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At Pray Vote Stand Summit last week, Chloe Kondrich joined me on a panel to discuss what the future of life in America could look like in a post-Dobbs world. Even though Chloe is only in high school, she has already accomplished more than most people do in a lifetime. At age 3, with the help of her brother Nolan, Chloe became an avid reader. It has only gone up from there. At age 11, Chloe successfully lobbied for the passage of “Chloe’s law,” which requires health care providers to notify women receiving a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis of the full range of resources available for their child. At age 13, Chloe spoke at the United Nations along with her father. The two were so well received, they were brought back for an encore the following year. During the pro-life Trump administration, Chloe met both the president and Vice President Pence, and (as she told the audience at Pray Vote Stand) President Trump gave her a kiss on the head. Chloe’s picture with Vice President Pence hung in the West Wing.Now at age 18, Chloe, who has Down syndrome, travels all over the world with her dad advocating for the right to life of all people, but specifically people with Down syndrome. She is a woman of few words—and plenty of smiles. Chloe brings out the best in everyone, and when you are around her, it is impossible not to wish more people were as positive, joyful, and kind as Chloe. As her dad said, “Chloe will have a mansion in heaven, and I’ll sweep the driveway.” Sadly, not all of Chloe’s efforts to advocate for the unborn are successful. In the United States, 67 percent of babies prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. Across the globe, the situation is even worse. In Iceland, people with Down syndrome are extremely rare, not because the disease has been eradicated but because the people prenatally diagnosed with it are so rarely allowed to be born. In the U.K, British judges upheld a law that permits babies with Down syndrome to be aborted—and they did this in response to a lawsuit brought by a British woman with Down syndrome.As Chloe’s dad, Kurt Kondrich (a pro-life advocate who works to pass legislation protecting those with Down syndrome in the womb) said at Pray Vote Stand, “It’s a genocide… When people identify, target, and terminate a human being because they don’t meet the cultural mandates—this culture’s mandate of perfection—it’s the ultimate extreme form of prejudice [and] bigotry. It’s hate. It’s actually capital punishment without even a jury.” October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. It is also Respect Life Month. These two things go hand-in-hand. Those of us in the pro-life movement must advocate for all unborn children in the womb—especially those who are being targeted for extinction. This month (and every month, for that matter), if there is someone in your community who has Down syndrome, I encourage you to get to know that person. Invite that person to go for a walk, play a sport, or just hang out. If there’s a local business that employs people with Down syndrome, make an effort to patronize that business. Coffee is always better if it comes with a smile. If the Christian school your son or daughter attends does not have any students with special needs, advocate for the school to have inclusive classrooms. Inclusive education benefits all students—not just those who have disabilities. Finally, prayerfully consider whether God might be calling your family to adopt a child with special needs. That child will quickly become the best part of your family. If everyone knew someone like Chloe, a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome would no longer be a death sentence. It would be an announcement that another person who has a unique ability to be joyful, loving, and kind—while simultaneously encouraging others to be more joyful, loving, and kind themselves—is entering the world. What a lucky world.
Each year, the Pew Research Center publishes a report assessing the extent to which governments and societies around the world restrict religious beliefs and practices. This year’s report—which examines 198 countries and contains data up through 2019—shows how much more work needs to be done to protect religious freedom globally.Social Hostility to Religion Declines SlightlyLet’s start with the good news. The report’s Social Hostilities Index measures acts of hostility to religion by private individuals, organizations, or groups in society. Examples of hostility include religion-related terrorism, mob or sectarian violence, harassment, and other forms of intimidation or abuse. In 2018, 53 countries (27 percent) had “high” or “very high” levels of social hostility, but in 2019 this number was reduced to 43 (22 percent), the lowest it has been since 2009.Religion-related terrorism incidents (such as deaths, physical abuse, displacement, detentions, destruction of property, and fundraising and recruitment by terrorist groups) are also in decline. According to the Global Terrorism Database, 49 countries experienced at least one of these actions. However, 2019 was the fifth consecutive year of declining global terrorism rates. This decline is largely due to ISIS having lost control in many parts of the world, even though it continued to commit attacks such as the one in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday in 2019 that killed more than 250 people and injured approximately 500 others.Afghanistan is the greatest exception to these statistics. In 2019, the number of terrorist incidents by the Taliban in Afghanistan increased. Now that the terrorist group has taken control of the entire country, this trend will likely continue to worsen.Notably, Christians are still the group most likely to be on the receiving end of religious harassment. In 2019, countries harassing Christians increased from 145 to 153. Government Restrictions Remain HighThe report’s Government Restrictions Index measures government laws, policies, and actions that restrict religious beliefs and practices. In 2019, the number of government restrictions reached its highest level since 2007. Most of the countries with “high” or “very high” levels of government restrictions were located either in the Asia-Pacific region or in the Middle East-North Africa region.Pew’s study reveals that government harassment and interference against religious groups were present in 163 countries (82 percent). All 20 countries in the Middle East-North Africa region and 91 percent of the European nations had this type of occurrence. These include governments prohibiting certain religious practices, withholding access to places of worship, or denying permits for religious activities or buildings.High-Tech Threats to Religious FreedomFor the first time, Pew’s study measured governments’ use of online restrictions and advanced technologies (such as surveillance cameras, facial recognition technology, and biometric data) to target religious groups. Pew found that 28 countries (14 percent) have some type of online restriction of religious activity, and 10 countries use technology to surveil religious groups. Most of the countries were located in either the Asia-Pacific region or in the Middle East-North Africa region.For example, in the United Arab Emirates, the government blocked websites with information on Judaism, Christianity, and atheism. Iran launched cyberattacks against religious minorities. China installed surveillance equipment in houses of worship, used facial recognition technology to monitor and collect biometric data on Uyghur Muslims, and installed software on their phones to monitor their calls and messages. Government Repression Is Brutally EnforcedWorst of all, Pew found that 48 percent of all nations used force against religious groups in 2019. China, Myanmar, Sudan, and Syria tallied over 10,000 use-of-force incidents each. These incidents include property damage, detention, arrests, ongoing displacement, physical abuse, and killings.Among the 25 largest nations (which account for 75 percent of the world’s population), Egypt, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Russia recorded the highest overall levels of restrictions and hostilities against religious people.ConclusionPew’s report demonstrates that many governments are attacking religious freedom rather than protecting it as a human right. Although much has changed since 2019, including a global pandemic, government attitudes seem to remain hostile to people of faith. For now, we can rejoice in the moderately good news that social hostility to religion declined slightly even as we take action to combat problematic global trends. Religious freedom for all people everywhere is worth fighting for.Arielle Del Turco is Assistant Director of the Center for Religious Liberty at Family Research Council. Cristina Cevallos is majoring in law at the University of Piura in Lima, Peru.
Culturally conservative Mexico made international news last month when its Supreme Court decriminalized abortion. Four Mexican states had already legalized abortion, but the Supreme Court’s decision marks a major shift for a country with one of the largest Catholic populations in the world.Mexico has a fairly conservative and religious culture. Yet, the Mexican Supreme Court dictated from the top down a decision that likely wouldn’t have passed if put to the Mexican people for a vote. A strong majority (60 percent) of Mexicans oppose abortion.On September 7, the Mexican Supreme Court unanimously declared some articles of the state of Coahuila’s Penal Code, which penalized those who had or assisted in an abortion, as unconstitutional. Two days later, the same judges invalidated an article of the Sinaloa state constitution, which established: “[t]he State protects the right to life from the moment an individual is conceived.”But the assault on life in the womb did not stop there. On September 13, the Mexican Supreme Court began to hear arguments concerning a law that seeks to restrict medical professionals’ conscientious objections to participating in abortions. A final ruling has yet to be made. This attack on conscience protections is devastating for people of faith, those who believe life begins at conception, and for medical workers whose professional opinions make them reluctant to participate in abortions. In the few Mexican states where abortion is legal, many medical professionals have refused to participate in carrying out abortions. Conscience protections are essential to protecting their freedom to live in accordance with their deeply held beliefs.The Mexican Supreme Court’s decriminalization ruling implies that there are Mexican women in prison for having abortions. But that’s not the case. According to the National Penitentiary Registry of Mexico, no woman is currently in jail for having an abortion. There are five female abortionists currently serving sentences for carrying out illegal abortions, but even these cases were only prosecuted because they resulted in the death of the mother.Notably, the chief justice of the Mexican Supreme Court, Arturo Zaldívar, said, “From now on, a new path of freedom, clarity, dignity, and respect for all pregnant persons, but above all for women, begins.” By referring to “pregnant persons” as opposed to pregnant women, Zaldívar is adopting a dangerous gender ideology that denies the scientific reality of the biological distinctions between the sexes.Pro-abortion activists hope Mexico’s Supreme Court rulings will put pressure on other countries to take steps in the same direction. Mexico’s decriminalization decision comes right after Argentina’s legalization of abortion and Ecuador’s decriminalization of abortion in cases of rape. Pressure from international organizations is also a factor in abortion’s increasing momentum in Latin America. In Mexico alone, the International Planned Parenthood Federation has invested more than $18 million in abortion advocacy between 2008 and 2016.In a New York Times op-ed, Melissa Ayala wrote about the Mexican Supreme Court’s decriminalization decision, saying, “The justices said what has long been intuitive to feminist activists: that someone who is not yet born does not have the same protection as someone who already is alive.” This is a disturbing and revealing sentence—one that gets at the heart of the pro-abortion argument. It’s the dangerous assumption that a child in the womb is not already alive and that a woman’s comfort and convenience is worth more than the unborn child’s fundamental right to life.Sadly, the Mexican legal system is moving towards embracing a culture of death. Yet, there is still reason for hope for the pro-life movement in Mexico. On October 3, thousands of women rallied across Mexico to protest the Supreme Court decision. The pro-life majority should not let radical Supreme Court justices decide the fate of the unborn. Now is the time for pro-lifers in Mexico and across Latin America to make their voices heard.Arielle Del Turco is Assistant Director of the Center for Religious Liberty at Family Research Council. Cristina Cevallos is majoring in law at the University of Piura in Lima, Peru.
The month of October kicks off “Respect Life Month” in the Catholic Church, and with the U.S. Supreme Court scheduled to hear the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case on December 1, Christians across the country have begun praying in earnest for the case that could overturn Roev. Wade. How will Americans react to the possibility of the Court altering the long-standing Roe ruling concerning abortion?Many Americans wonder why abortion remains such a high-profile issue after all these years. The explanation is simple. Almost 50 years ago, seven appointed—not elected—justices decided that killing unborn babies should be a constitutionally-protected act. Since that time, more than 62 million unborn babies have been killed in our nation.Rest assured, that fact has not gone unnoticed by the God who knitted together those babies in the wombs of their mothers.Recent worldview research provides helpful insight into Americans’ views about abortion. The annual American Worldview Inventory undertaken by the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University shows that after a half-century of energetic public debate about abortion, the abortion perspectives of millions of Americans remain surprisingly tenuous and pliable.Keep in mind that very few adults are capable of applying a biblical worldview to this (or any other) issue. Although 51 percent of Americans think they have a biblical worldview (according to a Center for Biblical Worldview survey), the American Worldview Inventory reveals that only six percent of Americans actually have one. Since most Americans (88 percent) are driven by a Syncretistic worldview—an inconsistent, unpredictable combination of elements originating in various competing worldviews—the nation’s thinking about the morality and permissibility of abortion is more likely to be based on current emotions and popular thought, not on biblical principles related to life.Indeed, the American Worldview Inventory underscores the morally wayward thinking of Americans. Not quite four out of 10 adults (39 percent) believe that life is sacred. An equal proportion of Americans argue that life is what we make it or that there is no absolute value associated with human life. The remaining two out of 10 adults possess a variety of other views about life, including outright uncertainty as to whether or not life has any intrinsic value.Views about life are closely related to worldview and faith commitments. For instance, more than nine out of every 10 adults (93 percent) who have a biblical worldview believe that human life is sacred. Eight out of every 10 (81 percent) SAGE Cons (i.e., the Spiritually Active, Governance Engaged Conservative Christians) possess that view as well. Surprisingly, only six out of 10 theologically-determined born-again Christians (60 percent) say that human life is sacred. Those proportions dwarf those among people associated with non-Christian faiths (25 percent) or those who are spiritual skeptics (15 percent).Many people are surprised to discover that Millennials are not a pro-life generation. Less than one-quarter of them (22 percent) believes that human life is sacred. Meanwhile, twice as many in Gen X and a slight majority of Boomers and their elders contend that human life is sacred.Americans’ views about abortion continue to shock many observers. For instance, two out of three adults (64 percent) either say that the Bible is ambiguous in its views about abortion or that they don’t know what those views are. For a nation where roughly seven out of 10 adults call themselves “Christian,” that represents a mindboggling degree of biblical ignorance concerning one of the most high-profile social issues of the past half-century.Not everyone falls into that vacuum of wisdom, though. More than nine out of 10 people who have a biblical worldview—a group known as Integrated Disciples—reject the notion that the Bible contains ambiguous ideas about abortion. Similarly, eight out of 10 SAGE Cons reject that position as well.But the idea that the Bible is ambiguous about abortion is held by a variety of population segments. More than 70 percent of people who draw heavily from non-biblical worldviews—specifically, Marxism, Secular Humanism, Modern Mysticism, Postmodernism, and even Moralistic Therapeutic Deism—believe the Bible can be interpreted multiple ways regarding abortion. At least seven out of 10 adults aligned with a non-Christian faith or spiritual skeptics also embrace that point of view. And two-thirds of adults under the age of 50 harbor that misconception as well.Given these perspectives, then, it should not shock us to find that nearly six out of 10 adults (57 percent) believe that a woman who chooses to have an abortion because her partner has left and she believes she cannot reasonably take care of the child is making a morally acceptable decision. Again, the survey shows that such a decision is a direct reflection of one’s worldview. Just two percent of the Integrated Disciples support abortion under such circumstances. In contrast, more than eight out of 10 who are adherents of other worldviews support that decision. That includes 89 percent of those who often draw their worldview from Postmodernism; 88 percent who often rely upon Secular Humanism; 82 percent who draw frequently from Modern Mysticism; and 81 percent who lean heavily upon Marxist philosophy.Previous research by the Cultural Research Center also revealed that national opinion is roughly equally divided as to whether the Supreme Court should overturn its disastrous Roe v. Wade decision of 1973. The subgroup numbers line up similarly to the segmentation patterns related to the responses to the other abortion-related questions described earlier. In general, those most desirous of the Court overturning the 1973 ruling are led by Integrated Disciples (67 percent consider a reversal of Roe to be a priority) and by SAGE Cons (74 percent). Those who want the Court to affirm Roe are led by groups that are not favorable to Christianity.The Court’s ultimate decision, whatever it may be, will not satisfy everyone—or, perhaps, even a majority of Americans. But for biblically informed Christians, the abortion issue is not about pleasing a majority of the public or persuading a majority of jurists; it is a matter of understanding and obeying God’s principles and standing for His truth.
