V.P. Mike Pence Lauds Donald Trump's Leadership at Grove City College Commencement

Today was Commencement at Grove City College where I teach psychology. We had a super graduating class of Seniors who are going to do great things in their professions and graduate schools around the world. It was a good day for them, even with all of the extra security measures designed to keep us and Vice President Pence safe. My appreciation goes out to the secret service and other law enforcement agencies who participated.
Vice President Pence gave a motivational speech with the theme of leadership. He exhorted the graduates to be leaders. Then, contrary to what I thought his speech was going to be about, he invoked Donald Trump. Watch:
[youtube]https://youtu.be/DEM68v9NPO8[/youtube]
Transcript:

You know, you need to look no further than a friend of mine as an example of leadership and perseverance. The 45th president of the United States of America, President Donald Trump.
Since the first day of our administration, and in the great tradition of this college, our president has been freeing the American economy by rolling back the hand of big government, he’s been expanding educational choice opportunities to some of our most disadvantaged children. He’s been rebuilding our military, restoring safety to our streets and I can’t tell you how proud I am to be Vice President to a President who stands without apology for the sanctity of life and all of the God given liberties in the Constitution of the United States.
And as the president said just about a week ago in a ceremony just like this, and I quote, ‘nothing worth doing ever came easy, following your convictions,’ he added, ‘means you must be willing to face criticism from those who lack the courage to do what’s right.’ So I say to all the graduates here today, don’t fear criticism. Have the humility to listen to it, learn from it, and most importantly, push through it.

I am not going to editorialize much; I think this speaks for itself. I also trust our graduates to compare what was said today with what they have been taught over the past four years and choose well.
The entire speech has been posted on Youtube:
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8-S-EDuYd4[/youtube]

Vice President Mike Pence to Speak at Grove City College Commencement (VIDEO)

GCC LOgoTonight at the Baccalaureate ceremony, the signs of V.P. Mike Pence’s arrival were all around. Security will be tight tomorrow.
Reaction here has been on the positive side but some students and faculty have registered their displeasure with the regular politically oriented (GOP) Commencement speakers at GCC. Others are upset that anyone from the Trump administration was invited.
Today, a current student had an opinion piece expressing objections to the Pence invitation published by the New York Times.
My understanding is that demonstrations may happen but I doubt they will be large. I plan to post a report tomorrow afternoon.
Pittsburgh media filed this report at 11pm.

 

Rafael Cruz: America Was Founded on the Word of God

Cruz Cruz BartonRafael Cruz came to Grove City College earlier this evening for a Q&A hosted by the college Republican club. He represented the Cruz campaign but I should hasten to add that the event was not a campaign rally and the college is not endorsing Cruz or any candidate.
Political Science professor Paul Kengor moderated the event and most of the initial hour centered around Rafael Cruz’s background in Cuba and then his assimilation to life in America. I tweeted some of the things Cruz said which can be viewed here: #rcruzgcc.
At one point, Cruz came close to sounding the seven mountains dominionism themes and said America was founded on the Word of God.
After the event, I had a moment with Rev. Cruz and asked him if his son believes the seven mountain dominionism teaching that Christians should take dominion over the mountain of government. He said that you have to be careful with the terms because people don’t understand. He said people, especially in the media, think you mean theocracy. He said it doesn’t mean a theocracy. He added that Christians should be salt and light in the government and use their influence to be salt and light.
The time was short so I was unable to follow up but I still believe Ted Cruz needs to clarify what taking dominion as president would look like.

WWII Posters on Display at Grove City College This Week

WWII posterIt is a cool story: A public historian finds historically significant WWII posters in a drawer, probably untouched since they were first stored there in 1954.
Grove City College is displaying a newly found collection of WWII posters this week in the Pew Fine Arts building. Read the Tribune’s article about the find and the display.
I know I will be there.
Check out some of the posters…
 

CVV: Searching For A Libertarian Jesus

Gil Harp and Michael Coulter have a thought provoking op-ed out this morning via the Center for Vision and Values titled, “Searching For A Libertarian Jesus.”
In reaction to various unnamed Christian supporters of a minimalist state, Harp and Coulter search for a libertarian Jesus without success. To listen to Christian proponents of the tea party, for instance, one might think governments are incapable of any good. One might think that, but one should not claim Jesus expressly teaches it. Harp and Coulter:

Must Christians—because of the example of Jesus—oppose states enacting sabbatarian laws or limiting access to pornography? How about making drivers wear seatbelts? There might be prudential reasons for opposing such laws, but Jesus’ teaching doesn’t address them. In addition to punishing criminals, governments can use their power to do positive good, such as sometimes using force so that child support is paid by a non-custodial parent. Government can also use its power to discourage some harmful behaviors, such as divorce or public drunkenness. Nothing in Jesus’ teaching explicitly rules out these kinds of state actions. The Gospels do certainly offer ethical principles, such as the Golden Rule, but they don’t provide a blueprint for health insurance regulations or tariff policy.

