episode 96: “Making a Difference: HillFaith” with Mark Tapscott
“If you wanted to aim at the heart of the matter to bring about a more virtuous Washington DC where would you start?
For Mark Tapscott, the award winning investigative journalist, editorial page editor and founder of HillFaith, the answer is clear: share the Good News of His Gospel with congressional staffers on Capitol Hill.
“If you were asked, who’s the most influential but least well-known group in Washington, DC, if you really understand how things work in this town, you would say immediately, ‘Congressional Staff.’ There are about 20,000 of them. They are mostly young men and women, highly educated, very motivated, and very smart.”
Mark, a member of the Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame and recipient of the CPAC Conservative Journalist of the Year, explains further:
“I knew that God was calling me to some sort of ministry and I kept coming back to the fact that virtually everything I’d done in my career included, directly or indirectly, contact with Members of Congress and especially with Hill aides.”
“They have a passion for public service and politics, who are also routinely over-worked, underpaid, and almost nothing gets done in Congress without them. They have tremendous power by virtue of their positions to influence public policy in this country, yet they may well be the most invisible power center in the nation’s capital.”
What’s unique about Mark’s ministry is his focus on Christian Apologetics, based in logic, on science, history, on wherever the truth can be accessed. “While all truth is God’s truth”, says Mark, “Apologetics is the ideal way to reach young people, particularly those on the Hill, unfamiliar with the truth of Christianity.” Mark is a remarkable man. Learn more about his story and his ministry here.
episode 96 transcript
Episode 96: Mark Tapscott and HillFaith
speaker 1 (00:04):
Welcome to the Bill Walton Show, featuring conversations with leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, and thinkers. Fresh perspectives on money, culture, politics, and human flourishing. Interesting people, interesting things.
Bill Walton (00:24):
When people ask me what my show is about, I’m afraid I don’t have a very crisp answer. My taglines are money, culture, politics, pretty much the waterfront. But another one, and it really applies to today’s show is, interesting people, interesting things. Last week, I did a show with Mark Tapscott about journalistic ethics. First time I’ve met him and it struck me, what an interesting man who’s done so many interesting things. A successful career on Capitol Hill, and with the Reagan administration, my favorite, a race car driver, an investigative journalist, and member of The Freedom on Information Act Hall of Fame, recipient of the CPAC Conservative Journalist of the Year Award, and now, founder and editor of Hill Faith, an apologetics ministry taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to Capitol Hill congressional staff.
Bill Walton (01:23):
Mark Tapscott (01:26):
My pleasure. My pleasure to be here.
Bill Walton (01:28):
Talking to you just a week later. Let’s start with what you’re doing right now. I’m fascinated with Faith Hill and it’s an apologetics ministry. Let’s start with that. What’s that about?
Mark Tapscott (01:42):
If you were asked, what’s the most influential group but least well-known group in Washington, DC, if you really understand how things work in this town, you would say immediately, “Congressional staff.” There are about 20,000 of them. They are mostly young men and women, highly educated, very motivated, and very smart. And for that reason-
Bill Walton (02:12):
Very smart? Okay.
Mark Tapscott (02:13):
Very smart from an academic perspective. Therefore, because they are in the positions that they are in, they have tremendous influence, And nobody ever sees them because they obviously they are paid to make their bosses look good. But their bosses couldn’t do their work without it. They are an extremely important group in our political system. Coming from the kind of roots that they come from, the influence of the Christian principles and morality that provide the foundation for the American regime, in my view, they’re if not actively hostile to it, which many of them are, then quite apathetic about it. Which is unfortunate because the gospel of Jesus Christ is the life-changing truth that every man and woman needs and yearns to hear. The Lord called me one day, a couple of years ago, “Mark, I put you here for a reason. Take the gospel to the Hill.” And that’s what we’re doing.
Bill Walton (03:31):
How long have you been doing this?
Mark Tapscott (03:33):
About two years.
Bill Walton (03:34):
About two years?
Mark Tapscott (03:34):
Yeah. But I have to say, he dragged me kicking and screaming from my journalism career.
