Category Archives: America

Responding To An Article Attacking the Billy Graham Rule

I am not blessed with a lot of free time these days, especially because of the hectic details of moving while trying to finish out my last week of driving a school bus. As a matter of fact, below is a picture of where I am writing this very piece – on a school bus while waiting for elementary-aged crumb crunchers to finish swimming.

It’s 90+ degrees on this bus, I only have about 30 minutes to write, and I’m sweating like a glass full of ice on a hot day – except I’m not icy. Please allow me the opportunity to rant.


There used to be a time in American life when a man who actually tried to stay true to his moral convictions was considered the kind of man we respected. That kind of man, by all respects a hero of virtue, would be lauded, placed on a pedestal, and pointed to as a standard for young boys to emulate.

Joseph (the one in the Bible with the multi-colored coat) and Dr. Billy Graham are two such men who come to mind.

But nowadays, when a Republican running for governor of Mississippi wants to keep things above board and honorable, the first thing you hear from the media is that this guy is a sexist. In other words, when he tries to honor his wife and his marriage by avoiding the possibility of impropriety, the substance of which could not only harm his marriage and his livelihood, but also the reputation of one whom could be falsely accused, he’s labeled as a woman-hater and abuser of his wife’s integrity.

In other words, because the guy wanted to do things the honorable and godly way, he’s a scum bucket worthy of relegating to the trash heap of failed and forgotten politicians. If you think I’m exaggerating, take a moment to read the vitriolic and condescending article by Monica Hesse in The Washington Times (July 11) entitled:

“The ‘Billy Graham rule’ doesn’t honor your wife. It demeans her – and all women.”

Like I said earlier, I’m pressed for time and dripping sweat on my keyboard, but let me say that I think Monica Hesse and Larrison Campbell are out of their ever-loving minds.

What’s even more interesting is that, if true, The Washington Times was originally going to send a male reporter to shadow Robert Foster. According to one report I read, it was only at the last minute that the paper wanted to send Larrison Campbell to be alone with the gubernatorial candidate, forcing him to say no, not unless they could send a male along with her. If this is true, and if they already knew of Foster’s beliefs (which I’m sure they did), this could have been nothing more than a set up to smear him.

Oh, the irony. Oh, the deceit.

And they wonder why we distrust the media?

For the record, I think the “Billy Graham rule” is as wise as ever, and it is one which I abide by as much as possible. There are times when I am alone with a female doctor, for example, but not when I’m unclothed. Even when I am alone, it’s not the same thing as going out to dinner, sitting behind closed doors in my office, or counseling a woman alone in her home. For one thing, the doctor has more to lose than most if she were to act inappropriately and unprofessionally.

There’s so much more I could say about the individual points of Hesse’s article, but it’s not worth any more of my time, and I don’t have much to spare.

Regardless, Robert Foster’s convictions and rules are admirable, not demeaning. Any woman should be thrilled that her husband was taking proactive measures to protect the integrity of their marriage.

But marriage integrity and men of honor aren’t high on the shopping list for people who have no scruples of their own, I suppose. 

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Filed under America, Christianity, Culture Wars, current events, Defending Traditional Marriage, Marriage, politics

Apple Pie and Amazing Grace: Doing Better than I Deserve

The Question

It came from Africa.

No, it wasn’t an animal trying to eat me, or a disease for which no one has a cure (which is more scary). It was a question, one asked by a Facebook friend in Uganda.

Pastor Ndahayo Shine asked: “How are you?”

imageHow am I? How does an American answer that question? I mean, seriously? What do I have to complain about?

Honestly, at the very moment Pastor Shine’s question popped up on Facebook Messenger I was eating a warmed-up piece of apple pie (as American as it gets).

Pie, I tell you!

I’m eating pie, and I get a question regarding how I’m doing from a man in Uganda. Africa! The place where famines kill more people than the NRA is blamed for!

So, I replied with the following answer:

“I am alive, not hungry, and not hurting. I have a roof over my head, a car in the driveway, and children who love me. My wife is faithful, the police are not after me, and the dog hasn’t chewed anything important in a long, long time. I guess you could say I’m doing better than I deserve.”

Am I Blessed?

So many times we answer questions like “How are you doing?” with things like, “I’m fine,” or “I’m blessed.” However, to be honest – which I try to be most of the time – I’d rather admit to being “fine” than “blessed.”

Why is that? 

