Stuck in Time

In 1957 there was a famous neuropsychology case that has been studied for years. The patient was called Henry M. He was born in Harford, Connecticut in 1926. He suffered from a case of epilepsy that was so severe and debilitating that he couldn’t function. At age 27, he underwent an experimental surgery in which parts of his brain were removed to try to treat his epilepsy.

The good news was that after surgery, he no longer suffered constant debilitating seizures. And there was no negative impact on his intelligence, personality, or social abilities. There was just one side effect. He had no short-term memory.

Henry M. couldn’t remember anything that happened after his surgery. He couldn’t recognize his doctors. Once home, he’d do the same jigsaw puzzle over and over, and read and re-read the same magazines.

When interviewed 30 minutes after lunch, he couldn’t remember a single thing he had just eaten. Henry M. was stuck in time, unable ot learn, grow, or change.

As sad as that is, I know a lot of people who are the same way. For them, all change is bad. So they never grow. It’s sad to be stuck in time. Paul wrote, “As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, now grow up in him” (Colossians 2:6).

Don’t be stuck in time.

The Rushmore Report – Crunch Time at the Supreme Court

Justice Kennedy has retired from the U.S. Supreme Court, creating the opportunity for President Trump to nominate a second justice for Senate confirmation to the highest court in the land. This event has triggered a political frenzy on the American political left. They are racing around with their hair on fire on all forms of media doing their best impressions of “Chicken Little,” exclaiming, “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”Why the volcanic emotional eruption from the political and cultural left-wing establishment? The reason is simple — this vacancy furnishes President Trump with the rare opportunity to shift the Supreme Court’s delicate ideological balance in the direction of a strict-constructionist, original intent court that asks, “What was the original intent of the founding fathers?” — not what the current justices decide is best for the nation.

The chief consequence of such a shift would be a much less intrusive, interventionist, and arrogant Supreme Court and a rebirth of government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

For much of the latter half of the 20th century and the first quarter of the 21st century, the Supreme Court majority has viewed the U.S. Constitution as a “living document” into which the justices were free to read their own convictions, values, and beliefs and to discern previously undiscovered (some would say utterly fabricated) “rights” into the Constitution. These newly discovered “rights,” by the way, would have shocked and dumbfounded the Constitution’s original authors.

The liberal social and political establishment thoroughly enjoyed imposing their social and cultural agendas on the rest of the nation for at least two generations through a liberal judicial imperium that too often short-circuited the political process and frustrated the political will of the American people.

Polling shows that one of the major reasons cited by millions of Americans in their decision to vote for President Trump was his promise to remake the court system from top to bottom in a more strict-constructionist, originalist posture.

Now, thanks to President Trump’s ability to replace Justice Kennedy with a strict-constructionist, original intent justice, that elitist, liberal judicial hegemony is crumbling — thus the collective panic attack on the left-wing of American thought.

Seldom, if ever, has the arrogance of the imperial judiciary and its radical departure from the founders’ intent been more accurately dissected and described than in Chief Justice Roberts’ blistering, incandescent dissent in the Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) decision that by a 5-4 vote legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states by judicial edict.

Chief Justice Roberts does not mince words in his disdainful dissent to the court’s majority opinion, declaring,

“The majority’s decision is an act of will, not legal judgment. The right it announces has no basis in the Constitution or this Court’s precedent. The majority expressly disclaims judicial ‘caution’ and omits even a pretense of humility, openly relying on its desire to remake society according to its own ‘new insight’ into the ‘nature of injustice.’ . . . As a result, the Court invalidates the marriage laws of more than half the States and orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia. . . . Just who do we think we are? It can be tempting for judges to confuse our own preferences with the requirements of the law.”

Then the Chief Justice summarizes the issue both frankly and succinctly:

“Understand well what this dissent is about: It is not about whether, in my judgment, the institution of marriage should be changed to include same-sex couples. It is instead about whether, in our democratic republic, that decision should rest with the people acting through their elected representatives, or with five lawyers who happen to hold commissions authorizing them to resolve legal disputes according to law. The Constitution leaves no doubt about the answer.”

