Bubble Gum Return

A department store manager noticed a boy staring at the handrail of an escalator. He walked over to him and asked, “Son, are you alright?”

The boy nodded yes without looking up.

“Can I help you?” he asked.

The boy shook his head no and continued to look at the handrail.

“Well, young man, do you want me to explain to you how escalators work?”

The lad replied, “No, Mister. I’m just waiting for my bubble gum to come back!”

Things are not always as they appear. The boy appeared to care about the escalator, when all he really cared about was his gum.

That translates to church. One day, a guest walked in. The usher asked him if it was his first time at that particular church. “Yes,” the man replied.

“Would you like to see our bulletin?”

“No,” he said.

“Would you like to see our sanctuary?”

“No,” he repeated.

“Then perhaps you would like to see our pastor.”

“No, not really.”

The usher asked, “Then what would you like to see?”

The guest said, “The first thing I’d like to see is your bathroom.”

You can’t read a man’s heart by his face. He may want your brilliance. Or he may just want his bubble gum back.

The Rushmore Report: What Hillary Said Last Night

Last night, Hillary Clinton accepted the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. Most pundits did not expect a great speech, as that is not her strength. Mrs. Clinton outperformed those expectations. Though lacking the rhetorical skills of her husband or President Obama, it was a good speech, not exceptional, but effective. But what, exactly, did she say? I heard seven themes.

1. She fixated on Donald Trump.

Mrs. Clinton said “Trump” 21 times – more than she referred to the national debt, terrorism, and the economy combined. But it’s good politics. She is playing to her base, which is smart. She repeatedly twisted his words, but all politicians do that.

2. Hillary promoted unity.

This was the strength of her speech, early on. She criticized “the wall,” while promising economic growth for the underclass and acceptance of all people of faith. She promised to be the President of “all Americans,” including “Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.”

3. Hope is on the way.

Clinton’s speech was one of hope and optimism. She promised a better future for the next generation. “When there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit.” She promised equality for all and promoted optimism. Building on the “progress” of the Obama years, she forecast more jobs for everyone.

4. Everyone gets a free pony.

Free college. Free trade school. Student loans forgiven. Missing, of course, was a plan on how to pay for this. And missing is the devastation this would put on private schools.

5. Clinton wants to increase taxes on job creators.

America has the highest corporate tax rates in the world. Mrs. Clinton called for higher taxes on the top earners, who already pay half the taxes in America. Economics 101 says that if you take more taxes from the rich, they will increase their prices for their products. They always have and always will. When President Reagan cut taxes for the rich, revenue went up. The same thing happened under President Kennedy.

6. She ignored important issues.

Missing was a detailed plan to defeat ISIS. Missing was a plan to create jobs. Missing was any mention of the national debt which has doubled in the past eight years. Missing was any mention of inner city violence. Missing was any plan to secure the border. Missing was any recognition of the 123 police officers shot down on the job last year. Missing was any detail on how to improve on the slowest economic recovery in American history. Missing was a single idea that would differ from the Obama years. Missing was a plan to pay for free college tuition.

7. Gun control will save lives.

If we pass more gun laws, the bad guys will surely obey them and we will all be safer. Gun restriction will bring safety. (Tell that to Chicago.)

The Rushmore Report: Fact Checking the DNC

Multiple media outlets have graded the Democratic Convention for the honesty of the statements pouring forth from the platform. Below are the most specific, undeniable statements that are clearly untrue.

1. Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey said Donald Trump “would cut taxes for the richest Americans at the expense of the middle class.” Fact – Trump’s plan cuts taxes for all income levels.

2. Bernie Sanders said Hillary Clinton “will guarantee” free tuition at public colleges. Fact – States would have to match the funds for the students to receive these grants, something Clinton could never “guarantee.”

3. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said Trump has said wages are “too high.” Fact – Trump was speaking of the $15 per hour minimum wage, not wages in general.

4. Sanders said the “top one-tenth of one percent” own as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent. Fact – The Federal Reserve Board refutes this claim.

5. Joe Biden said Trump is on record as wanting to “carpet bomb Iraq.” Fact – Trump never said that. It was Sen. Ted Cruz who said that.

