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Backwards Christian soldiers

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Two days before his presidential inauguration, Donald Trump greeted a pair of visitors at his office in Trump Tower.

As a swarm of reporters waited in the gilded lobby, the Rev. Patrick O’Connor, the senior pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Queens, and the Rev. Scott Black Johnston, the senior pastor of Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, arrived to pray with the next president.

From behind his desk on the 26th floor, Trump faced the Celtic cross at the top of the steeple of Johnston’s church, located a block south on Fifth Avenue. When Johnston pointed it out to Trump, the President-elect responded by marveling at the thick glass on the windows of his office — bulletproof panels installed after the election.

It was clear that Trump was still preoccupied with his November victory, and pleased with his performance with one constituency in particular.

“I did very, very well with evangelicals in the polls,” Trump interjected in the middle of the conversation — previously unreported comments that were described to me by both pastors.

They gently reminded Trump that neither of them was an evangelical.

“Well, what are you then?” Trump asked.

They explained they were mainline Protestants, the same Christian tradition in which Trump, a self-described Presbyterian, was raised and claims membership. Like many mainline pastors, they told the President-elect, they lead diverse congregations.

Trump nodded along, then posed another question to the two men: “But you’re all Christians?”
“Yes, we’re all Christians.”

Marge: I have a responsibility to raise these children right and, unless you change, I’ll have to tell them their father is… well, wicked.
Homer: [to Lisa and Bart] Kids, let me tell you about another so-called wicked guy. He had long hair, and some wild ideas, and he didn’t always do what other people thought was right. And that man’s name was…
[thinks]
Homer: I forget. But the point is…
[thinks]
Homer: I forget that, too.
[to Marge]
Homer: Marge, you know who I’m talking about! He used to drive that blue car.

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  • efgoldman

    I know they are both pastors, but how the hell didn’t they slap him upside the head?

    ETA: We gonna’ get the html formatting buttons back?

    • Judas Peckerwood

      ETA: We gonna’ get the html formatting buttons back?

      Sorry, they’ve been auctioned off to help provide a tax cut for the rich. You didn’t need them anyway.

    • Just_Dropping_By

      We gonna’ get the html formatting buttons back?

      You could just teach yourself how to do it, ya’ know?

      • Brad Nailer

        Yeah, we could but maybe we don’t want to.

      • njorl

        My brain disk is full. If I learn that I’ll have to delete something.

      • efgoldman

        You could just teach yourself how to do it, ya’ know?

        I know how to do it. It’s just one more irritating pain in the ass to deal with.

        • cpinva

          ok, i thought it was just me that somehow (don’t ask how) managed to lose them. i have taught myself some, but damn guys, i’d have to make space by removing important fishing information to do that!

      • Aaron Morrow

        I could put nails into wood without using a hammer.

        Why would I?

        • Judas Peckerwood

          With your MIND?!!! Whoa!

          • MaxUtility

            No, you use the [embed] tags

            • cpinva

              there’s an [embed] tag for hitting nails? i had no idea! and all this time i’ve been using a hammer. the things i learn on this place.

  • wjts

    …Marching as to war
    With the cross of Jesus
    Bludgeoning the poor.

  • sibusisodan

    Can someone get Trump to say his favourite hymn is ‘Gladly the cross-eyed bear’?

    • Keaaukane

      Sung to the tune of “Rudolf the red nosed reindeer”, no doubt.

    • Who would be a poor man, a beggar-man, a thief
      If he had a rich man in his hand
      And who would steal the candy
      From a laughing baby’s mouth
      If he could take it from the money man
      Gladly the cross-eyed bear goes jumping in again

      • sigaba

        There must be some kind of way outta here
        Said the joker to the thief
        There’s too much confusion
        I can’t get no relief

        Business men, they drink my wine
        Plowman dig my earth
        None were level on the mind
        Nobody up at his word
        Hey, hey

        No reason to get excited
        The thief he kindly spoke
        There are many here among us
        Who feel that life is but a joke
        But, uh, but you and I, we’ve been through that
        And this is not our fate
        So let us stop talkin’ falsely now
        The hour’s getting late, hey

        All along the watchtower
        Princes kept the view
        While all the women came and went
        Barefoot servants, too
        Outside in the cold distance
        A wildcat did growl
        Two riders were approaching
        And the wind began to howl

        • bender

          Mondegreens in that transcription. Maybe you got it from Jimi Hendrix rather than Dylan?

          “None were level on the mind
          Nobody up at his word”

          I hear that part of the lyric as

          None of them along the line (not real sure about this part)
          Know what any of it is worth

          “Barefoot servants too” is probably “Their foot servants too”

        • cpinva

          the man died wayyyyyyyyyyyy too young.

  • cleek

    there’s no reason to think every meeting Trump had during the campaign went any differently than this.

    even worse, there’s no reason to think that every meeting now has at at the WH goes any differently than this.

    the guy’s an imbecile, and that’s been obvious for years.

    • On his deathbed, I’m pretty sure Trump will be talking about his electoral map and trying to figure out if there’s a way he can present a copy of it to God when he arrives to take over Heaven.

      • cleek

        gets in line at the Pearly Gates, starts shoving people out of the way.

