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Yesterday, Arina Grossu, Family Research Council’s Director of the Center for Human Dignity, along with other pro-life leaders held a press conference outside of a new D.C. abortion business that Steven Brigham, one of the most infamous abortionists in America, opened up. The following is a transcript of her speech:It is incredibly unfortunate that we must be here today. It is an outrage and a shame that Steven Brigham, an incredibly dangerous and unscrupulous abortionist, has opened up a new abortion business in our nation’s capital. Brigham runs sham, Gosnell-like abortion operations wherever he sets up shop. Brigham has had his medical licenses revoked in six states because he practices illegal scams and gross negligence such as starting abortions in one state, then crossing state lines to complete them in order to skirt the rule of law. Brigham commits abortions, even late-term abortions, although he has never completed his residency in either obstetrics or gynecology. He was caught illegally committing abortions in Maryland although he was never licensed there. He has operated at least two illegal late-term abortion businesses. Brigham was arrested in 2010 and even faced multiple counts of murder charges involving late-term abortions. He has lost at least $6.5 million in malpractice lawsuits and has injured many women including an 18-year-old woman who had such severe injuries that she had to be transported via helicopter to Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore. She was rushed into an emergency surgery where doctors removed the remains of her partially aborted baby, removed and repaired part of her injured small intestine, and repaired her ruptured uterus.He has lied to previous landlords about the nature of his business and has been evicted from various offices, owing $37,000 in back rent to one Delaware landlord. He did not even tell this landlord about his abortion business until pro-life leaders told him. He also has a history of fraudulent billing practices.This man is a danger to women and to society, trespassing the rule of law time and time again. Where is the outrage from Planned Parenthood or feminists who purport to care about women’s health and safety? We are deeply concerned about women’s health and safety at the hands of Brigham. His practice reveals to us the horrific and shocking reality of the abortion industry.D.C. must immediately stop Brigham from bringing his horrific, shoddy abortion practice to our nation’s capital. We call on officials to close this business immediately. How has Brigham been able to hop around states, bringing with him his horrific abortion practices? Shouldn’t abortion facilities have more oversight than veterinary clinics, dentists’ offices, tanning salons, and tattoo parlors? All of our states and the District must pass abortion facility regulations to protect the health and safety of women from dangerous abortionists like Brigham.
If you want to do something on Memorial Day Weekend to honor those fallen and missing in our wars, I suggest that you watch a magnificent PBS documentary entitled, “These Hallowed Grounds.” PBS describes the film this way:Hallowed Grounds visits 22 of America’s overseas military cemeteries, and tells the story of these remarkable places with historical sequences about the wars and battles that created them, and moving vignettes and interviews about the men and women who rest in them. Created after World War I and World War II, these cemeteries are some of America’s great national treasures.There are a number of different ways to watch it. PBS provides this site that allows it to be watched online. It can also be watched here on YouTube. Finally, there is an embedded player in this review of the film by Warner Todd Huston (May 29, 2016) on Breitbart.Even though the documentary describes only the graves of those lost and missing in World War I and World War II, one’s thoughts of those who fell, were wounded, or lost in previous and later wars are not far from one’s mind.“These Hallowed Grounds” is a powerful antidote to the narratives often taught to the young that America has not been a force for good in the world. The story of the fallen and the foreign friends of Americans who visit the cemeteries tell a far different story.Please watch and remember with your children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. They deserve to know the truth about America and its hundreds of thousands of heroes.
Yesterday, the Christian governor of Jakarta, Indonesia – Basuki Tjahaja Purnama – decided to drop the appeal of his blasphemy conviction, for which he will now serve two years in jail. The reason? Fears of the possibility that the sentence may be lengthened, and concerns about continued violent clashes between factions on different sides of the case. Whatever the precise reason (and criminal defendants often have several reasons factoring into their decision), allowing outside social pressure to affect the continued incarceration of Mr. Basuki is an absolute tragedy.Blasphemy laws – aside from being a violation of the human right of freedom of religion – are notoriously abused to target political and social opponents. In the past, Indonesia hasn’t been at the center of such misuse – as has Pakistan – and for this reason such developments are all the more concerning. While Mr. Basuki is obviously entitled to make his own decision regarding his case, the circumstances surrounding it are a bad omen for the future of Indonesian democracy and rule of law in that country, and do not set a good precedent for standing up to hardline Islamists favoring such laws.The application of the laws themselves to people like Mr. Basuki – who though not Muslim was charged and convicted (and sentenced beyond what the prosecutor even asked for!) of the religious crime after he cited a Quranic verse in public debate (and after radical Muslims protested) – is bad enough. This is a human rights problem. It compounds the problem when such laws are abused and taken advantage of to eliminate political opponents – which is a rule of law problem. Both issues need to be corrected in Indonesia (and other places) going forward.
First, it was Star Wars director J.J. Abrams. Now, Avengers director Joss Whedon has joined the Planned Parenthood bandwagon. A Whedon-directed video entitled “UNLOCKED” was recently released portraying Planned Parenthood as the savior of women by providing cancer screenings, STD prevention classes, and birth control.It’s a video that is long on emotional, slow-motion tracking shots accompanied by heart-rending orchestration, but short on factual reality. The first myth of “UNLOCKED” is that without Planned Parenthood, countless women would be robbed of vital cancer screenings. But this is simply not the case. According to Planned Parenthood’s own numbers, they provide a fraction of care nationwide:Planned Parenthood performed 271,539 Pap tests in fiscal year 2014-15, out of 28.1 million tests nationwide. That’s less than 1% of the nation’s Pap tests.Planned Parenthood performed 363,803 clinical breast exams (these are not mammograms) in fiscal year 2014-15, out of 20 million exams nationwide. Planned Parenthood’s U.S. market share for clinical breast exams is 1.8%.Planned Parenthood’s market share in the nation’s mammograms is 0.0%. Meaning, no, they do not provide any mammograms… at all.It’s clear from these numbers that the 13,540 health care centers in the U.S. would have no problem picking up an additional 1-2% of cancer screenings, showing that Planned Parenthood is in no way “vital” to women’s health care.Another myth propagated by the video is that women need birth control pills in order to save them from a life of uneducated misery in servitude to a baby. This is dramatized by showing a pregnant young woman crumpling up a college scholarship, while her mother wails in agony. But if “female empowerment” is the goal, why portray an unplanned pregnancy as a hopeless void? Can’t a situation that millions of women have experienced instead be an opportunity for new beginnings and the pursuit of new dreams? The answer is a resounding “yes.” Here is another example. And here is a direct response to Whedon’s video from a woman who experienced an unplanned pregnancy herself: “Unlike the video, I had scholarships and I used them and I kept them because that’s obviously an option. And I succeeded.”An additional glaring hypocrisy presented in “UNLOCKED” is that it positively portrays STD prevention classes and birth control pills side by side as if both are vital services to promote young women’s health. But if preventing STDs is the goal, birth control pills certainly aren’t going to help. They will in fact heighten the problem if used by young, unmarried women because of the lifestyle they inherently promote: consequence-free sex with whoever you want.All of this is mere window dressing to what Planned Parenthood’s business is really all about: abortion. It’s by far the most massive irony in “UNLOCKED”—the biggest “service” that Planned Parenthood provides isn’t given even a passing mention in the video. One third of all abortions committed in the U.S. are done at Planned Parenthood, and the resulting baby body parts are sold for profit. It’s no surprise that Joss Whedon decided not to include that scene in the final cut.
This article first appeared at CareNet.This new research shows that the nervous system of an embryo is quite complex by the time most women find out they are pregnant.A study published in March 2017 reveals "adult-like" pattern of nerves established before the end of the first trimester. This new dose of science and technology should inform our fetal pain debate.The study generated 3D images at the cellular level of actual human embryos ranging from 6 to 14 weeks gestation (4 to 12 weeks post-fertilization), as never before seen. These images show nerve, muscular, cardiovascular, and other organ system development. The results are incredible. For example, below is an image of the complex peripheral nerves of an embryo at 7 to 8 weeks gestation (5-6 weeks post-fertilization):fetal pain.pngThe second image shows the nerves on the right hand of embryos from 7-11 weeks gestation (5-9 weeks post-fertilization). Even at 7 weeks gestation, the development is quite advanced—even more so at 11 weeks. All of this is happening in the first trimester!fetal pain 2.pngWhat this new research shows is that the nervous system of an embryo is quite complex even by 5 weeks post-fertilization when quite often, the mom is only finding out that she is pregnant after missing her first period. We already know that "pain receptors appear around the mouth at 4 to 5 weeks post-fertilization, followed by the development of nerve fibers, which carry stimuli to the brain. Around 6 weeks post-fertilization, the unborn child first responds to touch. By 18 weeks post-fertilization, pain receptors have appeared throughout the body."We also know that there is no question, biologically speaking, about whether an unborn child can feel pain by 20 weeks post-fertilization at the very latest, since by then they have the full anatomy to process pain and also the neurobiology to transmit painful sensations to the brain and to perceive pain. Studies show that babies can feel pain by their increased hormonal stress response and by wincing when they are exposed to painful stimuli.It should come as no surprise that it is common practice for doctors to administer anesthesia before performing in-utero surgeries on preborn babies. When administered, anesthesia decreases the stress response in preborn babies when compared to their hormone levels when painful stimuli are applied without any anesthesia. Twenty states have already passed laws banning abortions after 18 or 20 weeks post-fertilization because of the capacity for unborn children to experience pain, with Iowa being the latest to pass such legislation.A few weeks ago, people gathered for the March for Science. If we are to be honest, science shows us the clear-cut reality and complexity of embryonic development in the earliest weeks of the first trimester. This is an inconvenient reality for those who rely on ideology instead of science to deny the humanity of preborn children and their capacity to feel pain.In our culture, there are those who will have more compassion for animals than for babies who are given a death sentence because of their age and location. We will continue to fight until every one of these vulnerable preborn babies are protected -- by our laws and our culture. It is not enough to recognize that these children feel pain when aborted; we must empower those around us to make life-affirming choices. Only then will our nation become one where it is safe to be in the womb.
