FRC Blog

Freedom is Defined by Virtue, Not Sexual Impulses

by Christina Hadford

February 19, 2015

Freedom is man’s ability to pursue freely God’s plan for him; slavery is man’s self-subjugation to his appetitive soul. Today’s culture has confounded the two, inadvertently defining man and measuring his freedom based on his sexual drive.

Last week Stella Morabito wrote about the plurality of sexual identifications accepted and even promoted today: pedophilia, BDSM (bondage/ domination/ sado-masochism), transgender children, incest, bestiality, group sex, and anonymous sex (to name a few). Like many opponents to gay marriage predicted, re-defining marriage as anything other than a sacred bond between one man and one woman will inevitably lead us down a slippery slope in which all sexual exploits are permissible in the name of freedom.

President Obama’s crass advertisement for women to “vote like your lady parts depend on it” makes this case in point. Supposedly, a girl’s ability to have casual sex with a range of men empowers her; a mother’s decision to kill her unborn child indicates her individual agency; a woman’s choice to sleep with other women means she is an equal member of society. This sentiment has seeped into wider discourse. Now, people identify themselves by their sexual orientation, and interpret their freedom based on whether they can fulfill these desires without limits. This distortion is degrading, debilitating, and downright disgusting.

Defining a person’s freedom in terms of her sexual desires and actions reduces her to an animalistic state. The trademark of humankind—both man and woman—is their logic. Animals experience an urge, and go to all limits to satisfy that urge. Humans share the sensual desires of animals, but are additionally endowed with a sense of reasoning and restraint that should ultimately dictate their appetites. As Aristotle said, “[T]he good for man is an activity of the soul in accordance with virtue, or if there are more kinds of virtue than one, in accordance with the best and most perfect kind” (Nicomachean Ethics).

In addition to the backwardness of reducing man to an animalistic state, defining freedom in terms of sexual passions is inherently restrictive. Ultimately, we are all constrained by our bodily limits. It is impossible for two men to conjugally unite to produce offspring; it is impossible to have pedophiliac relationships and not profoundly wound an innocent child; it is impossible to have healthy and respectful sado-masochistic relationships. The human body is limited, and defining man in terms of his body inescapably confines him.

Freedom is, however, very achievable as long as it is properly defined. As Aristotle indicated true freedom is the absolute pursuit of highest virtue; specifically, it is the spiritual and corporal surrender to God’s omniscient and benevolent plan for man. Because God is all-powerful, pursuing God’s plan—whether or not it is sensually fulfilling to man—will manifest boundless interior and spiritual freedom. It is high time our society stop accepting any and all sexual desires in the name of freedom. A man with uncontrollable sexual impulses will not achieve freedom by society affirming his actions; rather, he will achieve freedom after he is offered loving and compassionate counsel away from his sexual slavery.

Continue reading

America’s Resilience

by Robert Morrison

February 19, 2015

Many of my friends, not surprisingly, consider these the worst of times. They tell me they fear for the survival of our country and certainly for the survival of civil and religious freedoms we cherish. There is no doubt that under this administration, our liberties have been imperiled. No administration in history has targeted religious freedoms.

For example, in the little-noticed case of Hosanna Tabor v. EEOC (2012), the Obama administration tried to order The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod* (LCMS) to change its 170-year definition of who is and who is not a commissioned minister in that 2.4 million member church body. This was a stunning example of denial of religious freedom, but the Obama administration took its unprecedented interpretation of constitutional law all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Happily for freedom, the Obama administration’s tortured reading of the laws was rejected by the High Court by a vote of 9-0. Such unanimous rulings are very rare in the Supreme Court, as we know. But it is an indication of the radicalism of this administration that it was so determined to crush freedom that it would boldly go where no administration in 223 years had gone before.

Members of our U.S. military—our all-volunteer force—are daily feeling the lash of political correctness. As President Obama seems to make every allowance for Islam at home and abroad, his administration has banned Bibles in military hospitals while covering up Christian symbols at VA hospitals and threatening chaplains with discipline if they even mention faith in Christ as part of suicide prevention programs. The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed for me that the high religiosity of Black women was a major factor in their low rates of suicide.

Several years ago, Coast Guard Admiral Dean Lee courageously stood up for freedom and faith at the National Prayer Breakfast. He said what so many in the military feel: That Christian faith is under attack.

