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Saturday, May 10, 2008

ADF Launches Initiatiave to Retake Religious Freedom

Fox News is reporting on a new Pulpit Initiative by the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) to challenge the 50-year old restriction on political speech for tax exempt organizations.

Conservative legal advocates are recruiting pastors nationwide to defy an IRS ban on preaching about politicians, in a challenge they hope will abolish the restriction.

The Alliance Defense Fund, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., will ask the clergy to deliver a sermon about specific candidates Sept. 28. If the action triggers an IRS investigation, the legal group will sue to overturn the federal rules, which were enacted in 1954.
The ADF pledges to "equip, protect, and defend" pastors who wish to participate. And that is exactly what ADF was founded to do: protect and defend religious liberty.

Many people have come to believe that the prohibitions seen in the tax code are Constitutional in nature and have been in place since the founding of the nation. Nothing could be further from the truth.

From the ADF white paper on Pulpit Freedom Sunday:
The 1954 amendment, offered by then-Senator Lyndon Johnson, stated that non-profit tax-exempt entities could not “participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office.” No official reason was given for the amendment, but scholars believe that Johnson offered the amendment to restrict the speech of a private foundation that supported a political opponent. Since the amendment passed, the IRS has steadfastly maintained that any speech by churches about candidates for office, including sermons from the pulpit, can result in loss of tax exemption.

The amendment dramatically impacted churches’ exercise of First Amendment rights. Historically, churches have frequently and fervently spoken for and against candidates for office. Such sermons date from the founding of America, including sermons against Thomas Jefferson for being a deist; sermons opposing William Howard Taft as a Unitarian; and sermons opposing Al Smith in the 1928 presidential election. Churches have also been at the forefront of most of the significant societal and governmental changes in our history including ending segregation and child labor and advancing civil rights.

Churches already have the freedom to speak out on ballot initiatives, as many did in 2006 and are currently doing in favor of Initiated Measure 11, the 2008 South Dakota pro-life initiative.

But the tax code which wrongly prohibits against speaking out for or against a candidate on the basis of their moral stances is often used to intimidate churches from even exercising the freedom they do have.

This unconstitutional restriction on free and religious speech should be eliminated to clear the way for speech on candidates who will clearly advance or set back moral values in the public square, and it should be removed so that it can no longer be used as a threat against even speaking out in favor of moral ballot initiatives.

Churches should spend most of their time worshipping God, equipping the church members for Christian living, and reaching the lost. But they should not forfeit their duty to be salt and light in a free society.

But surprise, surprise, Americans United for Separation of Church and State says they'll tattle if pastors participate in Pulpit Freedom Sunday:
They said Friday that they will notify the agency of any pastor who participates in the ADF campaign.

Uh, I think that's the idea, guys. It'll take bringing the issue before the courts to knock down this unconstitutional law.

The Baptist Join Committee for Religious Liberty (another of those misnomer organizations like the pro-abortion "South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families") also opposes the religious liberty of being able to speak from the pulpit for or against candidates who support or oppose moral initiatives in the public square.
J. Brent Walker, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty in Washington, which advocates for religious freedom, said churches should be involved in public issues, but partisan activity can “compromise the essential calling to spread the Gospel.”

That's interesting that the BJC would say this, since they are a liberal activist group which lobbies government to advance liberal policies. Seems like that boat's already sailed for the BJC.

The Christian worldview which spawned, founded and shaped this nation for nearly 200 years has been on the defensive for the last 50 years. Back then, secularists rose up and pushed against Christianity...and Christianity folded and ran. Some Christians eventually rallied about 20 years later and started working to halt the advance of secularism, liberalism and immorality, but they've been on the defensive the whole time.

It's time we went on the offensive. You don't win wars fighting on the defensive. You don't reconquer ground by fighting on the defensive.

And if this nation, along with all its freedoms--religious and otherwise--is to survive, a lot of moral ground is going to have to be retaken.

I am greatly encouraged to finally see a major Christian organization launch an offensive initiative.

Not all churches may be able to get behind this. Some may be too small, with bivocational pastors who simply cannot fight this fight. But there are many larger churches with considerable resources and full-time paid staff that should be able to take on this fight. For the good of us all, I pray that many will do so.

South Dakota has an ADF allied attorney in Stephen Wesolick in Rapid City. I'm sure he will be involved in any cases which may arise out of this, and will have the full resources of the ADF at his disposal.

Now is not the time for timidity. Now is the time to be the salt and light this troubled world needs.


No Surprise. Pink Witchcraft!

“Code Pink Protesters Try Witchcraft at Anti-Marine Rallies”

The Fox News’ report that Code Pink is resorting to witchcraft in its attempt to interfere with operations at the Marine recruiting center in Berkeley comes as no shocker to those of us who have followed the antics of Code Pink at the Berkeley protests. The big event was to have taken place yesterday as part of Mother’s Day remembrance (no joke!). That they have chosen to shed the ruse de guerre of dissenting patriots and be themselves is, at least, somewhat refreshing, but not shocking.

Marine Capt. John Paul Wheatcroft had this to say about the plan: "I think witches won't shock me, but it'll be a change of pace, so that's nice. Do you think they'll bring their cauldron?"

Sadly, Zombie has not yet posted photos of the event but will likely have some up yet this weekend.


Who Can Be Against Us?

American Minute from William J. Federer

A surprise attack before dawn on MAY 10, 1775, gave America one of its first victories of the Revolutionary War.

Just 3 weeks after Lexington and Concord, Ethan Allen led 83 Green Mountain Boys of Vermont to capture Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain by overrunning it in the early morning while the British sentry was sleeping.

Ethan Allen, whose statue is in the U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall, demanded immediate surrendered. The bewildered British captain asked in whose name such a request was being made. Ethan Allen responded: "In the Name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress."

Fort Ticonderoga's 50 cannons were incredibly moved by 25-year-old Colonel Henry Knox over 200 miles from New York across Vermont and New Hampshire to a hill overlooking Boston Harbor, forcing British ships to evacuate.

Three weeks after the capture of Fort Ticonderoga, Harvard President Samuel Langdon told the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, May 31, 1775: "If God be for us, who can be against us?..May our land be purged from all its sins! Then the Lord will be our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble, and we will have no reason to be afraid, though thousands of enemies set themselves against us."

William J. Federer is a nationally recognized author, speaker, and president of Amerisearch, Inc, which is dedicated to researching our American heritage. The American Minute radio feature looks back at events in American history on the dates they occurred, is broadcast daily across the country and read by thousand on the internet.


Is Obama really the man blacks need?

BY STAR PARKER
FOUNDER & PRESIDENT
COALITION ON URBAN RENEWAL & EDUCATION

It appears that Barack Obama has survived a tough couple of weeks. In the words of some, he's shown that "he can take a punch."

But, frankly, I think Senator Obama is still getting kid gloves treatment from a press corps that tilts left.

Despite the hounding about his "bitterness" remarks, and the ongoing story of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, there's been hardly 10 seconds of attention about his incredible statement that he wouldn't want his daughters "punished with a baby" if they "make a mistake."

This in a discussion about HIV/AIDS in which he said that contraception should be included alongside of abstinence in sex education.

Regarding his two young daughters, Obama said, "I am going to teach them first about values and morals."

First? What are values and morals if there is a second? Faith, of course, includes forgiveness. But values and morals are absolutes. There is a world of difference between forgiveness and teaching alternative paths.

There have been questions, appropriate questions, about how Barack Obama could have been sitting in the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's church for 20 years and suddenly, today, realize he does not agree with him. How so?

We have a good possible answer here. Religion for Senator Obama is not something too serious. It may satisfy some social needs and provide intellectual and emotional salve. But it doesn't translate into behavioral absolutes.

The arena for addressing life's dilemmas for Obama is politics not religion. So, in this sense, Pastor Wright had it right. His former congregant is first and foremost a politician.

In answering a question about abortion while campaigning in Iowa last year, the always deliberative Obama said: "I think the American people struggle with two principles: There's the principle that the fetus is not just an appendage, it's potential life ... They also believe that women should have some control over their bodies ..."

The fetus is "potential life?"

