A profoundly important message from David French: Don’t let the left define conservative opposition to Trump

August 2, 2017

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/450057/conservatives-oppose-trump-maintaining-values-virtue

A great article describing the dilemma that many conservatives find ourselves in today: caught between a radical left that despises everything conservative, or even moderate, and a moderate, vacillating, morally relative republican party that has embraced a rudderless party head, and a “right” that has exhibited as much ugliness and hate as the other side. French exhorts conservatives to “pursue conservative ends through virtuous, constitutional means” and to “do their best to advance conservative goals while at the same time loudly and unequivocally condemning this administration’s absurd excesses.” French urges us to “undertake the difficult task of forging and maintaining an independent identity” or risk being associated with Trumpism.

Following are a few of the quotes from the article that I found particularly encouraging and uplifting.

First, we conservatives must understand that everything that happens in this administration will be tied directly to Trump, and unless we can undertake the difficult task of forging and maintaining an independent identity, even our longest-held and most cherished beliefs will be defined as part and parcel of “Trumpism.” Lower taxes? Defunding Planned Parenthood? Border security? Originalist judges? These are positions that Trump adopted for his campaign, but they mean no more to him than the next change of clothes. For conservatives, however, they reflect core principles and ideals that existed long before Trump and will exist long after. It is crucial that we avoid — as much as humanly possible — his enduring taint.

 

As a practical matter, this means conservatives should do their best to advance conservative goals while at the same time loudly and unequivocally condemning this administration’s absurd excesses. No one should be more angry at Trump’s tweets than conservatives. No one should be more concerned about Trump’s conduct toward Russia than conservatives. And, yes, no one should be more alarmed by White House chaos than conservatives. In reality, until the next round of voting, only conservatives have the true power to keep Trump in check.

 

Conservatism’s foreseeable future will be defined by a choice: Pursue conservative ends through virtuous, constitutional means or succumb to Trump apologism. Some on the left will scorn conservatives regardless of which option they pick. After all, to many liberals, conservatism is the original sin, and nothing else really matters. Some on the angry populist right will scorn those conservatives who choose to maintain their integrity as “weak” or naïve. After all, to the angry populist Right, winning is everything, and nothing else matters.

But conservatives should ignore the radical Left and the angry populist Right. When it comes to values and vision, our mandate is clear: We must always choose both.

Here’s the entire article.

Don’t let the left define conservative opposition to Trump

by David French
August 1, 2017 2:48 PM

The faithful conservative must now choose sides in two different culture wars. It’s predictable as night following day. Whenever a conservative criticizes Donald Trump — or even attacks the GOP for enabling his rise — some on the left will respond, “Well, if you really opposed him, you’d oppose his agenda.” Just ask Republican senator Jeff Flake.

In promoting his new book, Conscience of a Conservative, Flake yesterday published an excerpt from it in Politico. It’s a worthwhile read. He attacks the Republican party for entering into a “Faustian bargain,” going along with the “very bumpy ride” of a Trump administration to “achieve some long-held policy goals,” and argues that policy victories won at the expense of principles and “institutions conducive to freedom” will ultimately prove to be “Pyrrhic.” His meaning is clear: Pursue conservative goals, but do so while respecting democratic values, maintaining public integrity, and preserving constitutional structures.

The response was swift, and made clear that a number of folks on the left aren’t content for conservatives to merely oppose Trump. For Flake to be truly credible, his critics seemed to assert, he would have to . . . cease being a conservative. Here’s Slate’s Jamelle Bouie:

tweet 1 for article

As my colleague Jim Geraghty notes today, New York Times book reviewer Jennifer Senior subsequently echoed Bouie’s argument:

But Flake has also cast most of his votes in favor of Trump’s policies. Just last week, he voted for the bill to repeal Obamacare without replacing it, and then he voted for the hastily assembled “skinny repeal.”

This isn’t a serious critique. Do progressives really believe that conservatives should abandon their beliefs in response to Trump? Does that mean voting against tax cuts and conservative judges? Is the only credible opposition to the man grounded in, say, conducting a fair Russia investigation and defending Obamacare? This is akin to the argument for civility one hears all the time on campus: “Our community would be harmonious if only those conservative bigots stopped talking.”

It does, however, does highlight two important truths.

First, we conservatives must understand that everything that happens in this administration will be tied directly to Trump, and unless we can undertake the difficult task of forging and maintaining an independent identity, even our longest-held and most cherished beliefs will be defined as part and parcel of “Trumpism.” Lower taxes? Defunding Planned Parenthood? Border security? Originalist judges? These are positions that Trump adopted for his campaign, but they mean no more to him than the next change of clothes. For conservatives, however, they reflect core principles and ideals that existed long before Trump and will exist long after. It is crucial that we avoid — as much as humanly possible — his enduring taint.

Thus, wrapping both arms around Trump in the hopes of winning a few legislative victories or confirming a few judges risks exactly the Pyrrhic victory that Flake predicts. As I asked just days ago: With the benefit of hindsight, how many Democrats are grateful today for Jimmy Carter’s victory in 1976 and for his meager legislative “accomplishments?” His incompetence helped give the GOP the White House for the next dozen years, during which time Republican presidents appointed a majority of the Supreme Court and more than 500 lower-court judges. The Democratic party had to essentially remake itself to win back the White House.

As a practical matter, this means conservatives should do their best to advance conservative goals while at the same time loudly and unequivocally condemning this administration’s absurd excesses. No one should be more angry at Trump’s tweets than conservatives. No one should be more concerned about Trump’s conduct toward Russia than conservatives. And, yes, no one should be more alarmed by White House chaos than conservatives. In reality, until the next round of voting, only conservatives have the true power to keep Trump in check.

