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‘Blasphemous and sacrilegious’: Texas pastor blasts Trump’s ‘second coming of God’ claim — and ‘silent’ evangelicals

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Much of the strong criticism that President Donald Trump receives from Christians typically comes from Mainline Protestants (especially non-fundamentalist African-American churches) or Catholic Democrats; Trump is still quite popular among far-right fundamentalist white evangelical groups like Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council. But one self-described evangelical who is furious with Trump and his apologists is Jay Lowder, who leads Jay Lowder Harvest Ministries in Wichita Falls, Texas and declares in a Washington Post op-ed that equating Trump with God is “blasphemous.”

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Trump, this week, described himself as “the chosen one” when it comes to leading a trade war with China and claimed that Israeli Jews consider him “the King of Israel.” With the “King of Israel” remark, Lowder notes, Trump was echoing the rhetoric of radio host Wayne Allyn Root — who said that the “the Jewish people love (Trump)… like he’s the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of God.”

Lowder, in response, asserts in his op-ed, “Christians believe and profess that the only true King of Israel is God, as clearly stated in Isaiah 44:6 — and that he sent his son, Jesus Christ, the Messiah, into this world. That makes the description of Trump as ‘the second coming of God’ shocking, blasphemous and sacrilegious.”

One need only spend some time listening to Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg (a practicing Episcopalian), Sister Mary Scullion (a well-known Catholic nun and liberal/progressive activist in Philadelphia), the Rev. Al Sharpton or some black ministers in the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) to realize that Trump is by no means universally loved in Christianity. But as Lowder notes in his op-ed, Trump has an army of passionate defenders in the right-wing white evangelical community — and those evangelicals, Lowder writes, are being hypocritical when Trump says things they should be offended by.

“The silence from my fellow evangelical colleagues, ministry partners and friends” in response to blasphemous statements by Trump, Lowder writes, “is deafening. Many of them refuse to call out moral failures on the right that they have so vehemently attacked on the left.”

Lowder adds, “In the evangelical community, we have come to incorrectly believe that any critique of Trump only serves to promote the party on the left. But embracing critiques proves we are objective, not blind to the flaws in political parties or our presidents.”

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Lowder laments that traveling around the United States, he often encounters a “growing antagonism toward evangelicals.” And he concludes his op-ed by stressing that this “antagonism” will continue to grow as long as fellow evangelicals show an obvious double standard where Trump is concerned.

“As evangelicals, we have taken a hard line on conservative values, but we have also been moving our standards to fit our narrative,” Lowder complains. “If we are going to condone or condemn certain actions, policies or behaviors coming from the current administration, then we had better be ready to do the same with the next president.”

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Trump ignored aides’ advice before first Ukraine call — and it destroyed his impeachment defense: report

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President Donald Trump has repeatedly referred to himself as his own top advisor and a political "genius." But his interactions with Ukraine at the heart of the impeachment inquiry could demonstrate the limitations of such an approach to governing.

Friday's bombshell, behind-closed-door testimony from David Holmes has made White House aides unhappy, but the bad news for the administration did not stop there.

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‘Aides to the president are not happy’ Gordon Sondland held the phone up in restaurant: CNN’s Jim Acosta

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CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta reported on Friday that White House aides are unhappy with Ambassador Gordon Sondland for holding up a call with Trump in a restaurant for multiple witnesses to listen.

The details were revealed in bombshell closed-door testimony before Congress on Friday.

Acosta noted the administration was trying to downplay the significance of the call.

"But I will tell you, that the aides of the president are not happy that Gordon Sondland apparently held the phone up so other aides could hear what was going on and the words of the source familiar with the conversations inside the White House, the president speaks loudly, Sondland should know that," Acosta reported.

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David Holmes’ opening statement to Congress directly implicated Donald Trump: report

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Congress will hear first-hand testimony of President Donald Trump's involvement in the Ukraine scandal.

"David Holmes, the state department aide who overheard President Donald Trump's conversation with the US ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, said that Sondland told Trump that the Ukranian President would do 'anything you ask him to,' and that he confirmed the Ukrainians were going to 'do the investigation,'" CNN reported Friday.

""Sondland told Trump that (Ukrainian President Volodymyr) Zelensky 'loves your ass,'" Holmes testified. "I then heard President Trump ask, 'So, he's gonna do the investigation?' Ambassador Sondland replied that 'he's gonna do it,' adding that President Zelensky will do 'anything you ask him to.'"

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