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  • Reverend James Squire



I remember as a child told not to point a finger at someone else to blame as there are three fingers pointing back at you meaning that the blamer has three times more to blame. Jesus put it simply to those discussing sin as “He who is without blame should cast the first stone.” (John 8:7)


Somehow Trump and the Maga Republicans and other people advocating Christian Nationalism forgot about this important verse.


In ethics there are two schools of thought that deal with unintended consequences of criticizing other people regarding their actions. Jesus and parents talking to their own children had it right. Utilitarian doctrine and Dewey’s Decision-Making Steps point to the importance of unintended consequences. Consequentialism says choices should be made while always considering unintended consequences as well. They are as important as the choice. The second step of Dewey’s Decision-Making steps states that all consequences should be considered with the same importance as the choice. It is step number 2 right up there with the people who are affected which is step 1.  


Let’s put these ethical guidelines against recent issues in the news about Trump and Maga World. Instead of giving stars, we will simply put one, two, or three fingers indicating their words and unintended consequences. Three being the worst.


An Oklahoma Republican State Senator, Tom Woods, regarding the transgender student who died a few days ago and the bills restricting transgender people’s rights commented at a public forum, “Those people are filth!” He went on to say, “Remember we are a Christian state.” (Three Fingers)


At the recent CPAC meeting, it began by a leader saying, “Welcome domestic terrorists. We are here to destroy democracy (followed by a robust laugh). He held up a cross and said, “This is our new government.” Those in attendance beyond Trump were your usual suspects included wannabe Vice President Stefanik. (Three fingers)


Trump’s words, “I am just like Navalny. I am a political prisoner.” (Three Fingers)


Every other outrageous thing that Trump has said that produces no outrage from the Maga Republic Party. (Three fingers) One of my closest friends is a thoughtful Republican who is beside herself that the Republican Party no longer exists. She represents the Republican Party whose platform was robust and eloquently described their policies. We need two strong political parties. People forget the unintended consequences of what the current Maga movement has done to people who have lost their political home. (Three Fingers)


The Supreme Court of Alabama just indicated that IVF entities that are not used and discarded is equivalent to killing them. They have suggested that they be saved and given to others. They can’t see the unintended consequences to that suggestion. You will never know where (your child) is in someone else’s womb. I know several women who have gone through this process and the pain that wanting a child and not being able to conceive weighs on them. Beyond that it is expensive and a process that is not for the faint of heart. Now IVF clinics in Alabama (and elsewhere) don’t know the legal ramification of this recent attack on a women’s right to decide about her own body. Notice how Trump and Republicans pounced on this with quick response abandoning their concerns about when children are a human. Look at the unintended consequences of the overturning of Roe V. Wade. It is one of the best examples as no one in that world was prepared for the unbelievable amount of change that was warranted. Both issues are about how Trump and the Maga Republicans can find the language to have people forgetting about these actions so that THEY CAN GET THE VOTE. (Three Fingers)


The Supreme Court voted against not permitting Trump on the ballot because it is about a person’s rights. It was also about the impracticality of doing such. How is that different in unintended consequences with overturning Roe V. Wade?   (Three Fingers)


Supreme Court Justice Thomas (and his wife) have lived a rather upscale lifestyle with all sorts of money flowing his way. He didn’t know that was wrong. Nothing has been done except a new ethics bill. What about the old crimes repeated over and over. The unintended consequence that when our institutions are under attack and nothing is done, causes the court to have the lowest approval rating in many years. That is their unintended consequence. They lack credibility. (Three Fingers)


Today economists have demonstrated that the reason for the incredible increase in our economy is a direct response to the fact of the work of the migrant population that Trump has called a major threat. Trump has also said that if he isn’t elected that the stock market will crash. Wall Street is still laughing at that. (Three Fingers)


Finally, speaking of fingers there is something else, and it is the middle finger that has come more frequently used. It wasn’t used much in my lifetime or in my days at EA. Now it has become routine for some. Maybe it wasn’t done in front of me.


It has become a vulgar representation such as the F bomb which has increased in use. I wrote blog was about the easy use of that word which I feel says something about our growing lack of civility. So, from an ethical standpoint, it is never appropriate to use the middle finger even against people who communicate the issues that are spoken by Maga and Trump. Ethics always requires us to not do the easy wrong but the hard right. Even in Jesus’ quotation of “who shall cast the first stone,” he was calling for a culture that lifts the rights of all and speaks directly to people who would think about demeaning others. It is simply but profoundly called equality and the golden rule. “Will you cast the first stone?” That is a message that the Christian nationalists, Maga Republicans, and Trump have not taken seriously. It’s up to us to demonstrate a better way. The Middle finger is one action that doesn’t speak louder than words.

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