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Friday, December 2, 2016

Fighting the Battle that BuzzFeed Insists We Fight

We were warned. Because the left is not going to remain silent on the moral issues—and because most liberals are devoted to a “theology of self” (or a “philosophical dumpster fire” as described by David French)—Christians, especially Christian celebrities, are going to remain targets of the homosexual agenda. It doesn’t matter whether you are tied to the wedding industry. It doesn’t matter if you’re famous. It doesn’t matter whether you are a small business owner, a large corporation, or a state government. In spite of the meme they like to perpetuate, the left simply will not tolerate dissent when it comes to liberal orthodoxy on homosexuality (and yes, the transgender agenda is wed to—bad pun!—the homosexual agenda).

In addition to lust, in the battle over all things homosexual, the left is driven by vengeance. BuzzFeed’s recent malicious hit-piece aimed at HGTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines is merely the latest effort in this despicable practice. As Gabriel Malor points out,
This post had one purpose and one purpose alone: to harm the couple. The post served no news purpose—even Aurthur concedes she never learned the Gaines’ view of same-sex marriage. The post cannot be termed “activism” since it fails at every level to persuade readers of the rightness of the same-sex marriage cause. Even the most generous alternate topic of Aurthur’s post, “Texas pastor opposes same-sex marriage,” is as dog-bites-chew-toy as a news item can be. The only conceivable purpose of targeting the popular television couple in this manner was to cost them viewers and, perhaps, their jobs.
Of course, this is an all too familiar (and, as Ace of Spades notes, an all too effective) tactic of the modern left. Whether a television personality, baker, florist, photographer, fast-food chain, or the state of North Carolina, we have frequently witnessed the hateful agents of the homosexual gestapo wage their wicked war against millennia of Christian (and Jewish and Islamic) teaching on sex and sexuality. And make no mistake about it, we are in a war.

However, this is not a war that can be won with mere boycotts, elections, and sympathetic judges (though battles in these arenas should not be ignored by Christians and our like-minded allies). This is a spiritual war that can be won only through prayer, sound spiritual teaching and preaching, and repentance. For decades now, American Christians have poorly taught/preached, poorly modeled, or outright ignored what God has revealed on matters of sex, sexuality, and marriage. Homosexuality has a long way to go before it can inflict the damage done by promiscuity, pornography, adultery, abortion, fornication, and divorce. Many who decry the tactics and efforts of the left when it comes to the homosexual agenda are knee-deep in the sexual sins that are most prevalent in our culture.

As we fight perhaps the defining spiritual battle of our time, Christians must remember that it is not enough simply to point out the sexual immorality of others. We must also be quick to discuss our own struggles with sin, especially those in the sexual realm, as situations call for it. Additionally, being filled with peace, love, joy, and the like, we must live out what is right and true.

As Rick Warren put it a couple of years ago, churches and like-minded others should celebrate healthy marriages. Don’t simply be an opponent of what’s wrong, be a proponent of what’s right. Our lives, whether single or married, should be an example of what a walk with Christ looks like so others are drawn to Him whether they hear us say anything about Him or not.

Specifically, on marriage and sexuality, if you are married, commit as husband and wife to remain faithful in all that the Bible reveals on the holy covenant of marriage. Namely, commit to remain faithful to one another and keep the marriage bed pure. Commit to remain married until your earthly union is dissolved by death. Furthermore, as a union of one man and one woman, commit to allow God to use your union as He sees fit to build His Kingdom.

Also, commit to model and to teach others the truth on marriage and sexuality—specifically that marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life and that the only rightful place for sex is within marriage.

Likewise, if you are single, commit to remain faithful to all that the Bible reveals on the holy covenant of marriage. Namely, while unmarried, commit to keep yourself sexually pure and model and teach this behavior to those in your circle of influence. Furthermore, commit to allow God to use you as a single person as He sees fit to build His Kingdom, and commit to model and to teach others the truth on marriage and sexuality. Namely, that marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life and that the only rightful place for sex is within marriage. (All of this is in the “Marriage Commitment Challenge.”)

Second, those with a higher profile in the culture, those in leadership or who have a wide circle of influence have a greater responsibility in this and all such matters. To whom much is given, much is required. Of course this means pastors, but also politicians, pundits, business leaders, famous athletes, musicians, producers, actors, authors, bloggers, educators, and so on. In other words, not only do we need Christians like Chip and Joanna Gaines to remain strong and unwavering in their faith, we need Christians in the culture at large to tell and model amazing stories on marriage and sexuality. As Rick Warren said, “Whichever side tells the best stories wins.”

There can be little doubt that to a great extent, the deception on homosexuality, marriage, and gender has occurred because of the efforts of liberals in politics, the media, and so on. Not only that, but as most of us well know, the traditional family has been mercilessly attacked in the media. As American Thinker noted last year, this is especially the case with fathers. As Rick Moran put it, “Hollywood has made a deliberate effort to undermine the patriarchy by savaging fatherhood.” This has been the case for decades now.

Christian conservatives and our like-minded friends have not done enough to counter this. For example, recently my wife and I, along with our four kids, attended a Christian concert. Several popular contemporary Christian artists performed. There was a lot of great (but too loud!) music that focused our hearts and minds on God. However, there was nothing said or sung that focused on marriage and the family.

Similarly, there is more than one Christian radio station in our area (northeast Georgia) to which we frequently listen. I hear almost nothing from the hosts, guests, artists, and so on, when it comes to marriage and the family. Surely they are not shying away from the truth out of fear of “offending” their sponsors or audience. Similarly, famous athletes and other entertainers who believe what the Bible teaches on marriage and sexuality need to exercise their First Amendment rights (while they remain!) on these matters. (Like the NFL’s Ben Watson has done.)

Third, if you are a Christian parent, you have no greater responsibility on this earth than sharing the truth with your children. In other words, every parent is in youth ministry. There’s a reason millennials are the group most likely to support a perverse redefinition of marriage. Decades of divorce and out-of-wedlock births have led to tens of millions of U.S. children growing up in homes without both parents. Thus we now have millions of young Americans whose notion of marriage and family has been tragically distorted. This trend must be reversed.

Fourth, we need to be ready to minister to those who suffer from the sin of homosexuality. As the decades have passed since the U.S. Supreme Court foolishly attempted to redefine life in Roe v. Wade, science, technology, and human experience have revealed what sound morality has always taught: life in the womb is just that. Just a few weeks after conception, we can now literally witness, through sight and sound, the miracle of life in the womb.

The horrible images (warning: graphic) of post-abortive children have been seared into the consciences of tens of millions of us. The testimony of regret of millions of women who were deceived by the abortion industry has helped shine light into a deep and ugly darkness. Yes, abortion remains legal and as brutal as ever, but restrictions abound and are growing. Crisis pregnancy centers have ministered to countless women and saved millions of lives.

There is no getting around it: the wages of sin is death. If we linger in sin, we are going to reap suffering. This is certainly true with sexual immorality. Disease and death literally await those enslaved in the homosexual lifestyle. And how can we measure the broken hearts of those who have departed from their Creator’s plan on marriage and sexuality? As has happened in the pro-life movement, the Christian community must equip ourselves like never before to minister to those who are broken by the sin of homosexuality.

Again, after our relationship with our Creator, the most important relationship in the universe is the relationship between a husband and his wife. Marriage is the oldest institution in the history of humanity—older than God's covenant with the nation of Israel, older than The Law, older than the church. Marriage is one of the earliest truths revealed by God. If ANYTHING is true, marriage as the union of one man and one woman is true. On this, there can NEVER be compromise.

