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The growth of the transgender movement has left many unanswered questions, but the media never seems to accurately represent both sides. In 2015, Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg collaborated with Dale O’Leary to produce a comprehensive 42-page policy paper, “Understanding and Responding to the Transgender Movement.” Now, Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation has provided an even more comprehensive treatment of the topic with a 251-page book. When Harry Became Sally is a fair and informed assessment of the transgender ideology written not to convert the activists, but rather to inform the average American that the implications of gender identity, gender fluidity, and transitioning may go beyond what we have been told by the media. In an engaging walkthrough of every aspect of this growing movement, Anderson makes it clear that we have much more to learn.The stories of psychologists, biologists, and philosophers give the book more depth than any other response to the transgender movement thus far. In a crusade dominated by emotion and skewed statistics, it is refreshing to readdress the core meaning of male and female and the differences between the sexes. Anderson moves beyond statistics and engages with literature of both sides, seeking to give readers the tools to address this movement in an informed and persuasive way.Even more moving are the testimonies of men and women who found “transitioning” was not the answer. Often squelched and silenced, the voices of these “detransitioners” are shared with no sense of bias, allowing raw experiences to do the talking and the readers to make their own conclusions.When one looks at the dangers of gender transition and accompanying reckless treatment plans, it becomes clear that transgenderism is turning medicine into a playground with no rules. Anderson draws from the care plans of physicians and psychologists to give us the data our newspapers would never publish. He tells the stories of doctors ambushed for asking questions and children being given more authority than an average adult. Things are changing, medicine is being politicized, and children are becoming the choosers, even though all the research points in the opposite direction as the path to comprehensive health.This deviates from the typical brash narratives of transgenderism. As Anderson makes clear, he is not seeking to destroy a movement, but to save lives. Never failing to speak with love, the author has given us one of the most systematic and sensitive approaches to gender identity. As we follow the different waves of feminism and philosophy, it is evident that this ideology had been percolating for years, but our society is only now coming to face the ramifications. His brilliant overview of policy shows that everyone is affected by this movement. While legislative bans and surgical operations seem like the simplest solution to our problem, they only put a Band-Aid on a very large wound and drive a wedge deeper into a cracked foundation.With grace and humility, Anderson acknowledges that our society is not perfect. In fact, he admits that societal stereotypes greatly contribute to many distortions of gender identity. Anderson is not seeking to validate stereotypes, but to illuminate how complex the issue is. We have rushed to medical and political decisions that have radical implications, without truly understanding what we have done. Anderson asks us to think, not simply with our hearts, but with our heads.Anderson’s main goal is to inform and encourage, reminding us that taking a position is not enough. There is still much to be done, still much to be explained, still much to be researched. In the meantime, we are doing irreparable damage and silencing voices, rather than empowering them. Anderson proves that we must hold on to the reality of humans being embodied as male or female, even while society diminishes the importance of human nature altogether. Our culture believes that breaking foundations is the only form of progress, but this will only destabilize the moral architecture of society.Hannah Borchers is an intern at Family Research Council.
After winning a legal battle to take a toddler off life support against the wishes of his parents, a children’s hospital in the U.K. denied oxygen and nutrition to a sick child in their care for over 24 hours. Twenty-three-month-old Alfie Evans defied the expectations of his doctors and survived for five days. He died on April 28th.What could make a hospital so determined to watch a toddler die? They claimed in court that it was in Alfie’s “best interest.”Alfie Evans had a degenerative neurological condition which doctors were unable to definitively diagnose. All that Alfie’s parents wanted was the chance to transfer the child to a hospital in Italy that was willing to treat him. They wanted to explore treatment options before giving up on their child. The U.K. courts refused to let that happen. This shows that the courts did not simply think that Alfie was incapable of surviving due to his condition. It exposes the fact that the government believes in its ability to make life and death pronouncements for those requiring medical treatment.This assertion that living isn’t in the “best interest” of someone who is ill or disabled might sound familiar from history class.The American eugenics movement in the Progressive Era (1890’s-1920’s) wanted to create a socially advanced society by better “breeding.” To achieve this genetically superior population, advocates of eugenics had a simple solution. It was to intervene in the family life of those lacking “usefulness”—people viewed as unable to contribute to society, economically or otherwise. Eugenics policies sought to eliminate these people from society through forced sterilizations and marriage restrictions to prevent procreation by those deemed “socially inadequate.”Eugenicists were confident they could manage human evolution to produce a more intelligent and productive population. Today, medical advances are making it easier to discover and abort unborn children with disabilities and other “unwanted” traits. As a result, the same ethical questions that surrounded the American eugenics movement remain relevant today.In pursuit of a more “perfect” society, the United States forcibly sterilized more than 60,000 Americans, mostly from 1907 to the early 1940’s, all to reduce the number of disabled or otherwise “undesirable” members of society.The disabled were a primary target of eugenicists. It was argued that their lives were of no use to society or to themselves. That’s a lot like saying it’s not in the "best interest” of an ill toddler to explore treatment options, but to die instead.This is the essence of the brutality of the eugenics mindset. Hospitals are places intended for healing and recovery. Yet, they weren’t places for disabled patients to receive that kind of treatment in the Progressive era. Instead, they were places where physicians targeted the vulnerable.To prevent the vision of the eugenics movement from becoming a reality, we must make sure no group of people become our contemporary “socially inadequate” class.It can be comforting to think about the evil of eugenics as a problem buried in the distant past. Western culture is more enlightened and tolerant now, right?Alfie Evans’ situation demonstrates that the West is not immune to the hate and condescension toward human life that was present in the eugenics movement of the Progressive Era.The way a society treats its most vulnerable members speaks to its moral health. The American eugenics movement sought to rid society of the weak. Our response to situations like Alfie’s should be to affirm that every life is worth living, and that the value of a life is not determined by the financial hardships or inconveniences it might cause.The government should not and cannot determine when life is worth living or when death is in someone’s “best interest.” All people have dignity as image bearers of God, who has granted us the right to live out the life He gave us.All persons deserve to be protected by our laws and accepted into our families. Neither the government nor physicians have the moral authority to say otherwise.Ronald Reagan often quipped, “A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take it all away.” Alfie’s case shows just how true this is. The U.K.’s state-run National Health Service is big enough to grant health care to the entire population. We’re now finding out it is also powerful enough to deny that health care when they see fit.Governments that hold this type of power will inevitably abuse it. George Santayana’s maxim that “those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it” is dead right. Currently, the U.K.’s handling of Alfie Evans’ situation echoes the talking points of the eugenics movement. This should terrify us.Arielle Del Turco graduated from Regent University in 2018.
