The ‘Budget Wonk’ Next Door: Meet Paul Ryan

Mitt Romney’s selection of Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan as his GOP running mate on Saturday gave voters a brief glimpse to the 42-year-old, seven-term public servant. Ryan’s focus on the nation’s fiscal issues have earned him the reputation as a “budget wonk,” as someone who spends an inordinate amount of time crunching numbers in an effort to reduce the nation’s deficit. Here are a few more things you might not know about him.

Ryan grew up in Janesville, Wis., where he currently resides with his wife Janna and their three children. The youngest of four children, his idealistic childhood suddenly changed in 1986, when he found his father dead of a heart attack. It was at this point he decided to help support the family by taking a part-time job at McDonald’s.

“I stayed in the back because the manager didn’t think I had the social skills to work the counter,” recalled Ryan in previous comments about his first job. His brother Tobin told The New York times that it was about this time his younger sibling’s political views began to take shape. “Some of his political views did begin to coalesce around the time of my father’s passing.”

His first foray into politics came when he was elected president of his high school and although a former fitness trainer and workout buff, his athletic career was short-lived, consisting of only a single year of high school soccer.

Ryan’s political aspirations soon followed him to college at Miami University in Ohio, where he earned a B.A. in economics and political science. Both disciplines would prove invaluable to him.

Tobin Ryan said his younger brother’s enthusiasm for economics was apparent from the start. “He was a PhD student in freshman clothes. I was an economics major myself; I don’t think I was as enthusiastic,” he said.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Chick-fil-A Protest Is Not About Gay Marriage, It’s an Effort to Destroy the Church

REMINDER: Wednesday, August 1 is Eat at Chick-fil-A Day

As a journalist I’ve written three stories within the past week about the controversy surrounding Chick-fil-A (CP has written a total of 18 in 8 days) that began with comments made by the company’s president, Dan Cathy regarding his company’s belief in traditional marriage. Yet one thing Christians must keep in mind is that calls to boycott Chick-fil-A over the company’s commitment to support pro-family values is not simply a protest over same-sex marriage. It is a protest to silence Christians and the Church.

In case you need a refresher on the chronology of events surrounding the most recent Chick-fil-A sage, here is a brief recap of what has taken place over the past few weeks:

• In a July 2 story published by Biblical Recorder and later reposted by Baptist Press, Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy asserts his support for traditional marriage by saying the company was “guilty as charged” when asked about the opposition his company was facing for supporting traditional marriage.

• Actor Ed Helms and leading gay rights activists express outrage over Cathy’s comment and suggest yet another boycott of the company’s products.

• Soon after Cathy’s comments began to circulate, Jim Henson and his company, saying their company embraces “diversity and Inclusiveness,” announced they would no longer partner with Chick-fil-A.

• The National Organization for Marriage, along with former Gov. Mike Huckabee, try to rally pro-family supporters by encouraging them to eat at Chick-fil-A on Wednesday, Aug. 1.

• Elected officials in Boston, San Francisco and Chicago (I am sure other cities have jumped on the bandwagon) have vowed to block Chick-fil-A from building additional restaurants in their cities. However, the ACLU has rushed to the chains defense, reminding these educated politicians that you cannot discriminate based on someone’s opinion of an issue.

*Chick-fil-A ‘s VP of Public Relations Don Perry died suddenly of a heart attack last Friday.

* Evangelical Leaders such as Rev. Billy Graham and Pastor Robert Jeffress have come to the defense of the national chain by encouraging Christians to support the embattled chain and stand strong for traditional.

There has been no shortage of commentary on the issue, but what I found most intriguing was a conversation I had with Pastor Ken Hutcherson of Antioch Bible Church in Washington State last week as we chatted about how the homosexual activists were taking aim at Chick-fil-A.

Pastor Hutcherson is a veteran in the battle to protect marriage and has the battle scars to prove it.

“Paul, what everyone needs to understand is that the homosexual community is not going to stop if or when they achieve some success on the marriage front,” Hutcherson told me. “Their target is much bigger. They want to shut down the church and they have no intention of stopping until they can somehow make it a crime to criticize homosexuality or their sinful way of life. It’s just that simple.”

Pastor Hutcherson is right. The Chick-fil-A controversy is not about whether or not a business or a person can espouse their opinion about same-sex marriage. It is about Biblical truth and the fight to silence it.

As Christians, it’s out job to put on the full armor of God and stand strong.

