Here’s Proof Republicans Are Done With Democracy

Show up for a protest, and end up losing your home, car, and retirement account?  How about losing everything over just being at a meeting or on a conference call?

Confessed wife-beater and Arizona State Senator Sonny Borrelli (R-AZ) has introduced an amazing bit of legislation into the Arizona senate, which has already passed—it’s in the House now. The bill would hyper-criminalize any sort of organized political dissent if any person involved with that dissent (including, presumably, agent provocateurs) were to engage in even minor “violence,” so long as that violence harms the “property,” regardless of value, of any person (including a corporation).

They’re doing this by expanding the Arizona RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) law to include conspiracy to “riot” among the offenses RICO can be used against. Not unlike parts of the Patriot Act being used against wannabe terrorists, the RICO laws are a powerful blunt instrument that have been used successfully to take down mobsters who have done a very good job of insulating themselves from their crimes.

Inspired in part by the takedown of Al Capone for tax fraud and mobster Rico “Little Caesar” Bandello, the 1970 federal law was one of the first to, in a really big way, make it possible for prosecutors to go after an entire “group” of people, rather than having to target criminals one at a time.  As such, it relies heavily on previous laws that had defined “conspiracy” to be a felony.

And much like Richard Nixon used the nation’s drug laws to break the backs of the anti-war and civil-rights movements, Senator Borrelli and his Republican friends apparently want to break the back of anti-GOP, anti-Trump protests with the same type of police-state overkill.

This is merely a new twist on an old Republican stragegy. In 1999, John Ehrlichman, Nixon’s former domestic policy chief,  told Dan Baum in an interview with Baum about Nixon’s war on drugs:

“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

The war on drugs was devastatingly successful, and continues to be: Nixon and his successors have locked up large parts of the African American community nationwide (leaving many unable to vote for the rest of their lives), and drug busts (often setups) were used with spectacular success at the local level against SDS and other anti-war activists in the 1960s and 1970s.

Now the power of another law (RICO) designed to deal with organized crime (and expanded in recent years to include “terrorism” and “animal activism”) is about to be mobilized in a similar fashion against anybody who supports any anti-Republican demonstrations (that cause any “property damage”) in Arizona.

As you can read in the proposed law, the realm of crimes into which RICO can now be applied has been expanded from “terrorism” (a recent addition) to “riot,” which, itself has been redefined to include: “A person commits riot if, with two or more other persons acting together, such person recklessly uses force or violence or threatens to use force or violence, if such threat is accompanied by immediate power of execution, which EITHER disturbs the public peace OR RESULTS IN DAMAGE TO THE PROPERTY OF ANOTHER PERSON.” (All-caps from the actual text of the proposed law.)

The new law also adds in the current Arizona “riot” law (13-2903) which essentially defines “riot” as the use of “force,” and redefines “force” as anything that “disturbs the public peace.”  Using a bullhorn? Chanting?  Singing? Or merely meeting and planning to do same (“threat” with the ability of “immediate power of execution” meaning you have the ability to stand outside and sing)? You’re disturbing the public peace.

AZ 13-2903 reads: “A person commits riot if, with two or more other persons acting together, such person recklessly uses force or violence or threatens to use force or violence, if such threat is accompanied by immediate power of execution, which disturbs the public peace.”

So, let’s say the local chapter of #Indivisible or #OurRevolution or #BlackLivesMatter is planning (“threatening” under this law) to bring a group of people to the offices of Senator Borrelli or any of his GOP colleagues, or just to march through downtown Phoenix to protest (“disturb the public peace”) Trump’s bigoted policies after a particularly outrageous Executive Order.

And let’s further imagine that somebody who wants to shut down that group has infiltrated it (be they from the police, the Klan, or the Black Block). The protest happens, and the infiltrator throws a stone and breaks a window. Or some people complain that their “peace” has been “disturbed,” even if no rocks were thrown.

And you donated $25 to the group that organized the protest (but had no idea a violent infiltrator was going to show up). Or you went to a meeting of the group. Or you were on a conference call for protest planning. Or you were in the crowd on the day the stone was thrown or the “peace” was “disturbed.”

