The Rushmore Report: Houston Church Celebrates Memorial Day with 38,000 Flags

Each of the 38,000 flags on the grounds of Sagemont Church in Houston represents a fallen Texas soldier from every battle from the Republic of Texas’ earliest days in 1836 until now. “Every Flag Has a Name” was the theme for the display remembering service members who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country. The 38,000 flags were laid out around the church’s 170-foot tall cross for Memorial Day celebrations.

Guests were invited to leave names of fallen loved ones on a Memorial Wall.

The remembrance began on Sunday, May 28, with a service honoring and remembering fallen soldiers and their families. On Memorial Day, former U.S. Army Chaplain Grant Rothberg held a special service for Memorial Day where the names of 120 Houstonians who died in recent battles were read aloud. The display will be open to the public until dusk on June 2.

Inside the church lobby is a life-size model of the Liberty Bell and a Wall of Honor with names and photos of service members, which can be viewed Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m to 5 p.m.

Sagemont Church said in a statement, “The church’s desire is to remember with gratitude those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Jesus Christ said, ‘Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).'”

Sagemont Church is located at  11300 S. Sam Houston Parkway in Houston, and is led by its senior pastor, Dr. John D. Morgan, who has been the only pastor in the church’s 56 years.

The Rushmore Report: Who Is This U.S. Senator Who Is Shaking Things Up?

One of the problems with modern politics is the propensity of some people to look for the next “rock star” in the world of politics. It happens with both parties, but I am disappointed to say that it’s common in conservative circles. More often than not, the person in question is elevated not because of anything they’ve done but usually due to something they’ve said. But let’s talk about a new kind of senator – who is really shaking things up.

I always caution people about fully embracing a politician. Politicians are almost always going to disappoint you. That isn’t an attack on them personally. It’s just the nature of the game. It’s politics. It happens. It’s why I am never shocked when a politician does something they ordinarily would not do or appears to be a departure from something they’ve done for years.

There is a difference, however, between making political decisions at times and grandstanding for the sake of doing so. The real political leader is not afraid to call out members of their own party for engaging in behavior of that exhibited by somebody in the opposition party. Currently, Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse fits the bill.

Sasse hasn’t shied away from being critical of President Donald Trump when necessary. Naturally, such an inclination earns him derision among the pro-Trump crowd but even the knee-jerk reactionary anti-Trump contingent lambasts Sasse because he’s not engaging in knee-jerk reactionary rhetoric. I had somebody tell me Sasse is “enabling” Trump by voting to confirm his cabinet nominees. That’s a silly criticism as Sasse’s decision to approve is based on his determination the candidate is fit for the role, not because Sasse doesn’t like Trump.

In a recent podcast, Sasse had some things to say about Trump and the GOP, the latter being eye-opening:

“There’s a risk in our media-driven, and particularly digital media-driven culture, TV-based, broadcast-based, and image-based culture of this digital moment,” Sasse says. “There is a danger that we create shorter and shorter attention spans, more and more unbridled passions, less and less self-control and self-restraint. I don’t think that our Founders would believe that America could long prosper if her people were not readers.”

I asked him how, in a word, he’d describe Trump. All he came up with: “current president.”

But Trump isn’t his only problem. Asked for one word to describe the Republican Party, he again came up with two: “question mark.” Asked what the GOP stands for, he says, “I don’t know.”

I give Sasse credit for being honest. In retrospect, with Donald Trump as president, it’s hard to explain to people what the GOP stands for these days. It’s easy enough to roll through the usual litany of reasons people are used to hearing and have heard for the last 35-40 years.

Talk is cheap. Sasse understands that. Hopefully, there will be more like him who will choose to lead instead of just go along for the sake of party politics.

About the Author

Jay Caruso writes for RedState.

The Rushmore Report: Lessons from Tiger Wood’s Latest Failure

Early Sunday morning, Tiger Woods was arrested for driving under the influence. Fifteen hours later, he issued a statement in an attempt to save face. Following the incident 30 miles from his home in Jupiter, Florida, Woods said that alcohol was not involved, and that his condition resulted from “an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications.” I see four lessons from Tiger’s latest fall from grace.

