Evangelicals Swing Both Ways on Social Issues

Obama Show PapersA significant proportion of the US population feels marginalized and suffers from perceived widespread disrespect. Their desires are discounted and in some instances actively discouraged by state, federal and local government. Families are either split or prevented from coming together, which results in children who are denied the benefits of a two–parent family. Circumstances beyond the control of these individuals have put them in the shadows, outside the mainstream of American society and at the mercy of an often cruel and heartless public.

And that’s why Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family and the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Public Policy Center have both come out in support of homosexual marriage. As Daly said in an interview with Christianity Today, “What are the solutions to help get these families together, get them in a lawful state, one that can be recognized, and then move forward? I think that is a healthy situation for the country. Let’s get behind this, not play politics with it left or right and not fearmonger with it. These are people that need dignity. Even though in some cases they’ve broken the law, there’s always that heartfelt story out there where you just tear up looking at what they’re facing now. We need to do what’s humane.”

No wait. That’s the quote Daly used in support of amnesty for illegal aliens. As of the time this post was written Focus and the Southern Baptists still oppose homosexual marriage. But can someone point out to me why their reasoning on illegal aliens doesn’t apply to homosexuals, too? Both groups have been in an unlawful relationship for a number of years and they want to either escape worldly consequences in one case and Biblical responsibility in the other.

I know the Bible says welcome the stranger and not welcome the sodomite, but when you base your theology on feelings instead of Truth, there is no difference in the two situations. A plain reading of the Bible shows marriage is one man to one woman and homosexuality is prohibited — occasionally by fire and brimstone. And strangers are to be welcomed as individuals by individuals, but nowhere does it say stealth invasions in violation of the law are to be encouraged. In fact, I would challenge anyone to show me where in the Bible a law breaker or sinner is rewarded for his or her transgression?

Or for that matter, where people are encouraged to emulate a class of law breakers in the future?

The situation is simply not there. Illegals aren’t mentioned by name in either testament, but if we can’t apply observations or analogous situations from the Bible to modern life, then the book is dead and useless.

Look at how similar both situations are. Both population groups feel put upon. Homosexuals and illegals want to come out of the shadows and gain the stamp of approval from government and society at large: A marriage license in one case and documentos de ciudadanía in the other.

If Daly and my own Southern Baptist governing body are to be consistent, then they have to either support both or oppose both.

Prior to the Supreme Court decision that branded people like me who oppose the perversion of God’s institution of marriage as hate–filled bigots, Daly and Focus helped to produce an e–book that contained five questions and answers about same sex marriage that outlined their opposition. The irony is the same questions and answers apply to illegal aliens, but they support legalizing them.

Here are the questions and answers with the marriage–related in regular text and the illegal–related in boldface.

1. Why does marriage matter to the government? Why do borders matter to the government?

Government recognizes marriage because it is an institution that benefits society in a way that no other relationship does. Marriage ensures the well-being of children…Government recognizes, protects, and promotes marriage as the ideal institution for having and raising children. Borders protect citizens from the incursions of lawbreakers great and small and it makes sure the benefits and responsibilities of citizenship go to people who have earned it. Defending the borders is one of the principle responsibilities of government.

2. What are the consequences of redefining marriage? What are the consequences of redefining citizenship?

Redefining marriage would hurt children. Decades of social science-including very recent and robust studies-show that children do better when raised by a married mom and dad.

Redefining marriage would further separate marriage from the needs of children. It would deny as a matter of policy the ideal that a child needs a mom and a dad. Redefining citizenship would hurt the rule of law. Separating citizenship from the responsibility to obey the law only encourages future disrespect for the law and future illegal immigration. Ideally law–abiding individuals make better citizens.

3. Why do you want to interfere with love? Why can’t we just live and let live? Why do you want to interfere with ambition?

Marriage laws don’t ban anything; they define marriage. Immigration law doesn’t ban ambition, it only defines where one is allowed to be ambitious.

4. Isn’t denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry the same as a ban on interracial marriage? Aren’t immigration law supporters just using the law as an excuse for bigotry?

