Against Sohrab Ahmari-ism

Subtitle: As Rick Wilson says, “Everything Trump touches dies.”

As I read Sohrab Ahmari’s betrayal of conservative principles in First Things (!), I thought of those who predicted Trump would kill the GOP and conservatism (even this one). If Sohrab Ahmari speaks for Trump supporting religious conservatives, the never-Trump religious conservatives have been vindicated. Here is Ahmari relegating civility and decency to one’s own tribe:

But conservative Christians can’t afford these luxuries. Progressives understand that culture war means discrediting their opponents and weakening or destroying their institutions. Conservatives should approach the culture war with a similar realism. Civility and decency are secondary values. They regulate compliance with an established order and orthodoxy. We should seek to use these values to enforce our order and our orthodoxy, not pretend that they could ever be neutral. To recognize that enmity is real is its own kind of moral duty.

Ahmari wants to win the culture war and he doesn’t want to be nice about it. For Ahmari, nice in this essay is embodied by National Review writer and religious conservative David French. Curiously, what really set Ahmari off was a drag queen reading a book during a library story time.

I recently quipped on Twitter that there is no “polite, David French-ian third way around the cultural civil war.” (What prompted my ire was a Facebook ad for a children’s drag queen reading hour at a public library in Sacramento.)

I added, “The only way is through”—that is to say, to fight the culture war with the aim of defeating the enemy and enjoying the spoils in the form of a public square re-ordered to the common good and ultimately the Highest Good.

Ahmari complains that French is too nice and too wedded to pluralism to be of much help in winning the day for Christian morality.

Such talk—of politics as war and enmity—is thoroughly alien to French, I think, because he believes that the institutions of a technocratic market society are neutral zones that should, in theory, accommodate both traditional Christianity and the libertine ways and paganized ideology of the other side. Even if the latter—that is, the libertine and the pagan—predominate in elite institutions, French figures, then at least the former, traditional Christians, should be granted spaces in which to practice and preach what they sincerely believe.

Well, it doesn’t work out that way, and it hasn’t been working out that way for a long time…

Here is what I get out of Ahmari’s criticism of David French-ism:

  • Fellow citizens of different faiths and beliefs and moral views are enemies of Ahmari’s brand of morality.
  • To the degree that those citizens disagree with his morality and want to act in accord with that disagreement, they must be opposed without civility and decency.
  • The salvation of individuals is insufficient to achieve the common good.
  • The battle is a zero-sum situation. Ahmari’s team wins or the other side wins. Divergent views of what is morally good cannot coexist.
  • Once the enemy is defeated, the righteous victors (Ahamri’s team) will enjoy “the spoils in the form of a public square re-ordered to the common good and ultimately the Highest Good.”

What else does Ahmari suggest as a conservative answer to moral decay? He leaves a lot to the imagination of his readers. He implies at one point that government might intervene in social media platforms where he believes conservatives have been censored. What about the drag queens? Does he want to violate freedom of expression, speech, and association? If so, how?

What would this re-ordered public square look like? Would businesses close on Sunday? Would store clerks have to say Merry Christmas? Surely, there would be no drag queens in libraries. Would they be allowed anywhere? Who gets to define the Highest Good? Ahmari tells us that culture will never favor Christianity so he must have something more top down in mind. I think he gives us a clue in his piece when he writes:

Conservative liberalism of the kind French embodies has a great horror of the state, of traditional authority and the use of the public power to advance the common good, including in the realm of public morality. That horror is a corollary to its autonomy-maximizing impulse.

This goes back, I think, to its roots in English non-conformism. In Culture and Anarchy, his great Victorian critique of this mode of thought, Matthew Arnold says of the nonconformist that, because he has encountered the Word of God by his own lights, he sees no need for the authority and grand liturgies of a national church (still less the Catholic Church).

But as Arnold notes, while the nonconformist vision of an austere, no-frills, solitary encounter with God might be suitable in one context, it doesn’t satisfy other necessities, such as collective public worship befitting public needs.

Ahmari adds:

Calls for religious revival are often little more than an idle wish that all men become moral, so that we might dispense with moral regulation.

Ahmari doesn’t like French-ism because he claims that French hopes individual salvation will make people moral and lead to a moral culture. Ahmari disagrees. He argues that “public power” and “moral regulation” will “advance the common good.”

