Politifact's Rating of GOP Candidates – John Kasich Is Most Accurate

Everybody makes mistakes. I certainly don’t expect presidential candidates to be flawless in their public statements. They speak constantly and answer questions on a broad spectrum of topics. They will misspeak.
On the other hand, a consistent record of incorrect claims implies either lack of care for truth or an unacceptable ignorance when it comes to important issues. Motives are hard to discern but fact checking can get us closer to the truth.
The folks at Politifact compiled a report card for the GOP candidates which I summarize here. John Kasich leads the way with over half of his claims (53%) being rated as true or mostly true. Cruz is a distant second with 22% being rated as true or mostly true. Trump is far behind with only 8% of his claims rated as mostly true or true. See the images below for the full report.
John Kasich
Kasich Politifact
Ted Cruz
Cruz Politifact
Donald Trump
Trump Politifact
If Trump gets the nomination, the GOP will reject the candidate who is the most factual, best liked, and most likely to beat Hillary in favor of the one who is the least factual, least liked, and least likely to defeat Hillary in November.

Thomas Kidd: Ted Cruz's Traveling Companions Make Him a Non-Option

Today Baylor University historian Thomas Kidd opines on the plight of Republicans as the November election approaches. After reviewing the options on the GOP side (Trump, Cruz, Kasich), Kidd comes down about where I do: Kasich is (for him reluctantly, for me enthusiastically) the best choice. However, he echoes the worry of many Kasich supporters that a contested convention might not go to the Ohio governor.
Faced with a Cruz-Clinton match up, Kidd also shares my conviction on Cruz.

Sorry, folks. If it is Cruz vs. Clinton, I’m afraid that I’ll have to vote for a third party candidate, or not vote for president. In a way, it doesn’t matter what I do – Cruz would win Texas, for sure, with or without my vote. And I “get it” if many of my evangelical friends do support Cruz, and don’t share my alarm about the Barton-Beck connection. But for me, those traveling companions make Cruz a non-option.

Kidd didn’t mention Cruz’s father Rafael. Recently, Rafael Cruz told a Grove City College audience that the USA was the only nation on earth founded on the Word of God. Cruz has also said that the Constitution was divinely inspired.
Cruz and his supporters like to say that Cruz is a constitutional conservative. Given what Cruz’s advisors say about the Constitution (e.g., Barton says that the Constitution contains Bible verses quote verbatim), I have to ask what does it mean to be a constitutional conservative in the Cruzian sense. Given his advisors, I am not inspired to think he has a view which supports true freedom of conscience for all.
On the matter of religious liberty, Kidd has some reservations about Kasich. The answers I have heard from Kasich lead me to believe he has a balanced and reasonable view. Kasich has urged various groups to work together and has said that legislation may be needed to protect religious liberty. However, he is also sensitive to minority groups who understandably fear a loss of their rights in public accommodations.

Is There a Comeback In the Works for Tullian Tchividjian?

For those who are missing Tullian Tchividjian, his comeback might be underway.
In an April 1 church email, Tchividjian was listed as a speaker for a men’s breakfast last Saturday at Spring Hills Community Church in Santa Rosa CA.  As of April 4, this announcement was posted on the church website. Then later in the week, Tchividjian’s name was removed from the event description.
TT Spring Hill talk
Tullian SpringHills April
After Tchividjian’s name disappeared, I asked Hunter Frederick, Tchividjian’s public relations consultant, if Tchividjian was speaking at the event. On April 7 he replied, “Tullian will not be speaking at Spring Hill (sic) Community Church this Saturday.” He added that the announcement in the email and on the website was “a misprint.”
As it turns out. Tchividjian did speak at the breakfast meeting. On April 9, Tchividjian gave a talk as previously announced and spent much of the prior week there. No one at Spring Hills responded to two emails sent to the email address listed on the church website.
Yesterday, Hunter Frederick confirmed that Tchividjian did speak at the breakfast.

I spoke with Tullian and he was invited to the church as a personal retreat of sorts. While he did speak at the breakfast it wasn’t “preaching” or speaking. My understanding is he was just introduced and that was about it.

Tchividjian spoke but it wasn’t speaking.

Mark Driscoll's The Trinity Church: Bouncy Houses, Matching Gifts, and a Late Summer Launch

Source: Screen capture from thetrinitychurch.com
Source: Screen capture from thetrinitychurch.com

After the first meeting of The Trinity Church, Mark Driscoll is moving full steam ahead toward the launch of the church in the late summer of this year.  According to Driscoll’s most recent video update, The Trinity Church will launch in late summer with two services.
Until then, Driscoll invited interested people to participate in the work parties at the church and give money. He disclosed that a donor made a matching grant of $50k. Driscoll also said that people are driving in from California and as far away as Georgia to help get the church ready for the launch. Children’s ministry involves bouncy houses in the auditorium.
It must be surreal for former Mars Hill Church members to listen to the business-as-usual description of this church plant while Mars Hill is still shrouded in uncertainty and a lawsuit is pending against Driscoll and Sutton Turner.

