About that “Trumpianity” Thing

One of the cheapest and easiest way to demolish a rhetorical opponent is to denigrate him as quickly as possible.  The “straw-man” argument is a quick and easy way of doing this.  It helps if the argument is as outlandish as possible.  With the mere waving of a hand, or the roll of an eye, the debate is over before it starts.  At least among the smart set.  

It’s very seductive in many ways.  For one thing, it makes introspection unnecessary.  Actual thinking after all, can be tiresome.  Better to just go along with the flow.  And it’s a handy mechanism for auto-confirming one’s biases.  If nothing else, it helps keep one in polite company –as in at least “I’m not one of those people”. 

In politics, it’s heady stuff being invited to the right parties and all, and so, the pressure to conform is heavy.  Unfortunately, this creates an insidious feedback loop which is not healthy.  In fact, on the big things, it’s positively dangerous.  Think of all the people on both sides of the political aisle who were absolutely sure that Saddam Hussein had had weapons of mass destruction.  Or how that he must have had something to do with 9/11.  To believe otherwise at one time invited ridicule and even charges of treason.

Wise men know that dangers abound if biases are not called out and if they are too readily believed but that doesn’t make them any less seductive.  And it’s their ease of application that makes them especially dangerous.

Yours Truly has recently been criticized because of his own beliefs regarding the recent election; which I believe that Trump won (rather handily I might add).  The weight of evidence is actually quite preponderant for this assertion.  If nothing else, the miles of video tape showing ballot-stuffing cannot be unseen.  It may be unbelieved but that’s somebody else’s problem.  And then there’s the mountains of sworn affidavits by people who actually saw chicanery.  And when it comes to electioneering, I cannot believe in miracles, no matter how many dead people voted in Nevada.  That being said, there is another indictment against me which is in fact made of straw:  one based on a huge fallacy which will be exposed in no time flat.  

The man of straw in question is the ridiculous assertion that I –and millions of other Christians–believe in something called “Trumpianity” and that President Trump is our Christ-figure.  And that we have subsumed our spiritual convictions into our political ones.  This is nonsense.   It is nonsense on steroids.  And worse, many of the people who make this assertion know damn well that this is nonsense.  

I will go further out on a limb and state categorically that nobody we know believes in something called “Trumpianity” or that Trump is anything at all like Jesus.   Because I am so exercised by this accusation, let me reiterate in no uncertain terms:   this not merely a fallacy, it is a lie

Do we like Donald Trump?  Yes.  Do we respect him?  Absolutely.  Some of us revere, love and simply adore the old rascal.  Guilty as charged.  And it is not because we missed out on the original Beatlemania or that we mistake him for the tenth avatar of Vishnu or believe he is the unoccluded Twelfth Imam.  To us, he is neither King Arthur returned from his idyll on Avalon nor the precursor to the return of our Lord and Saviour.  It is merely good, old fashioned political partisanship.  (They don’t call them political parties for nothing!)   And we most certainly do not believe that the full expression of Christianity can only be found in the Grand Old Party.  Far from it.  If any of you believe that about any of  us, then that is your problem.  Not ours.   

There are any number of reasons why Trump inspires such devotion among those 63 million who voted for him in 2016.  (And the additional eleven million more people who voted for him last month.)  And that is among most every president of our lifetime, he made an impressive list of promises, the overwhelming majority of which he kept.  That’s huge.  What’s even bigger is that he reinvigorated the American economy, so much so that the working class actually saw their wages rise during his administration.  That hadn’t happened since 1969.  His policies pushed the unemployment rate was down in the three percent range.  That hasn’t happened since Kennedy was president.  Before Trump, we were told that structural unemployment could never be below 4 percent.  Under Obama’s lost decade, economists like Paul Krugman told us that 8 percent unemployment was the new normal.  Obama’s brief we were told  was to manage America’s decline.

So, if you’re into bread and butter issues, what’s not to like about the guy?  

Then there’s the fact that he went out of his way to not instigate any foreign wars.  He defeated ISIS and as of this writing, he has executed four peace treaties between Arab countries and Israel.  This was unimaginable even six months ago.  I certainly never expected it.  Had Hillary been elected in 2016, I’m sure the Middle East would be molten glass by now with even more refugees storming into Europe.   

Those are not mean accomplishments by any stretch of the imagination.   Indeed, they are more than huge:  they are world-historical.

For those of us Christians who believe in the right to life, he has been the most pro-life president —ever.  As to those of us who believe in the right to keep and bear arms, he’s second coming of John Wayne.   I could go on:  the securing of our borders, the deportation of illegal aliens, the absence of Islamic terrorism in our homeland, all of these things happened (or didn’t happen) because of his America-first ideology.   You see, it wasn’t just prosperity, it was peace as well.  

For those of you who consider yourselves to be a conservative critic of Trump, ask yourselves this question:  do you have any problem with any of these accomplishments?  Or is it merely his presentation?  Be honest.  

We could go on.  And on.  To be sure, good people on each side of the political divide can debate whether it is good to be anti-abortion, or not restrict firearms sales, or force NATO countries to increase their share of the military budgets (or even have a NATO in the first place), but those are items for historical debate.  But for those of us who are on the Right, they are not only ideological arguments but the right ones.  We can even debate whether Trump is a xenophobe or an Islamophobe, or whether these are bad things. 

We can talk about whether he put too many conservatives in the Judiciary, or not enough.  Or whether he should have created the Space Force.   Or aggravate the national debt by increasing defense spending.  Again, items for debate.  But one thing one cannot say is that his was not a consequential presidency.  Or an unsuccessful one.  For those of us who like peace and prosperity, Trump has been an unalloyed success.  Conservatives and libertarians who believe in looking at results think that his was the most successful presidency of our lifetime.   The question is why don’t you, the conservative critics, come to the same conclusion?   

And thus we delivered our votes to him with unreserved enthusiasm.  It’s not magic, religious fervor or self-delusion.  We’re not members of a cargo cult.  It’s merely self-interest.  That’s all.  For the white middle class and the Hispanic and black working classes, Donald John Trump delivered.  To put not too fine a point on it, it’s the economy, Stupid.  And so, we never got tired of winning.      

So these are merely some reasons why Yours Truly (and millions of others) like, love, cherish and revere The Golden Don.  It is not because we have confused Trump with Jesus or our politics with Christianity.  Neither Christians nor Burkean conservatives adhere to political cults of personality.  Seriously, we don’t.   The fact that some of our critics believe that about us says more about them than it does about us.  We know that we will never be invited to all the best parties or appear on the “right” shows.  You know what?  We don’t care.   We’re too busy just trying to live productive lives in the private sector, raising our families and trying to navigate our way to church.  Burke’s “little platoons” are what motivate us, not being patted on the head by Establishment types.  

I for one can’t stress this enough:  we are devoted to Trump because of his policies and the fact that he’s delivered on them.  That’s it.  Oh, and I almost forgot one thing:  for all his faults, Trump is the only thing that stands between We, the People and the Deep State.  The Democrats have let it be known how they feel about free speech and the right to keep and bear arms.  They’re agin’ it.  We on the other hand, have a differing view.  

Therefore, it’s quite disheartening to hear that there are a few Christian and conservative commentators who have invested so much time and energy into creating this straw-man.   To accuse fine men like Eric Metaxas of being a “Trumpianist” simply because he has the courage of his convictions and has no fear of getting into the fight for said convictions is beneath you.  Stop it.  That’s absurd.  I have given you chapter and verse of Trump’s accomplishments which are coterminous with our political ideology and these are the overwhelming  reasons we like him.  The very same political ideas by the way that the #nevertrump “conservatives” say they believe.  And that is why we feel bitterly that we were cheated last month out of our votes.  Not because Trump lost (he didn’t) but because our votes were stolen in broad daylight.  Our votes, our very lives are deemed unworthy by our “betters”.  And thanks to the backbiting of both the odious Left and #nevertrump Right, our votes will never again be honored. 

What is more galling is that many of you have carped for years and decades on end of why we need “conservatives” in power, and why our conservative “principles” must be put in place via the political system.  And yet when in comes a man who does exactly those things, you cuck out and clutch your pearls as you fall on the Victorian fainting couch.  “Oh, we agree with what Trump did on ‘X’ but his demeanor is loutish!”  Or, “yes, he was right to draw down our presence in Afghanistan, but why can’t he be like that nice Romney fellow?”

I’m sorry, but that doesn’t cut it.  It’s just another sell-out.  Rather than get down on your knees and thank God Almighty that finally several of your principles has been enacted into law, you decide to get all Emily Post and belabor the fact that he got two scoops of ice cream while everybody else got one.  Seriously?  You people pretend that Washington is something akin to Downton Abbey while the rest of us know that it’s more like a cage match.  And I’m being charitable.  Instead, I have the sneaking suspicion that there are many people in Big Conservative, Inc., who would rather have an issue (and their useless cruises) than success and thus, you never give up the chance to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  I’m sorry but “because muh principles” or “he’s not presidential” doesn’t cut it.   

Look, I could not agree with you more that Donald Trump is not to everyone’s tastes.  I’ve heard that he likes to put ketchup on his steaks (which he eats well-done).  That to me, is nothing less than an abomination.  The rumors about his womanizing are legendary as well.  I thought his soirees in the 80s and 90s to be garish to the extreme.  For a Sooner like me, he was too much New Yawker.  There are dozens of photos of him with Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, two of the most odious men to ever walk the face of the earth.  Bill and Hillary Clinton were guests of honor at his last wedding.  Gag!  I get it.  But ultimately, so what? 

Since you want to play this game, do you know what else I think is abominable?  That Obama weaponized the IRS and turned it against the Tea Party.  Or that his Attorney General gave thousands of AR-15s to the Mexican drug cartels.  I don’t give a rat’s ass how elegantly his pants were creased or how polished were his manners.  For that matter, I don’t care how many Bible studies George W Bush had while he was in the White House.  I do know how both men got us involved in misbegotten military adventures and that the world is paying for these atrocities in terms of sheer, unimaginable misery even as we speak.  Trump, for all of his gaucheries, has been the most irenic president since Eisenhower; perhaps even more than Coolidge.  That’s a good thing, right?  (I believe Jesus said something positive about “peacemakers”.  Let me get back to you on that.)

So yeah, I’m a Trumpist.  His administration has been the most conservative, pro-life, pro-Second Amendment and non-interventionist presidency in my lifetime.   (It’ll probably be the last one too, thanks to you and all the other holier-than-thou backbiters.)  At least I have the courage of my convictions and will not waver from them.  Nor will I quake or move the ideological goalposts when the Establishment clucks its tongue or wags its finger at me and my kind.  I for one, know that in the great political struggles, one often has to pick a side and stick with it.  I have picked my side.  And it’s not just Trump but the truth.  We know that he won reelection by resounding margins.  And I highly suspect that you do as well.    

