Monday, December 31, 2012

A Repentant Nation


President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda repelled the powers of darkness when he openly repented of his personal sins and the sins of Uganda on November 27, 2012. He specifically repented for idolatry and witchcraft which are rampant in the country and for the innocent shedding of blood, dishonesty and political hypocrisy.  It was a shot not heard around the world (and certainly not reported by the liberal media in the U.S.) but it was certainly heard in the kingdom of heaven.

President Museveni is a model not only for the United States’ leadership but for all nations for the Bible says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance.” (Ps 33:12)

The text of President Museveni’s speech follows:
Father God in Heaven, today we stand here as Ugandans, to thank you for Uganda. We are proud that we are Ugandans and Africans. We thank you for all Your goodness to us.
I stand here today to close the evil past—especially in the last 50 years of our national leadership history. [We are] at the threshold of a new dispensation in the life of this nation. I stand here on my own behalf and on behalf of my predecessors to repent. We ask for Your forgiveness.
We confess these sins that have greatly hampered our national cohesion and delayed our political, social and economic transformation.
We confess sins of idolatry and witchcraft, which are rampant in our land. We confess sins of shedding innocent blood, sins of political hypocrisy, dishonesty, intrigue and betrayal.
Forgive us of sins of pride, tribalism and sectarianism; sins of laziness, indifference and irresponsibility; sins of corruption and bribery that have eroded our national resources; sins of sexual immorality, drunkenness and debauchery; sins of unforgiveness, bitterness, hatred and revenge; sins of injustice, oppression and exploitation; sins of rebellion, insubordination, strife and conflict.
These sins and many others have characterized our past leadership, especially the last 50 years of our history. Lord forgive us and give us a new beginning. Give us a heart to love You, to fear You and to seek You. Take away from us all the above sins.
We pray for national unity. Unite us as Ugandans and eliminate all forms of conflict, sectarianism and tribalism. Help us to see that we are all Your children, children of the same Father. Help us to love and respect one another and to appreciate unity in diversity.
We pray for prosperity and transformation. Deliver us from ignorance, poverty and disease. As leaders, give us wisdom to help lead our people into political, social and economic transformation.
We want to dedicate this nation to You so that You will be our God and guide. We want Uganda to be known as a nation that fears God and as a nation whose foundations are firmly rooted in righteousness and justice to fulfill what the Bible says in Psalm 33:12: 'Blessed is the nation, whose God is the Lord. A people You have chosen as Your own.'
I renounce all the evil foundations and covenants that were laid in idolatry and witchcraft. I renounce all the satanic influence on this nation. And I hereby covenant Uganda to You, to walk in Your ways and experience all Your blessings forever.
I pray for all these in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Faith Challenged


It is the end of a good year in terms of personal achievement.  I sold an iconic building to one of the foremost entertainment giants in the country.  I stood against a governmental agency and prevailed.  I gave birth to a book that I began writing over three years ago.  My wife and her team set records ministering to women and men in need of recovery from past abortion(s) and she enjoyed enormous personal growth as well. It was a year of personal challenge and great victory.  By the power of God, dreams were realized and faith renewed.  It was a good year for us, but a bittersweet pill to swallow.

In the midst of our personal celebrations all year, Americans have been surrounded by disaster and many families are displaced and in pain. Our nation experienced $11 Billion in natural disasters that include Hurricane Sandy, massive flooding, and a drought throughout the lower 48 states.  Our nation experienced the highest (8%+) and longest period of unemployment in recent history creating 25 million Americans unemployed, 1 out of 6 living in poverty and 47 million Americans on food stamp assistance.  Our nation experienced unprecedented murders in our largest cities. Chicago registered its 500th homicide this year (more than in New York) with 80% of those being black boys and girls.  And of course, we still mourn the loss of the innocent lives in Newtown, Connecticut where 20 elementary students lost their lives to a young gunman.     

There is a trend of despair, violence, and hopelessness all around.  It’s in the air.  For many the response or the answer is to elect a new president or make new gun laws or fight climate change more by jacking up fees everywhere you can. Not. The answer is too obvious to see.
We have systematically allowed the removal of God from our public discourse and for many from our very hearts.  As we as a society bend to appease the faithless, we’ve allowed the very mention of God to be removed from our public prayers, from education (text books and the like), and even from our homes as we bend to cries for same-sex marriage and abortion on-demand. Tolerance has become our religion as we go astray. We’ve become a lukewarm people afraid to be hot or cold for fear of being called religious, racist, or radical.

