Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Rise of the 'Nones'? Christianity Shrinking? Not So Fast

At P.J. Media, John Ellis writes about the United Methodist Church's decision to "spend 75 weeks praying about accepting homosexuality."  The whole article is worth a read because it tells what is happening to this once-great tradition of Wesleyan holiness and revivalism.  Of particular interest, though, are these two paragraphs, commenting on the state of western Christianity in general.  The loss of membership in western denominations that one hears to much about isn't as clear as it seems:
Over the last year, non-theists have gloated over numbers that indicate religion's shrinking place among Americans.  While not lying, the numbers don't reveal the whole truth at first blush.  According to the Pew Research Center, evangelicalism in America has remained steady even in the face of a shrinking attachment to Christianity among Americans.  So where is the loss of numbers coming from? Well, mainline/liberal denominations.  In other words, yes, it's true that religion's place in our society is shrinking.  But the religion that's disappearing is a false religion anyway. [Emphasis added.]

Proving Roger Finke and Rodney Stark correct, denominations that have embraced liberal theology are losing members at an alarming rate.  The United Methodist Church's Council of Bishops may very well believe that the path to sustained denominational growth is through a continued embrace of liberal theology and progressive ideology, but every indicator points to the reality that their solution is actually an anti-solution.  As the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Galatia, "Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap" (Galatians 6:7).
Read the rest.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Obama's Shameful Betrayal of Israel

From PJMedia, where there is more:
To President Obama's legacy of foreign policy debacles, we can now add his landmark betrayal of Israel, carried out Dec. 23rd at the United Nations. By declining to wield the U.S. veto at the Security Council, by choosing instead to abstain -- by Vanishing-from-Behind -- Obama allowed the passage, by a vote of 14 in favor, 1 abstaining, of Resolution 2334. In the guise of condemning Israeli settlements, this resolution is configured to delegitimize and imperil Israel itself, America's longtime ally and the only democracy in the Middle East.

With that signal abstention, Obama abandoned decades of U.S. practice of defending Israel against the bigots and thug governments that routinely sit on the Security Council, including permanent members Russia and China, and their rotating sidekicks, such as Venezuela. As a Wall Street Journal editorial accurately put it, referring to the U.S. abstention: "What it reveals clearly is the Obama administration's animus against the state of Israel itself. No longer needing Jewish votes, Mr. Obama was free, finally, to punish the Jewish state in a way no previous president has done."
Read the rest.

Friday, December 02, 2016

After 80 Years, Islamist Turkey Again Seizes Hagia Sophia Church for Islam

From the date of its construction in 537 AD, and until 1453, Hagia Sophia [Holy Wisdom] served as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral and seat of the Patriarch of Constantinople.  The building was later converted into an Ottoman mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1931. It was then secularized and opened as a museum on 1 February 1935.  The church was dedicated to the Wisdom of God, the Logos, the second person of the Trinity, its patronal feast taking place on 25 December, the commemoration of the birth of the incarnation of the Logos in Christ.

From PJ Media:
The Hagia Sophia is one of the most beautiful and well-known buildings in the world -- and Islamists have detested that fact for years.  After all, it is a Christian church, and therefore a Christian symbol.

That's why the Ottoman Turks wasted little time transforming the church into a mosque when they invaded and conquered Constantinople (Istanbul) centuries ago.  Christian symbols and works of art were destroyed or covered, and a dominating tower was built from which the Islamic call to prayer could be sung.

The Ottomans did that because they wanted to show Christians that, from then onwards, Islam was in power.  Christianity would be subjugated.

That changed in the 20th century, when the Ottoman Empire fell and was succeeded by the secular Turkish Republic.  The Hagia Sophia was declared a neutral place for Christians and Muslims (and for people of all other religions).  The church/mosque was made into a museum where everybody was welcome.

Just about everybody was happy with that situation -- except for the remaining Islamists.  Thankfully, fundamentalist Muslims were marginalized in the Turkish Republic.

Sadly, that has all changed under the rule of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's current president.

Erdogan is an Islamist who believes that Turkey can only restore its old glory (note: the glory days of the Ottomans) by becoming a truly Islamist nation.  That's why nobody was surprised -- shocked, yes, but not surprised -- when the government announced earlier this year that the Muslim call to prayer would be sung twice a day in the Hagia Sophia from then on.

