Yes, I’m Jumping to Conclusions on Sutherland Springs Church Shooting

A man walked in to a small Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, outside of San Antonio this morning during worship and massacred the congregation. Nearly half the 50 attendees are dead, and 20 more (according to reports) wounded.

I am prepared to jump to a conclusion.

It was evil, and regardless of who did it and why, it was not done as a result of Christian teaching or actions. It was, in fact, done by a person who does not in any way follow Jesus Christ. Labels do not apply here. If the shooter was nominally a “Christian,” I say he was not.

A person who does this, however, could be of another religious persuasion, where many condone this kind of act.

There’s no possible way a Christian could do this. I am not falling into the “No True Scotsman” fallacy here. I mean this literally. A Christian produces the fruit of the Spirit of God–the Holy Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Murder is not a fruit of the Spirit. Nobody is commissioned as judge, jury and executioner in the Bible. This morning, at our church, the sermon turned to Numbers 15, where God ordered a man stoned to death for picking up sticks on the Sabbath.

Some will inevitably raise this kind of Scripture, whether the shooter turns out to identify as Christian, atheist, Muslim or whatever. They will draw an equivalence to other evil acts, essentially saying that God ordered murder–therefore God violates His own commandments and is evil.

Theologically, morally, and logically, the arguments are rubbish. The Scripture says “the Lord said to Moses, ‘The man shall be put to death.'” The punishment was harsh, but it was also for the individual, not for the crime. God didn’t say “all Sabbath-breakers must be put to death.” God is a perfect judge–the only perfect judge. God told Moses, and the congregation, acting as government, executed the sentence. It was the death penalty, and regardless of what we think about the penalty or the severity of the crime, it was God who ordered it under His authority.

The moral equivalence arguers will bring up Joshua’s conquest of Canaan. Joshua didn’t actually do what the Lord commanded, and many, many multiples of lives, over the number that God commanded Joshua to take, have been lost over the centuries.

Millions of Muslims today hold to a version of Islam that condones physical jihad against Christians, slaughtering them while they worship at church. It happened in Minya province last May in Egypt, where 28 Coptic Christians were killed and 25 were wounded in an attack on their bus. In December 2015, 25 Christians were murdered at church in a bombing. If the shooter was a Muslim, some other Muslims will cheer this act.

If the shooter called himself a Christian, we might puzzle over “what happened” but nobody can make the connection that a person with Christ in his heart could do this. Full stop.

I’m jumping to a conclusion that the shooter could have been an atheist. The shooter could have been an ISIS-inspired radical Muslim, following an interpretation of the Quran which has a serious theological following. But the shooter could not have been an actual Christian, for no serious Bible scholar interprets the Scripture in a way that condones mass murder of any group.

Call me closed-minded, or claim I’m falling for the “No True Scotsman” fallacy all you want. I don’t care if the shooter walked straight in from preaching at his own pulpit–he could not be a Christian.

This is the biggest problem the modern American church has. By refusing to call out sin where we find it–actual Biblical sin–we open ourselves up to anyone calling themselves “Christian” then going out and doing evil. This shooting was evil and sinful. Would God have forgiven it? The Bible says yes, although the shooter is dead and has no further opportunity for grace.

There’s only one category of Christian that matters: We are all former sinners.

I mourn the dead and pray for the survivors and the families of all in this horrific slaughter. But I won’t tolerate anyone claiming it was done by an actual Christian, no matter what he called himself.

Dems Embrace Conspiracy GA-6 Was Rigged by Russians, Ignoring DNC Actual Rigging

Democrats poured something like $50 million dollars last spring into Georgia’s 6th CD special election to replace–ahem–Tom Price. The young guy who nobody now remembers, Jon Ossoff, lost to veteran Karen Handel, who was quickly sworn in.

Back then, there were conspiracy speculations by various unreliable and nefarious left-wing publications, notably the Washington Post, that the only reason Handel won was because the Russians hacked the election (and the November 2016 election too).

