Trump and the Crazy Train

There is certainly one thing that you can say about Trump – he is entertaining.

What people aren’t talking about is the fact that ALL of the Republican presidential candidates are in one way or another just as crazy as Trump.

Trump represents an interesting populist anti-establishment uprising that has surprised the party establishment, the media, and Trump. He is also the natural evolution of the “money votes” economy. Rand Paul was on the right track when he said that Trump is “used to buying politicians”. He has simply taken the next step of by passing the middle man and representing his own interests. Whether he is able to translate this into a nomination is yet to be seen.

He gained momentum by demonizing undocumented workers. He fanned the flames of xenophobia by claiming that Mexico was deliberately sending their most dangerous citizens to us to deal with.

All of the rest of the candidates were dragged along to support Trump’s claim that there is a crisis at the border. Rubio tried to distance himself from his previous support of a path to citizenship. Walker also changed his tune. Christie called his previous support a “garbage idea”. Even Trump had flipped from his earlier support of path to citizenship. Only Kasich, Hackabee, Carson, and Paul have resisted the urge to jump on the “we’re being overwhelmed with criminals” bandwagon.

The problem is that fact checkers call this claim false. Illegal immigration peaked in 2007 and has actually declined since. Deportations hit an all time high in 2013 of 400K. Most of those were convicted of crimes in this country. More robust border enforcement has not only dramatically reduced illegal immigration, but it has also discouraged undocumented workers from leaving this country for fear that they won’t be able to get back in. The result is a fairly stable population of undocumented workers in this country of 11M. Their children, at least those born here, will automatically be citizens. If these trends continue, within thirty years the number of undocumented workers will drop by 50% without any other actions on our part.

So the only value in building a bigger wall is that it will likely provide some jobs for those that the wall is intended to keep out.

How about abortion?

Trump flipped from his previous support of abortion.

Rubio lied about never supporting exceptions to abortion.

Bush questioned whether, “we need half a billion dollars for women’s health issues.”

Huckabee said he would ignore the Supreme Court and declare that a “baby inside the mother’s womb is a person at the moment of conception.”

Santorum, who has built his political career on his opposition to abortion, took the opportunity to question Carson’s character because Carson used fetal tissue in his medical research. “When you start to see some of these cracks, I think it may show whether the person is really someone who’s going to take on an issue and be strong on it when they get into the very difficult position of being President of the United States.” An interesting attack from the guy who recently failed a significant test of character when he had to choose between politics and his religious faith on the topic of climate change.

How about healthcare?

Trump flip flopped in his previous support for single payor.

All promise to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something better. NONE have said what that something better would be other than some discussion that health savings accounts would be nice.

How about the use of our military in the Middle East?

Rand Paul is the only one who would not put “boots on the ground”.

Fiorina lied when she claimed that the US wasn’t arming the Kurds. We are doing it through the Iraqi government.

How about the economy?

Jeb promises that he can deliver 4% growth off into the future based on his experience in Florida and his belief in supply side economics. The reality is that he presided over a huge real estate bubble in Florida. When it burst, shortly after he left office, 900K of the 1.3M jobs he claimed to create vanished. Funny the same thing happened to his brother’s supply-side experiment.

Many economists think that 4% is just out of our reach because of the demographic headwinds of the baby boomer retirement. You really have to believe in the fairy dust of supply side economics to project that we would touch 3% as a result of government policies.

Christie claimed some big job numbers, but his state ranked 44 out of 50 in job growth.

Walker did not elaborate on his failure to deliver the 215K jobs he promised would appear as a result of the massive tax cuts he gave business. Instead he talked about job growth and job participation numbers. What he didn’t say is that these were the same numbers that existed prior to his election.

Huckabee solves everything with a consumption tax. One of the advantages of that tax is that even “illegals, prostitutes, pimps, and drug dealers” would be paying this tax. He claims that tax will generate 6% growth. I have to admit that 6 is better than 4 which is certainly better than 2, but just changing the tax policy won’t do it. You have to get more workers which just isn’t going to happen unless there is also a radical change in immigration policy which is not part of Huckabee’s plan. Even if you got more workers, you would also have to have a significant change in productivity because wages would have to track this growth in order to get more money into the economy. Huckabee hasn’t even thought of this because his consumption tax shifts most of the tax burden to the poor. All he has thought about is that 6 is better than 4.

Then there is Doc Carson, who suggest that we should all tithe 10% of income instead of pay taxes. When asked whether or not it would work, he said that if it worked for God, it will work for us.

Summary

In this context it isn’t surprising that Trump is having the success that he has been having. The reality is that the only half-way serious candidate in this train full of clowns is Kasich. Not surprisingly he is the most moderate of the bunch and as a result, the least likely to get the nomination.

This speaks volumes about what the Republican Party has become. This is no longer the party of George HW Bush or even Ronald Reagan. It has become the party of paranoia and extremism as the old white angry men, who have been the party’s backbone, struggle with the reality that they are no longer in control. They failed to defend marriage from the onslaught of gay rights. They failed to prevent the rollout of what they see as another big entitlement program in Obamacare. Black people are demanding justice. Hispanics have discovered the power of the ballot box. Even the Pope disagrees with their abortion obsession. And women are no longer content with staying home and raising children. They not only demand a career, but also equal pay for equal work.

These guys are growing tired of the effort required to hold back the flood of scientific evidence supporting human-caused climate change. Their dam has sprung so many leaks that they are running out of fingers to plug them. Coal-based electrical generation is not only polluting, it is expensive. The most economical and highest performance car is all electric, made in this country, and sold direct over the internet. The world is changing under their feet and there appears to be little they can do to prevent it except perhaps support someone who is willing to give voice to their fears and frustrations – Donald Trump.