        • liberalrob

          My parties all have big names
          And I greet them with the widest smile
          Tell them how my life is one big adventure
          And always they’re amazed
          When I show them ’round my house, to my bed
          I had it made like a mountain range
          With a snow-white pillow for my big fat head
          And my heaven will be a big heaven
          And I will walk through the front door

          • Joseph Slater

            St. Peter!

            • Keaaukane

              “Donald Trump, your name does not appear in the Book of Life”

              NEXT, Donald in HELL!!!

              • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

                Satan is looking for loopholes.

                • cpinva

                  “Satan is looking for loopholes.”

                  nah, the check bounced.

              • NEXT, Donald in HELL!!!

                He’s FIRED!

                • weirdnoise

                  FRIED!

        • Area Man

          Refuses to enter heaven because St. Peter wouldn’t let him ride a private helicopter, insisting that he take the escalator like everyone else.

      • Brad Nailer

        Then St. Peter asks him for the map of the 2020 election, which he conveniently forgot.

  • SatanicPanic

    God works in REALLY mysterious ways.

    • tsam

      It’s almost like he’s not even there.

      • Pat

        Me, I don’t have any imaginary friends. Makes it hard to pray to anybody.

        • Aaron Morrow

          Being God isn’t easy. If you do too much, people get dependent on you. And if you do nothing, they lose hope. You have to use a light touch, like a safecracker or a pickpocket.

  • ChrisS

    I think the biggest thing that irritates me, personally, about Trump isn’t that he’s a con artist grifter, but that he doesn’t hide it well at all and people on the right either don’t see it … or don’t care.

    • aab84

      Do many Christian Trump supporters really think he’s one of them in some meaningful religious way? I thought it was mostly that he’ll get Roe overturned with a healthy dose of “he has the same resentments I do.”

      Basically, transactional with a side of grievance.

      • sergius

        Last summer Christian leaders like James Dobson were trying to claim Trump was a “baby Christian.”

        A few weeks ago Jerry Falwell Jr. said that Trump was the “dream president” for evangelicals.

        Some of my friends and family who are still in the evangelical world probably think along these lines, though some others don’t. I’m not sure how widespread it is, but it’s not just a few.

        • aab84

          But Falwell didn’t mean Trump was a dream president because of his religious beliefs, did he? Doesn’t he just (rightly) think Trump will appoint Supreme Court justices who will get a lot of the Christian Right agenda into law?

          Evangelical leaders definitely thought George W. Bush was one of them on a moral level. I haven’t seen the Dobson quote, but I’ve noticed much less of that with Trump. Not so much “he has a Christian heart” as “he’ll be good for Christians (and he has the right resentments).”

          • tsam

            If you look at modern right wing Christian leaders, you could literally rip them out of today and drop them into the height of the Inquisition and nobody would even notice.

            I agree that they see Trump as a vehicle to getting rid of the only mention of religion in the Constitution, but there’s a for-real desire to antagonize and hurt the poor and non-white and definitely the non-Christian. Also the wrong kind of Christian, and whatever else is on today’s list of heretics, apostates, infidels.

            • bender

              Most of the Inquisitors were learned men who believed they were doing God’s work. Some of the Protestant witch hunters were scam artists. Both bad, but in different ways.

          • sergius

            It’s definitely about the judges like you’re saying. Falwell said evangelicals support Trump because he will appoint “people of faith” in the government and because he will be “reuniting Israel with America.” I think he also gets a lot of credit for picking Pence with these people.

            I think you’re right also about the distinction between W and Trump. But I think Trump still gets lots of credit for every time he says anything remotely resembling evangelicalese. The only example that’s currently coming to mind is Melania’ reciting of the Lord’s Prayer. They were all over that.

            • Mike G

              My evangelical relatives were lukewarm on Trump but onboard because of Pence. Apparently Pence has the kind of rock-headed stupidity, cruelty and bible-thumping authoritarianism they want to see in government.

          • cpinva

            “Doesn’t he just (rightly) think Trump will appoint Supreme Court justices who will get a lot of the Christian Right agenda into law?”

            for Falwell, jr., Dobson, etc., this would be the worst possible outcome. their whole livelyhood depends on all of their social evils never being made legal. that’s how they get the rubes to keep sending in money. take those evils away, by making them illegal, they have to close up shop for lack of funding.

        • Derelict

          He’s a dream president for them because he pisses off liberals. That’s become their sole definition of governing. The fact that Trump has broken every commandment and remains unrepentant is a plus for them because the hypocrisy pisses off liberals.

          Cleek’s Law is all they have left.

          • farin

            He’s also incredibly racist and has a history of sexual violence, so he’s also appealing to the modal white Evangelical on a personal level.

      • JustRuss

        I have some fundigelical relatives, they’re all-in for Trump. He hates liberals and brown people, and that’s good enough for them.

      • BobOso

        As a former Evangelical, I grew up with these folks and some of my family members are still fervent Evangelicals. My take is that Evangelical Christianity has a deep thread of persecution built into it. For example, an Evangelical probably has heard the verse or verses like 2 Timothy 3:12, “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”

        If the courts say I am wrong to try and stop icky gay marriage or outlaw abortion and Muslims, then Presto! The World hates me! Hooray I am doing God’s will!

