Month Archives: November 2012

We are not cookie-cutter…”

by Jessica Prol

November 30, 2012

We are not cookie-cutter…” That’s just one phrase that’s hit me from Shared Hope International’s annual conference. I’ve spent much of yesterday and today surrounded by heroes. Some of these heroes who have survived years of sexual abuse as a young child. Others, are dedicating their lives to counseling, mentoring, licensing, and advocating for the minor victims of domestic sex trafficking.

If you’re new to this issue, check out Family Research Council’s publication, titled “Modern Slavery: How to Fight Human Trafficking in Your Community.”

Another excellent resource, is the state-specific report card, Protected Innocence Challenge, that Shared Hope released yesterday.

The Protected Innocence Challenge is a comprehensive study on existing state laws designed to inspire and equip advocates. Under the Challenge, every state receives a Report Card that grades the state on 41 key legislative components that must be addressed in state’s laws in order to effectively respond to the crime of domestic minor sex trafficking. In addition, each state receives a complete analysis of this 41-component review and practical recommendations for improvement.

For more information about FRC’s work with Shared Hope, click here.

What’s Missing on World AIDS Day?

by Peter Sprigg

November 30, 2012

December 1 is “World AIDS Day,” so both of Washington’s newspapers—the liberal Washington Post and the conservative Washington Times—featured stories on the worldwide AIDS epidemic.

The Post report focused on the promise of the latest generation of antiretroviral therapy. The Times article dealt with the efforts to expand circumcision of men, in the wake of scientific findings that this, too, can help reduce spread of the disease.

But what was missing?

In both articles, there was not a word about men who have sex with men (MSM).

And in neither article did the word “condom” appear a single time.

In the United States, men who have sex with men continue to be the group at highest risk for infection with HIV (overseas, heterosexual transmission is relatively more common). Yet the idea of fighting AIDS by discouraging the sexual conduct most likely to transmit it is completely taboo.

And at one time, condoms were considered to be THE answer to the AIDS epidemic. If we could just get men to use a condom every time, for every act of sexual intercourse (vaginal, oral, or anal), then we would beat the disease. This has proved easier said than done.

Two newspaper stories are a very limited sample. Yet they may be suggestive of two important realities.

The condom crusade has failed; yet we remain unwilling to encourage people to just say no to the sexual activity with the highest risk.

Coffee for Life

by Rob Schwarzwalder

November 30, 2012

When was the last time your doctor said, “Eat as much of your favorite food as often as you want?” To those of us whose teeth are almost permanently sweet, this is a welcome but fanciful idea.

Yet this is about what Dr. Peter Martin, director of the Institute for Coffee Studies at Vanderbilt University(yes, “Institute for Coffee Studies” - only in America), says. His exact words: “What I tell patients is, if you like coffee, go ahead and drink as much as you want and can.”

So reports Lindsay Abrams in her Atlantic article, “The Case for Drinking Coffee.” The article presents a remarkable array of information about the benefits of java and concludes:

The evidence remains overwhelmingly in coffee’s favor. Yes, it was observational, but the study published in May in the New England Journal of Medicine looked at hundreds of thousands of men and women and found this bottom line result: people who drank coffee lived longer than those who didn’t. And the more they drank, the longer they lived. If you’re into that sort of thing.

As one most assuredly “into” both long life and coffee, Ms. Abrams has brought a great deal of sunshine – or, perhaps, caffeinated liveliness – to my day.

My large suburban church now has a small coffee bar in our atrium and since its inception, I’ve noticed a new spirit of love and forgiveness flowing throughout the congregation. Well … maybe that’s just my imagination.

Still, as someone who regards his morning as ill-begun without either the Bible or coffee, I find this news about the abundant benefits of the brown bean to be words of comfort and joy. Apt for this season.

For a non-comprehensive but helpful list of Christian coffeehouses across the country, click here.

Cruel Brittania: Euthanizing Sick Babies and Old Ladies?

by Cathy Ruse

November 30, 2012

The London Daily Mail published an explosive report in June citing claims from a top neurologist that elderly patients who are not dying are being euthanized – as many as 130,000 of them.

Professor Pullicino, a consultant neurologist for East Kent Hospitals and Professor of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Kent, made claims during a speech to the Royal Society of Medicine in London that the Liverpool Care Pathway, a method of looking after terminally ill patients when death is imminent, was being employed too often on elderly patients who could live longer.

Now there are new claims from another doctor in Englandthat the Liverpool Care Pathway is being used on severely-disabled newborn babies whose death is not imminent. His assertions are published anonymously in the British Medical Journal

LifeNews.com has been following this story as it develops here and here.

