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The Rushmore Report – ‘America’s Got Talent’ Star Stands Up for Christ

Joseph O’Brien is a student at Boyce College in Louisville, Kentucky. But he’s not your average Joe. Joe’s got talent. And because Joe lives in America, America’s got talent. So it was a natural fit for Joseph O’Brien to try out for America’s Got Talent. He made it. Last week he played keyboard and sang a rendition of “Hello” by Lionel Richie. He received a standing ovation from the crowd. But it was what he said next that is newsworthy.

The judges loved him. Judge Mel B. said, “There’s so much potential of where you could go with your vocals. I absolutely adore you.”

Howie Mandel said he sensed O’Brien was nervous, but believed he could go far on the show.

Another judge, Heidi Klum, added, “I absolutely love it.” Then all four judges voted to promote him to the next round.

But before he sang, the native of Columbia, Tennessee was asked a few awkward questions about dating and kissing. Klum asked him if he came alone to the show.

“I’m by myself,” O’Brien responded.

Klum continued, “Do you have a girlfriend or a wife?”

Joe said, “No, I don’t have a girlfriend. I’ve actually been single my whole life. I’ve never been on a legit date or anything like that.”

“Really? You’re a handsome guy. How is that possible?”

“I guess the right opportunity hasn’t come along,” O’Brien countered.

While the other judges looked on in disbelief, Klum continued. “Have you ever kissed anyone?” she asked.

“No, I have not,” he said.

Klum let it go at that.

O’Brien’s Facebook page says: “My goal is to write music that is centered around Scripture and inspires a generation to stand up for Jesus Christ!” His father, Michael O’Brien, is a former member of the group NewSong.

Denny Burk, professor of Biblical Studies at Boyce College, said he, too, was impressed. O’Brien is one of his students. Boyce is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.

“I thought Joseph’s performance was fantastic,” Burk told ChristianHeadlines. “He is a rare talent. His poise and good humor in the face of awkward questions from the judges was impressive. I couldn’t be more proud.”

To their credit, the panel of America’s Got Talent did not denigrate O’Brien because of his faith and strong moral stance. And to his credit, Joe O’Brien took a stand for Christ . . . one that will not be soon forgotten.

The Rushmore Report – Tim McGraw and Faith Hill Share the Secret to a Great Marriage

Acclaimed country music singers Tim McGraw and Faith Hill have spoken out on marriage, sharing their perspectives on what makes a great marriage work. They speak from the experiences of their own 21-year marriage, in a time when celebrities tend to measure marriage in days, not years. Among their marriage tips, McGraw and Hill cite one specific key to a great marriage.

Prayer.

That’s right. Prayer. They pray together every night.

The pair married in 1996, and have seen their family grow, along with their careers. The parents of three children, they told People magazine that they’re intentional about keeping their love alive.

“As we get older, it’s less about the big gestures and more about just spending time together at home,” McGraw said. “For our 20th wedding anniversary, we stayed home in our pajamas and watched TV. We loved it.”

Hill and McGraw are country music royalty, with 25 #1 hits, the top-grossing tour of all time, five Grammy Awards, and 15 Academy of Country Music Awards between them. They are currently on the road together on their “Soul2Soul” world tour.

Taking time for a few interviews, Hill spoke of the traditions that they have both embraced since early in their marriage.

Prayer.

Hill said they pray together, for each other, and before every concert. “Without prayer, I don’t know where our marriage would be today,” she said.

Jaws Released – This Day in History

The ominous tones of the now-famous “shark theme” (composed by John Williams and performed by tuba player Tommy Johnson) marked the arrival of Hollywood’s first major summer blockbuster on this day in 1975, when director Steven Spielberg’s thriller Jaws debuted in U.S. theaters. I remember it like yesterday. I was a 15-year-old boy, thrilled to be included with the “big boys” who let me ride along in a car full of teenagers intent on being there the day the movie came out.

