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When it comes to abortion, the political Left always trots out the same line: “It’s the woman’s right to choose whatever she wants with her own body.” Pro-lifers respond to this by speaking up for the rights of the unborn baby’s body. But after the recent passage of New York’s extreme abortion law and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s pro-infanticide comments, we are no longer talking about defending the unborn, we are talking about defending the born. Let that sink in. Consequently, Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) sponsored the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act in the Senate, which basically states that if a child survives an attempted abortion, he or she must be given normal care in order to survive. Unfortunately, only 53 members in the Senate voted for the child’s right to live. In the House, Democrats have blocked the bill 18 times so far.Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) spoke on the Senate floor a day after the vote: “We are a nation that must continue to value life, and for some reason, somehow, this body missed that opportunity to reinforce that value system before the American public, to say each child born, no matter your state, no matter your challenges: you have intrinsic value.” He elaborated: “There is nothing to debate regarding the sanctity of born children.”Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) shared Senator Scott’s outrage in a piece for Fox News: “What a tragedy for our country. Tennesseans and all Americans should demand better of their representatives.”President Trump echoed Senator Blackburn’s sentiment by tweeting, “Senate Democrats just voted against legislation to prevent the killing of newborn infant children. The Democrat position on abortion is now so extreme that they don’t mind executing babies AFTER birth…This will be remembered as one of the most shocking votes in the history of Congress. If there is one thing we should agree on, it’s protecting the lives of innocent babies.”The reason why the “woman’s right to choose” argument in this context is dishonest is because the baby is no longer part of the woman’s body. The baby is born. The baby is breathing air. The baby’s heart is beating and its eyes are blinking. The baby feels pain and emotion. The baby has dreams and cravings. The baby has thoughts and feelings. The baby has intrinsic value. The baby has life. The woman should never have the right to take life away from the most innocent among us.The president is right—if there is one thing we should agree on, it’s protecting the lives of innocent babies.To send a message to Congress that all newborn babies should be welcomed with warmth and care, join thousands of Americans in our End Birth Day Abortion campaign. We will send a newborn baby hat in your name to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to remind her and her Democratic colleagues of the reality of their pro-infanticide position.Caleb Seals is an intern at Family Research Council.
I bet you never thought you would see a headline like this.The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is finally cracking down on organizations that sell abortion pills over the internet.Organizations such as AidAccess.org and Rablon (who host a pharmacy network that includes sites like AbortionPillRx.com and AbortPregnancy.com) were issued letters from the FDA to immediately stop selling unapproved versions of mifepristone and misoprostol, drugs used in the abortion pill regime.Aid Access has been under investigation since October. The company’s founder Dr. Rebecca Gomperts would take orders from U.S. women, get Indian pharmacies to fulfill the prescription, and then have them ship it.Trusting another country to have the same pharmaceutical and sanitary standards to produce medicine is quite reckless—and of all the countries to trust, India should be last on the list. It is one of the leading exporters of the world’s counterfeit drugs.In a warning letter issued to Aid Access, the FDA points out:“Unapproved new drugs do not have the same assurance of safety and effectiveness as those drugs subject to FDA oversight. Drugs that have circumvented regulatory safeguards may be contaminated; counterfeit, contain varying amounts of active ingredients, or contain different ingredients altogether.”This is not Dr. Gomperts’ first offense. For years, her other organization called Women on Web has been supplying women in countries where abortion is illegal with ways “to perform their own medication-induced abortions at home.”Her “care” sounds more like the under-the-table operations of World Health Organization, International Planned Parenthood Federation, and the UN who deceptively push “reproductive freedom”—contraception and abortion—on poor countries they believe are breeding too much, thereby perpetuating a population in poverty and the need for aid from other countries.Although the “abortion pill” is legal in the United States, it has to be prescribed by an actual doctor, not ordered online like you’re shopping on Amazon. The drugs are only given out by certified health care providers in a doctor’s office, clinic, or hospital, although some states are experimenting with “telemed abortions” where women video chat with doctors to get the pills. How is this safer or any different from ordering pills online? One can only wonder. But the lack of consistency aside, the FDA putting online abortion pill sellers on notice is significant and underlines the fact that any chemical powerful enough to stop a natural process and kill a living child should not be handed out so carelessly.Abortions overall are at an all-time low, but the use of medication abortions is at an all-time high. The latest statistics on abortion from Guttmacher show that over 30 percent of abortions in 2014 were chemical, and now make up 45 percent of all abortions obtained up to 9 weeks. The trend has been that the vast majority of abortions take place before 8 weeks gestation on women between the ages of 20-29. The CDC reports that from 2006 to 2015, the use of early medication abortion increased 114 percent.We are now seeing that the abortion pill regimen is becoming the preferred method for women attempting abortion in the first trimester. With the rise in use of chemical abortions, the abortion industry is leaving no stone unturned to market them as “safe,” “natural,” and as easily accessible as candy.Stay tuned for more developments on the rise of the abortion pill in our midst.
In 1925, a committee including Gold Star mothers and local veterans dedicated a memorial in Bladensburg, Maryland in honor of 49 servicemembers from Prince George’s County who gave their lives in service to World War I. They chose a Latin Cross to be the symbol of their loved ones’ sacrifice, and today, residents call it the Peace Cross.Almost to the very day of the centennial of the first World War, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review whether the Peace Cross is a violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause—more popularly though less accurately referred to as the separation of church and state—because it is in the shape of a cross and maintained on public property. The case of American Legion v. American Humanist Association is an important one. First Liberty Institute is involved in defending the memorial in court, and FRC filed an amicus brief in the case. Oral argument was held just about one month ago, on February 27, 2019. The case is currently under consideration, and the Supreme Court will issue its decision on or before June 2019.As part of this case, several groups representing religious minorities argue that the current court precedents on this issue—which have put the Peace Cross in jeopardy—should stay in place, even if that means that the Peace Cross or memorials like it have to go. They say that this state of the law shields minority religions like theirs from political and cultural forces that may use their power to push minority religions out of the public square.Family Research Council argues that this is not the case. First, the vague, subjective approach of current Establishment Clause precedents actually harms minority religions. Applying an original meaning of the Constitution instead would provide clarity for all—including religious minorities. Second, avenues outside of the courts, like the executive and the legislature at the federal, state, and local level, are better equipped to respond to the needs of minority religions.In the coming days, we will be rolling out a special blog series highlighting these key points from the article and discussing how they help us understand true religious liberty in this age of deep confusion on the issue. Stay tuned!This blog series is based on an article in Federalist Society Review by Alexandra M. McPhee, “Can a New Establishment Clause Jurisprudence Succeed in Protecting Religious Minorities Where Lemon Has Failed?”
A few weeks ago, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez decided to take to Instagram Live and make a statement about the environment, but instead ended up raising a question about motherhood. It was a question that, frankly, was irresponsible for a public figure, let alone a member of Congress, who wields so much influence and power, to subject our society to. In the video, she said, “There’s scientific consensus that the lives of children are going to be very difficult, and it does lead, I think, young people, to have a legitimate question, you know, ‘Is it okay to still have children?’”The statement, fueled by her own personal agenda, points to a much bigger issue that is affecting our country. Regardless of her intentions, AOC is discrediting women everywhere by questioning their natural desire to have children and also questioning the responsibility of having children in today’s society. There is already a huge stigma around women who long for motherhood and pursue having a family over having a career.On Fox News, Penny Nance, CEO of Concerned Women of America, fired back at AOC’s comment: “[This is] the same apoplectic anti-child rhetoric we’ve heard before.” Such radical anti-children comments are smearing the earnest intentions and desires of women all over the U.S. whose greatest ambition is to be a mother. For many, including myself, the calling to be a parent is the most important thing they will ever realize in their life.Women who place their focus on motherhood and raising a family are often looked down upon in today’s pop culture. Television shows like Sex and the City, Vampire Diaries, and Two and a Half Men and movies like How to be Single, No Strings Attached, and He’s Just Not That into You glamorize casual dating and make parenthood seem like a trap, implying that by having children, a woman can no longer fulfill her career ambitions and be fully empowered as a woman because she has a baby to care for and nurture.Women who choose to seek motherhood or to be a stay-at-home mom are viewed as weaker than those who stick to their career and don’t pursue marriage and a family. Women are falling for the lie that they must be self-dependent and self-sufficient to be fulfilled.Sarrah Le Marquand, Editor-in-Chief of the Australian magazine Stellar, once wrote, “There’s one issue guaranteed to trigger hysteria across the nation … It’s the topic of stay-at-home mums. More specifically, the release of any data or analysis that dares recommend Australian women should get out of the living room/kitchen/nursery and back into the workforce.” Jody Day, author of Living the Life Unexpected, denigrated motherhood by stating, “As we continue to delve into a realm where childlessness is not just a choice, but a common part of our culture, perhaps the glorification of motherhood will start to disintegrate.”The horrifying reality is that society today no longer wants to celebrate and give God the glory for the gift of motherhood, which is a natural blessing of womanhood. This cultural shift is showing in the falling number of women having children. According to a recent study, the average number of children women are having in their lifetime has fallen from 4.7 in 1950 to 2.4 in 2017.Philip Cohen, a sociologist at the University of Maryland, addressed the reason for this trend when he said, “There is no getting around the fact that the relationship between gender equality and fertility is very strong.” He elaborated: “There are no high-fertility countries that are gender equal.” Many assume that a woman chooses to have more children or stay at home because there is a lack of gender equality. No one appreciates the woman whose main “career goal,” her greatest personal achievement, is to be a mother, even a stay-at-home mother.In college, I had a close friend who confided to me that she felt hopeless and alone because she felt that her greatest calling in life was to be a mother. My sweet friend was very much single with little to no relationship prospects. She told me, “Everyone keeps pushing me to a more realistic goal to work towards, and I feel like they think me building a career is the most important thing in my life. It is only a secondary goal for me.”My friend made it clear to me that to the world, having a successful career is the primary goal, but for many women of God, it is only secondary. Like her, my main calling in life is to grow and raise a God-fearing and honoring family. Every other goal, including my career goals, will fall into place around it. So, how can we as godly women not be discouraged in this pro-singleness culture?Many in our culture seem to think that motherhood is the end of your life, but it isn’t. It is the end of living for yourself. Motherhood is often a thankless job, and many feminists don’t want to give up the worldly career recognition that often has to be given up when motherhood is placed first.I believe wholeheartedly that mothers should be honored and cherished. They deserve recognition and praise for everything that they do. Regardless though, being a mom requires self-sacrifice, and frankly, that is something that the feminist movement does not want to accept. To them, it means giving up a career position, title, and status.Motherhood is about laying down one’s ambition for the sake of their children and putting their needs, wants, and futures first. As women, motherhood is not about giving up our strength but about utilizing it for the sake of others. It is about embracing our vulnerability to be a woman and a mother.Alyson Gritter is an intern at Family Research Council.
