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David Ripley: Trump Re-affirms His Commitment to Pro-Life Values

September 17th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Presidential candidate Donald Trump issued a public letter to the nation’s pro-Life community this past week, affirming his pro-Life values and expressing his determination to advance the Life agenda.

In his letter, Trump restated his commitment to four specific policy agenda items:

Nominating pro-Life judges to the Supreme Court of the United States;
Signing into law the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would essentially make abortions after 20 weeks illegal in the United States;
He would seek to defund Planned Parenthood so long as it performed abortions. Instead, he would re-direct the hundreds of millions in tax dollars to legitimate women’s health care providers; and
Trump would ask Congress to make the Hyde Amendment a permanent part of the federal code. This long-standing provision is usually attached as rider language to appropriation bills and restricts the use of federal monies to pay for elective abortions.
There is no question that these four action items represent a formidable pro-Life agenda for a new president’s first term. But even that awareness fails to capture the true stakes in November for America’s preborn children.

The Democrat nominee, Hillary Clinton, is a long way past the time when she declared that abortion should be rare in the United States. During her last run for the nomination, it became crystal clear that she is as rabid a supporter of Planned Parenthood’s agenda as any member of its Board. Clinton has publicly declared her support for tax-funded abortions and is committed to nominating the most rabid abortion-supporting lawyers to all levels of the federal bench.

Thus, we must appreciate not only what Donald Trump might accomplish as president, but what he will be able to prevent should he defeat Clinton and Planned Parenthood in November.

It is time to be in serious prayer for the outcome of the national election.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Politics in General, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

David Ripley: Democrats’ Deplorable Partnership with Planned Parenthood

September 16th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

It turns out that the looming Zika threat in America is also a tremendous opportunity for Planned Parenthood to expand its abortion business. That is the take-away from the months-long battle in Congress over additional funding to deal with the various outbreaks in American communities.

Democrat Nancy Pelosi threw down last week, making it clear that she and her party of Planned Parenthood agents would continue to block emergency funding for Zika unless some of that money was earmarked for Planned Parenthood clinics.

Republicans have already compromised with the other side by agreeing to a higher appropriation amount, essentially giving Obama what he originally asked for. But, as public health officials issue warnings about their dwindling resources to deal with the threat – Democrats are balking at the notion that public tax dollars in the appropriation would be limited to public health agencies.

Planned Parenthood long ago jumped on the Zika threat as a great business opportunity to sell more abortions. There are reports that Planned Parenthood staff people are actually working neighborhoods in Florida, going door to door, advising expectant women that abortion is their best option for dealing with the potential threat of the Zika virus. Such deplorable manipulation of concerned women should be denounced by every member of Congress. Yet Democrats will do no such thing. Instead, they have made it clear they will hold the public’s health hostage to the greed and darkness of Planned Parenthood.

Rumors have surfaced that the Republican Senate leadership is inclined to submit to Planned Parenthood’s blackmail. But House Speaker Paul Ryan made a public statement late last week declaring that Planned Parenthood clinics would not be included in the emergency spending package.

Let us maintain a prayerful, vigilant watch on the Congress in the coming days.

But let us also share this story with our neighbors as they contemplate their voting choices this fall.

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Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

David Ripley: United Methodists Back Away from Abortion Support

September 16th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Delegates to United Methodist Church recently voted to repeal its official support of the Roe v. Wade decision inflicted upon the nation in 1973. In a related matter, the Protestant denomination also voted to end its association with the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice – one of the most insidious front groups for Planned Parenthood in its mission to kill preborn children.

What makes this news even more encouraging is the fact that the United Methodist Church was an original co-founder of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. And there can be no doubt that this is a huge blow to Planned Parenthood.

The United Methodist Church claims some 12 million members in America and approximately 80 million around the world.

It is not clear from press reports how far the reform movement will go, or whether the group will actually move to a Gospel-inspired pro-Life position.

Some analysts credit the developments to the strong Christian orthodoxy of the denomination’s African membership.

But we know that the real mover is the Holy Spirit.

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Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

David Ripley: Pence Comes to Idaho

September 16th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence came to Boise yesterday for a fundraising event.

