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2020

Once again, I find myself looking back at the year past and peering forward at the one to come.   As is no doubt the case with many, this is for me a bittersweet annual experience.  By God’s grace, I can say that I have been partially successful in redeeming the time.  But a little honest reflection convicts me that I could have, and should have, done better.

Sin, it would seem, is ever present with me, tainting even my best works.

But thanks be to God, for it is not my own works that justify me.  Rather, I am acceptable to God “only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to [me], and received by faith [belief] alone.”

Truly, the grace of God is amazing toward sinners! It’s as if God were to say to us wretched rebels, “All your guilt, all your hopelessness, all your fear of death and of righteous judgment and of eternal punishment, these things I have taken away in my Son.  Only believe in him and be saved from the wrath to come.”

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Pelosi_Impeachment

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (C), flanked by House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, and House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, announces articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Dec 10, 2019.

“Whether Mr. Trump should be removed from office by the Senate or by popular vote next election – that is a matter of prudential judgment.  That he should be removed, we believe, is not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments.”

  • Mark Galli in Christianity Today, 12/19/20

 

As is probably true with most writers, there are times when I find picking a post topic can be difficult.  This week, not so much.  Very obviously, the biggest story over the past few days has been the House of Representatives vote to impeach Donald Trump.  Whatever one’s opinion on the impeachment of the president, it’s a hard story to ignore.

The fact that it’s only the third time in American history that a president has been impeached is enough by itself to warrant commentary.

That the flagship publication of the American Neo-Evangelical movement, Christianity Today, jumped into the fray on the side of removing Trump from office makes an even more compelling case for Protestants to weigh in on this issue.

Seemingly designed to further rub salt in the wound of Trump’s Evangelical supporters, a recent poll by Politico/Morning Consult indicated that 43% of Evangelicals support Donald Trump’s removal from office.

So is it true, as the Christianity Today editorial and the Politico poll would have us believe, that a substantial percentage of Trump’s Evangelical base wants Trump removed from office?

I wouldn’t be so sure.

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“Hell is going to be filled with good religious people who have rejected the truth of Christ.”

  • Robert Jeffress

 

“President Donald Trump signed an executive order aimed at tackling anti-Semitism on college campuses on Wednesday – but one of the speakers at the event said that Jews are going to hell,” thus reported the Huffington Post on Thursday.

Yes, the HuffPo was in a state of high dudgeon that Donald Trump dared to invite to the While House a Christian minister, who actually teaches Christian doctrine.

In this case, the guilty party was none other than noted Southern Baptist minister Robert Jeffress.  At times, I have been critical of Jeffress on this blog. I stand by my criticism.  But today I come not to bury Jeffress but to praise him.

What triggered the outrage at HuffPo and several other news outlets?  I’ll let the HuffPo’s headline speak for itself: “Pastor Who Says Jews Are Going To Hell Speaks At Trump’s Hanukkah Party.”

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Fake News

“You are of your father the devil…When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.”

  • John 8:44

“I can confidently say,” wrote columnist Paul Craig Roberts in a recent article, “that unless it is an announcement of a traffic accident (terrorist unrelated) or the death of some notable person, everything you read and hear from NPR and the print and TV media is false.  Roberts continued, “The ‘news’ is propaganda designed to control explanations to serve the agendas of the ruling elites.  The ‘news’ is nothing else.  The ‘news’ is extremely hostile to truth and to those who speak it.”

As someone who’s had a life-long interest in the news, politics and economics, I find it hard to argue with Robert’s assessment of the state of the news media.  All of us in the West, it matters not whether you live in the US or any other Western nation, are under constant assault by thought shaping organs of propaganda known collectively as the mainstream media.

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Bishop Richard Malone

Richard Malone, former Bishop of Buffalo, NY.

When writing about the follies of the Roman Church-State, the main challenge isn’t lack of material.  Not at all.  In fact, it’s quite the opposite.  It’s the lack of time to follow up all the stories.  Oh well.  It’s tough work, but someone has to do it.

All which brings me to the latest edition of Rome Watch.  There have been several big, recent stories about Rome, each of which deserves its very own Rome Watch edition.  But time being what it is, I’m going to have to squeeze them all into one thrill packed post.

So where shall I begin?  How about with this.

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Birthright Citizenship

Last week I happened across a report about a woman by the name of Dongyuan Li, a Chinese national, who “pleaded guilty…to federal criminal charges for running an Orange County-based ‘birth tourism’ business that catered to wealthy pregnant clients and Chinese government officials, charging them tens of thousands of dollars to help them give birth in the United States so  their children would get U.S. citizenship.”  You can read the full article here.

Running a birth tourism business, while illegal, is certainly profitable.  According to the article, Li “charged each customer between $40,000 and $80,000” and “received $3 million in international wire transfers from China in two years.”  The piece goes on to note that “As part of her plea agreement, Li agreed to forfeit more than $850,000, a Murrieta residence worth more than $500,000, as well as several Mercedes-Benz vehicles.”

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