April 6th 2019

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY The NSW election and our incredible shrinking farming sector

SOCIETY The pervasive and pernicious online porn epidemic

CANBERRA OBSERVED Coffers are full but Treasurer will take spending cautiously

OPINION Judge treats Cardinal Pell to a spot of 'open justice'

NATIONAL AFFAIRS NSW Liberals re-election gives a boost to Morrison

ECONOMICS The Great Dragon uncoils all around the globe

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS President Donald Trump: an unlikely promise keeper Part 2

REFLECTION On the conviction of Cardinal Pell

FICTION Orange Years: The Japie Greyling Story

TERRORISM Lessons from Christchurch

ASIAN AFFAIRS Xi's imperious play prompts U.S. to repair Asian friendships

YPAT Getting with the program: one young person's story

MUSIC To market, to market, to sell a good song

CINEMA The LEGO Movie 2: Building a world

BOOK REVIEW A template for living alongside the world

BOOK REVIEW Catholic Maryland and early tolerance



THE BUDGET Take your tax cuts and be merry, for tomorrow ... is another day

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President Donald Trump: an unlikely promise keeper Part 2

by Dwight Randall

News Weekly, April 6, 2019

The gender wars

In February 2017, President Trump res-cinded President Obama’s guidelines to the Education Department that instructed public schools to support transgender students using the toilets of their choice. Trump reversed this guideline so that biological boys no longer have access to girls’ toilets, showers and change rooms. He argued that public schools should have the authority to make their own decisions without federal interference. Christian parents across the nation were greatly relieved when Trump revoked Obama’s appalling guidelines.

Furthermore, President Trump’s Administration is working on a narrow (scientific, historical, truthful and biblical) definition of gender. According to a Department of Health and Human Services’ memorandum, gender would be determined “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable”.

The memo states: “Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth”. It continues: “The sex listed on a person’s birth certificate, as originally issued, shall constitute definitive proof of a person’s sex unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence.”

President Trump’s determination to roll back President Obama’s policies that forced “gender fluidity” upon the entire nation is commendable. If he is successful, it will save countless vulnerable pre-pubescent children and teenagers from being exposed to radical gender ideology that exacerbates confusion, and frequently leads to hormone treatments, surgical mutilation, messed-up lives, and even suicide. Several agencies, including schools, prisons and homeless shelters have already abandoned President Obama’s misguided policy.

On Friday, April 6, 2018, the Justice Department seized and shut down backpage.com, which carried advertisements for prostitution, including trafficked children. Before it was shut down, Backpage contained advertisements that depicted children who were victims of sex trafficking. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has claimed that Backpage was behind nearly three-quarters of all the public reports it received on child trafficking.

On Wednesday, April 11, President Trump signed legislation aimed at pro-secuting website operators that faci-litate online sex trafficking. Speaking to victims of sex trafficking and their families who attended the signing ceremony, President Trump said: “You have endured what no person on earth should have to endure.”

Promise made, promise kept.

Protecting persecuted Christians

In October 2017, Vice-President Mike Pence stressed that the Trump administration is focused on protecting Christians from persecution. “Christianity is under unprecedented assault in those ancient lands where it first grew,” the Vice-President said. “Across the wider Middle East, we can now see a future in many areas without a Christian faith. But tonight, I came to tell you: Help is on the way.”

Pence pointedly mentioned “radical Islamic terrorists” who have perpetrated “vile acts of persecution animated by hatred for Christians and the Gospel of Christ”. He promised to take “the fight to terrorists on our terms, on their soil” and promised that “we will not rest, we will not relent, until we hunt down and destroy ISIS at its source, so it can no longer threaten our people or anyone who calls the Middle East home”.

Under the Trump presidency, with help from allies including Australia, ISIS has lost virtually all of its territory, and its brutal caliphate is all but destroyed.

In addition, Vice-President Pence promised a policy shift in conjunction with the military effort. Based on well-founded claims that over a long period of time the United Nations has often denied funding requests to Christian-based organisations and has an evident bias against persecuted Christians, the Vice President said that the U.S. Administration will now “provide support directly” to those organisations through USAID. Promise made, promise kept.

Missiles and hostages

President Trump faced down North Korea’s “Little Rocket Man”. A year ago ballistic missiles were flying over Japan. Guam was under threat. Kim Jong-un was threatening to attack the United States with nuclear bombs. Unlike previous administrations that made no progress with North Korea for 40 years, President Trump has made remarkable progress. He took it upon himself to meet with the North Korean leader.

The media was convinced that Trump’s form of diplomacy would lead to war. Instead, the missiles have been grounded. It is possible, with stringent sanctions in place, and promises of future assistance, that the Korean peninsula could be denuclearised. It is possible that Mr Trump may have averted a war in which hundreds of thousands, if not millions would have died.

