Showing posts with label Rick Santorum. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rick Santorum. Show all posts

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Two presidential contenders discussed threat of Apocalyptic Islam - Joel Rosenberg

Joel Rosenberg

Two presidential contenders discussed threat of Apocalyptic Islam at Republican Jewish Coalition forum last week. That’s significant. Here’s why.

by joelcrosenberg
Cruz-RubioSantorum-Huckabee2(Washington, D.C.) -- Americans are increasingly on edge when it comes to personal and national security. They see the Mideast on fire. They see growing terror on our streets. No wonder they are looking for a President who truly understands the nature and magnitude of the threats we are facing and has the courage, knowledge and experience to keep Americans and our allies safe.
Last week -- in the wake of the Paris attacks -- only underscored the urgency. Minutes before a young Muslim wife and mother helped her husband unleash a terror rampage in San Bernardino on Wednesdayshe pledged her loyalty to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the emir of the Islamic State. She and her husband were later shot and killed by police after an intense manhunt. On Saturday, ISIS leaders publicly announced that Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 29, were "soldiers" of the Islamic State and responsible for the deadliest act of terrorism on U.S. soil since 9/11/01, killing 14 people and wounding 21 others.
The Washington Post reported that 2015 has emerged as "the deadliest for Islamist attacks in the United States since 2001" with a total 19 deaths, including the four Marines and Navy sailor murdered by a jihadist in Chattanooga, Tennessee in July.
That's why I found last week's conference organized by the Republican Jewish Coalition as so important. All of the remaining 14 GOP presidential candidates addressed the group at the Ronald Reagan building here in Washington, D.C. Regardless of their current standing in the polls, each candidate was given 30 minutes (a 20 minute speech and about 10 minutes of Q&A) to explain their views on U.S. foreign policy and national security issues, the threats emanating from the Middle East, and U.S.-Israeli relations.
While I had a previous commitment and was not able to attend, I watched online and found it especially helpful to observe -- back-to-back -- the presentations made by "The Final Four," the four candidates Evangelical Christians, especially in Iowa, are most closely and carefully watching to see if God is raising up one of them to be the next President of the United States. Why? Because it gave me a chance to compare their principles, their policies and their experience, as well as their personal style and tone on some of the most important issues in the race.
Who are "The Final Four," in my view? Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Senator Marco Rubio from Florida, the two brilliant, up-and-coming, and very compelling young Cuban conservatives; and Governor Huckabee of Arkansas and former Senator Rick Santorum from Pennsylvania, the two deeply principled, tried and tested, and very experienced previous Iowa Caucus winners.
Each made a compelling presentation, and yet each was so markedly different in tone and approach.
What stood out to me was the fact that both Rubio and Santorum spoke about the threat of "Apocalyptic Islam," not just Radical Islam. Both used that specific term. Both were quite fluent in explaining what they meant by the term, the threat of these genocidal forms of eschatology, and why it's important for the next President to understand this treat and be prepared to neutralize it. This was significant.
Neither Cruz nor Huckabee discussed Apocalyptic Islam with the RJC, though both made excellent presentations. Cruz hit the issue of Radical Islam quite hard. Huckabee spent much more time than the others talking about his love for Israel and why he has been traveling there and leading tours of Israel for 42 years. Hopefully both Cruz and Huckabee will discuss the issue of Apocalyptic Islam in detail in the future, though this was an ideal venue to have done so.
I encourage you to watch each of the four presentations, share them on social media, and discuss them with family and friends.
  1. Watch the speech and Q&A by Senator Marco Rubio.
  2. Watch the speech and Q&A by Senator Rick Santorum.
  3. Watch the speech and Q&A by Governor Mike Huckabee.
  4. Watch the speech and Q&A by Senator Ted Cruz.
In several recent columns, I have noted that as America continues hurtling down a dangerous path toward implosion, as darkness falls in the Middle East and North Africa, as the forces of evil advance and the forces of freedom retreat, anyone who cares about the American people and the people of the epicenter needs to pay very close attention to the American presidential race. Specifically, I made the case that:
  • We need a President who understands that Western leaders ignore the threat of Apocalyptic Islam at their peril.
  • We need a Commander-in-Chief who truly understands the magnitude of the threats posed by Radical and Apocalyptic Islam.
  • We need a President who has serious ideas about how to neutralize such threats, and has solid national experience that can assure us that he or she is really ready to confront this evil.
  • We need a President who sees Israel as a faithful ally — not an adversary — in this showdown with the jihadists.
  • We need a President who rejects the insane Iran nuclear deal, and the notion of allowing Russia and Iran to run wild in Syria.
  • Commander-in-Chief is not an entry level position.
  • There is no time for on-the-job training in the White House for a new President who has little or no experience thinking about foreign policy and national security issues.
  • The next President must come in ready for war — because that’s what we’re in, and the stakes are simply too high to go with an untested outsider or newcomer.
Clearly, Cruz and Rubio have the most momentum, money, and higher poll numbers at the moment. Some analysts believe the GOP nomination contest could come down to a battle between Cruz and Rubio to be the conservative standard bearer in a fight against Donald Trump. That very well may be -- and that would be a very spirited and fascinating contest. Indeed, it already is.
That said, Evangelicals should not rule out a possible late surge by either Huckabee or Santorum. Why? Because Iowans have a history of breaking late.
The latest poll indicates only 19% of Iowa likely GOP caucus voters have made up their mind; 81% are still shopping around. They get to meet the candidates and ask them questions face to face. They are weighing each contenders pros and cons. They are taking their job of winnowing the field very seriously, as they always have. Remember: Huckabee won Iowa in 2008, while Santorum won Iowa in 2012. Indeed, in the 2012 cycle, Santorum was at the bottom of the polls in Iowa until three days before the caucuses and then was able to persuade Iowans to break for him at the last moment. This gave him a come-from-behind victory in Iowa, which he dramatically parlayed into primary victories 10 additional states, finishing second in the nomination battle to Romney. Could this happen again with either Huckabee or Santorum? It could. Iowa Evangelicals really like and trust these two. And it's important to note that Evangelical Christians make up about 57% of the Iowa GOP caucus voters.
People have asked me if I have settled on one candidate yet. I have not. I've met them all.  I see plusses and minuses in each.I'm not looking for a perfect, flawless leader. And I'm continuing to pray for wisdom, discernment and clarity. Hope you are, too.
NOTE: These are my own personal views. I offer them in my individual capacity as an American citizen. They do not reflect or represent the position of The Joshua Fund, a non-profit organization, or any other group or organization.
joelcrosenberg | December 6, 2015 at 5:01 pm | Categories: Uncategorized | URL:

