Friday, September 26, 2008

Shelved moralities

A Maine newspaper did a story this week on women and voting in the presidential election. The only organized political woman's voice in the State House is the Maine Women's Lobby. They claim to speak for all Maine women. They don't, of course.

They are, however, powerful. They installed their former leader in the Labor Department as Commissioner by hook and by crook. She was unqualified for the job. It was corrupt political payback, plain and simple. Laura Fortman is no more qualified to serve as Labor Commissioner than I am qualified to teach quantum physics. I fear they may have overly influenced the leadership of the Maine Republican Party as well.

The article includes comments by a GOP leader. While I appreciate the fact that he defended Sarah Palin in the news article he didn't tell half the story. He said, "The Palin factor has yet to play out fully in Maine." Fortunately he doesn't stop there. He continues, but stops short of telling the most important part of her story. He continues, "She's quite an outdoorswoman, her husband is a world champion snowmobiler ... I think she really connects with Mainers."

Having enjoyed my fair share of hour long interviews with reporters that end up featuring one sentence I will readily allow that he wasn't fully quoted. However, not mentioning Palin's pro family and pro life credentials is a fine-tuned strategy in the Maine GOP.

Driven less by the facts than by fear of our liberal media the Maine GOP has developed an allergy to conservative Christians. It's a hard thing to be allergic to your base. I hate the summer because my allergies kick up and I become hard to be around. Just ask my wife. My nose runs. My eyes water. I sneeze and have to blow my nose. I'm just not very pleasant.

This reminds me of the Maine GOP for the past few decades. They sniff along making excuses for their base, hoping we'll hide in a closet. They pretend we don't exist. And you know what, as a matter of showing up to lick stamps, put up signs, send money and do basic activism -- we don't exist anymore. Social liberals have effectively run the social conservatives out of the party.

The results of this failed political strategy on the part of Maine's GOP business-minded, low tax crusading leadership is obvious. The Maine GOP is fast becoming irrelevant. Perhaps someone needs to remind the leaders of the GOP that they have completely lost power in the State House, and the prospects for this election season are grim ... to say the least.

Collins and Snowe hold onto power using special interest money. They don't need the Maine GOP base to get reelected. All the special interest money at the state level is moving to the Democrats. We are fast becoming Massachusetts. Some Republicans have their hands out to the growing power in Maine -- gambling. I predict political defeat for any Republican who claims to be pro family while cozying up to the gambling lobby.

Probably the best hope is the Maine Heritage Policy Center. Their strategy is, however, weak because it is cold like money. That's because that is what they are about -- money, lowering taxes. That's good, but it isn't enough. The Maine GOP needs a heart. And the heart of the Republican message today is obviously upholding and defending traditional family values. Defending a common sense sexual ethic.

One GOP leader had the perfect opportunity while defending Palin to offer up a public apologetic along these lines. He didn't. Until we see leaders taking a principled and courageous stand on abortion and homosexuality the Maine GOP is, unfortunately, displaying its dedication to destruction.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The nation will right itself if it fixes sex

We are all rightly concerned about the nation's financial situation today. Our crisis is a symptom, not the cause.

Ruth Graham told her husband Billy years ago that God would have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah if He doesn't judge America. They were reflecting on a list of sinful conditions existing in our nation in the 1960s. Things have only deteriorated since then.

I am not saying I know whether this financial crisis is God's judgment or not. It is not for me to know that definitively. Graham's observations are instructive, however.

If Maine's politicians really want to get serious about making Maine strong in light of this national crisis they will do the following immediately:
  1. Put Maine on record as being against abortion the nanosecond the Supreme Court releases the Roe shackle.
  2. Defund the Family Planning Association of Maine.
  3. Amend Maine's Constitution to define Marriage.
  4. Eliminate domestic partnerships and ignore pleas to create civil unions.
  5. Unleash Maine's private sector to make Maine energy independent.
  6. End discrimination against private religious schools and homeschools.
If we did that in 2009 I think God would crack a smile.

