Is Country Music Going the Way of the NFL?
Through all of the cultural ups and downs, country music has always been a place conservatives felt welcome. While so many other celebrities started picking up activist causes and shaming fans who held Christian beliefs, American could always count on Nashville to stay true to their values (or at least tolerate them). Not anymore.
Thursday, in a letter that rocked the country music scene, Gov. Mike Huckabee announced that he was leaving his seat on the board of the Country Music Association (CMA) Foundation — a position he’d occupied for less than 24 hours. Despite an impressive background in music and his record on education (the sole issue of the CMAF), Mike became the instant target of a vicious anti-faith attack. A small but vocal pocket of Nashville’s music industry seized on his involvement with a vengeance, demanding that Huckabee go — or their support of the foundation would.
Jason Owen and his husband — both LGBT activists whose Monument Records and Sandbox Entertainment represents some of the genre’s biggest stars — called the selection of Huckabee a “grossly offensive decision.” Owen, who counts Midland, Little Big Town, Kacey Musgraves, Dan + Shay, Faith Hill, and others among his clients, claimed Huckabee’s involvement would harm the very kids the foundation was created to help. “Not to mention,” Owen went on, “how harmful and damaging his deep involvement with the NRA is. What a shameful choice.” Others, like Sugarland’s manager Whitney Pastorek, accused Huckabee (and the 53 percent of Americans with natural-marriage beliefs like his) of “bigotry, racism, and sexism.” With breathtaking prejudice, she insists, “While Governor Huckabee’s tenure in Arkansas may have resulted in valuable education reform over a decade ago, I find his choice to spend the past 10 years profiting off messages of exclusion and hatred (not to mention the gun lobby) to be disqualifying.”
Huckabee, who penned a powerful letter to the CMA in response, decided to bow out of the board rather than let it become a distraction to the foundation’s core mission. But in doing so, he wanted to make several things clear, including this: He would never apologize for his views.
“I genuinely regret,” he wrote, “that some in the industry were so outraged by my appointment that they bullied the CMA and the Foundation with economic threats and vowed to withhold support for the programs for students if I remained. I’m somewhat flattered to be of such consequence when all I thought I was doing was voluntarily serving on a nonprofit board without pay in order to [continue] my decades of advocacy for the arts and especially music.” All of us, he went on, “have deep passions about our beliefs. I do about mine. But I hate no one. I wish upon NO ONE the loss of life or livelihood because that person sees things differently than me.”
“If the industry doesn’t want people of faith or who hold conservative and traditional political views to buy tickets and music, they should be forthcoming and say it. Surely neither the artists nor the business people of the industry want that.
"Until recently, the arts was the one place America could set aside political, geographical, racial, religious, and economic barriers and come together. If the arts community becomes part of the polarization instead of bridging communities and people over the power of civil norms as reflected in the arts, then we as a civilization may not be long for this earth.”
For Nashville, which has always counted the God-loving, gun-clinging “deplorables” as its strongest base, this is a defining moment. Anyone who underestimates the buying power of patriotic America, especially after the last year and a half, isn’t paying attention. If country music joins Hollywood in its open attack on faithful America — a faithful America mighty enough to send Donald Trump to the White House — it’s sealing its own fate.
Surely the artists aligned with Owen and Pastorek saw what happened to the NFL. Roger Goodell’s refusal to rein in his players and demand respect for the flag cost the league millions of dollars — and even more in brand power and credibility. He lost sponsors, ratings, and worldwide fans when he stood by and let NFL disgrace the anthem and everything it stands for. If country music listens to these fringe voices and walks away from the relationship it’s built with freedom-loving Americans, then look out. It’s about to find itself on the wrong side of a very determined coalition.
Like so many phony advocates of tolerance, these agents claim they’re battling for “inclusion” while demanding the exclusion of anyone with a different view. Are the artists going to stand by Monumental Records’ attack on the vast majority of Americans who listen to and buy their songs? Reach out to @DanAndShay, @FaithHill, @KaceyMusgraves, @littlebigtown, @MidlandOfficial, @SethEnnis, @zdevin, and @JohnOates and ask.
Originally published here.
Far-Left in a HUD-on Collision With Trump
There’s no law against being conservative, but two extreme organizations would love to believe there is. After more than a year of watching President Trump populate his agencies with pro-life, pro-freedom leaders, many liberals are doing everything they can to force the staffers — and their policies — out. That includes, The Hill reports, a 10-page lawsuit.