Copyright 2016, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the brand new book The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Same-Sex “Marriage” Was Doomed Long Before President-Elect Donald Trump

I believe that the two most difficult jobs in the world are being a good spouse and a good parent. The reason: after our relationship with our Creator, the most important relationship in the universe is that of a husband and his wife. As I’ve often pointed out, the biblical family model is at the foundation of every institution in the history of humanity.

This is what makes the infamous Obergefell ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in late June of 2015 so egregious. It strikes at the heart of America. As my new book, The Miracle and Magnificence of America details, try as they might, the British were unable to establish successful settlements in America until faith-filled families decided to venture across the Atlantic and lay down permanent roots in the “New World.”

Those who want to destroy the greatest nation in the history of humanity know well that for America to be undone, the family model that has prevailed worldwide for millennia must be eradicated. In short, if the family dies, then America as we have long known her, dies. After the God-haters are done, there may still be a nation called “The United States of America,” but it will look nothing like America as she was founded. And such an outcome is just fine for those who despise the Christian foundations upon which America rests.

You see, though the family was the means by which America was made, the pillars of this great nation are the pillars of Christianity. As Jedidiah Morse, noted American geographer, pastor, theologian, and the father of Samuel Morse, the inventor of Morse Code, warned in an election-day sermon on April 25, 1799,
The foundations which support the interest of Christianity, are also necessary to support a free and equal government like our own…To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom, and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoy. In proportion as the genuine effects of Christianity are diminished in any nation, either through unbelief, or the corruption of its doctrines, or the neglect of its institutions; in the same proportion will the people of that nation recede from the blessings of genuine freedom, and approximate the miseries of complete despotism. I hold this to be a truth confirmed by experience. If so, it follows, that all efforts made to destroy the foundations of our holy religion, ultimately tend to the subversion also of our political freedom and happiness. Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican forms of government, and all the blessings which flow from them, must fall with them.
To a great extent, whether he realizes it or not, Donald Trump was elected to slow or stop the efforts of those who’ve set their sights on “the pillars of Christianity” that are the foundation of America. Certainly the federal courts—especially the U.S. Supreme Court—is an area where many Trump voters expect strong conservative action. More than one-fifth of U.S. voters said that the Supreme Court was “the most important factor” in their decision about which presidential candidate to vote for. Of these voters, 57 percent preferred Donald Trump, while only 40 percent chose Hillary Clinton.

With the impending dismantling of Obamacare, other than the collapse of the modern Democrat Party, the chief legacy of Barack Obama will be the legal redefinition of marriage forced upon the American people by five liberal U.S. Supreme Court Justices. As I noted at the time, it’s safe to say that without the election of Barack Obama, we would not have had to endure liberal Supreme Court justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor sitting in judgement of marriage (both appointed by Obama in his first term and both voting legally to redefine marriage).

Of course, the election of a republican president gives no guarantee of conservative appointments to the Supreme Court. However, justices Roberts and Alito, appointed by George W. Bush, both voted against this sweeping and perverse ruling on marriage. All of those who voted for Obama have their fingerprints on the tyrannical judicial travesty that resulted in the legal redefinition of marriage.

Many who voted for Mr. Trump want our fingerprints on the reversal of Obergefell. Unlike some, I’m not terribly discouraged by Trump’s post-election interview with 60 Minutes where he declared that the issue of “marriage equality” was “settled in the Supreme Court.” I believe Mr. Trump’s answer proves him much more politically savvy than he is often given credit for. In other words, the court’s views on marriage are “settled” until right-minded justices can fix the injustice of Obergefell.

But whether or not President Trump gets to, or chooses to, appoint multiple Supreme Court Justices in the mold of Antonin Scalia, same-sex “marriage” is already doomed. A little-known—or, at least not as known as it should be—sexual anecdote of a well-known homosexual couple provides great insight here.

In late 2005, Elton John entered into a “civil partnership” with David Furnish. In 2014, John “married” Furnish. John, age 69, and Furnish are raising two sons (born via a surrogate mother), ages five and three. In the spring of this year the lurid details of a sexual tryst involving Furnish and multiple American men were reported by the American media. Though such behavior would come as little surprise to anyone who knows even the slightest details of the homosexual lifestyle, John and Furnish have, through legal means, successfully kept the story out of the British print media.

In an effort to paint homosexuality and same-sex “marriage” as healthy and normal, John has taken great pains to have his “marriage” painted by the (usually complicit) media as “blissfully happy” and “wonderfully loving” (actual words recently used by London’s Daily Mail to describe John and Furnish’s “marriage”). Yet, in the injunction granted to John and Furnish to prevent the British press from reporting on their extra-“marital” affairs, it is revealed that though they “have portrayed an image to the world of a committed relationship,” their “marriage” does not “entail monogamy.”

In other words, over the years, with the knowledge and consent of the other, both John and Furnish have had multiple “sexual encounters with others.” However, in the name of privacy, John and Furnish want to guard their children from this knowledge (at least until they deem it appropriate to reveal such). Paddy Manning, an “Irish gay libertarian conservative,” rightly concludes that the British courts have made themselves “a partner in a vicious hypocrisy. It is defending the illusion of Elton John's ideal family life against a sordid reality in which his children are mere bagatelles.” Manning adds, “Little argument can be made for saving the two little boys from the putative damage of public exposure when they are living with two selfish hedonists who obtained them by purchase.”

Whether they realize it or not, John and Furnish are attempting to further mangle the definition of marriage. Though their efforts and behaviors sicken and sadden me (and, as many studies over the years have detailed, are very common), I understand well their position: If we are not to hold to what the Bible reveals about marriage in one sense (the union of one man and one woman), why should we in any sense (such as not committing adultery)?

As was noted years ago, for the homosexual agenda, this debate has never been really about marriage. This is a war against the truth—especially when it comes to matters in the sexual realm. And as Euclid reveals, if we change the axioms upon which our world was made, a new and different world results. With the aid of the federal courts—as was the case with life in the womb—liberals are again attempting to create a world where man’s law supersedes God’s law. In other words, as they have been for decades now, liberals are attempting to write their own moral code, and they’re using the power of the state to force the rest of us to submit to it.

Such efforts will ultimately, and always, fail, and as in the case of Elton John and David Furnish, will be revealed as folly. As Gamaliel warned the Sanhedrin concerning the Apostles of Jesus, “[I]f their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God. (Acts 5:38b-39)” As liberals work to hold onto their perverse legal redefinition of marriage, they are not merely battling conservatism, but God Himself, and that is always a losing proposition.

(See this column at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2016, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the brand new book The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Giving Thanks (Taken from The Miracle and Magnificence of America)

Sir Walter Raleigh’s first attempts at settling the New World were disastrous. The English, who were now trying to gain a foothold on the New World, were succumbing to the same greed that had earlier blinded the Spaniards. Starvation, disease, hostile Indians, and other hardships, including a whole colony lost (the Lost Colony of Roanoke), led to dampened enthusiasm for New World expeditions.
                                         
It would be nearly 20 years after Raleigh’s initial ventures before enough English interest could again be sparked for more New World adventure. In 1602, one of Raleigh’s captains, Bartholomew Gosnold, sailed to what is now Maine with 32 men. Fearing the natives, disease, and the coming winter, they returned to England less than four months after leaving.