Saying that I’m blessed has a sneaky way of implying that those in other places – like Africa – are NOT blessed, at least not as much as me. I mean, what does it say about Christianity and the character of God when those who are “abundantly blessed” are the ones who rarely feel the need to trust God for their next meal? What I own or what’s parked in my driveway is not a mark of spirituality, nor should it insinuate I’ve lived a life more worthy of blessing than my brothers and sisters living in poverty.

If I am blessed at all, it’s not because of anything I’ve done or deserve; I am simply the recipient of God’s grace. I have been allowed, according to God’s sovereignty, to live in a country where leftover pie in a functioning refrigerator is commonplace.

Jesus made it pretty clear who the “blessed” really are. They are the poor in spirit, the meek, the merciful, the pure in heart, and the peacemakers (Matthew 5:3-9). And if that’s not enough, “…Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord…” (Revelation 14:13).

What I Don’t Deserve

While saying “fine,” I’d bet the temptation to answer the question “How are you doing?” with complaints is almost overwhelming for most. Oh, admit it – you say you’re “fine” because you don’t think the person asking is really that interested in hearing your list of ailments, worries, and irritations.

You probably answer with “fine” because you don’t want to sound like a cry baby or a hypochondriac, right? Because, admit it, you feel you deserve better than what you have; you don’t really feel “blessed,” do you?

Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t deserve anything but hell. Yet, for some reason God has allowed me to be the recipient of many good things which I don’t deserve, even if I have worked for a lot of it.

I don’t deserve a faithful wife, loving children, and a devoted dog. I don’t deserve to be a pastor, have a regular income, or be respected in my community.

I don’t deserve electric appliances that make life easier or the home in which I live. I certainly don’t deserve the freedom to come and go as I please without having to rely on public transportation or worry about being stopped by thugs demanding to search my car.

How am I doing? What can I say? I just ate pie…because it was there…and I wasn’t even hungry! If I’m blessed, it’s abundantly above and beyond what I need.

God is good, but His grace is Amazing! 

 

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Filed under America, Christian Living, Life Lessons, Thanksgiving

In Their Own Words… The Founding Fathers and Our Christian Heritage

Every year around this time the godless, anti-Christian, anti-religious, “spaghetti monster” fans wear out the keyboards of their iMacs as they hammer any and every posted news article having anything to do with the Christian stones in our nation’s foundation.

Just this week a story about another school taking down a student-donated 92-year-0ld plaque hit the news. The comment sections of various sources that published the story were overflowing with arrogant atheists preaching the virtues of “separation of church and state.” Obviously, their hatred of Christianity (not so much the desire for pluralism) was fueling their snarky vitriol.

As if the trolls got together beforehand and decided what would be the most effective “shut up the enemy” type of argument, one of the most common mic-drop-type attempts to end any defense of the Ten Commandment plaque went like this:

“If you are OK with posting the Ten Commandments, then would you be OK with posting the 5 pillars of Islam or the 7 points of Satanism? If one religion is honored, then all should be!”

Ummm…. no.

You see, the whole reason for posting the Ten Commandments is not to “promote” a particular faith (btw, it’s not just Christianity that claims the TC’s; they came to the Jews, first!), but to recognize the foundational source from which our nation derived its inspiration. Fact is, Islam had NOTHING to do with the founding of our country, especially not Satanism; therefore there is no historical context to warrant the erecting of plaques them or any other religion or religious texts – the Bible and Christianity alone were supremely instrumental to the Founders and the documents they created to form this country.

At the VERY LEAST, the majority of  our founding fathers, even though they did not want to establish a national church or officially promote one religious sect over another, were very religious, and they admitted the country they envisioned would fail if the people inhabiting it were not.

How can I make such a bold statement? Where’s my proof?

I’m glad you asked.

The rest of this article will consist of quotes from our Founding Fathers. Their words should speak for themselves.

In Their Own Words

John Adams (Signer of the Declaration of Independence and 2nd President of the United States)

“It is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue.” – to Zabdiel Adams on June 21, 1776

[W]e have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion . . . Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – 1798

Charles Carroll of Carrollton (Signer of the Declaration of Independence)

“Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime & pure, [and] which denounces against the wicked eternal misery, and [which] insured to the good eternal happiness, are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.” – from a letter to James McHenry, November 4, 1800)

Benjamin Rush (Signer of the Declaration of Independence)

“The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.” – 1806

“We profess to be republicans, and yest we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuation our republican forms of government, that is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by the means of the Bible. For this Divine Book, above all others, favors that equality among mankind, that respect for just laws, and those sober and frugal virtues, which constitute the soul of republicanism.” – 1806