The second truth that’s emerging — on both the #Resistance left and the angry populist right — is that there are now two fronts in the culture war. There’s the classic Left/Right split — the battle of pro-life versus pro-choice, say, or of single-payer versus market-based health-care reforms. This fight rages, and it will continue to rage for the foreseeable future. The second front, however, is between those people of all political persuasions who continue to believe in constitutional processes and basic democratic norms on the one hand, and those people who’ve adopted the anything-goes, end-justifies-the-means tactics of the campus social-justice warrior or the “Flight 93” Trump supporter on the other.

For the Right, that fight is right now raging within the GOP and the conservative movement more broadly. On one side are those like Ben Sasse and many of my National Review colleagues — men and women with unquestioned commitment to conservative principles who don’t believe you should sacrifice virtue, honesty, or integrity to raise or lower tax rates or excuse conduct on your own side that you’d condemn in your opponents. On the other side are the unabashed Trump apologists like Sean Hannity and his allies on talk radio and online — people who hunt “deep state” bogeymen and find no Tweet too silly/shocking/offensive/inflammatory to excuse. They bathe in “liberal tears” and gleefully “fight fire with fire.”

For the Left, the equivalent fight rages more on campus, where an increasing number of liberal professors and administrators are expressing alarm at the intolerance and even violence of the #Resistance. But it extends beyond the academy, too: Just today a New York Times staff editor published a brave and searing condemnation of the “progressive hate” that corrupts the Women’s March.

Conservatism’s foreseeable future will be defined by a choice: Pursue conservative ends through virtuous, constitutional means or succumb to Trump apologism. Some on the left will scorn conservatives regardless of which option they pick. After all, to many liberals, conservatism is the original sin, and nothing else really matters. Some on the angry populist right will scorn those conservatives who choose to maintain their integrity as “weak” or naïve. After all, to the angry populist Right, winning is everything, and nothing else matters.

But conservatives should ignore the radical Left and the angry populist Right. When it comes to values and vision, our mandate is clear: We must always choose both.

 

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A time for choosing

July 29, 2017

Forgive me for borrowing from President Reagan, but with the republican repeal debacle, many are finally coming to the realization that republican control of the federal government is all for naught.

Tweet

Conservative radio host, Shannon Joy crystallized the repeal mess this way (on Twitter):

Shannon Joy Kabuki theater

As she points out in #7: “It’s time for conservative leaders within the GOP to fish or cut bait. Leave the GOP or accept your fate in the party.”

Of course, I’m no leader, just a voter. I left the republican party around the time of the republican national convention last year in which Trump was officially nominated. I had actually left a year earlier, but returned to vote in the primary for some conservative friends who were running for central committee, and for Ted Cruz (even though he had already dropped out of the race). I knew the republican party, with its embrace of Trump, had abandoned anything remotely conservative. I did not vote for Trump or Clinton in the general.

Although I am still unaffiliated (I believe the federalist party has to have a state charter with the secretary of state in California in order to officially register as a federalist), I have come to appreciate the new federalist party that was formed for small government, liberty and life-minded voters. It has drawn libertarians, conservatives and others disenchanted with traditional party politics. It seeks to avoid the pitfalls of many “third” parties and focus on getting people in at the local level where we can have a real impact. These people can potentially move up. While it may be awhile before the federalist party has an impact at the national level, I’m convinced it’s the way to go. Several well-known conservatives have indicated in positive terms they like what they’re hearing from the federalist party. While they are not yet ready to jump ship, that could change. Abraham Lincoln became a member (in 1856) of  an upstart republican party formed in 1854 as the Whigs descended into a divided abyss. Four years after joining, he was the nation’s first republican president.

As we have seen with the repeal debacle, the two major parties have become virtually indistinguishable. It appears the republican promises for Obamacare repeal were meaningless. Worthless.  This writer acknowledges this, while not offering an alternative–which I believe the federalist party is.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jul/28/republicans-healthcare-conservative-voters

I’m a conservative and I now see voting republican is a waste of time

McConnell 2

‘Conservatives might conclude that Republicans, having failed to take seriously the discontent of ordinary Americans, don’t deserve to govern after all.’ Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/AP

What would you conclude if you voted for a candidate or a party because of a promise to repeal or change a law that you strongly felt was harmful and unjust, but once in office the party refused to do it? You might conclude, rightly, that those politicians didn’t really work for you, and the party didn’t care what you thought.

That’s precisely the message Republicans have been sending their constituents throughout the Obamacare repeal fiasco. The failure of Senate Republicans to pass a so-called “skinny repeal” in the early hours of Friday is merely the latest instance of GOP fecklessness on health care reform.

Even the attempt at skinny repeal was a tacit admission that Republican lawmakers were never serious about repealing Obamacare. After failing to get enough GOP votes for a repeal and replace bill and then failing earlier this week to pass a straight repeal bill, the skinny repeal bill was a cowardly attempt to make it seem like they had exhausted all options.

But the Senate bill that failed on Friday morning wouldn’t have done much, repealing Obamacare’s individual and employer mandates, a tax on medical devices, and a handful of marginal items but leaving the rest of the law’s vast and deleterious regulations in place. On its own, it would have done more harm than good, sending already rising premiums up another 20%, hastening the collapse of the individual health insurance market, and shifting the entire healthcare debate from the Senate floor to a closed-door conference committee where the details of the bill would be worked out in secret.

Yet whatever harm skinny repeal might have done to health insurance markets pales in comparison with the harm congressional Republicans have already done to themselves. Unwilling to take the political heat of repealing and replacing Obamacare as they promised, Republicans are in effect enshrining Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement – and making it their own. The most likely scenario now is that Congress will, at the behest of panicked insurers, pass legislation to shore up failing insurance exchanges. In other words, Republicans will save Obamacare.

For seven years, Republicans have campaigned on promises to repeal and replace Obamacare with a “free-market” health care system. They wrested control of the House and the Senate from Democrats on these promises. Donald Trump– along with every other GOP presidential candidate – campaigned on it last year. Republicans voted time and again for politicians that trumpeted their hatred of Obamacare and swore to do something about it.