Our nation is under assault and it has little to do with our local leadership, or the economy, or who is in the White House all of which are wanting for change.  It has everything to do with our pursuit of the things of God.  We are a nation under spiritual attack and the attack will only abate when we turn our eyes, our minds, and our hearts toward Jesus Christ.  God help us all.

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

George Clooney: Sudan Village Burnings A War Crime

Great article in the Huffington Post by Straziuso

NAIROBI, Kenya — Actor George Clooney and a group of U.S. genocide scholars in the United States are warning that war crimes are taking place in an obscure conflict in Sudan's southern region.

Clooney has long worked to prevent conflict in Sudan and South Sudan, and he co-founded a group that uses satellite imagery to monitor acts of war there. That group, the Satellite Sentinel Project, said Thursday that 26 villages were intentionally set on fire last month by Sudanese forces.


"Razing a village is a war crime, and the torching of now at least 26 Nuban villages, plus the systematic destruction of crops and grasslands for cattle, is a crime against humanity, Clooney said. "What we're seeing here is a widespread campaign of village and crop burning. We've seen this in Darfur, and it's happening again in South Kordofan and Blue Nile," he said, referring to two states in southern Sudan that border the separate country of South Sudan.


"The international community must act more robustly to counter and create a consequence for these crimes," he said.


Sudanese troops are fighting rebels in the Nuba Mountains who were once aligned with what is now South Sudan. When South Sudan peacefully broke away from Sudan last year, following decades of civil war, the rebels' region was placed in the Sudan side, though many there say they wish they would have been put with South Sudan.


Antonov airplanes have routinely bombed the rebels' region over the last year, resulting in farmers fleeing their fields. John Prendergast, a co-founder of the satellite project, said Sudan is carrying out a strategy of "starvation warfare." More than 100,000 Nuba residents have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan.


The United States under President George W. Bush played a large role in ending decades of conflict between Sudan and what is now South Sudan. But the fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan and Blue Nile states – between Sudanese forces and rebels known as the SPLM-North – is not generating much international attention by comparison.


Samuel Totten, a professor at the University of Arkansas and the author of "Genocide by Attrition: The Nuba Mountains of Sudan," leads an online discussion with scholars and human rights activists about events in Sudan. On Wednesday he submitted a letter signed by more than 70 scholars to the Atrocities Prevention Board, a U.S. government panel. President Barack Obama created the board in August 2011, when he declared that the prevention of mass atrocities and genocide to be a "core national security interest and core moral responsibility."


Totten's letter said Sudan is carrying out attacks in Nuba much like it once did in Darfur, a region in western Sudan that benefited from an international outcry against atrocities committed there. The letter said the U.S. and international community are doing little or nothing to prevent the violence, despite Obama's 2011 directive.


"There is a point, we believe, when it should become self-evident that the continuation of talk, talk and more talk with a state that has engaged in serial crimes against humanity, genocidal-like actions, ethnic cleansing...is all but a total waste of time," Totten wrote.  "As hundreds of thousands of innocents needlessly suffer, there is a moral imperative that the continual 'diplomatic' talking, negotiating, pleading, and ultimately begging with leaders of such openly deceptive and destructive strategies must be replaced by concrete and effective action..."

Preventing a return to war between Sudan and South Sudan appears to be the international community's first priority. A border has not yet been defined, and major oil disagreements over the last year have seen the South half its oil production, costing its own government and that of Khartoum's millions of dollars in lost revenue. Border skirmishes broke out in April.


The U.S. special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Princeton Lyman, traveled to the region in late November. Lyman said that without ending the conflict in the Nuba Mountains it will be hard for Sudan and South Sudan to sort their outstanding issues. Khartoum accuses South Sudan of aiding the SPLM-N rebels, a charge officials in Juba, South Sudan's capital, deny.


"There has to be, and I think everybody really recognizes this, a political channel inside Sudan between the government and the SPLM-N, to bring this conflict to a close. And the first step has to be a cessation of hostilities," Lyman said.


E.J. Hogendoorn, a Horn of Africa expert at the International Crisis Group, a think tank that tracks conflicts, said Sudanese forces aren't strong enough to take the Nuba Mountains without heavy casualties, and the SPLM-N isn't strong enough to push outside of Nuba.


"You have a strategic stalemate that if the international community doesn't do anything about it could last for a very long time, and the knock on-effect is that the civilian population is going to get screwed," he said.

















