George Washington Turns 186 Today

If he had not died on December 14, 1799, he would be celebrating his 184th birthday today. On February 22, 1732, George Washington was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, the second son from the second marriage of a colonial plantation owner. An initially loyal British subject, Washington eventually led the Continental Army in the American Revolution and became known as the father of the United States. George Washington’s legacy has endured a long process of untangling myth from fact. The famous cherry tree incident never occurred, nor did Washington have wooden teeth. Known for being emotionally reserved and aloof, he was concerned with personal conduct, character, and self-discipline but was known to bend the rules if necessary, especially in war. Although Washington was undoubtedly ambitious, he pursued his goals humbly and with quiet confidence in his abilities as a leader.

During this election cycle, Republicans are asking, “Who’s the next Ronald Reagan?” Democrats are asking, “Who’s the next John Kennedy?” A better question might be, “Who’s the next George Washington?” Let’s consider three traits demonstrated by our first president that we sorely need in national leadership today.

  1. George Washington was an humble man. In his first inaugural address, he said, “I was summoned by my Country, whose voice I can never hear but with veneration and love.” He declined “any share in the personal emoluments” or monetary gains for himself. Never intoxicated with power, in his second inaugural address, he subjected himself to “the upbraidings of all who are now witnesses of the present solemn ceremony.” He could have been a king; he chose to be a president. The Bible says, “Be completely humble and gentle” (Ephesians 4:2). Humility was perhaps the most significant character trait of our first president.
  2. George Washington was a man of self-discipline. In her book, Meet George Washington, Joan Heilbroner describes a man of incredible self-discipline. She quotes him as regularly challenging himself, “Undertake not what you cannot perform.” He said, “It’s better to offer no excuse than a bad one.” No one farmed harder or fought harder than George Washington. He outworked his staff and outlived his contemporaries. Every day was filled with purpose. George Washington was the embodiment of self-discipline. Paul said, “God gave us a spirit of self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7), a spirit demonstrated daily by President Washington.
  3. George Washington was a man of high character. In 1788 he wrote to his trusted confidant Alexander Hamilton, “I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain the character of an honest man.” In leading the War for Independence, he extolled his soldiers to “display the character appropriate to Christian soldiers.” Though gifted as a leader, statesman, and military genius, what mattered most to George Washington was not to win the battles of war, but the battles of the heart. Paul told young Timothy to “pursue righteousness” (1 Timothy 6:11). That was a pursuit that filled George Washington’s life.

President’s Day was created to honor the first president of the United States. Was he our greatest president? The answer seems obvious; without him there would have been no others. So as we celebrate the man who would be 184 years old today, let’s do so, not with another statue or monument, but by committing to being the kind of people worthy of the sacrifice of the man who gave all he had to create a better country than the world had ever known.

The Power of a Text

I was on the treadmill yesterday morning. I do it every day for an hour. It’s the best 1-mile walk of the day! Then it happened. I got a text from an old friend. And it made my day.

My friend is someone you have probably heard of. He is one of America’s most popular communicators and keeps an incredibly busy schedule. I won’t use his name because he wouldn’t want the credit for what I’m about to say.

My friend has pastored a megachurch, is a close friend of Billy and Franklin Graham, and has entertained millions, from the rich and famous to people you will never hear of. But yesterday morning, I was on his mind. We hadn’t spoken in a couple of months, and I certainly didn’t expect to hear from him yesterday.

And then my phone lit up. I looked at it and saw my friend had just sent me a picture along with a message. It was 32 words of pure encouragement. And it made my day – because of what he said and because of who said it.

It cost him a couple minutes and blessed me for 24 hours and counting. Encouragement does that. The encouragement guy in the Bible was a fellow named Barnabas. He stood by Mark when no one else would. Mark went on to write the first Gospel, the one on which the others were built. He stood by Paul when no one else would. Paul went on to write a third of the New Testament. Without Barnabas, one could argue there would have been no Gospels or epistles. Barnabas was good at one thing – encouragement.

