Archive for May 18, 2012
Tags: BarackObama, Manny Pacquiao, Martin Luther King, Mitt Romney, North Carolina, Obama, Rasmussen, Romney
Just how bad a blunder was President Obama’s forced gay marriage endorsement?
Item: Manny Pacquiao, the world’s greatest boxer, just came out against gay marriage. He now faces a nasty public campaign to vilify him, including false claims he advocated violence against gay people — something both Pacquiao and the reporter who interviewed him deny.
A shopping mall owner in Los Angeles has just banned Manny Pacquiao: “He is not welcome at The Grove. … The Grove is a gathering place for all Angelinos and not a place for intolerance.”
Pacquiao is Filipino and a beloved icon to the Latino community and its many boxing fans, among others. How will Hispanic voters respond to the smearing of a popular sports hero as a bigot because he disagrees with Obama on marriage?
Item: Tomorrow in Memphis, a group of major civil rights leaders who marched with Martin Luther King Jr. will meet to release a statement pushing back against Obama’s description of gay marriage as a civil right.
“We will be spending the next weeks and months visiting black churches, asking for support from pastors and their flocks. … We ask President Obama to stand with the black church, on the word of God and evolve again back to the common-sense Biblical view that marriage is the union of husband and wife,” said the Rev. William Owens, who marched with King and helped organize the civil rights movement in Nashville.
Item: Today, a Rasmussen poll in North Carolina shows Romney rocketing to the lead over Obama, 51 percent to 43 percent, which is a complete reversal from the last poll that had Obama and Romney statistically tied at 44 percent to 46 percent.
Obama carried North Carolina in 2008 by just 14,000 votes by earning 95 percent of the black vote there.
The sudden drop in Obama’s standing in North Carolina is just one of many evidences that Obama made a serious error endorsing gay marriage.
The polling on gay marriage is now wildly off the mark, as even Democratic polling firm PPP admitted on Twitter the night the people of North Carolina rejected gay marriage 61 to 39 percent:
“Hate to say it, but I don’t believe polls showing majority support for gay marriage nationally. Any time there’s a vote it doesn’t back it up.”
Polls are just static snapshots. Obama’s gay marriage endorsement changed the political dynamic in ways that will hurt him in at least three ways:
1. Obama consolidated Mitt Romney‘s base.
In a poll taken by PRRI/RNS Religion News Survey from May 2 to May 6, white evangelicals backed Romney by only 68 percent to 19 percent — well under the 79 percent support they gave George W. Bush’s winning campaign in 2004.
Now? Well, the numbers aren’t crunched yet but take this as a leading indicator: Robert Jeffress, the Dallas Baptist minister who called Mormonism a cult at last year’s Values Voter Summit, just endorsed Romney: “Given the choice between a Christian like Barack Obama who embraces very unbiblical principles like abortion and a Mormon like Mitt Romney who supports biblical values like the sanctity of life and marriage, I think there’s a good biblical case for voting for Mitt Romney,” Jeffress said.
2. Obama turned off independents.
A whopping 40 percent of voters told Gallup that Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage would affect their vote, and among independents — by a 2 to 1 margin — it made voters less likely to vote for him.
3. Obama may have put his own black and Latino base into play.
Pastor Emmett Burns (a delegate to the Maryland Assembly) was very upset: “He has said to his base, African-Americans, ‘I am going against your beliefs and your thoughts,’” Burns told the media. He now says he will no longer support the president and predicts Obama will lose in November.
How many Pastor Burnses are out there? We do not yet know.
Here’s the biggest change: Obama, by endorsing gay marriage, has broken through the media silence imposed on those who oppose gay marriage, generating new, unexpected and highly visible expressions of opposition.
All of a sudden, pastors across America are preaching against gay marriage. Conservative talk radio shows are addressing it. People are hearing that their friends and neighbors disapprove.
A new dynamic is in play, set in motion by Obama’s misjudgment: He believed the pundits and chose the money over the voters.
That’s almost always a bad bet for a president. In November, unless he evolves again, he will find out just how bad a bet that was.
Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.
Tags: Alexander Hamilton, Frank Bruni, Golden Rule, Judeo-Christian, Liberty University, Mitt Romney, New York Times, United States
What a country. In one corner, the president of the United States endorses same-sex marriage, evoking his personal evolution with the Golden Rule, “You know, treat others the way you want to be treated.” In the other corner, Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican candidate for president, addresses an audience of 35,000 at the Liberty University commencement, one of the largest Christian universities in the country. He says that central to our rise to global leadership is “our Judeo-Christian” tradition.” When he evokes marriage as “a relationship between one man and one woman,” he receives a standing ovation.