Shortly after the Supreme Court's decision last year upholding the constitutionality of the ban on partial birth abortions, Obama spoke at a Planned Parenthood conference in Washington, D.C. Condemning the court's decision, he said that it was part of "a concerted effort to steadily roll back" legal abortions.

Criticizing Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion in the case, Obama said, "Justice Kennedy knows many things, but my understanding is that he does not know how to be a doctor."

Of course, Kennedy's job is not to be a doctor, but to be a judge. And in doing so, he included in his opinion testimony of a nurse who participated in a partial birth abortion procedure:

"The baby's little fingers were clasping and unclasping, and his little feet were kicking. Then the doctor stuck the scissors in the back of his head, and the baby's arms jerked out ...The doctor opened up the scissors, stuck a high powered suction tube into the opening, and sucked the baby's brains out ... Now the baby went completely limp. He threw the baby in a pan, along with the placenta, and the instruments he had just used."

Thus the end of what, for Obama, was "potential life."

Nat Hentoff, no conservative, but a libertarian who writes for the "Village Voice,'' calls Obama the "infanticide candidate."

In a recent column, Hentoff noted that, while in the Illinois State Senate, Obama voted against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. This Act addressed cases where, during an abortion procedure, the live infant was actually born. The Act would have banned killing the living child.

Responding to John McCain's remarks delivered the other day at Wake Forest University about law and judges, Obama contrasted McCain's pledge of "judicial constraint" with his own concept of legal activism.

Obama said he'd seek out judges "who are sympathetic to those who are on the outside, those who are vulnerable, those who are powerless."

Aside from this bizarre idea about the role of law, what irony there is in hearing this from a man with zero empathy for our most vulnerable -- the helpless infant in the womb.

For the 90 percent of blacks who are casting votes for Obama, know that almost 50 million children have been aborted since Roe V. Wade in 1973, a third of which were black babies. Is this really the man whom our community needs?

---------------------------------


Star Parker is president of the Coalition on Urban Renewal & Education and author of the new book White Ghetto: How Middle Class America Reflects Inner City Decay.

Prior to her involvement in social activism, Star Parker was a single welfare mother in Los Angeles, California. After receiving Christ, Star returned to college, received a BS degree in marketing and launched an urban Christian magazine. The 1992 Los Angeles riots destroyed her business, yet served as a springboard for her focus on faith and market-based alternatives to empower the lives of the poor.


Friday, May 09, 2008

Gas Station Clerk Fired After Being Robbed

POSTED: 8:26 pm CDT May 8, 2008
UPDATED: 8:48 pm CDT May 8, 2008

A gas station clerk is upset that he was fired after he was robbed.

Why was he fired?

The article goes on to say...

The store's policy is to never have more than $50 in the open register. Bills larger than $20 are supposed to be immediately placed into another vault.


And...

"I didn't have the time to put the money in the bill acceptor," Nick said.

The robber fled the store with $200, which is $150 more than the company rules allow to be in the till.

"So, basically, I got fired because a billion-dollar company loses $200," Nick said.

Conoco Phillips won't comment on the specifics, but it said safety is the No. 1 priority. A company representative said there are established guidelines that must be followed to ensure safe practices on the job.


To read the entire article, go to KMBC .

I was not at the store, nor have I seen the surveillance tape, but if the employee is giving an accurate accounting of what transpired, I think Conoco Phillips should add another priority to their list -- A priority called common sense.

I understand the dangers of having a large amount of cash in the till. I wonder, however, if the Conoco Phillips personnel in charge of making rules, realizes how prices affect the ability (or lack thereof) to carry out the rules from olden days when a gallon of gas was a dollar and some change? Now, with gas prices as high as they are, each and every transaction involving gasoline could potentially put the till over $50. So is the rule an absolute to deposit as one goes (possibly with each transaction) or to deposit the funds in a safe fashion using common sense? Has the company made it possible to realistically and safely follow their rules or is that a non-issue from their perspective? One has to wonder when reading KMBC report.


How Much are We Spending on Public Education


NewsBusted Conservative Comedy 5/9/2008



Topics in today's episode include:
-Barbara Walters love life
-NY Times budget cuts
-John Cusack's new film
-Spike Lee on Jeremiah Wright


A Manifesto to Clarify or to Quell?

This Evangelical Manifesto first came on my radar last week and has quickly garnered a fair share of media attention this week.

According to the Washington Times article today

A panel of 77 evangelical Christians issued a "manifesto" at the National Press Club yesterday ostensibly to clarify "the confusions and corruptions surrounding the term 'evangelical' "

The article also says evangelicals make up about 26% of the U.S. population.

Probably the best definition of "evangelical" you'll find in a modern dictionary for the modern usage of the term is this: "emphasizing salvation by faith in the atoning death of Jesus Christ through personal conversion, the authority of Scripture, and the importance of preaching as contrasted with ritual."

In political discussions of recent years, the term has almost become synonymous with "conservative Christian" or "fundamental Christian."

While some who fit the dictionary definition of evangelical may bristle at this association, the reality is that most evangelicals do hold a conservative ideology. It may be unhappiness at being identified with "conservatives" that has spurred some to come up with this manifesto.

An interesting thing about this "evangelical manifesto" is that a number of noteworthy evangelicals haven't signed it.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council isn't on there. In fact, according to the Washington Times article, he says:


"Theirs is an ivory tower perspective," said Mr. Perkins, who was not asked to sign. "It's an age-old problem with people who are concerned with being spoken well of. They want to rid the world of evil but they don't want to get their hands dirty. It's not true that you can't preach the Gospel and be engaged in taking on the culture."

Christian pollster George Barna isn't on it. Richard Land, Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, wasn't asked to sign it. Janice Crouse, director of the Beverly LaHaye Institute at Concerned Women for America, says there are contradictions in the document. Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family said he has "myriad concerns." Also missing are Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family, American Values president Gary Bauer, Rick Scarborough of Vision America, Phil Burress of Citizens For Community Values, Concerned Women for America president Wendy Wright, and Janet Folger of Faith2Action.

I read the manifesto and found little to disagree with...on the surface.

On the surface, the manifesto calls for what one might call a balanced approach to the Christian faith. It says Christians shouldn't be about "single-issue politics."

Interpreting this from recent political discussions, this is almost certainly a criticism of the attention given by conservative Christians to the issues of abortion and the homosexual agenda.

First of all, a great degree of attention to these issues is not inordinate. Since human life is created in the image of God, and we are commanded by God to "be fruitful and multiply," the taking of innocent human life in the womb demands our utmost attention.

And since God laid out his design for human sexuality at the same time he created human beings, the blatant and public misuse of human sexuality (i.e. homosexual behavior) and the attempted counterfeiting of marriage (homosexual "marriage") also demands a high level of attention.

Even if these issues were not critical and foundational to the life and health of our society, it is unfair to infer that conservative Christians are only concerned about these issues. Most conservative Christians I know are also concerned about freedom, crime, justice, protection of the innocent, national defense, the poor, and the role of government in our society, to name a few.

Another area which might sound harmless at first glance is in the area of science and intellect. The manifesto says that some evangelicals have
fallen into an unbecoming anti-intellectualism that is a dire cultural handicap as well as a sin. In particular, some among us have betrayed the strong Christian tradition of a high view of science, epitomized in the very matrix of ideas that gave birth to modern science, and made themselves vulnerable to caricatures of the false hostility between science and faith.

None of us wants to champion ignorance and stupidity, do we? None of us wants to stand in the way of scientific advances that will improve our world and make our lives better, do we? So this must mean something else.

I can't mistake this as anything other than criticism of the belief that the Bible actually means what it says when God created the earth, and all life on it as we see it today.

That is not anti-intellectualism, but is instead anti-evolutionism or anti-naturalism, or simply belief that God meant what He said. There is nothing anti-intellectual or unscientific about that. Many of the great scientists including Newton, Kepler, Copernicus, and Galileo were all creationists. God created the universe to operate according to scientific principles; how can one believe in God and His creative work and be anti-science? Creation scientists want to understand how God engineered the universe, even as evolutionists want to understand a universe they believe came about through random chance.

