Do Evangelicals Leaders Still Care about Ukraine?

Ukraine flagWhen Barack Obama was president, evangelicals and conservatives cared about Ukraine. They believed Obama was weak and unwilling to confront Vladimir Putin’s expansionism into Ukraine.
Now, evangelicals are largely silent about President Donald Trump’s warm words toward Russia’s leader and confusing rhetoric about Ukraine.
An early signal of this shift was obvious at the GOP National Convention when Trump’s supporters watered down a key pro-Ukraine plank in the party platform. I was told by a GOP delegate that the only proposal Trump’s observers spoke up about was the one which encouraged the U.S. government to arm Ukrainians against Russian aggression. Trump’s people in the room succeeded in significantly softening the proposed language with little if any resistance from the large contingent of evangelical delegates.
Now, despite Trump’s assurances that Russia would leave Ukraine alone, Putin’s forces are again bombing Eastern Ukraine while Donald Trump defends Putin and even compares his Russia to the U.S (see the recent Bill O’Reilly interview).
On this point, the following tweet caught my attention.


And…


Do evangelicals leaders still care about Ukraine?
If they did, I hope they will use their clout with Trump in order to educate him about the dangers of trusting the Russian leader, especially given his recent actions. If anything, Trump’s rhetoric is more in lines with a desire to Make Russia Great Again than #MAGA.
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5O9Giu4Vx50[/youtube]
According to my Grove City College colleague Paul Kengor, Trump is heading down the dangerous road first traveled by FDR with Stalin and then by Obama with Putin. In a 2016 article, Kengor wrote:

Stalin showed that “like” of FDR by rolling over Eastern Europe, hammering everything from the Ukraine to Poland. He abused the hell out of FDR. Not until literally days before he died, just weeks after Stalin preyed upon his trust at Yalta, did FDR finally learn and admit he had been wrong about Stalin.
“Averell [Harriman] is right,” FDR sighed to Anna Rosenberg on March 23, 1945, less than three weeks before he died. “We can’t do business with Stalin. He has broken every one of the promises he made at Yalta.”
FDR’s tragic mistake was thinking that the Russian leader liked him and thus would “work with me for a world of democracy and peace” (yes, FDR actually said that about Stalin).
The “Putin-likes-me” attitude of Trump is a fatal conceit, and it’s something that Donald Trump should have learned from watching two terms of Barack Obama’s naïve statements and attitude toward the Russians. It is also the polar opposite of Ronald Reagan’s statements and attitude toward the Russians.

As we have seen repeatedly, Trump hasn’t learned anything by watching Obama.
Putin has now again moved on Ukraine with no real response from Trump. If anything, Trump confused the matter. Evangelicals have been silent; will they remain so?
For the sake of the Ukrainian people, I hope not.

David Barton Takes His Christian Nation Show Back to Ukraine

In June 2014, the head of one of Ted Cruz’s Super PACs, David Barton visited Ukraine and, among other things, told a group of pastors that John Locke’s Two Treatises cited 1500 Bible verses of how government should operate (recently debunked with the help of Greg Forster). According to his Facebook page, Barton went back last week to spread the Christian nation gospel.

We’ve been in Eastern Europe this week. This country is wanting to move toward a new constitution that inculcates many of the principles of our American constitutional government, including its alliance with religion and morality. I spoke at what is considered their premier university and law school, and then met with some heads of their departments. We are also helping with the development of military personnel and programs here, including the addition of chaplains to the military (some of our best and most-Godly military leaders will be helping them over coming weeks). During the trip, we dined at a local restaurant, and we captured some of flavor of this wonderful country and its precious people in the video below. (They even played a western swing song — quite an interesting sound on Eastern European instruments!) The panoramic picture is of a law class where I spoke at the university, and the large red building is a university here. There is also a choir singing inside a government building (the yellow room in the picture) as part of our awards ceremony, and then the group of 55 special students from across the country we honored with awards last night for their contributions to the movement to create a new constitution here — one built on Godly values and the rule of law, modeling much of the original intent of the American constitution. I spent 2 hours after the law school yesterday speaking to these students, and then answering their questions. They were a remarkable and bright group — a great future for this nation!

