Breitbart Publishes Another Smear Campaign. Here's the Truth, America.

An article appeared yesterday in Breitbart News that attempts to frame some comments that I made last weekend about evangelical Christians who support Donald Trump or who aren't supporting Ted Cruz.

I don't usually like to address what amounts to nothing more than a smear campaign that appears in the media --- especially the paid-for Donald Trump press. But I do feel compelled to respond to this particular article because it so badly misrepresents what I said and what I believe.

And I've got to leave aside the typical and obvious propaganda that's often lobbed at myself and people of my faith, that Mormons aren't Christians, we worship a different God than evangelicals do, et cetera, et cetera. And, by the way, any dialogue or article that starts out with this type of tired, intellectually dishonest, back-handed smear is one that should be automatically dismissed. Mormons absolutely do accept Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the only Savior of the entire universe. We believe and follow in the teachings of Jesus and the Holy Bible, the King James Version. We've been dealing with this kind of nonsense since 1830. It's nothing new. But leave that aside.

Here's what concerned me: What concerned me was the way this article attempts to characterize what I said and believe, that I had to step back and rewatch the videos and listen to my comments that I made at campaign rallies over the weekend and make sure that I hadn't said what the article and the comments within the article imply.

If you listen to my radio program, you know that I have very strong beliefs about this election, about Ted Cruz, where our country is headed, about the dangers we face as people. And it is something that I am open and honest and deeply passionate about.

So I wanted to make sure that I reviewed what I said, to make sure that my passion hadn't overwhelmed my ability to communicate exactly what I believe.

In the article, Pastor Robert Jeffress states that I believe I know how God would vote in the upcoming election.

It's not something I've ever said, nor would I ever say. I have no idea what God would say about who we should vote for.

So that's three falsehoods in the first few words out of his mouth. At least as quoted by Breitbart. That I'm not a Christian. That I worship a different God than evangelicals. And that I said that I knew how God would vote.

"Do I even need to read the rest of the article?" is what I thought to myself.

I need to clarify this because America needs to hear the truth. I don't claim I know how God would vote in the upcoming election, nor have I claimed or implied that in any of my statements. I do believe that God inspires men and women. I do believe that he speaks to us. I do believe he teaches our hearts. I do believe that he speaks directly to us, if we pray and listen. If we study his words and seek his truth, we can be inspired.

I have said that I believe he's given us the opportunity to unite behind Ted Cruz. I believe that Ted is a man of God. I do believe that if we study, pray, and seek God's inspiration, he will touch our hearts. We will see the truth about the two candidates: Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. And he will inspire us on the truth.

The article goes on:

One prominent academic who specializes in American religion takes exception to Beck’s comments as well.

“Assuming that Mr. Beck is referring to evangelicals who vote for Trump, I would make a distinction that Beck does not: The Bible certainly offers principles on how to think about government and politics. The Bible does not, however, tell us which individual candidates to vote for,” Dr. Thomas S. Kidd, Distinguished Professor of History and Associate Director of the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, tells Breitbart News.

“If other Christians don’t vote for our preferred candidate, we should not say that they are not listening to God. None of us has special access to God’s opinions about candidates,” Kidd says.

“There are many reasons why devout Christians should hesitate to vote for Donald Trump, but God has not revealed Ted Cruz as the divinely anointed alternative, either,” Kidd concludes.

Okay, at least there are some points of intellectually honesty here. I like Dr. Kidd because I don't necessarily know him and I don't disagree with what he's saying here. But I do feel compelled to address his comments.

"The Bible certainly offers principles on how to think about government and politics," he said. "The Bible does not, however, tell us which individual candidates to vote for."

Literally speaking, that is absolutely true. I thumbed through the Bible this morning on my way in, and I was looking for it. And even in the index, I couldn't find Trump or Cruz. It was amazing. I couldn't find it.

What I've said is the Bible describes the types of events that are occurring today. And that we have, as people, certain responsibilities related to those events. That we are expected to stand for virtue and righteousness. We are the watchmen on the tower, expected to uphold our duty as protectors of our fellow men, of their rights, and their freedoms. That's what I say. And that's what I mean.

So when it comes to an election and especially one as vital as this one, with everything on the line, we should be asking which candidate best represents and exhibits virtue? Which one best represents and exhibits righteousness? Which one best represents an acceptance of God in his or her heart? Which candidate has demonstrated through word and deed that they believe in the actual God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that they believe in the Ten Commandments, that they believe in the sanctity of marriage, that they don't worship gold, they don't worship fame, they don't worship wealth, that they believe each of us is born with free agency. Because with all due respect to Dr. Kidd, leaders like that are pretty well described in the Bible.

I'm pretty sure the Bible doesn't describe casino-owning billionaires who think it's perfectly moral to murder children for revenge as the ideal leader people should follow. I had my team scouring the Bible today from Genesis to Revelation to see if I missed where I put strip clubs in my casinos. Maybe I've missed it. Maybe it's in your Christian version of the Bible, but it's not in mine.

