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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Liberals Again Prefer Fantasy to Fact

It almost never fails. In spite of physical evidence and sound eyewitness accounts, today’s liberals refuse to acknowledge what plainly contradicts their preferred meme on any of the favored tenets of liberalism. Whether global warming, marriage, life in the womb, energy, homosexuality, foreign policy, defense policy, immigration, healthcare, or the scene of a crime, liberals all across the U.S. find themselves looking to manufacture “facts” to fit the world in which they wish to live.

“Truth is incontrovertible,” wrote Winston Churchill, “Panic may resent it; ignorance may deride it; malice may distort it; but there it is.” When confronted with a truth that they don’t like, what better describes many modern liberals than panicked, ignorant, and full of malice? Of course, the chaos following the recent grand jury decision out of Ferguson, Missouri is the latest case in point.

Since the death of Michael Brown, how many chants of “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!” have we heard? How many posters and t-shirts have been emblazoned with what we now know was nothing but a lie?

The thousands of pages of grand jury testimony, which included details concerning a significant amount of physical evidence, finally brought to light what really happened on the night police officer Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown. There’s so much evidence that disputes the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!” narrative that even the likes of the AP has started to question whether Michael Brown was indeed an innocent victim of police brutality.

The mention of Brown with his hands up is found throughout the grand jury documents. According to the AP, the accounts are so widely varying it’s as if witnesses, or alleged witnesses, were describing totally different scenes.

However, the liberal faithful remain just that. Taylor Gruenloh, a 32-year-old protestor from near Ferguson, declared that “Even if you don't find that it's true (Brown was shot with his hands up, surrendering), it's a valid rallying cry.” He adds that. “It's just a metaphor.” So for weeks now, liberals have lectured, looted, and lusted for vengeance based on nothing but a metaphor?

“This is not about one boy getting shot in the street, but about the hundreds just like him who have received the same callous and racially-influenced treatment,” said Oakland demonstrator Gabe Johnson. Hundreds? I’ll bet Mr. Johnson couldn’t name ten, but “hundreds” sounds so much more menacing. Mr. Johnson, and those like him, can justify their angry and misguided efforts with “hundreds.”

As the AP explains, “To some, it doesn't matters whether Brown's hands literally were raised, because his death has come to symbolize a much bigger movement.” As many well know, liberals are always looking for the next “symbol” to promote America as a nation full of racists. Hand-in-hand with this, many liberals are also always on the lookout for the next excuse to protest, “occupy,” riot, burn, pillage, plunder, or any other such activity that doesn’t require innovation, an interview, or a clock to punch.

After Brown’s death, in lieu of looting, it seems at least some under the influence of liberalism gave it the old entrepreneurial try. Reportedly, back in the middle of October, Brown’s paternal grandmother, Pearlie Gordon, along with a few cohorts, attempted to sell Michael Brown merchandise in the parking lot of Red’s BBQ, a Ferguson area barbecue joint. According to police reports (surprise!), shortly after 1 p.m. on October 18, about two dozen individuals were fighting in the parking lot of Red’s.

Apparently, a crowd led by Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, McSpadden’s mother Desureia Harris, and McSpadden’s then boyfriend (now husband) Louis Head, rushed the merchandise stand and assaulted Gordon and others present. One victim ended up in the hospital. The police report stated that McSpadden was heard yelling “get her ass.” McSpadden was also accused of punching Gordon.

Such a display, along with Louis Head’s call to “burn this bitch down,” after the grand jury’s decision was announced, along with the video of Brown robbing the convenience store prior to being shot, certainly does no favors to the “gentle giant” label that was so frequently used to describe Michael Brown. After all, isn’t it at least probable that Brown was somewhat likely to display the same thuggary and brashness exhibited by his matriarchs?

Yet, privileged liberals tell us that it’s Officer Wilson’s account that is unbelievable. Upon reading Wilson’s grand jury testimony, Ezra Klein finds it “unbelievable. Literally.” Just to clarify for those of us less smart than he, Klein expounds on what he means by “unbelievable:” “I mean that in the literal sense of the term: ‘difficult or impossible to believe.’” Got it?

For Klein, it is “difficult to believe” that a 6-foot-4-inch, 300-pound 18-year-old who had just committed a violent robbery, while high on drugs, would dare challenge or attack a police officer who was confronting him. Again, this is in spite of the video inside of the store that shows Brown callously and arrogantly shoving the clerk who dared to request payment for the items that Brown was about to steal from the store.

