FRANK SCHAEFFER (former Evangelical Christian): If it turns out that Trump really was lured by the Russians into compromising himself while watching whores pee for kicks and more and thus proving that he lied (again) and thus also explaining his very odd pro-Putin stances (even including disrespecting his own intel people in favor of Putin), would you regret voting for him?
LUKE MOON (Evangelical Christian): I have no doubt there will be lots of opportunities for me to regret voting for him. Who knows, maybe if I was in a different state I would have voted differently. As it was, I’m in New York, so my vote was never going to count as anything other than a protest vote against Hillary.
That being said, I still have not seen anything yet that makes me concerned about the relationship between Trump and Russia. If I was to behave like the Dems during the Iran deal, I would say, why are you in such a hurry to have war with Russia? :- )
SCHAEFFER: What about Trump as a president-elect antagonizing our American intel community before he even takes office?
By the way I agree on the Democrat hawks. Hillary just wanted to prove she was tough. She voted for a misbegotten war my Marine son served in.
MOON: Everything in DC is politicized. I think there are people in the intel community that are politically motivated against Trump. It’s not all, but some. There was a poll back in the spring that showed 27% of federal workers would quit if Trump was elected. I wish he would stop attacking the intel folks though.
I also expect big powers to try and influence elections of other nations. It’s what nations do. We’ve done it a ton.
SCHAEFFER: Yes we have, and again this proves the hypocrisy of the American Exceptionalism folks. They (Dems and GOP) put us above the law as if we’re the chosen people and then whine if someone does the same to us.
But to bring it back to Trump… I’ll be bold for someone who proclaimed Hillary would win (!) and say flat out that Trump’s presidency already reeks of failure before he even takes the oath. The stock market will go up, the economy saved by Obama will boom on for a bit (Trump will take credit) and then Trump’s reliable penchant for utter self-destruction will kick in and he and the GOP will go down in flames. There will be a bridge too far somewhere down the road. I predict the House of Trump will become (to go biblical on your ass) a “hissing and byword” for the ages.
MOON: The thing is though, that we were going to get to this point one way or another. We are a divided nation that is increasingly against anything that seems even mildly moderate or nuanced. It wasn’t like Hillary was going to usher in the new Golden Age of Progressivism. I actually think she would simply have delayed the Progressive version of Trump. The institutions are broken, we are divided and we won’t heal until we are forced to by something big and terrible. This isn’t unique to the US, it’s a global crisis.
SCHAEFFER: I have to agree 100 percent on your last paragraph. Well said. Here’s a question and it is not loaded. It seems to me that the Democrats have made a huge strategic error that has cost them. They never reconciled themselves to the fact that Roe v. Wade slowly but surely has radicalized a huge segment of the American population. Compare how so many white evangelicals have gone along with changing times on gay rights but have stuck to their guns on abortion. If I had to point to one key factor besides issues of race I’d say that in treating legal abortion as a settled matter, the Dems either believed their own BS or only talked to people who agreed. If you took the passion about Roe out of the historic mix, Hillary would have won. I think Roe is (so to speak) the gift that keeps on giving and so much else flows from it– Do you agree? What else do you see in this mix? What else radicalized the evangelicals?
MOON: Roe radicalized Evangelicals? I guess that depends on your definition of radical. If it’s radical being against killing viable babies out of convenience, then count me a radical. I would say that Roe mobilized Evangelicals.
SCHAEFFER: The issue of abortion itself aside for now… what I meant was looking at what opened the door to a whole alienated attitude about much more than disagreements on abortion. For instance, as I look back, I don’t think there was anything about climate change the evangelicals would have doubted was manmade back when my dad was writing his book Pollution and the Death of Man on a Christian pro-ecology view. Since when were evangelicals shills for folks like the Koch brothers? I think when I say “radicalized” I really mean alienated from all expert opinion far more than ever before. Roe poisoned so many evangelical’s faith in government and for that matter in America. I wasn’t debating the facts of what abortion is. That is worth talking about, but you missed my point, or rather I didn’t make myself clear. I was talking tactics and reality here, not the issue itself. One can be pro-choice or pro-life and still see that tactically this has implications that when pushed to the extreme might even undermine one’s other and wider goals: winning elections for instance!
MOON: On your broader point, I agree. Roe mobilized a generation on Evangelicals to be concerned about politics and moral issues. It jump started the Religious Right for sure. But there was other stuff going on too. In 1972, the Southern Baptists submitted an amicus brief in FAVOR of abortion. A decade later the conservatives were cleaning house.
It’s not like the Progressives were/are passive observers ever being acted upon. They are also responsible. I suspect if the states voted pro-abortion one by one there would never have been a major pro-life movement. Forcing it on the whole US was a tactical error.
There seems to be a need within Progressivism to push itself upon the whole world. Whether it’s increasing power at the federal government or driving an agenda through the UN, its always about killing Federalism–of states or nations.
SCHAEFFER: I agree re the tactics but not the “push itself on the whole world” deal. Or rather everyone does that–what are missionaries?! Also just as you said that the Southern Baptists were pro-choice as was Billy Graham as he told Dad and me personally–as was the editorial board of Christianity Today magazine–the Left was not monolithic either back in the 1970s. So all the talk about “liberals” re abortion is bogus.
My old friend Nat Hentoff who died last week (the Village Voice and New Yorker writer and great jazz critic) was staunchly pro-life and saw it as a matter of LEFTIST civil rights principle. So did many others. In the evangelical world I personally helped stamp out conservative pro-choice views. I wrote scathing stuff in my (now defunct but once widely circulated) paper the Christian Activist about Graham and the editors of CT from what was then my absolutist anti-abortion position. On the Left the same thing happened as pro-choice people made it hard for anyone to remain labeled as liberal (or run as a Democrat and win) if they were “heretics” on choice. Of course these days on this issue I’m disliked by all concerned having gone from anti-abortion to pro-choice but ambivalently so and with reservations. …
We’re out of time and words… want a last word or shall we leave it here?
MOON: We can stop here. It’s a fascinating history. Unknown to many.
Schaeffer & Moon is written on the fly in a real-time chat room format and lightly proofed by Patheos editors.
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