Month Archives: July 2012

Wheaton President Explains their Fight for Religious Freedom

by David Christensen

July 20, 2012

Kathryn Jean Lopez at National Review Online posted an insightful interview with Wheaton Colleges President, Philip Ryken. Wheaton College is known for being conservative in the sense of being evangelical, but it is not a political right wing institution. Its quite telling that President Ryken admits to being not overly political, yet, this HHS mandate on religious organizations was an eye opener. As recounted in Kathryns piece:

I am only moderately engaged in political issues,Wheatons president adds, and so it has been interesting to observe how precious liberties appear to me when they are in danger of being taken away. This has sort of awakened for me a latent passion for religious liberty. And I think plenty of our board members would say the same thing.

To read the full article, see here.

Winston in my Pocket

by Robert Morrison

July 20, 2012

John Adams advised his sons, always take a book with you. With a poet in your pocket, youll never be lonely. He was right, of course. And now I have a Nobel laureate for literature in my pocket.

I was given a small bilingual book by one of our French visitors this week. We were discussing the fight to save marriage with our foreign guests. Pierre, a 21-year old, graciously thanked me for giving him an hour of my time and handed me an amazing little book.

Winston Churchill

Discours de Guerre

1940-1946

(War Speeches)

Who would imagine that this master of English prose would be translated into French? And that this wonderful little book would contain all of Churchills stirring wartime addresses in two languages?

Pierre, very diplomatically, said that I could use it to work on my French. Indeed.

How did he know to give me a book on Churchill? Well, he knew I am a conservative. All American conservatives love Churchill. It used to be that all Americans loved Churchill.

Thats because we all understood that he was the voice of Britain when Britain stood alone against a monstrous tyranny. Thats why Prime Minister Churchillthe first foreign leader ever to address Congresswas wildly cheered by the Senate and House Members in December, 1941 when he spoke to a Joint Session. Strong majorities in both houses were liberal Democrats.

Reading this little book, Im struck by how often Churchill refers to Christian civilization. He equates Christian civilization with freedom, with tolerance, with charity for all. Even so, he makes a point of telling the English people that their nation had surged ahead of Nazi Germany in science because Hitler had expelled so many Jewish scientists.

President Obama never uses the term Christian civilization. He went to Egypt three years ago and said he was reaching out to the Muslim world. He referred to the Koran as holy and to Islam being revealed, the first American leader ever to do that.

He also pitched the bust of Winston Churchill out of the Oval Office into the snow. It was one of his first symbolic acts as president.

He did that shortly after he vowed that his own nomination for president would coincide with the time when the seas ceased to rise.

Had he studied history, President Obama might have heard of the great Persian emperor Xerxes. When the waters of the Hellespont churned up in a storm, delaying Xerxes invasion of Greece, the Great King ordered his magi to beat the waves with whips to make them behave. They flailed away, knowing that if their flailing failed, Xerxes would cut off their heads.

Xerxes seems pretty silly to us now. But no sillier, perhaps than our own Commander-in-Chief, who hired a green jobs tsar who was red and a local EPA administrator who threatened to crucify any small businesses that didnt get in line.

Winston, of course, knew what happens if you ignore history. He urged young people to study history. Not to know what happened before you were born is remain forever a child. That was the Roman orator Ciceros argument for studying history.

We can look to the presidents programespecially his health care takeoverand respectfully ask: Sir, can you name a single instance where government takeover lowered the costs? Already, small businesses are reporting that they will not be able to afford Obamacare. And they will either drop coverageor, just as bad, they will avoid hiring those extra employees who would put them over the limit to require employer coverage. Clearly, Obamacare is a job-killer.

How about college tuition before and after student loans? Tuition increases have advanced faster than inflation for four decades. So Mr. Obama took these over, too.

Or, can we think of an instance where rationing has led to plenty? Ronald Reagan signed five Executive Orders the day he entered office. He dismantled the entire Rube Goldberg apparatus for fuel rationing that had been put in place by Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Carter. All were gone in with five pen strokes. Yes, gasoline prices at the pump spikedfor about two weeks. Then they settled back down. And Americans have never stood in line for gas one day since.