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog - "I believe the GOP presidential race has come down to a “Final Four.”

It was an honor to pray for America and for the presidential candidates who participated in the forum in Des Moines on Friday.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

It was an honor to pray for America and for the presidential candidates who participated in the forum in Des Moines on Friday.

I believe the GOP presidential race has come down to a “Final Four.” Which candidates deserve closest scrutiny? Here’s my report from Iowa.

by joelcrosenberg

Indeed, as I
 explained in my last column:(Des Moines, Iowa) -- As America continues hurtling down a dangerous path toward implosion, as darkness falls in the Middle East and North Africa, as the forces of evil advance and the forces of freedom retreat, anyone who cares about the American people and the people of the epicenter needs to pay very close attention to the American presidential race.
  • We need a President who understands that Western leaders ignore the threat of Apocalyptic Islam at their peril.
  • We need a Commander-in-Chief who truly understands the magnitude of the threats posed by Radical and Apocalyptic Islam.
  • We need a President who has serious ideas about how to neutralize such threats, and has solid national experience that can assure us that he or she is really ready to confront this evil.
  • We need a President who sees Israel as a faithful ally — not an adversary — in this showdown with the jihadists.
  • We need a President who rejects the insane Iran nuclear deal, and the notion of allowing Russia and Iran to run wild in Syria.
  • Commander-in-Chief is not an entry level position.
  • There is no time for on-the-job training in the White House for a new President who has little or no experience thinking about foreign policy and national security issues.
  • The next President must come in ready for war — because that’s what we’re in, and the stakes are simply too high to go with an untested outsider or newcomer.
This is why I accepted the invitation to attend the presidential forum here in Des Moines on Friday night that was sponsored and hosted by The Family Leader. This is why I traveled 27 hours from Israel to get there -- to have the opportunity to meet, listen to and assess seven of the most compelling candidates vying to be the next Commander-in-Chief. I'm so glad I did. This was the most fascinating, informative and revealing political event I've been to in 25 years.
Moderator Frank Luntz did a fantastic job getting most of the candidates -- most, but not quite all -- to really open up and help the crowd of some 1,600 Evangelical Iowans to better understand the faith, values and experience that drives and animates them. This was far superior to any of the debates that have been held so far. It wasn't a cage match. It was a conversation that gave us a unique window into the heart of these candidates.
It was an honor to be asked to close the event in prayer. Indeed, I'm deeply grateful to Family Leader president Bob Vander Plaats for asking me to do so. I prayed for the Lord to bless and protect all the candidates and their families and to keep them safe. In the spirit of 2 Chronicles 7:14, I also asked the Lord to forgive us of our sins and help us turn back to Him. I asked the Lord to grant America another Great Awakening, even though we don't deserve it, and to show us whom He is raising up to lead this nation in 2017 and beyond.
I so wish I could take the time to share with you all the intriguing moments, key anecdotes and quotes from the event, as well as share with you my conversations with some of the candidates and many of the attendees. But at this point I sense two things are best.
First, let me highly recommend that you watch the entire event online, which you can do by clicking here. Please also forward this link to family and friends and colleagues. Encourage them to carve out some time to watch as well. Then, please post your comments on the forum and this column on our "Epicenter Team" page on Facebook. I'm eager to know what you think. Above all, please pray and fast for the nation, for the candidates, and for wisdom on whom to support.
Second, allow me to share with you my key takeaways from this weekend in Iowa, and from the presidential race over all. Many of you have been asking for my assessment of the candidates. Thus far, I have written and shared mostly about the Biblical principles that are guiding me in my evaluation and decision-making process (i.e., prayerfully seeking a "Josiah"). But today I do feel the freedom from the Lord to write more specifically about how I see the candidates, given that we are a mere 70 days or so from the actual voting in the Iowa caucuses. I hope you'll find these notes and observations helpful as you prayerfully seek the Lord for wisdom about whom to support.
  1. I believe the GOP presidential race has come down at this point to a "Final Four" -- four candidates who deserve the most careful scrutiny, prayer and consideration. Maybe this "Final Four" idea comes from the fact that I graduated from Syracuse University. A touch of March Madness, perhaps. But it is where I've come down after months of analyzing the race closely. More on this in a moment.
  2. It was very encouraging to see that Evangelical Christian leaders and activists here truly get the high stakes of this election. They know that we are not just facing a bumpy patch in American history. We're racing towards implosion. Many of them believe, as do I, that we urgently need to unify around a candidate who has the vision, strategies and experience to turn this ship of state around and get us headed in the right direction. I talked to dozens of Iowans  this weekend and was deeply touched by how seriously they are taking their "first in the nation" responsibility to study and vet the candidates. God bless these folks! May their tribe increase!
