November 19, 2017

I won’t talk about the election, but I will say this

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My main point: I think we should stop saying “It’s OK. God is on the throne.”

• Ryan Patrick McLaughlin

• • •

I have determined not to make the election a topic of conversation with anyone, at least at this point. As for me, it is time to just get back to living and doing my best to love God and neighbor. We have just been through 18 months of too much fruitless talk already.

I’m not burying my head in the sand. I don’t think everyone should take this position. I will continue to be interested as a citizen in what is happening and how things develop with the new administration and in various political contexts. There may be a few people with whom I’ll break my silence along the way, in personal contexts, face to face, if I think we can have a thoughtful and helpful discussion.

However, there is one thing I will continue to talk about, and that’s my post-evangelicalism and why I am where I am. And in the context of this recent campaign and election season, there are a few things to be said.

My post-evangelicalism became exponentially more POST- through this season. Evangelicals have been behaving badly, in my opinion, and I have moved as far away from them as I’ve ever been as an adult.

Please, let me keep my definitions clear. When I use the word “post-evangelical” I am saying I have moved beyond the culture of American evangelicalism. I wrote about this in a 2014 post called, “It’s the Culture.”

…For many post-evangelicals like me, it is the culture that became a primary problem. When I say I am in the wilderness, I certainly don’t mean I’ve lost my faith. I have lost my “world,” my “culture.” I don’t fit any more. Some of us may agree with one tradition more than another when it comes to beliefs; we may even feel perfectly comfortable with a simple, basic set of evangelical doctrines as the content of our “faith.” But its forms can no longer sustain us.

So, here we are a few days after the election, and what do I hear people from this evangelical culture, this world, saying?

“It’s OK. God is still on the throne.”

“God is still in control.”

“No matter what happens, God is still the King.”

“God is still sovereign, and his will will be done.”

“God lifts up and casts down rulers; he’s in charge!”

“We must not put our trust in people. The battle is the Lord’s.”

This from the crowd that emphasizes that each person must make a personal choice to accept Jesus into one’s heart, and that all of our choices as human beings can have significant, even eternal consequences.

“GOD IS STILL ON THE THRONE” — these words may represent the epitome of evangelicalism’s cliché culture.

Ryan Patrick McLaughlin over at Intellectual Takeout puts a magnifying glass on these shallow words and finds them wanting.

Leading up to the election and on election day, I repeatedly encountered people calming their fears by saying, “It’s OK. No matter what happens, God is still on the throne.”

I identify as a Christian, but I find this sentiment unhelpful and troubling.

“It’s OK. God is still on the throne.”

What does that mean? That no harm will befall people?

  • When Nazi Germany was slaughtering Jews and other non-Aryans.
  • When America engaged in the Tuskegee experiments.
  • The Rwanda genocide.
  • September 11, 2001.
  • The 2004 tsunami in Indonesia.

God being on the throne is far from a guarantee that no harm will befall us.

McLaughlin goes on to debunk the intellectual twists that often accompany these trite and ultimately meaningless expressions.

  • It’s providence, right? It means God will always work things for good, right? But if “God directs the world as God sees fit, and we just have to trust that it’s all for the good,” is that really a satisfying answer for the sufferer? And what does “good” mean, and when will we ever see that? And am I supposed to do anything or just wait?
  • But people also have free will, right? It is little comfort to one suffering if God is on the throne yet does nothing in the face of human freedom to choose evil.
  • God is omnipotent, but that doesn’t mean he uses his power to coerce people, does it? If God somehow “rules” but does not coerce humans, what power does he actually have over those who are set on causing suffering?
  • It’s eschatology, isn’t it? — God will ultimately put things right. Great. But does that mean whatever happens now is simply okay because God is working toward some ultimate good?

Ryan McLaughlin summarizes his point:

My main point: I think we should stop saying “It’s OK. God is on the throne.” If anything, we should say it is not OK. We should cry out for justice from God like the prophets and psalmists did in their lamentations. “Rouse yourself! Why do you sleep, O Lord? Awake, do not cast us off forever! Why do you hide your face? Why do you forget our affliction and oppression? For we sink down to the dust; our bodies cling to the ground.  Rise up, come to our help.  Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love.” (Psalm 44:23-26)

Once again, it’s the world that claims to be the most “Bible-believing” that appears to be the least formed by the actual words and perspectives of scripture.

People in the world of evangelicalism insulate themselves from reality by such shallow Christianese. It doesn’t actually help anybody to say, “It’s okay, God is still on the throne.” It’s akin to saying, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill” (James 2:15). It also doesn’t even mean anything when you stop and think about it. It is a sentence full of empty, impotent words.

“God is still on the throne” is just another one of those tribal sayings that lets us know we made the team. We’re accepted members of the right world. We’re on the right side. Phrases like this are “secret handshakes” that let us in the door and reassure us that we’re on good terms with the players in the room. We wear it as a badge of political correctness that protects us from suspicion and trouble, a passport that gives us free access throughout the kingdom.

It’s also a comforting mantra that assuages our deep fear that God may actually not be on the throne. Or indeed, that there may not even be a “throne” in any way we can truly grasp.

But we would never say that, would we?

Comments

  1. Dan from Georgia says:

    Thanks for making me think Chaplain Mike about the cliche phrase “God is still on the throne”. I have said that myself. Good write-up here and thought-provoking.

    • I have too, Dan.

      • senecagriggs says:

        I’ve known for decades that God is “still on the throne” is no guarantee of a pain free, nice life. It is not always clear what God’s specific will is [ outside of Scripture ] but I take comfort in the fact that WHOEVER is the King/President, they ultimately serves God’s purposes REGARDLESS of whether they are a good ruler or a bad ruler. Within the providence of God, good things happen to good people, but also evil things happen to God’s people. As a staunch Evangelical I affirm with Job –

        [ Job 42 ]
        1Then Job replied to the lord:
        2“I know that you can do anything,
        and no one can stop you.

        3You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’
        It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about,
        things far too wonderful for me.

        4You said, ‘Listen and I will speak!
        I have some questions for you,
        and you must answer them.’

        5I had only heard about you before,
        but now I have seen you with my own eyes.

        6I take back everything I said,
        and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.”

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          > Within the providence of God, good things happen to good people,
          > but also evil things happen to God’s people

          I mean this with all Respect – – – but you are saying the “providence of God” is worthless. What is the difference between the Providence of God and “whatever happens to happen”?

        • I don’t believe in the book of Job. I don’t find it helpful or true at all.

          • You don’t believe the book exists, or you don’t believe the words that are written, or you believe it’s fiction not fact…?

            • I don’t believe Job ever lived, that the god he spoke to exists, that that god or any other created the world, or that even as parable or analogy that it is in any way wise or helpful.

