Archive for the ‘ Politics & Government ’ Category

If the Foundations Are Destroyed?

I have taught Biblical principles in my courses for the past twenty-seven years. I’ve wanted my students to understand that we must look deeper than outward appearances when we scrutinize historical events.

A principle is a source or origin of anything; it is a general truth, that is, a truth that is so broad and sweeping that many other truths can be considered off-shoots of it.

The idea of general truths that apply to all of society formerly had wide acceptance in America. The key word is formerly. So my goal has been to reintroduce those principles as best I can through my teaching and writing.

FoundationsThat’s why, back in 1993, I published a book based on the principles I teach in the classroom. I’ve revised it a few times along the way.

If the Foundations Are Destroyed: Biblical Principles and Civil Government is a primer on the principles that I believe come out of Scripture and ought to be applied to everything in our society.

The onset of evolutionary philosophy and the pragmatism to which it has given birth have led us to think more in terms of expediency than principle. People sacrifice principles to that which is less troublesome.

Standing on principle can be wearying when no one else seems to care or understand what you are doing. Yet God calls on Christians to make His principles the foundation of all they say and do.

Christians get in trouble when they conform to the world’s thinking and ignore principles. They are tempted not to cause waves, forgetting that the world already is a turbulent place and that men are seeking—whether they realize it or not—for the stability of fixed principles.

America has always had those turbulent times; historians probably understand that better than most. There was a presidential election in 1800 that was quite controversial. Leading up to that election, one man, Jedidiah Morse—a Congregational minister, the compiler of the first American geography book, and father of Samuel F. B. Morse, the inventor of the telegraph—preached a sermon that issued the following warning:

Jedidiah MorseOur dangers are of two kinds, those which affect our religion, and those which affect our government. They are, however, so closely allied that they cannot, with propriety, be separated.

The foundations which support the interests of Christianity are also necessary to support a free and equal government like our own.

To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom, and political and social happiness, which mankind now enjoy. In proportion as the genuine effects of Christianity are diminished in any nation, either through unbelief, or the corruption of its doctrines, or the neglect of its institutions; in the same proportion will the people of that nation recede from the blessings of genuine freedom, and approximate the miseries of complete despotism.

Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican forms of government, and all the blessings which flow from them, must fall with them.

If that dire warning was applicable in 1799 when Morse preached that sermon, how much more so today?

America may be more bitterly divided now than it has been since the Civil War, and there is no guarantee that Biblical principles will gain the ultimate victory in this earthly realm. But God does reward and protect those who serve Him with a whole heart. He is looking for faithful individuals through whom He can work to make changes.

Jesus asked the best question for our times: “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”

The book of Hebrews says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” That is the kind of faith He seeks; it is the only kind of faith that will make a difference. May it be the faith that He finds.

If you would like to peruse the principles in my book, you can find it at Amazon by clicking here.

My doctoral dissertation was on Noah Webster, widely considered America’s first schoolmaster. His Speller taught generations how to read; his 1828 Dictionary was unique, not only in its being the first produced by an American, but in its Biblical basis. Webster’s illustrations for words included Biblical citations and short homilies on the significance of some key words. His influence in early America was great.

Noah Webster Books

I’m highlighting him today because he offered insight to his generation when it came to choosing political leaders. His words are timeless; they apply to our current situation.

“In selecting men for office,” Webster urged, “let principles be your guide. . . . Look to his character as a man of known principle, of tried integrity, and undoubted ability for the office.”

To ignore lack of principle and integrity in a candidate is to violate the sacred trust given to us as citizens:

When a citizen gives his vote to a man of known immorality, he abuses his civic responsibility; he not only sacrifices his own responsibility; he sacrifices not only his own interest, but that of his neighbor; he betrays the interest of his country.

Webster continued: “If rulers are bad men, it is generally the fault of the people.” After all, who puts men of depraved character in office? We can too often be deceived by them, he notes, but often we vote them in simply because they belong to “our” party. Here’s how he framed it:

Noah WebsterThey choose men, not because they are just men, men of religion and integrity, but solely for the sake of supporting a party [emphasis mine]. This is a fruitful source of public evils.

But as surely as there is a God in heaven, who exercises a moral government over the affairs of this world, so certainly will the neglect of the divine command, in the choice of rulers, be followed by bad laws and as bad administration.

I trust you know why I chose to emphasize that one phrase in the quote above.

By 1837, Webster was becoming distraught by what he was seeing in the culture and politics of his nation. He wrote to a friend,

Principles, sir, are becoming corrupt, deeply corrupt; & unless the progress of corruption, & perversion of truth can be arrested, neither liberty nor property will long be secure in this country.

And a great evil is, that men of the first distinction seem, to a great extent, to be ignorant of the real, original causes of our public distresses. Many of our greatest men are making vigorous efforts to remove present evils, but not an effort is made to correct the radical cause of our political calamities.

Webster’s concern in 1837 should be our concern today. Our principles have been corrupted; integrity is discounted; truth is being perverted. Yet we don’t address those fundamental issues. Instead, we rally to someone who either promises free stuff or who pledges to build a wall.

