Honesty Is the West Policy
Like a lot of staffers at the Harris County Jail, Jason Spencer didn’t expect to be fielding media calls about a surprise visit from one of the most recognizable celebrities. But then, a lot about Kanye West’s last few months has been a surprise. A life-changing one, judging by the inmates at Friday’s impromptu concert. “This is a mission,” the newly-converted Kanye insisted, “not a show.” And he proved it, doing his best to set even these prisoners near downtown Houston, free.
“Say what you want about the man,” Jason posted, “but Kanye West and his choir brought some light to people who needed it today…” Watching the inmates on their knees, some crying, others lifting their hands high in praise, Sheriff Ed Gonzales had never witnessed anything like it. “It was really like a worship service,” he told reporters afterward. “…Even some of our teammates [were] brought to tears.” Maybe it wasn’t the crowd of thousands Kanye had two days later at Joel Osteen’s church, but the impact was just as profound.
We’re not all so different from those prisoners, Kayne seemed to say on Sunday to a much bigger audience at Lakewood Church. We all need Jesus. We all need to repent. But, he promised, “Following the Bible can free us all.” For twenty minutes, the singer stood on stage in front of a massive “Jesus is King” backdrop, talking about range of issues as they came to him. His priorities, he insists, are different now. “There was a time I was letting you know what high fashion had done for me. I was letting you know what the Hennessey [liquor] had done for me. But now I’m letting you know what Jesus has done for me… that I’m no longer a slave — I’m a son now, a son of God. I’m free.”
“I know that God’s been calling me for a long time,” Kanye said, “and the devil has been distracting me for a long time. But making this change, and this new gospel album, he explained, wasn’t easy. There’s a culture of celebrity that doesn’t want to hear about Christianity, because they don’t want to be reminded about their sin. People don’t mind the ads for alcohol or strip clubs, "but then we bring up the name of Jesus and we’re told to be quiet…”
“The Devil stole all the good musicians, all the good artists, all the good designers, all the good business people — and said, ‘You gotta come over and work for me.’” But that’s all going to change, he insisted before breaking out into a grin, “Because now, the greatest artist that God has ever created is now working for him.” While the audience stood and clapped, he went on to say that, “[A]ll of that arrogance and confidence and cockiness that you all see me use before, God is now using for Him, because every time I stand up, I feel that I’m standing up and drawing a line in the sand…”
Even when it comes to taking that message to his own industry. “You know, as rappers, there’s so many things we’ve done to maintain the idea of coolness. We have our own daughters, and we’re still rapping about hooking up with somebody [else’s] daughter — like not taking the responsibility as a man…. I now have a family — I’m 42 years old and married for five years — there’s a blatant responsibility for me to become more like my mother and my father [who took us to church three times a week]…”
Of course, Kanye’s whole evangelistic outreach is taking place in a society where people think the church has lost its influence. Just this month, Pew Research did a survey that essentially says religion — at least according to 78 percent of Americans — is losing its grip on society. And most people think that’s a bad thing. Why? Because religion is often a force for good. Even in a culture as hostile to faith as ours, the majority in this country (55 percent) believe it has a positive effect. Like strengthening morality, 53 percent say. Or bringing people together, another 50 percent point out. People can argue about Kanye’s authenticity or his approach, but they can’t argue about this: the message he’s bringing is a transformative one.
“The more and more this entire country follows Christ and sets the example that we are a Christian country… When you remove the fear and love of God, you create the fear and love of everything else. But let me word that not in a negative way, but in a positive way: Reinstate the fear and love of God — and eliminate the fear and love of everything else…”
As I explained in the Federalist, we need to encourage Kanye’s growth in the faith. He isn’t daunted by the criticism or by the culture’s expectations. He cares about one audience. “The only superstar is Jesus,” he told people. And we need to be serving Him “every millisecond.”
Originally published here.
Dem AGs Jump to the Wrong Exclusion
Telling pro-lifers to drop dead isn’t the smartest political strategy, but that hasn’t deterred the Left. Now, apparently, the Democratic Attorneys General Association has decided to make it official — formally picking abortion as the official test of candidates. Support the procedure, and you’ll be eligible for our support. Refuse, and go it alone.
“Attorneys general are on the front lines of the fight for reproductive freedom,” New York’s Letitia James argued in a video defending the group’s decision. “They have the power to protect your rights.” They also have the power, apparently, to make a party outcast out of anyone who dares to side with the majority of Americans on the issue. As the New York Times points out, the policy isn’t going to affect any current officeholders right away. Only one of the 27 Democratic AGs — Mississippi’s Jim LaHood — is pro-life, the paper explains, and he will soon be replaced after Mississippi elected a new attorney general. Where it could have an effect, the Times warns, “is in the Democratic ecosystem, reflecting the changing mores of a national party that has moved sharply to the left in the Trump era and embraced a set of purity tests on divisive social issues.”
Of course, drawing a hard line on radical abortion is nothing new for Democrats. Back in 2017, DNC Chairman Tom Perez stunned plenty of people with his exclusionary message. “Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health. That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state…” he argued. “At a time when women’s rights are under assault from the White House, the Republican Congress, and in states across the country, we must speak up for this principle as loudly as ever and with one voice.”