  3. While I'm trying very hard in my life not to be a partisan -- indeed, I want Democrats, Republicans and Independents to come together and work together for the good of the country -- the sad reality is that there are not Democrats running for president whom I could support. Neither Hillary nor Bernie nor any of the others will protect the sanctity of innocent human life, or define and defend marriage as a sacred union between one man or one woman, or work to safeguard religious liberty in America, or truly reform and simplify the tax code and reduce the tax burden on the American people, or declare the Iran deal as insane and thus null and void, or move decisively to neutralize the Iran and ISIS threats. That leaves me and other Evangelicals looking only to the GOP field for credible options.
  4. Many Iowans -- well over half the electorate, I'm told by sharp political analysts here -- really haven't made a decision of which candidate to back. They're telling pollsters what their leanings are at any given moment, but the constantly shifting polls indicate that no one has locked in with a favorite yet. With 70+ days yet to go, we are likely to see many more changes ahead. Remember: Rand Paul was once a frontrunner. So was Mike Huckabee. So was Jeb Bush, and Scott Walker, and Donald Trump, and Ben Carson. The volatility is reminiscent of the 2012 cycle -- so expect more changes.
  5. Donald Trump did not attend Friday's forum. But Trump poses a mortal threat to the conservative movement. He is not a conservative by any stretch of the imagination. He supports Partial Birth Abortion. He supports single-payer health insurance. He has long supported liberal Democrats. He has no foreign policy or national security experience. He has a crazy $10 trillion tax cut plan. (Last time he ran in 2000 he had a crazy $5.7 trillion tax increase plan; that would have been half of the GDP of the nation at the time.) He's a narcissist who is very shrewdly tapping into deep popular rage against Washington and using it for his own ends, to gain attention, and ultimately to gain power and more wealth. Pundits keep predicting his demise, but let's be honest: his poll numbers remain strong, especially in Iowa and New Hampshire. If he wins both, he could also win South Carolina, and the GOP nomination.
  6. A big question then is: What conservative can stop Trump?
  7. Another big question I'm asking is this: Is God raising up a leader like Josiah who truly loves the Lord, has a humble heart, and also has the vision, courage and experience to make bold, sweeping reforms to try to turn America around and get us back on the right track? (for a more detailed explanation of what I mean by the need for a "Josiah," please click here)
  8. The people I spoke with don't want to simply stop Trump. They are praying that the Lord will raise up a leader who can tap the incredible rage at the grassroots level, channel it, win the nomination and the presidency, and win a national mandate to make bold conservative domestic changes in Washington, while also truly leading the war against the forces of Radical and Apocalyptic Islam. Nothing less will suffice. I completely agree.
  9. Of the 17 candidates that started in the GOP field, three have dropped out.
  10. Of the 14 that remain, 7 chose not to come to address these Christian grassroots activists.
  11. I believe the nominee will come -- or should come -- from one of the 7 candidates that did attend.
  12. Of these seven, however, I believe three are not ready to be president.
  13. Dr. Ben Carson -- he's clearly a genius, a gifted neurosurgeon, a man of faith, and an incredible kind and gracious man. It was an honor to finally meet him this weekend. I totally see the appeal and why he has surged in the polls. He is a national asset. The problem is that he has absolutely no foreign policy or national security experience. Nor does he have solid, specific, crisp, consistent, well-thought through answers for how to make big changes in Washington. For example, it is a bit odd that such a wonderful doctor hasn't introduced a health care reform plan to replace ObamaCare, right? Such facts don't make Carson a bad person. Not at all. But they do mean that while Dr. Carson is good man, he simply isn't prepared to be president at this time. This is why his poll numbers are starting to fade. That said, I have no doubt God can use him to serve this country in a key way. I think he could make an amazing Surgeon General, for example.
  14. Carly Fiorina -- she has real strengths as a woman of deep faith, and impressive global business experience. It was a blessing to meet her this weekend. I've enjoyed seeing her star rise. Her first two debates were remarkably impressive. However, Mrs. Fiorina also has no foreign policy and national security experience. After the Paris attacks -- and in the wake of the rise of ISIS and the Iran nuclear threat -- it's simply not wise to choose someone who isn't ready to lead the nation to war. As I've noted above, Commander-in-Chief is not an entry-level position. What's more, I have to say I'm surprised that a woman of such business accomplishments hasn't laid out a detailed tax reform and economic growth plan. For such reasons, her poll numbers are drifting downward now after a spike. That said, I like her a lot. I'm deeply grateful for her passionate pro-life advocacy. She's very open and genuine about her faith, which I love and deeply respect. Indeed, I believe she has a real contribution to make to the nation. She would make a great Commerce Secretary, Ambassador or other Cabinet officer. Eager to see where God takes her.
  15. Sen. Rand Paul -- as I have written before (see here, and here), he's an isolationist, he's not a friend of Israel,  and he would be a disaster as president as we face threats from Russia, Iran, ISIS, China and North Korea. That said, he's an ardent champion of liberty, he's pro-life, he wants to dramatically reduce the role of government, and he supports a flat tax, among other strengths. So I don't want him to lose his Senate seat. But I believe he will withdraw from the presidential race soon.
  16. I believe the GOP presidential race has come down at this point to a "Final Four" -- Cruz, Rubio, Santorum and Huckabee.
  17. Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are the two brilliant, up-and-coming, and very compelling young Cuban conservatives.
  18. Gov. Huckabee and former Sen. Rick Santorum are the two deeply principled, tried and tested, and very experienced previous Iowa Caucus winners.
