The Stark Choice

The Democrat convention meets this week in Charlotte, North Carolina, a state that just passed a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. The Democrat platform, meanwhile, for the first time, is endorsing same-sex marriage. Welcome to North Carolina, Democrats. Personally, I don’t think President Obama is going to carry the state this time. Last time was an anomaly, just as it was in Virginia, Indiana, Ohio, and Florida. I’m expecting all those states to go Republican.

If one were to just look at the results of this first term, one would wonder how anyone trying to run on a record like Obama’s would ever have a chance at reelection. Here are the latest statistics:

As the proverbial icing on the cake, it is probable that the national debt number will exceed $16 trillion while the convention is busy explaining how things are so much better under this president. That’s going to take some doing, considering what has really occurred on the Obama watch:

Liberty has suffered now for nearly four long years. Yet Obama and his minions apparently believe they have made progress. Their definition of progress, though, is decidedly different than mine—and I hope it’s different from that of the majority of the electorate:

A lot is going to depend on voter turnout, not only for those who wish to see a change, but also on the part of those who may like the trend toward more government dependence. I’m not one of those who wishes everyone would vote; I prefer knowledgeable voters—knowledgeable about the rule of law, constitutionalism, limited government, religious liberty, and free enterprise. Frankly, we’d be much better off if some people didn’t vote:

The electorate is filled with uninformed and misinformed voters. The media helps considerably with creating the latter:

The choice is rather stark this November. Will the electorate see it clearly?

Voting Republican with a Clear Conscience

Now that Mitt Romney is the official Republican nominee for president, it’s time I shared a few thoughts on why I believe I can support him. As many of you know, he was not my first choice. He wasn’t even my second or third. In fact, as the primary season began, I pointed to two people as non-starters for me as the potential Republican nominee: Donald Trump and Romney.

During the primaries, I had flirtations with a couple of the candidates before settling on Rick Santorum as my favorite. My reasons for supporting Santorum were his basic Biblical worldview and his well-reasoned philosophy of governing. When the primaries ended, I had to come to grips with the reality that Romney would be the choice.

His deficiencies remain, as far as I’m concerned. I suspect he’s not a genuine conservative philosophically—that he doesn’t have a settled, principled position—and even though some will not like this, I am not enamored with a Mormon in the White House. I’m one of those who sees Mormonism as a deviation from Christian orthodoxy. However, a number of our presidents have not been Christians, despite their public avowals of faith. What’s worse, a Mormon or an adherent to a radical liberation theology that pictures Jesus as little more than the first Che Guevara? We already have that in our current president.

Yet while Romney is not my ideal candidate, he does represent a political party that is much closer to my ideals. Generally, the Republicans want what I want: basic moral values that emanate from Biblical roots, revealing itself through opposition to abortion and in favor of traditional marriage; the government limited to its proper functions; a free market economy; a national debt brought under control; a strong foreign policy stance that stands by its allies and has no problem recognizing its enemies. This is the vision of the role of government that I wish to see implemented.

Some say the Republicans are no different than the Democrats. I disagree. The platforms for the parties spell out the clear distinctions. Others, more nuanced, insist that Republicans are the lesser of two evils, but since they are evil as well, it would be wrong to vote for them. These are the purists who claim that you can find a political party with no hint of hypocrisy and devoid of evil. I say that’s impossible in this world. Wherever men congregate to make politics, disagreements, envy, egocentrism, and all sorts of evils will arise.

If I turn to the Libertarian party, for instance, what I see is a group with which I can agree on free-market issues but not on the social issues like abortion and same-sex marriage. Pure libertarianism is not Christian; rather than liberty, it promotes license in some instances. While there may be a minor party out there with which I could align, I want to support a party that has a chance to turn Obama and the Democrats out of power completely. The only party that can accomplish that is the Republicans.

You see, I don’t expect utopia from any governmental leadership. If Republicans take control of both the White House and the Congress, I will be able to find policies they are promoting with which I disagree. But they will not lead us down the same path the Democrats have taken. They will not embark on a national healthcare scheme; they will not push abortion on demand; they will defend genuine marriage; and if they know what’s good for them, they will start digging us out of our fiscal disaster.

