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Conservative Candidates to look out for in Texas Primary

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Texas has several elections with outsiders looking in and open seats where incumbents are not seeking reelection. The heavy hitting endorsements of Ted Cruz, Greg Abbott, and Rick Perry are sure to have an impact in the Lone Star State during its open primary on March 6th. The Texas Primary has the chance to put reliable conservatives in office as opposed to the fiscally irresponsible RINOs we deal with most often. Candidates who don’t reach majority will have a runoff in the spring.

Anyone but Kathaleen Wall TX-02

Ted Poe is not running for reelection leaving a vacant seat, a theme you will gather from this article. There are many candidates running on the ballot. The worst of which appears to be Kathaleen Wall, a Democrat in disguise as a Republican. However she did snag the endorsement of Governor Abbott and Ted Cruz. Wall is sort of a Donald Trump, in the sense of a political outsider self-funding a campaign. She has poured over $5 million into the race. Her previous history is a political donor, a likely reason she has endorsements. Quite honestly, what’s best is for this race to go onto a runoff. Wall needs to undergo further scrutiny to prove she’s ready for Congress. And quite frankly a lot of questions about her arise. For instance, her opponents say that she voted for Clinton in the Democratic Primary, a questionable move if true. Then there’s also the concern about her buying this election. She’s not what I would call self-made, but she certainly married well. Other interesting candidates in this race are Kevin Roberts, Rick Walker, and Dan Crenshaw. This is not a judgement against Wall, only that I insist that she should not cross the majority threshold so early. Do research on her givings to Texas politics. The Democrats are likely to nominate Todd Litton in a massive effort to flip this seat, but the Blue Wave is still a stretch in a district where the GOP wins 60%+ of the vote for this seat.

Race Rating: Likely Republican

Van Taylor TX-03

Van Taylor serves in the Texas State Senate. His is one of the top conservatives in the legislature. Taylor is strong on both guns and protecting the unborn during his tenure in Texas. In 2016 he had a perfect conservative record in his young political career. This veteran is the real deal for voters seeking a young conservative in Congress. The Texas Third District was held for 25 years by Republican Sam Johnson. Johnson has decided not to seek reelection in November leaving a wide open seat. For Conservatives, this is a sold chance to upgrade to a stronger government limiting politician.

The Democrats don’t have as much of a chance in this election, as the Texas 3rd is a safe Republican seat. As for Van Taylor, he is the most formidable candidate with a lot of cash on hand and a powerful endorsement by Ted Cruz. This race is likely his.

Race Rating: Solid Republican

Jason Wright TX-05

In yet another race without an incumbent, their seem to be options for the voter of Texas 5th. This election will be decided on the primary seeing as Democrats don’t field a candidate every time. The most well backed candidate is Kenneth Sheets a former State Rep. who was voted out of a swing seat in 2016. He’s a former Marine and reliable conservative.

Howerver I like the potential for Jason Wright who worked on the Cruz Campaign in 2016 which earned him an endorsement from Ted. Something about his foresight in this appeals to me. And he just comes off as likable.

Race Rating: Solid Republican

Ron Wright or Jake Ellzey TX-06

Longtime Congressman Joe Barton is not seeking reelection, leaving a wide open race to fill the likely red seat. Leading the GOP is Ron Wright, the Tarrant County Tax Assessor. Wright has a long history of public service and has earned the endorsement of Ted Cruz. Wright has a lot of local backing as well as funding.

The other formidable Conservative is Jake Ellzey, a veteran Navy fighter pilot. His twitter seems dedicated to remembering the fallen and taking better care of veterans is a top campaign priority. Ellzey earned the endorsement of former Governor Rick Perry to counter the Cruz endorsement of Wright, along with “Lone Survivor” Marcus Luttrell.

Both these candidates seem like they would be reliable representatives for Conservatism. For fiscal conservatism, I have to go with Ellzey whose campaign is focused on security issues (border and immigration included) and reducing government. On social issues and federalism, Ron Wright has a slight edge. I won’t blame a conservative for voting either way, just keep it a friendly competition which AZ08 should have been. And if it goes to a runoff, then may the best man win.