While I don’t want sabbatarian laws enacted, I think I get the point. The Gospels, and I will add the Bible, don’t offer us detailed economic policies which must be followed as one would follow revealed truth. In much Christian discourse today (e.g., David Barton’s sermons), the Bible is presented as the GOP policy manual with deviation from the political platform treated as grounds for excommunication.
Christian libertarians who want Jesus to be a libertarian have to contend with an inconvenient truth. One the icons of their movement, Ludwig von Mises, didn’t think much of Christianity. Again, Harp and Coulter:

Mises was no fan of Jesus’ economics. He asserted that Jesus’ “teachings had no moral applications to life on earth.” Mises contended that, “Jesus offers no rules for earthly action and struggle; his Kingdom is not of this world. Such rules of conduct as he gives his followers are valid only for the short interval of time which has still to be lived while waiting for the great things to come … In God’s Kingdom the poor shall be rich, but the rich shall be made to suffer.” As for the religion Jesus founded, Mises was convinced that “A living Christianity cannot, it seems, exist side by side with Capitalism.”

Although I wish they would have named names, the article is a good read and I encourage you to check it out.

Paul Kengor on President Obama’s National Prayer Breakfast speech

My friend and Director of the Center for Vision and Values, Paul Kengor, wrote an analysis of President Obama’s National Prayer Breakfast speech. As I listened to Obama’s speech, I was distracted in a positive way by his reference to Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill. However, I also noted the President’s references to civility and hope he means it as more than rhetoric. And like Paul, I loved the reference to the Imago Dei – seeing the Face of God in each other.

God and Man at the National Prayer Breakfast

By Dr. Paul Kengor 

President Obama spoke yesterday at the National Prayer Breakfast. I’ve long studied the sitting president’s remarks at these breakfasts, particularly President George W. Bush, President Bill Clinton, and President Ronald Reagan. I note this to hopefully lend a little credibility in putting my observations into historical context, while also not avoiding the current political climate—as Obama certainly did not. Continue reading “Paul Kengor on President Obama’s National Prayer Breakfast speech”

Religion and the 2008 election: A conversation with Paul Kengor, Fred Barnes and Michael Medved

Currently, here at Grove City College, the Center for Vision and Values is hosting our annual conference. Titled, “Church and State: 2008 – A history of church-state relations and and a look at where the values voter will turn in 2008,” the schedule is filled with scholarly papers regarding church-state relations with special emphasis on how these issues impact politics and policy.

Earlier this evening, I attended a panel discussion that was billed as an interview of the Beltway Boys (Fred Barnes and Mort Kondracke) with Center Director, Paul Kengor as host. Unfortunately, Mort Kondracke could not attend due to some health concerns. Filling in ably was conservative talk show host, Michael Medved, who earlier in the day broadcast live from the atrium of our academic building, not far from my office.

In fact, it was Medved who provided some of the more newsworthy comments of the evening. For instance, he disclosed the rumor that Barack Obama is looking at New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg as a running mate. Mayor Bloomberg has switched his party affiliation to Independent from Republican (which was a switch from an earlier Democratic affiliation). This “fusion ticket” might be quite appealing to the middle.  Medved also predicted that Joe Lieberman, while a great friend of John McCain, would not take the Veep spot, even if offered.

Much of the conversation focused on how the religious vote might impact the election. Each candidate was examined in this regard. Specifically, Hillary Clinton is well known to occupy an Evangelical left position on most issues (which we have covered here in the past), McCain has Episcopal roots but has attended a Baptist church for quite awhile up to the present. Regarding social issues, all panelists agreed that McCain would chose conservative judges favorable to social and religious conservatives. This fact will help consolidate religious conservatives behind McCain. However, much conversation focused on Barack Obama’s political problems with his pastor, Jeremiah Wright.

Both Barnes and Medved believe that this issue will dog Obama into the general election should he be the Democratic nominee. Listening to a cursory review of Wright’s actions and positions, I believe they are right. Obama has said his Christianity has been directly influenced by Rev. Wright. Obama is not unaware of his statements and activities. For instance, as Medved noted, Wright has lauded Louis Farrakhan and even traveled with him to meet with Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi when Gadhafi was engaged in terrorism. This is the mentor and church Obama chose to join just 4 years after the Libyan trip and then remained for 20 years, calling Rev. Wright his spiritual advisor.  Medved predicted an Obama candidacy could move the Jewish vote toward the Republicans for the first time in decades.

For political junkies, it was a intriguing evening provided by three astute social conservatives.