Friday, December 27, 2019
Weekly Opinion Editorial
BE IT RESOLVED
by Steve Fair
Benjamin Franklin said about the New Year: “Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.” About fifty percent of Americans will make New Year’s resolutions this year but statistics find only eight percent will ultimately accomplish them. Most modern resolutions are health and prosperity related. Sadly, most resolutions are a ‘wish list’ and not based in reality.
The Bible doesn’t mention anything about making New Year’s resolutions, but it does urge believers to examine their lives on a regular basis. Lamentations 3:40 says, “Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord.” Simply put, Christians should be making resolutions all the time. An excellent example of that practice was Jonathan Edwards, the early American pastor. Famous for the sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” Edwards made a list of 70 resolutions in 1722-1723 that he read weekly the rest of his life to remind himself of what his spiritual and physical goals were. The list is available online and I would encourage you to read them. Borrowing from Jonathan Edward’s list, here are my 2020 resolutions.
First, let there be something of benevolence, in all that I speak. This was Edward’s 70th resolution- the last one. In this word of polarization and uncivil debate, I want to be a voice of conviction without contention. I realize that taking a stand for a value, cause or issue does create controversy, but help me to present my case (written and verbal) in a respectful way, recognizing only God knows everything.
Second, resolved, never to suffer the least motions of anger to irrational beings. This was Edward’s 15th resolution. Reacting to people who attack you, call you names, and belittle you is human nature. Not reacting in anger to those who hurt or wound you takes more than just human resolve. It takes constant divine help. May I lean on God to give me that grace this year.
Third, resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live and never do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life. These are the 6th and 7th of Edward’s resolutions. Ben Franklin said, “Procrastination is the enemy of success.” Abraham Lincoln said, “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” May I live life with a sense of urgency, knowing I don’t have the promise of tomorrow.
Fourth, resolved, in narration’s never to speak anything but the pure and simple verity(truth). This was Edward’s 34th resolution. Speaking the truth in love(Eph. 4:15), sharing difficult truths in a gentle, kind, inoffensive way is not easy. Often that can be seen as disloyal, double-crossing, or subversive, but ignoring, condoning and overlooking the truth is wrong. The modern norm is to ‘spin’ the facts’ to fit a pre-determined narrative. May I present the truth as best as I can see it in a simple concise way without fear of whom it may offend.I realize I can’t keep these resolutions without divine help so as Edwards writes in his preamble: Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake. Happy New Year!
Monday, December 23, 2019
Weekly Opinion Editorial
THE REASON FOR THE SEASON
by Steve Fair
The Christmas season is one where families gather to celebrate. Often the subject of politics and religion will come up and as Mark Twain said, “I am quite sure that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.” Twain’s point is that people tend to put rational thinking aside when it comes to religion and politics, but is that true?
Religion is defined as a particular system of faith and worship or a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance. In other words, a person can worship a pursuit or an interest and not a deity. Religion is not confined to a church or a people who recognize a sovereign Creator, who rules in the affairs of men. There are lots of religious people in America today: those who worship the environment, those who worship individualism, those who worship secularism and the list goes on and on. Paul addressed those religious types in Athens in Acts 17 when he told them he was going to tell them about “the unknown God.” He called them superstitious. When a person is superstitious they have a meaningless, ungrounded faith in something. In that particular case, those religious people were irrational and did not exercise good reasoning skills. But is that always the case?
Religion and politics will always come up at the dinner table, because those are the two areas that most closely define who we are. Avoiding the two subjects means we are putting on a false front for the sake of unity (not necessarily a bad thing). Remember these two important principles when discussing religion and politics.
First, rational people can disagree. There are times to drop a subject and agree to disagree. To remain contentious to win an argument is not the way to win friends and influence people. Thoughtful debate is a good thing, but caricaturing another person’s position to make a point is disingenuous. Civil debate is a lost art form and insulting your opponent has become the norm. People don’t care how much you know till they know how much you care.
Second, in politics, this too shall pass. Politicos are always exaggerating the importance of a bill or an election as the last major hope for mankind. Supporters of candidates claim that if their candidate is not elected or the president isn’t impeached, it will be the end of civilization as we know it. That is plain hypebole- it’s embellishment. God is in charge- not man and while He uses human instrumentality, to place so much importance on temporal events is secular humanism.Third, remember the reason for the season. This is the time of year when we celebrate the incarnation of the Son of God, who came to give His life for those who will come to Him in repentance and faith. He is not a babe in a manager, but a risen Savior. He can change this old world in the blink of an eye and Christians should be praying He will. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Monday, December 16, 2019
Weekly Opinion Editorial
THE CHRISTMAS CIRCUS!
by Steve Fair
On Friday the 13th, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee approved two articles of impeachment against President Donald J. Trump. The president is accused of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. This is just the fourth time in our nation’s history the House judiciary committee has approved articles of impeachment against a president. Presidents Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump share that legacy. Johnson and Clinton were acquitted in the Senate and Nixon resigned before facing a Senate trial. The vote on Friday was 23-17, along Party lines.
