The UN Commission on Population and Development held its annual meeting last week. Wendy Wright (C-FAM) delivered a statement jointly submitted by the Family Research Council, C-FAM and the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG).
We must continue to hold the U.N. accountable for keeping maternal health as the priority in the agenda and not conflating it with abortion services. Here are some excerpts:
“Now better than ever before, we know what it takes to make pregnancy and childbirth safe for mothers. It takes investment in education, skilled birth attendants, prenatal and antenatal care, clean water and sanitation, adequate nutrition and vitamins, antibiotics and other healing medicines, and emergency obstetric care.
Making abortion legal doesn’t improve maternal health in any way.
Maternal health care strives to make pregnancy safer for both mothers and their unborn children. Preventing births by aborting the unborn child, or preventing the human embryo from implanting in the mother’s womb does not improve the health of the mother or her unborn child.
We know what it takes to make pregnancy and childbirth safe. Maternal health care, must remain a distinct and urgent priority in the post-2015 development agenda. This cannot be confused with elective abortion, which destroys the life of innocent unborn children and places the lives of mothers in jeopardy.”
Let’s work on real solutions to improve maternal health care around the world. Abortion is not the answer.
The Brendan Eich firing controversy at Mozilla has prompted a flurry of commentary. I would like to bring your attention to two excellent opinion pieces that place Eich’s firing in a larger context. The first article is a brilliant essay written by Mollie Hemingway (The Federalist) entitled “The Rise of the Same-Sex Marriage Dissidents.” The second is Daniel Greenfield’s piece, “The Left Isn’t Pro-Gay – It’s Pro-Power,” in Frontpage Magazine (online).
Hemingway understands something so few analysts grasp these days: the struggle over the definition of marriage is more deeply about how we are going to define reality and whether truth can exist in our society about anything having to do with “gender” and sex. First, Hemingway broadens the discussion about Eich’s firing to note that we should be defending him because his support for Prop 8 was correct – not just that Eich has the right to speak freely while being wrong. Second, she reminds us of one of the most impactful political essays of the 20th Century – Vaclev Havel’s “The Power of Powerlessness.” Havel argued in 1978 that “post-totalitarian” systems rest on a bed of ideological dishonesty and falsehood. The “powerless” can resist by defending the truth – the true description of reality – and by not acquiescing in the propagation of the regime’s falsehoods. Orwell recognized this too when he said: “During times of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” And, Solzhenitsyn suggested this in the title of his book, Live Not By Lies.
So, what is the Big Lie upon which the growing pan-sexual tyranny rests? It is the rejection of the reality that the male-female sexual act is the only one in which two individual humans are literally coordinated to a single bodily end. True marriage is “about the sexual union of men and women and the refusal to lie about what that union and that union alone produces: the propagation of humanity.” I would add that the sexual complementarity of male and female is physical, emotional, and psychological, and the male- female relationship cannot be duplicated by other forms of sexual relationships or behavior.
The sexual Big Lie demands that all recognition of sex differences be eradicated from public discourse. It is this foundational truth of male-female complementarity that modern feminism and all sexual revolutionary movements must reject. Unless the sexes are basically interchangeable, same-sex unions can never be considered comparable. As Hemingway notes, it was this fundamental truth that Eich refused to renounce and that refusal made Eich a dissident inHavel’s sense.
* * *
Greenfielduses the Eich firing to point out that moderate and liberal Republicans who propose a “truce” on social issues while desiring to focus on fiscal issues ignore the fact that “there is no such thing as a truce on any issue with the left.” Unlike Greenfield, I think that, on the whole, the modern Left in the West is deeply committed to sexual nihilism and the “Culture of Death.” If for no other reason, the Sexual Revolution provides a direct line of attack on the authority of orthodox religious institutions in our incredibly sexualized society. That said,Greenfieldcorrectly observes that “[t]he idea that any part of the left’s agenda can be delinked and ignored is wishful thinking.”