Studies tell us we need 17 words of encouragement for every negative word we hear. And we need 13 words of encouragement each day just to stay level. Have you met the man who said, “Please stop encouraging me! I’ve had too much encouragement already!” I haven’t met him either.

So go out today and make a difference. Encourage someone. It can change their day, and that can change their life. And it can be done with something as simple as a text.

The Rushmore Report – When Children View Pornography

No healthy parent wants to think about his child viewing pornography, but it often happens. Some researchers have stated that the average age of exposure to pornography is down to eight. Before the days of the Internet, children were typically between the ages of 11 and 13 when they began viewing soft-core porn found in magazines.

Today’s child lives in a culture where hard-core porn abounds. Our children are being seduced daily, and we need to bear this fact in mind whenever we have the occasion to redirect them away from pornography.

It is also extremely important that parents not direct all their efforts toward their sons at the expense of their daughters. Porn and other sexualized media can adversely affect girls as well as boys and often leads to significant damage in their ability to form healthy relationships as an adult.

The goal

We want to be intentional parents. It’s our privilege and responsibility to educate them about sexuality. We want to begin early, and continue throughout their time with us in the home.

The ultimate goal for our children’s sexuality is that they will be able to see the dynamic interplay between sexuality and spirituality. As Christians, we want to help them understand, for example, that sexual intercourse is an act of love shared between a husband and wife. This sacred act symbolizes the spiritual union that will occur between Christ and His bride, the Church, upon His return to earth. We hope our sons will see themselves as a type of Christ as they relate to their wives, and that our daughters will see themselves as a type of the church as they relate to their husbands. What we model today in our marriages will likely reproduce itself in our children’s marriages.

By helping our children to see the big picture about the sanctity of sex, we are better prepared to confront the problem of pornography when and if it occurs in our children’s lives.

Do you and your spouse share the same core values?

Ideally, parents will share the same core  values that promote sexual purity. This unity will facilitate your child’s recovery. On the other hand, if a child’s parents are divided about pornography, that child’s rehabilitation will be more difficult.

A child’s repetitive involvement with porn can be a symptom of an unhappy home. Once the child’s issues begin to surface, his parents may benefit from marital therapy if they continue to be at odds on pornography in general or fail to agree on how to facilitate their child’s recovery.

Before you start beating yourself up, however, any exposure to porn can harm children – even otherwise healthy children. The point here is not to blame parents but to help them identify any problems that may be negatively affecting their children’s understanding of sexuality or recovery.

Did my child view pornography intentionally?

I’m convinced that children are victims of a covert form of sexual abuse whenever they are confronted with sexually provocative materials. With this in mind, our children need us to be healthy advocates for their well-being – even if we must confront their willful exposure to porn.

If a child has been found with porn, it’s important to not jump to conclusions. A harsh, impulsive interrogation will most likely just shut down your child. An unhealthy shame often leads to more acting out with pornography.

You will want to learn how your child found porn. For example, did someone introduce your child to porn? Mental health professionals recognize the power differential that occurs as a result of age, and if the person who introduced the porn was older by three or four years, it constitutes a type of sex abuse. These incidents should be reported to local authorities.

Was this my child’s first exposure?

It will also be important to learn if this was his first exposure to pornography. The frequency of exposure matters, as a child becomes increasingly desensitized over time. As desensitization occurs, a child typically begins to seek a greater frequency of porn, and a harder or more severe quality. Greater frequency and a shift to hard-core porn are indicators that the brain has begun to seek more stimulation which can lead to addiction.

If you learn that your child has developed a habit of viewing porn, it will be important to seek the services of a specialist who is trained to facilitate recovery.

Just exactly what did my child see?

What types of porn did he see? Sadly, with the Internet a child can be exposed to a wide range of sexual perversions in seconds. If your child has an email address, chances are he or she is being exposed to pornographic email. One recent study found that 47 percent of school-aged children received porn spam on a daily basis. This study also found that as many as one in five children open the spam they receive. It will be important to learn about the types of porn that your child viewed. For example, was the porn heterosexual or homosexual? Was it limited to body parts or did it include sex acts? Was sexual violence a part of the porn, and did it include bestiality?