The Nation's Interests Must be First

President Bush discussed the nation's financial crisis last night in a televised speech to the nation. Citing a spirit of cooperation he said, "In that spirit, I've invited Senators McCain and Obama to join congressional leaders of both parties at the White House tomorrow (today) to help speed our discussions toward a bipartisan bill."

Yesterday the McCain and Obama campaigns entered into a game of oneupsmanship. While I think McCain was right to suspend his campaign and lead from the front by going to Washington to do what Senators do I think it is important that President Bush get both of these men together today. This was a good move on the President's part.

While we all want to let the greedy people stew it is obvious that something has to be done by the government this week. It seems to me that our system is working. Opinions are flying as the President proposes. Everyone is talking consensus. We all must trust that the informed economists and smart people are working behind the scenes for the best interests of the nation.

We must pray that a consensus emerges and the nation moves toward financial stability. While eternal stability comes in the next life, we can hope that a renewal of personal responsibility will keep America strong going forward.

Read my wife's Christian thoughts about finances at her blog.

Mike Huckabee put out a fund raising email yesterday in which he blasted Congress and the President for the bailout. Huckabee's solution is:

1. Eliminate ALL capital gains taxes and taxes on savings and dividends right now. Free up the capital and encourage investment. This is the kind of economic stimulus the Fair Tax would bring and if Congress is going to lose money, let them lose it with lower taxes, not with public dollar bailouts of private market mistakes. 2. Repeal Sarbanes/Oxley. It has failed. It was supposed to prevent this. It didn't. Kill it. 3. Demand that the executives who steered their ships into the ground be forced to pay back the losses of their companies. Of course, they can't, so let them work and give back to the government and they can live like the people they put on the streets or kept there. It makes no sense to put them in jail—that's just more they will cost you and me. I'd rather them go out and earn money—just not get to keep so much of it this time. I'm not talking about limiting CEO salaries---just those of the people who now are up in Washington begging for help because they ruined their companies.
While I respect Mike Huckabee and these sound like good changes and actions they are too little too late. These policy prescriptions should be debated, and probably implemented, after we get through this week.

I'm no economist, but that's my sense of the situation. Perhaps some of these ideas can be worked into the bailout. Certainly the responsible CEOs should be held accountable.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The totalitarians are at it again

I'm so proud to be helping my friend Peter LaBarbera. As chair of the board of Americans for Truth I couldn't be more pleased with our stand for sexual sanity on the internet. If you haven't already reviewed this clear example of intimidation and foolishness please do so now. Click here.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Planned Threatening

UCLA student Lila Rose told the 2000 citizens assembled for the Values Voter Summit her story about being threatened with a lawsuit by Planned Parenthood. While Planned Parenthood eventually relented and dropped the lawsuit threat Lila was inspired by the persecution. She has ratcheted up her pro life advocacy using the new media, including popular online video site Youtube.

"Rape and racism are both fundamentally evil," she said. "We need to broaden the context of people's understanding of the abortion issue."

Lila mentioned that in the last three weeks YouTube has removed six videos that highlight the horrors of abortion. She urged the crowd to put pressure on Youtube.

She showed footage to the crowd regarding an undercover investigation of Planned Parenthood. The clip drew a standing ovation from the crowd. The clip shows Planned Parenthood breaking the law.

Speaking to Planned Parenthood Lila promised, "You will be defunded."

"Planned Parenthood will provide the crimes, we must provide the convictions." she said.

Gary Bauer and Bill Bennett

My friend Gary Bauer is speaking right now. He pointed out that 19 nations have taken polls regarding our Presidential election. In 15 of those nations Barack Obama won. Gary is bemused by the media's interest in what other nations think about our Presidential contest.

Bill Bennett spoke first this morning. He suggested that America's President needs to have moral clarity. He proved that Barack Obama lacks such clarity.

