Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category
It’s becoming painfully obvious that Mitt Romney needs to reconfigure his campaign staff. Eric Fehrnstrom’s statement that the individual mandate is a penalty wasn’t just a misstatement. It represented a missed opportunity to drive home a bigger message.
The good news is that Mitt’s apparently noticed that Fehrnstrom might cost him the election:
Sources tell CBS News that Madden will be spending more time on the road with Romney and is likely to become a more public presence as a TV spokesperson for the candidate. He will hit the road with Romney next week, following Romney’s New Hampshire vacation.
This move to make Madden a more public face of the campaign comes a week after fellow senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom committed a messaging misstep, which resulted in Romney having to walk back those comments.
Fehrnstrom said in an interview on MSNBC last week that Romney believed the individual mandate in President Obama’s health care law was a “penalty”, not a “tax”, contrary to the line Republicans had taken after the Supreme Court upheld the law. As a result, Romney sat down with CBS News’ Jan Crawford in the middle of his Fourth of July vacation to state unequivocally that he believes the mandate is a “tax.”
Romney campaign sources stress this isn’t a campaign shakeup but it’s a move to give Madden more “bandwidth and additional responsibilities.”
That’s a polite way of admitting that this is a mini-shakeup without alienating Fehrnstrom. Making Kevin Madden the face of the campaign is a great first step. He’s sharp. He’s quick on his feet. Most importantly, he doesn’t miss opportunities.
With opportunities like this presenting themselves, it’s in Mitt’s best interest to capitalize:
A coalition of African-American pastors is calling on blacks to boycott President Barack Obama and sign a petition demanding that the administration withdraw support for gay marriage.
The group, the 1,300-member Coalition of African-American Pastors, says it was snubbed by Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder when it demanded a meeting to discuss same-sex unions. The group had requested the meeting last month.
This is a great opportunity to connect with black congregations. That was a big thing in 2004 for President Bush’s re-election campaign, especially in Ohio.
Blacks churches played a major role in North Carolina approving a constitutional amendment affirming marriage as being between one man and one woman:
In Charlotte-Mecklenburg, the strongest support came from the predominantly white suburban areas of Mint Hill and Matthews. Across town, voters in the African-American neighborhoods of Coulwood and Paw Creek voted almost 2 to 1 in favor. The margin was the same in predominantly black precinct 79 near Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
While the NAACP campaigned hard against the amendment, many black voters continued to see same-sex marriage not as a civil rights issue, but as a lifestyle choice with which they don’t agree.
“This amendment has always been about one thing and one thing only, marriage and family,” said Bishop Phillip Davis, pastor of Nations Ford Community Church, a black congregation in southwest Charlotte. “The voters of North Carolina have chosen to protect the soul of the state and the nation; that is marriage and family.”
Eric Fehrnstrom isn’t talented enough to make this a big deal. Kevin Madden is. Potentially, that’s the difference between a tight race and a blowout, the difference between a hold election in Congress and another wave election.
The first thing Madden should do is make this about more than Mitt’s resume. It’s nice. It says ‘I’m competent.’ It doesn’t say ‘Follow me to a great future.’ That’s what’s needed to bust this race open.
After another dismal jobs report, President Obama is on the ropes. Mitt’s speech Friday was a good speech but the campaign must go on the offensive.
Start putting out daily fact sheets showing all the pathetic jobs reports since the recovery officially started. Talk about how the Affordable Care Act raises taxes on the middle class. Talk about how health insurance costs are rising faster after enacting the Affordable Care Act than they were before it was signed into law.
Put Madden on TV once a week to talk about specifics from Mitt’s plan to fix the mess this administration has created. Yes, the recession started during the Bush administration. It ended early in this administration. The question that the Romney campaign hasn’t exploited is questioning why President Obama’s recovery has been anemic to pathetic.
Everyone agrees that we’ve averted a crisis. With the crisis averted, isn’t it fair to expect the recovery to accelerate?
With Kevin Madden doing the messaging, Mitt can exploit that question and change the direction of the election before the conventions start.
Finally, I’d suggest to the Romney campaign to adopt “Carpe diem” as the campaign’s new slogan. There’s no time like the present to put President Obama on the defensive.
