The Rushmore Report: The Amazing Thomas Jefferson

In light of the July Fourth Weekend, this is a good time to reflect on the life of a founding father. Thomas Jefferson was a remarkable man who started learning very early in life and never stopped. At age five, he began studying under his cousin’s tutor. At nine, he studied Latin, Greek, and French. At 14, he studied classical literature and additional languages.

At 16, he entered the College of William and Mary. He could write in Greek with one hand while writing the same thing in Latin with the other. At 19, he studied law for five years, starting under George Wythe. At 23, he started his own law practice.

At 25, he was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses. At 31, he wrote the widely circulated “Summary View of the Rights of British America” and retired from his law practice.

At 32, he was a delegate to the Second Continental Congress. The next year, he wrote the Declaration of Independence. Then he took three years to revise Virginia’s legal code and wrote a Public Education bill and a statute for religious freedom.

At 36, he was elected the second Governor of Virginia, succeeding Patrick Henry. Starting at age 40, he served in Congress for two years. At 41, he was the American minister to France, where he negotiated commercial treaties with European nations along with Ben Franklin and John Adams.

At 46, he served as the first Secretary of State under George Washington. At 53, he served as Vice President and was elected president of the American Philosophical Society.

At 55, he drafted the Kentucky Resolution. At 57, he was elected the third president of the United States. At 60, he obtained the Louisiana Purchase, doubling the nation’s size. At 61, he was elected to a second term as President. At 65, he retired to Monticello.

At 80, he helped President James Monroe shape the Monroe Doctrine. At 81, he almost single-handedly created the University of Virginia and served as its first president. At 83, he died on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the same day John Adams died.

John F. Kennedy once hosted a White House dinner for a group of the brightest minds in the nation. He said, “This is perhaps the assembly of the most intelligence ever to gather at one time in the White House with the exception of the time Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”

With that said, consider some of the brilliance of Thomas Jefferson . . .

1. “When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe.”

2. “The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”

3. “It is incumbent upon every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.”

4. “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”

5. “My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.”

6. “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”

7. “The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”

8. “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

9. “To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”

10. “I believe banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.”

Mr. Jefferson, where are you when we need you most?

The Rushmore Report: This Formula Has Predicted Every Election Since 1984

Dr. Allan Lichtman has correctly predicted every presidential election of the last 32 years. And he does it months in advance. The distinguished professor of history at American University has been right eight elections in a row. And he doesn’t use polling, demographics, or sophisticated analyses.

So how does he do it and what does the formula say for 2016? Lichtman makes his predictions on the basis of 13 true/false statements that determine the outcome every time. Here’s how it works. If more than half the statements are true, the incumbent party wins the White House; if more than half are false, the opposing party wins. The data is in. The winner of the 2016 election will be . . .

Let’s look at each statement and rate them true/false, thus determining the 2016 presidential winner.

1. Party mandate: After the midterm elections, the incumbent picked up seats in the most recent midterm elections. (False)

2. Contest: There is no serious contest for the incumbent party nomination. (True)

3. Incumbency: The incumbent party candidate is the sitting president. (False)

4. Third party: There is no significant third party or independent campaign. (True)

5. Short-term economy: The economy is not in recession during the election campaign. (True)

6. Long-term economy: Real per-capita economic growth during the term equals or exceeds mean growth during the previous two terms. (False)

7. Policy change: The incumbent administration effects major changes in national policy. (True)

8. Social unrest: There is no sustained social unrest during the term. (False)

9. Scandal: The incumbent administration is untainted by scandal. (False)

10. Foreign/military failure: The incumbent administration suffers no major failure in foreign or military affairs. (False)

11. Foreign/military success: The incumbent administration achieves a major success in foreign or military affairs. (True)

12. Incumbent charisma: The incumbent party candidate is charismatic or a national hero. (False)

13. Challenger charisma: The challenging party candidate is not charismatic or a national hero. (False)

So how does this all stack up? Though two or three of the statements are open for some debate – not much debate – the formula points toward a fairly clear winner. Here’s the score.

True – 5

False – 8

According to this formula, Donald Trump will win. Admittedly, this is a different kind of election, as Trump is a different kind of candidate. But the formula correctly predicted the following winners: Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama. Will it be right again? Donald J. Trump certainly hopes so.