Under the civil asset forfeiture laws, being used hand-in-glove with the new RICO law, everything you own can now be seized – instantly, and before you’re even convicted of anything.  And once you’ve admitted you were a “co-conspirator” – you donated, or showed up, or were on the call, or even a member of the chat-room – you’re now facing serious time in prison.

So, as is usually the case with RICO prosecutions, the prosecutors bring you in and offer you a deal: help us bust the leadership, and we’ll let you go.  So you end up being the stone-thrower at the next demonstration. Or you go to prison.

And, in the meantime, the local or state police department has already converted your home, car, and retirement accounts into cash and used them to buy a new tank for the police station.

And to the inevitable clueless-to-their-privilege white person who says, “Riot laws aren’t controversial and they’d never use laws like this so broadly; that would be wrong,” please talk with any person of color and ask how the “uncontroversial” drug, loitering, and, for G-d sake, even taillight laws have been enforced.

The families of Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Samuel DeBose, and Sandra Bland (among thousands of others), and increasingly in Trumpworld, anybody who looks Hispanic or Muslim, or even has a Muslim-sounding name like the son of Muhammad Ali, can tell you something about selective enforcement of the law in America.

This is not what democracy looks like.

—Thom Hartmann, ALTERNET

Five National Republicans Who Are Just As Much of A Disgrace As Schmuck a L’Orange


The way that the Orange ShitGibbon dominates the daily conversation and takes all the air out of the room with his jaw-dropping lying, bragging, and outright incompetence and corruption—it’s sometimes easy to forget that he has accomplices in this ghastly parade of Republican embarrassments. Allen Clifton reminds you of five more who are equally complicit and who are not to be forgotten as the rest of us fight to clean the muck off and help the country regain some semblance of dignity and respect in the world order. Check out the Fucked-Up Five right here:

The problem with the country: people believing that 2 + 2 = 5

No one is an island unto themselves. We all live our lives together within a society that’s held together by tenuous threads which interconnect us. One of the most cherished and claimed values of western societies is freedom of thought, and a belief the public is entitled to their own opinions and can believe whatever they want to believe. But it’s only true with regards to the personal. Once we start talking about policy, we all have to have a common framework on the extent of what’s inside the box called life. We first have to agree there is a box and it has six sides.

The only way the world can work is if people with differences can agree on certain fundamental truths. If we all look up at the sky, we at least have to agree the sky is blue. A belief the sky is red isn’t an “alternate fact” to tolerate and placate. It’s just fucking wrong. 

Because if we can’t agree on what the nature of reality is, then we can’t really have a conversation which goes anywhere. And the inability to have a reasonable discussion impacts important public policies, because one can’t debate issues if some people believe two and two equaling four is fake news. We might as well be debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin with fucking martians, since that might be more productive than trying to reason with someone who uses the words of Kellyanne Conway, Sean Spicer, Alex Jones or the dipshit-in-chief as indisputable truth. To paraphrase something Voltaire once wrote, those that can make people believe nonsense, can use people to facilitate atrocities.

In modern politics, the very nature of trying to debate objective reality has become a multiple-choice game between differing ideologies, wherein facts are suspect and the patently absurd is given equal-time. Rationalizing deceit has given way to prettier terms like “spin.” In the middle of it all is a news media too afraid to call a lie a lie, and puppets every word spoken without analysis or commentary in a bold headline.

If no one can accept reality, there can’t be any growth. People are supposed to learn from their mistakes. But in a world where existence is a multiple-choice option, there are no mistakes. There’s just a bunch of people screaming at one another about how the other side is wrong or fake.

—Doctor RJ, Daily Kos

Yes, I’ll “suck it up” and “let it go.” When hell freezes over. –Janis Ian

One positive and hopeful thing that has come out of this bizarre, Alice-In-Wonderland election and installation of the Orange Man-Baby is the explosion of great writing and commentary from unexpected sources, from people you might not expect to hear from. I like to re-post the best of these when I run across them, and this one just appeared in my feed this morning. Enjoy.

Janis Ian is songwriter, performer, and author with 9 Grammy Nominations. Her songs “At 17” and “Society’s Child” are in the Grammy Hall Of Fame.

In the past 48 hours I have been told to “get over it” and “suck it up” by more than 100 people on my own page.

