Another critical election looms. With each new round of presidential elections, I tend to be astounded by the way people vote—usually without any solid foundational thinking. So I decided to publish how I approach this very serious responsibility.

Here, therefore, is my attempt at a personal manifesto.

I believe in Christian principled constitutional conservatism. Let me now explain what that means to me.

Christian

Jesus Christ is Lord of all aspects of life. My own life would have no meaning without His love, His forgiveness, and His direction for me. Politics and government fall under His Lordship. Consequently, whenever I think on those issues, I do so with a desire to ensure that His truth is the cornerstone for all governmental policies.

Biblical WorldviewI want to see all of the vital questions before us through the lens of Biblical faith and solid doctrine. I want a Biblical approach to the way government is organized and I want, as much as possible, people serving in that government who are dedicated Christians. Where that is not the case, I at least want to support those who are not hostile to Christian faith, but have respect for liberty of conscience.

I seek to help put into practice a Christian worldview on all manner of legislation, whether that be right to life/abortion, religious liberty, marriage, taxes, education, welfare, immigration—well, that’s the short list. I believe that no matter what the issue, there is a Biblical way to understand that issue.

Principled

PrinciplesI shouldn’t have to make this a separate section. Christians ought to be, simply by the nature of their relationship to God and truth, naturally principled. However, I am dismayed by how often those who profess the name of Christ make disastrously unprincipled decisions. They allow emotions or self-interest to set aside what they claim to believe.

What principles mean the most to me?

  • The inherent value of human life—we are all created in the image of God.
  • The concept of self-government—God has so designed us to grow into maturity and make most decisions ourselves without the oversight of civil government. Not only individuals, but families, churches, voluntary organizations, etc., should be free of undue government influence.
  • The sanctity of private property—government has no mandate from God to be our overlord on economic matters; He instead, as part of our maturity, seeks to teach us how to be His stewards of all types of property: money, material goods, our minds, and the free will He has given us.
  • Voluntary association without the force of government coming down on us—people only unite when they are united, and that unity is internal, not provided by government coercion.
  • Christian character—God intended us to carry out our lives as reflections of Him; the world only works correctly when we do things His way.
  • Sowing and reaping—man is accountable for his actions, and he will receive back what he has sown: if obedience to God, blessings; if disobedience, dire consequences; we can’t blame society and claim victimhood status in God’s eyes because He will always hold us personally responsible for our choices, whether right or wrong.

Constitutional

I believe in the concept of the rule of law, meaning no man, regardless of high rank in society, is above the law. We all are to be judged by the same standard.

Constitutional ConventionI believe in the system set up in this nation through the Constitution that gave us a solid basis for the rule of law.

I believe we need to hold firm to the original meaning of those words in our Constitution and not allow judges, legislators, or presidents to stray from the limited authority granted in that document.

Changes to the authority given to our federal government must go through the proper constitutional channel: the amendment process as outlined in the Constitution. A judge’s gavel is not a magic wand.

Anyone running for the presidency or for Congress, and anyone nominated for a federal judgeship, at whatever level, all the way to the Supreme Court, must pass muster as constitutionalists. No one who denigrates the rule of law should ever be supported for public office.

Conservative

Nash BookThis is a relative term. In a totalitarian system, a conservative would be one who wants to conserve totalitarianism. But in our system, a true conservative is someone who seeks to conserve what the Founders established. Often that can happen only by acting to overturn or reverse what has been done to destroy the Founders’ ideals. If a revolution has occurred, a real conservative might have to take on the nature of a counterrevolutionary in order to reestablish the foundations.

Conservatism does not merely conserve the status quo—if that status quo is a deviation from the constitutional system bequeathed to us.

Conservatism is not “reactionary”; it is a positive movement to secure the blessings of liberty to us and to future generations.

Application

As I survey the political field in this upcoming election cycle, and as I think through everything I wrote above, this is where I come out.

First, I can never support the Democrat party. Its very tenets are antithetical to my basic Christian beliefs; its principles are the opposite of mine; its radical anti-constitutionalism is in the process of destroying the rule of law; and rather than seeking to conserve the Founders’ ideals, it instead foments a secular, Marxist revolution against those ideals.

On the Republican side, I find that the current frontrunner, Donald Trump, has no real grasp of Christian faith and only pays lip service to its tenets, as far as he may understand them—which is not very far. I also don’t trust him to protect religious liberty.

Ted Cruz, on the other hand, has a Christian testimony that I believe stands the test. I don’t see lip service only, but a commitment to the truths of the faith.

Trump-Cruz

Trump, with respect to principles, falls far short. In fact, it seems to me the only principle he follows is whatever promotes himself. Does he really believe in the sanctity of life when he defends Planned Parenthood? Can we trust him on religious liberty? Will he use the government to strongarm people who disagree with him, or perhaps prosecute them for their disagreements? I have no confidence in him on any of those issues.

