On the tee, hypocrisy

By Steve Woodward

Let me get this straight. The United States sends billions of dollars to the human rights wasteland of Saudi Arabia to import its oil, but an American professional golfer is disgraced after expressing an interest in leveraging the Saudi economy by way of a proposed Super League featuring the world’s elite golfers? 

American golf legend Phil Mickelson is being canceled as if he had been caught on video beating his wife and abusing the family pet because he suggested a certain attraction to this as yet still conceptual Saudi league, and amid his reasonable dissatisfaction with the lords of the PGA Tour. Why the indignation? Because Mickelson also acknowledged that the Saudis routinely violate human rights and murder innocent people.

Among his most vocal critics — after Mickelson’s remarks were released by the author of a forthcoming Mickelson biography — was Rory McIlroy of Ireland, a PGA Tour veteran who resides in the U.S. McIlory lashed out at his fellow competitor’s supposed nonchalance about Saudi authorities who routinely kill gay people as exposing Mickelson as “naive, selfish, egotistical and ignorant.” That about covers the character assassination spectrum.

Undoubtedly, negative reactions by McIlory and other players emboldened sponsors to drop Mickelson as if he had been exposing himself to children on a playground. KPMG. Callaway. Workday. See ya, Phil.

But who has called out McIlroy’s blatant hypocrisy? No one, apparently. In January McIlroy finished third in the Dubai Desert Classic in the United Arab Emirates, taking home north of $500,000 (excluding a hefty appearance fee, no doubt). It’s a wonder he was even willing to show up. Human Rights Watch identifies the UAE as a serial human rights abuser. The UAE has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to criticizing government officials. Homosexuality is a crime punishable by death. Against this backdrop, tour professionals nonetheless typically include a stop at the Dubai Classic on their annual schedules.

Within the ladies’ ranks, LPGAers frequently play in the annual Shanghai Classic in China, a nation ruled under the iron fist of the Chinese Communist Party. The tournament was cancelled the past two years due to health concerns in a country where the Wuhan Virus was unleashed out of a lab that exists under the guise of research. In recent weeks, Beijing played host to the Olympic Winter Games, which went on without a hint of protest by American sponsors and TV rights holder NBC. Everyone who seeks to profit from turning their backs to China’s brutality toward dissidents and rural slaves seems to rationalize the tenuous relationships with ease. 

In China’s Xinjiang province, an estimated one million Turkic Muslims are detained in interment camps. This genocide has been ongoing since 2014.

Meanwhile, how many PGA Tour millionaires strut around wearing Nike golf attire and shoes made in China in partnership with a ruthless authoritarian government that manufactures the iconic “swoosh”-branded garb using what amounts to slave labor? 

It bears repeating that Nike athletes are paid millions of dollars to wear the brand before stepping foot on a golf course, or a basketball or tennis court. On the PGA Tour alone, there are numerous top players who are not perplexed by the Nike-China conundrum. Tiger Woods, of course, was Nike’s first golf star. But today, the roster includes elite players such as Brooks Koepka, Tony Finau, Francisco Molinari and Jason Day.

Oh, and Rory “The Pious” McIlroy. A few years ago he signed a 10-year Nike contract that will pay out around $200 million. 

Cowering like it’s 2020

By Steve Woodward

Our kids now can go to school, free as birds, but only if smothered beneath unsanitary masks, and pumped full of experimental serum, to protect them from, at worst, a chest cold.  

Our kids conversely are made to stay home from school because three inches of snow that has melted into residual clumps makes traveling by bus potentially hazardous, or so say our unelected authorities. What’s next, a Dry Pavement Alert? A Blue Sky Glare Advisory? Fresh Air Delirium Syndrome?

If I am a school age child in 2022, what is my default mode? Bold individualism endowed upon me by the fortitude of the American spirit?  Or, am I a bowl of jello, quivering in fear of disease and Mother Nature?