And I’ll give you one last piece of advice:  if you think that there is a market for your “housebroken” and “nice” conservatism over at The Daily Globalist, then you’re more foolish than I thought.  Not only will you never be respected by the powers-that-be on the Left, but you will be forever distrusted by real conservatives, those men and women who get into the arena and actually fight for their principles.  They may not be wordsmiths with cushy jobs but by God! they fight.  

And know this:  the truth will come out eventually.  And then, when our ships are getting shot out of the South Pacific and the dollar is plunging, or when the Middle East erupts and the Deep Staters tell us that everything is OK because they’re in control; when you turn on the TV and hear Biden try to calm us by saying “trumanpilanimmunizure” as he’s soiling his pants in the Oval Office –then you too will know we are screwed.  And then when you try to word-craft your way back into our good graces by praising Trump, it will be too late. 

You had your chance.  In politics, you pick a side and you stick with it.  You should have picked a side.  Instead your were too clever by half; you didn’t “pick” Biden but you hated Trump more.  Now, thanks to all the “principled” conservatives like you, we have to live with the consequences of the coming Obamaesque disorder.  Without the elegance or eloquence of Obama.

Good luck with that.     



  1. Well said, and might I add that the conservative never-Trumpers are nothing more than liberals in sheep’s clothing (enemies of the people).  Rod Dreher is a liberal, for example, who has not realized it.  I appreciate a lot of what he says but he’s part of the problem.

  2. Michael Bauman says

    How about Trump inanity:  what opponents of Trump demonstrate when they open their mouths one inanity after another.
    https://thesaurus.yourdictionary.com/inanity  for a bunch more words.

    Of course the same syndrome also applies to some of his supporters.

  3. Voted Solidarity Party and don’t regret it.Lines up with non-compromise stance on abortion, public faith, marriage, etc., advocates for local governance & small-business-first capitalism, and also manages to seek to be charitable toward migrants, the poor, the sick, etc.Biden’s a threat to the unborn, no doubt. Wouldn’t vote for him. But Trump is a threat to the born population.

  4. Wow.
    I was about to complement you on a very well-written topic lede in “Whited Sepulchers”.  I was impressed. That passage always made me think of whited sepulchers being bleached bones. Then you come out swinging with “Trumpianity”.
    I have spent part of the day following up on a comment from a MrsDK in the previous topic series. Her last sentence asks, “I’m wondering what you thought of our fellow Orthodox Rod Dreher’s coverage of the Jericho March in The American Conservative?” I can’t help but think we’ve been reading the same articles, and this is essence is your answer to her question.
    I hadn’t really heard of Dreher before now. I seem to remember something about his book The Benedict Option  a couple of years ago, that’s all. Reviews were mixed. His bio says he’s written for a number of well-known publications and has a few books out. To be honest, I tend to avoid reading much from recent converts such as himself. I call it the “Frankie Schaeffer Syndrome”, although Hank Hanegraaff has long been a delight to me.
    As I’ve said elsewhere, it took me a few days to catch on to this being a political blog with Orthodox participants, rather than an Orthodox blog that sometimes veered into politics. Being independent politically and not in a position to vote in American elections, I nevertheless recognize that US politics are keenly followed by most of the world, including by me. I think I’m able to access non-American political commentary more easily than most Americans, so there’s that.
    I didn’t initially view Trump favorably. I was definitely glad Hillary wasn’t elected; she is so feared and despised outside her own country that it seemed most of the planet breathed a sigh of relief she wouldn’t become ‘the leader of the free world’ (fast becoming a dated expression).
    But I began to notice something truly unnerving as Trump’s presidency unfolded: the mainstream and international media, the US intelligence agencies and sometimes the DoD, the big tech firms, and even members of his own party and cabinet carried on a sustained campaign of baseless slander, and dare I say, sabotage of his administration. I really couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I have to say I haven’t really quite fathomed what that says about the United States today. I grew to feel more sympathy for both the US and for Donald Trump. I think most of the world has been shocked by these events. It’s not something we ever expected to see from the US. The Deep State does indeed exist, it has its own will in defiance of the American electorate, and it has crossed the Rubicon.
    Yet Dreher is quite correct in his evaluations of the American religious right today. It seems to me from history that no religion survives intact from contact with American shores; they fracture into far too many pieces, and the closest they seem to be able to gain any unity is under the big tent of some American political party.
    So, I don’t know, George and Gail. Although you aren’t Trump-worshipers, it’s clear from the videos and commentary that many people are, and have been unquestionably and disturbingly over-the-top in their words and actions. Another commenter here, either Mikhail or FTS (I don’t remember) called for a more disciplined and organized Conservative America. I have to agree. What seemed to transpire at the Jericho event wasn’t conservative America’s best face by a long ways.
    The very best to you in your future efforts.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Thank you.

    • …Hillary… is so feared and despised outside her own country that it seemed most of the planet breathed a sigh of relief she wouldn’t become ‘the leader of the free world’ …
      I really couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I have to say I haven’t really quite fathomed what that says about the United States today. I grew to feel more sympathy for both the US and for Donald Trump. I think most of the world has been shocked by these events. It’s not something we ever expected to see from the US.
      I find these comments interesting and most definitely not what we in the US are led to believe about how Europeans feel about the Trump Administration.  Can you elaborate?  And is it safe to assume that you from the country that gave the world the Tanenbaum and that beloved carol., Stille Nacht? 

    • Johann Sebastian says

      Dreher seems to contradict himself at times. Generally I agree with what he has to say, but it often feels as if he’s “testing the waters” instead of asserting himself directly–except perhaps now with his criticism of Trump and this Jericho March, which kind of undermines the premise for many of his prior arguments.
      I think the march was an unnecessary spectacle, and I also think Trump missed several golden opportunities during the last four years to right the listing ship that is the USA–especially with regard to immigration and foreign policy. This pandemic was the opportunity of opportunities but ultimately he was sidetracked and pursued rhetoric that–like Dreher’s–was sabotaging to the end-goal.
      As for Dreher, he criticizes those of us who support Trump, but I maintain that despite all his flaws and missteps, he was ultimately more effective than any contemporary Republican before him. As of now, there are no “good” replacements for Trump, and I’d rather live with the more unsavory aspects of Trumpianity than go back to the limp conservativism of Bush or concede to the civilization-dismantling agenda of the Left.
      If America has to disappear in order to save Christian civilization, so be it. Contemporary society doesn’t deserve what the Founding Fathers envisioned–the Left certainly doesn’t, and the Right (as well-intentioned as they are) just hasn’t gotten their act together well enough to take a consistent and thoroughly-argued stand. Brute force can only work once all attempts at reason have failed.

      And as Orthodox, we should promote Orthodox interests in the secular arena. Any political figure–which essentially means all who are of any note in this country–that supports policies leading to persecution of Christians in the Middle East (while touting the glories of Evangelical Zionism and Wahhabist tolerance), Balkan strife that consistently casts the Serbs as villains (and leaves them as losers), and Russophobic hysteria and saber-rattling (comically juxtaposed against diplomatic overtures and economic concessions to the Chinese) must necessarily be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism and an acknowledgement that absolutely NONE of them have our best interests at heart.

  5. A fellow commenter a few weeks back said something along the lines of – “it took me a while to figure out that this is a political blog that sometimes covers orthodox topics, rather than an orthodox blog that sometimes does politics.” Man, was he right! I wish he also knew that this wasn’t always the case. I’m happy for you George, and that you’ve decided to stick with your guns, come hell or high water. However, this is probably my last post on this blog after 5 years of following it.  

    • George Michalopulos says

      Dan, this blog has always been concerned with only three topics: culture, politics and religion (in alphabetical order). Culture is the intersection between politics and religion.

      Sometimes we go heavy on religion for days in a row because things are heating up in that area. Right now, there’s been a lot of political controversy.

      As much as I’d like to not spend as.much time on temporal affairs, we have to admit that our political leaders are working behind the scenes to distort the Church.

      It’s a roller-coaster unfortunately.

      • It’s more than a roller coaster. It’s a travesty. I never thought I would see the day when the American Government was hijacked by Marxists. But here we are. It is imperative that we address these issues…and ask God to have mercy on us and save us.

  6. Unfortunately, in your outrage against “straw men” you set one up of your own.   You didn’t address any of the criticisms that Rod Dreher had of the Jericho March, but instead went on hammering the “Never Trump Conservative” straw man (including their “fancy parties”) that is red meat for this website, WND, and others.   
    You defend why you and others like Trump, but I think Dreher was quite specific in lauding the good things that the Trump Administration has done.  The key thrust of the article(s), was the unsettling and disturbing things he saw going on AT THE MARCH, and a trend on pro-Trump websites (and comboxes) that is alarming.   There are many who would gladly use authoritarianism to “undo” the election, trampling on a Constitution they claim to cherish.  Such acts would do the very thing that they claim to be trying to prevent:  The Destruction of America.    

    • Gail Sheppard says

      RE: “You didn’t address any of the criticisms that Rod Dreher had of the Jericho March. . .”

      It would be kind of hard to address all of Dreher’s criticisms. The guy was gushing negativity! He tweeted his displeasure over 50 times (I then stopped counting).

      How can one “see” authoritarianism? Did he really say this was about the “Destruction of America” or is this your take on what he said?

      Because it is the stupidest thing I ever heard.

      I was there. He wasn’t.

      He was pissy about it before the thing even got started. He was talking about how “having Donald Trump traveling the country for the next four years campaigning will tear the country apart.” Where did he get this stupid idea? At the end of the day, Dreher saw what he wanted to see and for whatever reason, he wants to see trouble for Trump.

      If Dreher and Trump are on the same page about anything, and I truly doubt it at this point, they certainly weren’t on the same page about the event. Trump was very pleased.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Very well said, My dear.

        • George Michalopulos says

          If I may add some more words. The idea of insurrection rightly terrifies Mr Dreher. It should do likewise for all of us.

          Two points however: the insurrection began during the St George Floyd Festivities wherein we saw hundreds of Americans killed, maimed or wounded and their businesses and residences destroyed. Those were not done by “Trumpists” but by evil people who have long ago stopped believing in America.

          Second point regarding insurrection: I direct everybody to this little video clip from the excellent television mini-series called John Adams:


          We patriots stand in rather good company I must say. ‘Nuff said.