Cruz, though, is about as principled a politician as I can find at the presidential level. When I look at those principles that I listed above, I see him as solid on them all. Why? He has proven to be faithful to them in public office thus far.

Does Donald Trump even know we have a Constitution that set up a limited government? He never talks about it. It’s obviously not a priority for him as he seeks the highest office in the land. He has even hinted—well, more than hinted—that maybe there should be some curtailment of political expression, that maybe there should be more lawsuits against the press.

Now, as much as I may criticize the American press—in print, on television, and on the Internet—any curtailment of political opinions sends a chill up my spine. Under a Trump administration, would this blog be considered a target if I should deign to criticize our fearless leader?

Ted Cruz is a staunch defender of the Constitution as intended by the Founders. How do I know? Again, look at his record. Restoring constitutional thinking and practice has been his life’s work.

Donald Trump is no conservative, at least as defined in the American context. He has not been schooled in conservative thought and has a record of supporting key Democrats throughout his career. When you give a lot of money to Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, etc., etc., you are not only not conservative, but you are helping the enemies of constitutional conservatism propagate their radical revolution.

Ted Cruz, meanwhile, is the most consistent conservative left in the Republican presidential field. I am entirely comfortable with his understanding of how conservatism should play out in our constitutional system.

This, then, is how I approach thinking about politics and government. This determines how I vote.

I only hope these few thoughts will prove helpful to those who are trying to make sense of the decision before us.

Will Scalia’s Legacy Be Honored?

News of the death of Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia stunned the political world over the weekend. Scalia, a stalwart defender of the Constitution, will be sorely missed, especially in this era of constitutional ignorance and/or apathy. His firm conviction that one must look to the Founders’ words and their original meaning kept the Court from straying more often than it did.

Nominated to the Court by Ronald Reagan and confirmed by the Senate unanimously, Scalia was considered a legal giant, a towering intellectual who knew how to skewer foolish and unconstitutional Court rulings with a biting wit in his many dissents.

Meeting with Scalia

When Reagan nominated Scalia, he said this of him:

Reagan Quote-Scalia

His death was a graduation for him personally, as he was an outspoken Christian believer. He is far happier right now than all of us he left behind.

Yet his death, at this time, opens a political debate that has ramifications for the future of this nation. President Obama would love to place another justice on the Court who reflects his personal philosophy of progressivism, which ignores constitutional limitations on the federal government.

To be clear: he has the right to nominate. To be just as clear: the Senate has the right to reject any nominee he puts forward. Will the Republican majority in the Senate show some backbone this time and not allow another progressive on the Court? They are showing signs of a growing spine. We will see.

Scalia’s death was announced just a few hours before the Republican presidential debate in South Carolina. At the beginning of the debate, all joined in a respectful moment of silence.

Unfortunately, with Donald Trump on the stage (who was the only one not even to close his eyes during that moment of silence), the air of respect soon vanished.

I won’t go into a blow-by-blow description of what took place at the debate, except to say it would have been a genuine debate without the circus atmosphere created by Trump.

February 2016 SC DebateHis favorite word of the night was “liar,” aimed constantly at Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz, and mostly in response to their accurate accounting of his liberal beliefs and attitude of personal insults. Trump interrupted continually, attempting to disallow other candidates from completing their sentences. As I watched, even I, as someone who has always considered Trump to be a rude, crude joke of a candidate, could hardly believe how low he sank in this debate.

In all the commentary afterwards, very few have voiced what I saw, but Stephen Hayes came closest when he referred to Trump as unhinged. He was, quite often, out of control emotionally. Any other person running for this nomination who acted like that would be considered poison politically, yet Trump and his supporters somehow consider his manner justified.

He was the most unpresidential man on the stage. Yet he leads the polls.

Even fewer commented on what else I saw: the calmness of Ted Cruz while Trump berated him as the greatest liar he had ever known. Frankly, I was impressed that Cruz could keep his cool throughout the tirade. In my opinion, that’s the kind of character trait I want in a president.

I will admit to being discouraged that a narcissist who, under normal circumstances, would be dismissed as a serious candidate, is on the cusp of becoming the Republican nominee for president.

What’s wrong with this electorate?

I’m reminded of a passage of Scripture that I hope doesn’t truly describe where we are as a nation—a passage that deals with what it will be like as the Second Coming approaches. We’re told by the Apostle Paul in the little book of 2 Thessalonians what will transpire with the ascendance of the Antichrist, who will deceive people “because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.” He continues,

For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.

Is that where we are now? I don’t know. I sincerely hope not. But there certainly is a lot of deception taking place and a lot of voters who seem to want to be deceived.