Adam Howard of MSNBC tells us why he can’t believe Darren Wilson. In spite of the physical evidence and multiple eyewitness accounts, Howard simply refuses to believe that Brown would have charged at Wilson. He laments that too many of us “refuse to see the collective tragedy of [Michael Brown’s, Rodney King’s, et al] stories and instead accept the official line of what took place wholesale.”

What we refuse to do here is to cower to liberalism and ignore the facts. What we refuse to do is coddle criminals while condemning cops. What we refuse to do is to encourage those who would resort to lawlessness in their pursuit of “justice.” And the only “line” being dangled here is that by Howard and his ilk.

As another, wiser, Michael Brown instructs us, what Ferguson (and the rest of the world) needs is not more protests, platitudes, and politics, but redemption.

Copyright 2014, 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

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ferguson Again Erupts With Liberalism

When the news came down that the Ferguson grand jury had declined to indict police officer Darren Wilson, what ensued was sadly all too predictable. The burning, looting, shooting, and the like to "protest" unpopular police or government actions have become all too commonplace for those who are under the influence of liberalism.

As I noted in August of this year, after the surveillance video of Michael Brown robbing a convenience store was released--which set off more random acts of liberalism--Ferguson is and has been somewhat of a mess for the very same reasons virtually every other urban area in America is a mess: liberalism.

Ferguson has long been (Update, 5/17/15, as a regular commentator (Kiev) notes here, the politics of Ferguson is not quite the same as the politics of St. Louis County. Prior to the Michael Brown incident, Ferguson had a significant republican government. However, as is noted here, this is not due to some nefarious conservative plot.) dominated politically by Democrats. St. Louis County Prosecutor, Robert McCulloch, who took the evidence to the grand jury, is a Democrat. In the past election, which saw Republicans make gains all over the country at every level, Democrat County Councilman Steve Stenger won the race for St. Louis County executive. This is in spite of the perceived close ties Stenger had (and, I presume, still has) with the increasingly unpopular McCulloch.

Of course, it is exclusively liberals who are stoking the racial tensions in Ferguson. Liberals all across the U.S. are attempting to make political hay out of the grand jury's decision. President Obama again decided to interject himself into the Ferguson situation, giving veiled cover to the Ferguson rioters, saying that reacting in anger is "understandable." He also carefully managed to throw the police under the bus, calling on them to "show care and restraint" and "work with the community, not against the community," and amazingly concluded that those rioting and destroying property amounted to only "a handful of people."

Attorney General Eric Holder has declared that civil rights charges are still possible. The professional race-pimps and publicity prostitutes like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, who make their living off of situations like what is occurring in Ferguson, will almost certainly again be on the scene. Missouri State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal proudly declared on MSNBC that what was happening in Ferguson was "St. Louis' race war."

As Dennis Prager rightly points out, what is happening in Ferguson is not due to a racial divide, but a moral one. Of course, liberalism is rooted in moral relativism, and thus, while killing children in the womb, redefining marriage, sexual perversions of every kind imaginable, "redistribution" of wealth, and wanton destruction of other people's property can be justified, defending oneself from a violent, high-on-drugs thief is, no matter the physical evidence, an unjust act that requires vengeance. Sadly, today's liberals are all too willing to comply.

Copyright 2014, 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

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Marriage: "What Must We Do?"

As a link I provided on my headlines above (on the same date of this piece) makes note, Rick Warren, Russell Moore and others were present at Humanum 2014 this week discussing and defending the biblical truths on marriage. The gathering is a conference convened by Pope Francis and held at the Vatican. Pastor Warren, it seems, was one of the last, if not the last, of over two dozen who spoke. His message is well worth sharing.

The video is below and is about 40 minutes long. I've summarized his main points below as well.

(Prelude: Hebrew’s 13:4 tells us that marriage is to be honored by all.)

