Q&A: Couple Look to Paul’s Example in Resisting Order to Perform Gay Marriages

Kelsey Harkness /

Perform same-sex wedding ceremonies or pay tens of thousands of dollars in fines and spend months behind bars. That’s the choice their Idaho town gave one Christian couple who have made marriage ministry their life’s work.

Donald and Eyelyn Knapp, ordained ministers, are married to each other. Together, they have run Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, since Ronald Reagan’s last year as president.

“The Apostle Paul spent quite a bit of time in jail for his faith, so who am I to feel like I have any right to avoid the same thing?” Don Knapp says during the couple’s exclusive interview with The Daily Signal.

“We can’t go against the teachings of the Bible and break our ordination vows,”  Evelyn “Lynn” Knapp adds.

The test of faith began for Don, 68, and Lynn, 66, after the courts overrode Idaho’s voter-approved constitutional amendment affirming marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Citing a “non-discrimination” ordinance, officials of Coeur d’Alene told the Knapps that they would be required to hold same-sex weddings at their chapel.

Earlier this month, the Knapps respectfully declined to hold a same-sex wedding in their small, lakeside chapel in the city of about 46,000. They face up to 180 days in jail and $1,000 in fines for each day they decline to celebrate that wedding.

>>> Commentary: Government to Ordained Ministers: Celebrate Same-Sex Weddings or Go to Jail

On Oct. 17, the couple’s attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom filed a federal lawsuit and a motion for a temporary restraining order to stop the city from forcing the Knapps to violate their religious beliefs.

Now, in an exclusive interview with The Daily Signal via email, Don and Lynn Knapp speak out for the first time about why they decided to stand up to the law. The following Q&A was edited for length and clarity.

The Daily Signal: How did you meet and come to run Hitching Post Wedding Chapel?

Don: We both went to Bible college in our early 20s and both became ordained ministers. We have been married for 47 years and have been Christians for even longer. We have been serving couples at the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel for 25 years, and served at several churches for 13 years before that.

Lynn: We always felt called into full-time ministry; we thought we might be missionaries. The Lord specifically called us into wedding ministry. We love meeting the couples that walk through our doors. Our strengths and weaknesses complement each other. It’s been an adventure, to say the least.

closeupHitchingPost

‘We try to create a service that conveys God’s intention for marriage,’ Lynn Knapp says.

The Daily Signal: Why are you opposed to holding same-sex wedding ceremonies?

Don: As Christians and ordained ministers we follow the teachings of the Bible, which makes clear that marriage is between a man and a woman. Our wedding ceremonies follow the traditional Christian format.

Each ceremony we perform includes an exchange of vows, a short sermon based on the Bible and teachings of Jesus, and prayer over the couple. We also give each couple a CD with two sermons about marriage and recommend biblically based marriage literature.

Lynn: We view what we do as a ministry, and hope and pray that each couple we serve will come to believe in Jesus Christ and base their marriage on biblical principles.

We try to create a service that honors God and that conveys God’s intention for marriage. We try to communicate that God loves marriage and people should follow God’s guidance about marriage

>>> Farmers to Lesbian Couple: ‘We’re Not Hateful People’

The Daily Signal: Is this the first time you declined to host a wedding — for any reason?

Don: In trying to remember back through 25 years of service, we were able to recall at least two specific instances where we declined to perform a one-man, one-woman wedding ceremony: a nudist wedding and a wedding at a cemetery during Halloween.

But one-man, one-woman ceremonies rarely conflict with our religious convictions because we are in control of the content of the ceremonies and ensure that they are consistent with our religious beliefs. There is no way a same-sex wedding ceremony can be consistent … because our sincerely held religious belief is that marriage is between a man and a woman.

The Daily Signal: Do you agree with Coeur d’Alene officials and your critics that by declining to host same-sex wedding ceremonies you are “discriminating” against these couples?