You don’t need a long memory to see why failing to repeal the law might enrage conservatives. As my colleague at the Federalist Chris Jacobs has noted, House Republicans even floated a version of skinny repeal in 2015. “Conservative groups could have supported it – just to keep the process moving, and continue the momentum for a broader repeal – as leadership is asking them to do right now,” wrote Jacobs.

But they didn’t. Influential conservative groups such as Heritage Action came out against the plan, as did a group of conservative senators, saying the bill “simply isn’t good enough”, and that because all of them had campaigned on fully repealing Obamacare, “we owe our constituents nothing less”.

Back then, repeal meant, at minimum, doing away with the major parts of Obamacare: Medicaid expansion, subsidies, all the new insurance rules and regulations and taxes that the law imposed on health insurers and ordinary Americans.

Of course, it was easy to make such statements in the fall of 2015. Barack Obama was never going to sign a repeal bill, skinny or not. In hindsight, the dozens of repeal votes from Republicans in both chambers seem now to be so much political grandstanding. Moderate Republican senators who voted for full repeal in 2015 hypocritically oppose it now, and conservative senators who opposed skinny repeal in 2015 supported it on Thursday. They are all guilty of the same rank hypocrisy.

There is a grave danger for Republicans in all of this. If there’s one thing the 2016 presidential election should have taught the GOP establishment, it’s that Americans are disgusted with politics as usual – the showboating, the sloganeering, the canned talking points and the pervasive, poisonous insincerity of it all.

That’s why Republican primary voters rejected, one by one, a field of presidential candidates full of experienced politicians. GOP voters were told their 2016 candidates were diverse and accomplished – and indeed they were. But they all had one thing in common: they were politicians, and Americans were fed up with politicians and politics as usual. So fed up, in fact, they did something drastic, maybe even reckless. They elected Donald Trump president.

Now that the politicians have failed them yet again, and in such spectacular fashion, conservatives might conclude, with good reason, that there’s no point voting for Republicans because they don’t deliver on their promises once in power. They might conclude that Republicans, having failed to take seriously the discontent of ordinary Americans, don’t deserve to govern after all.

The author is a senior correspondent for the Federalist

 

 

 

 

 

For real change, make local elections a top priority

May 26, 2017

by JD Rucker

May 25, 2017

http://datechguyblog.com/2017/05/25/for-real-change-make-local-elections-a-top-priority/

Can you name the Vice President of the United States? How about the two U.S. Senators in your state? All members of Congress (or at least your own district’s representative)? Governor? If you’re reading this, chances are good that you can easily answer these questions because you’re at least a little interested in politics.

How about your Mayor? Any or all city council members? School board members? County Auditor? Unfortunately, this is where many Americans start to fail the test. Admittedly, I would have failed the test a couple of years ago. Like many Americans, I voted for local elections based upon name recognition, party affiliation, or whether or not I’d received a flyer or received a knock on my door. I spoke to a woman the other day who said she voted for whoever had a sign in her next-door neighbor’s yard because “that lady keeps up with this stuff.”

Every American should keep up with this stuff. It’s THAT important.

When I started flirting with the idea of leaving the GOP last year, I explored several third parties. I sat on conference calls with leaders of one party, had an audience with the chair of another, and spoke directly to three third-party Presidential candidates. Invariably, the discussions were discouraging. It wasn’t that they didn’t have good ideas. It was that only one party could answer an important question: “What are you guys doing to win local elections?”

They were all sinking time, money, and energy into getting their Presidential candidate on ballots, but only one party was actively running in local elections. They made it clear that they weren’t actually giving much support to local candidates, but at least a few people were willing to use their party’s name a registration to run for office. I tracked back to see how many elections they’d won over the years. 13, including two in 2016. How could a party that was sinking all of their resources into a futile Presidential race think it was okay to put next to zero effort into local elections?

This is why I helped form the Federalist Party.

Local elections ARE important. They don’t get the press coverage. The people who win these offices can’t bomb Syria or impose tariffs on Canada. On the other hand, they make decisions that directly affect our lives. They choose the way many of our children receive their education. They set guidelines to either encourage or discourage business growth. Some bring communities together. Others divide communities further apart. It’s imperative that we all start paying closer attention to the races and leaders that live next door. That’s not to say the people in DC are not important, but they receive too much emphasis compared to the politicians in our own backyards.

As a party, we intend to focus on local elections from two perspectives. First, we want to identify principled candidates and win local races. Then, we want to localize decision-making as much as possible for the nation. There is currently way too much influence coming from DC in areas they’re simply not qualified or empowered to address.

There are areas in which the federal government should hold the power. These have been clearly enumerated. It’s time to return the rest of the power of government where it belongs: states, counties, cities, communities, and most importantly to individual Americans.

 

A Christian perspective on the immigration and refugee issue

February 16, 2017

This was written by my husband on Facebook and I thought he voiced his thoughts well on this very volatile issue.

Rob Pool

Please bear with me. What I am about to write is the result of a week long time of soul searching and reflection upon this issue. My thinking on this issue has gone back and forth all week. I’d like to share with you (or maybe just need to get my thoughts written down for myself) how I, as a Bible believing Christian view the refugee issue. Remember, I speak only for myself and not all people that claim Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

This article was posted by several of my friends in the past week. Initially I was angry. I hate that people (usually on the left) use Scripture to make political points. The point of the Bible (but really the New Testament) is to tell a story of God’s love for the world. The whole New Testament can really be summarized with one verse- John 3:16. Jesus and the New Testament writers instruct human beings on how to better love God and their neighbors, But really makes no proclamations (as far as I can remember) on how nations should behave (much is said in the Old Testament about the Nation of Israel and their off and on relationship with believing and trusting God).

