The Rushmore Report: Dolly Parton’s Brush with Suicide

Dolly Parton, one of country music’s greatest stars, shares in her new memoir how she contemplated suicide, but believes God intervened to stop her. Her new memoir, Dolly on Dolly: Interviews and Encounters with Dolly Parton, reveals much about Parton’s life that had not been made public. In the book, she confesses that she went through a horrible period in which she considered taking her own life.

Parton confesses that in the midst of her depression, she began binge-eating and she cheated on her husband. Her life seemed to be falling apart, and one night she was so depressed that she took out the gun she kept for protection, pondering whether to use it to kill herself.

“I looked at it a long time. Then, just as I picked it up, just to hold it and look at it for a moment, our little dog, Popeye, came running up the stairs,” Parton recalled. “The tap-tap of his paws jolted me back to reality. I suddenly froze. I put the gun down.”

Instead of taking her own life, Parton turned to prayer. “I kinda believe Popeye was a spiritual messenger from God,” said the music icon. “I don’t think I’d have done it, killed myself, but I can’t say for sure. Now that I’ve gone through that terrible moment, I can certainly understand the possibilities even for someone solid like me if the pain gets bad enough.”

That dark experience showed Parton that “a belief in God is essential. You have to believe in something bigger than yourself. We grew up believing that through God all things are possible. I think I believed that so much that I made it happen.”

Parton, now 71, has a strong relationship with her husband of 51 years, Carl Dean. She is still touring and playing music.

The Rushmore Report: Selena Gomez Talks about Her Faith

Pop star Selena Gomez is not afraid to share her Christian faith. Recently, she did a radio interview in which she discussed her attendance at Hillsong Church and her relationship with Pastor Carl Lentz. Charisma News reports on Gomez’ interview with “Elvis Duran and the Morning Show” in which she said, “I haven’t really been all over the place lately, and that’s kind of intentional.”

Gomez continued, “I think it’s important to balance out where I am, and I’ve been doing this for a really long time, and my sanity has meant everything to me, and a lot of that is my faith. I took 90 days off, I went away, I was very vocal about it because to me, where I get my confidence is my vulnerability. I can’t sit there and pretend that everything is good, because I’ve done that for years, and it doesn’t really work for me.”

Gomez is not only a regular attendee at Hillsong; she has also led worship at the megachurch. On her recent album, she even wrote a worship song called “Nobody,” which she performed at a Los Angeles concert, along with Hillsong Young & Free.

Gomez also said of her time at HIllsong and interacting with Lentz, “I feel very refreshed. He’s the best.”

She ended the interview by inviting Duran and his colleagues to visit Hillsong anytime.

The Rushmore Report: The World’s Oldest Person – ‘The Secret to Longevity’

Her name is Violet Mosse-Brown. She lies in Jamaica. And at 117 years of age, she is the world’s oldest person. Born on March 10, 1900, Violet has revealed the key to longevity. Also known as “Aunt V,” Mosse-Brown has shared the one key to a long life. And what she says has nothing to do with diet or exercise. But still active, living with her 97-year-old son, Violet is sure of one thing.

The secret to a long and happy life, says Violet, is a strong Christian faith and serving God. Christian Broadcasting News reports her story. Violet is amazed to think back over the changes she has seen in the world throughout her lifetime. But she gives God the credit for everything good in the world and in her own life.

“Thank God for what he has given to me,” she says. “This is what God has given me, so I have to take it – long life.” “I’ve done nearly everything at the church. I spent all my time in the church.”

Mosse-Brown was raised in a Christian home and was baptized at the age of 13 – 104 years ago – at Trittonville Baptist Church in the Duanvale district of Trelawny Parish, Jamaica.

About the Author

Vernonic Neffinger is editor for Christian Headlines.

The Rushmore Report: The Next 100 Days Will Determine the Trump Legacy

Since the days of Harry Truman, presidents have been graded more by their first 100 days in office than their next 1,361 days – Donald Trump more than any other. But with the constant obstruction thrown up by Democrats and the president’s struggles to get firm footing, Trump’s first 100 days will pale in comparison to what is coming next. I am convinced that the next 100 days will determine the Trump legacy. Four key challenges, and the way the president responds to them, will set the trajectory for the 45th president.