Regardless of what was viewed, it will be more important to rehabilitate your child than to merely correct or punish him.

How can you prevent future occurrences?

Frankly, there is no guarantee that even the best parent can prevent his child’s exposure to pornography. As with parents of any age or culture, we seek to do the best we can with the resources we have. Should another incident occur, it will be another teachable moment where you restate the precepts and principles that guide us toward wholeness.

Fortunately, the probability of future occurrences can be diminished by taking a four-pronged approach.

1. Behavioral

Behavioral approaches attempt to prevent a scenario from developing in the first place. The house and grounds, for example, should be purged of all pornography. Media should be carefully screened for “triggers” that serve as gateways to acting out. The computer should be moved to the family room, in view of everyone.

2. Cognitive

Porn is propaganda and generates destructive myths about sexuality. Once exposed, it will be critically important that a comprehensive sex education gets underway, if it has not already been initiated. The child will need to learn what and how to think about sexuality.

3. Emotive

Sex is inherently emotional. Premarital sex has even been linked with codependency, where at least one person becomes compelled or addicted to be in relationship with another. Our children need to understand that emotional attachment is often involuntary, and especially when the relationship has been compromised sexually.

4. Spiritual

At its core, sexual integrity comes down to a spiritual commitment. The Christian message of how Christ loves His bride, the Church, is our inspiration. The prohibitions and consequences of sexual sin are secondary to the intimacy that one experiences in obedience to God.

A final thought

If we really believe that sin is a powerful barrier between our child and God, we will move past a mere “sin management” approach to mentor them into a loving relationship with us and, more importantly, with Him. Wherever pornography or sexual sin is found, whether in the lives of our children or in our own, we can surrender ourselves and those we love to the greater care and compassion of our Father. His purity remains and cleanses us.

About the Author

Rob Jackson writes for Focus on the Family.

The Rushmore Report – Lebron James vs Laura Ingraham

Fox News’ Laura Ingraham sparked nationwide controversy this week after telling Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors stars Lebron James and Kevin Durant to avoid discussing politics and to “shut up and dribble.” Liberals predictably decried Ingraham as racist, based on her comments, but she has refused to apologize.

Ingraham said, “The left and the media attack dogs can dish it out, but they can’t take it.”

On Thursday night, Ingraham aired a video featuring the NBA stars discussing politics and the state of America under President Donald Trump. “King James” harshly criticized the commander-in-chief, saying he does not “give a —- about the people.”

In response to that clip, Ingraham said, “I’m numb to this commentary. Must they run their mouths like that? A lot of kids and some adults take these ignorant comments seriously. There might be a cautionary lesson in Lebron for kids. This is what happens when you attempt to leave high school a year early to join the NBA. Someone gets paid $100 million a year to bounce a ball. They’re great players, but no one voted for you. Millions voted for Trump to be their coach. Keep the political commentary to yourself or as someone once said, ‘Shut up and dribble.'”

Not surprisingly, liberals accused Ingraham of racism. Others bemoaned Ingraham telling an athlete to remain silent on non-sporting news when she has had numerous non-political guests, such as Tim Tebow, on her show through the years. Lebron James responded with the following tweet.

“wewillnotshutupanddribble.”

But Friday, Ingraham pointed out several problems with these accusations of racism. She released a statement saying, “In 2003, I wrote a New York Times bestseller called Shut Up & Sing, in which I criticized celebrities like the Dixie Chicks & Barbra Streisand who were trashing then-President George W. Bush. I have used a variation of that title for more than 15 years to respond to performers who sound off on politics. I’ve told Robert DeNiro to ‘Shut Up & Act,’ Jimmy Kimmel to ‘Shut Up & Make Us Laugh,’ and just this week told the San Antonio Spurs’ Coach Gregg Popovich to ‘Shut Up & Coach.’ If pro athletes and entertainers want to freelance as political pundits, then they should not be surprised when they’re called out for insulting politicians. There was no racial intent in my remarks – false, defamatory charges of racism are a transparent attempt to immunize entertainment and sports elites from scrutiny and criticism. Additionally, we stated on my show that these comments came from an ESPN podcast, which was not the case – the content was unaffiliated with ESPN.”