Roberts speaks to the dangerous usurpation of power symbolized in the Obergefell decision and the damage it does to America’s political freedoms. As Chief Justice Roberts observes, “The Court’s accumulation of power does not occur in a vacuum. It comes at the expense of the people. And they know it.”

Chief Justice Roberts also notes, “Nowhere is the majority’s extravagant conception of judicial supremacy more evident than in its description — and dismissal — of the public debate regarding same-sex marriage” and their conclusion that it “is high time for the Court to decide the meaning of marriage based on five lawyers’ ‘better informed understanding.’ …”

The conclusion of Chief Justice Roberts’ Obergefell dissent should be chiseled into a marble wall in some public place:

“In the face of all this, a much different view of the Court’s role is possible. That view is more modest and restrained. It is more skeptical that the legal abilities of judges also reflect insight into moral and philosophical issues. It is more sensitive to the fact that judges are unelected and unaccountable, and that the legitimacy of their power depends on confining it to the exercise of legal judgment. It is more attuned to the lessons of history, and what it has meant for the country and Court when Justices have exceeded their proper bounds. And it is less pretentious than to suppose that while people around the world have viewed an institution in a particular way for thousands of years, the present generation and the present Court are the ones chosen to burst the bonds of that history and tradition.”

Supporters of the strict-constructionist, original intent judicial philosophy like the present writer should take comfort in the fact that Chief Justice Roberts will now be the “swing” vote on the new, post-Kennedy court.

We will increasingly have courts that interpret the law and decide what the Constitution says, not what they would like for it to have said. That is what a judge is supposed to do. In his confirmation hearing, now Chief Justice Roberts was asked by Senator Schumer, “Are you going to be for the ‘little guy’ or the ‘big guy’?” Roberts replied that his client would be the Constitution. If the Constitution said the big guy should win, he would be for the big guy, and if the Constitution said the little guy should win, he would be for the little guy. Bravo!

My advice to activist judges who feel the Constitution or a law is wrong is simply this: if you want to change the Constitution or the law, don’t abuse your judicial office by imposing your view by judicial fiat. Instead, resign from your judicial position and run for Congress. That’s where laws are to be made, by the people’s duly elected representatives.

About the Author

Dr. Richard Land is President of the Christian Life Commission, the ethics arm of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The Rushmore Report – Sen. John Cornyn Tells Cory Booker to ‘Get a Grip’

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) warned his colleagues that a vote for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is, unequivocally, a vote for “evil.” He was not being facetious. He even quoted Scripture. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), trying his best not to laugh, asked his Democratic colleague to come back to reality during a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday. “It’s hard to take statements like that seriously,” Cornyn said of Booker’s fire and brimstone rhetoric.

“To me that’s completely unhinged and detached from any reality. My advice to some of our friends across the aisle who are engaged in this kind of superheated rhetoric, my advice is get a grip,” he added. “Get a grip.”

In his remarks, Cornyn explained that Kavanaugh is as mainstream a candidate as they come. At his confirmation for the D.C. circuit court, he was confirmed by a “substantial bipartisan vote,” Cornyn reminded Democrats.

Yet, Democrats have been using Kavanaugh’s past writings and opinions to try and prove that the nominee would fail to check the president’s behavior. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who pledged to block Kavanaugh’s nomination with “everything I’ve got,” recently brought up a statement the nominee made about United States v. Nixon. During a panel discussion in 1999, Kavanaugh suggested that perhaps the tension at the time of that court case caused the court to rule “erroneously.”

“Aha!” Schumer said. That proves Kavanaugh would have let President Nixon off the hook! Surely he’d do the same for President Trump. Schumer ignored the other times Kavanaugh applauded the court’s decision demanding Nixon give up the Watergate tapes. The least these Democrats can do before further derailing Kavanaugh’s character and stating their “implacable opposition” is meet with the guy, Cornyn suggested.

About the Author

Cortney O’Brien writes for TownHall.

