One disadvantage of being born the same year as former President Bill Clinton (1946) is that I have been forced to be a contemporary eyewitness to Bill and Hillary Clinton's corruption of the American body politic.
They corrupt, corrode, and seduce everything they touch. They always conduct themselves as if they are above the law, starting with his lying to dodge the draft during the Vietnam War and including the infamous "it depends on what the meaning of 'is' is?" in the impeachment scandal.
Laws are for the little people, not Bill and Hillary.
And the announcement last Tuesday by FBI Director James Comey that, in spite of a withering description of Hillary's having broken the law,...Read more
A new book by Dr. Rodney Stark, titled The Triumph of Faith, subtitled "Why the World Is More Religious Than Ever," is causing quite a stir. Stark is the co-director of the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University where he also serves as Distinguished Professor of Social Sciences.
Stark takes on no less a task than debunking the "secularization thesis," supporters of which have asserted vigorously for at least half a century that religious belief and devotion are the domain of the ignorant and the poor. Their thesis asserts that as education, technology, and the resulting increased affluence advance, religious devotion and belief inevitably weaken, wither, and decline.
Millions of Americans have grieved over the terrible, heartbreaking scenes of suffering Syrians refugees (men, women, and children) as they have fled the horrible violence and the gut-wrenching atrocities that have characterized their country's civil war. Who can erase from their memories the picture of the little Syrian boy's (just a toddler) dead body being gently carried by a Turkish policeman after the boy had drowned in the Aegean Sea while trying to escape with his family from the nightmare of his homeland's civil war.
Any decent person would want to help. Christians are mandated by their Savior to do something.
However, when it comes to welcoming Syrian refugees into the United...Read more
Dr. Carson has since amplified his comments to explain that he would oppose an Islamist, someone who wanted to impose Sharia law on the United States.
As I, and others have noted, for Sharia law to be imposed anywhere in America, at the local, state, or federal level, one would have to rescind Article VI of the Constitution, which bans any religious test for office. You would also have to rescind at least the First Amendment (which guarantees no government establishment of religion, which Sharia law would require), as well as the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees equal protection under the law, which Sharia law would not grant to women and non-Muslims.
The hacking of the Ashley Madison website and the public posting online of approximately 37 million users with their names, home addresses, financial data and message history has caused a tremendous uproar. The Ashley Madison website was designed for married people who want to cheat on their spouses. The website's motto: "Life is short, have an affair."
Avid Life Media, the Toronto-based company that runs Ashley Madison, has offered a $500,000 Canadian dollar ($378,000 in U.S. currency) reward for information leading to the arrest of those who hacked the website. Also, several multi-million dollar lawsuits have been filed against Avid Life Media for inadequate security in protecting its...Read more
Overall, the percentage of American adults (over 18) who self-identify as Christian has dropped about 8 points between 2000 and 2014, from 78.4% to 70.6%.
This decline has been accompanied by a significant increase in the same time period of the percentage of American adults who no longer associated with any religious faith (religiously "unaffiliated") grew from 16.1% to 22.8%.
Furthermore, this decline of "Christians" and rise of "unaffiliated" increases with each succeeding generation (Silent [1928-1945], Baby Boomers [1946-1964], Generation X [1965-1980], and Millennials [1981-1996], having lower "Christian" percentages and higher "unaffiliated.")
This holds particularly true with the...Read more
Yet once again the world is presented with the horrific specter of human butchery and barbaric savagery perpetrated by radical Islamist jihadists. A Somali terrorist group, al-Shabaab, attacked the Garissa University campus in Kenya last Thursday, slaughtering nearly 150 students, executing many of them specifically because of their Christian faith.Eyewitnesses said that when the captive students could not recite an Islamic creed they were summarily executed.
This savage attack is merely the latest in a series of such violent attacks perpetrated by the al-Shabaab terrorist group. They have murdered hundreds of Kenyans in churches, on public transport, and perhaps most infamously, in the...Read more
What such critics fail to realize is that they are reading the Apostle Paul through the lens of a 21st century perspective, rather than the 1st century world to which Paul wrote originally.
In the first century A.D., women were considered their husband's property, not their partner, and they had very few rights or protections. In that first century context, the most revolutionary thing about Paul's teachings about marriage in Ephesians is that husbands were to love their wives sacrificially "just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her" and husbands were to nourish and cherish their wives as Christ "nourishes and cherishes" His church (Eph. 5:25, 29, NASB).
