Doug Wead on Neil Cavuto, February 2, 2015.
“No minister, anywhere, should ever have to submit a sermon to a government censor.” – Senator Rand Paul
Only minutes ago, Senator Rand Paul spoke up for the Houston pastors who have become the latest target in what religious leaders say is the city government’s ongoing war against its own churches. Messaging on Twitter, Senator Paul declared, “The First Amendment doesn’t exist to keep religion out of government. It exists to keep government out of religion.” Said Paul, “I stand with the pastors and churches in Houston against government interference and harassment.”
Houston city attorneys, under the direction of Mayor Annise Parker, have now subpoenaed sermons preached by selected pastors whom they believe are opposed to the city’s new agenda.
Here is a quick review of the unfolding drama in Houston.
Mayor Annise Parker, the first openly Lesbian mayor of a major city, promoted an ordinance banning anti-gay discrimination in the public and government subsidized venues. So far so good. But a controversial part of the ordnance allowed transgender citizens to file discrimination lawsuits if prohibited from a restroom. Was this a problem? Where there signs up saying, “No transgenders allowed?” Some Christian leaders now caught in the middle of the controversy contend that this was an angry politician, purposely poking the bear.
There were all kinds of discussions in the community. Who was to determine who was transgender and who was not? A doctor? A psychiatrist? Could a man suddenly declare himself a woman and enter a woman’s restroom? With under age children?
As the proponents of the ordinance hoped, the churches reacted with confusion and panic. There was a recall effort launched to get the ordinance on the ballot. The churches gathered more than 50,000 signatures. It was well over the 17,269 needed. And then the city poked again. The Houston city attorney declared that there were insufficient signatures.
The churches sued.
The city attorneys issued subpoenas for their sermons. And not sermons from the churches who filed the lawsuit. No, they wanted sermons from other pastors whom critics suspect were specifically targeted because they posed the biggest threat to the city’s agenda. The subpoena called for “all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by delivered by, revised by or approved by you or in your possession.”
Concerned Christian leaders insist that this is not a comedy of errors, that it is not a mistake but it is a systematic, purposeful attempt to silence and frighten the churches into changing their doctrines and suborning free speech. The city attorney’s will use taxpayer’s money to bankrupt the churches and silence their political voices. Thus the decision to go after the selected churches who were not even involved in the lawsuit with the city. It was much the same tactic that allowed the gay and lesbian takeover of the Episcopal Church, taking some congregations and using their resources to take over others. Only this time it is acted out in the public square with public money which will now be used to destroy the churches and silence their voices.
The city has deep pockets. In fact, the churchgoers, paying their taxes, will ironically finance the city of Houston in its war to destroy their own culture.
The Texas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and other Liberal groups expressed alarm at the city’s overreach. Meanwhile, Dr. Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission expressed sadness at the events and astonishment at the “audacity” of the Houston City government’s attack on its own pastors and congregations.
Coincidentally, the day before the Houston subpoenas, Moore held a private meeting with Senator Rand Paul at the Senator’s office in Washington, D.C. Part of the conversation was about the war on Christianity unfolding in places around the world. Who would know what the next volley would be fired by the city government of Houston, Texas?
Will former Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney, run for president again? And if he does could he win? Has it happened before?
Mitt Romney has allowed his friends to test the waters for another presidential run and with good reason.
1.) Obama is fading fast. He might as well have a sign on his desk, “The Buck Doesn’t Stop Here.”
2.) Romney knows what to do. He has already run for president twice.
3.) He co-opted the GOP caucus-primary system last time, making it Romney friendly.
4.) Just in case, he also strong-armed the last Republican National Convention and re-wrote the rules in his favor so he can actually lose in some key primaries and still overwhelm the vote and control the floor at the RNC. All he will need is a simple majority.
Has it happened before? Can a candidate run for president and lose and come back to win later?
Answer? Most presidents do. Barack Obama being the anomaly. In recent years, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, all ran for president and lost before finally winning.
But has a presidential candidate actually won the nomination, ran for president, lost, and then comeback?
Yep. Three come to mind. William Henry Harrison ran as a Whig nominee in 1836. He lost but came back to win in 1840 and went on to the White House.
Grover Cleveland was elected president in 1884, lost his re-election bid but came back to win again in 1892.