In addition, President Trump obtained the release of three Americans, Kim Hak-song, Kim Dong-chul, and Tony Kim (a Christian pastor) arrested between 2015 and 2017 and imprisoned in North Korea. Also, the skeletal remains of 55 soldiers killed in the Korean War have been returned to the U.S. The remains were repatriated as part of the historic agreement between the U.S. and North Korean leaders.

Mr Trump has negotiated the release of over 20 U.S. citizens imprisoned on foreign soil – all without paying a ransom. Many of them languished in prison during the Obama presidency. His concern for imprisoned Americans in foreign countries extends beyond soldiers, businessmen and academics, to pastors.

The most recent example is Pastor Andrew Brunson, an Evangelical pastor who was arrested in Turkey in 2016 on false espionage and terrorism-related charges. These charges “equated Christianisation [evangelisation] with terrorism”, said CeCe Heil, executive senior counsel with the American Center for Law and Justice and Brunson’s U.S. lawyer. Pastor Brunson faced a possible sentence of 35 years in jail.

In spite of the fact that Turkey is a NATO ally, President Trump demanded his release. When Turkey refused, he authorised tariffs and sanctions against Turkey, which crippled Turkey’s economy. On October 12, Pastor Brunson was released and flown to the United States, where he was reunited with his family and met President Trump.

President Trump also ordered an end to U.S. participation in the Iran deal and immediately began the process of reimposing sanctions that had been lifted or waived. The President has taken action to confront terrorist aggression by Iran and its proxies, thus reducing the killing of civilians, including Christians. Furthermore, he has taken action to prevent Iran developing nuclear weapons, weapons that it has pledged to use for the annihilation of the nation of Israel.

The economy

Little news is reported about the booming American economy. Enemies of President Trump predicted economic doom if he was elected, but the exact opposite has taken place. Trump’s pro-growth policies of corporate and personal tax cuts combined with regulatory relief have resulted in a booming economy.

In the first quarter of 2018, working-class Americans enjoyed the highest income growth for any quarter in more than a decade. Overall U.S. unemployment has dropped to 3.7 per cent, which is the lowest rate in 50 years. At least 4.2 million jobs have been created since Mr Trump was elected; 600,000 jobs have been added in just the past three months.

African-American unemployment is the lowest in recorded history. Hispanic and Asian-American unemployment is at an all-time low. Women’s unemployment has reached a 65-year low. Needless to say, these outstanding developments have benefitted nearly every person in the U.S. Yet the major news networks have largely overlooked them.


There is much more that could be written about President Trump’s positive achievements in the first two years of his presidency. In fact, he has done far more than he promised to do.

I do not believe that President Trump is a moral paragon. On the contrary, he is a flawed man with a deeply sinful past. But something remarkable has taken place in his life. He has made a 180-degree turnaround. And this is no longer just a matter of conjecture, it is demonstrated in his actions on many fronts time and time again.

Mr Trump is still brash – he often says things that are anything but gracious – but he has arguably done more in his first two years in office to protect the sanctity of life and Christian freedom than any other modern president.

Addendum: election results

The US midterm elections are now history. Prior to the elections, many in the mainstream media framed the elections as a referendum on President Trump, predicting a “blue wave” (a Democrat surge) against the Republican Party. Since the elections, the media’s consensus is that the president has been thoroughly “repudiated.” Yet, on balance, the media and Democrats should not be arrogant, but apprehensive.

Yes, the Republicans did lose control of the House of Representatives, but this result needs to be seen in perspective. Over the last 150 years, there have been only two occasions when the party of a first-term president didn’t lose seats in the House during the first midterm elections.

President Trump performed far better than the last two Democratic Presidents. In the 1994 midterm elections President Clinton lost 52 House seats, in addition to losing control of the Senate. In the 2010 midterm elections President Obama suffered the greatest congressional reversal in six decades (the loss of 63 House seats), in addition to losing seats in the Senate as well. President Trump, on the other hand, only lost 39 House seats.

Not only did President Trump suffer fewer losses than Obama or Clinton in the House of Representatives, but his party, the Republicans, has gained strength in the Senate. Previously, the Republicans controlled the Senate by the narrowest of margins (50/49), but now the margin has widened (53/47).

The capacity of Republicans to pass crucial legislation in the Senate has increased substantially. President Trump will be enabled to appoint more conservative Supreme Court Justices, as well as more lower court judges in the future, which is immensely good news for Christians concerned about several of the matters dealt with in this article.

As a side note, several of the Senate Democrats who voted against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh from the states that Trump won in 2016 were voted out of office and replaced by Republicans.

You can read Part I of this two-part article here.

This article first appeared on the Life Ministries website on January 4, 2019.


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April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm