The long game

By Steve Woodward

It is impossible to understand what religious persecution feels like until it comes home to a free land. It feels surreal. Worshipping inside the four walls of a church this past Sunday with a small gathering of Christians marked the first time I have experienced this horrible feeling. We were where we were not supposed to be, doing what we were not supposed to do in the company of others — praying, singing, contemplating scripture.

“Stay at home,” decreed North Carolina Democrat tyrant and Governor Roy Cooper back in March, joining governors across the nation imposing mass shutdowns to slow the spread of the Wuhan Virus. Cooper’s order specifically prohibits gathering for religious services in churches, or for that matter, anywhere. Dutifully, the churches closed and adopted streaming video services, excluding those most in need of their church community, the ones without internet or the know-how to use a device to access it.

There was so much outrage about businesses that were forcibly closed, hospital procedures that were deemed unnecessary and the suspension of education inside classrooms that the trampling of a Constitutional right to assemble and worship God was all but overlooked. This should never have happened. Churches should have been granted the freedom to make their own decisions about how to conduct services amid virus hysteria, using the same formula that determines how many people can enter a grocery store.

We know the left has poisoned higher education and K-12 education. We know the corporate-owned media has been coopted and is corrupt and compliant. We know voting integrity is increasingly at risk as the left becomes ever more brash about rigging elections. We know the courts have been packed with activist judges to render the will of the American voter meaningless (see NC voter ID lawsuits). And now, sadly, we must acknowledge that clergy and denominational governing bodies apparently have been similarly hijacked. Where was the outrage when Cooper abruptly banned church services? There was none expressed by the church where I am a member.

Thankfully, along came one pastor who stood up, opened the doors of his church and exercised his rights as a U.S. citizen.

This came in stark contrast to John Nagy’s Sunday column in The Pilot. The virus is “everywhere,” he wrote, failing to specify his source, scientific or otherwise, behind this declaration. Nagy’s was a tone of doom, of resignation that North Carolinians should not expect to live the lives we knew only a few weeks ago. Ever again. I sensed an underlying motive for writing it. This is what they’ve always hoped for in America on the left. Less freedom. More governance by edict. More social shaming of anyone who fails to comply with orders, no matter how extreme.

These ambitions were forecast as long ago as 1963 when a member of the U.S. House of Representatives placed into the Congressional Record the 45 goals of communism derived from a book recently published at the time, entitled “The Naked Communist”. Read the list here. It is clear the left has played the long game. More than a half century later the unthinkable goals they articulated are being achieved, one by one.

If we are being honest with ourselves, we must acknowledge, as Americans and as Republicans, and as North Carolinians, the Wuhan Virus appears increasingly to have spread across our world deliberately with a lot of collateral damage but one target, the United States. The U.S. economy, our health care system, our food supply, President Donald Trump, our Constitutional freedom, religious and speech freedom specifically (who will soon forget a Raleigh police officer announcing that protests are “non-essential” activities under Cooper’s iron boot orders?), and anything else the virus can disrupt along the way. Note the surge of nodding heads as the State Board of Elections turns up the volume on the necessity of 100% mail-in voting this fall. For our safety, of course.

The Wuhan Virus is exacting a sad but hardly unprecedented human toll. The broader death toll remains to be seen. The left is counting on historic carnage. God empowers us to win the war now being waged outside of labs working on vaccines, the war on liberty. Let us pray we have the courage to leverage that power so that churches, like some American businesses, do not close their doors forever.

