The So-Called “Trump Cult”: Exchange with Mark Shea

The So-Called “Trump Cult”: Exchange with Mark Shea January 28, 2020

The following exchange occurred on Mark Shea’s page: a public thread. His words will be in blue.

*****

Reader (in the midst of today’s 2 Minute Hate Directed at Me): “Why do Catholics keep talking about Mark Shea?”

Because, like it or not, all the combox excommunications by all the fake combox bishops on planet earth do not make me one bit less a Catholic. And that galls the Combox Inquisition.

Speaking for myself, I’ve made it crystal-clear many times that:

1. You are totally orthodox and Catholic.

2. You are pro-life.

3. You are a great writer and apologist.

My central objection is to your relentless lying about people and positions other than your own, which amounts to calumny and bearing false witness. That’s not a doctrinal issue but a behavior issue (orthopraxis). Bearing false witness violates the Ten Commandments, the golden rule, and the royal commandment. And those things are thoroughly Catholic.

So, for example, in the last few days, you have claimed that Trump and his supporters want to literally a) kill Jews, b) kill illegal immigrant babies, and [my favorite] c) kill reporters. Then you implied that anyone who voted GOP is under the wrath of God (a delightful motif that Edwin Woodruff Tait pulled out of somewhere two years ago).

That upped the usually flatulent, worthless rhetoric and polemics by a factor of 1000, and is why I rebuked it on my page. You’re not Jeremiah. The quicker you learn that, the better off you and your readers and the cause of Christian unity will be.

No. I’ve said Trump is an antisemite who trades in antisemitic lies and that those lies (Soros is funding the invasion of America!!!!) were precisely the lies that motivated the shooter in Pittsburgh.

I’ve said that Trump’s border policies have resulted in the death of children at the border, because they have. [link]

Trump is responsible for that.

And yes, Trump is responsible for calling reporters the Enemy of the People and urging violence.

Precisely what I do not say is that people who voted for Trump are under the wrath of God. That is a lie. What I do say is that people who have gone on to defend every single lie, evil, and sadistic policy he has inflicted are, indeed, endangering their souls.

That includes you. I don’t know your culpability. But I do know the gravity of the evil you defend.

Thanks for responding and actually talking. I appreciate it.

My, what a short memory you have. This is what you wrote on Deacon Steven D. Greydanus’ page:

After a week of bombing, shootings, and synagogue burnings all egged on by the Cult Leader who is now suggesting to the Cult that they need to start killing the press if the[y] do their jobs, . . .

Meanwhile, Trump is signaling your Cult “If the press keep doing their jobs, start shooting” a week after bombs, shootings and synagogue fires from the Cult . . . [my bolding]

Then you wrote on your page:

When the conservative Catholic cult of Christianism is not bragging about Our Lady of Guadalupe and the glorious Catholic evangelization of the New World, it is busy calling the heirs of that evangelization “invaders” and making passionate excuses for why a white racist pagan who embodies the seven deadly sins should absolutely be allowed to open fire on this little girl and her mother and father to protect the most powerful and richest nation on the planet from letting desperate people find refuge.

Behold the face of the enemy of Good White Conservative Christianists. Look her, ye mighty, and be ashamed. [my bolding]

Then you stated three days ago:

This fall, I voted Democrat, not merely with a clean conscience, but under the conviction that if I do not do so, I sin against Almighty God in failing to fight the gravest domestic threat to my country since the Civil War. [my bolding]

This clearly strongly implies that those of us who didn’t feel led to vote for Democrat pro-aborts sin against God, just as you would have if you hadn’t voted Democrat. If you don’t believe that, then you shouldn’t have written about it as you did, because if that is a sin for you, it is for all of us. We’re not postmodern subjectivists.

So okay, maybe not under the wrath of God (I grant that), but in sin and so blind that they can’t see that voting for pro-aborts will help prevent the biggest domestic threat since the Civil War.

You tell me, Mark: can I be a perfectly good Catholic and vote Republican in all good conscience? Or is the only permissible vote for a consistent Catholic, Democrat? Can a good Catholic vote for Donald Trump, or is that a sin, too (whereas you have already justified Catholics voting for Planned Parenthood’s Champion of the Century [an actual “award”] and defender of partial-birth infanticide, Hillary Clinton).

You claim that we are putting party politics above the Catholic faith, but you are certainly doing that in these sorts of pathetic comments. If you start saying that no one can possibly vote Republican and remain a Catholic in good standing, that has crossed that line big-time.

