New Book

A Unique and Revealing Look at America!---The Miracle and Magnificence of America. If you enjoy this site, please consider purchasing my recent book. Click here to get it at Amazon. See here for more information.

Book Banner

Book Facebook

HELP US GET THE WORD OUT: If you "Like" this page, please visit our new Facebook page for The Miracle and Magnificence of America and "Like" it. Thank you!!!

Latest News/Commentary

Latest News/Commentary:

News/Commentary Archives:

News/Commentary Archives:

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christian Giving


In this Christmas season, as we celebrate the Greatest Gift the world has ever known, I thought it appropriate to address the issue of giving—especially among those who call themselves Christians. As I have noted before, Americans are the most generous people on earth. Among Americans, Christians are the most generous. Within Christianity, evangelicals are, by a rather wide margin, the most generous—far more generous than mainliners, Catholics, and so on.

According to George Barna, “Evangelical Christians distinguished themselves in their generosity. More than four out of five (83%) gave at least $1000 to churches and non-profit entities during 2007, far surpassing the levels reached by any other population segment studied.”

On average (the mean), in 2007, evangelicals gave $4,260 to all non-profits. Non-evangelical born again Christians gave an average of $1,581, while non-born again Christians gave $865. Overall, all those calling themselves Christians gave $1,426.

However, according to the U.S. Census, the mean household income in 2007 was about $53,000. This means that, though Christians are usually among the most generous Americans, we still give only at a rate of about 2.6%.

Earlier this year in an issue of Christianity Today, several Christian authors and ministers discussed whether Christians are generous enough with their money. Brian Kluth, founder of Maximum Generosity, stated that “While some evangelicals are very generous, many are not. The concept that giving to God's work (local church, ministries/missions, the needy) should be a person's highest financial priority is embraced by very few Christians in today's materialistic, consumer-driven, and debt-ridden society, even though Scripture is clear on this teaching.”

Barna notes that, in 2007, only 5% of Americans tithed (gave 10% of their income). Again, evangelicals led the way here with 24% tithing. Many sincere Christians have taken different views on tithing, but there is no mistaking that those who follow Christ are to be generous, and generally the minimum biblical standard for generosity is 10%.

Christ often used parables involving money and material possessions to teach people about the kingdom of God. In this way, Jesus was using earthly principles that people understood well to teach them spiritual principles which were far more foreign to them. The late Larry Burkett concluded that “2/3 of all parables in the New Testament deal with nothing but money.” I think that it is quite noteworthy that even 2,000 years ago the concept of money and wealth was so common and significant that Christ chose to use it in the majority of His parables to point people to the truth.

Jesus was clear: if you follow Him, if you are a part of His kingdom, you are to be invested in every way. This includes your finances. How people handle their money is a great indicator of where they are spiritually. A look at our checkbook and/or our credit card charges reveals a great deal about us. If you want to know where someone’s heart is, look at how and where they spend their time, and on what they spend their money.

However, make no mistake about it—God does not need our money to accomplish the things He is out to accomplish in this world. What He wants is a relationship with us, and just as within an earthly marriage, a great deal of this relationship revolves around material things, especially money.

As I have also noted before, the bottom line when it comes to money and finances, and the most important financial principle taught in Scripture, is that none of us really “owns” anything. We are merely stewards, or managers, of His property. Until we come to grips with this, we can never truly understand money and wealth, and we will never be as generous as God desires.

Mr. Burkett put it well when he noted that tithing, or giving in general, is recognition of God’s ownership and authority. It is an act of worship, and, as Emerson said, we all worship something.

Last—and this is extremely important—as we give, may we never forget the ultimate goal of our charity. Every good deed that Jesus performed was done with one ultimate goal in mind: to bring people into His kingdom. In other words, God became man not simply to do good deeds and to implore us to do the same, but to make us into new creatures. After all, God “gave” His one and only Son for no other reason.

Have a truly Merry Christmas, and get busy giving.

Copyright 2011, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Obama: The Occupier in Chief

A few weeks ago I detailed some of the differences between the “Occupiers” and the TEA party patriots. Alas, with the deaths, diseases, drug use, rapes, thefts, vandalism and all, the Occupiers have done even more to distinguish themselves, not only from the TEA party, but from decent Americans everywhere.

Even the left-wing media, which have endeavored to persevere when it comes to placing the Occupiers in a positive light, have begun to doubt the movement. As Matthew Continetti of the Weekly Standard reports, liberal journalists who traveled to Zuccotti Park “spewed forth torrents of ink on the value of protest, the creativity and spontaneity of the occupiers, the urgency of redistribution, and the gospel of social justice…Yet, as many a liberal journalist left the park, they lamented the fact that Occupy Wall Street wasn’t more tightly organized. They worried that the demonstration would dissipate without a proper list of demands or a specific policy agenda.”

In other words, despite months of occupation, the Occupiers are still mostly incoherent. Interestingly, some on the left are beginning to realize the same with the current administration. “What are we trying to do in this administration?” laments Mr. “the thrill is gone” Chris Matthews. He adds, “What’s he going to do with his second term? More of this? Is this it? Is this as good as it gets?”

Matthews continues, “He has not said one thing about what he would do in his second term. He never tells us what he’s going to do with reforming our health care systems: Medicare and Medicaid; how he’s going to reform Social Security. Is he going to deal with long-term debt? How? Is he going to reform the tax system? How?...Why are we in this fight with him?...Give us our orders and tell us where we are going.” (The thrill up Matthews’ leg might be gone, but the bias isn’t.)

Democratic pollsters Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal that since Obama cannot run on his record, to save the Democratic Party he should abandon his candidacy for reelection. Simply put, Caddell and Schoen note that, “the president cannot affirmatively make the case that voters are better off now than they were four years ago. He—like everyone else—knows that they are worse off.”

So three years into his term, many on the left are now realizing what most of us on the right suspected all along: Obama was not ready to be President of the United States. As many warned in 2008 (including myself), coming into his presidency, Obama had the weakest résumé of any former president in U.S. history. Not only was he lacking in political experience, but he was sorely lacking in leadership experience. He never ran a business, never served in the military, never did much of anything other than prepare for a career in politics.

Remember, Obama was a professional “community organizer,” so it is little surprise that he identifies with the Occupy mobs. (Obama, himself. declared that he is “on their side.”) Thus, it is also little surprise that the disorganization, incoherence, and general immaturity that mars the Occupy movement also aptly describes the Obama administration.

As Mayor Rudy Giuliani recently pointed out, Obama “owns the Occupy Wall Street movement.” In fact, some of Obama’s most prominent advisors and mentors have themselves knee-deep in the Occupy movement. Jim Wallis, a recent member of President Obama’s White House faith council, and reported spiritual advisor, has called on churches nationwide to provide sanctuary to the Occupy protesters. Obama friend, mentor, and former terrorist Bill Ayers has been teaching the Occupiers in Chicago.

Not to be left out, many prominent democrats, such as Nancy Pelosi, Charlie Rangel, and Maxine Waters have also lent their support to the Occupy movement. Pelosi has gone so far as recently to author a fundraising e-mail for the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee that attempts to channel the Occupy movement’s energy. Therefore, as Obama and the democrats seek reelection in 2012, to best capture the mood of liberals across the country and to paint the clearest picture for the rest of us who will be going to the ballot box, let us label the President with the most apt descriptor: “Occupier in Chief.”

Copyright 2011, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Science vs. Religion Myth

The word “science” is derived from the Latin word “scientia,” meaning “knowledge.” All knowledge is derived from certain governing presuppositions. In other words, as I have noted before, each side of every issue that human beings debate ultimately has certain un-provable assumptions upon which they must eventually rely. As the late philosopher, Dr. Greg Bahnsen, put it, “At the most fundamental level of everyone's thinking and beliefs there are primary convictions about reality, man, the world, knowledge, truth, behavior, and such things. Convictions about which all other experience is organized, interpreted, and applied.”

Likewise, theologian, author, and pastor, R.C. Sproul, recently discussed the “lasting impression” that the book, The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Science, which he read over 50 years ago, had made upon him. He noted that the book was so influential to him because it “clearly set forth the importance of understanding that all scientific theories presuppose certain philosophical premises.”

