(CCU Student) One of the touchiest, most tip-toed-around issues today is the choice of abstinence until marriage. As the world becomes more tolerant and even encouraging of promiscuous behavior, many Christians are hard-pressed to remain strong in their stand of remaining pure until their wedding night. And then beyond that, there is the challenge to stay faithful throughout their marriage.
The issue is often overlooked, though, because of the possible embarrassment that may arise when parents give “the talk” to their children. So, instead, teenagers receive the secular world’s “YOLO” message (You Only Live Once) to live life to the fullest and do everything you can to have a good time. It is so critical that the road of increased teen pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and emotionally scarred lives not be traveled anymore.
Secular society has numbed people to the severity of infidelity. Through movies, television and music, the world laughs, jokes and nonchalantly comments about casual sex. The lives of real, ordinary people are transformed as they adopt the pattern portrayed on TV that sex is no big deal, has no consequences, whether physical, emotional, or relational, and is normal and fine to do outside a healthy marriage setting.
First of all, sex is a big deal. God created it to be the most intimate union any two people can have, and it was made to be between a husband and wife. To shrug off its importance is to discredit God’s workmanship.
To say there are no after-effects from sex outside of marriage is one of the most offensive lies culture has conjured. It questions our intelligence because there are going to be consequences. The obvious physical results of sex outside of marriage are unexpected pregnancy and STDs.
The emotional and relational consequences are often overlooked because they’re not as in the open as the physical effects. However, they are what drive people to keep looking for approval in all the wrong places and to continue in their promiscuous behavior. The regret, hurt, pain, embarrassment and entire range of emotions can be overbearing. The soiled reputation and lost relationships are also felt heavily by the victim.
God is strict in His word about the right time and setting for physical intimacy. Hebrews 13:4: “He knows the hurts it can cause if the act is taken out of its purposed place.” Yet God is always full of love, forgiveness, and compassion, and always offers the chance for redemption.
Christians need to make the teaching of sexual integrity a priority in their life. C.A.T.S. (Concerned about Teenage Sexuality) is a program in my hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, bringing this message to middle and high schoolers. By being in a peer-to-peer mentoring group, teens are at ease when someone their age walks into their health-ed class to talk about sexual integrity.
Sex is sacred and precious and needs to remain in the context for which it was originally created. Although the world says it’s normal, fun and right to do what you want when you want to, the Lord challenges us to have self-control.
By having patience for His plan to work out in our lives, we’ll be ultimately blessed. Romans 12:2 sums up how we are to live: “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing and perfect will of God.”
Kelli Klaus is a Colorado Christian University freshman from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and was a student delegate at Western Conservative Summit 2012. She wrote this for her hometown paper, The Gazette, where it appeared on Sept. 16.
Washington D.C. – Monday, May 14th CCU students gathered on the top floor of the American Enterprise Institute. The room could almost be mistaken for a combat command room thanks to AEI scholars leading students into a military simulation of the March 2002 Operation Anaconda during the Afghanistan war. The operation lasted several days and resulted in a Coalition victory with nearly 100 casualties and 500-800 Taliban killed.
Students were tasked with roll playing key persons in the U.S. attack. At the end of the simulation students were asked a very straightforward question “was this mission a success?” The majority of students seemed to think that the mission was not a success due to confusion and the loss of U.S. soldiers in battle. Now it is clear that, having gone through the simulation, aspects of the operation were not handled properly and that mistakes were made; but is it unreasonable for us to look at a battle where fifteen Coalition lives were lost en route to disbanding the largest gathering of Taliban and killing 500-800 enemy fighters? I think so.
We are at a strange time. With great advancements in technology we are made to think that anything is possible and in an arena where human lives are on the line we are hesitant to accept any loss. But this is still war and the men who fight for this country believe that there are certain things worth dying for. I believe we all should take such a noble stance and honor their sacrifices and acknowledge the great victory of this battle. Of course I pray that no life is needlessly lost, but I will not look on this battle as a loss.
For the information given to students by AEI click here.