The Founding Fathers would be pleased. They wanted the vocabulary of religious tradition to enjoy vigorous debate in the public square. They knew that the Bible was subject to different interpretations and in the Old World people went to war over those differences of opinion. The bloody massacres after the European Reformation were recent history.
So they made sure God makes no appearance in the Constitution and religion in governing was made prominent by its absence. No religious test would be required for office, and the establishment of religion by the state was prohibited. When Alexander Hamilton was asked why God is never mentioned in the Constitution, he joked, “We forgot.” For a man known for his prodigious memory, he was a canny reader of human nature. When John Adams was asked to state his religious creed, he was succinct and kept it to four words: “Be just and good.”
That left lots of room for political discussion where diversity of religious interpretation thrives and civic culture maintains unity. It was in this tradition that Mitt Romney gave his eloquent commencement address on Saturday: “Men and women of every faith, and good people with none at all, sincerely strive to do right and lead a purpose-driven life.”
In a speech that was remarkable for never mentioning his own Mormon faith, he drew on quotations from a diverse group of inspiring thinkers who, in their own way, stressed the importance of the Judeo-Christian culture and conscience with “its vision of the goodness and possibilities of every life.” He was passionate and articulate in appealing to issues that unite us: “The American culture promotes personal responsibility, the dignity of work, the value of education, the merit of service, devotion to a purpose greater than self and, at the foundation, the pre-eminence of the family.”
When he appealed to moral absolutes, he cited the example of Martin Luther King. “As a young man,” he said, “with most of my life ahead of me, I decided early to give my life to eternal and absolute. Not to these little gods that are here today and gone tomorrow. But to God who is the same yesterday, today and forever.”
His comportment disappointed New York Times columnist Frank Bruni, who laments that he didn’t make same sex marriage a wedge issue or “fan the flames of hellfire.” To the chagrin of many liberals who preferred to run against a hot-headed self-righteous, sermonizing candidate, Romney cannot be stereotyped as out of touch with mainstream secular society.
Instead when it comes to a “wedge” issue, 67 percent of Americans thought that the president announced his support for gay marriage “mostly for political reasons,” a cynical rather than principled position, according of those surveyed by The New York Times and CBS News.
While critics of Mitt Romney have enjoyed making fun of him as stiff and humorless, his speech at Liberty University showed an ability to talk seriously, with humility turning his business expertise into a personal parable for service.
When he was first asked to rescue the 2002 Olympics, he was busy and says he dismissed the idea because his lack of athletic prowess failed to make it sound like a logical step. His sons went further and said there was no way they could imagine their father’s photo on the front page of the sports section. But he succeeded, and it became one of his most rewarding experiences.
“Opportunities for you to serve in meaningful ways may come at inconvenient times, but that will make them all the more precious,” he told the graduates. He broadened Jack Kennedy’s exhortation of what you can do for your country. “It is not a matter of what we are asking of life,” he said, quoting Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl, “but rather what life is asking of us.”
In the tradition of our Founding Fathers, Mitt Romney understands that religious freedom opens a door that is closed to many around the world. “But whether we walk through that door, and what we do with our lives after we do, is up to us.”
Suzanne Fields is a columnist with The Washington Times.
Tags: BarackObama, Joe Biden, Mitt Romney, Obama, Republicans, Rush Limbaugh, Same-sex marriage, United States
People have asked what Obama could possibly have been thinking to announce the final step in his “evolution” in favor of same-sex marriage right after another state resoundingly rejected the notion and despite the fact that most Americans oppose it.
Whether or not Joe Biden forced Obama’s hand on the issue, which I doubt, there is little question that Obama was going to make the announcement. The only question was when.
Many assume he decided to do it before the election to increase his fundraising among Hollywood liberals and other leftists. But all the funds in the world might not help if you are going to campaign on policies that are unpopular with the voters. So what gives?
The question isn’t how popular same-sex marriage is; it’s what percentage of people will pick their presidential candidate based on Obama’s announced change in position.
