Why did evangelical Christians vote for Donald Trump?

Those who cannot understand why evangelical Christians voted for Donald Trump, given his personal morality and history of Leftist positions severely underestimate how deeply evangelical Christians loathe Hillary Clinton. Even as someone who did not vote for Trump, I understand this very well.

Such is the story of the 2016 election. Democrats truly did not understand how terrible their candidate was and how deep and intense the opposition to her was by Republicans generally, and evangelical Christians specifically. For many Christians, she and her values represent everything they are fighting against.

Over the last 70 years, the White House tends to flip every eight years. Republicans held the White House for eight years with Eisenhower, then Democrats were in power for eight years with John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, Then Republicans were back in power with Nixon. In the 1990’s and onward, we had eight years of Democrat Bill Clinton, eight years of Republican George W. Bush, eight years of Democrat Barack Obama, and then the Republicans won with Trump. The elections of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush were an anomaly.

It is possible that the Democrats might have bucked the historical trend had they not nominated a thoroughly uninspiring candidate with 25 years of baggage on the national stage, with deep and intense resentment among Republican voters. Republicans might not have trusted Trump, but they despised Hillary Clinton.

My point here is not to present Trump as some sort of conquering hero. He was by far the least qualified person in the Republican field. My point is that as much as Trump won the election, Hillary Clinton lost it. If the Democrats want to win in the future, they need to understand why they lost. The only way to do that is to come to terms with how terrible their candidate was.

Violence is never the solution to a political conflict

Printed in the Bloomington Herald-Times, September 18, 2017

To the Editor:

White supremacists and neo-Nazis are evil. The Bible teaches all men and women are made in the image of Almighty God. I have been personally attacked on numerous occasions by neo-Nazis who are furious that I oppose their agenda. I have no sympathy for these wicked people.

But President Trump is right: There was blame on both sides in Charlottesville. “Antifa” terrorists showed up ready to fight, as they have done many times before. In late August, they were beating conservatives at a “free speech” rally.

This is not new. Leftist terrorists violently attacked peaceful anti-abortion demonstrators in 2012 in Bloomington.

As much as some people think it is “cute” to post memes or even seriously advocate that we “punch a Nazi,” we should not punch ANYONE for his beliefs. Once the precedent is established that we can punch people for opinions, the pool of people who can be punched will expand greatly.

Violence is not the way to advance your agenda, including opposing the evil of abortion. Despite the lies that my enemies have been spreading about me, I have been 100% perfectly consistent for twenty years in denouncing anti-abortion violence, including vandalism against the abortion mill in Bloomington.

Video game memories: Castlevania

Before Resident Evil, there was Castlevania. It was certainly a darker game than we were used to at the time, but it spawned a ton of sequels and a franchise that is still going to this day – 30 years later. Here are some thoughts on the original NES game.

The power ups never did make much sense. Why would a cross boomerang, holy water, or axes be in a candle? How exactly does upgrading your whip to a ball and chain work? Is it magic? Why would anyone want to eat a ham that has been hidden in a wall for who knows how long? How do hearts translate to more ammunition for your weapons? But it fit thematically. There was never much of an emphasis on story in the first few games.

Who cares, anyway? The game was fun, which was the most important thing.

The controls were fine for what it was, and it was not too much of an obstacle to the game. That said, it could have been better. You are knocked back anytime you are hit, which makes it too easy to fall into a cheap pit trap. This is a game that really could have benefited from a third button for the extra weapons. Later versions on other consoles did take advantage of this.

The bosses were a tour-de-force of horror icons. Frankenstein’s monster, Medusa, a mummy, a giant bat and that blasted Grim Reaper himself had to be defeated before you got to Dracula. Castlevania was unusual for its time in that it featured a villain that changed forms and came after you again once he was defeated, as Dracula transformed into a demon. This would become common as games progressed, but was groundbreaking in the middle of the 1980’s.

I never beat the original Castlevania. The second, third and fourth game had a password feature (and later games would allow the player to save his progress) but this is a game you had to finish in one go. I did get as far as the Grim Reaper several times, but was never able to defeat that very cheap boss. Eventually, I just gave up. The save states of later versions (like the NES Mini) would make the game easier to play. For the 1980’s, it was a real gem and while I have not played it in 25 years, I am sure it still holds up today.

Abortion: Abolition or regulation?

The end goal of the anti-abortion movement is to criminalize abortion, granting unborn babies the same protection under the law as people who have been born. But if we can reduce abortions with restrictions and regulations while we try to reach that goal, we should not hesitate to do so.

