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This Month's Scripture Verse:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
2 Timothy 3:1-5


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Are Both Kim Davis And Donald Trump Merely Meant To Serve As Distractions?

Well, we definitely know the names. Both Kim Davis and Donald Trump have been making the headlines for both similar and different reasons.

Davis has become the new hero of the Christian Right for her refusal to give out marriage licenses. Of course, the purpose of her refusal is to  obey God by not providing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. According to her, she is doing this with the blessing of God's authority. Perhaps this is inconsistent with her giving out of marriage licenses to couples where at least one partner whose remarriage would be condemned by the Scriptures. But such an issue is for another day. As it stands now, some Christian supporters are comparing her to Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks.

Then, on the other hand, there is Donald Trump. He is a man who has no close ties to any conservative Christian denomination and, in fact, who might deserve a reprimand from the Scriptures about the love of money--and we could also include power-- and yet he leads in the polls with significant support coming from evangelicals. He wants to make 'America great again.' But that greatness is achieved through reacquiring power and strength. And that means, at least by all I've heard from Trump, that America cannot burdened with those that would weigh it down. So immigrants beware! But we should the rest of us, like us retiring baby boomers, also worry? Such is a tricky question.

Trump has promised to both make America strong and preserve social safety nets like Social Security and Medicare. And in making America strong, Trump promises us both a first rate military defense and a 0% corporate tax. So not only will corporations be relieved of having to support those in need, they will receive a kind of free lunch in that they will not be paying for the resources of society which they consume. 

Now if we compare Trump's promised future with current reality, we would note that the percentage of tax revenue coming from corporations has been declining over the years while the military spending along with both our national deficit and debt have been growing. So we might want to ask how Trump plans to please everyone here. History tells us that as American military spending goes up, social safety nets and social programs suffer. And that was occurring even when corporations were bearing a greater tax burden than they are now.

But here is the most immediate problem, justice for either Davis or Trump does not depend on the rights of the individual. Rather, justice and the rights that come with it are determined by what serves the needs of the kind of society they have envisioned. For Davis, society should to some extent be serving the Word of God.  According to Davis' actions, what the Supreme Court has given us, God has taken away. So unlike those with whom she is compared such as King or Parks, Davis is working to suppress the rights of others--a point that is impossible to overemphasize. And those of my fellow religiously conservative Christians who support her are reinforcing with increased Christian liberty comes the denial of rights for others. In this case, the victim are those in the LGBT community.  Who knows what other group could be next?

For Trump, justice is served by those actions that make America strong. Immigrants draw the short straw here while Trump promises to protect retiring baby boomers. And Trump wants America to return to days of old it may have never left or perhaps even saw, while removing the remaining at least some of the major tax burden off the shoulders of Corporate America. We should note here that immigrants are not the only ones who could be walking the plank of Trump's America, other nations could be as well since he promises to return America to the days where its foreign policy means 'never having to say you're sorry.'

But before any of us who disagree with him blow a gasket,  what we have to ask ourselves is this: What is the significance of either Kim Davis or Donald Trump at this point in time? Yes, Kim Davis is trending on the blogs and Donald Trump leads in the polls.  But so what! Davis is simply a county clerk who has been jailed for contempt of court. As for Trump, it is months before any of the primaries take place in a nation that is politically fickle. And history can easily lecture us on how the popularity of any candidate can come and go so quickly. In addition, if elected, how different would he be from the other people we could have elected or Presidents we did elect? 

If elected, how much could Trump change the systems that support the status quo? We'll already have an economic system that is primarily based on maximizing one's own profits at the expense of others. And because of that, we continue to maintain a political system that lives to serve the economic system--thank you Ronald Reagan. Would Trump change either the economic or political systems or would he just step on the gas a little more. In addition, how different would Trump's upfront nonreflective use of the military be different from the current President's use of the military especially as seen in his use of drones?

We have 3 threats which we daily face daily and are systemic. These threats consist of an economic system that is built on a foundation of exploitation, a way of life that is destroying the environment, and an over reliance on militarism and war to maintain our nation's position in the world. Thus, we need to ask ourselves this question: How are these threats even partially mitigated by paying attention to a defiant county clerks or a Presidential candidate whose belligerence is too observable to make him electable?

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