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Last Build Date: Tue, 24 Apr 2018 10:37:33 -0500

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State Department Defends Actual Human Rights Instead of Made-Up Rights

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 10:37:33 -0500

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Some activists are upset that the current State Department is going back to conducting worldwide reporting on violations of human rights law instead of the activist flavor of the day. “We are a nation founded on the belief that every person is endowed with inalienable rights. Promoting and defending these rights is central to who we are as a country” (emphasis added), the report began, before going on to report on human rights around the world.

Yet to hear international legal activists describe it, the Trump administration is taking us to the dark ages once again. The administration has allegedly “erase[d] reproductive rights” from the reporting. Over-used and hyperbolic language aside (the term “erase” must have poll-tested well), articles like this are entirely wrong about human rights law and fail to provide historic context on this issue.

If President Obama injected “reproductive rights” into the process in 2011, as the article admits, how was the issue dealt with before then? Is President Trump merely stopping the last administration’s activist approach to the issue, and bringing us back in line with the (bipartisan) approach we enjoyed for decades before? This would be nice to know. Yet we are left without any objective picture or understanding of human rights law from such “news” stories. The irony is that sites like Rewire only further cement and confirm the “fake news” narrative.

The truth is, as the State Department pointed out, the Trump administration was only returning to the clear requirements of international human rights law—which contains no “right to abortion.” In the face of this fact, abortion activist groups like Amnesty International USA could only try the feeble response: “Reproductive rights are human rights.” Except, they’re not. I welcome anyone at Amnesty to show me where such a notion is contained in international law.

It’s not for lack of trying on the part of those who want such a “right” in place. Abortion advocates ceaselessly push their agendas in international forums, eliciting public statements and “rulings” in the context of international organizations to try to claim there is a “right to abortion.” But none of this actually changes the law.

The State Department’s approach to human rights in this report is fair, neutral, and objective. Its critics should aspire to the same standard.

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12 Resources to Fight Sexual Exploitation, Part 2

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 07:51:51 -0500

Here is a list of websites that represent the work done by some of the speakers at the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation (CESE) Global Summit that I recently attended. I hope this will serve as a reference or resource for those seeking more information about how to combat pornography, prostitution, and other forms of sexual exploitation such as the general objectification of women’s (and sometimes men’s) bodies. The first six resources can be found here. Here are the final six: 7. World Without Exploitation In addition to pornography, the other major form of sexual exploitation addressed at the Summit was prostitution. I mentioned that the CESE Summit involves a fascinating coalition of social conservatives and radical feminists. However, there is a sharp divide on the Left over the issue of prostitution. One strain of thought, coming out of feminism, views prostitution as inherently exploitative and favors laws against it (albeit with the focus on punishing pimps and purchasers of sex, rather than the prostitutes who are being exploited and abused). The other strain of thought, coming as best I can tell more out of the labor movement (although also encompassing supposed “human rights” defenders such as Amnesty International) favors decriminalization or legalization of prostitution, referring to it as “sex work” and to prostitutes as “sex workers.” The CESE takes the former, “abolitionist” view—which is well represented by World Without Exploitation’s vision statement: Getting to a world without exploitation means starting with a clear vision. This is ours. We believe that human trafficking and sexual exploitation are human rights issues, fueled by gender, racial, and income inequalities. We seek to honor the power, purpose, and inherent worth of every person. Human trafficking and sexual exploitation endanger the welfare of the individual, the family, and the community. Accepting such exploitation as inevitable is inconsistent with a human rights vision. We know that listening to survivors of exploitation is critical to developing just and effective social policies. We’re committed to survivor engagement. And we’re driven by survivor leadership. We recognize that adults and children who have been trafficked or sexually exploited should be treated as victims of a crime, not as criminals themselves. We realize that there can be no social justice without social services, so we’re working to ensure that all survivors of labor trafficking and the sex trade have the comprehensive support they need to exit exploitative systems and rebuild their lives. We understand that we won’t end sexual exploitation until we end the demand for prostitution. As long as there is a global sex trade, ours will be an unsafe, unjust world. We commit to eradicating the market for coerced or unpaid labor that drives the multi-billion dollar trade in trafficking. We advocate for laws and policies that hold those who purchase other human beings and those who profit from their sale accountable for the harms they cause. We know that law drives the culture even as culture shapes law. Challenging inaccurate media representations of human trafficking and sexual exploitation, while partnering with artists and writers who seek to tell a more accurate story, is central to our mission. We believe that true freedom means being free from violence, exploitation, and oppression. World Without Exploitation’s website also includes a 73-page report on What We Know About Sex Trafficking, Prostitution, and Sexual Exploitation in the U.S. 8. Global Centurion This group’s slogan is “Fighting Modern Slavery by Focusing on Demand.” Their mission statement declares: Global Centurion Foundation is a non-profit organization fighting human trafficking by focusing on the demand side of the equation – the perpetrators, exploiters, buyers, and e[...]