Judging from one of the Facebook pics, Barton spoke at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv.
taras_shevchenko_university
 
Hopefully, Ukraine will have some politicians and citizens who advocate for principles in our actual Constitution, not the make-believe one Barton claims quotes the Bible.
To those contemplating a Ted Cruz presidential run: Consider that Barton runs one of Cruz’s Super PACs and has been a long time Cruz supporter. How does a Secretary of Education David Barton sound? Ambassador to Ukraine?
 

David Barton Misleads Ukrainian Pastors and Politicians about John Locke

In June 2014, David Barton went with PA Pastors’ Network president Sam Rohrer to lecture Ukrainian pastors and a few politicians on the Christian nation thesis. Nine minutes of Barton’s speech (through an interpreter) is on You Tube.
In the video (at about 4:20 through 6:20), Barton talks about John Locke’s use of Bible verses on the establishment of civil government. Watch:

Transcript:

This man is named John Locke. He was a great lawgiver in history and he was also a theologian.  He wrote this particular book on civil government in 1690. This has been used by nations across the world in building their governments. We actually own many of the original works by these lawgivers from four or five centuries ago.
Now if I were to ask us as ministers to name the Bible verses we can think of that address civil government, I would imagine that we could come up with 25 or 30 verses.
In this book here less than 3 cm thick, he lists over 500 biblical references to how civil government is to operate…. No, (interrupting the interpreter) 1500, 1500. I don’t know of a Christian today who could name 1500 Bible verses on how civil government’s to operate.
We may be Christians but we don’t think biblically about government.

I asked Greg Forster, an expert on John Locke (see an earlier critique of Barton’s treatment of Locke), to evaluate Barton’s claims about Locke and the 1500 verses. Forster’s answer is below in full:

Barton does not tell us the title of the book he holds up, but from his description it is impossible that it could be any book other than the Two Treatises of Government. However, his characterization of it is outrageous. Claiming that the Two Treatises “lists over 1,500 biblical references on how civil government is to operate” is not much more dishonest than claiming that the Bill of Rights protects 1,500 rights.
In his edition of the Two Treatises, editor Mark Goldie of Cambridge University lists only 121 Bible verses cited in the entire Two Treatises. And that’s including all the places where Locke didn’t cite the verse explicitly and Goldie “interpolated” the citation. In addition to those 121 Bible verses referenced, Goldie lists six places where Locke cited an entire chapter of the Bible, and one place where he cited an entire book (Proverbs). That’s it. But anyone who has read the Two Treatises will know Barton’s claim is false without having had to count.
Moreover, a large number – possibly even the majority – of those 121 citations are not to passages “on how civil government is to operate.” The Bible references in the Two Treatises are heavily concentrated in the First Treatise. The overwhelming majority of the First Treatise, in turn, is devoted to an extended analysis of small number of selected verses from the first two chapters of Genesis, especially Genesis 1:28-30. That’s a lot of analysis devoted to understanding the biblical text, but it’s not a large number of verses cited. The remainder of the First Treatise, where other biblical verses are cited more frequently, looks to the Bible not primarily for instruction on civil government but almost entirely on the power of parents over their children, especially the inheritance of property from parents to children. Locke is interested in these verses because he wants to use them to refute Robert Filmer’s claim that today’s kings inherit their power from Adam, but these are clearly not “biblical references on how civil government is to operate.” They are biblical references on how families are to operate. In fact, the point that descriptions of the how the family should work are not descriptions of how civil government should work was Locke’s main point!
After all this, it seems trivial to point out that Locke did not, in fact, “write” the Two Treatises in 1690; he published it in that year, but wrote it much earlier.

Perhaps Barton is counting the over 900 verses in Proverbs. However, not all of those verses relate to civil government. Clearly, Barton embellishes and inflates until what he starts with is unrecognizable.