I think Paulie is going to blog on more details regarding Bill's speech. I was in the hall networking on issues related to the Family Policy Council. Be sure to visit Paulie's blog

Gary compared urban values to small town values of family, faith and freedom. He indicated that small town values will win over urban values everytime.

Addressing the most popular topic of this convention, Sarah Palin, Gary stated that in choosing to have Trig she did more for the pro life cause than he has done in thirty years of political advocacy. Trig is a downs syndrome baby.

Gary indicated that his political views are formed by his faith. A student confronted him on this point when he was running for president. The student asked him if he knew about the separation of church and state. Gary pointed to the education system as the source of this confusion about the relationship between faith and public life. "Something is wrong in America." he said.

He highlighted America's march of freedom and inspired a standing ovation when he praised America's military working in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Turning to the topic of terrorism, Gary indicated that the detonation of a dirty bomb in the Federal Triangle here in Washington DC would kill 60,000 people, and it would set off an unimaginable crisis in America. He concluded with a bold endorsement of John McCain.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Palin Presence at the Values Voter Summit

I just took a walk through the Exhibitor area of the Values Voter Summit. I found a booth that was playing up the Palin Vice President pick. The pro life Susan B. Anthony group is handing out bumper stickers and lapel stickers.

Sarah Palin is in Alaska seeing her son off to war. He is going to Iraq as a soldier. She won't be speaking at the Summit.

Paulie and I will bring Palin stickers home to Maine. I checked with the Maine Republican office last week. They didn't have any signs or stickers.

Evangelical left leader Jim Wallis is arguing that the Democrat Party's, and Barak Obama's, position on abortion is more pro life than the Republican position. Even though the Democrat Party removed the word "rare" from their famous promise to make abortion "safe, legal and rare" this year Wallis believes that an Obama administration will be more pro life than a McCain presidency.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

If you want Palin stickers send me an email

Gibbs Compares Life to the Game of Football

The popular former Washington Redskins football coach spoke second at the Values Voter Summit. He brought up the topic of evolution early in his speech. "God has to be the head coach in the game of life," he said.

He believes in God because he encounters design in nature. He talked about his wrist watch, saying that just as it is impossible for it to come together without a designer it is impossible for nature to exist without a designer.

He talked about God being a loving creator in addition to being the designer.

Gibbs compared the value of worldly success with the value of his family and children. He said that his family is much more important than leading a football team.

"The most important thing in our life is our kids and influencing others," he said.

Lou Dobbs Praises Religious Right

Lou Dobbs, the famous CNN media personality quipped that he will be in trouble with the liberal media is they find out that he is here at the Values Voter Summit. He was just introduced by Tony Perkins, the President of the Family Research Council.

Paulie and I are blogging, as you can see from this picture, from New Media Row at the Summit.

Dobbs indicates that the voice of Christian Americans is important, and that it needs to be heard. He praised Tony for his manner of relating to him. Dobbs believes that Values Voters must work on issues beyond the sex-related moral issues of abortion and homosexuality. He urged the enthusiastic crowd to view financial issues as equally important.

Dobbs argues that three billion dollars of special interest spending is silencing the voice of the majority. He believes that democracy is at risk because of this threat.

He describes himself as an independent populist. He says that the national media is liberal in its tone and content.

He mentioned the nomination of Sarah Palin as illustrative of that liberalism. He described her treatment by the national media and celebrities as "savaging" Palin.

Dobbs confessed anger at Keith Oberman for attacking not only himself, but his children.

He is quite concerned about Values Voters being aligned too closely with just two or three issues. "Reach beyond what the ideologues expect of you," he said. He urged Values Voters to engage with passion and gusto.

The crowd that fills the large conference hall gave Dobbs a standing ovation.

Be sure to check out Paulie's blog

Paulie is sitting right next to me doing her own blogging. Be sure to check out her blog.

We Shall Overcome

The great Christian hymn "We Shall Overcome" is playing in the background as Christians file into the large conference hall. We are at the Washington Hilton awaiting the start of the Values Voter Summit.

