Month Archives: August 2012

The Social Conservative Review: August 20, 2012

by Krystle Gabele

August 20, 2012

Click here to subscribe to The Social Conservative Review.


Dear Friends,

There are times when the power of the moment crowds lesser things off the page.

Last Wednesday, my colleague Leo Johnson got between a gunman and his access to the rest of FRC’s DC staff, including me. Despite being shot in the arm, Leo subdued the shooter.

DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier said that Leo “is a hero.” Some have dubbed him “the Hero of G Street.” And House Speaker John Boehner sent out this message: “Prayers are w/injured guard, his family, & everyone at (FRC) …DC police chief says ‘security officer is a hero’ - couldn’t agree more.”

Neither could any of us here at the Family Research Council. Please join us in praying for a quick and complete recovery for Leo and for his wonderful family during this difficult time. And thanks be to God for a brave man who acted in the finest traditions of American courage.

Sincerely,

Rob Schwarzwalder

Senior Vice-President

Family Research Council


Educational Freedom and Reform

Homeschooling

Legislation and Policy Proposals

College Debt

Government Reform

Regulation

Waste/Fraud/Abuse

Health Care

Abstinence

Conscience Protection

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

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

International Economy and Family

Religious Persecution

Sharia law — U.S., foreign

The Courts

Constitutional Issues

Judicial Activism

Other News of Note

Book reviews

No Shades of Gray

by Jared Bridges

August 17, 2012

FRC’s Cathy Ruse gives her tribute to March for Life founder Nellie Gray in NRO’s symposium:

Nellie Gray did more than focus the nation on the pro-life cause once a year. She helped pro-lifers see each other, and in so doing has kept the movement young and strong.

I remember the first time I marched as a mom. Little Lucy, snug and warm in a sling on my hip, engaged in one of her favorite pastimes: studying the faces of the people around her. She saw many happy ones that cold day.

What Lucy understood instinctively has been lost to many in our post-modern world: that we are made to live in relation to each other, not in isolation.

Read the whole thing here.

Nellie Gray: Marching for Life

by Robert Morrison

August 17, 2012

It should not surprise us that most of the media got the story wrong. The Associated Press reported the death of Miss Nellie Gray. Here’s how they covered her passing: “Nellie Gray, the founder and chief organizer of an annual anti-abortion march in Washington and a leader in efforts to overturn the…” The New York Times referred to Nellie as “Abortion Foe.” Huffington Post called her the “founder of anti-abortion march.” Even the Washington Examiner, which ought to know better, echoed that “anti-abortion march” moniker.

The Washington Post, which normally consigns the tens of thousands of March for Life participants to the Metro section, at least credited Nellie with being founder of just that, The March for Life. Why should any of this matter?

Okay, let’s imagine you’re viewing an ultrasound image. You see that miracle of life stirring within. Out of the darkness a voice says: Let’s terminate it. But you agree with TIME Magazine columnist Joe Klein. “You can’t deny that that thing in the womb is a human being.” So you cry out: No, don’t kill her. Or him.

Ah, now you’re an Anti. With the exception of the Post (which realizes it still has to sell newspapers to some of us), most of the mainstream media routinely reported an untruth. Nellie Gray never led a single anti-abortion march. Not one in forty years. Her March for Life was as exuberant and lively a PRO-LIFE event as you could ask for. It has become increasingly a young people’s march in recent years.

Ronald Reagan was acutely aware of public persuasion. He was the first national politician to say, “I’m pro-life.” He knew that being always identified with the “anti” position was a disadvantage. I will always remember January 1985. It was the time of President Reagan’s Second Inaugural. Since the 20th fell on a Sunday that year, the public ceremony was slated for the following Monday. But a severe Arctic blast came down from Canada. Temperatures plummeted dangerously. For the first time in history, the Presidential Inauguration was taken indoors. And the Inaugural parade was canceled. It was just too dangerous to let all those units of Marines, Navy, Army, Air Force, and Coast Guard march down Pennsylvania Avenue.

Nellie Gray’s March for Life was scheduled for January 22nd. Would she, too, cancel? Not on your life! The March for Life went ahead as it has gone on, rain or shine, snow or hail. There is literally nothing like this event in all of American history. There has never been such a popular outpouring of principle and purpose. I have pleaded to our friends to clean up after the March for Life. I’m continually embarrassed by all the trash we leave behind. I point out that at Dr. King’s famous March on Washington in 1963, there was not so much as a gum wrapper, Coke can, or cigarette butt left behind.