First, let’s consider his statement. Woods said, “I understand the severity of what I did and I take full responsibility for my actions. I want the public to know that alcohol was not involved. What happened was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications. I didn’t realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly.” Woods then apologized to his fans and pledged to “do everything in my power to ensure this never happens again.” He closed his statement by thanking the Jupiter Police Department and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

So what are we to make of this latest event in the life of the man who sat atop the world golf rankings longer than any player in history? On the plus side, Woods has been a great father and perhaps the most driven and successful golfer who ever picked up a set of clubs.

On the down side, Woods is an admitted sex addict who was unfaithful to his wife through the entirety of their marriage. Add to that previous DUI arrests and huge anger problems, and you have one complicated man.

Tossing the latest failure into the mix, I offer a few observations.

1. Tiger is more like us than we may like to admit.

Tiger Woods was unfaithful to his wife. So are most married men. On occasion, Tiger drinks too much. So does about half of the American population. Tiger is consumed with personal achievement. So are most of us. Tiger Woods has personal struggles. So do we all.

2. There is one big difference between Tiger Woods and most of us.

Here it is – Tiger lives his life on the public stage. I can’t imagine what this must be like. There are three groups of people. There are those who live in total anonymity. Then there are public figures who can retreat to places of anonymity when they so choose. And then there are public figures who are so well known that there is no place to hide. Tiger Woods falls into that category.

3. Life is about what happens after the fall.

Muhammad Ali, the greatest athlete who ever lived (in my humble opinion) famously said, “What matters is not how many times you get knocked down, but how many times you get back up.” Tiger Woods has been knocked down more times than any of us can possibly know. He has been knocked down by physical injuries, the loss of his best friend and dad, a failed marriage, addiction, and countless personal flaws. But in life, as with his golf game, he keeps swinging. Last week, he vowed (again) to return to the game that made him famous and wildly successful. It seems that no injury, no personal failure, and no mistake – regardless how great – can keep Tiger down. For that he deserves great credit.

4. God is about redemption.

One of the most poignant things any of us can say, when contemplating tossing rocks Tiger’s way is this – “If not for the grace of God that could be me.” Your failures are probably not Tiger’s failures. But you have failures he does not have. The closer to God I get, the further away I realize I still am. And the more I recognize my own faults, the less I see faults in others. Life is about redemption.

Tiger Woods’ life is an open book. And it is an interesting book. But make no mistake. It is a book whose final chapter has yet to be written.

The Rushmore Report: Trump Prayed for Wisdom at Western Wall during Jerusalem Visit

President Donald Trump prayed to have God’s wisdom as he touched the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, the first American president to make such a visit. “I visited the Western Wall and marveled at the monument to God’s presence and man’s perseverance – I was humbled to place my hand upon the wall and to pray in that holy place for wisdom from God,” he said in a speech at the Israel Museum.

Prior to going to the Western Wall, Trump visited one of Christianity’s most sacred sites, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which some believe is the place where Jesus was crucified. The trip to Jerusalem was the second stop on Trump’s first international trip as president.

His flight to the Jewish state was also historic in that he flew directly from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, a flight pattern that never happens. In Saudi Arabia, he gave a speech to leaders of over 50 Muslim-majority countries, challenging them to drive terrorists out of their lands.

The speech struck some theological notes, particularly when he said that Muslim religious leaders must urge their followers to reject barbarism. “If you choose the path of terror, your life will be empty, your life will be brief, and your soul will be condemned,” he said.

The faith of the 45th president has been a subject of much speculation in American political life.

The thrice-married businessman originally from Queens spoke clumsily about religion during the election cycle, infamously joking about “Two Corinthians” and saying that he never asked God for forgiveness during the campaign. Yet the vast majority of white evangelical Christians, most of whom are staunch supporters of Israel, voted for him on Election Day and Trump has solicited the support and input of conservative evangelical leaders.

At the signing of an executive order protecting religious liberty earlier this month, Vice President Mike Pence, who is known for his sincere faith, introduced Trump as a “believer” who “loves his family and loves his country with unshakable faith in God.”

His daughter, Ivanka Trump, has converted to orthodox Judaism. Her husband, Jared Kushner, is Jewish.