The admiral reminded me of my own time in the Coast Guard and his courage encourages me still. It also reminds me of the hope we have for real change in our country.

The ship on which I served was in the news recently for an historic drug bust. The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell (WHEC-719) seized $423 million worth of cocaine. When we consider that it cost about $20 million ($142 million in 2014 dollars) to build the Boutwell in 1967, and that she has been serving our country every since, it seems in this case, the American taxpayers certainly got their money’s worth.

I’m very proud to have served on the Boutwell. But I certainly wasn’t proud on my last day on that vessel. I was leaving the Coast Guard in Seattle in 1978 when I was given a ride home by some of my enlisted friends. These Quartermasters—highly intelligent guys who made the mid watches in the Bering Sea enjoyable—offered me a joint! I was heartbroken. No wonder we were never able to catch the pot smokers on our ship. They were being tipped off. It depressed me and filled with a sense of betrayal.

Four years later, I was living in Connecticut with my wife, a lieutenant commander in the Navy. She came home from Naval Hospital Groton and said we should take a tour of the Cutter paying a visit to the Coast Guard Academy across the Thames River in New London.

I hesitated. I was concerned as I recalled my last day in the service. But overcame my doubts and proudly accompanied my wife. She received a snappy salute from a “squared away” young Seaman Apprentice standing guard at the brow of the ship. He offered us a tour of the Cutter. From that first encounter through the hour-long visit, we saw nothing but hard-working seamen who seemed proud of their ship and their mission.

What had changed? The Navy and Coast Guard had dropped the lax attitude of the 1970s toward sideburns, mustaches, beer-in-the-barracks and had instituted a Zero Tolerance policy for drugs. I didn’t like the fact that my wife had to take drug tests in the presence of Navy Corps Waves, but the policy worked. It largely eliminated the abuse of drugs in the sea services.

Pride in the uniform was restored. Gone were the sideburns. Gone, too, was the 1970’s policy of requiring civilian attire in Washington, D.C. for military officers going to and from work at Headquarters. Instead, officers and enlisted were required to wear their uniforms.

It almost goes without saying the change in those four years (1978-82) was dramatic. And it reflects in no small way the changes in leadership at the top. President Jimmy Carter had been swept out in a landslide and Ronald Reagan was swept in. Reagan loved and respected our all-volunteer military. He made our troops proud to serve again and proud of their uniforms.

When liberal reporters challenged Reagan the candidate in 1980, they said: “You seem to criticize a lot in the Carter administration, Governor. What would you do differently?”

Everything,” Reagan responded with a smile. And he did change everything.

America has been richly blessed by God. We are a resilient country and our hope for change has not died. All that is needed is a leader who will approach the tasks set before him or her with that same determination: Do everything differently.

*The author’s own denomination.

Continue reading

Does Obama’s Middle-Class Economics “Work”?

by Christina J. Daniels

February 19, 2015

In the 2015 State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama made the argument that middle-class economics “works.” He defined middle-class economics as, “the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.” But does middle-class economics “work?”

Historically, the idea of a fair chance combined with hard work is at the core of the American Dream. Opportunity, integrity, diligence and effort have combined to make America extraordinarily prosperous. Yet what does Mr. Obama mean by “fair share?”

Apparently he believes this share should include taking money from one segment of the population and transferring it to another – specifically, to those who wish to attend community college. It’s to this end that the President says he wants to make attending community college cost-free.

Yet education funded by redistribution cannot meet the requirements of the real-world job market. In 2009, Time Magazine equated a college degree to a driver’s license, due to its availability. CNN noted that “41% of college graduates from the last two years are stuck in jobs that don’t require a degree.” In March 2014, the liberal news source ThinkProgess also noted that “half a Million People with college degrees are working for (the) minimum wage.” The Huffington Post wrote an article giving seven reasons not to go to college and stated, “The people who sent us down the path of higher education clearly don’t understand basic economics and the law of supply and demand.” Currently, jobs that were once for low-skilled workers are crowded with college students.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, 19% of high school graduates cannot read, 14% of Americans cannot read and 21% of Americans read below a 5th grade level. By proposing policies such as free community college, the President is ignoring facts in favor of untenable proposals. As the Huffington Post notes, “The U.S. Illiteracy Rate Hasn’t changed in 10 Years:”

According to the Department of Justice, the link between academic failure and delinquency, violence, and crime is welded to reading failure.” The stats back up this claim: 85 percent of all juveniles who interface with the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate, and over 70 percent of inmates in America’s prisons cannot read above a fourth grade level.