1. North Korea

Presidents are largely judged by world events, over which they often have little influence. But make no mistake, North Korea – not Russia or Syria or Afghanistan – will mark the defining moment of the Trump legacy on the world stage. President Kim Jong-un will push this president as far as he can. Already, he has kidnapped Americans, returned one in a comatose state, and taken illegal steps to threaten Japan, South Korea, and the United States militarily. President Trump must know by now that he cannot count on help from China. North Korea will be his “Cuban Missile Crisis.” The strength of his response – and it must come quickly – will send a message to the world.

2. Tax Reform

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is the man to make this happen. The U.S. continues to burden her companies with the highest corporate tax rate of any developed country. And it’s not even close. In Ryan’s tax speech Monday, he laid out his plans. For those who were able to stay awake and not drown in the detail, they seemed pleased. Certainly, the stock market has responded well, continuing to shatter unthinkable records previous administrations would have never dreamed we could reach. With the House set to bring this legislation forward in the next few months, this can be the crown jewel of the Trump presidency to date.

3. Repealing Obamacare

New Mexico just did what so many other states have already done. It became a one-carrier state, as insurance providers continue to pull their support of Obamacare. Insurance companies are coming to a universal conclusion – they cannot afford to stay in the current system. The Affordable Care Act is quickly dying under its own weight. But this may present the new president with his greatest challenge. The House barely passed their version of repeal & replace. Tomorrow, we get our first peek at the Senate’s version, and early reports make it clear that it will be nearly impossible for the Senate to craft a bill that is tolerable to both wings of the Republican caucus, represented by Cruz/Lee on one end and Collins/Murkowski on the other.

4. 2018 Budget

The Trump budget proposal received expected condemnation by Democrats. The fact that it had “Trump” written on it meant it had zero chance of support from the party of no. But the real challenge is getting the near-unanimous Republican support necessary to pass a conservative budget. The good news is that what will likely emerge from the Trump/Ryan compromise will be a plan that gets to a balanced budget, strengthens military spending, is pro-business, and is well-received by both Main Street and Wall Street. Again, one need look no further than the record Dow Jones Industrial Average to see how economists are judging what they see.

President Trump’s first 100 days were entertaining. In some respects, they were highly successful. In other ways, they were not. But by September 30 – 100 days from today – we will know a lot more about the Trump legacy. The trajectory he will find himself on in 100 days is the trajectory that will guide the next 3.5 years. And if he proves successful in these four areas, I predict his approval ratings will rise from 35-40 percent (pick your poll) to near 50 percent.

Will Donald Trump have a successful presidency? We’ll know in 100 days.

The Rushmore Report: Cosby Juror Speaks Out

A mistrial was declared Saturday in the Bill Cosby case, after the jury was hopelessly deadlocked, unable to make a decision on Cosby’s guilt or innocence. Prosecutors say they will retry the 79-year-old star on charges that he drugged and molested a woman in 2004. Now a juror is speaking out, in an interview with Pittsburgh radio station WDVE. His name is Mike McCloskey, and this is his story.

McCloskey was an alternate on the jury, and therefore he was present for the entire trial. While the actual jury was instructed to not discuss their deliberations with the media, this did not apply to McCloskey, as a non-voting alternate.

Riding on the bus back to the courtroom with the other jurors, Mike described the ride as “the craziest, eeriest bus ride I’ve ever taken,” as he jury was completely silent on the bus ride.

Though he does not know the exact vote of the official jury, McCloskey thinks it was fairly even. As for himself, “I would have probably voted ‘guilty,'” he says. “The evidence was just so strong.”

Cosby’s attorney, Angela Agrusa is relieved to be back home in Los Angeles just a few days after the Pennsylvania judge declared the mistrial. “My body was in a state of clench for the entire week,” she said. Agrusa feared the jury would return a guilty verdict.

She said, “We wanted an acquittal, but a mistrial or a deadlock is the same result as the group of jurors finding him not guilty. Prosecutors didn’t have the evidence.”

After the verdict, the Montgomery County DA’s Office immediately put out word there would be a re-trial. However, Agrusa isn’t sold on the idea.