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12 Resources to Fight Sexual Exploitation, Part 1

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 14:25:56 -0500

I recently attended the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation (CESE) Global Summit, but it’s hard to know how to summarize it. The CESE, an annual event organized primarily by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), was held in early April in Herndon, Virginia, near Washington, D.C. Rather than try to summarize the speakers’ messages from the sessions I was able to attend, I decided to post a list of websites that represent the work done by some of those speakers. I hope this will serve as a reference or resource for those seeking more information about how to combat pornography, prostitution, and other forms of sexual exploitation such as the general objectification of women’s (and sometimes men’s) bodies. Note that the CESE is a broad-based coalition, cutting across political, religious, and ideological lines. Not all of the groups or speakers who participate are social conservatives or Christians—some for example, are liberal feminists. (Therefore, Family Research Council does not necessarily endorse everything on these websites.) All these groups, however, have found common ground in the cause of ending all forms of sexual exploitation. Here are the first six websites (a subsequent post will present the final six resources): 1. National Center on Sexual Exploitation The first website to highlight is that of NCOSE itself. NCOSE explains its purpose and focus this way: The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is the leading national organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and the public health crisis of pornography. As the thread of pornography in the web of sexual exploitation is systemically overlooked by society, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation has prominently advanced this issue as a central pillar of its projects in order to promote more holistic solutions. A separate website for the CESE Summit itself includes videos of some of the presentations (note: there are audio problems at some points in the video). 2. Culture Reframed Dr. Gail Dines, an activist and scholar who founded Culture Reframed, was a pioneer in the effort to define pornography as a public health crisis—a declaration that has now been made in resolutions adopted by several state legislatures. Here’s part of the description of their work: Culture Reframed is the first health promotion effort to recognize and address pornography as the public health crisis of the digital age. . . . Our research-driven programs teach parents and those in the helping and healthcare professions how to recognize and respond to the role pornography can play in sexual violence, unhealthy relationships, internet and sex addictions, negative self-image, sexual dysfunction, depression, sexually transmitted infections, injuries, and other health problems. NCOSE presented Dines with its highest honor, the Founders Award, at the Summit. 3. Fight the New Drug This website is particularly effective in reaching the younger generation with a message about the harms of pornography. For example, they offer t-shirts with messages like “Porn Kills Love.” Here’s how they describe their work: Fight the New Drug is a non-religious and non-legislative organization that exists to provide individuals the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding pornography by raising awareness on its harmful effects using only science, facts, and personal accounts. Clay Olsen, President and Co-Founder of Fight the New Drug, spoke at the CESE Summit. 4. Your Brain on Porn Your Brain on Porn (YBOP) is an exhaustive clearinghouse of scientific research on the effects of pornography. YBOP created a few lists of studies: This page lists 39 neuroscience-based studies (MRI, fMRI, EEG, neuropsychological, hormonal) providing strong support for the addiction model. This list contains 14 recent literature reviews & com[...]


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Who Owns Free Speech on the Internet?

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 11:02:15 -0500

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In a timely panel discussion held recently at FRC, the question of free speech on the internet and the threats it currently faces was explored. In an era when 69 percent of Americans use social media every day, with Google monitoring its user’s activities on over 200 different platforms and Facebook generating $40 billion in ad revenue off of user-generated data, it’s vital to ask questions about how the concerns that users have about free speech and privacy are being handled in the hands of only a few unregulated tech giants who have a monopoly on the industry.

Brent Skorup, a Senior Research Fellow in the Technology Policy Program at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, warned against conservatives “opening the door to regulation” of internet social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. He gave the historical example of the FCC’s “fairness doctrine,” which was introduced in 1949 as a “neutral rule” that required broadcasters to present opposing viewpoints of controversial matters, but as Skorup pointed out, it was eventually weaponized by bureaucrats and used to drive out conservative and religious broadcasters from the marketplace.

Craig Parshall, Special Counsel to the American Center for Law and Justice, pointed out the danger that a monopoly poses when it is providing platforms for opinions and information. He emphasized that all conservatives and Christians want is an equal opportunity in expressing their “whole truth” and “political philosophy” to the public, just as progressives have.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) expressed concern about how Facebook and other platforms are using algorithms to censor out political content that they don’t agree with. She noted that the bipartisan Browser Act would introduce an “opt-in” template so that users can protect their data from being harvested online if they so choose.