Dr. Kidd goes on to say, "None of us has special access to God's opinion about candidates."

Here's the place I disagree with him. I totally disagree with him. And it's not that I have some special access to God. I believe all of us, each of us has special access to God. Every one of us who seeks God's inspiration, who genuinely with a broken and contrite spirit, humbly seeks his counsel, can receive that information. And that is the only thing I'm asking for. That is all I'm saying.

Shouldn't each of us with a broken spirit, a contrite spirit, with a humble heart, a servant's heart, honestly ask our Maker, "What should we do?"

Our nation is facing severe challenges right now. There are dangers from without and from within, but I think more from within. Our core principles, the original principles of man that our Founders recognize as divinely inspired, that are the foundation of our nation, are nearly lost. Religious freedom, freedom of speech, free agency, the right to choose your own morality --- Dr. Kidd says there are many reasons why devout Christians should hesitate to vote for Donald Trump. He's right to the money here. I won't go through the list because the show is not that long.

But then he says, "But God has not revealed Ted Cruz as the divinely anointed alternative either." To you, Dr. Kidd. To you. To you God hasn't revealed Cruz as divinely anointed. I understand that. And I respect your opinion on it. But here's mine: I have seen this man's life. I have watched this man. I have prayed about this man. I have prayed about it by myself, out loud, in quiet, with my family, with my staff, and I happen to believe that Ted Cruz actually was anointed for this time. Would there not be someone that was in the pool that might have the right qualifications for God? Is he that disinterested in all of us? Or is it perhaps possible that just like in the Bible, people were raised from birth for a specific time? Are we that inconsequential, Dr. Kidd? Are we really not that important enough for him to raise someone up, at this critical juncture?

Now, that isn't to say that I believe Ted Cruz is perfect. He's not. He's not the second Christ on earth. He's not walking around with a halo. I'm not claiming that he's never made mistakes or never will make mistakes. I'm not saying he's going to be the perfect president.

Ted Cruz is a man. I don't back a man. I back a man's principles.

I've had the chance to speak with him, get to know him, understand his values, hear him talk about how he loves his fellow men, his brothers and sisters, how he loves this nation, how he loves his children, how he loves his family, how he loves and is inspired by God, the Almighty Creator of the heavens and the earth. I personally think we have a pretty clear choice.

As devout Christians and Jews and Muslims, even atheists, we have a pretty clear choice between two candidates. To me, this is a gift. This is a gift from God. Because sometimes the choices aren't that clear. Sometimes it's easy to dismiss it because you're like, "I'm not really sure." It's really clear. And maybe that's why I've expressed some exasperation at the large groups of Christians, of all faiths, but in particular I mentioned evangelicals, but I also mention my own faith as well. I do believe our nation was divinely inspired through our Founding Fathers, through Lincoln, through many great men and women over the last 220 years. Through us, God ushered in human freedom and liberty in a way that the world had never ever seen it before.

It's our role to continue to protect this nation and, more importantly, the principles that it stands for from those who would seek to destroy or remove freedom from the earth, from ISIS, radical Islam who would seek to extinguish that freedom from outside with violence, and from progressives who would seek to extinguish that freedom by dismantling the Constitution from within.

I'd like to apologize for any of the comments that I've made that offended anyone's religious sensibilities or implied that I thought you weren't good Christians. If that's what I had said, but that's not what I said. That's what Breitbart and Drudge and the paid-for Donald Trump media wants you to believe I said.

I believe evangelicals and Christians and Jews and Muslims are in this together, that we all have access to God's inspiration. That's all I'm asking for: On this Easter weekend, that you would take the time and ask for God's inspiration. Take the time to examine the principles and put them up to your Christian values and principles. Just side by side, the principles, God's principles and the candidate's principles, without excuses.

Question with boldness. Realize where our country is. Realize what's at risk in this election if we choose a candidate whose positions seem to be based on anger, hatred, greed. It's easy to get caught up in a crowd carrying pitchforks and torches, but look at the records of these men. Listen to the words they use. Look how they live their lives. What they've built. How they've built it. And then ask yourself soberly, truly, and then seek God's counsel.

If having done that, you're still confirmed in your choice to support Donald Trump, I can't fault you for that, just like you can't fault me for believing and supporting Ted Cruz. You may still think I'm wrong. I might still disagree with you. But at least we're having an intellectually and spiritually honest dialogue. And we can discuss and debate the facts and the Bible verses and each man's political policies as we understand them.

The point here is, there's much more here that unites us than divides us once we get to principles and past politics. My hope and my prayer is that we realize that and that we unite as a people, not as a party. But as a people. God's people. And we can unite behind a candidate who best represents our values and our principles that our God taught us and told us to stand for. Because after all, we are one nation under God.

