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Big government at the cost of freedom

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Freedom is the underlying principle that our nation was founded upon. It is what defines us as citizens of the United States of America, and is clearly spelled out in our country’s founding documents – the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Under those documents we are free from tyranny, free to choose a religion, free to not choose a religion, free to pursue life and happiness, free to openly disagree with and protest our government officials, and we are even free to defend ourselves from a corrupt government with violence if necessary. Sadly these freedoms are slowly disappearing from our nation, and they aren’t being taken – they are being surrendered – by us, the People. Consider the following.

You are at the mall, and you find some guy with his hand in your pocket in an attempt to pull out your wallet. This is how the conversation goes.

You: “Whoa! What are you doing?”

Guy: “I am just going to safeguard your wallet for you. There are a lot of pick-pockets in this mall, and I don’t want you to become a victim. Don’t worry. I will go wherever you go, keeping your wallet safe with me.”

You: “Oh, Ok. Thank God someone is looking out for me – wait! Why are you taking out that $1 bill?”

Guy: “I’m thirsty. If I am going to walk with you all day I need something to drink.”

You: “Yeah, I suppose that’s fair. While we are headed to the food court I could use something to eat – wait! What is that $20 bill for?”

Guy: “I gotta eat too. Did you forget that I am looking after the money? I can leave.”

You: “No, no. Don’t do that.”

*You walk to the food counter*

You: “I would like the Reuben sandw-“

Guy: “You will have the salad.”

You: “What!? Why?”

Guy: “A Reuben? Seriously?”

You: “Fine. Can I at least get a cookie?”

You’re an adult. It’s your own money and you just asked permission to buy a cookie with it.

The reality is the Guy represents our government, and the wallet is healthcare, retirement, education, parenting, marriage, etc. Our government can’t seem to keep its hands out of our own pockets in an attempt to gain more and more control, and the confused electorate in our nation keeps handing over our God-given rights to a corrupt, power-hungry political system all in the name of security.

Consider Social Security. We pay into the system our entire working lives. It is our money, we work for it, and we let the government take it only to tell us when we can use it. Control of our own retirement was surrendered. It was birthed out of complex issues, which makes unraveling it even more complex, therefore the alternative option requires much greater sacrifice now than it would have without Social Security. That alternative option being you invest your own money, however and with whoever you choose, at the rate you choose, and use it as you choose – you decide, not the government. Currently, our government allows us to receive Social Security benefits between ages 62 and 67. Any earlier age would require seeking permission through our Federal legislature. Furthermore, there is a growing deficit within this program which significantly threatens its continuity, ironically putting our social security in danger.

In spite of this glaring case-study we are now actively engaged in political battle over government control of healthcare. Several years ago, we surrendered our right to choose health insurance coverage, and the government gave us everything we should have expected – higher premiums and lower levels of care. However, I do find comfort in knowing that if I become pregnant (I’m a guy) I am covered because it is built into my insurance premium as mandated by the Affordable Care Act. Fortunately, things could be much worse, for now. At least we aren’t the UK.

Not only does the United Kingdom have a single-payer healthcare system, effectively stripping its citizens of even more decision making power (a.k.a. – freedom) than here in the US, it also regularly intrudes on parents’ sovereignty as decision makers for their children. Combine those two issues and you get the Charlie Gard debacle – a truly despicable case involving a terminally ill infant with experimental treatment as his only chance at life. At least experimental treatment is an option though, right? Sorry, but that is not correct. UK courts decided not to allow the parents to transport the child to the US for such treatment, and ordered that he remain in the UK where no treatment is available. He was effectively sentenced to death, supposedly sparing him from further discomfort. His parents asked for permission, and were denied.

And for all of you social justice warriors out there (look away fellow evangelicals), we shouldn’t have to obtain the government’s permission to get married either. Heterosexual or not, why do we need a license to commit to a person we love for the rest of our lives? But if a certificate of marriage is important to you, and it should be, churches and other private organizations would be just as capable of issuing such certificates, sans government permission.