6. Howard Dean said Trump’s “whole health care plan was to replace the Affordable Care Act with something much better. Fact – Trump has released a detailed seven-point health care plan.

7. Bill Clinton said the United States’ approval rating “soared 20 points globally” during Mrs. Clinton’s time as Secretary of State. Fact – Not a single study has been cited to verify this claim.

8. Bill Clinton said Arkansas schools went from “worst” to “most improved” in his time as Governor. Fact – The liberal New York Times reported the state was “still near the bottom in most national ratings.”

9. Obama said under his leadership, “we finally began to wean ourselves off foreign oil.” Fact – Dependency on imported oil began to drop years before he took office.

10. Senator Harry Reid claimed that the GOP ticket wanted to “gamble Social Security in the stock market.” Fact – Trump has called for making “no changes in Social Security.”

The Rushmore Report: Remembering Tim LaHaye, Co-Author of ‘Left Behind’

Tim LaHaye, pastor and co-author of the best-selling Left Behind book series, has died at age 90 following a severe stroke. LaHaye became a notable name in End Times literature when he co-authored alongside Jerry B. Jenkins the 16-book series which sold over 50 million copies. In an announcement posted Monday on LaHaye’s Facebook page, it was reported the pastor died at a San Diego hospital.

Jenkins said in a statement regarding LaHaye’s passing that Tim was a “spiritual giant.” He said, “Thrilled as I am that he is where he has always wanted to be, his departure leaves a void in my soul I don’t expect to fill until I see him again. If Tim was missing from the autograph table or the green room of a network television show, he was likely in a corner praying with someone he’d just met – from a reader to a part-time bookstore stock clerk to a TV network anchorman.”

Based off the book of Revelation, the series followed the events of the end of the world as seen through the experiences of people who remained on earth following the Rapture. The first of the LaHaye and Jenkins series was released in 1995 and by 2002 the series had sold approximately 50 million copies.

“English teacher Donna Camby, of Pacolet, South Carolina, made the historic purchase of the 50 millionth copy at Christian Supply in Spartanburg during a packed book signing of more than 700 Left Behind fans,” noted leftbehind.com.

“The Left Behind series from Tyndale House Publishers is the fastest-selling adult series and the all-time best-selling Christian novels,” according to the website. The success of the Left Behind books led to multiple movie adaptions, including a 2014 version starring Nicolas Cage and directed by Vic Armstrong.

The Left Behind series was not without its critics, as some Christian leaders and churches took exception with the moral and spiritual message of the fiction works.

On Sunday, July 24, the group Prophecy Watchers posted a message on Facebook explaining that LaHaye had experienced a severe stroke. “We received some very sad news this morning. Tim LaHaye has had a very bad stroke and may not recover,” read the Facebook post. “Tim has been a friend and supporter of our ministry from our launch day almost two years ago.”

Within 24 hours, the Facebook post about LaHaye received over 400 likes, more than 560 shares, and hundreds of comments, with many offering prayers.

Though most known for the Left Behind series, LaHaye also wrote many volumes of nonfiction works, as noted by his official website.

“LaHaye has written more than 60 non-fiction books on a wide range of subjects such as: family life, temperaments, sexual adjustment, Bible prophecy, the will of God, Jesus Christ, and secular humanism with over 14 million in print, some of which have been translated into 32 foreign languages,” according to the website.

“His writings are best noted for their easy-to-understand and scripturally based application of biblical principles that assist in facing and handling the challenges of life.”

LaHaye is survived by Beverly, his wife of nearly 70 years, four children, nine grandchildren, and sixteen great-grandchildren.

About the Author

Michael Gryboski is a writer and editor for The Christian Post. A graduate of George Mason University, Gryboski is a student of history and psychology. A native of northern Virginia, Michael is a frequent writer on national and cultural issues, offering a Christian perspective on current events in America.

The Rushmore Report: The Secret Truce Between Trump and Clinton

An incredible story is emerging. In the most contentious election of the past century, there seems to be no rules. The just-ended Democratic National Convention did to Republicans what their Convention did to Democrats. It was one demonizing speech after another. Each side branded the other as the Antichrist. That is what makes this story so stunning. News has leaked of a private meeting between Clinton and Trump to form a truce, which is to take place in the coming days.

