Hysterical Laws

In Alabama, it is against the law to buy peanuts after sundown. Pennsylvania law books record a case in 1971, when a man sued Satan for his own bad luck. The case was thrown out on the grounds that Satan did not live in Pennsylvania. In Vermont, it is illegal to whistle underwater.

In Lake Charles, the law forbids allowing a rain puddle to remain in one’s front yard for more than 12 hours. And Kentucky has several wise laws. You must bathe at least once a year. If you throw an egg at a public speaker, you will spend a year in jail. And females in bathing suits are  not allowed on any highway, unless they are escorted by two officers armed with a club. This law does not apply to females who weigh less than 90 pounds or more than 200. Nor does the law apply to female horses.

Did you know the ancient Jews had hundreds of laws? They had one law for every day of the year, and another for every bone in the body.

Then a man named Jesus arrived on the scene. He said, “I have come to fulfill the law.” Translation: “Just follow me.”

And don’t visit Kentucky this year unless you took a bath last year.

I’m so glad Jesus came to refocus us from law to grace. The Bible says, “Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4).

Criticism

One of Aesop’s fables tells of an old man and his son bringing a donkey to market. Passing some people on the way, they heard one remark, “Look at that silly pair, walking when they could be riding.”

The old man thought about it, then he and the boy got on the donkey and continued on their way. Soon they passed another group. “Look at that lazy pair,” a voice said, “breaking the back of that poor donkey.”

At that the old man slipped off, but soon heard more criticism. “How terrible! The old man has to walk while the boy gets to ride.”

They changed places, but soon heard, “What an awful thing! The big, strong man is riding, and making the little boy walk!”

The man came up with a final solution. He and the boy carried the donkey on a pole between them. But as soon as they crossed a bridge, the donkey broke loose, fell into the river, and drowned.

Aesop’s conclusion: “You can’t please everyone.”

I love what Dr. Ed Young says about criticism. If one person says you’re a donkey, ignore him. If two say you’re a donkey, don’t sweat it. But if three people say you’re a donkey, it’s time to buy a saddle.

Rarely is all criticism valid. But rarely is it all invalid, either. Knowing how to respond to criticism is one of the marks of a mature believer.

The Bible says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).

Shootout at the OK Corral

On this day in 1881, the Earp brothers faced off against the Clanton-McLaury gang in a legendary shootout at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. On the morning of October 25, Ike Clanton and Tom McLaury came into Tombstone for supplies. Over the next 24 hours, the two men had several violent run-ins with the Earps and their friend Doc Holliday.

About 1:30 p.m. on October 26, Ike’s brother Billy rode into town to join them, along with Frank McLaury and Billy Claiborne. The first person they met in the local saloon was Holliday, who informed them that their brothers had both been pistol-whipped by the Earps. Frank and Billy immediately left the saloon, vowing revenge.

At 3:00 p.m., the Earps and Holliday spotted the five members of the Clanton-McLaury gang in a vacant lot behind the OK Corral at the end of Fremont Street. The famous gunfight that ensued lasted all of 30 seconds, and around 30 shots were fired. Though it’s still debated who fired the first shot, most reports say that the shootout began when Virgil Earp pulled out his revolver and shot Billy Clanton point-blank in the chest, while Doc Holliday fired a shotgun blast at Tom McLaury’s chest.

In an odd way, this is a picture of spiritual warfare. We must come armed for battle, equipped with the full armor of God. And when battling the enemy, we are to go on offense. Sometimes, that means taking the first shot.

The Rushmore Report: Kim Kardashian to Lose $1 Million – By Going Silent

Kim Kardashian, the mega-popular TV reality show star, is about to lose a whopping $1 million – by doing nothing. The star is taking a step away from the limelight after a very difficult week following her horrific experience in France. As a result, she could lose at least $1 million a month while she stays off social media and backs off other personal commitments, according to a celebrity financial adviser.

“Kim’s overall brand is generating at least $1 million a month just through general posts, not including anything that’s specifically being contracted with companies,” financial adviser Samuel Rad told PEOPLE.