        Enter a thrice married, unfaithful, unbelieving, hedonistic, lecherous candidate who wants to stop icky gay marriage, outlaw abortion and Muslims and he gets criticized in the media over it. Well, this guy is persecuted just like me! Plus, Hillary supported abortion. So Trump is the Evangelicals’ pick. It does not make sense but that’s what a lot of these guys think.

        I also have a working theory that Evangelicals see the Invisible Hand of the Marketplace as the Holy Spirit but that is another story…

        • LosGatosCA

          Having been exposed to religious bigots all my life, my impression is that they are pretty well convinced the Old Testament god of vengeance has outsourced the judgment and retribution roles to them.

          He’s busy, lots of things happening, he needs help making sure all the sinners are getting it in the neck. And what constitutes a sinner is a pretty long, constantly changing list that conveniently adapts to whatever hate of the day, week, month, year, century, or millienium is.

          It’s only for their own good, if the Republican god of money didn’t make them male, white with well to do parents, decent job prospects and heterosexual – that’s a problem that needs to addressed in a deeply religious Soddom and Gomorrah way.

          • LeeEsq

            This distinction between the vengeful OT God and the loving NT God is one of the oldest anti-Jewish arguments in Christianity and people need to stop making it now. Christians justified persecution of the Jews for thousands of years on this premise among others. They saw themselves as trying to help Jews by getting us to abandon what they saw as our vengeful God of Law in favor of their loving Jesus of Faith. It needs to stop now.

            • bender

              Thank you. I get tired of pointing this out. You were more succinct.

              • LeeEsq

                Your welcome. It’s a very old trope that people who should know better seem to can’t resist making. Kevin Drum got called out on this a couple of years ago.

            • GeoX

              Well…the Gods ARE very different between Testaments. It’s not really deniable. Obviously we shouldn’t use the fact to persecute anyone, but if we try to pretend it’s not true, we’ll just look like crazy people.

              • LeeEsq

                Crazy to whom? Jews don’t interpret God as depicted in the Torah as vengeful though and we don’t see Jesus as more loving. Under standard Christian theology, Jesus will send you to eternal punishment in hell if you don’t get baptized. That isn’t particularly loving.

                • GeoX

                  Crazy to anyone who’s read the Bible? People interpret it how they interpret it, but you really can’t claim that the concept of God is static throughout. Indeed, it would be strange if it were, given that we’re talking about a set of texts written by different people over many years.

                • Pseudonym

                  I think many people would claim that the concept of God isn’t static throughout the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures either.

                • GeoX

                  That’s also true.

                • LeeEsq

                  As Harold Bloom would put it, God in the Tanahk is both total love and total terror.

                • As Harold Bloom would put it, God in the Tanahk is both total love and total terror.

                  In other words, the archetype of the abusive father (cf., e.g., Roethke’s My Father’s Waltz for the human-scale version).

                • UserGoogol

                  Or the New Testament, for that matter. The basic tension of Christianity is “you are horrible and deserve damnation but also deserve forgiveness” and this isn’t just the result of pulling together different texts, Jesus of the Gospels could be pretty cutthroat at times.

        • David Allan Poe

          Having a martyr complex is practically the defining personality trait of a lot of evangelicals. They fetishize the persecution of the early Christians, and it’s infected the rest of the right wing. It’s related to “arguing against me is a violation of my free speech,” and “calling me intolerant is the most intolerant thing you can do” and “talking about racism is the real racism.”

        • ASV

          Truly, theirs is a culture of victimhood.

        • The Lorax

          I’m a former evangelical, too (and current Episcopalian). I really think American evangelicals take Jesus’ statements about persecution to the disciples (who really were persecuted) was made to them, too. This is bizarre and offensive.

          This belief fosters a snowflakey culture.

          • sergius

            I see this in my evangelical Fox News watching dad. One time when he was talking about the persecution of present day American Christians, I asked him how had he been personally persecuted. He didn’t have a good answer. (btw, I’m a former evangelical and current Episcopalian, too)

        • MyOhMy

          > Holy Spirit

          I recently realized that OT “Ruach hakodesh”, which is commonly translated as “Holy Spirit”, can also be rendered as “Kamikaze.”

          FWIW, of course.

      • Mellano

        I listened to the voicemails left by racist Trump supporters for Rep. Al Green last month, and one thing that struck me was one caller’s insistence that Trump is “our wonderful, loving United States President.”

        Not that that caller identified as a Christian, necessarily — but that kind of cognitive dissonance is shared by many of his supporters. I expect it’s especially strong among those who identify strongly as Christian. Celebrity is powered by a lot of the same subconscious currents that feed religious ecstasy. And Trump’s public persona, especially, is based on force of celebrity more than any substantive ability.

        Fervent evangelical Christians can be enthusiastic about Trump not because of any supposed consistency of his values with religious creed, but because it’s acceptable and even rewarded within their communities, including their churches, to repeat his chants of “Lock her up!” and back him when he’s under attack. To participate in the religious right, you’ve got to be used to shouting along when the pastor says shout. Most likely you revel in it. You’re definitely not trying to look behind the curtain and ask whether whatever cursory doctrine and/or two minute hate is being preached at you makes sense. And if the people who are leaders in your community are saying that Trump is part of the team, you’re going to close your eyes and revel in his love and share his hatreds.

        • efgoldman

          if the people who are leaders in your community are saying that Trump is part of the team, you’re going to close your eyes and revel in his love and share his hatreds.

