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Posts Tagged ‘2020 Presidential Campaign’

Eccles_2

The Eccles Building, the main office of the Federal Reserve in Washington, D.C.

And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

  • John 3:19-20

The words from the John at the top of this post are readily recognized by Christians as coming from Jesus’ dialogue with Nicodemus, the Pharisee who came to inquire of him one night.  The immediate application of Jesus’ words is, of course, to himself as the light who came into the world and was rejected of men, for they loved evil and feared lest their deeds should be exposed.

But while Christ said these words in the context of explaining his person and purpose for coming in the flesh to Nicodemus, his comments have a wider application.  They are a specific case of a broader principle we see in Scripture, that of the Christian principle of openness and honesty.  Those who love the truth do what they do in the open.  They let their light shine before men that others may see their goods works and glorify their Father in heaven.  On the other hand, those who practice evil, those who have something to hide, they do their work in the dark, fearing to be seen by men.

One application of the principle of openness and light is the Christian idea that of government as a servant of the people, not as their master.  When the disciples argued about who was the greatest, Jesus explained the Christian concept of leadership, which was radically different from the model the world offered.  Christ explained that the rulers of the Gentiles “exercised lordship” (lorded it over) them, but such was not to be the case among his followers.  Following Jesus example, those who would be first in the Kingdom of Heaven were to be servants of all.

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Impeach_Acquittal

Donald Trump holds up copy of Washington Post with headline announcing his acquittal by the Senate, Feb. 6, 2020.

Facing an impeachment hearing and senate trial for his part in the cover up related to the Watergate burglary, then President Richard Nixon chose to resign from office in August 1974.  Upon being sworn into office, President Gerald R. Ford gave a brief 850-word address in which he uttered the now famous line, “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.”

Being all of eight years old at the time, I didn’t have a super sophisticated understanding of all that was going on, but I did get the gist of it.  President Nixon had done something wrong and tried to hide it.  Now, he had to resign.

But more than the particulars related to the case, what I recall from that period was the overwhelming sense of boredom I had with hearing about Watergate and anything Watergate related.  It really did seem like along national nightmare that went on year after year after year.  No doubt, some of that was due to my age.  When you’re eight years old, six months seems like a lifetime, because, in a way, it is.

In truth, the whole Watergate saga took about two years and two months to play out.  On June 17, 1972, the Watergate burglars were arrested.  On August 9, 1974, Nixon resigned.

That was then.

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Dem Debate 1_Night 2

Democratic debate night 2, Miami FL, June 27, 2019.  From left to right:  Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Michael Bennet.  Photo. Saul Loeb AFP/ Getty Images.

“I lack the words.” That was my first thought in hearing the remarks of the Democratic presidential candidates last week. From Beto O’Rourke and others babbling in Spanish – are these guys running for President of the United States or President of Mexico? – to lecturing Americans about how horrible they are for not wanting their country invaded by welfare migrants to Bernie Sanders admitting that, yes, he wants to raise taxes on an already over burdened middle class to pay for his big government initiatives of universal single-payer health care and free college for everyone, a more out of touch group of candidates seems hard to imagine.

The message I heard loud and clear from these men and women was this: America, we hate you and want to destroy you.

Generally, I try to steer clear of making overtly partisan remarks on this blog. When discussing politics, my preference is to frame the issue in terms of what the Bible has to say about a particular topic and critique the statements and actions of men based upon the standard of Scripture. I do this, because the problems facing our nation ultimately are not political or economic, but spiritual.

Further, I come from a family of Republicans and I myself have been a Republican and have been all my life. “You hypocrite,” someone may say, “You criticize the Democrats for their shortcomings but fail to see the problems with your own party.” Admittedly, going after the Democrats could be construed this way. But I would say this in my defense, I hardly thing the Republicans are perfect. Far from it. This author has many disagreements with mainstream Republican thought, including some of the policies of the Trump administration.

But what I see from the Democrats that I don’t see from the Republicans is the raw contempt for this country, its people and its institutions – a hatred that I’m even tempted to call demonic – that constantly issues forth from the mouths of various Democratic leading lights. Democrats as a matter of course regularly attack individual liberty, private property, limited government and equality under the law. They cry crocodile tears over the children of illegal immigrants while working overtime to make sure as many American women as possible retain the inalienable right to murder their children. They call their fellow Americans “deplorables” and “bitter clingers” while knowingly advocating policies that are damaging to the legitimate interests of the very people they presume to lecture. They stand for sodomy, socialism, feminism, and cultural Marxism. They can’t wait to take your guns and to give away your hard earned money. They are a party that countenances the use of violence against those with whom they disagree. They are world class experts in political dirty tricks. This is a party so corrupt that several times their activities have forced me to admit that, yes, I indeed have been wrong about them; the Democrats are in reality far more corrupt than I ever thought possible in my wildest imagination.

Not that massive corruption is anything new to the Democrats. They were the party of slavery in the ante-bellum South and the party of Jim Crow afterwards. The Democrats identification with the Confederacy is what in part led Presbyterian minister Samuel Burchard to famously refer to them as the party of “rum, Romanism and rebellion.” Burchard was right in 1884 and his words are still true today. The Democrats rebelled against the Constitution in the 19th century and they are still in rebellion against it the 21st. The 19th century big city political machines – Tammany Hall, for example – were all run by Roman Catholic Democrats.