Don: Of course we don’t agree with that.  As ministers of the Gospel, we love all people. It is the core of who we are and what we are about. That’s not what’s at issue here, though. We run a marriage ministry and have felt called by God to do so for many years. The Bible is clear that marriage is a one-man, one-woman union. We pledged to uphold marriage in our ordination vows.

For the government to force us to reject that teaching and celebrate a ceremony that is forbidden by the teachings of our faith not only undermines the very ministry we have built our lives upon, but also violates our duty to God as his ministers and what He has entrusted us to do.

>>> Commentary: Protecting Religious Liberty in the State Marriage Debate

The Daily Signal: Is that why you decided to fight city officials and file a federal lawsuit?

Don: The city of Coeur d’Alene made it clear at least three times this past year — both publicly and twice privately to me — that we would be breaking the law if we declined to conduct a same-sex ceremony. I was told we could face criminal prosecution, with a jail sentence of up to six months and/or a fine of up to $1,000 each time and each day we declined to perform a same-sex wedding ceremony.

On Friday, Oct. 17, around noon, a same-sex couple contacted us and inquired about us doing a ceremony. We respectfully declined because of our religious beliefs. Our attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom filed the lawsuit against the city Friday afternoon. On Friday evening, we received another request about a same-sex ceremony.

If someone was told by the government that he or she would be prosecuted and face up to six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines for exercising their First Amendment rights, they would not wait around to see if the government made good on that threat. They would file a lawsuit to protect their freedom and avoid jail and fines. And that’s what we did here.

HitchingPost2

‘It’s heartbreaking,’ Lynn Knapp says. ‘We love the Hitching Post and the people that walk through our doors on a daily basis.’

The Daily Signal: Some critics allege that you edited your website so that Alliance Defending Freedom can turn you into “the latest victims of the marriage equality push.” Is this true?

Don:  Our website change is irrelevant to the case. We have always only performed one-man, one-woman ceremonies. When Idaho redefined marriage to be something other than that last week, we updated our website to merely state what we have always done in light of the state’s change in position.

Our wedding ceremonies continue to be one-man, one-woman ceremonies like they always have been, and will continue to reflect our Christian faith and biblical principles.

The Daily Signal: What does the prospect of months in jail and paying thousands of dollars in fines mean to your family and business?

Don: Well, I don’t think anyone looks forward to the possibility of going to jail. That being said, though, people of faith throughout the centuries have faced jail or punishment for following the teachings of their faith. The Apostle Paul spent quite a bit of time in jail for his faith, so who am I to feel like I have any right to avoid the same thing?

Lynn: It’s heartbreaking. We love the Hitching Post and the people that walk through our doors on a daily basis. It’s our life, our ministry, our calling. From a financial perspective, even though it’s a small income, it’s what we live on. I really like to be able to do little things for my grandchildren, and I’m dreading the thought of not being able to do that anymore. But we can’t go against the teachings of the Bible and break our ordination vows.

The Daily Signal: How have people responded to your story?

Lynn: We have received an outpouring of support both around this country and internationally. I think people realize that if the government can force pastors to perform religious ceremonies that violate their faith’s teachings — or throw them in jail if they don’t — no American’s freedoms are safe.

The Daily Signal: Why is this issue so important to you?

Don: Our faith drives everything we do, both professionally and personally. And, as ordained ministers, we certainly don’t check the teachings of our faith at the door when we open the Hitching Post on Monday mornings and begin marrying people.

No one, minister or not, should be forced by the government to abandon their religious beliefs, simply because they go to work.

Lynn: We follow the Bible, which is clear that marriage is between a man and a woman. For the government to demand we go against that would be a total violation of our relationship with God and a violation of our ordination vows.

The Hitching Post’s bylaws state that it is a religious organization owned by two ordained ministers who operate it as an extension of their religious beliefs and ministerial vows.  If ministers cannot operate a business according to their religious beliefs, then no one can.

