Perhaps more so than any other activity, politics has a way of begetting astonishing levels of dishonesty—and not just in politicians. Some recent examples:
(1)It has now been disclosed that Ted Cruz, a self-avowed Christian, has “tithed” only one percent of his income. Some in the media are insinuating that the Texas senator is a hypocrite.
Tithing, however, is a concept from what Christians regard as the Old Testament. It’s not that the Old Testament isn’t the Word of God. It is. But to correctly interpret the Old Testament Christians must read it in light of the New, in light of Christ.
And the fact of the matter is that Christ nowhere calls upon His disciples to “tithe.” Furthermore, 1 Corinthians states that believers should give “in keeping with [their] income” (16:2). The second book of Corinthians reads: “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (9:7).
A legalistic misreading of the Hebrew injunction to tithe that is now being exploited to convict Cruz of insincerity not only clashes with the spirit of the Christian law of charity; it isn’t even sufficiently legalistic!
The Old Testament commands multiple tithes: one for the Levites, one for the Temple and holidays, and one for the poor. So, what this means is that, if we insist upon adhering strictly to the letter of the law, Christians are required to give almost one-quarter—23.3 percent—of their earnings to charity.
(2)National Review recently held a symposium in which 22 self-declared “conservatives” criticized Donald Trump for his lack of conservative bona fides. This was intellectually dishonest for a variety of reasons. Yet since I already addressed these reasons at length here and here, for now I will note only two.
For starters, unlike every other GOP politician who runs for the presidency, Trump doesn’t tirelessly proclaim himself a “consistent conservative,” a “severe conservative,” or any other kind of conservative. NR doesn’t have the gotcha’ moment that it thinks it does.
Secondly, not only has NR never launched the kind of blitzkrieg against any other “moderate” or “socially liberal” Republicans that it now levels against Trump. For years—decades, actually—NR has actually endorsed one “conservative” pretender after the other, from Bush II to McCain to Romney.
(3).Trump has decided not to attend the GOP debate on January 28. Trump cites as his reason his distrust of Megyn Kelly. Whether this is a wise move or not, the response on the part of Trump’s critics—and make no mistakes about it, it is only either those who have been trying to sack Trump from the time he ascended to the head of the pack or those who are committed to Fox News who respond this way—has been patently disingenuous.
First, no one can seriously think that Trump is afraid of Megyn Kelly.
Secondly, no one can seriously think that Trump is afraid of Megyn Kelly.
Thirdly, no one can seriously think that Trump—Trump!—is afraid.
It’s precisely because Trump has shown more guts challenging the Politically Correct orthodoxy, the Republican/Democrat Axis, than that shown by all of his competitors and critics combined that he has managed to leave his competitors—all of his competitors, including whomever it is that is said to be in second place—in the dust.
For them to accuse him of being afraid, and afraid, of all people, of Kelly, is dishonest to the point of being offensive. Whatever else can be said of Trump, no one can accuse him of being gutless.
(4).And while we’re on the topic, the Megyn Kelly, Donald Trump brouhaha is another occasion to see the ugliness that politics can unleash.
That Trump is an egomaniac is obvious enough. But while his critics readily attest to this, what they fail to acknowledge is that it is only because of his egomania that Trump has set his sights on the presidency of the United States. In other words, Trump is an egomaniac among egomaniacs. The only difference between Trump and the rest is that he doesn’t try to hide it.
However, those in the media, particularly those with access to our egomaniacal politicians, are also egomaniacs.
Megyn Kelly is an egomaniac. In the first debate that opened the riff between her and Trump, Kelly had more speaking time than anyone else. Think about that: A moderator spoke more than any of the candidates (including Trump).
And though Kelly’s defenders credited her with asking “tough questions,” the problem that many of us had with that debate was that the moderators did not ask tough question. Instead, they asked questions worthy of a tabloid rag, sensationalistic, ratings-grabbing, gotcha’ questions. Kelly excelled at this. Without meaning to do so, even her colleague, Bill O’Reilly, inadvertently conceded this point during his “exclusive” interview with Trump on January 27.
On The O’Reilly Factor, the host—another egomaniac—admitted that while he would’ve asked Trump the same question regarding Trump’s past comments concerning some women, he would’ve framed the question differently than in the terms and manner in which Kelly cast it.
But that’s exactly what Trump and his legions of supporters had been griping about from day one!
Kelly, for her part, has been less candid than Trump has been about his feelings toward her, though it is painfully obvious that she disdains Trump.
Perhaps Trump should’ve let things go. Yet the point is that given their relationship, it makes perfectly good sense that he should want her gone from this next debate. If Trump’s uneasiness about Kelly indicates (and this is ludicrous) that he won’t be able to stand up to Putin, ISIS, etc. then the refusal of all of the candidates to debate on NBC indicates their inability to be president.
Let’s be honest.