But Rad continued, “I think what’s going to happen is the first post she’s going to put up after not having posted for awhile, it’s going to get so many more followers and hits. I think it might actually end up helping her. Especially if Kim positions her return to social media correctly, I think it could be a really big moneymaker for her brand.”

Wise Solomon said, “There is a time to keep silent and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:7). Most of us place a premium on talking, rather than listening. Will Rogers said, “Never miss a good chance to shut up.”

I’m not suggesting that people value your silence as must as they do Kardashian’s. They might not pay you $1 million to say nothing. But that doesn’t mean that your silence has no value.

I like the way George Eliot said it. “Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordy, evidence of the fact.”

So I’m going to say something I thought I’d never say. Keep up with the Kardashians. Do what Kim is doing. Your silence – and hers – may be the gift we’ve all been waiting for. And there’s an added blessing. By not speaking, you can listen. And by listening, you just might hear the voice of God.

The Rushmore Report: Three Reasons Clinton Is a Pro-Abortionist Extremist

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton positions herself as a moderate on abortion. Yet, she now holds the most extreme positions on abortion of any presidential candidate in history. It’s not even close. Three examples follow, and each of them should scare off any voter who claims to value life.

1. She wants taxpayers to pay for abortions.

Clinton supports government funding for abortion. On June 10, she delivered a speech at a Planned Parenthood event in which she called for repealing the Hyde Amendment, a policy that prevents taxpayer funding for abortion.

“Let’s repeal laws like the Hyde Amendment that make it nearly impossible – for low-income women, disproportionately women of color, to exercise their full reproductive rights,” she said.

The Democratic National Committee added this goal to its platform after Clinton became the nominee.

Amazingly, Clinton wants well-intentioned Christians who value life and have genuine opposition of the taking of innocent life, to use their own money to pay for the taking of life. No Democratic candidate has ever taken this position – ever.

An August YouGov poll found that 55 percent of Americans support the Hyde Amendment. This includes a large number of Democrats, who are about evenly divided. Forty-one percent of Democrats support the ban on abortion funding while 44 percent oppose it.

2. She supports abortion until birth.

Clinton supports abortion right up until the very moment of birth. Of course, she doesn’t say it that way, because it sounds awful when you say a baby can be legally killed right before she’s born. Instead, Clinton uses some shifty Clintonian lingo.

She has said she supports restrictions only in the third trimester and only if there are exceptions for the “life and health of the mother.” (In one interview she said there should only be restrictions at the “very end of the third trimester.”) But as Clinton understands, and most voters don’t, the “health exception” is just a huge loophole that allows for abortion for any reason.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Bolton, the companion case to Roe v. Wade, that the health exception can be whatever the abortionist decides it is.

In an April appearance on ABC’s “The View,” Clinton was asked if she supports legal abortion “just hours before delivery,” and she agreed. That same week, on “Meet the Press,” she was asked, “When or if does an unborn child have constitutional rights?” She answered, “The unborn person doesn’t have constitutional rights.”

A July 16 Marist poll found that only 13 percent of Americans think abortion should be legal “through the entire pregnancy.” Similarly, a 2012 Gallup poll found that only 14 percent of Americans believe abortion should be legal “in the last three months of pregnancy,” and a July 2014 HuffPost/YouGov poll found that 59 percent of Americans support a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of gestation, which is during the second trimester.

3. Clinton thinks abortion should be common, not rare.

Clinton no longer argues that abortion should be rare. During his 1992 presidential campaign, Bill Clinton said that abortion “should be safe, legal, and rare.” It was controversial at the time within the pro-choice community,  because saying that abortion should  be “rare” implies that there is something wrong with getting an abortion. But the phrase helped establish Bill Clinton’s public image as a moderate on abortion.

Hillary Clinton also used the phrase “safe, legal, and rare” to describe her abortion position when she ran for the U.S. Senate in 2000 and when she ran for president in 2008. During her current run for president, however, she dropped “rare” from her vocabulary on abortion.

In July 2013, after undercover videos showed how Planned Parenthood benefits from selling aborted body parts, Clinton initially called the images “disturbing.” She changed her tune quickly, however.

