Friday, June 26, 2009

Sex, Lies, and Gov. Sanford

The news media is abuzz with the revelation of South Carolina Governor Mark Stanford’s infidelity. In case you hadn’t heard, the governor spent Father’s Day weekend in Buenos Aires, Argentina with his girlfriend. The cat was let out of the bag when his staff was unable to contact him for several days and something akin to a panic ensued. Upon his return, he admitted the affair. The episode presumably ends any presidential aspirations that Gov. Sanford may have had.

When a Republican finds himself in a sex scandal, there is always a much bigger to-do than when a Democrat is in similar trouble. Compare the media treatment of Senators Larry Craig (the airport bathroom), David Vitter (DC prostitutes), and Rep. Mark Foley (texting to underage male pages) with Democrats like John Edwards (whose affair the press did not report on until after the presidential campaign when the National Enquirer broke the story) and Bill Clinton (Monica-gate). It seems that the press always gives the Republicans much more scrutiny.

This rule doesn’t apply just to sex scandals. It also applies to financial misconduct. Compare the coverage of Rep. Tom Delay and Senator Ted Stevens (accused of misconduct with lobbyists) to that of William Jefferson (caught red-handed with thousands of dollars of cold, hard cash in his freezer). The Jefferson story was all but ignored. The press also looks the other way on corruption stories regarding Democrats Chris Dodd, Diane Feinstein, Tom Murtha, and Charles Schumer (among others). After the one-sided coverage in favor of Obama in the 2008 presidential campaign, there can be no doubt that most media outlets are strongly biased toward the Democrats.

Whether sexual or otherwise, the media minimizes and ignores Democratic scandals while playing up Republican ones. In many cases, this is appropriate. The difference is that, rightly or wrongly, Republicans are perceived as being the party of family and religious values, personal responsibility, and integrity. Republican politicians are only too happy to accept the votes and support that this perception brings, while failing to live up to their own standards in both national financial responsibility as well as their personal morality.

On the other hand, Democrats seldom make such claims. To the contrary, much of the Democratic platform is geared toward preventing people from being accountable for their actions. If someone is sexually irresponsible, the Democrats believe that they have a right to abort their “mistake.” If someone is financially irresponsible, the Democrats believe that they are entitled to a government bailout. This is equally true for corporations and individuals. Instead of holding criminals responsible for their actions, the Democrats blame the gun they used or the environment in which they live.

After a scandal breaks, morally responsible Republicans should own up to their mistakes. Contrary to media beliefs, no one ever said that Republicans, conservatives, Christians or anyone else was incapable of making mistakes. We are all human and all humans sin (Romans 3:23). We should not attempt to hold anyone to an impossibly high standard.

Whether a Republican deserves support after a scandal depends on the circumstances. We should not categorically support all Republicans regardless of their actions just because they are not Democrats. Neither should we abandon all Republicans at the first hint of scandal. In Ted Stevens' case, the charges against him were thrown out due to prosecutorial misconduct, but only after he lost his senate seat to a Democratic challenger.

There are several factors to consider. First, is whether the actions were intentional or not. Even if the actions were unintentional, they may have been the result of gross negligence or carelessness. We should also consider whether the scandalous actions were illegal and, if so, to what level. If the person is found guilty of a felony, then he should be removed from office in most cases. A misdemeanor or something less might not require this. Finally, but not least, we must consider whether the person’s actions affect their ability to fulfill their duties. If so, then they should not be supported. (It is worthy to note that Bill Clinton committed perjury and was found guilty and impeached by the House of Representatives, but the Senate did not remove him from office. Throughout the process, he continued to receive high levels of support from Democrats and the votes were largely along party lines.)

Conservatives and Republicans are right to be held to a higher standard. Public officials who are charged with writing, interpreting, and enforcing laws should be held to a higher standard than the general public. Republicans and conservatives who are Christian should meet an even higher standard: The standard of WWJD – What Would Jesus Do? As Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:22, this means avoiding even the appearance of impropriety, sexual or otherwise.

