The Trumpian Path to Oblivion

Today’s vote in Indiana could well determine whether Donald Trump gets anointed as the Republican nominee or whether Ted Cruz can successfully overcome the false narrative being promoted by the media and emerge as the logical alternative.

If only Trump supporters would actually listen to everything Trump says, they might have second thoughts:

Tells It Like It Is

Yet, as the above cartoon indicates, there is almost a cult-like willingness to overlook any and all discrepancies in their preferred candidate. Never mind that he is not really the “outsider” who is going to shake up politics. Never mind that he has given thousands upon thousands to Democrat politicians. Never mind that John Boehner is his texting and golfing buddy.

If Ted Cruz had all of that baggage in his background, do you think they would ever support him? But since it’s Trump, who cares? He’s our savior.

The System

Yes, the system is indeed crooked, but that system has worked for Trump throughout his life and continues to work for him today. He has garnered a far higher percentage of delegates than the percentage of his vote in all the primaries. How is that fair?

And all that talk about being the best “unifier”? The childish insults that emanate from his mouth betray the lie of being a unifier:

Unifier

His supposed major foreign policy speech last week was so canned and programmed, it was painful to watch. The segment I viewed had him pronouncing the word “says,” not as “sez,” but as “saze.” That mispronunciation made it obvious that he was reading a script. He was the puppet, repeating what someone else wrote for him.

Others have pointed out another embarrassing mispronunciation of the nation of Tanzania. His knowledge deficiency is earth-shaking.

How to Pronounce

Yet what do we witness? A rising tide of support from within the Republican establishment for this pseudo-candidate, all because they think he is inevitable. What a sad spectacle.

Join 'Em

This kind of sellout on principles is what will doom us as a nation.

We have had our first black president. We may have our first woman president, particularly if Trump is the nominee. If, by some weird freak of the vote, he should actually win the presidency, we will have—as one of my Facebook friends noted—the first third-grader as president.

Indiana, please don’t make that path to oblivion any easier.

Moral Courage . . . & the Lack Thereof

At first, I was grateful that more states were taking a stand for religious liberty. No one expected the firestorm that has resulted. It has become a “gay-rights” agenda item. Whoever would have thought that our First Amendment guarantee of “free exercise of religion” would attempt to be undermined in this manner? Aided and abetted, of course, by a media sympathetic to the homosexual New Totalitarians. Suddenly, this is more important to the media than real threats:

Threat

Disappointing as this may be, I expect it from the activists and their media allies. What is more disappointing is the lack of moral courage being exhibited by Republican governors on this issue. Mike Pence, in Indiana, and Asa Hutchinson, in Arkansas, both have histories of moral courage.

Asa HutchinsonI’ve never met Governor Pence, but I have met Governor Hutchinson, back in 2000, when he was a congressman. He was one of the House Managers who argued for Bill Clinton’s removal from office during the impeachment trial. I interviewed him for my book Mission: Impeachable. I know he is a committed Christian, and I honor him for his stand for Christ. I just wish he would now extend the kind of courage he displayed back in the Clinton impeachment trial to the current controversy.

This has become a witch hunt. Have you been following the account of a small pizza shop in Walkerton, Indiana? Most people don’t know where Walkerton is, but I do. It’s just a few miles from my hometown. I have relatives—a grandmother and an uncle—who are buried in the Walkerton cemetery. It’s a very small town, just above 2000 people, but is now embroiled in this controversy without ever intending to be.

A reporter, seeking out some business somewhere that might “discriminate” against homosexuals, entered Memories Pizza in Walkerton and asked the owner if she would serve homosexuals. She is a dedicated Christian—there are even Scripture verses on the walls of the business—and she said she would serve pizza to anyone. Her only reason not to do so would be—hypothetically, of course, since this has never happened—if a homosexual couple wanted her to cater pizzas for their wedding.

Memories PizzaWhat happened? News stories popped up everywhere about this “hateful, bigoted” business. One headline blurted outright that the business would not serve homosexuals, which was a complete distortion of what the owner said. Notice the misleading statement in the photo on the left: “Restaurant Denies Some Service to Same-Sex Couples.”

Death threats followed on Twitter immediately. One person even asked who would go with her to burn down the shop. The latest is that the pizza business may have to close down.

The only redeeming feature of the story thus far is that more than $50,000 has been raised to help the owner who has been unwittingly caught in this homosexual agenda/media hype trap.

Moral courage. She is showing it, and I honor her. When will the politicians do the same? The latest rumor is that there is a movement afoot within Republican circles to remove opposition to same-sex marriage from the party’s platform. My ties to the party are becoming more tenuous over time because of this tendency to go with the cultural flow and the loss of principle.

Moral courage. May those of us who say we stand on our Christian faith be the examples that others may follow, despite the threats and intimidation. God wants to work through us, but we have to give Him something to work with, don’t we?