In New Hampshire, an activist group has demanded the removal of a POW/MIA Remembrance Table located in the public space of a VA hospital because the table contains a Bible. The hospital, however, is perfectly within its rights to maintain the display. First Liberty, a religious liberty law firm representing the nonprofit that arranged the remembrance table, wrote a letter urging the facility to continue to honor the memory of those soldiers who never returned home.The public display of items or symbols of religious significance is well within the ambit of constitutional government action. The problem is that the military, like any industry in the public sphere, is vulnerable to privatization. Privatization is the phenomenon that religion is expected to remain exclusively in the home or house of worship and to not affect how one carries oneself in public life, including one’s profession.It is commonly argued that religious symbols should be removed from public property to accommodate all religions and remain “neutral.” While we should be respectful and accommodating of all faiths, the removal of religion symbols from the public square—which enables privatization—is not the answer.In Fort Wayne, Indiana, actions by the local VA hospital hit a nerve with at least one veteran. FRC spoke with a concerned vet who expressed dismay at a recent decision by the hospital to remove the Christian iconography that previously adorned its in-house chapel. This same hospital, for one day last year, lowered the branch flags outside its building and raised an LGBT flag, apparently without the consultation of the vets staying at the facility.Symbols like crosses are not alien to military chapels, though the VA does give individual facilities discretion in how to operate themselves in this area. The response to an increasingly pluralistic society, however, should rarely be the removal of all religious symbols from a common area. This fosters privatization. Instead, we should respond with openness to the representation of other faiths—not the extraction of faith—from the public square.
Many of us still can’t believe we have to have a debate over whether it’s okay to kill a child up until the day of birth—and now even after birth! It may seem like we are in dark times, coincidently at a time when we have one of the most pro-life administrations ever in office.In the last two years, we have seen significant pro-life turnarounds, and the abortion business feels threatened. As the forces of darkness are emboldening lawmakers, that aggressiveness is also emboldening ordinary Americans and churches to take a pro-life stand.Take, for instance, Melissa Cifuentes, a Rhode Island college student who testified against her state’s new radical abortion bill. It all started with her pastor having enough of the culture of death. When his own state decided to follow in the footsteps of New York’s birthday abortion law, he encouraged his flock to get up and speak up!Thank you to churches like this who are empowering their members to engage the culture with truth, justice, and boldness. Watch our interview with Melissa to see how that message resulted in her becoming a willing servant of God and a voice for the voiceless.As states are pushing their own extreme abortion laws, it’s been a battle just to get Congress to have a vote on whether or not a child who is born alive after a failed abortion attempt should be given reasonable medical care or be left to die! All newborns should be protected and cared for, but gaps in the law put some babies who are born alive in danger.This is why we have launched our “End Birth Day Abortion” campaign, designed to call attention to this atrocity and pass the Born-Alive Survivor’s Protection Act. For every donation of $9, we’ll deliver one baby hat on your behalf to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Every elected leader of our country—whether Democrat or Republican—should be made to answer for where they stand on this issue, for it is a moral, not a political, issue. Join Americans across the nation in sending a powerful reminder that young lives should be welcomed with the warmth of a baby hat, not death.
Here at Family Research Council, we have been reading through Carter Conlon’s book It’s Time to Pray. Prayer has been a focus at FRC since the beginning, but we are renewing that focus this year. In Conlon’s book, he highlights stories of how people’s lives have been changed by prayer. He shows us how people live out the verse in James: “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (5:16).We as Christians in the United States should be praying for our leaders in authority over us. In the book of 1 Timothy, we are told to pray for our leaders: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” We need to pray that our leaders will have wisdom (Proverbs 3:13) and will surround themselves with counsellors (Proverbs 15:22). Here are some great scripture passages to pray over our leaders from the book of Proverbs:Lord, may our leaders guide our nation in what is right, just, and fair (1:3).May they understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God (2:5).Above all, may our leaders trust in God with all their heart and not lean on their own understanding (3:5).As they interact with those around them, may they avoid all perverse talk and a deceitful mouth (4:24).Lord, may our leaders not be afraid of sudden disaster (3:25) and make wise decisions in the face of a disaster.As our leaders make both life and political decisions, may they ponder the path of their feet (4:26).I pray that our leaders will not be wise in their own eyes, but fear the Lord and turn away from evil (3:7).Lord, may they find favor and understanding in the sight of God and man (3:4).As our leaders make national and local decisions, may they listen to wisdom and be secure without fear of evil (1:33).May our leaders do their work pure and right (20:11).Thank you, Father for those that you have placed in authority over us. May you remind us to pray for them and never give up remembering that our leader’s hearts are turned by you and you turn them however you please (21:1). Amen.It is our duty as Christians to respect the authority over us (Romans 13:1-7). I think we would have an easier time respecting those in authority if we prayed for our leaders on a daily basis. Prayer, as small of a task and as insignificant as many think it to be, can change the world. If more Christians would daily, hourly, and without ceasing pray for our leaders, our nation and the world would be a different place.Peyton Holliday is an intern at Family Research Council.
A new hallmark of this generation is the elevation of the “anti-hero” in our entertainment. The anti-hero is an archetypal character used in storytelling who lacks conventional heroic attributes and ethics. Because they do not ascribe to the upstanding values and morals of traditional heroes, they often cross into the realm of the villainous. They are driven by classically negative inspirations: selfishness, loss, jealousy, pride, and hate, to name a few. The anti-hero has been featured in popular films and stories before (think Han Solo or Watchmen’s Rorschach), but in more recent years, we have seen a massive influx of these characters into our entertainment. Just look at any highly rated show or film that has been released in the past ten years, and it will most likely feature an anti-hero as the main character: Breaking Bad, Mad Men, House, Sons of Anarchy, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, and several Marvel favorites, such as Jessica Jones, Deadpool, Venom, Daredevil, Wolverine, and the Punisher. These are just a few examples from the growing list. But what is so fascinating about this type of character that they are now taking over our TVs and movie theaters? Simply put, the anti-hero appeals to the dark realities of human experience far more than the classic upstanding hero ever could. He is more complex and has motivations that are more relatable to the human experience. Walter White, for all his terrible deeds throughout Breaking Bad, remains a sympathetic character to many fans of the show, even to the very end, because we were able to witness, step by step, his descension from a relatively normal family man into a violent and prideful criminal. He makes awful, morally bankrupt choices, and yet there is still something inside us that wants to see him succeed. It is interesting that we, as a culture, have decided to embrace this kind of chaotic neutral character over the lawful good. Why is this shift occurring?Moral AmbiguityAs religious belief in the west continues to decline, questions of ethics become more and more difficult to answer, and the lines between right and wrong become blurred. We find ourselves in an age when we can’t decide whether men are men or women are women, or whether an infant is a person, and this overall lack of cultural moral discernment is reflected in our anti-heroes. The anti-hero does not operate under a code of ethics; he simply does whatever is most useful to his goals at the time, whether it helps someone or hurts them.This introduces the concept that any action can be rationalized when seen from the right perspective. Our popular stories no longer draw stark lines between good and evil; they instead push the concept that people’s lives are too complex, the decisions they make too influenced by circumstance, to be able to cast moral judgments on their actions. When seen from a different perspective, actions that are understandable to one person might be completely abhorrent to another. There is no “good guy” to stand for justice and beat the “bad guy,” because who’s to say that the good guy isn’t actually a judgmental tyrant who is forcing his own ideals onto others?Disillusionment with Idealism The anti-hero also represents a sense of disillusionment with idealism: Corruption is being uncovered everywhere we look—in politics, in entertainment, in the church, and in our own families. Trust in authority figures who claim to be virtuous has been all but obliterated, as those who were supposed to be the best among us are revealed to be the worst.Because of this disillusionment, this generation, probably more than any other, is more interested in seeing the world for what it is, rather than what it could be, and this paradigm is reflected in the anti-hero. The ideal of the morally upstanding hero has been replaced with a more realistic, more flawed protagonist. He doesn’t operate under any “unfounded” higher principles. He is a pragmatist who doesn’t ascribe to ideals because they only get in the way. He doesn’t pretend to be virtuous, but accepts the darkness within himself and unapologetically uses it to his advantage. And we, the modern audience, don’t care if he is morally compromised as long as he is effective.An Antidote to HopelessnessIn the end, the celebration of the anti-hero reflects a sense of resignation in our culture to cast off morals and ideals as unrealistic and inconvenient. But what it does not account for is that it takes considerably more strength and resolve to remain idealistic in an increasingly cynical world. When the going gets tough and the world is against you, is it not more difficult and more rewarding to stand firm in your beliefs rather than dropping them as soon as they are tested?This is why a foundation of faith and belief in something greater than ourselves is vital. It provides the antidote to hopelessness and moral ambiguity. Ideals are crucial to a life of meaning, because they allow us to set our sights on an existence outside of our own and work toward becoming everything God intended us to be.Kim Lilienthal is an intern at Family Research Council.
