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Featuring the Work and Ideas of the National
Center for Public Policy Research & Project 21

CONSERVATIVEBLOG.ORG

Featuring the Work and Ideas of the National Center for Public Policy Research & Project 21

Politicians Lose Because of Extremism, Not Race

/ ConservativeBlog.org /

Racism was “not a factor” in recent election results, says Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper, adding that it is “ridiculous” to perpetuate the notion that racial bias played a major role in influencing people’s voting behavior.

On Fox News Channel’s “The Ingraham Angle” last night, Horace rebutted allegations made by Senator Bernie Sanders that liberal candidates who were black might not have won because “white folks” were “uncomfortable… about whether or not they wanted to vote for an African-American.”

Horace, pointing out that the real problem is a politician’s extremism, said:

Bernie Sanders should recognize – if you come up with an extremist progressive agenda, it doesn’t matter what your color is. People are going to reject you…

You can’t be an extremist and win. That’s the real issue here. Don’t call it racism. Let’s have a real conversation.

Host Laura Ingraham noted “it kind of ends the conversation” when the racist label is invoked since leftists don’t believe those they tag with the word “deserve a debate.” Horace explained:

If anything is racism, nothing is racism.

People who voted for Barack Obama now want to vote for Donald Trump. People who voted Republican – they voted Democrat. That is just how people make choices.

Calling them out as bigots, or somehow uncomfortable with blacks, doesn’t serve any interest. In fact, it sets us back.

Pastor Explains “Obligation to Protect My Flock” With a Gun

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Council Nedd

Council Nedd

When Project 21 Co-Chairman Council Nedd II was younger, he remembers his Uncle John – a pastor at a Washington, D.C. church – carrying a gun during services. “I remember thinking it was funny at the time, but now here I am… essentially doing the exact same thing that I laughed at my Uncle John for.”

Council is now rector of St. Alban’s Anglican Church in Pine Grove Mills, Pennsylvania as well as a Pennsylvania state constable. Recent shootings involving religious institutions led him to begin carrying his service weapon in church. He discussed this decision with WMAL-Washington, D.C. talk radio hosts Mary Walter and Vince Coglianese.

In making his decision to carry a weapon at St. Alban’s, Council said:

People who church should be free to worship freely and not be concerned about who may open the door with evil intent… and try to do harm and disrupt the worship of God.

He noted that well-known megachurches  already have “lots of security measures in place,” including armed security and metal detectors. But these measures are “simply cost-prohibitive for most churches across America. And that’s certainly the case with my parish.”

Council merged his two callings to provide security to his congregation. He explained:

As a law enforcement officer who is concerned about the welfare of people in general, who happens to be a pastor, I feel an obligation to make sure I’m able to protect my flock if something should transpire…

I’d like to think that people who come to our parish are free to just worship and not worry about the outside concerns.

In addition to this morning drive-time interview, excerpts of Council’s interview were played throughout the day during the popular station’s newscasts.

Churches Must Provide Spiritual and Physical Protection

/ ConservativeBlog.org /

In a recent Daily Caller commentary, Project 21 Co-Chairman Council Nedd II – an Anglican bishop and Pennsylvania State Constable – revealed that he decided to keep a pistol on his hip during services after a gunman killed 11 people worshipping in a Pittsburgh synagogue. On NRA TV, he reiterated: “I carry my full-size duty weapon with me to church on Sundays now.”

As a constable, Council has served in protective details at local synagogues. He explained to “Cam & Co” host Cam Edwards that many large places of worship and other religious institutions already have armed security as well as additional security measures such as metal detectors. But these safeguards are elusive to most small congregations:

That’s cost-prohibitive for probably more than 90 percent of churches across this country. So then, what are you to do?… Just be left to the whims of whatever evildoers are walking around on the streets who attempt to walk in and invade your worship service?

I would make a strong argument that churches need to protect themselves, need to know how to respond in an active shooter situation.

When asked about his own decision to carry a .40 caliber pistol while he preaches, and if it caused any concern or protest from parishioners or church leaders, Council said:

Being the bishop and the rector of the parish, I can take some liberties and make some decisions on my own. But the fact is our church is in rural Pennsylvania. We have a lot of people who carry weapons in church on a regular basis.

