FRC Blog

Why Are College Students Afraid of Free Speech?

by Daniel Hart

September 19, 2017

In a startling new survey of college students conducted by the Brookings Institution, it was found that fully one in five students think that “using violence to disrupt a controversial speaker is acceptable.” There were “no statistically significant differences in response by political party affiliation.”

Other results from the survey indicate that 51 percent of students think that “shouting over controversial speakers so they can’t be heard” is acceptable. Sixty-two percent of Democrats agreed that this behavior was acceptable, compared to 39 percent of Republicans.

These disturbing findings have been born out in recent in events on college campuses across the country. This past March, students at Middlebury College in Vermont physically assaulted a professor who was accompanying guest speaker Charles Murray as he attempted to leave the campus, whose planned speech was interrupted to the point that he could not continue it. Just last week, The University of California Berkeley had to spend $600,000 on security to ensure that violent riots did not break out during Ben Shapiro’s speech there.

One has to wonder, what is it about free speech that many college students are so afraid of? What is the point of using violent and disruptive tactics to silence speakers who may have viewpoints that differ from these students? Wouldn’t engaging in respectful debate be more beneficial for everyone involved? If a certain viewpoint is seen as being so terrible as to be violently suppressed, why not simply demonstrate the terribleness of this viewpoint through rational discourse?

The protection of free speech is an issue that people of all political viewpoints must demand as a protected First Amendment right on college campuses. Thankfully, there are hopeful signs that more and more people from across the political spectrum are waking up to the urgency of this free speech crisis. Recently, New York Times columnist Bret Stephens spoke eloquently about this on Real Time with Bill Maher:

Too many campus administrators are basically cowed by small minorities of totalitarian-minded students who just don’t want to hear anything except what they’re disposed to agree with. The job of grownups is to behave like grownups and say, ‘no.’ Intellectually, a college is not a ‘safe space.’ Intellectually, a college is going to be a place where your ideas are harmed, and perhaps even destroyed, and that’s as it should be.”

Author and professor Salman Rushdie brought this point home superbly:

A college should be a ‘safe space’ for thought, not a ‘safe space’ from thought. And if you go to college and you never hear anything you haven’t thought before, then you may as well have stayed home. And people who think that they should never hear things that would upset them should go somewhere else and leave that space available to somebody who can benefit from what is called ‘education.’”

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Social Conservative Review - September 15, 2017

by Daniel Hart

September 15, 2017

Dear Friends,

In discussing the “problem of pain,” author Joe Heschmeyer recently wrote that “…the whole story of the Fall is that things aren’t how they ought to be, how they aren’t how they were intended to be, and how we’re the ones who screwed them up. You can read that story in Genesis, or watch it on the nightly news.” Bishop Robert Barron summed up this state of affairs concisely: “The human race is best characterized as a dysfunctional spiritual family, all of us having been marked from birth by the effects of sin. Sin has found its way into every aspect of human life, personally and institutionally. We would be hopelessly naïve to think otherwise.”

Atheists often argue that it is absurd to believe in God when there is so much “dysfunction,” suffering, and pain in the world. But as Heschmeyer points out, if there is no God, what can possibly account for all of the beauty in the world? He illustrates this by quoting the musician Joanna Newsom as she discussed what she was going through while recording an album:

The thing that I was experiencing and dwelling on the entire time is that there are so many things that are not OK and that will never be OK again,” says Newsom. “But there’s also so many things that are OK and good that sometimes it makes you crumple over with being alive. We are allowed such an insane depth of beauty and enjoyment in this lifetime. It’s what my dad talks about sometimes. He says the only way that he knows there’s a God is that there’s so much gratuitous joy in this life. And that’s his only proof. There’s so many joys that do not assist in the propagation of the race or self-preservation. There’s no point whatsoever. They are so excessively, mind-bogglingly joy-producing that they distract from the very functions that are supposed to promote human life. They can leave you stupefied, monastic, not productive in any way, shape or form. And those joys are there and they are unflagging and they are ever-growing…”

This is part of what makes our Creator so amazing. Not only did He give us “a Savior, someone who can break into our dysfunction from the outside and heal us” (Bishop Barron’s words), He also gives us moments of “gratuitous joy” as we make our way through this earthly life. May we be forever thankful for this gift freely given to us, and may we freely give of ourselves in return.

Thank you for your prayers and for your continued support of FRC and the family.