As The Christian Post reported May 5, CP Executive Editor and Southern Evangelical Seminary President Richard Land, who dined at the White House with the president and his evangelical advisory board last month, said that the president is “comfortable around evangelicals; it’s obvious that he likes us and he’s fascinated by us. I don’t think he was around people like us much before he ran for president.”

Evangelist James Robison, president of LIFE Outreach International, told CP last November that several advisers were instructing Trump to avoid certain kinds of expressions of faith, especially excessive contrition for past sins, because it will be seen as manipulative and pandering.

About the Author

Brandon Showalter writes for The Christian Post.

The Rushmore Report: Trump and JFK Are More Alike than We May Think

On the 100th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s birth there are countless commentaries about the promise shown by our youngest elected president and the grief felt when high hopes were dashed in Dallas. Remembering JFK is worthwhile for many reasons, but one set of reasons is likely to be overlooked. Our nation’s youngest elected president might be able to tell us something about our oldest elected President – Donald Trump.

John F. Kennedy and Donald J. Trump have more in common than devotees for either would want to admit.

Both were second sons of successful and domineering fathers. Both grew up in wealth and privilege, though outside the highest levels of social status. Both were rebellious in school, reckless and cavalier in relations with women, and eventual inheritors of family dreams for wider acceptance.

As young men, they both took on challenging endeavors, but were hounded by critics who said they were more interested in publicity than in genuine accomplishment. They were unlikely presidential candidates who entered the White House after closely fought campaigns against controversial opponents who had been on the national political scene far longer.

They each led political parties with congressional majorities that were deeply divided and unlikely to approve new administration initiatives. They both raised establishment eyebrows by appointing family members to senior administration positions.

There is one more striking similarity. John Kennedy and Donald Trump were pioneers in political communication. Kennedy understood the importance of television sooner and more completely than his political peers. In appearance and demeanor, if not in substance, he outperformed Richard Nixon in their famous televised debates. After he entered the White House, he made press conference broadcasts live events that won a larger audience and gave him the opportunity to speak directly to the American public without newsroom editors selecting from among his remarks.

When Jackie Kennedy gave a televised tour of the redecorated White House in 1962, her shy sophistication came across the airways in a way that was compelling and appealing. After Jack was killed, Jackie exercised close control over the visual aspects of the funeral ceremonies. Both Kennedys knew how to use television.

Trump, for all his faults, is a master of the newest forms of political communication on cable news programs and in social media. Earlier presidential candidates – mostly Democrats from Howard Dean to Barack Obama to Bernie Sanders – showed how to use computer connections to effectively organize and energize supporters. But no one in recent presidential politics tapped into the raw power of the new instruments of political communication more often, or more effectively, than Donald Trump.

So what does it mean if you are a Kennedy, or a Trump, and a groundbreaking politician in the way you communicate with the American people?

As a presidential candidate, it means that you will be under-estimated by observers who apply old standards to new practices. As an elected president, it means that you could have problems interacting with Washington powerbrokers who are more traditional in how they think and act on the public stage. As a public figure, it means you can build a larger and more loyal following than would be expected given modest policy accomplishments.

Of course, there are huge differences between Kennedy and Trump.

Kennedy had real experience in public affairs before he ran for president. Trump had none. Kennedy was able to learn from his early presidential mistakes. Trump has yet to demonstrate such a capacity.

Near the end of his life, Kennedy advocated dramatic policy changes – civil rights legislation and substantive arms control with the Soviet Union – that his successors brought to fruition. It is too soon to tell whether the big things that Trump talks (and tweets) about will be accomplished by him or by others.

The commemoration of Trump’s 100th birthday will take place in the summer of 2046. Maybe by then we will know what to make of him as a man, a communicator, and a president.

About the Author

Robert Strong is the William Lyne Wilson Professor of Politics at Washington and Lee University and a contributor to Newsweek.