There is a new reality for churches and religious organizations in Washington state. Thanks to a law passed with the help of Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, any employer that wants to provide group health insurance for its employees must provide a plan that covers abortions and abortifacients.Think there is an exemption for churches or other religious organizations with religious objections to such coverage? Think again. While there are numerous exemptions, religious exemptions are not available for such employers.So, when Cedar Park Assembly of God decided that it wanted to provide high quality group health insurance for its employees, it learned that it really only had three options:Violate its religious beliefsViolate the lawDrop this crazy idea of providing health insurance for its employees like a hot potatoFortunately, First Amendment law firm Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Cedar Park Assembly of God for this violation of religious conscience rights. ADF Legal Counsel Elissa Graves stated:No church should be coerced to pay for abortions, least of all a church that dedicates its ministry to protecting and celebrating life. Cedar Park believes and teaches that every human life begins at conception and is worthy of protection at every point until natural death. Further still, Cedar Park demonstrates its pro-life ethic in tangible ways: partnership with a local pregnancy care center, hosting an annual camp for children in foster care, operating a school that serves over 1,000 students, and ministering to hundreds of couples struggling with infertility. The state of Washington has no business strong-arming this church, or any other, into contradicting the deeply held beliefs that motivate its ministry.The law was passed under the notion that so-called “restrictions” on abortion coverage (which, in this case, means absence of compelled coverage) interfere with the “constitutionally protected right to safe and legal medical abortion care.” What about the principles of religious freedom?When the state of Washington enacted this bill without any religious conscience protections for houses of worship like Cedar Park, it created a moral standard that said that a faith-based pro-life ethic is not worth protecting. It said that only the government’s morals—not morals derived from a source higher than government—should prevail. This bill is a clear violation of the principles of the First Amendment and is being rightfully challenged.
The attack on Jack Phillips has finally come to an end—hopefully it stays that way. Last year, Phillips obtained victory at the Supreme Court in a case about his decision to decline to create a cake for a same-sex wedding. Afterwards, the losing party, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, pursued yet another complaint against Phillips for declining to make a cake celebrating a sex transition. The Commission agreed to dismiss its complaint once more evidence of its hostility emerged.Alliance Defending Freedom, a religious liberty law firm, had helped Phillips fight back against the second complaint. They filed a lawsuit on his behalf against the Commission for demonstrating overt hostility towards his beliefs, though he agreed to drop his suit once the Commission dismissed its complaint.This saga has no doubt involved a lot of suffering for Phillips, his family, and his business and employees. As Phillips stated,When I set out to build my dream of opening my own cake shop, combining my love for art and baking in a family business, I never imagined this chapter would be part of the Masterpiece Cakeshop story … I have and will always serve everyone who comes into my shop; I simply can’t celebrate events or express messages that conflict with my religious beliefs. The Supreme Court affirmed that government hostility against people of faith is unconstitutional, and that Colorado was hostile to my faith. That hostility cost me 40 percent of my business and the wedding work that I love to do.The story is certainly one of resilience in the face of suffering. But it also shows us how enduring pain in a Christ-like manner can influence others’ lives. Phillips’ nephew, Sean, “didn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus,” so “he didn’t fully grasp why Jack was willing to take such a stand.” What he did know, however, was that Phillips was “one of the most genuine, kind, and generous people” he knew.Sean was also shocked at the hateful treatment Jack endured. In fact, it made him angry.But in observing and talking with Jack, he saw a quiet example of what it looks like to live a life in obedience to Christ.Over time, Sean let go of his anger. He dug into the Bible to understand the comfort that Jack had in Christ and how he could withstand such hardship with grace and peace. And eventually, God drew Sean to Himself.Because of how Phillips reacted in the face of suffering, God was able to draw someone closer to Christ. So, even though it is good that these cases have a positive outcome, “Jack counts the eternal implications of his case as even greater and more precious.” Truly, it is a remarkable story of how God utilizes all things for the good of those who trust in Him. With so many people across America watching this case, we look forward to how God will use Jack Phillips’ story to draw more people even closer to Him.
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is “Balance for Better.” Interestingly enough, achieving a better balance in the way we as women are thinking about cultural issues today may be the cure for feminist woes against God, men, and the world.#MeToo and “Every Woman Deserves to Be Believed”For some women, the #MeToo movement has been a blessing. But when taken to its extreme form of “every woman deserves to be believed,” it has been a curse. Just ask Ashley Kavanaugh, who had to watch her husband get accused of sexual misconduct on national television with no corroborating evidence. The blessing of the #MeToo movement is that it has exposed sexual abuse and helped bring long overdue justice to victims. However, saying “every woman deserves to be believed” does not make up for all the years when women were not believed, and it certainly hurts women who have husbands, fathers, and sons who are wrongfully accused. A better balance could be achieved by going after the truth so that there can be justice. Without that, we get people with personal vendettas seeking vengeance against someone who might be innocent.BiologyWomen: if we don’t get biology right, we can say goodbye forever to womanhood. “Anything you can do, I can do better” seems to be on a never-ending loop when it comes to modern feminism—even to the point of denying science. Adding and taking away body parts or hormones will not change the XX and XY chromosomes that God put in place and called good. Researchers have already discovered that we have thousands of genomes in the body that act differently based on our sex—from muscle mass, fat tissue, heart activity, reproductive functions, diseases and treatment, metabolism, and so much more.There is nothing wrong with being distinct. In fact, when it comes to matters of strength, there are some women who are definitely stronger than men, but on average that is not the case—and that’s okay! A balance for better is valuing the diversity men and women bring to the table. We all love diversity, right? I don’t know about you, but I would rather have the ability to give life to the world than be able to bench press 400 pounds or carry a man on my back in combat any day.WomanhoodPlaying the “anything you can do, I can do better” game does not make us better or more valuable. In fact, studies show that it doesn’t even make us happier. While we may want to glamorize weekends of one-night-stands, independence, corporate-climbing, and the legal right to kill our children, none of these things make us equal with men. All we are doing is emulating the sins and misplaced priorities generally associated with men. A better balance can be found in applying the standard of what is right, not what we think is equal.Sex is for marriage, and sexual fulfillment for both men and women is at its greatest in the context of a committed relationship. When it comes to independence, could it be that women are not happier because they alone shoulder the burden of working, taking care of the kids—and oh yeah—finding time to sleep? Two people are better off than one because they can help each other succeed, whether that be at home or in the workplace.With abortion, we rage against our own nature to nurture and thereby give men free sex with no responsibility. As politicians seem to endorse infanticide, can we silently stand by and not protect our littlest ones? Their birthday should be met with love and care, not death. You can advocate for their lives and send a message through efforts like the “End Birth Day Abortion” campaign.From Disney princess movies to even Fifty Shades of Grey, we all want a man who is enamored by us, committed to us, and would die for us. But giving our consent to the hook-up culture, abortion, and being married to our jobs is a great deal only for the man who doesn’t want to stick around, not for us.We ultimately achieve a better balance when we remember that men and women alike have equal access to God through Jesus Christ, pointing us toward what is good and right instead of opaquely “equal” as we define it. In fact, there are currently many legal protections and practices in place for women not based on generic “equality” but on what is right. Do we really want men (who identify as transgender women) in battered women’s shelters, on our school sports teams, and in our public bathrooms and showers?The HeartAt the heart of it all, this is a heart issue. Are we filled with such bitterness and anger in the era of #MeToo that we neglect the pursuit of justice and take the short cut to revenge? Do we desire to be the ruler of our own lives—instead of seeking God—to the point where we believe science is bigoted? We don’t need to focus on our differences to the point of self-hatred, nor do we need to exalt ourselves and roar with pride to make men feel low.Ultimately, we should acknowledge and use our differences to pursue those things that are right, such as love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Only then will we truly be able to discern a better balance.