              • So you don’t think the message”When someone is suffering, don’t sit there asking them ‘What did you do to deserve this'” is valid?

                • I don’t think the message “you have no right to question why your suffering ’cause I’m more powerful than you” is valid.

                  Especially when the more-powerful entity very explicitly *caused* that suffering himself and could have fessed up and apologized for doing so whenever he wanted.

        • David Cornwell says:

          Hmm, sorry but I don’t understand how any of this helps. Must be just me…

          • It’s not just you. Christians and Jews all seem to think Job is this wise humane story. But it isn’t.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      I’ve got a similar attitude towards other Christianese pious platitudes.

      “You have a saying [insert saying here].
      We also have a saying: PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS!”
      — Babylon-5

  2. And we are still his body here on earth.

    • But didn’t you hear Franklin Graham? God finally “showed up” because Trump won. It’s all good now. White conservative middle class Americans can rest easy now that God showed He’s on the Throne.

      • While Obama has governed, it’s been all wretched urgency; now that The Bully is headed to the Oval Office, it’s “Chill: God is in control”. I’m hoping and praying for the beginning of a new 60s style protest movement, one with legs motivated by the recognition among many of us that this Bully is a greater threat to this country than terrorism has ever been; I’m hoping and praying that the protests and civil unrest we’ve been seeing over the last couple of days is the birth pangs of that movement. If I were a young man, I know where I’d be right now, with those young people in the streets. Things are not okay; it is not the season of peace; it’s time to take to the streets. God is in exile in the streets, not the sanctuaries and sacred enclosures of home and temple.

        • Ok, but what do the protests accomplish? What incentive do the opposed people (in this case Trump) have to listen to the protesters? Especially when the protests come from areas that didn’t vote for the protested people and when the protests often lead to vandalism and looting?

          (Maybe it isn’t always this way but living in California – which, if I remember correctly you do too – protests seem like a counterproductive way of trying to get changes made at a federal level)

          • Brianthedad says:

            The protestors are feeding the sentiment that elected him, I’m afraid.

            • Adam Tauno Williams says:

              I agree. It is a frustrating failing in both the Left and the Alt-Right – that Righteousness trumps Results [no pun intended]; how important it is to be perfectly Morally Correct regardless of the consequences. Theologians come in many stripes and colors, all of them are bad.

              • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                Righteousness trumps Results [no pun intended]; how important it is to be perfectly Morally Correct regardless of the consequences.

                Citizen Robespierre, Comrade Pol Pot, and Mullah Omar would agree.
                (As would on a much lesser scale the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.)

            • What “sentiment” are you referring to exactly? Please explain.

            • –> “The protestors are feeding the sentiment that elected him, I’m afraid.”

              Exactly. And thus the irony.

              And a thought occurs to me: what if Trump becomes what people feared he would become AS A RESPONSE TO THEIR OWN ACTIONS!?!?!

              You can’t make this stuff up.

              • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                And a thought occurs to me: what if Trump becomes what people feared he would become AS A RESPONSE TO THEIR OWN ACTIONS!?!?!

                My other East Coast contact in the Lehigh Valley (center of PA’s rustbelt) has reported overhearing similar sentiments regarding the Black Lives Matter protests-turned-violent. Opinions to put the riots down By Any Means Necessary to protect us. This was several weeks ago, but the sentiment could easily be refocused onto the next target.

                My contact also explained an anomaly in the Congressional election maps for PA — state solid red except for blue over Pittsburgh, Greater Philadelphia, and the Lehigh Valley. (Pitts & Philly I can understand — major cities — but LHV isn’t that built up.) He said with the steel mills turned into casinos, Bethlehem (the main city in LHV) is now primarily a college town.

                (And the local oral history book my contact’s written and is currently shopping around has one anecdote about local rich kid Activists from Bethlehem’s private colleges coming onto The Steel trying to preach Marxist-Leninist Worker’s Paradise Come the Revolution to the steelworkers — including one (subject of the anecdote) who’d lost his entire family to Stalin’s Purges. Wonder if we’re seeing the remnants of that or a similar dynamic re college kid attitudes turning the LHV blue instead of Red.)

          • David Cornwell says:

            It depends on the nature of the protests. Non-violent, peaceful protests are helpful expressions of free speech. Violence and destruction are counter productive. I’ve witnessed peaceful protests that, under police protection, were pretty impressive. Places: Chicago; London. (not in connection with the present election)

        • Christiane says:

          what concerns me is this:

          I HOPE that the Trump voters mostly wanted ‘a change’ without the gruesome Trumpisms attached (racism, mysogyny, Islamophobia, the usual suspects);

          HOWEVER,
          I fear that more than a few of his voters will see his election as a mandate to go out and BULLY those Trump targeted in his rants …….. this is the most depressing thinking I am having OTHER THAN worrying about his inability to handle the responsibility of nuclear weapons

          an old American trait is needed:
          vigilance

          we need to keep watch and when he tweets something blaming ‘the media’ because people are protesting his hate speech,
          we need to let him know that what he sows he will also reap …… not only in the protests against his hate speech but in the brutal actions of those who see his hate speech as a green light to attack our citizens who are ‘different’ from them

          and we also need another American trait:
          resolve

          resolve to hold on to our rights under the law in the face of those who would remove those rights from us

          And then, there’s COURAGE: not to ‘look away’ when our own American minority citizens are attacked; if enough of us stand BY THEM, it will make a difference

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            We are getting reports of neo-Nazi types viciously cyberbullying and trolling Hillary supporters on social media, egged on by various neo-Nazi websites. Don’t know whether this is just crazies having their 15 minutes of fame or an actual trend.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            I HOPE that the Trump voters mostly wanted ‘a change’ without the gruesome Trumpisms attached (racism, mysogyny, Islamophobia, the usual suspects);

            Just like the Tea Party types I’ve known (the rank-and-file, not the ones in front of the microphones), that describes the rank-and-file Trump voters I’ve known. However, the True Believer Crazies are out there and will try to throw their new-found weight around. As my above comment related, neo-Nazi types are already pulling internet harassment trolls (but so far nothing more than extremely nasty cyberbullying — much safer for the troll than trying it in person).

            I remember similar (but much less potentially-violent) actions from Obama supporters when he won in 2008; especially one “alcohol was involved” incident where a guy started punching out cops on the streets of Chicago because “I can get away with it now! Obama! Obama! Obama!”

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          While Obama has governed, it’s been all wretched urgency; now that The Bully is headed to the Oval Office, it’s “Chill: God is in control”.

          Or “HOORAY! WE WIN!”

          • The opposite is true, too.

            Obama won! This country is awesome!!!
            Oh, No!! Trump! We’re all doomed!!!