Winston Churchill: A Life of Potential—November 30, 1874

by Robert Morrison

November 30, 2012

Winston Churchill may have lived the most documented life in history. I say that only because he made sure his every letter, speech, book, article, and even casual remarks were recorded for posterity.

We are his posterity. “Study history,” he said to young college students who asked him for advice. He made a lot of the history of the twentieth century. He told one opponent in Parliament that history would be kind to him. “I intend to write it myself,” he said with a mischievous twinkle. He very nearly did.

The outpouring of words from Winston Churchill is truly staggering. I’m catching up now on “Frontiers and Wars,” which is an abridgment of several of his books about his early years as a soldier of Queen Victoria. He took part in military campaigns along the Afghan frontier. He fought an earlier version of the Taliban. Then, he was a cavalry officer fighting against the Dervishes in the Sudan. He became rather knowledgeable about the Islamic world, more so than most British people of his day.

When President Obama threw the bust of Churchill out of the Oval Office, he might nonetheless have profitably read some of what Winston had to say about dealing with Islam. Our new President bowed low before Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah. He abased himself (and us) before this persecutor of Christians and Jews.

Mr. Obama went to Turkey and Egypt in 2009. He placed great stock in the so-called Arab Spring. Even now, Mr. Obama is giving nearly $500 million of our money to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and $1.5 billion to the Egyptian rulers who owe their first allegiance to the Muslim Brotherhood.

We are borrowing money from China to give to people who hate us, who want to destroy us. Does this make sense? Winston Churchill never won the Nobel Peace Prize, as President Obama did. He had to console himself with the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Still, when Winston saw the Arab Spring of his day—mass riots in the streets—he did not think they were on the road to democracy.

Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries.

Sudan. Afghanistan. Egypt. Libya. Syria. Lebanon.

The Obama administration has been criticizing Israel for years. Whenever they build another apartment house in Jerusalem, Sec. of State Hillary Clinton or Vice President Biden chimes in. They actually count the Jews in Jerusalem and note that it’s “not helpful” to the Mideast Peace Process. Whatever that is.

Churchill had this advice: “Let the Jews have Jerusalem. It is they who made it famous.”

Churchill was the first British statesman to recognize the menace of Hitler and Nazism. He knew Hitler was evil because Hitler hated the Jews and blamed them for all of Germany’s troubles.

Churchill was in Munich just before Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933. He was at a dinner party in a grand hotel there (Churchill never stayed in any but grand hotels). Hitler’s court jester, the Harvard-educated “Putzi” Hanfstaengl tried to arrange a meeting between the two. Churchill told Putzi to tell his master that “Anti-Semitism may be a good starter [in politics], but it’s a bad sticker.”

Hearing of this, Hitler spitefully refused to come down to meet Britain’s former Chancellor of the Exchequer. “He’s all washed up in English politics,” Hitler says in one dramatization of their almost meeting. A lot of people in England thought so, too.

Watch the delegates at last summer’s national convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. Watch them BOO! as the convention chairman gavels through a platform plank that concedes none-too-gracefully that Jerusalem is still the capital of Israel. Anti-Semitism—a good starter, but a bad sticker.

President Obama’s top intelligence officer, James Clapper, thinks the Muslim Brotherhood that is now rising to power throughout the Arab world is a “secular” organization. It would be nice if our intelligence chiefs had some, well, intelligence.

In fact, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) dates from 1928, the same era that gave us the Nazi party in Germany. The MB rejected Hitler’s Aryan supremacy, not surprisingly. Not all that many Muslims are blond with blue eyes. And they rejected Hitler’s pagan ideology.

But they liked and learned from the Fuhrer’s use of violence to get power. Hitler always used the threat of street riots and broken heads to get his way in a weak parliamentary democracy like Germany’s Weimar Republic. The MB liked that and have copied Hitler’s tactics everywhere.

The MB also loved Hitler’s judenhass—his Jew hatred. They still do.

In Churchill’s Britain of the 1930s, there were many English businessmen who wanted to appease Hitler, and to profit from his regime. In the U.S. then, there were men like Ambassador Joseph Kennedy, father of the president and Sen. Robert Kennedy. Amb. Kennedy cheerfully described himself as an “appeaser” of Hitler.

In Egypt today, the MB blames all the troubles of that plundered land on the Jews. And the Obama administration—led by Hillary Clinton—actually thinks Mohamed Morsi is trying to help when he crafts a cease fire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Everyone knows that Hamas is only standing down for a few days or weeks or months until they can launch an even more harmful rocket attack on Israeli villages.