“I believe that the Commonwealth had to state [the intention of a re-trial] when they stated it,” said Agrusa, referring to the prosecution. “They have a lot of searching to do when they make a decision. I hope they don’t re-try. I don’t think the outcome would be any better for them. Everyone knows that cases don’t get better with time.”

The Rushmore Report: Six Habits of Healthy Couples

We are creatures of routine and can often find ourselves stuck in these bad cycles of either fighting, being too busy, or not having the right expectations. The only way to create new habits to build a stronger connection in your marriage is to become proactive. Here are six habits we have established that build healthy marriages. We promise you’ll see results if you put them into practice in your own marriage.

1. Cultivate positivity.

Maybe your spouse says something critical, something off handed that doesn’t quite land the right way. Our natural response is to retaliate or shut down. This can easily put couples in a toxic cycle of tit for tat. Trust us, we ran on that treadmill for years. Don’t do it. Go positive.

2. Compliment often.

It’s not enough to know how much you might love your spouse, you need to communicate that as often as possible. Words are extremely powerful. Practice a daily 60-second blessing.

3. Dream together.

Couples who stop sharing common goals together often drift apart and become more like roommates than lovers. You must cultivate a sense of excitement and anticipation about the future, which helps carry you through those dry seasons.

4. Own your mistakes.

We are constantly making mistakes and failing to deliver on our promises. When you apologize, it shows that you are willing to take responsibility for your actions in the marriage. Ask your spouse frequently if there is anything you need to apologize for in the relationship.

5. Pray together.

There is power as it is the practice of the presence of God. It is the place where pride is abandoned and hope is lifted. And when couples do this together, they simply become unstoppable in all that they do. Try it tonight. Pray as a couple.

6. Do date nights.

Yup, you guessed it. It’s our go-to cure for 100% of couples we coach. Date nights are about rekindling the romance and friendship by building emotional intimacy. Plan your next date night today.

About the Author

Meygan Caston is co-founder of Marriage 365, where she blogs on marriage and family issues.

The Rushmore Report: Trump Did not Obstruct Justice

A dangerous argument is now being put forward by some Democratic ideologues namely that Donald Trump should be indicted for the crime of obstructing justice because he fired FBI Director James Comey. Whatever one may think of the president’s decision to fire Comey as a matter of policy, there is no legitimate basis for concluding that the president engaged in a crime by exercising his constitutional authority.

As Comey himself wrote in his letter to the FBI, no one should doubt the authority of the president to fire the director for any reason or no reason at all.

It should not be a crime for a public official whether the president or anyone else, to exercise his or her statutory and constitutional authority to hire or fire another public official. For something to be a crime there must be both an actus reus and mens rea – that is, a criminal act accompanied by a criminal state of mind.

Even assuming that Trump was improperly motivated in firing Comey, motive alone should never constitute a crime. There should have to be an unlawful act. And exercising constitutional and statutory power should not constitute a crime. Otherwise, the crime would place the defendant’s thoughts on trial, rather than his actions.

Civil libertarians, and all who care about due process and justice, should be concerned about the broad scope of the statute that criminalizes “obstruction of justice.” Some courts have wrongly interpreted this accordion-like law so broadly as to encompass a mixture of lawful and unlawful acts. It is dangerous and wrong to criminalize lawful behavior because it may have been motivated by evil thoughts. People who care about the rule of law, regardless of how they feel about Trump, should not be advocating a broadening of obstruction of justice to include the lawful presidential act of firing the FBI director. Such an open-ended precedent could be used in the future to curtail the liberties of all Americans.

So let’s put this nonsense behind us and not criminalize policy differences, as extremists in both parties have tried to do. Republican and Democratic partisans often resort to the criminal  law as a way of demonizing their political enemies. “Lock her up” was the cry of Republican partisans against Hillary Clinton regarding her misuse of her email server. Now “obstruction of justice” is the “lock her up” cry of partisan Democrats who disagree with Trump’s decision to fire Comey.