38 Responses to “Trump and the Crazy Train”

  1. Keith says:

    Jeff,
    Hope you are well.

    Proverbs 11:1 “The Lord detests dishonest scales, but accurate weights find favor with Him.”

    You just called all the republican candidates just as crazy as Trump.
    Hummmm. Are any of the Dem or dems candidates just as “crazy?”

    Let’s explore the depth of your comment.

    Deportation numbers are up due to a change in who is counted as deported. Previously it was those living here. Now in the count are those caught at or near the boarder and returned. (So it will be on their record)
    You know this…

    With regard to flips, some may be a progression of a person, some may be a flip. To label all the republican candidates as crazy for this is fine iso long as you also call Hillary crazy for marriage and abortion just to name a few, and Obama on the mandate and marriage, just to name a few. Are they?

    Are you calling all the republican candidates crazy for saying the would repeal and replace the ACA but not say how they would replace it? Well why would you do so when Obama never detailed his healthcare plane so much so that even as its being passed Nacy P famously said, ” we have to pass it to be able to tell you what’s in it.” Jeff it’s the Republicans candidates are crazy for not saying how they would replace it, then you must also call every dem who voted for the ACA crazy for not telling us what was in it…

    The economy. This is where it gets fun. (And personal) please review your post of Dec 31st 2012 titled “Debt, Deficit, and Math.” Here you suggest “many economists suggest that 4% growth is the optimal target for US Gdp….” You then go in to quote Paul Krugmen as your guy in this. You argue that 4% growth supports current spending and the spend levels are acceptable. You seem to be a champion of 4% growth along with Paul Krugam

    Drill down now into the comments section of that post. On Jan 12th you are supporting 4% GDP growth. You then further support the 4% notion by saying “I’ve already posted the opinion of a Nobel prize winning economist. What have you got.” (As laughable now as it was then) You then double down on 4% growth in your response to me on Jan 13th at 10:41pm. “The way to quickly put people back to work and move this economy to 4% growth is to spend the cheap money that we can borrow today on infrastructure.” I’lol stop there. Clearly 4% is not a rediculas growth rate to you.

    So back to our CRAZY REPUBLICANS shall we. Jeb promised 4% and you simply site the rea estate boom. (Did Clinton have an investment boom in the and a tech boom that burst on Bushs arrival?) You said this – “Many economists think that 4% is just out of reach because of the demographic headwinds of the baby boomer retirement. You really have to believe in the fairy dust of supply side economics to project that we would reach 3% as a result of government policies. Hummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…..

    So you once supported cheap money to build infrastructure to return us quickly to 4% GDP then as Jeb speaks of 4% you say “Many economists think 4% is out of reach….. Fairy dust of supply side…. As a result of foot policies.”

    If Jeb is crazy then Paul Krugman is crazy and you are crazy.

    Proverbs 11:1 ….

  2. Keith says:

    I forgot to mention this above. It really irritated me at the time.

    As to demographic treads preventing 4% growth you now site. T
    In that same discussion with you I quoted above I mentioned Harry Dent and his research book as to demographic treands of the boomers and his belief that this is a head wind. You said paraphrasing “why should I read his stuff?”
    Now you believe…. Maybe you should now read his stuff.

  3. Keith says:

    And honestly, did Carly “lie” or was she simply wrong, if true.

  4. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Regardless of how you count deportation, the data shows that the number coming into this country is basically balanced by the number that we are deporting. There are certainly more being apprehended at the border. That count is easy. One in one out. But there are also MANY more being deported as a result of being arrested for a crime. The net is that the number being deported balances that number that make it past the border patrol.

    The result of stepped up border patrol activity AND the reality that if you DO get caught, you now have a criminal record in this country, is that WAY fewer of the undocumented workers living in this country are leaving because they are afraid they won’t be able to get back in.

    The BIG crazy issue is an attempt to deport them all. Studies again show that they are a net economic gain because the overwhelming majority of them are hard working, pay taxes, but stuff, and (other than being here illegally) are more law abiding than their anglo neighbors.

    Since their children become citizens and within one generation generally marry outside their ethnic cohort, the “problem” with these undocumented workers does not persist. If the current trends continue, the number of undocumented workers in this country will slowly but inexorably decline because we all will someday die.

  5. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Regarding flips, the issue is the influence of Trump on this race. If you agree with the premise that he IS crazy, then by association, those who have scrambled to get to the right of Trump are also crazy.

    I agree that flipping in and of itself is something that voters should keep in mind when then choose their candidates. There were certainly flips by Obama and Clinton on topics you mentioned. Clinton may also have to alter her positions because of Bernie. But Bernie is NOT crazy. He may be the most consistent politician in the race. He’s just getting a chance to share his position with more people. So Hillary adopting more of Bernie’s positions is IN FACT why Bernie is in the race.

    Trump IS NOT in the race to force the Republican Party to become MORE crazy. He is in the race to win BECAUSE a significant segment of the Republican base IS CRAZY and are willing to vote for a rabble rouser who has never demonstrated that he is interested in anyone but himself.

    The biggest hypocrisy is the fact that a significant amount of his support is coming from Evangelicals. Here’s a guy who is the epitome of all of the personal excesses that evangelicals supposedly abhor. Rather than Huckabee or Cruz or Santorum or even Walker, they are throwing their support behind Trump. Please explain this to me.

  6. Jeff Beamsley says:

    The economy

    I think that you are assuming my critique of Jeb was just about 4%. It wasn’t.

    I believe that we can achieve short periods of 4% growth because of government policies.

    What I recommended was taking advantage of the periods of time when we can “borrow” money from the rest of the world at low interest rates. That’s the situation today and has been the situation for the past three years. Heck, the last quarter was just revised to 3.7% and that was without any more stimulation than low interest rates.