The Rushmore Report: Election Will Come Down to This Group

New polls say that Hillary Clinton is still leading Donald Trump, by anywhere from five to 12 points. Clinton seems to be gaining ground she lost to Donald Trump after the Orlando terror assault. But forget about the polls. One group – and only one group – will decide this election. And they make up 20 percent of the vote.

Who is this 20 percent? The are the voters who still say they are either undecided or can see themselves switching their vote in the final months leading up to the election in November.

A full 20.1 percent of the electorate says they’d prefer to vote for a candidate not named Clinton or Trump.

Meanwhile, Trump, while playing golf in Scotland, carried on a rolling press conference as he played, telling reporters that he was working on his list of vice-presidential candidates during the trip. “It’s coming along,” he said. “I have a lot of people that want it. I’m getting calls from a lot of people, and they want it.”

In subsequent interviews, Trump has downplayed the financial crash that followed the Brexit vote in England. “This shouldn’t even affect U.S. markets. If done properly, if we had proper leadership.”

Meanwhile, Clinton is firming up her vote, as well. She is courting the Hollywood crowd and Democratic insiders, while going strong after Bernie Sanders’ votes. She is also working on her list of potential vice-presidents.

Each side will shore up their vote. And the polls will vacillate. But the crowd to watch – and they are the hardest to measure – is the 20 percent who really don’t want Clinton or Trump. At the end, they will vote for someone. At this point, it is not clear who that “someone” will be.

About the Author

Mary Kay Linge is a political writer for the New York Post. She also blogs on current events and world leaders.

The Rushmore Report: Why George Will Left the Republican Party

George Will is no longer a Republican. The famed conservative columnist and commentator has left the party he joined in 1964. Why? In his own words – “I left the party for the same reason I joined it in 1964 when I voted for Barry Goldwater. I joined the party because I was a conservative. I leave it for the same reason – I am a conservative.”

Will chalked up his departure to the ascension of Donald Trump as the party’s presidential nominee.

“To give you a time line, shortly after Trump became the presumptive nominee, he had a summit meeting with Paul Ryan where they stressed their common principles and their vast shared ground, which is much more important than their differences. I thought that was puzzling doubly so because Paul Ryan still didn’t endorse him,” Will told Fox News.

“After Trump went after the Mexican judge from northern Indiana, then Paul Ryan endorsed him. And I decided that, in fact, this is not my party anymore.”

Trump retaliated by attacking Will on Twitter. “George Will, one of the most overrated political pundits (who lost his way long ago), has left the Republican Party. He’s made many bad calls,” said Trump.

When asked to respond, Will said, “I have no response. Mr. Trump has the gift of being able to say everything he knows in a short tweet. I don’t share that gift.”

Will explained the process. “I changed my registration to unaffiliated 23 days ago. I hardly made an announcement. I just mentioned this in a meeting with the Federalist Society.” He then invoked Ronald Reagan, who was a Democrat before joining the GOP. “So the long and short of it is, as Ronald Reagan said when he changed his party registration, I did not leave the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party left me.”

The Rushmore Report: Is Donald Trump a Christian?

James Dobson, the founder of the renown Colorado-based organization Focus on the Family, asserted last week after gathering with nearly 1,000 evangelical leaders to listen to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump that he believes Trump is a “baby Christian” who needs to be “cut some slack.”

Dobson was interviewed by Michael Anthony of GodFactor.com, who likewise attended the event held at the Marriott Marquis in Manhattan. Dobson characterized the gathering as “historic” among Christians, and shared his belief that Trump is himself a Christian.

“There are a lot of people ministering to him personally – a lot of ministers,” he stated in the recorded interview. “I mean, he did accept a relationship with Christ. I know the person who led him to Christ, and that’s fairly recent. I don’t know when it was, but it has not been long.”

Dobson continued. “I believe he really made a commitment, but he’s a baby Christian. We all need to be praying for him, especially if there is a possibility of him being our next chief executive officer.”

He said that he believes Trump is open to hearing about the things of God, but that he doesn’t really understand Christianity at the present. “He doesn’t know our language. We had 40 Christians together with him and he used the word ‘hell’ four or five times. He doesn’t know our language. He really doesn’t. He refers a lot to religion and not much to faith in Christ. But you have to cut him some slack. He didn’t grow up like we did.”

Some have expressed concern over Dobson’s assertion, noting that when one is truly born again, although still needing sanctification, they will show definite signs of repentance and change.