Sincerely,

Dan Hart
Managing Editor for Publications
Family Research Council

 

FRC Articles

Can a Christian Serve as a Judge Anymore? – Travis Weber

How the Left Uses Fake Science to Advance Its Agenda

Will FEMA Treat Churches Fairly? – Travis Weber

The Rights that Students and Parents Have to Challenge Transgender Policies

Advice for Parents On Challenging Transgender Policies in Public Schools

Masterpiece Cakeshop Attorneys File Merits Brief with the Supreme Court – Travis Weber

 

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

Why religious liberty matters for creativity – Jason Thacker, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Faith groups provide the bulk of disaster recovery, in coordination with FEMA – Paul Singer, USA Today

What It’s Like to Be Smeared by the Southern Poverty Law Center – Carol M. Swain, The Wall Street Journal

Senate Democrats show off their anti-religious bigotry – Michael Gerson, The Washington Post

Media should not embrace far-left ‘poverty’ law firmColorado Springs Gazette

Will the IRS investigate the SPLC on taxes? – Judson Phillips, The Washington Times

Non-Profit Leaders Call on Media to Stop Citing Southern Poverty Law Center – Liberty McArtor, The Stream

California bill seeks to punish ‘misgendering’ with jail time – Mary Rezac, Crux

3 Texas Churches Sue FEMA Over Policy Banning Churches From Receiving Harvey Disaster Relief – Stoyan Zaimov, The Christian Post

Democratic Congressman Says He’s Introducing A Bill To Punish Campus ‘Hate Speech’ – Emily Zanotti, The Daily Wire

UK Speaker: Same-Sex Marriage Won’t Be ‘Proper’ Until Churches Can’t Opt Out – Tyler O’Neil, PJ Media

U.S. Senators Revive Anti-Catholic Bigotry To Intimidate Religious People – Paul C. Binotto, The Federalist

Attacks on Religious Liberty’ in US Increased 133 Percent in Last 5 Years: Report – Samuel Smith, The Christian Post

Free to Believe”

Judge Suspends City’s Ban of Farmers Over Their Marriage Views – Kelsey Harkness, The Daily Signal

4 Key Arguments We Are Making to Defend Jack Phillips at the Supreme Court – Sarah Kramer, Alliance Defending Freedom

They Serve Gay Clients All The Time. So Why Won’t They Cater A Same-Sex Wedding? – Josh Shepherd, The Federalist

Your Beliefs Are No Longer Allowed – Taylor Lewis, American Thinker

Professors told to report students who make campus ‘less inclusive’ to Behavior Assessment Team – Andrew Johnson, The College Fix

International Religious Freedom

What’s changed in Britain since same-sex marriage? – David Sergeant, The Spectator Australia

Catholic Priest Released After 18 Months’ Captivity – Elise Harris, National Catholic Register

Fulani herdsmen kill 20 Christians in Nigeria – Onize Ohikere, WORLD

 

Life

Abortion

When Planned Parenthood closes, women find real health care at hundreds of other clinics – Rebecca Downs, Live Action

Podcast: Pro-life apologetics; Arguments from reason that align with scripture – Scott Klusendorf, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Red State-Blue State Abortion Divide Deepens – Brian Fraga, National Catholic Register

5 new scientific discoveries that show what’s happening to the child in the womb – Kristi Burton Brown, Live Action

Can We Stop an International Roe v. Wade? – Stefano Gennarini, Public Discourse

U.S. Blasts UNFPA Support for China’s Birth Control Policy – Susan Yoshihara, C-Fam

Why the pro-choice side is afraid of giving women the choice of abortion pill reversal – Marcie Little, Live Action

One last chance to defund Planned Parenthood may lie in the Senate’s hands – Susan Michelle-Hanson, Live Action

Adoption

Podcast: Are you mentally healthy enough? Preparing for adoption’s hardships – Sharen Ford, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Bioethics

The American Medical Association vs. Human Nature – Philip Hawley, Jr., Public Discourse

Doctor wants D.C.’s assisted suicide law repealed: A ‘right to die’ soon creates a ‘duty to die’ – Cassy Fiano, Live Action

The Contagion of Euthanasia and the Corruption of Compassion – Arthur Goldberg and Shimon Cowen, Public Discourse

Obamacare

After Experiencing British And U.S. Health Care, This Family Says Single-Payer Is Abominable – Jayme Metzgar, The Federalist

 

Family

Economics/Education

As Workers Expect Less, Job Satisfaction Rises – Lauren Weber, The Wall Street Journal

This is why a growing number of teachers want more lessons on religion in school – Kelsey Dallas, Deseret News