Race Rating: Solid Republican

Ted Cruz endorsed incumbent, John Culberson. However, Culberson is not, by definition, a fiscal conservative. Even with an (R) in the Whitehouse, he has done nothing to promote fiscal responsibility. The TX-06 deserves term limits. Edward Ziegler is running on these very points. His campaign stresses the liberal spending of Culberson and he is running counter to that. His website acknowledges that taxpayer money is not the government’s to freely spend. In this seat, the people need to enact term limits. Culberson has been in for over a decade, and the Democrats pose little opposition. Ziegler is the conservative choice in this race.

Race Rating: Lean Republican

This is another race that has leftist salivating because it is a seat being vacated by Rep. Lamar Smith. The field is wider than any of the others. The seeming frontrunner is Chip Roy, former Chief of Staff to Ted Cruz, senior advisor to Rick Perry. He’s definitely an insider, even having worked with RINO, John Cornyn. Roy has been groomed for office and now is his chance. The home page of his website conveys a lot of fatigue with campaign conservatives who then turn RINO. In this wide open race, I’d trust Chip Roy.

Race Rating: Solid Republican

Alma Arredondo-Lynch is a political outsider seeking to unseat Republican Will Hurd. Hurd is one of the most leftist GOP Congressmen in the House. The Conservative Review Liberty Score gives him a 35%, the worst of any Texan Republican. Will Hurd also called on Trump to drop out of the race over his locker-room talk tape.

Arrendondo-Lynch on the other hand has every sign of being real conservative. On her website she quips at Hurd’s leftism stating “My opponent is the only “Republican” from the State of Texas to vote in favor of Obama’s transgender bill, forcing employers to allow these transgenders to use the women’s bathrooms. It had never been a problem before.  I grew up using transgender bathrooms; they were called outhouses.” She’s strong on guns and immigration. She’s unafraid of acknowledging the RINO in the room.

The Texas 23rd is a battleground race that the Democrats are looking to capture. I would argue that Republicans are most in danger nominating a RINO. It’s not a winning strategy, but is a likely outcome.

Race Rating: Toss-Up

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Curtis Patranella

    March 5, 2018 at 9:28 pm

    An endorsement from Ted Cruz is enough of a reason NOT to vote for someone. Ted talks about liberty, but never delivers. He is a wolf in shepherd’s clothing.

    • Ray Fava

      March 5, 2018 at 10:15 pm

      I completely understand your lack of optimism in regards to Cruz. He’s been slipping in my book as well. He’s made some good endorsements and some bad endorsements with no consistency except maybe friendship. I’m still a fan but not a huge one.

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Culture and Religion

$.02: When is it OK to quit church?

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Chris Sonsken of South Hills Church and founder Church BOOM penned a piece on Fox News that caught my attention on Twitter. It was a good column. Read the article here. The article addressed a Pew Research finding as to why people change churches. There finding as shown by Sonsken are:

  • Sermon quality
  • Welcoming environment/people
  • Style of worship
  • Location

Sonsken does a great job in arguing that there are biblically sound reasons for leaving a church and finding a new one.

1. It’s OK to leave if God calls us to leave.

2. It’s OK to leave for family and marriage.

3. It’s OK to leave a church if you have moved too far away to conveniently drive to your church.

4.  It’s OK to leave if you cannot follow the church’s leadership.

5.  It’s OK to leave if heresy is being preached.

Sonsken even mentions that unethical practices like abuse are reasons to leave, though not the norm for the majority of church swapping.

The reasons Sonsken gave are no cause for disagreement, and I’m sure his book Quit Church probably better articulates them.

Where I want to add my two sense on the matter is that I disagree with his assessment sermon quality is not a biblical reason for changing churches. The supposition that sermon quality is inherently a result of the person treating church like an object of consumption, as Sonsken suggests is not true. I believe sermon quality is an umbrella term for several reasons for not liking a Sunday message.

Too often people leave a church because of disagreement, not getting their way, or because the sermons are no longer deep enough. Often when we dig into the reason the sermons are not deep enough, it ultimately goes back to the person being offended or not having their faulty theologies endorsed from the pulpit. The same pastor who was previously deep enough becomes shallow once there is an offense. It’s incredibly difficult to hear from God in a sermon when we are offended by the person delivering the sermon.

