Month Archives: October 2018

Allied for Truth and Freedom Regarding Unwanted Same-Sex Attractions

by Peter Sprigg

October 15, 2018

Some of the most compassionate and courageous—and least politically correct—people in the country are mental health providers who assist clients with unwanted same-sex attractions. I had the privilege of spending time with some of them on October 5 and 6 in Orlando, at the annual conference of the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity (“The Alliance,” formerly known as the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, or “NARTH”).

Although LGBT activists have been critical of sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) for decades, the threat to such therapy has become an existential one only in the last six years, as several states have enacted laws prohibiting licensed mental health providers from engaging in SOCE (often referred to by critics and the media with an outdated term, “conversion therapy”) with minors. However, this year’s Alliance conference came in the wake of an unexpected win, when an even more extreme therapy ban proposal in California was withdrawn by its sponsor, Assemblyman Evan Low, on August 31 (the last day of the legislative session).

The conference featured a variety of presentations and workshops touching on medical, clinical, and cultural issues, as well as research. Attorney Geoff Heath gave an overview of the therapy bans—including several different arguments as to why they should be found unconstitutional. He touched on ways in which they infringe freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion, in addition to noting the more technical legal principle that they may be “void for vagueness.”

It is ironic that attacks upon such therapies have grown ever more extreme, even as the therapists themselves are becoming ever more scrupulous about following “best practices” that avoid the kind of behaviors (such as “coercion” of clients or “guarantees” of complete transformation) of which they are regularly accused. Christopher Rosik, Ph.D., introduced an updated set of Guidelines for the Practice of Sexual Attraction Fluidity Exploration in Therapy (or “SAFE-T,” an acronym coined by the Alliance to better describe the actual focus of such therapy). This carefully reasoned and thoroughly documented 62-page document (not yet available on the Alliance website, at last check—an older version is here) features 13 specific guidelines to ensure that client goals are respected, fully informed consent is obtained, and any potential harm is avoided.

Several sessions addressed research questions. Philip Sutton, Ph.D., gave an introductory presentation with the explanatory title, “Are Same-Sex Attractions and Behaviors (SSA) REALLY Innate, Inconsequential, and Immutable? What Research and Demonstrable Clinical Experience Does and Does Not Show.” Key research findings he explained show that:

  • SSA is not innate.
  • SSA is consequential (that is, it does have many significant negative consequences and co-occurring difficulties—undermining claims that it is a “normal, positive variant of human sexuality”).
  • SSA is mutable (that is, it can change).
  • Some intended and beneficial changes in SSA (often along a continuum) occur through professional and pastoral assistance.
  • Therapeutically assisted change is not invariably harmful.

One of the conference keynote speakers, the Rev. D. Paul Sullins, Ph.D., discussed several research questions. He described existing research showing that the genetic influence on the development of homosexuality is relatively small, while showing that the influence of being a victim of child sexual abuse on developing a later same-sex orientation is significant—both of which undermine the theory that people are “born gay.” He discussed follow-up research he has done (but not yet published) concerning children in same-sex or opposite-sex parent households. He also discussed findings regarding the crisis involving sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests. (Dr. Sullins is a Catholic priest himself, albeit an unusual one—he is married, having been a married Episcopal priest before converting to Roman Catholicism.)

Carolyn Pela, Ph.D., provided useful training on how to evaluate published research studies. She noted the existence of several different types of studies—exploratory, observational, quasi-experimental, and experimental. Exploratory studies are just that—they simply explore a topic, often through anecdotal accounts, but are incapable of arriving at conclusions that can be generalized to a larger population. Ironically, an often-cited 2002 article on the potential harms of change therapies by Ariel Shidlo and Michael Schroeder was, by its own account, merely an exploratory study, and thus offered no conclusions about the actual prevalence or likelihood of such harm.

