The Left’s Wacky View of Church vs. State

image courtesy ChristianHeadlines.com

I try so hard to understand them.  Really I do.

We were discussing the upcoming election — specifically the tight race for North Carolina’s 9th District congressional seat.   I said I was pleased that Mark Harris, a good conservative, was running for the post after beating a wilting Republican insider, Robert Pittenger, in the primary.

“Oh, I could never vote for Harris,” my liberal friend said.  “He’s a pastor, you know!”  She whispered the word as if he were a secret child molester.

Taken aback, I asked what that has to do with anything.  Why can’t a pastor be elected to a public office?  “Oh, I believe in separation of church and state.  It’s in the constitution, you know.” 

“Where in the constitution does it say pastors can’t run for office?” I asked. 

“Well, it doesn’t.  But he shouldn’t be elected, because we need separation of church and state, ” she answered. 

I had to press on.  “The first amendment says the government can’t force any religion on citizens, but it doesn’t say there can’t be any sign of religion in public life.  What do you mean by ‘separation of church and state?'”

“Well, you know, we can’t have religious people who will have an influence on government,”  she said, her mental gears starting to clank.

“Why not?” I countered. 

“Well, umm, you know, they will have influence.” Giving her credit, my leftist neighbor really did like to engage with me on our political differences, but she never seemed to put the brain in gear before letting out the clutch.  “You know he thinks women should be subservient to men!”  The “s” word was whispered again, like it should be a secret just between me and her.

I knew she was referring to the anti-Harris attack ad on television where that one sentence was pulled from one of Harris’ recent sermons.  “Were you in church the Sunday that Harris gave that sermon?”  I asked, knowing she wasn’t.  “Well, I was [different church] and I can tell you that pretty much every pastor in the USA was giving the same sermon on the same day.  It was a special nationwide effort to teach the Bible’s lesson about the relationship between men and women, and the role each plays in marriage.  It was a beautiful message, and very supportive of women.  He was doing his job, like every other pastor that Sunday.  You just reacted to a sound bite clipped out of context.”

“Oh, well I didn’t know that, nobody knows that,” she mumbled.  “But nobody should vote for him because of his Christian influence.”

I was just getting warmed up.  “So it’s only Christian pastors who can’t be elected to office?  What if a Muslim cleric ran for Congress?  Would that be okay?” 

“Well, that’s different . . . ” she started, but was unsure how to defend her apparent bias against Christians. “Separation of . . . “

“Let’s try this,” I continued.  “What harm do you think a Christian pastor could do if elected to a public office?”

“Well . . . influence, er, policies . . . ” she stumbled, looking for a safe space.

“Isn’t that what every elected official does?  Influence policies?  Wouldn’t a teacher influence policies?  Or a farmer?  Or a business person? Don’t you want your representative to influence policies?  Why not a pastor?”

Silence.

I knew what was bouncing around in the back of her head – abortion! abortion! abortion!

“Are you worried about losing the right to kill babies?” I asked.

“Oh, I don’t believe in killing babies,” she wobbled.  “I just think women should have the right to choose.”

“Choose what?  Do you mean the right to choose to kill babies?”  I admit, I was starting to get growly. 

“If you really believe in separation of church and state,” I said, “do you think it’s fair for the government to force a business owner to do something that is against his religious beliefs? Like bake a cake for a gay wedding?”

“Well, um.  I’m going to have to think about that.” 

Mission accomplished, I headed off to coach my grandson’s little league game.  With another liberal friend, the assistant coach.

Sigh.  A conservative’s work is never done.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

The only one who could ever reach me
Was the son of a preacher man
The only one who could ever teach me
Was the son of a preacher man

Son of a Preacher Man – Dusty Springfield



Can We Be From the Same Planet?

Our neighbor, Nancy, stopped my wife for a minute of chit chat and asked what she thinks of the Bret Kavanaugh story.  My better half, never at a loss for words, and always armed with facts, proceeded to educate Nancy on the importance of the presumption of innocence to civilized society.  “Kavanaugh’s accuser has no proof or even information about her ‘assault’ that implicates him,” my wife explained.  “She can’t remember where it happened, when it happened, who was there, how she got there, how she got home – and the few things she does remember have been denied by her own named witnesses.”

Things were getting pretty hot when I happened on the scene.  “You don’t believe he raped all those girls?”  Nancy demanded.   It angered and saddened me that Dr. Ford’s original charge, that 15-year-old Kavanaugh once tried to feel her up over her clothes, has metastasized into a history of violent gang rapes.