How a Democratic New York City Councilwoman Became a Crusader for School Choice – Eva Moskowitz, National Review

A Debt Crisis Is Coming, and We’re All to Blame – Walter E. Williams, The Daily Signal

Five Facts About Families and Poverty – Alysse ElHage, Family Studies

Marriage

New research says this kind of daily prayer can change your marriage – Calah Alexander, Aleteia

How to Align Your Dreams as a Couple – Greg Smalley and Erin Smalley, Focus on the Family

Are You ‘Not Yet Married’? – Marshall Segal, Desiring God

The Infectious Effects of Divorce and Marriage – Luma Simms, Family Studies

As U.S. marriage rate hovers at 50%, education gap in marital status widens – Kim Parker and Renee Stepler, Pew Research Center

Faith/Character/Culture

Why Our Obsession With TV Antiheroes Is Destroying Our Souls – Georgi Boorman, The Federalist

The Secret Power of Family Work – Jenet Erickson, Family Studies

Does The Immaterial Exist? – Joe Heschmeyer, Word On Fire

Why religion is not going away and science will not destroy it – Peter Harrison, Aeon

Overcoming Our Smartphone Addiction – Christopher O. Blum and Joshua P. Hochschild, Crisis

If You Want to Live Truly, Learn to Die Daily – Liz Wann, Desiring God

Human Sexuality

Oversexed ed – Emily Belz, WORLD

Parents pull children from prestigious school after transgender ‘indoctrination’ in kindergarten – Bradford Richardson, The Washington Times

How The Transgender Crusade Made Me Rethink My Support For Gay Marriage – Bethany Mandel, The Federalist

Mislabeled sex ed – Emily Belz, WORLD

Why I Don’t Use Female Pronouns For My Transgender Brother – Michael Booker, The Federalist

Sex, Sanity and Beliefs That ‘Live Loudly’ Within Us – Archbishop Charles Chaput, National Catholic Register

What science really has to say about sexuality and gender – Joe Carter, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Human Trafficking

Human-Trafficking Fighters Hope for Lift From Proposed New Legislation – Peter Jesserer Smith, National Catholic Register

Google and Sex Traffickers Like Backpage.com – Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times

A Pivotal New Goal: Shedding Light on the Sexual Exploitation of Boys and Men – Katherine Blakeman, National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Pornography

What I told my 7-year-old when he asked what porn was – Matt Fradd, Aleteia

Dr. Sharon Cooper, MD Discusses How Pornography Harms Children – Katherine Blakeman, National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Why Watching Porn Leaves You Feeling Lonelier Than Before – Fight the New Drug

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How the Left Uses Fake Science to Advance Its Agenda

by FRC

September 14, 2017

FRC hosted a Speaker Series event yesterday to launch Austin Ruse’s new book Fake Science: Exposing the Left’s Skewed Statistics, Fuzzy Facts, and Dodgy Data. In his remarks, Ruse made the perceptive observation that fake science is more dangerous than fake news because scientific statistics, no matter their dubious origins, tend to lodge in our brains and stay there, whereas fake news is simply superseded by the next news cycle.

Here are some examples of the fake science that he cites in his book:

  • Proponents of Missouri’s constitutional amendment to legalize cloning in 2006 argued that it would lead to a plethora of treatments and cures for incurable diseases. Eleven years later, not one treatment or cure has been produced.
  • Sixteen years ago, Al Gore claimed that global warming would wipe out polar bears. Today, the polar bear population remains the same as it was when Gore made his claim.
  • Homosexuality is said to be inborn and unchangeable. Researchers have in fact never found a “gay gene,” nor have they found that those identifying as homosexual have different brains than everyone else.
  • The state of California claims that acrylamide, a naturally occurring chemical compound that is found in bread, cereal, cookies, potato chips, French fries, and other foods, causes cancer. In fact, one would have to consume 182 pounds of French fries per day to hit the cancer “danger zone.”
  • Activists and some scientists claim that genetically modified rice causes cancer. This has never been proven and could in fact save hundreds of thousands from blindness and even death. Approximately 250,000 children go blind every year because they lack an essential mineral that is found in this kind of rice. The rice has never gone to market because environmentalists have held it up for over 25 years.
  • Abortion advocates claim that pregnancy does not begin until the fertilized ovum attaches to the uterine wall. In fact, most medical textbooks and dictionaries still say that pregnancy, and therefore human life, begins at conception.
  • Sexual revolutionaries in the 60’s said and continue to say that children do not need their moms and dads. In fact, social science data shows voluminously that children do best when raised in the home of their married biological mother and father—anything less than this increases the risk of the child developing dangerous pathologies.

