Monthly Archives: April 2014

Guilty of Being White

OK, I’m guilty. I’m white.

But why is being white a crime?

Some people claim that I must be a racist. Others believe that I benefit from “white privilege.” Still others assert that I owe them for being white. Some see my whiteness as “unbearable.”

When will we get past this obsession with race?

“Whites are Racist”

In the late 1990s, I was shocked to see a special issue of the Plain Truth magazine, the flagship publication of the Worldwide Church of God, which was devoted to the subject of race but incorporated every conceivable left-wing PC shibboleth imaginable. In big, bold letters, it stated: “Whites are racist and need to repent. Blacks are victims and need to forgive.

Did the writers, editors, and publisher not see the racism inherent in those sentences? Apparently not. Even after lengthy correspondence with the writers and publisher, not one word or concept was retracted.[1]

“Let’s Hope the Boston Marathon Bomber is a White American”

Last year, in the immediate aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, David Sirota’s Salon headline caught everyone’s attention: “Let’s hope the Boston Marathon bomber is a white American.”[2] I will address Sirota’s flawed analysis at a later time. Meantime, ponder why he would “hope” the bomber would be 1) white and 2) American. Xenophilia? Self-hatred?

“The Unbearable Whiteness of CPAC”

Last month, another headline caught my eye: “The Unbearable Whiteness of CPAC.”[3] Why is “whiteness” “unbearable?” Although the writer condemned CPAC and the organizations gathered under the umbrella of its conference – roundly asserting the racist nature of the entire event – the writer offered no rationale for the evils of whiteness. Its claims of a conference filled with racists, bigots, and white nationalists were both hyperbolic and unsubstantiated. But, once again, why is whiteness “unbearable?”

Published by the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights (IREHR), the report’s opening paragraph read:

“For years, white nationalists found themselves on the outside looking in, faces pressed against the glass to get a glimpse at the movement happenings at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). But the times they are a changing. Not since Pat Buchanan’s racially-tinged insurgent campaign at the 1992 conference have white nationalists found a more hospitable environment in the halls of CPAC.”

White nationalists? Not at the conference I attended.

Its closing paragraph read:

“Therein lies the problem. You can’t passively brush bigotry aside. It must be confronted. White nationalists have found a voice and an audience in the conservative movement. Until CPAC organizers, and the leaders they put on-stage, publically stand up and wholeheartedly reject the politics of bigotry, panels on minority outreach will continue to be empty, and white nationalists will roam the halls looking for new recruits to join Ann Coulter’s death squads to enforce their hegemony.”

Clearly, IREHR disagrees with the conservative agenda. Fine. But it shouldn’t besmirch the intent or the character of conservatives just because it doesn’t agree with their ideas. IREHR provided a photo of the minority outreach panel showing an empty room. That room was later filled by an engaged audience. Timing is everything.

As for Coulter’s unquestionably over-the-top “death squads” joke (which never should have been said), a conservative “hegemony” would certainly never be enforced by conservative “death squads.”

Supreme Court on Affirmative Action

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court announced its decision in a case involving affirmative action.[4] The Court has recognized that the United States has moved on since the heyday of racial discrimination and it has upheld Michigan’s law which actually reiterated the Voting Rights Act of 1964. Justice Sotomayor was one of only two justices to dissent. Sotomayor’s dissent was particularly troubling in that she presumes racist motivation on the part of the Michigan electorate.

In her dissent, Sotomayor used the Orwellian technique of changing the terms of the debate. Her redefinition of the state constitution is stated and repeated in her dissent. She wrote: “Although the term ‘affirmative action’ is commonly used to describe colleges’ and universities’ use of race in crafting admissions policies, I instead use the term ‘race-sensitive admissions policies.’”

Sotomayor morphed the half-century-old (“commonly used”) term “affirmative action” into an ambiguous and easily-manipulated phrase, “race-sensitive admissions policies.”

