The Rushmore Report – The Faith of Case Keenum

Sunday night, Vikings quarterback Case Keenum led his team to one of the most improbable last-second comebacks in NFL history. Down 24-23, with the clock running out, the Vikings had time for one last play. From his own 39-yard-line, Keenum found a receiver down the sideline for the winning score. But it is what he said after the game that matters most.

In a post-game interview, Keenum called this the third best day of his life. What is first and second? Keenum identified “the day I gave my life to Christ” and “the day I married my wife” and numbers one and two.

This journeyman quarterback, listed as third string to start the season, is suddenly on the precipice of the Super Bowl, which will be played in his home stadium. But there is more to Case Keenum than just football.

I discovered that for myself four years ago. Case spoke at my alma mater, Houston Baptist University. After the meeting I sat with him at lunch. He’s the real deal: humble, kind, and most of all, passionate about his faith.

Keenum was born into football. His dad coached football at McMurry University in Texas. He starred as quarterback at Wylie High School in Abilene, Texas. He then attended the University of Houston, the only major program to offer him a scholarship. At UH, he set major college football records: most passing yards (19,217), passing touchdowns (155), and was twice awarded the Sammy Baugh Trophy as the nation’s top passer.

Undrafted by the NFL – for being undersized at just over six feet – he was signed as a free agent by the Houston Texans. He has bounced around the league, playing for the Texans (twice), Rams (twice), and now the Vikings. He started this season third on the depth chart. But when injuries thrust Keenum into action, he was ready. He responded with one of the best seasons any NFL quarterback has had. He now has the Vikings in the NFC Championship Game this Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Case credits his faith for his success. “My faith is the number one thing that makes me, me. It is what my identity is in; it’s not in this game. I know that, although I do put everything I have into this game. But it’s not a life-or-death thing for me.”

He continued, “I want to do the very best I can, all the time. And I want to honor God when I do that. I think I do when I leave it all on the field.”

Case Keenum is an All-Pro NFL quarterback, just one game away from reaching his football dream of playing in a Super Bowl. But he has already achieved his greatest dream. He says, “I am a child of the King. So I win, regardless of what the scoreboard says at the end of the game.”

The Rushmore Report – Christian University in Texas vs. Hooters

Hooters is expanding its presence to mid-sized markets throughout the United States. While new locations have been well-received in most municipalities, that cannot be said for one city in Texas. It’s not the town that is outraged; it is one particular university. Rich in Christian heritage, this university is taking a strong stand against Hooters. Which city are we talking about?

Abilene, Texas.

Which university are we talking about?

Abilene Christian University.

The conservative Christian school is urging its students to not apply for a job at the new Hooters. The Abilene Reporter-News has reported that the university released this statement: “We have asked students to consider both what Hooters represents, and whether that is something they really want to support in terms of both their faith and the value this business model places on women.”

You probably have two questions. Let’s tackle both.

Yes, despite the fact the town is home to three religious colleges, despite the fact that you can hardly swing a cat in Abilene without hitting a stained-glass window, the grand opening of the “breastaurant” is next week.

The other two religious colleges – McMurry University and Hardin Simmons University – haven’t raised a fuss, but perhaps that’s because this Hooters is going to be just across Interstate 20 from Abilene Christian. Almost as close as the Cracker Barrel.

The university, affiliated with the Churches of Christ, is serious about its Christian values and its code of conduct. On the Dean of Students Office portion of ACU’s website, it reads right up top: “Abilene Christian University maintains a Christian discipline, promoting a way of life that is intended to uphold the teachings of Jesus Christ, calling all people to God’s truth. Therefore, community life at ACU is a disciplined life.”

This is followed by a quick and handy link for reporting violations of student conduct. And what could one report, other than, say, working or dining at Hooters? Let’s turn to the Code of Conduct in the Student Handbook . . .

Category one violations (punishable by, among other things, a $25 fine) include parking infractions, use of tobacco, profanity, dress code violations, curfew violations, and refusing to report your fellow students’ violations.

