Unanswered Prayers

We often concern ourselves with things we cannot control. A nervous passenger on an ocean liner asked the captain what would happen if the ship hit an iceberg.

“Nothing,” said the captain. “The iceberg would keep on floating as if nothing happened.”

That great theologian Garth Brooks understood this when he wrote the song, Thank God for Unanswered Prayers. I can identify with that.

I remember the girl I had a crush on in high school. I prayed that she would marry me some day. It didn’t work out, and I was devastated. Then, a few years later, I saw her at a psych hospital. (No, I wasn’t a patient.) I barely recognized her, as 50 percent of her wasn’t there when I had seen her last. I bowed and prayed, “Thank you, Jesus, for unanswered prayers!”

Life is like a parade. We see what is in front of us. But God sees the whole parade.

Even the best head football coach wears a headset. That is so the other coaches up high in the press box, with a much better view of the whole field, can tell him what is really happening on the field.

So thank God for one of his greatest gifts: unanswered prayers.

The Rushmore Report: Can a Democrat Be Pro-Life?

The Democratic Party is now willing to lend support to any pro-life candidates among their ranks, according to a party leader. Earlier this year Democratic Party Chairman Tom Perez stated that the party was withholding any support from candidates who did not consider themselves pro-choice. But now, U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) says the Democrats will no longer have a litmus test on abortion.

“As we look at candidates across the country, you need to make sure you have candidates that fit the district, that can win in these districts across America,” said Lujan, who serves as Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman. “To pick up 24 seats in Congress and get to 218, that is the job. We’ll need a broad coalition to get that done. We are going to need all of that, we have to be a big family in order to win the House back.”

In April, DNC Chair Perez stated that the Party would no longer support any Democratic candidates who were pro-life.

“Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health,” stated Perez, as reported by The Huffington Post. “That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state.”

“At a time when women’s rights are under assault from the White House, the Republican Congress, and in states across the country – we must speak up for this principle as loudly as ever and with one voice.”

The declaration garnered criticism from many within the party, including former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of California.

In an interview reported by The Washington Post in May, the pro-choice Pelosi warned against alienating pro-life Democrats, noting that many of her family fit that classification.

“I grew up Nancy D’Alesandro, in Baltimore, Maryland, in Little Italy, in a very devout Catholic family, fiercely patriotic proud of our town and heritage, and staunchly Democratic,” said Pelosi.

“Most of those people – my family, extended family – are not pro-choice. You think I’m kicking them out of the Democratic Party?”

Lujan’s statements about welcoming pro-life candidates into the party have brought swift criticism from pro-choice groups, including Mitchell Stille of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

“Throwing weight behind anti-choice candidates is bad politics that will lead to worse policy,” stated Stille. “The idea that jettisoning this issue wins elections for Democrats is folly contradicted by all available data.”

About the Author

Michael Gryboski is a writer for The Christian Post.

The Rushmore Report: Philadelphia’s Hilarious Experiment with the Soda Tax

Philadelphia’s city council had a revolutionary idea. Let’s tax the poor to increase revenue – and the soda tax was born. After its implementation, you could have probably guessed the results: soda is now more expensive than beer. Also, the tax on diet soda that was meant to raise money for education hasn’t been fully allocated for children. Only half the money designated for Pre-K programs ever got there.

The study finds that the tax is 24 times higher than the Pennsylvania tax rate on beer.

“Purchases of beer are also now less expensive than nonalcoholic beverages subject to the tax in the city,” according to the study, written by Courtney Shupert and Scott Drenkard. “Empirical evidence from a 2012 journal article suggests that soda taxes can push consumers to alcohol, meaning it is likely that consumers are switching to alcoholic beverages as a result of the tax.”

The Tax Foundation points out that unlike most cities, Philadelphia passed the tax specifically to raise revenue, not to fight obesity. The city even includes diet sodas in its tax, as a way to raise money for pre-kindergarten programs.

However, less than half of the $39.4 million collected since the tax went into effect on January 1 has gone to education funding.

“The tax was originally promoted as a vehicle to raise funds for pre-kindergarten education, but in practice it awards just 49 percent of the soda tax revenues to local pre-K programs,” Shupert and Drenkard write. “Another 20 percent of the soda tax revenues fund government employee benefits or city programs, while the rest of the money will go towards parks, libraries, and community schools.”

Collections from the soda tax are also well below original projections of $92 million per year, due to tax avoidance.

