“SUPER TUESDAY” IS JUST AHEAD
THE ELECTION PROCESS: MORE OF THE
SAME, BUT “SUPER TUESDAY” IS JUST
AHEAD; THE PICTURE MAY CHANGE
Before we begin this week’s discussion, here is a word
of special interest to the Democrat contenders: George
W. Bush is not running for president or any other office.
His term as President will end in January of 2009. The
attacks on him and his administration may be lots of
fun for you, but they actually accomplish very little --
so, to repeat: George W. Bush is not running for office!
Among those running for office, the results from
the most recent primaries were interesting, but really
meant little, aside from hardening the campaigns of
both parties into slightly tighter races. In the South
Carolina Democrat primary, Barack Obama won by
attracting double the votes going to Hillary Clinton
(55% to 27%) with John Edwards a distant third (18%)
in his own home state. The Democrat race hardened
a bit more into a two-person race with John Edwards
slipping ever closer to another “also ran” position.
In the Florida primary yesterday, we saw almost
the direct opposite of the South Carolina primary which
was solely Democrat. In Florida it was meaningful only
for Republicans. Under internal rulings, the Democrat
National Committee requested that their nominees not
participate; whatever the outcome, no delegates would
be assigned. So in that sense, the Democrat primary
has been described as a “political beauty contest.”
Under that classification, and recalling his $1,200
haircut, John Edwards would seem to be the winner.
However, in actual vote counting. Hillary Clinton
emerged as the winner with 50% of the Democrat
votes, surpassing Obama’s 33% second place and
leaving Edwards once again well down in last place.
Although in a certain sense the Democrat vote was
almost meaningless, because no delegates were won
by any of the candidates, that was not the case in the
Republican contest in which a “winner take all” rule
applied. Thus all 57 of Florida’s delegates were won
by John McCain in a close contest with Mitt Romney
which was ultimately decided by a 36% to 31% margin.
Rudy Giuliani had pinned all his hopes on a victory in
Florida, but ended in third place with Mike Huckabee
trailing in fourth place. Today it is expected that Mayor
Giuliani will withdraw from the race and will endorse
John McCain, as the Republican candidates gather for
a debate at the Reagan library in California.
Now just ahead, on February 5, is “Super Tuesday,”
when primaries for at least 21 states will be held, and
the results, quite frankly, may decide both parties’
ultimate candidates, well in advance of the national
conventions in August and September. This newsletter,
in the next issue, February 6, will report on the “Super
Tuesday” results -- by that time polls and speculations
may well be a thing of the past.
Following the South Carolina primaries, the tone
of the campaigns sharpened intensely, with Democrats
Clinton and Obama exchanging vitriolic comments,
and McCain and Romney doing the same over on the
Republican side. And that is to be expected; it is all
part of the political process. However, this time a new
element was introduced -- a former U.S. President was
actively supporting the campaign of his wife, using what
popularity he still holds plus his superb communication
skills. His attacks on Hillary Clinton’s chief rival, Barack
Obama, became so sharp that even national leaders of
the Democrat party were concerned about a backlash,
and attempts were made to persuade Bill Clinton to tone
down his rhetoric. Such a performance by a former
president is demeaning to the office, but that has never
been a concern which governed Mr. Clinton’s behavior.
Moral and ethical standards are equally important for
candidates as for former holders of public office.
Candidates of both parties seem to have
learned from Samuel Adams, “The Father of the
American Revolution” -- “It does not require a
majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless
minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds.”
Afterthoughts . . .
If you happen to live in Missouri you already
know that last week the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals
ruled that taxpayers would have to pay to transport
female prisoners in the state to abortion clinics for
“elective non-therapeutic abortions.“ Up till the time
of that decision, the Missouri Corrections Department
had refused to transport prisoners to the clinics for
elective abortions. The net result of another unjust
court ruling is that Missouri taxpayers must pay for
the deliberate destruction of innocent babies. It’s all
part of the 35 year heritage of Roe v. Wade.
Amid all the serious news, this headline tended
to bring us back down to earth to think about the
simple things: “After losing the cookie battle
to Oreo, Hydrox is dead.” No comment is
necessary; we have lost a good friend.