In the...Read more
Why do so many Evangelicals so strongly support Israel? The answer is that a significant majority of American Evangelicals believe that the Abrahamic Covenant is still in force. The Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12:1-3) says, among other things, that God promised the land of Canaan to the Jews forever. A significant majority of American Evangelicals believe that God is a keeper of His promises and that the "Promised Land" belongs to the Jews in belief and unbelief, in obedience and in disobedience, forever. (It is an unconditional promise, with no time limits or conditions.)
The Abrahamic Covenant also promises that "I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curseth thee: and in...Read more
For radical jihadists to slaughter cartoonists for offensive cartoons must not be tolerated. At this point, I believe it is important for me to state that personally I do not think people should mock or caricature religious figures or their followers’ faith convictions. I do not believe that people’s religious beliefs or family members should be mocked or vilified. We can and should analyze, discuss, and even argue people’s beliefs on the merits, not mock and caricature them. I know how offended I have been when I have seen a crucifix submerged in urine masquerading as a work of art. After all, as a Christian I am commanded to follow the “Golden Rule” and do unto others as I...Read more
No matter how one might feel personally about the precise nature of these two individual incidents in Missouri and New York City, the undeniable reality is that when black Americans and white Americans view them through such contrasting lenses, we still have a serious rift in the nation's social fabric.
This rift must be healed and healed as quickly as possible because the longer it is left to fester and metastasize, the more alienation and damage is caused, the more difficult it will become to heal, and the more people will be victimized.
If we as a people and a nation are going to achieve true racial reconciliation and justice, it will be the Christian churches that will lead us to Dr....Read more
This week we commemorate the 47th anniversary of the “Six Day War” between Israel and her Arab neighbors, Egypt, Jordan, and Syria in June 1967.
Some have asked, “Wasn’t Israel the aggressor?” No, they were not.
In the months leading up to the outbreak of war, Palestinian terrorist groups had been conducting increasing numbers of violent raids against Israel, causing Israel to respond with retaliatory attacks. In April, 1967 the Israeli air force shot down six Syrian MIG fighter jets.
In May, 1967, Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser mobilized Egyptian Armed Forces in the Sinai and expelled the U.N. Emergency Force (UNEF) from their place as a buffer on the...Read more
Talk about going to the source of the problem.
Last week former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg went to Harvard and delivered a fiery commencement speech that must have profoundly shocked both the professors and the graduating seniors. Bloomberg, a graduate of Johns Hopkins, with an MBA from Harvard, attacked intolerant progressivism and fired some powerful verbal salvos into the headquarters of the liberal establishment. Bloomberg did not bury his lead. He got right to the point. He said, “There is an idea floating around college campuses—including here at Harvard—that scholars should be funded only if their work conforms to a particular view of justice. There’s a word for that...Read more
The Bible gives us a sure and certain word about who God is, His nature and His attributes. He has made it clear that He is our Heavenly Father. When Jesus, God’s only begotten Son, gave His disciples a model prayer, which we know as the Lord’s Prayer, He said to call God, “Our Father, who art in heaven.”
God also reveals Himself to His chosen people and His relationship with them in terms of God as the husband and Israel as His wife. Clearly God is telling us something important about Himself that He wants us to know when He reveals Himself as our Heavenly Father.
However, the Bible also tells us in Genesis, “the book of beginnings,” that He is the Creator. He also tells...Read more
Americans have been hyper-focused on the case of Donald Sterling, the Los Angeles Clippers owner and his wretched, offensive and hateful racist comments. Evidently, Mr. Sterling has harbored these despicable views for a long time and has behaved in a racist manner in the past.
His current comments were egregiously racist, and, thank God, intolerable in current American society.
I agree entirely with NBA Commissioner Silver’s actions in, among other things, banning Mr. Sterling from the NBA for life.
However, as a Christian, I have to ask myself, how do I respond to Donald Sterling the man, as opposed to his racist bigotry? Jesus had a lot to say about forgiveness. And the forgiveness...Read more
Sometimes things come across your desk that stop you dead in your tracks, and you say, "That just can't be." And then you find out, "Yes, it can."
This happened to me the other day when I read a news release that said that at least 40% of Americans (and 90% of under 30 millennials) are afflicted with "nomophobia"-the fear of not having, or losing, their smartphones. This fear actually produces psychological and physical symptoms. One colleague said it should be called "no-more-phoneaphobia." Seriously, this is no laughing matter. These statistics reveal the extent to which technology is changing our personal lives. When people don't have their smartphones, they feel disconnected and...Read more
The virulent spirit of the lynch mob has been unleashed in American society.
