Last Build Date: Tue, 18 Oct 2016 14:49:25 -0500Copyright: Zinnia
Tue, 18 Oct 2016 14:49:25 -0500This article first appeared on May 5, 2014 in the Washington Times. It is reposted here as a reminder of Margaret Sanger’s legacy in lieu of Planned Parenthood’s 100th year anniversary since Sanger opened her first illegal birth control clinic on October 16, 1916 in Brooklyn, New York. Recent articles have reported on an unearthed video from 1947 of Margaret Sanger demanding “no more babies” for ten years in developing countries. A couple of years ago Margaret Sanger was named one of TIME’s “20 Most Influential Americans of All Time.” Given her enduring influence, it’s worth considering what the woman who founded Planned Parenthood contributed to the eugenics movement. Sanger shaped the eugenics movement in America and beyond in the 1930s and 1940s. Her views and those of her peers in the movement contributed to compulsory sterilization laws in thirty U.S. states that resulted in more than 60,000 sterilizations of vulnerable people, including people she considered “feeble-minded,” “idiots,” and “morons.” She even presented at a Ku Klux Klan rally in 1926 in Silver Lake, New Jersey. She recounted this event in her autobiography: “I accepted an invitation to talk to the women’s branch of the Ku Klux Klan ... I saw through the door dim figures parading with banners and illuminated crosses ... I was escorted to the platform, was introduced, and began to speak ... In the end, through simple illustrations I believed I had accomplished my purpose. A dozen invitations to speak to similar groups were proffered” (Margaret Sanger: “An Autobiography,” p. 366). That she generated enthusiasm among some of America’s leading racists says something about the content and tone of her remarks. In a letter to Dr. Clarence Gamble in 1939, Sanger wrote: “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members” (Margaret Sanger commenting on the ‘Negro Project’ in a letter to Dr. Clarence Gamble, December 10, 1939). Her own words and television appearances leave no room for parsing. For example, she wrote many articles about eugenics in the journal she founded in 1917, the Birth Control Review. Her articles included “Some Moral Aspects of Eugenics” (June 1920), “The Eugenic Conscience” (February 1921), “The Purpose of Eugenics” (December 1924), “Birth Control and Positive Eugenics” (July 1925) and “Birth Control: The True Eugenics” (August 1928), to name a few. The following are some of her more telling quotes: “While I personally believe in the sterilization of the feeble-minded, the insane and syphilitic, I have not been able to discover that these measures are more than superficial deterrents when applied to the constantly growing stream of the unfit. They are excellent means of meeting a certain phase of the situation, but I believe in regard to these, as in regard to other eugenic means, that they do not go to the bottom of the matter” (Margaret Sanger, “Birth Control and Racial Betterment,” February 1919, The Birth Control Review). “Eugenics without Birth Control seems to us a house builded upon the sands. It is at the mercy of the rising stream of the unfit” (Margaret Sanger, “Birth Control and Racial Betterment,” February 1919, The Birth Control Review). “Stop our national habit of human waste” (Margaret Sanger, “Woman and the New Race,” 1920, Ch. 6). “By all means there should be no children when either mother or father suffers from such diseases as tuberculosis, gonorrhea, syphilis, cancer, epilepsy, insanity, drunkenness and mental disorders. In the case of the mother, heart disease, kidney trouble and pelvic deformities are also a serious bar to childbearing … No more children should be born when the parents,[...]
Mon, 17 Oct 2016 14:55:45 -0500Dear Friends, In the midst of worrying about the presidential election, the state of our culture, and the daily struggles that arise in our lives, it can be quite difficult to maintain an inner peace. I know it is for me. And yet, Christ’s constant bidding in the Gospels is, “Peace be with you.” I think it’s worth pondering what His true intent is with these words. It seems to me that Christ is not merely wishing that everyone should have more peace in their lives. He is literally giving His peace to us as a gift: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you” (John 14:27). It is therefore up to us to authentically receive His peace in humble thanksgiving and let it enlighten our lives. These thoughts come to mind as I reflect on a recent blog post by Dr. Tom Neal, in which he expounds on the idea of “blooming where you’re planted.” In it, he quotes several pithy thoughts on the idea that in order to maintain Christ’s peace in the chaos of life, we must humbly accept whatever comes our way as a gift from God. According to one theologian: “Those who refuse to embrace life’s present joys and trials as coming from the Hand of God, who constantly complain of their present circumstances ... these will never grow in sanctity, but rather will forever remain mired in the stagnation of mediocrity.” Part of receiving and maintaining Christ’s peace is to not be afraid of suffering—it is inevitably part of all of our lives. Seeing suffering ultimately as a gift and an opportunity to grow in holiness is essential. Here are the reflections of another theologian: “Christians in the West have largely become repulsed by the tragic elements of life, and in so doing lose the opportunity, in facing tragedy, to experience the divine depths of faith and hope that spring from the corpse of Christ. They never get to know what it means to cling to God in the dark. Running from darkness and tragedy, one loses that most precious gift, that feeling, that thrill that makes us most human: the joy at seeing the first rays of a long awaited dawn after a long, dark night. Instead, we keep our self-made night lights on.” The road ahead for our country may indeed be a “long, dark