Dear Friends,A few weeks ago, an event occurred on my morning commute to work that has stuck with me ever since. As I was exiting the metro car at my station stop, I noticed a man standing to the side of the door outside of the car, waiting for myself and other passengers to exit before entering. His head was turned to his right, angrily glowering at a woman who was also outside of the car waiting to get on. As I stepped out of the car, I overhead the woman say in a low, even, and slightly nervous tone, “You heard me.” I instantly knew that she must have just uttered an insult, and was doubling down on it.As I walked out of the metro station, I felt a churning clump in the pit of my stomach and a tinge of shame warming my cheeks. It was the same feeling I always get when I witness one person maltreating another, or right after I myself have wronged another person and immediately realize it. Think of those times when we observe a bitter argument, with insults and vilifications flying in every direction, or even in smaller disparagements that go unanswered but are no less cutting and hurtful. That bitterness seems to hang in the air, taking on a metaphysical reality that can be clearly sensed by our God-given consciences. Since our conscience is built in to our souls and delineated by our minds, and since our personhood is a union of mind and body, it makes perfect sense that our bodies react this way. When we witness the sins of others or commit sin ourselves, they physically manifest in our bodies, leaving a pit in our stomach and a bruise in our heart.I say all this to emphasize an important principle of Christianity: nothing we do in life occurs in a vacuum. Every action has consequences. This reality is often ignored and rejected in our culture of individualism. Somehow, the idea of “victimless crimes” has become an accepted fact. This is wrong—our burning cheeks and sensitive souls tell us otherwise. The fact that we identify ourselves primarily through relationships (as a son, daughter, wife, husband, member of an organization, etc.) underscores how interconnected we are with one another and why our actions affect those around us so intimately. May we always remember that great adage that the character of Maximus instills in his soldiers in the film Gladiator: “What we do in life, echoes in eternity.”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 ArticlesGOP religious freedom bill restores free speech, not 'dark money' – Mandi AncalleCounterpoint: Trump — Destroying the Johnson Amendment – Travis WeberMotherhood is Life-Giving – Dan HartQuestions Abound Regarding Air Force Academy Commandant Nominee – Peter SpriggYes, Trump’s HHS Appointee Charmaine Yoest is Pro-Life. Deal With It – Dan Hart Religious Liberty"Free to Believe"Geologist Denied Samples from Grand Canyon Because of His Faith – CBN NewsProfessor Tells Student to Stop Reading Bible – ToddStarnes.comChristian Firefighter, Axed for Sharing His Faith, Now Heading to WA High Court – Mark Martin, CBN NewsVictory! Teacher fired for giving student a Bible -- gets job back – Todd Starnes, Fox NewsInternational Religious FreedomGlobal Persecution Rises for First Time in Three Years – Medium‘Under Caesar’s Sword’: A Project to Aid Persecuted Christians – Jim Graves, National Catholic RegisterThe Land Of Athanasius and Its Lessons – Charles J. Chaput, First ThingsPersecution of Christians isn't rare – Franklin Graham, USA TodayCatholic School Faces LGBT Backlash for Canceling Gender Show for 5-year-olds – ToddStarnes.comSentencing is a stark reminder of the global Islamist threat – Mischel Yosick, American Islamic Forum for DemocracyWhoever Wins Iran's Election, Its Religious Minorities Lose – Kristina Arriaga, Wall Street JournalHuman rights lawyer unjustly tried for subversion in Hunan, pleads guilty after months of torture – ChinaAidMilitary Religious FreedomTrump’s Army Secretary nominee: The left trying to ‘paint me as a hater’ for my Christian views – Peter LaBarbera, LifeSiteNewsReligious Liberty in the Public SquareReligious Liberty and the Common Good – Gerard V. Bradley, Public DiscourseGay couple can sue Kim Davis for damages, appeals court rules – Lianne Laurence, LifeSiteNewsChristians Fight for Freedom of Conscience in Indiana – Peter Heck, The Christian PostBible club for 1st-, 2nd-graders shut down by school district after complaint – Dave Urbanski, TheBlaze‘Catholic’ college bans Chick-fil-A over gay students’ complaints – Peter LaBarbera, LifeSiteNewsLifeAbortionThe Problem With Linking Abortion and Economics – Lori Szala, The New York TimesLeft Wants To Make Abortion An Economic Issue To Sideline Its Atrocities – Cullen Herout, The FederalistThe Real Life of the Pro-Life Home – Rachel Jankovic, Desiring GodThaddeus was almost aborted because of a rare disorder. His parents chose life, and saw a miracle – Doug Mainwaring, LifeSiteNewsAdoptionChildren Before Politics – Kevin D. Williamson, National ReviewBill protecting the religious freedom of Alabama faith-based adoption agencies officially becomes law – Jordan LaPorta, YellowhammerEmotional Video of Adopted Man Thanking His Birth Mother Goes Viral – Steven Ertelt, Life NewsBioethicsSex Scandal: The Drive to Abolish Male and Female—and Childbearing – Alastair Roberts, The Gospel CoalitionThe Embryo Orphanage: A Cautionary Tale – Ana Maria Dumitru, Public DiscoursePhysician-Assisted Suicide Tells People Like Me That Our Lives Are No Longer Worth Living – Zachary D. Schmoll, Public DiscourseCanada Considering Proposal to Allow Euthanizing Mentally Ill Patients – Eric Metaxas, Life NewsInternational furor erupts over embryo jewelry business – Samantha Gobba, WORLDObamacareAetna to exit Obamacare exchanges in 2 remaining states – ReutersThe House Has Passed Its Health Care Bill. Here’s What Senate Republicans Are Up To. – Sen. Mike Lee, The Daily SignalFamilyEconomics/EducationThe Decline of Mobility and the Decline of the Family – Robert VerBruggen, Family StudiesThe Men Who Take 'Women's' Jobs – Alana Semuels, The AtlanticHidden horror of school sex assaults revealed by AP – Associated PressMarriageThe Norm of Marital Monogamy Is Not Crumbling – Alan J. Hawkins, Family StudiesStuffing Emotions is a False Way to Keep the Peace in Your Marriage – Lysa TerKeurst, Focus on the FamilyWhat Makes Motherhood Worthwhile? – Rhonda Kruse Nordin, Family StudiesVideo: Reclaiming Fatherhood Promotes Equality – The Wheatley InstitutionThe Brain Boosting Power of Motherhood – Ashley McGuire, Family StudiesWhat our stay-at-home mom taught us about human dignity – Jill Waggoner and Allison Hucks, Ethics & Religious Liberty CommissionFaith/Character/CultureBreaking Free From Identity Politics – Stephen Adubato, Ethika PolitikaThe real tragedy in the shooting of Jordan Edwards – Jemar Tisby, CNNHistorian George Marsden revisits C.S. Lewis’s remarkable case for 'Mere Christianity' – Richard Ostling, GetReligionHow to Take Every Thought Captive – Rob Schwarzwalder, The StreamHuman Sexuality4 Really good reasons ‘hooking up’ is a bad idea – Chloe Mooradian, AleteiaHow Can You Live Without Sex? – Ed Shaw, The Gospel CoalitionDemocrats introduce bill to ban LGBT ‘conversion’ therapy – Steve Weatherbe, LifeSiteNewsSharing Dinner and Jesus with Strippers – Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra, The Gospel CoalitionHow Conversion Therapy Bans Will Trap Transgender Children – Marcus Gregory, The FederalistToo young to cross a street but old enough for a sex change – Julie Borg, WORLDResearchers Identify 6,500 Genes That Are Expressed Differently in Men and Women – Weizmann Wonder WanderPornography4 Dozen Millennials Were Asked If They’d Watch Porn With Their Partner—Here’s What They Said – Fight the New DrugIs Porn OK If It’s Made by Women? – Chelsea Samelson, Acculturated
Every May, our country is given the opportunity to reflect on and appreciate a tremendous blessing that God has bestowed on humankind: the gift of motherhood. Mother’s Day is this Sunday. It’s a day to celebrate and honor not just our own mothers, but the capacity that is present in all women to be life-giving, spiritual mothers.Motherhood is indeed “life-giving” in two fundamental ways: in both a spiritual and physical sense.First, the spiritual sense. We all have experiences of “mother figures” in our lives that illustrate why spiritual motherhood is so critical to human flourishing. Perhaps the foremost aspect of spiritual motherhood is that wonderfully mysterious and extraordinary power of empathy. This ability to deeply understand and journey with another person in a profoundly personal way is multifaceted, whether it be in shared rejoicing in our successes, offering true comfort when we are hurting, or challenging us to be more of who we are. Mother figures are the ones that make us feel comfortable in our own skin, and make the world feel like a more restful and cozy place. They are the ones that gaze at us in wonder and affirm us for who we are, reminding us of how good it is that we simply exist, which is a reflection of God’s unconditional love for us.Mother figures are everywhere, enriching our lives in limitless yet often overlooked ways. They are the grandmotherly neighbor who lovingly coos at our newborn child on the sidewalk; the friendly station manager lady that greets each commuter with a personal and genuine smile; the female friend who knowingly listens to our relationship woes with real pathos; the lady across the street who bakes a fresh batch of chocolate-chip cookies to make us feel welcome in our new neighborhood. Without this kind of spiritual motherhood permeating everyday life, society would disintegrate into savagery.Physical motherhood is life-giving in a more obvious sense, but no less mysterious. Anyone who has witnessed the birth of a child cannot help but be in awe of the magnitude of the moment and its hint of the eternal; a brand new human life, once hidden and silent behind a veil of skin, suddenly there in front of you, wriggling, bloody, pink, and wailing. This illuminates a wonderful paradox of motherhood—it is at once fierce in its labor of love as the mother toils relentlessly through one contraction after the next to propel her child into the world, and yet soft, warm, and tender as she cradles the new life she has delivered.This motherly fierceness/tenderness never ceases; think of the ferocity of a mama bear protecting her cubs or the Italian mother giving a piece of her mind to anyone foolish enough to wrong her son. Now think of the tenderness that only a mother can bestow; the gentle doting that we gratefully soak up when we are sick, the kisses and caresses we receive just for being a son or daughter, the hurt that our mother feels just as much as we do when we are suffering—mothers suffer not just beside us, but with us, helping us to navigate restless waters.Mothers are therefore essential to building a culture of life. They nurture life in the womb and in their families and lovingly cultivate their homes, which in turn cultivates society. Mothers bring people alive by giving them an encounter with the Source of love, which is Christ—who is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6)—the life-giving presence in all of us.Mary, the mother of Christ, further illuminates another crucial aspect of motherhood in the Gospels. Luke 1:38 illustrates her example of gratitude and trust in the Lord: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.” In saying this, Mary recognizes and acknowledges the Source of her child, entrusting him to God the Father.Her trust is tested further in Luke 2:34-35 with Simeon’s prophesy regarding her son and herself: “This child is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” The unimaginable faith that she possessed to endure her own innocent son’s torture and crucifixion, at the very foot of his cross, no less (John 19:25), is a testament not only to the fierce lengths to which mothers will suffer with their children, but also to the trust they place in knowing that their children’s fates are ultimately in the Lord’s hands.In the same way, all mothers are called to ultimately let their children go, entrusting them to the Father. Think of all the mothers who have lost their children to miscarriage, abortion, or untimely death, and of all mothers who are suffering because of their children’s estrangement from them. Even though their children are beyond their reach, they are mothers nonetheless who are called to follow the example of Mary and entrust their children to the Lord.The unique, God-given capacity for motherhood that all women possess is something that our utilitarian culture tends to downplay and even treat with derision. This is tragic. When gender differences and the unique facets of humanity that emanate from womanhood (and manhood) are tamped down because of political correctness, everyone loses. The motherly instincts of women should instead be celebrated for the countless ways that they enrich all of our lives.This Mother’s Day, let us thank God for the boundless blessings of all the mothers in our lives, both spiritual and physical.