Six days after those remarks, Clinton’s campaign released a video, “Support and Stand with Planned Parenthood,” expressing her support for the abortion provider. She accused Republicans of launching a “full-on assault on women’s health” and claimed that Planned Parenthood provides “life-saving preventive care.”

In the pro-Planned Parenthood video, she talked about “safe and legal” abortion. No “rare.”

In a February interview on ABC’s “This Week,” she even claimed that her “record for many years about where I stand on abortion” was that it “should  be safe and legal.”

What about rare? That was her position, also.

“I have the same position that I’ve had for a very long time,” Clinton added.

Some Clinton supporters think she’s a moderate on abortion. There’s a reason for that. They haven’t been paying attention to anything she actually says.

If you can support the taking of the unborn life, right up to the point of birth (she also supports partial-birth abortion), with a clear conscience, by all means, vote for Hillary Clinton.

But if you value life – you might want to think again.

About the Author

Napp Nazworth is a political analyst and writer for the Christian Post. Based in Washington, D.C., Nazworth focuses on issues that affect modern culture, from a Christian worldview.

 

The Rushmore Report: Top Five Presidential Upsets

Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump by five points in the latest Real Clear Politics average. While the margin has come down a bit, and though Trump has a slim lead in a few outlier polls, Clinton’s lead has held steady since the debates. Even the recent revelations from her latest email dumps have not erased her lead. Many pundits say the race is over. Not so quick! Consider the top five upsets in presidential election history.

1. Thomas Dewey vs Harry Truman (1948)

The Chicago Daily Tribune headline famously declared “Dewey Defeats Truman,” but the incumbent Democratic president actually won by just over two million votes. The outcome remains the gold standard of foregone conclusions and head-turning upsets. Almost no one predicted a Truman win.

2. Grover Cleveland vs Benjamin Harrison (1888)

Harrison, the Republican nominee, defeated President Cleveland amid claims of voter fraud (sound familiar?) in New York and Indiana. Cleveland won the popular vote by more than 90,000, but Harrison carried the Electoral College, 233-168.

3. John Quincy Adams vs Andrew Jackson (1828)

The huge voter turnout helped defeat the incumbent, Adams, and put a “Westerner” in the White House for the first time. Jackson was the outsider of the day, when most presidents came from Virginia or Massachusetts.

4. John F. Kennedy vs Richard Nixon (1960)

The sitting Vice President was heavily favored throughout the campaign. The election tide turned on Kennedy’s polished good looks and eloquent delivery during the first series of televised national debates available to most of the nation. In the end, it was the Democrat, Kennedy, who won the popular vote by the slimmest of margins – 49.7 to 49.5 percent. The Electoral College went for Kennedy, 303-219. The win produced the nation’s first Catholic president.

5. George H. W. Bush vs Bill Clinton (1992)

The Republican incumbent, Bush, was riding high the year before the election, on the heels of the United States’ victory in Desert Storm. His approval rating peaked at a record 93 percent. But it was Clinton, a Democrat and relative unknown from Arkansas, who proved to be as masterful a politician as the nation had seen since Ronald Reagan. Then there was the third-party candidate, Ross Perot, who tilted the election to Mr. Clinton, by garnering 19 percent of the vote, with most of that coming from Bush’s base vote.

So is Trump leading, two weeks before the election? No.

Can Trump still win? Yes.

It’s happened before – it can happen again.

 

The Rushmore Report: CNN’s Highly Reluctant Jesus Follower

Just seven years ago, if someone had told me that I’d be writing for Christianity Today magazine about how I came to believe in God, I would have laughed out loud. If there was one thing in which I was completely secure, it was that I would never adhere to any religion – especially to evangelical Christianity, which I held in particular contempt.

I grew up in the Episcopal Church in Alaska, but my belief was superficial and flimsy. It was borrowed from my archaeologist father, who was so brilliant he taught himself to speak and read Russian. When I encountered doubt, I would fall back on the fact that he believed.

Leaning on my father’s faith got me through high school. But by college it wasn’t enough, especially because as I grew older he began to confide in me his own doubts. What little faith I had couldn’t withstand this revelation. From my early 20s on, I would waver between atheism and agnosticism, never coming close to considering that God could be real.