night,” especially for believers. But no matter what trials we face, Christ never fails to offer us his peace. This fact alone should reveal to us that we should not burden ourselves with worry about a distasteful present and an ominous future. In the words of Thomas Merton: “You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope ... It is better to find God on the threshold of despair than to risk our lives in a complacency.” Thank you for your prayers and for your continued support of FRC and the family. Sincerely, Dan Hart Managing Editor for Publications Family Research Council Religious Liberty "Free to Believe" Christian Radio Banned on School Bus – ToddStarnes.com Federal judge lifts temporary ban on ritual slaughter of chickens, minutes before start of Yom Kippur – Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times International Religious Freedom I Found the Gospel in Communist Romania – Virginia Prodan, Christianity Today UN Event Shows How Sexual Agenda Tramples Children’s Rights – Rebecca Oas, C-Fam Military Religious Freedom Air Force officer under fire for saying Jesus Christ has influenced him – Gregory Tomlin, Christian Examiner Gen. Boykin: How Does Transgender Integration Help Our Military to Fight and Win Wars? – Michael W. Chapman, CNSNews.com Religious Liberty in the Public Square 4 Cultural Trends Leading to the Decline of Religious Liberty – Trevin Wax, The Gospel Coalition LGBT Group Threatens Johns Hopkins Over Report That Science Doesn't Show People Are Born Gay, Transgender – Leon[...]
Fri, 07 Oct 2016 15:38:21 -0500
The Obama administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a new proposed regulation blocking states from defunding Planned Parenthood from federal Title X family planning funds.
Family Research Council submitted public comment today with the Susan B. Anthony List, the Charlotte Lozier Institute, and the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, urging HHS to reconsider and rescind this harmful regulation, which would effectively create a backdoor handout for the abortion industry.
You can read those comments in full here.(image)
Mon, 03 Oct 2016 14:58:57 -0500Dear Friends, In a culture that is increasingly losing sight of the foundational importance of man and woman as distinct yet complimentary, of natural marriage as the basic unit of society, and of unborn children as a gift from God, it is tempting to think that the only way to turn things around is to hammer home the truth of these fundamental realities with a tunnel vision-like single-mindedness whenever and however possible. There is, however, a deeper way to think about cultural renewal, as John Cuddeback writes in a bracing recent essay “A Father’s Presence in the Home.” He states: Now is the time to redouble our efforts to discover and implement the fullness of marriage and family life. One man and one woman permanently committed to each other and open to new life—this is a great thing. But it is not enough. Or in any case, there is yet a whole art, a virtue of how to do this well. Living family life well means unlocking the potential that marriage has to be a powerhouse of joy and blessing, even far beyond its own borders. How can this be accomplished? Cuddeback argues that the father’s role in this endeavor is absolutely essential. He makes this radical suggestion: “At the center of this model will be a husband and father whose very success in life is fundamentally, though not solely, seen and judged in terms of what he does in the home.” As the author points out, this understanding of manhood is quite different from a typical archetype of fathers from the 1950’s who spent most of the week away at work and most of their time at home acting mainly as disciplinarian. Cuddeback points out that this disconnection from genuine relationships in family life is still very much a problem—it has merely taken on new forms in the decades since. The author further argues that “a central measure of [a father’s] manhood will be the quality of his presence in the home.” He elaborates that “a central way a man loves and is present to his children, is by loving and being present to his wife. That is the natural order of the fabric of family life.” This presence can be manifested in creative ways by sharing activities with family members such as gardening, cooking, carpentry, landscaping, etc. The temptation to wile away free time by staring at a screen can instead be dedicated to “being together in richer ways” by reading, playing music, hiking, praying, etc. It’s such simple advice, and yet so desperately needed in our age of distraction. Fathers will need to step up and take leadership roles in these areas for this art of genuine presence to be most effective. Cuddeback concludes: “At the heart of the renewal will be husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, united in the intensity of their intention to focus on relationships in the household and to embody that intention in daily life.” Thank you for your prayers and for your continued support of FRC and the family. Sincerely, Dan Hart Managing Editor for Publications Family Research Council FRC Articles and Publications We Need to Amend the Johnson Amendment So the IRS Will Allow Free Speech – Tony Perkins The Hyde Amendment Has Saved 2 Million Lives. Democrats Want To Kill It – Arina Grossu Twenty-one states file suit against Obama to stop another end run around Congress – Ken Blackwell A Parent's Guide to the Transgender Movement in Education – Peter Sprigg Tim Kaine’s Dangerous Liaisons – Ken Blackwell Celebrating 40 Years of the Hyde Amendment and Rep. Henry Hyde, A Pro-Life Hero – Arina Grossu and Andrew Guernsey New York Times: All the Opinions (about North Carolina’s Bathroom Law) That Are Unfit, They Print – Peter Sprigg Testimony on the Need for the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act – Arina Grossu Religious Liberty “Free to Believe” Christian school goes t[...]
