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It is not often that President Trump’s genius son-in-law Jared Kushner, his senior adviser, gives an interview.

However, Kushner did agree to appear on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show on Monday for a brief segment:

Hannity was very good and did not interrupt once.

Jared Kushner speaks in complete sentences, which is a rarity in today’s English-speaking world, especially the US.

His main points were about the necessity for prison reform and achieving a far-reaching, peaceful solution in the Middle East.

This is well worth watching. Who knows when he will appear again on the airwaves?

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Two ELCA — Evangelical Lutheran Church in America — pastors have been in the news this month.

Adult content follows — discretion advised.

On Tuesday, December 4, 2018, Big League Politics reported on a story that first appeared in the Christian Post about the Revd Nadia Bolz-Weber who:

is protesting the “evangelical purity culture,” also known as “adherence to the scripture,” and sometimes even “Christianity.” Her plan is to “take down” the church’s teaching about sex, which makes one wonder why she became a pastor in the first place.

This month, she is asking girls to send her their purity rings so that they can be melted down to make a golden vagina:

Mail in your purity rings to be melted down into a special sculpture. In return you’ll receive a Certificate of Impurity, an “Impurity” ring, and the support of all those ready to support a sexual reformation!

Big League Politics tells us:

“This thing about women that the church has tried to hide and control and that is a canvas on which other people can write their own righteousness ― it’s actually ours,” Bolz-Weber reportedly said to HuffPost. “This part of me is mine and I get to determine what is good for it and if it’s beautiful and how I use it in the world.”

The Christian Post article says that one pastor left the ELCA, he was so disgusted by this and similar clerical goings-on (emphases mine):

Rev. Tom Brock, formerly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, crushed Bolz-Weber on his blog. He left the church over its liberal stances on abortion and same-sex marriage.

“Instead of disciplining this heretical pastor, the ELCA invites her to speak at events,” he said. “I am part of a clergy Facebook page for ELCA and former ELCA pastors and it is tragic to see some of them defend all this.”

Bolz-Weber’s website’s About page has a potted autobiography:

NADIA BOLZ-WEBER first hit the New York Times list with her 2013 memoir—the bitingly honest and inspiring Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint followed by the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller Accidental Saints in 2015. A former stand-up comic and a recovering alcoholic, Bolz-Weber is the founder and former pastor of a Lutheran congregation in Denver, House for All Sinners and Saints. She speaks at colleges and conferences around the globe.

Big League Politics says:

Bolz-Weber’s behavior is simply the effect of modern liberalism on the church, which tends to preach God’s love and acceptance, forgetting that a large portion of the bible teaches God’s wrath and anger with the wicked.

Their second ELCA clergyman up for examination is the Revd Steven Sabin:

On Monday, December 10, Big League Politics reported on the pastor, who is from San Francisco:

A gay Lutheran Pastor with a history of fighting for gay rights within the church was arrested for possession of child pornography in mid November.

“The Reverend Steven Sabin, pastor at Christ Church Lutheran at Quintara Street and 20th Avenue, was arrested November 15 on three felony charges,” according to Bay Area Reporter. 

Sabin pleaded not guilt to one count of distribution of child pornography and two counts of possession or control of child pornography. According to a San Francisco Police Department news release, the investigators “located a cellphone belonging to Sabin, which contained hundreds of child pornography videos and images depicting juvenile minors being sexually abused. During a subsequent search, investigators found that Sabin was storing child pornography on a cloud storage application.”

The pastor has since been released on bail while he awaits a Dec. 19 pre-trial hearing.

The article says that, in 1998, before the ELCA went off-piste, they expelled Sabin for coming out of the closet. Sabin then joined an offshoot of the ELCA, Christ Church Lutheran. Fortunately, Christ Church Lutheran San Francisco took the child pornography charges seriously and issued this announcement:

We have learned of the arrest of Steve Sabin, who will no longer serve as pastor of Christ Church Lutheran. We are concerned for and ask for prayers for all affected, including all victims of sexual misconduct and for the people of the congregation of Christ Church. We will cooperate fully with law enforcement. We have zero tolerance for clergy sexual misconduct and are committed to providing safe spaces for all children and youth in our church.

Big League Politics points out that the ELCA has gone off the rails over the past two decades:

The ELCA, from which Sabin was booted for being gay, now accepts openly gay pastors, even one who teaches “sex positivity” and is asking young women to send her their purity rings so she can mold them into a large golden vagina. Needless to say, this is contrary to biblical teachings.

