Religion

Gianforte as Jesus Christ

Peter Linzmaier of Thompson Falls, MT writes to the Missoulian in response to a letter to the editor which asked if it was acceptable with Christians that Rep.-elect Greg Gianforte (R) assaulted a reporter the day before the election:

Jesus assaulted and bodily threw the money changers out of the temple who were trespassing in Gods’ house.

Greg Gianforte emulated Jesus by assaulting Ben Jacobs, who was trespassing and invading his privacy. He also proved to be a real Montanan to his supporters who are not self-proclaimed Christians but abide by the teachings and actions of Jesus.

Spicer Left Out of Vatican Visit

President Trump’s entourage at the Vatican “included his wife, his daughter, and an array of staffers—but not White House press secretary Sean Spicer, a devout Catholic who told reporters earlier this year that he gave up alcohol for Lent,” Politico reports.

“Both sides, according to a White House official, agreed to limit the number of staffers who attended. Two other senior communications aides from the White House were included: Hope Hicks, who like Melania and Ivanka Trump wore a black veil over her hair, and Dan Scavino, the White House director of social media and a longtime Trump loyalist.”

Indonesian Governor Jailed for Blasphemy

“Jakarta’s Christian governor was sentenced to two years in jail for blasphemy, a harsher-than-expected ruling that critics fear will embolden hardline Islamist forces to challenge secularism in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation,” Reuters reports.

“Tuesday’s guilty verdict comes amid concern about the growing influence of Islamist groups, who organized mass rallies during a tumultuous election campaign that ended with Basuki Tjahaja Purnama losing his bid for another term as governor.”

Trump Will Sign Order on ‘Religious Liberty’

President Trump “has invited conservative leaders to the White House on Thursday for what they expect will be the ceremonial signing of a long-awaited—and highly controversial—executive order on religious liberty,” Politico reports.

“The signing would represent a major triumph for Vice President Mike Pence—whose push for religious-freedom legislation backfired mightily when he served as governor of Indiana—and his allies in the conservative movement.”

Has Trump Found God?

President Trump “has increasingly infused references to God into his prepared remarks — calling on God to bless all the world after launching strikes in Syria, asking God to bless the newest Supreme Court Justice, invoking the Lord to argue in favor of a war on opioids,” Politico reports.

“He’s also taken other steps to further cultivate a Christian right that helped elect him, granting new levels of access to Christian media and pushing socially conservative positions that don’t appear to come naturally to him.”

King Refuses to Say Muslims Contribute Equally

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) refused to say on CNN that Muslim Americans are equal to German Americans in their usefulness to society — doubling-down on recent comments that white people have made greater contributions to Western civilization than other “sub-groups.”

Said King: “I’d say they’re all created in the image of God and they’re equal in his eyes. If they’re citizens of the United States, they’re equal in the eyes of the law. Individuals will contribute differently, not equally to this civilization and society. Certain groups of people will do more from a productive side than other groups of people will.”

What No One Is Talking About In the DNC Race

First Read: “As DNC members travel to Atlanta to choose the party’s next chair on Saturday, there’s an elephant in the room that no one is talking about it — but that everyone is thinking about: Keith Ellison’s Muslim faith.”

“Don’t get us wrong, this isn’t an issue among the 447 DNC members. As we’ve written, many/most voting members would be happy with either Ellison or Tom Perez. But some outside the party seem to be goading Democrats to pick Ellison, as David Duke did earlier this month.”

Wave of Threats Made to Jewish Centers

“In the wake of 11 new threats today against Jewish centers, from New York to New Mexico, the FBI said it is investigating, along with the Department of Justice, bomb threats to the centers across the country,” ABC News reports.

“Federal authorities are looking into threats communicated to at least 60 Jewish centers around the country this year. The threats started in January and the FBI began investigating later that same month. The threats have come in ‘different waves,’ with more threats phoned in to centers today, according to one source familiar with the matter.”

Bannon Film Warned of ‘Islamic States of America’

“The flag fluttering above the U.S. Capitol is emblazoned with a crescent and star. Chants of ‘Allahu Akbar’ rise from inside the building. That’s the provocative opening scene of a documentary-style movie outlined 10 years ago by Stephen K. Bannon that envisioned radical Muslims taking over the country and remaking it into the ‘Islamic States of America,'” according to a document describing the project obtained by the Washington Post.

“The outline shows how Bannon, years before he became a strategist for President Trump and helped draft last week’s order restricting travel from seven mostly Muslim countries, sought to issue a warning about the threat posed by radical Muslims as well as their ‘enablers among us.’ Although driven by the ‘best intentions,’ the outline says, institutions such as the media, the Jewish community and government agencies were appeasing jihadists aiming to create an Islamic republic.”

Trump Vows to Lift Ban on Church Political Activity

President Trump “vowed to overturn a law restricting political speech by tax-exempt churches, a potentially huge victory for the religious right and a gesture to his political base,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Trump said his administration would ‘totally destroy’ the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits churches from engaging in political activity at the risk of losing their tax-exempt status.”

Europeans Greatly Overestimate Muslim Population

A new Ipsos Mori survey finds that members of the public in European states including France, Belgium, Germany and the UK greatly overestimate their country’s Muslim population and the rate at which it is growing.

“The average French estimate was that 31% of the population was Muslim – almost one in three residents. According to Pew Research, France’s Muslim population actually stood at 7.5% in 2010, or one in 13 people.”

“The French were not the only ones to hold such misconceptions: Italian, German and Belgian respondents all guessed that more than a fifth of the resident population was Muslim, while in reality the figure ranges from 3.7% in Italy to 7% in Belgium.”

How Trump Came to Support a Muslim Ban

James Hohmann: “It was not an act. Trump’s concern about Syrian refugees entering the U.S. without proper vetting and his personal discomfort with Muslim radicalization is genuine and deeply felt, according to several people who have spoken with him directly. Much of what he said during his rallies was improvisational, and he certainly campaigned by the seat of his pants from time to time. But he thought the Muslim ban through, heard out objections from his advisers and spoke on the phone with several people before making the announcement.”

“Trump’s political instincts were certainly at play. He saw an opportunity to exploit the fears of the American people, and he captured it. He saw a rising tide of xenophobia and prejudice across the country, and he swam with the current.”

“Because he has few core principles, beyond winning, Trump was perfectly willing to stake out a position that he knew his major Republican rivals – for constitutional, legal, moral, practical and national security reasons – would never be willing to embrace. That gave him a textbook wedge issue, which worked to his advantage throughout the primaries.”

Trump Running Way Behind Among Catholics

Washington Post: “Yes, the man who once feuded with the pope (how soon we forget that actually happened) is cratering among Catholics.”

“Back in 2012, GOP nominee Mitt Romney lost the Catholic vote by just 2 points, 50 percent to 48 percent. And the GOP has actually won the Catholic vote as recently as 2004 and in 5 of the last 10 presidential elections.”

“But Trump trails among Catholics by a huge margin. A new poll from the Public Religion Research Institute released this week shows him down 23 points, 55-32.”