This morning Bishop Harry Jackson spoke to a room full of folks as they enjoyed their breakfast. Bishop Jackson co-wrote a new book with Tony Perkins. Tony leads the Family Research Council.

Their book is entitled "Personal Faith Public Policy." I started reading it a little while ago. The book takes on some issues that aren't traditionally associated with the "religious right." I've gotten through the introduction. It is throught provoking.

Enjoying the beauty of D.C.

Paulie and I were blessed by a friend of our oldest son last night. He gave us tickets to hear the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center. We would have been thrilled with second tier seats. However, it was a real treat to listen to beautiful classical music from a box seat in the center of the cavernous concert hall. This picture was snapped on the terrace of the Kennedy Center last night just before the concert. On this day seven years ago a jet flew just behind where we are standing. It exploded into the Pentagon just behind Paulie's head. The picture was taken by an older gentleman. He and his wife were in D.C. visiting the WWII Monument, and other historic sites. They are from Tennessee. They looked to be in their eighties. He still works in the nuclear weapons program at Oak Ridge as a nuclear engineer. It was delightful to make their acquaintance.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

This was the Washington Monument this morning at 5 a.m. I jogged west toward the Lincoln Memorial with the illuminated sand-colored obelisk on my left and darkened White House on my right. I stopped and snapped the picture to include here.

When I got back to the hotel I thought about George Washington's First Inaugural address. In that short speech the Revolutionary war general and President observed, "that the foundation of our national policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality."
He continued, "I dwell on this prospect with every satisfaction which an ardent love for my country can inspire, since there is no truth more thoroughly established than that there exists in the economy and course of nature an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness; between duty and advantage; between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity; since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained; and since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered, perhaps, as deeply, as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people."
Those are thoughts worth pondering this 9/11.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Paulie greets Mike Huckabee

Tonight we went for a long walk in our nation's capitol city. Last year when I was hear for the Values Voter Summit I jogged down by the White House every morning.

Tonight I took Paulie for a walk on my jogging "path." We went over to Barnes and Noble to see if Julian Stockwin's latest novel was available. We learned that it isn't scheduled for publication until October. That was a disappointment.

But we did get to spend my birthday gift certificate on "Sarah" a thin paperback that just jumped in price to nearly $20 bucks for some reason. Can't imagine why! It is a short biography of Sarah Palin that was written before it was known that she was going to be the Republican Vice Presidential pick.

When we left the bookstore Paulie got the urge to find the FoxNews Washington office. We were hoping to see the end of Brit Hume's show, which we watch in the evening. We didn't find it ... but, on our way back up Connecticut Avenue who should walk right in front of us going into a building? Mike Huckabee. We are both fans. Paulie stopped him and I snapped the picture.

It was a fun and eventful walk! Meetings start tomorrow.

Watchmen on the Wall

I gathered with one hundred of my favorite people yesterday in New Hampshire. Pastors gathered together from all over New England to hear from national leaders like Tony Perkins, Harry Jackson and Peter Marshall. The well-attended event inspired the men and women in the room.

I talked with many of the pastors throughout the day. One pastor from the midcoast region told me he was encouraged by the presentations. He drove three hours each way to attend the free event. One of my board members came down from Houlton.

Watchmen on the Wall is a project of the Family Research Council. Tony Perkins wants pastors to know that they hold the keys to America's future. He told them yesterday that they don't need to become political. "You just need to preach the Bible." He said.

To learn more about the Watchmen on the Wall program contact the League at 207-622-7634. Perhaps this is a good fit for your pastor. Email us at

Monday, September 8, 2008

Happening more and more

As tradition bound evangelical churches give way to more youthful megachurch formats I'm noticing a shift away from reason.

I've been ministering in Maine as an evangelical parachurch leader for over two decades now. Over that period it seems that common sense has decreased among evangelical Christians as power and influence have drained away from denominational structures. Political and social liberalism are becoming synonymous with worship and Christianity -- even in conservative evangelical churches.

