FRC Blog

Eloquence About Life: Commentary On the Planned Parenthood Video

by Rob Schwarzwalder

July 20, 2015

Much has been written about Planned Parenthood’s abort-for-organs video.  That’s encouraging; not to have seen an effusion of outrage, pain, grief, and sheer horror would have been a dreadful commentary on our national hardness.

As Ed Stetzer notes, “progressive” Evangelicals and Mainstream Protestants, usually the first to accuse the pro-life community of caring more about the unborn than (a) their mothers, (b) babies after they are born, or (c) virtually immeasurable cryptosporidium pollution in certain public water shelves (we plead guilty to the last), “have been conspicuously absent, when they’ve spoken up on so many other issues.”

Many who take compassionate, unequivocal, and unashamed stances on the sanctity of unborn life and the predation of the abortion industry on vulnerable women commented with unusual passion and eloquence.  Here are few choice selections:

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Valley of the Shadow of Death

by Jamie Dangers

July 17, 2015

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…”

Recently, I listened, sickened, as Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Senior Director of Medical Services cavalierly discussed their harvesting and selling of babies’ organs. She ate and drank casually while describing which parts of the babies’ bodies would be crushed by the forceps and which would not, depending on which organ(s) needed to be kept intact in order to be sold. In great detail, she spoke of how babies would be manipulated into the breech position with ultrasound guidance in order to allow certain organs to be removed more easily. The method she described is suspiciously similar to partial birth abortion. Without shame, she stated that while there is a partial birth abortion ban, “Laws are up to interpretation. So if I say on day one I do not intend to do this, what ultimately happens doesn’t matter.”

Is this really what we have come to? In America, are we literally walking through the valley of the shadow of death? It certainly feels that way.

I know abortion is not always an easy choice that mothers make. I know sometimes girls and women are there out of desperation. I know sometimes they are pressured into it. I know sometimes they feel like they have no way out. I know sometimes they feel like they have nothing to offer their child in life. And I am so very sorry.

Can we take a step back for a minute? Let’s look at the leaders of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and its affiliates. How did they become so callous as to condone the ripping apart of babies and the selling of their hearts, lungs, livers, and muscles, behind closed doors, in violation of law, not to mention violation of basic human ethics? Surely this latest news is enough to finally convince us that PPFA leadership is not passionate about the empowerment of all women and safe reproductive health. They don’t care about compassion. Why? Because they are changing abortion procedures, not to help the women, but to most successfully harvest organs. But goodness, they sure are passionate about keeping the door wide open on “choice,” because without it, how would they make money? They will do anything and everything, vile and horrific, for profit.

They have been so thoroughly deceived and their consciences so seared that they are walking through the valley of the shadow of death, digging that valley even deeper, and they don’t even acknowledge it. They try to make it appealing and honorable. They try to dress up the horror with words like “research” and “consent” and “high-quality health care.” But no one can put a pretty bow on the dismembered bodies littering this valley floor and make it all ok somehow.

In what world do we discuss the nuances of exactly how much money was spent on which organ and whether it was a donation or reimbursement or payment, in order to make it seem less awful?

This is a culture of death that we cannot afford to ignore. It is our culture. We are right in the middle of it, paying for it with our tax dollars, willingly or unwillingly.

A culture of death is a completely logical culture for anyone who doesn’t value life. While we should be nauseated by the grotesque practices of abortionists behind closed doors, it occurs to me that I should not have been shocked. To them, babies are devoid of human dignity and value, so why not make a profit off of their organs? It’s all about the bottom line anyway. They call it fetal tissue. The truth is, those parts are real organs from unborn children. Organ donors are commendable, but abortionists who profit from the organs of babies who cannot give their consent are deplorable.

Sometimes I wish I could run out of this valley, or at least close my eyes and hold my nose to pretend this doesn’t exist. But the fact is, this is where we are. It’s time to decide what to do. Ignoring it, downplaying it, sterilizing it will only result in allowing death to spread. We cannot ignore this. We cannot pretend it isn’t that bad, or that it will go away. It is that bad, and it won’t go away unless we do something about it.

We must fight with love and compassion but also with incredible resolve. This is a deep and dark valley, yes, but love, truth, and compassion can transform it.  Death can be overcome with life, darkness with light. We can raise this valley and clear it of shadows, allowing light to once again shine on it and purify this blood-stained ground.

We are still in this valley of the shadow of death. But let’s not be wearied or discouraged into accepting it as it is. Let’s be the generation that transforms it. Let’s build a culture that celebrates life!