On Friday night’s show, Ingraham echoed those remarks and added, “If you want to be a political pundit, you’re coming on my court, okay? Let’s do it. Let’s have a real conversation about black unemployment. Let’s talk about violence in the inner city. Let’s talk about all the issues like school choice. Let’s do it. Don’t think you’re not going to get criticized if all you do is a drive-by hit on Trump and say he’s no leader.”

Ingraham told her audience that she “called those remarks barely intelligible, not to mention ungrammatical, and the left erupted.” She added that she was “an equal opportunity critic” and that “race has nothing to do with it.”

On Twitter she invited Lebron on the show anytime to discuss politics.

About the Author

Timothy Meads writes for Townhall.

The Rushmore Report – Answer to School Shootings, It’s Not that Complicated

It has happened again. Fifteen students and two adults were senselessly murdered by a madman. It was the 15th school mass shooting since Columbine – on April 20, 1999 – and the most deadly ever. When the shooter (we don’t give shooters’ names here) took the lives of 17 innocent victims at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14, he re-ignited the national debate on gun control and how Congress should respond to this growing madness. Are there arguments to be made on both sides of the gun debate? Absolutely. Will Congress finally do something? Probably not. But it’s really not that complicated.

First, there are several legitimate criticisms and things that need to be done – though none of them will really go very far to solve the problem. For example, in Florida it is legal to buy a gun at age 18, but not legal to buy alcohol until age 21. Should that change? Sure, it should. Congress should pass a national law restricting gun ownership to those age 21 and above.

Mental illness is a real problem. Should those who are mentally ill be restricted from buying guns? Or course, they should be. But keep in mind that about 70 percent of the American population is on mood-altering prescription medications. So determining who should be disqualified from gun ownership based on mental illness will be an unsolvable quagmire.

Should certain types of guns be banned? Or course. There is no need for Citizen Joe to have a high-powered weapon. But again, this will not solve the problem.

Here’s the reality – bad guys, by definition of being “bad guys” don’t obey the laws. Gun restrictions will be ignored or bypassed by those intent on committing such unthinkable crimes. More gun laws will do for gun deaths what prohibition did for alcoholism – nothing.

So what is the solution? Let me state one simple, indisputable truth, and then the solution will become self-evident.

Here it is – public schools are the most gun-free zones in America. Period.

In Florida – and across America – it is illegal to bring a gun on campus. When the crazed madman stepped onto the Marjory Stonemen Douglas High School campus Wednesday, he knew one thing was 99 percent likely – he would be the only person there with a gun.

What followed was three minutes of shooting. Three minutes. That’s all it took. Meanwhile, someone called 911, and the police were on their way. But here’s the thing – it takes three minutes to kill 17 unarmed citizens, while the average emergency response time for the police is five minutes. So the madman, on average, has all the time he needs to take out 17 innocent lives with two minutes left over for his escape.

So here is the painfully obvious solution. Allow school personnel to have guns – under very strict guidelines. For example, ex-military men and women should be allowed to bear arms. Teachers and administrators who complete a very rigorous testing process should be allowed to carry concealed handguns.

No one should know who has the guns, except the principal. But every would-be killer needs to know that schools are no longer gun-free zones. Right now, when the madman shows up at Campus X, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. But by arming those who pass background checks and rigorous training, a deterrent will exist that is not there now.

For any readers who oppose this idea, let me pose this question. If it was your child in a classroom, with only unarmed teachers and students, and you knew a madman was headed for that room with the intent of shooting everyone in sight, would you rather the teacher be able to defend your child or not?

Again, it’s not that complicated. We have tried gun control. Our strictest gun control zones – public schools – have become killing fields. Not allowing school leaders to be armed has proven reckless. Why not actually do something to protect our innocent children’s lives?

This very suggestion is being made this week in Tallahassee, before the Florida State Legislature. What state and federal politicians will do will rest largely on this question: Do we want to look serious about stopping the carnage, or do we actually want to save lives?