Tennessee Bill Allows Counselors To Refer Based on Sincerely Held Principles

A controversial bill which would allow counselors to refer clients based on the counselor’s “sincerely held principles” was passed by the Tennessee Senate earlier this week. Already passed by the House, the bill now awaits action from Governor Bill Haslam. He has not declared his position on the final version of the bill.
Originally, the bill referred to a counselor’s “sincerely held religious beliefs” as being a reason why referral would be allowed. Earlier this week, the Senate voted to amend the bill to change that language to allow referrals due to a counselor’s “sincerely held principles.”
The most current version of the bill states:

No counselor or therapist providing counseling or therapy services shall be required to counsel or serve a client as to goals, outcomes, or behaviors that conflict with the sincerely held principles of the counselor or therapist; provided, that the counselor or therapist coordinates a referral of the client to another counselor or therapist who will provide the counseling or therapy.

The bill does not allow such referrals if the client is suicidal or homicidal. In such cases, counselors provide services.
While I opposed the earlier language as well, the amended standard of “sincerely held principles” would greatly expand the reasons counselors could discriminate against clients. Counselors who don’t like a client’s politics could fall back on their “sincerely held” political views to refer. One can imagine many scenarios where the views of a counselor and a client conflict.
The practical implications are frightening. Minority clients in rural areas may not be able to find a compatible counselor. Clients may lose trust in the profession and decline to seek help when needed. The legislation does not provide any restrictions on when such referrals may be conducted. What if a counselor learns of a conflict after 20 sessions into counseling? According to this bill, the counselor would be able to refer the client, possibly undoing weeks of progress.
According to the Chattanooga Times Free-Press, this bill has a direct tie to the case of Julia Ward at Eastern Michigan University. Representative Jack Johnson told the Times Free-Press that the American Counseling Association is to blame because they changed their ethics code to forbid referrals based on religious beliefs in response to the 6th Circuit case where Ward was kicked out of Eastern Michigan because she referred a gay client and refused to comply with the educational requirements to get experience counseling gay clients.
I was the expert witness on behalf of Ward in that case and I oppose this bill. Generally, I think counselors must refer clients when they believe they might be harmful to clients, even if the harm includes the effects of counselor bias. However, the problem in such a case is with the counselor and not the client. The focus of an ethical counselor must always be the benefit of the client, not the comfort or rights of the counselor. This bill is so broad that the counselor can refer simply because of a disagreement over ideology, an unacceptable deviation from the nature of the counselor’s role. It seems unavoidable that referred clients will experience stigma and lose trust in the profession.

Happy Birthday to Thomas Jefferson – Share the Land

On April 13, 1743, Thomas Jefferson was born at Shadwell, Virginia. Over 270 years later, Jefferson is trending on Twitter. Many people want to claim Jefferson. Today, for instance, the Heritage Foundation has an article claiming that the Tea Party embodies Jefferson’s legacy.
Jefferson had many sides and wasn’t perfectly consistent. The letter to James Madison below might be a surprise to many of Jefferson’s conservative fans.

