Man’s Anger & God’s Righteousness

James 1:20—For the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.

That Scripture came to mind this morning as I reflect on the state of our nation and the political developments in recent years.

Proverbs 29Anger over sin is not a sin in itself, but whenever anger becomes the driving force for what one does, we go off the rails spiritually.

There are legitimate reasons for anger:

  • Over 57 million babies aborted since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973;
  • The ongoing destruction of Biblical morality in the area of sexual relations and marriage;
  • The assault on religious liberty, particularly for conservative Christians;
  • The trend toward the government as the solution for all problems;
  • The arrogance and increasing corruption of political leaders;
  • The overthrowing of the rule of law in general.

Those are the ones that come readily to mind, but there are others.

How has the Christian community responded? Some have taken a bold stand against this cultural and political devolution; others have caved to the spirit of the age and have tailored their “Christianity” to fit the new trends.

Politically, starting in 2009, a movement arose—and many in the movement were Christians—that sought to reverse some of these trends. Anger helped begin that movement, but it also was focused on a return to basics, both spiritually and constitutionally.

DSC00018For that reason, I was pleased to participate in it. It was given a name: the Tea Party. I have spoken to a number of such groups since their inception, and have done my best to help this movement stay on track by pointing to the principles we need to follow.

What I’m about to say is not an indictment of the movement as a whole because I know enough sincere, honest people who are part of it. However, what I’ve witnessed over time is a tendency to allow anger over what is occurring in the nation to overwhelm the more positive aspects of the movement.

Whenever we let anger dictate our responses, we lose. When we drift away from concentrating on the positive message of restoration and humility before God, seeking His mercy, we lose.

Instead, we latch onto a charismatic figure who only fans the flames of the anger we naturally feel. We overlook his character, his past, and even the things he says that are completely inconsistent with what we claim are our principles.

In the heat of our anger, we lose our souls.

I am just sad this morning. I am now a political outsider. I often feel like one of those lonely voices in the wilderness. It’s not a comfortable place to be.

Yet I am willing to be what God has called me to be. I am willing to continue to speak and write what I believe to be true. And because I also believe that God is a God of mercy as well as discipline and judgment, I continue to hope for the best.

LamentationsIn the face of God’s judgment over His people Israel in the Old Testament, the prophet Jeremiah stated this in the book of Lamentations:

This I recall to my mind; therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning.

Great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul. “Therefore I have hope in Him.”

That’s the only safe place for our hope to reside: in Him. There is no political savior. We will survive the results of this coming election only because there is hope in Him.

Lay aside the anger as your primary motivation. Look to Him instead.

James 1:20—For the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.

Friends, Colleagues, Former Students–Lend Me Your Ears

I am going to make a concerted effort next week to turn to other subjects in this blog, but for today, I feel compelled to make a heartfelt appeal to those I count as friends or colleagues, and to a multitude of former students of mine who appear to be supporting Donald Trump.

Please lend me your ears. I come not to praise Trump, but to expose him.

But I’m sure you already know that.

Donald Trump at DebateWhen Trump first announced his candidacy, which seems like an eon ago, I immediately viewed it as a joke. After watching his debate “performances,” that view only strengthened. Nothing he has done since has changed my mind, despite the fact that he is now the Republican nominee. The joke is now on us.

My first real indication that something was going terribly wrong was when I went to speak to a Tea Party group here in Florida. This was in early February, prior to the vote in Iowa’s caucuses. The group conducted a poll of its members and Trump won by an astounding margin. The man who spoke right before me was a Trump surrogate who assumed everyone was on his side, and judging by the response, he was correct.

Frankly, I was stunned.

Since the Indiana primary, it now seems as if nearly everyone in the Tea Party and/or 9/12 movements in my area has come out enthusiastically for Trump.

Book Cover 1In January of this year, I spoke to a large gathering of Republican women from across the state. My talk, which was about my book on Reagan and Whittaker Chambers, went over so well that I was besieged afterwards with invitations to come speak to various local Republican clubs.

That has not yet happened. Neither was I invited to speak to our local club this summer, even though I always have done so in recent years. I understand. My vocal opposition to Trump makes that rather untenable.

One of my regular readers, a man who has been active in Republican circles in another state but who also has chosen not to endorse Trump, wrote to me and said he has never felt so isolated from fellow Republicans and that he has been treated pretty much as an outcast.