October 1 marks one month since the Texas Heartbeat Act went into effect, outlawing abortions past six weeks, which is when a fetal heartbeat can be detected. Since its implementation, about 150 unborn lives have been spared from abortion each day, meaning an estimated 4,500 babies will have the opportunity to be born because of the Act. According to estimates from the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the six-week ban could save upwards of 33,000 lives in the next year if it continues to remain in effect.This law has withstood many challenges since its passing and has triumphantly continued to defend human life. Even as radical proponents of abortion desperately seek any avenue to block the democratically enacted legislation, the Texas Heartbeat Act is unapologetically preserving the lives and futures of babies in the womb with each passing day.Like the obedient servants of God who were protected by the Angel of the Lord in the furnace, Texas’ Heartbeat Act has persevered through fiery attacks. The uproar from pro-abortion advocates was instantaneous following its passage by the state legislature and signing by Governor Abbott in the spring. Members of the abortion lobby, led by Planned Parenthood, petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to block the law before it could go into effect. However, in a 5-4 decision, the Court upheld the law on a procedural technicality, allowing it to take effect.In a reactionary strategy, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi forced a vote on the deceptively-named Women’s Health Protection Act (H.R. 3755). It should really be called the Abortion on Demand Act, since it would effectively codify Roe v. Wade and eradicate the vast majority of state-level pro-life laws, including the Texas Heartbeat Act. The legislation passed in the House last Friday and has moved to the Senate for consideration in the near future. Archbishop Cordileone of San Francisco, who has the duty to instruct Speaker Nancy Pelosi as a baptized Catholic in his diocese, declared that H.R. 3755 equates to child sacrifice.Fortunately, the radically sweeping nature of H.R. 3755 has ruffled the feathers of even some Democrats. Legislators on both sides of the aisle are discomforted by the bill’s mission to overturn democratically instituted laws in the states that are created to promote women’s informed consent and human rights, such as ultrasound requirements, parental notification requirements for minors, and bans on discriminatory sex-selective abortions.Texas was well-prepared for the surge of mothers requiring assistance after the ban; Texas has about 230 pregnancy resource centers (PCRs) that have been meeting the needs of mothers—more than any other state in the nation. One report shows that 46 percent of Texans support the six-week ban, only 43 percent oppose it, and 11 percent are undecided. Although these statistics are hopeful, they also demonstrate the work that remains to be done to educate all Americans about the inherent dignity of human life from the point of conception. Texas also provides a model for preparedness in resources for mothers that other states implementing pro-life laws ought to pursue.The Texas Heartbeat Act has opened the eyes of pro-life legislators around the nation, who are now seeking to produce similar bills in their own states. Action to mimic Texas’ law is happening in Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has demonstrated his support for a six-week ban that was introduced in the legislature last Wednesday. In Pennsylvania, legislators are anxiously seeking the election of a Republican governor in 2022 who would allow for a six-week ban to be signed into law.Through its month of life-saving action, the Texas Heartbeat Act has increased hopes that a greater national understanding of the humanity of the unborn will allow for a favorable ruling in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Center case, which the U.S. Supreme Court will hear on December 1. As additional pro-life bills are considered around the nation, and the pro-life movement prays for Roe v. Wade to be overturned by the Dobbs case, it is clear that Americans are increasingly valuing life and will increasingly oppose those who seek to end the lives of the most vulnerable humans.
Here are “The 7” top trending items at FRC over the past seven days:1. Update: How Should Christians Use Religious Exemptions for Vaccine Mandates?After months of promising that his administration would not mandate COVID-19 vaccines, President Joe Biden issued an executive order requiring millions of federal employees to either get the vaccine, get tested weekly, or face dismissal from their job. Shortly after the executive order, the president handed down another mandate, requiring all employers with more than 100 employees to mandate their workers be vaccinated or submit to weekly testing. Businesses that do not comply with the rule can be fined up to $14,000 per violation.2. Update: House Dems United in DeathPeople say it’s hard to find consensus in Washington, but Democrats have found plenty on one issue: abortion. At least in the House, the idea of middle ground has vanished. When it comes to the taking of innocent life, the battlelines are clear: Republicans are 100-percent opposed, and all but one Democrat is in favor.3. Blog: Unconscionable: New Bill Proves Democrats Are Okay With Abortion Up Until BirthDemocrats in the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed an abortion expansion bill that deserves the full attention of the American people. This bill is so morally bankrupt that the hackneyed terms used to express political outrage, such as “extreme” and “radical,” fail to capture the gravity of the bill’s implications.4. Blog: Radical Progressive Ideology Has Become Normalized in Schools. It’s Time to Act.Revelations of radical activism by a teacher in California with an Antifa flag in his classroom and marking student’s papers using stamps with images of communist leaders roiled Sacramento area parents. In a shocking and at times profane 12 minute video, Inderkum High School AP Government teacher Gabriel Gipe explained that he has “180 days to turn [students] into revolutionaries.”5. Washington Watch: Vicky Hartzler, Michael Burgess, Robert Cahaly, William LeeTony Perkins was joined by Vicky Hartzler, U.S. Representative for Missouri, who discussed the Pentagon leadership’s testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee over the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan and the atrocities that have followed. Michael Burgess, U.S. Representative for Texas, gave an update on the debt ceiling debate and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s push for massive spending bills. The Trafalgar Group’s Robert Cahaly shared the findings of a poll showing a 65 percent majority believe Americans who refuse the vaccine should not lose their jobs. And, William “Dean” Lee, retired Vice Admiral of the United States Coast Guard, shared his thoughts on the military vaccine mandates and the leaked documents showing how Coast Guard chaplains are being used to enforce the mandate.6. Washington Watch: Ron Estes, Mike Berry, Jerry Boykin, Arielle Del Turco, Meg KilgannonTony Perkins was joined by Ron Estes, U.S. Representative for Kansas, to talk about the massive spending votes in the House of Representatives. Mike Berry, with First Liberty Institute, discussed leaked documents showing the Coast Guard plans to grill service members about their religious beliefs over religious vaccine exemptions. Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin, FRC’s Executive Vice President and former commander of the U.S. Army’s Delta Force, shared how imposing a vaccine mandate on the military will harm recruiting and retention. Arielle Del Turco, FRC’s Assistant Director of the Center for Religious Liberty, talked about the recent March for Martyrs in Washington, D.C. And, Meg Kilgannon, FRC’s Senior Fellow for Education Studies, discussed the graphic material a Fairfax High School mother found in school library books and what happened when she read them during a Fairfax County School Board meeting.7. Pray Vote Stand Broadcast: Biden’s Mandates and Your FreedomOn this episode of Pray Vote Stand, Tony Perkins was joined by Christopher Ferrara, Attorney General Mark Brnovich, Jennifer Bridges, and Pastor Jack Hibbs to discuss and pray over what America soon might look like if President Biden’s vaccine mandate is not stopped.
This week, Google CEO Susan Wojcicki told Bloomberg that free speech is a “core value” for the company. Her assertion comes a week after Google and Apple deleted a Russian political opposition app from their app stores after Russian censors demanded they do so.The app’s purpose was simple enough; it acted as a voting guide to encourage all opposition voters to vote for the candidate in their district most likely to beat candidates from the ruling party, United Russia. The app was part of a “smart voting” strategy developed by Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.Last year, Navalny was nearly killed by a nerve-agent attack suspected to be carried out by Russian agents on a flight in Siberia. After he recovered from the attack in Berlin, he returned to Moscow, only to be arrested upon arrival.In his first interview from prison in August, Navalny described his experience to The New York Times, saying, “You need to imagine something like a Chinese labor camp, where everybody marches in a line and where video cameras are hung everywhere. There is constant control and a culture of snitching.”Russian authorities accused Google and Apple of interfering with Russia’s September elections by hosting Navalny’s app on their platforms. Yet, free speech is hardly election interference.Confident leaders don’t feel threatened by political opposition, and they don’t eliminate apps that encourage citizens to vote for other candidates.Russian President Putin has gone to great lengths to suppress activism from opposition leaders—and in doing so, crush freedom of speech. Sadly, Google is enabling these human rights violations without putting up much of a fight.Some Google employees are reportedly outraged about the move and frustrated that their company was so quick to accommodate the demands of foreign governments that have little respect for basic freedoms.In addition to deleting the “smart voting” app, Google also blocked YouTube videos and Google Docs files meant to coordinate opposition voting. When tech companies like Google suppress speech on behalf of the Russian government or other oppressors, they are facilitating human rights abuses.Meanwhile, in the United States, Google disallowed Live Action’s pro-life advertisements for abortion pill reversals earlier this month. Google claimed that “medical questions” about the reversal pill motivated the decision to disallow the ads. In actuality, the ads were cut shortly after abortion activists asked the company to stop running them.Actions like these reveal something ugly about tech giants like Google. They are not actually concerned about upholding free speech or standing for human rights—at home or abroad.Similarly, major U.S. companies like Disney have threatened to boycott U.S. states that pass pro-life laws, supposedly out of concern for a woman’s bodily autonomy and “right” to abortion. However, in the credits of Mulan, Disney happily thanked the same Xinjiang police units responsible for detaining one to three million innocent Uyghur Muslims in China, forcibly sterilizing Uyghur women, and aborting their children.Tech giants’ concern about U.S. legislation and simultaneous disregard for egregious human rights violations in China and Russia is the height of hypocrisy. Americans should keep this history of duplicity in mind the next time Google or other corporations lecture or threaten states about policy decisions and claim to value “free speech.”
North Korea is infamous for having one of the worst human rights records on earth. In recognition of this fact, some human rights advocates dubbed September 24, 2021, as “Save North Korean Refugees Day.”Crossing the border into China is the only option for most North Koreans trying to escape from North Korea. Yet, when they arrive in China, they face a whole new set of dangers. Most North Korean defectors are women, and most are sold into human trafficking once they arrive in China, often as brides for Chinese men.Defectors who are caught by Chinese authorities and sent back to North Korea face an even worse fate, as the North Korean regime brutally punishes repatriated defectors. North Korean Freedom Coalition Chair Suzanne Scholte says that “certain torture, imprisonment and potential death” await the defectors upon their forced return to North Korea.One Christian North Korean defector, Ji Hyeona, has shared her harrowing story of enduring a forced abortion in a North Korean labor camp after she was repatriated (the regime does not recognize half-Chinese children). She said:Every night, I heard the screams of women going through forced abortions in the prison camp.I, too, could not avoid this fate, as I was three months pregnant with a half-Chinese, half-Korean baby in my womb.Where they placed me was not a hospital bed, but it was a desk. And a fearful-looking doctor forcibly pried open my legs and inserted forceps and started killing my baby in my womb by cutting up and shredding my baby.This is the level of cruelty experienced by repatriated defectors.The threat posed to religious freedom by these brutal repatriations should not be ignored. Upon their return to North Korea, one of the first questions defectors are asked by authorities is if they met any Christian missionaries. Responding in the affirmative would guarantee time in a labor camp or even a death sentence.Many North Korean defectors encounter Christianity for the first time while in China, either by South Korean missionaries ministering to them or by seeking help from Chinese churches. For newly converted Christians, returning to North Korea is all the more dangerous. The North Korean regime views religion of any sort as a threat to the Kim regime’s stranglehold on the minds of its citizens—a threat they will brutally suppress.Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, North Korea has become even more isolated and repressive. The U.S. State Department recently issued a statement condemning the North Korean regime for the “increasingly draconian measures [it] has taken, including shoot-to-kill orders at the North Korea-China border, to tighten control of its people under the guise of fighting COVID-19.” With devastating conditions such as these, it is all the more important that China stop repatriating North Korean defectors.North Korea’s human rights violations, especially those against repatriated defectors, are well-documented. China is party to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, which states that refugees should not be returned to a country where they face serious threats to their life or freedom. With North Korea’s long history of human rights violations, it is wrong for China to repatriate defectors back to North Korea. Instead, Beijing should cooperate with the South Korean government to help bring defectors to South Korea, a safe country that is ready and willing to take them.Letters sent to President Xi Jinping and Chinese ambassadors have called upon the Chinese government to uphold the human rights of the defectors and pursue a plan to resettle to willing countries, especially South Korea which offers defectors automatic citizenship. Activists are delivering appeals for a change in policy at more than a dozen Chinese embassies located around the world.Although the COVID-19 pandemic caused a brief pause in China’s repatriation of defectors, they have since resumed, placing thousands of North Korean defectors currently in China at risk. Now more than ever, the Chinese government should be held accountable for sending defectors back to certain punishment in North Korea.