Everyone paying attention knew already that Obama favors same-sex marriage, and his actions — which should speak louder than his words — have strongly supported it, as his Justice Department has been at war against states outlawing the practice. Only certain trusting and naive people believed Obama when he said he was evolving — as opposed to pretending to oppose same-sex marriage for political reasons until he decided to make his announcement.
But his announcement did embolden and energize the LGBT community and its strong advocates. It looks as though it sparked an increase in his fundraising, at least for now, and it is likely that it will help intensify his turnout among social liberals and other strong leftists.
What about the downside? How many people did he alienate with this move? Well, some are saying that he threw the black community under the bus in favor of his gay constituency. But I’m betting Obama is banking on the fact that it will take a lot more than that to keep blacks from voting for him. So he took a calculated and probably minimal risk there.
How about nonblack Democrats who still consider themselves social conservatives? Obama’s militant support of abortion didn’t alienate too many of them, and neither will this.
There are two main voter blocs whose votes will be strongly influenced by social issues: those social conservatives and social liberals for whom social issues are the most important issues. Those numbers may be substantial when you include the abortion issue, which drives Christian conservatives on the right and feminists and other women, among others, on the left. But they shrink greatly when you just include those whose votes will be determined primarily by the same-sex marriage issue. Those who oppose same-sex marriage strongly enough to base their vote on Obama’s stance on it are already entrenched for or against him, irrespective of his announcement. Ultimately, he probably lost very few votes but gained much in fundraising and voter intensity.
Most people, even most social conservatives, are going to vote primarily on economic, budgetary and debt issues. Here, Obama has no positive record to run on, so he will try to change the subject, obfuscate and use Alinsky tactics to turn his conventional class warfare into an all-out nuclear affair.
He’ll portray Republicans as fat cat 1 percenters and their enablers and as people who don’t care about the poor, the sick, or clean air or water. They have theirs, so they don’t care about those who don’t.
He’ll continue to play the race card and to promote his manufactured GOP “war against women” to paint Republicans as sexists. Likewise, with the help of the old media, he’ll depict Republicans as bigots and homophobes for their opposition to same-sex marriage.
He’ll claim that the economy is steadily recovering because of his policies — never mind that it’s the slowest recovery in decades — and he’ll say that though much work remains to be done, that’s only because the “mess” Bush bequeathed “him” was worse than he thought and because selfish, obstructionist Republicans have prevented him from doing more.
This self-styled uniter will do everything in his power to make Republicans appear to be against everything that’s good, compassionate and reasonable — health care, entitlements, the environment, gays, blacks, women and the downtrodden — and for everything that’s evil, such as insurance companies, corporations, banks, Wall Street, the privileged, private jet owners and torture.
The way I see it, Romney will be fine as long as he resists the temptation to go soft on Obama and provided he doesn’t allow Obama to set the campaign narrative by making this an election over who cares the most — as opposed to whose policies would be best for America and the American people.
This election should be about Obama’s record and how Romney would radically alter the disastrous course on which Obama has set America.
David Limbaugh, brother of radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, is an expert in law and politics and author of new book Crimes Against Liberty, the definitive chronicle of Barack Obama’s devastating term in office so far.
Tags: Christ, Earth, Eclipse, God, Jesus, Lamb, Solar eclipse, Sun
Solar eclipses are an amazing phenomenon. As the moon slides between the earth and the sun, the sun’s brilliance gradually fades. Its light grows dim, as if there’s a layer of dust on everything you see. The effect is most dramatic on a bright cloudless day. While the eclipse is in full force, it’s easy to forget that the sun is still there in all its force and glory.
As amazing as a solar eclipse may be, more amazing is the fact that as followers of Jesus we often live with heaven eclipsed in our hearts. I don’t know what you think of when you think of heaven, but count on it, heaven is a glorious destination and, as Paul described, because of Christ’s presence there, it is far better than anything we could experience here (Philippians 1:23).
But heaven’s glory and the excitement of getting there often fades in the light of our dim view of heaven and the lure of lesser stuff here on earth.
If the word heaven evokes images of an eternity lounging on clouds, plucking out melodies on a harp, adjusting our halos, and singing in a choir, then no wonder that the brilliance of heaven may be going through an eclipse in your heart. It’s hard to muster a lot of enthusiasm if we think that heaven will be boring! But believe me, the God who died for you is not planning an eternity of boring assignments for you!