The concept of “primary convictions” or presupposed “philosophical premises” is important when it comes to the nonsense that is religion vs. science. The idea that there is some battle between science and religion—especially Christianity—simply won’t go away. Writing in the UK’s Guardian, Julian Baggini recently declared that any religion “that seeks to explain the hows of the universe…is competing with science. In such contests science always wins, hands down, and the only way out is to claim a priority for faith over evidence, or the Bible over the lab.”

Speaking of the “hows of the universe,” some of the most famous and influential founders of what is considered “modern science”—Galileo, Kepler, and Newton—operated from a strict biblical worldview. For example, in 1595, in Kepler’s first major work, he thought that he had discovered “God’s geometrical plan for the universe.” As a Christian, Kepler believed that the universe was designed by a Creator and thus should function in a very logical fashion. He went as far as to define his view of “science” as “thinking God’s thoughts after Him.”

Though he made many mistakes, Kepler, led by his faith, was determined to make sense of the motion of the planets in our solar system. The first two of Kepler’s three laws of planetary motion were published in 1609. The third and final law was published in 1619 in his book, “The Harmony of the World.” In this work, Kepler noted “that the geometrical things have provided the Creator with the model for decorating the whole world.” He also praised God, declaring “Great is God our Lord, great is His power and there is no end to His wisdom.”

Kepler had a rather strained relationship with Galileo, but they shared a belief in the Copernican model (planets rotate around the sun, and so on) of the universe. This, of course, is what placed Galileo at odds with the Catholic Church and is what many—especially those who worship at the alter of science—point to for evidence of the backwardness of those who operate from a biblical worldview.

However, just as Kepler, Galileo was a Christian who believed in the trustworthiness of the Bible. As Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher puts it, “[Galileo] was fighting against the contemporary principles of Bible interpretation which, blinded by Aristotelian philosophy, did not do justice to the biblical text.”

Isaac Newton is considered by many to be the greatest scientist who ever lived. He is most famous for his laws of motion and universal gravitation. On gravitation he noted that, “Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion. God governs all things and knows all that is or can be done.”

When it comes to the age of the earth—a favorite topic of the science worshippers—both Kepler and Newton calculated the earth to be only a few thousand years old. Kepler calculated a creation date of 3,992 B.C. Newton stated that, “For an educated man…any suggestion that the human past extended back further than 6,000 years was a vain and foolish speculation.”

Now, before anyone accuses me of the fallacy of appealing to authorities, let me say that my views on Creation and the Bible are not correct simply because they are in common with Kepler, Galileo, Newton, et al. That is not the issue here. The point is that anyone can practice good science while operating from a biblical worldview and that everyone who does any kind of science operates from some worldview.

In other words, there is no battle between science and religion. The only competition that exists when it comes to our pursuit of knowledge and truth lies in our worldviews.

Copyright 2011, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Thursday, October 13, 2011

TEA Party vs. Occupy Wall Street

There are several ways that a person can tell with which of the current popular political movements—the TEA Party or Occupy Wall Street—one most identifies. As a public service, I’ve compiled a set of identifying characteristics to aid you in your discernment.

If you cannot afford to camp out for days or even weeks on end at a rally because: a.) you have a job that requires your presence; b.) you are busy looking for a job; or c.) you are a student who actually attends your classes, you probably support the TEA Party. If you like to defecate on police cars, or paint your nude body in 1960s style psychedelic colors and designs, you probably support the Occupy Wall Street movement.

If you know why you are attending a rally and can reasonably articulate the reason(s), you are probably at a TEA Party rally. If you are (if you are) at a rally (at a rally) where they mindlessly repeat (where they mindlessly repeat) everything spoken (everything spoken) like a moron (like a moron) at a cult gathering (at a cult gathering), you are at the Occupy Atlanta rally. Yes we can! (Yes we can!)

If someone approaches you and hands you a pocket-sized U.S. Constitution or an American flag, you are at a TEA Party event. If someone approaches you offering free condoms or a joint (probably not free), you are at an Occupy event.

If you have bathed in a real bathroom within the last week and if, after your rally, you clean up after yourself, you’re probably a TEA Party supporter. If your protest site “smells like a sewer” (as Britain’s Daily Mail reported), you’re at the Occupy New York protest.

If your protest includes singing the national anthem, reciting the pledge of allegiance and/or the Lord’s Prayer, or Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.” being loudly broadcast, you are attending a TEA Party event. If your gathering includes several Hollywood leftists, bussed-in union members, and recruited homeless in order to “swell the ranks” (as reported by the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank), you are at an Occupy rally.

If you and your fellow protestors recognize and celebrate the heroic acts of American soldiers, you are at a TEA Party event. If your camp is infiltrated by party goers celebrating acts of sex and drug abuse (as the Daily Mail reported), you are at an Occupy event.

It is rather refreshing, if not also a bit shocking, to see such liberal values so prominently displayed. It paints a rather clear picture for any American who is in doubt about which movement is more in line with his or her values. What a dilemma for the democrats! On the one hand, they must pay homage and attempt to sympathize with the Occupy loons, who are a significant part of their base, but on the other hand, democrats know (surely they know) that a significant majority of U.S. voters rejects the “values” (forget the ideas, because there really aren’t any) that are flaunted at the Occupy protests.

What’s more, many of the Occupy protestors are hardly what one could consider oppressed or down-trodden. Several were photographed wearing designer clothes and sporting the latest electronic gadgets. Also, as one paper reported, “youngsters…have joined the movement, many of whom study at colleges which cost their parents up to $200,000.”

Another bit of irony that seems to be lost on most of the Occupiers is that Barack Obama received about twice as much in campaign contributions from Wall Street in the 2008 presidential campaign as did John McCain.

However, the most ironic, and moronic, thing about the Occupy movement is that the vast majority of those involved seek to place more power in the hands of those who were most instrumental in our economic collapse: the federal government. As Herman Cain pointed out, “You can demonstrate all you want on Wall Street. The problem is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue!”

Copyright 2011, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Friday, September 23, 2011

Good Samaritans or Bad Government

Spurred on by Wolf Blitzer’s lame attempt at a “Good Samaritan” scenario, liberal pundits all over the country have climbed upon their health-care “high-horses.” Leading the parade of liberals wallowing in self-righteousness, New York Times’ columnist, Paul Krugman, laments the fact that today’s GOP has gone from Milton Friedman’s “Free to Choose” to Ron Paul’s “free to die.”

He comes to this conclusion as a result of last weeks GOP presidential debate where CNN’s Blitzer presented Paul, and other republicans, with a hypothetical: A 30-year-old man who chose not to purchase health insurance suddenly finds himself in need of six months of intensive care—Blitzer wants to know what the “compassionate conservative” response would be.

Congressman Paul stated, “That’s what freedom is all about — taking your own risks.” Thrilling liberals everywhere, Blitzer pressed the matter and asked whether “society should just let him die.” A member of the audience shouted “Yeah!” [Though Krugman reported it as a “crowd erupt(ing) with cheers and shouts of “Yeah!”] Krugman then piously concluded that, “The incident highlighted something that I don’t think most political commentators have fully absorbed: at this point, American politics is fundamentally about different moral visions.”

Washington Post columnist and creator of the infamous liberal blog-spot, JournoList, Ezra Klein, stated that, “It’s all well and good to say personal responsibility is the bedrock of liberty, but even the hardest of libertarians has always understood that there are places where your person ends and mine begins…in health care, it has to do with compassion.”

Asking “Where Are the Compassionate Conservatives,” Washington Post columnist, Eugene Robinson, notes that Blitzer next turned to Michele Bachmann, “whose popularity with evangelical Christian voters stems, at least in part, from her own professed born-again faith. Asked what she would do about the man in the coma, Bachmann ignored the question and launched into a canned explanation of why she wants to repeal President Obama's Affordable Care Act.”

Robinson then declares that, “According to the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus told the Pharisees that God commands us to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself.’ There is no asterisk making this obligation null and void if circumstances require its fulfillment via government.”

However, the book of Luke records that, when Jesus is asked by “an expert in the Law” what he must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus asks him what the Law requires. The man answers correctly: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind,’ and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Sounding like a liberal pundit at a GOP debate, or as Scripture puts it, “attempting to justify himself,” the man smugly asked Jesus, “who is my neighbor?” That is when Jesus launches into the Good Samaritan parable. Of course, the parable reveals that, as a true act of love, a Samaritan—whom the Jews of Jesus’ day generally despised—took care of an injured man on his own time and with his own resources. Not quite the picture of Obamacare that today’s liberals would have us believe.