Dear Friends,Bishop Robert Barron recently wrote a concise yet profound reflection on John 17:1-11. Here it is in full (emphasis mine):“Friends, Jesus’ prayer in today’s Gospel sums up his wonderful work as he is about to return to his Father. Jesus was, in his very person, the meeting of heaven and earth. God and humanity came together in him, and his entire ministry was the outward expression of that inward identity. By calling a scattered Israel to unity, inviting the poor to table fellowship, healing the sick in body and heart, and embodying the path of forgiveness and love, Jesus was bringing God’s will and purpose to earth.Now, in his Passion and Death, Jesus brought heaven all the way down into the world. He carried the divine light into the darkest places of the human condition—hatred, cruelty, violence, corruption, stupidity, suffering, and death itself—and thereby transformed them. And the proof that heaven is able to transform earth is, of course, the Resurrection. Now we know that cruelty, hatred, violence, fear, suffering, and death are not the most powerful forces in the world. Now we know that the divine love is more powerful. God’s kingdom has, in principle, broken the kingdoms of the world, which thrive upon, and in turn produce, those very negativities.”This is a great reminder for believers to not be afraid of witnessing this divine love to those who do not believe. Christ has transformed even the worst thing that can possibly happen in life—death. We truly have nothing to fear.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 MediaOne Year Later: The Impact of President Trump’s Executive Order Protecting Religious Liberty – Travis WeberFairfax County School Board to Teach Kids: “Biological Sex Is Meaningless” – Cathy RuseRemembering the Little Ones Up Above on Mother’s Day – Dan HartSponsors of California’s AB 2943 Claim It Wouldn’t Ban the Bible. Maybe. But What About These Books? – Peter Sprigg“Death Panels” Are Now a Reality – Patrina MosleySpeaker Series: NIFLA: Preserving Free Speech for Those Who Advocate for Women and the Unborn – Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.)Religious Liberty and National Security Go Hand in Hand Religious LibertyReligious Liberty in the Public SquareHow a ‘Far-Left Propaganda Machine’ Got a Respected Legal Group Expelled by Amazon – Greg Scott, The Daily SignalStudy: Trump Religious Freedom Order Helps 13.7 Million Receive Health Care and Social Services – Tyler O'Neil, PJ MediaTony Perkins appointed to US panel on international religious freedom – Jack Jenkins, Religion News ServiceCatholic Marriage Counselor Fired Because of her Religious Beliefs – ToddStarnes.comLGBT Activists Falsely Smear Those Protecting Children in Need – Monica Burke, The Daily SignalBusinesses to Avoid If You Can – Mark Bauerlein, First Things5 Reasons The Southern Poverty Law Center Is A Hate-Mongering Scam – Joy Pullmann, The FederalistTrump Religious Freedom Order Helps Charities Serve Over 13.7 Million in Need, Analysis Finds – Samuel Smith, The Christian PostCollege demands student remove Jesus, Bible references from graduation speech. Then she fights back – Dave Urbanski, The BlazeFight over cross at Florida public park resumes before appeals court – Kim Chatelain, The Times-PicayuneInternational Religious FreedomNorth Korea’s Prisoner Release: 3 Down, 119,997 to Go – Olivia Enos, The Daily SignalExplosions at 3 Indonesian churches leave at least 2 dead: reports – Max Greenwood, The HillArrested in Chengdu – June Cheng, WORLDState Department knocks China over church harassment – Joel Gehrke, Washington ExaminerMilitary Religious FreedomLawmakers Say Army May Have Violated Law by Targeting Baptist Chaplain – ToddStarnes.com LifeAbortionIowa legislature votes to ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected – Nancy Flanders, Live ActionPlanned Parenthood sues Iowa for banning abortion of babies with beating hearts – Claire Chretien, LifeSiteNewsNew Device Lets Pregnant Moms Take Ultrasound Pictures of Their Baby on Their Phone – Micaiah Bilger, LifeNewsThousands protest Trudeau’s abortion agenda at Canadian March for Life – Lianne Laurence, LifeSiteNewsI Had an Abortion. Here’s the Message I Want to Share With Other Women. – Victoria Robinson, The Daily SignalAdoption4 Things a Birth Mom Wants Adoptive Families To Know – Adrian Collins, Her View From Home10 things that will kill your orphan care ministry: Part 4 – Rick Morton, Ethics & Religious LibertyCommissionWill Placing Fewer Children in Foster Care Fix the System? – Naomi Schaefer Riley, Family StudiesThe Ache While We Wait to Adopt – Caroline Saunders, Her View From HomeBioethicsJudge Overturns California Law Legalizing Assisted Suicide – Steven Ertelt, LifeNews FamilyMarriageDaily Rituals Cultivate Lasting Love – Amber Lapp, Family StudiesHe’s My Husband, Not My Savior – Kelli Bachara, Her View From HomeEncouragement for New Moms – Alysse ElHage, Family StudiesEconomics/EducationNew Data Show California Kids’ Math Achievement Took A Nosedive After Common Core – Joy Pullmann, The FederalistWhy Employers Are Ignoring The Untapped Potential Of Stay-At-Home Moms – Joy Pullmann, The FederalistThis Is a Bad Look: In Current Farm Bill, Conservatives Prop Up Rich Farmers – Daren Bakst, The Daily SignalStraight Talk About the Success Sequence, Marriage, and Poverty – W. Bradford Wilcox, Family StudiesFaith/Character/CultureThe War on Wisdom – Dennis Prager, The Daily SignalYou Can Pursue Your Dreams and Love Your Family – Katie Warner, National Catholic RegisterThe Democrats’ God Gap – David French, National ReviewNevada bank robber, FBI agent who arrested him, pray at White House – Debra J. Saunders, Las Vegas Review-Journal‘Every Day With Her Was the Best Day:’ Remembering My Mom – Armstrong Williams, The Daily SignalThe Childhood Quality That’s the Best Predictor of Health, Wealth, and Happiness – Annie Holmquist, Intellectual TakeoutHuman SexualityMale Sexlessness is Rising, But Not for the Reasons Incels Claim – Lyman Stone, Family StudiesWhy A Compromise On Transgender Politics Would Be Capitulation – Walt Heyer, The FederalistConsent is No Cure – Craig Michael White, Ethika PolitikaHuman TraffickingUncovering The Silent Sex Trafficking Epidemic In New York City – Fight the New DrugChristian Rocker Risks Life in Undercover Mission to Rescue Victims in Sex Trade – Jeannie Law, The Christian PostPornographyYou Can Write An Open Letter to the Pornography Industry – National Center on Sexual Exploitation
The Fairfax County School Board is poised to make some radical changes to their sex ed curriculum.Already, each public school student must suffer through 80 hours of sex ed. That’s not a typo: 8-0.They call it “Family Life Education” but everybody knows that’s a joke. You won’t find lessons on building happy marriages and healthy families here. No, instead you’ll find hour after hour of instruction on your evolving “sexual identity,” on the proper handling of contraceptive drugs and devices, and on how to give consent for sex.(Here is a balanced review of every current sex ed lesson.) But even these lessons were too repressive for the kids, in the eyes of this longtime Democrat-controlled School Board.Last week at the Fairfax County School Board meeting, the committee of hand-picked sex ed advisors pitched an overhaul of the curriculum which will take things from bad to worse.A summary of the changes drafted by the Family Life Education Curriculum Advisory Committee, or FLECAC, can be found here (but don’t ever trust the School Board’s summaries; click on the Board Docs link for the full report, and skip to the final three pages to read the dissenting opinion). The vast majority of the 24 voting members – including a 9th grade student in braces – voted enthusiastically for all changes. Only three members voted against the changes.Here is what the Fairfax County officials want to do:Teach Fairfax kids they weren’t actually born male or female. Advisors scrubbed “biological sex” from all lessons and in its place put the politically-charged “gender-fluid” propaganda term “sex assigned at birth.” As one advisor explained: “Biological sex is meaningless!”Teach 7th and 8th grade students to embrace transgender identity, but don’t tell them about the risks. Advisors voted against telling children about any of the health risks and side effects from “gender transitioning.”Teach the daily drug regimen Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP, to every high school student every year. PrEP is designed for people “at very high risk” of contracting HIV (defined by the Centers for Disease Control as men who have sex with men without condoms). Leading AIDs experts have said that PrEP will lead to a public health catastrophe for encouraging risky sex, and PrEP has not even been approved by the FDA for use by children under 18. Stop telling students that “abstinence is the only 100 percent effective method” to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Advisors mocked abstinence education, then voted to take out this phrase.Teach students how to use every imaginable contraceptive drug, device, and cream, but don’t tell them about health risks or side effects.Strip parents of their right to opt their kids out of an 8th grade lesson on dating and family. (The Fairfax School Board thrusts all of these lessons on kids unless their parents affirmatively tell them to stop.)Remove an offensive word: The sex ed advisors have finally identified a word that was too offensive for students to hear. They voted to strip the word “clergy” from the list of trusted adults that students might consult with sexual identity concerns. The School Board is accepting public comments until June 8 on the proposed changes.They will vote on the changes at a school board meeting on June 14.Fairfax kids deserve better. And the Fairfax School Board members need to find another line of work.
