Trump Meets the Evangelicals

Yesterday, 900-plus evangelicals met with Donald Trump to ask questions and try to figure out if they can support his candidacy. I know only some of the names of individuals who were present. The audience was mixed, I’m sure, in its attitude toward the presumptive Republican nominee.

Meeting with Trump

I don’t wish to unfairly criticize those who attended; in most circumstances, I too would want to have the opportunity to hear a candidate and get a better feel for him/her. Neither am I disdainful of any attempt to try to influence a candidate toward policies that I would favor as a Christian.

In most circumstances.

But this is not a typical circumstance, and the candidate is not typical either. I have followed Trump very carefully through the entire primary process, watching his manner and listening to his words. Based on what I already know about him from personal observation and a significant amount of reading with respect to his past, his business dealings, and his overall character, I would not have attended this meeting if invited.

Let me be clear: I was not invited.

There were Christian leaders there for whom I have great respect. Others present were ones for whom I have lost some respect due to their eagerness to jump on the Trump train and for their rather critical attitude toward those of us who are never going to join this misbegotten candidacy.

I have spilled thousands of words in this blog explaining my objections to Donald Trump as the Republican nominee. Let me summarize why I cannot support him.

First, his personal character is abhorrent: self-centered, vindictive toward those who criticize him, petty, insulting, willing to lower himself into whatever gutter is nearby to destroy others. His divorces and his overall arrogance toward women is another factor; the remarks he makes about women (take Carly Fiorina and Heidi Cruz, for example) are always focused on their looks. For him, that’s the measure of a woman’s worth.

6 or 7

He continues to think Planned Parenthood isn’t all that bad; he attacks the judge in the Trump University lawsuit (a clearly fraudulent university) because of his Mexican heritage; he cavalierly retweets comments from racist supporters; he expects American troops to follow his orders even if they involve the killing of women and children of the enemy; and he is a conspiracy nut, culminating in the bizarre idea that Ted Cruz’s father is somehow implicated in the JFK assassination.

His supporters within the Republican party are constantly having to say they don’t agree with his tirades; some are saying they just won’t comment on him anymore until after the election, since they are so embarrassed by him.

Campaign of Crazy

He is truly a loose cannon; one never knows what to expect next. Well, that’s not exactly true—it’s clear he’s going to continue to be a national embarrassment.

One Type

Those are my bedrock reasons for rejecting his candidacy, but those form the cornerstone for why his campaign is now such a wreck. He has no ground game ready to go; his fundraising has been nonexistent and the campaign is running on fumes financially; a lot of the money he has spent has gone to his own salary and other Trump organizations; he thinks he can just hold rallies and win the presidency; he is slated to lose big, and he will drag the party down with him, possibly losing both houses of Congress in the process.

To fix this, he fires his campaign manager. Now everything’s going to be fine, he promises. But who is really driving the campaign? There’s little an underling can do to redirect The Donald.

You're Fired

He has become so poisonous to the party that a new threat to his nomination is bubbling: an attempt to deny him the necessary votes at the convention. His actions have pretty much destroyed Republican party unity:

GOP Unity

So add to moral degenerate the appellation of incompetent.

And I haven’t even addressed the problem of his knowledge of issues, a deficit that led him to avoid a direct debate confrontation with Cruz one-on-one. He would have been massacred intellectually.

David French wrote an excellent piece a couple of days ago as this meeting with evangelicals loomed. It is an appeal we need to hear and heed:

American Evangelical Christianity does not exist for the purpose of placing one or two decent judges on the Supreme Court. It — along with its Catholic and Orthodox counterparts — represents the body of Christ on this earth. It is a flawed vessel, to be sure, but its moral witness is still of incalculable worth.

He concluded the article with this warning:

Evangelical leaders: If you back Trump, for the rest of your days, you will be forced to live with having had a hand in fracturing our nation on the basis of race, discarding the sanctity of marriage, and scorning honesty itself — all for the chance, the remote chance, that Trump will make one or two decent Supreme Court picks. You will be selling your integrity for the most meager of returns. . . .

Christians have had to take tougher stands in darker times before. They do so in other nations today. This decision, by contrast, should be easy. Trump is not worth your consideration or even one moment of your time. Let others bend the knee.

But . . . but . . . that means a Hillary presidency! Let’s be honest, it’s probably going to be a Hillary presidency anyway. Republicans have chosen the absolute worst nominee available; a number of others who were on the stages with Trump would have been locks to put away the worst Democrat candidate in that party’s history. Choosing Trump has now made that unlikely.

I’ve said it before and will say it again: don’t blame those who cannot, in conscience, support Donald Trump. The blame for this upcoming fiasco lies in the laps of those who became lapdogs for Trump.

