Why the Next US President Must Know the Bible, the Constitution… and the Qur’an

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History is rife with misunderstandings that caused great hardship for people based upon political and religious ignorance. The worlds of politics and religion are two of the only concepts that affect everyone whether they participate in them or not. Despite the concept of separation of church and state, the two have always been and will always be intertwined. The influence they have on one another can be denied and even ignored for the sake of promoting a secular worldview, but invariably they collide despite all attempts to keep them separated.

These are strange times. Technology has brought nearly all societies together to some extent. Someone in the Middle East does not need to travel to America to have profound knowledge about western culture. Someone in America can become acutely aware of the geopolitical and religious conflicts happening in the Middle East. All it takes is a few keystrokes and some time spent researching. This is why terrorism is thriving. It’s why potential terrorists are being radicalized across the globe. It’s why the next American President must have an intimate knowledge of the Bible, the Qur’an, and the Constitution.

Some would argue that having knowledgeable advisers is enough. This is absolutely not the case. We are in times unlike any other. These three documents will play a larger role in our future than ever before. Scholarly understanding will be necessary for the decision-maker; having an unelected cabinet member or adviser calling the shots on these types of issues is simply unacceptable. Advisers on these issues worked in the past, but today too many things center around the interactions and responses that are driven by religious considerations.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, atheist, agnostic, or believer in any other religion. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican, Democrat, Independent, Libertarian, or any other political party. It doesn’t even matter if you’re like most Americans focused on your own circle of influence and unaware of anything happening in the political and religious worlds. The need for the President to be versed in the Bible, the Qur’an, and the Constitution is not negotiable. There’s no time for on-the-job training. Good ideas aren’t enough anymore.

Why the Bible?

President Obama famously butchered sections of the Bible during speeches in his first term when he was trying to appeal to Christians and Jews to follow the secular path he laid out for the country. I was proud of those who denied his callings and saw through his ruse. Then, I became concerned when I realized that his constant attacks started having an effect on the spiritually or intellectually weak.

In the last seven years, we’ve seen the deterioration of our values in this country. As a result, we’ve seen the deterioration of the country itself as political correctness, race wars, crime, and poverty have increased as planned. It’s ironic that his Presidency was supposed to be an awakening for America, a fundamental change in the way the country and its citizens operate. He succeeded and the people cheered. Many of them are still blind to the fact that they participated in hurting themselves and those around them.

Throughout all of this, the silver lining is that the core Judeo-Christian base of the country has been strengthened out of necessity. The numbers are down and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Since it’s no longer as socially beneficial to go to church and act religious, the true believers in the one true God are standing out against a sea of lukewarm religious practitioners. In other words, the acceptance of the secular and agnostic model for American culture has helped to separate the wheat from the chaff in ways that were not visible before.

While President Obama failed to use the Bible as a weapon against Christians and Jews, the next President has an opportunity to use it to further unite believers from a political perspective. It isn’t just about knowing a few Bible verses and defending religious freedoms, though that is important. It’s really about knowing how Christians and Jews can be guided towards a conservative perspective. Even in the church today, there are many who are leaning left. The Bible, when understood by the President, can be his most powerful tool for shifting the mindset of the country at its Judeo-Christian core to a righteous worldview that puts aside the pseudo-conservative principles like racism and embraces a Biblical perspective that is truly conservative and truly beneficial for the nation.

This absolutely must be understood. The Bible can unite this country within the confines of the 1st Amendment by building up the religious right and coalescing them towards the common goal of making America a better place for all. Rather than using certain Bible verses for leftist means like President Obama has done, it can be used to promote conservatism in ways that even those with a secular worldview can embrace. This is only possible with a President who truly, intimately knows the Bible and follows its teachings without question.

No, this isn’t a call for a theocracy. It’s a call for the President to understand the Bible in a way that empowers him to make the right decisions and to guide the nation down a conservative path.

Why the Qur’an?