To be fair, the City of Washington doesn’t really welcome the March for Life by putting out nearly enough trash receptacles. You can always rely, however, on the cops being friendly. Even their horses are friendly.

Having said that, as long as God gives me strength, I’ll be there at the March for Life. I started marching as a young man. I’m now a grandfather.

There’s a famous quote from London that applies here. When Sir Christopher Wren re-built the wooden city that had burned, this famed architect rebuilt it in stone, better and more beautiful. His epitaph reads:

If you seek his monument, look around you.

The same is true of Nellie Gray. Come to Washington, D.C. next January 25th. Unless a miracle intervenes, that’s when we’ll observe the fortieth anniversary of the infamous Roe v. Wade ruling. If you come to the March for Life, you will see the tens of thousands of young people, celebrating life, so hopeful for change. If you then seek Nellie Gray’s monument, look around you.

In France: We think the first page of the Bible is right…

by Robert Morrison

August 15, 2012

Joe Biden says its inevitable. He thinks True Marriage is destined to fall. But the voters seem to disagree. In thirty-two statewide contests, in liberal states, moderate states, and conservative states, voters have reaffirmed True Marriage. In fact, it is only in those states that refuse to let their people speak that Counterfeit Marriage has been imposed.

Joe Biden likes to stress his blue collar roots. And he is very upfront about his Catholicism. Maybe he needs to go to France. My young friend Pierre sends us this good news.

France was known for centuries as the first daughter of the Church. And the Catholic churches in that beautiful land (le beau pays) will soon hear the Prayer for France. Thats because the new Socialist government has made clear its plans to end marriage. They will move quickly to abolish marriage by saying two men or two women must be given the same legal standing as a legally married man and woman.

As with all counterfeits, permitting two men or two women to marry devalues what is true. If your neighbor can print 20-dollar bills in his garage, what will be the value of the $20 in your wallet?

Hoover Institution researcher Stanley Kurtz has shown that wherever European Socialists moved to legitimize same-sex couplings, the institution of marriage was itself destroyed. Now, the French left wants to join that doomed parade.

For long centuries of her history, French Christians prayed the Prayer for France. They will do so once again, on August 15th. This is the Feast of the Assumption, the day when Catholics believe the Blessed Virgin Mary was carried by angels up to Heaven.

This is a perfect day to celebrate the truth of marriage and joy of marriage. When the infant Jesus life was being sought by the soldiers of King Herod, God did not send a fiery chariot to carry the Christ child to safety. Nor did He send a great fish. Or lift baby Jesus on the wings of Eagles.

Our Father sent a husband with a donkey to carry his beloved wife and child to safety in Egypt. That Holy Family models the best protection for children. The Prayer for France will not only lift up a great nation in need of Gods Divine Protection, it will lift up all the dear children who are in danger. Todays Herods seek to destroy the children even in the womb.

We know that in the United States four of five unborn children who are aborted are the children of single mothers. This is probably and lamentably true in France, as well. Marriage—True Marriage—is thus the greatest protector of the unborn.

Should we be surprised that the most pro-abortion administration in American history is also the most anti-marriage? Should it surprise us that a political party which regards the slaughter of innocents as a fundamental right condemns the defense of marriage as a sign of bigotry?

French Socialists are not far behind their American counterparts. They insist that French citizens pay for abortion. They too will force their people to recognize same-sex couplings as marriages, or lose their civil rights.

Thats why one of Frances leading clerics, Philippe Cardinal Barbarin, the Archbishop of Lyon, has boldly defended True Marriage:

Nobody should be surprised if we Catholics think that the first page of the Bible is right, even more so than a parliament. It takes rare courage to speak this truth to power, especially in France.

The Cardinal is in full agreement with Pope Benedict XVI, who says the assault on marriage threatens the life of all humanity. In saying so with courage and candor, these church leaders are lifting high the Cross and defending the Truth. In this valiant effort they will have the support of millions of Evangelicals, Lutherans, and Orthodox Christians throughout the world

Too many suffer the effects of family breakdown. Advocacy groups denounce Catholic leaders for saying the love of a mother and a father are necessary for children. But put another way, they are saying father and mother are dispensable. Too many children today are born without fathers in the home.