If more Republicans took Paul’s advice, there would undoubtedly be fewer Republicans in trouble and the Republican Party would be considered much more trustworthy by the electorate. Recently polling indicates that conservatives make the largest ideological group in the US. 40% of Americans consider themselves conservative (versus 35% moderate and 21% liberal) ( The problem is that 39% of Americans consider themselves Democrats and only 32% consider themselves Republicans ( A significant number of conservatives actually consider themselves Democrats! By continually violating their own core beliefs, Republicans have alienated voters.

So when the media attacks a Republican or conservative for making a moral mistake, don’t get angry. This is as it should be. Don’t rush to abandon them at the first sign of trouble either. Wait for the facts and don’t believe every negative thing you hear. Shockingly, the media has been known to rush stories critical of Republicans even when they are short on facts (Dan Rather’s story about George W. Bush’s National Guard service that was based on fraudulent documents).

Republicans and conservatives should be beacons of integrity that not only highlight the difference between Republicans and Democrats, but also Christians and nonbelievers. When Republicans stop being hypocrites, then maybe they will win back the public trust.

Save the criticisms of media bias for issues that don’t deal with morality. We should continue to work for a level playing field when the media deals with policy matters and facts.


Villa Rica GA
June 25, 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Inside the Revolution by Joel C. Rosenberg

Inside the Revolution is Joel C. Rosenberg’s second nonfiction book. Rosenberg got his start in literature as a novelist. His series of political thrillers began with The Last Jihad and seemed to foretell real events that happened shortly after they were published.

Rosenberg’s first foray into nonfiction was with Epicenter: How the Current Rumblings in the Middle East Will Affect Your Future. This book, written in 2006 and updated in 2008, detailed Rosenberg’s worldview and explained how his novels became so eerily prescient. Among the predictions in Epicenter were his beliefs that Iraq would become a stable country, that Vladimir Putin would hold onto power in Russia, and that Iran would form a military alliance with Russia.

Rosenberg’s new nonfiction book, Inside the Revolution, is divided into three parts. Since the Six Day War in 1967, Muslims have been soul searching regarding their inability to defeat Israel with vastly superior forces. The results have led many to more virulent forms of radical Islam, while others have chosen the path of peace and reform. A surprising number have even converted to Christianity in a largely unreported religious revival sweeping the Middle East.

The first section, the Radicals, is the reason that many people will buy the book. This section includes a history of the Ayatollah Khomeini’s Islamic revolution in Iran as well as a look at Osama bin Laden’s personal history. It also contains a close look at the life and beliefs of current Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The section contains many quotes from radical leaders that dispel the notion that Iran’s leaders seek nuclear power for peaceful purposes. It also features interviews with prominent figures in US intelligence such as former CIA Director Porter Goss and former Delta Force commander Jerry Boykin. Presumably, radical Islamic leaders declined to be interviewed.

Along the way, Rosenberg points out that much of what US intelligence believed about Muslims has been wrong over the years. These intelligence failures include the failures to predict the Iranian Revolution, the Pakistani nuclear weapon, the September 11 attacks, and the now famous intelligence failures regarding Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.

The section on radicals also includes a discussion of the end-times beliefs of President Ahmadinejad and Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. These men subscribe to a Shia belief in the Twelfth Imam. This religious leader disappeared around AD 900. Members of the Twelver sect of Shia Islam believe that this leader, the Mahdi, will return during a time of violence and chaos to usher in a worldwide Islamic caliphate.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a confirmed believer in the Mahdi and has said as much in his addresses to the United Nations. Many western observers believe that the Ayatollah used his influence to help Ahmadinejad rise to the presidency from his position as mayor of Tehran, indicating that the Ayatollah shares his beliefs. Ahmadinejad’s words and actions as president of Iran indicate that, as Iran becomes a nuclear power, he intends to confront Israel and the United States in an effort to summon the Mahdi. Rosenberg documents Ahmadinejad’s speeches to confirm these intentions.

The second section of the book is Reformers. This section is devoted to prominent Muslim leaders who are seeking to reform their national governments into a Muslim version of Jeffersonian democracy. The Reformer section includes several profiles of national leaders such as Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai, Iraq’s Nouri Al-Maliki and Jalal Talibani, Morrocan King Mohammed VI, and the late Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan. Many interviews are included as well.