Will Antonin Scalia’s legacy of faithfulness to God and to the rule of law be honored this political season, or will we instead take another step into spiritual chaos and darkness?

Obama & the Constitution . . . Again

Tonight is President Obama’s final State of the Union Address. Finally.

I expect the viewing audience will be comprised of his eager followers and those who are political junkies only. I won’t be one of them. That may surprise some of you who think I live and breathe politics. I don’t. I love the Biblical approach to governing but am just as turned off by politics-as-usual as the majority of our citizens.

I have a deep devotion to the rule of law and the Constitution that established it in our nation. That’s one reason why I have ceased being interested in what our president has to say—he has no such respect for those concepts:

Kind of an Expert

He never tires of reminding us that he taught constitutional law. Unfortunately, teaching constitutional law is no indication that the teacher has any knowledge of how it is supposed to work. Well, perhaps he does know how it’s supposed to work; he just doesn’t like that approach. He’s far more comfortable being a law unto himself:

Shot Constitution

Why bother with that document when one has, as he has stated, a different way of governing?

Assaul Weapon

His latest foray into government-by-executive-only is his attempt to curb the Second Amendment, Constitution notwithstanding:

Ain't Big Enough

He has a different worldview, to say the least:

Kind of Suspicious

Why is he so concerned about guns? Watch his tears and you will be informed that it stems from a deep, abiding love for the safety of children:

Never Mind

Right. And that’s another reason why I won’t be wasting my time this evening watching the State of the Union Address. I will see plenty of excerpts later; meanwhile, I can use my time far more productively.

Gun-Control Politics

When I wrote about the Oregon campus shootings last week, my emphasis was on the faith exhibited by the victims. Their Christian steadfastness as they faced death was a witness to the genuineness of their faith. It also was a challenge to those of us who name the name of Christ that we be as firm in our faith as they were.

I avoided the politics of the situation because that should not have been the focus. Since then, the politics have become obnoxious and deserve some comment.

President Obama’s immediate response was to blame a gun culture and try to shame those who believe in the right of self-defense as enshrined in the Constitution. He even admitted he was politicizing the issue.

Commentators, on both sides, have declared that at least his belief in what he was saying was heartfelt. He truly thinks stricter gun control laws will somehow reduce gun violence. I grant he was sincere; there are probably people who sincerely believe in the existence of unicorns, but they are living in a fantasy world.

That’s where Obama lives also.

All he has to do is look at his hometown of Chicago to know that strict gun control laws don’t work. When you try to create “gun-free” zones, those zones automatically become havens for those who want to carry out their plans for killing as many people as they can.

Welcome Mass Killers

After the deed is done, those gun-free zones take on a new character:

Gun-Free Zone

Yet the fantasy thinking knows no bounds:

Now You're Safe

As “sincere” as Obama may have been, let’s be honest about the real goal here:

Shooting Victims

Hillary Clinton, struggling to regain her balance in the wake of her myriad scandals and robotic personality, has now taken the lead in declaring she, as president, would push for shooting victims to sue gun manufacturers, and, she says, if Congress won’t pass new gun control legislation, she will do it herself by executive order.

Yes, she has learned at the feet of her guru, Barack Obama.

Fewer people would have died in Oregon last week if the campus had allowed others to carry guns, whether the students themselves or the security force. Most gun owners are responsible; they should not suffer for the crimes of others. We are guaranteed in the Constitution our means for self-defense. What Obama, Hillary, and others are seeking is to overturn that guarantee.

All the focus on the guns themselves diverts us from the real problem for any and all crimes—the evil heart of man. We’re also being diverted from the hard fact that many of these mass killings are the result of either radical ideology (usually Muslim in nature) and/or the absence of a father in the home.

Some of the latest atrocities have been committed by young men raised in single-parent homes. The family structure is being destroyed, and we are seeing the fruits of that destruction. What we have is a parenting problem.

Parenting Crisis

We’re not supposed to mention that, though. That would make us “judgmental” and “haters.” No, it would make us discerning and clear-eyed—qualities in short supply at this time.

Carson, Islam, & the Constitution

Ben CarsonBen Carson says he wouldn’t support having a Muslim for president and the politically correct world explodes in outrage. He says Islam and the American Constitution are at odds and he’s decried as some kind of constitutional ignoramus.

Time to step back and breathe. As many have noted, he made the quite valid point that anyone who is devoted to Sharia law as the basis for one’s personal life and for how a society should operate is not in sync with the government established under our Constitution.

A truly devout Muslim does follow Sharia law, and anyone who believes that law should have priority over the laws of this nation under the Constitution clearly should not be in high office, president or otherwise.