I repeat – it’s really not that complicated.

The Rushmore Report – President Trump’s Message to Democrats

President Trump went on a Twitter rage on Saturday night. His subject was mostly the shooting at the high school in Parkland, Florida, that took 17 lives. While addressing the shooting and expressing his opinions on what could be done in the future, the president had a very direct message to Democrats – one they don’t want to hear.

This was the president’s message:

“Just like they don’t want to solve the DACA problem, why didn’t the Democrats pass gun control legislation when they had both the House & Senate during the Obama Administration? Because they didn’t want to, and now they just talk!”

As is usually the case, Mr. Trump’s tweet could have been toned down. But does he have a point? Sure he does. Under former president Barack Obama, Democrats passed the most sweeping reform to health care in American history – without a single Republican vote. They could do this because they had a filibuster-proof Senate majority of 60-40, plus the majority of the House.

For two years, the Democrats passed every single law they introduced. But what was missing? Gun control.

On the heels of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, which left 26 dead, the Democratic Congress did nothing. They could have passed a ban on assault weapons, but they didn’t. They could have passed universal background checks, but they didn’t.

Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich (who is running for president in 2020 – ignore his statements to the contrary) said on Sunday that he has no confidence in Congress to do anything on guns.

“Do I think they can do something on guns? I hope they prove me wrong, but I have no confidence in them,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

This Congress can act, but it won’t be easy, as neither party can get what they want without buy-in from across the aisle. But there was a day – not that long ago – when Democrats had the votes to do whatever they wanted (as they did with Obamacare). They had a chance to pass gun legislation, and they whiffed.

On this point, President Trump is right.

The Rushmore Report – A Dying Pastor’s Final Wish Come True

Shane Hall was the beloved pastor of First Southern Baptist Church of Oklahoma City. For three and a half years, the 46-year-old battled stomach cancer. Friday, the battle ended, as he went to be with the Lord. Knowing all medical options had been exhausted, Hall knew his fate. He had one dying wish. And that wish came true.

Hall’s final desire was to see his youngest daughter, Mallory, come to faith in Christ before he died. Here is the timeline of the pastor’s final days.

On Wednesday, February 7, Mallory trusted Christ as her personal Savior. Two days later, on February 9, Misti, Shane’s wife, announced that all medical options to save Shane’s life were exhausted, and they were now focused on pain management until his death. Then, on Sunday, February 11, Pastor Hall baptized his young daughter. On February 16, Misti posted, “Tonight he is worshiping with Jesus.”

The last person Hall would baptize would be his daughter.

The funeral service for Shane will be today in Oklahoma City. This week, Misti posted, “We continue to see God’s sustaining grace in all of this. Shane said he just wanted to baptize Mallory. So, for him to say that and then to see it within two or three weeks was just a precious gift to him. I felt like, that’s what kept him here for awhile, his wanting to fulfill that desire to see her come to know the Lord.”

Frank Page, President and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, prayed with Hall many times in his final weeks. “When I heard about Shane’s miraculous efforts in helping to baptize his daughter, I wept,” he said. “It spoke of a father’s love. It spoke of a pastor’s determination. God bless his wonderful family.”

 

The Rushmore Report – Is Ted Cruz Afraid of CNN?

If we had a comedy section for The Rushmore Report, that is where we would post this one. Last Thursday, the day after the Florida school shooting, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo called out Sen. Ted Cruz for “being afraid” to appear on CNN. There is just one small hole in Cuomo’s criticism, however. You can’t make this stuff up!

The same day CNN was criticizing Ted Cruz for not appearing on CNN, Ted Cruz was appearing on CNN. The fact is, CNN refused to air their interview with him, then blamed him for not coming on CNN.

I believe President Trump would call this “fake news.” I call it funny. It’s only offensive to those who still see CNN as a legitimate news source.

Here’s what happened.

Later that day, Cuomo added, “If Cruz thinks gun control improvement is not the answer, what is? Ask the question, Senator: what are we doing to stop school shootings? Don’t just say what won’t work, work to find an answer!”

