Sunday, December 30, 2018


©Wendell Griffen, 2018
Justice Is a Verb!
December 30, 2018

In my December 26, 2018 post I declared that the House Judiciary Committee should hold an impeachment hearing concerning whether President Donald Trump has committed “high crimes and misdemeanors.  I write now to respond to concerns about that position. 

President Trump’s supporters do not believe impeachment proceedings are warranted.  They object to his impeachment the same way they condemn and denounce the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller concerning whether Mr. Trump and his associates engaged in criminal activity related to the 2016 presidential election.

Trump’s supporters also condemn and denounce the lawsuits filed against him in federal court.  Those lawsuits allege that he is violating the ban on emoluments expressed at Article I, Section 9.8 to the federal Constitution which declares that “…no person holding any office or profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.”  [Mr. Trump owns a hotel near the White House that is regularly patronized by foreign governments and others who seek favorable treatment from his administration.]

Others who either disagree with President Trump’s policies or who may be offended by his personal and business conduct hold serious reservations about whether impeachment is politically expedient.  Those persons doubt that the Republican majority in the Senate would vote to convict Mr. Trump even if the House of Representatives votes in favor of articles of impeachment recommended by the House Judiciary Committee.  Among other things, they are concerned that Trump would use the impeachment controversy and spectacle to stoke support for his re-election campaign in 2020. 

Another concern is that if Trump is impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate, Vice President Pence would become President, and then pardon Trump the way President Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon after Nixon’s resignation in the face of impeachment proceedings surrounding his efforts to obstruct investigation of the Watergate scandal.  These observers prefer that Trump and Pence be voted out of office in 2020 rather than risk a Pence presidency.

Here’s my rejoinder to these and other objections to impeaching President Trump:  appendectomy. 

When the human appendix is infected with bacteria and inflamed, doctors know that an emergency exists that requires surgical removal of the infected appendix.  It is medical malpractice for a doctor to examine a patient, confirm that the patient has appendicitis (inflammation of the appendix), and release the patient with a prescription to relieve pain associated with appendicitis. 

Appendectomy, a common emergency surgery, is the long-recognized and accepted way to treat appendicitis. Patients recover from that routine surgical procedure and go on to live well for a simple reason.  The human body does not need an appendix to function normally or well. 

More to the point, the human body is threatened by an infected appendix.  A pus-filled appendix will rupture if it is not surgically removed.  The ruptured appendix then discharges bacteria into the abdominal cavity which requires emergency appendectomy followed by aggressive treatment with antibiotics to save the patient’s life.  In some cases, a ruptured appendix can lead to death. 

Donald Trump’s presidency is the political equivalent of appendicitis for the United States.  However much his supporters and detractors dislike it, Trump’s impeachment is the political equivalent of an appendectomy for the nation because Trump’s political incompetence and personal corruption has infected the presidency with pus-filled policies and practices that threaten domestic, national, and global well-being.   

The nation does not need sedatives from politicians and pundits, be they Trump supporters or Trump opponents.  We need surgery.  The infected appendix called the Trump presidency must be surgically removed before it ruptures and threatens our survival. 

We should stop hoping that heaven will deliver us from Trump’s poisonous presidency and personality.  In the Biblical account of the Exodus, God told Moses to use the staff in his hand when Moses complained that Egyptian chariots threatened his people as they stood on the shore of the Red Sea (Exodus 14:15-16).  Impeachment is the tool in our hand.  It won’t work unless we use it. 

That is why the House Judiciary Committee should schedule and conduct public hearings on impeachment.  If hearings demonstrate that President Trump has committed treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors, the Judiciary Committee should issue Articles of Impeachment.  If a majority of the House votes to approve Articles of Impeachment, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell must convene the Senate as jurors.  Chief Justice John Roberts must preside over Trump’s trial.  If two-thirds of the Senators vote for conviction, Chief Justice Roberts must declare President Trump ousted from office.  That process requires human competence and courage, not divine intervention. 

The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate must, like emergency room physicians, think about what is best for the patient.  Donald Trump is not the patient.  Partisan political loyalists are not the patient.  The 2020 election outcome is not the patient.  The patient is the democratic republic known as the United States of America. 

That patient is threatened by the pus-filled appendix known as Donald Trump’s presidency.  The nation can survive without that appendix if the House and Senate will act the way responsible doctors routinely act. 

We can’t survive if the medical team won’t use competent and courageous judgment and do their job. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2018


©Wendell Griffen
Justice Is A Verb!
December 26, 2018

During the first month of Donald Trump’s presidency I penned and posted an essay to this blog titled Explaining Donald Trump in One Word.  The word I used and defined in that essay was “psychopath.”  Here is a link to that essay:

Almost two years later, President Trump has demonstrated to people in the United States and throughout the world that he is mentally, socially, politically, and behaviorally unstable.  Granted, Trump’s fanatic followers (his “base”) of white religious nationalists, white supremacists, free market capitalists, and personal and political sycophants consider Trump a fit leader.  The rest of us recognize that Trump is corrupt to the core. 

