The Long Version

Retired broadcast journalist. Blogging helps scratch the itch. Recovering exRepublican – Sober and still Conservative.

Archive for March 2012

Paul Harvey Understood

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Paul Harvey is a broadcasting icon.

His ability to speak to any subject with eloquence and substance was unique and, in my opinion, unequaled in today’s media.

Recently, a Paul Harvey broadcast from 1965 has surfaced with prophetic insight into not only the turbulent times during the 60’s but to what we would be seeing today in politics, society, and the world view in general.

You can’t escape his words nor rationalize them away as just “opinion”.  He speaks as one who understands true principles and the consequence of dismissing them.

Written transcript: Paul Harvey, If I Were the Devil.  1965

Paul HarveyIf I were the Devil . . . I mean, if I were the Prince of Darkness, I would of course, want to engulf the whole earth in darkness. I would have a third of its real estate and four-fifths of its population, but I would not be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree, so I should set about however necessary to take over the United States. I would begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: “Do as you please.” “Do as you please.”

To the young, I would whisper, “The Bible is a myth.” I would convince them that man created God instead of the other way around. I would confide that what is bad is good, and what is good is “square”. In the ears of the young marrieds, I would whisper that work is debasing, that cocktail parties are good for you. I would caution them not to be extreme in religion, in patriotism, in moral conduct. And the old, I would teach to pray. I would teach them to say after me: “Our Father, which art in Washington” . . .

If I were the devil, I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting so that anything else would appear dull an uninteresting. I’d threaten T.V. with dirtier movies and vice versa. And then, if I were the devil, I’d get organized. I’d infiltrate unions and urge more loafing and less work, because idle hands usually work for me. I’d peddle narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. And I’d tranquilize the rest with pills. If I were the devil, I would encourage schools to refine yound intellects but neglect to discipline emotions . . . let those run wild.

I would designate an athiest to front for me before the highest courts in the land and I would get preachers to say “she’s right.” With flattery and promises of power, I could get the courts to rule what I construe as against God and in favor of pornography, and thus, I would evict God from the courthouse, and then from the school house, and then from the houses of Congress and then, in His own churches I would substitute psychology for religion, and I would deify science because that way men would become smart enough to create super weapons but not wise enough to control them.

If I were Satan, I’d make the symbol of Easter an egg, and the symbol of Christmas, a bottle. If I were the devil, I would take from those who have and I would give to those who wanted, until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious. And then, my police state would force everybody back to work. Then, I could separate families, putting children in uniform, women in coal mines, and objectors in slave camps. In other words, if I were Satan, I’d just keep on doing what he’s doing.

Paul Harvey, Good Day.

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Written by DCL

March 26, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Vetting Sandra Fluke Not a Fluke.

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Sandra FlukeSandra Fluke became the center of media attention at the end of February when she appeared before a group of Senators to share her story and feelings about Georgetown University and it’s student insurance which does not provide free contraception.

Since her controversial testimony on February 23, Sandra Fluke has been called a slew of names, from a heroine to a “slut” the now infamous word used to describe her by Rush Limbaugh. But the truth is, she may actually just be a fake.  Gateway Pundit and Hot Air suggest that may be the case, citing a post by Jammie Wearing Fools that says:

“For me the interesting part of the story is the ever-evolving “coed”. I put that in quotes because in the beginning she was described as a Georgetown law student. It was then revealed that prior to attending Georgetown she was an active women’s right advocate. In one of her first interviews she is quoted as talking about how she reviewed Georgetown’s insurance policy prior to committing to attend, and seeing that it didn’t cover contraceptive services,  she decided to attend with the express purpose of battling this policy. During this time, she was described as a 23-year-old coed. Magically, at the same time Congress is debating the forced coverage of contraception, she appears and is even brought to Capitol Hill to testify. This morning, in an interview with Matt Lauer on the Today show, it was revealed that she is 30 years old,  NOT the 23 that had been reported all along.”

Fluke is really 30 years-old and has been a women‘s rights activist who not only didn’t get caught without contraception at Georgetown, but specifically knew the university didn’t cover it and chose to attend anyway so she could fight against the policy.

The idea that Fluke is herself an unwitting victim of Georgetown’s policy on contraceptives is now apparently a ruse. In several interviews, especially following Rush Limbaugh’s attack, Fluke has implicitly included herself in the group of women who allegedly unwittingly suffer as a result of Georgetown’s policies. This is a key point for the Democrats supporting her, for if Fluke did happen to read Georgetown’s insurance policy before coming and decide to come anyway, that would, at best, undermine her spokeswoman status and at worse make her a fraud.

