracts followers by his love & kindness, not that many are flocking to Jesus. Most run the other direction. I wonder why that is…?

  12. There are those commenters who are pro-trump mostly because they are anti-abortion, who are anti-planned parenthood despite the huge amount of medical care PP provides that is completely unrelated to abortion, and who ignore the health needs of all those women who receive PP general medical services. There are those who cannot think critically and fall for news headlines incorrectly assigning crimes to groups who did not commit them. And there are many who seem unable to recognize the larger context of an extremely unqualified and dangerously unstable person becoming Pres. Some focus so strongly on their passions that they bias their own understandings of reality and see division and guile where none had been. Some even believe that the hangers-on surrounding trump would be able to alter a narcissistic tirade and childish revenge, (which seems to me wholly unlikely given trumps pathology). Yet we are all brothers and neighbors and, while we are not called to agree with each other, we are called to love each other.
    And Lord, for that I will truly need divine help and inspiration. Amen.

    • and let’s not avoid the “fake” narrative Richards promotes wanting us to believe that her “medical centers” are used primarily for women’s health and reproductive care – when in fact, they perform 40% of America’s abortions, over 300,000 per year – yup, that makes them the nation’s premier abortion provider.
      and let’s not ignore the undercover videos from last year exposing PP selling aborted baby parts – yup, so much for PP’s true intent – follow the money – it’s not “women’s care.”

  13. Thank you for your words that echo so many of my thoughts. I never knew about Trump before the Presidential campaign. The wealthy lifestyle is so far removed from my life of work, raising our 4 boys, paying bills, keeping food on the table. I certainly never aspired to be wealthy, to have a big home, to have things. It’s a good thing because now that I am older it takes me a lot longer to keep my little house in order. The first time I saw Trump on TV he was mocking a disabled person in front of a audience. Another comment on this site said he mocks everyone he doesn’t like, he wasn’t mocking the disability. I disagree. I see an innate emptiness and cruelty in Trump. He goes for the jugular no matter how small the imagined slight is. He cannot help himself. During the last 7 days he has mocked, and called the the majority of Americans who did not vote for him his enemies and losers. He has sided with Putin, a dictator, criminal, and killer and Assange, another criminal over citizens of the United States, his countrymen, and mocked and disparaged the people who are entrusted to keep America safe. He started today with mocking Arnold for his role on the Apprentice. People say leave him alone, he is not even President yet. But he has consistently inserted himself in Presidential issues. He gleefully craps on every norm knowing he won’t get called on it just like any spoiled 9 year old who has never been told no. To me it is total chaos never knowing what ridiculous tweet he is going to post, what outrageous lie he will tell, never ever apologizing like any man with morals. That is what terrifies me. The morning after the election, I cried over an election for the first time in my life. The next day I signed up to donate monthly to Sandy Hook Promise, the LGBTQ center in our town, and to Planned Parenthood. Minuscule amounts, but what I could afford. We all know what the Republicans’ hit list is. Cutting off access to birth control and other women’s health issues makes no sense to me. I have always been pro-choice. I grew up before Roe v. Wade and so many good things have happened for women that is less about abortion and more about having a voice over your own body. Now Republicans want to take us back 50 years. There always has been and always will be abortion because there always has been desperate women in desperate situations. It is not small government when in reaches right inside a woman’s body and steals their voice. Rapists, abusers, molesters, and killers also steal a woman’s voice. But, no one is ever going to force a woman to have an abortion if she doesn’t want one. And ever since slavery was abolished no man has ever had the government steal his voice over his body.

    • I suspect he might have meant Jan 20th, and got election day and Inauguration Day jumbled in his head while typing. I could be totally off base, though.

      • your observation make more sense….funny how Joe Biden told the democrats to stop whining yesterday…”Trump is the next President”….so much for the “resistance”.

        • …actually, I was hoping you had something more extraordinary in mind… the Catholic Church will announce the existence of extraterrestrials…:)

  14. The middle ground is a side right in the middle between the extremes where we find diversity and different people working together who resist the extremes. So the sides are there but they are not equal sides.

    • You know what the fundies would say about the middle ground. Any person who claims to be a Christian and stands on “middle ground” has compromised on what God requires. Even the microscopic tiniest bit of compromise is a 100 percent sellout of God to Satan.

