Friday, July 31, 2009

Is President Obama a weak and indecisive president?

Michael Barone has put his finger on something I've been wondering about with President Obama in a column entitled, "Obama has aura but doesn't know how to legislate."
Aura dazzles, but argument gets things done. Consider the debate on the Democrats' health care bill and the increasingly negative response to Barack Obama's performance. Democrats have the numbers to pass a health care bill -- 256 votes in the House, 38 more than the 218 majority; 60 votes in the Senate, enough to defeat a filibuster. But they haven't come up with the arguments, at least yet, to put those numbers on the board. It's something not many predicted that bright January inauguration morning.
Then he gives some reasons.
One reason perhaps is that he has had little practice. He served as a legislator for a dozen years before becoming president, but was only rarely an active one. He spent one of his eight years as an Illinois state senator running unsuccessfully for Congress and two of them running successfully for U.S. senator. He spent two of his years in the U.S. Senate running for president. During all of his seven non-campaign years as a legislator, he was in the minority party.

In other words, he's never done much work putting legislation together -- especially legislation that channels vast flows of money and affects the workings of parts of the economy that deeply affect people's lives. This lack of experience is starting to show. On the major legislation considered this year -- the stimulus, cap-and-trade, health care -- the Obama White House has done little or nothing to set down markers, to provide guidance, to establish boundaries and no-go areas.
I would go on to say that he's also indecisive and has a tendency to "lawyer" things to death. (I can speak from personal experience about lawyering things too much, being a lawyer myself.) That's not the trait one wants in their president, or chief executive of the federal government.

He can inspire people as he did during the campaign with his "hope" theme. (Especially true in our postmodern society where emotion replaces reason.) Eventually, one has to ask, "Where's the beef?" as Walter Mondale did with Gary Hart during the 1984 campaign. He may well get some form of expansion of health care passed given the overwhelming number of Democrats in Congress at this time. But this fundamental character weakness won't go away. He maybe able to grow in the job; he'll have to. But the underlying weakness won't be eliminated.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Interview with Pastor Gus Booth.

The following is a re-print of an interview with Pastor Gus Booth that appeared in the July, 2008 edition of the Pro Family News.

Recently, MFC had a chance to catch up with Pastor Gus Booth of Warroad Minnesota. Pastor Booth became a subject of national news after he preached a sermon that questioned whether Christians should vote for Sen. Hillary Clinton or Sen. Barak Obama because of their support of abortion. Booth sent a copy of the sermon to People United for the Separation of Church and State and the Internal Revenue Service.

PFN: Pastor, why did you send the sermon to the IRS and People United?

“I didn’t pick a fight with the IRS. The IRS picked a fight with the United States Constitution. The IRS has made an unconstitutional law. Who trumps whom? Is the IRS or the constitution more important? This needs to be decided once and for all.”

PFN: “Why?”

“This is about a pastor’s right to religious speech. It’s not about politicking. A pastor should not be forced out of the pulpit to speak Biblical truths about candidates and their positions.

Scripture is clear; we are to be involved in picking our leaders. Isaiah 1 says, ‘I will punish you because your leaders are wicked. In fact, up until 1954 pastors spoke out regularly on the issues of the day. If pastors don’t speak out on moral issues that affect government then no one will.”

PFN: Some say that the church should not get involved in politics.

Booth: “There is a theology that has crept into the church that quotes scripture out of context. It claims that Christ separated our world into two separate realms, Caesar’s and God’s. This has created an environment that keeps faith segregated behind the doors of the church and excludes it from influencing issues in the public square.

Morals are a major part of the churches business. How can we spread the gospel when we keep it behind the doors of the church?”

PFN: What would you say to pastors?

Booth: “A pastor’s duty to speak truth from the pulpit is a duty owed to God, not the tax man. Too many pastors believe the lie that the constitution prohibits them from speaking out on the moral issues of the day, or that Christ avoided the same. The exact opposite is true. The devil rules via deception.

As pastors we must preach that Jesus is Lord of the entire world. That includes the whole of life, culture, science sociology, economics and politics.

There is nothing in the constitution that prohibits a pastor from speaking from the pulpit about the moral implications of all of these issues. The truth about separation of church and state is that it was originally intended to protect the church from the state, not the state from the church. Our forefathers were simply prohibiting a national religion.