In a series of two cases, the New Jersey state supreme court decided that the state constitution requires the exclusion of churches from state historic preservation grants. The state’s high court reached that conclusion even in light of the Supreme Court case from 2017, Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer. The Court had held that it was a violation of the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause to exclude a church from a state playground resurfacing program just because the playground was run by a church.The New Jersey grantmaking authorities that were sued for distributing grants to churches appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, but the Court denied review. While it is discouraging that a church can be cut off from public aid just because it is a church, a statement from Justice Kavanaugh and joined by Justices Alito and Gorsuch holds promise for the future: “Barring religious organizations because they are religious from a general historic preservation grants program is pure discrimination against religion.”So why did the entire Court agree to deny review? As one outlet explains, although “Kavanaugh agreed with the court’s decision to decline to hear the case,” he noted “that factual uncertainty and the recency of his colleagues’ decision in Trinity Lutheran meant that neither the time nor the case was right for consideration.”In other words, Justices Kavanaugh, Alito, and Gorsuch said it was the time to wait rather than act. In the meantime, it is important to emphasize why this is an important legal issue. In Trinity Lutheran, Chief Justice Roberts wrote that the consequence of the church’s exclusion from the playground resurfacing program was, “in all likelihood,” merely “a few extra scraped knees.” Similarly, the denial of historic preservation grants means that some churches will just have to ask private donors to take care of the termites, the rust, or the floorboards. However, as the Chief Justice reminded us, discrimination against religion in the public square would not be tolerated and is unconstitutional: the church’s exclusion “from a public benefit for which it is otherwise qualified, solely because it is a church, is odious to our Constitution all the same, and cannot stand.”
In the New York Times, Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute has an interesting piece on the polarization and fracturing of America today. Of note:Political scientists have found that our nation is more polarized than it has been at any time since the Civil War. One in six Americans has stopped talking to a family member or close friend because of the 2016 election. Millions of people organize their social lives and their news exposure along ideological lines to avoid people with opposing viewpoints. What’s our problem?A 2014 article in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on “motive attribution asymmetry”—the assumption that your ideology is based in love, while your opponent’s is based in hate—suggests an answer. The researchers found that the average Republican and the average Democrat today suffer from a level of motive attribution asymmetry that is comparable with that of Palestinians and Israelis. Each side thinks it is driven by benevolence, while the other is evil and motivated by hatred—and is therefore an enemy with whom one cannot negotiate or compromise.Brooks continues:People often say that our problem in America today is incivility or intolerance. This is incorrect. Motive attribution asymmetry leads to something far worse: contempt, which is a noxious brew of anger and disgust. And not just contempt for other people’s ideas, but also for other people. In the words of the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, contempt is “the unsullied conviction of the worthlessness of another.”Quite alarming. Nevertheless, this is confirmed by what we see in our slice of social discourse—whether in reference to people holding to historic Christian teaching on marriage and sexuality, or merely seeking to protect their ability to hold to such teaching.A recent study in The Atlantic discusses how such intolerance is cemented as beliefs become more siloed within certain groups and communities. The worst offenders? “[T]he most politically intolerant Americans, according to the analysis, tend to be whiter, more highly educated, older, more urban, and more partisan themselves.”Brooks’ solution for all this?Not eliminating different ideas, but embracing them. “What we need is not to disagree less, but to disagree better,” he says. When treated with contempt, we should not return it upon our opponent’s head. Instead, we must choose to respond with grace.Of all people, Christians should most eagerly embrace this idea. Our faith itself is based on God not responding to our contempt with contempt, but by sending his Son to die in our place on a cross.We should be the first to embrace the idea of showing grace to neighbors and those around us. There is much we cannot control in our society today, but let us seize one of the few areas we can change—our individual choice to respond with grace when treated with contempt.
The Peace Cross is a veterans memorial in Bladensburg, Md. dedicated to 49 servicemembers who sacrificed themselves in service to WWI. When a committee including Gold Star mothers and veterans of the American Legion got together to create a homage to that loss, they chose the shape of a cross. That was almost one hundred years ago, and now that memorial is the subject of a Supreme Court case in which the Court is being asked to decide whether the memorial can constitutionally appear on public property.Justice Brett Kavanaugh asked of the secularist legal group that started the case, “What is the role of this Court in a case like this?”It is a discerning question that gets to the heart of at least one issue—how to deal with a feathertrigger culture that is ready to file a lawsuit and use a court order at a moment’s notice to encamp judicial precedent around its preferred social issue, isolating it from the normal push and pull of the political process.Across the country, crosses and other religious symbols or displays are threatened with or subject to lawsuits because the current state of constitutional law permits a heckler’s veto over the presence of religious imagery on public property. Not only does current law allow almost anyone offended by a religious display to sue, it allows courts to inject themselves into a discussion about whether a monument is too religious to stay on public property with very little guiding principles.As a result, longstanding debates about how a community should represent itself—by its veterans, by the holidays commonly celebrated, or by its history—are essentially taken out of the hands of the local government and put into the hands of the courts. Instead of a townhall with numerous residents advocating for multiple sides to an issue, it is a courtroom where all but the attorneys and the judge are forced to watch in silence as only the interests of the parties—and not the general community—are decided upon by a court.This is not the democratic process that the Founders envisioned. The judiciary was supposed to be “the weakest of the three departments of power.” But current law leaves plenty of room for a court to make the call, enabling it to be used to replace the state legislature or city council. Important questions for local communities about displays in Bladensburg, Md., Pensacola, Fla., and other towns are consequently funneled to Washington, D.C.We hope that this case will be an opportunity for the Court to finally decide its role in a case like this, and perhaps it will restore democracy to at least one social question.
This past Friday, Vice President Mike Pence spoke before an audience at the annual CPAC Convention. He said:You know, the freedom of religion is not just enshrined in our Constitution; it’s enshrined in the hearts of the American people. But make no mistake about it: Freedom of religion is under attack in our country. Lately, it’s actually become fashionable for media elites and Hollywood liberals to mock religious belief.My own family recently came under attack just because my wife Karen went back to teach art to children at a Christian school....But let me be clear on this point: This is not about us. It’s about all of you. It’s about the sincerely held belief of millions of Americans who cherish their Christian faith and Christian education. And so I’ll make you a promise: Under this President and this administration, we will always stand with people of faith. We will always defend the freedom of religion of every American of every faith, so help us God.This administration has indeed taken the lead in religious liberty, an important step in a culture where it acceptable to mock and scorn religious beliefs. It’s not just media elites or Hollywood, either. Modern culture, CPAC panelist Matthew Spalding observed, “has tried to push religion into a smaller and smaller and smaller box. ‘You got to keep it at home or you got to keep it in the confessional.’”Washington has jumped on the bandwagon, too, as FRC reports—senators have doggedly questioned nominees for public office about their religious beliefs in order to “unmask particular tenets of potential (nominees’) religious faith that the interrogators fear run counter to their own political stances on issues such as abortion and gay rights,” as a Washington Post opinion piece points out.The same could be said of the vilification of Second Lady Karen Pence and many of the latest attacks against people of faith. As our VP of Policy Travis Weber wrote, this should be a wake-up call to all Christians.But Pence is also right about another thing—freedom of conscience and the ability to live out one’s faith is enshrined in the hearts of the American people, put in place by God himself. That is why in 1786 Thomas Jefferson and the Virginia General Assembly said in the timeless Act for Religious Freedom, “we are free to declare, and do declare, that the rights hereby asserted are of the natural rights of mankind.” Any political or cultural effort to renege on those values “will be an infringement of natural right.”We are eager to stand with the administration to keep fighting for the right to exercise our faith. Click here for the full text of Pence’s remarks.