Rosenberg also discusses the differences in theology of the Reformers from that of the Radicals. Many of the Koranic passages used by the Radicals are interpreted as figurative or out of context by the Reformers.

Rosenberg also points to some areas where the Reformers are making headway against the Radicals. Morocco is probably the best example. King Mohammed VI has taken strong steps to prevent the growth of radical Islam in his country. He does this by making sure that mosques and madrassas are teaching the peaceful version of Islam rather than inciting violence, empowering women, fighting poverty, and reaching out to both east and west. He also reaches out to Christians and members of Morocco’s Jewish community.

Another success is the conversion of several prominent terrorists from jihad to peaceful Islam. Tawfik Hamid, a disciple of Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, rejected the violent version of Islam and began preaching the peaceful message of the Koran. Similarly, a former Al Qaeda theologian, Sayyed Imam al-Sharif, wrote a fatwa from an Egyptian jail calling for an end to terrorism and the formation of an Islamic court to try Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri.

The final section of the book is probably the most intriguing. The section detailing the Revivalists tells the largely unknown story of the Christian awakening sweeping the Moslem world. While Christian missionaries to the Muslims had very little success for hundreds of years, over the past thirty to forty years hundreds of thousands of Muslim men and women have become followers of Christ. In a large percentage of these conversions, supernatural dreams and visions of Jesus played a role in the conversion process.

The Revivalists differ from the Radicals and the Reformers in that they are not seeking political power. The Revivalists are not organized into a party or political group at all. Due to the fact that it is illegal and potentially dangerous to renounce Islam, many new believers are isolated and alone. Additionally, the purpose of the Revivalists is not to threaten the ruling regimes, but to spread the gospel of Christ (although many Islamic rulers find this a threatening act in itself).

Rosenberg interviews prominent Middle Eastern evangelists and converts. Many of their stories are nothing short of miraculous. Two of the stories are especially memorable to me. In one, a woman who heard the Bible verse in which Jesus says “I stand at the door and knock” (Revelation 3:20). Not understanding that His words were figurative, she opened the door to her house to find that Jesus was actually there. In another story, an Iraqi Christian businessman was kidnapped by militants. After a ransom was paid, they shot him in the back of the head. He died and actually saw Jesus before coming back to life and finding help.

The scope of the Christian awakening in the Middle East is not fully known. There is no census of believers and, even if there were, many would not participate due to the danger. It is clear from communications with groups that broadcast via satellite and radio that Muslim converts number in the hundreds of thousands or possibly millions. Rosenberg also cites statements by government officials and religious leaders in Muslim countries that shown concern about the growing numbers of Muslims who renouncing Mohammed in favor of Christ.

Inside the Revolution is an insightful book for anyone interested in the politics of the Middle East, which should be all of us at this point. It provides an in-depth and balanced look at the major players in the politics of the Middle East and is a fascinating read. His previous works show that Rosenberg is a credible and knowledgeable analyst of the Middle East.

Rosenberg, Joel C. Inside the Revolution: How the Followers of Jihad, Jefferson, and Jesus Are Battling to Dominate the Middle East and Transform the World, Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, IL, 2009.

Greensboro NC

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Why They Want to Kill Us

Why We Want to Kill You by Walid Shoebat

Walid Shoebat has a unique perspective on the War on Terror. Shoebat was born a Palestinian Arab under Israeli occupation. He grew up in Islamic schools and mosques, which preached that violence and radicalism were the way to God. He eventually became a terrorist and was tasked with carrying out bombings against Israeli civilians.

Shoebat’s life changed when he visited relatives in the United States. While there, he studied the Bible in order to convert his wife to Islam. Eventually became convinced that Mohammed was not a true prophet of God and that everything he had been taught about Jews was a lie. He became a Christian and has since worked to help people in the West understand the extent of the danger that we face in radical Islam. His book, Why We Want to Kill You, is an in depth study of the jihadist mindset.