    The difference is that Jeb is promising 4% growth for as far as the eye can see as a result of changing tax policy. He points to his time in Florida as evidence that he can do it. But HE DIDN”T DO IT for as far as the eye can see. He presided over a bubble. When the bubble burst, the economic growth stopped and the jobs evaporated.

    China did the same thing in trying to prop up their economic growth. They created a HUGE real estate bubble with lots of investment in infrastructure. It is now popping as the job growth that drove the mass migration from the country to the cities slowed.

    The infrastructure path that many mainstream economists recommend could also cause a bubble in the US too if it is not well managed.

    So my issue is not that 4% growth is impossible to achieve. It is very difficult to achieve for 8 years which is what Jeb is promising. IMHO it is impossible to achieve following the supply side model. You don’t have to look any further than Kansas to see the most recent failure of that model.

    The reason Jeb picked that 4% number is that is a number that makes the Supply Side Model work. All that he has demonstrated, however, is that you can make the math work. He hasn’t proven that his basic assumption that lower taxes alone will stimulate economic growth at a 4% or greater rate for as far as the eye can see.

    Instead the more likely scenario is what we have just emerged from. Instead of a recession driving down tax revenues, arbitrarily cutting taxes will cut federal revenues and force the government to borrow money to cover its debts. Republicans will attempt to reduce government spending to match the lower revenue rates. This will cause states and cities to reduce their spending. All of this will put a lot of people who either work for the government or depend on government business out of work. The result is a self-induced recession and a jump in unemployment. That will drive up government spending as the various social safety net programs kick in which will only accelerate the debt. By the time that businesses can respond to lower tax rates, consumption will have fallen off, they will have laid off their own workers to cut costs, and any benefit from the tax cut will be lost.

  7. Jeff Beamsley says:

    I was giving Carly the benefit of the doubt when I said she lied. I assumed that she was aware of what the facts on the ground are, and simply misrepresented them to prove her point.

    It is possible that she formed her opinion based on something she heard on Fox News, and didn’t bother to try to dig into the facts on the ground.

    It is also possible that she made it up on the spot rather than admit that she didn’t know anything about the real situation of the Kurds being supplied with US arms through the Iraqi’s.

    Of those three choices, I would prefer the first.

  8. Keith says:

    I don’t think Trump is crazy.

    I think a significant portion of the population is politically crazy both on the right and left. I think anyone who can pull the lever for abortion, with the exceptions of life of the mother, rape or incest, are crazy. I think anyone who can compare the marriage of a man and a woman to those of people of the same sex are crazy. I think that anyone who thinks our ever expanding entitlement programs can continue at current growth rates is crazy. I think anyone who doesn’t want to act to get the states and the state entitlements under control is crazy. etc, etc, etc…..

    Bernie Sanders is a socialist. I’d find it hard to accept a primise of his.

    Trump has a following because there is a silent majority. One that laughs at PC. One that’s sick of what the media portrays as common thought of what’s “offensive,” as an example, and what they know to be true. Who are sick of republicans talking about one think like a mindless suit, and going to DC with a majority and doing very little… With Hillary standing in front of the camara and smiling while speaking legalize…. With one person unable to say he opposes gay marriage and abortion but doesn’t think every illegal Alian should be deported. That someone in one hand can’t say I support tax increase but am opposed to gay marriage. That they are tired of bushdom and clintondom.

    That there is a feeling that only very small minority rights are being stood up for and NOT America. I work close in our company with our “working Americans.” I am very good friends with them. They are not represented by the dems they vote for. They do not accept the PC lingo, in fact they laugh at it. They don’t not obsess with climate change. They believe Hillary is a liar. They roll their eyes at gay marriage all the while respecting that any two people should be allowed to ” live and let live.” They agree that 47% of our population pay no federal taxes and that while something needs to be done it certainly isn’t the fault of the rich.

    I am not represented by those the republicans have sent to DC and that finishing every sentence on every issue with “lowing taxes” is not the right answer. That SOMETHING didn’t need to be done about run away healthcare costs, so instead we ended up with this train wreck… That John Bonher and Mitch M represent ME??? Holy Cow no!!!!! That Nancy P and Henry Ried represent anyone?????

    Trump is tapping into this silent majority. Who knows what happens next. He’s saying what an aweful lot of people are thinking. Is he offering solutions that those same folks agree with, I’m not sure. Ex my idea I wrote to you about long ago was ever illegal in the country should report to the post office and get id. They will pay “something,” be allowed to stay if they are not a felon, but will never become a citizen. Better then what we currently have. Is this a good compromise Trump would make with dems if elected, I bet he’d take it. Is called “the art of the deal.” Lol

    Would I rather the good govener from the state of Ohio? You betcha !

    Mean time even the dems are seeing through the coronation the DNC is attempting to pull off for Hillary. She can even field a question. She’s a fascist. Period.

  9. Jeff Beamsley says:

    I guess we disagree on Trump. He may be voicing the thoughts of a those with views that can’t be shared in polite company, but fortunately they are hardly a majority. Unfortunately, they are not very far from an unruly mob and that’s what is scary about where “fear of the other” inevitably leads.

    If you recall Jesus description of what it takes to get into heaven, it was “For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.”

    I’m going to post something about Cafeteria Christianity at some point in the near future, but I have to ask you a serious and sincere question.

    How do you square this very specific and direct description of what Jesus said ALL of us must do in order to, “inherit the kingdom prepared for you” with the policies of the Party and candidates that you support?

    How are you going to answer when you support polities that reduce the amount of money spent feeding the poor, refuse to address the moral issues of climate change which most directly affect the food and water supplies of the poor, punish the stranger, ignore the homeless, restrict access to healthcare, and increase the prison population?

