Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Tag Archives: Arkansas

Super Tuesday – a foreigner’s view on the US Elections


Well it’s here, a Super Tuesday with all the whizz, bang, razzle dazzle and pomp and circumstance you would expect from a day that could either make or break a campaign. I am a foreigner and cannot vote, I was born in Scotland and I take a keen interest in the UK political scene and I thought I would try my hand across the water in the race to see who will be President #45 of these great United States of America.

I love the circus of it all and how the politicians get out there a lot more than the leaders in the UK. (Possibly with the exception of Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party) But the confusing part for a non-American is the color coding of the parties. America must be the only country in the world where the socialists are blue and the conservatives are red?

Obviously, unlike my other blogs there will be very few scriptures involved and this is mainly my opinion and I do encourage lively debate so if you think I am wrong then please call me on it and we will chat, if you belong to a group that thinks I am wrong then please share the link and whine about this article and what a mess I made of it and by the same token if you think I am right then please feel free to promote these fine words.

What is Super Tuesday?

Super Tuesday is a day that many delegates are up for grabs; in the 2016 race we have delegates up for grabs in the following states…

Alabama, Alaska, (Rep only) American Samoa, (Dem only) Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Wyoming (Rep only)

So you can see why it is a big deal huh? As far as the Republican election candidate goes it is a huge deal as 1237 delegates are up for grabs and if one candidate gets the lion share of these delegates then he will be on his way to the election ballot. As for the Democrats they have 880 up for grabs and with their race almost neck and neck then this could be a really important day for a choice to become clearer.

The Republican issue – too many candidates

Here is the issue if you are of the red persuasion, you have five candidates going into Super Tuesday and a candidate that many “traditional Republicans” would rather not have leading the pack, I am of course talking about Donald Trump.

In case you have been sleeping or not paying attention then here is the candidate list in alphabetical order so I cannot be accused of bias.

• Ben Carson
• Ted Cruz
• John Kasich
• Marco Rubio
• Donald Trump

In this pack we have three career politicians and two folks with no political experience with a successful businessman and a neurosurgeon being the non-politico candidates. At the moment it looks very much like a three horse race between Cruz, Rubio and Trump.

Trump is very much ahead at present and if you were a gambling man then you would be putting money on Trump being the nomination for President. If this is not what you want then the next section may be for you.

How do you solve a problem like Trump?

Trump is an interesting one, when I saw that he was running for President I assumed and quite wrongly that it was a PR stunt and that it would fizzle out in five minutes and we would get a more appropriate list of candidates soon. It wasn’t a PR stunt and he is playing the field rather well. The bluster that is Trump and the desire to talk a lot and not say very much may actually be his undoing if he is up against a competent Democrat candidate should he get the nomination.

So far he has captured the imagination not just of Republicans but if you believe the spin that is coming from the Trump camp then he has captures the votes of “ex-Obama Democrats” and “Reagan Democrats” and if that is the case then based on that information alone he would have the White House sown up. For me this could be a blessing or a curse as far as the Republican establishment is concerned.

Yes they want to win the White House, they have been 8 years in opposition and for the first time since George W Bush they have a candidate that appeals to the non-traditional or non-Republican voter. The worrying point as far as the Republicans are concerned is “How do you control Trump if he gets to be the party’s nomination and do the party line rather than the Trump line?

Lastly, his campaign has been a lot of bluster and he has stolen more column inches than any other candidate (even in this column) and he rarely answers a question in a concise and relevant fashion rather than how he currently answers by speaking until even he is sick of his own voice. I would love it if the answers were on point as to what was asked and answered based on honesty and how the problems can be resolved. All the candidates have been guilty of wanting to “blame the other guy” rather than take the lead and take charge of the question.

Coalition could be the Republican answer

Perhaps the Republican establishment are hoping for a solution to what I said in the second part of this article and a solution to the fact that there are just too many candidates and Trump is capitalizing on the fact that people who are similar in campaign stances (such as Carson and Cruz) have not banded together to get their people voting for the one ticket in order to try to win more delegates. In this scenario I would see the following pairings

Cruz/Carson and Rubio/Kasich

Then and only then would someone come close to matching the Trump bandwagon. In my view this should have been done at least a week before Super Tuesday to maximize the opportunity for the one who is progressing to send his voters over to his preferred candidate. I am being blunt because before Super Tuesday only Cruz or Rubio could catch him based on donations and impact in various states.

Has Trump damaged the Republican line?

There are hardline Republicans out there who are asking voters to vote anyone but Trump and I know at least one lady who is a prominent Republican who has stated that she would write in a candidate as opposed to voting for Trump if he would become the Republican nominee. That is her democratic right to do so and I do wonder if there are others out there who feel the same. This is why I ask if Trump has done more harm than good? Is a Trump presidency too high a price to pay to get your party in the White House?