Evolution, naturalism and materialism are not science, but philosophies or interpretations of science. Creation scientists study the same science that evolutionists do; they simply approach the science from a different worldview. The drafters of the manifesto seem to have fallen for the evolutionist lie that naturalism=science and materialism=science.

Conservative Christians are also not anti-intellectual from the educational or philosophical perspective, either. People cut from the same philosophical cloth as today's conservative Christians founded the great Ivy League colleges like Harvard and Yale, and have today founded exceptional institutes of learning like Patrick Henry College.

Further, most conservative Christians I know greatly appreciate the thinking of great minds like that of C.S. Lewis. Lewis was anything but anti-intellectual, as evidenced by books such as The Abolition of Man and Mere Christianity.

One area in which conservative Christians do differ from the liberal worldview is that they do not believe that man's understanding or wisdom is infinite or even potentially infallible. Nor do they believe that human beings can be "educated" into moral excellence.

In short, it seems obvious that the manifesto has adopted the pop-culture contention that Biblical Christianity=superstition, ignorance and myth.

The manifesto also warns of a "politicization" of the faith and calls for "neither privatized nor politicized" Christianity.

Again, on the surface, that sounds fairly reasonable. After all Christ didn't come to set up a political or governmental kingdom here on earth...at least not at the present time. And Christianity shouldn't become married to a government or a political party or even a particular political movement.

Such sentiments are in complete agreement with the originally intended "separation of church and state" America was supposed to (and did for nearly 200 years) operate under. Not a separation of values and government but the prohibition of an official state religion or a theocracy.

But in a free and democratic society, do Christians and does Christianity have a right, role and responsibility to advocate Christian values? This is where I think the manifesto jumps on the wrong boat.

The manifesto attempts to encapsulate the politicization problem thusly:


Christians, especially in modern society, have been pulled toward two extremes. Those more liberal have tended so to accommodate the world that they reflect the thinking and lifestyles of the day, to the point where they are unfaithful to Christ; whereas those more conservative have tended so to defy the world that they resist it in ways that also become unfaithful to Christ.

While this description adequately describes the liberal mindset, the description of the conservative mindset implies an unfair tone of belligerence.

It is true that conservative Christians "defy" the anti-God secular mentality. But would the signers of the manifesto have the "salt and light" of the world be unsavory and dim? It is precisely because Christians were silent and disengaged that American culture has abandoned Christian values in the last 50 years.

The manifesto continues to unfairly characterize the conservative or fundamental position, claiming we wrongly "romanticize the past, some now-lost moment in time, and to radicalize the present."

While we recognize the past was not perfect, it is incontrovertible fact that the moral fiber of America is at an all-time low. And since our current culture lauds the killing of children and sexual license--to the point of trying to call two men having sex "marriage"--on a scale not seen since the decline of the Roman Empire, it's more than fair to say that modern culture is pretty radical.

Do evangelicals sometimes respond too forcefully, even with anger, to the incursions of evil upon our society? Yes, we do, and yes, I have. Some anger is appropriate in the presence of evil and not sinful, but still we sometimes cross the line. We should always strive to be Christ-like, respond appropriately, and "in our anger, do not sin."

But imagine what our world might look like if "fundamental Christians" had abandoned the public square for the last 200 years:

- There would have been no end to the brutal oppression and world conquest of the Soviet Union. Ronald Reagan, the chief American force behind the demise of the Soviet Union, would have kept his ideas about an "evil empire" and his Bible-based beliefs about freedom and the dignity of man to himself. He would not have "politicized" his faith to oppose a foreign government.

- There would have been no end to segregation and extension of full civil rights to all Americans. Martin Luther King's belief that we are all God's children would have made any civil rights legislation invalid and illegitimate, since it sprang from a religious belief. The teaching of the Bible that race or nationality is irrelevant to God should have been kept in the church where it belonged; to take such beliefs into the streets or into the legislative chamber would have been a "politicization of the faith" and made civil rights advocates "useful idiots" of a political movement.

- There would have been no abolition of slavery. Slavery was, after all, the law of the land. So what if the recognition "that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights" sprang from the Biblical teachings that men are created in God's image, and that we are all His children, all equal in His sight? Fundamentalist Christians shouldn't have tried to impose their morality or their religion on others. Fundamentalist Christians shouldn't have pressed for laws based on religious beliefs. That would have "politicized the faith."

- There would have been no American Revolution. Our Christian founders would have kept quiet as King George oppressed the colonists, violated their rights and continued his "abuses and usurpations." To join with any other colonists who wanted to change this state would have "politicized the faith" and made them "useful idiots" of rebellion.

While I know that some of the people involved with this manifesto are liberals, I know that at least a couple of the signers are solidly loyal to the Bible, so I don't think it can be said that supporters (at least not all of them) just want to undermine Christian values in the public square.

But at the same time, with no disrespect intended, I have to conclude that some of the signers have allowed themselves to become what the manifesto itself warned of on page 15: useful idiots, or naive tools.

They have allowed themselves to become tools of a liberal political effort to sanitize the public square of Christian values, Christian influence, and Christian voices...leaving them free to pursue their humanist goals of moral license and loyalty to state.

If followed, this manifesto, while innocuous enough on the surface, can only have one result: a diminished Christian influence on our culture, a dilution of the salt and dimming of the light Christians are called to be in the world. And the world needs the salt and light of the truth now more than ever.

While we are called to love, we are called to tell the truth. Jesus himself did no less. He loved those who were hurting, but he told the unadulterated truth, especially to those who sought to undermine the truth.

If those behind the manifesto think that a surrender in the culture war will purchase peace with the forces of evil, they are woefully mistaken. While their silence might buy the illusion of peace for a short time, it will only last until the barbarians have time to reach the gates. It won't even win any converts, outside of a few pretenders who enjoy the comforts of religiosity without the demands of holiness.

Christ never said we could or should expect to be liked. Jesus told us, "All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved." And "Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man." And "If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you."

Christianity isn't a popularity contest, and it isn't for the timid.

Christians shouldn't favor politics over their first priorities to worship God and bring the truth to the lost. But neither should they adopt a bunker mentality (the same bunker mentality already held by some for years) and surrender the culture to evil. Just as the Body of Christ has many parts and functions, we can work both inside the church and outside the church.

The world won't be saved by American power or prestige. People won't be saved by the Republican Party, and they won't reach the kingdom of Heaven by conservative ideology.

But they will be saved if they embrace the Gospel. The Gospel, or "good news," begins with some bad news: humans are fallen, sinful creatures living in a self-destructive manner on the road to Hell, and only Jesus Christ can save them. The good news is that Christ loved humans enough to die for us, and wants to redeem us from the pit of hell.

But we can't hang onto sin and grab onto Christ at the same time. Liberal Christian "doctrine" sells the hope that you can, but in the end it won't get you one inch closer to heaven. As Christ said, you can't serve two masters--you'll love one and hate the other. You have to surrender your desire to sin and accept Christ.

It so happens that's what fundamental Christianity teaches, in the church and in the public square. And it's what the Bible teaches.

Is the Evangelical Manifesto an evil document? No. Does it counsel or condone evil? No.

But after reading it, I'm left with the inescapable conclusion that it would sap the power of Christ's truth claims from our culture, leaving us all to live in a much darker place...and a growing number of people without hope.

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes - Romans 1:16


Thursday, May 08, 2008

Rep. Jeff Haverly Running for Dist. 35 Senate Nomination

From today's mailbag, District 35 Rep. Jeff Haverly is running for the Republican nomination to the Dist. 35 Senate seat being vacated by Senator Bill Napoli.

He is running against Alice McCoy for the Republican nod.

Representative Jeff Haverly, R-Rapid City, has announced he is seeking election to the South Dakota Senate for District 35. The district consists of Rapid Valley, most of North Rapid, Rapid City’s central business district, a portion of Box Elder, and south of Rapid City to the Spring Creek Road, East of Hwy. 79. He has lived in Rapid Valley for 24 years, is retired military from Ellsworth AFB, and the owner of childcare centers.