    Trump may be giving voice to the mindless abject fear of those who feel the world changing under their feet and want someone to blame. But that’s not what our leaders are supposed to do.

    Our leaders are supposed to inspire us to greatness, not incite us to violence. They are supposed to help us understand how government can be an instrument for good, not a weapon for oppression.

    They are supposed to help us confront our fears in productive ways that help us learn how to deal with them rather than blame someone else.

  10. Keith says:

    I don’t know how you made the leap from me essentially saying there is a silent majority comprised of republicans and democrats who don’t feel represented by anyone in DC,republican or democrats, to you asking me about doing what’s required to inherit the kingdom of heaven. Not following.

    Certainly willing to discuss either, and ultimately only one of those things matter, but not sure how you jumped from one to the other.

  11. Keith says:

    But here’s how I would answer.

    First I am a sinner, believing in only Jesus for my salvation. That he dies for my sins and I trust Him as Lord and Savior. That I have repented of my sins and live for Him (the best I can with still trapped in this human fleshly body)

    How are you going to answer when you support polities that reduce the amount of money spent feeding the poor? I don’t .. From a government standpoint which the bible CLEARLY does not address I would argue allocation of resources and help the truly needed while getting rid of waste in govt so more of what we do spend would go directly to those who need. You Jeff are working from a false primes.. As a Christian by giving more to the poor.

    refuse to address the moral issues of climate change which most directly affect the food and water supplies of the poor – now it’s a moral issue? I don’t see this and biblical issue nor do I follow your premise.

    punish the stranger – I welcome the stranger.

    ignore the homeless – see above regarding the poor. Same two answers.

    restrict access to healthcare – wrong again. You are creating a false primise based on your want of universal health care. Should I inject the verse about “if a man doesn’t work neither should you feed him”

    ?” and increase the prison population? – the bible clearly defends visiting those in prison. It clearly discribes folks being dragged away by judges for the crimes, paraphrasing of course.

    Jeff again you confuse what God is saying biblically to His church and what he is saying to governments, which is to say. I’m not certain what he says to governments…

    Again you are confusing me as you’ve told me to keep my religion OUT of go moment with respect to abortion and homosexual marriage. Now you want me to be held accountable for my Christian beliefs and how I view government.

    So to clarify I WOULD base my decisions on my faith. I would oppose homosexual marriage. I would defend the life of the unborn out of my Christian faith. I would feed the hungry because of my Christian faith. I would give shelter the the homeless if possible because of my Christian faith. It’s only you who believe I would do it in a negative way out of your personal bias against what you believe, sometimes rightly so, about republicans.

    All the while acknowledging I am a sinner and God would shake his head at me and say “only by my grace young man, only by my grace.”

  12. Jeff Beamsley says:

    I’m not confusing anything.

    We live in a democracy which means that you have an opportunity to vote for or against policies.

    The challenge, as you’ve pointed out, is that we don’t always get a clear choice.

    But if you have actively supported pro-life candidates, for example; how do you respond when there is precious little movement on the pro-life subject by those candidates your votes elected?

    The Bible is pretty clear, at least in my mind, about what we need to do. Just like with loving your enemies, there is precious little wiggle room. Good intentions are not enough. In fact that’s what the whole quote in Matthew is about. The Pharisees are saying, what do you mean we didn’t feed or clothe you? We would have happily fed or clothed you if we’d seen you in need. Jesus reply (speaking as the King), “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

    He didn’t say, I’ll give you a pass if you voted for a government that persecuted the poor, because you felt bad when it happened. Or maybe because you were generous and compassionate in your personal life.

    That is the basis for my question.

    In other words, I believe we are indeed individually responsible for the deeds of our government, or at least the deeds of those we support with our votes.

    You are welcome to disagree. Just curious how you squared that particular circle.

  13. Keith says:

    You simply believe that liberal progressive ideas and candidates fulfill this particular piece of scripture better then conservatives. I don’t. If I give to the poor generously and provide for widows and orphans, yet believe that conservative policies are better for the poor and vote that way, what is God to do with me?

    To make even simpler for you – I vote for a liberal and I stand before God having supported homosexual relationships equal to the biblical view. I vote for a conservative and I support starving the poor…. Jeff, I’m toast either way. Do you see how your political bias sneaks into even the reading of the bible and the meaning of scripture?

    I go to Heaven only by faith in Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Not for having supported candidates who opposed abortion or support unions or are wanting to do something about climate change…

  14. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Thanks for answering my question in an honest and forthright way.

    Your answer is mine too.

    The Bible can’t be followed literally. We choose what parts of the Bible are important and what parts aren’t. Those choices can’t be questioned because they are based on belief rather than logic or fact.

    This is consistent with the science which suggests that we are not rational beings. We are emotional beings who make choices based on our belief and then construct a rational underpinning to support those beliefs.

    So conservatives CHOOSE to focus their attention on those that they would characterize as sinners. Liberals CHOOSE to focus their attention on those that they would characterize as persecuted.

    I believe that Jesus was the way shower. His mission was to provide us a deeper understanding of what God was trying to say through the prophets in the Old Testament.

    In simplest terms for me, the most important stuff is the stuff that Jesus talked about. He did not talk about abortion. He did not talk about homosexuality. He did talk about the commandments and said they are not all the same. The two most important are to love God and love your fellow humans.

    That’s why I focus on the plight of the poor and disadvantaged. Why I work every day to love my enemy. Why I leave it to God to judge and focus on what I need to do to secure my own salvation. Jesus was a radical in the eyes of those in power. Perhaps that’s also what I don’t mind speaking truth to power either.