So many questions come up. What is this “public power” and what are these “moral regulations?” Is it a state church? A oath to Dear Leader? Would Ahmari regulate drag queens? Libraries? The press? Free speech?

If this is Sohrab Ahmari-ism, I am against it.

David French?

Since attorney French has been a major player in religious liberty court cases, I would never have gone to him as a figure head for Ahmari’s opposition. Apparently, Ahmari doesn’t like French’s refusal to bow the knee to Trump and the fantasy of a Trump crafted “social cohesion.” However, reading French over the past two years, I think he is as fine as anyone to cast as a foil to Ahmari’s grand re-ordering plan. French knows who he is morally and spiritually, but he also writes convincingly about respect for freedom of conscience.

A serious problem with Ahmari’s plan to re-order the public square in his fuzzy image of the Highest Good (note the caps) is that such a re-ordering would have to rely on coercion. Someone’s conscience is going suffer. Ahmari doesn’t want it to be his so to hell with civility and decency. I mean that literally. If it takes hellish strategies to get the job done, then we must be realistic. The other side isn’t squeamish. And remember, the other side is made up of libertine pagans (Ahmari’s words), so they will surely use every demonic method available.

For Ahmari, these pagans aren’t just fellow homo sapiens who happen to see the world differently. On the other hand, French and his fellow French-ists respect the Constitutional freedoms available to all citizens. In his rebuttal to Ahmari, French made a point that is foundational to our ability to be one nation.

My political opponents are my fellow citizens. When I wore the uniform of my country, I was willing to die for them. Why would I think I’m at war with them now?

I agree. I get that Ahmari doesn’t like it when other people see the world differently and act on that difference. Most of us try to make the world more comfortable for us. Our founding documents ensure equal treatment before the law to pursue our aims. Ahmari also wants very much to do that for himself and those he likes. However, his ode to group serving bias isn’t a way forward for me, even though we may share some similar doctrinal beliefs. I can’t reconcile it with basic Constitutional freedoms which conservatives claim they want to conserve.

Special Day of Prayer for the Enemies of the President

Franklin Graham is holding a “special day of prayer” for Donald Trump on June 2nd. Graham says the president needs prayer because he has been attacked more than any other president in history. Trump needs prayer, Graham proclaimed, because the entire nation will suffer if his enemies prevail.

I think Graham is going about this in the wrong way. If he really believes Trump is being attacked and persecuted, he should pray also for those he sees as the enemy.

Matthew 5:45 tells us:

 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

However, since he and his group of court evangelicals have chosen sides and decided their course of action, I will cover the part of the prayer territory Graham is leaving uncovered and encourage others to do the same.

Enemies Prayer List

We can pray for the House of Representatives investigators. They are having a devil of a time getting people at the White House to abide by the rule of law. They issue subpoenas and legitimate requests for information only to have them ignored. We should pray for them to have better results and that the rule of law will be followed.

We can also pray that judges quickly rule according to law and not political loyalties. So far, the results look promising.

We could pray for our allies. Often Trump seems to consider them enemies. He often has been nicer to Russia and North Korea than leaders of our traditional allies. The Graham group can pray for Trump, Russia and North Korea; we can take England, France, and Canada.

Let’s add the press to our prayer list. They have a hard job but are maligned on a daily basis simply for reporting what Mr. Trump says and does. Some are bad actors but they are on the left and right. We can pray extra for them.

Apparently, Trump thinks poor Central American refugees are his enemies. I will gladly set aside more time to pray for them. Surely, they need it. They also qualify as being members of the “least of these” Jesus told us to pray for. They should get a double portion.

Who is with me?

If you have other suggestions for our prayer list, please leave them in the comments.

Whatever you pray about, I urge you not to turn Sunday worship into a political pep rally for or against Trump. Whatever you do, do it on your own.

What Will Court Evangelicals Pray on Trump’s Special Day of Prayer?

In a helpful gesture, well over 200 court evangelicals have gone on record as supporters of Donald Trump in a solicitation to fellow evangelicals to pray for the president on June 2. Many of the usual suspects are on the list, but I must admit I am having a hard time getting over former DC Talk member Michael Tait being there.

