Sorry! But it needs to be said

By John D. Pierce

There are not many things President Trump is honest about. He is a record-setting liar.

His false claims are so numerous and outrageous that even his best defenders call them “alternate facts” and dismiss proven accurate information as “fake news.” But when claiming he could slay someone on a busy street and not lose support, he was telling the truth.

That seems especially applicable to his blindly faithful, churchgoing flock — his most loyal demographic group — as evidenced by Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Junior’s recent harsh attack on Southern Baptist ethics leader Russell Moore for merely suggesting that children in our government’s custody should not be abused.

One doesn’t have to look too deeply to see that the values of Trump and the teachings of Jesus don’t align — and many who’ve long worn the Christian mantle are choosing the first.

It has a lot to do with fear — but there’s a larger reality we too-polite people don’t say publicly to avoid offending family and friends. But it needs to be said:

One cannot have both a good heart and an informed mind and support this president’s policies.

It is impossible. A weakness of mind or heart is required.

Anyone who continues to support this dishonest, demeaning, destructive and self-serving U.S. president cannot be both knowledgeable and good. One of those qualities has to be missing.

To not be appalled by such amoral leadership requires a weakness of the heart or mind if not tragically both.

There are those like presidential advisor Stephen Miller who are very intelligent and informed but clearly not good — embracing a view of humanity that aligns with white nationalism.

He knows what he’s doing, and what he is doing is not good. Sadly, there are others who belong to that dark-hearted camp.

Of course, some such support is the result of opportunism and compromised convictions — those who excuse appalling behavior they’ve long railed against to get something personally favorable: like political access and power, and/or financial advantages.

Or they appreciate the handy, stereotyped scapegoats being offered that enable them to blame others for whatever situation they find themselves in.

But to choose such personal benefits at the expense of overt hypocrisy and long-term ethical demise reveals a heart that has sacrificed goodness for personal gain.

On the other hand, there are supporters who are goodhearted persons, many of whom I know personally. Yet they are susceptible to authoritarians who lead by unquestioned allegiance and intimidation — i.e., being suckered by preachers, politicians, pundits and social media strategists.

These otherwise kindhearted people operate out of an unfounded fear of diversity or buy into a political/religious ideology someone falsely deemed “biblical.” They don’t even notice that Jesus is missing while their misunderstandings and insecurities are exploited.

Sadly, people tend to lack self-awareness of what they don’t know — and need to know. Ignorance, unfortunately, doesn’t hurt. In fact, it tends to produce an out-sized sense of certainty and inflexibility.

So I expect defensiveness to my proposition that one cannot be both knowledgeable and good and continue to excuse and defend otherwise unacceptable behavior. But I can’t find another explanation for this bizarre and contradictory allegiance.

Some will jump to the abortion issue because — while a valid ethical concern — it has become the single emotional issue that clouds a larger and consistent perspective of the value of human life. It allows politicians to claim a “pro-life” allegiance in which their overall antics and abuses are ignored.

Others will pull out the old “judge not” warning as if somehow we are not to use our minds to provide needed analysis. (I’m not questioning anyone’s eternal destiny; just pointing out how and where Jesus gets sacrificed for other priorities.)

However, it was Jesus who called his followers to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves. I’m not sure what that meant exactly in that context. But being both well informed and goodhearted form a much-needed combination.

Otherwise, one is susceptible to falling into all kinds of destructive ways — often bearing the false labeling of truth, goodness and even “Christian.”

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