My Prayer for Republicans

Things have not been going very well for Donald Trump ever since he became the presumptive nominee. Starting with his railings against the “Mexican” judge in the civil suit regarding his so-called Trump University, through the Star of David controversy, his berating of Republican senators who are skeptical of his nomination, and his plummeting poll numbers, it’s understandable why there is a growing movement to stop the Republican party from committing suicide at the convention next week.

Make Trump Great Again

You would think Trump would have learned a few lessons along the way on how to get along with people, but that’s not his character. He can be quite charming in person, we’re told, but there’s little evidence of that charm in his public dealings. Narcissists can get along with people if they believe that will work to their advantage, but if rebuffed, they fall back into their self-centered pattern and denigrate anyone who is perceived not to be completely on “their” team.

Giddyup Loser

During the primaries, Trump continually lashed out at the other candidates for taking money from “special interests” and loudly proclaimed he was self-funding. That claim has been pretty well debunked by now as a lot of the money he spent went into his own enterprises, to be reimbursed later.

Now he has done a complete 180, demanding that the GOP get out there and find donors for him. From accounts I’ve read, he is rather inattentive to this himself and expects others to do that job for him.

Self-Fund Me

Perhaps he can get some advice from another candidate who knows how to raise funds—someone who has been the recipient of a lot of Trump money in the past:

Last Million

GOP operatives are also beside themselves when they look at the lack of organization in the Trump camp. Everything seems to be in disarray. Here’s where that narcissism comes into play again:

Trusted Circle

Why doesn’t he at least find some of those great graduates of Trump University to help out?

Trump U Grads

One of my favorite comic strips of all time was Peanuts. Those classic strips are still run daily on the GoComics site. Lately, they have been showcasing some political campaigning strips. They seem so relevant today.

Campaign Strategy

That’s kind of where some Republicans seem to be right now. They don’t really want to vote for Trump but feel like the alternative—Hillary—is so bad they are down to the last person on earth in this election season.

We even have some Trump supporters telling those of us who cannot vote for him that we are ensuring a Hillary victory. Sarah Palin, for instance, has called people like me a traitor. Yes, she used that very word. Mike Huckabee is scolding us and demanding that we get on board with Trump. Ben Carson is a full apologist for him, even though he sometimes has to admit there’s very little “there” there.

I’m no traitor. I won’t be scolded into doing something that goes against what I believe in. I’m sincerely hoping that Republicans will do the right thing next week:

Wide-Open Convention

That is my prayer.

Lewis & the Public Square (Part 4)

CSL FoundationHere’s the final excerpt from my paper (which I presented yesterday) at the C. S. Lewis Foundation’s summer conference. Lewis argues for standing on absolute truth in our interactions with the society around us. He also notes that we are to be faithful regardless of whether we are ultimately successful in our efforts to keep a society from self-destruction.

Lewis’s prescription for direct political involvement was the practical side of his approach, but it wasn’t pure pragmatism. All attempts to influence the public square had to be based on God’s absolute moral requirements.

In response to the hypothetical question as to whether some kind of permanent moral standard would stand in the way of progress, Lewis replied that without such a standard, no one would be able to measure progress. “If good is a fixed point,” he argued, “it is at least possible that we should get nearer and nearer to it; but if the terminus is as mobile as the train, how can the train progress towards it? Our ideas of the good may change, but they cannot change either for the better or the worse if there is no absolute and immutable good to which they can approximate or from which they can recede.” Absolute moral standards for society are society’s only hope, he concluded.

TruthUnless we return to the crude and nursery-like belief in objective values, we perish. . . . If we believed in the absolute reality of elementary moral platitudes, we should value those who solicit our votes by other standards than have recently been in fashion.

While we believe that good is something to be invented, we demand of our rulers such qualities as “vision,” “dynamism,” “creativity,” and the like. If we returned to the objective view we should demand qualities much rarer, and much more beneficial—virtue, knowledge, diligence, and skill.

“Vision” is for sale, or claims to be for sale, everywhere. But give me a man who will do a day’s work for a day’s pay, who will refuse bribes, who will not make up his facts, and who has learned his job.