And, as the shepherd of the flock, I have an obligation to provide for the welfare of the sheep I’m protecting from the wolves… We’ve got lots of evil, unchurched people who are out to do harm to those they view as soft targets. And St. Alban’s Anglican Church in Pennsylvania is not one of those soft targets.

With overwhelming evidence pointing to the Pittsburgh shooting being motivated by antisemitism, Council noted there are a growing number of “unchurched” people who may not have received the same moral and inspirational benefits of their peers and previous generations. With hostility increasing toward the faith community, he warned that many church leaders now must deal with a dual mission of protecting their congregations both spiritually and physically:

The fact is that, you know, church attendance has declined over my lifetime – period. So the result of that is that you’ve got a society probably more full than ever of unchurched people.

And so you’ve got a bunch of people – most well-intentioned – trying to figure out their way through life… But then you have some people who, you know, for whatever reason, didn’t grow up with the idea that “oh, I need to be a good person.” And you’ve got a bunch of notorious evildoers out there who are out to do harm to people in general. But, you know, you’ve got another subset of that – for whatever reason – that the church is their enemy and they need to do whatever they need to do.

But what I say is that the people of faith – we who are left, we who still go to church, people who are churched – need to spend time and actually pray for the souls of those who are out there doing this evil. We need to pray that God softens their hearts and brings them to Christ. And that’s what we need to do. That’s our obligation.

But again, by the same token, there are those people out there intent to do harm. And, you know, churches have an obligation to be prepared. Pastors have an obligation to provide for the security and well-being – not just the spiritual, but the physical well-being – of their parishioners.

Challenging Sharpton’s Attack on Black Conservatives

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Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper is challenging Al Sharpton’s apparent belief that he and others on the left have a “monopoly on outreach” when it comes to black Americans. In a Fox News Channel interview, Horace added that what Sharpton actually seems to have is a “monopoly on the use of bigoted and racist remarks” with relative impunity.

Last week on MSNBC, Sharpton used a gathering of black conservatives to criticize President Donald Trump. He said that the President, who addressed a contingent of young black conservatives – including Project 21 member Adrian Norman – at the White House, was using them as “props.” Despite the enthusiastic responses from those at the event, Sharpton claimed it was an “insult” for those blacks to have been there.

Discussing Sharpton’s divisive comments in a one-on-one interview with Fox News Channel host Laura Ingraham, Horace chronicled the MSNBC host’s history of toxic racial rhetoric and how he is absolutely wrong on the notion of black political unity:

He didn’t just attack Kanye West and other moderate blacks. He’s attacked gays. He’s attacked Asians – both Chinese and Koreans. It’s his vile language that refers to people who are Jewish as diamond merchants. These are the kind of comments that a man like this makes, and then he wants to stand up and say he should be the arbiter of what constitutes racism and what doesn’t.

My group – Project 21 – was created precisely because we want to make sure people understand that black Americans aren’t identified by our skin color. We all have individual views…

He’s none of these things. He’s just a bigot.

Horace also highlighted the hypocrisy in Sharpton being allowed to pass judgement on others when he is a prominent practitioner of the politics of division:

Here’s the guy who’s the poster child – not for a dog whistle, for coming right out and using the most vile and bigoted remarks. And he targets people all the time.

When it was Don Imus, who came on [Sharpton’s] program and wanted to apologize for a bigoted remark he had made, [Sharpton’s] response was you can’t be a purveyor on the national airwaves if you’re making comments like this. And yet there he sits on MSNBC.

After Horace’s brief appearance, Twitter users immediately began praising his common sense:

Watch the entire appearance below.

After the Pittsburgh Massacre, A Pistol in the Pulpit

/ ConservativeBlog.org /

After last year’s attack on the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Project 21 Co-Chairman Council Nedd II – an Anglican bishop and Pennsylvania State Constable – reconsidered his decision not to carry a gun while officiating church services.

In a new Daily Caller commentary, he recounted how this put him more at ease during this past week’s service at St. Alban’s Church in Pine Grove Mills, Pennsylvania:

Well into last Sunday’s worship service, someone entered my church and was lurking in the rear of the sanctuary. As I tended to matters of faith in the pulpit, I was also assessing that potential security threat.