          This is all of a piece with the delusions and unmooring from facts and reality of the mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging, Orangemandyas-voting, racist flying monkeys.

          • Mellano

            Yeah. Another way at it … describing evangelical Trump voters as Christians who somehow squared their professed faith with Trump is coming at it backwards.

            Genus and species. Trump’s base is one big genus of hate-filled voters chanting “Lock her up” around a gold-plated calf. There’s many species within that.

      • AMK

        it’s really fucking simple– American evangelical Christianity is white nationalism, so of course they’re gonna love them some Donald Trump.

        • sergius

          I think it’s important to point out that American evangelicals aren’t all white. According to Pew Forum, evangelicals are 76% white. Among those white evangelicals, I think there is a fair amount of white nationalism. But non white evangelicals didn’t (and don’t) support Trump.

      • Area Man

        Evangelicals are capable of believing all sorts of preposterous things, so it wouldn’t surprise me if some of them have convinced themselves that Trump is truly one of their own. It’s better than admitting the truth, which is that they made a deal with the devil for the sake of power and influence.

    • scott_theotherone

      Yes. Even after everything else that’s happened since the Clenis, the rank hypocrisy of the right, especially the religious right, drives me absolutely insane.

      • LosGatosCA

        Their mission accomplished!!

    • tsam

      My Facebook feed informs me that since Beyonce exists and wears something like a one piece swimsuit ON STAGE YOU GUYS that what Donald did was her fault and the fault of all the other sluts who slut shit all the slut time. Sluts.

      (2 of the 3 people I can remember excoriating people for this were women)

    • wengler

      They don’t care because he gives them the only thing they ever wanted- a never ending reservoir of spite and liberal tears. With Trump’s approval stabilizing at around 39 percent, it looks like they are a quite significant chunk of the population too. Not a winning percentage mind you, but they don’t need to win to make life terrible for people.

    • The Great God Pan

      I’ve seen some of them claim that God is using Trump as his instrument. To them, this means Trump’s own beliefs are a moot point.

      • tsam

        Wow. Some insight as to how televangelists get so filthy fucking rich. What a racket.

      • bender

        This is an idea that actually has a strong Biblical basis. It is what some of the Hebrew prophets said about Nebuchadnezzar or whoever was the Assyrian monarch who invaded and overthrew the Kingdom of Israel. The israelites brought it on themselves by their sinful and disobedient behavior. The conquering invader was God’s instrument of punishment for breach of contract.

        This may be repellent but it was an early attempt to explain why, if God is just and merciful, bad things keep happening to good people.

    • NewishLawyer

      Don’t care for most.

      They are either committed partisans who exist to prove Cleek’s law. Or they are strategic voters who know that only tax cuts and/or the culture wars matter and they will turn a blind eye against all other things to make those issues into big wins.

    • Solar System Wolf

      My super-Evangelical high school friend believes that God is “working through” Trump. Trump is a flawed instrument, but he is God’s instrument. He knows this for a fact, just as he knows God wasn’t working through Obama. This is how he solves his cognitive dissonance.

    • Sly

      I used to, on rare occasions, think to myself, “You know, if I had a little more motivation, and far fewer scruples, I probably could have been crowned Emperor of the Universe by now.”

      Since November I’ve had that thought at least three times a day.

  • OT, but are Attewell and/or Spencer going to weigh in on Wonder Woman?

    • medrawt

      Per his RFTIT tumblr, Attewell presumably hasn’t seen it yet, and I know he was trepidatious about one aspect, which also has me hesitant about the movie – the image of Wonder Woman heroically charging across No Man’s Land does not make me want to cheer, it makes me a little sick.

      • liberalrob

        Wonder Woman in No Man’s Land…symbolic?

        Is it the WWI No Man’s Land, or something more contemporary? If they’re portraying her as having fought in WWI then I’m not sure I want to see it. Even WWII would be a stretch at this point, IMHO…

        • At least some incarnations of WW portray the character as immortal/extremely long-lived.

          • liberalrob

            And her mother and the other Amazons (many if not all) were contemporaneous with Hercules in Ancient Greece, and they still interact with the gods of Greek mythology. I get that. But if Diana is over 100 years old and thoroughly familiar with “Man’s world” it makes her a different character than if she were a more recent creation making her first foray off the island.

        • Domino

          As someone who saw Batman v Superman, they state she fought in WWI in that movie.

      • Good to know – thanks for the reply! I’ll be curious to read his review if he overcomes his reluctance to see it. My wife saw it last night with a group of women, and quite enjoyed it. I’ll probably try to get to it this weekend.

        Honestly, the imagery to which you refer didn’t raise an alarm for me — I mean, the first X-men movie features Auschwitz as a plot device. So, running across a WWI battlefield seems milder in comparison.

        • medrawt

          Someone else mentioned Magneto’s backstory as well as Captain America, when I was saying the same thing at he AVClub. My response is:

          (1) In the first X-Men movie, the child Magneto is in a concentration camp, and that’s part of his history, but his superpower is irrelevant. His backstory is that he came from a historical tragedy, but his powers don’t interact with that tragedy. The ones with Fassbender complicated that a bit I think, but I don’t remember very well.