Shoebat points out the differences between Islam and Judeo-Christian religious beliefs. Islam teaches that people can be saved only by doing good deeds. The problem is that the Muslim never knows exactly where he stands before Allah. He might do his best to please Allah, and then at judgment find that his bad works outweigh his good ones.

One way around this problem is to become a martyr. Muslims are taught that dying for Allah is the highest form of sacrifice. Becoming a martyr will guarantee the Muslim’s entry into Paradise and the reward of sexual pleasure with 72 black-eyed virgins. The martyr can even intercede for sinful members of his family as well.

Muslim parents often encourage their children to become suicide bombers and terrorists, both for spiritual reasons as well as the financial rewards that go along with terrorist martyrdom. Muslim children are taught from an early age that death in the cause of Allah is the highest ideal to which they can aspire. He notes that suicide bombers come from all walks of life, all levels of education, and all levels of wealth. The belief that most suicide bombers are poor and uneducated is false.

Shoebat draws parallels between the suicide bomber in Islam and Christianity. The suicide bomber is referred to as a shahid or “sacrificial lamb.” In this way, he becomes a living sacrifice to Allah on behalf of himself and his family. In contrast, in Christianity, God Himself, through Jesus, became the sacrificial lamb for all who choose to accept Him. In the same way, Jesus Christ intercedes with God on our behalf.

Shoebat also points out that Islam is inherently racist. All who do not believe in Allah are considered inferior kafirs (infidels). Throughout Muslim history, unbelievers have been relegated to second-class status.

When an Islamic empire took control over territory where Christians, Jews or others resided, the people were given a choice. First, they were invited to submit to Islam to obtain the rights of privileges of citizenship in the ummah, the greater Islamic nation. Islam actually means “submission.” If they refused, they were considered dhimmis, second-class citizens, and required to pay a tax called a jizya. Dhimmis are entitled to only limited rights and protection under the law.

This racism is also reflected by the Muslim reaction to Muslim-on-Muslim violence. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims have been killed by Muslim dictators such as Saddam Hussein without facing widespread condemnation from the Islamic community. Similarly, when Islamic suicide bombers blow up Muslim civilians and police in Iraq, Pakistan, and elsewhere, the ummah is silent.

On the contrary, when an unbeliever kills a Muslim, even by accident, the result is often violence and rioting. For example, intifadas (uprisings) have been set off in the occupied territories when Israeli vehicles accidentally hit Arab children. Friendly fire accidents in Iraq and Afghanistan provide more examples. Often, more Muslims are killed as a result of the rioting than in the original incident. There is no consideration of intent. All that seems to matter is whether a Muslim or a kafir is at fault.

Unbelievers do receive preferential treatment over Muslims who renounce their faith. A Muslim has no right to reject Islam. Once someone accepts Islam, they take their life in their hands if they renounce Mohammed and his faith. The official penalty in many Islamic countries for converting from Islam is death. In many other cases, converts are ostracized by their friends and family. In Shoebat’s case, Islamic courts seized his property in Palestine after his conversion.

Further, he points out that the Islamic community is utterly incapable of receiving criticism. Shoebat has been called a racist and Islamophobe for pointing out inconsistencies in Islamic teaching. Few will debate him on principle, instead choosing to question his motives, his sincerity, and even the fact of his upbringing as a Muslim in Palestine.

There are other examples from around the world as well. In the 1980s, the Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa (religious ruling) calling for the death of author Salman Rushdie after his novel, The Satanic Verses, was deemed to be insulting to Islam. More recently, editorial cartoons in Holland that depicted Mohammed unfavorably set off Islamic rioting around the world in 2005. Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh was murdered after making a documentary critical of Islam in 2004.

Shoebat makes the point that Muslims see themselves as victims and deny any reality that doesn’t fit that image. For example, they point to the Israeli occupation of Arab areas of the Middle East or American occupation of Iraq and use that to justify their terrorism. This ignores the fact that populations that are much more oppressed do not embrace the slaughter of innocent people as a tactic or religious ideal.

