Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – “It’s in the book of Revelations. We know this because it’s handed down from tradition. We also know that there’s not a painting or piece of extant artwork that survived antiquity, whether it’s a papal gown, whether it’s a painting, whether it’s a sculpture, it doesn’t matter, whether it’s a priest’s smock or stole, it’s irrelevant. We know that every single one of them had the sign on them.” Check out today’s transcript for the rest….
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: In the 3rd century Tertullian wrote, “At every forward step and movement, at every going in and out, when we put on our clothes and shoes, when we bathe, when we sit at table, when we light the lamps, on couch, on seat, and all the ordinary actions of daily life, we trace upon the forehead the sign.” What’s the sign? It’s in the book of Revelations. We know this because it’s handed down from tradition. We also know that there’s not a painting or piece of extant artwork that survived antiquity, whether it’s a papal gown, whether it’s a painting, whether it’s a sculpture, it doesn’t matter, whether it’s a priest’s smock or stole, it’s irrelevant. We know that every single one of them had the sign on them. Heck, the Cross of St. Benedict, for Heaven’s sake. Back to Alan Jacobs:
At the end of the passage in Matthew, after all, Christ instructs us not to “give dogs what is sacred” and not to “throw your pearls to pigs.” This must mean that one has to make discriminating judgments about others. The implied conclusion by Bill Clinton apologists that Christ-like forgiveness should render a person incapable of moral criticism collapses under the sheer weight of biblical evidence. Throughout the New Testament, Christians are called upon to judge false teaching, bad doctrine, idolatry, immorality, and more.
Bennett’s position was commonplace at that time, among socially conservative Catholics like Bennett and evangelical Protestants alike. As Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, recently wrote, “In the 1990s, evangelicals largely spoke with solidarity on the centrality of character in leadership, and of character as something essential to the credibility required of one who would hold a major position of leadership, in particular, one who would be elected President of the United States.”
But the logic that Bennett laid out, and that was so widely accepted by Christians in the Clinton era, was clearly rejected by the Christians who voted in such large numbers for Trump. To be sure, some held to their earlier principles: Mohler, for instance, noted that, “If I were to support, much less endorse, Donald Trump for president, I would actually have to go back and apologize to former President Bill Clinton.” But since he did not believe that his earlier critique of Clinton was wrong, he couldn’t in good conscience support Trump, whose moral flaws are at least as bad.
Mike: Folks, I don’t come in here every Monday and tell you that the previous Sunday I went and received the sacrament of reconciliation, that I went to confession. I don’t know, and neither do you, and neither does Mr. Jacobs or anyone else – maybe Melania knows. I don’t know whether or not President Trump met privately – he did, after all, meet privately, I believe, with a well-known “conservative” Catholic priest in New York City with Kellyanne Conway, among others. I don’t know what was said in that meeting. For all we know, there may have been an act of contrition. I don’t know. He did state that he’s never asked to be forgiven sometime during the campaign, but that was in the early days. You don’t know what happened since then, and I’m not going to speculate because I don’t know.
This is part of the judge not lest you be judged. The other part does not prevent us from fraternal correction or from simple real-time observation of apostasy, heresy, just outright sin or blasphemy committed right in front of your eyes. The war crimes that are going on in Yemen, I’ve been talking about it over and over and over again. No one listens, and if they do, they don’t repeat it to anyone outside our little clique here. You know why? Because we’re cowards. [mocking] “I don’t want people on Facebook to unlike me. I don’t want to lose my friends, Mr. Church.” The killing thus continues.
There are signs, ginormous neon, flashing signs that say that President Trump is headed in the wrong direction. Is there going to be any serious discussion about the debt limit that’s going to be raised? I don’t think so. I think they’re just going to do it and Trump’s going to go: Gotta raise it. [mocking] “Mitter Church, please. The government has to operate, you idiot.” There are signs that Trump – Mr. Jacobs’ point is that we could have known this based on character.
I say this. I voted for Trump based on the promise that he would execute those pro-life promises that he signed the letter saying he would, that’s why. An accident of that is that Hillary is not there to lead the army of Moloch to finish the cult of death’s work. That’s an accident of that. When you say: Didn’t you vote to keep Mrs. Clinton out? No, I voted in the affirmative and said 57 rosaries for it, too. I know why I voted for him. I even commented in today’s Pile of Prep that maybe I need to get back to doing that. I’m not praying hard enough for him because I kind of stopped. My bad. Hillary not being able, and the goons in the cult of death being prevented from doing what they would be doing, but that’s an accident of Trump’s election. That’s not why specifically I voted for the man. It’s an accident, a positive accident, a good accident of it. Had I said: Who is of the highest character? I couldn’t have voted for Mrs. Clinton either because she’s a liar, a murderer, a cheater. You name the mortal sin, the woman commits it with abandon. Was there an alternative? Certainly not the abortion-promoting Gary Johnson. So I just wouldn’t have voted in the election. Instead, I took an affirmative tack just to say: I pray that he does this. I’m going to get back to praying that he does this.