View the entire event to learn more about this important issue.

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Will FEMA Treat Churches Fairly?

by Travis Weber

September 13, 2017

Last week, three Texas churches filed a lawsuit against FEMA due to its policy of denying disaster relief to churches and other institutions simply because of their religious nature.

Under FEMA’s public assistance disaster relief program, repair money is available to a host of entities providing both critical and noncritical services. Examples of noncritical services include venues hosting art classes, food assistance services, health and safety programs, senior services, museums, zoos, and even stamp and coin collecting. Moreover, aid is also available to what are termed “various social functions of community groups.” Yet churches are banned under this policy because they are “religious.”

However, Hurricane Harvey didn’t discriminate in its choice of targets. When the storm hit the Texas coast, Harvest Family Church, Hi-Way Tabernacle, and Rockport First Assembly of God were all extensively damaged. Roofs caved in, trees fell in the buildings, and flooding caused serious damage to multiple structures. These churches need what is known as “emergency work” under FEMA’s public assistance program, yet they will be denied such relief because they are not “eligible” – solely because they are religious. Unfortunately, without debris removal and repair, according to the churches, people using their facilities and grounds face serious health and safety concerns as a result of “broken glass, sharp metal and wood, downed trees, falling limbs, mold and mildew, slick surfaces, and structures that are weakened by high winds and flooding.” While Harvey didn’t discriminate, FEMA did, and as a result the churches filed a lawsuit against FEMA challenging its ban as a violation of the Free Exercise clause of the First Amendment.

Under Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer, a case the Supreme Court decided earlier this year, the government cannot discriminate against religious entities in a public grant program just because they are religious. The Court repeatedly made this point in its opinion in that case:

  • This Court has repeatedly confirmed that denying a generally available benefit solely on account of religious identity imposes a penalty on the free exercise of religion.”
  • The express discrimination against religious exercise here is not the denial of a grant, but rather the refusal to allow the Church—solely because it is a church—to compete with secular organizations for a grant.”
  • Trinity Lutheran is not claiming any entitlement to a subsidy. It instead asserts a right to participate in a government benefit program without having to disavow its religious character… . The express discrimination against religious exercise here is not the denial of a grant, but rather the refusal to allow the Church—solely because it is a church—to compete with secular organizations for a grant.”
  • In this case, there is no dispute that Trinity Lutheran is put to the choice between being a church and receiving a government benefit. The rule is simple: No churches need apply.”
  • The State in this case expressly requires Trinity Lu­theran to renounce its religious character in order to participate in an otherwise generally available public benefit program, for which it is fully qualified.”
  • The State has pursued its preferred policy to the point of expressly denying a qualified religious entity a public benefit solely because of its religious character. Under our precedents, that goes too far. The Department’s policy violates the Free Exercise Clause.”
  • But the exclusion of Trinity Lutheran from a public benefit for which it is otherwise qualified, solely because it is a church, is odious to our Constitution all the same, and cannot stand.

Likewise, the government can’t discriminate against the churches in this case. As the churches point out in their complaint, the government is providing public assistance repair money toward venues hosting “social activities to pursue items of mutual interest … educational enrichment activit[ies] … service[s] or activit[ies] intended to serve a specific group of individuals,” and “community board meeting[s].” There is no substantive difference between those activities whether they are hosted in or outside of a church. Yet a church hosting such activities would be denied recovery funds simply because it is “religious.”

In Justice Breyer’s concurring opinion in Trinity Lutheran, and at oral argument in that case, one of the points raised was that if the government flatly excludes public money from going to religious institutions, it would have to deny them services like law enforcement and fire emergency services. This would be the logical implication of the position, yet everyone can see it is ludicrous. If these churches would not be denied fire emergency services, why should they be denied money to address the extremely dangerous condition of their properties?

When the issue became public, President Trump seemed to side with the churches, tweeting: “Churches in Texas should be entitled to reimbursement from FEMA Relief Funds for helping victims of Hurricane Harvey (just like others).”