Everyone knows this except, of course, the Obama administration.

Churchill also knew something about Russians. He called Russia “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” One thing we know that Churchill understood about Russia. They respect strength and despise weakness.

When President Obama’s voice was picked up on a mic telling Vladimir Putin’s puppet Dmitri Medvedev he would be “more flexible” after he was re-elected, he broadcast to the Kremlin’s new vozhd (boss) his weakness. Even worse, he broadcast our weakness to the world.

In Moscow during World War II, Soviet dictator Josef Stalin brutally insulted Prime Minister Churchill and the valiant British armed forces. “You wouldn’t be so afraid of the Germans if you fought them more,” the crude tyrant said. Outraged, Churchill went back to the British Embassy.

He loudly denounced the Soviet tyrant. Warned by a high embassy official the room was bugged and Stalin was doubtless getting transcripts of everything the Prime Minister said, Churchill raised his voice still louder. He dictated a cable to London, to the War Cabinet. He said if this kind of thing was repeated, he would leave Moscow in the morning. Come what may.

In danger of losing British and American war supplies, Stalin’s behavior changed overnight. Literally overnight. Confronted with Churchill’s courage and steadfastness, Stalin backed down.

Does anyone want to bet how much Vladimir Putin will appreciate Barack Obama’s “flexibility”? Does anyone think Putin will now help Obama push Syria’s dictator Assad out the door? Or stop helping Iran’s mullahs evade economic sanctions. Mr. Obama will be amazed at how his flexibility will be interpreted in Moscow as a lack of resolve.

When one of his young secretaries stood on top of Number 10 Downing Street with him during the Blitz, he asked her if she was afraid. Bombs fell all around them. London was going up in flames, but she said: “No, it is not possible to be afraid around you, sir.”

That 1965 London funeral for Winston Churchill was called by the British Government Operation Hope Not. That’s an odd name for what comes to every mortal man. It was England’s greatest writer, Shakespeare, after all who taught us: “Cowards die a thousand deaths. The valiant taste of death but once.”

It’s that kind of courage we need now. It’s that Churchillian call to be men and women of valour. That’s why it’s good to remember him on his birthday. And it’s good to realize how every potential human life has vast potential for good.

The Social Conservative Review: November 29, 2012

by Krystle Gabele

November 29, 2012

Click here to subscribe to The Social Conservative Review.


Dear Friends:

To participate in public life is to recognize that periodic defeat is inevitable. Sometimes, defeat occurs far more often than we would like.

Earlier this month, conservatives in four states lost battles to defend marriage as the union of one man and one woman. President Obama’s re-election presages almost invariably the appointment of men and women to our Supreme Court and the lower federal courts who believe Roe was decided rightly and that the Constitution’s meaning is malleable. The list could go on, but the point would be the same: This was a heartbreaking month for social conservatives.

So, do we quit? Certainly not. We consider ways of reframing our enduring message and means of persuading those wary of our vision for the country. Yet abandonment of truth is never a morally acceptable alternative to those who believe that right and wrong are defined not by popular consensus but by the self-revelation of an eternal God in the Bible and in the “laws of nature.”

Moreover, all is not gloom and doom: In the 2011-2012 sessions of their legislatures, states enacted 131 laws that in some way temper access to abortion on demand. These include ” bans on abortions at 20 weeks; 24- to 72-hour waiting periods; and a requirement to inform women of suicide risks if they seek an abortion” (Source: CBS News). Massachusetts voters rejected physician-assisted suicide, and in Montana voters passed a measure that requires every young woman of 15 or under who seeks an abortion to notify her parents.

In all of this, there is a larger point we dare not lose: Although we play for very high stakes - among them, the sanctity of unborn life, the dignity of women, the centrality of religious liberty, and marriage as defined in Scripture and practiced for 3,500 years of recorded history - we must never delude ourselves that these battles ever will be fully or finally won.

The ultimate triumph of truth rests in the hands of a King Whose guidance of time and history often is mysterious and Who alone has the power to ensure that right prevails. Until He chooses to consummate our fallen human affairs, it is out duty always to champion righteousness and justice in the public square. As T.S. Eliot wrote, “Combat may have truces, but never a peace.” Why? Because as long as man exists, so will evil and its manifestations in society and government. Thus, although permanent wins are impossible, fighting for all the victories we can, for as long as we can sustain them, is essential.

For however long Christians win or lose on the field of moral combat, we remain faithful, animated by the courage and confidence of those for whom victory is assured not by human effort but the sovereignty of a good and omnipotent God. It’s a fight worth waging, and never quitting.