Wednesday night, Washington, D.C. – American Enterprise Institute & Heritage Foundation scholars, media members, writers, donors, Congressmen gather along with 20 CCU Washington Week students & faculty. The occasion; Arthur Brooks, president of AEI, is speaking about his new book, “The Road to Freedom”. The lecture focused on the battle between conservatives & liberals in the public square. Brooks explained that as president of AEI it is clear that the truth and statistical backing rests within the conservative ideas and policies. Despite this, the left is winning the battle. Brooks believes this quandary is caused by the failure of conservatives to make a strong moral argument for our beliefs and our ignorance of the neuropsychological proof that moral arguments affect human brains in a way far more powerful than solely logical arguments.
To illustrate the failure of strictly logical arguments versus a moral case Brooks tells a joke – ‘Three friends go out golfing; a psychologist, a priest and a free market economist. They find themselves playing behind two incredibly slow golfers. These golfers are painfully slow and are ruining the friends’ day at the golf course. After several holes of impatiently waiting behind these two men who are shooting upwards of 12 strokes per hole, the three ask the caddy to allow them to play through. The caddy replies “you guys are free to play through, but I want you all to be aware of how rude you’ve been… Remember the fire at the schoolhouse last year, and the two firemen who lost their sight while rescuing 13 children from the blaze? Well that’s them and this weekly golf game is their most coveted source of fun since losing their vision, and you three have been heckling them this entire time.” The psychologist replies, “Wow, here I’ve devoted my life to trying to help people and I just learned a valuable lesson today.” The priest says “Oh my, I have a contrite heart and I have been humbled by these two great men.” The free-market economist pauses for a moment, and then says, “It would be more efficient if they were to play at night!”’(Paraphrase Quote)
Clearly the economist in this joke has made a factual and relevant argument, but he has completely failed to address the moral reality of this situation and thus ignored an integral element of human nature. This anecdote masterfully illustrates the climate of political discourse between the right & left today. Brooks went on to show that the right is not devoid of moral substance. Rather he showed that every claim has moral implications, and that we must reach towards those implications in our argumentation in order to reach others with the truth where it so often is overlooked.
My time in D.C. with the CCU and Centennial Institute Washington Week clan began with not the greatest of surprises – after driving 1,670 miles from Denver my car’s fuel pump failed just twenty miles short of our destination. Sparing you further details of the dilemma; I had a very interesting discussion with the driver of the tow truck, Kevin. Kevin made it very clear that he backed Obama for re-election. After unsuccessfully prying into his reasoning for such a stance, I began to lose hope for the discussion. Then Kevin introduced the idea of term limits for Congress. Kevin was highly in favor of a possible limit of service on the Hill for both chambers. This proposition is not foreign at CCU, Centennial Institute, or conservative dialogue in general, and provided a needed common ground between Kevin and myself on our short ride to the garage. This conversation would not be the last time that term limits would be raised during this trip.
On Friday, former Colorado Congressman and Senator, Hank Brown led CCU students on a tour of the Capitol. Senator Brown has extensive knowledge of the Capitol’s art, history, and symbolism. As a former Senator, Hank Brown provided CCU students a nearly unlimited access tour of both chambers. One very special place we found ourselves in was the House Appropriations Committee room. In this room, a portion of the fresco is composed of a painting of the Roman Senator and leader Cincinnatus being called from his plough to defend Rome. Senator Brown told us the significance of this lies not in the fact the Cincinnatus heard the call of duty and went to save Rome, but that he returned to his farm and denied the dictatorship of Rome after completing his service. This historical event was repeated in the life and service of George Washington. Both men loved their country, they left their home to serve and defend but returned when their service was no longer required, turning down dictatorial power.
These two men, Washington more commonly, are cited by those who argue for a Congressional term limit. We have seen a handful of men go to congress and serve valiantly at their posts as Senators of Congressman then return to their homes and occupations, imploring others to do the same. But are these self-imposing term limiters to be compared to Cincinnatus and Washington? To know this we must know the enemy in all three cases. In Cincinnatus’s time the enemy was the attacking Aequi forces. During Washington the threat was the British Empire. But today the greatest fight in front of a conservative congressman or woman is the fight to stop & reverse government growth and defend constitutional government. And while universally imposed term limits would theoretically aid that pursuit, Conservatives are not raising the memory of Cincinnatus or Washington when they leave the government in the hands of the entrenched spenders while patting themselves on the back for showing restraint. I applaud the honorable service of these Senators and Representatives, though I feel this is one area where leading by example hurts our cause. These strong conservative members should fight to the end of the battle; until term limits are instated, then leave their posts with dignity.