Liberals love to quote Scripture when they think it might help them further their big government social agenda. They also love to talk about compassion and morality but would prefer it if you left Scripture out of it. Perhaps if more liberals were for posting the Ten Commandments in every public school and post office in the U.S., more Americans would feel comfortable putting health care in the hands of the federal government.

Perhaps if more liberals were willing to allow their morality and compassion to move them to protect the most defenseless among us—the unborn—more Americans would take them seriously when they talk in terms of “moral visions” and “compassion.”

Taking a stand against big government—even during a severe economic crisis—President Grover Cleveland denied aid to a very deserving orphanage in New York City. Cleveland, a Democrat, said, “I will not be a party to stealing money from one group of citizens to give to another group of citizens. No matter what the need or apparent justification, once the coffers of the federal government are opened to the public, there will be no shutting them again…”

Of course, later democrats (and republicans) ignored Cleveland’s warnings, and the coffers of the federal government have been wide open for decades. As a result, most of America is suffering as we are now “reaping what we have sown.”

Copyright 2011, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Friday, August 26, 2011

Are We Too Fat or Too Hungry?

I’m confused (no jokes, please). The Obama administration and the mainstream media really need to work on coordinating their message better. I mean, usually memos and pressers from the White House, the pages of the New York Times, LA Times, and Washington Post (et al), and the broadcasts of ABC, CBS, and NBC are nearly indistinguishable. Thus, this recent piece from ABC news left me rather perplexed.

According to the story, “Every day, children in every county in the United States wake up hungry. They go to school hungry. They turn out the lights at night hungry…To put it another way, one in four children in the (U.S.) is living without consistent access to enough nutritious food to live a healthy life.”

Yet, barely a year ago, in February of 2010, the Washington Times revealed that “Nearly one-third of U.S. children are overweight or obese — a rate that has tripled among adolescents and doubled in younger children over the past 30 years. In addition, one-third of children born in 2000 or later eventually will suffer from diabetes, according to the White House.”

Thus we end up with Michelle Obama involved in policy and get bombarded with messages of “Let’s Move!” We also end up with school systems telling children that they can’t bring their own lunch to school.

So, in barely a year we’ve gone from one-third of all U.S. children being overweight or obese, to one-fourth of them continuously being hungry (and three-fourths of all U.S. high school students can’t correctly place in least-to-greatest order the three fractions I just used, but I digress). No wonder C.S. Lewis bemoaned, “Lord! How I loathe great issues…Could one start a Stagnation Party— which at General Elections would boast that during its term of office no event of the least importance had taken place?”

And who is better at creating, or at least dictating, the “great issues” than liberals within the U.S. federal government? The aforementioned report trumpeted by ABC was on the subject of a study funded by ConAgra Foods, which was “based on 2009 statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”

If one wants more government, the quickest way to such an end is to create a “crisis” that only government can solve. After all, there is no way that we can fight obesity and hunger without the government, right? Evidently not, because, again according to the ABC report, “a shocking 49 percent of all babies born in the U.S. are born to families receiving food supplements from the WIC program,” which is operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

To qualify for WIC, women, or families, with children under 5 must have a household income that is less than 185% of the federal poverty guidelines. Why not 175% or 150%? What government bean counter decided 185% was the magic number?

Speaking of the federal poverty limit, according to the U.S. census, 30 million Americans are living in poverty. That’s about one in ten Americans. What does it mean to live in poverty in the U.S.? According to a recent Heritage Foundation report, which used the government’s own data, the average household in America that “lives in poverty” has air conditioning, cable TV, a microwave, and a washer and dryer. They also have a car, two color televisions, a DVD player, and if a child is in the home, an electronic game system.

Not quite the emaciated African we’ve often seen in those moving television ads, is it? But that’s what happens when we allow our secular federal government to define things. That’s what happens when we give the purse strings of a trillion dollar kitty to professional politicians. That’s how we end up with the conflicting, confusing, and asinine messages of “fight obesity, but not too hard!” It’s how far too many politicians buy votes and create a perpetual and seemingly unending culture of dependency on government.

I know! Perhaps we need a government agency to prevent contradictory federal programs. We could call it the Washington Institute to Stop Everything Undertaken by Progressives, or W.I.S.E. U.P., for short. To work there, one would have to be able to identify at least 50 oxymoronic federal behaviors. Their motto would be, “The Bucks Stop With Us!”

(See this column on American Thinker.)

Copyright 2011, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Monday, August 1, 2011

More Consequences of Redefining Marriage

Several recent developments have me thinking again about the consequences of legalized gay—I mean “same-sex”—marriage.

First of all, in the battle to redefine marriage, almost certainly the next step after gay marriage is polygamy. As I noted in 2008, with the attention received by then fugitive Warren Jeffs, president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, polygamy was declared “the next civil rights battle.”

“Reality TV” last year gave us TLC’s “Sister Wives.” The show documents the lives of polygamist Kody Brown, his four wives, and their 16 children. Upon receiving strong ratings, the show was renewed for a second season. The emboldened cast recently declared that they were suing Utah’s governor over the state’s long-standing law against polygamy.

The lawsuit says that, “By criminalizing religious-based plural families and intimate relationships under the criminal bigamy law, Utah officials prosecute private conduct between consenting adults.” (Never mind that laws often govern the behavior between “consenting adults.”)

In 2003 the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 6 to 3 ruling, overturned the Texas anti-sodomy law, and thus invalidated similar laws in the 12 states that still had them on their books. In his dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote “State laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity are likewise sustainable only in light of…laws based on moral choices.”

As late as 1986, in Bowers v. Hardwick, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Georgia’s anti-sodomy law. In his dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens declared that “the fact that the governing majority in a State has traditionally viewed a particular practice as immoral is not a sufficient reason for upholding a law prohibiting the practice.”

Given that from the Georgia to the Texas ruling the Court reversed itself and embraced Stevens’ conclusions on law and morality, Scalia declared that the Court had effectively decreed “the end of all morals legislation.”

Thus, as Scalia feared, in the U.S. today, “private conduct between consenting adults” often trumps traditional (especially Christian) morality. Never mind that all laws (and behaviors) are governed by some morality.

Secondly, in what seems to be an attempt to stake out a more moderate position on same-sex marriage, potential GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry said of the recent events in NY, “Our friends in New York six weeks ago passed a statute that said marriage can be between two people of the same sex. And you know what? That’s New York, and that’s their business, and that’s fine with me.”

The problem with the “states’ rights” approach is that doesn’t prevent the federal government, especially via the courts, from stepping in, as it has before, when it deems states to be “discriminating” against its own citizens. The states’ rights argument also fails to address how the law should handle same-sex couples who are legally married in one state, but then move (or travel) to a state where same-sex marriage is illegal.

Finally, there is this interesting scenario posed by an American Thinker blogger: “Indeed, ‘gay marriage’ does roll more trippingly off the tongue [than ‘same-sex marriage’], but it's really not ‘gay marriage’ at all. When applying for a marriage license, there is no box to check, no oath to take, no questions about a person's sexual proclivity. Ironically, the very heart of the ‘gay marriage’ movement -- homosexuality -- gets nary a mention on the marriage application.”

Thus, concludes Fred Kopp, “In several states it's now legal for any two people to get married, regardless of gender, regardless of sexual preference. I'm not saying that two straight women or two straight guys are going to rush right out and get married just because they can. I'm sure that would be extremely rare (at first), but the point is that they can, and to leave this little tidbit out of the marriage discussion is disingenuous.”

Now combine the “any two people” scenario with the “any number of people” scenario that polygamy provides. Not only could we could see things like heterosexual friends marrying to provide one with health care, or to allow one to receive the Social Security or Medicare benefits of the other, but we could see an individual marrying multiples to do the same. We could see one couple marrying another couple so that they could file joint tax returns, or three lesbians marrying because they enjoy each other’s company.

Again, as I have noted multiple times before, redefining marriage will have profound consequences. Much of the above may seem absurd, but that’s what happens when one redefines a fundamental truth that lies at the very foundation of our nation.

Copyright 2011, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Friday, July 15, 2011

“Every Form of Refuge Has Its Price”

Make no mistake about it, the heart of the current (and future) financial crisis lay with entitlements, or what some deem “federal benefits.” Though many point to the collapse of mortgage-backed securities and the real estate market as triggering the Great Recession, ultimately we are where we are as a result of far too much debt in the U.S. economy. In other words, as the current debate over the debt ceiling illustrates, ours is a crisis of debt.