A mere five years ago, Air Force officer Kristin Goodwin could have been discharged from the military for engaging in a homosexual relationship or a same-sex marriage.Yet last month, it was announced that Col. Goodwin has been nominated for promotion to brigadier general—and to be the next commandant of cadets at the U. S. Air Force Academy. Goodwin is a 1993 Academy graduate who openly identifies as homosexual and will be moving to Colorado Springs with her same-sex spouse and two children they are raising together. Her promotion and appointment, however, must be confirmed by the Senate.When the news broke publicly in the Colorado Springs Independent, Mikey Weinstein, founder of the ironically titled “Military Religious Freedom Foundation,” could hardly contain his glee that “the Air Force has chosen a gay female officer to be its next USAFA Commandant!” However, Weinstein also groused, “Should not USAFA and Senior Air Force leadership be touting this action as an historic milestone of jovian magnitude as well?”Christians, however, may have legitimate concerns about what Goodwin’s appointment will mean for the future of religious liberty at the Academy. Since the repeal of the 1993 law against homosexuality in the military, the Air Force has seen incidents in which airmen have been punished for espousing the biblical view of human sexuality and marriage. Senior Master Sergeant Phillip Monk was relieved of duty by a commander who identifies as homosexual at Lackland Air Force Base for defending marriage as the union of one man and one woman (although after the intervention of pro-family groups, he received a commendation instead).At the Air Force Academy itself, a cadet was recently ordered to erase a Bible verse written on a whiteboard that was provided to cadets in their dorms to write personal messages. Although Weinstein insisted that the words of the New Testament created a “hostile environment” for non-Christians, the flap merely encouraged more cadets to exercise their freedom of speech and religion by posting Bible verses on the whiteboards, and brought members of Congress down on the Academy for engaging in “viewpoint discrimination.” Can we expect more such discrimination under Goodwin’s leadership?A few days after her appointment, however, the website God and Country (devoted to “Military Religious Freedom and Christian Service”) raised a different question:BGen(S) Kristin Goodwin, soon to be the newest Commandant of Cadets at the US Air Force Academy, commissioned into the Air Force with the Academy Class of 1993.The policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was instated in February of 1994. Anyone who entered the military prior to that date answered a question about homosexuality during the enlistment process. Those who answered in the affirmative were refused enlistment.How was Col Goodwin — an open homosexual — able to enter the Air Force?The author acknowledges that many may see this as a non-issue in the post-DADT military. But he does raise a question unique to Goodwin serving as commandant of cadets at the Academy—namely, the Academy’s honor code.The code declares, “We will not lie, steal, or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does.” God and Country notes that “cadets practically venerate the Honor Code (in spirit, if not in deed).”The article speculates, “No doubt someone will work a hypothetical story into an early Philosophy class”:It could make for a fascinating thought experiment.Is it “wrong” to lie to enter the US military — or the Air Force, whose first core value is “integrity”? Is it wrong to “live a lie” as a cadet under the Honor Code?What if you eventually become a leader, a General, or the Commandant of Cadets — now charged with enforcing that standard of integrity and honor?This was too much for Mikey Weinstein. He filed a 14-page complaint with the Air Force Inspector General, charging the Air Force officer he believes to be responsible for the God and Country website with several violations, such as “Disrespect Toward a Superior Commissioned Officer” and “Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and Gentleman.” (The author did not seem alarmed—noting that this is the 9th time Weinstein has filed such a complaint, to no effect.)If anything, however, the God and Country post may have understated the concerns raised by Goodwin’s appointment to a position enforcing the Academy’s Honor Code.That’s because the author seems to have fallen prey to the nearly universal misunderstanding of the difference between the 1993 law enacted by Congress and the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy proposed by President Bill Clinton.During his 1992 presidential campaign, Bill Clinton had stated his intention to lift the long-standing ban on military service of those who identify as homosexual. Within days of his inauguration in January 1993, he announced moves to make good on that promise.This triggered a firestorm of criticism, both from Congress and within the military. By the time his six-month deadline for drafting an executive order arrived, it was clear that Congress would not tolerate a complete removal of the policy against homosexuality.So in July 1993, President Clinton proposed a compromise policy colloquially referred to as “don’t ask don’t tell.” As usually described by the media, “DADT” meant that the military would no longer inquire about the sexual orientation of service members (“don’t ask”), and therefore people with same-sex attractions could serve as long as they did not publicly identify themselves as homosexual (“don’t tell”).However, Congress did not simply accept President Clinton’s proposed compromise. Instead, they continued to debate the issue, and ultimately enacted a statutory “Policy concerning homosexuality in the armed forces,” 10 U.S.C 654, as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. President Clinton signed this into law on November 30, 1993.The new law (which Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness retroactively dubbed the “Military Personnel Eligibility Act of 1993”) did not reflect the relatively laissez-faire attitude toward homosexuality that is usually associated with “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” Instead, it explicitly restated the principles behind the existing policy of exclusion, declaring:“The prohibition against homosexual conduct is a longstanding element of military law that continues to be necessary in the unique circumstances of military service.”and“The presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.”The law also declared flatly that “A member of the armed forces shall be separated from the armed forces” [emphasis added] if it was found:(1) That the member has engaged in, attempted to engage in, or solicited another to engage in a homosexual act or acts . . .(2) That the member has stated that he or she is a homosexual or bisexual, or words to that effect . . .(3) That the member has married or attempted to marry a person known to be of the same biological sex.However, Department of Defense regulations announced in December 1993 and codified in February 1994 bore more resemblance to the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy proposed in July than they did to the actual law enacted by Congress and signed by the president in November.For example, the regulations stated, “Sexual orientation is considered a personal and private matter, and homosexual orientation is not a bar to service entry or continued service unless manifested by homosexual conduct.” The law, however, says that “persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would create an unacceptable risk.”Note that “sexual orientation” is an umbrella term that, depending on the context, can refer to any one, or a combination, of three separate things—a person’s sexual attractions, their sexual conduct, and their self-identification.By the time the 1993 law was repealed in December 2010 (and the repeal took effect in September 2011), the popular concept of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” had evolved to where people thought “you can be gay in the military”—in both attractions and behavior—as long as you were not “out of the closet” with your self-identification.However, in 1993, the proposed DADT “compromise” allowed a focus on both self-identification and conduct. For example, a July 1993 newspaper article described it this way:Conduct is the key. Even people who have admitted being gay have a chance, under the language of the policy, to stay in the military if they can prove they are celibate, have always been celibate and will remain celibate.The actual law enacted by Congress, however, made clear that all three elements of a “homosexual orientation”—attractions, conduct, and self-identification—remained problematic for the military. The statement, “The presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity [emphasis added] or intent to engage in homosexual acts would create an unacceptable risk,” addresses sexual attractions. And both the conduct (“the member has engaged in . . . a homosexual act”) and the self-identification (“the member has stated that he or she is a homosexual”) remained grounds for separation from military service. This was the state of the law until September 2011.In light of this, it should be clear that the issue involving Goodwin’s integrity is not just limited to how she may or may not have answered a question in 1993 or 1994. Whether she complied with federal law regarding eligibility for military service relates to both her sexual conduct and her sexual attractions at any point up until September 2011.To be specific—if anyone at any point during Goodwin’s accession into the military and the repeal of the 1993 law in 2011, engaged in a homosexual act, they would have been in violation of the law (both the 1993 law and possibly the law against sodomy in the Uniform Code of Military Justice) and subject to separation from the military. If, during that time, a person experienced same-sex sexual attractions, it could be interpreted as “a propensity . . . to engage in homosexual acts.”In my research on Goodwin’s career, I have not found any published evidence that she violated the law. Weinstein, citing a source he says spoke with Goodwin, declared in his complaint that Goodwin “relates that she did not become aware of her sexual orientation until well after DADT went into effect.”However, there is nothing to prevent members of the Senate from raising these questions, as well as questions about her commitment to freedom of speech and religion for cadets. They may be crucial to determining whether she is suitable for promotion, or fit to command the Air Force Academy—and, as God and Country pointed out, to oversee its honor code.
Dear Friends,Over the past few years, it has been clear that the mainstream media does not have a clue about the real world implications of the attacks on religious liberty that believers, particularly Christians, have been suffering. People like Donald Vander Boon and groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor have been repeatedly bullied by their own government into forced participation of an extreme LGBT and abortion agenda. For too long, the media has either ignored these stories or falsely portrayed believers as the “extremists.”Now, a few cracks in this one-sided façade are starting to appear. A recent New Yorker article about Rod Dreher (author of The Benedict Option) quotes Andrew Sullivan, a Catholic writer who identifies as homosexual: “‘There is simply no way for an orthodox Catholic to embrace same-sex marriage,’ he said. ‘The attempt to conflate that with homophobia is a sign of the unthinking nature of some liberal responses to religion’ … ‘Rod forces you to understand what real pluralism is: actually accepting people with completely different world views than your own.’” The author goes on to restate Rod Dreher’s position: “You [progressives] wouldn’t sue Orthodox Jews or observant Muslims. Please don’t sue us, either.”This echoes the point that believers have been making for years: that “tolerance” and “equality” must apply to those with sincerely held religious beliefs in a free society. In view of the vast number of people and organizations that have been persecuted for their beliefs, the highest levels of government must take action to protect their First Amendment rights. That is why FRC is hosting a special program “Free to Believe: Religious Liberty in the Land of the Free” that will be webcast on May 2nd at 2 pm EDT to discuss the need for positive protections for religious freedom, and steps that can be taken to secure religious liberty for all Americans.Thank you for your prayers and for your continued support of FRC and the family.Sincerely,Dan HartManaging Editor for PublicationsFamily Research Council FRC Articles4 Entertaining Moments During Oral Arguments Over Banning Churches From Public Funds – Travis WeberThe First 100 Days to Securing America – Ken BlackwellStudents for Life Holds #Sockit2PP Rally Outside U.S. Capitol – Joshua DentonWhere Are the “Equal Rights” of Unborn Babies? – Dan Hart Religious LibertyReligious Liberty in the Public SquareProtecting Religious Liberty Safeguards All Children on the Playground Equally – Nathaniel Bruno, Public DiscourseFlorida Teacher Bans Cross Necklaces in Class, Promotes LGBT Day of Silence – Samuel Smith, The Christian PostA popular public school Bible class in West Virginia faces legal challenge – Joe Heim, The Washington PostAt Berkeley, the Mob Wins Again – David French, National ReviewReligious liberty still at risk under Trump – Nick Eicher, WORLDInternational Religious FreedomForgiveness: Muslims Moved as Coptic Christians Do the Unimaginable – Jayson Casper, Christianity TodayNearly One Christian Killed Every Hour for Practicing Faith – Edwin Mora, BreitbartAnti-Christianity In France – Jean Duchesne, First ThingsReligious Freedom Watchdog For the First Time Urges Blacklisting for Russia – Patrick Goodenough, CNS NewsUSCIRF names China flagrant religious freedom abuser in annual report – ChinaAidMilitary Religious FreedomMilitary Chaplains Turn 100 Years Old as 'Attacks' on Service Rise – CBN NewsHouse Dems Push To Derail Mark Green For Army Secretary, Call Him ‘Homophobic’ – Jonah Bennett, The Daily Caller LifeAbortionNew study finds preborn babies may feel pain in the first trimester – Cassy Fiano, Live Action NewsPlanned Parenthood honors abortion “champions” – Nick Eicher, WORLDVideo: Abortions increasing, services decreasing at Planned Parenthood – Live ActionTrump Admin Looking at Stopping Obama Ruling Forcing California Churches to Pay for Abortions – Steven Ertelt, LifeNews10 Reasons Congress Should Defund Planned Parenthood, From Women Who Have Been There – Theresa Bonopartis, The FederalistAdoptionGirl adopted with all 5 siblings: 'This is just what I wanted' – Kevin Grasha, USA TodayAs Number of Adoptions Drops, Many US Agencies Face Strains – David Crary, Associated PressBioethicsShocking Report Shows Almost 6,100 People Were Killed in Assisted Suicide in the Netherlands Last Year – Alex Schadenberg, LifeNewsTrading on the Female Body: Surrogacy, Exploitation, and Collusion by the US Government – Kathleen Sloan, Public Discourse970 People Were Killed Killed in Canada Last Year in Euthanasia or Assisted Suicide – Alex Schadenberg, LifeNewsObamacareRunning The Numbers On Mortality Rates Suggests Obamacare Could Be Killing People – Brian Frankie, The Federalist FamilyEconomics/EducationOn Tax Day, Let’s Work Toward More Family-Friendly Tax Policies – Alysse ElHage, Family StudiesEducation Is A Market Whether Liberals Like It Or Not – Joy Pullmann, The FederalistA Bipartisan Case for School Choice – Melissa Moschella, Public DiscoursePutting First Things First in a College Education – Michael Scaperlanda, CrisisShould Mothers’ Labor Force Participation Be a Policy Goal? – Amber Lapp, Family StudiesMillennials Are Embracing Traditional Gender Roles in Record Numbers – RelevantMore education means less religious commitment — unless you’re Christian – Emily McFarlan Miller, Religion News ServiceMarriageWhy Millennial Women Delay Marriage – Jennifer Murff, The Christian PostCensus: More Americans 18-to-34 Now Live With Parents Than With Spouse – Terence P. Jeffrey, CNS NewsMarriage is still the gold standard of family stability – Kiley Crossland, WORLDWho is at Risk for a Gray Divorce? It Depends – Naomi Cahn, Family StudiesFaith/Character/CultureIs this the most destructive element in human nature? – David Mills, AleteiaThe Too-Small Story of Home – Jen Pollock Michel, The Gospel CoalitionWhy Isn’t There More Evidence For God? – Fredric Heidemann, Word On FireHuman SexualityHarvard: Students can change gender daily, saying otherwise is ‘violence’ – Fr. Mark Hodges, LifeSiteNewsWhy Are So Many Lesbians Getting Pregnant? – Glenn Stanton, Public DiscourseBravo to the Truth: What’s Wrong with Transgender Ideology – Walt Heyer, Public DiscourseSex Education in California Sparks Culture Clash – Joan Frawley Desmond, National Catholic RegisterWhy Is Female Genital Mutilation Still Happening in the U.S.? – Phyllis Chesler, Middle East ForumTransgender Kids: Are We Doing More Harm Than Good? – Todd A. Whitworth, First, Do No Harm: Youth Gender ProfessionalsHuman TraffickingThe Battle against Sex Trafficking of Minors – George Will, National ReviewMom’s story of ‘attempted sex trafficking’ goes viral — but is it the whole story? – Ashley Jonkman, AleteiaU.S. Lawmakers Seek to End Impunity for Online Sale of Children – Lisa Correnti, C-FamIndia’s human trafficking and rape survivors make their own justice – Calah Alexander, AleteiaPornographyIn War on Child Porn, US Turns Wounded Soldiers Into Hunters – Victoria Macchi, VOA NewsGroup pushes back on pornography with science – Rob Rogers, Billings Gazette
Predictably, there has been a rash of hit-pieces in the mainstream media over the last few days targeting Charmaine Yoest, President Trump’s pick to serve as assistant secretary of public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services.Most of the attacks leveled at Yoest, who formerly worked here at FRC, focus on the fact that she served as president of Americans United for Life, a national pro-life advocacy group. These attacks are yet the latest examples of a disturbing trend in the media to label virtually anybody who works for pro-life causes as “extreme,” despite the fact that over half of the country identifies as “pro-life.” What has been conveniently left out of many of these stories is that Yoest will be replacing Kevin Griffis, who is now working for Planned Parenthood. So according to the liberal media, Yoest simply isn’t pro-abortion enough to hold a position at HHS.She has also been repeatedly ridiculed for supposedly claiming that “abortion causes breast cancer.” This is false and misleading in a number of ways. In a 2012 New York Times interview, she said that “abortion increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer,” not that it directly causes it. Beyond this, there is substantial evidence to back Yoest’s claim. According to research catalogued by the National Institutes of Health in 2014, there have been 28 epidemiological studies that have shown a positive link between abortion and breast cancer, with 21 of these “pointing to a statistically significant risk.” The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is often cited as denying any links, but some of NCI’s own published findings actually support the link, and one of its own doctors further acknowledges the link between breast cancer and abortion.This abortion-breast cancer dustup is an obvious attempt by the media to quickly discredit Yoest without having to do any kind of in-depth research that would reveal her true character and qualifications for the HHS position. A quick Google News search of “Charmaine Yoest” illustrates the depth of the pro-abortion bias in the media: 10 of the top 12 stories are clearly unfavorable toward her; six of these are blatant hit-pieces. But to any honest observer of the public square, this should be unsurprising. Yoest has publicly stated her pro-life views on a variety of topics over the years, and has been praised as “one of the pro-life movement’s most articulate and powerful communicators.” This means she is an easy target of progressives.Nevertheless, Yoest’s appointment is a signal of hope for our country. After eight long years of Obama’s Democratic Party pro-abortion litmus tests, an unabashedly pro-life American can now serve her country at the highest levels of government.
