Threats of Civil War and Accusations Of Treason: Trump, His Reichsbishof, and Those Ready to Kill in his Name

Friends Of Padre Steve’s World,

Just a couple of thoughts tonight. We celebrated Judy’s Birthday with our friends in Germany and even made a trip over the border to France where we got her birthday cake. But I digress…

Tonight I am very concerned about what President Trump and some of his leading supporters, especially his Reichsbishof , Pastor Robert Jeffress, of First Baptist Church Dallas threatened that if he were impeached that it would bring about a civil war. During his Twitter tirade the President accused the Congressman Adam Schiff, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee of Treason.

First, the whole concept of Treason when it comes to United States law and the Constitution, which set very tight limitations on what can be charged as treason.

In fact it is spelled out in the Constitution:

“Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.” 

That does not sound like Schiff, the Whistleblower, or any of Trumps political opponents or media critics. The only ones coming close to the definition is Trump himself, Rudi Giuliani, Attorney General Barr, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who all seem to be neck deep in not only the Ukrainian affair, but those involving other countries as well. Sadly, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Unlike Hitler’s Germany, the Soviet Union Of Stalin, or for than matter any government ruled by a dictator, our Constitution does not say that the President is above the law. That is why the process impeachment of impeachment, and what can trigger it is in the Constitution. It is not about where you like a President or his policies at all, it is about holding the Chief Executive accountable to the Legislative Branch, which is given first place in the Constitution, including oversight of the Exectutive Branch, and advice, consent, and voting on the appointment of those of the Judicial Branch.

Okay, that was bad enough, a President who does not respect the Constitution and law is pretty bad, but one who re-tweets men like Jeffress that make threats of civil war is repugnant and repulsive. Trump tweeted Jeffress’s comments with his own his own comments:

If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal,”

This is dangerous. The fact that first a Pastor would threaten civil war should the man he supported for president and defends today is much more like an Ayatollah, Taliban preacher, or somebody out of the religiously supported wars of the Reformation, or the Crusades than anything our Founders accepted. The fact that Jeffress pastors the flagship church of a denomination which was founded upon its support of slavery and later secession and civil war is ironic. They are remarks that any Southern Baptist today should flee from, and I am a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, class of 1992.

Likewise I am a historian who has studied and written extensively about the American Civil War, Slavery, Reconstruction, Jim, Crow and the Civil Rights Movement, the German Civil War that followed World War One, during the Weimar Republic, and the wars which followed the Reformation in Europe and England. I have also visited countries in the Balkans after their civil wars of the 1990s, and been in the middle of of the Sunni-Shia Civil War in Iraq in 2007-2008.

The civil war that Trump, Jeffress, and other Trump supporters, including the so-called Oath Keepers threaten, will not be like the American Civil War with massed armies fighting a continental war, instead it will be much more like the Spanish Civil War, Iraq, Syria, Ireland, the wars in the former Yugoslavia, or those of the 1970s and 1980s in Central America. They will be murderous, terrorist type wars, insurgencies with no end. I have seen and studied these wars. Anyone advocating them is either evil, or insane.

I think that applies to both the President, the Pastor, and their armed fanatical supporters.

I say, let the Congress do its job and follow the law and Constitution regardless of where it leads.

So until tomorrow,

Peace,

Padre Steve+

30 Comments

Filed under civil rights, civil war, ethics, faith, History, Political Commentary

30 responses to “Threats of Civil War and Accusations Of Treason: Trump, His Reichsbishof, and Those Ready to Kill in his Name

  1. maryplumbago

    I can’t help but wonder who the military would support, since they are honor bound to protect and support the president, right or wrong.

    I’m afraid they would kill and destroy the normal decent people in this country and then, in time, they’d turn on each other.

    • padresteve

      Actually, our oath is to the Constitution, not to the President. However, I think that this would fracture the military as about half of the military supports Trump according to polls from a year ago. However, his popularity is not as strong with the officer corps as the enlisted. His strongest support is in the Marine Corps.

