The Devil in the Details


During the second presidential debate Sunday night in St. Louis, Donald Trump referred to Hillary Clinton as “the devil.” The context in which Trump applied that label was the derisive campaign the Obamas waged against Hillary in 2008 and the seemingly uneasy support for Hillary’s current campaign by former foe Bernie Sanders.

Trump pointed out that Wikileaks revelations exposed the secret dealings of Debbie Wasserman Schultz and other members of the Democrat National Committee to help Hillary win the primary race against Sanders. That process was rigged against Sanders as it has been against Trump, and Trump expressed surprise that Sanders was supporting Clinton, that Sanders had “signed on with the devil.”

It is surprising that Sanders signed on with Clinton. At heart, Sanders has more in common with Trump, not in socialistic policy proposals, but in their mutual desire to take down the establishment and provide for Americans first, especially the common man. That’s why so many of Sanders’ supporters have expressed a preference for Trump over Clinton. It’s why many of them will vote for Trump.

Is Hillary Clinton the devil?

Trump used the word figuratively, despite media efforts to declare that Trump meant Hillary was literally the devil. While Hillary appears diabolical to me and to many others, she is not the devil. We must give the devil his due: no one is him. He is the “god of this world” and the “prince of this world” and “the prince of the power of the air” who presides over all that is anti-God, anti-good, anti-life, anti-love, anti-light.

The devil is the accuser and the slanderer, “the father of lies” who was “a murderer from the beginning.” Historical and contemporary figures who perform the same kind of prevarication and detraction and killing that the devil does are like the devil or are devils in the mold of the original, but they are NOT the devil. That’s why Jesus says in the gospel of the Pharisees, “You are like your father, the devil!”

If the devil accuses human beings strictly as a prosecutor who seeks justice, he does no wrong, if indeed he has been given that office and not taken over it on his own. If he accuses falsely and maliciously to harm human beings, then his accusations become slander. They are malicious because he only wants to bring attention to their wrongs. They are malicious and injurious because the sole purpose of the accusations is to obtain a verdict of damnation, not to achieve justice. They are false because Jesus Christ has already taken the blame for each human person’s spiritual crimes. Judgment was executed upon him. A new state of being exists in which every person who dies forgiven owns a clean slate.

Does the bickering and do the accusations that fly in a political campaign constitute slander? Possibly. It isn’t always easy to see where the bright line exists in the political debate between necessary relevant information and detraction provided to disgrace an opponent and damage his chances for victory.

The intent of the accuser matters in a determination of his ethos or character. The way listeners reflect, evaluate, judge, and use the information determines their character.

So is Hillary Clinton a devil?

In light of her extensive history to which she herself points, in light of what has been reported about her email failure and the falsehoods she affirmed to cover it up, in light of what we know about the operation and effect of the Clinton Foundation, and in light of the documents Wikileaks has disclosed the last few days and at other times during this extended campaign, how would you answer that question?

To what do all those details point? Will you find the devil in them?

Tomorrow, we will take a closer look at the ethos of Hillary Clinton. We will use certain standards to evaluate information and render a rational, intellectual judgment.

Thanks for reading.


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