  19. On the plus side, Cruz and Rubio have money, organization and some momentum. They are incredibly attractive and talented candidates and powerful communicators. They hail from big states, Texas and Florida, respectively. They are both devout Evangelical Christians. Both are strongly pro-life. Both are passionate about defending religious liberty. They both love Israel. They have solid foreign policy credentials. Cruz serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, while Rubio serves on both the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Intelligence Committee. They both seem to understand the threat of Radical Islam and talk about it a great deal. They have both offered impressive pro-growth tax reform plans. Cruz wants a flat tax -- see details here. Meanwhile, Rubio proposes a two-rate plan along the Reagan '86 model -- see details here. Either of one of them could win the nomination and both offer the face and voice of a new, young, dynamic generation of conservative leadership.
  20. On the minus side, both Cruz and Rubio are first term Senators and have very few accomplishments yet on the national stage. We simply haven't seen them tested over the long haul. They have changed a number of their positions in a relatively short period of time. For some of Rubio's changes, see here, here, and here. For some of  Cruz's changes, see here, here, and here. Some are accusing the two of changing positions for political purposes, of being "flip-floppers" or even opportunists. I'm not sure that's fair. I think they are works in progress -- new to Washington and finding it challenging to consistently apply their principles to the major issues of the day. But such charges do give me pause because the stakes are so high I really want to be sure what the next president will do in office. I don't want to constantly wonder if a Republican president will betray me and the country in the Oval Office. Consider the marriage issue, for example. Both Cruz and Rubio are on the record as pro-marriage. I believe them. The question is this: how hard will they defend the institution of one-man/one-woman marriage? How will they handle the recent Supreme Court decision sanctioning same-sex marriage and get us back to traditional, Biblical marriage? Will they stand firm on principle, and truly fight for our values with strategies than can win, or will they dodge or avoid the issue as President and say marriage is a lost cause? How will they be influenced by the media, by donors, by friends who disagree with them and want them to avoid "messy social issues"? I'm not saying either or both will fold under pressure. I'm simply saying they are so new that they don't have a long track record we can observe to give us deep confidence of how they will handle the intense pressures in Washington to cave on critical matters.
  21. Also on the minus side: their positions on immigration. Rubio admits he made a mistake when he joined the "Gang of Eight" on comprehensive immigration reform that included amnesty. He now promises to focus first on securing the border before dealing with the 11 million undocumented workers and residents in the U.S. It is good that he sees the mistake and is working to correct it. But let's be honest: that was a major mistake if you oppose amnesty (as I do), so it's hard to ignore. Cruz, however, also supports a form of amnesty -- that is, while he would not grant full citizenship to illegal aliens, he has proposed allowing them to stay in the U.S. in a legal status. Moreover, rather than slowing down or cutting legal immigration to allow more Americans to find good jobs and see their wages rise,Cruz actually proposed a 500% increase in H1-B visas. That's a problem for me. Now he's backing off on this a bit, recalibrating his position. But this does raise questions about whether he understands how angry Americans are about Washington's refusal to protect American workers by sealing the border, requiring illegal immigrants to return home, and giving American citizens first crack at good jobs and higher wages.
  22. To be fair, every candidate has weaknesses, as well as strengths. Our job is to study each candidate carefully and prayerfully assess which are the more serious flaws, and what we can live with.
  23. Now let's turn to Huckabee and Santorum. They are lagging far behind in the polls, even here in Iowa. But they have decades of policy and political achievements under the belts and thus they are worth considering very seriously.
  24. Gov. Mike Huckabee -- he was a governor for a decade so he has lots of experience. At the time, Arkansas was a largely Democrat state. So Huckabee made some compromises conservatives don't like -- he raised taxes, he increased spending, and so forth. But he also is responsible for helping turn Arkansas into a red state -- it's now a Republican conservative environment because people saw and liked how Huckabee led. He is deeply pro-life and strongly pro-marriage. I have not a single doubt he would govern as president to protect life (including banning all abortions) and trying to turn the country back to a pro-marriage policy. There's no concern he will "go soft" or "flip flop" on these issues. He's also funny, personable, and an effective communicator. He has a deep love for Israel and has been there forty or fifty times. He knows Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders well and personally and would totally restore the U.S.-Israel alliance. That said, he doesn't have foreign policy and national security experience beyond Israel. What's more, he supports the Fair Tax but hasn't laid out a specific plan to make it work. That's a problem. And while I'm glad he so strongly supports keeping our promises to seniors on Social Security, Huckabee seems resistant to entitlement reform which is a mistake since these programs are leading the nation towards bankruptcy. Not long ago, Huckabee was the front-runner in Iowa, South Carolina and nationally. But he has faded to the back of the pack. Can he turn things around? I honestly don't know.
