More gruel
Jesus loves the ACLU

Jesus loves the ACLU

Vice President Mike Pence and his new God.

Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
-Jesus Christ

Thousands of deeply religious Trump voters were in DC yesterday for the annual March for Life. They cheered Trump’s new Vice-President and his propaganda minister who touted their commitment to life in pious speeches. Later that same afternoon Mike Pence, who just hours before had described his crocodile tears for “young mothers and their unborn children” stood behind his new God as he signed a cowardly executive order persecuting legal US visa holders.

Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi is an Iraqi citizen who has worked with US forces in that country. He was on his way to join his wife and 7 year-old son in Texas when he was detained at JFK airport on the authority of that spiteful, pointless order.  After ten years of dangerous work supporting our troops in Iraq, Alshawi cannot see his son, and cannot leave the airport, because of our President’s petty obsessions, and those of his supporters.

Care about a right to life? How does that concern translate to the “stranger” in your midst? Care about a right to life? Where is your concern for that very alive seven year old waiting for his father, his life thrown into limbo by an erratic, incompetent US President? It almost seems like the “right to life” movement has nothing whatsoever to do with life. In fact, it seems like these people care about nothing quite so much as limiting women’s control over their own sexuality.

Scour the scriptures. Read them backward and forward, upside down and sideways. You will not find one prohibition on abortion, a practice as old as civilization, maybe older. Meanwhile, you can drop a Bible open to a random page and likely find a passage condemning those who turn away refugees, strangers, the poor, the needy. Jesus was pretty explicit about the kind of matters that defined good and evil. Almost nothing in the present-day Republican Platform falls on Jesus’ good side.

‘America First’ has a dark history, a history utterly irreconcilable with Christian teaching and values. Slogans wielded by American Fascists in the 30’s have found their way back into our politics, rolling off the tongues of “conservative Christian” voters. We know what happened to refugees we refused back then. We know what that ideology, embraced by “good Christians” in the US and Germany and elsewhere produced. Though we may pretend ignorance, we know what will happen to the refugees we turn away now. We have no excuse.

Despite their proclaimed attachment to Jesus, who was himself a refugee from a Middle Eastern country rife with terrorism, so-called evangelical Christians backed Donald Trump at astonishing rates. White voters who call themselves “born again” gave Donald Trump higher support than they had given Mitt Romney or George Bush. But again, it was just the white ones. Curious, really, but somehow it is only the white Christians who see Donald Trump as their candidate. Either white Christians have some special insight on God’s will or the “white” part of their identity mattered a lot more than their “Christian” beliefs.

Those good, pious Christians who voted for Donald Trump have not offered help to Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi or his family or his not-so-precious, already-born child. But the ACLU will help them. Based on any sane reading of the Bible or Jesus’ own teachings, it is the ACLU, not the Republican Party or America’s “born-again” community, that is doing the work of God’s Kingdom in the world.

Looking at Jesus’ words, who is the Christian in this tableau? Who is the more genuine representative of Christ’s Kingdom in our world, evangelical Christian voters, or the ACLU?

“I have five brothers. Let him warn them so they will not also end up in this place of torment.” But Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the prophets; let your brothers listen to them.”
-Jesus Christ, again.


  1. Just to let everyone here know that there is currently a formal petition to the UK Parliament to cancel Trump”s State visit to the UK. These formal petitions to Parliament pack far more of a punch then the run of the mill ones by organisations like Avaaz. In essence once the petitions reaches 100000 signatories, the issue has to be debated in Parliament. It’s at 1566864 and counting. I wouldn’t be surprised if it hits 2 million.

    I don’t know how effective any of this is. I do know that doing nothing is not an option. In solidarity form the UK.

  2. Where are Democrats strongest? Big cities. The Daily Beast suggests that these cities and the people within them are likely targets of Potus in ways that may not be as obvious to all who are looking narrowly at the actions he is taking.

    I hadn’t considered the possibility of a bigger plan here.

    “…many of Trump’s critics, focusing on the evident racism and bigotry of his policies, are missing one vitally important point that is key to understanding not only his strategy but the danger it poses for the majority of the people of the United States: in the supposed interest of fighting terrorism, Trump and his Rasputin, Steve Bannon, are attacking American cities. Or, more precisely, the people who live in them and the way they live in them. And the security implications of this campaign are frightening.”

    1. Yet, somehow Obama did not make any attempts to ban immigration of the Muslim populations of these countries. He also did not go on the Christian Broadcasting Network to claim that Christians in those countries would be given a priority for entry in this nation. Those same Christians that support the Assad Regime in Syria.

