FRC Blog

Regnerus Revisited: American Sociological Association is Wrong about Homosexual Parents and “Stability”

by Peter Sprigg

April 24, 2015

One of the key issues regularly raised in the debate over redefining marriage to include same-sex couples has to do with the well-being of children.

Defenders of the historical and natural definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman argue that children have a right to a relationship with both the man and woman whose union created them, and that research shows children raised by their married, biological mother and father have, on average, better life outcomes than children from other family structures.

Advocates of redefining marriage, on the other hand, argue that children already being raised by same-sex couples would benefit from the legal stability and social affirmation associated with marriage. They also insist that research which has specifically compared children of homosexual parents to children of heterosexual parents shows, “The scholarly consensus is clear and consistent: children of same-sex parents fare just as well as children of different-sex parents.”

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Muslim chooses to die alongside Christians

by Travis Weber

April 23, 2015

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” - John 15:13 (NASB)

The above-titled recent headline comes to us from the Vatican Insider, which brings us the startling and encouraging report of a Muslim who “offered himself as a hostage because he would not leave his Christian friend to die alone.” Who is the man? Jamal Rahman.

According to the story, Jamal “was among the 28 Ethiopians killed (by decapitation) by ISIS in Libya and shown in the latest terror video by Al Furqan, the caliphate’s propaganda machine.”

Jamal “was not spared, despite belonging to a Muslim family.”

Why was he not spared?

Because “[h]e offered himself as a hostage because he would not leave his Christian friend to die alone.”

It is a “great love” which causes us to give our lives for another.

Ultimately, Jamal was killed with all the Christians in the group.

While there is some haziness over why this was the case, it appears to be a sacrificial act of love.

According to reports given to the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) — by a member of Al-Shabab, of all people — a certain “online newspaper of Somaliland” reports that Jamal “converted to Christianity on the road” and was killed for this reason.

Yet PIME regards as “much more plausible” the alternate explanation, which is “that amidst the jihadists, the Muslim Jamal ‘foolishly’ and willingly offered himself as a hostage to the jihadists, out of solidarity for a Christian friend he was travelling with.” For “[p]erhaps he believed the presence of a Muslim in the group might even have saved the lives of the others.”

Ultimately, “[t]his was not the case: Jamal was murdered alongside the Christians ‘as an apostate’.”

Jamal’s loyalty to his friend, loyalty to the point of death, is humbling, rare and beautiful. His act will undoubtedly serve as an example to others.

Most importantly, it is a model of our Lord Jesus himself, who laid down his life for us — his friends. If we are to be imitators of Christ, we must do likewise. Let us take this moment to reflect on this act of grace on the part of a Muslim to remember that Jesus himself told us:

If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” Matthew 16:24-25 (NASB).

Only by His grace can we do that. But let us ask God for that grace. It will be needed, for God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4), even members of ISIS.

Until his truth comes to them, and He comes again, let us be thankful for reminders of his grace in men like Jamal.

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Austin, TX Charging Planned Parenthood $1 per Year to Rent City Building for Abortions

by Joshua Denton

April 23, 2015

What organization gets charged only $1 per year in rent in order to systematically kill its youngest members? Planned Parenthood in Austin, Texas of course — and for the last forty years.

Planned Parenthood is being charged $1 per year for a city building that is worth $1.86 million and that should cost approximately $7,000 per month to rent.

This is a fiscally irresponsible move on behalf of the city of Austin and certainly needs to be addressed. Austin could be using revenue from renting this city building to an honorable organization for the amount it is actually worth. Abby Johnson suggests that if Planned Parenthood really cared about women’s health, it would pay the $7,000 a month rent which the city could use to provide women with healthy services and mammograms which Abby describes as “grossly underfunded.”

