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COMMENTARY

Far-Right White Evangelicals — Despite Impeachment and Ukraine Scandal — Still See Trump as ‘The Chosen One’

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In the 1980s, the late Sen. Barry Goldwater — who was considered an arch-conservative in his day — famously asserted that the Republican Party was making a huge mistake by embracing the Christian Right, which he described as a “terrible damn problem” for the conservative movement. But President Donald Trump, on the other hand, enthusiastically welcomes the support of far-right white evangelicals — some of whom are declaring that the impeachment inquiry he is facing is against God’s will and that demonic forces are trying to remove the president from office.

On November 21, evangelist Franklin Graham (son of the late Rev. Billy Graham and a strident Trump supporter) discussed impeachment when he appeared on fellow wingnut Eric Metaxas’ radio show. Graham told Metaxas that it’s “almost a demonic power that is trying” to remove Trump from office — to which Metaxas responded, “I would disagree. It’s not almost demonic. You know and I know, at the heart, it’s a spiritual battle.”

When far-right evangelicals speak of a “spiritual battle,” they typically mean one between God and Satan — and clearly, Graham and Metaxas believe that Trump is working for God, while his political opponents are working for Satan.

Republican Rick Perry, secretary of energy in the Trump Administration and former governor of Texas, has also claimed that Trump is on a mission from God. Perry, during a recent appearance on Fox News, described Trump as “the chosen one” and claimed he has been “sent by God to do great things.”

Many of Trump’s critics have had a hard time understanding why he is so popular with the Christian Right, which wanted to see President Bill Clinton impeached in the late 1990s for having an extramarital affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Trump, according to his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, had extramarital affairs with a porn star (Stormy Daniels) and a Playboy model (Karen McDougal) and paid them hush money to keep quiet. But the Christian Right is extremist tribalist in its thinking; so, even though Trump has never been especially religious (he’s a non-practicing Presbyterian) and former President Barack Obama has a long history of going to church, far-right white evangelicals view Trump as an ally and Obama as an enemy.

Related: Franklin Graham: Chick-fil-A CEO ‘Assured Me’ They Aren’t Changing Their Anti-LGBTQ Ways

Similarly, white Christian fundamentalists detest South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a churchgoing Episcopalian and Democratic presidential candidate who often talks about his faith. Buttigieg is obviously more religious than Trump, but he is a non-fundamentalist Mainline Protestant — and the Christian Right doesn’t see him as part of their tribe. In fact, the Christian Right view Obama and Buttigieg as infidels, not unlike Islamic fundamentalists who view non-jihadist Muslims as infidels.

Journalist Chris Hedges, a non-fundamentalist Christian who has written a lot about the role that faith can play in left-wing politics, uses the term “Christian fascists” to describe the Christian Right. Hedges considers the Christian Right a dangerous authoritarian movement, often stressing that Trump appeals to the Christian Right’s authoritarian tendencies.

Such tendencies were evident in October after the death of Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, who chaired the House Oversight Committee. Cummings was quite religious: his association with the New Psalmist Baptist Church in Baltimore spanned at least 40 years, and the Maryland Democrat would sing the Christian hymn “This Little Light of Mine” at civil rights marches. Yet some far-right evangelicals celebrated his death, insisting that God struck him down for opposing Trump.

Christian fundamentalist Stacey Shiflett, for example, said of Cummings, “Everything that he’s done has been nothing but trying to take this president out. I believe that God had had enough, and God moved.”

Hanna Selinger, in a November 26 article for The Independent, delves into the Christian Right’s unwavering adoration of Trump and explains why white Christian fundamentalists hold him in such high regard despite his not-so-Christian behavior.

“For evangelicals,” Selinger explains, “Donald Trump offers deliverables. The conservatives who follow the letter of the law when it comes to the Bible count among their most important issues ‘family values’: abortion, gay marriage, and so on. On these issues, Trump has offered a far-right tack. Despite who he actually is as a person, he checks the boxes — enabling evangelicals to look the other way and toward a perceived ‘greater good.’”

Christian Right voters, Selinger observes, “are willing to separate morals in a president from morals in a country. These voters will pull the lever for a man who prevaricates daily, who has had multiple wives and even more affairs. That’s because they believe that those characteristics outweigh the things they want done in Washington.”

Selinger adds, “Rick Perry is no different. He too is willing to overlook gross misconduct, of which he was part, simply because he likes the president’s policies.”

If a Democratic president had asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate a political revival and made that investigation a condition of military aid, far-right theocrats like Graham, Perry, Metaxas and Liberty University’s Jerry Falwell, Jr. would be demanding his impeachment. But because Trump become an honorary member of the Christian Right, he gets a pass.

The Christian Right, Selinger asserts, is unlikely to turn against Trump.

“This is the problem with Trump and his allies, and it begins with religion: what it means to follow God has been lost in a political game that places legislative wins over moral losses,” Selinger writes. “Will evangelicals ever see the light? As Rick Perry demonstrates in his ruthless sycophancy, the odds are slim.”

 

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COMMENTARY

Fox News Host Complains Vaccinated Are ‘Otherizing’ Anti-Vaxxers: ‘Next Step’ Is Putting Unvaccinated Into Camps’

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The anti-vaxx movement continues to co-opt language used by liberals, declaring “my body, my choice” – not when it comes to abortion but to vaccines.

Now they’re taking that one step further, imposing victimization status on those who refuse to get vaccinated against the deadly coronavirus that has killed at least 650,000 Americans and is transmissible by just breathing.