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, when it was revealed that a compromised server containing Georgia election records was wiped by IT staff. This prompted Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens to quit his defense of Secretary of State Brian Kemp (who is running for governor)’s office in a lawsuit involving the server.

The lawsuit by accountability group Coalition for Good Governance and the Constitution Party of Georgia alleges that the state’s electronic voting machines are hopelessly vulnerable to hacking. As part of that suit, a server run Kennesaw State University’s Center for Election Systems was cited as having “a gaping security hole” that wasn’t fixed for six months after it was reported.

Now that server is, umm, blank, like Hillary Clinton’s. Except the FBI seems to have an “image” of the server. And Kemp claims that KSU’s IT staff doesn’t work for him, and were following their own procedures dealing with vulnerabilities. I guess nobody told them the server was needed for a lawsuit.

Anyhow…

Rep. Hank Johnson has told local Atlanta TV station 11Alive that Ossoff’s loss must have been Russian hackers throwing the race to Republicans.

“A difference of about 3200 votes,” recalled US Rep. Hank Johnson. The Democrat had employed Ossoff as a congressional aide. Ossoff stayed consistently ahead in most polls leading up to the runoff – then lost on election night.

“I think it’s quite possible that Jon Ossoff won that election and the election was stolen from him. That’s my suspicion,” Johnson said Monday.

Russians messed with fake news and both presidential campaigns, Ossoff lost in a district that has a massive GOP tilt and an election data server was wiped: Ipso facto, the election was rigged. And Pizzagate is real. And they’re turning the frogs gay.

But in fact, for real rigging they need look no further than the DNC, which rigged Hillary Clinton’s nomination tighter than a racing yacht in a regatta.

Jon Ossoff lost because he wasn’t a good enough candidate to beat Handel. He couldn’t overcome “dude, you don’t live in the district.” Handel has lived there 25 years, won an election as Georgia Secretary of State (ironically, the position held by Kemp), lost a race for governor, and a race for U.S. Senator. Ossoff’s greatly padded resume only beat George Papadopoulos’s by a hair (Ossoff was an actual Congressional intern versus a model UN participant).

Hillary Clinton bought and paid for the DNC, and by extension she bought and paid for the nomination. She and the DNC bought and paid for the Trump “dossier.” There’s more evidence to speculate that Hillary bought and paid for Loretta Lynch to rig her non-indictment than there is that GA-6 was thrown by the Russians.

Hell, there’s more evidence that Maggie Hassan stole the NH Senate seat from Kelly Ayotte than there is of Russians handing Handel the Georgia race.

But truthers are gonna truth, and Democrats are going to scream “Russia.” That is, until they are in the White House to do their own Kremlin deals.

Hillary Clinton Elected Donald Trump, and Bumbled Democrats To Idiots, Communists and Criminals

It’s amusing to go back a couple of years (has it been that long? It seemed like an eternity at the time) and read how Donald Trump was a Democrat plant to get Hillary Clinton elected. Now it’s becoming more apparent that the opposite is true.

Through her own bumbling, “I’m right and you’re stupid” attitude, which infected her Brooklyn-based hipster HQ, Hillary Clinton was a Democrat plant to get Donald Trump elected president, and sell out her party to carpetbaggers, communists, criminals and useful idiots.

Democratic strategist Stanley Greenberg is from the same era as Hillary Clinton, but cut from different cloth. Instead of going the pandering social justice lawyer route, Greenberg, 72, got his Ph.D. from Harvard as a political scientist. He taught at Yale for a decade then went into consulting. He’s been with the Clintons for a very long time–in the same company as James Carville and Bob Shrum.

Greenberg is absolutely convinced that Clinton, and the Democrats in general, are guilty of “malpractice.” They are so insulated and bubble-bound that they have no idea what’s going on in the world outside their elitist city-dwelling circles.

“Look at Virginia right now,” Greenberg said, as soon as we sat down in his second-floor office. “We have a candidate”—Ralph Northam, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee—“running as Hillary Clinton. He is running on the same kind of issues, and has the same kind of view of the world. It’s the Republicans who talk about the economy, not the Democrats.”