After college I worked as an appointee in the Clinton administration from 1992 to 1998. The White House surrounded me with intellectual people who, if they had any deep faith in God, never expressed it. Later, when I moved to New York, where I worked in Democratic politics, my world became aggressively secular. Everyone I knew was politically left-leaning, and my group of friends was overwhelmingly atheist.

I sometimes hear Christians talk about how terrible life must be for atheists. But our lives were not terrible. Life actually seemed pretty wonderful, filled with opportunity and good conversation and privilege. I know now that it was not as wonderful as it could have been. But you don’t know what you don’t know. How could I have missed something I didn’t think existed?

Very Open-Minded

To the extent that I encountered Christians, it was in the news cycle. And inevitably they were saying something about gay people or feminists. I didn’t feel I was missing much. So when I began dating a man who was into Jesus, I was not looking for God. In fact, the week before I met him, a friend had asked me if I had any deal breakers in dating. My response: “Just nobody who is religious.”

A few months into our relationship, my boyfriend called to say he had something important to talk to me about. I remember exactly where I was sitting in my West Village apartment when he said, “Do you believe Jesus is your Savior?” My stomach sank. I started to panic. Oh no, was my first thought. He’s crazy.

When I answered no, he asked, “Do you think you could ever believe it?” He explained that he was at a point in life when he wanted to get married and felt that I could be that person, but he couldn’t marry a non-Christian. I said I didn’t want to mislead him – that I would never believe in Jesus.

Then he said the magic words for a liberal: “Do you think you could keep an open mind about it?” Well, of course. “I’m very open-minded!” Even though I wasn’t at all. I derided Christians as anti-intellectual bigots who were too weak to face the reality that there is no rhyme or reason to the world. I had found this man’s church attendance an oddity to overlook, not a point in his favor.

As he talked, I grew conflicted. On the one hand, I was creeped out. On the other hand, I had enormous respect for him. He is smart, educated, and intellectually curious. I remember thinking What if this is true, and I’m not even willing to consider it?

A few weeks later I went to church with him. I was so clueless about Christianity that I didn’t know that some Presbyterians were evangelicals. So when we arrived at the Upper East Side service of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, I was shocked and repelled by what I saw. I was used to the high-church liturgy of my youth. We were meeting in an auditorium with a band playing what I later learned was “praise music.” I thought, How am I going to tell him I can never come back?

But then the pastor preached. I was fascinated. I had never heard a pastor talk about the things he did. Tim Keller’s sermon was intellectually rigorous, weaving in art and history and philosophy. I decided to come back to hear him again. Soon, hearing Keller speak on Sunday became the highlight of my week. I thought of it as just an interesting lecture – not really church. I just tolerated the rest of it in order to hear him. Any person who is familiar with Keller’s preaching knows that he usually brings Jesus in at the end of the sermon to tie his points together. For the first few months, I left feeling frustrated. Why did he have to ruin a perfectly good talk with this Jesus nonsense?

Each week, Keller made the case for Christianity. He also made the case against atheism and agnosticism. He expertly exposed the intellectual weakness of a purely secular worldview. I came to realize that even if Christianity wasn’t the real thing, neither was atheism.

I began to read the Bible. My boyfriend would pray with me for God to reveal himself to me. After about eight months of going to hear Keller, I concluded that the weight of evidence was on the side of Christianity. But I didn’t feel any connection to God, and frankly, I was fine with that. I continued to think that people who talked of hearing from God or experiencing God were either delusional or lying. In my most generous moments, I allowed that they were just imagining things that made them feel good.

Then one night in 2006, on a trip to Taiwan, I woke up in what felt like a strange cross between a dream and reality. Jesus came to me and said, “Here I am.” It felt so real. I didn’t know what to make of it. I called my boyfriend, but before I had time to tell him about it, he told me he had been praying the night before and felt we were supposed to break up. So we did. Honestly, while I was upset, I was more traumatized by Jesus visiting me.

Completely True

I tried to write off the experience as misfiring synapses, but I couldn’t shake it. When I returned to New York a few days later, I was lost. I suddenly felt God everywhere and it was terrifying. More important, it was unwelcome. It felt like an invasion. I started to fear I was going crazy.

