1934 – Adolf Hitler Becomes President of Germany

On this day in 1934, Adolf Hitler, already chancellor, was also elected president of Germany in an unprecedented consolidation of power in the short history of the republic. In February of 1933, Hitler blamed a devastating Reichstag fire on the communists (its true cause remains a mystery) and convinced then-president Paul von Hindenburg to sign a decree suspending individual and civil liberties, a decree Hitler used to silence his political enemies with false arrests.

Upon the death of Hindenburg in 1934, Hitler proceeded to purge the Brownshirts (his storm troopers), the head of which, Ernst Rohm, had begun voicing opposition to the Nazi Party’s terror tactics. Hitler had Rohm executed without trial, which encouraged the army and other reactionary forces within the country to urge Hitler to further consolidate his power by merging the presidency and the chancellorship. This would make Hitler commander of the army as well. A plebiscite vote was held on August 19. Intimidation and fear of the communists brought Hitler a 90 percent majority. He became, for all intents and purposes, dictator.

What made Hitler so evil and destructive? One thing, say historians. No accountability. Lord Acton was right when he said, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Be careful before seeking power. That might be the worst gift you ever receive.

The Death of a King

The king died 41 years ago today. It hardly seems possible. On August 16, 1977, music icon Elvis Presley died in Memphis at age 42. The death of the king of rock and roll brought legions of mourning fans to Graceland, his mansion in Memphis. Doctors said he died of a heart attack, likely brought on by his addiction to prescription barbiturates.

Elvis’ record “Heartbreak Hotel” made him a national sensation in early 1956. He followed up with the double-sided hit record “Hound Dog” and “Don’t Be Cruel.” In September of 1956, he appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, and teenagers went into hysterics over his dynamic stage presence, good looks, and simple but catchy songs. Presley continued to dominate the music charts and film screens into the 1970s. Presley is buried on the grounds of Graceland, which continues to attract fans and has been turned into a highly successful tourist attraction.

The lesson of Elvis Presley is two-fold. First, we want a king we can see. Presley was on TV, the radio, and in the movie theaters. We grew up with him. He was accessible and obvious. He was someone we could get close to at his concerts. We felt we knew him. He was real. The prophet Elijah lived in a day when people bowed to any god they could see. We have not changed since. Millions would rather worship the king they could see than the King they cannot see.

Second, all mortal kings face the same future. They all die. If he was still with us today, Elvis would be 81 years old. But whether he died of drug overdose, cancer, or other natural causes, he was destined to die. And therein lies the difference between the king and the King. Jesus died, but his grave could not hold him. As for Elvis, where he was buried 39 years ago, you can still find him today.

Praying Lions

The man was an experienced mountain climber, hiker, and outdoorsman. But this day would be unlike any other in his entire life. Lost, searching for a way down, he spotted a lion nearby. Worse yet, the lion spotted him. The lion started his approach. The man had no chance to escape. So he prayed.

He said, “God, you can see I’m in trouble here. I’m lost and I’m stuck. There is a lion coming, and he looks really hungry. If you get me out of this mess, I’ll do anything you want me to do. I’ll give to the poor, I’ll be a better husband, I’ll be a good father, and I’ll even go to church this Easter. Just get me out of this mess.”

When he finished his prayer, he looked up. It was a miracle! Just as he prayed, the lion stopped. The lion sat. And then the lion prayed.

“Wow! A praying lion!” the man thought to himself. “This lion must be a Christian!”

Then he heard the lion’s prayer. “Lord, thank you for this meal you have prepared for me.”

Don’t worry. No animals (or people) were hurt in the telling of this joke. But you can get hurt, really badly. How? By waiting until you are in trouble before you pray.

The Fire Upstairs

One evening a few months ago, Marcos Ugarte was doing his homework. His father, Eduardo, a teacher, was busy preparing lesson plans. They heard yelling from outside. They stepped onto the porch and saw the problem. Four doors down, they saw a glow coming from inside a neighbor’s house.