Hyperbole is common stock and trade in the world of politics. Legislators from both parties cry foul and feign outrage over each other’s policies and proposals so routinely that it is difficult to know when a bill or law is actually deserving of such strong criticism. However, on Friday, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives passed an abortion expansion bill that deserves the full attention of the American people. This bill is so morally bankrupt that the hackneyed terms used to express political outrage, such as “extreme” and “radical,” fail to capture the gravity of the bill’s implications.The deceptively titled Women’s Health Protection Act (H.R. 3755) would eliminate almost every state-level restriction on abortion and codify Roe v. Wade into law. Additionally, the bill would weaken conscience protections for medical professionals, jeopardize prohibitions on taxpayer funding for abortion, enshrine late-term abortion into law, strike down commonsense pro-life laws, and equate the death of unborn children with routine medical procedures. The bill passed 218-211 with Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas as the lone Democrat joining every Republican in voting “no.”People from all points of the political spectrum could agree that H.R. 3755 is too extreme because it ignores the will of the American people and runs roughshod over many commonsense precautions meant to protect the health of women seeking abortions.Before looking at the specifics of the bill, it is worth noting that the United States is already outside the mainstream when it comes to abortion. Currently, the U.S. is one of seven nations (including China and North Korea) that allow elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Moreover, it is worth considering that 65 percent of Americans think states should have the power to make their own abortion laws, and 80 percent say abortion should be illegal in the third trimester, according to recent polling. House Democrats ignored all these factors and proceeded to pass a “women’s health” bill that could be more aptly named the “Abortion on Demand Act.”What’s in the Bill?The stated purpose of H.R. 3755 is to “permit health care providers to provide abortion services without limitations or requirements that single out the provision of abortion services.” According to the bill, a law or statute that “impedes access to abortion services” cannot stand. Thus, if H.R. 3755 were to become federal law, state laws requiring informed consent, waiting periods, or counseling prior to receiving an abortion would be overturned.Significantly, H.R. 3755 places a prohibition on limiting abortion at any point prior to fetal viability (typically 24 weeks). This provision would invalidate laws like Texas’ Heartbeat Act (S.B. 8), which the U.S. Supreme Court recently allowed to stand. Although H.R. 3755 uses the language of viability, it does not define it, meaning abortionists are empowered to make the ultimate determination (see Section 3(7)).Perhaps one of the most notable provisions of H.R. 3755 is a post-viability health clause. If in the “good-faith medical judgment of the treating health care provider, continuation of the pregnancy would pose a risk to the pregnant patient’s life or health,” abortion is allowed. Notably, “health” and “risk” are not defined in the bill. Because the bill directs courts to “liberally construe” the bill to “effectuate the purposes of the Act,” the health exemption could allow for a broad interpretation that could include mental or emotional health. The practical effect of the health provision is enshrining abortion until birth into federal law.Additionally, H.R. 3755 blocks laws that prevent “abortion services via telemedicine,” meaning mail-order chemical abortion pills would be legal and could become widespread. Removing the requirement for in-person interaction with a medical professional in order to be prescribed abortion pills would further isolate victims of sexual abuse and sex trafficking from those trained to identify and help them. Furthermore, the bill prohibits states from restricting “a particular abortion procedure,” meaning dismemberment abortions that cause fetal pain and other procedures would be legal.The Real “Misogyny” of Abortion – The Death of Baby GirlsFinally, there is an intrinsic falsehood in the messaging of H.R. 3755, the most aggressive abortion bill in American history. Although it is titled the “Women’s Health Protection Act,” the bill does nothing to protect women’s health. Despite a promise earlier this year to “honor all gender identities by changing pronouns and familiar relationships in the House rules to be gender neutral,” Democrats re-discovered the term “women” just in time to pass this bill. However, in a nod to their commitment to “intersectionality,” they couldn’t resist slipping in a sort of apology for even using the term “women.” Section 2 (a)(8) notes:The terms ‘‘woman’’ and ‘‘women’’ are used in this bill to reflect the identity of the majority of people targeted and affected by restrictions on abortion services, and to address squarely the targeted restrictions on abortion, which are rooted in misogyny. However, access to abortion services is critical to the health of every person capable of becoming pregnant. This Act is intended to protect all people with the capacity for pregnancy—cisgender women, transgender men, non-binary individuals, those who identify with a different gender, and others—who are unjustly harmed by restrictions on abortion services.Putting aside the tortured logic that “every person capable of becoming pregnant” is protected by the bill, it is the height of absurdity to claim that restrictions on abortion are rooted in “misogyny.” Commonsense restrictions on abortion could save the lives of hundreds of thousands of baby girls each year, some of whom are aborted on the basis of their sex or for other discriminatory reasons. But H.R. 3755 (in section 4 (a)(11)) strikes down laws that would prohibit abortion acquired on the basis of the baby’s sex. Sex-selection abortion disproportionately affects girls around the world, so claims that abortion restrictions are rooted in misogyny are preposterous.Pray for the Senate VoteIn section 2, the so-called Women’s Health Protection Act states, “Abortion is essential health care and one of the safest medical procedures in the United States.” This is a morally indefensible statement. Abortion is not health care; it is the intentional killing of an unborn child. Abortion is not safe for the babies who are killed or the mothers who undergo abortion procedures and have to live with the physical and emotional scars, not to mention the mothers who die due to abortion complications. As the nation anticipates the upcoming Senate vote, those who recognize the sanctity of human life must pray for justice and morally upright thinking for the senators who hold the fate of the unborn in their hands.
After months of promising that his administration would not mandate COVID-19 vaccines, President Joe Biden has changed course. Earlier this month, the president issued an executive order requiring millions of federal employees to either get the vaccine, get tested weekly, or face dismissal from their job. Shortly after the executive order, the president handed down another mandate, requiring all employers with more than 100 employees to mandate their workers be vaccinated or submit to weekly testing. Businesses that do not comply with the rule can be fined up to $14,000 per violation. The new regulation is supposed to be drafted and implemented by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the U.S. Department of Labor.Understandably, many Americans are frustrated by the president’s about-face on mandating vaccines. Vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans alike are concerned about what kind of precedent such a sweeping executive order could set. Those who do not want a COVID-19 vaccine are concerned about how the mandate will personally affect them. As I explained in a previous article, there are serious legal, constitutional, moral, and conscience concerns related to the president’s vaccine mandate. Thus, it is no surprise that many people are asking about exemptions.Ever since the president’s announcement, the question of religious exemptions has been the subject of a lot of discussion, especially within churches and the Christian community. If there are no clear biblical admonitions against receiving a vaccine, are there any grounds for a religious exemption?On the legality of such requests, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), an influential Christian legal non-profit that defends religious freedom in the courts, provides the following advice: You must first determine if your objection is based on a sincerely held religious belief against taking any of the available vaccines (since they are different), or whether your objections are based on other medical, health, cultural, or political, but not religious, concerns. Many people have medical or other concerns which do not rise to the level of an actual religious belief. A belief that taking a vaccine is unwise or could be harmful will normally be considered a medical or health objection, not a religious objection.As ADF points out, many objections to vaccines are not religious in nature. Many Christians objecting to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine are doing so based on medical, personal, or political concerns. But there is another category of objections—“conscience objections”—which are related to religious objections. Like religious beliefs, conscience claims are deeply personal and connected to the core of a person. Christians believe our conscience is a God-given internal faculty that guides moral decision-making. One of the roles of our conscience is to convict us when we do something wrong. Our sense of guilt or shame following a wrong action comes from our conscience.Christians believe that willfully acting against one’s conscience is sinful. Romans 14:23 teaches that “For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” This admonition seems relevant when the action involves something as personal as injecting a vaccine into one’s body which, according to Scripture, is a “temple of the Lord” (1 Cor. 6:19). Believers are called to be stewards of their bodies, and this stewardship should be exercised in line with one’s conscience.These reflections are important when considering the propriety of requesting a religious exemption to the vaccine mandate. Nothing in the Bible forbids Christians from getting vaccinated. Yet others in the Christian community will object to getting vaccinated—whether on conscience, religious, or other grounds. Because Christians believe it is sinful to do anything that goes against one’s conscience and it is wrong to force anyone to do what they think is morally wrong, it is appropriate to respect and accommodate those who have legitimate, morally informed reasons for requesting an exemption.Finally, those seeking an exemption would do well to examine their hearts and motivations for seeking an exemption. As Christians, our actions should be carried out in faith and with a clear conscience. Additionally, pastors should consider only submitting vaccine exemption requests on behalf of members of their congregation. This provides a level of accountability to the process and keeps insincere appeals and possible abuse in check.Keeping these principles in mind, what follows is an example letter that can be submitted by one’s pastor as part of a request for an exemption to a COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Those consulting this model letter should feel free to modify it to ensure it accurately reflects the sincerely-held beliefs of the individual requesting the exemption. Please also be aware that such a letter from one’s pastor is not legally required to initiate a request for a religious exemption but can nevertheless be submitted by those who wish to do so.Example Letter:To Whom It May Concern:I am writing on behalf of [Church Member] as [he/she] is requesting to be exempt from the COVID-19 vaccine mandated by [his/her] employer. After this mandate was announced, [Church Member] requested to meet with me and discuss how [he/she] should respond as a committed Christian and member of [Name of Church].It is true that, thus far, Christians have come to varying conclusions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, with many deciding to take it while others have not. Although Christians haven’t all come to the same conclusion about the vaccine, what they all share is a biblically informed belief that every single person is made in God’s image (Gen. 1:27). Part of being created in God’s image is to be endowed with a conscience, a God-given internal faculty that guides moral decision-making. A role of our conscience is to convict us when we do something wrong. Our conscience inflicts distress, in the form of remorse, whenever we violate what we believe is a morally appropriate course of action.Significantly, Christians believe that to willfully act against one’s conscience is sinful. Romans 14:23 teaches that “For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” This admonition seems especially pertinent when the action involves something as personal as injecting something into one’s body which, according to Scripture, is a “temple of the Lord” (1 Cor. 6:19). In other words, Christians believe it is sinful to do something that goes against their conscience and therefore morally wrong to force anyone to do something against their conscience. Christians believe sincere conscience objections should be respected and that no one should be forced to do something they believe is morally impermissible.[Church Member’s] request for a religious conscience exemption to the COVD-19 vaccine is influenced by the church’s historic teaching on abortion (i.e., the intentional killing of unborn children in the womb). Fetal cell lines were used in the development and production of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, and fetal cell lines were used in the testing of the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines. Passages from the Bible—including Exodus 21:22-25, Psalm 51:5-6; 139:13-16, Jeremiah 1:4-5, and Luke 1:39-45—affirm the personhood of the unborn. [Church Member] believes in the sanctity of the unborn and that receiving the COVID-19 vaccine would be a violation of [his/her] conscience, which prohibits [him/her] from even a remote complicity with the sin of abortion.I can affirm that [Church Member] is acting in accordance with [his/her] sincerely-held religious beliefs in requesting a religious exemption. As [Church Member’s] pastor, I affirm that I have spoken with and prayed with [Church Member] about [his/her] request for an exemption. I can affirm that [he/she] is simply trying to follow [his/her] conscience. Therefore, during these difficult times, I prayerfully request that [Church Member’s] employer honors and respects [his/her] request for a religious exemption, just as I hope it would honor the beliefs of its other employees of faith who conscientiously object to receiving the vaccine.Sincerely,[Pastor’s Name][Church Name]For further information on exemption requests and information on legal assistance, visit PrayVoteStand.org/vaccine.