While the rigors of a national campaign did not allow him to stay in the Gem State for long, it was clear that he is well familiar with Idaho’s leading political actors. After his introduction by Gov. Butch Otter, Pence talked about his service in Congress with Butch. He also spoke with admiration about the record of Sen. Jim Risch – who has once again been singled out as the most conservative member of the United States Senate.

Gov. Pence is exactly the same person as he appears in television interviews: humble, passionate about the Constitution and devoted to his Christian faith. Rather than speaking about his personal ambitions, Pence spent most of his time talking about his interactions with the presidential candidate, Donald Trump. It is clear that he has gained a sincere admiration for the man and appreciates the fact that perhaps his greatest contribution to America may come in helping Trump win in November.

Pence emphasized the dire consequences of a Clinton presidency, particularly in the area of Supreme Court precedent and the ensuing legal turmoil.

And Mr. Pence made several references to the need to restore protections for America’s preborn children.

It speaks volumes about Mr. Trump’s judgment that he chose Mike Pence as his co-pilot in the battle to restore the Republic.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

David Ripley: Right to Life Endorses Trump

September 16th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The National Right to Life Committee announced yesterday that it was formally endorsing Donald Trump for President. In a public statement, NRLC focused on Hillary Clinton’s radical agenda to expand abortion in America – while acknowledging Trump’s oft-repeated commitment to appointing pro-Life judges to the federal bench.

After securing the nomination, Mr. Trump issued a public list of eleven potential nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court in the event that he gets the opportunity to make such appointments. The list of possible candidates was met with universal acclaim by pro-Life activists familiar with the records of those individuals.

Mr. Trump has also repeatedly stated his intention to end the federal government’s partnership with Planned Parenthood – America’s largest merchant of prenatal death.

By contrast, Hillary Clinton has led her party into a deeper partnership with the world’s most nefarious organized crime ring. She has endorsed Planned Parenthood’s demand for public financing of abortions and pledged to appoint abortion adherents to all levels of the federal judiciary.

Mrs. Clinton has even gone so far as to call for a reform of Christian theology in order to end formal opposition to legalized abortion.

The urgency of this presidential contest was highlighted by revelations that abortion cheerleader Barack Obama has – in addition to his Supreme Court appointments – made some 326 appointments to federal district courts around the country. He has been immensely successful in packing the courts with liberals. As of now, he has managed to gain a majority of Democrat appointees in 9 of the 13 federal court circuits. With a lifetime license to kill and destroy, these liberal federal judges will be wreaking havoc on American justice for decades.

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Posted in Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

Richard Larsen: The Lesser of Two Evils, or Third Party?

September 16th, 2016 by Halli

by Richard Larsen

The presidential election of 2016 presents a consequential conundrum for voters, especially conservatives. With antipathy running at historic highs for a Republican nominee, the temptation to vote third party or not at all is significant. While each must make his or her own decision about what matters most in the process, we have to bear in mind the consequences of our decision.

First, let’s dispense with what elections are and what they are not. Voting for candidates is a means of selecting representatives for our governance. The most pervasive definition is, “An election is a formal decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office.” The U.S. is not a theocracy, so we aren’t voting for a pastor, or a spiritual leader, or a great moralist.

Candidates have platforms, or statements of belief to delineate their policy positions in order for voters to ascertain their intent if elected. Ideally, all candidates are decent, honest, and honorable. So what do we do when the two major candidates in a two-party system are not? The most logical approach is to remove the subjective elements and focus strictly on the objective, by comparing your beliefs with those of the candidates. A superb way of seeing how your convictions align with the candidates is on the Internet at www.isidewith.com. Take the quiz at the top of the page for the presidential election and see how your view on the role of government, and specific issues, aligns with the candidates.

Although several candidates, including those from the Libertarian, Constitution, and Green parties are included, and may be on most of the state ballots, ours is fundamentally a two-party system. Some of that is due to our political history as a nation, but according to a research piece by the University of California in 2004, the Electoral College is one of the principle reasons. With a multiple party system, the ability to achieve the requisite 270 electoral votes is greatly diminished, which would cause presidential elections to be decided by the House of Representatives, rather than the popular vote by state, selecting Electors.

One Independent candidate has a strategy to take just one state, which his supporters argue, could possibly prevent either of the major candidates from surpassing the 270 electoral requirement. As it stands now, with the states Hillary Clinton has solid leads in, she has a 262 to 154 Electoral vote lead. Realistically, this isn’t even close, since all Hillary has to pick up is a state or two among the nine toss-up states, while Trump has to pick up all of them to win.