Anyway, I saw this article and started writing a post to slam it. Once again, I thought, the left is misquoting Scripture to suit their needs. So I looked up the verse. And it was quoted exactly as the version I read (New International Version (NIV). Nuts! Well they must be taking the verse out of context. Yes, that’s it. Common mistake among those wanting to “use” Scripture for their own purpose. So I went to a good website that answers a lot of Biblical questions, www.gotquestions.org. And guess what? The verse actually pertains very well to this issue and the verse is completely in context. I suggest you read the text in the following link, but will only quote the most pertinent part here:

“Jesus begins the parable by saying it concerns His return in glory to set up His kingdom (verse 31). Therefore, the setting of this event is at the beginning of the millennium, after the tribulation. All those on earth at that time will be brought before the Lord, and He will separate them “as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left” (verses 32-33).

The sheep on Jesus’ right hand are blessed by God the Father and given an inheritance. The reason is stated: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me” (verses 35-36). The righteous will not understand: when did they see Jesus in such a pitiful condition and help Him? “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me’” (verses 39-40).

The goats on Jesus’ left hand are cursed with eternal hell-fire, “prepared for the devil and his angels” (verse 41). The reason is given: they had opportunity to minister to the Lord, but they did nothing (verses 42-43). The damned ask, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?” (verse 44). Jesus replies, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me” (verse 45).”

Salvation does not come from our good works, but from our faith in Jesus and his sacrifice for our sins on the cross. For Christians, works come as a result of salvation- not the reverse. And in a small sense I might say that the article’s title does not truly reflect the breadth and scope of “belief in God”.

Several days ago, Teri told me about a group of Christian leaders that wrote a letter to President Trump. She mentioned it was signed by two pastors with churches in O.C. that we have attended over the past two decades, The Crossing in Costa Mesa and Mariners Church in Irvine. Here is the link to that letter:

https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/…/Washington_Post_Eva…

In this letter the Christian leaders, while acknowledging President Trump’s desire to keep Americans safe, also state their commitment to follow Scripture and care for those that are persecuted and also their willingness to accept responsibility for a larger number of refugees than allowed with the executive order. This helped cement my belief that my attitude must change.

Throughout this whole issue I realized something. Fear is the driving factor behind our wanting to keep people that may hurt us away. And that fear is completely understandable. But the Bible says in 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV) For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. Oops, I hate it when I’m forced to consider whether or not to follow the words I say I believe in!

So, where does this leave me now? Well first, and above all else, I will trust God- trust Him that He loves me and wants what is best for me. As to a temporary restriction on immigration, I find nothing in the U.S. Constitution that prohibits it, and actually think that presidents have a right to do so. I will do what the Christian leaders told President Trump, “As Christians we are committed to praying for our elected officials. Our prayer is that God would grant President Trump and all our leaders divine wisdom as they direct the course of our nation. We also pray for the vulnerable individuals whom their decisions directly impact.” Beyond that, should we accept some refugees, whether Christian, Muslim or any (or no) religion, I will follow what Scripture declares and welcome them and give them comfort.

To my friends that post articles that seem controversial please understand that many times I do read them and use the articles, as iron sharpens iron to strengthen my arguments. Or, as happened in this case, to sometimes listen to God, study and conform my believes to what the Author of the Universe wants me to believe.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…/you-cant-believe-in-god-and…?

Or, you can, but God won’t be very happy about it.
huffingtonpost.com

Saddened…

January 10, 2017

I was struck with great sadness today earlier while getting my coffee. I was thinking about what a crummy year 2016 was, and across my mind flitted that day in May (before the June primary) when Ted Cruz had a rally in Irvine–and it occurred to me, that was the happiest day of 2016 for me, other than when he won the Iowa caucus. Those two days were filled with the hope and promise of a return to constitutional principles, values, and liberty. The other 364 days (it was a leap year) pretty much sucked, except for family times and times spent in church either worshipping or learning more about my Savior, and personal time spent reading the bible.

I also thought about Ted Cruz continuing to prop up the PE and the republican party. And I cried. Was I as guilty of admiring a personality as much as those with whom I fought most of the year, who in a cult-like trance seemed to unquestioningly and blindly support the PE?

I don’t think so. I think I admired and supported Cruz for the principles for which he fought and his resolute leadership in not accepting a counterfeit liberty. I’m puzzled, confused and disappointed, though, by his turnabout regarding Trump and none of his statements regarding it has been satisfactory. It appears he has become one of them and is no longer the man who said, “There is no universe in which I will consent to that.” Coupled with the acceptance and near worship of Trump by many in the evangelical community, including those in leadership–indeed, the near giddiness of some…I can’t help but think of Franklin Graham’s statements that Trump was an answer to prayer–is astounding and deeply troubling.

I still stand by Cary Gordon’s “5 Steps to Political Ephiphany”  http://stepstopoliticalepiphany.com/ as the standard we should use in evaluating our duty in voting as Christians.

I didn’t vote for either, and voted third party. My conscience is clear, but my heart is still heavy with great sadness over what has occurred. And what it portends.

At the time…

November 22, 2016

At the time that David French wrote this article for the National Review, it was painful to read. My first reaction to reading it was, “Ouch.”

Although this was published on September 24th, some of the things French says here  have been weighing on my mind.

Like most who thought that the liberal progressive donor didn’t have a chance, but who actually pulled out a win (which some say  wasn’t so much about him winning, but her losing–the Obama coalition didn’t “show up”), we thought that had Cruz not endorsed, he would have come out smelling like a rose.

Now with the liberal progressive donor’s win, it looks like Cruz, whether or not he had endorsed, may end up being the most visible casualty of this horrible cycle. I still will oppose the winner with everything I have. He is still the unfit, unprincipled, liberal progressive donor that he was before. There is nothing to suggest that he is, or ever was  conservative or would know a conservative principle if it came up and slapped him in his face. He has reversed every stance through which he lured  voters into supporting him, and shows every indication of governing as as a leftist. Buoyed by left-leaning “moderate” republicans who have openly indicated they want to “crush conservatives”, he is an anathema to conservatism as much as Hillary Clinton is. Aside from reports of him refusing to study for debates or simply to be informed on the issues, he sidestepped this most basic of work by deflecting in the debates and interviews and going off on tangents wholly unrelated to the question at hand. Moreover, recent reports also discuss his lack of impulse control. So basically, we have someone with the emotional maturity of an 8th-grader handed the most powerful job in the world who is rudderless, resistant to putting in the work necessary for a demanding job, thin-skinned who lashes out at slights with 3 a.m. tweets, brags about the size of his genitals on national tv, demeans and degrades women and minorities and takes advantage of same as a matter of course, and lacks the ability to comport himself. How do you spell spoiled rich kid? With the millions of free media and publicity this guy received, it’s not like these things were not made obvious. America, you’re fired.

