Evan McMullin: From Never Trump to Never Gillespie

Evan McMullin must be looking to expand his brand.  Since his #NeverTrump shtick failed to impress Jeff Zucker enough for MSNBC to give him a show, it looks as if the erstwhile conscience of conservatism has moved on to attempted sabotage against other Republicans.  Or, as McMullin himself tells it:

Marketing 101, Evan—the sequel almost never does as well as the original, especially when nobody went to see the original in the first place.  Besides, #NeverGillespie just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Still, you have to give McMullin some credit—at least he’s not afraid to fall on his face, as his original campaign to play spoiler between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton shows.  But if that campaign went over like the New Coke of politics, this one seems more like Crystal Pepsi:  misbegotten from the start and incompetent in execution, yet so inconsequential in the scheme of things that it will scarcely be remembered.  If Northam wins, nobody will think that McMullin had anything to do with it.  And if Gillespie wins, McMullin will simply become the punchline in another joke.  It’s all downside, bruh.

I am left to wonder about this whole “white nationalism” angle, though.  As shades of pale go, Evan McMullin ranks at the extreme upper end of the spectrum.  He’s like a stockbroker who does a karaoke version of “Bust a Move” at his office Christmas party and trips all over the lyrics before the end of the first verse.  His idea of gangsta is less Tupac Shakur and more Vanilla Ice.  For him to call anyone out for being too Caucasian is beyond me.  If I didn’t know better, I’d swear the Latino Victory Fund hired McMullin to come up with that pickup truck ad.  Of course, if Evan had done it, he probably would have added “Just-a Good Ole Boys” to the soundtrack to make sure that everybody got the point.

On the bright side, however, at least he makes everyone who reluctantly pulled the lever for Donald Trump feel better about their vote.

Democrats Mock Thoughts and Prayers

Here is a nice little montage of Democrats, reporters and pundits questioning and mocking thoughts and prayers with no action. This is all about not taking action they want and nothing more.

The Adoption Tax Credit Should Be Non-Negotiable

The Republican Party claims it believes in dynamic scoring of tax cuts and various budgetary policies. Here is a fact. It costs the federal government more to help states care for children in foster care and orphanages each year than it does to give the adoption tax credit. The tax credit incentivizes lower and middle income families adopting children, removing those children from state care and taking them off government support.

On top of that, the children who remain in foster care and orphanages long term tend to then be at greater risk for crime, substance abuse, and government benefits due to unemployment or low wages. Placing these children in adoptive families long term lowers their costs to society and, in most cases, makes them actually be responsible long term tax payers.

In other words, the adoption tax credit actually leads to the creation of net new taxpayers. Dynamically, the GOP should be giving the adoption tax credit and even adding to it.

On a more practical side, but for the adoption tax credit, many families who have the heart to adopt simply cannot afford the process. Both domestic and foreign adoptions are very costly affairs and the wealthier an American is the less likely he is to adopt. Adoptions are in middle income families where the cost of an adoption will more often than not exceed a family’s annual income. They get help from churches and family in many cases, but they rely on the adoption tax credit. It is no coincidence that adoption rates in the United States went up after the adoption tax credit was enacted.

The GOP continues to fund Planned Parenthood while calling itself the pro-life, pro-family party. The adoption tax credit is a no brainer, saves the government money long term, and helps children in need. Use our action center below to tell your member of Congress and Senators to demand the GOP put the adoption tax credit in their tax reform plan.

Barack Obama’s Foreign Policy Is Leading the Middle East to War

In a nutshell, here’s the basics of what is happening in Saudi Arabia. Every single king of Saudi Arabia has been one of the 45 (!!!) sons of Ibn Saud, the first king of the modern House of Saud. King Salman is one of the youngest, replacing dead brothers. Well, now they are out of brothers to replace Salman so he has decided to name his oldest son and set up a dynastic succession within his line. But there are a bunch of princes whose fathers have already been king. The best way to stop them from exerting claims or playing tribal loyalties is to round them all up and arrest them. That part of the equation is easy. The other part of the equation, i.e. Saudi Arabia going to war with Yemen, declaring a state of war with Lebanon, etc. is also easy to understand. Barack Obama is to blame.

The left is vastly more interested in protecting Barack Obama’s legacy than ensuring a stable world. One of the key components of his legacy that is destabilizing the world is the Iran deal. It will allow Iran to build nuclear weapons and it has provided funding for Iran to renew funding Hezbollah. Iran is stretching its legs trying to assert power in the Middle East and Saudi Arabia is the only power in the Middle East that can contain Iran.