Just how optimistic was Lewis that Christians taking up the challenge of the public square would make any real difference? In an address given at his own Magdalen College during World War II, Lewis dealt with the question of the futility of human endeavor. He wanted to make it abundantly clear that we, as Christians, do our duty, regardless of the success or failure of our efforts.

“I am not for one moment trying to suggest that this long-term futility provides any ground for diminishing our efforts to make human life, while it lasts, less painful and less unfair than it has been up to date,” he insisted.

FaithfulnessThen drawing on an illustration, he continued, “The fact that the ship is sinking is no reason for allowing her to be a floating hell while she still floats. Indeed, there is a certain fine irony in the idea of keeping the ship very punctiliously in good order up to the very moment at which she goes down.” If we are living in a world that is sinking, we nevertheless have an obligation to make it less of a hell than it would be without our influence.

He concluded, “If the universe is shameless and idiotic, that is no reason why we should imitate it. Well brought up people have always regarded the tumbril and the scaffold as places for one’s best clothes and best manners.”

As long as a public square exists and Christians are not banned from it, the responsibility to speak out for truth remains. If the Christian worldview and the morality that naturally emanates from it is rejected by the society at large, Christians must remain faithful to God’s command to be His voice, even if the world attempts to drown out that voice.

The Astounding Non-Indictment

I watched the entirety of the statement FBI Director James Comey made yesterday about whether to indict Hillary Clinton for mishandling government documents while she was secretary of state. My reaction as I watched was the same as countless others have shared afterwards.

James ComeyComey spent approximately 14 of his 15 minutes laying out a very strong case for a Clinton indictment. As I watched, I actually began to believe that was where he was going to end up. His litany of what the FBI discovered exposed lie after lie that Hillary has told over these many months. He even said that others in her e-mail chain were probably hacked and admitted that even though they couldn’t pin it down completely whether she was hacked directly by foreign powers, those kinds of hackers would know how to hide their activity.

Everything he said led to an indictment. That’s what made the final minute so mind-numbingly shocking.

Comey didn’t have to make a public recommendation for the Department of Justice, but he did. He declared that since Hillary had no “intent” to harm the nation through her gross negligence (he didn’t use that term precisely, but his account of what they found points to it without a doubt), he didn’t think that any “reasonable” prosecutor would bring a case like this to trial.

Why did he make this decision to proclaim this publicly when all his authority really amounted to was to send the evidence over to the Department of Justice? If he had done that, without giving his opinion so blatantly, the decision would have fallen on the shoulders of Loretta Lynch, already disgraced by her secret meeting with Bill Clinton.

Comey gave Lynch an out; this public recommendation offered her a way of escape from making the decision herself since she already had said she would follow any recommendation made by the FBI.

Those who know Comey personally and have always touted his integrity are shocked by what he did. They say it goes against everything they know about the man. Naturally, conspiracy theories abound. No, I don’t believe he did this to avoid a mysterious death at the hands of the Clintons, but with the Clinton history of corruption and hardball, I can see why people may jump to that conclusion.

What Comey did was to lay an extra legal burden on this case: having to prove that Hillary had “intent” to harm the United States through her actions. Those in the know about the law have commented forcefully that he practically made that up. The law doesn’t require that kind of proof; it focuses instead on negligence, and people are responsible and should be penalized on that basis alone.

Comey himself even said this. He noted that while he didn’t advocate criminal charges, that government employees who do this kind of thing face penalties and other administrative actions.

What penalty will Hillary Clinton receive? A presidential nomination? Some penalty.

We now have as the presumptive Democrat nominee someone who, if she weren’t running for president, would be disqualified from being given a security clearance.

The justice system at the highest level of our government has become a joke. When I refer to the Department of Injustice, I’m being descriptive, not sarcastic.

Meanwhile, feel free to use Comey’s concept of justice the next time you face a situation like this:

Simply Careless

Unless your last name is Clinton, Kennedy, or Obama, it might not work.

Is Justice Dead Yet?

Unbelievable. Well, not really. We’re talking about the Clintons here. To what am I referring? That secret not-so-secret meeting that took place between the former president and the current attorney general, Loretta Lynch.

Let’s see now, why would Bill Clinton want to speak to the person in charge of investigating his wife who is running for president? For the life of me, I just can’t figure that out, can you?