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Social Conservative Review: An Insider’s Guide to Pro-Family News July 16, 2015

by Rob Schwarzwalder

July 17, 2015

Click here to subscribe to the Social Conservative Review


The events of the past few days have been hard not just for conservatives but everyone with a sense of decency..

We have seen the repulsive video of Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, talking happily about her group’s practice of selling the body parts of late-term, aborted babies. She boasts, “We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, (and) liver” of unborn children.

We have seen a growing attack on Christian liberty as some policymakers and advocates of radical sexual autonomy openly ponder churches and religious institutions losing their tax-exempt status.

The good news is that there are brave national leaders working to address these issues. Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) gave a moving speech in the Senate today on Planned Parenthood’s brutality, and conscientious Members of Congress like ‎Fred Upton (R-MI) are planning to hold hearings on the organization’s activities.

Sen. Mike Lee’s (R-UT) First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), which would prohibit any kind of federal penalties against churches or individuals practicing their faith with respect to marriage, was the subject of an address he gave this week here at FRC. The historical case for religious liberty received a powerful review, also this week, at an FRC lecture by distinguished historian Dr. Mark Hall of George Fox University.

And FRC led the successful charge to have the House leadership cancel “a vote … on H.R. 2722, the Breast Cancer Awareness Commemorative Coin Act, a measure that would have poured up to $4,750,000 into the Susan G. Komen Foundation, a major donor to Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion provider.” Instead, all of the funding went to non-controversial breast cancer research organization.

The news can be overwhelming. The fight for faith, family, and freedom can be exhausting. And the results are often unpredictable.

But whatever the outcome, unborn children are worth defending, religious liberty is worth sustaining, and prudent, principled political action can make a difference. Maybe not a final or comprehensive difference in the here-and-now, but for Christians, the battle is far more than temporal.

Sincerely,

Rob Schwarzwalder
Senior Vice-President
Family Research Council

P.S. FRC’s Senior Fellow for Family Empowerment, the Hon. Ken Blackwell, was featured on C-SPAN on Monday of this week.  Be sure to watch and gain wise counsel from a distinguished Christian statesman.


Human Dignity and the Sanctity of Life

Abortion

Bioethics

Obamacare

 

Marriage & Family

Economy and the family

Fatherhood

Homosexuality and Gender Issues

Human Trafficking

Marriage

Pornography

 

Religious Liberty

 

Religion in Public Life

 

Education

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Guttmacher’s Proposition: Taxpayer-Funded Condoms and Vasectomies

by Sean Maguire

July 16, 2015

In the latest issue of the Guttmacher Policy Review, the Guttmacher Institute (formerly the research arm of Planned Parenthood), proposes some changes to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) they feel are necessary to accomplish the goals of that law.

             Obamacare contains many provisions we have only found out about since Congress passed it. The most famous (or infamous) of these is the mandate, administered by the federal Health and Human Services (HHS) department, that requires coverage of 18 forms of contraception, including drugs and devices that can kill embryos.  These are to be funded by taxpayer dollars and included in plans provided by businesses and organizations despite any moral objections they might have.

            Guttmacher is not satisfied with this arrangement. No, it’s not upset that the American people are being forced to pay for potentially embryocidal drugs and devices.  Guttmacher is upset because the HHS mandate hasn’t gone far enough. They are pushing for the mandate to include male sterilization and condoms, all funded by taxpayer money.

            Instead of recognizing the failure of Obamacare to accomplish real healthcare access for the American people, Guttmacher is calling for an expansion of coverage morally unacceptable to tens of millions of taxpayers. They are calling for the implementation of regulations which will mandate insurance coverage of condoms and vasectomies for everyone.

            Guttmacher wants tax dollars to be spent on condoms and vasectomies so that sexual license will not be impeded by a lack of funding or fear of the logical outcome of sexual intimacy: babies. While Guttmacher says it wants the federal government to stay out of the bedroom, they simultaneously demand federal funding of the activities therein.

            It is not the job of the American taxpayer to fund others’ sexual practices, and they should not be forced to do so.

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Obergefell Prompts Instant, Unflinching Resistance in the True Church Reaction of Tenth Presbyterian (Philadelphia)

by Chris Gacek

July 14, 2015

The Supreme Court’s decree in Obergefell v. Hodges redefining marriage was marked by a smug, self-satisfied “we know best” attitude. That must be obvious because one does not overturn the public policy choices of tens of millions of voters and millennia of human experience without being arrogant. That said, Obergefell has another dimension to it: there is the unspoken assumption that after the Supreme Court speaks those who object to its decision will roll over and submit.