Equality. Equal rights.In the last few years, these terms have become inescapable in America. Everything from workplace pay for women to LGBT rights has been framed in these terms. “Equality” has become a powerful idea in the American imagination. I’m not entirely sure exactly when the term became so omnipresent, but it’s not hard to see where its origins lie—the preamble of our Declaration of Independence declares these immortal words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”While we continue to grapple as a society with what “equality” really means in every human context, there is one entire class of people that currently does not have the most basic right among rights. I am speaking of the unborn child, who does not even have the right to live, under our laws. The mother of an unborn child, if she so chooses, can supersede the most basic right of her own offspring. Anyone who honestly assesses this state of affairs would have to admit that abortion is far and away the most egregious example of “inequality” that currently afflicts our society. (For more on this, be sure to tune in to our lecture, “The Equal Rights Argument for Fetal Personhood” on April 27 at noon.)Recent events continue to put this issue in stark relief. In a study published in Nature Communications, it was revealed that researchers had for the first time suspended premature baby lambs in artificial wombs (equivalent to 23-week-old human fetuses) and successfully nurtured them for four weeks, in which they “opened their eyes, fattened up, and grew coats of white wool.” After another two years of study, and if the method is approved, “the wombs can be tested on human preemies within three to five years.” This new technology could potentially save the lives of thousands of premature babies who are born every year—currently, only about half of the 30,000 babies born before 24 weeks survive.All of this raises the question: if we are using cutting-edge technology to save the lives of some 24-week-old babies, how can other 24-week-old babies be legally killed? Don’t the 24-week-old babies who are scheduled for abortion deserve the same “equal rights” as the 24-week-old babies who are being cared for in neonatal intensive care units?
323,999.That is the number of babies that were killed by Planned Parenthood in 2015.To clearly illustrate the immensity of this tragedy, the #Sockit2PP campaign was started by Students for Life in March with the intent of creating a simultaneously impressive and shocking visual appeal while also sending a clear message to Congress: now is the time to defund Planned Parenthood.The #Sockit2PP campaign efforts culminated yesterday as members of the Students for Life team hosted a rally outside the United States Capitol in which they displayed 196,543 socks. The socks have been collected as a result of their campaign to collect 323,999 socks—representative of the number of babies killed in 2015 (the latest numbers available) by the nation’s largest abortion purveyor, Planned Parenthood.The campaign was inspired by a tiny baby sock which was pinned to the backpack of a Students for Life college group member. Kristan Hawkins, Founder and President of Students for Life, realized the visual symbol could become a powerful national rallying cry.The campaign has reached over half of its goal in numbers of socks, but decided to hold a rally outside of the United States Capitol now in spite of not yet reaching their final goal.“I think it’s really important to create a visual for people to see,” said Missy Stone, National Field Director for Students for Life. “323,999 is a lot more than people anticipate. People just don’t understand; people say that number flippantly.” Missy noted that when people just hear a number, it doesn’t really resonate, but when they get a visual of over 190,000 empty infant socks, it gives people an idea of the awful reality of how many abortions are truly happening.Missy said that the campaign created a very real way of providing the pro-life generation a channel with which to generate a national message to Congress that enough is enough—that it’s time to defund Planned Parenthood now.Kristan Hawkins, President of Students for Life, talked about the effects the demonstration had on people who were walking by as the display was being set up in preparation for the rally. “I was telling them and their jaws dropped because this is the [visual] reality of what happens when we don’t defund Planned Parenthood,” Hawkins said prior to the rally. She noted that the socks on display were only a representation of roughly half of the babies who are aborted every year by Planned Parenthood. “This is the reality of the GOP not acting to defund Planned Parenthood, and we are here today letting them know we expect them to hold to your word to defund Planned Parenthood,” remarked Hawkins.The rally featured various speakers such as Alison Howard, Director of Alliance Relations for Alliance Defending Freedom; Sue Thayer, former abortion facility director; and U.S. Senator Ben Sasse. During the rally, Sue Thayer noted that “we still have a lot of work to do. Think of what we could do with the 500 million dollars we funnel into Planned Parenthood [if it were] in the hands of pregnancy care centers.”A number of high school and college students also spoke briefly. Purity Thomas, a young teen, collected over 1,000 baby socks for the initiative. She told the story of her sister who became pregnant at 19 and dropped out of college and the National Guard to carry and raise her child, who is now three years old. “[Planned Parenthood]’s workers ‘have to hit the gym’ in order to crush the skulls of preborn boys and girls. This is a[n] organization that kills our brothers and sisters,” she said, urging students to get involved in spreading the pro-life message. “How as a nation have we allowed this? … This is the time in our country when we need to stand up and look in the face of Planned Parenthood and say enough is enough.”Senator Ben Sasse emphasized the importance of being charitable when speaking the truth about abortion: “America exists to fight for the most vulnerable. It shouldn’t be a Republican or a Democratic proposition, but a human proposition. The first thing we are trying to do is to persuade our brothers and sisters to look at the gift of life and look at the glories of what is actually happening inside the womb, and tell the truth about how each baby has dignity. This picture that you’re trying to create today is another special way to tell the story of what we’re about, because what we are about is about love, what we are about is about neighborly-ness, what we’re about is about dignity.”Emily Brown, the Youth Director at American Life League, reminded the audience that Planned Parenthood is on the defense right now. “The pro-life generation is stronger than ever before,” Brown said.Deanna Wallace, Staff Counsel for Americans United for Life, posed the question, “Planned Parenthood markets themselves as ‘care no matter what’ but what kind of care are they actually giving women?” Wallace then cited multiple health violations such as failing to ensure a safe and sanitary environment, failing to document and protect patient recordings, failing to properly train staff, failing to dispose of expired medications and supplies, and failure to comply with health measures like making sure a gurney can reach a patient if she goes into distress. “It’s … important to remember that this ‘care’ [Planned Parenthood] is offering to women is not care at all. They are endangering women every day, and women deserve better!”To wrap up the rally, Kristan Hawkins introduced Maddi Runkles, an 18-year-old student at Heritage Academy in Hagerstown, Md. “I’m eighteen years old and I found out back in January that I was pregnant,” Runkles said. As a senior in high school with her whole life ahead of her, she admitted to briefly considering abortion because of the lies that Planned Parenthood tells girls like her.“I look at all these socks and that could have been my baby, but I choose to let my baby wear these socks. I know it’s going to be hard, I know it’s going to be really hard to still accomplish all my goals and all my dreams,” Runkles said, her voice shaking with emotion. “But I get to have a little guy following right next to me and we get to do it together.” Runkles went on to point out that girls like her are perfect targets for Planned Parenthood, which ironically claims to be all about women’s rights, but instead pushes a less than empowering message by telling a woman that she can’t do it. “I chose life for my baby and I chose not to believe the lies that Planned Parenthood told me. Congress needs to defund Planned Parenthood and take all their tax money away,” Runkles concluded.The #Sockit2PP rally was a sobering yet encouraging demonstration, showing that there is a strong chorus of voices speaking up for the voiceless in our nation’s capital. With more creative displays of this nature, more and more hearts and minds will change and realize that women deserve better than Planned Parenthood and abortion.