Very early in our marriage, my wife and I learned a valuable and simple lesson when it comes to managing money: how to live on budget. As I have written before, upon making an early commitment never again to be in debt, we have lived the last 12 years of our 13-and-a-half year marriage completely debt free. This includes owning our home, cars, (along with having four children), and so on. (See a video of our financial testimony here.) Our budget discipline played a huge role in achieving this tremendous financial freedom.

Of course, any American with an intellectual capacity greater than that of fans of Jersey Shore understands the lack of budget discipline that has plagued Washington D.C. for decades. One statistic stands out above all others as an illustration of the fiscal folly perpetuated by the federal government: According to the U.S. census, in 2009, nearly 139 million Americans—over 46%--received at least one federal benefit.

Included in these numbers: 46.5 million received Social Security; 42.6 million Medicare; 42.4 million Medicaid; 36.1 million food stamps; 22.2 million WIC; 12.4 million housing subsidies; 6.1 million unemployment. The United States has created an unprecedented culture of dependency.

Sadly, far too many Americans are content with our current welfare state. A recent Wall St Journal-NBC News poll reveals that fewer than 25 percent of Americans favor cutbacks to Social Security or Medicare to reduce the federal deficit. As the Journal noted, “Even tea party supporters, by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, declared significant cuts to Social Security ‘unacceptable.’”

For another illustration of how numerous Americans are willing to take us even further down our debt hole, last year, when President Obama spoke to an audience of college students on the subject of health care, he declared that the students will now be able to remain on their parents’ health insurance plan until age 26. Upon hearing this, columnist Dennis Prager noted, “I do not ever recall hearing a louder, more thunderous and sustained applause than I did then. I do not believe that if the president had announced that a cure for cancer had been discovered that the applause would have been louder or longer.”

The Heritage Foundation’s 2010 Index of Dependence on Government, which “is designed to measure the pace at which federal government services and programs have grown in areas in which private or community-based services and programs exist or existed to address the same or similar needs,” had a 2009 measure of 272. In 1990 it was 123. In 1962 it was 19. Thus, in about 50 years, according to this Index, dependence on the federal government has grown by over 1300%.

Republicans and Democrats alike—in other words most Americans—are to blame for the monstrosity that is the U.S. federal government. We like to point fingers, but the sad truth of the matter is that, by and large, our government is simply a reflection of its citizenry. Far too many Americans have decided to look to government to provide for them, with far too few understanding the real price of such a relationship.

“Every form of refuge has its price,” sang the Eagles’ Glen Frey in 1975. The line is from the Eagles’ hit song “Lyin’ Eyes.” Don Henley and Frey wrote the song about a beautiful woman who (seemingly) marries a “rich old man” so “she won’t have to worry.” However, though she has many of the finer things in life, she finds herself rather unfulfilled.

It is time for America to realize the price of having our government provide us with so much. It is a price that we literally cannot afford. To roll things back will not be painless; however, as President Grover Cleveland (a democrat) noted, “It is the responsibility of citizens to support their government. It is not the responsibility of government to support its citizens.”

Copyright 2011, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Cornerstone of Liberty

In 1772, to confront the unjust acts of Great Britain, citizens of Boston formed a Committee of Correspondence to coordinate their efforts with those of the other colonies. The citizens charged the Committee with several tasks, one of which was to create a statement of the rights of the colonists. This duty was given to none other than one of the leaders of the original Tea Party, the “Father of the American Revolution” himself, Samuel Adams.

“Among the natural rights of the Colonists,” began Adams, “are these: First, a right to life; Secondly, to liberty; Thirdly, to property.” On liberty, Adams later added that, “‘Just and true liberty, equal and impartial liberty,’ …is a thing that all men are clearly entitled to by the eternal and immutable laws of God and nature, as well as by the law of nations and all well-grounded municipal laws, which must have their foundation in the former.”

Adams was a Congregationalist who was raised by devout Puritans. As the governor of Massachusetts, he was dubbed “the last Puritan.” Adams was quite proud of his Puritan heritage, and rightly so, for more than any other group the Puritans were most responsible for the Christian foundation that America enjoyed.

The Puritans were not the sin-obsessed, witch-hunting, killjoys in tall black hats that many have made them out to be. As David Marshall and Peter Manuel note in The Light and the Glory, “Far from fleeing the persecutions of King and Bishop, they determined to change their society in the only way that could make any lasting difference: by giving it a Christianity that worked.”

In June of 1630, 10 years after the Pilgrims founded the Plymouth Colony, John Winthrop and 700 other Puritans landed in Massachusetts Bay. This was the beginning of the Great Migration, which over 16 years saw more than 20,000 Puritans leave Europe for New England. On June 11, 1630, aboard the Arbella, Winthrop, the first Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, penned A Model of Christian Charity, which became a model for future constitutional covenants of the Colonies.

Under the leadership of their ministers, the Puritans established a representative government with annual elections. By 1641 they had a “Body of Liberties” (essentially a Bill of Rights), which was penned by the Rev. Nathaniel Ward. This was the first legal code established by the colonists.

In 1636 the Rev. Thomas Hooker, along with other Puritan ministers, founded Connecticut. They also established an elective form of government. In 1638, after hearing a sermon by Hooker, Roger Ludlow wrote the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut. This was the first constitution written in America. It served as a model of government for other colonies and, eventually, a union of colonies. It also served as a model for the U.S. Constitution.

However, as historian David Barton notes, “While Connecticut produced America's first written constitution, it definitely had not produced America's first written document of governance, for such written documents had been the norm for every colony founded by Bible-minded Christians… This practice of providing written documents had been the practice of American ministers before the Rev. Hooker's constitution of 1638 and continued long after.”

Like Samuel Adams, another Founding Father understood well who was most responsible for the founding of our great nation, and upon what that foundation rested. America’s Schoolmaster, Noah Webster, noted, “The learned clergy . . . had great influence in founding the first genuine republican governments ever formed and which, with all the faults and defects of the men and their laws, were the best republican governments on earth.”

Webster concluded that “the Christian religion, in its purity, is the basis, or rather the source of all genuine freedom in government. . . . and I am persuaded that no civil government of a republican form can exist and be durable in which the principles of that religion have not a controlling influence.”

This explicitly Christian heritage, more than any other reason, is why the United States stands alone in the world. It is why the U.S. is the world’s longest ongoing constitutional republic, enjoying unprecedented longevity among contemporary nations of the world, with over 220 years under the same documents and the same form of government.

“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom,” wrote the Apostle Paul. Of all the nations of the world, this has never been more evident than with the United States of America. God Bless America.

(See this column on American Thinker.)

Copyright 2011, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The War on the Family Rages On

Following Father’s Day, here is some sobering information concerning dads. According to the U.S. Census, one-third of American children are growing up without their biological fathers, while 40% of newborn babies in the U.S. are delivered to unmarried mothers. This percentage has increased about ten-fold since 1950.

Even more sobering: According to the CDC, over 72% of black children in the U.S. are born out-of-wedlock, along with over 52% of Hispanic children. Thus, while accounting for only about one quarter of the total U.S. population, blacks and Hispanics account for about 57% of the total number of out-of-wedlock births.

The absence of dad is devastating for children in a wide variety of ways. Children from single-parent homes are twice as likely to be suspended or expelled from school and are more than twice as likely to be arrested for a juvenile crime. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 85% of children with behavioral disorders don’t have a father at home.

Children living without dad are much more likely to abuse drugs, commit suicide, and run away from home. They are more likely to have lower academic achievement along with lower self-esteem. Children born to unwed mothers are about seven times more likely to live in poverty than children with fathers in the home. The correlation between fatherless homes and the negative effects on the family is irrefutable.

With statistics like these, which have been trending in this negative direction for decades, one would think that no matter a person’s religion, political persuasions, etc., it would be clear to most that it benefits our culture to support traditional marriage.

Yet, in spite of all this, the left continues its march towards the destruction of the family. Led by the homosexual movement and its war on marriage, like-minded liberals in the media, the aiding and abetting by Democrats in Washington, and Feministas like Gloria Steinem (who once declared, “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.”) and NY Times columnist Maureen Dowd, author of “Are Men Necessary?” (which has been described as “the manifesto of the man-hating movement”), the varied attacks on the family are well funded, coordinated, and unrelenting.

