“He’s President, Not a Pastor” Is a Great Cop Out

I was going to avoid the subject, but after reading this excellent piece from Jonah Goldberg, I think I do want to say one thing.

Morality of the person matters.

Dennis Prager is a brilliant man and he has been consistent, going back to Bill Clinton, that the morality of a leader does not matter. Adultery does not matter. The policies do. On that, I think he has been consistently wrong.

The morality of the person matters. None of us are perfect, but the question is whether we revel in our sins and keep them going or do we repent and try to do better. I think that struggle not only shapes the policies of a person long term, but shapes the character of the nation the person leads. And I think the character of the nation long term is far more important than short term gains.

No one I know argues that an immoral person cannot deliver good policies. Bill Clinton delivered welfare reform and a balanced budget. And he did so with Newt Gingrich, both of them serial adulterers. To those, like Prager, who cite Kennedy’s failings, Roosevelt’s, and others — their sexual escapes were not paraded through the streets at the time like Trump’s. They didn’t publicly brag about it either. But when revealed, it certainly gave the left the ammunition to prop up Bill Clinton, because they did it too.

Long term, the defense of Clinton by the left made it far easier for both sides to embrace even more deeply flawed leaders. His character transmitted down. The President was getting orally serviced in his office by someone not his wife. It must be okay for others too. Or look now at the polling suggesting some men think Trump deserves a high five and applause for fulfilling their own fantasy of sex with a porn star. Let’s watch the breakup of families over the next generation. Hey, the President did it. Let’s watch kids engage in bullying tactics like the President. That’s already happening.

Sure, we are getting some short term good policies. We are getting good judges. We are getting tax reform. We are also getting an evangelical movement that no longer thinks morality matters in our leaders. After all, he is not a pastor, just a President.

Look at King David. Well, let’s look at King David. Every Trump humper who brings up King David fails completely at noting things did not work out well for David after Uriah’s death. Absalom plunged the kingdom into civil war. David had to flee Jerusalem. David ultimately turned back to God, repented, and led, but let’s not ignore the fall out on Israel of his personal moral failings. And then there was the ultimate division of the kingdom after Solomon, which was one of many ripples trickling down from David’s failures.

Likewise, the Northern Kingdom was vastly more prosperous and successful than the Southern Kingdom. In fact, Jeroboham developed a pagan religion he claimed was the true religion from Sinai and people looked at the success of the Northern Kingdom a proof positive that this was correct. The nation descended into a pagan sex cult and prospered, completely ignoring calls from prophets like Amos to repent.

The morality of the leader matters. It may not matter transactionally to you in the short term. But it greatly matters long term. We are already seeing people in this country turn even more antagonistically hostile to Christians because of evangelical support for our present immoral leader. You can see that as a partisan divide. But I see it as having long term consequences for evangelicals selling out their one true religion for a Northern Kingdom sex cult in the White House.

There is no guarantee that a moral man will make a good political leader. But there is, I think, a guarantee that the long term consequence of an immoral leader who gives you short term policies you like will be far more devastating long term than the moral man who fails to deliver short term policies you like.

Scientology & The President: Leah Remini May Have a Surprising New Ally

One of the most fascinating documentary series to hit television in a long time is Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath. The Emmy-winning show, which just wrapped up its second season, has done a tremendous job exposing the heartbreaking abuses at the hands of the church, as well as the great lengths Scientology has gone to cover them up.

The response to the series has been incredible, and the movement to strip the church (which is better labeled a cult) of its tax-exempt status is growing. Apparently, that movement includes someone with a sizeable bully pulpit: President Donald Trump.

The Hill reports:

Twitter messages from a Trump family friend and top official at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) claimed that Trump and his family “couldn’t agree more” that the church should lose its tax-exempt status.

“From The moment I saw your series I told President Trump & his family we needed to revoke their tax exempt status. They couldn’t agree more, but please don’t publicize that yet,” Lynne Patton wrote to actress Leah Remini in the messages obtained by HuffPost. “This is going to get done in the next 4 years or I’ll die trying. Knock on wood!”

Patton has been an associate of the Trump family since 2009, and she has promised to do research into stripping Scientology of its status as a church.

“I look forward to doing my part to help put an end to this ongoing nightmare and blatant misuse of our IRS rules & regulations,” Patton wrote to Remini. “I want to do more research on Scientology’s history with the IRS, to date, so that I can better understand what tactics have been applied and where we can pick up.”

But there’s a problem. Experts say that administration influence may be illegal.