In addition, Begin to Read compiled statistics showing, “two out of three children that do not learn to read by the fourth grade will end up in jail or on welfare”. The article further stated, “Penal institution records show that inmates have a 16% chance of returning to prison if they receive literacy help, as opposed to 70% who receive no help.” Illiteracy and prison rates plague the poor and are factors which, as Dr. Patrick Fagan of Marriage and Religion Research Institute documents, further heighten the problem of fatherlessness in America.

So, it’s clear that middle-class economics, as defined by the President, do not “work.” Providing free community college will further devalue education and hurt the poor. When disadvantaged individuals are locked out of society, they do not have a “fair shot,” they cannot do their “fair share,” and they are not playing by the “same set of rules.” To ensure that disadvantaged families have a “fair shot,” liberal politicians must address our nation’s illiteracy problem and its roots – fatherlessness and family breakdown. We should be focusing on helping children that fail kindergarten, families that are locked in multigenerational illiteracy and government dependency and college students struggling to read.

The use of school choice and reforming public housing policy are steps toward making change possible. Giving parents the freedom to choose the school and neighborhood they desire will help alleviate the negative impact of centralized poverty. In high poverty areas, schools and neighborhoods are disproportionately filled with single mothers and peers from less educated households.[i] As Star Parker from the Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE) states, we must “bust up” the “ghettos” that public schools and government housing have created. With education and housing choice, we can be sure that everyone is playing by the “same rules” and receives a “fair shot.”

And there is no substitute for a strong, two-parent family in which a mom and a dad get married, stay married, and worship weekly with their children. No community college can ever provide that kind of security, opportunity or love.



[i] Fram, M. S., J. E. Miller-Cribbs, and L. Van Horn. “Poverty, Race, and the Contexts of Achievement: Examining Educational Experiences of Children in the U.S. South.” Social Work 52, no. 4 (2007): 309-19.South

Continue reading

Cochran Complaint Paints Compelling Picture of Discrimination Based on Religious Beliefs

by Travis Weber

February 18, 2015

Today, Chief Cochran filed a complaint in federal court initiating a lawsuit against the City of Atlanta and Mayor Reed for firing him for holding Christian beliefs.

While we are all familiar with the background on Chief Cochran, and the City of Atlanta’s disappointing attempts to defend itself, the complaint reveals quite a compelling picture of Chief Cochran’s experience of religious discrimination.

It shows how Chief Cochran was motivated to excellence by firefighters who saved his house when he was growing up in a poor, single-parent family in Shreveport, Louisiana. From that point, he worked hard, guided by faith, to achieve excellence in what he did.

Chief Cochran had an exemplary career, going on to conduct firefighter training, lead Shreveport’s fire department, then lead Atlanta’s fire department, and finally head the U.S. Fire Administration in Washington, before returning to take charge of Atlanta’s fire department only after Mayor Reed himself “begged” him to come back to Atlanta.

The complaint continues by observing that Chief Cochran was awarded Fire Chief of the Year by Fire Chief magazine in 2012, for which he was showered with praise from Mayor Reed. And under Chief Cochran’s tenure, for the first time in Atlanta’s history, the Insurance Services Office gave the city a Class 1 Public Protection Classification (PPC) rating, an honor shared by only 60 cities nationwide, which resulted in lower insurance premiums.

In addition, as he explains, the chief promoted the development of workplace policies ensuring all his firefighters were treated fairly, and worked with LGBT employees (who he knew were LGBT) to make this happen. More than most, Chief Cochran knows what it’s like to be excluded; he had to overcome racial hostility earlier in his career.

Despite all this, when some protested Chief Cochran’s self-published Christian book, which had been in print for almost a year with no complaints, the city immediately suspended the chief without even discussing the matter with him beforehand. The book, which is about how to live for God, mentions human sexuality only in passing.

As described in his complaint, when the chief was suspended, the mayor explicitly distanced himself from Chief Cochran’s “beliefs” — thus revealing it is his religious beliefs which are the real problem here.

Yet the city is prohibited from firing Chief Cochran based on his religious beliefs. If Chief Cochran can prove that his beliefs were the reason he was fired, he will likely emerge victorious.