A Prediction

Are Indiana Republicans getting ready to cave on religious liberty? While I always like to wait and see, the signs are ominous. The law passed by Indiana is not only innocuous, it doesn’t even guarantee religious liberty—it only provides a basis for making an argument for it if one is being pressured to violate one’s conscience. Yet, because of all the artificial furor stirred up by homosexual activists, it appears that Governor Mike Pence and the legislature are prepared to water it down further. If that happens, it’s a victory for the New Totalitarians.

Burning at Stake

This is a sad time for religious liberty.

I’m going to make a prediction. No matter what happens in Indiana, the hysterical New Totalitarians won’t be mollified. This is a well-orchestrated strategy that goes beyond a demand for acceptance in society; it won’t stop until everyone who disagrees with them is punished. No one will be allowed to say homosexuality is wrong, sinful (the worst word imaginable), or even misguided.

First, the Supreme Court will come out in favor of same-sex marriage as constitutional. Never mind that the Constitution doesn’t give credence to any such idea; it’s the trendy new thing, and the New Totalitarians will win this one, wiping out all state laws that reject the progressive wisdom.

Second, their guns will be trained on institutions that seek to retain Biblical morality. They will begin by reopening their case against Hobby Lobby and other businesses run by Christians. They won’t stop until legislation is passed that declares they must bow to laws deceptively labeled as “anti-discriminatory.” At that point, Christian businessmen will have to decide where they stand with respect to their integrity and devotion to God.

Third, they will demand that pastors of churches perform same-sex wedding ceremonies or lose tax-exempt status. How many churches will refuse to do so and remain faithful to the One they profess to worship and obey?

Then the New Totalitarians will come at the educational institutions that proclaim Christian faith. They will be told they must change their beliefs and policies on homosexuality or lose their participation in the student loan program. How many of those institutions of higher learning will decide to go with the flow of the culture and deny their Lord? They will frame it as necessary to be able to continue their mission. At that point, I will question whether they have any mission left to fulfill.

Have you noticed that all the anger and venom is being directed against Christians, and not Muslims? Why might that be? Perhaps they know Christians won’t rise up and behead them. It’s safer to attack the Christians.

Is there any silver lining to this? I see one. If all this transpires as I am predicting, it will certainly separate the true believers from those who have only a superficial attachment to Christian doctrine and practice. We will be able to see more clearly who is on the Lord’s side and who is faking it. Maybe that’s a good thing.

Meanwhile, we need to prepare ourselves. If you still cling to the belief that America remains a Christian nation, it’s time to rethink that. We were founded on Christian beliefs, to be sure, but Christian faith is now a distinct minority point of view, and we have to understand that. We are now counter-cultural and must adjust our approach to our culture and our government accordingly. We can no longer assume we hold majority views.

Pray that we proceed in God’s wisdom and in His strength.

Religious Freedom: It’s a Simple Concept

I keep having to say “I wish I could be surprised by . . .” Fill in the blank. Our culture has changed so drastically over the past few decades, and at a more rapid pace since someone deceived his way into the Oval Office, that nothing can surprise me anymore.

The latest furor is the law passed in Indiana (my home state) that simply seeks to allow religious believers (of any persuasion) to practice their faith when any other law threatens to punish them for exercising their freedom of religion. I seem to remember something about that in the First Amendment. As a reminder, that’s in the Constitution, which ostensibly is the fundamental law of the land.

Indiana’s law is modeled on a federal law passed in 1993 and signed by Bill Clinton—who, hypocritically, has now changed his mind about the very law he signed due to the pressures of the pro-homosexual lobby.

This law is not “anti-gay.” Even though I believe homosexuality violates basic Biblical morality, so does every immoral act, from theft to lying to other types of sexual sin. As a Christian, I deal with those who are trapped in their own sins every day. I don’t treat them as lepers, but instead seek to help them see the truth of the Gospel, which has to begin, of course, with an understanding of sin, repentance, and the forgiveness offered through the Cross.

If I owned a business of some kind, I would not ask everyone first if they are involved in some kind of sin, and if so, refuse to serve them. That’s silly. I would never sell anything that way.

But if I am in a type of business that could in any way endorse or participate in a sinful action, I should be allowed a religious exemption from being forced to be a participant. We have a number of publicized cases where Christian florists, bakers, photographers, etc., are being publicly shamed, or even sued, over not wanting to participate in homosexual “weddings.”

Let’s look at another possible scenario:

Wedding Cake

Should that man be forced to participate in this ceremony? Would anyone arguing against Indiana’s religious freedom law like to stand up on behalf of this couple?

Religious freedom is exactly that—freedom. And anyone who owns a business and operates it according to one’s religious beliefs should not be compelled to act against one’s own conscience.

It’s as simple as that.

Ideologically Driven … Again

Indiana recently cut off all taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood. That’s the good news. Even if you haven’t yet heard of the administration’s response to this, you can probably guess, based on how it reacted to Arizona’s illegal immigration law. Yes, Obama & Co. are getting ready to challenge the law.

