Sunday, July 31, 2016

Albert Mohler and Russell Moore on Why Christians Should Not Vote for Trump

From Shane Vander Hart:
Last month Dr. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, was part of a panel discussion during a Baptist21 event and he was asked about the election, what were first, second and third tier issues, and if evangelicals have always voted for the candidate that says they are pro-life and appoint conservative Supreme Court justices.
No, no, that is not what we have always done. What we have always done is vote in a fallen world for fallen candidates in a fallen political construct and done the best we could….
…. Yes I think the life issue is paramount, not stand alone, but is paramount. It is single issue dispositive to use the language of political science. I could not vote for someone that I believe would do any action that would expand the murder of the unborn or the assault upon the human dignity and sanctity of a single human life – period. So I go into the voting booth saying I can not vote for a candidate. That’s not enough. There is a difference between being single-issue dispositive and single-issue sufficient. Those are two separate things. Character is an indispensable issue.
The first time I met Bill Clinton was hours after I had been on the O’Reilly Factor calling on him to resign, and that was a quintessential awkward moment, but I was right in terms of the issues. But I could not possibly be consistent and somehow vote for someone whose character I believe eclipses Bill Clinton on so many of those very same concerns. Someone who has bragged about his adulterous affairs, someone who has given himself to the pornographic industry, basically to a form of the sex trade, and let’s just go on. In other words, I can’t being single-issue dispositive does not give an adequate political grid for when you go out. Because character is pretty much and also how prolife someone supposedly is after being so pro-abortion that they actually supported partial birth abortion.
So I find myself in a situation I never envisioned in my life as a Christian or as an American, but I am going to have to be Christian in order to be a faithful American. So I am going to find myself unable to vote for either of those two choices of our two major political parties. (emphasis added)
Dr. Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, concurred.
Yes, I will be writing in a candidate this year and the reason for that is simple. The life issue can not flourish in a culture of misogyny and sexual degradation. The life issue can not flourish when you have people calling for the torture and murder of innocent non-combatants. The life issue can not flourish when you have people who have given up on the idea that character matters. If you lose an election you can live to fight another day and move on, but if you lose an election while giving up your very soul then you have really lost it all, and so I think the stakes are really high.
And I think the issue, particularly, when you have people who have said, and we have said, and I have said for twenty years the life issue matters, and the life issue is important… When you have someone who is standing up race baiting, racist speech, using immigrants and others in our communities in the most horrific ways and we say ‘that doesn’t matter’ and we are part of the global body of Christ simply for the sake of American politics, and we expect that we are going to be able to reach the nations for Christ? I don’t think so, and so I think we need to let our yes be yes and our no be no and our never be never. (emphasis added)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Ben Sasse and Edward Snowden Stand Up for Freedom of Religion; American Evangelicals: Crickets

A law signed this month by Russian President Vladimir Putin makes it illegal to evangelize (share your religious beliefs as true) in Russia outside church buildings. No evangelism allowed in public places or even private homes.
This week, Russian president Vladimir Putin approved a package of anti-terrorism laws that usher in tighter restrictions on missionary activity and evangelism.
Despite prayers and protests from religious leaders and human rights advocates, the Kremlin announced Putin’s approval yesterday. The amendments, including laws against sharing faith in homes, online, or anywhere but recognized church buildings, go into effect July 20.
Further, Russians are required "to report religious activity to the authorities, or face punishment him or herself."

In an eerie echo of its Soviet-era KGB past, the law also states that "every citizen is required to report religious activity to the authorities, or face punishment him or herself."

In an eerie echo of its Soviet-era KGB past, the law also states that "every citizen is required to report religious activity to the authorities, or face punishment him or herself."

Senator Ben Sasse spoke out against the new law.

Edward Snowden has also openly criticized it even though he fears retaliation.

Dr. Robert Jeffress, pastor of the mega First Baptist Church in Dallas, did take time this month to stand up for Roger Ailes (let go from Fox for sexual harassment), but no time to comment about Russian shut down of Christian evangelism.

Jerry Falwell, Jr., President of Liberty University, has time to exult in the possibility that U.S. churches won't lose tax exemption by endorsing political candidates, but zero concern on Russian churches losing the right to openly share about Jesus.

Even Franklin Graham, whose father was the most famous evangelist of the 20th century, is upset about Target's bathroom policy but not a word about Russia prohibiting public and private evangelism outside churches.