I didn’t know what to do, so I spoke with writer Eric Metaxas, whom I had met through my boyfriend and who had talked with me quite a bit about God. “You need to be in a Bible study,” he said. “And Kathy Keller’s Bible study is the one you need to be in.” I didn’t like the sound of that, but I was desperate. My whole world was imploding. How was I going to tell my family or friends about what had happened? Nobody would understand. I didn’t understand. (It says a lot about the family in which I grew up that one of my most pressing concerns was that Christians would try to turn me into a Republican.)

I remember walking into the Bible study. I had a knot in my stomach. In my mind, only weirdoes and zealots went to Bible studies. I don’t remember what was said that day. All I know is that when I left, everything had changed. I’ll never forget standing outside that apartment on the Upper East Side and saying to myself, “It’s true. It’s completely true.” The world looked entirely different, like a veil had been lifted off it. I had not an iota of doubt. I was filled with indescribable joy.

The horror of the prospect of being a devout Christian crept back in almost immediately. I spent the next few months doing my best to wrestle away from God. It was pointless. Everywhere I turned, there he was. Slowly there was less fear and more joy. The Hound of Heaven had pursued me and caught me – whether I liked it or not.

About the Author

Kirsten Powers is a contributor to USA Today and a columnist for Newsweek/The Daily Beast. After a lengthy career as a Democratic commentator at Fox News, she is now a nightly guest commentator for CNN – and a devoted follower of Christ.

The Rushmore Report: Is the Religious Right – Wrong?

Christian conservatives, or the “Religious Right,” have become the very people they so ardently warned against, according to the president of the public policy wing of the Southern Baptist Convention. In front of a crowd of 400 guests at the Union League Club on 37th Street in New York City Monday, First Things held their annual Erasmus Lecture, and Russell Moore addressed the question: “Can the Religious Right Be Saved?”

Moore’s answer was both yes and no. Some things are worth preserving, while other vestiges cannot die quickly enough.

“I’m an heir of Bible Belt America and also in many ways a survivor of Bible Belt America,” Moore said, noting that he grew up memorizing Scriptures in spelling bee type drills, enmeshed in the ecosystem of evangelical Christianity.

In a speech lasting an hour, Moore noted that during his teenage years he witnessed the rank hypocrisy among fellow believers, their indifferences to or even complicity in racial injustices, the buffoonish words of Christian leaders and the utter hollowness of cultural Christianity, particularly regarding politics. These Bible Belt churches, which delivered “Christian voter guides” instructing the faithful on the supposed biblical position on the line-item veto, precipitated the recognition that there had to be more to following Christ than this.

Moore, who has been consistently outspoken in his opposition to Donald Trump, further noted that he recognizes the hard decisions people have before them in this particular election, which many characterize as a “lesser of two evils” choice. But in exchange for political influence, he contended, some are forgetting an essential gospel question: What does it mean to be saved?

“The Religious Right turns out to be the people the Religious Right warned us about,” he continued.

The younger generation of evangelicals simply will not stand for this, Moore said. Contrary to the media narratives about millennial Christians liberalizing, Moore insists that younger evangelicals instead intend to prioritize the furtherance of the gospel, not right wing politics.

“There are no 22-year-old John Hagees,” Moore acknowledged, but there are plenty of young solidly orthodox evangelical church planters committed to the culture, and sound expository preaching of the Bible.

From Moore’s standpoint, to be effective in this culture, this rising generation of faithful Christians have to forge collaborative issue-by-issue coalitions when speaking to politics, dispense with alarmist eschatology and prosperity gospel hucksterism, and create robust, disciplined conscience-shaping church communities.

“A Christianity without a clear gospel is just moralism; but a Christianity also without visible churches is backward looking and seething with rage with what has been lost,” Moore said.

“The important question is whether the Religious Right will have for them that Word above all earthly powers which no thanks to them abideth. The important question is whether a people defined by religion have for the world, good news,” he concluded.

