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Politics In Passing: Norman Geisler’s Flawed Attempt at Endorsing Trump

Oh no, politics.

In case you’re wondering, I’m not voting for Hillary or Trump….. onto the story.

I generally have a great deal of respect for Norman Geisler and his works over the years (at least up to “Answering Islam”).

I’m finding my same level of disappointment in his argumentation level as I did 16 years ago when I saw “Chosen But Free”.

His article endorsing Trump for President over on Christianity Today is written very short and straight to the point. Unfortunately, it also ignores a lot of what Trump has DONE and SAID in the past in order to railroad through the idea that Trump is the best candidate.  His points dealt with one by one:

Geisler begins with the ‘lesser of two evils’ fallacy. “Basically, there are only two realistic alternatives in the coming presidential election: stay on the same liberal path we have been on for years or try something new.

I wouldn’t consider Trump “something new”. Up until he became candidate for president, Trump’s views have consistently aligned with the democratic party. Even his kids forgot to switch their political affiliations for voting prior to the cut off date for changes.

Second, the “there are only two realistic options” assertion assumes that everyone or the majority of people will only vote for one of those two candidates…. because that’s what they are told they have to do. This is fallacious and erroneous reasoning. Even the once radical Bernie Sanders has sold his soul to support Hillary Clinton and drag his former supporters into her corner with the same line of argumentation.

Every election cycle, we are told the same thing: now is not the time for a protest vote, hold off, work with what we have and in a few years, we’ll work on getting better candidates.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

When will be the time ? I say the time is now. Vote your conscience, not what people tell you are your only “realistic” options.

Geisler tries to get in front of  the charge that “…..Trump is that he is a flawed candidate”, but simply repeats the two-party mantra again. Further, it’s more than just Trump being a ‘flawed candidate’….Trump is simply another garden-variety politician. He’s done the usual: lied about previous stances and views, pandered to one particular group of people , generally ignored the concerns of others and (worse), refused to deal with elements in his own support base that undermine the very values he supposedly holds to.

What people need to understand is that in order to disassemble the two party system, you have to actually elect people outside of it. It may start small. The Green Party, for example, currently has a little over 130+ folks elected locally in different areas of the country. Jill Stein’s received more press this year than in the past (she’s been her party’s nominee before that). Likewise, the Libertarian Party’s stats are slightly higher (145). Gary Johnson is currently polling around 8%.

Point is, we’re not bound to a two-party system. The two major parties have conspired together to make sure that power does not leech from the two of them to others. They put in place systems which, on an individual level, are difficult to break through. Collectively, however, it is a great possibility. The only thing that individuals need to get over is their “fear of the other guy winning”.

Geisler then makes this statement: “In politics, as in life, sometimes we must choose the so-called “lesser of two evils.” So when both presidential candidates have high negatives, we must choose the one with fewer. A friend once described his dilemma to me as a choice between “a known devil and a suspected witch.” If so, then we should choose the suspected witch!

The lesser of two evils….is still evil, Dr. Geisler. Trump isn’t a suspected witch; he has a known history with the known devil, Hillary Clinton. He has a known political viewpoint history via his own words in the past which are on YouTube and other media for anyone who takes the time to look them up.

The one point Geisler makes in his introduction that is solid and biblical is the one regarding staying home and not voting.

Onto his main points:

1. A Vote for the Right to Life (followed by a short statement on how Trump is supposedly pro-life)

How many times does Trump have to contradict himself before people like Geisler will stop believing whatever his campaign says ? Trump isn’t pro-life and never has been.  If your track record doesn’t show what you suddenly hold to as a position, my bet is that you’re lying and pandering to get what you want.

2. A Vote for National Security

Geisler states: This begins with Law and Order because there is no security in an anarchy. Donald Trump promises to be “the Law and Order” candidate who will help strengthen our society and provide freedom and justice for all.

Trump can’t (or won’t) even contain or address his own people attacking minorities who attend his rallies. That’s not fairness, security, freedom and justice for all or treating all life as if it matters.  Spare me.