Cheers, Philly city council. What a top-notch policy – said by no one.

About the Author

Matt Vespa is a writer for Townhall.

The Rushmore Report: Kasich (Rep) and Hickenlooper (Dem) – 2020 Dream Team?

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (Republican), and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (Democrat), have reportedly discussed the idea of forming a “unity” presidential ticket to run for the White House in 2020. Kasich and Hickenlooper would run as independents, with Kasich at the top of the ticket. The concept is to bring the country together behind two centrists to represent the broad middle ground. Could it work?

In a word, no.

A source close to both men said, “What they are trying to show the country is that honorable people can disagree, but you can still solve problems together. It happens in business and it happens in families. Why can’t it happen in Washington?”

That’s easy. Because Washington is neither a business nor a family.

Two weeks ago, Kickenlooper told Politico, “I don’t think Kasich would ever do that. I don’t think it’s in the cards. But I do like the idea of working with him in some context at some point.”

Could this be that point?

Yes, it could be, except for one thing – it won’t work.

The two governors are working together on major policy issues such as healthcare and immigration – a rare, bipartisan alliance at a time of deep-seeded acrimony between the two political parties. The next steps for the men would be more policy than politically focused.

The source continued, “Watch on the policy front as they expand beyond healthcare and also include other governors in the coalition.”

So why won’t it work? I mean, President Trump has historically low poll numbers. And Congress is polling at even lower numbers. The vast majority of Americans don’t approve of either party or their leaders. The current face of the Democratic Party, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, is taken less seriously than new episodes of The Gong Show.

So why won’t this centrist, come together strategy work? For four reasons.

1. Kasich and Hickenlooper don’t agree on much.

That’s why one is called a Republican and the other a Democrat. Other than their rhetoric – which is commendable – the only things the governors have in common is the same first name and two last names no one quite knows how to spell. Kasich is pro-life, while Hickenlooper is pro-choice. Kasich is in agreement with 90 percent of the Republican platform; Hickenlooper supports 90 percent of the Democratic platform. The vice president pretty much needs to support the president’s agenda. And Hickenlooper is on record as opposing most of what Kasich supports. That makes sense – he’s a Democrat.

2. Few would vote for them.

Those who think a “centrist” ticket can win need only consult Presidents Perot and Anderson. It’s like the fellow who couldn’t decide if he was for the Union or the Confederacy, so he wore gray pants and a blue shirt. He got shot by both sides. The deal is, many people say they want a centrist, but when you drill down, at least 80 percent agree mostly with either the left of the right. So when it comes time to vote, they will vote for the man and party which represents their views. The muddled middle just isn’t that large. That’s why, in most elections, less than ten percent vote for one party for president, but another down ballot.

3. They can’t raise money.

People give money out of passion. And few people are passionate about being in the middle. Seeing Congress “work” doesn’t stoke passion, let alone financial contributions. Both political parties will be flush with cash. That means advertising. And that is critical for any election.

4. The Trump factor will make it impossible for them to win.

In 1992, most of the 19 percent who voted for Perot knew they were taking votes away from either Bush or Clinton. But they didn’t care, because people weren’t that passionate about Bush or Clinton. But that’s not the world we live in today. No one is undecided about President Trump. Those who support him would never slide to the middle. And those who oppose him would never divide their votes between the Democratic nominee and the centrist ticket.

So can a Kasich-Hickenlooper ticket win in 2020? On a scale of 1-10, the chances are 0.

The Rushmore Report: Where’s the Outcry from the Left? Bill Maher Mocks 9-Year-Old’s Letter to Trump

If Rush Limbaugh had done this, the left and mainstream media (is there a difference?) would go nuts. If Shawn Hannity had done this, he would be condemned. If President Trump had done this, Democrats would call for his impeachment. But when “comedian” Bill Maher ridicules a nine-year-old child, simply for supporting the President, we hear nothing. The left should be embarrassed by their silence.

Here’s what happened. Bill Maher was off the air for a month (did anybody notice?). After his hiatus, he returned just in time to blast an innocent nine-year-old boy for – gasp! – writing a letter of support to his president. The letter by Dylan Harbin was first read aloud by Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in late July.

The classless Maher took to the air to point out Dylan’s spelling errors. (Perhaps if the boy had not been educated in public schools, he would know how to spell, but that’s for another day.)