This morning, Chuck Colson passed away:
Chuck Colson, the evangelical leader who dedicated his life to ministering to convicts after serving time himself in prison and coming to know God, has died. He was 80.
Colson was hospitalized March 30 after having trouble getting through a speech at a “Breaking the Spiral of Silence” conference in Virginia. Doctors found a brain hemorrhage, and he underwent surgery to remove a pool of clotted blood.
Following the surgery, Colson’s health see-sawed from stable to worse, and he remained in ICU. Wednesday, Christian leaders who knew Colson well urged prayer because he “may soon be with the Lord.”
Saying that he led an incredible life is understatement. This gives a tiny glimpse into his storied life:
Colson was born in Boston on October 16, 1931, a child of the Great Depression.
“That was tough. I got used to being poor. I never knew what it was. never knew we were poor because it was just the way we lived,” Colson once said. “My dad was going to school at night. He was working very hard at a job making $32 a week, and we would share with people in need on the block who didn’t have as much as we had.”
Despite humble beginnings, Colson went on to graduate from Brown University and earned a law degree from George Washington University.
He also served as a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps and eventually landed a job at the White House during the Nixon administration.
But that’s when Colson’s promising career took an ominous turn. He was soon caught up in the Watergate scandal, as President Nixon’s infamous hatchet man.
In the midst of that turmoil in 1973, Colson became a Christian after reading the book, “Mere Christianity” by evangelical author C.S. Lewis.
Colson was indicted in 1974 for conspiring to cover up the Watergate burglary. When news of his conversion leaked to the press, the Boston Globe reported, “If Mr. Colson can repent of his sins, there just has to be hope for everybody.”
Colson admitted he was guilty of political “dirty tricks” and was willing to do almost anything for the cause of his president and his party.
“I was stripped of everything, public enemy number one and thrown into a prison,” Colson said of the scandal in an interview with “The 700 Club.” He served seven months at Maxwell Prison in Alabama.
As Colson walked into freedom, he promised fellow inmates he would never forget those behind bars.
Colson kept that promise and then some:
“I thank God now, Pat, that I went through it because I carry with it a heavy burden for the men and women who are in prison,” he told CBN’s Pat Robertson.
That burden led Colson to establish Prison Fellowship, an international ministry working in more than 100 countries, committed to prison reform and prisoner rehabilitation.
Prison Fellowship changed the lives of thousands of inmates. Those whose lives were transformed through Prison Fellowship will never be the same. Whether they met Chuck Colson or if they just benefited from Prison Fellowship, they’ll never forget Chuck Colson’s compassion and commitment to positively changing their lifes.
The first time I read this story, I couldn’t help but get a bit emotional. I’m certain you’ll see why:
Jeremy was born with a twisted body, a slow mind & a chronic, terminal illness that had been slowly killing him all his young life. Still, his parents had tried to give him as normal a life as possible & had sent him to St. Theresa’s Elementary School.
At the age of 12, Jeremy was only in second grade, seemingly unable to learn. His teacher, Doris Miller, often became exasperated with him. He’d squirm in his seat, drool & make grunting noises. At other times, he spoke clearly & distinctly, as if a spot of light had penetrated the darkness of his brain. Most of the time, however, Jeremy irritated his teacher.
One day, she called his parents & asked them to come to St. Theresa’s for a consultation. As the Forresters sat quietly in the empty classroom, Doris said to them, “Jeremy really belongs in a special school. It isn’t fair to him to be with younger children who don’t have learning problems. Why, there’s a five-year gap between his age & that of the other students!” Mrs. Forrester cried softly into a tissue while her husband spoke.
“Miss Miller,” he said, “there is no school of that kind nearby. It would be a terrible shock for Jeremy if we had to take him out of this school. We know he really likes it here.” Doris sat for a long time after they left, staring at the snow outside the window. Its coldness seemed to seep into her soul. She wanted to sympathize with the Forresters. After all, their only child had a terminal illness. But it wasn’t fair to keep him in her class. She had 18 other youngsters to teach & Jeremy was a distraction. Furthermore, he’d never learn to read or write. Why waste any more time trying?