We expect this in mainline and liberal "christian" churches. I find it shocking in Bible-teaching conservative evangelical churches.

Love, grace and kindness are all that matters now. It feels like our churches are no different from the local car lot, and we expect our leadership to act like salesmen. A car saleman will never offend a customer. Every car on their lot is perfect. If you point out a flaw they change the subject in a nanosecond pointing out some positive feature. They are continually mining for data during their conversation with you that will help them connect with you and sell the car.

Likewise, the pastor dare not offend, or we'll walk out the back door with our tithe never to return. We expect the church to always play up the positives of Christianity, the world and life. Sometimes it seems like the church infrastructure is designed like the local car lot. It is always mining for data to enable it to keep everyone happy. And we are eager to provide them with information that will help them make us happy.

In small rural churches this manner of doing church is devastating. The pastor only needs to lose a family or two and the church is living on its endowment to maintain the building, not to mention pay the pastor.

This approach to church and ministry lacks common sense and reason because we are talking about Bible-based churches. We are talking about communities that are sustained by regular preaching of the Bible. The Bible is the most discomfiting book on the planet. It is written to make everyone of us FEEL uncomfortable. God gave the Bible to MAKE US REASONABLE, by reminding us of how morally stupid we've become since eating the fruit on that tree.

Speaking of eating, when was the last time you heard a sermon on gluttony?

Yes, the pastor is supposed to love, counsel and comfort. More important, He is CALLED to proclaim truth from the Bible.

Sexual immorality is sin. It is devastating, and it is the most civilization-threatening agenda in our modern culture. If your church isn't confronting this issue head on from the pulpit, and in every age group in your church, then you need to be asking yourself if your church is Biblical.

You should be hearing sermons regularly about family and sexuality. There should be no question or controversy in your church about responding to the sexual immorality agenda of modern liberalism. This issue should be simple in your church. It is basic Bible.

I'll give you a recent example of what I'm talking about. I heard about a man who invited his church to support an effort to overturn bad laws related to the homosexual agenda. A powerful woman in the small church confronted him after the group strongly supported his appeal. In private the powerful person blamed the man for not influencing her daughter when she was in high school. He didn't know the daughter, had never met her and had no relationship with her. The man later learned the daughter is lesbian. The woman then cited negative gossip that she overheard in the vestry as reason to not confront the homosexual agenda publicly. The church board considered public support for the man's proposal over the coming months and ultimately decided not to support his reasonable proposal.

We run into this sort of thing all over Maine. How can the God who inspired Paul to condemn homosexuality as a sin that leads to eternal punishment in hell bless churches that won't apply this truth plainly in public?

I'll give you another example. In the last decade the frequency of attacks on the League from conservative Christians, pastors and supporters has increased. The attacks are often the same. We agree with your positions, they say. We disagree with the WAY you articulate the positions. When pressed they rarely give specific examples.

The League has refused to compromise with pro-abortion and pro-homosexual FORCES. This isn't personal for us. Liberals make it personal because it helps them politically. They are completely restructuring our laws with respect to family and sexuality.

This has made the League a target of the liberal and secular media. The intensity and frequency of their screeds has made it difficult for the ministry to accurately represent who we are, and what we believe, to the public. This seems to be poisoning the evangelical church.

We are dedicated to the proposition that sex outside of marriage is wrong.

Our civilization will continue to nurture this truth, or it will die.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Is there a Sarah Palin in Maine

I'm pictured here in front of the Ten Commandments that are posted at the front door of the Hermon Baptist Church. Paulie and I spent Saturday afternoon at their corn roast. Many men came up to me and thanked me for the League's stand. When Sarah Palin was mentioned there was clapping and VERY visible excitement.

Sarah Palin's nomination has me wondering if there is someone like her in Maine. There is no doubt that there are plenty of strong evangelical Christian moms here. They serve on PTAs, love sports and eat moose stew. Maybe there's a head selectwoman somewhere out there who could become our next Governor. Who knows.