Category two violations include alcohol violations, not going to chapel, use or possession of pornography and sexual immorality. Among other punishments, you could get a $50 fine for each.

It goes on from there, but the message is clear: Abilene Christian and Hooters aren’t likely to get along.

Some graduates of ACU include theologian Edward Fudge (called “one of the foremost scholars on hell” by The Christian Post) and Christian pastor and author Max Lucado.

About the Author

Dave Thomas writes for the American-Statesman, the leading newspaper in Austin, Texas.

The Rushmore Report – Trump’s Biggest 2020 Challenge May Come from This Man

As President Trump looks toward reelection in 2020, he will have his eye on the likes of Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and maybe even Oprah Winfrey. I’m sure the Republican Party is already gathering opposition research on each of these Democratic rivals. But it may be that Trump’s biggest challenge will come from someone else. He may never even get to the general election – because of this man. Trump needs to start looking to his left now, because this man may challenge him for the Republican nomination – and win. Who is it?

Mitt Romney.

I offer three reasons to look out for Mitt Romney if your name is Donald Trump.

1. Romney still wants it.

Mitt Romney has made no secret of his disdain for Donald Trump. He says things that sound more like a future candidate than a supporter of the leader of his own party. Why else would he run for the Senate in Utah, as is his plan for 2018? For Mitt Romney to only want the Senate seat – at this stage of his career – would be like Nick Saban applying to be an assistant coach at the University of Florida. Saban only wants to be on top. Romney has done it all, including serving as Governor of Massachusetts. He has nothing else to prove, or accomplish, short of the White House. He still wants it.

2. The Republican Party wants it.

Nothing would bring a broader collective smile to the faces of the Republican Party leadership than for the epitome of the establishment to run for president. Romney has won his party’s nomination before. He has all the right positions. He is steady. No one worries about him saying something crazy. And if the Democratic Party takes over one or both chambers of Congress in 2018, it is Romney – not Trump – who has the experience necessary to work with the other side. That’s exactly what he did in Massachusetts.

3. Many Americans want it.

People are tired of the uncivil nature of modern politics. Mr. Romney is a true gentleman. The masses would celebrate his demeanor. Independents will especially rally behind his centrist-appearing positions and style.

Just one problem

This all sounds good for the Romney Camp. But there’s just one problem. Donald Trump’s supporters are rabid. They will show up in primaries. The genteel nature of Mitt Romney will actually work against him. While he can afford to fund his campaign all the way to the Convention, he will not excite voters. Trump only needs to muster 35 percent of self-identified Republicans to gain 50 percent of the actual Republican vote. His people will turn out to vote.

So what would happen?

It’s hard to say. My guess is that a Romney run would do to Trump what Ted Kennedy did to President Carter in 1980. it will weaken the incumbent president and erode enough of his base to put his general election bid in jeopardy. I don’t think Romney would win the nomination, but he might cause Trump to lose the general election.

There are those who will suggest that is Romney’s main goal anyway. So either way, he wins.

The Rushmore Report – ‘Trump Is not a Racist’ Says MLK’s Niece

When President Trump made his disparaging remarks about certain foreign countries, the media did what they always do. They played the race card. If a minority bombed the Capitol Building and Trump criticized his actions, he would be tagged a racist. But guess who has come to his defense? That would be Alveda King, the niece of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Trump has been hit with massive criticism following Senator Dick Durbin’s (D-IL) claim that he used a profane description of minority countries. As an aside, the other two senators in the room both said they never heard Trump make this remark. But that hasn’t kept most media outlets from reporting on the story as though the accusation was caught on tape. Three of the four men in the room say Trump did not say “it,” but because the one accuser’s story fits their narrative, the media reported it as fact. Great journalistic standards, fellas!

But I digress.