Here are the details. Trump and Clinton met at an undisclosed location one evening between the two conventions. What was intended to be a short meeting lasted deep into the night. There were no handlers or consultants. It was just the two candidates, in an unprecedented meeting of the minds.

The details of the meeting are not yet clear. But it appears that both candidates have cleared their calendars for a joint appearance in the next week. At that appearance, they will each speak for just a few minutes, both declaring the same message. The campaign will be substance-driven from this point forward. There will be no more name calling. The two candidates for president will present a written statement, signed by both, that will include these words: “no more personal insults . . . the nation needs to come together . . . the election will go on, but the rancor and bitterness will stop.” They will reportedly agree to focus only on the issues, with no personal attacks.

In their joint appearance, they will not address any specific issues, as that would take away from the reason for the presentation. It is not clear whose idea this meeting was, nor have they gone public with the details at this point. But the planning of their amazing joint appearance is in its final stages.

And that is where Max Lucado’s dream ended.

Sorry, but you had to know this wasn’t real, right? On July 20, pastor and author Max Lucado had the preceding dream. He told his wife, Denalyn, “Last night, I had the strangest dream.” And then he told her about the meeting of Trump and Clinton, from that dream.

Yes, the truce between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is only a dream. And that’s too bad. America deserves better. If you are like me, you’d love to see a campaign focused on issues and solutions.

Keep dreaming . . .

The Rushmore Report: Eight Critical Topics the Democrats Unbelievably Ignored

The Democratic National Convention is now over. The speakers hit on a few themes – over and over. Joe Biden ridiculed Trump’s position of wanting to “carpet bomb” Iraq. Never mind, Trump actually never said that – it was Sen. Cruz who said that. They promised free college and a continuation of the Obama agenda. Never mind, 83% think we are on the wrong track. But what was amazing was the eight topics the Democrats completely ignored. They ridiculed Trump over 300 times. But they found no time to address these minor issues . . .

1. ISIS – Only Leon Panetta addressed ISIS with more than two sentences, and he received the loudest “boos” for his effort. “No more war!” the delegates screamed. Apparently, they are unaware ISIS has declared war on us. I suppose they want us to lay down our arms in retreat – an interesting strategy for victory. ISIS has killed between 150,000 and 200,000 people since President Obama declared them “the JV Team.” In his speech, our Commander in Chief mocked Trump six times, while mentioning ISIS only twice. And once again, no strategy for victory was offered by a single speaker.

2. The National Debt – In 2008, Senator Obama spoke of the national debt, which then stood at $10.6 trillion, mocking President Bush for his part in the financial crisis. He said, “That’s un-American! That’s unpatriotic!” Then under Obama’s watch, the debt has nearly doubled. As for a solution, the entire four-day convention only touched on the debt with a two-minute video that was shown during a television time-out. Mr. Obama said nothing about it. Mrs. Clinton said nothing about it. But again, they found time to say “Donald Trump” over 300 times.

3. The Democratic Platform – Praised as the most progressive (new synonym for liberal) platform in American political history, not one speaker ever read from their platform. Amazingly, even the delegates who approved the platform have not seen it. Rather than dispersing the platform document, which is 30 pages, they only released a summary. More importantly, there was not one mention of their own platform in their own convention.

4. Black-on-Black Crime – During prime time, the DNC brought to the stage nine women whose sons have been killed by policemen. What they failed to produce was a single family member of the 123 slain police officers from this year – up 78% over 2015. Nor was there a mention of the 6,000 blacks killed in America last year – mostly by other blacks. Yes, black lives matter. So do blue lives. And white lives. It is hard to imagine a more divisive move in recent political history. When did it become politically incorrect to mourn the loss of all lives?

5. Border Security – “Kate’s Law” would eliminate sanctuary cities. But it remains the policy of the Democratic Party to allow cities to break federal law and give safe haven to men such as the thug who killed Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco. He was a five-time felon who would have been deported – if not for San Francisco’s policy of ignoring federal law. When “Kate’s Law” came before the Senate, all but three Democrats voted against it. During the DNC, no mention was made of that law. And while they ridiculed Trump’s “Wall” dozens of times, not one speech was committed to their own plan to secure the border. And if you think the border is already secure, visit El Paso, Texas.