Undeterred, Gosnold obtained an exclusive charter from King James I to form The Virginia Company with the purpose of establishing permanent settlements in North America. He and his fellow adventurers on December 16, 1606 again sailed for North America.

Despite recruiting “sermons” that contained messages of evangelical outreach, and the preamble of the Company’s charter, written by King James I, which contained the words, “…propagating of Christian religion to such people as yet live in darkness and miserable ignorance of the true knowledge and worship of God, and may in time bring the infidels and savages, living in these parts, to human civility and to a settled and quiet government,” the lust for gold was, again, what drove the men of this expedition.

Evidence of this fact was that this first expedition sent by The Virginia Company contained exclusively men, 144 of them. Among them were no women or families, nor were these men heads of households going to prepare a homestead. Also, among these 144 was only one minister. In the words of David Marshall and Peter Manuel, these 144 men “were interested in one thing: getting their gold chamber pots and returning to England as soon as possible.”

On May 14, 1607, headed by a seven-man council, which included John Smith, these 144 men settled Jamestown. Because of their misguided efforts it was a disaster from the beginning. These men battled the elements, disease (including malaria), Indians, starvation, and one another. The lone minister on the adventure, Robert Hunt, did his best to keep the others focused on God. His sermons went mostly unheeded; however, he persevered. By February of 1608 only 38 of the 144 remained alive.

News of what was really happening in Virginia began to get back to England. To counteract this news The Virginia Company increased its propaganda campaign. They were successful for a while, and therefore investors continued to invest and settlers continued to settle. According to Marshall and Manuel, “The death rate in Virginia that second year was—incredibly—even higher than the first: out of every ten people that embarked for the New World, nine would die!”

The death rate did not abate with time. Marshall and Manuel add, “For example, of the 1,200 people who went out to Virginia in 1619, only 200 were left alive by 1620. Why this horrible continuing death rate? There is no logical explanation, except one: year after year they steadfastly refused to trust God—or indeed to include Him in any of their deliberations.”

The next settlers to cross the Atlantic would not make the same mistakes. They were not seeking wealth and prosperity, but a new home. They believed that America was their spiritual destiny. The Pilgrims (dubbed “Separatists” by the Church of England), and the Puritans who followed them, knew better than to undertake anything without God.

Aboard the Mayflower were 102 passengers, less than half of whom were of Pastor John Robinson’s Separatist flock. After a grueling two-month voyage, on November 11, 1620, they dropped anchor in Cape Cod, and heeding the advice and wisdom of their pastor, the Pilgrims drafted a compact that would embody the same principles of government upon which American democracy would rest. It read,
In the name of God, amen. We whose names are under-written…Having undertaken, for the glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and honor of our King and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic…constitute and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions and offices from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony…the 11th of November…Anno Domini 1620.
John Carver, who had chartered the Mayflower, was chosen as the first governor of the colony. His was the first signature on the Mayflower Compact, which is considered by many to be the world’s first written constitution. William Bradford would soon replace Carver as governor and would serve in that capacity for 31 years. On December 21, 1620, the Pilgrims settled at what would become known as Plymouth.

A replica model of the Mayflower. Created by Norbert Schnitzler.

Though their efforts were “for the glory of God,” the Pilgrims were not immune to the many hardships of an untamed America. Before long, many started dying. William Bradford’s wife Dorothy was among the casualties as she fell overboard and drowned. (Initially, while dwellings were being built, the Pilgrims lived mostly aboard the Mayflower.) Due in part to a brutal winter, dozens would die in those first few months, including 13 of 18 wives. In spite of hardships, the Pilgrims were undeterred and drew ever closer to God.

The months turned into years and saw the Pilgrims develop good relations with the local natives including Massasoit, a wise and welcoming chief of the local tribes, Samoset, and especially Tisquantum, or Squanto.

In the middle of March 1621, just as the Pilgrims were coming out of the devastatingly harsh winter, a guard alerted his comrades with the cry of “Indian coming!” Wearing only a loincloth as he walked into the Pilgrims’ camp, Samoset astonished the English onlookers with a hearty “Welcome!” Then speaking surprisingly clear English, he followed his friendly greeting with a request, “Have you got any beer?”

The Pilgrims informed their friendly guest that they were out of beer, and offered him brandy instead. After a hearty snack of brandy, biscuit, butter, cheese, pudding, and roast duck, Samoset was ready to answer questions. In spite of their difficult and deadly plight, Samoset’s words gave the Pilgrims great cause to thank God.

Having learned his English from the various fisherman who had fished the shores of Maine, Samoset revealed that the area currently occupied by the Pilgrims had been the territory of the Patuxet. The Patuxets were a large, hostile tribe of natives who had viciously murdered every white man who landed on their shores. However, four years prior to the Pilgrims’ arriving in America, a mysterious plague killed every member of the Patuxet tribe. Convinced that the widespread death and devastation was the work of a great supernatural spirit, neighboring tribes had avoided that area occupied by the Patuxet ever since.

On March 22, 1621, Samoset returned to the Pilgrims with Squanto, who spoke even better English. Squanto’s life is an amazing tale of God’s provision that very closely resembles the account of Joseph from Genesis, chapter 37. In 1605, working for the recently formed East India Company and searching for a northwest passage to India, Captain George Weymouth explored the New England coast. While exploring the coast of Maine, Weymouth captured five Patuxet Indians, one of whom was Squanto.

The Indians were taken to England where they spent nine years and were taught English. While in England, Squanto met Captain John Smith, who promised to return him to the Patuxets. In 1614, Smith kept his promise and returned to the New England area of America with the Indians. However, in order to survey and explore, Smith departed what he called New Plymouth. Soon after Smith’s departure, Captain Thomas Hunt, who had sailed with Smith on another ship, lured 20 Patuxets aboard his ship and slapped chains on them. They were transported to Spain where most were sold into slavery and shipped to North Africa. However, some, including Squanto, were purchased and set free by friars. These friars introduced Squanto and his fellow Indians to Christianity. Squanto and his new-found faith would play a vital role in American history.

Squanto remained in Europe for several years. In 1619, having joined an exploratory expedition along the New England coast, Squanto left Europe in order to return to his homeland.

In 1620, six months prior to the Pilgrims’ arrival, Squanto arrived back in New England and soon returned to the shores of his home. Upon arriving at his village, he was shocked to discover that no one was there to greet him. Virtually every member of the Patuxets had died, perhaps from smallpox brought by the European ships. Broken and dismayed, Squanto aimlessly wandered the woods where he had grown up.

He ended up in the camp of the Wampanoag people, who were led by Massasoit. Taking pity on him, Massasoit welcomed Squanto and gave him a new home. However, without a tribe or a family, Squanto’s existence seemed without purpose. He remained a broken man until he got word of a peaceful but pitiful band of Europeans who were riddled with disease and starvation on the shores near his homeland.

Soon after Samoset introduced Squanto to the Pilgrims, a meeting with Massasoit was arranged. Massasoit, Samoset, Squanto, and dozens of Wampanoag warriors traveled to Plymouth to meet the Pilgrims. With Samoset serving as the interpreter for Massasoit, the meeting was extremely fruitful. A peace treaty and a treaty of mutual aid were struck with Massasoit that would last for decades.