Sotomayor continues:

“But instead, the majority of Michigan voters changed the rules in the middle of the game, reconfiguring the existing political process in Michigan in a manner that burdened racial minorities. They did so in the 2006 election by amending the Michigan Constitution to enact Art. I, §26, which provides in relevant part that Michigan’s public universities ‘shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.’”

Once again, Michigan voters reaffirmed the Voting Rights Act of 1964. But Sotomayor views that as going backwards because she wants affirmative action (and racial preferences which ensued) to continue. By actually abiding by the legal and moral intent of the Voting Rights Act of 1964, racial preferences should be discarded. This is anathema for Sotomayor because she somehow believes a colorblind society is detrimental to minorities.

Sotomayor continues: “The race debate ‘must be resolved in constitutionally permissible ways.’” Having provided a lengthy and detailed history of civil rights in America, does Sotomayor now view the Voting Rights Act of 1964 unconstitutional? Doubtful. But that Act, legally and literally interpreted, is detrimental to her goals and its invocation by the Michigan electorate obstructs her purposes: racial preferences.

In all of these instances, an inordinate, unhealthy, and obsessive emphasis is placed on race. Sotomayor and others may eschew Rev. King’s historic exhortation to a color-blind society, and they may deny the foundational tenet of American jurisprudence (equal justice under the law), but by doing so they are ensuring the continuation of some level of racial animus in society and they are impeding the healing of the soul of America.

Why must outward skin color trump inward character?

Endnotes:

[1]               See Daniel Borchers, “Race Doesn’t Matter,” BrotherWatch, February 1998, http://www.brotherwatch.com/files/Race%20Does%20Not%20Matter%20-%20Part%201.pdf.

[2]               David Sirota, “Let’s hope the Boston Marathon bomber is a white American,” Salon, 4/16/13, http://www.salon.com/2013/04/16/lets_hope_the_boston_marathon_bomber_is_a_white_american/.

[3]               Devin Burghart, “The Unbearable Whiteness of CPAC,” IREHR, 3/21/14, http://www.irehr.org/issue-areas/race-racism-and-white-nationalism/item/549-unbearable-whiteness-of-cpac.

[4]               For the Supreme Court decision, see http://images.politico.com/global/2014/04/22/140422_scotus.html. For analysis of Sotomayor’s dissent, see Thomas Lifson, “Justice Sotomayor and the affirmative action bitter-enders have lost big time,” American Thinker, 4/23/14, http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2014/04/justice_sotomayor_and_the_affirmative_action_bitterenders_have_lost_bigtime.html.

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Terrorism Redefined

Last year, the Boston Marathon bombing shocked the nation. The media rounded up its usual suspects: conservatives. The redefinition of “terrorism” – indeed, the refusal to identify the source of terrorism in the world today – impedes our fight against it.

From the advent of the Obama administration, the “war on terror” was effectively over, with the United States mirroring Neville Chamberlain’s words, “Peace in our time.” But peace cannot be achieved without defeating an implacable foe committed to destroying you.

Since President Obama’s election in 2008, his administration (and useful idiots in politics and the media) have engaged in an Orwellian redefinition of crucial terms, one of those being “terrorism” and variants thereof.

This short primer shows the depths of which political and media elites will go to ignore the terrorist threat facing Americans today, and to exploit tragedies for political purposes.

Terrorism = Man-made Disaster

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano redefined terrorism: “Of course [Islamic terrorism poses a threat]. I presume there is always a threat from terrorism. In my speech, although I did not use the word ‘terrorism,’ I referred to ‘man-caused’ disasters. That is perhaps only a nuance, but it demonstrates that we want to move away from the politics of fear toward a policy of being prepared for all risks that can occur.”[1]

Words matter. Meanings matter. While Napolitano and others have nuanced terrorism out of the dictionary, the reality of its threat has escalated, with successful terrorist attacks in America and an expanding terrorist network at home and abroad.