Don’t miss this lively Q&A discussion on the very difficult topic of whether or not social media platforms should be regulated in order to protect free speech, as well as the continuing controversy over internet free speech and privacy.

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"Suicide Machine" Shows Us Why Combating Euthanasia Is Crucial to the Pro-Life Cause

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 11:33:18 -0500

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As members of the pro-life community, we must remember that protecting the sanctity and dignity of human life at every stage, from conception to natural death, is essential to who we are. While much of the pro-life movement is focused on the beginning of life, as well it should, issues concerning natural death are sometimes lost in the shuffle. The fact of the matter is that euthanasia continues to be an issue that the pro-life community must combat with the same vigor and enthusiasm as the issue of abortion. 

Last week, I read an article about a man by the name of Philip Nitschke who fancies himself a “euthanasia expert.” Mr. Nitschke recently debuted a self-title “suicide machine” at a funeral fair in Amsterdam that he named the “Sarco” (pictured above). The Sarco (short for “sarcophagus”) is a full-sized coffin in which an individual can enter and commit suicide via nitrogenous asphyxiation. If it does not already sound familiar, the Nazis used a similar technique during their euthanasia program. Nitschke even offered a “3D virtual tour” for his machine at the fair, and he plans on profiting from it in the near future.

It’s an appalling sign of the times when a person can create a suicide machine and be heralded as an “expert.” It’s shocking but not surprising that such an event took place in the Netherlands, a country that unilaterally legalized assisted suicide in 2002. Unfortunately, laws in the U.S. have now paved the way for Mr. Nitschke and his death trap to come to the States. In 2016, the state of California passed the End of Life Option Act which allowed patients to self-administer life ending drugs. In just the first six months of it being passed into law, 111 lives were lost.

When evaluating why someone would want to create an industry based on suicide like Mr. Nitschke is clearly attempting to do, or why any country would allow its own citizens to kill themselves, one reason becomes abundantly clear. We unfortunately live in a culture of death where we see human beings devaluing one another, the same way people have devalued women, racial and ethnic minorities, the disabled, the old, the feeble, and the poor in the past. History has shown us that devaluing other human beings devalues us as an entire race. People are in anguish as to why we have so many wars that claim the lives of human beings, or why we have violent individuals claiming innocent lives in our streets. The crux of the issue goes back to how our culture perceives the value of human life. 

Euthanasia has been around for a very long time. It has been able to survive based off its ability to shape-shift into a narrative that is more favorable for its proponents at any given time. However, its dark history of targeting the most vulnerable in our society must continue to be exposed.

It is up to us, the pro-life community, to change this culture of death into a culture of life. Being “pro-life” is multifaceted—it encompasses many issues of human dignity. Therefore, it is crucial that we recognize and strive to protect all of God’s creations at all stages of life.

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Social Conservative Review - April 16, 2018