          (2) Marvel has evolved Cap’s WWII adventures to sideline him away from the thrust of the historical war, and make him mostly about fighting the Red Skull and Hydra. As long as the Secret Occult War aspect of fictional WWII is sealed off from the real WWII, I think it’s a fine avenue for storytelling. Also Cap just isn’t that powerful; Wonder Woman would kick his ass. Portrayals of all superhero characters’ power levels vary widely over time, but in concept WW is closer to Superman than she is to a regular human, and Cap is equivalent to a very very fast (and smart and noble) gorilla. Cap can win you a commando raid, Wonder Woman could win you a battle, Superman could win you a war.

          Anyway, I’m not saying YOU should be bothered by it, only that I was (and the movie might make it work).

          • Anyway, I’m not saying YOU should be bothered by it, only that I was

            I think you are right to point it out — it’s definitely worth contemplating. WWI was a bloody, pointless horror show.

            • Scott P.

              Bloody horror show, yes. Pointless, no. German militarism had to be opposed.

            • GeoX

              Yes, I saw it and the dumbest thing about it is definitely that it goes WWI British=good; WWI German=bad. I still liked it though, more or less.

              • tsam

                I thought they did a good job of dealing with that. Shit, one of the main messages of the movie dealt explicitly with that.

      • tsam

        the image of Wonder Woman heroically charging across No Man’s Land does not make me want to cheer, it makes me a little sick.

        Can you expand on this? Is it the horror of No Man’s Land? (Like setting her on one of the nastier D-Day beaches?)

        • Yep, it’s WWI. Here’s an idiotic screed from the N.Y.Post:

          Why ‘Wonder Woman’ is less American than ever

          that will fill in some details.

          • tsam

            I ain’t clickin that, motherfucker. No way. I’m going to see that movie tonight and I don’t CARE who says what about shit. I’ve watched the trailers like 800 times, and unless they in no way represent the movie, this is going to be SO FUCKING BADASS.

            • Pat

              We might do a family night outing for her, too.

          • tsam

            Good lord. I read it anyway and now I hate myself.

            • liberalrob

              Never get out of the boat.

              Forget about it. Go enjoy the movie.

              • tsam

                I definitely will. I’m not having one bit of some fuckhead claiming Wonder Woman as being strictly “American”.

              • +1

        • medrawt

          Probably D-Day would do as well, but WWI trench warfare is sort of the apex cultural touchstone of this. I like superhero stories in the abstract (and sometimes in actuality!) but I’m sensitive to the power fantasy, and I think taking one of the most iconic moments of modern human misery and saying “a big enough badass could have just powered through and wrecked the other side’s shit!” is sort of disgusting. Everyone’s got a different radar for this sort of thing – it’s a different type of case, but I also have zero patience for “what if there really were witches at Salem?!”

          In any case, I can’t comment on how this is handled in the actual movie, because I’m reacting to three seconds of footage from one of the trailers. But there’s something about the iconography of the WWI battlefield in particular that rejects the iconography of superhuman heroics. Which doesn’t mean Wonder Woman can’t be heroing around 1917 Europe, it’s that particular image that turned me off.

          • tsam

            That’s fair. See my response below to Murc–This is only what I’ve deduced from watching trailers and reading about it, so I don’t know if I’m interpreting it correctly, but I’ll know in about 6 hours.

      • Murc

        the image of Wonder Woman heroically charging across No Man’s Land does not make me want to cheer, it makes me a little sick.

        What’s been baffling me for months on end, and I really hope the movie has a good answer for this, is why the hell are Diana and/or Themyscyra involved in WWI? Like, at all? And to the extent they are involved, why do they favor the British over the Germans?

        World War II, sure. Okay. That was an existential struggle against a truly vile evil. I could see Wonder Woman being involved in that; in fact, that’s part of the genesis of her character here in the real world!

        But… the first world war was simply a collection of shitstain imperial powers pouring the blood and treasure of their nation-states into the trenches as the penultimate brutal, insane act of the Great Game. Why the fuck would Diana take sides in that? Why would she care about making the world safe for British and French imperialism as opposed to German and Austrian imperialism? Are those questions even asked?

        • tsam

          I think I’ve pieced that together from the trailers.

          Steve Trevor crash lands near their island, Diana saves him from drowning. Trevor informs the Amazons that there is a Great War happening, and that all of humanity is in danger because of a certain German scientist who is manufacturing what appears to be a super gas weapon. (I read a mention that this was Ares).

          I think the idea was to stop that, rather than stop the war.

          In fact, judging by the multi-cultural photo we discovered in BvS, this appears to be a small squad of warriors on a special mission to take down a splinter faction (All of this sounding familiar? Like Capt America vs Hydra?)

          Will report back tomorrow.

        • NonyNony

          I haven’t seen it yet, but historically WW’s biggest foe has always been Ares. WWI is almost a perfect example of a meaningless war for the sake of war so thematically it could be a very good fit in a fight against the god of war.

          • tsam

            Something weird I read the other day–the mythological Hippolyta was the daughter of Ares, which would make him Diana’s grandfather. It’s a regular family feud.

        • N__B

          Who says she’s fighting on “our” side? Maybe she has a soft spot for the Hapsburgs.

        • I haven’t seen it yet, and I asked my wife to refrain from spoilers, so take my comment with a grain of salt. But from the few things I’ve read and heard, there seems to be a very good reason for the WWI setting that will at least partially satisfy your questions.