Hmmmmmmmm…

I don’t have to agree with a person’s right or reasons to protest and seek changes to policies or laws or whatever they are not happy about, to respect that right.  I just want to know that its genuine and they are who they claim to be and the thing they claim to be an injustice is legitimate, at least in their eyes, and above board.  I can respect that.  What I can’t deal with is a fake.  A liar.  Someone who manipulates and twists the truth in a way to exaggerate their case or try to make their ideas or opinions more consequential.

This is a fairly damning report, especially when combined with the knowledge that Miss Fluke was also being handled and represented by someone at the progressive PR firm SKDKnickerbocker, where Anita Dunn — the former Obama communications director — is a managing director. This was reported last week by Bill O’Reilly on his Fox News program.  O’Reilly flat out says he believes the Sandra Fluke controversy was manufactured to divert attention away from President Obama and his unconstitutional mandate and attack on religious freedom.

While I don’t agree with Rush Limbaugh’s portrayal of Miss Fluke, this new information also makes the attack on Limbaugh by the left and mainstream media look even more hypocritical and more like a witch hunt to silence a very successful and influential conservative voice.

You can read a full report on Fluke and these interesting revelations about her HERE at TheBlaze.com.

Written by DCL

March 12, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Chameleon Politics – President Obama’s Change

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Gas prices are looking more and more like they’ll hit that $5 per gallon mark this year, probably somewhere near the peak summer travel months.

The president is now talking like a conservative when it comes to oil and gas prices. Taking an opportunity on Super Tuesday to steal some of the limelight away from the Republicans, President Obama pitched his energy strategy which is laden with green energy alternatives he plans to pay for by ending tax incentives for big oil.

While the president is saying one thing about oil and gasoline prices now, he has said something very different before.

In January 2008, candidate Obama told the San Francisco Chronicle that under his cap-and-trade plan, “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” Steven Chu, now Secretary of Energy, told the same newspaper in 2008: “Somehow, we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” That would put gas at about $10 a gallon.

This president has done nothing to pave the way for lower fuel prices since becoming president. In fact, he has done the very opposite since taking office.

In March of 2010, Mr. Obama reversed or scaled back nearly every major offshore oil opportunity that has come about since the price spike of 2008—effectively reimposing a moratorium on drilling off the coasts. His administration has killed leases in developmentally crucial areas of Alaska. His EPA has refused to issue permits. The White House used the BP oil spill as an excuse to also shut down the deep-water Gulf.

Onshore? Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has revoked oil-and-gas leases. The EPA is suffocating the coal industry with regulation. One of the president’s only clear State of the Union proposals was to raise taxes on oil and gas. The White House’s energy policy, says Dan Kish of the Institute for Energy Research, is “embargoing our own energy supplies to drive up their costs.”

During the Gulf oil spill the administration and Democrats didn’t worry about a back-lash for their blatantly “anti-oil” stance, but now that the Gulf has recovered and prices are approaching $5 a gallon their tune has changed. What do we hear coming out of the president’s teleprompter now?  Fox News correspondent Ed Henry asked the president about gas prices and the notion that Obama wants to see prices go even higher at which the president scoffed, “From a political perspective, do you think the president of the United States going into re-election wants gas prices to go up higher? Is there anybody here who thinks that makes a lot of sense?”  No, it makes no sense at all, which is why the president is now changing his tune.

It’s quite clear, going into an election year, President Obama is going to conveniently forget his past statements and actions when it comes to fossil fuels and he’ll hope you forget too. This president changes like a chameleon, liberal until it isn’t convenient or favorable and then adopting a more conservative tone to better serve his purposes.

Nobody should forget how angry the public was over $4 gas in 2008. That anger was enough to propel John McCain in the polls, where he stayed until the financial crisis. Another thing to remember; oil prices peaked in July 2008 and the unemployment rate was 5.7%. What might happen with $5 gas and 9% unemployment?

President Obama’s anti-oil record is clear through his words and actions and those of his appointees, and Republicans should use their bully pulpit in the House to directly connect prices to the Obama energy freeze. He’ll try to deflect, ignore, or minimize his record. He must be forced to face his record and explain it.

If the Republican candidates are smart they’ll continue to use this president’s past words and actions to refute and contradict what he is saying now in this election year.

Written by DCL

March 7, 2012 at 2:41 pm

A Case for Mormons as Christians

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As the electoral process continues toward March 6th and Super Tuesday, Mitt Romney continues to be a front-runner for the Republican nomination.  Since 2008 when Romney first threw his hat into the presidential ring his faith has been under much scrutiny and in many cases attack.

Most recently Dr. Robert Jeffress, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, TX appeared on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews, where he repeatedly called the Mormon church or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, as it is officially known, a cult.  Many in the political arena chastised the Pastor for his comments but he has remained steadfast behind them and unwilling to soften his tone.