          • George Michalopulos says
          • Michael Bauman says

            George we had two great men as President: Washington and Adams.  Even Jefferson was a drop off from them. Jefferson-through Monroe OK but since then we have been “blessed” with a long litany of narcissistic fools, charlatans and the beguiled.  
            Among the worst was Woodrow Wilson who began this last century our history in a particularly evil and misanthropic way from which we have never recovered. The first “Progressive” I believe.   Only Herbert Hoover stands outside that to some degree and we know what happened to him.  
            Trump did many good things but changed nothing.  Do not kid yourself that he is a truly Constitutional President.  We have not had one since Jefferson so we really do not know what one would be like.  Personally I think they are not electable if one were to miraculously appear on the scene.   
            As I have said before, Andrew Jackson was the end of any attempt to govern on the Constitution and the principals of a Republic.  He took office in 1828. Almost two hundred years ago.   God knows what our country will look like in 2028.  Not likely to be anything John Adams would even recognize as the country he fought so hard to create and presided over but briefly 1797-1801.  One term.    The first and last candidate of the Federalist Party.  
            Good company or not, he is deeply anachronistic.  

            • George Michalopulos says

              Michael, I have a soft spot for Old Hickory. He at least loved this country and its people. I can’t say the same for our present oligarchy.

              • Michael Bauman says

                George, I have a soft spot for him too. I studied him deeply while in college reading through the entire volume on him in the series “Messages and Papers of the President” as well as Schlesinger’s work and that of Remini a modern scholar of Jackson. I even wrote a paper about him that my professors here in Wichita recommended for presentation to the Kansas Historical Society.  I left to follow God instead.
                That still does not altar my opinion of the consequences of his Presidency

                • Michael Bauman says

                  George, Jackson did not love his country and its people as you do. In fact, you and your ideas would be considered close to traitorous.  He hated all of his enemies and the idea of states rights with an all consuming passion.  The only person he ever loved was his wife Rachel.  
                  He loved his idea of union and hated anyone who opposed him.  He would not have been kind to you or your beliefs.  He would not try to find any common ground.
                  While he did not advocate a unitary state, he believed there was no room for state law to be upheld over Federal law. 
                  That is the reason I say our Constitutional Republic ceased to be with his Presidency.  His idea of Federal supremacy has been the standard ever since.  
                  And do not kid yourself, he relished power and the exercise of power.  He just had more personal integrity that today’s bunch. 

      • Michael Bauman says

        Gail, what I was upset by in Rod Dreher’s American Conservative piece was not about the politics. What troubles me is twofold: 1. The madness of Eric Metaxsis and 2. the pillow guy infomercial coupled with it. 
        I was checking to see if Dreher’s description was substantially accurate.  

        Then, the video you posted.  I was unable to watch more than about 3 minutes of it because this Catholic woman had this ugly Warhol like pseudo Byzantine style poster of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Catholic lady was screaming and carrying on in a hyper-emotional rant and trying to bring Our Lady into that.

        I happen to have an icon-like picture of the real Lady that my mother got in Taos over 100 years ago. It hung in our dining room as I was growing up.  As a child I went to that picture many times and just communed with her. I have no doubt she led me to worship her Son. She is still with me in my study. Amazing beauty, peace that to this day always calms my soul. She has been with me all of my life.

        I was disgusted and deeply offended by what I saw. I dust off my feet against that woman.  

        So before one even gets to the politics I am stone cold against the gathering because I see nothing Christian about it.  Indeed I see blasphemy. That is a high hurdle to overcome but I am willing to listen because of the love and respect I have for you and George.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Michael, I must disagree. Especially about your characterization of Metaxas. He’s a stand-up kinda guy. If only we had more like him.

          • Michael Bauman says

            George NOT my characterization. Dreher’s.  I don’t know how to make it more clear.  Dreher’s depiction is all I have to go on except for a smattering of reading.  
            I know Mr. Metaxes is a stand up guy.  What I am asking, again: Was Dreher’s characterization in the American Conservative  of Metaxas’ speech accurate? 
            That is all I am asking. 
            I have either been woefully unclear(which I do not believe), you did not witness his speech or you are avoiding the question.  
            Secondarily is my reaction to the presentation by the RC woman in the video Gail posted. That I did see. If you have something concrete to put that in a different context please let me know. Your reply suggests you disagree with what I said about that too. What in particular do you disagree with or am I misunderstanding your reply?

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Dreher’s characterization (which I doubt George has read) is his characterization and, therefore, is neither right or wrong. It’s his opinion, Michael. You can look at the footage yourself to determine if you agree with it or not.

              There were many Catholic women there. With respect to the one Catholic woman you didn’t like, what is it that you need from us to help put it in context for you? Would it be enough to say, “Yeah, sorry you didn’t like her, Michael.”

              What George took exception with is that Metaxas is not a good guy. He is.

              George and I were not responsible for the venue, the speakers, what they said, who they represented. . . anything. We showed up as patriots. We met a lot of good people. We had dinner with Jim Jatras one evening and Nick Stamatakis another. We ran into a Category II emergency trying to land in Tulsa, which decided to drop 5.6″ of snow in our absence, and had to be rerouted to Oklahoma City for awhile. We had some bad food at Olive Garden and when we got home, George slipped and fell in the snow. He’s fine.

              That’s pretty much it, Michael. Nothing more to tell.

              • George Michalopulos says

                My take, Michael, is that Rod and other #nevertrumpers see all things Trump through a prism of presidential elegance that no longer exists. Obama was nothing if not elegant, well-spoken, coiffed, etc. The President from Central Casting if you were going to pick an actor to play the first black President.

                Trump ain’t that. And anyway, I have my own biases: as the descendent of Greek peasants growing up in the South within whistling distance of the railroad tracks, I see nothing wrong with a little cussedness every now and then. So yeah, I’m gonna cut him some slack.

                Trump is nothing if not a blue-collar street-brawler with nine zeroes after his name.

                It’s not unlike how many of us view the Papacy, that is through the lens of “The Shoes of the Fisherman” Anyway, that’s my take.

                • Johann Sebastian says

                  Obama wasn’t elegant. He was snooty.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Also, I disagree with Rod’s characterization. Had he been there and seen the outpouring of love and the normalcy of the people there he would have written differently.

                  • The focus of Dreher’s articles was the “message” of the Jericho March.   The people there may have been lovely, but it is the message that ultimately matters.

      • I enjoy a lot of his writing, but Rod Dreher is often on the more highly emotionally charged side and does not like the crassness and scrappiness of President Trump and the culture that produced him.  He often seems to want a more “gentlemanly” kind of guy in there. 

        Problem is, in our modern cultural climate, any conservative “gentlemanly” kind of guy will get skewered and trampled over in 5 minutes by the brutal tactics of the Left. 

        We *need* a crass, scrappy kind of president – who knows how to throw back at the Left everything they dish out, and more – in these times.  That’s precisely why the Left hates President Trump so much.  Because he’s scrappy and is good at it.

        Rod Dreher often seems to be venting more at the vileness of modern culture, which in turn produces crassness at the top levels.  He’s correct about that.  He’s also correct that most of our problems are cultural problems, which don’t have political solutions – they need cultural solutions, which are much harder to execute. 

        Dreher is a good writer and a good cultural observer. But he’s not a leader – and I imagine he’s aware of this fact, too. 

        I enjoyed Dreher’s latest column where he writes how the crazy Orthodox “Left,” led by the equally insane George Demacopoulos, is fighting Dreher’s nomination to speak as the annual Schmemann lecturer at St Vlad’s at the end of January – because Demacopoulos doesn’t like Dreher’s thesis in his “Live Not By Lies” book.
        Demacopoulos is such a fake, such a charlatan – sort of wish he’d stop pretending to be Christian and Orthodox already. He and his ilk are our version of the Lavender Mafia in the Roman church. 

        • George Michalopulos says

          FTS, I completely agree with what you say about Dreher and how he’s being hounded by the “Orthodox Left” (i.e. the Fordhamites).

          Therein lies the problem however: he doesn’t understand that when you deal with the Left you have to bring a gun to their knife-fight. Nobody on the Left acts in good faith. At all.

          And that’s another reason why they hate Trump. He read Alinsky’s book as one popular meme says.

          So my advice to Rod is: pick a side and stick with it. You’re never going to get patted on the head by the Oligarchs who run this craptocracy. They hate Trump, they hate the people who voted for him and deep down, they hate you. (It’s just that you’re useful to them until you’re not.)

    • “There are many who would gladly use authoritarianism to ‘undo’ the election, trampling on a Constitution they claim to cherish. Such acts would do the very thing that they claim to be trying to prevent: The Destruction of America.”

      The Constitution died when the GOP observers were kicked out of ballot counting rooms at 3AM to the cheers of Democrats, and then huge Trump leads evaporated as hundreds of thousands of straight Biden votes were “processed.”  Now conservatives are in triage mode, save as much of America as possible, even if means Trump going full Lincoln on the Democrats.

      • Gail Sheppard says


      • “The Constitution died when…” the Supreme Court
        refused to hear the evidence of election fraud.

        • “Maricopa County Board Votes Against Complying
          With Subpoenas to Audit Voting Machines”

          ie: “We have the evidence, but you’re not getting it! Nah! Nah! Nah!”

        • MatthewPanchisin says

          Dear Brendan,

          I’ve been tinkering around in my head with the U.S. constitution a bit these days, it’s been dead for many years.

          From a limited secular minded perspective, I think that all those that are elected and positioned within the courts should have to pass an IQ and basic ethics test prior to service and during service once a week. Such tests should be administered by ethical people with high IQ’s and moral compasses, then it has a good chance of working for the people and by the people that have not lost their wits as well as those that have lost their wits, the entirety of the electorate! America could even have an idiot as a President and it will still have good chance at working.

      • If these fraud allegations were true, they would have found a court to hear them.   The conspiracy talk is just a balm to cover the truth:  Donald Trump was his own worst enemy.   The Absentee ballot system in America has proved itself safe and efficient time and again (as a veteran I used it multiple times).  If he was so worried about it, why didn’t he use the power of his office to push hard to improve it, instead of trying to de-legitimize it altogether?    He blew it, and GOP successes in all other areas suggest that very thing:  This really was just about Donald Trump the man.
        There is no “saving America,” because the America you want to “save” doesn’t exist.  It’s a fantasy, the same fantasy that has beguiled the Left, but for them its “the 60s.”   Neither the WND Right or the Salon/Nation Left believe in America as it exists.    They either subscribe to a powdered wig minute man delusion, or dream of a “Socialist” America that would make Sweden blush.   The reality of America has always been a hodgepodge patchwork, with the Cigar Chompers moving things, and reformers occasionally kicking up dust.
        Both “sides” are revolutionaries, who don’t really “believe” in America.   They “believe” in their idol, which they have labeled “America.”    They have successfully stirred people up in one way or another, as demagogues often do (it’s an all American tradition, actually—-the Know-nothings and Huey Long come from the same pedigree).
        Which is it?   Either Government is this incompetent, bloated millstone that prevents things from being done, or its a nefarious, well organized group ala HYDRA.