If you want to read the whole sad story–which has Democrats covering their ears and yelling “La La La” and looking away when it’s in front of their noses, read Greenberg’s review of the book “Shattered” written up in the leftist rag American Prospect. It’s titled “How She Lost.” In this case, the losers get to write their own history, versus Hillary’s idiotic attempt to explain what happened, as if she was a passenger in a vehicle that somehow ran full speed into a tree.

But many Hillaryites believe Herself’s account of the accident called 2016 that apparently came out of nowhere (or Russia) despite Her best efforts to attain what should have been Her birthright. The argument has split the party on the lines of those who believe Democrats should be the party of identity politics, or the party of workers. The identity crowd so far has won, because they believe that certain groups, like African-Americans, Latinos, and the ever-downtrodden women belong forever to Democrats.

But they have lost the fact that unions no longer monolithically control voter blocs, and that Democratic litmus tests and anger points are not shared by many voters they really need in order to win. Donald Trump is the only issue they’re campaigning on, and even with his personal approval rating beneath the basement, that may not be enough to overcome the leftward pull of the “Bernie bros and Sandernistas.”

The anger within the Democratic Party at how Clinton literally stole the nomination is palpable, and generally underestimated or glossed over by the cash- and donor-starved DNC.

But more centrist Democrats worry that she couldn’t do so without forever alienating not only the Trump base but also the Wall Street moneymen who have provided the Party with key financial backing ever since Bill Clinton introduced his New Democrats to the nation, in 1992. As for Trump’s angry white working class, no one’s sure if there are any Democrats at all in the mix for 2020 who can really speak to them. And to the extent that there are such politicians, figures like Biden or Senator Sherrod Brown, of Ohio, no one’s sure there’s a real place for such a candidate in a party moving left quickly.

Democrats have become, in a very real way, the party of hate, intolerance, and closed-mindedness. That’s what identity politics leads to. Bill Clinton, by comparison, was an absolute bridge-builder, if a moral cipher. Bill’s political nose smelled failure a mile off in the Hillary campaign, and he was pushed away like excess baggage.

Going forward to 2018 and 2020, the carpetbaggers, criminals and useful idiots talk like they’ve got this thing in the bag. And they may make significant gains as Republicans realign into the Party of Trump, with retirements and exits galore. But they may not make as many gains as they think.

If Democrats can’t win against Donald Trump or his own unpopular party, they really have no one to blame but Hillary Clinton. That’s good news for America, because we have a better chance to make progress toward responsible government with Trump’s elites than the communists, criminals, and carpetbaggers in the Democratic Party.

Falwell’s Shameful Attack on Christian Free Speech Proves He Worships Trump More Than God

One of the byproducts of getting too political is incessant paranoia. I know because I’ve run some campaigns. Jerry Falwell, Jr. has slid into the paranoid, and abandoned any pretense of where his priorities lie–he worships Donald Trump more than God.

As a Christian, I know how politics poisons the soul. And now we see exactly how worldly Falwell has become as the poison takes effect. Christian evangelist and author Jonathan Martin came to the Liberty University campus, and was promptly ejected by armed officers, served with a citation and warned that should he return, he will be arrested.

This is the stuff of UC Berkeley and antifa. It should not be the stuff of Liberty University and Donald Trump. See, Martin is not a fan of the president.

It was this behavior, culminating in a report that Falwell was teaming up with Steve Bannon to oust “fake Republicans,” that prompted Martin to travel to Lynchburg, Virginia, on Monday. His goal was to meet with students and alumni to organize a prayer gathering in protest of the school and its leader’s political activity.

Martin was not on campus to organize a rally for the KKK, or to invite Richard Spencer to hold a tiki-torch parade. He was not there to bring in antifa goons to throw rocks and feces at police. He was not there to bus in a few thousand of Linda Sarsour’s vagina-hat brigade. He was there to pray with students. He was invited by a music group, JOHNNYSWIM,  performing on campus. He didn’t trespass.