President Trump is a classic example of “a loose cannon.”  He is a “loose cannon” about truth.  He is a “loose cannon” about ethics.  “He is a “loose cannon” when dealing with US politicians (including those from his own political party), US allies and competitors, his White House staff, and members of his personal inner circle.  It is well past time for the rest of us to treat him accordingly.

The first thing smart people do when confronted with a “loose cannon” is to stop and secure it.  “Loose cannon” people must be stopped and secured to prevent them from doing more harm.  By now the world knows that Trump’s family, staff, and political colleagues have either failed to stop and secure him or don’t want to do so. 

We cannot expect help from Vice-President Mike Pence, the heads of departments in the federal government, and leaders of the Republican Party in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.  Only federal judges have honored their duties to uphold the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution.  Vice President Pence, executive department leaders, and Republicans in the Congress have not done so. 

No one seriously thinks that Pence and the Cabinet heads have enough sense, let alone honor, to certify Trump constitutionally disabled according to the Twenty-Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  Only in a fantasy world would Ben Carson (Secretary of Housing and Urban Development), Mike Pompeo (Secretary of State), Matthew Whittaker (Acting Attorney General), and Patrick Shanahan (the in-coming Acting Secretary of Defense) possess that much honor and patriotism.

Because executive branch leaders are not honorable and patriotic enough to certify President Trump disabled, the House of Representatives must do its constitutional duty and conduct hearings on impeachment.  Yes, I used that word.  The word “impeachment” exists because from the beginning the founders of this nation realized that some people are morally and socially unfit to hold public office. 

Donald Trump is such a prime example of such moral and social unfitness that calling him a “loose cannon” may be too kind.  There is reason to suspect that Trump more closely resembles cancer, something much more dangerous. 

So because Pence and the Cabinet officers won’t declare Trump disabled, the House Judiciary Committee should begin the urgent work of holding public impeachment hearings after the new Congress assumes office on January 3, 2019 to determine whether there is evidence that Donald Trump has committed “high crimes and misdemeanors.”  Yes, impeachment hearings will involve painful work.  Yes, Nancy Pelosi (the presumptive Speaker of the House of Representatives during the coming session of Congress), would prefer that the House not address impeachment proceedings among its many other difficult challenges. 

Experienced leaders know that duty, honor, and loyalty to principles of truth and fairness override concerns about personal or political inconvenience and allegiance.  Outgoing Defense Secretary James Mattis demonstrated that when he resigned his post and stated his reasons for doing so in his letter of resignation.  Speaker Pelosi, Representative Jerrold Nadler (the presumptive incoming chair of the House Judiciary Committee), other members of the Judiciary Committee, and the rest of the House of Representatives (including Republican Members of Congress), should follow the example set by Secretary Mattis.    

Impeachment proceedings will not prevent House Members from considering and passing legislation on immigration, voting rights, and to repair the highways, bridges, tunnels, and other aspects of the nation’s infrastructure.  Impeachment proceedings should not prevent the House of Representatives from considering, debating, and passing legislation to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller from political meddling by President Trump and his lackeys in the Department of Justice.   By appointing Matthew Whittaker Acting Attorney General, publicly suggesting that he might pardon Paul Manafort for the crimes Manafort has pled guilty to committing, and by his obvious attempts to intimidate Michael Cohen and cajole Roger Stone, President Trump has shown that he will sink to any depth and employ any tactic to interfere with, obstruct, and derail the Mueller investigation. 

If the House Judiciary Committee votes to issue Articles of Impeachment, and if that vote is upheld by a simple majority of the House members, then the issue becomes whether Senator Mitch McConnell (the Senate Majority Leader), Senator Lindsey Graham (the presumptive incoming chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee), and other Republican members of the U.S. Senate have honor enough, loyalty enough, and patriotism enough to follow the U.S. Constitution.  Unfortunately, that is an open question. 

The bottom line is that Donald Trump must either be declared disabled by Vice President Pence and leaders of the U.S. Cabinet (under the Twenty Fifth Amendment) or impeached by the House of Representatives and convicted by the Senate of committing high crimes and misdemeanors (according to Article II, Section 4) in the U.S. Constitution.  Procrastinating or denying that painful truth won’t make dealing with it less unpleasant. 

We, along with the rest of the world, know that President Trump is politically incompetent and psychologically, pathologically, and socially dangerous. It doesn’t matter whether one terms Trump a “loose cannon,” likens him to cancer, or thinks he is like a drunk driver.  Loose cannons, cancers, and drunk drivers are mortal dangers that demand prompt and decisive action.  The sooner we begin taking it the sooner we will put Donald Trump’s psychopathic presidency out of our national and geo-political misery. 

The Founders of U.S. democracy and the drafters of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution foresaw that the nation might someday be forced to deal with a psychopathic or sociopathic president.  We will find out in the coming weeks and months whether current U.S. leaders have enough honor, loyalty, and patriotism to follow the course of action and procedures that the Founders painstakingly established. 