  25. Sen. Rick Santorum -- he, too, is deeply pro-life and pro-marriage. Indeed, much of the pro-life legislation that has been passed in Washington in the last generation was written by him. For example, he wrote the law that banned Partial Birth Abortion, and got it passed with bipartisan support, and got it signed into law after multiple vetoes. That's impressive. He has long fought to defend traditional, Biblical marriage, despite intense -- and often cruel -- attacks by the Left and the media. I have no doubt he would govern on principle on these issues in the Oval Office and there's no fear of him folding or caving. On economic growth, I have to say I absolutely love his "20/20 Flat Tax" proposal and "Economic Freedom Agenda." (see also here.) His immigration plan is far and away the most conservative and principled in the field -- including no amnesty of any kind, and a 25% cut in legal immigration. This is why he received an "A" rating from a leading national immigration watchdog group, the highest in the field of presidential contenders. What's more, Santorum was the author of major conservative reform bills in the Senate -- from welfare reform (ending welfare as we know it) to Health Savings Accounts -- and was able to build bipartisan support to get them passed, sometimes over repeated presidential vetoes. Perhaps more than any candidate running, he has actually passed big reforms on the national stage despite the toxic political environment in Washington.
  26. What makes Santorum particularly distinctive in this cycle, however, is his expertise on foreign policy and national security issues. His first vote ever as a freshmen Congressman in January 1991 was not to name a post office but to go to war with Saddam Hussein to remove Iraq from Kuwait. He has been serious about dealing with Mideast terror and Radical Islam ever since. Indeed, it was Santorum who wrote the original law to impose economic sanctions on Iran. And as he said in the forum on Friday night, who tried to stop that those sanctions from passing? Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Kerry and Joe Biden. Interesting. Santorum served eight years on the Senate Armed Services Committee. In 2006, he started warning of that Radical Islam was a "Gathering Storm" we must deal with. He has spoken out clearly about the threat of Apocalyptic Islam, as well. Many have ignored him, or tried to marginalize him, but he's been right and consistent on these issues for 25 years. Arguably more than any other candidate besides Sen. Lindsey Graham, he is the best prepared to be Commander-in-Chief. Santorum is also a very effective debater who would do well up against Hillary. He's become a far better communicator over the past four years, and his "Blue Collar Conservative"message would be very effective in swing states in the general elections.
  27. Still, Santorum is far behind in the polls. True, his support came late in the Iowa caucus process last time. Indeed, he eventually won the caucuses and 11 states, coming very close to winning Ohio and Michigan and earning the nomination. Could it happen again? It could. Iowans like and respect him here. They could break late for him. But right now they seem to be more interested in the new faces. Thus far, Santorum's Super PAC hasn't raised enough money to launch an ad campaign to make a strong case for their man. The competition Santorum faces for conservative and Evangelical voters is stronger this time. In the wake of the Paris attacks, I can see a path to the nomination for Santorum -- more so than Huckabee, though I like them both and am friends with both -- but it is getting late.
  28. Which brings us back to the two Cuban conservatives. I just met Marco Rubio for the first time on Friday night. We spent 15 or 20 minutes together, one-on-one, before the forum. I was deeply impressed. I have met Ted  Cruz a number of times over the last several years, and spent a day with his dad, Rafael Cruz, in August 2014. Love Rafel. Great guy. Passionate. Fascinating. Engaging. And gracious. Yet I find myself reluctant about Ted. In person, I have found him painfully shy, even awkward. And his public style can be off-putting to some. Not to me not entirely. I love Ted's passion. He's brilliant, and he's a fighter. And conservatives are gravitating towards him, and I can see why. But many others are reluctant, like I am, and we're trying to figure out way.
  29. Rubio is personally warmer, more winsome, and a more effective communicator than Cruz. He is more empathetic and comes across as a team builder, a unifier. I suspect Marco could be more effective in a debate with Hillary. Cruz could win on points, but presidential debates are not high school and college debates. You're not debating to score points with judges but to win trust with voters. And while I have little doubt Cruz could win the GOP nomination, I wonder if he would come across as too strident, too doctrinaire on stage with Hillary, and put the general election in jeopardy. Then again, I see Cruz trying to use more stories and more humor than before. He certainly did on Friday night. Perhaps my reluctance and that of others will fade. Perhaps Cruz can keep the fire of his convictions yet learn to become not just a fighter but a team builder, a unifier.
  30. Still, we have to keep Trump in mind. The question is not who is the perfect conservative candidate. The questions for me are: 1) Who is the Lord raising up to lead America? 2) Are one of these four men a "Josiah"? 3) Which one can win Iowa, thus slowing down or derailing the Trump momentum? 4) Who can win next November?  The answer -- I honestly am not sure yet. I see flaws in each of the "Final Four," but I also see great strengths and much potential. Would you join me in studying these four more carefully, and praying and pleading for the Lord to have mercy on our nation and give us the leader we need, not the one we deserve?
God bless you, and may God continue blessing America.
NOTE: These are my own personal views. I offer them in my individual capacity as an American citizen. They do not reflect or represent the position of The Joshua Fund, a non-profit organization, or any other group or organization.
joelcrosenberg | November 24, 2015 at 2:09 pm | Categories: Uncategorized | URL:

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Time to Pray for God's Merciful Judgment on America - Larry Tomczak

Madonna sports a crown of thorns in a recent performance.

Madonna sports a crown of thorns in a recent performance. (YouTube)

Time to Pray for God's Merciful Judgment on America

Join us on our new podcast each weekday for an interesting story, well told, from Charisma News. Listen at

"Larry, I'm shocked that you say you are actually praying for judgment on our nation! That's not loving. That's not scriptural!"
I respectfully disagree. I'm not on a crusade, trying to convince others of my position, yet I do invite your prayerful consideration at this critical time in our history. My actions spring from God's recent dealings with me and the conviction that we have crossed a line in our ever-escalating sinfulness before a holy God who has blessed this nation like none other in history.
Some will dismiss biblical passages I cite as applying only to Israel, God's covenant people, whom He designated as a "city on the hill," yet they turned from God. Let's remember America was also established as a covenant people, designated as a "city on a hill" by our Pilgrim and Puritan forefathers. We have likewise turned away from God.
Survey the cultural landscape over just the past number of weeks:
  • Unfettered baby-killing (now over 57 million) and selling of body parts goes unchecked, as Planned Parenthood, a private organization specializing in abortion (they do no mammograms), continues receiving our tax support.
  • Homosexual "marriages" are now the law of the land, overturning 4,000 years of Western civilization history. President Barack Obama aggressively celebrates this. Former President Jimmy Carter, who says he is born again, declared, "I think Jesus would encourage any love affair if it was honest. ... I believe Jesus would approve gay marriage."
  • Religious freedoms erode at warp speed. Dr. Paul Church, Boston urologist, expelled for "discrimination" in voicing his perspective on homosexuality and its high risk disease factor.
  • A Portland bar owner was fined $400,000 for respectfully requesting LGBTs refrain from patronizing his establishment to avoid the impression of being a "gay" bar.
  • Hostility and persecution of Christians increases, including a recent college massacre of nine Christian students. Saturday Night Live mocks of Kim Davis as a crazed moron, along with Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee portrayed as delusional, dementia patients.
  • 177 congressional representatives vote down the law requiring doctors to save babies who survive an abortion—infanticide. Euthanasia/Assisted Suicide is legalized in numerous states, letting doctors drug patients to death.  Get ready aging baby boomers!
  • Cable and now network TV feature nudity, profanity and homosexuality as standard fare.
  • Drug and sex-saturated concerts/festivals include "Burning Man" week of debauchery and Madonna's profane "Rebel Heart" tour with the theme "Desecration of the Bride and Arrival of Fallen Angels." 
Let's stop here and do a reality check. The trajectory is clear about where this nation is heading. We need a sense of urgency. Our children's and grandchildren's lives are at stake, in addition to the unborn babies facing the guillotine.
We need to shake ourselves and challenge our pastors that this is not a time for maintaining the status quo in religion by lifting up a few mini-prayers and enjoying some uplifting, happy "3 Ways to Beat the Blues" sermons!  Are you listening?
America is on a precipice and our only hope is in the gospel proclaimed to transform hearts and fervent prayer that I believe now includes a component of appealing for God's justice and His judgment. I know this message won't go over well with both unbelievers and many Christians, but the time has come. When respected leaders cited God's judgment after 9/11, remember the outcry and outrage that followed? Get ready.
America's last Great Awakening (1790-1850) was launched when a narcissistic, proud attorney was body slammed with the reality of God's judgment.
Charles Finney experienced divine intervention when God audibly questioned him about that for which he was living. When Charles faced the issue of death and responded tremblingly, "The judgment is next!", he ran like the "Roadrunner" a half-mile to the woods to get right with God. A dose of the fear of God and the prospect of God's judgment shook him to the core.
Charles entered the ministry and millions were saved when brought face to face with God's judgment and His mercy. For more than 50 years during the ebb and flow of America's Second Great Awakening, Mr. Finney and his "Revival Lectures" helped turn America back to God.
 Clarifying the Call for God's Judgment
For the record, I am not calling for God to send fire and destroy human beings. I'm not petitioning the Almighty to send asteroids, tsunamis or city-destroying earthquakes. My fists are not clenched or my veins bulging. I just don't see any other way for our nation to turn back to God without some drastic and dramatic divine intervention.
We need a jolt to awaken us from our stupor. We need a loving "slap in the face" to jolt us back to reality and out of our present insanity and sexual anarchy—kind of like a parent reaching the saturation point with a rebellious smart-mouthed teenager constantly talking back disrespectfully and mocking parental authority.
I'm aware of the episode in the Gospels were Jesus admonished His disciples about calling down fire to destroy resistant people. "You do not know what kind of spirit you are of, for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them" (Luke 9:55-56). This is not what I'm describing.
I believe what the Bible says, "Mercy triumphs over judgment" (James 2:13). Yet these two are not mutually exclusive as God extends His mercy and when it is consistently rejected, Scripture reveals He eventually sends judgment so that people will repent, cry out for mercy and return to Him!
Psalm 107 is such a beautiful depiction of this dynamic. Some rebellious people experienced "bitter labor" (v. 12); others "suffered afflictions because of their iniquities" (v. 17); still others "were at their wits' end" (v. 27).  Yet each grouping came out of God's judgment on their lives and experienced His unfathomable mercy when they "cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them from their distress" (v. 13, 19, 28). In this way, mercy triumphs over judgment.
As I pray for God's judgment on the nation that I so love, I am not dictating or demanding how or when it comes. God is Sovereign and the specifics are left with Him. But if we sense an increasing God-given burden that it will take judgment to turn this sinking ship around, I encourage people everywhere to enter agreement with God on this plank before it's too late.
 It's Biblical to Pray for God's Judgment
Genesis 6 reveals the grieving heart of God as He "saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was continually only evil. The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him in His heart. So the Lord said, 'I will destroy man, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—both man and beast, and the creeping things, and the birds of the sky, for I am sorry that I have made them'" (Gen. 6:5-7). Judgment came to return people to Himself.
Following in the footsteps of David, Jeremiah and Paul, there come times when God stirs people to agree with Him that the time for judgment to be released has come. We should then pray accordingly and with a right spirit.