Fox News personality Will Cain, who co-hosts the weekend version of “Fox & Friends,” on Wednesday’s episode of “The Five” told Geraldo Rivera that Americans who are vaccinated are “otherizing” the unvaccinated, as Media Matters reports.

“Otherizing” is a term used to describe how white majorities dehumanize minorities, often immigrants, as “others.”

Continuing the anti-immigrant framing, Cain declared, “We’re veering dangerously close to exterminationist language.”

“Exterminationism”  is exactly what it sounds like: genocide, especially of ethnic minorities.

The anti-vaxxers are now pretending their lives are being threatened, not by a deadly virus, but by the socially-responsible who chose to get vaccinated to protect themselves, their loved ones, neighbors, and co-workers.

Finally, Cain goes even further, walking a very close line to horrific historic events, either like the Japanese internment camps the U.S. created during World War II, or the camps Hitler where sent Jews to their deaths during the Holocaust.

“We’re veering dangerously close to exterminationist language. Otherizing –” Cain told Rivera.

“Exterminationist?” Rivera responded.

“Absolutely,” Cain claimed. “That’s the next step. Putting the unvaccinated into someplace else, camps. Whatever it may be.”

Watch:

Caution: Commentary in this Fox News video should not be accepted at face value as factual, including the misleading claim that Florida’s vaccination rate is higher than New York’s. 

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COMMENTARY

Republicans Demanding Biden’s Resignation Are ‘Terrorist Sympathizers’: Former Clinton White House Press Secretary

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Former Clinton White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart says the Republicans calling for President Joe Biden’s resignation in the wake of Thursday’s terror attack are “terrorist sympathizers.”

Immediately after ISIS-K launched the twin terror attacks slaughtering 13 U.S. service members and dozens of Afghan civilians Republican lawmakers began calling for President Joe Biden’s resignation.

Senator Josh Hawley, whose infamous fist pumping up to the sky leading insurrectionists on January 6 will forever be remembered:

Senator Marsha Blackburn, whose Twitter account daily posts baseless extremist attacks on Democrats:

Rep. Lauren Bobert:

Those are just three of dozens of demands from GOP lawmakers, not to mention Republican congressional candidates, demanding the resignation of the Commander-in-Chief.

Lockhart, who was Press Secretary during Clinton’s Camp David Summit that attempted to end the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, as well as during Clinton’s impeachment, offered strong pushback and an invaluable lesson to all those demanding Biden resign.

“The object of terrorists is to strike fear into enemies and undermine their ability to govern. Their only tool is terror and violence. So to all calling on the President to resign, a terrorist dream, you have officially joined the movement as a terror sympathizer,” he wrote on Twitter.

He adds:

 

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COMMENTARY

Newt Gingrich Hurls Racist Rant: Democrats Want to ‘Drown’ US With Immigrants ‘To Get Rid of the Rest of Us’

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Disgraced former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is bashing immigrants coming to America without entry papers while blaming Democrats for the influx in a racist screed, despite the increase dating back well into the Trump era.

Wailing to fellow pro-Trump acolyte Maria Bartiromo on Fox News, Gingrich pushed a horrid far-right fascistic attack, claiming that immigrants are being brought in to “replace” white Americans, who he referred to as “traditional classic Americans.”

Gingrich also accused Democrats of being “anti-American” and “radical.”

“They don’t come all the way across Mexico for the purpose of visiting for two days,” Gingrich cried, as Media Matters reports. Gingrich’s wife was Ambassador to the Vatican under Donald Trump, the former president.

“They want to be in America,” he said, ignoring all the reasons immigrants are desperate to leave Central America: drugs, gangs, bad economies, climate change, the coronavirus pandemic, crime, and death. Many of those factors are a direct result of American policies and actions.

“And I think what’s hard for most of us to accept, is that the anti-American left would love to drown traditional classic Americans with as many people as they can who know nothing of American history, nothing of American tradition, nothing of the rule of law,” he insisted, also ignoring that for centuries immigrants unschooled in American democracy and traditions have been coming to the U.S. to make a better life for their families.

Some experts blame Gingrich for the extremism and polarization of American politics today. Gingrich frames himself as an icon of conservative and traditional America but in fact is a thrice-married, twice divorced serial adulterer who cheated on his first wife while prosecuting President Bill Clinton’s impeachment for lying about his affair, then asked his wife to agree to an open marriage. He left his first two wives while they were ill. He also skirted military service, using his status as a student and as a father to get deferments rather than serve his country in Vietnam. Gingrich was forced to resign as Speaker of the House in 1998 after a terrible drubbing in the November elections, which historians say was due to his ethics violations and extramarital affair with a woman, a congressional staffer 23 years his junior.

“And I think that,” Gingrich continued in his anti-immigrant screed to Bartiromo, “if you go and you look at the radical left, this is their ideal model is to get rid of the rest of us because we believe in George Washington or we believe in the Constitution, and you see this behavior over and over again.”

What Gingrich is engaging in is promoting fear via “the great replacement theory,” hate speech used by Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, antisemites, fascists, racists, the religious right, white nationalists, and white supremacists. Many likely remember the “tiki-torch-wielding” neo-Nazis marching in Charleston at the 2017 Unite the Right rally, chanting, “You will not replace us,” and “Jews will not replace us.”

That’s what Gingrich is doing, all in this short 43-second clip:

 

 

 

 

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