“The house is on fire!” exclaimed Marcos to his dad.

They raced over to the house as the neighbor, Yim Ma, stumbled out, nearly overcome with smoke.

“Is there anyone else in the house?” asked Eduardo.

“Yes, my son Cody!” cried Mr. Ma.

Eduardo ran into the house in search of the boy, but to no avail. Little did he know what his own son was doing.

Marcos heard a noise from the second floor. He grabbed a ladder and raced up to the window. He grabbed the infant boy, Cody. And he carried him down the ladder to safety.

Mark Maunder, the Fire Chief, arrived moments later. He said, “If Marcos had not gone into the fire, Cody would have never come out.”

That is what Jesus did for us on the cross. He went into the fire of temptation, death, and hell, so we could come out.

Of eternity, Jesus said, “Then they would go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life” (Matthew 25:46).

The Rushmore Report – Sen. Warren Calls Criminal Justice System ‘Racist,’ Officials Respond

During a speech at Dillard University in New Orleans earlier this month, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said the American criminal justice system is “racist…front to back.” Police were not thrilled by those comments, to say the least. “I now cannot trust her words are real,” Yarmouth Police Chief Frank G. Frederickson told the Boston Herald  on Friday. “It appears she is telling the audience in front of her what she thinks they want to hear.”

Warren has “diminished the sincerity of her condolence efforts” and “slapped in the face” all law enforcement, Frederickson added. Dudley Police Chief Steve Wojnar also demanded an explanation from the senator. “Labeling the entire criminal justice profession as ‘racist’ spreads false and damaging information about our members,” he wrote in a letter. “We feel we do a very good job in Massachusetts of producing professional and community oriented police officers.” The dangers police face can best be calculated by the number of fallen officers year after year. Ab0ut 135 cops died in the line of duty in 2016, making it the deadliest year for police officers in at least five years.

At least 54 law enforcement officers have died while on duty since the start of 2018. In the past few years, anti-police sentiment has resulted in police being victims just because they wear the badge. Five officers were killed in Dallas during a Black Lives Matter protest on July 7, 2016. The next day, an officer in Ballwin, Missouri was shot from behind and critically injured during a traffic stop while he was walking to his patrol car.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions offered his own strong response to Warren’s verbal attack on the criminal justice system, calling her comments “a slander of every law enforcement prosecutor in American. And frankly, I think it is an insult to their families and to the crime victims they have helped to face their attacker.”

About the Author

Cortney O’Brien writes for TownHall.

The Rushmore Report – The Funniest Political Story of the Year

Question: When is a challenge to debate national defense, the economy, and immigration code for sexism? Answer: When a certain congressional candidate would rather avoid the discussion of real issues than accept a gift of $10,000 for her own campaign or favorite charity. What happened this week is the funniest political story of the year. Here’s what happened. Conservative activist Ben Shapiro called out New York Democratic congressional nominee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

While she has made a sport of flying around the country to endorse fellow socialists – all of whom have fallen in defeat following her endorsements – Ocasio-Cortez continues to simply make up data that is the antithesis of truth. Her recent statements on the economy, jobs numbers, and the middle class have been proven false by some of the most liberal news outlets in the country. But rather than getting a grasp on the facts, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez continues to say things that are verifiably inaccurate.

In stepped Ben Shapiro with an offer she could refuse.

Shapiro tweeted this message: “Miss Ocasio-Cortez, I’m really excited that you’ve been elevated to that position and I would love to have a real conversation with you about the issues. Not only am I eager to discuss the issues with you, I’m willing to offer $10,000 to your campaign for you to come on our Sunday special. We can have an hour-long conversation about all the topics under the sun in order to really probe your belief system.”

Not only did she decline the offer; she characterized Shapiro’s offer as sexist. She said it was a form of “catcalling.”

She tweeted, “Just like catcalling, I don’t owe a response to unsolicited requests from men with bad intentions.”

