Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Please, cut the piety

I have decided not to listen to piety. I've had enough. Those folks most prone to and gifted at God-talk have killed it.

Start right here. I was in Washington last week and nowhere near Donald Trump's jam-packed revival at my alma mater, the college where I spent 40 years of my life, the place where he now famously explained how he could gun down some sucker on Fifth Avenue and be loved as a gunslinger by his breathless disciples. In Sioux Center, Iowa, The Trump Rally was an event. Big time. Nothing like it since RAGBRAI. 

Someone wrote me, shook his head all the way through the email. "Trump says "bullshit" right there on the B. J. Haan stage?" That's right. The place is rockin' for a thrice-married casino mogul who claims he doesn't remember ever asking forgiveness from anyone for anything. The note-writer likely went to Dordt at a time when you could be tossed from the cafeteria line for wearing jeans, when dorm counselors taped over coin slots on Coke machines every Sabbath, when women could not wear slacks to class unless the temp was -20 at the college radio station--at a time when strict piety ruled the whole world.

That's all silly now. We've come of age. 

Or this. Bob Vander Plaats, the most famous Iowa evangelical, a Cruz man, gets the back of Trump's hand in one of the candidate's famous tweets. When it happens, Vander Plaats announces that such behavior from Trump is characteristic."This plays to Trump's judgment and temperament," Vander Plaats told The Des Moines Register yesterday. "He will burn anybody."

"He will burn anybody," and Vander Plaats, the greatest Iowa Christian, won't? He's forged his following from the smoldering carcasses of three Iowa Supreme Court judges. Did Goodman Vander Plaats really believe he could cavort with the Donald and come out righteous? The greatest Iowa Christian will have to pray even harder at his next Family Leader Forum, be sure quote more scripture with Jeremiah-like vehemence. 

Or this. Yesterday Jerry Falwell, Jr., endorsed Donald Trump. 

Let me say that again: Yesterday Jerry Falwell, Jr., endorsed Donald Trump.

Does that make any sense?

The President of Liberty University, the son of the famous Jerry who created--yea, from the dust of earth--the famed Moral Majority, endorses the superman of slot machines? When Trump said "2 Corinthians" instead of "Second Corinthians," a couple thousand super pious Liberty students giggled at the gaffe (I didn't know it was!). Liberty is the University of Piety. Just imagine how many Bible verse t-shirts lie in its dorm drawers. 

Have we all gone mad?

Last week, a local pizza mogul known for his restaurant's public piety (Christian radio plays over the salad bar) came out for Trump. Adri Groenweg told CNN, "I'm tired of the regular politician. He's different. He's not a regular politician. He's somebody who says it the way it is. He's not -- you know the thing he talks about not being politically correct -- he's not and I like that about the guy."

Okay, but do we have to listen to Christian radio? Well, yes, I suppose, because that kind of political correctness is pious.

Of course, like Vander Plaats, Groeneweg could have tossed his hat in the Cruz ring. Senator Ted Cruz has pledged to carpet bomb Syria, he believes Marco Rubio is way too liberal about illegal immigration, and he claims he will tear up the Iranian peace accords on his very first day in office, just tear them up. "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth," said Christ and Cruz, "I did not come to bring peace, but a sword." Not just swords either, but guns. Lots of guns. Second Amendment guns.

No one even likes Ted Cruz, no one. Well, except Vander Plaats and some of his Great Iowa Christians. He's a better choice?

And the truth is, they all are at their best spouting bible verses. They'are all at their finest in on-stage prayer and in the public throes of fervent supplication. 

Just yesterday, one of the Oregon occupiers was killed in what appears to have been some sort of armed confrontation. But in his last statement on his early-morning radio show, he left this as his legacy/testimony:  “Know that we are determined,” he reassured them. “This is not a place of fear in here. The fear is out there. We know that God’s hand is in this. Whatever happens, we know that it’s going to be okay.”


But as for me and my house, we're just not buying public piety any more--not a word of it. Just not buying it. 


Anonymous said...

By the way... Iowa missed you while you were in DC... I thought you were out stumping for Bernie in Iowa... you missed a great Hawkeye BB game.

A few blog posts ago I wrote the following [see below]. Let me remind you that Republican candidates do not have a corner in the market of pseudo - piety ... politics [dems and repubs] was and is saturated with it... you know it and I know it. There is enough bull-crap to go around.

"Pseudo- piety.

This spiritual mal-practice reminds of Proverbs 26:23, "Like a coating of silver dross on earthenware are fervent lips with an evil heart."

As a kid I observed these behaviors and I just knew that I was witnessing something that was not right. All of us were sinners. It was the common denominator for all of us.

Except for the hypocrites. The dissonance was hard to sort out...."

Anonymous said...

Bernie is the only example I can see of non-pseudo piety. He's the best hope for what the CPJ would describe as a "principled pluralism" in this country.

“I am motivated by a vision which exists in all of the great religions — in Christianity, in Judaism, in Islam, Buddhism and other religions — and which is so beautifully and clearly stated in Matthew 7:12,” Sanders said. “And it states: ‘So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the law and the prophets.’ ”

- see the whole thing at

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I do not want any government doing anything to me or for me, particularly Bernie's version of the government. I am old fashioned and believe in limited government of the people, by the people and for the people.

Anonymous said...

There isn't one candidate that appears to be the obvious one. The top two right now for the GOP are no where near what I am hoping for, neither are the top two of the Dems. Lord help us! Trumps statement at Dordt was pretty telling, and I hope he lost more votes than he gained by being so prideful. Where are the humble leaders with a servant heart for God?