Christians and others criticized the decision, but Erdogan ignored them.  At best, he and the other members of the government said Christians had nothing to fear.  It was just a call to prayer, twice a day.  What's the problem?

Logically, Christians and other critics of the government had a hard time believing the president.  They feared that this was just the first step in a project to once again Islamize the Hagia Sophia.

This fear has now been validated: last Friday, the Turkish government announced that it had appointed a permanent imam to the Hagia Sophia.

This means that the Islamic call to prayer will now be heard five times a day, instead of two times -- and that it will basically function as any other mosque.

It's a tremendous slap in the face of Turkish Christians, who already are an increasingly beleaguered minority.

Earlier this month, Rev. Andrew Brunson and his wife Norine were arrested for supposedly being "national security threats."  That's an excuse this government always uses to take out those who don't support the president.  Brunson has been arrested because of his work for Christ.

Turkey's Islamist president is on a war path with Christians in Turkey.  Their churches are turned into mosques, their pastors are arrested and deported, and those Christians who remain are constantly forced to look over their shoulder.

Welcome to the New Turkey of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, where non-Muslims are soon to face the traditional Koranic choice of "convert, submit, or die."

The Christian population of Turkey is evaporating rapidly.  The nation, a NATO member since 1952, experienced a reduction in its Christian population from 20 percent 100 years ago to only 0.2 percent today.

Presumably, the reconversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque means that these precious mosaic icons from the Byzantine Era will once again be plastered over.
In 1453, Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Empire under Mehmed the Conqueror, who ordered this main church of Orthodox Christianity converted into a mosque.  The bells, altar, iconostasis, and sacrificial vessels and other relics were removed and the mosaics depicting Jesus, his Mother Mary, Christian saints and angels were also removed or plastered over.

We need to pray that this marvelous edifice once again becomes a place where Christ is worshipped.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Fidel Castro Dead: Nothing Changes

As I have grown older, I have become more pragmatic.  Thirty or forty years ago, I would have taken the time to wax eloquent on the subtle and not so subtle differences between socialism and communism.  Today I am content to say that the only difference between the two seems to be the militancy with which the redistribution of wealth is enforced.

I have always had a sadness in my heart for Cuba.  As a four year old boy I went to Havana with my parents only a couple of months before Castro came to power.  I have always retained vivid memories of my early childhood and the trip to Havana is no exception.  I still remember the beautiful beaches and boulevards, the hotel where we stayed and the restaurants where we ate—and, yes, the casinos (even though my parents didn't take me into the areas where the gambling occurred, I still remember seeing the roulette tables and other games through the open archways).  Cuba before Communism was a playground for those who could afford to play.

It was Christmas 1958, but amid all the celebrating there was a tension in the air.  It was as if wealthy Cubans and American tourists alike realized they were celebrating a last hurrah before a terrible fate befell their world.  Cubans who could afford to were already fleeing the country, and American tourists were saying farewell to a country and a way of life they would not see again.

Tourism and the growing and selling of sugar had been making Cubans rich for decades, but not all Cubans.  What most tourists didn't see, or didn't want to, was the underclass, people who lived in poverty like the macheteros—sugarcane cutters—who worked only during the four month growing season, and the rest of the year were unemployed and angry.  The growing class disparity as well as accusations of corruption in the government of President Fulgencio Batista made the country ripe for a revolution.  A band of guerrillas, led by Fidel Castro, had begun fomenting just such a revolution that would soon bring an end to Havana's high-life.

Born in Birán, Cuba, as the son of a wealthy Spanish farmer (his father owned a 23,000 acre estate), Fidel Castro adopted leftist politics while studying law at the University of Havana.  After participating in rebellions against governments in the Dominican Republic and Colombia, he planned the overthrow of Cuban President Fulgencio Batista, launching a failed attack on the Moncada Barracks in 1953.

After a year's imprisonment, he traveled to Mexico where he formed a revolutionary group, the "26th of July Movement," with his brother Raúl Castro and revolutionary icon Che Guevara.  Returning to Cuba, Castro took a key role in the Cuban Revolution by leading the Movement in a guerrilla war against Batista's forces.  The Revolution was successful in overthrowing Batista's government in 1959, and Castro assumed military and political power as Cuba's Prime Minister.