The chief will have plenty of avenues to prove the religious discrimination against him, having brought claims under the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause for retaliation based on protected religious speech, along with allegations of viewpoint discrimination, over-breadth, prior restraint /unbridled discretion, and unconstitutional conditions. He follows these up with claims under the No Religious Tests Clause of Article VI of the Constitution, Free Exercise and Freedom of Association protections of the First Amendment, and an Establishment Clause claim based on hostility towards religion. Chief Cochran next alleges a Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection violation based on unequal treatment based on his beliefs, and Fourteenth Amendment Due Process violations based on vagueness and deprivation of his liberty interests and procedural due process rights. He also plans on amending his complaint to include a Title VII religious discrimination claim at the appropriate time.

As a remedy, the chief asks to be reinstated in his job, that the city be prevented from taking such action against others, and that it admit it violated his rights here, in addition to other damages.

While his case is procedurally in the beginning stage, Chief Cochran’s complaint certainly paints a strong picture in support of his claims. Why would any mayor want to fire a man with his performance and history as a firefighter? They wouldn’t.

This part of the factual record — much of which is not disputable — makes it look like the chief was fired for the impermissible reasons described in his complaint. In addition, Chief Cochran paints a picture of how the city did not even follow proper procedures in terminating him.

Mayor Reed himself “begged” Chief Cochran to come back to Atlanta, and any mayor with a large fire department to run would want a man like the chief running it.

When this type of employee is fired, a reasonable observer is more likely to conclude they were fired for an impermissible reason — in this case, for their religious expression.

Continue reading

50 Shades Makes 80 Million This Weekend

by Cathy Ruse

February 17, 2015

Truly bad news for the good, the true and the beautiful: with $81 million in box office receipts, 50 Shades of Grey came in second only to The Passion of the Christ for the best February weekend opening ever.

The movie opened in 58 markets around the world, bringing in $158 million globally and setting weekend records in 11 countries including in the largely Catholic countries of Italy, Argentina, and Poland.

According to the website Box Office Mojo, the movie also set records for “Universal Pictures in the U.K.($21.1 million), France ($12 million), Russia ($10.5 million), and Brazil ($8.9 million).” It brought in $15.2 million in Germany, $$8.6 million in Australia, $8.1 million in Mexico, and $7.9 million in Spain.

Box Office Mojo reports that among all R-rated movies, 50 Shades “ranks fifth behind The Matrix Reloaded, American Sniper, The Hangover II, and The Passion of the Christ.”

Such a big opening is not surprising given that the book has sold 100 million copies worldwide. Box Office Mojo predicts it will coast easily to the $300 million mark globally, placing it within reach of the biggest R-rated movies in history; The Matrix Reloaded ($461 million), Troy ($364 million), The Hangover II ($332 million) and Ted ($331 million).

But 50 Shades is not getting sterling reviews, so it might take a huge plunge in coming weeks.

There is a raging debate on Facebook between people who are against this movie. Are the protests and boycotts a worthwhile endeavor, or are they just calling attention to the movie and even increasing ticket sales? There is certainly a risk that the latter position will prove true. But I come down on the side of the former.

The thing about pornography is that, while it is bad to consume it, the knowledge that it is bad to consume it is very good. If we were to let 50 Shades open without publicly raising our concerns, some viewers could mistakenly believe there is nothing to be concerned about. And that would make something bad even worse.

So I say, keep beating the drums! If it gets the attention of inattentive people, so be it. But as the theatre lights dim, they’ll know they’re watching something that has been called offensive and degrading. And the question before them will be: “Do you agree with the protestors?” It will be an invitation for them to say yes.

Continue reading

17 FEB 1943, 17 FEB 1985 and Today

by Robert Morrison

February 17, 2015

This day was observed, almost as a holiday, in our family. My dad would point out the day that he was torpedoed in World War II. His ship, the SS Deer Lodge, was sunk by the German U-516 on this day in 1943. The lone merchant vessel’s skipper had signaled “Abandon Ship” as soon as the submarine’s periscope was sighted. Deer Lodge, plodding along at three knots, never had a chance.

It was almost seventy years later that a member of the crew, and a close friend of my father, would tell me of “Pop’s” role that night. My father never did. Leslie Morrison ran around the deck of the sinking ship and unlatched the pelican hooks so that the rubber lifeboats would float free as the ship went under. Without that courageous effort, his surviving friend, Manuel Dias told me, all the men might have died in the cold waters off South Africa. I was proud of my dad before Manny told me that story. Afterward, I was overwhelmed with gratitude.