Dear Friends,Why be Christian? Out of all the religions and philosophies in the world that vie for the God-sized hole in every human heart, why choose Christianity?For believers, there are a limitless amount of ways to answer this fundamental question, and we should “always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you,” as 1 Peter 3:15 entreats us. But where does one start in this defense? If one were to synthesize the most basic argument for Christ, what would it be?In pondering this question, I was particularly struck by a point that Regis Martin recently made in Crisis. He describes a Christian as “someone who carries within him the adamantine conviction that Another accompanies him every step of the way.” In other words, Christianity is tangibly human and personal because “in showing us the face of Christ, we are thus given a saving glimpse of Someone to whom we may entrust everything, including especially our brokenness and sin.”Martin goes on to quote Joseph Ratzinger (who later became Pope Benedict XVI), who wrote that “the most fundamental feature of faith … [is] its personal character”:Christian faith is more than the option in favor of a spiritual ground to the world; its central formula is not ‘I believe in something,’ but ‘I believe in Thee.’ It is the encounter with the human being Jesus, and in this encounter it experiences the meaning of the world as a person.“…[T]he meaning of the world as a person.” It seems to me that this precisely encapsulates “the hope that is in us.” It captures a lightness of feeling that is almost impossible to put into words; it’s that serene trust that comes with the knowledge that no matter what sufferings we undergo in life, Christ suffered just the same, even to the point of dying for our sins. Because of this, we are and will always remain a child of God that was loved into being and will be loved for all eternity.God, who is one with Christ (John 10:30), is our Heavenly Father and we are his children. For many believers, therefore, the Christian faith beautifully intertwines with our natural experience of growing up under the protection of a loving earthly father. This is why the family must be strengthened, nurtured, and upheld in our society—it is the earthly reflection of God’s heavenly love for us.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 'bigly,' and necessary, humility of Judge Neil Gorsuch – Travis WeberThink Slavery Has Been Eradicated in the 21st Century? You’d Be Wrong. – Travis WeberHopeful Signs of Resurrection in America – Dan HartThe Plight of Jews in Pakistan – Chris GacekGorsuch on International and Foreign Law – Travis WeberChristianity in Iraq Appears Doomed to Extinction – Chris Gacek Religious LibertyReligious Liberty in the Public SquareGOP Calls on Trump to Honor Promise to Defend Religious Liberty – ToddStarnes.comTexas Governor Abbott: Restore Religious Leaders' Right To Endorse Political Campaigns – Hank Berrien, The Daily WireAtheist Group Says It's Unconstitutional for College Football Coach to Tweet About God – Samuel Smith, The Christian PostSupreme Court readies for religious liberty showdown – Evan Wilt, WORLDInternational Religious FreedomExtermination of Christians in Egypt Not Getting Enough Attention – Susan Jones, CNS NewsChina Installing Spy Cameras in Churches – Kim Smith, Conservative TribuneJehovah’s Witnesses banned as “extremists” by Russia – John Burger, AleteiaUSCIRF to Launch Extensive List of People Imprisoned for Their Faith Worldwide – Samuel Smith, The Christian PostReligious Liberty Increasingly Under Threat in India Amid Surge of Hindu Nationalism – James Di Pane and Olivia Enos, The Daily Signal‘Fight for me’ – Mindy Belz, WORLDMilitary Religious Freedom‘I am not ashamed of my faith:’ Air Force officer punished for Christian view of marriage speaks out – Fr. Mark Hodges, LifeSiteNews LifeAbortionAbortion and Bodily Autonomy – James Gottry, MediumWhy Can Rivers Be Granted Legal Personhood But Not Human Babies? – Zachary D. Schmoll, The Federalist10 babies born alive after abortions in 2015 – in only 3 states – Carole Novielli, Live Action News40 Days for Life Ends With 437 Babies Saved From Abortion, 1 Abortion Clinic Closed and One Staffer Quit – Shawn Carney, LifeNewsArkansas Bans Sex-Selective Abortions – Brian Fraga, National Catholic RegisterPro-lifers Celebrate Huge Win at UN Commission – Stefano Gennarini, C-FamAdoptionSociety Can Never Make Up For The Husband Single Moms Don’t Have – Rebekah Curtis, The FederalistBishops back bill to let agencies opt out of adoption for same-sex couples – Catholic News ServiceBioethicsCanada harvesting the organs of euthanasia patients – Samantha Gobba, Baptist PressCharlie Gard case: Doctors can withdraw baby's life support – BBCOntario sets up ‘death hotline’ to force doctors to comply with having patients killed – Lianne Laurence, LifeSiteNewsRent-a-womb – Mary Jackson, WORLD FamilyEconomics/EducationReligion and Inequality – Eric Metaxas & Roberto Rivera, BreakPointSurveying Sex, Denying Childhood – Carl R. Trueman, First ThingsThe Cancer Eating Away at College Campuses – Walter E. Williams, The Daily SignalMarriageA Gender-Neutral Marriage Is Not the Only Path to Equality – Ashley McGuire, Family StudiesFamily Trees and the Troubling Problem of Absent Fathers – Roland C. Warren, Care NetWhy Would Millennial Men Prefer Stay-at-home Wives? Ethnicity and Choice Feminism – W. Bradford Wilcox, Family StudiesHow a Man Loves a Woman – Ben Stuart, Desiring GodA Child of Divorce Speaks Out on the Importance of a Family – Jim Graves, National Catholic RegisterFaith/Character/Culture“Too many Christians have decided that the world is bad …” – Tom Hoopes, AleteiaLove People Enough to Tell the Truth – Ryan Bomberger, The Christian Post“The Case For Christ” and A Stubbornly Historical Religion – Bp. Robert Barron, Word On FireHuman SexualitySounding the alarm – Sophia Lee, WORLDNew Research on Unmarried Mothers and Family Formation – Naomi Cahn, Family StudiesSurveying Sex, Denying Childhood – Carl R. Trueman, First ThingsBoys Will Keep Winning Girls’ Sports Trophies Until We Are Willing To Re-Assert Sex Distinctions – Joy Pullmann, The FederalistProtecting Women from Sexual Assault Requires Acknowledging the Differences between Men and Women – Ashley McGuire, VerilyHuman TraffickingEyes of the highways: Raising a 'trucker army' for trafficking fight – Eoghan Macguire, CNNPornographyWhat If My Husband Looks at Porn? – Kara Garis, Desiring God12 Ways Pornography Just Doesn’t Show Enough – Dustin Murphy, The Federalist
On April 7, 2017, Arina Grossu, FRC's Director of the Center for Human Dignity, appeared on EWTN News to discuss the UK's decision to approve a technique that would allow scientists to create "three-parent" babies.
Living in the Western world, in our modern era, one might think that chattel slavery (the buying and selling of human beings as property) is a thing of the past. They would be mistaken.Just yesterday, it was reported that widespread human smuggling operations are still ongoing inside Libya, with migrants arriving from West Africa being openly traded in “public slave markets” where they are bought and sold:One survivor from Senegal spoke of how he was brought by smugglers across Niger in a bus to the southern Libyan city of Sabha, where he was due to risk a boat trip to Europe. When the middleman did not get his fee, the survivor was put up for sale along with other passengers.He was taken to a prison where he worked without pay while the captors demanded 300,000 West African francs (about £380) before selling him on to a larger jail. Livia Manante, an IOM officer based in Niger, said migrants would be brought to a square where they were put up for sale. . . . Those who did not get their ransom paid were often taken away and killed while others would die of hunger and disease in unsanitary conditions.“If the number of migrants goes down, because of death or someone is ransomed, the kidnappers just go to the market and buy one,” Manente said.The going rate for a migrant was between $200 (£160) and $500 (£400) each, with many forced into captivity for months before they are freed or sold on. So far this year more than 170 bodies have washed up on the shores of the Mediterranean while the Libyan Coast Guard has also rescued thousands more.This is horrific.Unfortunately, it is also the inevitable consequence of abandoning the idea that all human beings have been created in the image of God, and that they have inherent dignity for this reason.What else does this show us? That worldview matters; that one’s view of God and of fellow human beings matters. What we believe about the dignity of the human race matters. If we believe that God created us in his own image, we will understand that we are accountable to God for how we treat fellow human beings.Indeed, the whole idea of human rights flows from this notion. Because we have dignity as image-bearers of God, no government may transgress this dignity. From this truth flow certain rights which no government may override—these are called human rights. Among these are the freedom to exercise the religion of one's choice—and the freedom to not be bought and sold as property!If we ever forget this truth—may God help us!
This Sunday, Christians all over the world will celebrate the Resurrection of Christ from the dead. Easter is the church’s greatest feast day because it encompasses Christ’s fulfilment of his mission on earth: by dying on a Roman cross on Friday, April 3rd, A.D. 33 and rising from the dead on the following Sunday, he conquered human sin and death. The astonishing enormity of this event in history cannot be overstated enough. In one fell swoop, Christ offered the fullness of redemption to every person for all of eternity—namely, release from the chains of our fallen human nature and the prospect of a meaningless death. In and through Jesus, we can become cleansed of our sin and hope in the eternal life that is to come in heaven after our earthly lives are over.To contemplate these truths for even a moment does wonders in lifting one’s spirit, which can be easily bogged down when considering the tremendous challenges that our country faces with regards to protecting all human life, cultivating natural marriage, and defending religious liberty. And so, in the spirit of Our Lord’s Resurrection, let’s reflect on some very hopeful recent signs of rebirth in America.LifeIn January, it was reported that the U.S. abortion rate is currently at its lowest level since Roe v. Wade was foisted on the country in 1973. There are a number of different factors that have contributed to this welcome decline, but the tireless work of the pro-life movement in state legislatures has undoubtedly been crucial—334 pro-life laws have been passed in the last five years.Also in January, President Trump signed an executive order that reinstated the “Mexico City Policy,” which halts federal funds from going to foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that commit abortions or “actively promote” abortion. This is wonderful news, as it stops a staggering $600 million from funding the destruction of unborn human life annually.This past week, Judge Neil Gorsuch was confirmed to serve on the Supreme Court, filling Justice Antonin Scalia’s vacant seat. As we have pointed out in recent weeks, Judge Gorsuch will be a true Constitutionalist Justice who believes that life is “intrinsically valuable and that intentional killing is always wrong.” While he has not directly ruled on abortion, he has stated in the past that “the right to terminate a pregnancy… involves the death of a person.”MarriageThe current divorce rate is at a 40-year low, while the marriage rate has risen to its highest level since 2009. While the overall rates of divorce and marriage are still depressingly high and low (respectively), recent trends are encouraging for the immediate future.Another hopeful trend that bodes well for America’s future is, surprisingly, the marriage preferences of millennials. New research has shown that millennials aren’t as obsessed with the progressive talking point of “gender equality” as one would think. As Ashley McGuire points out in Family Studies, “Many of us also feel more comfortable embracing what Pew continues to find, decade after decade: namely, that women consistently say that part-time work is our ‘ideal work situation.’ Millennial women seem to be asserting our autonomy against a culture that turned opportunity for women into a shackle.” McGuire further notes:The reality is that many married millennial couples with children will readily admit that two full-time working parents is not ideal for a litany of reasons, including marital happiness, individual stress, financial strain, and familial sanity. That’s not to say that lots of couples don’t make it work, but just a gander over to my city’s most-read parenting blog, and you will find plenty who will call the arrangement of two full-time parents “hell.” Many millennial women, like me, take pride in making choices that feel best for their family at that particular time.That a rising generation of young people feels more comfortable expressing a preference for a male breadwinner is not a setback to equality in a marriage. Rather, it suggests that both millennial men and women are increasingly respectful of what it is that women want most when they have small children. I would call that a step forward for authentic marital equality. It’s only a setback to equality if we measure women in a marriage against their husbands, and not against women’s own benchmarks for happiness. And it’s only a setback for equality if we refuse to allow women to be the ones to set those benchmarks because of antiquated feminist notions about gender neutrality or because it somehow hurts the GDP’s bottom line.This simply underscores what has historically been common practice: that most families do best when the mother is a stable, nurturing presence in the home for her children, while the father engages in the majority of paid work to support the family financially. As the studies cited previously have shown, this arrangement is what most men and women naturally prefer anyway.Religious LibertyThe confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is a tremendous uplift not only for the protection of life, but for the defense of religious liberty. He will now be seated on the High Court in time to hear the case of Trinity Lutheran Church v. Pauley, which will decide whether state governments can discriminate against churches and religious organizations in favor of nonreligious organizations in the context of receiving public money.Another sign of hope is the fact that the Trump administration is currently considering signing an executive order that would strengthen religious liberty protections for Americans of faith. A letter signed by 52 House Republicans underscores the urgency of the situation: “We look forward to coordinating with your administration on these efforts so that critical religious liberty and conscience protections may finally be restored to millions of Americans who have been harmed and left unprotected for far too many years.” The proposed executive order would ensure that government persecution of Christians for their beliefs about abortion, same-sex marriage, public prayer, and other concerns would cease, and that their First Amendment rights would be restored.All of this should be a great source of encouragement for believers. But even if all of these hopeful signs fail to come to fruition, our hope in Christ cannot fail. Christ suffered, died, and rose again for all of humanity. Therefore, Christ is the Lord of history, who “is intent on remaking and saving his world, binding up its wounds and setting it right.” This wonderful reality will forever resurrect our fallen human hearts.