This Infographic Shows How Obamacare Might Be Just One Big Expansion of Medicaid - Daily Signal

This Infographic Shows How Obamacare Might Be Just One Big Expansion of Medicaid

Kelsey Harkness / Kelsey Harris /

Spoiler alert! When it comes to covering the uninsured, Obamacare has proven itself to be one giant expansion of Medicaid. A new report released Wednesday reveals the total coverage increase for the first half of 2014. While total coverage increased by 8,538,327 individuals, enrollment in Medicaid accounted for 71 percent of that growth. Check out the infographic below for the full breakdown of the numbers.

 

Infographic by Kelsey Harris

Infographic by Kelsey Harris

>>> The Full Numbers: Obamacare’s Enrollment Increase Mainly Due to Medicaid Expansion

Meet the New Class Warrior in Chief - Daily Signal

Meet the New Class Warrior in Chief

Kelsey Harkness / Kelsey Harris / Stephen Moore / Joel Griffith /

We learned last week that new Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is not so much our nation’s central banker as class warrior in chief.  In a widely publicized speech Ms. Yellen parroted all of the left’s talking points on the divide between rich and poor.  “The extent of and continuing increase in inequality in the United States greatly concern me,” she lectured.  “It is no secret that the past few decades of widening inequality can be summed up as significant income and wealth gains for those at the very top and stagnant living standards for the majority.”

Actually, that’s a factually dubious claim given that the 1980s and 1990s saw wide gains for the middle class and even those at the bottom of the income pyramid.  Middle income families saw a  more than 30%  inflation-adjusted rise in income in those years. From 1982-1997 those who started out as poor actually saw faster income gains than those who started out as rich, according the U.S. Treasury Department study on income mobility.  Upward mobility defined that era of broad-based  prosperity.

Ms. Yellen also failed to note that the income gap is widening today because this has been the slowest recovery from a recession since the 1930s. Compared the other economic recoveries since 1960, Our national output is about $1.6 trillion (in inflation-adjusted dollars) behind; and compared to the Reagan recovery in the 1980s, we’re now $2.2 trillion behind, according to the Joint Economic Committee of Congress.

Ms. Yellen never mentions that Obamanomics has made inequality much worse.  Almost all of the income gains under Barrack Obama have gone to the top 5% in income.

Her silence on this point shouldn’t be too surprising because she has supported most of Obama’s economic policies.  She has also been a cheerleader of the Fed’s easy money policies which have benefited those at the top and almost no one else.  She never spoke out against the nearly $8 trillion in debt spending since the end of 2008, the big tax increase on investment in 2013, the expansion of welfare benefits, and other policies that have backfired.  One could argue the best way to reduce inequality is to repeal everything that President Obama has done since he entered office.

The real estate bust also exacerbated inequality, she concludes.  “Since housing accounts for a larger share of wealth for those in the bottom half of the wealth distribution, their overall wealth is affected more by changes in home prices,” she says. “Homeowners in the bottom half of households by wealth reported 61 percent less home equity in 2013 than in 2007. The next 45 percent reported a 29 percent loss of housing wealth, and the top 5 lost 20 percent.”  Again, this is because of federal housing policies at FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac that encouraged mortgages to people who couldn’t afford them.

Ms. Yellen conveniently failed to mention the role the Federal Reserve that she runs played in allowing unqualified borrowers easy access to mortgage loans to purchase homes at prices inflated by the Federal Reserve’s monetary policies.

According to Ms. Yellen, “Public funding of education is another way that governments can help offset the advantages some households have in resources available for children.” But if money were the answer the problem, districts in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, and NYC would be leading the way in performance. After all, these districts spend more than the national average. Why do they have some of the worst schools with the highest dropout rates?

Yellen is correct to point out the failures of our public education system. Young adults from economically challenged backgrounds are certainly being deprived of opportunities which could propel them forward.  School choice programs to allow the poor and minorities better education options are working and should be expanded, but Ms. Yellen dared not take on the teacher unions.

It wasn’t all bad. At one point she noted:  “it appears that it has become harder to start and build businesses.” That’s for sure. The United States has steadily dropped in the rankings of economic freedom, as our colleagues at the Heritage Foundation has documented.