Jeff has served six years in the State House of Representatives for District 35 and serves on the Appropriations Committee. As the lone West River appropriator, this position has been vital to the interests and needs of the people in Western South Dakota. Previously he served on the House Education and Health and Human Service Committees and was part of a South Dakota team selected to attend a National Policy Academy on Co-Occurring Mental and Substance Abuse Disorders. Some of his primary focuses have been on Western Dakota Technical Institute, SDSM&T, mental health, and veteran’s issues.

With Senator Napoli retiring from the Senate, Haverly will continue to provide the strong voice and experience for Western South Dakota in issues relative to the Governor and various departments as they relate to our area.

Haverly was the sponsor of several bills involving higher education, job creation and economic growth. Feeling that the technical institutes provide opportunities for all ages to gain skills to replace our retiring workforce, Representative Haverly was the prime sponsor and co-sponsor of legislation that would have secured adequate and stable funding for the technical institutes. He chaired five state-wide task force meetings regarding technical institute funding in order to identify issues with the current funding. The task force identified the importance of workforce development for our state resulting in Haverly sponsoring a bill to stabilize and produce positive results for our state’s workforce well into the future. He has also been a strong voice in representing the adjustment training centers across the state that continues to care for our citizens who need assistance in reaching their full potential.

Jeff attends evening classes at Black Hills State University and served on the Rapid City School board prior to his election to the State Legislature. He has remained active in the local community through his participation in the Western Dakota Technical Institute Foundation. Some of his past and present activities are: board member for the Black Hills Special Services, North Rapid Civic Association attendee, Rapid City’s Weed and Seed program and the Youth Serving Organization Alliance. Through his efforts the Black Hills Child Care Association was formed and he was elected to the National Child Care Association Board of Directors, providing representation for South Dakota at a national level for the first time. He is a member of the Rapid City Elks lodge, ABATE, The National Rifle Association, The Retired Enlisted Association, and is a member of Rapid Valley United Methodist Church.

Jeff believes that government should remain small, but effective, and close to the people. He believes the legislator elected should not cater to the needs of the other branches of government if it’s not in the best interest of the people of our state. He also believes that being a legislator is more than yielding his time on the House or Senate floor, and instead playing an active role in the decision making process as it might affect the citizens of South Dakota and his districts constituents. To name just a few examples: He proved his dedication to the people of South Dakota and his district, when this last year he helped to defeat the Pre-K initiative that was brought by the Department of Education with government intervention into the private childcare sector. In the previous legislative session he played a key role in making sure a prison was not built in a residential area in his district, but he was still able to ensure the prison would be built in a more suitable area, providing jobs and economic growth for the Rapid City area. While serving on appropriations several sessions ago he helped to ensure the Senior Meals program would not get sized down in the State when the Federal government cut money from it. Instead he appropriated funds and helped to persuade other legislators to use state money as a replacement to ensure our Senior citizens were adequately being taken care of.

Jeff and his wife Terri have three daughters and five grandsons, all living in Rapid City. He hopes you will continue to vote for a strong voice and elect him to the District 35 Senate.


High Gas Prices: Big Oil or Big Government?

With gas prices so high, the daily drum beat is on about oil company profits.

Oil companies are certainly making money (aren't businesses supposed to do that?), but is that evil capitalist greed solely to blame for high gas prices? Like so many things that seem one way when we're fed by the "mainstream" media, maybe not.

There's an article from the Montana Standard that's three months old, but the information contained therein isn't the slightest bit dated.

It's written by Shaun Hoolahan who is a retired petroleum engineer. He's seen the oil industry up close, in ways that even the mental giants in the press haven't.

He points out that the Western oil companies usually associated with "Big Oil" control less than 6 percent of the world’s reserves; there are a lot of nationalized (i.e. government controlled) oil companies that make up most of the rest from places like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Venezuela, Libya, Algeria, Nigeria, Russia, Brazil, and China.

Further, it isn't one oil company setting prices or even a group of them getting together to conspire to raise prices. It's a group of nations we know as the Oil Producing and Exporting Countries, or OPEC.

But why couldn't Exxon or one of the other American oil companies just have a heart and cut prices?

What happens to the independent refiner if Exxon sells its refinery products at less than its cost of manufacture? The independents couldn’t compete, would scream bloody murder, and would haul Exxon before the courts for unfair trade practices. The same would apply to other integrated oil companies that might have a larger proportion than Exxon of their business in the downstream sector (refining and marketing) as opposed to the upstream sector (exploration and production).

Hoolahan also points out that OPEC is producing at near full capacity. How could we fix that? Increase our capacity by doing more drilling...and building some new refineries for the first time in over 30 years. How much has our demand increased in 30 years while we've been building no new refineries?

He also says Exxon's profit is about 10 cents on the dollar. At $3.50 a gallon, that's 35 cents a gallon profit. But how much is the tax man getting? The federal gas tax is 18.4 cents a gallon, and in South Dakota there's a 22 cent per gallon tax, for a total of 40.4 cents per gallon going to the government. Hmmm.

The value, or I should say, the devaluing of the dollar doesn't help prices, either. Neither does speculation from the market.

I don't enjoy paying high gas prices any more than you do. But bellyaching about "Big Oil" isn't going to solve anything.

In fact, I place a lot more of the blame on Big Government. Big Government is the entity which has over-regulated the free market. Big Government has restricted new drilling in places like ANWR where no one and no thing is going to get hurt. Big Government has made it fantastically expensive to build new refineries with lengthy and costly permit and approval processes, and endless pandering to environmental extremists.

There is a domestic culprit behind these high prices. But you'd find that culprit a lot quicker if you looked in Washington D.C. than if you looked in Texas.


Our "First Black President?"

Time on-line has an article in which ten questions are submitted to author Toni Morrison, one of which caught my attention because I remember so well the New Yorker article in which she stated that Bill Clinton is “our first black president.” This was meant as a high compliment and she was dead serious, as can be seen in the extended quote below. Emphasis mine.

African-American men seemed to understand it right away. Years ago, in the middle of the Whitewater investigation, one heard the first murmurs: white skin notwithstanding, this is our first black President. Blacker than any actual black person who could ever be elected in our children's lifetime. After all, Clinton displays almost every trope of blackness: single-parent household, born poor, working-class, saxophone-playing, McDonald's-and-junk-food-loving boy from Arkansas. And when virtually all the African-American Clinton appointees began, one by one, to disappear, when the President's body, his privacy, his unpoliced sexuality became the focus of the persecution, when he was metaphorically seized and bodysearched, who could gainsay these black men who knew whereof they spoke? The message was clear "No matter how smart you are, how hard you work, how much coin you earn for us, we will put you in your place or put you out of the place you have somehow, albeit with our permission, achieved. You will be fired from your job, sent away in disgrace, and--who knows?--maybe sentenced and jailed to boot. In short, unless you do as we say (i.e., assimilate at once), your expletives belong to us."
(New Yorker, October 1998)

But in answer to the question “Do you regret referring to Bill Clinton as the first black President?” Morrison dissembles and “clarifies” her previous remark, thus:

People misunderstood that phrase. I was deploring the way in which President Clinton was being treated, vis-à-vis the sex scandal that was surrounding him. I said he was being treated like a black on the street, already guilty, already a perp. I have no idea what his real instincts are, in terms of race.
(Time on-line)

It seems as though the prospect of a genuine black American (well, half is more than none) becoming the President of the United States demands some re-defining of terms. It would not do to allow the epithet to stand when the genuine article awaits the title.


Honorable RINO Hunting

Pat Toomey of the Club for Growth has a piece in the Wall Street Journal today defending the honorable practice of RINO hunting.

The column explains why some Republicans don't care much for the Club for Growth, and what RINO hunting is:

Elect as many Republicans as possible, regardless of how they will vote once in office.

It is for this reason that challenges to incumbents are deemed sacrilegious, no matter how far the incumbent has strayed from conservative principles. And it is for this reason that party leaders defend some of the most liberal incumbents, also known as RINOs (Republicans in Name Only), and assail the Club PAC for helping to elect true conservatives.

I've considered myself a Republican since before I could vote, going back to the early Ronald Reagan days.