Observational studies can demonstrate correlations between variables (“A is often accompanied by B”), but cannot definitively prove causation (“A causes B”). However, correlational studies can still be highly important—the conclusion that smoking is associated with lung cancer was based on correlational studies, for example. Only an experimental design can scientifically prove a causal relationship, but that requires the existence of a control group and random assignment to the study group or control group (this is how studies of new drugs are conducted, for instance). But for some research questions, a truly experimental design is either not practical or not ethical—studies of parenting outcomes, for example, would require that children be randomly assigned at birth to parents! Pela also reviewed questionable research practices that can be found in the areas of recruiting, research procedures, and reporting of results.

One of the clinical presentations was offered by Joseph Nicolosi, Jr., Ph.D. His father, one of the founders of the Alliance, died suddenly in 2017. Dr. Nicolosi, Jr. is carrying on his father’s work, but re-branding it—quite literally, in that he has trademarked the term “reintegrative therapy” to describe his approach (and to distinguish it from the ill-defined term “conversion therapy”). His father had coined the term “reparative therapy” in the 1990’s, but this was often (mistakenly) taken as implying a view that homosexuals were broken and needed to be “repaired.” Nicolosi, Jr. introduced an approach he calls the “reintegrative protocol,” which he insisted is not premised on any particular view of sexual orientation and can be used by therapists of any ideological persuasion. Its goal, he said, is not to change sexual orientation, but to heal trauma and sexual addiction—but a change in same-sex attractions may sometimes result when the protocol is followed. 

Two films were also screened at the conference. One, Voices of the Silenced, is an international effort produced by British expert Michael Davidson. It features personal testimonies from clients as well as from experts about the potential for sexual orientation change, while also placing the issue in a larger cultural and historical context, noting how the sexual revolution represents an effort to undo the advances made by Judeo-Christian culture and return to the pagan worldview of ancient Greece and Rome. The other, Free to Love (a 38-minute documentary that can be viewed free online), presents an overview of the debate over SOCE in the American context, and includes interviews with four ex-gay men as well as the views of attendees at a Gay Pride event.

Although geared largely for therapists, the Alliance conference is an important event every year for public education and networking as well. With the freedom to seek change ever more under attack, the Alliance is a vital ally in promoting the truth and protecting clients’ rights to self-determination.

Hacksaw Ridge and the Value of Conscientious Objectors

by Alexandra McPhee

October 12, 2018

Seventy-three years ago today, on October 12, 1945, President Harry S. Truman awarded Private First Class (then-Corporal) Desmond T. Doss the Medal of Honor for his heroic efforts during his service in the Pacific theater of World War II. He was the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor.

Doss was a Seventh-day Adventist. When he entered the military as a conscientious objector, he did so with the convictions that his faith required that he take a sabbath and that, under the biblical commandment “Thou shalt not kill,” he must never touch a weapon to kill another man, even in war.

The deeply-rooted, American value of religious liberty protected Doss’s beliefs. Rights of conscience have been considered a component of religious freedom since the origins of this nation. Indeed, from the time of the Colonies, the government has exempted conscientious objectors from service or from the bearing of arms.

When Doss entered the service during World War II, the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 protected those “subject to combatant training and service . . . who, by reason of religious training and belief, [were] conscientiously opposed to participation in war in any form.”

The Act thus enabled Doss to participate in the war to the extent he believed his faith permitted. As his biography states, “He believed his duty was to obey God and serve his country. But it had to be in that order.”

While serving as a medic, Doss continually carried the wounded to safety during battle in the Philippines, Guam, and Japan, all without using any weapons. In Okinawa, Japan, Doss saved the lives of 75 men over the course of a single day. American soldiers had faced an unexpected counterattack by the Japanese and were ordered to retreat. Only one-third of the soldiers were able to escape from the counterattack. Despite the order to retreat, Doss remained, and he took each of the 75 men, one by one, off of the battlefield to safety.

Doss’s feats in Okinawa were detailed in his Medal of Honor Citation and were the subject of the award-winning 2016 film Hacksaw Ridge, which Doss’s son said represents his father faithfully.

Thomas W. Bennett and Joseph G. LaPointe Jr. were also conscientious objectors, and they posthumously received the Medal of Honor for their acts of valor in the Vietnam War.

These men are proof that we do not accomplish freedom by boxing conscientious objectors or religious expression out of military service or the public square.