The official position will be that it hurts poor people. Unofficially, it’s really an ideologically driven position to continue support for abortion. How do I know this is the real reason, and that compassion for the poor is only the “cover” for this action?  Consider the consequences:

Federal officials have 90 days to act but may feel pressure to act sooner because Indiana is already enforcing its law, which took effect on May 10, and because legislators in other states are working on similar measures.

If a state Medicaid program is not in compliance with federal law and regulations, federal officials can take corrective action, including “the total or partial withholding” of federal Medicaid money. The mere threat of such a penalty is often enough to get states to comply. Actually imposing the penalty would, in many cases, hurt the very people whom Medicaid is intended to help.

That, by itself, should reveal the true passion here: no one should be allowed to tinker with abortion “rights,” even at the cost of hurting those who need help the most. Priorities are clear.

Barack Obama is the most pro-abortion president in American history. He apparently thinks nothing of allowing innocent children to be sacrificed on the altar of selfishness and irresponsibility. Yet abortion has been so sanitized in the public’s perception that it’s no longer considered unconscionable. That’s because our collective conscience has been seared. We need a new perspective:

Is it possible to change the public’s perception of this issue? I believe it is. A nationwide Gallup poll still indicates that more people call themselves pro-choice than pro-life (49%-45%), yet 51% believe abortion is morally wrong [how does that fit with the earlier numbers??????], and 61% believe it should be legal only in a few circumstances or not at all.

What does this indicate? We are a confused people. But it also shows the possibility of speaking truth into that confusion and persuading people toward the pro-life position. We can’t give up that fight.

Personal Election Highlights

The high points in the past election for me center on the three states that I have called home throughout my life: Florida, Virginia, and Indiana. I’ve been a Floridian now for a little more than four years and am thrilled with Tuesday’s results here.

The whole nation was watching the Florida Senate race, wondering if Marco Rubio could succeed in a divided field—divided because current governor Charlie Crist, running as an independent, was attempting to take Republican votes away from him. While that might have been Crist’s original strategy, he had to shift over time to concentrate more on scraping together Democratic votes instead since most Republicans repudiated him and stayed loyal to Rubio. But hey, “shifting over time” is one of Crist’s talents:

If this signals the end of Crist’s political career, I will shed no tears. Rubio, meanwhile, is already perceived as a “rising star” in Republican circles. He needs to be careful and not let this go to his head. If he can remain as optimistic and as humble as he has been through this long campaign, his principled leadership can be a tremendous plus for the country. As long as he stays principled, he will continue to be effective.

The Florida governor’s race was extremely tight, but Republican Rick Scott pulled it out in the end. He had to overcome the challenge of a bitterly divided party after the primary. While some resentment remained, and he didn’t get the same level of support as Rubio, enough healing took place for him to eke out the victory by about one percentage point. The size of the victory doesn’t matter now, as long as he fulfills his promises. He wants to bring business expertise to the governor’s role and create a Florida that is business friendly. If he can do what is in his heart, state government will be leaner and more effective, and the state’s dismal unemployment figures will turn around. In my view, if anyone might be able to accomplish this, it will be Scott. His slogan for the campaign was “Let’s Get to Work.” Now he has his chance.

The Lakeland area also will be sending a man to Congress that it was an honor for me to support: Dennis Ross. I had lunch with him a few months ago just to get a feel for who he is. I came away convinced that his passion was for upholding the Constitution and maintaining integrity in government. It’s not often you have the opportunity to rally behind a person who understands the Founders’ concepts and who seeks to keep the federal government within its appointed boundaries. Dennis, I believe, is such a man. He not only will represent his district well, but by doing so, he will do what is best for the nation.

Honorable mention: Daniel Webster practically destroyed Alan Grayson, thereby kicking out of Congress one of the most obnoxious members ever to hold the office of representative. I will trade a radical, self-centered socialist for a Christian gentleman any day. Adieu, Mr. Grayson.  

On to Virginia, where my former state completed the transformation it began one year ago when it elected Bob McDonnell as its governor and Ken Cuccinelli as attorney general. This past Tuesday, three Democratic congressmen were given the door and replaced by conservatives who want to stand up to the Obama agenda.

Then there’s Indiana, which duplicated Virginia’s move by replacing a number of Democratic congressmen. In addition, it added a new old name to the Senate—Dan Coats. Coats had served previously in the Senate, then set aside politics for a number of years. He is a fine Christian gentleman who always served with integrity. New blood doesn’t have to come only from those who have never served before. Experience is also a valuable commodity.

Florida, Virginia, Indiana—all states that went for Obama in 2008. Now they are all overwhelmingly “reddish” in color. What a difference a mere two years can make, particularly when the president tries to fundamentally change the nature of America. Based on his press conference the day after the election, I still don’t think he grasps what really happened, and the part he personally played in this stunning defeat for his party:

If he stays the course and continues living in his fantasy world, 2012 could be just as devastating for him. If it is, I wonder if he’ll notice?