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

              You always get the True Believers cheering in triumph when their side (real or imagined) wins big.

              I keep thinking of the Libertarians who after elections point to a Libertarian elected third assistant dogcatcher somewhere and crowing over it as “the First Victory in The Libertarian Triumph Which Will Sweep the Nation!!!!!”

      • And after watching the spectacle of one “principled conservative” after the other bending down to kiss the ring of their victorious Bully over the last couple of days, I can promise that as part of my personal protest I will never vote for another member of their Party (I regret having done so in the past).

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          > I will never vote for another member of their Party

          Which means they have no motivation to reach out to you.

          I previously voted for R-MI senator Vern Ehlers; he was a good guy. It could happen again – all they need to do is come with real ideas concerning actual problems, and stop insulting my neighbors.

        • Robert,
          I thought you would be sympathetic to the widening gap in income of the upper class from the middle to lower class. PA is the rust belt pushback.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Remember the Congressional electoral maps for PA — sold red except for blue corresponding to the sites of Pittsburgh, Greater Philadelphia, and the Lehigh Valley. My contact in a very rural part of PA said he had never seen a voter turnout in his area like last Tuesday. Country vs City, on steroids.

          • I live in South Central PA, in the rust belt. I work a blue collar job in a medical distribution center. The election of Trump, and the elevation of the Republican Party remade in his image, will in no way help the working class. It’s suicidal act on the part of working-class whites. They’ve been suckered yet again by the Republicans, along with the evangelicals. I sympathize with the legitimate grievances of working-class people; I suffer from the same things they do, since I’m one of them. But they’ve picked the wrong remedy; they will end up worse than they started after taking it. It’s snake oil.

      • I acknowledge that I’m speaking from strong emotions, and I may be over-reacting. I do believe that protest against The Bully is important, but it must be measured and thoughtful, not impulsive and destructive. I do not support violence in any form against The Bully or his cadre; the other side is better at that game than anyone else, and they will win, which (aside from its questionable morality) makes it at the very least a losing tactic

        • Robert, Please read what Amy Welborn had to say.

          Basically, this: If the election of the head of the executive branch sends you spinning and feeling distraught because the president doesn’t represent your values and moves you to disrupt your life to cry out #NotMyPresident! …the presidency is too important to you. It’s become an idol.

          It is possible to have high expectations of our leaders’ competence and abilities without deifying them or expecting them to embody your personal values and be crushed and outraged and moved to violence and hatred when they don’t.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            And that viral video I’ve cited elsewhere on this thread shows what happens when your idol comes crashing down.

          • I expect my leaders not to publicly bully and humiliate anyone. Habitual and uninhibited public bullying of others disqualifies them for leadership. I expect them to be civilized in this matter. If you think that’s too much to ask, then you and I have a serious difference of opinion.

            If you go back and read carefully, you will see that I nowhere condone violence or hate.

        • I am upset that a whole generation of young men and women are under the impression that to get on the same page as God you better vote for a particular candidate. It makes me sick. They have no idea of the wedge they have put in between God and people with different political beliefs other than conservative. I am seeing it first hand.

          • –> “I am upset that a whole generation of young men and women are under the impression that to get on the same page as God you better vote for a particular candidate.”

            Yes, Joel. And it’s not just young men and women, it’s a very large swath of Evangelicals.

            One of the more heartening things of this whole damned election was that for the first time ever I saw some solid Republican Christians question voting for the R candidate. (The disheartening thing being that the R candidate was so flawed that it caused that kind of reflection.)

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        And Franklin can now spend a night in the Lincoln Bedroom.

        • That Other Jean says:

          I hope that Lincoln’s ghost (who has, supposedly, been seen there) shows up and tells him off for daring to call modern Republicans “The Party of Lincoln.”

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      The most generous interpretation I can find for God-‘Still’-On-The-Throne nonsense is that I should have the Moral Quality not to care; Love thy neighbor but have the wisdom to know their suffering is inconsequential.

      I have lived with a clinically identified sociopath … I get why a definition like this would work for him. But he is sick.

  3. Two posts ago I made a comment where I was trying, not very well, to say exactly what you have stated so eloquently here. Thank you for articulating much of what I was unable to.

    I’ve been seeing the “no matter who is president, Jesus is King” stuff, and some Piper quote about how all of this will just be a footnote in history. What came to my mind was any number of historical atrocities and I thought to myself, “well, God was on the throne then too, but we sure managed to make a fine mess of things.”

    These kind of empty statements are to me the evangelical, sugary version of Islamic fatalism. In-sha-allah: God willing.

    It’s trite nonsense that completely ignores free will, our role as agents of God’s kingdom, and so much more. Lord have mercy.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > all of this will just be a footnote in history

      To someone who cannot get medical care for their child: Don’t worry, soon she will only be a footnote in history.

      > It’s trite nonsense

      It is way beyond trite; it is either narcissism or cowardice.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        To someone who cannot get medical care for their child: Don’t worry, soon she will only be a footnote in history.

        But that doesn’t matter — Was She SAVED(TM)?
        (Her SOUL(TM), not her.)

        Gospel of Personal Salvation and ONLY Personal Salvation + It’s All Gonna Burn Anyway + Entropy over Time = that’s the result.

    • That Other Jean says:

      This “God is in control.” speech from some Evangelicals seems to me to be the ultimate “God did it, so it’s all OK, and I’m off the hook for whatever happens.” excuse. Human beings are not God’s puppets. We have free will, and with free will comes responsibility for our own actions. Whatever happened, we did it, and we’re responsible for the outcome.

      • That Other Jean says:

        Edited to add, since I just read birdman’s story of the hailstorm, “acts of nature excepted.” Even there, though, humans are ultimately responsible for how they react to them–whether they band together and help restore each other, or act entirely in their own interests.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        This “God is in control.” speech from some Evangelicals seems to me to be the ultimate “God did it, so it’s all OK, and I’m off the hook for whatever happens.” excuse.

        Just like “In’shal’lah…” has caused all these problems for Islam throughout its history. Predestination/”God Willed It” as passivity and excuse machine.

  4. Thanks for this CM.

  5. Burro [Mule] says:

    “The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’S: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.”

    Ps. 115.15

    God is on the throne, but He delegates, and holds accountable.

  6. It’s a shaming thing to say to someone… God doesn’t care about your emotions. He cares about his “reign” and about what you do, so stop whining and get back to being God’s peon in the earthly coal mines. This fits in well with an authoritarian worldview. On the other hand, I believe God made each of us as a vessel of delight: someone he could love for no reason other than that he made us and made us wonderfully. He delights to invite us into the love he has shared with his son from eternity. And that includes hearing all our emotions and pains. I serve God out of love, not out of fear. It’s easy to see why those who serve God out of fear would vote for a man whose rhetoric simultaneously stirs up fear and promises to end it.

