Mid-Day Digest

Feb. 21, 2018

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • The Rev. Billy Graham has finally gone home. Well done, good and faithful servant.
  • Trump moves to ban bump stocks.
  • Florida teens are being used by the Left as pawns for gun control.
  • As politicized as the Olympics became this year, it’s no wonder viewership was down.
  • There’s no such thing as meaningless sex.
  • Mockingjay to the rescue? Jennifer Lawrence quits acting to “save” America.
  • Cybersecurity work with the Russians? Please.
  • Plus our Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

THE FOUNDATION

“Let the pulpit resound with the doctrine and sentiments of religious liberty. Let us hear of the dignity of man’s nature, and the noble rank he holds among the works of God.” —John Adams (1765)

FEATURED ANALYSIS

Billy Graham Has Gone Home

By Mark Alexander

“My home is in Heaven. I’m just traveling through this world.” Billy Graham spoke those words often.

Born Nov. 7, 1918, he went home this morning at the age of 99. A friend, who spent years working with Graham’s ministries, observed, “Can you imagine the line of people waiting to say, ‘Thanks for sharing Christ with me!’”

“America’s Pastor” wanted to be a baseball player early in life, but after attending a Christian revival at age 16, his life was forever changed. Over the course of his life, he preached the saving gospel of Jesus Christ to hundreds of millions in 185 countries, and his message, broadcast via radio, TV, Decision magazine, newspaper columns, the Internet and 29 books, touched many millions more. The Billy Graham Crusades ran from the 1940s until his last New York City crusade in 2005, by which time Parkinson’s Disease had rendered him too weak to keep up the crusade pace.

If you had the privilege of being among those in attendance, count yourself blessed. If not, there are plenty of his messages available online, including his last public sermon in 2006, which my children attended. And fittingly, there was this reflection on the occasion of his 99th birthday.

Graham consulted and prayed with every American president from Harry Truman forward, and even presided at the graveside service for Lyndon Johnson and gave a eulogy at the funeral of Richard Nixon.

In 1996, on the occasion of being presented the Congressional Gold Medal, Graham offered these observations about our nation:

America has gone a long way down the wrong road. We must turn around and go back and change roads. If ever we needed God’s help, it is now. … If ever we needed spiritual renewal, it is now. And it can begin today in each one of our lives, as we repent before God and yield ourselves to Him and His Word. After World War II … we had the opportunity to rule the world. … Something has happened since those days and there is much about America that is no longer good. … The list is almost endless. … We have confused liberty with license — and we are paying the awful price. We are a society poised on the brink of self-destruction.

What is the problem? The real problem is within ourselves. … I believe the fundamental crisis of our time is a crisis of the spirit. We have lost sight of the moral and spiritual principles on which this nation was established — principles drawn largely from the Judeo-Christian tradition as found in the Bible… What must be done? Let me briefly suggest three things. First, we must repent. In the depths of the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln called for special days of public repentance and prayer. Our need for repentance is no less today…

What does repentance mean? Repentance means to change our thinking and our way of living. It means to turn from our sins and to commit ourselves to God and His will. Over 2,700 years ago, the Old Testament prophet Isaiah declared, “Seek the Lord while he may be found, call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him, and to our God, for He will freely pardon.” (Isaiah 55: 6-7)

Second, we must commit our lives to God, and to the moral and spiritual truths that have made this nation great. Think how different our nation would be if we sought to follow the simple and yet profound injunctions of the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount. But we must respond to God, Who is offering us forgiveness, mercy, supernatural help, and the power to change.

Graham concluded:

Third, our commitment must be translated into action — in our homes, in our neighborhoods, and in our society. Jesus taught there are only two roads in life. One is the broad road that is easy and well-traveled, but which leads to destruction. The other, He said, is the narrow road of truth and faith that at times is hard and lonely, but which leads to life and salvation. … What are YOU going to do? … As I look out across this distinguished group gathered here, I see more than a few men and women who have what it takes, under God, to lead our country forward “through the night.”

And indeed, that charge undergirds our mission every day.

Billy Graham preached not only to world leaders but also to the very poorest in Third World villages and everywhere in between. He defied boundaries of class and race to present a timeless message of hope for all people.

Amid all the world travel, he was, first and foremost, a family man. He met his wife of 64 years, Ruth Bell Graham, at Wheaton College in the early ‘40s, and the two had five children, 19 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren. Mrs. Graham died in 2007. Their eldest son, Franklin, officially took the helm of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in 2000, and many of his other children and grandchildren are involved in ministry.