A new project for two ex-presidents: Jimmy
Carter and Bill Clinton, in a press conference on
Jan. 9, announced a convocation to begin today in
Atlanta, under the banner: “Celebration of a New
Baptist Covenant.” It is an attempt to bring together
the members of Baptist groups who objected to the
election of Conservative leaders in the Southern
Baptist Convention. Carter announced the purpose
as: “We want to demonstrate to the world that
Christians, including Baptists, can work in
harmony, that we can accommodate differences of
philosophy and theology.” And Clinton added,
“This is an attempt to bring people together and
say, ‘What would our Christian witness require of
us in the 21st century?” It seems likely that he will
assign a higher priority to his wife’s presidential
campaign than to this struggle about theological
differences among Baptists, although both he and
Al Gore are on the schedule as featured speakers.
Speaking of Al Gore, the former Democrat vice
president of the United States, has announced that
he has joined other leading Democrats in calling for
the legalizing of homosexual marriage. Commenting
in a video shown on his Current TV network, the
unsuccessful nominee for president says it is wrong
for the U.S. government to "discriminate" against
individuals because of their sexual orientation. “Gay
men and women ought to have the same rights as
heterosexual men and women … to join together in
marriage," stated Gore. According to the former
VP under Bill Clinton, the "loyalty and love" that
two men or two women feel for one another when
they "fall in love ought to be celebrated and
encouraged." While he was winning an Academy
Award and a Nobel Prize for his Global Warming
theory, Mr. Gore should have taken a few minutes
to read what the Bible, God’s word, says about
A thought provoking quote, not from one of our
Founding Fathers, but from a Blog written by a British
gentleman named “Les” - “I am fed up with that nicey
nicey, politically correct, pseudo-Christianity which
almost always supports leftwing attitudes -- which
in most cases are actually anti-Gospel.” (The title of
the Blog? “Christianity-is-not-Leftwing.”)
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STEPS IN THE PRIMARY PROCESS
TWO MORE STEPS IN THE PRIMARY PROCESS
HAVE BEEN TAKEN; MORE AND LARGER
ONES ARE JUST AHEAD
This past week we went through more hours of TV
news coverage of the Nevada Caucuses, and the South
Carolina Republican Primary. The results offered no
surprises, and did little to change the overall picture.
Well, that’s not exactly true -- the picture did change
slightly as three candidates, two Republicans and one
Democrat, withdrew from the race. Congressman
Duncan Hunter, and Governor Bill Richardson both
announced they were giving up on trying to win the
presidential nomination based on their poor showings
in the primaries. And yesterday another Republican
candidate, Fred Thompson, made public his decision
to withdraw from the race.
Interestingly enough, two other members of Congress,
Republican Ron Paul and Democrat Dennis Kucinich
remained in the race, although neither would seem to
have any hope of ultimate victory.
In the Nevada caucuses, on the Democrat side
Hillary Clinton repeated her New Hampshire win
with a substantial margin over Barack Obama, and
John Edwards as a distant third. On the Republican
side Mitt Romney won over John McCain and Mike
Huckabee, neither of whom had made much of an
effort in Nevada.
In South Carolina, the Republican primary was
won by John McCain, producing a further shuffle of
the top three Republican candidates. Now those three,
McCain, Romney and Huckabee head for Florida and
the primary there on next Tuesday, January 29 -- just
one week ahead of “Super Tuesday,” February 5, when
as many as 23 states will hold primary elections.
Just before the Florida primary is the Democrat
primary in South Carolina on January 26.
Now prior to the concentration of primaries
on February 5, the Democrat race has narrowed to a
contest between Clinton and Obama, with Edwards
running well behind the two leaders. The Republican
race remains much more cluttered, with McCain and
Romney in a frequently changing lead, and Huckabee
looking for another win after his one victory in Iowa.
Former poll leader Rudy Giuliani is apparently pinning
his hopes on a decisive win in the Florida primary.
In the Democrat race, a sharp, almost vitriolic, tone
of dispute has entered the race between candidates
Clinton and Obama, with former president Bill Clinton
engaged in unprecedented -- for a former president --
attacks on a fellow Democrat candidate. Unpleasant,
but enlightening for American voters.
Our recommendation to our readers is still the same:
ignore the polls, watch the primaries . . . and do not
give in to meaningless prediction and speculation.