Here is my response. I will continue to post as many political comments and memes as I like. I will also continue to post as many free downloads, funny photos, and interesting quotes as I like. Why? Because this is my page.

This is also my country. My grandparents did not watch their families slaughtered by Cossacks and gutted by so-called Russian “patriots”, then WALK across Russia and Ukraine, endure unimaginable hardships, and finally arrive at the Statue of Liberty – and then learn a new language, a new way of life, a new way of government – so I could give up the right to dissent. That is why my family came here. That is why my grandfather bagged groceries and my grandmother ran a boarding house and my other grandmother took in mending. That is why my father went into the service and then to college on the G.I. bill, why my mother took night courses, why everyone and everything in my family was geared toward thinking and questioning and moving forward. So that I, a second-generation American, could, through merit and hard work, become “the American dream”. So here is my answer to those of you who would normalize what is happening around us right now.

Dear James (and Elizabeth, and Harold, and all the rest) – Thank you for posting. I appreciate your suggesting that I now “let it go” and “suck it up” because “like it or not, he’s our president.” (Or in the case of all the Australians and New Zealanders chiming in for some reason, “he’s your president now.”)

All right! Which part would you like me to let go of? Shall I drop the “grab pussy” part? or maybe the “gay people need conversion therapy” part, since Pence said it, not Trump? How about the Muslim registry, so wonderfully reminiscent of that bright yellow star my forebears had to sew on their coats? Or maybe I should heed Trump’s statement “It’s cold in New York – we need global warming”.

Wait. I can suck it up and try to forget the part where he dodged the draft, then said of John McCain “I like people who weren’t captured” Wouldn’t that be patriotic? And as a Jersey girl, I could just “suck up” and “let go” of the part where he said “thousands and thousands of people” in Jersey City were cheering as the World Trade Center buildings fell.

Wait, I know! Let’s forget freedom of the press, his veiled threats to allow White House briefing access only to periodicals that agree with him. Suck on that, you liberal swine. Maybe I can also let go of the part where he threatens newspapers with changes in the libel laws, so he can sue them – and I can suck up to the National Enquirer, owned and run by Trump’s dear friends.

Wait! My grandparents were always terrified they’d have to prove they had a right to be in America, so even though it was always illegal to require it, they carried their “papers” with them everywhere. Yeah, if there’d been a Jew Registry, they could already have been counted. How about I about I let go of him saying “An ‘extremely credible source’ has called my office and told me that Barack Obama’s birth certificate is a fraud”? Or when he said Mexico would pay for “the wall”, except now we have to front the money? Or my personal favorite, the part where he promises and promises to release his tax returns if he’s elected….

C’mon, James. Which part should I let go of first?

No no no!!! I take it all back! I want to let go of this part, because somehow, I can’t un-hear it. I can’t un-see it. And I sure as hell can’t “suck up to it”: “I did try and fuck her. She was married. I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look. I’ve gotta use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her. You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything… Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” Donald J. Trump Nice. Go after married women. Cheat on your first two wives (at least). Kiss someone who doesn’t invite it and consider yourself a “magnet”. How presidential.

Yes, folks. I’ll “suck it up” and “let it go”. When hell freezes over.

You don’t like it? Get off my page.

Who The Hell Do You Think You Are?

Dear Mr. So-Called President:

So let me explain to you how this works.

You were elected as chief executive of the United States. I won’t belabor the fact that you won with a minority of the popular vote and a little help from your friends, FBI Director James Comey and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The bottom line is, you were elected.

And this does entitle you to certain things. You get your own airplane. You get free public housing. You get greeted with snappy salutes. And a band plays when you walk into the room.

But there is one thing to which your election does not entitle you. It does not entitle you to do whatever pops into your furry orange head without being called on it or, should it run afoul of the Constitution, without being blocked.

You and other members of the Fourth Reich seem to be having difficulty understanding this. Reports from Politico and elsewhere describe you as shocked that judges and lawmakers can delay or even stop you from doing things. Three weeks ago, your chief strategist, Steve Bannon, infamously declared that news media should “keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while.”

Just last Sunday, senior policy adviser Stephen Miller declared on CBS’ “Face The Nation” that “our opponents, the media and the whole world will soon see as we begin to take further actions, that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.”