A quote that has been variously attributed to Marx, Lenin, or Stalin is "When we hang the capitalists they will sell us the rope we use."  I think Castro was surprised that, having taken over Cuba, the United States did not continue to sell (or give) Cuba the rope—or anything else they needed.  The US government stood on principle, something a Communist would not expect a Capitalist to do.

The United States opposed the establishment of what was clearly a Communist dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere and unsuccessfully attempted to remove Castro by assassination, economic blockade, and inciting a counter-revolution, including the Bay of Pigs Invasion of 1961.  Countering these threats, Castro formed an alliance with the Soviet Union and allowed the Soviets to place nuclear weapons in Cuba, sparking the Cuban Missile Crisis—a defining incident of the Cold War—in 1962.  Thus hardened in their respective positions, the US has maintained an embargo on commerce with and travel to Cuba for more than 50 years.

So how have the Cuban people fared during those 50 years?  If George Orwell were still living, he could make a case study out of Cuba.  A revolution supposedly begun to help poor people only made them poorer.  A revolution to free them from oppression has only made them more oppressed.  A revolution in the name of democracy resulted in a dictatorship and family dynasty by one man and his brother for over 50 years.  And it really doesn't matter whether you call it socialism or communism.

Fidel Castro is, at last, dead.  His brother and successor as supreme tyrant, Raúl Castro, announced his death on Friday night, “with a profound pain."  The pain cannot compare with the pain felt by the Cuban people for the past half-century.  The reality is that Fidel Castro presided over the cultural genocide of his own people, employing the firing squad liberally against “counter-revolutionaries;” sending Christians and other undesirables to concentration camps, and pushing still more undesirables out of the country in huge boat lifts, mostly to southern Florida.

President Obama and the "Mainstream" Media are mourning Castro's death—whitewashing his crimes against the Cuban people while having the gall to compare him to George Washington.

"We know that this moment fills Cubans -- in Cuba and in the United States -- with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation.  History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him," President Obama said in a statement.

ABC's Jim Avila said Castro "was considered, even to this day, the George Washington of his country among those who remain in Cuba."  MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell lavished the evil man with high praise mentioning he "will be revered for education and social services and medical care to all of his people."

President-elect Donald Trump, on the other hand, called out Castro for who he really was--a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people: "Fidel Castro's legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights," Trump said in a statement.

Senator Marco Rubio, himself of Cuban descent, took to Twitter with several Tweets: "History will remember Fidel Castro as an evil, murderous dictator who inflicted misery & suffering on his own people."  Rubio also urged Obama to avoid Castro's funeral. 

Following is President-elect Trump's full statement:
"Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades.  Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights.

"While Cuba remains a totalitarian island, it is my hope that today marks a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve.

"Though the tragedies, deaths and pain caused by Fidel Castro cannot be erased, our administration will do all it can to ensure the Cuban people can finally begin their journey toward prosperity and liberty.  I join the many Cuban Americans who supported me so greatly in the presidential campaign, including the Brigade 2506 Veterans Association that endorsed me, with the hope of one day soon seeing a free Cuba."
Numerous media outlets have taken note of the stark contrast between Obama and Trump's statements.

President-elect Trump is absolutely correct.  Our sympathies and our prayers should be with the Cuban people who have suffered for decades under the oppressive regime of Fidel Castro and will continue to suffer until true freedom comes to Cuba.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Study Finds that Mainline Protestant Churches that Focus on the Gospel and Prayer are Growing; Those that Don’t Are in Decline

VirtueOnline summarizes an important study published this week in the Canadian publication, MacLeans, demonstrating that fidelity to the Bible and historic Christian orthodoxy is a key factor in whether a "mainline" congregation grows or declines:
An academic survey study of 2,225 churchgoers in Ontario, Canada, conducted over five years by Wilfred Laurier University revealed that people interpreting the Bible literally "helps increase church attendance."

The research, published in the Canadian publication MacLeans, notes that:
Answers in accord with traditional Christian orthodoxy—basic articles of faith (the ancient Creeds), the authority of Scripture, God’s visible working in the world today, the exclusivity of Christianity (Jesus as the door to eternal life), the importance of daily prayer—were tightly bound to growing life in individual churches. As well, conservative churches had a lower mean age among attendees (53 to 63), emphasis on youth groups, the presence of young families, wide participation by congregants (not only on Sunday mornings) and a commitment to evangelism.
Thus the study finds conservative theology mixed with innovative worship approaches helps Protestant churches grow congregations.