As Chief Justice Harlan F. Stone once said, “liberty of conscience” is “vital . .  to the integrity of man’s moral and spiritual nature,” and “nothing short of the self-preservation of the state should warrant its violation.” Even then, “it may well be questioned whether the state which preserves its life by a settled policy of violation of the conscience of the individual will not in fact ultimately lose it by the process.”

By defending the rights of conscience, we enable individuals like Doss, Bennett, and LaPointe to contribute, in accordance with their beliefs, towards the common good and the preservation of our country.

We’re In a Spiritual Battle of Good vs. Evil. Gosnell Proves It.

by Patrina Mosley

October 11, 2018

What if I told you that for over 30 years, a man was murdering babies that were born alive, collecting their remains in bags, jars, and milk cartons, committing medical malpractice on women to the point of death, illegally distributing drugs to addicts, and breaking several other state and federal laws. Do you think it would get the media’s attention? No. Why? Because this man, Kermit Gosnell, was an abortionist. Even those who find themselves mostly on the left found it appalling that this case received little to no attention.

Well, that’s about to change. In the new movie, Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer, tells the story of how a routine drug bust turned into an investigation of a house of horrors. The script for the movie was largely based on the courtroom transcripts of the Gosnell case to ensure accuracy.

At our Values Voter Summit, the star of Gosnell, Dean Cain, described how the scenes, taken straight from the case, were not sensationalized:

We were shooting this, I even turned to our director Nick—are we going a little overboard here? I mean this is a little much… I don’t want to give away too much… the stuff that was going on there… this can’t be real. Then he showed me the actual footage from the actual [police] raid and it looked almost identical. It’s so horrific that if you decided to make something horrific you’re not even scratching the surface. It’s where truth is much more strange than fiction. It was shocking, it was horrifying, and the moment you see that I don’t think there’s anything you could do but go for a homicide conviction.

This PG-13 movie does a tasteful but truthful job of allowing us to see what really happened on the road to getting justice for the atrocities committed at the sinister hands of Gosnell and the bureaucratic coverups that enabled him. The movie is neither “pro-life” nor “pro-abortion”—it’s a truthful telling of a story that should have gotten way more attention than it did.

In Gosnell, you will see that we are in a true spiritual battle of light versus darkness, good versus evil. Nothing displays that more than this movie.

The movie is opening on October12th, and it’s important that we support this film. Check here to find one of the 600 theaters showing the movie near you, and take your friends, your small groups, and your church.

Christians Should Be Fearless in Living Out Their Faith. Even Supreme Courts Agree.

by James Selvey

October 11, 2018

For Christian bakery owners Amy and Daniel McArthur, one chapter of their fight for religious freedom has come to a close. The owners of the Ashers Baking Company in Northern Ireland received a unanimous ruling from the UK’s highest court that they were entitled to decline baking a cake that spoke a message of support for same-sex marriage.

In 2014, Gareth Lee, a gay rights activist, approached the Belfast branch of the bakery with a request for a cake that would include a slogan that read “Support gay marriage” along with the Sesame Street characters Ernie and Bert. While the bakery had initially taken the request, it later canceled the order and refunded Lee’s money. Immediately, the Northern Irish Equality Commission stepped in, inciting that Lee had been discriminated against based on his sexuality. The bakery stated it didn’t want to make a cake that displayed a message that was against their Christian beliefs. Originally, a Belfast court had ruled favorably for Lee, but the case was taken all the way to the Supreme Court, where all five justices ruled in favor of the McArthurs. One of the judges, Brenda Hale, wrote in her decision: “In a nutshell, the objection was to the message and not to any particular person or persons.” The general manager of Ashers, Daniel McArthur, said “I want to start by thanking God … he has been with us during the challenges of the last four years.”

This case comes only a few months after Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood Colorado, won his U.S. Supreme Court case Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. As with Jack Phillips, the McArthurs have no issue with serving Mr. Lee, as they have said, “We didn’t say no because of the customer; we’d served him before, we’d serve him again. It was because of the message. But some people want the law to make us support something with which we disagree.” It isn’t an objection to Mr. Lee’s character or sexual orientation, but rather the context of the message of his order. The McArthurs are implementing their business by living out the values they conscientiously believe in. They are free to run their business as a Christian business, and there should be no one who can tell them to work differently.