Terrorism = Workplace Violence

The Obama administration classified the 2009 Fort Hood massacre as “workplace violence” instead of a terrorist attack. Kris Kane observes, “The Fort Hood massacre was a terrorist act, with Nidal Hasan yelling ‘Allahu Akbar’ (‘God is great’). Nidal Hasan had also repeatedly been in contact with Anwar al-Awlaki.”[2]

Denying the source of jihadist terrorist attacks, the government is shackled in its efforts to combat it.

Terrorists = Conservatives and Libertarians

While studiously avoiding (and even denying) the reality of the Islamist jihadist threat, the government targets domestic political foes. As if the IRS targeting conservatives is not enough, Homeland Security must also be involved.

“A secret report distributed by the Missouri Information Analysis Center lists Ron Paul supporters, libertarians, people who display bumper stickers, people who own gold, or even people who fly a U.S. flag and equates them with radical race hate groups and terrorists. This is merely the latest example in an alarming trend which confirms that law enforcement across the country is being trained that American citizens are a dangerous enemy.”[3]

Paul Joseph Watson reported, “A new study funded by the Department of Homeland Security characterizes Americans who are ‘suspicious of centralized federal authority,’ and ‘reverent of individual liberty’ as ‘extreme right-wing’ terrorists.”[4]

The study, Hot Spots of Terrorism and Other Crimes in the United States, 1970-2008 (PDF), omits “the 1993 World Trade Center bombing” but “focuses on Americans who hold beliefs shared by the vast majority of conservatives and libertarians and puts them in the context of radical extremism.”

Terrorists = Tea Party

Liberal leaders in the House and Senate have picked up on this theme. In a closed-door Democratic caucus meeting, on August 1, 2011, Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) lambasted Tea Party members, claiming, “We have negotiated with terrorists. This small group of terrorists have made it impossible to spend any money.” Vice President Joe Biden concurred: “They have acted like terrorists.”[5]

That’s right, politically championing a smaller government – one that lives within its budget and operates under its constitutional authority – is now “terrorism.”

Terrorists = Right-Wing, Tea Party, Patriots

In the immediate aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, many commentators and members of the mainstream media jumped to the conclusion that this terrorist attack was committed by the “extreme right,” anti-government groups, or the Tea Party.[6]

Few considered the most obvious culprit: a radicalized Islamic jihadist. An astonishing banner headline appeared on the Salon website: “Let’s Hope the Boston Marathon Bomber Is a White American.” Why? Political correctness? Denial of reality? Hatred of white Americans?

Terrorists = Protestors

In an interview on April 17, 2014, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) defamed supporters of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, saying, “These people, who hold themselves out to be patriots are not. Nothing more than domestic terrorists. … I repeat: what happened there was domestic terrorism.”[7]

These protestors, who feared another Waco or Ruby Ridge, supported a rancher against hordes of federal agents, with “dozens of our finest SWAT members from Metro, Metro black & white cars, EMT, fire rescue trucks, detention buses (a.k.a. Paddy wagons), over 50 Ranger and BLM vehicles, numerous highway patrol vehicles, and a Black Hawk Helicopter on the Moapa airfield, just to name a few.”[8]

But these peaceful protesters were “domestic terrorists” in Reid’s eyes, and in the eyes of some in the media.

UPDATE: On ABC’s This Week, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile compared Bundy to Timothy McVeigh, saying, “Remember, this is the 19th anniversary of the Oklahoma bombing. So this notion that Mr. Bundy has no other recourse but violence is – anti-government violence – is absolutely wrong.”[9] When was Bundy violent? McVeigh committed a violent act of terrorism which killed 168 and injured almost 700. Bundy was peacefully standing up for his rights and his supporters were defending him. One is an aggressive act of indiscriminate terror while the other is a defensive posture against the menacing force of government.

Terrorists = Confrontational Children

Watson has been in the vanguard of those protesting the misuse of the word “terrorist” and the misidentification of “terrorists” themselves. His words deserve careful consideration.