We as the church have not well combating these lies. Just preach about it. Just one sermon a year is enough to break these lies.”

PFN: Did you always think this way?

No. I had been a liberal democrat all my life. Then I read the democratic platform and I saw it was a “how to” manual on how to sin. It was awful. That’s what caused me to get involved in the political process and stop worrying about offending anyone.

PFN: Pastor, you were our guest to David Barton’s Congressional Pastors’ Briefing in Washington, D.C. last September. How did that affect you?

Booth; “It, (the trip) solidified a lot of things for me. I saw men of courage and character and love of Christ and realized I wanted to be a man like that.

The trip was a springboard on how godly and righteous the founding fathers were. These men were ministers with seminary degrees. However today the belief is that if you have a seminary degree you don’t get involved in politics.

I would make it mandatory for all pastors to attend a David Barton Congressional Pastors briefing.

PFN: “What did you learn when we called on Senator Norm Coleman?”

I learned that if you can bend the ear of a United States Senator you have influence in his life. You can influence home towards righteousness or wickedness

PFN: You’ve done a lot of interviews with the media. What can you share with us about your experience?

Booth: “The media doesn’t understand our nations history regarding the establishment clause and the role of pastors. You may recall the Blacked Robbed regiment. (See article) They were pastors that preached about rebelling against the tyranny of England. They played a large role in affecting public opinion and influencing the Revolutionary War.

Ironically, until 1954, most pastors looked to their pastors for advice on who to vote for.

PFN: Is this an isolated event? What happens next.?

Booth: Time to be on the offensive in Christ like way. Too many pastors are afraid. The church has sat back for too long while prayer and teaching about the bible has been chased out of schools and the public square.

This won’t blow over. It will come in waves. In fact, I am one of 40 to 50 pastors that will preach similar sermons on September 28th. I will address them August 22 in Phoenix.

The Alliance Defense Fund will defend us should the IRS try to prosecute any of us.

The dangers and consequences of government run health care. And who do we trust God or government?

There's a great video on government run health care put out by the Acton Institute. In a few minutes it succinctly points out the dangers of government run health care. Frankly, the mess our health care system is currently in, rising costs, etc. is largely due to government intervention in the health care system. Now President Obama and Democrats in Congress want even more.

In very simplistic terms, the ultimate issue and question is who do we trust or put our security in, God or government? Some may ask what does God have to do with our health care system. For one, He's created the government as an institution in society to do certain things. When we reject His design for government, in a sense, we're rejecting Him. And second, who do we look to for our ultimate security in life, to provide for us, God or the government. Here Jesus' words come to mind about not worrying and trusting God to meet our basic needs. Or if we believe it all depends on us, we'll look to government.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

IRS backs off from enforcing against MN pastor its regulation prohibiting pastors from expressly opposing/supporting political candidates from pulpit.

The IRS announced recently it was not going to enforce its regulation prohibiting pastors from expressly endorsing or opposing political candidates from the pulpit against a northern Minnesota pastor. Yet the IRS says it’s leaving the door open to future consideration. It looks like a classic case of intimidation to me.

The following is a copy of our press release on the matter.

IRS backs down from enforcing its election regulations against Minnesota pastor.

IRS says it’s closing its audit of pastor’s sermon encouraging church attendees not to vote for Obama in 2008 presidential election though it leaves the door open to further inquiry.

MINNEAPOLIS – Tom Prichard, President of the Minnesota Family Council, said today the IRS backed down from enforcing its regulation prohibiting pastors from expressly endorsing or opposing political candidates from the pulpit, yet seeks to maintain a cloud of uncertainty for pastors opposing or supporting political candidates from the pulpit. The case involves Warroad, MN, Pastor Gus Booth.

“This looks like a clear case of intimidation. The IRS is refusing to enforce its regulation prohibiting pastor endorsement of or opposition to political candidates from the pulpit yet leaves the door open to future enforcement of its controversial regulation. It looks like a classic David versus Goliath confrontation. However, in this instance Goliath, while unwilling to fight, wants to intimidate pastors into silence by maintaining uncertainty in the law,” said Prichard.