Webster’s prescription for the ills in our society is a return to Biblical principles and integrity of character. I agree with that prescription. That’s why I will never vote for anyone who lacks the very rudiments of those qualities. That’s why I will not vote for Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, or Donald Trump.

WebsterNoah Webster was a man of his time, but the ideas he fostered are based on the Book that applies to all men at all times. If you wish to know more about Webster, his views, and his influence during his lifetime, my book, Defining Noah Webster: A Spiritual Biography, is available. You can find it on Amazon right here.

We are faced with virtually no good choice in this coming presidential election, so let’s keep in mind that government is not our savior. There is only one Savior. Our responsibility is to be faithful to Him and maintain our integrity. Stand for righteousness, then stand back and see what God will do.

Our Developing Culture

Surely you have noticed how we are living in an upside-down world lately. Today, I thought I would simply offer some wonderful examples of how our culture has been developing.

Since we have a reality TV person now as the Republican candidate for president, I thought this might be fitting for some of his supporters:

Gov't Funding

That speaks to the reality of “reality” programs as well as the idea that government has some kind of stockpile of funds to pay for virtually anything and everything.

Which leads me to this:

Popular with Kids

And speaking of liberals:

Liberals Who Believe

Here’s the solution for liberal thinking on the gender front:

Bathroom Problem Solved

There’s no way I can leave out my own profession in this litany of what’s gone wrong in America:

Director of Admissions

When College Is Free

Well worth pondering today.

How Fantasy Worlds Work

Some politicians seem to live in a fantasy world. Well, maybe that could apply to half of the general population as well, so let me backtrack just a little. Hillary Clinton seems to live in a fantasy world.

Hillary thought she would receive a coronation back in 2008 because she was married to Bill. Didn’t happen. No problem, she surmised—2016 is the big year for the coronation. Yes, it was supposed to be that way, but her fantasy world got in the way.

First, there was her arrogance in thinking the law doesn’t apply to her. The FBI begs to differ.

Security Inquiry

Called Indictment

Until there is an indictment, Hillary can continue to live in her fantasy of having done nothing wrong. The only thing that might preclude the indictment, of course, is that Obama is still president and his Lack of Justice Department will make the decision whether to go forward with it.

She also didn’t believe anyone would offer a credible challenge within her party to the nomination she felt she deserved. While I hate to think of Bernie Sanders as a credible challenge, there apparently are enough Democrats living in their own fantasy world that he has not yet been put away completely, thereby causing Hillary added stress:

In My Seat

To me, one proud socialist and one disguised socialist aren’t all that much different. And yes, Sanders won’t be able to stop Hillary from sealing the deal eventually, but it would be fun to watch a Democrat convention displaying all the rancor and hatred that a liberal/progressive ideology inspires.

Hillary thinks she has an ace in the political deck—Bill, who, for some reason in this fantasy world, seems to have some degree of acceptance in the population. He does, at least, with those who have short memories. The rest of us, though, will never forget:

Two for One

From everything I’ve said so far, you might be tempted to think I consider Trump a better choice. If so, you are new to this blog.

Double Negative

Just when we need a strong, moral, constitutional candidate who has the convictions to turn this nation around, this is what we get instead:

Not Working

My point today is not to lead you into despair, although I recognize the possibility. Rather, I hope this stunning scenario will ensure you don’t choose a fantasy world. It’s time to get serious about our future.

No Trump Train for Me

Come on, Snyder, get on board the Trump Train. We’re going all the way to the White House, so don’t you want to take whatever meager credit you might get for being part of the Team? Besides, if you don’t get on board, we’ll blame you if we lose. You wouldn’t want that, now, would you? We’ll make you responsible for Hillary’s presidency, and you’ll never be able to live that down.

Yes, the pressure builds. But it doesn’t change my mind because I’m not tied to a political party or any political savior. I wanted Ted Cruz to be the Republican candidate. If, though, Cruz should come out tomorrow as a full-throated supporter of Donald Trump, I would not follow him into that swamp.

Just as I’m not following Republican leadership into the moral morass known as Trumpism.

Stephen HayesStephen Hayes, in the Weekly Standard, wrote some poignant words yesterday that speak for me. As he described Trump’s campaign as a “con,” he took aim at all those Republicans now lining up at the train station, hoping for a good seat:

Three months ago, most GOP officeholders and conservative opinion leaders understood Trump to be an ignoramus and a boor, a vain reality-television star and a longtime donor to Democrats who had built his candidacy on the kind of progressive populism most of them had spent their careers fighting.

Today, many of those same Republican elected officials and prominent conservatives are hailing Trump as the future of their party and the ideological movement it houses and excoriating anti-Trump conservatives who hold to the same position they took just a few weeks ago.

And in case you’ve missed what Trump has done since he has become the presumptive nominee, Hayes provides a detailed breakdown:

In the time since he effectively captured the GOP nomination, Trump has doubled down on his slanderous claim, borrowed from the National Enquirer, that Ted Cruz’s father helped Lee Harvey Oswald months before the JFK assassination; refused to apologize for attacking Heidi Cruz’s looks, once again calling her “fair game”; picked a fight with David Cameron, leader of America’s longest-standing ally; distanced himself from his own tax plan; recommitted himself to releasing his tax returns and then declared defiantly that those returns are his private business and would not be released; backed off his proposal to ban temporarily entry to the United States for Muslims and then reiterated his support for such a ban; and, finally, lied on national television about a 1991 audio recording in which he created a fake persona—”John Miller,” a made-up spokesman played by Trump himself—for an interview with a gossip magazine, in order to boast about his virility and his virtue.