(CCU Student) What is conservatism? Why are YOU conservative? These questions were asked of students attending the Young America’s Foundation National Conservative Student Conference this summer in D.C. (August 1-6, 2011). The conference was an opportunity to explore conservatism today and apply it to our own lives.
The media today is overwhelmed by liberal talk shows, news anchors, and bias; so it’s a good idea to know what you believe and why. This rationale is exactly why I desired to attend NCSC this year. The political realm is an area that I have only recently dared tip my toes into, but I’ve always been a conservative, albeit a confused one at times. I grew up on Biblical principles, often the foundation of conservative thought. But I also attended a public high school, where I learned that Nixon was good and Reagan was bad. The liberal and conservative ideologies were never explained to me or my fellow students, and no policies were ever debated, so I never quite knew what was considered conservative or liberal.
The speakers at NCSC spoke about the values of conservatism through the lens of current events. They helped me to understand the debt ceiling debate, foreign issues, and other current affairs from the conservative perspective. Also, the opportunity to discuss these issues after the sessions with other attendees provided arenas for debate on what the speakers spoke on and solutions for current affairs.
Some of the speakers and topics covered:
· KT McFarland, FOX News’ National Security Analyst– Flash points around the world
· Senator Mike Lee, Republican U.S. Senator for Utah – The debt crisis and a Balanced Budget Amendment
· Joseph Phillips, actor from “The Cosby Show” and syndicated columnist – Current affairs of race today and its implications
· Dr. Robert George, Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University – Immigration and American Exceptionalism
· Matt Richardson, Executive Director of the Young Briton’s Foundation – Healthcare in the UK
Now, I have solidified in my own mind what conservatism is and what I believe in. My lack of knowledge has been replaced by a sense of awareness of my own beliefs. I stand with many other conservatives and believe that moral relativity is not an option, that national security and defense is one of the biggest priorities for our nation, and that a capitalist free market system is the best way to boost our economy and create jobs.
As Bay Buchanan, former Treasurer of the United States under President Reagan, said in her session, “Do not ever feel inadequate because you do not know. You are inadequate when you are on the sidelines.” Before, I felt as if my lack of political knowledge meant that I could not be an active participant. But that participation is exactly how I learned more about what I believed. So even if you don’t feel like you know much, go out and get involved in politics, whether through campaigning for your favorite candidate or simply discussing current political issues with your friends. You’ll be glad you did!
(Centennial Graduate Intern) Working in the Pentagon this summer, I ran into several Obama appointees. One was a field director for Hillary’s Presidential campaign in Iowa. During the campaign, he spent his time meeting all the senior citizens in the community and reaching out to other community leaders. He went to the local high school once during the primary campaign. On the fateful caucus day, the entire senior class of the high school in Iowa showed up and a solid Hillary district was locked into Obama. Thus, began the 2008 primary that eventually culminated with the election of President Barack Obama.
My generation, the millennials, are one of the first generations to go to school in a very diverse environment, making our generation extremely inclusive. However, within this inclusiveness is a sense of moral relativism that has permeated our mentality. Within such a context, an ideology predicated on principle is far more difficult to hold ground than a nebulous, rapidly evolving mentality.
Our survey of several different youth leaders has shown that there are several trends within engaging the youth within the conservative movement as well as solidifying a far reaching movement inculcating the changes our nation embodies demographically. The lessons learned/trends are as follows:
• Focus on jobs and economy
– Entry level jobs for recent college graduates – Loss of perpetuity of the wellbeing of our nation – Tuition and Fees – Student loans(now federalized)
• Grassroots organizations predicated on ideology rather than necessarily party
• Youth Coordination accessible and prominent during campaigns
• Avoiding alienation due to party positions
• Inclusiveness of conservative movement; preservation of American values
A brief anecdote from my college days captures the aforementioned trends. I had the blessing of working on a pro-life movement on Texas A&M’s campus on a grassroots level. Our focus was on countering the introduction of FOCA, which would lift almost all regulations on abortion. Our goal was to utilize the already mobilized pro-life movement around the legislation and increase the number of signatures of a petition being sent to preclude the legislation’s introduction. Our campaign began with traditional groups such as Aggies for Life and the Young Conservatives of Texas; however, due to our ability to articulate the commonality of the sanctity of human life, we were able to garner support from several different faith groups typically not associated with the pro-life movement. It is the strength of semantics within a campaign as well as an appeal to universal human values that allowed us to build an inclusive, dynamic movement.