      • Steven

        Hey Padre,

        Thank you for reminding the civilians in the room about this: every service person swears an oath to preserve and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic.

        In my day, when I was fresh in from Rhodesia where we swore a similar—and mostly moot—oath, the difference between the National Command Authority and the President was constantly stressed.

        I guess they don’t do that anymore?

        SFH

      • padresteve

        Sadly, we still swear the oath to the Constitution, but many, by lack of education and political and religious beliefs to the contrary do not understand their oath.

  2. Brian

    Calling for civil war is what is treasonous no a civil servant acting as a whistleblower

  3. David Head

    Dear Steve,
    I think the problem lies in education. I remember my school days in England during the 70’s and us kids were fed propaganda and lies and nationalism. We were taught that God loved everyone but the English just a little bit more. To be proud of colonising developing countries and building an empire through violence and bullying.
    Fortunately for me I was always interested in other cultures beyond my island and have been privileged to have traveled, lived and worked overseas all my adult life.
    Due to health issues I’ve returned home after 30 years and I’m shocked that people in my hometown still have such an insular view of the world and how much hatred they have for foreigners. Nobody seems to have any interest in geography or history and no knowledge in these subjects either. However my old friends could tell you all about what is happening in the Kardashian family.
    Unless we get the kids interested in history and get them to view people from other countries as their equals, society will continue to be vulnerable to far right lunatics.
    Maybe the government don’t want an educated electorate as they are harder to control. I’m no genius either but if my government’s plan was to create a nation of narrow-minded, nationalistic fools,,, then it’s working.
    Still I try to remain positive and change is always possible.
    Just needed to get that off my chest 🙂
    Safe Travels Mate,
    Dave

  4. Pingback: Threats of Civil War and Accusations Of Treason: Trump, His Reichsbishof, and Those Ready to Kill in his Name — Padre Steve’s World: Official Home of the Anti-Chaps | sdbast

  5. Reblogged this on Rcooley123's Blog and commented:
    Another outstanding essay from Padre Steve. This work points out the difficulties which lay ahead for us in an increasingly hazardous world as long as we have Donald Trump in office as our President – especially as possible impeachment looms for him in the not-too-distant future. Hopefully, it won’t take too long for others in the GOP to stop enabling his authoritarian and inhumane tendencies and restore our democracy before all hell breaks loose. – rjc

  6. Steven

    Hey Padre,

    Great commentary, as long as we all understand what it means; “wherever it leads” means the United States Senate, and the Senate is held in a vice-grip by Mitch McConnell, a man as void of morality as Donald Trump, but far more knowing in the ways of politics and the corruptions of power and lucre.

    So it will be we who love freedom and the Constitution who must accept “where it goes”, who must accept that Trump will be acquitted, who must endure another 6-9 months of his insipid—and without the copy-editing provided by the mainstream press he so often reviles, actually unintelligible–braggadocio, alternating with his equally squalid whining and petulance.

    And then will come an election which he will probably lose. Unlike the only Republican to actually win an election for President since 1992—almost thirty years ago (and that on the second, incumbent, try)—Trump has not managed to find any way of turning a strictly legal appointment to the Presidency by the Electors into any kind of popular support. For all the talk of “his base”, it remains more or less what it was in 2016, down some among Independents who took him on faith, up some on Republicans who actually had values back in 2016.

    But all those bored middle-class professional women have suddenly discovered just how much the Right and the Republican Party really does **hate** them. The only women they want are well-dressed “home-makers” and better-dressed “escorts”—“family values” being what they are in the Republican Party, after all. So that has kept the motivation among middle-class white women up from 2018. And middle-class blacks have to become as insane as middle-class Hispanics already are to vote Republican (why Hispanics vote Republican baffles me still). That’s unlikely to happen.

    So you have some lower-middle-class, some working-class, and some old upper-middle-class white men and their obedient wives, some young white men in those poorer groups, and some of the almost-really-rich white people, who together comprise The Base. For the almost-really rich it’s a no-brainer of self-interest. But the others are all involved in a complex, mutually-exclusive and clearly insupportable delusion:

    “Everything will go back to the way it never was”.