3. A Vote for International Respect
Geisler states: “No man is an Island” applies to our nation as well as to individuals in it. In a shrinking world, isolationism is no longer a realistic option. America is no longer feared by its enemies or even respected by its friends, chief among whom in the Middle East is Israel. Long ago, God promised (Gen. 12:3) to bless those who bless Israel. But recently, we have given support to a nation (Iran) which is dedicated to Israel’s destruction. Trump has pledged to reverse this self-destructive path.

Actually, Trump has proved the opposite in the international community. Several foreign diplomats have expressed deep issues with what type of presidency they will see under Trump and what kind of relations that means with the rest of the world.  While the US’s standing in the world has been weakened gradually since the 90’s under EVERY president since Clinton (though Clinton was much more adept at international issues and diplomacy), the last twelve years have shoved us over the edge. The last eight alone, primarily because of our own infighting and inability to produce a united front on the world scene, and our own home-grown hypocrisy regarding human rights issues  (how can you care about human rights abroad, yet tolerate discrimination and the murder of the unborn at home ?) have made many of the so-called American values a joke to non-Americans.

Let’s be honest.

4. A Vote for the Supreme Court

Spare me the Supreme Court mantras.  Plenty of people nominated to the court as conservatives, switched to be liberals.  I place no faith and value in the supreme court of the United States to hold the country back from its’ current downgrade.  Trump is only on record for conservative judges to get elected.

Besides, National Review already dealt with the “Trump Card” of the Supreme Court issue.

5. A Vote for Religious Freedom

Geisler states: “Recent liberal policies have separated these two things and have transformed “freedom of religion” into “freedom from religion.” 

Christianity thrived under Roman occupation and persecution.  I’m not worried about which candidate will supposedly guarantee freedom of religion. I have a feeling that both will press for freedom from religion. People forget (very quickly, I might add) that much of the downgrade in terms of religious beliefs having a place in the public square came about under the Bush presidency.  Much of it fomented in the background during the early Bush years and became full-blown during the latter years. The DaVinci Code (2006), Religulous (2007) and Zeitgeist (10/1/2008) were released during this time period, as was Christopher Hitchens’ book God is not Great (2007).  These media phenomena (and others) have helped to shape public opinion. In many cases, they simply gave an excuse for others to all the more “hold down the truth through their unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18-23).  These have been problems in the culture all along. They simply began bubbling more to the surface in recent times.

A real concern is in the media and entertainment arena. Much public policy and public opinion are being swayed by these things more than by politics and politicians.

6. A Vote of National Prosperity

Geisler opines: It seems to me that Trump’s policies on taxation, regulations, balancing the budget, and immigration will promote national prosperity better than his competitors. He is a proven job-creator, and his competitor is not.

Trump is also a proven life-destroyer. Anyone paying attention will notice that Trump’s consistent pattern with his business investments is to ride them until they are no longer profitable, abandon them, file for bankruptcy, avoid taxes and move on to the next investment. I don’t think this is a healthy pattern of doing business as each of these businesses he has dissolved cost some people their entire livelihood.  I don’t think it will promote national prosperity.

And of course, Trump shirts and suits and made in China and Mexico. NAFTA is good when it works for you….bad when it contradicts the politics you’re promoting.

7. A Vote against National Corruptions.

This line of argumentation is kinda laughable. Trump is friends with the Clintons.  Not just associates. Friends.

Trump’s foundation is currently being investigated.

He’s just as crooked as Hillary is.

*sigh*.

Sadly, I’ve actually spent time arguing these same points against Hillary, which goes to show that both candidates really are the same and propped by both parties in order to preserve the two party system.

For an alternative and much more Biblically-centered viewpoint, I highly recommend Darrell Bock’s article on Christianity Today. Give it a read. I will not choose between the tornado or the category 5 hurricane. Both cause damage, destroy property and lives.

Still Around. A Few Quick Thoughts on the 2012 election….

Beginning of the school year….as usual.  A few quick thoughts:

1. As I trust God more, I worry less about the culture of the US going to hell in the next election. Paul wrote in pagan Rome, where young boys were expected to be molested, there were brothels on every corner, temple prostitution was the norm (prostitution as part of a religion) and the penalty for being a runaway slave was sure death.  BIBLICAL Christianity thrived under these conditions.