Conservative Katie Pavlich weighed in. “Okay, fine. If you won’t debate Ben Shapiro because he’s a man (and because he would destroy you intellectually) how about a debate with me?”

Shapiro has added, “This is a new definition of ‘catcalling.’ If I say to a woman, ‘Hey, wanna talk about the economy?’ that is now a sexist statement.”

And to make the point that he is not just targeting women, Shapiro has now made the same offer to a man. Perhaps you’ve heard of him – Sen. Bernie Sanders. Only this time, Shapiro has offered $50,000 to discuss the issues.

Together, Ocasio-Cortex and Sanders could get their message to a new audience of Americans, and at the same time, raise $60,000 for their causes. But – as expected – they have no interest in a free and open discussion with Ben Shapiro. And who can blame them? It’s much easier to scream “Sexism!” than to defend the socialist policies that have failed wherever they have been tried.

 

The Rushmore Report – John Piper Answers: What Is My Reason for Existence?

John Piper, reformed theologian and head of the popular website DesiringGod.com, has offered answers to hundreds of questions about faith, doctrine, and the Christian life. Recently, he was asked one of the most intriguing questions of his ministry. It is the question at the heart of most people: “What is my reason for existence?” His answer will inspire you. In an episode of the podcast, Ask Pastor John, a listener named Tyler asked the “why” question.

“What is the overarching concept for my life, my reason for existence, and relationship with God?” Tyler asked. “I know if I better understood this, I would dive into the details and perform them more effectively and joyfully within the larger contest.”

Piper responded by saying that the purpose for his life was to “live to make Christ look magnificent.”

He said, “Almost everything I’ve done in the last 50 years has been a working out of what it means that God created the universe for his glory. The greatness of being human is to join him in that eternal purpose. Everything else finds its ground and its significance in God’s purpose to create and do all acts of providence and all acts of redemption for his glory.”

Piper encouraged Tyler that if he lives “in view of this great overarching purpose,” he can “be able to dive into the painful and happy particulars in your life.”

To review, the great purpose of life, in Piper’s words, is “to make Christ look magnificent.”

He is right. As Rick Warren says in his introduction to The Purpose-Driven Life, “It’s not about you.” It’s about God. A Christ-centered life is a life full of purpose. It’s that simple.

The Rushmore Report – Are Dems Falling Short of Blue Wave Predictions?

The latest round of Election Day results has Democrats boasting of outperforming Republicans in a key congressional district in the battleground state of Ohio. While at first blush this may be seen as positive for Democrats, the news is anything but spectacular. During a midterm election year in which liberal leaders promised their base a “blue wave,” even this week that wave looks more like a trickle of water caught in the elaborate drainpipe of election recounts, newly found ballots, legal challenges and delayed certifications.

Perhaps even more important than Tuesday’s close election is the fact that generic ballot polling — often thought to be the best indicator of election day performance — tightened again this week, and it wasn’t in Democrats’ favor.

A Rasmussen Poll shows that the generic ballot now only favors Democrats by 4 points — well within the margin of error. Compare that to the generic ballot earlier this year that had Democrats ahead by a whopping 15 points. (Note: Before Democrats dismiss Rasmussen as being a Republican-leaning firm, it is important to point out that Rasmussen was one of only three polling organizations that called the 2016 presidential election accurately).

The point is that Democrats should be doing better than they are at this midpoint, given the intensity of their distaste for President Donald Trump.

Earlier this spring the Washington Post reported that a record number of Americans — 20 percent — had participated in a protest since Trump took office. The protests included the Women’s March, the March for Our Lives following the Parkland, Fla., school shooting, and other events.

Given this intensity on the left, the Democrats’ victories should be blowouts, but protests don’t necessarily equate to victories at the ballot box.

The truth is, Democrats right now are approximately where they were in the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections, both years in which Democrats suffered devastating defeats.

In the 2014 midterms, Democrats were ahead on the generic ballot by an impressive 8 points most of the year but saw their lead vanish, just as it has this year. Republicans ultimately trampled them on election day, retaking the U.S. Senate and winning the largest margin of seats in the House of Representatives in American history.

