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Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Answer to an angry John Pavlovich


Calling someone "dear" is a letter-writing convention in English.  It does not imply that the recipient of your letter IS dear to you.  Such is certainly not the case with John Pavlovich's "dear White Evangelicals" letter, below.  It was written two  years ago: I hope John has calmed down.  

Let us, at least, respond dispassionately.   

 

"Dear White Evangelicals,"

"I need to tell you something: People have had it with you."

What, all people everywhere?  With all of "us?"  Aren't we people, too?  What did we do, forget to feed the cat?  

"They’re done.

"They want nothing to do with you any longer:"

Nothing?  Not even writing letters?  

"And here's why.  They see your hypocrisy, your inconsistency, your incredibly selective mercy, and your thinly veiled supremacy."

Wow!  All of us?  Maybe we stepped on the cat's tail!  

"For eight years they watched you relentlessly demonize a black President; a man faithfully married for 26 years; a doting father and husband without a hint of moral scandal or the slightest whiff of infidelity."

I never demonized Barack Obama.  Does that mean I'm not really saved?  Or not really white?  

I see Barack Obama as a human being, not a devil.  Yes, he seems to be a good family man.  I have never questioned that, nor his intelligence or political talent.  

Most of his policies, I soundly reject, like those of all liberals.  I think they are dead wrong, on most issues.  I also didn't care for the way Obama politicized the FBI, which was one of many forms of political corruption he is charged with.  And whenever he spoke about conservative ideas, he unleashed an army of straw men on us.  He is a talented politician, but not that rare thing, an honest one.  

 

Which is the greater bigot: a person who criticizes a black politician (born to both black and white parents, actually) for policy reasons he can articulate, or a person who accuses "white evangelicals" of all manner of evils, without specifying which ones, when they offended, what precisely they did wrong, and where?  

Bigotry does not depend on race.  

You accuse us of quoting Bible verses. One does, indeed, come to mind, about a man with a log in his eye, offering to do surgery on a man with a speck in his.    

    you never publicly offered prayers for him and his family, you never welcomed him to your Christian Universities, you never gave him the benefit of the doubt in any instance, you never made any effort to affirm his humanity or show the love of Jesus to him in any quantifiable measure."

Pavlovich is dishonest and not very smart, obviously.  Otherwise one might try to explain to him the unique burdens of proof placed upon those who make universal negative claims.  

If I owned a Christian college, I certainly would not welcome a politician who adhered to the policies of Barack Obama to speak to the student body as if I thought they should hear those policies affirmed.  And it is true, I was not very grateful for his leadership, nor for that of Bill Clinton or Joe Biden.  And I doubt Pavlovich is grateful for that of the Bushes or Donald Trump.  (He'll prove that shortly.)    

The president needs mercy?  In the American system, citizens have a right to criticize political leaders.  Barack Obama had the power to grant mercy to whomever he wished.  I have no such power.  Did St. Paul offer "mercy" to Nero?  Not that I'd put Obama in the same category, but this is a strange demand.  The love of Jesus does not require us to affirm immoral policies or people who use power to oppress the weak.  Neither does American democracy demand that we "offer solidarity" with people with whom we wholeheartedly disagree.   

 

"And yet you give carte blanche to a white Republican man so riddled with depravity, so littered with extramarital affairs, so unapologetically vile, with such a vast resume of moral filth—that the mind boggles."

Here comes the love Pavlovich was talking about. 

As a matter of fact, I wrote an ebook recommending against Trump, in the 2016 primaries.  And my article saying the same went viral on a Christian web site.  So much for "carte blanche."  But clearly this man is far beyond caring whether what he says is TRUE or not.  

   

"With him, you suddenly find religion.
With him, you’re now willing to offer full absolution.
With him, all is forgiven without repentance or admission.
With him you’re suddenly able to see some invisible, deeply buried heart.

"And White Evangelicals, all those people who have had it with you—they see it all clearly.

"They recognize the toxic source of your inconsistency.

"They see that pigmentation and party are your sole deities."

Odd, then, that you and your allies are always the ones who bring up race.  Your allies are the ones who make fake racial incidents go viral, again and again, as I show in Letter to a 'Racist' Nation.  This is your obsession, not ours. 

The sheer stupidity of this claim, its desperation, is astounding.  We are not only racists, we WORSHIP skin color.  Furthermore, aside from the Republican Party, it is our ONLY god. 

This is a man who cares nothing about truth.  He only wants his rant to sound deep to himself and whoever gets off on listening to such tedious, fact-free, hateful rants.    

"They see that you aren’t interested in perpetuating the love of God or emulating the heart of Jesus.  They see that you aren’t burdened to love the least, or to be agents of compassion, or to care for your Muslim, gay, African, female, or poor neighbors as yourself.  

"And I know you don’t realize it, but you’re digging your own grave in these days; the grave of your very faith tradition."

 

Three seats on the Supreme Court now, actually, thank you.  And maybe fewer less dead infants, and more fidelity to the US Constitution. 

In that first ebook of mine, like some other evangelicals, I did in fact express concern about what a Trump presidency would do to Christianity in America.  So you're wrong about that, as about everything else -- and I wasn't alone. 