Based on the bestselling book by Peter Benchley, Jaws took place in the fictional resort town of Amity Island, where police chief Martin Brody (played by Roy Scheider) learned that a young woman had been killed in a probable shark attack. Though greedy town officials wanted to cover up the threat to tourist business, another attack forced Brody to enlist the help of a marine biologist (Richard Dreyfuss) and a shark hunter (Robert Shaw) to try to catch the lethal beast, which turned out to be an enormous great white shark.

Eventually shown in nearly 700 U.S. theaters, Jaws became the first summer mega-hit, racking up an impressive $260 million at the domestic box office. All told, the film would gross some $450 million worldwide and establish Spielberg as the preeminent creator of summer movie magic.

Again, the movie grossed $450 million – back when that was a lot of money. It is amazing what people will pay for a couple hours of entertainment. But I know of a better deal. You can have eternal joy, and it costs nothing. Actually, it costs a lot, but the price has already been paid. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, you have the offer of eternal life, eternal joy – in a place called heaven.

What a deal! And the best part? The admission has already been covered – by the blood of the Lamb.

The Rushmore Report – Pelosi Slams Great Job Numbers; James Woods Fires Back

Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is at it again. The new jobs numbers – lowest unemployment numbers in 40 years, first income increases since 2009, and record tax cuts for the middle class – were met with her predictable disgust. In stepped actor James Woods, a rare Hollywood Republican. And his response to the millionairess Democrat was priceless.

First, let’s lay out the numbers that have Pelosi so upset. The U.S. saw 223,000 new jobs in May. Unemployment hits 3.8 percent, a rate last seen the year Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Second quarter economic growth is on pace for a staggering 4.8 percent.

But that is all bad news for Ms. Pelosi. Never mind that when unemployment dropped to 7 percent under President Obama, she called it “historic.” She referred to Trump’s economic policies as “reckless. Then she stepped onto her government financed jet, on which she flies across the country twice a week – again at taxpayers’ expense.

James Woods has apparently had enough. After hearing Pelosi’s description of the greatest tax cuts in recent history as “crumbs,” on top of her most recent diatribe, he weighed in.

Woods said, “Pelosi is terrified that Americans are working again, of course. The entire Democratic strategy is based on welfare, illegal immigration, and taxing those who work and create. Misery and poverty are the recruiting engine of the Democratic Party.”

Woods concluded with a message to President Trump. “The lowest unemployment in recorded American history. Thank you, Mr. President.”

In a world where 3.8 percent unemployment is considered “reckless,” while 7 percent is “historic,” former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee offered this prayer on a Sunday news show. The Governor said, “I went to church this morning and prayed, ‘Please God, let the Democrats keep Nancy Pelosi as their leader.'”

Will Huckabee’s prayer be answered? Time will tell. Until then, Pelosi’s definition of economic success – and the response from such humorists as Woods and Huckabee – will be fun to watch.

The Rushmore Report – What the NFL Must Do Next

It took the NFL two years to figure out the whole kneeling for the national anthem thing. The owners have found a compromise that seems pleasing to both sides. Players who wish to protest the national anthem must do so from the locker room. All players on the sideline will stand, or their team will receive a 15-yard penalty. But now it’s time for the NFL to address a bigger problem.

Cheerleaders.

It’s been a long time since cheerleaders actually led cheers. Today’s cheerleaders have been reduced to sex objects for men who become too drunk to read the scoreboard. Then the ladies are asked to appear in public – where it only gets worse. Paid minimum wage, they are supposed to just be happy to have the gig.

But now – thankfully – some of the cheerleaders are speaking out.

They are going public with their complaints. As reported by The New York Times, “Performing at sporting events is only a small part of their job description. They are also required to fulfill what is often the unsavory side of the job – interacting with fans at games and other promotional events, where groping and sexual harassment are common.”