        • “Either Government is this incompetent, bloated millstone that prevents things from being done, or its a nefarious, well organized group ala HYDRA.”

          Socialism prevents good things, while being ultra competent in doing evil on an industrial scale, which is how millions can be impoverished and starved to death, while at the same time the mostly peaceful oppression and mass killings roll on.  North Korea is a textbook case that still exists today.

          • There is a very big space between Sweden and North Korea.   Socialism need not lead to the Gulag, just as Capitalism need not lead to children working in salt mines.

            • A terrible price was paid in Sweden for its socialism,
              paid by those least able to protect themselves:

              “Compulsory sterilisation in Sweden were sterilisations which were carried out in Sweden, without a valid consent of the subject, during the years 1906–1975 on eugenic, medical and social grounds.”

              Swedish society is still totalitarian,
              but now on the Black Lives Matter model.

        • You made an understandable but basic mistake. Absentee balloting and mail in voting are two different things. In August Trump acknowledged the legitimacy of absentee balloting while distinguishing it from the proposed mail in voting cuz of the modelovirus. He said the latter would compromise the election. He was correct.

  7. Wonderful article, George; but I have three minor quibbles:
    (i) Saddam did used to have weapons of mass destruction”.
    How do I know? We [USUK] have got the receipts!
    (ii) “…[Trump] got two scoops of ice cream while everybody else got one.”
    Joe got more. Don’t forget about the extra scoops ‘for the Big Guy’.
    (iii) “…we have to live with the consequences of the coming Obamaesque disorder.”
    Trump ain’t done yet. The fat lady has still to sing.

    • George Michalopulos says

      As to point #1, you are correct: Saddam did have WMD. Did. At one time. He had either given them to Syria and the rest atrophied. As much as I hate to say it, UNSCOM was right. The WMD were merely the neocons’ pretext for a war of aggression that they had long planned for. (And which I regrettably supported as well.)

      • Agreed – which is why I wrote “did used to have“.

      • I recall reading about the UN Observers chasing round trucks which purportedly were moving the WMDs in Iraq and having to guess whether they were or were not still in country because of the ruses…Does anyone else?

        • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

          Yes, Nicole. And there was also the Israeli aerial surveilance of a convoy of trucks leaving Iraq in the dead of night and crossing into Syria. Why President George W. Bush never acknowledged either of those pieces of evidence is simply baffling, especially when the hue and cry about his administration’s “lies” about WMDs eroded public confidence in him and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

          • Father, that theory is full of holes and has been discredited several times. Not only was there no proof, but it simply didn’t make sense. How could US intelligence assets miss something like that? The entire region was covered from top to bottom for years leading up to the invasion in 2003; it beggars belief that they could have outwitted us.
            The official Iraq Survey Group, sent by the Coalition, even admitted that there was no proof for this unlikeliest of occurrences.

            • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

              Thank you, Basil, for that item about the Iraq Survey Group.

              A quick online search yielded this item with a less than certain conclusion:

              I also distinctly recall the Israeli photos.

              • Dear Father Alexander:

                Thank you.  I concur and would add that the honest concern and uncertainty are what I recall as well.  I also recall that Saddam’s past behavior made the intelligence highly significant and worthy of pursuit. A recent article in Algemeiner summarizes: Saddam’s “Anfal (“spoils of war”) Campaign…had 8 stages and killed about 180,000 Kurds, mostly civilians, (using chemical weapons).  The war laid waste to thousands of Kurdish villages and communities as well as the social, economic, and ecological infrastructure of the whole region…The Iraqi army’s gassing of Halabja in March 1988 terrified Iran, which had no defensive weapons against such a threat.  It was the fear that Iraq would use such weapons against Iran’s civilian population that convinced Khomeini to drink what he called “the poisoned chalice” and agree to a ceasefire that he had staunchly opposed for eight years.”  

                I found and find the “better safe than sorry” approach of the Bush administration to Saddam understandable especially given the intelligence.  In psych we say that past history is the best and perhaps only predictor of future behavior.   Significant past history here.  

                • Saddam was a villain, but he was our [USUK’s] villain.
                  As long as he stayed honestly bought, he was safe.
                  However, he chose to go into business for himself.
                  That was unforgiveable – and Unforgiven!

            • Basil, I distinctly recall a UN or State Department website with testimony by non-American UN Observers trying to “catch” the trucks.  I would be glad to learn more about the provenance of the “official Iraq Survey group sent by the Coalition” ~ can you send any links please in addition to Father Alexander’s?  
              Father Alexander, thanks for the website.  

  8. Christine Fevronia says

    Excellent, George! One of your best pieces yet. Thank you, and my family and I couldn’t agree more. 
    Super sad politics is diving the Church in this era, but it has been that way many times throughout her history. In a hundred years when history looks back on this time in America, the hindsight will be blinding.

  9. Trump is a Christ-figure. This is someone who sacrificed everything to save an ungrateful nation, and ultimately he will probably be killed for it. This is not to say that he’s on the same level of Christ — only that there is a qualitative similarity.
    I went to a Trump concert a few days before the 2018 midterms and was twenty feet from the stage. I screamed like a teenage girl at a Beatles concert, except at a Beatles concert you scream out of lust. At a Trump rally, you scream out of gratitude. You are overwhelmed with it. You love him because he first loved us.
    And I think that’s just a fraction of what heaven will be like. But it’s of the same quality, that you are looking upon true greatness and true selflessness and are just overwhelmed with gratitude.
    And now we wait for him to overcome the lies of the demonic left, to claim his rightful place as ruler and to deliver us from evil. It’s not that he should win because it’s his right — it’s that Americans are trusting him as the only person who can save them from the demonic left who hates us and wants to annihilate us.
    Obviously a lot of people will disagree with my characterization of him. My point is just that a lot of people really do relate to him as a Christ figure and have similar emotions.

    • If Trump resembles any historical person, in my opinion it is the Tribune
      Gaius Sempronius Gracchus who tried to reform the Roman ‘Deep State’ for the benefit of all its people – and particularly the Plebs (the Deplorables of his day). However, the Deep State came for him, as they had done for his brother Tiberius twelve years before. Sadly, the people abandoned him to his death. Then came Social War and Civil War and the destruction of the Republic.
      However, in the case of DJT, the Plebs (the Deplorables) show no signs of abandoning him to the tender(?) mercy(?) of the Patrician Oligarchs who run the American Deep State.

      This tale may yet have a happier outcome than that of the Gracchi.

    • I appreciate your reflection on the Trump phenomena and find it quite touching. I’m not his biggest fan, but you’re quite right in pointing out that he is literally the only person capable of holding back the red tide at this late stage (speaking from a worldly perspective, of course).

  10. Christopher McAvoy says

    Though I have appreciated what Mr. Dreher has written from time to time I’ve never felt what he wrote could compare to the books written by St. Paisios. There is a limit in his spiritual depth which reminds me of someone who is an episcopalian. Indeed many of these anglican types have had quite a a cultural influence in the anglo-phone Orthodox convert world. In some areas such as academic study of liturgy or church music, such influence may be acceptable, but boundaries must indeed be drawn for their influence in the life of the Church at large.

    It is my observation that Mr. Dreher has a taste for “conflict avoidance” more that a taste to be “one who fights” alone. I observe that he is accustomed to being accepted by “the establishment”, such as one would expect of the late Bill Buckley’s National Review magazine alumni. Was anyone more “establishment” friendly than Buckley? A willingness to compromise with the Boston Brahmins from time to time. A little reifer smoking and motorcycle riding from time to time. What do we see of Buckley’s lone child Christopher? He is a borderline atheist. Compromise with the world too far and the world will take hold you and your families future.

    I remember seeing with my own eyes Mr. Dreher’s pleasure while being in the lecture hall at Georgetown University shortly after the Benedict Option was published, being interviewed about his book. Mr Dreher has a symptom of the academic liberal arts reportoire, which is a tendency toward idealism rather than pragmatism, a tendency to be caught up in illusion, rather than reality. With the greatest charity I must suggest Mr. Dreher’s spritual understanding is limited, which indeed brings other understandings consequently to be limited from being an authentic perception.

    Perhaps what Mr. Dreher is unable to accept is that what we face a battle for survival as a nation and culture. If civil liberties continue to erode, if the foundations on Christianity continue to erode than the “errors of Russia”, the militant atheist new socialism will have fully penetrated “The West”. For Trump to remain president is essential to safeguard the constitutional republic and civil liberties of the United States and much of the Western world to exist in any sense of peace within the immediate future.

    Without Trump as President of the United States in 2021 we would witness an age of world war. Due to the violent retribution and persecution being planned for anyone who supported the Trump admin by many in the political left and establishment, surely with a Biden presidency a breakup of the republic would occur. Being that many of us know this, we than also know that we must persevere in supporting him as the genuine President-elect of the USA. The military enlisted men will never accept Biden as their president and this is because they have no reason to give their life for a country with a leader who will lead to their future enslavement. A man who is but a convenient figurehead in the pocket of the global socialist transhumanists. A man who leads to all sorts of prototypical anti-Christ characters.

    Live for the world and die with the world.
    Live for Christ and die with Christ.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Christopher, this is a brilliant analysis of the socio-political situation.

      Basically, there are two options: 1) martial law or 2) civil war.

      The Left overplayed their hand with the George Floyd riots. Those of us living in Red State (and Red counties in Blue States) saw their murderous rage.

      And as much as I understand the initial rage at the circumstances of Floyd’s death at the hands of that cop, there is no justification for what followed. None. Period. For anybody on the Left to wrap themselves in the mantle of Floyd, one has to be either seriously deluded or just plumb evil.

      Can anyone tell me what justification there is for burning American flags? Yet they did it in all the Blue Cities. Why didn’t the Democrat Party call out this stunning lack of patriotism? What truck do Red-Staters/patriots have with such people? None. Absolutely none. Nor do I want to impose my patriotic, Christian values on these yahoos. I don’t have time for that.

      Hence the desire to be left alone, to seek as amicable a divorce as possible.

      So why do I say civil war? Is it because I want it? Far from it! It’s just that we are not going to allow ourselves to be bullied, enslaved, and/or massacred by the Left. Unless the #nevertrump “Right”/cuckservatives understand that, then they will continue to be mocked in private, and eventually lined up against the wall when they are no longer of any use to the demonic, anti-American Left.

      Harsh words, I know. I wish I didn’t have to say them. But can anybody show me where I’m wrong? Please. I very much want to be wrong.

      • Michael Bauman says

        George, the only binary choice is Jesus or the world.  The binary choice you offer is wholly of the world therefore a plethora of other seeming choices is possible. 