This is true in many cases. A sin that is personal gets preached on and the offended party leaves. I don’t deny this to be the case. But I believe we should look deeper into the current trends of worship and focus on the mission of the church.

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-21 ESV

The church is to preach the gospel, but people accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior is only part of the mission. The Church is tasked with making disciples. The church is meant to teach. Not every follower is at the same level in their spiritual maturity or theological depth. Some churches, larger churches in particular dumb down the bible. In public education, this would be seen as lowering the bar. In church this practice could hold back believers in their growth. Small groups are a way to supplement this, and every church should employ bible study as a means to grow discipleship.

Many churches now are focused on metrics. This can lead to theologically watered down sermons and worship. Why risk offending that person who may leave with a sermon? But if a church is more focused on using a Sunday message to give a motivational speech using an out of context passage, what does it matter if they are doctrinally sound (in their written beliefs)?

There are a lot of heretical churches in America. We have issues like gay marriage to separate the sheep from the goats. But what about the sheep that suck? If a church has the right doctrine but is more focused on metrics than the power of the Holy Spirit, their head is in the wrong place. So it is biblically sound to change churches so that your head to remains in the right place.

That is not treating church like a consumer product. That is treating church like one’s means to grow spiritually, better recognizing the mission of the Great Commission.

That is my $.02 on the matter. I hope I added some meaningful word to this topic.


This post was originally publishd on Startup Christ. Startup Christ is a website for business and theology articles and columns.

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Guns and Crime

Liberty Control (aka Gun Control) Dead at 501 [1517 – July 10, 2018]

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Today we celebrate the passing away of one of the Left’s worst legacies: Liberty Control

Liberty Control (aka Gun Control), the absurd idea that depriving the innocent of a means of self-defense will protect them from criminals and the government died on July 10, 2018, after a protracted illness. The past few months saw it suffer multiple degradations, but the final cause of death was a settlement between the Department of Justice and Second Amendment Foundation in SAF’s lawsuit on behalf of Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed over free speech issues related to 3-D files and other information that may be used to manufacture lawful firearms:

Significantly, the government expressly acknowledges that non-automatic firearms up to .50-caliber – including modern semi-auto sporting rifles such as the popular AR-15 and similar firearms – are not inherently military.

“Not only is this a First Amendment victory for free speech, it also is a devastating blow to the gun prohibition lobby,” noted SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “For years, anti-gunners have contended that modern semi-automatic sport-utility rifles are so-called ‘weapons of war,’ and with this settlement, the government has acknowledged they are nothing of the sort.

This curse on freedom began with the nonsensical label ‘Gun control’ but like a mutating virus, it morphed into ‘Gun safety’ or ‘Gun reform’ as people began to understand it’s true liberticidal nature. The final proper designation for this statist abomination helped seal its fate: Liberty Control.

In recent years, Liberty control had suffered a number of potentially fatal maladies ranging from the Heller and other Pro-Liberty decisions of the Supreme court to the virtual explosion in gun ownership with untold numbers of new adherents joining the ranks. Despite valiant attempts by the Left to resurrect this absolutely horrid idea from a bygone era, most imbued with common sense came to realize that more guns equaled less violence.

Liberty Control is barely survived by its one year older half-brother in statist tyranny Collectivism, born when the book ‘Utopia’ was published in 1516.  This ancient idea remains in critical condition having been transferred to the Bronx on life support. It is not expected to survive, despite the best efforts of the Socialist-Left. As is usually the case when a free-people can properly assess the liberticidal ideas of the Left.

Libertas [The ancient Roman personification of liberty] Celebrated the death of one of its intractable foes down through the centuries. “There must have been some viral affliction in the water of the early 16th century to have created these two horrible curses upon mankind.”

Services will be held on July 27th, 2018, and after August 1 Cody Wilson plans on re-launching Defcad.com with ‘a treasure trove of 3D-printed gun files for download.’  In Lieu of flowers, those of the Liberty loving public are encouraged to visit https://ghostgunner.net/ after that date and download the files for future use as well as donate to the organizations that defend this critically important freedom.