The pastor, Gus Booth from Warroad, MN, delivered a sermon from his church’s pulpit on September 28, 2008, encouraging those in attendance not to vote for then candidate Barack Obama because of his pro-abortion positions. Booth then sent his sermon to the IRS. Pastor Booth was participating in the Alliance Defense Fund’s “Pulpit Freedom” Sunday initiative which encouraged pastor’s to challenge the IRS regulation that prohibits pastors from explicitly supporting or opposing political candidates from the pulpit.

The IRS said it was closing the examination of Booth’s case, though it left the door open to future consideration. See for a copy of the IRS’ letter to Pastor Booth.

"Pastors should be free to speak or not to speak in opposition to or support of political candidates according to the dictates of their consciences. They shouldn't have their free speech rights, guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution, undermined by the IRS. Yet that appears to be what the IRS is trying to do in this instance," concluded Prichard.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

St. Paul decides kids don't need a mom and a dad, calls it "family values"

The City of St. Paul yesterday joined Minneapolis and Duluth in proclaiming that adult wants trump children's needs, by approving an ordinance for a domestic partner registry that recognizes same-sex partnerships.

The Pioneer Press reported on the City Council's unanimous decision signed by Mayor Chris Coleman, and the ensuing celebration at Camp, a homosexual hot spot in downtown St. Paul (
Same-sex partnerships get St. Paul's blessing). The story gushed about the symbolic value of the ordinance, which carries no legal weight. Several times in the story the new ordinance was referred to as a "steppingstone" to supporters' unnamed but obvious real goal: legalization of same-sex marriage in Minnesota. So let there be no pretense that this ordinance is about something else.

Tad Vezner made a big point about the number of same-sex couples present at the celebration who had been together for many years, some of whom talked about their "commitment of love together." I've no doubt that they truly are loving and committed to one another, and that their relationships are deeply meaningful to them, and I respect them for that.

But in all the celebrating reported by the Pioneer Press, not one mention was made of children or of the effect on children of this decision to give social recognition to relationships that intentionally elevate the wants and preferences of adults over the need of children for a mom and a dad.

In approving this ordinance, the City of St. Paul has inverted the commitment that marriage has stood for, the social purpose that marriage has served, since the beginning of human history -- a forward-looking commitment to what's best for children and the next generation over personal adult wants and preferences in the present.

Instead, St. Paul, like Minneapolis and Duluth, has officially declared that satisfying adult preferences is more important than ensuring what's best for children and the next generation. Clueless to the irony, Council Member Dave Thune calls this "family values."

To the people of St. Paul who truly care about family values and understand that kids need a mom and a dad: Take note of what your city council members and mayor have done to undermine marriage and the family, without regard for the impact on children and future generations, and hold them accountable when it's time for their performance review in the next election.

Monday, July 20, 2009

For Sotomayor, there's precedent and then there's same-sex marriage

From the Family Research Council
Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor has promised to be bound by the Court's existing precedents. This is a convenient way to pledge fidelity to the abortion-on-demand regime of the Court's decisions without appearing to take sides ideologically. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) caught her in a contradiction, however, by asking about Baker v. Nelson--the first American court case ever to assert a right to same-sex "marriage."

The Minnesota Supreme Court refused to redefine marriage in a 1971 decision, and when the case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, it was "dismissed for want of substantial federal question." This kind of dismissal "is a disposition on the merits" and "constitutes a binding precedent," as one textbook puts it. Liberals don't like to admit that the U.S. Supreme Court has already decided that the U.S. Constitution does not create a right to same-sex "marriage"--and Sotomayor refused to be pinned down by this "binding precedent" either.

She distinguished Baker from cases like Roe v. Wade and Griswold v. Connecticut (dealing with abortion and contraception), saying that "those cases have holdings that are not open to dispute," while downplaying the Baker precedent by saying that "the meaning of that dismissal is actually an issue that's being debated in existing litigation."

Her pledge at another point to approach same-sex "marriage" with "an open mind" is a bad sign when Supreme Court precedent has already shut the door to it. This afternoon, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced he would vote against Judge Sotomayor's confirmation. While the nominee tried to distance herself from her liberal activist ideology and record, those things stand, however artfully she tried to obscure them. For that reason, I commend Sen. McConnell for his leadership.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Pastor Ken Hutcherson calls out President Obama on Civil Rights comparison

Not all African American Pastors agree with President Obama's comparison of "the plight of homosexuals to that of blacks during the Civil Rights Era."