The Rushmore Report – President Trump’s Most Risky Move

President Donald J. Trump has said and done a lot of things that have been met with both praise and condemnation. Despite the media’s 90 percent negative coverage of his first 19 months in office, his achievements are hard to ignore – retreat of ISIS, progress in North Korea, significant tax cuts, greater border security, low unemployment, sanctions against Russia, strong judicial appointments, reduction in food stamps, and 4.1 percent economic growth for the most recent quarter. And now, with the midterm elections looming, the Republican Party has much to run on. On the other side of the aisle, the Democratic platform seems to simply be one of opposition and no new ideas. Now, against this political landscape, the president is considering doing something based on principal. But it would be his riskiest move yet.

Trump has announced his willingness to shut down the government if Democrats refuse to give him the necessary funding for the border wall. In his own words, via twitter:

“I would be willing to shut down the government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, which includes the Wall! Must get rid of Lottery, Catch & Release etc. and finally go to system of Immigration based on MERIT! We need great people coming into our Country!”

In April, at a campaign rally, the president said, “When we come up again on September 28th, and if we don’t get border security we will have no choice, we will close down the country because we need border security.” He continued, “First, we must protect the American people, the homeland, and our great American way of life. This strategy recognizes that we cannot secure our nation if we do not secure our borders. So, for the first time ever, American strategy now includes a serious plan to defend our homeland.”

The risk is clear. Every time there is a government shutdown, the party held responsible loses the national debate. Just ask the Republican leaders during the shutdown of the Obama administration. Or ask Chuck Schumer, in light of the more recent shutdown.

It is inarguable that the party held responsible for the shutdown suffers political loss. And with the midterm election just six weeks after the date on which Trump threatens this shutdown, it is the Republicans who would lose. With a tenuous hold on both houses of Congress, they cannot afford to lose any seats due to the timing of such a shutdown.

Is the president right to fight for the wall? Yes. Throughout the world, there are at least 36 physical border walls, erected to secure the sovereignty and safety of the people. And few, if any, of those 36 countries are considering the removal of their walls. Data concludes that a) any nation has a right to secure her own borders, and b) physical walls help to do that.

But timing, as they say, is everything. One can certainly argue the merits of spending billions of dollars on a wall along our southern border. But to shut down the government over this – six weeks before the midterm elections – would be President Trump’s riskiest move to date.

To be clear, Trump would not actually be shutting down the government himself. It would only happen if Democrats insist on blocking funds for the border wall (which the President was elected to build). But the result would be the same. There would be a shutdown. The president would pay for it in the polls. And Republicans would pay for it in November.

The Rushmore Report – Why Is Austin, Texas Considering a Name Change?

Yes, you read the title correctly. The Equity Office of Austin, Texas is pursuing a pathway to change the name of America’s 11th largest city. The Equity Office is a legitimate sector of Austin’s city government, and their intentions are real. In fact, the process to change the name of Texas’ capital city is already underway. But why? What is the reason that Austin, Texas may actually change its name? The answer is the definition of lunacy.

It seems “Austin” is deemed offensive to many. The fastest growing city in Texas is named after Stephen F. Austin, who is recognized as the “Father of Texas.”

But what do we really know about Stephen F. Austin? We know a few things. He is acclaimed as the founder of Texas, as he brought the original 300 families from the United States into the region in 1825. He was one of the two most prominent founders of the Republic of Texas, along with Sam Houston. Austin was the first Secretary of State for the new republic. We know that two colleges/universities are named after him – Austin College (Sherman) and Stephen F. Austin University (Nacogdoches) – along with dozens of buildings. Stephen F. Austin has too many monuments in his name throughout Texas and Virginia to count.

But we know something else about Stephen F. Austin. When he settled in Texas, he brought slaves with him. And though an ardent opponent of slavery as an institution going forward, he owned slaves. And for that, the city of Austin should change its name, say some.

The Austin American Statesman reports that the Equity Office, charged with rooting out any and all monuments honoring slave holding Austinites and local supporters of the Confederacy, discovered that Austin “opposed an attempt by Mexico to ban slavery in the province of Tejas.”