Dear Friends,Sometimes, in the course of our lives, we have to draw a line. For us here at FRC and for millions of people across the country, one of those times happens to be now.As I’m sure you are aware, the U.S. Senate recently voted down a measure that would have introduced criminal penalties for letting a baby that has already been born after a botched abortion die. Yes, you read that right. There are currently no laws in our country that make it a criminal offense to commit infanticide after a botched abortion. Since 2002, the CDC has reported that a baby has been born after a failed abortion at least 143 times, and this number is almost certainly a vast underestimate because this data was only gathered from a handful of states that allowed the data to be gathered in the first place. Let’s contemplate this just for a moment: 143 baby boys and girls, squirming and crying for the tiniest bit of human compassion, left to die cold and alone in a storage closet.As a country, we now find ourselves at a red line. Will we allow infanticide to continue unpunished, or will we make it a crime? For us here at FRC, we are drawing this red line. We will not let this issue slide. We are making it clear that we as a human race must, at the barest of minimums, care for a baby that has just been born. It’s almost unthinkable that we even have to take this stand, but we do.So what are we going to do? First, we are going to make it clear to Congress what they are actually doing by not voting the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act into law. They are robbing brand-new babies of their very lives by not keeping them warm and feeding them. Therefore, we have started the End Birth Day Abortion campaign. With your help, we will send thousands and thousands of baby hats to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to show her that all babies deserve to be given a hat to keep them warm and a life to live.This campaign is just the beginning of FRC’s efforts to see that all infanticide is made illegal. Let us pray for and continue to work for a culture that sees every human life in the same way that our Creator does: intrinsically worthwhile, unique, irreplaceable, and infinitely lovable, from conception to natural death.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 MediaFRC Speaker Series: How Members of Congress are Standing up to the Radical Abortion Agenda – Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.)Avoid the ‘Twinkie diet’ in your prayer life: Do THIS to help you deal with depressing news headlines – Tony PerkinsNortham’s Real Offense to African-Americans – Patrina MosleyOf Crosses and Totem Poles – Alexandra McPheeBoys Competing Against Girls Steal Another Win – Cathy RuseThe Influence of Social Media on Politics – Peyton HollidayEducation Reform: 6 Ways to Help Students Flourish – Zachary Rogers3 Arguments Pro-Lifers Must Make in Standing for Life in 2019 – Hugh PhillipsFighting Religious Persecution with Mustard Seeds – Caleb Seals Religious LibertyReligious Liberty in the Public SquareWhy Religious Freedom Matters – Alan Sears, TownhallSupreme Court to hear First Amendment case over cross memorial – Clyde Hughes, UPICovington High student's legal team sues Washington Post – Samuel Chamberlain, Fox News'A Concentrated Effort': GOP Rep Says Some Dems Trying to Strike 'So Help Me God' From Committee Oaths – Fox NewsInternational Religious FreedomTiny Kaifeng Jewish Community Faces Orwellian Future – Lela Gilbert, The Jerusalem PostSyrian Christians: Survivors in a great war – Mindy Belz, WORLD'No one is telling me when I can leave', Asia Bibi speaks from protective custody – Alex Williams, PremierIn Cuba, Church Leaders Report Communist Intimidation Ahead of Vote on New Constitution – Patrick Goodenough, CNS NewsBrownback says Pakistan willing to improve religious freedom record – Herald Malaysia3 ways to pray for Haiti – Chelsea Patterson Sobolik, Ethics & Religious Liberty CommissionMilitary Religious FreedomBible at center of dispute over display at Manchester VA Medical Center – Andy Hershberger, WMUR9 LifeAbortionHow Is Abortion After Birth Not News? – L. Brent Bozell III and Tim Graham, CNS NewsNew poll finds “dramatic shift” on abortion attitudes – Alayna Treene, AxiosPlanned Parenthood Operates Over Half of U.S. Abortion Clinics – Emily Ward, CNS NewsAbortion: A Biblical, Biological, and Philosophical Refutation – Matt Dawson, Answers in GenesisLeading Public-Health Groups Oppose Ban on Infanticide – Alexandra DeSanctis, National ReviewMost of the Planned Parenthood Officials Caught in CMP Videos have Since Resigned – Joshua Denton, California Family CouncilUndercover Video of Abortion Clinic Destroys Claim That Late-Term Abortions Are Medically Necessary – Emily Jones, CBN NewsTim Kaine Suggests He’ll Oppose Ban on Infanticide – Alexandra DeSanctis, National ReviewDems are so attached to abortion, they can't see that voters don’t want what they're selling – Laura Ingraham, Fox NewsAdoptionChristian adoption agency fights New York’s ultimatum to accept LGBTQ doctrine or close its doors – Martin M. Barillas, LifeSiteNewsKinston teen businessman selling t-shirts to support adoption – WITN FamilyMarriageMillennial Couples Are Trending Away from This Thing That’s Good for Your Marriage – Kelsey T. Chun, VerilyWhat Advice Would You Give Newly Married John Piper? – John Piper, Desiring GodDear Husband, Our Marriage Wins When We Face Our Life Together – Samantha Krieger, HerViewFromHomeParentingThe Left’s Literal Nanny State – Heather Wilhelm, National ReviewAre Sundays Good for Babies? – Megan Hill, The Gospel CoalitionHow to teach your children to handle peer pressure – Joe Carter, Ethics & Religious Liberty CommissionEconomics/EducationFuture of homeschooling: Less religious, more regulated? – Michael Gryboski, The Christian PostNew Research: Women Earn Less Not Because Of Sexism, But Because They Prefer To Raise Their Own Kids – Lyman Stone, The FederalistElizabeth Warren’s Misguided Child-Care Plan – Carrie Lukas, National ReviewFederal Early Childhood Education, Care Don’t Benefit Kids. Here Are the Facts. – Lindsey Burke, The Daily SignalState lawmakers target homeschoolers for intrusive in-house visits without cause – Lisa Bourne, LifeSiteNewsDrug Use on College Campuses Today – Walter Keenan and David Cohen, InpatientDrugRehab.orgHarrison Ford's Climate Horror Story – L. Brent Bozell III and Tim Graham, CNS NewsFaith/Character/CultureResearch Reveals 'Belonging to a Church Is a Crucial Element' for Longer and Happier Lives – Christian Ellis, CBN NewsThe Theme That Pervades Our Top 40 Hits – Alexandra Davis, VerilyAvoiding Difficult People Is Not Christlike Love – Maria Baer, The Gospel CoalitionCourteous but Cowardly: Today’s Tolerant Atheism – Fr. Gregory Pine, O.P., Public DiscourseMost U.S. Teens See Anxiety and Depression as a Major Problem Among Their Peers – Juliana Menasce Horowitz and Nikki Graf, Pew Research CenterMake ‘Christian’ Engagement with the Arts More . . . Christian – Brett McCracken, The Gospel CoalitionStephen Hawking’s Accidental Apologetic – Bill Brown, BreakPointHuman SexualityFour Ways to Fight Sexual Sin – Sam Allberry, Desiring GodAre We All “Cat Persons” Now? How Modern Dating Destroys Intimacy – Nathan Schlueter and Elizabeth Schlueter, Public DiscourseRelentless mom overthrows LGBT agenda at her kids’ school – LifeSiteNewsFemale High Schooler Speaks Out After Losing Championship To Two Transgender Sprinters – Amanda Prestigiacomo, The Daily WirePornographyHow We Finally Won the Battle Against Pornography – Michelle Stumbo, Focus on the FamilySex is not the problem, THIS is: How to avoid the dangerous road of addiction – Paul David Tripp, Fox News
Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in the closely-watched case out of Bladensburg, Maryland about the Bladensburg WWI Veterans Memorial known as the Peace Cross. A secularist legal group challenged the memorial because it is in the shape of a cross, which the group argues is unconstitutional in light of the fact that it is owned by a local government and maintained on public property and despite coming into creation under private ownership and funding.Though the case involves a religious symbol significant to Christians, the decision—and the reasoning the Court uses to reach it—could have implications for the place of symbols and practices of all religions in the public square. During oral argument, Chief Justice Roberts noted that for Native Americans, “totems have spiritual and religious significance.” His question signaled that a decision on the Peace Cross would affect such minority religious groups.It is a relevant question, as suits are consistently brought against religious minorities’ symbolic displays. During the holiday season, menorahs symbolizing the Jewish holiday of Chanukah are almost as controversial as nativities. (Judges even have a hard time deciding whether menorahs are too religious for public display.) The crescent moon and star, used by some to acknowledge the Islamic practice of Ramadan, have been involved in legal challenges. A public statue of Quetzalcoatl, which has religious significance to some Mayan revolutionaries in southern Mexico, also faced a lawsuit under the Establishment Clause.Government action related to Jewish traditions like eruvs, consumer fraud protections for the sale of kosher goods, and ritual slaughter have faced legal challenges under the Establishment Clause, too.While courts have allowed some of these minority religious displays to stand, the analyses have been all over the place. Lower courts are forced to render decisions under very subjective standards, only further proving the need for a clear, bright-line rule that will protect all religious expression in the public square.Though some may like to say otherwise, it’s not just pushy Christians who will suffer bruised egos if the Peace Cross is removed. In this case, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, and everyone benefits from a public square left free to recognize the religious expression of its citizens. We’re hoping the Supreme Court will take this case as an opportunity to not only keep the Peace Cross at its current location, but to protect the role of religion—all religions—in the public square.