Absolutely.

Those looking for a church, especially parents with children, need to exercise caution and pray for discernment.

Sean Spicer, President Trump’s former press secretary, tweeted this USA Today editorial about what it is like caring for her veteran husband, disabled after he stepped on an IED in Afghanistan, and doing battle with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Click on the image to see her editorial in full:

The VA has been in very bad shape for decades. Under the Trump administration it is gradually improving, but there is still a long way to go.

Please remember these veterans and their families in your prayers this Christmas season. Thank you.

Before we get too far into Advent and Sunday School comes to a close until the New Year, I would like to point out that candy canes can be a useful teaching tool in telling the Nativity story.

The secular assault on Christmas might have lessened somewhat since President Trump was elected to office, however, there are probably a number of state schools in the US that forbid anything that even hints at the religious, e.g. candy canes and Christmas bell sugar cookies. A 2009 article from American Thinker, ‘Criminalizing Christmas Cookies, Candy Canes and Crèches’, has probably aged well. Please do read it.

So, it would seem that some children are left with learning about the Nativity story at home or in Sunday School. Enter the candy cane. Enterprising mothers and Sunday School teachers might like to make a meringue version for children.

One of my readers writes from the perspective of her golden retriever, Brodie. In 2016, she posted on the ever-popular candy cane:

and by the way here’s the history of the beloved ‘J’ shape like a shepherds crook…so the back story of the candy cane is spiritual and came in celebration of the nativity.

The link, on WhyChristmas?, explores the legend, history and symbolism behind this sweet December treat. There’s a lovely bit in the third paragraph for Sunday School teachers and Christian parents (emphases mine below):

A story says that a choirmaster, in 1670, was worried about the children sitting quietly all through the long Christmas nativity service. So he gave them something to eat to keep them quiet! As he wanted to remind them of Christmas, he made them into a ‘J’ shape like a shepherds crook, to remind them of the shepherds that visited the baby Jesus at the first Christmas. However, the earliest records of ‘candy canes’ comes from over 200 years later, so the story, although rather nice, probably isn’t true!

Sometime around 1900 the red stripes were added and they were flavored with peppermint or wintergreen.

Sometimes other Christian meanings are giving to the parts of the canes. The ‘J’ can also mean Jesus. The white of the cane can represent the purity of Jesus Christ and the red stripes are for the blood he shed when he died on the cross. The peppermint flavor can represent the hyssop plant that was used for purifying in the Bible.

So, although this symbolism is not a fact about the candy cane, it can be used to tell a child about the Nativity.

NoelNoelNoel elaborates on the religious symbolism sometimes associated with the candy cane:

Many people have given religious meaning to the shape and form of the candy cane. It is said that its shape is like the letter “J” in Jesus’ name. It is also in the shape of the shepherds’ crook, symbolic of how Jesus, like the “Good Shepherd” watches over his children like little lambs. It is a hard candy, solid like a “rock”, the foundation of the Church. The flavor of peppermint is similar to another member of the mint family, hyssop. In the Old Testament hyssop was used for purification and sacrifice, and this is said to symbolize the purity of Jesus and the sacrifice he made.

Some say the white of the candy cane represents the purity of Jesus and his virgin birth. The bold red stripe represents God’s love. The three fine stripes are said by some to represent the Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Others say they represent the blood spilled at the beating Jesus received at the hands of the Roman soldiers.

Angie from Chocolate Candy Mall posted a story about the candy cane legend of the choirmaster and included a religious poem, perfect for children:

Look at the Candy Cane
What do you see?
Stripes that are red
Like the blood shed for me
White is for my Savior
Who’s sinless and pure!
“J” is for Jesus,
My Lord, that’s for sure!
Turn it around
And a staff you will see
Jesus my shepherd
Was born for Me!

Angie says:

In spite of the fact that the legend is more like folklore, the candy cane can be used in a beautiful way to represent the love and sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Short and sweet, isn’t it? Okay, back to the Legend of the Candy Cane story – Whether or not this tale is the true candy cane meaning, it presents us as believers with a simple opportunity to share a little bit of the Gospel story with those we meet during the Christmas season.

May the Lord bless you as you share your faith in Christ with others!

Let us now look at how the candy cane probably developed throughout history. They were likely to have been white sugary sticks in the 1800s, as NoelNoelNoel explains:

The use of candy canes on Christmas trees made its way to America by the 1800’s, however during this time they were still pure white.