The Rushmore Report: CNN’s Sad, Shocking Response to Repugnant Display by Kathy Griffin

Tuesday, liberal comedian Kathy Griffin posted a photo of herself holding up a bloody head resembling President Donald Trump, reminiscent of ISIS holding up the heads of beheaded Christians. When criticized for her repulsive action, her initial response was self-defense. “I’m a comic,” she said. While her action has received near-universal condemnation, it is the response of CNN, for whom she hosts the annual New Year’s Eve show, that is both sad and shocking.

Before we get to CNN, let’s consider the response of both friend and foe. Debra Messing said, “What Kathy did is not right.” Chelsea Clinton went further, calling the display “vile and wrong.”

On the Republican side, Mitt Romney tweeted, “Our politics have become too base, too low, and too vulgar, but Kathy Griffin’s post descends into an even more repugnant and vile territory.” And Donald Trump, Jr. wrote, “Disgusting but not surprising. This is the left today. They consider this acceptable. Imagine that a conservative did this to Obama as POTUS?”

What makes Griffin’s actions most disturbing is that they were premeditated. She took the time to pose for the photo, then post it. She knew exactly what was coming. And this was not out of character for the comedian.

At the Emmy Awards a few years ago, Griffin said this in her acceptance speech. “A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus.” Then she said, “Suck it, Jesus. This is my God now!” referring to the Emmy.

Still, CNN continued to pay Griffin ungodly amounts of money for her ungodly hate speech. Never did they (nor any other liberal leaders) condemn her “Suck it, Jesus” comment.

Now, back to CNN’s sad, shocking response to the Donald Trump ISIS/headless display. Having had 24 hours to consider their response and plans to keep Griffin or replace her on their huge New Year’s Eve program, this was CNN’s initial, official response . . .

“We found what she did disgusting and offensive. We are pleased to see she has apologized and asked that the photos be taken down. We are evaluating our New Year’s Eve coverage and have made no decisions at this point.”

Are you kidding me? Evaluating? No decisions at this point? 

Imagine that Dennis Miller, conservative comedian and frequent guest on Fox News Channel, had done the exact same thing to President Obama while he was in office. Imagine Dennis Miller holding up an apparent severed head of Obama as a joke. Imagine the universal outrage. And then imagine Fox making the same statement that CNN made. “We are evaluating Dennis Miller’s actions. We are evaluating keeping him on our most watched program of the year. No decisions have been made at this point.”

CNN, what “decision” is there to be made? Kathy Griffin’s vile demonstration was planned and executed exactly as intended. While her apology (issued only after universal outrage) was a good thing, it certainly didn’t erase what she had done.

CNN may fire Griffin from their New Year’s Eve show. I’m guessing they will, simply out of fear of losing sponsors. They may announce her dismissal before this article is even posted. But to wait 24 hours to “evaluate” her status tells you all you need to know.

Actions have consequences. Unless you are a liberal comedian working for CNN.

The Rushmore Report: Dem 2020 Presidential Hopeful Says Surprising Things about Impeaching Trump

Several Democratic lawmakers have begun to openly call for Congress to open impeachment hearings amid accusations that President Trump has attempted to obstruct an investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and Russia. But one leading contender for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020 has just spoken out. And while he has not hesitated to criticize President Trump, his comments are interesting.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) isn’t hoping to impeach President Donald Trump anytime soon, he revealed Sunday. In an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union, the senator said, “I’m not going to rush impeachment. I think we need to deal with this in a very sobered way. This can’t be relitigation of an election that is now past. This has to be about an objective assessment about the facts that are going on right now.”

Why is Booker pulling back on impeachment talk while others are heating up the discussions every day, with the aid of a complicit media? The reason is simple. By seriously pushing impeachment (which they can’t pursue against the will of the Republican majority anyway), Democrats would risk ostracizing voters they need to win seats in the midterm elections.

The only president impeached since the mid-1800s was Bill Clinton. And for those who say, “Yeah, but he didn’t really do anything wrong; it was a Republican majority that impeached him,” remember that his license to practice law was revoked. Clinton was guilty of unsavory actions with young women – in the White House. Then he lied about it to Congress. For that he was impeached.

And what happened to President Clinton’s approval ratings after his impeachment? They hit all-time highs.

Cory Booker gets it. Making a victim out of an opponent whose popularity is already low makes no sense. For Democrats, even if they were successful in seeing Trump removed from office, the result would be a very popular President Mike Pence. And for them that makes even less sense.