Massasoit and his party returned home, but Squanto remained with the Pilgrims. Being a man without a tribe, personally witnessing the desperation of the Pilgrims, and already having adopted their faith, Squanto took pity upon his new-found English friends and wanted to help them succeed in their New World. He taught them how to fish for eels and alewives, plant corn and pumpkins, refine maple syrup, trap beavers, hunt deer, and other skills essential to their survival.

Squanto was instrumental in the survival of the Pilgrims—so much so that, according to William Bradford, the Pilgrims considered Squanto “a special instrument sent of God for their good, beyond their expectation.” Massasoit also was an amazing example of God’s providential care for the Pilgrims. Like Powhatan had been at Jamestown, Massasoit was probably the only other native chief on the northeast coast of America who would have welcomed the white man as a friend.

In early April of 1621, with supplies running dangerously low, the Captain of the Mayflower, Christopher Jones, decided he could remain in America no longer. On April 5, 1621, the Mayflower returned to England. As the ship disappeared over the horizon, almost certainly a nervous uneasiness came upon more than a few Pilgrims who remained in the New World. Their last ties to their former home were gone. They, perhaps, felt more alone than at any point of their amazing journey.

The summer of 1621 was beautiful and, thanks in no small measure to the help of Squanto, bountiful. Governor Bradford declared a day of public Thanksgiving to be held in October. Massasoit was invited. Surprising the Pilgrims, he showed up a day early with 90 of his tribe. To feed such a crowd, the Pilgrims would have to go deep into their food supply. However, Massasoit did not show up empty handed. He had instructed his braves to hunt for the occasion, and they came with several dressed dear and fat turkeys. The Thanksgiving turned into a three-day celebration filled with feasting and games.

The First Thanksgiving, by Jean-Léon Gérôme.

A few weeks after the first Thanksgiving and about a year after the Pilgrims arrived in the New World, the Fortune sailed into Plymouth on its way to Virginia. The main cargo was an additional 35 colonists and a charter granted from the New England Company. There was tremendous celebration over the new charter; however, unlike the Indians, the new colonists arrived virtually empty handed. They had no extra clothing, food, or tools. The Pilgrims would have to adjust their winter food rationing plan severely.

The winter of 1621-1622 was as difficult as feared. The Pilgrims entered what has been described as their “starving time.” Some reports reveal that at times, food rations for each person were a mere five kernels of corn per day. Miraculously, that winter not one Pilgrim died of starvation.

There was no Thanksgiving celebration in 1622. When the spring planting season of 1623 rolled around, the Pilgrims realized that to fend off further hunger and rationing, a corn harvest at least twice as large as last season was necessary. However, a lackluster work ethic prevailed among them. This was mainly because the contract entered into with their merchant sponsors in London required everything the Pilgrims produced was to go into a common store and be shared. As Rush Limbaugh has often pointed out on his radio broadcast that celebrates Thanksgiving Day, the Pilgrims were languishing under socialism.

The leaders of the colony then decreed that for the additional planting, individual plots of land would be split, and the yield could be used at the planters’ discretion. Thus, as the concept of private property was introduced, the Pilgrims seemed infused and invigorated with new hope and purpose. As Marshall and Manuel point out, “The yield that year was so abundant that the Pilgrims ended up with a surplus of corn, which they were able to use in trading that winter with northern Indians, who had not had a good growing season.”

On November 29, 1623, two years after the first Thanksgiving, Governor William Bradford made an official proclamation for a second day of Thanksgiving. In it Governor Bradford thanked God for their abundant harvest, bountiful game, protection from “the ravages of savages…and disease,” and for the “freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience.”  Well over a hundred Natives attended, bringing plenty of turkey and venison along with them.

The Pilgrims, and the Puritans who followed them, had the proper perspective. As Bradford would so discernibly note, “As one small candle may light a thousand, so the light kindled here has shown unto many, yea in some sort to our whole nation…We have noted these things so that you might see their worth and not negligently lose what your fathers have obtained with so much hardship.”

On June 11, 1630, aboard the Arbella, John Winthrop, the leader of the first Puritans, wrote A Model of Christian Charity, which became a model for future constitutional covenants of the Colonies. It reads:
We are a Company, professing ourselves fellow members of Christ, (and thus) we ought to account ourselves knit together by this bond of love…For the work we have in mind, it is by a mutual consent through a special overruling providence, and a more than an ordinary approbation of the Churches of Christ to seek out a place of Cohabitation and Consortship under a due form of Government both civil and ecclesiastical… 
Thus stands the cause between God and us: we are entered into covenant with Him for this work. We have taken out a Commission; the Lord hath given us leave to draw our own articles… 
We shall find that the God of Israel is among us, when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies, when He shall make us a praise and glory, that men of succeeding plantations shall say, ‘The Lord make it like that of New England.’
For we must consider that we shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us; so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world.
As we sit down this Thanksgiving Day, we should recognize and remember, as did the Puritans and the Pilgrims before them, the One who is most deserving of our thanks. Let us not lose sight of Him who is the giver of all good things. Scripture says that, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” He created us and everything around us. He gave us life, and through His Son, salvation. As the Psalmist notes, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.”

Have truly happy and memorable Thanksgiving.

Copyright 2016, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor is the author of the brand new book The Miracle and Magnificence of America


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A Short Primer on the Electoral College

Just prior to the 2004 presidential election, I gave a short explanation on the Electoral College. It was true then, and it's true today. With a few slight edits, I wrote:

Frustrated with the outcome of the last presidential election, especially since Al Gore won the popular vote, some in our country have cast a wary eye at the method by which we choose our president. Murmurings against the Electoral College began even before George W. Bush was sworn in and they have picked up recently as we approach the 2004 presidential election. Significant members of Congress have even suggested abolishing the electoral college. Like-minded editorialists and media elites have joined in the fray.

Upon being elected to the U.S. Senate, Hillary Clinton promised to introduce in the Senate a constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College. [I never accused her of failing to plan ahead!] The movement was supported by other like-minded Senators from both parties: Democratic Senator Dick Durbin and Republican Senators John Warner and Arlen Spector. There was also support in the House of Representatives, from Republicans Ray Lahood and Jim Leach and Democrats Robert Wise, Dick Gephardt, Rick Boucher, Virgil Goode, and Robert Underwood. Most of those calling for a change offer no real alternatives other than allowing the popular vote to determine the winner.

Within the last few weeks editorialists from The New York Times and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution also called for the abolition of the electoral college. The New York Times called it “a ridiculous setup, which thwarts the will of the majority.” They added, “There should be a bipartisan movement for direct election of the president.”

What were our Founders thinking and why shouldn’t we have a direct election of the President? According to historian David Barton, “During the Constitutional Convention, three proposals were originally discussed by the framers on how the president could be elected. Interestingly, those three proposals were rejected.” The first proposal called for Congress to elect the president, the second proposal allowed for the state legislators to do so, and the third proposal was to have the president chosen by national popular vote (direct election).

According to Barton, the national popular vote method was rejected “not because the framers distrusted the people but rather because the larger populous States would have much greater influence than the smaller States and therefore the interests of those smaller States could be disregarded or trampled. Additionally, a nationwide election would encourage regionalism since the more populous areas of the country could form coalitions to elect president after president from their own region. With such regional preferentialism, lasting national unity would be nearly impossible.”

The framers, then, referred the issue of the selection of a president to a “Committee of Eleven” for further investigation. The Electoral College was the result of this investigation.

Barton adds that, “The electoral college synthesized two important philosophies established in the Constitution: (1) the maintenance of a republican, as opposed to a democratic, form of government and (2) the balancing of power between the smaller and the larger States and between the various diverse regions of the nation.”