It is this sort of mentality that we can bring to our larger conservative movement in order to engage the youth vote as well as build a lasting conservative movement for the 21st century. Above all, the American values that we have been blessed with give me confidence that even though my generation will face the greatest challenges our nation has witnessed since the post World War II era , we will also find our greatest triumphs.
(CCU Student) The nuclear crisis in Japan is a tragedy on top of a tragedy. It has not caused major damage, but the Japanese officials have finally decided to tell the truth as it is instead of trying to fluff it up in order to make the people feel better. This is actually how many wish to speak for the entire disaster in general. One reason may be the technological access that has recently caused rebellion in the Middle East. If anyone within the danger zone (or any family member in contact with them) has the ability to access world news they can get the full story from sources other than Japan to find out the truth. With their new way of handling this disaster in hand they finally disclosed that reactor 2 unit 4 of the Fukushima plant has likely been damaged and is leaking harmful radiation. –Prime Minister Naoto Kan gave a brief address to the nation saying, "The level [of radiation] seems very high, and there is still a very high risk of more radiation coming out." (WSJ)— Now an eighteen mile radius has been evacuated in preparation for more damage, though it is unlikely that this will turn into another Chernobyl despite everything, and this would not be happening at all if they had had the ability to maintain normal safety measures to circumvent the dangers that are happening today. However, not many nations will go through a 9.0 earthquake that moves it, by a considerable margin, towards the United States, nor will they be struck by a 10 meter wave (about 30 feet) shortly afterwards. When dealing with this it is safe to say that the ability of the workers to react within normal parameters had been stolen from them. The fact that this reactor has not obliterated Fukushima like Chernobyl can be attributed to the efforts the Japanese plant workers.
Are they out of danger? By no means no, but I do know that this will not be like Chernobyl at all. Chernobyl made it possible to have the safety measures in place at every plant world-wide that are precautions against similar accidents. Though, no matter the outcome, naysayers will take this disaster and run with the idea that nuclear power is never a good source of energy despite evidence to disprove them. It is safer, cleaner, and cheaper than many methods in use today which is why Japan uses it in the first place. Approximately 2/3 of the country relies on nuclear energy as their primary source of power.
What needs to be taken into consideration is it is not an everyday occurrence for two major natural disasters to hit the same area in the same day. Also, since Chernobyl, nuclear plants have not been taken lightly. They are handled as one would handle a wild beast: with a great measure of respect. Since 1986 there have been no major disasters because of the standards set in place. These standards are being used in Japan, and the only reason this malfunction is because of the two-for-one natural disaster. All the affected plants were near the epicenter of the earthquake in near the shoreline hit by the tsunami, and if they had not been prepared for either event in any capacity the plants would not be there and that entire region would be a nuclear wasteland by now.
So instead of massive media induced hysteria, we should listen to those with more knowledge on the subject and discover ways that we can be of assistance (besides monetarily) of the Japanese community. We will not know what happens until after everything settles, but the need over there is great whether or not a nuclear disaster is added to the mix.
Why is it so appealing to be “progressive”? I think this question deserves further scrutiny. Our nation is manifested in a multi religious, multi racial, multi ethnic demographics, which will only be changing further as our nation progresses to its next centennial. In fact, within our next centennial, this country will become a majority minority nation, much like several states in the south have already become. The “progressive” movement has already embraced this reality.
To elucidate, the progressives have captured the youth vote to the tune of 66% turning out for Obama in 2008. The votes by race resulted in similar statistics with African Americans at 95%, Latinos at 67%, and Asians at 62%. In short, the conservative movement struggled with both youth and minority vote. It can be argued that McCain is not indicative of the conservative movement; however, even with the most visceral of assessments, these statistics serve as wakeup call for the future of the conservative movement. So the question remains: How do we create a dynamic conservative movement that is inclusive?