Mon, 16 Apr 2018 10:06:04 -0500

Dear Friends, I recently came across a beautiful true-life story about a man who has saved hundreds of lives from suicide. Nicknamed the “Angel of The Gap,” Don Ritchie was a former Navy seaman in Australia who moved into a seaside house with his wife in 1964 that was situated just 50 yards away from a cliff overlooking the ocean in Watsons Bay, a suburb of Sydney known as The Gap. Through his living room window, he would often spot lost souls who were obviously there for no other reason than to attempt a jump that would end their lives. As soon as he spotted someone who was acting suspiciously, Don would immediately walk outside and calmly approach them, asking “Is there something I could do to help you?” He would invite them to his house for tea, and more often than not, they would accept his invitation. In the 45 years that Don lived in Watsons Bay, he was credited with saving at least 160 lives by government officials, but his family has said that the actual number is probably closer to 500. A year before his death in 2012 at 86, he said this in an interview: “I’m 85, and even at my age, it has broadened my horizons with all the wonderful people I have met. It’s important for troubled people to know that there are complete strangers out there like myself who are willing and able to help them get through that dark time and come out on the other side.” This inspiring story is an important reminder for us Christians to always be ready to give an account for the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15), especially when we encounter someone who is clearly in need of help, whether it be a friend or a perfect stranger. As the “Angel of The Gap” demonstrated, we must never be afraid to reach out. God most often shares Himself through the witness of His instruments (us), and in so doing, He not only changes those that we touch, but changes us as well. 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 Freedom and National Security – Travis Weber Summary of Trump Administration Policy on Transgender Military Service – Peter Sprigg What Mike Pompeo understands about religion and national security – Travis Weber Mike Pompeo, religious freedom and a safer world -- how are these three things connected? – Tony Perkins Students Partake in National Walkout for the Unborn – Patrina Mosley Dems in a panic as a major Planned Parenthood funding source is at risk – Kelly Marcum Mike Pompeo Has the Correct Perspective on Human Rights – Travis Weber Cardi B Chooses Life – Patrina Mosley FRC Resources to Combat the Extreme Sex Ed Agenda in Schools For the Sake of Our Security at Home, We Must Focus on Religious Freedom Abroad – Travis Weber   Religious Liberty Religious Liberty in the Public Square Sen. Cory Booker Violating Constitution: Voting Against Pompeo for Religious Beliefs – Ken Klukowski, Breitbart Freedom of Speech Is the Antidote to Division – Buzz Brockway, The Daily Signal Ex-NFL Cheerleader Says She Faced Discrimination for Christian Faith – ToddStarnes.com International Religious Freedom China Bans Online Bible Sales as It Tightens Religious Controls – Ian Johnson, The New York Times Pastor Andrew Brunson trial begins with US religious freedom envoy Sam Brownback in court – Harry Farley, Christian Today Why the US Must Befriend Hungary’s Populist Leader – Mike Gonzalez, The Daily Signal An Iranian Refugee’s Terrible Journey to God – Annahita Parsan, Christianity Today Vietnamese court jails Catholic activist for subversion – Crux China Campaign Against Church Crosses Intensifies, Conditions 'Deteriorating' as Christians Cry Out – Stoyan Zaimov, The Christian Post Jailed Chinese Pas[...]


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Mike Pompeo Has the Correct Perspective on Human Rights

Thu, 12 Apr 2018 15:51:41 -0500

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During his confirmation hearing for Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo was asked by Senator Chris Coons (D-Delaware) whether he thinks “LGBTQ rights are human rights.”

Pompeo responded:

I deeply believe LGBTQ persons have every right that every other person has.

This is exactly right. Mike Pompeo’s response accurately captures how international human rights law addresses the claims of the LGBT movement, expressed with care and charity.

As I stated several years ago:

All human beings possess rights because of our unique human nature as evidenced by reason and conscience. LGBT persons have the same human rights as others, because of their human dignity, evidenced by their endowed reason and conscience . . . .

Some may claim, as then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did, that “gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights.” This statement misleads by . . . implying that same-sex-attracted and transgendered persons do not currently enjoy human rights protections . . . .

The [Universal Declaration of Human Rights] and [International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights] protect every individual from arbitrary arrest, torture, and extrajudicial killing by the State, because all humans have human dignity, regardless of their sexual attraction or gender preference.

If any person is denied these rights (whether they identify as same-sex attracted or not), then UN human rights bodies should investigate and strengthen enforcement of their rights. Secretary Clinton names a problem that already has a solution.

Mike Pompeo shows he has the right perspective on international human rights law. Not everyone may like the law, but for the rule of law to be upheld, it must be respected. Considering how he was pressed to uphold the rule of law during his hearing—and how he promised (rightly) to do so—we have hope that he will take this principled approach to international law when implementing our foreign policy.

