Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Is Trump Helping Church Divide Sheep from Goats?

Donald Trump has done a lot of things in his historic run for the presidency. One that truly caught my friend Phil Durt by surprise was what he believes is a dividing of the "sheep and the goats."

People are ending friendships over Trump -- real ones, not just on Facebook or on Capitol Hill -- and Christians have been split as well. Some, like Southern Baptist leader Russell Moore find Trump anathema to Christianity. But lots of others, including broadcaster James Dobson, may not necessarily like Trump, but feel he will at least keep the ship from sinking as quickly as Hillary Clinton.

Of course, those are the theologically conservative Christians. Many on the theological left are quite happy with Clinton and are universally opposed to Trump.

But those on the right are split. Phil doesn't hold that the anti-Trumpers are the sheep and the pro-Trumpers are the goats in his scenario. There are some of each in both groups, he says. And some of each backing Clinton, for that matter.

But the fight is getting most everyone to show their true colors, he said, making it a lot easier discern which really belong in the sheep pen.

Could God have raised up Donald Trump for such a purpose at this time? Phil thinks it's possible.

"For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth,"  Paul writes in Romans 9:17.


Owen Tew is the pen name for Greg Richter, a freelance writer whose work regularly appears on Newsmax. He also has had his work posted on, The Clyde Fitch Report, The Huffington Post and The Hill. Follow him on Twitter at @owentew.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Advice to a Democratic Voter Wanting to Vote Republican

A friend of mine who is a Democrat recently said he would not vote for any of the Republican candidates in a general election. Still, he is considering voting in Alabama's GOP primary on Tuesday, and was wondering who he should vote for. 
Here's my answer:
Depends on which candidate you least like to see as president, should the eventual outcome be a Republican. The nominee is going to either be Trump, Rubio or Cruz. If your goal is to do all you can to stop Trump, I'd say vote for either Rubio or Cruz so they could get closer to stopping him. Alabama this year is awarding GOP delegates as winner-take-all by congressional delegation, so you should probably vote for who has best chance in your area. I don't remember where you live exactly, but OTM or Shelby County would probably be Rubio. Anywhere else in Central Alabama is probably Cruz. Now, if you most want to stop Cruz -- or Rubio -- then vote for Trump. But if you want to vote for the least conservative candidate, vote Kasich. Kasich won't win any delegates in Alabama, but if you just are making a statement of which is closest to your thinking, that's who I'd advise.
Of course, not everyone is in a state like Alabama. Some do winner-take-all statewide, and some proportion the votes statewide. If you're in winner-take-all, just apply the advice I give above statewide instead of by your district. If proportional, vote for whomever you like best out of Trump, Rubio and Cruz.

This is a tweak of the advice I gave Republicans in Iowa ahead of the caucuses, which you can read at The Clyde Fitch Report.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Fact-checking Obama on Guns: NRA's Real Opposition to Smart Guns

President Obama and CNN's Anderson Cooper discuss guns. (CNN)
President Barack Obama had an interesting argument during his Thursday town hall on CNN as to why the National Rifle Association opposes the sale of smart guns.

According to the president, "It has not been developed primarily because it's been blocked by either the NRA, which is funded by gun manufacturers or other reasons." (Read my reporting at Newsmax about it here.)

He's right that the NRA has persuaded gun makers not to produce smart guns, which could be fired only by the weapon's proper owner. Such technology uses either a chip worn in a watch or bracelet with must be close enough to the handgun to allow firing, or by recognizing the owner's grip.

Obama makes it sound like the gun manufacturers don’t want to sell such handguns to the public and has thus gotten the NRA to somehow put a stop to it.

There are two logical inconsistencies with that statement.

First, why would someone who makes a product be opposed to expanding their market and producing new products that some consumers want? Some people who don't own handguns now might be persuaded to become customers if they felt they could buy a safer product.

Second, even if they were opposed to making smart guns, why would they need a lobbying group to halt their own production of such a product. If they don't want to manufacture smart guns, they simply don't have to.