    We will all have to answer for our choices at some point. I’m comfortable with my choices. I’m happy you are comfortable with yours too.

    What I think is wonderful is that God continues to provide us opportunities to re-evaluate our choices. It’s my own personal opinion that this is why controversies like abortion and homosexuality continue to rile the electorate. The solutions are obvious to both, but those to need to recognize those solutions have not yet come to terms with the fact that they are on the wrong side of history AND the wrong site of morality. So God continues to present them with challenges which make their choices harder and harder to justify. It’s in that context that I’m working on a post to explore the political consequences of Cafeteria Christianity.

    BTW, the obvious solution to abortion is to make long term contraception understandable, free, and easily available to all women of child bearing age. Warren Buffett among others has been funding this option for several decades and has almost single-handedly cut the teenage pregnancy rate in half. The VAST majority of abortions are the result of unplanned pregnancies. This simple policy would reduce abortions to a medical procedure relating to the health of the mother/fetus.

    The obvious solution to homosexuality is in the process of making its way into law. Homosexuality is not a lifestyle choice. It is a biological choice determined by an individual’s genetic code. Homosexuality is no different than black skin, red hair, left handedness, or mental/physical disabilities. At different times in the past all of these and other genetic mutations were persecuted. As we learned that, for example, left handedness does not mean that you are evil even though the Bible says that the good were all gathered at God’s right hand, the left handed were able to live more normal lives. Having red hair doesn’t mean that you have a beastly sexual desire and moral degeneration as was thought in Medieval times. Having a mental or physical disability doesn’t mean, according to the old testament, that you or your parents were sinners. In the same way we are slowly learning that being a homosexual does not mean that you are sinner either.

  15. Keith says:

    Abortion is the taking of a life, regardless of how it is defined.

    Biblically there is no solution to homosexual becoming marriage. We can have whatever law we’d like to make but clearly, rather very clearly, that has nothing in common with what the bible says.

    Matthew 19: 1-12. You are not correct in saying Jesus didn’t speak of homosexually. He did by upholding marriage between a man and women. He couldn’t have been more clear as he says “male and female,” then continues to say ” for this reason a MAN shall leave his FATHER and MOTHER and be joined to his WIFE.” Unless you can come up with an alternative meaning to mother father and wife that Jesus may have been thinking of then I won’t be convinced. I guess you could come up with some way of telling me in a male make relationship which is the mother and which is the father.

    You sites poor examples of humans getting enlightened. There is no biblical example of saying left handed ness is worse then right handedness. Same goes from red hair. Your going to have to show me in scripture how those agreement hold up in the bible. They don’t. Homosexuality is clearly condemned in the bible and marriage in every mention of it is between a man and women. What we choose to do as a society is one thing, and we are free to do so, what the bible says is clearly another.

    I’ll comment on the first part of your post latter.

    Hope you are well. God bless you my friend.

  16. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Watch out, your “literalness” is showing again.

    The passage in Mathew was talking specifically a Hebrew law which allowed a husband to treat his wife like property.

    Jesus response was that God made men and women EQUALLY and that those that choose to marry make that marriage their primary relationship (trumping their even their relationship with their parents). Because that relationship is sacred, only God can dissolve it. Or in other words, the Hebrew law that they were asking him about is not aligned with how Jesus said God looks at the world.

    The only exception that Jesus allowed to this dissolution of marriage was infidelity.

    Then his disciples asked him if perhaps it wasn’t wise for men to enter into marriage to begin with.

    Jesus answer was interesting. He said that there are some men who are not able to marry because of either physical issues or the have chosen to be celibate. For everyone else, he recommended marriage because of the blessings that married people receive from God.

    I believe that what Jesus was celebrating and what God blesses are the unions of two people who commit to each other until death do they part.

    The ability to make that commitment is not limited to heterosexuals. Some of the better long term relationships that I’ve seen are same sex couples. There is no doubt in my mind that their relationship is blessed because it is filled with love and a tender mutual appreciation.

    As anyone involved in a long term committed relationship can tell you, it is NOT built on physicality (though that is certainly a benefit). It is built on an emotional bond that supersedes physicality. That’s why this focus on sexuality is simply misguided and shallow thinking. Having that relationship blessed by God is what allows it to flourish.

    The examples I used of past discrimination weren’t all drawn from the Bible, but from human history. The Bible, however, is filled with right hand and left hand descriptions. The right hand is the good hand.

  17. Keith says:

    … And seated at the right hand of the Father. Agreed.

    But Jeff, Jesus reinforced the male would leave his father and mother and be join with his wife. In Gen that passage starts, “and for this reason.” What’s the reason? Marrige. If He was not supporting this then why did he say it? It is t in keeping with the question that’s being asked.

    I’ve read several gay blogs making the same arguement you’ve just made. I find them to be lacking.

    And as you are well aware my good friend, I do take the bible litterely 😄

  18. Keith says:

    And to furtire clarify I do not focus on sin. I focus and and am thankful for God grace, mercy and forgiveness… Never on sin…

  19. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Just a final note on this because I’m not sure we will get much further.

    It is an answer to “why did he say it”. God DIDN’T say it. We both believe that the Bible was INSPIRED by God. I, at least, don’t believe that it was literally SPOKEN by God. And even if it was actually SPOKEN by God in some long forgotten conversation, it wasn’t written down until the 5th or 6th century BC likely during the Babylonian exile. This contradicts tradition which claims that Moses wrote the first four books of the bible between the 16th and 12th century BCE. For the purposes of this discussion it isn’t important. If God indeed dictated the Genesis story to Moses, the only way that story was preserved was through oral history for maybe a thousand years. That is likely why there are two creation stories in Genesis and lots of repetition in the first four books of the bible.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dating_the_Bible

    Even if it was LITERALLY spoken by God to the authors in Babylonia, it was by necessity filtered by the understanding of whomever wrote it down. There simply wasn’t a concept of homosexuality among the authors of the bible (old and new). They didn’t even have a word to express the concept. There certainly was familiarity with various sexual acts, but the biblical people assumed that everyone was heterosexual. So it is a bridge too far, in my opinion, to suggest that God explicitly directed those writing the Bible to include passages outlawing homosexuality.

