Why Romans 13 Is Inapplicable to What Is Happening Now

In the Best Picture winning film from 1965, The Sound of Music, the von Trapp family lives in Austria when it is annexed by Germany during World War II.  The main conflict arises when the father, Captain von Trapp, is ordered to accept a commission in the German Navy.  Did he quietly comply because the powers that be gave him a command?  Should he have?  No!  He concocted a plan to disobey the rulers and flee the country.  What a different film it would have been if he had done what so many of our churches have done and obeyed his orders.

Ever since the California government terminated our liberty last year, I have been disappointed that so many churches quietly complied.  This past week I received an email from a local church, once again saying that they were going to keep their doors shut until we are endowed by our government with some liberty.  (That sounds wrong, doesn’t it?)  The reason given has been inappropriately used since the beginning of the lockdowns to justify compliance with tyrannical edicts… Romans 13: 1-7.  It says this:

1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. 5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.

Let me be clear.  I believe the Bible completely, from Genesis to Revelation, including Romans 13.  In fact, I talk about the importance of Romans 13 multiple times in my book, The God Bet.  There is, however, a big problem with hiding behind these verses to justify weakly complying during this fight between good and evil.  While we are not supposed to “resist the authority,” our government DOES NOT HAVE the authority to do what it is doing.  There are two main reasons for this.  The first is found in our founding documents.  The Declaration of Independence acknowledges that liberty is endowed not by the government, but by our Creator, and is unalienable.  That means that the government does not have the authority to take away our freedom on a whim. 

I know.  Some of you are saying, “Wait a minute.  The government does have the authority to take away our liberty in certain situations, like when they put a thief in prison.”  You are absolutely correct.  There are instances where the government can take away our freedom.  That leads us to the second reason this is not one of those instances.  Romans 13 not only tells us that we are subject to the governing authorities, but it also tells us what those authorities are authorized to do.  Verse 3 specifically tells us that “rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil.”  Verse 4 explains that “he (the ruler) is God’s minister to you for good.  But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.”  As you can clearly see, the rulers have the authority to punish you or take away your liberty if you do evil, but NOT for doing good works.  Stealing is evil; thus, the government is authorized to execute wrath on that thief.  Opening the doors of your church, on the other hand, is a good work.  If a church quietly closes its doors and cites the government as the reason, they are implying that a father who wants to take his family to church and sit inside is doing evil.  Any thinking person can see that the rulers who are putting these crazy dictates on churches are being a terror to good works and Romans 13 does not authorize them to do that. 

Why does it matter since California Governor Gavin Newsom is going to allow churches to open on the magical date of June 15?  It matters because these lockdowns and regulations were just the first major battle in the fight to remain a free country.  It was a test to see how many of us would stand up for each other’s liberty.  Unfortunately, the answer was, “not enough.” 

To those of you who are on the side of good, you may be tempted to write off the churches and Christians who sat on the sidelines during this battle and say, “you’re dead to us.”  I urge you not to do that.  We must be forgiving of churches or individuals who were complicit in our loss of rights when they realize what their complacency is leading to.  It is better that they are late to the party than miss it altogether.  Things will get worse and we need more churches to see the light and speak up before it is too late.  We need to pray for these churches to come around, and when they do, we need to welcome them to the fight with open arms.  They need to loudly declare that they will never again remain silent when the government acts as a terror against good works, which is against what Romans 13 says.  Never again will they close the doors of our churches, or limit who or how people can attend.  Our founding documents do not allow it, and the Bible does not allow it.  

In Defense of Naps, Golf, and Cancun

I am going to defend Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and Ted Cruz from some undeserved criticism.  As you can see, I am very consistent on this stance whether the person involved is someone I generally agree with or someone I almost never do.  Both the right and the left are guilty of this attack and should both stop it. 

Let’s start with the latest example.  Recently, Texas Senator Ted Cruz was predictably blasted by the left for going with his wife and two daughters to Cancun during a terrible ice storm in his home state.  My first thought was, “That sounds like a pretty good idea to me.  If I had a choice between sitting in an ice storm with no electricity and sitting on the beach with a margarita, I know which one I would choose.”  My next thought was, “Is that my reaction just because I like Senator Cruz?  Would I have a different reaction if it was Bernie Sanders?”  This is a normal question for me because we as conservatives should not have double standards like the left does.  You know, like how Democrats cheered on rioting thugs for a year and then started denouncing rioting thugs on January 6 when they thought they could win political points.  My conclusion:  No.  I would not feel differently if it was a political opponent. 

I reached this conclusion by looking at times when Democrats have been criticized for wasting time on leisure activities instead of “doing the work of the people.”  The example that came to mind was something that Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and many other presidents have been criticized for:  golf.  I specifically remember those three presidents being attacked for spending too much time on the golf course during their term in office.  In every case I defended them, whether they were Republicans or Democrats, for this simple reason:  the less politicians do, the better it is for us.  As another golfer president once said, “government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.”

Both the left and the right need to stop with this criticism.  Ideally, politicians would spend more time, not less, golfing or on vacations.  Pondering this reminded me of one of our very best presidents.  Calvin Coolidge was known for sleeping 10 to 11 hours a night and then taking a long nap in the afternoon.  How much better off would our country be if politicians spent more time sleeping and less time interfering with our lives?

This gave me an idea.  As you know, I almost always oppose government regulations, but I actually want to propose a rule for anyone elected to public office.  Upon election, each office holder must take up a new hobby that occupies at least 5 hours per day.  It’s a brilliant law because nothing would help the American people more than to keep politicians busy and out of our lives.

