Nationalism is the Future of the Republican Party

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Ronald Brownstein’s recent article in the Atlantic reveals that millennial, Republican pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson is losing faith in her party because of its growing nationalist wing. The cause for Anderson’s growing disillusion is real and reveals a genuine shift in the power behind the GOP. Instead of fearing and fighting the awakening giant of nationalism though, Anderson should embrace it in a way that doesn’t compromise their values.

Anderson is a very adept young woman who managed to strike success in Washington D.C. while still in college and is part of the millennial wave of data miners — or “data dummies” as Van Jones called them over the perception that they remain aloof from personal voter connection— who view themselves as the future of political management. She worked for eight years with the D.C.-based opinion research and communications firm the The Winston Group before co-founding Echelon Insights. After Barack Obama destroyed Mitt Romney with millennials in 2012 (which cost Romney the election), Anderson helped formulate a guideplan about what the Republican Party needed to do to capture the millennial vote in the future. In 2015, she released a book along the same lines: The Selfie Vote: Where Millennials are Leading America (and How Republicans Can Keep Up).

Anderson says she arrived on the right of the political spectrum after a history teacher in high school taught her class about the Cold War. “You had these examples of countries where the government had tried to manage the economy really intensely and it ended up being bad for the citizens there,” she said. “I found myself beginning to lean more right on economic issues.”

But, when Obama captured the imagination of the overwhelming majority of millennial voters in 2008, Anderson, like many right-leaning millennials made the mistake of thinking if only the GOP turned more leftward on social issues it could cut into the Democratic Party’s gains with young voters. This was the basis of the post-mortem guideplan: Grand Old Party for a Brand New Generation, which was based on polling and a number of post-election focus groups with millennial voters. When asked what came to mind when they thought of the Republican Party, one group of young, “winnable” Obama voters in January 2013, replied with words like “racist, rigid, and old-fashioned.”

Anderson sees the growing ethnic diversity in America as a prime reason why the GOP must change its tactics and even modify its message. Romney won the white millennial vote by seven percentage points, but lost the overall millennial vote by 23 points. Part of the reason for this is that more than 40 percent of the millennial population is non-white. Furthermore, most of the millennials that voted in the 2012 election leaned liberal on social and domestic issues like immigration, marriage, federalism, and government involvement in healthcare.

One key point though, about the 2013 guideplan, or any political guideplan formed post-election is voter turnout. The groups sampled were all voters in the 2012 election. Nearly half of eligible millennial voters didn’t vote, which is not uncommon for the under-30 demographic in any presidential election. In 2016, Trump managed to galvanize millions of Americans who have either never voted or haven’t voted in years out of frustration with their options. Many of these voters were millennials in middle America who either stayed home in 2012 or were too young to vote then.

While it’s true that the millennial generation is more liberal than their parents and grandparents’ generations, much of that is circumstantial. Millennials, more so than previous generations have been through a college education system that is ideologically geared toward churning out liberal foot soldiers. They also came of age during the worst recession since the Great Depression — a recession overseen by a Republican administration. Most also had greater aspirations for themselves and their country than spending trillions of dollars and thousands of lives, fighting endless wars to spread democracy. They overwhelmingly depart with the conventional, Cold War foreign policy that John McCain and Mitt Romney offered.

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Another factor to consider is that voters born after 1996, known as Generation Z could tend to be more conservative than millennials.

Professor Jeff Brauer of Keystone College, who has studied the political habits of this up-and-coming generation believes that unlike Millennials who mostly assimilated into the Democratic Party, Gen Z-ers tend to resemble libertarians or socially moderate fiscal conservatives.

There are several reasons for this generation being more conservative than the last. Part of it is the gig and freelance economy that has given them an entrepreneurial spirit that many millennials were only forced to discover as a means to pay off their college debt before they retire. According to Forbes, 77 percent Gen Z-ers earn their own spending money by doing“freelance work, a part time job, or earned allowance.”

Furthermore, these people have grown up on the internet and are much more likely to research an issue themselves and form their own opinion rather than take the word of a professor, politician, media pundit, or their favorite comedian. They also grew up under the unbelievably dull and economically-stagnating administration of the first minority president. So, all this millennial nonsense about white privilege kind of falls flat.