      With his actions Trump couldn’t help ISIS more if he were cutting recruiting ads for them.

      1. “Some Texas lawmakers have spoken out against the ban—mostly Democrats—but the majority have remained silent, according to the Texas Tribune. As for the state’s top political leadership, including Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, and Attorney General Ken Paxton? Crickets.”

        All who live in TX or are interested in following what is happening here should consider following the Texas Monthly. It’s free and most informative.

      2. Amazingly, neither attorneys nor members of Congress, despite holding a copy of federal court orders staying the travel ban, were not allowed to speak with people who were being detained at the airports. Instead, the Customs and Border Protection officials, CBP, were following potus order and ignoring federal court orders. Police state in full riot gear.

    2. Here are your seven countries: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. I do not dispute that there are valid security concerns about terrorism in those places. But where’s Pakistan? They’ve got some major problems with terrorists. So does Egypt. And Saudi Arabia’s hands are very, very dirty. I am also very disturbed that Trump seems to be listening to Bannon over the generals. He also has a GOP majority in both chambers of Congress- he doesn’t need to issue an EO to make changes.

      Then you have the totally ham-fisted implementation, which Turtles correctly points out gives ISIS and other terrorists some great propaganda. But I suspect people like Bannon also want war, so it may well be a feature and not a bug.

      1. Our Democratic members of Congress are working to defund and or kill this ban. Meanwhile, how many members of the GOP have spoken out against this unvetted, quickly released terrible order? Think about it….they are letting potus hang himself but are passing legislation as fast as they can. There are so many insane situations here that it’s hard to focus on any one – potus, Bannon, Flynn, et al, the GOP and their agenda, SC nominee and filibuster…there is no order, there is only turmoil and the forces for evil and self-serving are using this chaos to maximum capacity.

    3. Here’s the “rest of the story”, Tutta. Notice the 3 main distinctions between Pres. Obama’s actions and those of potus. That potus would try to justify his methods by deflecting on actions taken by Obama is not only disingenuous, it’s petty.

      Thank goodness for the WaPo. We are all going to have to be vigilant. Those who voted for potus own every utterance, action, and appointment this man makes.

  3. Quebec Mosque shooting:

    Here is why this matters personally: Friday, as I was leaving work, my coworker, who is Quebecoise and has an Arab father, told me she was worried that her father couldn’t visit the US during her birthday coming up here in a couple of months. I had to be honest and tell her I wasn’t sure, but that that was the reason I’m fighting.

    And then she said, “At least he’s safe in Canada.”

    1. Killing like this is wrong on all counts. From what I have read historically about repressive regimes, “fear” is cultivated to instill compliance. It is tragic that a daughter and father might not feel safe enough to allow him to cross the border for a personal occasion – just because he is Arab….

      This is textbook. It is incredibly sad that it is working just as intended. I hope your friend and her family find a way to work around this that will enable them to continue their loving relationship…which, of course, are not encouraged under repressive regimes…..

    1. It gets worse. The procedure for handling our nation’s “most pressing – and often secret – national security issues “is undergoing a radical change in the National Security Council. In the past, this council was composed of primarily Cabinet-level officials and others . Not only has that changed, but “a top Trump aide, Stephen Miller, effectively ran the the council’s principals meeting Saturday, according to two Trump administration officials, a highly unusual move”. Also appointed to this council is Steve Bannon.

      Even more alarming, “The president also limited the attendance of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the director of national intelligence to an as-needed basis at the panel’s meetings.”

  4. Pete Olson just got this e-mail:

    It is the afternoon of Sunday, January 29, two days after President Trump signed an executive order banning travelers from a selective list of countries, even those who have green cards. I just checked your website. I see no statement from you concerning this. I have also been checking various news sites, and so far I see no indication that your have gone on the record regarding this action. This order is wrong on so many levels, but I’ll limit myself to 5 reasons why it must be denounced:

    1) It betrays people who have risked their lives to assist the US military in Middle East war zones. Who in their right minds would want to help America in future wars if we abandon our allies so callously?
    2) It reinforces the narrative from terrorist groups like ISIS that the US is at war with the ENTIRE Islamic world.
    3) It harms our scientific community, as it is currently barring foreign researchers from these countries from coming here to help us make new discoveries, AND has to potential to discourage future applicants from any foreign country from choosing America as a place to study and work.
    4) It is completely contrary to what is actually exceptional about America, that we take in people fleeing oppression and tyranny.
    5) It is interesting to note that countries not listed on the ban, such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt, do business with Trump Enterprises, and were home to terrorists who have actually killed Americans.