And why not, when faith groups and churches are providing the lion’s share of the effort toward cleaning up after Harvey and other disasters? Even the churches in this case are already caring for many in the community; it would add insult to injury to deny them the same aid offered to others. As the complaint points out,

…[A]s it did in the aftermath of Hurricanes Rita and Ike, Hi-Way Tabernacle is currently serving as a staging center for FEMA and local government relief efforts. Despite suffering significant flooding and damage, the Tabernacle quickly got its facilities to a serviceable state and immediately began taking in evacuees. As of September 4, the church was sheltering between 60 and 70 people, with more expected. The Tabernacle’s gym has been transformed into a warehouse for the county, storing and distributing food, water, hygiene products, and clothing. Over 8,000 FEMA emergency meals have been distributed from the Tabernacle’s facilities. Relief workers are using the facilities to provide both medical services and haircuts to victims. The Tabernacle has been informed that governmental disaster relief helicopters may be landing on its property as well.”

 

It’s great to see that Congressman Chris Smith has introduced the Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act of 2017 to remedy this problem. Under his proposed legislation, which amends the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act by implementing the holding of Trinity Lutheran, religious entities will be treated exactly the same as all other entities under consideration for disaster relief assistance. For the three churches in Texas, and the many other religious institutions damaged by disasters, this change couldn’t come soon enough.

Let us hope this issue is fixed soon, and no entity is denied a spot in the public square just because it is religious.

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The Rights that Students and Parents Have to Challenge Transgender Policies

by FRC

September 11, 2017

In part two of our “Back to School” Facebook Live series, FRC policy experts Sarah Perry and Cathy Ruse discuss the legal status of transgender policies in public schools, what rights students and parents have to fight these ideological policies, and much more. Here is a summary of some key points from this discussion:

  • Despite the fact that there is no federal mandate to enshrine transgender policies in public schools, individual schools and states can (and in some cases are) mandating these controversial policies.
  • This issue goes well beyond bathrooms – 17 different areas within school policy can be affected by the implementation of transgender ideologies, including showers, overnight sleeping accommodations, the forced use of pronouns, etc. In Fairfax County and some other school systems, little girls are being taught that they may grow up to be men, and little boys are being taught that they may grow up to be women.
  • Some public schools are now framing “children’s rights” in terms of students who identify as “transgender” using school as the time where they are free to express their “true selves”; if parents object to their children’s behavior, they are seen as being in the way of their children’s freedom.
  • Can schools force students to call a fellow student by the sex that they identify as (that is opposite from their biological sex)? Our First Amendment right to not be compelled to speak should guard against this, but this could very well be challenged in court in the future.
  • Most states do allow parents to opt their children out of sex-ed classes. However, “gender identity” is increasingly being taught outside of the sex-ed curriculum in “general health” classes where there is no option to opt out. Parents have to fight at the state level and the school board level for the right to opt their children out of any lessons they deem objectionable.
  • Students who are being forced to undress in locker rooms in front of those of the opposite biological sex can ask for accommodations to be able to use a separate facility; this may be the only short-term recourse.
  • In the vast majority of states, parents have the right to review curriculum, lesson plans, and lesson materials. If you can’t opt your child out of the objectionable material, you can at least prepare them for what they will encounter.
  • It is not the gender-confused child, their parents, the teachers, or the school that should be blamed in all of this; they may be under pressure from outside forces such as the state or transgender activists. Compassion is always the appropriate response. It is critical to remember that 80 to 90 percent of gender-confused children will ultimately accept their true biology. By “affirming” a child in the opposite gender, these policies are locking a child into something they will likely normally grow out of.

View the full video to find out more.

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Advice for Parents On Challenging Transgender Policies in Public Schools

by FRC

September 6, 2017


Just in time for the new school year, FRC presents its Facebook Live “Back to School” series. In our first video, FRC policy experts Sarah Perry and Peter Sprigg answer questions about transgender policies, gender pronouns, and more. Below are a few recommendations for parents regarding the increasing prevalence of transgender ideologies in school systems across the country.

  • If school board administrators at your child’s school claim that transgender policies must be put in place in public schools so that they will not lose federal funding, they are not being truthful. The Trump administration withdrew the Obama administration’s May 2016 guidance instructing schools to allow transgender students to use the locker rooms and restrooms of their choice.
  • Become a citizen advocate: Find out what precisely is being taught to your child regarding sexuality and what transgender restroom/locker room policies are in place. If you verify that radical transgender ideologies are being taught and/or enforced in your child’s school system, approach the school administration in hierarchical order with your concerns; this will ensure the best chance of success. Start with the classroom teacher; if your concerns are not satisfactorily addressed, move on to the school principal, then to the school superintendent, then to the elective school board.

View the full video to find out more.