Among the key findings of the survey are:

Only 50% of clergy from declining churches agreed it was "very important to encourage non-Christians to become Christians", compared to 100% of clergy from growing churches.

71% of clergy from growing churches read the Bible daily compared with 19% from declining churches.

46% of people attending growing churches read the Bible once a week compared with 26% from declining churches.

93% of clergy and 83% of worshippers from growing churches agreed with the statement "Jesus rose from the dead with a real flesh-and-blood body leaving behind an empty tomb". This compared with 67% of worshippers and 56% of clergy from declining churches.

100% of clergy and 90% of worshippers agreed that "God performs miracles in answer to prayers", compared with 80% of worshippers and 44% of clergy from declining churches.

Read the rest of the summary on VirtueOnline.
Read the original article at MacLeans.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Swe-e-e-t !!!

One of the peculiar joys of living in Wisconsin was the number of radio stations that would suspend their regular programs or music playlists at some point in November (sometimes around Thanksgiving, sometimes as early as Veterans Day) and play Christmas music 24 hours a day until Christmas was over.  I know that to some of you the idea may sound awful.  I thought so too, at first; but then the "Advent discipline," as I came to think of it, took hold, and now I really miss hearing Christmas music—be it carols, anthems, or jazz and rock oldies—for four to six weeks out of every year.  (I also developed a serious addiction to cheese of all kinds during those same wonderful years—a habit I ain't kicking, ever!)

So I was really gratified to read Todd Starnes' column on Fox News this week, celebrating the fact that that a Madison, Wisconsin radio station, Liberal Talk "92.1 The Mic" will now be called "92.1 Best FM" — "Madison's Home for the Holidays."  What made the news really sweet was that the station being taken over will no longer be hosting the radio program of the Freedom From Religion Foundation—Wisconsin's answer to Madalyn Murray O'Hair.   I'll let Todd Starnes tell you the rest:

Radio station dumps atheists for Christmas music

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a motley crew of atheists, agnostics and free-thinkers just got a lump of coal in their Christmas stockings.

WXXM, the progressive talk radio station in Madison, Wisconsin, has flipped formats – leaving the uber-liberal city without a place to converse about micro-aggressions, plot protest marches or swap quinoa recipes.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports that Liberal Talk "92.1 The Mic" will now be called "92.1 BestFM" -- "Madison's Home for the Holidays."

Yes, good readers -- progressive talk was replaced with around-the-clock Christmas music.  Ho!  Ho!  Ho!

Among the shows given the heave-ho as a result of the format change was “Forethought Radio,”  a show hosted by the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

“We opened up the Wisconsin State Journal the morning after the election to read the remarkable announcement that progressive talk had been banished forthwith on 92.1 FM and replaced with around-the-clock Christmas music,” FFRF co-founder Annie Gaylor said in a statement.

Well, if that doesn’t curdle an atheist’s egg-nog I don’t know what will.

“It’s not exactly the appropriate vehicle for Freethought Radio now,” Ms. Gaylor lamented.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is not a big fan of the Baby Jesus.

They make their living by filing lawsuits against towns that display the Nativity Scene and by bullying schools that sing Christmas carols.

They’re basically a bunch of godless Grinches – pillaging and plundering their way through the yuletide season.

In 2015 the FFRF filed a federal lawsuit against an Indiana school district –demanding the little Lord Jesus be evicted from a Christmas pageant.

That same year, they were successful in banning public school choirs in Portland, Oregon from performing at a Catholic shrine called the Grotto.

They also tried to bully the good people of Piedmont, Alabama for making “Keep Christ in Christmas” the theme of the annual holiday parade.

But the FFRF’s devious scheme was foiled by some mighty clever thinking.  Instead of making it the “official” theme – the town decided to make it the “unofficial” theme.

Radio Insight reports the station’s flip to Christmas music will lead to a new format after the holidays. It’s unclear what that format will be – but it’s unlikely liberal talk will return to the airwaves.