    You should be standing up for what is right, rather than meekly acquiescing to every bad idea Trump and Bannon inflict upon us. Your silence on this matter is deafening, and disgraceful.

    (Off to see if my senators have bothered to issue any statements yet.)

    1. Okay, confession time–I stole this, changed some of the wording, and sent it to McConnell.

      Other actions–thank you emails to Senators Sasse, Portman, Flake and Collins for coming out against it. Wanted to contact Charlie Dent and Justin Amash as well, but Reps. only take emails from their constituents.

      Also sent a donation to the ACLU.
      Back to work!

      1. I was simply commending Canada for displaying more good judgement. Canada has taken in a huge number of Syrian refugees – far, far more than their neighbor to the south (yep, good old USA). But, you’re correct about needing everyone to fight.

        We’ve all been so fixated by the horror show of potus and the stealth warriors in Congress that we’ve allowed Steve Bannon to quietly work himself and his alt-right agenda into potus’ inner circle, policies, E.O.s with little media scrutiny. He’s named, but not really focused upon….a Frankenstein type person…….

      2. Ryan, You and I have been keeping tabs on the lawsuits in WI, PA, and TX regarding gerrymandering. Here’s the latest on the WI case. Of course, with potus planning to announce his SCOTUS nominee any time now, the SC may not uphold lower court rulings. For the time being, this is promising. Note the stats below about the breadth of Repub gerrymandering.

        “While the federal district court did not rely solely on the plaintiffs’ “efficiency gap” in reaching its decision, the opinion appears to have been precisely designed with Kennedy’s Vieth ruling in mind. Should plaintiffs ultimately succeed in persuading the Supreme Court’s perennial swing justice to finally set forth a standard to judge when partisan gerrymandering crosses the line, courts could begin striking down redistricting plans across the nation and at all levels. Republicans have gerrymandered 55 percent of congressional districts and most state legislatures nationwide, so such a decision could have extremely far-reaching consequences.”

    2. Aides to the “emperor with no clothes” thinks his travel ban order was a Yuge success……..I kid you not.

      “Aides to U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday called the implementation of a temporary travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries a “massive success story” despite criticism from some top Republicans, protests and disarray at airports.”

  5. So I admit I have very poor knowledge of the state/federal level of laws and their interaction. When abortion is banned on the national level (clearly that is coming), what happens if states like California and New York keep it legal?

    Does the FBI charge in and arrest all employees of a California abortion clinic? I know that pot is still laughably considered a schedule 1 narcotic, but clearly, a number of states have started down the path of full legalization, and the feds don’t seem able, (or perhaps it is willing) to shut down.

    1. Can’t answer your question, but I can tell you that when Republicans want what they want, states’ rights are out the window, and this goes way back. When the Confederate Constitution was written, it was mostly copied word for word from the US Constitution. One exception was a clause prohibiting any state in the Confederacy from outlawing slavery.

      1. The issue about sanctuary cities has states rights implications which we’ve discussed here. But, what happens in this regard when “within” a state, a governor threatens a county jurisdiction with withholding of federal funds if they refuse to give up their sanctuary city status? That is happening now in Travis County, TX with Governor Abbott.

        Thing is, when leadership at the top (potus) is so heavy handed, it encourages this type of behavior down the line.

    2. >] So I admit I have very poor knowledge of the state/federal level of laws and their interaction. When abortion is banned on the national level (clearly that is coming), what happens if states like California and New York keep it legal?

      Does the FBI charge in and arrest all employees of a California abortion clinic? I know that pot is still laughably considered a schedule 1 narcotic, but clearly, a number of states have started down the path of full legalization, and the feds don’t seem able, (or perhaps it is willing) to shut down.

      If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v Wade, then we go back to the way things were pre-1973, with a few caveats. Abortion is as old a practice as human civilization itself and you’re never going to eliminate it entirely, no matter how hard you try. The big unknown here is the extent to which Dear Leader and others would use the power of the federal government, along with willing states and localities, to crack down on abortion practice regardless and how far the opposition would go in defending it.

      Let’s not be coy about this though. We’ve had a lot of attacks on abortion rights in our modern history, but to take away the right itself would incur a shitstorm the likes of which this country hasn’t seen in decades, and that’s no hyperbole.

  6. Amen!
    “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
    Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
    Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruits . . . .
    Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
    Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
    Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
    And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
    Matthew 7:15-23

  7. One more thing I’ve wondered about — Some of the inbound travelers have mentioned that while being interrogated they are asked for their Facebook account information.

