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Christian evangelicals deserve what they get



You heard over the last few days about that American pastor, Andrew Brunson, who had been held in jail in Turkey but was freed and then flown back to the U.S., where he held a highly-publicized prayer meeting with Trump in the Oval Office. Trump of course had made getting Brunson out of jail a high priority.

Brunson was an evangelical preaching Christianity in a country that clearly didn’t want him there. Brunson, sadly, chose to ignore the warnings he had gotten. He went to Turkey, a Muslim country, and preached the gospel of his religion. Turkish justice is infamous (remember Midnight Express?) He should have known what was in store for him.

Trump, who before he ran for president had no known religious beliefs, suddenly discovered the Christian right in America when he realized (or had explained to him) that his future success in politics could not be achieved without evangelical support. We may surmise that, until he was in his late 60s, Trump had little use or respect for evangelicals like Brunson, who in many respects is his opposite: where Trump was urban, educated and secular, they were bumpkins and badly-educated rubes; he most probably held them and their huckster-preachers in contempt.

To get an evangelical out of Turkey, then, was pure political payback: the evangelicals supported Trump, and he in turn used the considerable powers of his office to give them back one of their own.

But what the hell was Brunson doing in Turkey, anyway? He knew full well his presence was not wanted. He had to have known not to go or, if he insisted on going anyway, he had to have been warned not to openly evangelize. He went anyway. He poked a stick in the authorities’ eyes. What were the authorities supposed to do?

Years ago, on his remarkable album John Wesley Harding, Bob Dylan had a searing song, The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest, that concluded with these ominous lyrics:

The moral of the story
The moral of this song,
Is simply that one should never be
Where one does not belong.

The admonition implicit in Nobel Prize-winning Dylan’s words is that people are mostly aware of places and situations in which they do not belong, and should avoid going to those places. The implication is that, if a person goes somewhere he does not belong, he will suffer, and will have brought that suffering upon himself. It is one example of Karma, or the Law of Unintended Consequences. For evangelical Christians, I suppose, the risk of being arrested and jailed overseas in a hostile country is far outweighed by what they believe is their duty to evangelize, to “spread the word of God among the pagans.” They don’t care much for this world anyway: theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Well, they’re entitled to their beliefs, but can we describe these missionaries as what they really are? Smug, entitled, arrogant, holier-than-thou, meddlesome assholes, rude to other countries’ cultures and values, insulting to foreign people whom they implicitly accuse of being too stupid to determine their own religious beliefs, provocative to foreign governments who practically plead with them to stay away. They’re the modern-day descendants of the white Catholic missionaries who wiped out Native Americans in our country. They are bothersome, irksome people: I have no sympathy for somebody like Brunson, and neither should anyone else.


Melanie Trump has rightly been mocked for her whiney complaint that she is “the most bullied person on [sic] the world.”

Melania, you fail to understand the difference between being “bullied” and simply being disliked. Nobody is bullying you. It’s your husband who’s the big bully, and you know it, or should. People don’t like you, personally, for understandable reasons: you were a gold digger on the hunt to marry a rich man and you got Trump as your trophy (and he got you as his). If you had any dignity or honor, you would have left your husband years ago; he continually degrades and embarrasses you by cheating on you (with porn stars and strippers) and then bragging about it in public. That’s another reason people don’t like you: you don’t have the self-respect to walk out on the cad. People also dislike you because they sense that you’re a shallow, vain woman (mother of shallow, vain children) whose only interests are fashion, mansions and lunching with your rich lady friends. Such “causes” as you claim as First Lady are public relations stunts, concocted by White House spinmeisters like Kellyanne Conway. Nobody believes for a second that you care about young people getting bullied. So that’s another reason people don’t like you. You’re a phony.

So quit your whining, Melania. You want to be respected? Hold a press conference, announce you’re leaving the cheating schmuck, join the #MeToo movement, and work on behalf of battered women.

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