    Similarly, people who suffered seizures or other mental illness were thought to be possessed by an evil spirit. So that is the context in which they attempted to describe the world around them. It’s within that context that the Pharisees “reasoned” that bad things happen to bad people. As a result, a handsome healthy man was immediately assumed to be blessed by God. That concept continued in western culture all the way through the Victorian period.

    What the Bible does represent is the inspired word of God FILTERED through the social norms of the people who were receiving this inspiration. Those social norms included misleading concepts about menstruation, pork, blended fabric, money lending, etc.

    Failing to take that into account, you fail to appreciate the importance of some of the miracles that Jesus did. Raising the dead son, for example. There was no social safety need in Jesus time. There also was no way (other than prostitution) for women to earn money. They couldn’t own property because they WERE property. So the only way for a widow to survive was to depend on her male children or the kindness of her in-laws. The widow woman had lost her only son, which likely meant that she was going to starve to death. Raising her son from the dead was not only a remarkable act but an incredibly kind act too.

    So any attempt to derive literal application of the words of the Bible to modern situations is dangerous. That doesn’t mean that the Bible isn’t helpful, but it requires prayer and deeper understanding of what the Bible means. To that end, we all have to work to remove our own personal bias from that interpretation. Because of that bias, I believe the Bible works best as a personal guide to salvation. Each of us has to walk our own road led by the inspiration that is most helpful to what we need to get there.

    That is also why our founding fathers were wise in creating a sectarian government based on judeo-christian principles, but not limited by any particular Biblical interpretation of those principles.

    By creating a nation based on the constitution and laws, we have the opportunity to CHANGE our fundamental structures to accommodate new understanding. This allowed us to survive the changing attitudes regarding slavery and women by memorializing in our laws that the phrase “all men” included slaves and as a result we could no longer treat them as property. “All” also included women, so we could no longer treat them as property.

    We chose early on to give the religious institution of marriage a legal status. That meant that eventually we were going to have to change laws that prohibited interracial marriage because there was a constitutional inconsistency. The recent supreme court decision regarding marriage equality was also inevitable. It simply recognized that we can’t limit access to the LEGAL institution of marriage just to heterosexuals. The courts will eventually rule on discrimination laws for the same reason. This won’t affect churches any more than racial anti-discrimination laws did. But it will again bring us to a point where our legal system is consistent. All men are created equal, and it is unconstitutional to write laws that act in some other way. Equal now means, gender, race, and sexual preference. It has NOTHING to do with the Bible.

    There are certainly those who choose to live in ways that more strictly adhere to all of the admonitions of the Bible. That’s fine. It’s their choice. The problem arises, however, when those to interpret the Bible in a particular way suggest that this personal moral understanding of how to live should be imposed on those who don’t share that belief. That’s not fine and that’s what our laws and Consitution help protect against.

    That brings us to final comment regarding the constitution and religion. Jesus said “render unto Ceasar the things that are Ceasars”. In other words, obey the law. So what is a person to do when the law is in conflict with your own personal belief? If you disobey the law, you are violating Jesus command. You can certainly seek to change the law. There is nothing wrong with that. You can engage in civil disobedience, which is a form of protest against what you may regard as an unjust law. But suggesting that you are not bound by the law because you believe it is unjust/immoral is both delusional, contrary to what the Bible directs, and destructive of the basic civil agreement that is the foundation for our country. You don’t get to pick and choose the laws that you obey. If you violate the law, you should expect to suffer the consequences. The law applies to all of us equally regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, OR CREED. If you cannot abide the laws of the country that you are in, and you see no way to change those laws, you should find a different country.

  20. Keith says:

    But Jesus quoted it.. Thus affirming it.

  21. Keith says:

    You are free to believe there are two creation stories. I do not. One amplifies the other.

  22. Jeff Beamsley says:

    I already shared with you what I felt Jesus was saying in that particular passage.

    Your literal interpretation suggesting that because he only talked about heterosexual marriage, that must be the only marriage that he endorsed. I read it quite the opposite. He was saying that marriages receive blessings that enable the two people in it to remain married and faithful for the rest of their lives.

    If you can for a moment suspend your dogmatic approach to this particular point, please answer this question. If it were possible for two people in a same sex marriage to demonstrate the same commitment and fidelity that Jesus talked about, why wouldn’t God bless that? If your only answer is because it wasn’t between a man and a woman, you are indeed missing the whole point of what Jesus was saying.

  23. Keith says:

    A 40 year old man and a 12 year old boy?

    Jeff I mentioned this to you before. If I take the bible litterely then there is only male/female, man/woman, husband/wife, mother/father. 7 times homosexual relations are mentioned. All 7 times it is condemned. So taken litterely it’s clear. If I believe the bible is a guide, as you do ,then the same holds true. Every mention is between a man and a women. There is NO OTHER CONCLUSION. How much reading between the lines does one have to do to reach your conculsion is unimaginable to me. Taken as a guide its still impossible to reach the conclusion that marriage is between anyone other then man/women.

    Jeff, Adam was alone and God said “this was not good.” He created a helpmate. It was a women… I don’t know why…

    Jeff, biblically what supports your view when every single word written regarding married supports man/woman? Why is this soooo difficult for you?

