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I heartily recommend Mark Steyn to you. He is one of the wittiest political commentators on the face of the earth. His latest on the difference between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden is too good to withhold. Go to the link here and enjoy.

Prophet or Priest?

As a Christian, what am I supposed to be when commenting on politics? Am I to be the prophetic voice, warning against the dangers of voting wrongly and following wrong policies? Am I to be the compassionate voice that draws people to God by staying away from controversy?

Is it possible to be so prophetic in one’s approach that people are turned away from the truth? Likewise, is it possible to be so open and compassionate toward those with differing views that you never lead them to the truth, for fear of offending?

For those of us who believe that the Lord is the be-all and end-all of life, that nothing is more important than a relationship with Him, it may appear unseemly at times to get embroiled in the criticisms of the political scene. After all, isn’t this life just a temporary waystation on the way to eternity?

Yet God has put us in this world to make a difference while we are here. What we do–and how we do it–will influence the future of this nation as well as the eternal destiny of individuals. And there can be a link between the two. In a nation that honors God and follows His principles, there is liberty to teach His ways openly to all. If that nation instead passes laws that shut down those who teach the Gospel truths, more people will remain lost in spiritual darkness.

That can happen, by the way. In Canada, it has become a hate crime to speak against homosexuality. There are those who seek power today who would like to bring that type of law to the United States. So what we do does matter.

How do we combine the prophetic role with the priestly one? I look at the example of Jesus, who welcomed all who came to Him, whether prostitutes or Pharisees. Yet He was direct and harsh at times with those who set themselves up against the ways of God. He called some Pharisees whitewashed tombs, pretty on the outside, but full of dead men’s bones within. He did turn over the moneychangers’ tables in the Temple.

We can speak forcefully and directly. Being a Christian does not mean you have lost a backbone; in fact, it means you have finally found one. Yet we are always admonished to speak the truth in love. Notice both parts of that: we are to be loving in everything we say, but we speak the truth simultaneously. And that truth can be pointed and contain dire warnings. We must continually check our hearts to be sure we have the proper attitude. This portion of Psalm 51 jumps out at me today:

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will be converted to You.

At the Root of Our Financial Problems

I don’t normally post more than once per day, but I think this is so enlightening that I wanted to be sure to offer it now. Perhaps you’ve already seen it, since it has been making the rounds, but here’s another opportunity in case you haven’t. If you can spare 8 1/2 minutes, you will find out why we are in this current financial mess. Click on this link and learn.

Palin's Moment

The VP Debate

The VP Debate

She made the most of it.

Some Republicans had been hinting (a couple doing more than hinting) that McCain had made a mistake picking Palin. They weren’t sure she was prepared to step into the awfulness of what passes for political discourse these days, and that the media had shown her for what she was–a backwoods rube lost in the glare of national attention.

If there are any Republicans thinking that today, they do not understand what happened last night at the VP debate.

Without going into a detailed analysis, let me just say, “Congratulations, Sarah Palin. You more than answered your critics.” As a focus group of independent voters on Fox News last night indicated, she stormed the redoubt and took prisoners. It will take spinning of monumental proportions to deny that she connected with a large segment of the American public.

One commentator said something to this effect: whatever she did before the debate–praying????–she needs to continue to do. I believe prayer was a key factor–prayer by the nominee herself, but also by a multitude in this country who are concerned for our future.

The McCain-Palin ticket has been losing some ground over the past week. Now let’s see if that can be turned around. The need for prayer continues.

Another Fair and Balanced Moderator

Gwen Ifill: Will She Be Fair?

Gwen Ifill: Will She Be Fair?

News first broke yesterday that the moderator for this evening’s vice-presidential debate, Gwen Ifill of PBS, is currently writing a book that is due to be published on inauguration day. The topic of the book is rising black politicians, and the primary one is of course Barack Obama.

The book is going to be a paean of praise for Obama as the fastest of the rising stars. My guess is she hopes by releasing it on inauguration day, she will reap a great financial reward as Obama is sworn in.

Is this the person who should be moderating this debate? Now, I’ve already said that most of the media is for Obama anyway, so what’s the difference? Well, Jim Lehrer, who moderated the first presidential debate, is liberal also, but he handled himself well, treating both candidates fairly.