Bill Walton (03:41):
You had some pretty good gigs. You were editor of the Washington Examiner editorial page, What was that, seven years, eight years…
Mark Tapscott (03:49):
Bill Walton (03:50):
Mark Tapscott (03:50):
Bill Walton (03:51):
And then you headed up the investigative reporting-
Mark Tapscott (03:54):
Started it, recruited it, managed it, and we broke all kinds of great stories. Being an investigative reporter… if you’re going to be in journalism, be an investigative reporter. That’s what journalism is all about.
Bill Walton (04:08):
When did you win the award for investigative journalism for the Hall of Fame piece? Was it the body of work or were there a couple of things that jump out?
Mark Tapscott (04:17):
Actually, it was a body of work and I was voted in, in 2006. They do a class every five years and I was voted as part of the 2006 class. I’m pretty certain that I was the first conservative journalist and I think, to this day, is still the only one in the Hall of Fame. But I learned very early on when I came to Washington, DC, that transparency and accountability, they are the lifeblood of republican liberty because if we don’t know what our folks are doing in Washington, DC, we can’t hold them accountable. And of course, frequently the last thing they want to do is to be held accountable. It’s extremely important and I resolved very early on to transparency and accountability are not a partisan issue. Unfortunately, a lot of folks on the Republican side didn’t appreciate it. A lot of them viewed it, frankly, as an obstacle. I set out to persuade them otherwise and was pretty successful at it. And fortunately, was recognized for that success.
Bill Walton (05:38):
I want to get into your journalism career, but I still want to circle back to…
Mark Tapscott (05:44):
The apologetics. Absolutely.
Bill Walton (05:45):
The apologetics. Hill Faith. And 20,000 staffers, that’s a big number. It works out to what, 40, 50 staffers per congressman, per senator. And then you’ve got staffers for the committees.
Mark Tapscott (06:00):
For the committees, right. And also for the congressional agencies like the Congressional Budget Office, Government Accountability Office, so forth.
Bill Walton (06:10):
Mark Tapscott (06:10):
The legislative branch could not function without.
Bill Walton (06:13):
Well, I think you and I talked about this, I think people say, “We need term limits. They should be there 8 years, 12 years, and then they’ve got to go home because they develop evil ways in Washington.” There’s some truth to that.
Mark Tapscott (06:30):
Bill Walton (06:31):
But the real term limits, If you wanted to do that sort of thing, would be with Hill staffers because they really run everything.
Mark Tapscott (06:39):
One of the interesting things about this, 200 years ago, the average tenure for a member of Congress was about 2 terms. They didn’t stick around. They didn’t want to make careers out of public service. They wanted to be back home doing the things that they do. And it was only after the Civil War that public service really began to become a career option for people. And of course, with the New Deal, government got so big that it really became a career option at that point. Then here we are today with too much government and too many people in careers in public service.
Bill Walton (07:17):
What are the politics of the 20,000 staffers? Do they skew the same way that the Republicans and Democrats skew in terms of left versus right or right versus left? Or is it something else?
Mark Tapscott (07:34):
It closely follows. There’s not, frankly, a lot of survey data on this, which reflects the invisibility, if you will, of the staff. But Republicans tend to hire Republicans, Democrats tend to hire Democrats. But because they’re mostly younger, there’s much more in the way of an ideological commitment to things. Less political wisdom, if you will. And frankly, working on the Hill is a great place to acquire those things because you learn how the system works.
Bill Walton (08:13):
How many are practicing Christians?
Mark Tapscott (08:16):
I would be amazed if it’s more than 20% and that’s a gut estimate on my part. But I’ve been either working on the Hill or covering the Hill as a journalist for 40 years. I really would be surprised if it was more than 20%.
Bill Walton (08:33):
So your target for your ministry are these 20,000, high IQ, well-educated kids. A lot of them going to Ivy League schools or the equivalent.
Mark Tapscott (08:43):
Bill Walton (08:44):
They’re not really learning much about Christianity there.
Mark Tapscott (08:47):
Well, what they do learn frequently is inaccurate and hostile which makes for a challenge.
Bill Walton (08:54):
Yeah. But your ministry is an apologetics ministry which I learned a lot about researching this. Tell us all about how you would interpret apologetics.