Last, but not least, they’ve gotten a front row seat to the decline and fall of what was once the world’s greatest university system. Most Gen Z-ers are not too anxious to go tens of thousands of dollars in debt to hear some aging hippie rant against his or her country’s history and tout the values of socialism, without at least being guaranteed a decent-paying job upon graduation.

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Anderson wonders “whether Donald Trump’s GOP has a place for people like her, who want a party that marries support for less government and robust national defense with a commitment to racial and social inclusion.” The problem though is that there aren’t enough Americans that want that policy combination to win a presidential election. That was proven in 2008 and 2012. Anderson and her fellow “moderates” got the candidates they wanted in John McCain and Mitt Romney and Obama drubbed both of them.

When one side gets its teeth kicked in twice in a row, it usually helps to find reinforcements the next time around – which is exactly what Trump did in 2016. He tapped into the silent, frustrated American majority that cares a lot more about rising healthcare premiums and economic opportunity for American citizens than statements or shows of racial and social inclusion. The overwhelming majority of voters on the right wanted a president who was going to put the country first at home and abroad, uphold the rule of law (i.e. crack down on border security and deport illegal immigrants), and stop trying to turn the U.S. into a social experiment.

The fact is, most people who want the government to make a big deal about racial and social inclusion also want a government that will commit to providing free college tuition, debt forgiveness, and free healthcare for all. The coalition that Anderson wants simply doesn’t exist.

According to Brownstein, she doesn’t want to join the Democrats, but is open to a potential third party with the Republican policies in the mold of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.

In 2016, the U.S. got the third way it had been craving for a long time. Trump is hardly a conservative. For many years, he supported Democrats. He is the most fiscally liberal Republican president since Theodore Roosevelt and he trounced Hillary Clinton with Independents. He was practically an independent that took over the Republican Party.

Anderson is disappointed that only one-in-four Republicans disagree with Trump’s response to Charlottesville. The shocker should be that a quarter of Republicans bought the media lie that Trump made a moral equivalence between fascists and anti-fascists. He didn’t. He made a moral equivalency in the violence perpetrated by both sides, which as dozens of videos on YouTube show, the leftist protesters started.

Moderation and ethnic inclusion are not antithetical to nationalism. The reason why the nation is seeing such a rise in ethnic separatism and white nationalism is because the Republican Party and the conservative movement as a whole have failed to forge an American nationalism that unites all patriotic citizens. In one of the New York Times’ recent attempts to discover whether Trump is an actual racist, Katrina Pierson, a black lady who was a spokeswoman for the Trump presidential campaign summed up this concept fantastically:

“Just because you’re a nationalist and you’re white doesn’t make you a white nationalist. Putting Americans first makes you a nationalist and in that case, I’m a nationalist. I think we should take care of our families and our children first.”

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Mankind is nationalistic by nature. The growing nationalism of Americans that found a voice in Donald Trump is not old or dying out — it’s growing stronger. The Democratic Party has already picked the politics of tribalism over Americanism and the Republican Party won’t win any brownie points from voters if it tries to keep playing Robin to the DNC’s ideals. People on the right aren’t going to support a party that just wants to lower the top income tax rate from 39 to 35 percent and pour another billion dollars into a bloated military. If it weren’t for the appeal of nationalism, Hillary Clinton would be president and the Republicans would be in the minority in Congress. If for no other reason, that shows that nationalism is the future of the GOP.

 

 

They Don’t Hate the Confederacy, They Hate America

imagesMost of the people fueling the outrage at the hundreds of Confederate memorials throughout the United States since the Charlottesville riot would just as soon pull down the monument of a Union general, or even a Founder of the nation. The issue at hand is not the right of state secession (an issue most of the historically illiterate anarchists have never studied), but whether the U.S. is legitimate nation.

President Donald Trump caught a firestorm of criticism from the media for condemning the violence that the white nationalists and the Left-wing counter-protesters engaged in because the media was incapable of understanding that he was creating a moral equivalency of their acts of violence, not their beliefs. It didn’t take long for the social justice warriors to take their hate and vitriol out on stone and marble structures, infamously pulling down a statue in Durham, North Carolina, resulting in numerous felony charges. Dozens of anti-Confederate protests on campuses and in cities across the nation have erupted since, and in Baltimore and Austin, authorities had Confederate monuments relocated under the cover of darkness.