I discovered this gem in Churchills famous Iron Curtain speech, delivered at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri in March, 1946. Quoting his great Irish-American mentor, Bourke Cockran, Winston said:

The earth is a generous mother; she will provide in plentiful abundance enough food for all her children if they will but cultivate her soil in justice and in peace.

When we consider that this administration has sowed death around the world, eagerly wasting our money while pushing for abortion, refusing to take any steps to protect even unborn baby girls threatened with sex-selection abortion, Churchills words become especially powerful.

If the earth is a generous mother, how can we justify Vice President Bidens being dispatched to Kenya, for example, to bludgeon them into adopting a new constitution including abortion-on-demand. They would not get U.S. aid if they didnt knuckle under, Kenyans were told.

President Obama told reporters in 2009 he had not forgiven Churchill for allegedly having his grandfather tortured in Kenya in the 1950s. President Kennedys father didnt forgive Churchill, either. Old Joe Kennedy blamed Churchill, not Hitler, for World War II, and for the death of his eldest son, Joe Kennedy, Jr.

President Kennedy rose above all that, however, in making Winston an honorary U.S. citizen in 1963. He said then that Churchill had martialed the English language and sent it into battle for freedom.

We can still read Winston with profit today. His words are not only profitable, theyre so often prophetic.

The Social Conservative Review—July 19, 2012

by Krystle Gabele

July 19, 2012

Click here to subscribe to The Social Conservative Review.


Dear Friends,

As the father of two Boy Scouts, I was grateful for this week’s announcement by the Boy Scouts of America that they would retain their ban on homosexuals from serving in leadership.

This isn’t about hate, intolerance, or bigotry. It is about:

** Protecting boys from predation. Historically, many thousands of boys were sexually abused while in Scouts. Not all homosexuals are predators - but all but a small number of the predators who have molested boys and young men in Scouting have been homosexual. All parents want their children protected from sexual assault, which is why the prohibition on homosexuals in Scouting helps prevent the participation of men who would take advantage of trusting young boys.

** Fiscal sanity. The BSA has paid-out tens of millions of dollars to boys who have been abused and to their families. Perhaps the advocates of homosexuality within Boy Scouts will offer to pay the organization’s massive litigation insurance premiums; so far, I’ve not heard such an offer made.

** A private organization upholding the moral standards on which it was founded. To this day, every Boy’s Life magazine features a Bible story, and biblical values of loyalty, honor, truthfulness, etc. are celebrated as Scout norms. The Scout promises to do his best to do his duty “to God and my country.” That moral foundation is why, in 2004, the Scouts’ National Council issued this statement: “Boy Scouts of America believes that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the obligations in the Scout Oath and Scout Law to be morally straight and clean in thought, word, and deed.” Moreover, 70 percent of Scout troops are chartered by religious institutions, the majority of which teach that non-marital sexual intimacy is immoral. Are those who would open Scouts to homosexuality prepared to see hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of boys lose their troops because the churches and synagogues that sponsor them will not accept homosexuals in Scouting leadership?

The final line of the Scout Law is an affirmation of a Scout’s obligation to be “reverent.” The leadership of the Boy Scouts of America has affirmed its commitment to revere God and protect boys over the demands of the secular elite and homosexual activists. May the God of the Bible bless them for it.

Sincerely,

Rob Schwarzwalder

Senior Vice President

Family Research Council

P.S. Listen to FRC President Tony Perkins’ interview with Gov. Mike Huckabee on the Scouts’ decision here.


Educational Freedom and Reform

Homeschooling

Legislation and Policy Proposals

College Debt

Government Reform

Regulation

Waste/Fraud/Abuse

Health Care

Abstinence

Health care reform: Political and Legislative efforts

Homosexuality

Human Life and Bioethics

Abortion

Bioethics and Biotechnology

Euthanasia and End of Life Issues

Stem Cell Research

To read about the latest advances in ethical adult stem cell research, keep up with leading-edge reports from FRC’s Dr. David Prentice, click here.

Human Trafficking

Women’s Health

Marriage and Family

Adoption

Family Economics

Family Structure

Media

Pornography

Internet

Religion and Public Policy

Religious Liberty

Religion in America

Check out Dr. Kenyn Cureton’s feature on Watchmen Pastors called “The Lost Episodes,” featuring how religion has had an impact on our Founding Fathers.