    What concerns me is that, with Facebook so widespread and so taken for granted these days, what if you have no Facebook account, but no one believes you and insists you must be hiding something?

    I am not on Facebook, and I refuse to sign up just to give security personnel, or potential employers, the satisfaction or the reassurance that I am legit.

    1. It’s as though a Facebook account were now part and parcel of your identity, like your credit report or employment history, and your user name and password are like your social security number, so it’s expected that everyone have an account.

      It’s just a social network, for God’s sake.

    2. Yes, this is something that needs to be clarified by law post-haste. Facebook should not be considered a method of identification, and to use it without a writ of investigation should be considered unconstitutional regarding the Fourth Amendment.

      In the short term, though, if you’re really worried about being second guessed about having a FB profile, open one up and fill it with a bunch of pictures of kittens. Halas.

      My FB profile is and has always only been an artist portfolio and networking tool. There is no politics posted to it and I untag myself from basically everything that even smells of politics. I do regular checks to make sure it still looks clean, by checking it with and without another proxy account I’ve ‘friended’ to see what my page looks like publicly and for friends.

      Right now any investigator tabbing through my Facebook would see a page full of Oscars news and some calls for submissions to grants and festivals. Weapons of mass distraction go both ways.

      1. Aaron, on the subject of the Fourth Amendment, does “the people” mentioned in the Constitution refer only to US citizens? Does it include US residents? How about visitors from other countries, both legal and illegal?

      2. As a teacher, I have to be careful about what I post to FB. We are forbidden from taking political stands in any official capacity (although we can be politically active–just have to maintain a bright line between the two). Have scrubbed all references to my job from my page, but still very careful about what I put up.

      3. “Aaron, on the subject of the Fourth Amendment, does “the people” mentioned in the Constitution refer only to US citizens?”

        Good question, I don’t know. I’d ask a constitutional lawyer, but literally my two friends who are constitutional lawyers told me if I ask any more questions they’re going to start charging me their hourly rate :0)

        But those’re the questions that need clarification.

      4. Tutta, this is one of my pet peeves. The 14th amendment (equal protection) specifically mentions citizens but the first 10 generally refer only to “persons.” Erwin Chemerinsky doesn’t mention any case law upholding Constitutional rights for noncitizens in his fairly exhaustive textbook. But it has always bugged me that these aren’t recognized as human rights.

  8. With regards to refusing entry to refugees, I have heard the argument that “we need to take care of our people first, our homeless, our veterans, etc.” I do understand that mentality, but I also think we need to see ourselves as global citizens and not just as US citizens.

    As for blocking entry to citizens of certain countries, I don’t think it’s right to punish an entire country for the actions of a few. I consider this a violation of universal civil rights. In any case, if you’re going to enact an executive order of this kind, people need time to prepare. I think this order was signed late Friday afternoon, and it went into effect immediately. I’ve heard on news radio that one main cause of delay is that airport security personnel haven’t been properly briefed on what they’re supposed to do, they’re afraid of getting in trouble, and so travelers have to wait hours until security realizes there was no reason to have detained them in the first place.

    1. Tutta, your point about “taking care of our own first” I think has some echoes in trade policy. Many people claim that trade benefits other economies, and that there is a humanitarian argument in its favor.

      I’m starting to question that argument. I think trade benefits other countries’ elites, just as it benefits ours, but as presently instituted does very little for other countries’ lower classes, just as it does little for ours.

      What other countries need to do to fix their poverty problems is exactly what we need to do to fix ours: unrig the system. Trade neither helps or hurts that.

      1. “I think trade benefits other countries’ elites, just as it benefits ours, but as presently instituted does very little for other countries’ lower classes, just as it does little for ours. ”

        Creigh, I have an anecdote to consider against this. I understand that statistics =/= anecdote, but nevertheless it’s worth hearing this story.

        I worked in the UAE and two of my office coworkers were Indians. Both of them took this job in order to work with Westerners because they considered it a big opportunity. But they were able to get the jobs because of the influx of tech skilled work into India.

        What brought that influx? Offshoring. When Indians started working at call centers et al, they started getting trained by corporations in basic tech skills in order to help figure out what the problems were with Westerner customers.

        Indians, being generally a reverse engineering and tinkering type of culture, quickly translated these basic computer skills into programming, tech, and digital media skills.

        Does that come at a loss of American call centers? I guess so. If we consider the world as a whole, the betterment of any group of people is better for all. If we consider America First (r)(tm)(Trumpistas), this comes as a loss of entry level white-ish collar jobs to Americans. But either way, these low level jobs provide income to more than just ‘the elites.’