But, is it really the Confederacy that gets under these people’s skin? As it turns out, the vandals who pulled down the Durham statue are not just concerned citizens who worry that the statue could be a rallying point for white supremacists. They were led by activists of the Workers World Party, a socialist organization dedicated to “fighting for a socialist revolution in the United States and around the world.”

So, they were, your basic boring Reds who didn’t get the memo that world socialism is so 20th century.

In Trump’s duel with the media on August 15, he pointed out that the hysteria over the Robert E. Lee statue is only a stepping stone. “I wonder,” he asked the Left-leaning media: “Is it George Washington next week, and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after?”

It didn’t take the cultural Marxists long to answer that question. Since the Charlottesville street fights, the monuments and memories of Christopher Columbus, Thomas Jefferson, and even the Great Emancipator himself Abraham Lincoln have come under attack. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is even appointing a special committee to look at the monument issue. One of the things that committee will consider is whether to dig up and relocate poor Union General Ulysses S. Grant, who also happened to be Lee’s nemesis over an anti-Semitic order that Grant gave once while under Lincoln’s command.

The fact is, those protesting the Confederate monuments have no love for the Union. They view the U.S. as an inherently racist and white supremacist nation the way Hilary Clinton described Trump’s “basket of deplorables:” irredeemable. Although history isn’t exactly their strong point, they understand that the views of the Confederates was not that different from those of the Union. They were all people of their age and their views on practically anything (including ethnicity) would have likely been more similar to foreigners of their time than to Americans in the 21st century.

The Charlottesville violence is simply an open window for these cultural revolutionaries. Their financial backers want an economic, socialist revolution and just like Antonio Gramsci, they understand the best way to bring that about is to facilitate a cultural revolution.

It’s much easier to get people to support the overthrow a system of government if you can convince them to hate the people who instituted that government.

 

 

What do Democratic Socialists Do about a Problem like Venezuela?

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British Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn still refuses to condemn Nicolas Madero’s government in Venezuela for its human rights violations and appears even less willing to admit that the Venezuelan socialist experiment has failed.

Corbyn’s neutrality on the violence in Venezuela, which has claimed 124 lives since April, recently drew criticism from Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Andrés Mejía. When asked about the violence in Venezuela, Corbyn replied that he condemned the violence “on both sides,” arguing that violence was not the way to solve Venezuela’s problems. This, despite the fact that the United Nations Human Rights Council has employed “widespread and systematic use” of excessive force, arbitrary detention and other rights violations against demonstrators and detainees.

Mejía told BBC Newsnight that Corbyn “really has to know what is going on here” to make such a statement. Mejía added that it is not only the government crackdown that is a problem, but the 20,000 people killed every year because of crime, disease, and food scarcity. He said, “violence has not been committed by both sides.” Mejía blamed the government for arming paramilitary groups who in turn have taken the lives of millions of people in his country. He added that the mothers and fathers of those who have been killed would love to speak with Corbyn and explain how their children, many of them only teenagers have been struck down by Maduro’s forces for peacefully protesting the direction of their country.

In 2013, Corbyn praised the socialist South American nation, saying, “We salute Chavez and the people of Venezuela for turning the clock of history full circle… I look forward to the development of Venezuela, the efficiency of Venezuela, in providing good services and decency for all the people of that country.” He was not alone among Western politicians on the Left to praise the Hugo Chavez disaster. In 2011, Vermont’s Senator Bernie Sanders stated, “These days, the American dream is more apt to be realized in South America, in places such as Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina…” On another occasion, Corbyn said, “Venezuela is seriously conquering poverty by emphatically rejecting neo-liberal policies.”

Praising Chavez’ left-wing populism has become cliché for many on the Left. American actor and filmmaker, Sean Penn claimed Chávez “did incredible things for the 80 percent of the people that are very poor.” Oliver Stone made a positive film about South American socialism and Michael Moore praised Chávez for eliminating 75 percent of extreme poverty. American philosopher, Noam Chomsky even credited Venezuela for creating a better world.