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Cardi B Chooses Life

Thu, 12 Apr 2018 14:04:26 -0500

I don’t know that much about Cardi B or listen to her music, but you gotta give props where props are due when a pop culture icon is speaking truth and just keeping it real! I first saw her go viral on Twitter for her rant against the government, basically asking, “What are you doing with my money?” when she sees nearly 40 percent of her paycheck gone because of taxes, something most of us probably wondered about when we got our first pay check. Cardi B has now confirmed the unexpected news that she’s pregnant at the height of her success, and to the apparent surprise of many of her fans, she is keeping her baby. “It just really bothers me and it disgusts me because I see a lot of women online like, ‘Oh, I feel sorry for you. Oh, your career is over,’” Cardi B said. “And it’s like, why can’t I have both? Like as a woman, why can’t I have both? Like, why do I gotta choose a career or a baby?... I want both… I don’t want people to make me feel like a blessing should be a regret.” She also said that the people around her in the entertainment business wanted her to abort her child. This is yet another tragic example of the fact that women commonly feel pressured into abortion, either by other people or by circumstances. A recent study found that 73.8 percent of women who have had abortions said that they felt pressure from others to abort. She did admit to being a “schmillionaire” and that she is prepared to accept responsibility for her lifestyle choices. Most importantly, she said that she “didn’t want to deal with the whole abortion thing,” intimating that she didn’t want to face the emotional and psychological injury that comes with having an abortion. And she’s right. According to the same study referenced above, 67.5 percent of post-abortive women sought out professional counseling services after their first abortion, compared to only 13 percent who reported seeking counseling before their first pregnancy that resulted in an abortion. Only 6.6 percent of the women reported using prescription drugs for psychological health before their first pregnancy that ended in abortion, compared with 51 percent who said they used prescription drugs after their first abortion. A 2011 peer-reviewed research study on the mental health effects of abortion included a survey of 22 published studies combining data on 877,181 participants, showing that abortion increases the likelihood of depression, anxiety, and reckless behavior such as alcoholism, drug use, and sadly, suicide. Few women in the survey spoke of the contemporary feminist rhetoric of “empowerment” or the need to be competitive in the workplace when it came to their abortion. They instead reported carrying a toxic mix of negative emotions. Both the aforementioned study and Psychology Today attest to the fact that Post Abortion Stress Syndrome (PASS) occurs for women who’ve had an abortion—the symptoms include guilt, anxiety, numbness, depression, flashbacks, and suicidal thoughts. Nearly 32 percent of them expressed no positives from their abortion experience, except to note that it led them to either spiritual growth or pro-life advocacy to persuade other women not to get an abortion. The vast majority of these respondents were older women who are continuing to seek out help, which shows how that one choice is still affecting them to this day. Most women seek an abortion between the ages of 20 and 34, which is typically the education or career engagement season of our lives. Over half of abortions are committed by women who claim a religious affiliation, which is a wake-up call to all of us in the church to be more aware of the needs of those in our own congregations. If you or someone you know is suffering from the emotional afte[...]


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FRC Resources to Combat the Extreme Sex Ed Agenda in Schools

Mon, 09 Apr 2018 14:27:53 -0500

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On April 23, 2018, students across America and in other countries will participate in the Sex Ed Sit Out. Here are some resources from FRC that illustrate the reality of what is being taught regarding sexuality in schools and what parents and students can do to combat the extreme and perverted sexual ideology that is being pushed on children in the classroom.

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For the Sake of Our Security at Home, We Must Focus on Religious Freedom Abroad

Thu, 05 Apr 2018 07:53:15 -0500

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In recent history, our foreign policy elites have primarily viewed religious freedom concerns as the parochial interest of humanitarian-minded pastors and religious freedom-focused human rights activists. Concerns were addressed when possible, yet the government handled problems on a one-off basis, usually to solve the annual flare-up over some imprisoned pastor somewhere. However, these religious freedom challenges haven’t been incorporated into any consistent, long-term, strategic thinking on foreign policy.

But what if they should be? One could argue the one-off approach hasn’t really advanced religious freedom worldwide, and that we should change the way we try to protect this right. Regardless, the assumption is that we are operating from a humanitarian basis. But what if the appeal was made on other grounds—that religious freedom is not simply a humanitarian concern, but that it is in the interest of our own security to advance it around the world?

Emerging evidence suggests that it is. As Professor William Inboden (who formerly served on the State Department’s Policy Planning staff and as senior director for strategic planning at the National Security Council) points out, “[t]here is not a single nation in the world that both respects religious freedom and poses a security threat to the United States.”

In a new FRC analysis released just yesterday, “Religious Freedom and National Security,” we make the case that the United States should not only promote religious freedom for its own sake, but also because it ultimately keeps us safer in the long run.

For a template, we can draw on the example of President Reagan, who unapologetically defended religious freedom on the world stage—confronting the Soviet Union, China, and others on this issue. Today, we face our own challenges posed by the spread of radical Islam and rising authoritarian governments—menaces whose suppression of religious freedom correlates with their threat to our national security.

With ongoing threats around the world which show no sign of abating, shouldn’t we at least be open to the possibility that we need to change our thinking on this issue, and address religious freedom violators because of their threat to our national security?

Just in the last several days, news has broken that China appears to be restricting the sale of Bibles and is also pushing a deal with the Vatican that would ultimately keep it in charge of appointing bishops.

It seems some of the same religious freedom problems President Reagan faced are rearing their heads today. It is time that we reclaim America’s historic role in engaging them, and firmly and strategically defend religious freedom around the world—for this will ultimately keep us safe at home.