ConstitutionYes, the Constitution does not place a religious test on officeholding. Yes, anyone, Muslim or whatever, is free to run for president or Congress. We have at least one Muslim congressman right now. But anyone who tries to change our constitutional republic via Islamic law is sabotaging the very nature of the republic.

Under Islamic law, you can forget about religious liberty. You can forget about quite a few of our liberties. They would no longer exist. Therefore, I know that I would oppose any individual running for office who would want to move the country in that direction.

All of this, though, was more of a “gotcha” question than anything. How many Muslims are currently running for president? Right. The question was designed simply to trip up Carson and try to make him into a bigot.

Carson should have been more clear what he meant in his original statement, but since then he has come out and clarified, saying essentially what I have just written. I commend him for not bowing to the hollow cries of outrage and for sticking to the truth about the nature of Islam and the nature of our constitutional republic.

Now, let’s get on to the real issues.

Iran & Proper Perspective

Congress hasn’t given up entirely on standing up to the Iran deal. The House voted its disapproval and now the Senate leadership (?) promises to have another vote. Most believe it will come to nothing because even if they reach the 60 votes to stop the filibuster, there is no way they can make it to 67 to override Obama’s veto.

As I said in a previous posting, the sad part of all this is the Senate’s acquiescence to the terms of the debate, accepting the idea of finding 2/3 opposed to it rather than handling it as a treaty—as the Constitution requires—that needed 2/3 approval. Under those conditions, it never would have passed.

Constitutional President

If only the first scenario had played out.

This puts the Obama administration and the Democrat party in a strange position, trusting in an Iranian leadership that has publicly stated its desire to destroy Israel and seeks to eventually do the same to America:

Jolly Good Mullah

 

We’re told, of course, not to worry—this will keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons for a few years, even as news breaks that Iran has “unexpectedly” discovered new uranium sources within its boundaries that they didn’t know were there before. If you believe that . . .

But neither America nor Israel have a real reason to be concerned, right?

Relax

Well, maybe it just depends on one’s perspective. That perspective can be sharpened, though, by events:

Perspective

President Obama tells us we are safer now. There are others who don’t see it that way:

Patience

As someone who lived through the Reagan years and saw him deal with other nations through strength, what I’m witnessing now is a truly sad spectacle:

Great Nation

The difference couldn’t be more stark.

On This New 9/11

Today is another 9/11, potentially worse than the one we experienced in 2001. What do I mean? As I write this, no one has yet died in a massive terrorist attack. We fervently hope the day will pass with no repeat of that horrific act.

Yet yesterday, on the eve of this new 9/11, the United States Senate, in effect, voted to give $150 billion and a clear path to the development of nuclear weapons to the world’s most aggressive terrorist state.

By doing so, we may be ushering in a future 9/11 that will make the one in 2001 pale in comparison.

Brighter Tomorrow

Acceptance of this Iran deal never should have happened. Republicans started us down the wrong path when they passed a bill that didn’t call for the deal to be handled as a treaty, as the Constitution clearly specifies it should be. If they had stayed true to our founding document, it would have taken 67 senators to allow the deal to be ratified.

Instead, they accepted the Obama administration’s ground rule that it wasn’t a treaty, and that it would now take 60 senators to stop it and then 67 to override the president’s veto. They did everything backwards, thereby assuring Obama would get his way.

So the Democrats, who have overwhelmingly lined up with Obama, simply had to filibuster the bill, which they did effectively, and the Republican leadership couldn’t muster the 60 votes needed to move to a vote on the measure.

Despite a personal plea from Benjamin Netanyahu and the prescient warnings of many that this will lead to all-out nuclear weapons development, not only by Iran, but by other nations in the Middle East, Democrats put the interest of their party ahead of the national security of the United States.

Pledge Allegiance

Money will now flow to the Iranian terrorist regime, which, by the terms of this agreement, will now do its own inspections of its nuclear program, a provision that reaches a new low in diplomacy:

Works for Us

This is Obama’s Neville Chamberlain moment, as he declares peace in our time and the Iranians prepare to start the countdown to Armageddon:

Arms Race

But all that matters to our president is his so-called legacy. He believes he now has attained the prestige of a visionary world leader. He wanted a historic document. Well, it’s historic, to be sure. It’s the end product of all his failed policies toward terrorism.

Citizen of the World

I’m always cautious about using Biblical prophecy as a lens through which to see every political action. In my lifetime, there have been many individuals that some have called the Antichrist—Henry Kissinger and Mikhail Gorbachev, to name just two. All such pronouncements eventually cause embarrassment when their foolishness is exposed.

There’s also much ambiguity and disagreement about how to interpret the book of Revelation, so I hold back from being definitive about some act being the harbinger of the end times.

But if any development might be called the next step toward the end of all things, we may have just witnessed it.