Perhaps saddest of all is the hit that the church took regarding its witness to the unsaved. Not only did well-known and respected evangelicals leaders excuse the winner’s rhetoric and behavior, but so did scores of believers, including some in my own family. So when an unsaved person says Christians are hypocrites, what will the believer say then? The news that “evangelicals” in large numbers apparently helped this moral reprobate limp over the finish line, says more about the moral void in this country and what’s being taught, or rather, not taught, from the pulpit than almost anything.

This could mean that Cruz will never be president. What hurts the most are the lies and accusations that the winner made against Cruz and were repeated ad infinitum by vile, cult-like supporters of the winner. Yes, I hope these despicable things perpetrated by the winner on Cruz are revealed and laid bare. Yes, I’m disappointed by Cruz’s endorsement of the winner, but I’m even more disappointed that the country could elect such a terrible person to the presidency. Yes, we knew that Clinton had her flaws, but we knew what she would do and we could oppose her forthrightly. I fear for this country and for our liberties under a man who never spoke of the concept of liberty while campaigning and would simply say things that he knew people wanted to hear without having any moral or ideological compass to guide him except his own self-aggrandizement. And the fact that the winner continues to tacitly give legitimacy to the alt-right racists, by not only not denouncing them, but appointing one of their standard-bearers to a high position in his administration is disturbing.

No doubt there was pressure to endorse. A fan of the show House of Cards suspected it was an endorse-or-we’ll-destroy-you type of ultimatum. Perhaps. But French suggests that’s not enough to acquiesce to the pressure. There are more important things.

What pressure? You might get primaried? You might – gasp – lose your Senate seat? Good heavens – the nation just can’t survive without Cruz in the Senate!

We’re all replaceable. All of us. I’m reading Nathanial Philbrick’s Valiant Ambition, and I’m struck by the extent that perhaps the closest thing to an irreplaceable person in all of American history – George Washington – intentionally exposed himself to Brish volleys. Why? Because he knew what great commanders have known for millennia — while there are substitutes for even the best generals, there is no substitute for valor. That’s no argument for mindless recklessness (Washington hardly led every charge), it does reflect the reality that there are times when you pledge your life, your fortune, and your sacred honor for the cause you hold dear

Similarly, while there are substitutes for any senator, there is no substitute for respect for the values and constitutional principles that made this nation great. And if a politician has to expose himself to Reince’s public relations peashooter to — quoting Cruz himself at the convention – “defend our freedom” and be “faithful to the Constitution,” then by God you do it. Too bad Ted couldn’t. Perhaps someone else will.

By the way, I didn’t vote for either the winner or the loser, but voted third party.

The Lesson Ted Cruz Taught Us

By David French

September 24, 2016 2:26 PM

The dominoes are falling – as we knew they would. On Friday Ted Cruz endorsed Donald Trump, just weeks after a mic-dropping moment at the Republican National Convention, where he pointedly refused to endorse the man who insulted his wife and accused his father of conspiring to kill JFK. Instead, in the face of a chorus of boos, he urged delegates to vote their conscience. The implication was clear – a conservative of conscience should not support Trump.

Whatever. Now he’s on the Trump Train, and in heeding the GOP conductor’s call of “all aboard” he’s teaching us once again an important lesson about the contemporary American political elite. They’ll take risks to achieve upward mobility, but the prospect of truly diminished influence is apparently too terrifying to contemplate. To quote the Hamilton musical, once they get in the “room where it happens,” they just don’t want to leave.

That’s why you saw fading Republican stars jump on the Trump Train early – he was their hope for continued relevance. That’s why you see establishment Republicans falling all over themselves to endorse Trump despite his manifest ignorance, mendacity, and unfitness. They want to remain in the establishment. That’s why religious right leaders keep endorsing one of the sexual revolution’s most ardent practitioners. They can’t abide the thought of political irrelevance. They all do it by convincing themselves – down to the very core of their beings – that the nation would be worse off without their unique talents, wisdom, and judgment.

Let’s be clear, between the Republican convention and this weekend, absolutely nothing changed about either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Trump and Clinton are the same politicians with the same towering self-regard and same unfitness for the presidency. Trump is the exact same person who Cruz once said could “plunge” this nation “into the abyss.” Clinton is the exact same person we’ve seen throughout a quarter-century of dreary, corrupt years in national public life. What changed is all this “pressure” I keep hearing about. “The pressure is building,” people say. It’s time to get in line behind Trump.

What pressure? You might get primaried? The terrifying Reince Priebus might get angry? You might – gasp – lose your Senate seat? Good heavens – the nation just can’t survive without Cruz in the Senate!

We’re all replaceable. All of us. I’m reading Nathanial Philbrick’s Valiant Ambition, and I’m struck by the extent that perhaps the closest thing to an irreplaceable person in all of American history – George Washington – intentionally exposed himself to British volleys. Why? Because he knew what great commanders have known for millennia — while there are substitutes for even the best generals, there is no substitute for valor. That’s no argument for mindless recklessness (Washington hardly led every charge), it does reflect the reality that there are times when you pledge your life, your fortune, and your sacred honor for the cause you hold dear.

Similarly, while there are substitutes for any senator, there is no substitute for respect for the values and constitutional principles that made this nation great. And if a politician has to expose himself to Reince’s public relations peashooter to — quoting Cruz himself at the convention – “defend our freedom” and be “faithful to the Constitution,” then by God you do it. Too bad Ted couldn’t. Perhaps someone else will.