The answer is obvious and it is the latter. Sponge Bob and his sidekicks are in charge. Our children are gelatinous beings, trained to recoil whenever the ruling elite or weather forecasters proclaim foreboding doom. 

But don’t blame the kids. The fault lies firmly at the feet of a group now passing as “adults”. There was a Greatest Generation, those who fought in, died during and emerged from World War II to forge an even greater America. But here in the 21st Century, we are stuck with the Gravest Generation, a class of citizenry best described as weak, self-absorbed, delusional and lost.

They existed among us for who knows how long but have been exposed by the hysteria imposed upon normal day to day life by the Wuhan Virus that escaped a U.S.-funded laboratory in China in 2019.

And we are understanding that it is all but impossible to marginalize these most un-American of Americans because they are put forward by corporate, mainstream media as normal, rational Americans who just want every citizen to “stay safe”.  Even small-town newspapers are trying to show how “woke” they are, just like their highly paid brethren in the prestige media outlets in New York and Washington.

In its January 23 editorial, The Pilot issued an impassioned plea to the rubes it calls readers: Do your part to curb COVID! The premise for yet another frenzied treatment of the topic is that “there is virtually no aspect of life that isn’t being affected these days by COVID-19 and its highly contagious Omicron variant.” And if we don’t return to crackdown mode we will be blindsided when, inevitably, the next variant “comes along”. This warning raises suspicion that The Pilot must have access to Anthony Fauci’s emails. 

Listen up, insists The Pilot (specifically, editor John Nagy and his staff death-watcher, Jamie Baxley), “we owe it to everyone around us to do what we can to safeguard public health.” The Pilot essentially is calling for another round of lockdowns. Virtual classrooms. No church services. No elective surgeries in hospitals. Take-out only restaurants. Vaccine passports. And testing, testing, testing of asymptomatic mass murderers, our children.

But public opinion is turning. Despite the best efforts of the county health department and school board to quell their optimism, determined Moore County citizens trekked to Washington on January 23 to join thousands assembled across the National Mall for a “Defeat The Mandates” rally. A lean, mean machine known as Freedom Matters NC, formed in 2020 by Lydia Boesch and Mitch Lancaster, held its banner high in frigid DC. The mandates are going down.

Freedom is making a comeback, and it really ticks off the Left. Just when absolute tyranny was beginning to feel normal. At least to them. (A reporter at Joe Biden’s marathon stumble-fest January 21 actually asked what the President would say to parents “frustrated that there is no vaccine for children under 5?” By all means, let’s inject the least vulnerable and roll the dice on side effects).

Meanwhile, allow me to take on our local rag’s wrist wringing, point by point:

  • Deaths with Covid never have been separated from deaths BY Covid. That shell game certainly suggests “inflated” data points. Same goes for “cases”.
  • With the sudden shift — by the Fauci-ites — to the new conventional wisdom that cloth masks are ineffective compared to the N95 cone masks, little wonder precautions have been “scoffed at”. Normal people knew the face diapers were symbolic signals of virtue from the start.
  • Schools are struggling to stay open because administrators continue to “test to stay” among asymptomatic kids. And, furthermore, there is outright denial that the vaccinated are at least as vulnerable to Omicron as the unvaxed across all age groups.
  • Beware the next wave that “comes along”? Omicron, say credible members of the medical community (when not censored), is nature’s vaccine. It will drive herd immunity. Why would you dwell on the threat of a “next one”? How about the next killer, three-inch snow storm, or the next routine flu season? Best hunker down inside your bunkers on Pennsylvania Avenue.
  • This is an “unchecked and ignored” pandemic? Citizens have had every aspect of normal life taken from them. Replaced by: Masks. Social distancing. Gloves. Vaccines. Boosters. Denial of therapeutic drugs to promote recovery. Travel restrictions. Unchecked? What a very Australian point of view.
  • Masks are awesome. Quit saying they equate to “child abuse”. The consequences of masking children will not be known for years. If it is not abusive it certainly is dangerous. Many experts believe it is inhibiting speech development in the very young. How could it not?