          ETA: lots of people have weighed in!

        • tsam

          And I’ll have to go back and look at that still again, but it just occurred to me that there might be both sides of the war represented in that photo–as if this group had put aside their differences to put a stop to Ares…

        • wjts

          What’s been baffling me for months on end, and I really hope the movie has a good answer for this, is why the hell are Diana and/or Themyscyra involved in WWI? Like, at all? And to the extent they are involved, why do they favor the British over the Germans?

          To stop Johnny Turk getting his grubby mitts on their island?

        • efgoldman

          why the hell are Diana and/or Themyscyra involved in WWI? Like, at all? And to the extent they are involved, why do they favor the British over the Germans?

          So wait! You’re exercised about historical accuracy and justification in a fantasy superhero movie?
          Maybe you need a life.

          • medrawt

            Aside from the really well-trod nature of your objection here, which depends on putting certain kinds of stories into a box and saying “it’s all nonsense anyway so who gives a shit?” (which is both kind of insulting and in my opinion gets wrong the way fiction works in general) … Wonder Woman’s first origin in the comics situates her relative to World War II. If they want to put WW in the past at all, why move her emergence from Themyscira back an extra 25 years? What’s the special juice the story gets from WWI and not WWII? (Or was it just to avoid the similarity to Captain America?) These could be creatively relevant questions.

          • liberalrob

            Maybe you need a life.

            Thank you, Mr. Shatner. For some of us, geeking out over historical accuracy and justification in order to more closely relate our favorite mythological characters to our lived reality *is* part of our “life”.

        • Scott P.

          “World War II, sure. Okay. That was an existential struggle against a truly vile evil.”

          So was WWI. Hitler’s Plan Ost was directly based on Wilhelmine Germany’s plans for its eastern territories.

          • liberalrob

            I don’t recall hearing about the Kaiser’s extensive plans for death camps to exterminate the Jews of Europe or his enslavement of Poles and Russians for forced labor.

        • econoclast

          World War One is such an obvious Wonder Woman plot that I’m surprised they’ve never done it before. Greek god Ares interferes in the affairs of humanity to start the worst war in history, because he thinks war is awesome. Diana feels that it is her duty to leave home to fight him, because Ares is from her world.

    • tsam

      I went. Can’t give anything away, but it was SO MUCH better than BvS and I loved it. I recommend seeing it for sure.

      • Right on! Looking forward to seeing it as well.

        • tsam

          I was expecting good–it surpassed my expectations.

          Has flaws for sure, but nobody has ever seen a perfect movie.

          • N__B

            GotGv2 has raised the bar for comic-book movies. “They told me you people were conceited douchebags, but you’re not like that at all.”

            • tsam

              That’s next on my list.

              • N__B

                It manages to be even sillier than the first, but it is tremendously, brainlessly enjoyable.

                • tsam

                  MY KINDA MOVIE!

                • N__B

                  During the on-screen discussion of turds, I whispered to Mrs__B “These are my people.”

  • Bitter Scribe

    Does this guy know anything about anything?

    • I’m still waiting for evidence that there is anything he knows more than one true thing about. There seem to be innumerable things that he doesn’t know any true things about.

    • corporatecake

      He might know something about golf. Not running courses or clubs. Just playing the sport.

      • tsam

        Betcha he cheats like a BOSS. That’s knowing something, I guess.

        • Nepos

          I dunno, I see Trump as more the kind of guy who openly breaks the rules (possibly because he doesn’t bother to learn them), then if he gets called on it, he either blusters or bluffs.

          I get the sense that even people who can’t be intimidated by Trump tend to let his crap slide, because its easier and less annoying than trying to confront him (since Trump never, ever admits a mistake).

          Come to think of it, not only does cheating require knowledge of the rules, it also requires the knowledge that there ARE rules. I’m not sure Trump recognizes any rules.

          • liberalrob

            Rule #1: Trump wins.

        • farin

          If you always cheat, you only have to know “Hole-in-one is good.”

          • Nepos

            Now I want to see Trump play golf against Kim Jong-Un.

            (actually, does Kim Jong-Un play golf? I know his father was a golf legend…of sorts…)

    • tsam

      If he does, he’s doing a great job of keeping it a secret.

  • You can’t cheat an honest man, so it should come as no surprise that a couple of Protestant shamans didn’t call Trump out: no doubt they were both thinking that it’d be a swell thing if the Colby Caligula joined their flock.

    • N__B

      The Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church is old main-line WASPs who dream of the days when they lorded over the rabble of the city. They consider DJT to be part of that rabble.

      • Steve LaBonne

        I was going to observe that Outside Counsel evidently doesn’t know much about mainline Protestantism, but you did it so much more eloquently.

        • I know it’s all a grift. Where they find their marks is their business.

          • Jon_H11

            This is only partially true. Evangelicals are like the scammers who call up your grandma trying to get her to wire money for a “once in a lifetime investment”. Mainlines are like certified financial advisors-they take a healthy cut of money from wealthy people to provide a service that isn’t really needed.

    • Two new Trump nicknames (thoughts?)

      Kaiser Kompromat
      Frito Fredo

  • Randy

    “I am very proud now that we have all these places where people can learn about God, so many other things, Jesus Christ is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice.”