Nothing in the call to prayer calls Trump to repentance for his many lies, for his support for ruthless dictators around the world, for his obstructions of reasonable Congressional oversight, or for the authorization of cruel treatment of asylum seekers at the border. The Scripture used by Franklin Graham as foundation for the event calls on Christians to pray for kings and those in authority. In our system, that includes the president, but it also includes Congress. The House Democrats are trying to exercise oversight but are being thwarted by Trump and his supporters. I pray for the investigators to continue having victories in the courts. Republicans once believed in the rule of law. Now they believe in protecting Trump. Just what is it that Graham and his court evangelicals want us to pray about when it comes to the subpoenas?

I do and plan to continue praying that the right thing will happen and the House investigators will prosper. From my own perspective, I believe that should lead to an impeachment inquiry. I don’t know for certain how that would end up because one can’t know the findings until the hearings are held and the investigations are completed. However, I think the Mueller report as well as other actions by Trump have more than warranted such hearings.  Many Christians are praying for the truth to come out via the investigations; what are Graham’s Christians praying for?

It isn’t clear to me what the court evangelicals are praying for. From an outsiders perspective, it looks like they are praying to preserve a person and not the office. It appears they are asking God to keep Trump in office no matter what he does. If that’s not true, then I think they need to work on their messaging. If it is true, then they have the wrong message.

Eric Metaxas Appears to Minimize His Part in Spreading False Bonhoeffer Quote

In 2016, I discovered that this famous quote could not be found in any of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s works:

Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.

The quote attributed to Bonhoeffer was popularized by Eric Metaxas after it was published on the jacket of his best selling book on Bonhoeffer in 2010. To my knowledge, until yesterday, Metaxas has never addressed the false attribution even though it came to his attention in 2016.

First, I need to give a little background.

A week ago, Christianity Today published a fine article by Jen Wilkin on lessons from the life of Tamar. In it, Wilkin used the quote as follows:

There is a line we often hear attributed to Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.

Twitter user Matt Stephens tweeted a link to the article and pulled out the quote with attribution to Bonhoeffer. Assistant Professor of Ministry Leadership at Bethel University Andy Rowell responded by linking to my post showing that the quote didn’t come from Bonhoeffer. He also included author Jen Wilkin in his tweet.

Wilkin replied that she believed her handling of the quote preserved “the uncertainty of the quote’s origin while appreciating its message.” She also added later this statement, possibly meant in jest:

I think the fact that Mr. Stephens simply attributed the quote to Bonhoeffer indicates that Wilkin’s approach didn’t communicate sufficient uncertainty about the quote’s origin. Furthermore, it occurs to me that she would have had a chance to educate a lot of people if she would have left Bonhoeffer out of it. In my opinion, CT and Wilkin should make a correction in the article.

At some point, Eric Metaxas was added to this Twitter thread and responded to Jen Wilkin with the following tweet:

While it is true that the quote is not in the Bonhoeffer book and did appear on the jacket, it is also true that Metaxas included the quote in his other books spun off from the original (e.g., study guide, Miracles). He also tweeted it, led the book promo video with it, and used it in his public speaking appearances. For instance, here is a speech where Metaxas used and attributed the quote to Bonhoeffer even though he admitted he didn’t know the source.

This is in 2014. Even though he couldn’t find a source, he attributed the quote to Bonhoeffer anyway. Now the quote will never die.

Additional note: I recently learned that Trevin Wax at The Gospel Coalition took on fake quotes and included this one.

Stephen Haynes points to research from Warren Throckmorton (here and here) tracing the quote to a 1971 book by Robert K. Hudnut.

Wax’s conclusion about this quote:

The truth is, it’s not a Bonhoeffer quote. So don’t spread it.

Good advice.

More on the Bonhoeffer quote:

The Popular Bonhoeffer Quote That Isn’t in Bonhoeffer’s Works

Update on a Spurious Bonhoeffer Quote: Not to Speak is to Speak, Not to Act is to Act

Eric Metaxas: The Fake Bonhoeffer Quote Was a Joke

No Correction on Bonhoeffer Quote from Metaxas or Publisher

AACC Pushing Healthcare Coverage Without Counseling

The American Association of Christian Counselors is promoted as a trade association for Christian counselors. However, in fact it is the for profit business operation of Tim Clinton. The AACC doesn’t elect officers or  involve members meaningfully in the management of the organization.

