The Election: Positives & Negatives

We avoided one national disaster last night, but we may have created another one. Yes, I know that will sound like sour grapes to some of you, but while I am glad for one result, please forgive me for not being elated with the other. Let me explain.

The Positives

Positive #1

clintonsThe long national nightmare known as the Clintons may now have ended for good. No one who puts Biblical principles and constitutional government at the foundation of life in America can be unhappy about that.

Having endured eight years of Bill, another eight with Hillary at the helm would have been practically unendurable. Everything I hold dear would have been attacked from the highest office in the land, so seeing her come crashing down is extremely gratifying.

The only thing that would make this picture complete is to now see an indictment for all she has done to undermine national security. If that should ever appear imminent, though, as long as Barack Obama is in office, she will probably receive a preemptive pardon. You see, he would be implicated as well.

So, yes, I am relieved that we can now dismiss that artificial family from national politics.

Positive #2

obama-arrogant-lookThe result was a repudiation of the Obama years. Americans fed up with his goal of “transforming” the nation into his own image said a loud “stop!”

The damage of the last eight years will not be undone easily. The culture continues to decline overall. Only a fresh infusion of a vibrant Christian witness can make the difference and reverse some of what has transpired. It remains to be seen if the Christian community any longer has that vibrancy or whether it has sold out to politics.

Positive #3

senate-chamberRepublicans maintained control of both houses of Congress. While this doesn’t guarantee that Obamacare is doomed or that the Supreme Court will now be in the hands of constitutionalists, it at least offers a reprieve from progressive activism—if they know how to use their majority. That’s always the big question.

Having a numerical majority is one thing; using it wisely is another entirely. The track record is decidedly mixed. The one excuse they won’t have anymore is that they don’t have the White House.

Positive #4

Republicans continued to dominate in the state-level elections. From what I’ve learned thus far, they increased their control in a number of states. This, and the control of Congress, was what I was hoping for. We still have a federal system, so not everything is supposed to emanate from Washington, DC. Republican control in a majority of the states offers hope.

The Negatives

Negative #1

Donald Trump Addresses GOP Lincoln Day Event In MichiganDonald Trump is now the president-elect. Winning the election last night doesn’t change who he is. I voted third-party and don’t repent of that vote. I continue to believe that he is unfit for the office that he now will occupy.

My concerns won’t go away. He is the supreme egotist who can’t handle any perceived insult. Will he now conduct a purge of anyone who wasn’t solidly in his camp?

He is blatantly immoral. Christians who think he has changed are going to be disappointed. All this talk about his being a “baby Christian” who only needs to grow in the faith is naive. In order to grow in the faith, one must have the faith first. There is no indication that he does.

constitutional-marriageAs I’ve said countless times, don’t depend on him to advance any agenda that puts pro-life or traditional marriage as a priority. He won’t fight for Supreme Court nominees of that ilk and he already has a propensity for letting everyone decide what they want to do with sex/gender issues.

Put not your trust in his promises.

His knowledge of issues is narrow and superficial. We need to hope that those who surround him have a better grasp of reality than he does.

Trump’s vision (such as it is) of America is not at all grounded in an understanding of constitutional limitations on the executive power. Will he decide to use his own executive orders to accomplish what he wants?

He is no conservative. He has no real understanding of the intellectual basis of conservatism and why it is essential for how governing should proceed.

I still consider him to be borderline emotionally unstable; who knows how that will manifest itself in his administration? Anyone who promotes crazy conspiracy theories, as he has done countless times, is not to be trusted.

Negative #2

Many who voted for Trump did so out of anger and frustration. It’s interesting that many who voted for him don’t really like him. Exit polls reveal that. They just couldn’t stand the prospect of a Hillary presidency. He enters the presidency as one of the most unliked and/or despised winners in American history.

While there is a proper place for anger and frustration, neither makes for a positive vision of the future. The national mood is dark, the culture is still on a downward spiral, and Donald Trump is not the solution.

Negative #3

christians-politicsMany sincere Christians have so thrown their lot in with Trump that it will be hard to disentangle themselves from him when he goes off the reservation. I continue to be deeply concerned that the Christian witness has suffered and will suffer more by our connection with him. Only time will tell how great that damage may be.

Too many Christians have followed the siren song of self-appointed prophets who have declared Trump to be God’s anointed. Be careful. While I do believe God can use the Nebuchadnezzars of this world for His purposes, I’m not going to rush into some silly confidence that Trump’s election is God-ordained.