Big exception to evangelical lack of interest is Dr. Russell Moore (here too).

It's heartbreaking that this is what major evangelical leaders are becoming under the sway of Donald Trump. Everything is egocentric. As Falwell Jr. has said:
I think the security of the country, the economy, maybe next time [evangelicals] will be looking at social issues more like they did in the past. But I think this time, I heard a very prominent pastor . . . tell me just this week that if we don’t save the country then abortion, traditional marriage, all those social issues are going to be a moot point.
Hundreds of thousands of babies will be slaughtered this year in the U.S. and 143 million Russians are stripped of the right to share their beliefs, but only U.S. security and a good economy matter to leading evangelicals. Tragic.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Sarah Palin Checks Out of Coherency

My friends OregonGuy and MaxRedline have urged me to comment on Sarah Palin's latest piece. So, here goes. (All bolding in the quotes is added.)

Sarah Palin's writing is becoming as strange and disconnected as her speeches. Her opinion piece yesterday reflects that in phrasing and content. The speech warns against former foes of Trump who are now supporting him. This despite the fact that less than six months ago Palin was criticizing those who didn't "celebrate" Trump's "conversion" to the pro-life cause.
"'What has been kind of sad about the situation, though, politically speaking, are groups that are pro-life and want to, they say they want to bring more people into the fold. They [are] giving Trump a hard time for his past views on abortion,' Palin explained."
By contrast, Palin can't bring herself to celebrate those who now support Trump. She wants to give them a hard time for their past views.

Here are some specific problem areas with Governor Palin's opinion article.

1. The phrasing is often strange and backhanded:
"It’s important because time is short and lessons must be learned to avoid future catastrophic capture by status quo politicos."

"Conveniently, oppressors of this nationalist revolution found a way to save face. The obvious wall-writing ...."
"A significant exposition is the billionaire Mercer family’s financial ties to Cruz ...."

"Beck and his ilk showed they don’t oppose politics of personal destruction they used to rail against with lip service."
2. There is not one word about what's wrong with the Democrats. It's all about what's wrong with Palin's/Trump's Republican and conservative opposition. The big enemies are: Cruz, Glenn Beck and the Mercer family even though the Mercer family is now supporting Donald Trump.
"Conveniently, oppressors of this nationalist revolution found a way to save face. The obvious wall-writing told them they’d lose money and influence if they continued fighting AGAINST the majority, so the donor class scattered from their polarizing candidate when Ted Cruz’s suicide vest detonated at the GOP convention."
According to Palin, the problem is keeping them in their place when they start supporting Trump.
"As you watch former haters hop aboard the Trump Train, it’s important to connect dots and understand my concern about a bunch of belated mea culpas with which we’ll now be inundated."
"Exposing political games and connections that hurt the innocent was the early battle. Now we move down the battlefield to hold culprits accountable so they won’t be rewarded with opportunity to keep screwing you, America."
"They’ll never give you credit for being right, Trump Train engineers, because we’re still just peon passengers to them, but they’d like to join you now at the cool kids table. Just remember it’s YOUR table, patriots. YOU set it. They’d better behave as your guests."
This is the ultimate "insider" view of politics. Only original true believers can be trusted. It's also "payback" politics. No big tent thinking here about welcoming, not to mention celebrating, those who come to expand the fold.

3. Palin has a strange concern about Trump supporters being destroyed even though they've won, and even the big donor Mercer family has come over.
"Friends, my concern here is all about the attempted destruction of Trump SUPPORTERS over all these months. I’ve zipped my lips long enough; it’s time to call out those who’ve tried to destroy you."
Well, actually, Palin is upset about the impact on herself.
"From fair-weather friends and “supporters” turning decisively away in the meanest of ways, to me losing jobs – literally – the moment my support for Trump was made public, we sucked it up and hung on to hope that vindication was around the corner. I was told – for the umpteenth time – my career was over for “going rogue” this election cycle."
"I’ve been asked all year questions like why it seems I’m “relegated” to outsider status of current political machines; why there’s no longer a seat at the talking heads TV table; why’d previous “friends” commence public condemnation of me despite me never changing my values, priorities or loyalties to the right causes. The question is suggested, “Don’t you know if you just go along to get along you’d be in the big shots’ good graces?”
Interesting that pro-Trump Chris Christie, Ben Carson, Jeff Sessions, Newt Gingrich have had no problems getting "a seat at the talking heads TV table"*. They're interviewed on TV a lot. Even worse, all of them spoke at the Republican National Convention. But Sarah Palin lived too far away to either speak or attend. That despite the fact that it was not too far for Alaska's 28 delegates and 25 alternates to attend and challenge the Trump nomination vote count.