If your thoughts about what heaven may be like aren’t distorted, then you’re not necessarily off the hook. Heaven is often eclipsed in our hearts by the lure and glitter of earth-side stuff. It’s easy to think we can create heaven on earth by stacking up all that we think will make us happy and comfortable. Only to find that the initial thrill of it all quickly wears off as we disappointingly discover that there is no such thing as heaven on earth.
So let’s dismiss our twisted thoughts about heaven and forget trying to make heaven here on earth. Getting heaven in clear view starts by focusing on what we do know to be true about heaven. Your first thoughts no doubt are about streets of gold and gates of pearl. As spectacular as that might be, they are not the draw of heaven. We get used to stuff like that. The real excitement of heaven will be our eternal delight in living in the unveiled presence of Jesus, our Savior and friend! No matter how nice the place, it’s the people in the place who make the place—and in this place it is the presence of God in the new heaven and the new earth that will fill our hearts with delight and unfading joy. It’s the way it was meant to be before sin raped the landscape of our existence. It’s Eden all over again!
In this city there will be no power outages! Our text today tells us, “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp” (Rev. 21:23). And this Lamb, who conquered death, guarantees that there will be no more sorrow, death, or dying. In fact, He Himself will wipe away all our tears (Rev. 21:4)!
De-eclipse heaven in your heart and live with something to look forward to!
- Are you curious about what heaven will really be like? Read the following passages to get a sneak preview.Revelation 4:1-11; 21:10-27; 22:1-5.
- Compare your thoughts of heaven with the truth of God’s Word. Create two columns on a piece of paper. In one column, brainstorm a list of prevalent thoughts about heaven. In the other column, write the truth about what the Bible says about that topic.
- Pray and ask the Lord to keep the light of heaven alive in your heart. Thank Him for the promise of heaven for all those who believe.
Tags: Christianity, Father God, God, Jesu, Jesus Christ, John, Matthew 6:26, Religion and Spirituality
Look at the birds of the air . . . . Consider the lilies of the field . . . —Matthew 6:26, 28
The people who influence us the most are not those who detain us with their continual talk, but those who live their lives like the stars in the sky and “the lilies of the field”— simply and unaffectedly. Those are the lives that mold and shape us.
If you want to be of use to God, maintain the proper relationship with Jesus Christ by staying focused on Him, and He will make use of you every minute you live— yet you will be unaware, on the conscious level of your life, that you are being used of Him.
Tags: Ezra, God, Holy Land, Israel, Jew, Judaism, Second Temple, Temple
“For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.” — Ezra 7:10
Ezra, a great priest and teacher of Israel, was extremely blessed. When he began his journey to the Land of Israel he was given many gifts by the king of Persia who supported his initiative and even encouraged Jews to join him.
The king furnished Ezra with gold, silver, cattle for offerings, and as much food as he needed for the way. He gave Ezra power to govern in the Holy Land and waived taxes for anyone working in the Temple. This was a far cry from the previous kings who had outlawed building the Temple altogether!
In addition, Ezra and his followers journeyed safely and securely over the four month period that it took them to reach Israel. Nothing that they had brought with them was stolen or damaged along the way. A highly unlikely scenario in the ancient world!
What did Ezra do that allowed him such wonderful and unusual divine providence? It seems that he got a huge dose of help from above. Something that we could all stand to receive!
Judaism has an oral tradition that says “Align your will with My Will, in order that I will align My Will to your will” (Ethics of our Fathers 2:4). In other words, when we want what God wants, then God wants what we want. When we dedicate our lives to doing God’s work and His will, we become partners with Him. We play for the same team – and who wouldn’t want the Master of the Universe as their teammate?
The Scripture teaches us that Ezra wholly devoted his life to study, observance, and teaching the word of God. So it’s not surprising that God took extra special care of him. Ezra’s world revolved around God, and so God made the world revolve around him.
Now, this doesn’t mean that everyone needs to quit their jobs and become a teacher or scholar of the Scriptures! You can be fully committed to God’s will and still be a doctor, a business owner, a teacher, or a mother. There are always opportunities to pass along God’s word and God’s love. And of course we teach best by example – by living the words that we teach.
Without a doubt, there is always room to grow in our devotion to God. For the most part we are on the same page. “Don’t murder,” check. “Don’t steal,” got it. But then it can get a little more difficult: “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone” (Leviticus 19:18). “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves” (Proverbs 31:8). Not always so easy! But as we make it our will to do His will, God’s will becomes our priority, and we become His.