It will be interesting to watch tonight to see how Ifill does. Perhaps the increased scrutiny (due entirely to Fox News and the Internet, not the mainstream media) will force her to be more careful. I hope against hope that she can put aside her political leanings and be fair. But at the very least, no one who is writing a book of the nature that she is currently writing should ever be allowed near a moderator’s chair.

Another point: she is already on record as questioning Palin’s ability to handle the VP post. Is this really someone who should be asking Palin questions? I am going to be alert to the “gotcha” type of question that is intended to trip up a candidate.

Why wasn’t Brit Hume considered as a possible moderator for this debate? Oh, that’s right, he’s not an objective journalist because he works for the “conservative” network, Fox News. We need “objective” journalists like Ifill who work at “objective” networks like PBS. Aren’t you glad there are journalists we can trust?

Perpetrators As Saviors?

Frank & Company: What Crisis?
Frank & Company: What Crisis?

You might not know this if you don’t go outside the mainstream media for your news, but guess who is really responsible for the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac mess that started this whole economic breakdown?

 The media would have you believe that it is the Bush administration’s fault, but that is false. In fact, it was Bush who attempted, in 2003, to warn Congress about the situation and call for oversight and changes in the way these companies operated.

You see, they were giving so many loans to people who had bad credit that the administration feared a meltdown could occur. Why were these companies giving all these loans? They were pushed into it by the Clinton administration back in the 1990s. Former Clinton officials then took over the reins of these companies, the most conspicuous being Franklin Raines and Jim Johnson.

When Bush tried to regulate them, his primary opponent in this attempt was Rep. Barney Frank, who famously stated,

These two entities—Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—are not facing any kind of financial crisis. The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.

This is the same Barney Frank who now blames the Republicans for lack of oversight.

Here are some interesting statistics: The top three recipients of campaign contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over the past ten years are Chris Dodd, current chairman of the Senate Banking Committee; Barack Obama; and John Kerry. Dodd, along with Frank, are now positioning themselves as the saviors of the American economy, frustrated by Republicans who voted against the bailout.

Note that Obama is the second highest recipient of contributions over the past ten years, even though he has been in the Senate only since 2005. That, by itself, is remarkable. Oh, by the way, both Raines and Johnson have been advisors for the Obama campaign.

I don’t want to come off here as the typical political commentator who vents. Yet I believe it is essential to make these facts known. Biblical integrity requires that we speak the truth, and truth is what our country needs desperately at this moment.

The Media Factor

Conservative commentators have decried media bias and manipulation so often that I am hesitant to add my voice to the mix. The chorus of objections to the way the media handles “the news” has become so strong that the objections might have the opposite effect–people may get tired of hearing about it and shut out the complaint.

Yet the facts cannot be ignored: study after study indicates that the opinion makers in the TV and print media are overwhelmingly biased toward Democrats. Now, when I say biased, I don’t mean they simply favor the Democrats; I mean they slant stories in such a way that all fairness seems to be abandoned. I’ve mentioned previously the absurd stories that have circulated about Sarah Palin.

But another way of slanting is to not report real stories. Joe Biden has committed verbal suicide on the campaign trail numerous times, but his remarks go virtually unreported. Last week he said that when the Great Depression hit in 1929, FDR went on television to calm the American people. In 1929, FDR was governor of New York and television didn’t yet exist in the general public. Can you imagine what would have happened to Palin if she had made that remark?

Or take Obama and his “friends”: unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers; convicted real estate developer and Democratic fundraiser Tony Rezko. How many voters are aware of the significance of these connections? Even his “former” pastor, Jeremiah Wright, has disappeared from the headlines.

Then there are Obama’s statements: he’s been in all 57 states; Pennsylvanians are bitter and cling to their guns and religion, and don’t like anybody who is different than them. One could add to this list quite easily, but those are the ones that readily come to mind. Yet Dan Quayle misspelled potato and was portrayed as a dunce. What if Quayle had said there are 57 states? We would still be hearing about that.

Although this is a political cartoon, it is not really stretching the point: for McCain, or any Republican for that matter, the media is almost always the enemy. And voters who don’t check alternative sources for their news [informative websites; blogs] will be misled.