Thursday, July 28, 2011

Republican Hypocrisy

One of the most interesting political issues that has been quietly waged is our nation’s involvement with-in-or above-Libya. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m relatively clueless about the affair. And being a semi-intelligent person, that’s part of the criticism our President is facing over his decision (and it is virtually his decision alone) to involve our nation in the overthrow of Gaddafi and his regime. Folks like myself don’t understand it.

In fact, even the Speaker of the House doesn’t understand. That’s partly why he sponsored a resolution back in June requiring the President to give his rationale.

Admittedly, the War Powers Act, which stands at the center of this controversy, is a piece of American law that is both obscure and convoluted. Every American President seems to have been criticized for “violating” it. The interesting part of this saga is that the President, who heretofore has been anti-war, is ignoring it; while Republicans, mostly in favor of using force for international conflicts, are citing it.

So I’m a bit more than cynical. I’m seeing hypocrisy in action.

Jeh C. Johnson, the Pentagon general counsel, Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr. and Caroline D. Krass, the acting head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, all advised the President that he would need to scale back operations in Libya. Not liking that counsel, the President found cover in the legal opinions of White House counsel, Robert Bauer, and the State Department’s legal adviser, Harold H. Koh. Both of them argued Congress could be snubbed and the War Powers Act ignored.

At a June 16 White House brief, President Obama’s press secretary, Jay Carney, brought the nation’s attention to an April 28, 1999 statement Representative Boehner’s office released. Then, the issue was President Clinton’s involvement in Kosovo. Boehner said then
“The President of the United States is, and should remain, the chief architect of America’s foreign policy and the Commander-in- Chief of our armed forces. As distressed as many of us are over the Clinton Administration’s ill-conceived strategies in the Balkans, Congress must resist the temptation to take any action that would do further damage to the institution of the presidency itself. Invoking the constitutionally-suspect War Powers Act may halt our nation’s snowballing involvement in the Kosovo quagmire. But it is also likely to tie the hands of future presidents who will need the authority to lead in crises with less ambiguous implications for our national security. A strong presidency is a key pillar of the American system of government - the same system of government our military men and women are prepared to give their lives to defend.”
Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck countered by drawing attention to a statement made by Barak Obama at DePaul University in October 2007 while he was a senator.
“After Vietnam, Congress swore it would never again be duped into war, and even wrote a new law -- the War Powers Act -- to ensure it would not repeat its mistakes,” then-Sen. Obama said. “But no law can force a Congress to stand up to the president. No law can make senators read the intelligence that showed the president was overstating the case for war. No law can give Congress a backbone if it refuses to stand up as the co-equal branch the Constitution made it.”
If Republicans truly believed the President’s authorization of drone-led bomb attacks and an expenditure of $10 million a day constituted ‘hostilities’ the War Powers Act addressed, they should have supported the resolution by Dennis Kucinich. It called for the withdrawal of our involvement and as a “privileged” resolution it would have gone to the Senate for a vote. But Republicans supported Speaker Boehner’s tepid measure instead, allowing them, it seems to me, to criticize Obama’s involvement in Libya without really enforcing the War Powers Act.

So, the liberal Democrats, led by Kucinich, are the heroes of this saga—staying true to their anti-war convictions. Sadly, Republicans, who we often look to for the moral high ground, played the part of hypocrites.

On June 16, the House passed a Boehner resolution by 268 to 145, including 45 Democrats and all but 10 Republicans, requesting a detailed outline of the cost and scope of the operation in Libya. A stronger resolution sponsored by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), which would have required the U.S. to withdraw all its troops from Libya within 15 days, failed but was supported by 87 Republicans and 61 Democrats.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Governor Rick Perry: A Rising Star Who Fizzles Fast

Texas Governor Rick Perry has been eyeing the Republican nomination for President and has been quite good at manipulating Religious Right conservatives toward his cause. He is the foremost voice of calling for a national day of prayer in Houston on August 6 and is termed “initiator of The Response” by The Response website.