  24. Keith says:

    If I have sex with a women who is not my wife, why does it have to be sin except that the bible says so? Is that dogma?

    What if any other sin? You simply dismiss the bible as dogma?

  25. Jeff Beamsley says:

    As far as the two creation stories, this shows how you are willing to interpret the Bible when it suites you and ignore the obvious interpretations when it doesn’t.

    The first story ends “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.” That means everything including man and women.

    Then the second story starts and God makes man and woman again. This time he makes man out of the dust of the ground, calls him Adam (derived from the Hebrew word for dust), and then makes a woman from his rib whom he calls Eve.

    What happened to the man and woman made in God’s image and likeness in the first story? Was God done or not? If God wanted to dig into more depth regarding what happened to the man and woman he had just created, why didn’t the story pick up there? Why did everything have to be created all over again? Also why did he make man and woman in His own image in the first story, and then make them out of dust and a spare rib in the second?

    Most mainline Bible scholars say that the first Bible story was written in the sixth century BC by an author or authors that they call E (Elohist) and P (priestly).

    The second story was written three centuries earlier in the 9th century BCE by an author that they call J (Yawish).

    That’s because the first text only uses Elohim as the Hebrew word for God. The second text uses Yahweh.

    The first text is a Hebrew poem in high language form.

    The second is prose in folktale form.

    There’s a lot more if you are interested in reading it.

    https://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/Genesis_texts.html

    I realize that this is an issue of belief for you and want you to know that you are free to believe whatever you want.

    But from the position of consistency, your attempts to shoe horn homosexuality into the bible on one hand and then blithely skate over the significant differences in the creation stories in Genesis on the other suggests something else is going on.

    You are not reading the bible as literally as you claim. You are interpreting it based on your beliefs rather than the other way round. That’s fine, but until you can find the words “homosexual” or “life begins at conception” in the Bible, please don’t use a “literal” interpretation of the Bible again to support these particular political positions.

  26. Jeff Beamsley says:

    A 40 year old man cannot have a deep and meaningful relationship with a 12 year old boy any more than a 40 year old man can have a deep and meaningful relationship with a 12 year old girl. That’s pedophilia. The Bible didn’t really understand this either, but I have no problem with the fact that we do and prosecute those who sexually abuse children.

    Every mention is between a man and a woman because that is the only context that those who wrote the bible understood. Just like we now understand that pedophilia is a perversion, we also understand that same sex couples can have the monogamous relationships that are just as fulfilling and just as chaste as heterosexual couples.

    This is obviously my interpretation of the Bible. I don’t expect you to accept it. But in fact your shallow claim of literality just doesn’t hold water. Since the Bible doesn’t use the word homosexual, your interpretation of the Bible is no more valid than mine.

    What the Bible warned about 7 times was ritual temple sex. I agree that ritual temple sex is a sin and you might be able to stretch that to pedophilia, but that would be a stretch. Has nothing to do with same sex marriage.

    How much is adultery mentioned? Just the word itself is mentioned 33 times. Fornication? 32 times. If we are just talking about frequency, then why is homosexuality a MUCH bigger deal in your mind that adultery or fornication?

    So in answer to your last question, those who wrote the Bible DID understand heterosexual relationships. They did propose a moral code for married people. That’s why it is a sin. Because the Bible, heck even the 10 commandments, said don’t even think about sleeping with someone other than your spouse.

    My objection to dogma is that it is a set of beliefs based on somebody else’s reading of the Bible. Dogma is when the Catholic church says that life begins at conception because they have a larger axe to grind about sex. Dogma is suggesting that homosexuality is a sin, but claiming that all children are innocent. Yet those kids when they grow up to discover that they like their own sex rather than the other sex suddenly become sinners.

    You are free to interpret the Bible in whatever way works best for you, but when you use the Bible to support a political position and fail the “literality” test, you are now dogmatic.

  27. Jeff Beamsley says:

    BTW, “Why is this soooo difficult for you”?

    It’s not difficult for me. I disagree with you. I challenge your “literal” interpretation of the Bible as any sort of defense of your point of view.

    You are reading the Bible in a way that make sense for you. That’s great I don’t have any problem with that.

    I’m reading the Bible in a way that makes sense for me.

    YOU are the one who is having a problem with that. To wit: “There is NO OTHER CONCLUSION.”

    Yes there are other conclusions besides the one that you like. I don’t expect you to get to the same place I have, but I do expect you to respect the fact that I’ve spent a lot of time getting here, pray about it every day, and can defend my positions with logic and scholarship as well as belief.

    When you suggest that there is NO OTHER CONCLUSION, you are engaging in a dogmatic argument.

    While I like you, obviously I’m not impressed by dogma.

  28. Keith says:

    I have no more problem with homosexuality then I do adulatory. Not certain why you think I do. What I don’t understand is while you can accept one as being sin you can not the other not?

    It’s not dogma. Male/female same then as now. How many times does the bible use male/female? Mother/father? Husband/wife? Are you suggesting these terms do not mean male/female? Jeff, respectfully if I take the bible as a guide, as you do, how am I using it as a guide when every mention of the concept of Marrige is between and man and women. Jeff again respectfully my friend, you are failing the logic test.

    Your last agreement is also far beneath your intellect prowess. Homosexual is not in the bible but women changed natural relations. Same with men. Romans 1. Abortion? One second it murder the next it’s not? And only because the woman says so… Logical?

    The two creation stories isn’t digging deep. God readers and it specific to how man was created. I have no issue with a more direct telling of that event. In fact it’s very logical. Think of it in terms a Niro and macro as it pertains to the target audience.