But a political party is ultimately only as good as the philosophy which drives it. If it stops advancing the ideology which ostensibly comprises its core values, it's useless beyond a simple apparatus of power for a certain group.

Boys and girls, power for the sake of power has never been a conservative value, and it's never been a true Republican value.

Those who believe it is the utmost value of the Republican Party got their party sacked into the minority in 2006. Have they learned from that mistake? I don't think so.

Toomey tells it like it is, and makes a prediction:
A Republican majority is only as useful as the policies that majority produces. When those policies look a lot like Democratic ones, the base rightly questions why it should keep Republicans in power. As the party gears up for elections in the fall, it ought to look closely at the losses suffered under a political strategy devoid of principle. Otherwise, it can look forward to a bad case of déjà vu.

The Republican Party always has been and should remain a vehicle for conservative ideas.

If the vehicle isn't going in the direction conservatives want to go, it may be time to get off and find another vehicle. After all, what good is a car that won't go where you need it to?


The Fundamental Basis of Our Laws

American Minute from William J. Federer

The 33rd U.S. President was born MAY 8, 1884. He was captain of a field artillery battery in France during World War I, a county judge, a U.S. Senator, and Vice-President under Franklin Roosevelt. He ended World War II by dropping the atomic bomb. His name was Harry S Truman.

To the Federal Council of Churches, March 6, 1946, President Truman said: "We have just come though a decade in which the forces of evil in various parts of the world have been lined up in a bitter fight to banish from the face of the earth both of these ideals - religion and democracy...The right of every human being...to worship God in his own way, the right to fix his own relationship to his fellow men and to his Creator - these again have been saved for mankind."

Truman continued: "Let us determine to carry on in a spirit of tolerance, and understanding for all men and for all nations - in the spirit of God and religious unity."

President Truman told the Attorney General's Conference, February 15, 1950: "The fundamental basis of this nation's laws was given to Moses on the Mount. The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings...of Isaiah and St. Paul. I don't think we emphasize that enough these days."


William J. Federer is a nationally recognized author, speaker, and president of Amerisearch, Inc, which is dedicated to researching our American heritage. The American Minute radio feature looks back at events in American history on the dates they occurred, is broadcast daily across the country and read by thousand on the internet.


Another Thune-Daschle Fight?

Tom Lawrence of the Rapid City Weekly News floats the idea of a Thune-Daschle rematch fight, this time as VP contenders.

But Thune is a favorite of the far right for his victory in 2004 and he is young, well spoken and a McCain supporter. I chatted with him about the VP slot a few weeks ago and while he termed it unlikely, there’s little doubt he would strongly consider an offer.

Daschle offers a big name to link to Obama. He’s also a capable campaigner and would bring wisdom and heft to a ticket led by a senator with less than four years national experience.

Likely? While Lawrence admits it may seem unlikely at first, there are reasons to consider both of them.

I don't know what to think of a potential McCain-Thune team. I like Senator Thune, and because I do, I don't know if I'd like seeing him tied that closely with Senator McCain, someone I can barely tolerate.

Though I'll likely choose the lesser of two evils and vote for McCain this November, McCain's liberal streaks, animosity toward serious Christians, and infatuation with media love just really don't do it for me.

Would such an association taint Thune in the minds of other Americans for future ambitions Thune might have? I'm afraid they might; I'm afraid people might take such a teaming to mean that Thune and McCain are cut from the same cloth. That might turn out to be the case, because people can be fickle and tend to forget pretty quickly.

But it would be good to see a fine senator--especially South Dakota's senator--elevated to greater national prominence. If people didn't associate Thune with McCain's positions too closely, it might give Thune a boost with future endeavors, regardless of whether or not McCain wins in November.

I just don't know...


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

U.S. Senate Candidate Joel Dykstra Opposes Call for Ethanol Mandate Waiver

From the afternoon mailbag:

FOR IMMEDATE RELEASE: May 7, 2008
Contact: Joel Dykstra
605-310-3398
info@joeldykstraforsenate.com


Sioux Falls, S.D. -- Republican U.S. Senate Candidate Joel Dykstra is opposing the call by 22 Republican Senators to lift the national ethanol fuel mandate in an attempt to curb rising food prices.

“Asking the Environmental Protection Agency to waive the Renewable Fuels Standard would be a poor policy decision and a step backward in the effort to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil,” Dykstra said. He said lifting the ethanol mandate would undermine the progress that has been made in developing renewable fuel sources and sends the wrong message to investors in new technologies.

Dykstra said ethanol is being unfairly blamed for higher food prices. Last year only 22 percent of the corn crop went into making ethanol, and even with increased exports there was still a 10 percent surplus. He points out the culprit behind food inflation is actually higher energy prices. “The oil companies and other biofuels opponents are capitalizing on the food shortages world-wide to try to attack the ethanol industry,” he said.

Everyone is looking for a quick-fix to the nation’s energy crisis, but Dykstra said knee-jerk reactions like a “Gas Tax Holiday” could end up doing more harm than good. “There’s no guarantee that a reduction in the tax would benefit consumers. Most likely the market will absorb the savings and we won’t see any benefit at the pumps, while we further decimate our federal highway funds.”

The energy crisis is not a new problem either. Dykstra said, “We didn’t get into this situation overnight, and we won’t solve it by waiving a wand and wishing it away.” “We have faced a continual increase in oil imports since the 1970s and failed leadership in Congress is the reason the United States has yet to implement any long term energy solutions.” He also blames the Democratic leadership in Congress for holding back efforts to find new sources of domestic oil.

Dykstra proposes an energy policy that calls for increasing domestic oil and gas production, embracing renewable energy options like bio-fuels and wind power, but most importantly pursuing development of new technologies with a goal of dramatically reducing oil imports by 2020. “We need to provide incentives for new energy technologies in the private sector and foster a new generation of energy concepts,” he said. ”We also need a national commitment to move the U.S. off its hydrocarbon addiction and into new resources to fuel the 21st century economy.”


Free and Open Exchange of Ideas?

I don't know what to say about such ignorance and disregard for the rights of others who happen to disagree with prevailing sentiments. A quote from George Orwell comes to mind: “In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”



UPDATE: Apparently this episode occured on the campus of the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point. Blogger Mary at "Freedom Eden" has the inside story.


Alice McCoy Running for Republican Dist. 35 Senate Nomination

From the mailbag, this is a bio I received for Alice McCoy, who is a former District 35 representative. She is running against Rep. Jeff Haverly, a current Dist. 35 representative, for the Republican nomination for the Dist. 35 senate seat being vacated by Senator Bill Napoli.

Alice McCoy businesswoman, wife, mother, grandmother, a born and raised South Dakotan, is announcing her candidacy for District 35 State Senate. Alice has resided in District 35 for over 40 years and understands the distinct needs and issues affecting our community.

Alice McCoy's civic and community leadership are critical assets residents in District 35 need in the State Senate. She is currently the Vice President of North Rapid Civic Association, Vice President of Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Rapid Valley, Block Captain of Mahoney Addition Neighborhood Watch and Key Staff of ACE (Advocates for Community Enhancement).

Alice McCoy served District 35 in the House of Representatives for eight years from 1999-2006. She served on the Education, Health and Human Services and Local Government Committees. Alice also served on the Rapid City Board of Education for Four and a half years where she was the 1st Vice President for one year and 2nd Vice President for two years.

Alice McCoy has had distinctive awards and appointments due to her community leadership which include: Rapid City Citizen of the month - September 1997, Green Valley Sanitary District, Citizen's Police Academy (Sheriff and Police Dept.), Past President of Lord of Life Lutheran Church Council and Sunday School teacher for 6 years in Rapid Valley, Pennington County Republican Precinct leader, Pennington County Republican Women, Pennington County Republican Ambassadors, U.S. Representative John Thune's Education Advisory Committee, IF/RED participant (Interactive Foundation/Rural Ethnic Institute), S.A.V.E. of North Rapid City, Concerned Citizen's Woman's Group, and Rapid Valley Improvement Association.


Dennis Schmidt for South Dakota Dist. 33 Senate

From today's mailbag, Senator Dennis Schmidt of Dist. 33 is running for re-election to the South Dakota Senate:

Senator Dennis Schmidt of District 33, a Republican, has announced he is seeking re-election to the state Senate. Schmidt, a small business owner, was elected to the South Dakota Senate in 2006.