        • Gail Sheppard says

          If that is the paradigm, then those who hole up in their little hovels and think they’ve found Jesus have made a wrong turn. Had Jesus done that, He would never have been crucified.

          The binary choice is between right and wrong. You have to be willing to speak the truth.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Gail that follows only if you posit following Jesus with quietism.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Gail this is not quietism. No dirty little hovels needed.  Indeed he describes the only real foundation for speaking the truth.  
            There is an old friend of mine long since reposed who was kinda crazy but said one thing that has always stuck with me: “If you don’t have Jesus sitting on a curb talking with someone, you don’t have Him”. 
            One of the great hallmarks of great sanctity is unflappable peace especially in times of peril.  
            That you would use such a pejoriative phrase and attitude hurts my heart.  It seems a violation of what I have heard from you in the past.  God bless you both.  

            • Gail Sheppard says

              I was not the one who said I recoiled in disgust at seeing those other people or suggested that choosing Jesus vs. the world was a “binary proposition” and George had wholly chosen the world! Now that’s pejorative.

              Nothing I said was directed at you.

              I did not call out your name, as you did George’s, nor did I say anything about a “dirty” little hovel. You changed my words and missed my point. My point was that we have to go out into the world to drink from the same cup as Christ. Had He not gone into the world, He would not have been crucified. Had He not been crucified, we would not be saved.

            • Another piece covering the Jericho March. This author agrees with M. Bauman’s position on the incompatibility of being a political ideologue and serving Christ. 

              • George Michalopulos says

                Tim, I’m sorry, but NR long ago gave up the conservative ghost sometime in the mi-90s. Some would say sooner but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. Almost always it takes the side of the Establishment Left if it’s necessary to defenestrate authentic conservatives.

                Joe Sobran, Ann Coulter, John Derbyshire are just some of the real conservatives who were thrown under the bus because Bill Buckley or Rich Lowry didn’t want to offend their Establishment overlords. They can’t help themselves, if Al Sharpton or Irving Kristol squeals, NR gets a dose of the vapors and cucks out faster than you can say Jackie Robinson.

                Frankly, it’s an embarrassment and therefore, very hard to take them seriously.

          • Michael Bauman says
  11. Ronda Wintheiser says

    BRAVO!  I’ll be chuckling joyfully for weeks.  Thanks, George. 

    I’ve been mulling this topic over for a long time because I have Orthodox Christian friends who are Never Trumpers and have complained for 4 years about how bad he is for our country.  I can’t figure out what they mean by that. They can’t seem to articulate exactly HOW he is bad, except for vague groanings about “civilized discourse”. 

    It seems to me, historical illiterate that I am, that politics has always been part of a Christian world view. It has always been a factor.

    I’ve been rereading Fr. Seraphim Rose’ book “The Apocalypse” and that has brought that fact home in a very striking way. Christians have always been involved in the politics of their day. Politics has been shaped by Christianity or the absence of it.
    The person that came to my mind, lately, during this election process, is St. Constantine the Great. And in fact, I see in Donald Trump a parallel. Trump seems very much like Constantine.
    Some people lavished Constantine with praise, even so-called pagans — they viewed him as a paragon of virtue. But in order to do that, apparently they had to overlook a few things.
    Obviously the Church holds that he was a devout Christian. He is, after all, a saint in the Orthodox Church, in spite of some of the really shocking things he did. He had his own wife and son executed. He had one of his enemies strangled — after publicly promising not to do so. Many people described him as an “inferior leader” because of his love for luxury and his greed. Sound familiar?
    But he ended the slaughter of Christians. He legalized Christianity, returned confiscated Church property, and established Sunday as a day of worship. He called the First Ecumenical Council to settle the Arian heresy.  Etc. 
    Trump hasn’t done anything that spectacular, maybe.  But he, like Constantine, is a very controversial figure. He has the same kinds of flaws that Constantine had. I see people describe him all the time by his sinfulness and the horrible things he has said.
    But what he has done explains Christians’ support for him. Like Constantine, he has at least tacitly endorsed Christianity — if only by legally embracing some aspects of Christian morality, most notably, in his efforts to curb legal abortion. But he has also explicitly endorsed Christianity. Publicly. He has stood up for it in a way that some Christians can’t seem to manage.  Orthodox Christians, even, who seem slightly embarrassed to admit that’s what they are. 
    And those same Christians, including some Orthodox bishops, scoff at the idea that we should vote for candidates who will attempt to protect unborn children.
    I think it is very important to vote for candidates who do not support abortion. But  I know Christians who voted for Biden, in spite of his support for abortion.  They don’t think that is a big deal. 
    But there are parallels between our time, and Constantine’s time. Roman law, religion and the entire ethos of the ancient world saw nothing morally wrong with infanticide; with abandoning newborns in garbage dumps. All of the “wise” philosophers of that day assented to, for example, killing deformed infants, or if a child was deemed the wrong sex. (Guess which one that was.)
    But Christians in ancient Rome attempted to rescue infants that were abandoned and raised them as their own or tended to them before they died or gave them a decent burial. The Catacombs are full of infant graves, with epitaphs that remind me of what we pro-life Christians attempted to do with Operation Rescue.
    When we did a rescue and were arrested, we did not give our given names. We gave a number — like Baby Jane Doe #7457 — to be in solidarity with and in memory of those orphaned children. We did that as a way of adopting aborted babies.
    In the Catacombs, there are epitaphs on the graves that say things like “adopted daughter of…” or “adopted son of…” inscribed on them.

    Anyway. Secularism may have an unstoppable momentum at this point in this nation. But you never know. It looked awfully bleak for quite awhile before Constantine showed up. 
    Maybe what happened under Constantine could happen now. Arguably, thanks to Donald Trump, it has, even if only a little bit. It has been nice to have a president who has demonstrated such commitment to protecting unborn children.
    That protection will be withdrawn if Joe Biden is inaugurated. And Biden himself promised to punish faith-based organizations that have enjoyed more freedom to do good under Donald Trump. He will likely overturn the Mexico City policy, which was implemented by Ronald Reagan and overturned by Obama. Which essentially exports contraception and abortion to Third World countries. What is more racist than that? Making sure that brown-skinned folks make less babies and bring fewer children into the world.

    I am praying that Donald Trump can manage to pull another victory out of this apparent defeat.  It wouldn’t be the first time he did something audacious like that.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Very good history about Constantine. As for the execution of his wife and son, they had committed treason (which is punishable by death). He also mitigated much slavery and ended many cruel and unusual punishments.

    • William Tighe says

      May I enter a quibble?  I would prefer not to say “Obviously the Church holds that he was a devout Christian,” unless one means to refer to the short period, perhaps a day or two, perhaps less, between his baptism (by an Arian bishop) and his death on 22 May 337.  What I would prefer to say is that he was “a devout patron of Christianity for at least 25 years before his baptism and death.”

      And maybe it is not a just quibble.  Constantine was an unbaptized pagan, not even a catechumen (until the last weeks of his life).  This meant that the Church could exercise no “sacramental discipline” over him for his moral failings and misdeeds.  There was no precedent for the Church to deal with a powerful patron and overbearing meddler in Church affairs who was clearly “a believer,” but just as clearly “outside the Church.”

      There is no evidence that his son (by his first marriage, if Minervina was Constantine’s wife rather than a concubine) Crispus committed treason.  The dominant view is that Fausta either conceived an unrequited passion for Crispus and, when he refused her importunity, denounced him for raping her, or that she made the accusation to get rid of Crispus so that her sons, Constantine, Constans, and Constantius (among whom the Empire was divided after Constantine’s death) might come to power unhindered by Crispus (who enjoyed his father’s favor until shortly before his execution).  The story goes on to to affirm that when Constantine discovered the truth of the matter he had Fausta executed – but if that is the case, it is strange that we hear nothing more of Crispus’ wife or their young son, who were both alive at the time.
      It all makes President Trump’s “home life” look rather sedate by comparison.

      • SAINT Constantine was not an “unbaptized pagan,” he was an unbaptized Christian, of which there were many back then, including luminaries such as Saint Basil the Great and Saint Gregory the Theologian, who were baptized later in life due to prevailing custom at that time.
        That the Church, in its wisdom, permitted him to call and preside at the First Ecumenical Council shows that, despite his personal failing (something that we all have), he was held to be a serious believer and a man providentially arranged from on high to guide the Church into a new era.

        • William Tighe says

          To claim “That the Church, in its wisdom, permitted him to call and preside at the First Ecumenical Council” is a retrospective formulation, fair enough in its way as an ecclesiological justification, but in no sense historical, assuming as it does that there was a thing, a concept, called “an ecumenical council” in 325, which in fact there was not. 

          What Constantine seems to have imagined he was doing was to call an assembly of bishops to advise him (without in any way binding him) what actions he, as emperor, should take to deal with the uproars caused by Arius’ views, and that assembly produced the watchword “homoousios” to stigmatize them.  The “Council of Nicaea” was a larger empire-wide version of the “Synod of Arles,” an assembly of western bishops, mostly of Italian and North African provenance, which he had summoned in 320 to advise him on how to deal with what we call the “Donatist Schism” in North Africa, and especially to inform him which one of the two competing groups that comprised that schism they recognized as “Catholic,” so that he could support the Catholics and repress their opponents.  When that assembly attempted to turn itself into a genuine (local) church synod, after answering Constantine’s question, and to produce canons on other issues, the emperor dismissed the bishops, and sent them all home.

          Constantine accepted and ratified the Nicene assembly’s “advice,” but so far was he from feeling “bound” by its conclusions that he called other assemblies of the same nature and authority (as he and almost everybody else at the time thought) in the 330s to revise them, once he had come to believe that the great troublemaker in the ongoing quarrels was no longer Arius, but St. Athanasius, a process that his son Constantius continued with a vengeance after he became sole emperor in 350.  The difference between the two emperors’ conduct was that while Constantine wanted, in his last years, to find a way to get around the term homoousios to readmit Arius and his followers to Church communion, Constantius wanted to get rid of it altogether and find a substitute, if possible, that would enjoy more general acceptance.  I think that the first “ecumenical council” that recognized itself as such – need I add that in no way do I reject the “ecumenicity” of Nicaea I (325) or Constantinople I (380), the latter of which was, in its day, a purely local synod of bishops? – was the Council of Ephesus in 431.

          • William Tighe says

            A correction. “The Synod of Arles,” which I mentioned above, took place in 314, not 320.

        • Pat Reardon says

          the Church, in its wisdom, permitted him to call and preside at the First Ecumenical Council

          This is what I think of as dead history, the past as “settled,” so settled that the event can no longer be portrayed as it really happened.

          It can be dismissed as a lifeless “fact. ” That is to say, this account is not really historiography.