Fri, 30 Sep 2016 10:59:43 -0500Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal funding for abortion. As a result of the Hyde Amendment, over 2 million Americans are alive today. To learn more see this op-ed in The Federalist and watch FRC Action’s new ad. Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL) was a tireless warrior for preborn babies, as this transcript clearly depicts. In 1976, only three years after Roe v. Wade legalized abortion, he introduced the Hyde Amendment to stop taxpayer funding of abortion. From 1973 to 1977, the federal government spent about $50 million annually to fund about 300,000 abortions per year under Medicaid. He wanted to put an end to this, saying we “cannot in logic and conscience help fund the execution of these innocent, defenseless human lives.” The Hyde Amendment is one of the spending bills Congress must pass each year. It has been renewed every year since and signed into law by both Republican and Democrat presidents. In 1980, the Supreme Court upheld the Hyde Amendment in the 5-4 Harris v. McRae landmark decision. Hillary Clinton has promised to make repealing the Hyde Amendment a key priority if she becomes president. In addition, this year’s Democratic Party platform for the first time ever called for its repeal. In contrast, Donald Trump has pledged to make the Hyde Amendment permanent. Congress must enact the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 7, S. 582) to codify the Hyde Amendment and to apply it across the government, including Obamacare. Below, we reprint from the Congressional Record, Rep. Henry Hyde’s remarks when he first introduced his famous amendment in 1976, and again in 1977. Hyde’s remarks show his incredible passion not only to stop the taxpayer funding of abortion, but also to end all killing of preborn babies. Thank you Rep. Henry Hyde for standing up for the rights of unborn babies, and happy anniversary to the Hyde Amendment that has saved over 2 million lives. Congressional Record June 24, 1976 Mr. HYDE Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment. The Clerk read as follows: Amendment offered by Mr. HYDE: On page 36, after line 9, add the following new section: “Sec. 209. None of the funds appropriated under this Act shall be used to pay for abortions or to promote or encourage abortions.” Mr. HYDE. Mr. Chairman, this amendment may stimulate a lot of debate—but it need not—because I believe most Members know how they will vote on this issue. Nevertheless, there are those of us who believe it Is to the everlasting shame of this country that in 1973 approximately 800,000 legal abortions were performed in this country—and so it is fair to assume that this year over a million human lives will be destroyed because they are inconvenient to someone. The unborn child facing an abortion can best be classified as a member of the innocently inconvenient and since the pernicious doctrine that some lives are more important than others seems to be persuasive with the pro-abortion forces, we who seek to protect that most defenseless and innocent of human lives, the unborn—seek to inhibit the use of Federal funds to pay for and thus encourage abortion as an answer to the human and compelling problem of an unwanted child. We are all exercised at the wanton killing of the porpoise, the baby seal. We urge big game hunters to save the tiger, but we somehow turn away at the specter of a million human beings being violently destroyed because this great society does not want them. And make no mistake, an abortion is violent. I think in the final analysis, you must determine whether or not the unborn person is human. If you think it is animal or vegetable then of course, it is disposable like an empty beer can to be crushed and thrown out with the rest of the trash. But medicine, biology, embryology say that growing living organism is not animal or vegetable or mineral – but it is a human life. And[...]
Mon, 26 Sep 2016 13:12:51 -0500
Question: Do you have pamphlets that explain the importance of Christians participating in the voting process?