The Bible says in James 1:23-25 that “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” The McArthurs are laboring to use their liberty and religious rights to serve Christ in all capacities of their lives, not just in private. Let us pray that they will continue to be strong in obedience to God in what He is calling them to do, as it is highly probable that the McArthurs have not heard the last of this case.

We’re all called as Christians to live in the world, but not to live like it. We all have a commitment to God to live as He is calling us to live. In a time where many schools and businesses are curtailing the freedom to live out one’s beliefs, this calling will become more of a challenge. But when we stay committed to following Jesus Christ and trust that He is the Savior, we see the fulfillment it brings to our lives and further confirms the truth of God’s laws. President Ronald Reagan said it best: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” May we fight for these freedoms in each of our unique callings for our children and future generations.

James Selvey is an intern at FRC Action.

Pakistani Christian Woman’s Fate Hangs in the Balance

by Travis Weber

October 8, 2018

Earlier today, Pakistan’s Supreme Court heard the final appeal of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman convicted of the crime of “blasphemy” after being accused of insulting the Islamic prophet Muhammad—a claim which arose out of an argument with several Muslim women who grew angry at her for drinking water from the same bowl as them, which they believed made the water ceremonially unclean.

Subsequently, in the first and most high-profile case under Pakistan’s draconian blasphemy laws, Mrs. Bibi was charged, convicted, and sentenced to death.

Now, today, there appears to be a glimmer of hope that she could be acquitted by the high court and set free, with sources currently reporting the justices are set to reverse her conviction.

Yet the opposition to this within Pakistani society is great. Over the course of this ten-year long prosecution, multiple Pakistani politicians who have stood up for Mrs. Bibi have been assassinated, including Pakistani Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, the cabinet’s only Christian, and Punjab governor Salman Taseer, who was killed by his own bodyguard. The bodyguard, Mumtaz Qadri—who was later convicted and executed by the Pakistani government—has been lionized as a hero by Islamists, including the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) party, which rallies around punishing blasphemy and which is currently warning against any “concession or softness” for Mrs. Bibi, claiming that “[i]f there is any attempt to hand her over to a foreign country, there will be terrible consequences.”

This sad saga reminds us of the clear threat posed to religious freedom by the abuse of blasphemy laws. These laws—which infringe on a proper conception of religious freedom—would be bad enough on their face. Yet quite often, they aren’t even used for their ostensible purpose, but become vehicles to settle personal disagreements and even political scores.

Mrs. Bibi’s case also reminds us that we need religious freedom at the cultural level in addition to the governmental level. Pakistan may have government leaders willing to defend her, but when the worldview prevailing in Pakistani culture is closer to that of the TLP party than Mr. Taseer’s, the road toward religious freedom will remain beset with almost insurmountable obstacles. 

Let us pray for Mrs. Bibi’s release and safety in the coming weeks. Let us also pray for freedom and flourishing in Pakistan—desiring blessing for all in that land, Mrs. Bibi’s friend and foe alike.

Millennials and the Future of Marriage

by Caleb Sutherlin

October 8, 2018

Millennials are bringing down the divorce rate in America. Research by University of Maryland professor Philip Cohen indicates that the divorce rate has fallen by eight percent from 2008 to 2016. According to Cohen, “the overall drop has been driven entirely by younger women.” While older generations are still getting remarried and divorced, millennials are staying together longer.

But there’s a downside. Few millennials are actually getting married—about 59 percent are unmarried/never married. This is significantly higher than the historical averages for the same age group. Citing the U.S. Census Bureau, Gallup found that at the same age, about “36% of Generation Xers, 48% of baby boomers and 65% of traditionalists were married when they were the age that millennials are now.”

Cohen suggests one reason for this is that millennials are being more selective about who they marry and when. Many are waiting to marry until after they have a stable career and have completed their education. These are good indicators of marriages that will last. For now, divorce rates are likely to continue to fall.