          This is the sort of thing that comes of reducing history to a “social science.” It becomes terribly boring, and nobody wants to learn it.

          To recount history this way is to kill it. It becomes a settled “fact.” History becomes lifeless to fight back when people find it convenient to suppress it — which is happening a great deal these days.

          It should be the task of historiography to recount historical events with proper respect to the fulness of their living plausibility’s.

          In 1492, when Christopher Columbus discovered the land on this side of the globe, absolutely nobody on the globe declared, “Hey, Christopher Columbus just discovered America.”

          In 325 nobody in the Church, nor the Emperor himself, declared, “News, hear all about it! The Church has just permitted Constantine to summon an ecumenical council.”

          One thing we can be sure of in 325: Nobody, absolutely nobody, summoned an ecumenical council

  12. Very good points. Sure, there may be people who take their affection with Trump too far, but, that is not even a minority I do not believe. Those of us who like Trump like him in the secular sense for helping our country…not in any religious aspect, at least not me. 

    If Trump can pull all of this off and actually be sworn in next month, he has A LOT of house cleaning to do to salvage our country. If he doesn’t, we have much bigger problems and I think many of us know what awaits under a Harris presidency. 

    I know a lot of politics have been covered as of late due to what is happening in the U.S, but, on a religious note, it seems Patriarch Bartholomew might be about to overplay his hand:



    • It seems Bartholomew believes that if he keeps feeding
      the crocodile of secular nationalism, it will eat him last.

      And this, if true, to ensure no concelebration on the part of any cleric in the larger Greco sphere lest they be ‘factious’ and ‘disobedient.’ 
      You have to give him credit (in a disgustingly worldly sense).  He knows how to move his chess pieces to divide and conquer (the emphasis being on dividing). We can only hope that, if true, this becomes the dividing point where even the Greeks finally say ENOUGH of your tyrannical games.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Lord have mercy. He’s Metaxakis on steroids.

      • On an important side note:
        Me thinks that Constantinople has another problem on its hands 😉

        • This is probably a much bigger headache for Metropolitan Onuphrey.  ? Denisenko is a loose cannon with ambitions.

          • No, I’d actually say that Bartholomew is the one that should be worried. The schismatic Philaret is a loose canon in the middle of the schismatic church—causing problems. It’s been reported that he’s siphoning off parishes and clergy from Bartholomew’s creation. A wolf in the fold, so to speak. Think about it, Rufus. Right now Philaret’s actions are helping out the True Orthodox Christians of Ukraine. Let’s hope that it continues this way!

  13. “Recount Confirms Trump Won Michigan County
    That Reported Biden Win on Election Night”

    “The recount in Antrim County found 9,759 votes for
    President Donald Trump, versus 5,959 for Biden.

    On Nov. 3, county officials said Biden received over 3,000 more votes than Trump. Two days later, they said Trump won by about 2,500 votes. A third change took place on Nov. 21, with Trump being certified the winner by nearly 4,000 votes.
    Officials blamed the skewed results on human error.”
    Human error? Who is this incompetent?

  14. Well said George,
    I will try to  keep this as  short, as possible.
    In my view, Trump, and rightly so, declared war on the deep state five years ago. When he did so,  no one took him as a serious threat. He was the joke the elite threw around at their parties,  even most Republicans. But then he won the 2016 election. To save face, they had to keep pressure, propaganda,  and vile gossip on their bad “Orange Man”.
    The bottom line is when one declares war, as Trump did, one must not be surprised, when one receives a war. In fact, a fight like no other society/country could ever imagine. We  should not feel ashamed, nor bitter for ourselves, as Trump took the lion’s share of the attacks, and we know we do not have evil intentions, nor wish harm on others, as do many on the left.
    Trump took it upon himself, to take on the most powerful and deeply imbedded bureaucracy the world has ever know. Trump threw himself to public  verbal lashings by a media entirely against him(yes even Fox), Hollyweird, and of course the social media tech empires had their sights on him as well, that would make Soviet Pravda proud. Throw in a pandemic. Throw in BLM/Soros paid for, and Democrat unenforced riots, and the cherry on top? Well placed voter fraud, in states that matter the most, in the big  Electoral College picture.  Trump was visually  Sisyphus pushing the deep state “boulder”.
    In conclusion this war against Trump, and us, was non-stop, 24/7.  The Dems are well organized, control the masses via education, all media and follow only laws they want to follow. Laws are only for suckers like us. We will never win this war, only battles. Battles that only throw their train off the tracks, until they put the wheels back on. I see this as Guerrilla warfare only, and we  are the Guerrillas. Dare I say to my fellow Greek American patrioti, the spirit of OXI! lives on to fight another day. Sadly, don’t count on our GOA to be with us, but with the left. When it is said we live in an evil world, it is said for a reason. Fight on Bro!
    BTW: This is only me, but what if some day in the future, we come to find out the Chinese virus was not an accident, but a man-made virus to kill, what only a Communist state would consider “undesirables”. By undesirables I mean the old and the sick. People that cannot produce anything for the Communist State any longer.  Removed, and the expense of caring for them is also gone. The perfect state sanctioned wholesale murder. If of course one is a evil government, such as the Communists have already proved to be in their short history. One hundred years so far, 100 million killed, and now with the Wuhan Virus, nearly 2 million deaths so far…
    Ahhhh, the communist, their greatest invention, and now export; mass murder.
    Sorry for not keeping it short.
    A Blessed and Merry Christmas to all.

    • Johann Sebastian says

      Regarding your BTW: it’s not only you. I have no reason to think any differently, and I have a hunch what you posit is precisely what we’re dealing with.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Dino, brilliant. I agree with every point.

  15. I have just noted that most people who like Trump accept his peccadillos.   He is  what he is and look at the good stuff he has done. 
    My experience has been that people on the other side,  have no idea of the faults of Hillary or Biden.  They are Democrats and couldn’t possibly have faults or disabilities that would prevent them from leading the country.   Moreover they have bought the poison that all Republicans are universally bad.   Also that it is the responsibility of  government to take care of them from cradle to grave.  

  16. “Christ-like figure”?    “St. Constantine the Great”?  This is the very rhetoric that Dreher is talking about.   It was on this blog that Donald Trump was compared to Cyrus and that “the Hand of God” was upon him.
    You still aren’t addressing Rod Dreher’s points, except to say that “we didn’t organize it” and asserting that you met good people there.   No doubt (Mr. Dreher doesn’t doubt that either), but the Jericho March laid bare the troubling tendencies and in some corners meltdown of the American Right (the Left had a similar meltdown in 2016, and even now the circular firing squad is going on over the Congressional races).   It’s the exact same syndrome.   
    All of the talk of declaring Martial law is just as radical and insane as anything those on “the Left” are advocating.   Destroying the village to save it? 
    Rod Dreher has picked a side.  He’s not on board for their revolution, or yours (neither am I).   A pitchfork is a pitchfork, whether it is red or blue.
    John Adams is an excellent series.   Here is another video:

    “A mob doesn’t cease to be a mob, just because they are with you.”   

    • Gail Sheppard says

      A “mob”?! Too funny. When they start beating people up and setting buildings on fire, let me know. No one is “destroying any villages” here. No pitch forks. Not even Rod believes that.

    • BRANDON,

      “It’s the exact same syndrome.”

      No, you are equating tactics with values.  They are two different things.  I hope my tactics are stronger and more ruthless than my enemy’s, otherwise I am at a distinct disadvantage.

      “All of the talk of declaring Martial law is just as radical and insane as anything those on ‘the Left’ are advocating.”

      Same point.  The Left has effectively already advocated the destruction of the Republican Party by ending the filibuster, packing the high court, adding states, opening the borders and abolishing the electoral college.  The trajectory at this point is that the Republic will die on January 20th when an unelected usurper takes charge.  He will have no choice but to repress his political opponents.

      “Destroying the village to save it?”

      This is a reference to the Vietnam War.  It is another way of saying, “Better dead than red (i.e., communist).”  Yes, it is better to “destroy America” than to let it fall into the hands of the Orwellian Left.  Better violent chaos and an emergent right wing dictator than Biden.

      “Rod Dreher has picked a side.  He’s not on board for their revolution, or yours (neither am I).   A pitchfork is a pitchfork, whether it is red or blue.”

      Rod Dreher is a dhimmi and therefore our enemy.  If you don’t know what that means, look it up.  He is advocating surrender, not common sense.  That is the purpose of his hyperbole regarding the Jericho March, to draw a false dichotomy between the Left vs Trumpistas and the Religious Right.

      Tactics are irrelevant.  We intend to be much worse than our enemies if need be.  What is relevant is we are pro-life, anti-feminist, pro-family, pro-market, anti-communist, Christian Nationalists and that they are infanticidal, feministic, pro-pervert, race baiting, communist atheists without a shred of human decency. 

      St. Augustine may have some concern with “how we win” but this is a foreign concept to us Eastern Christians.  To us he is merely a saint due to his piety, not a Church Father.  His “Just War”, or better translated, “Righteous War”, would be news to Yahweh of the Old Testament.  We do not seek to improve on God Himself.  He advocated a total war almost unthinkable to modern sensibilities so we feel we have room to work (see the Balkans Conflict, the Second Chechnian War, etc.).  Historically, you will find little or no difference in the military tactics of the Orthodox and our enemies.  Post victory plans?, now that’s a different story.

      One is either with us or against us, we’re past civilities.  You are clearly against us.  So be it.  Save your moral lecturing for the pansies on the other side with whom you sympathize.  Our confidence is from above and impenetrable.  The more assertive on the Left do not share your sense of restraint which only works to the detriment of anyone foolish enough to adopt it on the Right.

      • Johann Sebastian says

        “Destroying the village to save it?”
        This is a reference to the Vietnam War.  It is another way of saying, “Better dead than red (i.e., communist).”  Yes, it is better to “destroy America” than to let it fall into the hands of the Orwellian Left.  Better violent chaos and an emergent right wing dictator than Biden.
        I am convinced that this is what needs to be done. However, our own “patriotic” rhetoric on the Right that is inordinately concerned with the inviolability of Constitutional ideals may work to our own detriment. In that regard, there is actually no difference between Dreher and the Jericho marchers. Neither one wants to admit America’s time has come. Burning it all down–to use a popular slogan of the militant Left–may be the only answer.
        Someone on Dreher’s blog used that same “destroy the village” quote in response to a comment I posted there a couple of weeks ago on his “Trump is not the Messiah” piece. Here is that comment:

        It may not be worth killing America to save Donald Trump’s career, but at this point, killing America may be necessary to mitigate the civilizational destruction that has occurred on her watch. You’re right that Trump is no Messiah, but the alternatives will likely see conservatism retreat down a path that finds us stuck with a new generation of Bushes and McCains. If that’s what’s in store for us, perhaps America’s time has come.
        As an Orthodox Christian, you should be looking at this with the phronema you espouse on a civilizational level. Saving America in its current iteration may not be compatible with that. Freedom and the prevailing zeitgeist are a dangerous mix.
        Monomakhos is a great blog. I don’t agree with Mr. Michalopoulos on a number of things (especially his take on the COVID crisis, having myself experienced its horror in a firsthand way) but he hits the nail on the head so very often—as do you and as does Trump. Being concerned about salvaging our broken Republic and sacralizing [the] Constitution (that while noble in its conception) just isn’t compatible with a society that has become obsessed with destroying the very foundations of mankind.
        I have become convinced that, as a conservative and as a traditionalist, the only practical solution is to adopt a “beat them at their own game” approach. Appropriate their language and their methods and use it to lead those without a compass to our side. Political and ideological Uniatism, if you will.