Accordingly, Graham devoted many of his messages to marriage and family. There is a framed personal letter from him written in 2014 on the wall next to my workstation as a constant reminder of what is really important in life. It closes, “Continue to fight the good fight, Mark. Don’t ever retire from life. Continue to lead Ann and your children for all the years that our Lord gives to you.” I have sometimes failed as a husband and father, but, by the Grace of God, have been forgiven, and indeed, will never retire from life.

Of his own life, Graham said, “My one purpose is to help people find a personal relationship with God, which, I believe, comes through knowing Christ.”

Knowing that he’d lived a long life dedicated to that purpose, he also said, “On day you will hear that Billy Graham has died. Don’t believe it. On that day I will be more alive than I ever.”

On behalf of all our Patriot editors and staff, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). Welcome home.

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Bump Stock Ban Gets Trump’s Support

“Just a few moments ago I signed a memo directing the attorney general to propose regulations that ban all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns,” President Donald Trump announced Tuesday. Turning to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Trump further stated, “I expect these regulations to be finalized, Jeff, very soon.” In so doing, Trump clearly expressed his desire for a ban on bump stock devices — an item that much of the American public became aware of only after the Las Vegas atrocity last year. As we noted then, the essential purpose of the bump stock device is to circumvent the 1934 ban on automatic weapons.

Recall that, back in 2010, the ATF under Barack Obama approved the bump stock, arguing that it did not fall under the purview of the law banning machine guns. And to be fair, the ATF was working with a gray area. The law defines a “machine gun” as a “weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.” In other words, by the book, a bump stock does not change a semi-automatic rifle into a fully automatic rifle, even though it does simulate the rapid-firing effect. It’s a classic example of letter of the law versus the spirit of the law. And in this case, Trump’s call for a ban is correct, though once again action from Congress is likely needed for clarification.

Putting all the nuanced details aside, this is primarily about pushing a feel-good measure that enjoys wide support both nationally and within Congress. The practical reality is that the banning of bump stocks will likely have little to no impact on preventing future mass shootings. In fact, the only known instance of its use in a crime was the Las Vegas massacre. However, regarding actual gun regulation loopholes, this is a gaping one that can be all too easily exploited by the anti-gun lobby. Closing it is the right move both for abiding by the spirit of the 1934 law banning machine guns and protecting against those who point to the bump stock loophole as an excuse to justify the “need” for creating even more gun control legislation, ultimately designed to further limit Americans’ Second Amendment rights.

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Leftists Use Teens as Pawns for Gun Control

By Nate Jackson

A week after the high school massacre in Florida, the gun control push has been ratcheted up a notch. Not only will kids and their families take to the streets of DC for March For Our Lives next month, teens from the school are in Florida’s capital to demand change. The Associated Press reports, “Students who survived the Florida school shooting prepared to flood the Capitol Wednesday pushing to ban the assault-style rifle used to kill 17 people, vowing to make changes in the November election if they can’t persuade lawmakers to change laws before their legislative session ends.”

First, a point we always make. So-called “assault weapons” are nothing of the sort. That’s a made-up term by the Leftmedia meant to make people afraid of what is a basic semi-automatic rifle with certain cosmetic features. Find out the truth here.

Second, it’s incredibly unfortunate that teenagers likely suffering post-traumatic stress from a horrific attack are being held up as the sage voices of reason and unassailable moral authority. The Left is using these kids as pawns to advance gun control, and it’s arguably even more sick than politicians making a platform out of the caskets of Sandy Hook’s children.

It’s not just these Florida students, either. Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun Everytown for Gun Safety is spinning off a group called Students Demand Action, which can spread the Left’s agenda nationwide.

That is not to say adults shouldn’t listen to kids who are traumatized, but supposedly following them is another matter. As Dan McLaughlin writes, “If you have ever been, or known, a teenager, you know that even comparatively well-informed teens are almost always just advancing arguments they’ve heard from adults, and typically without much consideration of the opposing arguments.”

The effectiveness of the Left’s strategy here, however, is that it’s tough to rebut an emotional appeal to “the children.” In fact, The New York Times featured an article yesterday conflating reasoned criticism with some off-the-wall conspiracy theories about the teen protesters. Calling the teens pawns of the Left is entirely different than alleging a “false flag” or “crisis actors.” But it serves the agenda to discredit all conservative voices while shouting us down for objecting.