One has to feel sorry for Governor Palin. She has been intense in her support for Donald Trump, and has been passed over for prime speaking and surrogate roles. However, this piece as well as Palin's recent speeches indicate why Trump has chosen the path of leaving Sarah Palin out of the spotlight.

4. Then there is Palin's claim that conservative opponents like Glenn Beck use the "politics of personal destruction". She says this even though Trump spewed lies to destroy not only Ted Cruz and his family but even Ben Carson (Carson is like a child molester; Carson lied about the belt buckle anecdote in his book).
"Beck and his ilk showed they don’t oppose politics of personal destruction they used to rail against with lip service. They actually participate in Alinsky-like tactics that make the rest of us gag at typical political shenanigans."
5. The point of this stream of consciousness piece is unclear.

Is it to make sure that new supporters (like the Mercers) are kept in a second class citizen place? (takes up 16 of the 17 paragraphs)
"They’ll never give you credit for being right, Trump Train engineers, because we’re still just peon passengers to them, but they’d like to join you now at the cool kids table. Just remember it’s YOUR table, patriots. YOU set it. They’d better behave as your guests.
Or, is it to be "joyful" and win? (takes up 1 of the 17 paragraphs)
"So now we must rise to the challenge of becoming better, not bitter, in the midst of what the obstructionists tried to do. You who knew we needed a revolution ignored the haters to find a revolutionary, and we nominated him to help make America great again. Now, validated, productive, joyful people will get our messenger over the finish line so we can begin the fight to restore America."
Not much joy in this piece. And sadly, not much coherent thinking.
*To illustrate how widespread use of Trump supporters is, though he didn't speak at the convention, even Herman Cain is often on Fox with commentary on Trump and the election. Somehow Palin really burned her bridges at Fox.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Ted Cruz Convention Speech Scores High; then GOP Establishment Weighs In

Just shows how powerful the talking points people are. If you're not careful they steal truth and put in their own message like sleight of hand artists.

And then they swing the other way almost overnight. All that's necessary is that you believe them.

Thank God for bloggers and tweeters who keep bringing the truth back to the surface.

H/T Josh Painter and RedState

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Abraham Lincoln and RNC Prayers

Pastor Mark Burns concluded Monday's Republican National Convention session with a prayer that called Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party the "enemy" for Republicans.
Hello, Republicans! I’m Pastor Mark Burns from the great state of South Carolina! I’m going to pray and I’m going to give the benediction. You know why? Because we are electing a man in Donald Trump who believes in the name of Jesus Christ.
And Republicans, we’ve got to be united, because our enemy is not other Republicans, but it’s Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.
Let’s pray together. 
Father God, in the name of Jesus, Lord, we’re so thankful for the life of Donald Trump.
We’re thanking that you are guiding him, you are giving him the words to unite this party, this country, that we together can defeat the liberal Democratic Party, to keep us divided and not united. Because we are the United States of America, and we are the conservative party under God to defeat every attack that comes against us. 
Protect the life of Donald Trump. Give him the words, give him the peace, given him the power and authority to be the next president of the United States of America.
In Jesus’ name—if you believe it, shout “Amen!” 
Pastor Burns walked that back a bit the next day by saying he wished he would have used the words "political opponents" rather than "enemy". But, he didn't seem to understand the dangers, theological and national, of talking about God as though He is a local god who picks American conservatives over liberals, Republicans over Democrats. Unfortunately, Pastor Burns and all the delegates who roared approval appeared to forget that God is the God of all mankind and Creator of everything--even the "liberal Democratic Party".

detail from photo of Lincoln's second inaugural address
Compare this with the understanding of Abraham Lincoln. In the midst of a horrible civil war that resulted in 620,000 military deaths on both sides, Lincoln gives a speech that is one of the greatest speeches in American history. In his second inaugural address Lincoln seems to start into the Burns' channel by blaming the South for making the war and being the main locus and defender of the cause of the war--slavery.
While the [first] inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war—seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came.
One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. 
But, Lincoln goes on. He recognizes that both sides read the same Bible and pray to the same God. And that slavery is an "offense" that comes from the entire nation--not just the South. For as Lincoln points out, slavery has been going on 250 years (that's rounding it up from the first legalization of slavery by Massachusetts in 1642) in what was to become the United States of America.
Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."
Thus, it is "true and righteous" that both North and South suffer the "mighty scourge of war" in which profits of "unrequited toil" and "blood drawn with the lash" be repaid by the entire nation.