He continues this analysis as follows:
The left doesn’t do truces. If the right cedes gay marriage, all it will have won is the right to be called homophobes for the next hundred years. And the culture war will move on to the next issue and the one after that. The purges will continue and more criminals guilty of thought crimes will be paraded for the virtual cameras. Yesterday’s commonplace idea will be tomorrow’s act of unspeakable bigotry that prevents you from being employed, opening a business or even staying out of prison.
You may be in the clear today, but you won’t be tomorrow.
Wars aren’t won by constantly retreating. They’re won by taking a stand for what you believe in.
Greenfieldis absolutely correct. There is no political benefit in allowing ourselves to be confined to intellectual and political ghettos created by the Left. Over time they will just be eliminated or reduced to irrelevance.
Surrender comes by accepting the Left’s premises, and this we cannot do. Hemingway reminds us that tyranny is overthrown by not accepting the web of falsehoods that the Left has advanced regarding sex. Orwell, Solzhenitsyn, Havel, and Pope John Paul II knew that the Truth is the greatest weapon we possess in fighting totalitarian thought control. And, the fundamental truths supporting natural marriage, including those related to sex differences, cannot be suppressed forever. Being on the wrong side of the natural law is never being on the right side of history.
Last month, an FDA Advisory Committee held a hearing examining mitochondrial disease prevention with the creation of three-parent embryos.
Mitochondria are organelles in every cell of the body that are responsible for creating energy. These mitochondria contain their own DNA genes, but mutations in mitochondrial DNA can result in serious diseases and genetic disorders. There have been various proposals to attempt to treat these disorders by mitochondrial replacement therapy, and one proposal that the FDA Advisory Committee recently discussed was the creation of three parent-embryos.
Three-parent embryos are created by various techniques with the intent that the new embryos be healthy and without a genetic disorder. One technique uses an egg from a mother with the genetic disorder and removes the nucleus of that egg, placing the nucleus into the cytoplasm of a healthy egg that has had its own nucleus removed. Then using that recombined new healthy egg it is fertilized with a father’s sperm resulting in the creation of an embryo with genetics from three parents.
There are numerous scientific uncertainties surrounding three parent embryos. There is sparse scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of these techniques. Additionally, there is virtually no evidence to support safety or health results for three-parent children born from these techniques. Plus, one wonders about the impact of this procedure on future offspring, including the unintended side effects of genetic engineering of human beings.
There are also serious ethical questions that need to be answered first, and which were raised to the Advisory Committee during their hearing. These techniques would destroy human embryos for the purpose of science. Additionally, the annual Dickey Wicker Amendment prohibits federal funding for human embryo harm or destruction. Although many presenters who gave oral testimony at the FDA Advisory Committee, including FRC’s Dr. David Prentice, focused on the ethical questions surrounding three parent embryos, the Committee said that they were not focusing on whether the FDA should approve this technique, but rather how they would go about creating three parent embryos.
Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.) both raised concerns recently about three parent embryos to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg during Congressional hearings.
Commissioner Hamburg admitted that she knows there are ethical concerns regarding this issue, yet the FDA is not the appropriate agency to address those concerns. If the FDA is not the appropriate agency to consider the ethical concerns with this technique, about which they held a public Advisory Committee hearing, who is responsible to address these concerns?
Commissioner Hamburg’s response regarding the ethical controversy surrounding three-parent embryos raises more concerns that the FDA may actually continue to proceed forward with this human experiment, and even produce guidance for scientists who wish to proceed with the creation and gestation of genetically-designed babies.
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As we go throughout the year, there is no shortage of news concerning issues vital to social conservatives. FRC has, as usual, been working hard on many of these issues, seeking to advance both the needs of families and the priorities of the Judeo-Christian tradition in the public square. Here are a few of our recent efforts:
Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance Project: SPLC has been at the center of a controversy recently in Hawaii, as public school teachers in the Aloha State have accepted money from the group to push their agenda in the classrooms. This paper examines the negative impact of SPLC’s Teaching Tolerance project.