As she pondered the situation, guilt washed over her. “Oh God,” she said aloud, “here I am complaining when my problems are nothing compared with that poor family! Please help me to be more patient with Jeremy.” From that day on, she tried to ignore Jeremy’s noises & his blank stares. Then one day he limped to her desk, dragging his bad leg behind him. “I love you, Miss Miller,” he exclaimed loudly enough for the whole class to hear. The other children snickered, & Doris’s face turned red. She stammered, “Wh-Why, that’s very nice, Jeremy. Now please take your seat.”
Spring came & the children talked excitedly about the coming of Easter. Doris told them of the story of Jesus, & then to emphasize the idea of new life springing forth, she gave each of the children a large, plastic egg. “Now,” she said to them, “I want you to take this home & bring it back tomorrow with something inside that shows new life. Do you understand?”
“Yes, Miss Miller!” the children responded enthusiastically, all except for Jeremy. He just listened intently, his eyes never left her face. He didn’t even make his usual noises.
Had he understood what she’d said about Jesus’ death & resurrection? Did he understand the assignment? Perhaps she should call his parents & explain the project to them. That evening, Doris’s kitchen sink stopped up. She called the landlord & waited an hour for him to come by & unclog it. After that, she still had to shop for groceries, iron a blouse & prepare a vocabulary test for the next day. She completely forgot about phoning Jeremy’s parents.
The next morning, 19 children came to school, laughing & talking as they placed their eggs in the large wicker basket on Miss Miller’s desk. After they completed their Math lesson, it was time to open the eggs. In the first egg, Doris found a flower. “Oh yes, a flower is certainly a sign of new life,” she said.
“When plants peek through the ground we know that spring is here.” A small girl in the first row waved her arms. “That’s my egg, Miss Miller,” she called out. The next egg contained a plastic butterfly, which looked very real. Doris held it up, “We all know that a caterpillar changes & grows into a beautiful butterfly. Yes that is new life, too.” Little Judy smiled proudly & said, “Miss Miller, that one is mine.”
Next, Doris found a rock with moss on it. She explained that the moss, too, showed life. Billy spoke up from the back of the classroom. “My Daddy helped me!” he beamed. Then Doris opened the fourth egg. She gasped. The egg was empty! Surely it must be Jeremy’s she thought, & of course, he didn’t understand her instructions.
If only she hadn’t forgotten to phone his parents. Because she didn’t want to embarrass him, she quietly set the egg aside & reached for another. Suddenly Jeremy spoke up. “Miss Miller, aren’t you going to talk about my egg?” Flustered, Doris replied, “but Jeremy, your egg is empty!”
He looked into her eyes & said softly, “Yes, but Jesus’ tomb was empty too!” Time stopped. When she could speak again, Doris asked him, “Do you know why the tomb was empty?” “Oh yes!” Jeremy exclaimed. “Jesus was killed & put in there. Then His Father raised Him up!”
The recess bell rang. While the children excitedly ran out to the school yard, Doris cried. The cold inside her melted completely away. Three months later Jeremy died. Those who paid their respects at the mortuary were surprised to see 19 eggs on top of his casket, all of them empty.
If ever a hymn captured the inspirational message of Christ’s victory over the grave, it’s Christ, the LORD, is risen today. Here are the inspirational lyrics of Charles Wesley’s immortal hymn:
Christ, the Lord, is risen today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth, reply, Alleluia!
Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Lo! the Sun’s eclipse is over, Alleluia!
Lo! He sets in blood no more, Alleluia!
Vain the stone, the watch, the seal, Alleluia!
Christ hath burst the gates of hell, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia!
Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!
Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!
Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!
Hail, the Lord of earth and Heaven, Alleluia!
Praise to Thee by both be given, Alleluia!
Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia!
Hail, the resurrection, thou, Alleluia!
King of glory, Soul of bliss, Alleluia!
Everlasting life is this, Alleluia!
Thee to know, Thy power to prove, Alleluia!
Thus to sing and thus to love, Alleluia!
Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
Unto Christ, our heavenly King, Alleluia!