“We shall find our little ones again up above.”-St. Zelie MartinRecently, the state of Nebraska passed a bill that is the first of its kind in the history of the United States. The bill allows parents who have lost a child due to miscarriage to apply for a commemorative birth certificate as long as a health care practitioner has verified the pregnancy. Unlike previous bills which mandated that the miscarried child must have been at least 20 weeks old, this bill has no minimum gestation period.The beauty of this bill is that it publicly acknowledges the life of the unborn, no matter how short their time may have been with us. Miscarriage is an experience that is all too common but often not spoken about in our culture. It is estimated that 15-20 percent of all pregnancies in the U.S. end in miscarriage. Anecdotally, it seems to me that this number is an underestimate—almost all of the couples I know who have multiple children have experienced at least one miscarriage, if not more.Although these children are unseen and never encountered face to face, their passing has an unavoidable impact on families, especially mothers. As one woman recounts in Karen Edmiston’s book, After Miscarriage, “I could no more pretend that nothing has happened than I could pretend to be fine if my husband died.” This natural response underscores the deep wound that all mothers who have lost children experience. Many women may blame themselves or feel ashamed of their miscarriage, and may even be unaware of their grief. Holly Cave recounts one mother who confided to her:“I thought to grieve you had to have lost something you’d met – like a person that you had talked to – or you could grieve over a baby that maybe you’d held,” she tells me. “I didn’t know anything about grief… I didn’t know whether I should leave that to people who had lost actual people, not a very, very tiny baby that you’ve never met.”As Edmiston explains, “Grief is necessary, and our children deserve the dignity of our mourning, the recognition of their infinite worth, the respect that is manifest in our grieving of their passing.” Grief is an affirmation of love. It is an affirmation that a child is missed. It is clear that our society needs to do a better job of honoring the grief of women who have experienced miscarriage. The Nebraska birth certificate bill is a great start in bringing a tragic event into the light in order to help facilitate healing for mothers and their families, especially by officially pronouncing a name for the unknown child. Although no parent should feel guilty if they have not thought of giving their child a name, this can be a beautiful way of affirming God’s gift of life. As Christians, we believe that the life in the womb of a mother possesses an eternal soul, and therefore, the child may possess a name. “Names are powerful,” Edmiston writes. “They identify us, shape us, connect us to one another. . . It is a small but very real gift you can give to the baby you were not able to see or embrace.”On this Mother’s Day, let us remember and pray in a special way for all those mothers who have children whose lives ended before they were born—from miscarriage, stillbirth, or abortion—or whose lives ended after birth, from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or other tragedy.Here are some resources to help those who are grieving the loss of a child:Allembrace.comNationalshare.orgCompassionatefriends.orgThroughtheheart.org
It seems that we have gone from the culture wars to the “fact-check” wars. One has been underway in recent weeks over a bill making its way through the California legislature.Put the words “California Bible ban” in a Google search and you will see what I mean.The California Family Council and Alliance Defending Freedom were among the first to raise the alarm that Assembly Bill 2943 could be interpreted to ban sales of the Bible. Snopes, FactCheck.org, and PolitiFact all tried to debunk the claim. The FactCheck piece reproduces an April 22 tweet from the bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman Evan Low, stating, “It does not ban bibles nor does it ban the basic sales of books as some would have you believe.” But a number of careful and thoughtful conservative writers—such as Michael Brown, David French, Rod Dreher, my colleague at Family Research Council Travis Weber, and Robert Gagnon (here and here) have continued to express alarm about the bill (albeit with slightly different emphases). Does Assembly Bill 2943 actually “ban the Bible” in California? In one sense, no—but in another sense, maybe. Sometimes, what is needed is a not a “fact-check” with a simple true or false answer, but a “perspective check,” explaining why some people make a particular argument and what evidence they cite to support it.What AB 2943 Does Not DoLet me state a couple things that are definitely not true about AB 2943 and the Bible, which some of the more sensational headlines about “California wants to ban the Bible” might be misinterpreted to imply.First of all, “banning the Bible” is definitely not the main purpose of AB 2943. Its purpose is to greatly expand an existing restriction (the first in the nation when enacted in 2012) upon the practice of “sexual orientation change efforts” (SOCE), now routinely referred to by critics (but rarely by practitioners) as “conversion therapy.” I have had concerns about some of the “Bible ban” talk, if only because the core issue—a ban on therapy for those with unwanted same-sex attractions—has sometimes been almost forgotten.It is a fact that some people with same-sex attractions experience those feelings as unwanted; some of those have sought therapy or counseling to overcome those attractions; and some of those have testified to the success of such therapy in helping them overcome those attractions, and now identify as “ex-gay.” LGBT activists are offended that some people with same-sex attractions don’t want to be “gay,” so they are attempting to eliminate that option by claiming that such therapy is ineffective, as well as harmful to those who undertake it. (Family Research Council disputes those claims.) California’s 2012 law prohibited SOCE only for clients who are minors, and only when conducted by licensed mental health providers. AB 2943 would expand the ban to apply to clients of any age (including consenting adults), and any type of counselor (including religious ones), as long as there is an exchange of money for the service.Secondly, there is no legislative language in AB 2943 that refers specifically to the Bible. As Snopes explained in its article debunking the supposed “Bible ban” claim, “California Assembly Bill 2943 does not mention the Bible, Christianity, or religion at all.” That sentence—with the key word being “mention”—is correct. (That does not mean it would not affect them, however.)Thirdly, even if AB 2943 could have an effect upon the Bible, it would only be upon the sale of the Bible. The bill is in the form of an amendment to the state’s consumer fraud laws, so there must be some commercial transaction (involving an exchange of money) to trigger its provisions. The bill does not prohibit the possession, reading, publication, teaching, or free distribution of the Bible.How Could AB 2943 Ban Sales of the Bible?The concern that AB 2943 could be used to ban sales of the Bible is an inference from, rather than an explicit statement in, the language of the bill. However, the bill is thirteen pages long, most of which is just a recapitulation of the existing consumer fraud law. To understand the change that is being proposed, one has to search and extract the substantive language from the bill. Here are the key segments, with ellipses ( . . . ) where text has been omitted. First is the bill’s definition of “sexual orientation change efforts” (emphasis mine):(i) (1) “Sexual orientation change efforts” means any practices that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation. This includes efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.Here is the actual language prohibiting SOCE:1770. (a) The following unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices undertaken by any person in a transaction intended to result or that results in the sale or lease of goods or services to any consumer are unlawful: . . .(28) Advertising, offering to engage in, or engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual.Key Words: “Behaviors” and “Goods”How does this apply to the Bible? Likely through two key words, highlighted in the bill text above.The first of these is “behaviors.” When most people think of “sexual orientation change efforts,” they probably think of the second part of the bill’s definition: efforts “to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.” LGBT activists claim that such “attractions or feelings” are innate and immutable. The same, of course, cannot be said about “behaviors,” which can be changed at will. I suspect, however, that those activists worried that if therapy to help people change their “behaviors” were permitted, it would constitute a loophole that would allow SOCE to continue.The problem with outlawing “efforts to change behaviors,” however, is that almost all moral and religious teaching about how we should live involves “efforts to change behaviors.” “Don’t lie.” “Don’t steal.” “Treat your father and mother with respect.” There are all sorts of religiously-rooted assertions directing people to modify “behavior.” Let us not forget the age-old admonition: “Behave!” When Leviticus 18:22 cites God telling Moses, “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female” (NASB), that clearly seems to be an “effort to change behaviors.”The second key word is “goods.” As noted above, the main purpose of the bill is to outlaw a certain type (or more accurately, a goal) of therapy, which would generally be considered a “service.” However, the ban on change efforts applies to any “transaction intended to result or that results in the sale or lease of goods or services to any consumer.” Although one bill critic has suggested that the language about “the sale or lease of goods” does not apply to SOCE, the term “any practices” in the definition of SOCE appears to be broad enough to encompass the practice of selling books.No, the text of AB 2943 does not mention the Bible. But since the “sale . . . of goods” could include the sale of books (such as the Bible), and since the moral teachings of the