Thomas Jefferson to James Madison
28 Oct. 1785Papers 8:681–82
Seven o’clock, and retired to my fireside, I have determined to enter into conversation with you; this [Fontainebleau] is a village of about 5,000 inhabitants when the court is not here and 20,000 when they are, occupying a valley thro’ which runs a brook, and on each side of it a ridge of small mountains most of which are naked rock. The king comes here in the fall always, to hunt. His court attend him, as do also the foreign diplomatic corps. But as this is not indispensably required, and my finances do not admit the expence of a continued residence here, I propose to come occasionally to attend the king’s levees, returning again to Paris, distant 40 miles. This being the first trip, I set out yesterday morning to take a view of the place. For this purpose I shaped my course towards the highest of the mountains in sight, to the top of which was about a league. As soon as I had got clear of the town I fell in with a poor woman walking at the same rate with myself and going the same course. Wishing to know the condition of the labouring poor I entered into conversation with her, which I began by enquiries for the path which would lead me into the mountain: and thence proceeded to enquiries into her vocation, condition and circumstance. She told me she was a day labourer, at 8. sous or 4 d. sterling the day; that she had two children to maintain, and to pay a rent of 30 livres for her house (which would consume the hire of 75 days), that often she could get no emploiment, and of course was without bread. As we had walked together near a mile and she had so far served me as a guide, I gave her, on parting 24 sous. She burst into tears of a gratitude which I could perceive was unfeigned, because she was unable to utter a word. She had probably never before received so great an aid. This little attendrissement, with the solitude of my walk led me into a train of reflections on that unequal division of property which occasions the numberless instances of wretchedness which I had observed in this country and is to be observed all over Europe. The property of this country is absolutely concentered in a very few hands, having revenues of from half a million of guineas a year downwards. These employ the flower of the country as servants, some of them having as many as 200 domestics, not labouring. They employ also a great number of manufacturers, and tradesmen, and lastly the class of labouring husbandmen. But after all these comes the most numerous of all the classes, that is, the poor who cannot find work. I asked myself what could be the reason that so many should be permitted to beg who are willing to work, in a country where there is a very considerable proportion of uncultivated lands? These lands are kept idle mostly for the aske of game. It should seem then that it must be because of the enormous wealth of the proprietors which places them above attention to the increase of their revenues by permitting these lands to be laboured. I am conscious that an equal division of property is impracticable. But the consequences of this enormous inequality producing so much misery to the bulk of mankind, legislators cannot invent too many devices for subdividing property, only taking care to let their subdivisions go hand in hand with the natural affections of the human mind. The descent of property of every kind therefore to all the children, or to all the brothers and sisters, or other relations in equal degree is a politic measure, and a practicable one. Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise. Whenever there is in any country, uncultivated lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right. The earth is given as a common stock for man to labour and live on. If, for the encouragement of industry we allow it to be appropriated, we must take care that other employment be furnished to those excluded from the appropriation. If we do not the fundamental right to labour the earth returns to the unemployed. It is too soon yet in our country to say that every man who cannot find employment but who can find uncultivated land, shall be at liberty to cultivate it, paying a moderate rent. But it is not too soon to provide by every possible means that as few as possible shall be without a little portion of land. The small landholders are the most precious part of a state.

The Founders’ Constitution
Volume 1, Chapter 15, Document 32

Jefferson worried that too much wealth in the hands of a few would work against the natural rights of all. Clearly, Jefferson saw a role for the government in creating policies to address the needs of the poor and unemployed. Jefferson surely did call for limited government but not so limited as to ignore “those excluded from the appropriation.”
I don’t know what TJ would have thought about The Guess Who, but after reading this letter again, I thought of this song.
If you want a more scholarly treatment of Jefferson, why not treat yourself to Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims about Our Third President?

Darrin Patrick Has Been Relieved of Pastoral Duties at The Journey

Another megachurch pastor has fallen on hard times.
According to the church website, Darrin Patrick pastor at The Journey in St. Louis has been relieved of duty.

In recent weeks, allegations of pastoral misconduct regarding Pastor Darrin Patrick were made and confirmed. These actions, combined with a historical pattern of sin, led to the heartbreaking decision to remove Pastor Darrin from his role at The Journey and require him to step down from all internal and external leadership positions.
The accusations were not of adultery, but his behavior violates the high standard for a pastor/elder. In the last few years the elders have experienced and confronted issues regularly and intentionally with Darrin. This reveals that he has not been pursuing a personal walk with Jesus in a manner that reflects his pastoral calling and position as an elder in the church (I Peter 5:1-5, I Tim. 3:1-7). Though we all stumble in many ways, those called to teaching and preaching carry the weighty responsibility of setting an example of a Christ honoring lifestyle with the consequence of stricter judgment (James 3:1).
We agonized over this decision, and from the very beginning of this process, the elders have sought diligently to love Darrin, remind him of the Gospel, put a care team in place for his family, and make immediate plans for the church. Darrin has willingly placed himself under this care. With these resources in place, we are extremely hopeful in our God who is powerful to bring redemption and grace from the midst of brokenness. Ultimately, our faith in Jesus Christ and His Gospel gives us tremendous hope for renewed health and spiritual vitality for Darrin, the good of God’s church, and the glory of Jesus Christ. Therefore, as the Bible teaches us, our hope is not in a leader but in the Lord:
The Lord is the strength of his people;
he is the saving refuge of his anointed….
Be their shepherd and carry them forever.  –Psalm 28:8-9

The Journey Board of Elders and Lead Pastors

A more extensive letter has been publicly released via email. The email was sent to those on The Journey’s “church family” email list.

Church family,
We are writing to you with heavy hearts to share significant news regarding Pastor Darrin and The Journey. Please take the time to read the attached letter. Our members have already received this communication and we will process this news together as a church family this weekend at all of our local churches.