Romney’s choice of Ryan as his VP has made my decision more palatable. Ryan, I believe, is the real deal when it comes to realizing we are on the edge of a precipice and must reverse course immediately. I agree with Romney’s first decision—his choice of a running mate. I hope it portends well for future decisions.

Supporting a third party, especially the Libertarians, may draw enough votes away from the Republicans that we will be subjected to another four years of a radical presidency, years from which we may never recover. I’m not violating my conscience by voting Republican; I’m following my conscience. In politics, you rarely get the luxury of voting for someone who is precisely what you want. You have to go with the best you can get with a party that actually has a chance to win.

I compare this to the issue of abortion specifically. Personally, I want all abortions to be declared illegal. No innocent lives should ever be taken. Yet I will support any measure that reduces the number of abortions. There are those who won’t support what they call “halfway” measures; they want all or nothing. They will get nothing. And the abortion rate will continue unchecked.

I vote not to achieve perfection, but to move the political culture closer to the Biblical ideal. Any movement away from what we now have is a movement in the right direction. That’s why I can vote Republican with a clear conscience.

The New Zeitgeist

I’ve been thinking more about how Christianity and the absolute morality it embraces are experiencing a new, and more vociferous, round of condescension. The culture’s disdain for what are usually termed traditional values seems to be increasing. As I told one of my classes this past week, what was considered basic morality forty years ago is now criticized as hateful. I’m not the only one noticing this:

In the entertainment portion of our culture, one doesn’t have to search long and hard to find the new “zeitgeist.” We are preached at from almost every television program that homosexuality is not only permissible, but that anyone who opposes it is either hopelessly backward or evil. How many shows celebrate saving sex until marriage compared with the number that assume everyone lives together before marriage? When was the last time you witnessed a strong Christian portrayed as a model for how one should live rather than as a bigoted hatemonger? Do you remember when you didn’t have to be bombarded with vulgar language, particularly before 10:00 p.m.?

We’ve come a long way out of many closets in the past few years. As a result, politicians have become bolder in their pronouncements against traditional morality. For the first time in my lifetime, a major political party is set to endorse homosexual marriage. When the Democrats hold their convention next week, reports are that they plan to spend a lot of time advocating the right to abortion and same-sex marriage. They think we’ve reached that tipping point in our society when pushing for those measures will actually increase their likelihood of victory. They’re going to make a big deal over the artificially trumped-up/imaginary Republican “War on Women.” How many will see past that hypocrisy?

Will this really help the Democrat ticket? If it does, we are in worse shape as a nation than I thought. Naturally, I’m hoping that tactic backfires, but I’m only cautiously optimistic.

I’ve stated this before, but it bears repeating: Christians need to come to grips with the fact that we’re not necessarily a majority anymore. We are quickly becoming a despised minority group subject to increasing pressures to conform to the modern zeitgeist. If we continue to resist, we will be hated. Yet we were told in advance this would be the case. This happened to the One we follow as well. As He told His disciples shortly before his crucifixion,

If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, “A slave is not greater than his master.” If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. . . . All these things they will do to you . . . because they do not know the One who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also.

The reason the prevailing culture of the time rose up against Jesus was because He revealed the sin in their hearts. If we are steadfast in pointing out the sins of our culture, it will rise up against us also. We need to be prepared. As the apostle Paul told Timothy, “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”

I teach and write with the hope that we’re not that far gone yet as a culture, that a semblance of Biblical thinking may still remain and can be fanned into a flame once more. But if I am wrong, and the hostility toward the Biblical worldview has become so dominant it cannot be reversed, I will continue nonetheless. God has called us to faithfulness, and my purpose for living is to please Him by doing His will, regardless of the results. He looks at the heart and rewards accordingly. He’s seeking a faithful army that will remain steadfast. As His word abundantly demonstrates, He always works with a godly remnant. I want to be part of that remnant.