An indictment of the Christian right

October 17, 2016

The Christian Right has become as worldly and polluted as the Christian Left.

 

By your actions in Campaign 2016, you have harmed all of our witness. You have made it more difficult to save the lost and more difficult to protect the rights of faithful believers. You have dragged down the reputation of penitent heroes of the Bible to justify the sins of Donald Trump.

 

You made Christianity partisan instead of holy.

 

Christians should be known by our love, but you have sown division, hatred, and apologies for sin. You have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator. You have made an idol of your politics and worship it as a religion. You have allowed bad company to corrupt your good morals.

 

The harm you have done at a time Christianity is under assault will echo through the coming decades. Instead of putting your trust in the real savior, you went looking for an earthly savior and shackled yourselves to him.

 

Erick Erickson has done a great job here indicting the Christian Right for making faith in Jesus partisan and for seeking a political victory. “My only hope is that as he sinks down that you remain shackled to him as well and drown in your own irrelevance that Christians in America can be surrounded and supported now by the right Christians instead of the Christian Right,” says Erickson toward the end. If by that he means that the sham of the  Christian Right  and their leadership will or should be judged for what they’ve done–instead of promoting the gospel–then I agree.

There have been a few bright spots in this awful campaign cycle. I remember when Russell Moore, President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, responded when Trump called him a “nasty guy”. With a national audience listening, Moore presented a simple, bold witness in the midst of this chaotic political process. It made my heart sing. Jeffress, Falwell, Dobson, and Graham should take note.

http://www.snappytv.com/tc/1892738

http://theresurgent.com/an-open-letter-to-the-christian-right/

An Open Letter to the Christian Right

By  |  October 14, 2016, 12:42am

I am an evangelical Christian. I believe scripture is the inerrant word of God. I believe that when scripture speaks with authority on a subject, it is accurate even though it sometimes forces me to confront seeming contradictions. I believe in one triune God who through the person of Jesus Christ has delivered me from sin and will return to judge the quick and dead.

But I no longer believe in you.

While there are many right thinking Christians in the United States, the Christian Right has become as worldly and polluted as the Christian Left. Liberal Christianity in the United States has found that God is ever changing. His pronouncements on homosexuality have evolved. The application of the Bible need not be taken literally. And sin itself must be affirmed. Now the Christian Right does the same. It ignores admonitions of the Bible. It excuses the sins of those on the team.

To be clear, when I say Christian Right, I mean the political organizations that agitate for Christian values in Washington, D.C., not the conservative Christians in America struggling through their lives. I do not mean the mission focused biblically based organizations spread across America. I mean the remnant of the Moral Majority, which still seeks to exercise influence on behalf of Christians in Washington, D.C.

By your actions in Campaign 2016, you have harmed all of our witness. You have made it more difficult to save the lost and more difficult to protect the rights of faithful believers.
You have dragged down the reputation of penitent heroes of the Bible to justify the sins of Donald Trump.

You have dismissed claims of sexual assault against Donald Trump.

You have subverted and perverted the Word to justify and excuse the behavior of a man who finds it acceptable to degrade others and revel in sexual sin.

You have taken the story of Jesus protecting a woman from stoning and twisted it into an admonition that we should not hold Donald Trump accountable for sexual harassment lest we be “judging” him.

You have ridiculed the motives of the women who have come forward and in some cases mocked these women created in the image of God solely for political gain.

You have defended Donald Trump as partisans, not as Christians.

You have openly embraced a man who revels in sin and failed to publicly call him to repent.

You have made binary a choice that involves the weight of daily faith and determined that one evil should be chosen over another. Then you had the audacity to declare it God’s will instead of relying on God.

You made Christianity partisan instead of holy.

You should be ashamed.

How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked?

Donald Trump is going to lose the White House now and through you he has dragged down all of us. When Christians of good faith and conscience stand up now to defend religious liberty, who will take us seriously? You championed a man who does not respect the First Amendment. You championed a man who implied that he, not Christ, will make Christianity great again.

When Christians argue for a moral basis of law, who will take us seriously? You, the media adorned face of Christianity in America, rallied to a man who revels in sin. You dismissed sexual assault claims because you did not want to harm your chances of getting secular, worldly power.

When Christians argue that we should, in the future, have a moral leader, who will take us seriously after you so quickly whored yourselves to Donald Trump?

When Christians take a bold stand, how will anyone assume the motivation is pure when you’ve been taking money from Trump? How will people know that this next time you are not bought and paid for?

We live in an age of increased cynicism toward faith and increased hostility toward Christians. By standing with a man who makes a mockery of faith, who revels in sin, and who calls himself a Christian, but has never felt the need to repent, you have exacerbated secular stereotypes of the Church in America. You have provided all the ammunition the secular world needs to question our motives, our beliefs, and our aspirations.

And yet you have no shame and refuse to acknowledge the damage you have done by excusing a man accused of sexual assault.

Christians should be known by our love, but you have sown division, hatred, and apologies for sin. You have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator. You have made an idol of your politics and worship it as a religion. You have allowed bad company to corrupt your good morals.

The harm you have done at a time Christianity is under assault will echo through the coming decades. Instead of putting your trust in the real savior, you went looking for an earthly savior and shackled yourselves to him.

My only hope is that as he sinks down that you remain shackled to him as well and drown in your own irrelevance that Christians in America can be surrounded and supported now by the right Christians instead of the Christian Right.

Let the wicked be put to shame; let them go silently to Sheol.

Shame on you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let Us Change the World Rather Than Be Changed by the World

October 17, 2016

http://townhall.com/columnists/michaelbrown/2016/10/14/people-of-god-let-us-change-the-world-rather-than-be-changed-by-the-world-n2232389

This article in Townhall was encouraging to me as a Christian evangelical seeing numerous believers choosing to justify, excuse and minimize candidates’ behavior and conduct, and was a reminder as to what we are called to do.