Christian Examiner reports the station's programming was being trounced in the ratings by conservative talk radio giants like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity (a great American and my colleague at Fox News).

Let’s be honest – would you rather listen to Rush and Sean or a gaggle of man-hating feminists in Birkenstocks warbling about the virtues of organic gardening.

Progressive talk radio does not make for good talk radio and that’s why WXXM opted to play Jingle Bells instead of blathering atheists.

Now that the Freedom From Religion Foundation has been silenced, the citizens of Madison will finally be able to enjoy the holiday season with peace on Earth – goodwill to men.

Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year!

Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard on hundreds of radio stations. His latest book is "God Less America: Real Stories From the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values." Follow Todd on Twitter @ToddStarnes and find him on Facebook.

Here again is the link to Todd Starnes' column on Fox News.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Feeling the spirit of ’76 in 2016

The following is quoted in an excellent article in the NY Post entitled "Donald Trump’s Win Means the Biased Media Need to Change".  While the excerpt captures what I want to say, the rest of the article is excellent, and I encourage you to follow the link and read it.

“Two dozen decades ago, the British Empire bent a knee and grudgingly offered a sword of surrender to an army of Deplorables led by George Washington.

The embarrassment was so mighty, the commander of the defeated couldn’t bear to offer his own sword and delegated the display of humility to an underling, slighting the victor and bruising protocol.

The honors of war also called for a British band to play a song chosen by the victors. Legend has it that Washington requested ‘The World Turn’d Upside Down.’

Now the world is again turned upside down.  And once more, the underdog outclassed the mighty and, with a legion of Deplorables, pointed to a new and brilliant future.

To bruise the words of Benjamin Franklin, who I am sure is in sweet shock, we have our republic back ... IF we can keep it.

This time, we better pay more careful attention.  We are ever lucky for this second chance.

The mess was caused by our own sloppy apathy.  Our civic sloth, our moral negligence.

We let others hijack our principles, kidnap our values, and hostage our free speech.  We permitted a slender few to tell us who we were to be, rather than honor who we are.  We let them guilt us into a nightmare from which we have been freed.

We were mustered by a powerful personality, but in truth, we were the power.  Ordinary us.  We banged the shields.  Banded together in a noisy brotherhood.  Steeled our spines.  And kept the faith.

We turned the world upside down.  Again.

In this new beginning, we should stand tall for anthems that honor us all and kneel more often for the right reasons. 

We should respect the Laws of Nature, and make fashionable common sense.  Government must be reminded that we are its master.

We are America.  Again.”
Read the rest.

I would say that we now have a chance at being America again.  The forces that would kill our freedom of speech and freedom of religion with political correctness and "guilt" us into all sorts of nation-destroying behaviors are still with us, and they will not rest.  If we are truly going to make America great again, we must, as the article says, "kneel more often for the right reasons" and make common sense fashionable again.

May God have mercy on the United States of America!

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

America Wins!!!

"You can always count on Americans to do the right thing -- after they've tried everything else." ~ Winston Churchill

If you are unhappy about the results of yesterday's presidential election, go back and read my previous blog post.

If you are happy about the results of yesterday's presidential election, go back and read my previous blog post.

Yesterday Americans struck a blow for liberty.  Political correctness lost; free speech won.

Global elitists lost; ordinary citizens won.  Cynics and secularists lost; people of faith won.

The implications of those last three sentences will take time to be felt.  But there is a fresh wind blowing; and it is good.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Max Lucado: My prediction for November 9

Some important words from Pastor Max Lucado:
We are really ready for this presidential election to be over.  We’re ready for an end to the rancor and tackiness.

Voters on both sides feel frustrated, even embarrassed by it all.  There is a visceral fear, an angst about the result.  What if so and so wins?  When we wake up to November 9, post-election, when the confetti is swept away and the election is finally over, what will we see?

I have a prediction.  I know exactly what November 9 will bring.  Another day of God’s perfect sovereignty.

He will still be in charge.  His throne will still be occupied.  He will still manage the affairs of the world.  Never before has His providence depended on a king, president, or ruler.  And it won’t on November 9, 2016.  “The LORD can control a king’s mind as he controls a river; he can direct it as he pleases” (Proverbs 21:1 NCV).