Benjamin Franklin

(When the Constitutional Convention was deadlocked) “I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth – that God governs in the affairs of men, and if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise with His aid?” – June 28, 1787

George Washington (First President)

The hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in all this time that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more wicked that has not gratitude to acknowledge his obligations…” – from a letter to Brigadier General Thomas Nelson, August 20, 1778

“And now, Almighty Father, if it is Thy holy will that we shall obtain a place and name among the nations of the Earth, grant that we may be enabled to show our gratitude for Thy goodness by our endeavors to fear and obey Thee.” – private prayer, 1779

Samuel Adams (“Father of the American Revolution”)

“The rights of the colonists as Christians…may be best understood by reading and carefully studying the institution of The Great Law Giver and Head of the Christian Church, which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament.” – from Rights of the Colonists, 1772)

John Hancock (first to sign the Declaration of Independence)

“In circumstances dark as these, it becomes us, as men and Christians, to reflect that, whilst every prudent measure should be taken to ward off the impending judgments . . . all confidence must be withheld from the means we use; and reposed only on that God who rules in the Armies of Heaven, and without whose blessing the best human counsels are but foolishness – and all created power vanity,” – April 15, 1775, as Hancock signed a proclamation for a day of fasting and prayer

John Quincy Adams (6th President)

“The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government and principles of Christianity.” – attributed to Adams; cited from Pamphlet on American Revolution, 1860, John Wingate Thorton

Roger Sherman (Signer of all four of the major founding documents)

(In a speech to Congress) “Admiring and thankfully acknowledging the riches of redeeming love, and earnestly imploring that divine assistance which may enable us to live no more to ourselves, but to him who loves us and gave himself to die for us.”

Literally, I could go on and on and on… but I have 4th of July (Independence Day) celebrations to attend – and even a couple of weddings to perform! Tonight, I’m going with my family to a baseball game, after which will be fireworks! How American is that?!!

God bless America! And, may we be bold enough and informed enough to fight for the right to publicly acknowledge His blessings, despite what the Freedom from Religion Foundation and all the religion-hating trolls want to accomplish.

Oh, but wait… There’s just one more quote from John Adams that I need to squeeze in… because it has a direct bearing on the historical context of posting the Ten Commandments…

“The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not sacred as the laws of God, and there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If ‘Thou shalt not covet,’ and ‘Thou shalt not steal,’ were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society, before it can be civilized or made free.” – Source: The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, 1851, Vol. VI, p. 9

Now THAT’S a “mic drop” quote if I ever heard one!

Happy Independence Day!

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Filed under America, Christianity, Culture Wars, politics

7 Words that Distinguish Our Founding Fathers from Modern Americans

“We hold these truths to be self-evident…”

If there were ever any words that are so antithetical to today’s culture, these words from the Declaraton of Independence stand out above them all.

Believe it or not, the founding fathers of the United States of America firmly held to the belief that there are absolute, transcendent truths by which we are able to govern and judge society.

They not only believed there are “truths,” but they believed that these truths are “self-evident.” In other words, they believed that these transcendent truths, rooted in the nature of God, were not hard to find, but plain for all to see, should they only open their eyes. Hence the term self-evident.

Today’s culture has totally rebelled against the concepts of truth and anything that is self-evident. For example, the truth is that God created male and female (Gen. 1:27; Mark 10:6), and what is self-evident are their differences. Yet, modern Americans cannot bring themselves to admit what is obvious, no matter how self-evident.

Not too long ago I read of a transgender activist, Zinnia Jones, who maintains that men who are not attracted to transgender women have “issues”…issues “they should work through.” In other words, Jones believes that biological males who are attracted only to biological females, not trans women, should be relegated to the fringes of society.

In the book of Matthew, chapter seven, we read of two men: a wise man, and a foolish man. Jesus said that a man who listens and does what He says is like a wise man who builds his house on a solid, rock foundation. The foolish man is the one who doesn’t listen to the sayings of Jesus and therefore builds his house on sand. When the storms come, the house built on rock stands firm, but the one built on sand comes crashing down.

A bedrock foundation is un-moving, un-changing, consistent, able to bear weight, and unaffected by the changing weather. However, sandy foundations, although conforming and accommodating, are inconsistent, unable to bear weight, and always changing with the winds of time.

The foundation on which America was built can be found in the “truth” of the Scripture. Without these truths a free, self-governing society cannot not exist for long, if at all.