Secularism

International

Israel

Religious Persecution

The Courts

Constitutional Issues

Judicial Activism

Other News of Note

Book reviews

Evangelicals and Catholics Together? You bet.

by David Christensen

July 18, 2012

You may have heard about multiple Catholic organizations suing the government over the contraceptive mandate which forces religious organizations that are not churches to provide free abortifacients, contraceptives and sterilizations in their health plans.

But this isnt just a Catholic issue, as many protestant denominations have spoken against the threat of religious freedom this mandate poses.

Today, Wheaton College, an evangelical college, joined The Catholic University of America in yet another lawsuit. Wheatons President, Dr. Philip Ryken, describes the contraceptive mandate this way:

Wheaton College and other distinctively Christian institutions are faced with a clear and present threat to our religious liberty.

To read more, see Wheatons press release.

Death with Dignity? More Like War on New Mexicos Elderly!

by Family Research Council

July 16, 2012

Currently, Doctors Aroop Mangalik and Katherine Morris, along with cancer patient Aja Riggs, are challenging New Mexicos pro-life ban on assisted suicide in court. They ultimately want to prove that their loophole aid in dying argumentgiving conscious terminally ill patients lethal medicine to dieis not assisted suicide. In their view, New Mexicos assisted suicide ban does not take advanced terminal illness treatment into account and does not bar physicians from practicing aid in dying procedures. Looks like these plaintiffs are circumventing the states law to impose their pro-death will through court.

Essentially, this case is a carbon copy of Baxter v. Montana (2009), which ruled that terminally ill patients have the right to die, even with the help of a physician, and that prosecuted physicians can potentially defend humane consent they gave to their patients. Looking to this case for inspiration, Doctors Mangalik and Morris are adamantly pushing for assisted death with dignity in New Mexico, because they believe that symptomatic relief [for terminally ill patients] is impossible to achieve without the use of terminal sedation, a practice where the physician administers medications to render the patient unconscious, while nutrition and hydration are withheld until death occurs. Sounds like a pair of compassionate and oh-so humanitarian doctors that truly care about the health and safety of societys most vulnerable adults, right? No, wrong. If these doctors were truly abiding by the Hippocratic oath, they would not be advocating for a merciless way to starve rather than truly heal patients suffering from terrible terminal illnesses.

To humanize their actions, Doctors Mangalik and Morris have chosen Aja Riggs as one of their fellow plaintiffs. Aja, who unfortunately suffers from pain caused by advanced uterine cancer, decided to join the case, because she wants herself and others to have the choice to end their lives with the help of a physician. Although her justifications make sense given her condition, assisted suicide should not be the solution for patients with terminal illnesses. Why? Because terminally ill patients have the very same human dignity that the unborn and healthy infants, children, and adults have, even if they are unfortunately trapped in a state of incontinence and have difficulties with controlling basic bodily functions. Instead, patients like Ms. Riggs should seek palliative caretrue compassionate and pro-life care that helps terminally ill patients relieve their pain and live their life to the fullest extent. Moreover, it is also patient-focused, since it fosters a comfortable, homelike environment that suits the patients needs. Although palliative care does not reverse the patients condition and completely relieve suffering, it truly respects every patients inherent human dignity by promoting natural death and reaffirming life.

If Ms. Riggs and Doctors Mangalik and Morris win this case with their loophole argument, New Mexico will embark on the deathly slippery slopes that Oregon and Washington state have already taken. Since the Death with Dignity Act was enacted in Oregon in 1998, few psychiatric evaluations have been given to patients seeking assisted suicide, and patients receive written prescriptions years in advance before they meet the 6-month life expectancy guideline. In Washington, a 2011 state report shockingly does not specify if patients voluntarily died from assisted suicide. As a result, these pro-choice laws that champion death with dignity have only resulted in rampant abuse, malpractice, and lies. Although this case will be finalized next year, New Mexicos most vulnerable citizensthe elderlyshould be deeply concerned about Morris v. New Mexico, since it poses a threat to their very health, safety and longevity. Besides protecting unborn children from abortion, we must continue to protect the elderlyour grandparentsfrom the perils of assisted suicide.

