Probably the ladies and gentlemen of the American media have never really thought Donald Trump could be elected president of the United States, once the general election commenced anyway. They are far too sure of the power of the political establishment, of their own power to mold national opinion, of the intellectual and emotional power of the regnant liberal philosophy in this country, and of its unquestionable rightness. While at certain moments their anti-Trump hysteria may have been real, the rest of the time it was likely feigned, or at least partly so. To them, the threat of Trump has been less directly political than ideological, an unprecedented and unforgivable act of lèse-majesté against the representational Sun King sitting in Versailles-on-the-Potomac. All this year the media have been reporting on the sinister activities of “far right,” “extreme right,” “populist,” and “xenophobic” parties in Europe in terms that nevertheless suggest that their stories are more cautionary tales for Americans than a prophecy of things to come in this country. The implicit message has been, “This can’t happen here, but just see what’s going on Over There in the Bad Old World, and take heed.” But now it is happening here.
“It” is not soldiers and police on the border, goose-stepping in the streets, and attacks on migrant and refugee houses. It is the foundation now being laid for a multiparty system that is probably the prerequisite for the establishment of a truly conservative and lasting party in the United States. The political right is far more advanced in Europe than it is here, chiefly because our two-party system stifles dissent against the reigning orthodoxy by preventing another party or parties from getting a foot in the door and adopting the strategy of divide-and-conquer that is working for UKIP in Britain, the National Front in France, Alternative for Germany, and populist parties in Scandinavia—countries whose political establishments have been as thoroughly exposed and discredited as our own. Historically, Americans have credited their two-party system with maintaining political stability and continuity, only to end up deploring “gridlock” between the Republicans and the Democrats in Washington. Were Pat Buchanan’s and Ross Perot’s Reform Party alive and significantly represented in Congress today, the American right would exercise real political power and influence in a political system a great deal more vital than the present one, which has sat far, far too long.
Of course, such a party already exists in the United States-- the Constitution Party.
Mr. Hutchens begins by quoting David French:
Pastors and families often idealize the public-school experience, calling it a "mission field," and holding out hope that their children can be "salt and light" in a difficult environment. But the process of education largely involves one-way communication, with the teachers and administrators seeing the students as their secular "mission field." Isolated young children are more vulnerable than powerful, and I've seen many parents come to grief as fully indoctrinated, peer-pressured kids make mistakes with lifetime consequences.
Mr. Hutchens then comments:
Christian children, however, can only be given over as "salt and light" up to a certain point, and to which point is a critical matter of advised parental judgment. Young children are too vulnerable to be sent to schools whose agendas include indoctrinating them in morbid habits of mind and body that tend toward destruction of both. The younger the child, the tenderer the plant. There is a very significant difference between an elementary schoolchild and a Christian young person in his mid to late teens who has been trained to think Christianly and well, who has authoritative, godly resources to consult on challenges to his faith—and who does not, for reasons of his own, want to depart from it.
It seems to me that the salt and light phenomenon in the lives of young children in the school context is provided primarily by parents who oversee and help control the learning environment. When they do not or cannot effect this so the children can be educated without the inculcation of corrupting ideas, such as the belief that "gender" is a matter of personal choice—now mandated as a school teaching in theory and practice by the federal government under President Obama—they are irresponsible if they keep their children in the schools where it is happening.
If the next president of the United States does not immediately and fully revoke this Executive Order, it will be hard for me to see how Christian parents will any longer be able to send their young children to the public schools, except perhaps to those that court defunding by defying this monstrous president and his myrmidons. The "salt and light" argument is valid to the point where it is possible for children to act as such and thrive spiritually. But when the appropriate analogy looks more like "throwing them to the lions," the public schools themselves have ejected the Christians, who must shake the dust from their feet and educate their children elsewhere.
How much has changed in 30 years? Theological error has ripened into apostasy and abomination as leftist mainline churches teach heresy and bless abortion, "gay marriage" and "gay clergy." The persecution and killing of Christians has increased worldwide, and even in the putatively free West, Christians grow anxious about losing their religious liberty. As for Christian unity, fellowship among "conservative" or "traditional" believers—Touchstone types—still depends upon grassroots and local initiatives and not on formal ecumenism.
The main story for many is that "Christians lost the culture wars." Alas, this is likely so because too many Christians never fully engaged in a culture war in the first place, and instead went along with the culture, at least to some extent, on such issues as population control, feminism, no-fault divorce, premarital sex, and cohabitation. In recent years, some have bought the idea of identifying as a "gay Christian," while others have gone soft on homosexual practices and "gay marriage." Senior editor Russell Moore has asked, "What if we're not the culture warriors we think we are? What if we are instead slow-motion sex revolutionaries who are 10 to 20 years behind the culture?"
A genuine Christian culture must grow from the soil at the foot of the Cross, watered by the tears of repentance. Christians of such a culture will be doctrinally sound, morally obedient, humble, and willing to suffer. They will know the "love of the brethren."
Should we find it unsettling that Trump received applause from a bunch of Episcopalians on Christmas Eve?
It was beginning to look like a massive cave... because it was.
But in the end, we had some GOP conservatives standing up on principle to defeat the repeal of HB 2.
In the House, I saw that Reps. Pittman, Speciale and Collins stepped up to the plate.
Lt. Governor Dan Forest issued a statement opposing repeal. That was a moment of leadership when nearly everyone else was keeping their head down or fighting behind the scenes.
House Speaker Tim Moore was reportedly ready to repeal, but he faced a rebellion within his own caucus. The House initially met; and adjourned to go into a caucus meeting that was apparently quite spirited.