Brendan Eich, the CEO of Mozilla, was forced to resign last week from the company he helped found. What was his crime? In 2008 he gave a $1,000 donation in support of California’s ban on same-sex marriage.
The homosexual activists never intended to abide by the “live-and-let-live” toleration they pretended to support while campaigning for same-sex marriage. Their goal was always to create a new social order where their sexual lifestyle was affirmed and promoted as normal and healthy. Furthermore, their goal was to marginalize to the level of KKK bigots anyone who dared to question or dissent from...Read more
Holy Scripture reveals to us timeless truths about human anthropology. We are told by the prophet Jeremiah that "the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jer. 17:9). The word translated as "desperately wicked" is more accurately rendered "incurable," and thus "the heart of every man is incurably wicked and can be redeemed to righteousness by God only through Jesus Christ" (Criswell Study Bible).
Furthermore, in Paul's Epistle to the Romans, we are told that "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23), confirming that there are no exceptions to the sinful and catastrophic impact of Adam's fall on the entire human race.
What a week! It started with World Vision announcing that it had changed its employment policy to allow partners in a legal, same-sex relationship to be employees. This action set off a theological firestorm both because of the organization making the decision – World Vision U.S. ranks among America’s top ten charities and serves over 100 million people in at least 100 countries – and the breath-taking nature of the shift in theology and doctrine it seemed to signify.
Amazingly, in making the announcement, Richard Stearns, World Vision president, explained “this is not an endorsement of same-sex marriage. We have decided we are not going to get into that debate. Nor is this a...Read more
This month Americans celebrate the birthdays of the country's two greatest presidents, George Washington (Feb. 22) and Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12).
Washington, the wealthy plantation owner and Southern gentleman, and Lincoln, the log-cabin-born Midwestern self-made son of the soil, came from starkly differing backgrounds and life experiences, but both literally shaped America into the nation it ultimately became. No other presidents have inspired and molded both the American national character and its form of government more.
George Washington was indeed the "father of his country." He guided the newborn nation successfully through its first great crisis (the Revolution). Overwhelmingly...Read more
Billy Graham has emerged as unquestionably the most famous and influential Christian preacher of any theological tradition for the last century and perhaps the last millennium.
For Evangelicals he is a revered and beloved icon who in large measure defines who they are. Indeed, Billy Graham was, and is, the prototypical "Evangelical."
As the theological conservatives emerged as the losers from the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversies of the 1920s and 1930s, many of them, having lost their cultural moorings, were insecure and hardening and ossifying into a rigid cultural as well as theological Fundamentalism that preached and practiced withdrawal from engaging an ever more secular...Read more
Nelson Mandela was a great man. If there were to be an international Mount Rushmore of twentieth century world leaders, his countenance would certainly be among the first to be carved into the rock surface. Why is this so?
The reasons are many and not difficult to define. To his own nation of South Africa, he was, to use American analogies, a rare combination of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King Jr.
He was, like Washington, the "father" of His country in that he led the long, difficult struggle to free his people from the bitter oppression of apartheid. Then, like Washington, having served as his nation's first president, he helped cement democracy in his...Read more
Mr. Speaker, well done! You have risen beyond relevancy to serious competitiveness by your grit, erudition and intelligence. You have come back from the political equivalent of hospice care to become a serious contender for the Republican nomination for president.
You’re obviously extremely bright, knowledgeable, experienced on the issues and fully able to go toe-to-toe with the formidable campaigner President Obama has amply demonstrated that he is.
By the way, your idea of a series of Lincoln-Douglas style debates between you and the president if you are the nominee is a great idea. Those debates would do much to clarify and explain the critically important decisions that Americans...Read more
This is the week that Americans from coast to coast cease their work-a-day activities and gather with friends and loved ones for "Thanksgiving." This is a time-honored ritual, observed by the overwhelming majority of the American population. What are the origins of this celebration and what meaning should it have for Americans today?
Thanksgiving is a combination of two long-standing traditions in Anglo-American civilization: the joyous harvest festival and the more somber declaration of a day of prayer or thanksgiving in the midst of some national crisis.
The origin of the present American Thanksgiving, at least spiritually and emotionally, harkens back to the 1621 observation of a...Read more
Saturday, November 23, is National Adoption Day. This observance gives Americans the opportunity to focus on this neglected, multi-faceted issue that impacts our national future in significant ways.
First, Christians of all denominational persuasions across America should ask themselves this question, "As a Christian, what should my response be to the issue of adoption?" A biblical response to that question would go a long way toward successfully addressing the child neglect and child abuse crisis that afflict America.