Ken Hutcherson, Pastor of Antioch Bible Church in Kirkland Washington says,

"'There is nothing, nothing that compares between what the Afro-Americans went through and what homosexuals are going through now.'

Hutcherson expresses disgust with evangelicals who still support President Obama, despite his promotion of policies that are at odds with scripture. He says such individuals are part of the "evangellyfish" movement in America."


Senate approves hate crimes bill

Senate Votes to expand federal hate crimes law
Jim Abrams
Associated Press

"WASHINGTON — People attacked because of their sexual orientation or gender would receive federal protections under a Senate-approved measure that significantly expands the reach of hate crimes law.

The Senate bill also would make it easier for federal prosecutors to step in when state or local authorities are unable or unwilling to pursue hate crimes."

Read story...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sotomayor questioned on Minnesota ruling prohibiting homosexual marriage

Sen. Chuck Grassley R-Iowa, questioned Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor on Baker v. Neslon, a 1971 Minnesota Supreme Court ruling prohibiting homosexual marriage.

Sotomayor asked for more time to review the ruling.

CLICK HERE to see CNN video.

Two-thirds of Iowans Want to Vote on Marriage

Good News: Two-Thirds of Iowans Want to Vote on Marriage
Citizen Link
by Jennifer Mesko, staff writer

'The political power in this state rests with the people.'

Two-thirds of Iowa voters want to decide the definition of marriage for themselves, by placing a constitutional amendment on the ballot. Unfortunately, the earliest that could happen is 2012.

The poll, conducted for, comes three months after the state Supreme Court dragged same-sex marriage into the Heartland. The results mirror surveys done last year.
"Public opinion on marriage is consistently a 65-70 percent issue," said Bryan English, director of public relations for the Iowa Family Policy Center.

"The numbers tell us that Iowans want the right to vote on the Iowa Marriage Amendment. How the political class responds to these numbers will help separate the wheat from the chaff among those who seek office in 2010."

Of 500 registered Iowa voters contacted by telephone this month, 67 percent agreed "voters should have the chance to vote on a traditional marriage amendment to the constitution." Thirty states have amended their constitutions to protect the definition of marriage.

"Iowa citizens still know what marriage is, and they still know how laws are made," English said. "The political power in this state rests with the people. They are not comfortable with the court making law for them, and on an issue as important as marriage, they want to have their say.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Study shows living together first can spoil marriage

Living together first can spoil marriage
Fox News
By Jeanna Bryner

Couples who shack up before tying the knot are more likely to get divorced than their counterparts who don't move in together until marriage, a new study suggests.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

[re]connecting Pastor/Youth Seminar

Sign up now for [re]connecting Pastor/Youth Seminar August 4th and 5th at New Hope Church, New Hope Minnesota.

Topics include:
Understanding Youth Culture
The Difference a Worldview Makes
Is Christianity Really a Worldview?
Have We Lost Our Minds: The Challenge of Postmodernism

CLICK HERE for a complete agenda.
CLICK HERE to register.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

New scientific report refutes APA claimes

One hundred years of scientific research shows change in sexual orientation is possible and beneficial.

Report also refutes claims by American Psychological Association (APA) that:
1. There is no conclusive or convincing evidence that sexual orientation may be changed through reorientation therapy.
2. Efforts to change sexual orientation are shown to be harmful and can lead to greater self-hatred, depression and other self destructive behavior.
3. There is no greater pathology in homosexual population than in the general population.

Analysis of report:

Friday, July 3, 2009

Liberty flows from God's sovereignty

As we celebrate Independence Day, and the liberty Americans enjoy (and too often take for granted), we would do well to consider the spiritual roots -- more specifically, the biblical Christian roots -- of our freedom.

Toward that end, I recommend three articles in the last issue of World Magazine that underscore the connection between faith and freedom. Two of them especially point out our debt to theologian John Calvin, whose 500th birthday comes just a few days after the 4th of July, on July 10th.

If you're not already a World subscriber, the following links will give you the first couple of paragraphs of each article and an offer for a 1-month trial subscription to see the rest... well worth the $5 price.

America's debt to John Calvin
The personal pervasiveness of God's sovereignty - by John Piper

Liberty's champion
On his 500th birthday, two cheers for John Calvin - by Marvin Olasky

Cut to common cloth
America was shaped for sinners, not saints - by Mindy Belz