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Republican Debate Underscores Uncertain Times
We need a president who is ready to push back on extremism and bring us stability.
A Google search for how many people watched the August 23 Fox debate revealed that “An impressive 23.9 million viewers turned their attention to Fox News to watch the debate, breaking previous records and making it the highest-rated Republican presidential primary debate to date.” But if “impressive” is the right term to describe that number of viewers (and it is), what do you say about former President Donald Trump’s rivaling interview with Tucker Carlson on “X” drawing 195 million views and counting, as of the writing of this account?
We can, at the very least, say we are witnessing a shift in the media’s power structure. We don’t quite know the effect these new power dynamics will have in the election, but we cannot deny they are indeed having an impact. The same can be said of many other aspects of our polity today. This week President Trump was indicted for the fourth time in little over four months in the state of Georgia. I have documented the unprecedented abuse of power at the U.S. Department of Justice and beyond, warning about the potential disastrous consequences going forward, but the ripple effects are truly unknown.
We are living in uncertain times. If you are also feeling the effects of our times in your life and, perhaps even more importantly, in your thinking of the issues we face as a nation, let me offer some useful words. In Jesus’ Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders, the difference between building on the rock or on shifting sand is the application of the Word of God.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27, emphasis mine)
Note that both builders hear the words. But only one puts what he hears into practice. Stability, certainty, confidence, comes from putting God’s principles into practice.
Following the overturn of Roe v. Wade, many in our country seem to have lost the north on the issue of life. Being personally pro-life but not wanting to impose your views on others seems an easy way out to escape the culture’s attacks. It is also building on shifting sand. It is hearing God declared He created us in our mothers’ womb (Psalm 139:13-16), and even believing it, but then failing to apply that in the way we value human life - in the way we actually treat unborn babies.
When the Dobbs case overturned Roe, returning the issue to the people, it did not say that the issue is only to be addressed by the states. That was the immediate effect, but, of course, “we the people” elect federal representatives for a reason. They, too, are to advocate for the people of each state. They, too, should stand for what is true and good, and that which will bring the most stability, contributing to human flourishing.
It was heartening to see many of the Republican presidential contenders understood that. Former Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) discussed uniform limits at fifteen weeks at the federal level. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also spoke about bold possibilities, touting his record:
“I was proud to sign the Heartbeat Bill. I believe one of the most impactful moments of my life was when I heard the heartbeat of my oldest daughter in my wife’s womb and then saw the sonograms, of all three of my kids. What the Democrats are trying to do on this issue is wrong, to allow abortion all the way to the moment of birth. I know a lady in Florida named Penny. [As a baby,] she survived multiple abortion attempts. She was left discarded in a pan. Fortunately, her grandmother saved her, and brought her to a different hospital. We’re better than what the Democrats are selling. We are not going to allow abortion all the way up till birth, and we will hold them accountable for their extremism.”
That is the contrast every American must realize. Following Dobbs, Big Abortion has pushed for abortions on demand without limits. Abortion radicals have become desperate to the point they are actively seeking for ways to circumvent state and federal laws in order to retain their profits. So-called moderate politicians, like President Joe Biden, who for many years voted to keep taxpayer dollars from paying for abortions, are aggressively promoting the practice now. In some cases in clear violation of federal law, as in his push to pay for it in the military.
We need a president who is ready to push back on this extremism and bring us stability. Therefore, candidates, such as North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, saying the issue is a matter solely for the states, show we have much work to do. We must lead people back to solid ground.
For this is only one issue. But many others require the same foundational commitment. The gender ideology issue, for example, was discussed only in passing during the debate. We need strong leadership there, too. Political outsider Vivek Ramaswamy concluded with his usual list of truths, which include that “there are only two genders.” In the context of education, Gov. DeSantis said, “We need education in this country, not indoctrination,” which makes reference to the continued forceful indoctrination of gender ideology in schools. Sen. Scott boldly said, “If God made you a man, you play sports against men.” And the moderators alluded to former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley’s statement that this is the women’s rights issue of our time,” though she did not engage the topic further.
I should also note that she, President Trump and Vivek Ramaswamy have all signed Concerned Women for America’s (CWA) Presidential Promise to American Women. All others should follow.
There will surely be more chances to discuss these issues and other urgent matters in the months to come, the campaign season is barely getting started. Candidates will go up and down. The media distortions will surely multiply. It will be hard to assess what is true and what is not.
But when you feel that uncertainty creep in, remember the builders’ foundations of which Jesus spoke. Remember we must act on what we know to be the truth. A candidate’s actions, his or her policies, must match realities we know to be true. All other ground is sinking sand.