We want to address any questions or concerns you may have. You can submit those questions using the link below and we will strive to answer them in the next 48 hours.

If you would like to send encouragement to The Patrick Family, please use the link below.

For additional resources, visit thejourney.org.

Patrick is currently listed as vice-president of the Acts 29 board of directors (UPDATE: Patrick’s photo and bio have now been removed) and was a part of the decision to remove Mark Driscoll from membership in the A29 Network. He and his wife had recently released a book titled, A Dude’s Guide to Marriage.
UPDATE 2: Patrick’s picture has been removed from The Gospel Coalition’s Council webpage (cache).

Rafael Cruz: America Was Founded on the Word of God

Cruz Cruz BartonRafael Cruz came to Grove City College earlier this evening for a Q&A hosted by the college Republican club. He represented the Cruz campaign but I should hasten to add that the event was not a campaign rally and the college is not endorsing Cruz or any candidate.
Political Science professor Paul Kengor moderated the event and most of the initial hour centered around Rafael Cruz’s background in Cuba and then his assimilation to life in America. I tweeted some of the things Cruz said which can be viewed here: #rcruzgcc.
At one point, Cruz came close to sounding the seven mountains dominionism themes and said America was founded on the Word of God.
After the event, I had a moment with Rev. Cruz and asked him if his son believes the seven mountain dominionism teaching that Christians should take dominion over the mountain of government. He said that you have to be careful with the terms because people don’t understand. He said people, especially in the media, think you mean theocracy. He said it doesn’t mean a theocracy. He added that Christians should be salt and light in the government and use their influence to be salt and light.
The time was short so I was unable to follow up but I still believe Ted Cruz needs to clarify what taking dominion as president would look like.

Sutton Turner Names Attorney and Responds to Mars Hill RICO Lawsuit

Sutton Turner’s Seattle attorney has notified the court and Turner notified plaintiff’s attorney that service would be accepted on the RICO lawsuit naming him and Mark Driscoll as defendants.* They are accused of running the church in a manner to financially benefit the leaders, especially Mark Driscoll.
In response to the suit, Turner exclusively provided the following statement via email:

For over a month, I have offered to meet with the Jacobsens and Kildeas. Unfortunately, they have not responded.  It has been 19 months since I resigned from Mars Hill. I have had many meetings and conversations with people, even people that were previously listed in legal demands against Mars Hill Church.  Although the plaintiffs have requested meetings with Mars Hill Church in the past, that request has not been offered to me personally in the 19 months since my disassociation with Mars Hill Church.
Since I have yet to be served with this lawsuit, I have hired an attorney to take service for me in the state of Washington. Last year, I wrote at length of my involvement in ResultSource and Global even after threats of litigation from counsel associated with Mars Hill Church.  I believe I have done everything I can to resolve this peaceably. Unfortunately, it is now time to prepare for a legal defense of these allegations.

Early in March, Turner said, “The history and culture of Mars Hill is one of both a lack of trust and transparency. Lack of transparency breeds distrust and distrust causes less transparency. It is a perpetual cycle that can exist within any organization or relationship.”
Turner’s co-defendant, Mark Driscoll, recently said he had not been seen the suit but called the allegations malicious and false.
An image of the notice of appearance is below (full document).
Turner RICO Service
* Earlier I stated that Turner had been served the lawsuit. That is not accurate and Turner has not been served. I apologize for the error.

Does Ted Cruz Agree With His Foreign Policy Council Members That White Privilege is Nonsense?

Cruz Cruz BartonTwo of Ted Cruz’s national security advisors, Jerry Boykin and Frank Gaffney were discussing President Obama’s handling of the military. Right Wing Watch pointed out an amazing exchange between the two. In particular one that stood out to me was the characterization of white privilege as “nonsense.”
Go to RWW to listen to the exchange. After complaining about the training offered in the military, Gaffney and Boykin ridiculed “white privilege” as a proper subject of training.

“Diversity, sensitivity, and white privilege,” Gaffney said derisively.
“Yeah, that’s right,” Boykin said, “on white privilege and nonsense like that. That’s where they spend their training time.”

Now I don’t know what other subjects are covered in military training. I suspect many more than these. However, it is shocking to hear advisors to a presidential candidate ridicule sensitivity training that includes the subject of white privilege. Does Ted Cruz agree with his advisors here?
Is this the kind of military climate Cruz wants to create?
In my opinion, both Boykin and Gaffney should be relieved of advising duty, and if Cruz doesn’t deal with this now and he becomes the nominee, Hillary Clinton will deal with it in November.