  • David was "a man after God's own heart" (1 Sam. 13:14). Read in Psalms 35, 55, 58, 59, 69, 109 and 139 how this giant of the faith prayed for and proclaimed God's judgment in his day. He did not pray for carnal revenge but to highlight God's abhorrence of evil and ongoing sin.
  • Jeremiah struggled with deep inner turmoil concerning the judgment he proclaimed. This came from anguish of spirit and deep identification with what God was feeling as His heart broke over people's persistent sin. He said, "I am pained in my very heart" (Jer. 4:19) as he called for justice and judgment. Like Jesus who wept over the sinful state of the Jews, Jeremiah was not gleeful or gloating when he prayed for and pronounced judgment. He was overwhelmed and in tears (Jer. 4:19-22). God even directed him to stop praying for the people because of the depth of their wickedness (Jer. 7:16; 11:14; 14:11)! Child killing. Homosexuality. Apostasy. Idolatry. Blasphemy. Lawlessness. Sound familiar?
  • Paul, in his masterpiece to the Romans, quoted David's judgments in Psalm 69:22-23. In proclaiming judgment upon the Jews, his words are sobering, disturbing and straight from the heart of God.
Let's stop kidding ourselves; apart from divine intervention in holy judgment, America will simply slide deeper down the spiral of sin and destruction. We are deceived if we buy into the misguided approach of many who believe there will eventually come some kind of backlash to all our wickedness, corruption and brazen immorality.
Some believe that people, like a rubber-band, will return to God if we just remain patient and pray long enough. I don't think so, and I am a four-decade board member of a ministry promoting prayer and fasting for America for over 40 years!
It's time to examine our lives in light of God's holiness and turn from our wicked ways as 2 Chronicles 7:14 tells us. I am persuaded that it is also time to add another dimension to our petitions. Rejecting any self-righteousness, praying with a humble heart and passionate to see a massive harvest of people who get right with God, having experienced His judgment in their lives, are you ready to pray like David did in Psalm 28:4-5? The passages reads: "Give them according to their deeds, and according to the wickedness of their endeavors; give them according to the work of their hands; return to them what they deserve. Because they do not regard the works of the Lord, nor the work of His hands, He will destroy them and not build them up."
It's time for us to appeal to heaven for God to take a stand and show himself strong. The "bowls of incense, which are the prayers of the saints" (Rev. 5:8) will overflow in the judgments described in chapter 8. These are terrifying and intended to cleanse the earth of sin and bring those remaining back to the living God! It is the "great and dreadful day of the Lord" described in Joel 2:31 and Mal. 4:5. These times will be both gory and glory!  
God's judgments are intended to bring people to repentance so they can be blessed and live in union with Him as a bride with her bridegroom. God's zeal is designed to purge the earth of all rebellion. Will we rise to the occasion and embrace a call to pray some gutsy, muscular prayers for both justice and the necessary judgments to bring this to pass? We don't have a lot of time left.
Prayer for Justice
"Lord, You decreed, 'He has shown you O man, what is good, and what does the Lord require of you? To do justice and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God' (Mic.6:8). We pray that You hear our plea for justice. May our hearts align with Yours and break with those things that break Your heart. As Your ambassadors may we look out for those that are in legitimate need—the weak, neglected and less fortunate. As Christians, help us to live authentically and make a difference as change agents for Your glory and the establishment of Your Kingdom. In Jesus Name, Amen."
Prayer for Judgment
"Lord, you decreed, 'Righteousness exults a nation but sin is a reproach to any people' (Prov. 14:34). Like Moses, Nehemiah, Daniel and Paul, we identify with sins committed brazenly and increasingly throughout this land. May our hearts grieve with Yours at our serious, sinful state. We have departed from Your liberating Word and removed You from Your rightful place as the One, true and living God in whom we are to trust. Repeatedly ignoring Your warnings sent through Your servants and shamefully yielding to the fear of man instead of speaking up for righteousness, we humbly ask that You release Your necessary judgments that they may awaken us from our ongoing rebellion and deception. 'Lord, we have heard of Your fame. We stand in awe of Your deeds. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in Your wrath remember mercy' (Hab. 3:2). If this is Your will and Your time as we believe, help us to emerge as a holy people of whom it is said, 'Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord' (Ps. 33:12)."
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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Christian Leaders Threaten Civil Disobedience if Supreme Court Legalizes Gay Marriage