Bible include “efforts to change behaviors” (such as homosexual behavior), critics of AB 2943 have warned that it could, at least theoretically, be used to ban the sale of Bibles in California.Possible vs. LikelyNow, if AB 2943 is enacted, is California likely to leap directly to banning sales of the Bible? Perhaps not, for several reasons. As noted above, banning Bible sales is not the main purpose of the bill, and while the Bible supports sexual orientation change (see 1 Corinthians 6:9-11), that is hardly its main theme. At least initially, a prosecutor would likely seek an easier target, and one more directly relevant to sexual orientation change efforts. In addition, it is likely that the Supreme Court (at least in 2018, as currently constituted) would strike down any effort to ban sales of the Bible.Still, the argument that AB 2943 could, even theoretically, be used to ban sales of the Bible is an important one, if only because it demonstrates how sweeping and poorly written the bill is. That should be reason enough for California legislators to oppose it.While the Bible may be safe in the short run, I have less confidence in the long run. Zack Ford is a homosexual activist and writer with ThinkProgress who wrote a piece claiming it is “nonsense” that AB 2943 would “ban the Bible.” Yet ironically, that same piece links to a 2016 article Ford wrote asserting that “When Gay People Are Told That Homosexuality Is A Sin,” that “message alone is harmful.” The assertion that a piece of moral teaching from the Bible is not merely incorrect, but is tangibly “harmful,” seems like a way of laying the groundwork for legal restrictions upon that very biblical teaching.Which Books Would Be Banned?Even if sales of the Bible in California continue unhindered (for now), what about other books? As I have already stated, I think the argument is strong that AB 2943 could be used, generally, to ban the sale of certain books.Take a look, for instance, at the books in the photo at the beginning of this post. This is just a sample of the books I pulled off my bookshelf, from the library I have accumulated in 17 years at Family Research Council. The books pictured are not just ones that deal generally with Christian moral teaching on sexuality. Unlike the Bible, these eight books are specifically and entirely about sexual orientation change efforts.There can be no question that the sponsors of AB 2943 would prefer that books like this did not exist. Could the bill be used to ban their sale?Some supporters of therapy bans (a number of which have been enacted in the wake of California’s action in 2012) have argued that they do not prevent someone from expressing the opinion that homosexuality is undesirable, or expressing the opinion that it can change, or even expressing the opinion that therapy can facilitate such change. All they ban is someone actually undertaking such efforts. So maybe a few of these books would escape California’s new censors.But what about James E. Phelan’s Practical Exercises for Men in Recovery of Same-Sex Attraction (SSA)? This book appears to have no purpose other than actually bringing about sexual orientation change in the men who read it. Under AB 2943, how could California allow “any practice” that includes the “sale of” this particular “good?”Banning Books is TotalitarianIn the past few weeks, Christians have been shocked by the possibility of a state banning the sale of the Bible.But shouldn’t every American be shocked at the thought of a state banning the sale of any books based on their philosophical, religious, or moral viewpoint?Banning books because one doesn’t like their message?In the United States of America?In this country, you can sell all kinds of books.You can sell Mein Kampf, and The Communist Manifesto. Bookstores sell the celebration of sado-masochism of Fifty Shades of Grey, and the celebration of sodomy in Allen Ginsberg’s Howl.But now, California might ban the sale of Practical Exercises for Men in Recovery of Same-Sex Attraction? Or ban Coming Out Straight—just because it says that for “those who struggle with their own same-sex attractions,” it will “open the door to a new, happier, and fulfilling heterosexual life”?The idea of banning books—any books—because the authorities don’t like their message is totalitarian. In the United States of America, it should be unthinkable. California legislators should affirm that it is unthinkable—by voting “No” on AB 2943.Banning Therapy is Totalitarian, TooWhile the prospect of the Bible—or any books—being “banned” from sale has focused attention on AB 2943, I hope it will also bring people’s attention to the central issue:Banning a client-chosen goal of therapy is just as totalitarian.By framing their assault upon the freedom of therapists and clients as an exercise of the state’s power to regulate health care or (in the case of AB 2943) to prevent “consumer fraud,” LGBT activists have masked how unprecedented these therapy bans are in the history of American law or counseling.Note that what these bills seek to outlaw is not a particular therapeutic technique. While advocates will tell stories (some of them far-fetched) about being victims of “aversion therapy” techniques that have not been used in 40 or 50 years, the prohibition is not limited to “aversion therapy.” When pressed, sponsors must admit that they seek to outlaw ordinary talk therapy as well. What these laws and bills target is nothing more or less than a goal: “to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.” This is extraordinary.Supporters of the bans will also imply that people are “coerced” into undertaking SOCE. That problem (if it exists) could be resolved by requiring “informed consent” before therapy. The prohibitionists reject that, insisting on banning all therapy, even if the client desperately wants it. (Can you imagine the outcry from some of these same activists on the Left if conservatives argued, “Because some women are coerced into having abortions, the only solution is to prohibit any women from obtaining them”?)Therapy bans violate freedom of speech for therapists, freedom of religion for clients and therapists, and the privacy of the therapist-client relationship.They should outrage every freedom-loving American, and should be opposed by every legislator.
The passing of Alfie Evans is heartbreaking. There are no words to console a parent whose child has passed away before them, especially when their own government prevented potentially life-saving care from being administered.Alfie’s parents battled for months with the hospital in a desperate legal attempt to obtain appropriate medical care to address his neurological condition, but the British courts sided with the doctors by saying that Alfie’s condition was supposedly too hopeless for additional care. Consequently, Alfie died when the hospital decided to pull his life support without his parent’s’ permission.Even in light of the terrible optics of the British government’s handling of Alfie’s case, British Prime Minister Theresa May, in reacting to Alfie Evans’ case, was firm in her belief that medical experts should be the ones to make decisions in such cases, not the parents: “It’s important that decisions about medical support that are given to children and to others are made by clinicians, by those who are experts in that matter,” she said.Let this tragic story serve as a reminder to us, as Americans, to never give up an inch on our freedoms and our rights.Let’s not forget that in 2009, while everyone was busy calling Sarah Palin an idiot, she rightly called the Obamacare end-of-life provisions “death panels” because they allowed the government to ration out health care, essentially getting to decide who lives and who dies based on their “level of productivity in society.” This is exactly the kind of socialized medicine we are seeing at work in places like Great Britain, and Alfie and his parents are not the first victims.The Left and their “Hillary’s America” dream, where “it takes a village” to make the right decisions for your children and where our rights come from the government instead of God, cannot be given an inch to thrive in our society. Our children do not belong to the state, they belong to their parents. We continue to see this Leftist mindset infiltrate our society by not letting parents opt their children out of pornographic sex-ed lessons, striking down parental consent for minors to get abortions, giving hormone therapy treatment to a minor who believes they are a different gender, and on and on. God forbid America gradually becomes a society where cases like Alfie Evans and Charlie Gard are the norm.We must remain vigilant in protecting our God-given rights and take notice of every avenue this socialistic mindset tries to infiltrate in our courts, our education systems, and our health care.
There is a gaping hole in American foreign policy today, and it is negatively affecting our national security and the security of the world.“There has been a ‘religious freedom avoidance syndrome’ in the State Department,” said Dr. Tom Farr, President of the Religious Freedom Institute, during a recent FRC Speaker Series panel discussion held in Washington, D.C. “…The problem with that … is that the world is religious. And if it is the business of American diplomates, which it is, to defend American interests in a highly religious world, staying away from religion simply doesn’t make sense.”Professor Robert Destro of Catholic University of America pointed out that we need to work with other countries to make them realize that granting their citizens more religious freedom will actually promote their own self-interests. Studies show that increased religious freedom leads to the absence of religious violence, economic growth, a reduction in corruption, a decrease in infant mortality, better health outcomes, more literacy, more empowerment of women, and more.Professor Destro also made the case that America needs to help its own Muslim citizens present the benefits of religious freedom to their Muslim counterparts in the Middle East, because it’s obvious that someone of the same faith as them can make the case much more effectively than non-Muslims. As Dr. Farr pointed out, extremist ideologies cannot be destroyed with bullets, they must be destroyed by better ideas.Don’t miss the full panel discussion.Be sure to read FRC’s full analysis of the religious freedom/national security issue.
