Never Trumpers Never Satisfied
The Never Trumpers may not be dead, but they’re certainly desperate to be relevant again. Subdued – and significantly diminished after three years of Trump accomplishments – the wilting chorus of critics wants everyone to know, “We’re still here.” So, to spite the steady stream of headlines about their “extinction,” “death,” “irrelevance,” and “failure,” the movement concocted another plan: to stop attacking Trump and start attacking his base. You guessed it: evangelicals.
It started with Christianity Today’s sad publicity stunt, a swan song from outgoing editor Mark Galli, who hoped to make a splash for the fading magazine by declaring that the president should be impeached. The article had its desired effect, creating a media firestorm and smoking out a handful of Christian figures who felt emboldened to talk about their own contempt of Trump. But if the point was to change evangelicals’ minds, Galli didn’t. If anything, conservatives had an even bigger platform to talk about the administration’s successes.
This week, the Lincoln Project is taking another pass at shaming the president’s supporters. The group of anti-Trump Republicans released a video called “MAGA Church” that contrasts president’s crasser moments with clips of him talking about faith. “Beware of false prophets,” the ad warns. “If this is the best American Christians can do, then God help us all.” Of course, the launch of this new campaign comes on the heels of a massive Evangelicals for Trump rally in Miami, where thousands of Americans had an opportunity to cheer the promises made and delivered by the man the resistance considers intolerable.
Of course, what the media and the president’s opposition doesn’t seem to understand is that evangelicals have never looked at Donald Trump as a role model. They’re looking at his record as president. And no one in the modern history of this country has a better one. Whether it’s the sanctity of human life or the promotion of religious freedom – here and around the world – or the appointment of judges bound to the Constitution, there’s absolutely no comparison. What this president has done in the last three years matters. So shouldn’t it be relevant to Christians as they vote?
Absolutely it should, Pastor Greg Laurie insisted on “Washington Watch.” “No president in history has been a stronger advocate,” he pointed out, in defending the Constitution, the unborn, the persecuted church, Israel, religious expression. “Isn’t that what we’ve been talking about for years? Here is a president who’s willing to use his bully pulpit and the power of the pen… for good.” But it’s a “package deal,” he pointed out. “Sometimes he comes off as abrasive. Trump is not Reaganesque, if you will, but he is who he is – and he gets things done. And when he makes a promise and or a threat, he backs it up. It isn’t that what we’ve been looking for?”
Like a lot of people, Greg looks at these disgruntled flamethrowers and wonders, if that isn’t enough for you, “What is your alternative? You want socialism and secularism and [to] actually enable and strengthen people who want to attack the church? Well, I certainly don’t want that. So I [look] at his policies and what he’s done. It’s amazing… And let’s not forget,” he argued, “that he has surrounded himself with strong evangelicals. Ben Carson, Vice President Pence, Mike Pompeo, and others [who] have a strong faith in Christ that motivates them and what they do. I mean, I’ve never seen this before.”
As one pastor in Miami told me, it comes down to this: “Under whose policies are we going to be more free to preach the gospel and live out our faith?” There’s no contest. Look at the two parties, and what they’re proposing. If you want taxpayer-funded abortion, infanticide, open borders, gender anarchy, religious oppression – then by all means, keep trying to divide and distract conservatives. But if you think “American Christians can do better,” please tell us how in a field of Democrats so extreme they’re pushing a White House office of unborn baby killing?
The president isn’t perfect. No one is. But he doesn’t just say “evangelical Christians have never had a greater champion in the White House” – he goes out and proves it. And at the end of the day, that’s what these Never Trumpers are up against – not Donald Trump. Four years ago, when the alternative was Hillary Clinton, conservatives cast their ballots and crossed their fingers. Today, they don’t have to. Americans can look closely at his record on every issue and know exactly what they’re getting. And my fervent prayer, heading into 2020, is that they do precisely that.
Originally published here.
An Unjust War against Trump
Every president since George Washington has had to make quick decisions to defend America. The only difference on January 3rd is that the president was Donald Trump. And that means the far-Left will do absolutely everything in their power (and outside of its powers) to stop him. Even if it means putting American lives at risk.
The harsh reality for liberals, Andrew McCarthy argued, is that the president “has a right to strike the bad guys.” And no amount of political posturing or War Powers debating can take it away from him. But that doesn’t mean House Democrats won’t try. Thursday, in one of their most ridiculous exercises yet, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) actually put a bill on the floor ordering the commander-in-chief to check with Congress before doing his job. But the whole point of having a president, Kent Ingle fired back, is so he doesn’t have to.
“The Constitution created the office of president because we need one person at the head of our government who can make tough decisions quickly and under extreme pressure,” Ingle wrote. As for Trump’s elimination of terrorist and Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, nothing he did was “disproportionate,” as Pelosi carped, or even, FRC’s Lt. General Jerry Boykin pointed out, out of line with the resolution as written. “What the War Powers Act requires,” he explained to listeners on “Washington Watch,” “is that the president has 48 hours after he… takes an action… to notify Congress. And then he has 60 days to continue unless he gets funding from Congress – at which time it will go on for whatever amount of time is required to win.”