Schmidt was born in Rapid City but moved away to work for Boeing in Wyoming and Seattle for several years.

While in Seattle, he became a pastor and served in that capacity for 11 years before joining the police force. During his time with the police department, he worked the street performing law enforcement duties, and then walked a beat as a public relations officer in the community. Schmidt also started a chaplain’s corps which helped with suicides, SIDS deaths and police funerals.

After returning to Rapid City 15 years ago, he and his family opened Black Hills Blend. He has long considered himself a conservative who pursued solid family values, and has always been interested in current events and the operations of government. Schmidt and his wife are supporters of community organizations such as Bethany Christian Services, an adoption agency, and the Special Olympics.

In 2006, Schmidt responded to an opportunity to serve in the state senate. He said he wanted to represent his district with the kind of values that have been important to him and the people of his district.

During his first term in the Senate, Schmidt sponsored and saw passage of a bill to provide sonograms for pregnant women considering abortion, so that women have as much information as possible for this important decision.

He also worked to protect the rights of gun owners, and property owners from the indiscriminate use of eminent domain. Schmidt also fought for the successful passage of the state adult oriented business legislation.

Schmidt seeks another term in the South Dakota senate to continue working to protect the family, expand educational opportunities, provide proper funding for tech schools, and ensure the hard-working fire departments around the Black Hills are properly funded and equipped.

While doing so, Schmidt vows to hold government accountable for wise use of the people’s tax dollars.


Rep. Sally Kern: The Rest of the Story

You may recall the controversy a couple of months ago over comments made by Oklahoma state representative Sally Kern.

In a recording which received a lot of hits on YouTube, Kern gave a speech about the danger the homosexual agenda presents to our nation.

She was subsequently vilified by homosexuals and their apologists, calling her mean, hateful, bigoted, homophobic, and a host of names too foul to repeat here.

So is Kern really a mean old witch, bent on fomenting hate for those she doesn't understand?

Peter LaBarbera at Americans for Truth brings the rest of the story.

Americans for Truth features a piece entitled "The Untold Story about Rep. Sally Kern" by Stephen Black and Chris Morrison from First Stone Ministries.

What they failed to mention – or include in the sound bites – is the truth, that Rep. Sally Kern said we must love the homosexual.

The piece points out the difference which often gets lost in the heat of debate over homosexuality, the difference between the movement/agenda, and the individual.
In her remarks during the January speech, Rep. Kern mentioned the parallel of the gay political movement in the United States – not individual gays.

The radical homosexual agenda is indeed very dangerous to America. Through the acceptance of a practice which is unnatural (the reproductive organs cannot accomplish reproduction), the acceptance of of a practice which is unhealthy and even deadly, through the acceptance of a practice that attempts to force associations on people against their will, through the acceptance of a practice which promotes and demands societal chaos, through the acceptance of a movement which demands that free speech be quashed, through the acceptance of a practice which devalues marriage and undermines families, the threat to America could not be greater.

When we undermine marriage and family, the basic building block of any society, we destroy not only the foundation of our nation but the very cohesive element which holds it all together in an organized fashion.

At the same time, the individual homosexual is not our enemy. Though it can be difficult in the midst of heated debate, the Christian needs to remember that homosexuals are as much prisoners to sin as any of us have been at some time or another. The objective, while fighting the cause, should be to set the captives free.

Given what what Black and Morrison tell us about Kern, apparently this is what she seeks to do:
The untold part of this story – which I delight to tell you now – is that behind the scenes, Rep. Sally Kern and her husband, Dr. Stephen Kern have supported First Stone Ministries for many years. Dr. Stephen Kern is the senior pastor at Olivet Baptist Church, which actually hosts some of First Stone Ministries’ support groups. The Kern’s have a special place in their hearts for our ministry to those who struggle with same-sex attractions and homosexuality. For several years before all this controversy erupted, they had put action to their love for those who are struggling and for their families.

Morrison tells of his own personal struggle with homosexuality, and the loving concern Kern showed him 10 years ago:
Sally Kern was taking me to the airport and she gently broached the subject of my homosexual struggle with me. I was surprised and scared of what she was going to say, because I hadn’t told many people about my struggle. It was rare for someone to bring up my struggle before I had ever disclosed it. Her tenderness was overwhelming; she lovingly ministered to me that day. She mercifully let me know that she and her family were praying for me, and that they loved me. That day is precious to me as I felt so loved and accepted. I am grateful to the Lord that Sally had enough courage to plant the seeds of God’s forgiveness, hope and healing.

This should always be the position and response of the Christian: stand firm against the sin and warn people about it, but show love to the one caught up in it.


Voter Misinformation Warning from Chris Nelson

From Chris Nelson, the South Dakota Secretary of State:

For Immediate Release:
May 7, 2008
Contact Chris Nelson, 773-3537, for further information.

Secretary of State Chris Nelson is warning South Dakotans that a Boston, Massachusetts, organization called the “Voter Participation Project” is sending mailings into South Dakota telling our citizens that under “state law” they need to re-register to vote. The mailing lists the Secretary of State’s address, adding the appearance of credibility.

Nelson says, “The language in this mailing is not true. This organization is misleading our citizens into thinking they need to fill out another voter registration form in order to vote. Many South Dakotans have complained to me about receiving these mailings. Some mailings have gone to folks who are deceased asking them to register to vote. My elderly mother received a mailing and was concerned that she needed to fill it out in order to vote.”

“Any South Dakota voter can check to see their voter registration status by going to www.sdsos.gov and clicking on the Voter Information Portal. That site will show where you are registered, where your polling place is located, and show you your sample ballot for the primary election.”

“Voters are not required by law to re-register when they move. We encourage re-registration upon a move, but it is not required by law.”


Visiting Narnia

Focus on the Family - Dr. James Dobson

About the show:

It's time once again to return to the magical land of Narnia. If you're a fan of author C.S. Lewis' epic fantasies, you're probably looking forward to the upcoming release of The Chronciles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, the follow-up to the 2005 blockbuster film The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Today's broadcast is sure to whet your anticipation, featuring a visit with the new film's co-producer, special guest Douglas Gresham. Gresham tells the story of how he became C.S. Lewis' stepson and describes what moviegoers can look forward to with the May 16 release of Prince Caspian.

"I think that our team has done a fabulous job in producing [Prince Caspian] which I think, cinematically, is a better movie than The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - and I think The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was a fantastically good movie. So, I think everyone is going to be thrilled when they see this film." - Douglas Gresham

Click here to listen.

From OnePlace.com


How the GOP Can Void a November Disaster

The Politico reports that congressional Republicans fear a disaster in November. Their fears may be well founded:

Shellshocked House Republicans got warnings from leaders past and present Tuesday: Your party’s message isn’t good enough to prevent disaster in November, and neither is the NRCC’s money.

The double shot of bad news had one veteran Republican House member worrying aloud that the party’s electoral woes — brought into sharp focus by Woody Jenkins’ loss to Don Cazayoux in Louisiana on Saturday — have the House Republican Conference splitting apart in “everybody for himself” mode.

I have news for congressional Republicans: everybody doing their own thing has a lot to do with what got you in this losers boat.

In addition to people like Mark Foley who would rather be off doing their own thing, soliciting diddles with male pages, you had several other Republicans who wanted to carve out little enclaves of power for themselves, and still others who wanted to flirt and play footsie with the "mainstream" media by embracing liberal causes.

Guess what? The Republican base was disgusted with that.

Which brings me to the other reason congressional Republicans are in the doghouse: they weren't acting like Republicans. Too many of them were acting like Democrats, and too many of the rest were busy kowtowing to the liberals in the party. Republicans as a group didn't act like they had any plans or solutions for the country, other than recycled or watered-down liberal ideas. And instead of leading, they let the Democrat minority and the media lead them around by the noses.

Guess what? Cowardice and timidity don't inspire the base, guys!

While it's true that parties and ideologies don't always go hand-in-hand, the Republican Party has been long known as a conservative party, and the party's platform and ideals are solidly conservative.