Please note that while we are using this ‘obituary’ form to prove a point, it should be patently evident that the dreams of the Liberty grabbers of banning and confiscating guns are now dead. Even if by some freakish turn of events whereby the defenders of Liberty forget history, agree to the requirement of governmental permission to exercise a commonsense human right, and then have their guns confiscated. The technology will still exist for everyone to produce their own weapons. It should perfectly clear to everyone including the cadres of Liberty Grabbers out there that the genie is out of the bottle, that there is no way they can ever ban guns, knives or even the odd spanner here and there. It should also be evident that such groups should move on to other causes that actually have a chance of coming to fruition. Also, note that it was very proper that this took place during #Gun Pride Month.

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Opinions

Why Do We Have Judges?

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With the Democrats in full scream over the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, it’s worthwhile to consider just why we have courts and judges.

The earliest record of judges is in the story of the Exodus. Moses, the prophet and leader of Israel, “judged between a man and his neighbor, and made known the statutes of God and His laws.” (Exod 18:16 NAS) He was overworked, since there were many disputes. At the urging of his father-in-law, Moses appointed “able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain” (Exod 18:21 NAS) as judges for these minor disputes.

These judges applied God’s laws to the disputes brought to them. This required absolute loyalty to the law and the truth (they “feared God”). They were also supposed to avoid accepting bribes. In short, they were the model of what we should expect a judge to be.

It took a long time to get from Moses to modern courts and judges. Our current system started under Henry VIII in 1178, when the king appointed five members of his household to “hear complaints and do right.” Over time, judges became more educated, and laws enacted by Parliament became a firm standard for their decisions. Even the King was bound by the law.

In the 17th century, it became clear that it was necessary to forcibly separate the functions of making law, executing law, and adjudicating disputes under the law. If the King was able to make law by decree, carry out laws he decreed, and remove judges at will, the King was the law. He could rule with a pen and a phone.

The three independent functions of government became our American separation of powers doctrine. Congress writes the laws, the President makes sure that the laws are “faithfully executed,” and the Courts apply the laws to disputes. Within that structure, we added one key element: the Constitution.

The Constitution is our highest law, and is the standard by which all other laws must be measured. A law contrary to any part of the Constitution is unconstitutional, and can properly be ignored. The question is, “By what standard do we assess constitutionality?”

The Left pushes a theory called “the living Constitution.” That is, the Constitution is subject to change as society changes, without any need for the inconvenience of going through the amendment process. As the late Justice Brennan said, judges must “give meaning” to the Constitution, implying that it has no meaning until the Court declares it. The appeal of this view is that it responds to political pressure. It turns the Courts into what the Wall Street Journal calls the Left’s “preferred legislature.”

The Right prefers an approach that is variously called “originalism” or “textualism.” That is, the Constitution is a document that had a very specific meaning when it was adopted. If we wish to apply it properly, we must understand what its text meant to the Framers. If we wish to change it, we must go through the difficult process of amending it.

That tedious process makes amending the Constitution really hard. Six amendments that were submitted to the states, including one still pending from 1789, haven’t made it. Even with a great popular push, the Equal Rights Amendment didn’t make it. This difficulty stands directly in the path to fundamentally transforming America the way the Left wants to do. So they love it when judges adopt legal theories that let them ignore the original understanding of the law. And that brings us to our next question.

What is “the Law?” Conceptually, the law is a set of principles and statutes that allow us to have an orderly society. In short, if you act in a proper manner, your actions will be lawful. But to know what is proper, you must have public standards of behavior that do not change from day to day. The easiest way for this to happen is to have recorded laws. These are specific, written documents that describe what is and is not acceptable. Short of such statutes, all of us look to what “The Average Reasonable Person” might do. Common law embodies this TARP standard, which often makes its way into written statutes.

All of us depend on the fundamental premise that law is reliably fixed. It doesn’t change when the wind blows. It isn’t necessary to bring policy preferences to the process the way a “wise Latina” might. The text of the law tells us how to (not) behave. Questions only come when the text is unclear.

Suppose that the law is whatever a particular judge decides it is. If I’m called before a racist judge because my trash talking on the basketball court offended someone, I might expect to experience harsh penalties. If the judge is a conciliator, he might take the two of us out to lunch and expect us to “get over it.” How should I know how to behave?