Dear Friends,If you pay much attention to what everyone is talking about these days—what some might call “news”—it’s easy to pick up on a troubling pattern. Kyle Smith at National Review has pinpointed it well: it’s “a culture of enmity.” It’s something that both liberals and conservatives are guilty of—a near constant state of indignation, usually aimed at someone who said something “hateful,” that must be made publicly known. As Smith observes, it can be easy to fall into the trap of fighting hate with more hate: “Any uneasy feelings about hate are washed clean when that hate is obviously justified. Hating haters, these days, produces a kind of ecstasy. It is easily mistaken for love.”As Christians, we are called to something higher. Even when we feel that we are justified in “calling out” someone for something that they have said or written that we find offensive, we need to slow down and give our response careful consideration. As David French has observed: “If you truly hate the offensive speech in question — if you truly believe it’s hurtful — why share it far and wide? Why amplify the offensive voice? Arguably, the worst rebuke for a troll, the worst punishment for the self-promoting radical, is indifference. I have my own standard for engaging bad ideas — First, I wait. I ask myself: Are these ideas gaining traction? Do they threaten to make a material difference in the marketplace of ideas? If the answer is yes, then I engage. If the answer is no, I let the offensive speech die a natural death.” In other words, ignoring offensive remarks can often be the most prudent course of action, especially in our current cultural climate of ubiquitous outrage.At the risk of sounding a little bit trite and nave, it’s time for Christians to start a revolution of positivity by infusing the public square with truth, goodness, and beauty. Instead of pontificating about the latest outrage on Facebook, share an insightful spiritual quote you heard from last Sunday’s sermon, or share a link to an inspiring story about the adoption of a needy child. The authentic Christian life should not solely be focused on exposing the darkness of evil. Our primary goal should be to magnify the lightness of good.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 ArticlesThe Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act: Ensuring a Free Marketplace of Adoption Providers – Travis WeberParents Stand Up for Children in Sex Ed Sit Out – Cathy RuseMore Sex Ed and Even More Stalinism at the Local School Board – Cathy Ruse and Austin RusePompeo: A Proven Leader for the State Department – Ken BlackwellPompeo Is Ready to Lead – William G. BoykinWhy the Alfie Evans Case Is a Full-Blown Example of Forced Euthanasia – Om NarayananCan You See Me? – Patrina MosleyFaith-Based Adoption Providers Must Be Allowed to Serve Needy ChildrenState Department Defends Actual Human Rights Instead of Made-Up Rights – Travis Weber12 Resources to Fight Sexual Exploitation, Part 2 – Peter Sprigg12 Resources to Fight Sexual Exploitation, Part 1 – Peter SpriggWho Owns Free Speech on the Internet?“Suicide Machine” Shows Us Why Combating Euthanasia Is Crucial to the Pro-Life Cause – Om Narayanan Religious LibertyReligious Liberty in the Public SquareNew California Bill Could Ban Sale of Some Christian Books (Yes, Really) – Mark Meckler, PatheosSchool District Forbids Parents From Opting Kids Out of LGBT Lessons – ToddStarnes.comSenators are failing the religious test for office – Jeremy Dys, The HillThe Unsoundness of Silencing Hate – Elizabeth Scalia, Word On FireSchool District Bans Principal From Inviting Parents to Pray at Flag Pole After Atheist Complaint – Samuel Smith, The Christian Post US Christian who refuses to pay taxes until abortion is defunded has first big win in court – Calvin Freiburger, LifeSiteNewsIowa Senate refuses to confirm Board of Medicine appointee over post on LGBTQ issues – William Petroski, Des Moines RegisterSouthern Poverty Law Center Quietly Deleted List of ‘Anti-Muslim’ Extremists After Legal Threat – Jack Crowe, National ReviewSatanists Declare War on Arkansas Ten Commandments – ToddStarnes.comInternational Religious FreedomState Dept. Convinced Andrew Brunson Is Innocent, Says Turkey Lacks 'Credible Evidence' – Samuel Smith, The Christian PostAttack on Nigerian church kills 15 worshippers – Onize Ohikere, WORLDTrudeau: ‘We will not apologize’ for valuing abortion over free speech – Calvin Freiburger, LifeSiteNewsMilitary Religious FreedomBaptist Army Chaplain Faces Punishment for Religious Beliefs – ToddStarnes.comSan Diego-based admiral declines to probe Bible placement at Okinawa hospital – Carl Prine, The San Diego Union-Tribune LifeAbortionHouse passes bill banning abortions based on Down Syndrome – Liz Navratil & Angela Couloumbis, The InquirerState Department: Abortion ‘is not a human right’ – Joel Gehrke, Washington ExaminerPro-Choice Movement Opposes Abortion Alternatives in South Bend – Alexandra DeSanctis, National ReviewCecile Richards Finally Leaves Planned Parenthood After 12 Years and 3.5 Million Abortions – Micaiah Bilger, LifeNewsAdoptionAdopting Priorities – Kathryn Jean Lopez, The Stream10 things that will kill your church's orphan care ministry: Part 1 – Rick Morton, Ethics & Religious Liberty CommissionFinally a family: Inside the adoption process for three Bedford County sisters – Siobhan McGirl, WDBJ710 things that will kill your orphan care ministry: Part 2 – Rick Morton, Ethics & Religious Liberty CommissionBioethicsThe State-Ordered Killing of Young Alfie Evans – John O’Sullivan, National ReviewAlfie Evans’ Death Illustrates The Monstrous Logic Of The Welfare State – John Daniel Davidson, The FederalistAlfie Evans and Our Moral Crossroads – Charles C. Camosy, First ThingsObamacareRepublicans have a long way to go toward fully repealing ObamaCare – Rachel Bovard, The Hill FamilyMarriageHealing a Hookup Culture through the Goods of Marriage – Timothy P. O'Malley, Family Studies“The Flash,” Fear, and the Kenosis of Marriage – Rachel Bulman, Word on FireDwayne 'The Rock' Johnson should put a ring on it — for his kids' sake – W. Bradford Wilcox, USA TodayEffective Marriage Preparation for the Next Generation Is More Important Than Ever – Tiffany L. Clyde and Alan J. Hawkins, Family StudiesThe New States’ Rights: Is Parenthood Defined by Biology or Government? – Adam J. MacLeod, Public DiscourseA Marriage Restored – Thomas Jeffries, Focus on the FamilyFor Most Couples Who Stay the Course, Marriage Gets Better With Time: An Interview with Paul R. Amato – Alysse ElHage, Family StudiesEconomics/EducationAnti-homeschooling bill defeated in California – The Desert ReviewWhy Christian Higher Education Still Matters – Chris Hazell, Word on FireNew National Test Scores Show Betsy DeVos Was Right About Public Schools – Mary Clare Amselem, Intellectual TakeoutHow Colleges Are Ripping Off a Generation of Ill-Prepared Students – Walter E. Williams, The Daily SignalFaith/Character/CultureWhy you should encourage your child to befriend the kid who’s “different” – Adrian Buntin, Ethics & Religious Liberty CommissionMake It Easy for Your Kids to Love God – Ray Ortlund, Desiring GodFrom the Depths of John Krasinski’s Catholic Past: A Quiet Work of Art – Sarah Perry, Benedict XVI InstituteWhen God Shouts – Pat Flynn, Word on FireChristian, choose hope in an age of cynicism – Jason Duesing, Ethics & Religious Liberty CommissionHuman SexualityThe School System Corrupts And Sexualizes Our Children And Calls It 'Sex Ed' – Matt Walsh, The Daily WirePromiscuous America: Smart, Secular, and Somewhat Less Happy – Nicholas H. Wolfinger, Family StudiesHow the New Corporate Elite Sold Same-Sex Marriage to the American Public – Scott Yenor, Public DiscourseEncouraging Intentional Dating in a Hookup Culture – Meg T. McDonnell, Family StudiesHuman TraffickingThis Man Rescues Children From Sex Slavery And Wants You To Know This About Backpage – Bre Payton, The FederalistPornographyJesus’s Compassion for Those Who Love Porn – Mo Isom, The Gospel CoalitionWhy redeeming our thoughts matters – Liz Wann, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
By now, almost everyone has heard about the case involving 23-month-old Alfie Evans of Liverpool, U.K., who has been suffering from an undiagnosed neurodegenerative illness. Last week, young Alfie was removed from life support after doctors at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool decided “there was no hope”. Alfie’s parents were also denied by the High Court of the U.K. the ability to take him to Italy for special treatment. On April 28, Alfie passed away after surviving for five days without a ventilator, which was removed against his parents’ wishes.While Alfie’s case has been in the public eye for just the last two weeks, the background of this has been surrounded in over a year of litigation. Alfie’s parents have been fighting Alder Hey since the hospital first tried to remove not just their parental rights, but Alfie’s life support as far back as December of 2017.If we step back for just a moment and put aside the horrifying display of totalitarianism coming from the High Court of the U.K. in this case, who evidently believe that the state owns its citizens and that parents cannot dictate how best to safeguard their children’s lives, there is the equally disturbing sub context of forced euthanasia in how this case has been handled.In all the commentary I have read by lawyers and judges regarding the hospital’s decision to remove Alfie from life support, there has been one constant. All of them cite a lack of “hope” in being the main reason why Alfie should no longer be kept on life support. In other words, since Alfie was going to die anyway, why bother keeping him alive? This should be frightening for all of us as we continue to see human dignity thrown by the wayside in favor of convenience. Further, when parents want to keep their children alive for as long as possible, “health care professionals” are instead the only ones who apparently have the final say.Alfie’s case shows us that euthanasia has become woven into human society on a global level. We are seeing instances occur more regularly where if someone has a deficiency of some sort that is deemed “terminal,” whether it be old age, illness, mental disability, physical disability, or any other ailment that might make them societally “inferior,” the only solution that is offered is to put them to death. In Alfie’s case, this death cult philosophy went so far as to prevent his parents from even being allowed to remove him from the hospital and leave the country to seek more advanced help for their child.While many aspects of this case have been heartbreaking, we have seen somewhat of a silver lining. The outpouring of love, compassion, and support for Alfie and his parents have been immense. From “Alfie’s Army,” a group of protestors in the U.K. in support of Alfie, to lawmakers here in Washington, D.C., and even Pope Francis in Rome, there is a strong coalition of individuals who displayed courageous dedication in trying to help Alfie get the health care he needed.But the bottom line is that another life has been lost due to forced euthanasia by the U.K. government, continuing a disturbing trend after the death of Charlie Gard last year. After fighting for several days after having been removed from life support, the young warrior Alfie was taken from us. Tom Evans, Alfie’s father, was reportedly seen giving mouth to mouth resuscitation to Alfie as he died in his arms. This should be a warning signal to all of us. When a government can decide that a toddler should die because it is what is most convenient, we are less than one step away from totalitarianism. We must remain vigilant, steadfast, and cognizant of these atrocities and redouble our resolve for pro-life activism so that tragedies like this can be prevented in the future.