Because business is the main focus, one must carefully consider what AACC offers to members.  Currently, AACC is pushing a healthcare program which seems to run counter to member interests.

Christian Healthcare Ministry is a cost sharing program which enrolls people to pay each other’s medical bills.  AACC is pushing this program on the front page of their website:

CommentaryPutting aside other concerns about CHM, a big problem for the members of AACC is that this program doesn’t cover (allow members to share the costs of) counseling or psychotherapy. That’s right, AACC is pushing a substitute for health insurance that doesn’t reimburse for mental health services. CHM apparently is able to bypass the mandated mental health coverage required by the Affordable Care Act and that’s just fine with AACC’s Tim Clinton.

In a long list of services and procedures (including pregnancy for “unwed mothers”) “ineligible for sharing,” this exclusion is listed:

10. Psychological treatment, tests, or counseling: Only emergency room bills incurred to physically stabilize the patient are eligible for sharing.

I am past president of the American Mental Health Counselors Association. I can’t imagine AMHCA promoting a service which failed to recognize our members. Actual trade organizations advocate for their members as well as for the work their members do. In this case, there is clear discrimination against mental health treatments. Why is this being recommended to a group of mental health professionals?

The recommendation of a healthcare option without counseling runs counter to another initiative of AACC. In the past, Clinton has promoted certification as a way to attract third party payments.

The BCCC credential is now for Clinical Professionals who are state-licensed mental health professionals and want or need this practice certification in order to:

give managed care and other organizational providers a respected credential—one that certifies both competence and ethical practice—that they are increasingly demanding in response to subscribers who want Christian counseling.

So AACC wants members to pay for a board certification to help gain insurance payments for counseling services but now advertises a service which doesn’t even pay for those same services.* I don’t know what Dr. Clinton is getting from this advertisement on the AACC website but I can see from the CHM guidelines what counselors and their clients won’t get. Since the AACC isn’t member controlled, there won’t be answers to any questions about it.

 

*In fact, no managed care organization I know cares about this certification. Managed care organizations require state licensing. In both cases, the benefit of the pitch isn’t for the members.

**Hat tip to Aaron New for pointing out the CHM ad on AACC’s website.

Pay to Pray: Jim Bakker Sells Trump Benefit Coins as Point of Contact with God

In the “Grifters Gonna Grift” category, I report to you a story I saw on Right Wing Watch. Watch:

So Jim Bakker and Lance Wallnau want people to send them $45 for this gold plated coin to use as a “point of contact” between them and God to pray Trump’s reelection. Wallnau says that unbelievers think coin believers are “crazy” but actually the believers are the “sane ones.”

I don’t think Wallnau and Bakker are crazy. I think they are cynically fleecing people. Grifters gonna grift.

If they are sincere, what a strange and weak god these guys have. From their point of view, their god started a miracle but he needs people to buy a coin to make contact with him to “keep the miracle going.” The miracle is that there are people who will actually do this. Wallnau and Bakker need Trump to stay in office so their scams can continue.

It should be obvious that there is no place in Protestant teaching for financially enhanced prayers. One’s faith isn’t enhanced or released by an amulet or talisman. These people are preaching some other religion.

Is Trump Lying or Just Clueless about Tariffs?

Anyone who pays attention to what Trump says on a regular basis is already aware of this doozy:

Trump has doubled down on the claim that China pays tariffs to the U.S. as if we are getting revenue from the Chinese government. In fact, American importers pay the higher prices imposed by Trump’s administration. Ultimately, American businesses frequently raise prices which hurts consumers, especially those in the lowest income brackets.

Larry Kudlow grudgingly admitted that China isn’t paying the tariffs.

Here is one of Trump’s Ohio 2016 voters coming to his senses and realizing Trump has made a mess of things.

Of course, China is not paying duties on imported goods imposed by the U.S. administration. American businesses are. Is Trump lying or is he really that clueless?

I don’t know. There are good reasons to believe either possibility. He lies easily but he also is so narcissistic that he thinks he is right when he is clearly wrong. Either way, this issue illustrates that Trump is simply incompetent. I look forward to the defense strategies of his sheep.

