Month Archives: June 2007

A Vote of Confidence for ONE Vote ‘08

by Family Research Council

June 12, 2007

Saving Lives, Securing our Future Yesterday” is the ingenious motto of the nonpartisan ONE Vote 08 campaign, which launched yesterday in a church in Washington D.C. In a stroke of brilliant marketing, ONE Vote 08—an offshoot of the ONE Campaign—combines two quintessentially American traits: moral idealism (The worlds poorest countries are in crisis and we have a moral obligation to act) and strategic pragmatism (Fighting poverty is in the strategic interest of the United States).

ONE is a grassroots organization which attempts to mobilize supporters to pressure elected national leaders, particularly Congress, to fund more of the U.Ss international development and relief programs. The ONE Vote ‘08 Campaign extends that focus to the upcoming presidential race.

Although my favorite charity (World Vision) is a founding member of the coalition, I’ve tended to view the ONE Campaign with a degree of skepticism. The problems of humanity are too complex to be solved by government programs or increased funding of NGOs and no amount of money can substitute for the world’s most pressing need: the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Still, international aid can help alleviate the rampant poverty and disease that ravages our neighbors in Africa and threatens the security of the West. That is why I’m giving my tentative support for this campaign.

Here are five more reasons I support ONE Vote ‘08:

1. Because they have the right prioritiesONE Vote ‘08 wants presidential candidates to agree to focus on the following five goals in the fight against extreme poverty:

  • Save 15,000 lives a day by fighting HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, three of the world’s most devastating diseases.
  • Prevent 5.4 million young children from dying each year from poverty-related illnesses and 400,000 women from dying in childbirth each year.
  • Provide free access to primary education for 77 million out-of-school children with a special emphasis on girls.
  • Improve the living conditions of vulnerable populations by, for example, providing access to clean water for 450 million people and basic sanitation to more than 700 million people.
  • Reduce by half the number of people in the world who suffer from hunger, resulting in 300 million “fewer” hungry people each year.

2. Because they have a planONE Vote ‘08 has developed a presidential-platform of achievable solutions that if championed by the next U.S. president could have a profound impact on the poorest people in the world. The platform is built on the foundation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agreed to in 2000 by the United States and 188 other nations to achieve poverty reduction and sustainable development by 2015. The plan isn’t perfect—no policy solution ever is—but it is workable. Until a better plan is presented, I’ll support this one.

3. Because helping the poor is a national security issue. As former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist told a group of us bloggers, “People do not go to war with people who have saved their children’s lives.” While that might not always be true, the Senator’s underlying point remains valid. Extreme poverty promotes extreme instability. The poorest nations on earth are breeding grounds for radicalism. But by providing aid and improving living conditions, we can curtail future threats.

4. Because its a true nonpartisan coalition — Yesterday I sat in a stuffy room in an Episcopal church with rival former House Majority Leaders (Senators Frist and Daschle), policy wonks from the left and right (John Podesta and Michael Gerson), and bloggers both liberal (Matthew Yglesias, John Aravosis) and conservative (Soren Dayton, Matt Lewis). We may not can agree on much else, but we all agree that these issues worthy of our time, money, and attention. Fortunately, we aren’t alone. ONE Vote ‘08 has been endorsed by both the RNC and the DNC, by religious leaders and Hollywood secularists, and by millions of ordinary people across the country.

Bipartisanship is not inherently virtuous. But in a country as politically divided as America is today, it is comforting to know that there are still some issues that we can all agree upon.

5. Because the church hasn’t done enough — Conservative Christians often claim that feeding the hungry, comforting the afflicted, and tending to the orphans are roles that belong to the church, not the government. I completely agree. But I’m left with uncomfortable questions: Why then are so many people around the globe still in extreme poverty? Why are so many people dying of AIDS and malaria? Why are so many children still hungry? Either the church has failed to obey the commands of Jesus or we are doing the best we can and are still falling short. For whatever reason, the church needs help in carrying out our duty to our global neighbors. Hopefully, one day the ONE campaign will no longer be needed. But until then, I’ll welcome whatever help we can get.

Pro-Life Praise for GOP

by Michael Fragoso

June 11, 2007

It isnt often that I am impressed with Republicans in their handling of pro-life issues, but last week’s floor debate in the House on easing the Presidents restrictions on stem cell funding was one of those times. The arguments by the largely Republican opponents of the stem cell legislation were measured, rational, and scientific. In contrast the arguments of the bills supporters shouldnt even qualify as demagoguery. Histrionics would be more apt.