    • –> “It’s a shaming thing to say to someone… God doesn’t care about your emotions. He cares about his ‘reign’ and about what you do, so stop whining and get back to being God’s peon in the earthly coal mines. ”

      Good perception. Yes, there’s a bit of “shame” to the idea.

      I also think that many of the people who pull out trite Christian cliches (God is in control; God has a plan for your life…Jeremiah 29:11 says so!) are really only trying to comfort themselves.

  7. Thanks CM for these words…

    I grew up on a farm, and I’m reminded of the time when I was a child and I walked with my grandfather to one of the fields. I must have been about 5 years old or so.

    I remember my grandfather looking out over the field and saying to me, “Wayne, we just need one more good rain and soon after that we’ll be ready to harvest this field. There’s a good soaking rain on the way, let’s get back up to the house before we get wet.”

    A few hours later, we returned to that same spot, and looked out over the field. The crop had been almost completely destroyed by baseball sized hail.

    With tears rolling down his face, my grandfather looked down at me and said, “Wayne, God is still on the Throne.”

    I guess I share that to say that there can be a context in which that phrase isn’t a cliche. That context is usually from a person…with tears rolling down their face, and snot running out of their nose.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      And notably: there is no context when someone posts “God is still on the Throne” to Facebook or Twitter – typically overlaid on a pretty picture.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Hard to go into depth in 140 characters or less on impulse straight from the smartphone screen.

        I think what we’re hearing in this context is a lot of Thoughtstopper mantras and buzzword phrases getting rewordgitated by reflex.

    • To exhaust another cliché; for everything there is a time, I guess.

    • Your grandfather expressed true human feeling in his expression, something that is notably missing in most evangelical cliché language. His tears and tone of voice and demeanor gave his words human context, authenticity, and weight. He was lamenting and trying his best to hold on to his faith. That’s real. It almost doesn’t matter what words we use if we are real like that.

      • Yes. Spoken to himself, to comfort himself…it’s a good thing. He was feeling real human emotion and suffering.

        It’s when it’s trotted out all the time, especially when OTHERS are the ones suffering (Hitler, tragic accidents), that it becomes problematic.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Remember Job’s Counselors: It’s always those who have NEVER been there who are first with the pious platitude advice for those who ARE.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        He was lamenting and trying his best to hold on to his faith.

        And CM has written before about Lamentation being a vanished genre.

  8. I keep hearing people say, after the election, God is still king. God is in control. It’s ok God is still on the throne. I can only imagine when God hears people saying these things, he shakes his head and thinks, “your missing the point”. The God that I know and love did not come to earth to rule it, but he came to forgive our sins, to draw us closer to him. I am so looking for award to Advent this year to remind myself of this. To remind myself that Jesus came to earth lowly in a manager. That he lived the majority of his life quietly as a carpenter. And when he began his ministry he chose fishermen, a tax collector, and the doubters to help him. Jesus didn’t come to be king and to rule the world, but to show us what God’s love means. To show us how to love our neighbor. To be a humble example for us to follow. But before Advent starts we celebrate “Christ the King” Sunday. And I’m struggling with the dichotomy of this.

  9. Iain Lovejoy says:

    In saying God will triumph eventually we overlook that this has been so far and looks like is going to be at the end of a long, hard road, and I would have thought it not exactly sensible to be serenely smug about it when the road suddenly looks a lot longer and a lot harder.
    Worse still, when we say God will make everything right in the end we forget that this doesn’t mean God will remake the world to our satisfaction, but remake us to his, and one thing I doubt is to his satisfaction is exactly the kind of smug complacency in the face of sin and suffering that “It’s OK, God is on his throne” embodies. I doubt somehow that if we expect to sit back and let divine room service sort our problems for us, the way God will act to make things right will necessarily be terribly fun.
    “God is on his throne. Things are most definitely not OK.”

  10. Patrick Kyle says:

    I am literally shocked at how sane, smart people I know, have jumped head first into irrational panic and fear, claiming all sorts of outlandish things are going to happen. While I disagree with many (most?) on these threads, I don’t think you guys are stupid or ignorant. That said, I am simply dumbfounded by the panic and hyperbole that feeds on itself and is whipping segments of the population into a blind panic driven meltdown. People that dismiss my concerns as tin foil hat conspiracy theories have cooked up outlandish and unreasonable doomsday scenarios and act as if the Stasi will be kicking down their doors to take them ‘to the camps’ or to deportation any minute. C’mon people. The government at local, state and federal levels is still intact. Law enforcement is uninterrupted. Assault, sexual and otherwise, is still against the law and a prosecutable offense. So is discrimination. No one is going to camps or jail (well, violent protesters will probably land in jail.) IF, it comes to deportations, it won’t happen for awhile, and I think it it will be on a much smaller basis than even Trump supporters expect. The inauguration is over two months away, and the Trump administration will take months to get up to speed, even then any change will be slow and tempered by Congress and Trump’s new cabinet. It is not the end of the world

    • Ronald Avra says:

      Yes, it is not the end of the world. Democrats hold a significant number of senate seats and will moderate the more extreme exertions of the Trump administration. Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate Majority Leader, has cautioned about overlarge expectations.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        > Yes, it is not the end of the world

        No, it is not. But for some populations it is going to feel like it is.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        I remember “overlarge expectations” (and fears) in the other direction when Obama was elected in 2008.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      “””it comes to deportations, it won’t happen for awhile, and I think it it will be on a much smaller basis than even Trump supporters expect.”””

      I am sorry to say but your general statements trumped by specifics. I was talking to an immigration attorney and some others yesterday – Kris Kobach is guaranteed a position in the Trump administration, most likely at the secretary level. There is already a 76 point plan; I’ve seen it. The primary guiding principle of the points of the plan is what can be carried out with executive privilege. This is Mr. Kobach’s life-long passion; and he is an intelligent, capable, efficient, and well-connection person – he has been studying this for more than a decade.

      You are wrong.

    • Good post and I agree. Too much hand wringing for no real cause. Why don’t we wait and see instead of panicking.

    • Perhaps the deportations WILL take awhile. Like that matters.

      It hasn’t taken ANY time at all, though, for middle schoolers to begin chanting “Build that wall!” – see Royal Oak Middle School and reports of many others. I don’t see much commentary on this from the right in terms of why this is happening NOW.

      But this is not an anomaly. This is not a one-off from our president elect’s agenda and tone.

      It is a normalization of what has been present all along in the guise of getting rid of “political correctness”.

      That is why this is concerning.

    • ” violent protesters will probably land in jail”

      Evidence from the Malheur verdict suggests strongly otherwise.