Orphanology: What Each Family Should Consider About Adoption

by Rob Schwarzwalder

July 13, 2012

Adoption is one of the crying needs not just of our culture but of our world.

Here at home, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in 2009 there were more than 114,000 children in public foster care alone who needed to become part of a loving family. This number does not include the many thousands of children awaiting adoption through private agencies.

Worldwide, it is estimated that there are 15 million children growing up without either a mother or father.

Christians should have a special place in their hearts for adoption because all who know Christ are themselves adopted into God’s family. Paul the apostle writes that believers have been adopted by God through the Savior (Romans 8:15, 23; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5). The Lord Jesus was Himself raised by an adoptive father.

Last year, FRC was honored to host Ryan Bomberger, himself an adoptee who shared with us his beautiful testimony of love and healing. You can watch it here. Additionally, FRC’s Marriage and Religion Research Institute has shown that “Adoption Works Well.”

Pastor Tony Merida, in his new book Orphanology, describes both the theological foundation for adoption and the way that individuals and churches can be involved embracing little ones who so greatly need a mom and a dad. Pastor Merida is strongly pro-life and is the adoptive dad of five children. His book is a gracious exhortation to Christians to consider how they can partner with precious young lives to create families where affection and hope and security transform not just the lives of children, but of the parents who adopt them.

Pastor Merida is a realist. For that reason, he makes a compelling point about practical aid for children in desperate need:

In many countries, you can’t bring children home. The church should be thinking creatively and intentionally about how to care for these kids in terms of maybe sponsorship, in terms of helping to educate them, in terms of taking the Gospel to them. A big one would be transitional assistance for children who are not adoptable —- how can we get them jobs, how can we get them into society and help them have a successful life? Churches could even underwrite an orphanage.

Later in the same interview, he asks a poignant question: “Let’s say Roe v. Wade is overturned and there are more orphans than ever before. Are we willing to pay the price to care for them, to do all that is necessary to provide for them?”

That’s a humbling question, and one all Christians should ponder —- even as, at the same time, we do all we can to end the horror of abortion itself.

Who Paid for Egypt’s Gold Braid?

by Robert Morrison

July 13, 2012

Many of the Inside-the-Beltway pundits are not whistling past the Egyptian graveyard, perhaps, but they are whistling past the Pyramids.

They are placing great hopes in the Egyptian military. And they’re placing our money in the pockets of the Egyptian generals, too. $1.2 billion every year for the past thirty years has gone to bribe the Egyptian military to stay in line. Under Hosni Mubarak, staying in line meant not invading, or threatening to invade Israel. And not hosting Islamist extremists who might spur more terrorism against the U.S. and the West.

Since the fall of Mubarak, the Egyptian military has been a bulwark, we are told, against Islamist extremism. Except, of course, when they are Islamist extremists. The liberal Christian Science Monitor reported last fall that Egyptian armored personnel carriers had plowed into Coptic Christians peacefully protesting in Cairo. Twenty-four Christians were killed by the weapons we American taxpayers supplied to the Egyptian military. Has there been any action taken against the killers? Ask the Sphinx. Coptic spokesmen in the U.S. say the standard figure of 8 million Christians in Egypt is itself Islamist propaganda. They claim 18 million adherents. If so, that is twice as many Christians to be endangered by the new regime in Cairo.

The Mideast Jordan Times carries an interesting story about the uneasy relationship between newly installed President Mohammed Morsi and the Egyptian military. Morsi is the Muslim Brotherhood’s successful candidate for president. This would be the same Muslim Brotherhood that pledged not to field a candidate for president. Morsi is in a struggle with the Egyptian military because the generals dissolved the newly elected parliament. Parliamentary elections yielded an Islamist majority, including the Muslim Brotherhood bloc as its largest faction. This is the same Muslim Brotherhood that said it would not field candidates for the parliament.

President Obama has just invited Mohammed Morsi to visit the U.S. Why not? After all, President Obama visited Morsi’s home base—Al Azhar University—in June 2009. That center of Muslim Brotherhood radicalism was the place Mr. Obama chose to offer his olive branch to what he termed the “Muslim world.” Can anyone imagine the row if this self-proclaimed Christian leader had addressed a speech to Christendom? He’d have been accused of being a Crusader (that’s a bad thing among Islamists). Despite its reputation as a scorpions’ nest of Islamist activity, the president chose Al Azhar to signal a turnabout in U.S. policy toward Muslim majority countries.

