Good News from the Border ‘War’…

… The GOP’s war on suffering humanity, not to mention the explicit instructions of that Jesus guy to whom they’re always proclaiming their allegiance. Warren shouldn’t have been arrested in the first place, but at least 8 out of 12 jurors stood up for decency. Per the Washington Post:

When Scott Daniel Warren was arrested last year after allegedly providing food, water, beds and clean clothes to undocumented immigrants near Arizona’s Sonoran Desert, the question was whether he had broken the law or upheld it.

“No Más Muertes,” an advocacy group that wants “no more deaths” of people crossing the desert regions linking Mexico and the southwestern United States, sees Warren — one of its most visible members — as an apostle of humanitarianism. His advocates say the geographer, who has taught courses at Arizona State University, was heeding both religious rules and international covenants that require sanctuary for the persecuted and the dispossessed.

The government, however, sees Warren, 36, as a felon. Arrested by Border Patrol agents in January 2018 at a property offering aid for immigrants in Ajo, Ariz., he was accused of helping border-crossers evade authorities, which is prohibited under federal law.

The activist faced up to 20 years in prison on charges of harboring and conspiring to transport undocumented immigrants…

The judge, Raner C. Collins, dismissed them and scheduled a status hearing in the case for July 2. The U.S. attorney’s office in Arizona did not immediately indicate whether it would seek another trial.
Read more

Surprise! Mike Pompeo’s “Human Rights” Agenda Applies To Only Some Humans

Just Security obtained a copy of Mike Pompeo’s human rights plan, based on what he called “natural law.”

Some of us are old enough to remember when that phrase was used mostly by the Catholic Church to justify their views on marriage and procreation. But apparently the evangelicals have put their own gloss on it so that it excludes the usual suspects – gays, transgender people, and other miscreants – from human rights.

So that is what Pompeo would inflict on us and the world. Trump has already carried out parts of it in his actions against transgender people. I’m not sure that brown families seeking refuge are explicitly listed as those not qualified for human rights, but the administration has sure been acting that way.

Just Security also analyzes where this “natural law” theory came from. It seems to come primarily from several individuals’ needs to demonize teh gays. And, of course, it comes from God or human nature or whatever you need to make your argument unanswerable.

As a 2017 Heritage Foundation report framed the issue: “Civil and political rights are products of government; natural rights are not.”

It’s disturbing that so many in the government belong to extremist sects and are pushing those extremist beliefs. I’d like to see a reporter pin down Pompeo on what he believes about the Rapture. Nobody who believes that should be anywhere near the control of nuclear weapons.



Golden Calf vs Orange Pig

I’m not a big fan of Michael Gerson, former GWB aide and current Post columnist, but kudos to him for calling out the Reverend Franklin Graham in a recent column:

In their day of prayer [for Trump], Graham and other Trump evangelicals have used a sacred spiritual practice for profane purposes. They have subordinated religion to politics. They have elevated Trump as a symbol of divine purposes. And they are using Christian theology as a cover for their partisanship.

So: This is blasphemy, in service to ideology, leading to idolatry, justified by heresy. All in a Sunday’s work.

Most Christians are familiar with Jonathan Edwards’s sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” In Graham, we are seeing God in the hands of an angry political toady.

A cynic might note that people like Gerson didn’t seem to mind the politicization of the church when the partisan object of evangelical devotion was less overtly vulgar and grasping, such as Ronald Reagan or Bush II. But lines must be drawn somewhere, I suppose, so way to defend the faith, Gerson.

Speaking of defenders of the faith, remember Trump’s appearance at a Virginia church last Sunday to be prayed over, an appearance that was notable at the time mainly because 18 holes of golf had flattened Trump’s iconic triple-combover and because Trump waddled across the church stage in golf spikes? Turns out that preacher had to deal with some fallout from the visit:

Pastor David Platt of McLean Bible Church in a statement posted on the church’s website wrote Sunday that his prayer was not an endorsement of the Trump administration and its policies.

“Sometimes we find ourselves in situations that we didn’t see coming, and we’re faced with a decision in a moment when we don’t have the liberty of deliberation, so we do our best to glorify God,” he wrote. “Today, I found myself in one of those situations.”

“My aim was in no way to endorse the president, his policies, or his party, but to obey God’s command to pray for our president and other leaders to govern in the way this passage [from 2nd Timothy — or “Two Timothy,” as Trump might put it] portrays,” Platt continued… “I wanted to share all of this with you in part because I know that some within our church, for a variety of valid reasons, are hurt that I made this decision,” he said. “This weighs heavy on my heart.

“I love every member of this church, and I only want to lead us with God’s Word in a way that transcends political party and position, heals the hurts of racial division and injustice, and honors every man and woman made in the image of God,” he wrote.

A couple of things struck me when reading about this incident. The first was the post-hoc justification for Trump’s appearance. Trump’s spokespeople said it was related to the mass shooting that occurred in Virginia a couple of days before. But the preacher makes no mention of the shooting and says he was surprised by a call that came out of the blue just a few minutes prior to Trump’s arrival — the preacher says he was asked if he would “pray for the president.”

What the preacher did allude to in his remarks onstage with Trump was the call (by Franklin Graham and other Trump-humping evangelicals) for a special day of prayer for Trump. Platt was meticulously nonpartisan in his remarks and semi-apologetic afterward, as you can see in the full remarks he posted to the church website here, excerpted above.

The conflicting information about the purpose of the visit sounds like typically sloppy advance work by Trump’s people, who can’t put together a two-paragraph press release that isn’t riddled with errors. Trump probably muttered something about “that prayer thing for me” during the round of golf, and the toadies leaped into action, Googling nearby “evangelical churches” and landing on Platt’s.

They probably figured a “Bible-believing” evangelical church in a mostly white Virginia town would be Trump friendly, and if the churches up there are anything like the ones down here, they’d usually be right. But it turns out the church they randomly selected was less white and less Republican than expected.

So, the bullshit about Trump showing up to pray about the shooting was probably made up after the fact by Trump’s crack team of incompetents, either to stave off criticism about Trump’s non-response to now-routine gun massacres, explain his disheveled appearance, or provide cover for the less-than-enthusiastic welcome he received. This is how bad the Trump people are at their jobs — they couldn’t even find a pro-Trump congregation of white evangelicals in Dixie.

Anyhoo, church attendance and religious affiliation have been declining in this country for decades, and white evangelical Christianity’s embrace of Trump will likely accelerate that trend. It’s up to Christians who don’t worship the Orange Pig to call out the heretics among them. It’s good to see some of them are up to the challenge.

Cold Grey Pre-Dawn Open Thread: Abasing Himself Before the Preachers

It’s not exactly Henry II abasing himself before the bishops, but showing up for the hardcore Talibangelicals’ big “Day of Prayer” sans spray-tan and combover would seem to indicate that Lord Smallgloves, or his advisors, will indeed be leaning heavily into his ‘religious’ base during the upcoming election. (As a different Henry is supposed to have said, Paris is worth a mass.) Typical of the man’s slipshod ways that he couldn’t be persuaded to take the effort of changing out of golf togs. At least take off the cleats!

Roger Stone says Trump’s never looked better!

Grifters Gonna Grift Open Thread: Someone Left the Ark Out in the Rain…

… I don’t think that I can take it
‘Cause it took so long to fake it
And I’ll never have that many gulls again…

Ark Encounter, which unveiled the 510-foot-long model in 2016, says that heavy rains in 2017 and 2018 caused a landslide on its access road, and its five insurance carriers refused to cover nearly $1 million in damages.

In a 77-page lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Ark Encounter asks for compensatory and punitive damages.

The ark itself was not damaged and the road has been rebuilt, according to the suit.

The park is open, said Melany Ethridge, a spokeswoman at the attraction’s Dallas-based public relations firm, who only laughed when informed that Ark Encounter had sued over flood damage…

But to Ark Encounter’s lawyer, Amanda Brooke Stubblefield, at the Cincinnati firm Keating, Muething & Klekamp, the suit is no laughing matter. “We are not going to comment to the press on this case,” she said…

Ark Encounter says its version in Williamstown was built to the dimensions in the Bible and is the largest timber-frame structure in the world. Tickets to the ark and nearby Creation Museum are $75 for adults and 24 for children 5-12.

The suit, which asks for a jury trial, names Swiss-based Allied World Assurance Co. Holdings, its use company and three other carriers.

When I read the headline to the Spousal Unit, he said, “That is a Murphy story on SO many levels… “

And in my head I heard the voice of the Trickster God: Dude, the state of Kentucky is a long-running trickster story!