When Jesus began His ministry, He proclaimed, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). As Christians, our goal is to follow Christ completely. To obey Him, we must understand what He meant by the “gospel” and how it relates to the kingdom of God.The Gospel Is Good NewsThe English word “gospel” comes from an Old English word godspel (god meaning “good” and spel meaning “story” or “message”). This was an English translation of the Latin bona annuntiatio, which in turn was a translation of the Greek word euangelion (“good tidings”). In ancient times, an euangelion was a royal proclamation of military victory or ascension to a throne. If a kingdom had military victory over their enemies in battle, a messenger would run back to the capital and proclaim the euangelion to the people waiting inside in the city’s walls. Essentially, the word “gospel” means “good news” and has historical connotations of a royal, victorious proclamation of one kingdom overtaking another.The Gospel Announces God’s Kingdom Having learned what euangelion meant in Jesus’ historical context, we must now consider the biblical, or literary, context of “good news.” In Isaiah 52:7 and 10 (emphasis mine), we read:How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news,who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”…The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations,and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.This prophetic passage foretold that the good news—or the gospel—would be a proclamation of happiness announcing the reign of Zion’s God and an international salvation that would reach “all the ends of the earth.” As Jesus later explained, His kingdom, the kingdom of God, “is not of this world” (John 18:36). By calling Himself the “Son of Man,” He connected His Kingdom to Daniel’s prophecy about the Son of Man’s kingdom, which would neither pass away nor be destroyed (Dan. 7:14). This new kingdom would be unlike any kingdom people have seen before. Not only would it be multiethnic, multi-national, multilingual, and everlasting (Isa. 56:8, Dan. 7:13, Rev. 7:9); it would transform the whole world under a King who would reign for eternity (Rev. 11:15).Every kingdom needs a king. The Bible declares that the king whom God has appointed over His kingdom is Jesus. Because of Jesus’ sinless life and atoning death, God “raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places…And he put all things under his feet…” (Eph. 1:20-22). When Jesus proclaimed, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel,” He was heralding the incoming of God’s long-awaited kingdom as its King!The Gospel Invites Us to Join God’s Kingdom The proclamation of God’s kingdom and its king, Jesus, is good news for everyone because all are invited to partake in its glory. Just as every kingdom has a king, every kingdom has citizens. Citizens of God’s kingdom need to receive eternal life because God’s kingdom is everlasting (Ps. 145:13, Dan. 7:14). God has given us everything we need to become part of His kingdom. In fact, “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son [Jesus]” (1 John 5:11). When we believe in Jesus, we receive eternal life and our citizenship is in heaven (John 3:36, Phil. 3:20). Jesus proclaimed, “repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15) to tell us that, by these actions, we can become citizens of the kingdom of God!So, what does the Bible mean by “repent”? The original Greek word translated as “repent” is metanoeo, meaning “to change one’s mind, i.e. to repent.” The immediate context of Mark’s gospel reveals that repentance is changing one’s mind about something in order to act in faith (Mark 1:4, 15; 6:12). Hence, it is a new mindset that results in new action. The rest of Scripture affirms this understanding of repentance. Thus, in Jesus’s call to “repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15), “to repent” means more than just changing one’s mind; it means accepting the gospel message, turning away from sin, and turning toward King Jesus for a new way of life.Shortly after Jesus was resurrected and returned to heaven, the apostle Peter addressed a crowd in Jerusalem, proclaiming the euangelion and the need to repent:“Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”Now when [the crowd] heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2:36-42).The Gospel Freely Justifies UsThe gospel is not only good news about the victorious kingdom of God but also the personal good news that sinful men and women can become members of God’s kingdom and be reconciled to a holy God through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ! Each of us is personally invited to become citizens of God’s kingdom. We can become part of God’s kingdom when we accept Jesus as the king that He already is and trust in Him for a right standing before God. Jesus purifies anyone who believes in Him so they can have a right standing before God and be part of God’s people (1 John 3:3, Titus 2:14).Justification (i.e., right standing before God) is given to us by God through Jesus Christ for free. As the apostle Paul explains in Romans 3:21-26, justification from God is a gift:But now the righteousness of God has been manifested…through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith…It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.As sinners, we did not have a hope in the world. But then God sent Jesus, who willingly died on the cross, for our sins, in our place. The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). This is amazing news! When there was no way, God made a way. When our sin prevented us from having a right relationship with Him, God sent Jesus. Because of God’s graciousness toward us, we are invited to “repent and believe in the gospel” and become part of God’s eternal kingdom, His people, and His family.The Gospel Gives Us an Urgent ChoiceThe biblical gospel gives us an ultimatum. We can continue in our sinful state, trying (and failing) to get into heaven by our own merit, or we can accept the good news. If we repent of our old ways and place our faith in Jesus Christ as our new Savior and King, we are saved from God’s wrath against sin and saved into God’s eternal kingdom!By sending Jesus to us, God showed that He loved us. Jesus, “who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10), can be our friend, savior, and king. What will you decide? As 2 Corinthians 6:2 reminds us, do not waste another day, for “now is the favorable time” and “behold, now is the day of salvation”!NEXT STEPSHow Can I Be Saved?I Am a Christian, Now What?What Is the Christian Life?Why Should I Go to Church?Jaelyn Morgan interned for the Center for Biblical Worldview at Family Research Council.
Here are “The 7” top trending items at FRC over the past seven days:1. Update: President’s Prison Rule Cells Out WomenJoe Biden may be headed for the beach, but don’t expect it to be a vacation from his problems. When the president got on the plane this afternoon, the White House was frantically trying to clean up another mess of Biden’s making—this time on the southern border. In Del Rio, Texas, where more than 10,000 migrants are wading in the water on the U.S.-Mexico border.2. Update: Pentagon Can’t Camouflage True Vaccine AgendaTrapped in a sinkhole of Left-wing radicalism, our troops are so busy fighting climate change, white supremacy, conservative “extremism,” and COVID to deal with America’s real enemies. Now, as if the embarrassment of Afghanistan and a feeble commander-in-chief weren’t enough, the president says he’s ready to fire anyone who won’t get the vaccine.3. Blog: How Should Christians Think About Biden’s Vaccine Mandate?On September 9, President Joe Biden announced an executive action that all employers with more than 100 employees must require their workers to be vaccinated or submit to weekly testing. Businesses that do not comply with the rule can be fined up to $14,000 per violation. Currently, it is unclear what type of medical, religious, or conscience exemptions will be granted concerning the vaccine mandate.4. Blog: Google Finds Innovative New Method of ExploitationAfter a four-month runtime on the internet, Google has banned all of Live Action’s advertisements about the abortion pill reversal treatment. Google’s attempt at censoring Live Action is sadly unsurprising given the tendency of Big Tech companies to cater to the whims of the abortion lobby.5. Washington Watch: Vicky Hartzler, Pete Ricketts, Mike Berry, Chad RobichauxTony Perkins was joined by Vicky Hartzler, U.S. Representative for Missouri, to discuss what’s happening at the southern border. Pete Ricketts, Governor of Nebraska, explained how he is fighting President Biden’s vaccine mandates. Mike Berry, Deputy General Counsel and Director of Military Affairs for First Liberty Institute, decried the Department of Defense’s requirement that military members must receive the COVID vaccine or face removal. And, Chad Robichaux, Founder of the Mighty Oaks Foundation, shared the latest on evacuations and the state of Afghanistan.6. Washington Watch: John Joyce, Mo Brooks, Dave Yost, Travis WeberTony Perkins was joined by John Joyce, U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania, who gave an update on the reconciliation bill. Mo Brooks, U.S. Representative for Alabama, responded to reports that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley made secret calls with his Chinese counterpart, circumventing President Trump. Dave Yost, Ohio Attorney General, talked about how state attorney generals are fighting back against federal vaccine mandates. And, Travis Weber, FRC’s Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs, shared the results of a survey on fairness for all.7. Pray Vote Stand Broadcast: America’s Foreign Policy: The State of Faith & FreedomOn this episode of Pray Vote Stand you’ll get a closer look at President Biden’s foreign policy record and what the consequences may be at home and abroad.
Revelations of radical activism by a teacher in California with an Antifa flag in his classroom and marking student’s papers using stamps with images of communist leaders roiled Sacramento area parents. In a shocking and at times profane 12 minute video, Inderkum High School AP Government teacher Gabriel Gipe explained that he has “180 days to turn [students] into revolutionaries.” When a student anonymously complained about the Antifa flag in his classroom, Comrade Gipe admonished his students by explaining that the flag “is meant to make fascists feel uncomfortable, so if you feel uncomfortable, I don’t really know what to tell you. Maybe you shouldn’t be aligning with the values that this [Antifa flag] is antithetical to.”While this example is shocking, it comes as no surprise. As we outline in our new publication, A Concerned Citizen’s Guide to Engaging with Public Schools, civics and history as academic subjects are under assault by left-wing political operations that masquerade as education policy organizations. Progressive thinking is so pervasive in our nation’s colleges and universities that it has seeped down to our elementary, middle, and high schools. Programs and resources like the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance/Learning for Justice, the New York Times and Pulitzer Center’s 1619 Project, Black Lives Matter at School, and the Zinn Project are far too ideological to be used as resources in public schools.And yet, it is much easier to find those materials in your local public school than it is to find resources that honor America’s founding documents, our nation’s founders, and the important rights guaranteed by the First Amendment, including religious freedom. Programs like 1776 Unites (a project of the Woodson Center), the Hillsdale 1776 Curriculum, and the Bill of Rights Institute provide resources that educate students about the promise of America without ignoring difficult topics like slavery and segregation.As we documented in our publication The SPLC’s Teaching Tolerance, an organized incursion into schools has been underway for decades. Efforts to influence and indoctrinate future teachers during their college years seem to be paying off for progressives. This is why parents and concerned citizens must act to engage public school systems to demand accountability and educational excellence—without political agendas. Radical progressive ideology has become so normalized in educational spaces that extreme content is no longer recognized as controversial. Teachers like Comrade Gipe can harangue students and turn them into political agitators, and it all seems completely normal to his coworkers and students. Clearly, Christian witness is needed urgently in our nation’s schools.Pray about this and prepare to engage. Discuss these issues with your family and friends. Be unafraid to share the solutions to these problems that Christ’s love and the gospels offer. If you are a parent, meet each of your children’s teachers and make sure your children talk to you about their assignments and school activities. For those able to be more engaged, attend local school board meetings and take notes. Run for your local school board so that common sense can prevail over the one-sided thinking in place now. We live in the greatest nation on earth, the beacon of hope for the world. Let’s make America’s school systems as exceptional as our nation. Our children, entrusted to us by God, deserve our very best.
After a four-month runtime on the internet, Google has banned all of Live Action’s advertisements about the abortion pill reversal treatment. Promotions for the pro-life advocacy group’s Baby Olivia project, which provides a “medically accurate, animated glimpse of human life from the moment of fertilization,” were also temporarily blocked and later reinstated after complaints. Google’s attempt at censoring Live Action is sadly unsurprising given the tendency of Big Tech companies to cater to the whims of the abortion lobby. It demonstrates Google’s commitment to exploiting the vulnerable by any means necessary.In response to the censorship controversy, Google defended itself by stating, “medical experts have raised serious concerns about abortion reversal pills.” This first claim relies on a drastic mischaracterization of the abortion pill reversal treatment. In reality, it is a simple dose of the hormone progesterone, which counteracts the anti-progesterone effects of the drug mifepristone (also known as Mifeprex, RU-486, or “the abortion pill”). Progesterone supplements are a common and highly successful treatment for women prone to miscarriage, which is what the chemical abortion regimen essentially causes.Google went on to claim that “beyond protecting users from medical harm, our policies do not distinguish between promoting pro-choice and pro-life messages.” Despite its concern about women receiving information about abortion pill reversal, Google has not implemented similar censorship of promotions for the chemical abortion regimen. Ads for the regimen are still permitted despite the proven dangers, which include severe bleeding, infection, retained fetal parts, the need for emergency surgery, and even death.It is ironic that the Big Tech monarchs that are so concerned with paternalistically controlling the health care information women can access are so thoroughly unconcerned with the wellbeing of women being exploited through the chemical abortion regimen. Advertising mail-order abortion pills provides a direct avenue for women who are being sex trafficked, domestically abused, or otherwise exploited to receive abortions—either willingly or unwillingly—at home without ever being evaluated by a physician. Being seen by a medical professional is one way women trapped in exploitive situations are discovered and ultimately rescued.For all its concern about women accessing information about reversing regretted abortions, Google appears to have overlooked the autonomy of the women working for it in forced labor camps. Google, along with other Big Tech giants such as Apple and Amazon, has been accused of utilizing the forced labor of Uyghur Muslims in concentration camps in the Xinjiang province of China. A report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute included Google in its list of 82 popular companies that profit from the exploitation of Uyghur slaves in “abusive labour transfer programs as recently as 2019.”Governor Abbott of Texas recently signed HB 20 in a move to prevent social media platforms from banning content based on political ideology. If the legislation is not blocked by a federal judge, like a similar Florida law was, it will take effect in November. As expected, representatives of Google, Facebook, and Twitter have pledged to oppose this legislation.Big Tech’s hesitance to allow users of all viewpoints to express their beliefs begs the question of what exactly being “pro-choice” means when women are not aware of all the options they actually have. Women that use Google’s search engine to research the abortion pill reversal treatment are desperate for the freedom to reverse a mistaken choice.When Big Tech companies attempt to censor information, the public should always question their motives and seek to identify what they stand to gain. If Google is willing to exploit the forced foreign labor of persecuted ethnic minorities and overlook sexual abuse in the United States, it is unlikely that its desire to block ads for abortion pill reversal is altruistically motivated by a concern for the wellbeing of women.