But as citizens, we have a civic obligation to vote for the person who is most likely to do our country good.  I doubt it would have been Hilary Clinton, and I doubt it will be Joe Biden.  

If some people leave the faith because of that judgement, so be it.  That is their decision.  Perhaps fueled by the sort of over-the-top anger you are displaying.    

Anyway, God hasn't died.  Who knows what His plan is?  I know some people have walked away from Him.  No doubt politics had something to do with that.  But it would be immoral to allow oneself to be manipulated by threats into voting for a political party that justifies partial birth abortion.    

"You’ve lost an audience with millions of wise, decent, good-hearted, faithful people with eyes to see this ugliness."

What, wise, decent, good-hearted and faithful like you? 



 

 

  

And you, John, need to grow up and think like an adult.  You should be ashamed of such childish rants.  

Find out what people really think, and why they think it.  

Or maybe you're afraid to.  Maybe your sweeping denunciations, without bothering to ask questions, without bothering to read, without bothering to offer evidence, reflect a deep-seated fear in your own soul.

A fear of what?  At some level of your being, perhaps you know.  See if you are willing to ever knock on that door.    

8 comments:

JJohnson said...

Is it good to vote for Trump when we might come away stained from such close proximity? The conflating of Christian duty with Trumpism while lacking a more vocal response to his deficiencies seems apparent to me. We have the ability to do so, yet I see more hand-waving away of his narcissism and lying as “being a baby Christian” than anything. The cult of personality around him is real and dangerous. Trump is leaven.

Am I wrong?

JJohnson said...

And I’m not aiming the above at you, but the evangelicals I mostly come across online as of late.

David B Marshall said...

JJ: Among Christians, I don't see a "cult of personality" around Trump. Maybe you know some different people. But I traveled around the country on a speaking tour during the 2016 election, speaking in churches, and found many Christians ready to vote for Trump reluctantly, aware of his faults. I did not vote for him that time, indeed wrote an ebook warning of the dangers, during the primaries. But this time I did, for what I see as excellent reasons. No one who fails to show they understand those reasons, is ready to persuade those who DO see them.

Lucas said...

"John Pavlovich's "dear White Evangelicals" letter, below. It was written two years ago: I hope John has calmed down."

Come on, David, you know that has an incredibly low prior! ;)

David B Marshall said...

It is indeed unlikely that anyone who was grumpy and hysterical in a non-plague year, would be calm in 2020.

Loren said...

Here is how close some evangelical leaders are with Trump. There are several pictures of them laying hands on him:

Photo surfaces of evangelical pastors laying hands on Trump in the Oval Office - The Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/07/12/photo-surfaces-of-evangelical-pastors-laying-hands-on-trump-in-the-oval-office/

All the president’s clergymen: A close look at Trump’s ties with evangelicals
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/09/05/all-presidents-clergymen-close-look-trumps-unprecedented-ties-evangelicals/633399001/

Extreme abortion laws shine light on Trump's courting of religious right | Donald Trump | The Guardian
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/may/13/donald-trump-evangelical-christians-republicans-abortion-supreme-court

Calling Out the Hypocrisy of Evangelical Christians - Shepherd Express
https://shepherdexpress.com/news/taking-liberties/calling-out-the-hypocrisy-of-evangelical-christians/

This is despite Trump's allegedly saying things like this:

'They're all hustlers': Trump reportedly mocks his Christian supporters in private | The Independent
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-christian-supporters-mocks-pastors-private-b697181.html

'I always assumed he was an atheist’ claims Barbara Res, former executive at the Trump Organisation

Loren said...

At the National Prayer Breakfast last February:

Trump slams Democrats and Romney at prayer breakfast as Pelosi looks on - CNNPolitics
https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/06/politics/donald-trump-national-prayer-breakfast-nancy-pelosi-impeachment/index.html

He dismissed Mitt Romney and Nancy Pelosi as religious frauds. MR, a Mormon, said about impeaching Trump that he swore an oath before God to exercise impartial justice, and NP, a Catholic, says that she prays for Trump.

Love your enemies? Nah, says Trump - CNNPolitics
https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/06/politics/trump-love-enemies-prayer-breakfast/index.html

He seemed to think that "love your enemies" was just someone's opinion.

Pelosi laces into Trump, defends tearing up his State of the Union speech - The Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/pelosi-laces-into-trump-defends-tearing-up-his-state-of-the-union-speech/2020/02/06/43b79574-48f3-11ea-b4d9-29cc419287eb_story.html

David B Marshall said...

Loren: Nancy Pelosi hates Donald Trump's guts, and has expressed that hatred repeatedly. I am not impressed by her claims to pray for him. I regard her as a deeply depraved and dishonest person, and nasty, besides.

Is she a "religious fraud?" God knows. Is Trump a religious fraud? Again, God knows. I strongly doubt either of them is a sincere follower of Jesus Christ. But they may be sincere in some perverse manner.

Anyway, nothing in my article above depends on thinking Donald Trump is a good man or a "real Christian." I have little reason to think either.