But if I’m taken before a judge who reads the law carefully, I’ll receive whatever treatment the law regards as just. Thus, when Congress passed mandatory sentences for crack cocaine possession that were ten times those for powder cocaine, judges who hated the law found themselves imposing the harsh sentences on lots of young black men. No “wise Latina” could get around the plain text of the statute.

The remedy for this inequity in cocaine sentencing could not properly come from the bench. Our separation of powers does not allow a judge to rewrite the law. No executive with “a pen and a phone” can do it, either. Only the legislature has the power to change laws.

How does a judge determine what a law means? The first step is to read the text. Most of the time, that’s all that’s needed. But what if the language is unclear? The President may be impeached for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Does this term of art mean that the President must have committed an indictable offense under criminal law? President Clinton perjured himself. That was indictable and impeachable. But is Tweeting personal insults impeachable? Alan Dershowitz argues that it is not. Even researching what the Framers thought leaves us with questions.

Most laws aren’t that big a problem. But administrative law-making is a real problem. Congress has become fond of passing vague laws that will say “XYZ agency shall implement this by regulation.” And XYZ agency goes to town. Since 1984 (George Orwell, can you hear us?) the Supreme Court has let them expand their powers through a doctrine called “Chevron Deference” (Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 468 U.S. 837 (1984)). The Supreme Court declared that if an agency was not unreasonable in its interpretations of a statute, its rulings should be accepted by the Courts.

As Judge Cavanaugh notes, Chevron encourages agencies “to be extremely aggressive in seeking to squeeze its policy goals into ill-fitting statutory authorizations and restraints.” “Chevron is nothing more than a judicially orchestrated shift of power from Congress to the Executive Branch.” Administrative agencies have used it to make rules that stretch the law to the breaking point. A classic is the “Waters of the USA” rule, where a farmer who cleared brush out of a ditch was fined for “destroying wetlands.” But the statute only addresses “navigable waters.” The EPA had become a super-legislature, an unaccountable fourth branch of government that cannot be found in the Constitution.

Should the farmer have expected that his fully reasonable act of maintaining his farm would be illegal? Of course not. But when the Courts accept interpretations that fall outside the text and meaning of the law as enacted, the rule of law vanishes. Policy preferences now create “law” that no one can know and punishes even the most law-abiding.

But this is exactly what the Left demands. They have been unable to get their policy preferences translated into law. So they demand that they be allowed to transform the law to match their policy preferences. Yet at the same time, they demand that a judge be bound firmly by stare decisis.

This Latin phrase means “let the decision stand.” It says that once a question has been decided by the Courts, that decision should govern how we understand the law. The Left demands that stare decisis is crucial to a judge. And why should we argue? Stare decisis creates a stable understanding of the law so an ordinary person can know how to act. But the Left only wants stare decisis in certain areas.

Roe v. Wade is sacrosanct. No judge should ever, ever, ever consider overturning it. But where in the Constitution do we find Roe’s “right to privacy?” It’s not there. And how does a “right to privacy” excuse the destruction of unborn life? Those are real questions that aren’t answered in Roe.

But what about Dred Scott, which protected slavery, or Korematsu which legalized FDR’s imprisonment of US citizens of Japanese heritage? Those decisions were stare decesis and overturned, with nary a peep from the Left. But when Janus overturned Abood, the Left went into full cry. Why? Janus took away money that unions could use to support Democrats.

Let’s put this in simple, declarative language. The Left supports a stable set of laws when it suits their policy purposes. Stare decesis is wonderful when it protects a Leftist legal standard. But when the clear text and meaning of the Constitution won’t let them do what they want, suddenly we have to have a “living Constitution.”

Americans must have a set of laws they can understand. Those laws cannot change because some bureaucrat or judge wants a different outcome. There is a prescribed way for laws to be changed. Laws must be rewritten by Congress or the Constitution amended by the States. There is no other way for ordinary citizens to be able to obey the law.

It is crucial for judges to protect the law as written. Anything else leads to the destruction of civil order and ultimately destroys America. No judges should be allowed near any court if they do not faithfully apply the text of the law to the questions before them. Fortunately, Judge Cavanaugh has shown himself to be fully committed to the law. He deserves our support.

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