Archive for the ‘ Politics & Government ’ Category

Expectations

Inauguration day is coming very soon. A word of caution for the media seems appropriate at this time:

For all who voted for this “change,” please do keep that in mind. For those of us who didn’t, support when we can, critique when necessary. Never lose sight of foundational principles and pray that those principles can still be manifested even through someone who doesn’t share them.

One more thing: remember that civil government is not the answer to everything; God works in individuals and other institutions as well. Society is more than the government.

My expectations for the new administration are low. My faith in God remains high.

Prop 8 & the Rule of Law

California voters in November approved a measure that defined marriage as between a man and a woman only. Normally, that is recognized as majority rule. Majorities can be wrong, but in this case all they were doing was restoring what has been normal (and Christian, even though some of the supporters didn’t necessarily care about that) for all of human history. Yet now we face a storm of protest over that vote.

Their rhetoric has become heated. Their antichristian belief system has become even more apparent. They have labeled as “enemies” those who voted to approve the proposition. The proponents of “tolerance” have suddenly become rather intolerant. This is no surprise to those who have followed this movement. It is also understandable biblically. People don’t want to be told they are sinful; instead, they want society to make them feel good about their sins.

Now a new development has occurred. Jerry Brown, former governor and current attorney general of California, has decided he will not enforce the ban on homosexual marriage.

CA Attorney General Jerry Brown

CA Attorney General Jerry Brown

 Brown, who earned the nickname “Governor Moonbeam” when he held that office, has thereby concluded that he will not fulfill the responsibilities of his current office. The attorney general is the chief law enforcement official in the state. California now has an attorney general who is thumbing his nose at the law.

Whenever an individual, whether as a private citizen or as an elected official, does not follow the law, he is abandoning the rule of law in a society. In effect, he is saying, “I am above the law. I am not bound to obey it.”

There are times when, for conscience’ sake, a Christian cannot obey a law because it goes against the law of God, which is a higher law. But Brown is simply saying he disagrees with the ban on homosexual marriage, and therefore will not ensure that it is followed. That is anarchy.

I never had to explain this concept to students I taught at the master’s level or when I was teaching at a college full of homeschoolers. More recently, however, as I was mentioning the importance of the rule of law, a student asked, very genuinely, “what is so important about that?” I have to admit I was stunned at first to think that he had never understood the idea or the consequences of uprooting it. But now I realize more than ever just how uninformed this present generation is about such matters. This generation has little understanding of basic principles by which societies operate, and what can lead to their destruction.

This goes back once again to the state of education in America. More appropriately, it is miseducation, some of which is deliberate.

Most Outrageous Quotes of the Year

The Media Research Center, a conservative media watchdog organization, always gives out awards at the end of the year for the silliest and/or most outrageous–even disturbing–quotes of the year, primarily from those who claim to report the news or celebrities who think their job is to offer expert commentary on the news.

For a combined thoughtful, agonizing, and hilarious read, go to

http://www.mediaresearch.org/notablequotables/bestof/2008/welcome.asp

Which quote stands out to you?

In a Celebrity-Mad World . . .

As a people, we seek heroes. Sometimes, we manufacture them:

At times, we even go further:

Yet, in the midst of all this hype, there is one true “hero” and only one Messiah:

May this be a real Christmas for everyone who reads this.

What's in a Name?

How Does Being the Daughter of a Former President Qualify One to Be a Senator?
How Does Being the Daughter of a Former President Qualify One to Be a Senator?

If Hillary Clinton is confirmed as Secretary of State, someone will need to fill her spot as Senator from New York. It appears, as of today, that the leading contender for the seat is Caroline Kennedy, daughter of JFK.

What particular qualifications does she possess that would make her the best senator for the state? As many are noting, her biggest qualification seems to be her name. If she gets the seat, it will be by appointment of the governor. She won’t even have to stand before the people of New York and explain why she should be representing them.

Now, Caroline Kennedy is hardly the first person to be in the Senate who has no real qualifications for the job, but this is particularly disturbing because she will get the position primarily because her family name is famous. We’re not supposed to have royal families in America, but that’s how it sometimes goes.

Of course, I could just as easily question Hillary Clinton’s experience in foreign affairs. Having teas with foreign leaders while First Lady is hardly a qualification. One cartoonist has captured my views precisely.