An anti-abortion organization I follow on Facebook has been posting memes like “wait 18 hours and then you can kill the baby,” with emphasis on “and then you can kill the baby.” I agree with the main point, that we should not lose track of the primary goal. I am certainly for abolishing abortion. However, we should not forget that the regulations have saved lives. Abortions are declining, overall, in the state of Indiana: We had 8.5% fewer abortions in 2016 than in 2015. We should not have the perfect be the enemy of the good.

It certainly feels righteous to be an abolitionist, sneering at regulatory restrictions on abortion while saying our only focus should be criminalizing it. But movements over time have bee able to make a ton of progress with incremental changes. The homosexual movement would never have gained an inch if the push was for “marriage equality” in 1950, when every state in the nation had laws on the books that criminalized sodomy. Incremental changes over time brought us to where we are today. Hard-line abolitionists are not learning from history.

But some abolitionists are not even content with arguing that incrementalist tactics are flawed. They insist that anti-abortion organizations only want to perpetuate themselves instead of actually winning the war. This is not just wrong, it is offensive. I know people who have dedicated their lives to saving unborn babies. They have greatly reduced abortions and saved hundreds of thousands of lives with their combined efforts. Some states only have one abortion clinic remaining because of this incrementalism. The leaders and employees of these organizations would love nothing more than to have to find something else to do.

Abortion has been declining since its grisly peak. Lives are being saved every day. Obviously, there is much more work to be done in fighting this evil. If we abandon incrementalism and focus only on abolition, we are letting babies die. That is simply not acceptable.

Shades of gray on school dress codes

Leftists love to brag about how they are so much more intelligent and educated than conservatives, and because of their advanced education and superior intelligence they are able to see things in a nuanced way. We conservatives are stupid and simple minded people, and we only see black and white. Leftists see black and white, but they also see vast shades of gray where things are more complicated.

Except it is often exactly the opposite.

I saw this last week in a discussion of the dress code for pre-teen and young teen girls at Tri-North Middle School. If you think modesty is a good thing and should be encouraged, you are no different than the Taliban. Having shorts or skirts be a couple inches longer is the same as forcing the girls to wear a burka. Maybe we should not allow girls to go to school at all! It is all or nothing: Total libertinism or an Islamic theocracy. Such is the level of “intellectual” discourse on the Left.

I am not exaggerating. These were literally the responses when I said modesty is a virtue and should be encouraged: Make the girls wear burkas or even ban them from school.

Look, this is ridiculous. It is not a burden on “tween” and young teen girls to have their shorts or skirts reach the bottom of their fingertips. (It is not a burden on boys, either.) It is not a burden to require a more modest top. It is possible to have reasonable modesty standards without diving headfirst into Islamic theocracy or The Handmaid’s Tale. It is possible to have reasonable modesty standards alongside an expectation that boys will behave like gentlemen and treat women with respect, instead of acting like barbarians.

Intelligent, rational people can understand this. Those devoted to the cult of sexual libertinism cannot.

A shameful exploitation of sex trafficking victims

Note: I sent this letter to the editor to the New York Times. See previous editorials here and here.

To the Editor:

Nicholas Kristof’s September 7 column is why we cannot have a reasonable discussion about criminal justice. If we extend Kristof’s logic, the real reason the American Civil Liberties Union supports free speech is because they support neo-Nazis, and the real reason Black Lives Matter advocates against violations of civil liberties is because they support rapists, murderers and drug runners. It is absurd.

Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act is not a “loophole.” It is a feature written by a shockingly forward-looking Congress. If the government could prosecute an interactive content provider (where content is created by users) like Backpage, Facebook, Twitter, Google or WordPress for user-created content, then that power will be abused to restrict more free speech.

Of course, the New York Times loves this, because it will stifle competition from citizen-journalists all over the Internet. The government loves this because politicians hate free speech and would love another tool to get interactive content providers to censor the great unwashed masses.

As for the defamatory claim that Google supports sex trafficking, Google engineers developed Spotlight, to find and identify victims of sex trafficking. Law enforcement in all 50 states now use the Google-built tool, which helped identify 2,000 sex traffickers and 5,000 victims of sex trafficking in one single year. Google is no friend of those who prey on children.

Both Kristof and the New York Times should apologize to Google for this smear. They should also apologize for exploiting the pain of sex trafficking victims to advance their campaign against free speech.

No, Kilroy’s was not promoting rape.

It is common in politics and in cultural debates generally to have a winning issue, only to sabotage your own argument by taking your argument too far and actually alienate people who would otherwise agree with you.