After his senseless ridicule, which says more about Maher than anything else, he then read a fake letter which he attributed to Dylan.

“Do you like your boss, Mr. Putin?” Maher added, “When you beat up on real Mexicans does candy come out?” and “How much money do you have? If only there was some way to find out.”

When contacted to defend his childish remarks, Maher predictably went silent. No response. No accountability. No attempt to defend the indefensible.

So once again, the left/media has proven their spinelessness. When Maher used the N-word on the air, they said nothing. When he made an incest “joke” about Ivanka Trump, they said nothing. And now that he has gone to mocking children who dare to not fall in line with his failed leftist ideology . . . more silence.

Bill Maher, you should be ashamed and embarrassed. You aren’t . . . but you should be.

The Rushmore Report: Why Does Black America Not Embrace Clarence Thomas?

Clarence Thomas is only the second black American to serve on the United States Supreme Court. One would think that would be enough to earn him a place in the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. But apparently neither Thomas nor other prominent black leaders Thomas Sowell or Walter Williams are good enough for inclusion. How can that be possible?

It’s simple. They are conservatives.

While excluding men such as Clarence Thomas, the museum is inducting a local D.C. television newscaster. When asked to explain, museum spokesperson Lonnie Bunch said the broadcaster “symbolized that it was really important that America was changing and his presence was a symbol of that change.”

So how is it that Clarence Thomas, who rose from poverty to become the second black person to ever sit on the U.S. Supreme Court is not a symbol of that change?

Many blacks criticize Thomas for being too conservative. Yet, when asked to name a single case in which he has ruled incorrectly, they cannot. The media has told them Mr. Thomas is a bad guy, so to them, he must be.

It’s odd that a museum that stands for a movement against discrimination is practicing discrimination.

But the museum is not alone in its hypocrisy. Every year, the black magazine Ebony publishes a list of its “Power 100,” defined as those “who lead, inspire, and demonstrate through their individual talents, the very best in Black America.” And each year, Clarence Thomas is absent from the list. Apparently, as a sitting black justice on the Supreme Court of the United States, Thomas does not “lead, inspire, and demonstrate the very best in Black America.” The magazine, like the museum, also excludes Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams.

As for Sowell, he’s only the economist and writer whom playwright David Mamet once called “our greatest contemporary philosopher.” Sowell, who never knew his father, was raised by a great-aunt and her two grown daughters. They lived in Harlem, where he was the first in his family to make it past the sixth grade. He left home at 17, served as a Marine in the Korean War, graduated magna cum laude from Harvard, earned a Master’s degree from Columbia University the next year, and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago. He has authored 48 books and written hundreds of published articles. In 2015, Forbes magazine said, “It’s a scandal that economist Thomas Sowell has not been awarded the Nobel Prize. No one alive has turned out so many insightful, richly researched books.” Yet, thanks to Ebony, many of his own race have never heard of him.

And how does the magazine justify excluding economist and writer Walter Williams, former chairman of the economics department of George Mason University, where he still teaches? Raised by a single mother, he lived in the projects of inner city Philadelphia. Williams served in the Army before earning three degrees, including a Ph.D.

The exclusion of people like Clarence Thomas, Thomas Sowell, and Walter Williams explains why there’s no serious discussion in the black community about government dependency, school choice, the damage done by high taxes, excessive regulation, and laws like minimum wage.

And it explains why thinking blacks should give consideration to their allegiance to leftist leaders and political parties that turn their collective backs on men like Clarence Thomas, Thomas Sowell, and Walter Williams, who are not just great black Americans.

They are great Americans. Period. It’s a sad day when you have to rely on white guys like me to tell you that.

The Rushmore Report: J.J. Watt’s Amazing Response to Hurricane Harvey

The greatest player in the NFL not named Brady is at it again. The big man with a bigger heart is helping his fellow Houstonians in the wake of the costliest storm to ever hit the United States. Texans’ defensive lineman and two-time Defense Player of the Year, J.J. Watt, has donated $100,000 to flood victims in hope of raising another $100,000. But what happened next surprised even him.

Hurricane Harvey is the first Category 4 storm to strike the Texas coast since Carla in 1961. The toll will not be known for months, maybe years. With winds of 130 mph and over four feet of rain in some areas, Harvey brought devastation of biblical proportions.

