Top 12 Stream Posts From 2020

By The Stream Published on January 5, 2021

“Hindsight really is 2020 now.” So badly joked our Acting Editor-in-Chief, John Melton, on a conference call the other day.

What a year. A polarizing presidential election. A global pandemic. Mass social unrest. Devastating wildfires. (After typing that list, we had to go reread Nancy Flory’s “Joy Breaks: Top 10 Stories of Inspiration From 2020”!) But despite it all, God is still good.

As we kick off the new year, let us reflect on the top stories from 2020, as told by our most-read Stream articles. And, if you haven’t seen any of our other year-ender pieces, click here to check them out.

 

Hands down, you are women who have achieved remarkable success through your hard work and extraordinary talent. You are also known for being dedicated mothers and, let’s be honest, you look amazing. In other words, you hold all the cards.

We live in a world that talks a lot about the empowerment of women. Your unique accomplishments position you to set the tone for that conversation. More importantly, it gives you the power to push for changes in actions that harm women.

So riddle me this: You had an audience of 100 million for this year’s Super Bowl halftime performance. The videos and memes will be seen by even more people. You put together a show that was technically impressive, including some challenging political statements that deserve serious discussion.

Nevertheless, you chose a routine that was probably better suited for a strip club, despite the accolades on social media.

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Did you hear about the large Christian gatherings in Washington, D.C. this weekend? Did you see the news reports about the mayhem? The looting? The vandalism? The calls to “Burn it down!”? Did you hear the speakers calling for acts of violence and destruction? Oh, you didn’t? That’s because tens of thousands of Christians did gather in D.C. this weekend, but they came to pray for the nation and repent for their sins.

The two main events were The Return, which began Friday night and ended Saturday night, and Franklin Graham’s prayer march, which was held from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

Both events attracted tens of thousands, and The Return was watched by a reported global audience of tens of millions. But there were no angry voices. No calls for violence. No fistfights. Or brawls. Or looting. Or shooting at police.

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Back in 2014, I worked freelance for a public relations firm in New York City. It was there that I met an unusual woman. I didn’t know many lawyers or Texans, but I knew better than to chalk up her qualities to either her profession or her home. It’s rare that I encounter someone who I’m afraid to argue with, because of her sheer brain power and towering personal rectitude. But this was such a person.

This woman had quite a career behind her. An evangelical Christian, she’d been a federal prosecutor — and quit, outraged at the corruption she saw among her colleagues. She did more than quit. Horrified by prosecutors hiding exculpatory evidence and targeting the innocent because of their personal politics, she became a defense attorney, to help people fight the feds.

But that wasn’t enough. At a huge financial sacrifice, she took time off from her practice to write a book. And self-publish it. And hired a public relations firm to get it out to people, when media ignored it. That book, Licensed to Lie, is absolutely chilling. And its author was Sidney Powell.

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Tuesday night’s debate was… well… not a debate. And — fair warning — this is not going to be easy to read. If you are tough, continue. If not, best to stop. No snowflakes beyond this point.

Those who went into the debate for Biden came out for Biden, so relieved that he did not announce that he was “running for President of Uganda, this year in 1996.” Those who went into the debate for Trump came out for Trump, some glad he punched hard, others saying he should not have punched so hard.

Many reported on social media that they were exhausted and barely made it through the debate. Some prided themselves that they turned it off. How noble. Especially when you consider that the President has been getting by on four hours of sleep for four years trying to save the Republic.

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John Piper is one of the most respected Christian leaders in America, and I personally hold him in high esteem. Yet I differ with his suggestion that Christians might do best by sitting out the presidential election, since a vote for either Trump or Biden cannot be justified.

Before sharing my differences, though, I want to share my points of affirmation.

First, I wholeheartedly agree with Pastor Piper that the foremost calling of a minister of the gospel “is to lead people to see Jesus Christ, trust his forgiveness for sins, treasure him above everything in this world, live in a way that shows his all-satisfying value, and help them make it to heaven with love and holiness.”

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President Trump receives non-stop criticism in the press. I agree that criticism is necessary when a president makes mistakes, but where are the voices expressing appreciation for the good things Trump has done? It’s unfair always to criticize and never to recognize any of the good things a president has done.

It might be a refreshing change to recall some of the remarkable, nation-changing good things that Trump has accomplished for America. Here is my personal list. At the end of this list, I address the question, “Are these actions an indication of divine judgment or divine blessing on the United States of America?”

