So far President Trump, despite his obvious faults, has shown that so far at least he is mostly ineffective, seems unprepared and not really paying attention to details or the political process. This is not necessarily bad – considering his platform and public statements.
On the other hand, Vice President Mike Pence is a well educated, well oiled, politically savvy individual who presents himself as a pleasant and trustworthy human being. That is what makes him so dangerous.
Mike Pence espouses Bible literalism – which is an interpretation of the King James Bible that represents many of the most radical and repugnant interpretations of Christian moral ideals – literalists apply their conservative, presumptive interpretations of selected parts of King James and then follow these beliefs blindly, and they have actually labelled their heavily redacted interpretation of the Protestant Bible as the living voice of Almighty God.
This form of belief is considered heresy by Catholic theologians – as this kind of belief in any book, (even the Bible) is a serious violation of the First Commandment to not worship anyone or anything but God Almighty in his infinite and ever changing glory.
So essentially, if you believe as Mike Pence claims to believe, you worship a book.
What the Catholic Church currently teaches regarding this type of idolatry (from the Vatican’s recent treatise regarding current interpretations of the First Commandment):
“You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.” “…The First Commandment is also concerned with sins against hope, namely, presumption…” (the belief that we can know and understand God without error) …. “Idolatry not only refers to false pagan worship…” (idolatry is any activity or belief that holds an object, leader or faith as superior to the direct study of Church teachings and an individual’s own inner perception of Almighty God).
This means that no faith, not even Catholicism is to be held up as capable of infallible interpretation of God’s scriptures and God’s will for mankind. No prophet, no saint, not even the Pope can ever claim God’s voice or to be anything but a humble, human interpreter of God’s living word, and certainly no mere book can be held to the sky and be declared as containing the infallible and unalterable Voice of God.
Bible literalism is a radical splinter movement within Christianity, and their teachings push thinly veiled prejudice of anyone of different cultural and social identity and non-Christian faiths.
Literalism stands in opposition to mainstream Christian faiths, Christian historical traditions and Jesus’ teaching of inclusion, acceptance, mercy and kindness to all.
It is very important to keep in mind that even Jesus prostrated himself before his Father, the Lord God Almighty – seeking to be worthy of his life’s task, to better understand God’s will, and to be worthy of his destiny.
What is even more irrational about literalist fundamentalism is that they selectively ignore huge chunks of the words in their own King James Bibles. Thus conservative Bible-literal Christians preach a hypocrisy of faith is that stretches the boundaries of rational understanding.
Here are examples of “conservative Christian” fundamentalist hypocrisy:
Pence, like President Trump and most if not all “faith-based Christian” Republicans, lay claim to the Biblical mandate that humans have been given complete dominion over nature (strip mines and pollution please) but they then conveniently ignore God’s instructions contained throughout the Bible regarding this responsibility – God’s clear instruction to all believers to forever be stewards and caretakers of the planet and indeed all living things.
Pence and his fellows believe that homosexuality is an abomination repugnant to God, but they consistently ignore Biblical mandates such as not allowing high interest rates to be charged to borrowers, and God’s imperatives about making sure widows and orphans and the elderly are properly supported and cared for. They also seem to believe that Christ’s instruction to “love thy neighbor” apparently includes denying even the most basic housing, food and healthcare to the poor.
Most heinous of all, Mr. Pence and most other “faith based” Republicans actually believe that five billion human beings currently sharing this planet with us are automatically going to Hell when they die. Their sin? Committed the moral outrage of not being born Christian.
Pence believes gender differences are so important that he will not ever, EVER trust himself to be alone with a woman not his wife. Personally I am confident he does this out of fear and self-interest, as by avoiding any personal contact with females he believes he is thus immune from accusations of sexual impropriety.
The wisest man I ever knew would have looked at that and said softly, yes – that is what he fears, just as every thief believes that everyone everywhere is likely to steal his property.
Don’t get me wrong – my dearest relative attends the same kind of fundamentalist, conservative Christian church as Deacon Mike and believes all these things just as fervently, and I love him nonetheless, but I am also greatly soothed that his power is limited to his occasional awful choices in voting booths.
I believe that Mr. Pence and indeed every person has the absolute right of religious freedom to believe what they choose, but some forms of radical belief and direct public action on such beliefs represents a danger to our common American heritage of freedom and personal liberties. For a politician, such perversion is no more acceptable than any other form of moral sickness.
I can only speak for myself and for our little church. We believe that Michael Richard Pence is one of the most dangerous men in the world.
History has taught us that if a man like him somehow gets the big chair, terrible things happen that can destroy not just rights and freedoms, but the arc of human progress for hundreds, even thousands of years.
And you can’t pray that away either, Mister Pence.