Who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
Sinners to redeem and save. Alleluia!
But the pains that He endured, Alleluia!
Our salvation have procured, Alleluia!
Now above the sky He’s King, Alleluia!
Where the angels ever sing. Alleluia!
Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once upon the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia!
This video includes my favorite verses of the hymn:
If any Bible passage captures the spirit of the inspiration of Easter, it’s found in Luke 23:32-43:
32 There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. 33 And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. 34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”[h]
And they divided His garments and cast lots. 35 And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God.”
36 The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine, 37 and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself.”
38 And an inscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew:[i]
THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ,[j] save Yourself and us.”
40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord,[k] remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”
43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
Imagine what it was like to be the criminal who humbled himself and admitted that he deserved eternal condemnation for his crimes. His last-minute humility was what Christ was hoping to hear. As a result, that criminal was redeemed and is with Christ in Paradise.
Tonight, I visited this website in hopes of finding the lyrics for a favorite Easter hymn for a Happy Easter post I’ll publish first thing Easter morning. Instead, I found this article that lifted my spirits:
Lift Prayers and Praise for Youcef Nadarkhani
Execution was ordered for Youcef Nadarkhani, who was sentenced to death in Iran for refusing to renounce his Christian faith. But the prayers of many, many Christians have indeed availed much. Iranian authorities continue to raise an array of newly contrived, baseless charges as alternatives to justify their sentence (even though Youcef was never charged or tried for them) but praise God, Iran’s human rights envoy has now publicly denied that that Youcef is facing a death penalty! God is so good! Youcef remains in prison for his faith, though. Continue to pray that he will be spared from execution, that he will be released soon, and that God will be glorified in all things. How wonderful it would be if Youcef could celebrate Easter with his family and his Christian brothers and sisters! For information you can follow this Google search or visit this facebook page.
You can help spread the latest news through ACLJ’s Twitter campaign.
I hope I’d never be arrogant enough to expect a miracle from God. Still, it’d be fantastic to witness a miracle happen. If Iran’s mullahs released Youcef Nadarkhani on Easter Sunday, I’d definitely consider that a miracle.
Whether that happens or not, it’s worth everyone’s while to put pressure on Iran’s mullahs through Twitter campaigns or with other tools. It isn’t a stretch to say that Iranian mullahs are evil, despicable people.
When I read Youcef Nadarkhani’s story, I couldn’t help but remember this story a friend sent me over a decade ago:
An African pastor was overwhelmed by rebels who demanded that he renounce his faith. He refused. The night before they took his life, he wrote the following on a scrap of paper.
I am part of the Fellowship of the Unashamed. I have Holy Spirit power. The die has been cast. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of His. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future secure. I’m finished & done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tame visions, mundane talking, chintzy giving & dwarfed goals.
I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, regarded or rewarded. I now live by presence, lift by prayer, love by patience & labor by power.
My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is Heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my Guide reliable, my mission clear. I can’t be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, diluted or delayed. I won’t flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I won’t give up, shut up, let up or burn up till I’ve preached up, paid up, stored up & stayed up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of JESUS. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know & work till He stops. And when He comes to get His own, He’ll have no problems recognizing me.
My colors will be clear.
I hope this story inspires you the way it’s inspired me.
During the first part of FNS’s Sunday panel, Democratic apologist Mara Liasson, (D-NPR), attempted to spin things in the Obama administration’s favor on whether they’d stopped the bleeding. It was a painful thing to watch for people who care about the truth.
Liasson said “If they can keep the argument about contraception, not about religious liberty and government mandates, then they’re on strong grounds. Just prior to that, Liasson hinted that the White House’s biggest mistake was being slow to spin the policy, not the policy itself.
Those few things show the absurdity of the liberal mindset. First, Liasson argued that this administration should control what’s beyond their control. Doesn’t she grasp the fact that the conservative blogosphere and twittersphere, not to mention conservative talk radio, isn’t about to let this go?
More importantly, does she think Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich will let go of this issue? Most importantly, does anyone think that Catholics, whether they’re devout or not, like the idea of this administration telling Catholic Charities and the Catholic hospitals what they must do?