It shouldn't be too much to ask for a party to act in accordance with its own stated values.

I have a simple solution and a simple message for Republicans if they want another shot at leading in congress:

BE. REPUBLICANS.


Without God, No American Form of Government

American Minute from William J. Federer

World War II ended in Europe on MAY 7, 1945, when German emissaries met at General Dwight Eisenhower's Headquarters, a schoolhouse in Reims, France, and signed an unconditional surrender. The War in Europe lasted five and half years, costing millions of lives.

After the war, Eisenhower was elected the 34th President by the largest number of votes in history.

In remarks broadcast from the White House as part of the American Legion "Back-to-God" Program, February 7, 1954, President Eisenhower stated: "As a former soldier, I am delighted that our veterans are sponsoring a movement to increase our awareness of God in our daily lives. In battle, they learned a great truth-that there are no atheists in the foxholes. They know that in time of test and trial, we instinctively turn to God for new courage...Whatever our individual church, whatever our personal creed, our common faith in God is a common bond among us."

At the next year's "Back-to-God" Program, February 20, 1955, Eisenhower stated: "Without God, there could be no American form of Government, nor an American way of life. Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first - the most basic - expression of Americanism."


William J. Federer is a nationally recognized author, speaker, and president of Amerisearch, Inc, which is dedicated to researching our American heritage. The American Minute radio feature looks back at events in American history on the dates they occurred, is broadcast daily across the country and read by thousand on the internet.


Politicians, Pigs and the Media

By John W. Whitehead

Bill O’Reilly: This is the most fun interview you’ve ever done, I know it is. I can just tell.

Hillary Clinton: I was going to say it’s the most fun interview you’ve ever done.

O’Reilly: It is. Well, I don’t know about that.

Clinton: Come on. Get on the record.

O’Reilly: No, I interviewed Cher one time, and that was just a blast.

Clinton: That must have been really fun.

O’Reilly: That was great.

Clinton: Yes.

O’Reilly: Senator, thanks for taking the time. We really appreciate it.

Clinton: Thanks a lot, Bill.

The last sentence in George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm aptly sums up the state of politics today. As Orwell observed, “No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

This almost surreal merging of two different organisms is epitomized in many ways, but nowhere is it more clearly seen than in the strange political marriage of late between Fox News, known for its right-leaning viewpoint, and the Democrats. They have become, as journalist Brian Stelter writes, “strange bedfellows.” Indeed, Terry McAuliffe, chairman of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign, recently praised Fox as being “fair and balanced.”

For those befuddled by the odd pairing, the New York Times explains: “Fox News and the Democrats abruptly find each other useful.” For Fox, it’s partially about the ratings, while for the Democrats, it’s about reaching out to Fox’s viewing audience, which is largely white, conservative and undecided.

This alliance, while it may seem strange to some, has actually been a long time coming. Just two years ago, in July 2006, conservative media owner Rupert Murdoch, who owns Fox News, hosted a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton at Fox News headquarters in New York City. No cameras were present, and as the New York Daily News reported, Murdoch “tried to keep their political get-together as secret as possible.” Indeed, when it was over, Clinton slipped out a side door.

Considering that Murdoch is known for his financial support of Republican agendas and right-wing causes, this fundraiser caused many on both sides of the political aisle to scratch their heads in bewilderment. One commentator characterized political analysts’ responses as “punditocracy in a tailspin.”

Now Bill O’Reilly has added himself to the cozy mix, with his recent four-part interview with Hillary Clinton that scored high ratings and set a year-to-date viewership record for Fox’s O’Reilly Factor. Yet as the Clinton-O’Reilly interview illustrates, it no longer matters what side of the aisle these politicians claim to hail from because this presidential election has turned into one big game.

But where does that leave the American people?

Most Americans want to believe that the voting process works and that when we elect a president, we’re getting someone who takes the job of representing us seriously—someone who truly cares about finding solutions to our problems and is more interested in representing “we the people” than playing partisan politics.

We also want the media to be square with us and give us the news without some hidden agenda. Unfortunately, the lines have been so blurred between so-called “news items” and entertainment coverage that it’s nearly impossible to get at the truth anymore, let alone stay abreast of what’s really happening in our government.

Above all, most Americans desperately want someone or something to place our faith in, who can offer us even a glimmer of hope that things will get better. That’s why so many people fervently back political candidates or seek guidance from talk show hosts. But as any student of history will tell you, there is little hope to be found there.

For instance, take a close look at the front runners for the White House, and you’ll see that there is really very little difference between them. None of the candidates present any real solutions to the myriad of problems that average Americans must grapple with every day—such as an economic recession, the mortgage crisis, near-crippling gas prices, inflation, soaring food prices, the unbelievably large deficit, never-ending wars, immigrants rushing across the border, ad infinitum.

Furthermore, none of the candidates have made any discernible impact on the nation while in office. Nor do they really represent “the people.” What’s more, these candidates are all members of one of the most corrupt institutions in the history of the United States—the present U.S. Congress. What does it say about Congress that a cross-section of its members are under investigation, criminal or otherwise? Or that many of them routinely work less than a hundred days a year and earn a salary much greater than the average American earns? Or that many of them are multimillionaires with virtually nothing in common with average Americans like you and me?

Little surprise, then, that Americans find themselves dissatisfied with our nation’s leadership and the direction in which they’re moving our country. This country is going to hell in a hand basket, and when all is said and done, the last thing this country needs in the White House is another politician. But that’s unlikely to change this time around. No matter who wins this year’s election, it will still be politics as usual. Thus, if hope is to be found, we’ll have to look elsewhere.

Perhaps the solution for leadership in America lies outside Washington, DC, in the business sector. Certainly, we could use someone in office who understands the importance of running our government efficiently, economically and responsibly.

Bottom line, it’s time for a reality check. Otherwise, we’ll soon find ourselves on the road to nowhere.


Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. He can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org. Information about The Rutherford Institute is available at www.rutherford.org.


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Jericho to Rise from the Ashes?

Jericho, the CBS series that was canceled and brought back and canceled again may yet survive.

In case you've missed the pleasure of watching this series, Jericho premiered about two years ago on CBS. It was about a small Kansas town called Jericho and what happened to the people there after a mysterious nuclear attack on the United States.

While you might be tempted to dismiss such a premise as some cheap post-apocalyptic Mad Max ripoff, the show has nothing in common with such trash (Max Max was fun, but the rip-offs were all trash). The nuclear attack only sets the backdrop for a story filled with intrigue, plot twists, and 3-dimensional characters who really pull you in.

The series was canceled after the first season, probably because the idiot network ran no new episodes for 2-3 months mid-season...plenty of time to lose a viewership.

Then, after a fan campaign sent tons of peanuts (the story behind that is contained in the final episode of Season 1) to CBS, the network resurrected it.

However, because the show got a late production start, it didn't get going again until several months after the normal TV season starts...again, giving potential viewers plenty of time for either forget about the show or get used to watching something else. So CBS canceled it again, to the bitter disappointment of fans.

Now word comes from Media Daily News that the show may be revived on another network:

Executives say Paramount has been talking to a number of networks--including Sci-Fi Channel and Hallmark Channel. Paramount could be looking at three partners for a new deal, perhaps including a cable operator such as Comcast in the mix--as well as trimming back production costs for the show.

The New York Times recently reported that CBS Paramount was possibly looking to start up the show with cable system operator Comcast Corp., perhaps running it on one of its VOD channels.

A few shows have gone on to ratings success after changing networks. JAG, the Navy lawyer drama, ran for one season on NBC before being canceled and moving to CBS, where it ran for several more highly successful years.

CBS treated Jericho like the proverbial red-headed step-child from the beginning.

This fantastic show deserves a real chance. Hopefully it will get one at another network.


It Pays to Make and Maintain Traditional Families

Dr. Theo mentioned this report a few weeks ago, but notice of it continues to ripple across the news-scape.

Now the Baptist Press joins the numerous news outlets mentioning the study released mid-April which was sponsored by the Institute for American Values, the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, the Georgia Family Council and Families Northwest.