And finally, Richard Nixon won the GOP nomination in 1960, losing to John F. Kennedy in the general election. He came back in 1968 to try again and this time won the presidency.
But all three of these examples are very complicated. Nixon, for example, after losing the presidency, ran for governor of California where he was defeated again. That defeat seemed to end his public career. In 1964 the GOP experienced its conservative takeover and Barry Goldwater won the nomination. Many GOP leaders sat at home. Nixon jumped into the 1964 election and helped Republican candidates, seeking nothing for himself. With his own career apparently over, he was seen as a non threatening, beloved figure and a great fundraiser. By 1968, the GOP wanted a winner and it united behind Nixon.
Romney is reminiscent of Thomas Dewey. He looks like a president, the few Republicans who are part of the media elite think he ought to be president but he won’t even cross the street to shake hands with the people who can make it happen. Romney recently described how he would run again. If the other candidates all came to him and said, “We just can’t do it we need you.” Fat chance.
In 2012 Romney, a Mormon, was urged to meet with Evangelical Christian leaders. Didn’t happen. No time. Gallup Polls show that 41% of the American public claim to be born again Christians. and they are the base of the Republican Party. Romney took comfort from his Boston-Washington cronies and ignored them. He publicly laughed at the emerging Libertarian wing of the GOP and shut down their efforts to participate in state conventions. Nor did Catholics fair any better. He had plain clothes security guards surround Hispanics on the floor of the RNC and rush them out of the building because they held up signs of other candidates.
Polls don’t mean a lot this early. Some of it is only name recognition. Romney was the last GOP nominee. Voters were forced to choose between he and Obama in the last election. Of much more significance is the recent Zogby poll which had Rand Paul running away with the GOP nomination, rather startling for an outsider, this early. And polls showing Rand Paul as the only GOP candidate beating Hillary Clinton in battleground states. But polls, even this early, can translate into money. Which brings up the point that Romney, unlike most of the other candidates, has money.
So if Mitt Romney runs again what are his chances? If he runs the same kind of exclusive, white, Mormon, campaign, don’t be surprised if he gets the same kind of result. Winning campaigns like Obama, Clinton, Reagan, give the masses a sense of ownership. People feel a part of what has happened. They feel needed and included, not shutout or ridiculed. Reagan appealed to White Mormon men in the Mountain states, Southern born again Christians in North Carolina, Catholic, Democrat, union factory workers in Detroit, Michigan and highly educated Jews in Shaker Heights, Ohio. But he worked those constituencies humbly and earnestly. I remember sitting with Reagan in a waiting room, anticipating a meeting with a pompous evangelical leader. I have done the same with George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.
Can he win? History shows that it can happen. But it also shows that it will be difficult.
March 9, 2014
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky may be the only Republican who can beat Hillary Clinton for president in 2016. He is the only Republican who beats her head to head in battleground states.
(Clip from 2012, when Rand Paul was stopped by the TSA.)
So what are we to make of the NSA data gathering? Is it okay for the government to snoop on us? Does it keep us safer? And what juicy secrets have they now found from a previous White House administration?
The government says, “Yes, the program is a necessary evil. It will help us catch terrorists.”
But then, this is the same government who denied they were snooping on us in the first place.
Senator Wyden, ” Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”
CIA Director Clapper answered, “No, sir.”
If they lied about what they were doing, at the risk of perjury, why should we believe them now? When any answer could be very subjective?
And if spying on more than a hundred million phone calls and emails couldn’t help the NSA detect that one of its own employees was about to leak its secret snooping operation, how can we expect then to efficiently find terrorists?
As Ronald Reagan often said, “Remember, these are the same people who run the post office?”
What about the competence of a government that employs 4.2 million persons with security clearances while 43% of the American people believe we should be cutting back on programs that threaten privacy and only 20% think we should be doing more to fight terrorism, even at the expense of privacy? Isn’t that a disaster waiting to happen? If the leaker wasn’t Edward Snowden wouldn’t it have been someone else?
In an exchange between CNN’s Erin Burnett and former FBI counter-terrorism agent Tim Clemente, we are told that the content of all our phone calls is being recorded and stored, even if it is not audited.
Now we learn that “the National Security Agency has acknowledged in a new classified briefing that it does not need court authorization to listen to domestic phone calls.”