But Ms. Yellen ignored most of the ideas that truly will ignite growth and raise incomes for the poor.  Marriage, the dignity of work, income tax cuts to promote investment here, cutting our corporate tax, replacing welfare with work, preparing our workers with the skills they need to fill millions of unfilled jobs. These are the “values rooted in our nation’s history,” to borrow a phrase from the Fed chief, that could allow the poor to rise up.

This might have been an occasion for Ms. Yellen to use her new perch as Fed chief to boldly challenge the whole litany of tired liberal talking points on inequality. She could have warned that when we focus on economic fairness and not growth, we get neither – as the Obama years have demonstrated.

That’s so disappointing because we’ve tried all of these ideas for five years, and we still have record income inequality.   The nation’s Fed chief ought to be a loud and clear voice for growth – not class envy.

Originally appeared on Forbes.com.

Workers Stuck Paying Plush AFL-CIO Exec Salaries - Daily Signal

Workers Stuck Paying Plush AFL-CIO Exec Salaries

Kelsey Harkness / Kelsey Harris / Stephen Moore / Joel Griffith / Jason Hart /

AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C., used money taken from workers to pay its officers and employees an average of $89,328 during fiscal year 2014.

Including every individual for whom AFL-CIO who reported a gross salary to the U.S. Department of Labor — from president Richard Trumka on down — the union coalition spent more than $35 million on compensation for three officers and 391 employees.

In 26 states and the District of Columbia, private-sector workers can be forced to pay AFL-CIO affiliates as a condition of employment. Public-sector workers can be forced to pay union fees in D.C. and 23 states, although thousands of Wisconsin and Michigan workers have exercised their privilege to opt out as a result of recent reforms.

Millions in tax dollars make their way to AFL-CIO each year, as the union coalition’s largest affiliates are American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and American Federation of Teachers.

This explains AFL-CIO support for bigger government, but AFL-CIO headquarters pay stands in contrast to the organization’s politics.

AFL-CIO backed the fringe-left Occupy Wall Street movement launched in late 2011, and it continues to embrace the group’s “99 percent” rhetoric. Solidarity with low-income workers is a major theme of AFL-CIO efforts to increase union membership, grow government and hike corporate taxes.

People’s World, a publication of Communist Party USA, reported that at an April 15 press conference unveiling the 2014 edition of AFL-CIO’s Executive Paywatch report, Trumka said the pay of top CEOs keeps increasing “because the system is rigged.”

“They’re cannibalizing their customer base,” Trumka added. Using money paid to AFL-CIO by its dues-funded union affiliates, Trumka was paid a total of $322,131 during AFL-CIO’s 2014 fiscal year ending June 30.

Read more at Watchdog.org

 

 

How Grade Inflation Hurts College Students’ Futures - Daily Signal

How Grade Inflation Hurts College Students’ Futures

Kelsey Harkness / Kelsey Harris / Stephen Moore / Joel Griffith / Jason Hart / Salim Furth /

The scandal at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is principally about academic dishonesty. But it highlights an institutional failure at almost all American colleges that dissuades students from pursuing the best career possible. Some academic departments systematically inflate students’ grades. And many of those departments give students the least rigorous preparation for the labor market.

Part of college is learning what you’re good at. Students use freshman-year courses to gauge their interest and aptitude in different majors. A student who receives an A in writing and a B in calculus might conclude that she’s a better writer than mathematician. But what if she actually earned the average grade in both courses?

Plenty of students who start in difficult fields such as math decide to scale back their ambitions. That’s fine if it’s a personal choice–but not if they’re doing so because they got deceptive messages from their graders.

Women appear to be more sensitive to these grading messages than men. When Wellesley, an elite college for women, instituted a sensible grading system across all majors, the number of students majoring in the previously “easy” disciplines declined by 30%! Colleges that refuse to tackle grade inflation bear some responsibility for the fact that women, on average, end up in lower-paying fields.

Colleges will always have borderline students who hunt for the classes most likely to pass them and keep them enrolled. Educational institutions have a responsibility to ensure that the classes students are most likely to pass are the ones where they have a comparative advantage–not the ones where the faculty is most permissive.