We are not at war with Islam. We are, however, at war with radical Islamic forces who commit genocide for the sake of their caliphate, who promote terrorism in the United States (or anywhere for that matter), and who strive to destroy the United States by any means necessary. That means understanding Islam front, back, and in-between.

A President as well as the Secretary of State should know and understand the Qur’an if they have any hope of working with or negotiating with Islamic countries and organizations. Again, some will say that they simply need advisers, but in the heat of the moment during discussions or when decisions must be made, the President needs real knowledge, not advice. That doesn’t mean the President must be a scholar of Islam. It simply means they must have intermediate knowledge of what the Qur’an teaches.

The President must read the book in order to understand radical Islam. To paraphrase Sun Tzu, “Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.”

The teachings of the Qur’an shed a great deal of light on the thinking that drives Islam. Unlike other religions, the Islamic faith is as political as it is religious. There is no separation of church and state with Islam. In fact, the Qur’an is the guidebook to everything political in Muslim nations such as Iran and Saudi Arabia. We have enemies and allies who are driven by the teachings of Muhammad. It behooves us to have a President, Vice President, Secretary of State, and Secretary of Defense who have read these teachings.

Why the Constitution?

The requirements for President of the United States are that he or she must be a natural born citizen, a resident for 14 years, and 35 years of age or older. There should be another requirement. The President of the United States should be able to pass a comprehensive test about the Constitution. It’s ludicrous that we would ever allow the leader of the free world to not have intimate knowledge of the document that is the backbone of our country.

Today, it’s more important than ever. President Obama knows the Constitution and has systematically used this knowledge to entangle the country in a web of legal and political loopholes and landmines that undermine the fabric of the Republic. It will take more than a roomful of DC lawyers to clean up the mess when he’s out of office. It will take a leader who deeply understands what can and cannot be done, a leader that is dedicated to defending it with his core. Those who espouse the belief that the Constitution is outdated are the same people who believe students should be protesting about what lunch is served on college campuses. They’re the same people who believe that ObamaCare was somehow supposed to be a good thing. They’re the same people who see no problem with the Supreme Court taking on state issues such as gay marriage.

The 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 10th Amendments have been under attack for three decades. As a result, the Constitution is bleeding. We need the equivalent of a trauma surgeon with embedded knowledge of the Constitution to sit in the Oval Office and make things right again.

As it pertains to religion, we need a President who understands the importance of religious freedoms and who will fight to maintain those freedoms within a society that is becoming tired of them. So many are willfully letting these liberties slip away because they think it won’t affect them. They are sorely mistaken and the President must be a person who understands why.

These arguments are intended for a secular understanding. Even atheists or agnostics can see the importance of this knowledge. If you’re one who believes we may be living in the end times, then the reasons for wanting someone in the White House with knowledge of the religious texts go up exponentially.

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Get AMPed – What you need to know about Accelerated Mobile Pages

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Estimated reading time: 5 minutes, 14 seconds

Speed matters on the web.  This is particularly true on the mobile web, where bandwidth and attention spans can both be in seriously limited supply. Slow pages can send users running to our competitors and anything that can speed up our pages has to be a good thing… doesn’t it?

Google announced AMP, or Accelerated Mobile Pages, at the beginning of October and gave us the promise of lightning fast load times on mobile devices. The initiative is new, but already being adopted by a number of publishers and technology provider.  With names like Google, WordPress, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Twitter backing the initiative, Accelerated Mobile Pages have the potential to be a game-changer.

What, exactly, are Accelerated Mobile Pages?

AMP is a framework for building lightweight, stripped down pages that load near instantly on mobile devices. AMP is a clever blend of a number of technologies.  The first is a specification that is effectively a subset of HTML with potentially slow elements removed. Third party script support is removed and JavaScript is limited to fast, pre-defined libraries and no author-written script at all.  Google’s caching can also be leveraged to deliver the lightweight pages even faster.

This isn’t WAP 2.0 though. AMP allows for rich content. Graphics, animation and video are all supported. Text will be loaded first, with images following and rich content and scripts only loading once the essentials have been handled.  Thanks to some clever pre-loading and multi-threading techniques this all happens faster than you might expect.