Then there is this from the chief technology officer at the CIA. “We fundamentally try to collect everything and hang onto it forever.”
Only days after the NSA story broke we learned that there is tracking of emails in real time.
The terrorists are not idiots. If they hide behind civilians from drone attacks, why wouldn’t they hide behind civilians in the cyber war? Implicating innocent others by false flag emails and phone calls?
Then there is the question, what will the government do with all of this information? And what should it do? Hunt for terrorists? Find Edward Snowden? Purge its own “top secret clearance” list?
What about solving murders? Locating abducted teenagers caught up in the sex slave traffic?
Most agree that it shouldn’t be used to go after “Joe the plumber?” Remember him? The average citizen from the 2008 election? Surely not. We shouldn’t go after the parish priest for sex abuse without first clearing the Bishops and the Cardinals. What hypocrisy to prosecute or punish the little guy and ignore the sins of the powerful?
So let’s start at the top. Think of all the problems we can solve? We now have phone calls, letters and emails to show any link between the IRS offices in Cincinnati to the White House. Why not reconstruct what happened? We could exonerate or implicate the president and others?
First order of business? Have transcribers compose the massive conversations of the rulers of our country. The Supreme Court, the Senate, the Justice Department, starting with the Attorney General, the Cabinet and the President. Even past presidents. No one should be in a position to pass judgment if they, themselves, are guilty of crimes.
There is the new scandal in the State Department, where their own whistleblower, Aurelia Fedenisn. is being intimidated for reporting sex crimes with minors, even an Ambassador involved.
Are there big shots accessing child pornography sites? Why leave that task to Chris Hansen of NBC’s Dateline? First let’s clear the people at the top.
Let us suppose that a presidential aide calls a friend of the president about a donor who wants to give a million dollars in soft money to a campaign? And the aide tells him that the presidential candidate wants that million dollars in soft money to go to the NRA or some Catholic voter registration program. And let’s suppose that the presidential aide is getting indirect kickbacks from the Catholic voter registration program? And let’s suppose that the presidential candidate affirms his desire in later conversations. It’s illegal right?
And let us suppose that the presidential candidate, worried about his crime, makes calls to destroy the career of the witness, let’s say he talks to a major network president and gets him banned from TV appearances which dramatically impacts his income. Shouldn’t we know those kind of things first, before we go after Joe the plumber?
And after clearing the top government officials, shouldn’t we clear the media too? How hypocritical for them to hold the subjects of their reports to a higher standard. Let’s know their own habits and words and crimes and biases? We hear what they say in public, influencing millions, what do they say behind close doors?
How many stories are out there? Waiting to be told? And now we have the evidence to find them all. Now we can apply equal justice. If we persecuted Bill Clinton for his infidelity, now we can learn about the marital affairs of other more beloved presidents who weren’t so unlucky. They had no Linda Tripp recordings but perhaps the NSA can fill the gap.
Shouldn’t someone know what the NSA knows? Couldn’t the agency use its information to blackmail its superiors? What about the Freedom of Information Act? Doesn’t a US Senator, a Federal Judge, a President, have the right to know what conversations the NSA has and what is in them? Things taken out of context can be dangerous.
If the existence of this program can be leaked to the public by a concerned citizen, when can the demographics of the program be leaked to a political campaign? Has it already happened? When can the details or content be leaked to companies or employers? Wouldn’t you want to run a check before hiring? Would you want to hire a baby sitter who talks dirty on the phone? Or an accountant who does a Google search on how to embezzle money without being caught? Or a chauffeur who is an alcoholic?
Cardinal Richelieu supposedly once wrote, “Give me six lines written by any man and I can have hung as a criminal” Imagine what he could have done with the NSA? He could have killed France.
Can you see the nightmare? The injustice? The conflict? Can you see why the Founding Fathers wrote the Fourth Amendment?
Welcome to America, in its post constitutional drift. When you start to violate your own Constitution, step by step, you become a nation without laws, where the ends justify the means. It is survival of the fittest. The powerful rule and will take from you what they want.
You can be sure of one thing. The massive information collected by the NSA will not be used to hurt the rich or powerful. Don’t hold your breath to learn what really happens in the lives of the people at the top. They will continue their crimes and the flow of riches from the weak to the powerful will continue uninterrupted.