Mark Tapscott (09:07):
Well, apologetics literally is the English translation of the Greek apologial. You’ll recall that at one point in one of his mission trips, Paul spoke on Mars Hill in Athens. He was making an apology, a defense, of the truth of the gospel that Jesus Christ was crucified dead, buried, and on the third day after he was buried, he was resurrected. And he is now at the right hand of God the father and he is coming back to Earth one of these days. He is the Lord and Savior. And apologetics is a defense for the truth of that based on philosophical evidence, based on archeological evidence, based on logic, based on science, based on wherever the truth can be accessed. All truth is God’s truth. That’s what the apologetics fundamentally is about is bringing truth to as many people as possible in the way that they will understand it.
Bill Walton (10:20):
Well, do you find that this approach works with your, I’m an MBA type, with your target market?
Mark Tapscott (10:29):
I have had so many amazing conversations with people on the Hill precisely because so many of them are so intelligent but so imbued with the secular orthodoxy that we’re all familiar with. They have these odd notions about Jesus. “Yeah, he was a great moral teacher, but he’s not God.” Well, how do you explain the empty tomb? That’s the threshold question because if the tomb is empty because Jesus was resurrected, that means everything that he said is true. And one of the things that he said was, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but through me.” But if that body was stolen by the disciples, for example, because they were intent on making it appear that he had been resurrected, that’s a different thing.
Mark Tapscott (11:36):
It’s like CS Lewis said, “Man who says things like that is either a lunatic on the level of a man who thinks he’s a poached egg, or he’s exactly what he claimed to be which is the Lord.”
Bill Walton (11:52):
So the secular case or the apologetics for the resurrection, there’s some elements of that which we talked about before. Let’s say I’m one of your congressional staffers and I’m going to say, “Oh, come on. I mean, he was a great teacher. We all know that. Great moral philosophy but there’s not a resurrection. They moved that rock aside and they all agreed, ‘Okay, we’ve hidden the body and therefore, we can now claim that he’s risen.'”
Mark Tapscott (12:28):
Yeah, and that is, in fact exactly one of the common objections that critics and skeptics have made over the decades. The response to that is, for example, if you recall, the disciples were all a bunch of cowards. They all hid and, with good reason. They feared that they were going to be next because they had been followers and they were associated with him. Number one, that gives you an indication of the character of the people. You have to figure out a way, “Well, how did this group of terrified cowards suddenly find the courage and the wisdom to overcome a very seasoned Roman guard that was assigned to guard the tomb?” The odds of that happening are about slim and not even close to none. They couldn’t have done it so it’s not a logical conclusion to go from, “Well, he wasn’t really resurrected. They stole his body.” It does not fit with the available evidence.
Mark Tapscott (13:50):
J Warner Wallace who is known to many people from his days on NBC Dateline. He was the cold case detective specialized in solving 30-year-old murder cases. One of the reasons why he was so good at that is he just has a phenomenal ability to assess the evidence in a crime scene. He’s written a book called God’s Crime Scene where he addresses all of the evidence that’s available to us, and there is an incredible amount of evidence, and gives his professional assessment as a detective. And his conclusion is the most reasonable conclusion based on the evidence is that he was resurrected. And for me, a guy who solves 30-year-old murders because he knows how to interpret evidence, that’s persuasive. It’s not decisive, but it’s persuasive.
Mark Tapscott (14:53):
And apologetics ministry is to bring to people who work on the Hill who are skeptical in ways that we’ve outlined, for example, J Warner Wallace to speak and say, “Well, listen. I’ve been looking at evidence for a long time and here’s what I think.”
Bill Walton (15:17):
Yeah. You’re watching the Bill Walton show and I’m here with Mark Tapscott. We’re talking about his ministry, Faith Hill. Christian apologetics and talking about the secular case that proves the resurrection was real. Mark, you also mentioned when we talked about this, that the fact that the witnesses to this were all women…
Mark Tapscott (15:42):
The first witnesses.
Bill Walton (15:43):
That was something that wouldn’t be persuasive back in those days.