That is why the left in America was upset with President Trump defending King Salman today. The king and his son are modernizing Saudi Arabia, rounding up often convenient targets of public corruption, and liberalizing the country. It is not altruistic, but a way to force diversification with cheap oil prices right now and also to get the people on the King’s side against the King’s relatives.

This is normally something the American left would celebrate, but the efforts by Saudi Arabia run headlong into confronting Iran’s resurgence due to Barack Obama’s Iran deal. This is another reason President Trump should scuttle the deal. The engagement with Yemen, the saber rattling with Lebanon, and the direct sniping with Qatar and Iran are all about containing Shiite terrorist groups through whom Iran wants to exercise control over the Middle East.

And much of this would not be happening had Barack Obama not been so committed to his Iran deal. Of course, Democrats will scream in denial about all of this because rather than a stable world, they want a legacy for Barack Obama.

Hillsong Minister Exposes His Heart – May God Forgive Him

On the surface, Carl Lentz is almost a perfect parody of the hip, trendy, mega-church minister that seemingly spends more time in front of his make-up mirror than his Bible, more time consulting stylists than commentaries.  But writing off this pastor-to-the-celebrities of Los Angeles and New York City in such a way would be the textbook definition of judging a book by its cover – something that God warned His prophet Samuel not to do when searching for His chosen king: “For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

In other words, while ministers of the Gospel of Jesus prancing around in “black Nudie jeans and black T-shirts purchased at the hip boutique Oak” aren’t necessarily my cup of tea, the Kingdom of God is more important to me than my tea.  If wearing skinny jeans and Saint Laurent boots (another staple of Lentz’s fashion-conscious approach to ministry) is what brings celebrities like Justin Bieber, Hailey Baldwin, Vanessa Hudgens, Tyson Chandler, Kevin Durant and a host of other models, stars, and athletes in to Lentz’s Hillsong Church to hear the redemptive power of God’s Word, I’m thrilled.  Because they need to hear it.  We all do.

Unfortunately, last week Lentz went on ABC’s “The View,” and it wasn’t his outward appearance that had true believers in Christ cringing – it was his heart.  Pressed on what is one of the easiest questions to answer for anyone truly seeking the heart of Christ, Lentz fell flat on his face:

“So, it’s not a sin in your church to have an abortion?” pro-abortion host Joy Behar asked.

Let’s pause here to acknowledge the only appropriate response a man or woman of God gives to this question:

“Joy, sin isn’t something that is determined by a church.  There can’t be a sin in my church that isn’t a sin is someone else’s church.  That kind of understanding of sin leans on our own understanding rather than trusting in God.  At our church, we follow the admonition of Proverbs 3:5-6 and we calibrate our moral compass, our understanding of sin off of the only reliable foundation – God’s word.  And the word tells us unequivocally that human beings bear the image of God Himself, no matter the circumstances of their conception.  As believers in that truth, we certainly recognize it is sinful to take the life of another human made in God’s image.”

But that isn’t how Lentz answered.

Lentz responded: “That’s the kind of conversation we would have finding out your story, where you’re from, what you believe. … I mean, God’s the judge. People have to live to their own convictions. That’s such a broad question, to me, I’m going higher. I want to sit with somebody and say, ‘What do you believe?’”

I have tried – truly tried – to be as generous and charitable in analyzing this response as I possibly can be.  And I sincerely find no way to square any of this with the language of someone whose heart is in line with the heart of God.  This is tragic capitulation, compromise, and confusion packaged in a manner that wrongly claims some sort of moral high ground (i.e., “I’m going higher”).

“So it’s not an open and shut case to you?” Behar asked.  “Some people would say it is,” Lentz responded. “To me, I’m trying to teach people who Jesus is first, and find out their story. Before I start picking and choosing what I think is sin in your life, I’d like to know your name.”

Jesus told us, “the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Luke 6:45).  In these shocking few seconds, Carl Lentz revealed what his heart is full of – may God forgive him.

There is a reason that Scripture warns, “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly” (James 3:1).  Carl Lentz should acknowledge this warning, repent, and resign.  Not for my sake, not for the cause of the unborn, but for himself.