        • Maybe America’s time has come, but the ends can’t justify the means (nor should we be the ones to light the match).
          The answer is Christ.   We become holy people, that will attract those “who have ears to hear.”   God will judge the rest.   If they come for us, they come.   If martyrdom knocks, may the Lord give us strength to endure. 
           If we triumph, it will be by God’s permission and not due to “beating them at their own game.”    Holiness is the answer.    The Grace of God is the most powerful force in the universe, and overcomes all obstacles.

          • Johann Sebastian says

            Yes, I know, and I’m conscious of it even as I write these things.
            When blood has been spilled though, it’s easy to feel rage. Especially when those who set the stage for all of this to happen are now on the winning side and are pretending they have all the solutions, that they are the ones “saving the day.” And the ones you thought were on your side have given themselves over to spectacular displays of abject silliness. From that perspective, it’s easy to see where the road leads.

    • The problem with Rod’s (and your) discomfort with the “troubling tendencies of the Right” is that the Scriptures are replete with examples of where God has used unsavory, unrefined characters to accomplish His will. It doesn’t mean that He “likes them” better than the rest of us, or that they have a direct channel to Him that others do not.

      The Old Testament in particular is full of examples of “terrible” (by modern standards) characters whom God used to accomplish His purposes. David was beyond uncouth per modern standards, yet God used Him, and David composed the Psalms which we use all of the time. How many times have all of us recited Psalm 50/51, which is most beloved in our Orthodox faith – written by the same David whose murders and treatment of women, by modern standards, would land him in prison (or worse) today?

      Could God be using President Trump to accomplish something that only God knows about? Of course He could. There is no way that we can know if God is doing that or not, but it is certainly possible.

      I suspect that one of the reasons that Rod Dreher frowns upon this conflation of faith and populism in America is that — while he likes American conservative populism in theory, from behind the armor of his laptop — he finds what it looks like in reality too distasteful. It’s essentially a class thing. These hoi polloi are not Rod’s class, and he has trouble connecting with them.

      When the multitudes would throng around Christ, were they all erudite scholars who wanted to discuss the Torah over tea? Of course not. Our modern corollary to these multitudes who crowded around Christ would be the masses who attended the Jericho march. Rough around the edges. Not necessarily able to make a cogent argument in 3 paragraphs or even in 30 minutes. Possibly some sort of Christian faithful but not able to put their faith into words. All of this is OK. Christ did not tell His multitudes to get lost until they looked more palatable to Him; neither should we.

      It’s a class thing. Dreher doesn’t like what these people *look like* in reality, but the Jericho march is what most of American conservative populism looks like. It’s not Orthodox Christian. It’s overwhelmingly Protestant with some faithful Roman Catholics and Orthodox Jews thrown in. It’s messy. Yes, it conflates faith and politics — but THAT IS THE STORY OF AMERICA!! When you don’t have a separate head of state or a state church as they do in the UK, faith and politics get even more conflated together all of the time, as they have throughout American history.

      The Left conflates faith and politics all of the time – and they crassly get away with it, usually unchallenged. How many times have we seen the lesbian Episcopal bishop talk about how God loves the gay couple who want to adopt a child, and therefore they should be able to? Or the leftist Catholic religious who talk about how God loves open borders and we therefore need to let anyone in the country, without question?

      To me, it’s important to be intellectually honest, even if it hurts. The messy Jericho march is what American conservative populism looks like in reality, pickup trucks and all. If Dreher or anyone doesn’t like it, that’s fine, but at least be intellectually honest and say that the appearance in reality is what’s the bothersome part. Elitists – on all sides of the political spectrum – denounce the hoi polloi based on their scrappy, uncultured behavior all of the time.

      By the way, we’ve all seen the same denouncement based on appearances with inquirers looking in to our Orthodox faith. How many times does an inquirer read about the Orthodox faith and love it based on theory, but then when they visit a parish, it’s a big let down in reality? Either the service is too foreign or too long, or it’s too ethnic, or it’s not “American” enough, or the priest wasn’t warm enough to me, or no one hugged me when I walked into the narthex, or you let children stay the entire service and let them be toddlers while they run around the nave with their “holy noise” (as Fr Alexander Schmemann lovingly called it), or whatever.

      It’s the same phenomenon as what Dreher does — liking something in theory, but being disappointed by what it looks like in reality. It’s massive expectation/reality mismatch, which always leads to disappointment.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Interestingly, I came from a privileged background and one of the things you’re taught from an early age is to downplay your status. It’s the Kipling, “If you can walk with the crowd and keep your virtue, or walk with Kings-nor lose the common touch,” sort of thing you’re expected to strive for.

        Frankly, it’s the people who feel “less than” that have the visceral reactions and emote all over the place. If you can’t look at people who love God without saying to yourself, “Oh, look how godawful those people are,” it’s time to take a serious look within. They’re not the enemy. They’re just well-meaning people who believe in God and love this country. That they’re not like their critics will only help them get into heaven.

        We Orthodox don’t have the best reputation among Protestants and Evangelicals. We’re consider a cult! That we were invited at all is a bit of a mystery and yet everyone was lovely to us, including the crowd.

        Why can’t all Orthodox be that gracious?

        • Johann Sebastian says

          We Orthodox don’t have the best reputation among Protestants and Evangelicals. We’re consider a cult! That we were invited at all is a bit of a mystery and yet everyone was lovely to us, including the crowd.
          This attitude, as nice as it sounds, is really not at all different from Dreher’s approach. It turns us into dhimmis.
          I maintain good relationships with Evangelicals and share many points of agreement with them when it comes to secular matters (although foreign policy isn’t one of them, since it often involves the Church and they simply don’t choose the right side).
          That being said, they’re always going to consider us as pagan syncretists, idolaters, and cultists. Being “nice” isn’t going to cut it, unless you make a conscious effort to instruct them about just why that isn’t so. And that’s also going to require them to reconsider what they (think) they know about the Bible, Church history, and world history. They’ve been subjected to a lot of revisionism, and since so much of what they believe is predicated on things that are simply wrong (and I’m talking about actual hard history, not theological concepts and their justifications), it’s going to be a hard sell.

  17. St. Vladimir Seminary is giving Mr. Dreher a prestigious platform by having him as the speaker for the Fr. Alexander Schmemann lecture in January.   Not real sure how Fr. Alexander would feel about that……

  18. This goes beyond an “unwashed proletariat” or snobbery.   Dreher is no William F. Buckley (nor am I).   Misha’s post is exactly the sort of thing I am referring to (and Dreher wrote about).   Dark visions of a Right Wing Junta that will “sweep away” liberalism, appealing to the worst aspects of our nature.

    That isn’t “messy”—-that is totalitarianism (for real).  “Do it to them before they do it to us” is no where in the New Testament.   Fortunately, most of the people who voted for Trump likely deplore this sort of thinking, but the fact that it is even being entertained in public by prominent Republicans (and by this website) is very very troubling (and was the whole point of Dreher’s articles). 

    It isn’t “dhimmitude” to turn away from this sort of thinking, nor is it “quietism.”    There is another way.    

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Well, you’ll have to give conservatives, of whom Rod is one, some slack here, as we just went through 4 years of hell at the hands of the liberals as they tried to malign our choice for president. If we want to take a few weeks to ensure the elections were clean, it’s hardly “totalitarianism”.

      • President Trump is free to do as he likes, although I think his actions will cause more harm than good to the causes he claims to cherish—-why give Leftist activists ammunition by supporting ideas of Insurrection and Martial Law?   Trump is his own worst enemy, and I think once the autopsy of his campaign is done that will be shown.   

        The election was not a repudiation of the GOP, but of HIM.   Those who say that they don’t understand how the GOP could win and not Trump misread the tea leaves, as the Left did in 2016.   There were no doubt many Republicans and independents who voted for Biden, and then voted straight R down the line.   As I said before, they are not on board for anybody’s revolution.     

        Wanting to ensure fair elections is not “totalitarianism,” but many people are going beyond that, and that is what is troubling.    Trump’s attempt to de-legitimize the absentee ballot process was repugnant.   He had the bully pulpit, he could have used it to ensure a “fair election.”   There were many state GOP officials who warned him that attacking the absentee ballot system was  “big mistake.”    Who’s to say all of them would be for Biden?   There are many elderly and others who support Trump who may have availed themselves of the system.     
        I think that his attempt to undermine the absentee ballot process is what cost him the election.   

        • There is a great difference between absentee ballots and the illegal free for all that was fraught with abuse potential that President Trump opposed.
          We all know that voter fraud is practically an institution in this country. It’s a tradition in the windy city where calls to “vote early and vote often” are not said in jest. 
          But what transpired this election is like nothing else I have seen in my lifetime. The thing I admire most about our president is that he is not a politician. He puts himself out there, just as he is. He has an incredible bull detector and he is not shy about using it. Does it create fodder for people to ridicule and malign him? Yes, yes it does. Does he change his speech and behaviour in order to appeal and appease? No, no he does not. That takes courage and strength of conviction.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Re Chicago politics, Tanya, I am always amazed at the ability of the local machine to get the dead to vote.

            Who says miracles don’t happen?

            P.S. thank you all for your patience re the Reply button! Gail and the team worked diligently to get it fixed, God bless them.

  19. Lazaros Samaras says

    The charge of “Trumpianity” is pretty obviously true given you are touting what Trump has done with Israel as a positive.

    Imagine thinking that and then claiming to be an Orthodox Christian and denying the charge of being an American sycophant.

    Your Orthodox brothers and sisters in Palestine are cringing that you’ve bought into Evangelical Protestant demonry. A shame that you would march with those who crow for their destruction at the benefit of Israel, all because of your devotion to a President.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Mr Samaras, the execution of peace treaties between Israel and several Arab neighbors is a net positive. Israel exists, whether you, I, or the Palestinians like it or not. Peace is a good thing, period.