This just in. 2020 phoned The Pilot’s newsroom. It wants its hysteria back.

Trump 2.0

By Steve Woodward

What I learned at the North Carolina Republican Party Convention in Greenville:

Ernie’s Sub Shop (since 1980) is legitimate, and the best alternative to the NC GOP’s offerings, which left delegates craving airline food.

The ballroom of the Greenville Hilton is a cramped and stifling venue in which conducting a convention is not advisable. It surely was designed by a radical Lefty because it divides people and limits their ability to be heard.

President Donald Trump is reflective but not defeated six months after his inexplicable “loss”, and no longer opposes Joe Bidden as a “sleepy” adversary but as an enemy of our nation’s core values.

His Saturday night (June 5) address to dehydrated convention delegates and donors was, in many ways, vintage Trump. Our “45″ chided the media (which was assembled en masse), China (and its clear role in unleashing the Wuhan virus), and the Biden administration’s already collapsing economy and stature around the world.

What Trump did not do to any significant degree is belabor Biden’s obvious physical and mental limitations, other than mentioning Biden’s talent at falling “up” the stairs to the door of Air Force One. He pointed to the debacle caused by Dr. Anthony Fauci’s deceit, which fueled Wuhan virus hysteria. He acknowledged that he made a huge “bet” when directing the federal government to underwrite the launch of Operation Warp Speed, which ultimately delivered on his promise of virus vaccines in record time by sidestepping normal Food and Drug Administration testing. 

Those like me who were at the White House ellipse on January 6, shivering in bitter cold, and in the Greenville Convention Center on June 5 shivering under blasting air conditioning, could not have escaped the conclusion that Trump has bounced back from the November election outcome more so than many of us. 

That is reason enough to enter the road to 2022 and beyond rejuvenated and determined. The man who remains the heart and soul of the Republican Party is counting on that. (Not to mention the inspiration we can draw from South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, who spoke with the eloquence of a leader and the common sense of a rancher during her June 5 convention luncheon appearance).

As demonstrated in Greenville, even if Trump never again runs for elected office, the sheer force of his personality will assist state parties in raising millions of dollars to support Republican campaigns. NC GOP chairman Michael Whatley informed delegates that Trump’s presence guaranteed that last Saturday’s fundraiser would reap the largest collection in party history. By four times, in fact.

In the unlikely event that Trump decides not to run for President in 2024, he will have positioned the Republican Party’s conservatives to rise up in defiance of the Socialist tsunami sweeping upon our shores. As our culture crumbles, constitutional rights slip away, religious freedoms evaporate, inflation soars and economic growth stagnates, we must look to the Trump example. We stand firm. We don’t back down. We elect candidates who execute on their promises from day one. We make America great again. Again.

One path

“Blessed is the man who (will not walk) in the counsel of the ungodly.”
Psalm 1

By Steve Woodward

Americans increasingly are asked to chose a path. Go in one direction or the other. We must chose.

Apart from earners of university degrees during the past 20 years or so, many Americans (74 million, at least, whose votes for Donald Trump’s re-election were miraculously counted) see but one choice: protect and defend the United States in which we were blessed to be born and raised. The alternative choice, formerly a decision about voting (Republican or Democrat), is the certain dissolution of these United States. From the mountains to the prairies.

The Democratic Party is not any longer concerned with sustaining democracy. It has been subverted, taken over, by the Left. The party of slavery in the 19th century is the party of Socialism in the 21st century. Today’s Democrat Party, notes radio talk host Chris Plante, is closer to Lee Harvey Oswald than John F. Kennedy on the ideological spectrum.

“Reaching across the aisle,” was how lawmaking got done in a bygone Washington. Today, it’s impossible. Arms can not reach across a chasm.