Yes, he was going to pray that Liberty and its leader, Jerry Falwell, Jr., would abandon their disastrous political course and assume the proper role of a school dedicated to training Christians for the mission field–that field being whatever endeavor they take up. Liberty has trained journalists, lawyers, pastors and others–many of whom do not share Falwell’s devotion to Trump, or his penchant for getting political in the extreme.

But Falwell wouldn’t have anyone praying on his campus against his god (that is, Trump). So, in the name of Jesus, he had Martin expelled, though Martin was invited by a band performing on campus.

Falwell’s weak response defended Donald Trump and Steve Bannon. He argued that allowing Martin to pray would lead to hosting the KKK or Nazis or “Antifah” (sic). What utter rubbish.

It’s a private campus. Liberty can allow Martin to pray–to God–in a way that’s politically unsavory to Falwell’s politics (but acceptable to Jesus!) without compromising his ability to keep truly ungodly groups out later. His implication is, therefore, that praying against Donald Trump is tantamount to praying against God Himself.

A more presumptuous, anti-free-speech, ungodly position could not have been better spoken by King Herod Agippa I (see Acts 12:23), just before an angel struck him down and he was “eaten by worms.” Because he did not give glory to God.

Neither does Falwell give glory to God. He gives glory to Trump. He’s not alone here.

I am completely certain that not one of Pastor Robert Jeffress’ words in that tweet bring glory to God. Yet this man stands in the pulpit, week after week, supposedly exhorting his congregation to follow God, while injecting every second of his life with poisonous politics.

Both Jeffress and Falwell have become paranoid and have abandoned God for their personal orange idol, who neither created the world not saved it from sin.

And now, Falwell has turned against free speech and led Liberty University into shame by preventing a Christian from leading a prayer on his campus because he doesn’t like the man’s politics.

They both need to repent.

We Are In The Last Days: Jesus Isn’t Just All Right With ABC

…having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! (2 Timothy 3:5)

Whoopi Goldberg and the staff and producers of ABC’s “The View” would do well to learn this Scripture. In fact, they should learn it in context of what St. Paul wrote to Timothy.

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:  For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,  unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,  traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,  having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.  Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was. (2 Timothy 3:1-9)

You’d be hard-pressed to find a group of people more emblematic of that Scripture than the hosts and producers of “The View.” They just proved it Monday, in a discussion of which of God’s commandments might be obsolete (video above).

Seriously, they were discussing which commandments given by the Almighty Creator of the Universe we might simply ignore today, because God has become irrelevant or something. Goldberg even mockingly pointed to heaven and said “don’t hit me, God!”

At one point in the discussion (the 4 minute mark), Paula Farris mentioned that she was raised in a strict God-fearing family.

My parents were really strict about what we said in the home. We couldn’t say, ‘Oh, my God.’ We couldn’t say J.C., we couldn’t say Je- (bleeped out) … My son, we could say ‘Jeez’ … unless you were praising him, and then you could say, (bleeped out).”

The producers bleeped the name of Jesus, spoken in context of His power and relevance. Just before those remarks, Farris said “the great thing about the Bible and God, it’s the same yesterday, today and forever.” But Jesus is not to be spoken of publicly in this discussion, because His name is apparently not okay in a Biblical context.

Disney/ABC will broadcast all forms of blasphemy, including multiple and endless taking of the Lord’s name in vain. They will broadcast coarse language, cursing, and outright rejection of God and His power. But the name of Jesus, properly used, in Biblical context, must not be heard.

Honestly, I’m disgusted by it, but not at all surprised. So far, Disney itself hasn’t banned the mention of Jesus Christ from its theme parks or other venues–my family and I still pray out loud when we visit Disney properties and we haven’t been thrown out.

Walt Disney World still hosts the Night of Joy Christian music festival, albeit no longer in the park itself, but on property. I wonder how much longer that will continue, since censoring the name of Jesus is now a normal activity.

As the Scripture says, we are in the last days.