The Democrats are a simpler race

The Democrats in this case have it right in that they have a two horse (or donkey as their logo suggests) race with the establishment candidate Hillary Clinton up against Bernie Sanders. Of course the former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has endorsed his old friend Hillary and I believe that regardless of the will of the people I believe that there will be only one nominee.

At the moment Clinton and Sanders are neck and neck in the polls and will be very hard to split even after Super Tuesday, unless Bernie has a collapse at the polls then the will of the people will be somewhat evenly split towards the candidates. Where Clinton has the upper hand is in what the Democrats call “Super Delegates” and these delegates are separate from the ballot box and carry some weight and could tip the scales in favor of the Clinton camp.

The only way I see Clinton not getting the nomination is if criminal proceedings are started on here prior to the culmination of the nomination process or if Clinton takes a hammering at the ballot box and Bernie is the “people’s choice”, then it would be foolish to go against the wishes of the very people you will be shortly asking to vote him into office.

What are my predictions for Super Tuesday and beyond?

Super Tuesday certainly will go a long way to securing the nomination on both sides of the electoral landscape, however I believe that for the aforementioned reasons above I think that the big winners on Super Tuesday will be Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and that will lead to a Trump vs Clinton battle in November.

Who will win? Who knows! I think that Trump could shade a Trump vs Clinton battle and would certainly have the upper hand if Sanders had the nomination, Clinton certainly fears Trump most as he is such a wild card. Whether that is what is best for the country, then who knows! That being said both Cruz and Rubio are capable candidates and speaking from a Christian point of view neither Democrat has lit my fire as an evangelical and of the front runners only Rubio and Cruz seem concerned with courting the evangelical vote on the Republican Party.

Please note that God is not the God or the Republican or Democrat Party and despite seeing things banded around recently questioning the faith of an individual if they vote for a certain candidate and that is ridiculous. I serve a God who is big enough to allow bad people to do good things. I don’t see that voting for a particular political party or candidate makes you any more or less Christian. (Unless of course if you are proposing a candidate that is staunchly anti-Christian)

It sure is a tough choice and I pray for you America, I love this country as my new home and I do want to see it do well. The things I look for in a candidate may not be what you look for and that is okay, the country was founded on liberty, truth and justice for all and it is your democratic right to cast your vote the way you see fit! I just plead with you as one without a voice; choose well for the rest of us!

In closing, a Scottish newspaper run an example of their thoughts on a Trump Presidency, feel free to check it out!

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.

Duggar family scandal – think of the kids


Duggar family scandal – think of the kids

I am sure by now you will have had time to digest the story about Josh Duggar that came out yesterday and the confession that he, in the past was guilty of child molestation.

This blog has been written with much thought on the words to use in situations like this. I am not a personal friend of the family and know them as well as any other reality TV show star. This is written with a much higher purpose in mind and that is from a concerned Christian brother who only cares about the message of the gospel and that not being hampered in progressing.

Duggar dishonesty

The main stick that people are beating the Duggar family with is the dishonest way in which the criminal element happened when it was brought to light. Jim Bob buried it for nearly a year and then when it was dealt with, it was dealt with by a friendly member of the local police and no charges were ever filed.

Whilst I understand that Jim Bob was doing what any protective father would have done and attempted to shield his son from any punishment, the fact remains that we are called as Christian leaders to be “above reproach” and Jim Bob, even although he was not on TV yet, he was still known in the State of Arkansas due to his politics.

Timeline is wrong in accusations

As alluded to in the last paragraph, Jim and Michelle were not regularly on TV and that is another stick used to beat them with is that “they wanted to protect their TV show” and that could be refuted by simply looking at the timeline, the only fame they had was Jim Bob’s political career.

Is Josh wrong?

Of course he is, he has come out and admitted his wrong doing.  It has come out that Anna, his wife and Anna’s family knew about this prior to the marriage so it was known that it was a big enough issue to bring up during courtship.

He will be criticized in three areas and rightly so…

1) He will be criticized for the act itself – let us not forget that he took advantage of people in conduct that was outside the law and then buried the act until the statute of limitations had passed.
2) He will be criticized for coming out with a confession when it looked like he was going to be “outed” – it looks like “situation management” or “political spin” where if an inconvenient truth is going to come out, you make sure you give your version of events as the “bombshell”.
3) He will be criticized for taking the job in Washington DC with the Family Research Council that he had to resign from as his position was untenable after this announcement.

Pray for the victims

I read an astounding piece yesterday that made a statement along the lines of “it is horrible that this announcement with make these victims remember” and I find that hard to read as victims of abuse do not “forget”.

A lot will be written talking about the need to have forgiveness for the Duggar family and how we need to pray for Josh and Anna and I am not negating that and I will make a similar observation at the end of this article but the victims are suddenly thrown back into a spotlight they never requested and they need prayer.

