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: 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.

Oldtimers

A couple in their nineties are both having problems remembering things. They decide to go to the doctor for a check-up. The doctor tells them they’re physically fine, but they might want to start writing things down to help them remember. Later that night while watching TV, the old man gets up from his chair.

His wife asks, “Where are you going?”

“To the kitchen,” he replies.

“Will you get me a bowl of ice cream?”

“Sure.”

“Don’t you think you should write it down so you can remember it?” she asks.

“No, I can remember it.”

“Well, I’d like some strawberries on top, too. You’d better write it down, because you know you’ll forget it.”

He says, “I can remember that! You want a bowl of ice cream with strawberries on top.”

“I’d also like some whipped cream. I’m certain you’ll forget that, so you better write it down!”

Irritated, he says, “I don’t need to write it down. I can remember it! Leave me alone! You want ice cream with strawberries and whipped cream. I got it, for goodness sake!” And with that he walks off, toward the kitchen.

After about 20 minutes the old man returns and hands his wife a plate of bacon and eggs.

She stares at the plate for a moment and then says . . . “Where’s my toast?”

You don’t have to be old to have a short memory. My uncle was a great example. The family joke was that he heard what he wanted to hear and remembered what he wanted to remember. We are all a lot like that. We remember what is in our best interest.

But there are a few things we must always remember – love God, treat others right, live lives that reflect His grace. And the good news is, we don’t even have to write that down. God did it for us.

It’s called the Bible.

The Miracle of the Constitutional Convention

It happened this day in history, 230 years ago. On May 25, 1787, delegates convened a Constitutional Convention to write a new Constitution for the United States. George Washington presided.

Also known as the Federal Convention, the meeting lasted until September 17. The session was formed to cement the direction of the fledgling country, which had been operating under the Articles of Confederation following independence from Great Britain. Although the Convention was intended to revise the Articles of Confederation, the objective from the outset, of many of its proponents, including James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, was to create a new government rather than fix the existing one.

The result of the Convention was the creation of the U.S. Constitution, placing the Convention among the most significant events in the history of the United States.

The most contentious disputes revolved around the composition and election of the Senate, how “proportional representation” was to be defined (whether to include slaves or other property), whether to divide the executive power between three persons or invest the power into a single president, how to elect the president, how long the term was to be, and whether he could stand for re-election, what offenses should be impeachable, the nature of a fugitive slave clause, whether to allow the abolition of the slave trade, and whether judges should be chosen by the legislature or executive branch. Most of the time during the Convention was spent on deciding these issues, while the powers of legislature, executive, and judiciary were not heavily disputed.

Once the Convention began, the delegates first agreed on the principles of the Convention, then they agreed on Madison’s Virginia Plan and began to modify it. A Committee of Detail assembled during the July 4 recess and produced a rough draft. Most of this rough draft remained in place, and can be found in the final version of the Constitution. After the final issues were resolved, the Committee on Style produced the final version, and it was voted on and sent to the states.

The miracle of the Constitutional Convention is that a group of men, with little experience is such things, produced a document that has guided the greatest nation on Earth for well over 200 years, with only limited amendments. Remember that, the next time a politician tries to circumvent this great document under the guise of calling it a “living, breathing document.” That is just code for “let’s ignore the Constitution for our own political purposes.”

The men who gathered 230 years ago today were statesmen and patriots. For them we should all be grateful – today and always.