    • Patrick, did you have any fear or anxiety during Obama’s eight year reign? Were you able to take this same approach that you’re teaching us here?

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        You know, the prophesied “Obamanation of Desolation”?
        (Can’t use that pun much longer…)

      • .Patrick Kyle says:

        Rick Ro, Hell yes I did. I thought we were on the verge of full blown Communism. That did not turn out to be true. It was better AND worse than I thought. Better in that most of Obama’s stuff wasn’t passed, and he seemed to be less than effective as a leader. Worse by far in ways I did not see until they unfolded. Prime example would be putting the taxpayers on the hook for the 2008 financial meltdown with the ‘bailout.” Also, stuff like Fast and Furious and the politicization of the DOJ and IRS, also think governmental corruption, Hillary and Lois Lerner’s emails, the money to Iran for hostages and the crappy deal with Iran, etc. Hey, I still got to cling to my folk religion and them thar guns for solace and protection. So did the doom and gloom come true? Yes and no, and there was no need for panic.

        • .Patrick Kyle says:

          In all fairness the bailout was pretty much a done deal when Obama took office, but he did not fight it or speak against it, so you and I get to pay it off via our taxes. I was PISSED about it.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      That said, I am simply dumbfounded by the panic and hyperbole that feeds on itself and is whipping segments of the population into a blind panic driven meltdown. People that dismiss my concerns as tin foil hat conspiracy theories have cooked up outlandish and unreasonable doomsday scenarios and act as if the Stasi will be kicking down their doors to take them ‘to the camps’ or to deportation any minute.

      In an Age of Extremes like today, the Crazies will always be first and loudest and Crazy is contagious.

      I remember similar panic reactions to Obama, Bush 43, Clinton, Reagan, Nixon. Which reaction depends on whether My Guy won or lost. I chalk it up to the Extreme Everything you find everywhere today.

  11. It seems like so many just want to “pick on” Evangelicals because it’s en vogue among supposed intellectual Protestants. The point is “though the wrong seems oft’ so strong/ God is the ruler yet.” Our response to political events, from stark tragedy like the Holocaust to the (hopefully benign) election of Trump, is not a response made out of misplaced hope. Our response must be made in the context of the presence of God’s Kingdom. That is to say our actions are now to fulfill the request we make daily, “Let thy will be done.” Since God is still in control, we are still called to love Him, love our neighbors, and to forgive our enemies. Nothing in that regard has changed. Obviously that doesn’t make us immune to sadness, lament, anger, or even gladness; it is a reminder that our identity as citizens of another Kingdom has not changed. Can cliches be used inappropriately? Of course. But is it inappropriate to use a statement like “Jesus is King” as a reminder of our identity in the current of political waves? I hope not.

    If the point of this post is to somehow insinuate that Jesus Christ is not currently reigning as King, then we have all kinds of Biblical and theological problems.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > is it inappropriate to use a statement like “Jesus is King” as a reminder of our
      > identity in the current of political waves?

      No. But I do not see it being used that way, primarily. Nothing is new or unique here – I have heard this statement used at funerals too – the point is that most often when it is used it feels like someone telling someone else to shut up. It felt that way at my own father’s funeral. The statement is an easy way to run away from someone else’s suffering or fear.

      > If the point of this post is to somehow insinuate that Jesus Christ …

      The point is, most often IMNSHO, not to “insinuate” but to “insulate” [ourselves.].

      • I suppose I fall on the side of having a charitable hermeneutic here. What we perceive as empty cliches can be hurtful, of course, but in this case, such statements should at best be calls to remember who we are as the Church. I’m sure people are using this shallowly, but I don’t think that is universal. Some really are saying, “Let’s be in this together, because we are subjects of a greater King.”

    • To say the battle is over and Christ has won, etc is NOT to say there won’t be challenges along the way, but that God is with us. I’ve had a very challenging 5 years: stroke, broken back, husband dying, losing my career, my son having a near-fatal blood infection in his spinal column. But God was with me the whole time, holding me up, carrying me as necessary. He is teaching us about love, compassion, fortitude so that we can be there for our neighbor. Christianity is not an insurance policy where you go to church to ensure life is problem free. I’m a far better person than I was 5 years ago and I’m full of joy because God is with me. And I can’t wait to share the good news with everyone in a way that doesn’t threaten them but to convey that God loves them.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Christianity is not an insurance policy where you go to church to ensure life is problem free.

        And those “spiritual giants(TM)” who say so have NEVER been there. Who NEVER had anything bad personally happen to them that “five fast Praise-the-LOORDs” couldn’t handle. (Remember Job’s Counselors?)

  12. Burro [Mule] says:

    I am less concerned about God’s being on the throne than I am concerned about whether the news media is still on the “throne”. I really, really, really have no idea where to get any reliable information. My usual ‘go-to’ source, Univision, which historically had been more objective than the Anglo news channels, came out strongly in favor of Hillary Clinton this election season, and became CNN with a deeper tan and better looking weathergirls.

    I hate to say it, but I probably wouldn’t have been so surprised by Trump’s victory if I had followed election news feeds on 4chan or Breitbart. Journalism is all but dead, and the best we can do is triangulation.

    • +1
      Objective journalism and reporting is dead. Subjectivity and opinion is truth. I have to read several sources both conservative and liberal to get a merged “truth”.

    • We had media split Canada almost fatally in the 1970s.

      The media came out with a story that French Canada wanted bilingual air-traffic control in all Canada. The English media blew the issue up to be something very big, The pilots professional association finally grounded every plane in the country, and the world quit flying to Canada. It went on for weeks.

      French Canada was offended and separatism was stirred up. It was the biggest ethnic division since WWII. I took a train across Canada to Quebec city to go to school. I remember arriving and picking up one of the big French language newspapers and reading. Part way through I went ‘whhhaaatttt?’ They were asking for air traffic control at 2 small airports in the heart of French Canada. I was furious because it was then that I learned that news media chases the headlines, they create and sell news. There is often little loyalty to the truth.

      Since then I have seen the media deliberately put a spin on news to say what they believe, rather than what is.

      And I wonder how much of that went on in this election. Has the media deliberately misstated positions on either side?

      • Klasie Kraalogies says:

        We have at least 3 kinds of media: Ideologically driven media (Breitbart, Fox, Mother Jones), sales-driven media (most of the rest), and government/public media (CBC, BBC, NPR, everything out of Russia etc).

        The first lot might occasionally break a story, but you have tobthrow away 98% of what they say. The second lot is generally ok in providing the news; but they add spin to sensationalise to increase sales and keep the masses; and the third lot is a mixed bag: Some have neutral mandates (CBC, BBC), others are propaganda tools (RT etc).

        Every outlet needs to be read/listened to/watched keeping all of this in mind.