Back to Ms. King. In an appearance on Fox News, she called Trump’s critics “outrageous.” King said, “Racism is just a word that is being bandied about and thrown at the president unjustly. President Trump is not a racist.”

King also defended Trump’s general remarks, saying they were aimed at the governments of those countries, not the people. “Some of their own leaders have taken advantage of them,” she said.

She went on to say that it is “outrageous to call a man a racist who continues to acknowledge the significance of Dr. Martin Luther King. He puts his money where his mouth is.”

Commenting on Dr. King, Alveda said that if he were alive today, he would be a “pro-life activist.” She added, “He said the Negro cannot win if he is willing to sacrifice the futures of his children for immediate personal comfort and safety. Abortion, of course, forces us to do exactly that.”

“I really believe that if my uncle were here today, he would encourage us to find solutions to the problems, even women’s problems, and all problems, without having to do violence to babies in the womb. I am just convinced that he would agree with that,” King said.

 

The Rushmore Report – Trump Profanity, Other Presidents’ Profanity, and a President’s Cussing Bird

The top news about President Trump in the media this week was not his meeting with Congressional leaders or foreign dignitaries, but his alleged potty mouth. Let’s assume he spoke the curse words only one man in the room heard him say. Does that separate him from other presidents? Surprisingly, no. Here’s a list of cussing presidents, and one president’s cussing bird.

I will not use the words the presidents said here. But among the last two generations, there were fewer presidents who did not cuss than those who did. The list includes Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter (yes, Carter), Reagan, Clinton, Bush (George W.), and Obama. Within that era, only Eisenhower and Bush, Sr. are not on the list.

Obama described Romney with a form of the same word Trump allegedly said last week. Clinton used the same word in an interview with a Philadelphia radio station, leading up to the last presidential election. George W. Bush used a lesser word – but still profanity, to be sure – to describe New York Times reporter Adam Clymer. In 1983, Reagan used profanity while engaging in a shouting match with Canadian Prime Minister Pierre-Elliott Trudeau. Carter said he would kick Ted Kennedy’s back side in their primary election. Truman and John Kennedy used similar language in describing their opponent’s weaknesses. We don’t have enough space to list the profanities spewed by Johnson and Nixon.

Perhaps the oddest example of presidential profanity is that of Andrew Jackson. He once bought an African gray parrot named Poll for his wife. But when the first lady died, the parrot spent a lot of time with Old Hickory, and apparently soaked up some of the President’s language.

When Jackson died in 1845, thousands of people gathered to pay a final tribute – along with one talking parrot that seemed to be riled up by the crowds.

The Rev. William Menefee Norment, who presided over the funeral, described the scene.

“Before the sermon and while the crowd was gathering, a wicked parrot that was a household pet got excited and commenced to swearing so loud and long as to disturb the people. The bird let loose perfect gusts of cuss words, and many were horrified and awed at the bird’s lack of reverence.”

In the end, the bird refused to shut up, and had to be carried from the house.

Did President Trump say what one Democratic Senator said he said last week? We don’t know. We do know that the others in the room all say they didn’t hear it. But either way, we know Mr. Trump to be a man of inappropriate language, often given to offensive and vulgar speech.

This leads to two question. First, is he alone? No. Most presidents have used inappropriate, vulgar language, though few as often as Trump.

The more important question is this: What lessons do we learn from this? I see four.

Lesson #1 – We all fall short.

It is easy to point out Trump’s personal shortcomings, because he is followed by a camera 24 hours a day. Plus, he tweets too much. We never have to wonder. Yes, the man is human. He has flaws. But guess what? We all do. I wouldn’t want everything I’ve ever said or done to be paraded before the national media every day. President Trump is a sinner. But so was Mother Teresa. So is Billy Graham. So is the Pope. So are you. And so am I. The Bible says we all fall short (Romans 3:23).

Lesson #2 – We expect more from our leaders.