To help get them started I even have some ideas for current politicians. 

Senator Elizabeth Warren – Gardening:  Senator Warren famously claimed to be an American Indian, earning her nickname, “Pocahontas.”  Since American Indians taught the settlers how to plant corn, gardening would be the perfect hobby for her to reconnect with her roots.

Representative Adam Schiff – Writing:  I don’t mean writing political op-eds for the Washington Post.  I mean writing fiction books.  Mr. Schiff is known mostly for pushing imaginary claims that President Trump colluded with foreign countries to interfere with the U.S. election in 2016.  I think his wild imagination could come up with some crazy international political thrillers.  He could be the next Tom Clancy!

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer – Poker:  One of the skills that makes a good poker player is bluffing.  Bluffing is simply the ability to look right at people and lie with a straight face.  Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer have been perfecting this skill for years.  They wouldn’t have any trouble setting up games either.  We could fill the Amazon Room at The Rio with lying politicians!

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell – Yodeling:  Honestly, I just want to see this.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo – Calling bingo at senior living communities

Senator Mitt Romney – LARPing:  LARPing stands for Live Action Role Playing.  Basically, a group of guys get together and pretend to be people that they’re not, like knights, elves, and wizards.  Senator Romney should be good at that since he has pretended to be a Republican for years.

Senator Bernie Sanders – Stand-up comedy:  I hear he looks a lot like Larry David.

Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib, aka “The Squad” – Start a band: “Performing next on New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, singing their hit single, “Israel Has Hypnotized the World,”… The Squad!” 

Joe Biden – Massage therapy:  We all know that Joe Biden has already been known to massage women who cross his path.  He may as well take some classes and get a little side gig going. 

Ultimately, whatever they decide to do it will be better for the country than anything they are doing now. 

Give Us the Same Courtesy That We Gave You

The first paragraph of this article is here for a very specific reason. To promote the article on social media I had to make sure that there was no political speech in the first couple of lines so that it wouldn’t be censored. The original started here:

Democrats now control the White House and both chambers of Congress.  They are calling for unity, but what they mean by that is, “Now everybody needs to agree with us.”  That is not going to happen.  I am not saying that in an obstinate way.  I’m just being realistic and honest.  People disagree and that is alright.  Republicans were in charge for the last four years and many people disagreed with them, and I expected that as well because that is how life works. 

This leads me to my one request to Democrats.  Now that you’re in charge please give us the same courtesy that we gave to you when we were.  That courtesy is this:  When people disagree with you, don’t force them to do what you want. 

This may surprise some of you after being told by the media for four years that President Trump was a fascist dictator, but I cannot think of anything that he forced us to do during his term.  If you disagreed with President Trump and the Republicans, they did not make you do anything against your will.  Republicans let people agree to disagree.  

If, for example, you disagreed with the tax cuts that were passed, Republicans did not force you to go along with it.  They implemented no penalties for people who wanted to keep paying the higher tax rates voluntarily.  Yes, you can do that.  Surprisingly, wealthy Democrats who complain that rich people don’t pay their fair share do not opt to pay more themselves when given that choice.  Alright, maybe not so surprisingly.

Ultimately, this is the main thing that Republicans want:  to be left alone.  We want to control our own lives and let others control theirs.  Another example; we may understand that homosexuality is immoral, but we do not block people from the practice.  In fact, the Trump administration started a global effort to end the criminalization of homosexuality.  (In contrast, Democrats kowtow to countries like Iran who put homosexuals to death.)  Republicans also disagree with divisive groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter, yet do not want them prevented from speaking or kicked off of social media.  Another Republican belief is that God is central to the American way of life and necessary for our success, but we do not want to require church attendance.  In other words, Republicans would like everybody to act in particular ways but think that people should be free to choose for themselves.

This approach is not a new one.  It is actually one of the principles that our country was established on.  Our Founding Fathers were wise men who understood that people would not always agree as to what should be done.  They also knew that throughout history, when the powerful forced those who disagreed with them to conform to their will it sowed contempt, division and conflict.  Their solution was liberty.  If one group wants to do “A” and another group wants to do “B,” the answer is not to have the group in power force the other group to do what they command.  Instead, the first group can do “A” and the second group can do “B.”  They can try to use persuasion to win the other side over but they should not use coercion.

If Joe Biden really wants unity this is what he should do.  Refrain from taking away our liberty.  Allow people to have free will and do what they think is best for themselves.  He can disagree with our choices but he should not overrule them.  Here are ten great suggestions that the Democrats can do to respect the liberty of Americans:

  1. If you decide to raise taxes, make it optional to pay the old rate like the Republicans did for you. 
  2. If you want people to wear masks, make it optional like the Republicans did.
  3. Let scared restaurant owners who want to shut down do so, and let the ones who want to remain open choose to do that.  If patrons want to show up they can but if they are afraid they should also be free to stay home.
  4. Let churches decide whether to remain open or close down.  If congregants do not want to attend they should not be forced to, but those who do should be allowed in.
  5. President Trump stopped enforcement of the Johnson Amendment, which threatens to take away tax-exempt status from churches if the pastor endorses a political candidate.  Continue with that policy and allow pastors to decide for themselves what to say from the pulpit without threat of retaliation from the government.
  6. If somebody wants health insurance that covers pregnancy and drug rehabilitation they should be allowed to purchase it.  If another person wants less expensive insurance that does not cover those things they should be allowed to choose that.  If someone else prefers to pay out of pocket for medical care instead of buying insurance they should be able to do that.
  7. Do not force law abiding citizens to buy guns.  Likewise, do not prohibit them from buying guns.
  8. If someone wants to do a job for $8 per hour, do not prohibit them from doing so and force them out of a job.  Let people decide for themselves what wage to accept.
  9. Do not force people who are against murdering babies to pay for the murder of babies.  Do not use taxpayer money for Planned Parenthood.
  10. Refrain from banning or restricting us from using certain products like incandescent light bulbs, straws, grocery bags, soda, and shower heads with good water pressure.