In the United States during that time, Today I Found Out tells us that candy canes were part of Christmas tree decorations:

the first known candy cane that popped up in America was also supposedly thanks to a German immigrant, August Imgard, who used the candy cane for this purpose- decorating a Christmas tree in his home in Wooster, Ohio.

If he made crooks, he would have had to be very careful. Crooks became widespread only in the 20th century, for reasons stated below.

Therefore, I will work on the assumption that most of what appeared in this era were straight, white, sticks — possibly, although not always, flavoured with peppermint or wintergreen.

Old Christmas cards provide evidence of what shape and colour the peppermint sticks were. The familiar stripes did not appear until the 20th century:

Evidence, such as Christmas cards from the late 19th century, seems to indicate people were still going with the all-white candy cane at this point. Then in the early 20th century there started to be many instances of candy canes showing up on Christmas cards with red stripes.

Given candy canes were used as much for decoration as eating at this time, it’s not surprising that somebody got the bright idea to put a colorful stripe on them. It should also be noted that a little over a half century or so before stripes were known to be added to candy canes, there is a reference of white peppermint candy sticks with colored stripes added.

WhyChristmas? says that the candy cane we know today came about around 1920 when:

Bob McCormack, from Georgia, USA, started making canes for his friends and family. They became more and more popular and he started his own business called Bob’s Candies.

Today I Found Out has more about the stripes:

who first got that idea to make striped candy canes is still a mystery. Some say it was candy maker Bob McCormack in the 1920s. McCormick’s company by the late 1950s would become one of the world’s largest peppermint candy cane producers, selling about a half a million candy canes per day at their peak. But it may well be that McCormick simply popularized the striping practice, rather than invented it. One thing is for sure, this idea spread like a wildfire and soon a red stripe on a candy cane was near universal, as was peppermint flavoring …

As for the crook:

the cane had to be manually bent when it was still warm/soft coming off the assembly line, usually using a wooden mold or the like.

This proved to be problematic for Bob McCormack on the production line:

McCormack was having trouble at the time because about 22% of the candy canes produced by Bob and his crew were ending up in the trash as they broke during the bending process.

Fortunately, the good Lord blessed McCormack with a splendid brother-in-law. Not only was he a Catholic priest, he was also an inventor. WhyChristmas? says:

Bob McCormack’s brother-in-law, Gregory Harding Keller, who was a Catholic priest, invented the ‘Keller Machine’ that made turning straight candy sticks into curved candy canes automatically!

Today I Found Out adds:

Keller’s machine automated this process and shortly thereafter was perfected by Dick Driskell and Jimmy Spratling, both of which worked for Bob McCormack. This made it so the candy canes came out perfect nearly every time.

WhyChristmas? says:

In 2005, Bob’s Candies was bought by Farley and Sathers but they still make candy canes!

So, there you have the story behind candy canes, with a Christian twist.

If anyone has used the candy cane in a Sunday School lesson, please feel free to share your experience below!

On Wednesday, November 28, 2018, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump participated in their second ceremonial lighting of the National Christmas Tree in Washington, DC, near the White House.

Earlier that day, the First Lady defended her choice of red Christmas trees along the main corridor — the Grand Foyer — inside the White House:

This was the president’s official schedule for the tree lighting ceremony at The Ellipse in President’s Park:

Entertainment was provided and, afterwards, the tree was lit:

President Trump then gave a six-minute address, in which he thanked everyone who decorated the tree and made the event possible:

Tonight’s ceremony is only possible because of the hard work of the many talented individuals. They were working late at night. They were working early in the morning. They were working all the time. And my sincere thanks to everyone at the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation. Thank you very much. Appreciate it. (Applause.)

He also thanked the entertainers:

There’s great talent. They’re going on to big things, many of them. I’ve seen them and they are something very special. Thank you very much. That was a great job tonight. (Applause.)

And this includes one very special group that has topped Billboard charts multiple times: the Dominican Sisters, who I met backstage, from Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Applause.)

These, by the way, are traditional Dominicans, not the ones who have gone trendy in recent years. These women are doing very well in expanding their community. This is one of the orders women want to join. May God bless them in their work.

You can read more about their 2017 Christmas album here. It was recorded in their chapel at the Ann Arbor Motherhouse:

But I digress.

President Trump retold the Christmas story beautifully — as he did last year (emphases mine):

For Christians all across our nation, around the world, this is a sacred season that begins 2,000 years ago when Jesus Christ was born. An angel declared to the shepherds tending their flocks, “Behold, I bring you good tidings, great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is a born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” (Applause.) There in Bethlehem, Mary and Joseph held in their hands the son of God; the light of the world; and, through Him, the promise of eternal salvation.