    • eclare

      Is that a direct quote or satire? Because I honestly can’t tell anymore.

      • Randy

        Satire, based on Trump’s paean to Frederick Douglass.

        My work here is done . . .

      • Alex.S

        For a real direct quotes, see my post below–

        “Jesus to me is somebody I can think about for security and confidence. Somebody I can revere in terms of bravery and in terms of courage and, because I consider the Christian religion so important, somebody I can totally rely on in my own mind.” -Donald Trump

  • Alex.S

    CT: Every president has called upon God at some point. Lincoln spoke of not being able to hold the office of the presidency without spending time on his knees. You have confessed that you are a Christian …

    DT: And I have also won much evangelical support.

    CT: Yes, I know that. You have said you never felt the need to ask for God’s forgiveness, and yet repentance for one’s sins is a precondition to salvation. I ask you the question Jesus asked of Peter: Who do you say He is?

    DT: I will be asking for forgiveness, but hopefully I won’t have to be asking for much forgiveness. As you know, I am Presbyterian and Protestant. I’ve had great relationships and developed even greater relationships with ministers. We have tremendous support from the clergy. I think I will be doing very well during the election with evangelicals and with Christians. In the Middle East — and this is prior to the migration — you had almost no chance of coming into the United States. Christians from Syria, of which there were many, many of their heads … chopped off. If you were a Muslim from Syria, it was one of the easiest places to come in (to the U.S.). I thought that was deplorable. I’m going to treat my religion, which is Christian, with great respect and care.

    CT: Who do you say Jesus is?

    DT: Jesus to me is somebody I can think about for security and confidence. Somebody I can revere in terms of bravery and in terms of courage and, because I consider the Christian religion so important, somebody I can totally rely on in my own mind.

    From June 8th, 2016 — http://calthomas.com/node/985

    • Rob in CT

      This fuckin’ guy.

    • Brad Nailer

      CT: “But will you appoint a justice . . .”

      DT: “You bet your ass.”

      CT: “Nailed it! Er, so to speak.”

      DT: “What? Did I say something?”

    • John Revolta

      Thomas is obviously fishing for an answer here, but what answer? He’s an “evangelical” himself- I guess he’s going for, what, “the Son of God” or maybe more like “my personal Lord and Savior”?

      • blackbox

        He was fishing for an answer because Trump didn’t provide one the first time, just bragged about himself as he often does. And then he gave a generic answer, with “Christianity is really really important to me you guys” thrown in, which is obviously bullshit.

      • Alex.S

        Yes. It’s a reference to Matthew 16:13-20 (I looked it up online because I have no idea).

        The followup question was looking for two parts — Jesus’ divine origins and belief in that (not just repeating what someone has been told). I think the first time he asked it, it was just a general easy question about Trump’s relationship with his religion.

    • DaftPunk

      Fuck, I thought that was parody!

  • Just_Dropping_By

    To be fair to Trump, I’ve (a) attended a Jesuit college with a required year of religious education classes and (b) read a book (Evangelicals at the Ballot Box by Albert J. Menendez) and multiple articles over the years about evangelical Christianity’s role in American politics and society, and I still have no clue what “evangelical Christian” is supposed to mean other than “right-wing Protestant who isn’t a Mormon.”

    • John F

      Right now it’s pretty much used to describe: “right-wing Protestant who isn’t a Mormon.”

      It has alternative uses, for instance it has been used do describe “faith alone” Protestants (meaning one is saved by faith in Christ alone, not by any good acts)

      It’s also been used to describe any Christian/christian denomination that is big on proselytizing.

      • David Allan Poe

        This pretty well sums it up.

        I grew up Southern Baptist, and to my eye the difference between fundamentalism of that variety and the newer, less doctrinal evangelical Christianity is that fundamentalists make demands on the believer that evangelicals do not, because while fundies are interested in saving souls, they don’t much care about doing it in quantity. It can be hard to pin down what evangelicals believe, because they are much more interested in gaining converts than holding the converted to any doctrine more exact than “come to church, say nice things about Jesus, drop the money in the plate, and vote the right way.”

        A fundamentalist white Baptist church isn’t going to drop the organ, the staid hymns, the hectoring sermons about hellfire, the insistence on humility before the awesome power of a terrifying and judgmental God, and the disapproval of enthusiasm and dancing and tattoos and interracial relationships. An evangelical white Baptist church will get rid of all those things in a heartbeat if it gets more bodies in the door. I doubt there are many of the old-line fundamentalists left, frankly.

        • efgoldman

          because while fundies are interested in saving souls

          An evangelical white Baptist church will get rid of all those things in a heartbeat if it gets more bodies in the door.

          White fundies are interested in grifting the rubes. The white Baptist church will get rid of all those things if it nets them more money.

        • Jon_H11

          This is why I always had some begrudging respect for the fundamentalists preachers who would come to my college and preach hellfire. I mean, if you sincerely believe that everyone who isn’t converted to your religion is doomed to burn for eternity, I at least appreciate that you’d come out an try to warn us in the most extreme way possible. You’re crazy, but consistent.

          Evangelicals really just seem like they’re running an aesthetically driven fraud to get dollars and votes (for tax cuts for more dollars).

    • wengler

      I always thought that evangelicals just meant born-again types that move around a lot more in church and try to convert everyone.