Garrett Sweitzer, Bryce Bender and Heath Mayo are the newly selected leaders of Students for Mitt and are working to engage youth within the Romney 2012 campaign. When I posited the question (asked of other young conservatives twice before in this series), they responded:
“The conservative movement needs to articulate a message that promotes inclusiveness. Increasing levels of immigration make it imperative the conservative movement maintain flexibility so not to alienate large population segments.
"In particular, I would like to see the conservative movement, and its accompanying ideology, focus on the destructiveness of a large federal government that positions itself as the prevailing authority in every aspect of society. We need to constrain the growth of government so not to lose our fundamental freedoms.
"I fear that some citizens fail to recognize that a dependency on the federal government slowly erodes free-will as a crucial determinant of one's life decisions. I believe that an ideology that stresses the importance of maintaining personal autonomy as independent of an overbearing central government will attract adherents for foreseeable future.”
This concludes our three-part series on building a dynamic conservative movement on the 21st century. We will have one more summary and lessons-learned blog to capture the trends in our series.
Garrett Sweitzer, Bryce Bender, and Heath Mayo are the student leaders of Students for Mitt and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org , Heath.Mayo@responsibleyouth.org , email@example.com.
(Centennial Staffer) How can we build a robust, inclusive, and dynamic conservative strategy and agenda, conducive to the 21st century? This blog is the second in a three-part series exploring that challenge. I invited some comments from a friend of mine, Jim Banks, who currently serves as Executive Director of the Responsible Youth PAC. The two questions I posited to him are: 1) How should conservatives appeal to our generation? and 2) How can conservatism be dynamic, so as to appeal to our generation when we come to maturation in 2050, with all the demographic change between now and then?
Here is the reply from Jim Banks:
1) How should conservatives appeal to our generation? This question is simple when considering the status of our country right now. The debt our country is incurring will be a financial burden on our generation for not years, but decades to come. If you need any proof, just take one look at our debt on www.usdebtclock.org. When we're tens of trillions of dollars in debt, it's going to take a whole lot more than the 112th Congress to fix things. So our generation faces a decision. We can choose to support the ways of past congresses and maintain a dedication to spending, government handouts, and irresponsibility, or we can choose to actually tackle this debt head on. Our generation is still fairly young, but the sooner we realize what a financial storm is on the horizon should we not confront this debt, the likelier we are to be able to handle it. It is the responsibility of the conservative movement at large to inform our generation of what is on the way. There are many people our age who can't relate with what the debt means to our country and the sooner they learn the better. Conservative, Liberal, Moderate, Libertarian, apathetic, it doesn't matter who it is. We need to begin this conversation now so that we are prepared for what's to come when we come of age. Liberals and progressives are the ones who are perpetuating this spending and thus cannot be expected to be the ones who commit to resolving it. We need to send this message of fiscal responsibility far and wide and people will come. That is not to say that social conservatism or national defense based conservatism is less important. But I know people who have recently graduated and are about to graduate. While they may be passionate about pro-life causes or what's going on in the Middle East, their one commonality is that they are all looking for jobs. And in this tough economy jobs are hard to find. In a perfect world, we could convincingly market all the branches of conservatism to the youth and expand the movement as a whole. But with what is going on financially in the country we cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good and we must prioritize promoting fiscal responsibility first to grow the conservative movement youth. 2) How can conservatism be dynamic, so as to appeal to our generation when we come to maturation in 2050, with all the demographic change between now and then?This is an interesting question. One thing I think must be realized before I address this question is the fact that I honestly cannot tell you what this country will look like in 39 years. And anyone who tries to tell you that they do is either lying, has an agenda, or is honestly a genius well ahead of their time. I don't say this out of spite, but because our world is ever changing. Nobody during the space race of the late 60's and early 70's could have predicted that in 40 years we wouldn't have been back to the Moon since. If you watch a movie from the 90's you'll see the old mobile phones which look like a massive block of plastic and electronics. Now you have touch screen phones with internet access which exceeds the capabilities of some of the computers of the time.What conservatism brings to our country's culture and heritage is an appreciation of our nation's roots. The conservative movement is based on a respect and reverence for our Constitution and the beliefs of the Founding Fathers. This gives us a perspective on the issues of the modern day which is grounded in what made our country what it is today.
