Commentary

Mohler: So Much For A Secular Holiday

As Americans prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving Day, it’s a good time to be reminded about the true history of the holiday.

Perhaps we should not be surprised that in an increasingly secular America, there’s confusion about the origins of Thanksgiving. Some kids are now taught that the Pilgrims held a feast to thank the Indians. Afraid of appearing too religious, some are now calling it “Turkey Day,” as if it all comes down to poultry.

The facts speak for themselves: In 1621, the Pilgrims celebrated “the goodness of God” as they feasted with local Indians. In 1789 President Washington declared the first national day of Thanksgiving—asking Americans to “unite in most humbly offering our prayer and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations.”

So much for a secular holiday. These Americans knew to whom they were praying.

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Brooks: How About Celebrating Ideological Diversity

One of the great intellectual and moral epiphanies of our time is the realization that diversity among human beings is a blessing. Unfortunately, new research also shows that academia has itself stopped well short in both the understanding and practice of true diversity—the diversity of ideas.

This year, a team of scholars published a paper showing that for every politically conservative social psychologist in academia there are about 14 liberal social psychologists. Why the imbalance?

Well, respondents to survey admitted (overwhelmingly) that they’d be less likely to support hiring a conservative colleague than a liberal scholar with equivalent qualifications.

Academics and intellectuals like see their community as a major force for diversity and open-mindedness throughout American society. Now they should be consistent by applying those values to their own profession.

How about celebrating ideological diversity?

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Mohler: Red Cup Controversy

Starbucks recently decided to offer plain red cups without any holiday message during this Christmas season.

The media tells us that this immediately sparked fury among many evangelicals who called Starbuck’s decision an act of discrimination against Christians.

Without doubt, Starbucks’ decision does point to the larger secularization of the culture inasmuch as corporate interests and advertisers no longer feel the need to give a tip of the hat to Christianity during the Christmas season.

But it is just silly for Christians to be astounded when Starbucks comes out with something that isn’t explicitly or implicitly Christian when the company has always been openly on the ideological left. They have long represented a vague sort of New Age spirituality and, it turns out, they have never offered a holiday cup that was in any way directly referencing Christmas.

Sure, we can lament the cultural shift, but we should also remind ourselves:

Evangelism is the business of the Christian; coffee is the business of Starbucks.

It’s best that we keep those responsibilities clear.

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Medved: Terror Reshapes The Race

The terrorist attacks in Paris have reshaped the race for the White House, diminishing the prospects of several leading candidates. Hillary Clinton suffered the most serious damage because the global reach of ISIS demonstrates the failure of administration policies that she helped put in place. Just hours before the explosion of terror in France, the president boasted that ISIS had been “contained.”

Ben Carson and Donald Trump also look less credible as commanders-in-chief: Carson because of his shocking lack of national security perspective, revealed in several interviews, and Trump because the ISIS challenge requires a response more sophisticated than “I’ll bomb the BLEEP out of them and take their oil.”

At this time of crisis, the public has the right to demand a candidate who speaks coherently, knowledgably and passionately about the challenges we face.

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Hewitt: A Commitment To America Winning

Pepperdine California Democratic Party

Speaking in Turkey Monday, President Obama said the following:

“What I’m not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of leadership or America winning.”

Well, we are interested because without it there will be no destruction of the Islamic state. President Obama, late in his presidency and with a candor he never displayed during either election, is now laying it out for the American people. His vision is not the vision of the vast majority of Americans and the destruction he has done the super majoritarian vision is vast and dangerous and will take years to repair.

That repair cannot be begun under former Secretary of State Clinton who did nothing to arrest or impede President Obama’s rush to a world of equals where America does not lead. It can be begun under a new Republican president and continued with Republican majorities in Congress. When the Democratic Party returns to a commitment to American leadership, perhaps it will return to power.

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Hewitt: Time For American Leadership

Pepperdine California Democratic Party

The very day that President Obama pronounced his Islamic State to be contained, that state unleashed the worst terror attack in France in 50 years. The president was humiliated but he just doubled down in his naïveté in Turkey on Monday, announcing that he wasn’t interested in American leadership or America winning. Perhaps he is just afraid of a similar carnage on the streets of New York or DC, aware that it would rightly be laid at his feet. His retreat again into hectoring, lecturing academia-like flights of fancy do nothing to protect America or the world from the storm. He is the lamest of ducks, held in contempt by our enemies, feared by our friends.

This is a situation to be endured for 15 more months and then American can begin to regain the world’s respect. Under Mrs. Clinton that would be hard.  She is after all the architect of the failed president’s first term foreign policy. Under a Republican, it will also be hard but at least possible. Never has there been a clearer choice. We will see which road American voters take.

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Thornbury: Choose A Flat Tax

Greg Thornbury

Just subsidize the kids some more.

That’s the rule if a presidential candidate wants to get the vote of religious families. The American tax code is a punishing maze that leaves parents feeling confused and cheated. Building a new child credit into that structure is the kind of fix that social conservatives usually recommend.

A better policy for families is a tax code that does more than any political lobby could do to help families realize their own aspirations. Such a plan actually has no child credits but would be simpler and flatter, with a top rate of, say, 20%, 18%, 15% or even, as Ben Carson would have it, 10%.

A clearer, simpler, flatter tax code is an important symbol that says to adults: You can see that you will be able to enjoy a greater portion of the fruit of your labor.

Once all families—including families of faith—understand the tradeoffs, they too will choose a flat tax.

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