After the horrific Pittsburgh synagogue massacre that occurred the previous day, I decided to take no chances in protecting my congregation from harm. Under my vestments, I carried a Smith & Wesson M&P 40 pistol on my hip.

Beyond the threat of violent intolerance to religious expression, Council also recently received a threat from someone he arrested during his duties as a constable. Because of this dual threat, he explained that “I now have no problem with a pistol in the pulpit.”

In fact, Council – “America’s Constable” – explained that doing so makes him “truly a shepherd of my own flock.”

He wrote:

As I’ve preached before, it’s a bishop’s duty to act as a shepherd for his flock. That’s why I have an ornate staff called a crozier. Like a shepherd, it’s my duty to steer my congregation away from figurative wolves who would corrupt them spiritually. And now I am also physically protecting them from literal threats to their security because the crozier is no longer enough.

Some politicians and well-funded activists will undoubtedly use the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting to call for stricter gun control. That’s not the answer.

Awareness and swift response are much more appropriate.

In the commentary, Council also described how many Jewish institutions in particular already have armed guards and additional means of assessing potential threats. As a constable, Council has served on protective details during the popular Jewish holidays. But Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is critical of the suggestion that more armed security is needed at synagogues and other religious buildings, saying that more needs to be done to “take the guns… out of the hands” of those threatening the free exercise of religion.

“Isn’t that what an armed guard – or an armed bishop – can do?” Council asked.

To read all of Council’s Daily Caller commentary, “Why I Choose to Pack a Pistol in My Own Parish,” click here.

Ensuring Every Vote Counts

/ ConservativeBlog.org /

Civil rights activists marched, organized and died to secure the right for all Americans to vote. “[W]ithout effective safeguards,” wrote Project 21 member Derrick Hollie, “the civil rights movement’s goal of making everybody’s vote count may never be achieved.”

In a commentary published by the Daily Signal, Derrick described how the modern threat to voting rights evolved from an act of outright discrimination to a stealthy strategy for political advantage. But the end result has almost always been black disenfranchisement – denying blacks the ability to fully participate in the creation and maintenance of the policies that directly affect them.

Derrick explained:

White authorities in the Jim Crow South used tactics ranging from poll taxes to ballot destruction to lynching to keep blacks from participating in the political process. Efforts to limit and hijack votes still exist, but they are much more subtle.

When a vote is cast in someone else’s name—dead or alive—the votes of others are diminished. When an illegal immigrant or a restricted felon votes, the votes of others are similarly compromised.

Voter fraud may lack the intimidation and violence employed in the past, but it still minimizes the ability of all people to participate in the process and determine how they are to be governed.

The best way to protect the integrity of the voting process, Derrick explained, is to institute safeguards and processes that can help ensure fraudsters aren’t able to hijack peoples’ votes:

Having won the right to vote with the 15th Amendment, and having it secured by the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and other legislation, blacks need to have their votes count. Protections such as ID requirements and clean voter rolls are key to this assurance.

Derrick highlighted Project 21’s “Blueprint for a Better Deal for Black America” and its recommendations to improve ballot integrity. The Blueprint makes six specific suggestions for helping to make sure black Americans’ votes count:

  • Require proof of citizenship to register to vote.
  • Require proof of identity to cast ballots.
  • Require states to purge election rolls on a regular basis to remove people who are deceased or have moved to other jurisdictions.
  • Require states to purge election rolls of registered voters who have not cast ballots in six years.
  • Prohibit the practice of mailing ballots to those who have not requested them.
  • Prosecute organizations or individuals systematically targeting black communities for voter fraud.

And Derrick makes a strong case for ballot protection by also providing examples of both how votes have been compromised in the past and how the critics’ claims of problems in obtaining identification are not well-founded.

To read all of Derrick’s commentary – “Voter Fraud Undermines the Votes of Black Americans” – click here.

Trump’s ‘Nationalism’ Defended: He Simply Loves America

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President Trump’s critics are atwitter over his recent comment in Texas about being a “nationalist.”