Conversely, they also deny that many terrorists are terrorists at all. After suicide bombings, terror attacks, or arrests of terror cells, it is not uncommon for acquaintances of the perpetrators to deny that their friends were capable of such actions. These denials can persist even in the face of incontrovertible evidence.

Shoebat also dispels the notion that the word jihad (holy war) refers to an internal struggle. In truth, there are several levels of jihad. One level does refer to an internal struggle against evil, but others include varying levels of cultural, political, and military conflict. The United States is the target of a cultural jihad in which Islamic groups such as CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) use lawsuits and other forms of pressure to assault areas of American life that are deemed offensive to Muslims.

Shoebat also points out how, throughout Muslim history, it has been acceptable for Muslims to declare a truce when they are at a disadvantage, then to unilaterally end the truce when they are stronger than their opponents. The Arabic term for this type of truce is hudna. This type of deception is allowed by the Koran. In fact, Shoebat points out that one of the many names of Allah is “the Great Deceiver.”

Finally, Shoebat rejects the idea that there is a moderate Islam. All forms of Islam teach that Islam is destined to control the world; the only real differences are in the timing. He does agree that there are moderate Muslims who have been secularized and assimilated into western cultures.

In this politically correct age, many will find Shoebat’s statements unpalatable. Yet his background as an Islamic fundamentalist terrorist who had an in-depth knowledge of the Koran and Islam is indisputable. Shoebat backs up his claims with references from the Koran, passages from the hadiths, and Muslim sermons. His view of Islam is one that needs to at least be considered by western leaders. If we discount the reality of Islamic teaching on Muslims around the world, then we leave ourselves open to misunderstanding their motives and reacting incorrectly.

Shoebat has also written a more recent book, God’s War on Terror: Islam, Prophecy, and the Bible. This book analyzes Biblical prophecy in light of present day politics in the Middle East. It promises to be a fascinating read.

In my opinion, Shoebat’s story represents the hope for peace in the Middle East and around the world. In rejecting a religious worldview that demanded the death of its enemies as well as its adherents and embracing a religion that is focused on equality and peace for all, Walid Shoebat and the many other terrorists reformed through Christianity are living examples of how bloodthirsty murderers can find inner change through God. Their example represents the best hope for true and lasting peace.

Shoebat, Walid. Why We Want to Kill You: the Jihadist Mindset and How to Defeat It. Top Executive Media, 2007.

Villa Rica

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Judge Sotomayor and the Tyranny of the Minority

President Obama recently nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor to fill the Supreme Court seat of Justice David Souter. Barring some shocking revelation, such as unpaid taxes or links to water boarding, Judge Sotomayor will almost undoubtedly be confirmed by the Democratic majority in the senate.

Much as been made of several comments that Judge Sotomayor has made over the years. In one case, she said, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.”

While even her supporters agree that this was a dumb thing to say and seems to be a racist comment, it is not the most serious strike against her. One racist comment does not a racist make. It may, however, indicate a prejudice against white males.

It is striking however, to note the lack of outrage by the media. The reaction would undoubtedly be very different if a white man made the remark and reversed the roles. In contrast, much of the media coverage has concentrated on Sotomayor’s Hispanic heritage and her life experiences.

More disturbing is a remark that Sotomayor made in 2005 in which she said that the “court of appeals is where policy is made.” As most of us learned in our civics and government classes in high school, the job of the courts is to interpret the law, not to make policy. Sotomayor’s job should be to interpret the law and to ensure that it meets the constitutional test.

In all, Judge Sotomayor is an unsurprising pick for President Obama, who promised to pick a nominee that “understands that justice isn't about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a casebook. It's also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people's lives -- whether they can make a living and care for their families, whether they feel safe in their homes and welcome in their own nation." In other words, President Obama doesn’t want an impartial justice; he wants to a justice who will sympathize with certain groups.

The problem with the empathy test is that justice in the United States is supposed to be blind. Judges are not supposed to sympathize with either party. A judge’s decision in a legal case should not depend on which party has the bigger sob story. It should depend on the law as it is written.