There are occasions when a simple act provides tremendous clarity about a much larger situation. Such an event took place last week in Pakistan, a country of approximately 200 million that has had a history of religious freedom violations.According to our State Department, “[t]he [Pakistani] constitution establishes Islam as the state religion, and requires all provisions of the law to be consistent with Islam.” In fact, the constitution establishes a “Federal Shariat Court” whose Muslim judges “examine and decide whether any law or provision is ‘repugnant to the injunctions of Islam.’” Additionally, Pakistan has draconian “blasphemy” laws that are used to persecute Christians and other religious minorities on fabricated charges. Such laws obviously make free discussion of religious thought about Islam virtually impossible.Ninety-five percent of Pakistan is Muslim (70 percent Sunni, 25 percent Shia). The remaining five percent is made up of Hindus, Christians, Parsis / Zoroastrians, Bahais, Ahmadi Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Kalasha, Kihals, and Jains. Apparently, there are too few Jews to note statistically. Citizens of Pakistan must register their religious affiliation with the government.According to a recent report in the Jerusalem Post, a 29-year-old Pakistani man named Fischel Benkald was informed last week that as he had requested, “the religious status in his National Database and Registration Authority profile [would] be changed from Muslim to Jew…” Mr. Benkald is the first Pakistani citizen to be permitted to change his religious status from Muslim to Jew since the 1980s.Benkald’s birth name was Faisal, and he was raised in Karachi by a Jewish mother and a Muslim father. He was also allowed to assume a Yiddish first name, “Fischel.” The change in religious affiliation was requested three years ago, and might very well have been denied without intervention from forces outside Pakistan. Wilson Chowdry, the chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, plead Benkald’s case with the Pakistani High Commission in London (i.e., the Pakistani embassy to the United Kingdom in London).The national identity card is critical to all aspects of life for Pakistanis seeking to interact with their government. According to the Post, it “contains one’s name, date of birth, photo, a thumbprint and religion.”The lack of religious freedom for anyone but Muslims is extreme in Pakistan. Christians are persecuted, but Jews historically received even worse treatment. Anti-Semitism caused Jews to flee the nation after the Israeli War for Independence and that nation’s founding in 1948. It is believed that there were over a thousand Jews in Karachi seventy years ago. Now there are virtually none. Mr. Chowdry told the Post that “hundreds of Jews are now living secretly in Pakistan.”Apparently, Mr. Benkald did not assert in his application that an outright religious conversion from Islam had taken place. In effect, he claimed that he was in a distinct, exceptional category: “Benkald argue[d] that he never left Islam because he was born to a Jewish mother and therefore ha[d] always been Jewish.” This is true as Jews would define the matter. For whatever reason, the authorities approved his application, but his troubles are far from over.The Post noted a Fox News story that said “a 2010 Pew survey found that 76 percent of Pakistanis advocate the death penalty for leaving Islam.” Hopefully, he will be left in peace or somehow be able to seek refuge in Israel. That said, a country in which religious conversion holds a significant probability of death or injury is not a country that allows any appreciable religious liberty regardless of any constitutional rhetoric to the contrary.In any case, one has to greatly admire Mr. Benkald’s amazing bravery while praying for his safety. Western nations who cherish religious freedom, as well as Israel, should keep an eye out for him and his family.
It hasn’t gotten a lot of attention, but Judge Gorsuch’s exchange with Senator Ben Sasse about international and foreign law at his confirmation hearing offers helpful clues that he’d rule properly in this area:SASSE: As a sitting Supreme Court justice tasked with upholding the U.S. Constitution, is it ever appropriate to cite international law? And if so, why? GORSUCH: It’s not categorically improper. There are some circumstances when it is not just proper but necessary. You’re interpreting a contract with a choice of law provision that may adopt foreign law. That’s an appropriate time . . .Treaties sometimes require you to look at international law by their terms. But if we are talking about interpreting the Constitution of the United States, we have our own tradition and own history. And I don’t know why we would look to the experience of other countries rather than to our own . . .And so as a general matter, Senator, I would say it is improper to look abroad when interpreting the Constitution . . .Judge Gorsuch is absolutely right. In his answer to Senator Sasse, he has articulated a vision of the Constitution which guards against the surreptitious importation of standards from other countries which have no bearing on our Constitution (but which the Supreme Court has done from time to time).Meanwhile, he properly admits that a foreign legal standard in a “choice of law” provision may be consulted (in these cases, the parties to the agreement have stipulated that the laws of another country shall be used to adjudicate disputes between them, and it is entirely proper to consult whatever source of foreign law has been stipulated).He also made proper reference to treaties as a valid source of international law.International law (laws between nations) is distinct from foreign law (the laws of a foreign nation), as properly understood, only consists of two areas.The first is the treaty, or agreement between nations. When nations become parties to a treaty, they agree to be bound explicitly by the treaty’s terms. Yet legal activists, as they so often do in the United States with regard to the Constitution, recognize that their preferred radical policies aren’t contained within the treaty, so they twist its terms or use other mechanisms in the international legal order to push their policies, which they try to term as “law.” Yet the fact that they call them law doesn’t make them so. Just as we must guard against activist attempts to read new “rights” into statutes and the Constitution domestically, we must guard against efforts to read them into the text of treaties internationally.The second area of international law is customary international law, which is defined as a longstanding practice engaged in by a very large number of states who engage in it because they believe they are legally bound to do so. This is a high standard and not much reaches it. But that doesn’t stop activists from trying to claim their radical policies are “customary international law.” Again, just because they say so over and over again doesn’t make it true.Judge Gorsuch will not be hoodwinked by such shenanigans. He has articulated a limited (and proper) view of international and foreign law which shows he understands the dynamics in this area. Once again, he has shown that he will be a great originalist and is eminently qualified to be confirmed to the Supreme Court.
The condition of Christianity in the Middle East may now be as imperiled as it has been at almost any time in the last 2,000 years. This is particularly true in Iraq, according to Canon Andrew White, who led St. George’s Church in Baghdad. St. George’s was the only Anglican Church in Iraq before its closure was ordered by the Archbishop of Canterbury in November 2014.Canon White believes, with considerable justification from public statements made by ISIS and its innumerable acts of rape, torture, and murder, that the terrorist group intends to drive the “infidel” Christians out of the region. Before he fled Iraq over two years ago, White was part of a community of Christians that had decreased from 1.4 million (some thirty years ago), to 1 million when Saddam Hussein was toppled by allied forces in 2003, to a quarter of a million today.The plight of Jews in Iraq is a sobering foreshadowing of what may happen soon to Christians. The Jewish population has declined cataclysmically since World War II—to essentially nothing. This marks the demise of a people that traced its lineage in Iraq back to the Babylonian Captivity described in the Old Testament after the fall of Jerusalem. A substantial Jewish community lived in that land with great success for two millennia. In 1947, there appear to have been 156,000 Jews in Iraq. Today, there are virtually no Jews in the country—fewer than ten live in Baghdad at present. Thus, complete population extinctions that are not caused by disease can take place.White described the situation for Christians as follows: “The time has come where it is over, no Christians will be left. Some say Christians should stay to maintain the historical presence, but it has become very difficult. The future for the community is very limited.”The stories of persecution and killing (in some cases by crucifixion) of Christians to compel their conversion to Islam are commonplace. The level of barbarism can hardly be described with any word other than “demonic.”Clearly, past tolerance for non-Islamic communities and the older social order has been shattered. Consequently, even if ISIS is destroyed, the Shiite-Iranian dominated groups that will control Iraq in their place do not seem especially friendly to Christians. Ignatius Joseph III Younan, Patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church of Antioch, points to a deep intellectual flaw in the nature of Islamic thought as the problem: “totalitarianism based on Islamic creed is the worst among all systems of government.” He goes on to observe that “the very survival of Christians in the cradle of Christianity is quite in danger.”The United States government is not without some influence in the area. Although nobody seems to know it, the U.S. has over 10,000 service members fighting in Syria and Iraq. However, our foreign policy establishment has made little effort to require protections for religious minorities. The Trump administration must go in a new direction. For example, President al-Sisi of Egypt met President Trump yesterday while Coptic Christians are undergoing severe persecution in Egypt. The United States has sufficient leverage with Egypt regarding military and financial aid to ensure that this persecution is greatly reduced, if not eliminated. Syria and Iraq are more complicated given the anarchy that exists there now, but our government needs to make this a priority. There are excellent non-governmental organizations working in Irbil, now part of an inchoate Kurdish homeland, who will gladly work with us to save the ancient populations of Yazidis and Christians. However, for this to happen, we have to give these concerns priority in our foreign policy reminiscent of Ronald Reagan’s blending of human rights considerations with traditional diplomatic and military policies. It was a world-changing combination that, if incorporated today, could make Mr. Trump a successful foreign policy president.
Dear Friends,Should Christians retreat from an increasingly hostile culture into supportive enclaves in order to be “a people set apart,” or should believers instead fearlessly engage the culture with the truth in order to bring Christ’s light to the world? This debate has been raging in the blogosphere for quite some time, but recently it has reached a fever pitch following the release of Rod Dreher’s highly anticipated book The Benedict Option, in which the author argues that the church should “embrace exile from mainstream culture and construct a resilient counterculture.”Among the many passionate and articulate articles that have analyzed this question lately, I found Eric Metaxas’ recent piece to be particularly thought provoking. In it, he points to a new book by Makoto Fujimura called Culture Care to make the observation that Christians should most definitely engage the culture in order to transform it, but should do so not by focusing solely on fighting the culture wars: “I believe even more important for Christians than being on the front lines of the culture war is participating in the culture—and better yet, helping to create and nurture it. If the main contribution that Christians make to culture is complaining about it, we’re doing something wrong.”Interestingly, Rod Dreher himself would likely agree. In an interview a few weeks ago, he said: “Even if Trump does everything we religious conservatives want him to do, it’s not going to turn the culture around—it’s the culture that we as believers have got to pay closer attention to; it’s not about politics, it’s about culture.”I would argue that believers should employ a “both/and” approach rather than an “either/or” one. In other words, our engagement should not be framed in terms of either fighting political battles or focusing on the arts. When the time comes to stand for truth by supporting a political cause, there should be no backing down. But just as important is the effort to support good art that can in turn influence culture in a positive way.Metaxas cites Fujimura’s analogy of a garden to illustrate this point: “His image of a garden is just one of many he draws from nature, to show how we can carefully and patiently help to cultivate that cultural environment and make good things grow in it. So, how do we do this? Fujimura suggests that both Christians and the arts community start by learning to look at each other as potential allies, even friends, instead of as sworn enemies. He asks us to consider investing in cultural works, as we’re able to afford it.”Metaxas continues: “This isn’t always easy work, but it’s extremely valuable and worthwhile. It requires thoughtful engagement instead of blanket condemnation, and it may call for us to broaden our understanding and deal with ideas that seem unfamiliar and uncomfortable. But from such efforts come moments that he calls ‘generative,’ or ‘life-giving.’ Christians who enjoy and support art and culture, who make it a priority in their lives, and who reach out to those in the arts instead of reflexively pushing them away, can help bring the culture toward a renewed appreciation of goodness, truth, and beauty. And that is good for everyone.”