“Those who are new Christians will often make mistakes, but I don’t know a single person who truly received Christ and the filling of the Holy Spirit, who didn’t show some immediate change, even if small,” writes Susan Wright for RedState.

She pointed to 1 John 1:6 and 1 John 3:9, the first of which reads, “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.”  She said she hasn’t seen any fruit of conversion with Trump.

“So what are our signs that Donald Trump has had a true conversion experience? Has he gone to all those he’s attacked on the campaign trail and apologized for the slander? Will he settle the fraud case hanging over his head? Will he stop dropping the ‘f-bomb’ at rallies, encouraging violence against protesters, or making so much about how much money he has?”

Write continued, “It is damaging to the cause of Christ when the watching world observes Christians pronounce someone as saved when they have not truly been regenerated.”

Speaking of Dobson’s pronouncements about Trump, Write says, “I cannot overstate the danger of Trump’s position now, with those who are known leaders in the faith community, such as Dr. Dobson, willing to vouch for his relationship with God, when there has been no outward evidence of such. The world that is watching and hearing that he is Christian will judge Christianity by what he does and our faith leaders will be seen as promoting it.”

About the Author

Heather Clark is a writer and motivational speaker based in Dallas, Texas. She is a frequent contributor to the Christian News Network.

The Rushmore Report: Is USA a Christian Nation? Most Say No

The United States is no longer a Christian nation, if it ever was, according to a new survey. A joint, nonpartisan survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute and Brookings Institute just published results showing that by 42-41 percent, Americans no longer believer the U.S. is a Christian nation.

The survey polled over 2,600 Americans from April 4 to May 2, 2016, exploring their perspectives on issues ranging from immigration, the intersection of religion and public life, and how those attitudes are shaping the 2016 election.

A notable finding was the uptick in the number of white evangelicals who said they now believe that America is not a Christian nation – an 11-point increase from 48 percent in 2012 to 59 percent now.

The research also shows that political party affiliation provides a stark snapshot as to how Americans think about this issue. Only five percent of Republicans say the U.S. has never been a Christian nation, compared to 22 percent of Democrats. And a majority (51 percent) of Republicans say America was once a Christian nation, but no longer is, compared to 36 percent of Democrats.

Last month, Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, posted a YouTube video arguing that the United States is not a Christian nation. As CP reported in May, Moore stated then that the idea that Americans are living in a Christian nation “is really a form of theological liberalism.”

“It assumes that a person or a nation can be a Christian apart from the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, apart from new birth. That is contrary to the Gospel,” Moore had maintained.

Americans are also divided on whether anti-Christian discrimination has become as significant an issue in the U.S. as discrimination against other groups. Seventy-seven percent of white evangelicals, 54 percent of white mainline Protestants, 53 percent of white Catholics, 53 percent of black Protestants, and 50 percent of Hispanic Catholics believe that discrimination against Christians is as big a problem as discrimination of other groups in the U.S. About four out of five Americans with no religious identity (78 percent) and members of other non-Christian religions (77 percent) do not agree.

The survey also found that 57 percent of Americans say Islamic values are at odds with American values, with about 74 percent of white evangelical Protestants believing this.

About the Author

Brandon Showalter is first and foremost a follower of Jesus Christ. He writes on evangelical issues and is a contributing writer for The Christian Post.

The Rushmore Report: Franklin Graham’s Surprising Pick for President

Evangelist Franklin Graham had made his position clear. “I have absolutely no faith in the Republicans or the Democrats. Our hope is in Christ alone.” When pressed for an endorsement in the 2016 presidential race, he has insisted on remaining neutral – until now.

For several months, Graham has been visiting each state’s capitol for Saturday prayer gatherings. The focus is on revival and prayer. During these meetings, Graham has preached on rising up and serving in the local community. His message is that Christians need to run for mayor, city council, and the school board. As for the 2016 presidential race, he has insisted on remaining neutral – until now.

Tuesday, Donald Trump met with 1,000 evangelical leaders from across the country. Franklin Graham was there. And he seems to have changed his mind. After a private meeting with Trump, Graham reportedly told evangelical leaders, in the absence of the media, that Trump would make a better president than Hillary Clinton. He said that he has prayed and sought God’s will on the matter. And these were his conclusions.

1. Our choice is between two sinners. “We don’t get to pick between the perfect good and the perfect evil,” he told the crowd. “We must be willing to forgive the imperfect,” he asserted. “Then, we must pick the candidate who is at least inclined toward the possibility of doing what is best for the country.”