Socialism = misery

By Norman Zanetti

People in countries throughout the world have lived and continue to live amid the ruins and failings of a socialistic system of government. Why then do Democratic party contenders for President find it a promising path for America to undertake?
Socialism has proven to be a system uniquely adept at the equal distribution of misery.  On the other hand, capitalism and the vast wealth it generates has made America the envy of the world. Our constitutional principles bind us to ancestors who had great foresight in promoting the American dream. It has fueled innovation, risk taking, and invention. With that comes wealth and prosperity.
Our wealth has allowed us to assist impoverished nations with financial and medical aid, and offer protection for them against unlawful aggression. Our success only has been nurtured by competing truths and opposing ideas.
Today’s world might seem too complicated to fit into one rigid political system; one ideology can’t be applied to all problems. But America could not have existed and expanded if it had been founded on economic redistribution. It took hard work and determination, with all citizens taking part. Free market capitalism is adaptable and resilient.
Socialism is a deeply unpopular domestic agenda for those who truly understand it. It affords draconian controls over liberties. It escalates into a government that gives the masses what they feel they deserve, forgetting that someone has to pay for it, borrow it,
tax for it and print money to cover it. To think millionaires, billionaires and corporations can pay for these excesses is ludicrous. Every strata of tax payer will be impacted.
A January Gallup poll supports the presumption that Americans know this intuitively. Gallup asked if voters would support a well-qualified candidate who is Muslim, or atheist, or a socialist. Sixty-six percent would vote for a Muslim; while 60 percent would vote for a self-described atheist. Support for a socialist drops to 45 percent.
Those touting socialism — including but not limited to Democrat presidential frontrunner Sen. Bernie Sanders — reveal an inexperience in governing we can’t afford to adopt in any way, shape, or form.

Freedom, on the brink

By Steve Woodward

The question arose without provocation: “Is it true that we are supposed to be the best country?”

It was posed by a middle school teen-ager with whom I spend time as a mentor. He lives in poverty among three younger siblings. He has been homeless. He is often hungry. But he is cheerful and inquisitive, conversant and funny. And despite having little reason to be optimistic, and despite the strong likelihood he never has been told by a teacher or any other adult about American exceptionalism, the young man’s intuition is that he is the citizen of a remarkable country, the best one.

Given this unexpected opportunity, this “teachable moment”, I needed to deliver a quick answer, something that would resonate within his impressionable mind.

We are the most free country, I said first. No other country comes close. We are a country where anything is possible, where dreams come true every day. I might have added to this, I might have embellished further, maybe by citing a rags-to-riches story. But I also wanted to impress upon him that dreams come true because work is rewarded and opportunities to work are plentiful.

It no longer is a reasonable assumption that kids are aware that being an American is a blessing and a privilege. The narratives tell them we are a nation born of racist slave owners, who left an indelible stain; that capitalism is rigged and excludes almost everyone, and, worse, is the principal cause of climate change; that our military tortures the innocent and kills indiscriminately; and that our immigration policies are inhumane because our borders are not open.

We know the educational environment is increasingly hostile toward free speech, debate, Christianity, and toward our nation’s founding principles. Rarely a week goes by during which we fail to learn of another example of manufactured outrage or political correctness gone wild on a campus. North Carolina State recently eliminated Good Friday from its university calendar, despite enormous backlash.

In our backyard, a few teachers at The O’Neal School in Southern Pines walked out during a January speech by black civil rights legend Clarence Henderson, an avowed conservative Republican and supporter of President Trump.

These snowflake teachers apparently never considered how their decision will be interpreted by their students, but the big take away is that disrespecting American icons is OK if you disagree with them ideologically. Is O’Neal suspending these teachers or is it reprimanding the ones who did not walk out?

My mentee is in seventh grade at Southern Middle School. I ask almost every time we get together about his classes and teachers. He mentioned learning about World War I, and about Germany’s Adolf Hitler. What he remembers about Hitler is that he wore a funny mustache because the ends of it were damaged while Hitler wore a gas mask. (Actually, historians write that Hitler cropped his mustache to accommodate wearing a gas mask). There was no mention by the teenager that Hitler ordered the slaughter of millions of Jews, leaving me to wonder if this is excluded from the textbook.

This lone conversation reinforced why I mentor. It’s not my job to take his mind off his dire living conditions, his hunger and his uncertainty, although I hope I do. It is my job to focus his mind on his future, on where paths before him can lead, on why he needs to make smart decisions, and on why there is eternal hope because God loves him and because he dwells in a land that is free and prosperous.

President Reagan reminded us that freedom is but one generation removed from extinction, and that the tenants of what make us free must be rigorously handed down to future generations. He said, “We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream.”

Mentoring is one of the best opportunities an American adult can seize upon to counter the tide of anti-Americanism, anti-religion and anti-capitalism driven by the sinister and mentally unstable radical left, by educators, the media and the entertainment industry.

The teenager who sits to my right as we drive along is remarkably sunny, polite and articulate. But our nation is increasingly plagued by unhappy, disrespectful, mumbling teens. The why is disheartening but, perhaps, not irreversible.

“The reason so many young people are depressed, unhappy, and angry,” writes radio talk host and columnist Dennis Prager, “is the left has told them that God and Judeo-Christian religions are nonsense; their country is largely evil; their past is deplorable; and their future is hopeless.”

Nancy Pelosi rips in half a story of America’s comeback on national television. And why? Because she and her compliant radical army on the left would rather nurture hungry, deprived teens pouring across our Southern border, leaving desperate teens in Moore County to languish under the oppressive boot heel of government subsidies, which guarantee to keep them right where they are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’re a racist. Probably.

By Steve Woodward

Not long ago, two people in complete disagreement might have exchanged accusations of one being misinformed or closed-minded, or one simply would dismiss the other as a “jerk”. Then, on to the next tee. But when this author’s reputation was compromised recently by The Pilot newspaper, which published a private e-mail communication from me as a “letter-to-the-editor”, I experienced for myself the new age of 24/7 identity politics.

In subsequent published letters by readers, and elsewhere, I was labeled “racist, bigoted, angry, intolerant, ignorant, vile, hateful, and ugly” and my email content was called out as “discriminatory” and “inflammatory”.

And, because people are increasingly paralyzed by a fear of being associated with such labels, fellow members of a community service organization urged that I apologize or be reprimanded so they would not be seen as “complicit” with my viewpoints.

Although nothing in my exposed private commentary so much as bordered on racially charged rhetoric, and certainly did not include ethnic slurs of any kind — it was merely pointed, verifiable criticism — we are learning that this demonstrates the new normal of how the left and its socialist fringe members move to swiftly punish ideological opponents. Destroy, don’t denounce. Assassinate character, ask questions later. The late Saul Alinsky, author of “Rules for Radicals”, urged unrelenting ridicule of Americans and their values.

Frequent readers of The Pilot know that I am an avowed defender of American values, the Constitution, Conservatism, the Republican Party and President Trump. So it is logical that a recent flurry of criticism by these same readers would contain all of the left’s favorite buzzwords intended to silence people with whom they disagree.

Writing for The Wall Street Journal, Heather Mac Donald observes that Trump, his supporters and the so-called white privileged in general, are persistently accused of racially charged divisiveness. Yet, “it is the media and Democrat leaders who routinely characterize individuals and groups by race and issue race-based denunciations of large parts of the American polity.”

As baseless accusations escalate the sad truth is that most Americans, even the most proud and loyal, will shrink into silence, afraid of earning a label, albeit unwarranted. Where does it end? Someone posts a scathing critique of a restaurant after a terrible dining experience. It’s an Asian sushi house or a black-owned BBQ joint. Racist! An employer asks an employee to cover garish tattoos on his arms and wash his hair. Bigot! Get out and vote for a pro-Christian, pro-traditional marriage, anti-abortion Republican. Inflammatory! Hate speech! Co-exist!

You are not even safe at church. This week, a 49-person delegation comprised of Brownson Presbyterian Church members, along with local black faith leaders, is traveling by bus to Washington, DC. Brownson is a predominantly white church, but to my knowledge has no history of prohibiting black or Hispanic congregants. Nonetheless, the stated itinerary of the trip focuses on visits to “civil rights monuments and museums … and a daily Bible study … to improve lines of communications within our community.” No time for the Lincoln or Jefferson memorials, or The Smithsonian. Nothing to see there.

The promotion of the bus trip was kicked off over a period of several weeks from the pulpit, and included a guest sermon by the author of  a book entitled, “Waking Up White”. It is an apologetic tome in which she regrets her upbringing amidst “white privilege.” Left unsaid by religious leaders, black and white, is the obvious reality that God determines the race of everyone of us. Furthermore, American society has long accepted the existence of the “black church” absent a hint of malice. But God help anyone who identifies as a member of a “white church”.

A former newspaper known as The New York Times recently announced it is launching The 1619 Project. It is not actually a project, it is a take down, the ultimate denunciation of the legitimacy of the United States of America, and the expansion of a narrative that Trump and his past and future supporters are virulent racists. Here’s the premise:

“The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.”

What, you do not subscribe to The New York Times? Racist.

