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Mid-Day Digest

Mar. 22, 2017

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • Another crime committed by illegals in a sanctuary city.
  • With the House vote on health care upcoming, strategy and perspective are key.
  • The decline of Christianity hasn’t made the nation nicer. Just the opposite.
  • Daily Features: Top Headlines, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

THE FOUNDATION

“Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. What is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” —James Madison (1788)

TOP RIGHT HOOKS

The Misplaced Compassion of ‘Sanctuary Cities’

Once again the Left’s engagement in fantasy instead of fact leaves rationale people shaking their heads in utter disbelief. A mere four days after two illegal alien young men were arrested for brutally raping a 14-year-old girl in a high school bathroom in Rockville, Maryland, the state legislature passed a bill declaring Maryland to be a “sanctuary state” affording illegal aliens more protections from deportation. Maryland’s Republican governor Larry Hogan, who promised to veto the bill, angrily responded to the crime and called for Montgomery County to “immediately and fully cooperate with all federal authorities” as they investigate the “heinous crime.”

To add insult to injury, it has been learned that one of the illegals had been previously detained in Texas for illegally entering the country, but was subsequently released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Obviously he should never have been released.

This past Monday, the Department of Homeland Security released a list, which is by no means exhaustive, of “jurisdictions that have enacted polices which limit cooperation with ICE.” A majority of the jurisdictions were located in Texas, but not surprisingly Montgomery County, Maryland, was also included on the list. Donald Trump has been working to expose just how big the problem of lawless local governments aiding and abetting of illegal aliens has become.

Denying the growing illegal alien crime epidemic will only create more suffering for law-abiding citizens. Lawlessness unchecked leads only to greater and more severe criminal acts, as the Rockville rape case attests. The great fallacy preached by many on the Left is the insistence that to be the truly compassionate one must ignore “lower-level” lawlessness. The assumption being that a nation committed to the Rule of Law is inherently socially unjust.

Leftists continue to double down and ignore the genuine plight of the innocent victims who have been begging for protection and the enforcement of the law. Where is that great “compassion” from the Left for law-abiding American citizens?

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Let’s Not Miss the Health Care Forest for the Trees

This week could mark a historic turning point for health care reform. Or maybe not. The outcome is contingent on how House conservatives decide to cast their votes on the American Health Care Act. For his part, President Donald Trump is rallying the troops. In Louisville, Trump declared, “This is our long-awaited chance to finally get rid of ObamaCare.” He reminded Americans that “the alternative is what you have, [and] what you have is nothing.” Emphasizing the magnitude of this undertaking, he reportedly also told the bill’s fiercest opponents, “I honestly think many of you will lose your seats in 2018 if you don’t get this done.”

Earlier this week, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows said support was meager at best: “Currently there are not enough votes to pass the legislation.” Which is why House Speaker Paul Ryan and Trump are working so tirelessly to persuade naysayers like Sen. Rand Paul, whom Trump even offered an olive branch, saying, “I look forward to working with him so we can get this bill passed — in some form.” Certainly it’s a critical issue, and the reasons for apprehension are understandable. As Hot Air blogger Allahpundit argues, “Given how hugely unpopular the bill is across the political spectrum, it may also be true that House Republicans will lose seats if the bill does pass.” Fair point.

We should note that the bill likely has the necessary support, at least in the House, and that what’s left before Thursday’s vote is backroom dealing over who gets what in return for their vote.

But the harsh reality is laid out in the words of a Wall Street Journal editorial: “If conservatives fumble this repeal and replace moment, they won’t get another chance. And they’ll have squandered their best opening in a generation to control the size and scope of the federal Leviathan.” Columnist Cal Thomas adds, “Failure to at least take the first step in replacing a deeply flawed, government-mandated insurance program will leave a stain on the Republican Party that even the strongest and purest ‘detergent’ will not be able to remove.” Though it can be extremely difficult, sometimes you have to take victories where you can find them, as underwhelming as they may be. That’s the nature of compromise. Let’s tackle what we can now and move forward with other things later. Otherwise, as Trump articulated, we’re left with nothing.