Under Criminal Investigation

Oh, that explains it. Nothing to see here. Move on.

Secret Meeting

Of course, there is that matter of Lynch having been appointed to her federal judgeship by Bill Clinton, but I’m sure that had nothing to do with it. She doesn’t owe him anything.

Yes, Godfather

Clinton denies that he was trying to put any pressure on Lynch. He’s very good at denials. It kind of reminds me of another one he tried to foist on the country:

Improper

Trust. It’s important. Integrity. It’s what we should look for in any candidate. When it comes to the Clintons both have always been absent.

If You Believe

Hillary was questioned by the FBI for over three hours last Saturday. What will come of that? The Benghazi Report came out earlier last week; it was damning, but both the Democrat party and the media don’t care.

Nothing New

If Hillary Clinton is not indicted for her actions as secretary of state, we will know that justice has died in America.

Three Revolutions

Three revolutions: American, French, Russian.  A world of difference when you compare them.

The American Revolution, in my view, was not a revolution in the popular understanding of that term, whereas the other two were. In fact, my students know that I famously (infamously?) rename the American Revolution as The American War for Continued Self-Government.

Not very catchy, I know, but more accurate. I point to the fact that this perceived revolution was for the maintenance of the rights and liberties that were already granted. When the British government refused to acknowledge those rights and liberties, the colonists, in self-defense, were forced to take up arms.

The result was a government that certainly had some new and improved features, but it was hardly anything that overturned the basics of representative government that Britain supposedly upheld.

I like a couple of the memes making the rounds after the Brexit vote, as Britain decided to leave the European Union:
Learned Your Lesson

Before It Was Cool

The French Revolution may have been inspired, to some degree, by what happened in America, but the nature of it was altogether different. Whereas Americans fought for self-government, the protection of property, and liberty of conscience with a reliance upon Christian faith, the French divorced themselves from that faith and a bloodbath ensued. What did they achieve? They replaced an insensitive king with Napoleon Bonaparte, an unaccountable dictator.

The Russian Revolution also is known as the Bolshevik Revolution, led by the bloodthirsty tyrant Vladimir Lenin. He, and his successor, Josef Stalin, set up a socialist/communist state that attempted to destroy all religion and constitutional limitations, and became one of the most genocidal nations in the history of man. Stalin alone murdered 30 million of his own citizens.

So, no, I don’t link these three revolutions.

That’s why I love to teach American history and point to what the Founders sought to accomplish. The Fourth of July—the day the wording of the Declaration of Independence was approved—should be a time for celebration.

I have to admit, though, that these last two Independence Days have been muted celebrations for me. The Supreme Court decision in favor of same-sex marriage occurred just prior to Independence Day 2015 and we have devolved since then.

Religious liberty is under greater attack than ever in our nation’s history. The Democrat party has given itself over completely to an anti-Christian philosophy. The Republican party, which is supposed to be the counterweight politically to the radicalism of the Democrats, has tied its future to a man totally unworthy of the presidential office.

Safe and Sane

Yes, my outlook is somewhat subdued today. The bright side of all this is a reminder that this world is not our final home and that no nation or government is our salvation. Our final home is in the presence of God and He is our hope and our salvation. Let’s keep our priorities straight and He still may have mercy on us.

America, bless God, and then He may have a reason to bless us.

Lewis & the Public Square (Part 3)

I’ve been sharing some of the paper I’m going to present at the upcoming C. S. Lewis Foundation summer conference. The theme of the conference is on how Christians can participate in the public square. The last section of my paper draws on Lewis’s insights on that matter.

In my previous excerpt, Lewis was writing about some of the pitfalls of democracy. He continues in that vein:

Lewis Letters Volume 3Lewis had an exchange on this issue with one of his regular American correspondents, Mary Van Deusen, who had raised the concern about communists infiltrating the government. Lewis responded that that raised the whole issue of one of the problems of a democracy.

A democratic form of government, he explained, rested on the will of the majority. What if, he queried, a majority should someday introduce communism, or even devil worship or human sacrifice? How should we respond in such situations? “When we said ‘Govt. by the people’ did we only mean ‘as long as we don’t disagree with the people too much’”?