In all of these events, it is helpful to look beneath
the headlines, and consider exactly what is at stake in
this, or any other national election. In certain aspects,
this election is different from any other in American
history. Previously the candidates for the highest
office in the nation had been white men and members
of some denomination of the Christian faith. John
F. Kennedy provided one slightly different variant:
he was the first Roman Catholic president. This time,
however, we are considering a pool of candidates
which includes for the first time a Mormon, a Black
and a woman, in addition to the traditional choices.
But looking back in time to 1787 when America’s
new Constitution was being considered for adoption,
Alexander Tyler, a Scottish professor of history at the
University of Edinburgh, wrote: “A democracy is
always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist
as a permanent form of government.”
Tyler went on to point our that a democracy will exist
until the time that the voters discover that they can
vote for themselves generous gifts from the public
treasury. Today we call that scheme “entitlement
programs,” or from active government participants,
“earmarks.” He warned what the result would be:
“that every democracy will finally collapse due to
loose fiscal policy …” He cited the historical stages
for the great civilizations of the world as: (1) from
bondage to spiritual faith; (2) from spiritual faith
to great courage; (3) from courage to liberty; (4)
from liberty to abundance; (5) from abundance to
complacency; (6) from complacency to apathy;
(7) from apathy to dependence; (8) from dependency
back into bondage.
It is easy to trace the history of our nation on Dr.
Tyler’s schedule, and note exactly where we are in the
historical process. Thinking along this line brings the
importance of the current election into sharper focus.
A similar warning, was sounded by one of our
nation’s “forgotten founding fathers,“ Fisher Ames,
who suggested the wording of the First Amendment,
and who said concerning democracies, “The known
propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness which
the ambitious call, and the ignorant believe to be
liberty.” (From a speech which he delivered in the
Massachusetts Ratifying convention, 1788)
Afterthoughts . . .
An unfortunate juxtaposition of two important
dates in American history: on Monday this nation
observed Martin Luther King Day, and again and
again we heard recordings of his “I have a dream”
speech, in which he recalled the phrase in the
Declaration of Independence that “all men are
created equal,” and are entitled to certain rights,
including life. But just yesterday, Jan. 22, we
observed the 35th anniversary of the Supreme Court
decision in Roe v. Wade which legitimized abortion.
During those 35 years it is estimated that 50 million
babies have been killed, and derived of the right to
live. But 32% of those 50 million abortions have been
to black mothers -- who make up only 13% of the
US population. These facts should be in our minds
as we vote in this election.
The public may be waking up to the biased news
coverage of the war in Iraq. According to CNS News,
a new poll conducted by Sacred Heart University
disclosed that nearly half -- 49.1% -- of the American
people agree that “things are likely going better for
the US (in Iraq) than the US media portrays.” After
the poll results were released, Jerry Lindsay, director
of the Sacred Heart Polling Institute, said that scores
of American military personnel sent emails of thanks.
US Homosexual Bishop again in the news: In a
story in the London Times, New Hampshire Bishop
Vicki Gene Robinson last week declared that if it was
forced to operate without gay clergy, the Church of
England would come close to having to shut down. He
said that many of the Church of England‘s clergy live
openly in their rectories with gay partners with the
full knowledge of their bishops. And he said “It’s a
terrible way to live your life, and a terrible way to
be a Church.” At least he seems to be faithful to his
chosen life style.
Founding Fathers on morals: “Without morals
a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they
therefore who are decrying the Christian religion,
whose morality is so sublime and pure ... are
undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best
security for the duration of free governments." - from
Charles Carroll, the only Roman Catholic signer of the
Declaration of Independence, in a letter, Nov. 1800.
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PREPARE TO ELECT A NEW PRESIDENT
SLOWLY BUT SURELY THE PRIMARY ELECTION
PROCESS MOVES ON, AS AMERICAN VOTERS
PREPARE TO ELECT A NEW PRESIDENT
And as boring as the news coverage of the primaries
seems to be, underneath it all the democratic process
is at work. In the midst of all that ennui we are quick
to admit that this is the best way to choose a leader,
and we would not have it any other way.