On September 9, President Joe Biden announced new executive action concerning COVID-19 vaccines. According to the president’s plan, all employers with more than 100 employees must require their workers to be vaccinated or submit to weekly testing. Businesses that do not comply with the rule can be fined up to $14,000 per violation. The new mandate follows a recent mandate that all federal employees receive the vaccine, get tested weekly, or face dismissal from their job. The new regulation is supposed to be drafted and implemented by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the U.S. Department of Labor (although some think this is without legal authority). Currently, it is unclear what type of medical, religious, or conscience exemptions will be granted concerning the vaccine mandate.How should Christians respond to President Biden’s sweeping vaccine mandate? Specifically, how should Christians think about religious exemptions and accommodations? Admittedly, these are complex questions on which many biblically grounded Christians differ. But given the scope and far-reaching consequences for civil liberties, conscience rights, religious freedom, and the ability of families to make health decisions, these questions deserve careful consideration and reflection.Legal ConcernsFirst, there are serious concerns that President Biden’s vaccine mandate is illegal and unconstitutional. No federal statute or constitutional provision expressly gives the president the authority to impose a sweeping vaccine mandate on private businesses and their employees in this manner, and the Biden administration has an extremely questionable reading of the statute they claim gives him this authority. Some states have already threatened to sue.At the very least, Christians should be aware of the legal and constitutional concerns related to the president’s order. Once the new rule goes into effect, the mandate might not withstand the likely barrage of lawsuits challenging its legality.Role of GovernmentSecond, questions about the legality and constitutionality of President Biden’s vaccine mandate should prompt Christians to think about the proper role of government. The Bible teaches that government has been ordained by God. According to Paul, “Whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment” (Rom. 13:2, ESV). In the United States, the primary governing authority is the U.S. Constitution. This means that when a president or any government official pursues a policy that oversteps their prescribed realm of authority, they are acting unlawfully. Of course, when our elected officials issue directives within their rightful scope of authority, Christians are bound to comply, so long as obeying does not require us to sin against God, a Christian’s highest authority (Acts 5:29). But do we have an obligation to automatically and always obey the government? Similarly, how should Christians respond if a mandate or law is not illegal, but they personally don’t like the law or find it inconvenient? For example, what’s the proper Christian response if the government were to mandate a weekly exercise routine or require its citizens to wear pink hats on Thursday? On these questions, Christians should be humble and willing to learn from one another. We should also endeavor to think biblically about the role and purpose of government. One helpful way to think biblically about the role of government is through the concept of sphere sovereignty, a philosophy of society developed by Dutch theologian and politician Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920). According to Kuyper, life is divided into distinct, autonomous jurisdictions such as the state, family, church, and the individual. Although these spheres interact and may even overlap at points, there are clear lines of demarcation related to sovereignty that should not be crossed. For Kuyper, the state is empowered with limited oversight responsibility over the other spheres. However, the state’s authority is derivative, and dependent on God. Thus, the state must never attempt to monopolize power. Moreover, the state should respect the sovereignty of the individual. The state may intervene when a dispute arises between individuals and other spheres, but the state must never assume an outsized role and take over the tasks of society.In short, sphere sovereignty is a model of diffused power that Kuyper believed was rooted in the structure of nature. Because authority is distributed across society’s vast array of institutions, no single entity or sphere accumulates ultimate sovereignty. Consequently, God’s position as supreme sovereign is preserved. Kuyper’s reflections are helpful when applied to the role of government. In fact, Kuyper’s thought follows the logic of Romans 13 which teaches that the state exists to punish evildoers and exact God’s wrath on those who do wrong (v. 4). Romans 13 does not teach that Christians should uncritically comply with the state no matter what is being demanded. As theologian Thomas Schreiner explains, “[Romans 13] is a general exhortation that delineates what is usually the case: people should normally obey the governing authorities.” In other words, the God-delegated purpose of the governing authorities is to punish evildoers and reward those who do good.An implication of these principles is that when the government goes beyond its prescribed limits, it is acting unjustly and loses legitimacy. Applying the logic of sphere sovereignty to the vaccine mandate, the government does not have the authority to force us to inject a substance into our bodies that we do not consent to. This is outside the government’s jurisdiction, so it is appropriate for individuals to be wary about forced vaccination. The issue of bodily integrity is important, and Christians should be very concerned when the government oversteps its jurisdiction into the realm of the family and individual.Of course, it is important to note that this appeal to bodily integrity is different than the popular but logically flawed pro-abortion slogan “my body, my choice.” For one, abortion deals with two bodies: the mothers’ and her child’s. The mother and child are two separate people; they are genetically distinct. Abortion violently destroys the body of the unborn child and interrupts the natural process of pregnancy, permanently severing the relationship between mother and child.Political ConcernsThird, there are relevant political considerations related to the president’s mandate. In short, if Joe Biden can enact a mandate as broad and sweeping as this one, is there a mandate that this president or a future president can’t hand down in the name of public health? What’s the limit to what the president can compel American families and private companies to do? As it stands, the president’s mandate would affect about 100 million people. This fact alone necessitates careful consideration of the scope of presidential authority and power.It is worth noting that the president’s directive is far more extreme than the orders handed down by Democrat governors and mayors. Throughout the pandemic, Democrat leaders have embraced measures such as mask mandates, lockdowns, and school closures. But the president’s mandate goes even further. In fact, Biden’s heavy-handed action threatens to increase vaccine hesitancy rather than persuade the unvaccinated to comply with the order.Conscience ConcernsFourth, questions about religious exemptions to the vaccine mandate have prompted debate in the wider society, including among Christians. Notably, there is nothing in the Bible that forbids Christians from getting vaccinated. Many Christians, citing verses like Philippians 2:4 (“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”), have cheerfully received COVID-19 vaccines out of a desire to protect not only their own health but also the health of their loved ones and neighbors. Meanwhile, other believers have reservations or sincerely held conscience objections to receiving the vaccine, believing it is morally impermissible or not right for them.If there are no clear biblical admonitions against receiving a vaccine, are there any grounds for a religious exemption? On this question, Alliance Defending Freedom, an influential Christian legal group, provides the following advice:You must first determine if your objection is based on a sincerely held religious belief against taking any of the available vaccines (since they are different), or whether your objections are based on other medical, health, cultural, or political, but not religious, concerns. Many people have medical or other concerns which do not rise to the level of an actual religious belief. A belief that taking a vaccine is unwise or could be harmful will normally be considered a medical or health objection, not a religious objection.While the objections of some Christians to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine are rooted in medical, personal, and political concerns, the concerns of others qualify for what might be called “conscience objections.” Like religious beliefs, conscience claims are deeply personal and connected to the core of a person. Now, when talking about conscience, as with anything, it is important to define our terms. In short, Christians believe conscience is a God-given internal faculty that guides moral decision-making. Our conscience convicts us when we do something wrong. A rightly functioning conscience inflicts distress, in the form of guilt, shame, or remorse, whenever we violate what we believe is a morally appropriate course of action.Significantly, Christians believe that to willfully act against one’s conscience is sinful. Romans 14:23 teaches that “For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” This admonition seems especially pertinent when the action involves something as personal as injecting something into one’s body which, according to Scripture, is a “temple of the Lord” (1 Cor. 6:19). In other words, Christians believe it is sinful to do something that goes against their conscience; therefore, it is morally wrong to force anyone to do something that violates their conscience. In the context of the vaccine mandate, it seems appropriate to honor and respect those who have legitimate, morally informed reasons for receiving or not receiving a vaccine.Abortion ConcernsFifth, when it comes to religious freedom concerns and the vaccine, concern about complicity with abortion has been raised. On this front, it is worth noting that for 2,000 years, Christians have been clear on their convictions about abortion (i.e., the intentional killing of unborn children in the womb). According to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, fetal cell lines were used in the development and production of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, and fetal cell lines were used in the testing of the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines (but not in the vaccines themselves). Passages from the Bible—including Exodus 21:22-25; Psalm 51:5-6, 139:13-16; Jeremiah 1:4-5; and Luke 1:39-45—affirm the personhood of the unborn. Many who believe in the sanctity of life sincerely believe it is inappropriate to have even the slightest connection with abortion, even if that connection is remote. For that reason, some have chosen to forego a vaccine while many other pro-life Americans have chosen to get the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine and avoid the Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to the latter's use of fetal cell lines in its development and production.Finally, as a general note, when abortion-derived cell lines are used in the development, production, or testing of vaccines, the Christian community—including those who chose to get vaccines—should express disapproval about the continued use of these cell lines and request that laboratories and pharmaceutical companies not use these cell lines in the future.Final ReflectionsIn short, President Biden’s vaccine mandate has proven to be divisive and frustrating to millions of Americans. After months of promising that his administration would not mandate vaccines, Biden has done an about-face. (As recently as July, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked about vaccine mandates and responded, “Can we mandate vaccines across the country? No. That’s not a role that the federal government, I think, even has the power to make.”) Many Americans are understandably outraged. As those called to take every thought captive (2 Cor. 10:5), Christians cannot respond to the vaccine mandate simply out of emotion but must think carefully and biblically about the announcement. Legal challenges will determine whether the order is constitutional and therefore enforceable.But beyond the specifics of the mandate, Christians should think biblically about the role and authority of government as well as the propriety and wisdom of appealing to religious freedom exemptions. Religious freedom is a precious right afforded to those who live in this country and should never be abused. Although some Christians think it is unwise to appeal to religious freedom exemptions when the Bible does not prohibit vaccines, it is nonetheless the case that millions of Christians believe taking a COVID-19 vaccine is not the right decision for their health or have sincere conscience objections to being forced to do something they deem even remotely connected to an immoral practice such as abortion. Therefore, rather than bully, cajole, or coerce our fellow Americans, it seems prudent to respect each other’s religious beliefs, consciences, and moral convictions concerning vaccines.
Here are “The 7” top trending items at FRC over the past seven days:1. Update: Vaccine Mandate Sticks It to FreedomTwenty years ago today, Americans experienced a once-in-a-generation nightmare carried out by extremists. It would have never occurred to us then that two decades later one of the greatest assaults on our sovereignty would come from our government itself. That the man we’d elect as president would one day tell us that confronting a deadly threat is “no longer about freedom and personal choice.”2. Update: Open Treason on Trump?General Mark Milley wasn’t exactly inundated with friend requests after he helped botch the disastrous situation in Afghanistan. In fact, when President Biden said it was on the general’s advice that he closed Bagram Air Base, entire editorial boards were calling for the Joint Chief Chair’s resignation. But long before Kabul, an unflattering image of Milley had already emerged.3. Blog: A Profile of Moral Collapse: President Biden, Abortion, and the Culture of DeathAlmost 50 years after Roe v. Wade, abortion remains the moral issue in American public discourse and politics. There are very few profiles in courage in American politics. The political predicament of a pro-life politician is this—the political class and the New York-Hollywood-Silicon Valley axis reward those who abandon pro-life positions and condemn those who refuse to surrender.4. Blog: Biden Wants Us to Forget about Afghanistan. We Must Not.Even as the front pages of newspapers have noticeably shifted away from focusing on Afghanistan, reports from that country are increasingly troubling. Taliban fighters have hunted down and killed four elite Afghan counterterrorism agents from American and British-trained units. The UN has warned that one million Afghan children face possible starvation in a humanitarian disaster of epic proportions.5. Washington Watch: Sam Brownback, Jerry Boykin, Carter ConlonTony Perkins was joined by Sam Brownback, former Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, who responded to President Biden’s vaccine mandates. Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin, FRC’s Executive Vice President and former commander of the U.S. Army’s Delta Force, reflected on 9/11 and discussed the threat of terrorism today. And, Pastor Carter Conlon, General Overseer of Times Square Church, shared what the Lord put on his heart prior to 9/11 and how the events of that day changed his church and its members.6. Washington Watch: Greg Murphy, Brian Kemp, Robert Cahaly, Jack Hibbs, David ClossonTony Perkins was joined by Greg Murphy, U.S. Representative for North Carolina, to discuss Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s testimony about Afghanistan. Brian Kemp, Governor of Georgia, shared how he is fighting back against President Biden’s vaccine mandates. Robert Cahaly, Senior Strategist and Chief Pollster at the Trafalgar Group, shared what his polling reveals about how Americans view President Biden’s vaccine mandates. Jack Hibbs, Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, talked about the religious liberty implications of President Biden’s vaccine mandate. And, David Closson, FRC’s Director of the Center for Biblical Worldview, discussed how Christians should think about the role of government in light of President Biden’s vaccine mandate.7. Pray Vote Stand Broadcast: Immune to Reason: Biden’s Mandate Ignites a NationAs many as 100 million Americans could be affected by the Biden administration’s new vaccine mandate. Many will lose their jobs. And we are left to wonder: what else will the heavy hand of government under this president, or the next, compel Americans to do against their will or their moral conviction?