“The reason they passed the War Powers Act to begin with in 1973 is because America had gone into Korea as well as Vietnam without a declaration of war. And what they were trying to do was ensure that it didn’t happen again. But there’s a big difference between a war and taking out a known terrorist… I think it is a political stunt. And I don’t think this is going to have any impact on the president’s willingness to do what needs to be done to protect America.”
Now maybe some Christians have heard the Left’s arguments and wonder about the morality of killing a man like Soleimani. Thursday on “Washington Watch,” I asked FRC’s David Closson, director of biblical morality and Christian worldview, if this is a question Scripture speaks to. As we all know, the Bible talks a lot about war and God is clear that war itself is not intrinsically evil. “As believers, we are at war with sin,” David points out. “We’re at war with evil. And you go through the Bible, the Old Testament actually sanctions war. [Moving to] the New Testament, we see that governments have a responsibility toward their citizens and are answerable to God for that. So sometimes there are compelling reasons for going to war. And [while] all killing is tragic, sometimes it’s necessary.”
A lot of philosophers and early leaders of the church thought long and hard about war. St. Augustine, known as the father of modern Christianity, is often credited with developing the foundational biblical premise for how armed conflict should be viewed. Later, that idea was shaped into what St. Thomas Aquinas called Just War Theory, which was his defense of how a nation can go about conducting and engaging in warfare morally. Under his theory, there are a handful of principles that legitimize war – things like “just cause,” which means you go to war to defend innocent life or self-defense, or when you’re trying to maintain or restore justice.
“‘Just intentions’ is another principle. You don’t go to war to humiliate your enemy, but for just causes. War should be a last resort. That’s another principle. All reasonable attempts should be made at a peaceful resolution [is another].” A declaration of war must come from “a legitimate authority,” David explains. “The mayor of Washington, D.C. can’t declare war, but the president of the United States has that authority. The fifth one is there needs to be a proportional objective. And then finally, there needs to be a probability of success. So all those are criteria that nations need to think through before they go to war.” And every one of them, as we discussed, was extracted from Scripture.
Obviously, conflicts are different now than they were in our grandparents’ generation. Terrorism has complicated things. Modern technology has complicated things. But, as David told listeners, the principles still apply. “A lot of Christians think that the default position of Christianity is pacifism. But there are actually quite a few examples in the Bible where Jesus speaks about this issue. And Scripture teaches a couple of examples. In Luke 3, John the Baptist, when he is preaching, he actually exhorts the soldiers to not abuse their position of authority – but he doesn’t tell them to resign from the army. Another example is Acts 12. Cornelius the centurion when he gets saved. He doesn’t have to resign his post. And then another example is Jesus as well.”
Democrats have made plenty of arguments against Donald Trump’s use of force. But invoking the Bible would be a stretch, even for them.
Originally published here.
Mr. Smith Goes to the Mat in Washington
Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.) has been tracking human rights abuses for about as long as anyone in Congress – and even he’s never seen anything like what’s happening in China. “[There hasn’t been] this kind of mass internment of millions since the Holocaust. Torture, rape, sexual abuse, forced abortions of women being held in the [concentration] camps.” It has to stop. And he and the rest of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China won’t quit until it does.
Earlier this week, its groundbreaking report hit newswires – one of the first to publicly accuse the communist regime of possible “crimes against humanity.” Thursday, on “Washington Watch,” Chris told our listeners that it’s time for the world to act. We’re talking about a country, he explains, where “socialism trumps all else. And if you don’t comport, if you don’t go along with this, you will be harassed and probably incarcerated. And the use of torture is endemic in the Chinese prison system. That’s how they get people to crack and to give up other members, perhaps of their of their faith group, of their Bible study. I mean, it is totalitarianism on steroids. And it’s especially targeted.”
Like a lot of leaders, Rep. Smith is deeply concerned about the millions of Uyghurs and other religious minorities being beaten, electrocuted, raped, and shackled behind the high barbed-wire walls of the secret camps. And the victims are only growing. “They’re using surveillance like no surveillance state has ever done it… And we’ve never seen anything like this in modern days. And it’s [President] Xi Jingping who’s directing it all there.” He pointed to the leaked papers that ordered “no mercy” in this crackdown. “It’s part of his sanitization campaign of, again, making Christians rewrite the Bible, comport with every Marxist-Leninist ideal or communist ideology that they have, or else go to prison and be tortured or killed.”
The world has been a little slow to wake up to the nightmare in China. But Chris hopes this report will at least shake some people out of this lackadaisical attitude. “Can it really be this bad?” people wonder. Yes, he answers. “It’s worse than what we actually know.”
Jewher Ilham hasn’t heard from her father in more than two years. The renown scholar, Ilham Tohti, was snatched and sentenced to the vast network of concentration camps deep in China’s Xinjiang province after he spoke out about the horrors of the Uyghur crisis. On Thursday, January 16, FRC is featuring Jewher at a special event, “Religious Freedom in China: One Daughter’s Testimony.” Come hear for yourself what’s happening to millions of innocent men, women, and children behind the curtain of the People’s Republic. To register, check out our website.
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.