Last Build Date: Mon, 26 Sep 2016 13:12:51 -0500Copyright: Zinnia
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." This, of course, is utterly impossible to know, unless one can read the minds of sexual predators to know what they would see as deterrent[...]
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 had women come in and they’ll go in the O.R. and they’re back out in three minutes, and I’m going, ‘What’s [...]
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 Garabis Davis, Aleteia 5 facts that show Planned Parenthood is an abortion corporation - Susan Michelle, Live Action Of 12,000 Women Infected W[...]
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 the allegation” that Monk made a false statement “was unsubstantiated.” Assuming good motives on the part of AU, we can[...]
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 hybrid research that could blur the line between humans and animals. To do so would undermine the very fabric of our moral order—the a[...]
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 Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter (D), John McCain (R), who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, Mac Thornberry (R), who chairs the Hou[...]
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 limits of how legally-recognized “parental” relationships may be established. The court’s decision in Brooke B. smashes [...]
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 – Alan Levinovitz, The Atlantic NY Firefighters Ordered to Remove Old Glory – ToddStarnes.com Red Cross Tells Off-Duty Cop He Ca[...]
Wed, 31 Aug 2016 16:07:21 -0500In a word: Love. To some people, that may sound preposterous—but bear with me as we work through this. Many have difficulty reconciling how Christians can engage in both of these activities. Don’t Christians oppose same-sex marriage because they hate gay people? While some would like to say so, that’s just not true. Yet it is easier for many to continue in this belief than deal with the tension brought about by sorting through the above question. To help understand how Christians can tread both of these roads, we must examine what they actually believe. Christians believe that all of humanity have turned their backs on God and none measure up to God’s holiness on their own effort. A big price needed to be paid for this violation of God’s high standard of holiness. Jesus paid this heavy price, by going to the cross and becoming the object of God’s wrath against all humanity’s sin. The benefit of his payment for sin is now available to all (including you)—if you believe that Jesus paid the price on your behalf. This is the gospel (or “good news”) of Jesus Christ. He restores our status with God for all eternity, regardless of how we have offended God. We just need to turn from our sin, repent, and believe. If we truly believe, we will want to follow and obey this God who saved us. So what are we saying here? We are saying that God fully loves and forgives, yet his standards fully matter. Indeed, the very reason Jesus had to go to the cross was because the violation of the standards was serious enough to require a serious sacrifice. Yet the reason God sent Jesus to the cross was that he loved us so much that he wanted to be with us for eternity. When a Christian realizes how much Jesus loves them by dying for them, they can’t help but want to extend that love to others and seek their well-being—such as praying for hurting people like the LGBT victims of the Orlando attack. The price that Jesus paid on the cross was very great because the seriousness of humanity’s departure from God’s standards was very great. So God’s standards matter. But he has also made a way for us to satisfy them. If he has restored us to himself spiritually through Jesus, don’t we want to live consistently with the standards for whose violation he paid a great price? We will all remain sinners while we are on this earth—including Christians! But it is good for us to strive to live according to God’s standards. It is so good that God cared about it enough to send Jesus to pay the price for our departure from these standards. So any Christian who really understands the good news of Jesus can’t compromise God’s standards and say they don’t matter. Christians therefore also think this way about how we conduct our sex lives. God’s principles in that area are for our best. Because Christians care for people, we don’t want to see them engage in harmful sexual practices contrary to God’s design for sex—which is only between a man and a woman in marriage. This also means, as a single person, it is good for me to not have sex. It may seem difficult, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is good. It brings me contentment, wholeness, peace, and joy. But even when I don’t feel those things, I still trust that God’s plan is good. Submission to God is not always easy. At times it is difficult, and doesn’t feel smooth. Yet it is still good—for me, as it is for all people. Therefore Christians urge all to not engage in actions outside of God’s plan—whether these are heterosexual or homosexual acts. God has designed marriage to be between a man and a woman. Humans can’t change that. Just as we can&rsqu[...]