The Legislative branch of our government, with its House and Senate, also reflects this balance desired by our Founders. Representation in the House is proportional to a state’s population, but representation in the Senate is the same for all states no matter their population. Consequently, Alaska, the third least populous state, has only a single vote in the House, where California, the most populous state, has 53. Therefore Alaska, a very important state in our union (with all of its natural resources), has almost no power in the House to affect legislation. However, it has equal power in the Senate and there must be significant agreement or compromise for legislation to become law.

Using the Electoral College system to determine the head of the Executive branch of our government maintains the same kind of balance reflected in the Legislative branch.

The will of the people is taken into account, but the will of the states is also.

People frustrated with the outcome of the last [2000] presidential election point only to the majority of the vote, which Gore won by ½ of 1%. They ignore the fact that Bush won 30 states (60%), to Gore’s 20; or that Bush won 2436 counties (78%) compared to 676 for Gore; and by my count, Bush won 225 congressional districts (51.7%) to Gore’s 210. So, while a very slight majority of the people chose Gore, a much more significant majority of states and regions chose Bush. The result, therefore, was a slight electoral victory for Bush.

In support of the Electoral College, John Taylor (an officer during the American Revolution and a U. S. Senator under Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson) wisely put it this way:

“Two principles sustain our Constitution: one a majority of the people, the other a majority of the States; the first was necessary to preserve the liberty or sovereignty of the people; the last, to preserve the liberty or sovereignty of the States. But both are founded in the principle of majority; and the effort of the Constitution is to preserve this principle in relation both to the people and the States, so that neither species of sovereignty or independence should be able to destroy the other.”
Like George Bush, Donald Trump won 30 states to Hillary Clinton's 20. With final results still to come in (or simple be counted--see the 2016 U.S. presidential election map by county below), I believe it's safe to say that Trump won more counties and congressional districts than Bush (thus a more comfortable electoral win). In other words, in spite of Hillary perhaps having a larger popular vote win that Gore, her electoral performance was much worse, and that is what matters in our constitutional republic.

The counties won by Donald Trump make the U.S. a sea of red. 

Copyright 2016, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the brand new book The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Friday, November 11, 2016

Across America, the GOP Dominates (Updated again)

The GOP victory on November 8, 2016 was historical in a multitude of ways. First, a little recap. At about 8:30 Eastern Standard Time Tuesday evening, when Trump took the lead in Florida, liberals started to get uneasy, if not nervous. Just before 9, when Trump’s lead in Florida was north of 100k votes, and he was shown to be performing well in Pennsylvania and Michigan, liberal commentator Peter Beinart tweeted out a “reality check:”








A little after 9, Trump had the lead in Virginia, and The New York Times election data guru Nate Cohn warned:








At about 9:30 Tuesday evening, election forecasts began to favor Trump. Closer to 10, women—and presumably men who pretend to be women (surely they were welcome to join in!)—in the ladies room of the Javits Center, headquarters of Hillary’e election night party, began to check on one another:

By 10:30, Trump was leading in Michigan and Wisconsin: 








By 11, Florida and Ohio had been called for Trump and for liberals, full-on panic began to creep in. Around 11:15, North Carolina was called for Trump. Near 11:30, when Ron Johnson was declared to have retained his U.S. Senate seat in Wisconsin, and Georgia was called for Trump, the election projections were overwhelmingly pointing to Trump. As of 1 a.m., according to 270towin, the electoral map looked like this:














For several hours, the states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania were closely watched. When Pennsylvania was called, it was over. Upon his inauguration, Donald Trump will become the 45th President of the United States. In addition to Trump’s historic victory, republicans also had strong showings in the U.S. House and Senate races. For months Democrats were given a better than even chance of taking control of the U.S. Senate. Republicans had to defend 24 seats while the Democrats only had to defend 10. With a four seat advantage, and only two narrow losses, the GOP retains a 52 to 48 Senate seat advantage.

And their prospects for keeping control of the U.S. Senate are excellent. In 2018, Senate democrats must defend 25 seats (plus uber-liberal Bernie Sander’s seat), while republicans must defend only eight. Of the 25 seats democrats must defend, 10 are from states Hillary lost, and four of those are from states Obama lost twice (Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, and West Virginia). In addition, the House is solidly republican.

However, while the overwhelming media coverage focused on the history made by president-elect Trump and the GOP hold on the U.S. Congress, other significant history was being made by the Grand Old Party. After Tuesday evening’s results, a stunning political outcome was revealed: At the national and state level, the GOP will soon control more of the U.S. government than at any other time in American history.

Going into the election, as the Washington Post noted, republicans occupied seats in 31 of 50 governor’s mansions. According to the Post, the GOP only needed to take one gubernatorial seat to set a modern-day record. They took three (with one—North Carolina—still in doubt). Republicans also won the last remaining legislative chamber in the south controlled by democrats: the Kentucky House. In addition, the GOP won control of the Iowa Senate, and per a likely favorable recount, the Minnesota Senate.

The wins in Kentucky and Iowa mean a political “trifecta” in those states: control of the governor’s mansion and both legislative houses. Upon swearing in next year, republicans will control every branch of government in 25 U.S. states. Entering Tuesday’s elections, democrats held the governorship, and both state houses in only seven states. That was their fewest number with such control since the Civil War, when there were 15 fewer states. After Tuesday’s results, democrats now hold total political control of only five states: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Oregon and Rhode Island.

In short, as noted yesterday in The Washington Post, under the watch of Barack Obama and his like-minded liberal cohorts, the Democrat Party has been "decimated."

With Donald Trump getting to nominate at least one Supreme Court Justice (Scalia’s replacement), and likely a few more (Ginsburg and Kennedy are over 80), the GOP has an opportunity to entrench conservatism as never before in U.S. history. My advice: don’t blow it!

Update (courtesy of Townhall): More details on "The Total Destruction of the Democratic Party:"
Republicans today hold 31 out of 45 lieutenant governor offices – with three open-seat victories and two re-elections on Tuesday.