But if you parse Obama's words carefully, you'll notice he ended that sentence with "or other reasons."

He's right about that. And here is the other reason:

Back in 2002, New Jersey passed the Childproof Handgun Law, which aimed to decrease the number of children accidentally getting their hands on a gun and firing it – a noble goal.

But the law says that within three years of any gun shop owner in the United States beginning sale of a smart gun, every new handgun sold in New Jersey must be a smart gun.

Gun shop owners don't like this because it limits customer choice. It's like if New Jersey had said that once any candy store in the United States began selling peanuts covered in chocolate with a hard candy coating, that's the only kind of candy that could be sold in New Jersey. As soon as Peanut M&Ms hit the market, you couldn't buy regular M&Ms – or Snickers bars or Cracker Jack.

So you could either sell smart guns in New Jersey or you could sell no handguns at all. Smaller manufacturers would be cut out while the big boys like Smith & Wesson rake in all the money. People who want regular handguns would likely drive to another state to get them if that's even legal.

And smart guns are more expensive than their regular counterparts. A person like me who has never had children and rarely has them visit might feel he is wasting money to buy a smart gun. Or maybe he's responsible enough to keep his guns locked up without having to shell out the extra bucks for a smart gun.

So, yes, the NRA does oppose smart gun sales, but only insofar as New Jersey's law would trigger lack of choice.

"We'll work with the private sector. We'll figure out whether or not this technology can be developed and then give everybody a choice in terms of the kind of firearm that they want to purchase because I think that there will, in fact, be market for that and over time," Obama said Thursday.

We've heard something like that before – something about keeping our plans and our doctors if we like them.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Will Trump Hold Evangelical Appeal?


Trump with his Bible at Council Bluffs, Iowa
I'll be interested to see how Donald Trump's appeal to evangelicals continues following his rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Tuesday night.

Trump began the rally waving his Bible and noting that he is a Protestant and a Presbyterian in particular. It appeared to be obvious pandering to evangelical Christians, a strong voting bloc in Iowa, which starts the voting when it holds its caucuses on February 1.

Trump noted that his mother gave him the Bible and had written "This is Donald Trump's Bible" inside.

What evangelicals will notice that others may not is that the Bible was in pristine condition. It hasn't seen a lot of wear and tear. He hasn't spent hundreds of hours studying it.

My first Bible.
That doesn't mean Trump hasn't studied another Bible, saving that one because it was a gift from this mother. But when I see it I think of the Bible my grandmother gave me when I was 14. It, too, was inscribed. And it sat in pristine condition for five years.

When I truly gave my life to Christ, that was the only Bible I owned, so it was the one I initially studied. I still have it, but now its edges are frayed and its binding is duct taped.

Hugh Ross' tattered first Bible. (Greg Richter)
I've also seen Reasons to Believe founder Hugh Ross hold up his first Bible. It's tattered.

Still, a pristine first Bible isn't enough to make evangelicals see trump as a phony.

But not long afterward, Trump noted that one of his rivals for the Republican nomination, former New York Gov. George Pataki, had just dropped out of the race.

"Somebody else dropped out, but there's not much to split up because he was at zero," Trump said, not even mentioning Pataki's name and bascically kicking him while he was down.

Meanwhile, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, whose Cuban-born father is an evangelical pastor, offered words of praise for Pataki.

"I’m grateful for Governor George Pataki’s many years of dedication to our nation and to the state of New York — particularly while serving as Governor on September 11th," Cruz wrote on his Facebook page. "He brought experience and knowledge to the race for the Republican nomination, and as a result, helped prepare our eventual nominee to win in November and take back the White House."

Cruz's response is more likely to resonate with evangelical Christians, who may not support someone like Pataki for president, but who also don't believe in being unnecessarily mean to him.

As for Cruz, Trump closed out his rally repeating an old line in which he questions Cruz's own evangelicalism.