In the vast majority of cases that would be true. In this instance, however, the Supreme Court has badly misjudged the situation because its edict explicitly contradicts the teaching of the Church on matters of the definition of marriage and the dual nature of human sexuality (male/female complementarity). These are not negotiable positions. The press trumpets announcements from every wayward church but ignores the real story.

The real story is that orthodox churches have almost instantly discerned the severity of the situation but have not retreated an inch in refusing to accept the redefinition of marriage. Here is one example.

Tenth Presbyterian in Philadelphia (“Tenth”) is a significant church in the history of American Protestantism in the last one-hundred years. Truly major figures including Donald Grey Barnhouse, James Montgomery Boice, and Philip G. Ryken have been the senior ministers there. On July 2, 2015, the current senior minister, Liam Goligher, wrote a pastoral letter to the congregation about the Obergefell Supreme Court decision.

It is a powerful letter that minces no words and leaves no door open for accommodation:

The world is hostile to God and its institutions eventually reflect the widespread rejection of his law— [a] “mystery of lawlessness” is at work and we have already seen this in the abortion horror that has swept away the lives of millions of American children, and we see this daily in our own instinct to do things our own way. Perhaps an even greater evil was perpetrated in the redefinition of “freedom” as each individual having the freedom to pursue their own vision of happiness no matter its impact on others. That irrational view is likely to come back to bite us. SCOTUS may have had its say for now but there is a higher court and a greater judge before whom they and we must one day stand. The law of God does not rely on any human court or cultural consensus for its legitimacy.

Pastor Goligher added, “Marriage between a man and a woman was [God’s] idea—it perfectly expresses unity in diversity—and it remains the revealed setting for the continuation of our race; the best context for the raising of our children; and the sure foundation of a sane society.”

The Tenth will not be retreating – like myriad other churches across the nation. Is this really the fight the Supreme Court wants? I guess so.

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Justice Kennedy and the Lonely Promethean Man of Liberalism

by Rob Schwarzwalder

July 9, 2015

In The Public Discourse, David Azerrad, director of the Heritage Foundation’s B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics, has written the best analysis of the underlying philosophy of Justice Kennedy’s opinion I have yet read. It is penetrating, eloquent, and compelling. The full text follows.

http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2015/07/15286/

Justice Kennedy and the Lonely Promethean Man of Liberalism

by David Azerrad

July 8th, 2015

Conjured as it was from Justice Kennedy’s imagination, the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges has little to teach us about the Constitution. It does, however, afford us keen insights into the liberal worldview. In the opinion, it is less Anthony Kennedy the Supreme Court Justice than Anthony Kennedy the aspiring liberal political theorist who speaks.

Woven throughout his musings on the dynamic synergies between the various clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment is the central premise of modern liberalism: individual autonomy. It is the very first argument that the Court offers on behalf of the newfound constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

Indeed, in the opening sentence of the decision, Kennedy proclaims all individuals free “to define and express their identity,” thereby echoing his even more grandiloquent pronouncement in Planned Parenthood v. Casey that at “the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”

On this foundation, the edifice of modern liberalism is built. We are all sovereign individuals, radically free to fashion and refashion ourselves into anything we so please at any point in our lives. Man is the undefined animal. He is auto nomos—self-legislating. Neither God, nor nature, nor tradition, nor the obligations he previously contracted may hem him in. Bruce Jenner may become Caitlyn whenever she so pleases—and then become Bruce again if he wants.

Beyond the rudimentary demands of refraining from harming others, nothing may constrain the choices we make in defining and redefining our identity. This is democratized, domesticated Nietzscheanism. Prometheus not fully unbound—just mindful of the rights of others. This, it should be pointed out, is also the starting-point of libertarianism—but also its end point. Not so for liberalism.

Loneliness, Insecurity, and the Need for Recognition

 

Liberalism’s exalted view of man’s limitless possibilities, paradoxically enough, is not accompanied by an equally exalted view of his inner strength and resolve. One might think that liberalism would encourage individuals to trust in themselves and to be scornful of society’s staid bourgeois conventions in defining and expressing their identity.

It doesn’t. For all his purported god-like powers of self-creation, liberal promethean man is actually a weak, insecure, and isolated individual. It is not enough that he define and express his identity. He needs others to recognize it, embrace it, and celebrate it. He needs the state to confer dignity upon it.