Mark Tapscott (15:48):
Not only would it not be persuasive, it would have very much counted against the claim that Christ had been resurrected because women legally were not allowed to be witnesses in a legal situation. They weren’t considered credible. Which to us seems-
Bill Walton (16:10):
Was that Jewish law or Roman law?
Mark Tapscott (16:11):
Bill Walton (16:12):
Mark Tapscott (16:12):
Bill Walton (16:13):
Mark Tapscott (16:13):
It wasn’t much better under Roman law. A woman who was a Roman citizen had more rights but even then, there was very clearly a subordination that put them in a second-class, if you will. But the fact that the gospels, all four of the gospels, the first people to arrive at the tomb on Sunday morning were women, and they are the ones who first said, “We saw him. He’s alive. He’s been resurrected.” If you were trying to write a persuasive tale, the last thing you would do is make your very first witnesses people that everyone who read it back then would say, “Well, wait a minute. This is women. Why should we believe them?” But the fact is, they were the first witnesses and the gospels are truthful accounts of what happened.
Mark Tapscott (17:15):
You come across facts and logic like this and you think about it, and all of a sudden, it dawns on you, “I’ve really got to take this seriously. This is important.” That’s what Hill Faith is all about.
Bill Walton (17:33):
That’s great. So how big is your organization now?
Mark Tapscott (17:36):
You’re looking at it.
Bill Walton (17:39):
Mark Tapscott (17:41):
Well, we have a board of directors. Cleta Mitchell, who I suspect you probably are familiar with.
Bill Walton (17:47):
Cleta’s terrific. Yeah.
Mark Tapscott (17:48):
She’s on our board. She’s our lawyer. Handled our tax exemption. My sister, who is vice president with the McNair Group in Houston. I suspect you probably knew Bob McNair.
Bill Walton (18:06):
Mark Tapscott (18:07):
She worked for Bob for a number of years. Jan Duncan who is a philanthropist from Houston. Very, very generous. And then our president is Tom McKee who is a very successful commercial real estate developer here in the area. Also goes to the church that I attend. Then Mark Massey, who is our senior pastor, and then Mark [Clemevitz 00:18:29], who is my closes friend in this world and an associate pastor. They share this vision that the Lord has given me of taking the truth, the gospel through Hill Faith, to Congress to the staff.
Bill Walton (18:46):
Tony Perkins, I was vice president of the Council for National Policy, and my journey is a little different. I was raised a Presbyterian and what did you tell me that meant?
Mark Tapscott (19:04):
Well, you were born with a blue blazer.
Bill Walton (19:06):
I was, yeah. I did have a blue blazer.
Mark Tapscott (19:09):
I went through a Presbyterian phase in my development.
Bill Walton (19:12):
You’re Scottish as wells so you have that already, this whole Presbyterian thing.
Mark Tapscott (19:13):
Right. All Scots are Presbyterian at one point or another.
Bill Walton (19:18):
But I ended up sort of drifting towards being a Libertarian. And then when I got involved with the Council for National Policy, Tony Perkins, who is a wonderful man of faith and a great leader, kind of took me under his wing. We talked and did some things. But I really came to it partly through Christianity works.
Mark Tapscott (19:41):
He is. Amen.
Bill Walton (19:42):
If you just want to say what works, what’s moral, what makes people happy, what makes people flourish, all roads lead to Christianity. I think on Capitol Hill when you’re dealing with some of the kids who’ve been non-believers, it seems like your secular approach could be fruitful because you can make the arguments and say, “Well, look at how people live in this culture and people live in this other culture,” and make the case. Is that pretty much what you’re doing?
Mark Tapscott (20:12):
Absolutely. And a perfect illustration of that… excuse me. The anti-slavery movement in western civilization is intrinsically a product of Christian culture.
Bill Walton (20:29):
Mark Tapscott (20:32):
There would have been no anti-slavery movement in England or this country had there not been Christianity. Wilberforce, the man who was responsible for the English law outlawing the slave trade, was a passionate, passionate Christian and that’s why he was in parliament because the Lord called him to that mission.