Voters reelected Dan Forest as lieutenant governor in North Carolina -- the first time a Republican has ever been re-elected to this office in state history. 
Spencer Cox was elected as Utah’s lieutenant governor, to continue leading in this role in the state, alongside Governor Gary Herbert. 
State Auditor Suzanne Crouch was elected as Indiana’s next lieutenant governor, alongside Governor-elect Eric Holcomb, currently the state’s lieutenant governor. 
Mike Parson, an Army veteran and current state legislator will succeed Republican Lt. Governor Peter Kinder as Missouri’s next lieutenant governor. 
Alongside Governor-elect Doug Burman, Brent Sanford was elected as North Dakota’s next lieutenant governor. 
[…] 
Republicans will hold as many as 31 out of 50 secretary of state offices after four pickups, with one reelection still pending a final call. 
Oregon voters elected Dennis Richardson as secretary of state last night, marking the first time in 14 years a Republican will hold a statewide office in Oregon and the first time in 20 years that a Republican will hold this secretary’s office. 
Voters flipped the secretary seat in West Virginia, electing Republican Mac Warner and ousting Democrat Secretary Natalie Tennant from the position. 
Jay Ashcroft was elected Missouri’s next secretary of state, winning the seat back from Democrat control. 
The secretary’s seat in Montana flipped from blue to red with the election of Corey Stapleton. 
Although the race has not yet been officially called, Kim Wyman is in the lead to be reelected as Washington state’s secretary of state for four more years. 
[…] 
State Legislative Chambers: 
Just seven weeks ago, Democrats staked a claim projecting a net pick up of a dozen chambers. So far today, Republicans have flipped three new chamber majorities and brought the deep-blue Connecticut Senate to a split chamber, depriving Democrats of that outright majority. We currently remain at 69 of 99 legislative chamber majorities – an all time record for the party. Results in many chambers are still being finalized. 
Flips: 
Kentucky House: Republicans won the majority for the first time in nearly 100 years, to now give Republicans complete legislative control in all Southern chambers. 
Republicans also defeated longtime Democrat Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo, who had been in office since 1980. Now the GOP holds the trifecta in Kentucky: the governor, state House and state Senate. 
Iowa Senate: Republicans also completed a trifecta in Iowa, flipping the state Senate for the first time for outright control in 12 years. They also defeated Democrat Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, chair of the DLCC who had been in office since 1983, with a superior candidate in Dan Dawson. 
Minnesota Senate: Republicans gained six seats in the chamber and will take control of the chamber. They will now serve as a legislative partner to the state House, also under GOP control, to provide balance to the governor’s liberal agenda. 
Retained: 
Alaska House
Alaska Senate
Arizona House
Arizona Senate
Arkansas House
Arkansas Senate
Colorado Senate
Florida House
Florida Senate
Georgia House
Georgia Senate
Idaho House
Idaho Senate
Indiana House
Indiana Senate
Iowa House
Kansas House
Kansas Senate
Kentucky Senate 
Maine Senate: Republicans defended the majority in a chamber heavily targeted by national Democrats, where the GOP was outspent 2-1. 
Michigan House: This chamber was heavily targeted by Democrats as a top-10 offensive pickup opportunity. 
Minnesota House: This chamber was heavily targeted by Democrats to flip, including endorsements in local races by President Obama. 
Missouri House
Missouri Senate
Montana House
Montana Senate
New Hampshire House
New Hampshire Senate
New York Senate 
North Carolina House: Republicans maintained a chamber supermajority. 
North Carolina Senate: Republicans maintained a chamber supermajority. 
North Dakota House
North Dakota Senate 
Ohio House: Republicans gained enough seats in the supermajority to reach an all-time party high. 
Ohio Senate
Oklahoma House
Oklahoma Senate
Pennsylvania House
Pennsylvania Senate
South Carolina House
South Carolina Senate
South Dakota House
South Dakota Senate
Tennessee House
Tennessee Senate
Texas House
Texas Senate
Utah House
Utah Senate
Washington Senate
West Virginia House 
West Virginia Senate: Democrats heavily targeted this chamber which Republicans won for the first time since 1931 in 2014, but could not deliver the voters. 
Wisconsin Assembly: Republican gains will give the party its largest chamber majority since at least 1956. 
Wisconsin Senate: Republican gains will give the party its largest chamber majority since at least 1970. 
Wyoming House
Wyoming Senate 
The GOP controls of 66/99 of the state legislatures (Nebraska’s is unicameral). This is an all-time high. Check out the square miles of U.S. congressional districts under GOP control:



Update 2: It can now be safely said (as Rich Lowry points out in the New York Post), Obama's chief legacy is the total collapse of the modern Democrat Party.


Copyright 2016, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the brand new book The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Trump Wins!!! (Update 2)

I did not see this coming. In a meeting at work this morning I was asked what I thought would happen. I said that, if I had to bet, I would bet on Hillary. I was far from alone. Trump trailed Hillary in the final Real Clear Politics average by 3.2 points: 46.8 to 43.6. Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight blog gave Trump only a 27% chance of winning. And remember, liberals escoriated Silver for even giving him even that much of a chance. The liberals running the Huffington Post's projection model gave Trump a 2% chance of winning.

This is truly a historic moment in American political history. Donald Trump has rewritten the electoral map. He won states that the GOP hasn't won in a presidential election since the Reagan era (Wisconsin). On the other hand, many reliably conservative states that were won easily by Mitt Romney and John McCain, were much closer victories for Trump.

Don't get me wrong, as I've often pointed out, there are many things about Mr. Trump that give me great pause. However, as I posted somewhere else earlier tonight:
As a Christian conservative, I voted for him (Trump) knowing what I would get from her (Hillary), and hoping what I would get from him.
In other words, though Mr. Trump has given me little reason to be hopeful, I'm stunned (pleasantly) and hopeful. If Donald Trump is a conservative, he's not shown himself to be my kind of a conservative. If Donald Trump is a Christian, he's not shown himself to be my kind of Christian. (Though, that is not the standard he has to meet, is it?) Nevertheless, I'm hopeful, and I'm glad to give him the opportunity to prove me wrong.

I'm also anxious. I'm very anxious to see if he holds to what he led us to believe about the Supreme Court. I'm anxious to see if he, and his republican Congress, repeal and replace the abomination that is Obamacare. His presidency will be fascinating to watch.

Speaking of Congress, in addition to winning the presidency, electorally, the GOP has done well across the board. The democrats fell far short of their necessary margins to overtake the U.S. House or Senate. In addition, the GOP was able to hold on to--even picking off a couple of states from democrats--its large majority of state governors. A good summary of results are here: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/

As it became more and more clear that Mr. Trump was going to win, liberals across the media expressed their aghast at what they were watching. Juan Williams said the moment was (unpleasantly) "surreal." Liberals who expressed no shock or surprise at a community organizer becoming U.S. president, somehow find it amazing that a billionaire businessman could achieve the same.

As I pointed out in 2008, when Barack Obama won his historic election:

Writing in The Light and the Glory, Peter Marshall and David Manuel note that in hoping for America to be on the right path many Christians have “hoped that electing a Christian President would do the job. But as Dwight Eisenhower once said, ‘Never let yourself be persuaded that any one Great Man, any one leader, is necessary to the salvation of America. When America consists of one leader and 158 million followers, it will no longer be America.’” 
Marshall and Manuel continue, “It is the most dangerous kind of corporate self-delusion to think that a President, regardless of how much he heeds God, can reverse the bent of the national will, once it is set in a certain direction…which seems to put the responsibility directly upon each of us who has a personal relationship with our Savior—much as we might like to blame the immorality of others for the precipitous rate of decline. But the responsibility is ours, and it always has been.”
Update: Results of the "battleground states" some of which were not considered such before last night:































Update 2: Another thing to keep an eye on here (for years to come): Watch the donations to the Clinton Foundation plummet. What reason is there now to support the "work" of Bill and Hillary Clinton?

Trevor Thomas
www.trevorgrantthomas.com


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Jen Hatmaker's Husband Doubles Down on Their Heretical Views on Marriage and Sexuality

Let me be clear, I believe the Hatmakers have a strong desire to show love to those in the homosexual community. I don't think their compromise with Scripture is motivated merely (if at all) by a greedy desire to hang on to a large audience. Also, I believe, as Brandon Hatmaker's lengthy post on the matter reveals, they have sincerely put much time and effort into seeking the truth on marriage and sexuality. Nevertheless, they are currently deceived, and their teaching on marriage and sexuality is wrong and dangerous, and thus will not bring healing, but harm.