Pop never boasted of his exploits in World War II. Few of those in that Great Generation did. But he did like to talk about having been in Shanghai in August, 1941. He was an avid photographer and wanted to get a picture of the Chinese city from the middle of the bridge that separated the Japanese-occupied sector from the International Zone.

There was a Japanese Marine with a rifle and bayonet standing on the white line that marked the border. Pop went right up to the line. Chinese civilians were forced to kowtow to their Japanese overlords, but Pop didn’t bow and didn’t back off. He went right up to that line and started taking pictures. The Japanese Marine put his bayonet point at my father’s belly.

Hearing this story thirty years later, we blanched. What was he thinking? He might have been run through. (Realizing this was before our parents met, we his children were rather personally involved in this telling.) How could you take that risk, we asked?

Oh, he wouldn’t bother me: I am an American Citizen,” our father said with an easy assurance.

Fast forward to 1985. I was serving in the administration of Ronald Reagan. President Reagan was just two months younger than my dad. He, too, spoke of the time when any American Citizen could put a little U.S. flag in his lapel and go anywhere in the world and still be safe.

I drafted a letter this day in 1985 for President Reagan to send to Congress. In it, I wrote:

Unless the rising generation is taught to read using phonics, I fear they will not achieve literacy, the basic tool of citizenship.” I was proud of that draft letter and happy to see it cleared by the Under Secretary and the Secretary and on its way to the White House.

Returning to my office after lunch, however, I was surprised to see my draft letter back on my desk with a large RED circle around those words: “I FEAR.” In the margin, in a hand writing not President Reagan’s, was a note in red:

THIS PRESIDENT HAS CONCERNS. HE HAS NO FEARS.

 

That rebuke startled me. It inspired me all the while I worked for President Reagan. And it continues to thrill me. Of all the virtues that Ronald Reagan possessed and shared with us, his courage stands out as the greatest.

This is a day for me to remember my father’s quiet courage and to recall how Ronald Reagan’s courage inspired so many of us. He was, in many ways, like a tough Irish cop talking a troubled young man down from the ledge. In this case, that troubled person was Western Civilization itself. As George Will memorably put it: “He calmed the passengers…and the seas.”

This is what we need more than anything else today. We face a monstrous tyranny, but we should not fear them. With courage and determination, they too will be overcome.

Continue reading

George Washington: He’s Still There

by Robert Morrison

February 16, 2015

Today is Presidents Day. By Act of Congress it is Washington’s Birthday. President Obama recently invited reporters into his kitchen and told them he the first president since George Washington to brew spirits in the White House. He was quickly corrected: George Washington laid the cornerstone for the White House, but he never lived to set foot in it.

I am more interested in distilling the spirit of George Washington than in his distilling of spirits. George Washington was described in a famous eulogy by Henry “Lighthorse Harry” Lee as “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.” He was viewed by Americans for most of our 238 years as the greatest of presidents.

Arguably, Lincoln is the only serious competition as our greatest president. But that first great American Chief is always there setting the standard.

It is no exaggeration to say Washington was the most unifying of our presidents. Who else could win the nation’s highest office with back-to-back unanimous votes in the Electoral College? Thomas Jefferson pleaded with Washington to serve for (he never had to run for) a second term.“North and South will hang together if they have you to hang on,” Mr. Jefferson wrote to President Washington. Even that early, in 1792, the specter of disunion loomed.

Abraham Lincoln was the most divisive of our presidents. That does not diminish his standing, And it says more about us than about him. Still, it must be acknowledged. What other presidential election could have sparked a bloody four-year Civil War?

We can certainly thank God it did not come to that in the disputed 1876 election between Tilden and Hayes. In the 1960 cliff-hanger between Kennedy and Nixon, the winner’s margin was only 114,000 in popular votes. In the famous instance of Bush v. Gore in 2000, 537 votes in Florida and a Supreme Court ruling determined the outcome.

.

Through all of this, George Washington was the model. He certainly was for Abraham Lincoln. Young Abe read Parson Weems’ biography as a boy. And when as President-elect he departed Springfield for Washington, D.C. in 1861, he told his loving neighbors he knew not when, nor whether, he would see them again.

The task before him, he sadly noted, was greater than that shouldered by great Washington. It was. And that word “whether” proved to be prophetic. Lincoln never again saw his Springfield neighbors.