These are all things that Democrats have tried to dictate in the past.  If they truly want unity this list would be a solid first step.  Instead of using tyrannical power to control those of us who disagree with them, try going back to our founding vision of liberty.  It’s the least they can do after Republicans did it for them the last four years. 

Is President Trump Our King Josiah?

As President Trump leaves the White House I have been contemplating his similarities with another great leader who challenged the status quo and “drained the swamp.”  The biblical king, Josiah, was the last good king of Israel’s southern kingdom of Judah before they were defeated by the Babylonians and taken into captivity. 

Both the United States and Judah had gone downhill quite a ways after some downright bad leaders who “did evil in the sight of the Lord.”  Don’t get me wrong, both nations also had some good leaders, except that they failed to roll back all of the evil policies of the bad rulers.  When reading through the books of Kings and Chronicles you begin to notice a pattern arise where the good kings usually had one fatal flaw mentioned.  It seemed to always be described like it was here with King Jotham:

And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord; he did according to all that his father Uzziah had done.  However the high places were not removed; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. – 2 Kings 15:34-35

These high places were generally set up in Israel by the bad kings and were used for pagan worship and idolatry.  Even the few kings who “did what was right in the sight of the Lord” failed to remove the high places, with two exceptions:  King Hezekiah and his great-grandson King Josiah. 

It made me wonder why the other good kings allowed the high places even though it was obviously wrong.  Then it struck me.  It’s for the same reason that our good presidents have not reversed the immoral policies of our bad presidents.  They knew that many people would not like it and they lacked the political courage to follow through.  There was probably a lot of political pressure by the people who worshipped and sacrificed at the high places, and even the good kings bowed to that pressure. 

Kings Hezekiah and Josiah did not.  They both had the backbone to stand up for what was right and removed the high places from the land.  In the United States, conservatives have been frustrated because even when we elect good leaders they have lacked the courage to do what is right.  Like Hezekiah and Josiah, President Trump has not.  Here are some of his landmark accomplishments:

  • The first wicked king of Judah was Solomon’s son Reheboam.  When he became king the people came to him and said, “Your father made our yoke heavy; now therefore, lighten the burdensome service of your father and his heavy yoke which he put on us, and we will serve you.” (1 Kings 12:4)  In other words, regulations.  The government was forcing them to do too much and interfering with their lives.  Reheboam took the bad advice of his friends and responded, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scourges!” (1 Kings 12:14)  Our bad presidents have greatly increased the bone crushing regulatory burden on the people.  Our good presidents, like George W. Bush and his father, said they were for smaller government but did not actually lessen regulations.  President Trump did.  He made a guideline that for every new regulation, two had to be removed.  This led to a booming economy and record low unemployment.
  • Both good and bad presidents have said that we should recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move our embassy there.  None of them had the guts to actually do it.  President Trump did.
  • Speaking of Israel, President Obama greatly damaged our relationship with God’s chosen people and our greatest ally.  He treated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with contempt.  His administration chastised Israel for defending themselves.  He backstabbed them and allowed them to be attacked in the United Nations.  Most notably, he put Israel in grave danger by appeasing Iran and making a deal to remove sanctions against them and give them billions of dollars without even forcing them to end their nuclear program.  President Trump was the most pro-Israel president of my lifetime and maybe ever.  He defended Israel in the United Nations, acknowledged their sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and ended the appeasement of Iran by pulling out of the dangerous Iran Nuclear Deal.  He was even able to broker peace deals between Israel and Bahrain, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates.
  • About ten years ago my health insurance started to rise precipitously in price.  President Obama had forced through the government monstrosity now known as Obamacare, which also took away our freedom with regards to our healthcare decisions.  President Trump eliminated the individual mandate, taking the teeth out of Obamacare and giving individuals back more control of their healthcare.
  • After years of weak defense of our nation’s borders, President Trump was able to get over 400 miles of wall built.
  • There is one rule that is repeated in each of the first five books of the Bible; that murderers should be put to death.  The federal government has failed in this responsibility, as only 3 murderers had been executed between 1963 and 2020.  President Trump has enforced the death penalty for murderers again, with 13 federal executions being carried out in the last year.
  • Good presidents and candidates have been lied about and vilified by our biased and corrupt media for decades, frustrating millions of Americans because previous presidents just took the abuse.  President Trump fought back and constantly called out the media for their unfairness and propaganda.
  • One of the great reforms of King Josiah is found in 2 Kings 23:10.  “And he defiled Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or daughter pass through the fire to Molech.”  To make your child pass through the fire meant to sacrifice them to the Moabite god Molech.  This evil practice was not only allowed to happen in Israel by the wicked kings, but kings Ahaz and Manasseh actually sacrificed their own sons.  The United States has a similar practice that is protected by the wicked presidents:  abortion.  Unfortunately, even our good presidents have been inept at curtailing this evil act.  President Trump has stepped up to the plate and defended babies.  He was the first president to attend the March for Life.  He has found a way to block funding for Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the country.  Most importantly, he has appointed three pro-life Supreme Court Justices.