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 Liberty: An Introduction to Our Freedom to Believe – Travis WeberDuring His Hearings, Neil Gorsuch Answered Tough Questions With Ease – Mandi AncalleGorsuch’s Pro-Life Promise – Arina GrossuDon't let 'TrumpCare' come at the cost of Trump's pro-life pledge – Jeanne Mancini and Tony PerkinsShould Stay-At-Home Moms Be Forced To Work? – Peter WitkowskiBoys Need Fathers – Dan HartOne Year Anniversary of the United States Declaring ISIS’ Actions to be Genocide – Travis WeberThe Amish: America’s Fastest Growing Church? – Peter Witkowski Religious LibertyReligious Liberty in the Public SquareJustice Alito says country increasingly 'hostile' to 'traditional moral beliefs' – David Porter, Chicago TribuneEnd Bible classes? West Virginia school seeks to dismiss atheist lawsuit – Fox NewsSchool Orders Boy to “Tolerate” Undressing with Girl and Make it “Natural” – ToddStarnes.comIn Oregon, the left targets an evangelical GOP judge – Ralph Z. Hallow, The Washington TimesA Justice Gorsuch will defend religious liberty – Amy Vitale, The HillInternational Religious FreedomTo Win Back What We’ve Lost: How Defenders of Religious Freedom Are Fighting to Reclaim International Law – Benjamin Bull, Public DiscourseCanada passes motion to silence critics of Islam – Pete Baklinski, LifeSiteNewsGlobalist Illusions and the Folly of Global Governance – Samuel Gregg, Public DiscourseMilitary Religious FreedomChaplains to Army: Cease training that assaults biblical beliefs – Chaplain Alliance For Religious LibertyFirst Liberty Institute Seeks Justice for Air Force Colonel Targeted for His Faith – Penny Starr, Breitbart LifeAbortion40 Days for Life Prayer Campaigns Have Collectively Saved 13,000 Babies From Abortion – Shawn Carney and David Brando, Life NewsCalifornia’s Moral Atrocity – Ian Tuttle, National ReviewCLOSED: Maryland Planned Parenthood abortion clinic shuts down – Nancy Flanders, Live Action NewsPaul Ryan: Planned Parenthood to be defunded through reconciliation – Bradford Richardson, The Washington TimesAdoptionFirst Comes Love, Then Comes Adoption – Aaron Menikoff, The Gospel CoalitionExpert talks about the rewards and challenges of international adoption – Jon Kelvey, Carroll County TimesBioethicsCanada Conjoins Euthanasia and Organ Harvesting – Wesley J. Smith, National ReviewOregon Proposes Outright Legalization of Euthanasia – Cullen Herout, CrisisHandful of Senate Dems help Republicans defeat aid-in-dying bill – Steve Terrell, The New MexicanThe Demise of Language and the Rise of Cloning – Michael Wee, Public DiscourseScience For Three-Parent Babies Is Here, But Is It Ethical? – Nora Sullivan, The Daily Caller FamilyEconomics/EducationFamily Collapse And Poor Economic Prospects Led To High White Mortality Rate, Study Authors Say – Alex Pfeiffer, The Daily CallerLean In’s Biggest Hurdle: What Most Moms Want – Steven E. Rhoads, Family StudiesMarriageWhy the Little Moments in Marriage Matter – Anna Sutherland, Family StudiesStudy: Children Born to Married Parents More Likely to Experience Family Stability – Michael Gryboski, The Christian PostYesterday’s Love Stories: The Gray Divorce Phenomenon – Rhonda Kruse Nordin, Family StudiesShould stay-at-home moms be outlawed? – Calah Alexander, AleteiaFaith/Character/CultureGod Will Triumph: A Response to Rod Dreher’s Benedict Option – Rob Schwarzwalder, The StreamHow John Piper’s Seashells Swept Over a Generation – Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra, The Gospel CoalitionAre We Living In The Matrix? – Joe Heschmeyer, Word On FireThe Beauty of Women Will Save the World – Carrie Gress, National Catholic RegisterChristians: Stop Fighting the Culture and Start Caring for It – Eric Metaxas, The Christian PostHuman SexualityFertility Awareness-Based Family Planning: Good for Both Body and Soul – Ana Maria Dumitru, Public DiscourseWhat Is Really Best for Me? Applying the Bible to the Same-Sex-Attracted – Nick Roen, Desiring GodSupreme Incoherence: Transgender Ideology and the End Of Law – Jeff Shafer, First ThingsMay I Please Speak to My Daddy? – Doug Mainwaring, Public DiscourseMike Pence’s Wise Family Practices Expose a Deep Divide Over Human Nature – David French, National ReviewBlurred Lines: Understanding The Effort To Redefine Gender And Sexuality – B. Christopher Agee, Western JournalismHuman TraffickingTrafficking Survivors Tell UN: Strengthen Families To Protect Women and Girls – Marianna Orlandi, C-FamPornographyResources to Protect Your Children from Pornography – Nebraska Family AllianceReport: Pornography Use Tied to Relationship Dissatisfaction – Thomas D. Williams, Breitbart4 Problems With Watching Porn You May Not Have Known About – Fight The New DrugPorn is dangerous … That’s why Arkansas lawmakers are calling it a ‘public health crisis’ – Peter LaBarbera, LifeSiteNews
Recently, feminist author Sarrah Le Marquand made headlines when she reinvigorated a debate over motherhood. She went beyond the traditional fight for paid maternity leave, demanding that her Australian government outlaw stay-at-home mothers of school-aged children.She writes, “Rather than wail about the supposed liberation in a woman’s right to choose to shun employment, we should make it a legal requirement that all parents of children school-age or older are gainfully employed.” She goes on to say “only when we evenly divide responsibility for workplace participation between the two genders will we see a more equitable division between men and women in all parts of Australian life.”In an attempt to control how men and women function in society, Le Marquand wants to establish new regulations that will ensure equality. She has good reasons to be concerned. According to Pew Research Center, more women than men want to stay home with their children. And more men than women feel compelled to work to provide for their families. Only 31 percent of women who live comfortably view working full time as their ideal. And only 23 percent of married women view working full time as ideal. When given a choice, most women prefer to stay home.This reality creates a problem for Le Marquand and other feminists like Simone de Beauvoir, who once said: “No woman should be authorized to stay home to raise her children. Women should not have that choice, because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one.” Both have concluded that women lack the intelligence to choose wisely. Thus, that choice must be removed.Le Marquand argues that requiring mothers to work makes economic sense, but such thinking is woefully shortsighted. Economic value cannot be measured via the size of one’s paycheck. For example, a student who is in medical school makes very little money. Even so, the person’s earning potential will grow exponentially once he or she is out of school. Lack of gainful employment does not necessarily imply that a person is not contributing to a nation’s economic well-being.Quite frankly, raising the next generation by ensuring that children are equipped to contribute to society and to the workforce allows the mother to do more for her nation’s well-being than her spouse does. By running her home well, she empowers both her kids and her spouse to engage society in a more meaningful manner and to work more effectively. To miss this fact is to doom your economy. The demographic disasters that are currently brewing in Japan, China, and all across Europe illustrate this point well. Maximizing a workforce solely for today at the expense of investing in future generations always has disastrous consequences.Moreover, the equality of function that Le Marquand demands does not exist. Yes, both men and women are fully equal (Gen 1:27). Both are created in the image of God. But equality of value does not equal equality of function. Men and women function differently because they were designed differently. Women are naturally more nurturing than men; this is reflected in the fact that women’s bodies nurture their unborn children for nine months and feed their newborns for many months after birth. In addition, differences in the brain structure of men and women have shown that women have “more wiring in regions linked to memory and social cognition.” This is part of the reason why many women tend to be better at understanding the feelings of their children, and are thus more equipped to nurture them. Even those who wish to argue against the presence of these differences cannot ultimately escape them. As psychologist Emma M. Seppala concluded, “While women’s expression involved nurturing and bonding, men’s compassion was expressed through protecting and ensuring survival.” Women tend to be better equipped biologically and sociologically than men to care for their children.As Pew Research Center discovered, most mothers will prefer being a stay-at-home mom over being a bread winner. This ability to care for the next generation does not preclude mothers from contributing directly to their nation’s economy if they so choose. But when women make the choice to focus primarily on raising the next generation, they are expressing their special and unique feminine capacity for nurturing their children. This is not a bad thing that must be legislated against. It is a natural function of femininity that should be embraced—not just for the benefit of children, but for all of society.Peter Witkowski is the Associate Pastor of Preschool and Children at First Baptist Church in Eastman, Ga.
While watching a documentary about the rise and fall of the rock band Oasis recently, I was struck by a comment that the group’s songwriter and guitarist Noel Gallagher made while discussing his relationship with his estranged father, who left the family when he was a child: “I’m long since over whatever was going on with my old fella. All I care about is the music. In the end, none of this will matter. When it’s all said and done, what will remain is the songs.”I can certainly understand why he would feel this way about a father who was almost totally absent from his childhood. But what struck me was how he dismissed this gaping hole in his life as not even mattering, in the end. We as human beings know intuitively that having a stable childhood with a loving mother and father matters a great deal, often in ways that we don’t comprehend at the time but later realize in hindsight. But as adults, this can often be too painful to admit.A recent two-part interview (1 & 2) with Dr. Warren Farrell conducted by Family Studies sheds further light on a growing body of evidence that illustrates the devastating effects that fatherlessness causes on kids, particularly boys:Dads tend to build bonds with their sons by, for example, playing games and rough-housing, and then use the resulting bond as leverage for their sons to “get to bed on time” lest there be “no playing tomorrow night.” This boundary enforcement teaches boys postponed gratification. Boys with minimal or no father involvement more frequently suffer from an addiction to immediate gratification. For example, with minimal or no father involvement there is a much greater likelihood of video game addiction, more ADHD, worse grades in every subject, less empathy, less assertiveness (but more aggression), fewer social skills, more alienation and loneliness, more obesity, rudderlessness, anger, drugs, drinking, delinquency, disobedience, depression and suicide.…A boy looks at his dad and sees the man he could become. If his dad is minimally present, that doesn’t give him much hope that marriage with children will lead to him having the emotional satisfaction of being a fully-involved dad. Some dad-deprived boys see their dad living in a small apartment after divorce, and having to fight in court to be more involved with them, even as their dads are working a job they don’t like to pay for the children they can’t see as much as they’d like. That reinforces their purpose void and an abyss of hopelessness.This demonstrates what has become a tragic pattern in our culture: when boys do not have their fathers in their lives, they themselves become skeptical and distrustful of marriage as a legitimate life goal. Too often, this leads to these same boys becoming absent fathers through non-marital relationships that break up. And so the cycle continues from one generation to the next.Farrell observes that part of the solution “involves guiding our sons to seize the opportunity to find more meaningful senses of purpose in work and parenting—ones tailored to their unique self.” He further argues that mentorship is crucial for boys to find their unique vocational calling: “Dads and male mentors are crucial in this process, as are women who understand how to not throw out the baby of masculinity with the bathwater.”And how do boys find meaning in parenthood? Not surprisingly, Farrell argues that healthy marriages are crucial:Making marriages better serves everyone. Many couples with children who are legally married are psychologically divorced. Divorces are due less to problems with money, sex or children, and more to each partner feeling that her or his perspectives on money, sex, or children are rarely heard. When our partner airs her or his perspective, we often take it as criticism, and the Achilles’ heel of human beings is our inability to handle personal criticism from a loved one without becoming defensive.That is, we have a “love dilemma”: while “falling in love” is biologically natural, sustaining love is biologically unnatural. For our children to not fear marriage, then, they need to see that their parents have learned how to do what does not come naturally: sustain love.This creates the greatest single opportunity for the most radical solution to the boy crisis: parental modeling of how to sustain love. I introduce in The Boy Crisis my “Altered Mindsets Method of Non-defensive Communication,” which has allowed couples to emotionally associate their partner’s criticism as an opportunity to deepen their love. It’s a method I have honed over two decades via couples’ communication workshops… [E]mpathy communication skills need to be part of every elementary school’s core curriculum… This is the most important single global change for love in our families and peace in the world.When couples continually work at sustaining love within their marriage, divorces will decrease and more and more boys will grow up with their fathers. I think everyone, including Noel Gallagher, would agree that this is a goal worth fighting for, and it matters greatly indeed.
One year ago today, Secretary of State John Kerry declared ISIS’ actions against Christians, Yezidis, and others in Iraq and Syria to be genocide. The declaration was widely hailed, and was a helpful step in the right direction, but has produced little positive change on the ground.In the year since, as veteran religious freedom advocate Nina Shea explains, those suffering genocide have continued to point out their dire situation. But it still has not been addressed in a manner corresponding to its gravity.This was part of the focus yesterday at an event hosted by the group In Defense of Christians at the U.S. Capitol, which featured commentary from many speakers honoring this important declaration one year out. Members of Congress Jeff Fortenberry and Anna Eshoo, who led the way in getting Congress to label this a genocide several days before the State Department’s declaration a year ago, were present and offered remarks. The event also featured the stories of genocide survivors and those directly working with them.One Yezidi woman told of her experience being held as a slave by ISIS. Another advocate told of the horrific trauma experienced by those even after they are liberated. One boy, suffering severely after his father had been killed by ISIS, tried to kill himself several times in a displaced persons camp. This latest time, the boy doused himself in gasoline, wrapped himself in blankets, and set himself on fire. His internal trauma was so severe he made no sound as he burned. His younger brother, standing nearby with his back turned, only became aware of what was going on once he smelled burning gas. He ran over and patted out the fire with his hands. By that time, both were badly burned, but alive.As testified to yesterday, masses of these traumatized children in the camps have already been brainwashed by ISIS to kill themselves in service of violent jihad. They are walking time-bombs, waiting to be taken advantage of and used to wreak future violence and mayhem, while senselessly taking their own lives in the process. They are in the camps now, but we must reach them before it is too late.These stories are only some of many which show a pattern of the horrific effects of ISIS’ genocide.As was also mentioned at yesterday’s event, there is hope that the new administration will turn its attention to the plight of these genocide survivors, which have already been neglected for far too long. It is not too late, but we must act now.