Two boys finished in first and second place over all the girls in the 55-yard dash at the state track championship meet in Connecticut earlier this month.Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood have dominated in their sport for two years. That’s because they are actually boys who are allowed to compete against girls. Given their times, these boys would lose if they competed against other males. They can only beat girls. This fact alone makes the biological differences between the sexes crystal clear. If a boy, with all of his physical advantages, can only beat girls, with her comparative disadvantages, there is nothing about this to be proud of. It is simply cheating, and girls are getting tired of it.Martina Navratilova, the 18-time Grand Slam tennis champion and celebrated gay activist, has now been vilified and punished because she says it’s unfair to force women to compete against biological men. These new rules, she wrote in The Sunday Times, “reward cheats and punish the innocent.”These boys are not only stealing wins from girls, they’re stealing coveted scholarships into female collegiate athletics. It is no surprise that one of the girls competing against the boys called it “demoralizing.” Selina Soule would have qualified for the New England regionals which would have allowed her to run in front of more college coaches, if the two competitors who identify as transgender hadn’t taken the top spots, according to the Associated Press.This is what radical feminists call female erasure. Others refer to it as the male invasion of female space.Rick Moran of the American Thinker asks:Will there ever come a tipping point where this idiocy is exposed? It may be coming next year at the Olympics. Transgendered athletes will compete for the first time. Whether they win medals or not, they are taking slots meant for women.When men who identify as women compete against women, they’re not achieving a sports victory. They’re just lying, cheating, and stealing.
For most of us, social media has become a routine part of our day-to-day lives here in America. This reality is now taking hold in politics as well. Scrolling through social media pages such as Twitter and Instagram, I have seen videos of candidates and elected officials dancing in their offices, visiting the dentist, drinking beer, and all manner of day-to-day life being shared with the public. With videos posted by Beto O’Rourke, Elizabeth Warren, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and others, the political spectrum is changing.I personally don’t want to see a video of a politician going to the dentist—I would rather see a video of them explaining their stance on abortion or border control. I want to know what the candidate stands for on policy instead of how cool of a dance move they can do. We are losing professionalism in the political world. It seems that we are now electing people because they have nice dance moves or seem relatable on an Instagram video. This makes me wonder—how will our future elections be shaped through social media?In the 1960 election cycle, well before the era of social media, the debates between JFK and Richard Nixon were televised for the first time in American history. The looks, poise, and smooth actions of JFK helped him to win the votes of millions of Americans. The medium of television set a new precedent for an era in which politicians worried about their image as much as their messaging. These televised debates marked the beginning of a new type of political media that would shape the outcome of elections for years to come.Now, we are in a new era where the political scene is changing again. Americans can now stay up to date on the day-to-day thoughts and actions of political figures through videos, pictures, and posts on social media. The political landscape is becoming more and more based on marketing and image rather than actual policy positions. If you can market yourself better than your opponent, you have a better chance at winning. If your social media page has millions of followers, you can get more attention than appearing on national television. Candidates don’t even have to set up an interview with a television station to get media coverage anymore—if a social media post goes “viral,” it will be all over both television and the internet.Social media is clearly a useful way to make candidates more visible to the world. Social media is already shaping the outcome of elections. In future elections, social media will undoubtedly begin to play an even bigger role. Similar to what happened in the 1960 election, the actions, online presence, and relatable image of a candidate can hold more sway than their policy positions in the minds of many social media-addicted voters.Future elections will be shaped by the online presence of the candidates. As for me, I would rather see candidates use social media to present thoughtful positions on policy issues rather than try to be hip.Peyton Holliday is an intern at Family Research Council.
The American education system is in need of reform. According to a Pew Research Center report, educational attainment is low, and American students rank in the middle on science, mathematics, and reading, placing them behind their peers in other countries. Parents concerned with the character and morals of their children are also often disappointed by the secularization that has taken hold in many schools. Americans, in particular Christians, need options.Top down control of the education system by Washington, which has turned education into a bureaucratic endeavor, has been a failure. Repeated endeavors from the federal government since 1965 has led to falling standards, while oversight, bureaucracy, meddling, and parent dissatisfaction have all increased. The blame for this rests squarely on both the Republican and Democratic parties. This shift from the norm of locally funded and locally controlled schools has led parents to search for other options, which in turn led to the birth of the school choice movement.There are multiple ways to provide the options parents want to meet the unique needs of their children. Here are a few:1. Charter SchoolsCharter schools are similar to public schools in that they are tuition free, are non-selective, and are operated by an independent board of governors. They are required to comply with all state laws regarding religion, discrimination, and employment. The difference between a standard public school and a charter public school is flexibility. They are allowed to have a mission, develop a curriculum related to the mission, and select teachers able to achieve the mission. Charter schools partner with parents to meet the needs of their children.2. Education Savings AccountsEducation savings accounts are another method of providing parents with choice. Rather than send the per-pupil funding the state would have sent to the neighborhood school, the state deposits that amount into a savings account on behalf of a student whose parents select this option. With this money, parents are able to craft a slew of simultaneous learning options for their children. For example, a child may take an online class while enrolled in a charter school and receive private tutoring for the violin. In 2019, there are many options for receiving an education. Education Savings Accounts allow parents to find a quality one.3. VouchersK-12 vouchers are scholarships that allow families to send their children to private schools. They are often used to provide assistance for children with disabilities, low income students, or students who are trapped in a failing school.4. A Return to Local School Board ControlEducation-related decision making should be returned to the state and local levels. Historically, it was the state and local school board that handled education matters. This preserved liberty by respecting the principle of federalism and promoted the involvement and control of those most concerned with the welfare of students—parents, local officials, and members of the school board. This system was progressively abandoned. Beginning in the 1960’s and up to the present day, the compliance issues and costs associated with federal programs such as Common Core and the Every Student Succeeds Act have become burdensome. State and local districts are better positioned to understand and respond to the issues faced by parents and students than federal bureaucrats.5. Tax CreditsA tax credit scholarship program allows people to get a tax credit for donating to a scholarship program. They allow state taxpayers to receive a full or partial tax credit against their tax obligations. These state-based tax credit scholarship programs are an important part of sustaining private school choice. They enable scholarship programs, funded by individuals or corporations, to provide scholarships to the needy or deserving, allowing parents to find the private schools their children need.6. HomeschoolingHomeschooling is quite simply the practice of educating your children at home. Parents do this for different reasons—dissatisfaction with public or private school academics, dangerous school environments, or the desire to impart religious instruction. Homeschooled students may be taught by parents, guardians, or tutors. Homeschooling has been a traditional method of education since our country’s founding, and it has seen a surge in popularity since the 1980s. Since then, the number of homeschoolers has increased and with it a proliferation of resources and networks.Conservatives and Christians who value the responsibility to care for their children, a responsibility that carries over to the duty of educating them, should support school choice. They should do so for multiple reasons. First, every child has unique interests and needs—school choice allows parents to meet them. Second, it protects liberty by returning control to state and local officials. Third, parents who are concerned about the morals being taught to, the lack of safety for, or the type of education methods used on their children can find the right school to satisfy those concerns. Fourth, it allows parents to take advantage of technology and the plethora of resources available to them that might not be available in their child’s current school. Finally, it brings market pressures to bear upon bad schools.For these reasons school choice should be high on the agenda of state legislators, conservatives, and Christians.Zachary Rogers is a Government Affairs intern at Family Research Council.
Several weeks ago here in Washington D.C., I marched with tens of thousands of everyday Americans to protest Roe v. Wade and urge our representatives to stand for life. It was a wonderful thing to behold. Poll after poll shows that the pro-life movement is succeeding in winning the battle of ideas. Through scientific data and common sense, pro-lifers are convincing Americans that life begins at conception. Yet, as the pro-life movement has celebrated great victories in recent years and mobilized for the fight ahead, the battle for life continues to rage in courts and legislative chambers across the country.The recent New York bill allowing abortion at any time during pregnancy and the subsequent comments by the Governor of Virginia on similar legislation in that state show that despite the advances of the pro-life cause, abortion will not be eliminated in America without a long political and cultural struggle. Even now, Vermont and Rhode Island are advancing horrendous legislation that would legalize abortion at any time during pregnancy for any reason. These recent bills show the logical outcome of the sexual revolution: the destruction of offspring and future generations in the name of pleasure and personal desire.Pro-lifers must take a firm stand against this year’s wave of pro-abortion legislation. Yet, as we gasp at the evil of pro-abortion legislation, we must not give in to unbridled emotion but instead stand for life in a winsome and godly manner. Here are three things that pro-lifers must make clear in their arguments against 2019’s slew of pro-abortion bills:1. The abortion debate is not about the freedom to choose but the right to life.Pro-abortion advocates regularly argue that the abortion debate is about a woman’s “right to choose.” Yet, in arguing against pro-abortion bills, pro-lifers must be very clear that the abortion debate revolves, not around the “right to choose,” but around the dignity of human life in any form. Only then will pro-lifers effectively convince citizens and their legislators that outlawing abortion is not about depriving women of their rights, but about protecting the fundamental right to life of all Americans, born and unborn.2. A society that does not protect life undermines its very existence.This is a commonsense notion but is all too often overlooked by pro-lifers in arguing against abortion legislation. From ancient Rome to modern day America, a fundamental aspect that differentiated civilized society has been its protection of life, especially innocent and helpless life. This goes beyond debates about big versus small government and takes us to the most basic role of the civil authority—the protection of life. Pro-lifers must make the case that the abortion debate revolves around the very essence of what differentiates and protects American society from following in the footsteps of barbaric civilizations.3. All persons have dignity and deserve respect, even those advocating for abortion.Christians and pro-lifers should be justifiably furious at the passage of the evil New York abortion legislation or the recent barbaric comments regarding abortion made by the Governor of Virginia. Yet, in the heat of the fight, Christian pro-lifers must not forget that the power of our message rests in the truth that all men, even the Ralph Northam’s and Andrew Cuomo’s of this world, are made in the imago Dei, the very image of God. Thus, while being justly angry for the evil pro-abortion advocates commit, we must also stop to grieve for and have mercy on those so entrapped by the sexual revolution that they would advocate for the death of unborn babies. William Wilberforce, in his battle against slavery in eighteenth century Britain, is a perfect example of someone having this attitude. Our goal must be not to just defeat abortion, but to bring pro-abortion advocates and public figures to the glorious freedom of submitting to Christ as Savior.The battle before us in the fight for life will be long, but it is one that we will win. The dignity and preciousness of every human life is a principle worth fighting for. May God grant us not only victory in defeating pro-abortion bills in 2019 and ultimately overturning Roe v. Wade, but also in bringing the glorious forgiveness and healing of the gospel to a society and culture that has been so horribly scarred by abortion.Hugh Phillips is a Government Affairs intern at Family Research Council working on pro-life legislation.