2. One candidate offers no hope. Bishop E.W. Jackson of Virginia, the founder of the conservative nonprofit group S.T.A.N.D., recalled that Graham suggested Clinton offers no hope for America. “Nobody left the room wondering where Graham stands,” said Jackson. “The fact that Graham showed up tells you where he stands.”

3. God uses imperfect people the most. Terry Schilling, executive director of the conservative think tank American Principles Project, told The Christian Post that Graham explained that the Bible is full of God using flawed leaders, such as Abraham, Moses, David, and Paul.

4. Trump believes in Jesus. Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. said, “He is one of us. I have talked to him about his faith. He believes in Jesus. Don’t judge him by your own standard of what you think a Christian should be but really just judge him by the biblical standard that he has put his faith in Jesus Christ.” Falwell indicated that Graham completely shared his sentiment.

Franklin Graham won’t issue a formal endorsement. But his presence at the evangelical gathering and private meeting with Trump speak loudly. Is Donald Trump the best person we could have hoped for? Clearly, Graham would say no. But is Trump the best candidate we have for 2016? Apparently, Graham would say yes.

The Rushmore Report: If Gun Control Is the Solution, Answer These Six Questions

The Orlando shooting and the predictable response of President Obama have brought the gun control issue to the front pages – again. And Congress failed to pass any of five proposed bills – again. And the President and most of the media have missed the point – again. If gun control is the solution to avoid future massacres like Orlando, ask yourself six questions.

1. Why is Chicago a killing field? There is not a major city in America that has stricter gun control laws than Chicago. And there is not a major city in America that comes close to the nearly 300 shooting deaths recorded in Chicago so far in 2016. Chicago is mostly a gun-free city (on paper). And their prosecution rate is low, as they don’t want to overcrowd jails. The result is predictable.

2. Why did the Orlando shooter pick that particular club? He had been there several times. He knew the place was gun-free. And we know that the first gun didn’t stop shooting until the second gun showed up. If banning guns, as they did in the Orlando club, worked, why did the shooter successfully and mercilessly execute more people that night than have ever been shot on any occasion in the history of the United States? Or asked another way, if you wanted to shoot innocent people, would you pick a place where other guns were present?

3. Why does the Secret Service carry guns? Some of the very leaders and candidates who slam the NRA and demand a gun-free environment are protected by guns. Everywhere President Obama and Secretary Clinton go, they are accompanied by armed agents. I don’t remember hearing either of them asking the Secret Service to disarm.

4. Which proposed new gun law would have mattered? Even those recommending the new gun restrictions admit that not one of the recent mass killings – Sandy Hook, Boston, San Bernardino, Orlando – would have been addressed by these new laws. Not one.

5. Why would terrorists and other killers obey new laws? The idea that passing new gun laws will deter would-be murderers from carrying a gun into a newly designated gun-free area is laughable. Yet we are basically told, “These radical terrorists are willing to die for their cause, and willing to shoot 100 innocent people, but what they will never do is use a gun that is not legally registered, because that may carry a five-year prison sentence.”

6. Why don’t you put a “Gun Free” sign in front of your house? If guns aren’t a deterrent to criminals, tell the world you are unarmed. The fact is that only three homes in ten have guns. But the bad guys don’t know which three those are. Imagine that every home was required to put up a sign out front that either said “We Have Guns” or “No Guns Here.” If you were the bad guy, which home would you choose to vandalize?

I am not a gun owner. I have never owned or shot a gun. I’m not a member of the NRA. I don’t see a reason for assault weapons to be available to common citizens. But I do know this. If someone breaks into my home, I’m probably not going to say, “Just so you know, I don’t have a gun.” None of the proposed new laws would have saved a single life in Orlando. In Boston they didn’t use guns at all. But that won’t stop the tirades. The anti-gun lobbyists will continue to rant and half of Congress will fall in step. They will continue to propose bills that have nothing to do with the actual killings. And half of America will agree with them because it makes them feel better about themselves.

And the terror will continue, because those guided and inspired by ISIS really don’t care about our gun laws anyway.

The Rushmore Report: Six News Apps that Will Change Your Life

Do you ever misplace your car keys? Have you ever driven off, only to wonder if you remembered to close your garage door? Fortunately, we live in the age of technology, which means someone is always working on everything. For those of us who are forgetful, six new apps are coming soon. Whether you have lost your keys, your wallet, or your mind, here are a few apps to jog your memory.