Sincerely,

Rob Schwarzwalder
Senior Vice-President
Family Research Council

P.S. Be sure to join us, in person or online, for Dr. Russell Moore’s upcoming presentation on adoption and its relevance to Christian compassion and calling. It takes place this coming Tuesday, December 4 at 12:00 noon EST. Register or watch 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

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

International Economy and Family

Religious Persecution

Sharia law — U.S., foreign

The Courts
Constitutional Issues

Judicial Activism

Other News of Note

Book reviews

Inaccurate Rumors Resurface Two Years Later

by JP Duffy

November 28, 2012

In 2010, false internet rumors were circulating claiming that Family Research Council lobbied “against” a congressional resolution condemning a bill proposed in Uganda. The Uganda bill – a bill FRC opposed - would have provided for the death penalty for something called “aggravated homosexuality.” The rumor was quickly refuted in the media at the time. Now, more than two years later, the debunked rumor is resurfacing in the blogosphere after FRC’s President Tony Perkins tweeted about Uganda’s President leading the nation in a prayer of repentance. The Human Rights Campaign quickly mischaracterized the tweet as “support” for the bill.

President Museveni’s prayer was given at a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Ugandan independence from Britain. President Museveni did list “sexual immorality”— as only one of 29 separate sins for which the nation should repent. Neither the event nor the prayer had anything to do with, or made any reference to, the proposed bill on homosexuality in the Ugandan parliament.

Here is the statement we issued two years ago in response to the false rumor:

FRC did not lobby against or oppose passage of the congressional resolution. FRC’s efforts, at the request of Congressional offices, were limited to seeking changes in the language of proposed drafts of the resolution, in order to make it more factually accurate regarding the content of the Uganda bill, and to remove sweeping and inaccurate assertions that homosexual conduct is internationally recognized as a fundamental human right.

FRC does not support the Uganda bill, and does not support the death penalty for homosexuality - nor any other penalty which would have the effect of inhibiting compassionate pastoral, psychological, and medical care and treatment for those who experience same-sex attractions or who engage in homosexual conduct.”

Bloggers may try to resurrect false rumors but we will continue to applaud President Museveni’s prayer of repentance. Museveni took the very powerful step of dedicating Uganda to God when he said, “We want Uganda to be known as a nation that fears God and as a nation whose foundations are firmly rooted in righteousness and justice to fulfill what the Bible says in Psalm 33:12: Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. A people you have chosen as your own.”

Permission to disagree, Ma’am.

by Jessica Prol

November 28, 2012

There’s been a buzz amidst DC’s commenting community about why we still should (or shouldn’t) care about General Petraeus’s now un-secret extracurricular activities with Mrs. Paula Broadwell. People with stronger opinions, more information, and bigger microphones have already discussed and dissected the matter.

Some writers call to greater responsibility and higher standards, others to greater flexibility and understanding. Some are a bit more nuanced, like the Walter Russell Mead’s blog post, “America’s Addled Puritanism.” My goal is not to parse the entire discussion, but to suggest that it is appropriate and at least slightly refreshing that our highest intelligence officers still be held accountable for a breach of trust and integrity in their personal relationships.

But West Point graduate-turned-comedian Laura Cannon seems to disagree. In last week’s Washington Post op-ed, “No sex? Permission to speak freely, Sir.” Ms. Cannon notes the following:

West Pointers are human beings, even those with names such as David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell. I think I have the standing to make this declaration, because I’m a fellow graduate. West Point is long on molding military officers, but a bit short on humanity. Its mission statement stresses the intent to commit every graduate to a career of professional excellence and service, embodying the values of “duty, honor and country.” How does West Point do that?

Here’s how: Rules! Hundreds upon hundreds of rules that govern every facet of human conduct imaginable, including my favorite: no sex in the barracks.

The problem, as Ms. Cannon sees it, is that David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell have been persecuted primarily for being human. Since leaving military service Ms. Cannon has, according to her website www.warvirgin.com, left her Jesus-addiction behind and stepped where no veteran has before, by offering “a candid, irreverent look at the comically naughty, sexually-charged underbelly of the military…”

As a proud sister of a U.S. military-service academy graduate, I concede that Ms. Cannon’s angst regarding military academy life is worth engaging. Over the years, my brother has (much more respectfully) shared stories of the ways that he and other cadets would attempt to stay afloat amidst a sea of rules—rules that often seem irrelevant or even counter-productive to the stated goal of building up the next generation of leaders. For a more intellectual discussion of modern military academies (and a rousing disagreement in the comments section), I recommend Professor Bruce Fleming’s article in The Chronicle Review, “The Few, the Proud, the Infantilized.”

