Is America A ‘Christian Nation?’

Earlier this year, Dr. Frank Turek, the founder of crossexamined.org, was asked by a young questioner if he thinks America is or was a “Christian nation.” This issue should be a familiar one to congressional aides, but how Turek responded is almost certainly unexpected for many on the Hill.

Dr. Frank Turek, president of crossexamined.org. (Screen shot from YouTube)

In a word, Turek’s response was “no,” but then he explained that the term “Christian nation” is subject to multiple definitions. Referring to the 1776  Declaration of Independence drafted by Thomas Jefferson, Turek argued that the founders intended to establish a nation based on the moral laws that endow every individual with those inalienable rights.

“A Christian nation? Maybe by description, but not by prescription,” Turek said. He said a great deal more on this issue and his analysis may well surprise folks who have certain stereotypical ideas about what conservative and evangelical Christians believe.

Why Two Witnesses With Differing Details Can Both Be Telling The Truth About An Event

Everybody knows that five different people who see a car wreck will provide five different explanations for what happened, right? That’s why nobody ever goes to jail based on the testimony of two or more witnesses, right?

Addressing the “Contradictions in the Bible” issue by J. Warner Wallace. (Screen shot)

Wait a minute, people are convicted of crimes and go to jail every day based on testimony from at least two witnesses and it’s not at all unusual for those witnesses to offer different details about the circumstances surrounding the crime.

NBC “Dateline” cold-case detective J. Warner Wallace responds to the oft-heard objection that there are contradictions in the Bible, particularly in the four Gospel accounts of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

WORKING ON THE HILL: Look Who’s Being Promoted

Recent Moves, As Reported By Legistorm:

Kate O’Connor is the new chief counsel for the Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on communications and technology. Kate has worked on the Hill for five years on the Senate side, but this is her first committee gig. She’s a 2014 public policy BA graduate from the University of Chicago.

Marsha Espinoza is Rep. Linda Sanchez’s new chief of staff, marking a return for Espinoza as she was communications director for the California Democratic representative in 2008-2010. In the years between, Espinoza worked for Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Califo ), was an Obama political appointee at the Department of Homeland Security, and became a partner at Swann Street Partners. Espinoza received her MA in communications from Texas State University at San Marcos in 2007, and her BS in education in 2002 from New Mexico State University. Continue reading “WORKING ON THE HILL: Look Who’s Being Promoted”

Looking For The Recipe For Your Office’s Culture? Just Add Salt

By Bret Bernhardt

We talk a lot about influencing our culture in the macro, but what about closer to home? What’s the culture like in your office? Is it warm, friendly, selfless, welcoming, and open? Or is it coarse, backstabbing, self-serving, and overly ambitious?

Bret Bernhardt, former chief of staff for senators Don Nickles and Jim DeMint.

Now, what is your role in that culture? Do you strive to bring it to a higher level or do your actions or inactions contribute to an unhealthy environment? We can look for the answer in the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.

He said, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” (Matthew 5:13) What does this mean? Continue reading “Looking For The Recipe For Your Office’s Culture? Just Add Salt”

1st Amendment District Court Win Means Dems’ Club Can’t Be Forced To Have GOP Officers

Congressional staff will face the core issues in this case again and again, and not just on campuses

Okay, actually, the club involved is the Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship chapter at the University of Iowa, which a federal judge ruled cannot be forced by campus officials to have non-Christian leaders.

University of Iowa (Screen shot from the Hawkeye web site).

But to grasp the significance of Judge Stephanie Rose’s September 27 decision, imagine that, to prevent discrimination and ensure diversity, the Democratic Socialist Club is required by government policy to make sure a certain number of its top leaders are actually libertarian Republicans.

Or the NARAL Pro-Choice Chapter of community activists must admit enough pro-lifers to the top echelons of its leadership structure to satisfy an official edict … or the liberal Center for American Progress is forced to install as many Heritage Foundation directors as required to achieve “balance” in its policy prescriptions?

The Rose decision is the second she has delivered in recent months upholding the First Amendment’s right of assembly against the University of Iowa administrators’ attempts to impose its discriminatory policy, according to the Christian Post. 


 

THINK ABOUT THIS: Science ‘Works’ In Our Universe Because …

Philosopher Kenneth Samples gives the answer AND poses a huge question about chance and design

“Advancements in science, technology, and medicine over the last century or so have benefitted virtually all people. Scientific progress has lengthened human life spans and improved quality of life.