Mark Tapscott (20:59):
Here in America, the abolitionists were predominantly believers who derived their understanding of individual freedom and the dignity of every man and woman from Christianity. God created us all. That makes all the difference in the world.
Bill Walton (21:21):
I want to talk a bit about your work as a journalist.
Mark Tapscott (21:26):
Bill Walton (21:27):
I tried to dig in a bit. You’ve won an investigative journalism award. What sort of things did you dig into and uncover?
Mark Tapscott (21:34):
Well, geez, there were so many.
Bill Walton (21:37):
There’s a lot to uncover in Washington, DC.
Mark Tapscott (21:40):
Washington is a target-rich environment, as we say. Waste, fraud, and abuse, I hate to say that it’s easy to come up with those stories but that fact is, it is because it’s so prevalent in the government. The harder stories to dig out are who are the people who are taking advantage of the system in a way that is illegal or unethical. We have published stories that revealed, probably second only to George Soros among the left funders, is a gentleman from Switzerland by the name of Hans Bader. Very influential in the environmental movement and, in many respects, not a good guy. He had a drug company that illegally tested a bone drug and four of his executive in that company went to jail over it. He didn’t and he’s the guy who made the decision, “We’re not going to go by the FDA guidelines.” So he was very close to Obama, very close to John Podesta, very influential guy in the Democratic party. That’s just one illustration.
Bill Walton (23:21):
US citizen? Swiss citizen?
Mark Tapscott (23:23):
He had dual citizenship.
Bill Walton (23:24):
Dual citizenship. Is he still active?
Mark Tapscott (23:26):
He’s still certainly contributing a lot of money. His profile got lowered quite a bit after our stories came out.
Bill Walton (23:34):
Mark Tapscott (23:36):
We unmasked a Chinese spy in NASA. The FBI arrested the guy literally at Dulles Airport just before he was boarding the one-way flight back to China. He was a researcher that the Chinese government had sent over here. He had access to a great deal of the most sensitive information about how we target our nuclear missiles.
Mark Tapscott (24:03):
We exposed a man who was the leader of the Federal Mediation Service which, when labor and management can’t come to an agreement, Federal Mediation Service steps in and mediates. He was using that tremendously for his own benefit. And when we published our stories, he resigned.
Bill Walton (24:26):
Now were you investigating both issues with people on the left and people on the right?
Mark Tapscott (24:31):
Bill Walton (24:31):
So you were non-partisan in terms of going after corruption, fraud, waste, abuse, all that?
Mark Tapscott (24:36):
Bill Walton (24:38):
But there is a bias among investigative journalists to go after Republicans, people on the right. I think you may have mentioned this, but aren’t you like the only conservative that’s ever been admitted to the Hall of Fame?
Mark Tapscott (24:53):
Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame. Absolutely. But that’s not to say that there aren’t a lot of other conservative journalists who are extremely talented people, have been very successful, and who should be in the Hall of Fame, the Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame. The reason they’re not is because journalism organizations overwhelmingly are run and managed by people who come from a liberal perspective. It’s an unfortunate act of reality.
Bill Walton (25:25):
So you’ve come to all this through a… You’ve had a very interesting personal journey. You were a very big deal as a very young man on Capitol Hill.
Mark Tapscott (25:36):
I thought I was.
Bill Walton (25:38):
But then you had an epiphany. You had various things too. Could you talk a little bit about your personal story?
Mark Tapscott (25:44):
Sure, sure. I came to Washington in 1976 after graduate school because I wanted to help Ronald Reagan become President of the United States. It took us a while to do that but I worked on Capitol Hill for four years between ’76 and 1980, the ’80 campaign. Worked for some fine Republican congressman and for Orrin Hatch over on the Senate side.
Mark Tapscott (26:12):
When I came to Washington in 1976, I grew up in Oklahoma which is a very conservative Baptist state. I’d made a profession of faith when I was in junior high. And if you would have asked me at the time, “Are you a Christian?” I would have said, “Of course.” But the fact is, especially for young, talented people who are very ambitious, which I was, Washington is a very dangerous place because the inducements to what you think of as power and influence and position and respect are everywhere. And if you also happen to have, as I do, an inability to consume alcohol without very dire consequences resulting, it’s a very, very tough combination. I was very successful professionally but my personal life was anything but.