“[I]t is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue.”

“[W]e have no government armed with power capable of contending
with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. . . . Our constitution
was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the
government of any other.”

– John Adams, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, 2nd President

Unfortunately, modern Americans are rebuilding America on top of a foundation that is comfortable, conforming, and accommodating, always able to shift with the changing winds of culture. And just like the foolish man that Jesus describe in Mathew 7, our “house” will eventually come crashing down, “and great [will be] the fall of it.”

People wonder how long America will survive. My contention is that it can’t survive much longer. How can it when the very foundational truths on which our liberties are grounded has been reduced to shifting sand?

“We hold no truth, and nothing is self-evident; all is relative to self-identification.” – Modern Americans

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June 6th… Would We Do It Again?

d day

Seventy-five years have passed since the pride of the Allies, 156,000 strong, stepped out of landing craft and jumped out of airplanes into the mouth of a monster ready to eat them alive.

Seventy-five years have passed since young men from America, England, and Canada (and we must not forget Australia, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Greece, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Poland) landed on beaches called Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword.

Seventy-five years ago, long before the fancy rock-climbing walls which are so popular in today’s health clubs and gyms,  the 2nd Ranger battalion “led the way” up the 100 ft. cliffs of Pointe du Hoc.

Seventy-five years ago, on the 6th of June, 2,499 American and 1,914 from the other Allied nations, a total of 4,413, gave their lives for the sake of freedom.

Seventy-five years ago men were stepping on the backs of their comrades as they sloshed through red water, breathed in the mist of war, and wondered if they would live to see the ground only yards (meters) in front of them.

On June 6, 1944, seventy-five years ago, it was said of those who landed:

They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate.” — President Franklin D. Roosevelt, radio broadcast, June 6, 1944

It is the 6th of June, 2019, but are we still a people with the stomach to liberate? If we were the ones living seventy-five years ago, where would we be today?

Ask those who take a knee, or hide in a locker room when the anthem is played.

Ask those who protest the same American flag that their African-American ancestors fought and died for – the same ancestors who fought in segregated units, but were still ferociously proud to be Americans. What did the pilots of the Red Tail Squadron do when the flag was raised and the anthem was played?

For that matter, what did Tuskegee Airmen Dr. Harold Brown, a pilot with the renowned 332nd Fighter Group in World War II (an all-black squadron) say when asked the following question during a recorded conference call: “Why [when the slavery trappings, the discrimination was all there] would you raise your right hand and swear to defend this country?”

“Oh, that’s very, very simple, in my opinion. I was a citizen of the United States of America! This was my country, too! Even though it had some shortcomings, it was still the greatest country in the world. There is no other country I would ever trade for it.” (Feb. 28, 2018)

Ask those who are burning the American flag because “America was never great.”

Ask the socialists in Congress, or the mobs who attack anyone who wears a red hat.

Ask the millions as they enjoy their legalized weed.

Ask the rainbow-painted parade attendees as they throw glitter at each other.

Ask the protesters who don’t even know why they protest.

image

The reflection pool at the WW2 Memorial in Washington, D.C. Each gold star represents 100 Americans who died or remain missing during the war.

It cost a lot to buy seventy-five years of freedom. Would we do it again?

They would have to be willing to fight to defend something, and too many no longer believe what was purchased with the blood of others is worth fighting for. We’re too busy fighting each other.

Would we be willing to do it again?

I seriously doubt it. God help us.

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Let’s Skip the Platt-itudes

The Prayer

By now you’ve probably seen where President Trump made an unannounced visit to McLean Bible Church where the pastor, Dr. David Platt, prayed for him.

You can read for yourself how that Platt and his church were only notified moments before the President was to arrive, so it wasn’t a planned event in order to garner attention. I don’t believe that it was even something that Trump planned on becoming so viral, especially since he showed up with a totally different hair style.

But the prayer, oh my goodness, was a powerful and heartfelt, biblically-sound intercession on behalf of the most powerful leader in the free world. Platt did exactly what any pastor should have done – any Christian, for that matter – with grace and respect.

Click here to watch the prayer and read Dr. Platt’s response to the protesters in his congregation. https://www.mcleanbible.org/prayer-president

The Protests

But not minutes after David Platt prayed, members of his own church – snowflakes resting gently in the auditorium – began to express their disapproval and hurt that their beloved and respected pastor would dare go to God on behalf of (ugh!) The President of the United States.