I’ve also noticed that a good number of friends, colleagues, and former students who used to “like” my blog posts regularly have fallen strangely silent lately. Of course I know why; they have decided to back Trump, even though many, I’m sure, have come to this decision with deep reservations.

If you are part of that group, let me tell you that I do understand your frustration with the way things are. I’m also interpreting your silence as a measure of respect for me, not wishing to publicly come out against my position.

The most bothersome thing to me is that most of us all want the same thing, but we disagree on how to achieve it. Rest assured, your difference of opinion on Trump doesn’t sever our relationship, but it does sadden me.

Why? Well, in the case of former students, in particular, I had hoped that all I’ve taught so fervently these past decades would help ground you in principles. I’m not saying you aren’t principled—you continue to stand firm for all those things we believe in with respect to the rule of law, religious liberty, the proper type of education, etc.—but you somehow think that Donald Trump will protect and preserve what we all cherish.

That’s where I think you are violating your principles.

I’m especially disturbed by those who would say I am part of the establishment, and that’s why I oppose Trump. Good heavens, would anyone who really knows me say anything like that? I ask you, who is in bed with the “establishment” right now? Isn’t it Trump himself? Didn’t the “establishment” cut off all opposition to his nomination? Why are you now siding with the very people that have so angered you all these years?

After the Republican convention, an organization called Conservatives Against Trump came out with a statement that accurately conveys where I stand and why.

Against Trump 3

Let me share some of those comments.

The statement makes it clear that the goals of this group are what “we” have always encouraged: limited government, religious liberty, freedom of speech, the sanctity of life, and a strong national defense. It goes on to note,

We see no small irony in the fact that the Republican Platform Committee produced one of the most deeply conservative platforms in modern electoral history, but nominated a candidate who has taken positions contrary to its central tenets. Donald Trump is a contradiction to most everything the Party states as its core beliefs.

Abdication of principle is not the problem of those who oppose Trump; that abdication is found within the party that nominated him.

Then there is this reminder of where Trump has stood on policy and his previous political commitments:

Trump begins as a liberal Republican, arguably more liberal than any other Republican presidential candidate in recent memory. He repeatedly praises Planned Parenthood. He has donated significant money to liberal politicians – including Hillary Clinton.

He wants the government to run health care. He opposes entitlement reform. He supported the Obama stimulus spending plan, the auto bailout and the banks bailout. He opposes free trade agreements. Trump is much closer to the Democratic Party than the Republican. He is a man whose deepest creed is himself.

It continues with commentary on his character, which should be a primary concern of all real conservatives, and Christian conservatives in particular:

Donald Trump Addresses GOP Lincoln Day Event In MichiganThis pretend Republican has preyed on misunderstandings, ignorance, and sometimes violence and rank bigotry. He has been vulgar, coarse, demagogic, and cruel. He has mocked disabled people, lauded dictators, and insisted that military leaders would follow his lawless orders should he attain the Presidency. He has been slow to condemn racists – the very reason the Republican Party was founded. He has praised torture as a form of punishment and promised to extend retribution to the innocent.

4.1.1But what about the Supreme Court? Even if everything else I’ve said about Trump is true, we can’t let that slip through our fingers, can we?

Some of our fellow conservatives have argued that the Supreme Court vacancy compels them to vote for Trump. We respect them and their reasoning, but we do not agree. We do not trust that Trump would appoint a good Justice or, if he does, would fight for a conservative jurist against an adversarial Senate.

The statement correctly notes that the Supreme Court is only one part of the government and that a Trump presidency would probably be just as disastrous to the whole concept of our government as a Hillary presidency:

Furthermore, we would be gambling on a good Supreme Court nomination at the price of constitutional integrity – and this coming from a Republican President leading a party that prides itself on originalist jurisprudence.

We do not trust Donald Trump to bow to the authority of the Constitution or the laws of Congress. He is running on a platform of strength and action, and our Constitution was formed to hobble not just quick lawmaking, but the very kind of strongman governance Trump embodies, despite the angry clamor from a justifiably frustrated electorate.

The antidote is not to seek a “strong man” who will force everything to go the way he perceives it should. Recall Trump’s words at the Republican convention when he said only he can solve the problems of the nation. Really? That’s been the attitude of a steady stream of dictators throughout history.

So what is the solution?

The antidote is to put forward leaders who will appeal to our reason and virtue, not our instincts and vices. We are committed to the principles of the Republican Party, not because they belong to the Party but because we believe they are right and just. We are conservatives before we are Republicans.

