Friday, February 19, 2016

Judge Not: JEB Makes A Blunder About Questioning Another Person's Christian Faith

by Nomad

Although JEB's campaign has careened from mistake to mistake, this most recent one might have slipped past you. When it comes to judging other people's faith, JEB is now decidedly against it. However, that's not what he said only a few months ago. 

We are getting used to the Himalayan levels of Republican hypocrisy in this election. Sometimes it has been hard to keep track of every instance. 

Last night, I caught yet another one from the mouth of JEB. Or maybe it was just a typical Bush blunder. 

As you might have heard, Republican front-runner Donald Trump and Pope Francis got into a pointless and politically hazardous spat in the past two days. Always eager to avoid serious issues, the press pounced on it. Perhaps they were all hoping the big moment of Donald Trump's downfall had finally arrived. 

On the flight back from his tour of Mexico, Pope Francis made a remark about people who build walls.
Something to the effect that people who build walls and not bridges are "not truly Christian." In fact, a little research shows that the statement isn't new at all
In November 2014, Pope Frances said something quite similar when hailing St. Pope John Paul II's role in the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Francis marked the 25th anniversary Sunday of the destruction of the wall symbolizing the Cold War by appealing to all those of good will to foster a "culture of coming together" to bring down all barriers still dividing the world.
Actually, the words Pope Francis used might have been said just as easily by Pope John Paul II in the days of Reagan. In those time, Republicans would have whooped and hollered and threw their Stetsons skyward.
Today it is the Republicans who like fond of building walls, not the oppressive Soviets.

Ever the egomaniac, Trump automatically assumed Pope Francis was referring to him. He could have been. Trump characteristically came out swinging in all directions. He responded by calling the statement “disgraceful. ”
“No leader, especially a religious leader, has the right to question another man’s religion or faith.”
Always eager to avoid serious issues, the press pounced on it. Perhaps they were all hoping the big moment of Donald Trump's downfall had finally arrived. 
To deflate the controversy, Trump has wisely walked back on his foolish condemnation of the leader of the Catholic Church and blamed the media for taking the pontiff's remark out of context. (There was more than a little truth to that excuse too.)

The storm passed without a drop. Much to the dismay of the entire Bush family. JEB might talk about his campaign "surging" but with the most recent poll showing Bush at 4 percent and Trump hovering around 26 percent, JEB and his mom, Barbara, could be the only ones who actually believe it.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell
Last night at a Republican town hall meeting, CNN's Anderson Cooper asked JEB for his own take on the Trump-Pope matter. 
In his usual waffling style, he said:
Well, I always get in trouble when the Pope says things, because I'm - I'm a Catholic. I'm informed by my faith, and he is an inspirational leader of my church.

But I don't question people's Christianity. I think that's a relationship they have with their - with their Lord and savior and themselves.

So I just don't think it's appropriate to question Donald Trump's faith. He knows what his faith is. And he has a - if he has a relationship with the Lord, fantastic. If he doesn't, it's none of my business.
However, despite JEB's assurances that it isn't appropriate to question anybody's faith, and their personal relationship with the Lord, he was very much into asking strangers such questions.

Recall when the big Republican scare was Syrian immigrants. Bush was asked during a campaign stop in South Carolina around Thanksgiving what he thought: should the US allow Syrian refugees to come and live? 

JEB's answer was bold and decisive. No...meaning, yes, but maybe no.
“At a minimum we ought to be bringing in people that have -- orphans or people that clearly aren’t going to be terrorists. Or Christians."
He tried in vain to explain his rationale by adding:  
"There are no Christian terrorists in the Middle East, they’re persecuted.”
It may be hard to find Christian terrorists in the Middle East. That's true, but it's not hard to find them closer to home, especially in South Carolina. 
Surely JEB knows that the KKK persecutes African Americans and it claims to be a Christian group. 

In 2014, Frank Ancona, the imperial wizard of the Traditional American Knights of the KKK declared that the KKK was not a hate group but a Christian organization. Others have pointed out that ISIL is as Muslim and the KKK is Christian. 
Unfortunately, nobody told JEB. 

JEB seems unaware that in July 2015,  the North Carolina Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan “Imperial Kommander” Amanda Lee  publicly applauded a man charged with killing nine black parishioners in a Charleston, S.C., church. She said:
The KKK would like to say hail victory to the young warrior in South Carolina, Dylann S. Roof who decided to do what the Bible told him. If we had 10,000 more men like this young man, America would not be in the shape that it is in now."
According to JEB, there are people who are clearly not aren’t going to be terrorists. Like Christians.

Prove it
That ABC news interviewer seemed genuinely puzzled by the JEB's statement that Christians should be allowed in because they are somehow immune from being terrorists. Her next question, however, focused not on the logic but the logistics.

How, she asked, was JEB planning to determine  who is and who is not a Christian. Was he implying some type of religious test? Would they have to- for example- explain the significance of the Trinity? or recite a passage from the Sermon on the Mount? 
Or would they have to swear on a Bible? That wouldn't make much sense if they were clandestine Koran-reading Muslim terrorists, would it? 
Or would they have to produce some kind of sworn affidavit from a priest, stamped by a notary? A papal certification? 

And would it count if they convert on the spot, pleading a blinding and divine epiphany. (Saul of Tarsus became St. Paul the Apostle in exactly that way, after all.)  

Clearly flustered by questions he couldn't answer, JEB assured the reporter
"I mean, you can prove you're a Christian. I think you can prove it. If you can't prove it, you are on the side of caution."
Which we can only assume he means, if there's any doubt of the degree of a refugee's faith, their relationship with the Lord, then they ought to be returned to Syria, where they could face death or oppression. 

Back then- only a few months ago- JEB seemed to think it was perfectly ok to judge the quality of one's faith- Christian or otherwise. Today. he doesn't think the Pope should have done so. 

Sometimes it seems as if JEB can't open his mouth without tumbling into a hole he himself dug a few months earlier.