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Commentary

David Davenport: Civic Education To Save The Republic

Compromise

A recent report reminds us that if the future of the American republic is in question, doing a better job with civic education is the answer.

The report for the “Democracy at a Crossroads National Summit” provides plenty of reasons for pessimism: people don’t trust their government, they don’t vote, they don’t take part in churches or other civic organizations like they used to. And young people lack civic knowledge, with only 23% of high school seniors scoring at a proficient level on tests.

But some states are awakening to the solution: better civic education in our schools. Florida now requires a middle school course in civics and tests the students, with strong results. Illinois requires a high school civics course, and other states are looking at new requirements.

The report is surely right when it says, “Civic learning, when done properly, is the best vehicle to train young people to sustain our democracy.” I hope it’s coming soon to your state.

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Michael Medved: Winning The War Of Ideas?

Opioid

The liberal author of a recent book praising “The Naughty Nineties” and the influence of the Clintons, came to a surprising conclusion about our ongoing battle of ideas. “I thought the left had triumphed,” David Friend told The New York Times. “I was wrong. The more research I did, I realized how huge the advances on the conservative side were, and how the ‘90’s were extremely important for the triumphs of the right we’re seeing today.” He notes the greatly enhanced presence of conservative voices in media, on campus, within religious denominations, and in politics on the local, state and federal levels, when compared to right-wing impotence and irrelevance 25 years ago.

David Friend once worked for left-leaning outlets like CBS and Vanity Fair, and if he’s right, then the startling 2016 victory of President Trump isn’t a fluke, but a reflection of deeper and perhaps lasting changes in the attitudes of the American public.

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Medved: A Vile Attempt To Tarnish Lincoln

Opioid

A group of students at University of Wisconsin used the recent Indigenous People’s Day to try to discredit Abraham Lincoln. They covered a monumental statue of the 16th President with derisive signs and staged a “Die-In” in front of it.

“Let’s be real,” said a protest leader. “He owned slaves, and ordered the execution of native men.” Actually, he stopped the execution of native men. In December, 1862, after military tribunals convicted 303 Sioux warriors of rape and murder for slaughtering more than 800 Minnesota civilians, Lincoln commuted sentences of 264 of them. He allowed punishment only for those who had brutalized non-combatants, not the fighters who killed 77 U.S. soldiers in the midst of the Civil War.

And as to the charge that Lincoln owned slaves: he never did, and from boyhood always hated the evil institution. It’s also evil for America-hating activists to deploy false, ignorant charges to tarnish the legacy of our greatest president.

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Hugh Hewitt: Senate Republicans And The Logjam On Judicial Nominees

U.S. Senate

President Trump recently decried the inability of Congress to approve his court nominees. “We have some of the most qualified people,” he said. “They’re waiting forever on line . . . it’s not fair.”

More than anyone else, Sen. Charles E. Grassley, chair of the Judiciary Committee, methodically frustrates the one offering that establishment D.C. can make to conservatives in the countryside by continuing to defend blue slips. The blue slip is simply the piece of paper that is sent to the senators from the home state of every judicial nominee, allowing the senators to approve or veto the nominee. Blue slips would be anathema to our Constitutional framers and need to go.

It is simply inexplicable that any federal-court vacancies could be left unfilled a year after Trump’s inauguration.

If Senate Republicans don’t want the majority, they are doing everything exactly right. If they do like their positions of authority, then burn the blue slips and stay in session until every judicial nominee has a hearing and a vote.

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Hugh Hewitt: Masterpiece Cakeshop, Secular Absolutism And Religious Liberty

U.S. Senate

President Trump’s enduring support among evangelical Christians and Mass-attending Catholics befuddles many of his critics.

The genuinely confused, instead of those who merely arch their eyebrows, should realize that for millions of voters, religious liberty remains the overarching issue of the day. And most of those voters are very well aware that religious liberty is on the Supreme Court’s docket this term.

President Trump’s support among Evangelicals and Catholics has not wavered. For those wondering why, it comes down to the issue at the core of Masterpiece Cakeshop: Will Americans be allowed to practice their religious beliefs without fear of ruin from secular absolutists? In the view of these voters, elites believe every knee must bend to their secular creed, not just on matters regarding sexual intimacy but also on issues of when life begins and when death ought to be optional.

For many millions of people of faith, Trump is the last line of defense preventing their having to choose between their religious beliefs and full participation in the community and business. They will choose Trump.

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Albert Mohler: California’s Effort To Legislate Religious Liberty

Billy Graham

The state of California, the nation’s most populous state, is often the epicenter of cultural and moral change in the nation.

Governor Jerry Brown recently vetoed Assembly Bill 569, which would have, shockingly enough, removed religious employers’ ability to make hiring and firing decisions based on their own religious code of sexual ethics.

The bill’s sponsor, Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Fletcher of San Diego, said that it should be illegal for religious employers to discriminate or take punitive action based on “reproductive decisions.” This would include everything from abortion to sex outside of marriage, she said.

Most Americans will not know about Assembly Bill 569. They won’t understand just how close the nation’s most populous state came to an outright denial of religious liberty by making it illegal for a Christian organization, such as a Christian college or school or university, any kind of Christian ministry, to employ persons based upon very clear Christian convictions concerning sexual morality.

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Michael Medved: Appropriate Praise For The Trump – McConnell Team

Opioid

Some conservatives expressed dismay, and even a sense of betrayal, over the President’s recent press conference with Mitch McConnell, in which Trump praised the Senate Majority Leader for his loyalty and effectiveness. What did Trump have in mind, McConnell’s many right-wing critics seemed to wonder?

Very likely, he appreciated the Kentucky Senator’s stellar record on Judicial nominations. It’s not just that McConnell blocked Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, enabling the superb appointment of Neil Gorsuch. He also delayed scores of liberal lower court nominees, so that Trump took office with 107 key vacancies to fill—more than four of the last five presidents going back to Reagan.

Kimberley Strassel of the Wall Street Journal praised both McConnell and Trump for nearly 60 consistently conservative judicial appointments so far. She wrote: “McConnell just happens to have a steely passion for remaking the judiciary and deserves credit for the extraordinary class of judicial nominees now coming through.”

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