Political Tribalism

One of the more intriguing “factoids” that emerged during 2019 was the shift in parental views on intermarriage. Objections to their children marrying across racial or religious lines  continued to diminish; however, the proportion of people who didn’t want their children marrying across political lines increased substantially. In fact, more parents would object to their child marrying into a family with a different political persuasion than would be upset by an inter-racial union.

Political identity has become a potent–albeit not perfect– marker of a range of attitudes about race, women’s rights, economic justice, and (as one political scientist has quipped) one’s favorite grocery store.

The vastly increased saliency of political identity recently led Thomas Edsell to pose a question.

Is the deepening animosity between Democrats and Republicans based on genuine differences over policy and ideology or is it a form of tribal warfare rooted in an atavistic us-versus-them mentality?

Is American political conflict relatively content-free — emotionally motivated electoral competition — or is it primarily a war of ideas, a matter of feuding visions both of what America is and what it should become?

Edsell quotes Lilliana Mason, a leading scholar of partisanship.

“Group victory is a powerful prize,” Mason writes, “and American partisans have increasingly seen that as more important than the practical matter of governing a nation.”

The recent party-line vote on Impeachment in the House of Representatives certainly supports Mason’s thesis. For that matter, the importance of group victory to partisans is all that can explain the behavior of Republicans in both the House and Senate during Trump’s Presidency; they have consistently put the interests of their party above the interests of the nation and the concerns of governance.

Edsell also quotes Shanto Iyengar, a political scientist at Stanford, for the proposition that “policy preferences are driven more by partisans’ eagerness to support their party rather than considered analysis of the pros and cons of opposing positions on any given issue.”

Alan Abramowitz, a political scientist at Emory, disagrees. He doesn’t believe that partisanship dictates ideological and policy decisions; instead, he argues that ideological differences drive polarization.

Democratic and Republican voters today hold far more distinctive views across a wide range of issues than they did in the past. And it is among those Democrats and Republicans who hold views typical for their party, that is liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans, that dislike of the opposing party is strongest.

Alexander Theodoridis is a political scientist at the University of California-Merced. He appears to think it goes both ways–that people originally identify with a party based on ideological compatibility, but then “adjust” or harden their positions in response to partisan messaging:

For most people, party identity appears to be far more central and salient than particular issue positions. We see increasing evidence of people adjusting their issue positions or priorities to fit their party allegiance, more than the reverse. We are very good at rationalizing away cognitive dissonance. More important than this chicken-or-egg question is the reality that ideology and party have become very highly sorted today. Liberal and Conservative are now tantamount to Democrat and Republican, respectively. That was not always the case. Furthermore, all sorts of descriptive and dispositional features (ranging from religion and race to personality type and worldview) are also more correlated with political party than they were in the past. All this heightens the us-versus-them nature of modern hyperpolarization.

Whichever came first, we are now at a point where most Republicans and Democrats inhabit different realities, informed by different “facts,” and espouse distinctly different values.

When disagreements are about policy, compromise is possible. When those disagreements are about morality, not so much.


  1. o.k. we covered the game, what is the final solution? this WH admin and the republicans has been working on it for 40 years, and we never hear of the end game.. tribal, contestant,radical moves, it has to lead to something. the division has been made,propaganda is the norm,but the end game isnt being discussed..

  2. So, people don’t really care about the issues, as long as their group “wins.” Well, consider the topic of great interest traditionally, to Republicans: the deficit. All we heard for decades was the need to reduce it. But any time the Republicans control the government, the deficit goes up. Mainly because even though they do their best to eviscerate the social service programs, they stuff more money into defense contractors pockets and those of the already wealthy. Principles don’t matter, after all.

  3. Recently, I read a quote from “Learning From the Germans” by philosopher Susan Neiman that struct a chord and poses a question.
    She is quoting another philosopher, Bettina Stangneth, who believes that we do not yet fully make the connection between NAZI ideology and contemporary thinking. Here is the quote:
    “People voted for Hitler as they voted for Putin and Trump, because they didn’t want to give up their own privileges. This isn’t a matter of ignorance. They understand exactly the price of enlightenment: that the equality of humankind means the equality of humankind, and not only after I’ve secured my own comfort. I too must obey moral laws.”

    She posits that the most powerful weapon to use is “the critique of reason” showing us how we understand the ideas and see the limits of reason.” “People abandon this most powerful weapon because they let themselves be told that it was the problem. The Nazis knew exactly that the best way to disarm someone is to persuade them to lay down their own weapons by convincing them they are useless.”