 

Tax Cuts & the Fiscal Cliff

Let’s return to fiscal news today. Are you aware that the Bush tax cuts—you know, those awful tax breaks that benefit only the wealthy—are due to end in January? If that happens, we will all find out soon enough that they actually were a benefit for everyone. Democrats play politics with this, seeking to extend them only for the “non-rich.” That posture is intended to portray them as for the middle class. What they don’t tell you is that the “rich” include about 900,000 small businesses who, if these cuts aren’t extended, will have to lay off workers. Now, who is this really going to hurt? Republicans, on the other hand, are calling for the cuts to remain in effect for everyone. Trying to get this through Congress, though, will never happen as long as Harry Reid and his gang control the Senate:

Democrats are attempting to woo the moderate Republicans to their side on this plan, but thus far Republicans are holding firm—for good reason:

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that these tax cuts can’t apply to almost half the population. Why?

It’s the producers in society who are being targeted:

And presiding over all this is a man who has expressed hostility toward those producers and has no grasp of how an economy works:

I’ve always enjoyed good oxymorons. Here are some appropriate ones for today:

Crossing a Line

The latest report on the upcoming Democrat convention is that the committee working to draft the policy platform for the party has included a plank putting the Democrats squarely on the side of same-sex marriage. Apparently, there was no real disagreement from anyone on the committee; it was the unanimous opinion that same-sex marriage should be enshrined as the law of the land. This was inevitable for a progressivism that has left Biblical morality on what it considers the ash heap of history.

I’m not shocked by this development. Once you begin to wander from the solid basis of eternal law, everything is eventually permissible. What this does, though, is put the Democrats on record as the first major political party in America in favor of abortion on demand and the destruction of traditional marriage, which is also the destruction of the family.

As President Obama has said so often: “Let me be clear.” If you now vote for a Democrat, you are promoting the slaughter of innocent children [over fifty million by the latest count] and the perversion of the God-ordained gift of sexual relations within marriage.

For anyone who calls himself or herself a Christian, this is antithetical to all you profess to believe. This is the rejection of the Word of God as your moral standard. This is a denial of the Lordship of Jesus Christ in your life.

It hurts to write those words. I am not the ultimate judge, but I do have a responsibility before God, even as all Christians do, to be a watchman and declare when the enemy is approaching. In this case, the enemy is in the gates.

Perhaps it’s time for a simple reminder of the Biblical teaching on homosexuality. The clearest passage is from Romans, chapter one, and reads as follows:

For this reason [rejection of God and His truth] God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, . . . and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

Those who are not Christian will reject these words as “bigoted,” but those who still say they are following Jesus as Lord and Savior must take them seriously.

Christians can have political disagreements. While I believe it is contrary to sound Biblical teaching to advocate Marxist/socialist economics and to put the government in charge of areas that God never intended it be given such authority, Christians who push for those things are, in my view, deceived but not heretical. They are not unchristian, especially since they often are acting out of concern for the poor. They are simply being foolish because those policies ultimately destroy everyone, the poor included.

But when anyone claiming to speak for Christ says it is fine to support those who have no conscience in the murder of millions of babies and who pervert basic Biblical sexual morality, a line has been crossed.

Christians are to be the moral exemplars for a nation. How can we fulfill that mandate when we ally ourselves with moral abominations?

If we go along with the immoral drift of our culture, how are we any different from that culture?

If we don’t stand for truth, who will?

Obamacare & the Future of a Once-Free Society

Obamacare isn’t necessarily here to stay. Some states, like Texas, are refusing to accept it. Republican governors overall are waiting to see what happens in the election. Done deals are not always done deals. Yet the federal government is in full battle array, planning to take over one-sixth of the American economy. The price tag, according to new estimates, is now triple what we were told at the beginning. On top of all that, the IRS is now in charge of enforcing it since the Supreme Court, in its supreme wisdom, has declared it a tax. This really is a burgeoning monstrosity.