"Just remember this – you gotta remember, in all fairness, to the best of my knowledge, not too many evangelicals come out of Cuba, OK?" he said. "Just remember that. Just remember."

Trump again held up his pristine Bible as he closed things out.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Sheriff: 'I Will Not Name the Shooter'

Sheriff John Hanlin (Douglas County Sheriff's Department)
Media outlets have been questioning all day why the gunman who killed at least 10 people at an Oregon college had yet to be identified by police.

The reason, it turns out, may be because the sheriff didn't want to give him credit. John Hanlin, the sheriff of Douglas County, Oregon, the gunman carried out his carnage at Umpqua Community College, said the will never utter the name of the man, who was killed by police, and urged the media not to do so either.

"Let me be very clear: I will not name the shooter. I will not give him the credit he probably sought prior to this horrific and cowardly act," Hanlin said at a press conference Thursday night. "Media will get the name confirmed in time. But you will never hear me mention his name."

He also encouraged the media not to use the man's name, even though some already had done so.

"We encourage you not to glorify and create sensationalism for him. He in no way deserves this," Hanlin said.

Media outlets had questioned why the man had not been identified by police even though he had been dead for several hours and his name was showing up on social media.

The debate over whether to name the perpetrators of mass killings has long raged, with some arguing that they are getting glory they seek when they are named. Others the public has a right to know any public information about such crimes, including the name of the perpetrator.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Ariana Grande Must Time-travel to Kill Hitler

Since we can't make all the rednecks stop waving the Confederate flag – or make Donald Trump stop spitting on the Mexican one – it's time we make an example of someone.

We must force Ariana Grande to go back in time and kill Hitler.

The public doughnut-licker, who also sings and acts, has apologized for putting her cooties on some yummy ringed delights in a California bakery and then leaving them for another customer to buy and eat.

I can only hope Homer Simpson is not on that jury.

But she also voiced her disgust for Americans and America itself.

It was the second act that really got her into trouble. She got dropped from singing at baseball's All-Star Game – understandable since baseball was America's pastime in times past.

But no longer. Now, you can just buy us the peanuts and Cracker Jack.

And that was Grande's point: Americans are fat and getting molto grande, and that's what she was really saying in her "I hate Americans" comment. But this is the epoch of taking people out of context because it gets clicks.

Sure, she apologized – twice – but that's not good enough anymore. Neither is explaining what you meant. You must do penance.

Here, Grande could kill two birds with one stone. Not literally, of course, or she'd be in trouble for that, too.

Perhaps you saw the recent study that found that women are far less likely than men to be willing to travel back in time to kill Hitler. If you didn't, here are some links to stories about it on USAToday, the NewYork Post and The Independent

If you don't care for such sensationalism, here's a link tothe actual study, titled Gender Differences in Responses to Moral Dilemmas: A Process Dissociation Analysis, which uses waaay boring terms such as deontology and utilitarianism. Blech.

If you'd rather eat a pre-licked doughnut than read that report, let me sum up: Men are gung-ho to make like Marty McFly – or Sherman and Peabody – and kill Der Fuehrer, while women worry about the consequences of their actions.

Clearly, it's all consequences schmonsequences with Ariana Grande, so she'd be the perfect woman to go back in time and kill Hitler. She could prove her America-lovin' bonafides by blasting our World War II nemesis to smithereens.

Maybe she could pose as his food taster. She likes licking food before giving it to someone else to eat. Then BOOM! Have him screaming Mein Gott! before he ever writes Mein Kampf.

As to that second bird: It's all about gender equality. If Ariana Grande succeeds in her quest she will become not just a national hero, but an international one. She can write her ticket for the rest of her life. Not even Rob O'Neill, the Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden, is that universally adored.

As for the rest of us, maybe such a giant accomplishment could restore the word Grande to its true meaning, instead of small, as most drinkers of overpriced coffee have come to believe.