No. Racism kept the races apart, and that is a bad thing. Marriage unites the two sexes, and that is a good thing. Marriage must be color-blind, but it cannot be gender-blind. No. Immigration law is color–blind, but it cannot be geography–blind. The fact that most illegal border crossers come from countries adjacent to the US does not make the enforcement of the law biased, no more than spraying for mosquitoes means you oppose flying.

5. Why doesn’t government just get out of the marriage business altogether? Why doesn’t government get out of the employment verification business altogether?

Marriage is society’s best guarantee of a limited government that stays out of family life…A study by the left-leaning Brookings Institution found that, between 1970 and 1996, $229 billion in welfare expenditures could be attributed to social problems related to the breakdown of marriage. A good job is society’s best guarantee of a limited government that stays out of family life. Illegal immigrants are exploited by employers and compete unfairly with low–income workers. Americans would be happy to do the work now taken by illegals if the pay rates were not distorted and artificially depressed by law–breakers. Employers who circumvent the market and rig the system against the people who need the jobs the most, create unemployment which increases stress on families and marriages.

There is no intellectual consistency in Daly’s or the SBC’s position on illegal immigration and homosexual marriage. Daly contends, “When you look at it, the immigration issue is not just a legal issue. We respect what needs to be done there and hopefully we can strengthen laws, enforce laws and do all the things that we need to do in that way, because it’s important for a country to establish its borders and maintain its borders. But when you look at the family impact now and the stories we’ve received over the past year or two, it’s pretty tragic what’s occurring.”

Illegal immigration breaks at least three of the Ten Commandments. Illegals often steal the identity of citizens to get papers. They lie about their status in the country. And the motivation that brought them here in the first place was coveting a lifestyle they didn’t have.

And what’s occurring is all self–induced. Would Daly advocate keeping a drug addict supplied with heroin so he won’t feel compelled to steal and possibly break up his family if he’s sent to jail? How about telling a wife to put up with infidelity if it keeps the family together and the children aren’t upset?

Daly and the SBC are busy undermining their credibility and authority. It’s a shame. I expected better.

There’s No Such Thing as a Slight Sense of Entitlement

BOOST: Breakfast of Virginia's champion.

BOOST: Breakfast of Virginia’s champion.

We’ve all seen photos of Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. Particularly last year when he was being mentioned as a possible vice presidential pick on the Romney ticket. He would be beaming, with a large, toothy smile, looking well groomed and squeaky clean. And no wonder, this wholesome image was the product of a group effort, since the governor relies on Virginia taxpayers to keep him smelling fresh.

According to Laura Vozzella in the Washington Post, the McDonnell family has used its government–supplied credit card much like the GSA uses its card. Billing the taxpayers for “body wash, sunscreen, dog vitamins and a digestive system detox cleanse.”*

It takes a man with high self–esteem to bill the taxpayer for his weekly dose of Colon Blow, knowing the information is only an FOIA request from the public domain, to say nothing of opposition researchers. But at the same time it’s comforting to know there are no blockages, legislative or otherwise in the governor’s mansion.

And really, who wants a first family with that bloated feeling?

Virginia’s governor is the fifth–best paid in the country, earning $175,000 a year in addition to a “free mansion, food, personal chef, maids and one of nation’s few state-funded butlers,” so it’s somewhat startling to learn our governor is only a taxpayer–funded credit card purchase away from offending.

McDonnell makes almost three times the median income in Virginia ($63,302 a year) yet still expects the rednecks to spring for his body wash. I suppose it would reflect poorly on the state as a whole if none of the other governors wanted to stand next to him in a group photo, but I draw the line at raising his kids, too.

The McDonnells “used state employees to run personal errands for their adult children. In the middle of a workday, for example, a staffer retrieved Rachel McDonnell’s newly hemmed pants at a tailoring shop nine miles from the governor’s mansion. Another time, a state worker was dispatched to a dry cleaner 20 miles away to pick up a storage box for Cailin McDonnell’s wedding dress.”

Maybe it’s just me but I thought it was illegal for someone too young to have her own driver’s license to get married in Virginia, so Cailin ought to be able to get her own wedding dress. On the other hand, taxpayers should feel grateful they only had to cover the gas and employee time for the wedding. Jonnie R. Williams Sr. — who became the governor’s new BFF shortly after the inauguration — had to pony up $15,000.00 to cover the wedding’s catering bill.