You did claim that Trump and his followers really do want to kill Jews, whom they supposedly hate. You constantly compare us to Nazis. We’re not stupid. We can put two and two together. But with you, we don’t have to.

Now we supposedly want to kill reporters and babies south of the border. What’s left, Mark? Satan worship? Blasphemy? Sacrilege? Maybe we all abuse young children, too? We kill our own children? There ain’t much left! You’ll have a hard time outdoing all these lies about people who have honest disagreements with you.

I do not defend any evil that I am aware of, thank you. If you think otherwise, please kindly give me documentation of where I have done so.

By the same reasoning whereby you say you can vote Democrat based on “proportionate reasons” and a host of other justifications you make, we can do the same in good conscience, in voting differently than you do. No one is a saint on the ballot box. There will always be something we disagree with on Catholic grounds.

[after waiting about 45 minutes]: Does this mean our discussion is over and you are back to ranting?

I corrected you, if that’s what you mean. Knock yourself out defending the Cult Leader, the Lie Machine and the Cult.

I replied to that; or did you miss it?

You attributed to me things I do not believe and have not said. I corrected you. I have nothing else to add.

***

[Zhiqian Alfred John Gui, asking Mark]: What’s the percentage of white supremacist in this country?

At this point, I no longer give the Cult of Trump the benefit of the doubt. All of them. So about 35% of the electorate.

[This is a rare opinion from Mark of actual percentages of fanaticism, to someone else. Understand and note well, then, that Mark Shea is essentially declaring that an entire party (the Republican) is white supremacist: not just a small percentage of the base, etc. The “Cult of Trump” as he calls it is the Republican party, not just fringe elements. This is literally insane. I’m not saying Mark is insane, but that comment is.]

We could have had a good, constructive discussion (our one earlier in a different combox), but no, that would put you out and cause the stratosphere to explode. I was starting to ask you very important and necessary questions, but you have to avoid that at all costs.

***

If any of you out there resent, or are bitter against, or even hate Mark Shea, you need to repent pronto, and get on your knees and pray for him and for yourself, and shut up online about Mark till you get that worked out.

I am not “bitter.” I’m not “angry”: at all. Not one bit . . . I’m calm as I can be (my usual demeanor). I don’t have resentment against him, and I don’t hate him or anyone else. I am making what in my opinion is a rebuke in love about a grave, serious matter (unworthy rhetoric about others): brother to brother in the Church. My motivation is unity and truth and the cessation of yet more division: which we need like a hole in the head.

I’m talking directly to Mark now. So let’s see how long it lasts, and see if Mark will allow anyone to vote Republican without questioning their basic ethics and “good Catholic” status. I asked him. Either he’ll answer, or ignore or deflect it, as he so often does when questioned directly.

I tried and failed because he shut it down and put me in his “wicked moron” box.

***

It’s now been 32 minutes since I last replied on Mark’s page. I hope the discussion isn’t over just as it has begun, which has happened so many times in our limited interactions. Right now, it’s at a stage where we could actually accomplish something and find some common ground: if he chooses to continue it and answer my questions to him.

Prayer!

Ah, Mark was busy in the last few minutes writing up a new diatribe (which confirms a few things that he has said, as I claimed, that he just denied in the last hour):

For those of you with eye and brains, note what is happening.

The Cult of Trump has been conditioned by the Right Wing Lie Machine to move from one Panic du Jour to the next according to it utility to GOP handlers. In the lead up to the election, the Panic was “Soros and International Jewish bankers (aka “Globalists”) are funding THE INVASION OF THE UNITED STATES”. This got the Cult all wound up and was useful for getting out the white supremacist vote that is the Trump’s base and the backbone of the GOP.

Trouble is, it also ginned up nuts to go shoot up a synagogue and to send bombs to George Soros and other Trump critics. Awkward!

Got that? The very “backbone of the GOP” is white supremacist hate. That’s why I think he either can’t or won’t answer my question about whether any good Catholic can vote GOP. It would be a vote for the KKK, according to our beloved Jeremiah.

I asked him just now: “Does this mean our discussion is over and you are back to ranting?” Don’t walk away, Mark! Let’s keep talkin’!

Well, folks, it could be the classic Mark Shea split / silence, just as discussion was getting underway. 45 minutes and running . . .

Indeed, Mark has now declared our exchange over, and so has declined to answer my direct questions to him.

Mark shut down the discussion, with the usual yawningly predictable comments (see what I added to the end of the “discussion”). I am shaking the dust off my feet. Perhaps someone can still reason with him, but it ain’t me.

