Is America Shifting Right or Returning to Center?

As part of my Air Force flight training, I was introduced to the Barany chair. The chair was used to demonstrate how a rapid movement in one direction followed by a slowdown to a halt tricked the trainee’s mind into thinking the movement had reversed to the other direction. I believe that is what is happening to the view of many Americans regarding the present cultural upheaval.

The Barany chair taught pilots that they must rely on their aircraft instruments rather than their minds for maintaining proper control of the aircraft. Here’s how it works. The chair pictured above rotated as controlled by the instructor. The student in the chair lowered his head and closed his eyes. As the speed of the rotation increased, the student easily perceived the correct direction of rotation. When the chair was gradually slowed, the student felt that the direction had reversed. As rotation speed decreased further, the student stated that the speed was increasing in the other direction. Finally, when the chair stops, the student was asked what was happening, and he would describe very rapid movement in the opposite direction. Later the student watched a video that showed how confused he was. It’s all physiological having to do with the middle ear sensors and the messages to the brain, but that’s another subject.

Most of the current chaos in America is a desperation response to perceptions by the leftists and many moderates that the conservatives’ halt to the nation’s socialist trend is a radical reverse to the right. They talk of losing their country. They have become unhinged in a crazed backlash that takes many bizarre and sometimes dangerous forms. However, like the Barany chair experience, what is actually happening is simply a return to the center–to the cultural and political underpinning that made America great. Around the 1960’s, we began to depart from the norms that made America the greatest nation in the world. Those trends of moral and cultural decay increased exponentially over the last eight years. Therefore, the current rejection of the leftists’ agenda is giving them whiplash as if it were a head-on collision.

Think of where we were about a half-century ago in the areas of the economy, work ethic, nationalism, education, faith, family, morals, and civility. President Trump, the Congress, and the Supreme Court–all three branches of government–are now combined to be the most conservative government in American history. The systematic return to conservative values that began last month is convincing the left half of our nation that the country is out of control in the wrong direction, and we are all doomed.

We conservatives just need to encourage and support our leaders, be thankful to God for this change of course, and let the left implode as we return to the rightful center that has served our great nation so well. I invite your comments.

Is It Wrong to Oppose the President?

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While honoring and being thankful for free speech and democracy, should we use our lawful rights to actively oppose the President? Is there a distinction between the freedom to express opinion and undermining the duly elected leader of the nation? As a Christian, I have always struggled with these questions. How do I exercise my God-given freedoms, yet submit to “governing authorities” that I may disagree with?

I believe we are obligated to follow God’s commands clearly presented in His Word, the Bible, whether they meet our human logic standards or not. I am instructed to “…submit to governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.” It is easy for me to apply that scripture to those who are now aggressively trying to destroy the Trump presidency. However, I spoke out against most of Obama’s policies and worked against his re-election to a second term.

In my opinion, the difference is in expression and submission. We should not be reticent in speaking up against policies and actions of the President that we oppose. We certainly should vote against a President that we disagree with. But, to actively seek to undermine or interfere with actions from the White House is wrong. There is no way to be submissive to governing authorities while trying to weaken or undercut the President. I am convinced that the unceasing efforts to obstruct President Trump’s initiatives by almost any means are wrong.

Of course, there are biblical exceptions to submission to any authority. When the authority is acting in obvious opposition to God’s commands and precepts, Christians are obliged to oppose such actions by any peaceful means. German citizens rebelling against Hitler’s holocaust would be a classic example of this. Also, I believe attempts to undermine Obama’s abortion and gay marriage initiatives were biblical and moral.

Therefore, unless and until I see President Trump blatantly and consistently act in a manner obviously contrary to biblical principles, I will assume his authority has been “…established by God” for America’s benefit. I will also assume that those who are placing all sorts of obstacles in the path of his progress are “…rebelling against what God has instituted and will …bring judgment on themselves.” I invite you to read the full context of the quotation snippets of this post in Romans 13:1-6. Read it for what it is, not for what you would like it to be.

I also invite and encourage you to endorse or challenge this post in a reply. I value your thoughts.

The Johnson Amendment Restrictions on Religious Freedom Are About to End

Since I was a child, every church in which I have served has been unfairly restricted in its First Amendment rights. They have been denied the expression of support for or opposition to particular political candidates or government policies. This gag order on churches was enacted by the Johnson Amendment below the radar of most citizens and has since grown to intimidate every church and church leader for the last 63 years.

In 1954, then-Senator Lyndon Johnson became upset over two Texas non-profit groups that publicly supported his opponent in his bid for re-election. Still holding a grudge about these tax exempt organizations opposing him, then-President Johnson pushed through Congress an amendment to the tax code which made illegal any tax exempt organization’s endorsement of a candidate or involvement in partisan politics. The amendment applies to all 501(c)(3) tax exempt not-profits, but few of them have borne the brunt of the law like America’s churches.

The tax code amendment is not an amendment to the Constitution and has no direct bearing on the First Amendment. However, from the day it was signed, advocates of the so-called separation of church and state have blurred the line between religious rights under the Constitution and this seemingly benign tax law. They have waved the amendment in the faces of three generations of nervous church leaders who worry about jeopardizing their church’s tax exempt status–and rightly so.

As a church leader at one level or another for a half-century, I have many times had to second-guess whether a certain message or action by the church would be considered legal. This should have never been the case in a nation founded on freedom of religion. Our forefathers went to great lengths to craft a Constitution which assured the freedom of all people to practice their faith based on the precepts of their God, not within the confines of a tax code. For the first century and a half after the Constitution was ratified, churches were very involved in the political activity of the day. Pastors recommended candidates to their congregation based on the candidates’ support of biblical truths.

The election of Donald Trump and the Republican majority in both the House and Senate portend a long-awaited return of full First Amendment rights to the churches. Last Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast, the President reiterated a campaign promise by proclaiming, “I will get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution.” Of course, the President alone can’t terminate the amendment, but his influence on a Congress already friendly to the idea can probably make it happen.

The purpose of the IRS is to collect and process revenues for the Treasury. But, it has become the “speech police” for churches that should be only subject to the higher authority of the First Amendment and the highest authority of God. If this unfair tax code is not struck down now, we may never see the opportunity again. When the repeal gets to Congressional committee, aggressively keep the lines to your Senators and Representative hot urging them to vote for abolishing the Johnson Amendment.

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