Divided We Fall

Divided We Fall

October 24, 2018

No one was hurt, but this morning's news that suspicious packages had been found at the addresses of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, CNN headquarters, and others was no less shocking. The idea that there could be more violence, more threats, more outbursts than we've already witnessed this election cycle is more than most Americans can bear. Now, two weeks out from midterm elections that stand to divide the country even more, most people want to know: when can we get back to being one nation again?

For weeks, we've watched tensions on both sides boil over, threatening our way of life and our political process. This is, very honestly, a dangerous time for us as a nation. When people live in fear simply for holding certain beliefs -- we've lost sight of what it means to be American. What happened today is horrifying, but it's also an opportunity -- if we take it -- for some honest soul-searching. We may have our differences and there is certainly room for disagreement and debate in our Republic -- in fact, that ability is what enables our experiment in self-government to work. But what there's no room for and what we can't tolerate is the terrorizing of our political opponents.

We all need to work to shut the door that leads to violence. And that starts by finding a way to communicate. Not by shouting at each other, but by starting to talk to one another. Obviously, feelings and emotions are running high. But 13 days before an election, we need to look at this from an eternal perspective -- recognizing that the help we're seeking isn't in Washington. It's in the hope and healing offered through faith in God -- the same faith that's sustained our nation for two and a half centuries in days much darker than this one. It's time to turn our attention there, to the One who reconciles -- regardless of color, age, party, or beliefs.

President Trump promised that "The safety of the American people is my highest and absolute priority." But there's a part we all have to play. As he said, "In these times, we have to unify, we have to come together and send one very clear, strong, unmistakable message that acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the United States of America."

The path forward is a civil one. We continue to pray that people on both sides will choose it. Most importantly, we lift up our nation, which desperately needs God's healing touch if we have any hope of rediscovering the mutual respect that makes America great. May the Lord help us to be reflective as a people about what's at stake and seek His hand as we navigate these difficult waters.

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Dodged Caravan: Dems Still Silent on Migrants

October 24, 2018

To some people, it's a mile-long crowd in the middle of Mexico, slowly snaking toward the U.S. border. To others, it's the perfect GOP campaign ad -- a living, breathing picture of where the Left's lawlessness has led. Regardless of which side you're on, the visual is daunting. Thousands of men, women, and children making their way northward, carrying flags, knapsacks, infants. They're determined to cross into the United States by whatever means necessary. And President Trump is just as determined to stop them.

For all the talk of who's behind the caravan, the plight of many of these migrants is real. A lot of them are fleeing truly desperate situations of poverty and corruption at home. Others are running for their lives. For them, the risk of being turned away at the border is greater than whatever horrors they left behind. But as much sympathy as the administration may have for their situation, America isn't just a nation of feelings. It's a nation of laws too. "To those who want to come here, come here legally," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged. "Legal immigration is the surest way to obtain the better life you're looking for here in the United States of America."

That's quite a contrast to Barack Obama, who treated U.S. immigration policy with the same disregard he had for every law that hindered his makeover of America. Under the previous administration, it was an open secret that claiming asylum was the surest way to get into the country, even illegally. That's exactly why President Trump wants to build a border wall, Dino Teppara points out in the Washington Examiner. "He knows that all someone has to do is get to the southern border, say the magic word 'asylum,' and they will essentially be given a free pass to the promised land. He also knows that with the way our court system treats asylum applicants once they are here, the odds are high that law enforcement and immigration personnel will never see that person again."

The caravan is a real-life snapshot of how broken our immigration system is. "For the most part," David Leonhardt writes in the New York Times, "Democrats have tried to avoid the issue." That's all but impossible now with more than 7,000 people marching toward our southern border. Some, the Department of Homeland Security just confirmed, with "significant criminal histories." For the Left, the options are not ideal. They can either agree to work with Republicans on a solution or admit what most of us have suspected all along: what they really want is to do away with immigration laws altogether.

"The smarter approach for Democrats," Leonhardt insists, "would be a few simple statements of the obvious, meant to display both realism and decency, along the lines of: This is a country of laws. We are not going to admit thousands of undocumented immigrants traveling in a caravan. We do not have open borders. But we are and have always been a country of compassion as well, and we are working with Mexican authorities to protect the safety of these men, women and children."

Instead, the voice voters hear is President Trump's, promising that "full efforts are being made to stop the onslaught of illegal aliens from crossing our Southern Border. People have to apply for asylum in Mexico first, and if they fail to do that, the U.S. will turn them away..." If Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador won't step in, "we will now begin cutting off, or substantially reducing, the massive foreign aid." That's leadership. And it's what at stake in this election. We can either be a nation ruled by laws -- or a nation ruled by mobs.

After eight years of Barack Obama, the world thinks America doesn't mean what it says. Now we have an administration committed to cleaning up the mess his lax enforcement left behind. As I've said before, lawlessness -- whether on our southern border or in the bathrooms of our children's schools -- threatens our safety and wellbeing. We know which side embraces the law and which side embraces the mob. So when you see the pictures of the caravan, think about what it represents -- and "Remember the midterms!"

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Feeding the Soul in Hurricane Country

October 24, 2018

America's had a little too much practice in the area of disaster relief -- especially lately. After two hurricanes tore through the South and East Coast, the devastation seems to be everywhere. In Florida and the Carolinas, there seem to be just miles of wasteland where people's homes and lives used to be. Until you've experienced it -- and I know some of us have -- you can't even imagine the feeling of helplessness.

As the storms have increased, though, so have the number of ministries committed to dealing with them. From local churches right on up to national organizations like Samaritan's Purse, groups are on the ground doing whatever they can to meet the needs of the hurting. One of those teams is being led by FRC's good friend and partner Pastor Mark Stermer of The Church International outside of Baton Rouge. After Hurricane Michael, his cooking team hit the road for the Florida panhandle at our request to aid the community of former Congressman Steve Southerland, which was nearly wiped out. This is how the body of Christ works -- we help each other and those around us who are in need.

On yesterday's "Washington Watch," we talked about how the area is recovering and what Americans can do to help. "It's still extreme devastation," he told me. "There are trees down everywhere. They do have the roads clean, so you can move around. There is some electricity coming back to this area. But a lot of places do not have it. Some of the military has moved in to help -- the Navy, Air Force. So, it's looking better -- it's gotten a lot better in the last week."

His team of 12 is cooking about 2,000 meals a day. And as someone who's been through it, he knows how powerful even a plate of food can be in the midst of a tragedy like this one. When I asked him what the need was, he said honestly:

"The need is people are tired. When people are tired, you can't just go out and buy food if you don't have cash because of the electricity being out. So... having a hot meal in your belly is a big need. There's also a big need for chainsaws -- cutting trees and moving them off of the yards and houses. When people show up... you and I both know... when they came to my house [in Louisiana after the flood], I had tears in my eyes. I was just so grateful that someone was there to help shoulder the load and help me get my life back straight."

When our home in Baton Rouge was under water and our family had to canoe out, I remember volunteers coming in to the area, almost like angels, to help. That's what the body of Christ is for -- helping people in their hour of need. As Mark and I have talked about before, the church needs to be prepared to reach out, both in prayer and tangible ways. We're grateful for Pastor Stermer and others who are sacrificing their time and energy to minister to the thousands of hurricane victims.

If you'd like to help him in his efforts there in Florida, you can. Just text "FRCRelief" to 91999. Every penny goes to supplies and relief efforts on the ground.

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

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