Jesus’ Parents and Roy Moore’s Gall

When Zeigler was asked by The Washington Examiner about an allegation that the Senate candidate Roy Moore initiated sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl when he was 32, Zeigler cited the biblical couple to say, essentially: No biggie! This is as old as Christianity.

“Take Joseph and Mary,” he explained. “Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus. There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a little bit unusual.” He made it sound as if Moore were some religiously inclined analogue to those military-history enthusiasts who dress in the uniforms of yesteryear to travel back to the Revolutionary War. Moore was merely re-enacting the New Testament in the name of lust.

It’s worth pointing out that there is something illegal here: A 14-year-old girl is below the age of consent in Alabama, and that was true as well four decades ago, when the incident is alleged to have occurred. It’s also worth pointing out that Jesus supposedly arrived via virgin birth, so Joseph’s interactions with Mary up until that point may have been considerably more G-rated and gallant than in Zeigler’s version.

It’s further worth pointing out that millenniums ago, girls were treated as chattel and sold off as child brides, a practice that no one in his or her right mind would regard as inspirational and cite as an exonerating precedent.

.. If I sound bitter, I am, because they have long been among the principal purveyors of hatred for gay people like me. They’re a big reason that so many of us grew up terrified that we’d be ostracized, wondering if there was something twisted in us and confronted with laws that treated us as second-class citizens. We were supposedly in moral error, and thus deserved a lesser lot.

.. In 2002 he called sexual relations between people of the same gender “an act so heinous that it defies one’s ability to describe it.” 

.. Although Christianity as I understand it doesn’t smile on the florid lying, womanizing, hypersexual vocabulary and assorted cruelties that have been prominent threads in Donald Trump’s life, Moore and many other evangelical Christians spared Trump their censure. I understand their motivation to vote for him: abortion. But that didn’t compel them to remain so mum about his misdeeds or summon the adoration that some of them did. (I’m looking at you, Jerry Falwell Jr.)

Can a Free Mind Survive in Trump’s White House

Colonel McMaster had spent the first two years of the war at Central Command under General John Abizaid, trying to get their boss, Donald Rumsfeld, the Defense Secretary, to acknowledge that America was fighting an insurgency in Iraq. Rumsfeld refused to admit it, because it went against his high-tech approach to the global war on terror. He would fax McMaster pages from Che Guevara’s memoirs to prove that Iraq didn’t fit the classical definition.

.. McMaster believed that a counterinsurgency strategy—putting the focus on securing the population and bringing economic development, not just killing the enemy—could turn things around.

.. He sent his troops into the city and kept them there, establishing connections with local leaders and Iraqi Army units, gathering intelligence on the jihadis, providing security in the streets, and showing that the Americans—appearances throughout the country notwithstanding—were not abandoning Iraq to its warring factions.

.. it failed strategically because it could not resolve the basic struggle for political power between sectarian groups. As McMaster told me again and again, counterinsurgency is eighty per cent political.

.. He could also be tough on his men, who did not universally love him.

.. McMaster was too intellectually rambunctious for his own good.

.. Lieutenant General McMaster has a lot of faith in American power, especially military power.

.. I imagine that he would shake his head over the conspiracy theories about Muslims that held Flynn spellbound.

.. I wasn’t surprised to learn from a mutual friend that McMaster considered his new boss’s ban on refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries to be heinous and self-defeating.

The national-security adviser has to master three fundamental things.

  1. He has to stay on top of fast-moving events around the world while helping to develop long-term American strategy across regions and issues.
  2. He has to allow the views of the key national-security officials in Washington to reach the President in an honest and independent way.
  3. And he has to win the trust of the President himself

.. Will he have the bureaucratic skill to outmaneuver the long knives of Steve Bannon and his shadow National Security Council?