For example, recently in the U.S. House, a bill introduced by Democrat Pete Stark (CA), called the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, would, according to World magazine, “force any group that receives federal aid to place kids in foster families and adoptive families without regard to the sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status of the prospective parents.”

Stark’s bill currently has 52 co-sponsors in the House (all but one are Democrats). Not to be left out, Democrat Sen. Kristin Gillibrand (NY) plans to introduce similar legislation in the Senate.

Then there’s the case of the Redwood Heights Elementary School in Oakland, California. According to the Oakland Tribune, last month “children learned more about what gender means, how it's been expressed in different cultures throughout human history, and that it's possible to be both genders -- or neither.”

Recently MSNBC (surprise!) proudly profiled Andrew Viveros as the “first transgender student in the United States to be crowned prom queen at a public school.” Despite being born a boy and having male reproductive organs, Viveros wants to be a girl—thus MSNBC treated him as a girl and permitted no voice in opposition to such behavior on their show. Echoing one of the great lies of the secular left, Andrew said, “it's OK to be who you are, it's OK to do what you want to do.”

Whether we are talking about divorce, out-of-wedlock births, redefining marriage, or disappearing dads, there are profound consequences for everyone in our culture anytime we deviate from the traditional family model. It is amazing that such has to be said in these “enlightened” times—as Mark Alexander wrote in 2006, “What cadre of nescient dolts does not already know (such things)?”

Adoption, education, legal issues such as custody, wills, inheritances and estates, matters concerning health care and retirement benefits—all of these are affected by how a society—and its government—view marriage. President Reagan summed it up well when he noted, “The family has always been the cornerstone of American society…in the family we learn our first lessons of God and man, love and discipline, rights and responsibilities…the strength of our families is vital to the strength of our nation.”

(See this column on American Thinker.)

Copyright 2011, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Sad Consequences of “Shacking Up”

“When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Psalm 11:3)”

As I wrote a few years ago, I believe that at the foundation of any great nation there must be a healthy view of and a great respect for traditional (biblical) marriage. 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. Each of these institutions lies at the heart of any great nation.

Recently that Hollywood scholar Cameron Diaz gave us an illustration of the secular/godless worldview on marriage: “I do [think marriage is dead]. I think we have to make our own rules. I don’t think we should live our lives in relationships based off old traditions that don’t suit our world any longer.”

When it comes to redefining marriage, the first thing that comes to mind is, of course, gay marriage. As tragic as gay marriage is, however, I believe that our culture is faced with a greater problem on the marriage front: cohabitation—or to put it more plainly, “shacking up”—or to put it more spiritually, “living in sin.”

The current generation in America is shunning marriage for cohabitation at an unprecedented rate. According to the 2010 edition of the State of Our Unions report by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia and the Center for Marriage and Families at the Institute for American Values, “The number of unmarried couples has increased dramatically over the past five decades. Most younger Americans now spend some time living together outside of marriage, and nonmarital cohabitation precedes most new marriages.”

According to the report, between 1960 and 2009, cohabitating couples in the U.S. increased more than fifteen-fold. Also, “About a quarter of unmarried women age 25 to 39 are currently living with a partner, and an additional quarter have lived with a partner at some time in the past. More than 60 percent of first marriages are now preceded by living together, compared to virtually none 50 years ago.”

Now, those of the worldview of Miss Diaz might ask, “so what? Why shouldn’t we make our own rules?” As is often the case, when we go our own way, ignoring the wisdom of the One who made us, there are tragic consequences. According to a recent federal study, the Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect, children living with their mother and her boyfriend are about 11 times more likely to be sexually, physically, or emotionally abused than children living with their married biological parents.

Likewise, children living with their mother and her boyfriend are six times more likely to be physically, emotionally, or educationally neglected than children living with their married biological parents. In other words, according to W. Bradford Wilcox, “one of the most dangerous places for a child in America to find himself is in a home that includes an unrelated male boyfriend — especially when that boyfriend is left to care for a child by himself.”

According to the study, children who live with their cohabitating biological parents don’t fare much better. In these circumstances, children are more than four times more likely to be sexually, physically, or emotionally abused and they are three times more likely to be physically, emotionally, or educationally neglected than children living with their married biological parents. Again, according to Wilcox, “a child is not much safer when she is living in a home with her parents if her parents' relationship does not enjoy the legal, social and moral status and guidance that marriage confers on relationships.”

Also according to the study, not only does cohabitation do little to prepare couples for marriage (which is often the excuse for cohabitating), but “a substantial body of evidence indicates that those who live together before marriage are more likely to break up after marriage.”

The solution to this travesty goes far beyond simply uttering “I do.” However, the solution does begin with a simple step of recognizing that marriage is not a man-made institution that we are free to redefine using “our own rules”—at least not without devastating consequences.

Copyright 2011, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Friday, May 20, 2011

Arabs Spring While Freedom Falls

As the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt spread across the Middle East, for months now we have heard the triumphant cries celebrating this “democratic” movement dubbed the “Arab Spring.” “We did our part,” declared the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman. “We killed Bin Laden with a bullet. Now the Arab and Muslim people have a chance to do their part — kill Bin Ladenism with a ballot — that is, with real elections, with real constitutions, real political parties and real progressive politics.”

However, as the “Arab Spring” burns across the Middle East—to Libya, Yemen, Syria, et al—it now seems that far too many Arabs are ready to trade one kind of tyranny for another. For example, in the first vote after Egypt’s Mubarak stepped down, the Egyptian people—by a whopping 78% to 22% margin—voted to give the Muslim Brotherhood dominant political power in the new parliament.

This should come as little surprise. Last June's Pew survey of Egyptians showed 59 percent backed Islamists, and, even more discouraging, 84 percent supported executing Muslims who change their religion. Thus, it seems that many Muslims have yet to understand the basic, most foundational tenet of liberty: there is no freedom without religious freedom.

Therefore, with religious freedom virtually nonexistent in nations where Islam dominates, it should also come as little surprise that of the 57 members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), as rated by the Economists Intelligence Unit’s Index of Democracy, none are full democracies, while 35 are authoritarian regimes (dictatorships). Of the Index’s 10 most authoritarian regimes, 7 of them are members of the OIC.

Clearly, by and large, Islam is an enforced religion. This begs the question, why do these Muslims fear religious freedom?

Renowned Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias (www.rzim.org) recalls a tense interview with the “number three man in the Islamic world, the chief Mullah in Jerusalem,” where Zacharias pointed out that the Koran actually says that there is no compulsion in religion. The Mullah agreed. Zacharias then said, “Are you telling me that a Muslim under you should be free to convert from Islam to Christianity?” The Mullah angrily disagreed.

“You are fooling with words,” Zacharias noted. “If there is no compulsion in religion, then there should be freedom to disbelieve it as well as believe it.” In other words, there is compulsion under Islam. Zacharias concluded, “Islam is not the fastest growing religion in the world. It is the fastest growing enforced religion in the world. If you take the foot off of the necks of the people in Iran, and some of these other countries, tens of thousands of young, so-called Muslim men and women, will make their turn to Christ.”

Thus, we see practically no religious freedom under Islam, and nearly no desire for it. Before applauding the “Arab Spring,” pundits on both sides would have done well to take note of this.

In opposing the bloody French Revolution, Edmund Burke (considered by many the father of modern conservatism) noted that, “When I see the spirit of liberty in action, I see a strong principle at work…but we ought to suspend our judgment until the first effervescence is a little subsided…until we see something deeper than the agitation of a troubled and frothy surface…

“I should therefore suspend my congratulations on the new liberty of France, until I was informed how it had been combined with government; with public force; with the discipline and obedience of armies;…with morality and religion;…with peace and order; with civil and social manners. All these (in their way) are good things too; and, without them, liberty is not a benefit whilst it lasts, and is not likely to continue long. The effect of liberty to individuals is, that they may do what they please: We ought to see what it will please them to do, before we risk congratulations.”

In other words, as George Will recently put it, “Before we congratulate people on their freedom, we should see what use they make of it.” There should be zero congratulations of democracy in the Middle East until religious freedom is received.

Copyright 2011, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Obama Rode Bush's Cottails to Bin Laden

In the aftermath of Osama bin Laden’s death, many on the left have rushed to congratulate and extol President Obama for this momentous act of justice. Liberal pundit David Corn declared that Dick Cheney owes Obama an apology. He also noted that Cheney “and other conservatives who denigrated Obama's devotion to national security have lost a much-valued possession: the Obama-is-weak-on-defense card.”