So what are we to make of the 2019 edition of the Democrats? It seems to me that there are certain broad issues that characterize the party, among them are: Socialism, Environmentalism, Identity Politics, Open Borders and Abortion. All of these are openly at odds with the teaching of Scripture and the provisions found in the US Constitution. Let’s take a look at them.

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Abortion_AL

Pro-choice supporters protest in front of the Alabama State House in Montgomery on May 14, 2019.
REUTERS/Chris Aluka Berry

“What angers me about the GOP’s attempts to turn the United States into a far-right Christian theocracy is how dishonest they are about it. At least be forthright about your desire to subvert and dismantle our democracy into a creepy theological order led by a mad king.”

    – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, (D) New York, Twitter, 5/17/19

It seems as if America is on course for an abortion show down. A sort of Roe v. Wade version of pistols at noon.

In January of this year, the first shot in the latest iteration of the ongoing abortion war fired by the New York State Legislature when it passed the Reproductive Health Act (RHA). If ever a bill was fast tracked, this one certainly was. According to Wikipedia, the bill was introduced into the New York State Legislature on January 9, 2019, passed by both houses on January 22, and signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo that same evening.

The RHA, widely considered the nation’s most liberal abortion law, changed New York’s abortion laws in the following ways:

  • Removed abortion from the state’s criminal code
  • Allows medical professionals who are not doctors to perform abortions
  • To the states statue allowing abortion in the third trimester if the mother’s health is threatened, the bill adds language permitting abortion in the third trimester if the fetus in not viable

In Virginia, a bill was introduced earlier this year that would have greatly liberalized abortion in that state. When asked in a radio interview about the whether the bill would allow a fetus surviving abortion to be killed, Governor Ralph Northam created a major controversy with his answer that lent support to allowing such an infant to die.

In sharp contrast to New York and Governor Northam, just this week the Alabama State Legislature passed, and the governor signed, what is viewed as the nation’s most restrictive abortion law. The Alabama law makes it a felony offense for doctors to perform or attempt to perform an abortion, allows no exceptions for rape of incest, but does permit abortions in the event the mother’s life is at risk.

But while Alabama’s law is the most restrictive state-level abortion statute, other states have recently enacted legislation that will have the effect of significantly reducing abortions. In 2019 five states – Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi and Ohio – have passed heartbeat bills, legislation designed to prohibit abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. Utah and Arkansas voted to limit abortions to the middle of the second trimester. Together with Alabama, this makes eight states in 2019 that have taken legislative action to restrict abortion.

Very clearly, when it comes to abortion America is a deeply divided nation.

With a majority conservative Supreme Court, it may well be, as several legal commentators have suggested, that state-level Republican legislators and governors have passed and signed into law these bills with an eye to challenging Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision legalizing abortion in all fifty states.

If these laws are challenged in court, as they surely will be, it is entirely possible that the challenges could begin working their way through the federal court system just as the 2020 presidential election is coming to a head. If that happens, abortion could become the lightening rod of the 2020 presidential election.

Below are a few of my observations on brewing conflict.

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MAGA

MAGA’s dead. Long live the empire.

Three years ago, during the last presidential election cycle, many Americans found in Donald Trump a candidate whose ideas resonated with them. Trump was an outsider, we were told. He cared about forgotten Americans. The sort of people who lived in unfashionable places and had unfashionable jobs. Who drove unfashionable cars, wore unfashionable clothes and held unfashionable opinions. He was, we were told, the antidote to the sort of scripted, empire building, establishment politician – the Jeb Bush’s of the world, for example – that many of us had come to loath.

My own take on Trump was that I didn’t know if he was for real of not. Hoping that a politician will keep his word is always a gamble, and generally a losing one. As the Bible warns us, “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.” As Christians, we know where our help comes from. Our help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth. And it is him that we trust.

And yet knowing that, we also know that God not only determine the ends, but he also ordains the means by which he will accomplish those ends. And one of the institutions he has ordained for executing justice in this world and allowing his people to live peaceful lives is civil government. Paul calls the civil magistrate “God’s minister” and tells us he is put in his position to punish evil doers and praise the good. I mention this as a way of saying that, even though Christians look to God as our ultimate defender, there is nothing wrong with their supporting candidates for public office. In fact, one could argue that Christians have a duty before God to be involved in politics to help ensure that justice is done and evil avoided.

It had been my hope that Donald Trump would at least make some headway in restoring sanity to our republic. I didn’t expect him to be perfect. There is only one perfect man, and he wasn’t on the ballot in 2016. But it’s not unreasonable to hold a man accountable for his words. Donald Trump promised, among other things, to end the senseless foreign wars, to restore vitality to a hollowed out middle class and, most famously, to build that wall and to stop the flood of illegal immigrants, migrants and bogus refugees.

And if it’s fair to hold a man accountable for his words, we need to ask, So how is Donald Trump doing on his promises?

I’m afraid the answer is not very well.

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