No Such Thing as ‘Independent’ Voting

Rob Schwarzwalder, Senior Vice President at Family Research Council, wrote an article for Bangor Daily News. U.S. Senator Angus King is registered as Independent. While he claims to work across the aisle, he almost always votes with the Democratic Party.  In a recent article, National Journal said he votes 90% of the time with Democrats.  Rob used Sen. King as an example of why it is very different for one to be a true independent. He made the following quotes:

Politics is about the public expression of various points of view and the enactment of those views into law. Increasingly, American politics is divided along conservative and liberal lines. The overlap of commonality between the GOP and the Democratic Party is increasingly small. Thus, as Republicans identify, substantially, as conservatives, and Democrats as liberals or progressives, anyone involved in electoral politics has to be, by virtual if not legal definition, a partisan.”

The founders of our country warned against partisanship, or what James Madison called “the violence of faction.” In “Federalist Ten,” James Madison asserted that factions would form due largely to the perceived economic self-interest of various groups.”

That might have been true in the 1780s, but it is no longer. Some of the wealthiest Americans vote most consistently liberal, and many lower-middle income voters support the Republican Party because of its social conservatism.”

In our time, the divide goes not so much between the wealthy and the poor as between those with one vision of American life and those with another. Deeply held convictions about the role of government, the morality of culture, and the nature of the family cut across economic lines.”

No man is an island, and no voter is his own party. True partisan independence is exercised only by those so consciously inconsistent that they are uninterested in having their votes actually matter.”

Virtue, Freedom and Redemption

Rob also wrote an article today for Religion Today. His article began by citing the story of British Soldier Dusty Miller, who served during WWII.  Miller was held in a Japanese prison camp and later crucified as an attack on his Christian faith. Miller was only capable of kindness towards his captors because of the grace of Jesus. Rob went on to say that man needs to be viewed in the correct way, as both intrinsically valuable, and completely depraved. Rob said the following:

…without a proper understanding of the nature of man, political action becomes dangerous. If man is viewed as merely material, he will be oppressed. If he is viewed as perfectible, he will be coerced. If he is viewed as unimportant, he will be murdered.”

For us to keep a free society, we have to govern ourselves, or else the ensuring chaos will produce repression and coercion. Personal self-government begins with virtue, and virtue begins the conscience (“the law written on the heart,” Romans 2:15) and God’s self-revelation in Scripture.”

Dusty Miller was a man of virtue. He died at a young age because he loved God and loved others. His death came at the hands of a man who hated God and so dehumanized his prisoner that, to him, Miller’s crucifixion was merely a fitting, if brutal, taunt. Men need Christ, culture needs God, and human nature needs redemption – or, in its absence, appropriate temporal restraint. This is what Dusty Miller, decades after his martyrdom, still teaches us.”

Building Stronger Families and Safer Communities

Tony Perkins, FRC President, wrote an article for The Clarion Ledger. Tony is part of the Right on Crime campaign, a conservative project of the Texas Public Policy Foundation and Prison Fellowship Ministries. A top goal is to keep families together by championing prison sentencing reforms that will be best for the family and defendant, while making sure justice is fully served. Our prisons are full of non-violent criminals, causing Americans taxpayer dollars and overcrowded prisons. Prisons are meant to keep society safe from violent criminals.  For those who commit non-violent acts such as drug abuse, what they need is to get their lives straightened out so they can contribute to society and raise their children. Children who do not have their parents in their lives face many difficulties, such as the likelihood that they will drop out of school or engage in delinquent behavior, because they haven’t had a positive example in their lives. Why separate families if there could be a better alternative? Tony had the following words to say:

One fact we often overlook is that two-thirds of these children’s parents are in prison for nonviolent offenses. Eighty-five percent of female inmates, for example, are serving time for nonviolent crimes, and most of them are mothers. Given incarceration’s impact on families, doesn’t it make more sense to place lower-level offenders under mandatory supervision in the community, allowing them to remain connected to their relatives, gainfully employed and available to parent their children?”

I am not proposing this approach for all incarcerated parents. Violent and career criminals must be locked up to protect society, and we must also exclude offenders whose crimes endanger their own children, crimes such as manufacturing drugs or engaging in prostitution in the family home. But for many nonviolent offenders, we should do all we can to keep families together while maintaining public safety.”

We know keeping families together strengthens our society, and when people with addictions get treatment and probation instead of incarceration, they can straighten out their lives, remain in their homes, hold down jobs and be better parents. This not only saves taxpayers money; it preserves family unity as well.”

Censoring Eisenhower and Religious Freedom in the Military

Tony also wrote an article for CNSNews.

Military Chaplain Lt. Col. Kenneth Reyes (USAF) of the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska wrote a piece, “No Atheists in Foxholes: Chaplains Gave All in World War II” and posted it to his website. Mikey Weinstein, founder of Military Religious Freedom Foundation, found the title of Reyes’ piece offensive, and asked Col. Brian Duffy to censor the chaplain. The Colonel adhered to Weinstein’s request and took his article off his website. Weinstein wants further action against Reyes, however, and is calling for a formal punishment. Tony made the following remarks:

(Referring to being punished) “For what - doing his job? Engaging in constitutionally-protected speech? Like it or not, a chaplain’s duties, by definition, are to offer prayer, spiritual guidance, and religious instruction. Whether Duffy punishes Reyes or not, the damage has already been done. As FRC’s executive vice president, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin told Fox News’s Todd Starnes, chaplains across the military are already afraid of carrying out the most basic duties of their job. “In this case, a chaplain has been censored for expressing his beliefs about the role of faith in the lives of service members. … Why do we have chaplains if they aren’t allowed to fulfill that purpose?””

Thankfully the U.S. House of Representatives is on the verge of passing the Defense Department budget with language inserted to protect troops’ conscience and religious rights. Additionally, over 160,000 Americans have signed a petition to Defense Secretary Hagel, urging him to issue clear policies to protect the religious freedom of our troops. Without such protections, the free speech rights and religious liberties of our nation’s most diligent servants will continue to be trampled.”