On one occasion the Lord turned the heart of the King of Assyria so that he aided them in the construction of the Temple.  On another occasion, he stirred the heart of Cyrus to release the Jews to return to Jerusalem.  Nebuchadnezzar was considered to be the mightiest king of his generation.  But God humbled and put him in “detention” for seven years.  “The kingdom is the Lord’s, and He rules over the nations” (Psalms 22:28).

Understanding God’s sovereignty over the nations opens the door to peace.  When we realize that God influences the hearts of all rulers, we can then choose to pray for them rather than fret about them.  Rather than wring our hands we bend our knees, we select prayer over despair.

Jeremiah did this.  He was the prophet to Israel during one of her darkest periods of rebellion.  He was called “the weeping prophet” because he was one.  He wept at the condition of the people and the depravity of their faith.  He was so distraught that one of his books was entitled Lamentations.  But then he considered the work of God.  Note the intentionality of his words:

This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
The LORD’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
(Lam. 3:21-23)

Imitate Jeremiah.  Lift up your eyes.  Dare to believe that good things will happen.  Dare to believe that God was speaking to us when he said: “In everything God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28).

Many years ago, I spent a week visiting the interior of Brazil with a long-time missionary pilot.  He flew a circuit of remote towns in a small plane that threatened to come undone at the slightest gust of wind.  Wilbur and Orville had a sturdier aircraft.

I could not get comfortable.  I kept thinking that the plane was going to crash in some Brazilian jungle and I’d be gobbled up by piranhas or swallowed by an anaconda.

I kept shifting around, looking down, and gripping my seat.  (As if that would help.) Finally, the pilot had had enough of my squirming.  He looked at me and shouted over the airplane noise.  “We won’t face anything I can’t handle.  You might as well trust me to fly the plane.”

Is God saying the same to you? If so, make this your prayer:

Dear Lord,

You are perfect.  You could not be better than you are.

You are self-created.  You exist because you choose to exist.

You are self-sustaining.  No one helps you.  No one gives you strength.

You are self-governing.  Who can question your deeds?  Who dares advise you?

You are correct.  In every way.  In every choice.  You regret no decision.

You have never failed.  Never!  You cannot fail!  You are God!  You will accomplish your plan.

You are happy.  Eternally joyful.  Endlessly content.

You are the king, supreme ruler, absolute monarch, overlord, and rajah of all history.

An arch of your eyebrow and a million angels will pivot and salute.  Every throne is a footstool to yours.  Every crown is papier–mâché to yours.  No limitations, hesitations, questions, second thoughts, or backward glances.  You consult no clock.  You keep no calendar.  You report to no one.  You are in charge.

And I trust you.

Circle November 9 on your calendar and write upon it the words: Our good God rules the world.
Pastor Lucado is correct.  It is important that we not lose sight of God's sovereignty.  He is in control.  But I also take another point from Lucado's teaching, which he may not have intended: We are, like the people of Jeremiah's day, a nation in rebellion and a nation under judgment; and that will remain true no matter who is President-elect on November 9.  So it is incumbent on Christians to pray for God's mercy on our nation and to work as never before to bring individuals to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Monday, October 31, 2016

It's About the Policies, Stupid!

Ultimately, the choice of a candidate for President of the United States comes down to policies. What will a candidate do if elected President?

I find myself in strong—yea, gut-wrenching— disagreement with Hillary Clinton's stated positions on immigration (open borders), fully accessible and legal abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy, support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Iran Nuclear Deal, Gun Control through executive orders, higher taxes, expansion of Obamacare, maintaining the same high business taxes that are destroying American jobs, etc.

Here are Donald Trump's stated positions about the following policies. And, personally, I cannot find a single one with which I disagree.

Immigration -- "Restore integrity to our immigration system by prioritizing the interests of Americans first. Enforce our immigration laws – at the border and at the workplace. Build a border wall and end sanctuary cities. Send criminal aliens home. Welcome those who embrace our way of life, but keep out immigrants and refugees who don’t through rigorous vetting."

Abortion -- "The primary responsibility of the federal government is to protect the rights of its citizens. Life is the most fundamental right. The federal government should not diminish this right by denying its’ protection. I am opposed to abortion except for rape, incest and life of the mother. I oppose the use of government funds to pay for abortions."