Anthony Rapp Owes Himself 30 Years of Kevin Spacey’s Back Rent

As I read the Buzzfeed report of Anthony Rapp being sexually molested by Kevin Spacey, one thing jumped out at me. And, yes, it was “molested.” A 26-year-old man doesn’t pick up a 14-year-old boy and “press himself” into him on a bed and call it anything else.

It’s not an “encounter.” It’s not “deeply inappropriate drunken behavior.” It is what it is, and it’s disgusting in any context.

But that’s not what jumped out at me.

Spacey said “I honestly do not remember the encounter.” That’s almost certainly true. I am sure that some in the LGBT community will give him a pass because he’s now come out as gay, and that’s just how things might roll in the  gay community (or did in 1986). Rapp is also gay, and from his Buzzfeed interview, knew he was gay when he was 14. Spacey knew what he was doing when he invited a young teen to an adult party at his apartment, where there’d be drinking and whatnot.

They both knew things that aren’t really being said, which makes what Spacey did all the more awful. He may have wanted to be Rapp’s “first.” I don’t know and I don’t care.

But that’s not what jumped out at me either. For nearly 32 years, Rapp carried this thing with him, like a ball and chain, everywhere he went. He told some people about it. He flirted with hiring an attorney. But there wasn’t really a case there.

Rapp avoided Spacey. The man became his bogeyman. Every notch that Spacey moved up in his career became a bleeding paper cut for Rapp; he couldn’t be happy for the man. He wondered if Spacey remembered the “encounter.”

For nearly 32 years, Kevin Spacey lived rent-free in Anthony Rapp’s head. (Kind of ironic since “Rent” was one of Rapp’s big roles on Broadway.) And what does Rapp get for that 32 years? Nothing. Bupkis. Spacey doesn’t even remember it. He probably forgot about it in 32 hours, never mind 32 years.

That look of vague recognition passing in a restroom might have been “Yeah I think that dude was at a party I threw a few decades ago,” or it may have simply been “Hey that’s Anthony Rapp, I liked him in ‘A Beautiful Mind’!” That’s what jumped out at me–there’s few things worse than carrying a grudge for decades when the object of the grudge is blissfully unaware of it, and furthermore, doesn’t even care.

Of course, Spacey cares. He said he owes Rapp “the sincerest apology” for something he admitted doesn’t remember even doing. That’s not closure for a man who has 32 years of back rent to pay. It doesn’t even begin to be closure.

It’s really sad, because there’s an answer for Rapp, and he could have taken it at any time since that night in New York. It’s forgiveness.

Not the fake “okay, I forgive you” then telling everyone how awful Spacey is. It’s forgiveness of the heart, and moving on. I don’t know if any of the various people with whom Rapp shared his story suggested this solution. But it is indeed the answer.

The other option–not forgiving–leads to all kinds of inequality. What I mean by that, is how bad was Spacey’s transgression versus, say, whoever raped Corey Haim? Or how bad was it compared to any of Harvey Weinsteain’s conquests? Or Bill Cosby’s drug-assisted rapes? Or Bill Clinton’s Oval Office escapades? You see where it leads?

But Rapp was just a kid. Yes. But Spacey didn’t actually rape him. Yes, also. But Spacey was drunk. True. Desire plus opportunity minus inhibition equals really bad behavior. That night, for Rapp, was Spacey at his worst. Perhaps, others will come out with stories of Spacey at his worst for them, which may or may not be worse than Rapp’s experience.

Kevin Spacey doesn’t deserve to be forgiven. Of course not. He deserves what he gets. Career in tatters, or worse. But that might not happen at all. Since Spacey used the occasion to out himself as a gay man, he might find a sympathetic audience in all the gay men who have had their worst moments of desire plus opportunity minus inhibition. All the gay men who, like straight men, did something they knew they shouldn’t have done.

How will Rapp feel when (if) Spacey gets a total pass, and all that back rent is never paid?

The answer, to me, is the same as it’s been for 2,000 years. Forgive, because none of us deserve forgiveness.