Pastor Warren’s “action plan” for what to do on marriage:
  • · Affirm the Authority of God’s Word
    • Truth is still truth no matter how many people doubt it
    • We don’t break God’s laws, they break us
  • Believe what Jesus taught about marriage
    • Mark 10:6-9 is the “owner’s manual” on marriage
    • Jesus 5 convictions about marriage (unchangeable, incontrovertible, unmovable)
      • Gender is God’s idea; He made us either male or female—our identity is either a man or a woman 
      • Marriage is God’s idea—He defines it
      • Sex was created for marriage; male and female body parts were made to fit together; sex was not created for recreation; there’s no such thing as “safe-sex”—there is no condom that can prevent a broken heart
      • Marriage is a union of a man and a woman
      • Marriage is for life
  • Celebrate healthy marriages (especially churches): don’t simply be an opponent of what’s wrong, be a proponent of what’s right; incorporate celebrations of marriage into church services, etc.; 
  • Develop small-group courses to support marriage
  • Engage every media to promote marriage
    • To engage the next generation, we must use social media 
    • The church is being out-marketed by the opponents of marriage (a significant minority)
    • Whichever side tells the best stories wins
    • More entertainment that promotes healthy marriage
    • Use media to question the cultural lies
    • Teach the difference between love and lust: love can always wait to give, lust can never wait to take
  • Face attackers with joy and winsomeness
    • Are we more interested in winning an argument or making friends? 
    • Our opponents in these debates are not our enemies, they’re our mission field
    • Don’t be afraid to be unpopular
    • The only way to always be relevant is to be eternal
    • It isn’t necessary to be on the “right side of history,” we just need to be on the right side
    • What we’re debating is a question of leadership: is the church going to lead or follow
  •  Give people confidence (hope) that their marriage can make it; preach for faith
  • Teach (he skips to “T” for lack of time) the purposes of marriage; to value something, we must understand its purpose (time, money, sexuality, marriage, etc.)
    • 6 purposes of marriage:
      • Elimination of loneliness
      • Expression of sex
      • Multiplication of the human race
      • Protection and education of children
      • Perfection of our character (marriage is the laboratory for learning how to love)
      • Reflection of our union with Christ
I left out many interesting details. Enjoy.

In light of this, don't forget the Marriage Commitment Challenge.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Desperate Democrats (Again) Look to the Climate

When it snows, it pours. This is especially true if you're a Democrat fighting for political relevance and the best you have is, "We just saved the planet!" (from a threat that doesn't exist) and "We made a deal with communists! (which we cannot enforce)." For Democrats, winter has come in early--and brutally--in more ways than one. After the midterm disaster suffered by Democrats, the political winter that ensued for liberals has now been accompanied by literal wintertime weather, of the record-breaking sort.

Though the calendar only reads the middle of November, much of the U.S.--as most well know, because we can see it and feel it--is experiencing snowfall and cold never-before recorded at this time of the year. The recent cold in Denver broke records that stood for nearly a century. This past Monday, St. Cloud Minnesota broke a November snowfall record that stood for well over a century.
"But this is just weather," many liberals exclaim. "The climate is much more complicated, and, just like with healthcare, your too stupid to understand the difference. So just hand over the economy to smart people like us, and we'll fix it," or so they say.

Though, how smart can one be to try and make political hay out of a global warming climate deal with communists in the middle of a record-breaking cold snap? President Obama called the climate deal he just struck with the Chinese "historic." Desperate to try and prop up the politically crippled President, his enablers and confidants in the media more than agree. Grist considers it a "game changer." Eugene Robinson's piece on the deal is entitled, "An Accord the Planet Needed."

The New York Times called the deal a "landmark agreement" and implies that Democrats focus on the climate is a "winning cause in the 2016 presidential campaign."

Do you recall the climate being a winning issue for Democrats recently? Me neither. In fact, the only Democrat facing an election right now, the embattled and abandoned Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, is ready to completely defy her party when it comes to climate politics and fully support the building of the Keystone Pipeline. Several of her Democrat colleagues in the Senate seem ready to join her.

However, just like the climate deal with China, Landrieu's efforts won't matter. The time for political courage on the Keystone Pipeline, Obamacare, and other such matters has come and gone. Just as the climate doom-and-gloom preached by liberals doesn't pass the smell (or sight, or feel) test, Landrieu's actions will be seen for what they are: political desperation. And in spite of what liberals think, Louisiana voters are smart enough to figure this out.

**(For my lengthy archives on global warming/climate/energy opinions and articles go here.)**

Copyright 2014, 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

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Happy Birthday Michelle!

Today is the day that my beautiful and wise wife was born. As most of you are aware, in addition to being a wife to me--no easy task!--a mother to our four children, the principle author of our first book (Yes, another one is coming.), and just this year, administrator of Gainesville Home-School Academy, Michelle edits almost everything I write. Several years ago I wrote a piece for Valentine's Day on love.

I'm no expert on love--certainly not on romance--so to write the piece, I relied mostly on the wisdom of others, especially the Word of God. Much of what I write deals with issues related to families, and thus, marriage. As I noted in the Valentine's Day column, we believe that, after our relationship with our Creator, the most important relationship in the universe is that between a husband and wife.