This is only a small cross-section of recent FRC actions on behalf of faith, family, and freedom. Go to www.frc.org to learn more. And thanks, as always, for standing with us. With God’s help, we’re not going anywhere but forward.
Rob Schwarzwalder Senior Vice President Family Research Council
P.S. Be sure to join us on April 23 when the Director of FRC’s Center for Human Dignity, Arina Grossu, gives a lunchtime presentation on the state of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide in the U.S. You can join us here at FRCHQ or watch online at no charge. Just register here.
Since it’s been almost a year since the last appearance of Attorney General Eric Holder before the House Judiciary Committee, Members had no shortage of topics to probe today in an often contentious Committee hearing that lasted close to four hours.
Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) opened the hearing with remarks focused on the “extraordinary level of Executive overreach by the Obama Administration”. Members followed up with particular grievances, including IRS targeting of conservative groups and individuals, Administration disregard for statutory requirements in the Affordable Care Act, Justice Department failure to answer countless Congressional requests for information and documents, dismissal of state marriage laws, and the end to enforcement of the federal marijuana ban.
Importantly for those concerned with the Administration’s ongoing disregard for state marriage laws, Congressman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) drew attention to troubling remarks made by the Attorney General in late February of this year. In addressing a gathering of state attorneys general, Attorney General Holder had voiced his skepticism of state policies that recognize marriage as the union of one man and one woman, declaring that “I believe we must be suspicious of legal classifications based solely on sexual orientation.”
Remarking on the very unusual step of advising state attorneys generals to disregard constitutional measures enacted by wide-margins of voters, Congressman Chabot asked why the top law enforcement official in the country would urge his state counterparts to abandon their legal obligations (a posture some conscientious state attorneys general such as Colorado’s Attorney General John Suthers have condemned publically). General Holder attempted to deny his use of the particular phrase “suspicious” and offered the qualified response that usually a decision to defend a law “can’t be based on politics or policy.” While appealing words, in practice, the Justice Department’s posture has been one that elevates rank partisanship over fair defense of the law.
In a personal anecdote, Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) later brought up the view that bound he and a fellow lawyer together in friendship despite political differences — the profound “hope that the law will trump politics.” He went on to describe the powerful role the rule of law plays in America as “the greatest equalizing force in our country” and “the greatest unifying force in our country.”
Unfortunately, for Members of the Judiciary Committee and more significantly the American public, this Administration’s politicization of the rule of law on many fronts means that the public’s views on marriage — even their ability to simply express those views as participants in civil society — rests on increasingly shaky ground. The Attorney General’s condescension and refusal to answer most Member questions left little of Congressman Gowdy’s “hope” and more mere “politics.”
“You need to distribute your columns more broadly,” my friend Phil scolded me some months ago. “You’ll never win a Pulitzer Prize if you don’t get your stuff out there.” Phil is a columnist for our Annapolis paper and a retired international business executive. He’s like that classic E.F. Hutton commercial on TV: “When Phil talks, people listen.”
I took Phil’s criticism to heart, but added: “Phil, I will do as you say. But I’m not going to win a Pulitzer Prize. They don’t give Pulitzer Prizes to pro-lifers, or writers who defend marriage. Much less do they award Pulitzer Prizes to people who write to uphold religious freedom.”
I told Phil I was perfectly content to write five to seven columns a week, mostly on these topics. And if I offend the pink panzers of political correctness, that’s fine, too.
The reason we have a First Amendment is not so we can win Pulitzer Prizes, but so we can help to keep this Great Republic free. I remember reading Ben Franklin’s sage words to the Philadelphia lady who quizzed him. Did the Constitutional Convention give Americans a republic or a monarchy? “A republic, Madam, if you can keep it,” Dr. Franklin answered.
So, I told Phil, “I won’t even win a Wurlitzer Prize for quantity of output in journalism.” Phil got the jab. Wurlitzer is the maker of organs and the fictional Wurlitzer Prize goes to those who spend their days at the proverbial keyboard, turning out volumes of work.