Saturday, December 1, 2018


On January 28, 2015, the democratically-elected and majority black board of directors for the Little Rock School District (LRSD) was dissolved by the Arkansas Board of Education (ArBOE).  At the time, the LRSD was the largest public school district in Arkansas.  Since then, the LRSD has experienced declining enrollment, closure of schools in neighborhoods south of Interstate 630, and other problems. 

In connection with the fourth anniversary of the dissolution of the LRSD school board on January 28, 2019, in recognition that 2019 will be the 100th anniversary of the September 1919 Elaine Race Massacre and Land Theft, and because 2019 will be the 400th anniversary of the delivery of African slaves at Jamestown, Virginia, New Millennium Church, the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, and the Vanderbilt Divinity School Public Theology and Racial Justice Collaborative will co-sponsor a Public Forum on Re-Segregation, Privatization, and De-Funding of Public Education at New Millennium Church (21 Lakeshore Drive, Little Rock, Arkansas) on January 24, 25, and 26, 2019.    During the Forum, local and community public education advocates, activists, policy makers, and influence leaders will join respected scholars of history, sociology, ethics (moral theology), and psychology to address current and past realities surrounding segregation, privatization, and efforts to de-fund public education to the detriment of children and families in the LRSD.  Because New Millennium Church is a social justice ministry in keeping with the liberating gospel of Jesus, NMC is pleased to host and co-sponsor the Forum.  

I’m posting this message to inform you about the Forum, ask that you support the Forum with your prayers, presence, and contributions, and invite others to attend Forum sessions. 

The Forum will feature keynote presentations by the following distinguished persons:

  • Iva Carruthers, Ph.D., General Secretary of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference
  • Teresa Smallwood, Ph.D., Associate Director of the Vanderbilt Divinity School Public Theology and Racial Justice Collaborative
  • Terrence Roberts, Ph.D., Principal, Terrence Roberts Consulting
  • Nancy MacLean, Ph.D., William H. Chafe Professor of History and Public Policy, Duke University

The objectives of the Public Forum on Re-Segregation, Privatization, and De-Funding of Public Education are:

  1. Provide informed non-partisan analysis about the political, commercial, social, and moral issues surrounding the history and current realities of segregation in public education and their impact on children and families in the Little Rock School District.
  2. Present perspectives of parents, guardians, patrons, educators, civic and faith leaders, and public education advocates and activists concerning the history,  status, and future of public education in the Little Rock School District.
  3. Inform the public how capitalism influences public education policy and administration, and the effect of that influence on children and families in the Little Rock School District.

Here is the Schedule of Events (all at New Millennium Church):

  • January 24 (Thursday), 2019, 6-8 p.m. – Re-Segregation and Transgenerational Trauma  - Dr. Iva Carruthers (keynote presenter) and Dr. Teresa Smallwood (facilitator)
  • January 25 (Friday), 2019, 6-8 p.m. – Re-Segregation, Privatization, De-Funding and the Color of Law – Dr. Terrence Roberts (keynote presenter) and Rev. Wendell Griffen (facilitator)
  • January 26 (Saturday), 2019, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Re-Segregation, Privatization, and De-Funding of Public Education:  The Threat to Democracy – Dr. Nancy MacLean (keynote presenter) and local public education advocates Dr. James Ross, Dr. Anika Whitfield, Pastor Toney Orr, and Senator Joyce Elliott (panelists)

On Sunday, January 27, 2019, Dean Emilie Townes of Vanderbilt Divinity School will deliver a sermon at New Millennium Church during worship at 9 a.m., and will engage in an informal “town hall” conversation after the service.  The service and “town hall” conversation, while not part of the Forum, will be open to Forum attendees and the general public.   Dean Townes will also be the featured guest of the Barbershop Radio Program at 9 a.m. on Saturday, January 26, 2019, on community radio station KABF, 88.3 FM which airs each Saturday from 9-10 a.m. over the Internet at, sponsored by New Millennium Church.  

A registration fee of $50 per person will cover all Forum sessions.  Online registration at will commence December 12, 2018, and continue thru January 16, 2019. 

The Forum is made possible through generous support from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, the Vanderbilt Divinity School Public Theology and Racial Justice Collaborative, and New Millennium Church.  Persons interested in also supporting the Forum may send contributions to New Millennium Church online at, or by mail to New Millennium Church, 21 Lakeshore Drive, Little Rock, AR 72204 (designate “Forum on Re-Segregation” on the memo of the check). 

I invite you to be part of what will be a historic, enlightening, and prophetic conversation.  Monitor the websites of New Millennium Church (, the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference (, the Vanderbilt Divinity School Public Theology and Racial Justice Collaborative (, and community radio station KABF FM 88.3 – “The Voice of the People” – ( for coming information.  Questions concerning the Forum may be submitted to

Grace and Peace,

Wendell Griffen
Author, The Fierce Urgency of Prophetic Hope (Judson Press, 2017)
Pastor, New Millennium Church
21 Lakeshore Drive
Little Rock, AR 72204
(501) 416-1917 mobile

Hope fiercely! Love boldly!

We will either find a way or make one.  Hannibal of Carthage

Love one another.  Jesus of Galilee