The dilemma Corbyn and many others on the Left face is the question of what to do when a perfect example of socialism implodes before their eyes.
Libertarians often claim no country has ever truly had a libertarian government and a complete, free-market economy, therefore no one can disprove their theory of government. Many Marxists also accuse the Soviet bloc and Asian equivalents of faux Marxism and argue that true Marxism has yet to be put into practice. But, democratic socialists cannot credibly make such an argument about their ideology. Corbyn, Sanders, and others who support government control over nearly every aspect of the economy have their example of populist, democratic socialism in Venezuela. They cannot credibly accuse Venezuela of being a bad example of democratic socialism when they themselves have eagerly praised it as such in the past. The only alternative is to reject their lifelong ideology as a insufficient to deal with human action and global markets and admit the error of their ways.

Corbyn chose neither to accuse Venezuela of corrupting socialism, nor to disavow his former support of the country’s government. He not only refused to recognize the crackdown on protesters, but doubled down on his praise for its economy saying, “we also have to recognize that there have been effective and serious attempts at reducing poverty, improving literacy and improving the lives of the poorest people.”

The Venezuelan government is responsible for political suppression and the deaths of hundreds of its people, not to mention the millions that have suffered through malnutrition, a precipitous drop in living standards, and crime. But, Venezuelans have not always known this level of poverty. Its per capita income in the 1970s was higher than Spain’s and it was among the ten richest countries in the world. Chavez used the nation’s oil wealth to create a massive welfare system, create price controls, and stifle private enterprise. Oil prices rose shortly after Maduro took control after Chavez’ death, which sent the country’s economy into a death spiral.

But, as Corbyn points out, the Venezuelan government has made “serious attempts” to help people, therefore in his logic, the government’s intentions must override its results.

Mejía’s criticism of Corbyn’s ignorance of the situation in Venezuela reveals the disconnect between those who praise democratic socialism and those who have to live with its destructive results. Promising free things through government coercion wins votes and accolades at home. But, as Corbyn’s response to the gripping poverty in Venezuela and Maduro’s increasing totalitarianism reveals, democratic socialists do not know how to handle the situation when a socialist experiment fail.

Vladimir Putin Opposes U.S. Fracking Because It Threatens Russia’s Oil & Gas Exports

Image via Oil and Gas People, goo.gl/V2c1Yz

Image via Oil and Gas People, goo.gl/V2c1Yz

Russian connections to anti-fracking activism in the United States underscore Russian President Vladimir Putin’s dedication to keeping Eastern Europe dependent on the oil and natural gas which flows from its state-owned energy giant, Gazprom. Russia has successfully stopped fracking efforts in Eastern Europe through phony environmentalist and media campaigns, and is now attempting to disrupt the surge in American natural gas production that is quickly bringing the U.S. into energy independence, and creating threatening unwanted competition for the Russian energy in Europe.

 

Exports from the U.S. via the oil and natural gas extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing – or “fracking” – poses a clear danger not only to Gazprom, but to the Russian government. One quarter of the regime’s revenues come from taxes paid by the energy giant, in which the government is a majority stakeholder. It is not surprising, then, that Gazprom is the only major energy company in the world to oppose the development of shale gas. For years its executives have claimed that fracking poses severe environmental risks; Alexander Medvedev, Gazprom’s executive chairman and head of Gazprom Export, has vowed that the Russian state and Gazprom are ready “to wage [ ] war on shale.”

While many former Soviet bloc countries in Eastern Europe have joined NATO and the European Union in an attempt to distance themselves from their Moscow, their overwhelming dependence on Russian energy imports has prevented them from achieving complete independence. Gazprom supplies 30 percent of the European Union’s natural gas, and during a 2009 dispute with Ukraine showed the world that it can make Europe shiver if it turns the spigots off.