What you do “will not be questioned?” Lord, have mercy. That’s the kind of statement that, in another time and place, would have been greeted with an out-thrust palm and a hearty “Sieg heil!” Here in this time and place, however, it demands a different response:

Just who the hell do you think you are?

Meaning you and all the other trolls you have brought clambering up from under their bridges. Maybe you didn’t notice, but this is the United States of America. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? Nation of laws, not of individuals? First Amendment? Freedom of the press? Any of that ringing a bell?

Let’s be brutally clear here. If you were a smart guy with unimpeachable integrity and a good heart who was enacting wise policies for the betterment of all humankind, you’d still be subject to sharp scrutiny from news media, oversight from Congress, restraint by the judiciary — and public opinion.

And you, of course, are none of those things. I know you fetishize strength. I know your pal Vladimir would never stand still for reporters and judges yapping at him.

I know, too, that you’re accustomed to being emperor of your own fiefdom. Must be nice. Your name on the wall, the paychecks, the side of the building. You tell people to make something happen, and it does. You yell at a problem, and it goes away. Nobody talks back. I can see how it would be hard to give that up.

But you did. You see, you’re no longer an emperor, Mr. So-Called President. You’re now what is called a “public servant” — in effect, an employee with 324 million bosses. And let me tell you something about those bosses. They’re unruly and loud, long accustomed to speaking their minds without fear or fetter. And they believe power must always answer to the people. That’s at the core of their identity.

Yet you and your coterie of cartoon autocrats think you’re going to cow them into silence and compliance by ordering them to shut up and obey? Well, as a freeborn American, I can answer that in two syllables flat.

Hell no.

— Leonard Pitts Jr., Pulitzer Prize Winner/Journalism

Nevertheless, She Persisted

The Founding Fathers excluded her. “We the people” was a club for men. They said all men were created equal, but they clearly believed she was not.

For more than a century, she wasn’t even allowed to vote.

She was denied an equal education and economic opportunity.

If privileged, she was yet held in servitude.

If enslaved, she was doubly horrifically abused.

In all walks of life, she was raped and beaten, and usually had no means of escape.

She was denied even the most personal choices.

Her work wasn’t even called work.

Every structural and institutional barrier was aligned against her, was constructed to stifle her, to deny her, to suppress her—and if necessary, to crush her.

She could have given up.

She could have succumbed.

She could have accepted that this was how the world worked, that this was how it always had worked.

Nevertheless, she persisted.

She pursued every possible means of emancipation and empowerment.

She risked her life for others, and she risked it for her very existence.

She was raped.

She was beaten.

She was murdered.

She was told that she hadn’t been raped.

She was told to be silent or she would be beaten.

She was told to take it, all of it, or she would be murdered.

Nevertheless, she persisted.

Even when she finally began to crack open doors, she risked being raped, beaten, or murdered.

At school.

At work.

At leisure.

At home.

In spaces public and private.

By strangers, acquaintances, friends, family, and husbands.

She had to fight structural and institutional barriers, and she had to face the risks of rape, beating, and murder, and that was just to get to and stay on a field of competition where she had not been welcomed, and which was deliberately tilted against her.

Nevertheless, she persisted.

Her strength threatened the weak.

Her inspiration was derided or ignored.

Her artistry was trivialized.

Her genius was belittled.

Her achievements were credited to others.

She was treated as a child.

She was told she was wasting her time.

She was told she was wasting the time of others.

She was told that she didn’t belong.

Nevertheless, she persisted.

She worked twice as hard to make half as much.

She was passed over for promotions that went to people half as qualified.

She was patronized and told what she had earned had been but given to her.

She was told her place was in the kitchen and bedroom.

She was demonized for having ambition.

She was scorned for daring to be smart and tenacious.

She was criticized for having compassion.

Nevertheless, she persisted.

She was told to be sexy, then was called a slut.

She was told to be strong, then was called a bitch.

She was told to be independent, then was told she wasn’t a team player.

She was made to bear the burden not only of her own personal choices, but of men’s, also.

She was told even her own body wasn’t her own.

Her agency, her individualism, her very being made men bristle in anger and tremble in fear.

Nevertheless, she persisted.

She rescued explorers whose names became household words.

She was born enslaved, and helped the enslaved find freedom.