    The question posed to me is when is that comfort enough? Does the abandonment of reasons explain the religious evangelicals full-throated support of the current administration? The propaganda of the Republicans appeals to those whose comfort is being threatened, or so they believe. They welcome a bullying, ham-handed, destroyer of traditions, norms and laws in order to secure their own comforts.

    The next question is the one posed by Jack. What next?

  4. Inter-tribal politics, even within the same tribe, offers very little enlightenment at the family dinner table.

  5. The “tribalism” of the Republican party today appears to me to be inhumanity, racism, bigotry, denial of civil rights, approval of sex abuse and support of lies and liars; none of which are political issues. They are the “tribe” which moves away from any and all who disagree with their current lack of morals and human rights whether it be family, friends, neighbors or co-workers.

    “When disagreements are about policy, compromise is possible. When those disagreements are about morality, not so much.”

    They can provide no basis for their current beliefs other than their evangelical base of pseudo christianity (deliberate lower-case c). They are the money-changers Christ drove from the temple who have driven him out onto the streets; it is called Citizens United today.

  6. The most striking part of your blog today is: “…informed by their own set of ‘facts’…” Are we now to concede that there are facts and alternative facts, rather than facts and fictions? We won’t fix anything that is wrong, if we don’t acknowledge the difference between the two.

  7. Well, if you raise a daughter who shares the values your family lives by, like helping the poor find housing and food, supporting public education so that everyone gets a quality education from well-paid, happy teachers, caring about environmental destruction that makes places inhabitable, fair compensation for farmers and laborers and respect for the rule of law, how could you feel comfortable for her future if she is asked to marry by a Republican who is opposed to all those things?

    That’s not tribalism, that’s moral turpitude vs. moral vacancy. Easy call…..

  8. Vernon – right on. Values from religion and/or family are the strongest drivers. With the gradual decline in religion…where will the family values come from – superheroes, celebrities, the NFL, video games?

    Ironically, the folks with the strongest religion and family values are…new immigrants/refugees!

  9. We also need to address “tribalism” within the Democratic Party. Our diversity is a strength, but it also causes some of the same issues involved in political tribalism. I am noticing a trend toward divisions within the Democratic Party based on gender, race, ethnicity, and even age. Various demographics have different concerns and focuses.

    The presidential contest on the Democratic side has seen an unprecedented number of candidates running a campaign. Women and minorities stepped up unlike I ever recall – and I have been voting and following politics for 50 years now – since I could vote at the age of 21.

    The diversity has provided something for almost everyone, but as the field winnows down for the debate stage, disgruntlement has entered the picture based on whether a specific demographic’s candidate made it or not. Accusations of unfairness and “rigging” have been leveled.

    What we need at the end is not intraparty tribalism but unity. Otherwise, we will have four more years of Trump.

    This leads those demographics to trend toward a candidate with similar philosophies and views. What we need is unity at the end of the primary season

  10. Jack,
    “…tribal, contestant,radical moves, it has to lead to something. the division has been made,propaganda is the norm,but the end game isnt being discussed..”


  11. Why would we think modern man has gotten past tribalism in every form when he has shown 0 desire to do so in the past. Every war that was ever fought was based on tribalism, every person of African descent that was ever lynched was based on tribalism, every Native American tribe, men, women and children, slaughtered was based on tribalism. Every demonization of a foreigner, every depiction of a foreigner as something less than human is not only monumentally hypocritical, because this country is made up of foreigners, but also a misplaced tribal reaction! Individuals that consider themselves enlightened, remain willfully ignorant! Why? Because their particular tribe is smarter than the others, in their not so humble opinion.

    So, how do you fix it? Well, I don’t think mankind is capable. I can quote you chapter and verse on German history, I can discuss Middle Eastern history, I can discuss biblical history, I can even point out the similarities/Connections of fascism from Rome to present-day America with stops in Italy and Germany along the way, but if it is not part of a preconceived notion that others have, if it is not the reality that they would like to be a part of, well, those others are stupid. Those others are backward, those others seek an alternate reality. One group of others separate themselves from the other group of others, because of their tribal affiliation!

    There is a certain bug in the human brain, it can override conscience, it can override compassion, it can override the willingness to cooperate, it can harden tribal beliefs to their own detriment. We can blame it on being misled, we can say, we didn’t notice the bogging down of wholesome discussion, which was replaced by insults and innuendos, conspiracies and alternate realities, the absolute refusal to walk in someone else’s shoes, the lack of desire to pull back from a wrongful path, because, there were just too many trees in the way, blocking the view of the forest. Nonsense to be sure, but this self delusional insight is based, all of it is based on tribalism.

