Afghanistan Deteriorates. The situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate. Mindy Belz of WORLD reports that “Iran is conducting an intensifying covert intervention as U.S. influence wanes, supporting Taliban attacks and seeking to further destabilize Afghanistan.” Belz reminds us that Afghanistan “shares a 500-mile border with Iran” and that “U.S. generals aren’t getting buy-in from President Trump to send more troops to Afghanistan, missing a mid-July deadline.” It’s the latest in a trend of disturbing developments there. Belz also reports: “A suicide bomber attacked a NATO convoy last week in Kandahar, with casualties (the Taliban claims 17), one day after an explosion at a mosque in Herat, the third largest city, killed at least 30.”
Legalizing Marijuana. U.S. Sen. Cory Booker recently announced he wants to legalize marijuana. “Our nation’s drug laws are badly broken and need to be fixed,” he said in a statement. He’s not wrong about that, but legalizing marijuana at the federal level is not the right answer. Jeff Hunt of Colorado’s Centennial Institute, says his state, which legalized recreational marijuana, provides a cautionary tale. In USA Today, he wrote, “Colorado has seen an increase in marijuana related traffic deaths, poison control calls, and emergency room visits. The marijuana black market has increased in Colorado, not decreased. And, numerous Colorado marijuana regulators have been indicted for corruption. In 2012, we were promised funds from marijuana taxes would benefit our communities, particularly schools. Dr. Harry Bull, the Superintendent of Cherry Creek Schools, one of the largest school districts in the state, said, ‘So far, the only thing that the legalization of marijuana has brought to our schools has been marijuana.’”
David Daleiden Appeals to SCOTUS. Last week, lawyers for David Daleiden asked the Supreme Court to hear his case. Daleiden went undercover to expose Planned Parenthood’s involvement in the commercial trafficking of aborted babies’ body parts. Daleiden’s attorneys are asking the court to “overturn a court imposed gag order that barred Daleiden from releasing hundreds of hours of still more videos—videos whose contents were both politically embarrassing and incriminating for Planned Parenthood and other abortionists.” According to a statement from the Thomas More Society, a legal organization representing Daleiden, “The National Abortion Federation (NAF) had filed suit back in July, 2015, to bar Daleiden from releasing his undercover videos taken at National Abortion Federation 2014 and 2015 annual conventions. Judge William Orrick granted an ‘emergency’ gag order suppressing the videotapes, and later he entered a preliminary injunction extending the gag order indefinitely.” Daleiden’s attorneys contend that the order amounts to prior restraint of speech, which is generally forbidden by law.
Remembering Mark Hatfield. U.S. Sen. Mark Hatfield died on Aug. 9, 2011, six years ago this week. Hatfield, a Republican, was liberal on many issues. He believed the government should play a much larger role to alleviate poverty than many of his GOP colleagues. And he was very nearly—though not quite—a pacifist on military issues. But he was solidly evangelical in his theology, and he was a pro-life champion. Billy Graham begged Richard Nixon to pick Hatfield as his running mate, but Nixon picked Spiro Agnew instead, leaving historians to wonder how things might have been different for Nixon and for America if Nixon had followed Graham’s advice. When I was a lowly intern for Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) back in the 1970s, Hatfield would come to our office every week to participate in a Bible study and prayer time with Sen. Nunn. Sen. Hatfield would give me a few bucks and send me downstairs to the staff cafeteria for a yogurt and some sunflower seeds. He would encourage me to get something for myself, but I never did. I already knew of Hatfield’s reputation as “St. Mark,” so I always made sure the receipt and the change totaled to the penny what he had given me. It was a very limited interaction, but his intelligence and kindness were apparent to me in even these few moments we had together. And just the fact that he showed up for this Bible study week after week had a major impact on me. I knew by then just how tight the schedule of a U.S. Senator is, and the fact that he prioritized this time was significant to me. We need more men like him in politics today.
Image courtesy of Diy13 at iStock by Getty Images.
Warren Cole Smith is an investigative journalist and author as well as the Colson Center vice president for mission advancement.