Trumping Truth: The Scripture according to Pete Buttigieg

Photo by Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

Mayor Pete says Trump’s conduct is incompatible with Scripture. He also holds that, according to his scriptural interpretation, life begins at first breath.

Yet Scripture says otherwise. In Psalm 139:

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

Amen. Nothing about first breath here. More like a breath of fresh air. But Pete maintains his trust in Scripture by relying on his personal interpretation.

By holding to his interpretive position—even though it conflicts with Scripture AND science—he can support abortion up to the moment of a baby’s first breath AND consider his position scripturally sound.

Pete also says that God is apolitical. And that he has a hard time imagining that the Almighty had anything to do with Trump becoming president.

If God had nothing to do with Trump’s election, who’s responsible? The devil? Deluded voters and bad Christians? Pete doesn’t say, but he kinda does.

What odd scriptural positions Mayor Pete holds. To recap:

1) Trump’s conduct is immoral. Even though he champions the sanctity of life and opposes late-term and up-to-birth abortion, both of which Pete supports.

2) The mayor doesn’t tell other Christians how to be Christian, but if they support Trump, they are not scriptural Christians and aren’t doing Christianity the right way—Pete’s way.

3) He says he has a high regard for Scripture, yet disregards many of its basic truths: We’re created in God’s image, he knew us before we were born, and all life is sacred.

It seems that Pete’s scriptural positions aren’t particularly compelling—politically, medically OR scripturally. So why does he hold them?

Because they’re compatible with his lifestyle and political beliefs.

Pete seems to deny the essence of Scripture. By its nature, it’s steadfast and unchangeable; it doesn’t conform to anyone’s belief preferences.

We conform to its truths; it doesn’t conform to our wants. And if we embrace it, we do so because we believe it’s true and that it reflects the love and nature of God.

It’s not that God is apolitical; it’s that he is as far above petty politics as he is above conforming to our preferences.

Mayor Pete is right about one thing: Trump does conduct himself in ways that are incompatible with Scripture.

So do I, from time to time. So do you. And so does Pete.

Sometimes Trump’s conduct aligns with Scripture. Like when he uses his power to protect the innocent. Or when he shows mercy by pardoning the penitent. Or when he brings justice to murderous terrorists.

I would respect Pete’s brandishing of Scripture much more, if his words and actions aligned with what it teaches.

If I could, I’d say this to Pete:

Please revisit your untenable position about when life begins and whose is sacred and whose is optional.

And don’t make a devil of The Donald. He’s just another sinner like you and me.

Killing Soleimani: The end of the world or the beginning of a bolder, better one?

Killing Soleimani
Fars News Agency [CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)]

By killing Iranian General Soleimani, America just kicked Iran in the teeth.

Many say his fiery demise was long overdue and will save lives. Not sure about this metric, but one thing’s certain—there’s one less terrorist doing his dastardly worst in the world.

Best of all, Soleimani’s death may trigger the end of an evil Iranian regime and the beginning of real freedom for Iranians.

Worth the risk? It is to them. Risk and reward aside, we’re living in dangerous days.

Is America’s playing with fire and inviting more bloodshed? Absolutely. A leading presidential candidate says we just “threw a stick of dynamite into a tinder box” and he may be right this time.

To be fair, the president has an age-old Iran problem on his hands. It’s a situation he claims was exacerbated by the policies of his predecessor in the form of clandestine cash payoffs, hostage ransoms and flat-out appeasement.

All true. But I would argue that the supreme monument to Barack Obama’s misunderstanding of the Iranian regime (and other truly Islamic nations) is his signing of a worthless and enabling nuclear agreement.

It’s a testament to self-deception or narcissism or naiveté or a blend of all three. No matter. What’s done is done.

Soleimani is dead.

And now leaders of the regime see blood red. Depending on whom you read or watch, Iranians are either enraged and ready for revenge or are secretly overjoyed and itching to rebel.

I’m no foreign policy expert, but based on actionable evidence and word of mouth, I must conclude that Iranians who chant “Death to America! Death to Israel!” likely mean us harm.

