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Celebrities and Citizens share their “Obama moment”

The White House produced a video of celebrites and citizens sharing their most memorable moment of President Obama’s presidency. Each one relates their “Obama moment” as a final farewell in these last days of his administration.

I won’t offer much commentary on this. It is precisely what we would all expect. Still, I can’t help but notice that about half the country would mourn some of the things being celebrated as “progress” in this video. It’s a striking reminder of how divided our country remains over fundamental issues of justice and truth. And that is not likely to change anytime soon.

We must call it what it is–evil.

The Washington Post reports on Dylan Roof’s sentencing for the murder of nine people in Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in 2015. The lede says this:

Six weeks after he shot and killed nine people at a Charleston church, Dylann Roof lamented in a jailhouse journal that he could no longer go to the movies or eat good food. But he still felt the massacre was “worth it” because of what he perceived as the wrongs perpetrated by the black community.

“I would like to make it crystal clear, I do not regret what I did,” Roof wrote. “I am not sorry. I have not shed a tear for the innocent people I killed.”

The journal was the centerpiece of prosecutors’ opening bid to convince jurors that Roof, 22, deserves the death penalty for slaying nine black parishioners of the city’s historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in 2015. Roof was convicted last month of federal hate crimes for the shooting, and Wednesday marked the first day in the penalty phase of his trial.

There is much to be said about this, but I want to make one observation. This is one instance in which our culture’s penchant for therapeutic platitudes will not suffice. It is not enough to say that this young man is “disturbed” or “ill” or “troubled.” Whatever else we call this, we have to acknowledge that what he did was evil. His own expressed motivations for the massacre were also evil. This young man has expressed racial animus and hatred that is abhorrent and wicked. And he freely and openly owns all of it. This is moral evil of the first order, and no one should shrink from saying so because of a cultural allergy to moral absolutes and judgments.

When “fake news” comes from both right and left

Albert Mohler has a really thoughtful commentary on “fake news” today. He is in large part responding to Sarah Pulliam Bailey’s piece at The Washington Post on the same subject. Bailey is lamenting the fact that too many evangelicals have too much credulity toward “fake news” and too much incredulity toward real news delivered according to real standards of journalism.

Mohler is sympathetic with Pulliam Bailey on this point. He agrees that there really is a qualitative difference between mainstream outlets and other “news” sources that have no editorial accountability. But Mohler also raises the very real problem that mainstream outlets have with detecting their own ideological bias, which sometimes distorts their reporting and which has led many conservative Americans to believe that “fake news” is the stock-in-trade of mainstream outlets.

I think Mohler is making a point here that newsrooms need to come to terms with. Liberal bias in mainstream outlets is real. And when it becomes the vehicle for the bullying false narratives of the far left, it has real life consequences for real people. It also has the effect of driving the bullied away from those outlets. Continue Reading →

Michael Moore, Joe Scarborough discuss the election of Donald Trump

Michael Moore predicted five months ago that Donald Trump would win the 2016 presidential election. He knew then what the coastal elites just learned on Tuesday–that the Democratic Party is out of touch with its working-class voter base.

Moore appeared on “Morning Joe” this morning to discuss the election and its aftermath. It’s a fascinating conversation revealing how liberals are processing this election. It also reveals that the divide in our country is not going to abate now that the election is over. If Moore is right, it is only going to intensify. Liberals are not making their peace with Trump.

Trump on using nukes: “If we have them, why can’t we use them?”

On “Morning Joe” today, Joe Scarborough was interviewing a former Director of Central Intelligence and ex-National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden. The former director’s remarks were alarming all by themselves. But Joe issued the most chilling report I think I’ve ever heard about Trump, but one that certainly confirms my suspicions about him. This is very important for you to read below or watch above. Joe reports:

Several months ago, a foreign policy expert on international level went to advise Donald Trump. And three times [Trump] asked about the use of nuclear weapons. Three times he asked… “If we have them, why can’t we use them?” That’s one of the reasons he doesn’t have foreign policy experts around him.

If you watch the video above, you’ll notice the gravity with which Joe delivered this news. All the usual jocularity and lightness were gone, and it was met by the panel with stunned silence. Why?

Because they know the temperament and character of the candidate and because you can’t have that kind of trigger-happy person in charge of the nuclear codes.

Here is a scenario that is not hard to imagine given what Trump has said he would do as president. Trump has said repeatedly that he would call our troops home from South Korea unless South Korea starts paying the United States.

So let’s say Trump is elected and takes office next January. Within a month of taking office, he begins negotiating with South Korea about the status of our forces along the demilitarized zone. Negotiations break-down when South Korea balks at the sum President Trump wants them to pay. They ask for an extension of negotiations. A petulant President Trump says “no” and removes our troops from South Korea.

At some point after our troops are gone, North Korea moves against South Korea–either with an army marching across the line or with missile strikes on Seoul. This wasn’t part of Trump’s “hardball negotiation” strategy, and now he realizes that he’s just been humiliated by North Korean aggression.