I opposed any criminalization of policy differences when Texas Governor Rick Perry, Congressman Tom Delay, and Senator Bob Menendez were indicted, and I strongly oppose the investigation now being conducted against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The criminal law should be used as the last resort against elected officials, not as the opening salvo in a political knife fight. There is no place in a democracy for elastic statutes that can be stretched to fit lawful conduct with which political opponents disagree. If they are allowed to be stretched today to cover your political enemies, they could be stretched tomorrow to go after your political friends.

The debate over the propriety of the president’s actions, about which I have opined repeatedly, should continue, but let’s take the allegations of criminal obstruction of justice out of this important debate. There is more than enough fodder for a debate over the merits and demands of the president’s actions without muddying the waters with politically motivated charges of criminality.

Partisanship seems to have no limits these days. Both parties are equally at fault, as are extremists among the public and within the media. It is getting harder and harder to have a nuanced debate about complex political issues. Everything is either evil or good. Nothing has elements of both. Actions either deserve criminal indictment or the Nobel Prize.

Nobody benefits from this kind of ideological shouting match. So let’s agree to disagree about important issues, but let’s not distort the debate with extremist slogans like “lock her up” or “obstruction of justice.”

We are better than that.

About the Author

Alan Dershowitz (@AlanDersh) is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus, at Harvard Law School and is the author of Taking the Stand: My Life in the Law and Electile Dysfunction: A Guide for the Unaroused Electorate.

The Rushmore Report: What the Georgia Race Tells Us

Ever since Donald Trump won the presidency, liberals have comforted themselves by saying it was all a mistake. They assume he is foolish, self-indulgent, and incompetent. Yet this consistently underestimated president just went four-for-four in special elections. If the elite media’s portrait of Donald Trump as an unpopular president was accurate, surely the Democrats could have won at least one seat.

But no, Kansas, Montana, South Carolina, Georgia – not once were the Democrats able to turn a GOP seat blue.

Karen Handel’s victory in Georgia’s 6th District Tuesday night was the most visible, and the most unpredictable of them all. Democrats poured over $30 million into their chosen champion, Jon Ossoff.

But Ossoff was flawed. He didn’t live in the district. He raised virtually all of his money from Hollywood and other far-left radicals who lived outside the district. And instead of addressing these issues, he chose to blandly avoid them.

Meanwhile, Republicans rose to the challenge. Handel was their champion, and they went all out to win. I have a friend who lives in the district and visited every home in her neighborhood on Election Day to ensure not a single voter failed to turn out.

Ironically, the higher the turnout, the better the Republicans did. This of course repudiates everything Democrats have believed for  generations about turnout. However, it fits the pattern Trump set in the primaries and in key rural areas in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere.

Throughout the 2016 race, the elite media was consistently negative, but Trump’s use of social media ended up reaching a larger audience than the three major networks combined.

In Georgia, a similar situation occurred. The longer the race went on, the more vicious the left wing media became, the more Handel grew, and the more Ossoff shrank.

For the Left this race had been portrayed as a referendum on Trump. After Trump’s tweets and robocalls, there was a verdict.

Trump won.

It will be interesting to watch the elite media and left wing activists try to deal with losing four straight elections. It will be equally interesting to watch them try to comfort themselves while they attempt to explain away Karen Handel’s victory.

About the Author

Newt Gingrich is a Fox News contributor. A Republican, he was Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999. Follow him on Twitter @NewtGingrich. His latest book is Understanding Trump.

The Rushmore Report: Lessons from Yesterday’s Shooting at Congressional Baseball Practice

Yesterday morning, a gunman opened fire on Republican congressmen at a baseball practice in preparation for their annual baseball game with congressional Democrats, which raises money for charity. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot in the hip, and was among five men taken to the hospital for treatment. Though the identity of the gunman has been released, The Proud Americans will not release his name, as our practice is to not give mass killers the publicity they often seek.

Though the incident is less than 24 hours old, it is not too early to respond. There are seven things we know in light of this tragic shooting.

1. If not for the Capitol Police returning fire, this could have been much worse.

Sen. Rand Paul, one of the participants on the field, said, “Without the Capitol Police this would have been a massacre.” Other witnesses agreed that the 25 or so Congressmen on the baseball field were sitting ducks. The killer could have taken out most, if not all, of them. It was the heroic response of the Capitol Police, two of whom were shot by the gunman, that prevented dozens of deaths and unspeakable bloodshed. Ironically, if Scalise had not been there, neither would the Capitol Police, as they were there as security only for Scalise, as his position as House Whip is accompanied with such protection.