“He asked her to have sex with a man for money. He told her that it would be just once and that it would be fun. He begged her and she just wanted to make him happy. He told her that she belonged to him… This became a cycle.”To most, “Julie” seems like a typical high school girl who has s boyfriend that seems mysterious and looks a bit older than her. Over time, you may notice changes in her appearance, mood, and activities. She may appear to have heightened anxiety around her boyfriend, who seems to be exerting subtle control over her. Do you see her?“Julie” is just one of the estimated 40.3 million people who are in modern slavery around the world today. Human trafficking is the third largest international crime industry (behind illegal drugs and arms trafficking), with 24.9 million people who are in forced labor. Sexual exploitation is the most commonly identified form of forced labor, which disproportionately involves women, children, and young girls.“The problem with human trafficking is that of course the victims are silenced,” says Monique Villa, the CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, which fights human trafficking. Many cases go unreported, so it is not possible to get an exact number of how many people are being exploited. By knowing how to recognize the signs of human trafficking and how to report it, more and more victims will be lead to the freedom.“An increase in reports will lead to an increase in victim identification.” – A21So you may be saying to yourself, “I want to help, but how do I know when this is going on?”A21, a non-profit organization that works with government authorities and the public to bring an end to modern day slavery, has launched a new campaign called “Can You See Me?” The purpose of this campaign is to help “the general public know how to recognize the indicators of human trafficking, and to report suspected scenarios. Through collective action, human trafficking identification and rescue will increase making it difficult for traffickers to operate.”“When a lot of people do a little, it adds up and makes a difference.”– Christine Caine, A21 Founder“What we have done today is launch a campaign not only aimed at government officials and police but at ordinary people … they can rescue anyone … that means that children, men and women who previously had no voice, now have the opportunity to be seen.” – Malina Enlund, A21 Thailand County ManagerA21 is part of a growing anti-trafficking movement that has now seen legislative results. Due to the bi-partisan efforts of Congress and the Department of Justice, legislation has recently been passed, signed into law by President Trump, and enforced to bring down online perpetrators of sex trafficking. This new legislation will make the reporting of suspected trafficking by ordinary citizens even more effective.In your everyday life, you could be interacting with individuals being trafficked in “seemingly innocuous situations.” Watch and share these videos of different scenarios. Each video page will give you a backstory, the signs to be aware of, and the law. You could be the one to help bring freedom to even just one victim of human trafficking.Always contact your local police authorities if you see that someone may be in immediate danger. To request help or report suspected human trafficking, you can also call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888, or text HELP to: BeFree (233733).
In America today, over 400,000 children are languishing in foster homes or other institutions, waiting for a chance to be adopted by a loving family. To help solve this crisis, it is obvious that parents who want to adopt need all the help they can get in being matched with a child, which means they need an adoption agency that understands their needs.Instead, adoptive families who are religious are finding themselves left out in the cold. In Massachusetts, Illinois, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and now Philadelphia, faith-based adoption agencies like Catholic Charities and Bethany Christian Services have been forced out of serving needy children because of their religious beliefs by progressive activist organizations like the ACLU, who demand that faith-based organizations affirm same-sex relationships or be barred from offering adoption services.However, since there are plenty of adoption agencies who already serve same-sex couples, barring faith-based agencies from serving needy children is simply outrageous and will only compound the foster care crisis. As Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) pointed out at a recent Speaker Series event at FRC, Christian churches are the ones who started healthcare and adoption services in the U.S. to begin with, so to bar them from practicing their religious beliefs as they serve the public is counter-productive and benefits no one. As he succinctly observed, “If it’s the truth, it can’t hurt anybody.”Because of the activism of extremists on the Left, legislation is clearly needed to protect faith-based adoption providers from discrimination. That’s where the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act (CWPIA) comes in. CWPIA simply “ensures all available agencies can continue to serve the 440,000 children in the foster care system and the more than 100,000 awaiting adoption.”Be sure to view Rep. Kelly’s full remarks here.For a complete analysis of the benefits of CWPIA, click here.
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.
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 ExploitationIn 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 CenturionThis 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 end-users of human beings who fuel the market for forced labor and commercial sex. In this way, we seek to prevent modern slavery at its source, since it is the buyers who create and fuel the market for sex and labor trafficking.Laura Lederer of Global Centurion gave a fascinating historical overview (dating back to 1688) of the “anti-slavery” movement, citing four separate streams:Faith-based (appealing to the Bible and Christianity to oppose slavery)Secular (appealing to U.S. founding documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution to oppose slavery)Feminist (opposing “sex slavery” beginning in the late 1800’s)Human Rights (the unfortunate term used by Lederer to describe the labor-focused support for “sex work” and “sex workers.” These groups believe that legalization and government regulation of “sex work” are the best ways to prevent “sex workers” from being exploited.)9. Prostitution Research & EducationThis group seeks to “Abolish Prostitution and Provide Real Alternatives.” Their mission statement describes them as an organization that:conducts research on prostitution, pornography and trafficking and offers education and consultation to researchers, survivors, the public and policymakers. PRE’s goal is to abolish the institution of prostitution while at the same time advocating for alternatives to trafficking and prostitution – including emotional and physical healthcare for women in prostitution. The roots of prostitution are in the assumption that men are entitled to buy women for sex, in racism, and in women’s poverty.Melissa Farley has been a regular speaker at the CESE events. Her website includes a valuable report on Pornography, Prostitution, & Trafficking: Making the Connections.10. Organization for Prostitution SurvivorsThe last three groups I will mention here are ones which provide direct services to “survivors” of the sex trade. This Seattle-based group:provides psychosocial accompaniment to survivors of prostitution, co-creating and sustaining efforts to heal from and end this practice of gender-based violence.It:facilitates healing from the harm of prostitution by providing the opportunity for survivors to share their experience of prostitution with others and assisting them with resources and referrals to meet identified needs, goals and aspirations.Peter Qualliotine of OPS spoke on a panel about the #MeToo movement and the “Movement to End Sexual Assault & Rape Culture.” He offered an interesting perspective on “consent” as the only prerequisite to sexual activity, warning that “‘consent’ just becomes one more thing that men have to get,” and suggesting that “mutuality” would be a better standard.11. TreasuresMonique Calderon of Treasures spoke at the CESE. According to its website:Treasures is a unique, faith-based outreach and support group for women in the sex industry.Our mission is to reach, restore, and equip women in the sex industry and victims of sex trafficking to live healthy, flourishing lives, and train others to do the same across the globe.One unique aspect of this organization is that it is:Located in the heart of the Adult Industry Capital of the World, in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. 90% of all legal porn worldwide is filmed, distributed, and or manufactured here.12. Sun Gate FoundationShamere McKenzie was another speaker who gave a first-person account of having been exploited. Here is how her organization is described:Sun Gate Foundation, a (501)(c)(3) non-profit, survivor led organization based in Alexandria, Virginia, is an independent organization addressing a critical gap in the human trafficking aftercare community by making a substantial commitment to survivors. Sun Gate Foundation funds educational opportunities provided to survivors of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Human Trafficking in the United States. The ultimate goal is to equip these young girls, boys, women, and men with a solid foundation to confidently go after their dreams.