“This woman is destroying a man with a brilliant career, along with his wife and daughters, for nothing more than politics,” I said.  “It’s just wrong.”

Nancy did not have – or need – any facts to support her position.  “They should make his daughters testify in front of Congress!” she wailed.  “Are you insane?” my exasperated wife said.  “You want them to ask the girls if their daddy has got drunk and raped them lately?”  Nancy’s comeback: “Well, I just don’t like Kavanaugh.  He’s a liar.  I believe the women.”

With the knowledge that there is no way to reason with a liberal, I grabbed my wife and hurried off to our grandson’s baseball game.

___________________

James popped in to say hi at the local YMCA.  He used to play pickup basketball with us regularly, but we had not seen him for several months.

“I’ve been too busy for hoops,” he told us, which we all agreed is a good thing.  “Make hay while the sun shines,” was my fatherly advice.

James is a young entrepreneur who started an automotive business customizing all-terrain vehicles.  To supplement his income he bought a cargo trailer and makes regional hauls.  “I’m hiring a couple more guys,” he said.  “And I am offering them three times as much money as they are making now.  There is no end to the trucking work available.”

“Business is booming all over,” I noted, and James said, kind of sheepishly, “I know, so why is everybody ragging on Trump?”  A risky statement, because we all know that any defense of Trump in the presence of leftists is an invitation to an ugly scene, and James didn’t know that my basketball buddy and I are also conservatives.  “I can’t see where Trump has done anything wrong.  He is keeping all of his promises and it’s working.  That’s what we needed, a businessman.”

I agreed.  “It’s great to live in America,” I said.  “I hope we can keep it that way.”

James gave us a little personal history.  “I’m from the ghetto,” he said.  “I’m not afraid of poverty, but I don’t like it much either.  And it sure is clear to me that things are lot better now than they have been in a long time.”

“I’ve never been political,” James continued.  “I just never talk about it because everybody gets kind of crazy, and I’m busy working anyway.  But man, this stuff going on with the judge is just ridiculous.”

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

So, round and around and around we go
Where the world’s headed, said nobody knows
Oh, great Googamooga
Can’t you hear me talking to you?

Just a ball of confusion
Oh yeah, that’s what the world is today
Woo, hey, hey

Ball of Confusion – the Temptations

 

More News From the Real World

Yesterday a big truck pulled into our driveway to deliver a refrigerator.  The delivery men were both young, athletic, hard working African-American dads.  One has month-old twins and the other has a couple of young daughters.

After finishing the work, they took some time to visit with us, and I accepted their admiration for my awesome man room.  They were impressed by our new home on the lake, and I could see them wondering, how does a guy get one of these?

My “dad” buzzer went off.  I just can’t resist an opportunity to coach enterprising young people.  I am an unapologetic card-carrying disciple of free enterprise and American capitalism, and nothing makes me happier than seeing a young person who wants to move up and achieve a better life for his or her family.  At risk of embarrassment, here is our conversation, condensed.

Worker 1: “That is a big, beautiful house.  How did you guys get here?”

Me:  “You know, my wife and I started out dirt poor.  We had absolutely nothing.  But we worked hard, and saved, and kept working and saving, and here we are.  It’s America!  We are living proof that the American dream is real and success is out there for anybody who is willing to work for it.”

Worker 1: “I’m thinking about starting my own business, I have a couple of ideas.”

Me: “Owning your own business is great.  If I had known how fun and profitable it is to have your own business, I would have done it long ago.”

Wife: “And it’s a great time to start a business. The economy is booming!  There are all kinds of opportunities right now.  Companies are starting up and growing and hiring people because of the tax reform.”

Worker 2: “Yeah, business has really picked up.  Our company can’t find enough people to hire.”

Wife:  “I’m a Trump supporter and he has really turned things around after Obama.”

Workers 1 and 2 simultaneously:  “That’s for sure, Obama didn’t do us any favors!”

Me:  “Maybe the best thing Trump has done is get rid of all the crazy regulations.  We moved here from Montana, and the oil and coal and mining and agriculture industries have taken off again there because Trump got the EPA and other agencies to back off.”

Worker 2: “I’m going back to school to finish my classes in underwater welding.”

Me:  “Wow!  That sounds like a great career with a lot of demand.  Are you a welder now?”

Worker 2: “Yes.”