This isn’t going away. In fact, it’s going to get worse when EWTN’s lawsuit is litigated. In fact, I’d argue that the only way it’ll go away is if this administration capitulates quickly.
If they don’t, they’ll lose this election.
At the start of his interview with Greta van Susteren, Karl Rove laid out the history of losing the Catholic vote. Here’s the video:
Here’s the transcript of the most important part of the interview:
ROVE: It’s a big issue. Look, the biggest group of swing voters are Catholics. They represent roughly 25% of the electorate. In any presidential election in the modern era, Catholics tended to go with the winner. Bush won them in 2000 and 2004. Obama won them in 2008. It’s been thus for decades.
This isn’t good news for the White House. They’ve just created the conditions for losing the determinitive Catholic vote. They’re getting sued by EWTN, an institution of the Catholic church. That guarantees this story isn’t going away. Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum certainly aren’t letting go of this issue, both from a religious liberty standpoint and from a government mandate standpoint.
If that isn’t bad enough, EWTN’s lawsuit has the potential of reaching the U.S. Supreme Court.
If Ms. Liasson thinks that the White House can spin away a powderkeg issue like that away, then she’s delusional.
Either that or she’s a hopeless Democratic apologist. (Think the Democrat version of Jennifer Rubin.)
The Obama administration can’t control the narrative. They can’t stop EWTN’s lawsuit without capitulating. They can’t even limit the damage. If that doesn’t sound like LBJ’s Texas hail storm, then nothing does. Here’s LBJ’s famous quote:
I feel like a hitchhiker in a Texas hail storm…I can’t run, I can’t hide and I can’t make it go away.
If that doesn’t articulate exactly where the Obama administration is on the Catholic contraception fight, nothing does. I’d wish them luck but I’d rather see them take a long, protracted stumble.
When President Obama was inaugurated, progressives were telling the American people that President Obama was substantially smarter than President Bush. Many breathed a huge sigh of relief to have replaced the inarticulate Bush with the superarticulate Obama.
Progressives talked about President Obama being a superior communicator than President Reagan. President Obama isn’t smarter than President Bush, though he’s a better orator than President Bush. As for President Obama being a superior communicator than President Reagan, that’s a joke.
How does someone supposedly so smart catch himself in this self-created crisis?
Republican lawmakers and conservative activists are expressing outrage after the Obama administration announced its objection to adding President Franklin Roosevelt’s D-Day prayer to the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.
The objection was noted during a congressional hearing on Rep. Bill Johnson’s, R-Ohio, bill, the “World War II Memorial Prayer Act of 2011.”
“It is unconscionable that the Obama administration would stand in the way of honoring our nation’s distinguished World War II veterans,” Johnson said. “President Roosevelt’s prayer gave solace, comfort and strength to our nation and our brave warriors as we fought against tyranny and oppression.”
Roosevelt asked the nation to join him in prayer as U.S. and allied troops launched the invasion that led to the defeat of Nazi Germany. He asked God to give the allied troops courage and faith, saying, “With thy blessing we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy.”
But Robert Abbey, the director of the Bureau of Land Management, said any plaque or inscription of the prayer would “dilute” the memorial’s central message and therefore “should not be altered.”
“It is not a judgment as to the merit of this new commemoration, simply that altering the Memorial in this way, as proposed in HR 2070, will necessarily dilute this elegant memorial’s central message and its ability to clearly convey that message to move, educate, and inspire its many visitors,” Abbey said in written testimony.
Abbey explained to lawmakers that altering the memorial would be contrary to the Commemorative Works Act, a law that prohibits “encroachment by a new commemoration on a existing one.” It also respects the design of the “completed work of civic art without alteration or addition of new elements.”
Since when did this administration start paying attention to the laws? President Obama didn’t care about the law when he was dealing with the secured bondholders of Chrysler. He bullied them into accepting pennies on the dollar for secured debt instruments. Here’s what Third Base Politics wrote about this administration’s total disregard for the laws governing secured bondholders:
The group of investment firms and hedge funds happen to own secured bonds of Chrysler. In other words, they were smart enough to invest in debt instruments issued by Chrysler that were secured by hard assets (buildings, inventory, etc). Due to their secured status, they are more likely to collect on their debts than unsecured creditors and equity holders. These investors were being strong-armed by our Federal Government and the TARP-drunk zombie banks to forego their contractual rights as secured debtholders and accept pennies on the dollar. They refused and I salute them. The President, however, is clearly miffed that these investors didn’t forfeit their contractual rights for the “greater good” (read: UAW).