Christians, to maintain their witness to the world of integrity, honesty, and moral character, should walk away from Trump. If they don’t, they will forever be linked to his sordid legacy.

Stranger Things Have Happened

Yesterday, Donald Trump finally came out with his long-promised list of judges he would consider for the Supreme Court. By all accounts from conservatives, the list is excellent. Apparently, Trump’s people even reached out to National Review for suggestions, which is interesting, since NR began the NeverTrump dialogue with one of its issues.

So, I will begin by giving credit where it is due: this is a good list. Now, the problems.

First, the context of the list is for replacing Antonin Scalia; there is no promise to choose from that list for later Supreme Court openings. I still remember Trump saying that his pro-abortion sister would make a fine Supreme Court justice.

Second, all we have is his word that he will choose from this list. What is his word worth? Well, even his chief spokespeople have said that words don’t matter that much, and that all he has proposed for policies up to this point are mere suggestions.

Huge Conservative

Then there is his sordid history of constant lying. I am on the side of Ted Cruz when he labeled Trump a pathological liar. I believe the evidence of not only the last nine months, but of his whole life, backs up that charge.

Consequently, I do not trust him.

Just try to follow his weaving from one position to another on a variety of issues and what do you come away with?

Trans-Trump

The fact that he is going to be the GOP nominee is a supreme irony, given all his past associations with the liberal side of politics:

Something in Common

Yet we have this mad rush to endorse Trump by most Republican politicians. I understand the rationale of some who have pledged to support the nominee, whoever that might be, but I am not comfortable with taking that position myself. For me, it’s an abandonment of principle to give my support to this man:

Abandon Principles

That’s why there’s so much chatter about a third-party challenge, if for no other reason than to provide a conscience-grounded alternative. As a historian, I know the fate of third parties. I have no reason to think that anyone running on a third-party ticket will win the presidency, but I understand the frustration.

Third Party

Interestingly, though, if there were to be a fourth party as well, all bets are off for the two frontrunners. Let’s say, for instance, in addition to a conservative option, we also have Bernie Sanders, angry over how many states he can win and yet not overtake Hillary, deciding to run as an independent.

That scenario could result in no one winning a majority of the electoral votes, thereby throwing the decision into a Republican-controlled House of Representatives, as it did in 1824. Would that House really choose Trump, or would it instead turn to the conservative candidate?

Of course, any conservative candidate would have to be accepted by strong conservatives and moderates alike to garner enough support, but stranger things have happened—like Donald Trump getting the Republican nomination in the first place.

Do I expect that scenario to unfold? The probability is not high. But I’m watching closely. You just never know.

Obama Fiddles While America Burns

All the electioneering has distracted from the ongoing attack on America by the current temporary occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. How is Barack Obama continuing his assault on America? Let me count the ways.

First, he is salivating over the prospect of nominating another Supreme Court clone, one who will tip the balance against the Constitution for the foreseeable future:

Another Appointment

Fortunately for the country, at the moment, Republicans in the Senate are standing against any nominee coming from this most unconstitutional of all presidents. Will they remain steadfast? That’s always the relevant question.

Then there’s the dramedy known as Obamacare, in which premiums rise inordinately, exchanges go bust, and jobs are sacrificed to this sacred cow. Again, the silver lining is that it is so inefficient that the whole thing may break down:

Obamacare Bust

And did you hear the news out of the misnamed Justice Department? Attorney General Loretta Lynch and her minions, under the auspices of our president, are looking into the possibility of prosecuting those of us they call “global warming deniers.” Thought police, indeed?

Inquisition

On the terror front, Obama’s desire to empty Gitmo of all radical jihadists proceeds apace. Never mind that those released will rejoin the ranks of those who seek to destroy America:

Get Out of Gitmo

Then there’s Iran. You know, that misunderstood nation that truly wishes to be our friend? Ignore the fact that Iran just violated the so-called agreement that Obama and Kerry hammered out by shooting off a missile. What makes that even more infuriating is that the missile had a message inscribed on it in Hebrew calling for Israel to be wiped out.

Just a Test

The administration is shocked—shocked—that Iran would do such a thing:

Pinky Promised

Obama fiddles while America burns. Meanwhile, American voters fiddle around with the possibility of replacing him with either Hillary or The Donald. Those options are not improvements.

Antonin Scalia: A Tribute

Every time famous people die, cartoonists depict them entering into heaven. I’m usually put off by those cartoons because of the underlying assumption that heaven is everyone’s destination after death, which is categorically untrue.

I’ve made exceptions in the past: Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher come to mind. I loved what cartoonists did with their entrance into heaven because of my assurance that they had a genuine faith.