This is fair. Our president represents our nation on the world stage. It would be nice if our president would avoid offensive speech and vulgarity on all levels, in public, but also in private, because here’s the deal: Who we are in private always comes out in public. I’d prefer that none of our presidents use locker room talk. It’s a bad example for our kids and it reduces them from the stature of their office.

Lesson #3 – We should pray more than criticize.

It’s easy to criticize our leaders. Some make it really easy. But never criticize a man for whom you have not prayed. It is beneath the office of president for Mr. Trump to engage in vulgar speech. But it is also beneath the office of Christian for us to criticize him more than we pray for him.

Lesson #4 – Actions matter, too.

There’s an old joke about the man who had to pick between a cussing dentist who did really good work and a praying dentist who didn’t know how to fill a cavity. Guess who the patient picked! We want our leaders to reflect the best of character and integrity in all they do. That’s fair. But it is also fair to judge a president by the things that he actually does, not just according to his words or tweets. How many presidents have promised great things (words), then failed to deliver (actions)? Criticize this president for his profanity if that makes you feel better about yourself. But remember that while you are doing so, your retirement funds have probably grown by 25 percent since he took office, your wages are probably up, our world is actually safer, illegal immigration crossings are down, and the economy has seldom been so good. Yes, Trump’s words matter. But so do his actions.

The Rushmore Report – Tim Tebow’s ‘Night to Shine’ Hits 500 Churches

More than 500 congregations across the United States and some foreign countries have agreed to host “Night to Shine” events, which are Tim Tebow Foundation-sponsored proms for special needs youth, in 2018. That marks a tenfold increase from 2015, when the first “Night to Shine” was held, according to a statement Tebow has released.

“Night to Shine” is an unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God’s love, for people with special needs ages 14 and older,” notes the foundation’s website.

In 2017, 375 churches from around the world hosted “Night to Shine” for 75,000 honored guests.

A native of the Philippines and a devout Christian, Tebow gained notoriety for his accomplishments as quarterback with the University of Florida before being drafted by the Denver Broncos in 2010. Tebow garnered national headlines for his quarterbacking the Broncos and was credited for getting the team into the 2011 playoffs. In 2012, Denver traded him to the New York Jets. From there, Tebow was briefly with other NFL teams, including the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles.

Last year, Tebow began his professional baseball career, being signed by the New York Mets as part of a minor league deal.

In addition to his pro sports career, Tebow has pursued many charitable efforts through his foundation, which was established in 2010. “The Tim Tebow Foundation exists to bring faith, hope, and love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need,” notes the foundation’s Facebook page.

“The Foundation will utilize the public platform that God has given to Tim Tebow – through media, publishing, speaking engagements, special events, and mission trips – to inspire friends and supporters to work with the Foundation as a team in helping to make a difference.”

News of the record number of churches participating in “Night to Shine” comes around the time Tebow himself spoke to a crowd of about 2,000 at the Clemente Center at Florida Institute of Technology.

In his remarks, he stressed the importance of faith and teamwork, with the Florida event also featuring a silent auction for Tebow-related sports items.

About the Author

Michael Gryboski writes for The Christian Post.

The Rushmore Report – Are You Depressed? This May Be Why

Millions of Americans are clinically depressed – more than ever. They turn to drugs, alcohol, and too often, dangerous activities, to cope with their depression. Many times, I recommend seeing a therapist. But the cause of depression may be right in front of you every day. Social scientists have found a significant link to depression for millions of us.

Clutter.

Yes, a link has been found between clutter and depression. Specifically, there is a link between high cortisol (stress hormone) levels in female home owners and a high density of household objects. The more stuff, the more stress. For men, the link of messiness to depression is less clear.

Women associate a tidy home with a happy and successful family. The more dishes that pile up in the sink, the more anxious women feel. But the problem stretches beyond the kitchen. For example, think about kids’ toys.

Although U.S. consumers bear only three percent of the world’s children, we buy 40 percent of the world’s toys. And these toys live in every room, fighting for display space with kids’ trophies, artwork, and snapshots of their last soccer game.