So whether you agree with Sen. Booker’s liberal policies or not, give him credit. He’s no dummy.

Revival

Three churches worked together to sponsor a community-wide revival. It was a rare demonstration of cooperation for the Baptists, Methodists, and Presbyterians. When the revival was over, the three pastors got together to evaluate the revival’s success. The Methodist minister was pleased. “We gained four families,” he said.

The Baptist preacher chimed in. “We did even better than that! We gained six new families!”

Reluctantly, the Presbyterian said, “This was the best revival our church has ever had. We got rid of the ten families who were our biggest trouble-makers!”

I once had a denominational leader ask if our church would start a new church.

“What do you want from us?” I asked.

He said, “We need families to leave your church to be a part of the new congregation. How many families are you willing to send us?”

I responded, “It depends. If you pick the families, I’ll give you five. But if I get to pick which families leave, I’ll give you 15.”

Or course, real revival isn’t about numbers of people joining a church.  But when revival comes to your life, you will never be the inspiration for a column like this!

The First Indy 500 Winner – 1911

It was 106 years ago today. Ray Harroun won the very first Indianapolis 500 with an average speed of 74 mph. At the age of 32, this was Ray’s last hurrah. He had set world records in various races, beginning in 1904. This would be his only run in the Indy 500. But it would be enough to land the native of Spartansburg, Pennsylvania in the racing Hall of Fame.

Harroun was a pioneering constructor and record-setting driver for seven years. But it was what happened on May 30, 1911 that made him famous.

But let’s go back to his speed – 74 mph. That means I was born too late. I once hit 130 mph in my 1966 Mercury, and just averaged more than 75 mph on a trip to Texas.

If I had my Miata in 1911, this article would be about me! I drive faster than 74 mph exiting the Walmart parking lot. Yet, here I am sitting in front of my computer writing about ‘ol Ray, while he has “Winner of First Indy 500” etched in his gravestone.

Life is all about timing. That’s why it is so important to heed the words of Scripture. We are told to come to God while the Spirit is calling us (Genesis 6:3). The New Testament says, “Now is the accepted time. Today is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

I can lament the fact that my Miata and I came along 106 years too late. Or I can recognize that God’s timing is always perfect. Ray Harroun won a race. But I’ve got the best Savior, wife, son, and dog ever.

Ray Harroun was fast. But God was on time. He always is.

FBI Declassifies J. Edgar Hoover’s Extensive File on the Munsters

I just read this story online, so it must be true . . .

Unsealing the dossier after nearly 50 years, the Federal Bureau of Investigation declassified former director J. Edgar Hoover’s extensive file on the Munster family, sources confirmed Monday. “Those 3,600 documents reveal that the California monster family were of significant interest to J. Edgar Hoover during his extrajudicial intelligence-gathering campaigns,” said Andrew Jewett, an American History professor at Harvard, adding that from 1964-66 the FBI chief had obtained numerous tapes of the Munsters and instructed federal agents to transcribe all conversations of the 1313 Mockingbird Lane residents. “According to multiple letters to officials, Hoover suspected that Munster family patriarch Vladimir Dracula, or ‘Grandpa’ was a communist working in his dungeon laboratory to develop chemical weapons to use on American soldiers and civilians. He was also convinced they were using the tower at Munster Mansion to send coded messages to either the Soviets or radical dissident political groups.” Several documents also reportedly showed that Hoover had directed FBI agents to follow the Munster Koach and to recruit neice Marilyn Munster as an informant.

So there you go. Apparently, the Munsters were spies. My faith in Herman, Lily, and Eddie is forever tainted.

On second thought, I’m going to choose to remember the Munsters the way I did as a child. I loved that old show. Every day after school I watched The Munsters reruns. I had friends who favored the Addams Family. Not me. I’ll take Grandpa over Lurch any day.

Childhood memories are a good thing. As I get older, those are the only memories I still have! What about you? Take a few minutes today and think back over the good times you enjoyed as a child. Will it give you a special spiritual boost or make you more successful? I’m not sure. But it will put a smile on your face. And in today’s world, that’s something.