Wed, 31 Aug 2016 07:32:38 -0500
If only the parents would keep quiet and get out of the way, then the LGBT activists and their friends in government could do what they want with our schools and our children.
That is the attitude confronting parents in Fairfax County, Va., one of the largest school systems in the country with 187,000 students. And the chief force aligned against parents and children is their own elected school board.
The Fairfax County School Board has been controlled by liberals for decades, by outsize margins. The School Board has grown so accustomed to ignoring the appeals made by those outside their political party that today they feel quite free to make policy changes without any pretext of compromise and with no respect for the views of parents.
Lately they have pushed controversial gender identity politics into every corner of the public school experience in Fairfax County: re-writing the Student Rights and Responsibilities handbook, changing the sex ed curriculum, changing categories of discrimination, pushing inappropriate sex surveys for kids, etc.
Well, Fairfax parents have had enough.
A large and well-organized group of parent activists have come together to fight the Board. They’ve created a resource designed to inform and empower parents about the Gender Identity policies facing Fairfax families as children return to school.
By completing five simple actions, parents in Fairfax County can add their voices to the chorus to promote common sense, safety, and privacy.
Specifically, the resource presents step-by-step instructions to:
The LGBT school agenda will reach your system sooner or later, so this resource is important for all parents.(image)
Fri, 26 Aug 2016 16:29:21 -0500
My husband Austin Ruse writes in Crisis Magazine today about a new report just published in The New Atlantis—a meta-analysis of many dozens of studies on homosexuality and transgenderism. The results topple most claims made by the homosexual activist agenda.
The paper is being widely covered in Christian and conservative press, but has received nothing but mockery, sneering and name-calling in the liberal press, even though its authors are both highly-respected psychiatrists.
Lawrence Mayer has held full-time tenured positions at a number of prestigious universities, including Princeton, Stanford, and currently Johns Hopkins.
Paul McHugh, educated at Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, was for 25 years the head of psychiatry for the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and is still associated with Johns Hopkins.
Mayer and McHugh reviewed dozens of studies in the fields of biology, psychology, and the social sciences and found that the science does not support the popular claims of the liberal media, academics, and others, that homosexuality is inborn and therefore unchangeable. They also found that the science does not support virtually any of the claims made by the transgender movement today.
One of the most important conclusions is that 80% of adolescents who are gender confused end up as normal adults in their 20s. This finding sounds the alarm against attempts to “transition” adolescents from one sex to another.
Their paper is academics at a very high level, yet LGBT activists and their friends have refused to engage in any meaningful way. Human Rights Campaign refers to the authors as “anti-trans all-stars,” and various blogs have even slandered the authors as religious bigots, though there is nothing remotely religious in their paper.