A bill proposed in the Scottish Parliament would legalize physician-assisted suicide, adding Scotland to a growing list of countries that allow the practice. What the Scottish Parliament eventually decides to do with the bill will reveal something about the conscience of the nation. Will Scots choose to tell their fellow man their lives are worth living, or not?Liam McArthur, a Liberal Democrat member of the Scottish Parliament, proposed the bill, which would allow terminally ill patients thought to have six months or less to live to choose to end their lives. All forms of assisted suicide are currently illegal across the United Kingdom (UK), but recent polling suggests the UK public is increasingly favorable towards the practice.Critics of the bill from the medical field say that policies allowing for physician-assisted suicide fundamentally reorient the purpose of medical care. In July, 200 medical professionals signed an open letter opposing the bill, saying, “The shift from preserving life to taking life is enormous and should not be minimised. The prohibition of killing is present in almost all civilised societies due to the immeasurable worth of every human life.”The bill in the Scottish Parliament is part of a wider push for assisted suicide across the United Kingdom. Baroness Meacher introduced a bill in the UK Parliament in May that would similarly legalize physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients, demonstrating a failure to acknowledge that any person—even those who are terminally ill—who seeks to end his life is in need of love, support, and treatment for depression.UK Bishop John Sherrington warned of the dangers of a gradual expansion of the criteria by which one might be eligible for physician-assisted suicide. Indeed, other European countries have slipped further down this dangerous slope. For example, Belgium and the Netherlands allow physician-assisted suicide for psychiatric reasons, even for patients in perfect physical health. Such an allowance makes it clear that a state’s endorsement of assisted suicide is really an endorsement of all suicide. Not surprisingly, both countries have seen a sharp rise in assisted suicide in recent years. A major victory for proponents of assisted suicide was announced on September 14 when the British Medical Association adopted a “neutral” stance on the issue when they had previously been against it. The vote was narrow—with 49 percent of the association in favor and 48 percent against the “neutral” stance—but the effects will be substantial. Members of Parliament had often pointed to the medical community’s opposition to assisted suicide when Parliament voted against it previously.Proponents of assisted suicide say they are motivated to end physical suffering. But the reality is that many patients who choose assisted suicide do not cite pain as the primary reason. The Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund reports:[T]he overwhelming majority of the people in Oregon who have reportedly used that state’s assisted suicide law wanted to die not because of pain, but for reasons associated with disability, including the loss of autonomy (89.9 percent), the loss of the ability to engage in activities that make life enjoyable (87.4 percent), the loss of dignity (83.8 percent), and the loss of control of bodily functions (58.7 percent). Furthermore, in the Netherlands, more than half the physicians surveyed say the main reason given by patients for seeking death is “loss of dignity.”The legalization of assisted suicide is intrinsically linked with devaluing the lives of people living with disabilities. While the reasons many people choose assisted suicide are not related to pain and suffering, they are related to struggles people with a disability face every day. Although not everyone with a disability has a terminal illness, everyone with a terminal illness eventually develops a disability. Society cannot condone those with terminal illnesses killing themselves without simultaneously condoning those with disabilities killing themselves. The message to those with disabilities is loud and clear: a life with a disability is not worth living. In addition, a 2007 study about assisted suicide patients in the state of Oregon found that 45 percent of assisted suicide patients made that choice out of fear of becoming a burden to their families. Thus, assisted suicide does not primarily serve to end suffering, as its advocates would have us believe.Elderly patients, especially those who fear being a burden, are vulnerable to manipulation or family pressure, and it can be difficult to comprehensively safeguard against this. Even knowing that assisted suicide is an option can pressure some people into choosing death if they think they will become a future burden to their family or society. Instead of offering them assisted suicide, these concerns should be met with assurances that their lives are worth living and that we are prepared to love and support them to the end.At its core, assisted suicide promotes a false compassion. It benefits caretakers or families who prefer not to observe or care for someone experiencing trials at the end of their lives, rather than the patients themselves. We ought instead to exercise true compassion, the root of which means to “suffer with.”Even if assisted suicide was primarily utilized to end suffering, it focuses the efforts of doctors, medical professionals, policymakers, and others toward the wrong goal. The goal ought not to be ending human suffering at all costs. In a broken world, suffering will always be with us.An appropriate goal that truly treats humans with dignity is to love people well by providing everyone with the best medical care, emotional and spiritual resources, and community support possible until their lives come to natural ends.Doctors should be focused on healing patients and enabling them to live as well as they can for as long as they can. Premature death is not an equally valid option in the category of health care—rather, it sidesteps health care entirely.The Scottish Parliament will debate the issue this fall, and the UK House of Lords will debate its bill later this year. One thing is for sure—this issue will test the conscience of the people. Concerned individuals should reach out to their members of Parliament about the dangers of assisted suicide and the value of all human life.Those in favor of assisted suicide have co-opted the phrase “death with dignity,” but they fail to recognize that human dignity cannot be taken away by life’s circumstances. It is because human beings have dignity that all people must be loved, supported, and cared for until natural death.
Even as the front pages of newspapers have noticeably shifted away from focusing on Afghanistan, reports trickling in from that country are increasingly troubling.Recent reports tell us: Taliban fighters have hunted down and killed four elite Afghan counterterrorism agents from American and British-trained units. The Taliban’s new acting government is comprised of many of the same characters the United States and our allies kicked out of power in 2001. The United Nations has warned that one million Afghan children face possible starvation in a humanitarian disaster of epic proportions.The effects of President Biden’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan are still unfolding. Biden would no doubt love for his role in the Afghanistan debacle to fade quietly into history. We cannot let that happen.Afghan women are perhaps the largest group of people to endure immense suffering in the fallout of the clumsy withdrawal and the subsequent Taliban takeover.Countless women and girls in Afghanistan are facing an impossible future, with reports surfacing that women must be segregated in universities, women may no longer work alongside men, and women may be prevented from playing sports. These are disastrous steps backward for women’s rights in a country that made a lot of progress in the past 20 years. And it’s happening under Biden’s watch.The Left has long styled themselves as the champions of women’s rights. So, what does the Biden administration have to say about the rights of Afghan women?When asked about the future of women’s rights in Afghanistan during a Senate hearing this week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that ever since the Taliban takeover, the U.S. government has “worked to rally the international community to set very clear expectations going forward to include the expectation that it will uphold the rights of women and girls as well as minorities.”It’s unlikely that these lackluster diplomatic efforts will comfort the millions of women in Afghanistan who have just been sent back to the dark ages.Presumably, the “minorities” Blinken referred to include religious minorities, such as Christians, Hazara Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs. Those who have not managed to flee are in great danger.Eric Patterson wrote in Providence that “Christians and other religious minorities are fearful of venturing out in public, despite their needs for groceries, medical assistance, and other basic necessities.” Patterson also heard reports that Taliban spies collected the names of possible Christians by infiltrating crowds of people outside the Kabul airport hoping to escape.Instead of working to help vulnerable Christians, the Biden administration made it more difficult for believers to flee. Private charities are still trying to help rescue vulnerable religious minorities and other at-risk Afghans with their own flights out of Afghanistan. Those involved in private rescue efforts say that the State Department has hindered efforts to rescue vulnerable Afghans.It’s a life-and-death situation for those on the ground; what justification could there possibly be for blocking private flights not even headed to the United States?In addition, the State Department also neglected to make religious minorities eligible for the Priority 2 (P-2) designation granting them access to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. Conversion from Islam is a crime punishable by death under the Taliban’s interpretation of Sharia law, and Christian converts face almost certain death for their religious views. Even though there were only a small number of Afghan Christians to begin with (several thousand), they were not prioritized by the Biden administration.Biden’s disastrous withdrawal will also forever affect the families of the 13 U.S. military members who died in a suicide attack from ISIS-K at the Kabul airport in the chaotic last days of the evacuation. The grief of their families will not soon subside. Although they volunteered to serve our country knowing the risks, poor strategic decisions unnecessarily put them in harm’s way.Some commentators have noticed that the newsiness of the Afghanistan withdrawal is “over.” But not so for those whose lives have been forever changed. In his public comments, Biden seems to coldly evade that fact.Biden’s disaster in Afghanistan is not over by a long shot. The suffering of millions of people will far outlast the news cycle. And so should our collective memory.
Here are “The 7” top trending items at FRC over the past seven days:1. Blog: Messing with Texas: Biden Not the Women’s Advocate He Claims to BeIn a statement issued on September 2, President Biden called the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision allowing Texas’s six-week abortion ban to remain in effect “an unprecedented assault on women’s constitutional rights.” Unfortunately, the president’s track record makes it abundantly clear that he is not the champion of women he purports himself to be.2. Blog: “Christianity Is Neither Left nor Right,” Part 2: Re-envisioning Conscience Issues As Discipleship IssuesMany have held the belief that because Christians inevitably disagree over political matters, we should simply attribute those disagreements to differing consciences and move on. But as it turns out, our convictions matter tremendously. Elections have consequences, as we are now witnessing in Afghanistan after the U.S. military’s withdrawal and the Taliban’s swift takeover of the country.3. Blog: A Closer Look at Virtue: ChastityProperly defined, chastity is intentionally choosing to refrain from immoral sexual activity. It is possible to be a chaste, sexually active married person; it is also possible to be an unchaste virgin. This virtue applies to married couples and singles alike.4. Blog: A Closer Look at FRC’s Viral Tweet: The Bible Really Is Pro-Life (Part 1)Last Friday, FRC posted a tweet that stated: “The Bible is ardently and unequivocally pro-life.” For an organization whose mission is to “advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview,” tweeting support for the Bible’s pro-life ethic was hardly controversial—or at least it shouldn’t have been.5. Washington Watch: Kevin Brady, Dan Gainor, Marty Makary, Gordon ChangTony Perkins was joined by Kevin Brady, U.S. Representative for Texas, to discuss President Biden’s push for the largest tax increase since 1968. Dan Gainor, Vice President for Free Speech America and Business at Media Research Center, talked about a survey showing a decline in trust in the media. Marty Makary, Professor of Health Policy at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, shared the findings of an Israeli study showing natural immunity is 13 times stronger than the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. And, Gordon Chang, author of “The Coming Collapse of China,” discussed why we must hold Beijing accountable for Afghan militants’ crimes.6. Washington Watch: Dan Patrick, Chad Robichaux, Ronny Jackson, Ronnie FloydTony Perkins was joined by Dan Patrick, Lieutenant Governor of Texas, to discuss the Biden administration pledging that its best lawyers will fight the Texas Heartbeat law. Chad Robichaux, Founder of the Mighty Oaks Foundation, shared his on the ground perspective of the evacuations in Afghanistan. Ronny Jackson, U.S. Representative for Texas, talked about his efforts to evacuate American citizens and others from Afghanistan. And, Ronnie Floyd, President of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, discussed the Southern Baptist Convention’s hurricane relief efforts.7. Pray Vote Stand Broadcast: The Left Wants You to Pay for AbortionOn this episode of Pray Vote Stand, you’ll learn the history of the Hyde Amendment and why it is one of the most significant pieces of pro-life legislation in our country.
For many of us who were alive at the time of September 11, 2001, our memories of that day, and the days that followed, are marked by stories of heroism and patriotism but also terrible loss and grief. But there is another theme that has been less publicized, and that is the effect prayer had on 9/11.It’s hard to estimate the number of people that prayed that day or were moved to pray in the days leading up to the attack. One thing we know, as tragic as 9/11 was, it could’ve been far worse. While no harm or loss of life is acceptable, this attack could’ve resulted in even more widespread devastation. This is because the average number of people working at the World Trade Center in 2001 was roughly 50,000 people. Additionally, the number of daily visitors and tourists were around 140,000. The loss of life that day in New York was significant, at 2,823 people, but still much lower than what was intended by the attacks. Through years of living in New York and researching about the psychological impact of 9/11, I’ve had the privilege to hear stories from people who should’ve been at the World Trade Center that day, but “something” happened that caused their plans or routines to change. I’ve heard countless stories, like my friend Tiffany, who invited another friend to breakfast. As a result, her friend wasn’t at the WTC that day. One of the clearest stories I’ve heard about the power of prayer started with a dream that one of my friends had in 1998. In the dream, my friend, Julianna, was walking around downtown Manhattan near Trinity Church. As she walked along Trinity Place (street), she entered a 12-story gray building that had two revolving doors at the entrance. She walked into the building and began to shout, with great assurance, “It’s safe!” She then saw a lot of people running and scrambling inside the building and out on the streets. Then a great wave came which looked like a tsunami cascading down the street, but the wave didn’t enter the building. That was the end of the dream.Later that week, Julianna went to her weekly prayer meeting where she shared the dream. Ada, who attended the prayer group, was also a high school principal. When she heard the dream, she recognized the description and location as characteristic of her school. Both ladies had a sense that God was leading them to pray for the safety of this high school, which was located near the World Trade Center.For the next three years, Julianna and Ada walked around the school building and prayed for safety. Ada also enlisted some of her students and faculty to pray for safety. Although they never fully understood what they were praying about, they continued to pray.On the day of September 11, 2001, Julianna was in her home in Brooklyn when she saw the news break about the Twin Towers. She saw the footage of people running and the cloud of smoke behind them. She knew that it was the tsunami wave that she saw in her dream, and she fell to her knees and began to pray for safety.At the same time, Ada was with other faculty members assisting the students out of the school building. Before completely evacuating the area, one of the teachers went back into the building to make sure no one was left inside. While this teacher was in the building, he noticed that the smoke never entered the lobby. Not only was there no smoke, but Ada’s school did not suffer any damage and there were no broken windows from the attacks. However, the buildings to the right and left of the High School suffered structural damage.Most importantly, Ada and the faculty were able to bring every student to safety, and no one was harmed. In the end, the dream was completely fulfilled. It truly was “safe” for every person in the school and for the building itself.As we remember 9/11 and honor our first responders and service members, those who lost their lives and were wounded, and the families who lost loved ones, let’s also not forget that prayer changes things.