 

 

 

AOC for bartender

By Steve Woodward

Democrat Presidential aspirant Joe Biden is channeling Margaret Thatcher from her grave, apparently. He says the former British Prime Minister is lamenting the United States in the age of Donald Trump. He meant to reference Theresa May, the very alive Prime Minister who probably could use an overaggressive Biden hug about now.

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is taking to social media to explain that she is horrified by the food waste disposer in her apartment (never seen one, she says), and mystified by produce growing out of the dirt in a garden. She is, famously, an ex-bartender and gives this profession a bad name.

Electronic surveillance is not the same as spying, claims former FBI Director James Comey. But, either way, he and current FBI Director Christopher Wray express no regrets or even acknowledge that high ranking FBI personnel weaponized the Bureau in an attempt to bring down Trump’s campaign. Spying or not, scandalous.

Hillary Clinton is out on the irrelevance circuit proclaiming that the 2016 presidential election was “stolen” from her. She should have her irony meter inspected. Three years on, it is clear that Clinton’s campaign hired the opposition research firm that would aid and abet an effort to rig the election — in her favor, not Trump’s.

China is practically begging for an all-out trade war. Iran is rattling its sabers in the Middle East, targeting U.S. forces. Hamas terrorists are bombing Israel with renewed fervor. Christianity is under persecution to such a universal degree that one expert says Christians find themselves facing genocide across the globe.

But what is making headlines in the fully compliant left wing media? Outrage over President Trump presenting golf legend Tiger Woods with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Barack Obama presented it to Biden, Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey, but that was just fine.

Meanwhile, with a few exceptions by select media outlets committing inadvertent acts of journalism, reporting on the U.S. economy as the marvel of the world (even China, if its leaders had an honest bone) and a work force partying like it’s 1969, is barely a blip on mainstream media’s radar. The MSM is all over Attorney General William Barr, who released the long awaited Mueller Report but somehow is to be charged with contempt of Congress. Any red-blooded American would freely admit being contemptuous of these frauds.

If the economy remains on its current trajectory, Biden will be asking to have Thatcher exhumed, and AOC will place her quivering hand into her food disposal (because she doesn’t know any better) when it’s in the “on” position. Against this backdrop of inside-the-Beltway hysteria, consider that:

  • The unemployment rate last was at 3.6% when Richard Nixon was beginning his first term as President in 1969. It is 3.6% in 2019.
  • Wage growth, which negates Democrats’ calls for national hourly minimum wages of $15+, hit 3.2% in April, the ninth consecutive month of wage growth north of 3%. In other words, inspired laborers will be blowing past $15/hour, if they have not already.
  • The last time unemployment among women was at 3.4%, Dwight Eisenhower was President (1953).

That’s good news for Ocasio-Cortez. When she loses in 2020, bartending jobs will be plentiful. Or, in this land of prosperity, she could try her hand at  food waste disposal sales.

 

 

 

A sensible Washington

Editor’s note: In this era of Trump Derangement Syndrome in which no anti-American policy idea is too radical, and during which there is a relentless movement to erase symbols of our history, the fundamental principles behind America’s founding remain entrenched. But we are left to wonder for how much longer.

By Norman Zanetti

A treasure trove of exemplary governance is found in President George Washington’s farewell address to Americans. In his letter to the American people in The American Daily Advertiser in 1796, he wrote that he hoped citizens would support a strong federal government, though Americans at the time were local in their thinking and allegiances.

He cautioned that extreme partisanship among political parties would be “divisive and disruptive”, urging voters casting future ballots to do so for candidates favoring the common good instead of supporting strict party affiliation.

Washington forewarned extreme partisanship would result in “a spirit of revenge” to maintain one’s grip on power. His greatest concern, and rightly so, was intervention of external invasion, advocating a policy favoring neutrality and friendly commerce with other nations.

For years, this farewell address was read in congress on July 4th. For some reason the practice ended years ago. I recently recommended to our U.S. Congressman Richard Hudson (NC-8) that he champion a revival of this tradition in the House of Representatives, especially as newly elected representatives begin their tenure. We need a groundswell of bipartisan cooperation to assuage the polarization that has afflicted both chambers and hindered addressing our country’s vital needs.

Washington’s words, a foundry for exemplary governing, should be on the minds of all of those who represent us, as well as among media members who cover them. His message should resonate when legislation is proposed and voted on.