He then went on to discuss the time that Americans selflessly give to each other and a spirit of national unity. I am certain that Stephen Miller helped to write this speech, evident in the fourth paragraph:

No matter one’s faith or beliefs, the Christmas season reflects all that is best in the American spirit. This is a time of the year for rejoicing with our family and friends, for spreading charity and goodwill in our commitment all over this country in all of our communities, and for giving thanks for all of the blessings in our lives.

We are especially thankful for the countless Americans who have given their time and passion to help those in need. Here in the audience today are a number of extraordinary foster families and guardians joined by the beautiful children they have welcomed into their homes. And beautiful children they are. Your devotion inspires us all. To every child in foster care: You are the precious loved one and gift of God. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.) Very, very special.

At this time of the year, we renew the bonds of affection between our fellow citizens, and we awaken the faith in our hearts that calls each of us to action. As we gather loved ones, our thoughts turn to those who are rebuilding their lives after devastating wildfires, destructive hurricanes, and terrible tragedy.

We are one American family. We hurt together, we heal together, and we will always pull through together. This is the United States of America. We are the best in the world, and there’s nobody close. (Applause.)

He ended with these words:

We ask God to watch over this nation’s heroes, and to shed his almighty grace upon our nation. And we pray that America’s light will shine more brightly and stronger than ever. And it will.

On behalf of Melania and myself and the entire Trump family — many of whom are with us tonight — I want to again wish you all a very, very Merry Christmas. May this Christmas season bring peace to your hearts, warmth to your homes, cheer to your spirit, and joy to the world. Merry Christmas, everyone. Merry Christmas and God bless you. Thank you. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

Something must have been on the radar, because the Trumps left quite quickly:

The press corps moaned:

Well said.

The Trumps’ safety deserves more concern than the inconvenience a back-biting member of the press corps experiences.

One hopes that the 2019 tree lighting is free from threats, real or anticipated.

The funeral for former president George Herbert Walker Bush took place on Wednesday, December 5, 2018 at the National Cathedral (Episcopalian) in Washington, DC.

I’m not featuring too much on this, because a) most people have seen the funeral coverage in the media and b) Bush I was the only American over 60 who said he could not remember where he was when John F Kennedy was assassinated. I certainly remember where I was, and I was only a small child at the time.

That piece of Bush history came to light only a few years ago, thanks to the online world. Others might have already known it through lesser-known political writings.

Until that point, I admired Bush I a lot. I was delighted with the ‘Thousand Points of Light’ speech, which Peggy Noonan (Obama supporter, anti-Trumper) wrote. Bush delivered the speech when accepting the Republican nomination for president in 1988.

On the whole, I think he did a good job as president and was certainly worlds better than his opponent, Michael Dukakis from Massachusetts, would have been.

My two objections to Bush I’s presidency were ‘no new taxes’ which, strangely, ended up as new taxes, thereby enabling Clinton’s victory four years later. The other was the end of the first Gulf War, which seemed a bit incomplete. It was not surprising, therefore, that a second Gulf War ensued.

Historian Doug Wead appeared on Lou Dobbs Tonight to discuss Bush’s presidency:

My condolences go to the Bush family, which is large and close-knit. They lost their two most important family members this year. Barbara Bush died in April. I believe that the former president, despite his chronic ailments, died of a broken heart.

Before moving on to Bush’s funeral, one must look at John McCain’s service, which was held three months to the day earlier: September 5.

Something happened at his funeral that recurred at Bush’s.

At McCain’s funeral, George W Bush passed a piece of candy to Michelle Obama:

Caption: ‘Thank you!’

Now on to the former president’s funeral. President Trump was informed of his death whilst at the G20 in Buenos Aires, on the evening of Friday, November 30. He and Melania issued a joint statement. He also spoke with Bush II and Jeb the following morning.

President Trump took this event very seriously, as he said at the G20 summit, when he cancelled his press conference:

A media moratorium on any in-depth interviews ensued. On Monday, Dennis ‘Nate’ Cain, who underwent a six-hour raid on his home, even though he is a protected government whistleblower, tweeted:

Meanwhile, the Bush family assured President Trump that no one speaking at the service would criticise him. They did that because the notional eulogies at McCain’s funeral were a Trump hate-fest.