    And Trump is perfectly willing to claim he not only believes that, but that he will make it happen. And those groups so want to believe that “some Mexican **took** my job” that they will shove their heads into the chute far more willingly than any steer ever did.

    You have to see that these people don’t grasp—or can’t grasp—that no one “took” anything from them; the Company they gave **everything** to simply gave “their” job to cheaper labour—maybe a Mexican, maybe an Asian, maybe some new kid; cheaper is all the company cared about.

    And yet they vote for capitalists and claim to hate socialism—even though they want their job saved by the government, which is outright communism.

    So yes, the cattle will come to the barn for slaughter. But it should not be enough, if the free thinking people also show up at the polls to vote.

    Then will be the time for more Jefferson, less Adams.

    SFH

    • maryplumbago

      Love this comment!

      • Steven

        I wish I didn’t have to write it. I wish we could all still disagree, but see where the other person’s point of view came from—not from hate, but from just from a different way of looking at the same things. Then we could work at the “thing” until we each had what we felt counted the most—the heart of it, if you will—and grumble about the rest for another day. Not wrest for absolute supremacy in the Courts (which will just become another theatre of cyclical policy advance-repeal).

        But wishes are for children who find nickels under their pillows when they lose a tooth.

  7. Excellent post, Padre! What we are seeing today has no precedent in this country’s history, and we are not quite certain how to contend with the divisiveness and hate, but one thing is clear: we cannot have a president who continually denigrates the nation and the majority of its people, who has trampled the Constitution, who has no integrity, no values, and sees himself as all-powerful.

    • padresteve

      Thank you again Jill and I agree with you.

    • Steven

      Jill,

      I had occasion a few years back to work with a man who was an actual narcissist—like Trump. I had never actually worked with some one that kind of ill. It takes a while to realise that the person isn’t “kidding”; they don’t “really know”; they aren’t “playing a deep game”—they really do believe all the lies, all the contradictory pronouncements, all the absurd statements, all the grandiose pronouncements—all of it is reality to them. As baffling as that is.

      This particular person broke through to me with “I write Shakespeare; I am Shakespeare”. It took me almost a full minute to understand that it was not a joke, nor a comparison, but a statement of fact. Despite the contradiction of the dreck I was reading right in front of me, he was congratulating himself on being the peer of the Greatest Writer in the English Language. A guy who wrote 60 pages of sheer awful dialogue and nothing since, believes himself to be equal to, maybe better than, a playwrite whose works resonate and are performed 400 years after his time.

      Indeed we do not know how to deal with him; how could we? Who expects a man elected to the Presidency to be clinically unfit for office before he even runs for office? What Party would actually nominate such a person?

      • Wow. I think that all we think we know about narcissistic personae is but the tip of the iceberg. I once worked for a boss who I thought was a narcissist, but compared to Trump, and compared to the man of whom you speak, he was only a spoiled brat. But … somewhere, somehow, there must be an Achilles heel, even in the narcissist. Surely there must be some way to bring him down.

        Sadly, he has snowed the ignorant into believing he is helping them, and until his policies, his trade war, his foreign screw-ups, hit home for his base, they will continue to support him. And, as long as his base supports him, the members of Congress from those districts/states, will also continue to support him, for it is no longer about doing the right thing for the country, but it is now about securing power and wealth. Sigh.

  8. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    Padre Steve hits on almost any topic, from sports to history to politics to human nature. Today, he shares a few thoughts on the current U.S. political landscape that I think are worth sharing. Thank you, Padre, for this thoughtful post.

  9. Reblogged this on Musings on Life & Experience and commented:
    A pastor’s view on threats and accusations of the Trump administration.

  10. Padre, I have long grown weary of how social media gives more credence for inane comments just because they are read on your computer, ipad or phone. To me it is akin to the rule of thumb of “never argue with a street preacher.” The street preacher has a tad more zeal than the average preacher. My point is social media makes it difficult to know who are the street preachers or other over-zealous lot that should be avoided.