Just for your record: here is a brief schedule of the
upcoming primary elections, and the issue of this news
letter which will comment on those elections. Jan. 15
-- Michigan Primary, reported on in current issue;
Jan. 19 -- South Carolina Republican Primary,
and Nevada Caucus, reported on in Jan. 23 issue;
Jan. 26 -- South Carolina Democrat Primary,
reported on in Jan 30 issue; Feb. 2 -- Maine Caucus,
Feb. 5 -- “Super Tuesday,” (when at least 23 states
will vote), reported on in Feb. 6 issue. By that date it is
possible that both parties’ candidates may be chosen --
but, very frankly, it is also reasonable to admit that the
races are so close that the final decisions may not be
reached until this Summer’s party conventions.
This headline has been repeated often following
the nation’s first primary in New Hampshire on Jan. 8:
“Polls Miss the Mark in New Hampshire
Primary.” It speaks from the vantage point of actual
experience as what we have often said: “Ignore the polls!”
The only “poll” that has any meaning is the actual count
of the votes after each primary election.
Similarly, ignore predictions as to winners of the various
primary elections -- or as to who will be the final
candidates of each political party. Predictions are
nothing more than guesses, and the gift of ESP is as
yet an unproven talent. So together we will consider
each step of the process, and will always try to keep
foremost in our minds what is best for our nation.
After the New Hampshire primary, at least one major
editorial carried the heading, “Cue the Clowns.” One
is immediately reminded of Stephen Sondheim’s song
in the musical “A Little Night Music,” and the words
are very clearly appropriate: “But where are the clowns?
Quick, send in the clowns. Don’t bother, they’re here.”
The media and pollsters involved in the primary in
New Hampshire certainly merited that description.
With all those thoughts in mind, we have before
us the results of yesterday’s Michigan primary election.
To begin with, this was a totally different situation from
the New Hampshire primary. On the Democrat side it
was a “no contest” affair. No delegates were at stake,
and due to internal problems, the primary vote for
Democrats was essentially cancelled. Barack Obama
and John Edwards, for example, complied with the
party’s rules and withdrew their names. But Hillary
Clinton and Dennis Kucinich left their names on the
ballot, and so Senator Clinton was essentially running
against no one. Of course, she “won” but her 56% of
the Democrat vote fell far short of a sweep, since about
39% of the Democrat votes were for “Uncommitted,”
with about 4% for Kucinich, who for some reason is
still on the Democrat ballot.
On the Republican side, there was no clear-cut winner
predicted in the pre-primary polls. It was clearly seen as
a close three way contest between Romney, McCain and
Huckabee, and the results proved to be just that, with
Mitt Romney as a favorite sn winning with 39% of the
vote, a 9% margin over John McCain at 30%, and Mike
Huckabee in third place at 16%.
Thus the three top Republican contenders each have a
real win: Huckabee in Iowa, McCain in New Hampshire
and Romney in Michigan.
Now the focus shifts to Nevada’s Caucus and South
Carolina‘s Republican primary on Saturday.
This is still not the time to speculate or predict, but
rather it is still the time to allow the process to take its
course, and leave the soothsaying to the pollsters who
get paid for making those kinds of guesses.
From the Evangelical viewpoint, our choices are
still a bit less desirable than we might want. Right now,
as we move through the primary elections, we are
forced to admit that our present political system has
failed to offer us a candidate which we can accept with
no compromise on one position or another. We still
want a candidate whose moral values we can support
without any hesitation. There are certain basic elements
to which we are committed -- the ceasing of the killing
of unborn children, the preservation of the traditional
concept of marriage and family, restoration of the First
Amendment right of freedom of worship without any
restriction on expressions of the Christian faith, and a
national resolve to provide compassion and justice for
the poor and oppressed, at home and throughout the
World, plus the seemingly never ending pursuit of peace.
The Founding Fathers defined political campaigns
like we are seeing between Hillary Clinton and Barack
Obama, as we note in this quote from John Adams in
1826: "Public affairs go on pretty much as usual:
Perpetual chicanery and rather more personal abuse
than there used to be... Our American Chivalry is the
worst in the world. It has no Laws, no bounds, and no
definitions; it seems to be all a Caprice."
Afterthoughts . . .