Writing for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Cynthia Tucker boldly anointed Obama with the “walks softly [and] carries a big stick” slogan. Lamenting the attacks against Obama as being weak on national security, she noted that, “The death of Osama bin Laden, in a raid executed under Obama’s explicit leadership, ought to quell that sort of foolish talk permanently.”

After bin Laden’s death, democratic consultant Bob Shrum pronounced the Obama presidency “renewed and transformed.” He went on to assert triumphantly that, “On the eve of big decisions about the debt ceiling and the budget, the president has new strength and credibility — and his Republican opponents and 2012 rivals have a stature gap that was always real but is now apparent.

“The gap will only widen as the gripping insider story of the nine-month saga of the mission to get Osama is told and retold. Not since the 13 days of the Cuban Missile Crisis has there been a story of leadership equal to this in drama and appeal. The best sellers are already on the way.” Wow.

The anonymous left-wing blog posters were bolder still. A young New York entrepreneur even created “Obama got Osama” t-shirts, reportedly making $120,000 in two hours. It was as if Obama, channeling his inner “force,” had fired a proton torpedo and singlehandedly destroyed the Death Star, saving us all from the evil Empire. (If Dick Cheney is Darth Vader, I suppose Obama can be Luke Skywalker.)

We shouldn’t be surprised. After all, remember, “Yes we can!” and “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for!” and “This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal?”

However, when one actually examines the facts behind the downfall of bin Laden, President Obama does not come across quite so heroic. As John Yoo points out, “In the war on terror, it is easy to pull the trigger—it is hard to figure out where to aim.” It turns out that Obama didn’t need “proton torpedoes;” all he needed were the military and intelligence architecture laid down by the Bush administration.

I’m talking about the Guantanamo Bay detention camp (Gitmo), enhanced interrogations, wiretapping, the Navy SEALs who are part of the Joint Special Operations Command, and so on. In other words, as Michael Barone notes, “For years we heard supposedly enlightened people excoriate our leaders for torture, lawlessness, unilateralism—the list goes on and on. Now the president they have wanted has used the tactics and methods they excoriated to get bin Laden.”

Oh, the irony. To get to what is almost certainly the high point of his presidency, Obama had to channel his inner George Bush—and liberals across the country are fawning all over him for it!

Remember Obama’s promise to close Gitmo? Remember the change in the “War on Terror” semantics incorporated by Obama’s national security team? The “Global War on Terror” became “Overseas Contingency Operation;” “enemy combatants” ceased to exist; and even the word “terrorist” was awkwardly avoided. I mean, Obama’s administration not only rejected Bush era policies, they didn’t even want the same terminology. But now Obama is the greatest thing since Eisenhower.

Don’t get me wrong. Obama deserves some credit for delivering the final blow in bringing Osama to justice. However, when drawing conclusions on Obama’s foreign policy and military strengths and successes, one must consider all of his actions and not an isolated success that was possible only because of the efforts of the previous administration.

Copyright 2011, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Monday, April 11, 2011

Efforts to Defund Planned Parenthood Must Continue

The recent failure of the GOP to achieve the federal defunding of Planned Parenthood should not deter further efforts to remove taxpayer funds from the largest abortion provider in the U.S. In fact, the issue should remain front and center at every level in the 2012 political campaign.

Make no mistake about it, as Jordan Sekulow noted just prior to the latest federal budget deal, Planned Parenthood (PP) owns the Democrats. Therefore, for the Democrats, shutting down the federal government was worth it as long as it ensured continued taxpayer funding for PP.

In the middle of March of this year, when asked about amendments that would defund PP, Harry Reid was quoted as saying “not only no, but hell no.” Just hours prior to the budget agreement, Reid declared that the only issue holding up a budget deal was funding for PP. He declared, “Republicans want to shut down our nation's government because they want to make it harder for women to get the health services they need.”

It’s amazing that a U.S. senator can use the phrase “health services” in describing an organization that is dedicated to ending human life. However, this is how the liberal mind of the leader of the U.S. senate works.

Joining the chorus of PP supporters was the number three ranking Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer. “The dangerous, ideological cuts to Planned Parenthood that passed the House are never, never, never going to pass the Senate,” said Schumer. Giving his best Winston Churchill impersonation, Schumer added, “Let me repeat that, so all those who want to stomp on women’s health and women’s rights can hear us loud and clear. The dangerous, ideological cuts to Planned Parenthood that passed the House are never, never, never going to pass the Senate.”

He may be right about this Senate, but the next one will almost certainly be a different story. In the 2012 election, the GOP has to defend only 10 U.S. Senate seats, while the Democrats have to defend 23. Of the 10 seats the GOP defends, six of them are from GOP strongholds (AZ, MS, TN, TX, UT, and WY). Of the other four seats, two have been in GOP hands for at least three election cycles (18 years). The other two seats belong to Scott Brown of Massachusetts and John Ensign of Nevada.

Of the 23 Democratic seats (two are actually independents who caucus with the Democrats), three are from GOP strongholds (MT, NE, ND), eight are from states that elected GOP governors in 2010 or 2009 (FL, MI, NJ, NM, OH, PA, VA, WI), and six are from states that elected a GOP senator in 2010 (FL, MO, ND, OH, PA, WI).

Thus, with the Republicans needing to flip only four seats for control, it is highly likely that the GOP will take charge of the U.S. senate after the 2012 elections. (Notice that FL, OH, PA, and WI elected GOP governors and senators in 2010.) If this happens, Republicans should act quickly and make Schumer eat his “never, never, never” declaration.

In light of the current economic climate, there has never been a better political climate for cutting off the over $360 million in federal funds that PP receives. Besides, our federal government has no business being in business with an abortion provider. “But no taxpayer funds are used for abortions—federal law already prohibits that,” PP supporters say. This is an asinine and absurd argument. With around 1/3 of its budget coming from taxpayer funds, it is clear that federal money enables PP to function and do what it does “best:” provide abortions.

Of course, with President Obama on record supporting what many consider infanticide, even if congress passes a bill defunding PP, he would almost certainly veto it. According to The Susan B. Anthony List, almost all current GOP candidates for president support defunding PP. This is an issue that pro-lifers need to keep a significant part of the 2012 campaign. In more ways than one, the U.S. federal government cannot afford its relationship with Planned Parenthood.

Copyright 2011, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Facing the New “Red Menace”

“Are we good guys or bad guys?” the animated (cartoon) Little John asked Robin Hood in the 1973 Disney classic. “You know,” John continued, “Our robbing the rich to feed the poor?” “Rob?!” Robin exclaimed. Then, sounding much like today’s Democrats, he declared, “That’s a naughty word. We never rob; we just sort of borrow a bit from those who can afford it.” “Borrow?!” cried John. “Boy, are we in debt!”

I wonder how Little John would feel about $14 trillion of debt. Since the youth of America are going to pay for most of this, perhaps Disney should make a child’s film about the U.S. debt. They could call it Pinocchio: How Decades of Lies Grew the American Debt; or Alice in Entitlementland; or Fantasia: The Money Printer’s Apprentice. You get the idea.

It seems that the idea of Democrats being compared to Robin Hood is gaining in popularity.

Just two days after I transcribed the little cartoon exchange with the idea for this column, on February 28, 3M Chief Executive Officer George Buckley called President Barack Obama “anti-business,” adding, “I judge people by their feet, not their mouth.” Buckley told the Financial Times, “We know what his instincts are. They are Robin Hood-esque. He is anti-business. There is a sense among companies that this is a difficult place to do business. It's about regulation, taxation, seemingly anti-business policies in Washington…”

According to recent reports, by the end of this fiscal year, September 30, the total U.S. debt will equal nearly $15.5 trillion, and for the first time since 1947, will surpass the total U.S. GDP. All of this red ink, according to Indiana Governor and possible GOP presidential candidate Mitch Daniels, is our new “Red Menace.”

Of course this “menace” looms not only in the federal government, but in state and local governments across the country. And, of course, just as with the communist threat, liberals all over the U.S. are finding themselves on the wrong side of history.

Every year Moody’s publishes its State Debt Medians Report. According to Moody’s 2010 report, “Debt burden is one of many factors that Moody’s uses to determine state credit quality. In considering debt burden, the focus is largely on Net Tax Supported Debt,” which is defined as “debt secured by state operating resources which could otherwise be used for state operations. Any debt to which state resources are pledged for repayment is considered to be net tax-supported debt.”