I feel the same with the passing of Antonin Scalia, a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. From all I’ve heard, his faith was the cornerstone of his life, and that is what informed his views as a Supreme Court justice. Therefore, I have no problem seeing the two connected in a cartoon such as this:

We the People

Scalia was famous for his dissenting opinions, so I thought this was appropriately humorous:

Dissent

Back here on earth, there is now a battle for when to replace him.

Oral Arguments

I have no problem with President Obama putting forward a nominee. I also have no problem with the Senate saying “no” to that nominee. The president can propose all he wants, but the final word belongs to the Senate. It is under no obligation to accept another of his radical appointments. In fact, placing another of Obama’s people on the Court would undermine the legacy of Antonin Scalia. May the Republicans stand firm against that.

I am grateful for faithful Christians who have carried out their civic responsibilities with integrity. That’s why I will always be grateful for the contribution Justice Scalia made to our nation, which is supposed to be a nation under God and operating by the rule of law.

May God grant us another Scalia, so badly needed on the Court at this time.

American Original

Kim Davis vs. the Real Lawbreakers

Kim DavisSo Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who doesn’t want to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples is now in jail, put there by a federal judge who previously forced high school students into diversity training to try to convince them that opposing homosexuality is wrong.

This is all part and parcel of how our world has turned upside down.

Davis, a Christian who simply doesn’t want her name on the licenses as the government official authorizing same-sex marriages, is allowed no accommodation at this point. The radical agenda cannot brook any opposition, so it’s off to jail she goes.

This is the most egregious example of selective outrage and hypocritical use of penalty that I’ve witnessed in quite some time.

I do understand the argument that the rule of law must be obeyed. In fact, I’m one of the staunchest supporters of the rule of law that you can find. However, which law has been broken here? Has she gone against Kentucky law? Not at all. The voters in Kentucky, in a referendum, approved the traditional Christian concept of marriage by a majority of 75%.

You say she’s violating the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell? Yes, that is true, but is that really a federal law based on the Constitution?

I’ll come back to that.

First, though, let’s look at the way the Davis case is such a stunning example of selective outrage and punishment.

When Obama took office, he directed his attorney general, Eric Holder, to defy federal law when they colluded on not defending the Defense of Marriage Act, duly passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1996.

What happened to Obama and Holder when they refused to uphold a federal law? Well, you know. Nothing. If justice had been carried out at that point, impeachment proceedings against the president would have begun immediately.

Defense of Gay Marriage Act

Do you realize that the harvesting of fetal body parts is prohibited by federal law? What’s being done about Planned Parenthood’s defiant actions in ignoring that law? President Obama has come out in favor of that organization’s continuance in its horrific practice. The Democrats in Congress have rushed to Planned Parenthood’s side in an attempt to silence the protests against its policy of infanticide [let’s call it what it really is].

Then there are those sanctuary cities, in which mayors, governors, and state attorneys general, openly flout federal laws. Has anyone called them to account for their lawlessness?

And we shouldn’t forget Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server that was against the rules for federal employees and that put national security at risk. The height of hypocrisy in that situation was her stern warning to everyone else in the State Department not to use private e-mails for public business. Does anyone think she is going to be held accountable for her lawlessness?

Yet Kim Davis is in jail for maintaining that she is supposed to carry out the laws of the state in which she lives.

Constitution BurningThe real lawlessness has been at the top of the federal government, both in the executive and judicial branches. The Obergefell decision, which said that the Constitution somehow provides for same-sex marriage, is simple judicial fiat. As Chief Justice Roberts wrote in his dissent, this decision really had nothing at all to do with the Constitution. What we have in Obergefell is five justices imposing their personal beliefs on the entire nation without any constitutional authority to do so.

Justice Scalia’s dissent in that same case drew attention to what he called “the Court’s threat to American democracy.” He went on to say, “Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans is a majority of the nine justices on the Supreme Court.”

Anyone who has ever read the Constitution with an open mind has to legitimately wonder where a Supreme Court justice could find a right to same-sex marriage within that document. It’s probably in the same place as the “right” to kill innocent unborn children.

Mike Huckabee has been the strongest of the Republican presidential candidates to speak out on the absurdity of thinking the Supreme Court is the final word on everything. As he so poignantly put it, the Supreme Court is not the Supreme Being.

Does anyone remember the Dred Scott decision, which effectively ruled out any rights at all for a black person in America, whether slave or free? The Republican party at that time publicly repudiated that decision and stood firmly against it.

How about Plessy v. Ferguson, the 1896 case that declared separate-but-equal facilities was acceptable public policy? That pronouncement was later overturned by the Brown decision in 1954.