      As a former (an unrepentant) Cold Warrior who despised communism and those countries which espoused it (e.g. USSR, Red China), I had no problems whatsoever with the policies of detente pursued by Presidents Nixon and Reagan.

      The fact that Trump has been the least bellicose of presidents is one reason that he has been nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize. I also think it will stand him in good graces on Judgment Day.

      • Johann Sebastian says

        Israel always gets her way, Trump or no Trump.

        • George Michalopulos says

          I wouldn’t say that. Remember the Oslo Accords? Even the libs in Israel were hopping mad about that one. And it cost Yitzhak Rabin his life.

          Also Gaza. They had to give up all that.

          They also had to give up their 18-year long occupation of South Lebanon as well.

          Then there’s the whole “Eretz Israel” thing: a type of “manifest destiny” which stated that (according to Isaiah) they were to rule “from the Nile to the Euphrates”. (That would be most of Egypt, all of the Transjordan, the Levant and Iraq.) Nobody believes that except some ultra-rightist sects.

          • Johann Sebastian says

            When Jews start advocating for Orthodox Christians, then I’ll listen.

            Until then…**yawn**


            • Gail Sheppard says

              So now someone can’t mention the The Israel–United Arab Emirates normalization agreement without someone accusing you of being pro-Israel?

              • Johann Sebastian says

                No one is accusing Mr. Michalopoulos of anything–at least I’m not. Don’t take it personally.

                But do be careful who you defend and why you defend them. Forget about being “patriots” for a moment and remember that you’re Orthodox. I voted for Trump too, but I’m under no illusions about his weaknesses, and kowtowing to the Zionist lobby (via his son-in-law) was one of them.

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  Frankly, I can defend whomever I want to, Johann. This is my blog. You had a problem with George’s piece and he didn’t say anything about Israel one way or the other.

                  We are under no illusions about Trump’s weaknesses, which I believe George mentioned in his piece, as well.

                  Being Orthodox does not require us to support anyone, Johann.

                  • Mark Moya (aka Johann Sebastian) says

                    It requires you to support Orthodoxy, and not support any interest that acts contrary to those of Orthodox Christians.

                    You’re taking umbrage where none need be taken.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Perhaps it is you who needs to reimagine what it means to act in the interest of Orthodox Christians. Nations who are divisive and would rather fight than come to a peaceful resolution are not acting in concert with the interests of the Church.

                    • Mark Moya (aka Johann Sebastian) says


                      “Nations who are divisive and would rather fight than come to a peaceful resolution…”

                      Sounds like the good old US of A.

                      Why do they continue to meddle in Ukraine? Thankfully we’re on the same page with regard to that, or at least it seems like we are.

                      Why are they sticking their noses into the Serbian Church and Montenegro?

                      All of this peace-brokering between Zionists and Wahhabists is kabuki theater and useless to us Orthodox. The day Israel shows solidarity with Orthodox Christians is the day I show solidarity with Israel. I don’t see much progress happening there. Do they take in Christian refugees from Syria? I could be wrong, but I don’t think they do.

                      Meanwhile, I hear some visitors from Honduras are on their way here. Lockdowns clearly don’t apply to them. What happened to that big, beautiful wall?

                      Look at the big picture. The forest, you know?

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      It does sound like the USA which is why I like Trump! He brings home the troops.

                      Israel took in a whole bunch Christians from Lebanon back in the 90s, as I recall.

                      The wall is being built.

                      When Honduras finds out Biden isn’t president, they’ll go home.

                      Enough with telling me what I need to do, my friend.

                    • The military-industrial complex is, sadly, bigger than Trump. Although his efforts to get our troops back home are laudable, the MIC and the banksters are the real power behind the throne and, sooner or later, the good old USA will be dropping 500lbs of democracy on some poor village somewhere.

                      Those Lebanese Christians that the Israelis took in were not refugees, but troops from the hated Army of South Lebanon, the IDF’s collaborationist proxy force in the area. Made up of Maronites and Uniates, they ran the IDF’s torture facilities and worked alongside the Lebanese Forces – another group of collaborationists – who carried out the Sabra and Shatila massacres.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Basil, I am not unsympathetic with your worldview but it should be noted that regarding the Sabra/Shatila massacres, they were carried out by Lebanese Christian forces.

                      As for the South Lebanese Army, you are correct: they were collaborators with the Israelis. The question one has to ask is “why?” The reason is because the Palestinians were reviled by all sectors of Lebanese society. And I mean all.

                      I vividly remember the run-up to the 1982 Israeli invasion. I worked for a Lebanese-American at the time (I was in pharmacy school). I vividly remember one of his cousins coming in and saying to my boss and his other cronies “the Yehud [Jews] are going to invade!” This was a full two months before the IDF’s lighting strike into Lebanon.

                      (I still can’t get over the intel that these Oklahoma-born and based Lebanese had but he was right.)

                      Anyway, pretty much everybody there was ecstatic. Except my boss who said something to this effect: “Yeah, it’s good that the Yehud are coming in to straighten things out but dammit, they’re not gonna leave. And that’s bad.”

                      His was a more realistic assessment.

                      Anyway, the Shi’ites who make up a bare majority of Lebanon’s population –but an overwhelming amount of the South of Lebanon–were literally dancing in the streets when the IDF invaded.

                      That lasted for a few years. Then they formed Hezbollah and were responsible for making the IDF’s life miserable in Lebanon.

                      The moral of the story? It’s complicated.

                      Someday I’ll write about the whole Israel/Palestine thing. There’s no doubt that the creation of the Jewish State has inserted a permanent irritant into the Levant. Gen George C Marshall (who was Truman’s Sec of State) saw that and begged Truman to not recognize Israel. His forecast of what would happen was largely correct.

                      So why have several Arab countries signed peace treaties with Israel? I guess because their proxy warriors (the Palestinians) are a wasting asset. The exterminationist slogan –“from the River to the Sea”–is no longer tenable. It’s also possible that they they are tired of war. I dunno. I wouldn’t put it past them that they want to be covered by Israel’s nuclear umbrella.

  20. The non-involvement that BRANDON and Michael B. seek is essentially Gnostic.   The world is too dirty for Christians to be involved.  Yet we have had Orthodox empires.  And so such people are forced to assert that these were not truly Orthodox, only the pre-Constantine version.  And they end up as Byzantine rite Baptists.

    But that has nothing to do with Orthodoxy or the Holy Fathers who were hip deep in the politics of their day.  The main difference is that in the modern world the Orthodox are too tolerant of Western democracy and not insistent upon the “totalitarianism” that BRANDON rejects in disgust.  But that “totalitarianism” is not any such thing but rather the same authoritarian/monarchist mindset as the Fathers held during Christendom.  It is vastly superior to any scheme of democratic republicanism as measured by the standard of the Church Fathers whom all Orthodox claim to follow, though some disingenuously. 

    This has always been my criticism of those masochistic Christians who seek to enfeeble us.  You do find that strain in historical Christianity, but it is the devil’s work.

    • Amen, Misha.

      I more or less said the same thing a few months ago.

      We need to evoke the spirit of the Black Hundreds and fight this revolution before it overwhelms us all.

    • Johann Sebastian says

      So much truth here.

  21. America already is totalitarian and has been for some time. Just examine the stark difference between public opinion polls and actual policy that passes. The politicians never pass anything that will actually help the American people. Just look at this latest stimulus check. Our leaders were arguing for the smaller $600 checks because the research showed that people would spend smaller checks instead of saving. In other words they did not want to give us back our money when we needed it. But when the banks were close to being in the red, they got a trillion dollars no questions asked and no strings attached (unlike the ‘stimulus’ for small businesses). If we lived in a democracy then our health care would be cheaper (price controls like we had for our water and electronic), our military budget would be smaller, and actual assistance would be given in an emergency. Our politicians don’t listen and only care about the donner class that funds their millions.

    Instead of looking to solve the real problems of America we instead fight about senseless things like if Russia or China is the bigger threat or racial identity (black and white), etc. Is anyone bombing our states territory? Do other countries have military bases within 50 miles of our borders? Are other countries supporting coups in Mexico or Canada in order for those countries to leave NAFTA or invade the U.S.? No. The American people are not under threat. Only the American Empire and world dominance is just being challenged. This Empire is paid for by us tax payers without our consent.

    We live in a totalitarian society. Just look at Snowden, Asange, and Manning. Just look at our media. Even our ‘populist’ politicians like Trump and Bernie support military intervention in Venezuela and the Ukraine. The American people don’t want this.

    We pay for all of this nonsense with our dollars and blood. Only at the local level do we have a semblance of control. Look at the pro-life laws passed and funded social programs. We need to stop allowing the elites to dictate our arguments and fight for the real problems (debt, addiction, depression, war, infrastructure, etc.) that are hurting our country.

    We are not the Byzantine Empire fighting for survival surrounded by enemies that can actually destroy us. We are not Russia with strong competitors (and usually enemies) right on our borders looking to limit us. We destroyed our competition and conquered the western hemisphere (with the backing of the English or French depending on the decade). We are a safe country that needs to support its citizens instead of building empires and funding the rich. Socialism for the rich and austerity for the poor?

    And remember that all this nonsense is your tax dollars at work. Are our elites spending them wisely? Let’s actually discuss the real problems of this country instead of the soul of a nation that never had an established church/religion and was founded on secularist principles (just compare the Constitution with any contemporary monarchy). Maybe if we start caring and actually help the people in this country then they might listen to us. These are the tactics that converted the pagan Roman Empire. Not revolution.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Ben David, excellent distillation of our sad state of affairs.

      Another thing I’ll give Trump credit for is exposing the Oligarchy/Deep State and the moral bankruptcy of the shibboleths that they mouth in order to diminish our liberties and/or spend our blood and treasure.

      Trump gave us a four year’s respite. I’m not so sure that the Deep State can bounce back as readily or return to the status quo ante. We will see.

      • I would state that the election of Trump was the result of people already knowing and wanting to fight the deep state. Bush’s response to 9/11, Occupy Wall Street, Tea Party, militarization of the police, assassination of American citizens radicalized by abuse by the FBI, Patriot Act, Snowden, senseless killing of Iraqi civilians, and all the rest has created massive distrust of the US government. Heck even Hollywood makes bank on these fears. Trump was the result. If the establishment wants our trust again, then they need to earn it by actually helping out American citizens. But they are still playing their games with their good cop, bad cop routine (doesn’t matter who you think is the bad cop, they both want to arrest you). This is the same routine our elites have played since the Whiskey Rebellion, Shay’s Rebellion, and the Federalist Papers. We must know our enemy and do what we can to fight and protect our communities. The parish church and monestaries with the Grace of God and our repentance are the only hope for the salvation of America.

  22. George Michalopulos says