The next day, seeing that Cruz and other leading Florida Republicans had appeared on Fox News, Cuomo tweeted, “What are they afraid of?” He called out Cruz, Gov. Scott, and Sen. Rubio by name.

This is where it gets funny.

Cruz responded to Cuomo’s criticism that he was “afraid of CNN.” Cruz tweeted, “That’s funny. I spoke to CNN for 15 minutes yesterday about proactive solutions to prevent gun violence (like passing the Grassley-Cruz bill – which Dems filibustered – that would add $300 million for school safety), yet CNN has aired NONE of  it. Why not air the (entire) interview?”

Cruz followed up the next day. “Here’s the pic of the CNN interview – a 15-minute exclusive given yesterday – that y’all still haven’t aired . . . while falsely claiming that I’m ‘afraid’ to talk to CNN.”

That night, Cuomo had to backtrack, admitting Cruz had indeed appeared on CNN, while he was ridiculing Cruz for not appearing on CNN. Then he mocked Cruz for appearing on CNN, but not on his particular show on CNN.

Let’s review. Sen. Cruz appeared on CNN. But CNN refused to air their own interview with Sen. Cruz. Instead, they let one of their leading anchors ridicule Sen. Cruz for not appearing on CNN the same day he appeared on CNN.

And they wonder why more conservatives are hesitant to do interviews on their network.

The Rushmore Report – Are We on the Verge of War?

Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, used his address at an international security conference on Sunday to display characteristic bravado and issue a direct warning salvo to Iran. While holding a piece of fuselage from an Iranian drone shot down by Israel, Netanyahr sounded grim. Are we on the verge of war?

The Prime Minister spoke directly to Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, also attending the conference in Germany.

“Mr. Zarif, do you recognize this? You should. It’s yours. You can take back with you a message to the tyrants of Tehran – do not test Israel’s resolve,” Netanyahu said, according to the Times of Israel. He added, “Through his proxies – Shiite militias in Iraq, the Houthis in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza – Iran is devouring huge swaths of the Middle East. Israel will not allow Iran’s regime to put a noose of terror around our neck. We will act without hesitation to defend ourselves. And we will act if necessary not just against Iran’s proxies that are attacking us, but against Iran itself.”

The downing of the Iranian drone by the Israeli Air Force on February 10 was the first direct confrontation between Israel and Iran in the former’s territory. Since the start of the civil war in neighboring Syria, Israel has regularly intervened to check the expansion of Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah, which has backed the Bashar al-Assad-led Syrian regime in Damascus.

Netanyahu compared Iran’s expansionism to European appeasement of the Nazis during World War Two. “Concessions to Hitler only emboldened the Nazis. Well-intentioned leaders only made war more difficult and costly. Iran looks to destroy Israel and is developing ballistic missiles that can also reach Europe and the U.S. Once nuclear-armed, Iran will be unchecked,” Natanyahu added.

About the Author

Callum Paton writes for Newsweek online.

33% Have This Problem

It afflicts 100 million Americans and causes 38,000 deaths each year, including 1,500 on the road. It costs the U.S. a whopping $70 billion worth of productivity. Sixty-four percent of teens suffer from it. It hits hardest between ages 30 and 40. Fifty percent of seniors suffer from it. Treatments range from mouth guards to herbal teas to medication.

I am talking about insomnia. America can’t get to sleep. To fight back, Americans consume 30 tons of sleeping pills, aspirin, and tranquilizers every day! Thomas Edison lived off 15-minute naps. But Albert Einstein averaged 11 hours of sleep each night. In 1910 we slept an average of nine hours; now we are down to seven.

It’s funny. We are the only creatures who struggle with sleep. Dogs doze, bears hibernate, and my cat sleeps 23 hours a day. So what makes us (people) different? We worry. We worry a lot. Psychologists say that 90 percent of what we worry about never even happens. But we worry anyway.

I’m reminded of a Carpenter who lived 2,000 years ago. He said, “Give me your burdens. Do not worry.” The dog, bear, and cat get it. What about you? To each of us St. Peter offers great advice. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).