“For the White House or any administration official to try and influence who the IRS targets, for whatever reason, is wrong and could result in a violation of the law,” said former general counsel of the Federal Election Commission Larry Noble. “The IRS must make these decisions independently without any influence by the White House or administration officials.”

That could very well be true. But then again, you can find somebody who’s going to go on record saying that most anything Trump says or does violates some law.

Scientology is a dangerous cult that abuses children, breaks up families, extorts money from its followers, and in some cases has forced women to abort their babies. I’m immensely proud of Leah Remini, her co-host Mike Rinder, and the dozens of former Scientologists who have come forward to expose their former faith for the fraud that it is.

I welcome Trump’s support in the fight to expose Scientology for what it truly is. It must be stopped, and if it takes the influence of the President of the United States, so be it.

Critics: Keith Urban Song ‘Female’ is Transphobic, Mansplains, and Too Heavy on Biblical References

Last night at the CMA’s, country music singer Keith Urban performed a new song called “Female.”

https://twitter.com/CountryMusic/status/928473236114882560

The singer was inspired to produce and release this song immediately, especially in wake of revelations in Hollywood involving serial creep Harvey Weinstein. Urban was inspired by those speaking out against Weinstein— particularly the females. Urban is married to Academy Award-winning actress and fellow Aussie Nicole Kidman, who has worked closely with Weinstein in the past.

What inspired him to grab onto the song? Him being surrounded by strong women in both his personal and professional life:

“As a husband and a father of two young girls, it affects me in a lot of ways,” Urban told Billboard earlier. “And as a son — my mother is alive. It just speaks to all of the females in my life, particularly. For a guy who grew up with no sisters in a house of boys, it’s incredible how now I’m surrounded by girls. But not only in my house; I employ a huge amount of women in my team. The song just hit me for so many reasons.”

Here’s what he told reporters at the awards ceremony last night:

“When I heard this song, I felt very strong about the spirit in the song,” Urban told Fox News on the red carpet at the 51st Country Music Associated Awards.

“I’m in the middle of making my record but when I heard that song, I just pushed everything to the side,” he told us.

“I said, ‘I really want to record this song right now.”

Take a listen to the song for yourself:

Urban touches upon the various, multifaceted roles women take. As the lyrics note:

“Sister, shoulder, daughter, lover

Healer, broken halo, mother

Nature, fire, suit of armor

Soul survivor, holy water

Secret keeper, fortune teller

Virgin Mary, scarlet letter

technicolor, river wild

Baby girl, woman child/Female.”

I see nothing wrong with this, but many critics assert he’s mansplaining about sexual harassment, is transphobic assigning women with the female gender, and inserting Biblical references.

The Verge thought it was weird for Urban, a practicing Catholic, to reference Adam and Eve in his song “Female”:

When somebody laughs and implies that she asked for it

Just cause she was wearing a skirt

Now is that how it works?

When somebody talks about how it was Adam first

Does that make you second best?

Or did he save the best for last?

There are no annotations on this verse yet, either. I’m not sure what’s stopping people from wading in here. Maybe it’s Keith’s choice to put sexual assault on the same plane as vaguely rude readings of Bible stories? Maybe it’s the insertion of creationism into a song that is otherwise not really about disproved science?

A man who respects women believes they are made in the image of God, but how dare they be told they differ in biology yet play an important role in complementing men? Blasphemous!

One Twitter user suggested Urban keep his mouth shut on women because not all women are females. Huh?

The tweet has since been deleted, but women were rightfully quick to criticize this idiotic tweet.

 

However, the song was generally well-received:

Of all the musical genres out there, country music is the most transcendent and uplifting out there — even with the bro-country and pop-country that has emerged in recent years. Country music hasn’t become tainted like rap or pop has, so many so-called cultural critics who seek to restructure politics are eager to taint good music too. Leave country music alone!

Urban should be applauded for writing a song about true female empowerment. Strong women are usually supported by strong men. Men must be equally uplifted and should be acknowledged when they condemn piggish behavior by other individuals belonging to the same gender.

I, for one, will play “Female” on a regular basis and hope you do too.

Save the Adoption Tax Credit

Sadly, Republicans in Congress want to kill the adoption tax credit. While its “cost” to the tax plan amounts to only around $1 million of the $1.5 trillion total cost, the adoption tax credit makes it possible for many people to adopt who otherwise would not.

Most children are adopted into lower middle income and middle income families. The cost of an adoption runs upwards of $60,000.00. The tax credit only defrays costs up to $13,490.00, but that really matters to those families.