Otherwise, he may find himself marginalized by his peers, crippled by their disapproving looks, and insecure in his choice of an identity. After all, a particular lifestyle or living arrangement may not be illegal, but it can still be viewed as dishonorable by some. Even before the Court’s ruling, gay couples could marry in a house of worship or banquet hall in any of the states that still defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman. But they carried the lack of state recognition for their marriages like the mark of Cain.

Outlaw to outcast may be a step forward, but it does not achieve the full promise of liberty, ” explains Kennedy. The Court’s opinion is replete with references to stigma, hurt, and humiliation. “It demeans gays and lesbians for the State to lock them out of a central institution of the Nation’s society.” It is therefore incumbent upon the state to dignify them. As Matthew Franck wrote in Public Discourse last week: “In Kennedy’s mind, the Constitution has been converted into a great Dignity Document.”

An earlier generation of liberals would have told the man to go to hell with his marriage certificate. “We don’t need no thought control,” they would have yelled. “All in all you’re just another brick in the wall!” To have the suits recognize your alternative lifestyle would have defeated the whole purpose of embracing it in the first place.

Contemporary liberalism, by contrast, views man as a weak and fragile creature. Adversity doesn’t forge character. It stigmatizes and demeans. Unless others affirm our choices, they are worthless. We have no unshakable inner convictions or faith. We are all insecure.

Promethean man, it turns out, is a pathetic creature. He thinks himself the measure of all things, but must in fact have his solipsistic existence be publicly affirmed and dignified by the state. He is simultaneously everything and nothing.

Kennedy’s Feigned Appeal to Nature

Liberalism’s celebration of human autonomy is obviously incompatible with any conception of an unchosen nature that restricts our scope of action. Nevertheless, Kennedy twice appeals to the idea of a permanent nature in the decision. Homosexuals have an “immutable nature,” he asserts. They are born gay and cannot change. So are heterosexuals, bisexuals, and all other flavor-du-jour-sexuals for that matter: “sexual orientation is both a normal expression of human sexuality and immutable.”

The essence of liberty is the freedom to define and express one’s identity, just not when it comes to sexual orientation, which is innate and immutable. We can choose our gender—that is not fixed at birth—but our sexual orientation is handed down to us by the gods and must be accepted with passive resignation (for a contrasting view, see this Public Discourse essay by Paul McHugh and Gerard Bradley).

Turning to marriage, Kennedy implicitly carves out another exception to the realm of autonomy. Marriage, though clearly not possessing a permanent nature, is nevertheless “essential to our most profound hopes and aspirations.” This implies that happiness outside of marriage is not possible. No one will be forced to get married—but all who aspire to be happy (and who doesn’t?) will want to. Marriage is no longer what earlier liberals called an “obscene bourgeois institution” or “a comfortable concentration camp.”

Only marriage can respond “to the universal fear that a lonely person might call out only to find no one there,” writes Kennedy. Not to marry is to “be condemned to live in loneliness.” Lovers, friends, parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, neighbors, coreligionists, brothers-in-arm, colleagues—none of them can be counted on to respond to our lonely cries of anguish. All bachelors are not only unmarried—they’re also unhappy.

All this adds up to a really interesting coincidence. In deliberating on the question of gay marriage, Justice Kennedy proclaims that we are absolutely free to be who we want to be—except when it comes to gayness and marriage.

Only Kennedy’s syllogism trumps autonomy:

1. Everyone has a right to pursue happiness.

2. No happiness is possible outside of marriage.

3. Sexual orientation being immutable, gay marriage is therefore a right.

Either Kennedy is a sloppy thinker who hasn’t thought through the implications of the autonomy he celebrates, or this is a calculated move on his behalf to elicit public support for his pronouncement by bending his argument to appeal to two widespread beliefs: people are not responsible for their genes, and marriage is good.

Either way, this is not a rigorous argument. But it is fitting that a decision that reveals the contradictions of modern liberalism should also reveal the contradictions of Kennedy’s arguments.

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Proud to Be

by Joshua Denton

July 8, 2015

I am proud to be an American. I am proud of many things my country has done throughout the course of its history. I do not approve of all of our policies or decisions our leaders or governing bodies have made, but I still firmly believe that I am blessed to have been born in America.

Our founding is richly rooted in Christianity and principles of religious liberty. Yet even as I rejoice to be a citizen of this great nation, I lament that we are in a national identity crisis. All around us it seems people are wondering who we are supposed to be as a nation. What principles are important to us? What is freedom? What is equality? Who are we as individuals? What is our role in society? What is our country’s role in the world?