For further guidance, be sure to download our brochure “A Parent’s Guide to the Transgender Movement in Education.”

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Masterpiece Cakeshop Attorneys File Merits Brief with the Supreme Court

by Travis Weber

September 5, 2017

Last week, attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom (representing Jack Phillips and Masterpiece Cakeshop) filed their merits brief with the Supreme Court. This is the primary written argument submitted to the Court explaining why Jack Phillips should win what could be the most important religious liberty case of the post-Obergefell era. After his opponents file their brief and the Court holds oral argument, it will decide this case sometime next year.

In their brief, Jack’s attorneys elaborate on a number of aspects of the case, including how and why Jack has a free exercise and free speech right to conduct his activities according to his faith as he sees fit. These are important arguments to understand, especially in light of all the misinformation being reported about the case.

You can find ADF’s brief here.

Given the importance of the case, FRC plans to file an amicus brief with the Supreme Court shortly, explaining why it should rule in Jack’s favor.

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Social Conservative Review - September 1, 2017

by Daniel Hart

September 1, 2017

Dear Friends,

In times of great crisis, it’s easy to feel like we are powerless, with no control over the direction of our lives. For the victims of the flooding in Houston and the surrounding region, feelings like these are certainly all too common right now. With the loss of family members, homes, and personal possessions, and with the surreal reality of not being able to recognize your own neighborhood and city because of flooding, I can only imagine the deep sense of loss and hopelessness that the flood victims must be going through, perhaps with no clear direction on how to move forward with life.

For those of us who are not directly affected by the flooding and are feeling powerless to help, there are indeed direct ways that we can make a difference, first by praying for the victims and their families, and secondly by charitable giving if we are able.

Strangely, great calamity can also bring with it a sense of serenity. How is this possible? Serenity can come when we realize that we are indeed powerless, and therefore are left with one option: simply to trust in God and do what we can, to move one foot in front of the other, to lend a helping hand wherever it is needed. Extenuating circumstances that are beyond our control have a way of forcing us to slow down, giving us a kind of tunnel vision to focus on the basics of life: food, clothing, shelter, helping those in need. This forced limitation of options and elimination of worldly distractions can bring with it a sense of peaceful resignation to accept whatever may come, because what other option is there? As we have seen in Houston, an amazing sense of solidarity can develop from these circumstances. A widespread disaster quickly makes it clear that despite people’s political and cultural differences, we are all ultimately in this thing called “life” together.

As the flooding in Texas and every other immense catastrophe has shown, good always comes out of even the direst situations. When we humbly accept what comes our way, God rewards our trust with His grace, mercy, and love.

Thank you for your prayers and for your continued support of FRC and the family.

Sincerely,

Dan Hart
Managing Editor for Publications
Family Research Council

 

FRC Articles

Historical Revisionism – Ken Blackwell

The Battle for Truth and Love – Marcus Harris

Ways to Help Texas Flood Victims

Science vs. Science on USDA Nominee’s Views of “LGBT Behavior” and “Choice” – Peter Sprigg

International Religious Freedom in 2016: Still Work to Be Done – Travis Weber

Why Is Iceland “Eradicating” People With Down Syndrome? – Dan Hart

 

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

5-Year FRC Shooting Anniversary Offers A Study In Presidential Reactions To Hate Crimes – Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist

Why Is the Southern Poverty Law Center Targeting Liberals? – Ayaan Hirsi Ali, The New York Times

Christian ministry sues after being listed as ‘hate’ group alongside KKK and neo-Nazis – Harry Farley, Christian Today

Southern Poverty Law Center Transfers Millions in Cash to Offshore Entities – Joe Schoffstall, The Washington Free Beacon

J.P. Morgan’s Hate List – Kimberley A. Strassel, The Wall Street Journal

Southern Poverty Law Center: ‘Our Aim In Life Is to Destroy These Groups, Completely’ – Tyler O’Neil, PJ Media

SPLC ‘Hate Map’ Targets Christians, Pro-Family Groups – Joan Frawley Desmond, National Catholic Register

Liberal law center demonizes Christian foes of LGBTQ agenda as ‘hate groups’ – Peter LaBarbera, LifeSiteNews

Groups: Justice court filings defy Trump promises on religious freedom – John Solomon, The Hill

A Wisconsin Judge Builds the Case for Religious Freedom – Rod Anderson, The Christian Post

Political CEOs – Mark Baurlein, First Things

St. Louis’s Unholy War on Religious Liberty – Nathanael Blake, Public Discourse

As College Students Return to Campus, Let’s Allow Free Speech to Reign – Carson Holloway, The Daily Signal