2. As I watch politics more and more, I realize that both sides are simply playing the pro-wrestling game. It’s all scripted and controlled by someone(s) over both parties who will still benefit no matter which candidate gets in office.

3. As I watch the intersection of politics and theology, I realize that even well-meaning believers can be suckered in by hucksters whose only concern is to rope them into voting for them with ‘God-talk’.

4. As I said 4 years ago…no matter who wins, it will be the person that God wants in office. The same God who gave Bush, Clinton and Regan 8 years has given Obama at least 4 (and probably another 4).  Let us be faithful to worry about changing hearts and minds with the gospel message first rather than with political power and legislation.  Pray for the peace of the city, vote your conscience, preach the gospel regardless.

Twenty Observations and a Few Additional Thoughts….

The Weekend to Remember Conference gave me some needed rest and mental refueling. Crawford Loritts is really a GREAT example of a pastor and leader. I tell you the truth – this man made me want to dress up in armor and fight the invading hordes of whateverstan with nothing but a spear, sword and shield.

I got a quick chance to talk with him (originally confusing him for his son, Bryan Loritts, who made the Elephant Room comments that I disagreed heavily with) about said comments in parenthesis.  Dr. Loritts was very gracious and mentioned that the point his son was trying to make was that sometimes, when ‘our people’ (African-Americans) get introduced to new theology, there is a tendency toward ‘hero worship’ and attempting to parrot just to fit in (my words, not his).  I can agree with that to a point.  I do think that Bryan could have phrased his statements better…. but I see where he gets his ‘strong stances’ from.

Anyway, Dr. Loritts really REALLY did a spectacular job speaking at the Weekend to Remember Conference. I just wanted to push that point home.  I wish WTR would record and make his sessions available online. A lot of people could benefit from them, especially in African-American communities where the fatherlessness rate is almost double the country’s national average.

That moves me on to my FB page….and it generated a bit o’ good conversation. Here’s twenty observations I posted:

TWENTY observations:

1. If you claim to be a Christian, but don’t you’re not a member of a church family under the authority of a pastor, you ARE in disobedience to scripture and to the Lord who gave scripture, no matter how ‘good’ you think God is with your idea.

2. The number one cause of divorce is not finances. It’s selfishness. Husbands being too selfish and self-centered to communicate and wives being too selfish and self-centered to forgive…or encourage.

3. Ephesians 5:22-33 is not rocket science. Stop trying to explain it away, stop being disobedient and do it.

4. Saw this today: a wife at the WTR conference publicly apologized to her husband. He’s 6’2″. She’s 5’0″. She realized that her words cut him down way too much and too often.

5. Point #4 will go ignored by several women (single and some married) because feminism has poisoned their brains (they will call it liberation) so that they are only capable of supporting their husbands if they ‘do right’.

6. Related to point #5, 50%-50% in a marriage sounds good, but it’s a fallacy. It’s based on performance….and no one ever lives up to their own standards for ‘meet me halfway’. The Biblical model is 100% on both sides of the table.

7. Most men would love to step up and lead, but are (literally) frightened away by loud and obnoxious women who want to be their equal.

8. Most men would love to lead, but they haven’t had strong male role models to draw from….and the culture isn’t exactly man-friendly these days.

9. Speaking of the culture, there is a direct war on men and masculinity – entertainment industry only promotes hyper-male immature young boys (see most of current hip hop as an example) as role models, television has almost NO decent husbands who love their wives and raise their kids right (i.e. another Bill Cosby) and 7 of 10 commercials that have a man and woman in a humorous situation usually have the men as the butt of the joke.

10. There’s a war on women too – being LED by women. It’s more of a war on any type of woman that isn’t a career-focused, overassertive, male-with-ovaries. Hilary Rosen’s comments are only the only ones that got major press coverage. It’s not a coincidence that most ‘feminists’ (self-identified ones) seem hostile to women who are pro-life. It’s also not a coincidence that most of unborn being aborted are women.