The taxpayer’s incidentals tab also included “dry-cleaning the twin sons’ suits and shirts, repairing the first lady’s shoes and putting new shoulder pads into an item of her clothing. The McDonnells billed their energy drinks, body wash, deodorant and breath-freshening strips to the state as well.”

Six months into the governor’s first and only term a state employee not intimidated by the first family’s remarkably fresh breath and bouncy attitude attempted to reign in the credit card spree. She pointed out the McDonnells should use some of their 175,000 simoleons to buy their own deodorant, shoe repairs and children’s dry–cleaning. Taxpayers also should not be on the hook for clothing alterations, dry-cleaning for other family members, deodorant or body wash, pet food or treats, or food for non-family meals or non-state functions.

What the state will pay for is bad enough. The memo is very specific and one wonders why it took an auditor to point this out to the first family. Dry-cleaning for the governor and first lady is covered and “toilet paper, mouthwash, bar soap.” Which seems reasonable, I don’t begrudge tourists the use of toilet paper and soap in our highway rest stops, so stocking those supplies in the governor’s mansion makes sense. The same goes for cleaning supplies to keep the mansion spiffy and food in the kitchen for functions of state and family meals.

But the admonition didn’t take. “The McDonnells have continued to let taxpayers pick up the tab for numerous personal items, including vitamins, nasal spray and sleep-inducing elixirs.” “Sleep–inducing elixirs” sounds a lot like booze to me, but maybe it was Nyquil.

And to prove there is no such thing as a slight sense of entitlement, the governor argued that taxpayers should be paying for his energy drinks. His chief of staff, Martin Kent overruled the auditors and declared with some umbrage that, “While other governors and spouses may have had bacon and eggs, or cereal, or etc for breakfast, Governor McDonnell drinks Boost every morning, and the First Lady has a 5-Hour energy and/or a Boost. That is their breakfast. And that is why those items are covered, just like breakfast is covered for EVERY Governor and First Lady.”

I don’t know about you, but just reading that reminds me of one of those awkward times where I’m an unwilling witness to an argument between a Wal–Mart cashier and a SNAP program participant who’s arguing that Twizzlers and YooHoo should be covered by food stamps.

It’s easy for conservatives to be uncharitable when thinking about welfare recipients and wonder why don’t they have a little pride and get a job? But the same question is applicable here: You’re making $175,000 a year with a free house, maid and transportation yet you quibble about paying for your own energy drink?

In 2011 McDonnell made a good speech at the CPAC conference where he described what an honor it was to work in the same office once occupied by Thomas Jefferson.  Something tells me no future Virginia governor will publically discuss what an honor it is to have breakfast in the same kitchen where Bob McDonnell chugged his morning Boost.

*(Note: any material in quotes, and not otherwise attributed, comes from Ms. Vozella’s excellent reporting.)

What If They Held a Primary and Nobody Came?

VA Democrat Ticket: Two charisma–challenged white guys & a carpetbagger.

VA Democrat Ticket: Two charisma–challenged white guys & a carpetbagger.

The Washington Post finally got its primary and in typical leftist fashion, they approved of the candidate selection method that was both inefficient and cost taxpayers the most. Earlier this year the Posties criticized Republicans for using the convention method to choose their nominees — even though Lincoln was chosen by a convention and the Constitution was written at one.

The Post complained the 8,000 delegates that attended the Richmond convention were less than one percent of registered Republicans in the Commonwealth. And in fact, the editorial page was in such a snit over the Republican’s choice of a convention the page “did not make endorsements.” (Which explains all the black armbands on the convention floor being worn by former Bolling supporters.)

But an expensive Democrat primary where less than 3 percent of the voters bothered to make it to the polls is considered a triumph of participatory democracy on the Post editorial page. So now Virginia voters face the daunting prospect of a campaign spent listening to a lily–white ticket, composed of three middle–aged males that are obsessed with women’s reproductive organs.

And that’s just the Democrats!

Republicans in their “closed convention” somehow managed to choose the only minority on either statewide ticket, while a majority of Democrat primary voters refused to select either the Indian running for lieutenant governor (the sub–continent kind, not the Lone Ranger kind) or the black running for attorney general.