You may be wondering why I chose Josiah to compare President Trump to instead of Hezekiah since they both stood up against the status quo and removed the high places, and I have two reasons.  First, Hezekiah came earlier and that leads me to compare him to another great president who upset the apple cart, President Reagan.  Second, Josiah was only 8 years old when he became king, and President Trump does tend to speak without much tact like a kid might.  It is disappointing that too many people couldn’t get past that lack of tact, because like King Josiah, he may be the last great president we ever have.  Thank you, President Trump, for making us great again.

Can We Trust Our Elections? Grading Each State

There should be an area of agreement between all reasonable people in the United States.  For our country to survive we must be able to trust the integrity of our elections.  If elected officials are abusing their power like they are in places like California right now, we need to have the ability to vote those people out of office or else there is no check against tyranny.  When dishonest politicians are able to steal elections, they will. 

Both Democrats and Republicans say that they want honest and fair elections.  Both parties have complained about the integrity of our recent and upcoming elections.  Unfortunately, they have different ideas about what is taking away the trust in our elections.  We heard a lot from Democrats about Russian interference in the 2016 election.  In fact, they have spent much of the last 4 years investigating it over and over again.  Many of you may wonder how they allege that the Russians changed the outcome in 2016.  Did they somehow hack our voting systems and change the vote counts?  Did they fly in Russians to swing states where they cast illegal votes?  No.  The alleged Russian interference is that they said mean things about Hillary Clinton on Facebook.  While that may be frustrating to Hillary fans, it does not actually make it easier for anybody to cast fraudulent votes.  Plus, how many of you would change your vote because some stranger said something mean on Facebook?

Republicans ask a different question about voting that we should all agree is important.  Do we know who is casting the votes in our elections and that no shenanigans are happening with those votes?  If we don’t it opens the door to voter fraud, stolen elections, and the end of our government of the people, by the people, and for the people.  Do not fall for the media line that very few people get convicted of voter fraud so nobody does it.  That’s like saying a Las Vegas club that doesn’t check ID’s has no underage people inside because no underage people got caught. 

How can we be more confident about who is voting and that they are correctly counted?  The only way to be sure is to require in person voting, on Election Day, with matching photo ID to verify that the person is who they say they are.  It’s easy and it’s common sense.  Unfortunately, not everybody wants to have honest elections. 

Each state sets up their own election laws, so some are far more reliable than others.  Some are unwisely pushing for mail-in voting, with nobody there to verify that the person who filled out the ballot is the actual person that the ballot belongs to, and with no guarantee that the ballot will be delivered or counted.  In fact, there is already an investigation into military mail-in ballots that were apparently opened and thrown into the garbage in Pennsylvania.  The only time a mail-in ballot should be accepted is for overseas military personnel.  All 50 states now allow some form of mail-in voting, so nobody gets a perfect score on preventing voter fraud, but some states at least have a few precautions set up. 

Unfortunately, other states not only lack rules to prevent election shenanigans, but they come up with ideas to make cheating so easy that the Houston Astros wish they had thought of it.  “Ballot harvesting” is the shady practice of allowing a third party to collect ballots and deliver them to be counted.  This has all of the negatives of mail-in voting with the added problem of having partisan people targeting which ballots to bring in.  In California this practice caused congressional districts that had always voted one way to flip.  In many of the cases the returns had one candidate ahead at the end of election night only to swing wildly to the other side the next day.  Whenever the results from election night change like that it raises major red flags as to the integrity of those votes.

It’s pretty unbelievable, but some states do not even require you to show identification when you go to vote.  That means we have no idea who is casting votes in those states.  Here in California, if I walked into a polling place and said my name is Fred Johnson, then I’m Fred Johnson.  Apparently in Pennsylvania their Secretary of State said that they would not even throw out a ballot if the signature doesn’t match.

What we need is a report card to know which states have safe enough elections to trust the outcome.  Below you will find it, with a grade based on how many precautions are set up to make sure that each vote has been properly cast by the correct, legal voter. 