Turnabout there has surely been. Since Mr. Obama’s entry into office, Christians have been slaughtered throughout the Bloody Crescent with hardly a peep from the U.S. State Department or the White House. Nigerian human rights activist Emmanuel Ogebe recently reported that more Christians have been killed by Islamist Boko Haram than NATO troops have been killed in Afghanistan.

Hundreds of thousands of Christians have fled Iraq. They’ve fled into Syria, of all places. Operation Iraqi Freedom has not protected them. In fact, their lot has been made much worse since the Bush administration toppled Saddam Hussein and allowed, in fact, required a new Iraqi constitution containing a repugnancy clause. State Department advisers insisted upon this clause. It says that notwithstanding anything else in the new constitution, nothing shall be done by the Iraq government that is “repugnant” to Islam. Well, among the things repugnant to Islam is saying “Jesus is Lord.” That will get you killed.

It did get a young Tunisian Christian killed. Recently, Egyptian TV showed the horror of a young convert from Islam to Christianity being beheaded. The Egyptian new anchor, to his credit, cried out: “Is this what we want here?” And he asked the anguished question: “How will these people govern?”

Sadly, the answers are in the broadcast. Yes, it is what the Egyptian voters want in Egypt. Fully 84% of Egyptians have told pollsters that apostates from Islam should be killed. They just voted for it. How will the new Islamists govern? By publicly cutting off the heads of their opponents. Simple enough.

Morsi has publicly called for repudiating the 30-year Treaty with Israel. Morsi’s Islamist cohorts are publicly calling for the destruction of Egypt’s Sphinx and Pyramids. And yet, there are credulous Americans who place their trust in Egypt’s military.

Check out that photograph in the Jordan Times. Look at the ridiculous gold braid on that military academy graduate. Watch the Egyptian military goose-stepping on parade. (I offer this as a simple rule-of-thumb: wherever the military goose-steps, the regime is bad. Nazi Germany, USSR, North Korea, Iran, and now Egypt.)

But remember the war record of this Egyptian military. They were pounded by the much smaller Israeli Army in every war since 1948. They celebrate their greatest achievement as a military in their sneak attack on Israel in 1973. They launched that attack on Yom Kippur, the opening of Jews’ High Holy Days. The reason the Egyptian military was defeated then, too. But it considers that war their best showing simply because in 1973, their soldiers fought and did not run away.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon wrote about the tens of thousands of Egyptian prisoners he captured in one of Israel’s many wars.

The officers threw away their gold epaulets and all indicators of rank. To separate the sheep (enlisted) from the goats (officers), Sharon ordered his prisoners to pull down their pants. Officers, he knew, wore fine silk underpants. Enlisted grunts had to make do with coarse, cheap, scratchy cotton drawers. Sharon marched the defeated Egyptian army, minus their pants, home to Cairo.

The Egyptian military does not always run away. When they plow their armored vehicles into unarmed Christians, they don’t run away. And they don’t get disciplined, either.

Our pundits who look to the Egyptian military to restrain Mohammed Morsi and his Islamist backers are not unlike those very credulous folks who thought the German army would restrain that ridiculous new Chancellor with the toothbrush mustache. Within a year, Hitler had brought the German high command to heel. Mohammed Morsi will put a ring in his generals’ noses.

The Muslim Brotherhood is not an offshoot of Nazism, but it arose in the same era and its founders viewed Hitler’s Judenhass—hatred of the Jews—as a spiritual bond between their movements. Nazism collapsed under Allied and Soviet bombardment. The Muslim Brotherhood survived World War II and has now triumphed in the Arab world’s largest country. The Christians there and throughout the Mideast are in the gravest jeopardy.

Should U.S. taxpayers subsidize this new regime? Should we continue to pay for their gold braid?

Fathers, Be Good to Your Daughters

by Family Research Council

July 12, 2012

I walked past a sweet moment yesterday. It was the hour for busy professionals to catch a quick dinner, before heading home. But one cafe table caught my eye.