But Joe the plumber? You, my friend, are in big trouble.
(If you want to learn more about Rand Paul’s Fourth Amendment Restoration Act S.1121 click here.)
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has become the first public figure to openly declare what Christians have been bemoaning for the last generation, that there is a war against Christianity.
Speaking this afternoon before a gathering of the Faith and Freedom Coalition in Washington D.C., Senator Paul said, “There is a war on Christianity, not just from liberal elites here at home, but worldwide.”
Said Paul, “It saddens me to see countries that are supposedly our allies persecute Christians.”
Catholics and born again Christians have talked about the danger for years. In the 1990’s, during my stint in the White House, as special assistant to the president, I was constantly called on to help Christians who were thrown into prisons or slated for execution all over the world.
Meanwhile, Christian ministries in the USA visited the White House complaining that they had been targeted by the IRS, a fact that the agency actually confirmed to us at the time, without shame. When we tried to find an Evangelical Christian who worked in a top position at the agency who could help us understand the nature of the complaints we learned that there was only one known, born again Christian in the top 300 positions at the IRS. At the time 38% of the nation claimed to be born again.
It turns out that the token “born again” Christian at the IRS was a regional director in the non-profit division and a Catholic Charismatic by personal faith. He tried to help the agency understand that it could not dictate doctrine or discriminate against groups based on their faith. We had two meetings with him at the White House and kept the president apprised. I think back to that moment as I now try to grasp the fact that top IRS officials visited the White House more than 300 times under Barack Obama and supposedly never discussed with the president their illegal bias against conservative groups including their questions of what applicants said in their prayers
In his speech Senator Paul offered a litany of abuses by American allies.
“In Pakistan, Asia Bibi, a Christian, sits on death row. Her crime, according to her, is that she dared to drink from a glass that belonged to a Muslim co-worker.
“Recently, in Pakistan, a 12-year-old with Down syndrome was imprisoned and charged with a death penalty crime for burning the Koran.
“After weeks she was released after a local Imam was accused of actually sprinkling pages from an Arabic book into a fire near the little girl.”
Senator Paul is the first public official to suggest a legislative solution. “My bill said that Libya, Egypt, and Pakistan would get no more foreign aid from the US taxpayer unless they turned over the assassins that killed our ambassador, pledged and verified that they CAN and WILL protect our embassies, and in the case of Pakistan they must release Dr. Afridi.”
Afridi is the man who helped us identify Osama Bin Laden. He was tortured and in chains for a year without being charged and is even now in prison in Pakistan.
As obvious as it may be to stand up for Christians (25% of the USA are Catholic, 48% claim to be born again Christians) Senator Paul is practically alone in his work. 90% of the Senate voted against his bill that would have placed restrictions on foreign aid to nations that execute Christians.
“It angers me to see my tax dollars supporting regimes that put Christians to death,” he said today. “And your government, or more correctly, you, the taxpayer, are funding it.”
Senator Rand Paul warned against a foreign policy that sometimes has good intentions that backfire.
“Before the Arab Spring, Christianity flourished in small outposts, like the Coptic Christians in Egypt. I had hoped that the Arab Spring would bring freedom to long-oppressed people throughout the Middle East, but I fear the Arab Spring is becoming an Arab winter.
“Today, Christians in Iraq, Libya, Egypt and Syria are on the run—persecuted or under fire—and yet, we continue to send aid to the folks chasing them.
“The new leader of Egypt is Mohammed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Recently, he stood by when a radical cleric said a prayer for the destruction of Israel and her supporters in his presence.
“Actually, it is worse, he did not just stand by, he was seen to mouth the word ‘Amen’ as the cleric said these words of hatred.
“How does your government respond?
“The bipartisan consensus in Washington vows to increase Egypt’s funding. The President is currently requesting a billion dollar increase in aid to Egypt. This is an outrage!”
Senator Paul admitted that his bold stand had made him unpopular in Washington and while his famous filibuster and other stands on civil liberties have given him exposure that his father never had, his concern about the torture and execution of Christians in allied nations has been panned by the media.
Says Paul, “It is clear that American taxpayer dollars are being used to enable a war on Christianity in the Middle East and I believe that must end.”