Watt started a new YouCaring.com page, with a video challenging fellow Houstonians to give up to $100,000 to help flood victims. Watt promised to match everything they gave up to that amount, hoping to raise a total of $200,000. Within a day, they raised $350,000. The total, with the NFL jumping in, may exceed $4 million before it’s over.

In J.J. Watts’ own words . . .

“I’m sitting here watching the news, checking the Internet and seeing everything that’s going on with Hurricane Harvey and the damage it’s causing back home. It’s very difficult. It’s very difficult, not only because we have family and friends back there – some guys have young kids, some guys have wives and families – but that’s our city. It’s very tough to watch our city get hit by such a bad storm and not be there to help, not be able to help with the recovery, not be able to help with the process.”

Watt has spoken. And his 3.89 million followers on Twitter and 2.7 million followers on Instagram have responded.

A huge tragedy. A big man. With a big heart. It makes me proud to be from Houston.

The Rushmore Report: Tony Dungy Agrees – Abortion Is ‘Ultimate Form of Racism’

NFL Hall-of-Famer Tony Dungy has “applauded” Baltimore Ravens tight end Benjamin Watson, an outspoken Christian, for his widely read comments opposing abortion and Planned Parenthood. “I applaud my brother for speaking the truth on a controversial issue. Thank you,” Dungy tweeted.  Dungy was responding to a tweet posted by the pro-life activist group Live Action.

Live Action published an article last week summarizing comments that Watson made last summer in an interview with the pro-life Turning Point Pregnancy Resource center. In the interview, Watson did not hold back in communicating what he thinks of Planned Parenthood, the nations largest abortion provider, which kills over 300,000 unborn babies each year.

Watson asserted, “I do know that blacks kind of represent a large portion of the abortions, and I do know that honestly the whole idea with Planned Parenthood in the past was to exterminate blacks, and it’s kind of ironic that it’s working. We [as minorities] support candidates, and overwhelmingly support the idea of having Planned Parenthood and the like, and yet, that’s why Planned Parenthood was created.”

Watson continued, “It’s just amazing to me and abortion saddens me, period. But it seems to be something that is really pushed on minorities and provided to minorities especially as something that they should do. In the public, it seems to be painted that when minorities get pregnant they need to get abortions, especially when it comes to teen pregnancy.”

Tony Dungy agrees that “Abortion is the leading cause of death among black Americans and the ultimate form of racism.”

Earlier this year, Dungy participated in the “Under Our Skin” forum hosted by Watson in Florida that brought former NFL players, coaches, and pastors together to discuss the racial issues facing the nation and the role that faith can play in healing the divide.”

About the Author

Samuel Smith writes for The Christian Post.

Father Benjamin

Winds blew the ship off course, and the sailors spotted a surprisingly well-developed unchartered island. The people were well-fed, irrigation systems were complete, and roads connected the villages. The captain asked the chief for an explanation. “How has this island progressed like this?”

He received a quick response. “Father Benjamin. He educated us, built schools, dug wells, and built clinics.”

The captain asked to meet Father Benjamin. He was taken to two medical clinics.

“Is this where Father Benjamin lives?”

The native guides look puzzled, then took him to the canals. The captain protesed. “I don’t see Father Benjamin here. Please take me to where he lives.”

They took him to a chapel where Benjamin taught them about God.

“Is this where he lives?”

“Yes,” they affirmed.

“May I talk to him?”

The natives said, “No, that would be impossible, for he died many years ago.”

The captain replied, “I asked to see where he lives, and you showed me a clinic, canals, and a chapel. You said nothing about his death.”

“You didn’t ask about his death,” they said. You asked to see where he lives. We showed you.”

Holy Huddles

I was insecure as a child. I think it goes back to my infant years. When mom used to rock me, she used really big rocks. My insecurities carried over into my teen years. When I watched football games on TV, I hated it when the players got into huddles. I assumed they were talking about me.

Actually, there was a day when they didn’t huddle up at all. The quarterback would tell each player what to do. Then it all changed at the powerhouse of football: Gallaudet University. Located in Washington, D.C., Gallaudet is a school for the deaf. The quarterback calls the plays by sign language.

In the old days, one of their quarterbacks noticed the defense was watching him call the plays. So he asked the players to “huddle up,” so he could  call the plays without being seen by the opposition.

The custom continues today, on the football field and in the church. Yes, in the church! In most churches, we are more concerned with “holy huddles” (meetings, gatherings in our buildings) than we are with putting points on the board (ministry, service).

Church, it’s time to break the huddle!