So the Equity Office is suggesting the name “Austin” should go. Toward that end, a drive to secure signatures to put the move up for a vote has begun. The city has already renamed Robert E. Lee Road and Jeff Davis Avenue, even though a majority of her citizens opposed both moves. Next up on the chopping block are Dixie Drive, Sneed Cove, Confederate Avenue, and Plantation Road.

Never mind, without Stephen F. Austin, there wouldn’t even be an Austin, Texas (by any name). Nor would there be the state of Texas. But one must wonder, will Houston be next? After all, the namesake for the nation’s 4th largest city is Gen. Sam Houston, who also owned slaves. As did three of America’s first five presidents.

When will this silliness end? Unfortunately, not any time soon.

 

 

The Rushmore Report – College Football Icon Talks about His Faith

Clemson’s head football coach, Dabo Swinney was recently interviewed during the press briefing for the upcoming season for the Atlantic Coast Conference, where the Tigers are picked to win another conference championship. The coach of the 2016 national championship team, Swinney was asked about football – and then his faith. Clearly, Swinney cherished the opportunity to talk about his faith, and how Christ has changed his life.

“Man, that’s the easiest question I’ve had all day,” Swinney commented. Enthusiastically, he responded, recounting his childhood, being raised by parents who taught him there was a God, and later, coming to Christ at the age of sixteen: “And that was a game-changer for me,” he said, “That’s really become the foundation of my life.”

Swinney continued, “It’s hard to survive and thrive in this world if you don’t have a spiritual foundation and have something that that you know, [sic] will give you peace, because life is hard. And we’re all going to experience death and failure and setbacks and disappointments and cancer. God has always – in my relationship with Christ – given me hope and peace.”

Swinney also shared his life verse, Jeremiah 29:11, saying that he applied it to his life’s journey. The Coach of the Year said that, even though he is the head coach of Clemson’s football program, this life hasn’t always been this way.

“I’ve always used that as, to me, if there’s really hope in the future, then there’s power in the present to deal with whatever mess you’re dealing with in your life. You know, to step through, to hang in there, to persevere, to continue to believe in something. And that’s what my relationship with Christ did for me. It gave me a hope and a belief – the ability to have a hope and a belief beyond my circumstances.”

Referring to his greatest accomplishment, Swinney said it is his three sons’ professions of faith in Jesus Christ.

Swinney concluded, ‘Trust me, the people that know me know I ain’t perfect, but I do try to live my life in a way that can be pleasing to my Maker, because I know I’m going to meet him one day. And he’s not going to pat me on the back, talking about how many wins I had, how many coach of the year trophies we got, or how much money I made. Rather, he’s gonna hold me accountable to, you know, how I took advantage of the opportunity and the blessings that he gave me, the impact that I had on young people, the type of men that we develop through a game.”

Bubble Gum Return

A department store manager noticed a boy staring at the handrail of an escalator. He walked over to him and asked, “Son, are you alright?”

The boy nodded yes without looking up.

“Can I help you?” he asked.

The boy shook his head no and continued to look at the handrail.

“Well, young man, do you want me to explain to you how escalators work?”

The lad replied, “No, Mister. I’m just waiting for my bubble gum to come back!”

Things are not always as they appear. The boy appeared to care about the escalator, when all he really cared about was his gum.

That translates to church. One day, a guest walked in. The usher asked him if it was his first time at that particular church. “Yes,” the man replied.

“Would you like to see our bulletin?”

“No,” he said.

“Would you like to see our sanctuary?”

“No,” he repeated.

“Then perhaps you would like to see our pastor.”

“No, not really.”

The usher asked, “Then what would you like to see?”

The guest said, “The first thing I’d like to see is your bathroom.”

You can’t read a man’s heart by his face. He may want your brilliance. Or he may just want his bubble gum back.

God – Described in a Single Word

We were in high school. Mary was completely normal in every way but one. Mary was blind. She often asked me to describe what things looked like: clouds, flowers, and the sunset. I could never do it in less than ten minutes. Clouds, flowers, and the sunset are too awesome to describe with just a few words, to someone who has never seen them.

