My social media timelines have been in an uproar lately, over the perceived injustice against Louie Giglio, recusing himself from offering the benediction at the upcoming Presidential Inauguration, over some comments he made in regards to “What God thinks about Homosexuality.”In this talk, Giglio called for Christians and the church to “firmly respond to the aggressive agenda” of some in the gay community.” He goes on to warn that widespread gay marriage “would run the risk of absolutely undermining the whole order of our society.”
While I certainly don’t agree with Giglio’s proclamation on the effects of gay marriage, I support his fundamental, first amendment, right to express his views. However, what concerns me the most is reading, and hearing, Christians gravely misinterpret the situation. The situation surrounding Giglio is not a reduction, or removal, of freedom of religious expression at all. In fact, Giglio fell victim to the court of public opinion on a very divisive issue. Giglio wasn’t asked to remove himself from the inauguration; instead, according to his statement he felt the event “will be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda the focal point of the inauguration.” Giglio made a decision to not be part of the conversation surrounding gay marriage, the church’s response to gay marriage and progressing equality of rights for homosexuals.
Please don’t continue to misinterpret the court of public opinion as a reduction in legal rights and protections. This is not an example of the United States Government taking away rights that evangelicals once had. Instead, its a response, by citizens, to a statement made by another citizen. I am thankful for the grace Louie Giglio has displayed throughout this situation. He has represented evangelicals well; while others aggressively represent evangelicals poorly.
Recently, Mike Huckabee explained the gruesome, horrific incident in Newton, Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary as a result of a nation that has removed God from the public sphere as well as from schools. Following the devastating shootings, Friday, Huckabee asked why we “should be so surprised” at the violence when “we have systematically removed God from our schools..”
I [optimistically] assume Mike Huckabee did not mean to state that violence is a direct result of not allowing prayer in public schools. Certainly, there is nothing more than misguided anecdotal support for a claim such as this. If, in fact, Mike Huckabee did mean this, then it represents a far deeper issue: a misunderstanding of God and his love.
To Huckabee’s credit, he backpedaled, and clarified his on-air remarks. However, he mentions, according to the Huffington Post “I think it’s important that we quit apologizing for having a spiritual conversation,” Huckabee said. “Quit being ashamed that we believe in God.”
We often ask, “Where is God in this tragedy” or claim “this is because we’ve turned back on God.” Mike Huckabee pointed out POTUS’ use of scripture during the the multi faith memorial service as proof that we only mention God following a tragedy. I often struggle with how/if religion and politics should interact with each other. I often echo the sentiment when you mix religion and politics, you get politics. However, the notion that God didn’t stop the Newton, CT school shooting because we have as a nation excluded him from schools is stupid. The notion that God’s excellence and sovereignty is dependent on human actions and attitudes is incredibly dangerous.
As a believer, it is important to really understand and grasp God’s unconditional love, and that God is not retaliating against our rebellion by sending disasters our way. This incredibly devastating event is proof that a broken, fallen, creation is groaning for a savior; not that a vengeful, hateful God is sitting in Heaven “keeping score.” This is the gospel: we are broken people, in a broken world, desperately seeking hope and redemption.
In late September, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine, who is conservative and has actively been involved in government at the state and local level. We were talking about the upcoming presidential election and we both agreed that it was likely that Obama would retain the presidency. At the time, polls had Obama up by 6-8% nationally, and as much as 12% in key swing states. All signs and trends showed an upswing to Obama. I made the statement that, if things hold the way they were going, Obama wins the election by 12%. 12% is a huge margin.
Fast forward a few weeks to the three presidential debates, and one vice presidential debate. Obama performed poorly in the first debate, excuses aside, and took a hit in the polls. In the next three debates (vice presidential, and presidential) the Obama/Biden ticket performed remarkably better than the Romney/Ryan ticket, but treated the debates and the discourse within the debates as beneath them. This “classless” “unprofessional” response hurt Obama/Biden in the polls as well. The latest polls show a dead even race with less than a week to the general election.
Hurricane Sandy, which was devastating, could be the turning point of the election. There are two fundamentally different responses by the candidates in the storm’s aftermath. Whether it’s a function of incumbency, or whether it is sincere, I cannot prove. Barack Obama has garnered praise from Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey, over his preparedness and quick response to the storm; he specifically notes how Obama cut through the red tape of government to expedite his request. Obama’s response: be the president, to do what’s right and most of all to not politicize the event. Whether it’s a function of not having presidential responsibilities, or not, I cannot prove; but, Mitt Romney changed the framework of a pre-existing campaign fundraiser to give the proceeds to charity. Romney collected supplies while hosting his “Disaster Relief” event. Whether it was genuine, or not, I cannot prove; but as an undecided voter it comes across as opportunistic and a bit cheap.