Despite these hopeful signs, we are living in an era marked by a drastic decrease in marriages. The National Center for Family & Marriage Research has found that “the peak marriage rate of 92.3, observed in 1920, is nearly three times the rate in 2016.” The institution of marriage is now a leaning pillar in our society.

With so many unmarried young adults (myself included), the number of single parent households is also rising. Socially, being a single parent or having children out of wedlock is now widely accepted: “The rates of acceptance currently stand at 68 percent amongst millennials.” Having compassion and understanding for single parents is vital, but we must at the same time acknowledge and have compassion for the children who are born out of wedlock and who must bear the consequences of their parents’ choices.

What could this mean for the future? What kind of lives are we encouraging for our children? Let’s look at the numbers. Children from single parent households are more likely to struggle with poverty, have an increased risk of drug and alcohol abuse, are twice as likely to commit suicide, are less likely to finish school, are more likely to commit crimes, and are more likely to become pregnant as a teen than their traditional family counterparts. The fact remains that families do best when they have a married father and mother. Again, saying this is not to denigrate single parents who are doing their utmost to provide for their kids. But there are profound societal consequences as the normalcy of single parenthood increases.

Most importantly, these statistics show a distressing outlook for the future. Millennials no longer find comfort in marriage that has been a staple in generations past. As single parent households rise, the future is foreboding.

Pew Research has found that “Fewer than half (46%) of U.S. kids younger than 18 years of age are living in a home with two married heterosexual parents in their first marriage.” This shift in culture is compounded by the fact that “34% of children today are living with an unmarried parent—up from just 9% in 1960, and 19% in 1980.”

As less marriages take place, there will be fewer examples of healthy marriages for children to emulate. Fortunately, we have the example from the Bible. We know that husbands are to love their wives like Christ loved the Church (Ephesians 5:25). This kind of love requires dying to one’s self for the sake of the other—a lesson that is of the utmost importance in today’s society.

Trends and statistics can give us an idea of what is to come, but the future is never set in stone. The importance of marriage is not and should never be a partisan issue. Everyone should stand to protect and promote the family for the betterment of society.

Caleb Sutherlin is an intern at Family Research Council.

Reversing Roe—Or Ignoring Her?

by Alexandra McPhee

October 5, 2018

This past weekend, I microwaved some popcorn, took to Netflix, and streamed Reversing Roe, a documentary on “the state of abortion and women’s rights in America.”

The film aims to track the historical movement of the abortion debate into the political sphere, and it does so with a pro-abortion slant. It at least tries to give voice to leaders in the pro-life movement, however, with speakers that include our own Tony Perkins.

Among the documentary’s slew of pro-abortion advocates is Sarah Weddington, the attorney who argued Roe v. Wade. Remarkably, it makes no mention of the story of perhaps her most well-known client, Norma McCorvey (pictured). McCorvey is the eponymous “Jane Roe” in Roe v. Wade. What you don’t learn is that McCorvey eventually gave birth to the child she sought to abort and later became a pro-life advocate because of her Christian faith. 

It’s a disappointing omission in a documentary that otherwise makes an effort to fairly represent the pro-life stance. (Even if it fails to fully represent the idea that pro-lifers are advocating for the unborn—not government control over women’s bodies or back-alley abortions. Or the idea that demographics other than old, white men can be pro-life.)

Arguably, the film doesn’t have the time to explore the integrity of or the moral basis for the views of all the major players in the abortion debate. But it does find screen time for a Protestant minister who supports legal abortion, a doctor who believes that his abortion practice is an act of compassion, and shrewd politicos who used Roe v. Wade to channel the passion of conservative evangelicals into votes for Ronald Reagan. 

What about the young woman who wanted an abortion and then changed her mind?

As a result, the absence of McCorvey and her story paints an incomplete picture of key figures in the abortion debate, the role of faith, and advocates for the sanctity of life. In a documentary with her assumed name in the title, Norma McCorvey and her story could have and should have been given a voice.

The Unity of Body and Soul: Why It Matters

by Caleb Sutherlin

October 4, 2018

Many of the most pressing issues in our society come from a lack of love for the body. On October 3rd, Nancy Pearcey visited Family Research Council to discuss her new book, Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality. In her talk, Pearcey tackled difficult aspects of human sexuality that seem independent but are really part of the same ideology.