    It’s like a blind person leading a blind person through a minefield. The faith is put in the blind person doing the leading, but they don’t know where they’re going any more than the ones that they are leading. So, what to do? Well, have you ever seen mankind overcome his tribalism? Even if you turn to the Old Testament, when the Jews were being led out of Egypt, they saw miraculous displays, they begged that the yoke of the Egyptians be lifted from them, but the deliverance was never enough. In Exodus the 32nd chapter, the Jews were called a stiffnecked people, because in the face of overpowering evidence, they refused to cooperate. They devolved into the old ways of false worship, and as a result, that generation was not allowed to enter into the “promised land.”

    But it wasn’t only the Jews that were stiffnecked, the Egyptians, the Pharaoh, the leader of their military, lost his entire army at the Red Sea by going back on a promise to release the Jews from captivity. All tribalism, back then, all politics were religiously based. So if you condemn religion, how are you ever going to come to an accurate knowledge of what those “others” are thinking, or why they are thinking that way. Instead of being able to make a case to refute Bastardized beliefs, slings and arrows (insults and demeaning phrases) are launched at each other. Arrows pass each other searching for a target on the “other” side.

    When I mentioned Daniel’s prophecy of the immense image, something that Nebuchadnezzar witnessed in a dream, Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was of an immense image, in human form. The body parts were of metal; from top to bottom, they were made of progressively less valuable but harder metals, beginning with gold and terminating with iron; the feet and toes, however, had clay mixed with the iron. The entire image was crushed to powder by a stone cut out of a mountain, the stone, afterwards filling the entire earth.​(Daniel 2:31-35.)

    So the prophecy meant, the base, or the foundation of man’s civilization is fragile, iron mixed with clay, no cohesion, tribalistic! But that there was hope for a unifying time, hence the rock, the rock that took out the immense image grew to envelop the entire Earth.

    So instead of taking a different tack, different than man’s complete historical path, in the age of Enlightenment, the cobwebs are dusted off of the gate, and the same path is taken. And it leads to the same place, the place where it’s always led, but somehow, man has been convinced, self-deluded himself into believing the outcome will be different this time, without changing one iota. That self-delusion only feeds a continued false narrative that will never heal man’s rift with himself, or, truth! Mankind is ruled by a mob of mentality, it doesn’t matter what belief that mob has, or what side of the fence that particular mob is controlling, a mob is nothing more than an ignorant tribe.

  12. Pascal is right on with his winning vs. losing insight, and Peggy makes the important point that we may be accepting different fact situations by inference.

    Winning vs. losing has become a big thing in every area, especially on TV, where there is competition among athletes, who and how to love, dancing etc., and has even devolved into Saturday morning soccer games where parents are into high-fiving. Competitors become “the enemy,” so to speak, even though we line up the team and its coaches whether winner or loser to shake hands after “the game” is over in a pretense of good sportsmanship.

    This example doesn’t translate well into politics because it’s more than winning or losing; it’s about how we are going to solve mutual problems for the betterment of all. (Or for the benefit of the few – See Mitch.) We are so at one another’s political throats that we can’t even agree on the definition of facts, or what the rules of the game are, and I am not sure that such manufactured arguments Republicans and Kellyanne apologists make will not persist after Trump World is gone.

    So what to do? Tell the truth. Call out lying on the spot; resist; persevere; the usual. The old adage of “This, too, shall pass” doesn’t get it, especially when it may not “pass” in a world of cult love and alternative facts. Truth be told, I have no magic potion and putting the genie back in the bottle may be a bridge too far, but we can’t start over; we have to work with what we have and I hope others can and will do a better job of conceptualizing just how to bring unity to such a divided polity than I have suggested. We had unity in WW II because of a common threat; perhaps an Australia experience will finally bring us unity and common purpose in which fossil fuel interests (and Mitch) join environmentalists in saving the planet. Perhaps.

  13. ALL,

    We’re being destroyed by a man-made disease of the mind. Because of the DECEPTION/CAMOUFLAGE at the Ground Zero [ of this virus of the mind] the hatred has spread non-stop. And will continue so, unless there is a successful intervention.

    Treatment is possible. Much more than suggested reading would be “Conflict and Defense: A General Theory” by Kenneth E. Boulding [especially Chapter 7- The Group As A Party To Conflict: THE EPIDEMIOLOGY MODEL] (Harper & Row, Publishers, New York, 1962).