The groups “leaders” and “co-chairs” are quite the consortium of religious figures in America, mostly dominated by the false teachers of the charismatic, word of faith movement, some of them outright quacks.

Which bring us to the surprises. Don Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, is a “leader” along with Jim Garlow, pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church of San Diego. Richard Land, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Jim and Shirley Dobson of Focus on the Family, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America are among the honorary co-chairs. Ed Young, Pastor of Second Baptist Church, Houston, along with David Barton of WallBuilders are also named among supporters.

That Governor Perry is using a spiritual event for political purposes should be apparent. This is even more problematic by his recent endorsement of homosexual marriage by individual states, as reported here by the Wall Street Journal. With the solid lineup of key religious faces, many undiscerning conservative Christians will back this candidate, who has declared war on God.

Further, the gobble-de-gook of religious pluralism will ultimately harm the gospel. When conservatives link arms with biblical heretics, we are in serious trouble. And some of America’s foremost pro-family voices have done exactly that.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Democrats Seek to Advance Homosexual Marriage

While President Obama’s popularity ratings continue to plummet over his dismal financial policies that continue to virtually bankrupt the nation, White House strategists have opted to play to the Democratic power base—hoping to shore up some meager measure of support.

The Senate has begun hearings on the Respect for Marriage Act, a pro-homosexual bill, designed to destroy biblical marriage, which was solidified by the 1996 passage of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). DOMA defined marriage as exclusively between one man and one woman, was passed by 84 percent of those who served in Congress and was even signed into law by then President Bill Clinton, a supporter of sodomite rights.

Speaker of the House John Boehner said: “This is another effort by the White House to take attention away from jobs and the president’s economic policies, which have been a failure. The Defense of Marriage Act is the law of the land, and the House will continue with its effort to ensure the constitutionality of the law is determined by the courts rather than by a unilateral action by the Obama Administration.”

The one semi-surprise of today’s hearing, which was called to order by Chairman Patrick Leahy at 9:45 a.m., was Senator Al Franken’s attack on Tom Minnery, senior vice president of CitizenLink, a ministry of Focus on the Family. Minnery was one of only a few witnesses the Democratic controlled Judiciary Committee allowed to testify at today’s hearing. Franken tried to make a point that a HHS study citing the ‘nuclear family’ could have been referring to same-sex couples.

The ranking Republican member, Senator Chuck Grassley (IA) said of the name of the repeal bill, the Respect for Marriage Act, "George Orwell would have marveled at the name."

In fact, marriage, these days, has little respect in our country. While its most aggressive and current threat is from the homosexual community, divorce and pre-marital sex continue to weaken this God-ordained institution.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Patrick Henry--American Patriot

One of America’s favorite patriots is the fiery Virginian, Patrick Henry. Most citizens know (or at least used to know) of his famous “Give me liberty, or give me death” statement. Few, however, have ever read the entire speech in which it was uttered. That speech, known as The War Inevitable, was delivered to Virginia’s House of Burgesses on March 23, 1775 at St. John’s Church in Richmond. We forget that the founders were far from united on the matter of independence from Great Britain. Patrick Henry helped persuade the Virginian leaders to offer troops in support of the coming conflict.

I’ll refrain from analyzing the speech, trusting only that you, the reader, will notice his several references to God. He, like so many of our nation’s founders, was thoroughly Christian.

The War Inevitable
No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.

Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.

I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House. Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies?

No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne!

In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free-- if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending--if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained--we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!

They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us.

Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable--and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace-- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
Some twenty fours years later, Patrick Henry was on the threshold of death. He turned to his attending physician and said:

"Doctor, I wish you to observe how real and beneficial the religion of Christ is to a man about to die... I am, however, much consoled by reflecting that the religion of Christ has, from its first appearance in the world, been attacked in vain by all the wits, philosophers, and wise ones, aided by every power of man, and its triumphs have been complete."