And he proved it, leaving good people like Rep. Dan Lipinski (R-Ill.), Heath Mello, and others twisting in the political wind. Ultimately, Perez — and now this association — are just carrying the wishes of the party’s 2016 platform, which staked out extreme ground in its embrace, not only of taxpayer-funded abortion, but abortion up to the moment of birth. That position has already hurt liberals in the heartland, where the words “pro-life” and “Democrat” have never been mutually exclusive. “I’m a pro-life Democrat who believes in individual rights and personal freedom,” Indiana voters like Terry Goodwin told Politico. Like a lot of people, he wonders if there’s any room left for him in the Democrats’ “big tent.”
It’s been a difficult quandary for Catholic voters too, who’ve watched Democrats turn their political home into a virtual satellite office of Planned Parenthood. After the Obama-era attacks on conscience, taxpayer-funded abortion, and faith-based groups like Catholic Charities, the defection of white Catholics from the Democratic Party to the GOP has been quick and astounding. Today, the Republicans’ share of the white Catholic vote is 54 percent, compared to 45 percent two and a half decades ago. If more voters feel unwelcome, it spells major upheaval in the candidates’ race for 2020.
Even now, people like former senator Heidi Heitkamp are calling the attorneys’ general decision “wrongheaded.” She should know. She lost her Democratic seat in North Dakota over the confirmation of pro-life Justice Brett Kavanaugh last year. “There are very principled people, who are Democrats, who feel very strongly about this issue for religious reasons and when you say you’re not welcome in our party I think it is exclusionary,” she said. “You have to look at the totality of a candidate.”
By almost everyone’s estimation, (including Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s, D-Calif.), the Left’s extremism on issues like abortion and transgender bathrooms cost them the White House. How many more elections will they have to lose before they understand that the right position — supporting life — is also the winning one?
Originally published here.
‘Mom, I Think I’m Transgender’
Kerry is a lifelong liberal who always believed in the transgender cause — until now. “I was all in… there was nothing to suggest that there was any problem with this,” she said. “Everybody’s doing it — it’s fine [and] good.” That all changed the day her daughter came to her and said she wanted to become a boy. She was 11.
Putting on a supportive face, Kerry says her heart sank. She decided to play along, buying her daughter a binder for her chest and forking over $1,000 for hormone treatments. But as a doctor, the alarm bells were already blaring. The more research she read, the worse she felt. Suddenly, she told CBN’s Heather Sells, it didn’t seem right. “Even after years of supporting the LGBT movement, she found it confusing. ‘When you’re gay, you don’t have to take drugs forever and have surgeries [or] change your name.”
“There’s a lot of evidence that [drugs like] Lupron deceased your cognitive ability,” Kerry explained. “It decreased your memory. It definitely decreases your bone density and it stops the hormone cascade that puberty is designed to flood your body with.” Sterility, she points out, is another scary side effect. But still, she remains almost in hiding, speaking anonymously — afraid of what it could mean for her career if anyone in the medical career found out she was questioning transgender medicine for kids.
But this isn’t just any child, it’s hers. And she’s worried that her daughter is just one of many being put on an irreversible path. Together with other parents, she feels like she’s up against an “unstoppable movement.” A spokesman for the group told CBN that “the schools look at you like you’re the problem and think you’re abusive.” When in reality, Kerry believes, a lot of these children are just being peer-pressured into this lifestyle. She started to become suspicious when three other girls in her daughter’s class “had also identified as boys” and were starting treatments. “Everything that she said to me sounded scripted. It seemed like she was learning it on the internet and possibly from her group of friends.”
Like “Crystal,” Kristie Sisson, and other parents telling their story, Kerry thinks this movement is destroying their children. “These parents,” Sells says, “come from a variety of backgrounds, regions, and political affiliations, but they’re united in a belief that they’re on their own when it comes to questioning and evaluating the reasons behind their children’s gender confusion.” And unfortunately, there are a lot of them. Parents of Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD) is growing so quickly that there are 50 support groups across the country.
At least for now, Kerry is one of the lucky ones. She and her daughter aren’t moving forward with the transition. At some point, maybe soon, she’ll speak out publicly. “I do not understand my profession right now. I am appalled. I think we’re going to look back on this like we look back on lobotomies.”
As “Lisa” explains on Part 5 of her series on the FRC Blog, the transgender movement is a cult. And it’s affecting families, science, medicine, education — you name it. “[A]ll of America is now blindly embracing the trans cult and silencing those who won’t get on board. They tell us we’re guilty of 'hate speech’ if we ‘misgender’ someone. I am told I am hateful even though I have nothing but love for my brother. I am sad that he believes this is the answer to his identity crisis when any thinking person can see it’s another dead end.” (Check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.)
As Christians, we need to be in prayer for the families and spouses trying to cope with this nightmare of self-identification. Let’s hope that as more people share their stories, Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs will be inspired to speak out and engage. An entire generation of young people depends on it.
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.