European Union nations have repeatedly attempted to find ways to diversify their energy resources, but the powerful environmentalist factions in many countries have lobbied against increased oil and gas imports from the United States and elsewhere. Innocently or no, these groups have played into the hands of Gazprom. After Germans protested in an emotional meltdown when a 2011 tsunami disabled the power supply of three Japanese nuclear reactors, German Chancellor Angela Merkel did an about-face on nuclear energy. With the support of 80 percent of the Bundestag, or German parliament, she decided to phase out nuclear power in that country by 2022. This prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to jokingly tell the Germans:

I don’t understand how you will heat your houses. You don’t want the gas. You don’t develop nuclear energy. Are you going to heat with firewood? You also have to go to Siberia if you need firewood.

 

Continue reading http://tinyurl.com/ydysyex6

 

Personal Experience with Amtrak

I only recently rode Amtrak for the first time and must admit the United States could do much better in the area of rail travel.

Raised in a fairly nostalgic home environment, my childhood VHS entertainment featured a steady stream of black-and-white films like Young Tom Edison, Where the Red Fern Grows, North by Northwest, and of course a ton of Westerns. Trains have always represented adventure, suspense, and independence in my mind. In fact, some of the best action movies in history have involved suspenseful train scenes. Think of the Mission Impossible series, Money Train, From Russia with Love, and of course Skyfall. But, that’s for another post.

My desire to travel by train as a kid went largely unfulfilled as passenger train service had essentially died in the southern U.S. three decades before I was born.

Image from bootsnall.com

Now, I must admit before giving my full opinion on the nation’s passenger train monopoly, that European rail has thoroughly spoiled my expectations. I’ve traveled on nearly every form of European train, from sleeper cars, to German first class, to ex-communist-bloc clunkers with no plumbing (See image to the right), I expected Amtrak wouldn’t come near Western European standards. But, after my last Greyhound experience which included a ten-hour delay because of a station shooting in Richmond (a station where I was meant to have a healthy layover), having to pay $160 in Nashville (more than my entire round-trip ticket) to retrieve my truck after the incredibly rude Greyhound employees impounded it (their website contained no warning that parking was not available at the station), I had promised myself never to pay a cent to that poorly-run, antiquated dog .

Since, I was unwilling to pay the extra airfare for all the luggage and the bicycle I was taking along and willing to hitchhike from Birmingham to Washington D.C. before resorting to Greyhound, I decided to check Amtrak prices.

The price wasn’t bad – $160 one-way with two free suitcases with an extra $20 for the third. Taking along bikes are free with Amtrak, which was the deal-seller, since the much cheaper Megabus does not have room for them.

I arrived at the Birmingham station three hours before departure, hoping to shed my heavy, unwieldy luggage quickly. However, there were no Amtrak employees in sight and the window remained unmanned. After about an hour, I finally spotted one employee among the fifty or so passengers who were waiting in a filthy waiting room the size of a dentist office. I asked him where I should check in my luggage. He pointed down a hall that looked like it led to a time portal back to the 1950s and said to wait for the announcement to check them in. I walked down the hall which ended at a locked storage room door.

I walked back into the sweat box where the other passengers were quietly awaiting the time of their deliverance. The employee was gone.

I managed to maneuver the 200 lbs. of luggage into a corner that wouldn’t have been available if the bathrooms I was blocking had not been out of order.

No announcement ever came and my fellow passengers and I headed up to the tracks ten minutes before boarding. The controller naturally told me I needed tags for my luggage and I told him there was no employee at the window to do that.

“Well, it’s too late now,” he said glumly.

He told me they would have to be shipped the following day. I told him that was fine, but he promptly changed his mind. I went back to the station where the sole employee had reappeared. He quickly got me tags and took my bike while I dragged up my suitcases.

The train itself was something a passenger could naturally expect in Colombia, Mexico, El Salvador, Bosnia, or the United States (if said rider had survived Greyhound). The carpet was stained down the aisles with every dark color imaginable, the seats were stained where they weren’t ripped, and the windows looked like they hadn’t felt window cleaner in a year. The pace of travel was especially abysmal. On a bad day of traffic, it takes a law-abiding driver two hours to get from Birmingham to Atlanta. It took the relatively empty Amtrak train nearly eight hours; and since Anniston closed its station, that’s eight hours with no stops. Part of that is because unlike in other civilized countries, Amtrak has to stop for freight trains – often for thirty minutes at a time.

The pace and number of passengers picked up considerably once the train got north of Charlotte.

