Why voters are cynical 1


By Tom Quiner

Voters hate to be manipulated.

The faux commercial above is funny because it smacks of some truth.  Take the current budget debate. Nine days ago, the Congressional Budget Office made a dire prediction:  America is going to experience long term red ink like we haven’t seen since World War II.  We have a growing crisis.  So what is our leadership in Congress doing about it?

Nothing.  They refuse to pass a budget.  Rather than presenting the usual five year fiscal blueprint, the House passed a non-binding one year budget “resolution.”

Even Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, David Broder, who is no conservative, is stunned by the depth of the Democrats’ chutzpa.  He describe it this way:

For all the publicity that goes to earmarks and other spending gimmicks, this was a far worst dereliction of duty. And the cynicism of the maneuver just made it worse.

Speaker Pelosi, no stranger to chutzpa, said Democrat’s dereliction of duty was “another step in restoring fiscal responsiblity.”

Do you remember how these same people railed (with justification) against President’s Bush’s profligacy?  Now they are not only spending us into an abyss from which we may never extricate ourselves, they are refusing to step up to the plate and present a responsible budget.

Republican Paul Ryan is one politician who has stepped up to the plate and presented a responsible budget proposal (ignored by Democrats).  Here is what he said of Democrats’ budget resolution:

“This is not a budget. The measure fails to meet the most basic, commonly understood objectives of any budget. It does not set congressional priorities; it does not align overall spending, tax, deficit and debt levels; and it does nothing to address the runaway spending of federal entitlement programs.”

Honest differences of opinions exist between the two parties on various issues. Nothing wrong with that. That’s politics.  That’s America.  But Democrat’s refusal to present a budget isn’t honorable.  It’s called political cowardice.  And it breeds nothing but cynicism.

Liberal judges limit conservative “diversity” Reply


By Tom Quiner

Conservative "diversity" doesn't count

Conservative "diversity" doesn't count

How often have you heard liberals invoke the word “diversity?”

In the context of liberal-speak, diversity is automatically considered to be good.  The University of Oregon says it this way:

The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect.  It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences.  These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. It is the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment.  It is understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual.

I mention “diversity” in light of the recent Supreme Court decision, Christian Legal Society vs. Martinez, which I wrote about on June 29th  (A Triumph for Political Correctness).

Professor John Inazu

Professor John Inazu

Duke law professor, John Inazu, had an interesting take on the Court’s decision. Although he agreed with me that it was the wrong decision, he disagreed as to why.  He said the court should have supported the Christian Legal Society (CLS) in the name of diversity.

That’s exactly what an appellate court did 36 years ago in a similar case.  It weighed whether a student group “so far beyond the pale of the wider community’s values” that “university facilities [should] not be used by the group to flaunt its credo.”

In the name of diversity, the court back then ruled that Gay Students Organization of the University of New Hampshire should enjoy the right of free association.

In the recent Supreme Court decision, a similar standard applied.  The CLS embraced a philosophy far beyond the pale of the wider communities’ values, namely that sexual relations should be confined to a man and a woman within the confines of marriage.  Such a radical notion!

Alas, diversity is only applicable if it applies to liberal groups.

Professor Inazu wisely opined:

Christian student groups ought to be able to exclude non-Christians. Groups that object to homosexual conduct ought to be able to exclude those who disagree. Groups of Democrats ought to be able to exclude Republicans. Groups of environmentalists ought to be able to exclude people who don’t care about the environment. That leaves us with diversity.

Over at Yale Law School, professor Stephen Carter put it this way:

Professor Stephen Carter

Professor Stephen Carter

Democracy needs diversity because democracy advances through dissent, difference and dialogue.

Professor Inazu leaves us with a dire warning:

Expression presupposes existence. And the court’s decision doesn’t silence CLS – it destroys it.

How Iowa celebrates Independence Day 1


Maestro Joseph Giunta

By Tom Quiner

What better way to celebrate this great nation’s independence than with American song and fireworks!

I attended the Yankee Doodle Pops concert at the footsteps of the Iowa Capital on July 1. The weather was perfect.  Our Capitol’s gold dome glistened with pride in the early evening sunlight.  Thousands streamed in with their blankets, folding chairs, and kids in tow.

The music was pure Americana, almost.

Simon Estes

Simon Estes

The event enjoyed added luster with the presence of Iowa’s own Simon Estes.  The 72 year old opera star showed off his timeless baritone voice in a rousing rendition of “God Bless America.”  My group debated whether Irving Berlin’s classic song would make a better national anthem.  My wife and I vote yes.  Our good friend, Rebecca, votes that we stay with “The Star Spangled Banner.”

What do you think?

Here is Kate Smiths version of the song that made her famous.  It demonstrates how a great song connects us:

I think Berlin’s song is much stronger musically than our current national anthem. And it certainly holds its own lyrically:

***

While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.

God Bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Through the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home.

***

Having said all that, Tina Haase sang a beautiful version of the Star Spangled Banner to kick off the evening.  Unfortunately, most of us ordinary folks can’t hit the high notes like Ms. Haase can.

Mr. Estes delighted us with “I Got Plenty O Nothin” from Porgy and Bess by George and Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward. Then he thrilled us with the Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein Jr. classic, “Ol’ Man River.  His low notes generated cheers.

The one non-American piece was the dynamic 1812 Overture by Russian composer, Peter Tchaikovsky.  It was spectacular as fireworks cascaded the sky from different directions.

For one glorious evening, all was right with the world.  This is a great country.  Our thanks to Maestro Joseph Giunta, Simon Estes, and all the musicians who entertained us with such uplifting music.

Additional thanks are extended to our men and women in the armed forces.  We salute you. Our prayers are with you.

God bless America.

Was Jesus Real? 1


By Tom Quiner

Lee Strobel was an atheist who came to believe in Jesus after spending two years trying to disprove His divinity.

Be sure to watch the video from my previous post where Mr. Strobel, a former reporter for the Chicago Tribune, talks about his surprising findings about Christ.

C.S. Lewis was another atheist who did not want to believe in Jesus.

His friend, J.R.R. Tolkien of Lord of the Rings fame, presented compelling arguments in defense of Christ that began to persuade Mr. Lewis to reconsider his atheism.  Mr. Lewis was further persuaded to believe in God, and eventually Jesus, after reading “The Everlasting Man” by G.K. Chesterton.

Lewis’ conversion was a reluctant one:

You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.

Mr. Lewis was transformed from an atheist into a theist and eventually into the most persuasive Christian apologist of the 20th century.

C.S. Lewis famously framed the debate on Jesus this way:  either he was lord, liar, or a lunatic.  There’s no middle ground.  He spent the rest of his life making the case for Christ.  It is a compelling case.

I put up a video in my previous post by comedienne Janeane Garafalo who dismissed Christianity as a myth.  I have listened to a little of Ms. Garafalo on TV.  I’ve read some C.S. Lewis.  Mr. Lewis comes across as the more intelligent of the two.  (Nothing against Ms. Garafalo, C.S. Lewis is smarter than most people I know!)  In fact, he was in agreement with Ms. Garafolo until he began to truly study and think … and eventually pray … about this Man who walked the earth two-thousand years named Jesus.

So why does a former atheist and crime reporter for the Chicago Tribune now believe Jesus and His claims are real? Because of the evidence.

Why did an atheistic Oxford literary academic change his mind and become one of the most influential Christians of the 20th century?  Because of the evidence.

There are two exciting paths to Jesus:  reason and revelation.  Stubborn men like Lee Strobel and C.S. Lewis were lead to Christ through the path of reason.  The upside of the journey is off the charts!