In both cases, the Supreme Court itself was the source of lawlessness, blatantly disregarding the Constitution. It has repeated that lawlessness with Obergefell, and action against that lawless decision is just as valid as action taken to overturn Dred Scott and Plessy.

It would be nice to think that all conservatives would unite in tackling this breach of the Constitution, but, sadly, that is far from the reality. I’m grieved over how many public conservatives either seem to support the same-sex marriage fantasy or pass the buck by simply saying this is now the law of the land, so leave it alone—it’s a done deal.

Some of the Republican presidential contenders have adopted the “done deal” approach. Those who have surrendered on this crucial issue have lost my support.

So it comes down to this: it’s going to have to be the faithful Christians who still take God’s Word seriously who will make the stand. This is a battle that falls to those who are the remnant. We are reminded that Christ called us to be salt and light. We must now fulfill that calling.

Constitution? What Constitution?

A week and a half ago, the Supreme Court of the United States took control of the United States. Not that this is anything new, but this time it was a giant leap forward (backward?). The Court’s decisions on Obamacare and same-sex marriage make a mockery of the whole concept of the rule of law. Why do we even have a Constitution?

Constitution Revision

In the Obamacare case, Chief Justice Roberts spoke for the majority when he said that the word “states” in the law could mean the federal government when it came to setting up Obamacare exchanges. Since when is the federal government one of the states? The Court seems to have a problem with understanding words.

Plain Text

Ah, intention. Pay no attention to what the law actually says, but go with what you think it intended to say. How would that work in other circumstances?

Home Run

Perhaps the Founders just got it wrong as well:

Typo

Then came the crushing blow, declaring that the Constitution requires recognition of same-sex marriage. Supposedly, this has to do with equal justice and fair treatment, but is this equal justice under law or something else?

Equal Justice Under Polls

Prior to both of these decisions, the Obama administration did its best to put pressure on the Court, which was as unprecedented as the Court’s decisions themselves:

Nice Little Court

To be fair, though, it didn’t take much pressure to get what Obama wanted. Four of the justices, two of whom he appointed, are lockstep progressives who have a different vision of America in the first place. All that was necessary was to get just one of the others to come over to the Dark Side.

Let’s be real. This is what we now have:

Three Branches

It doesn’t have to be this way. Congress could step up and be the Congress it was elected to be. But that takes leadership with principles, a trait that is sadly lacking.

No More Rule of Law?

The rule of law suffered another blow yesterday, as did common sense and the meaning of words. We owe this all to the United States Supreme Court.

John RobertsObamacare lives (sort of) still. In a 6-3 decision, as explained by Chief Justice John Roberts, the federal subsidies survived the legal challenge (sort of). Actually, the wording of the Obamacare law was disregarded and the federal subsidies were judged to be constitutional simply because Roberts and the other five justices who followed him, decided that exchanges set up by the states meant either the states or the federal government.

That’s right. We no longer worry about the words in the laws themselves; instead, we infer what the drafters of the law really intended. Surely they meant that all subsidies, whether state or federal, were intended, even though the law explicitly says only exchanges set up by the states are allowed to provide those subsidies.

Our topsy-turvy government world continues to amaze and confound us.

Antonin Scalia 2Justice Antonin Scalia, in a stinging dissent, took the Court to task for this violation of its constitutional role. Here are some quotes from his dissent:

“We should start calling this law SCOTUScare … [T]his Court’s two decisions on the Act will surely be remembered through the years … And the cases will publish forever the discouraging truth that the Supreme Court of the United States favors some laws over others, and it prepared to do whatever it takes to uphold and assist its favorites.”

“Words no longer have meaning if an Exchange that is not established by a State is ‘established by the State.’”

“Under all the usual rules of interpretation, in short, the Government should lose this case. But normal rules of interpretation seem always to yield to the overriding principle of the present Court: The Affordable Care Act must be saved.”

“Perhaps sensing the dismal failure of its efforts to show that ‘established by the State’ means ‘established by the State or the Federal Government,’ the Court tries to palm off the pertinent statutory phrase as ‘inartful drafting.’ This Court, however, has no free-floating power ‘to rescue Congress from its drafting errors.”

“Rather than rewriting the law under the pretense of interpreting it, the Court should have left it to Congress to decide what to do about the Act’s limitation of tax credits to state Exchanges.”

I could have included more, but you get the drift. That last quote points to the fact that this Supreme Court decision, despite what President Obama says, does not have to be the last word.

Congress, if it can garner the courage, can always overturn this despicable law and the equally despicable decision the Court announced yesterday. Now is the time—well past the time, really—to rally around alternative measures to ensure health coverage is available to all, at affordable prices, in a competitive marketplace.

Where is courage when we need it?