Friday, November 9, 2012

A Sobering Painful Moment

First, out of courtesy, I congratulate President Barack Obama and his supporters, many of whom are my friends, on his re-election.
However, I feel less than joyous.  In fact, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s loss is downright painful to me.
It is painful not because two personalities failed to carry the day. It is painful for two primary reasons. 
First, it’s painful because conservatives lost their ideal for America and I am not entirely sure if it is ever coming back.  In a time of rising poverty, high unemployment, anemic economic growth for more than 2 years, significant loss of net household income, and massive unsustainable national debt, Americans signed on for more of the same.  The era of big government just received a second curtain call and she’s coming back bigger and better than ever.   Our ideal for America is liberty.  Liberty is the freedom of the individual to create a destiny of his own design; liberty only flourishes when government is limited and plays its proper role.  What we have now is bigger government as Obamacare takes hold and as the administration makes good on its promise to incur even more national debt and deficits. This is out of control government spending. This is what Europe did under its Euro-Socialist agenda and it is now broken.  This just doesn’t work folks and the United States now approaches the point of fiscal collapse.
Second, it’s painful because the conservative message, while shared by more than the 58,163,977 people on Election Day (48%) who voted for Governor Romney, fails to resonate far enough beyond the Republican’s core group of whites to win elections in the future.  President Obama won support from 80% of the black, Latino, and other nonwhite voters while Governor Romney received support from 57% of the white vote. It is equally worth noting that President Obama won 63% of total voters aged 18 to 34.  He received 61,170,405 votes or 50.5% of the popular vote. The president’s share of the nonwhite vote is staggering and portends a real extinction problem for the GOP as these nonwhite and youthful segments grow and as the US becomes a minority-majority nation.
How can the GOP ensure a future for the Party and for conservatism?  It’s not that Republicans must gravitate toward the center and compromise their values; we must not change our message or pander to blacks or Latinos, young or old, for votes to win elections-that wouldn’t work anyway.  Republicans must not and cannot accept the Left’s platform on issues such as same-sex marriage, amnesty or abortion to get votes.  The GOP did something similar once before in the 19th Century (Lily-White Movement) where they compromised to get more southern votes into the Party.  That was the first major blow to the post-Reconstruction Negro and the Party has yet to recover.    
Republicans must “relate” and connect to the electorate beyond its core base with innovative outreach.  Relating and connecting means presenting the message in ways that are familiar, in ways that identify with those you are attempting to inspire.  Specifically, the faces and the language the GOP uses must evolve. Traditional campaigning is a dinosaur.  No one wants to buy a Pinto today no matter how good the seller says the engine is.  The GOP’s messengers are typically white men who perpetuate the awful GOP stereotype and fail to relate or connect to the electorate which is ever growing and changing.  It’s a new world out there folks; keep up.  The new political world has swag (like Obama) and the Republican Party comes up short. 
Let’s face it, the presidential election is a popularity contest and not a competition of substantive ideas.  Remember, Hope and Change?  It sold because of the packaging and not because of the substance.  There was none. Sad but true.
Moreover, Governor Romney received approx. 800,000 fewer votes than Sen. John McCain in 2008. The president received 8 million less than he did in 2008 and he still won.  In one of the worse economies in recent history and the assumption that conservatives would turn out in record numbers for the Republican ticket, how could the president still win with 8 million less voters?  Nonwhites.  If you’re going to win elections, you now have to win a competing share of Latinos, nonwhites, and blacks to a lesser degree.
Republicans have to embrace and elect true and uncompromising conservatives; Republicans must stick to their principles while rebranding and repackaging the message in order to relate to the growing and changing electorate.  Example: funding national Spanish Talk Radio and otherwise expanding conservative media choices.
The American dream and the future of our great nation will only survive if the GOP gets its act together. We have a short time to avoid extinction.  There is no time to waste.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pulpit Bigotry