People made this choice, not God. He may use the choice, and I pray He will, but don’t saddle Him with whatever Trump may do; that will only stain God’s reputation in the eyes of an unbelieving world when he disappoints—as surely he will.

So where does that leave me? Relieved that Hillary Clinton won’t be the president. Concerned that Donald Trump will be. We must remain vigilant and not go off into some fantasyland about how wonderful things will be from now on.

The battle is ongoing.

Anger, Bitterness, & an Election

Of all the consequences of this presidential election, the one that dismays me most is the rupture between those who have been friends and allies in a cause. It has happened in the political/cultural conservative camp in general and among conservative Christians also. The latter is the more grievous.

Some are now questioning whether the breach that has been created can ever be healed. I believe it can be, but I don’t know if it will.

angerI have been distressed from the start of the campaign, in the primaries, as I’ve witnessed so much anger being expressed through support for Donald Trump. It’s as if he became a magnet for many who have been so frustrated with the developments in the Obama years.

I understand that frustration. More has changed negatively in the last eight years than in previous decades combined. But it’s always a sign of danger when anger drives actions. It’s very dangerous when anger becomes the primary determinant in voting. When emotions control the mind, we usually go astray.

The Scripture deals directly with that problem. In James 1:20 we’re admonished,

But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.

When we give vent to our anger, we may think we are doing God’s will, but James’s caution should remind us that He has a better way.

Anger that is allowed to fester goes one step further into a bitterness that spreads its malignancy to others, as the writer of the book of Hebrews, chapter 12, warns us:

Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled.

The first piece of instruction in that passage is that we are to do whatever we can to maintain peaceful relations with all. Shouldn’t that be especially true of brothers and sisters in Christ?

Second, there is a stiff warning about sanctification in the Christian life: without it, we may be cut off from the Lord. That, by itself, should stun us into being careful in our words, actions, and reactions.

bitternessThen the writer focuses on what he calls a “root” of bitterness. If bitterness does take root in our minds, it has the natural tendency to see all things through that bitterness. Not only will it affect our very souls but it will infect the lives of others.

The Biblical message is clear on this issue. Probably the best overall teaching on this is found in Ephesians chapter 4, in which the apostle Paul says,

Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.

screwtape-lettersPaul recognizes that anger is natural and not necessarily wrong; after all, God gets angry. However, one can be angry without the anger leading us into sin. There is a line that can be crossed, but must not be. When we cross it, we are giving Satan a playground of his own; it allows him the opportunity to destroy lives. For a quick refresher on that, I recommend C. S. Lewis’s masterful work, The Screwtape Letters, which exposes exactly how the hellish realm seeks to lead Christians on the wrong path.

Here’s the end of Paul’s admonition in Ephesians 4:

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

There are times we are to speak forcefully about something, but it must always be in love. We can share our hearts about the issues we face in this nation, but we must never allow even the most earnest sharing to descend into name-calling and/or false accusations against another.

We are to speak the truth, and it can be with energy and urgency, but it cannot be spoken in anger, and we simply cannot let bitterness take over.

Perhaps we all need to check our spirits today. What are we communicating and how are we communicating it?

Obama, Iran, Clinton, & Trump–Oh, My!

That Iran “deal” is back in the news. Normally, a deal has something good for both sides, but Iran is walking away with the store while we pretend that it will now keep its word not to develop nuclear weapons for a few years.

The deposit of $400 million to Iran by a cash payment, a move that was carried out secretly by the Obama administration, has showcased once again the empathy our current president has for a terrorist state because it is Muslim.

Night Depository

Well, we owed it to Iran, we are told, but it was interrupted by the Islamic Revolution of 1979. You remember, the revolution that took Americans hostage in their own embassy? And that new government at the time wasn’t exactly the one we were dealing with all along, now was it?

We’ve had a long history of not negotiating with terrorists. What has changed?

Don't Negotiate

What makes this secret cash payment even more disreputable is that the four hostages Iran recently released were done so, apparently, only after this money arrived by plane. One of those hostages, pastor Saeed Abedini, has said that his plane, which was to take him back to freedom, wasn’t allowed to take off until another plane arrived. One filled with cash?

Well, maybe I’m being too cynical. Maybe I should just believe what I’m told by my president.