  14. Thanks Marv, I tried.

    You know, I used to be very stiff necked, but, I’ve realized that there is something more. I’ve decided to be more compassionate and more willing to come to unconventional conclusions. There is a whole nother way, but a way that 99.9% of men and women refuse to follow, religious or not.

    One cannot be fully enlightened with only partial knowledge. King Solomon was by all intents and purposes, the most knowledgeable man on Earth other than Christ and Moses more than likely. And he still ended up in disgrace.

    Make no mistake, knowledge is important but faith is even more so. If one has no faith knowledge is meaningless. Faith implies wisdom which is in woefel supply, and it’s been in woefle supply throughout history.

    Does a drowning man kick aside a lifesaver because it’s not the right color or the right shape or the right size? Well the answer to that question is yes, mankind has always done that, because mankind seems to feel they are the Apex when they really are not.

  15. I’m all for the bible, but also for Professor Kenneth E. Boulding. He has been my mentor through his books:

    Just a few titles of his many other books: “The Meaning of the Twentieth Century,” “The World as a Total System,” “Three Faces of Power,” & “Stable Peace.”

  16. Let us not forget that Donald Trump, was not a member of the Republican Party until he decided to run for President. A a fact many Republicans seem to have failed to keep in the forefront of their mind. And now the Republican is not like any Republican Party in its history.

    Also a group may be composed of people who have a common shared enemy based upon fear. A National War has often brought diverging party together in the past. Let us hope that this is not the intent of the current actions of those meeting in the Oval Office. It may not work this time. Our fear my not blind us to the true intentions of those holding the reins of power.

    Interesting program on PBS last night on Joseph McCarthy….reminded me of a derivation of what is occurring here now.

    Base a society on competition, just like a sports game, and there will be a barrier to togetherness of us and them on the field. Done enough, operant conditioning will take over and the neuropathways built by repetition will flood other areas of interaction with others off the field of that game play.

  17. As a Baby Boomer who grew up on the South Side of Chicago (in Cook County, IL), which included NW Indiana as a result of the industrial base -Da Region we call it, had a powerful union and Democratic Party presence. As a generalization the North Side of Cook County was the wealthy three piece suit Republicans.

    My father was a blue collar union worker. He said the Democrats were for the working class. This was the late 1950’s and into the 1960’s. The big sort into silos seemed to center around civil rights. The Vietnam War also resulted in a sort between young and old.

    The papered over fault line between Jim Crow Democrats in the South and the Northern Liberal Democrats, cracked open into a fissure when LBJ signed onto the Civil Rights Act. It took a while but the Republican Party eagerly embraced the Jim Crow Democrats under the guise of State’s Rights.

    Roe V Wade became another fault line. The Republican Party has for some time embraced the evangelical bible thumper’s and conservative Catholics. Religious Bronze Age Mythology of supernatural miracles and male authoritarianism is supreme in it’s ideology among the Republican voting base. This group is easily exploited by the 1%, who use their wealth to further their own interests, President Agent Orange is the epitome of how this works.

  18. Hey Marv, Oliver Wendell Holmes was a pretty smart guy, LOL.l

    When you look back on it, all of those who tried to set aside the difference between tribalism, the mob mentality and tribal affiliations, they ended up dying. Murdered by their fellow man. Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jesus Christ, the list can go on and on.

    The peacemakers are murdered, the lunatics hold the sway. I wonder why that is?

    If men had the answer to his problems, he would have come to that conclusion over the millennia he has existed on Earth.

    How many times has man attempted to reinvent the wheel? One generation dies, the other one has a better idea, that generation dies, and the next generation goes back to the original idea. It’s a circular firing squad with no end in sight.

    One thing Marv, I do like to read, I like to glean knowledge and wisdom in any way shape or form. But the more I’ve read, The more I’ve noticed a repeating of the same ideas, so, as King Solomon said, maybe there is nothing new under the Sun!

    Being self-righteous and stiff-necked is to mankind’s detriment, but mankind can’t see that because of his tribal self-righteous indignation towards everything but his delusional self-righteous narrative. Unless that changes, men will be taking their last breath wondering how it ended up this way.

  19. Barbara,

    “Base a society on competition, just like a sports game, and there will be a barrier to togetherness of us and them on the field. Done enough, operant conditioning will take over and the neuropathways built by repetition will flood other areas of interaction with others off the field of that game play.”