With less than a week until the election there is absolutely no chance that my prediction of Obama carrying the presidency by double digits will hold true. However, do you think the differences in perception regarding the candidates’ response to Sandy will have a drastic result in the results of the election? Do you think the winning candidate will win by more than 3%?
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, President Obama was quick to crassly chide Governor Romney’s assertion that the American Military was fading away, stating, “ Our Navy is smaller than it’s been since 1917.” Obama’s response was “We also have fewer horses and bayonets” alluding to the fact that warfare has changed over the years.
Several key GOP members were quick to jump on the President’s remarks as being unprofessional and insulting.
I think the president belittled the military,He compared the modern Navy to bayonets and horses — I thought that was an amazing statement. — Marco Rubio (R-FLA)
Romney looked like a commander-in-chief, President Obama looked like a frustrated politician who knew he was losing momentum. He looked angry- Dan Senor (Romney Advisor)
However, its interesting that the former secretary of the Navy, Richard Danzig, was quick to back President Obama’s claim saying,
The basic point that didn’t get mentioned, that I would add, is the number of ships actually went down during the years of George W. Bush and have gone up in the Obama years, So the notion that Republicans are more effective in building the Navy is not a correct one. The Navy is stronger than it’s ever been.
Yesterday the focus was evaluating the accuracy of Romney’s. Today is the focus on the way President Obama responded, do you think it was “unprofessional and insulting” or do you think he was right to respond absurdly, to an absurdly false claim?
In last night’s foreign policy debate republican candidate Mitt Romney, formerly Governor of Massachusetts, made a claim that was both incredibly false and incredibly telling of his potential foreign policy. During the debate Romney said,
The most extraordinary thing that’s happened with this military authorization is the president is planning on cutting $1 trillion out of military spending. Our Navy is smaller than it’s been since 1917. Our Air Force is smaller and older than any time since 1947. We are cutting our number of troops. We are not giving the veterans the care they deserve. We simply cannot continue to cut our Department of Defense budget if we are going to remain the hope of the Earth. And I will fight to make sure America retains military superiority.
The President was quick to point out, in crass and unprofessional terms (albeit), we also have fewer horses and bayonets. President Obama chided Romney’s remarks by proving sheer military size and spending is not the answer. The Obama Administration has been incredibly efficient in the manner in which it protects and pushes American interests. It wasn’t a large, decade long military effort that led us to Osama Bin Laden, it was a small team, well coordinated with a potent strike that took out the man responsible for 9-11. While I don’t agree with all the Obama’s foreign policy I do deeply resonate with his desire to reduce military funding. It is interesting that the dated, inaccurate foreign policy of big military no problems is preventing the USA from making budget cuts to bring us back to prosperity and to reduce the national debt. I think the country should take a measured approach and cut equal parts defense spending (elimination of certain programs, renegotiate and reduce contracts) and social programs (eliminate wasteful/ineffective social programs).
With just two weeks left in this contentious election season, the need for more than two parties has never been more evident. Tonight, at Lynn University, two men will take the stage and attempt to convince us why their vision for America is superior to the other candidate’s vision. Quickly it will derail into a he said, he said argument and by the end of the debate it will be clear who the losers are- The American People. For years (since I was able to -2004) I have said we need to take a hard look at legitimizing and encouraging additional contestants to prevent a two person race where nobody wins.
As we watch the debates, and as we struggle through the deluge of attack ads from both sides, and we weigh how much a presidential candidate is lying to us, and how much they are bending the truth let’s consider alternate candidates.
For those who do not regularly read this website, approximately four years ago, I posted an article about an open letter to America written by Dr. James Dobson, from Focus on the Family a religious non-profit based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The letter is dated October of this year (2012). It makes wild, unsubstantiated and incendiary assumptions about Barack Obama’s potential effects as President. The purpose of this letter was, no doubt, to encourage good, honest Christian people not to vote for liberal Barack Obama, instead choosing John McCain, and his running mate Sarah Palin. I won’t address the validity of that argument, but will instead focus on the assumptions in the letter. If you’d like to check the half way progress report (2010) you can read it here.
Lets take a look at the assumptions in the letter and check the progress.
