Backing “Republican/Trump agenda,” Gianforte takes un-Christian turn

Congressional candidate Greg Gianforte and a rhetorical question

The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources approved Rep. Ryan Zinke (R–Mont.) as nominee for Secretary of the Interior, bringing him one step closer to vacating his seat in the House. That means Montanans are likely to be treated to another election. In preparation, Bozeman multi-millionaire Greg Gianforte—who took second in last year’s race for governor—has announced his bid for the Republican nomination. Here’s a quote from the email he sent out last Thursday:

This race will be ground zero and the first official battle waged by the Democrats to stop the Republican/Trump agenda. I simply will not stand on the sidelines and allow that to happen. I’m ready to fight for our shared Montana values.

That’s an explicit declaration of support for the national GOP and President Trump. It came at an inauspicious moment, though, because the very next day the Republican/Trump agenda took an ugly turn. In a move that surprised the Department of Homeland Security and garnered injunctions from multiple courts, Trump banned refugees from entering the United States for 120 days, prohibited travelers from seven Muslim nations, and blocked Syrian refugees indefinitely. He did it to keep us safe from terrorism.

Never mind that no refugee has ever committed an act of terrorism on American soil. The important thing is that we’re finally doing something for ourselves, by specifically barring the people who are suffering most. This move puts Gianforte in a tough position. As a Christian, he probably remembers that Jesus said not to let any poor, suffering people into your house, in case one of them tries to hurt you. But as a Biblical literalist who rejects the theory of evolution and once cited Noah to argue against the concept of retirement, he probably also read James 2:14-17:

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

That’s just one of several Bible passages that suggest specifically barring people without clothes and daily food from the United States might not be the Christian thing to do. Gianforte is on the horns of a dilemma, here. He’s already paid the political price for the prominent role his faith plays in his public life. Will he now throw over that faith to get behind President Trump, a man who is Christian in roughly the same way as marshmallow Peeps? You can read all about it in this week’s column for the Missoula Independent, in which I invite Gianforte to choose his millennia-old belief system over the political fad that started last year. He’s a reasonable man, and I hope he listens. We’ll be back tomorrow with Friday links!

Kentucky clerk defies Supreme Court for religion she joined four years ago

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who refuses to issue marriage licenses despite a court order

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has refused to issue marriage licenses since Obergefell v. Hodges

The Supreme Court rejected her religious objection case on Monday, but Kim Davis still refuses to sign marriage licenses in Rowan County, Kentucky. When history looks back on the civil rights movement of our time, it will be disgusted that the creator of Garfield clung to bigotry so. Hang on—the Combat! blog interns have informed me that Jim Davis is the creator of Garfield, and Kim Davis is the Apostolic Christian county clerk who has refused to sign marriage licenses since the Supreme Court affirmed gays’ right to marry. Now the interns suggest I use the delete key rather than transcribing these errors and corrections in real time, but I don’t let college kids tell me what to do. When history looks back on the civil rights movement of our time, it will remember this week as a turning point in the right of all Americans to do whatever by saying it’s their religion. Kim Davis is the Rosa Parks of hating gay people.

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Rick Perry releases final Iowa ad

If the last extant copy of this picture were inside a burning orphanage, I hope I would save an orphan.

You can tell a lot about a person by what they think will make you happy. If every time you fight with your husband he tries to give you a pretty necklace, yours may not be the relationship of mutual respect you want it to be. We’ve all known people whose attempts to please us are less nuanced than they think. Perhaps Rick Perry is no such cynical manipulator. Maybe he’s more like the aunt who took you to a Cubs game once and now sends you jerseys and Harry Caray biographies every Christmas. Whatever he’s up to, Perry decided this week that abortions shouldn’t be legal even in cases of rape or incest, then walked back his position to theoretically allow them when a woman’s life was at risk. He also produced his last campaign advertisement before the Iowa caucuses. Video after the jump.

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Richard Florida points way to permanent conservative majority

Say what you will about the Tea Party; they are all wearing ball caps and sunglasses. Also they participate in a rhetoric of violence.


As part of his ongoing research into how much mileage you can get out of one sociological theory, Richard Florida has produced this terrifying examination of statistical conservatism in the United States. Props to “Mirko” Mike Sebba for the link. If you’re excited to see which states are more conservative than others, I urge you to close your eyes and visualize them right now, because you will be exactly right. Mississippi is the only state where more than 50% of respondents in a Gallup poll identified as conservatives, with a gang of mini-ssippis—North Dakota, Arkansas, Louisiana, South Dakota and South Carolina, where nobody really followed up on why this happened—close behind. Does that list seem familiar to you? That’s right: they’re the suck states.

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Dept. of Inevitability: Critics of evolution take on global warming

Personally, I think it's a sin to draw the flying spaghetti monster, but I already took high school biology so I'm damned anyway.

Remember in junior high, when the kid who was getting into shoplifting and the kid who broke windows on cars inexorably drifted toward each other? Well, they’re both born-again Christians now, and despite their apparent differences they’ve still got something in common: their complete rejection of modern science. Oh yeah—they’re also united by their complete ignorance of modern science, but ignorance never stopped a concerned American from influencing his local school board. The Times reports that opponents of teaching evolution in schools have expanded their opposition to include global warming, in part because courts have found that to attack only the science of evolution violates the separation of church and state. See? God never closes a door without opening a window, which had previously protected us from the 140-degree supersaturated vaporsphere.

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