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Social Conservative Review - April 4, 2018

Wed, 04 Apr 2018 14:43:38 -0500

Dear Friends, When I was attending mass a number of years ago, the priest said something that I’ll never forget. He thanked God for giving us “the consolation of the truth.” Since then, I have thought often about how knowing the Truth and believing in it has indeed been a tremendous consolation to me. I’m the kind of person who inclines toward a more melancholic view of the world, and I find that I have a tendency to easily get discouraged about life. This is why I am especially grateful for my faith. When I find myself getting a little down, I know exactly what I need to do: to turn to the Lord, thank him for all he has done for me, and ask for his help. This simple act gives me tremendous peace of mind—I know that I’m not the one in control of anything. God alone holds all of our lives in the palm of his hand. Knowing the peace that my faith has brought to my life, it’s greatly saddening to know that there are so many in our culture who don’t have any belief in the eternal to fall back on, which according to Pew, is now at roughly 23 percent of the country. Even though there are so many who are not believers, one thing I do know is that we all long for the eternal. In the words of Bishop Barron: “No matter how much we know, we want to know more; No matter how much we love, we want greater love; No matter how much beauty we attain, we sense that there is a perfect beauty that we haven’t seen.” In this Easter season of the Lord’s defeat of death, let us proclaim what we know to be true: that the longing we all have for our lives to be perfect is not mere silly sentimentality. This longing was built into us by our Creator—it reflects the fact that we are longing for unification with he who is Perfect. It is only in surrendering our lives to this Perfect Truth that we find true happiness and true consolation. 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 Bolton could be the first national security chief to prioritize religious freedom – Ken Blackwell and Frank Wolf Citizenship Matters – Ken Blackwell Supreme Court should spare pro-lifers from compelled pro-abortion speech – Cathy Ruse and Patrina Mosley Dems refuse to recognize Trump's first-rate federal court picks – Ken Blackwell As Science Advances, the Pro-Life Movement Grows – Patrina Mosley Ben Shapiro: America Must Have a Shared Duty to God to Survive – Dan Hart Drug Addicts Need Treatment and Tough Love, Not Facilitation of Their Habit – David Krayden How to Find Healing When Your Spouse is an Addict – Caleb Anderson Attacks on Counseling Threaten Pastors and Churches – Travis Weber Does Down Syndrome Keep the “Good Life” Out of Reach? – Patrina Mosley Of Guns and Prodigal Fathers – Peter Sprigg   Religious Liberty Religious Liberty in the Public Square University Reverses Ban on Conservative Student Who Said There Are Only 2 Genders – Samuel Smith, The Christian Post Archdiocese appeal over Christmas ads on Metrobuses back in federal court – Chantalle Edmunds, WTOP Google defeats lawsuit claiming YouTube censors conservatives – Jonathan Stempel, Reuters Google snubbed Easter with no doodle for 18th year in a row, Christians say – Frank Miles, Fox News International Religious Freedom 'Jesus is Building His Church' Inside Iran, Millions Watching Christian Satellite TV – George Thomas, CBN Nigerian Christians call for abducted schoolgirl’s freedom – Onize Ohikere, WORLD America shouldn't send endangered religious minority refugees back to Iran – Nina Shea, Fox Ne[...]


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Ben Shapiro: America Must Have a Shared Duty to God to Survive

Wed, 28 Mar 2018 14:52:38 -0500

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In a stirring speech given to supporters of FRC yesterday, The Daily Wire editor-in-chief and well-known political commentator Ben Shapiro drew a stark picture of how the loss of religion in America has led to a harrowing host of problems, including the growing threats to religious freedom and traditional values.

As Shapiro noted, however, this loss of faith has led to an even more fundamental breakdown: a loss of the desire to live at all, especially among the young. “There’s a crisis of meaning that is happening among young people. That crisis of meaning is directly related to the loss of religion in the United States. There is no doubt about this. The suicide rates have tripled among young people between 2006 and 2016. There’s a reason for this. Right now, young American children [who] are growing up in the freest, most prosperous country in the history of mankind are killing themselves at record rates. It is happening for a very specific reason. It is happening because we are not providing them meaning.”

Shapiro went on to argue that if transcendent truth is not taught and handed down to us, we tend to latch on to whatever popular platitudes (such as “diversity” and “equality”) that are being fed to us by the culture, because we all have the inherent desire to fill the God-sized hole in our hearts with something meaningful. But without a common purpose, Shapiro pointed out, “diversity tears people apart, because people tend to fall back into ethnic stereotyping [and] tribalism, and in large part that is what’s happening in the United States right now. We’re tearing each other apart because we don’t have a common vision of what the United States is supposed to be, and what we are supposed to be as human beings.”

The Founders understood this. Shapiro quoted George Washington, who said there exists “in the course of nature an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness, between duty and advantage. The propitious smiles of heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which heaven itself has ordained.”