These are all clear examples of overreach by over-sized governments, and the correlation should be obvious – the bigger and more powerful the government the less freedom its citizens enjoy. The founding fathers of our nation did not determine that our freedoms were elective. Rather they knew our freedoms are God-given and endowed by our creator – and if creation isn’t your thing then they are endowed by your own human existence – which is why they went to such great lengths to preserve those freedoms in writing when our country was formed.

Don’t get me wrong. We need the government as an entity. We need it to maintain law and order by protecting the freedoms of its people, and punishing those who subvert them. We also need government to provide national security. But every time you advocate for the government to intervene or control social and personal issues you voluntarily surrender your own freedom for it to do so. Furthermore, private organizations and the free-market are far more powerful tools, and are far better suited to tackle those issues.

We are intelligent, full-grown adults capable of making decisions for ourselves. We don’t need big-brother government telling us how to live our lives any more than we need a chaperone at the mall. Our government is out of control, but it is not too late. We are the People. We elect our officials. We engage in political discussion. We can all be activists working to shrink our government to the size it was originally intended to be. The simple fact is government has no business meddling with certain issues, and you shouldn’t want it to.

Paul Caputo is a rare thing in modern America, a Millennial with deeply rooted social conservative views and opinions. Paul is an educated and experienced financial professional with a background in corporate accounting & finance. As an active member of his community, Paul is an adoptive & foster parent as well as a leader and mentor for teenage youth. Paul is driven by a core set of Judeo-Christian beliefs that not only direct his political ideals, but also who he is as an individual. Consequently, Paul is very outspoken against the current conservative establishment that has made a dramatic shift towards the left.

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Culture and Religion

Is Mike Pence too political for church?

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There have been a lot of talk lately about Mike Pence speaking at the SBC. Many complained claiming it was divisive and political. Jonathan Leeman wrote an article for The Gospel Coalition criticizing the very idea of Mike Pence speaking. I will address this article in greater detail on the points that I agree and disagree with. But first, let me answer the very question I posed: Pence isn’t too political to address a congregation, but his speech was.

In short, Mike Pence’s address offered zero substantive theological content. It was merely about his privilege as serving as Vice President. While acknowledging this privilege merited a short section in the beginning, it needed no more continuation. Instead, Mike Pence droned on and on about his experiences and the administration’s accomplishments.

I think there’s only one way you can sum up this administration: It’s been 500 days of action, 500 days of accomplishment. It’s been 500 days of promises made and promises kept. 

Pence’s address followed a pattern of praising Trump with loosely intertwined references to God and praising his hosts as guest speakers often do. The intertwined religious language while praising the accomplishments, not of God, but of the President is the briefest summation of Pence’s speech to the SBC that can be offered. The only biblical passage cited was Psalm 126 in reference to a story that served as praise to the Trump administration. God wasn’t working though Trump in Pence’s speech. Instead, Trump was working. At the end of his speech, Pence did offer a superficial message about praying for America with a quoting scripture.

Mike Pence had an opportunity to address the leaders of many churches. He blew it. But would all politicians do the same?

Politicians Should Be in the Pew, Not the Pulpit?

Jonathan Leeman’s article for The Gospel Coalition draws this conclusion. He has five reasons for not allowing politicians to address a church event.

  1. No reason to give attention to a politician’s words over a plumber’s or an accountant’s, at least not in our assemblies or associations.
  2. Having a political leader address our churches or associations of churches tempts us to misconstrue our mission.
  3. Undermines our evangelistic and prophetic witness.
  4. Hurts the unity of Christ’s body

Reason one is most certainly true. However, I believe we ought to separate the person from the profession. On the basis of spiritual maturity and calling should a politician or any notable guest address an assembly. This first reason is the one I believe to have the most merit in regards to the situation at hand. Inviting a politician to address a Congregation is wrong if the only reason is that they are a politician. However, if the politician is a member of the church, what is wrong with having a fellow member speak?