The movement to abolish True Marriage seeks to eliminate the very idea of fatherhood and motherhood. That is why Hillary Clintons State Department came perilously close to issuing passports with Parent 1 and Parent 2 instead of Mother and Father. Question: In a same-sex couple, how do you determine who is Parent 1 and Parent 2? Will we not see endless conflict and ceaseless lawsuits to further burden our overburdened legal and social service systems?

Socialists there and here sneer at prayer. They say no prayer can stop legislation. But prayer touches the hearts of the peopleand that can stop legislation. And prayer also reaches the heart of God. And I think of all the Christians, Protestant and Catholic alike, can adapt this prayer to our own traditions to uphold marriage and family at this time.

The Prayer for France

On this day we celebrate the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, under whose patronage France has been placed, we present to God, through the intercession of Our Lady, our trusting prayers for our country:

1. In these times of economic crisis, many of our citizens are victims of various restrictions and see the future with concern, we pray for those who have decision making powers in this area and ask God to make useven more generous in solidarity with our fellow men.

2. For those who have been recently elected to legislate and govern, may their sense of common good of society outweigh special requests and may they have the strength to follow the instructions of their conscience.

3. For families, that their legitimate expectation of support from society is not disappointed, that their members support with fidelity and tenderness throughout their existence, especially in the painful moments.That the commitment of the spouses towards each other and their children are a sign of loyalty to love.

4. For children and youth as we help all people to discover their own path to progress towards happiness; they cease to be objects of desire and the focus of conflict of adults’ that they fully benefit from the love of a father and a mother.

Lord our God, we entrust in You the future of our country. Through the intercession of Our Lady, grant us the courage to make hard choices and a better quality of life for all and vitality of our youth through strong and faithful families. Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Incident at FRC Headquarters

by FRC Media Office

August 15, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 15, 2012

CONTACT: J.P. Duffy or Darin Miller, (866) FRC-NEWS

WASHINGTON, D.C. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins made the following comments after an FRC security guard was shot this morning:

The police are investigating this incident. Our first concern is with our colleague who was shot today. Our concern is for him and his family.

-30-

An Obscenity and a Headline Can’t Discredit Study of Homosexual Parents

by Peter Sprigg

August 15, 2012

I am increasingly convinced that some pro-homosexual activists never read anything more than headlines.

For example, the Chronicle of Higher Education ran a headline on July 26 that said:

Controversial Gay-Parenting Study is Severely Flawed, Journal’s Audit Finds.”

The “study” in question is the New Family Structures Study (NFSS), led by University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus, whose principal findings were reported in an article in the scholarly journal Social Science Research in June.

Here’s how those findings are summarized on the “Frequently Asked Questions” page of the study’s official website:

More precisely, he [Dr. Regnerus] says, the data show rather clearly that children raised by gay or lesbian parents on average are at a significant disadvantage when compared to children raised by the intact family of their married, biological mother and father.

In the debates over homosexuality in general, and over the intended homosexual redefinition of marriage in particular, a finding like this lands like a nuclear bomb. Pro-family activists have repeatedly claimed that children do best when raised by their own, married mother and father. Homosexual activists deny this — but Regnerus confirmed it.

Homosexual activists, on the other hand, have claimed that the research shows there are no differences between children raised by homosexuals and those raised by heterosexuals. Regnerus, however, has disproved this.

It’s no surprise, therefore, that destroying Regnerus, his study, the journal that published it, the editor who approved it, and the peers who reviewed it became priority number one for homosexual activists. Charge bias! Charge misconduct! Demand an investigation! Slander everyone involved!

Under the massive pressure, the journal’s editor, James D. Wright, agreed to appoint a member of the journal’s editorial board, sociologist Darren Sherkat, to perform an internal audit to review the paper and the process by which it was published. Although the audit will not be published until November, a copy was provided to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

What did the auditor, Sherkat, conclude about Regnerus’s paper? “Its b***s***,” he told the Chronicle.

Well, there you have it. A scholarly evaluation if I’ve ever seen one.