Because what Lentz demonstrated is not just a frightening willingness to scratch the itching ears of sinful men (2 Timothy 4:4), or a love for human praise more than praise from God (John 12: 43), but he revealed that he is willing to set up stumbling blocks for sinners to remain deceived (1 Corinthians 8:9) rather than open himself up to God to use as a vessel or conduit to convict the hearts of men with eternal Truth (2 Corinthians 5:20).

Carl Lentz was given his moment to defend the “least of these.”  He chose to pass.

Bowe Bergdahl Avoids Jail. The Texas Shooter Got Out After a Year. But the Guy Taking Selfies on the Submarine…

Bowe Bergdahl, who deserted, fell into the hands of the Taliban, and got multiple American soldiers killed because of their search for him, will get no jail time.

Devon Kelley, the Texas shooter, beat up his wife, cracked his son’s skull, and got let out of military jail after a year.

But the sailor who took pictures on a submarine is in jail for a year.

Military justice does not seem very just.

On the Kelley front, multiple people I have talked to said it made sense that he got a discharge for bad conduct, instead of a dishonorable discharge. The latter is typically reserved for desertion, murder, and other very serious matters that then allow for lengthy appeals following a general court martial. The military, I am told, prefers to handle matters through a different special court martial, which prohibits the dishonorable discharge label in how it is conducted. But by doing so, the process is quicker, the end result is often roughly equivalent, and appeal rights are more limited.

Notwithstanding that, Kelley in jail for just a year seems nuts and Bergdahl getting no jail time seems equally nuts. Then there’s the poor guy who took some selfies on a submarine. The post-Obama Defense Department is ripe from some clear reforms.

Not Good: Republican & Christian Support for Death Penalty is Falling

A recent op-ed in the Christian Post hailed the increasing number of Republican lawmakers who are sponsoring measures around the country to repeal the death penalty for convicted murderers and serial killers.  This has been accompanied, perhaps unsurprisingly, with an increase in the number of evangelical Christians who support ending capital punishment for capital crimes.

I am not among their number and am distressed at a move that so clearly demonstrates the collapsing reverence we hold for the sanctity of human life.

There’s a reason that in God’s ever-lasting covenant with Noah, the Creator ordained that “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed.”  And the reason wasn’t vengeance, anger, or retaliatory rage.  The reason followed in the very next line: “For in the image of God He made man.”

Human life is inviolable not because of anything it does, but because of what it is: a creature that bears the image of the Almighty.  When someone callously destroys such an esteemed and valued being, the penalty inflicted will demonstrate the value we assign to what has been lost.  In other words, when the state spares the life of a confessed or convicted murderer, it is implicitly assigning more value to the killer’s life than his victim’s.  That devalues the image of God carried by that victim as well.

If we truly value human life, we must regard it as so precious that nothing short of a life can equal its worth.

The Post op-ed, written by Heather Beaudoin (national coordinator for Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty), while heartfelt and well-intentioned, unfortunately remains Biblically misguided.  She writes,

God made us in His image, and despite our actions, we are the recipients of his love and mercy. Only God should be permitted to take a life.

Consider both of those statements.  Yes, we are made in His image, and He is indeed good and generous towards us despite what we do.  But remember the thief on the cross next to Jesus.  Jesus offered the man paradise but did not remove from him the just penalty for his crimes on earth.  God’s love and mercy are not to be confused with excuse for wrongdoing or lessening of punishment.

Further, the notion that, “Only God should be permitted to take a life” is a dangerous sentiment to express unless one is prepared to embrace an unrealistic pacifism that doesn’t comport with Biblical example or instruction.  For instance, does Beaudoin think members of the U.S. military were sinning when they killed Nazis?

Even being generous and assuming this argument references personal vengeance, that is not what is occurring with state sanctioned death penalties.  It is true that in Romans 12, Christians are told:

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. (v 19)

But how will the Lord “repay” the wrongdoer?  Keep reading a few more verses into Romans 13 and Paul gives the answer:

Whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.  For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.  For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

The Bible teaches clearly that we are not to take justice into our own hands and exact some sort of unauthorized vigilante justice on those who have taken the life of someone we care about.  We are to make room for God’s wrath.  And how does God executive that wrath?  Through His “agent of wrath” who “does not bear the sword for no reason,” but instead wields that sword to “bring punishment on the wrongdoer.”

A society that values the image of God is one that places the highest possible price tag on it with the severest consequence for those who dare to trample it.  It is therefore altogether unsurprising that as our culture continues to move in a direction of devaluing life, we are seeing support for the death penalty drop.  That isn’t a good thing.