Foreign Policy -- "Foreign policy will be singularly focused on Making America Safe Again by destroying radical Islamic terrorist groups. End the nuclear deal with Iran and the ransom payments to the world’s number one state sponsor of terrorism. America will stand with its allies and end the Obama-Clinton practice of apologizing to our enemies."

Guns -- "Unwavering support of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Get serious about prosecuting violent criminals. Get gang members and drug dealers off the street to make our cities and communities safer. Empower law-abiding gun owners to defend themselves. Expand mental health programs keep the violent mentally ill off of our streets."

Taxes -- "Cut business rate to 15 percent. Reduce individual rates to three brackets of 12, 25, and 33 percent, with a 0 percent rate for many. Add above-the-line deduction for childcare costs, including for stay-at-home parents." Trump has also said that he would “eliminate job-killing regulations” and “have massive tax reform and simplification.”

Health Care -- "Every American deserves access to high quality, affordable health care, not just insurance. Obamacare has failed on cost and quality of health care. It must be repealed. America needs a patient-centered health care system, allowing families and their doctors to be primary decision makers. Provide for the sale of health insurance across state lines."

Economy and Jobs -- "Reform the tax code and trade policies to make it easier to hire, invest, build, grow, produce, and manufacture in America. Stop China from stealing our jobs, renegotiate NAFTA, cut unneeded regulations and make America the best place in the world to do business. Putting America First—and not globalism—will keep jobs and wealth in America."

Environment -- "Everyone deserves clean air and safe drinking water regardless of race or income. Water infrastructure will be a big priority. We need to work to protect natural areas, but in a balanced way. End Obama EPA mandates that cost too many jobs, are opposed by most states, and too often have negligible benefit for the environment."

Crime and Violence -- "Crime and violence are an attack on everyone—-particularly the poor—-and are unacceptable. We will have strong, swift fair law and order. Progress against criminal activity is being reversed by this administration's rollback and discouragement of criminal enforcement. We must work with law enforcement and first responders to keep our communities safe."

Education -- "Every child in America deserves a great education and an opportunity to achieve their dreams. We will enhance education options for students through school choice and charters, and respect homeschoolers in their quest for educational alternatives. We will also make it easier for families to afford college so students aren’t buried in debt."

Budget and Spending -- "Create high-paying jobs to bring growth to our stagnant economy, reducing deficits and spending. Rebuild our military and ensure that veterans receive top quality medical care. Rebuild our infrastructure. End government corruption and rein in wasteful spending to put our ballooning deficits on a long-term path to balance."

National Security -- "There are serious threats facing the United States, and American strength is the only way to ensure peace. We must rebuild our military, reform our intelligence agencies, and prepare our government for the security challenges of cyberspace."

Medicare and Social Security -- "Preserve Medicare for future generations. No changes to promised Social Security benefits."

Veterans -- "Ensure that every Veteran gets timely access to top-quality care through the VA or private Medicare providers if the VA cannot provide timely access. Fix VA corruption and help Veterans find good paying jobs. Veterans should come first in the country they fought to protect, and under a Trump Administration they will."

Energy -- "We will use our vast coal, shale gas, and other American energy sources in a clean and appropriate manner to benefit American families and workers, not for the economic benefit of the politically-connected. Support coal jobs, safe fracking, energy from offshore and public lands and the Keystone Pipeline, which can be done responsibly."

Chicago Tribune: Time for Democrats to Ask Clinton to Step Aside

John Kass writes at the Chicago Tribune that in the face of the FBI reopening an investigation into the emails of Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State, it is time for her to “step down” as the Democratic Presidential nominee.

Has America become so numb by the decades of lies and cynicism oozing from Clinton Inc. that it could elect Hillary Clinton as president, even after Friday’s FBIannouncement that it had reopened an investigation of her emails while secretary of state?

We’ll find out soon enough.

It’s obvious the American political system is breaking down. It’s been crumbling for some time now, and the establishment elite know it and they’re properly frightened. Donald Trump, the vulgarian at their gates, is a symptom, not a cause. Hillary Clinton and husband Bill are both cause and effect.

FBI director James Comey‘s announcement about the renewed Clinton email investigation is the bombshell in the presidential campaign. That he announced this so close to Election Day should tell every thinking person that what the FBI is looking at is extremely serious.

Read the rest.