2. This will bring America together – for about ten minutes.

Congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle have called for more unity among their members. And they mean it. And like all tragedies, this will lead to introspective resolve – but not for long. Sadly, the rancor that has gripped the halls of Congress will return within days. It always does.

3. There will be a push for more gun laws for the bad guys to ignore.

In 2003 there were 4,000 federal gun laws that carried criminal penalties. By 2013, that number had grown to 4,850. That is an increase in gun laws of 21 percent in just ten years. I am still waiting to hear about the guy who said, “I was going to shoot people dead with a gun, but I read there was a law against that, so I didn’t do it.”

4. We live in a fallen world.

“Sin has entered the world” (Romans 5:12). That is the world we live in. God has given men the freedom of choice, and it takes just one man’s evil choice to take the lives of the innocent.

5. We all have a responsibility to help.

Albert Einstein said, “The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” As believers, our job is to respond to evil – wherever we find it – with good. And there are many ways to do this.

6. With God there is always hope.

Scripture says, “Do not be afraid. Do not turn away from the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart” (1 Samuel 12:20). In God we have hope. We can face down evil with the holiness of God. And no matter the size of the ditch, there is a narrow road nearby that leads to joy and redemption.

7. God gets the final word.

In the end, God wins. Solomon wrote, “When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.” Plato said it like this. “No evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death.” He was saying that what is intended for harm will be used by God for good. What is evil now will be redeemed in the future. God always gets the final word.

The Rushmore Report: Did Pat Robertson Just Defend Polygamy?

Popular televangelist Pat Robertson, who serves as chancellor of Regent University and chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network, has said he doesn’t know of anything in the Bible that condemns polygamy – the practice of having more than one wife or husband at the same time. “I’m not sure the Bible indicates polygamy is wrong,” he said. So what exactly does Robertson believe about polygamy?

Robertson continued, “But we don’t do it [polygamy] and there are a lot of laws based on the New Testament that don’t permit it, and that’s where we are.” He was responding to a question from a viewer identified only as Margaret, who asked, “Why did God allow the men of faith in the Old Testament to have multiple wives and concubines?” And when did God change his mind and make marriage monogamous?’

“I don’t think God changed his mind,” Robertson said.

Although polygamy is illegal in the U.S. and culturally unpopular, some researchers estimate that 50-100,000 people are involved in polygamous relationships and the arrangement is more common between men and multiple wives.

Robertson noted that a man will find it easier to take care of multiple wives than vice versa.

“The truth is that women have babies. And when they have babies they can’t fight wars because they are having babies, and they are looking after their babies and they need somebody to look after them – that’s why husbands are supposed to look after their wives. And a man can take care of several wives whereas one wife can’t take care of several husbands,” he said.

Robertson continued, “I think in the early days there must have been more women than men. Multiple wives were standard stuff in the primitive societies, at least they still are in Africa. I know one guy, the chief or something, the general, he had 60 wives. That’s a little excessive, it is, but nonetheless, God didn’t change his mind, but then came the New Testament. And Jesus gave the standards of marriage, man leaves his mother and father, cleaves to his wife, and the twain will become one flesh,” he explained. “And so that’s the biblical order of the New Testament, but the culture has changed. God didn’t change his mind.”

Brad Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, told The Daily Beast in 2015 that if polygamy is legalized, he believes it could happen within “the next 20 to 30 years.”

Earlier this year, however, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a challenge to Utah’s anti-bigamy law brought by “Sister Wives” star Kody Brown and his wives, Meri, Janelle, Christine, and Robyn.

Brown is only legally married to one of the “wives.” The fundamentalist Mormons who are part of the Apostolic United Brethren Church, claimed in their legal challenge that Utah’s law banning multiple spouses violated their religious liberty rights under the United States Constitution’s First Amendment. They claim polygamy as a religious belief.

About the Author

Leonardo Blair writes for The Christian Post.