There is no good side. No godly side. No God's side. All hands are dirty.

Lincoln has already gone deeper into morality and theology than any president before or after. He then does an amazing thing. He tries to reconcile "love your enemies" (Matthew 5:43-48) with rulers being "God's servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer." (Romans 13:1-7)

One phrase of Lincoln's final paragraph is devoted to punishment: "finish the work". Surrounding that are calls for "charity", "bind up", "care for", "do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace".
With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
Lincoln knew that "a just and lasting peace" will only come, if it does come (and it may not), from love to real enemies (not just political opponents). In the speech, Lincoln doesn't explain how he will do this, but he wanted a short, easy reconstruction process.

Lincoln's speech was not popular*. It did not receive resounding cheers, applause** and "amen"s. But, it was full of a greatness that has enriched our nation to this day.
*A good resource for understanding the profound nature of Lincoln's second inaugural address is a lecture given by Ronald White.
**only four occasions of applause

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Palin and Carson Say Cruz Is Finished

Heh. You can't make this stuff up.

Sarah Palin is giving Ted Cruz advice on how he went wrong politically.
“Cruz’s broken pledge to support the will of the people tonight was one of those career-ending ‘read my lips’ moments. I guarantee American voters took notice and felt more unsettling confirmation as to why we don’t much like typical politicians because they campaign one way, but act out another way. That kind of political status quo has got to go because it got us into the mess we’re in with America’s bankrupt budgets and ramped up security threats.”
This from the woman who resigned as governor for what she said was the good of the people of Alaska even though she ran for a four year term. Donald Trump has pointed out that not running for an office you said you would run for is defrauding the voters. So, actually quitting an office you won is far worse.

Then, of course, there's Palin's absence at the Republican National Convention this year. Because . . . she lives so far away.
"She was asked," Trump told the Washington Examiner in a phone interview on Thursday. "It's a little bit difficult because of where she is. We love Sarah. Little bit difficult because of, you know, it's a long ways away."
Though, of course, she managed to campaign for Trump in Florida, which is a little farther away from Wasilla than Cleveland. But, nothing says you're politically powerful like not having even a minor speaking slot at the national convention which nominates the candidate you were the first major political figure to support.

Then there is the fall off in her PAC donations since she endorsed Trump. It's a 40% drop from the first half of 2015 compared to the first half of 2016.

Here's a contrast. Palin received $149,000 in donations for 2nd quarter 2016 compared to Cruz's senate campaign (not presidential) receipts of $290,000 almost double Palin's amount in the same period. Even more striking is that Cruz's first itemized receipts are dated May 11, 2016, after he dropped out of the presidential race. So, he raised almost twice as much as Palin in about half the time period.

Then there's Ben Carson who also assures us that Cruz is now a dead duck.
“Well, I was quite disappointed,” Carson said on Fox News radio. “I thought it was a splendid opportunity for him to bring significant unity to the party and also to enhance his own political career in the future. He was unable to bring himself to do that unfortunately.”
Carson said it would be hard for Cruz to recover.
“I believe it’s gonna be a very difficult task for him to recover from this, because of the alienation factor is significant at this point,” he said.
This from the guy who, after running on campaigning with civility, has said we have to accept the politics of personal destruction, political lies and offensive rhetoric as part of politics.
"And some people said but well you know he said terrible things about you how can you support him. Well, first of all, we buried the hatchet. That was political stuff. And you know that happens in American politics. The politics of personal destruction. All that is not something that I particularly believe in or anything that I get involved in. But, I do recognize that it is a part of the process."
Carson also has trouble understanding parts of the Constitution. For example, he wants to get rid of the electoral college and "a lot of different things" in our governmental system, including unneeded parts of the Second Amendment.

Too bad neither Palin nor Carson have figured out what went wrong with their own political careers, but are eager to help Cruz, the only one of them to currently hold high political office, figure out how to be a political success.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Republican Party Just Left Me

They've nominated a man who is for war crimes.