Currently there are more than 100,000 children in foster care in America alone, with many times more across the globe, awaiting permanent adoption into loving "forever"...Read more
On July 1, I assumed the presidency of Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES) in Charlotte, N.C.
Some have asked me whether I was retiring from the culture wars when I retired after 25 years of service to the Southern Baptists Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. My answer was, and is, an emphatic "NO!"
In becoming president of a seminary that specializes and focuses on apologetics, I am just moving from front-line combat to a training command, helping to prepare the next generation of green berets and paratroopers for the Lord's army. I fervently believe apologetics is the way we will spell Christian evangelism, missions, and discipleship in the 21st century.
Dr. Elmer Towns, Dean...Read more
Many years ago, when I lived in Dallas, a rapidly growing church in North Dallas was profiled in the religion section of the local newspaper. The paper concluded that while the church was "undeniably North Dallas," it was still "recognizably Christian." The phrase "North Dallas" was meant to convey a life-style and ethos associated with that area of the metroplex that was far too often characterized both by shameless materialism and overt pretentiousness. Virtually every American metropolis has at least one such enclave in its midst.
Sadly, the church's pastor, later morally disgraced, took the newspaper's description as a compliment, as in "see, they still recognize we're really...Read more
Are Christians in America entering a new dark age? To many, it may seem so. Certainly the forces of secularism seem to be flexing their muscles in contemporary American culture. It often feels as if traditional Christian morality is retreating in disarray on an ever increasing number of fronts.
However, it should always be remembered that a moment in a culture's history does not necessarily mean the birth of a new era, secular or otherwise. One must always place the present in perspective. For Christians, perspective does not just encompass a nation's history, or even all of human history. Christians are called to a spiritual perspective that transcends the time-space continuum and...Read more
In the wake of the 2012 presidential elections, some Evangelical leaders declared the election results a "catastrophe" and a "disaster." Followed soon after by the United States Supreme Court's dismal decisions on same-sex unions and the Boy Scouts' pathetic surrender of their founding beliefs, even more voices were raised in both the Evangelical and wider conservative Christian community, declaring defeat in the "culture wars." Many even perceived a dark, looming secular age of persecution directed against people of orthodox, historic Christian faith and witness.
Certainly there is a growing mountain, some would say a mountain range, of circumstantial evidence that a gathering storm of...Read more
On a hot, humid summer day fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., ascended into the pantheon of America's national heroes when he delivered an oration for the ages.
The March on Washington was a momentous moment in the long, hot summer of America's discontent. Racial strife was widespread, sometimes officially condoned, and often violent. The March marked the coming of age of the Civil Rights Movement as a genuine national phenomenon. While many in official Washington expected violence, 250,000 people, black and white, gathered peacefully on the National Mall, demanding "jobs and freedom."
It should be remembered that on August 28, 1963 it was not Dr. King's march, and he was not...Read more
As Americans prepare to celebrate Independence Day, July 4th, it is important that we reflect on the tremendous sacrifices that hundreds of thousands of Americans have paid to secure and protect the freedoms declared as our God-given right by our forefathers on the first July 4 in 1776.
As we approach this Fourth of July, we also commemorate the 150th anniversary of the greatest blood sacrifice on the altar of freedom that ever took place on American soil, the battle of Gettysburg. For three days, July 1-3, 1863, the Army in Northern Virginia (70,000 men) and the Army of the Potomac (94,000 men) collided in a three-day struggle that haunts and captivates us to this day. These three days...Read more
At a time when the Senate is considering the modernization of our immigration laws, they should also take measures to ensure the U.S. strengthens protections for those fleeing persecution. Christians and other faith groups are being targeted in many places around the world. Ethnic and political persecution is a significant problem as well.
The Senate immigration bill that is being marked up this week, S.744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, includes several provisions to increase the efficiency and improve protections for refugees, asylum seekers and stateless people. For example, the one-year filling deadline that has become an unnecessary...Read more
Will wonders never cease? In the midst of an unprecedented avalanche of negative media against traditional religious values and the groups espousing them, a strongly pro-traditional religious values story made the cover of the most recent Time (April 15, 2013). Titled “The Latino Reformation,” the story’s subtitle, “Inside the new Hispanic churches transforming religion in America,” describes how the tremendous upsurge in Latino “born-again” evangelicals is transforming not only Latino culture, but American Christianity. The reporter, Elizabeth Dias, profiles some leading Latino evangelical churches to chronicle the transformation being wrought in Latino and American...Read more
By Dr. Richard Land and Dr. Barrett Duke
On March 26 and 27, the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments in two cases regarding the issue of same-sex marriage. Few issues rise to this level of importance.