These traditional beliefs and values are universal and convey the message of freedom, limited government, personal responsibility, and a pride in our unique system of government. This is a message which can appeal to anyone of any age, of any demographic. There is a reason people immigrate to the US to start a new life. You don't tend to see citizens leaving the US for opportunities in other countries and there's a good reason for that.Conservatism is dynamic in its nature in that it is solely based off of a universal philosophy which does not put one demographic above another. Everyone has an opportunity to succeed, and it is up to them to choose how they want to use that chance. We need to do outreach to people of all backgrounds not because we need those people to make us a legitimate movement, but because there are many people who are conservative, but have been taught otherwise. Our ideals transcend demographics and we must make people realize that. Not only would it give us new opportunities to expand our movement, but it would give new life to the discourse about what makes us conservative and the issues of today. And this is just as true for 2050 as it is for today.
Note: Jim Banks currently serves as Executive Director of the Responsible Youth PAC and is a sophomore at American University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and (973) 600-5457. More information on the Responsible Youth PAC can be found at www.responsibleyouth.org. Eric Garza of Texas contributed the first blog in this three-part series. Read it here. The culmination of the series will be commentary from the Students for Mitt campaign.
How can we build a robust, inclusive, and dynamic conservative strategy and agenda, conducive to the 21st century? This blog is the first in a three-part series exploring that challenge. I invited some comments from a friend of mine, Eric Garza, who currently serves in a dual capacity as vice chairman of the Latino National Republican Coalition of Texas and executive director of a group called CONSERVO (Council on Service, Education, Representation of Values, and Opportunity). The two questions I posited to him are: 1) How should conservatives appeal to our generation? and 2) How can conservatism be dynamic, so as to appeal to our generation when we come to maturation in 2050, with all the demographic change between now and then?
Eric Garza responded:
Being a conservative in American has never been as popular within the last decade. Since the time of President Reagan, America has seen its share of both a liberal and conservative agendas. Yet never before, has the United States seen so much unprecedented growth of the federal government and such an increase in our federal debt. Our generation, from the 1980s - early 1990's, and though still young, finds itself right in the middle of the economic turmoil caused by the current liberal agenda in Washington. Many in our group lack employment or have endured long periods without sustaining income. This generation of Americans is full of incredible potential and a true hope for our nation's future.
As the future leaders of the both the public and private sectors, conservatives have their work cut out in appealing to this unique group with policies that cultivate economic growth and sustainability. Fiscal responsibility, a high point of conservatism, needs to be practiced in order for our generation to live by example and adapt. After all, an economically sound country opens room to deal with other domestic policies such as education and health care that directly affect this generation. Conservatism that is far-right leaning regarding social and economic policies and that does not take into account a wider range of ideas, will merely grow the distance between our generation and conservatism. Conservatives need to realize the rapidly changing population in the American electorate and in our own generation. Hispanics are the largest increasing demographic and while conservative at heart, they often vote for liberal agendas and candidates because of the lack of appeal from the conservative arena. Far-right rhetoric that refuses to come center on issues such as immigration alienates this important sector of the population and in large part our whole generation of young Americans. Apart from Hispanics, our generation has seen growth in young professionals who have already begun to cultivate their own belief systems. The most crucial aspect in appealing to this generation is to put a walk to our talk. No longer is conservative rhetoric enough to entice our generation but a conviction to act on our behalf and implement initiatives we can live with and that in the long turn, benefit us.
Conservatism is a good thing when used appropriately to draw in voters of all ages, more specifically of our generation. We often times mistake conservatism for a far-right agenda. Yes, at times it can mean that, but more importantly it means a way of life that many can adapt to and ensure this ideology remains alive and well for generations to come. Limited government, fiscal responsibility, and strong national defense, are all significant facets of being a conservative. Lets embrace a dynamic shift in these ideas like never before, live by them, and then, only then, will we watch our generation (comprised, in large part, of Hispanics) come into the fold and remain well past 2050 and beyond.
Eric Garza can be reached at email@example.com or (956) 465-8499. The Latino National Republican Coalition of Texas’ website is www.lnrctexas.org. My next blog in this three-part series will explore the same questions with young leaders in Students for Mitt Romney.