Yet as the Obama administration gears up for the implementation of the program, it might discover some speed bumps:

Many doctors are contemplating retirement if this does go into operation [no pun intended]. No matter how bureaucratic the current healthcare system may be, and despite complaints we all have about how it is managed, we haven’t seen anything yet. If you feel like you’re just a small cog in a big machine now, wait until Obamacare is in full swing:

Republicans in Congress are telling the American people where they stand on it. Even though they knew it wouldn’t pass in the Senate, the House held a vote this past week on repealing the act, and it passed. Democrats consider it a mere political ploy, but I guess that’s because they really don’t believe the other side of the aisle has a deep philosophical disagreement with the whole approach. Of all the Democrats’ objections to repealing the law, the least compelling one might be this:

Yes, politics was a factor in holding the vote, but the political aspect was a statement to the American people of where the GOP stands on the issue. Many Republicans rightly fear that Obamacare tips the balance for the future of the country in a direction that will make us no different than the failing economies and governments of Europe. They fear it will alter the very character of the nation, and those fears are not without foundation:

We’ve taken far too many steps away from constitutionalism and toward unhealthy dependence on government over the years, starting with FDR’s New Deal through LBJ’s Great Society to Obama’s nebulous Hope and Change. To me, the choice is clear: either roll back this infringement on liberty, both civil and religious, or share the fate of other nations that have followed this foolish path.

A Victory for Sanity & Common Sense

Scott Walker’s victory yesterday in the Wisconsin governor’s recall election was a triumph for common sense. Walker, a genuine Christian man who walked out his convictions—doing what he said he would do when he was first elected—had to endure a year and a half of death threats, massive rallies, an “occupy movement,” if you will, of the Wisconsin State House, and an attempt to oust him from office, not for any misdeeds or corruption, but simply for disagreement over policy.

Let’s review what the beef was, as well as how Walker’s reforms have played out in the state. One of the biggest problems Wisconsin faces is its own semi-radical history. It was the first state, in 1959, to allow collective bargaining for public employees. As Baby Boomers began retiring, the pensions owed to them via this bargaining brought the state to the edge of financial ruin. Walker merely sought to curb this out-of-control union power. The unions reacted vociferously, and with the aid of Democrat legislators who fled the state to try to forestall the changes [now there’s a model of good governance if ever there was one], they have dragged out this battle for what seems like forever.

Walker and the Republican majority in the legislature—put there by the people in 2010—fulfilled their promises to the electorate despite the threats and a nationwide effort to defeat a Wisconsin Supreme Court judge in another election. They failed. So then they turned their guns on Walker directly, along with his lieutenant governor. Again, a national juggernaut was created, led by the big unions in cooperation with the Democrat party. They have now failed again.

It’s a little hard to convince most state citizens to remove a man from office who has spearheaded reforms that appear to be working. Let me quote one commentator from Forbes who has summarized the results nicely:

The state budget has been balanced. The unemployment rate has been dropping and is now below the national average. Property taxes are down. Fraudulent sick leave policies—which allowed employees to call in sick and then work the next shift for overtime pay—have been ended. The government has stopped forcibly collecting union dues from workers’ paychecks. Best of all, the myth that union bosses represent their members’ interests has been exposed as a lie. Now that union dues are voluntary, tens of thousands of union members have stopped paying them. Membership in the Wisconsin chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union (AFSCME) has dropped by half. Membership in the state’s American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is down by over a third.

In other words, fiscal health and sanity have returned. All this, and public employees still have benefits that are 22% above the private sector. That’s hardly draconian. No wonder voters turned down the recall.

Why would anyone of sound mind desire to return to the former state of affairs?

What does this election mean for the bigger picture? It could mean Wisconsin is in play for Republicans in the presidential election. A state that put Republicans in the majority in 2010, and which has reaffirmed that choice just now, may be ready to switch political columns. Did you notice that President Obama avoided going to Wisconsin during this time? His people knew it was a losing proposition; they didn’t want his image saddled with another loss. One can only hope this Wisconsin election is a portent of what we will see in November.