It's the study which found divorce and unwed parenthood cost the American taxpayers about $112 billion (BILLION) a year. That's about $373 for every man, woman and child in the United States (since not everyone pays taxes--especially children--that works out to about $2,200 per taxpayer).

These extra costs show up in the form of antipoverty programs, criminal justice, and education programs. Studies, and even the welfare rolls themselves, show that single-parent households are 7 times more likely to experience poverty than intact two-parent homes.

It's a simple fact that a group of 2-4 or more people can live more economically in one home than they can in two.

Further, when you couple the emotional anger in children brought on by divorce, and the diminished parental supervision, more are going to end up in the criminal justice system (I know; I'm a former cop).

Many in our society are unwilling to encourage and promote sexual responsibility and strong marriages because it requires those icky "moral judgments."

Even the emotional damage broken homes causes children, and the hit to academic performance doesn't seem to be enough to motivate some to support the traditional family setting.

Is the tremendous financial cost enough to motivate even liberals to support sexual responsibility and healthy marriages? Is it worth $2,200 to you to promote traditional families? What could you do with that money?

This isn't the only study which has reached this conclusion. In fact, an Ohio State University study breaks it down to a level that even a self-absorbed person should be able to recognize the personal benefit of family and marital responsibility.

From the Baptist Press article:

In 2005, a researcher from Ohio State University found that divorce can have a devastating financial impact on a person's wealth but a steady marriage can nearly double it. The study, which was published in the Journal of Sociology, found that married people increased their wealth about 4 percent each year simply as a result of being married, when all other factors were constant.

Divorce reduces a person's wealth by about three-quarters, or 77 percent, compared to that of a single person, while being married almost doubles comparative wealth, or increases it by 93 percent, the Ohio State study found.

The simple truth that we often miss is that moral choices usually have "real-world" consequences. In other words, there's usually a good reason to do the right thing.


Obama and the Domestic Terrorist

The relationship between 60s radical Bill Ayers and B. Hussein Obama remains a hot button issue among bloggers, both Right and Left, but has warranted only scant attention by the MSM. Michelle Malkin resurrects a Chicago Magazine article from 2001 that has photos of Professor Ayers dancing on an American flag crumpled on the ground, in obvious delight. In the article Ayers is sympathetically shown to be the radical hippie retread still trying to live the glory days when he and wife Bernadine Dorne proved their liberal bona fides by terrorizing citizens and setting bombs as members of the Weatherman (later the Weather Underground). Obama has yet to condemn his friend or his terror activities, of which Ayers remains unrepentent. This fact has had little effect on the true believers, but is sure to be a campaign issue should he be the Democrat nominee. One might have thought that Obama would have learned something from his reluctance to repudiate his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright.


No Habla John McCain

From WorldNetDaily, Republican presidential candidate John McCain has launched a Spanish (I thought our language was English in the United States?) campaign website.

Also,

Sen. John McCain, the de facto Republican presidential nominee, announced today he will attend the national convention of La Raza, a radical Hispanic lobby tied to the movement to reconquer the Southwestern U.S. that was part of Mexico before the Mexican-American War that ended in 1848.

If John McCain wants the support (or at least the votes) of conservatives, um, he's still not acting like it.


Our Rendezvous With Destiny is Upon Us

Great words then, great words now.


NewsBusted Conservative Comedy 5/6/2008




Topics include:
--immigration crackdown causing immigrants to return south of the border
--LSD discoverer has died
--voter fraud case
--Oprah's MSNBC-war diving ratings


For the Bible Tells Me So: The Real Story, Part 1

BY BOB ELLIS
DAKOTA VOICE


The following is the first installment in a 8-part series examining the DVD "For the Bible Tells Me So."

Introduction - Why the DVD Deserves a Closer Look

The public debate over homosexuality has been raging for some time now, with disagreement which sometimes stems from the basis of health standards and societal norms, and at other times stemming from what the Bible says on the subject.

While I know there are many who aren’t interested in what the Bible says about the morality of homosexual behavior, apparently it’s relevant to more people that we have otherwise been led to believe. Why else would apologists for homosexuality have produced the film, “For the Bible Tells Me So”?

A public showing of this “documentary” was recently sponsored by the Center West, a homosexual advocacy and support group in Rapid City. The film was followed by a panel discussion comprised of clergy and counseling professionals sympathetic to homosexuality.

While by it’s very title the film purports to explore what the Bible says about homosexuality, I timed the various topics discussed and found it only spends about 15 of the 98 minutes, or about 15 percent of it’s time, actually examining Scriptural text dealing with homosexuality. The remaining 85 percent of the film is spent equating Christians with Adolf Hitler and the KKK, promoting biased “research” about homosexuality, and cultivating sympathy with the personal stories of several families of homosexual children.

Among the opening credits, we see video clips of protests against homosexual activism and hear various religious figures in the background speaking about the moral crisis presented by the homosexual agenda. Ominous music provides the emotional backdrop.

Some of the protesters displayed in these clips are the hate-filled Fred Phelps people from Kansas, who are representative of no Christians that I know. Old, grainy black-and-white video of a fiery evangelist calling for "old time religion" is played.

The entire opening segment is reminiscent of the marketing strategy outlined by homosexual activists Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen in their book "After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90s." In the book, the authors outlined a detailed and systematic campaign on how to make homosexuals look good and people of moral conviction look bad. Here is what Kirk and Madsen suggested:

For example, for several seconds an unctuous beady-eyed Southern preacher is shown pounding the pulpit in rage against 'those perverted, abominable creatures.'" While his tirade continues over the soundtrack, the picture switches to heart-rending photos of badly beaten persons, or of gays who look decent, harmless, and likable; and then we cut back to the poisonous face of the preacher. The contrast speaks for itself. The effect is devastating.

As “For the Bible Tells Me So” (FTBTMS) continues, we hear a number of Christians stating that homosexuality is wrong, and that the Bible says so.

Then a man is featured who claims that such beliefs come from the repeated telling of lies so that people eventually believe it. Another man comes on and says that such beliefs represent a "Fifth-grade understanding of God." Still another says that perhaps ordinary people shouldn't be reading the Bible because they usually get it wrong. Yet another says, "It really has been the church that is the place where the prejudice is born, and was nurtured, and has been promoted."
One of the men providing brief comments in the opening segment is homosexual Reverend Mel White of Soulforce, a homosexual group. White says that "the Bible has been misused to promote prejudice, apartheid, and segregation." White makes this statement as images and video clips of slavery and the KKK run in the background.

"Now it's being misused to condemn gay people," says White. "It's an old trick fundamentalist Christians have been using throughout the ages, and now they're doing it again."

Once this "introduction" is finished, we are introduced to the parents of V. Gene Robinson, the homosexual Episcopal bishop from New Hampshire. We are told by Robinson and his parents about his religious upbringing and his perfect attendance at Sunday School. This is apparently intended to convince us of his religious sincerity and genuine Christian background. Robinson also tells how he realized at a young age that he was "different." Robinson married for a while after he grew up, but eventually left his wife and embraced an openly homosexual lifestyle.

Next we are introduced to the Poteats family of North Carolina. The Poteats are a black husband/wife pastor team of a church in North Carolina. Their daughter Tonia is a lesbian. She "came out" to her parents while in college.

After the Poteats, we hear the story of the Reitans, who are Lutherans, from Minnesota. We are told of the great history of how many pastors there are in their family. Their son Jake is a homosexual. Jake says they went to church every Sunday and were a "very involved family" in church. He said he heard preaching against homosexuality when he was a child, but didn't want to ask any questions because he knew "the answers wouldn't be good."

Another of the families with homosexual children is the Gephardt family, specifically the family of former U.S Representative Dick Gephardt, his wife Jane and their lesbian daughter Chrissy.

Dick comes from a Baptist background and his wife is Catholic, and the children were raised Catholic. Chrissy was "athletic" and a "jock" but sometimes wore dresses. Chrissy was married for a while, despite her sexual confusion, but eventually the marriage came apart and she embraced the homosexual lifestyle.


In Part 2 next week: nineteen minutes into the film, we receive our first look at what "For the Bible Tells Me So" claims the Bible tells us about homosexuality.


 
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