The morning of the funeral, President Trump recognised the service as a time to celebrate life as well as to mourn:

The Secret Service paid a final tribute to the 41st president of the United States:

His Secret Service code name was Timberwolf:

At the funeral service, once again Melania Trump was seated next to Obama, just as she was at Mrs Bush’s funeral. On that subject, a group photo of presidential couples appeared after Mrs Bush’s funeral. Mrs Trump was cropped out in many articles using it. Here is the full photo, with Mrs Trump standing next to Michelle Obama.

On Wednesday, Bush II was not seated with the Obamas, as he was giving his father’s eulogy. However, he remembered Mrs Obama with candy on his way in:

It looks undignified to me, too, but I know nothing of Washington DC funerals for dignitaries.

A few unusual things happened.

One was the representation from Saudi Arabia:

Another is that Hillary Clinton had a moment:

Yet another was this silent exchange between former first lady Laura Bush and her brother-in-law Jeb:

And, finally, for whatever reason, the Trumps refused to recite the Apostles Creed.

That aside, President Trump, in the media’s eyes, could do nothing right.

The media are wrong. He shut down Washington DC — and post offices across the nation — on December 5.

Here’s another thing the media falsely criticised him for:

In closing, may President Bush rest in peace.

Last week, I covered President and Mrs Trump welcoming the 2018 White House Christmas tree.

Happily, gone are the days of Mao ornaments (2009) and casual Christmas tree welcomes (2016).

Last year, First Lady Melania Trump put her stamp on style with the theme ‘Time-Honored Traditions’, paying homage to two centuries of White House Christmases.

On November 26, The White House announced that this year’s theme is ‘American Treasures’, displaying a variety of aspects of Americana in a festive way (emphases mine below):

Designed by First Lady Melania Trump, the White House shines with the spirit of patriotism. This home, held in trust for all Americans, displays the many splendors found across our great Nation.

In the East Wing, the Gold Star Family tree returns. Decorated by Gold Star families, this tree honors all our troops and families who have sacrificed greatly to protect our freedoms. Gold stars and patriotic ribbon decorate the tree and visitors are encouraged to write messages to their loved ones who are on duty or abroad on the digital tablets provided.

More than 40 topiary trees line the East colonnade as guests make their way toward the East Garden Room, where the First Family Christmas card and ornament are on display. The Library remembers some of America’s most cherished authors, housing over 2,700 American classics. Four trees have been tucked away in each corner of the Library displaying the White House Historical Association’s 2018 ornament honoring President Harry S. Truman.

The Vermeil room displays two trees that sparkle in hues of blues and golds amongst the vermeil on display for all to see. Inside the China Room are three tables, all replicas from previous state dinners using pieces from the White House permanent collection. They highlight different eras of state dinners. The Theodore Roosevelt Administration, John F. Kennedy Administration, and Donald J. Trump Administration are all represented.

The East Room highlights the diversity and ingenuity of American architecture and design with four custom mantelpieces showcasing the skylines of New York City, St. Louis, Chicago, and San Francisco. 72 handmade paper ornaments representing six regions across America hang from four 14-foot Noble fir trees. For the 51st year, the White House Crèche will also be on display.

As one makes their way through the Green Room, Americans are reminded of the country’s bounty and harvest. A variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains adorn the tree centered in the room, as well as the garland on the mantel. In the Blue Room, the official White House Christmas tree measures a soaring 18 feet tall and is dressed in over 500 feet of blue velvet ribbon embroidered in gold with each State and territory. Moving into the Red Room, guests will be able to celebrate children through the décor, which displays ways in which children can excel in their own path.

The State Dining Room is a celebration of our country’s national symbols, including the bald eagle, the rose, and the oak tree. The space is also host to this year’s gingerbread house, showcasing the full expanse of the National Mall: the Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the Washington Monument, and, of course, the White House.

Crossing in to the Grand Foyer and Cross Hall, patriotism, the heart of America, takes center stage with more than 14,000 red ornaments hanging from 29 trees. The choice of red is an extension of the pales, or stripes, found in the presidential seal designed by our Founding Fathers. It’s a symbol of valor and bravery

Which is interesting, because someone latched on to another symbolism behind the red trees:

Someone else said the same thing:

I cannot think that red would have symbolised the Resurrection. White, surely.

Are people reading too much into the red trees, when the White House announcement simply says that red in the Founding Fathers’ era is the colour associated with bravery? Red trees also seem to be something of a fashion statement in the US; several retail chains sell them.

God always wins, but let’s not go overboard with the red trees.

