Over the weekend, the ISIS debate stretched from the shopping mall to the National Mall. While the President is busy finding the terrorists better jobs, most Americans wish he would just do his own -- and confront the threat he refuses to verbalize. The Obama administration, which seems to contract laryngitis whenever the subject of radical Islam is broached, is becoming a punch line to the very extremists it hopes to appease.
"If you can't admit the problem, you can't fix the problem," wrote a frustrated Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.). "We demand a leader who is going to spend less time criticizing America and more time hunting terrorists down and killing them." As the White House hides behind a foolish strategy of political correctness, an unchecked ISIS is growing bolder and more audacious by the day.
In a video released Saturday, Somalia Islamic extremists put a bulls-eye on Minneapolis's Mall of America. Warning that the Westgate Mall bombing in Kenya was just the beginning, a masked man from the Al Qaeda-linked group al-Shabab is trying to rally Islamists to attack American shopping malls. "If just a handful of mujahedeen fighters could bring Kenya to a complete standstill for nearly a week then imagine what a dedicated mujahedeen in the West could do to the American or Jewish-owned shopping centers across the world?... What if such an attack were to occur in the Mall of America in Minnesota? And all it takes is a man with firm determination ... so hurry up, hasten towards heaven and do not hesitate."
That's a serious threat, especially since the surrounding area of the Mall of America is home to the largest Somali population in the U.S. Unfortunately, the Obama administration is too preoccupied with "right-wing" extremists to focus on any real danger. Just days before this latest video was released, Homeland Security was trying persuade people that real threat isn't Muslim fanatics beheading innocents across the Middle East but anti-government groups in America.
In this administration's opinion, people who don't see the federal government as the answer to every problem are on par with religious savages who kill or torture to advance their agenda. "...federal and local law enforcement view the threat posed by right-wing domestic terrorists as 'equal to' or 'in some cases greater than' foreign-born Islamic terrorists, such as ISIS," officials insist. Maybe Homeland Security is afraid citizens will start following the example of the President and just ignore the laws they don't like. Either way, like its 2009 predecessor, DHS's report reads like a sick joke.
If this is the analysis we can expect from Homeland Security, no wonder Republicans aren't too concerned about letting the agency's funding expire. On Friday, the budget for DHS officially runs dry -- ending a short-term deal that both parties agreed to before Christmas. The goal was to revisit the debate over the President's executive amnesty order before funneling more money to the Department that would implement it. Now, weeks after the House passed a bill to extend the funding for everything except the absorption of five million illegal immigrants, the Senate is still at a standstill.
A vote on the new DHS budget has been blocked four times by Democrats, who still think they can get away with blaming Republicans for the partial shutdown that may result. Not so fast, say GOP leaders. "That amnesty program has now been declared illegal by a federal court, and so Senate Democrats should look very closely at this opinion and decide if they are willing to jeopardize national security, which is both reckless and irresponsible in order to try to hold DHS funding hostage," said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
Of course, the Left is playing to Americans' fears and suggesting that a brief shutdown would jeopardize U.S. security (which, ironically, is already jeopardized by this administration's political strategy). But the reality is, the majority of DHS employees (85%) would still be on the job as "essential employees." The Secret Service, Coast Guard, immigration services, and other key agencies would all be up and running regardless of what happens Friday. It's time for Congress to stop worrying about when it's funding DHS and start focusing on what it's funding there instead.
If it feels like the Left is preaching climate change, you're not alone. Even liberals think environmentalism is the new religion. Instead of saving souls, they're saving trees. From pipelines to polar bears, people have watched liberals elevate -- not just nature over God, but nature over man. Secretary of State John Kerry has been using his pulpit for global warming so much that he might as well be leading the EPA.
Ironically, his latest sermon came Friday at the swearing-in of the Ambassador-at Large for Religious Freedom. At an event about international religious liberty, leave it to Kerry to talk about the planet, not the persecuted. In introducing the newly appointed Rabbi David Saperstein, Kerry made sure to squeeze in a completely irrelevant political talking point on the environment.
"[W]e have been allies in trying to awaken the world to the dangers of climate change -- and let me just say that when it comes to the fundamental health of Earth, folks, we'd better stick to the Creator's original plan, because there is no Planet B."
If anything pulls back the curtain on this administration's mindset, this is it. While hundreds of thousands of Christians and religious minorities flee their homes, or worse, lose their lives, the chief diplomat of the United States is talking about global warming (on one of the coldest days of the year!). With people being marked for extinction, exactly who is Kerry saving the earth for?
Plenty of people know who Governor Scott Walker (R-Wisc.) is -- but what he believes is another story. The popular Wisconsin Republican is vaulting up the polls as a possible presidential contender, sparking plenty of questions about his real priorities. For the last few years, Governor Walker carefully avoided social issues, at one point even calling them a distraction.
Now, in trips to Iowa and abroad, the Wisconsin politician has taken great pains to emphasize the pro-life and pro-marriage themes that have been sorely lacking from his vocabulary. The New York Times feels the shift, and in an article today, suggests that this pivot to win the base's heart could just be a temporary dabble in social conservatism. The cracks in that strategy started to show on Saturday, when the Governor was asked whether he believed President Obama was a Christian. "I don't know," he replied. (His office later backtracked. "Of course, the Governor thinks the President is a Christian," they tried to explain.)
When the reporter went on to say that Obama liked to reference his faith, Walker said, "I've actually never talked about it, or I haven't read about it. I've never asked him that. You've asked me to make statements about people that I haven't had a conversation with about that. How (could) I say if I know either of you are a Christian." Then, the conversation took a surprising turn. Walker suggested the President's faith didn't matter. "To me, this is a classic example of why people hate Washington and, increasingly, they dislike the press," he fired back. "The things they care about don't even remotely come close to what you're asking about."
Unfortunately for Walker, the American people absolutely care about faith -- including the President's. When they see his administration abandon hundreds of thousands of persecuted Christians, or bring his own brand of hostility to bear on Christians here at home, it matters. The reality is, people want their politicians to recognize God. In Pew Research Center's latest polling on the issue, 41% of Americans say there has been "too little expression of religious faith by political leaders" (up four points since 2010). Seventy-two percent of the country thinks religion is losing its influence on public life -- and most don't think that's a good thing. If Governor Walker wants to woo Christian conservatives, he might start by recognizing faith's importance in the very profession he's in.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.