- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 4, 2010

CROSS ROADS

Some say the nation needs more than politics to stay grounded. Beginning Monday, Baptist pastor Charles Stanley — founder of In Touch Ministries in Atlanta — is asking Americans to pray for their country in the next 140 days, concentrating on such issues as terrorism, increased taxation, the financial crisis, unemployment, “the rapid erosion of our liberties” and more.

“No nation on Earth has ever been as blessed as the United States of America. I believe this is because our Founding Fathers understood that liberty is a gift from God — one that comes with a heavy responsibility. They framed our government and established our Constitution on the foundation of godly, biblical principles, making this great country unlike anything anyone had ever seen before,” Mr. Stanley tells Inside the Beltway.

“Never throughout world history had there been a nation founded by the people, for the people — with freedom of speech, religious liberty, and such confidence in the common man. This was because these men understood the powerful influence Jesus Christ could have on each and every person for good,” he says, warning that a “dangerous spiritual tide” is adrift.

He noted that a prayer guide can be found at www.intouch.org

REINFORCING STEELE

Is he a rogue Republican, or just careless? Hubbub continues over Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele’s suggestion that the war in Afghanistan is futile, and belongs to President Obama. For sure, the caterwauling highlights sore points within the party itself and provides a cautionary tale for all officials, a reminder that no one is ever “off the record” these days, thanks to palm-sized video cameras. While pundits scold and liberals cackle, some lawmakers insist Mr. Steele should resign. But not all of them.

“I congratulate Michael Steele for his leadership. He is absolutely right: Afghanistan is now Obamas war. During the 2008 campaign, Obama was out in front in insisting that more troops be sent to Afghanistan. Obama called for expanding the war even as he pretended to be a peace candidate,” Rep. Ron Paul says in a statement to CNN.

Michael Steele should not resign,” the Texas Republican continues. “Smart policies make smart politics. He is guiding the party in the right direction, and we are on the verge of victory this fall. Chairman Steele should not back off. He is giving the country, especially young people, hope as he speaks truth about this war.”

Mr. Paul adds, “I have to ask myself, what is the agenda of the harsh critics demanding this resignation? Why do they support Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obamas war? The American people are sick and tired of spending hundreds of billions of dollars a year, draining our economy and straining our military. Michael Steele has it right, and Republicans should stick by him.”

WOODY [HEART] SARAH

“She’s a colorful spice in the general recipe of democracy. She’s a sexy woman. Yes. Me and Sarah. We could do a romance.”

— actor-director Woody Allen on Sarah Palin, to the Australian newspaper

A FUTURE DISCUSSION

“Are Muslims required to obey non-Muslim governments?” That’s the question 5,000 Muslims will ask during the annual convention of the Maryland-based Ahmadiyya Muslim Community on July 17 in a special session with Naseem Mahdi, the group’s national vice president, says spokeswoman Saima Sheikh. The event will be staged at the Dulles Expo Center in Virginia.

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