Month: December 2015

Let’s keep the Christ in Christmas

Lamenting the misuse of our Christmas traditions isn't anything new. Since the mid-1960s, children have gathered around televisions sets every December to watch a depressed Charlie Brown voice his dismay about the commercialization of Christmas. To him, it seemed like everyone was focused on buying things and not paying enough attention to the reason for the season – the birth of Jesus Christ. "Look, Charlie, let's face it," a frustrated Lucy told him. "We all know that Christmas is a big commercial racket. It's run by a big eastern syndicate, you know." Her little brother Linus later rescued his friend from depression by taking the stage and reciting the story of the birth of Jesus as written in the gospel according to Luke. Charlie Brown was uplifted ... for the moment, at least. It's a great lesson for children to hear, but one that's becoming harder to find these days because not only is Christmas over-commercialized, its meaning – and even the word itself – is becoming lost in a sea of secularization. The signs are all around. My daughters and I went shopping for yard decorations in Huntsville a few weeks ago but we found the supply of faith-inspired items to be virtually nonexistent. We saw countless inflatable snowmen, penguins, pirates, dragons, and even Darth Vader and Yoda wishing us "Happy Holidays." But we found nothing with the likeness of the Holy Family or even the Star of Bethlehem. Finally, just when we were about to give up and…

ISIS has changed the way we should think about refugees

We are a welcoming people, but ISIS just changed the rules I've always been proud of our Southern hospitality. Say what you will, we're certainly more welcoming to strangers than most places. I've also always been proud of our region's fighting spirit. Our military's ranks are chock-full of Southerners, and we've always been ready to defend our homeland at all costs. To borrow the motto of the 1st Marine Division: No better friend. No worse enemy. Hospitality and self-defense aren't usually mutually exclusive, but the twisted plots of Islamic jihadists have now placed our ability to adhere to both those ideals in serious question. We're in a classic moral dilemma, and one that shouldn't be decided without a significant amount of soul-searching. Before us stands the Islamic State, or ISIS, with the stated goal and demonstrated capability to kill Americans where we live and work. Also before us are the thousands of innocent civilians who are fleeing their barbarism. What should we do? Some say the threat of ISIS infiltrating the refugee population is manageable so we should welcome refugees into our communities. America must remain a beacon for liberty, they say, and anything less would betray our founding principles. There's a thick strain of American pride running through my veins that calls my heart to agree with those appeals. We're the greatest country in the world, and our people are the most welcoming of all nations, and are always ready to defend the defenseless. I heard proof of this…

4 things the left doesn’t understand about gun rights supporters

So let me get this straight: a couple of Muslim terrorists affiliated with a movement to enslave the world under an Islamic kingdom kill innocent Americans and our political left’s response is to attack the National Rifle Association? It appears so. Hillary Clinton lashed out at the NRA before the facts were even known about the attack in California. Liberals in Congress and the media immediately began beating their anti-NRA war drums. And the White House said those who oppose the president’s gun control measures are just “scared of the NRA.”Perhaps the most telling of these attacks came from the New York Daily News. It called the NRA’s leader, Wayne LaPierre, a “terrorist” and placed his picture below one of the two San Bernardino killers. The headlined charged that the Islamic extremists were enabled by the “NRA’s sick gun jihad against America.”Seriously? Okay sure, let’s have a debate about the NRA and forget that this was an attack by two Islamic State agents operating openly in our homeland. Let’s forget that a foreign terrorist easily passed one of those vaunted visa background checks by listing a fake Pakistani address. Most importantly, let’s forget that not a single gun control law being proposed by Democrats would have stopped this terrorist attack or any of the other recent high-profile mass shootings.But before we suspend these crucial truths to hold a red herring debate about the NRA, there are a few things leftists should know about gun rights supporters like me. First, the…

Alabama simply can’t afford expanded Medicaid

Last month the committee appointed by Governor Robert Bentley to study the state’s health care situation issued a report that essentially recommended that a costly yet key ingredient of Obamacare be brought to Alabama – the much-debated Medicaid expansion. Members of the Alabama Health Care Improvement Task Force made a noticeable effort to distance their recommendations from that central tenant of Obamacare, probably because the overall law remains so unpopular. Their report states that we should pursue an Alabama-driven solution that “reflects Alabama’s values and meets Alabama’s needs,” but the framework is basically the same.Under most proposals, Alabama would increase the pool of those eligible for Medicaid, which is the government’s free health care program for the poor, to those low-income adults earning up to 138 percent of the poverty level, or about $16,000 per year. That would close the so called “Medicaid Gap” by providing insurance for the estimated 290,000 Alabamians who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid yet too little to afford government-subsidized private insurance. That sounds nice, except that we know that free health care isn’t really free. Estimates show the move could immediately cost Alabama taxpayers $40 million a year, but that’s only thanks to the federal government’s offer to pay the lion’s share for the first three years. After that, Uncle Sam starts walking away and Alabama would be stuck paying about $100 million in 2018, then $222 million in 2020, and who knows how much more of an increase after that. Nothing grows…