To avoid depression, you need to limit clutter.

Adopt the Rule of Five.

Every time you get up from your desk or walk through a room, put away five things. Or, each hour, devote five minutes to de-cluttering. At the end of the day, you’ve cleaned for an hour.

Be ruthless about your kitchen sink.

Pledge to clear and clean your kitchen sink every day. It takes a couple of seconds more to place a dish in the dishwasher than dump it in the sink. A clean sink will instantly raise your spirits and decrease your anxiety.

Put photos away.

Return to yesteryear when only photos of ancestors or weddings earned a place. Put snapshots in a family album, which will immediately de-clutter many flat surfaces.

Unburden your refrigerator.

Researchers found a correlation between the number of items stuck to the fridge door and the amount of clutter throughout the house. Toss extra magnets, file restaurant menus, and place calendars in less conspicuous places.

About the Author

Lisa Kaplan Gordon is an award-winning, Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer who contributes to real estate and home improvement sites. In her spare time, she gardens, manages three dogs, and plots to get her 21-year-old out of her basement.

The Rushmore Report – Chip and Joanna Slammed for Having a Baby

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, the sharks are back. The other day, my wife told me the happy news. Her Twitter buddy, Joanna Gaines, posted the news that she and husband Chip Gaines are expecting their fifth child. But it didn’t take long for the “I have nothing better to do with my time” critics to go nuts. How dare them have another child!

Their “sin,” apparently, is that they are helping to overpopulate the earth. At least when the earth burns up, we’ll know who to blame. It’s those crazy Christians who live on a ranch, teaching their children the truths of God’s Word while living wholesome and entertaining lives in front of millions of Americans on the most popular show on HGTV.

One critic posted, “Thank you for contributing to the over population of the planet. I hope this one [baby] will be your last and you will use wiser judgment.”

Another idiot posted, “I like them ok, but enough with the kids already!”

To their credit, Chip and Joanna are being wise and harmless in their response. They have not responded.

I love Fixer Upper. Beth and I have visited the famous silos twice. I once spent $45 in Joanna’s bakery, on a boatload of cupcakes. (I recommend the strawberry cupcakes.) We have things around our house that we bought at their shop. So I guess, in a way, we have become enablers – encouraging them to keep up their wholesome, Christian, uplifting ways.

And for that I am proud. Call me silly, but I think we could use more wholesomeness, not less; more Christianity, not less; and more encouragement, not less.

The Bible says, “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them” (Psalm 127:3-5).

My advice to Chip and Joanna is this: keep doing what you’re doing, ignore the critics, and please, please, please – change your mind and return for one more season of Fixer Upper! 

The Rushmore Report – Planned Parenthood – 82 Abortions for Every Adoption Referral

Planned Parenthood’s latest annual report reveals that for every adoption referral the organization made they performed 82 abortions, and the federal government is the group’s largest source of funding. The abortion giant received more than $543 million in federal dollars in the most recent fiscal year, despite seeing fewer patients.

The Catholic News Agency reported the organization received 61 percent more in government funding than in the previous year. In 2017, the group saw 2.4 million patients at its hundreds of locations nationwide.

Planned Parenthood’s excess revenue also increased by 27 percent from $77.5 million to $98.5 million. The group performed a total of 321,384 abortion procedures, approximately 878 per day, in fiscal year 2016-2017.

CNS columnist Terence P. Jeffrey ran the numbers further, calculating that if Planned Parenthood had done its abortion procedures around the clock for the entire year, they would have had to abort about 37 babies per hour, one every 98 seconds, to make their yearly total.

About the Author

Brandon Showalter writes for The Christian Post.

The Rushmore Report – Four Problems with Oprah’s Speech

On Sunday evening, Oprah Winfrey received the Cecille B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award. She proceeded to launch into an emotional speech about the power of women to fight back against sexism and sexual malfeasance – a speech that led to widespread celebration in Hollywood. But there are four problems that jumped out from her speech.