In the Senate, we began to see a bit of a poker match. Phil Berger presented a pair of proposals calling for repeal and a temporary moratorium on new actions by localities. That would ostensibly give the North Carolina General Assembly time to devise a more permanent solution. It was voted down by Democrats and some Republicans.
I will leave it to others to decide whether this entire episode illustrated the moral and ethical weakness of our sitting governor and House speaker. I have previously stated that McCrory deserved to lose his race; and this entire episode is a great illustration. (He has also submitted a new budget proposal calling for yet another massive bond issue.) The distance between McCrory and Cooper is much less than is commonly represented.
Tim Moore really needs to be unseated.
Amidst all this commotion, I did not see much real debate on the critical issues of religious liberty and conscience rights, and the metastasizing persecution of orthodox Christians by the political left. Republicans danced around these issues, and never directly addressed them... at least during the portions of the sessions I viewed online. There was no ringing oral defense of religious conscience rights. This was a teachable moment; but the Republicans apparently did not capitalize. Now the establishment media is portraying them as inept.
Meanwhile, the democratic socialists once again revealed themselves to be primarily interested in promoting the desirability of male-on-male anal intercourse. What a political program.
There were, however, some real heroes on the Republican side; and the right outcome was ultimately reached. Now we face even larger issues: defending HB 2 in federal court, and defending the sovereignty of the state of North Carolina to make its own decisions on matters such as these. Many thanks to GOP conservatives who did the right thing... and resisted repeal.
Why is HB 2 so important? The obvious answer is to protect the modesty and safety of women and girls in communal rest rooms and locker rooms.
But HB 2 is also important because it established a uniform, statewide nondiscrimination code; and forbids localities from enacting additional nondiscrimination ordinances. This was passed in recognition of the fact that the political and cultural left-- in concert with the establishment media and various corporate entities-- are extremely eager to persecute orthodox Christians. We have seen this happen repeatedly in other parts of the country. And Charlotte's ordinance certainly would have resulted in anti-Christian persecution here in North Carolina.
Paul Chesser has an excellent post explaining that North Carolina Republicans are now foolishly getting ready to betray their most ardent supporters.
This entire series of events is so bizarre that we must question whether the Republicans are somehow getting paid off to repeal this bill.
Religious liberty is one of our nation's foundational principles. Our country has a longstanding legal tradition in support of religious conscience rights.
But if the Republicans renege on these matters, then the party's members and supporters will have every right to look elsewhere. One place to which they can turn is the Constitution Party, which lists religious liberty as one of its core principles.
Like a thunderbolt, the news circulated today that lame duck governor Pat McCrory is calling the General Assembly back into session to repeal HB 2; and the Republican legislative leadership is apparently agreeable to doing this.
The Republicans in Raleigh are apparently eager to reduce the hostility of the establishment media toward them; and to accede to the demands of the nation's corporate community.
The justification given is that the city of Charlotte repealed its notorious LGBT ordinance earlier today. That granted the Republicans in Raleigh a pretext to act. But in fact, the democratic socialists have no intention to abandon their goal to persecute orthodox Christians.
“Full repeal will help to bring jobs, sports and entertainment events back and will provide the opportunity for strong LGBT protections in our state.”
Moreover, the Charlotte City Council issued the following statement:
“The repeal of House Bill 2 would represent a significant betrayal of the citizens of North Carolina who deeply care about the privacy and safety of women and children in our state,” said NC Family President John L. Rustin. “House Bill 2 was designed to protect the safety and dignity of our state’s citizens, and it is unconscionable that Governor McCrory and our legislative leaders would push for its repeal, especially during the week of Christmas. Moreover, such a move would invite contentious battles in communities all across North Carolina, as proponents of open bathrooms and misguided political correctness seek to bully and pressure local elected officials to pass Charlotte-style social policies.”
The Republicans seem eager to conform to the media's conception of appropriateness and respectability. They held a united front courageously through much of the year; but now they are poised to squander it all to solve a political problem they perceive they have. But this type of action they are planning is a prime example of the reasons Donald Trump was nominated this past summer.
They need to reconsider very quickly what they are doing. The very premise that they can trust the democratic socialists to refrain from persecuting Christians in North Carolina is patently absurd.
An interesting article suggests that the United Methodists in Texas are gearing up to provide sanctuary to Muslims and allow Islamic practices within their churches.
This initiative is apparently being undertaken in response to President-elect Donald Trump's anticipated actions.
The concern, of course, is that these churches might become "virtual mosques". This has already apparently happened with various churches in parts of Europe.
There is no indication that the Methodists are planning to attempt to convert these Muslims to Christianity.
Their actions are problematic on a number of levels. It defies the country's desire to assure national sovereignty and border security. It also defies our struggle to contain Islamic terrorism. Finally, it gives sanctuary to a group that has among its members some who are sworn to hurt us... or even destroy us.
But it is also problematic because it threatens the practice of Christianity. Using facilities that were purchased and built with the blood, sweat and tears of Christians during previous generations is a real affront to those who value their faith.
The liberal mainline Protestant denominations often engage in pathetic demonstrations of universalism. The unstated premise is that the differences among faith traditions is of little importance; and that all provide a pathway to salvation. This is part of an overall worldview of cultural relativism and secularism they tend to embrace. Of course, multiculturalism is also placed on a pedestal. These denominations are very much like contemporary Judaism in these respects.
These nominally Christian denominations are dwindling in numbers in many parts of the country; and are not as powerful as they used to be. But the actions by the Methodist denomination in Texas represent a form of cultural and religious suicide. Their congregants need to revolt, and instruct their leaders what their focus should be.