I recently received a copy of a letter sent to Pastor Jeffress by a member of the Mormon faith questioning his comments and using historical data to refute the pastor’s premise and make a case that Mormons have as much claim to the term Christian as any other sect.  It’s not known if Pastor Jeffress has read or replied to the letter at this time.  If such information is discovered I’ll make it available in a future post.

Are Mormon’s Christians?  Read Robert Starling’s case, check his historical facts, and decide for yourself.

Dear Staff Members at First Baptist Dallas,

I’ve tried unsuccessfully to find an email address for Dr. Robert Jeffress, so I’m sending this to all of the members on the First Baptist Dallas staff that I found listed on your website. I hope that at least one of you will forward this on to Pastor Jeffress because I feel it’s important that he have the opportunity to read and understand it.

= = =

Dear Pastor Jeffress,

I’m just one of the millions of people who saw and heard on TV news shows your statements that “Mormonism is a cult” and “not a part of orthodox Christianity”. As a faithful lifelong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I felt a strong reaction to those statements, as you might imagine. My remarks here are only my personal thoughts, but I assure you they are heartfelt.

My reaction was twofold. First, I saw your remarks as an unfortunate “below-the-belt” swipe at Mitt Romney in the hopes of advancing your own favorite political candidate. While you certainly have the right to do that, I think many Americans join me in feeling that such a move was beneath a prominent religious leader such as yourself.

Second, as a devoted believer and follower of Jesus Christ I was saddened that you felt the need to speak out against my faith and beliefs. I’m sure there are those who think it was done with malice, but I’ll try to do the Christ-like thing and give you the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps you’ve just been misinformed about “Mormonism” as many others have been.

But it might surprise you to learn that I actually agree with part of what you said, although perhaps for different reasons than you might imagine.

You said that Mitt Romney is “not a Christian” (and by association myself and the other six million-plus Americans who are Latter-day Saints). But I believe you need to be more specific. There are many different kinds or “flavors” of Christians. I agree that the LDS people are not Baptist Christians or Evangelical Christians or Catholic Christians, etc. I will even agree that we’re not part of “orthodox” or “traditional” flavor of Christianity, if by that you mean the post-Nicene church that became the “universal” or “catholic” version of Christendom.

I believe my faith to be the original church of the Corinthians, the Ephesians, and yes, those who were first called Christians in Antioch, – that same church now restored in these latter days. So I call myself a “latter-day Christian”, with theological roots that precede the “historical” or “orthodox” version that was the product of the various councils and creeds. That “orthodoxy” eventually became so corrupt and so apostate that the Reformers broke away from it in protest of its having “fallen away” from Biblical truths (2 Thess. 2) and “changed the ordinances” (Isa. 24:5) so that the “faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3) was no longer recognizable as the church that Jesus organized.

There were many enlightened Christian thinkers and theologians in history who, like Joseph Smith, believed that Christianity had become apostate and that a restoration of the New Testament church of Christ was necessary.

John Wesley the founder of Methodism wrote:

“It does not appear that these extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost were common in the Church for more than two or three centuries. We seldom hear of them after that fatal period when the Emperor Constantine called himself a Christian; . . . From this time they almost totally ceased; . . . The Christians had no more of the Spirit of Christ than the other Heathens . . . This was the real cause why the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost were no longer to be found in the Christian Church; because the Christians were turned Heathens again, and had only a dead form left.” – The Works of John Wesley, vol. 7, pp.26-27

As I’m sure you well know, John Smythe the founder of the Baptists first left his position as a Church of England minister and joined the Separatists, but then dissolved his congregation to re-form it as the first General Baptist church among English expatriates in Amsterdam in 1609. He felt that the “historic” or “orthodox” Christianity of his time had wandered astray, especially with regard to the apostate doctrine of infant baptism. Those first Baptists were considered a “cult” by many Protestants in the “traditional” Christian denominations that persecuted them unmercifully.

Around 1640, Roger Williams of Providence, Rhode Island, founder of the first Baptist church in America refused to continue as pastor on the grounds that there was:

“…no regularly-constituted church on earth, nor any person authorized to administer any Church ordinance: nor could there be until new apostles are sent by the great Head of the Church, for whose coming, I am seeking.” – (Picturesque America, or the Land We Live In, ed. William Cullen Bryant, New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1872, vol. 1, p. 502.)

If I understand your words correctly your definition of a Christian (and that of most Evangelicals) is a pretty narrow one, far different from the standard meaning found in most dictionaries. Personally I think anyone who accepts Jesus Christ as the Only Begotten Son of God and as his/her personal Savior who died for our sins and was bodily resurrected on the third day is a Christian. C.S. Lewis described such people as “mere” Christians.