Because of the strength of the two-party system, third-party candidates inevitably draw voters from one of the two major parties. The Green Party takes some liberals from the Democrats, and the Constitution Party draws from the Republicans. While the Libertarian Party draws some from both, in part due to the social policies including legalization of drugs, but mostly from the ranks of the GOP. With the high level of dissatisfaction with the GOP nominee this year, the more votes siphoned away from one party or the other may have an impact on who ultimately wins, just as in 1992. That year Ross Perot, an Independent, amassed nearly 20 million votes, but didn’t win a single state or any Electoral votes. George H.W. Bush lost to Bill Clinton by only five million votes, but it was an Electoral landslide for Clinton with 370 to 168 Electoral votes. The Independent candidate handed the victory to Clinton, having funneled off enough Republican voters to deny Bush the reelection.

Many voters are caught up in the “lesser of two evils” debate, averring they could never choose to support a candidate who is perceived to be only slightly less “evil” than the other. From a logical perspective, this approach to voting is fundamentally flawed, for it’s based on the premise that there is, in the political space, the opposite of evil – a perfect candidate. There are no perfect candidates. We’re all mortal, hence fallible and imperfect. Thus, technically, every election is a choice between “evils.” And since we’re dealing with mortal institutions, every choice is a gradation of imperfection and fallibility.

So given that all candidates are mortal, and therefore flawed, or if you will, “evil,” to some degree or another, we’re always voting for the lesser of evils. Let’s approach this concept from a logical and philosophical perspective based on Immanuel Kant’s deontological ethics, or duty-based ethics. From a Kantian “moral imperative” standpoint, to in any way facilitate the victory of the greater evil, is contrary to our duty to the republic. So if one acknowledges that one of the major candidates is more “evil” than the other, to allow the greater evil victory, by siphoning away votes from the lesser evil, is in fact immoral.

The bottom line is, why do you vote for a candidate? Do you vote for someone you believe honest, but whose convictions are antithetical to your own, or do you vote for the one who aligns closest to your convictions and preferred policies, perhaps in spite of perceived personal flaws? If politics was an ecclesiastical exercise, and you were selecting a new pastor, perhaps the former makes most sense. Ideally, all of our candidates would be honest and without character flaws. But as mortals, imperfection is a given, perhaps especially in the realm of politics. And since politics is about governance, and policy follows principle, ideological alignment is a more fundamental and realistic basis from which to choose.

Before the pro-liberty voter commits to a third party, they must consider the implications if they enable a Clinton victory. A few key issues to consider: 1. More Ginsburgs and Sotomayor’s on the Supreme Court, or more Scalia’s and Alito’s? 2. Less regulation versus more regulation. 3. More free enterprise or less? 4. More U.S. sovereignty (and concomitant security) or less, by ceding authority to the UN. 5. A stronger military or a weaker, more diluted and socially engineered one? 6. More wealth redistribution, or more personal accountability and freedom to achieve? 7. Keep Obamacare, or repeal it?

The reality is that either Clinton or Trump will win. Sometimes we have to step outside of our comfort zone and vote based on policy and the greater good, rather than on a person, or assuaging our intrinsic sense of propriety. This is especially true for those who live in swing states where the election outcome will be determined.
Abstinence from voting, or voting in such a way to facilitate the election of the “greater evil,” certainly would be a violation of the moral imperative. We’d best consider the consequences of that third-party vote, or not voting, because if Clinton is handed the victory, the political hangover the morning after the election is going to be a doozey!

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Pocatello Issues, Politics in General, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

Richard Larsen: If You are Displeased with the Candidates and Didn’t Vote, YOU are to Blame!

September 16th, 2016 by Halli

by Richard Larsen

Politics may not be of interest to you, but politics sure has an interest in you. Whether you feel it doesn’t make a difference by having your voice heard, or you just don’t care what government does to you or demands of you, the political process is heavily dependent upon you. And frankly, it often succeeds due to failure on our part to be involved.

Politics, after all, is simply “the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power.” It is the exchange of ideas for governance that occurs in a free society.