FRC: We have two brochures that give a thorough explanation on the call of all Christians to fully participate in all aspects of civic life. They are "Why You Should Be Involved" and "Why Christians Should Seek to Influence Government for Good."(image)
Fri, 23 Sep 2016 16:34:05 -0500A Facebook friend recently posted a meme that displayed some text upside down. The message was that you have an amazing talent if you are able to read the text when it is upside down and backwards (i.e., right to left). Actually, it was fairly easy to read. But a similar (modest) talent is needed to read the New York Times these days -- especially an editorial about North Carolina's "bathroom protection bill," House Bill 2, known as HB2 ("North Carolina Pays a Price for Bigotry," September 21). Simply take everything the New York Times says and invert it, and you will come close to understanding the truth about the HB2 controversy. The Times says that Charlotte, N.C.'s sexual orientation and gender identity ordinance was "used as a reason" to pass HB2. Used? Charlotte's passage of this ordinance in February was the only reason for the state law that was "hastily passed in March" -- to prevent the Charlotte ordinance from taking effect on April 1. If Charlotte had left well enough alone -- including allowing issues of transgender bathroom use to be settled on a case-by-case basis like they always had -- there would have been no state intervention. The Times says that HB2 serves to "bar transgender people from using restrooms that match their gender identity." Yet they fail to mention that the bill's guidelines for bathroom use apply only to "public agencies" -- that is, to buildings that are owned by the government. House Bill 2 does not dictate any policy for private organizations or businesses. This is in contrast to the Charlotte ordinance, which would have barred private businesses from reserving women's showers, locker rooms, and restrooms for biological females. The Times also fails to mention that while facilities in government buildings are to be "used by persons based on their biological sex," their "biological sex" is defined by the sex on their birth certificate -- which actually can be changed in North Carolina if a person has had sex reassignment surgery. In other words, the only transgender people "barred" from the women's room by HB2 would be those who still have male genitalia. Finally, they failed to mention that the HB2 restrictions apply only to "multiple occupancy" facilities, while the bill explicitly authorizes the provision of "single occupancy" facilities that may be used by anyone, regardless of sex or gender identity. Expressing one of the most common misconceptions about HB2, the Times says the bill is "based on the specious notion that transgender people are sexual predators." This charge is itself a "specious notion." The safety concerns around "public accommodation" laws that include "gender identity" as a protected category (like Charlotte's) do not involve people who consistently identify as transgender. They involve those who may be tempted to pose as transgender in order to gain access to the facilities of the opposite sex. "Such predators won't be deterred by HB2," some critics argue. The Times mocks HB2, saying it "was never enforceable, since police officers can't reasonably be required to inspect people's genitals outside bathroom stalls." Under normal circumstances, however, the first line of prevention is not police officers, but ordinary citizens or employees saying, "What are you doing in here?" But under "gender identity" laws like the one in Charlotte (which was overturned by HB2), those ordinary citizens would be deterred from speaking out -- by the threat that they could be charged with "discrimination" if they do. Remember, there is no visible difference that would allow such a citizen to distinguish a person who identifies as transgender and a cross-dressing predator. And to radical transgender activists, asking for proof of transgender status is itself a form of "discrimination." The Times claims that "no one has been made safer by preventing transgender people from using appropriate [sic] public restrooms." Th[...]
Fri, 23 Sep 2016 12:07:01 -0500Arina Grossu’s Testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice on the topic of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act on September 23, 2016: Chairman Franks, Ranking Member Cohen, and Distinguished Members of the Subcommittee: I am grateful and honored to have been invited to testify on “The Ultimate Civil Right: Examining the Hyde Amendment and the Born Alive Infants Protection Act.” My name is Arina Grossu and I am the Director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council. As a policy analyst, my issues of expertise and research encompass the dignity of human life from conception until natural death. FRC has long supported the Hyde Amendment, which has prevented government funding for elective abortion for over thirty years. This law, if revoked, would increase the number of abortions in the U.S. FRC also supports the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, on which I will focus my remarks. In 2000 and 2001, Jill Stanek testified before this Committee about her experience as a registered nurse where she discovered babies born alive after an attempted abortion and left to die in the department’s soiled utility closet. In 2002, Congress responded by passing the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which was signed by President George W. Bush and is current federal law. It passed by voice vote in the House and with unanimous consent in the Senate. Unfortunately, incidents involving born alive children being killed after an attempted abortion have continued after this law was passed and into the present. Infanticide is unacceptable in a civilized society, regardless of what one may think about abortion itself. It should be uncontroversial for the federal government to supplement current law with enforcement protections. Up to 2010, abortionist Kermit Gosnell operated his dirty and dangerous abortion facility where he did “hundreds of snippings” of born-alive babies as part of his abortion process. The Grand Jury Report noted: Many of [the women] gave birth before he even got there. When you perform late-term ‘abortions’ by inducing labor, you get babies. Live, breathing, squirming babies…Gosnell had a simple solution for the unwanted babies he delivered: he killed them… by sticking scissors into the back of the baby’s neck and cutting the spinal cord. See for example the image of Baby Boy B who was found in his facility (A). (warning, graphic content) Federal and state authorities finally raided his facility, not because he was illegally killing born-alive infants, but because of his illegal prescription drug activity. While Gosnell’s case was particularly gruesome, he is not an outlier. A former employee of current Texas abortionist Douglas Karpen described how he regularly killed babies born alive by snipping their spinal cords, fatally injuring them with blows to the soft spot on their heads, and twisting their necks. She said: I’m pretty sure I was seeing at least three or four [large babies] that were completely delivered in some way or another [daily]. ….when the fetus would come completely out, of course the fetus would still be alive, because it was still moving… of course you could see the stomach breathing and that’s when he would do [this]. Yet, despite the gruesome photo and eyewitness evidence, Karpen was cleared in December 2013. The Center for Medical Progress, in its investigative videos, authenticated by in-depth forensic analysis, revealed a lot of evidence of babies killed after being born alive. Perrin Larton, a procurement manager from Advanced Bioscience Resources said, “The whole point is not to have a live birth…“I literally have [...]