Jordan Peterson and Toxic Masculinity

In the May 3 edition of Harper’s, former Jordan Peterson follower Omer Aziz examines the teachings of wildly popular psychologist Jordan Peterson about masculinity. Aziz immersed himself in Peterson’s teachings as an acolyte for a short period of time but has emerged as a critic. The essay covers much ground and in this post I primarily hope to convince readers interested in Peterson to go read it. In addition, I want to highlight a point or two and make one of my own.

Aziz begins by offering hypotheses about Peterson’s appeal to young men. I have often puzzled over this. He seems to point readers to the father figure that Peterson can become to young men who need direction and focus. This possibility leads to the question: if men need a father figure, what hole in their sense of masculinity are they seeking to fill? Aziz asks:

If Jordan Peterson was the solution that a whole generation of men were turning to, then what was the problem? What was the void that these diverse men were feeling, and why? In the shadow of the debate over feminism and women’s rights, what was happening under the surface of men that led so many of them to this paternal psychologist scolding them about Western civilization, the tyrannies of feminism, cleaning your room, and growing the hell up?

In trying to understand why sane young men turn to the often incoherent and conspiratorial Peterson, these are good questions. Peterson fans I have spoken with seem to feel at war with women (I only know male fans). Peterson is the general in charge of the resistance.

Aziz then brings up some of General Peterson’s more objectionable pronouncements about women. About oppression of women, Peterson once said:

I don’t think there is a great deal of unjust discrimination against women in comparison to the degree of unjust discrimination against men. I think that hasn’t really been true for probably, well, at least ten years. And I know that’s not very long. But then, I also don’t buy the argument that throughout history, men have, what would you say? Singularly oppressed women? I think that’s absolute bloody nonsense.

Even the casual reading of history which Aziz provides puts the lie to Peterson’s bluster.

Aziz also highlights Peterson’s recent statement in an interview where he said feminists don’t criticize Islam because they unconsciously long for brutal male domination. Some followers said this statement was taken out of context or a joke. However, he has tweeted this same sentiment in the past.

Reading Aziz’s essay reminded me of others in the past who, like Peterson, have lamented soft men (Aziz mentions Robert Bly’s Iron John). During and after World War II, “momism” was the enemy of that era’s tough men. Author Philip Wylie coined the term in a popular 1943 book, A Generation of Vipers. In 1946, military psychiatrist Edward Strecker claimed the rigors of war revealed that thousands of men were handicapped for military service by overprotective mothers. In Strecker’s view, these mothers were threats to the nation.

Wylie, not having feminism and leftists to blame as does Peterson, just blames mothers and “momworship” for the demise of men.

Meanwhile, Megaloid momworship has got completely out of hand. Our land, subjectively mapped, would have more silver cords and apron strings crisscrossing it than railroads and telephone wires. Mom is everywhere and everything and damned near everybody, and from her depends all the rest of the U. S.  Disguised as good old mom, dear old mom, sweet old mom, your loving mom, and so on, she is the bride at every funeral and the corpse at every wedding. Men live for her and die for her, dote upon her and whisper her name as they pass away, and I believe she has now achieved, in the hierarchy of miscellaneous articles, a spot next to the Bible and the Flag, being reckoned part of both in a way.

Instead of Peterson’s leftist plot, 1940s mom haters like Wylie simply pointed to controlling mothers.

“Her boy,” having been “protected” by her love, and carefully, even shudderingly, shielded from his logical development through his barbaric period, or childhood (so that he has either to become a barbarian as a man or else to spend most of his energy denying the barbarism that howls in his brain – an autonomous remnant of the youth he was forbidden), is cushioned against any major step in his progress toward maturity. Mom steals from the generation of women behind her (which she has, as a still further defense, also sterilized of integrity and courage) that part of her boy’s personality which should have become the love of a female contemporary. Mom transmutes it into sentimentality for herself. (pp. 195-196)

I could also bring up Mark Driscoll and his provocative claim in 2000 that we live in a “completely pussified nation.” Many in Driscoll’s orbit told me that he attracted young male followers who wanted a father figure. I don’t know if anyone has done a comparative study of Driscoll and Peterson but I suspect there is significant overlap. Driscoll famously had some things to say about the place of women which might resonate well with Peterson fans.