Here’s my advice to the administration:

Keep punching them in the mouth. Meet force with overwhelming force. Violent people respect violence; give them more to respect. Draw a real red line in the sand and send this message. Hit us and we’ll hit you back—harder.

This approach will hearten Israel, our only real ally in the region. They daily face Iranian haters with missiles and nuclear dreams. All they hear from their Arab enemies is that the Jews and their Zionist friends deserve death. Israel’s annihilation is the will of Allah, you infidel.

Tough choice, only choice

How does America deal with a regime that refuses to recognize, let alone value, Israel’s right to exist and our right to help them do so?

Refuse to give an inch. Deploy the diplomacy of power. Respond disproportionately. Proportionate responses are for proportionate adversaries. We’re the superpower and they’re not. And their regime may be weaker than we know.

Iran’s leaders are clinging to power by subjugating their people and engaging in tired propaganda and incessant chest beating. The sanctions are squeezing them. The killing of Soleimani has unnerved them.

This strategy seems extreme because it is. It could mean war. But let’s be honest with ourselves for once about Islam and Iran—it’s not a religion of peace, and they’ve been at war with the West for centuries.

Gasp. Truth.

And to those ripping Trump and going all Chicken Little over the killing of Soleimani and its repercussions, what is your strategy? How would you deal with a regime that seeks regional dominance and the destruction of Israel?

End of Part One. Part Two coming soon.

Kim Jong-un and North Korea: How propaganda and the cult of personality blinds a nation.

Kim

Talk about hogs running the proverbial animal farm. In North Korea, a prodigious propaganda machine has elevated a chubby kid with a funny haircut to god status. Meet Kim Jong-Un and North Korea’s cult of personality.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), commonly referred to as North Korea, has been at god-making for generations. Three to be exact: grandfather, Kim Il-sung, father Kim Jong-il, and current man-god, Kim Jong-un.

Its depth and scope of misinformation and brainwashing surpasses even that of Stalinist Russia. Like all cults and dictatorships, North Korea elevates flawed, capricious men and transforms them into semi-gods in the minds of citizens who come to believe their leaders can do wrong.

North Korea’s tandem of propaganda and cult of personality is especially effective because it leverages a national identity of civic duty and loyalty to leadership.

Kim Jong-Un and the cult of personality

The Kim family cult began around 1949 during the rule of Kim Jong-un’s grandfather, Kim Il-sung. Through ubiquitous propaganda and “education,” North Korea’s youngest citizens were taught that they were fed, clothed and nurtured in all aspects by the “grace of the Chairman.”

One of these children, defector and author Kang Chol-hwan, describes the state-sponsored delusion like this:

“To my childish eyes and to those of all my friends, Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il were perfect beings, untarnished by any base human function. I was convinced, as we all were, that neither of them urinated or defecated.

Who could imagine such things of gods?”

Crazy? It’s not that simple. The power of propaganda and the cult of personality are immense and virtually all-consuming. Brainwashing is an effective mind-control tool. Just ask former Scientologists, cult members and defectors of totalitarian regimes.

Kim
Kim Il-sung

Glorious leader forever

Kim Il-sung is the Eternal President. Eternally. Why? Because after becoming the nation’s first president, he had the position retired. It’s like when an American sports team retires a legendary player’s jersey number. Another legend can follow, but none can ever wear the first legend’s number.

The Eternal President’s likeness also is virtually eternal. There are a roughly 34,000 statues of him in North Korea. His birthday is the equivalent of the American Fourth of July. And, of course, his greatness is taught in the classroom.

Students memorize Kim Il-sung’s speeches and marvel at his state-imagined accomplishments, like when he single-handedly defeated the Japanese at the end of the occupation of Korea.

Over the course of his 46-year rule, Kim Il-sung enjoyed many titles such as Sun, Great Chairman, Heavenly Leader and others. He also was awarded the “Double Hero Gold Medal” because, after all, a double hero is twice as good as a single one.

The North Korean state even created a calendar just for Kim Il-sung. While the rest of the world operates in 2020, North Korea’s current year is “Juche 108” (108 years after the Eternal President’s birth).