Reasons To Believe Senior Research Scholar Kenneth Samples (Screen Shot).

“These great strides prompt a provocative question: Why does science work? That is, why is the scientific enterprise so effective in delivering critical, reliable information about the natural world that can inform and benefit humankind?

“I have posed this question to many scientists I’ve met through the years. The answer I usually hear is something along this line: ‘It just does. Science is unique. It works.’

I think the reason that most scientists struggle to tell me exactly why science works is … Go here for the answer.


 

How An Atheist Guy From Chicago Doing Standup Comedy Became A Born-Again Christian

People who do standup comedy know how to make the rest of us laugh, but does that also mean they are happy in the times between their routines? For comedian Jeff Allen, the crushing answer was “no way.”

Ccomedian Jeff Allen (Screen shot from YouTube).

Allen is genuinely funny now and, since he was successful, I assume he must also have been 20 years ago when his life changed, literally, forever. It’s a journey full of tragedy, sadness, pain, divorce, bankruptcy, and, ultimately, amazingly, incredibly, joyful recovery, hilarity and peace.

WARNING! This is a 19 minute video, three times as long as the typical video I put up here on HillFaith. I work on the Hill now as a journalist and I spent four years of my early professional life as a congressional aide, so I know how precious your time is.

But trust me, this video will make you laugh, it may make you cry, too, and it just might also mark a milestone in your life. Enjoy!

This Is Why Agnosticism Is Self-Defeating (And Who Wants To Live A Life Based on That?)

“Agnosticism is a view that says the ultimate truth about God’s existence is unknowable. However, agnosticism is a ‘self-defeating’ proposition in that it says ‘truth can’t be known,’ while at the same time proposing ‘truth can’t be known’ is known to be a true statement.

Screen shot, “What Time Is Purple” illustration.

“That’s why agnosticism’s road ends before it really gets started.” — Tom Hammond, “What Time Is Purple”

Don’t miss the opportunity to get your own free copy of a genuinely challenging little book. Just look to the right sidebar, fill out the form and your copy will be in the snail mail directly to you in short order.

Then, after you read it and you are on fire with questions about what it all means, maybe you’ll want to sit down for a completely off-the-record, ask-anything-you-want and get-up-and-leave-whenever-you-want, too, conversation. Check out the “Office Hours” box in the right sidebar.

Hey, what have you got to lose?

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Here’s What Political Conspiracies Like Watergate Tell Us About Jesus’ Disciples

Conspiracy theories are becoming more common these days in the political debate in Congress, the national media and in public forums across the nation, digital and otherwise.

Chuck Colson (Screen shot from “Doing The Right Thing” on Youtube.)

The Watergate coverup by President Richard Nixon and half a dozen of his chief aides was a real conspiracy and it cost him his presidency when he became the only American chief executive ever to resign the office.

Chuck Colson was one of the Nixon conspirators who went to jail. He became a Christian in great part because of something he learned from the Watergate conspiracy about the reliability and credibility of the disciples of Jesus Christ in their testimony about His life, death and resurrection. Continue reading “WHAT DO YOU THINK? Here’s What Political Conspiracies Like Watergate Tell Us About Jesus’ Disciples”

Well, Duh, We Live Here, So Of Course It Looks Like A Universe Finely Tuned Just For Us?

One thing that many advocates on both sides of the “does God exist” debate agree on is that the universe is an incredibly finely tuned place, regardless of how we think it came to be.

Addressing the “Finely tuned Universe” issue by J. Warner Wallace. (Screen shot)

To cite just one example, if the Earth’s tilt on its axis was just two degrees greater, life would very likely be impossible on this earth because the Conifer Belt of trees that produce the bulk of our oxygen, would not survive.

But may be it just looks like a finely tuned universe because it’s the only one we can observe and we call it home, so of course it looks like it was made just for us? NBC “Dateline’s” cold-case detective, J. Warner Wallace, addresses that issue and others in this video:

THINK ABOUT THIS: Actually, No, All Roads Don’t Lead To God

It’s one of the most frequently heard truisms — All roads lead to Heaven because every religion contains some of the ultimate truth but none of them have all of the truth.