The choice has become ever more stark, to the point where choosing is not viable. Look no further than what Biden-Harris voters chose. A southern border humanitarian crisis. Childhoods ravaged by isolation and neglect during an ill-advised lockdown of American life. Even amid recovery from the Wuhan virus’s economic devastation, businesses that can not operate because employees, intoxicated by government “paychecks”, refuse to come back to work. Israel facing a scorched spring triggered by America’s betrayal, erasing the blossoming of peace under Trump.

The 2020 election outcomes, from the White House on down, laid bare that we still have a two-party political system but only one choice going forward if we hope to recognize our nation a decade hence.

“This is evil that we’re facing,” said 2022 U.S. Senate candidate Mark Walker, a Republican from Guilford County, NC, of the Left.

A former pastor, Walker referenced another Psalm, Psalm 139, during a recent Sandhills visit. “If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty! They speak of you with evil intent.”

Or speak not at all. Issuing a proclamation on May 5, the National Day of Prayer, Biden did not reference God. Read more. He did, however, urge a coming together as a nation (except if you see someone not wearing a mask, berate and assault him).

The guidance of the Psalmist to reject “the counsel of the ungodly” seems a particularly timeless piece of advice amid the rapid emergence of the Left’s new obsession: Critical Race Theory. The most important thing to know is that nothing is theoretical about it. If a circle of tedious academicians were merely writing papers about CRT, they would be properly relegated to obscurity.

But it’s worse than that. It is creeping into K-12 curricula in counties and states across the nation. To ensure that CRT achieves maximum saturation, the Biden administration is proposing a national mandate through the U.S. Department of Education. The essence of CRT is that public education can not exist in its current state, that it must be overhauled so that every element of learning is presented through the lens of race and the nation’s shameful “white supremacy”.

“The Biden administration now plans to supercharge (imposition of CRT) through federal rules and regulations, access to billions in taxpayer funding (for school systems), and the imprimatur of the federal government,” writes Lindsey Burke and Inez Stepman for The Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal.

Karl Marx never revealed the end game of Marxism for the same reason that CRT supporters push back on their many critics. Yet the CRT lexicon does not veil its objectives: Rejecting “whiteness”; identifying “micro-aggressions”; “racial mapping”; locating where a given teacher lands on an “oppression matrix”; and encouraging “equity teams” in classrooms (because equity sounds similar to equality, although it is not similar).

Christianity long ago was banned from the classroom. Now, the Left is coming for the rest of our values as Americans, and using children as its pawns to complete the job.

In a 1964 speech during a rally for Republican Presidential nominee Barry Goldwater, an up-and-coming figure named Ronald Reagan warned that we had come to a crossroads, a time for choosing. The choice he described was not merely Goldwater or incumbent Lyndon Johnson, and it was not even as black and white as Republican or Democrat, back when the differences were narrowly ideological. The choice was the American way or Communism. It was the specter of the latter that had driven Reagan out of the Democratic Party.

The choice in 1964 involved a threat from a distant land and its dictators. The choice before us today is the threat to our God given freedom posed by the power obsessed, Socialist, ungodly Left. It is not a distant threat. It is surrounding us. The threat is made worse because so many do not recognize it, even after a year of unprecedented Wuhan virus tyranny.

Reagan’s warning so long ago rings with alarming truth: “When the time comes to deliver the final ultimatum, our surrender will be voluntary, because by that time we will have been weakened from within spiritually, morally, and economically.”

Unless we choose the only viable path.

Beyond ‘religion’

By Steve Woodward

After the Palm Sunday service, I thanked one of our pastors for praying for the President. I added, unable to resist, that I wished we knew for whom we are praying.

A fellow church member, scowling, said, “Don’t you know about religion and politics?” To which I should have replied, “Don’t you know I was not speaking to you?”

Instead, I said, “They are intertwined.” That, actually, was the better response.

I pondered what I said over brunch, and decided that I likely never had been more fast on my feet. Even in dress shoes.