Sleep on the 22-hour ride was virtually impossible as the staff had the temperature turned down to what felt like 45 degrees.

Amtrak’s food service is actually quite good, although it can be a bit pricey. A full dinner runs $16 – $24 and breakfast $7 – $12, although if one wants to go continental, it can be even cheaper.

Despite the obvious shortage of staff, funds, and infrastructure, the negative aspects of the government-owned company never appeared to dampen the spirits of the employees. The staff consisted of the friendliest, most hospitable, and most helpful transportation employees I’ve ever encountered. One of the controllers immediately took me to a better seat after the debacle with my luggage. Also, despite overhearing them complain among themselves of having to work 70 – 80-hour weeks, they were always eager to help and make customers’ journey as pleasant as possible. Amtrak’s employees, at least from my lone experience appear to match and even exceed any flight crew of any major airline in customer service and work ethic.

Other than freezing all night, the trip was largely pleasant. The WIFI which Amtrak wisely undersells was surprisingly reliable.
I read on the way up that more than 80% of Amtrak trains are late. Mine arrived about two and a half hours behind schedule.

Amtrak is not a dying entity as many make it out to be – at least not yet. It suffers from a lack of interest on the part of American politicians. Their constituents have grown up without easy train access and don’t realize the convenience they’re missing. Trains have always been a lower, middle class means of transportation in Western countries and most politicians come from the upper middle class if they are not outright wealthy. They naturally have little interest in allocating their own tax dollars toward a means of transportation that they will never use. The federal government, despite pouring tens of billions of dollars every year into roads, cannot seem to do little more than slow down the roads’ rate of deterioration. Airlines have attempted to fill the void of good roads, good bus lines, and a good, affordable train system. The result has been smaller seats and less comfort and as a recent case with Delta showed, very poor customer service.

Despite only getting 2.2% of federal transportation subsidies in 2017, Amtrak has managed to survive as a national embarrassment with a small, overworked, though over-paid staff, dirty cars, and infrequent and slow service. Despite the claim that the very fact Amtrak still exists is because of The very fact that it is still around is a testament to plump, government subsidies as anti-Amtrak advocates would have budget-conscious Americans believe is simply not true. There is a continuing demand for passenger rail service.

The workers I encountered were incredibly pleasant and seemed to thoroughly like working with people and enjoy their job, despite the outrageous hours.

As I intend this to only be a summary of my personal experience with Amtrak, I won’t go into the reasons why Amtrak receives so little federal funding when compared to the massive subsidies and funding that airports and highways receive.

The government’s treatment of Amtrak is like parents pouring thousands of dollars into clothes for their daughter and then telling everyone that their son just doesn’t have the sense of fashion like little Suzie – while failing to mention that little Johnny has to make do with his $50 gift card he receives at Christmas.

The following are a few excellent pieces on some of the problems with Amtrak, and proposals to improve passenger train service in the U.S. My personal two cents is that the government should treat rail transportation the same way it treats air and highway travel. Privatize and heavily subsidize!

http://www.heritage.org/report/the-presidents-proposal-de-fund-amtrak-will-force-the-railroad-adopt-needed-reforms

http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre2002101800

http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/15/politics/shuster-defends-amtrak-spending/index.html

https://qz.com/409824/yes-amtrak-was-sabotaged-by-congress/

 

 

 

Son of God: It isn’t the Gospels on film.

thCAE87EG1How do you depict the life of Jesus in under three hours and still convey to millions of viewers His eternal existence, virgin birth, ministry, miracles, death, resurrection and ascension? Son of God accomplishes just that in 2 hours 18 minutes. The 1977 miniseries Jesus of Nazareth, considered by many to be the greatest cinematic depiction of Jesus was more than six hours long.[1] But, modern, twenty-first century adults with underdeveloped attention spans are not going to sit in a theater for even half that time to watch a story they already know.

Beginning with the opening scene of the Apostle John on the Isle of Patmos, producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey leave no question where they stand on the issue of Biblical creation. John opens up with John 1:1, going further to explain The Word was there when God created Adam and Eve, when Eve ate the forbidden fruit, when God destroyed the world and spared Noah, when He chose Abraham, when Moses led His people out of Egypt, and was there when David slew Goliath. The establishment of Christ’s divinity and eternity from the very start is essential, since so much of the rest of the movie focuses so deeply on His humanity.