But your narrow definition would exclude anyone who:

  • Does not believe in a closed canon of the 66 books of the Protestant Bible.
  • Does not accept the Nicene Creed as an accurate description of the nature of God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.
  • Believes in living prophets and apostles as the “foundation” of Christ’s earthly church.
  • Believes in continuing revelation from God to man.

I could go on. I’m very familiar with the standard arguments against “Mormonism”. But the Bible says that believers in Christ were first called Christians at Antioch (Acts 11:26). I would respectfully submit that those Christians:

  • Did not believe in a closed canon of scripture. (some of the New Testament had not yet been written.)
  • Did not accept the Nicene Creed as an accurate description of the nature of God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. (it would not be written for 300 years)
  • Believed in living apostles and prophets as the “foundation” of Christ’s earthly church.
  • Believed in continuing revelation from God to man.

So if you’re going to say that Mitt and I are not Christians based on those reasons, you’ll have to say that the believers in Antioch were not Christians either according to your definition.

You said in your Hardball interview that “Mormonism” is a “cult” because:

  • “Mormonism came 1800 years after Jesus Christ”
  • “Mormonism has its own human leader, Joseph Smith”
  • “it has its own set of doctrines”
  • “it has its own religious book, The Book of Mormon, in addition to the Bible”

Your exact following words were: “and so by that definition it is a theological cult”. You made a weak distinction between a theological cult and a sociological one, but most people will not even notice that fine differentiation. It was obvious to any sophisticated viewer that your main goal was to keep repeating the word “cult”. It’s such an inflammatory buzz word that I’m sure your goal is to use it as often as you can to scare people away from “Mormonism” without seriously considering our theology and our beliefs. It’s a word used to end or avoid discussion, not to foster it. As a Latter-day Saint I welcome the opportunity to “stand ready to give a reason for the faith that is in me”, but those who sling around the word “cult” with respect to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints seek to cut off debate rather than to encourage dialog. It’s as though they are afraid of an open and honest discussion.

But following your own definition of “cult” for a moment, I’d like to respectfully submit that:

  • Roman Catholicism came 300 years after Jesus Christ.
  • Roman Catholicism has its own human leader, the Pope (or Peter if you accept the Catholic claims that he was the first Pope)
  • Roman Catholicism has its own set of doctrines (Mariology, transubstantiation, priestly celibacy, veneration of “saints”, indulgences, etc.)
  • Roman Catholicism has its own religious books (9 deuterocanonical more than those found in the Protestant Bible – also used in Eastern Orthodox churches)

And even your own Baptist flavor of Christianity in some ways fits your definition of what makes a cult;

  • “Baptistism” came 1609 years after Jesus Christ
  • “Baptistism” had its own human leader John Smythe – a Church of England minister (see footnote below from the website of the Baptist History and Heritage Society)
  • “Baptistism” had its own unique doctrines, including the “believer’s baptism” of adults.
  • “Baptistism” was considered a cult by the “orthodox” or “traditional” or “historic” Christian denominations of the time.

In fact Baptists suffered severe persecution from other Christians who believed in the “mainline” doctrine of infant baptism prevalent in that era. Thousands of Baptists were martyred for baptizing adults.

One of the dictionary definitions of a cult is that is a small isolated group that is out of the mainstream. That certainly does not apply to my church. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the fourth largest religion in America, and the second largest Christian church in Washington, Oregon, and California (after Catholicism). You mentioned that there are 15 million Southern Baptists. By 2012 at the present rate of growth there will be more Latter-day Saints than that.

Pastor Jeffress, in order to be consistent and truthful you would have to admit that the same definition you’ve used to brand “Mormonism” a cult applies at least in part to Roman Catholicism and “Baptistism” as well. Are you willing to say that on national television? I would hope so. I would hope that you’d want to be totally consistent and truthful.

Thank you for your time.

I’m attaching a summary I wrote of what I believe happened to “the faith once delivered to the saints”. There was a great apostacy that fundamentally changed the New Testament church of Jesus Christ into something so different that those Christians at Antioch or Peter or Paul would not have recognized it in the Dark Ages that came upon the earth. (Amos 8:12) That apostacy required the “restitution of all things” prophesied in Acts 3:21 to occur before Christ’s return. That restitution or restoration of original Biblical Christianity was what was looked forward to by Roger Williams.

I testify to you that that restoration has come, and the original Christianity is back on the earth in its fullness as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If you would like to investigate these claims I’ll be happy to “bring forth my strong reasons” for “the faith that is in me.” I would welcome a thoughtful dialog.

Cordially yours,

Robert Starling

A Latter-day Christian

Written by DCL

March 5, 2012 at 4:20 pm