  StateVoting Only on Election DayVoting In Person OnlyID Required to Verify Who Is VotingBallot Harvesting and Other Notable Rules  Grade
    Alabama    YesNo, but an excuse is required    YesAbsentee ballots require witnesses and must be received before the close of polling    A
  Alaska  No  No  Yes, but non-photo ID acceptedA special needs voter can have a representative return a ballot  C  
    Arizona    No    No  Yes, but non-photo ID acceptedFamily member, household member, or caregiver can return ballots    C
  Arkansas  NoNo, but an excuse is required  YesBallot harvesting allowed, but limit two ballots per authorized agent  B
California  NoNo, and everyone receives a mailed ballot  NoBallot harvesting allowed  F
Colorado NoNo, all mail-in election NoBallot harvesting allowed F
  Connecticut  YesNo, but an excuse is required  Yes, but non-photo ID acceptedOthers can return votes for disabled voters, with restrictions   B
  DelawareYes, but early voting passed for 2022  NoID is requested, but voters can sign an affidavit to avoid showing IDUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed   D
  Florida  No  No  YesOthers can return votes for disabled voters, with restrictions  C
  Georgia   No  No  YesOthers can return votes for disabled voters, with restrictions  C
    Hawaii    NoNo, all mail-in electionID is requested, but voters can recite their date of birth and address insteadUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed    F
  Idaho  No  NoID is requested, but voters can sign an affidavit to avoid showing IDUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed  F
Illinois No No NoBallot harvesting allowed F
    Indiana    NoNo, but an excuse is required, and coronavirus is not a valid excuse    YesMail ballots must be received before the close of polling    B
  Iowa  No  NoYes, or another voter can vouch for their identityBallot harvesting allowed  D
Kansas No No YesBallot harvesting allowed D
  Kentucky  YesNo, but an excuse is required  YesOthers can return votes for disabled voter, with restrictions   A
    Louisiana    NoNo, but an excuse is required, and coronavirus is not a valid excuse ID is requested, but voters can sign an affidavit to avoid showing IDMail ballots require a witness signature and must be received before the close of polling    B
  Maine  No  No  NoBallot harvesting allowed, but limited to five at a time  F
Maryland No No NoBallot harvesting allowed F
    Massachusetts    No    No    NoBallots may be delivered by a family member or from a healthcare facility    F
      Michigan      No      NoID is requested, but voters can sign an affidavit to avoid showing IDFamily member or certified election assistant can deliver ballots.  Ballots must be received by 6 pm on Election Day    D
  Minnesota  No  No   NoDesignated agent can return up to three ballots  F
   Mississippi    YesNo, but an excuse is required      YesUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed.  Mail ballots require witnesses and must be received before the close of polling    B
    Missouri     Yes      No    Yes, but non-photo is acceptedBallots can be returned by a family member or a team of election authorities and require witness signatures    B
    Montana    No    No    Yes, but non-photo is acceptedLaw limited who could return ballots and only six per person, but a judge has held up the law    D
    Nebraska  No  No  NoOthers can return up to two ballots except for campaign workers   D
  Nevada  NoNo, and everyone receives a mailed ballot  NoBallots may be returned by a family member  F
New Hampshire    YesNo, but an excuse is requiredIf ID is not presented, the voter signs a challenged voter affidavit and votes a regular ballot. After the election a mailing is sent and the voter must sign and return it; if it is not returned, the voter will be investigated for voter fraud.Family members, nursing home staff, and residential care staff can return up to four ballots which must be received before the close of polling    B   
  New Jersey  NoNo, and everyone receives a mailed ballot  NoAn authorized messenger can return up to three ballots  F
  New Mexico  No  No  NoA caregiver or immediate family member can return ballots F
  New York  NoNo, but an excuse is required  NoUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed   F
North Carolina    No    NoNo, although a voter ID law was passed by voters, it was blocked by an Obama appointed judge. Ballots require witness signature and may be returned by a near relative or legal guardian    F
 North Dakota    No    No    YesOthers can deliver up to four ballots, cannot be a candidate or be compensated    C
  Ohio  No  NoYes, but non-photo is acceptedBallots can be returned by a family member   D
 Oklahoma    No    No  Yes, but non-photo is acceptedCopy of ID, notarized ballot, or two witness signatures required    C
Oregon NoNo, all mail-in election NoBallot harvesting allowed F
      Pennsylvania      No      No      NoIf voter becomes too sick to vote a representative, deputy sheriff or constable can deliver an emergency absentee ballot    F
  Rhode Island  No  No  YesUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed  D
South Carolina    YesNo, but an excuse is required, and coronavirus is not a valid excuse      YesBallots may be returned by others except candidates or paid campaign workers and require witness signatures    A
 South Dakota     No       NoID is requested, but voters can sign an affidavit to avoid showing IDPhoto ID required for a mail ballot.  An authorized messenger may deliver ballots, but if more than one they must notify the person in charge of the election   D      
  Tennessee      NoNo, and a judge ordered them to allow no-excuse absentee voting      YesUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed    D
    Texas     NoNo, but an excuse is requiredPhoto ID requested. Voters who do not possess an acceptable form of photo ID and cannot obtain one, may present a supporting form of ID and execute a Reasonable Impediment DeclarationPhoto ID required for a mail ballot.  A household member, relative or person lawfully assisting a voter who is disabled or cannot read the ballot may return the mail ballot    C
  Utah  NoNo, all mail-in election  NoUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed  F
  Vermont  NoNo, and everyone receives a mailed ballot  NoUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed  F
    Virginia    No        No    Yes, but non-photo acceptedWitness signature required for mail ballots.  A designated representative can return ballot for a voter who is incapacitated or hospitalized    C
  Washington  NoNo, all mail-in election  NoUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed   F
 West Virginia  NoNo, but an excuse is requiredYes, or be identified by a poll workerAnyone can return up to two ballots  B
  Wisconsin      No      No      YesUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed. Photo ID required for a mail ballot and witness signature required    C
  Wyoming  No  No  NoUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed  F

Censorship, Vegas, and Convention Craziness

This is my first article in a few weeks because as you might know, I’ve been busy working on getting my new book, The God Bet, released.  The premise of the book is that I will bet anybody a million dollars on which party God would vote for.  It is getting good reviews, but so far I have been unable to add it to my “shop” page on Facebook.  They rejected it and you won’t believe why.  Here is the reason that they sent me: 

“It looks like we didn’t approve your item because we don’t allow the sale of adult items or services (ex: sexual enhancement items, adult videos).”

Now, here is a link to the book.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/1735532916

As you can see, there are no sexual enhancement items or adult videos related to the book cover.  As most of you probably know, the cover is taken from Michelangelo’s famous painting The Creation of Adam, which is on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.  It depicts God reaching down to give life to Adam, but on my book cover God is reaching out to cast a vote on stone tablets for the party He would support.  There is a butt in the painting but it is entirely artistic and non-sexual.  In fact, when I looked at the community standards that Facebook has posted it shows a bunch of examples of sexually suggestive pictures that are unacceptable, and then a picture that they say is artistic so it is acceptable.  The acceptable example; a picture of Michelangelo’s nude sculpture of David. 