Fri, 16 Sep 2016 11:57:37 -0500Dear Friends, For Americans, "freedom" is central to our identity. We are the "land of the free, the home of the brave." Our media and culture tell us that with the progression of "LGBT rights" and with the expansion of "safe spaces" on college campuses, we are now a more free and inclusive society. So are we now happier and more satisfied as a result? R.R. Reno of First Things has pinpointed a "politics of vulnerability" that clearly shows we are anything but. As Reno writes, current developments have instead led to "new dissatisfactions." He elaborates: "It's telling that the institutions with the most highly developed rhetoric of inclusion are the most elite, which is to say the most competitive. Again the paradox: The most successful kids with the greatest opportunities seem to be the ones most eager for protection [i.e. "trigger warnings" and "safe spaces"]." Among LGBT activists, we see example after example of lawsuits being utilized when bathroom policies and wedding cake referrals are deemed "hateful." Why does this occur? When the most basic human forms of authority and societal structure -- the family and the church -- are torn down in the public square, people can't help but feel increasingly vulnerable. What does this lead to? Reno explains: "Without a trustworthy Father in heaven (and often without a father in the home), the rising generation is more and more likely to ask big government (and a culture of political correctness) to provide security and comfort." A true understanding of "freedom" can go a long way in restoring this sense of security and comfort that many have lost. As believers know, true freedom is not merely the ability to choose something amongst a multitude of options; it is the ability to become who we were made to become -- a child of God. As children, we learn about God's love and authority -- the surest source of genuine security and comfort -- through our parents' example and the faith they instill in us, in both literal and symbolic ways. We in turn pass this example and faith on to our children, and they to theirs, etc. In this way, a society's well-being and hopeful future depend upon the strength of the family. Thank you for your prayers and for your continued support of FRC and the family. Sincerely, Dan HartManaging Editor for PublicationsFamily Research Council FRC Articles When Politicians Play Doctor, Patients Always Lose! - Ken Blackwell A Supreme Decision - Cathy Ruse Debunking Right Wing Watch - Travis Weber Setting the Record Straight on RFRA (Again) - Travis Weber Human-Animal Hybrids Are a Violation of Human Dignity - Andrew Guernsey Protect Your Military Chaplains from a Bully - Chris Gacek Expanding the Definition of "Parent" Expands the Power of the State - Peter Sprigg Religious Liberty Religious Liberty in the Public Square Massachusetts: Churches may be covered by transgender discrimination bans, as to 'secular events' - Eugene Volokh, The Washington Post How A Cakemaker Became An Enemy Of The State - David Harsanyi, The Federalist Why a Nurse and a Pastor Object to Being Forced to Help Abort Babies - Leah Jessen, The Daily Signal Christian could be fired for refusing to watch LGBT 'inclusivity' video - Fr. Mark Hodges, LifeSiteNews Churches are 'more free to speak' about elections than they think - Claire Chretien, LifeSiteNews International Religious Freedom Religious freedom advocates want US to put teeth into its rhetoric - Matt Hadro, Catholic News Agency Scholars Ask Why Religious Repression Is Rising Despite International Pressure - Bettina Krause, Adventist Review Military Religious Freedom West Point: "Valid Concerns" About Post-Game Football Prayer - ToddStarnes.com Air Force IG Report Ignores Assault on Civilian in Travis Retirement Debacle - John Q. Public Life Abortion How to be pro-life without all the yelling - Maria Garabi[...]
Wed, 14 Sep 2016 11:45:21 -0500Right Wing Watch (RWW) is again sending out alarms about the supposedly alarmist words of FRC. RWW says FRC “relies on a constant stream of easily debunked tales of martyrdom, and points to “a fundraising email from the group’s president, Tony Perkins, in which Perkins lists a number of debunked tales of Christian persecution in the military.” RWW then continued by citing portions of the FRC email, but neglected to quote FRC in saying that “[n]o service member should ever be denied the very freedom he or she bleeds and dies to defend!” (Perhaps RWW agreed that was quite reasonable.) The word “debunk” is defined as “to show that something (such as a belief or theory) is not true,” or “to show the falseness of (a story, idea, statement, etc.).” RWW really seems to like using this term with regard to FRC’s claims. Well, are they “debunked?” Let us examine the two references to the term. First, RWW claims FRC “relies on a constant stream of easily debunked tales of martyrdom,” with a link to an article posted by its also-biased media buddy People for the American Way. Only one of the incidents listed by FRC is mentioned in the article—the matter concerning Sergeant Monk. The link to the mention of Sergeant Monk contains another RWW posting about his case, claiming it is false (the hyperlink to this claim does not work), and quoting military officials claiming he was not reassigned because of his views on same-sex marriage (of course they are going to say that; they are defending their position). It is quite possible they are wrong, as Sergeant Monk contends, especially since the military exonerated him of making false statements after they had accused him of doing so. At a minimum, Sergeant Monk’s claims that he was reassigned in retaliation for his views have never been “debunked.” Second, RWW claims FRC President Tony Perkins “lists a number of debunked tales of Christian persecution in the military,” with four different hyperlinks enclosed. The first link contains a supposed debunking of Chaplain Lawhorn’s claim, but the link (to RWW ally Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU)) does nothing to rebut the claim that Lawhorn’s public mention of his faith got him in trouble (he has humbly maintained he was sharing his personal story). Indeed, the linked source only affirms that it was the public mention of faith which draw the ire of activists. The second link contains a story on Chaplain Modder by liberal website Think Progress. How this “debunks” his story is quite unclear. The story discusses Chaplain Modder’s allegation of retaliatory action for counseling according to his beliefs on sexuality in private counseling sessions. He suffered adverse action, which was ultimately reversed by the Navy. This is not even close to being “debunked.” The third link is a story at the Huffington Post by Chris Rodda of Mikey Weinstein’s foundation (which spends its time trying to suppress traditional Christian views from being expressed in the public square) on Monifa Sterling, a Marine who was court martialed after refusing to remove a Bible verse from her workstation. While Rodda can offer her opinions on the matter, that does nothing to debunk the fact that Sterling alleged her religious exercise was suppressed. The fourth link is a November 2013 AU story further discussing Sergeant Monk’s case, repeating the Air Force’s findings as objective fact and dismissing Monk’s assertions. The story claims the Air Force “found that Monk has made false official statements.” Yet an October 2013 memo from the Air Force to Sergeant Monk states it “determined that t[...]