Horace Cooper, a senior fellow with the National Center, explained simply on the Fox News Channel that “[t]he President loves this country” and “is working diligently to make it better for people who live in this country.” Those are the roots of his nationalism – nothing more, nothing less and nothing nefarious.

During a political rally, the President used the term in contrast to having a globalist viewpoint. He said a “globalist is a person that wants the globe to do well, frankly not caring about the country so much… You know what I am – I’m a nationalist.”

Pointing out his observation of this nationalism in action, Horace described the compassion he’s seen on the President’s part at both a policy and a personal level. These examples conflict with concerns raised by liberals and media personalities:

I watched – during Hurricane Harvey – when he went out and was a volunteer helping to distribute goods and services. If you watch the camera and you weren’t paying attention to what the commentators were saying, what you saw was a person that liked the people that he encountered. This president is devoted to this country.

Now, it’s the strangest form of racism that I’ve ever seen that black Americans, Latino Americans and even Asian Americans have done better in this country relative to every other population. The Civil Rights Act was passed because blacks and minorities couldn’t get work. Now, you’ve got five records of unemployment achievement for black Americans. It’s the weirdest form of racism.

One example of the media’s unnecessary alarmism is in its attempt to define nationalism. At the beginning of Horace’s segment on “The Ingraham Angle,” host Laura Ingraham referred to the primary definition of nationalism on the Merriam-Webster website: “loyalty and devotion to a nation.” Contrast that to CNN Editor-at-Large Chris Cillizza, who used the same website but ignored the primary definition in favor of an extraneous description suggesting nationalism is “a sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests.” Even the Merriam-Webster website qualified that addition with “especially” – something Cillizza left out.

Horace and fellow panelist Preston Mitchum also discussed assertions that black Americans still face immense challenges due to racial animosity. Citing comments made by Florida gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum that “people don’t expect much from me” because he is black and that blacks in general are “held to a different standard,” Horace noted that facts dispel such claims. And that race relations continue to be strained because the myth of systemic racism continues to pervade political debate:

We have a problem in this country when you can see how much progress blacks have made. We own more houses. We have more cars. We have more income. We have more billionaires than we have ever had ever.

You cannot say it’s worse. You can say that we have made substantial progress. Those comments deny that progress and they imply that this country is, in fact, opposed to the interests of black Americans.

Watch Horace’s “Ingraham Angle” clip below.

Minor Funder of Conservatives a Major Threat to Movement

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Laura and John Arnold may be the biggest unseen threats to the freedom movement. To make matters worse, there are some conservatives who unwittingly consider them their friends.

In an Investor’s Business Daily commentary, Justin Danhof, Esq. – the director of the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project – exposes the Arnold Foundation’s “sole mission… to demonize and bankrupt right-of-center organizations.”

While giving small amounts to conservatives as cover, the Arnold Foundation is all-in on a vicious campaign aimed at the financial heart of the conservative movement. “They promote their bipartisan giving,” Justin wrote, “yet the Arnolds fund groups whose sole mission is to demonize and bankrupt right-of-center organizations. How is that possibly bipartisan?”

Justin added:

[T]he Arnolds – both through their foundation and their personal giving – are like mini-George Soroses. From abortion, to anti-2nd Amendment work, to liberal “investigative” journalism, to single-payer health care, the Arnolds fund the gamut of far-left causes.

It’s true that the Arnold Foundation also contributes to a small handful of conservative groups. But these donations support right-of-center groups working on bipartisan, non-controversial issues such as criminal justice reform.

Giving to a few right-wing groups might seem like a logical way to avoid being lumped in with the Soros and Tom Steyer crowd, but it’s far too easy to see through their veneer.

Since 2011, the Arnolds have distributed over a billion dollars to their favorite special interests. For those conservatives who may defend the Arnolds as equal opportunity donors, Justin warned that “those folks need to become clear-eyed about [the Arnolds’] motives and tactics.”

It’s important to pay attention to whom the Arnolds support with millions of dollars in donations:

  • The Center for Media and Democracy, whose SourceWatch website Justin reported is “[o]utdated, inaccurate and rife with unsubstantiated propaganda” about conservative organizations.
  • ProPublica, an alleged investigative writers group catering to the liberal agenda of its funders.
  • The Center for Public Integrity, which encouraged the Obama-era IRS practice of harassing conservative and Tea Party-affiliated non-profits.