 

Abortion advances, morality declines

By Bill Demastus

The alarming news these past several weeks has awakened Americans to the inhumanity lurking in our nation; legal aborting of a baby at the point of being delivered and, in some cases, after delivery.  Aborting at any stage is abhorrent to tens of millions, but to do so at the point of birth is beyond moral comprehension.

This is not only a celebrated and accepted law just passed in New York but also one recently contemplated in Virginia, where its Governor, a pediatric surgeon, expressed public support for post-birth abortion.  And, I guess other states will soon follow suit.

Perhaps what makes this law so hard to come to grips with is the fact that it is decidedly un-American. It isn’t politics that determine how Americans feel about children, seniors, pets and the down trodden of our society.  It’s like moms and apple pie…we just love them in our hearts.

I watch TV commercials nightly requesting donations to save dogs, cats and other animals.  The same is true for requests for children’s hospitals and even for funds to help Israeli holocaust survivors.

All of them receive ample funding because Americans are generous to a fault.  We are taught from a very young age to give to the poor, be kind to animals and to the old. But are we taught that we should kill off our young when birth is “inconvenient”?

Abortion has been a common procedure probably since Adam and Eve. But, never has it been a celebrated occurrence. Never have we used abortion as a form of family planning as many Americans now do.  In fact, they are no longer even called abortion clinics; they are family planning clinics. Young people are being taught that actions do not have to have consequences…everything can be taken care of.

In 1973 the Supreme Court ruled that abortion is legal. The Court did not say abortion is something that one should aspire to.  The decision to do so should have a bit more thought going into it than, say, a decision to visit a dentist.

Studies show that from 1970, and through the next 49 years, more than 45 million babies were aborted in the U.S.

Now, more than 1.3 million abortions are carried out per year, based on studies in the U.S. alone.  Another unbelievable fact is that 45% of them will be requested by a woman who has had more than one.  And, 54% of these women will have been on birth control when they become pregnant.  This is exacerbated by the fact that these 1.3 million abortions were the cumulative result of 2.6 million unintended pregnancies – half of them!

I maybe old fashioned, but how in the world could we, in this age of birth control and preventative education, have 2.6 million unintended pregnancies?  Please don’t tell me it is simply because poor people can’t afford the pill.  Abortions run the gamut of the the social strata — from the very poor to the very rich.  I think it is just such an accepted practice that we have become hardened to the fact that we are killing children.

Our society does not seem to care that we are destroying our young.  Yes, we are heart broken to see young children at the southern border who have been dragged 1,000 or more miles, and used as cannon fodder to get drug and human traffickers across that border. And yes, we are heart broken to see young children in war zones around the world, wounded and starving because of man’s inhumanity toward man. But if death takes place in a sterile, stainless steel, windowless hospital room it is just a normal health care procedure. No big deal.

I started this by mentioning that Virginia politicians wished to follow New York in adopting this archaic law.  I listened to Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who is a doctor, in a radio interview (replayed on national TV) describe how you commit infanticide as if he was describing how to avoid getting a blister on your finger.  This sad discussion was of no concern to the person giving the interview. Her agitation was over a 40-years-old yearbook where in he had been photographed costumed in black face, or a KKK hood (no one knows which was Northam).  The entire Democrat state caucus demanded his resignation, but no concern was addressed toward a proposed law that would allow the murder of an innocent baby.

Experts say one-third of American women will abort at least once by age 45.

Experts also tell us that 49% of all U.S. women are pro-choice, and 45% are pro-life so politics aren’t going to change, even as much as nervous pundits fear they will.

The change, if there is to be one, must come from parents educating their young, not destroying them.  It must come from teaching that life is a journey of choices that result in consequences, not a trip to Disneyland. And it must come from both sides of our political arena. What we currently do, as if our God and the world isn’t watching, is a thing we should all be ashamed of, not a trend to celebrate!

History tells us that the Romans dipped Christian babies in tar, and on the head of their spears, lit them up to provide vision for their night games in the coliseum.  We are much more sophisticated today. But the Romans at least could rationalize some benefit of their murders – light. We, in civilized society, pay billions of dollars each year to snuff out our babies’ light.

Will we add abortions to our annual celebrations? Don’t we usually lift up those memorable moments that cause celebrations?  Coming soon, Happy Mother’s Day, Happy Father’s Day and now in, New York, and, perhaps in your home town, Happy Abortion Day.