Cheerleaders told the newspaper that team officials with the NFL, as well as those associated with the NBA and NHL, are aware of the problem, but have done little or nothing to stop it. They should. Sexual harassment is immoral and illegal.

NFL owners have done well by banning protests during the national anthem. Now they have a bigger job to do. It’s time for them to stand up and take action to stop the harassment of their cheerleaders. And while they’re at it, they might consider giving the ladies a bump in pay. And unlike the national anthem fiasco, let’s hope it doesn’t take them two years to get this one right.

The Rushmore Report – Jimmy Kimmel on Losing GOP Viewers: ‘Get Lost’

Jimmy Kimmel joked about his declining viewership among conservatives in a tell-all interview two weeks ago. The late night comedian has seen a steep decline in conservative viewers, especially since Donald Trump became president. Still, he takes shots at Trump and conservatives nightly. When asked about losing viewers, Kimmel expressed himself in ways that would make Johnny Carson cringe.

Kimmel’s message to conservatives who are tuning him out: not just “Good riddance,” but simply “Riddance.”

As for his diminished viewership, Kimmel said, “As a talk show host that’s not ideal, but I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

He continued, “I don’t say I don’t mind. I want everyone with a television to watch my show. But if they’re so turned off by my opinion on health care and gun violence then I don’t know. I probably wouldn’t want to have a conversation with them anyway.”

Laura Ingraham said mutual friends tell her that Kimmel’s a good guy, but she warned him that he’s making a “huge mistake.”

Ingraham explained that people tune in to late night comedy shows to laugh, not to hear the hosts’ political views.

“They don’t want to feel like they’re under attack. They don’t feel like the guy they voted for is this horrible monster. This kind of comedy just doesn’t work for them.”

Last week, Late Night host Seth Myers offered an even stronger rebuke of conservative viewers. We can’t tell you what this “comedian” said exactly, as this is a family format.

Here’s the bottom line: most late night comedians are intolerant elites, while rebuking conservatives for lacking tolerance. They say they don’t much care what half the country thinks. And that’s unfortunate, because this half of the country consists of patriotic, tax-paying, God-loving, flag-waving, Bible-reading, church-going, law-abiding citizens.

Still, to the likes of Jimmy Kimmel, half of America no longer matters. They are – to use a certain politician’s word – “deplorables.”

And they call us intolerant.

The Rushmore Report – Is TV’s Best Comedy of the Last 10 Years Coming Back?

It’s a comedy series that actually makes you laugh. It’s really funny – I mean really funny! It features an amazing cast, clean humor, family values, and – get this – a Christian message. I’m talking about Last Man Standing. It’s the only show I’ve seen in recent memory that often includes family prayer and quotes from the Bible – which may explain why ABC cancelled the series, despite its consistently strong ratings.

There was a national outrage when ABC pulled the plug on the series last year. Tim Allen, aka Mike Baxter, said the problem may have been his conservative leanings – on and off the show. Allen told Norm MacDonald, on Norm MacDonald Live, “There’s nothing more dangerous, expecially in this climate, than a funny, likable conservative.” Did ABC ax the show because of it’s conservatism? It’s hard to explain the show’s demise in any other way.

But now, Last Man Standing is standing again. Fox has just announced that it is picking up the show for a seventh season, beginning this fall. Tim Allen, thank Roseanne Barr. The resurrection of her comedy, after 20 years off the air, has been incredible. This captured the attention of the brass at Fox.

Count me as one of the show’s biggest fans. Let’s hope it makes a successful comeback. America can use 30 minutes a week of good, clean laughter.

The Rushmore Report – Rob Schneider: Leftist Politics Are Ruining SNL

After taking the red pill several years ago and departing from the Democratic Party, “Saturday Night Live” alum Rob Schneider is waging a war on political correctness, and he is none-too-pleased with the way his former stomping ground has become a mouthpiece for left-wing politics during the Trump administration.