Moving along, the First Lady wore red gloves in her photo op:

I agree with James Woods. If Melania were a Democrat, photos of her would be everywhere, all over the world.

This short video shows every room described above (also available on YouTube):

The Gateway Pundit got it right:

First Lady Melania dazzled as she walked through the different rooms of the White House; we are so blessed to have such a beautiful First Lady.

Flickr has more White House Christmas photos, which will remain at the top of the page for awhile.

The Daily Mail also has a beautiful photo spread and accompanying article.

It’s beginning to look — and feel — a lot like Christmas!

Many thanks to Martin Geddes for coming out with two very important graphics explaining the Democrats and the media.

I am unfamiliar with Mr Geddes but appreciate the time he put into them. (Click on each one to enlarge.)

Outside of The Daily Caller, Gateway Pundit and Breitbart, most of the heavy lifting for President Trump and his MAGA agenda is done by citizen journalists, everyday people like you and me, whereas the Democrats have most of Big Media at their beck and call:

Note the colour codes. Twitter gives everyone in Big Media a pass. Citizen investigative journalists, not so much.

And it’s not just citizen journalists who are banned. On November 26, 2018, The Daily Caller reported that Twitter permanently banned an American veteran who had a radio show (emphases mine):

Conservative veteran and radio host Jesse Kelly was permanently banned from Twitter on Sunday for allegedly committing multiple violations of the Twitter terms of service.

In an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller’s Amber Athey, Kelly said Twitter informed him that he was banned with no warning and no explanation of what rules he allegedly broke.

That day, Kelly appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight (Fox News):

The article says that Twitter banned a feminist, too:

Last week, the tech giant banned feminist Meghan Murphy for questioning the ideology behind the transgender movement.

The good news is that Kelly’s Twitter account appears to have been reinstated. Result! Thanks go to the senators who support freedom of speech:

Despite that success and a few others, Twitter can and does stifle those who do not support the leftist agenda. On July 29, The Daily Caller reported that Republican legislators also fell foul of the social media giant:

Twitter’s censorship problem looks like it’s here to stay.

The company faced a sharp backlash last week after a Vice News investigation revealed that Twitter was hiding several prominent Republicans from its search bar.

Those affected included four House Republicans: Rep. Devin Nunes of California, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Mark Meadows of North Carolina. All four are members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. Democrats weren’t affected in the same way, Vice found.

Interesting, especially when the four who were censored are relatively young supporters of President Trump and MAGA. It’s as if Twitter doesn’t want Americans to know that younger legislators support the president. Why, that might influence others in that same age bracket to jump aboard the Trump Train.

The article says that Twitter claims their shadowbanning — hiding the congressmen’s accounts from the search bar — wasn’t to do with anything the congressmen tweeted, but rather their followers. Does the following sound totalitarian?

At the center of the company’s censorship problem is its decision to penalize “bad-faith actors,” who aren’t actually in violation of any rules but still threaten “healthy conversation.”

Much the sorting between good and bad actors on Twitter is done by an algorithm which takes into account criteria like whom you follow and tweet at, and who follows and tweets at you.

Twitter didn’t penalize the congressmen because of anything they said, but because the “wrong” accounts were engaging with their tweets, two Twitter executives conceded in a blog post Thursday. The Republicans were guilty of being followed by the wrong people.

Twitter has since restored the congressmen’s visibility on Twitter, but the underlying issue remains.

The company is still burying accounts it deems “bad-faith actors,” while remaining opaque about who does or doesn’t fit that classification — and which accounts follow or retweet you are still part of the criteria.

The Daily Caller attempted to find out more from Twitter, but the company did not reply.

Remember back in the old days, not so many years ago:

Twitter … once described itself as the “free speech wing of the free speech party”

Earlier this year, Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey:

sparked controversy in April when he endorsed an article calling for a total Democratic victory the “new civil war.” He similarly raised eyebrows in June by apologizing for the sin of eating at Chick-Fil-A.

Moving along, the next graphic from Martin Geddes outlines the fundamental differences between the Democrats and Trump supporters:

Most people following my site will know that Q is a person or small group of people who probably work for President Trump. For over a year now, Q has asked readers via the Socratic method to analyse what has actually been happening in the United States behind the scenes over the past few decades.

Q’s slogan is ‘Where We Go One, We Go All’: WWG1WGA. In other words, we’re all in this together!

By contrast, the characteristics of the Democratic Party are all too destructive, corrupt — and, sadly, real. Please read them carefully.

The MAGA agenda welcomes everyone, regardless of race, colour or creed.