Reasons two and three are certainly tied together in there logic. I believe these reasons hold merit for Pence’s sacrelidgious speech but are not inherently true of all politicians who accept such similar offers. Reasons two and three open a multitude of separate issues both independent and dependent on the circumstances. Meaning, yes this could happen, but the degree in which we can mitigate the temptation are limited for Satan is the tempter. In the case of Pence, reason three was definitely true. Many would see that the SBC tied itself to Trump. But that is not the fault of the SBC per se. But that is Pence’s fault for giving a campaign rally speech instead of a message. If Pence gave a theologically sound speech there should be little temptation to misconstrue the mission. The third reason is inevitable. Since the beginning, Christians witness has been undermined by the lies of Satan. The original Christians were thought to be cannibal and even atheists. We can’t always prevent these lies, but it would be good not to validate them which Pence did.

Now hurting the unity of the body of Christ is a weak point. Leeman’s fourth point is basically saying that Pence is too polarizing, because Trump is… Trump, on a National level to address a church. Pence is polarizing, but he was polarizing before Trump. The polarizing premise is true but, assuming Pence is indeed a follower off Christ, this would be the result of living a Christian life. Here’s another polarizing figure: Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cake Shop. Would polarity disqualify him from speaking? If we are to apply national likability to our church speakers, we’re going to end up with a lot of TV personalities who don’t comprehend dyophysitism.

Like Jack Philips, Pence has taken a lot of flak for being a devout Christian. Isn’t this the kind of person who may have a good message to the assembly? Seemingly so. Again Pence under-delivered. To be fair, Leeman clearly states he doesn’t blanket outlaw politicians from speaking.

I can envision a few circumstances where there is some measure of mission overlap that could justify it. Maybe a group of Christian college presidents asks the secretary of education to address them. Or a Christian conference on work asks a Christian congressman to talk about working as a Christian on the Hill, so that attendees can apply the principles to their own settings.

But while it’s not an outlaw, such an unwritten policy places constraints on the church that are not inherently necessary. Leeman supposes some similar justification was used when The Gospel Coalition had Ben Sasse speak. In 2017, Ben Sasse addressed The Gospel Coalition and gave a theological speech. He was noted for sounding more like a pastor than a politician.

To me only two things matter:

  1. Theological substance
  2. Correct theological substance

On these two requirements I think the body of Christ would remain unified with a clear picture of its mission.

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Democrats

Family separation battle will save DACA and lead to citizenship for illegals

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The latest outrage du jour by the Washington Establishment comes from the news that children are being temporarily separated from their parents as they try to enter the country illegally.

In her latest presentation of the gospel according to Nancy Pelosi, the part-time Catholic and full-time idiot, blasted “all people of faith in our country” for depriving DREAMers of the “respect they deserve” and for “taking babies away from mothers and fathers.” Meanwhile, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Steve Stivers (R-OH) issued his call for an end to family separations at the border.

In the Senate, GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski (AK) called for an end to the “zero tolerance” immigration policies. On the other side of the aisle, Democrats rushed to the border to grab a handful of election-year photo ops to document what former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro called “state-sponsored child abuse.”

Melania Trump, in addition to four former first ladies, shared how they “hated” to see families separated and called on America to “govern with heart.”

The outrage over family separation is coming from both sides, but it’s fake. These reactions are nothing more than election-year grandstanding by politicians in both parties who have no interest at all at fixing the immigration problem.

As I wrote last week, the GOP-controlled House is already working on an immigration bill that makes DACA permanent and provides a pathway to citizenship for approximately 1.8 million DREAMers. House Speaker Paul Ryan made sure to point out that this legislation also includes a provision ending family separation.

Yesterday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) announced that he will introduce a bill that ends family separations at the border, which in an amazing bit of coincidence comes at a time when his Democrat opponent for the US Senate, Beto O’Rourke, also called for the separation policy to end. Cruz’s proposal enjoys the unanimous support of Senate Democrats.