He concluded, “Of course there is no question of its being our duty (the minority’s duty) to obey an anti-God govt. if the majority sets it up. We shall have to disobey and be martyred. Perhaps pure democracy is really a false ideal.”

To forestall that terrible scenario from becoming reality, Lewis encouraged Christian involvement in the public square. When Van Deusen wrote to him about some very good people getting positions in the American government, he was pleased. One of his greatest fears about America, he shared with her, was “that politics were not in the hands of your best types and that this, in the long run, might prove ruinous. A change in that, the beginning of what might be called a volunteer aristocracy, might have incalculable effects.”

In fact, Lewis, in another of his essays, comes out strongly in favor of specific political activity with regard to appealing to legislators. While rejecting the idea of setting up a Christian political party, he nonetheless proposed what he called an “interdenominational Christian Voters’ Society” that should operate as a kind of pressure group.

If a political party sought the support of this society, it would have to pledge first its support for the society’s goals for the nation. ‘“So all it comes down to is pestering M.P.’s with letters?’ Yes; just that. I think such pestering combines the dove and the serpent. I think it means a world where parties have to take care not to alienate Christians, instead of a world where Christians have to be ‘loyal’ to infidel parties.”

Lewis’s insight here has something to offer American Christians as we look toward our next presidential election. What matters most, loyalty to a party or to our Christian convictions?

I’ll share the final excerpt next Saturday.

That Benghazi Report

The far-too-long-awaited Benghazi Report has now been released. Democrats naturally call it a partisan witchhunt; some conservatives are criticizing it for not going far enough, since it just relates the facts and doesn’t come to concrete conclusions.

The facts should be enough. The report is less a commentary on the administration’s actions during and after the terrorist attack than it is a primary-document exposé of the fecklessness and political cover of the Obama administration as it headed into the 2012 election.

One doesn’t have to read an official “conclusion” to conclude that those who were under attack and those who died were political pawns, sacrificed to electoral gain. The report makes it clear who is to blame for this deadly fiasco.

Hillary Clinton says there’s nothing new here and time to move on. I remember that “move on” phrase—it was used during the Bill Clinton impeachment process. Nothing here, move on. It wasn’t true then, and it isn’t true now.

Both Right

Remember Hillary’s infamous rejoinder before a congressional committee that first sought to uncover the truth about Benghazi? She would probably use it again, except it’s become a standard joke about her insensitivity to those who lost their lives:

Benghazi Report

Whatever excuses one might concoct for the lack of action by the administration to rescue those in harm’s way (incidentally, the report reveals that it was former members of the Qaddafi regime who rescued them—that was the regime that Obama and Clinton ousted), it was the coverup afterward that may be the most repugnant aspect of this reprehensible event. Blaming it all on a video hardly anyone saw was an attempt to deflect from the truth that our people were abandoned by their own government.

Hey, maybe she can use that ploy again to help win the presidency:

Upon Further Investigation

She lied to the victims’ families and made sure that the producer of that nondescript video was sent to prison. When Susan Rice was sent out to the various talk shows on the following Sunday, she went full video for the blame. Documents in the report show that State Department officials were shocked that the administration was using that line; none of the communication during the “event” placed blame on the video. Not even Hillary’s communications. In fact, she explicitly stated it was not the case.

So go ahead and spread the lie because no one will ever read those communications. Fortunately, that is not the case. All has been brought to light.

President Obama played along with the game as well, checking the video-is-to-blame box for another two weeks, giving speeches publicly pushing that lie.

Want to blame a video? Here’s the one that now needs to be produced.

Liars

Strangely (well, not really), the news media—you know, that wellspring of objective reporting—has largely ignored the Benghazi Report. Why? It would upset their cozy relationship with She Who Will Finally Break the Glass Ceiling.

Rapid Deployment

Most of the mainstream media are just as feckless and dishonest as the one they are trying to protect. “Feckless,” by the way, as used twice in this blog, means “having no sense of responsibility.” Just wanted to be sure you understood why I chose that word.

I half expect the “news” anchors to rely on Hillary’s own words in their reporting.

What Difference

She should never be allowed in the Oval Office. Unfortunately, Republicans are on the verge of making official the one nominee who will make that possible. Will they come to their senses in time?