    As a Christian, my pet peeve is bigotry from the pulpit. It greatly worries me when a preacher uses his pulpit to divide not unite. So, here we have a preacher who is advocating the divisiveness the US president causes. The US president did not create division, but he is an expert at gaslighting to create division to serve his purpose. So, a key clue we must look for is do their words and actions match the overarching message of the Golden Rule?

    As for that constitutional oath, what I am seeing, even with Republican legislators, is people who have served in the military or government, who took an oath previous to winning an election, tend to remember they support the constitution more than others. GOP Congressman Will Hurd is a great example. His is one of the more equanimous GOP voices in DC. What should have been louder beacons than they were occurred twice in the election. The US president attacking a POW hero and then later a Gold Star family were beyond shameful and were indicators of a huge character flaw. To me, they were further proof that the US president serves only one thing – Donald J. Trump. Keith

    • padresteve

      Keith, thanks for your words and insights. It is sad what we have come to, I despair for our country in this climate. Sadly, preachers like Jeffress area large part of the problem. I find them little different than the Southern preachers who led secession from their denominations before they encouraged political leaders to secede from the union over slavery, and those that compromised their faith and followed Hitler into the abyss. Trump is a symptom of a greater crisis. Thanks again and blessings,
      Steve

      • Steve, I agree. In my charity work and regular job as well as reading the news, I have come across some of the most inclusive ministers, rabbis and imams who reach out to those in need. I have also witnessed those who have used the bible as a weapon to exclude and condemn. About fifty miles away is such a minister who advocated putting gays and lesbians behind an electrified fence. Really? If I heard a minister say that in church, I would leave on the spot.

        If the US president is being held up as the chosen one, I have no idea what god they are talking about. Keith

  11. Steven

    Keith,

    Excuse my butting in…

    I’m curious about something. I am less-than-sympathetic to organised religious institutions, so that may form part—or, to be honest, all—of this perception:

    Why is it I never hear about all these “pro-inclusion” leaders? I never hear a local pastor or Chaplain or Priest stand up and say “Jesus commanded us to Love one another as he had Loved us”.

    Instead, we hear crickets. Not even a word about how, maybe, the Judaic Old Testament may not be the best place to lift set-piece modern-day values, since it’s still OK to own slaves, have multiple wives, have marital sex with an adolescent (being as an adolescent is sexually mature), and that the only real Sin the Jews had was Disobedience.

    So I’m kind of wondering where I could read or watch some of this coverage, so that I could point others to it. That would be nice.

    I know where to find lots of Anti-Trump pastors. That’s not my point. I want specifically to read about these inclusive Imams, Rabbis, and Ministers (etc…) who speak out about inclusiveness. Not just in passing, or vaguely. But something real. LIke “don’t hate people who love differently than you, because it’s wrong to do so”.

    See the problem here is that neither an Imam or a Rabbi can say that. Both Judaism and Islam consider disobedience (rebellion) to be the only true Sin; and their works define in detail what you must NOT do—including all that inclusive stuff you were talking up.

    Now the Christian ministers have no such cover. Their hate is just ugliness. Their guy said it without ambiguity. But I still don’t see or read about Christian ministers or chaplains or etc… preaching

    “Love one another; leave judgement to God as He commands. Our duty is to Love one another; there are no special exceptions—Jesus told us to go forth and be fishers of Men, and he explicitly preached to those the Old Faith excluded, Women, Children, the poor; no one was Unclean to Jesus. So it must be with we who are caught in His net—we musty seek all who come near; let us give of our Heart all that We have and know that Jesus will replenish it. That though we go poor in the street that is nothing, for our Lord went poor in the streets; though we suffer persecution by the State and hatred by the Mob that is nothing; for our Lord suffered persecution by the State and was hated by the Mob. We will falter and fall short; we will be squeamish when we should be stalwart, frightened when we should be fearless, cowardly when we should be brave; was not Peter so, and he knew our Lord as a brother? But we must go on, knowing our Lord lived as we live, and knows what we face; when his Father says to us: ‘You Failed’, our Lord will say ‘Father, the fault is Mine’, and all will pass away; this our Lord promised all who Believe. What then have we to fear, truly?”