Mark Tapscott (27:15):
By the grace of God, on the morning of March 1st, 1991, I woke up from what has proven to be my last drinking. The Lord opened my eyes and I realized, “My God, what a wreck I have made of my life and of other people’s lives, and what a hypocrite I have been.” And I cried out to God, “Help me.” And, Bill, I tell you, in a voice as clear and as distinct as you hear my voice right now, Jesus said, “I was always there.” And I know that he was because, believe me, there were times on the racetrack, for example, when I’m not sure how I survive. Racing is a very dangerous endeavor.
Mark Tapscott (28:05):
He kept me alive for a reason and I absolutely am persuaded that the reason that he kept me alive and then spent the next 20 years changing me is precisely for Hill Faith. Because now my journey is something that an awful lot of folks who work on the Hill, awful lot of folks, frankly, in Washington, DC, if they hear it, they can relate to it. And that’s why I’m here.
Bill Walton (28:36):
That’s a great story.
Mark Tapscott (28:37):
Well, it’s a true story. And just like with the story of the reporting of the Gospel of the resurrection and women being the first witnesses, my story doesn’t reflect any credit on me. It’s not because of me. It’s entirely because of the Lord that I sit here today and I praise him.
Bill Walton (29:02):
Mark Tapscott (29:03):
I think you can see he’s got ahold of me.
Bill Walton (29:06):
Oh yeah. This is palpable. He’s right here.
Mark Tapscott (29:07):
Bill Walton (29:09):
You’re watching the Bill Walton Show. I’m here with Mark Tapscott and we’re talking about his journey to faith and Jesus Christ. And it’s quite a story. Mark, you gave up drinking but you were a race car driver before or after?
Mark Tapscott (29:26):
Before. I grew up in Oklahoma. You grew up in Indianapolis.
Bill Walton (29:34):
Oh yeah. I would love to have been a race car driver. I wanted to get to the race car driving.
Mark Tapscott (29:38):
I’m sure the names Sid Collins and greatest spectacle in racing.
Bill Walton (29:45):
Oh sure, sure. Yeah, yeah.
Mark Tapscott (29:45):
I grew up listening to the Indy 500. AJ Foyt was my hero when I was growing up. I wanted to be a race car driver but circumstances did not permit me to try that until I was, basically, 35-years-old. But I very quickly discovered that I had some talent for it. I had a national competition license from the Sports Car Club of America and a professional license from the International Motorsports Association. And I raced single-seat Formula Fords for three years. Believe me, life gets real interesting at 150 miles an hour, especially when there are other guys who are just as aggressive as you are right beside you on both sides and trying to get in front of you. It’s competition supreme and it’s absolutely invigorating.
Bill Walton (30:40):
Well, those are open-wheel cars.
Mark Tapscott (30:41):
Bill Walton (30:42):
So those are particularly dangerous because you get the wheels…
Mark Tapscott (30:46):
Yes, you’re exactly right. When the two wheels of two different cars meet, one of them goes flying. That’s gravity. That’s physics.
Bill Walton (30:59):
How long did you race?
Mark Tapscott (31:00):
Three years. Three years.
Bill Walton (31:02):
Mark Tapscott (31:02):
Bill Walton (31:02):
You miss it?
Mark Tapscott (31:04):
I miss it a lot. You can go on YouTube and just do a search on Summit Point Formula Ford, and there’s all kinds of cockpit-mounted camera videos of Formula Ford races at Summit Point, which is where I did most of my racing. And every now and then, I just can’t resist it. I have to go back and I have to get a little fix. One of the things about the three years that I raced that still fascinates me is the only time during that period in my life that I felt a genuine sense of submission to the Lord… We all sitting on the grid before a race, you get a one-minute signal which means one minute we’re going to move out on the track. I always spent that last minute thanking the Lord for me being in the race car. “Lord, keep me alive.” That was the only time during that period when I felt that sense of submission. And I’m convinced that that was one of the things that he did that Jesus was referring to when he said that, “I was always there,” because he was.