      • Woodrowfan

        Evangelicals take their name from evangelizing, that is, they publicly proclaim their faith more and more publicly. If you see them wearing “I love Jesus” stuff, or they have lots of Jesus stickers on their car, or their cubicle at work has lots of Christian religious stuff, they’re probably evangelicals. Main line type (I go to a mainline church) tend to be uncomfortable with that, thinking of what Jesus said about those praying loudly on the street-corners.

        • tsam

          And for fuck’s sake don’t leave one alone with your significant other or do business with them.

          Yeah, that’s them.

        • farin

          Thinking about what Jesus said? Disgusting.

      • weirdnoise

        born-again types that move around a lot more in church

        You’re probably thinking more of the Pentecostals. Evangelicals may have guitars in their services, but people are likely as not to just sit there.

    • Jon_H11

      It pretty much does just mean that.

    • tsam

      They refuse to say “fuck” but have a giddy little giggle fit about the idea of an undesirable burning in Hell for eternity.

  • Alex.S

    A minor, but interesting, sideshow in the whole madness of Trump is watching socially conservative groups just give up. They built up their reputation on moral superiority and an appeal to religious conservatism. The mainstream media took them seriously because Republicans relied on them to establish their moral superiority (as an explanation for why they had to prevent gay marriage, for example).

    Anyways, that reputation should be completely trashed by now, based on their support for someone as irreligious as Donald Trump. Any appeals to a “moral majority” should obviously be ignored, based on their support for someone like Trump.

    • efgoldman

      that reputation should be completely trashed by now, based on their support for someone as irreligious as Donald Trump.

      Hypocrisy is a hell of a drug.

    • John F

      Those groups have always been vile hypocrites, and most people outside their denominations pick up on it immediately- nothing has really changed.

      Ever read the Gospels? How is Trump any less Christian than Jerry Falwell or Franklin Graham? He’s not- how is he different from them? He’s not a prude, they are. That’s it. He’s exactly the type of person these people have always been attracted to, only he’s less of a hypocrite actually.

      • John Revolta

        Ever read the Gospels? How is Trump any less Christian than Jerry Falwell or Franklin Graham?

        Answered your own question there, I think.

      • Nepos

        I would re-word your question to read, how are Falwell and Graham MORE Christian than Trump? Because I’m not sure it’s actually possible to be less Christian than Trump.

        The answer, of course, is that they aren’t more Christian, because while they might be marginally less evil, they are far more hypocritical.

      • The Great God Pan

        Falwell and Graham believe or pretend to believe that there is more to being Christian than to rooting for a particular sports team. Trump is pretty clear about treating it as a tribal identity with no actual content.

        When Trump was asked if he had ever asked Christ for forgiveness, which is really the entire purported point of Christianity, his answer was, “I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don’t bring God into that picture. I don’t.” Proclaiming that you don’t need God’s forgiveness is pretty unusual for a Christian.

      • Alex.S

        There is value in an individual or organization stating their ideals, even if they fail to live up to them. They represent a target for that group (and for others who admire that group) and something to be measured against and strive towards.

        If that group or individual supports someone who ignores their ideals, they should be able to explain that support. I don’t really have a problem with hypocritical support along the lines of “We don’t agree with these faults of theirs, but we need to support them for this reason.”

        The problem for the socially conservative organizations is that their method of operation has always been about pretending to be non-partisan and coincidentally supporting the Republican party’s members. And they papered over the hypocrisy by pointing to “He’s a good man” or “He’s asked for forgiveness” or whatever.

        But now, they have nothing. They can’t say Trump is a good man. They can’t say he asks for forgiveness. They can’t say he’s religious and means well. So now, they just shrug and hope no one asks why they support him.

  • petesh

    Ed Kilgore wrote a piece a couple of days ago titled “In the Trump Era, America Is Racing Toward Peak Polarization.”
    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/05/in-the-trump-era-america-is-racing-toward-peak-polarization.html
    (My HTML skills, never strong, have atrophied.)

    One key sentence:

    After the president’s first overseas trip, his job-approval ratings rose. But so, too, did the percentage of Americans who want impeachment proceedings against him to begin posthaste.

    Something has to crack. I’m not sure what it’s going to be, but to quote HRC the other day, I’m leaning to Trump.

    • liberalrob

      <a href=”url-goes-here”>link text</a>

    • wengler

      If Trump cracked into a million pieces like a cartoon character to be vacuumed up by the White House cleaning crew, it would surprise me but not surprise surprise me.

      • farin

        The existence of a White House cleaning crew would surprise me a little, tbh.

        • tsam

          They have a “cleaning crew” now. Like “plumbers”, see?

    • For what it’s worth, Trump’s job-approval ratings rose in one particular poll. 538 shows Trump’s approval and disapproval being essentially flat for the last 2 weeks.

  • Daglock

    Jeebus. Somebody get me a drink.

  • sibusisodan

    I just learned that there are these things in the US called Christian Healthcare Sharing Ministries.

    It’s like having health insurance, but without external regulation, no coverage of preexisting conditions and forced dependence on those charity of your fellow believer.

    My mind is still boggling that this even exists.

    Buzzfeed writeup here. Money quote:

    > Jesus, after all, never asked about pre-existing conditions.

    • N__B

      “Who among you does not have plausible deniability about having sinned?”

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