Me: “Well if you want to make some big money in a hurry, go to the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota and eastern Montana.  Welders there can make six figures because there is so much demand.  Even drivers make big money, and the employers pay for CDLs, help with housing, and have good benefits.  It’s not a great place for the family, but a lot of young guys buck it up for a year or two, make some big money, and then they are set.”

Wife: “There are always great opportunities somewhere.  You may have to move, or do some kind of work you don’t want to do.  We have all done work we didn’t want to, but that’s part of building wealth.”

Me: “I’ve always said I can do anything for a while.  You don’t have to bust your rear end and save your money forever, just for a while.  Then things get a lot easier.”

Worker 2:  “Well, maybe I’ll have a place like yours some day!”

As I said in my last post, don’t believe the silliness you see and hear on the evening news.  They would have you believe that young people, especially minorities, are angry and oppressed.  The leftist politicians and talking heads predict a “blue wave” led by socialists who will save us all from the greedy corporations.

It just isn’t true.  These young African-American dads are typical of the guys on the street that I enjoy meeting and with whom I am proud to share our great American heritage and values.  They understand responsibility, work and reward, they respect employers and capitalism, they know when somebody is trying to blow smoke, and they are optimistic about the direction our country is headed.  And – surprise!  They love Trump!

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Stand in the place where you live (now face north)
Think about direction, wonder why you haven’t before
Stand in the place where you work (now face west)
Think about the place where you live
Wonder why you haven’t before

Good Times! Don’t Listen to the Left!

 

Anyone who listens to the leftist mainstream media must think that America is in crisis – a desperate and mean place rife with racism, cruelty, poverty and hate.  It’s no accident.  The Democrat playbook for all of my adult life has been the same: create a crisis, try to scare the hell out of everybody, and then promise to save us.  Never mind that there is a new crisis every day, and they never actually solve any of them!

It’s such a false picture of life in the USA.  Here are some recent vignettes observed by my family:

  • I was in WalMart yesterday, and no I did not “smell” the Trump supporters.  But I did see a senior shopper cheerfully pushing two carts from the parking lot into the cart corral at the store entrance.  As I grabbed my cart I told her, “I’ll bet you are a conservative Republican.”   After a stunned pause, she said, “Why yes, I am!  How did you know?”  “Simple,” I replied.  “See those carts left in the middle of the lot and hanging off the curbs?  They were left there by Democrats.  We conservatives not only clean up after ourselves, we take care of the Democrats too.”  We shared a laugh.
  • Our community is growing like crazy and there are new homes popping up all over.  One is under construction next door to my home.  This morning my wife noticed a construction worker’s Mercedes convertible parked on the edge of our lawn, which is no problem, but she wanted to warn him that our automatic sprinkler would go on and she didn’t want him to get caught with his top down.  They had a nice conversation, and she couldn’t help but notice how happy the craftsman, an African-American brick mason, was.  “I just love my work,” he said.  “And man, have I been busy!”  They agreed that the economy is smoking hot, and my wife, ever the promoter, said, “Trump is doing great, isn’t he?”  The brick mason flashed a huge grin. “He sure is!”
  • Speaking of WalMart, after the tax reform bill was passed, we asked several employees about their jobs.  They got raises and bonuses and are thrilled about it.  Same story at Lowe’s and Home Depot.  My men’s bible study group used to pray for church members who were unemployed.  Not any more – there aren’t any.
  • The Charlotte Observer printed an editorial this week decrying the requirement for voter IDs.  An African-American woman replied the next day, saying, “I am so tired of being told that because I am black I am too stupid to be able to get an ID card.”  She speaks for all minority citizens.  And the Democrats wonder why they are rapidly losing their minority base.  A steady diet of condescension is not a great way to win supporters.
  • My stepmother called to wish my wife a happy birthday and as always, the conversation turned to politics.  My stepmom remarked how much she hates Trump.  My wife asked her what she thinks of the tax cuts.  “Oh, well, that’s a good thing.”  And she asked if reducing all the regulations was helping the economy.  “Yes,” stepmom said, “that’s working really well.”  And my wife asked if Montana was enjoying all the jobs returning because the EPA attacks against oil and coal and mining and agriculture have been shut down.   “Oh that’s been really great,” stepmom agreed. We’re still not sure she gets it, but we’ll keep working on her.

So next time a frantic Democrat tells you how evil and mean and racist and bigoted and homophobic America is – how the conservatives want dirty water and foul air and starving children and abused women – just look around at all the happy faces.  And vow to keep moving ahead, not back.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Good times, these are the good times
Leave your cares behind, these are the good times
Good times, these are the good times
Our new state of mind, these are the good times

Good Times – Nile Rodgers and Chic

 

If this song doesn’t make you happy, I can’t help ya!