Rainbows and uniforms

North Korea’s propaganda machine also engaged in myth-making for Kim Il-sung’s son, Kim Jong-il. According to legend, his birth was heralded by a swallow and caused winter to change to spring, a star to light the sky, and a double rainbow to spontaneously appear.

Propaganda has it that Kim Jong-il could walk and talk before the age of six months and could control the weather based on his mood, among other state-issued accomplishments.

Like shooting a 38-under par the first time he picked up a golf club. This epic links outing included no less that 11 holes in one. Reportedly, it was so easy that he quickly grew bored with the game and ceremoniously retired.

Renaissance ruler

According to Kim Jong-il’s official biography, he authored 1,500 books during his three years at his father’s college, Kim-Il-sung University. And somehow between his book writing and studies, he found time to pen six full operas—”all of which are better than any in the history of music,” declares the biography.

Kim

When Kim Il-sung died in 1994, Kim Jong-il declared a national mourning period for three years. Three years?

Man, that’s a long time to grieve—legitimately or otherwise. But the state made it happen. To help his people maintain a tearful facade, the Dear Leader punished those who faltered in following the official mourning rules.

Not to be outdone, the current despot Kim Jong-un holds at least six titles, one of which makes him “Wonsu,” the second highest rank in North Korea’s military despite having no military experience. And this “promotion” is in addition to his title of Supreme Commander.

Apparently, Kim Jong-un, like his father, was also a prodigy. North Korean students are instructed that he could drive at three and win yacht races at nine. And that he’s also a skilled artist and composer of musical scores.

Kim

Kim Jong-Un as god-king

Kim Jong-un enjoys unworldly opulence while most in his locked-down nation live in abject poverty. He smokes Western cigarettes, plays video games, rides jet skis and indulges an NBA basketball fetish while his communist comrades feed the machine that powers his imperial fun.

But he;s not all play and no work. Kim Jong-Un puts down his Xbox controller and cigarette long enough to order up some real-world destruction. According to South Korea’s Foreign Ministry, Kim Jong-un has executed at least 70 officials since taking power.

And to keep his own family members in line, he whacked his uncle, Jang Song Thaek and had his older half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, assassinated in Malaysia.

Kim Jong-un’s seemingly favorite method of execution is death by anti-aircraft guns. Cute. How Dr. Evilesque—but without the funny.

Kim

Absolute corruption

Like all dictators. Kim Jong-un wields a crazy amount of power and more than any mortal can handle. Especially for someone who’s lived an unreal and kingly life for all of his 35-38 years. (We can’t be sure of his age because the exact year of his birth seems to be a state secret.)

One thing’s for certain though—Kim Jong-un’s upbringing and sheltered existence makes Donald Trump’s childhood seem rather mundane. But it’s his ideology that makes the portly man-god dangerous and unpredictable.

And here’s the scariest part: Kim Jong-un has his pudgy finger on the nuclear and chemical weapons buttons of the DPRK. Worse, he’s seeking intercontinental warhead delivery capability. Scary stuff, indeed.

So now the world waits to see if our loose cannon of a president can stare down a porky young ruler with a questionable grip on reality and pressure him into giving up his nuclear weapons aims. Fat chance.

Kim

Call me crazy, but it seems a fool’s errand to get this nutty guy to back down now when he’s never had to before. Trump would do better to offer him lifetime court-side tickets to any and all NBA games.

I fear force is the only pressure point to which the Supreme Leader will respond. Apparently, Kim Jong-un doesn’t listen to cautions from big brother China. Meanwhile, his people starve and suffer under yet another failed communist state.

Communism FAIL

Socialism is a nice idea that does not work precisely because its tenets run counter to human nature. People will always want to rise above others and do better and make more. It’s just how we are.

We’re bent by greed, malice, selfishness and a corrupt, broken world that’s incompatible with the empty promises of socialism.

Communism is socialism with teeth; and it provides a barnyard for the strongest pigs to take over the farm. It happened in Russia and Cuba and China and elsewhere. Sadly, swine rule is firmly in place in North Korea even as its soldiers blindly goose-step for state cameras while grinding the hopes of true freedom underfoot.