She crawled through the carnage of war, to comfort and heal men suffering from their own monstrosities.

She was kicked to the ground for demanding to be heard.

She was jailed for sitting down.

She led historic movements that made others legends.

She was shot in the head and survived to lead the fight to prevent others from being shot.

She did every little thing, every single day, without thought of recognition or appreciation, because it needed to be done.

She stood up for strangers even when they didn’t stand up for her.

Nevertheless, she persisted.

She gave birth to every one of us.

She was told she was incomplete if she never gave birth.

She was defined by her anatomy.

She was condescended to and derided and insulted and invalidated in so many ways, so many times, that she could have taken it for granted.

She learned to see it in how she was seen.

She learned to see it in how she wasn’t seen.

The history she made was omitted from the history books.

Nevertheless, she persisted.

She never gave up.

She never stopped caring.

She never stopped thinking.

She never stopped learning.

She never stopped loving.

She never stopped demanding what was right, for others and for herself.

In the face of historic disaster, in the face of crushing despair, she rose up and led millions to rise beside her.

She gave people hope.

She never stopped striving to make this a better world for everyone.

And it will be, because of her.

She was warned.

She was given an explanation.

Nevertheless, she persisted.



People ask me “How can you think Donald Trump is racist?” Well, there are the obvious and well-known facts, that the first time he was mentioned in the New York Times was when he was sued by the Justice Department for denying housing to blacks and Hispanics; that he took out a full page ad in the NYT demanding the death penalty for five black teenagers who were later exonerated; that he spent years insisting that Obama wasn’t born in this country; that he kept calling Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas” because she’s part Native American; that he wants a Muslim ban; that it took him days to disavow the Ku Klux Klan after they endorsed him; that he took a jab at Jeb Bush over his Mexican-born wife; he condoned the beating of a Black Lives Matters protester; he said a Latino judge couldn’t preside over his fraud trial because of his ethnicity—so there’s evidence that he’s said and done racist things. But most people have never heard the OTHER lesser-known facts that prove that


– You can’t play UNO with him because he won’t give out any green cards.

– He called for the execution not only of the Central Park Five, but also the Jackson Five.

– When he heard there was going to be a black James Bond he demanded to see his long-form license to kill.

– He not only objects to a black James Bond, he objects to a black James Brown.

– His crosses burn themselves.

– When he types “how to be” into his browser it autocompletes “more racist.”

– He writes Birth of A Nation fan fiction.

– He uses the Dred Scott decision as foreplay.

– He won’t even leave the house on Black Friday.

– He likes to read Mein Kampf while making love, even though Ivanka isn’t into it.

– He wants fabric stores to have a muslin ban.

– He’s building a wall around Taco Bell and getting Chipotle to pay for it.

– He hates Hitler for working with the Japanese.

– He put a travel ban on Dora the Explorer.

– He wants an embargo on Mark Cuban.

– His favorite song is “I’m Dreaming of A White Kwanzaa.”

– He thinks Arab Spring is a Saudi deodorant and Rwanda was JJ’s sister on Good Times.

– He only dyed his hair that color for General Custer cosplay.

– He voted for Donald Trump.

————————-[Thanks to John Fuglesang and Frank Conniff for the above]

The Value of Ignorance

I was a teacher for seventeen years. Public schools. The appointment of this supremely unqualified woman to lead the country’s Department of Education is a criminal act committed by a conscienceless Republican majority. The New York Times says it well.

Donald Trump Is Not A Christian: A Pastor’s Message

Enough is enough.

Even in the early days of the Presidential campaign it was a ludicrous idea: that Donald Trump was now a Christian; that he’d miraculously “found Jesus” right at the time he needed to pull in millions of Evangelical voters. Never mind that his life showed an open contempt for most of the things the Jesus of the Gospels lived and preached: humility, generosity, respect, empathy, kindness, peace.

The high profile-evangelists in his corner assured their rightly alarmed flocks, that behind the scenes Donnie was a changed man, a “baby Christian” who’d now seen the light and was making his way down the narrow road of faith to lead us all to the Promised Land (where curiously America was first and everyone was white.)