I had forgotten about my imaginary Wurlitzer Prize when Phil showed up at our doorstep after 9 pm one evening several weeks later. I was hoping nothing was wrong. It was most out of character for Phil to ring our doorbell at that hour. We are believers in the Ronald Reagan rule that you know you are middle-aged when you are offered two temptations and you choose the one that will get you home by nine o’clock.
Putting on my robe, I rushed to get the door. There was Phil, holding out a cylindrical mailing tube. Puzzled, I tore it open to see what he might be offering me at that unusual hour. He had an impish grin on his face. I pulled out the rolled up document.
It was a colorful poster, a blow-up of the 1995 U.S. Postage Stamp honoring the Wurlitzer Corporation. The poster—featuring a Wurlitzer-made juke box—was inscribed: “To Bob Morrison—Deserved Wurlitzer Prize for Writing that is Music to so many Ears.” It was signed by the retired CEO of Wurlitzer Corporation.
Phil had been sending this gentleman my columns and decided to surprise me with my own coveted Wurlitzer Prize.
As you read this, you may be saying to yourself: How absurd; no one has ever heard of the Wurlitzer Prize. But everyone has heard of the Pulitzer Prize.
That may be. But since things are valued as they are rare, my comeback question is this:
How many Pulitzer Prize winners have you heard of? Dozens, right?
You are now reading a column by the world’s only Wurlitzer Prize winner.
You’d think there was rumor of treason and conspiracy when it was recently “uncovered” that Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich had donated some money to the 2008 Prop 8 campaign run in California in support of natural marriage. You’d think Mr. Eich had just been convicted of a felony when he was then subjected to protests on Twitter as employees demanded he step down for committing this crime … the “crime” of thinking differently. Three Mozilla board members quit in protest. Even dating site OKCupid was so put off by this offense against democracy that it could not resist interjecting itself from outside the situation and spending its corporate capital discouraging users attempting to access its site through Firefox, claiming: “Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure.” Aside from the malice of such a response, it embodies Soviet-era government monitoring more than an America founded with civil liberties at its core. Ultimately, Mr. Eich “chose” to resign. All these parties should be ashamed of their role in a democracy valuing civil liberties such as free speech and freedom of expression. Educating Americans on the importance of free speech should not be necessary in 2014, yet it somehow seems to be.
Thankfully, there are still those, who, regardless of political views, recognize the value of free speech, free thought, and free debate in a free society. Thankfully, even folks who disagree with Mr. Eich’s position on this issue recognize the importance of protecting freedom of speech and expression for all, regardless of viewpoint. Andrew Sullivan, a gay writer and same-sex marriage supporter, writes: “The whole episode disgusts me – as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society.” Business Insider’s Jim Edward says: “At the heart of the move is a fundamental contradiction: Eich’s foes disapproved of Eich’s intolerance for LGBT people. But in the end they could not tolerate Eich’s opinions, which for years he kept private and, by all accounts, did not bring into the workplace. The “tolerant” were not tolerant enough of a man they considered intolerant, even though he had tolerated them for about 15 years, in other words.”
Mozilla seems downright confused about these concepts of free speech rights and equality: in an online posting, the company writes: “Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech.” Except when that speech takes a certain view. “Equality is necessary for meaningful speech. And you need free speech to fight for equality.” But you can’t have free speech when you censor certain views. “Our organizational culture reflects diversity and inclusiveness.” Except, it would seem, when employees hold a certain view. “We welcome contributions from everyone regardless of age, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender-identity, language, race, sexual orientation, geographical location and religious views. Mozilla supports equality for all.” Actually, it would appear Mozilla does not. “We have employees with a wide diversity of views.” Yet soon, if its practices of firing those who disagree continue, Mozilla will not. “[O]our mission will always be to make the Web more open so that humanity is stronger, more inclusive and more just: that’s what it means to protect the open Web.” And so, by its own words and actions, Mozilla supports an open web but not an open workplace.