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Top Headlines

  • Supreme Court won’t hear challenge to California gun waiting period (NBC News)

  • Gun control groups take out New York Times ad naming lawmakers who have accepted NRA donations (The Hill)

  • Sorry, despite gun control advocates’ claims, U.S. isn’t the worst country for mass shootings (Investor’s Business Daily)

  • Fact check: Have over 1,600 “mass shootings” occurred since Sandy Hook? (The Daily Signal)

  • At least seven people have been charged with copycat threats since the Florida school shooting (Time)

  • Indictment reveals Russian influence operation primarily targeted Clinton (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • Russian trolls tweeted disinformation long before U.S. election (The Wall Street Journal)

  • North Korea canceled secret meeting with Pence at Olympics (The Hill)

  • Jim Mattis makes recommendations on Trump’s transgender troop ban (Washington Examiner)

  • Humor: Federal government launches GoFundMe campaign to pay off $20 trillion national debt (The Babylon Bee)

  • Policy: New health policy would make coverage options more affordable (The Daily Signal)

  • Policy: International Space Station better off in private hands (E21)

For more of today’s news, visit Patriot Headline Report.

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TODAY’S MEME

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For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.

TODAY’S CARTOON

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For more of today’s top cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.

MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

OPINION IN BRIEF

Marc A. Thiessen: “The president’s critics complain that his response to the Mueller indictment is defensive. America is under attack, they say, and all he can talk about is himself. Well, whose fault is that? For more than a year, Democrats have repeatedly accused Trump of colluding with Moscow. Now the special counsel has issued an indictment that shows — at least with regard to this element of the Russian effort — that no collusion took place. Of course Trump is going to claim vindication! Perhaps evidence of collusion between Trump officials and Russia will still emerge. If it does, those officials should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. But Trump’s response is not the behavior of someone who is worried that Mueller will find evidence he knowingly engaged in collusion. In fact, the only evidence so far of any cooperation between a hired operative of a 2016 campaign and Russian officials is when the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid Christopher Steele to collect dirt on Trump from Russian officials. If Trump had paid a former spy to collect dirt on Clinton from Russian officials, Democrats would be shouting that they had the ‘smoking gun.’ … Trump was not in office when the Russian effort began in 2014 … or in 2015 … or in 2016. For three years, President Barack Obama did virtually nothing in response to this attack on America. It’s way past time to address this threat, and we need to do it in a bipartisan manner. But for that to happen, Democrats need to stop politicizing the Russia investigation.”

SHORT CUTS

Observations: “Think about this: The abortion lobby is responsible for more deaths of innocent unborn children than school shooters. There are millions of children who will never be able to try out for the high school football team or enjoy any of the rights we take for granted. That lobby is embraced by the Left. But one group that defends the rights of citizens is reviled by the Left. Go figure.” —Gary Bauer

Another perspective from the Florida shooting victims: “I wholeheartedly believe that the media is politicizing this tragedy. It seems that gun control laws is the major topic of conversation rather than focusing on the bigger issue of 17 innocent lives being taken at the hands of another human. … I know many people who are pro-gun and others who support gun control but it seems that the media is specifically targeting those in support of gun control to make it seem as if they are the majority, and the liberal news outlets are the ones that seem to make the bigger effort to speak to these people.” —Brandon Minoff, a student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

With “conservatives” like these… “We need to repeal the Second Amendment because most gun-control legislation is ineffective when most Americans have a guaranteed constitutional right to purchase deadly weaponry in nearly unlimited quantities. There’s a good case to be made for owning a handgun for self-defense, or a rifle for hunting. There is no remotely sane case for being allowed to purchase, as Paddock did, 33 firearms in the space of a year. But that change can’t happen without a constitutional fix. Anything less does little more than treat the symptoms of the disease.” —New York Times’ Bret Stephens

Braying Jenny: “Kids or guns — what do you value more?” —MSNBC’s Katy Tur

Non Compos Mentis: “Teens between 14 and 18 have far better BS detectors, on average, than ‘adults’ 18 and older. Wouldn’t it be great if the voting age were lowered to 16?” —Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe

And last… “Ironically, the people arguing that we should let teenagers set national gun policy are in the same breath arguing that we should not let 19-year-olds own guns.” —Dan McLaughlin

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Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform — Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen — standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families. We also humbly ask prayer for your Patriot team, that our mission would seed and encourage the spirit of Liberty in the hearts and minds of our countrymen.

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher

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