Peterson has found a way to sell a message which as found a home with certain men over the years who are looking for a reason why they experience the world the way they do. Blaming moms, egalitarians, or feminists is another way to say with Adam, “Lord, it is this woman’s fault.”

To that I say, “Grow the hell up.”

 

Image: Dr.Jordan Peterson delivering a lecture at the University of Toronto in 2017. March 20, 2017, Source: Adam Jacobs, Wikimedia, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Gospel for Asia is Encouraging People to Donate Settlement Funds Back to GFA

As a part of the settlement in fraud case Murphy v. Gospel for Asia, GFA agreed to set aside $37-million in a Settlement Fund to provide relief for donors as well as cover court costs and attorneys’ fees. GFA also agreed to have plaintiff Murphy join GFA’s board. Murphy and GFA will also work together to designate a replacement for K.P. Yohannan’s wife who will go off of the GFA board. GFA agreed not to appoint any other relative of Yohannan to the board.

The mission organization also agreed to comply with Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability guidelines and seek readmission to membership. GFA was kicked out of the ECFA in 2015 and has never requalified for admission.

Read the Settlement Agreement

In the mean time, GFA is seeking to get some of the settlement money back via donors. The email below comes from a current staff member who asks supporters to seek the funds and redonate them to GFA. Although this is meant to sound spontaneous and individualized, I have gotten word that the same appeal has gone out from several staff members. I can’t corroborate all of the claims in the email except those which are a part of the settlement. Here is the appeal:

Dear friends,

I come to you this morning, not in any official capacity or representing anyone else, but expressing my own thoughts as someone who loves and supports Gospel for Asia. I am writing to you about a matter of tremendous importance, for which I request your prayers.

I am sending this communication to all those on my regular prayer email list plus a few others that I thought would benefit to hear this.

As you may know, GFA has been embroiled in a class action lawsuit for the last three years alleging that the ministry has misdirected funds that people donated to the mission field. If you donated to the field any time in the last 10 years, then you are part of the class and you should have recently received a notice from the court informing you about the settlement of this lawsuit and your part in it.

So what does this settlement mean to you and to me? First, some background.

For over three years now, GFA has been in a legal battle to survive this lawsuit, and yet it has not even come to trial. In addition to the immense burden on GFA of carrying on its defense, paying for legal representation, and supporting the onerous demands of the court and plaintiffs for information, the lawsuit has repeatedly been used as fodder for a far-reaching negative public relations campaign which has greatly damaged the reputation and ministry of GFA.

As a consequence, despite having the evidence to demonstrate that “all funds designated to the field were sent to the field and used for ministry purposes” GFA has agreed to settle the lawsuit out of court. As GFA says in its official statement here, “The agreement to settle was, in part, precipitated by a concern that the ministry could continue to bear the weight of defending itself.”

The settlement means that, in return for the lawsuit being dropped and never renewed, GFA must pay 37 million dollars. There is a bit more to it than that of course, but essentially it comes down to money—1/3rd of which (about 12 million dollars) goes to the trial lawyer. You can read One donor’s analysis of the GFA Class Action Settlement for a summary of what the settlement means, or read the 45 pages of legalese in the settlement itself here. GFA also has an official FAQ.

You might well be asking, “If GFA is an organization which primarily exists to connect the American church to the work of believers in Asia, how does it have 37 million to pay this settlement?” The answer: GFA doesn’t have it. GFA’s field partners in Asia have decided to use their locally-raised funds to cover about two-thirds of the settlement cost, and GFA has twelve months to raise the remaining 11 million, none of which will come from donations to the work on the field. If GFA doesn’t come up with the 11 million before the end of that twelve months, it forfeits it’s security collateral—GFA’s International Headquarters campus in Wills Point, TX.

So what does the settlement mean to you and me? The 25 million dollars that remains of the settlement (after the trial lawyer’s cut) is where you and I come in. This money is designated for what is called “Settlement Relief” of the class members. Each of us in the class may claim up to 100% of the amount we donated to work on the field through GFA. Or we can claim nothing, and none of that money will come to us. Any money that is unclaimed after the claim deadline will be divided up by the court between five ministries: Samaritan’s Purse; Friends of Israel; Global Training Network; Heaven’s Family; and Christ for All Peoples. Regardless of whether anyone makes a claim against the settlement fund, GFA will still have to pay the full amount of the settlement.