"Today is a solemn and sad day," Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, (D-N.Y)., said after the vote in brief remarks. "For the third time in a little over a century and a half, the House Judiciary Committee has voted articles of impeachment against the president for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The House will act expeditiously." The full House is expected to vote on Wednesday.
Congresswoman Debbie Lesko, (R-Ariz).said: “This is really a travesty for America and it's really tearing America apart. I have never in my entire life seen such an unfair rigged railroad job against the president of the United States. ... They predetermined they were going to do it and they did it, come hell or high water."
First, this impeachment vote- for or against- will follow that member of Congress for the rest of their career. It may cost some members their seat in the upcoming election. Congresswoman Kendra Horn, (D-OKC) represents OK district #5(a district Trump won in 2016) and is facing a tough reelection bid. Horn has been quiet about how she will vote, but rest assured if her yes vote is not needed, the Democrat U.S. House leadership will let her vote no. If Horn votes to impeach, her reelection chances are severely diminished. She is one of three freshman Democrat House members facing the same dilemma.
Second, President Trump will not be removed from office. Republicans control the Senate and it would take seventeen members of the Republican caucus to defect to gain the 2/3 majority needed for removal. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said last week, "The case is so darn weak coming from the House. We know how it's going to end. There's no chance the president's going to be removed from office. My hope is that there won't be a single Republican who votes for either of these articles of impeachment, and, it wouldn't surprise me if we got one or two Democrats.”Third, impeachment will now become common place. Impeachment was put into the Constitution as a safeguard against self-dealing, dishonesty, treason, high crimes and misdemeanors. It was never designed to be a political tool to remove a president with whom you disagreed with. When you consider that only four presidents have faced impeachment in the last 151 years, it’s clear both major Parties understood that. But this impeachment is different- it is completely political. There is no lying under oath(Clinton). There is no wide spread coverup(Nixon). The Democrats are impeaching Trump because they don’t like him, his policies and his supporters. That sets a precedence and in the future expect to see impeachment used against any president who is of the opposite majority Party in the House.
Monday, December 9, 2019
CIVILIZATION WILL SURVIVE!
by Steve Fair
“Civilization as we know it today is at stake in the next election, and certainly our planet,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said at a CNN town hall on Thursday evening after an audience member asked her about the importance of the 2020 election. If that line seems familiar, it is often used in science fiction films to describe a pending attack from outer space. An attack from Mars seems unlikely, but Pelosi is only slightly off on the importance of next year’s election.
As America celebrates the birth of Christ, the U.S. House leadership celebrates impeachment. No date has been set for a U.S. House floor vote on impeachment, but it is clear the vote looms in the near future, maybe even before the end of 2019. House Democrats have a sufficient number of votes to impeach President Trump. The Ds do not have enough votes in the U.S. Senate to remove. So why go through the theatrics to impeach if they know they can’t remove? It is a strategy to energize their base. According to 580.com, it is working. Democrats are more fired up about the 2020 election than Republicans by 5.7 percentage points(46.8 to 41.1). Expect Democrats to stay the course to keep their base engaged through November 2020.
First, President Trump is not perfect and he has made his share of mistakes. Pushing through a tax cut that added trillions to the national debt was a short sighted strategy. Getting tax cuts on the backs of our grandchildren isn’t the way to improve the country. When you cut taxes, you have to cut spending and that hasn’t happened. Trump’s trade war with China hasn’t worked out the way he said it would. It ultimately may, but right now the tariffs are hurting American farmers and ranchers. His picks for the Supreme Court have been great. President Trump’s foreign policy- while unconventional- has had mixed results. His supporters believe he is a messiah who walks on water- his critics believe he is the devil incarnate.
Second, President Trump appears on his way to re-election. The Democrats are struggling to find a candidate that can beat him because the Party is so fractured. Union workers, who were once solidly in support of the Democrats, are a large block of voters the Ds can’t rely on anymore. At the Town Hall, Pelosi said she did not want to ‘contemplate’ the possibility the President would be reelected. But she better get ready because it appears Trump will be elected to a second term.
“ The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It” was a little known 1977 comedy starring John Cleese. It is a spoof of the Sherlock Holmes detective series. In the film, Cleese’s character, the grandson of Sherlock Holmes, says, “They never cease to astound me.” Pelosi and the Democrat leadership never cease to bewilder, confound, and confuse the American people because that is precisely their goal. Rest assured civilization and the planet will survive, no matter who is elected.