For the record, this “for the children” approach to illegal immigration is how we ended up with DACA in the first place. Also note, as this article shows, that Trump is lying when he blames Democrats for the family separation fiasco.

The family separation issue is being used as a primer for the eventual surrender on immigration. And for those who believe that Trump won’t support this surrender, consider this: he allowed Melania to openly oppose his immigration policy, and he recently announced that he’s open to anything that Congress puts on his desk, even if it means doing the opposite of what he promised to get elected.

Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.

 


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

Follow the Strident Conservative on Twitter and FacebookSubscribe to receive podcasts of radio commentaries: iTunes | Stitcher | Tune In | RSS

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Opinions

It isn’t Never-Trump or Always-Trump destroying conservatism, it’s Sometimes-Trump

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One of the craziest—or should I say laziest—accusations leveled against me by Trump’s die-hard loyalists whenever I dare to call him out for breaking a campaign promise, getting caught in a lie, or promoting unconstitutional non-conservative ideas, is that I’m a liberal. Sometimes, they go so far as to accuse me of working for George Soros.

As I’ve said many times in response, I don’t work for Mr. Soros, but since money’s been a little tight at the Strident Conservative lately, if anyone has his number, I’d appreciate it if you’d send it my way.

It’s a sad reality that these pathetic taunts are what passes for political discourse in the Age of Trump. Gone are the days when differences could be civilly discussed based on facts instead of emotion.

Another sad reality of this behavior is that it’s a sign that the end of conservatism is near, as Trump’s small army of loyal followers attempt to rebrand conservatism by spreading the lie that he is a conservative and, using binary logic, accusing anyone who opposes him of being a liberal.

This rebranding effort has had an impact. Last week, RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel warned Republican hopefuls that anyone who opposed Trump’s agenda would be “making a mistake.”

McDaniel’s threat was issued following the GOP primary defeat in South Carolina by conservative Mark Sanford after he was personally targeted by Trump himself. Sanford’s crime? Disloyalty to the NY Liberal.

Another source of damage to conservatism has come from evangelicals and the so-called conservative media. In the name of self-preservation, they choose to surrender their principles by promoting the lie that Trump is a conservative. Some of these voices have taken to labelling conservatives who oppose Trump as Never-Trump conservatives, or worse, branding them as liberals and/or Democrats, as was recently written in a piece at TheFederalist.com:

“Trump may be an unattractive and deeply flawed messenger for contemporary conservatism. But loathe though they might be to admit it, what’s left of the Never-Trump movement needs to come to grips with the fact that the only words that currently describe them are liberals and Democrats.”

Then there are those who have adopted a Sometimes-Trump attitude about the president, where everything Trump does is measured using a good Trump/bad Trump barometer. While it has become fashionable for Sometimes-Trump conservatives to stand on their soap boxes condemning both Never-Trump conservatives and Always-Trump faux conservatives, I believe that this politically bipolar approach to Trump is the greatest threat of all to Constitutional conservatism in America.

Sometimes-Trump conservatives have accepted the lie that it’s okay to do a little evil in exchange for a greater good. Though they may fly a conservative banner, their lukewarm attitude about Trump is much like the attitude we see in the Laodicean church mentioned in the Book of Revelations (3:15-16).

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

Trump is a double-minded man unstable in all his ways (James 1:8). When lukewarm Sometimes-Trump conservatives choose to overlook this reality, they end up watering-down conservatism to the point that it has no value or power to change America’s course.

As lukewarm Sometimes-Trump conservatives point to the Always-Trump and Never-Trump factions as the reason for today’s conservative divide, remember that it’s the unenthusiastic, noncommittal, indifferent, half-hearted, apathetic, uninterested, unconcerned, lackadaisical, passionless, laid back, couldn’t-care-less conservative imposters in the middle who are really responsible.

Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.

 


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

Follow the Strident Conservative on Twitter and FacebookSubscribe to receive podcasts of radio commentaries: iTunes | Stitcher | Tune In | RSS

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