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Five Democrat Abortion Policies More Extreme Than Killing 7-Pound Babies”

by Rob Schwarzwalder

April 22, 2015

That’s the title of an op-ed by Alliance Defending Freedom’s Casey Mattox, published in The Federalist, that merits reading.  In sum, here are the five policies Casey cites:

1. Democrats Support Aborting Babies for Race, Sex, and Down Syndrome

2. Democrats Oppose Offering Women Other Alternatives

3. Democrats Want to Make Pro-Life Doctors and Nurses Perform Abortions

4. Democrats Want to Make You — and Your Church — Pay for Abortions

5. Democrats Want to Permit the Most Barbaric and Dehumanizing Abortion Methods

Whether or not these tenets of Democratic faith are more extreme that killing a fully-developed, eager-to-be-born baby is questionable.  But they are evil, extremely so.  No person of conscience should dispute that.

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Tony Perkins and Jerry Boykin at the United Nations

by FRC Media Office

April 20, 2015

On Friday, April 18, 2015 FRC President Tony Perkins and Executive Vice President Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William G. “Jerry” Boykin spoke at the United Nations about the global persecution of Christians. In the video below, their segment begins at the 1:40:45 mark:

The Persecution of Christians Globally: A Threat to International Peace and Security

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March for Marriage on Saturday, April 25th

by Leanna Baumer

April 20, 2015

With the U.S. Supreme Court set to hear oral arguments regarding the constitutionality of state marriage laws on Tuesday, April 28th, supporters of natural marriage plan to gather in Washington, D.C. on April 25th to rally and pray for the Court. Saturday’s “March for Marriage” will begin at noon in front of the U.S. Capitol and finish at the steps of the Supreme Court. Schedule, map, and speakers can all be viewed here.

2015 March for Marriage

For the past two years, state and federal courts have dealt with the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s 2013 United States v. Windsor decision, mostly choosing to ignore the limits of the holding and instead imposing judicial redefinitions of marriage on states where voters have previously chosen to uphold marriage as the union of a man and a woman. (FRC Senior Fellow Peter Sprigg has written previously regarding Windsor’s narrow outcome). This spring, the Supreme Court has the opportunity to correct the course of lower courts and reaffirm its previous declarations that marriage policy “[b]y history and tradition” has been “treated as being within the authority and realm of the separate States.”

Given the profound costs to the rule of law, federalism, and First Amendment freedoms that will result from a judicial redefinition of marriage imposed on all fifty states, the Supreme Court would be wise to leave to the democratic process a policy question nowhere answered in the U.S. Constitution. Indeed, when polled earlier this year by WPA Opinion Research, that’s precisely the outcome 61% of Americans said they wanted to see. Saturday’s March for Marriage will offer thousands of Americans the public opportunity to remind the country and the Court that marriage has profound public importance and deserves the careful definition and debate that can only occur in the democratic process.

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Hate, Love, Truth, and Homosexuality

by Rob Schwarzwalder

April 16, 2015

Hate is sin.

Hate is disobedience to God. “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (I John 3:15).

To rage against, physically or verbally abuse, belittle, or diminish the humanity of homosexuals is hateful.

To disagree is not hateful.

To stand for truth is not hateful.

To make arguments about human sexuality and marriage from sociological and demographic data is not hateful.

To object to the legal redefinition of marriage is not hateful.

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Yom Hashoah Holocaust Remembrance Day

by Robert Morrison

April 16, 2015

Stand by. The White House will shortly post a statement on www.whitehouse.gov by President Obama on Holocaust Remembrance Day. We feel confident they will do so. Or, perhaps, it will be posted on the State Department website at www.state.gov. Any minute now.

To underscore the importance of America’s relation to a free and democratic Israel, FRC President Tony Perkins will be leading a trip to the Holy Land this fall. You can find details here.

In the meantime, we might read this short but convincing statement from our good neighbor to the North.

April 16, 2015

Ottawa, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement to mark Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day:

Yom HaShoah is a day to commemorate the six million innocent Jewish men, women and children who were systematically murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

On this day, Canadians across the country reflect on the unique horror of the Holocaust, pay tribute to the innocent victims, honour the brave survivors, and recognize the righteous individuals who risked their lives to save others, in many cases strangers to them.