A blue-shirted, bespectacled man had lost his tie and sat with his elbows gently planted on the table and directed an attentive gaze across it. His date sat on the edge of her seat, feet barely reaching the ground.

I have no idea if the girl was talking about camp or Barbies or her favorite movie, but dad was paying attention. I nearly pulled out my cell phone camera to capture the moment. I thought better of it and merely shot a quick text to my dad. I saw a cute little girl on a date with her dad and it made me think of you and our special Friendly’s dates. Thanks for those. I love you!

Ive been in his life for nearly thirty years and I got this response, in just two minutes flatMelt my heart! love you too my girl.

I know dads and daughters dont always have the sweet relationship that I enjoy with my father. And I dont even know if my dad was secretly hoping that Id have been a boy. But this friendship of ours has been one of my most profound I have known.

In a recent blog post, Fathers, Dont Abort Your Daughters, author Timothy Dalrymple eloquently educates the reluctant father regarding the unique joys of parenting a girl. He shares a bit of his own story in the following words:

I had told myself that I just wanted a healthy baby, boy or girl. But when I first learned that the child growing within my wifes womb was a girl, I felt a pang of disappointment. I had always looked forward to the father-son relationship. This will sound egotistical and it is precisely that but I had also wanted to see what a boy with my genetic inheritance, but with the opportunities and direction I could give him, could accomplish.

Dalrymple also explains how that preference for a male child has become one of the most horrifically ironic trends to evolve from a womans supposed right to abort her child.

As many besides me have noted, its one of the most tragic ironies of the modern political world that this supposedly great victory for womens rights has led to a cheap replacement for female infanticide. And the social pathologies that arise when the male-female ratio is out of whack are also terrible for women, especially (since there are too few women for every man to have a wife) the dramatic increase in prostitution and sex-slavery and human trafficking.

The entire post is well-worth the read. Check it out at his blog, Philosophical Fragments.

Religious Freedom Under the Gun:” The Obama Administrations Failure to Defend International Religious Liberty

by Rob Schwarzwalder

July 9, 2012

It is, perhaps, the most stinging rebuke yet written of the current administration’s failure to defend religious liberty throughout the world.

The article, “Religious Freedom Under the Gun: The Obama Administration neglects a key foreign policy issue was written by Americas first director of the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom (1999-2003), Dr. Tom Farr. Dr. Farr, who was FRCs Witherspoon Lecturer in 2010 and spoke again on religious liberty at FRC last fall, is now director of the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown Universitys Berkley Center.

Reading the article would be among the more profitable ways for any of us to spend a little time. Dr. Farr argues that America should stand with the persecuted as a matter of principle (millions of people are suffering because of violent religious persecution) and national self-interest. As he puts it:

… the advancement of religious freedom would serve vital American interests. Both history and social science make it clear that highly religious nations like Egypt and Pakistan will not achieve stable democracy unless they embrace religious freedom in full. Nor will they be able to defeat the toxic religious ideas that feed violent Islamist terrorism, including the kind that has reached American shores.

He also makes the disturbing but well-documented point that the Obama Administration has made the advancement of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender rights a higher priority in its foreign policy than defending religious liberty. This is an embarrassment and shame to our country.

The evidenceboth in the world and at Foggy Bottommakes it reasonably clear that the United States is doing little to advance religious freedom in its foreign policy, writes Dr. Farr. This is a break with our moral convictions and our vital security interests as a nation.

It is all of a larger piece, of course: The current administration is committed to violating the religious conscience of all who believe in the sanctity of life by compelling Catholic hospitals and Catholic and Evangelical colleges and universities to offer health care plans that include abortion and abortion drug coverage. FRC has taken a leading role in opposing this historic and massive violation of our first freedom, religious liberty.

The failure of President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton to defend religious liberty abroad, although disheartening, is almost inevitable: They cannot defend abroad what they and their administration colleagues are working to erode here at home.

Thankfully, leaders like U.S. Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Frank Wolf (R-VA), and Trent Franks (R-AZ) continue to fight for the protection of Christians and other religious minorities in the developing world. Lets pray for them —- and for our own nation, conceived in liberty in the belief that God has made each person valuable and accountable. Thats the core of what it means to be American. We dare not lose it.

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