Why a British Muslim Is Suing the Southern Poverty Law Center – Chris Tomlinson, Breitbart

Free to Believe”

Cake artist to Supreme Court: Affirm artistic freedom, free speech – Alliance Defending Freedom

Court rules high school football coach cannot pray on the field – Todd Starnes, Fox News

Masterpiece Cakeshop: Can the State Force Us to Agree with Its Views? – Jonathan Scruggs, National Review

Court solidifies victory for photographer, other Wisconsin creative professionals – Alliance Defending Freedom

Teacher: Dear Parents, Tell Your Kids to Stop Talking About God – ToddStarnes.com

First Grader Sent to Office, Investigated, for “Pronoun Mishap” – Todd Starnes, Townhall

International Religious Freedom

Christianity Could Vanish From Middle East by 2025 If Terrorism Continues, Believers Warn – Stoyan Zaimov, The Christian Post

Egypt Closes Church Over Muslim Extremist Opposition, Blocks Worship at Another – Samuel Smith, The Christian Post

State Dept. Releases Report on Status of Religious Freedom in 199 Countries – 21st Century Wilberforce

Sudan Arrests 7 Pastors Who Refused to Give Gov’t Control of Denomination – Samuel Smith, The Christian Post

Top 5 Worst Countries With Blasphemy Laws Ranked by USCIRF, One Christian Nation Listed at No. 7 – Stoyan Zaimov, The Christian Post

 

Life

Abortion

Top 10 Reasons Why It’s Good to be Pro-Life – Maria Gallagher, LifeNews

Pro-Choicers Should Explain Why They Think Eugenics Is Acceptable – David Harsanyi, The Federalist

Texas permanently bans taxpayer funding of abortion – Fr. Mark Hodges, LifeSiteNews

Shunning The DisabledJ.D. Flynn, First Things

Oregon governor signs bill offering free abortions to citizens and undocumented immigrants – Becky Yeh, Live Action

Ten (Bad, But Popular) Arguments for Abortion – David Hershenov, Public Discourse

Abortion Groups Attack Religious Medical Providers, Right of Conscience for Health Workers – Rebecca Oas, C-Fam

Fighting for Life in the ‘Abortion Capital of the Western World’ – Jim Graves, National Catholic Register

Hidden Abuse of Women: Coerced Abortions – Colin LeCroy, National Review

Adoption

Group Works to Promote Adoption as Positive Parenting Option – Megan Reuther, WHOTV

Bioethics

It’s a Culture War, Stupid – George Weigel, First Things

How one man’s fight to save his dying wife allowed him to witness two miracles of life – Susan Michelle-Hanson, Live Action

The Charlie Gard Legacy: Forced Euthanasia – Chris Michalski, The Stream

Iceland Capital’s Only Baptist Pastor Doesn’t Want Down Syndrome Eliminated – Gunnar Ingi Gunnarsson, Christianity Today

Obamacare

America Already Has A Single-Payer System, And It’s Killing Veterans Like Me – Jonathan LaForce, The Federalist

Obamacare Insurer Lost $57.6 Million in First Half of 2017 – Robert Donachie, The Daily Signal

How House Conservatives Plan to Revive Obamacare Repeal, and Why It Could Work – Rachel del Guidice, The Daily Signal

 

Family

Economics/Education

The Crisis of the Christian Colleges – Stephen Baskerville, Crisis

The Need for Thick Schools: Classical Education Against Cynicism – Casey Shutt, Public Discourse

Podcast: Sen. Ben Sasse and Russell Moore discuss parenting, education, and vocation in an era of historic disruptions in the workforce – Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

America, Home of the Transactional Marriage – Victor Tan Chen, The Atlantic

Marriage

Why you should brag about your husband – Jenna McDonald, Aleteia

This Is the Truth About Good Communication in Marriage – Laura Triggs, Verily

Has Marriage Become My Idol? – John Piper, Desiring God

How trials can make your marriage better – Sarah Walton, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Want a better marriage? Share a sport – Craig Swalboski, Post-Bulletin

Relationship Standard Bearing: When It’s Not Okay to Not Be Okay – Kelly M. Roberts, Family Studies