In speaking out against the bill Republicans were on top of their game. They clarified thatin spite of their opponents spinthere is no ban on embryonic stem cell research. They pointed out that the research is not struggling or under-funded, but already has over $4 billion designated for it over the next decade from the public and private sector. In response to the perennial charge that they and the President are against science they reminded the listener that the current bill is in essence one passed two years ago and that two years is an eternity in cutting edge science. They argued that embryo-destructive research is quickly becoming yesterdays news. One member even pointed out that the Nuremburg Code should make us weary of deriving medical knowledge from the destruction of a humanno matter how small or young it happens to be.

Their opponents, in contrast, seemed to have grown intellectually flabby, gorging on their perceived high levels of public support. They made specious arguments that by only allowing supernumerary IVF embryos to be destroyed they were instituting needed ethical constraints. (Note that currently the ethical constraint for federal funding is that no embryos be destroyed. This argument assumes the part to be greater than the whole, known to be a fallacy for centuries.) They vaguely and generically referenced America falling behind the rest of the world in stem cell research. They belittled the usefulness of adult stem cells, in the face of most evidence. And when all else failed, they fell back to lame arguments from authorityfrom thousands of scientists (both the well meaning and the self-interested), to that pillar of cellular-biological erudition, Michael J. Fox.

Perhaps most reprehensible was the way in which many members invoked sick friends, family, and loved ones. One cannot help but sympathize with them in their struggles, and pray for their well being. At the same time, when embryonic stem cellsand only those derived from destroyed embryosare presented as the only possible hope for every ailment, large or small, one cannot help but detect a despicable cynicism at workeven for politicians.

Following thirty minutes of the pro-life forces arguing against the bill dispassionately, from bases in reason, science, and secular ethics, Speaker Pelosi ended the floor debate by calling embryonic stem cell research biblical in its power to cure. Speaker Pelosi defended the bill by invoking the Good Book, and yet her ilk would have us think its the pro-lifers who thump their Bibles in opposition science. The pro-life Republicans who spoke yesterday are owed a debt of gratitude for showing just how wrong that view is.

Survey Says? Divorce Ranks Second In Morally Acceptable Acts

by Tony Perkins

June 11, 2007

Here’s today’s Washington Watch Daily commentary from FRC Radio:

When asked, most Americans would put cows before vows. Marriage vows to be exact. According to a new Gallup poll, a majority of people think that animal testing is more unethical than divorce. Divorce topped gambling, cloning, and premarital sex as the most tolerable act. Sixty-five percent said divorce was morally acceptable while only 58 percent said the same about buying fur. In other words, dissolving your marriage is less important than what you wear to divorce court. Of course, if the country cant understand the importance of marriage, how can we fight to preserve it? For years, theres been resistance to legislation that helps couples keep their commitments. Last week, when Texas passed a law that doubled the price of a marriage license to $60 for couples who dont have premarital counseling, some people were outraged. Its none of the governments business, said one. Well, frankly, it is the governments businessparticularly when the cultural and social cost of divorce far outweighs the licensing fee. Taxpayers are forced to foot the bill for family breakdown by fighting poverty and juvenile delinquency. The bottom line: marriage matters.

To download this commentary as an MP3, follow this link. For an e-mail subscription to the Washington Watch Daily radio commentary, go here.

Quote of the Day

by Family Research Council

June 8, 2007

From ScienceNOW Daily News:

Whenever lawmakers are debating stem cells, you can guarantee some study about adult stem cells will be released,” said a frustrated Senate Democratic aide about the reports, in Nature and Cell Stem Cell.”

I can see why they would be frustrated. Every time the Democrats want to push through some embryo destructive legislation the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy sends a memo telling the leading science journals to release studies showing why such unethical legislation isn’t needed. After the Democrats go to all the trouble of claiming that millions of people will die without ESCR its a bit rude for the scientists to contradict them by proposing an ethical alternative.

Maybe Congress should just institute a 90-day blackout period on any scientific advancements that contradict the need for their pet causes.

Pelosi Unclear on the Concept of “Biblical”

by Family Research Council

June 7, 2007

The New York Times has a strange quote from Speaker Nancy Pelosi:

Science is a gift of God to all of us and science has take us to a place that is biblical in its power to cure, said Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California. And that is the embryonic stem cell research.