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 ExploitationThe 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 ReframedDr. 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 DrugThis 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 PornYour 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 & commentaries by some of the top neuroscientists in the world, supporting the porn addiction model. (This dated paper was not a literature review and misrepresented most the papers it did cite.)24 studies linking porn use/sex addiction to sexual problems and lower arousal to sexual stimuli. The first 5 studies in the list demonstrate causation, as participants eliminated porn use and healed chronic sexual dysfunctions.Almost 60 studies link porn use to less sexual and relationship satisfaction.Over 20 studies reporting findings consistent with escalation of porn use (tolerance), habituation to porn, and even withdrawal symptoms. Over 45 studies link porn use to poorer mental-emotional health & poorer cognitive outcomes.Over 25 studies linking porn use to “un-egalitarian attitudes” toward women.YBOP founder Gary Wilson spoke at the CESE Summit, and said there about five studies that are relied upon by pornography defenders to try to debunk the overwhelming evidence in the studies listed above. He thoroughly debunked the debunkers, taking on five myths about pornography. The myths are:“Pornography is not addictive.”“Sex addicts simply have high sexual desire.”“Using pornography is good for your relationship.”“Using pornography makes you more egalitarian.”“Pornography has many benefits and few drawbacks.”Oh, and do you think that only religious conservatives have concerns about pornography? Gary Wilson is an atheist.5. Collective ShoutWhile the CESE Summit featured heart-wrenching stories about victims of sexual exploitation, it also featured inspiring stories of grassroots activism making a difference, especially when directed at corporations. Among the speakers at the Summit was Australian writer Melinda Tankard Reist, whose organization is described this way:Collective Shout is a grassroots campaigns movement against the objectification of women and the sexualisation of girls.Collective Shout is for anyone concerned about the increasing pornification of culture and the way its messages have become entrenched in mainstream society, presenting distorted and dishonest ideas about women and girls, sexuality and relationships.One of the best stories was about a protest against Mossimo, a clothing store that ran an online competition it called “Peepshow,” inviting ordinary women to send in pictures of themselves in their underwear. A prize was offered for the person whose photo got the most votes. Instead of a picture in her underwear, one woman submitted a picture of herself holding a sign that said, “Mossimo Peepshow = Sexist Rubbish.” Collective Shout got enough people to vote for this entry that it actually won the competition!Reist also has a personal website, and the book she edited, Getting Real: Challenging the Sexualisation of Girls, is available on Amazon.6. U.S. Institute Against Human TraffickingAccording to their website:The U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking intends to eliminate Human Trafficking in the United States.We will end Human Trafficking in the United States through prevention, combating demand, the rescue of victims, and providing safe refuge for the restoration of survivors.USIAHT is one of a number of organizations that bluntly describe sex trafficking as slavery:Sex Trafficking is modern day slavery, happening everywhere in the United States. The victims can be U.S. citizens or of any nationality, age, socioeconomic status, or gender. Sex Trafficking is a highly profitable crime that exploits an adult through force, fraud, or coercion, or that engages a child in any form of commercial sexual exploitation.Geoff Rogers of USIAHT was a speaker at the CESE Summit, and one of only a few who explained that men and boys can be victims of sexual exploitation, too.I would note that USIAHT’s name and a glance at their home page may give the impression that it is a federal government agency, but this is not the case. USIAHT is “a nonprofit, faith-based organization anointed by God to fight against human trafficking in America with truth and integrity, showing the love of Jesus Christ to all involved.”
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.
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.
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 ArticlesReligious Freedom and National Security – Travis WeberSummary of Trump Administration Policy on Transgender Military Service – Peter SpriggWhat Mike Pompeo understands about religion and national security – Travis WeberMike Pompeo, religious freedom and a safer world -- how are these three things connected? – Tony PerkinsStudents Partake in National Walkout for the Unborn – Patrina MosleyDems in a panic as a major Planned Parenthood funding source is at risk – Kelly MarcumMike Pompeo Has the Correct Perspective on Human Rights – Travis WeberCardi B Chooses Life – Patrina MosleyFRC Resources to Combat the Extreme Sex Ed Agenda in SchoolsFor the Sake of Our Security at Home, We Must Focus on Religious Freedom Abroad – Travis Weber Religious LibertyReligious Liberty in the Public SquareSen. Cory Booker Violating Constitution: Voting Against Pompeo for Religious Beliefs – Ken Klukowski, BreitbartFreedom of Speech Is the Antidote to Division – Buzz Brockway, The Daily SignalEx-NFL Cheerleader Says She Faced Discrimination for Christian Faith – ToddStarnes.comInternational Religious FreedomChina Bans Online Bible Sales as It Tightens Religious Controls – Ian Johnson, The New York TimesPastor Andrew Brunson trial begins with US religious freedom envoy Sam Brownback in court – Harry Farley, Christian TodayWhy the US Must Befriend Hungary’s Populist Leader – Mike Gonzalez, The Daily SignalAn Iranian Refugee’s Terrible Journey to God – Annahita Parsan, Christianity TodayVietnamese court jails Catholic activist for subversion – CruxChina Campaign Against Church Crosses Intensifies, Conditions 'Deteriorating' as Christians Cry Out – Stoyan Zaimov, The Christian PostJailed Chinese Pastor’s US Family Seeks Mercy – CBN NewsMilitary Religious FreedomAdvocacy Group Wants Bible Removed from POW/MIA Display – Matthew Burke, Military.com LifeAbortionMissouri House passes 20-week abortion ban – Morgan Gstalter, The Hill350 Student Groups Will Join Pro-Life Walkout to Protest Abortion – Katie Yoder, LifeNewsTennessee moves to defund Planned Parenthood, cut all state funding – Cassy Fiano, Live ActionApplying Lincoln’s Logic to the Abortion Debate – Aaron Brake, The StreamInterview with David Quinn on Ireland’s Upcoming Abortion Referendum – Susan Yoshihara, C-FamThe Future of the Pro-Life Movement Is in Africa – Stefano Gennarini, Public DiscourseGrateful women leave pregnancy resource centers positive reviews online – Sarah Terzo, Live ActionAdoptionAdoption and The Firing of Kevin Williamson – Dale M. Coulter, First ThingsTwo Indiana moms just chose life, thanks to safe haven baby boxes – Live ActionBioethicsVigils continue for Alfie Evans despite hospital complaint – Dorothy Cummings McLean, LifeSiteNewsSurrogacy: No Laughing Matter – Jennifer Lahl, Public DiscourseThe Physician-Assisted Suicide Movement Is Gaining Ground in Two Major Ways – Gerard T. Mundy, Public Discourse FamilyMarriagePlease Don’t Hide Your Happy Marriage – Alysse ElHage, Family StudiesGet Thee a Flawed Wife – Lore Ferguson Wilbert, Christianity Today‘We Love Each Other So Much, We’re Getting Divorced’ – Jennifer Hartline, The StreamThe Effects of Marriage Begin Before Marriage – Scott Stanley, Family StudiesThe Social Assistance of Marriage – ConviviumEconomics/EducationBetsy DeVos Says Federal Government Has Failed to Improve Education – Rob Bluey, The Daily SignalFaith/Character/CultureWatch Your Words – Justin Coulson, Family StudiesHow the church can respond to a post-Christian culture – Matt Chandler, Ethics & Religious Liberty CommissionJordan Peterson on Adam and Eve – Christopher Kaczor, Public Discourse7 Things All Great Friends Do – Jasmine McCain, RelevantChildren Need a Crisis of Faith – Jon Bloom, Desiring GodMorrissey’s Defense Of Free Speech Underlines What Both Right And Left Get Wrong – David Marcus, The FederalistThe share of American young adults living with their parents is the highest in 75 years – QuartzThe Beauty of Submission – Amy K. Hall, The StreamHuman SexualityGender Dysphoria and Children: An Endocrinologist's Evaluation of I am Jazz – Michael K. Laidlaw, Public DiscourseAlaskans reject transgender 'bathroom bill' – Emily Shugerman, IndependentParent Kicked Out Of Sex Ed Class Because Planned Parenthood Doesn’t Want Them To Know What They’re Teaching – Grace Carr, The Daily CallerHow To Respond With Reason And Compassion To Transgender Bullies – Nathanael Blake, The FederalistCan Sex Be Casual? Searching for Connection on Campus – Brittany Basile, Public DiscourseWhy We Must Stop the Gov't From Outlawing the Ex-Gay Movement – The Christian PostThe Sex Education We Need – Abigail Rine Favale, First ThingsHuman TraffickingDOJ Seizes Backpage.com Weeks After Congress Passes Sex Trafficking Law – Larry Magid, Forbes5 Facts about the ‘Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act’ – Joe Carter, Ethics & Religious Liberty CommissionGood News for Christians Battling US Sex Trafficking – Christianity TodayVictory: Amazon Halts Sale of Child Sex Dolls – Dawn Hawkins, National Center on Sexual ExploitationPornographyDigital Fingerprints: How Your Porn May Be Tracking And Watching You – Fight the New Drug
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.
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 aftermath of having an abortion, there is help for you. The number one thing you can do today is repent and receive the forgiveness that is offered in Jesus Christ. There is nothing he won’t heal and nothing he can’t make new again. Allow him to give you a fresh start and an assurance of eternal life. Secondly, it’s okay to admit that you need help, even if you already profess to knowing Christ as your Lord and Savior. Salvation is the starting point, healing is the journey. There are ministries out there who are waiting to hear from you to help walk you through the healing of God’s forgiveness.Cardi B – Congratulations, and thank you for speaking a truth that’s unpopular but is truly empowering for women.If you or someone you know needs to start the healing process of a post-abortive experience, here are some resources to help:Books:Created to Live: Becoming the Answer for an Abortion-Free CommunitySurrendering the Secret: Healing the Heartbreak of AbortionForgiven and Set Free: A Post-Abortion Bible Study for WomenRetreats/Community:Deeper StillOperation OutcrySilent No More Awareness CampaignRachel’s VineyardOther Resources:Care Net’s resources for women impacted by abortion
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.Interview: “Activist Mommy” Elizabeth Johnston on “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins”Who's in for the Sex Ed Sit out? by Tony PerkinsDespite Leftist Outcry, Americans Don’t Want Federally Funded Pornographic Sex Ed by Kelly MarcumPlanned Parenthood Sex Ed? Only in La. Law Land by Tony PerkinsPublic School Assembly Tells Kids That Sex Changes Are Perfectly Normal by Cathy RuseSexual Risk-Avoidance Education by Arina Grossu and Peter SpriggVideo: Collateral Damage in the ‘War on Women’ Debate: Sexual Risk Avoidance Education Caught in the CrosshairsThe 2017 Coalition Letter to President Trump Advocating for Sexual Risk-Avoidance EducationVideo: Transgender Ideology in Public Schools: Parents Fight BackA Parent's Guide to the Transgender Movement in Education by Peter SpriggTrump Returns Authority Over School Transgender Policies to States and Localities by Peter Sprigg
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.