Coincidence

Ransom

Tribute

After all, he has such a fine history of telling us the truth:

Not a Ransom

This is par for the course, though, for Democrat politicians:

Huge Sums

We are about to follow the most radical administration in American history with what may be the most corrupt. If only Republicans had gotten their act together this year rather than decide to throw a temper tantrum:

Eminently Beatable

We have sown. We are now reaping.

The Final Balloon Drop

I have been voting in presidential elections since 1972. There have been some terrible nominees along the way, but never before has the perfect storm erupted until this year. Never before have both parties scraped the bottom of this candidate barrel so thoroughly, leaving the American people with no tolerable choice.

Yes, I know a lot of voters are choosing one of these nominees anyway, but most are doing so with grave concerns, and for good reason.

The Democrat convention is now over, mercifully. If you want a party that delights in murdering babies, this is your party. If you want a party that seeks to destroy all gender distinctions, welcome aboard. If you want a party that finds the socialist vision to be energizing, you have a home.

Radical Extremists

And the nominee promises to complete what Barack Obama has begun:

Finish the Job

Hillary Clinton practically boasts that she will be Obama’s third term. That’s supposed to help her? Donald Trump thinks Hillary herself will lead to his triumph:

Trump Card

Any other year, with any other Republican candidate, that would be the case. Not necessarily this time. Ever since the Republican convention, Trump has been busily undermining himself, providing lots of opportunities for the Republican establishment to distance itself from him while still trying to say we should vote for him. Even his own VP pick, Mike Pence, has had to come out and try to explain away Trump’s foolish talk.

It’s also becoming even more obvious the kind of supporters Trump has outside of this country:

Trump Hearts Putin

Sorry, but I don’t find that encouraging.

Where does this leave the American people?

Both Conventions

Oh, Joy

Each convention ended with the traditional balloon drop. A more non-traditional balloon drop might have been more appropriate:

Final Balloon Drop

And rather than an election season where one can be enthusiastic about a candidate’s positive achievements and promises for the future, we are left instead with this:

Pros & Cons

I keep ending my blog posts with this comment because it gets to the root of how I feel: May God have mercy on us as a nation.

Review of “Hillary’s America”

Yesterday I went to see Dinesh D’Souza’s new film, Hillary’s America. I saw his previous two—2016: Obama’s America and America: Imagine the World Without Her—and all three, from my perspective, are superbly written, visually effective, professionally produced, and timely for an age living in deception.

My personal favorite is the second, America: Imagine the World Without Her, but the new Hillary film is very significant as well.

Hillary's America

Hillary’s America has two goals: trace the “hidden” history of the Democrat party; reveal the character of Hillary and the disaster we would be facing should she become president. D’Souza makes his point well on both fronts.

For me, there is no hidden history of the Democrats. I teach much of what D’Souza documents in the film. I’m sure some of my students are surprised when I show them that it was the Democrats who pushed Native Americans out of their lands, that it was the Democrats who defended slavery and segregation, and that for most of our post-Civil War history, at least until the 1960s, the majority of black Americans voted Republican.

D’Souza lays out the stark difference between Democrats and Republicans in the history of race relations in America. His documentation seems to be solid; this is not simply a partisan Republican diatribe against Democrats. As a historian, I recognized immediately the quotes used in the film (many of which I use in class also) and can say he is not using them out of context.

Goal #1 achieved.

When he then takes aim at Hillary Clinton, he again effectively uses her own words and those of her mentors (Saul Alinsky, for example) to show how her views developed and what she has become. Making the long story very short, I can say that anyone walking away from this movie thinking Hillary would be a fine president wasn’t really listening.

Goal #2 achieved.

The movie makes ludicrous the assessments of Hillary’s supporters (read: Barack Obama) that she is more ready than anyone in American history to assume the mantle of the presidency:

Most Accomplished Candidate

D’Souza clearly shows how the Clintons have always used whatever means available to promote themselves and take advantage of others. This time around, they had the DNC to act as their bouncer, making sure that Bernie Sanders never had a chance:

Crooked Ones

Not that I wanted Sanders to be the nominee, mind you, but the Clinton machine is far worse.

Then there was Bill’s sappy speech about what a great love affair their marriage has been. Is there anyone out there who really believes a word of that?

Met a Girl

They have a political marriage, pure and simple. Well, maybe not so pure. Did you notice what Bill left out of his speech?

Late Nineties

ImpeachableIn case any of you have forgotten, you can still get my book, Mission: Impeachable, on Amazon. It’s out of print now, but there are used copies available. It would be a great refresher course if you weren’t paying attention in the late nineties or you weren’t old enough to have experienced it firsthand.