Thu, 08 Sep 2016 15:18:38 -0500
A recent NBC article about Indiana’s RFRA and its use by religious minorities (in addition to highlighting the ACLU’s ongoing hypocrisy on religious freedom) fails to accurately describe how RFRA operates.
At one point, the article states:
“One week later, after intense national criticism, Pence amended the law explicitly preventing businesses from denying service based on ‘race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or United States military service.’ With this, the Indiana state law came closer to the federal religious law and similar laws in other states.”
This is false. The federal RFRA and almost all state RFRAs contain no such amendment. They’ve operated well for years, protecting individuals like the Muslim inmate highlighted in this article, and others.
The article also implies that RFRA without the “fix” could not help the inmate:
“After Pence’s “fix” the law became largely disarmed from doing what many critics said was its original discriminatory intent. In fact, the opposite happened, the law has since become an extra tool to fight against religious discrimination, [Professor] Katz said.”
Yet a Muslim inmate bringing a claim under RFRA with the “fix” is not the “opposite” of what he could have done before the “fix.” The provision of RFRA he is using to bring his claim (the same provision which has been around since 1993 with little controversy) was not changed at all. His claim is the exact same under RFRA with or without the “fix.”
To its credit, the article did accurately frame RFRA in this quote by another law professor:
“What people tend to forget is that the statute is not a ‘broad exemption or a get out of jail free card,’ he said. Even though there is an exemption for religious freedom under the law, it doesn't mean the state will grant it, he said.”
That certainly seemed lost on the media in the public debate last year. This balancing test has been a part of RFRA since its inception, and is true regardless of whether the “fix” is part of the law. If only everyone would take the time to understand this.(image)
Thu, 08 Sep 2016 14:13:56 -0500Human-animal hybrids? No longer is it simply the stuff of science fiction. On August 4th, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a proposed policy that would lift the longstanding moratorium on the taxpayer funding of certain experiments creating embryos that are part human, part animal, known as “chimeras,” and even letting them grow into adult form. NIH solicited comments on their proposal, and FRC signed on to detailed comments with the Charlotte Lozier Institute regarding the science and ethics of such research. The comments oppose the NIH proposal and note that ethical and scientifically valid alternatives exist to satisfy scientific demands. To view the PDF of the full comment, see: Comment by Charlotte Lozier Institute and Family Research Council on NIH Proposal to Fund Human Animal Chimeras Under the new NIH policy, human stem cells, adult or embryonic, could be added so early in the animal’s embryonic development that they could potentially become any organ or organ system within the maturing human-animal hybrid. Chimera researcher Dr. Izpisúa Belmonte himself admitted “We don’t know how to guide the cells to become the cells we want.” Human cells might contribute to the animal’s brain or reproductive organs, which could cause changes to the animal’s cognitive abilities or produce human sex cells. This research could thereby significantly blur the line between humans and animals, and undermine human dignity, as well as further incentivize the destruction of human embryos. Nothing in the new policy prohibits such unethical outcomes, and in fact, the new policy explicitly allows research in which there is “substantial contribution or a substantial functional modification to the animal brain by the human cells” and anticipates the creation of chimeras in which “human…stem cells may contribute to the germ line,” that is, animals producing human sex cells. And while the new policy would technically prohibit chimeras from breeding, there is no clear or feasible way for NIH to enforce this ban. To be sure, NIH is proposing this new human-animal hybrid research on the basis of its potential benefits, such as creating animal models of human diseases in order to prevent and treat illnesses, as well as to create human organs for donation that will adapt better to the human immune system. But it is one thing to conduct non-controversial, ethical research using human cells or DNA in animals, to test the cells for repair, or even to grow an organ. It is quite another thing to significantly modify an animal in a way that undermines the key pillars of human species identity by giving an animal a substantially human brain or reproductive capacities. Far from advancing the human race, creating animal and human hybrids that leave in question their humanity undermines our own. Good science is also ethical science, and supports biotechnologies that advance scientific knowledge and medical treatments, while valuing all human life and maintaining human dignity. Science should never progress nor should human life be advanced at the expense of human life or dignity. Research involving human adult stem cells is one such promising way forward. If NIH fails to protect human dignity in research funded by federal taxpayers, Congress once again may be forced to step in. For the fiscal year 2016 federal spending bill, Congress did so when it banned the FDA’s approval on research creating genetically modified embryos, such as three-parent embryos, in which the genetically modified information or traits can be passed on. At the very least we should not have our federal tax dollars subsidize the NIH’s new proposed human-animal hyb[...]