Jonah Goldberg has a fine article comparing the experience of Caroline Kennedy with Sarah Palin. You can find it here:

http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NWRmYWJlZGJlYzJjYTM0M2VlYzdlN2ZhYjMxZDQ0OGE=

After writing all of the above, I found that Kennedy has answered some questions about her beliefs. You can find the article from the New York Times by going here:

 http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/21/nyregion/21kennedy.html?_r=1&hp

It’s easy to summarize her views: pro-gay marriage, pro-abortion (including partial-birth), pro-amnesty on immigration, anti-gun, pro-bailout, pro-union (including “card check”), anti-voucher, and anti-nuclear power. As Amanda Carpenter of Townhall.com puts it, “In other words, she’s just another knee-jerk, doctrinaire, New York liberal.”

Warren & the President-Elect

The latest political controversy that involves the Christian faith is one I’ve had to think about more than usual. Rick Warren, pastor of the Saddleback megachurch in California, has been tabbed by Obama to offer the invocation at the inauguration.

My first reaction was one of disbelief: how could Warren possibly join Obama on the platform and invoke God’s blessing on his administration?

My second reaction was to think more about the responsibility we all have as Christians to pray for our elected leaders, no matter how much we may disagree with them. Perhaps, I reasoned, this is God’s way of putting someone with His heart near the heart of this new administration. After all, didn’t Billy Graham counsel both Democrat and Republican presidents?

The prophet Daniel served at the court of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. His presence there was a way that God used to bring His message to that pagan monarch.

Christians do have a responsibility to pray for government officials. If we have the opportunity to influence them, we need to take it. So why should I not want Warren to pray at the inauguration?

I know all of this, yet I still have trouble with this latest development. If Obama wants to receive counsel from Warren or any other evangelical with a proper understanding of God’s righteousness on issues of public policy, that is one thing–and it would be a cause for rejoicing. But to pray at the inaugural itself is tantamount to a public profession of solidarity with the new president. Our role is to hold up God’s standard and lead officials closer to what He intends for government. I’m afraid that Warren’s presence on that platform will appear to be more of an endorsement.

Now, I know Warren does not endorse Obama’s views on abortion, and that his church took a decided stand against homosexual marriage. It’s possible that people will realize this, and in the eyes of those who are part of the great American “middle,” that confused mass of humanity that doesn’t know what it thinks, hearts and minds may be opened to rethink their views.

Already the main problem is that Obama is getting grief from his homosexual supporters, as they demand that Warren be removed from the agenda. Perhaps that reaction will accomplish the opposite of what the protesters desire; people may reject their protest.

I understand the various possibilities for how this could turn out, and some of it could be for the good. Yet I remain unconvinced. I ask myself, “Could I do what Warren is being asked to do?” Quite honestly, I could not.

I welcome the perspectives of my readers on this issue. As long as your comment is civil, I will publish it.

Does Anyone Consider Constitutionality Anymore?

We are naturally focused on the billions being poured out currently to stave off economic collapse (which it may do temporarily, but not long-term). Yet the only reason we find it so easy to spend that money is because we have a culture in the government that says everyone should receive something from the taxpayers.

Every so often, someone releases a list of where taxpayer money is going. Thanks to Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma for the latest. Here are samples, with my comments:

  • $188,000 for Lobster Institute in Maine, home of the “LobsterCam” [I was unaware the Lobster Institute was a government agency–and why are we spying on the poor lobsters?]
  • $1 million for bike paths on Louisiana levees while levees await basic repairs [Does this mean you can enjoy viewing the devastation?]
  • $2.4 million for a  retractable shade canopy at a park in West Virginia [Undoubtedly another project approved by Sen. Byrd; do you think this canopy will be named after him, like everything else in West Virginia?]
  • $24.6 million for the National Park Service’s 100th year birthday in 2016 – 8 years early [Well, we wouldn’t want to wait until the last moment]
  • $3.2 million on a blimp the Pentagon does not want [Anytime you can find anything the Pentagon doesn’t want, don’t buy it]
  • $367,000 wasted by a Texas school board on items like an inflatable alligator and under-the-sea waterslide, among other things [Now this is exactly what the federal government needs to be focusing on–the national security implications are staggering]
  • $5 million for a bridge to a zoo parking lot in St. Louis [So is this a “federal” zoo?]
  • $9,000 for a non-functioning airplane-shaped gas station in Tennessee [At least it’s non-functioning, thereby making it similar to most government programs]
  • $300,000 for specialty potatoes for high-end restaurants [Thank goodness they are “specialty” potatoes and not ordinary ones–we wouldn’t want to waste money on something ordinary]
  • The one factor all these expenditures have in common is that there is no authority in the Constitution for Congress to legislate or spend for any of them. At least Congress is being consistent.