Are You a “Maker” or a “Taker”?

photo by Kenneth Song

There are “makers” in this world and there are “takers.”  Some produce more than they use, and some don’t. We are at a point in our crazy history when the number of takers is right on the cusp of outnumbering the makers.

My father left me only a few gems of wisdom; here is perhaps the best:  “Son, there is no such thing as a free lunch.” Sadly, half of our population believes it is possible for the government to provide free college, free housing, free medical care, free food, and even free spending money to anyone who wants it.  Actually, the socialists (who have taken over the Democrat party) claim we all “deserve” free stuff.

No, there is no such thing as a free lunch, or free anything for that matter.  If government gives something to one person, it must be taken – at threat of physical force – from somebody else.  By definition, that is theft.

People are charitable by nature, and most will give some of their own property to someone who they feel is truly in need.  But our Constitution does not say that the government has the duty or the right to force one citizen to give their property to someone else whether they approve or not.

Thank God there are people who care and give freely of their time and money to others. While many Americans (and many illegal aliens) sit and complain, demanding free stuff and benefits that they have not earned, a few “makers” are hard at work trying to make our nation a better place for the generations that will follow.

I have a friend who was diagnosed with a rare cancer several years ago and was given three months to live.  He is no longer able to operate the business he built through years of hard work and risk.  But he continues to work every day for conservative leaders and to promote legislation that will benefit all Americans.  “I can’t just quit,” he says, and “leave a mess for the kids and grandkids.”  Everything he touches ends up better than the way he found it.  He is a “maker.”

Another friend has spent her entire life defending American traditional values, especially the rights of the unborn.  Despite withering physical problems that would stop most people in their tracks, she still teaches and convinces and cajoles those who don’t understand the “free lunch” problem.  Those who are lucky enough to meet her are inspired and blessed.  She is a “maker”.

My adult son is totally blind.  Despite his college degree, the job market has not exactly welcomed him with open arms.  So he volunteers his time as a reading tutor for at-risk sighted kids, and works at a hospice soothing dying patients in their final hours with a little conversation, a magazine article, or a bible reading.  He’s a “maker”.

President Trump left a lucrative business career, spent a huge amount of his own money, and has withstood inhumane abuse from the media and opponents from outside and within his own party.  He could be multiplying his wealth and enjoying life with his beautiful wife and family.  Instead, he works long hours and take all the heat his enemies can dish out, because he loves our country and knows what is needed to set us back on the course to prosperity and success.  President Trump is a “MAKER.”

I, and most people who want the best for our nation and all of its people, celebrate President Trump and the other “makers”.  And frankly, we are repulsed by the “takers” we see on our television screens and computers every day.  There is no middle ground.  Each of us must choose a side.  Maker – or taker.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

I hope you always forgive and you never regret
And you help somebody every chance you get
Oh, you find God’s grace in every mistake
And always give more than you take

My Wish – Rascal Flatts

 

Please watch this beautiful vignette of some American “makers”, Rascal Flatts.

Trump’s Legacy – Freedom

This week President Trump announced the United States’ withdrawal from the Obama/Kerry nuclear agreement with Iran.

It was, like most Trump foreign-policy speeches, brief, direct and common-sensible, putting America’s security and interests first.  He pulled no punches, calling the original deal “a great embarrassment to me as a citizen and to all citizens of the United States.”

Trump made a concise, compelling case for dumping the agreement.  But he added one potent paragraph at the end of his speech that was even more significant:

Finally, I want to deliver a message to the long-suffering people of Iran: The people of America stand with you. It has now been almost 40 years since this dictatorship seized power and took a proud nation hostage. Most of Iran’s 80 million citizens have sadly never known an Iran that prospered in peace with its neighbors and commanded the admiration of the world. But the future of Iran belongs to its people. They are the rightful heirs to a rich culture and an ancient land and they deserve a nation that does justice to their dreams, honor to their history, and glory to their god.

We now have a president who understands the human value of self-determination that Americans share.  He gets it.  And as his presidency evolves, more people around the world will get it, too.

Despite the “resistance” of his short-sighted adversaries, Trump will make his mark of freedom around the world, without spilling American blood and wasting our hard-earned wealth.  Eventually Iran’s people will overrule their despotic leaders and rejoin the free and modern community of nations.  North Korea will follow suit.  Venezuela will not be far behind, and recent cultural progress in Saudi Arabia holds promise for the defeat of Muslim extremism and the expansion of personal freedoms across the Middle East.