Originally appeared on WSJ.com.

The Obama Administration Is Great at Talking Big–And Not Following Up - Daily Signal

The Obama Administration Is Great at Talking Big–And Not Following Up

Kelsey Harkness / Kelsey Harris / Stephen Moore / Joel Griffith / Jason Hart / Salim Furth / Ted Bromund /

The Obama administration has responded to the Ebola epidemic by talking big. It does that well. From the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti to Syria’s use of chemical weapons in 2013, the administration has made a lot of splashy responses. But making a splash isn’t the same as being serious.

Take the Haitian earthquake, which killed more than 300,000 people. The initial U.S. response, led by the Department of Defense, saved many lives, though analysis by the Rand Corp. found that our success was mostly due to luck: if different buildings had collapsed, the U.S. response would have been much more compromised. But the U.S. mission ended in June 2010.

That left the ongoing United Nations mission in charge. By late 2010, UN peacekeeping troops from Nepal had caused a cholera epidemic that has killed more than 8,000 people. In early 2010, Haiti seemed so important that it got a line in Obama’s State of the Union address. But by late 2012, the United States had disbursed less than a third of its promised aid. The administration ignored the UN’s failure and moved on.

In 2011, after an online video went viral, Obama deployed U.S. forces to Uganda to hunt down Joseph Kony, the murderous leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army. In March he reinforced that mission. It would be good to eliminate Kony’s small band of killers. But with neighboring South Sudan on the verge of genocide, Kony is little more than an infamous symbol in a region with far more serious problems.

The pattern is the same. A foreign problem makes the administration look bad, so it responds in a big way. But its efforts don’t focus on substance. They’re merely public relations.

In 2011, the United States provided most of the muscle for NATO’s intervention in Libya, which Obama justified on the grounds that it was necessary to stop then-leader Moammar Gadhafi’s “brutal repression.” But the United States had no plan for what to do after it overthrew Gadhafi. Today, Libya is a failed state, with an elected parliament on the run from local and Islamist militias.

In 2012, Obama issued his “red line” on the Syrian use of chemical weapons. When the Syrians crossed it a year later, Russia, which wanted to protect Syria, made a deal with the United States to destroy the weapons Syria declared. But that did not stop Syria’s use of chemicals: The Bashar Assad regime simply switched from sarin gas to chlorine. The problem was never sarin: It was Assad.

In 2014, first lady Michelle Obama joined the #BringBackOurGirls campaign on Twitter. The girls are not back. More significantly, the Islamist terrorists who kidnapped them are still advancing in northeastern Nigeria. But now Ebola is the fashionable concern.

The Ebola epidemic has been raging since March, and the World Health Organization declared it an emergency in August. But a month after Obama said the disease was “spiraling out of control,” the U.S. military effort in West Africa is barely getting off the ground.

There are a lot of smart, dedicated and brave people doing their best to stop Ebola in West Africa today. And Ebola, like all of the problems Obama’s faced, is hard to cope with, much less to solve.

But under Obama, even when the United States acts, it has no attention span. His actions — like Friday’s appointment of an “Ebola czar” — focus on symbols, and lack a competent, sustained follow-up. The point of his announcements is to win a quick burst of applause and then get the issue out of the headlines.

As the Ebola epidemic shows, the problem with trivializing foreign crises is simply this: They’re not trivial. They affect us. And when we forget that, it’s not just foreigners who die. It’s Americans.

Originally appeared on Newsday.com.

Will It Make a Difference Which Party Controls Congress in 2015? - Daily Signal

Will It Make a Difference Which Party Controls Congress in 2015?

Kelsey Harkness / Kelsey Harris / Stephen Moore / Joel Griffith / Jason Hart / Salim Furth / Ted Bromund / Genevieve Wood /

Does it matter which political party controls Congress come 2015?

