Last week, John Boehner (R-Ohio) easily won re-election as Speaker of the House. Only 25 Republicans defected, with 216 Republicans voting for him. In the days before the election, there was a flurry of emails and activity on social media about the vote, calling on members of Congress to oust Boehner. After the vote, conservative talk show hosts were outraged, denouncing Republicans who voted for him as RINOs and traitors. Even well-loved, conservative members of Congress like Utah's Mia Love did not escape the anger. Tea Party favorite Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) missed the vote, but said he would have voted for Boehner.
To many, it did not make sense why conservative Republicans would settle for another term of the compromising Boehner, considering Republicans now control both chambers. In Arizona, the most conservative members of the delegation all voted to retain Boehner: Rep. David Schweikert, Rep. Matt Salmon and Rep. Trent Franks. Only Rep. Paul Gosar, who has the lowest American Conservative Union rating of the four, voted against Boehner. Newly elected Republican Rep. Martha McSally of Tucson also voted for Boehner. After the vote, some conservative activists in Arizona started calling Gosar the only true conservative in the delegation. Something wasn't right. I called Rep. Schweikert to get to the bottom of it.
He told me the vote was largely ceremonial. The real decision was made six weeks ago, at the House Republican Conference. After that, it was too late to persuade most members to change their minds, deals had been made. Anyone who agreed to switch their vote after that could not be trusted based on prior experience. South Carolina Rep. Mick Mulvaney confirmed this in a post on his Facebook page. Two years ago, the Boehner opposition collected signed pledges from enough members of Congress to defeat him. But when it came time to vote, almost half of them changed their minds. more >>
"Offend a Christian and he is obliged to pray for your salvation. Offend a Muslim and he is obliged to murder you." So observed conservative journalist Robert Stacy McCain in the wake of last week's horrific Charlie Hebdo massacre in France.
And then we have Islam's useful idiots – the politically correct set: secular-"progressive" media-types and other left-wing ivory tower elitists bent on bowing in subservient dhimmitude to the "religion of peace." You know, people like Barack Hussein Obama who, in 2012, demanded from his lofty perch at the U.N.: "The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam."
I assume that by "the prophet of Islam," the current leader of the free world was referencing Muhammad, a child-molesting, Christian-and-Jew-beheading slave trader who, for the purposes of selfish ambition and political power alone, plagiarized and perverted the Judeo-Christian Bible to cobble together the Quran – an incoherent owner's manual to nearly a quarter of the world's population. Islam is Christianity's photo-negative, and a cheap knockoff at that. (Mr. President, you went to law school. You should know that truth is an affirmative defense to slander.) more >>
Pope Francis has said that his continued criticism of the global financial system is not because he supports Communism, but because of Jesus' call for Christians to serve the poor. The Vatican meanwhile is set to publish a report titled "This Economy Kills," highlighting the damage that the world economy brings to impoverished populations.
"Jesus affirms that you cannot serve two masters, God and wealth," Francis said Sunday in an interview with Italian newspaper La Stampa. "Is it pauperism? No, it is the Gospel."
"Jesus tells us that it is the 'protocol' on the basis of which we will be judged, it is what we read in Chapter 25 of Matthew: I had hunger, I had thirst, I was in prison, I was sick, I was naked and you helped me: dressed me, visited me, you took care of me." more >>
A bill has been introduced in the Texas Legislature that if enacted would strip the salary of any Texas-government employee who issues a marriage license to a same-sex couple.
Known as House Bill 623, the recently introduced bill declares that no state funds will go to the distribution of gay marriage licenses.
As a lifetime educator, one of my many prayers for 2015 is that people of faith in America will more fully engage in public education and turn the public conversation about high education standards away from political wrangling to focus on improving educational outcomes for all. Lost in 2014's criticism of what became known as "Common Core" was that normed, higher standards are already working, and that they hold promise for a brighter educational future for all of God's children, especially economically disadvantaged ones.
Fifteen years ago, I was teaching hundreds of students each semester in one of colleges' classic "gatekeeper" courses, English 101. The stakes were and are high: If you do not pass, you cannot move forward in your degree plan. The scholastic domino effect is as predictable as it is inexorable, and I watched in helpless frustration as many students failed my course because they were ill-prepared for the rigors of college work. Many tumbled out of higher education, the door to success slamming on some forever.
In addition, I watched as some of our areas best high school students won scholarships to prestigious universities, but when they arrived, they realized that a 4.0 GPA in and of itself was no guarantee of collegiate success. They realized that high schools that were truly "preparatory" relied on high academic standards that were tested for their efficacy to ensure student success. It was clear educational outcomes varied dramatically from state to state and even within individual states and districts. Proverbs 20:10 echoed in my mind, "Unequal weights and unequal measures are both alike an abomination to the LORD" (ESV). more >>
Liberals are hypocrites and cowards, some conservatives (and Bill Maher) are saying, for (among other things) claiming to be defenders of the freedom to engage in offensive speech in light of the Islamic extremist attack on Charlie Hebdo while continually seeking to censor speech they consider offensive.
Liberals have exalted Charlie Hebdo, a satirical French newspaper, after the attack at the paper's headquarters that left 12 dead. "Je Suis Charlie," (French for "I am Charlie") was a common refrain and hashtag from many quarters.
Even as liberal news outlets argued for the freedom of speech, they ironically continued to self-censor Charlie Hebdo. Many decided not to show audiences the images that led radical Muslims to kill those who offended them. When some of those outlets claimed the decision was done out of respect for religion, conservatives were quick to point out the double standard. more >>