Faith/Character/Culture

The iPhone and Us – Daniel Ross Goodman, Public Discourse

Michael Cromartie, R.I.P. – Ethics & Public Policy Center

After the Flood, All the Colors Come Out – Jared C. Wilson, The Gospel Coalition

Six Questions to Ask Before You Binge on Netflix – John Piper, Desiring God

Atheism and the Problem of Beauty – Joe Heschmeyer, Word On Fire

The Christian Understanding of the Human Person – Gerhard Cardinal Müller, Principles

Human Sexuality

Video: How do you teach your children about manhood and womanhood from a biblical perspective? – Daniel Akin, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Precious Clarity on Human Sexuality: Introducing the Nashville Statement – John Piper, Desiring God

Mapping the New Mating Market: A Review of Cheap Sex – Helen Alvaré, Family Studies

How Catholics Can Welcome LGBT Believers – Cardinal Robert Sarah, The Wall Street Journal

UNESCO Promotes Sex-Change and Abortion for Kids – Marianna Orlandi, C-Fam

Preventing sexual violence starts with what we teach our boys – Maryjo Oster, Child Trends

Human Trafficking

Video: Fighting Human Trafficking in America – Dallas Theological Seminary

Google Attempts to Block Bill to Hold Sex-Traffickers Accountable – Lisa Correnti, C-Fam

Comboni nun answers ‘scream of pain’ of human trafficking victims Inés – Inés San Martín, Crux

Pornography

Pastor fired for porn addiction offers help to fellow strugglers – Greg Garrison, Alabama Living

You Are Not Addicted: The Power to Resist Pornography – John Piper, Desiring God

I Was a Pastor Hooked on Porn – Garrett Kell, The Gospel Coalition

4 Signs Your Man Is Serious About Quitting Porn – Monica Gabriel Marshall, Verily

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The Battle for Truth and Love

by Marcus Harris

August 30, 2017

If one were to question the moral fortitude of current Christians in America, one might conclude that a generation of Christians would rather be culturally acceptable than identify with the commandments of Jesus.

According to a survey conducted by the American Culture and Faith Institute, conservative pastors are reticent to speak about cultural issues for fear of appearing political and losing congregants. While many Christians around the world are courageously living in the midst of vile persecution for the sake of a faith they consider worth dying for, the American church has become sheepishly acquiescent to the demands for moral equivalency for the lifestyles of those who lack moral clarity. As the church, we have allowed the culture to define truth and love for us, and this has been a great detriment not only to our witness in the world, but to our own families. Whether we realize it or not, we are in a spiritual battle to define and live out the meaning of truth and love.

Research has shown that with every subsequent generation, those who call themselves followers of Jesus continue to convert to the gospel of moral relativism. As a culture, we now value achieving self-fulfillment by any means necessary, even if those means are destructive. Even though a majority of Christians would agree that God is the author of moral truth, many actually believe that truth is relative to one’s experiences and life circumstances.

Look no further than the growing acceptance of radical sexual autonomy among mainline protestant denominations and millennials to see how far we have fallen from the biblical standard of truth and love. Even though the Bible is clear about sin and its consequences, many Christians seem more concerned with appearing “judgmental” and “unloving” rather than calling people out of darkness into light. Ultimately, we need to repent and come back to the essence of what truth and love really entail.

Simply put, Jesus is truth and love. You cannot have one without the other. He is the Lion and the Lamb. We either receive all of Him or none of Him at all. We cannot pick and choose which facets of Jesus’ nature we want to keep to fit our desires. The truth that has been established by God is eternal and will never bend to culture. It is the greatest story of love ever displayed. The truth is that God in his mercy sent Jesus to save us from our sins so that we may be holy and blameless before Him. The truth is that God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son so that all who believe in Him will not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16).

The fact of the matter is this: it is not very loving of us to give credence to sinful proclivities from which Jesus died to save the world. Those of us who have children know this to be fundamentally true. We would never, in the name of love, allow our children to run out onto a busy highway just because they believed it was their prerogative. The church in America must develop a backbone like the early church possessed, and speak the truth in love and grace. There is a battle being waged, and it is imperative that we let our love for God and His commandments shape how we think and live. As ambassadors of Christ, we have been called to be distinct and to call the world to reconciliation with God. It is only in a reconciled relationship with God that the world will find true freedom and the highest ideal of fulfillment.

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Ways to Help Texas Flood Victims

by FRC

August 29, 2017

 

The scale of flooding that has inundated Houston and the surrounding region of Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey is shocking. As Christians, we are called to help those in need, first through prayer, and second through charitable work if we are able.

Here is a list of reputable organizations to donate to that are currently on the ground providing much needed aid:

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