Rewards for poor performance: despite holding
the lowest public approval rating in history (only about
half of the president’s approval rating) Congress has
rewarded itself with a pay raise of $4,100 over the
salary they have been paid since Jan. 2006, according
to a report in the Federal Register for January 8. There
has to be something of interest to American taxpayers
somewhere in that report. And this is an election year.
It could happen here: A Christian employee of
British Airways was sent home from work because she
was wearing a necklace with a cross. She sued the
company, but lost her case in court. Employees who
follow other religions are permitted faith related
items , including clothing, jewelry and religious
markings. The girl’s attorney made this comment:
"No Christian should be forced to hide her faith in
the workplace, particularly when a double-standard
exists targeting only Christians for discriminatory
treatment. This case should be of particular interest
to the American customers of British Airways who
understand and value religious liberty."
Another “2007 List” -- in addition to the other lists
of interesting events for the year 2007, here is another
List of “7 Top Christian Bashings,“ compiled by Dr.
Gary Cass, Chairman of the Christian Anti-Defamation
Commission, released last week by Christian Newswire.
No.1: Colorado Church Murders; No. 2: Federal Hate
Crimes Bill; No. 3: San Francisco’s Folsom Street Fair;
No. 4: The attacks on Jerry Falwell on CNN; No. 5:
CNN’s anti Christian documentaries, “God’s Warriors,”
and “Friends Of God;” No. 6: John Edwards’ campaign
supporters whose Blogs called Christian supporters of
President Bush his “wing nut Christofascist base;” No. 7:
the movie “Golden Compass.” Worth thinking about.
Who can say if endorsements help or hurt? The
disclosure this past week that the two top Democrat
candidates had picked up celebrity endorsers raises
that question. Senator John Kerry announced his
support for Barack Obama, and Madeline Albright,
former Secretary of State, announced her support for
Hillary Clinton. Do those help or hurt? Hard to say.
An important announcement: America's Truth
Forum, in association with Basics Project, has just
announced the third in the national symposium series
on the threat of radical Islam, “Exposing the Threat
of Islamist Terrorism,” scheduled for February 1 & 2
in the Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX area. The wording of the
announcement is worth presenting here: “As the 2008
presidential elections heat up it is clear that America
and the world need for the American people to be
sufficiently educated about the dangers of the 21st
century that arise from the global jihad... America’s
Truth Forum upcoming symposium will provide an
essential service to the public... America’s Truth
Forum & Basics Project will provide the public with
an opportunity to learn about what the media doesn’t
report...Only by understanding these dangers will
the American people be able to ensure that the next
president will be a leader who understands and is
committed to defending the United States and the
rest of the Free World against the threat posed by
the forces of jihad at home and around the world.”
NOTE: We will diligently report on this conference.
The Founding Fathers were aware of this kind of
threat to our nation: "We have no government armed
with power capable of contending with human
passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice,
ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the
strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes
through a net. Our Constitution was made only for
a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate
to the government of any other." - John Adams, 1798
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THE NATION’S TV NEWS PROGRAMS
WE OWE A WORD OF COMMENDATION TO
THE NATION’S TV NEWS PROGRAMS, BUT
PROBABLY MORE IS COMING OUR WAY
We often criticize the media, print and broadcast, due
to what we as Conservatives perceive as a very strong
bias against our views and for the Liberal positions. And
those criticisms are clearly justified – even admitted as
being true by the media themselves.
Now that the Iowa circus – ooops, caucus – is finally
over, a word of commendation is due the media, mostly
to the TV programs, network and cable, for making an
almost meaningless political event into an around the
clock, seemingly never ending spectacle. It is estimated
that something just short of $100 million advertising
dollars were spent to influence the opinions of the
participants in the caucus meetings.
We should have learned that polls are meaningless,
and perhaps never more so than last week in Iowa. Both
Democrats and Republicans saw all poll predictions
scrapped and new winners emerge. Obama, Edwards
and Clinton, in that order for the Democrats, and
Huckabee, Romney and Thompson for the Republicans.
The reaction of the media was as overwhelming as the
news coverage had been, as seen in these next day’s
news headlines: "Huckabee, Obama Win in Historic
Iowa Vote" ... "An Earthquake in the Midwest" ...