Because of space limitations, I have not given extensive arguments explaining why I think these actions are good for the United States. But more extensive arguments can be found in my books Christian Ethics, Politics According to the Bible, and The Poverty of Nations.

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Our behavior has stopped the spread of the [corona]virus,” New York governor Andrew Cuomo said in his April 12 CNN interview. “God did not stop the spread of the virus.” The next day Cuomo repeated himself when discussing flattening the curve. “The number is down because we brought the number down. God did not do that. Fate did not do that. Destiny did not do that. A lot of pain and suffering did that.”

At least one governor has a diametrically opposed perspective. Pastor Jack Graham interviewed Texas governor Greg Abbott Sunday during Prestonwood Baptist Church’s service. Abbott told Graham that we can see the hand of God working in the fight against coronavirus. He went on to describe his own personal crisis and how that informs what he’s doing to get Texas ready to reopen for business.

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If there was one thing we could all agree on, you would think it would be this: minors should be protected from sexually aggressive adults. Yet, with a nod to “equality” under the law for the gay community, the California Assembly has voted to lessen the potential penalty for 24-year-olds who have sex with children as young as 14. Shockingly — or should I say, revoltingly — this is one of two similar bills that have just been passed by these legislators.

As explained by Greg Burt of the California Family Council, “The California legislature finished it’s 2020 session on Monday by passing a controversial bill that reduces the penalties on some adults who have consensual sex with minors as young as 14 years of age.”

Why on earth would they pass something like this? Why would they want to potentially reduce these penalties?

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In a period of less than 10 minutes on Monday, I read an article about candidate Joe Biden’s extreme pro-abortion views and then was sent a link to the home page for “Pro-Life Evangelicals for Biden.”

The article cited Biden’s response to a question about abortion rights, where he addressed the potential of Amy Coney Barrett becoming a Supreme Court justice. Should that be the case, he said, and should the court overturn Roe v. Wade, “the only thing, the only responsible response to that would be to pass legislation making Roe the law of the land. That’s what I would do.”

This is in harmony with the Democratic platform, which plainly states, “We will repeal the Hyde Amendment, and protect and codify Roe v. Wade.”

In that light, how can you identify as a “pro-life” evangelical who supports Biden?

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Historian Tom Holland is known primarily as a storyteller of the ancient world. Thus, his newest book Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World, came as something of a surprise for several reasons. First, Tom Holland is not a Christian. Second, Holland’s book is one of the most ambitious historical defenses of Christianity in a very long time.

While studying the ancient world, Holland writes, he realized something. Simply, the ancients were cruel, and their values utterly foreign to him. The Spartans routinely murdered “imperfect” children. The bodies of slaves were treated like outlets for the physical pleasure of those with power. Infanticide was common. The poor and the weak had no rights.

How did we get from there to here? It was Christianity, Holland writes. Christianity revolutionized sex and marriage, demanding that men control themselves and prohibiting all forms of rape. Christianity confined sexuality within monogamy. (It is ironic, Holland notes, that these are now the very standards for which Christianity is derided.) Christianity elevated women. In short, Christianity utterly transformed the world.

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Editor’s note: See John Zmirak’s appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight, in which he discusses this article, here.  

Nick Sandmann just turned 18 years old. And he’s settling a $250 million lawsuit with major media outlets that libeled him. Let’s send him our congratulations and prayers.

I was prepping Robert Oscar Lopez’s powerful piece on Mike Adams for publication when I realized something chilling. Reading how the left hounded that talented writer to suicide (if indeed he wasn’t murdered) I heard in my head the media headline that never ran. Thanks be to God.

“Racist Ringleader, Nicholas Sandmann, Dead at 17.” That’s what the media mob wanted. They as good as admitted it.

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It is certainly politically incorrect to say this. In fact, in the eyes of many, what I’m about to say is a classic example of extreme religious bigotry. But I will say it nonetheless.

Choosing an out and proud “married” gay man to run for president, let alone become president, would contribute to the further degeneration and moral confusion of our society along with further attacks on our most fundamental rights.

When I tweeted this statement out on Feb. 8, it received far more retweets and likes than my average tweet. Far more. So, it obviously struck a chord. The support was strong and consistent.

“Call me a homophobic bigot, but I’ll say it anyway. Choosing an out & proud “married” gay man to run for president, let alone become president, would contribute to the further degeneration & moral confusion of our society along with further attacks on our most fundamental rights.”

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