Again, according to Moody’s 2010 report, “Two measures of state debt burden – debt per capita and debt as a percentage of personal income – are commonly used by analysts to compare the debt burden of one state to another.”

The states with the most debt per capita: 1.) Connecticut 2.) Massachusetts 3.) Hawaii 4.) New Jersey 5.) New York 6.) Delaware 7.) California 8.) Washington 9.) Rhode Island 10.) Oregon.

The states with the largest debt as a percentage of personal income: 1.) Hawaii 2.) Massachusetts 3.) Connecticut 4.) New Jersey 5.) New York 6.) Delaware 7.) California 8.) Kentucky 9.) Washington 10.) Rhode Island

Notice the “blueness?”

As most everyone now knows, especially given the recent events in Wisconsin, one of the greatest contributors to local and state debt is pension liabilities. However, in Moody’s numbers above, pension liabilities were not included. Moody’s has now changed that.

Earlier this year, Moody’s Investors Service released a report on state debt that included a broader approach to measuring a state’s financial health. As the Financial Times put it, “In a bid to give a broader picture of state finances, Moody’s combined their net tax supported debt and unfunded pension liabilities to assess how leveraged states are.” In other words, Moody’s is now calculating a state’s debt burden by including the unfunded pension obligations owed to state employees.

When state pension liabilities are included, the top ten states in total debt are: 1.) Connecticut 2.) Hawaii 3.) Massachusetts 4.) New Jersey 5.) Illinois 6.) Alaska 7.) Rhode Island 8.) Kentucky 9.) Mississippi 10.) West Virginia.

Again, the blue states lead.

As I noted a couple of years ago, U.S. states have frequently been called “laboratories of democracy.” If you want to see how something will work in the federal government, look to the states.

Given the picture painted above, it is quite clear where liberals have taken the state governments of which they have been in control. For the most part, it is also quite clear on which side liberals stand with our new “Red Menace.” Sadly, it is not with the “good guys.”

Copyright 2011, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Will to Love

Today is Valentine’s Day, and thus “I will show you the most excellent way.”

I believe that the one most revealing, the most essential characteristic of our Creator is love. By His love He made us, and because of His love He redeemed us. We are closest to His nature and what He created us to be when we are living our lives according to His idea of love.

He also told us that His entire law can be summed up with one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” What does that mean? What does it mean to love your neighbor as you love yourself?

First of all, who is our “neighbor?” Most of us have heard of the “Good Samaritan.” Through this parable, Christ taught us that our neighbor means more than those who live near us, or those within our circle of family and friends. In effect, what He was saying was that loving our neighbor also means loving our enemies.

Secondly, how do we “love” ourselves? If we are honest, we should all admit that there are times when none of us is particularly loveable. In fact, most of us have probably been pretty disappointed in and disgusted by our own behavior, and thus, in ourselves. We may even have seen ourselves as downright nasty.

Therefore, loving our neighbor does not mean always having pleasant feelings about him, or being happy with everything she does. As C.S. Lewis put it, it does not mean “thinking them nice either.” In fact, love in the Christian sense isn’t a feeling at all. It is a matter of the will.

As Lewis put it, “It is a state not of the feelings but of the will; that state of the will which we naturally have about ourselves, and must learn to have about other people.” In other words, do not bother so much about how you feel towards someone; act like you love them. In other words, do and say the things that true love requires. Feelings and emotions come and go, but our will can be forever unwavering.

Consider 1 Corinthians chapter 13, where the Apostle Paul reveals to us what true love is. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

Patience, kindness, a lack of envy or boasting; humility, politeness, and controlling your temper; keeping no record of wrongs, and so on—these all are matters of the will. As soon as you do these things, Lewis notes, “we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.”

Jesus said that the greatest act of love is to lay down one’s life for another. What is that if not an act of the will? No one “feels” like doing such a thing. Jesus even prayed that His act of sacrifice, if possible, would pass from Him, but His will was surrendered: “Not My will, but Yours be done.”

Now, of course, romantic love can generate a torrent of emotions within us. Most all of us have been tied in knots over one person or another in our lives. But, even in the strongest of relationships, these feelings don’t last—and thank goodness! How would we function day-to-day and year-to-year with such emotions?!

Yet popular culture has chosen to highlight this brief and passing aspect of love and held it up as the ideal. Of course, popular culture has also made love synonymous with sex. This is especially true with our youth. They enter relationships—even marriage—with their hearts and minds full of the wrong ideas about love.

Thus, the most important relationship on the earth—that between a husband and a wife—often rests upon a very shaky foundation. If a marriage rests upon this feeling of “being in love” alone, it almost certainly will fail. Couples need to understand that when this feeling subsides, it does not mean that we should stop loving. Love in this deeper sense is about a promise or vow that nearly every couple makes upon marrying. And keeping this promise is a matter of the will.

However, Christians know that, left to ourselves, our own will is not enough. On our own we cannot love as we should. The selflessness that true love requires runs very contrary to our born nature. That is why, in order to love truly, we must look to the One who is love.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Copyright 2011, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Friday, January 28, 2011

More Tragic Results of Progressive "Values"

The only real hope for any of us lies not in a political philosophy. However, good government is a significant part of the fiber of any great nation. Thomas Jefferson said, “The care of human life and happiness and not their destruction is the only legitimate object of good government.” Given that America just marked the 38th anniversary of the federal endorsement of abortion on demand, which has seen over 50 million children die in the womb, Jefferson would surely cringe at where we are today.

For a most horrific snapshot of where we are, we must look no further than Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell. In what has been called “one of the most disgusting litanies of murder we've seen in all of western culture,” Gosnell has been criminally charged with, among other things, eight counts of murder. Seven of them were babies who, moments after birth, had their spinal cords severed with surgical scissors inserted into the back of their necks.

Though not receiving the coverage of the Loughner tragedy, as it was not to the liking of much of the liberal media, news of Gosnell’s butchery garnered much shock and disgust. Yet, in the shadow of Roe v. Wade and the culture of death that it wrought, as Kevin McCullough concludes, it is no surprise that there is a Dr. Gosnell among us.

Despite much effort to the contrary, for nearly four decades progressivism has lulled far too many Americans into complacency when it comes to life in the womb. For nearly four decades, despite more and more sound science to the contrary, Americans have been told that a fetus is a not a person and is undeserving of the same protections as the rest of us. The left is littered with politicians, all the way up to and including U.S. Presidents, who have been complicit in perpetuating this deceit.

Hoping for America to wake up, Deacon Keith Fournier (www.catholic.org) notes that, “There are times when the truth concerning what actually happens in every procured abortion becomes obvious and the Nation is shaken out of its complacency. Perhaps the House of Horrors found in Philadelphia will be one of those moments. What was hidden is now being revealed. The truth is what ‘Doctor’ Gosnell did is no different than what is done in every procured abortion. The only difference is that it is hidden from view.”

Of course, with abortion being a lynchpin of progressivism, many leading liberals are taking a very measured tone when it comes to this tragedy. Towing the classic liberal line, writing for Salon.com, Rebekah Kuschmider notes that in such matters, “We need to start with sex. People have sex. You may wish they wouldn't and many preach that, without benefit of marriage, people shouldn't, but people have sex… And you do not have the right to impose your personal sexual morals on anyone else. You don't. It's rude. So please don't try.”

Paving the way for legalized abortion-on-demand, pornography, homosexual marriage, and so on was—again, courtesy of progressivism—the “sexual revolution.” Thus, not only have we abandoned nearly all reason and morality when it comes to life in the womb, but many Americans have also been deceived into believing that nearly any sexual act to which we are tempted is healthy, normal, and without dire consequences.

Therefore, along with Gosnell, we also have MTV. With its infamous new series “Skins,” the number one peddler of youth entertainment poison set the entertainment world abuzz. Citing its “foul language, illegal drug use, illegal activity as well as thoroughly pervasive sexual content,” the Parents Television Council called “Skins” the “most dangerous program that has ever been foisted on your children.”

With actors as young as 15, there has been much discussion about whether the show has actually engaged in child pornography. As even the New York Times suggested, when you come into work and there is a meeting centering on whether you’ve crossed the line into child pornography, you’re probably in the wrong job.