Owen Tew is the pen name for Greg Richter, a freelance writer whose work regularly appears on Newsmax and The Clyde Fitch Report. He also has had his work posted on The Huffington Post and The Hill. Follow him on Twitter at @owentew.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Polyamorous Marriage Train Coming in Too Fast for the Curve

As America lurches toward post-pluralism, the groupthink is headed toward outright hedonism.

No sooner had the Supreme Court same-sex marriage decision been handed down on Friday than some same-sex marriage supporters were decrying the fact that polygamous and even polyamorous relationships haven't been seriously included in the debate. 

But even some same-sex advocates thought that a bit over thetop

No matter your opinion on same-sex marriage from a moral standpoint, you have to admit that from a legal perspective it isn't any more complicated than marriage between a man and a woman.

And while one person married to many partners isn't a whole lot more complicated than two people married to each other, things get complicated fast when you add polyamory to the mix. And if polyamorous marriages are legal, what's to stop things from getting even more complicated with people being involved in multiple polyamorous marriages?

To see how complicated things quickly become, let's start off with a traditional marriage: One man is married to one woman.

Now, lets make them polygamous. Let's say the man marries two more women. So he is married to three separate women. As long as everyone is cool with it, no problem. When they have children they belong to the man and whichever of the women bore them. If the man and Woman No. 2 get divorced, it's not really different from traditional divorce. She just leaves the relationship and any child custody and splitting of assets is handled the normal way. (Then again, does she get half the assets or one-fourth?)

Now it's time to get polyamorous. We're going to forget that divorce in the last paragraph ever happened and say that the one man and three women all are married to each other, not just the man individually to the women. Woman No. 1 is married to Woman No. 2 and to Woman No. 3, and likewise Woman No. 2 and No. 3 also are married to each other.

Further, two more men enter the marriage, so now all six are married to everyone else. If two of these opposite-sex members produce a child, whose it? Everyone's? It matters if the natural mother or father decide to divorce the rest of the group.

And what if Man No. 3 decides to divorce two members of the group, but remain married to the rest?

That's too painful to think about, so let's just say the three men and three women all stayed married to each other. But Woman No. 3 decides to marry a man outside the group. And that man marries another man outside the group. Then Man No. 1 (from the original polyamorous marriage) enters a second polyamorous marriage with one man and one woman. The second man from this relationship marries two other women, and the first woman from this latest relationship marries one of the women, but not the other. Then the woman who did marry the other woman also marries the third woman from the original polyamorous relationship, but not anyone else from that marriage.

Do you follow? Probably not, unless you have a 180 IQ or you have been drawing a chart of this whole mess.

A Tangled Web 

But if fair is fair, then the state shouldn't have the ability to ban any of these relationships, and what you've got is a tangled web with virtually no end.

Most people won't choose to enter into such a relationship, but should such be legalized and everyone actually did, then everyone of legal age in the entire country could be part of this insane mega-marriage. Assuming that incest remains illegal, date night could get a little embarrassing.

And if these marriages are just like our current traditional marriage system, some of them are going to break up. That's going to be a "melluva hess," as my Dad is fond of saying. And it will be an even melluva more hess when there are children involved. And property.

What percentage of your property goes to a side spouse who divorces you when you are in another polyamorous marriage of five people? Does he/she get one-half of one-fifth of what you own? What do the other four have to say about you giving up a piece of actual property – jointly owned – when none of them were even a part of this side marriage?

And that's just assuming there were only the two of you in the side marriage. What if there were a couple of more in that marriage. I'm getting a migraine just from the fact that the math exists to make the calculation.

While same-sex marriage might work just as easily as traditional marriage in a legal sense, going any further is going to throw the train off the rails. Conservatives might want to stand aside and watch the wreck.

Owen Tew is the pen name for Greg Richter, a freelance writer whose work regularly appears on Newsmax and The Clyde Fitch Report. He also has had his work posted on The Huffington Post and The Hill. Follow him on Twitter at @owentew.