Lamentation for the 2024 Presidential Election

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On the willows there
    we hung up our lyres.
For there our captors
    required of us songs,
and our tormentors, mirth, saying,
    “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
How shall we sing the Lord’s song
    in a foreign land?

Psalm 137:2-4, RSV

Whatever my aversion to partisan politics has been in the past, it’s stronger than ever. Putting age aside, as well as a highly forgettable VP, I find little encouraging in the Democratic ticket. The Democrats no longer promote the view that abortions should be safe, legal, and rare, but that they should be affordable and accessible (making them common). If I didn’t think the unborn were human beings, I wouldn’t object. But I cannot see the difference. After conception, it’s all shades of gray, lines drawn in the sand.

Meanwhile the Republicans—the majority of them—celebrate a man who lies profusely, who is a known sexual predator, who seldom speaks factually, who relentlessly spews superlatives, and who promoted the ruin of the democratic process in the 2020 presidential election.
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Civil War or War on Civilians?

“I admit that political polarization may bring it all to an end, we’re going to have a hung election and a civil war.” Bill Gates, September 2022

This is my third, and I hope last, article on the woeful condition of politics and “Christianity” in the United States. Earlier, I remarked with shock and sadness on the conservative Christians’ penchant for conspiracy theories. Later, under the influence of heterogeneous sources, I predicted the violence likely as a result of the November presidential election—but never thought anything like the violence of Jan. 6, 2021 would occur.
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Perfect Political Storm

We’ve got God on our side
We’re just trying to survive
What if what you do to survive
Kills the things you love
Fear’s a powerful thing, baby
It’ll turn your heart black you can trust
It’ll take your God filled soul
Fill it with devils and dust
          (Bruce Springsteen, “Devils & Dust”)

Update 1/6/21: the storm has broken. Early this afternoon, the House and the Senate were carrying out their 12th Amendment duty of counting the certified electoral votes. Thousands of protestors had gathered outside the Capitol to protest what President Trump frequently described as a fraudulent election, where he lost both the popular and the electoral vote. Around 2:20 p.m., protestors broke through metal barriers at the foot of the stairs to the Capitol. Police sprayed tear gas. Around 2:30 PM, a large number of protestors, some violent, some carrying weapons, forced their way into the Capitol. “Protesters could be seen marching through the Capitol’s stately Statuary Hall shouting and waving Trump banners and American flags” (Associated Press Timeline of events at the Capitol). The building was locked down, but not before one woman was fatally shot by the police. Three other people died from currently unspecified medical emergencies.[§] Congresspeople were eventually escorted out of the building. Around 8:30 p.m. the Senate resumed the electoral vote. Several Republicans withdrew their objections in light of the siege.

Jesus Died, Trump Lives

“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” Deitrich Bonhoeffer

This post completes a trilogy that began with Perfect Political Storm, where I (along with others) predicted the violence surrounding the 2020 US presidential election—predicted too moderately as it turned out on January 6, 2021. The middle post, Christians and Conspiracy Theories, argued that Christian susceptibility to conspiracy theories does an injustice to the gospels, replacing faith in the impossible (that Jesus rose from the dead) with in the highly improbable (such as that the election was stolen—something almost universally refuted by nearly every Republican election officer, judge, and lieutenant governor).[1]
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Christians and Conspiracy Theories

“Just because I’m paranoid,
doesn’t mean they are not after me”
We say this with a wink… and then glance over our shoulder

“Just because it’s a conspiracy theory,
doesn’t mean it’s not true”
We say this straight-faced… and then take another sip of Kool-Aid

This article’s focus is deliberately narrow: to explain to myself and perhaps to others how it is that so many politically and theologically conservative Christians entertain so many conspiracy theories. Following are a discussion of what’s so bad about Christians being conspiracy-theory prone, a definition of “conspiracy theory,” a short list of conspiracy-theory candidates, and a two-prong argument to explain the Christian proclivity.
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Audio Versions of the Bible: What is Needlessly Wrong With Several

The Audio Version Problem

There’s a big problem with well-known, commercial audio versions of the Bible. Mobile versions, especially but not exclusively, present the listener with meaningless numbers instead the historical names of the books of the Bible, something analogous to seeing “City001” on a map instead of “New York City.” Continue reading “Audio Versions of the Bible: What is Needlessly Wrong With Several”

Ranked Voting (or) Neither Presidential Candidate Gets My Vote

Currently in my country, about half the population lives in fear that President Trump will be re-elected in November (2020). What would surprise the people in my community, (Boulder County), is that about half the US population fears that Donald Trump will not be re-elected.

This post falls outside of these viewpoints and is by no means a declaration that either candidate will do. While many people are concerned about choosing the right person (from the limited choice of two—something the flip of a coin could determine), I’m concerned about the need for a better system for selecting presidential candidates. Continue reading “Ranked Voting (or) Neither Presidential Candidate Gets My Vote”

My Breakfast With Sue

As an unworthy follower of Jesus, I have many brothers and sisters, all over the world. A few days ago, I had breakfast with one such sister, whom I’ll call Sue.

Gallop Cafe, one of my favorite eateries in the Highlands in Denver.

Outside, one of my favorite places to eat, anywhere.

Conversation, always enjoyable with Sue, who converted to Catholicism several years ago, during the crest of the child-abuse allegations in the Boston area, a gutsy move on her part. Catholicism works with her: she takes what is meaningful and doesn’t worry about the rest. Continue reading “My Breakfast With Sue”

Chess Puzzles, Life Problems

Chess Puzzles

A novice chess player, I recall beating my son frequently when he was 9 (yes, I was almost 39, finding him too thoughtful to be fooled by a false win). Over the years, he has returned like Aragorn to claim his dominion over his chess subjects (often me). In the process, he pointed me to a couple of online chess sites that offer training puzzles.[1] If I’ve learned anything from these puzzles it is that you leave your opponent with as few (good) choices as possible. As a result, you know your opponent’s decisions before they are made, allowing you to anticipate your future moves.

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