These two cases will do much to answer the question for how marriage is going to be viewed in the United States for the foreseeable future. On Tuesday, the Court will hear arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry (Prop. 8). In this case, the Court is being asked to decide the fate of Proposition 8 in California. At stake is whether or not the people of California can define marriage in their constitution as only the union of one man and one woman. In a worst case scenario in deciding...Read more
On March 26th and 27th, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on two cases involving same-sex marriage issues which will have far reaching repercussions for both the Supreme Court and American society.
As I explained in yesterday's column, "The Supreme Court and Same-Sex Marriage (Part 1)," on March 26th the Court will hear arguments on California's Proposition 8 (Hollingsworth v. Perry), and the next day (March 27th) the Court will review sections of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in United States v. Windsor. These are two very different cases and are best analyzed separately. Yesterday's column dealt with Hollingsworth v. Perry, and today we turn our attention to ...Read more
Later this month the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on same-sex marriage, a high-stakes moment for both for American society and for the Court itself. On March 26th the Court will hear arguments on California's Proposition 8 (Hollingsworth v. Perry) case. Right after that, the Court will review the federal Defense of Marriage Act in U.S. v. Windsor.
Just like in Roe v Wade, a case widely discredited by legal scholars as poor law and credited by conservatives as the spark that ignited Christian activism, the court has a massive challenge ahead of it – threading the needle between state's rights and the press of coastal public opinion.
I'll address Hollingsworth v. Perry today...Read more
Reeling from a massive negative backlash, the executive committee of The Boy Scouts of America decided to postpone until May its ill-conceived, proposed change to allow openly gay scoutmasters and scouts to participate in Scouting.
In backing away from the proposed membership change, the Boy Scouts at least temporarily averted calamity. If the committee had rammed through the change in membership policy, it would have dealt a serious blow to the Boy Scouts of America on several fronts.
First, the proposed membership change made no one happy. The gay activists pushing for the change in policy were incensed by the "local option" plan being proposed by the Boy Scouts as their new membership...Read more
I have joined numerous Americans of many faiths who have come together to pray for our courts and particularly for our nation's political leaders as a new Congress was sworn in January 3. There will be 18 days of prayer, culminating with President Obama's Second Inauguration on January 21st.
As the new Congress begins the New Year, they are confronted with herculean problems. This stark reality gives our elected representatives the opportunity to be one of the most successful and productive Congresses in decades. Difficult problems open the door for meaningful solutions.
Here are five resolutions, perhaps political miracles, for which I am praying. And the first resolution is key to...Read more
Last week, as I was traveling through an airport on business, I paused to thank a soldier in uniform and express my appreciation for her service to our country. There was nothing unique or even unusual in my action, since I, like most Americans, have tremendous admiration and respect for our men and women in uniform.
However, what happened immediately after my expression of gratitude once again reminded me of a time when such admiration and respect was not nearly as widespread as it is today.
After I had thanked the soldier, a man, apparently my contemporary in age (66), walked up to me with tears in his eyes-obviously moved-and with a choked voice, said, "Thank you so much for doing that. I...Read more
By: Richard Land
If Americans are not vigilant, they may well wake up from their New Year's celebrations to discover that while they were cleaning up from Thanksgiving and preparing for Christmas festivities their lame duck Congress combined with the Obama administration to fashion a draconian threat to the religious and non-religious charities they cherish.
In recent weeks, both Republican and Democrat leaders have surfaced a dangerous and destructive idea in their desperation to avoid the fiscal cliff facing our nation on January 1, 2013.
If nothing is done to prevent it, on that date "sequestration," the Congress and Obama administration's jointly engineered fiscal monster that makes...Read more
On the night of September 12, 2011, the Republican Party began to lose the 2012 election. On that night, in a presidential primary debate in Tampa, Florida, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (believe it or not the most moderate presidential candidate on immigration reform) was booed loudly by the audience for defending having supported and passed (with overwhelming bipartisan legislative support) in-state college tuition for the children of undocumented workers in Texas.