First, let us agree that everyone in Hollywood knew about the problem of sexual harassment and assault and nobody did anything for years, but now they apparently think one speech from the most powerful woman in the history of media can cure all ills.

Oprah’s speech was quite good, of course. She’s a terrific performer, and she’s world famous for her ability to connect with her audience on a personal level. The speech led NBC to tweet out its support for her presidential candidacy, and led actress Reese Witherspoon to elevate Oprah to the level of Jesus:

“I will now officially divide time like this: Everything that happened before @Oprah speech and everything that happened after.”

So what was so special about the speech?

Not much, in truth.

Oprah didn’t name any names. She didn’t explain where she had been for the prior several decades, as all of this unfolded. She didn’t encourage any serious measures against sexual harassment and assault. She channeled the feelings of many women, which is terrific, for what it’s worth – but it isn’t as though women have been met with scorn and hatred for telling their stories of sexual assault and harassment. The level of national sympathy for victims has been overwhelming, as it should be.

In fact, there were several rather insulting moments in Oprah’s speech that we’re all supposed to ignore (and hey, if she’s a purported presidential candidate, she deserves to have her speeches analyzed). Here they are, in order:

1. Oprah implied that matters are the same for black women today as they were for black people generally in 1964.

She led off her speech by talking about how moved she was in 1964 when Sidney Poitier won the DeMille Award. “I remember his tie was white, and of course his skin was black, and I had never seen a black man being celebrated like that. I tried many, many times to explain what a moment like that means to a little girl, a kid watching from the cheap seats as my mom came through the door bone tired from cleaning other people’s houses.”

This is quite moving and beautiful. But then Oprah feels the need to state that young black girls will treat her victory in 2018 the same way, which is asinine. Sorry, it is. Oprah stated, “In 1982, Sidney received the Cecil B. DeMille award right here at the Golden Globes and it is not lost on me that at this moment, there are some little girls watching as I become the first black woman to be given this same award.”

Michelle Obama has been First Lady. Condoleezza Rice has been Secretary of State, Loretta Lynch has been Attorney General, and Susan Rice has been national security advisor. Many of today’s top stars are black women, in music and sports and television and movies. It’s insipid for Oprah to compare herself to Poitier, or 1964 with 2018.

2. Oprah’s press pandering

Yes, we all appreciate the press for doing the hard work of digging. But it’s nothing but pandering to suggest that they’ve engaged in the “insatiable dedication to uncovering the absolute truth that keeps us from turning a blind eye to corruption and to injustice.” It’s even more ridiculous to say this is the context of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, an organization of international journalists who report on . . . Hollywood, where they apparently had nothing to say for decades about sexual harassment and abuse.

3. “Your truth”

This one is a pet peeve. Oprah stated, “What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.” She’d go on to praise women for telling their stories of assault and harassment, which is wonderful and positive. But the phrase “your truth” is the opposite of truth – there’s the truth, and there’s your opinion. End of story.

4. She equated the status of a raped black woman in Alabama in 1944 to women in Hollywood today.

Oprah told the story of Recy Taylor, who was kidnapped and raped in Alabama by six white men. She died only ten days ago. The story is heartbreaking. But then Oprah stated, “She lived as we all have lived, too many years in a culture broken by brutally powerful men. For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up.”

This is plainly absurd. To compare the fate of women in Hollywood in 2018 with the fate of Recy Taylor in 1944 is ridiculous. But it’s precisely the sort of nonsense Oprah routinely preaches: when The Butler was released in 2013, Oprah compared Trayvon Martin to lynching victim Emmitt Till.

The end of Oprah’s speech was magnificent, but it would have been nice if she had used some of her power to fight the Harvey Weinsteins of the world years ago, rather than leading from behind.

About the Author

Ben Shapiro is the editor of Daily Wire and hosts the most popular conservative podcast in the world.