Before I continue, the “statistic” that one in five college women are sexually assaulted is extremely flawed. See here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here.

A Middle Way House representative wrote a letter to the editor earlier this month claiming that a Twitter post by Kilroy’s Recess, a nightclub for adults over 18 that does not serve alcohol, “blatantly promotes rape culture.” The tweet allegedly paints Recess as “a virtual playground of young girls for sexual predators” and is “a completely unacceptable endorsement of rape culture.”

OK, people, let’s chill out for a second. What did the tweet actually say? “We got rid of the wet t-shirt contests, but kept the underage girls.”

The underage girls joke is misogynistic and should be condemned on that basis, but it does not promote rape. Furthermore, context is important. In this case “underage girls” refers to adult women between 18 and 20. They are “underage” in that they cannot legally drink alcohol, but they are adults. Recess is an 18 and over nightclub.

So, to review: Did the tweet represent misogyny? Yes. Rape culture? No.

Kilroy’s got justifiably shamed for that tweet, and for a sign joking about patrons drinking until they black out. As prevalent as binge drinking is on college campuses, that was extremely irresponsible. Had the criticisms been confined to misogyny and irresponsibility, it would have been fine. When Kilroy’s critics went far beyond reasonable criticism, they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Rape culture at a so-called “school” in Denver

What happened at the now-infamous cheerleading practice at East High School in Denver was child abuse, but it was more than that. It was an example of rape culture. It was an example of an adult man deciding that a teenage girl’s body was his to use and abuse as he pleases. He was to mold her to do what he wanted, no matter how much physical pain it caused. Her protests were irrelevant. Her body did not belong to her, in the mind of the coach. The bodies of those teen girls, the coach believed, belong to him.

With role models like these,it is no wonder so many men feel entitled to use a woman’s body sexually, no matter what she wants or whether she consents. This is even more strongly reinforced when the authority figures are paid by the state. Teen boys and young men have been taught this behavior by their culture and by the perverts who are supposed to teach them right from wrong.

The image of a grown man abusing teenage girls is teaching the boys not to value their female classmates. The fact that this fool was hired after he was fired for similar behavior elsewhere shows how little the school cares about its female students, and reinforces rape culture.

An aside is important here. Sports is a tough issue. (With the jumps and flips they do, if modern cheerleading is not a sport, cheerleaders are certainly athletes.) Coaches need to push the athletes farther than the athletes think they can go, to make them better than they think they can be. This applies in every area of life, of course. It applies to academics and other disciplines.

When training athletes, a good coach will be physically demanding and it will involve physical pain and exhaustion. I was never much of an athlete, but I was in physical education for twelve years and I still remember how incredibly sore I was after I did a Super 21 for the first time.

There is a line, though, where it goes beyond pushing an athlete and becomes abuse. This was very clearly abuse and must be criminally prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Pushing an athlete to go past his physical limitations is one thing. Holding down a teenage girl in an unnatural position – especially to the point where she is screaming in pain and in danger of serious injury – is absolutely abuse.

This was not coaching. This was sadism.

While Biblical masculinity cherishes and protects and leads women, godless toxic masculinity places men as rulers and women as less than human. They are bodies to be used. The sexual revolution, which degraded sexual intimacy from a loving union to a bodily function on the level of defecation, is bearing fruit here. If we want to stop this from happening, what we need here is a revival of Biblical masculinity.

Hillary Clinton peddles another victim fantasy

Could Hillary Clinton possibly be any more of a crybaby snowflake? Oh yes, I am sure that Donald Trump was trying to physically intimidate her at one of the debates. Right.

Perhaps I could take Clinton seriously if she did not have a history of doing this kind of thing. Does anyone remember how she and her feminist entourage freaked out when Rick Lazio handed her a “clean campaign pledge” at a debate in 2000? It may have been a gimmick and a publicity stunt, but there was no intimidation or attempt at intimidation. Had Lazio done the exact same thing against a male opponent, no one would have thought anything of it.

I wish Twitter had been around back then. Clinton would have been mercilessly mocked and ridiculed for being such a complete crybaby snowflake, pretending she was “bullied.” The memes would have been hilarious. Come on, think about it. Was Lazio really going to physically intimidate the First Lady, with the Secret Service standing right there? Give me a break.

Both candidates had things to complain about during the 2016 campaign, and both candidates have things to complain about in every campaign. This was not one of them. This is just one more example of Clinton trying to make herself into a victim to be pitied, so everyone can soothe her feelings. Is this really someone who is tough enough to stand up to Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un?