We Americans have often assumed that our success is a direct result of our unique form of government.  No doubt, to this point the design and execution of our democratic republic has been a major contributor to our growth and prosperity.  But the details and nuances of how our government works is secondary to the single, underpinning belief that we hold most dear – above all else we Americans treasure our personal freedoms.

President Trump’s work toward eliminating the nuclear threats in Iran and North Korea is much more than a military exercise.  The people of these nations, and others, may soon realize that our president is helping them gain their freedom.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

You can knock me down and watch me bleed
But you can’t keep no chains on me.
I was born free

Rep. Ralph Norman Defends Gun Rights

I was with Congressman Ralph Norman Friday morning for his “coffee visit” town hall at the Rock Hill Diner.  When we went to the reserved area, a group of women in red t-shirts (Moms Demand Action) planted across from us, intent on dominating the event with their radical anti-gun agenda.  They claimed that they are not anti-2nd amendment, but as the discussion developed, their talking points turned toward hard-left “Resist” statements, i.e. anti-Trump, pro-abortion, anti-gun rights, etc.

Many of their arguments and claims were naive if not childish, often without any factual basis, even just plain false. I was seated next to Ralph and defending gun rights.  While we agreed on some points, we countered other claims and demands with reason and facts, and the activists grew more frustrated and aggressive. They demonstrated little knowledge about firearms, gun law, law enforcement, legislative process, etc. They even tried presenting a fake news item and we proved it was untrue.

At one point I told one of the activists, “I am a concealed carrier, and if a terrorist came in that door shooting the place up, I would defend you.  Doesn’t that give you comfort?” Incredibly, she said NO!  She doesn’t believe I should be allowed to own a gun, and said she would prefer to “talk it out” with the terrorist.  That’s when the congressman was asked by another attendee if he is also a concealed carrier.  Norman reached into his jacket, pulled out his .38, laid it safely on the table, and stated he is a carrier too, and he would defend himself and them.  He said he carries all the time except when he is in Washington, DC and he if anybody comes after him with a gun, he had better be a good shot, because he will be shooting back.  The gun wasn’t exposed more than a minute or two.

Nobody was intimidated.  Nobody was afraid.  Our photo, published in the Rock Hill Herald, shows everybody smiling. Congressman Norman was calm, affable, warm and gentle with these ladies.  We all agreed on some of their points.  But that wasn’t good enough for them. The congressman did upset one of the ladies by admonishing her for the proliferation of F bombs and other profanity all over her group’s web page.  He pointed out that children see Facebook pages too.  It is interesting to note that within hours of the incident the Congressman’s Facebook page was filled with vitriol and profanity, some of it from the very people who we met that morning.  It appears that these messages have since been “scrubbed”.

After their failed attempt to bully the Congressman, the “Moms” ran directly from the diner to the newspaper office, and their embellished story was printed as gospel by the press.  It hit the wires and was instantly viral in the national news media.

Congressman Norman made a statement on his Facebook page, but already the national “Resist” movement had been mobilized, filling his page with expletives, F bombs, and ugly hatred.  Norman asked me to help develop a response, and with some media-savvy friends from DC we worked out a plan which has been fairly well received. You have probably seen his second response .  We have been getting good support from conservative groups around the country.  We set up an interview on Fox and Friends for Monday morning.

This is a pivotal moment for defense of the 2nd Amendment and the NRA.  The “Moms” group is funded by and was sent on this mission by out-of-state money and is, as Norman said, hell-bent on eliminating private gun ownership.  We believe they were also accompanied by, if not directed by, one of Archie Parnell’s officials. They pretended to be concerned about child safety, but when I questioned them they defended the murder of 650,000 American babies per year by abortionists (latest available statistics), so it’s clear this is not about children for them.

The clip on the right is an example of the kind of people we face from the left (apologies for the language).  It takes no small measure of strength and purpose to run for office against today’s brand of Democrats.

Congressman Norman is absolutely on the right side of this battle, and the radical leftists will find that they picked the wrong target for an ambush.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Don’t take your guns to town, son
Leave your guns at home, Bill
Don’t take your guns to town

Don’t Take Your Guns to Town – Johnny Cash

 

 

Whenever I get a request for a Johnny Cash tune at one of my weekend gigs, I know they are expecting “Folsum Prison Blues”, the standard Cash bar song.   But I sing this one instead, the story of a good young man who died defending himself and others against a bad guy.