Speaking with  New York Daily News, Schneider said that “SNL” made a mistake by deciding to show its political hand so broadly, which was a departure from when he started in early-90s, alongside such comedic giants like Mike Myers, Chris Rock, and Adam Sandler.

“The fun of ‘Saturday Night Live’ was always you never knew which way they leaned politically,” he told the Daily News. “You kind of assumed they would lean more left and liberal, but now the cat’s out of the bag they are completely against Trump, which I think makes it less interesting because you know the direction the piece is going.”

Schneider took aim at Alec Baldwin’s current portrayal of President Trump in comparison to his former co-star Dana Carvey’s portrayal of President H.W. Bush. Beneath the satire, according to Schneider, the latter showed affection for the president while the former only has disdain.

“Carvey played it respectfully,” Schneider said. “To me, the genius of Dana Carvey was Dana always had empathy for the people he played, and Alec Baldwin has nothing but a fuming, seething anger toward the person he plays.”

For that reason, Schneider says Baldwin is “hard to watch” because his motives are just too obvious. “Alec Baldwin is a brilliant actor… he’s not a comedian,” Schneider flatly shared.

“I don’t find his impression to be comical,” he added. “Because, like I said, I know the way his politics lean and it spoils any surprise. There’s no possible surprise. He so clearly hates the man he’s playing.”

Schneider lived as a Democrat for most of his life until experiencing a political awakening in 2014. He now describes himself as an “independent” and bashes both liberal “PC” culture and Republicans.

“Literally if you don’t go the party line — you’re out. There’s a real ugliness to it,” he explained.

The former “SNL” alum did not reveal whether or not he supports Trump, but does feel the endless mockery of him only makes things worse.

“Nothing good can come from making Trump nervous,” Schneider continued. “It’s like asking Bill Cosby to top off your drink.”

Though Schneider criticizes some of Trump’s policies, especially on immigration, he does have a personal like for him based on their work together on “Home Alone 2,” which was set in Trump’s then-Plaza Hotel.

“I didn’t sleep for two weeks,” Schneider recalled. “[Trump] was nice enough to give me a room. He gave me a room for free, so I could sleep between shots,” Schneider said. “He was very generous and nice and has been nice every time I saw him. He told me he hated me, but he was kind of joking because I made fun of him.”

About the Author

Paul Bois writes for The Daily Wire.

 

The Rushmore Report – NBA Broadcaster Tells How He Became a Christian

He has become the voice of the NBA. Now he is the lead studio host for March Madness, as well. His name is Ernie Johnson. He is one of the top sports broadcasters in America. He is a family man. But more than that, he is God’s man. And now he is speaking out – telling how he became a Christian.

Johnson is profiled in the latest issue of FCA Magazine. He tells the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ lead publication how his life was changed at the age of 41.

Twenty years into his studio assignment, working alongside Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Shaquille O’Neal, Johnson credits his most significant success to his relationship with Jesus Christ.

This is how it happened. Twenty years ago, Johnson’s two oldest children, Eric and Maggie, asked him why they didn’t attend church as a family. After some discussion, Ernie and his wife Cheryl decided to give it a try. They began attending Crossroads, a nondenominational church in Atlanta.

The Emmy-winning broadcaster was moved by the first service he attended, when the pastor asked the congregation two questions: Who’s the provider in your family, and are you pursuing happiness or wholeness?

Those questions challenged Johnson. He knew he needed to be a better husband and father. He returned to Crossroads the next three weeks, and then asked the pastor, Kevin Myers, out to lunch. On December 10, 1997, at an O’Charley’s restaurant, he prayed to God and became a Christian. Cheryl made the same commitment a few months later.

Their pastor explained to them that even before they became believers, God was working in their lives. For example, beginning in 1990, they began adopting children out of love, empathy, and compassion.