Folks, you don’t know how the Holy Spirit can change anyone at any moment. If you believe in supernatural and the spirit world, then you have to believe that a conversion, a miraculous conversion is always possible. If you don’t, that’s despair and you’re sinning against hope. That’s a sin. Go look up the story of Rudolf Hoess, the most prolific murderer in all the Nazi regime in the concentration camps. Hoess confessed, was baptized and confessed and given last rites before he was executed after Nuremburg. Go look it up. Anyone can be moved to contrition, anyone.
Then he goes into the pragmatic virtues. One of the things he gets into – I’m not going to read the whole thing because I want you to read it. God’s fingerprint, and there’s more of this in there. Under “The Cult of Authority,” which is the conclusion:
Trump’s bad behavior and rough language are a kind of test of our commitment, our willingness to persevere in finding hidden truth: “[Y]ou must listen through the bantering to discover the truth that I will speak through him.” Johnson is effectively saying to Christians skeptical of Trump’s character, “Who you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?” [Mike: Folks, if you were to judge me based on the amount of curse words that I have said in my past, and that was the judge of the sum total of my character, then you wouldn’t be listening to the program right now.]
The joke in that last sentence reveals, I think, a major difference between the now widely discarded “character counts” model and the one that has, among many Christians, replaced it. When William Bennett wrote that “[t]hroughout the New Testament, Christians are called upon to judge false teaching; bad doctrine; idolatry; immorality; and more,” he was assuming, and implying that the New Testament also assumes, that all of those sins and errors are clearly discernible. Judgments of character in politicians are therefore public judgments, potentially available to all.
Of course, people will disagree about whether any given act is immoral . . .
Mike: Mr. Jacobs, you’re causing confusion now, and I know why. There is – when someone says, [mocking] “Well, that’s just your opinion” when I say something: That’s a mortal sin, that’s immoral. [mocking] “Well, that’s just your stupid opinion. You judgmental creep.” No, actually it’s not my opinion. I don’t get a vote on the matter, ma’am. I don’t get to vote. I don’t get to say yea or nay. I’m not Caesar at the royal suite in the Roman Coliseum going: Thumb up or thumb down as to whether or not the Christian gets eaten by the lion. I don’t get a vote. I conform my mind to the reality that there is a teaching. I have read it, therefore I can know it, therefore I am duty bound to live it, under pain of eternal damnation. I don’t get a vote; neither do you. Hate to rain on your parade. There is no moral ambiguity. There’s moral ambiguity because we have a bunch of frauds and cowards that won’t say what is moral and what are sins against morality. It’s not as though we don’t know. There’s a lot of confusion being sown in here.
These leaders have replaced a rhetoric of persuasion with a rhetoric of pure authority — very like the authority that Trump claims for himself . . . Consequently, their whole house of cards may well collapse if the Trump presidency is anything other than a glorious success, and will leave those who have accepted that rhetoric bereft of explanations as well as arguments. Presumably the most fervent supporters of Trump will argue (as Trump himself will argue) that his failures have occurred because others have betrayed him, have rejected the man that God raised up to rescue America . . .
Mike: Again, right there, that’s not how I view this. I bet it’s not how you view it. I view it as the man that God raised up to prevent Mrs. Clinton, or the man that God raised up to bring an end to the federal legal protections to kill babies. How about that?
. . . but this will require the replacement of the Cyrus analogy with another one yet to be determined. We can only hope that no one compares a failed Trump to an American Jesus betrayed by American Judases.
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If all this sounds like a strange fantasyland of narrative, an imaginative world of what members of the Trump administration have taken to calling “alternative facts,” that’s because it is just that. The larger, and longer-term, effect of accounts like this is to encourage Christians to abandon the world of shared evidence, shared convictions, and shared possibilities, and such abandonment is very bad news for Christians and for America.
Mike: What he’s saying here basically, and this is what I thought when I read this, how can you have shared values, shared convictions, shared languages, shared morals, etc., etc., if you don’t know what they are and if there’s not a universal fountain from which they flow, which there is? The problem isn’t really Trump. The problem is what? The disunity of Christianity. That’s the problem. If Christians were united, and if we agreed upon that magisterial teaching and that universal code, we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now.
End Mike Church Show Transcript