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!