Turn on any news program covering the mid-term election and you’ll get a steady stream of “horse-race” reports: which candidates are up, which are down, how many seats are leaning Democrat or now safely in the hands of the GOP. Pollster after pollster will eagerly tell you how many Senate seats each party will end up with — then revise those numbers day after day — right up until the polls close on Nov. 4.

Granted, the non-stop prognosticating makes for good graphics on TV – maps lighting up blue and red, Republican strategist Karl Rove’s white board showing numbers and percentages scribbled across it. But how often have you heard a discussion as to what difference it will actually make if the GOP wins control of the Senate or, for that matter, if the Democrats manage to hold on to it?

It’s a question Republicans should be prepared to answer if they do win in November — especially if they hope to be victorious again in 2016.

Polls show voters are no more enamored with the Republican brand than the Democrat one. The most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey shows only 46% of likely voters prefer a GOP-held Congress, with 44% preferring a Democratic-controlled one.

Rather than lay out a particular vision of how life in America will be better if voters put its candidates in office, the GOP seems more to be counting on the fact that voters are unhappy with President Obama. Only 42% of respondents in the latest NBC/WSJ survey say they approved of the job he is doing.

141023_Toon_Foden

And that is why many Democrats, including those running for office this year, must have shaken their heads when the president recently went out of his way to say that, while he is not on the ballot, his policies are. To many voters, Obama and his policies are one in the same, and the GOP has been bending every effort to try to nationalize the election and make it a referendum on Obama.

But if you take Obama out of the equation, what’s left?

On the campaign trail, many a Republican candidate has railed against the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. But will a GOP controlled Congress repeal it? If not, what would they do about it?

Many candidates have spoken with great passion about the fact our southern border is not secure and that Obama has gone around Congress to delay deportations for millions here illegally. Will a GOP controlled Congress block the president on such moves?

For years, Republicans in Congress have pushed for development of the Keystone XL pipeline that they say will produce cheaper energy and more jobs for Americans. Will a GOP Congress pass the measure and put it on the president’s desk?

In politics, winning an election is simply step one. It’s what you do with that victory that truly matters.

Originally appeared in USA Today.

Citizen Groups Organize to Reduce Voter Fraud - Daily Signal

Citizen Groups Organize to Reduce Voter Fraud

Kelsey Harkness / Kelsey Harris / Stephen Moore / Joel Griffith / Jason Hart / Salim Furth / Ted Bromund / Genevieve Wood / Carlo Maffatt /

LAS VEGAS  — Your next representative in Congress could end up being, well, somebody like Mike Monroe, if something isn’t done about the electoral system, critics say.

Fed up with voting machine discrepancies, some folks are taking matters into their own hands and are organizing grassroots efforts to reduce voter fraud and electoral errors.

Citizen Task Force for Voting Rights is trying to tackle the vulnerabilities by alerting and educating voters to call in any irregularities with voting machines and election systems to their election fraud hotline.

Retired Air Force Col. Robert E. Frank, chairman and founding member of CTFVR, said he wants to make voters more aware of the system’s glitches and inspire them to demand independent audits.

The group’s impetus for action came last June when Monroe, a virtual unknown in the highly competitive race for Congress, made Nevada history by taking 22 percent of the vote in the GOP primary for the immense 4th Congressional District, which covers northern Clark County and six rural counties.

A computer glitch has been suspected, though no wrongdoing was discovered in the election, which displaced popular candidate Niger Innis, who had a 10-point polling lead, and handed  the party’s nomination to state Rep. Cresent Hardy. Innis is the spokesman for the civil-rights group Congress of Racial Equality, or CORE.

The Las Vegas Review Journal reported that Innis asked Secretary of State Ross Miller to investigate the incident. But Innis was told no investigation could be initiated unless he could provide evidence of a computer flaw. He also would have had to pay a $40,000-per-candidate fee. That money would have to come from other sources since state law prohibits using campaign funds for ballot recounts.

Both Innis and Hardy spent around $150,000 during the campaign. Monroe, a handyman and construction worker, didn’t campaign, raise or spend any money, debate, go door-to-door or give any media interviews. Few had ever even seen a photo of him.