Now we’re supposed to think that this administration is interested in following the law? That’s insulting. Let’s remember that this administration has praised the arsonists, Marxists, rapists and union thugs of the OWS crowd.
This administration’s citing of following the law to prevent the display of FDR’s prayer before declaring war would be laughable if they hadn’t a) praised the union thugs in Wisconsin, b) praised the Marxists, vandals and rapists of the OWS movement and c) bullied secured bondholders into accepting pennies on the dollar for their bonds with Chrysler.
This administration is a blight from a multitude of perspectives. It’s time to fire them. Most importantly, it’s time to restore American exceptionalism.
Speaker after speaker Sunday decried what they said are economic, educational and racial inequities in the state.
“It’s time to close that gap,” said the Rev. Billy Russell of Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Minneapolis. “I want one Minnesota.”
ISAIAH has organized and held meetings at homes attended by an estimated 4,000 people in the past three months.
The goal was to come up with a detailed program to present to the next governor. Ministers did that Sunday with Dayton, who appears destined to be the next governor as Emmer has failed to make up much ground in the ongoing recount.
The group gave Dayton and the crowd a booklet outlining recommendations on transportation, education, health care, commerce, and public safety.
There’s alot of similarities between Dayton’s tactics and Richard Trumka’s tactics:
AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka has announced that his union is starting a new campaign using â€œ1,000 congregation-based unemployed worker support committeesâ€ to offer support to the unemployed and advocate for jobs.
â€œThe campaign will help combat the severe unemployment crisis that is devastating so many working people and families and help rebuild the foundations of our nationâ€™s economy,â€ Trumka announced in a statement.
â€œ[F]aith groups, political leaders and progressive activists have come together in the Faith Advocates for Jobs Campaign, which was launched this week at a Capitol Hill meeting,â€ Trumka added. â€œThe campaign will help combat the severe unemployment crisis that is devastating so many working people and families and help rebuild the foundations of our nationâ€™s economy.â€
That certainly sounds innocent enough. That’s the hook, however:
The campaignâ€™s mission statement, however, reads like a progressive jobs manifesto. â€œAs people of faith, we call for an economy that provides a job for everyone who wants and needs one,â€ Trumka quotes it as saying. â€œWe affirm that all jobs should be good jobs, paying living wages and benefits, allowing workers dignity and a voice at the workplace, ensuring workersâ€™ health and safety, and guaranteeing their right to organize unions.â€
That certainly doesn’t sound like a faith-based manifesto. It sounds more like a political vehicle disguised as a faith-based initiative. In fact, it sounds more like a vehicle for the implementation of socialism than anything else.
In 2008, King noticed this about ISAIAH:
ISAIAH is one of 60 similar organizations around the country affiliated with the Gamaliel Foundation in Chicago. Our national network provides training and resources for organizing far beyond what we would have available doing this work by ourselves. It also gives us a national powerbase to influence federal legislation on immigration, transportation, and housing.
While I recognize the right of religious organizations to have political opinions, I find it disgusting to see religious groups used primarily as a political vehicle. A simple question that Mssrs. Dayton and Trumka haven’t and won’t answer is what transportation has to do with religion. I’m certain that they couldn’t answer that if their life depended on it.
The group Tumka says will oversee the initiative, Interfaith Worker Justice, also doesnâ€™t shy away from progressive talk.
I did a quick google of IWJ. Here’s their vision statement:
IWJ envisions a nation where all workers enjoy the rights to:
- Wages, health care, and pensions that allow workers to raise families and retire with dignity;
- Safe working conditions;
- Organize and bargain collectively to improve wages, benefits, and conditions without harassment, intimidation, or retaliation;
- Equal protection under labor law, regardless of immigration status, and an end to the practice of pitting immigrant and U.S.-born workers against one another;
- Fair and just participation in a global economy that promotes the welfare of both domestic and foreign workers.
