“The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
That has been a commonly quoted adage for more than a century. John F. Kennedy attributed it to Edmund Burke. Some credit a pastor fighting in favor of prohibition. No matter who said it, I have found the sentiment to be true.
That is why I write the columns I write. I would love to swim downstream and agree with any crazy thing someone says or does as long as they are Republicans like me, but I can’t. I wish I could be like Rev. Franklin Graham whose morality and ethical spine bend with party affiliation, but I can’t. I want to agree with Graham that we shouldn’t judge President Donald Trump for lying, cheating and multiple acts of immorality revolving around sex workers and paying for their silence during a presidential campaign, but I can’t.
Yesterday, the Right Rev. Graham said this on Twitter.
“The Bible says it is appointed unto man once to die & then the judgment. We won’t be judged by media spin masters or forensic audio analysts, but you will be judged by truth & righteousness — by God Himself. Have you ever thought about what His verdict will be on your words?”
I think about that every day. I think if I were Franklin Graham, I would tread lightly in using a verse about how Jesus’ death actually changed the way in which sins were atoned to eschew criticism of Trump for having multiple extramarital affairs with Playboy Playmates and porn stars.
My thoughts about my words are apparently a lot less morally equivocal than Graham’s.
So many people in Oklahoma disagree with me about President Trump because they falsely conflate conservatism and Christianity. In fact, for the past few years, they have also conflated conservatism and republicanism, but that is a column for another day.
So why do I write columns criticizing this president, his administration and those who blindly follow him? The columns I write are what I believe deeply are truths that need to be shared. I know people who live in my neighborhood, those who go to my church and many others around me disagree.
Unlike Franklin Graham, I don’t say the words I say to curry favor and sell merchandise to sheep that like their ears tickled. My life would be better if I remained silent about the Trump administration’s atrocities.
However, I take the platform afforded to me very seriously and I refuse to write columns peppered with pablum to make readers feel good when the moral fabric of our country is being shredded.
Beyond sex scandals, Russian collusion and secret deals with dictators look at what is going on in the economy. Trump’s tariffs are creating economic hardships across multiple segments of the economy. A woman became angry with me recently for saying we were making changes at this newspaper because newsprint prices have increased 33 percent due to tariffs. She said I shouldn’t blame Trump for that.
He levied the tariffs on Canadian paper and that caused a supply and demand disaster for my industry. That isn’t a critique of the president.
That is simply two facts listed in sequence. He levied tariffs. Paper prices increased. That’s not my opinion. Both of those things happened.
Farmers are in the same quandary due to Trump’s intentionally inflicted trade wars. So many of them are suffering, a $12 billion bailout is being considered. That’s right, we’re going to borrow more money from China to refund farmers for lost revenue due to tariffs. Remember when conservatives actually believed in the free markets and cared about things like bailouts and picking winners and losers? Strangely enough, the GOP controls every facet of the government.
Trump inherited a great economy. Now we need a $12 billion bailout for farmers. That won’t help newspapers, or the auto industry or any other industry where steel and aluminum imports are important.
Do they get a bailout too?
Without tariffs, how many bailouts would we need?
Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran knows how hard tariffs are hitting his constituents but that doesn’t make him a fan of the bailout.
On the Senate floor this week, Moran said, “The significant harm the trade war is causing to farmers & ranchers is no doubt the reason the admin is proposing $12B in disaster relief for ag. Unfortunately it is only a short term fix to a long term problem and will not make up for lost markets.”
Instead of agriculture functioning as a profitable industry in the economy, we will be paying interest to countries that are already winning the trade war.
At least with the last FARM Aid, the problem they were raising money for wasn’t self-inflicted and we got to hear Willie Nelson sing.
Franklin Graham wasn’t finished with his mini-tweet storm with the original installment. He continued his admonitions for those who would criticize Trump.
“Here’s a sober warning from God’s Word,’“What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, & what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs’ (Luke 12:3),” he said.
The hubris it took for Graham to use Jesus’ warning about the hypocrisy of the Pharisees to justify his unwavering support for Trump despite his own hypocrisy being revealed is remarkable.
Graham finished with this tweet.
“Everyone in the media is talking about the just-released tape & what the President said or didn’t say, what he meant or didn’t mean. It is a good moment to point out that everyone should realize that every word that is spoken or thought is recorded by God,” Graham said. With the announcement that Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen has about 100 tapes of their dealings, it seems like God isn’t the only one recording everything.
It is bad enough that Graham is leading people to support Trump despite his obvious moral failings. Any pastor should be ashamed of that. But when you think about Graham’s positions on Bill Clinton and his moral failings, the hypocrisy is insurmountable.
Here are some of his thoughts when the womanizer in the White House was a Democrat.
“Last week Mr. Clinton told 70 million Americans that his adulterous actions with Ms. Lewinsky were a “private” matter “between me, the two people I love the most–my wife and our daughter–and our God,” Graham said in the 1990s. “But the God of the Bible says that what one does in private does matter. Mr. Clinton’s months-long extramarital sexual behavior in the Oval Office now concerns him and the rest of the world, not just his immediate family. If he will lie to or mislead his wife and daughter, those with whom he is most intimate, what will prevent him from doing the same to the American public?”
That is pretty funny. If Clinton would lie to his wife, he would lie to America. But Trump paid off porn stars to buy their silence and we should support him.
Just follow the money if you want to see why Graham’s views on morality have been modified. On his website now, Graham is selling merchandise featuring the phrase, “PRAY for 45.”
For about 15 bucks you can support Trump and Graham at the same time. There's nothing like monetizing a sex scandal to raise money for your “ministry.”
Now I understand why Jesus made that whip and ran the moneychangers out of the temple.