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Top Headlines

  • Democrat obstruction charade: Wait to vote on Judge Gorsuch until the FBI investigation is complete. (The Hill)

  • Gorsuch to Feinstein: Here are a lot of “little guy” rulings you seem to have overlooked. (Hot Air video)

  • Supreme Court reins in president’s appointment powers. (Reuters)

  • More than 200 illegal immigrants set for deportation released from jail in one week. (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • Assailant mows down pedestrians outside UK Parliament. Wonder what his motives were… (USA Today)

  • Demo Convention’s Khizr Khan lied about Trump’s travel ban. (Washington Examiner)

  • Chelsea Clinton gets lifetime achievement award for doing nothing. (Heat Street)

  • Trump renews NASA mission for human space travel, deep space exploration. (The Washington Times)

  • Iranian opposition leader says U.S. “appeasement” has helped the regime. (CNS News)

  • San Francisco: Any company that bids on Trump’s border wall won’t get work here — sounds like discrimination. (Hot Air)

  • Hump Day Humor: Christian woman spends 10% of paycheck at Hobby Lobby in lieu of tithing. (The Babylon Bee)

  • Policy: Let’s remember why Americans want ObamaCare repeal. (The Heritage Foundation)

  • Policy: No time to go wobbly on Gorsuch. (The Washington Times)

For more, visit Patriot Headline Report.

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FEATURED RIGHT ANALYSIS

As Religious Influence Ebbs in America, Incivility Increases

By Louis DeBroux

Is a post-Christian America a kinder, more tolerant America? It would not seem so.

For decades angry progressives have attacked religion as the source of most social ills and demanded every last vestige of Christian influence be purged from the public square.

It seems progressives are seeing their wish realized. Though America has long been a religious nation, the level of religious observance has been declining. According to data from Pew Research, in recent years, while the overwhelming majority of Americans say they believe in God, the number of those with no religious affiliation has skyrocketed from 6% in 1992 to 22% in 2014. Among Millennials, 35% have no religious connection.

While the political Left is more apt to shun religion in general and Christianity in particular, this disturbing trend is showing up among an unexpected demographic: white Republicans. According to the Public Religion Research Institute, the percentage of white Republicans with no religious affiliation has almost tripled since 1990.

If one accepts the Left’s premise that religion is a negative influence in public life (what, with its opposition to same-sex marriage, abortion, etc.) then one would think a waning influence of Christianity would make America a more tolerant society, correct?

Quite the opposite.

As religious observance on the right and the left has eroded, studies show Christianity has been replaced not by a benign, tolerant multiculturalism, but increasingly polarized forms of tribalism. The Right embraces populist nationalism, the Left embraces identity politics. Absent the tempering influence of Christianity, which preaches love for fellow man, forgiveness and charity, the non-religious on both sides take a darker view of America’s future, and increasingly see each other as not decent people with differing opinions, but as fundamentally bad people.

Why is this?

As Peter Beinert writes this month in The Atlantic, “Establishing causation is difficult, but we know that culturally conservative white Americans who are disengaged from church experience less economic success and more family breakdown than those who remain connected, and they grow more pessimistic and resentful.”

Beinert notes the political Left is not exempt from such dystopian thoughts, noting, “White Democrats who are disconnected from organized religion are substantially more likely than other white Democrats to call the American dream a myth.” Likewise, the Black Lives Matter movement shuns peaceful protests like those led by black Christian clergy such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which was so successful in changing the hearts and minds of Americans during the civil rights movement.

While the causation of the ebbing of Christianity can be debated, the effects are quite clear. Politics is too often a zero-sum game — we win, you lose. And with politics infecting every aspect of American life, and religion on the decline, is it any wonder Americans have become more factional, more confrontational, and more polarized?

The political Left sees the populist nationalism of Donald Trump as a scary, dangerous development, claiming his supporters seek to harm and subjugate all who don’t share their views or pigmentation. Yet leftists don’t seem to grasp that the Trump phenomenon is in many ways a push-back against the Left’s hypocritical demonization of its opponents. The irony of insulting and assaulting people as you lecture them on how dangerous their views are is lost on the Left.