Son of God flies, but drags by at the same time as selected scenes of Jesus’ ministry are presented piecemeal in anticipation of the crucifixion. The life of Jesus is really too much material to cover in one feature-length film and because of this it can seem a little boring at times. On the musical front, Hans Zimmer does not disappoint and any lull in the action is quickly compensated for by the superb soundtrack that makes this by far the best musical accompaniment of all time to a movie on the life of Jesus. The special effects were decent to say the least. The digital reconstruction of Solomon’s Temple was good for The History Channel’s “Bible” series, but leaves the technologically spoiled movie brat a little unimpressed when viewing it on the big screen.

The movie did have its moments though, such as the way Jesus handles the Pharisee when he heals the lame man let through the roof. After being accused of blasphemy for forgiving the man’s sins, He gives the Pharisee the message of “oh, you don’t like me forgiving his sins do you? Why don’t I heal him while I’m at it?”

The scene when Jesus calls Matthew, the tax-collector to be his follower is particularly moving. It opens with a file of Jewish tax-collectors cheating their own people and the same Pharisee expressing his disgust for the Jewish traitors. Jesus then steps in and relates the parable of the self-righteous Pharisee and publican at prayer. Matthew rises under grave conviction and just as Jesus arrives at the part where the publican prays; with tears streaming down both cheeks, Matthew finishes the rest of “God be merciful to me a sinner.”

The Garden of Gethsemane scene is also quite creative as it cuts from Jesus praying in the garden, to Caiaphas praying in the Temple, to Pilate and his wife praying to their gods in the palace.

Ironically, the best acting is performed by those portraying the antagonists, but for this a good bit of credit can be given to the screenwriting. The bald Fraser Ayres’ portrayal Barabas, giving the aura of a thuggish, nationalist skinhead is a stroke of genius. Adrian Schiller as Caiaphas, gives the impression of an evil, corrupt ruler who is out to silence the “peasant” who’s “stirring things up.” The casting of Diogo Morgado as Jesus caused many to complain about Morgado not being a Jew. But, it is simply not reasonable to expect directors to find actors of the same ethnicity for every role they cast. Moreover, Morgado was not the only ethnic discrepancy. Black African actors portrayed both the man who bore Jesus’ cross and one of the wise men from the East. Simon of Cyrene was most likely a Jew who had come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover and the wise men from the east who were probably Medes and Persians, present-day Kurds and Iranians.[2]

Morgado successfully conveys many of the characteristics of Jesus, such as compassion, love, and gentleness; but to such an extent that it takes away from Jesus’ authority which the Bible says He spoke with when He taught and especially affects the scene when Jesus overturns the money changers’ tables pic– probably the most pathetic scene of the entire movie. Jesus is portrayed heartbroken as he effortlessly turns over a few tables and weakly confronts the Pharisees before walking out of the Temple with His disciples. This plays into the hands of false teachers who claim Jesus was nothing more than a Jewish reformer who, disgusted with the corruption of the synagogues and Judaism of His day, broke away with His followers and formed another sect of the Jewish religion.

This is in stark contrast to what actually happened. Both Matthew and Mark record Jesus running the money changers out of the Temple and Mark tells us He “would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.” Whether He personally, physically threw them out and barred them from reentering, did so with the help of His disciples, or the money changers feared His thousands of followers is not given to us in Scripture and would certainly have been interesting to see played out in a movie director’s imagination. But, a scene like that wouldn’t fit in too well with the nice-guy image of Jesus that the movie seeks to portray.

The lack of chronological accuracy is immediately observable to any viewer who has read the Gospels. This included the couple of old ladies sitting in front of me in the theater who during the entire duration of the movie felt the film would not be complete if they didn’t comment  to one another during every single scene on the inaccuracies of that particular sequence’s portrayal.