We believe that politics is about the art of the possible. We have often been in a position of supporting the lesser of two evils. But Donald Trump appeals not to our better angels but to our baser instincts.

Constitutional RepublicThe statement then ends with the following declarations:

We will not compromise core principle for the sake of Party allegiance.

We will not allow vulgarity to stand in the place of virtue.

We will not allow Trump to be the face of the nation to the world – not with our votes.

We will not sit by idly and allow conservatism to be hijacked by a man who shares none of the values of Reagan and Lincoln.

We will support conservative candidates down-ballot.

We will vote our conscience because we believe such a vote is our right and duty as citizens and is never wasted — whether that be voting for another conservative candidate or a write-in.

We will continue to speak out on issues important for our nation. We will seek to impact the newest generation of voters and educating them on the Constitution, the role of faith, family, and freedom as the basis of limited government.

I am in agreement with every one of those declarations. I appeal to all of you—friends, colleagues, and former students—please rethink your support of a man who is just as much a threat to our government and our culture as the horrible candidate put forth by the Democrats.

It’s time to see Donald Trump for what he really is, not for what you hope he will be.

Retiring the New Order

Barack Obama’s pledge to fundamentally transform America wasn’t an empty promise/threat. While this transformation has been obvious to anyone paying attention over the past 4+ years, sometimes it takes a really foolish act—like closing the WWII Memorial—to highlight his basic break from all of American history and tradition.

Whether you realize it or not, we are now living in a new America under this president. It’s an America we’ve never seen before:

Obamaville

Those who normally would be seen as patriotic citizens are being maligned as dangerous to the New Order:

Target

Politicized bureaucrats have been emboldened to carry out what was already in their hearts. Occasionally, one is called on the carpet for such activities, but even when one is forced to resign—like Lois Lerner, the instigator at the IRS of the investigation of conservative groups—she gets to live with a comfortable pension, paid for by many of those she targeted:

Miss the IRS

The comic strip Dilbert entered the fray recently, showing how one character fought back:

On the Run

I think that’s pretty eloquent humor, and humor remains one of our best weapons against budding tyranny. One thing tyrants can’t stand is to be made fun of. Yet this is also serious business. It’s time to take seriously the threats to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. Now where have I heard those words before? Oh, that’s just an old American document that has no relevance in the New Order.

It’s well past the time to retire the New Order.

Using the IRS Against “Enemies”

So many significant stories are emerging at the same time, it’s hard to comment on everything. I wanted to be sure to write about the Gosnell verdict on Monday. I freely admit I’m disappointed by the sentence he received: two life terms without parole in exchange for not appealing. As I said in the earlier post, if ever anyone deserved the death penalty, it is Gosnell.

At the same time that the Benghazi investigation heated up last week, we learned the IRS was targeting conservative groups who were applying to become non-profit organizations. An IRS official admitted it publicly last Friday. Any group that had Tea Party in the name or that even spoke about making America better or studying the Constitution, became a target. These organizations had been telling the media this ever since the harassment began in 2009, but no one took them seriously. Now we know they were treated differently simply because of their political views.

The IRS is supposed to be a nonpartisan agency. White House spokesman Jay Carney even pointed to the fact that it has only two political appointees. In fact, the past head of the agency had been appointed by Bush. He testified that nothing of the sort was going on, but now it has come to light he knew back in May 2012. The report on Friday came in the form of an apology.

That apology is far too little and much too late, as far as those organizations who were put through the wringer are concerned. The animus of the IRS toward them was blatant.

Much of this scrutiny was apparently an attempt to blunt the conservative movement’s momentum in elections, both in 2010 and 2012. The IRS became an arm of the Obama administration and campaign.

Naturally, the White House is saying the president had nothing to do with this. After all, the IRS is an “independent” agency of the government. Yet we all know how this works. Previous presidents have been able to use the IRS against their political enemies—FDR and Nixon, for instance, did so. In fact, one of the impeachment articles against Nixon dealt with his use of the IRS to undermine his opponents during Watergate. A president doesn’t have to give anyone a direct order; those in sympathy with him at the agency can easily detect what he wants, something Obama has “joked” about during his presidency—having people investigated by the IRS. One study showed that IRS employees gave far more to his campaign than to Romney’s.

Another feature of this administration is always to push the blame onto low-level employees. In this instance, we’re told some employees in the Cincinnati office didn’t understand the parameters of what was permissible. Yet now information has come forth showing that IRS employees in Washington, DC, were right in the middle of it. But, as far as President Obama is concerned, it’s all separate from his administration. It’s just one big mistake.