    That’s exactly what happened. The man behind all of this was Gordon McLendon, “the old Scotsman” one of the most famous baseball announcers of this time and also a football announcer. [Among other things, he was also a co-founder of the C.I.A Alumni Society].

    Out of one little room in Oak Cliff, Texas, he RE-CREATED Major League baseball games over his Liberty Broadcasting System in the ’60s. He broadcasted over 300 stations. He was a major threat to CBS, who was his biggest competitor and was spending millions by having to broadcast live from the different major league ballparks. CBS, finally, sued him out of existence.

    Back in 2000, I was having dinner with Neal Conan [Talk of the Nation on NPR] he had taken a one-year leave of absence to be a minor league baseball broadcaster. We hit it off, and discussed Gordon McLendon. I explained to Neal that McLendon had gone from re-creating major league baseball games to re-creating the NAZI MOVEMENT in the U. S. with his best friend Bunker Hunt, the son of the ultra, right-wing billionaire, H. L. Hunt.

    I had been In-House General Counsel of the McLendon Corporation from 1970-72. I resigned when I observed the direction Gordon and his father, B.R. [Black Bart] was going to eventually take us.

    Recommended reading: “Gordon Mclendon: The Maverick of Radio” by Ronald Garay (Greenwood Press, Westport, CT, 1992).

  20. Here’s a hypothesis. We are as a starting guess about half determined by our rational parts, and half by what we have observed from day one as behavioral responses in others we deem to be like us. Culture is both individual and collective. My sister and I share some personality traits but much of our difference stem from her closer observation of females and mine of males. Much of our similarities stem from both of us noticing who in our small town 50s America were like us or not so much. Multiply that by all of the different measures that we might adopt of how to deem others to be like or not like us. That individual cultural input is the bulk of our early learning, and experiences processed rationally grows from puberty until death or at least until aging factors jump in.

    Of course we all think that we are being rational to a much higher degree than we are.

    Consider the offspring of those who observed patriarchal authoritarian competitive behavior from the parent deemed more like themselves. The will to win at any cost. The entitlement to authority.

    Nothing new there, right? Add in a comfortable recliner, a few bottles of beer, a steady diet of sports and alt right politics and endless advertising/fake news/propaganda/brainwashing and you have the makings of the new GOP or at least the majority wing of it. The business interests that we used to think of as most of it have also changed but into oligarchy entitlement interests. The evangelical wing who are relative newcomers are not there for their God but for the power that streams inherently from having an all powerful close friend be He God or Trump.

    Some of us hate that this evolved on our watch but denying that it has won’t change anything.

    All we can change is who shows up to vote in November.

  21. We’re at war. And like all wars, not everyone wants to fight.

    This war is different than W.W II which was fought sub-surface, surface, and in the air. It is only being fought on two levels: the surface which Vernon’s book: “Why Angels Weep: America and Donald Trump” if one of the best and also SUB-SURFACE.

    The German’s advantage in W.W. II was eliminated when SONAR was perfected and, eventually, it crippled the German advantage in submarine warfare. P.S.S.I [political sub-surface imaging] can have the same effect in this “War against Democracy.”

  22. I think I am more in line with Alexander Theodoridis. I think the parties represent different ideologies (pro-union being one ML pointed out), but after that, it becomes easy to just accept the affiliation, removing the burden of thinking about every minor (or major) issue. Blog readers and commenters are more politically aware and more politically involved than most people. Party affiliation is an easy shorthand. Growing up in the age of lever machine voting, we would make comments about the “Polish palsy”, suggesting that Catholic voters (heavily Polish in parts of Detroit and its suburbs) would start shaking if they reached for the Republican level. Catholic voters were reliably Democratic. The believed (the “knew”) that the Democrats represented their interests.

    The current extremes in polarization, I believe, came about as the Republican Party ran ever more to the right until it crossed the line with Trump and embraced racism and an alternate reality, giving its adherents a sense of self-worth by belonging to the party of the “true” America.

    Extremism on both sides has always existed. Both parties shunned the fringes. The Democrats and the socialists (and communists) avoided each other (the Democratic Socialists are a different breed, but now have some of the old socialist tendencies). Even conservative Republican Barry Goldwater wanted nothing to do with the John Birch Society or the Klan. Trump, and perhaps the Tea Party before him, crossed the line and opened up the Republican Party to the extreme right.

    I think part of the extreme polarization now is a revolt against the racism and alternate reality that the new Republicans have embraced. This has also brought some of the ideologically more extreme people to join with the Democrats, but not as extreme and not to as great an extent.