There is nowhere else to go. I gave it one last shot. I really tried. We could have had an actual discussion. But it takes two, doesn’t it? I’m not gonna keep spitting into a gale-force wind.

Now he has descended into rank insults on his page, and I am part of the “Cult” etc., which means I am a white supremacist who hates Jews and all the rest. After all, he has essentially said now that the entire GOP is white supremacist, and strongly implied (not so directly) that it is anti-Semite, too. He thinks Trump approved of the synagogue murders and that all Trump voters did too.

He added on 11-8-18:

Get it, you dumbells. The GOP has *long ago* chosen Trump and is now defecating on the rule of law. Stop treating the Cult like partners in dialogue and face the fact that they are nihilist predators and enemies who laugh at civilized standards of discourse and behavior.

Also, learn to use the words “lie”, “liar”, and “lying” and stop using euphemisms.

These statements are damnable and outrageous to the utmost extreme. If his fan club can’t see that then there is no hope for reaching them with reason, either. Pray for them all. Shaking the dust . . . God help the man. I hope close friends attempt to help him in a serious way soon. They’ll have to overcome a lot to get to him.

We can’t do anything at this point except pray and commend him to the infinite mercies and graces of God. I tried today one last time to talk to him, man-to-man, Catholic-to-Catholic, but he wants to make me and virtually all Republicans now, his enemy. His choice. He shut the conversation down, with insults and yet more lies about me. Once someone does that, there is no longer any conversation. We’re wicked and evil.

It’s sin (very serious sin), and will harm him and anyone who reads this poisonous and divisive rhetoric.

***

Mark upped the ante with yet more of his relentless ferocious, despicable rhetoric, in a blog post dated 1-22-19:

Now it is absolutely the case that racist, nativist morons and bigots have taken over the GOP. But it is just not the case that this Cult constitutes a “sliver”. It’s a third of the electorate and it is 100% of the GOP. And its absolute backbone are people who self-identify as “faithful, conservative, ‘prolife’ Christians,” both Protestant and Catholic. They have perverted the faith into a tool for accessorizing and weaponizing Christian jargon and imagery into the service of a racist political cult dominated by a Mob Boss. . . . it is up to the lay disciples of Jesus Christ to contrive some way to fight this cancer and make other disciples of Jesus who are not Christianist slaves to antichrist. . . . 

[T]he MAGA mob loves that sadistic cruelty . . . most of the “prolife” movement is about using the unborn as human shields for GOP Culture of Death priorities. . . . 

[T]he Party of White Supremacy is nothing if not stupid and stubborn.

And viciously antichristian. The gospel tells us that there is not white, brown, or black in Christ. But the Cult of Trump is the enemy of the gospel.”

I responded on Facebook on the same day:

This is, of course, massive calumny and slander and bearing of false witness: a huge ongoing exercise in mortal sin: wholesale lying about upwards of 60 million people: the vast majority of them Christians, and a large chunk, Catholics (Trump received a majority Catholic vote in 2016). No one seems to be able to persuade Mark Shea to shut up, for the good of his own soul, and the Body of Christ.

Some of us who used to be his apologetics colleagues (back when he actually wrote [superb] apologetics: before the devil diverted him from writing very much apologetics anymore, for which he was superbly suited), have tried to reason with him to stop this (myself, Karl Keating, Marcus Grodi are three I know of for sure). All to no avail.

The man seemingly will listen to no one who disagrees with him.

I’ve said for years now that the only hope of stopping his disgraceful, outrageous ongoing conduct is for personal friends of his, whom he knows and respects, who may agree with him politically, but don’t agree with his methods and his fanaticism and his perpetual lying and slander, to roundly rebuke that aspect and persuade him to stop.

Will they ever do that? Maybe some have already tried. But if they have, it ain’t workin’ yet, and so it will take maybe six or seven of them approaching him as a group, pleading with him to stop.

Let’s all pray that that happens soon.

His insulting goes on and on, because so many Catholics (leftish ones) want it to continue. They like it. They love to see conservatives and pro-lifers and Republicans insulted and lied about. That’s what is so sick about it.

I’ve seen Mark apologize many times. The problem is that he’ll go right back to the behavior he just apologized for: sometimes within days or even hours.

This makes his behavior look like the boy who cried wolf, or crocodile tears, or sorry about being caught. He may actually be sincere each time, sure, and then fall back into the sin, but the appearance is that the apologies mean little anymore. They never last, or produce ongoing change, which is what true repentance always does.