MAGA is a bit old school — a compliment — in that regard. We believe in freedom, duty, sacrifice and the ideals upon which America was founded. We remember and appreciate our history, good and bad. We like tradition and beauty.

Unlike the Dems, we’re not out to destroy. We’re out to conserve and, where necessary, rebuild with care and attention, in the way the Founding Fathers would have wanted.

The rhetoric about migration along the southern US border has been astonishing. Astonishingly bad.

And the Democrats are good at being astonishingly bad.

Diamond and Silk remind us of Dem priorities, present — and past:

Then, there are ways of seeking asylum, but throwing stones is neither a good idea nor a good look:

One Democrat from New York — a freshman Congresswoman in 2019 — thinks she knows. Candace ‘Blexit’ Owens rightly took exception:

Correct. I do not recall hearing any history of Jewish families who sought refuge from Germany by throwing stones at American or British authorities.

The same holds true for other real refugees.

‘Asking to be considered a refugee’ does not involve throwing stones or fighting with border patrols.

Then, there’s the social gospel brigade, who think that removing illegals is wrong. Remember, illegal entry is still a felony in the United States, whether the law is enforced or not. It is also possible that the man ICE is attempting to apprehend committed another crime which warrants his arrest. But the church people sing ‘Amazing Grace’ and chant ‘Let him go, let him go’:

The tweet is correct in citing St Paul.

Social gospel folks are Christian cafeteria folks, picking and choosing what from Scripture they will honour as convenient to their agenda.

It would be better for them if they picked up a Bible and studied it.

My longest standing and most loyal supporter has been the Revd Dr Gregory Jackson, a Lutheran clergyman who follows the Augsburg Confession of faith.

On November 21, 2018, Dr Jackson posted his online worship service for Thanksgiving Eve. His sermon was about the errors of the social gospel, which, over the past century and a bit, has come to supplant the Good News of the Gospel.

His Epistle is from Paul’s letters to Timothy:

KJV 1 Timothy 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. 7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. 8 I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

The Gospel reading is Luke’s account of the healing of the Samaritan:

KJV Luke 17:11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: 13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. 14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. 15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. 17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? 18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. 19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Dr Jackson’s sermon concerns the history of the social justice movement in the Church, beginning with the Lutherans in the United States (emphases mine below):

The Social Gospel Movement is extremely important for our country, because a tiny group of people met to form a brotherhood to promote their political goals for the denominations in America. This Brotherhood of the Kingdom was made up of liberals who redefined the doctrines of the Bible according to German rationalism, which is what CFW Walther grew up in – his father a rationalist pastor. Walter Rauschenbusch is the most famous figure in this movement, though Emerson Fosdick was also well known in his time.

The goals of this Brotherhood of the Kingdom became the agenda of the Federal Council of Churches, renamed the National Council of Churches. The mainline denominations adopted these goals, which became the platform of President Franklin Roosevelt. Naturally, these people were fond of socialism and many thought the real deal was Marxism. In the olden days one could easily identify a liberal activist Lutheran because he published something very positive about Rauschenbusch and the Social Gospel.

I wrote my dissertation on this topic, so I will try to be brief. This movement turned the Gospel upside-down, making it pure works. The Parable of the Good Samaritan was not about Jesus as the Samaritan caring for us, but about making the road to Jericho safe! Jesus died to show His solidarity with the poor! Therefore, the purpose of the Christian Church (they imagine) is to change society by passing laws to control our behavior. The Left-wing activism in today’s churches is an outgrowth of this Social Gospel Movement with the addition of various kinds of radicalism.

In the LCA [Lutheran Church in America] this worked by polarizing congregations about various issues, welcoming the exit of those backward people considered conservatives, but called rednecks, Birchers, Fundamentalists. A smaller, smarter church and shrinking but better synod were desirable outcomes.

The Social Gospel Movement combined a rewriting of Christian doctrine to match its political activism

What we see in America is the Social Gospel starting in a rejection of the basic doctrines of Christianity and making an agenda the religion. Once that was achieved in the New Deal, there was agitation for more. Religious agencies dropped the pretext and simply became political action groups using Christianity as a front. I saw this happen in Roman Catholicism too, when the properly social action types wanted to conquer all church leadership and openly despised basic Christian doctrine.

I am concerned about unchurched university students who encounter Christianity for the first time on campus. What are they learning there from campus ministries and other Christian organisations? It’s unlikely to be Christian doctrine based on Holy Scripture.