In 2021, Christianity in the United States never has been more under assault, and the attacks come from multiple fronts. Religious entities have locked the doors to churches for months on end. Avowed Christians have sheltered in place and derided citizens who push back against Wuhan virus hysteria as businesses die and Americans sink into to depression and paralysis. Churchgoers wear masks into houses of worship even as they profess that God is their rock.

They lower their masks to read from John 12: “Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

It is worth noting here that in 2020, as the virus pandemic swept across the globe, the Presbyterian Church USA, aka, “the Presbytery”, issued as 20-page document entitled, “Returning to Public Worship: Theological and Practical Considerations”. Across the thousands of words in this document, 7,312 to be precise, God is mentioned only 38 times. Scripture rarely is cited. There is not a single passage in this document that urges Christians to prioritize faith above government tyranny.

I soon became an ex-Presbyterian church member after discovering, in July 2020, that a church in my community was not bowing to virus hysteria and proving it by unlocking the doors for worship on Sundays. Without hesitation I can say that the silver lining during these dark days has been my realization that “religion” is not Christianity. Thank you, Brownson Memorial Presbyterian Church, Southern Pines.

C.S. Lewis, the famous author who transitioned from atheist to devout Christian, and wrote about it so as to confound his fellow academics, articulated the difference.

“If ‘religion’ means simply what man says about God, and not what God does about man, then Pantheism almost is religion. And ‘religion’ in that sense has, in the long run, only one really formidable opponent — namely Christianity. (If a Minister of Education professes to value religion and at the same time take steps to suppress Christianity, it does not necessarily follow that he is a hypocrite or even a fool. He may sincerely desire more ‘religion’ and rightly see that the suppression of Christianity is a necessary preliminary to his design).”

The interaction with my fellow worshipper — no intersection of politics and religion, she cried — impressed on me that there is a divide, perhaps previously ignored, between American values and religion.

Many self described Christians, we have discovered, have little use for American principles of liberty when facing a media fueled pandemic hysteria. Despite showing high regard for the “science” behind masks, they show total disregard for the rule of law by turning a blind eye to Black Lives Matter’s violent rioting, or to the failure to protect the southern U.S. border. Other Christians defend abortion, or vote for politicians who openly work to sustain generational dependence on government entitlements.

The Christian spirit aligns readily with rapidly fading — and under assault — ideals rooted in knowing that we derive unalienable rights from our Creator. In the face of a fast deteriorating culture, I would argue that there is no distinction to be made between Christianity paired with ideological conservatism, and “religion” being cozy with the radical Left. Look no further than the Democrats’ so-called Equality Act awaiting a vote in the U.S. Senate after House passage. It is an all out declaration of war on our nation’s Judeo-Christian traditions.

“The Equality Act would become the first major piece of legislation in the history of the United States to exclude protections for religious freedom,” writes David Dockery for Christianity Today.

President Joe Biden was declared by The New York Times as “the most religiously observant commander in chief in a half-century”, to which conservative culture columnist Joe Concha, writing for The Hill, replied, “What exactly is liberal Christianity? That’s a contradiction within itself.” Concha goes on to call out the obvious contradiction between Biden’s faith and his support of taxpayer funded abortion. In fact, Concha notes that Democrat President Jimmy Carter, a self-described born again Baptist, was the last pro-life Democrat president. Carter was an inept president, but he did not sell out his faith to party loyalty. What a concept.

I do not wish to see my church become divided over the issues of our day. Indeed, a church service is first and foremost a gathering for solemn worship and a refuge from worldly concerns. But I do believe that Christians have a duty to adhere to what we believe, making no distinction as to the day of the week. If we make our “religious” hypocrites on the Left uncomfortable, so be it. Christianity for sure, and religion generally, is not intended as a comfort zone.

“I call it ‘religion’ advisedly,” writes C.S. Lewis. “We who defend Christianity find ourselves constantly opposed not by the irreligion of our hearers but by their real religion.”