In Old Testament Hebrew, the word for the “soul” is nephesh, and the New Testament uses the Greek word psyche (pronounced “sue-kay”). These words are used to encompass the whole person. That includes the emotions, the spirit, and the physical being. These elements are immutable and can never be reduced or separated from each other. Today’s liberal ideology seeks to do just that. Pearcey, a renowned apologist, explores the attempt by many on the Left to rewrite the person by ignoring biology and logic.    

While researching her book, she recalled an article in which a pro-choice woman became pregnant. The woman said that she considered the life inside her a baby because she wanted it, but if she didn’t want it, she and those who share her worldview considered it a clump of cells. Seeing the contradiction, the woman decided that life begins at conception, but still questioned the personhood of that life.

The current cultural movement that seeks to redefine personhood is the topic of Love Thy Body. Pearcey observes that this movement is attempting to argue that a human life is separate from being a person. Therefore, a human can be killed, but a person cannot. Pearcey aptly notes that according to this philosophy, the fetus must earn the right to life by being chosen to live by the mother. Furthermore, the body is relegated to being disposable. Simply being human is not enough to justify having human rights. (Therefore, unborn children who are aborted can have their body parts harvested, and Terri Schiavo can be starved to death, according to this philosophy.)

Even bioethicists cannot decide on what constitutes a person. When biology is removed from humanity, anything is possible. Love Thy Body gives several examples of what can happen as a result. Some bioethicists even argue in favor of infanticide, saying that a certain level of cognitive function is needed to be a person. In that light, the elderly, or even those who are mentally handicapped might not qualify for life. As disgusting as that is, legitimate voices are arguing for it.

This disregard for the body is also present in the hookup culture. As Pearcey noted, many young women in college have given in to the dehumanizing campus sexual culture that encourages them to separate their natural desire for emotional intimacy and commitment from their physical sexuality.

Disrespecting the body puts the mind and body in conflict. That conflict can be seen in the fact that 80 percent of people that identify as homosexual will change their self-identification at least once in their lives. Love Thy Body takes a holistic view of the human person and points out the natural unity between the soul and the body. Instead of thinking of the body as a patchwork of contradictory pieces, the body and soul should be thought of as whole.

Perhaps most distressing in this ideology is the removal of pre-political rights. When the government embraces the discontinuity of the body, our human rights become a gift of the government instead of what we innately possess. Today, the government has claimed the right to decide when a person has the right to live by legalizing abortion and euthanasia.

Interestingly, a number of feminist groups are turning away from the idea that the body is meaningless. One cannot be an advocate of women’s rights and simultaneously believe that everyone can be a woman.

As Nancy Pearcey so eloquently reminds us, the only way to keep the rights of personhood fully intact is to base personhood in biology and Scripture. Be sure to view her entire talk for more on this critically consequential topic.

Caleb Sutherlin is an intern at Family Research Council.

Americans Can “Afford to Not Care” About Voting. Yet We Should Still Care.

by Travis Weber

October 3, 2018

Some of us may think of ourselves as non-political. We perhaps appreciate when leaders stand for things we believe in, but think “that’s just not for me.” We may vote if someone pesters us about it, but aren’t too excited about the opportunity.

Speaking at the 2018 Values Voter Summit, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin had some words for those who think this way (start watching at the 12:00 minute mark):

It’s interesting, I was asked some time ago by an interviewer on a radio program what I thought the greatest threat to America was. I don’t know what they thought I was going to say, but I will share with you what I did say and what I truly believe. The greatest threat, I believe, to America is apathy, because I’ll tell you we are blessed to such a degree – and think about the irony of this. We are blessed to such a degree that we can afford to not care and our lives will continue to be better than 99 percent of those who have ever lived would experience. How blessed we are that we can literally afford to not care.

This is a great reminder for all of us who enjoy more freedom than most of the world has known or ever will know. We have the freedom to vote for leaders who represent our values—to vote freely; not coerced, not pressured, and not in physical danger because we vote a certain way. Let us exercise this freedom next month.