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 ArticlesBolton could be the first national security chief to prioritize religious freedom – Ken Blackwell and Frank WolfCitizenship Matters – Ken BlackwellSupreme Court should spare pro-lifers from compelled pro-abortion speech – Cathy Ruse and Patrina MosleyDems refuse to recognize Trump's first-rate federal court picks – Ken BlackwellAs Science Advances, the Pro-Life Movement Grows – Patrina MosleyBen Shapiro: America Must Have a Shared Duty to God to Survive – Dan HartDrug Addicts Need Treatment and Tough Love, Not Facilitation of Their Habit – David KraydenHow to Find Healing When Your Spouse is an Addict – Caleb AndersonAttacks on Counseling Threaten Pastors and Churches – Travis WeberDoes Down Syndrome Keep the “Good Life” Out of Reach? – Patrina MosleyOf Guns and Prodigal Fathers – Peter Sprigg Religious LibertyReligious Liberty in the Public SquareUniversity Reverses Ban on Conservative Student Who Said There Are Only 2 Genders – Samuel Smith, The Christian PostArchdiocese appeal over Christmas ads on Metrobuses back in federal court – Chantalle Edmunds, WTOPGoogle defeats lawsuit claiming YouTube censors conservatives – Jonathan Stempel, ReutersGoogle snubbed Easter with no doodle for 18th year in a row, Christians say – Frank Miles, Fox NewsInternational Religious Freedom'Jesus is Building His Church' Inside Iran, Millions Watching Christian Satellite TV – George Thomas, CBNNigerian Christians call for abducted schoolgirl’s freedom – Onize Ohikere, WORLDAmerica shouldn't send endangered religious minority refugees back to Iran – Nina Shea, Fox NewsAfter the fall: the church in Vietnam – June Cheng, WORLDAmbassador Brownback: World faces a 'critical moment' for religious minorities – Courtney Grogan, CNACourt: Pakistani Christians Must Reveal Religion to Vote or Apply for Jobs – Christianity TodayYoung Mom Clings to Christ as Tolerance Shifts in India – Brian Orme, The Gospel CoalitionXi Jinping’s Village – Dan Hitchens, First ThingsReligious Totalitarianism, Secular Totalitarianism, and Other Threats to International Religious Freedom – Daniel Mark, Public DiscourseChina makes ‘major change’ in religious freedom oversight – Mindy Belz, WORLDMilitary Religious FreedomExonerated! Air Force Restores Career of Colonel Punished for Religious Beliefs – ToddStarnes.comAir Force veteran sues after being pulled from ceremony mid-speech – Cristina Corbin and Perry Chiaramonte, Fox News LifeAbortionAn Open Letter to Pro-Life Sidewalk Witnesses – Constance J. Thatcher, First ThingsMississippi enacts strongest pro-life law in the country – Calvin Freiburger, LifeSiteNewsFamily welcomes sextuplets after refusing selective reduction abortion – Nancy Flanders, Live ActionForcing Pro-Life Pregnancy Care Centers to Advertise for Abortion is Unjust and Unconstitutional – Andrew T. Walker, Public DiscourseVideo: How can parents instill a pro-life ethic in their children? – Rachel Metzger, Ethics & Religious Liberty CommissionPlanned Parenthood showed this photo in court…and promptly lost lawsuit against pro-life group – Jay Hobbs, LifeSiteNewsWashington Gov. signs law forcing insurers to cover abortion, contraception – Calvin Freiburger, LifeSiteNewsPlanned Parenthood: Force Christian Doctors and Nurses to Perform Abortions – Micaiah Bilger, LifeNewsObama HHS Abortion Mandate Suffers Massive Defeat, Can’t Force Catholic Employers to Fund Abortions – Steven Ertelt, LifeNewsAdoptionThe beauty of open adoption: Birth mother wipes tears of son’s adoptive mother – Nancy Flanders, Live ActionBucking Trump Deregulation Agenda, State Department Chokes International Adoption – Jayme Metzgar, The FederalistCatholic Social Services Refuses to Change LGBT Adoption Policy After Philadelphia Halts Program – Stoyan Zaimov, The Christian PostFamily Finds, Adopts Abandoned Baby Just Three Weeks After International Move – Kara Bettis, FaithwireIn the War Against Faith-Based Adoption Agencies, Children Lose – Autumn Leva, The Daily SignalBioethicsReport reveals Oregon assisted suicide law crafted with deadly loophole – Anna Reynolds, Live ActionEuthanasia Aloha: Death Laws Come to Hawaii – John Zmirak, The StreamObamacareAbortion Over ObamaCare – Wall Street Journal FamilyEconomics/EducationAmerica’s Quiet Carnage – Nathan Nielson, First ThingsA Tragic Abandonment of Identity: The Secularization of America's Religious Colleges and Universities – Arthur Goldberg, Public DiscourseMarriage7 Things the Easter Story Teaches Us About Marriage – Lisa Lakey, Family Life6 Tools for Healthy Communication in Marriage – Mike Bechtle, Focus on the FamilyResilient Commitment: Overcoming the Intergenerational Effects of Parental Divorce – D. Scott Sibley, Family StudiesDoes Faith Reduce Divorce Risk? – Glenn Stanton, Public DiscourseWhy you need to hug your kids … even when they try to squirm away – Calah Alexander, AleteiaFor Black Boys, Family Structure Still Matters – W. Bradford Wilcox, Family StudiesNo Ring, No Baby: How Marriage Trends Impact Fertility – Lyman Stone, Family StudiesA Good Marriage May Help Keep You Thin, Study Says – Jamie Ducharme, TimeFaith/Character/CultureWe are failures, mired in mediocrity. Then comes Easter – Tom Hoopes, AleteiaWhat’s Happening to Men is Alarming for Everyone – Jennifer Hartline, The StreamReports Of Christianity’s Death In Europe Have Been Greatly Exaggerated – John D. Martin, The FederalistIt All Comes Back to God – Alan Shlemon, The StreamThe Deficits of the iPhone Generation – Christopher O. Tollefsen, Public DiscourseThe Left’s Doomed Crusade to Erase Gender Differences – Ben Shapiro, National ReviewHuman SexualityShould Those Seeking Freedom From Unwanted Sexual Attractions Be Denied Therapy? – Judy Roberts, National Catholic RegisterParents Barred From Questioning 'Gender Identity' Changes at Virginia School District Meeting – Samuel Smith, The Christian PostWalmart removes Cosmopolitan magazine from checkout aisles – Fox BusinessHuman TraffickingPower of FOSTA-SESTA Felt within 48 Hours of Senate Passage: Websites Move Swiftly to Shutter Prostitution Ads – Lisa L. Thompson, National Center on Sexual ExploitationThe Fight to Stop Child Sex Trafficking Far From Over – Jeff Brodsky, The Christian PostPornographyFortify: The New Online Platform That’s Changing Recovery – Fight the New DrugResources to Help You Fight Pornography Addiction – Doug Burford, Focus on the FamilyThere is Nothing ‘Adult’ About Pornography – Rob Schwarzwalder, The Stream
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.
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 love. And that’s what Christians need to continue to provide to a drug-ravaged America and Canada. But love should never be confused with enabling an alcoholic to drink or a drug addict to use—at public expense. Safe injection sites are sham operations that perpetuate drug habits, exacerbate the drug epidemic, and contribute to the moral collapse of society. Addicts need treatment, not “safe” places to use. They need Christ, not easier access to the poison that is killing them. The hard truth that liberal leaders of license must face is that supervised injection sites are killing centers and, after all is said and done, ineffective in curbing drug use or rebuilding lives.David Krayden (@DavidKrayden) is the Ottawa Bureau Chief for The Daily Caller. He is a former Air Force public affairs officer and communications specialist for the Canadian Parliament.

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