Tired of seeing their radical progress overturned, People for the American Way and Right Wing Watch are trying to undo the results of the election — one court case at a time. Their latest attempt, suing the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), is a stretch even by leftist standards. The gist of the complaint is nothing more than the natural consequence of democracy: They object to an administration implementing polices in line with its ideology.
According to the suit, HUD, which is overseen by Secretary Ben Carson, “quietly removed materials from their website” that promoted Obama-era transgenderism in public housing. Trump officials also, they argue, canceled a survey on LGBT homelessness and ended its partnership with a far-left study on supposed discrimination against people who identify as gay and lesbian.
Of course, none of those changes should come as a surprise to anyone who paid attention to the priorities of Donald Trump. HUD officials, like the president, believe in housing for everyone — not special privileges for a vocal few. The suit, which claims that HUD hasn’t replied quickly enough to the groups’ demands for information, seems to forget that Barack Obama’s administration ignored more than 479,000 FOIA requests just in its first four years! Yet it doesn’t mind blasting Trump officials for not complying with its demands in a matter of months.
Meanwhile, at HHS, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) has her sights set on the resignation of Scott Lloyd, the pro-life head of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which made headlines when the ACLU snuck its minor girls off in the early hours of the morning for abortions before the Justice Department could intervene. Now, despite complaints that some of these teenagers in custody are being coerced to abort, Washington’s radical senator wants to unseat the one man who has their best interest at heart.
“Under Scott Lloyd’s leadership,” Murray complained, “an office tasked with caring for young, vulnerable women in our country’s custody has been turned into an ‘ad hoc’ testing ground for the Trump-Pence plan to interfere with women’s most personal health care decisions and take away women’s constitutional right to safe, legal abortion.” Insisting that she cares deeply for these young women, she goes on to blast Lloyd as “nothing less than a threat to their safety.” “He should step down immediately,” she insisted.
Lloyd, who’s faced his share of extremists in the days since October when he tried to shield a vulnerable 17-year-old mom from the agenda of groups like Planned Parenthood, isn’t budging. “Refuge is the basis of our name and is at the core of what we provide, and we provide this to all the minors in our care, including their unborn children, every day…”
March for Life Action President (and former FRCer) Tom McClusky says that Murray and others “seem to have forgotten the general rule of politics that elections have consequences. When President Obama was elected, he quickly surrounded himself with ardent pro-abortion advocates and activists, and put them in positions of responsibility. That Obama’s successor would appoint people with different priorities is par for the course.”
This is what a majority of voters elected Donald Trump to do. President Trump could not have been clearer on his pro-life intentions. There is a reason the Left is screaming, and it should be the same reason constitutional conservatives should be cheering. The Trump administration is the first Republican administration since Ronald Reagan to not just stop the liberal predecessor’s policies but actually dismantle the Leftist framework of government that has carried liberal policies forward since FDR. For evangelicals, this should be an encouraging sign of what can happen when Christians are engaged in the political process. Positive changes are taking place every day — even if the press isn’t reporting them! So, stay involved and protect the progress the Trump administration is making.
Originally published here.
Taylor-Made Parent Protections
Parents across the country have been stunned by the story of a radical judge in Cincinnati who decided to strip custody away from Christian parents because they didn’t agree with their daughter’s decision to switch genders. In a case that pits parents’ rights against an agenda that some pediatricians call “child abuse,” one Ohio leader is standing up for the states’ moms and dads.
Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor was just as horrified as the rest of the nation when Sylvia Hendon, a visiting juvenile court judge, ruled that a 17-year-old girl should be plucked from her home and placed with grandparents who want to give her “sex change” drugs. Now, as she applies for the state’s top job, she wants Buckeyes to know that she’s committed to ensuring that this injustice never happens again.
At an event earlier this week, Nathan Estuth, Taylor’s running mate, told the crowd that the duo is determined to create a “firewall in the state of Ohio … for parents to raise their kids with the values and education that they choose. We will [pass a law that stops] government intervention into the rights of families and parents, wherever that fight will be.” Soon, that will be more than talk. State Rep. Tom Brinkman (R) is close to introducing legislation that would protect concerned parents like these. He, too, spoke at Monday’s rally, which was full of locals holding signs like “Hands off our kids!” and “Parents have rights too.”
We applaud Taylor, Brinkman, and every state leader who’s not only taking this threat seriously but doing everything they can to stop it.
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.