In spite of his laissez faire approach, Monroe won Esmeralda County, among others, with 40 of the 100 registered votes.

Resident Roderick Myers succinctly sums it up: “It is impossible to happen here.”

“We all know people here vote for Niger or Cresent. Nobody here has even heard of Mike Monroe. We tried to locate the 100 (registered) voters, but could only find 14, and none of them knew who Mike Monroe was. All gave their votes to Niger or Cresent.”

Read more at Watchdog.org

Facing Bleak Prospects, Va. Millenials Want Government Both to Do More and Get Out of the Way - Daily Signal

Facing Bleak Prospects, Va. Millenials Want Government Both to Do More and Get Out of the Way

Kelsey Harkness / Kelsey Harris / Stephen Moore / Joel Griffith / Jason Hart / Salim Furth / Ted Bromund / Genevieve Wood / Carlo Maffatt / Kathryn Watson /

That much-mentioned, so-called millennial generation in Virginia is facing an uphill economic climb.

The average student loan debt of 18- to 35-year-oldspolled by Christopher Newport University’s Wason Center for Public Policy is $33,500. Four out of five say they believe the economic challenges they face are greater than the ones their parents did at the same age,according to poll data released Thursday.

Of those polled, 31 percent listed jobs and the economy as their top priority, followed by education (12 percent) and health care or health-care reform (9 percent). A whopping 58 percent are skeptical the government is working to solve the problems they face.

Still, even with an average of $33,500 in student debt, millennials were more likely to list marijuana legalization and drug reform — a key component of Libertarian Robert Sarvis’ campaign — as their top priority (6 percent), than to mention the cost of education as their top concern (3 percent). A small percentage (1 percent) listed government regulation as their top concern, while 8 percent said budget and tax issues ranked highest.

In other words, millenials want government to help solve their problems, but also want it to get out of the way.

Although Virginia millenials generally consider themselves to be more liberal than their parents and 47 percent said they’d vote for Democratic Sen. Mark Warner if the election was held that day, there’s another strain emerging in the poll — a libertarian-leaning one. Of the millenials polled, 24 percent said they’d vote for Sarvis, more than double the amount who said they’d vote for Republican Ed Gillespie (11 percent).

For comparison, a CNU poll of registered Virginia voters of all ages earlier this month read like this — Warner, 51 percent; Gillespie, 39 percent; Sarvis, 3 percent.

Read more at Watchdog.org

If a Republican Justice Department Did This, It Would Be Attacked as Borderline Racist - Daily Signal

If a Republican Justice Department Did This, It Would Be Attacked as Borderline Racist

Kelsey Harkness / Kelsey Harris / Stephen Moore / Joel Griffith / Jason Hart / Salim Furth / Ted Bromund / Genevieve Wood / Carlo Maffatt / Kathryn Watson / Hans von Spakovsky /

Attorney General Eric Holder has waged a litigation war against voter-ID laws as well as state efforts to reduce early-voting periods and eliminate same-day voter registration. These practical reforms, he huffs, are intended to suppress the votes of minorities. But the lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice and a number of civil-rights groups against North Carolina over such measures is unintentionally revealing. The filing makes it clear that these self-appointed champions of minorities have a thoroughly patronizing attitude toward black and Hispanic Americans.

As John Fund has succinctly explained, early voting, a relatively new phenomenon, is a bad idea for several reasons. It increases the expense of campaigns and elections, diffuses the effectiveness of get-out-the vote efforts (potentially hurting turnout), and encourages voters to cast ballots before they have all the relevant information about candidates. Same-day registration is a recipe for fraud, since it prevents election officials from checking eligibility and the accuracy of voter-registration information before the voter casts a ballot.

There is no constitutional right to either early voting or same-day registration. Indeed, many states have neither. Failure to offer these options does not constitute racial discrimination, nor is it discriminatory to shorten an early-voting period to ten days (from 17), as North Carolina has done. Early voting is a costly administrative headache for election officials. That reducing it is de facto racism is the bizarre claim being pushed by the U.S. Justice Department, the NAACP, the ACLU, and others in their suit against North Carolina.