Yes, even after a God-honoring prayer, along with a calm and clear explanation of what was going on, Platt was hit with protests over what he did. How in the name of all that’s holy is that even possible? . . . If, that is, the members who complained were biblically literate at ALL??

I exhort [that means it’s highly encouraged] therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and [for] all that are in authority [that would include a president]; [Why?] that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. – 1 Timothy 2:1-4

What is there in the above passage that allows for a person NOT to pray for the President? To NOT do so would be to disobey a clear imperative!

The “Apology”

Look, I’ve never been the biggest fan of David Platt, but I am not a hater, either. I greatly respect the man and what he’s accomplished for the Lord and His Kingdom. Therefore, I want to tread very carefully as I write what I’m feeling.

If we take a look at the letter Platt sent out to his congregation at McLean Bible Church, it was a gracious, mature, loving attempt to calm any conflict and keep unity within a politically diverse environment. Believe me, I get it.

However, it’s that one itty-bitty line from his explanation (and not necessarily an apology) that rubs many of us the wrong way…

“I wanted to share all of this with you in part because I know that some within our church, for a variety of valid reasons, are hurt that I made this decision.”

Based on what I see clearly defined in Scripture, what on earth could be a “valid reason” for being hurt?

IF it had been me – and it wasn’t – I’d probably been shaking in my shoes being on stage with the President. That’s the first thing. But secondly, IF that had been me, and if I’d had the opportunity to pray for Trump, and if I’d gotten complaints for doing so, I’d likely given my own, genuine apology – yes, an apology – to the congregation, and it would have gone something like this…

“Dear brothers and sisters, some of you have expressed hurt that I prayed for the President of the United States of America this morning. Because of your hatred of the man, you could not reconcile your political ideology with the clear commands of God outlined in His divinely-inspired Word. It was either that, or you simply did not understand that 1 Timothy 2:1-4 applied to anyone but Nero, the man who actually used to burn people like us in order to light the streets of Rome. Therefore, I want to apologize to you for evidently not teaching you the whole counsel of God and leaving you with a deficient understanding of Scripture which has left you with hurt feelings at this time.”

Of course, this is probably why I don’t pastor a church like Platt’s. I’m not much for platitudes these days.

 

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Filed under America, politics, Prayer

The Vampire Ring

The First Question

It was this past Friday, the last day of school, and I was standing in the bus, facing the rear, with my right knee in the driver’s seat and my right arm resting on the barrier between the seat back and the first passenger seat behind me.

The students were loading (all Kindergarten thru 4th graders), and I was watching the chaos when a young African-American boy, no more than 3rd grade, asked a question…

“Why you wear’n a vampire ring?”

Now, there are some questions that immediately make sense, and then there are others that make one stop wonder if he really heard what he thought he heard…

“What vampire ring?” 

All I wanted was clarification, but I never expected the conversation that would follow.

“You ever watched a vampire movie?”

“Yeah,” I answered with a tilt of my head.

“They hold dat up to da vampires. Why you got dat on yo’r ring?” the boy asked.

“That’s a cross,” I replied. “It’s not a ‘vampire’ ring!”

“Yeah,” said the boy, “and so why you got dat on yo’r ring?” 

The Open Door

As most of you know, it’s a big NO-NO for a Christian to openly share his faith on a public school bus. Well, it’s at least a big NO-NO for the bus driver to do it.

But what do you say when some kid asks the meaning for the cross on your ring? Do you let it go, or go for it?

I went for it!

After all, it was the last day of school! What are they gonna do, fire me? …Maybe.

I said:

“This is the ring I got for graduating from seminary. I’m a Christian, and this cross on my ring symbolizes the cross on which my Savior, Jesus Christ, died for the sins of the world. It has nothing to do with vampires!” 

All I got in response was an “Oh.” Then the boy proceeded to pick on the kid next to him and forgot that I was even there.

The Second Question

So, the first question eventually led me to ask myself the second, saddest, most troubling question of the whole day…

“How can a child grow up in America and only associate the Cross of Christ with vampire movies and know nothing of the true meaning?” 

Evidently, very easily. And it breaks my heart. 

Ironically, when’s the last time you ever saw a vampire movie, a modern one, in which the Cross had any value at all? The last one I remember was Fright Night back in the 1980’s. So, not only did this kid not know the true significance of what was on my ring, if anything he probably thought it was nothing more than a joke.


But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; – 1 Corinthians 1:23

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. – Galatians 2:20

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