“We have decided to abandon [faith] in the United States,” Shapiro said, “but this is where we have to fight back.” How do we do this? By trusting in the Wisdom that has come down to us through millennia, which is the foundation of western civilization. Ultimately, Shapiro concluded, we are in a fight about what is most fundamental: “We are fighting about the meaning of human life. We are fighting about what human dignity is worth, and what our purpose is in the universe. And if we lose that battle, there are no other battles to be fought.”

View Ben Shapiro’s entire speech here.

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Drug Addicts Need Treatment and Tough Love, Not Facilitation of Their Habit

Tue, 27 Mar 2018 10:42:02 -0500

Some of the largest cities in America are beginning a potentially fatal attraction to supervised injection sites for drug addicts.  These facilities allow addicts to consume heroin and other drugs—legally, without the inconvenience of federal, state, or municipal laws to hamper their habit. Proponents argue that the sterile environment and presence of medical professionals offers a relatively safe drug-taking experience. San Francisco became the first city in America to announce plans to open an injection site later this year, with Philadelphia promising to be the second and Seattle not far behind. New York City has been deliberating over the possibility for almost a year but a decision in favor is highly anticipated, perhaps before the long Easter weekend. Supervised injection sites are wrong on both moral and practical grounds. These sites may be supervised, but they are certainly not “safe,” as they are described by many social justice advocates, health care professionals, and drug addicts. They do represent a tragically bizarre way of thinking that passes itself off as harm reduction—currently in style with some liberals who believe it is somehow cruel to insist addicts seek treatment or that there is really some way to make the ingestion of a potentially lethal substance like heroin safer. Just as drugs like heroin and its many opioid derivatives are epidemic in America, supervised injection sites are becoming an epidemic in Canada, where the first such facility opened in Vancouver in 2005. Since then, two more have opened in the city, while Toronto and Montreal have also opened such facilities. The result, as to be expected, has not been a reduction in drug use or a decrease in heroin overdoses but quite the reverse. In 2017, a record 335 people died of opioid-related overdoses in Vancouver, a 43 percent increase from the year before. That all-time high was matched by a provincial level that soared to 1,420 drug deaths in 2017. Are these figures and is this striking failure prompting the liberal leadership in Canada to question their drug strategy? Yes, but not as you might think. Vancouver is now contemplating decriminalizing all illegal drugs because, inexplicably, this will somehow engender a “safer” drug climate. As evidence and common sense indicate, however, making illegal drugs easier to access and use will most likely lead to a proliferation of drug use and drug deaths. That is precisely what has happened, but liberal health care professionals still don’t get it. Just as we ask why high schools have become shooting galleries in 2018 when the same Second Amendment rights existed in 1958 without similar tragic results, we have to wonder what moral rot has promulgated a drug-addicted America and Canada.  As Christians, it is clear to see that the virtual eradication of God from public life and the exile of the Bible from public institutions has created a spiritual emptiness in our society that many people choose to fill with drugs. We recently saw the passing of Billy Graham—perhaps the greatest voice of Christianity of the last century. Having grown up watching Graham preach the simple message of the Bible in so many crusades around the world, I have been listening to a personal retrospective of his messages over the years that is available on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website. It is both intriguing and just a little bit frightening to listen to Graham confront the moral lapses in America in the 1950s and 1960s—the problems we faced then seem quaint in comparison to now. What Graham always offered—no matter the decade in which he spoke and the America that he experienced—was God’s[...]


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How to Find Healing When Your Spouse is an Addict