From that moment on, even stronger anti-immigration sentiment took an ever greater hold among significant segments of the party. In the subsequent 2012 GOP primaries, the various candidates seemed to be competing with one another to...Read more
The G.O.P. must not, and cannot, ignore its foundation and base. Exit polls show that white evangelicals made up 26 percent of the electorate, three percent more than in 2004. Furthermore, these evangelicals voted for Mitt Romney in virtually the same percentages as the governor's fellow Mormons (78 percent for Romney vs. 21 percent for President Obama, according exit polls by Edison Research). Obama received 26 percent of evangelical votes in 2008.
On the pro-life and same-sex-marriage issues it should also be remembered that while Obama won the total Catholic vote 50 percent to 48 percent, he won Hispanic Catholics 75 percent to 21 percent, while Romney won non-Hispanic Catholics 59...Read more
By Richard Land
The issue of whether Americans should approve "same-sex" marriage continues to be debated heatedly in the 2012 election cycle. President Obama has "evolved" on the issue to the place where he supports "same-sex" marriage, making no distinction between the time-honored institution of marriage as being between one man and one woman and a relationship between two people of the same sex.
The issue emerged recently in a September 20th debate in the U.S. senatorial contest in Virginia between George Allen (R) and Tim Kaine (D). Former Governor Kaine, when asked about the issue, couched his answer in terms of civil rights and equality, stating "that relationships should be...Read more
Christians are citizens of two realms--the earthy and the spiritual--and the have rights and responsibilities in both spheres.
As citizens of heaven (Phil. 3:20), Christians are commanded to be obedient to the Lord Jesus (Exod. 20:1-5). Our Lord’s instruction to “render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s and unto God the things which be God’s” (Luke 20:25) means giving ultimate allegiance only to God. It means paying our taxes. It also means much more.
The Apostle Paul instructs us that as Christians we have the responsibility to be good citizens of the state “for conscience sake” because God has ordained government to punish and restrict evil-doers and to...Read more
It is true that Israel has been America’s most reliable ally in the Middle East. Support for Israel has been entrenched in the American body politic ever since President Harry S. Truman recognized the Jewish state in May 1948.
Support for Israel is particularly deep in the American Jewish community and among a significant majority of those Americans who describe themselves as “Evangelical” Christians. Evangelicals who support Israel do so from deeply held religious convictions. First, they believe God gave the Holy Land to the Jews forever, and second, they believe God has promised to bless those who bless the Jews and curse those who curse the Jews (Genesis 12:3). In other words,...Read more
Governor Mitt Romney's selection of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate has reshaped the entire presidential campaign. Romney could have played it safe with Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota or Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio. Alternatively, he could have made Florida an easier state to win by picking that state's tremendously popular and charismatic senator, Marco Rubio. Instead, in selecting Ryan, he has made this election a big election about big issues, the future economic direction of the country, and how substantial a role the federal government will play in Americans' daily lives in the future.
On April 1, 2012, I wrote the following words in a USA Today column:
The most fateful...Read more
This election year, 2012, more Americans than usual feel that the country is at a crossroads and is in the midst of making an election decision as important to the future direction of the country as has been made in any election since 1860.
I can imagine no better way to be prepared to exercise our God-given freedom to vote for the person God would have serve as our congressman, senator, governor or president than to follow the 40/40 prayer guide. You start off with seven days of prayer for "personal" revival, followed by six days of prayer for "church" revival and five days for revival among the church's "leadership." After starting with individual repentance and holiness, we move on to...Read more
First, let me put my cards face up on the table. I am a very dedicated college football fan. Let's put it this way. My favorite sports are college football, spring football, and college recruiting.
This has been true since I was a small boy listening to and watching college football games with my father. Some of my fondest memories of those early years recall times spent discussing college teams, players, and games with my dad. Furthermore, I grew up in Texas where high school and college football conduct a perpetual struggle for ascendency –community by community, county by county – across the Lone Star State.
Trust me, I know how Penn State's avid fans feel. They are devastated....Read more
Several thousand Southern Baptist pastors, church workers, laymen and their wives, most of them elected representatives (“messengers”) from their local churches, witnessed history being made Tuesday in the New Orleans convention center.
With overwhelming affirmation, sustained applause and no verbal opposition, the Rev. Fred Luter, Jr., pastor of Franklin Ave. Baptist Church in New Orleans, was elected as the first African American president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
As Martin Luther King, Jr., said, paraphrasing the abolitionist Theodore Parker, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Those in attendance at the Southern Baptist...Read more
The Southern Baptist Convention made history last week. The Convention – a denomination formed in 1845, in part, to support slavery, and later, with notable brave exceptions, largely supported Jim Crow segregation into the 1960s – elected its first African-American president, Dr. Fred Luter, Jr.