Mark Tapscott (32:36):
I was pretty good. I wasn’t great. If I’d have started when I was 16, maybe things would have been different.
Bill Walton (32:42):
Most of the good ones start out in go-karts.
Mark Tapscott (32:45):
Bill Walton (32:46):
Go-karts and their eight-years-old.
Mark Tapscott (32:48):
Bill Walton (32:49):
They have no fear.
Mark Tapscott (32:50):
No fear and, boy, do they learn early about how to move.
Bill Walton (32:56):
Yeah, that’s a road I didn’t get to take. And I don’t think I’m going to take it now but it was fun. I have a friend, a real estate developer that’s in his 80s. He took it up in his late 70s and he’s still with us.
Mark Tapscott (33:11):
Bill Walton (33:13):
Mark Tapscott (33:14):
I know the name.
Bill Walton (33:15):
Yeah, yeah. Let’s go to 2020. Here we are. It’s an election year. I want to do a little bit of your political acumen here.
Mark Tapscott (33:29):
Bill Walton (33:31):
2020 is a terrible year. We had trouble with the virus. And then we had trouble with the riots, Black Lives Matter. And now, it looks like we’re going to have trouble with this election. And it’s unclear whether America’s going to be able to conduct this election and declare a winner. What do you think?
Mark Tapscott (33:52):
Well, you hit the nail right on the head. What is going to start happening on election day is very, very, very concerning. It could become much more serious than happened in 2000 with the Florida recount. I have to say as a Reagan conservative, and I am proud that I worked for Ronald Reagan. I think he was a wonderful, wonderful man and a tremendously effective president. Donald Trump, I’ve heard it said by a number of fellow Christians, “I like about 80% of what he does and only about 20% of what he says.” I think that’s a pretty accurate capture of how Christians relate to Trump. He’s done a tremendous number of really good things from our perspective.
Bill Walton (35:01):
Well, he’s been the most pro-life president that I can think of.
Mark Tapscott (35:03):
Bill Walton (35:03):
He also moved the embassy to Jerusalem. He’s probably done more for Israel than anybody and he’s now brokered peace in the Middle East. It’s hard to-
Mark Tapscott (35:15):
It’s phenomenal. It really is.
Bill Walton (35:17):
If anybody else had done that, it would be… But he did it.
Mark Tapscott (35:22):
But Donald Trump did it, therefore orange man bad is the attitude of too many folks, I think. I frankly think he’s going to win. I do. I think there is a tremendous reluctance on the part of many Trump supporters to express that fact. Pollsters have enough problems today with the mobile phones tracking down and capturing inaccurate sample, but then you have this problem of, well, people just won’t tell you what they really think. That really makes it difficult. I think that was a major reason why every one of the major pollsters got it wrong in 2016. You’ll recall, Hillary, she was going to be our president until the election was held. And I think it’s going to be the same way this time around. And I suspect that Trump is going to end up with more popular votes and more electoral votes. But what is it going to take to get to an official confirmation of that? Oh boy, it’s going to be rough.
Bill Walton (36:34):
Well, didn’t the Democrats and the never-Trumpers, I know they did, they had a simulated war game late summer. I think it was July. And they had people who were traditional Democrats like John Podesta, but they also had people like Bill Kristol. And they role played Trump, Biden, and they had all these different scenarios. It got pretty ugly. I think at one point Podesta was playing Biden, didn’t he declare that maybe the idea was that California, Oregon, and the state of Washington would secede?
Mark Tapscott (37:12):
Bill Walton (37:16):
Is this fantasy? You’re closer to the political pulse than I am. What do you…
Mark Tapscott (37:21):
Well, I think with that particular scenario, I think perhaps that was conceived with the idea of this will create a certain impression among some voting groups when it’s reported. I cannot believe that John Podesta really believes that any of the states is going to secede. We settled that issue a long time ago. That’s an indication if he really thinks that there is that intensity on the left. Publicizing that intensity is one of their ways of trying to depress the Trump turn out because they think that Trump voters are going to say, “Oh, it’s hopeless.” I don’t think they’re saying that at all.