Last Friday, FRC posted a tweet that stated: “The Bible is ardently and unequivocally pro-life.” For an organization whose mission is to “advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview,” tweeting support for the Bible’s pro-life ethic was hardly controversial—or at least it shouldn’t have been. But given the renewed tension over abortion following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to allow a Texas pro-life law to go into effect, passions have been stirred, and antagonism toward pro-life Christians has reached a fever pitch.As evidence that the abortion lobby and its supporters are livid over the Supreme Court’s decision, consider the reaction to FRC’s tweet. In just three days, FRC’s tweet generated 18 million impressions, 200,000 engagements, 7,000 retweets, and 17,000 replies, nearly all of which were negative. Several replies to FRC’s tweet generated tens of thousands of engagements from Twitter users as well. Clearly, claiming the Bible is pro-life struck a nerve for many people.I’ve explained elsewhere that the Bible teaches a pro-life ethic. I’ve also argued at length that the Bible affirms the personhood of the unborn and that Christians have opposed abortion for 2,000 years. However, some of the impassioned critiques about the Bible’s teaching on life, abortion, and God’s character offered in response to FRC’s viral tweet merit a response.Claim: “The Bible says life begins with breath.”By far, the most common objection to FRC’s tweet is that the Bible teaches that life begins with breath. According to this argument, abortion is morally neutral (and thus permissible) because it ends the life of a preborn child before he or she has taken their first breath. Supporters of this position cite Genesis 2:7, which says, “Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man become a living creature” (ESV).In context, Genesis 2:7 does not teach that life begins with Adam’s first breath. In fact, the passage says nothing about Adam breathing (although it can be assumed Adam began breathing after receiving life). According to the passage, God forms and breathes into non-living matter, and Adam becomes a living being. Adam’s creation is unique; he is personally formed by God and given life as a fully adult man. It may appear almost too obvious to need pointing out, but how God gave Adam life is different from how every other person subsequently born receives life. Following God’s creation of Eve, the normal biological process of reproduction is the means for creating new life. In other words, the special circumstances of Adam’s creation—including God’s breathing into him the breath of life—are not paradigmatic or representative of how the rest of humanity comes into existence. After our first parents, no one received “the breath of life” directly from God in the same way.Additionally, for critics who insist the Bible teaches that life begins with Adam’s first breath, it is worth noting that the unborn are “breathing” in the sense that they receive the oxygen they need for their cells to function. As Amy Hall explains, “Just because an unborn child is not an adult and doesn’t take in oxygen the way an adult does, that doesn’t mean he isn’t receiving the oxygen he needs to live; and it certainly doesn’t mean he isn’t a live human being.” Adam began breathing through his mouth after receiving life because that is how a person at that stage of development takes in oxygen.Claim: “Unborn children do not receive their souls until birth.”Another critique leveled against pro-life Christians is the claim that unborn children do not receive their souls until birth. However, this is an argument from silence. What the Bible does teach is that unborn babies are fully human. For example, in Luke 1, John the Baptist “leaps for joy” upon hearing Mary’s voice. While in utero, John is acknowledging Jesus and beginning his work as a forerunner of the Christ. Moreover, John is said to be filled with the Holy Spirit in utero. In the same passage, prenatal Jesus is not seen as an impersonal, non-moral entity; rather, He is rightly honored as Lord by both Elizabeth and her unborn baby. In other words, both unborn babies are seen as full persons.In short, embryology has advanced to the point where no one disputes that a newly formed zygote (fertilized egg) has its own genetic composition and is therefore a biologically unique individual. Moral standing, i.e., personhood, cannot be based on a quality or status that emerges or is achieved at some point after conception. Most characteristics like intelligence exist on a quantitative scale. It is more than ethically tenuous to assign personhood based on subjective criteria. Rather, personhood should be based on biology and genetics, which support the position that life begins at conception. This view is consistent with the Bible’s teaching about the personhood of the unborn (Psalm 139, Luke 1, etc.).Claim: “In the book of Exodus, the Bible teaches that unborn children have less value than women.”The misconception that the Bible teaches unborn children have less value than their mothers is based on a faulty reading of Exodus 21:22-25, which says:When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.Some claim that the statement “but there is no harm” only refers to the woman, but this assumption does not make logical sense in the context of the full passage. This law clearly lays out the penalties for harming a pregnant woman and her unborn child. The context is a situation where two men are fighting and accidentally hit a pregnant woman. If a woman is hit and premature birth results, but there is no harm to the woman or child, the man at fault will incur a fine. But if there is harm to either the woman or child, the penalty is the application of the law of retaliation (lex talionis), whereby a punishment resembles the offense committed in kind and degree. This means that both mother and child are afforded equal protection under the law.Notably, the application of lex talionis in this situation is unique. Under similar circumstances—where someone unintentionally caused the death of another person—the penalty was not “life for life.” Rather, the person at fault could flee to a city of refuge where they had to wait until the death of the high priest. Commenting on this passage, theologian Wayne Grudem observes, “This means that God established for Israel a law code that placed a higher value on protecting the life of a pregnant woman and her unborn child than the life of anyone else in Israelite society.” Thus, rather than teaching that unborn children have less value than women, Exodus provides protections for mothers and their unborn children.Stay tuned for part 2.
In a bold act of defiance against the Taliban, hundreds of Afghan women took to the streets of Kabul on Tuesday morning, demanding that the Taliban respect their rights. Taliban fighters beat them with sticks and rifles in response. Validating the fears of Afghan women’s rights activists, the Taliban seems to be showing its true colors after initially attempting to reassure the world it would respect human rights.This is happening as President Biden denounces the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to leave a Texas pro-life law—that protects an unborn child from abortion after a heartbeat is detected—in place and touts his own concern for women’s rights. In a statement, Biden said the situation in Texas is an example of why he decided to create a Gender Policy Council “to be prepared to react to such assaults on women’s rights.”Biden can pretend to care about women’s rights, but that’s rich coming from the president who just triggered the most significant women’s rights crisis of our time in Afghanistan.In the 1990s, the Taliban regime was notoriously oppressive for women and girls. With President Biden’s ineptly managed withdrawal and the Taliban’s sudden return, women have been sent back to the dark ages of Taliban rule. Many young women and girls who grew up in a democratic Afghanistan will be experiencing those dark ages for the first time.Physical danger to Afghan women is great. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid recently warned that women should stay inside their homes since Taliban fighters “have not been yet trained” to respect women. And the targeting of women has already begun.Well-known Afghan journalist Beheshta Arghand has already fled the country, afraid for her life. She said, “When a group of people don’t accept you as a human, they have some picture in their mind of you, it’s very difficult.” The Taliban has already been accused of murdering a pregnant policewoman. Other Afghan women who have achieved career success are afraid of being similarly punished by the Taliban.The Taliban promised that women “will be given all their rights within Sharia ‘the Islamic laws.’” Unfortunately, the Taliban’s interpretation of Sharia law in the 1990s meant that women could not leave their homes without a male guardian, most women could not work outside the home, and girls could not even go to school or play sports.Knowing the risks, many Afghan women have already stopped going to work, even though the Taliban promised women could work. Supposedly, recent measures which sent women home from work in parts of Afghanistan are temporary. However, Taliban requests for women to stay home after they seized power in Afghanistan 25 years ago were said to be temporary then, too. But it wasn’t temporary; it was the new reality.The Afghans who fled to Kabul from other areas already held by the Taliban reported that Taliban fighters were forcing families to hand over unmarried women to become wives for the fighters. Some young women went into hiding as fighters searched houses, looking for victims to be used as sex slaves. The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan perfectly demonstrates what an assault on women’s rights really looks like.The Taliban takeover is a worst-case scenario for Afghan women, and they are devastated. Small groups of women have staged protests demanding basic rights. But few will be so bold, and most will mourn silently.The ongoing work to secure women’s rights in Afghanistan was well known to American foreign policy leaders and human rights experts. Some had spent years working to improve the plight of Afghan women. So, it should not come as a surprise for the administration—or Biden himself—that women now face an impossible situation in Afghanistan. Yet, Biden’s hasty and careless withdrawal seems not to have taken women into account.Caring about women’s rights means caring about women’s education, opportunities, equal treatment, and fundamental right to life. The situation unfolding in Afghanistan over the past few weeks proves Biden cares about none of that. If Biden wants to promote the “right” to kill unborn children in Texas, he can. But he cannot act like he is a women’s rights hero while doing so.Protecting innocent children in the womb after they develop a heartbeat—which is what Texas’ new law does—is not a threat to women’s rights. Joe Biden’s policies, on the other hand, are.
In the U.S., the week of September 5-11 marks National Suicide Prevention Week. Suicide is an indisputably painful topic to consider, summoning grief for all those who have lost a loved one to it. This tragedy does not take only one form, however; even as the nation remembers those who grievously have been taken by suicide, a steadily increasing number of states have created an avenue for legal physician-assisted suicide (PAS).When Oregon passed the nation’s first Death With Dignity Act in 1997, it was an anomaly that can be traced as a root cause of the pervasive devaluing of human life we see in America. Following this legislative model, nine other states and the District of Columbia have created “death with dignity” statutes or provided state Supreme Court protection for PAS: California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Vermont, and Washington. Perhaps most alarmingly, seven of these 11 jurisdictions have created their provisions since 2016.The National Alliance on Mental Illness states their desire for “any person experiencing suicidal thoughts or behaviors to have a number to call, a system to turn to, that would connect them to the treatment and support they need.”Meanwhile, Democratic Senator Ron Wyden claims that his state’s Death With Dignity Act “has helped to improve end-of-life health care for thousands of Oregonians. We are proud Oregon leads the way […] providing peace of mind for the terminally ill.”Though the soothing language of these two perspectives is similar, their messages are decisively contrary; the former urges patients to resist suicidal thoughts, while the latter encourages their fulfillment.The paradox of the American desire to prevent suicide, while simultaneously creating legal avenues for it, demonstrates a deep disparity between the proclaimed values of the nation and the legislation being passed by its representatives. It is illogical to oppose suicide when a healthy individual performs it, but to champion the “right” to commit it when a person is terminally ill.Though advocates for these laws cry “Death with dignity,” the message they send to those with terminal illnesses is that their lives are burdensome, unworthy, and less dignified than everyone else’s. When considering that those struggling with depression are more likely to request assisted suicide, it is clear that causing vulnerable patients to regard their own lives as less worthwhile creates the demand for PAS.Consistent messaging about the purpose that every human life possesses is crucial in order to successfully advocate for suicide prevention. If terminally ill patients are told that they qualify to end their own lives due to physical suffering or deterioration, how can mentally ill individuals be told to turn away from suicidal thoughts caused by their mental strife? The increasing prevalence of PAS in the states contradicts the culture of suicide prevention, which is so widely accepted that the nation designates a week to recognize it.The Death With Dignity National Center, which advocates for the legalization of PAS across the states, ironically advises those who have not yet received their suicide prescription, “While you are waiting, don’t forget to live your life and look for a little bit of joy in every day.” Outside of the context of PAS, this advice would ring true; actual “death with dignity” must come naturally, and the life that exists before it must be treasured and lived abundantly.In order to appropriately recognize the worth and purpose of human life, we must ban PAS and take a consistent stance in opposition to all forms of suicide.Joy Zavalick is Research Assistant for the Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council.