Fri, 02 Sep 2016 13:00:50 -0500In the last several years, the religious freedoms of members of the military have suffered an almost constant threat of restriction and reduction. There have been several private organizations, including Family Research Council, and members of Congress who have worked to preserve the religious freedoms of those serving in our armed forces. One of the stalwarts in this endeavor has been Congressman Randy Forbes of Virginia. Mr. Forbes is leaving Congress at the end of this term, and the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty (Chaplain Alliance), a group dedicated to protecting the rights of military chaplains, chose to honor Mr. Forbes for his service to the nation at a private, after-work event on July 12, 2016. In attendance were several uniformed military chaplains. They included the Chief of Chaplains of the Air Force, Maj. Gen. (Chaplain) Dondi Costin, who delivered a benediction while in uniform. Several members of the House and one United States Senator were also in attendance. Photographs of the event were taken and posted online. This allowed anti-Christian activist “Mikey” Weinstein an opportunity to attack Maj. Gen Costin and two other chaplains for their participation in the event by filing a complaint with the Inspector General of the Department of Defense, Glenn Fine. With typically histrionic and excessive rhetoric, Weinstein asked that all three be formally disciplined. Weinstein presents a pretext for attacking Rep. Forbes and the event based on the Congressman’s opposition to the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and his orthodox Christian beliefs about sexuality and marriage. Given Weinstein’s longstanding track record of anti-Christian animus, his raising of LGBT issues is mere window-dressing. Forbes could have opposed funding for dog parks in Katmandu, and that would have served almost as easily in Weinstein’s mind as a pretext for his attack. I point the reader to a nicely crafted blog post by attorney and former law professor Skip Ash who runs through the constitutional arguments involved and finds them, as with most of Weinstein’s hackneyed arguments, to be without merit. What is of particular note is Weinstein’s complete and utter lack of perspective. Does he honestly believe that a retirement-type event honoring a member of Congress who has supported the needs of chaplains would not be attended by appreciative members of the military chaplaincy? Is he really so misguided as to think that the DOD IG is going to state that military chaplains attending a retirement event for a member of the House in the company of other House members and a U.S. Senator is a punishable offense? Sadly, he appears to be. It isn’t exactly clear what Weinstein thinks chaplains should be doing. He has repeatedly complained about the public expression of Christian faith in the military. To me, this seems like the perfect event at which chaplains are entitled to work as men and women of the cloth and servants of the people. Consequently, I would urge those who support chaplains and the vital work they do to assist a “Stop and Protect” petition drive organized by the Chaplain Alliance. The petition states: As a deeply concerned citizen, I am calling on leaders in Washington, D.C. to stop these unprecedented attacks on military members exercising their freedom of religion and expression. Our servicemen and servicewomen put themselves in harm’s way to protect our freedom and God-given constitutional rights. It’s time for you to protect theirs! Once 10,000 signatures have been gathered, Chaplain Alliance will hand deliver the petitions “to the offices of key leaders on Capitol Hill, including Secreta[...]