Pick and choose your favorite out of that list. The most abhorrent are the accusations against Cruz’s father and Trump’s continuing claim that Heidi Cruz was “fair game” for his team’s attacks on her. The silliest, and in some ways the most insightful, gambit was his attempt to say he wasn’t the fictional “John Miller” or “John Barron” when he publicly admitted he was years before.

I think if Trump had his way completely, his administration might look something like this:

Dream Team

All through this campaign season, I kept hoping that Republicans would come to their senses. It didn’t happen. We went from one inconceivable scenario to another:

No Way

I don’t want a Hillary presidency. It might destroy the country. I don’t want a Trump presidency. It might destroy the country.

That’s where I stand, and that’s why I won’t vote for either one. I’m not boarding the Trump Train—not now, not ever.

Stranger Things Have Happened

Yesterday, Donald Trump finally came out with his long-promised list of judges he would consider for the Supreme Court. By all accounts from conservatives, the list is excellent. Apparently, Trump’s people even reached out to National Review for suggestions, which is interesting, since NR began the NeverTrump dialogue with one of its issues.

So, I will begin by giving credit where it is due: this is a good list. Now, the problems.

First, the context of the list is for replacing Antonin Scalia; there is no promise to choose from that list for later Supreme Court openings. I still remember Trump saying that his pro-abortion sister would make a fine Supreme Court justice.

Second, all we have is his word that he will choose from this list. What is his word worth? Well, even his chief spokespeople have said that words don’t matter that much, and that all he has proposed for policies up to this point are mere suggestions.

Huge Conservative

Then there is his sordid history of constant lying. I am on the side of Ted Cruz when he labeled Trump a pathological liar. I believe the evidence of not only the last nine months, but of his whole life, backs up that charge.

Consequently, I do not trust him.

Just try to follow his weaving from one position to another on a variety of issues and what do you come away with?

Trans-Trump

The fact that he is going to be the GOP nominee is a supreme irony, given all his past associations with the liberal side of politics:

Something in Common

Yet we have this mad rush to endorse Trump by most Republican politicians. I understand the rationale of some who have pledged to support the nominee, whoever that might be, but I am not comfortable with taking that position myself. For me, it’s an abandonment of principle to give my support to this man:

Abandon Principles

That’s why there’s so much chatter about a third-party challenge, if for no other reason than to provide a conscience-grounded alternative. As a historian, I know the fate of third parties. I have no reason to think that anyone running on a third-party ticket will win the presidency, but I understand the frustration.

Third Party

Interestingly, though, if there were to be a fourth party as well, all bets are off for the two frontrunners. Let’s say, for instance, in addition to a conservative option, we also have Bernie Sanders, angry over how many states he can win and yet not overtake Hillary, deciding to run as an independent.

That scenario could result in no one winning a majority of the electoral votes, thereby throwing the decision into a Republican-controlled House of Representatives, as it did in 1824. Would that House really choose Trump, or would it instead turn to the conservative candidate?

Of course, any conservative candidate would have to be accepted by strong conservatives and moderates alike to garner enough support, but stranger things have happened—like Donald Trump getting the Republican nomination in the first place.

Do I expect that scenario to unfold? The probability is not high. But I’m watching closely. You just never know.

A Crisis of Unfathomable Proportions

These Democrat primaries have been quite interesting if, that is, you find a race between one candidate who may be prosecuted and another who promotes a philosophy that has ruined every nation that has tried it to be an interesting race.

Hillary just barely beat Sanders in Kentucky last night, with both getting 46% of the vote; meanwhile, Sanders continued to act as a spoiler to the coronation by beating her in Oregon. The only reason Hillary is going to be the nominee is that she has this huge stockpile of “Superdelegates” who will get her to the finish line:

Finish Line

When she achieves this “victory,” she will act as if it is the voice of the people in her party, but she truly is one of the weakest candidates for president imaginable. Why the surge for Sanders? First, Democrat voters seem to like undiluted socialism, which means they have no sense of history, economics, or how life in general actually works.

Second, the cloud over Hillary is substantial, and Democrats are unsure they want to promote someone who may be on trial. Of course, her campaign is dismissing the seriousness of this FBI investigation, even to the point of saying it’s not an investigation at all.

Forbidden Words

With Trump and Hillary as the two probable nominees, this might make for unusual polling this year:

Hold Their Noses

I won’t have the problem because I will be voting for neither. My reasons for that have been spelled out in previous posts, so I won’t go into them here. But one political cartoon does come close to how I see our current political crisis:

Lemmings

The bigger problem, of course, is that this is not just a political crisis, as if it exists in one little corner of the nation and doesn’t affect everything else. Sadly, it does affect everything else, which makes it a crisis of unfathomable proportions.