Chick-fil-A Flap Flips to Frat Food Fight

The latest Chic-fil-A controversy is beginning to take on the nature of a frat house food fight, according to some commentators on both sides of the issue, and calls for restraint have begun. Here’s what’s gone on in just the past few days:

• In a July 2 story published by Biblical Recorder and later reposted by Baptist Press, Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy asserts his support for traditional marriage by saying the company was “guilty as charged” when asked about the opposition his company was facing for supporting traditional marriage.
• Actor Ed Helms and leading gay rights activists express outrage over Cathy’s comment and suggest yet another boycott of the company’s products.
• Last Friday Jim Henson and his company, saying their company embraces “diversity and Inclusiveness,” announced they would no longer partner with Chick-fil-A.
• The National Organization for Marriage, along with former Gov. Mike Huckabee, try to rally pro-family supporters by encouraging them to eat at Chick-fil-A on Wednesday, Aug. 1.
• And finally, elected officials in Boston and Chicago have vowed to block Chick-fil-A from building additional restaurants in their cities.

Needless to say, the issue is not only defined by culture but has drifted into the political spectrum with calls of action coming from both sides of the aisle.

Huckabee wrote on his website, “No one is being asked to make signs, speeches or openly demonstrate. The goal is simple: Let’s affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the godly values we espouse by simply showing up and eating at Chick-fil-A on Wednesday, August 1.”

Click here to read the rest of the article on The Christian Post.

Tea Party Express Wants Rubio to Ride Into VP Slot

Mitt Romney’s campaign advisers may still be busy vetting their short list of vice presidential candidates, but on Wednesday leaders of the Tea Party Express announced they would like to see Florida Sen. Marco Rubio as Romney’s running mate on the GOP ticket.

“It is not a big surprise that Marco Rubio is the favorite candidate of the tea party for the vice-presidential nod,” said Tea Party Express chairwoman Amy Kremer. “He ran as a strong fiscal conservative, and he has delivered with his record in the U.S. Senate for the last two years. The only surprise is that he led the other excellent candidates by such a wide margin.”

The choice of Rubio is the result of a nationwide survey of Tea Party Express supporters, and his selection appears to be a sign that many are looking for a young, fresh candidate who can excite conservatives.

When asked by ABC’s Ann Compton about the Tea Party Express’survey result, Rubio seemed to beam with excitement.

“I’m always honored by my association with the tea party,” Rubio told Compton.

“I think the tea party has been a very positive movement for America. The tea party is not a partisan group. Somehow people think the tea party is a Republican movement. There are a lot of Republicans in the tea party, but what I’ve found is that the tea party movement are people that are just as upset at the Republican Party as they are the Democratic Party,” he said.

Two other congressmen, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), also received substantial support from the group’s members. “Both Ryan and West have become extremely popular within the tea party movement because of their strong stands on getting America’s fiscal house in order, which is the number one issue facing our country,” said Kremer in the group’s press release.

The unscientific results were compiled over the past month from a mail-in ballot sent to all members. Twenty-seven candidates were on the ballot and respondents were asked to rate them as “strong,” “ok,” or “weak.”

Rubio was found to be a “strong” candidate by 66.0 percent of tea party supporters. Ryan was second at 49.9 percent, and West was third at 46.8 percent to round out the top three finishers. The second tier of support was for former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich were also mentioned.

“What was clear from the results of the survey as well as the many comments we received is that conservatives want to win this election,” noted Kremer. “They are committed to defeating Barack Obama in the race for the White House, taking the gavel out of the hands of Harry Reid in the Senate and adding to our tea party supporters in the House of Representatives.”

Over 8,000 individuals received the survey.

Obama Absence at NAACP Convention Raises Eyebrows

In what is expected to be one of the closest presidential elections in history, some Obama supporters are scratching their heads over why President Obama is not addressing the NAACP convention in Houston this year, instead dispatching Vice President Biden.

Derek McCoy, a spokesman for the NAACP confirmed in an email response to The Christian Post that President Obama had not accepted the group’s invitation. However, it is being reported that a spot is being held open if he were to suddenly change his mind at the last minute, but that seems unlikely now.

On Wednesday, the White House told several news sources the reason President Obama is not attending the convention is simple: it’s due to “scheduling issues.” Press Secretary Jay Carney went a bit further by saying the president is focused on helping “all Americans.”

“His commitment to the organization and the broader community is easy to see,” say Carney.

President Obama addressed the group’s annual meeting for three consecutive years beginning in 2007. In 2010, he sent the first lady, Michelle Obama, who spoke on the importance of healthy eating. In 2011, the President recorded a short video message that was played to the attendees.

However, the president did speak at the National Council of LaRaza annual conference in 2011 in an effort to court the nation’s Hispanic vote.

Blogger Lauren Burke noted Obama’s decision to address the Latino group over the NAACP and wrote in one of her posts in July of last year, saying, “It’s a fairly safe bet that next year in 2012, the President is likely to address the NAACP.”