My favorite image of President Barack Obama remains The New Yorker cover from January 2009 that welcomed his first inauguration. He was hailed as “First.” He was.

[http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/images/47112000/jpg/_47112111_01_26_2009friedman_obama.jpg]

Enslavement of Black Americans has rightly been called our nation’s “original sin.” The Founders struggled with it. How to gradually emancipate the slaves without sparking a race war was a question that haunted them. How could they prepare slaves for freedom so that they did not wind up like sailors suddenly given a wild liberty? How could they persuade white Americans to accept their fellow Americans of African descent as full and equal citizens?

Barack Obama in 2009 had a God-given opportunity to knit together the frayed fabric of America. He might have overcome the bitter divisions of Red State and Blue State, of liberal and conservative. He spoke of Americans in “flyover country” as people who would cling to their guns and their religion. It was for him as cutting a comment as dismissing 47% of the electorate.

He never looked to the Founders, or to Lincoln, for that matter, as a guide. He seems to resent the Founders for their failure to solve the slavery question. He coldly dismissed the Constitutional Convention:

I could not have walked through that front door.”

Most historians agree with that harsh assessment, regrettably. But I am not so sure. If young Barack Obama had arrived in Philadelphia, at the First Continental Congress, as a graduate of Harvard, and walking into the Old State House arm-in-arm with John and Samuel Adams, he might just have gained entry. The Secretary of Continental Congress was the Evangelical, Charles Thomson, an opponent of slavery. Or, had this Columbia University graduate been elected along with the staunchly anti-slavery Alexander Hamilton from New York State, he might have been admitted as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. An anti-slavery spirit was moving among the delegates from most of the northern states in the 1780s. They might have seen an intelligent and eloquent young Barack Obama as a key ally in their efforts to eradicate what almost all then considered a stumbling block for on our claims to represent “A New Order of the Ages.”

George Washington was a slaveholder. He presided over the Constitutional Convention in serene silence as his good friend Gouverneur Morris denounced slavery. Witty, urbane Morris condemned as “a curse of Heaven” upon all those states that continued to be shackled to it. Perhaps Morris’ stinging words moved Washington to free his slaves in his will.

Might the whole horror of the Civil War—with its 630,000 dead and its vast destruction of property—have been avoided if only every slaveholder had followed George Washington’s splendid example and voluntarily freed his slaves? Washington’s own motto—Deeds, not Words—could have been their inspiration. See what he did.

Barack Obama seems unwilling to give a presidential pardon to any of the Founders. He has an idea for “fundamentally transforming this country.” And he’s dead set on achieving it by any means necessary.

I’ve always found the “Progressives’” angry criticisms of the Founders on the slavery question more than a little hypocritical. The Founders tried, failed, and tried again and again to find a way out.

Today’s Progressives know that unborn children are human beings. Joe Klein told them so in TIME Magazine in 2012. “Ultra-sound has made it impossible to deny that that thing in the womb is a human being,” the liberal journalist wrote. Progressives like President Obama, however, live in that denial every day.

George Washington wanted the promise of freedom extended “to millions yet unborn.” He did his best personally and politically to fulfill that promise. When Progressives in the 1920s began their angry assaults on George Washington’s historic reputation, President Calvin Coolidge just pointed out his office window at his Monument: “He’s still there.”

 

Continue reading

Judge to Public University: You Must Allow Pro-Life Views

by Travis Weber

February 16, 2015

In a bit of good news, a federal district court judge in Alabama has rejected a public university’s attempt to dismiss a lawsuit brought by pro-life students alleging that they were denied permission to demonstrate based on their views.

The university reportedly told the students in an e-mail:

As you know, your organization advocates for a position that involves political and social controversy. Placing the crosses in proximity to Shelby Hall carries with it an implication that the College of Engineering endorses that position.”

Yet this “political and social controversy” was due to the students’ position on abortion. If the university was concerned with “controversy” connected to the topic of abortion, it might be able to prohibit all speech on that topic in certain areas on campus. But if, as alleged, the university was actually targeting the “controversy” arising from pro-life views, it would be targeting these pro-life students for their position on the issue of abortion, and would thus be engaged in view-point discrimination—something the government is strictly prohibited from doing. As the court noted:

The plaintiff has evidence that permission was denied because the plaintiff “advocates for a position that involves political and social controversy.” The Court agrees with the plaintiff that this e-mail constitutes evidence that Mitchell and Steadman denied permission due to the plaintiff’s viewpoint (“position”) on abortion (pro-life). Because it was clearly established in February 2014 that such viewpoint discrimination violates the First Amendment, Mitchell and Steadman cannot receive qualified immunity with regard to these denials.”