“White House counterterrorism and Homeland Security adviser Lisa Monaco gave a speech this week in which she urged parents to watch their children for signs of ‘confrontational’ behavior which could be an indication of them becoming terrorists.”[10]

“Over the last decade, the federal government has broadened its definition of what constitutes potential terrorism to such a degree that the term has lost all meaning and is clearly being used as a political tool to demonize adversarial political activism.”

“Lisa Monaco’s speech and the federal government’s track record in assailing both banal behavior and political activism as potential ‘terrorism’ serves as a reminder that the war on terror has now been focused inwardly against innocent Americans, making it all the more harder to detect actual terrorists.”

Many have observed that Obama and his colleagues seem to be waging war on their political opponents while waging peace on America’s real enemies. Under Obama, the terrorist threat has expanded worldwide, America’s global prestige and political influence have radically shrunk (the “big stick” has disappeared), and Constitutional liberties are being increasingly imperiled and infringed.

Let’s eliminate Newspeak and return to the original meaning of words such as “terrorism.” Unless we do, the terrorists and big government will win while Americans lose.

Endnotes:

[1]       Tim Graham, “Obama-Speak: Homeland Security Secretary Replaces ‘Terrorism’ With the Term ‘Man-Caused Disaster,’Newsbusters, 3/19/09.

[2]       Kris Kane, “Obama: Fort Hood Massacre ‘Workplace Violence,’Western Journalism, 10/22/12.

[3]       Paul Joseph Watson, Kurt Nimmo, and Alex Jones, Police Trained Nationwide That Informed Americans Are Domestic Terrorists,” Prison Planet, 3/13/09.

[4]       Paul Joseph Watson,, “Homeland Security Report Lists ‘Liberty Lovers’ As Terrorists,” Infowars.com, 7/4/12.

[5]       Paul Joseph Watson, War On Terror’s New Targets: Veterans, Tea Partiers, Anti-Fed Activists,” Infowars.com, 8/18/11.

[6]       “First Impulse: Blame the ‘Right Wing’ and Hope the Bomber Is a ‘White American,’” Media Research Center, 4/29/13, and Scott Whitlock, “One Year Ago, Media Jumped to Blame Boston Bombing on ‘Anti-Government’ ‘Extreme Right,’” Media Research Center, 4/15/14.

[7]       Laura Myers, “Reid calls Bundy supporters ‘domestic terrorists,’Las Vegas Review-Journal, 4/17/14, and Lucy McCalmont, “Harry Reid: Cliven Bundy’s ‘domestic terrorists,’Politico, 4/18/14.

[8]       Tim Brown, “Assemblywoman Michele Fiore: The Truth about BLM & Bundy Showdown,” Freedom Outpost, 4/19/14.

[9]       “Donna Brazile Likens Clive Bundy to Timothy McVeigh,” 4/20/14, https://grabien.com/story.php?id=7583.

[10]     Paul Joseph Watson, White House Counterterror Chief: ‘Confrontational’ Children Could be Terrorists,” Prison Planet, 4/18/14.

Attacking the Faith: Did Jesus Say that He is God?

Bart Ehrman is the latest biblical scholar to attack the divinity of Jesus and the33 authenticity of Christianity. Just in time for Easter, Ehrman promoted his new book, How Jesus Became God: the Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee. In that interview, he claimed, “Jesus himself didn’t call himself God and didn’t consider himself God, and that none of his disciples had any inkling at all that he was God.”

Jesus is God

What is the truth?

Did Jesus claim to be God?

Did Jesus consider Himself God?

The Jesus Myth?

Was Jesus’ divinity a myth invented by the church to gain followers or was Jesus, as billions of people believe, God in the flesh?

Ehrman clearly believes a myth was perpetrated by the early church and he stacks the evidence in his favor by entirely discounting the Gospel of John, which provides a super-abundance of evidence contradicting his claims.

But the New Testament confirms Jesus’ deity throughout its pages. God is not silent about the true identity of His Son and He provides ample proof in Scripture. Since Ehrman and others dismiss the Johannine record and New Testament epistles, I will restrict myself to the synoptic gospels to prove what Ehrman denies.