Almost fifty years after Roe v. Wade, abortion remains the moral issue in American public discourse and politics.There are very few profiles in courage in American politics. This seems especially true when it comes to the defense of unborn life. The political predicament of a pro-life politician is this – the political class and the New York-Hollywood-Silicon Valley axis reward those who abandon pro-life positions and condemn those who refuse to surrender.A particularly important profile in moral collapse now resides in the White House. The story of President Joe Biden’s slippery shape-shifting on the abortion issue is both revealing and horrifying.Brace yourself.In response to the law in Texas that outlaws abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy, the fury of the Democratic Party and its national leadership has reached new levels of apoplexy.The fury has been predictable given the state of the Democratic Party and its commitment to abortion on demand. On Thursday and Friday of last week, President Joe Biden made comments condemning the law, calling it “un-American” and ambiguously described “whole of government” efforts to oppose the Texas legislation.The president, however, made another statement that deserves particular attention. For decades, Joe Biden rooted his views on abortion in his constantly repeated identity as a “devout Roman Catholic.” He routinely describes himself as Catholic, and has repeatedly affirmed his agreement with Catholic doctrine affirming the absolute sanctity of unborn human life. The central contradiction of Joe Biden’s public persona is that he has constantly claimed Catholic identity and “persona” [sic] pro-life convictions, while refusing to defend unborn life with any legislative consistency. From the beginning, he has opposed national efforts to reverse Roe v. Wade, which was handed down by the Supreme Court the very year that Joe Biden joined the United States Senate.This is important – Joe Biden has made clear, more than once, that he personally believes life begins at conception.Until last Friday, that is, when, in condemning the Texas law, President Biden said: “I respect those who believe that life begins at conception – I respect that. Don’t agree but I respect that.”With those words, President Biden, the “devout Roman Catholic,” threw the doctrine and teaching of the Roman Catholic Church out the window. Those of us who have been watching the moral collapse of Joe Biden knew this moment had to come. It came just days ago, but the story of Biden’s surrender to the radical pro-abortion position has been progressing over decades, slowly, and then suddenly.Tracing the “evolution” of President Biden’s view on abortion is vital for understanding our present moral crisis. The chronicle of his views on the sanctity of life encapsulates the trajectory of the Democratic Party. It tells us about the worldview divide in the United States. It tells us a great deal about where we are as a nation and how easily a politician’s convictions can evaporate in seconds.Consider this timeline:1972Joe Biden, who identified as a devout Roman Catholic, ran for the United States Senate from Delaware. Biden’s Roman Catholic identity largely shielded him from questions about abortion. His election to the Senate came a year before the moral convulsion of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision.1976In the wake of Roe v. Wade in 1973, a bipartisan group of law makers gathered around what became known as the Hyde Amendment, which prevented the federal funding of abortions. The central issue was the understanding that American taxpayers, millions holding pro-life convictions, should not be forced by taxation to pay for abortions. Joe Biden supported this Amendment, voting for it in 1976. For context, the Hyde Amendment in 1976 did not carve out exemptions for rape or incest. He held this position supporting for forty-five years—that is until he didn’t. Biden bragged constantly about his principled defense of the Hyde Amendment. But, as we shall see, all that changed within 24 hours in June of 2019, when Biden knew he had to reverse his position if he had any chance of gaining the 2020 Democratic nomination.1977Senator Joe Biden voted against allowing Medicaid to fund abortions in the event of rape or incest.1981Joe Biden voted for a Constitutional amendment process that would have allowed states to overturn Roe v. Wade. He later described that vote as, “The single most difficult vote I’ve cast as a US Senator.” In that same year, he reaffirmed his opposition to federal funding of abortion in the cases of rape or incest. NPR News reported that Biden was “one of just two Democratic senators from the Northeast to vote to end federal funding for abortion for victims of rape and incest.”1982Joe Biden’s view shifted. A year after voting for the constitutional amendment that would have allowed states to overturn Roe, he reversed his vote. He cast a vote against the same constitutional amendment that he voted for in 1981.1983As a Senator, Joe Biden voted against allowing federal employees to use health insurance to pay for abortions.1986Senator Biden told the Catholic Diocese Newspaper, “Abortion is wrong from the moment of conception.” NBC News also reported that he “seemed to offer the National Conference of Catholic Bishops moral support in pushing for limits, noting that the most effective pro-life groups are those who keep trying to push back the frontier.” Speaking of that frontier, Senator Biden said, “I think medical science is moving the frontier back so that by the year 2000, we’re going to have more and more pressure, and rightfully so in my view, of moving back further and further the circumstances under which an abortion can be had.”1987After a scandal erupted over Biden’s use of a British politician’s speech, he withdrew from the race for the 1988 Democratic Party presidential nomination. As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Biden orchestrates the effort to reject President Ronald Reagan’s nomination of a conservative legal scholar, Judge Robert Bork, to the Supreme Court. Biden facilitates the opposition to Bork, citing the need to defend abortion rights and other court precedents.1994Senator Biden wrote a letter to his constituents regarding a debate over the Clinton administration’s healthcare proposals. He bragged that on no fewer than “fifty occasions,” he voted against federal funding of abortion. He said, as a matter of principle, “Those of us who are opposed to abortion should not be compelled to pay for them.”2006Still in the United States Senate, Joe Biden told CNN that he was the odd man out among Democrats on the issue of abortion. He explained that he did support bans on abortion later in pregnancy, and he supported a ban on federal funding for abortions. He said, “I do not vote for federal funding for abortion. I voted against partial birth abortion to limit it, and I vote for no restrictions on a woman’s right to be able to have an abortion under Roe v. Wade. I made everybody angry. I made the right angry because I won’t support a Constitutional amendment or limitations on a woman’s right to exercise their Constitutional right as defined by Roe v. Wade, and I’ve made the women’s groups and others very angry because I won’t support public funding and I won’t support partial birth.”Here, we see then Senator Biden trying to situate himself as a thoughtful moderate—a middleman not beholden to either side in the abortion debate. Of course, this posture, cast as political courage, just serves to underline the contradictions in Biden’s position.2007Biden published his New York Times bestselling book, Promises to Keep, which anticipated his run for the Democratic nomination for president of the United States in 2008. He described himself as personally opposed to abortion and middle-of-the-road. He stated, “I refuse to impose my beliefs on other people.” That language was the common moral evasion offered by politicians who supported abortion but claimed a religious identity that was pro-life. Figures such as Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, New York Governor Mario Cuomo, and many others, repeated this argument constantly. Liberal Catholic politicians tried to thread the needle of remaining faithful to Catholic doctrine while, on the other hand, satisfying their political base. To do this, the refrain of “not imposing my personal beliefs” became constant. But where is the consistency in believing that abortion is a grave moral evil and yet defending it as a “constitutional right?”In Promises to Keep, Biden held to the belief that life is sacred and that abortion is wrong, but he said that he refuses to impose that view on others. He described, in his book, an exchange between himself and another senator in an elevator. Biden wrote of himself, “Well, my position is that I personally am opposed to abortion, but I don’t think I have the right to impose my view on something I accept as a matter of faith on the rest of society. I’ve thought a lot about it and my position probably doesn’t please anyone. I think government should stay out completely.”The Senator responded to Biden, suggesting that Biden’s view was nonsensical and politically unhelpful, to which Biden quipped:“Well, I will not vote to overturn the court’s decision. I will not vote to curtail a woman’s right to choose abortion, but I will also not vote to use federal funds to fund abortion. . . . Yeah, everybody will be upset with me, except me. I’m intellectually and morally comfortable with my position. . . . I’ve made life difficult for myself by putting intellectual consistency and personal principles above expediency. I’m perfectly able to take the politically expedient way on issues that don’t seem fundamental, especially when a colleague I trust needs help, but by and large, I follow my own nose and I make no apologies for being difficult to pigeonhole.”In a way that should have been embarrassing, Biden presented himself in this autobiography as a paragon of moral courage—he claimed to live by intellectual consistency above political expediency. Nothing could have been further from the truth.2008When it comes to the abortion debate, the fundamental question everyone must answer is this: When does human life begin? The only consistent answer to that is from the moment of fertilization, and, in 2008, Joe Biden said, “I’m prepared as a matter of faith to accept that life beings at the moment of conception.”Upon reflection, those words, however, meant something different than what many Catholics and virtually all evangelical Christians would mean. Biden rooted his belief regarding the sanctity of life in his own personal faith, not in any absolute truth. For Biden, as a matter of faith clearly meant not as a matter of policy.2015Now serving as vice-president of the United States, Joe Biden gave an interview to America Magazine, a prominent Catholic periodical. The interviewer, Matt Malone, asked the vice-president about positions that he held which collided with the bishops, especially on issues like abortion. Oddly, Malone asked, “Has that been hard for you?”Biden responded, “It has been, it’s been hard in one sense because I’m prepared to accept de fide doctrine on a whole range of issues as a Catholic, even though, as you know, Aquinas argued about in his Summa Theologica, about human life and being when it occurs. I’m prepared to accept as a matter of faith—my wife and I, my family—the issue of abortion, but what I’m not prepared to do is impose a precise view that is born out of my faith on other people who are equally God-fearing, equally as committed to life, equally as committed to the sanctity of life. I’m prepared to say that to other God-fearing, non-God-fearing people that have a different view.”This was quintessential Biden. Here, he continues to try to thread the political needle. He tries to affirm his belief in the de fide doctrine of his church regarding abortion and the sanctity of human life. De fide, by the way, means an absolute doctrine of faith. To disagree with de fide doctrine is oppose official doctrine. Thus, while Biden attempts to position himself as in line with his church’s teaching, he also states that he will not use public policy to defend that view, even when the issue at stake is nothing less than human life.2019At this point, things for Joe Biden move quickly as he tries to keep up with the pro-abortion progression of his own party. By 2016, the Democratic platform had called for the elimination of the Hyde Amendment and for opposition to any restriction on abortion.In a crucial 24-hour period, with Biden’s chance at the 2020 nomination slipping away, he reversed himself in a 180-degree turn. His supposed stand on conviction just evaporated. On June 5, 2019, Joe Biden reaffirmed his commitment to the Hyde Amendment. Twenty-four hours later on June 6, Joe Biden did a complete turn. He said, “If I believe healthcare is a right, as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone’s zip code.”In other words, even as Biden had claimed intellectual consistency over political expediency, he surrendered a nearly fifty-year-old core conviction—and he did so, to be clear, because he so desperately wanted the 2020 nomination. Once it became clear that he would not be allowed within 100 yards of the Democratic nomination for president while clinging to Hyde, he sang a different tune, coming out as aggressively opposed to the Hyde Amendment.2021Biden ran in the election on a radically pro-abortion agenda and has made good on his promises. In 2021, he issued a series of executive orders such as striking down the Mexico City Policy, which limited American funds used for abortions and abortion advocacy overseas. He reinstated Title X funding for Planned Parenthood. He seeks the repeal of they [sic] Hyde Amendment and fully supports a taxpayer funded system for abortions on demand. His presidential appointments, ranging across the government and the judiciary, have been predictably “progressive.”Then, last Friday, came Biden’s final act of surrender.On September 3rd, 2021, Joe Biden stated, “I respect those who believe life begins at the moment of conception. I respect that—don’t agree—but I respect that.”So much for courage and conviction. So much for resisting the headwinds of political expediency. A half-century career of stating that life begins at conception and that the American taxpayer should not be forced into paying for abortions is now gone. This was a spectacular reversal on a fundamental issue of morality.This sad story is not just about an American politician’s compromise. It is not even just the story of an American president and his political “evolution.”The story of Joe Biden raises important questions we all must answer: How will we define when human life begins? Will we stand upon that conviction, no matter the cost?Our answer to those questions is, make no mistake, a matter of life or death.Republished with permission from AlbertMohler.comR. Albert Mohler Jr. serves as the ninth president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He is the author of numerous books including The Gathering Storm. His podcast The Briefing offers a daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview.
Here are “The 7” top trending items at FRC over the past seven days:1. Blog: “They Need a Miracle”: Pray for the People of AfghanistanFollowing President Biden’s decision to fully withdraw U.S. troops, Taliban fighters have taken over the capital. Civilians not wanting to live under Taliban rule rushed to the airport in Kabul, desperate to make it onto one of the last planes leaving the country. For Christians in that country, the situation has gone from bad to worse.2. Blog: Critical Race Theory and the Path to TruthSome see the debate over Critical Race Theory (CRT) as a disagreement between those who think racism is real and those who do not. But this is not the case. CRT’s oppressor/oppressed framework is a way of understanding and interpreting the world—one that is significantly in conflict with a biblical worldview because it offers a different understanding of truth.3. Blog: So You’ve Decided to Homeschool – Now What?American homeschooling households have more than doubled since 2020. Why? For many parents, the COVID-19 pandemic revealed what America’s public schools have been teaching their children – and it’s terrifying. If you have chosen to homeschool your children, here are some helpful tips to get you started.4. Blog: Explainer: What Is Happening with Texas’ New Pro-Life Law?Roe v. Wade resulted from a challenge to a pro-life Texas law. Forty-eight years later, Texas is once again protecting life—but this time, so far, the U.S. Supreme Court has let those protections stand. Texas recently passed a law (known as Senate Bill 8) that restricts abortion after a heartbeat has been detected in the unborn child – this usually occurs around six weeks.5. Washington Watch: Jerry Boykin, Scott Rasmussen, Pam Pryor, Jody HiceJoseph Backholm was joined by Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin, FRC’s Executive Vice President and former commander of the U.S. Army’s Delta Force, to discuss the 13 U.S. service members who were killed at the Kabul airport. Scott Rasmussen, pollster and editor-at-large at Ballotpedia, talked about the polling on how President Biden has handled foreign policy, the economy, and the pandemic. Pam Pryor, former Senior State Department official under President Trump, critiqued the Biden administration for mishandling the evacuation of Americans and Afghan allies. And, Jody Hice, U.S. Representative for Georgia, shared his thoughts on the recent events in Afghanistan and what Congress can do to hold the Biden administration accountable.6. Washington Watch: Chris Smith, Tony Perkins, Franklin Graham, Nina SheaJoseph Backholm was joined by Chris Smith, U.S. Representative for New Jersey, to discuss the humanitarian disaster following the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban. Tony Perkins, FRC President and Marine veteran, gave an on the ground report on Ida Hurricane relief efforts in Louisiana. Franklin Graham, President of Samaritan's Purse, shared how Samaritan’s Purse is responding to Hurricane Ida. And, Nina Shea, Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Religious Freedom at Hudson Institute, talked about what’s happening to Christians in Afghanistan.7. Pray Vote Stand Broadcast: Biden’s “American Families Plan”On this episode of Pray Vote Stand FRC's Mary Szoch, Joy Pullmann of The Federalist, Charmaine Yoest of Heritage Foundation, and Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) outlined the problems with Biden's "American Families Plan" and discuss alternative polices that will truly help all families flourish.

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