The results are impressive. In tests, AMP pages are loading up to 85% faster than their full equivalents.

Accelerated Mobile Pages Project

So AMP are like Facebook Instant Articles and Apple News then?

Yes… no… well, sort of. The end goal is similar: Slimmed down mobiles pages that load in an instant.   The key difference, for publishers, is that AMP pages live on your server on the open web rather than being created within Facebook or Apple’s wonderfully manicured, but highly walled gardens.

The fast mobile offerings from Facebook and Apple have undoubtedly been motivators for Google to pursue AMP.  Both competing technologies keep users with their walls, removing the need to visit the open web.  Google, of course, has a vested interest in ensuring that the user experience of the open web doesn’t fall behind in-app alternatives.  The web is Google’s natural habit and where it dominates. It’s only when users are on the web that they generate the data and the ad impressions that fuel Google’s business.

AMP is also Open Source (although very much still a Google project) and open to all. No application process or approval, and any technology provider can build their own integration.

In short, AMP is a technology for publishers whereas Facebook Instant Articles and Google News are business deals open to publishers (or some publishers, in the case of Facebook).

How does this impact ad publishers?

Love them or loath them, ads pay for most commercial content on the web and all three platforms acknowledge the essential need for publishers to monetize their content through ads.   Both Facebook and Apple’s platforms allow publishers to run ads through their proprietary platforms, taking a 30% cut on inventory that they fill.

AMP allows publishers to run their own ads, including through ad networks competing with Google.   Currently, support is in place for ads through A9, Ad Reactor and AdTech by AOL as well as Google’s two networks (AdSense and DoubleClick).  As AMP is open source I’d expect to see others joining that list quickly, but even without them that is a strong initial lineup that should help push revenues.

It’s worth noting that AMP doesn’t prevent ad blocking. Several early articles on AMP described Accelerated Mobile Pages as “Google’s response to ad blocking” and seemed to suggest that ad blocking will be prevented. This is not the case. AMP certainly does prevent most ad tech from running on pages, which will be good news to those with privacy concerns around ads. However, the initiative certainly doesn’t read as a counter attack to the rise of ad blocking.

Being backed by Google, there should not be any surprise that AMP will also support Analytics.

Guardian AMP pages

How to implement AMP on your website

If you are a WordPress user then the good news is that there is already a plugin that will do it for you. Simply install the plugin and AMP versions of your pages will be automatically produced.  Careful to check your canonicals, as these are additional pages with the potential to introduce a whole new way for publishers to mess up their indexing.

It’s free, open source and makes things lightning fast. What’s not to like?

Although AMP sounds like a win for everyone, there are some serious criticisms being levelled at it. With Google having backed responsive design so assertively over the last few years, site owners might rightly be less than enthusiastic about now rolling out “mobile only” pages in the form of AMP.  Worse still, publishers could be looking at producing pages for responsive and AMP in addition to content in Apple and Facebook’s proprietary formats.

The biggest criticisms though are that AMP is essentially a fork of HTML that has been decided by a private company.  The battle for HTML standards has been a long fought one and AMP effectively undoes much of that work, replacing tags like IMG that have existed for decades.  Having decades of work undone by a web giant like Google has understandably upset many in the web standards community.

What every SEO is wondering: Will AMP impact rankings?

Google have said that its algorithms will not favour AMP pages in organic search results.  They did although though remind us that page speed is already a factor in search. In short then “No, but they’ll likely do better anyway”.

AMP Google search

When will AMP be live in the wild?

Google already has a demo of its search running AMP (Visit this link on a mobile device for more information – be sure to read the resulting page).  The promise is that they will start sending traffic to AMP pages “early in 2016”, which should keep a few developers and SEOs busy over the Christmas period.

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Mat has been building, managing and marketing websites since 1996 and now heads up the team at OKO Digital. Mat has solid experience across a range of digital skills, but is increasingly focused on his specialist area of website monetisation.

State of Digital

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