Armed with an obscenity (“BS”) and a headline (“Severely Flawed”), homosexual activists had all they needed. Regnerus’s study, in their wishful view, was a train wreck. “Nothing to see here, folks … Just move along.”

It helps, however, to read beyond the headline.

Let’s look at some of the things reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education article:

  • Sherkat did not find that the journal’s normal procedures had been disregarded.”
  • [Sherkat did not find] that the Regnerus paper had been inappropriately expedited to publication, as some critics have charged.”
  • He [Sherkat] also vigorously defended Wright, the editor.”
  • [Sherkat said,] “If I were in Wright’s shoes, I may well have made the same decisions.”
  • [T]he [peer] reviewers were unanimously positive.”
  • Wright had little choice but to go ahead with publication.”
  • [Sherkat said,] “[T]here were no gross violations of editorial procedures.”
  • [Sherkat said,] “[T]he papers were peer reviewed.”
  • [Sherkat said,] “[T]he peers for papers on this topic were similar to what you would expect at Social Science Research.”
  • As for accusations that Wright was part of a conservative conspiracy, as some have suggested, Sherkat deems that ‘ludicrous.’”
  • [Sherkat said,] “It is unfair to expect Wright to hear the warning sirens when none were sounded by the reviewers.”
  • Sherkat considers Regnerus to be ‘a bright young scholar,’ and, years ago, he wrote a letter of recommendation for him.”

We get all of this, despite the fact that “Sherkat was an early critic of the paper, even before he was chosen to conduct the audit. He also said in an interview that he had ‘little respect for conservative religiosity.’”

With so many positive comments, what was it that Sherkat did not like?

For one thing, he did not like an article that accompanied that by Regnerus in the same issue of the journal. Written by another scholar, Loren Marks, it examined the 59 previous studies of homosexual parents that had been cited by the American Psychological Association in a 2005 policy brief. Marks debunks the APA’s claim that “[n]ot a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents.”

Sherkat criticizes the Marks paper as “a lowbrow meta-analysis of studies.” The Marks paper, however, is not — nor was it intended to be — a meta-analysis at all. A meta-analysis is when data from similar studies on the same topic are statistically aggregated to reach conclusions that may have a stronger statistical significance than any one of the samples or studies could achieve on its own. Marks was not aggregating the data from previous studies, but critiquing their methodology. Marks points out, “[N]ot one of the 59 studies referenced in the 2005 APA Brief compares a large, random, representative sample of lesbian or gay parents and their children with a large, random, representative sample of married parents and their children.” Marks also points out that only four of the 59 studies cited by the APA even met the APA’s own standards by “provid[ing] evidence of statistical power.”

What did Sherkat object to in the Regnerus study itself? Well, for one thing, the funding — by “a very large grant from exceptionally conservative foundations” (a reference to the Witherspoon Institute). The Chronicle article fails to mention that the funders had no say in the design or execution of the study; nor does it mention that a number of liberal foundations were approached to participate, and all declined.

Sherkat also complains about the study’s data collection, writing that “the marketing-research data were inappropriate for a top-tier scientific journal.” This is apparently a reference to the firm (Knowledge Networks) chosen to screen potential respondents and survey those chosen for the study. No explanation is given, at least in the Chronicle article, of who would have been better equipped to screen 15,000 people and administer a survey to a representative sample of nearly 3,000, other than a firm with “marketing-research” experience.

Apart from that, Sherkat directs most of his ire at the peer reviewers — other scholars chosen to evaluate the study’s methodology and the paper’s presentation and interpretation of the data to make sure that they live up to proper academic standards.

There was, apparently, no problem with the qualifications of the peer reviewers. As already noted, Sherkat himself stated that “the ‘peers’ for papers on this topic were similar to what you would expect at Social Science Research.”

Sherkat suggests that there was a conflict of interest because, according to the Chronicle, “two of the six reviewers were paid consultants to the New Family Structures Study.” A scandal? No — the editor, Wright, told the Chronicle “that it’s not unusual for scholars who have been consultants at some point on a project to later serve as referees.”