  13. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    “It’s OK. God is still on the throne.”
    What does that mean? That no harm will befall people?
    * When Nazi Germany was slaughtering Jews and other non-Aryans.
    * When America engaged in the Tuskegee experiments.
    * The Rwanda genocide.
    * September 11, 2001.
    * The 2004 tsunami in Indonesia.

    Ryan, as a veteran/survivor of The Gospel According to Hal Lindsay and Christians for Nuclear War, I can say that they have already anticipated you.

  14. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    GUYS? EVERYBODY?

    I’d like to see reports in on how and whether the election affected your church this coming Sunday. I expect a few doozies from the Evangelical fringe, but wonder just how deep the rabbit hole will go. And whether there is a gap in reaction/attitude between black & white, rich & poor, rural & urban, mega & storefront.

    • My pastor tends to stick to the gospel, so I’m guessing there will be no change! Praise the Lord!!!

    • Burro [Mule] says:

      My church will be doing exactly what has been doing for the past 2000 years, proclaiming Christ in Word and Sacrament.

      At the higher levels there will be some cozying up to Power, albeit not here, but welcome to life among the humans as Peggy Noonan says.

      I would be very surprised if Father mentions anything about the Election in his homily. I know the church is stoutly prolife, and that gets mentioned with some frequency, but there has been no mention of this trashfire election from the ambon so far.

      Now, in the parish hall afterwards….

  15. Still think christianity has never been tried and found wanting?

    • Yes.

      The problem is that some Christians don’t present the gospel as Good News. If it’s not found wanting…it’s probably because of the delivery and/or the delivery man. I mean, we tend to suck at it. Me, included.

      Just read the gospel accounts yourself. You’ll see it better for yourself, maybe understand why some of us believe. And then maybe you’ll understand why we screw it up so much.

      • Sure. I’ve also met actual living communists who’ll talk you ear off about how the Soviet Union ‘wasn’t real communism’.

        In any case, already read the bible, thanks.

    • Is that breaking news? It has been wanting since day 1, some times more than others. As long as it is comprised of people… I guess though that it is just a little disheartening when a large mass of those people seem to put blinders on to strongly support someone who is so blatantly and aggressively violating many of the basic tenets of the faith. Somewhat disturbing to put it mildly.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      One atheist contact of mine has great respect for Christianity, a “meme which has been argued over, debated over, and debugged for twenty centuries”. Even after all that time, there’ll still be some remaining bugs.

  16. I am not hopeful. At all. Not so much because of Trump but because GOP leaders seem so ready to bow to him. One party controls the Presidency, House and Senate, and likely the Supreme Court. This should scare all of us, no matter which party has that much concentrated power. Add to that, a great many people believing that this is all God’s plan. Why am I so afraid? What now is there to stop them from doing whatever they want? You can say there are checks and balances, but if the entire power structure of the country is on the same page and know that their fealty to the top guy is what is keeping them in their seats of power, so who is there to stop them from changing or ignoring those checks and balances? No one. Not one person.

    Pre-revolution France was a mess and reforms were needed, but the Revolution achieved them via bloodbath. Pre-Nazi Germany likewise had legitimate need for reforms. We all know how that ended. Did America need change? Undoubtedly, but I fear this change will come at a high, high and bloody price.

    We are also in a new age of misinformation. An elderly gentleman from my church told the church secretary that he had to vote for Trump because had Clinton been elected, she would have banned the Bible. I overheard a man in a public area (not eavesdropping, but you couldn’t help but hear) say that God needed Trump to be in charge because we have to stop things like what he knew had happened recently,which was “them” bringing in busloads of transgenders to raid public restrooms. A co-worker told me that Clinton was clearly in her death throes because she collapsed as she was leaving the 9/11 memorial service (I did explain to him that when you become overheated and pass out, this is what happens. You collapse). None of these things were couched in terms of “I know some people believe this” or “there is a rumor going around”. These things were treated as absolute verifiable facts. This is a different era than me looking at information through the filter of my experiences and biases. This is believing information that simply has no basis in reality. And it is common.

    God may still be on his throne, but I can’t understand why no one seems to believe that from his throne,he may be teaching us a Children-of-Israel-being-enslaved-for-hundreds-of-years-by-the-Egyptians type lesson. From what I see, the Christian Church in America was on the rooftop and Satan offered them pro-life judges, better trade deals, and a bunch of empty promises if only they’d bow down to him. And they did.

    • Suzanne,

      OK… understand your frustration but this could be applied anywhere. Trump is a business man who shoots his mouth off, has strong opinions and seems to have episodes of treating women poorly. We’ve had other recent Presidents that fit that bill as well and if I was to speculate it would be it is a pre-occupation with people who crave power. I don’t believe that rises to the Reign of Terror or fascist regime. We still have many checks and balances in place. Trump can’t just push the Nuclear button by himself, and although Republicans have pledged to work with him they are not going to follow like puppy dogs.

      Candidates promise many things when they are candidates. President Obama comes to mind. Determined to clear us out of Iraq, Afganistan, and shut the doors at Gitmo, and do it quickly, things changed a bit once he had access to the deeper intelligence. I expect many of the same things to happen with Trump. I don’t expect to see a wall but I do expect to see some changes in immigration and since I am privy to the broken immigration process that is frustrating and takes legal immigrants years to become citizens I agree. Additionally he is not going to be able to fund walls and rebuild infrastructure (roads/bridges etc) at the same time without a tax hike and he has pledged to lower taxes.

      Obamacare is broken but it has provisions in it that every American wants including insurance for folks with pre-conditions and some subsidy for those making under a certain amount. I expect that will be retained in the fixing. Next year my health insurance is going to double for the same coverage I have for this year forcing me to a high deductible plan with a “me only” funded HSA, so Obama care did nothing for me. So the new system has not been good to me or my large family (I have a lot of kids).

      I am not defending Trump, because frankly I just don’t know. But just as with Obama’s election (and I wouldn’t have condoned violent protest there either as I believe in a smooth transition of power) I am doing a wait and see. That is all any of us can do.

      • He has publicly and proudly role-modeled bullying, in the mainstream media, for every bigot with an antipathy to so-called “political correctness” to emulate. What other President of recent decades has done anything like that?

  17. The two halves of our nation each considers itself to be “the very elect” and points to the other half as having been horribly deceived by false prophets and false messiahs. That the mainstream media folks are in one half and the talk-radio crowd is in the other only exacerbates the situation. Even if Matthew 24 was fulfilled literally in 70 C.E., it still has eschatological implications for our day, and excoriating each other across a great gulf fixed doesn’t help either side. Be sober, be vigilant, the devil walks about as a lion, seeking whom he may devour, and chilly Jordan awaits us all (except for the final generation, of course, who will meet Him in the air).