This is a political organization, not a religious organization. I’ve yet to see a genuine religious organization that advocates law-breaking. It’s one thing to say Rosa Parks was right in not giving up her seat on that bus all those years ago. As a human being, she had the right to be treated as a human being. That isn’t the same as advocating the fair treatment of people who’ve broken the law to enter this country.
ISAIAH is especially concerned about the economy and education, with the group stressing that racial disparities in both areas must be addressed by the next governor. “The bottom is falling out for so many of us,” said Ramsey County Commissioner Toni Carter, a participant in the first roundtable discussion of the day, “Opening Opportunity: Public Investments for the Common Good.” Dayton said he shared the group’s concerns, but said that as governor he would need help from ISAIAH and others to make the desired changes. “There needs to be a lot of people from ISAIAH [at the Capitol] to frame that debate,” Dayton said. “So let’s do it together, all of us, all 10,000 voices.”
“Public Investments for the Common Good”? That sounds alot like socialism, doesn’t it? Dayton saying that he’d “need help from ISAIAH and others to make the desired changes”, changes that include transportation funding, sounds like he needs lobbyists of faith to push across his political proposals. When the Pharisees asked Jesus whether it was ok to be taxed, He said we should “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s”. I’m ok with that. It’s another thing when secular groups use religious garb to tell Caesar what we should be taxed and how much should be spent on secular budget items. Technorati: Taxes, ISAIAH, GRIP, Mark Dayton, Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO, Religion, Immigration, DFL
Thanks to the House GOP’s sustaining Gov. Pawlenty’s veto, the DFL will now be forced to start negotiating in good faith with Gov. Pawlenty. Monday, the House GOP told Speaker Kelliher, Senate Majority Leader Pogemiller and the DFL that they’ll need to reform GAMC to put it on a more sustainable, efficient path and that they’ll need to fix the budget deficit first.
Here’s what the Strib’s Mike Kaszuba reported:
The DFL-controlled House lurched toward the vote even after Republicans vowed to uphold Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s veto of a plan that would have resurrected General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC) before it expires April 1.
The state now will forge ahead with plans to transfer 32,000 people from the program to MinnesotaCare, a subsidized insurance program that requires participants to jump through more hoops and offers less coverage. Pawlenty and legislators are scheduled to return to the bargaining table Tuesday morning to see if there’s a better option for GAMC, whose enrollees include many who are homeless, veterans or who suffer from addiction and mental illness.
House Minority Leader Kurt Zellers emphasized that this simply means reaching a bipartisan solution rather than the DFL’s my-way-or-the-highway solution:
“This wasn’t a vote for an override; it was a vote to continue the negotiations,” said House Minority Leader Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove.
If the DFL wants a solution rather than just a political victory, they’ll return to the negotiating table with a different attitude. That’s far from certain considering Speaker Kelliher’s gubernatorial aspirations ride largely on the outcome and Leader Pogemiller being, well, Larry Pogemiller. I’m not holding my breath on that happening, especially after learning that the DFL will now pursue a legal path:
The fight could enter the courtroom as House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher and other DFL leaders hinted that a legal challenge from groups representing the poor was imminent.
Kelliher did not identify who would mount the fight but said, “I would not be surprised if someone in the next 24 hours files something to create an injunction to stop the ‘auto enrollment’ from going forward.” MinnesotaCare was designed as a program for lower-income working families, sustained by paid premiums and a tax paid on provider visits.
Speaker Kelliher is obviously intent on upping the ante, most likely because it’ll help her in her run for the DFL’s gubernatorial endorsement. Saying that she’s got a conflict of interest is understatement. That the DFL is pursuing a legal path indicates that they aren’t interested in reforming Minnesota’s health care system. It says that they’re interested in their status quo policies.
This isn’t surprising. I noticed that mindset last winter. Here’s what I said then:
The DFL is lining up their special interest allies to flood these meetings and paint a picture of abject horror. They want their allies to savage Gov. Pawlentyâ€™s budget proposal while painting a picture of unending misery.