Sherkat also complained about the “ideology” of the reviewers — “three of six reviewers, according to Sherkat, are on record as opposing same-sex marriage.” So being on record in support of the definition of our most fundamental social institution that has prevailed for millennia, remains in place in 44 of 50 states, and has been upheld by voters in 32 out of 32 states, is considered disqualifying? When was the last time a scholar was “disqualified” from reviewing research related to homosexuality because they openly advocated the radical redefinition of marriage? Criticism for “ideology” coming from someone who openly admits he has “little respect for conservative religiosity” is nothing short of laughable. Remember, too, that even this criticism applies only to “three of six,” but “the reviewers were unanimously positive” (emphasis added).

The heart of Sherkat’s critique seems to be the same one that has been offered since day one of the study’s release — the parents identified in the charts of data as “lesbian mothers” or “gay fathers” were not necessarily people who self-identified as “lesbian” or “gay.” Instead, these classifications were applied any time the young adult respondent said that a parent “had a same-sex romantic relationship” while the respondent was growing up.

This is a rather weak critique, since, as the Chronicle reported, “The information about how parents are labeled is in the paper. Regnerus writes that he chose those labels for ‘the sake of brevity and to avoid entanglement in interminable debates about fluid or fixed orientations.’” Is Sherkat suggesting that instead of “LM” and “GF” (the codes Regnerus used in his charts for children of lesbian mothers or gay fathers), Regnerus should have used “CWMHASSRWTWGU” and “CWFHASSRWTWGU” (“Children Whose Mothers [or ‘Fathers’] Had A Same-Sex Relationship While They Were Growing Up”)?

Nevertheless, Sherkat seems to suspect that the six peer scholars chosen to review the paper might have – well — missed this key point:

At the same time, he sympathizes with the task of the overburdened reviewer inclined to skim. Because of how the paper was written, Sherkat said, it would have been easy to miss Regnerus’s explanation of who qualified as lesbian mothers and gay fathers. If a reviewer were to skip ahead to the statistics in the table, it would be understandable, he said, to assume that the children described there were, in fact, raised by a gay or lesbian couple for a significant portion of their childhoods.

This, despite the fact that, “In his audit, Sherkat reveals that all the reviewers declared that the paper would generate ‘enormous interest.’” The paper clearly overturns at least ten years of politically correct conventional wisdom in academia. Yet Sherkat says that the scholarly reviewers of this groundbreaking and controversial study might have been “inclined to skim,” and “if a reviewer were to skip ahead … it would be understandable … to assume” (that’s three hypotheticals in one sentence — emphasis added) that the paper said something other than what it actually did. “Sherkat said, it would have been [another hypothetical, emphasis added] easy to miss Regnerus’s explanation of who qualified as ‘lesbian mothers’ and ‘gay fathers.’”

Given the “enormous interest in this paper,” Sherkat’s speculation that the scholarly peer reviewers may have missed the heart of its methodological approach is not only insulting to those scholars, but it is completely implausible. After all — the explanation of how subjects were categorized can be found in the article’s title (“How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study”).

Sherkat’s full audit of the Regnerus study is not due to be published in Social Science Research until November. Perhaps it will contain more convincing arguments than those offered in the Chronicle of Higher Education article. However, any claim that the Regnerus article has been “discredited” is without support.

An obscenity and a headline are not enough.

Porn: Another Executive Branch Security Problem

by Chris Gacek

August 15, 2012

Well, if there werent enough societal problems presented by pornography, an article by Professor Lori Handrahan (American University) reminds of the national security risks associated with porn consumption:

[Recently,] the Pentagons Missile Defense Agency warned its staff not to view porn on U.S. government computers.

She notes that Bloomberg News talked to a computer security expert who stated that the Missile Defense Agencys use of porn is concerning because many pornographic websites are infected and criminals and foreign intelligence services such as Russias use them to gain access and harvest data.

Tony Capaccio (Bloomberg) provides additional, important information not even confined to porn sites:

There are great dangers in interacting with any site that has high-quality imagery, whether its pornographic or not, or a lot of links, said Chase Cunningham, chief of cyber analytics at Sterling, Virginia-based Decisive Analytics Corporation, in a telephone interview yesterday.

Using what is called steganography, Cunningham said, a programmer can embed malicious computer code that infects computers, opens ports, steals data or gains access to networks when photos, videos or other files are downloaded.

That shouldnt come as a surprise, but we should be stunned that employees in defense agencies would expose the nation to such dangers. It is hard to believe that the federal government cant find software vendors who can block access to these sites. Here are some smart Israelis they can talk to for some ideas.