1. Lost car keys – You are ready to head out the door, barely in time to get to work on time. But then you remember what you forgot – your car keys. You look feverishly – on the counter, in your pockets, under the cat, but to no avail. But alas, you remember you signed up for Tile, the new app that will find your keys. You press the right button on your phone (you better never lose your phone), and your keys start playing loud music.

2. Smart deodorant – Some days really stink. A new app can help! Do you remember running out the door without applying deodorant first? Of course you don’t – or you wouldn’t have done that. Help is on the way. ClickStick is the new deodorant app. (I’m not making this up!) The “ClickStick” app will dispense a bit of deodorant smell to keep you fresh for awhile, and will also send alerts reminding you to use real deodorant every day.

3. Umbrella reminder – You left your umbrella back at the office. That is the cue the clouds are looking for to launch a thunderstorm accompanied by F5 tornadoes. But thanks to Davek Alert Umbrella, this won’t happen to you again. It alerts you when you have stepped 30 feet from your umbrella.

4. Need milk? – It’s a given. When you do your grocery shopping, you forget how much milk you have left back at home. The new Milky Weigh app (great name, but no relation to Milky Way, the most important food item God ever created) is on the way! A monitor is placed under your milk carton in the fridge, and measures how much milk you have left. Then you can assess your milk level from your smart phone while shopping at your local store. What could be more simple than this?

5. Drone delivery – How many times have you left something – your lunch, a card that needs to be mailed, your child – sitting on your kitchen counter? Haven’t you asked yourself, a thousand times, “Wouldn’t it be great if a robot could just pick up a forgotten item from my house and drop it off at my office?” Thanks to Bizzby Sky, retrieval and delivery is about to be possible. This on-line drone service will pick up items from wherever you left them, provided there is someone there to hand them off. Then the drone will deliver the item to your assigned destination. The drone cameras capture live footage of the delivery, which you can view in real time on the Bizzby app. (If you are worried about pigeon collisions, fear not. The drones are equipped with real-time sensors that monitor motion to avoid a crash.)

There you go. Now, there really is an app for everything. We now live in an age where it’s okay to lose your mind – as long as you hold onto your smart phone. So, whatever you lose, it’s okay . . . there’s an app for that.

The Rushmore Report: How Jesus Would Respond to Orlando Shooting

Turning on the news last Sunday morning (June 12), I watched witness after witness describe the confusion, anguish, and fear they were feeling after the horrible attack in Orlando. I listened as a wide range of experts and pundits speculated about motives and potential solutions. While driving that day, I saw flags flying at half-staff as an expression of national mourning over the loss of so many lives. Once again, our national attention was seized by the evil and violence that are so terribly common in our world.

And the haunting question that often comes to mind during such times returned: How do we respond?

Predictably, some immediately jumped to remedies of politics and policy in an effort to prevent such things from ever happening again. To be sure, government plays a key role of providing for the safety and security of its people. Politics and policies are important. But as followers of Jesus, our first impulse must not be to look to our political or cultural leaders for how we should respond. As followers of Jesus, we have to wrestle with the question, “How would Jesus himself respond?”

Among Jesus’ many remarkable traits, one that regularly outraged his opponents and inspired his followers was his extraordinary compassion. In Matthew’s account of Jesus’ life, he summarized Jesus’ ministry this way:

“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:35-36).

Helpless. Harassed. These words describe what so many were feeling last Sunday morning. And Jesus’ first response to the pain of the people was not to blame this group or that group or to lobby Rome over this issue or that issue. He compassionately cared for those who were hurting. His response was to meet their needs as best he could, often touching them in ways that not only healed their bodies, but also their souls.

There are no simple answers to difficult questions facing our society in the wake of such an event. I encourage you to thoughtfully advocate for what solutions you think best. But in that pursuit, hold tight to the compassionate posture that Jesus modeled. Prayerfully look for ways to care for those who are hurting around you. Like Jesus, meet their needs as best you can. By doing so, Jesus might use you to not only comfort their fears; he might use you to help them find healing for their souls.

About the Author

Jonathan Wolfgang is Pastor of Teaching and Discipleship at Northshore Community Church in Kirkland, Washington. His passion is reaching the spiritually curious and teaching seasoned followers of Christ.