Abraham Lincoln wrote that the equality of men was the “central idea” of our Republic.  In our time, that idea has been redefined wrongly and diminished cruelly – same-sex “marriage” and abortion, respectively, speak to these errors.

Yet Christian Americans - citizens of our republic - find their identity in Christ and in the nature of the humanity God has given us.  We should carry a confident humility in what God has created us to be.

1)  Proud to be one blood

From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.  ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring. – Acts 17:26-28

We all were created of equal by and for God. Every person has intrinsic worth.

Historically, there have been prejudices of race, class, and gender. But Christians know that every person, from conception onward, possesses God’s image and likeness, even if it has been marred by the curse of the fall.

2) Proud to be one community

                So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized        into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave            nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. – Gal. 3:26-28

Through faith in Christ Jesus all are the children of God. We are all sinners saved by grace and without Christ we would be nothing.

Paul addresses all the prejudices that we deal with today. Race. Class or status. Gender. He tells us that as believers in Christ we are all equals regardless of the distinctions that our society is so prevalent to box us all into. One race is no better than another. Rich is not better than poor. Man is not better than woman, neither is woman better than man. The church is one community – one family. Paul writes, As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.– Eph. 4:1-6

This passage describes how the church should interact with each other and those who have not yet come to know Christ.

3)  Proud to be of one mission

Our purpose is to show forth the image of God so that His glory may be seen in us.

He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.– Luke 24:46-49

This has come to be known as the Great Commission, and were some of Jesus’ last instructions to his disciples before his ascension. We are Christ’s image-bearers on earth.

 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. – Matt. 28:19-20

I am grateful to be a Christian and because of Jesus Christ I share true equality of value with everyone – equal race, equal gender, equal mission, and equal status.

But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. – 1 Cor. 15:10

I am proud to be an American. But my faith in Christ transcends national loyalty and defines my very being. 

*This article was written using the author’s notes from a recent sermon delivered by Lead Pastor Deamon Scapin, of TriumphDC. Used with permission.

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America: Land of Freedom for All?

by Sean Maguire

July 7, 2015

Hundreds of thousands of Americans gathered at the Nation’s Capitol on the 4th of July to celebrate our independence. The crowds were awash in red, white, and blue clothing, and many Captain America t-shirts dotted the crowd at the parade. Flags were being proudly waved everywhere and seemingly by everyone.

Energy was high as the parade began. Those hundreds of thousands of people were eager to celebrate their freedom. No whispered threats of ISIS attacks could dissuade them from celebrating.

They were not afraid of danger. When it began to pour down rain and when lightning flashed from the sky, the U.S. Park Services had to close the Mall in order to get the people to seek cover. As soon as the rain subsided, the American people were right back out there to continue the celebration.

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Support for Israel is Declining in Democrat Party

by Chris Gacek

July 7, 2015

Support for Israel is waning in the Democrat Party.  The Times of Israel’s editor, David Horovitz, posted an important yesteday article showing that Israel is rapidly losing support among Democrats in the United States.  Support for Israel among Republicans appears to be holding steady though. The polling was done by U.S. pollster, Frank Luntz. 

According to Horovitz:

Three quarters of highly educated, high income, publicly active US Democrats — the so-called “opinion elites” — believe Israel has too much influence on US foreign policy, almost half of them consider Israel to be a racist country, and fewer than half of them believe that Israel wants peace with its neighbors.

47% of Democrats agreed with the characterization that Israel is a “racist” country, while only 13% of Republicans agreed.  Luntz noted that Israel will soon no longer have bi-partisan support in the U.S. Furthermore, many Democrats are becoming ideologically aligned with the Palestinians.

Luntz believed that the findings are disastrous for the Jewish homeland:

He said he “knew there was a shift” in attitudes to Israel among US Democrats “and I have been seeing it get worse” in his ongoing polls. But the new findings surprised and shocked him, nonetheless. “I didn’t expect it to become this blatant and this deep.”

He is traveling to Israel this week to discuss the findings with government officials. 

Another dimension of the problem for Israel is that American Jews are reflexive supporters of the Democrat Party.  This means that American support for Israel in the Republican Party rests largely with evangelical Christians.  Prominent GOP establishment figures, like James Baker III (form Sec. of State, and Sec. of the Treasury), are known to have no love for Israel.

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