Why are such measures supposedly discriminatory? According to the “experts” hired by the Justice Department and the NAACP to testify in the North Carolina lawsuit, they’re discriminatory because African Americans are “less sophisticated voters” and can’t figure out how to register and vote. No, really, that’s what they said.

At the preliminary injunction hearing in July, before Judge Thomas D. Schroeder in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, the government produced Professor Charles Stewart of MIT’s political-science department. According to the transcript of that proceeding, when Stewart was asked why he believed that eliminating same-day registration (which only eleven states have) was discriminatory, he said that same-day registration provides “a mechanism and a time that’s well situated for less sophisticated voters, and therefore, it’s less likely to imagine that these voters would — can figure out or would avail themselves of other forms of registering and voting” (emphasis mine).

And who are those “less sophisticated voters” who can’t “figure out” how to register to vote? They “tend to be African Americans,” according to Stewart. He added that “people who register to vote the closer and closer one gets to Election Day tend to be . . . less-educated voters, tend to be voters who are less attuned to public affairs.” Stewart said that these voters “tend to be African Americans.” Of course, the voter-registration data in North Carolina directly contradicts this, since Stewart was forced to admit that blacks in North Carolina actually “were registered at a higher rate than whites” before Election Day in the 2012 election.

Stewart leveled the same type of criticism at a measure to reduce the number of early-voting days. African Americans would be deterred from voting, he said again, because they are “less sophisticated voters.” He denied that he was racially stereotyping blacks — even when he said that they have a harder time figuring out how “to navigate the rules of the game.” He admitted that he did not survey black voters in North Carolina to ask them “directly about understanding the rules of registering and voting.”

Stewart is the same expert the DOJ used in its unsuccessful 2012 challenge to South Carolina’s voter-ID law. There, he testified that the law would have a “disparate impact” on black voters. But a federal court was not persuaded by his “expert” testimony, and the law was subsequently implemented without any of the problems predicted by Stewart.

Back in North Carolina, Stewart was further embarrassed when he was forced to admit during cross-examination that, in testimony in another lawsuit, challenging Florida’s reduction in early voting days, he had predicted a “disparate impact” on black voters and his prediction there, too, turned out to be wrong.

The NAACP’s expert was another professor, Barry Burden, of the University of Wisconsin. Burden claimed that blacks and Hispanics are less able “to pay the costs of voting” because of the “stark differences between whites, on the one hand, in North Carolina and those of blacks and Latinos in North Carolina.” By costs, Burden was referring to “the time and effort that a voter has to put in in order to participate.” That includes “locating the polling place, getting the right paperwork, understanding who the candidates are, becoming informed.” From his testimony, it was clear that Burden did not think that blacks and Hispanics have the same ability as whites to accomplish basic tasks such as locating a polling place, filling out a one-page voter-registration form, and learning what issues candidates support or oppose.

In all of their analyses, neither expert bothered to compare voter registration and turnout across states. As Thomas Farr, representing North Carolina, pointed out in his cross-examination of Burden, had they done such a comparison, they would have had to explain how the “Obama campaign was able to achieve high black turnout in Virginia comparable to North Carolina.” Virginia has neither same-day registration nor early voting.

The experts’ patronizing and dismissive attitude toward black Americans and other minority voters mirrors the fundamental nature of the litigation filed by the Justice Department and the NAACP against North Carolina. According to them, minority voters are “less sophisticated” and don’t have the same ability as white voters to register to vote, to even find their polling place, or to be informed about the candidates and the issues in the election. This is not much different from the attitudes one heard in the South during the Jim Crow era, when blacks were frequently seen as lazy and unable to competently function in society.

If a Republican Justice Department had made these arguments, it would have been properly criticized for making such assumptions and castigated as being, at best, borderline racist. Such views insult American citizens of every color, all of whom have the same opportunity, ability, and right to participate in our great republic.

Originally appeared on NationalReview.com.