When we think of happening Christian groups, we typically imagine big church conferences, exciting worship concerts, and authentic community groups meeting in local coffee shops. Given this mindset, the following information will probably blow your mind and the minds of most people in your church. In fact, you may need to sit down for this.The fastest growing sector of the evangelical world right now is the Amish. That is correct—our beard sporting, bonnet wearing, and buggy driving brothers and sisters are expanding at a record pace. Over the past five years, the Amish have grown by 18 percent. Between 2015-2016, they started 66 new congregations. They have even reached out to South America, planting communities in both Bolivia and Argentina. During that same time, the number of people that attend Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) churches declined by 11 percent.Despite our well-trained SBC clergy, our smooth programming, and our billion dollar budgets, SBC churches are losing out to their brothers and sisters who churn their own butter. What’s more, the Amish have no major outreach campaigns. They typically struggle to reach out to people outside their villages, making their growth even more perplexing to SBC and other evangelical denominations. Yet since 1992, the Amish have been beating our church growth percentages left and right.When researchers began studying this phenomenon, they discovered that the growth of the Amish movement had little to do with cold calling evangelism and everything to do with birthrate and education.The latest birthrate statistics for the SBC estimate that each SBC couple has around 2.1 kids, a number that sits below the replacement level. Once death and other things are factored in, SBC churches would slowly die even if every kid born to SBC parents stayed in the church. And unfortunately, they do not. Almost 51 percent of all evangelical kids (including our SBC’ers) will leave the church. Most of those children will not return. For a church to maintain its size, every member (including the single ones) in the church must bring about 1.2 people into the church via birth or evangelism.The Amish do not have this problem. The average Amish couple has 6.8 kids per family. And 85 percent of their children will choose to remain in the Amish community. When given the chance to freely choose between the modern world and the Amish lifestyle, more than 8 out of 10 Amish children choose to stay. Every Amish couple will add about 5 kids to their local church’s congregation, while the average Baptist couple will add about 1. And when the couples die off, the Amish church will have grown by 150 percent, while the SBC church will have decreased by 50 percent if birthrate is the only factor.These numbers show that evangelism is not the major failing of our local SBC and evangelical churches. Our problem has everything to do with our view of children and the family. Churches that do not have members having children will not succeed.Now, every Christian does not have to embrace the Duggar family lifestyle. Christ is still our ultimate goal and not family size. But, we must begin to revive pro-family values in our churches. Being pro-family goes well past having a catchy kids’ program. We need to celebrate birth. We need to praise parents for having big families instead of chastising them with snide comments. We need to come to the point where we value kids more than traveling, nice homes, and our own tranquility. We need to live as if children are a blessing.And then, we need to commit to training our kids. We need to organize our families around the Gospel. We need to have intentional times of family worship. We must realize that going to church twice a week or twice a month will not provide our kids with an adequate religious framework. We must realize that the world evangelizes our kids 7 days a week. We must do the same. And we must intentionally find ways to protect our kids from the dangerous doctrines of the world and find ways to train them in righteousness. Commenting on Psalm 1, the pastor Voddie Bauchman says,We must not allow our children to stand, sit and walk with those who deny biblical truth and morality … We can no longer coast along and ignore biblical truth when deciding where and how to educate our children … Do everything in your power to place your child in an educational environment that supplements and facilitates their discipleship.The Amish have understood this truth and have applied it. As a result of their faithfulness, most of their children remain in their communities and churches. The Baptists and other evangelicals have not grasped this principles. And now, we are losing over half of our kids to the world around us. The realities cannot be denied.Now admittedly, the Amish have not gotten everything right. I do not think electricity leads to sin. I also think our churches should be more evangelistic than the typical Amish farmer. But the Amish have realized that family is key. They have functionally realized that children under the age of 18 are the population most open to being evangelized and have literally devoted a large portion of their life to reaching this next generation. If we want our SBC and evangelical Bible-believing churches to once again flourish, we too must be pro-family and do a better job of training our children in the faith. Are we willing to make the hard choices and to become a little more Amish?Peter Witkowski is the Associate Pastor of Preschool and Children at First Baptist Church in Eastman, Ga.
Dear Friends,By now, you have probably seen or heard about the viral video of a dad whose kids unexpectedly burst into his home office during a live BBC interview he is doing over Skype. It was a hilariously endearing moment, and not just because of the panicked yet heroic efforts of the man’s wife as she swooped in to grab the kids. For me, it was also a messily beautiful reminder of the intimate connection between work and the family.In today’s culture, work is often trumpeted as an end in itself. A high-paying career is frequently seen as something that can be pursued at all costs, without regard to the detrimental effects that this can have on one’s personal life. This attitude causes a tragic segmentation in life, which should be holistic in nature. A career should never be pursued at the expense of neglecting the relationships that sustain us and that we are called by God to nurture. A “career first” mentality has it exactly backward—work should always be in the service of our families and our communities.Another sad tendency in modern culture is to distort the definition of “work” itself. When studies come out showing that wives on average do more housework than husbands and husbands on average engage in more paid work than wives, cries of “inequality!” are yelped from the rooftops of mainstream media outlets. But let’s stop and think about this for a minute: one person works for the money to pay for the groceries; the other uses the groceries to prepare the meals. Both activities are different kinds of work that are equally important and intrinsically united—if either of the two are not done, nobody eats.I say all this to illustrate my central point: an increasingly secular culture tends to strictly divide “professional life” from “personal life.” But in a wonderfully unscripted moment during a live BBC newscast, this artificial edifice was briefly torn down with the help of an excited toddler and her sibling.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 ArticlesI’m Grateful for the Restoration of the Mexico City Policy This International Women’s Day – Arina GrossuAnother Chance for President Trump to Make Sure Foreign Governments Play by the Rules – Ken BlackwellJudge Neil Gorsuch: The Case for Confirmation – Travis Weber and Chris GacekThe Refugee Implications of President Trump’s Executive Orders – Travis WeberJoseph Nicolosi, Father of “Reparative Therapy” for Homosexuality, Dies Suddenly – Peter SpriggA Biblical Perspective on Immigration – Travis WeberPresident Trump’s Executive Orders on Immigration: Religious Freedom and Other Implications – Travis WeberThe U.S. No Longer Funds Overseas Abortions. Canada and Europe Grind Their Teeth – Dan HartVoiceless: Christians Must Engage the Culture to Fight Abortion – Dan Hart Religious LibertyReligious Liberty in the Public SquareThe Rioters Are Winning – David French, National ReviewOver 150 conservative leaders urge Trump to sign order protecting religious liberty – Claire Chretien, LifeSiteNewsSchool: Trump Chant is Hate Speech – ToddStarnes.comJust Because Liberals Call Something ‘Discrimination’ Doesn’t Mean It Actually Is – Ryan T. Anderson, The Daily SignalInternational Religious FreedomChristians are the world’s most persecuted religious group, according to studies – Zoe Romanowsky, AleteiaUnited Nations Committee Demands Ireland Legalize Abortion – Micaiah Bilger, LifeNewsPro-Life Counseling Becomes Illegal in France – Marie Meaney, CrisisLiberal bill empowers gvmt to take kids from Ontario parents who don’t accept gender ideology: legal experts – Lianne Laurence, LifeSiteNewsChristian Group Compassion International Closes India Operations Amid Crackdown by Hindu Nationalists – Anugrah Kumar, The Christian Post2016 Annual Report: Chinese Government Persecution of Churches and Christians in Mainland China – China AidMilitary Religious FreedomAir Force Says Words Like ‘Boy’ & ‘Girl’ Could be Offensive – ToddStarnes.comReligious Freedom Group Defends Military Chaplains' Right to Pray at Official Events – Liberty McArtor, The Stream LifeAbortionCanadian gvmt pledges $650 million to increase abortion globally – Lianne Laurence, LifeSiteNewsHawaii considering bill to force church, pro-life centers to promote abortion – Bradford Richardson, The Washington TimesOne Planned Parenthood Clinic Has Injured Women in 64 Botched Abortions, Has 39 Health Violations – Cheryl Sullenger, Life NewsPro-Life, Pro-Truth – Alexi Sargeant, First ThingsIn Iceland 100% of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. Think about that. – Lauren Bell, LifeSiteNewsHuman Rights Activist: Forced Abortion Policy Leads to 23 Million Abortions a Year in China – Penny Starr, BreitbartAdoptionNew South Dakota law could protect religious adoption agencies – Catholic News AgencyHow 5 siblings pleading to stay together as a family became a ‘great crisis’ – Rick Montgomery, The Sacramento BeeNebraska's budget squeeze puts post-adoption help at risk – Martha Stoddard, Omaha World-HeraldBioethicsEmbryo Experiments Reveal Earliest Human Development, But Stir Ethical Debate – Rob Stein, NPRScience confirms that human life begins at fertilization – Luke Faulkner, Live Action NewsAlaska Legislature Will Hold Hearing on Dangerous Bill Legalizing Assisted Suicide – Steve Ertelt, LifeNewsDemocrats Push Bill to Legalize Assisted Suicide in Wisconsin – Erin Parfet, LifeNewsMaryland Pro-Life Advocates Stop Bill to Legalize Assisted Suicide – Dave Andrusko, LifeNewsObamacareRepealing Obamacare Will Create, Not Kill, Jobs – John R. Graham, Independent InstitutePro-Life Groups Sound Caution on Obamacare Replacement Bill – Rachel del Guidice, The Daily Signal FamilyEconomics/EducationCan Declining Productivity Growth Be Reversed? – Bourree Lam, The AtlanticMarriageYour Marriage: You Have No Idea of the Good You Are Doing – Doug Mainwaring, Public DiscourseMarried Parenthood Remains the Best Path to a Stable Family – Alysse ElHage, Family StudiesCouple with Down Syndrome Criticized over Engagement. But after Twenty-Two Years of Marriage, See Them Now – Noell Wolfgram Evans, LiftableIs Your Smartphone Coming Between You and Your Spouse? – Greg Smalley, Focus on the FamilySex in the Modern Marriage – Ashley McGuire, Family StudiesHow Faith Influences Divorce Decisions – Steven M. Harris, Family StudiesFaith/Character/CultureIdeology and the Corruption of Language – Randall Smith, Public DiscourseThrow Like a Girl: Why Feminism Insults Real Women – Rebekah Merkle, Desiring God‘Day Without Women’ Measures Women’s Value The Wrong Way – Gracy Olmstead, The FederalistOut of the Ashes: Anthony Esolen's Clarion Call to Restore Culture, Faith, and Sanity – Michael Bradley, Public DiscourseEmma Watson Explains Perfectly Why I’m A Woman Who Is Afraid Of Feminism – Monica Gabriel Marshall, VerilyHuman SexualityA Requiem for Friendship – Anthony Esolen, TouchstoneLife in a Foreign Country: Navigating Our Culture’s Change on Sexuality – Ed Shaw, The Gospel CoalitionBiology Isn't Bigotry: Christians, Lesbians, and Radical Feminists Unite to Fight Gender Ideology – Emily Zinos, Public DiscourseAmericans having less sex than they once did – Tara Bahrampour, The Washington PostPutting genies back into bottles: Sex before marriage – Katrina Fernandez, AleteiaHuman TraffickingFilm spotlights human trafficking as Trump promises action – AP NewsHuman trafficking growing problem in metro Atlanta – Nathalie Pozo, Fox 5PornographyThe High Cost of Free Porn – Owen Strachan, Desiring GodIs Life Better Without Porn? – Frank Honess, The Christian Post

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