Dr. Luter's election symbolizes the Southern Baptist Convention having been transformed by the convicting power of God's Holy Spirit from a virtually all-white denomination as late as the mid-sixties to the most multi-ethnic major denomination in the United States today. Approximately 20 percent of Southern Baptists are non-Anglo (African-American, Hispanic-American, Asian-American, and...Read more
A newly released Gallup poll taking America’s moral temperature finds strong support for fidelity in marriage and increasing respect for unborn life, but in other key areas – specifically sex outside of marriage and homosexuality – Americans may have lost their biblical compass. And, unless all people of faith unite in opposition, pornography may be next.
Overall the trend is alarming for most. According to the Gallup organization’s annual Values and Beliefs survey, seventy-three percent of the nation’s citizens believe moral values are getting worse (up from 69 percent in 2011). This sense of moral malaise is generalized rather than specific with no one issue reaching even 25...Read more
Chuck Colson (1931-2012) was a giant among Christians in America. If there were an Evangelical Mount Rushmore, Chuck Colson would be on it.
Those of us privileged to know Chuck only this side of his conversion to personal faith in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior found it hard to fathom that this was the same Chuck Colson who was President Nixon's ruthless master of dirty tricks and political hardball. The Chuck Colson we knew and loved was one of the kindest, gentlest, humblest, most generous people you could ever know.
In a way, Chuck Colson was, like a late 20th-century Apostle Paul, radically transformed by his Damascus Road experience with Jesus Christ.
Mr. Colson, after his...Read more
The Trayvon Martin case embodies a multiplicity of tragedies that should cause Americans of every ethnicity to grieve for those who have been hurt by its far-reaching impact.
We grieve for the loss of a young black man who had so much of his life left to live. We grieve for the fact that he will never experience the joys of marriage and parenthood. We grieve for his parents and his loved ones. We lament that a community has been torn apart by racial division and growing mistrust of authorities.
We also have sympathy for the person who pulled the trigger, George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old Hispanic man who was a captain in his neighborhood crime watch program. Whether he is found guilty by a...Read more
We hear much discussion these days on the subject of the economy. Why is our economy in the doldrums and what needs to be done to restore our once prosperous business and job climate? Are the problems merely cyclical or are they systemic?
As a Christian I believe the Bible reveals truths about the nature of man which speak to these basic economic issues.
The Bible declares quite adamantly, "The heart of man is more deceitful than anything else and desperately sick – who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9, HCSB ). The New Testament reiterates this essential, though humbling truth about human nature: "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," (Romans 3:23, HCSB). If it is...Read more
Former governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts appears to be moving inexorably toward the Republican Party's 2012 presidential nomination. One by one, contenders have risen to challenge him, and one by one they have failed to maintain their viability (Newt Gingrich) or even their candidacies (Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Perry).
Romney's well-funded, nationally organized campaign has continued to fend off challenges and amass convention delegates at an accelerating pace. At this point, he seems to have made considerable headway with all elements of the party except evangelical social conservatives.
Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum has provided the most lasting competition...Read more
Let's begin by making one thing crystal clear. The debate generated by the Obama administration's requirement that virtually all healthcare insurance plans provide free contraceptives, abortifacients, and sterilization services in all health insurance plans is not a debate about contraception or "reproductive services."
This debate is about coercion, not Catholics; conscience, not contraception; and freedom, not fertility. This is about principle, not "pelvic politics."
We believe as Americans that every human being has a God-given right of freedom of faith and conscience. Due to our forefathers' persecutions, persistence and insistence, this freedom is acknowledged and recognized in the...Read more
There have always been several conservatisms, including the social, fiscal and foreign policy conservatives who made up the triad of Reagan’s conservative coalition.
The modern conservative movement was always a coalition of disparate groups often more united by what they opposed than by what they affirmed. These fault lines were camouflaged by their implacable opposition to Soviet communism. Once the Soviet Union collapsed, the fissures in American conservatism became more visible.
Contemporary American conservatives can be divided into two groups. First, you have the hard conservatives of the Goldwater and Buckley variety who are more libertarian in their beliefs and would share the...Read more
It's excruciatingly biblical to be both pro-life and pro-death penalty. The Bible clearly reveals that life begins at conception (Ps. 51:5; Jer. 1:5; Ps. 139:13-16) and also clearly teaches that capital punishment is one of the options available to the civil magistrate in punishing evildoers (Rom. 13:1-7).