Christian Leaders Threaten Civil Disobedience if Supreme Court Legalizes Gay Marriage

Gay marriage supporters rally outside the Supreme Court.
Gay marriage supporters rally outside the Supreme Court. (Reuters)
"We will not obey."
That's the blunt warning a group of prominent religious leaders is sending to the Supreme Court of the United States as they consider same-sex marriage.
"We respectfully warn the Supreme Court not to cross that line," read a document titled, Pledge in Solidarity to Defend Marriage. "We stand united together in defense of marriage. Make no mistake about our resolve." 
"While there are many things we can endure, redefining marriage is so fundamental to the natural order and the common good that this is the line we must draw and one we cannot and will not cross," the pledge states.
The signees are a who's who of religious leaders including former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, National Religious Broadcasters president Jerry Johnson, Pastor John Hagee, and Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse. 
The pledge was co-drafted by Deacon Keith Fournier, a Catholic deacon, and Mat Staver, the founder of Liberty Counsel. Also involved in the document were Rick Scarborough, the president of Vision America Action and James Dobson, the founder of Family Talk Radio. 
"We're sending a warning to the Supreme Court and frankly any court that crosses the line on the issue of marriage," Staver told me.
He said that once same-sex marriage is elevated to the level of protected status—it will transform the face of society and will result in the "beginning of the end of Western Civilization."
"You are essentially saying that boys and girls don't need moms and dads—that moms and dads are irrelevant," Staver said. "Gender becomes pointless when government adopts same-sex marriage. It creates a genderless relationship out of a very gender-specific relationship. It says that it doesn't matter and that two moms or two dads are absolutely equivalent to a mom and a dad."
Dobson said the legalization of same-sex marriage could fracture the nation.
"The institution of marriage is fundamental and it must be defended," he told me. "It's the foundation for the entire culture. It's been in existence for 5,000 years. If you weaken it or if you undermine it—the entire superstructure can come down. We see it as that important."
And that means the possibility of Christians—people of faith—engaging in acts of civil disobedience.
"Yes, I'm talking about civil disobedience," Staver said. "I'm talking about resistance and I'm talking about peaceful resistance against unjust laws and unjust rulings."
That's quite a shocking statement. So I asked Mr. Staver to clarify his remarks.
"I'm calling for people to not recognize the legitimacy of that ruling because it's not grounded in the Rule of Law," he told me. "They need to resist that ruling in every way possible. In a peaceful way—they need to resist it as much as Martin Luther King Jr. resisted unjust laws in his time."
Scarborough said the pledge was meant to be forthright and clear.
"We're facing a real Constitutional crisis if the Supreme Court rules adversely from our perspective on same-sex marriage," he told me. For me there's no option. I'm going to choose to serve the Lord. And I think that thousands of other pastors will take that position and hundreds of thousands—if not millions of Christians."
Scarborough is urging pastors across the nation to sign the pledge. 
He referenced the "outrageous penalties" being assessed against people of faith simply because they don't want to participate in a same-sex union.
An Oregon bakery is facing a $135,000 fine for refusing to make a cake for a lesbian wedding and a Washington State florist faces fines for refusing to participate in a gay wedding.
"Christians are being declared the lawbreakers when we are simply living by what we have always believed, and by a set of laws that the culture historically has agreed to," he said. "Right now the courts are changing the playing field and declaring that what the natural eye can see and natural law reveals is not truth. ... What will we do, and how will we respond?"
Dobson said there's no doubt that LGBT activists are targeting Christian business owners.
"For about 50 years the homosexual community has had as its goal to change the culture, to change the ideology and if necessary—to force people who don't agree by use of the courts," Dobson told me. "I think there's a collision here and we can all see it, and where it's going to go is anybody's guess—but it is serious."
To be clear—the men and women who courageously signed this pledge did so knowing the hell storm that is about to be unleashed on them—and their families.
"We have no choice," Staver told me. "We cannot compromise our clear biblical convictions, our religious convictions.
Todd Starnes is host of "Fox News & Commentary," heard on hundreds of radio stations. Sign up for his American Dispatch newsletter, be sure to join his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter. His latest book is God Less America.
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