    Show me that, Keith. Hell, show me something remotely **close**. Otherwise, I’m going to say that your “inclusive” Imams, Rabbis, and Ministers are the same as the Sophie Scholl’s “honest” men—useless enablers stained with the dishonour of hesitancy. But living well.

    I did warn you I was biased.

    SFH

    • Steve, it looks I struck a nerve. I am the retired Board chair of several groups that help homeless families and people. I have come across some of the finest people who are ministers and leaders of their churches. They “walk the talk” through advocacy. There are too many to mention, but they are inclusive and big tent church people. I also know several Jewish synagogue leaders and rabbis. Where these folks speak up most is locally doing their best to help people in need.

      As I noted above, I have also come across bigotry in the pulpit. This is a failing of leadership. I have two principle themes about religion – when religion is inclusive, it is at its finest. When it excludes, it is at its absolute worst. We do need more ministers to call the bigoted speech on the carpet. I am not a fan of prosperity evangelists who are glorified con artists.

      I think in our world it is easy to paint with a broad brush. Just like people, there are good religious leaders and bad ones. Keith

      • Steven

        I did give clear and ample warning. To me, Keith, this is exactly the problem that the Padre writes about when he is quoting the many “good men…do nothing…” arguments.

        Your guys—as a shorthand reference, not assigning you direct responsibility for anyone else’s actions or failures to take action—seem always to be willing to act “locally”, or “among the poor”, but not in the light of day, or up where people like the Haters of the Christian Right like to act.

        That reluctance—I call it cowardice—makes a telling impression. However proud of themselves those “inclusive” rabbis/imams/priests/ministers are out among the [anonymous] flock, they lack the moral courage to challenge the Haters of the Christian Right when those Haters speak in great swathes of ugliness. No one spoke out against “civil war-like divide”. No great voices of moderation were raised to quiet the hearts of those led astray by spiritual leaders whose creed is Hate. Silence. Dissent belonged to others, like the Padre. Even you do not speak out strongly; you saved your chastening for me, and avoided any answer to my challenge beyond mild surprise.

        Because there is none. There is no “majority” of inclusiveness among the three Abrahamic religions; inclusiveness is not an Abrahamic precept. Obedience is the only true Abrahamic precept—the Prophet (Muhammad) got that part spot-on. And arguing otherwise by individuals “on the street” is not the same as one of those leaders standing up and boldly disputing with a Hater.

        So yes, a nerve was struck; what is so sad to me is that you, and your ephemeral “inclusive pastoral Abrahamists”, have no nerves left to strike in return.

      • Steven

        One more thing, and I really hesitated to go here:

        ….just like people…there are good religious leaders and bad ones….

        Trump used this very same language. He even made his **more** positive than yours:

        … there were “good people…on both sides”…

        **I** believe in our world it is easy to hide behind that generalisation. To excuse belonging and going-along by claiming there are good ones and bad ones.

        Which one are you, Keith? Then is it too much to expect you to speak as you see yourself? Too much to ask of one who asserts spiritual guidance of others, that they strive to act as they speak, and hold themselves accountable to the same moral compass they declare for those who seek their guidance.

        I don’t see that as an insurmountable obstacle, nor do I see it as a broad brush. I see it as a reasonable standard to apply to one who has taken upon themselves the burden of the care of another’s spirit.

        I have spent the lives of young men and women in my charge; I have killed other men and women my country bid me—it’s difficult to see the difference between the two types of killing, by the way—and I know about carrying burdens that obligate one.

        Why should I—a rude, uneducated killer of humans—see and oppose Hate so clearly, when you, who hear the voice of your god, cannot tell the wolf from the sheep?

  12. Karen T McCormick

    Jeffress is no Christian.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s