These groups are the tip of the spear in terms of the Arnolds’ efforts to persuade and pressure donors and businesses to drop their support of pro-freedom organizations such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

It’s important for conservatives to recognize, and not lend credibility to, this existential threat to their ideas and message.

To read Justin’s Investor’s Business Daily commentary – “Meet the Mini-George Soroses” – in its entirety, click here.

“Environmental Justice” May Limit Black Opportunity

/ ConservativeBlog.org /

Buckingham County, Virginia has the chance to be a part of something that could lower many power bills and economically benefit the community. But, as Project 21 member Derrick Hollie wrote in a Daily Signal commentary, “if paternalistic liberal environmentalists have their way, economic prosperity will pass them by.”

Located in the middle of Virginia, Buckingham County residents have a median household income of just over $36,000 a year. More than 20 percent of its residents live below the poverty line. Racially, it is over 35 percent black.

One of three compressor stations for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline – which is designed to move natural gas from West Virginia to consumers in Virginia and North Carolina – has been proposed for Buckingham County. Derrick wrote of the planned pipeline:

They have made an earnest attempt to do right by the people of Buckingham County and the other Americans the pipeline will serve…

Backers of the pipeline say it will save consumers an estimated $377 million annually on their utility bills in addition to creating construction and maintenance jobs.

While noting the proposed compressor station is considered a “minor” source of emissions by state regulators, and the parameters of the draft permit are strict, the project still faces stiff opposition. Environmentalists are using the area’s demographics to play the race card. But these detractors are not necessarily black themselves, as Derrick observed first-hand:

It was exclusively white activists with their matching T-shirts and picket signs who were speaking out against the proposed compressor station at a recent hearing, claiming it to be “environmental racism”…

[W]hat I saw in Buckingham County reeked of a so-called “white savior complex.” At one point, I was verbally attacked by a white woman and told that I “should pray for forgiveness.”

A second (also white) woman’s protestations were so over the top, I ended up looking for a police officer to help.

“Imagine if the scenario had been reversed,” Derrick suggested. He imagined that similar boorish behavior on his part could end with him “going straight to jail.”

When weighing these activists’ social and environmental justice agenda with the prospect of jobs and economic opportunity, Derrick saw no contest. In a depressed area such as Buckingham County, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline can bring economic growth and help end the problem of energy poverty that forces families to choose between necessities including utilities, groceries and transportation.

To read all of Derrick’s commentary, “Another Example of Liberal Paternalism Harming Minorities,” click here.

Kanye’s Candor Encourages Blacks to Embrace Conservatism

/ ConservativeBlog.org /

To assess the impact rapper and A-list black celebrity Kanye West is having on black American political evolution after his high-profile visit to the Trump White House, the One America News Network asked Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper to comment on this “significant celebrity” openly expressing conservative opinions.

Rather than considering him a trailblazer, Horace said Kanye is simply the harbinger of a change liberals have dreaded for some time. Their open hostility to him is due exactly for that reason.

“The truth is,” Horace explained, “that Kanye West is just following where black America is starting to move.”

What is unique to the situation is that a cultural icon broke ranks with the celebrity status quo. The entertainment elite is incredibly hostile to President Trump, and Kanye is signaling to black Americans in particular that it is alright for them to support the President if they choose and to not feel bad about it.

Horace pointed out that kitchen-table factors including more jobs and an improved economy are reasons for many blacks to question the widespread criticism they hear about the Trump Administration. He added:

Kanye West talked about things that I think most importantly signal it’s okay for black Americans to say publicly that they disagree with the progressive worldview. That is the biggest takeaway I had from this. But the second one is how much hypocrisy there was [from liberals].

This outspoken attitude, Horace said, is rubbing off on people and scaring the liberal establishment that has had a lock on black support for so long and taken it for granted:

They can’t stand the idea that black America – just like white America, men and women – can think for themselves, can speak and can reject whatever it is that the mainstream media elites are pushing from a hard-left perspective.

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The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 60,000 active recent contributors.