And talk about your social issue fanatics! Ralph Northam, the Democrat pick for lieutenant governor, ran a commercial before the primary where all he talks about is abortion. Northam declares, “There is no reason that a group of legislators, mostly men, should be telling women what they should and shouldn’t be doing with their bodies.”

Well that’s pretty definitive. But I have to ask: Does Northam’s declaration cover prostitution? Underage sex? Incest? Female–teacher–on–underage–male sex abuse? Flashing? Where, exactly does Northam draw the line?

Northam supporters keep mentioning that “he is the only physician in the VA Senate” as if that gives him special standing. But Northam is one of those doctors who have a loose interpretation of the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm. In Northam’s office you have to be large enough to hand over the co–pay before you are accorded the rights of a human being.

While Republicans Ken Cuccinelli and E. W. Jackson are talking about creating jobs and growing the economy, Northam advocates de–regulating abortion clinics and fighting passage of a bill that would grant “personhood” status to an unborn baby.

Northam’s ‘an abortion in every pot’ platform is particularly relevant when one remembers that the Posties have declared war on Jackson — who happens to be of the black persuasion — for his accurate, completely true remark that Planned Parenthood has been “far more lethal to black lives” than the Ku Klux Klan.

The WaPost responds by analogizing that, “Abortion rates in the United States are higher for African Americans and Hispanics than for other groups. That reflects the fact that those groups tend to have higher rates of unwanted pregnancies. To blame the incidence of abortion on the clinics that provide abortion services is like blaming stores that sell cigarettes for the fact that too many Americans smoke.”

This analogy is only accurate if the government is buying smokes for the underage and poor, while simultaneously discouraging abstinence.

At the victory celebration, Northam came this close to talking about an issue that would attract independents and soft Republicans, before he lapsed into pube–speak, “This state, in order to have business, in order to welcome people, we need to be inclusive. That starts with stopping the attack on women, the assault on the (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered) community.”

Northam’s obsession with divisive social issues, instead of pocketbook issues, means that if you’re looking for a job in an abortion mill, Northam’s your man, otherwise it’s time to start listening to the Republicans.

Mark my words, during this election the Republican ticket will be talking about jobs, taxes and transportation, while the Democrats travel the state brandishing the bloody coat hanger and accusing the GOP of concentrating on “divisive social issues.” Psychiatrists call it projection.

Meanwhile the WaPost will be doing it’s best to drive E.W. Jackson out of the race. Right now the focus is on financial problems. Jackson was behind on his taxes and has filed for bankruptcy in the past. He is now current on all his tax bills, which puts him ahead of the 1,289 Treasury Department employees who collectively owe $9.3 million in back taxes.

Jackson also regrets his bankruptcy, “It was painful. It was difficult. It was embarrassing. I don’t like the idea of not paying off debts.” Compare Jackson’s situation to that of Democrat nominee for governor, Terry McAuliffe. He convinced the taxpayers of Mississippi to give his GreenTech company $7 million in “growth and prosperity” tax exemptions and another $8 million in grants, loans and land in return for building a factory, creating jobs and manufacturing “green” cars.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “…GreenTech looks to be a lemon…there is no evidence the company is manufacturing any cars…(it) has yet to begin building its flagship factory in Tunica. GreenTech is the latest proof…the political class is adept at hooking up cronies and investors with taxpayer dollars. But creating jobs? No can do.”

Rather than be tied down by bad publicity and previous commitments, McAuliffe resigned from GreenTech and walked away from all obligations, while Jackson stayed to face his.

But Jackson’s real sin, as far as the Posties are concerned, is that he’s a Tea Party conservative. Jackson has escaped the Democrat Leftist plantation, once again pointing out the need for the Fugitive Minority Act (co–sponsored by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid) that would return ideological escapees to the Democrats for re–education and relieve the media of dealing with off–message minorities that do not support amnesty, abortion and alternate lifestyles.

Why ‘Government’ & ‘Creative’ Aren’t Usually Found in the Same Sentence

In a county known for cul-de-sacs, the logo is all right angles

In a county known for cul-de-sacs, the logo is all right angles

Prince William County, VA — where I live — has an official seal that’s been in use since 1854. But that seal — or logo, to use up–to–date terminology — just wasn’t happenin’ for the county staff. Staff evidently felt a balance scale held over a bunch of tobacco leaves just screams 19th century. Plus the tobacco is a big problem. Who wants a logo that can only be displayed 25 feet from a building entrance and never in a bus shelter?