Many Recognize Jesus as Son of God

It is striking the degree to which the biblical evidence proves the deity of Jesus. God the Father called Jesus His beloved Son twice.[1] Both angels[2] and demons[3] called Jesus the Son of God.

Peter proclaimed Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God.”[4] The Gospel of Mark begins, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”[5] The Roman centurion at the cross declared, “Truly, this was the Son of God!’[6]

Heaven and earth uniformly proclaimed Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Many Worship Jesus as Son of God

In addition to the testimony of God, angels, and men, we have Jesus’ behavior. He performed countless miracles to reveal His identity. Moreover, He was worshipped – and He allowed the worshippers to do so. He never rebuked anyone for worshipping Him.

Jesus was worshipped by the wise men,[7] His disciples,[8] and the women at the empty tomb.[9]

Jesus Did Claim to be the Son of God

Clearly, Jesus was viewed by many as the Son of God and Jesus obviously considered Himself divine. Jesus also proclaimed His divinity in words and actions for all to see and hear. At His trial, prior to His crucifixion, Jesus affirmed that He is the Son of God.[10]

The people[11] and the religious leaders knew exactly who Jesus claimed to be. At the cross, the chief priests mocked Him, saying, “for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”[12]

Jesus was mocked while He was on the cross, dying for humanity that those who believe in Him might have eternal life.[13] Ironically, this Easter season Jesus and His followers are again being mocked by those who choose not to believe, by those who twist the Scriptures in order to deny what it really says and to deny the One who alone is worthy of worship.

Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”[14]

Endnotes:

[1]       Matthew 3:17; 17:5.

[2]       Luke 1:35.

[3]       Matthew 8:29; Mark 3:11; Luke 4:41.

[4]       Matthew 16:15-17.

[5]       Mark 1:1.

[6]       Matthew 27:54; Mark 15:39.

[7]       Matthew 2:1-2,11.

[8]       Matthew 14:33.

[9]       Matthew 28:9.

[10]     Matthew 26:63-65; Mark 14:60-62; Luke 22:67-70.

[11]     The adoration of Jesus during His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday fulfilled messianic prophecies. Matthew 21:1-14; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44.

[12]     Matthew 27:43.

[13]     John 3:16.

[14]     Luke 23:34.

Resurrection: Life & Liberty, Power & Purpose

He is Risen!

The Passion of the Christ drew record audiences when it was released in 2004 and, even today, a spiritual hunger persists in our increasingly secularized culture.

Resurrection

Easter is upon us and the message of the cross and the open tomb are destined to be commercialized and corrupted. Yet, God’s Word will prevail and His will be accomplished. The cross and the risen Christ prove His power and His love, just as they demonstrate God’s commitment to those who will be with Him in Paradise.

Life & Liberty

The words of John 3:16 speak of salvation and eternal life: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” – yes, Jesus, the Son of God, was given (sacrificed) because of God’s love. Continuing, “that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

That is the essence of the gospel and Easter is the proof.

For believers, God gives eternal life. Jesus’ resurrection vanquished death and, when we are spiritually born again, we are given eternal life. We are joined with Christ in newness of life and God’s Holy Spirit inhabits us.

Death no longer has dominion over us. Life is triumphant! Along with life, God gives us liberty. We are freed from sin, which also no longer has dominion over us. While we will sin, we are no longer slaves to sin. God’s Spirit within nurtures us and heals us.

In our darkest hours – whether external circumstances or internal battles – God provides hope and healing. Our hearts and souls are resurrected in Christ.

Nicol Sponberg’s song, Resurrection, is hauntingly poignant and peculiarly powerful. It speaks of our translation from darkness to life, the renewal (or resurrection) of our lives. The chorus reads:

 Here I am at the end, I’m in need of resurrection.

Only You can take this empty shell and raise it from the dead.

What I’ve lost to the world, what seems far beyond redemption,

You can take the pieces in Your hand, and make me whole again, again.

