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Clint Eastwood says “get over" Trump's racism

Credit: Chris Pizzello via APDoes America need to "get over" Donald Trump's "racism"? Clint Eastwood thinks so. As he told Esquire's Michael Hainey, he believes that Trump's willingness to say what's on his mind rather than worry about being politically correct is a big reason for the Republican nominee's success. He added that Trump's willingness to speak without a filter often results in him saying a lot of dumb things, such as bringing up the Mexican heritage of the judge who presided over federal lawsuits against Trump University. However, Eastwood ultimately favors the willingness to risk saying something stupid if it means not pandering to the PC police.

The renowned actor/director/producer believes that "secretly everybody's getting tired of political correctness, kissing up . . . We see people accusing people of being racist and all kinds of stuff." While that doesn't mean that people should be free to speak without consequences, Eastwood's primary concern was his belief that political correctness has become more important to a lot of people than actually getting things done.

Consequently, when Hainey asked what he would like to see change the most, Eastwood replied "I'd say get to work and start being more understanding of everybody—instead of calling everybody names, start being more understanding. But get in there and get it done." While that advice is something the Republican nominee should also keep in mind, Eastwood believes it would benefit those who are quick to judge Trump as well.

Is he right? Is America's political correctness getting in the way of bigger issues? If so, where do we draw the line? Scripture is clear that words have great power and what we say is not to be taken lightly. Solomon warned that "Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Proverbs 18:21), and that's a fundamental part of why Paul warned the Ephesians not to let any "corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear" (Ephesians 4:29).

No one should argue that racist or derogatory speech is permissible, or even that it's not that big a deal. When Donald Trump speaks in a derogatory manner towards members of a particular gender, race, or religion, he reveals some troubling aspects of his character that should not be minimized—especially for someone hoping to be the face of our nation to the larger world.

That said, Eastwood brings up an important point regarding how we often seem to prioritize political incorrectness over a host of other sins. Our evaluation of people is both shortsighted and fundamentally flawed when we act as though a phrase or loose statement reveals the totality of who they are to the neglect of every other trait. To be sure, Trump's at times racist and derogatory speech is troubling, but that alone should not be the only criteria used to judge him—just as Clinton's penchant for stretching the truth (to put it kindly) should not be the only standard used to evaluate her fitness for office.

People are more than what they say, even if their words are an important aspect of that identity. To be clear, this article is not meant to endorse a political candidate or party (for what it's worth, I'm still undecided), but rather to draw attention to an important conversation that has implications stretching far beyond the political sphere.

None of us want to be known for our worst moments. A single loose statement or improper joke should not define anyone. There comes a time when a pattern of such behavior sufficiently reveals crucial elements of a person’s character, but grace should have a place in our response to that person as well. That's how each of us wants to be treated and, thus, it’s how we should also treat others (Matthew 7:12).

So the next time a political candidate, or the person in the next cubicle, says something he or she shouldn't, try to find that balance of extending grace to the person without approving of what was said. A time will likely come when we may need the same grace, and Scripture is clear that God expects us to forgive others if we expect him to forgive us (Matthew 6:14–15). How will you measure up to that standard?

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Is "Bernie or Bust" ridiculous? Are we?

Credit: Carolyn Kaster via APThe national conventions for both the Republicans and the Democrats have been primarily star-studded pep-rallies intended to galvanize a largely fractured base of support. Celebrities and politicians have graced the stage at both events in an attempt to lend their influence to the candidate they believe will best guide America for the next four to eight years. So when actress and comedian Sarah Silverman took the stage at the DNC on Monday, her purpose was clear: help to unite the party around Hillary Clinton.

Silverman embodied the kind of unifying perspective Democrats hope will guide their party base over the coming months when she told the crowd, "I will vote for Hillary with gusto, as I continue to be inspired and moved to action by the ideals set forth by Bernie." The basic idea behind her statement was that voting for Clinton was not the betrayal of Sanders that many of the latter's supporters believe it to be.

That sense of betrayal is understandable given the emails from leading members of the Democratic National Committee, leaked just prior to the convention, that outline a concerted effort by the supposedly neutral group to ensure Hillary got the nomination. However, even Bernie Sanders noted that continued division was counterproductive and pledged his full support to Clinton in the upcoming election, thereby urging his constituents to do the same.