There is a more pejorative, or less desirable aspect of the political process that is often laced with conflict over those who seek positions of responsibility that is often a “turn off” to many. This is understandable. But it’s simply part of the process, and arguably the biggest part, that determines the ideas and principles employed to determine the future of a community, a state, or a nation. One can be involved in the exchange of ideas, and sharing or supporting principles or even politicians, and still not be embroiled in the corruption that often defiles the process.

But isn’t that how life is in general? To all good and important things, there are less desirable antecedents, or concomitant events or actions. The pain and discomfort of childbirth is followed by the joys of parenting and delightful children. The prolonged dedication to jobs and work produce the comforts of life we aspire to for our families. The temporal loss of a loved one accompanies a greater appreciation for life and the impact of the one on our lives. As one good book says, “there is an opposition in all things.” There’s the good with the bad, the joys with the pain, and the light with the dark. In short, there’s the satisfaction of articulating correct principles, which is sometimes accompanied by social conflict over those ideas.

Surprisingly, usually only 50-60% of eligible voters in the country vote for their president. In midterm election cycles, between presidential elections, eligible voter turnout drops to as low as 38%, as with the 2008 midterms, even though they are arguably even more important perhaps than the presidential elections. And with each election cycle, every two years, local and state officials are vying for votes to give them the keys of governance. And since local government has a much more significant impact on our immediate quality of life, every election, even strictly local ones, are much more effectual for each of us personally.

There’s a video circulating on the internet that uses pennies to illustrate how many fellow citizens voted in the presidential primaries this year to provide us the two major candidates for president. It starts with 324 pennies, each representing a million people. Subtract 103 pennies from those, which represents the 103 million who are ineligible to vote, like children, non-citizens, and felons. Then subtract another 88 million who never vote, not even in general elections. Then delete another 73 pennies representing those who didn’t vote in the primary elections, but will likely vote in the general election. That brings us down to 60 pennies, representing those who voted in the primary elections, about 30 for each of the two major parties. Half of those primary voters cast their ballots for someone other than the two nominees. Statistically, just 14% of eligible voters, or 9% of the entire population, voted for Trump or Clinton. Fully 161 million eligible voters did not vote for either candidate.

Now, in light of this data, consider how much different the outcome could have been if even a percentage of the 88 million who never vote, had done so, or a portion of the 73 million who were eligible, yet failed to vote in the primary election. If you are dissatisfied with the two nominees, yet failed to vote, you are part of the reason why out of 324 million people, we are left with two significantly flawed candidates.

For those who choose apathy over involvement, are there no principles or ideas you deem worthy of your support? No concepts so important that you are willing to take a stand? No individuals who support the same values that you deem worthy of your support, or at the very least, a vote?

Elected officials, and politics in general, determine a great deal about your life, or can have significant impact on your quality of life. They can impact how dynamic the economy is, which effects what kind of job you may have, or how much you can earn, or how much of your hard-earned money you get to keep. They will have an impact on what government demands of you, what kinds of healthcare you get, the kinds of products that are available to purchase, and the quality of our food and environment. They have an impact on our social environment, the respect or lack thereof for the law, and the quality of our educational system for our children and grandchildren.

In short, there is very little they don’t have an impact on. And their success in implementing their ideas is directly effected by the involvement of the American citizen. We are, after all, a republic, founded on the principle that we are bestowed with inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Are we forfeiting our rights by not participating in the process that determines our ability to retain, protect, and maintain them?

Thomas Jefferson stated, “There is a debt of service due from every man to his country, proportioned to the bounties which nature and fortune have measured to him.” To some, that debt of service may be to serve in an elected capacity. To some, to fairly and accurately report the facts of what is occurring in our nation and our communities. And for others, it is to merely work hard for our families and pay our taxes. But for all of us, without exception, the debt of service must include participation in the electoral process of choosing our leaders and representatives. Any less than this, as eligible voters, is a forfeiture of our rights as citizens to ensure our pursuit of happiness, and perpetuation of our republic.

For as the Nobel Prize-winning author José Saramago has said, “The painter paints, the musician makes music, the novelist writes novels. But I believe that we all have some influence, not because of the fact that one is an artist, but because we are citizens. As citizens, we all have an obligation to intervene and become involved, it’s the citizen who changes things.”

None of us can do everything, but all of us can do something. And the very least we can all do, is to be informed and to vote. In fact, our citizenship demands it of us!

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Pocatello Issues, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

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