As one conservative columnist noted, whenever an average American reports for jury duty, they are told by the judge that they must be objective and not allow preconceptions to affect their ability to decide the case. Why, then, is a judge encouraged to show sympathy and disregard the letter of the law? President Obama’s call for empathy flies in the face of objectivity and Judge Sotomayor’s belief that her life experience as a “wise Latina” makes her a better judge than a white male.

When judges interpret the law based on their own prejudices and beliefs instead of the law as it is written, we get results that are diametrically opposed to what the legislators that passed the laws intended. One example is the Jim Crow laws and Black Codes. The fifteenth amendment to the constitution granted equal rights to former slaves, yet the courts held that blacks could be equal, but also kept separate.

Judge Sotomayor’s prejudice can be seen in a 2008 case, Ricci v. DeStafano, in which 19 white firefighters, including one Hispanic, sued the city of New Haven, Connecticut. The firefighters had taken an officer’s promotion exam. After minority firefighters scored disproportionately lower on the exam, the city threw out the test.

Sotomayor was part of a three-judge panel that upheld a lower court’s ruling against the firefighters. The ruling was unsigned. Four months later, the unsigned ruling was replaced with an unsigned opinion, still affirming the lower court’s decision. A colleague of Sotomayor’s on the Appeals Court wrote that the panel “failed to grapple with the questions of exceptional importance raised in this appeal." Currently, the Supreme Court is deliberating on the case and many observers expect that Sotomayor’s ruling will be overturned.

This case should concern anyone who believes in true equality under the law. If the Supreme Court upholds reverse discrimination then none of us are truly equal. Reverse discrimination is just as wrong as the Jim Crow laws of the past. It also provides an example of how a judge’s sympathy for one party in a case can lead to a miscarriage of justice.

The second amendment to the constitution reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” In spite of the fact that the amendment explicitly says “the right of the people,” many activist judges have held that the right to bear arms applies only to state militias and not individual citizens.

In the case of Judge Sotomayor, she has already endorsed an opinion denying the individual right to bear arms. In the case of Maloney v. Cuomo, Sotomayor agreed with the opinion of the US Court of Appeals that the second amendment did not protect citizens from infringement by state governments.

In 2008, in Heller v. District of Columbia, the Supreme Court ruled that the second amendment did indeed guarantee an individual right to keep and bear arms. The most disturbing aspect of this decision is that it was a 5-4 ruling. In spite of the plain language of the amendment, 44% of the justices, all of who are sworn to uphold the Constitution, decided that the “right of the people” does not literally mean people like you and me.

An additional example of judicial overreaching is the commerce clause. The constitution grants Congress the power to regulate commerce between the states and with foreign countries. New Deal era decisions by the Supreme Court interpreted the phrase “interstate commerce,” literally commerce between states, to mean commerce within a single state in many cases.

As activist judges have read their own desires into the law, there has been an erosion of American freedom. In Kelo v. New London, the Court ruled that individual property rights only go as far as the government’s desire to collect a greater property tax payment. Rulings by activist judges have limited the freedom of religion and outlawed traditional prayers and religious displays on government property. In Roe v. Wade, the Court ruled that abortion could not be prohibited after a right to privacy was discovered in the constitution in spite of the fact that the constitution does not mention privacy. Most state laws permitting gay marriage are also the result of activist judges acting on their own prejudices.

Over the past several decades, leftists have used the court system to win policy victories that were impossible for them to win at the ballot box. Judges, most of whom are appointed rather than elected, are not accountable to the people for their decisions as other public officials are. There are many cases of judges acting contrary to, not only the will of the people, but also the Constitution. Because they are not elected, there is very little recourse against their decisions. This is the tyranny of the minority.

By all accounts, Judge Sotomayor is a nice person, but unless she can fully answer disturbing questions about her record and her judicial philosophy, she does not deserve to be a Supreme Court Justice. Most likely, however, she will be confirmed and take a lifetime seat on our highest court. As a result, law-abiding citizens will be less certain of receiving the full legal rights to which they are entitled under the Constitution.