      I suspect this “all or nothing” thinking style of the fundies is related to the famous “One Drop Rule” of the American South, which is prominently represented as a symbol on KKK sheets. The “One Drop Rule” states that:

      “If by genetics, the blood flowing in your veins contains even the tiniest drop of negro blood, you as a person are 100 percent, totally, and completely a negro and you will be treated like one.”

      All or nothing thinking—a “classic” fundie way of thinking and way of perceiving the Earth and all that is in it.

  15. Oh Joe you have never for a minute been tempted to accept any other reasoning than your own. Your nose is going to grow. But, until the Republicans succeed in silencing every voice but their own I still get to use mine, at least here. But you just can’t stop rebutting and repeating. There are no arrows here just my views. And that was a good one about your suits shrinking. Do you have multiple personalities?

    Mae, thank you for your compliment!! I like you. Usually I just get Joe trying to rain on my parade.

    • I am here because the beating heart of my older sister, who had got stuck in my mother’s Fallopian tube, was intentionally stopped by a surgeon. Had he not done so, my mother’s beating heart would surely have stopped, and my sister’s with it. I have heard people say, “Oh, a burst tubal pregnancy is not an abortion.” But it is by your definition. Now, at least, if legislators kept to your definition, we would not have cases of women with dead babies in their wombs which cannot be removed because of the law. But they don’t, and we do.

      Have you read Exodus 21:22 specifically in The Douay-Rheims translation? It is certainly one of the reasons that abortion was not an issue for Catholics historically, but became one in the last hundred years or so for reasons not connected with religion.

      • It seems to me that you need to re-read the Sermon on the Mount and prayerfully meditate upon Matthew 25:40 “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” KJV Unless of course you are just here to stir up shit with a stick and actually have no faith in Jesus or His teachings. Your use of “SJW” says a lot, since it is the abbreviation of “Social Justice Warrior”, a label used derisively by the “alt-right”. The above Scriptures clearly show that Jesus of Nazareth was the original Social Justice Warrior. Though I disagree with Joe Catholic on abortion, at least he can frame his argument in a way that does not contradict Jesus’ clear stand for the poor and despised of His time. I do not think you can do the same.

        • Ami, That you for reminding us of that verse :

          “…whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

          God has empathy. He feels what we feel.

          • Yes, for instance, he felt what was done to the mentally handicapped boy who was taunted and tortured by four black teens who shouted “F— Donald Trump!” and “F— white people!” the whole time because of the hatred you and your companions have taught them. Good job.

            • Zak you seem a little too excited about this video. What does it really prove except that Trump stirred up a lot of division and hate from all sides, yours included.

          • The fundies are now trying to pervert this set of verse in the Bible and the way they have been traditionally understood. This is probably because they are used against the fundies so much and with such great success. Just a few weeks ago, I read an article written by a fundie pastor in Virginia where he tries to say that Jesus was not talking about “least of these” people in general when He discusses ‘the least of these.” The term “brothers and sisters of mine (brethren in the KJV) refers only to the 12 disciples of Jesus in the 1st century A.D.

            Net Result: Open season on the least of these, which fits right in with “Republican Values.” Not Jesus values mind you—but “Republican Values. How novel and utterly convenient!!!

            • yup….there’s a lot of displaced and depressed ex-pastors out there – who in their self appointed role of “I know the mind of God, spew their interpretations of the gospels….the Catholic Church did the same thing until the printing press came along….

          • “God has empathy. He feels what we feel”
            ….so you think God has human feelings….wow…let’s see if your theological acumen is up to par….prove it.

            • God has been portrayed many times in the Bible as experiencing human emotions. Whether it’s angry, or sad, or loving or faithful. I don’t know that there is a verse that is exactly about God being empathetic, but there are many, many, many, many, many verses (like pretty much the whole thing) about God commanding us to empathy – to treat others with kindness, compassion, and how we would want to be treated.

              Obviously, God isn’t human, and God doesn’t experience human emotions – it’s a handy metaphor for us beings who can’t really comprehend who/what God is, or what God experiences.

              • God experienced human emotions and desires through Jesus who was God incarnate and is now our intercessor.

                check out Hebrews 4:15.

                • Michelle & Kathy- excellent. This is main line Catholicism.