It is sad that employees of such an innovative company, who are doubtless intelligent, are so incapable of grasping such basis concepts of civil liberties and free speech. Ironically, despite the finger pointing at “anti-gay moralizers,” supporters of hounding those of opposing views out of their positions are making a statement about their “moral superiority” in doing so. It’s one thing to critique the merits of someone’s view. It’s another to critique the fact that they have that view, and punish them for having it. The former is American. The latter is Orwellian.
The mere sight of a Bible in a public place prompts “controversy and division,” according to commanders at Patrick Air Force Base. To avoid any such upheaval, officials for the 45th Space Wing recently decided to remove a private organization’s memorial display containing a Bible and intended to honor missing soldiers and prisoners of war (a “Missing Man Table”) from a base dining hall.
Of particular irony is the fact that this reversal of a long history of including such memorials in dining halls occurred at the same installation where the Department of Defense’s equal opportunity agency — the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute — is housed. DEOMI is tasked with training military Equal Opportunity (EO) advisers on how to instill respect and tolerance for diverse viewpoints in service members. Apparently, that respect and tolerance isn’t supposed to extend to religious speech or the ability of an organization to recognize the role religious faith has played in the lives of many service members.
That position not only contradicts Supreme Court precedent that condemns the restriction of speech solely because of its message, it also does a disservice to our ability to remember the stories of American war heroes. One such service member is former Alabama Senator and Rear Admiral Jeremiah Denton, Jr., a Naval aviator who spent seven years in captivity in Vietnam and who spoke frequently of the role a deep Catholic faith played in carrying him through unspeakable prison camp horrors.
The American public best knows Rear Adm. Denton as the Vietnam captive who blinked T-O-R-T-U-R-E in Morse code, successfully communicating with American intelligence officers regarding camp practices, when forced by his captors to appear on television in 1966. Rear Adm. Denton died just three days ago, a respected veteran and public servant who had inspired many fellow captives to return “home with honor.” Faith played a part in his story, and the story of many other captives. Requiring organizations and individuals to ignore that reality not only violates legal precedent, it hollows out the heritage of many of our war heroes.
The disaster that is the Obama foreign policy continues to unfold week by week. While engaging in unilateral military disarmament, our president imitates a wrecking ball destroying decades of American alliances, relationships, and strengths. It is difficult to recall any significant Obama accomplishments, but, at the least, one could hope that he might have a “minimize the harm” operational code. Not a chance.
On March 25th in a speech at the Hague (Netherlands), President Obama made this statement: “Russia is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbors — not out of strength but out of weakness.” What a ludicrously provocative statement.
Right, Mr.President, Russiais a regional power. Unfortunately, it is a region that extends from the Bering Strait to the Baltic Sea while bordering on the Arctic Ocean, Mongolia, China, and many numerous Eurasian nations. It has a population of 142 million. Finally, thanks to you, Russia has 500 more nuclear warheads than the United States — at about 8,500. Russia is an ancient civilization noted for great scientific and artistic achievement that is anchored by a state church that traces its roots to the Byzantine Empire. Russia is no run-of-the-mill “regional power” under any serious analysis. Russia has been a major world actor for centuries, and it remains so even after 1990.
I have no sympathy for a crypto-communist sociopath like Putin, but Obama’s statement was needlessly insulting and demeaning to Putin and Russia itself. If we were trying to alienate the Russian people, could this statement have been any more effective? Probably not. It is the mark of an amateur — someone who is not a serious analyst of history and foreign policy. Underestimating an enemy is never wise.
And, this leads to Obama’s comically liberal and obtuse crack about the conquest of Crimea being the accomplishment of a weak power. The president appears to be patterning his opposition to Russia on the Black Knight in Monty Python’s Holy Grail. As the Black Knight has his limbs hacked off by King Arthur, he refuses to admit that he is being seriously injured. However, the Black Knight talks a good game, and in Obama’s world that’s all that really matters, isn’t it.