Do you think it’s within Trump’s character to clean up his own foreign policy mess (and avenge his own personal slight) with a tactical nuclear strike against North Korea? What if he looks at his generals and says to them the same thing Joe Scarborough just reported: “If we have them, why can’t we use them?”

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Dallas Police Chief: “We’re asking cops to do too much”

Dallas police chief David Brown held a candid press conference yesterday. The video above is a remarkable excerpt in which he says:

I’m a person of faith. I believe [the fact that] I’m able to stand here and discuss this with you is a testament to God’s grace and his sweet tender mercy. Just to be quite honest with you…

We’re asking cops to do too much in this country. We are. We’re just asking us to do too much. Every societal failure, we put it off on the cops to solve. Not enough mental health funding? Let the cops handle it. Not enough drug addiction funding? Let’s give it to the cops. Here in Dallas we got a loose-dog problem. Let’s have the cops chase loose dogs. Schools fail? Give it to the cops. Seventy percent of the African-American community is being raised by single women. Let’s give it to the cops to solve that, as well. That’s too much to ask.

He is absolutely right about this. We need the police. We need them big time. But the biggest problems we face as a society cannot be solved by better policing. Mental health? Fatherlessness? Drug Addiction? Failing schools? The police can punish public vice, but they cannot cultivate consciences. They cannot form character. They cannot create the culture of virtue necessary for the flourishing of a free people. The sword of Caesar is powerful, but not that powerful–not by a mile.

No the biggest problems we face are fundamentally spiritual in nature. If we fail to see that, we fail to see things as they are.

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A showstopper at the Lincoln Memorial

A couple of weeks ago, tourist G. Star Swain belted out an impromptu performance of the national anthem at the Lincoln Memorial. Bottom line. She can flat out sing. And this is one of those renditions that gives you goose bumps. Her friend videoed the whole thing, and it has now gone viral. It has even been covered on news broadcasts by more than one network. Watch the performance above. See the coverage below. Continue Reading →

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Supreme Court refuses to defend religious liberty for pharmacists

Last week, I was at a meeting hosted by The Alliance Defending Freedom. There I was introduced to a Christian family who was ordered by the State of Washington to sell abortion-inducing drugs in their family-owned pharmacy (see their story above). This family and two other pharmacists believe that killing unborn children is wrong, and so they sued the state for relief.

In 2012, a federal court ruled that the law violated the free exercise clause of the first amendment and that the law was “riddled with exemptions for secular conduct, but contain no such exemptions for identical religiously-motivated conduct.”

In 2015, however, a federal appeals court overruled and said that the pharmacists and family must violate their consciences in order to do business in Washington State. The family and the pharmacists appealed their case to the Supreme Court.

This morning, the Supreme Court denied to hear their appeal. It means that the lower court ruling stands and that they cannot do business in Washington State unless they are willing to violate their religious beliefs.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote a dissent against the Supreme Court’s decision, and he was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Clarence Thomas. You need to read this excerpt from the dissent:

“This case is an ominous sign. At issue are Washington State regulations that are likely to make a pharmacist unemployable if he or she objects on religious grounds to dispensing certain prescription medications. There are strong reasons to doubt whether the regulations were adopted for—or that they actually serve—any legitimate purpose. And there is much evidence that the impetus for the adoption of the regulations was hostility to pharmacists whose religious beliefs regarding abortion and contraception are out of step with prevailing opinion in the State. Yet the Ninth Circuit held that the regulations do not violate the First Amendment, and this Court does not deem the case worthy of our time. If this is a sign of how religious liberty claims will be treated in the years ahead, those who value religious freedom have cause for great concern. The Stormans family owns Ralph’s Thriftway, a local grocery store and pharmacy in Olympia, Washington. Devout Christians, the Stormans seek to run their business in accordance with their religious beliefs…. Ralph’s has raised more than ‘slight suspicion’ that the rules challenged here reflect antipathy toward religious beliefs that do not accord with the views of those holding the levers of government power. I would grant certiorari to ensure that Washington’s novel and concededly unnecessary burden on religious objectors does not trample on fundamental rights.” [underline mine]

The fortunes of religious liberty are waning in our country right now. The notion has been diminishing in the popular consciousness, and now the Supreme Court is declining to defend our first freedom as well. Alito is right, this is a “cause for great concern.” If the state can ignore the first amendment and coerce these Christians to violate their conscience, then the state can do anything.

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The zoo was right to kill the gorilla to protect the boy

There’s a scene in the movie Man of Steel when Clark Kent’s dad sacrifices his life to save a dog. It’s very dramatic, and it’s portrayed as heroic. But despite all the pathos and drama, there’s nothing heroic about treating a dog’s life as the moral equivalent of a human life. In fact, it’s an evidence of pagan decadence to think like that, which is why that scene made sense to American movie-goers in 2013 but would have made no sense to Americans of previous generations. Continue Reading →

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