THIS WEEK'S BRIEF EDITORIAL COMMENT: Last week we had to
admit that May hadn't been our greatest month, and certainly not for President
Obama. And June isn't getting started as being much better. The national rate
of unemployment -- even by the usually deceptively optimistic Obama Labor
Department figures -- has moved up to 9.1%. A few weeks ago when it
dropped by .10%, it was heralded as a great achievement by the Obama plan.
This week's increase by the same amount was brushed aside by our glib,
teleprompted leader as a "bump in the road" enroute to his mythical recovery.
And his "non-war" war in Libya drags on ... in Afghanistan, president Karzai
is signalling that he wants our military out of his country ... in Syria, the Obama
administration's "reformer," President Assad, continues to kill objectors to his
oppressive regime ... in Yemen: who knows?... in Egypt, the Muslim
Brotherhood seems poised to take control, and Israel's long-time friend has
opened the border to facilitate the supply of arms to Hamas. All-in-all, another
month is well on its way toward becoming one-to-be-forgotten. Certainly not
the foundation for a sitting president to build his re-election campaign on.
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WE FOUND THIS HEADLINE IN "REDSTATE," AND FELT IT
WAS WORTH REPEATING: "WASHINGTON IS BROKEN,
AND NEEDS LEADERSHIP. WHERE IS PRESIDENT
OBAMA?" YOU BE THE JUDGE IF IT APPLIES
But first, here is a comment from a very familiar voice . . . for more than 50
years, Billy Graham was the voice of Christian evangelism, in America and
internationally. Earlier this year he responded to some questions on current
events, and made this profound assessment of Christian responsibility in our
difficult times: "The central issues of our time are moral and spiritual in
nature, and our calling is to declare Christ’s forgiveness and hope and
transforming power to a world that does not know Him or follow Him."
He prefaced that statement with these words: "The central issues of our time
aren’t economic or political or social, important as these are."
Whether or not he intended to do so, Mr. Graham has expressed a dichotomy
that defines our Christian responsibility today. It can be doubted that he meant
for his responses to reflect an "either-or" position -- EITHER reforms in our
social, economic and political practices, OR proclaiming the Gospel. It is far
more likely that he meant for his responses to reflect a "both-and" position --
BOTH restoring a moral standard to our social, economic and political
practices, AND proclaiming the Gospel.
And it is that "both-and" position that we need to re-establish in our nation.
We have drifted in recent years so far from what America used to be; what
it was founded to be. To call to mind just a few of our downward actions ...
in 1947 the Supreme Court ruled on the "Separation of Church and State,"
opening the door for Madalyn Murray Ohair and her 1962 lawsuit which
literally kicked God out of our schools ... in 1973 the Supreme Court ruled
to make abortions legal, and since that time some 50 million babies have
been killed ... in 2010 President Obama signed the repeal of the "Don't Ask
Don't Tell" law which restricted open homosexuality in our armed forces, in
fulfillment of a campaign promise to his homosexual supporters ... and at
present Mr. Obama is fulfilling another promise to those homosexuals -- he
is actively attempting to repeal DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) and
thus open the door to same-sex marriages in every state. And this president
scornfully dismisses Biblical teaching on homosexuality as an "obscure verse
in Romans," but speaks reverently of the "holy Quran," ignores observance
of the National Day of Prayer, but sponsors gala recognition of the Islamic
holy period of Ramadan.
In the face of such anti-Christian trends in our nation, we do indeed need the
"both-and" practices of which Billy Graham spoke, and an adherence to God's
promise in II Chron. 7:14, "If my people, which are called by my name,
shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their
wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and
will heal their land."
One of our nation's Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson, in 1781 expressed
our need in these words: "And can the liberties of a nation be thought
secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the
minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are
not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country
when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever."
Our continuing responsibility, as Christians: we have often shared this
verse of Scripture, "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications,
prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men, for
kings and for all that are in authority ..." (I Tim. 2:2) Thus we have been
maintaining a period of prayer, leading to the next national election day, Nov.
6, 2012 . . . and there are, as of today, 517 days to pray for our nation, for
our leaders, and for God's direction as we vote next year.
A few issues ago we asked: "Quo Vadis, America?" This week, after
seeing this headline on a current news story: "Unemployment Goes Up,
Obama Declares Victory," we are faced with that same question: "Where
is America going?" That headline came after a dismal week of economic
reports, as in the Heritage Foundation: "The economic news keeps getting
worse for America. Last month, the unemployment rate went up to 9.1
percent, the economy added only 54,000 jobs, and the average length of
unemployment rose to more than nine months, the longest since the
Labor Department started keeping track in 1948. But despite all the
writing on the wall, President Barack Obama wants you and the 13.9
million unemployed Americans to hang on for the ride," a ride, which Mr.
Obama admitted, may incur a few bumps in the road. (Adding to all that bad
news, the government revised the employment figures for March and April to
show 39,000 fewer jobs were created than they had previously estimated.)
"Stubbornly high unemployment numbers, cratering home prices, stock
market plunges -- there's only one upside to all these depressing figures,"
wrote columnist Gary Rivlin, "They may finally force Washington to stop
obsessing over the deficit and get to work on fixing unemployment."
We could well ask that same question about the Obama administration's plans
internationally, with the announcement, relayed to us from Great Britain via the
London Telegraph, that in Afghanistan, American officials have set a goal of
direct negotiations with Mullah Omar, the leader of the Taliban. During a visit
to Islamabad last month, Marc Grossman, Washington's special envoy to the
region, appealed for help in contacting the reclusive Taliban leader, according
to Imtiaz Gul, the head of the Center for Research and Security Studies in
Islamabad. "He said we are looking for people or groups that can
demonstrate their access to Mullah Omar," Mr. Gul said. In February,
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton indicated a major change in policy involving
talking with the Taliban, and during his current farewell trip to Afghanistan,
soon outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates predicted that talks would
start "by the end of the year." Mr. Grossman, the replacement for special
envoy Richard Holbrooke, has been nicknamed "Mr. Reconciliation," and has
reportedly been told to focus on tying up an agreement that will speed up the
return of American troops from Afghanistan.
In the light of these dramatic swings, one is inclined to find some credence in
the essay "When will Obama crack in public?" by Mychal Massie, Chairman
of National Leadership of Black Conservatives, in which he pointed out,
"Obama continues to exhibit behavior that at best can be described as
mobocratic, and at worst, reveals a deeply ndamaged individual." In that
connection, Massie cites Steve McCann's assessment of Obama in American
Thinker, where he wrote, "His performance was the culmination of four
years of outright lies and narcissism that have been largely ignored by
the media, including some in the conservative press and political class
who are loath to call him what he is in the bluntest of terms: a liar and
a fraud...It is apparent that he has gotten away with his character flaws
his entire life, aided and abetted by sycophants around him..."
A viewpoint on Syria we don't often hear, from Mahmoud Harmoush,