For starters, Simon Peter is alone when Jesus multiplies thie fish in Peter’s boat and when calls him to be His disciple. Whereas in the Bible, (Mt. 4:18-20, Mark 1:16-18) Peter and his brother Andrew were together when Jesus called them. But, assuming the film is basing the choosing of Peter off Luke’s depiction in which Andrew is not mentioned (5:1-11), James and John are notably absent and the movie makes it look as if Jesus was a complete stranger to Peter. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus had already healed Simon’s mother-in-law in the previous chapter and was in Simon’s boat to begin with because He had been preaching out of it.

Another example of shoddy chronology is when Jesus reads from Isaiah and tells those in the synagogue: “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” This scene appears toward the middle of the film, whereas in Luke, it happened before the miracle in Peter’s boat.

But, it doesn’t end there. As Jesus and His disciples are being chased away from the synagogue, one of the Pharisees tells Jesus of John the Baptist’s death and warns that if He doesn’t watch it, he’ll be next. Since King Herod is completely removed from the movie, including during Jesus’ trial, they apparently had to come up with some way to explain John’s death, but making it look as if the Pharisees killed John is plain irresponsible. But, it gets even more bizarre. Jesus acts shocked and goes and sits sorrowfully under a tree with His disciples and then tells them “John was the greatest teacher I ever knew.” Presumably this is supposed to be an offshoot of Luke 7:24-28 which Jesus said about John while he was still alive.[3]

The movie is strewn with numerous little inaccuracies like these that make anyone with minimal Biblical knowledge cringe.

But, before writing Son of God off as another Last Temptation of Christ or Jesus Christ Superstar, Christians should remember why the film was made to begin with and whom it was made for. Burnett and Downey admit the entire movie does not follow the Gospels accurately.  Burnett clarified that they’re not pastors and are not qualified to teach, but are qualified to “make an emotional connection.” Like Jesus’ parables, Burnett said “this film needs to stand alone so that those who had not read the gospels would be compelled to seek more.”[4]

All too often, movie-goers expect a two-hour movie based off a book that took them ten hours to read to accurately depict every sequence of the story exactly how they imagined it while reading. They then walk away from the cinema disappointed that the producers and director don’t have the same imagination they do. This is only amplified for Bible-based movies because unlike The Lord of the Rings or The Hunger Games, the events in the Bible not only happened they deal with and were inspired by the Creator of the universe.

But, Son of God isn’t the Gospels on film. It’s an emotional tool intended to draw people to Christ. For instance, if a lost sinner understands the gospel message in church and becomes a follower of Christ, it’s of little consequence whether the preacher mentioned in his sermon that Pilate sent Jesus to Herod before having Him crucified.

          Son of God is not another Passion of the Christ. It has neither the budget, nor the renowned director and suffers from having to cram the entire Biblical story into one movie. But, as an emotionthCAM3FCWPal tool to depict what Christ did for us, encourage believers to live as Christians and urge heathens to be believers, it succeeds. While there are many chronological flaws and a few rings of false doctrine, such as Joseph and Mary acting surprised when the wise men bow down and worship Jesus, the basic message that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” and that He “is the Way, the Truth, and the Life” is amplified from the opening scene of St. John on the Isle of Patmos, to Jesus’ reappearing to Him on that same Isle after John has related Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection to the viewer.

This is definitely a movie that Christians should do their best to convince their unbelieving friends to see. Their friends will most likely walk away unconvinced and seemingly unmoved. Jesus was just a cool hippie they’ll say who was murdered by a bunch of religious zealots and Roman tyrants. But, like Pilate’s memorable line in the film “He’ll be forgotten in a week” rings so untrue today, so too an unbeliever is not likely to be as uninterested in Jesus a week after viewing Son of God as he or she was a week before seeing it.


[1] Britt Gillette, “Jesus Of Nazareth (Movie Review),” ezinarticles, February 25, 2006, http://ezinearticles.com/?Jesus-Of-Nazareth-(Movie-Review)&id=152171.

[2] Christian Violatti, “Cyrene,” Ancient History Encyclopedia, December 30, 2010, http://www.ancient.eu.com/cyrene/

[4] Tyler, O’Neil, “Burnett and Downey Talk ‘Son of God’s’ Profound Impact: Address Critics on Biblical Inaccuracies,” The Christian Post, March 6, 2014, http://www.christianpost.com/news/burnett-and-downey-talk-son-of-gods-profound-impact-address-critics-115676/.