That the Bible teaches the sacredness of human life and that life begins at conception are the reasons the Jews, alone among the civilizations of the Mediterranean Basin, did not practice abortion and infanticide routinely. It is also why the Didache, the first post-apostolic teaching of the Christian faith, condemned abortion in the strongest language possible.
It is also clear from the...Read more
South Carolina hasn’t fired a shot this revolutionary since perhaps its tragic and ill-fated firing on Fort Sumter in 1861.
Newt Gingrich roared back into the 2012 Republican presidential race by generating a huge swing among South Carolina voters in the last seven days of that state’s primary. The Gingrich tidal wave among voters gives a new meaning to the word volatile. In one week, Mitt Romney went from being measured for a mantle of inevitability after having won Iowa and New Hampshire and possessing a double-digit lead in South Carolina to being pulverized in the Palmetto State after an Iowa recount awarded the Hawkeye State to Rick Santorum. We now have had three contests with...Read more
Last Friday, a significant group of social conservative leaders, gathered at the ranch of influential Southern Baptist layman, and retired Texas Civil Appeals Court Judge, Paul Pressler. While many of those leaders assembled were Evangelicals, there were several prominent Catholic leaders in attendance as well.
These leaders came to Texas to explore the elusive goal of uniting as many social conservatives as possible around one presidential candidate as early as possible. Most came (including myself) to the meeting thinking that it was probably not possible to achieve any significant consensus, almost certainly not before South Carolinians voted in their presidential primary Jan. 21.
There is great cause for rejoicing today in our nation because of a tremendous decision by the U.S. Supreme Court upholding its affirmation of both the Establishment and the Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment.
The court’s opinion in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission emphasizes what all 12 Federal Appeals Courts have said at various times previously about “ministerial exception,” and now underscores it with an exclamation point with a unanimous 9-0 Supreme Court decision, a rarity these days on a deeply philosophically split court.
The case in question centered on a former teacher who claimed her dismissal from a...Read more
The Iowa caucuses have again produced upheaval. The 2008 contest saw the Huckabee phenomenon and announced the Obama earthquake that toppled the Clinton dynasty. Now the 2012 caucuses have put former Sen. Rick Santorum near the front of the Republican presidential pack and demonstrated that the "religious right"—Roman Catholic and evangelical social conservatives—is alive and flourishing in the American body politic.
Polling from CNN shows that 57% of Iowa's caucus participants were self-identified evangelicals, as in 2008, and they voted 32% for Rick Santorum. Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry each received 14% of evangelical votes, with Ron Paul (18%) and Michele Bachmann...Read more
What is it like to be “Christian” in America at Christmas time? By that question I don’t mean vaguely, culturally Christian in some civil religion sense, where one may or may not attend worship services at Christmas and Easter. I mean Christian in the sense of devout, practicing Christian, whether Protestant or Catholic, attending worship services more than once weekly and seeking to lead a life of spiritual discipline according to the dictates of the Christian faith.
The answer is that it is difficult. It is painful, with hearts that are dedicated to the Savior whose birth we supposedly celebrate, to watch the secularization and commercialization of the holiday. Bethlehem and the...Read more
Polls show that there has been relatively little change on the subject of a Mormon presidential candidate since 2007. Approximately 25 percent of voters are very resistant to voting for a Mormon candidate for president. The only perceptible change is that President Obama and his policies are so deeply unpopular with a majority of these voters that more of them would be likely to “hold their nose” and vote for a Mormon, if he were indeed the G.O.P. nominee, against the incumbent president.
Undoubtedly, the percent of voters who would not vote for a Mormon candidate would go up if the candidate played up his Mormonism because these voters would draw the conclusion that he would be...Read more
The more resolutely the civilized world has stood against the threat of militant Islamic terrorism, the more defiantly Iran’s ruling ayatollahs have responded with dangerous and menacing behavior. It is time for President Obama, Congress, and world leaders to awaken fully to the threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iran and address the problem with the focused seriousness it demands.
The International Atomic Energy Agency recently reported that “the agency remains concerned about the possible existence in Iran of past or current undisclosed nuclear related activities, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.”
Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad...Read more
The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States of America The White House Washington, DC 20502
Dear Mr. President,
In this decisive hour of our nation’s history we are writing to express our deep appreciation for your bold, courageous, and visionary leadership. Americans everywhere have been inspired by your eloquent and clear articulation of our nation’s highest ideals of freedom and of our resolve to defend that freedom both here and across the globe.
We believe that your policies concerning the ongoing international terrorist campaign against America are both right and just. Specifically, we believe that your stated policies concerning Saddam Hussein and his headlong...Read more