Featured Image: Screenshot from The Glenn Beck Program

Stop trying to be right and think of the children

Mario Tama/Getty Images

All the outrage this week has mainly focused on one thing: the evil Trump administration and its minions who delight in taking children from their illegal immigrant parents and throwing them all in dungeons. Separate dungeons, mind you.

That makes for a nice, easy storyline, but the reality is less convenient. Most Americans seem to agree that separating children from their parents — even if their parents entered the US illegally — is a bad thing. But what if that mom and dad you're trying to keep the kids with aren't really the kids' parents? Believe it or not, fraud happens.

RELATED: Where were Rachel Maddow's tears for immigrant children in 2014?

While there are plenty of heartbreaking stories of parents simply seeking a chance for a better life for their children in the US, there are also corrupt, abusive human traffickers who profit from the illegal immigration trade. And sorting all of this out is no easy task.

This week, the Department of Homeland Security said that since October 2017, more than 300 children have arrived at the border with adults claiming to be their parents who turned out not to be relatives. 90 of these fraud cases came from the Rio Grande Valley sector alone.

In 2017, DHS reported 46 causes of fraudulent family claims. But there have already been 191 fraud cases in 2018.

Shouldn't we be concerned about any child that is smuggled by a human trafficker?

When Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen pointed out this 315 percent increase, the New York Times was quick to give these family fraud cases "context" by noting they make up less than one percent of the total number of illegal immigrant families apprehended at the southern border. Their implication was that Nielsen was exaggerating the numbers. Even if the number of fraud cases at the border was only 0.001 percent, shouldn't we be concerned about any child that is smuggled by a human trafficker?

This is the most infuriating part of this whole conversation this week (if you can call it a "conversation") — that both sides have an angle to defend. And while everyone's busy yelling and making their case, children are being abused.

What if we just tried, for two seconds, to love having mercy more than we love having to be right all the time?

Remember when cartoons were happy things? Each panel took you on a tiny journey, carrying you to an unexplored place. In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud writes:

The comics creator asks us to join in a silent dance of the seen and the unseen. The visible and the invisible. This dance is unique to comics. No other artform gives so much to its audience while asking so much from them as well. This is why I think it's a mistake to see comics as a mere hybrid of the graphic arts and prose fiction. What happens between . . . panels is a kind of magic only comics can create.

When that magic is manipulated or politicized, it often devolves the artform into a baseless thing. Yesterday, Occupy Wall Street published the perfect example of low-brow deviation of the artform: A six-panel approach at satire, which imitates the instructions-panel found in the netted cubbyhole behind seats on airplanes. The cartoon is a critique of the recent news about immigrant children being separated from their parents after crossing the border. It is a step-by-step guide to murdering US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents.

RELATED: Cultural appropriation has jumped the shark, and everyone is noticing

The first panel shows a man shoving an infant into a cage meant for Pomeranians. The following five panels feature instructions, and include pictures of a cartoonish murder.

The panels read as follows:

  1. If an ICE agent tries to take your child at the border, don't panic.
  2. Pull your child away as quickly as possibly by force.
  3. Gently tell your child to close his/her eyes and ears so they won't witness what you are about to do.
  4. Grab the ICE agent from behind and push your knife into his chest with an upward thrust, causing the agent's sternum to break.
  5. Reach into his chest and pull out his still beating heart.
  6. Hold his bloody heart out for all other agents to see, and tell them that the same fate awaits them if they f--- with your child again.

Violent comics are nothing new. But most of the time, they remain in the realms of invented worlds — in other words, not in our own, with reference to actual people, let alone federal agents.

The mainstream media made a game of crying racism with every cartoon depiction of Obama during his presidency, as well as during his tenure as Senator, when the New Yorker, of all things, faced scrutiny for depicting him in "Muslim clothing." Life was a minefield for political cartoonists during the Obama era.

Chris Hondros/Getty Images

This year, we saw the leftist outrage regarding The Simpsons character Apu — a cartoon representation of a highly-respected, though cartoonishly-depicted, character on a cartoon show composed of cartoonishly-depicted characters.

We all remember Charlie Hebdo, which, like many outlets that have used cartoon satire to criticize Islam, faced the wrath and ire of people unable to see even the tamest representation of the prophet, Muhammad.

Interesting, isn't it? Occupy Wall Street publishes a cartoon that advocates murdering federal agents, and critics are told to lighten up. Meanwhile, the merest depiction of Muhammad has resulted in riots throughout the world, murder and terror on an unprecedented scale.

The intersection of Islam and comics is complex enough to have its own three-hour show, so we'll leave it at that, for now. Although, it is worth mentioning the commentary by satirical website The Onion, which featured a highly offensive cartoon of all the major religious figures except Muhammad. It noted:

Following the publication of the image above, in which the most cherished figures from multiple religious faiths were depicted engaging in a lascivious sex act of considerable depravity, no one was murdered, beaten, or had their lives threatened.