                  Of course, this opens the door to a very old debate – was Jesus Christ divine?
                  If you believe this as so, it follows – God experienced the human condition through the human being – Jesus Christ.

                  Yet, the problem of human “suffering” remains or why would a loving God allow suffering?
                  This of course is explained away theologically as sin and therefore the purpose for Christ death – salvation from sin.

                  From my theological perspective – attributing human traits and emotions to God IS the leading cause for division and violence and often an easy excuse for those unwilling to take responsibility for their decisions and actions.

                  We exist in a material and natural universe with laws of action and reaction – conversely, there are spiritual laws that exact action and reaction.

                  The metaphors you mention above, exist as instruction – they suggest there are spiritual consequences.

                  Last, if you subscribe to the incomprehensibility of God (of which I agree with you)
                  ….when you pray – how do you know you are not really just talking to yourself?

                  • Speaking for myself only, I’m a small “u” unitarian – that is, I don’t really believe in the divinity of Jesus, so for me, it actually doesn’t connect that God experienced human emotions via Jesus.

                    I’m a panentheist – it’s worth looking it up if you’re not familiar with it. It’s a very common belief among mystics. It is the the belief that God is immanent in every part of the universe and also is transcendant – God extends beyond time and space.

                    And so from my perspective, when we pray, even when we’re alone, God is there.

                    • Michelle – thank you for your clear reply.
                      Pantheism generates some problems for me logically and theologically.
                      Three quick points;
                      (1) it essentially diffuses the distinction between good and evil,
                      (2) it contradicts my understanding of biblical verses on the nature of God as a unique and separate identity, one separate from “his” creation, and
                      (3) it fails to satisfy arguments that are essentially ontological and cosmological in nature.

                      Regardless I respect your thoughts and position.

                      As a realist, existing in a physical and natural world, I allow for the possibility of the supernatural – yet, I have no evidence or experience to support this allowance.

                      So, I hope that in my private prayers – I am not simply talking to myself, that faith exists occupying a spiritual law, and God is not limited to a temporal world or my imagination.

                  • Anonymous I want to address one of the things you said:

                    “From my theological perspective – attributing human traits and emotions to God IS the leading cause for division and violence and often an easy excuse for those unwilling to take responsibility for their decisions and actions.”

                    Am I attributing human traits to God? Are emotions and traits the same thing? Or am I using the scripture to support how God can empathize with our humanity ? He can do this through and because, of the intercession of Jesus, who experienced life in the flesh. This allows grace to pour out from God upon the feeble nature of our mortal beings. It is sometimes expressed as his mercy and pity for us or God’s understanding of our suffering and finite state.

                    I believe in the divinity of Jesus as it is explained in scripture. God in the flesh. Jesus who hungered and thirsted after the Spirit while in human form showed us how to have a relationship with our Creator.

                    We have within us a hunger and a thirst for a relationship with God. However, as it is written in the book of James , “You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.”

                    When we are not seeking God we still have that hunger and thirst within us but we look to fulfill that emptiness in material pursuits and physical consumption or in some causes altruistic causes. We use rationalization to justify our gain at the expense of others or we use praise to lift us up when we accomplish great achievements. There is good in our nature but even that good falls short of the perfection of God.

                    And, yet God created us with emotions as responses to external pressures and stimuli. Those emotions are honest yet when magnified they can distort our perceptions. The best thing we can do with emotions is express them or talk about them before they lead us to sin or a repressed state. Therefore, much of the sin and conflict humans have is because of pent up emotions or repressed feelings which have not been reconciled. Look at Cain and Saul as examples from the Bible. But, there is also chemical imbalances in people which causes emotions to misfire as well. So we can be cognizant of those nuances. And I would imagine this is how God looks at our heart. Understanding our individual stories and experiences. It talks in the Bible about God grieving, God being angry, God being pleased. And God’s emotions being perfect would mean that he can be angry and not sin, joyful but not out of control. Joy is an emotion God experiences and it is a fruit of the Spirit.

                    I think there is more to think about on this. But I look forward to any further discussion people would like to have on this .

                    • Kathy – thank you for an excellent reply.
                      Perhaps, I was unclear. IMO, the road to hell has been paved by those who claim to know the mind of God.
                      Can you find it suspicious how human traits and emotions are so easily assigned to God when in reality it’s used to fit their own purpose and ends?

                      With respect to the divinity of Jesus Christ. I want to believe Jesus was divine but I have no evidence to support such a position.

                      History records, this was one of the most heated discussions during the Counsel of Nicea and has remained a unique and perhaps controversial Christian theological subject.

                      Regardless, for me to attribute human characteristics to God is essentially an attempt to make the unfathomable a manageable concept in a physical world.
                      Eventually, this results in human falsifications and limitations.

                      Last, your words reflect a positive and gentle spirit. This is a beautiful attribute and why I; a skeptic, wants to believe, God hears our prayers.

                    • Anonymous, I enjoyed your comment and I understand better your point. It’s difficult for someone like me to ever admit doubt in the divinity of Jesus. The longest sustained time I spent in a church was eight years of devotion to a fundamentalist church that read the Bible literally. So when you wrote in your comment, “History records, this was one of the most heated discussions during the Counsel of Nicea and has remained a unique and perhaps controversial Christian theological subject.” My mind retrieves a scripture verse 1Corinthian 12:3:

                      “Therefore I want you to know that …no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.”

                      I was indoctrinated and I cannot get away from the words in the Bible. Even after packing my Bibles away in a box for 19 years the words are still there. The reason I like this blog is because John Pavlovitz talks about doubt and brings up the fallacies of religion. It is a freeing experience to question religious doctrine and traditions which caused so much cognitive dissonance in my life.

                      You asked, “Can you find it suspicious how human traits and emotions are so easily assigned to God when in reality it’s used to fit their own purpose and ends?”

                      Yes I can. It is one of my pet peeves. I find it presumptuous that we would ever claim to know the mind of God . And another scripture verse comes to mind from Philippians, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” But, if you read the preceding verse it talks about humility and being humble of mind.

                      It says in the Bible that Jesus said, ” Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” We cannot know what God is thinking but we can know God’s attributes and nature. In addition, I don’t think you need evidence of Jesus’s divinty because in my opinion if you believe in good you already believe in Christ and that is a perfect starting point. (that might be controversial but I am going to say it anyway.)

                    • Kathy – I don’t find your your thoughts controversial.
                      Rather, they offer a repose – a brief moment to lay aside my skepticism.
                      Yet, and at risk of being controversial – I would caution you to always discern – and be alert for deception.

                      If memory serves – “blessed are those who believe and have not seen”. I accept knowing, I’m not one of those who believe, without seeing.
                      Perhaps he best I can do is protect and defend those who do.

                      With kindness, I encourage you to nourish your faith – it is and can be an inspiration to those who suffer openly or in silence and even to those of us who struggle in the desert – hoping to find the water of life.

                    • Anonymous, you said,

                      ” I’m not one of those who believe, without seeing.
                      Perhaps the best I can do is protect and defend those who do.”

                      And I would do the same for you and those who are from different faith backgrounds. We need to protect and defend each other. There is nothing more precious than the sanctity of our conscience and the way we perceive and think about things. The process we go through to know God or understand the questions of life is deeply personal, yet shared, because we live in this world together.

                      And I am tired of arguments and disputes.

                      It says in Proverbs 3:30, “Do not contend with a man for no reason, when he has done you no harm.” There is a segment of the Christian community that has been striving against those who would “do them no harm” and look where religious dogma/fanaticism got the world? Christians included.

                      I sometimes wonder how much of what I believe about Jesus is formed by tradition and images created by the imagination of other people. And how my imagination creates an image of God. I think about that often.

                      “The less I seek my source for some definitive
                      The closer I am to fine.” Indigo Girls 1989.

                      These are some scattered thoughts of mine. Thank you for your kind engagement here.

                    • Kathy – my reply is not, nor meant to be, the last word. Rather, to simply say – you must be a woman of strong character, depth and passion.
                      For what it’s worth – I won’t forget this conversation or your gentle spirit.

  16. Joe, I have told you many times I am not attacking you or anyone, well maybe Trump. I am not going to change your beliefs just like you are not going to change mine. We are who we are. I was complimenting you on your joke. I love humor. All my life I have tried to pick laughter over anger. I am a lover not a fighter. But I, like you, am passionate about my beliefs. I am so happy to have found this safe haven with John. I honestly don’t understand why anyone would spend their time on a site where other people’s views upset them so. I enjoy other people’s view except the name calling by a few becomes tedious and pointless. Back to your joke, it was funny and I enjoyed it especially because it was so surprising. The multiple personality question was me trying to be funny because it was so different from your usual comments. I am just a grey- haired old lady, wife of a wonderful husband, mother of 4 sons who are the air that I breathe, mother-in-law to 4 lucky women, and grandmother to 8 beautiful grandchildren (ages 2 – 19), born and raised in the Catholic Church but at the age of 35 left the church. No threat here. Just different views.

  17. So Zak. You got some issue with African-American people? It sure sounds like it to me. Let’s try you out on a few statements one often hears, and let us know how you react to it. You African-American folks can chime in here too:

    Typical White Privilege Statement No. 1

    Many different groups in world history have been enslaved or oppressed. Take the Jews as a recent example. They were nearly killed off in Europe just 70 years ago. Do they lay around on public assistance programs all the time? No. No way. Most of them own businesses—and far more than in other minority groups—Jews are medical doctors, lawyers, college professors, clinical psychologists, etc. It has been 152 years since the Civil War ended. I just don’t understand why black people cannot achieve the same successes as the Jews and other minority groups. I think they just lay around and don’t try.

    Typical White Privilege Statement No. 2

    Yes. I am a liberal Democrat, and I work in management at my company. Do I hire black people? Not if I can help it. Why you say? They’re lazy on the job. (I have actually heard this one from a white manager friend of mine.)

    Typical White Statement No. 3

    Yes, I know there are a lot of unemployed black men here in our small town. I see them gathered together by the road sides with their hot rod cars frequently–and always at times of the day when decent white men and women are at work. Have you seen those guys??? I sure have!!! Every damned one of them is way over 6 feet tall and built like an offensive lineman on a pro football team. There’s no way I would hire one of those guys to work for me. Every employee needs correction in the workplace from time to time. If I tried to correct one of those guys on the job, he would pick me up and snap me in half!!! There’s no way I am going to hire one of those black guys and run that kind of safety risk in my workplace.

    Typical White Privilege Statement No. 4

    I have concluded that American blacks are just impossible. Look. We started giving them their civil rights in the late 1940s. In Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, we built all sorts of government assistance programs to help them get on their feet and be decent, hardworking American citizens like us white people. We have spent trillions, and trillions, and trillions of dollars to help them—and they are no different now than they were 75 years ago. We might as well have flushed all that money down the toilet—and we are still flushing it down that toilet. I say we take all that money away from the blacks and use it on something worthwhile—something productive that will pay off in the end.

    Typical White Privilege Statement No. 5

    There is just something wrong with American blacks. There has to be, and I know what it might be. It is a well-known fact that American slaves came from West Africa. Arab traders rounded up black people to sell as slaves, and the black tribes of West Africa are known to have sold their own people into slavery. You know what I bet!!!??? No group of people is going to sell its smartest, best, and most capable people into slavery. I think they selected out their worst people and sold them into slavery to get rid of them. You know—the miscreants. They would have sold the people with really low IQs, people who had a gene-based tendency toward violence, theft, and other criminal activities. They would have sold the mentally ill thinking they were bewitched, and we know a lot of mental illness is genetic. Then they shipped all of those miscreant blacks over here in a “high concentration” to be sold as slaves in the American South. Then they started breeding with each other to make more salable slaves. Well, when you breed one miscreant with another miscreant, what do you get? That’s right—more miscreants!!! I think that explains why American black people are the way they are—and why they are never going to be any better here in America—no matter what we whites do to help them. They are simply incapable of getting on their feet because of their highly concentrated bad genes and miscreant ancestries.

    There you are Zak. Try those on for size. Hey, I grew up in the American South and have lived here all my life. I know white privilege inside out.

      • Yes, I do. I grew up in the “white trash” neighborhood of my hometown, and the only thing that separated it from one of the two “black trash” neighborhoods in my town was South Water Street. I grew up as “white trash.” This is why I love African-American people. We have both seen a lot of bullshit in our lives—and we know it when we see it.

        • Me too Charles. People called us white trash. The black neighbourhood was across the other side of the main street and I felt more at home there than I did in my own neighbourhood.