This modern-day psalmist expresses confidence in the Lord of life and the only One who can resurrect her life, who can make her (and us) whole and complete.

Power & Purpose

Along with life and liberty, God provides power and purpose. Jesus conquered death that we might live and He has given us liberty in that life – liberty to grow and mature and become more like Him. We are to emulate Jesus, who empowers us to do so. In my sermon, “Living the Resurrected Life,” I addressed our dependence upon the One who alone can work His will in our lives and empower us to bear His fruit, the fruit of the Spirit. With that power, as we grow to maturity in Christ, He calls us to proclaim the gospel, known as the “Great Commission.”

The power of the Easter message is unstoppable, as is the One who accomplished it. “It is finished!”

We no longer need fear death or the dangers we face in this life. We are freed from ourselves and given a new life. In the dark valleys of our lives, Jesus again resurrects us, spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually. He empowers us to seek and do His will, which includes spiritual growth and evangelism.

Life. Liberty. Power. Purpose. …

Paradise

Easter points us to Jesus, to what He accomplished in the past, to what He accomplishes every day, and to our future with Him in Paradise. (Jesus called it Paradise for a reason.) As we eagerly await our entrance into His presence, let us remember the words of the apostle Paul, who wrote: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Rom. 8:18).”

One of my favorite songs, Selah’s All My Tears, is irresistibly exuberant and triumphant. It rejoices in knowing Jesus annihilated death and that at the end of this life we will be with Him for eternity. With confident faith, it beautifully anticipates our future home, where there will be no more tears and sorrows. Here is a sampling of lyrics:

When I die don’t cry for me
In my father’s arms I’ll be
The wounds this world left on my soul
Will all be healed and I’ll be whole

It don’t matter where you bury me
I’ll be home and I’ll be free
It don’t matter where I lay
All my tears be washed away

 So weep not for me my friend
When my time below does end
For my life belongs to Him
Who will raise the dead again

 

Happy Easter!

CPAC 2014 Speech Highlights (with photo)

Once again, Republican heavy-hitters, potential presidential candidates, movers-and-shakers, and the political and cultural elites of conservatism took the CPAC stage to inspire and exhort the gathered audience and national television viewers via C-Span.

(I’ll save my favorite speech for last.)

Gov. Chris Christie emphasized the importance of winning elections, saying, “We don’t get to govern if we don’t win.” Winning was on Sen. Rick Santorum’s mind as well, as he said, “I’m not here to see a candidate win. I’m here to see America win.” Sen. Ted Cruz said that to achieve victory in the voting box, conservatives need to stand up for their principles: “You want to lose elections, stand for nothing. … Defend the Constitution – all of it.” Cruz exhorted the crowd: “We need to repeal every single word of Obamacare.”

Gov. Sarah Palin echoed Cruz’s sentiments, noting, “We are a nation with a government and not the other way around.” The backwardness of the liberal vision was also highlighted by Gov. Bobby Jindal, who warned, “This president believes our First Amendment religious rights begin and end in the pew of church on Sunday. This country did not create religious liberty and freedom, religious liberty freedom created this country.” Jindal emphasized, “The genius of the Founding Fathers was to trust the American people.”

Also looking to America’s Founders, Sen. Tom Coburn said, “We need to reconnect with the Constitution when we legislate and ask ourselves where in the enumerated powers of the Constitution we get the authority to pass a specific law.” So did Sen. Tim Scott: “[I find] the greatness of America not in Obama administration executive orders but in the wisdom of our Founding Fathers and the pages of the Constitution. … It is our responsibility to make sure the blessing of God upon our country continues.”

The continuing struggle for power which afflicts all human institutions has existed throughout the life of this Republic, as noted by author George Will: “Our country was founded in reaction to executive overreach with King George and the British. This has been an enduring problem in American history.”

The diametrically-opposed worldviews of the Obama administration and the rest of America were adeptly expressed by Ambassador John Bolton: “Our biggest national security crisis is Barack Obama. This is a president that does not believe in American exceptionalism, a president uninterested in national security and America’s place in the world, who considers our strength part of the problem, that we are the cause of international tension. This is like looking at the world through the wrong end of a telescope. But that is Barack Obama’s world.”