They've nominated a man who believes President George W. Bush lied us into war.

They've nominated a man who has said dangerous, "idiotic" things about NATO and basically invited Russia to invade the Baltic states (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia). They have nominated a man who supports the president of Turkey who is installing an Islamic state in Turkey!

They've nominated a man who thinks the National Enquirer is a credible news source.

None of those things have been supported by any candidate I've knowingly voted for or any party I've knowingly been a part of. The Republican Party has never held any of those positions. Now it does through it's presidential candidate. So, I am no longer affiliated with the Republican Party.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

2016 Cruz Like 1976 Reagan
UPDATE: Byron York has pointed out an ad Reagan did for Ford during the campaign. But, York is obviously wrong on Reagan giving an endorsement in the convention speech. However, Reagan did praise Ford for Ford's good treatment of Reagan's wife, Nancy.
I’ve seen also the warmth with which you greeted Nancy and you also filled my heart with joy when you did that.
UPDATE 2: Reagan historian Craig Shirley says the Reagan ad for Ford was "support" not "endorsement":
As Ford lagged in the polls, Reagan reluctantly agreed to go out on the trail, but he went out for the conservative movement, not the man. He gave a 30-minute taped speech on the Republican and Democratic platforms, but not directly on Ford. Of the four commercials he made for the campaign, three promoted the platform and one did support Ford, but no endorsement. Only at the end did he say something about keeping Ford in his job. He campaigned with Bob Dole, but again, said little to nothing about Ford.
As Ford continued to sink, his team reached out to Reagan again and again. Reagan, in total, campaigned in 25 states, but for down ticket candidates, rarely mentioning Ford, and was even asked to become Honorary Chairman of the Ford Campaign, but he politely declined. When he spoke at a joint fundraiser in Los Angeles, he talked of the platform and of the party, but barely Ford. When even he did mention the candidate, his body language and voice were so visibly tortured that Washington Post reporter Lou Cannon, remarked dryly, “This is not much of an endorsement.”
There's a funny thing about the outrage by some over Senator Ted Cruz not endorsing Donald Trump in his convention speech last night. They love Ronald Reagan who did the same thing (did not endorse Ford) in 1976.

President Gerald Ford was a decent man, who was more of a centrist Republican. In 1976 Ronald Reagan challenged Ford for the Republican presidential nomination. Reagan lost. Still, Ford called for Reagan to speak at the convention, but Reagan did not endorse Ford then or later.

In the primaries Reagan campaigned against Ford on Ford's lack of seriousness about the nation's debt as well as his soft policy on the Soviet Union.
In 1976, Reagan decided to challenge President Gerald Ford for the Republican presidential nomination. Although Ford was the incumbent Republican President, he had been appointed rather than elected to office, and Reagan felt Ford had not fought sufficiently against growing budget deficits and that his foreign policy of d├ętente was too accommodating to the Soviet Union. (emphasis added)
Sound a little like the current positions of Donald Trump? Trump says he would get along well with Putin and wants a better relationship with Russia.

Trump not only has said nothing about cutting government and its spending, he's for massive federal infrastructure spending (like Obama's $787 billion 2009 stimulus package which only three Republicans voted for).

Trump's major ideas on cutting the national debt have gone from disastrous to lame. First, pay back less than you owe. The pay back less than you owe comes from a business bankruptcy model where you stiff people for money you owe them by paying cents on the dollar. When the disastrous effects were pointed out to him, he went to his second plan. Print more money. Well, that wasn't such a good idea either. Trump's third idea was do a bond switch. Buy back older bonds with slightly higher rate bonds which would "result in only a minuscule reduction in our total debt, and it would do so by increasing the interest rate the U.S. is paying on that debt".

Currently, Trump doesn't even address the issue with specific proposals. The Trump site doesn't include the national debt in his position papers. However, he does have a 26 second "issues" statement where he says he is going to get rid of the national debt but gives no plans.

Amazing how much this election is like 1976--except Jimmy Carter was an unknown and neither he nor Ford were as unpopular as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Chaffetz Shows His Dark Side on Freedom of Religion

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah)
In 2012, I thought Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) was an overgrown junior higher. His idea of first rate campaign strategy was crashing Newt Gingrich's campaign events. But Chaffetz has graduated to the dark side of procedurally opposing legislative attempts to enhance First Amendment religious liberty protection. Protection which he supposedly supports enough to co-sponsor a bill he won't allow through his committee.