6. Hillary’s Refugee Plan – Mrs. Clinton is on record as wanting to increase the flow of Syrian refugees into the United States by 550%. The FBI says we can’t vet these refugees to find the terrorists that will be among them. The CIA said the same thing. But Clinton has not backed off. So the obvious question is this: If bringing in 5.5 times more Syrian refugees is not a national security threat, why was that not mentioned all week?

7. Abortion Deaths – Babies continue to be aborted in America in numbers of about 700,000 per year. For every 1,000 births there are 210 abortions. Last year, 12 American women died because they had abortions. While 85% of Americans oppose “partial birth abortion,” Mrs. Clinton still supports it. But it wasn’t mentioned all week. Of course, the blacks killed by police officers, justified or not, matter. I can’t imagine the pain of those nine women who lost their sons. But I would argue that 700,000 babies who were never given their first breath matter, too.

8. Explanation for Trump’s “Treason” – A few days ago, when Trump held a press conference (something Mrs. Clinton has not done in 238 days), he joked that the Russians should produce Hillary’s deleted emails if they hacked them. In response, the Democrats called this “treason” by Mr. Trump. I’m confused. I thought Clinton said her deleted emails were about yoga and Chelsea’s wedding – that they didn’t contain any national security issues. So if her emails did not contain any national security information, how can revealing them be considered “treason”? And how is it Trump’s fault if someone else finds her emails that she put on an unsecured private server?

I think the Democrats had a good week, outside of the newest email scandal which led to the resignation of their party chairwoman. The speeches by President Obama, Michelle Obama, Vice President Biden, and Secretary Clinton were all very strong. Clinton can expect a “bump” in the polls as a result. But it is troubling that their agenda said more about Donald Trump than national defense, the national debt, ISIS, border security, 6,000 black deaths, and their own party platform – combined.

The Rushmore Report: The Faith of Tim Kaine

Hillary Clinton’s pick for Vice President is very open about practicing his faith and isn’t ashamed to admit it. The Virginia Senator is a practicing Roman Catholic – which you’ll probably hear more about on the campaign trail. According to the Washington Post, Kaine is a regular attendee of a “black church” in Richmond, Virginia, where he is very much at home. Kaine and his wife married at the church and all three of his children have been baptized there. Kaine often takes breaks from politics at church but is also open about talking about how “Catholicism informs his views.”

His Catholicism can be traced back to his childhood where he attended a Jesuit board school and frequently attended mass. A year into law school, Kaine went on a mission trip to Honduras, which, according to his mother, “made him into who he is.” This strong, constant presence of the church in his life seems to ground and center Kaine.

“I do what I do for spiritual reasons,” Kaine told C-SPAN in June. It seems as if there is no denying that Kaine has a strong moral background and is rooted in his religious beliefs and his commitment to make a change for others. Kaine is so religious, in fact, that he has cited the Pope during a discussion about allowing Planned Parenthood to access funding for Zika.

Despite his religious roots, Kaine makes sure that his religion doesn’t fully influence all of his political decisions – as Kaine believes that the state “should not impose a moral view on others,” according to the Daily Beast. He said, in 2008, “I take an oath to uphold the laws of the commonwealth. My church doesn’t make me cross my fingers when I do.”

Kaine’s strong religious background combined with his progressive political beliefs makes him a strong pick for Vice President, according to Democratic insiders. It will be very interesting to hear Kaine speak more about his religious influences on the campaign trail.

About the Author

Casey Suglia is a freelance writer and graduate of Appalachian State University. She is a frequent blogger on current events in American religion and culture.

Stuck in Time

In 1957 there was a famous neuropsychology case that has been studied for years. The patient was called Henry M. He was born in Harford, Connecticut in 1926. He suffered from a case of epilepsy that was so severe and debilitating that he couldn’t function. At age 27, he underwent an experimental surgery in which parts of his brain were removed to try to treat his epilepsy.

The good news was that after surgery, he no longer suffered constant debilitating seizures. And there was no negative impact on his intelligence, personality, or social abilities. There was just one side effect. He had no short-term memory.

Henry M. couldn’t remember anything that happened after his surgery. He couldn’t recognize his doctors. Once home, he’d do the same jigsaw puzzle over and over, and read and re-read the same magazines.

