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Losing the House was not meaningless

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Losing the House was not meaningless

It’s time for a brief civics lesson. When a single party controls the House, Senate, and White House, they are able to press their legislative agenda forward. When the are missing any of the three components, they cannot push their legislative agenda forward. It is an all or nothing situation thanks to the infuriating nature of our two-party system.

Republicans were able to pass tax cuts because they had control of both chambers and the White House. This would have been impossible if the Democrats had the House. This is why it’s ignorant to say the Democrats winning the House is meaningless.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining about the legislative stalemate we’re going to see for the next two or more years. The only two pieces of major legislation we might have seen if the GOP held the House were immigration reform that included funding for the border wall and an Obamacare repeal that included defunding of abortion-on-demand. The latter was unlikely even if they kept the House.

Instead, the only major piece of legislation we can expect in the next year or so is the one I desperately don’t want to see: an infrastructure bill. It would be hard to argue we don’t need it. It would be harder to argue we can afford it.

Replacing a wall-building immigration reform bill with an untenable infrastructure bill is a major loss for the nation. It’s the only reason I was rooting for the GOP to keep the House. That’s not to say I wasn’t rooting for some Republicans in individual races based on their qualities, but I’ve lost hope in the GOP actually doing the things we need the less-leftist major party to do.

They aren’t cutting budgets. They’re expanding them.

They aren’t addressing entitlements. They’re ignoring them.

They aren’t reducing the national debt. They’re raising it.

No, I’m not saddened overall that the GOP lost control because they didn’t do the right things when they had control. Tax cuts were good (not great) but by cutting taxes without drastically cutting spending, they negated the long-term benefits. Short-term benefits have been solid (the economy and job markets are humming), but to hold the strength of the economy, they needed to cut spending. They didn’t.

Increasing the majority in the Senate could be considered a win because it will make confirmations easier. We’ll see if that comes into play. I think it will. As long as President Trump keeps nominating originalists, I’ll be pleased by the Senate pickups.

Any Republican who says losing the House was meaningless is either ignorant, lying, or had no faith in the GOP legislative agenda that has now been derailed for at least two years.

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Culture and Religion

Does Matthew 22:29-30 indicate Jesus was referencing the Book of Enoch?

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Does Matthew 2229-30 indicate Jesus was referencing the Book of Enoch

Extra-Biblical texts such as the Book of Enoch are often frowned upon by churches. Some see 1 Enoch as fake. Others say it’s a good historical reference but not inspired. The Ethiopian Bible includes it as scripture. Should we read it?

To understand the answer to this question, we need to consider three things. First, it was referenced as holy by many of the early church fathers, but was excluded from official canon. Second, Enoch is referenced multiple times in the Bible: Genesis 4 and 5, Luke 3:37, Hebrews 11:5, and Jude 1:14. Third, Jesus makes a statement in Matthew 22:29-30 that references “scripture” but what he is saying is only found in 1 Enoch.

Many who oppose the validity of Enoch say that it was written after the Book of Jude because the it includes the quote that Jude references, but fragments of Enoch were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, which most scholars date to before Jude was born.

The scripture in question is Matthew 22:29-30:

29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.

30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.

Nowhere in the 66 Books of the Bible does it say angels neither marry nor are given in marriage. What did Jesus mean when he said “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures” in reference to the angels not marrying?

Here is 1 Enoch 15:5-7:

5. Therefore have I given them wives also that they might impregnate them, and beget children by them, that thus nothing might be wanting to them on earth. 6. But you were ⌈formerly⌉ spiritual, living the eternal life, and immortal for all generations of the world. 7. And therefore I have not appointed wives for you; for as for the spiritual ones of the heaven, in heaven is their dwelling.

Hmm.

As with anything regarding extra-Biblical texts, I must urge caution. Many who believe 1 Enoch is authentic refute the authenticity of 2 Enoch and 3 Enoch. Then, there’s the question of inspiration and protection of the text. Many Christians believe the Bible has been able to survive and flourish despite so many attempts to disrupt it is because it has been protected over the millennia. If that’s the case, why was Enoch not included the whole time?

The answer to this question, to those who believe in its authenticity, may be found in the first two verses of the manuscript.

1 The words of the blessing of Enoch, wherewith he blessed the elect and righteous, who will be 2 living in the day of tribulation, when all the wicked and godless are to be removed. And he took up his parable and said -Enoch a righteous man, whose eyes were opened by God, saw the vision of the Holy One in the heavens, which the angels showed me, and from them I heard everything, and from them I understood as I saw, but not for this generation, but for a remote one which is 3 for to come. Concerning the elect I said, and took up my parable concerning them:

If Enoch is real, it’s meant for a later generation living in the day of tribulation. If it’s a fake, then it’s intended to deceive those in the end times. Either way, it’s understandable that it would not be included in most Bibles.

I tend to believe 1 Enoch is legitimate, but not to the point that I would teach on it. Not yet. Much more prayer and study is required before I would ever risk misleading anyone.

Nevertheless, the reference in Matthew 22 is compelling.

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Democrats

Cartoon: Is that another huge immigration caravan?

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Cartoon Is that another huge immigration caravan

The 2016 GOP field seemed like a clown car routine compared to what was essentially five legitimate Democratic candidates. Whether they simply feared Hillary Clinton or didn’t want to take their shot following President Obama, many Democrats who were considered potentially serious candidates didn’t run.

That’s not the case for 2020. We may end up with more Democrats in the running than we had Republicans in 2016.

Cartoonist Michael Ramirez captured the growing group perfectly:

It’s certainly starting to look like a migrant caravan forming. Oh, wait. Those are actually American citizens.


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Immigration

No national emergency declaration: Trump’s “major announcement” will be an offer Democrats can’t refuse

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No national emergency declaration Trumps major announcement will be an offer Democrats cant refuse

This may be the best news I’ve heard all day (yes, even better than learning the Buzzfeed story was debunked, though that was pretty awesome as well). According to multiple outlets, the President will NOT be declaring a national emergency to fund the border wall and end the government shutdown. Instead he will be making Democrats an offer on live television to get the wall funded while dangling an incentive that he hopes will push Democrats to the negotiating table.

I’ll admit up front that I didn’t see this coming. I even went so far as to scold the President prematurely for declaring a national emergency, which apparently he is not. As I’ve always said, I will praise him when he does well and criticize him when he does poorly. Unless this report is wrong, I’ll happily praise him… unless his offer is too much.

What might be offered? Perhaps the DACA fix he didn’t want to do when Senator Chuck Schumer shut down the government last year. Maybe he’ll throw them a curve ball and offer some sort of boost to environmental efforts. Perhaps it’ll be adding more humanitarian aid to his border security package, greatly increasing the size and manpower of facilities that hold and process illegal immigrants and migrant seekers.

If I were a betting man, I’d put my money on a DACA fix. Then again, I would have also put my money on him declaring a national emergency, and it seems I would have lost that bet.

Whatever the offer is, it’ll need to be something that will make the Democrats look poorly to Independents and moderate Democrats if they don’t take it while not being so much that his base will feel betrayed by the offer.

Assuming this pans out as expected, I owe the President an apology for assuming the worst. Instead of the worst, this may be the best case scenario and as long as he’s not giving up too much, may also be the best move of his presidency.


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