Charlotte NC

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Federal Government Rejects Georgia's Voter Citizenship Test

After the state of Georgia fought a protracted court battle over its voter identification law, the US Justice Department is again rejecting a Georgia voter verification law. Georgia voter laws are still required to pass federal muster under the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In a letter released June 1, the Justice Department said that the new law discriminates against minority voters.

The charge of discrimination was also used to challenge Georgia’s photo ID law. In spite of the fact that the law offered identification cards free of charge to voters, opponents claimed that the law placed an undue burden on minorities. The law was eventually upheld by upheld by an appeals court.

The new law would have cross-referenced voter social security and driver’s license numbers to ensure that they were citizens, a requirement for voting. The Justice Department charges that many of the voters flagged by the system were citizens who were flagged in error. Further, the citizens flagged in error were disproportionately from minority groups.

For anyone who paid attention during the 2008 elections, the need for voter verification is obvious. Groups like ACORN were implicated in massive amounts of voter registration fraud. The Minnesota senate race between Norm Coleman and Al Franken is still contested, in part because of numerous irregularities in vote counting. The 2000 presidential election in Florida is a case study in the need for integrity in our electoral system.

Additionally, Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel said that Georgia is currently investigating 30 cases of non-citizen voting. One case involves a Jamaican woman, living legally in Georgia, who has been voting illegally since 2004. The woman turned herself in after she learned that she was not legally entitled to a vote.

Voter fraud comes in two areas. First, there is the possibility that people who are not eligible to vote will cast illegal ballots. This may include illegal aliens, dead people, or people casting multiple ballots. It is this possibility that the Republican Party tends to focus on. The second possibility is that legitimate voters will be barred from voting. This gets the most attention from the Democratic Party.

The obvious answer is that both angles need to be covered to have a trustworthy election. People who are entitled to vote need to be able to vote, but only once. People who shouldn’t vote need to be barred from casting a ballot. If people can’t trust election results then the very foundation of our democracy is in danger.

In keeping with that line of reasoning, if the current system of validating citizenship for Georgia voters doesn’t work, fix it. Don’t throw it out.

Some Democrats seem to understand this; others do not. For instance, Rep. John Lewis said the citizenship checks were “an attempt to take us back to another dark period in our history when people were denied access to the ballot box simply because of their race or nationality.” Evidently, some people feel that any burden of proof is too much.

I seriously doubt that there is any plans withing the General Assembly or the Georgia Department of State to deny minorities the right to vote. The only minorities that should be denied the right to vote are non-citizens and people who have lost that right, such as felons.

Interestingly enough, there have been several proposals around the country to allow non-citizens to vote in local elections. There have also been proposals to allow felons to regain their right to vote. It should come as a surprise to no one that these proposals originate from the left side of the political spectrum. (Georgia already allows felons to vote upon completion of their sentence.)

For that reason, Secretary Handel has decided that the Obama Justice Department may require some urging to approve any such citizenship test at all. To that end, she has created a petition asking President Obama and Attorney-General Holder to allow Georgia to prevent illegal aliens and non-citizens from voting.

You can sign the petition here.


Burbank CA


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Tale of Two Killers

In the past few days, two politically motivated murders occurred in the United States. On Sunday, May 31, Dr. George Tiller, a Kansas abortionist, was murdered in his Wichita church. The following day, Monday, June 1, a US Army soldier working at a recruiting office in Little Rock, Arkansas was also murdered. The way that the media treated the two stories was markedly different.

Scott Roeder was arrested in Dr. Tiller’s murder. Mr. Roeder has a criminal record and long history of membership in radical anti-government fringe groups. In 1996, he was even convicted of criminal use of explosives although the conviction was overturned on appeal due to an illegal search.

Dr. Tiller, called “Killer Tiller” by pro-life protestors, specialized in late-term abortions and had been opposed, mostly peacefully, by pro-life groups for over twenty years. He had been wounded during a previous attempt on his life in 1993. Earlier this year, Dr. Tiller was tried and acquitted on 19 counts of violating the Kansas state law requiring a second opinion for late-term abortions. He estimated to have been responsible for upwards of 60,000 abortions.