Children adopted into families also put less strain on state services. The longer a child remains in foster and state orphan care, the more the state’s expense on those children go up. The GOP often talks about dynamic scoring, but they are ignoring this aspect when factoring the cost of the tax credit.

The pro-life, pro-family claims of the GOP must seriously be questioned if they can keep funding Planned Parenthood while killing the adoption tax credit.

Please text the word ADOPT to 52886 and demand the GOP restore the adoption tax credit to their tax reform plan.

Hollywood and Weinstein

DR Radio: Harvey, Hefner, and Las Vegas

In this edition of DR Radio, Jay, Brian, and Hadley look at the moral “superiority” of Hollywood and the Weinstein fiasco, the latest Trump controversies, and what the Las Vegas shooting means.

To listen in, you can watch via the video player above or you can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes or Android.

Beer | Crafted: Beer+Faith+Community

The pastor of a small church plant in Missoula, Montana discovered small, unmet needs in the community around him; shoveling snow for those homebound, helping relocate those caught in an abusive relationship, being community for those without community. But the work needed support to continue. What better way to raise support than by brewing a specialty beer? A beer for the common man. A beer fit for community involvement.

This is the story of a beer that brought a community together. (2013)

Bake This Particular Cake, Bigot

The American media would have you believe there is a concerted effort among Christians in America to discriminate against gay Americans. “No gays allowed,” they claim small Christian business owners are saying. It is a fiction created to avoid dealing with the facts. The fact is I am unaware of any Christian business that refuses to serve gay customers, but I am aware of many gay activists targeting Christian small businesses for persecution.

The latest issue is also the one where the left has most dramatically overplayed its hand. Jack Phillips, a baker in Denver, CO, has been compared to a Nazi participating in the Holocaust. A member of Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission said that. What crime did Phillips commit? He dared to offer a cake to a gay couple for their same-sex wedding.

You may need to read that last sentence again. Phillips is both a committed Christian and a renown artist. His cakes are elaborate creations. Phillips was willing to provide a cake for the same-sex wedding, but Phillips was not willing to provide his extra artistic talents for the particulars that the couple wanted. They could have the wedding cake, but he was not going to customize it the way they wanted it. For that, Phillips had to be prosecuted.

Before going further, it would be helpful for you to know just how committed a Christian Phillips is. He will gladly bake a cake for a gay person, but he will not bake a cake for a Christian who wants a Halloween themed cake. Phillips believes Halloween is a pagan holiday that dishonors God, so he will not lend his artistry to its celebration. He will not bake cakes for anyone’s second wedding, even if a church is willing to do the wedding. Divorce is a sin. Phillips will not bake cakes celebrating other religions’ religious holidays.

But Phillips was willing to bake a cake for the gay couple for their wedding. Still, he must be prosecuted because he would not customize it the way they wanted. For that, he must be shamed, boycotted, and compared to a Nazi. His case is now before the Supreme Court. He goes in the company of Baronelle Stutzman. She regularly provided flowers to a gay couple in Washington. She had a long list of gay customers that she lovingly served. But Stutzman would not provide flowers for same-sex wedding of her long time customers. The couple did not file charges against Stutzman. They were, after all, friends and long time customers. But the State of Washington pursued her anyway.

Stutzman was found guilty of discrimination by the Washington State Supreme Court and risks losing her home, her business, and even her dog because of the judgment unless His Majesty Anthony Kennedy, the supreme ruler of the United States, deigns to carve out some small exception for Christians in private enterprise.

It really all comes down to Anthony Kennedy, who decided the Supreme Court had the power to change the multi-thousand year old definition of marriage, despite the government not having created it. Now Kennedy will tell us whether the First Amendment’s “free exercise of religion” language means we can actually freely exercise our religion or only believe it without living it.

What the Christians before the United States Supreme Court want is not a ruling that says they can discriminate against gays and turn away a gay couple from their business. All they want is a ruling that says their artistic talents are speech and their speech cannot be compelled to endorse a religious ceremony they disagree with.

The compromise here should be obvious. Just as we should abhor the idea of forcing a black printer to print the fliers for a Klan rally or forcing the muslim butcher to carve a pig for a church barbecue, we should not force the Christian to provide goods and services to a religious ceremony their religion decries as sin. You may disagree, but who are you to tell someone else how to live his faith? Anthony Kennedy, though, is our supreme ruler and he will tell us all.

To find out more about Erick Erickson and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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