What was that about imposing “your personal sexual morals?” Whose sexual “morals” do you prefer, MTV’s or the Southern Baptists’? Hollywood’s or Focus on the Family’s? The fact is that there is no neutrality in the matter. Every law, every decision is rooted in some morality. As I have noted before, according to the late philosopher Dr. Greg Bahnsen, “At the most fundamental level of everyone's thinking and beliefs there are primary convictions about reality, man, the world, knowledge, truth, behavior, and such things. Convictions about which all other experience is organized, interpreted, and applied.”

As I hinted at the beginning, it will take more than a shift in political philosophies for America to turn from this dark path. However, our politics—and our politicians—reflect our morality and have great impact on our lives and culture. Hopefully more and more Americans dislike what they see as they look to the left.

Copyright 2011, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Jared Loughner: A Product of Progressive Values

“But do remember,” said the demon master Screwtape to his protégé Wormwood, “the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy (God). It does not matter how small the sins are, provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick.”

With the little that we still know about Jared Loughner, I do believe it is safe to assume that this young man is far from God.

In the aftermath of the Tucson tragedy that left 6 dead and several, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, seriously wounded, many liberal politicians, pundits, and the mainstream media who aid and abet them, rushed to tar the TEA Party, Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin and Michael Savage, (even the Congressional reading of the Constitution!), and anyone or anything else linked to conservatism.

How ironic and backwards is it that the politics of those who have given us abortion on demand, gay marriage, funding for blasphemous art, removal of school prayer, removal of the Ten Commandments, and constitutional rights for pornography now tells us that it is the right’s fault when a seemingly deranged young man goes on a killing spree? I submit to you that the evil deeds of Mr. Loughner are much more a product of progressive values and influences than conservative ones.

Evidence of this has surfaced in a recent interview by ABC of Loughner’s friend, Zach Osler. As Jesse Walker of Reason.com notes, “Loughner turns out to be a fan of Zeitgeist, a feature-length online documentary that is one-third arguments that Jesus never existed and religion is an evil fraud, one-third 9/11 trutherism, and one-third conspiracy theories about bankers.” Now tell me, which political ideology is most hostile to religion, especially Christianity, includes the “truthers,” and is hostile to the banking industry? Exactly.

Also, George Will recently hinted at Loughner’s progressive influences when he wrote, “A characteristic of many contemporary minds is susceptibility to the superstition that all behavior can be traced to some diagnosable frame of mind that is a product of promptings from the social environment. From which flows a political doctrine: Given clever social engineering, society and people can be perfected. This supposedly is the path to progress. It actually is the crux of progressivism.”

In other words, liberals are driven by the idea that human perfection can be achieved through human means. Of course, that explains their lust for everything government. For decades now, liberals have been striving for utopia through government means. Trillions of dollars have been spent on nearly countless social programs in these attempts.

Also, in seeking to explain the world and all that is in it, most on the left have prostrated themselves before the alter of “science.” Whether social, biological, chemical, physical, and so on, everything must have a scientific explanation.

As C.S. Lewis notes, “Science works by experiments. It watches how things behave…But why anything comes to be there at all, and whether there is anything behind the things science observes—something of a different kind—this is not a scientific question.” Dr. Jeffrey Satinover, author of Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth, and a graduate of M.I.T., Harvard, Yale, University of Nice, France, and the University of Texas Medical School, says that “science cannot tell us what is right and wrong; it can only tell us what is.”

For far too many liberals, science is their god. To them, religion, especially Christianity, is a crutch—something for the weak minded, and thus never to be taken seriously. Right and wrong, good and evil are arbitrary and cultural—products of human progress. Such a worldview leaves absolutely no room for the supernatural, and thus, no room for God. Therefore, along with championing “social justice,” for decades liberals have also fought vociferously to expel God from our culture. Of course, Jared Loughner is what you end up with when God is shunned.

Of the liberals who do claim a religion, their faith usually takes a backseat to the godless worldview of those who share their politics. Thus, the modern Democrat party is synonymous with abortion, sexual promiscuity, removal of the Ten Commandments, redefinition of marriage, the welfare state, earth worshipping environmentalism, and so on.

These “values” are then championed by the TV, film, and music industries, including the mainstream press. Day after day we, especially our youth, are bombarded with glorification of violence, sexual perversions, foul language, and all manner of godlessness. With such influences in our culture, the amazing—perhaps miraculous—thing is that we are not turning out more Jared Loughners.

The Christian worldview, which is rampant in conservatism, sees the Tucson tragedy in the following light: Simply put, Jared Loughner is a product of sin in a fallen world. His deeds are evil and he is responsible for his actions, which deserve just consequences—even death. However, the Christian worldview also recognizes that Loughner has a Creator Who loves him and desires his repentance. Only a proper recognition of such offers any real hope for him and any real comfort for his family, his victims, their families, and the rest of us.

Copyright 2011, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Monday, January 3, 2011

Bush Derangement Syndrome vs. the Obama Hate Machine

In a recent column, David Corn bemoans what his friend Jonathan Alter refers to as the “Obama Hate Machine (OHM).” Corn concludes, “That's an appropriate name for the right-wing attack network that will throw any charge it can concoct -- regardless of the facts -- at the president.”

This from the man who, in 2004, penned The Lies of George W. Bush, where, in the introduction he declares, “George W. Bush is a liar. He has lied large and small, directly and by omission. He has mugged the truth—not merely in honest error, but deliberately, consistently, and repeatedly.”

According to Corn, among Bush’s top ten lies were:

-“I have been very candid about my past.”

-“I’m a uniter not a divider.”

-“We must uncover every detail and learn every lesson of September the 11th.”

-Number 1: “It’s time to restore honor and dignity to the White House.”

Of course these statements—the best Corn had, mind you—are not lies at all, but things with which he simply disagreed. The mental manipulation necessary to turn such words into “lies” certainly qualifies one for what is now known as “Bush Derangement Syndrome.”

Barely two years from the 9/11 attacks, in September of 2003, writing for Time magazine, Charles Krauthammer notes that, “Democrats are seized with a loathing for President Bush — a contempt and disdain giving way to a hatred that is near pathological — unlike any since they had Richard Nixon to kick around.” As a result of this behavior, Krauthammer discovered what he considered to be a psychiatric syndrome: Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS).

Consider these statements about President George W. Bush:

“He betrayed this country! He played on our fears! He took America on an ill-conceived foreign adventure dangerous to our troops, an adventure pre-ordained and planned before 9/11 ever took place!”—Al Gore

“There has never been an administration, I don't believe, in our history more intent upon consolidating and abusing power to further their own agenda.”—Hillary Clinton

“President Bush is a liar. He betrayed Nevada and he betrayed the country.”—Harry Reid

“The situation in Iraq and the reckless economic policies in the United States speak to one issue for me, and that is the competence of our leader.”—Nancy Pelosi

“This country was the moral leader of the world until George Bush became president.”—Howard Dean

“No president in America's history has done more damage to our country and our security…”—Ted Kennedy

“I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history.”—Jimmy Carter

“The man's father is a wonderful human being; I think this guy is a loser.”—Harry Reid

“Bush is an incompetent leader. In fact, he's not a leader.”—Nancy Pelosi

“We will take to the streets right now. We will delegitimize (him), discredit him, do whatever it takes, but never accept him.”—Jesse Jackson

“I'd say if you live in the United States of America and you vote for George Bush, you've lost your mind.”—John Edwards

“Regime change! (Do you think this bothered Chris Matthews?) Bush has to go and we have the power to do it. The officials of the government shall be removed from office for crimes and misdemeanor…”—Ramsey Clark

The OHM, Corn claims, is “led by a wide-ranging collection of conservative media outfits, right-wing bloggers, and GOP partisans.” However, Bush Derangement Syndrome was not led by a wide-ranging collection of liberal media outfits, left-wing bloggers, and Democratic partisans, but, as evidenced above, by the very leaders of the Democratic Party. Also, Obama himself, nearly two years after being elected, continues to call upon BDS to further his liberal agenda.

Several times prior to the 2010 midterm Obama invoked Bush in an attempt to try to turn the election for the democrats, and he is still at it! What’s the definition of insanity?!

“The Obama Hate Machine is never slowed by the absurdities it manufactures,” cries Corn. “It just keeps spewing crap.” Why is he so upset? I thought “spewing crap” was as popular with liberals as killing the unborn, encouraging illegal immigration, and reelecting Charlie Rangel.

The hypocrisy of the left is well established, but I thought Corn was smart enough not to get this caught up in it. It goes to show how desperate the left is getting.

Copyright 2011, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com