I have as much trouble believing that as I do his tall tales on Benghazi.

Protests: A Study in Contrasts

I’ve been watching some of the videos from the NATO protests in Chicago. Protesters throw bottles and other missiles at police. Some have called for the deaths of police and NATO personnel. Many are dressed in outfits that make them look like no more than ordinary street thugs. As some commentators have noted, this is all very organized; radical unions like the SEIU are behind the coordinated mayhem. Keep in mind these are protests against violence. Supposedly.

Police and demonstrators have clashed on various occasions. What’s interesting is that some national news reports are portraying the police in an unfavorable light, while reports from local news outlets are praising their restraint and appear grateful for their protection. Any agenda here from the national level?

When President Obama was asked about these protests, and their blatant incivility, he responded that this is what America is all about—allowing people to protest. Mr. President, there is such a thing as genuine protest, and there is also anarchy. I’m not surprised by his response, though. After all, he was a community organizer.

What a contrast with Tea Party rallies. While the national media ignore the radical dimension associated with the current protests, they pounced on any display of dignified protest against the socialist drift in our nation. They sought to explain the Tea Party as a group of angry white people. They talked of the potential for violence in the movement. They didn’t seem to recognize the many faces of the Tea Party, which included minorities fed up with the trashing of our Constitution and the massive debt being accumulated. They searched for violence in the movement but couldn’t find any. Yet the theme remains: these are dangerous people.

I’ve been to a Tea Party event. It was calm and purposeful. The speakers were coherent and principled. They didn’t resort to mindless slogans and chants. I’ve also spoken to a couple of 9/12 Project groups, which are in sync with the Tea Party. The goal of these groups is not to agitate on the streets, call for the killing of government officials with which they disagree, and promote violence. Rather, they seek to educate the public on constitutional thinking. They are performing a public service.

We need to keep in mind the worldview of the majority of our national media. They are in lockstep with the policies of the current administration and are actively working for Obama’s reelection.

The old saying remains true: freedom does require eternal vigilance on our part. I applaud the efforts of Americans who work to reestablish our foundations.

Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year”: True to Form

Time, at the end of each year, names its “Person of the Year.” It’s usually a joke. Not intentionally, of course, but a joke nonetheless. This year, Time has done it again. Now I realize the so-called “Person of the Year” isn’t always meant to be an admirable person, but rather the most influential, for good or for ill. However, the magazine consistently uses this attention-getter to highlight its own agenda.

So who is Time’s “Person of the Year” this time around? They chose a movement rather than a single individual. They chose “The Protester.” The focus appears to be on the misnamed Arab Spring and the somewhat brain-impaired Occupy Wall Street crowd. Liberals such as those who run Time think freedom has blossomed in the Arab world. One wonders if they will ever be able to see the forest for all the trees. A rude awakening would be nice, but don’t count on it.

They also were hoping the Occupy Movement would be the Left’s answer to the Tea Party. Well it was, in the only way the Left can operate: imbecilic chants, sit-ins [upgraded to camp-ins], destruction of private property, demands for handouts, and a few murders, rapes, etc. Yes, a truly historic movement. Congratulations, Time, for staying true to your misguided past.

I have a better suggestion for the “Person of the Year.”

The Campaign Meets the Occupiers

The presidential campaign is more than up and running; it’s in high gear. Not only are Republican contenders lining up for the nomination, but President Obama is actively campaigning while officially calling it a “jobs tour.” That way all the taxpayers receive the distinct privilege of paying for it. For Republicans, the goal is clear:

Those who want more fundamental change continue to search for the anti-Romney. They’re not convinced he is the real deal. Yet oddsmakers still put their money on him. Republicans could regret that choice:

I’ll have more to say about that in later posts. The 999 comment, of course, refers to Herman Cain. If he were to get the nomination, that might make it a tad difficult to make the case that Republicans are racist, which is a favorite tactic of the Left:

Cain has been connected to the Tea Party ever since it started. Many in the media are now trying to say that this “occupy” movement is like the Tea Party. Well, there are very few similarities. Even the slogans don’t match:

Not to mention the nature and personal hygiene of the activists. Yet President Obama, on the campaign trail, is now saying, as are many Democrats, that they support the Occupy Wall Street crowd. But there is a disconnect:

By the way, have you heard that the Nazi Party and the Communist Party have officially endorsed Occupy Wall Street? You can know a movement by its supporters.