Dr. Tiller was acting as an usher at his church when he was murdered. I am curious how he justified his participation in the deaths of 60,000 children with his church membership. The Bible makes it plain that Jesus loved children (Matthew 18:6, 19:14, Mark 10:16).

The killing was front-page news in many newspapers around the country. Some articles referred a series of anti-abortion killings even though the last such murder was over ten years ago in 1998. In some cases, conservatives and pro-lifers were even blamed directly for the murder. This is true in particular of Bill O’Reilly who had featured Tiller’s story on his show.

In contrast, the killing of US Army Private William Long was buried in a short article in the back pages of most newspapers. Private Quinton Ezeagwula was also wounded in the attack. The murderer was a local convert to Islam, Abdulhakim Muhammad.

Muhammad was already under FBI investigation stemming from a trip to Yemen, a hotbed of al Qaeda activity. While in Yemen he was arrested for using a Somali passport.

Privates Long and Ezeagwula were recent graduates of the army’s basic training and were on a temporary assignment at the recruiting office. Neither had ever seen combat or duty in the Middle East.

In the wake of Dr. Tiller’s killing, mainstream pro-life groups denounced his murder. The Kansas Coalition for Life placed a sign outside his clinic stating: “We prayed for his conversion to the pro-life viewpoint, not for his murder.”

On the other hand, there was less furor and mourning for Private Long. There was no rush to blame his Islamic religion or associates. So far I have not seen any Muslim groups who have stepped forward to denounce Private Long’s murder. Few Muslims have denounced terrorism in general.

In the final analysis, Private Long’s murder is much more important nationally than Dr. Tiller’s. While Dr. Tiller’s murder is an isolated event perpetrated by a man whose brother says suffered from mental illness, Private Long’s murder is the most recent in a long list of violent acts by Islamic extremists.

Abortionists have nothing to fear from most anti-abortion activists, many of whom are Christian believers who are commanded by God not to murder. In contrast, many (but not all) Muslims, including those in the United States, follow religious leaders who specifically instruct their followers to engage in terrorist acts. Private Long’s murder fits a new pattern of homegrown terrorism; attacks by lone militants without specific direction by terror groups abroad.

I am a supporter of the pro-life cause and I categorically denounce the use of violence against abortionists. I do not want to minimize Dr. Tiller’s death, but it is not indicative of a larger movement. It was the work of a lone, sick individual.

The proper means of ending abortion is through the political and judicial process. This is not only the moral means of ending abortion; it is the most effective means. A recent Gallup poll showed that, for the first time since the question was asked, 51% of Americans oppose abortion rights ( The use of violence is not only immoral, it is counterproductive.

Over the past few years, there have been numerous other foiled plots by homegrown Islamic extremist terrorists. The attempted attack on synagogues in New York City that was foiled in May 2009 was a homegrown terror plot. So was the attempt to kill soldiers at Fort Dix in 2007 and an attempt to blow up the Sears Tower in 2006.

We should learn from this attack, as well as other foiled plots that there are potential terrorists in our midst. Americans can be radicalized via the internet or through extremist Islamic literature found in many mosques and even distributed by Muslim chaplains in US prisons. While we should not harass or imprison innocent Muslims, we should cultivate intelligence sources in the Muslim community and take steps to ensure that mosques are not inciting terrorist acts.

On a final note, the difference in the coverage of the Tiller and Long murders may also be a simple illustration of media bias. Most journalists support abortion rights and are outraged by the murder of a man that many pro-choice supporters consider a hero and a martyr. In contrast, these same journalists oppose the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the Israeli occupation of Arab lands, and thus can sympathize with a man who is aggrieved by the military’s actions.

On rare occasions, the news offers stark contrasts between two extremes. The deaths of Dr. Tiller and Private Long provide one. Dr. Tiller, who was responsible for the deaths of 60,000 babies, is trumpeted and mourned by the media while Private Long, who volunteered to risk his life to protect the United States, its people, its constitution, and its freedom of the press passes largely unheralded.

Private Long, I salute you.

“Suspect Held in Doctor’s Killing,” Wall Street Journal, June 2, 2009

“Military Recruiter Killed,” Wall Street Journal, June 2, 2009

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