When interviewed 30 minutes after lunch, he couldn’t remember a single thing he had just eaten. Henry M. was stuck in time, unable ot learn, grow, or change.

As sad as that is, I know a lot of people who are the same way. For them, all change is bad. So they never grow. It’s sad to be stuck in time. Paul wrote, “As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, now grow up in him” (Colossians 2:6).

Don’t be stuck in time.

The Rushmore Report: The Parallels Between 1824 and 2016 Elections

2016 has seemed like a year without precedent. Insurgent campaigns doing battle against the establishment for control, hot rhetoric, and unabashed mud-slinging rule the day. And Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are just warming up. There is no question that this will be one of the dirtiest election cycles ever. But politics has always been a blood sport. One year stands out. The presidential election of 1824 was like the 2016 election in frightening ways.

The framers of the Constitution thought that outside of George Washington, who was elected unanimously, we would never be able to agree on a president. So they passed the 12th Amendment as a way to pass the buck to Congress. The Amendment says that if no candidate reaches a majority of votes within the Electoral College, the House of Representatives picks the next president.

And that is what happened in 1824.

James Monroe had just served two terms. General Andrew Jackson, hero of the War of 1812, squared off against John Quincy Adams, son of the second president. It looked to be a classic, heavyweight battle. Except for one thing. Four other contenders entered the race: Secretary of the Treasury William Crawford, Speaker of the House Henry Clay, Secretary of War John Calhoun, and Secretary of the Navy Smith Thompson. The Democratic Party was the only party, so the winner of this group would be elected president. There were no primaries back then.

The 1824 race now had six legitimate candidates, much like the crowded field of 2016.

William Crawford suffered a stroke and dropped out. This left a five-way race. Calhoun dropped out to run for Vice President, which was an election of its own in those days. Now we were down to four candidates.

This would be like a 2016 race including House Speaker Paul Ryan, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.

None of the four candidates won a majority of the vote or Electoral College. Andrew Jackson came the closest. But the selection of the next president now rested in the hands of the House of Representatives. Each state had an equal vote. And they were deadlocked. As the clock ticked past midnight on December 31, 1824, no candidate was able to garner a majority vote. Jackson still held a clear lead, but not a majority.

William Clay despised Jackson, so he eventually threw his support behind Adams, giving him enough votes to win the majority of the states’ delegations to the House of Representatives. That was the first time the winner failed to receive the most votes in the popular vote.

Fast forward to 2016. Imagine that Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson wins a plurality of the vote in one tiny state that leans Libertarian – such as New Hampshire. And imagine that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump tie with 268 Electoral College votes apiece, which could happen. This would throw the election to the House of Representatives.

A simpler way for this to happen would be for Clinton and Trump to tie at 270 votes apiece in the Electoral College, which could also happen. Either way, Paul Ryan would become king-maker.

Could it happen? It did in 1824. And in the crazy election that we are witnessing today – anything is possible.

First Jet Flight – 67 Years Ago Today

On this day in 1949, the world’s first jet-propelled airliner, the British de Havilland Comet, made its maiden test flight in England. The jet engine would ultimately revolutionize the airline industry, shrinking air travel time in half by enabling planes to climb faster and fly higher. The Comet was the creation of aviation pioneer Sir Geoffrey de Havilland (1882-1965). IN 1939, an experimental jet-powered plane debuted in Germany. During World War II, Germany was the first country to use jet fighters.

De Havilland also designed fighter planes during the war years. Following the war, de Havilland turned his focus to commercial jets, developing the Comet and the Ghost jet engine. After its July 1949 test flight, the Comet underwent three more years of testing and training flights. Then, on May 2, 1952, the British Overseas Aircraft Corporation began the world’s first commercial jet service with the 44-seat Comet 1A, flying paying passengers form London to Johannesburg. The Comet was capable of traveling 480 miles per hour, a record speed at the time. However, the initial commercial service was short-lived, and due to a series of fatal crashes in 1953 and 1954, the entire fleet was grounded.

It took another generation for man to master flight. Still, planes go down. But that does little to deter the millions who are in a hurry to get from one place to another.

For most of his history, man has not been able to fly. And that seemed alright for thousands of years. But now we know better. The question is whether we are better.