Still, many remain perplexed at why someone who received 96 percent of the black vote in 2008, would not pay his respects to the nation’s oldest civil rights group, who in eyes of many, have been the primary voice of the black voter for several decades.

A Public Policy Polling survey in mid-June in North Carolina showed that President Obama’s support had slipped to 76 percent since he came out in support of same-sex marriage in late May. What made the poll even more interesting was that 20 percent of blacks surveyed indicated they were not voting for President Obama.

In addition, attendees at Thursday’s NAACP session are going to be reminded of such when the Coalition of African-American Pastors holds a press conference outside of the convention hall to call attention to the fact that President Obama has not responded to the group’s invitation to meet with them to discuss the marriage issue.

Just before he boarded a plane to Houston, the group’s spokesman, the Rev. Bill Owens, told CP that the group of pastors led by himself and Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr., intends to keep the “heat turned up” on President Obama.

Interestingly, Romney did receive applause during his remarks on Wednesday at the NAACP gathering when he talked about preserving traditional marriage, “between a man and a woman.”

Columnist Molly Ball, in an article in The Atlantic yesterday, also questioned President Obama’s decision not to address the NAACP gathering.

“Obama’s decision to forgo the convention would make sense if there were an obvious political downside, but I can’t think of one,” wrote Ball. “Is he afraid it would remind white voters that he’s black? It seems a little late for that. If anything, such a speech would contrast Obama’s presumably warm reception with Romney’s chilly one. It’s hard to see how that’s a bad thing for the president.”

Dr. James Dobson, Ryan Dobson on How They Are ‘Building a Family Legacy’

Yesterday I wrote Part 1 of a series on Dr. James Dobson’s “Building a Family Legacy” conference that was held the last two weekends in June in San Diego.

The entire article can be read here.

The experience being there to witness the filming was a real blessings and I especially want to thank Nancy Lovell and Julie Fairchild (and Michael and Monique) of Lovell-Fairchild for their hospitality in hosting my son and I during our trip to the West Coast.

But before penning the first part I wanted to revisit some of the points I discussed with Ryan Dobson and Joey Paul.

What I found most amazing in listening to the stories of how the first “Focus on the Family” series came about was how God’s hand was all over this amazing ministry in its initial stages.

Joey Paul told of how he first met Dr. Dobson in his tiny two-room office suite after seeking the rights to his radio show, David Nixon told the story of how the “lost tapes” were able to resurface after a secretary who had worked at the production studio in the late 70′s overheard a phone call that led to the find and finally how Dobson’s son Ryan found the tapes at his parents home while looking for some other DVD’s about five years ago.

There is no way you can convince me that God did not bless the original filming (which was seen by over 80 million) and  after seeing the final two evenings in San Diego, I am confident he will do the same with the soon-to-be CD’s.

Next, I’ll talk with Danae Dobson, the daughter of James and Shirley and hopefully gain some additional insight from her on what it was like to experience and live the part of the “strong-willed child” that Dr. Dobson mentioned in his books.

Stay tuned.

Evangelist Wrong to Encourage Christians to Write In ‘Jesus’ for President

On Monday one of my other colleagues at The Christian Post, Alex Murashko, wrote a story on Internet evangelist Bill Keller’s campaign to get Christians to write in “Jesus” for president this year. That is certainly an insult to our Lord and Savior.

I discovered that Alex was writing the story during our early morning intranet chat between reporters and editors. I immediately responded to Alex by writing the following sentence:

“Why would Jesus want to be President of the United States? He is already God over the entire Universe.”

Here is the link to the story.

My friend thought my quote would be perfect for his story and wanted to know if he had my permission to use it. But Alex and I knew he couldn’t since I am a fellow editor/reporter and it’s not good journalism to get a quote from a colleague sitting next to you (well, not literally because I am in Tennessee and Alex lives in California).

Keller tries to make the point that Christians should not vote for either President Obama or his GOP opponent Mitt Romney.

That is not an issue I’m going to tackle here because I don’t necessarily agree with his premise or how he defends his point. But seriously, why would Christians want to nominate or elect Jesus as our nations president?

Jesus is our Lord, our God, and is part of the Trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit that is explained in the Bible.

Plus, Jesus is perfect and without sin so I would not want to expose him to Washington, D.C.

If Jesus rejected the concept that he was a Messiah who was sent by God to overthrow the Roman Empire, then why should we expect him to return to America to help us overhaul our financial or healthcare system? He already provides the answer to both of those problems in scripture.

As Christians we are called to worship God and to go out into the world and spread the good news. Therefore, we need to keep Jesus where he should be and that is foremost in our hearts and minds and our Lord and Savior.

As for politics, Christians should vote for the person they believe is best qualified to lead our nation during these turbulent times. Whoever you feel that may be.

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