Due to security concerns, the location of this country cannot be disclosed.For someone who has never been outside of America, I was pumped up about going on my first mission trip overseas. Before the journey, our group went through an intensive preparation course. This course required us to grow in our faith, prepare our armor, and know the laws of the land we were traveling to. We had to practice praying with our eyes open, talk in coded language, and have the ability to detect undercover law enforcement.The country that we were going to was not Christian-friendly, to put it mildly. We were officially traveling as tourists in a hiking club. We would need to constantly be alert for authorities that could be following us. Per the country’s laws, we were banned from teaching the Bible or sharing the gospel. Of course, that wasn’t going to stop us.After over 20 hours of flying, we finally arrived at our destination. The very next day, we left the city and went into the outer countryside to start our mission. For the first few days, we stayed in host homes that were a part of small villages on the mountainside. We used translators to speak and encourage believers in their walk with Jesus.After news of our arrival spread, we were constantly stopped and asked to come in to people’s homes so that they could question us about our activities and take a group picture with their phones. It is also important to note that most of these people had other gods in their life. In almost every hut we went into, there were false idols that they would worship. Many people in these communities seemed to mostly put their hope in the local fortune teller.After visiting multiple villages, we then set out to a region that no other group had gone to before us. This area had never even heard the name of Jesus, let alone knew what a Bible was. Due to the threat of being compromised, we simply spoke to the people in this area and did prayer walks. During our prayer walks, we would drop mustard seeds, hoping that the Holy Spirit would fill that area (Matthew 17:20).At the camp, there were undercover officers who posed as fishermen that were sent there by the government to observe our activities and document who we were in contact with. Most of our friends in the country that traveled with us had left so that they would not be endangered.One night, after an interesting encounter with a fortune teller, we arrived back to our camp. Our host, along with the law enforcement officers, told us that our time staying there was over. I had no idea what to expect. I had heard of several stories in the news about Christians being persecuted and had no idea what would happen to us. We immediately thought of the worst possible outcomes. Are they going to arrest us? Will we be able to return home? What will happen to the contacts we made in the area? The authorities then told us that we were required to leave the area immediately, but we had no idea where to go.We loaded up the van and had to leave in the middle of the night to a hotel hours away. To securely inform our church of what had just transpired, we had to talk in the bathroom and turn the water on to avoid eavesdroppers. Eventually, we found out that the government compensated visiting tourists to find out information about us. We eventually left the country without any further problems.On our flight home, I reflected on our journey and prayed that it was not a waste of time. We were all a little discouraged because we did not know why God would send us there only to be shipped right back home again.Several months after we returned home, we got an update from our contact in the country where we had spent our mission trip. Our contact stated that since our departure, hundreds of people had been saved in the same area where we did not even mention the name of Jesus and had merely prayed while dropping mustard seeds. It was awesome to see how God revealed himself through only the faith of a mustard seed!Since then, we continue to pray for the Holy Spirit to move every day in that country. It is obvious from the news that not all stories about international religious persecution end as safely as ours did. You saw what happened with Pastor Brunson. You see what is happening with the persecution of our brothers and sisters by ISIS. You see what is happening in China. We need to remember that we have millions of brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world who risk their freedom and their lives every day, merely for being Christian. I hope that you will join me in praying for the persecuted Christians around the globe.Caleb Seals is an intern at Family Research Council.
Hillary Clinton, the most popular loser of two presidential elections, keeps talking, and keeps lying. On February 12th, she tweeted, “Only about 1% of abortions happen later in pregnancy—almost always because a woman’s health or life is at risk, or the pregnancy is no longer viable. Lying about this is dangerous, and a slap in the face to families who face heartbreaking situations.”She accuses President Trump of lying when he rebuked Democrats for their support of late-term abortions and infanticide during his State of the Union speech. However, the second half of Clinton’s tweet is wrong.According to pro-abortion research from the Guttmacher Institute, “data suggests that most women seeking later terminations are not doing so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment.”One of the most defining moments of the 2016 elections was the debate between Clinton and Trump on abortion. When Trump vividly and accurately described what happens to a living child in a late-term abortion, it not only woke a lot of Americans up to the morality of protecting life but also showed a powerful contrast between the two parties and made the Democrat’s mantra for women of “my body, my choice” look inhumane and barbaric.Trump won. Hillary lost.Even New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is paying a political price as his approval rating has dropped to its lowest level in eight years as governor.Despite all of this, Democrats are intent on forcing a radical abortion agenda on Americans.A 2018 Gallup poll on American’s attitudes toward abortion showed that Americans’ “support for the legality of abortion varies sharply when they are asked to evaluate it on a trimester basis” and significantly drops in support after the first trimester.The most recent Marist polling showed that Americans want limits on abortion:“Three in four Americans (75 percent) say abortion should be limited to – at most – the first three months of pregnancy. This includes most of those who identify as Republicans (92 percent), independents (78 percent) and Democrats (60 percent). It also includes more than six in 10 (61 percent) who identify as pro-choice.”A national survey on late-term abortion from Americans United for Life/YouGov Survey found that even “pro-choice” Americans oppose abortion in the third trimester and removing care for a viable child:“68% of pro-choice Americans oppose abortion the day before a child is born;66% of pro-choice Americans oppose abortion in the third trimester;77% of pro-choice Americans oppose removing medical care for a viable child”A new poll released by Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) finds that:77 percent of voters support legislation to ensure that a baby who survives a failed abortion “be given the same medical treatment as any other baby born prematurely at the same age” (with 55 percent in “strong” support).62 percent of voters oppose legislation to allow late-term abortions, “even up to the point when a woman is in labor” (with 50 percent in “strong” opposition).Even as Rhode Island is attempting to mimic New York’s extreme abortion law, an overwhelming majority of likely voters in the state are saying: NO!The party of “tolerance” is seemingly unashamed of being intolerant towards Americans who do not want to see babies slaughtered both inside and outside of the womb.While we pray for all those in power to acknowledge the truth, we should remember the right to life when heading to the polls. Innocent lives depend on it.