As sons and daughters of God through faith in Jesus the Messiah, we have been given wonderful promises by God, but with those promises comes responsibility.

 

As the world around us is plunging into sexual anarchy and madness, let us swim against this polluting tide, determining, with God’s help, that rather than the world changing us, we will change the world.

 

People of God, Let Us Change the World Rather Than Be Changed by the World

 

Michael Brown
|
Posted: Oct 14, 2016 1:23 PM
People of God, Let Us Change the World Rather Than Be Changed by the World

 

In front of our eyes, America is descending into vulgarity, lewdness, crudeness, and profanity. In front of our eyes, things which should not be spoken of in private are being shouted across the airwaves, and there seems to be almost no way to escape the bombardment of filth.

At times like this, those of us who love and fear the Lord need to be careful that we too don’t descend into this trashiness, paying careful attention lest we become desensitized and hardened along with the rest of the culture.

I don’t know if it can be demonstrated statistically, but many people believe that President Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky had a negative effect on the nation as a whole, in particular, among young people, who learned that one particular sexual act did not constitute “having sex.”

Today, with the daily attacks on Donald Trump’s past and the daily reminders of Bill Clinton’s past, with websites blasting out the most salacious headlines and with newscasters shamelessly talking about shameful things – all this by the minute and by the hour – we run the risk of being polluted by the world’s corruption without even knowing it, just like a non-smoker comes out of a smoke-filled room smelling like smoke but doesn’t even realize it.

This is a time to remember the words of Jacob (James) who wrote, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (Jas. 1:27).

By all means, let us “visit orphans and widows in their affliction,” and by all means, let us keep ourselves “unstained from the world.”

Last week, I posted a video expressing my grief and sadness over professing Christians who minimized so-called “locker room” talk, referring specifically to the horrific sexual comments made by Donald Trump back in 2005.

But my focus was not on Trump.

My focus was on Christians saying, “It’s no big deal. All of us do things like that.”

There were even Christian women who said, “Hey, I hear that from my husband and sons.”

Seriously? No big deal? The kind of stuff most men and boys engage in? What kind of rubbish is that?

Followers of Jesus claiming that crass, despicable, crude, degrading talk about women is no big deal, even for themselves? Followers of Jesus calling me self-righteous and a liar if I don’t admit to engaging in similar talk? What kind of deception are they living in?

In response to my video, one individual wrote, “I guess Dr. Brown never says or minimizes anything inappropriate! Maybe Dr. Brown takes the opposite side of this issue to generate controversy for his Youtube Channel.”

Another wrote, “Dr. Brown, I’m sure you have said even worst, and you don’t fool anybody; you’re no better.”

What kind of world are these people living in?

It’s true that I’ve been following Jesus for the last 45 years, but my teen years were anything but holy, to the point that I was shooting heroin at the age of 15 and even broke into a doctor’s office to steal drugs for fun. I hung around with some pretty despicable and even dangerous people, and I had a miserably foul mouth.

But even then, the level of “locker room” talk heard on that tape was not something I engaged in (maybe because I wasn’t a star with that kind of access to women, even though I was filthy?).

Either way, the past is not the issue, not for me, not for you, not for Trump, not for Clinton, as long as we have asked God and people for forgiveness, as long as we have made things right, and as long as we are putting the past behind us by living new, transformed lives.

The issue, then, is how we are living today.

The issue is what we think about, what we talk about, and what we do today.

The issue is the purity of our hearts and the purity of our lips and the purity of our actions – and make no mistake about it, we are called to purity. And purity is downright beautiful.

This is how the Lord calls us to live (and this is just one relevant passage out of many; I encourage you to read it slowly, out loud, several times over):

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.

“For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light . . .” (Eph. 5:1-8).

Yes, we used to be darkness, but now, in Jesus, we are light. Let us walk as children of light!

As sons and daughters of God through faith in Jesus the Messiah, we have been given wonderful promises by God, but with those promises comes responsibility. That’s why Paul wrote, “Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” (2 Cor. 7:1, NIV).

As the world around us is plunging into sexual anarchy and madness, let us swim against this polluting tide, determining, with God’s help, that rather than the world changing us, we will change the world.

 

Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us

August 15, 2016

My mother-in-law Betty passed away tonight. She was a prayer warrior and a testimony of faith in Jesus. She was actually my husband’s stepmother, but like his dad, Allen (who passed in 2010), she always treated me like one of her own. She had many admirable qualities, but her steadfast faith in Jesus, her Savior, was one of her best. There were many family dinners and occasions where the family’s expression of faith was led by Betty and Allen and provided my daughter with a legacy of Christian faith and living that I am grateful beyond measure that my daughter was able to experience.

I know I will miss her, but in my sadness I am remembering some verses that offer some comfort. The first is Hebrews 12:1-3.

12 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

This online source explains the “cloud of witnesses” this way.

http://www.gotquestions.org/cloud-of-witnesses.html

“We are surrounded by the saints of the past in a unique way. It’s not that the faithful who have gone before us are spectators to the race we run. Rather, it is a figurative representation and means that we ought to act as if they were in sight and cheering us on to the same victory in the life of faith that they obtained. We are to be inspired by the Godly examples these saints set during their lives. These are those whose past lives of faith encourage others to live that way, too. That the cloud is referred to as “great” indicates that millions of believers have gone before us, each bearing witness to the life of faith we now live.”

Betty now, along with Allen, and the other loved ones who have gone before us are a part of that “cloud of witnesses”. I can’t help but think of Mark Schultz’s song, Cloud of Witnesses, and the words toward the end of the song. I can imagine Betty, despite her 93 years on this earth, running “the final mile” to the throne surrounded by all those who went before her, and who is now in the arms of the Savior.

So when it comes the time
That heaven calls
They’ll come running to see the ones who’ve gone before,
Ran the race and made the journey home,
To find waiting for them at the finish line,
Cheering happily
They will run
And they will see

A cloud of witnesses
Lined up on a street of gold
As they run the final mile.
That leads them to a throne.
And through the cloud of witnesses
They see God upon the throne.
And as they fall into His arms,
They know they’re home in
A cloud of witnesses,
Surrounded by a cloud of witnesses.