On November 4, 2012, during my weekly ritual of listening to the local gospel music experience on Stevie Wonder’s KJLH radio station, the senior pastor emeritus of Holman United Methodist Church here in Los Angeles took the opportunity to discuss the upcoming presidential election.  I must say, my time of worship plummeted quickly to a time of great despair.
Rev. Lawson, a Methodist minister for 50 years and known to be a civil rights icon, wasted no time telling the listening audience not only to vote for President Obama, but also said without equivocation that there was NO OTHER choice for people of color. 
He went on to excoriate the Republican Party and blamed it for the Jim Crow South.  Rev. Lawson’s rewriting of the cause and effect of Jim Crow notwithstanding, his remarks were bigoted, misleading, nonfactual, and with a complete disregard for the truth. His behavior is consistent with many black preachers across our nation.  He is not the only one holding up the flag of bigotry from the pulpit.
I quickly called the station with the goal of providing a balanced view on the choice for all Americans.  Unfortunately, the host would not allow an on air retort.  Had I had the chance, here is what I would have said:
1.       There is a clear choice between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney.  Black Americans are not and should not be considered monolithic and to say there is no choice is simply a lie intended to mislead the uninformed.  To tell any group of people who they better vote for en masse is ignorant and simply un-American.
2.       To suggest there is no choice ignores the significant black population that honors the sanctity of human life and abhors the murder of the unborn.  The choice to support Pro-Life is Governor Mitt Romney.
3.       To suggest there is no choice ignores the significant black population here in the state of California that repeatedly votes against same-sex marriage.  The choice to support traditional marriage is Governor Mitt Romney.
4.       To suggest there is no choice ignores the 15% black unemployed and 42.3% black teenage unemployed in this country that may just want a president who has at least had a job in the private sector and who has a track record of being successful in the private sector.  The choice that best responds to creating economic growth based on experience, in my opinion, is clearly Governor Mitt Romney.
5.       Finally, voting against the Republican Party is not the argument that Rev. Lawson and others should be making.  As pastors, they should be encouraging their congregants and radio listeners (as in this case) to seek God’s position on the issue and then allow that discovery to guide their vote whether it leads Democrat or Republican.
It is troubling that many black pastors give secular and meaningless guidance when it comes to the voting issue.  Instead of voting color, which Rev. Lawson clearly suggests, a Christian should be voting based on biblical principles.  Sadly, the world has infiltrated some pulpits.

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Do You Vote Your Values?


How should Christian’s vote? There are a few guide posts for believers to follow:

  • Spend time in the word. Neither party leads with a divine agenda, so the way for a Christian to vote based on biblical values requires a biblical worldview.  Acquiring a biblical worldview actually requires some knowledge of the Bible. 
  • Do your research.  Too many of us go to the voting booth based on how our parents or grandparents voted.  The political parties today are no longer the parties of our parents.  They’ve changed in ideology and agenda.  Far worse, too many of us vote based on what is said on entertainment talk shows like The View, David Letterman, or Jon Stewart.  When we do this, we make our vote meaningless. Seek out real news organizations; there are plenty nonpartisan organizations that provide factual data.
  • Survey the issues.  There are social issues (e.g. abortion, marriage, immigration, poverty, and healthcare), there are fiscal issues (e.g. size of government, entitlement programs and the economy), and there are constitutional issues (e.g. the role of the three branches of the federal government, your local city or state governments, and the role of the individual).  Although this is a short list, you should have an informed awareness of all of them. Defining your belief system may not come all at once, but the journey is worth it.
  • Prioritize what God finds important. No politician will agree with your informed conscience on every issue.  We must understand that voting is an imperfect science, especially when it comes to voting based on values.   You must prioritize the issues and vote for the person that embodies most of what God finds important.

Ultimately, the role we play as Christians is to be salt and light wherever we are.  That means we are commanded to change the atmosphere and to be ambassadors no matter who is in office. We must maintain God’s standards while we speak truth to the culture around us, and then do so with an “attitude of humility, love and forgiveness,” said Rev. Tony Evans.


The History of Democrats & Republicans
Your voting habits may be influenced by your perception of the parties.  You may remember that Democrats were the pro-slavery party of the South from which the Ku Klux Klan, Jim Crow laws, lynching, and the like, plagued blacks in America for decades. 

You may also identify the fights to end “whites only” accommodations in schools, employment, and public transportation as the southern Democrats who were responsible for keeping blacks systematically oppressed after Reconstruction in 1877 all the way to the passage of Civil Rights legislation in 1964.  The Democrats have a checkered past when it comes to blacks in America.

You may also be influenced by the belief that Republicans are racist and only care for the rich in this country.  Indeed, Republicans share the blame in why Reconstruction efforts ended and actively sought the southern racist Democrat’s vote thereafter to the detriment of blacks. After all, when the southern Democrats began to curry favor with blacks, many of the Democratic leaders fled to the Republican Party and its compass and compassion for blacks did change.  And indeed, Republicans are seen as only caring for big business and not for the poor.

Republicans have not done themselves many favors after freeing the slaves and implementing the Civil Rights Amendments, namely the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. Blacks originally all voted with the Republican Party but left for Democrats bit-by-bit after Reconstruction ended in 1876.

And so, there is a history for each party but you must allow the current culture to influence your learning and not the past.  Line up your research results with the word of God and then you’ll be on your way to matching your biblical worldview with your vote.

(All of what I believe can be found in my new book, The Prodigal Republican: Faith and Politics which is available on-line at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or WestBow Press.)

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