Of course, Occupy Wall Street is free to publish any cartoon they like. Freedom of speech, and so on—although there have been several instances in which violent cartoons were ruled to have violated the "yelling fire in a crowded theater" limitation of the First Amendment.

Posting it to Twitter is another issue — this is surely in violation of Twitter's violent content policy, but something tells me nothing will come of it. It's a funny world, isn't it? A screenshot of a receipt from Chick-fil-A causes outrage but a cartoon advocating murder gets crickets.

RELATED: Twitter mob goes ballistic over Father's Day photo of Caitlyn Jenner. Who cares?

In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud concludes that, "Today the possibilities for comics are — as they've always been — endless. Comics offers . . . range and versatility, with all the potential imagery of film and painting plus the intimacy of the written word. And all that's needed is the desire to be heard, the will to learn, and the ability to see."

Smile, and keep moving forward.

Crude and awful as the Occupy Wall Street comic is, the best thing we can do is nod and look elsewhere for the art that will open our eyes. Let the lunatics draw what they want, let them stew in their own flawed double standards. Otherwise, we're as shallow and empty as they are, and nothing good comes of that. Smile, and keep moving forward.

Things are getting better. Show the world how to hear, how to learn, how to see.

People should start listening to Nikki Haley

ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images

Okay. Let's take a vote. You know, an objective, quantifiable count. How many resolutions has the UN Human Rights Council adopted condemning dictatorships? Easy. Well. How do you define "dictatorship"?

Well, one metric is the UN Human Rights Council Condemnation. How many have the United Nations issued to China, with a body count higher than a professional Call of Duty player?

Zero.

How about Venezuela, where socialism is devouring its own in the cruelest, most unsettling ways imaginable?

Zero.

And Russia, home of unsettling cruelty and rampant censorship, murder and (actual) homophobia?

Zero.

Iraq? Zero. Turkey? Iraq? Zero. Cuba? Zero. Pakistan? Zero.

RELATED: Nikki Haley just dropped some serious verbal bombs on Russia at the UN

According to UN Human Rights Council Condemnations, 2006-2016, none of these nations is as dangerous as we'd imagined. Or, rather, none of them faced a single condemnation. Meanwhile, one country in particular has faced unbelievable scrutiny and fury — you'll never guess which country.

No, it's not Somalia. It's Israel. With 68 UN Human Rights Council Condemnations! In fact, the number of total United Nations condemnations against Israel outnumbers the total of condemnations against all other countries combined. The only country that comes close is Syria, with 15.

The Trump administration withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday in protest of what it perceives as an entrenched bias against Israel and a willingness to allow notorious human rights abusers as members.

In an address to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Nikki Haley said:

Let's remember that the Hamas terrorist organization has been inciting violence for years, long before the United States decided to move our embassy. This is what is endangering the people of Gaza. Make no mistake, Hamas is pleased with the results from yesterday... No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.

Maybe people should start listening to Haley. Hopefully, they will. Not likely, but there's no crime in remaining hopeful.

Here's a question unique to our times: "Should I tell my father 'Happy Father's Day,' even though he (she?) is now one of my mothers?"

Father's Day was four days ago, yes, but this story is just weird enough to report on. One enjoyable line to read was this gem from Hollywood Gossip: "Cait is a woman and a transgender icon, but she is also and will always be the father of her six children."

RELATED: If Bruce was never a he and always a she, who won the men's Olympic gold in 1976?

Imagine reading that to someone ten — even five — years ago. And, honestly, there's something nice about it. But the strangeness of its having ever been written overpowers any emotional impact it might bring.

"So lucky to have you," wrote Kylie Jenner, in the Instagram caption under pre-transition pictures of Bruce Jenner.

Look. I risk sounding like a tabloid by mere dint of having even mentioned this story, but the important element is the cultural sway that's occurring. The original story was that a band of disgruntled Twitter users got outraged about the supposed "transphobic" remarks by Jenner's daughter.

But, what we should be saying is, "who the hell cares?" Who cares what one Jenner says to another — and more importantly and on a far deeper level — who cares what some anonymous Twitter user has to say?

When are we going to stop playing into the hands of the Twitter mob?

When are we going to stop playing into the hands of the Twitter mob? Because, at the moment, they've got it pretty good. They have a nifty relationship with the mainstream media: One or two Twitter users get outraged by any given thing — in this case Jenner and supposed transphobia. In return, the mainstream media use the Twitter comment as a source.

Then, a larger Twitter audience points to the article itself as proof that there's some kind of systemic justice at play. It's a closed-market currency, where the negative feedback loop of proof and evidence is composed of faulty accusations. Isn't it a hell of a time to be alive?