Pastor Bubba: Authoritarian

Bruce Gerencser offers a reading recommendation today, On Tyranny by Yale historian Timothy Snyder. One of the most striking things to me about his blog is that, though there is little in our backgrounds that is shared but the fact that we are both from the upper midwest, our thinking aligns pretty closely on the big things — not something you’d expect from two guys with educational and professional backgrounds as different as engineering and the clergy.

So I take Bruce’s reading recommendations seriously, and I downloaded the book to my NOOK.

The book enumerates and discusses 20-recommendations for citizenry worried about authoritarianism taking root here in the Good Ol’ U.S. of A., and this is the first:

Do not obey in advance.

That’s good advice, and I’m happy to endorse it. A free, clear-headed adult reserves judgments for himself, doesn’t mindlessly follow any ol’ gaudy Pied Piper.

Or, at least, that’s what me, Gerencser, and Snyder seem to think. In fairness, I should tell y’all that Southern Baptist biggie David Platt has an entirely different take on that. From Radical, among the best-selling Christian books in years:

First, from the outset you need to commit to believe whatever Jesus says. As a Christian, it would be a grave mistake to come to Jesus and say, “Let me hear what you have to say, and then I’ll decide whether or not I like it.” If you approach Jesus this way, you will never truly hear what he has to say. You have to say yes to the words of Jesus before you even hear them.

Then second, you need to commit to obey what you have heard. [emphases in original]

Platt is not an anomaly, a one-off authoritarian freak; his words are standard-issue, shrink-wrapped Southern Baptist preaching. You will hear the identical thing any Sunday morning in any of thousands of churches across the south.

Yes … Pastor Bubba is an authoritarian leading a cult of self-abasement. Don’t fall for it. Your life is yours, and the good is to live it.

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Quote for the day

Republicans at all levels sold out their principles and morals (at least what was left of them) to support Trump and they need to pay for their betrayal of decency and integrity.

Michael Hamar

Exactly right. It’s not surprising that Trump found supporters; there are a lot of naive people in the world, and a lot of malicious and frustrated people who just want to stick a finger in somebody’s eye. But the political professionals who whored themselves to Trump — Ryan, Cruz, on and on — have no excuse. They have disgraced themselves and soiled the offices they hold, and they need to go.

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Tabloid Nation

As the Trump administration careers toward its 100th-day of governance — an informal benchmark established by Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s hyperactive ascension to office during the Great Depression — the agenda includes:

  • A new tax plan

  • Revival of whatever the president intends for the Affordable Care Act

  • A Congressional showdown over the wall that Mexico ain’t ever going to pay for, and maybe a government shutdown.

I bravely predict that the only bit of it that might actually happen is the shutdown, and Trump might order something blown-up in order to change the subject.

But America, it turns out, is far better than the preening buffoon it elected. The press has stepped-up aggressively, and never mind that most news outlets don’t know how they’re going to cover the next electric bill. The courts have smacked-down Trump’s oligarchical high-handedness. The American people have marched; just this past weekend, in Chicago, more than 40,000 showed their appreciation for science and disdain for ‘alternative facts.’

Even many evangelicals, I’ll bet, have begun to wonder if they misplaced their faith.

So … I’m optimistic about America. We, the People, are sound — and we will prevail against the depredations of a president who is plainly incompetent, plainly corrupt, probably treasonous, and borderline mad.

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Delusional tweets of the day

Would still beat Hillary in the popular vote? He lost by almost 3,000,000. Is this man delusional, or determined to rewrite history, or … what?

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Tweet of the day

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