In order to be a light to the world, Michelle and I are determined to do our best to have our marriage be what God desires it to be. We sometimes fail (the enemy hates marriage!), and that is usually due to me. In spite of this, Michelle does the amazing thing that true love requires: she chooses to love me. In other words, no matter what, I am hers (and she is mine).

As Scripture, and any marriage counselor worth a dime, reveals, love is not simply a feeling, but a matter of the will. As C.S. Lewis put it, “[Love] 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.”

Jesus told us that His entire law can be summed up with two commands: Love God and, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” How do we “love” ourselves? If we are honest, we should all admit that there are times when none of us is particularly lovable. 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 Lewis also put it, it does not mean “thinking them nice either.” I'm certainly not "nice" all of the time. As anyone married for any length of time understands, my absolute worst moments are at home. In other words, my most unlovable moments are usually in the presence of my sweet wife. Yet, she chooses to love me.

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, rejoicing in the truth, and so on—these all are matters of the will and Michelle does these better than anyone else I know on this earth. Happy birthday baby!!!

Love, Trevor

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Election Repsonse

To borrow from Charles Krauthammer, this was not a rebuke, it was a restraining order. Many Americans simply want the Democrats to go away--far away. Many have characterized this as a rebuke of Obama, but I think it goes further than that. To a significant extent, liberalism was on trial and was found wanting. As of this writing, according to the Real Clear Politics numbers, republicans added seven seats in the U.S. Senate, with Alaska and Louisiana likely making the final result a +9 for the GOP, giving them a total of 54 Senate seats. The Republicans have added 13 seats in the House, with about a dozen races--almost all Democrat seats--still undecided. Most are projecting the Republicans to hold about 250 House seats.

Additionally, and I think certainly the most surprising outcome of the night, the GOP defied the odds and actually added to their gubernatorial total across the U.S. Wins in deep blue states such as Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland made such gains possible. At this point, with a couple of races yet to be called, Republicans now control 31 governor's mansions. According to Hot Air, "Republicans now control governorships and state legislatures in 24 states while Democrats control those in only 7 states."

Certainly the republicans are, minus occupying the White House, in perhaps the greatest position of political power they have ever experienced. We'll see what they do with it.

In closing, as I've implied before, whatever the outcome of any election, Christians should never be too elated or too downtrodden. Politics is a realm occupied by men and women, who will almost certainly let us down. This is not to say that Christians should not be involved in, or concerned with, politics. We most certainly should. However, we must live knowing that our hope is not in any individual or institution in this world. As S.M. Lockridge put it when it comes to the One Christians serve, "You can't impeach Him, and He's not going to resign."

Copyright 2014, 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

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Preachers and Politics: An American Tradition

This election season really has liberals off their game. In spite of all their efforts in Ferguson, Missouri, and all the time and energy spent defending women from the perpetual “war” waged against them by the big bad GOP, they’ve now stooped to what they so often accuse their republican opponents of doing: blaming the victim.

Mary Mitchell of the Chicago Sun-Times recently chronicled what she described as a “nasty incident involving the Rev. Corey Brooks.” Brooks is the pastor of New Beginnings Church on Chicago’s South Side. Last Saturday thieves broke into New Beginnings Church and stole $8,000 from a charity box that was sitting in the church’s lobby. The money was being collected to build a community center across the street from the church.

After the robbery, Brooks declared, “Nobody has ever stolen stuff from our church. We do a lot of work in the neighborhood, and no one has broken into our church. Never.” According to Mitchell, Brooks’ recent political activities “made him a target.” Evidently, in the liberal land of make-believe, a justifiable one.

Brooks, a black man, committed the cardinal political sin in liberal circles: he publicly endorsed a republican. The republican he endorsed is Bruce Rauner, the GOP candidate seeking to unseat Pat Quinn as governor of Illinois. Brooks went so far as to appear in a television ad for Rauner.

Just prior to the robbery, Brooks received many threats via telephone and social media that were the result of his involvement in Rauner’s campaign. After the robbery and the vile threats, Brooks has decided to relocate himself and his family while the threats are investigated. According to Mitchell, while no one should be threatening—and I would add robbing—Rev. Brooks “because of his political choices,” the good reverend has made himself a target because he let himself “get dragged into a street brawl.”