The only place where all our transgressions are truly equal, where none of the “but”s and comparisons matter, is the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ. Romans 3:23 says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. In His sinless life and sacrifice, all of us, no matter how relatively “good” or “worse” than others in comparison, we all fail and are undeserving of forgiveness.

God could carry the grudge of all grudges against humankind, and at the end, when we’ve all forgotten Him and ignored Him, He can have His revenge upon us. He can utterly destroy the living and consign the dead to Hell. But he chose to forgive anyway–that’s called grace.

My recommendation for Anthony Rapp is to extend grace to Kevin Spacey and forgive him. It’s what God has done for all of us.

I’m sure that statement will bring all kinds of angry responses from the gay community, about how evangelicals say that gays will go to Hell and are not forgiven. That’s just more of what Rapp carried around letting Spacey live rent free in his head. God has forgiven all sins, including the sin of homosexuality. Of course, that forgiveness must be accepted to have effect.

Holding on to a grudge against God, and failing to receive His forgiveness, failing to believe in Him (which means believing in His law and moral requirements) is a choice we all make individually to continue in our error and anger, or lay them down at the foot of the cross. I do pray that both Rapp and Spacey make that choice for themselves to reconcile to God–but that’s not what I mean by my advice to Rapp.

“To err is human, to forgive, divine,” is what Alexander Pope wrote and it’s universally true. The only way for Anthony Rapp to receive 32 years of back rent from Kevin Spacey is for him to pay it himself. And that, if you think about it, and think about Christianity, is the essence of the divine.

BREAKING Reports: Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Ordered to Surrender to Feds

The New York Times just broke the story:

Paul Manafort and his former business associate Rick Gates were told to surrender to federal authorities Monday morning, the first charges in a special counsel investigation, according to a person involved in the case.

Neither Gates nor Manafort could be reached for comment. Therefore CNN is now safe from the axe–the indictments appear to be on the level. Or the leakers are now expanding to include the NYT’s Matt Apuzo.

My bet is that it’s real.

Eric Chase Bolling Joined Thousands of Tragic Teen Opioid Deaths. It Has to Stop

Eric Chase Bolling was 19 years old when he was found in his bed, dead. The son of former Fox News host Eric Bolling’s death was ruled “an accidental overdose that included opioids.”

 

If you’re not a parent who has lost a child, you cannot possibly understand the grief and stress that the Bollings are experiencing. If you haven’t lost a teenager to opioids, you can’t stand on your soapbox and tell everyone how young Chase’s death could have been avoided.

He joined thousands of teens just like him who succumbed to the tragedy of opioids.

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) finds that overdose deaths among 15-to-19 year olds spiked more than 19% between 2014 and 2015. Prior to the increase, the death rate from drug overdoses actually fell 26% from 2007 to 2014.

Just three grams of Fentanyl is enough to cause an overdose. Fentanyl is everywhere. It’s prescribed for post-surgical pain, for cancer patients, and a while array of pain management protocols. Patches and pills are common. OxyContin and other opioids are flooding markets at an unprecedented rate.

Thursday afternoon, President Trump declared a national health emergency for opioids. All that’s necessary for us to fix this problem is the national will to do so.

“We can be the generation the ends the opioid epidemic. We can do it.”

The Hill reported that there’s only $57,000 currently allocated to deal with this kind of declaration, but Congress can allocate whatever they want. They should. They must.

Some problems cannot be solved by the will to do so. Violence, sin, and crime are matters of the heart. But drug addiction is one we can control better than we do. It might take money and changes to our medical procedures, but why would we not do it, simply because it’s hard and complex?

Money should not really be a limiting factor here. We didn’t put an economic limit on beating the Axis powers in World War II–the war had to be won, and the Greatest Generation had to be the generation to do it. This drug-addiction enemy is just as pernicious and dangerous. If we have another “war on drugs,” it needs to be this.

Congress must act. For the sake of Eric Chase Bolling and a whole generation of kids at risk for sudden death, we must summon the will to do what President Trump encouraged us to do: be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic.

Like Trump said, we can do it. We must do it.