Business magnate Donald Trump exhorted conservatives to “Make America strong again. We have such tremendous potential. We have to use it. Make America great again.” Similarly, Sen. Marco Rubio championed American leadership on the global stage, contrasting the conservative vision with the Obama reality:

“I am convinced that despite the bad leadership we are getting today, we are on the verge of a new American century if only we make a few key decisions for the good. … We have a president who believed he could shape global events by the sheer force of his personality. We do not have the luxury of seeing the world as we hoped it may be, we have to see the world as it is. … There is only one nation on earth capable of rallying and bringing together the free people on this planet to stand up to the spread of totalitarianism. … America must be involved in leading the world.”

Gov. Rick Perry also called for a reinvigorated leadership at home and in global affairs, saying, “It’s not too late for America to lead in the world, but it starts by leading at home.” This is achieved by changing the presidency through “a little rebellion on the battlefield of ideas.” Rep. Newt Gingrich also promoted the Jeffersonian notion of rebellion, saying, “There is a revolution coming and we have the opportunity to lead it.”

What kind of “revolution” is needed? Santorum wants “to see America win.” Sen. Rand Paul urged “lovers of Liberty” to seize the day:

“Imagine with me for a moment, imagine a time when Liberty is again spread from coast to coast. Imagine a time when our great country is again governed by the Constitution. Imagine a time when the White House is once again occupied by a friend of Liberty. You may think I’m talking about electing Republicans. I’m not. I’m talking about electing lovers of Liberty. It isn’t good enough to pick the lesser of two evils. We must elect men and women of principle, and conviction and action, who will lead us back to greatness. There is a great and tumultuous battle underway for the future, not of the Republican Party but the future of the entire country.”

Though the conservative movement is divided over direction, strategy, and tactics, Rep. Paul Ryan dismissed that fissure, joking, “The Democrats say we are divided, Tea Party versus Establishment, social conservatives versus fiscal conservatives. I’m Irish. That’s what I call a family reunion.” Sen. Mike Lee: cautioned conservatives: “It’s time for the Republican Party to stop talking about Ronald Reagan and start acting like him.”

My favorite speech was by author Eric Metaxas (see photo), who emphasized knowing who we are and what we believe – as Christians, as conservatives, as Americans. We need to understand the true narrative of America. Here are a few highlights from his speech:

  • “Getting serious means knowing what we believe, understanding what we believe.”
  • “Motivated by faith in God, the early abolitionists stood against the zeitgeist – something I would recommend always standing against – and by God’s grace, slavery was abolished. … Motivated by faith in God, the civil rights leaders did what they did to fulfill the larger promise of America.”
  • “God has a hand in helping us fulfill who we are and making us great.”
  • “We gave hope [to the world]. We were a beacon of hope and truth in a dark world of hopelessness and lies.”
  • [In the 1960s,] another narrative was being put forth … a narrative that said that America’s strength was a bad thing; that instead of using our strength to help others, we used it to bully others; and so the best thing is for us to be less strong. Our strength must be decreased, our voice must be muted.”
  • “I want you all to understand how easy it is for people to fall into that way of thinking. It has become the default narrative in this culture. It is the narrative of Hollywood and academia. And unless we get the truth out – the real story of America – the great narrative, we don’t stand a chance. That’s our job: to get that story out.”
  • “The story is that America, for all its faults – and there are many – is still the greatest country in the history of the world. America is great, not because our people are better than other people (because we’re not). America is great because we know that everything we have is a gift from God that we don’t deserve, and that God has given it to us for the sake of others.”
  • “It was God who gave us this country and these opportunities. What we have here is not a gift from our government but a gift from God. Are we humble enough to acknowledge that? … It’s the ideas of America that are better. That’s what American exceptionalism is.”
  • “If we can’t admit when we’re mistaken, if we can’t repent, we don’t really believe in truth: we believe in nothing but ourselves. And if we believe in nothing but ourselves, God help us!”