Mitchell also concludes that religious leaders such as Rev. Brooks—who have “brought politics into the pulpit” and whose “efforts to serve up the community to politicians”—explains why “there has been such a huge loss of respect for the black clergy.” Yet, Mitchell seems to have no problem granting respect to the race pimp and publicity prostitute known as the “Rev.” Jesse Jackson, whom she describes as “one of the remaining legends” of the civil rights era, whose “commitment to fighting for equality is evident.” She also gives props to Jackson’s pimpin’ partner, the “Rev.” Al Sharpton, who, as Mitchell glowingly notes, is the kind of “street activist who has sway over the brothers on the corner.”

Such dumbfounding duplicity by a modern liberal is unsurprising, but it is a bit surprising that a large American newspaper would run such drivel on its editorial page.

While setting up her blind critique of Rev. Brooks, Mitchell fondly recalls the glory days of the civil rights era and the strong respect commanded by black clergy, especially in the South, “where churches became sanctuaries for civil rights leaders.” It evidently escapes Ms. Mitchell what these civil rights leaders were doing behind their pulpits.

I doubt we’ll find a column by Ms. Mitchell or any of her comrades that bemoans the efforts of modern black clergy who “bravely” stand up for “marriage equality,” the “right” to healthcare, a “living wage,” contraception, open borders, abortion, and whatever other perverse cause modern liberals have embraced.

Mitchell ignores not only the efforts of today's liberals who operate behind pulpits, and the history of the civil rights era, but also the history of the very founding of this nation. From the Puritan ministers who, over a century prior to the American Revolution, established the first representative forms of government in America and gave us the first attempts at a written constitution and a bill of rights, to the firebrand preachers of the first Great Awakening who helped light the fires of revolution in America, to the abolitionists who preached the evils of slavery, the Christian clergy in the U.S., both black and white, have been instrumental in American history.

Written documents of governance from American ministers were the practice in virtually every colony founded in early America. Such practice laid the groundwork for the American Revolution. As my upcoming book notes, “for it was in the pulpits of American churches that the seeds of Revolution were sewn. The British certainly thought so, as they blamed what they derisively described as the ‘Black Robed Regiment’ for the thirst in the Colonies for American Independence. Modern historians have noted, ‘There is not a right asserted in the Declaration of Independence which had not been discussed by the New England clergy before 1763.’”

I don’t know if Ms. Mitchell claims to be a Christian, but her sad ideas of Christianity and what it means to be a Christian are very common these days. Whether it’s the Rev. Corey Brooks, Tim Tebow, Rick Warren, the pastors in Houston, or any other Christian today whose efforts run contrary to the modern liberal worldview, what liberals really want is silence.

As my pastor, who is also my father-in-law, often points out, when Christ truly comes into someone’s life, He is not simply a section of that life, as in a grapefruit. He is not something that we devote part of one day to and are supposed to keep separate from the rest of our lives—work, family, entertainment, politics, and so on.

Instead of a grapefruit, a person who has surrendered his or her life to Christ is more like a glass of milk that has had chocolate syrup squeezed into it. Once the chocolate and the milk are combined, it is impossible to separate one from the other. This certainly should be the case for those who occupy our pulpits. In fact, given the tragic state of morality in America today, we need more like Rev. Brooks who are willing to get into a “street brawl.”

Copyright 2014, 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

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Election Update

About two days out and here is the significant news on the election:

Both parties see the campaign (in the pained words of The New York Times) "tilting towards the republicans."  As Rush pointed out Friday, democrats, and their mouth pieces in the mainstream media are in a panic, so I suppose "tilting towards the republicans" is all they can bring themselves to admit at this late stage. When all your hope lies in the forces of this world, it must be very difficult to see the political horizon loom dark.

The New York Times' "election-forecasting machine" gives the republicans a 69% chance of winning the Senate. The Washington Post's "Election Lab" puts the chances of a republican controlled Senate at 94% and a republican controlled House at 99%.

Republicans are much more excited about voting, and early voting reveals this. Republicans have taken a large lead in the early voting in Colorado. Additionally, late polls in Iowa show a large lead for GOP candidate Joni Ernst. The Obama administration is on the verge of congressional election losses that are historic--the worst in over six decades.

It's so bad for the democrats that they've taken to blaming their own constituents--Mary Landrieu implies that Louisianans are sexist and racist--and launching petitions calling for the ouster of Harry Reid. What's more, republicans have made gains among women and Hispanics.

This looks to be a another midterm romp for the GOP, what they do with it, of course, remains to be seen.

Copyright 2014, 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