The Holocaust was one of the darkest chapters in human history. It is essential that we never forget the lessons it taught us and that we continue to educate future generations about the damaging effects of anti-Semitism.

That is why our Government is committed to Holocaust remembrance and education both here in Canada and abroad. Here at home, we support organizations that combat anti-Semitism and racial hatred in all its forms and promote Holocaust remembrance and education, including through the building of a national Holocaust Monument in Ottawa.

In the international arena, our Government has taken a lead role in promoting Holocaust awareness and in the global fight against the persistent scourge of anti-Semitism, including the new anti-Semitism that masks direct attacks on the Jewish people by disproportionately singling out the State of Israel for censure. In 2011, Canada was the first country to sign the Ottawa Protocol on Combating Anti-Semitism, and, in 2013-2014, Canada chaired the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance – an organization with which we continue to work closely as an active member country.

On this day, I encourage all Canadians to participate in a Holocaust remembrance ceremony to honour both the victims and the survivors, and to join in efforts to combat all forms of anti-Semitism. Let us all commit to ‘never again’.”

Our leader Barack Obama’s first telephone call as President in January 2009 was placed to PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas’ Ph.D. dissertation was written at Moscow State University in the days of the USSR. It denied the Holocaust.

It is therefore especially important that our Commander-in-Chief should acknowledge this day.

As we await the White House Statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day,

it might be valuable to watch this video. It shows how Israelis observe this day.

Along with millions of Americans, FRC welcomes efforts to bring peace through strength to the Middle East

And let us also remember today, especially, to pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.

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His Truth is Marching On April 15, 1865

by Robert Morrison

April 16, 2015

My friend Jacob Rudolfsson from Sweden joined me this morning with roughly a thousand people outside Ford’s Theater in Washington.

We had come for an early morning tribute. Today is the 150th Anniversary of President Lincoln’s assassination. Doctors who rushed to the Presidential Box that night in the theater knew the stricken leader could not survive a trip back to the White House, so they ordered him to be carried across the street. They placed him in the back room of the Petersen House. They had to position the 6’4” Lincoln diagonally on the bed for his final hours.

At 7:22 am on Saturday, April 15, 1865, he was pronounced dead. Today, the church bells of Washington tolled at that hour. It was after that long death vigil that Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton uttered his most famous words:

Now he belongs to the ages.”

The Secretary of War had spent the night in the Petersen House. “Mars,” as Lincoln playfully called his sternly efficient military Supremo, had briskly taken command of the deathwatch. He gave orders all night. He had to. No one knew how far the plot extended.

The keepers of the death watch in the Petersen House soon learned that Sec. of State William H. Seward had also been attacked that bloody night. One of the co-conspirators, a muscular young giant of a man, had pushed past soldiers and family members to enter Seward’s sickroom.

The cagey Seward, an experienced New York politico, was recovering from a near-fatal carriage accident and was savagely hacked that night. Only the metal and leather brace on his neck saved him from death.

John Wilkes Booth was a major actor of his day. He had starred in many roles on stage and was known for his athleticism. He was to demonstrate his style when he shot the President and then leaped to the stage. But he did not plan on catching his spur on the bunting draped on the Presidential Box. Hitting the stage at an angle, he broke his ankle.

Still, he held up his bloody dagger and yelled: “Sic Semper Tyrannis!” Thus ever to Tyrants is Virginia’s state motto. When reports of Booth’s actions circulated, many people throughout the North naturally thought Booth might have been part of a Virginia-based conspiracy.

Booth had used his dagger to slash at Major Henry enrHenryRathbone. The army officer was the escort for Miss Clara Harris that evening. She was the daughter of a U.S. Senator.

Several other couples had declined the President’s invitation to join him and Mrs. Lincoln in the reserved box for that Friday performance of “Our American Cousin.” Had all of the invited ones accepted, there might have been no way for Booth to enter the crowded box.