 Image

Photo: Daniel Borchers

CPAC 2014 – More Libertarian Than Ever (with photos)

A broad spectrum of conservative thought was on display at CPAC, ranging from Tea Party patriots and social conservatives to libertarians and RINOs.

Apart from its roster of politically heavyweight hitters featured at CPAC, the organizers appeared to cater to libertarians, avoiding certain crucial areas, such as key social issues, national security, foreign policy, and immigration. For a number of years now, the high ground has been yielded to libertarians over conservatives, prompting some to suggest CPAC be renamed LPAC.

One striking aspect of CPAC in recent years is its growing cadre of libertarians with its ever burgeoning number of youth attending the conference. The statistics tell the story.[1] This year, the line for Rand Paul’s book signing was the largest at the event, significantly over-flowing the designated area.

If CPAC represents a microcosm of the Conservative Movement, then libertarianism is in the ascendancy. However, the Tea Party was well represented and both visible and vocal at the conference, suggesting the battle for the soul of the party[2] – and the direction of the country – is not yet set in stone.

Photos: 1-3) Daniel Borchers, 4) CPAC

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Endnotes:

[1]       See Anna Giaritelli, “Ideology chart shows just how libertarian CPAC has become,” Rare, 3/11/14, http://rare.us/story/ideology-chart-shows-just-how-libertarian-cpac-has-become/.

[2]       See Frank James, “CPAC’s Conservative-Libertarian Split Could Be Hard To Bridge,” GPB News, 3/7/14, http://www.gpb.org/news/2014/03/07/cpacs-conservative-libertarian-split-could-be-hard-to-bridge.

CPAC 2014 – Just for the Fun of It (with photos)

CPAC was likened by a number of critical (liberal) sites as a circus,[1] and, at CPAC, amidst the political heavy hitters with carefully-calibrated messages, there was an amusing carnival-like atmosphere in many areas of the conference.

Left-wing bloggers view the various conservative and libertarian political positions themselves to be the circus, whereas the festive atmosphere present was for entertainment – as well as making political statements. (Who says conservatives have to be stuffy?)

Blogger Ana Marie Cox wrote, “CPAC is still very much a circus [with] sideshow acts like Donald Trump, Sarah Palin and Ann Coulter,” but she proffered hope that “someone in the movement is trying to put the clown car in reverse.”[2] Note that Cox seemingly views conservatism itself as clownish.

Mini target ranges are a perennial favorite at CPAC, which has also become accustomed to costumed historical figures like George Washington and Patrick Henry. I was pleased to see my Tea Party friend, William Temple, again. He must be one of the most photographed patriots in history.

How Money Walks featured a retinue of Star Wars characters.[3] The War on Youth booth[4] invited attendees to arm-wrestle body builders in a fight for America’s youth. (Shockingly, I won, but I suspect the results are rigged.)

In radio interviews, CPAC Chairman Al Cardenas expressed a desire to exclude these humorous (non-serious, theatrical) elements from future CPAC conferences. That would be both a loss and a shame. Moreover, I’m sure the continually growing percentage of young attendees which CPAC caters to would disapprove.

Enjoy these photos from CPAC! J

Photos: Daniel Borchers

Endnotes:

[1]       See, for instance, “Insanipalooza, The CPAC 2014 Circus Has Come to Town,” LiesMyCountryToldMe.com, 3/8/14, http://liesmycountrytoldme.com/insanipalooza-the-cpac-2014-circus-has-come-to-town/.

[2]       Ana Marie Cox, “CPAC 2014: maybe the Republicans aren’t so insane after all,” The Guardian, 3/7/14, www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/07/cpac-2014-maybe-the-republicans-arent-so-insane-after-all.

[3]       See http://www.howmoneywalks.com/national-media-coverage/.

[4]       See http://www.yaliberty.org/activism/waronyouth/2014.

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