Bill Walton (38:22):
Well, the hardcore Trump voters have never been more hardcore.
Mark Tapscott (38:25):
Bill Walton (38:25):
I mean, if anything, his base is more energized than it was four years ago.
Mark Tapscott (38:29):
Bill Walton (38:29):
Because he has delivered for his base. And as I mentioned, I’m part of Council for National Policy and most of us are serious believers. I remember Steve Moore and I, at our meeting in Cleveland before the convention, gave a pitch on Trump’s economic policies. And the body language in that room was stone cold because they didn’t want anything to do with what Donald Trump was going to be. But what happened was we started explaining this, that, and the other thing, and they warmed up a bit. By the end of the meaning, I think we had a lot of people thinking, “Well, maybe we ought to give this a try.” Boy, are they happy now.
Mark Tapscott (39:11):
Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. Donald Trump is Donald Trump but he’s not running for preacher. He’s running for president and that’s fundamentally different.
Bill Walton (39:23):
That would be quite a church.
Mark Tapscott (39:24):
Yes. Wouldn’t it though.
Bill Walton (39:29):
Well, Mark, some final words about Hill Faith. I mean, let’s come back to where we started.
Mark Tapscott (39:37):
Bill Walton (39:42):
How can we help? What would be next for Hill Faith?
Mark Tapscott (39:45):
Well, having me on this show has been a tremendous blessing to me and I thank you for having me on here. Hill Faith is a very personal intensive. I seek opportunities to strike up conversations informally with people on the Hill. I’m on the Hill all the time anyway because I’m still a journalist. I still cover the Hill for the Epoch Times. It’s my tent-making job. St. Paul made tents to support his mission work. I cover Congress. So I frequently have these opportunities to engage in these conversations. As I mentioned earlier, we’re going to be bringing speakers to the Hill like J Warner Wallace, Frank Turek is another. There’s just a tremendous number of these really articulate, intelligent apologists who I believe will command attention from a lot of people. We’re going to bring them to the Hill beginning in 2021.
Bill Walton (41:02):
As an old private equity investor with is kind of my core competence, I always look for businesses that had a very sharply defined focus on a target market and did something better than anybody else even if it was small. It seems to me like that’s what you’ve carved out with Hill Faith is you’ve got a target market, 20,000 young people. You’ve got the message you think and I believe will resonate.
Mark Tapscott (41:31):
I do too. Yeah.
Bill Walton (41:31):
And you could do a lot of good.
Mark Tapscott (41:34):
Well, it’s really interesting how the Lord works. There are all kinds of ministries on the Hill focused on taking the Gospels to members of Congress, to Senators, Representatives, and that’s great. Lord knows they need it. There are no ministries that I’m aware of, and I’ve been looking for several years, that focus on the apologetics presentation of the Gospel exclusively to staff, but especially to those who are not believers. We talked about probably 20, 25% who are. There are ministries, Faith & Law is one, for example, which is very, very good, but their focus is on helping aides who are already Christians understand and develop their faith in the context of their job. That’s a separate ministry from what we’re doing. We want to take the Gospel, especially to those who are not believers, and help prepare those who are to be apologetics to make the defense.
Bill Walton (42:52):
With the arguments that will persuade, I suppose, to just believe.
Mark Tapscott (42:56):
Bill Walton (42:56):
Yeah, I think that’s a very, very powerful strategy. Congratulations.
Mark Tapscott (43:03):
Well, it’s not original with me. It came from the Lord and He is-
Bill Walton (43:08):
But you had to be receptive. You had to be ready for it and you clearly are. You’re the right guy, I mean, with your background and talent. I think this is going to be very successful.
Mark Tapscott (43:16):
Thank you. Thank you.
Bill Walton (43:20):
I hope you enjoyed the conversation. Want more? Click the subscribe button or head over to thebillwaltonshow.com to choose from over 100 episodes. You can also learn more about our guest on our interesting people page. And send us your comments. We read every one and your thoughts help us guide the show. If it’s easier for you to listen, check out our podcast page and subscribe there. In return, we’ll keep you informed about what’s true, what’s right, and what’s next. Thanks for joining.
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