Remembering Nellie Gray, Americas Pro-Life Sweetheart

by Family Research Council

August 14, 2012

Nellie Gray, the founder of March for Life, passed away this past weekend. Through tireless dedication to the pro-life movement, Ms. Gray united pro-life people from all walks of life through the march she founded in 1974, which marked the one year anniversary of Roe v. Wade. She started the march so pro-life people across America could come together and mourn the lost lives of Americas most defenseless and innocent populationthe preborn.

Ms. Grays heartfelt motivation to protect Americas preborn children stemmed from her military service in World War II. During the war, Ms. Gray served as a corporal in the Womens Army Corps (WAC), and was deeply distraught that many innocent lives were lost in the Holocaust. Once the war ended, Ms. Gray became more aware of the perils of abortion and was propelled to combat Americas very own holocaust—the unjust, merciless killing of innocent preborn boys and girls.

Pro-life unity formed the core of Ms. Grays motivation for protecting the preborn. To accomplish such a goal, Ms. Gray encouraged African-Americans and women from the Silent No More Awareness Campaign to participate in the March for Life. Dr. Alveda King, the director for Priests for Lifes African-American Outreach, said that Nellie Gray knew that abortion took a heavy toll from the black community and she urged us to lend our voices to the fight against this terrible injustice. Also, Janet Morana, the co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, thanked Ms. Gray for recogniz[ing] that the women who have had abortions speak with unquestioned authority about the ways they have been harmed by this choice.

Because of Ms. Grays work, March for Life has truly changed lives by motivating Americans to take a stand for the protection of Americas most defenseless population. Father Frank Pavone, the National Director for Priests for Life, noted that Nellie Gray and the March for Life had a most profound effect on my life simply because both solidified his decision to seek priesthood. Moreover, March for Life, which has a high youth turnout rate, has propelled my generation to continue defending the preborns God-given right to life.

As the 39th annual March for Life approaches, we must never forget to champion and honor Nellie Grays humanitarian impact on the hearts and minds of millions of Americans. To further her legacy, we must continue to unite more Americans on the sanctity of life.

In the wake of Nellie’s passing, the March for Life Board of Directors have named Patrick Kelly as Interim Chair of the Board and Jeanne Monahan as Interim President of the Board. The Board of Directors will continue to honor Nellie’s memory by doing everything possible to protect the unborn—no exceptions, no compromise!

Is Religious Freedom Necessary for Other Freedoms to Flourish?”

by Rob Schwarzwalder

August 9, 2012

Dr. Tom Farr, who has spoken twice on the importance of religious liberty here at FRC, has published a provocative new column asking if religious liberty is essential to all other freedoms.

He states the core of his argument eloquently in two essential points: (1) Our duty to God precedes any duty we have to the state, and thus (2) it is the duty of the state to protect this foundational right to religious liberty and the exercise of conscience. Taking his cue from James Madison, Dr. Farr writes:

America’s founding generation identified religious freedom as “the first freedom” because they saw it, in effect, as a precondition for the other freedoms. James Madison wrote that each of us has rights that flow from the duty we owe God. This duty is precedent, both in order of time and degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society. Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governour (sic) of the Universe.

Further, Madison insisted that if men were to fulfill their obligation to God they must have freedom — especially freedom from the coercive powers of the state. The Duty which we owe our Creator, and the manner of our discharging it, can be governed only by Reason and Conviction, not by Compulsion or Violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the full and free exercise of it according to the dictates of conscience, unpunished and unrestrained by the Magistrate… .

The additional implications of religious liberty with respect to any government are profound. As Dr. Farr writes, Any state that protects religious liberty thereby limits itself. Religious liberty empowers religious actors both to perform services that might otherwise be carried out by the state, and to adhere to an authority beyond the state.

To authoritarian and dictatorial regimes, this is a chilling prospect. Thats why Communist China, North Korea, and many Islamist-run governments so stridently penalize Christian believers: Those believers bend the knee to King Jesus, not their human governments. This simple fact sends shivers down the spines of totalitarians everywhere.

Dr. Farr invites comment on these arguments in space provided at the end of his article, linked above. Please share your thoughts with him and with us here at FRC, where we honor religious liberty, at home and abroad, as critical to the freedom and justice for all that we cherish.

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