About the Author

Brandon Showalter is a writer for the Christian Post. Committed to bringing the relevancy of the gospel to his generation, Brandon is also a contributor to the new Evangelical channel. For more information, go to brandonshowalter.com.

The Rushmore Report: Who Are You Listening To?

After serving for many years in South Africa, missionary Robert Moffat returned to Scotland in the early 1800s to recruit more missionaries. When he arrived at one church on a cold winter night, only a small group of women had turned out to hear him. While he was grateful for their interest, he’d hoped to challenge the men of the community to consider serving the tribes in that foreign land.

Still, Moffat preached his prepared message on Proverbs 8:4. “Unto you, O men, I call” (KJV). Toward the end of his sermon the missionary noticed a young boy in the congregation. Although no one volunteered to go to Africa that evening, the little boy was deeply moved by the challenge. That night the boy promised God he would follow in the footsteps of the missionary. True to his word, when he grew up, he went and ministered to the tribes of Africa.

That boy’s name was David Livingstone, and he became one of the world’s greatest missionaries and adventurers.

In the Bible we read about another boy who heard a divine call. His name was Samuel. And because he followed God’s call, he changed his world.

What about you? Whose voice are you listening to?

Sometimes our problem is not that we have not heard the voice of God, but that we have not followed through with what he has said. One reason for that, I have discovered, is fear. We go back to the words of the enemy in the Garden of Eden, who asked, “Did God really say . . .?”

Raymond Edman said, “Never doubt in the dark what God told you in the light.” In other words, when times become challenging, we must not turn our backs on God. In this life, we go through a lot of dark valleys. Those are the moments when we need to remember the God of the light. Never doubt in the dark what God told you in the light.

Whose voice are you listening to?

The Rushmore Report: Trump Can Still Win – Here’s How

Donald Trump’s bid for the White House seems to be fading with just 12 days left before the election. Such eternal Republican optimists as Karl Rove have already written him off. “I don’t see it happening,” Rove told Fox News. “If he plays an inside straight, he could get it, but I doubt he’s going to be able to play it.” Professor Helmut Norpoth, from Stony Brook University in New York State, disagrees. Norpoth has correctly predicted the last five elections, and he is predicting a Trump win.

Norpoth uses numerous models to make his prediction. At the basis of his perspective is each candidate’s strength in his or her primary victories. Still, most pundits are betting on a Clinton win on November 8. But not so quick – there is a clear, though narrow path to victory for Mr. Trump. And here it is.

1. Retain every state won by Romney in 2012.

The first thing Trump must do is retain all the Romney states. This includes red states like Arizona and Georgia, both won by Bill Clinton in 1996 and contested by Hillary Clinton in 2016. And this includes Utah, which is close, due to independent run of Evan McMullin. Toss in North Carolina, where Trump is narrowly trailing. He must win each of the Romney states. Watch the first election returns from the Eastern time zone. If Trump loses North Carolina, the fat lady will begin warming up. Trump must win North Carolina.

2. Win Ohio.

No Republican has won the White House without winning Ohio. Early voting returns have shown encouraging signs for Trump, with fewer Democrats requesting ballots than in recent elections. Trump has a very narrow lead here; it must hold up for him to have any chance of a national win.

3. Win Florida.

This may be the best firewall for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Two Quinnipiac University polls from the last three weeks have shown Clinton with a slim lead in Florida. Donald Trump hasn’t held a statistically significant lead in a poll in Florida since July. Clinton doesn’t have to win Florida, but Trump absolutely must.

4. Pick up an additional 17 electoral votes.

Even if Trump wins every Romney state plus Ohio and Florida, Clinton wins the election. Unless Trump finds another 17 electoral votes from states won by Obama in 2012. One option is to win Pennsylvania. Though a recent Bloomberg poll measures Clinton’s lead at nine points, Trump is pushing hard for the Keystone State. A second option would be to combine several small states. This list includes Iowa, Nevada, and New Hampshire. If he achieves steps one and two, plus capturing these three states, he wins. A third option would be to win a wildcard state. If Trump pulls off a big upset in a state such as Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado, or Virginia, he can win.

Trump can still win the White House. But his road is bumpy, narrow, littered with debris, and has a lot of detours along the way.