So the staff hired a firm based in the People’s Republic of Maryland to design a modern logo for the county. Something the economic development staff could use in their marketing efforts. A new design in keeping with the county’s prosperity, potential for job creation and spectacular rush hour gridlock.

There were probably a few simple guidelines for the designer on what not to include. No stars and bars allowed and no cotton. If the design incorporates a Civil War reference, the symbol must be limited to either a nurse or a female impersonating a soldier, preferably unarmed, or maybe wounded and suffering from PTSD. The staff certainly wouldn’t want the public to think they’re in favor of guns or violence.

Other than that, the county has a wide range of sites and events that have shaped its history. To name just a few: two major Civil War battles, Quantico Marine Base, the largest number of foreclosed homes in VA, the only Northern Virginia county to take up an anti–illegal ordinance (some overlap in the last two), a shooting site from the Beltway Sniper rampage, John Bobbitt’s bobbed penis, a George Mason University satellite campus, innumerable cul–de–sacs that make it impossible to get there from here and jam packed I–95 (more overlap).

So what did taxpayers get for their money? A shiny dark blue square surrounded on three sides by a shiny lighter–blue square and even though the design just screams “Prince William County,” the designer still put ‘Prince William County, Virginia’ in all caps below the squares . As you can see from the accompanying photo, it’s bland, boring and bureaucratic — all the modifiers a politician wants associated with his jurisdiction. What’s more, it has no relation to the county other than the fact we paid for it.

On the other hand, my wife thought the shiny blue sheen on the logo was reminiscent of aluminum siding and harkened back to the county’s previous image of a region inhabited by trailer park rednecks.

In an online comment a gentleman named Tom Fitzpatrick explained that while his first impression of the logo was negative, “Now that I’ve had a chance to settle down, I realize I’m not really being fair. I’ve just learned that the County’s first choice was a dead on representation – 8 clowns sitting around a table deciding how much to cut taxes by raising them a little less. However, there were copyright issues with Ringling Brothers, the catered lunch was already eaten, and it was time for another international trip by the members. So, this is what they came up with, within those constraints.”

County spokesman Jason Grant defended the “design” choice, “The brand is the connotation, it’s not a literal meaning. It is a new logo. The connotation isn’t there because it’s not affiliated with anything yet. . . . Does it literally represent Prince William County? No. That’s not the type of logo we designed. It shows there’s a sense of place, there’s a cornerstone, it’s corporate, all these things that people will fill in.”

That droning you hear in the background while Grant speaks is not cicadas, it’s corporate buzzwords. Hint for government flacks: any time your explanation would not look out of place in a Dilbert speech bubble, you are losing the argument.

According to Tom Jackman in the Washington Post, Grant claimed the staff was borrowing a marketing strategy from Madison Avenue. Grant said Nike’s swoosh logo doesn’t look like a shoe or Lance Armstrong injecting dope, but over time it comes to be associated with the brand and all its products.

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but it’s also one of the most consistent indications of incompetence. Besides borrowing strategy from Nike, the county is also going to have to borrow some money to make this logo penetrate the marketplace. Nike’s annual marketing budget of $2.7 billion is double PWC’s entire annual budget of $1.2 billion. By my calculations, at that rate of spending in 159 years the double boxes logo still won’t have the market identity of the current county seal.

The staff claims the logo only cost $750, while the website Sheriff of Nottingham in Prince William County asserts the logo design was part of a redesign contract that cost between $9,500 and $11,000. Either way taxpayers would have received more positive benefit if they’d just sent the money to the IRS and told them to have a party.

You could have gotten better design work and made at least one PWC family happy if the staff had solicited logos from high school or college art & design classes.

But now the bureaucracy has dug in it’s heels and it appears we may be stuck with this collection of right angles. So in the spirit of public service, I’ve come up with a few slogans to use with the logo at no cost to the county.

  • Prince William County — Where Every Square Peg Has a Square Hole
  • Prince William County — You’ll Love Having Your Company Absorbed by the Borg
  • Prince William County — Land of Boxy Houses and Boxy People
  • Prince William County — Home of the Square
  • Prince William County — Where the Cube Farm Is Our Identity
  • Prince William County — Embracing Boredom Since 2013

UPDATE: I’m not claiming credit, but the county has withdrawn the logo.