In the wake of Donald Trump’s shocking election upset, progressives around the nation poured into the streets, rioting, assaulting Trump supporters, breaking windows, looting, and setting cars and buildings on fire. On college campuses, the bastions of leftist orthodoxy and indoctrination, students and even faculty routinely give tacit approval, and outright encouragement, to the sentiment that physically harming those with whom they disagree is justified.

George Washington called religion and morality the “indispensable supports” of the American republic. John Adams declared the Constitution “wholly inadequate” to govern any but a moral and religious people. And British statesman Edmund Burke warned, “Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their appetites. … Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”

Without the peaceful influence of religion, Americans gravitate toward a darker view of their country and their fellow man. Trust, civility and goodwill recede, replaced by a lust for power to secure to each the enforcement of his or her worldview.

Beinert closes his analysis by saying, “Maybe it’s the values of hierarchy, authority, and tradition that churches instill. Maybe religion builds habits and networks that help people better weather national traumas, and thus retain their faith that the system works. For whatever reason, secularization isn’t easing political conflict. It’s making American politics even more convulsive and zero-sum. For years, political commentators dreamed that the culture war over religious morality that began in the 1960s and ‘70s would fade. It has. And the more secular, more ferociously national and racial culture war that has followed is worse.”

Christianity in America is certainly not dead, but its influence has lessened and, as a result, the public discourse has become less civil. A restoration — a revival, if you will — of the Christian spirit is sorely needed.

As Dennis Prager put it, “If you want a good world, the death of Judeo-Christian values should frighten you.”

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MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

For more, visit Right Opinion.

OPINION IN BRIEF

Ben Shapiro: “In an era in which half of the population will believe virtually everything about the other side, we’re primed for scandal all the time. The tinder of scandal is dry, and everyone is just waiting nervously for a lit match to set the blaze. That means a whiff of scandal pervades nearly everything. … Those on the Left willing to accuse President Trump of Kremlin connections sans evidence earn the love and support of those on their own side of the aisle; and those on the Right willing to humor Trump’s most extreme claims about Obama’s wiretapping gain clicks and admiration on their side. The result: Those who suggest that we wait for evidence are seen as gullible, naive. … If this leads to an American return to smaller government — hey, we can’t trust anybody anyway, so let’s stop handing them power — this new paranoia might be acceptable. But it won’t. Instead, Americans seems bound and determined to hand power to those on each side who are most apt to identify the nefarious intentions of those on the other side, with or without evidence. That’s a recipe for not only polarization but also political breakdown.”

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SHORT CUTS

Insight: “The world is governed more by appearance than realities so that it is fully as necessary to seem to know something as to know it.” —Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Upright: “The Book of Exodus says, regarding judges, ‘Do not follow the majority for evil. … Do not glorify a destitute person in his grievance.’ And, in Deuteronomy, ‘You shall not pervert judgment, you shall not respect persons, and not take a bribe.’ What really bothers liberals is that the original text of our Constitution is rooted in an even higher source — the Judge of our judges. At the conclusion of the Declaration of Independence, the founders appealed ‘to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions.’ Judge Neil Gorsuch will extract our law from the whims of politicians. His appointment to the Supreme Court is an important step to ‘make America great again.’” —Star Parker

Non Compos Mentis: “There’s a cloud now hanging over the head of the president, and while that’s happening — to have a lifetime appointment made by this president seems very unseemly and there ought to be a delay.” —Chuck Schumer

Legacy: “President Obama was the president of the United States until just a matter of a [few] weeks ago. I don’t think he can be dismissed as the leader of the Democratic Party.” —Nancy Pelosi

Late-night humor: “There were … several March Madness upsets this weekend, with Wisconsin taking out top overall seed Villanova, and Michigan beating Louisville. I haven’t seen Wisconsin and Michigan knock out the favorite since … the election.” —Jimmy Fallon

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Managing Editor Nate Jackson

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