But one thing Prof. Fleming and Ms. Cannon both recommend is to lift the no-sex-on-campus ban. Ms. Cannon does so with a comic and irreverent tone. Mr. Fleming does so in a more academic and detached manner, suggesting the academy should have ‘no opinion’ on matters of sexuality.

But would such a ban-repeal, as Ms. Cannon suggests, allow cadets to be “more human”? It does, of course, depend on what we mean by human. Is it truly human to pursue any sexual impulse, whenever one wishes, with whomever one wishes?

This, it would seem, is premise of sexual revolution. In The Atlantic‘s thorough and engaging essay on the topic, Hanna Rosin explores the following:

The hookup culture that has largely replaced dating on college campuses has been viewed, in many quarters, as socially corrosive and ultimately toxic to women, who seemingly have little choice but to participate. Actually, it is an engine of female progress—one being harnessed and driven by women themselves.

So where has all this gotten us? Ms. Rosin seems a bit more optimistic than I, about the empowering nature of sexual license… especially for young women. But logically, if indiscriminate, few-feelings-attached hookups are normal to the human (American) college experience, it would make sense to extend such license, even to military academies and combat zones.

But what if sexual license is not the definition of authentic humanity? Failed contraception, broken hearts, and lingering pang of the morning-after all whisper that authentic humanity is not finally found in sexual liberty. And the social science—illustrated in unforeseen pregnancies and grueling divorce proceedings—loudly suggests that sexual license hasn’t delivered.

So if General Petraeus or Ms. Cannon (or anyone else, for that matter) begins to find that pleasure isn’t keeping its promise, I suggest that they meet a famous warrior king who learned a very difficult version of the same lesson (the story can be found in 2 Sam 11-12). King David made a “human” decision by chasing the lovely, married Bathsheba. The king faced devastating consequences. But he also knew great restoration. I suggest that, in confession and restoration (Ps. 51), King David rediscovered what it meant to be “truly human.”

Better a Meal of Vegetables Where There is Love

by Family Research Council

November 28, 2012

Holiday season is upon us. Salvation Army ringers with their donation kettles stand outside our stores and entice generous holiday shoppers to think about those who are less fortunate. Charitable actions occur around this country every day in myriad different ways. But, at least for residents of New York City this holiday season, charity will no longer look like food donations.

In March of this year, Mayor Bloomberg banned food donations to the city’s shelters that serve New York City’s large homeless population. This ban has gotten attention again, after New York City resources have been stretched thin by the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy.

The reason for this ban was not prompted by instances of food poisoning or culinary foul play, but rather because Mayor Bloomberg says that the City can’t properly assess salt, fiber and fat content in the donated food, so they don’t know if the homeless are getting optimal levels of nutrition.

No exceptions to the strict ban are given, not even for donation centers with a healthy track record such as Ohab Zedek, an Upper West Side Orthodox congregation which has donated freshly cooked, nutrient rich foods left over from synagogue events for over ten years, a practice common among houses of worship in the city.

Leaving aside the question of whether we really need the government to require labeling to assess the content of our foods, we face the following question: should government regulation not only discourage, but in fact prohibit individual (or collective) charity?

What is especially offensive is the subtext here: that only the government is able to adequately know and then provide for the needs within a community. But who is closer to the needs of the homeless in a city? Is it possible that someone sitting behind a desk issuing food regulations can better know their needs than an individual who wants to help—and indeed walks past the homeless on the street every day?

This policy by Mayor Bloomberg is another brush stroke in the picture being painted of a world in which people are not even permitted to take responsibility for their food choices, either in how they give, or in what they take (see, ban on super size sodas). And as with many government policies, it may be the poor that will be hurt by the very policies that are intended to help.

When charitable actions are banned, how much interaction between the homeless and the other residents of New York City will occur? If people are not allowed to give, they have less incentive to pay attention to those in need. And the homeless will no longer have the chance to feel known and cared about by specific individuals or groups. As government over-regulates, it squelches the desire to give. It, additionally, removes the opportunity to love one’s less fortunate neighbor. Even if the government steps in and takes up the slack so an absence of food may be filled, that doesn’t solve the whole problem because government cannot love. When you replace human charity and altruism with rules, society becomes even more fragmented and government dependent.

Of course this isn’t the end of the world. There are other forms of charity that haven’t yet been banned. But it is another step taken by the government protectors that hinder something as basic as human relationship and fellowship.Turkeyon an unlabeled plate, with green beans with a sodium content has not been measured, but has been handed out with love… well, it sounds pretty good to me.

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