          • Hey Aleck. The upper middle class and upper class white kids in my schools (K-12) wanted nothing to do with the white trash kids. I know of only one of them who had a regular white trash boyfriend for a while. My friends were mostly the smart ordinary or less than ordinary kids in my own neighborhood or at school. I was also close friends with some of the black kids in high school. One particular friend was a black guy (probably gay?) who I visited once at his house in the Blythe Street neighborhood, which was “across the tracks” in my hometown. My mother begged me not to go because she was afraid the white people in town would “come after” our family because I was associating with ni**ers. I reassured her that such things would not happen—and they did not. The funny thing though is tat when I arrived at my black friends house, his drunk step dad stumbled into the living room and asked me a question:

            “Is my house clean enough for you white man?”

            I responded in the positive because—quite frankly—the house was neat and clean inside.

    • Oh—and his is another one I used to hear from my privileged white uncle all the time:

      Privileged White Statement No. 6

      Have you ever noticed local TV news. Whenever a crime is committed, WSM-TV shows film of the criminals being brought in by the police. It’s almost always black people. Black people do nothing but lie, cheat steal, and kill. Why do they do it? I believe they cannot help but do it. It’s like the propensity for doing crime is locked into their genes. I believe the black people as a whole is a “naturally an immoral race.”

    • Then there is this one from one of my other white fundie uncles who was a member of The Church of Christ. On the day he received his terminal cancer diagnosis, he stood in front of his wife (my dad’s sister)and stated “Well, I guess I’ll let you live.” He then took a hand gun out of his pocket and blew his brains out right in front of her. Here is his famous white privilege statement that I heard him say in the loving room of one of my other aunts:

      White Privilege Statement No. 7

      I know why you see black men and white women together today–and even married sometimes. Fu**king a pretty little white one is the highest aspiration of all black men (“black men” were not the words he used. I think you know the word he actually used).

      • Charles, you are an exceptional writer with stories that are chilling and sad. Consider writing a book about your life. Seriously, from what little you shared here I feel it would be a best seller. I’m sorry for all your heartache and grief. Think about it.

        • Why doesn’t Joe/Zak/benny, etc. ever rail about men who have vasectomies? Women can’t use birth control, must listen to him when they get pregnant. He’ll make the decision for them because they don’t have the brains to decide what’s best for them. Silly airheads. Just listen to this man and follow his advice and we’ll all get into heaven.

          You cannot reason with this man with his many names and I admire your thoughtful, respectful attempts to explain your position but it’s futile. He won’t even give much thought to the priest that raped little boys and girls and the institution that protected these monsters but women? Oh, yes, they must be stopped for not allowing men like him to make their decisions.

          I’m not wasting another minute on him. I have more important things to do to.

          Charles, really, spend your time writing your book. He’s not worth your time.
          Michelle: you go girl… you rock

  18. There are none so blind as those who will not see. You are ready to accept any and all evil if someone is ng to make abortion illegal. You have lost your sole!

  19. I would like to ask you to stop making the problem “stability.” I don’t know whether Mr. Trump is mentally ill, but I do know plenty of people with very significant mental illness who are good members of their communities, who don’t treat people in the ways Mr. Trump does. Mental illness doesn’t cause bigotry and entitlement, and Mr. Trump may know perfectly well what he’s doing and behave this way deliberately because it works. It won over enough of the electorate to win him the White House. Please don’t insult the extremely marginalized Americans living with mental health disabilities through this comparison. Many of these people will suffer terribly under the benefits cuts Mr. Trump will probably allow. In all other respects, I agree with you. Thank you for saying what needs to be said.

    • I was talking strictly about my own family and Mr. Trump. No one else was involved, and I made that obvious. What I wrote was not meant to reflect on anyone else.

    • P.S. Mr. Trump displays erratic behavior, a failure to face reality, and an I know everything attitude (itself a detachment from reality) when the evidence is clearly contrary to what he thinks he knows. That alone could get us all killed or cause us to do a Neville Chamberlain dance in the face of our enemies. Appeasement only makes the aggressor more aggressive.