The Democrats’ position also currently rates worse than their generic ballot ranking in the 2010 midterms.

In 2010, Democrats were polling closely to Republicans in the summer months but, ultimately, Republicans ended up winning back control of the House of Representatives.

Given the fact that Democrats now have just a measly 4-point advantage in generic ballot polling, November looks to be anything but a wave.

This is not to suggest that Republicans will have it easy in the fall — they won’t.

Republicans still have the challenge of maintaining seats in districts that Hillary Clinton won in 2016, while the lightning rod that is President Trump is on the airwaves day after day. That will take a careful threading of the needle.

However, Democrats have the bigger challenge here of overcoming another new polling number: 44 percent of Americans now think the country is headed in the right direction. This figure is up 3 points in August and moving in Republicans’ favor.

Bottom line: The 2018 midterm elections are anything but settled, and if Democrats are to deliver on their promise of a massive tidal wave this November, they are going to have to perform much better than they did on Tuesday.

About the Author

Jen Kerns has served as a GOP strategist and writer for the U.S. presidential debates for FOX News.

 

The Rushmore Report – Florida Atlantic Coach Lane Kiffin’s Remarkable Journey of Faith

Lane Kiffin has been a football coach at some impressive places: the Oakland Raiders, University of Tennessee, USC, and Alabama to name a few. Along the way, the colorful coach has made a lot of friends – and enemies. He has developed a reputation as the coach the other teams’ fans love to hate. But along the way, God never gave up on him. And now, the coach who has resurrected the anemic program at Florida Atlantic University, has found God. This is his story.

After his USC team lost a game to Arizona State, the coach was pulled off the team bus, where he was told he had been fired. He had to find another way home.

“I don’t wish that feeling upon anyone,” he says. “I wanted to die, because at the time, I was defined by my job.”

But God had other plans.

Kiffin says, “Just when I needed God most, he answered in a big way. I don’t know if God is a sports fan or not, but I do know this: he loves a good comeback.”

When he was at Tennessee, team chaplain Roger Woods gave the coach a copy of Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Drive Life. Years later, that book would change his life.

“On the first page were four words that changed everything,” he says. “It’s not about you.”

Kiffin says that brought an old message a fresh meaning to his life. He believes he had “too much success, fame, and money in life too soon.” He was the youngest head coach in NFL history.

Looking back on his dismissal from USC, he says, “What it turned out to be was the beginning of God humbling me to become the man I am today. I was not using the platform he put me on for him. As my pastor once said, God wan’t punishing me; he was just giving me a wake-up call.”

Kiffin plans to use the rest of his career to point others to Christ. Already, he has made a difference in the life of the man he respects most, as his dad has come to Christ, as well.

The coach says, “I don’t like to focus too much on my past, because then it stops becoming your past and starts to become your present. However, my story is a special exception, because it shows people that it’s never too late to discover God, and we can overcome anything in our past. I like to tell people these days, if God can forgive me, he can forgive anyone.”

Texas v. White

This was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1869, that decreed by law what the Union’s victory in the Civil War had established by force; namely, that the United States is an indestructible union from which no state can secede. In 1850 the State of Texas had received $10 million in federal bonds in settlement of boundary claims. In 1862 these bonds, which lacked the necessary signature of the Governor, were transferred to pay for Confederate supplies. At the war’s end, Texas brought a suit in the Supreme Court, to recover the bonds.

The defendants claimed that because Texas had seceded from the Union, it could not sue. The court upheld the right of Texas to sue and recover the bonds. The ruling stated, “The unsuccessful effort of Texas to secede may temporarily have lost the state the privileges of membership in the Union, but not membership itself.”

Now, what is the point of this history lesson? The Bible says believers are “adopted” into God’s family. Even if they wanted to “secede,” they could not. Our membership in God’s Union is secure.

Make no mistake. Saved people act differently than those who are unsaved. But their relationship with the Father is secure.