    • “except for the final generation, of course, who will meet Him in the air”

      You people have been saying that for two thousand years. Shut up.

      • –> “You people have been saying that for two thousand years. Shut up.”

        I’m kinda with you there, J. Some of us Christians focus way too much on that Second Coming idea. All we’re told is to be ready. Alas, too many are gazing up at the sky, hoping it’s today, or tomorrow…

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          As a veteran/survivor of The Gospel According to Hal Lindsay (and its corollary, Christians for Nuclear War), I agree 1000%.

          If The World Ends Tomorrow and It’s All Gonna Burn, why bother with anything? You don’t have any dog in the fight. If the World Ends Tomorrow (at the latest) and It’s All Gonna Burn, don’t expect any long range plans or goals other than making sure *I* pass the Rapture Litmus Test. If the World Ends Tomorrow and It’s All Gonna Burn, you don’t have a Future and the Future has a way of happening anyway without your input.

          P.S. The Jewish prophets called The End “That Great and TERRIBLE Day”; not the Superbowl with your catered box seat all reserved.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      The two halves of our nation each considers itself to be “the very elect” and points to the other half as having been horribly deceived by false prophets and false messiahs.

      Like Sunni & Shia throughout Islamic history, both with God on their side.
      “DIE, HERETICS!”

      • Actually the more you look at the history of Islam, the more it looks like the Shi’ites actually have their sh*t together and it’s the Sunnis who are the insane ones. The Shi’ites fused their learning with the already-millennia-old history of Persian poetry and philosophy, which was itself linked to the philosophy of the Greek and Syriac-speaking world. By their position in central Asia, they were also in much more regular contact with the civilizations of China and India, which they recognized early on they could not convert and so found ways of living with peacefully.

        They also have an ‘out’ from the binary literalism of Sunnism because of their tradition of the ‘righteous imams’ (=several generations of additional teachers who added an element of ‘come let us reason together’-ism.

        Meanwhile the Sunnis sat in their utterly unproductive deserts, periodically fought with waves of westerners (or else tried to invade those westerners’ lands or got VERY bitter about losing those lands after once holding them).

        And the results are plain to see:
        -Shi’ites essentially never do suicide bombings (the last documented one was in 1994 and even then, it’s unclear)

        -When Shi’ites take hostages, we tend to get them back alive (US embassy, those British soldiers, those journalists and tourists, etc.)

        -Iran is an actually functional state with a unified government elected by something vaguely resembling fair elections and in which women can vote, drive, get an education, show their faces, etc.

        -Iran *hasn’t* actually ‘sponsored terror’ against Americans, excepting a.) Israelis with dual U.S. citizenship or b.) Americans, when we park an army of tens of thousands of troops on 2 of their borders. (Think about how we’d act if Iran stationed troops in Canada *and* Mexico).

        -Is Iran a destabilizing influence in Iraq? Well yeah, insofar as Iraq’s Sunni minority government fought a brutal, 7-year war against them. So yeah, they kind of Have a Stake in what happens one nation over.

        Right after 9/11, Iran called up the White House and said, “Let’s talk.” Bush and Cheney basically hung up on them. Sort of a blunder now it seems.

        We have gained less than nothing for our allegiance to the Saudi Arabia/Pakistan/Gulf state axis. We should have allied with Iran a decade ago.

        • Should’ve added:

          1.) You can go to Iran as a tourist right now; apparently it’s a nice place

          2.) Iran and Iraqi Shi’ite’s are fighting ISIS harder than we are. They are, by any objective standard, enhancing American security.

        • Burro [Mule] says:

          I’ve always preferred Shi’a to Sunnis as well. However, I thought Pashtun were Shi’a as well and they are as different from Persians as Germans and Italians.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Real kicker when the Iranian Revolution established Persian Shia as Islam’s lunatic fringe back in the Carter years. But as they mellowed with age (hard to keep On Fire For The Revolution lasting more than one generation), it looks like Saudi Wahabi and its offshoots (Taliban, Boko Haram, al-Qaeda, and Daesh) took up the slack as Islamic Destructive Craziness and the two exchanged places.

  18. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    All the above said, not much change on the station platforms, aboard the train, or aboard he bus to work today.

    Same statues staring at the smartphones in their hand, never taking their eyes off, stroking and caressing the screen like Gollum did his Precioussssssssss.

  19. The “God is on his throne/is in control” thing is one major part of Reformed theology – Calvin and his followers’ ideas about “sovereignty” – bleeding into the other major part, Arminianism (the default in American Evangelicalism), with its emphasis on free will.

    Just as St Isaac of Niniveh wrote that we don’t know one bloomin’ thing about God’s judgment and therefore shouldn’t even try talking about it, I think that we don’t know one bloomin’ thing about what God’s “sovereignty” means. Certainly I haven’t read anything like the “in control” talk common to Evangelicalism in any Patristic theological context. We believe, like the title of a certain type of icon of Our Lord – the Pantocrator – that, since the Ascension, Christ is the ruler of all, and the full outworking of that will come at the appointed time.

    The Creator God who has all power, who is “in control”, voluntarily came to this earth in humility, and came into his Kingdom the same way – when he voluntarily ascended the Cross, naked, and died. That’s pretty much all we can say about the matter; anything else is gibberish.

    Dana

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      The “God is on his throne/is in control” thing is one major part of Reformed theology – Calvin and his followers’ ideas about “sovereignty” – bleeding into the other major part, Arminianism (the default in American Evangelicalism), with its emphasis on free will.

      Hasn’t Calvin been described as having “Islamized the Reformation”?
      And today’s Young, Restless, and Really Truly REFORMED are more Calvinist than Calvin.
      (Like the Taliban are More Islamic than Mohammed.)

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Just as St Isaac of Niniveh wrote that we don’t know one bloomin’ thing about God’s judgment and therefore shouldn’t even try talking about it…

      No Skubalon?
      Can you find and post the exact quote? Sounds like it’d be good.

      For now, I’ll just give a favorite of one of my contacts from one of the Desert Fathers:
      “There will come a time when men will go mad. And they will lay hands on the sane among them, saying “You are not like Us! You Must Be Mad!”