11. Fatherlessness is THE major cause of most of the social ills in our country – from entitlement to poverty to crime. Notice – I didn’t say simply producing a child or putting in a child support payment on time. I said FATHERlessness.

12. Most of the women I mentioned in point #10 will disagree with point #11 and claim that they are the father AND mother to their kids. Sorry – you can’t teach a boy to be a man. Boys are wired differently and have different needs just like women and girls have different needs.

13. Most of the women in point #10 who are contemplating a mental response to #12 will realize their own hypocrisy at this point because they will find themselves agreeing with the statement that women have different needs (or certain needs), yet want to say they can be a ‘father’ to their kids. At this point, they’ll call me names in their heads (or in the comments below) instead of dealing with themselves.

14. Proverbs 26:4-5 dictates that sometimes true wisdom is found in walking away. Ten foolish and ignorant people patting each other on the back about how smart they are….are still foolish and ignorant. Better to nail a message to a brick wall than argue with one.

15. The longer you sit in the bathroom, the less likely you are to smell your own crap. Humility goes a long way.

16. Some people are searching for truth. Others are searching for an excuse to disbelieve (or justify what they already believe). Wisdom, time and patience shows which is which.

17. We’re all sinners. We all need a Savior. There’s only one. Unless you think you’re perfect and you are ‘good enough’ to merit salvation on your own strength and prowess. When you’re done being arrogant, the gospel will still be here.

18. I don’t have to be a woman to have a strong opinion against abortion anymore than I need to be a child to disagree with child molestation or have a vagina to disagree with rape.

19. Some people can and will find ‘racism’ in a snowstorm…simply because all the flakes are white. These same people will be hypocritical and say they agree with Dr. King’s dream (King’s dream was not to run around yelling racism constantly – but to work toward a post-racial society where people are people, regardless of skin color).

20. Some people will ignore racism unintentionally because they are genuinely trying to look objectively at a situation. They may also refuse to recognize that racism exists because they are under the illusion that just because there are no ‘white only’ signs up anymore (except that one swimming pool in Ohio), everything else is entitlement and oversensitivity.

BONUS:

1. Classism is the new racism. It’s almost identical to the old racism. White flight and black flight have produced de facto segregation in many public schools.

2. Black folk cared more about our communities, education and our image when we were ‘colored’ (when we were segregated by law).

3. The people ruining public education: non-parenting parents (only really 30% of the population of school parents) who raise and shelter their kids so they never face consequences (nothing like a 504 plan or a ‘diagnosis’ to shield a kid from reality), drive-by education specialists with doctorate degrees who haven’t spent time in the school system beyond 2-5 years, school board officials who’ve never been in the classroom as teachers, but think they know our jobs better than we do and idiotic politicians who make legislation that makes our jobs harder than they need to be….then complains when the situation THEY helped to create can’t be cleaned up.

4. Most black folk only voted for Obama because he’s black. A lot of them have since awakened to see that Bush 3.0 is just another politician that gives good speeches. At least Tom Joyner is honest enough to say that ‘we’ should vote for Barack out of loyalty to black people.

5. You may or may not agree with me on every point. That’s cool. You have a right to disagree with me. I can appreciate people with whom I have an honest disagreement with. For example, Peter Singer is an evolutionist, bioethicist, philosopher and ethicist. He’s pro-choice, pro-euthanasia and extremely utilitarian. He tells the truth when it comes to the issue – he believes that biologically, human life begins at conception and that the unborn is a separate biological entity from its’ mother. But he also believes that human beings (because he’s an evolutionist) have the right to terminate their unborn out of convenience (survival of the fittest/natural selection). I can at least have an honest disagreement with him.

I can have an honest disagreement with John Norman. He’s a synergist, panentheist and is Eastern Orthodox. But he won’t pretend that he and I (I’m a monergist, reformed presbyterian) agree and our disagreements are just semantics. I respect that. We can have REAL conversations, even when we walk away not agreeing.

Truthfulness in conversation is a lost art in post-post-modern conversation.

 

Comment below as you desire.