        So to look at it like that, either way those jobs are useful to some group. The debate is over which group ‘deserves’ it.

    2. Potus is so focused on “image” that he is pushing forward without thought for consequences of his E.O. on those who have to interpret and enforce them. To say he is unprepared for the job of Potus is an understatement, but these actions are global in reach and are causing enormous disruption in places which are already dealing with important homeland security screening. I expect more knee-jerk rulings from this man who is relishing his kingly power to new levels of insanity.

  9. This morning I listened to ON BEING with Krista Tippet on NPR, and it was a replay of an interview with John Lewis from 2013. I found several of his points interesting, things to which I’d never given much thought:

    1. The extent to which protests and marches require preparation. He mentioned that he and the other participants would engage in role playing to rehearse and prepare for what might happen, with some acting out the role of police officer, etc. Mr. Lewis referred to this as “social drama,” as if it were a play or performance, but based on real life.

    2. The importance of making eye contact with your opponents and aggressors, which tends to unnerve them and reminds them of your humanity.

    3. That participants read extensively to prepare psychologically and philosophically — for example, Thoreau’s CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE.

    4. With respect to metaphor and analogy . . . Mr. Lewis said being a steady “pilot light” has an advantage over being a short-lived firecracker.

    5. He said that if you truly believe in something and want to bring about change, you have to use your body for the cause, literally, to put yourself out there and risk your personal, physical safety.

      1. Surely, you are not surprised by the silence from the GOP? They have sold their souls to this man in order to impose their fiscal plan across the breadth of America’s economy. They need him to sign their legislation.

        Gutless wonders.

  10. I have read the Bible several times, and try to take the example and message Jesus offered us seriously (though often it is hard). I am loosely associated with a Methodist church, blessed with many members more virtuous than me, who offer up countless acts of kindness and genuine sacrifices trying to put this true gospel into everyday practice.

    I know that there are many other such churches as well, but they seem to be in the minority. Generally speaking, the more people proclaim and celebrate their own Christianity in America, the less I see them giving any evidence of knowing or caring about His teachings. But then, sadly, empty hypocrisy masquerading as holy righteousness is a prominent theme in the New Testament. The more things change…

    I was on a plane a few months ago, and a very mild mid-60s gentleman from the midwest was talking with me. He said he had always wanted to visit Europe, maybe Sweden or Norway (he didn’t say why–an immigrant heritage perhaps?), but now he thought it was just far too dangerous to venture so far abroad, and felt he would never see it. He had been nervous to visit such a big city as Seattle.

    ISIS had worked its will on this sad, cowering, ill-informed individual. Now ISIS has worked its will on the sad, cowering, ill-informed man in the White House, and our world takes one step further into darkness and fear. If there is a devil, he is smiling…

  11. A mosque in Texas was burned down 2am last night.

    Donate here for rebuilding funds and be sure to send a message of comfort to the 100 members who are probably feeling shaken right now.

    In addition, if you are not currently or not able to attend an airport demonstration against Trump’s executive order, protest virtually by sending a (min) $10 donation to either the ACLU or the International Refugee Fund, since both are taking immediate action against POTUS.

      1. Federal Judge Ann Donnelly of New York issues temporary stay on executive order:

        I will be writing Judge Donnelly a letter of thanks.

        But now that Trump’s first week of work is already hitting courts, I imagine he’s going to suddenly develop a keen interest in those 117 federal judicial vacancies (incl. the Supreme Court). I imagine week 2 is gonna be a lot of statements against the judiciary.

      1. Sickening. Please note that it was a female judge who offered the stay. I hope she will have the courage to extend it and possibly we will see another retraction from potus as we did with the EO to forbid staff/civil servants from sharing/speaking with anyone outside their departments as well as walking back the tariff….man doesn’t know what he is doing and doesn’t have enough sense nor has he surrounded himself with anyone who has enough spine to tell him he is wrong….of course, it is also possible he doesn’t listen……

  12. From the Pope:

    “You cannot be a Christian without living like a Christian,” he said. “You cannot be a Christian without practicing the Beatitudes. You cannot be a Christian without doing what Jesus teaches us in Matthew 25.” This is a reference to Christ’s injunction to help the needy by such works of mercy as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and welcoming the stranger.

    “It’s hypocrisy to call yourself a Christian and chase away a refugee or someone seeking help, someone who is hungry or thirsty, toss out someone who is in need of my help,” he said. “If I say I am Christian, but do these things, I’m a hypocrite.”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.