The other thing that kept me busy this week was a trip to Las Vegas to visit some friends.  It was very interesting to see how the casinos and the people inside were reacting to a disease that is only slightly more likely to kill you than a sharknado.  The good news is that nobody was afraid of the coronavirus.  People were mingling with each other, dancing together at the bar with a live band, high fiving, gambling, and drinking together.  There was only one fear going around Vegas and I agree that we need to fight to end it.  The real disease to fear is government licensure.  You see, the way that the government controls businesses and takes away freedom is by issuing licenses to conduct business and then threatening to take those licenses away if they don’t do exactly what the government wants.  This is why so few restaurants and bars are able to stand up to the government and open without restrictions.  If they do, many states threaten to take away their liquor licenses, and most of their profits come from liquor sales.  Proponents say that licensing is to protect the consumer, but in reality the free market already does that.  If there really was a disease worth being afraid of and you opened your business, people would voluntarily stay away.  Think about it.  If there was a business that said they were open to people with ebola, would you need the government to take away a license to keep people away?  No.  And I doubt there was ever a very long waiting list to vacation at a leper colony.

The funny thing is, the people who actually push for licensing are the people who are already in those lines of work.  As the brilliant economist Milton Friedman said, “If the real true function of licensing was to protect the consumers, you’d expect the consumers to be lobbying for licensure, but you will discover that it’s always the plumbers or the beauticians or the morticians… there isn’t an occupation you can name that hasn’t been down to the Statehouse trying to get licensure.”  Why would businesses want licensing?  Because it is a barrier to entry, so it keeps out competition.  Less competition lets those who are already in control stay in control.  The people who are hurt by licensure are competitors wanting to enter an industry and the consumers.  In Las Vegas, the consumers are hurt right now because the casinos are afraid of losing their gaming licenses, so they are forced to require a bunch of silly rules.  The one I thought was funny was that to walk through the hotels and casinos they required that you wear a mask, but if you were smoking you could keep the mask down.  In a related story, I now smoke three packs a day. 

The other big thing that happened this week was the Democratic Convention.  I must admit, I didn’t watch it.  I already knew what they were going to say.  Trump is bad.  Then the media would fawn over each speaker.  I do have 2 observations, though.  First, the media narrative that Republicans are turning on the president because John Kasich spoke is ridiculous.  John Kasich spoke because he has a fragile ego and President Trump hurt his feelings 4 years ago when he beat him in the primaries.  All his speech shows is that his hurt feelings are more important to him than his principles.  He claims to be pro-life, but if he’s supporting Joe Biden he is not.  He claims to be a fiscal conservative, but if he supports Joe Biden he is not.  He has completely lost any respect from conservatives.  If he had any backbone he would handle it differently.  Ted Cruz, for example, has proven that he actually cares more about doing what is right than his ego.  President Trump ripped on Senator Cruz relentlessly during the primaries 4 years ago.  I’m sure his feelings were hurt by some of the brutal personal attacks, but Senator Cruz cares more about America than holding personal grudges, and has put the campaign behind him and become a strong ally of the president in conservative policies.  I have gained a lot of respect and confidence in Cruz.  John Kasich should toughen up and stop crying about sour grapes from 2016.

The second observation is that the Democrats actually did it.  They nominated a guy that they admitted was corrupt just months ago.   It wasn’t even the Republicans who were accusing Biden of being corrupt.  It was his own party, the same Democrats who just picked him to top their ticket.  You may not remember it because that isn’t how they framed it in the media.  They framed it this way.  “President Trump should be impeached because he tried to gain an advantage over his future political opponent, Joe Biden, by asking Ukraine to investigate him.”  Think about what that’s saying.  If Joe Biden didn’t do anything wrong, how would it be an advantage to President Trump to clear him?  It wouldn’t.  The only way it would be an advantage is if an investigation would uncover corruption.  Democrats can’t have it both ways.  Either they are saying that they impeached the president for trying to clear their candidate of wrongdoing, which doesn’t make sense, or they’re saying that their candidate is corrupt.  Yet they chose him as their best.  Remember that when you vote.

Free Market Solutions to Big Government Bullies

Big government is bad whether my side is in charge or the other guys are. 

We as conservatives should try not to use the government as a sledgehammer to force people to do what we want like Democrats do.  They want us to stay home and close our restaurants; they use the government, and threats to take away liquor licenses to strong arm those restaurants.  They want a baker or a florist to participate in a same-sex wedding; they use government threats and fines to force them to go against their religious beliefs.  They want “free” healthcare, college, or whatever else they think they can promise for votes; they use the government to confiscate money from people to pay for it.

Conservatives should not become authoritarian tyrants like those on the left.  We should be true to our principles and keep the government out of people’s lives as much as possible.  Instead of wielding government power to get our way, I suggest we use imaginative free market ways to fight for our side when we can.  I have a few suggestions.

1. This is an idea for Christians who still want to work in the wedding industry.  Bakers, florists and musicians have been targeted by bullies who cannot tolerate anyone who does not agree with them or does not do exactly what they want.  The most publicized of these instances was Jack Phillips, the baker in Colorado who politely declined to make a cake for a same-sex wedding because of religious convictions.  In true leftist fashion, the couple ran to the government to compel Phillips to bake cakes for same-sex weddings.  He had to fight the government all the way up to the Supreme Court where, fortunately, he prevailed. 

There are certainly times to fight in court and I am thrilled that Jack Phillips was victorious, but my solution would keep the government out of it and instead use the freedom to choose.  I suggest simply putting in place a policy that says this:

“A percentage of the profits from all same-sex weddings will be donated in the name of the couple to charity.  They may choose between Alliance Defending Freedom, Family Research Council, or Focus on the Family.”