Chaffetz refuses to carry out his power as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to forward a bill preventing the federal government from discriminating against government contractors and stripping institutions of tax exempt status if they hold standard Judeo-Christian views on marriage and sexual identity. The bill has 171 co-sponsors including Chaffetz himself (!) and every Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee except Michael Turner and Justin Amash. But Chaffetz won't allow it out of committee for a floor vote.

From Daniel Horowitz:
Exhibit A for why the sexual identity movement is so emboldened to pursue their fascistic disruption of the civil society and private property is Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah (B, 80%). 
One of the first responses to the growing trend of anti-religious bigotry was the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), introduced by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah (A, 100%) and Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho (A, 95%) last June. To stem the tide of criminalizing all the world’s major religions, including our founding Judeo-Christian values, this legislation would have prevented the federal government from discriminating against government contractors who don’t follow the culture warriors of the Left on questions related to same-sex marriage or other items on the sexual identity menu. It would also protect the tax exempt status of those institutions that don’t subscribe to Hollywood’s sense of morality. It was really very limited in scope and didn’t even address the broader issues of states and judges coercing individuals to service gay weddings or provide contraception coverage or transgender bathrooms. Nor did it address the actual jurisdiction of the judiciary over marriage, something Congress can easily remedy, as I detail in Stolen Sovereignty. But it was at least something. 
The bill has 171 co-sponsors, including almost every Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the panel with jurisdiction over this particular issue. Yet, Rep. Chaffetz, the committee chairman, at the behest of House leadership has refused to schedule a markup for the bill in committee. After much pressure from outside conservative groups, Chaffetz will finally hold a hearing on Tuesday, but from what I’m hearing there is no intention to schedule a markup, much less a floor vote. The committee hearing will offer the Democrat minority a number of their own witnesses, beyond the customary single minority witness. Aside from Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La. (D, 66%), not a single other member of the leadership team has signed onto the bill. That is not a coincidence. 
Keep in mind how swiftly Republican leaders bring politically correct legislation to the floor without any committee process or any member co-sponsors when it suits their needs. They brought this ridiculous Muslim Brotherhood/gun control bill to the floor out of thin air until it was opposed by rank-and-file members.
Why would Chaffetz stonewall a bill he's supposedly co-sponsoring? Horowitz says it's because House leadership isn't for it. But, maybe it's because Chaffetz has no principles. He signed on as co-sponsor because it would look good. But, he doesn't really care about protecting the religious liberty of those with traditional religious values. Chaffetz is not only an embarrassment because of his juvenile campaign tactics, but he is a part of the rot that has made Republican congressional leadership a mere appendage of the liberal Democrat agenda.

Monday, July 04, 2016

240 Years Ago: Endowed by Their Creator with Certain Unalienable Rights

Two hundred forty years ago today.

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

self-evident truths:
1. all men are created equal
2. endowed by their Creator
3. certain unalienable Rights
4. among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness

Friday, July 01, 2016

Oregon Privacy Petition Needs a Few Thousand More Signatures within a Week

The Oregon Privacy Petition seeks to stop easy access by third parties to Oregon voters' private information such as birth date, phone number, email address, and ballot status information.
Oregon ranks as the third worst state in the nation for identity theft. That’s because the state gives out your private information to anyone who asks!
Imagine, then, how easy it is for thieves to find your social security number.
Your private information is found in the state voter file. Your birthday is on record to prove you’re a citizen. Your phone number and email address are on file so they can contact you. But you’ve never given them permission to disclose that private information to telemarketers and strangers.
Stop the open vault of personal data secrets for identity thieves, spammers and telemarketers!
The Protect Our Private Information petition removes your date of birth, phone number and email from public view unless you give permission.
Here's the text of the measure.

You can print out an individual copy of the petition, sign it, and mail it in to be included in the petition process.

Military Funeral Honors Ceremony

Yesterday my dad went to the funeral service of one of his World War II friends. My dad, another friend, and this veteran, Ben Phegley, all went to Army Air Corps training together in 1943. One became a fighter pilot, my dad became a B-25 pilot, and Ben became an air transport pilot.

Here is video of the military funeral honors ceremony. It movingly expresses the gratitude and serious debt we owe to our military service members and veterans.