Current Events Write-Up: Travel Ban, Gorsuch, Mary Tyler Moore, and More

Time for another Current Events Write-Up, where I link to news and opinion pieces and comment on them.

The Travel Ban

I really didn’t want to write about the Travel Ban.  I feel a variety of emotions about it, and these emotions are conflicting.  I feel sickness at the ban on account of the innocent people it is affecting; annoyance at the progressives who are challenging the ban; admiration for those who are challenging the ban, since that perhaps can lead to the ban being reformed; and a recognition that the ban is an attempt to address a problem.

This National Review article by David French did an effective job in explaining what the ban was trying to solve and comparing the ban to previous policies on refugees and travel.

There were articles about the negative effects of the ban on business and science (see here and here).  Maybe these negative effects are becoming ironed-out, depending on the location.  Still, what I found ironic was this: Many right-wingers have said that we should welcome educated immigrants who will contribute to America, rather than those who will drain the country’s resources.  But here are educated immigrants who are contributing to America, and the travel ban was having a negative impact on them.

Various right-wing sites are saying that prominent Democrats—-Democrats who are prominent even today—-were against allowing South Vietnamese refugees and immigrants into the U.S. during the Ford Administration.  These Democrats feared that these refugees would drain the system, in a time when there were Americans who needed employment and help.  Some of the right-wing sites referred to a 2007 NPR interview of Julia Taft, who headed President Gerald Ford’s Inter-Agency Task Force on Indochinese Refugee Resettlement.  Here is that interview.  And here is an article about the Vietnamese refugees.

But we can point out the inconsistencies and hypocrisy of both sides (left and right) all day.  The question should be, “What is the right thing to do?”  That is a difficult question.  I agree with a biblical scholar who said that, from a Christian standpoint, there are a variety of biblical considerations that may be relevant to this situation: compassion for the refugees, wisdom in maintaining the country’s security, and even love for enemies.  I would add the consideration of faith in God: should we let the refugees in out of compassion and trust that God will protect us?  Faith can entail risk.  I do not know the answers to these questions.  I have been annoyed, though, by progressive Christians who bombastically declare that you cannot be a Christian and support turning away refugees.  I agree that being a Christian should entail compassion for everyone, including refugees.  But the progressive Christians are over-simplifying the issue, and acting as if they are profound as they do so.

Neil Gorsuch

President Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to be a Supreme Court justice.  Of course, there are progressives who are concerned that he is too right-wing.  Maybe he is on the conservative side, but I think that there are reasons for progressives to be optimistic.

First, according to this Politico article, Gorsuch defers to the law when it comes to regulations, not agencies’ tendency to apply regulations as they see fit.  Could that run contrary to President Trump’s desire to de-regulate?

Second, Keal Katyal, who was acting Solicitor General in the Obama Administration, encourages liberals to support Gorsuch, and one reason is that Gorsuch has decided in ways that favor immigrants.

Third, Gorsuch opposed a cop arresting a student who was burping in class.  Could that inclination lead him to oppose police overreach, including police abuse of minorities?

Fourth, Lawrence Pratt of Gun Owners of America and attorney William Olson argue that Gorsuch has compromised on the Second Amendment.  I have reservations about Gorsuch’s stance in the case that they discuss: what the police did strikes me as overreach, which I criticized above (not that I am a lawyer)!  Still, maybe Gorsuch is not a knee-jerk gun rights advocate.

Mary Tyler Moore

Actress Mary Tyler Moore passed on.  According to Michael Trinklein, who interviewed Moore, Moore was not exactly a devotee of Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem.  Moore was all for expanding opportunities for women in the work place, but Moore also was concerned that Friedan and Steinem were dismissing the importance of mothers raising their children.  Trinklein also suggests that Mary Tyler Moore’s sunny demeanor on her show was a contrast to that of Friedan and Steinem.


There was sad news this past week.  A drone in Yemen killed an 8-year old girlAnd Trump seems to support assisting the rebels in Syria.  I was hoping that Trump would move America away from that sort of interventionist foreign policy.  Sadly, I may be mistaken.

Trump critics were making a federal case about Melania frowning at Trump’s inauguration, as if she was upset at something Trump said.  This article at the Federalist offers an alternative interpretation, which strikes me as reasonable.

White House staffer Omarosa Manigault debated the hosts of The View.  In my opinion, Omarosa crossed the line when she expressed hope that Joy would find a man in her life: that struck me as a put-down disquised as an expression of hope.  Still, I appreciated some things that Omarosa had to say.  Omarosa contrasted President Obama’s approach to the inner-cities with the approach that she says President Trump will take.  According to Omarosa, Trump has a more strategic approach, whereas Obama assumed that addressing the nation’s problems will take care of the inner-cities.  Omarosa also talked about the tragic death of her brother.

Right-wing columnist John Hawkins answered twenty questions that liberals had for him.  I do not agree with everything Hawkins said in that piece, especially on public assistance.  I wish that he expressed more appreciation for the challenges that many people have when it comes to becoming financially self-supporting.  At the same time, I was intrigued by his discussion of Steve Bannon: how there are people he respects who criticize Bannon, and people he respects who praise Bannon.

The AP:  “California’s governor wants courts to stop suspending driver’s licenses because of unpaid traffic fines.  Gov. Jerry Brown says the practice hurts those who can’t afford to pay and doesn’t help the state collect. Brown calls for ending the practice as part of his budget proposal.”

I agree with Governor Brown on this.  We should consider the impact policies have on the poor and the economically struggling.


About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. I study the History of Biblical Interpretation at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio, as part of its Ph.D. program. I have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting.
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