Social Conservative Review - October 2, 2018

by Daniel Hart

October 2, 2018

Dear Friends,

Do you ever have moments in your life when your mind wanders far into the future, prompting feelings of anxiety about all of your responsibilities and inevitable hardships you will have to endure in the months and years ahead? I know I do. If unchecked, this kind of thought pattern can lead to a nervous churn in the pit of my stomach as I begin to feel overwhelmed with the weight of the future and what might happen.

Our Lord knows unhealthy human tendencies like these very intimately. He loves us so much, in fact, that He has given us specific spiritual direction numerous times throughout Scripture to remind us of how we are called to live in the moment and not to worry about the future. In Matthew 6:34, Jesus entreats us to “not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.” Even the Lord’s Prayer includes a very specific entreaty: “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). Notice that Christ does not instruct us to ask for our “monthly” or “yearly” bread. In teaching us to pray for our “daily bread,” Jesus is reminding us that our primary focus should be on doing what He is asking of us in our present moment, in this one day that we have been blessed with in His Creation.

This teaching from our Lord goes to the very heart of Creation itself. In the beginning of the book of Genesis, we read that “God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.” Our Lord designed Creation so that we only have to worry about one day at a time. When the day is over, the night comes so that we can rest and recharge for the next day. In other words, God is trying to tell us something with how He has designed the earth to operate: live for today, for the present moment. Existence itself is pure gift; the present moment is all we will ever have. Let us use it for the greater glory of God.

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

Sincerely,

Dan Hart
Managing Editor for Publications
Family Research Council

 

FRC Articles

Is this cross too Christian? Only the Supreme Court can save these war monuments – Alexandra McPhee

Planned Parenthood is Not Pro-Woman – Patrina Mosley

Trump: Expected to Advance Religious Liberty at the UN – Ken Blackwell

An Answer to This Generation’s Identity Crisis: “Love Thy Body.” – Patrina Mosley

California’s Campus Abortion Legislation Has Been Vetoed – Here’s What It Had Wrong – Patrina Mosley

The Image of God and the Pursuit of Truth in the Kavanaugh Hearing – David Closson

Hundreds of College Students Travel to DC In Support of Kavanaugh – John Wesley Reid

World Congress of Families Seeks to Strengthen the Family Unit

U.S. Courts of Appeals: No Vacancy – Alexandra McPhee

Another Attack on Kenyan Christians Brings Us Back to Watu Wote – Travis Weber

Five Myths About “Gender Identity” – Peter Sprigg

 

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

Michigan school district pulls video of family circle after critics claimed it promoted prayer – Ryan Gaydos, Fox News

Black Pastor: I Get ‘Hate and Racism’ From the Left ‘For Being a Bible-Believing Christian – Tyler O’Neil, PJ Media

Militant LGBT Group Wants to Run Texas Mega-Church Out of Town – ToddStarnes.com

Planned Parenthood Forces Hyatt Hotel to Cancel Screening of New Kermit “Gosnell” Movie – Micaiah Bilger, LifeNews

International Religious Freedom

Hopes Rise for Release of U.S. Pastor Being Held in Turkey – David Gauthier-Villars and Dion Nissenbaum, The Wall Street Journal

12 Churches Destroyed, Shut Down by Myanmar Rebels – Stoyan Zaimov, The Christian Post

More Chinese Pastors Sign Statement Affirming Religious Freedom as US Govt Holds Hearing on Persecution – Steve Warren, CBN News

Closure of Syrian Schools: Another Bleak Sign for Christians in Syria – Marlo Safi, National Review

Pakistani Christian Woman Thrown Off Roof for Refusing to Convert to Islam, Marry Muslim – Will Maule, FaithWire

 

Life

Abortion

Abortion On Trial – John Waters, First Things

Podcast: Be a voice for life: Developing a compelling pro-life message – Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Here’s a List of Everything a Baby Can Do in the Womb – Grace Carr, The Stream

Governor Brown vetoes abortion pill bill – Pablo Kay, Angelus

Yes, Down Syndrome Is A Life Worth Living, And A Life Worth Saving – Dan Bartkowiak, The Federalist