Dr Jackson explains Paul’s instruction to Timothy (see the first two verses of the aforementioned Epistle) and how that helped to shape the Church (bold emphasis in the original, those in purple mine):

These two verses show that Christianity in the Apostolic Age was quietistic, a phrase used by one of the top scholars of Greek language and culture for that era (A. Mahlherbe). Quietistic means the opposite of activist, engaging in politics, using the church as an instrument to make political points and pass laws governing others. We know that theocratic governments, with the church in control, have been abusive, controlling, and corrupt. The papal states in Italy, owned and poorly governed by the Roman Church, were corrupt and lax.

Quietistic means the Christians were not exhorted to overturn the government or rebel against them. The ultimate tool to remove social evil is the GospelThat solution has worked its way through Western culture over the centuries. Britain, through the influence of Evangelicals like Wilberforce, ended slavery without a civil war.

Instead of church in political action, Paul urged them to pray for all men, for kings and those in authority – the political leaders. That is why Christianity has flourished in all political systems and has grown under persecution.

Indeed.

This is how the Gospel and divine grace work (see verses 3 and 4 from Paul to Timothy, emphases mine):

It is good to remember that the Word is more powerful than any empire. There was nothing like the Roman Empire during the public ministry of Christ, and yet the gold, wealth, and majesty of Rome was no barrier to the Christian Faith. It grew from the bottom up, among slaves and criminals, the bottom of society. And yet when they were tortured and killed in huge stadiums, their peace at the time of death rattled and disturbed the pagan Romans. Slowly the faith worked its way up. Rome was knocked into the dustbin of history, as Luther observed, conquered by the One God they could not tolerate in their pantheon.

Opposition has never quashed Christianity. Earthly power means nothing, as Jesus declared, “My Kingdom is not of this world.” A local ruler could not comprehend this, and yet Jesus disturbed people by His death and His resurrection.

The secret of Christianity is that the Word grows and takes over in  a quiet, subtle, but powerful way. When people are occupied with spiritual truths, their hearts do not have much room for error, for the death-traps (scandalon, literally the trigger of the trap) that plunge people into error and destruction

The irony is that mankind trusts its own power and wisdom and disdains the power and wisdom of the Gospel. Nobody can even predict what the Word can do among believers or how it calls out the faithful from among the mass of people today. While many scorn the simple Word of the Gospel, others who have been fed the lentil soup of earthly wisdom say – “This is the feast of God’s grace and forgiveness.” Their hunger and thirst is satisfied, not by Zen but by the Good Shepherd.

That is so powerful.

I hope that churchgoing parents take time over the upcoming holiday period to ask their university-attending offspring what they are learning in chapel and in chapel-sponsored courses. The answers could be surprising — and in error.

A few years ago, I wrote extensively about the social gospel and how it grew. For those who have not seen these articles, they are near the bottom of my Marxism/Communism page underneath the heading ‘Communism and the Church today’:

The origins of ‘social justice’ — you might be surprised

Communism and the Protestant ‘social gospel’ — a long history

The left-wing origins of ‘What would Jesus do?’

Francis of Assisi never said ‘use words if necessary’

The Methodists, Alinsky and Hillary Clinton

SHOCK: Communist Catholic clergy and Vatican II – Agent AA-1025’s story

Communist infiltration of the Church – introduction — Protestant infiltration; social justice; Catholic Agent AA-1025

Insight into Communist infiltration of Catholic Church – Jesuit agents; destroying parishoners’ faith

The curious Vatican omerta on Communist infiltration – Pope Paul VI, Vatican agents, Vatican II

More on Communist infiltration of the Catholic Church – seminaries, parishes with sleeper agents

La nouvelle théologie — heretical menace to Catholics and Protestants

Media silence on persecution – quotes and incidents

Liberation theology — part 1

Liberation theology — part 2

Sojourners: More socialists masquerading as Christians

Progressives and US churches – making the connections – who’s involved with whom

Obamacare: It’s make or break time for radical and Christian organisations

Faith in Public Life: socialism cloaked in Christianity

Alinsky’s influence on Catholic bishops in the US

How the Catholic Church bankrolled Alinsky projects

How radical Catholic clergy spread CHD message in the US

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development goes on … and on

Recent Catholic funding of Alinsky-inspired projects – CCHD

CCHD collection coming in November – starve the beast! – for American Catholics

Pope [Francis] seeks to involve Chinese state in Catholic churches (2016)

The communist nature of Catholic clergy (2016)

Jesus’s words were never about social justice but life eternal through Him.

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