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Friday, February 17, 2017 6:00 PM
Our Founding Fathers debated government structure. John Adams believed in a strong elected executive; his opponents feared monarchy. Thomas Jefferson believed in liberal democracy (albeit of aristocrats); his opponents feared rule of the rabble. Some Mississippians have created a synthesis of the two: they fear both monarch and rabble.  To protect against both they sacrificed the common ground between Adams and Jefferson - democracy.

When it comes to some decisions, it seems government is too important to let voters decide how it should operate; tax dollars are too sacred to trust them to elections.
  • TANNER/Trump’s prescription problem
    Keeping track of Donald Trump’s shifting policy positions could make even the most balanced of observers dizzy.

    Take, for example, the president’s position on prescription-drug prices. Candidate Trump garnered bipartisan plaudits by criticizing the pharmaceutical industry for the high cost of prescription drugs. Shortly after becoming president, he reached out to Democrats such as Representative Elijah Cummings with a promise to lower drug costs. But not long after that, he met with drug company CEOs and backed away from that promise.
  • BROOKS/Bonhoeffer, Benedict or Ford
    How should one resist the Trump administration? Well, that depends on what kind of threat Donald Trump represents.

    It could be that the primary Trump threat is authoritarianism. It is hard to imagine America turning into full fascism, but it is possible to see it sliding into the sort of “repressive kleptocracy” that David Frum describes in the current Atlantic — like the regimes that now run Hungary, the Philippines, Venezuela and Poland.
  • LOWRY/Heed the protests
    It’s beginning to look a lot like August 2009 in reverse.

    In that summer of the Tea Party, conservative activists packed the town-hall meetings of Democratic congressmen and peppered them with hostile questions. It was an early sign of the abiding opposition that Obamacare would encounter, and the prelude to Democratic defeats in 2010, 2014 and 2016.
  • LOWRY/A so-called court ruling
    If the law means anything, the Trump administration will succeed in overturning the so-called court ruling against its travel ban.

    The nationwide stay of the ban issued by Judge James Robart, a Washington state-based federal district judge, is tissue-thin. It doesn’t bother to engage on the substance, presumably because facts, logic and the law don’t support Robart’s sweeping assertion of judicial authority in an area where judicial power is inherently quite limited.
  • BROOKS/Where history is being made
    James and Deborah Fallows have always moved to where history is being made. In the 1980s, when the Japanese economic model seemed like the wave of the future, the husband and wife team moved to Japan with their school-age children. Then, after 9/11, they were back in Washington, with James writing a series of essays for The Atlantic about what might go wrong if the U.S. invaded Iraq.
  • DUNCAN/Got gratitude?
    Turn in your Bible to Luke 17:11-19. As you turn there, think about this past week. I wonder if the thought has crossed your mind that, despite any difficult circumstances that are in your life, you are profoundly thankful to God for what He has done for you, realizing that He hasn't given you what you deserve but has dealt with you kindly. He's been generous and loving and gracious and merciful. Perhaps you've paused in your mind and said a silent prayer of gratitude. That kind of preoccupation with gratitude to God for mercies undeserved is characteristic of a believer.
  • GETTING THE MESSAGE/Psalm 84
    Jesus said: “Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God.” We may worry about what it means to be pure in heart. Pure to us implies no defect, something undiluted, or perfect. We worry because we know that we aren’t pure or perfect in our thoughts or actions. Jesus uses the word to describe a heart that has been converted. It is pure in that it has genuinely surrendered to Christ, and God now is their best joy. To be pure in heart means your faith is genuine.
  • TANNER/Drain the swamp
    If anyone thought that the Trump presidency and Republican control of Congress were going to usher in a new age of fiscal restraint, they are being swiftly disabused of that notion. Already we’ve seen President Trump float proposals for $1 trillion in infrastructure spending and rule out reform of our bankrupt entitlement programs, while Congress has passed a budget resolution that adds some $8 trillion to our federal debt over the next ten years.
  • DUNCAN/ ‘Attitude Check’
    Turn in your Bible to Luke 17:7-10. Remember that this passage is part of Jesus’s instruction to His disciples against the backdrop of the false teaching of the Pharisees. Here we find Jesus correcting the Pharisees’ views of God’s blessing. One of the Bible’s great themes is that the way of blessing is the way of obedience. However, some, like the Pharisees, wrongly believe that obedience obligates God to bless and that disobedience demands non-blessing. This theology is all wrong. It is not based on what God has said in His Word. Jesus, in this story, is using a common practical reality to show that the Pharisees’ own theology of obedience and blessing does not work.
  • GETTING THE MESSAGE/Psalm 61
    The psalm that we are looking at this week is a remedy for despair. In verses 1-2 we read of David’s distress: “Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint;” The word for “cry” is a loud cry, an extremely earnest beseeching of the Lord for necessary help.
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