U.S. Expected to Fight Back Against Abortion as a Humanitarian Right – Stefano Gennarini, C-Fam

Adoption

How Foster Care Became a Christian Priority—Just in Time – Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra, The Gospel Coalition

My Long, Messy, Beautifully Complicated Path to Adopting My Son – Claire Gibson, Marie Claire

Bioethics

Aussies Block Euthanasia – John Stonestreet & David Carlson, Breakpoint

Mass Human Cloning May Soon be Upon Us – Wesley J. Smith, National Review

Making Death Easier Makes Life Harder – Richard Stith, Public Discourse

Child Euthanasia without Parent Approval Pushed for Canada – Wesley J. Smith, National Review

HHS feels pressure, ends contract with fetal tissue harvester – Live Action

Obamacare

As Obamacare Premiums Continue to Rise, Time to Look at Real Health Care Solutions – Robert Moffit, The Daily Signal

 

Family

Marriage

Millennials Are Causing the U.S. Divorce Rate to Plummet – Ben Steverman, Bloomberg

Humility Matters in Marriage, Too – Rebecca Spohr, HerViewFromHome

Reducing Divorce Through Community-Level Marriage Initiatives – Alan J. Hawkins, Family Studies

U.S. Fertility Rate Drops to All Time Low, Cut in Half Since 1950s – John Binder, Breitbart

Coping With Financial Crisis and Maintaining Your Marriage – Cherie Lowe, Focus on the Family

When Grandparents Divorce, Everyone Hurts – D. Scott Sibley, Family Studies

The Wages of Infidelity – Hugo Schwyzer, Family Studies

Parenting

Raising Kids With Religion Or Spirituality May Protect Their Mental Health: Study – Alice G. Walton, Forbes

Our Infertile Future – Melissa Langsam Braunstein, Family Studies

Making of a Mom: Birth as a Creative Act – Laura Khan, Verily

Modeling Grace and Courtesy – Mattias A. Caro, Ethika Politika

When Adult Children Don’t Share Your Values – Marci Seither, Focus on the Family

Why Friendships Are Important for Boys’ Health – Maryam Abdullah, Greater Good Magazine

7 Ways to Teach Children About the Conscience – Andy Naselli, The Gospel Coalition

Economics/Education

Do Schooling and City Living Equal Fewer Babies? – Lyman Stone, Family Studies

Is student debt keeping Americans away from marriage?Science Daily

Faith/Character/Culture

God Will Sustain You a Day at a Time – Vaneetha Rendall Risner, Desiring God

Eight Reasons Why Awe Makes Your Life Better – Summer Allen, Greater Good Magazine

9 People with Down syndrome who are changing the world – Cerith Gardiner, Aleteia

How Prison Fellowship helps prepare prisoners for release – Emily Greene, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

We Weren’t Made for Endless Work – Gracy Olmstead, The American Conservative

Why churches matter in the fight against addiction – Ericka Andersen, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

How to Bring Your Whole Self to Work – Mike Robbins, Greater Good Magazine

Human Sexuality

Same sex relationships: Should we just agree to disagree? – Sam Allberry, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Changing Society’s View on “Hooking Up” – Arthur Goldberg, Public Discourse

American Academy of Pediatrics’ new guidelines support gender change for kids – Lisa Bourne, LifeSiteNews

$5.7 Million in Taxpayer Funds for Study to Justify Sterilizing Children Who Are Gender Confused – Susan Berry, Breitbart

Guttmacher Reports Conflicting Findings on Trends in Teen Sexual Activity – Michael J. New, National Review

Human Trafficking

What Happens To Sex Trafficking Survivors After They’re Rescued? – Fight the New Drug

By The Numbers: Can Porn Production Be Connected To Sex Trafficking? – Fight the New Drug

Hundreds of Sex Buyers Arrested as Part of Nationwide Initiative – Ben Miller, National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Protections for Sex Traffickers Being Snuck into US-Canada Trade Negotiations – National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Pornography

What you should know about women and pornography – Mikayla Simpson, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Study Links Porn Consumption To Higher Levels Of Objectification And Tricking Partners Into Sex – Fight the New Drug

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