While Silverman's scripted remarks did just that on Monday night, it was her unscripted statement shortly thereafter that's drawn the most attention. You see, even Sanders hasn't been able to convince a very vocal group of the convention's attendees to fall in line behind Clinton. So when Silverman delivered her initial remarks, they were followed shortly thereafter by chants of "Bernie, Bernie." The chaos continued until she stated "Can I just say, to the 'Bernie or Bust' people: You're being ridiculous."

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Is Pokémon GO-ing to church?

PeoplePokémon GO, the new smartphone game from Nintendo and Niantic, has recently generated crazy headlines as it continues to add new members and make mind-boggling amounts of money with each passing day. The game uses your phone's GPS and camera to turn your world into a real-life scavenger hunt for the Pokémon millions grew up seeing only on their Gameboys. In the week since its release, it has already increased Nintendo's value by over $9 billion dollars—a more than twenty-five percent jump— and iPhone users alone spend roughly $1.6 million a day on in-app purchases. When one considers that the game has only been officially released in the US, Australia, and New Zealand, it's understandable why many forecast that those profits will only grow across the coming months.

Even those who've never given a second thought to trying the game have likely been taken by some of the entertaining and, at times, troubling tales of those who have. Last Friday, for example, a teenager in Big Wind River, Wyoming, found a dead body floating down the river where she was attempting to capture water Pokémon. In Missouri, police arrested a group of young men used the game to lure victims wandering the streets in their quest to "catch 'em all" to their car at which point they were robbed at gunpoint.

On the less troubling side, the infamous Westboro Baptist Church is one of thousands that were selected to house a gym where players can compete to prove their abilities. As you might expect, they were not too happy when a fairy Pokémon named LoveIsLove took the top spot—though those who find their actions reprehensible have found the irony most enjoyable. The game also stands to provide a number of health benefits to its users given that you must actually go outside and walk around to find most of the little creatures and visit the various places of importance. Many have joked that Pokémon GO has done more to combat child obesity in twenty-four hours than government programs have done in years, and they're not necessarily wrong.

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The problem with 'All Lives Matter'

Credit: Matt Sayles via APWhen Jesse Williams got up to accept the Humanitarian Award during the 2016 BET Awards, it was, in many ways, the culmination of two years' worth of advocacy and work alongside others in the Black Lives Matter movement. The actor may have made a name for himself as Dr. Jackson Avery on the hit show Grey's Anatomy, but his work as an activist and as the executive producer of the recent documentary Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement are of far greater importance to many. So when he spoke of the need to continue fighting for equality in practice rather than word or law, of police brutality, and of the need to simply be valued as people, it stood out as far more than platitudes and well-wishes from a prominent individual.

As Shaun King of the New York Daily News wrote of the speech, "It was a profound and important moment that many of us will never forget." Those sentiments were echoed across social media. Not all of the support, however, was well-received. When Justin Timberlake tweeted #Inspired #BET2016 following the speech, many took issue because they see him as passively perpetuating part of the problem Williams spoke of in his speech—particularly Williams's lament regarding the way aspects of black culture are often used and assimilated for profit without adequate credit and compensation being given to those truly responsible for their creation.

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Is the Media Biased? Does it matter?

Walter Cronkite, on his 64th birthday, anchors his last CBS election night special while broadcasting in New York City on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 1980. (AP Photo)Objectivity is impossible but fairness is optional.

As the presidential elections heat up, political opponents and their supporters will attack each other incessantly but come together every so often to rail against their common enemy: the media. And they are not alone.

Seventy-seven percent of those surveyed by the Pew Research Center said the media "tend to favor one side" compared with fifty-three percent who said so in 1985. A study released last month by the American Press Institute found that fifty-two percent of adults have "some confidence" in the press, whereas forty-one percent responded by saying they have "hardly any confidence."

"Over the last two decades, research shows the public has grown increasingly skeptical of the news industry," the report from the American Press Institute finds. "The study reaffirms that consumers do value broad concepts of trust like fairness, balance, accuracy, and completeness. At least two-thirds of Americans cite each of these four general principles as very important to them."

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