Whatâ€™s missing is most telling. Whatâ€™s missing from Rep. Pelowskiâ€™s email is his imploring his constituents to talk about reforming the way things are done. Thatâ€™s because there isnâ€™t proof that reforms are part of the DFLâ€™s agenda. Quite the opposite, actually. Thereâ€™s ample proof that their motto is â€˜Keep doing what weâ€™ve been doingâ€™.
The DFL is the face of corrupt obstructionism. They worry more about funding their special interest allies’ programs than they worry about their constituents back in their districts. I’ve said before that reform is a 4-letter word with the DFL. Their decision to take legal action rather than negotiate a common sense reform that would bring stability to Minnesota’s budget.
Rep. Matt Dean has a proposal that would reform GAMC. Rep. Dean’s plan would:
- extend GAMC to the end of the biennium, then institute a new plan to take the place of GAMC;
- end a government program that does not work and
direct the commissioner to conduct a census of enrollees to determine eligibility, and eliminate folks who do not belong there to reduce cost.
- Institute coordinated care to better serve chronically ill and has counties share in the cost risk/savings.
In addition to Rep. Dean’s reforms of GAMC, Rep. Steve Gottwalt has a plan to reform MinnesotaCare. The chief highlight of Rep. Gottwalt’s plan is that it would save Minnesota’s taxpayers $350 million per year while providing better coverage than MinnesotaCare currently offers.
Saving $350,000,000 annually on MinnesotaCare and saving money through Rep. Dean’s reform package would do alot to stabilize Minnesota’s skyrocketing health care programs. That, by the way, is the fatal flaw with the DFL’s plan. The bill that the House GOP sustained would’ve spent an additional $170,000,000 dollars at a time when we have a $1,200,000,000 deficit.
Spending hundreds of millions of dollars that we don’t have on programs that aren’t efficient says everything about the DFL’s lack of fiscal discipline. Speaker Kelliher was telling tall tales in January, 2007, when she told a Strib reporter that the DFL was “a fiscally moderate caucus.” They’re nothing of the sort. They’re a fiscally reckless caucus.
This is something that I find highly objectionable:
GAMC advocates, at a news conference, put forward victims who have counted on the program. The Rev. Grant Stevensen of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in St. Paul took aim at the governor. “Governor, please stop talking to us about God,” he said, referring to Pawlenty’s recent political speeches, in which he says that “God’s in charge.”
Rev. Stevensen, what’s so moral about continuing a program that wastes hundreds of millions of the taxpayers’ dollars? Didn’t Christ demand that we be good stewards with the money He gives us? Rev. Stevensen, if you want to be a real leader, shouldn’t you favor plans that cover the weakest amongst us while saving Minnesota’s taxpayers money?
As a person of faith, I find Rev. Stevensen’s statements reprehensible. This shouldn’t be a situation where the DFL’s plan is automatically considered the best way to cover the neediest amongst us. Covering the people who need it at the best prices seems like a no-brainer to me, both from a compassion standpoint and from a stewarship standpoint.
Technorati: GAMC, MinnesotaCare, Matt Dean, Steve Gottwalt, Tim Pawlenty, Veto, Veto Override, Reforms, Cost Savings, Stewardship, MNGOP, Speaker Kelliher, Larry Pogemiller, Special Interests, Status Quo, Deficits, DFL
This morning, I found an email in my inbox from a good friend. He was extending me seasons greetings. Here’s the text of the email:
“Please accept (with no obligation, implied or implicit) best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday,practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. We also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2009, with due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great (This is not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country, nor that America is the only country in the Western Hemisphere), and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishes. By accepting these greetings, you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for himself, herself, or others. This greeting is void where prohibited by law and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.”
There’s another greeting for Republicans:
For My Republican Friends:
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
I replied to my friend’s message with a question and an admonishment:
How could you say this?
We also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar
This is sure to upset some socialists somewhere.
How insensitive of you.
Moral of the Story I: No matter how hard you try to be inclusive or sensitive, you’ll offend someone.
Moral of the Story II: Someone’s undies will always be in a bunch so just be yourself.
Cross-posted at California Conservative