Mon, 26 Mar 2018 07:27:29 -0500

Marriage is an empowering act of love. Countless difficulties can be faced together in marriage, but sometimes complex issues can arise that can seem too much to bear. Substance addiction is one such issue. It can cause immeasurable hurt and wreak havoc in marriages. However, there are ways to manage the strains caused by addiction, and seek healing as a couple. Make an Early Intervention Addiction can have a destructive impact on all aspects of life. It can alienate loved ones, fracture families, and have serious consequences on finances. Unfortunately, communication, which is key to recovery, can be lost to the secrecy and tension addiction can create. It’s important to take action immediately once the signs of addiction are noticed in order to prevent enabling. Don’t rationalize addiction or excuse symptoms, either to yourself or to others—this will only perpetuate the problem. Instead, talk to your spouse when they are sober and explain how their addiction is hurtful and upsetting and how it is damaging the relationship. Do so calmly and sympathetically—arguing will only cause further conflict and denial. Marriage thrives on open communication, and recovery can be galvanized by it. Push for Treatment The best option for addiction istreatment. Your spouse may be reluctant to seek help, perhaps fearful of the consequences of doing so, so stress its importance to the relationship’s future. Don’t, however, make hollow threats. It’s crucial that what’s said be conveyed as sincere concern for your partner's well-being and the relationship. Thankfully, there are a number of options to aid recovery and self-care. Treatment can include inpatient and outpatient care, providing a supportive environment to achieve sobriety. A doctor can be valuable in determining what’s best for your spouse. This time will be difficult. Your spouse may be scared and anxious, so reassure them of your support throughout the process. Participating incouples therapy, during and after treatment, can provide additional tools to manage the stresses and strains faced. It may also assist in restoring trust and intimacy, as well as aiding in mutual understanding. Pursue Healing Being married to an addict can be emotionally and mentally exhausting, but it’s important to trust that addiction can be overcome. With this in mind, it’s imperative to recognize that addiction doesn’tdefine your loved one. They may be feeling shame and guilt, so try to focus on progress and an addiction-free future. Feeling hurt and upset is understandable, but layingblame on your addicted spouse can sustain a cycle of negative emotions. Their perception of reality will likely be influenced by addiction, and their behaviors may not seem as egregious to them as it does to others. It’s important to try to separate the person suffering from addiction with the actions that addiction causes. It won’t be easy, but it can help you remember that the person you love is still there, and can be reclaimed from addiction. Treatment can hopefully give them an appreciation for the struggles you’ve gone through, and you can both try to encourage a return to a positive family life. This form of reciprocal self-care can involve things like dates and family outings. A therapist will be able to offer additional exercises and activities that can facilitate the practice of self-care, both as a couple and as individuals. When the Situation is Untenable If your partner resists treatment or you feel they’ve become a threat to you or your children, then a temporaryseparation may be the best option. The actions caused by addiction do not mean they don’t care[...]


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Attacks on Counseling Threaten Pastors and Churches

Fri, 23 Mar 2018 10:31:57 -0500

Recently, California state legislators proposed a bill which would outlaw counseling—even that which is freely entered—for anyone who wanted help changing their unwanted same-sex attraction. We have seen such efforts before, but this one is noteworthy for how expansive it is—it covers individuals, associations, and “other group[s],” in addition to traditional businesses. As Alliance Defending Freedom points out, it could even implicate churches: “It could be a violation [of this proposed law] if a pastor encourages a congregant to visit the church bookstore to purchase books that help people address sexual issues, perhaps including the Bible itself, which teaches about the importance of sexual purity within the confines of marriage between a man and woman.” While outlawing such pastoral advice (the bill would consider it fraudulent “goods and services”), the bill completely endorses advice designed to cement same-sex attraction. Masquerading as consumer protection and medical oversight, this is simply blatant and open discrimination against one side of our society’s debate on sexual ethics. Yet sin wants to suppress the truth, and even the idea that someone can help someone else change their sexual attractions implies that what one may be doing is not all good and healthy. This threat implicates not just businesses and Christians in the public eye, but all Christians who hold to a biblical position on these issues. It won’t matter how one approaches the issue. We should always speak the truth in love because that’s the right thing to do, but that won’t exempt us from being targeted. Our biblical beliefs themselves are the target. It is crucial that all Christians in America understand this social dynamic. This legislative development in California echoes the situation involving Metro City Church in Michigan, which took heavy criticism for offering a program to help teens who are questioning their sexuality walk through their situation from a biblical perspective. The program approached the issue very cautiously—and was defined by merely discussing the matter of sexuality by looking at what the Bible had to say about it. Yet in response, numerous activists subjected the church and its pastor, Jeremy Schossau, to vitriolic online attacks, criticism, and threats (including potentially criminal behavior), and two state legislators have called for the church to be “investigated” for offering “conversion therapy.” While we have seen such vitriol often directed at those who advocate a biblical worldview on this issue, direct targeting of churches and pastors has been relatively rare. Yet this incident serves as a reminder that many of the religious freedom struggles we are facing will eventually reach any church which teaches an orthodox biblical position on questions of sexuality. Moreover, in this case, nothing remotely controversial was occurring; the church was just trying to go to the Bible for answers on this topic. Along with the proposed California legislation, these developments make clear that the problem is not the way something is said, but the Christian position on these issues itself is what is opposed. We must defend the ability of pastors and their churches to decide what is said in church . . . not the government. The First Amendment makes absolutely clear that the government has no power to tell churches what advice they can give or require a license to give that advice, and the First Amendment to the Constitution still guarantees the freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion. Additionally, the Establishment Clause of[...]


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