This brings me to my decision about my response: Because I strongly disagree with this lawsuit and what it represents, because of the great burden it has placed on GFA without any determination of wrongdoing, and because I want to do what I can to help God’s work continue in Asia, ______ and I have submitted our claim in this settlement for 100% of what we are eligible to claim. I plan to take all the money I can from my claim, minus an amount I will need to set aside for taxes, and donate it back to GFA to their general fund to help cover the 11 million dollars it has to raise for the settlement.

If you are also part of the “class,” will you ask God whether He would have you to do the same? And whether or not you are part of the class, will you please join me in praying that God will work a mighty deliverance for His people and for the work of the gospel?

To make your claim, all  you have to do is go to this link and fill out the online form. You don’t even have to know how much you are eligible to claim, the settlement administrator already knows that. You will need your “Class Member ID” which is in the settlement notification that you received by email or by postcard.

Regardless of what you decide to do, I hope this information has been useful to you. If you have questions, feel free to email or call me and I will answer to the best of my ability. And if you have found this email helpful, please forward along to anyone else you know who has donated to GFA and you believe might benefit from the information.

And finally, please pray that God will be glorified in this situation, and His will be done. I know that God is mighty and is in control. Many of the Psalms have taken on fresh life and relevance for me over the last couple years.

Those who hate me without reason
outnumber the hairs of my head;
many are my enemies without cause,
those who seek to destroy me.
I am forced to restore
what I did not steal.

(Psalm 69:4)

Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us.          Selah

(Psalm  62:8)

If this was written by a staff person, I would guess they work in public relations. I suspect more that this was written for staff by someone hired by GFA.

Clever strategy but I doubt that this is what the court intended. I should add that the settlement isn’t final as yet. It won’t be until June 13 when the Final Settlement Hearing is held. I don’t know if this kind of action by GFA could put the settlement in jeopardy.

It is obvious that GFA’s leaders are unconcerned about any of the issues raised by the ECFA in 2015 or Murphy v. GFA. Despite being chastised multiple times by a federal judge and having to settle this case with a monetary settlement and by giving up a board seat to Dr. Murphy, they have taken no responsibility and show no humility or contrition.

Right now, there are food pantries in every town in America which need funds to keep going. If you donated funds to GFA, consider recovering those funds to help people who need essentials.

If you want to give to something more exotic, consider the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative. The SCI helps protects children from parasitic worms which helps to decrease rates of malaria and HIV transmission. Benefits include improvements in neurological function and overall health. Survival chances increase dramatically when simple and cheap treatments are implemented.

Whatever you do, ask questions. GFA spins and promotes well but they don’t answer questions. For instance, numerous times I have asked, as have others, how they are getting funds into India since they lost their registration as a charity. The only answers given to others have all been false or misleading.

Poll: 59% of White Evangelicals Will “Definitely” Vote for Trump in 2020

In a Washington Post/ABC News poll taken from April 22-25, 59% of white evangelicals say they will “definitely” vote for President Donald Trump in the 2020 election. Another 23% say they will consider voting for him. Only 15% say they definitely will not vote for him.

Despite widespread coverage of the Mueller report, evangelical voters seem fixed on Trump. Perhaps white evangelicals don’t believe there is much to worry about. In the same poll, 57% of evangelicals said they don’t think Russian interference will be a threat to the 2020 election. Nearly 8 in 10 (78%) didn’t think the interference had an impact on the 2016 election. Compared to other groups, evangelicals led the way in skepticism about the influence of Russian meddling.

Evangelicals are with Trump on immigration as well. They are the leading group to say his immigration policies make them more likely to support him in the next election. Sixty-three percent believe Trump’s immigration policies are good compared to 16% who oppose them.  Among all voters the breakdown is 34% who support Trump due to his immigration policies versus 42% who oppose him for that reason.

I don’t think it goes too far to say that white evangelicals as a group see the world about like Donald Trump. This is a frightening and sobering thought.