Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Witherspoon Essayist Urges Rejection of Trump

O. Alan Noble
Dr. O. Alan Noble
via Oklahoma Baptist U.

This is a surprise. If Ryan T. Anderson, editor of Witherspoon Institute's blog, is trying to demonstrate balance, scores of opposing opinion pieces would be required. Nevertheless, I am grateful for an intellectually honest piece at an ultra-conservative Catholic blog.

The piece is titled: Christian Witness Demands That We Defend Truth—and Reject Donald Trump. The author, O. Alan Noble, is an associate professor of English at Oklahoma Baptist University.

Dr. Noble provides a lengthy treatise. With some amusement I realize that if I disagreed with Noble I would characterize the piece as “verbose.” In any event it is lengthy and I will only quote a very small portion.
As a matter of policy, President Trump’s administration treats truth as merely a function of power. This manifests as a consistent effort to call into question, mock, or deny the possibility of objective truth, to sow distrust, to entertain conspiracies and rumors, to promote the use of propaganda, to undermine public discourse, and to fatigue us with uncertainty.
In Bob Woodward's latest book, Trump admits that he has always created rage in people but doesn't seem to have the first clue why. I cannot know for sure but I think his inherent dishonesty makes us angry. Many of us know when Trump is lying. Aside from the dishonesty Trump insults our intelligence and that pisses people off.

“Fatigue” is a very good word to describe the consequences of Trump's mendacity. He has worn us out. With his fabrications comes endless drama. I yearn for a boring president. Dr. Noble seems to agree:
By its very nature, falsehood breeds chaos. To support Trump would require me to support four more years of epistemological chaos. I fear that if I were to support his reelection, even grudgingly, eventually I would find myself apologizing for his lies, and then excusing his lies, and then defending his lies, and finally believing his lies.
Alternatives?
…You may be concerned, as I am, about the increasingly progressive trajectory of the DNC. But social conservatives will have nothing with which to resist, no alternative to offer, if we abandon the idea of truth. …
Presumably Noble and I disagree over many things. We both place a very high value on honesty. When people do not tell the truth they rob us of the ability to make decisions through the process of critical thinking. 

When people are repeatedly dishonest, they waste our time and energy because we are required to fact check everything that they utter.

We should have known better:
We have known this about Donald Trump for a long time. Between his zealous quest to find Barack Obama’s “real” birth certificate to his musings about vaccines and autism, to his insinuations about Ted Cruz’s father, Trump has displayed a showman’s love for playing with truth …
I would remind Dr. Noble that Trump repeatedly lied throughout his presidential campaign. That says something deeply concerning about our society because we knowingly elected a pathological liar. We elected someone who is obviously amoral. How could our citizenry tolerate that?

I forgot about this one:
In 2019, a DHS spokeswoman tried to pressure NBC to retract a story that revealed that the Trump administration had falsely claimed that nearly 4,000 terrorists or suspected terrorists had been apprehended trying to cross the border. The actual number was six. … his lies are a vortex that sucks up everyone around him, from federal agencies to the media to his supporters.
We are obviously not in complete agreement:
I understand the fear of losing. Some evangelicals are afraid of a loss of power. Many people I know, myself included, are quite reasonably concerned that losing the White House and Congress will eventually mean a restriction on our religious liberty, whether it looks like the repealing of the Hyde Amendment or a ban on student loans for students attending religious colleges and universities. Support for both of these ideas is mainstream within the DNC. These are not paranoid fears.
Not exactly. The Hyde Amendment could very well be in play. As for a Title 4 restriction on religious colleges and universities, that would be nearly impossible.Student loans are based upon Title 4 eligibility which is based upon accreditation by accrediting bodies approved by the Department of Education.

I suppose that it would be possible to remove religious accrediting commissions but a huge fight would ensue that would be tied up in litigation for years. Moreover, due to the potential impact I would then expect an injunction prohibiting the rule from going into effect while the matter was in litigation.

Most importantly, that idea is not in the DNC mainstream.

Noble concludes:
My task is simply to be faithful. That is why I cannot support or condone an administration like Donald Trump’s, that makes a mockery of truth and engenders epistemological chaos for personal benefit.
I have not done justice to Dr. Noble by providing just a few quotes. Moreover my selection of the few quotes might not align with Dr. Noble's priorities. I would urge people to read the post in its entirety.

Dr. Noble's essay is an important read. Not simply because I agree but because it is intellectually honest and it provides a window into conservative Christian thinking.

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