The $1.45 trillion deficit-producing tax plan hovering over Americans will remain in jeopardy until Republicans succeed in ramming it through the congressional orifice. Republican leadership has been passing out juicy enticements to the few remaining skeptics who have not shown the slightest concern for their constituents.
In that steamy atmosphere, The Shinbone Star used a chance encounter to question a Republican lawyer, political activist and lifelong religious conservative about his undergraduate education at arch-conservative Liberty University. It’s just the stuff for Sunday fare.
Last May at Liberty, Mr. Trump chortled that his presidency was firmly behind the tax-free, billion-dollar shrine to neo-conservative religious thought. Trump’s stirring pronouncement was offered during his commencement speech at the university’s Lynchburg, Va. campus:
“Liberty University is a place where they really have true champions and you have a simple creed that you live by, to be, really, champions for Christ. . . . And I must tell you, I am so proud as your president to have helped you along over the past short period of time.”
Liberty University bears the imprimatur of the late Rev. Jerry Falwell. Liberty says it is the largest university in the state and the largest Christian university in the world. Perhaps that is why Falwell said that Liberty is the place where “Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions.”
Our dear friend’s friendly interrogation began over coffee with whipped cream and chocolate sauce. We gingerly backed into the subject of Mr. Trump, the “despicable” man he grudgingly admitted is at the helm of his party.
One short year ago, the same gentleman told his stunned audience that one day, those of a different political stripe would like the Orange Buffoon even better than he did. Nowdays, he emphasizes that Republicans still have Mr. Pence in the wings.
“What does it matter if he doesn’t trust himself to be alone with women?” he asked. Our guest proudly acknowledges membership in the white, professional middle class. Like most people who care deeply about the state of our country, he is very worried about the divide separating American society.
The lawyer in him doesn’t believe Mr. Trump is in legal jeopardy, but rather is a victim of an overly aggressive liberal press fueled by a burning anti-Christian bias. Checks and balances on the free press will ensure honesty and accountability, he said. Real religious freedom includes protection from penetrating scrutiny. Trump wants religion to have a place in government and business. Our guest doubts the veracity of journalism today, claiming with some validity that it has become a footstool for partisanship. He finds no contradiction in law and religion because blind acceptance is a component of both.
Nothing he is aware of suggests the Republican Party has been largely co-opted by a melding of religion and politics. He snorted at suggestions that right wing acceptance of alleged child molester Judge Roy Moore becoming a U.S. senator from Alabama could be an example of that.
Moore’s accusers say his misdeeds were so brazen and troubling that they can still feel his odious presence four decades later. His proponents, on the other hand, preach from behind pulpits in rural Alabama, saying that his behavior is grounded in teaching from the Bible.
Our Missouri friend wasn’t willing to go that far.
Lost in the cacophony of protests over Moore’s morals is the Republican tax plan that is expected to eat the average family’s lunch. Our friend likes the plan, citing increased investment and the prospect that a 20 percent corporate tax rate may encourage repatriation of jobs to America.
Graduating from Liberty automatically branded our reluctant friend an expert on the subjects of neo-right Christian political zealousness, Trumpism and the bald-faced insensitivity of the GOP. He is a municipal judge, well-respected in his home town and does not care for the characterization.
In his view, there is no such thing in the mainstream Republican Party. Alarmism is the clarion call of liberal hysterics. Liberals foolishly believe their cherished, broken value system is at risk. Unlike liberal social elitists, Republicans believe everyone has a shot at the American dream except for foreigners and ne’er-do-wells. He cited Trump’s agenda as an example of the new benevolence.
Many, not all, conservative Christians, he said, believe no one has any “rights” beyond those given by God, or those set forth in the Bill of Rights — although the latter seems mighty suspect lately.
This same religious fervor is fueling a new American experience where a reprobate like Roy Moore can be considered for the Senate. Our friend says the Moore saga is merely an anomaly.
It is not however a totally human problem, he explained. God ultimately decides such things. With their votes, the people of Alabama — and the country — will merely share His instructions. It helps that Moore has already revealed that he did nothing inappropriate on his “dates” with adolescent girls.
For his part, Mr. Trump is willing to prostitute all of his surviving legitimacy on Moore’s ability to help sell the Republican tax plan that yuuugely benefits both the alleged sexual predator from Alabama, everyone in the White House and all his well-heeled friends.
Our judge’s final observation is an insightful one. The condition of America’s poor, its veterans, ill, elderly and prisoners suggests that our country is already generous to a fault. Taking care of them beyond the existing safety net is what churches are supposed to do.