    This all gives me hope. I hope that after this aberration, either the “old guard” will reclaim the Republican Party, or it will go the way of the Whigs and be replaced by a more traditional right of center party that will resemble what the Republicans were like a generation or two ago. I can still hope.

  23. I’m afraid that, after over five years of participating on this blog, the author Doris Lessing, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature with “The Golden Notebook” was right, I should have listened: “HUMAN BEINGS DO NOT TAKE PRE-EMPTIVE ACTION.”

  24. Charlotte – thanks for the angle. We have a war between discrimination and political correctness. We have a long way on discrimination, with a long way to go….BUT, all things considered, there is a HOOGE general acceptance in our society minorities of every kind compared to even 10 year ago.

    It is time to quit calling out whether a named person is of color, gender identity, etc. and counting how many in each situation…

  25. Marv,

    If you believe that the majority of Americans are good people with good values, the best “pre-emptive” actions are pretty simple: push for civic education at all levels (including adult), register every eligible voter.

    If you believe the opposite….build your home shelter or move to Canada.

  26. Marv – NO – if you think evil will rule as the populace does little or nothing to stop them, why stay?

  27. Pete,

    The apostle Paul, also known as Saul of Tarsus before he was Paul. Who was he? He was a member of the Pharisees and probably a member of the Sanhedrin. He hated followers of Christ. He was present when Stephan/Stephen was stoned to death!

    Stephen was a very special individual, read Acts 6:1-6.

    The chronicler Luke reports that “Stephen, full of graciousness and power,” and “performing great portents and signs among the people,” was bitterly opposed by Jews of the so-called Synagogue of the Freedmen and others from Asia and Africa. But Stephen spoke with such wisdom and spirit that they could not hold their own against him. As had been done in Jesus’ case, enemies secretly secured false witnesses to accuse Stephen of blasphemy before the

    Stephen’s account delivered before the Sanhedrin includes a number of facts concerning Jewish history that are not found in the Hebrew Scriptures: Moses’ Egyptian education, his age of 40 when he fled Egypt, the 40-year duration of his stay in Midian before returning to Egypt, and the role of angels in giving the Mosaic Law.​ (Acts 7:22, 23, 30, 32, 38) So, suffice it to say, Stephen was touched with holy spirit because he knew things that were not in the printed Hebrew Scriptures.

    Saul of Tarsus really really hated Stephen. He was present, and holding garments as they were stoning him to death. Saul of Tarsus had Christ revealed himself as he got closer to Damascus. Saul heard the words and became blinded and was led by the hand to Damascus. (Acts 9:20- 25).

    For three days he neither ate nor drank. Then, while praying in the house of a certain Judas at Damascus, Saul, in vision, saw Christ’s disciple Ananias come in and restore his sight. When the vision became reality, Saul was baptized, received holy spirit, partook of food, and gained strength.​ (Acts 9:9-19.) He then had his name changed to Paul, the apostle Paul. Right before Paul’s death, he was quoted in 2nd Timothy 4:7, 8 which reads; “I have fought the fine fight, I have run the course to the finish, I have observed the faith. From this time on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness.”

    So although the apostle Paul was a murderer as his former self (Saul of Tarsus) he was forgiven and allowed to be a minister for Christ and performed miraculous works. So yes, people can change. I said my young wife was an encouragement, so many years ago. She helped me see that the path I was on was inappropriate at the very least. I sold my guns, and kept my rifle! I was made to understand that I didn’t have the right for vengeance, and although I’ve slipped a few times, I am nothing like I was before. I took solace in the journey of Saul of Tarsus/the apostle Paul, and it should encourage everyone, change can be made.

    “Keep walking by spirit,” said Paul, “and you will carry out no fleshly desire at all.” (Galatians 5:16) Paul went on to show that the spirit can produce the finest of qualities in us. He wrote: “The fruitage of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control.”​ (Galatians 5:22, 23.)

    Change is never easy, it depends on the desire to change. Do you believe it’s the right thing to do? I thought it was the right thing, I was encouraged by the written record of the apostle Paul.

  28. Lester,

    I don’t consider failure within this blog as my only recourse. I’m sure there are “greener pastures” elsewhere. Also, I’m convinced that no one has more intelligence and integrity that Professor Kennedy, so I have stayed, learned much, and EXHAUSTED ALL MY REMEDIES[that’s a legal term].

    Good Luck!

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