A few revealing sentences from Brandon's post (which occurred a few days after Jen's revealing interview):
To be clear… 
Jen and I are 100% on the same page regarding her recent interview about our love and hope for the LGBTQ community. This is a journey we have been on together. We both believe a same-sex marriage, as a life-long monogamous commitment, can be holy before God... 
Bottom line, we don’t believe a committed life-long monogamous same-sex marriage violates anything seen in scripture about God’s hopes for the marriage relationship.
To be clear, the bottom line is, like increasing numbers of Christians who should know better, the Hatmakers find themselves on the opposite side of Scripture that, for well over 2,000 years, has never been in serious question. Isn't it interesting that the view of marriage to which the Hatmakers (and those like-minded) now subscribe has escaped clergy and lay Christians alike for millennia?

Like the (spiritual) plague that it is, soon after Jen Hatmaker's interview was shared on social media, the lies of the homosexual agenda ensnared another well-known Christian. After reading Jonathan Merritt's interview with Jen Hatmaker, Joel Houston, leader of the popular worship band Hillsong United wrote on his Twitter page, "Wow … So refreshing."

A Twitter follower of Houston worriedly replied, "Some of it maybe, but putting a blanket 'refreshing' on this article doesn’t seem wise for someone with your influence."  Houston responded, "You’re probably right, but what I found refreshing was her honesty—particularly enacting a gospel of love over hate/fear." One of the most enduring lies of the homosexual agenda is the notion that those who simply tell the truth about marriage and sexuality are somehow spreading "hate" or "fear." Houston has since deleted his remarks.

As I noted about a year ago when it comes to "Christian celebrities" and marriage:

All Christians have a responsibility to be “salt and light” in this dark world. This is true for the secluded or isolated Christian with a small circle of influence, as well as the celebrity Christian who can gain the attention of millions, and everyone in between. Of course, the larger your sphere of influence, the more opportunity you have to widely impact the world for Jesus Christ.

Throughout history, and the world over, the union of one man and one woman is the foundation of every social institution. Strong and healthy marriages lead to strong and healthy families. Strong and healthy families lead to strong and healthy communities. Strong and healthy communities lead to strong and healthy churches, schools, businesses, governments, and so on. 
What’s more, marriage is “the Crown of Creation.” It is the priority relationship within the family, with all other relationships being subordinate, and functioning subject, to it. After our relationship with our Creator, the most important relationship in the universe is the relationship between husband and wife. The union is so profound that throughout the New Testament, God uses the analogy of the bride and bridegroom to describe the relationship between Jesus and the Church. 
Of course, honoring ones' "father and mother" is given specific attention in God's "top ten." I say "of course" because I assume most every American is aware of the Ten Commandments. It's not as if the Ten Commandments have been removed from our culture--oh, wait. If we take away the Ten Commandments, we shouldn't be very surprised that many Americans have decided that things like mothers and fathers are no longer very important. I suppose such Americans now find the Ten Commandments "discriminatory." 
Of course, Satan is well aware of the significance of marriage. Virtually every sexual sin that plagues our culture—promiscuity, pornography, divorce, homosexuality, et al—is ultimately an attack on marriage and the family. Satan knows well that, if you want to destroy a culture, you go after the foundation.

Thus, there are very few things in the world today that deserve more attention of the followers of Jesus than does marriage. It is under attack as never before. Our witness to the eternal truth on marriage is more important now than ever. (See: The Marriage Commitment Challenge.) We must be very deliberate and opportunistic in our defense of marriage. Whenever we have the opportunity, we must speak out in defense of marriage. This is especially true of pastors, politicians, teachers, authors, and apologists. 
Christian artists should produce music, movies, and other forms of entertainment that defend and glorify marriage, and whenever given a stage, Christian entertainers should vigorously defend what God gave us when it comes to marriage. Those of us who are policemen, firemen, work in an office, work in a warehouse, work on a farm, mow lawns, work in the home, and the like, must also take every opportunity to model and speak the truth on marriage. 
As I’ve already noted, many Americans are going to have to make hard choices about whom they are going to obey. As we’ve already seen, such obedience will cost some of us our jobs or our businesses. For others, the loss of a job may be only the beginning of the suffering that results from standing for the truth on marriage. 
As Pastor Rick Warren instructs us, we cannot be afraid to be unpopular (which is very hard for most politicians and celebrities), and we must remember that the only way to be relevant is to make sure that our words and actions align with eternal truths. We don’t need to worry if we’re on “the right side of history;” we just need to be on the “right side.” 
Again, marriage is the oldest institution in the history of humanity—older than God's covenant with the nation of Israel, older than The Law, older than the church. Marriage is one of the earliest truths revealed by God. If ANYTHING is true, marriage as the union of one man and one woman is true. On this, there can NEVER be compromise.
Copyright 2016, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the brand new book The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Rosaria Butterfield Responds to Jen Hatmaker on the Church and Homosexuality

Before this week, I had never heard of Rosaria Butterfield. For that matter, before just a few weeks ago, I had never heard of Christian author, speaker, and reality TV personality Jen Hatmaker. Mrs. Hatmaker came to fame after a humorous blog-post about the end of the school year got her a segment on NBC's Today Show. After seeing her appearance on the Today Show, HGTV contacted Hatmaker about developing a reality TV show featuring her and her large (husband and five children) family.

Thinking it might give the network pause, Hatmaker, whose husband Brandon is a pastor and author, informed HGTV of her family's "religious lifestyle." Nevertheless, My Big Family Renovation first aired in August of 2014. With 8 episodes in the first season, the show was successful enough to warrant a subsequent series: Your Big Family Renovation.

Unless my mother is in charge of the TV remote, I never watch HGTV, thus, I had not encountered Mrs. Hatmaker until sometime in early October of this year. What brought her to my attention was, of course, the issue of homosexuality and same-sex "marriage." (Along with abortion, is there any issue on which our culture is more divided?)

In addition to her television show, Mrs. Hatmaker is the author of several books. With titles like, For The Love, and Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity, Hatmaker has written extensively about spiritual issues. She also speaks to "sold-out crowds of evangelical women." In spite of her evangelical aura, when interviewed last week by Jonathan Merritt of Religion News Service, and asked "Do you think an LGBT relationship can be holy?" Hatmaker, going into some detail, answered in the affirmative.