Sure, he was on his third marriage and was heard on video boasting of his infidelity to his current wife. Yes, he said he could grab a woman by the genitalia. Yes, he advocated that protesters at his rallies be “roughed up.” Sure, he made fun of a disabled man. Certainly, he talked about walling off Mexicans and banning Muslims and taking away healthcare—but Donnie loved Jesus now, so all should be well with our souls.

The opportunistic religious leaders began publicly framing the vile, profane, relentlessly offensive Trump as a flawed, imperfect tool of God‚ and American church folk raised on a faith of fear and conditioned to believe they are perpetually in danger—began buying it. Little by little, it became okay, even sensible to call Donald Trump a Christian. (Talk about a miracle.)

And for someone who has served as a pastor for twenty years, the transformation was astounding and disheartening to witness. Millions of fundamentalists who’d previously spent their days parsing out Bible verses to condemn the LGBTQ community, Muslims, entertainers, Atheists, Democrats, suddenly became a people of Grace. They got really liberal with the Scriptures. They lectured those of us who questioned it all “not to judge lest we be judged”, and heaped shame upon us for bringing up example after example of the man’s hypocrisy, because “God looks at the heart” and how dare we assess another’s professed faith. (Somehow these things were never in play over the eight years they spent daily crucifying Barack Obama, but perhaps the issue there was one not of religion, but of pigmentation.)

But a few weeks into Donald Trump’s tenure, Christians need to speak the truth that sets them free: Donald Trump is not a Christian.

Yes, he may have shown up in a church during the campaign (looking as comfortable as a cow in a slaughterhouse), and he may have given some lip service prayer to one of his preacher pals while golfing, and he may have bamboozled scores of Christians already dying to believe it so they could make peace with their vote—but he is not a man following Jesus.

In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus speaks these words:

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”  Mt 5:15-20

Jesus says that we can judge people. We should evaluate the things we can see. We can measure devotion to God by what is manifested outwardly. We look at the “fruit”.

What is the fruit of Donald Trump’s life, of his marriages, his business dealings, his campaign, of his young Presidency? 

What is the fruit of eliminating healthcare for tens of millions of poor people?
What is the fruit of banning refugees and leaving them stranded at airports?
What is the fruit of walling of Mexico and demanding they pay for the gesture?
What is the fruit of driving an oil pipeline through sacred Native American land?
What is the fruit of filling your Cabinet with billionaires?

What is the fruit of demonizing and banning Muslims?
What is the fruit of appointing a white supremacist to the highest level of government?

It’s rotten fruit, that’s what it is.

It’s exactly the kind of greedy, bloated, bitter, violent, self-centered, myopic existence that Jesus spent his life calling us to reject. So no, I don’t know the President’s heart or his inner confession of faith, but I have eyes and they see no love or benevolence or compassion—and that does matter to Jesus.

Christians need to stop insisting that Donald Trump is a Christian if they really care at all about people coming to know Christ. If that is the greatest burden on their hearts, using this man is tantamount to spiritual treason. It is a perversion of the Gospels that provides such a dissonance to the bystander, as to make Christ all but invisible. Until he says or does anything that remotely resembling him, we need to stop using him and Jesus in the same breath because it distorts Jesus by association.

Christian, you can continue to support this man, but don’t say you’re doing it because he is a man of God, a follower of Jesus, someone striving for Christlikeness. The rotted, stinking, insect-drawing fruit—says otherwise. 

Jesus matters to me. The words he said matter to me. The life he calls us to live matters.Incarnating this Jesus in people’s lives matters to me. This is why that word Christian still matters. I am also a person of Grace, but I also live in a reality where the stuff we do is connected to what we believe.

I don’t know Donald Trump. He may actually believe he is a Christian. He may be so surrounded by sycophants and religious yes-men that no one is giving him the hard words about the kind of gentle, loving, sacrificial life Jesus called his people to live. If that’s the case I hope that he, like Saul will have a moment where his eyes are opened and he sees the goodness he might do with the power and influence at his disposal—and he is changed. But right now, using him as a symbol of the Christian faith is catastrophic for people looking on.

Christian, you might be tempted to argue with me or attack my position, and you would be welcome to, but I’d first suggest you go and read the Sermon on the Mount, spend some time in reflection and prayer—and then look with fresh eyes and tell me where you see Jesus in this man’s life and why you’re okay claiming it as your own.

–Pastor John Pavlovitz