Dr. Sean McDowell

Ergo, whichever path “works” for you, do it to the best of your ability and God will smile on you when you die and hold open the door to His heaven where you will be with Him forever.

But what if all roads lead to different destinations? On the surface, maybe all the different religions appear to be heading in the same directions, but, as Professor Sean McDowell points out in the following video, dig a little deeper and we find they lead to very different destinations indeed:

Historian Will Durant On The Gospels’ ‘Embarrassing Details’ About Jesus And His Disciples

Writing in his book, “Caesar and Christ,” historian Will Durant observed this:

Peter’s Denial of Christ, by Rembrandt. (Commons, Wikimedia.org)

“Despite the prejudices and theological misconceptions of the evangelists, they record many incidents that mere inventors would have concealed — the competition of the apostles for high places in the Kingdom, their flight after Jesus’ arrest, Peter’s denials, the failure of Christ to work miracles in Galilee, the references of some auditors to his possible insanity, his early uncertainty as to his mission, his confessions of ignorance as to the future, his moments of bitterness, his despairing cry on the cross; no one reading these scenes can doubt the reality of the figure behind them.

“That a few simple men should in one generation have invented so powerful and appealing a personality , so lofty an ethic, and so inspiring a vision of human brotherhood, would be a miracle far more incredible than any recorded in the Gospels.

“After two centuries of Higher Criticism, the outlines of the life, character and teaching of Christ remain reasonably clear, and constitute the most fascinating feature in the history of Western man.” — As cited by Josh and Sean McDowell, “More Than A Carpenter.”

 

 

WORKING ON THE HILL: Here’s What Modern ‘Tent-Making’ Looks Like

When Paul made his many missionary trips around the known world after his encounter with the risen Christ on the road to Damascus, he supported himself by making tents.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), left, with Open The Books’ President Adam Adrzejewski, center. (Photo courtesy of Open The Books).

Being a highly educated individual who was formerly part of the Establishment in Jerusalem (Paul studied under Gamaliel, one of the most respected doctors of law in Israel at the time of Jesus), it’s instructive that Paul turned to what we would today likely consider a blue-collar job to support himself.

Without even remotely suggesting that I am in any way comparable to Paul, I am following his approach to supporting himself in his work. In other words, I do have a “real job,” covering Congress as a correspondent for The Epoch Times.

I love Congress and being an old-school journalist who puts a premium on being scrupulously factual, and now this 30-year career makes possible the great privilege of editing HillFaith “on the side.”

This photo is from a recent “pen & pad” session with Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), who is accompanied by Adam Adrejewski, the founder and president of Open The Books, a non-profit group that is achieving amazing successes in making government at all levels more transparent, and thus more accountable. That’s yours truly to Adam’s left.

Ernst was discussing a significant package of reforms in federal spending that I will be reporting on next week.

EMERGING ISSUES ON THE HILL: Is Jesus Really Appearing To Dozens Of Muslims In The Middle East?

Reports of Jesus appearing in dreams or in some kind of apparent bodily form to Muslims in the Middle East are being heard with increasing frequency, and not just from evangelical Christian missionaries.

McLean Bible Church logo. (Screen shot)

As a result, the time is coming soon when Christians and skeptics alike will have to take public notice, and sooner than later for congressional aides in jobs working on international relations, foreign assistance, religious freedoms and related issues.

Senior Pastor David Platt of McLean Bible Church in McLean, Va., is the latest to share information about such an experience, according to the Christian Post.

McLean Bible Church is a huge congregation in the prosperous Northern Virginia suburb just across the Potomac River from the nation’s capital. Many of the congregants are federal workers, congressional aides and others drawn by the presence of the central government. Continue reading “EMERGING ISSUES ON THE HILL: Is Jesus Really Appearing To Dozens Of Muslims In The Middle East?”

WORKING ON THE HILL: Women Staffers Turn To Wardrobe Rental Services

Many congressional staffers are in high-visibility, high-pressure positions that, unfortunately, also come with comparatively low pay, so there is a premium on making every dollar earned go as far as possible.

That’s a key to growing popularity among women working on the Hill of wardrobe rental services. Roll Call’s Mary Ellen McIntire has a great post this morning on services like Rent the Runway. Continue reading “WORKING ON THE HILL: Women Staffers Turn To Wardrobe Rental Services”