Vice President Mike Pence delivered the commencement address at Liberty University in Virginia on Saturday. I urge every Christian in America to watch this speech. Share it with your children and grandchildren.
The vice president and his wife are very committed believers. Pence's speech was based on an idea that would not have been true at any other time in America's history until relatively recently.
It boils down to this: The days of easy Christianity in America are over.
People of faith have shaped this country since its founding. But sometime in the last century, things slowly began to change. That change accelerated during the Obama presidency, as the government tried to force Christian groups to be complicit in things that our faith teaches we cannot be part of, including the destruction of innocent unborn life.
Thankfully, the current administration is reversing many of those policies.
But there's a more pernicious trend that's unrelated to the government. Until recently, being known as a good Christian was an advantage in your career, a signal that you were someone deserving of trust and respect.
Pence warned the young Christian graduates at Liberty University that their faith may cost them their job if they take their Christianity seriously on issues such as the sanctity of life and the meaning of marriage. He told them to be prepared to be mocked, reminding them that even his wife, Karen, was excoriated for merely teaching art history at a Christian school.
The vice president said:
"Some of the loudest voices for tolerance today have little tolerance for traditional Christian beliefs. So as you go about your daily life, just be ready. Because you're going to be asked not just to tolerate things that violate your faith; you're going to be asked to endorse them. You're going to be asked to bow down to the idols of the popular culture. . .
"So, Class of 2019, my word to all of you is decide here and now that you're going to stand firm. . . that you'll persevere, and that you'll always be prepared to give a reason for the hope that you have, and you'll do so with gentleness and respect. Because our nation and our world need that message of grace and love maybe more now than ever before."
Pence's message is one all of us should take to heart. We must not be afraid. We must not run from our faith. We must stand firmly and defend what God has taught us.
There was breaking news yesterday that several oil tankers were sabotaged near the Strait of Hormuz. This morning, Saudi Arabia said that two of the tankers belonged to the kingdom. One was bound for the U.S.
Needless to say, this is a very troubling development. It comes just days after reports that Iran was plotting attacks against U.S. interests throughout the Middle East.
The State Department announced today that Secretary Mike Pompeo has cancelled a planned trip to Moscow. He is instead going to Brussels, Belgium, to meet "with European allies to discuss recent threatening actions and statements by the Islamic Republic of Iran."
Radical Islam In The House
Omar Suleiman, an imam from Irving, Texas, delivered the opening prayer before the House of Representatives began its session last Thursday. Suleiman was invited to deliver the prayer by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and was introduced by Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Incredibly, it seems that no one vetted Suleiman.
If they had, they would have discovered that Suleiman has repeatedly denounced Israel as an "apartheid state," and even compared it to Nazi Germany.
If they had vetted Suleiman, they would have discovered that he has defended Hamas and called Zionists the "enemies of God."
If they had vetted Suleiman, they would have discovered that he has called for violence against Israel and prayed for Israel's destruction in the 2014 Gaza War.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) is blasting Speaker Pelosi for allowing Suleiman to deliver Thursday's opening prayer, saying:
"It's a bad call to have this person. It's horrible judgment, and after the 2019 that we've had so far, where members of their own caucus are pushing anti-Semitism and anti-Israel hate, it was a bad judgment."
Unfortunately, that's not all. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) is under fire for remarks she made about the Holocaust. During an interview with Yahoo News, Tlaib said this:
"There's kind of a calming feeling, I always tell folks, when I think of the Holocaust and the tragedy of the Holocaust and the fact that it was my ancestors, Palestinians who lost their land and some lost their lives, their livelihood, their human dignity, their existence in some ways had been wiped out. . . all of it was in the name of trying to create a safe haven for Jews, post the Holocaust, post the tragedy and horrific persecution of Jews across the world at that time. And, I love the fact that it was my ancestors that provided that. . ."
The notion that Palestinians welcomed the Jews fleeing European anti-Semitism is a gross distortion. It's fake history.
The grand mufti of Jerusalem was an ally of Adolf Hitler. He told Hitler that the Arabs and Germany shared the same enemies, "namely the English, the Jews and the Communists." There were numerous uprisings and riots by Arab Muslims in which hundreds of Jews were killed. (Here and here.)
These two events are further evidence of the mainstreaming of anti-Semitism on the left. No progressive leader is speaking up to condemn Suleiman's anti-Israeli rhetoric or Tlaib's historical revisionism.
Two More Years!
Friday I received notification from the White House that President Trump intended to re-nominate me to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), this time for a two-year term. You can read the announcement here.
Just to reiterate, I am not leaving American Values. Service on the Commission is essentially a volunteer position. Commissioners are not paid for their work.
But it does provide me with a tremendous opportunity to speak out against religious persecution around the world, and to specifically focus on growing Christian persecution and anti-Semitism.