      • Be a herald of God’s goodness, for God rules over you, unworthy though you are. Although your debt to Him is so very great, He is not seen exacting payment from you; and from the small works you do, he bestows great rewards upon you. Do not call God just, for His justice is not manifest in the things concerning you. And if David calls Him just and upright, His Son revealed to us that He is good and kind. “He is good,” He says, “to the evil and to the impious.” How can you call God just when you come across the Scriptural passage on the wage given to the workers: “Friend, I do thee no wrong: I choose to give unto this last even as unto thee. Or is thine eye evil because I am good?” How can a man call God just when he comes across the passage on the prodigal son who wasted his wealth with riotous living, how for compunction alone which he showed, the father ran and fell upon his neck and gave him authority over all his wealth? None other but His very Son said these things concerning Him, lest we doubt it, and thus bore witness concerning Him. Where, then, is God’s justice? – for while we were sinners Christ died for us! But if here He is merciful, we may believe that He will not change. Far be it that we should ever think such an iniquity that God could become unmerciful! For the property of Divinity does not change as mortals do.
        – Isaac of Nineveh, Ascetical Homilies 51.

        Fr Thomas Hopko of blessed memory (Professor of Dogmatic Theology and Dean Emeritus of St Vladimir’s Seminary, so he knew whereof he spoke) gave a talk on C.S. Lewis, I believe, wherein he said in an aside that he could track from Islam to Calvinism. To my knowledge, he did not publish this, and I haven’t found it in any other of his talks. It’s sure intriguing, though.

        Dana

        • That is wonderful, Dana. Thanks for tracking the quote down!

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Fr Thomas Hopko … gave a talk on C.S. Lewis, I believe, wherein he said in an aside that he could track from Islam to Calvinism.

          I have often wondered the same. Both Mohammed and Calvin were very much into Predestination and later in their careers occupied theo-autocratic positions of power. Calvinism has been described as “Islamizing the Reformation”, and Mohammed predated Calvin by about 900 years.

          And what the Wahabi do to mosques they take over is almost exactly what Calvin did to the churches of Geneva when he held power — smash and burn all decoration as “idolatry”, confiscate/loot what’s of value, and leave only plain whitewashed walls calligraphed with quotations from the holy book.

  20. Through an unusual circumstance, I got involved in a conversation about the outcome of the recent election with the cashier who checked-out my groceries tonight. He told me that he is a 21 year old gay man, that he hasn’t been able to sleep since Tuesday night.

    “We’ve come so far,” he said, “and now we could lose it all.” I could see the fear in his eyes, hear it in his voice. For him, it isn’t just a matter of abstract rights and principles, not even the right to marry whom he would, important as that is. He is afraid that we are headed back to a time when it was socially acceptable for people like him to be shamed, bullied and abused with impunity; when the law did little, or sometimes nothing, to protect them from the depredations of violent bigots, and frequently blamed the victims themselves for the violence visited on them.

    As he expressed his fear, I thought of the several dozen federal court vacancies that the President-elect will fill with judges of his own choosing, as well as of the Supreme Court vacancy, positions to which he will nominate (and his Congress will confirm) reactionary justices ready to roll back the recently gained protections of LGBT people at the first opportunity. I thought of the bullying role model that the President-elect himself has provided for bigots of every stripe, including homophobes, tired of what they call “political correctness”. As I thought of these things, I felt the fear of this young man rise up in me.

    In the few moments we spoke, I uttered some words of reassurance. As I parted, I thanked him, and he thanked me in turn; then he thanked me again, and I understood that this second thanks was for making him feel perhaps just a little bit less alone in the fear and uncertainty.

    I wish there were something I more I could do.

    • So sad, Robert. I have had similar conversations with women in the past few days. The man who has been elected to the highest office in the land said he grabbed women’s genitals because he could. My daughter called the next morning in tears because she said clearly, now it’s ok for men to treat her as a sex abject if they want. The president to be does, so why can’t anybody else? If I were gay, or a person of color, or an immigrant, I would be terrified.

      • No other President that I know of has modeled such bullying behavior publicly. Many people seem to think this is no big deal; I think it will influence the behavior of people in our society for years to come, and that it’s a very big deal. He has given his permission to bully to others by proudly bullying so many during his campaign.

      • Combine his persistent bullying with his intolerance of dissent, in tandem with his threat to change libel laws so that it’s easier to sue journalists for unflattering stories, and we have a President with faults unlike any other in the last sixty (or more?) years.

        Notice I’ve not mentioned anything involving partisan political viewpoints. This man is a brute teaching others to be brutes through his example.

    • I think this is true of many in the LGBTQ community, including one of my nieces and her partner, who are very fearful and worried.

      And they are not the only group. Another niece is married to a legal immigrant. He has already suffered harassment from racist trump supporters at work.

      • A coworker’s college-aged daughter was in the last few days told via Tweet by a Trump supporter to “go home”; he evidently thought her name was foreign enough to warrant her deportation, despite the fact that she was born here to naturalized parents. She has now joined the protests in Philadelphia.

        • Ugh Robert.

          With all the protest crap on TV and all the young jumping up and down crying that the process is unfair (I’d like to take a poll on how many of those out protesting actually voted), with all the folks stuck in traffic because of the tantrums, having their freedom of movement violated, for all the folks having their cars/properties damaged, for the few that have lost their life…. I don’t remeber this during the last two presidential transfer of power…. and you complain about a tweet…. time to put things into perspective here folks…

          This site used to be sensible even when folks did not agree. Over the past few days its been emotional bordering on irrational. I think I will go back to taking a break…… this has become noise instead of fruitful.

          • Once again: No one here is condoning violence. Peaceful solidarity, however, in the face of the real and unprecedented threat of the President-elect, people coming together to express their opposition to that threat, and to let it be known that they will stand up again later on should repressive legislation be passed under the new administration, is part of the democratic process. Unfortunately, the President-elect has teased out and stoked unprecedented fear in those who voted for him, and in those who are now reacting to his electoral victory. It’s not pretty. He’s been throwing gas on the fire of irrationality for a year now.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            With all the protest crap on TV and all the young jumping up and down crying that the process is unfair (I’d like to take a poll on how many of those out protesting actually voted), with all the folks stuck in traffic because of the tantrums, having their freedom of movement violated…

            Morning drive-time on KFI (which is known for being snarky) leads off all coverage of these with the same sound bite — the chorus of this Xmas song which goes:
            “Hey Snowflake!
            My Pretty Little Snowflake!”
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3FtlYHjnTw

            And something I read on the Web whose source I can’t find:
            “Seventy years ago, 18-year-old Americans were charging up Omaha Beach into almost certain death. Today, 18-year-old Americans require “Safe Spaces” so their precious Feelings won’t get Hurt.”

            “Hey, Snowflake!
            My Pretty Little Snowflake!
            …”

    • Robert, I think what happened in that exchange was important. A little spiritual and emotional backup, however small, does matter. After all, perceived vulnerability and threat of violence are profoundly emotional and spiritual experiences.

      Suzanne, on that note, thanks for your words. My reaction to Trumps success (after the video came out) was similar. I was dismayed over the fact that video carried so little consequence, including with evangelicals. Anyway, thanks for hearing the lot of us.