  20. When you mentioned the word stability I think I realized what drags me down so often with Trump. Trump, to me, is chaos, intentional or not. Black is white, up is down, outrageous lies, twitter overload. This is a world I have never experienced before. I am just a boring old lady. I was always boring, a wallflower type looking for the good, the humor in things. An only child for 13 years, books were and are my friends, my escape. My 1500 square foot 50 year old track home is just this side of austere, partly by budget restraints but mostly by my desire to restrict chaos. A couple of times during my working career I was teased because my desk was so orderly because to some a messy desk means you are working harder. I was a bookkeeper, numbers that are either right or wrong. Then you research until they are right. The bad part of this is that I have trouble seeing gray. Is this the change that people voted for? I have lived through 3 recessions. Each one began with the “trickle down” theory. In my life it might have tricked but not only never trickled down, it brought us to our knees in a different way each time. Each time, to me, it made the rich richer and chipped away at the middle class getting closer to a country of the have and have nots. And here we go again. Only this time I won’t get my work hours cut back or will my husband lose his job because we are both retired, nor do we have 2 boys in college and 2 boys still at home. They are all adults now. So I wonder what will happen when I only expect more of what happened before. I wonder how I will handle this chaos with this new leader who calls people names, mocks and belittles everyone, and lies like a spoiled 9 year old who has never been told no – things I raised my children not to do. How will I stop being unsettled by voices who tell me constantly that what I am feeling and seeing is wrong.

    • It is not surprising that you see no gray area. In accounting the number is either right or wrong. There are no “bleen” numbers in a gray area. How are you going to get through this? Focus on reality and do not let any politician tell you what “reality” is. I would never let a politician or a fundie preacher (of all people) determine reality for me. Reality is what it is and you have to learn how to spot it yourself—apart from other people.

  21. This thread is about burned out. However, I would like to add one last thing. Donald Trump’s mental instability, which I posited and hypothesized in certain posts above, brings up another problem that exists in Congress, particularly among the Republicans.

    Michele Bachmann. Yes, she is gone from Congress now. She is a member of the Religious Right because of her beliefs and her past studies under Francis Schaeffer in Switzerland. However, she was not entirely unhinged and understood something important while she was in Congress. She had an assigned job—one specifically assigned by the Republican leadership in Congress. That role was to keep up with conspiracy theories and every other “nutjob” things, particularly “fundie religious nutjob things” and make regular, positive public statements and pronouncements about such things to keep the Republican constituency’s “nutjob corner of the room” engaged and on board with the Republican Party as a whole—so they would always be available to vote Republican. She did a very good and very public job with that assigned role.

    The problem ALL Americans have now is that the Republican majority in Congress contains numerous members who are “nutjobs” (and just not very bright to boot) who do not necessarily have the kind of specific, assigned role that Bachmann did. They are simply “there” as a result of past elections in Congressional districts. Three I can think of right off the top of my head are from the “T” states (Tennessee and Texas). Marsha Blackburn and Diane Black are U.S. House Representatives from Tennessee. The other is U.S. House Representative Louis Gohmert in Texas. I am sure there are others that I cannot identify at this time.

    A popular recent phrase in television entertainment is “orange is the new black” (or something like that). Well, with a mentally unstable (nutjob) like Mr. Trump in the White House, people like Blackburn, Black, and Gohmert are going to see their influence rising—you just wait and see—and i am really concerned that:

    “Nutjob is going to become the NEW NORMAL in Congress.”

    I have not done it myself, so I really do not know what will happen if you do. But I would like to ask you all to do a Google Search using these search term combinations:

    Diane Black + Nutjob

    Marsha Blackburn + Nutjob

    Louis Gohmert + Nutjob

    I will do it too and see what happens. Whatever we come up with in our search may be a reflection of future reality across the next four or eight years as even more NEW NORMAL candidates run for election and win.

    • Charles, you can add Pence to your “nutjob” list. If one goes back to the many videos of Michelle Bachmann’s speeches, Pence can often be seen standing behind her in support. Since Trump said that he planned on turning “foreign and domestic policy” over to his VP, it is a Pence agenda that we will face as a nation as much or more so than Trump’s. This agenda includes a perversion of the RFRA to legitimatize discrimination and one of the most restrictive abortion laws ever written, which included prohibiting abortion because of fetal abnormality and requiring either the cremation or burial of fetal remains, which puts a disproportionate hardship on low income women. In other words, we’re screwed.

    • Louie Gohmert is my rep. He is ridiculous and unyielding. The freedoms we have as Americans are secondary to him. I contact his office on a regular basis and he cares not. But he does email me his Bible study twice a month. Ted Cruz is also in the nut job category, with a dash of borderline criminality.

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