Thus the students’ free speech claims will be allowed to proceed. At a time when free expression is often marginalized, it is good to see such clear and straightforward application of free speech law by courts, and observe the First Amendment doing what is designed to do—promote free expression and the exchange of ideas.

Continue reading

Measuring the Value of College

by Nathan Oppman

February 16, 2015

College education is sold today as a ticket to employment and the first step toward a high paying career. But there are many reasons that college may not be the right choice for everyone. A great test of the need for college is to look at those who have achieved great things without attending college. A recent USA Today article highlighting the career of college dropout Scott Walker illustrates the point that a college education is not always necessary to a successful life. Americans should remind one another that there are many factors in career and life success. Marriage and family, hard work and charity, and character and integrity are all things that should be highly esteemed. While college can be a great blessing, it is not necessary for a great life.

Continue reading

Social Conservative Review: An Insider’s Guide to Pro-Family News February 12, 2015

by Lela Mayfield

February 13, 2015

Click here to subscribe to the Social Conservative Review


This week is National Marriage Week, fitting given that the week culminates in Valentine’s Day (that’s Saturday, guys; forget at your peril).

It is oddly unfitting that Valentine’s Day is also when the film “Fifty Shades of Grey” is being released and marketed aggressively. One of the marketing tools being used for the film isa little Teddy Bearholding not roses or a box of chocolates but handcuffs. Another is jewelry: For example, jeweler Janet Cadsawan is selling a “double handcuff necklace” for a mere $150.

Fifty Shades” is based on the best-selling book of the same name. The book and movie go beyond mere graphic depictions of sexual intimacy, which are, of course, pornographic and exploitative in their own right. As commentatorRichard Swiernotes, “It is a story of a girl being sexually molested, over and over again, by a male figure with all the power, all the control. It is the classic abuse scenario.” The movie features horrific scenes of violent sexual abuse, to the point that the female star of the movie, Dakota Johnson, saysshe doesn’t want her own parents to watch it.

The movie is pornography of a particularly vile type. It celebrates things – abuse, rape, violence against women, manipulation, male domination – our culture claims to protest.

Radical sexual autonomy is now society’ssummum bonum. When combined with an ethos of moral relativism animated by the denial of an infinite, personal God Who has revealed His moral will clearly and with finality, this autonomy has led to growing chaos – and growing darkness.

Inreports being released today by FRC’s Marriage and Religion Research Institute, we learn that just 46 percent of U.S. teenagers ages 15-17 have grown-up with both biological parents always married. In the African-American community, “only 17 percent of black teenagers reach age 17 in a family with both their biological parents married.”

Marriage is in crisis. Human dignity, whether through promiscuity, pornography, homosexual behavior, or whateverother deviation from God’s standard for sexual intimacy, is being degraded. Is there hope?

Yes, in part because the conscience is not wholly dead: Even Ms. Johnson, who willingly subjected herself to what Yale cognitive scientist Joshua Knobe has called“animalization,”has sufficient shame and horror at her own cinematic acts that she does not want her parents to view them.

This is good news for followers of Jesus. Christians should take note that “the works of the law (remain) written on the heart” (Romans 2:15). That should give us a clue as to how to make public arguments during an era of moral disarray, and also provide an entry point for us to share the transforming Gospel of Jesus Christ.

With God, there no shades of grey, no “variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17). His truth is always the same, and resonates in all but the most calloused of hearts.That’s good news for troubled marriages, broken hearts, and a wounded culture.

Sincerely,

Rob Schwarzwalder
Senior Vice-President
Family Research Council

P.S. Don’t miss my colleague Jessica Prol’s wonderful meditation on meaning, marriage and singleness, “Marriage Haves and Have-Nots Don’t Have To Square Off” inThe Federalist.


Education

Common Core

College Debt

Human Dignity and the Sanctity of Life

Abortion

Adoption

Adult stem cells

Bioethics

Assisted Suicide

Marriage & Family

Economy and the family

Fatherhood

Homosexuality and Gender Issues

Human Trafficking

Marriage

Pornography

Religious Liberty and Persecution

Domestic

International

Religion in Public Life

Continue reading

Archives