It sure would be refreshing.

Sarah's pro family credentials are what has turned a morose Republican campaign into something vibrant and interesting. The lip stick sure looks good on this pit bull of a campaign!

Augusta is controlled by socially liberal special interests and money. What is needed is someone, a man or a woman, to come here as Governor who is truly socially conservative. If they are pro-family they will make the business-minded special interests happy. That is guaranteed.

This formula will do for Maine what Sarah Palin did for Alaska, and is likely to do when she goes to Washington D.C. According to all the accounts I'm reading from regular people in Alaska she went to Juno and cleaned house. That is what's needed in Augusta. She is loved by the people, and hated by the politicians.

I find that reformers like Sarah who go to the Legislature end up silenced within a year, for the most part. There are exceptions. But, that tends to be the rule. Maine isn't stuck in this ditch because there aren't conservatives in the legislature. We are stuck here because they are overwhelmed. They do what they can, but there aren't enough of them ... and the conservative public is disengaged.

Perhaps the energy price shock is going to shake this up. I pray this is the case.

More big government is not going to help. More welfare, largesse and Augusta solutions aren't going to make Maine strong.

We need a reformer like Sarah Palin!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Better choices

Years ago my friend and mentor Jack Wyman gave a speech entitled "Better Choices: A Post Roe Agenda." In the controversial article he argued for birth control, and diminished the importance of the legal fight over abortion. It was a move designed to appeal to moderates.

That was 18 years ago.

Today, Jack is somewhere in Texas and I continue to represent, in the best way I know how, social conservative values to many Mainers as leader of the Christian Civic League of Maine.

Recently I've been following the rhetoric of Maine politicians and the Maine Republican Party. Much is being made of the "moderate" political temperament of Maine people. These observations are offered by the existing leadership of the party, and those who aspire to leadership. I personally know most of these folks.

I believe they want what is best for Maine.

I am saddened by what is happening.

I ran as a Republican for the House of Representatives in 1992. I thought then that the Republican Party was a comfortable fit for my priorities. I still believe this is true. That is why I re-registered as a Republican earlier this year after abandoning the party in 2005. I was angry about the party's failure to confront the extreme agenda of homosexual activists in Maine.

The Maine GOP has now abandoned that issue, along with abortion, entirely. They allow their platform to reflect a tepid commitment to these important values, but they do nothing in the State House to advocate for them. Nor do they do anything during elections to bring hope and change to citizens who deserve clarity and reason instead of capitulation and confusion.

During my time as leader of the League I have watched many of the politicians I know abandon this fight.

Politicians have concluded that the critical social issues of abortion and homosexuality don't matter to Maine people. If they are right then Maine is not what I think it is, and the Republican Party is not what it has always been.

The political and moral soil of abolition is where the seed of the Republican Party germinated. The cause of slavery then was more divisive and controversial than abortion is now. The blood that soaked the ground of Gettysburg brought an end to the idea that skin color separates people. The party of Lincoln can never be for abandoning unborn people. It doesn't fit with her principles.

Maine's GOP has, however, abandoned family values. If the party doesn't change its direction it will continue to lose power in the Maine State House. As it is the Party controls nothing there, and social liberalism will gain more power this November.

I started this post mentioning my friend Jack Wyman. Jack took a political risk when he issued "Better Choices." I respect him for that. It won him public praise from liberals like Jim Brunelle and Ellen Goodman. Patient Christian conservatives mostly observed from the sidelines as Jack went on to run for Governor in 1994, hoping that his novel approach would prove helpful to the cause.

He lost his bid for Governor in the primary, and helped enrich the political fortunes of Susan Collins.

Is the future of Maine really pro-abortion and pro-homosexual? I don't think it is, but I could be wrong. The Maine GOP has obviously decided that our future is socially liberal.

Maybe I'm like Barack Obama on abortion and this whole matter is above my pay grade.

I sure hope not. I hate to think that Maine would settle for a "gay" pro-death polity.