The LGBT activist lobby believes it has reached a point in the debate where it needn’t engage the arguments at all.(image)
Fri, 26 Aug 2016 09:29:33 -0500Review of: It’s Dangerous to Believe: Religious Freedom and Its Enemies, by Mary Eberstadt (New York: Harper, 2016). Mary Eberstadt offers a concise diagnosis of the growing problem of hostility to religious freedom in the Western world, in her new book, It’s Dangerous to Believe: Religious Freedom and Its Enemies. Her historical analysis notes that, contrary to progressivist myths about Christians exercising “theocratic” power, the influence of religion has been generally in decline ever since the French Revolution. However, she cites two recent historical events as triggering a more virulent hostility to religion—the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, which raised concern about the dangers of religious fanaticism; and the Catholic priest sex abuse scandals revealed in 2002, which solidified cynicism about institutional religion. Eberstadt also cites two key legal battles in which the secular left discounted the importance of protecting religious liberty—the HHS contraceptive mandate in Obamacare; and the Supreme Court’s 2015 redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples in Obergefell v. Hodges. The Obama administration’s insistence on forcing an order of Catholic nuns, the Little Sisters of the Poor, to pay for abortifacient contraceptives is cited as an example of how the poor—supposedly the subjects of progressive concern—are subordinated to other ideological goals. She points out the abundances of charitable works and social services provided by religious believers, and notes that these agencies simply cannot be replaced by their secular or government-run counterparts. Yet secular progressives prefer to shut such agencies down (like they have Catholic adoption agencies that dare give preference to mother-father households) rather than allow dissent from the progressive worldview. Another chapter highlights how Christian education—whether in the form of student groups, distinctively Christian institutions, or homeschooling—has also been in the crosshairs of the Left. Eberstadt argues, however, that the secular progressivism is not merely anti-faith, but actually represents a competing faith, explaining that “the sexual revolution has given rise to a new secularist faith of its own whose founding principles are the primacy of pleasure and self-will.” This faith actually mirrors Christianity in some ways, with its own “secular saints” (Sanger, Kinsey), “foreign missionaries,” “quasi-demonology,” and “canon of texts and doctrine.” “They believe they are in possession of a higher truth,” Eberstadt explains, “and they fight to universalize it.” This helps explain the ferocity of their attacks upon those who hold to traditional Judeo-Christian morality—“the only remaining minority that can be mocked and denigrated . . . [n]ot to mention fired, fined, or otherwise punished for their beliefs.” Eberstadt does not hesitate to describe the attacks on believers as a “witch hunt”—and to compare them directly and in detail with similar “moral panics” in the past, including the day-care sexual abuse hysteria of the 1980’s, the McCarthyism of the 1950’s, and the granddaddy of them all, the Salem witch trials of 1692. “‘Bigot’ and ‘hater’ are the new ‘wizard’ and ‘witch,’” she explains; “epithets that intentionally demean and dehumanize.” Yet even serious consequences—like the armed assault upon the Family Research Council offices in Washington in 2012—has not deterred activist[...]
Wed, 24 Aug 2016 15:46:06 -0500
Several things are notable about David Gushee’s recent column describing the marginalization of orthodox Christian teaching on sexuality. It may at first appear to be a review of legal and policy developments, but it quickly morphs into a cheerleading piece urging the marginalizing to keep on going. Perhaps Gushee simply takes glee in finding himself sitting on the side of the discriminator. The piece is saturated with policy preferences, not theological explanations. In this context, his mention of doctrine as a factor in the discussion makes no sense. If social and political trends and preferences are what matters, who cares about doctrine?
Yet it wasn’t any of these points which stood out the most as I read the piece, but rather the apparent celebration (or at least satisfaction) of the uniformity of the view Gushee saw developing across society. To him, it’s apparently no problem that everyone influential thinks alike—as long as they have the right thoughts.
As Rod Dreher has pointed out, Gushee’s thinking goes hand-in-hand with the suppression of freedom and religious liberty. As I read Dreher’s commentary and Gushee’s piece, my mind went to a book I’m currently reading: James Michener’s The Bridge at Andau—his nonfiction account of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 against Soviet Communism. As Michener recounts in his book, pervasive throughout the secret police apparatus the Soviets helped establish in Hungary was a paranoia about being suspected of disloyalty, of being turned in for perhaps even a comment that could be construed as hostile to the authorities. Conformity was the goal. Disloyal suspects were interrogated and tortured until they “confessed”—until they admitted what the authorities wanted to hear. They had to think as the authorities thought or they were no good.
Yes, we are a far cry from such a system. But never for a moment should we think the evil and oppression underneath it can’t arise in other circumstances and in other forms to take us unawares. Such celebration of uniformity is a threat to the foundational freedoms of our society, and is much larger than any one policy issue. It is a way of thinking about society at large, and Gushee seems to be failing at it in his new piece. At a minimum, he should reconsider his celebration that our elites seem to be “confessing” what he likes to hear.
I invite him to read The Bridge at Andau and welcome a discussion at any time.(image)