So how would you describe God for someone who has never seen him? The old prophet Isaiah took on this task. Read his words. “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts. The whole earth is full of his glory.”

In the Hebrew language, repetition performed the role of our modern highlighter. Repetition stood for emphasis. And no verse ever described God as “strong, strong, strong” or as “wise, wise, wise.” The only description given three times was “holy.”

The Hebrew word is qadosh, meaning “cut off, separate.” In other words, Isaiah is saying that God is unique. He is like no other. And he calls us to holiness, as well.

Sure, you’re smart, beautiful, and funny. But are you holy?

“Be holy because I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16).

Vermont Cherries

A man from Vermont wrote circus owner P. T. Barnum offering a cherry-colored cat for $100. Barnum, always on the lookout for rare attractions for his “Greatest Show on Earth,” replied that he would send the money if the man guaranteed the cat was genuine. Barnum didn’t want an artificially cherry-colored cat. When Barnum received the guarantee, he sent the money and shortly afterward received a small crate. When Barnum opened it, a black cat jumped out. A ribbon tied around the cat’s neck held this note: “Up in Vermont the cherries are black!”

Most of us have practiced the art of deception at one time or another. King David did. His deception began on a rooftop of his palace. Although a war was going on, David remained home. He’d conquered many foes. He’d been a great warrior. But his youth was becoming a faraway memory, as each new day made him a little pudgier around the middle.

David longed for something different. So when he saw a beautiful woman – another man’s wife – bathing, he sent for her. The first deception happened when David convinced himself that he could actually get away with this kind of activity. The deception continued when David schemed and told lies to cover up the adulterous affair. But David’s deception reached a peak when he ordered the murder of Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband.

This story presents a bleak picture of the one who was called the “man after God’s own heart.” However, we can also find hope in David’s story. He eventually ended the deception by bringking it all into the light. Life went forward. However, David suffered grave consequences – his family was never the same after this incident was exposed. Deception’s sting has a far-reaching effect.

The Rushmore Report – Predicting Senate Elections of 2018

The 2018 midterm elections are barely three months away, so it’s time for an updated prediction on how the elections will go. We will focus on the United States Senate, where Republicans hold a tenuous 51-49 advantage. If Democrats can flip just two seats, the Trump agenda will come to a grinding halt. Congress will get nothing done – which is only slightly less than they are accomplishing right now. So where do things stand? If the elections were held today, which party would emerge in control of the Senate? Which seats are most likely to switch hands? We have answers.

Conservative commentators are fond of saying that Democrats have far more seats up for election than Republicans, putting them more at risk. And while that is true, most of these seats are safe. If Abraham Lincoln came back from the dead, he wouldn’t be able to take states such as New York, California, Minnesota, and Washington from Democratic hands.

So here’s where we stand. Republicans will have at least 48 seats and Democrats at least 44. That assumes that the states that lean toward one direction or the other do not surprise. So, eight states will make the difference.

Best case for Republicans – 56

Best case for Democrats – 52

Range for Republicans: 48-56 seats

Range for Democrats: 44-52 seats

Now, let’s get specific. According to the reliable Cook Report, these are the eight seats that could go either way: Nevada, Arizona, North Dakota, Missouri, Tennessee, Indiana, Florida, and West Virginia. Four of those currently have a Democratic senator; four have a Republican.

Here are my predictions for each of these states, based on historic data and the latest trends.

Likely to switch from Democratic hands to Republican: North Dakota, Indiana, Florida

Likely to switch from Republican hands to Democratic: Nevada

Likely to stay as is: Arizona, Missouri, Tennessee, West Virginia

Likelihood I got all this right: not high

Conclusion

With Democrats picking up one seat (Nevada) and Republicans picking up three (North Dakota, Indiana, Florida), this will represent a net increase of two seats for Republicans.

Current Scorecard

  • Republicans – 51
  • Democrats – 49

New Scorecard

  • Republicans – 53
  • Democrats – 47