 

In closing, I’d like to note 1 Thessalonians 4:13:

13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.

I will miss Betty and I am deeply saddened by her passing. I understand from family members that she passed peacefully. Though some tears may fall, we now know that she is rejoicing.

Why I won’t vote for Trump or Clinton

August 8, 2016

There have been a number of good editorials and opinion pieces written lately explaining why the writer has chosen not to vote for either Trump or Clinton. They all offer excellent reasons and reasoning why neither one earns their vote (or mine). Here are links to those articles, as well as a link to a series of videos that explains why voting for the lesser of two evils is not something in which a Christian wants to participate.

http://unhyphenatedamerica.org/2016/06/28/lesseroftwoevils/

http://drkevinbaird.com/wp/2016/07/29/__trashed/

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/438623/conservatisms-moral-crisis-defending-trumps-lies

http://www.dailywire.com/news/3896/shapiro-i-will-never-vote-donald-trump-heres-why-ben-shapiro

http://stepstopoliticalepiphany.com/

But I particularly liked the following article by Susan Wright because it captured, in a fairly concise way, my thoughts on the matter, from a Christian believer’s point of view.

http://www.redstate.com/sweetie15/2016/08/07/christians-crossroad-choosing-lesser-two-evils-still-choosing-evil/

Christians at a Crossroad: Choosing the Lesser of Two Evils is Still Choosing Evil

by Susan Wright

at a crossroads blue

“Of two evils, choose neither.” – Charles Spurgeon

And here we are, at a crossroad for choosing.

Turn to the left, and you find yourself in the camp of Hillary Clinton. She is the Teflon candidate. She has weathered more scandals and been let off the hook for more misdeeds and missteps than probably any known candidate in our nation’s very short history.

How she manages to elude justice and become the Democrat nominee, I have no certain idea. I suspect there is more than a slight bit of collusion going on behind the scenes. Politics is a cesspool, and until very recently, we could claim the Democrat end to be most corrupt and putrid.

If you turn to the right at this crossroad, you find yourself with Donald J. Trump. His supporters are made up of a mish-mash of the poorly educated, the angry, who desperately need a scapegoat for their anger, Nazis (No, seriously… Nazis), and the odd addition of Christians who feel he is the “lesser” of two evils.

If the idea of Christians united with Nazis for a common goal (getting Trump elected) causes you to recoil in disgust, you are not alone.

I’ve watched the nightmare of Trump unfold for the past year and I’ve taken every opportunity to sound the alarm about what he was. As a nation, we had better to choose from, but Trump was chosen by the people.

Trump is an unrepentant adulterer. He owns gambling houses. He demeans women, veterans, immigrants, and the handicapped.

Trump has not only cheated on his wives, but has cheated small business owners out of their rightful pay. He’s made a fortune out of sticking it to those he owes debts to, and has left creditors holding the bag, as he has used the bankruptcy courts to avoid payment.

He is ungracious, profane, and a bully.

Those the people choose to represent them are a direct reflection on the people, themselves.

So what does that say about Trump’s supporters? Or Hillary’s, for that matter?

More importantly, what does it say about those Christians that want to use the excuse, “At least he’s not Hillary” as a reason for supporting such a man?

I am in full agreement that we can’t let Hillary get in the White House. The damage she would inflict on our nation and our constitutional freedoms would take generations to correct.

I am equally convinced that Trump is not the answer for a Christian.

To Spurgeon’s point, there is no acceptable level of evil. Christians who are willing to trade Hillary’s wickedness for Trump’s, simply because of the magical “R” beside his name betray their principles, as Christians.

That “R” doesn’t stand for righteous.

What I’m hearing from most is that they will support a man who has never displayed anything hopeful or godly in his life, on the off chance that maybe he won’t be as bad as they know Hillary will be.

Is that faith?

If it is, it’s misplaced and misguided, at best.

I was told last night that if I stood against Trump, I was battling against God.

It was a curious and disturbing statement. I have to assume this person, in her zeal to exalt Trump, was incorrectly applying Romans 13:2:

“Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” Romans 13:2 NIV

As it is, however, Trump is not president, nor any authority, at this point.

He’s a reality TV star running for the presidency, and giving fair warning about him is not out of line with what God would have us do.

All throughout the Old Testament, God allowed for wicked leaders to be placed in authority over the people. Quite often, we can assume it was to humble the people and bring them back to Him. So it would seem, per Proverbs 16:4:

“The Lord has made everything for its own purpose,
Even the wicked [according to their role] for the day of evil.” Proverbs 16:4 AMP

As it appears, either Trump or Hillary would be a punishment on this nation, and we would deserve it. If these are the representatives of our values that we clamor for, even our Christians, then is this nation worth saving, or do we belong on the ash heap of history?

I offer this for your consideration: At a crossroads, you don’t have to take the left or the right. Sometimes, you just go straight ahead.

If by associating with wickedness and sin, we aid in the fall of many people, do we not bear a portion of that wickedness on ourselves?

There comes a time to stay the course and not be distracted or led astray by doubt, fear, or party loyalty.

I’ve made a choice to stand on my faith and my Christian principles. I will not aid in ushering in any age of corruption or wickedness by placing the sacred trust of my vote with anyone who does not represent my values.

Does that mean God is going to honor my faithfulness by not giving us Hillary or Trump?

No. We may very well end up with one of the two evils that the people have clamored for.

What it does mean, however, is that I held to my faith, and will continue, through the good days and the bad, alike.

My God has been faithful to me through hard times before. I refuse to bow to fear. I refuse to “go along to get along.”

I will stay the course, looking neither to the left or the right, because our answers are not there. I’ll vote my values, whether those are popular or even successful in this election, and whatever happens after, I will still trust God.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.” 2 Timothy 4:7 NLT