Dear Friends,In recent weeks, as the Democratic Party further entrenches itself in the support of late-term abortion to the point of infanticide, I have often found myself feeling angry and disgusted toward these elected officials who seem so lacking in basic human decency. (If these politicians were standing in the room where a late-term abortion was taking place or where a baby was literally born alive after a failed abortion, would they still hold the same view? One has to wonder…)During such highly-charged emotional times in public life that we are currently in, I’ve found it very easy to demonize and dehumanize these pro-abortion elected officials in my own mind. We human beings have a tendency to condemn without a second thought, and condemnation can quickly become personal. You’ve probably heard it many times before, but it bears repeating: we must condemn actions, not people. But there’s something else we must do as pro-life Christians that goes beyond condemnation of actions, and it’s more important: prayer. Our Savior Himself commanded it: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:43-45).Are we praying every day for Andrew Cuomo, for Ralph Northam, for Nancy Pelosi, for Chuck Schumer, for all other elected officials who publicly support abortion, that they will have a change of heart? As Christians, prayer must be our very first impulse whenever we face any kind of challenge, or before we do anything at all, for that matter (1 Thessalonians 5:17). When we feel powerless to affect change for good, prayer gives us peace of mind to know that we are doing something. For we know that God listens to and answers our prayers (1 Peter 3:12).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 MediaIssue Brief: Rebels Without a Clause: When Senators Run Roughshod Over the "No Religious Test" Clause of the U.S. Constitution – Alexandra McPheeIssue Analysis: Department of Defense on Why Those with “Gender Dysphoria” Are Disqualified from Military Service – Peter SpriggA Christian War Memorial in No Way Violates the Establishment Clause – Alexandra McPheeWhen Free Exercise Comes at a Price – Alexandra McPheeWhat a Title IX Proposal Means for Religious Liberty – Alexandra McPheeDemocratic Congresswoman Condemns Religious Bigotry, Standing up to Her Party in a Rare Act of Courage – David ClossonChris Pratt’s Bible-inspired diet highlights a discipline from a spiritual dimension – Tony PerkinsNew York and Planned Parenthood, a eugenic match made in Heaven – Patrina MosleyThe Conscience of A Nation: Defeating Democrat Extremism – Ken BlackwellTargeting of Karen Pence is wake-up call to all Christians – Travis WeberFRC Speaker Series: Religious Freedom, Trade Talks, and ChinaFRC Speaker Series: Should We Pull Our Kids Out of Public School?FRC Speaker Series: The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies are Destroying Lives – Jennifer Roback MorseParty of “Tolerance” is Intolerant to American’s Views on Late-Term Abortion – Patrina Mosley3 Things to Remember About the Importance of Marriage This Valentine’s Day – Hugh PhillipsWill Women’s Restrooms Be Ruled Obsolete? – Peter SpriggContributors to Sexual Exploitation are Called Out – Patrina MosleyReturn to the Constitution: Judicial Activism or Originalism? – Zachary RogersThe Cost of Sending Your Kids to Public School Just Might Be Their Souls – Cathy Ruse10 Nominees Have Faced Unconstitutional Religious Tests in Less Than 2 Years – Alexandra McPheeMarriage Gives Love a Canvas to Paint On – Dan HartPresident Trump’s Pro-Life Proclamation – David ClossonThe Pro-Infanticide Party – David ClossonHotel Trans: Check In Any Time, But Never Leave – Cathy Ruse Religious LibertyReligious Liberty in the Public SquareThe Ever-Present Totalitarian Temptation – George Weigel, First ThingsVermont discriminates against students of religious high schools, lawsuit claims – Jess Aloe, Burlington Free PressJewish Therapist Sues New York City Over Law Banning Faith-Based LGBT Counseling – Joshua Nelson, The Daily SignalJudge says Tampa ban on conversion therapy may violate therapists' free speech rights – Avery Anapol, The HillInternational Religious FreedomPakistan’s Supreme Court Dismisses Challenge to Asia Bibi Blasphemy Acquittal – Hannah Brockhaus, National Catholic RegisterAsia Bibi stuck in Pakistan, frustrated and afraid amid threats – Brandon Showalter, The Christian PostPhilippine Church Bombing Kills 20 After Vote for Muslim Governance – Kate Shellnutt, Christianity TodayN. Korean Christians keep faith underground amid crackdowns – Hyung-Jin Kim, APMilitary Religious FreedomAmericans Tell Atheists: Keep Your Hands Off Our War Memorials – ToddStarnes.com LifeAbortionOB/GYNs, Nurses Speak Out Against NY Abortion Law: It Is Never Necessary to Kill Baby for Health, Life of Mother – Heather Clark, Christian NewsPlanned Parenthood Made $245 Million Last Year Killing Babies in Abortions – Lauretta Brown, LifeNewsVermont Abortion Bill Goes Further than Virginia and New York’s – Wesley J. Smith, National ReviewNew York, Abortion, and a Short Route to Chaos – Bishop Robert Barron, Word on FireBookstore Owner Makes Viral Statement About New York Abortion Law – Mary Margaret Olohan, The Daily CallerInfanticide Becomes Justifiable – Wesley J. Smith, First ThingsAbortion’s Devastating Impact Upon Black Americans – Arthur Goldberg, Public DiscourseAdoptionMothers Are Killing Babies Who Could Fill The Empty Arms Of Millions Of Loving Couples – Adam Mill, The Federalist FamilyMarriageHow Can Marriage Be Good for Mental Health? – David Levine, U.S. News & World ReportGiving Up Good Things for the Best Things in Marriage – Selena Frederick, Focus on the FamilyResources for Building a Marriage that Lasts – Alysse ElHage, Family StudiesHow We Saved Our Marriage in the Final Hour – Her View From HomeA Finance Guide for Married Couples – Phillip Holmes, The Gospel CoalitionDon’t Put Your Hope in Date Night – Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler, The Gospel CoalitionMore Tips to Promote a Strong Marriage – Jim Graves, National Catholic RegisterMy Husband Isn’t Romantic, But He’s Still Mr. Right – Jenny Albers, Her View From HomeParentingDad—A Girl’s First and Most Influential Love – Timothy Rarick, Family StudiesParental Involvement: How Much Is Too Much? – Child TrendsWhat It’s Like When the Kids Grow Up: A Conversation Between Two Moms – Carolyn Lankford and Anna Meade Harris, rootedWebinar: The Unique Contributions Of Fathers To Their Children’s Development – Institute for Research on PovertyEconomics/EducationDespite Government Shutdown, Job Growth Soars in January – Timothy Doescher, The Daily SignalThe “Green New Deal” Would Only Crush People’s Spirit – Rob Schwarzwalder, The StreamFaith/Character/CultureMarijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence – Alex Berenson, ImprimisThe Internet and Satan’s Game – Bishop Robert Barron, Word on FireYou Don’t Have to Have a Well-Formed Opinion on Everything – Trevin Wax, The Gospel CoalitionPsychology as Indoctrination: Girls Rule, Boys Drool? – Leonard Sax, Family StudiesAre Smartphones and Social Media Hurting Our Kids? – Charles Fain Lehman, Family StudiesA Different Kind of Love – Nancy Flory, The StreamHuman SexualityThe Left is Shunning Liberals With Concerns About Transgender Agenda – Ryan Anderson, The StreamPressure to conform – Jamie Dean, WORLDTrue love waits: Suggestions for a more holistic purity culture – Alex Ward, Ethics & Religious Liberty CommissionCohabitation Doesn’t Compare: Marriage, Cohabitation, and Relationship Quality – W. Bradford Wilcox, Family Studies6 ways pastors can care for victims of sexual abuse – Trillia Newbell, Ethics & Religious Liberty CommissionHuman TraffickingHow to Spot Sex Trafficking; Super Bowl Sunday and Beyond – Tiffany Powell, National Center on Sexual ExploitationNevada Has the Highest Rates of an Illegal Sex Trade in the Nation – National Center on Sexual ExploitationPornographyWhat kids aren’t telling parents about porn on social media – Gail Dines, The Boston GlobeSeeing is (Not) Believing: How Viewing Pornography Shapes the Religious Lives of Young Americans – Samuel L. Perry and George M. Hayward, Social ForcesWant To Connect More Deeply With Other People? Consider Quitting Porn – Fight the New Drug
Most people see Valentine’s Day as a fun opportunity to express their love to their spouse or significant other. Therefore, it’s a great time for Christian conservatives to take this opportunity to emphasize, through public policy and social activism, the critical importance and beauty of marriage, both to individuals and to our culture as a whole.Marriage, designed by God to be between one man and one woman, reveals the beauty of God’s design for social order. FRC has consistently argued that marriage is critical to the maintenance of society and is the foundation of civilization. Yet too often, modern conservatives overlook the importance of marriage in the war for the soul of America. The following are three things Christian conservatives must make clear:1. Marriage is a gift.In a time when young Americans are putting off marriage, whether it be to find that perfect job or get one more degree, a sense of loneliness is drifting over American society. Against this background, Christian conservatives must remind society of the importance of marriage and the beauty of a life-long relationship to one person. In today’s anti-marriage and anti-commitment culture, Christian conservatives must argue that marriage is one of the most fulfilling and essential aspects of life. God’s design for marriage is such that having a spouse provides the necessary emotional and spiritual support that we all need every day.2. Marriage is a responsibility.In the modern day, many argue that marriage is not only old-fashioned, but unnecessarily restrictive of the freedoms of individuals. Christian conservatives must respond to this argument by showing that marriage is one of the healthiest and most necessary steps a young person must take to mature. A society that values marriage is happier and more productive. When discussing marriage, as with other issues like government, Christian conservatives must make clear that it is not unlimited freedom but ordered liberty that makes for happy, fulfilling lives. 3. Marriage is critical to the maintenance of society.Only strong families can ensure a stable, healthy, and safe society, and families are only strong if marriages are strong. The many social problems America faces arguably have their root in the breakdown of marriages caused by the rise of the sexual revolution in the 1960’s. If social problems are to be eased, the value of marriage must be upheld in public policy and in the culture at large.Social conservatives must not give way but instead defend the sanctity and importance of marriage. This can be done on the public policy level by, for example, eliminating the marriage penalty and reforming divorce laws to reflect the value of the marriage covenant. Even more importantly, Christian conservatives must defend and promote the sanctity of marriage in the broader culture. Only then will public policy victories on this issue increase as the nation realizes the importance of marriage to our society. Happy National Marriage Week, and Happy Valentine’s Day!Hugh Phillips is a Government Affairs intern at Family Research Council working on pro-life legislation.

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