- Terrorist Attacks have occurred in 4 additional U.S. cities- This argument was designed to question Obama’s ability to protect US Citizens from terrorists. Obama has targeted and removed multiple, high profile, terrorist. Rating: False
- Christian doctors, nurses, counselors and teachers have either been fired or quit- Obama has not pushed for, or signed into legislation, any policies that would bring grounds for termination of Christian employees in any industry. America still holds to a freedom of religion. Rating: False
- Iran perpetrated a nuclear attack on Israel, drastically reducing the size of it’s borders- Iran has not perpetrated a nuclear attack on Israel, in fact Obama has sanctioned Iran and it seems the sanctions are negatively affecting Iran’s economy. Obama has steadily increased how much The US gives each year to Israel, for defense. Currently, the US is providing 3.07 billion (20%) of Isreali defense budge. Rating False
- Pornography is freely displayed- There is currently no evidence to support the claim that pornography is freely displayed. While several GOP candidates have asserted they would not be opposed to filtering pornography, Obama has not in any way mentioned his desire to reduce Americans’ rights and abilities to access content of their choice. Rating: False
- Inner city violent crime has dramatically increased due to gun control- There is no evidence to support inner city violent crimes dramatically rising, let alone to correlate it to increase in gun control. In fact, President Obama has routinely received an “F” (lowest possible score) from the Brady Comission, a group which seeks to extend gun control and regulation. The commission recognizes President Obama, “ actually has done little to clamp down on firearms since being elected. Instead, the president has signed into law two bills that favored gun-rights supporters.” Rating: False
- Russia has occupied 4 additional countries- Russia has not occupied any additional countries. This claim is a fear tactic to persuade Christian voters to elect someone who will fight hard against the non-existant threat of communism taking away our freedom of religion. Rating: False
- Gas tops $7 a gallon- Gas is under $4 a gallon, however, it is important to note that a president does not have much control over gas prices. The price of gas rises due to crude oil speculation on the commodities market. Thankfully, Obama has not forced additional government regulations on our “free market system” in efforts to reduce prices consumers face at the pump. Rating: False.
- Euthanasia becomes commonplace- Euthanasia is not common place. In fact, the government has roundly held positions of imposing government regulation protecting life when it comes to end of life decisions. Rating: False
- Blackouts occur throughout the country- This isn’t happening, and hasn’t happened. The Obama administration continues its push to upgrade to smarter energy grids and renewable energy to prevent blackouts. While facing significant opposition from opponents, the administration continues to fight for energy that will not only protect the environment moving forward, but will also allow for more stable, lower cost energy. Rating: False.
- Homosexual marriage becomes law in all 50 states- Homosexual marriage is not law in all 50 states, an important note to this is while the president has come out in favor of Gay Marriage, it is still a states rights issue. In order for it to become law in all 50 states, voters in all 50 states would have to approve it as a state constitution amendment. This would not be caused by the President. Rating: False.
- Bush officials are jailed and bankrupt- The Obama administration has not jailed any of the Bush officials. There was talk of the international criminal court bringing charges on some of them, at one point, but the Obama administration has not made any steps towards jailing Bush officials. In regards to being bankrupt, it is not the President who causes political officials to become personally bankrupt. This assertion is aggressively incendiary. Rating: False
- Taliban-like oppresion overtakes Iraq and death of American sympathizers reaches millions- There is increased opposition to American forces in the middle east. I do believe there has been a mishandling of conflicts in Arab States in the Middle East by this administration, but I do not believe it is remotely close to the size and reach of this assertion. Rating: Mostly False.
- Home School families immigrate to Asia and New Zealand by the thousands- I don’t have hard statistics in front of me, in regards to this; (if you have these numbers please let me know). I would hazard to guess, this is not taking place. The number of home-schooled children in the US has stayed steady at approximately 1.5 million from 2007 to 2012. Rating: False
- Homosexuals are given a bonus to enlist in the military- This is not happening, certainly not bonuses for being homosexual. We have repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and are actively allowing homosexuals in the military. The Palm Center has published a study asserting that there has been no negative impact from repealing DADT, you can read it here. Rating: False
As I’ve mentioned all along, this isn’t a real fact checking mission. This is an attempt by a conservative, christian organization using propaganda scare tactics to worry and concern voters into selecting one candidate over another candidate. Besides most of these allegations being patently false, completely unsubstantiated, and aggressively inflammatory. I know Dr. Dobson is not unintelligent, in fact he is regarded as one of the premier child and adolescent psychological authors for conservative families; an honor that isn’t given to people who lack reasoning skills. However, I wish more people would not use their platform to take personal jabs at others. Focus on the Family needs to get back into family counseling, and continue to be an incredible resource in this arena; instead of trying to carry on the failing legacy of the moral majority voting agenda of the 70′s and 80′s.
What are your thoughts on this letter, from James Dobson, and the assertions it makes?