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Embattled Vought Wins Embattled Vote

Tony Perkins · Mar. 2, 2018

Vice President Mike Pence never served in the Senate, but he’s serving it now! With Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) health in question and Mike Rounds (R-SD) out of town, America’s second-in-command is becoming a permanent fixture in the chamber he oversees. On Wednesday, fresh off his trip to Nashville, the vice president made the mile and a half trek down Constitution Avenue to cast another tie-breaking vote — this time on the Office of Management and Budget’s new deputy, Russell Vought.

Over the past 14 months, the Trump administration has nominated a lot of Christians. But not many got the attention that Vought did. That was thanks, almost entirely, to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who took the opportunity in Vought’s hearing to drop the mask on the Left’s open disgust for believers. After a faith-based grilling that left Sanders enraged and Americans in shock, Russell’s nomination became the rallying cry for religious tolerance. From the pages of newspapers to the floor of Congress, people like Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) fired back at the far-Left’s idea that Christians are unqualified for public service.

There was some dispute in a … hearing about Russell Vought and his faith … about is he too much of a Christian to be able to serve. I just want to make a public statement that that’s appalling to me… Article XI of the Constitution says there no religious test for any officer of the United States and that shouldn’t even have been a discussion in that committee hearing.

Unfortunately, some extremists have no problem hauling someone’s personal views into the limelight and judging them on those beliefs — whether they impact a person’s public policies or not. Wednesday’s vote was a powerful rejection of that logic. And while The Hill and others called Vought “controversial,” his experience and qualifications suggest otherwise. Senate Democrats created that illusion to cover up their own anti-faith prejudice.

We applaud Republicans for sending radicals like Sanders a message that his anti-faith hostility has no place in the U.S. Senate. Thanks, too, to Vice President Pence, who is nowhere near the tie-breaking record of 31 that John Calhoun set in 1825, but I suppose anything’s possible if Democrats keep stonewalling solid nominees. As for Vought, he’s arriving at OMB just in time for the next omnibus spending debates. And given his history of belt-tightening, we can all be grateful for that!

Originally published here.

Atheists Complain When the Church Lies in State

It would be difficult to find people who didn’t appreciate Billy Graham’s contributions to American life. Difficult, unfortunately, but not impossible. While there are probably people who weren’t persuaded by his message, they at least respect the honorable life he lived. Today’s atheists won’t even concede that. Instead they’ve taken Graham’s death and turned it into a pathetic display of their own intolerance.

While Graham laid in the Capitol, at least two extremist groups took one last opportunity to malign the man who delivered a message that changed millions of American lives. Unfortunately for them, their spite said a lot more about the true colors of the secularist movement than anything else could. Predictably, the biggest opponents of Graham’s honor were the radicals at the Freedom from Religion Foundation and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. In a letter to House and Senate leadership, they complained that a man who wanted nothing more than to bring them to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ didn’t deserve the honor Congress was giving him.

Arguing that he put “the Bible far above the Constitution,” FFRF desperately looked for reasons to oust America’s pastor from Statutory Hall. “Billy Graham believed fervently in Christianity, and people listened to him. But that is not worthy of praise or a spot in the U.S. Capitol, however temporary,” it wrote. “Graham in his own way sought to undo the only sure way to guarantee freedom of religion: a government free from religion. Graham is on the wrong side of history. You will be, too,” it warned GOP leaders, “if you authorize the unearned honor.” The last private citizen to lie under the rotunda, Rosa Parks, was a Christian too. Does it think Congress was wrong to tribute her?

Americans United took a slightly less vicious tact, insisting, “We don’t say this to criticize a man who has died, but because the question of who should receive this rare honor warrants public discussion… Such a high government honor for someone solely for their work spreading an interpretation of one faith offends the spirit of our First Amendment’s guarantee that government will not take actions that endorse or promote religion.”

Even The Washington Post raised the question about Graham’s worthiness. “Not that he should be lauded, but does he deserve to lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol?” the Miller Center’s Barbara Perry told the Post. “Lying in honor should be someone who served their country. Well, how did he do that?” For starters, he served the men who served our country. Twelve presidents counted him as a trusted advisor or friend. Apart from that, he was actively engaged in making sure the civil rights movement (of which Rosa Parks was a part) had a voice. Then, there’s the small matter of him delivering the gospel message that our country was founded on to tens of millions of hurting people. Everything Billy Graham did was in service to others.

Surely, men and women who disagree with Rev. Graham can understand the important role he played in U.S. history, through some of its most tumultuous chapters. Historian John Fea is no fan of the “overlap of church and state,” but even he could recognize why Billy Graham was deserving. “Evangelical Christianity, whether you like it or not, has always been at the center of the Republic, since the 18th century… Graham was the embodiment of a major stream of American culture. Not just religion but American culture.”

The tragic irony here is that these atheists are the intended beneficiaries of the message Billy Graham preached. It’s profoundly sad that they can’t get over their contempt for God long enough to hear that message: God loves them.

Originally published here.

A Note From Music City!

This week, we’re literally taking our show on the road — broadcasting “Washington Watch” live from NRB in Nashville! The National Religious Broadcasters convention is one of the highlights of our year, as we look for new ways to communicate our values to the world. Vice President Mike Pence spoke at this year’s event, the 75th, insisting that Christians’ message is needed now more than ever. In Thursday morning’s session, I had the opportunity to speak about the unique opportunity we have under the Trump administration to reshape the country and undo some of the devastating effects of the Obama era.

The evangelical voter, I explained, has never been more important. Extreme liberals know it. That’s why there’s an intense effort on the Left to suppress our turnout in the upcoming elections by dampening the enthusiasm of conservative voters. “If they succeed,” I told the audience, “and your listeners and viewers get discouraged and stay home, the reform is over. The wave of religious freedom successes will end.” Here’s how serious it is. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) needs just 24 seats to switch from Republican to Democrat to retake the House.

In every midterm election since the Civil War, the president’s party has lost, on average, 32 seats in the House and two in the Senate. There are more than 40 Republicans who have and will announce that they are retiring.

If conservatives — and, in particular, evangelical voters — do not turn out, it will happen. And one of the first orders of business will be the impeachment of President Trump. They most likely will not succeed in removing him from office, but they will most likely succeed in stopping the good this administration is doing… Let’s make the most of this moment.

To watch the speech in its entirety, check out the video below. You can watch my remarks beginning at 1:24:02. As part of the morning’s activities, I also had the chance to join an important panel about online censorship with friends Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), fellow radio host Dennis Prager, Fox News’s Todd Starnes, SBA List’s Marjorie Dannenfelser, and Salem Network’s Larry Elder. Together, we tackled what’s becoming a bigger problem now that companies like Google and YouTube are cracking down on the conservative message. Unable to contend in the debate of ideas, the Left is systematically working to stigmatize Christians to silence them. We can’t let that happen. We must protect our freedoms by using them!

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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