Joy of the Far Right

TimeWatch Editorial
March 10, 2017

According to its website, The Christian Index is the nation’s oldest continuously published religious newspaper. Founded in Washington, DC in 1822 by legendary Baptist leader Luther Rice, the journal was briefly known as The Columbian Star. The history of the website says that the publication was a national effort to encourage support for the early endeavors and to promote the newly established Columbian College (now George Washington University). W. T. Brantly, a highly respected minister in Augusta, became editor in 1827 after accepting the pastorate of Philadelphia’s First Baptist Church. As I said, the newspaper’s name was briefly changed to The Columbian Star to better communicate its intent. Then, beginning with the Jan. 1, 1831 issue, the masthead was shortened to the name the newspaper has carried for most of its long and rich history, The Christian Index. On February 7, 2017, Editor Will Hall published an article on the Website entitled Trump fulfills promise to evangelicals, and more.” His opening statement explains the opinion expressed by the title of the article. Listen to how Will Hall puts it.

“WASHINGTON, D.C. (LBM) — Louisiana Baptist national leaders are praising President Donald J. Trump as a man of his word for naming Neil Gorsuch as his U.S. Supreme Court pick. But a look at his nominees for cabinet posts shows the president has gone beyond just the minimum in keeping his promises to evangelicals — 12 of his top 23 advisers, cabinet leaders and cabinet-level officials, are avowed Christians.” Editor Will Hall, “Trump fulfills promise to evangelicals, and more,” February 7, 2017

Now of course with everything that is taking place at the moment, the debate and investigation regarding the Russian connections of the Trump detail, the hurried attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, and it would appear so many other issues, the promises made to the evangelicals has not yet managed to reach the surface. Regardless of the questions that have arisen about the truthfulness or accuracy of statements made by the President and his staff, the root of his support, the evangelical supporters are quite satisfied with the work he is doing and has promised to do. Take for instance his promise regarding the Supreme Court Justice.

“Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a Christian public policy ministry in Washington, D.C., said in an FRC news release he was pleased to witness the president “follow through on his promise and select a nominee from the list he presented during the campaign.” That final list contained 21 names — 10 persons were identified by Trump in May 2016 and 11 more candidates were added, including Gorsuch, 4 months later at the request of conservative groups. All 21 individuals were described as strict interpreters of the Constitution. Perkins also serves as interim pastor of Greenwell Springs Baptist Church just outside of Baton Rouge.” Editor Will Hall, “Trump fulfills promise to evangelicals, and more,” February 7, 2017

The choice of the Supreme Court was more important than many seem to realize. The decision by the conservative right to refuse to even speak to Obama’s replacement for Scalia was obviously not just a political reaction. The agenda was set. It is more than likely that the election of the President was much more manipulated than is presently thought. When one considers the level of infiltration by the far right, such a thorough invasion cannot be accidental. It is very likely that the necessary evidence will ultimately be revealed. The far right evangelicals were filled with joy at Gorsuch’s choice.

“U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson, a member of First Baptist Church in Bossier City, likewise praised the president’s replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia who died suddenly in Feb. 2016. In an email to the Baptist Message, Johnson said he was happy with the nomination and described Gorsuch as “an exceptionally qualified individual, with a proven record on issues ranging from the sanctity of human life to religious liberty to the Second Amendment.” Meanwhile, Congressman Ralph Abraham, a member of Alto Baptist Church, located southeast of Monroe, called Gorsuch “a great choice for the Supreme Court.” “He’s a conservative originalist who believes in interpreting our Constitution in the way our Founders wrote it,” he tweeted.” Editor Will Hall, “Trump fulfills promise to evangelicals, and more,” February 7, 2017

The term “originalist” means that the US Constitution should be interpreted based on the intent of its authors, as determined by examining evidence of their understanding of the meaning of its wording in its historical context. This is the kind of Supreme Court Justice the far right is determined to have. They desire to have Judges who will interpret the Constitution as literally written. Not taking into consideration the changing applications that would be necessary. For instance, the Fourth Amendment says that we have the right to privacy in our papers. However, when the Constitution was written, telephones were not in play. Today we are told that we cannot have an expectation of privacy when using our phones because the communication travels outside your home. Listen to the decision in the case Olmstead v. United States, 1928

Olmstead v. United States, 1928 - Back before the telephone was ubiquitous and pocket-size, the court ruled that wiretapped phone conversations were not a violation of the defendant's rights under the Fourth or Fifth Amendments. Why? In part, because the listening equipment was installed outside the houses involved. But in his dissent, Associate Justice Louis Brandeis outlined an argument that the court would face again: "The evil incident to invasion of the privacy of the telephone is far greater than that involved in tampering with the mails." Naomi LaChance, NPR: At Supreme Court, Debate over Phone Privacy Has a Long History, March 8, 2016

This is a serious matter. The choices that have been made are very specific. The objectives are clear, and as I’ve already said, by no means accidental.

“Trump’s naming of Gorsuch, an active member of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Boulder, CO, is a capstone of sorts for a spate of nominations the president has made that are favorable to Christians’ interests. In fact, his naming of former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, a Southern Baptist, as Secretary of Agriculture to complete his cabinet picks, highlights the exceptional influence Christians have in his administration, with the possibility of reshaping America significantly. In all, nine of 16 presidential cabinet members, including the vice president, are acknowledged as active members of the Christian faith – although not all are evangelicals in the broad range of Christian traditions that are represented. Meanwhile, Christians have been named to three of seven other positions considered cabinet-level, but not actual cabinet posts.” Editor Will Hall, “Trump fulfills promise to evangelicals, and more,” February 7, 2017

The end game will eventually be revealed.

Cameron A. Bowen

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