Deal With The devil?

TimeWatch Editorial
February 11, 2017

On October 16, 2016, Dana Milbank published an article in the Washington Post entitled “The Religious Right Makes a Deal With The devil.” According to his biography found on the Washington Post website, Dana Milbank writes about political theater in the nation’s capital. He joined The Post as a political reporter in 2000, after two years as a senior editor of The New Republic and eight years with the Wall Street Journal. He is also the author of three political books: Tears of a Clown (2010), Homo Politicus (2008) and Smashmouth (2001). He lives in Washington. Milbank’s article begins this way.

“The late Jerry Falwell, leader of the Moral Majority and founder of Liberty University, built the religious right into a major political force. His son Jerry Jr. is well on his way to destroying it. Falwell, now Liberty’s president, was among the first and most prominent evangelical Christian leaders to embrace thrice-married, foul-mouthed casino mogul Donald Trump, declaring in January that Trump had lived his life in the spirit of Jesus. This endorsement validated Trump’s character for millions of evangelicals, helping to propel Trump to the Republican nomination. Falwell continued to campaign for Trump, spoke at the Republican convention and likened Trump to Winston Churchill in an August op-ed in The Post.” Dana Milbank, “The Religious Right Makes a Deal With The devil” the Washington Post, October 16, 2016

It is clear from just his opening statement, that Dana Milbank is certainly not a fan of the President. What is even clearer is the fact that he considers the support of evangelicals for Trump an incompatible fit for their Christian position on moral and ethical standards. As an example of this inconsistency Milbank continues.

Now the “Access Hollywood” video, in which Trump boasts in vulgar terms about sexually assaulting women, has caused late defections from Trump by Republican officeholders and conservative thought leaders. “But Falwell is standing by his man. He speculates that the leak of the video “might have even been a conspiracy among the establishment Republicans,” including House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.). Falwell allowed that what Trump said in the video was “reprehensible,” but he argued on New York’s WABC Radio that “we’re all sinners” and dismissed Trump’s words as “dumb comments on a videotape 11 years ago.” Dana Milbank, “The Religious Right Makes a Deal with The devil” the Washington Post, October 16, 2016

Mr. Milbank then identifies the reason why the personality and morals of Trump are consistently overlooked by men who claim to be the moral leaders of the country. Here is what he says about that.

“These religious political leaders’ continued support of Trump undermines their claims to speak for traditional morality. And their political calculation — that they’re supporting Trump because he’d appoint conservative justices to the Supreme Court. In the past, as Pulliam Bailey has chronicled, religious-right leaders claimed to care about personal morality. “We will not rest until we have leaders of good moral character,” Reed said back in the Monica Lewinsky days. Evangelical leader James Dobson advocated Bill Clinton’s impeachment in 1998 because he set a bad example about “respecting women.” But Dobson supports Trump, excusing his behavior because the candidate is a “baby Christian.” Franklin Graham, though formally neutral, draws equivalence between Trump’s “crude comments” and Democrats’ “godless” agenda.” Dana Milbank, “The Religious Right Makes a Deal with The devil” the Washington Post, October 16, 2016

But Dana Milbank, in spite of the effort he put forth in the article quoted above is still not able to quantify the cost of the deal he refers to in his well researched article. E.J. Dionne Jr., writing in the Washington Post on February 8, 2017, reveals a position held by one of Trump’s closest advisors.

“Stephen K. Bannon believes that “the Judeo-Christian West is in a crisis.” He calls for a return of “the church militant” who will “fight for our beliefs against this new barbarity,” which threatens to “completely eradicate everything that we’ve been bequeathed over the last 2,000, 2,500 years.” Bannon’s dark vision contrasts sharply with the sunny disposition of the pope. Where Francis has insisted on dialogue with Muslims, Bannon points to “the long history of the Judeo-Christian West struggle against Islam” and reaches as far back as the eighth century to praise “forefathers” who defeated Islam on the battlefield and “kept it out of the world, whether it was at Vienna, or Tours, or other places.” “See what’s happening,” Bannon insists, “and you will see we’re in a war of immense proportions.” E.J. Dionne Jr., Steve Bannon Verses Pope Francis, The Washington Post, February 8, 2017

E. J. Dionne sees the two opinions, one held by the Pope, the other held by Bannon as positions in conflict. Nothing could be further than the truth. Both embrace the traditional Christian norms. Both are convicted that the only way to restore those norms is to enforce them. The perceived methods differ, but the goals are the same. It is the Hegelian Philosophy being played out in plain sight. What is the Hegelian Philosophy? The Hegelian dialectic is the framework for guiding our thoughts and actions into conflicts that lead us to a predetermined solution. In other words, two apparently opposing ideas ultimately lead to the same conclusion. In this particular case, neither side has made “a deal with the devil.” In both cases, it is the devil that is in charge.

The Great Controversy says it best.

“The Protestant churches are in great darkness, or they would discern the signs of the times. The Roman Church is far-reaching in her plans and modes of operation. She is employing every device to extend her influence and increase her power in preparation for a fierce and determined conflict to regain control of the world, to re-establish persecution, and to undo all that Protestantism has done. Catholicism is gaining ground upon every side. Protestants have tampered with and patronized popery; they have made compromises and concessions which papists themselves are surprised to see, and fail to understand. Men are closing their eyes to the real character of Romanism, and the dangers to be apprehended from her supremacy. The people need to be aroused to resist the advances of this most dangerous foe to civil and religious liberty.” Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, Page 566.1

So where will all this lead? Matthew 24, verses 9 and 10 says:

Matthew 24:9 - Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.

Matthew 24:10 - And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

The Bible Echo and Signs of the Times puts it this way:

In the days of Rome's supremacy there were instruments of torture to compel assent to her doctrines. There was the stake for those who would not concede to her claims. There were massacres on a scale that will never be known to mortals, Dignitaries of the church studied, under Satan their master, to invent means to cause the greatest possible torture, and not end the life of their victim. The internal process was repeated to the utmost limit of human endurance, until nature gave up the struggle, and the sufferer hailed death as a sweet release. {The Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, February 1, 1887 par. 6}

Be Warned! Be prepared.

Cameron A. Bowen

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