I completely agree that science, like all good things, can sometimes be viewed as a gift from God. I’m less clear, though, on the other part of that sentence. How exactly is it “biblical” to kill a human being in the fanciful hope that we one day might obtain cures for other humans beings? Is that written in one of those obscure Old Testament books that no one reads?

Perhaps Ms. Pelosi, Democratic House leader and theologian, can explain that one for us.

Jailing Thoughts

by Jared Bridges

June 7, 2007

Ken Blackwell, FRC’s Senior Fellow for Family Empowerment, discusses “hate crimes” legislation in The New York Sun today:

While criminal law treats all violent acts equally, the proposed law would additionally punish the accused for any prejudice they might have toward the victim. Instead of ending discrimination, this bill would create a judicial caste system in American society by creating categories where some victims are given more consideration and attention than others. This is a direct affront to the equal protection provision of our constitution.

As a former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Commission, and a person who grew up fighting racism, I oppose the idea of thought crimes. In America, our Constitution guarantees everyone the freedom to think and believe whatever he or she wants, no matter how repulsive those beliefs are to others. And, our Declaration of Independence champions the dignity and worth of every individual.

Read the rest at The New York Sun.

The Dating Game: How Homosexuals Are Using eHarmony To Push Their Agenda

by Tony Perkins

June 7, 2007

Here’s today’s Washington Watch Daily commentary from FRC Radio:

The online dating service called eHarmony.com may have met its match. Last week, a California lesbian decided to sue the site for refusing to serve homosexuals. Linda Carlson, who initiated the case, says she subscribed to eHarmony to meet other women, but couldnt because of how the service is arranged. Since its creation, the site has matched couples based on a long questionnaire of shared interests and valuesbut never have those shared values included homosexuality. When Carlson complained, eHarmony refused to budge. Now, on charges of discrimination, Carlson is taking her grievance to court. Founded by Christian Dr. Neil Warren, the site says its purpose is to help couples establish successful heterosexual marriages. For Warren, the question isnt whether eHarmony violates state law but whether Carlson is threatening to violate the companys moral code. Californias law may protect people based on sexual orientation, but it doesnt do so at the expense of someone elses religious conviction. This is just another example of homosexuals trying to sue their way into acceptance. But in this case of eHarmony, the court should say e-nough!

To download this commentary as an MP3, follow this link. For an e-mail subscription to the Washington Watch Daily radio commentary, go here.

Stem cell research that works

by Jared Bridges

June 7, 2007

FRC’s David Christensen writes today at National Review Online about ethical stem cell research:

Living, breathing people who have been treated by stem cells some who would have otherwise died are signs of the great hope of stem-cell research. Take Doug Rice, a bear of a man who was told he had months to live because of heart disease, yet after being treated with his own blood stem cells, his heart function is almost normal. Then theres Dave Foege who also received the same treatment for his ailing heart, after his doctors had sent him home to hospice. And accident victim Jacki Rabon can walk with the aid of braces after she had her own nasal stem cells injected into her spinal-cord injury. Carol Franz is an incredible woman who suffered from multiple myeloma, a bone cancer, until she had her bone-marrow stem cells transplanted. Stephen Sprague has been free from leukemia after having a cord blood stem cell transplant. And Keone Penn no longer has sickle-cell anemia after receiving a cord-blood stem-cell transplant…

Read the rest at NRO,

The Evolution Of Political Correctness

by Tony Perkins

June 6, 2007

Here’s today’s Washington Watch Daily commentary from FRC Radio:

Cavemen have feelings too. At least thats what two groups are saying about GEICOs prehistoric spokesmen. For the last two years, the insurance giant has made a series of commercials that are meant to show how simple it is to save money with GEICO. In the spoofs, a group of Neanderthals are offended by the slogan, So easy a caveman could do it. Well, it turns out that in real life some people are offended. The British-based Association of Social Anthropologists is denouncing language like GEICOs, saying that words like Stone Age and primitive are racist and imperialist. Another outfit called Survival International says that the words directly contribute to the suffering of… indigenous people around the world. How absurd! Weve gone so far down the path of political correctness that were protecting the interests of people who dont even exist! What next? Will we soon see a Caveman Anti-Defamation League? The world wastes so much time trying not to offend that real threats are slipping by right under our noses. If we were as sensitive to the truth as we are to sensitivity training, America would be much better off.

To download this commentary as an MP3, follow this link. For an e-mail subscription to the Washington Watch Daily radio commentary, go here.

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