Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Day I Changed My Mind...

I was 16, I believe. It was the summer of 1981, and I was a rising Junior in High School. I had been saved for not quite a year, and as a teenager, influenced by the pop culture of that time and the [already liberal] public education system, I thought I knew "TV Preachers" like Jerry Falwell.

I thought I understood issues like abortion, School prayer and the like. Still, as I was visiting my Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Kenneth's house, I was flipping through the 5 or 6 channels on the dial (no remotes for the Middle Class "regular folks" back then) to see what was on.

I came across the Reverend Jerry Falwell, preaching, according to the screen, at some church out in Dallas, Texas I believe. He stood at the podium, emphasizing his point, quoting his text, passionately calling for his large crowd of hearers to consider, to ponder the subject at hand.

I'm sure a smirk crossed my face. It was the kind of smirk a teenager gets when he [or she] already knows it all, and is looking forward to a good laugh.

I don't remember Dr. Falwell's subject, or the Scripture he was quoting. I DO remember that he was saying something about Jesus Christ, and that in Him God showed His love, and offered His salvation. Just then, the shadow of a man obscured the view of the camera, and he yelled something -- perhaps obscenities, perhaps protests -- I couldn't tell what. At the same moment, the intruder threw something at Falwell. Even I was shocked.

Falwell stepped back surprised as the object hit him, as I recall, in the left chest and shoulder. It was a pie. A cream pie. As security gaurds tackled the protester and led him away, Dr. Falwell stepped back up to the pulpit, removed his jacket, smiled, and said "that's okay folks. It needed to be cleaned anyway." To thunderous applause, Dr. Falwell continued on, preaching the Gospel without missing a beat.

I thought I had Falwell pegged. I thought this guy was the stereotypical, holier-than-thou preacher I heard about in my school, in the media, even in my church. But Falwell's reaction -- Christlike in attitude and disposition -- made an impression on me that I couldn't forget.

I started listening to Dr. Falwell. I started praying for Dr. Falwell. Soon, I was agreeing with Dr. Falwell. I became a member of Moral Majority and supported it for almost a decade. I listened to his "Old Time Gospel Hour." I grew to respect Jerry Falwell, and a minister, and as a man.

In January, 1985, at the Students For America national convention meeting during the second Reagan Inauguration, I had the pleasure of sitting at the head table for a banquet, with Dr. Falwell, and my Senator at the time, Jesse Helms. I had the opportunity to share the previous story with Dr. Falwell. I remember his smile, and what I perceived to be humility. His acknowledgement was a simple, "thank you." Someone later that evening -- I think it was Ralph Reed, who at that time was the National Chairman of SFA -- told me that Dr. Falwell had really been touched by my story. But I was the better for it.

Now, I didn't agree with him on every issue. Most of the time I got frustrated that he was too quick to apologize when he was right about something he commented on. Once in a while, I asked, "Dr. Falwell, did you have to talk about THAT?"

My respect for Dr. Falwell, however, never waned. He was one of the most stalwart evangelists I've ever known. I don't ever recall a time that he compromised the Gospel message even a little bit. And he always shared the love of Christ, even while telling the truth of God's Word about the critical issues of our day.

From that day, as a teenager and a young believer and American, I found a respect for Jerry Falwell that grew over the years -- and an appreciation for his prophetic and evangelistic zeal that has never wavered.

I'm profoundly glad that my respect and appreciation for Dr. Falwell -- like his soul, now present with His Lord -- will not end in his death, nor lessen in eternity.

J. Dale Weaver, M. Div.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Who Will Get the 2008 GOP Nod -- and Why Do We Care NOW?!

I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat. I left the Republican Party in 1996 after the party refused to stand up to Comrade Clinton in the budget battle (and just about everything else).

I vote for the person -- usually A Republican, sometimes third party or write-in, RARELY a Democrat (and only in a local race so far).

Frankly, it's too early to even consider who I'll definitely be supporting for President in November 2008. When I was a kid, campaigning for President didn't begin until the YEAR OF the election. Now, the 24/7 drive-by media have made elections a 24/7/365 thing. It's awful and doesn't serve our national interest.

I can say that there are some I would NEVER vote for. Examples: ANY DEMOCRAT. The Democrats are the allies of Al-Queda, the enemies of the Constitution, the party of death, and they are all around bad guys (and gals).

I COULD NOT vote for Guliani -- though I respect his leadership ability, I simply will not pull the lever for someone who is pro-homosexual unions/marriage, and who has said he'd write a check for his own daughter's abortion. Additionally, he carries far too much personal baggage like 3 marriages, 2 divorces, infidelity, etc.

Same for Newt. If he were to run, I don't mind most of his views -- He's a conservative. But his morals are atrocious. 3 marriages, 2 divorces, infidelity, etc. And I think that was used by the Clintonistas to blackmail him and keep him quiet while he was speaker of the House...

McCain...I respect his service to the country -- but I just don't LIKE the guy. AND, I don't TRUST him. He'll compromise with the Kennedy's in a heartbeat to make himself look good. He has generally been conservative (with NOTABLE exceptions such as McCain-Feingold), and I won't say NO NEVER...But, not so much....

Romney...At least his personal life is "clean." Of course, He's a Mormon. Not that there's anything wrong with that.... Seriously, I find his sudden "change of heart" on abortion too convenient to believed, at least at this point. And, he raised taxes and grew Government in Mass while Governor. Again, I won't say NO NEVER...But, no, not so much here either...

Tancredo...I LOVE his stance on the border issue. Other than that I see him as a grandstander out to promote himself -- even at the expense of the war effort and our CURRENT CIC. He might do as Secy of Interior or even Homeland Security, but President...? Not NO NEVER, but not likely either.

Hunter...LOVE the guy. Been a faithful and strong conservative for a lot of years. Right on life, the border issue, supporting the war, etc. He's from California -- which is an automatic strike against him LOL Too close to Hollywood! I would vote for him and feel comfortable in doing so.

Brownback...generally Conservative -- but dead wrong on the border issue. His home state Kansas is set to benefit big time by buildning that "Trans-American Corridor" which will flood our nation with illegals, terrorists and heaven knows what else. I just don't think I could punch his chad on the election ticket...

Huckabee...Again, I like the guy. Conservative -- right on life and moral issues, ran Arkansas well -- that's saying something after Herr Clinton and his Jezebel left for Washington. On the same token, he raised taxes in the state in compromise with Democrats. That makes me consider putting him in the "Republicans who never learn" category...Still, I might be able to support him.

Fred Thompson is an unknown factor right now. Will he or won't he run? Though he has been divorced and Remarried (as was Reagan) there is no egregious or scandalous history morally. He is generally conservative. He was my Senator when I lived in Tennessee, and the biggest disappointment I had with him was in his failure to vote to convict Herr Clinton on the strongest charge of perjury in the impeachment hearings. I wrote him then and said he needed to return to acting, because I wouldn't vote for him again.... Well, he did return to acting, he didn't run for Senate again. Is he too close to Hollywood? Would he be too quick to compromise with the Democrats?... I MIGHT consider voting for him -- he looks better all around than most other candidates...

I guess we'll see. But, it's STILL too early for all this! I wish they wouldn't bother me til NEXT YEAR!