2. The loss of liberty we have experienced in 2020 is unprecedented in the United States.  The government has locked us in our homes, taken our jobs, closed our businesses, cancelled our sports and entertainment, and even stopped us from seeing a friendly smile to brighten our day. 

This is a very urgent fight right now, and it has to be done through the free market in places like California because big government Democrats control every part of the government.  The method of attack is pretty clear.  Businesses have to fight the government every step of the way and we, the customers, have to support them by frequenting the places that are fighting.  In fact, in May I started a fundraiser through my blog for people to donate to businesses that opened up against the lockdown orders.  Last week my friends and I went down and presented a check to Jeff Gourley, the owner of Nomads Canteen, which was the first restaurant in Orange County to open up back in May.  If you want to donate, click here and we will give it to another deserving business who is standing up for our freedom. 

3. When Colin Kaepernick started slandering our police as racists who go to work looking for black people to murder and NFL players all around the league jumped on board with that lie I anticipated a problem.  How was I going to show my disapproval?  The obvious answer was to stop watching NFL games, but I dismissed that solution because I could see it leading to quite a moral dilemma for me down the road.  You see, consistency is very important to me.  I could handle boycotting the NFL because football is not one of my top priorities, but baseball is my life, and what would I do when some brain-dead baseball player decided to kneel during the national anthem? 

Then it came to me.  It was such a brilliant alternative that I think we should try to make it a movement.  These kneeling players wanted to make a difference, so I thought of a way to let them know that they did.  I vowed on social media that for every cop hating player who kneels for the anthem I will donate $1 in their name to President Trump’s re-election campaign fund.  Today I am fulfilling that promise by donating $212 to President Trump’s campaign.   It took some research but the best lists I found showed 211 NFL players who joined in on the anthem protests.  I intend to tweet every player that I can find to let them know about their contribution. 

Oh yeah.  You might be wondering about that extra dollar.  It is for Bruce Maxwell, the only Major League Baseball player who knelt during the national anthem.  He is no longer in the league, not because of his protest, but because he might have trouble hitting off of some of the Little Leaguers I train.

 

 

Following Up

This is a quick update to my previous article, “This is Tyranny but What Can We Do?” In it, we started a GoFundMe for businesses that were willing to open up and fight for our freedom. This Thursday we went down to Nomads Canteen in San Clemente, the first Orange County restaurant that opened up back in May, and presented the money we raised to owner Jeff Gourley. This is a picture of me with Jeff after giving him the check. The food is great, too, so go check it out!

The fundraiser is still up and there are other businesses who fought and are still fighting, so if you would like to help them you can donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/bt6qz-reopen-america

Father’s Day in California

Have you ever had the feeling you were on some kind of a hidden camera show?  One of those times where everything around you seems so ridiculous that you think somebody is just messing with you for laughs?  This Sunday was one of those days for me. 

My day started out normal.  Well, not normal.  A normal Sunday would begin with me going to church.  Since apparently they had it wrong in 1776 that liberty is endowed by our creator and we no longer have the freedom to attend church without a mask, I watched the service on my computer.  It was after church that things started to get weird. 

Sunday was Father’s Day and my dad picked his favorite pizza place for lunch, so I said I would drive up and meet them there.  I parked my car and saw theirs so I knew they were already inside the restaurant.  When I walked in an employee rushed over and stopped me. 

“They’re already seated,” I said as I walked towards the tables. 

“You need to put on a mask,” he replied. 

“I don’t have one,” I said. 

He persisted, “You have to have one on until you get to the table.  Here, we have some for you to use,” as he grabbed a box on the counter. 

Two thoughts crossed my mind in the next couple of seconds.  First, I thought about how completely gullible and illogical so many people are to go along with this.  Apparently, if I walk 20 feet to a table without wearing a mask, everybody in the restaurant will be dead.  Yet, if I get to the table, remove the mask, and eat for an hour, then everything will be fine.  Insanity.  The other thought was that my family is going to make fun of me but I have to do the right thing.  We can’t let the bad guys win.  “Never mind,” I said, and I turned around and walked out.

I think my dad was annoyed, amused, and proud at the same time.  When he came out to walk down to the bakery to get dessert I was sitting on a bench outside.  I walked with him. 

“We missed you at lunch,” he said. 

“Yeah, me too,” I answered.  “You know why I’m like this?  Why I stand up for what I believe like that?”

“McDonald’s?” Dad asked.

“Yep,” I said, and he busted out laughing.

You see, when I was a kid my mom would occasionally take us to McDonald’s because they were the first fast food place to put in a playground.  In August of 1987 Joan Kroc, widow of Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s, made a $1 million contribution to the Democratic National Committee.  At the time it was the largest single contribution to the party ever.  Dad heard about Kroc’s donation and banned us from going to McDonald’s until George Bush defeated Michael Dukakis a year later.  We gave my dad a hard time about that for years.  Now look at me, Dad!

Side note:  As a general rule, I don’t like to boycott businesses for disagreeing with me politically except under certain circumstances.  I think it’s a bad precedent to set to make everything about politics.  For example, I still eat Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.  I like it.  Plus I get a kick out of the fact that two Vermont leftists got rich because of free market capitalism.