Will they still be on TV?

It is TLC we are talking about so I would imagine they will. Josh and Anna may play are lesser part and may tone down their appearance in the show, but the network who stood by the Gosselin family when John and Kate plus 8 became Kate plus 8 will not give up the cash cow that is 19 Kids and Counting franchise in DVD and other merchandise easily, to them it is a business and as long as they are publically popular then they will be on the air.

But he is meant to be a Christian?

Yes he is! Does that mean he is perfect? no it doesn’t! When we become a Christian we do not suddenly lose the ability to sin, we simply become forgiven of our sin. It also doesn’t mean that he will always make good choices. People know that Christians are called to a higher standard so when we fall off this perceived standard or code of conduct then we are called out harder than someone who is of the world.

Regrettably we are all seen in the same bag and this allegation makes it tougher for Christians as a whole as people will use it as a stick to beat the Christian faith. Truth be told abuse is as likely to happen out in a secular organization as a Christian one, it is reported less and is not as big a scandal.

In my local town one of the local churches took a body blow as it was found out that the worship leader was guilty of 4 counts of molestation and it was tough for me as I knew the guy and I am a fellow laborer in that city and when men fall like this it is ALL Christians who get tarred with that self-same brush and it makes it tougher to introduce Jesus to non-Christians when they have this perception of who Christians are.

The bell that can’t be un-rung!

It is seen as such a scandal as there is an abuse of trust from someone we held up as a “fine young man” and it does show the danger of following man rather than Jesus Christ. Men (even the fine young ones) will fail us and make mistakes.

However this particular sin is perceived as worse than all others and because of the man’s public profile will lead to the public humiliation of his and his family. The statute of limitations is passed so there is nothing legally that can be done to him, but he can be publically spoken about, maligned and gossiped about in public until it all dies down.

What’s my angle?

Well I am a Christian dad who homeschools and I know that both will be more of a challenge after announcements like this. I already get “the look” at sporting events when I am there with my kid and they ask what grade she is in and I say “first” and they ask who the teacher is and my kid points to my wife and then we have to explain that she is homeschooled and then we see it “the look” as if we are weird.

It is something we are used to as my wife has been a choir director for a local homeschooling choir for many years and we got “the look” before we were even parents. It is something that we shrug off and laugh about.

I would not say I am a “fan” of the show but I do like the content of the show, the idea that they have that many kids, are homeschoolers, are Christians and the values they represent made for good TV viewing, I have not however saw “every episode” but I have really enjoyed the ones I have watched. I have no “axe to grind” with the Duggars and before these revelations found those folks to be decent people with good God centered family values. 

I feel for both the victims as well as the Duggar family, yes they did not do well in the areas above but this really will impact their witness for Jesus Christ. Whether they carry on with their show is irrelevant, what is important is that they continue growing as a family in their relationships with Jesus Christ and continue to impact people positively for the kingdom of God.

What now for Josh and Anna

Well Josh is now looking for a new job; fortunately his kids are homeschooled so they won’t have to endure taunting from their peers at school. I would imagine that people will take it upon themselves to voice their opinion whenever they see the family in public; I pray that it doesn’t happen but situations like this bring out the worst in people.

As stated above I expect them to slip out of the public profile and play a less significant role in the show if it does continue. They will be less of a “camera draw” as people may not wish them to be there. The family will rally round them and will be a support and I hope that Josh is able to find employment and able to provide for his family.

I think this will be the tip of the iceberg and I think that some magazine (probably not People as the Duggars have previously supplied them with stories) will have a story about this and will be giving the victim “a voice” and I would imagine some more will come out as the Sun shines on this story.

People will react as people do, they will want him to pay, they will be hysterical,  they will want the show off the air! They will claim at large that all Christians and all homeschoolers are like that!

What if it was my kid?

If it was my kid I would have been angry and never allowed the story to be buried, I would certainly have had him prosecuted to the extent of the law and I would have had a hard time keeping calm about it.

That however would NEVER bring my daughter’s innocence back! I would have a hard time about it and not want to do it but I would pray for him.

Think of the kids

I come back to the original point I made when I began this blog. There are kids involved and at some point Josh, Anna, Josh’s siblings and Jim and Michelle are going to have to sit the kids down at some point and tell them about what has been written about Josh. Headlines no longer last for a day and even although this eventually will die down the story will be indexed and perhaps referenced if another story comes up about the Duggars. (How many times have you noticed “related articles” on news reports.

They are going to have to deal with this revelation about their brother/husband/daddy/uncle/in law and I am sure they will have to see the public’s reaction. I pray they don’t and that people do not behave the way people behave in these situations. Please think and remember they are the innocents in this case.

This has been tough to write and I pray that although this is challenging and tough to read, please feel free to share, like or comment below as the LORD leads.