Searching for the ‘Moderate’ Christian

Why do Christians think we want to join them in their counter–cultural activities?

Why do Christians think we want to join them in their counter–cultural activities?

I enjoy reading the letters sent to advice columnists. It’s a handy, anecdotal way to chart the decline of modern culture. There’s actually a book in this; comparing the difference in questions during the early 60’s with what we have today. But I fear I’m too lazy to do the research.

On the other hand, I normally avoid reading the answers, because the advice from these moral equivalizers and cultural fad surfers has a tendency to enrage me and the family tries to discourage shouting while reading the newspaper. (Although I make an exception and always read Miss Manners. She remains a beacon of tradition and reason on most matters cultural.)

Sometimes though the temptation is too great, as happened last Thursday. Carolyn Hax, who does cutting edge advice for the Washington Post — for people who are drifting, clueless yet strongly opinionated — answered a letter that touched on religion: “My husband and I are non-Christians living in a small town in the Bible Belt. We have made some friends (it took a while) who are fun people and share most of our values, except religion. I don’t have a problem being friends with people of different religions; I consider it none of my business what other people believe, and just wish they would extend me the same courtesy!

These friends are evangelical Christians and invite us to church almost every time we see them. At first, I thought they were just being friendly. After the thousandth time, I feel like it’s really obnoxious and disrespectful. I’ve always just smiled and politely declined, but they keep bringing it up. Is there a way to salvage the friendship while putting my foot down?

This is how modern education and culture leaves one unprepared. I’m sure the woman in question would have had no problem dealing with a request to swap husbands (don’t nice people get bored, too?), but refusing to attend church when you don’t have one of your own seems standoffish. From the context of the letter, one gets the impression the couple are “nones” rather than Hindus, Moslems or Druids. Agnostic or apathetic rather than atheists, since the actively ungodly are usually in your face about it, much like the homosexual lobby.

So this young couple is thrown by circumstance into this den of divinity and they finally meet a couple whose company they enjoy. In fact, they like the couple even though they are Christians. No invitations to rub the snake, expel the demon or participate in a love offering for the pastor’s Cadillac; just the odd invitation to attend church.

One gets the feeling the couple likes the Bible beaters in spite of the fact they are Christians. What they never appear to consider is the reverse: They like the couple because they are Christians. And the couple likes the letter writer in spite of the fact they are not active Christians?

Living a truly Christian life is a package deal. It’s not just maintaining perfect attendance in the sanctuary so you’ll also make the roll call up yonder. It’s how you act, relate to others, conduct your life, conduct your business and work to make your life glorify God.

And it’s hard. I was talking to a friend Saturday morning about a rough spot he’d encountered in his church and I observed that it’s too bad that in his wisdom God didn’t have angels build and operate the church. Things would run much more smoothly, to say nothing of always providing a role model for a fallen mankind. But He didn’t, so we have to do our best and that often falls short.

An important part of the Christian package is the Great Commission where Jesus instructed us to go and make disciples of the world. Personal evangelism is very hard and rejection is potentially embarrassing. It’s much easier to send a check to Franklin Graham and delegate outreach to him. I rarely do it and I hope Jesus is not as embarrassed to acknowledge me before God on the Day of Judgment, as I am to acknowledge Him here on earth.

So this “none” couple has the good fortune to meet a Christian couple that tries to live a Christian life in all its facets, up to and including the Great Commission. The letter writer entirely overlooks the fact the couple may be so attractive because of being a Christian has done for them. And it could do the same for the letter writer, too, if she would give Jesus a chance.

Possibly the letter writer might be more comfortable with a less committed couple, say two Episcopalians. Or if they simply wanted to find someone who has warm feelings for a bright light they can try a Unitarian. In a pinch even a Methodist might serve.

(Keep in mind none of this advice applies if the letter writer is part of a homosexual couple. Then the Episcopal would be chasing them down the street.)

Heck for that matter, they could meet me: The lazy, vaguely embarrassed Christian.

But I would advise them to stay away from my wife for she is liable to invite you to church at the drop of a hat.