• White evangelical darling and scandal-machine Scott Pruitt has resigned from his cabinet-level assignment of destroying the EPA. He will be returning to the private sector to spend more time with his special lotion and mattress.
I’d like to think that Alexandra Petri’s speculative column today in The Washington Post was the final straw: “Keep Scott Pruitt moist.” It’s possible that Pruitt is simply jaw-droppingly corrupt and venal, but Petri’s theory would also explain quite a bit. (Are political columns eligible for the Hugos? This one should be.)
Pruitt’s replacement will be Andrew Wheeler — a corporate tool whose résumé includes years of work on behalf of Sen. James Inhofe and Murray Energy. Both of those things should be as disqualifying for public service as, say, having served as CFO for Bernie Madoff, but in Trumpworld, those are viewed as assets.
(Both of those things should also be disqualifying for enjoying the civilities of public life, walking sidewalks without being jeered and pelted with tomatoes, receiving sacraments in any Christian church, etc.)
• Speaking of people who ought to be utterly unemployable … Lanny Davis has been hired as an attorney to represent Michael Cohen. If the arc of the moral universe bends toward justice, then it stands to reason that Michael Cohen and Lanny Davis ought to have to spend a great deal of time in each other’s company. (Davis’ main contribution to the world was being the subject of one of the all-time great insults, from Jon Lovett in 2012: “There’s too much wrong with Washington to say that any one person represents everything that’s wrong with Washington. But it’s Lanny Davis.” It’s funny because it’s true.)
• Kaya Oakes talks with religion reporter Jonathan Merritt about the reasons behind his departure/dismissal from Religion News Service. It is not at all encouraging for those of us who have admired and/or relied on RNS as a trustworthy and insightful source of religion reporting. Evangelicals, man, those thin-skinned, vindictive culture-warriors ruin everything.
• Did Mike Pence really try to use Micah 6:8 as his “biblical” defense of Trump’s negative-tolerance anti-immigrant policy? Wow. I’m not sure which is bigger — Pence’s chutzpah or his biblical illiteracy.I’ve mentioned before that this has long been a favorite passage of mine because it was engraved on the wall of a synagogue next to a too-long traffic light on West Seventh in Plainfield: DO JVSTICE • LOVE MERCY • WALK HVMBLY WITH THY GOD. It’s also a favorite of mine because it cuts to the chase, providing a tangible, practical bit of advice/divine commandment, as well as a hermeneutical guide for understanding everything else you think you might be reading in the Bible. (Hint: If you think it’s telling you that God requires you to do something other than justice and mercy, then ur doing it wrong. Start over.)
While we’re on the subject of Micah 6:8, here are a handful of the many times I’ve written about that passage previously:
If you click on any of those it’ll probably be the second one, but that’s OK.
Daniel Schultz’s ReWire piece and Sarabeth Caplin’s Friendly Atheist post both provide a better understanding of the meaning and context of Micah 6:8 than white evangelical icon Mike Pence is capable of.
• If you dropped a stone down into the dark depths of the Trump administration’s corruption, you would still — after more than a year — be waiting to hear it hit bottom. I’m not sure there is a bottom.