"Value Voters Win Big in Iowa" ... "Washington is
Reeling from Last Night’s Iowa Caucuses" ... "White
House a win away, says Barack Obama."
But just a minute. "Earthquake in the Midwest?" ...
"Historic Vote?" ... "Washington Reeling?" ..."White
House a win away?" Not really. This was not even a
Primary vote. It was just an expression of the opinion
of only 15% of Iowa’s eligible voters.
Here is a comment from overseas – Janet Daley,
writing in the London Telegraph on January 7, "It
has been hugely entertaining listening to jaundiced
BBC commentators trying to decide whether
American politics is quaintly naive or stirringly
robust." The British commentators do not describe
the results of the Iowa Caucuses in quite the glowing
terminology that the American media employs.
David Broder of The Washington Post, writing in an
editorial under the headline using the words: "Iowa’s
Unrepresentative Caucuses," seems to have described
the Iowa effort quite accurately. "Unrepresentative."
So the attention shifted to New Hampshire, with
more of the same round-the-clock saturation coverage
by the news media. The inevitable polls, right up to
yesterday’s actual voting, kept the races focused on
the Democrats: Obama, Clinton and Edwards, in that
order, and on the Republican side, McCain, Romney
and Huckabee, in that order.
And the polls were almost half right, which is about
as accurate as they ever are. On the Republican side
the polls predicted the outcome correctly: McCain,
Romney and Huckabee, in that order.
On the Democrat side, however, right up to almost
the time of casting the first vote, the polls predicted a
solid win for Barack Obama, and rumors were rampant
that Bill Clinton’s team was going to come in and take
over Hillary Clinton’s failing campaign. But as is so
often the case, the polls were wrong – Clinton won,
Obama was second, and Edwards a distant third.
But do not draw a hasty conclusion. This is only
January 9. The election is 10 months away. These
first two events are just blips on the radar screen of
the American election process. There are a series of
individual primary elections – New Hampshire was
only the first -- and then on February 5, the so-called
"Super Tuesday," 24 states will hold Primaries or
Caucuses, including the two largest states, California
and New York. It is very likely that the nominees will
be decided on that date, and then the longest election
campaign in this nation’s history will begin.
Money will pay an important part in this election, and
will be the major reason why some of the presently
remaining candidates may shortly drop out. Follow
the ongoing campaign here where thorough research
rather than following unreliable polls will interpret
important future news from an Evangelical viewpoint.
But beyond the effect of the almost unbelievable
expenditures for campaign advertising there should
be a serious consideration from a Christian viewpoint
as to which candidates most closely represent the
moral values we consider to be important in the final
choice of the next president of the United States.
That principle is important, as is this statement
from Abraham Lincoln at an earlier time when this
nation faced serious problems: "This nation can never
be conquered from without. If it is ever to fall it will
be from within."
Afterthoughts . . .
While our attention is focused on the election
here in America, let us never forget the persecuted
church elsewhere in the world. This quote from a
message from Voice of the Martyrs summarizes the
situation well: "The persecution of Christians around
the world is a tragic reality. Our brothers and sisters
are beaten and tortured simply for their faith in Jesus
Christ. And some pay the ultimate price." VOM now
lists 52 countries in the world which are characterized
either as a Restricted Nation or a Hostile Area. Those
countries run alphabetically from Afghanistan to
Yemen; 14 are rated as Hostile, with the remaining 38
enforcing Restrictions on Christians. In addition to
prayers for our nation during this election year, do not
neglect our fellow believers around the world who do
not have the freedom to worship which we take for
granted here in America.
A continuing issue for Conservatives which can
not be ignored. Dr. Joel C. Hunter, pastor of a unique
church in Central Florida whose 12,000 members meet
both as a regular congregation and on-line, has just
stepped down from his recent election as president of
the Christian Coalition of America. His reason for not
serving as president? The organization resisted his
efforts to broaden its agenda to include fighting AIDS,
reducing poverty, and supporting the concept of Global
Warming. His action helps focus attention on the
shift of many so-called Evangelical organizations in
placing those social needs ahead of the proclamation of
the Gospel. It does not have to be an "either-or" choice.
Our obeying the Great Commission of Jesus Christ will
result in a Christian army spiritually equipped to serve
the needs of our fellow men.
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