Fri, 02 Sep 2016 07:33:26 -0500New York’s highest state court, the Court of Appeals, ruled August 30th that the former lesbian partner of a woman who gave birth (via artificial insemination) while the couple was cohabiting could qualify as a “parent” for the purpose of seeking custody and visitation rights (Matter of Brooke S.B. v. Elizabeth A. C.C.). In light of the 2015 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court to order a fifty-state redefinition of “marriage” to include same-sex couples (Obergefell v. Hodges), this may seem like something inevitable—merely a legal mopping-up operation. Actually, it is far more troubling, with implications that extend far beyond same-sex couples. New York’s Domestic Relations Law says that “either parent” of a child living in the state may apply to a court requesting “the natural guardianship, charge and custody of such child.” In a case similar to the current one 25 years ago (Matter of Alison D. v. Virginia M.), the same court had ruled that “a biological stranger to a child who is properly in the custody of his biological mother” has no standing to seek visitation. Despite having upheld it as recently as 2010, the court explicitly overruled Alison D. this week. In part, the decision was based on the fact that during the period the couple was together (2006-2010, with the baby boy being born in 2009), same-sex couples could not yet legally marry in New York. According to the opinion, the couple “lacked the resources to travel to another jurisdiction” to enter into a marriage or similar “legal arrangement.” One is tempted to say that they must have been quite destitute—since the first state to grant civil marriage licenses to same-sex couples (in 2004), Massachusetts, borders on New York state. By the time the child was born, in June 2009, Massachusetts had repealed a 1913 law that had initially prevented many out-of-state couples from marrying there; and New York’s Gov. David Paterson had ordered state agencies to recognize same-sex unions from other states. In fairness, though, the couple apparently did live in Chautauqua County—at the far western end of the state, about 400 miles from Massachusetts. However, it is only a little over 100 miles from Niagara Falls, Ontario—which was also giving marriage licenses to same-sex couples from the U.S. Meanwhile, New York’s high court had already recognized a right of “second-parent” adoption even for unmarried partners of a biological parent in a case decided in 1995. All this is to say that, even for a same-sex couple, it may not have been so difficult to establish a legal family relationship by a more traditional means—either a civil marriage or legal adoption. Family Research Council (FRC) promotes the ideal of the “natural family.” In the natural family, a man and a woman commit to one another in marriage, and their sexual union bears its natural fruit in the birth of children who are biologically related to both parents. Support for the natural family is not just based on abstract principle—there is abundant social science research showing that it tends to result in the best outcomes for children (see this recent blog post reviewing the evidence). However, we realize that the natural family is not universal, and recognize that parental relationships are sometimes formed without marriage (as in out-of-wedlock births) or without a biological relationship between parent and child (as in adoption). These parents should have their rights respected by the state just as much as those in the more traditional natural family. However, these have historically been the li[...]
Thu, 01 Sep 2016 12:43:24 -0500Dear Friends, In a pivotal scene from the new film adaptation of Ben-Hur, Judah (Ben-Hur) comes upon Jesus as He carries His cross toward Golgotha. As Judah watches in bewilderment and horror, Jesus collapses in exhausted agony under the weight of the cross. Judah rushes forward with a cup of water to offer Him, which mirrors Christ’s offering of water to Judah near the beginning of the film after he was arrested and led on a forced march by the Romans. As Judah bends over the fallen Jesus with the cup of water, begging Him to drink, a Roman soldier strikes Judah with a whip, shouting, “No water for him!” Just as Judah grabs a rock to retaliate against the soldier, Christ grasps Judah’s arm and whispers “No, please… My life, I give it of my own free will.” Judah can only stare back at Him, dumbfounded. The scene is powerful in a number of ways, but I was struck by one thought in particular. The time in which Christ’s life and Ben-Hur takes place was a brutal one, dominated by the mentality that every wrong must be avenged at all costs, and every crime (whether real or perceived) must be ruthlessly punished. Christ’s witness was in full contradiction of this ethos, and during that time was seen as nothing short of an insane scandal. To not only stop retaliating but to forgive, and beyond that to sacrifice one’s own life freely—it seemed like madness to many, and many rejected it. But many also saw its truth, and the joy, happiness, and peace that it brought to their lives. It was a revolution of the human heart, and from it, Christianity was born. Since that time, everything has changed… or has it? Outward appearances would indicate that we live in a far more civilized time, one where most of the developed world exists in a legal system free of mob rule and summary executions (at least, of those outside of the womb). But what of the human heart? In reality, nothing has changed. We wake up every morning still half asleep, fully in need of the Savior. We bitterly cling to our old, selfish ways, refusing to let go of wrongs that have been done to us and justifying feelings of self-entitlement. Christ has invited us to imitate Him by letting go. Let go of the bitterness and find healing by practicing forgiveness, mercy, and love. This must begin in our own families first and foremost. Old wounds won’t heal until we forgive our parents, siblings, spouses, and children for their transgressions, just as we beg them to forgive ours. Only then can we bring Christ’s mercy to the wider world. Thank you for your prayers and for your continued support of FRC and the family. Sincerely, Dan Hart Managing Editor for Publications Family Research Council FRC Articles Religious voices add reason to public discourse, stave off the zealots – Travis Weber The Hypocrisy of the Black Lives Matter Movement and the Southern Poverty Law Center – Ken Blackwell How can Christians oppose same-sex marriage and yet pray and care for the LGBT victims in Orlando at the same time? – Travis Weber Parents Fight Back in Fairfax County – Cathy Ruse LGBT Activist Lobby Responds to Report in The New Atlantis: Only Mockery, No Engagement – Cathy Ruse Ending the Secular Witch Hunt – Peter Sprigg The New Thought Police – Travis Weber Five Things to Know About “Gender Dysphoria” in Children – Peter Sprigg Religious Freedom at Home and Abroad – Travis Weber Schooled by Students – Bethany Demmin Religious Liberty Religious Liberty in the Public Square How Trigger Warnings Silence Religious Students &nd[...]