After lunch we went to my parent’s house and watched Hondo, the John Wayne western.  Then dinner was even more entertaining than lunch.  My parents, my sister’s family, and I went to a Mexican restaurant.  My parents and I arrived first and I ordered a margarita.  When my drink came out I was disappointed to find one of those awful paper straws in it.  You know the ones.  They make whatever you’re drinking taste like cardboard and then they get soggy and mushy.  So far not funny, just annoying.  Then I noticed my mom’s iced tea had a real, plastic straw in it.  I asked the waitress, “Can I please get a real straw like hers?”  I couldn’t tell if she had a look of confusion on her face because, well, she was wearing a mask, but she walked off for my straw.  A minute later she returned to our table with two straws.  Two more PAPER straws!  I was not wearing a mask so I’m sure everyone could see the perplexed look on my face.  Was she messing with me?  Did she not understand me?  Was Ashton Kutcher hiding around the corner? 

“No.  I meant a real straw.  Like that one,” I said as I pointed at my mom’s tea. 

She looked at me blankly, followed by some unintelligible mumbling from beneath her mask about not having any.  I asked if that was the last one in my mom’s drink.  She mumbled again, nodded, and walked away.  My family laughed hysterically because I was so confused.  I glanced around again for Ashton Kutcher.  Nowhere.  Oh well.  I guess Mom had gotten the last real straw. 

A minute later the waitress brought my nephew his water because he had gotten there a little later.  My Dad said, “Hey Steve, look at his straw.”  Sure enough, in my nephew’s glass was a real, plastic straw.  Laughter ensued.  Ashton Kutcher never popped out.

This is Tyranny but What Can We Do?

In the 1995 Best Picture winner Braveheart, William Wallace rallies his troops with a speech that seems very fit for the time we live in right now.  Early in the film William knows that the English are bad, but when they murder his young wife he knows he has to do something.  He has to fight.  We in America, and especially in the blue states like where I am in California, are at that point now.  Our jobs and businesses have been taken by the government.  Our ability to meet freely with people has been taken by the government.  Our sports and entertainment have been taken by the government.  If we want our freedom back we have to stand up and fight back.  The big question I have been asked is, “How? What can we do?”  Fortunately, I have come up with multiple, specific actions you can take to help us regain our freedom, and they are much easier actions than the Scots had to take against the English.

  1. Vote for candidates who promote small government.  The lesson to be learned from this should not be to trust one party’s politicians to control our lives.  The lesson should be that we should not trust the government to control our lives no matter who is in power.  Our country was set up to restrain the government, not to restrain the people.  The people themselves will disagree on things.  The question to ask is, “what do you think should happen when someone disagrees with you?”  If the answer is, “use the government to force them to do what I want,” then that is a problem.  The answer should be, “let them disagree with me and live how they want.”  Our goal should not be to force people to do what we want.  Our goal should be freedom.
  2. Go to church.  People need God, and people need community.
  3. Open your business.  If you are a business owner you have the most at stake.  You have worked hard all of your lives to open a restaurant or store and should be allowed to succeed if people like your product or service.  Take Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s example.  He just opened up his factory in Fremont, California, tweeting, “I will be on the line with everyone else.  If anyone is arrested I ask that it only be me.”
  4. Support businesses that open up!  This is where the rest of us can help, and I promise you it can be fun.  You don’t even have to be able to afford a Tesla, although if you can, go for it!  I have been to Nomad’s Canteen in San Clemente three times since owner Jeff Gourley reopened last week against government orders.  Gourley is a friendly guy who told us about how he got his chicken recipe from a local while he was living in Belize.  The food is fantastic and the people are even better!  This is the most important thing to do right now.  It will make a difference and here’s why.  The line to get into Nomad’s was all the way out to the street.  The first weekend they were open there were so many customers that they sold out of almost everything on the menu and had to close again for a few days.  When other businesses see lines of people eager to spend money they will want in on the action.  More and more places will open.  When people see that all of us are out and surviving, the floodgates will open and we the people will win. 
  5. The first restaurant that I heard about that opened up against government orders was Café El Dorado near Sacramento, California.  I considered driving up there to show my support but it would be about 16 hours round trip.  That gave me my next idea.  For those of you who cannot make it to San Clemente or Sacramento, CA, or Castle Rock, Colorado to eat, or to Auburn, CA or Owosso, Michigan to get your hair cut, but want to show your support for the brave business owners and their employees who are trying to bring freedom back to our land, I have started a GoFundMe so that you can make a donation that will be given to those establishments that stand up against tyranny and open up.  Not a penny will go into my pocket and I will post receipts on this blog so that you can see exactly where the donations are going.  Also, if you donate and know of a business that has opened up, let me know in the comments or send me a message.  The more money that is donated, the more people we can support! 
  6. If you are scared, stay home.  In fact, you should stay home forever because there are a lot of things outside that can kill you.  As of this writing, 1 out of every 3,865 people in America have died of coronavirus.  I don’t want to scare you panicky people, but according to numbers from the National Safety Council, 1 out of 106 people will die in a car accident.  1 in 111 will die in a fall.  You can be killed in a gun assault; 1 in 298.  Or getting hit by a car as a pedestrian; 1 in 541.  You may drown; 1 in 1,121.  You don’t even have to leave your house to choke on food; 1 in 2,618, so you should certainly switch to a liquid diet just to be on the safe side.  There’s even a 1 in 118,776 chance you will be killed by a dog.  It’s a dangerous world out there.  Stay home!  Besides, I like that there’s no traffic.

Now you have no excuses.  The challenge is out there and you know what you can do.  Here is the link to the “Reopen America” GoFundMe page: www.gofundme.com/bt6qz-reopen-america    

And remember…  “They may take our lives, but they will never take our freedom!”

Update: Gavin Newsom has ordered ABC to start revoking liquor licenses of businesses who open up. Nomad’s is closed while they pursue legal action against King Newsom. We need to fight more than ever!