    We both should be thankful for the verse that says “for today we know in part……

  29. Keith says:

    in term of micro and macro

  30. Keith says:

    Finally I am not shoehorning homosexual marriage into the bible. Quite the opposite is true. It isn’t there at all. Mother/father, husband/wife are there however which seems would be a disquilifier. So, is Joe or steve the mother? Betty or Sara the father?

  31. Keith says:

    And finally part 2 – when I say “literally” that’s does mean in English as we no the words today. The original language, who it was written by, who it was written to, and the events of the day must all be considered. Once those considerations are made then the words do have a literal meaning…

  32. Keith says:

    That DOESNT mean in English.

    Auto spell gets me far more frequently then I’d like on my iphone.

  33. Jeff Beamsley says:

    “Finally I am not shoehorning homosexual marriage into the bible. Quite the opposite is true. It isn’t there at all.”

    Thanks for that reply. That’s all that I’m saying. It isn’t there at all.

    So you are INTERPRETING the Bible’s meaning when you suggest that absence of any mention of same sex marriage suggests that same sex marriage is against God’s law. I don’t have any problem with you making that interpretation.

    My problem is that you won’t allow me to make a similar interpretation that seems, at least to me, just as valid. That is to suggest that the Bible is a guide to marriage regardless of the sex of the those making that commitment.

    The same thing is true regarding parenthood, by the way. The Bible talks about the ROLES of fatherhood and motherhood. The Bible certainly understood that a mother or father could fill both roles if the other parent wasn’t present. The Bible also understood that people could be parents to children whom they did not conceive. So my INTERPRETATION is that sexual orientation has NOTHING to do with the ability to follow the Bible’s guide to parenthood. What is important is the quality of your parenthood.

    Finally God does not possess a gender as far as the Bible is concerned. God embodies both the spiritual qualities of motherhood and fatherhood. So man made in God’s image, again in my interpretation, also has the opportunity to demonstrate the qualities of fatherhood and motherhood regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

  34. Jeff Beamsley says:

    “And finally part 2 – when I say “literally” that’s does mean in English as we no the words today. The original language, who it was written by, who it was written to, and the events of the day must all be considered. Once those considerations are made then the words do have a literal meaning…”

    You can only be one or the other. If you are going to interpret the Bible literally, that means that you are simply going to follow what the words say.

    If you are going to spent time trying to dig into what the words MEAN based on a whole set of other criteria – how scholars have translated the Greek in English, how the Greeks translated the Hebrew, what the original Hebrew meant in the context of the people who wrote it, what was going on historically at the time that it was written, etc – you have left the land of the literal.

    Welcome to the shores of interpretation.

    I believe it is a much healthier place to be, and honestly much more consistent with the history of Christianity.

    That’s because there really aren’t any Bible literalists. Instead there is currently a new wave of fundamentalists who SELECTIVELY depend on literalism to support their religious philosophy. They tell their congregations what to believe and why to believe it.

    This is what Martin Luther original objected to in his protests. The Bible should be a document the everyone can read and experience their own inspirations regarding its meaning. He felt that was the best defense against those who would use the Bible for their own gain. In that particular case, I agree with him.

    Here’s a wikipedia quote from Steve Falkenberg, professor of religious psychology at Eastern Kentucky University.

    I’ve never met anyone who actually believes the Bible is literally true. I know a bunch of people who say they believe the Bible is literally true but nobody is actually a literalist. Taken literally, the Bible says the earth is flat and sitting on pillars and cannot move (Ps 93:1, Ps 96:10, 1 Sam 2:8, Job 9:6). It says that great sea monsters are set to guard the edge of the sea (Job 41, Ps 104:26). According to the Bible, the sun moves around the earth, not the other way around (Josh 10:12-13). We all recall from history, the fate of Galileo and Copernicus for their blasphemous claims that the earth is round and that the earth goes round the sun. However, in this day and time, I have never met anyone who seriously contends that the world is flat on authority of the Bible.

    There are a multitude of laws given in the old testament which literalists don’t take literally: food laws, laws about clothing, laws relating to nearly every detail of life in at the time the old testament was written. But there are laws given in the new testament that almost no one takes literally any more. For example, Jesus forbids his followers from swearing oaths of any kind (Matt 5:34) and Jesus instructed his followers to cut off their hand if it led them into sin (Matt 5:30).

    But there are other passages of scripture which those who claim to believe that the Bible is literally true do not take literally. For example, in Mark 16:16 Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned,” yet most fundamentalist evangelicals hold to the position that baptism is not necessary for salvation and I Cor 15:29 refers to baptism for the dead, a practice which is repudiated by most Biblical literalists.

    http://web.archive.org/web/20080615062211/http://www.newreformation.org/literalism.htm

  35. Keith says:

    Yes I do mean literal as you mostly described in #2.
    It’s not as difficult as you seem to think. But then again that’s
    A personality difference between us I think you will agree.
    Not a knock but as you know all things have simple answers for
    Me. I don’t think you would agree with that thought.

    In the case of marriage very little to be interpreted. In fact nothing.
    The words man, women, mother, father, husband ,wife , mean what they mean. There is no confusion in any interpretation. You have to think outside of that box to think something otherwise to justify homosexual marriage.

  36. Keith says:

    On to other matters. I very much enjoy watching Trump handle the media. They don’t know what to do with him.

  37. Jeff Beamsley says:

    I know that’s what you say, but it isn’t what you do.

    What you do is pick the parts of the Bible that work for you to take literally that interpret the parts of the bible that work for you better with interpretation.

    You also embrace simple answers when they allow you to ignore complexity, but you will happily dive into complexity when a simple answer doesn’t head in a direction you are comfortable with.

    No problem. I still like you. Just another aspect of why I believe you cannot debate religious beliefs.

  38. Keith says:

    You are very wrong.

    And I still like you…

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