As a result of this, LifeWay Christian Stores--affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention--pulled all of Hatmaker's materials. In addition, Hatfield was rightly and widely criticized. Not surprised by Hatmaker's capitulation to the homosexual agenda, at Patheos, Chelsen Vicari wrote that she was more disappointed than shocked. Vicari also noted,
On reading her thoughts on the pro-life movement, I just rolled my eyes at the strawman she creates while saying, "There's something incredibly disingenuous about a Christian community that screams about abortion, but then refuses to support the very programs that are going to stabilize vulnerable, economically fragile families that decide to keep their kids." Right. It’s only religious lefties who believe this talking point and I’m probably not going to change their minds. Because if you actually get involved in the pro-life movement, which is young and vibrant, you see the same people marching beside you at the annual March for Life are the same people volunteering in non-profit pregnancy centers, opening their homes to foster children, or quietly offering financial support to the single moms in their churches.
The best response to Mrs. Hatmaker came from Rosaria Butterfield at The Gospel Coalition. With a piece entitled, Love Your Neighbor Enough to Speak Truth, Butterfield writes,
If this were 1999—the year that I was converted and walked away from the woman and lesbian community I loved—instead of 2016, Jen Hatmaker’s words about the holiness of LGBT relationships would have flooded into my world like a balm of Gilead...Today, I hear Jen’s words—words meant to encourage, not discourage, to build up, not tear down, to defend the marginalized, not broker unearned power—and a thin trickle of sweat creeps down my back. If I were still in the thick of the battle over the indwelling sin of lesbian desire, Jen’s words would have put a millstone around my neck.
To be clear, I was not converted out of homosexuality. I was converted out of unbelief. I didn’t swap out a lifestyle. I died to a life I loved. Conversion to Christ made me face the question squarely: did my lesbianism reflect who I am (which is what I believed in 1999), or did my lesbianism distortwho I am through the fall of Adam? I learned through conversion that when something feels right and good and real and necessary—but stands against God’s Word—this reveals the particular way Adam’s sin marks my life. Our sin natures deceive us. Sin’s deception isn’t just “out there”; it’s also deep in the caverns of our hearts...
Calling God’s sexual ethic hate speech does Satan’s bidding. This is Orwellian nonsense or worse. I only know who I really am when the Bible becomes my lens for self-reflection, and when the blood of Christ so powerfully pumps my heart whole that I can deny myself, take up the cross, and follow him.
There is no good will between the cross and the unconverted person. The cross is ruthless. To take up your cross means that you are going to die. As A. W. Tozer has said, to carry a cross means you are walking away, and you are never coming back. The cross symbolizes what it means to die to self. We die so that we can be born again in and through Jesus, by repenting of our sin (even the unchosen ones) and putting our faith in Jesus, the author and finisher of our salvation.
As I've said before, one of the greatest acts of love is to speak uncomfortable truths to those who don't want to hear them. As I've also pointed out before, we are at a momentous moral crossroad in our culture. The choice before us is somewhat like it was in the days of Nebuchadnezzar and his ninety-foot high “image of gold:” fall down and worship at the altar of the modern-day Baals, or defy those bent on immorality and face their consequences. Those with Christian, or similar, worldviews, will soon face, if they are not already facing, some stark choices. While the Hatmaker's have chosen poorly, on marriage and sexuality, Mrs. Butterfield shows us the way.

Copyright 2016, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the brand new book The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Crooked Hillary Resurrected (Updated)

Eleven days from the election of a new U.S. President, and it seems the FBI is not done with Hillary Clinton. In what has been described as devastating for the Hillary Clinton campaign, in a letter to Congress, James Comey announced that the FBI was reopening its investigation into Hillary's personal email server. Of course, this has been all over the news. I can offer nothing new. Guy Benson at Townhall provides a nice summary here.

However, I will add this to the conversation: Hillary's campaign manager, Leon--"please change your password"--Podesta slammed the FBI's timing, calling it "extraordinary" that the FBI would announce a new review of emails tied to Hillary Clinton "just 11 days out from a presidential election." Podesta called on FBI Director Comey to "immediately provide the American public more information than is contained in the letter he sent to eight Republican committee chairmen."

No Leon. What is truly "extraordinary" here is that the Democrat Party has nominated one of the most corrupt public officials in American history for the office of U.S. President. The depth of Hillary's lies on this matter are also "extraordinary," as is the willingness of the mainstream media to aid her cover-up of her crimes. Though all of this is "extraordinary," it comes as little surprise, after all:

Image result for corrupt hillary

Of course, liberals across the U.S. have expressed their disdain for Comey and his recent actions. As Guy Benson put it on Twitter:
Psst, maybe you should be mad at the woman who endangered nat'l security w/ an unsecure email scheme & lied about it endlessly--not the FBI.
 Update: At a rally in Florida today, Hillary told her supporters,
It is pretty strange to put something like that out, with such little information, right before an election. In fact, it’s not just strange; it’s unprecedented and it is deeply troubling because voters deserve to get full and complete facts. Put it all on the table.
What a surprise! More hypocrisy from a liberal! Hillary wants the FBI to do for her and her campaign what she refused to do for the FBI and the American people. And the FBI's actions are "unprecedented" and "deeply troubling?" No Mrs. Clinton. With your private server, your pay-for-play State Department, your deletion of thousands of emails, your continued lies about your email, Benghazi, the Clinton Foundation, et al, it's your behavior that is "unprecedented" and "deeply troubling."

Copyright 2016, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the brand new book The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Black Lives in the Womb Matter

As a teacher and a staunch observer of the political scene, one recent event particularly caught my attention. Educators at several schools in the Seattle Public School district held "Black Lives Matter at School" rallies. According to the Seattle Times,
About 2,000 Seattle educators wore Black Lives Matter shirts at their schools Wednesday to call for racial equity in education. 
Schools across the district held “Black Lives Matter at School” rallies before classes began for the day. Students, parents and teachers also wore stickers and buttons emblazoned with the “Black Lives Matter” slogan. 
The purpose of the day was to affirm that “black lives matter in the public schools,” according to organizers, who are members of Social Equality Educators, a group of educators within the Seattle teachers union.
This caused me to ponder, if such an event were organized at my school, how would I participate? Given that without a doubt, the most dangerous place on earth for a black American is in its mother's womb,



my attire would look something like this:


Given even the slightest notion of some institutionalized injustice perpetuated against what is all too often a foolish criminal thug, the ignorant fools who perpetuate the lies of Black Lives Matter are quick to cry "racism," but are seemingly blind to the greatest holocaust in the history of humanity.


The worldwide abortion machine is responsible for more human deaths than any other single event, institution, or army since the Great Flood. With Planned Parenthood leading the way, abortion is the leading cause of death among black Americans. Additionally, as Dr. Alveda King--MLK's niece--put it, "Every aborted baby is like a slave in the womb of his or her mother. The mother decides his or her fate." With nearly 18 million black babies killed by abortion since 1973 (the infamous Roe v. Wade decision), the number of black slaves in the womb far surpasses the number of American slaves in the 18th and 19th centuries.

In spite of this, Black Lives Matter (BLM) officially formed an unholy alliance with the abortion industry. This is unsurprising given that BLM is led by those corrupted by liberalism. Of course, BLM is far from the only group that (supposedly) advocates for black Americans outside of the womb but ignores the most helpless and innocent black Americans.

In late 2014, the NAACP tweeted out a list of 76 "unarmed" black people killed by the police from 1999 to 2014. That amounts to about five deaths per year. Many on the list--such as Michael Brown--were guilty of crimes that led to their tragic encounter with police. Every year, over 360,000 unarmed black lives are killed in the womb by abortionists. The NAACP--what some now refer to as the "National Association for the Abortion of Colored People"--along with many other so-called "civil rights" organizations, has long advocated for the "right" to kill children in the womb.

Of course, these organizations are now little more than political arms of the Democrat Party. Modern democrats have never been more hostile to the most helpless and innocent Americans. Having abandoned the deceptive "safe, legal, and rare" argument in favor of abortion, democrats now want abortion legal at any moment during pregnancy, and free .(i.e., taxpayer funded)

At the final presidential debate, when asked by moderator Chris Wallace "how far the right to abortion goes," Hillary responded that late term, and the now illegal (and never necessary) partial-birth abortion, should be legal under any circumstances. In other words, Hillary is in favor of the gruesome practice of ripping fully developed second and third trimester babies to shreds. (See video here. Warning: it's well done but still traumatic.) What's more, she wants taxpayers to fund these heinous acts.

I've said this many times before, but it bears repeating: It is the height of hypocrisy for any politician to claim to stand up for the least of us, all the while ignoring the most innocent and helpless among us.

Copyright 2016, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the brand new book The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com