As D’Souza shows, deception has been the hallmark of everything the Clintons have done. There’s no reason to believe that would change in another Clinton presidency. She definitely would be Obama’s third term, and she would be just as deceptive and as much of a liar as he has been over the past seven years. She could even use his slogan, albeit with a slight alteration:

Deceive

And who knows what else will come to light after she is elected?

Other Shoe

This brings me to the only weakness of Hillary’s America. D’Souza offers as a solution voting for the Republican candidate. Oh, how I wish I could! If only the Republicans had chosen a Republican for their nominee!

Prior to Trump’s nomination, I was really looking forward to this election because I knew that Hillary’s baggage was so great that she was eminently beatable. Now, instead, we are given the choice between two crime figures instead of one crime figure and a true conservative.

I agree with D’Souza: Hillary Clinton should never be president. Unfortunately, Donald Trump is no better. A film could be made about his life and dealings and, I’m sure, it would be just as damning.

So, thank you, Mr. D’Souza, for pointing out what we need to know about Democrats in general and Hillary in particular. However, this time around, your solution is no solution at all.

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?

The Attempt to Destroy Christian Education

Let’s not play word games. Let’s say what’s really happening in American culture and how it’s being reflected now in its government. What we have is a rising anger and antipathy toward Christianity among a growing number of Americans who want to rebel against the moral parameters that the Christian faith upholds.

What they don’t understand, of course, is that those moral standards are for everyone’s good and that they are what hold a society together. Without them, chaos will eventually reign and no one will be safe in a Darwinist world where might makes right.

Why now? Why so many drastic changes in our culture that seem to gain acceptance when they never were seriously considered before? A lot of the blame rests on what has been occurring in our educational system for the past century. The system has become heavily politicized and has promoted an anti-Christian worldview for quite a long time.

One of the goals of a system like this is to indoctrinate children rather than teach them foundational concepts upon which all reasoning is based. You will hear trendy talk about how we are focusing on teaching our children how to think, but, in reality, we are teaching them what to think by only presenting one side of issues.

That’s why they come out of their elementary and secondary education as mini-socialists/fascists who believe the government ought to be the arbiter of all things. We have undermined ourselves.

Educational Performance

Each new generation has been trained in a mindset that is further from Christian thought and values, and now we’re seeing the results. This is why, in my view, so many of this upcoming generation are fine with the departure from objective reality, seeking to replace reality with their own “reality.” They think Christians are narrowminded and bigoted.

When the Supreme Court declares same-sex marriage is a right, they applaud. When the president decides that we should gender-bend the society, they rejoice.

Door Number Two

And if you don’t agree with this transformation of reality, there is a convenient word to use against you:

Making Me Uncomfortable

College campuses have become zones where the new unreality has its fullest expression:

Campus Debate

Those purveyors of hatred—otherwise known as “fundamentalist” Christians—are the real enemy. One sore thumb that is sticking out in our society that is hindering the new acceptance, in their opinion, is Christian education.

They hate homeschoolers, so they try to portray them as insulated; parents should never have control of their children’s education, they protest. Christian schools should have to abide by all the strictures the state places on public/government schools, they proclaim. If you don’t think so, check out the resolutions of the National Education Association (NEA) sometime.

Then there are those evangelical colleges and universities, like the one where I teach. Havens of bigotry and the closed mind, they cry. Something must be done.

Have you heard what is brewing in California? The legislature there is ready to clamp down on all Christian higher education institutions in the state.

If a bill before the legislature right now passes, Christian colleges will be told they must not require their professors to be Christians who adhere to a statement of faith.

They will be prohibited from teaching Biblical principles in their courses. As a history professor, I interweave those principles into everything I teach. Neither will professors be allowed to pray in their classrooms because it might offend someone.

Required chapel attendance? Out. Mandatory Bible classes? Forbidden. Separate bathrooms, locker rooms, and dormitories for men and women? Not if you want to weather a lawsuit.

Well, that’s only California, you say. It’s a test case. If it happens there, it will spread.

The goal: total destruction of Christian higher education.

Yes, that is on the horizon. I don’t just warn about this because it threatens my profession and future as an educator. I warn about it because it is a harbinger of a society on the verge of collapse.

Jesus told us we are to be the light and salt in a society. The challenge is before us. How will we respond? Yes, the response needs to be loving, but there needs to be a steel spine behind that love. We need to stand strong and stand together.