I think depression is a big root cause. He’s prone to it. He’s not just depressed because someone is disagreeing with him. He’s often mentioned depression. And I don’t read his stuff much at all. I’ve seen him mention it several times. See, for example, his posts dated 9-9-14, 7-13-16, and 3-25-17, where he writes very frankly and candidly about it. I don’t think this factor can be overestimated. It explains a lot.

He’s clearly very unhappy (ironically, outwardly the very opposite of what he calls his blog: Catholic and Enjoying It). As one of a family of six, where all six of us have experienced serious depression: many for years at a time, I know what I’m talking about.

Depression can cause one to lash out and to become embittered. People deal with it in different ways: you can lash out at others (as two of my family have done), or take it out on yourself / beat yourself up (as four of us, including myself, have done).

Mark is obviously doing the “lash out” thing. He would do well to try to conquer his depression through therapy, conventional medication, or holistic means (our family has successfully utilized all of those). Get to the root cause.

I care about Mark as a person (that’s not separate from all this; it’s right along with it), because we are called to love all. I don’t want to see him keep lying and being filled with uncontrollable rage and fury. That’s not a good spiritual place to be in. He is squandering and wasting his truly extraordinary gifts.

***

[the following was a Facebook post of mine, dated 11-3-18]

The So-Called “Cult of Trump”

We can (and should) readily acknowledge that there are some Trump followers that have an almost cult-like (excessive) devotion to him. But it’s admitting very little, seeing that it’s a mere truism: all bases of political masses and political partisans, which make up tens of millions of people in America, have those on the fringe. We have ’em; so do Democrats.

Why should any thinking person waste time debating what is so obvious? Both sides need to renounce the lunatics and fringe wackos on their own side, as well as on the other side. That’s what is necessary to do, rather than demonize the other guys en masse (the specks) and ignore the beams in our own eyes while doing so.

I try to do so. For example, in this recent article of mine.

Cultish behavior among a few is also obviously true in religious circles and matters. There are Catholics who truly do worship Mary. But they are fringe. Apologists like myself will acknowledge that but then quickly clarify that they are a tiny minority: roundly renounced by Church teaching. I started my apologetics career in the evangelical anti-cult research sub-community way back in 1981.

If the Blessed Virgin Mary were President Trump (just making an analogy for the sake of argument: don’t nobody get on their ear), we’d be talking daily about how “so many” Catholics worship and adore her (and how, according to some wrongheaded critics, all Catholics do so). But we don’t do that, because it’s fundamentally silly to major on the minors and not talk about what the Church really teaches.

Bottom line: both sides (but far more in degree, the Democrats) pretend that the fringe wackos on the extremes of each party are actually representative of the whole. It’s not true.

***

Mark “replied” on his Facebook page:

I’m famous! Dave Armstrong is evidently upset that I think a demographic that is utterly incapable of confronting a Mob Boss who pours out a torrent of lies is a Cult. Oh well.

In other words, no response at all, per the usual . . .

His buddies in the same thread are quite illustrious mind- and heart-readers. For example:

Dave Armstrong’dense hubris causes him to be utterly blind to facts and truth. It is quite intolerable to see intelligent people deliberately dumb themselves down in order to appease their ego.

For guys like Dave; this is nothing more than a philosophical game of tennis against guys like you; at the end of the day, it’s of no impact to him.

***

See also the usual vigorous follow-up discussion on my Facebook page.

***

Related Reading:

Mark Shea, Lies, Bannon / Breitbart, and the Novelty of Facts [11-18-16]

“Lessen Evil” Votes for Hillary? (vs. Mark Shea) [4-7-17]

Are Trump & His Supporters Nuts & Evil? (vs. Mark Shea) [9-6-18]

Just curious: how many of you who are critical of Mark Shea’s myriad manifest faults in his explosive, judgmental rhetoric and contemptible political polemics “hate” him? [results were unanimous: not a single one of 50+ readers of mine “hates” him] [Facebook, 5-22-19]

Pseudo-Jeremiah II Writes a Pseudo-Isaiah Passage, Applying “Bloody Hands” to Pro-Lifers Rather Than Pro-Abortionists [Facebook, 9-20-19]

Did you vote for President Trump or support him now? Well, then, you “profoundly distrust” the gospel, God’s grace, and Jesus Christ Himself, and indeed, can’t even be saved [Facebook, 10-8-19]

***

(originally 11-3-18, 11-8-18, and 1-22-19)

Photo credit: Mark Shea [Patheos.com]

***


Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!