That same year, Cheryl watched a “20/20” report on overcrowded orphanages in Romania, where thousands of children were being neglected. Five months later, in 1991, Cheryl convinced Ernie to adopt Michael, a three-year-old boy with special needs. Michael eventually learned how to walk and later speak. Two years later, the Johnsons adopted Carmen from Paraguay. Then in 2011, they added half-sisters Allison and Ashley to the family. Cheryl had met the girls through her work with Street Grace, a faith-based organization mobilizing community leaders to end the sexual trafficking of children throughout the United States.

“She has taught me so much,” Ernie said of Cheryl. “I wanted to play it safe sometimes. She had bigger dreams. You have to put other people first. This can’t be all about you.”

As his faith grew, Johnson considered leaving TNT. Should he continue his career after turning his life over to God? Should he try to find a faith-based job? He asked Cheryl what he should do. She responded on his spiritual birthday by giving him a large compass as a gift. Cheryl’s handwritten note with it reminded him to remember the day he found his ultimate direction in life – and to let God direct him.

Johnson ended up staying with TNT. He knew the platform God gave him would provide opportunities for him to share his faith. And God did just that.

Several moments for these opportunities stand out. First, in August 2003, after noticing a bump near his ear, Johnson was diagnosed with stage two Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. During that time, “Trust God – Period” became his mantra. He was candid about his cancer after the NBA’s All-Star weekend, and six grueling chemotherapy treatments later, Johnson’s cancer was in remission, where it has remained since. He returned to “Inside the NBA” in 2006, never missing a show. A year later, Johnson won the Emmy for outstanding studio host.

“God sometimes whispers and sometimes shouts that His way is better than my way,” Johnson said during his acceptance speech.

Years later, Johnson experienced hardship again when his beloved father died in 2011. About a month later, Michael, who has muscular dystrophy, was put on a ventilator to remain alive. Since then, Johnson spends most of his mornings caring for Michael, now 29, at their home.

Then soon after the most recent presidential election, “Inside the NBA” decided to discuss on air the results that left the country divided. In just over two minutes, Johnson’s commentary resonated with many and was shared millions of times on social media.

“I never know from one election to the next who’s going to be in the Oval Office, but I always know who’s on the throne,” Johnson said into the camera. “I’m on this earth because God created me, and that’s Who I answer to. I’m a Christian. I follow a guy named Jesus; you might have heard of Him. And the greatest commandment He gave me was to love others. And Scripture also tells us to pray for our leaders, and that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to pray for Donald Trump.”

Johnson sums up these opportunities to shine for Jesus – and the many more chances that will undoubtedly follow – with one concept.

“The Son of Man came to serve, not to be served,” Johnson told FCA. “Being a servant is where I find myself.”

The Rushmore Report – Actor Dennis Quaid on How Faith Role in Movie Changed Him

Hollywood veteran actor Dennis Quaid described the impact his role in the movie I Can Only Imagine has had on his life and what he now thinks heaven will be like. The crossover hit I Can Only Imagine has been certified platinum three times over. And the movie made a difference in Quaid’s outlook.

Quaid told The Christian Post, “I Can Only Imagine, the song, is such a beautiful song. It’s the most celebrated and successful Christian or faith song that’s ever been recorded. The reason it was so successful is that everybody takes that song and makes it personal to their own lives, and I think that’s what this film has done.”

The movie is about the life of Bart Millard, lead singer of the Christian band MercyMe. His father died of cancer, and this inspired him to write the mega-hit song, which illustrates that nobody is ever too far from God’s love – or too far from an eternal home in heaven.

When asked what his thoughts are on heaven, the award-winning actor said, “What do I imagine heaven will be like? I think we all get a little taste of it here on earth through prayer and meditation. That’s actually the good news that’s given – you feel it here on earth. To imagine it? I don’t know – that takes other eyes.”

Quaid grew up in a Baptist church in Texas and recently said he was baptized at the age of nine. As he grew older he sought to make his faith more real. But throughout his life, he says he has been devoted to Christ as his Savior and Lord.