Booth could have shot the President almost any day. Lincoln had seen his elder brother Edwin Booth perform various Shakespeare plays. Had John Wilkes Booth simply presented a calling card to the White House Head Usher, he might well have been admitted to the President’s office. He then could have shot Lincoln at his desk.

But John Wilkes Booth craved an audience for his evil deed. James Swanson was also one of the speakers at this morning’s event. He related the story of the assassination in his excellent book, Manhunt. Booth the actor hid out in the Maryland woods for days. Injured and in pain, hungry, hunted, Booth nonetheless demanded newspapers. He wanted to read his “reviews.” He was shocked to find himself condemned North and South.

Today, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell spoke appreciatively of the American people—all of the people—whom Lincoln served and loved. Crowded together on Tenth Street, we witnessed a military band. They were outfitted in Union blue uniforms of the Civil War.

They played song after song on period instruments. The tunes echoed the heritage of faith and freedom that Americans in 1865 unashamedly sang and shared. “The Battle Cry of Freedom,” “The Old Hundredth (Praise God from whom All Blessings Flow),” “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” and “America (My Country `Tis of Thee”). These great tunes alternated with lesser known songs of the era.

It was especially moving to see the window washers stop in their labors on the upper floors of the buildings that now overshadow Ford’s Theater and the Petersen House. They were watching the scene below with interest. Some of them might not have understood the English being spoken, but they knew they were a part of this history, too. After all, Lincoln’s dying hours were spent in the home of the Petersens, immigrants from Germany.

Perhaps the most powerful moment was when Jacob and I joined the assembly to sing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” It’s worth reading the lyrics to understand how our history cannot be understood without reference to the cause for which Abraham Lincoln and hundreds of thousands of others fought and died:

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;

He is trampling out the vintage where grapes of wrath are stored;

He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword,

His truth is marching on.

Jacob’s presence reminds me of the universal appeal of Lincoln’s ideals. Last week, attendees at the Lincoln Cottage heard a discussion of the new Don Doyle book, The Cause of All Nations. That work emphasizes the international implications of our American Civil War.

To conclude this morning’s Lincoln Observance, bagpipers in kilts skirled “Amazing Grace.” At least one New York regiment in the Civil War had been uniformed as Scots Highlanders. And what was “Amazing Grace” if not the ex-slaver John Newton’s expression of repentance for his regretted past and his joy at his redemption by Jesus Christ? Once blind, he now can see.

Without the freedom to speak and to pray, to sing and to witness, how could America have survived that terrible fiery trial? And without our flag of freedom, why should the world care about America?

If this column has been helpful, Family Research Council recommends ‘We Have Long Remembered,’ a 2013 at FRC lecture by Prof. Daniel Dreisbach on the enduring greatness of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

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Marriage and Conscience Act critic reveals his own hypocrisy and desire to discriminate

by Travis Weber

April 14, 2015

In a recent opinion piece on Louisiana’s Marriage and Conscience Act (HB 707), state representative and speaker pro tempore Walter J. Leger III tries to dictate morals to his constituents, but only ends up exposing his hypocrisy and desire to discriminate. Against who? Against religious people he doesn’t agree with, such as Richland, Washington florist Barronelle Stutzman, who has happily served gay customers but doesn’t want to be forced to service a same-sex wedding, and the owners of Memories Pizza in Indiana, who received death threats for simply holding traditional views on marriage. These people have never discriminated, but Rep. Leger doesn’t care. Why? Because he’s not interested in stopping discrimination. He’s interested in eliminating dissent and conforming all thoughts to his.

As if that wasn’t enough, Rep. Leger abuses American history and our founding documents, claiming what is “happening today in Louisiana with the proposed Louisiana Marriage and Conscience Act is a perversion of the lawsthat have been established to reflect the beliefs of a moral and religious people.”

I’m not sure how that is. The Marriage and Conscience Act will protect the consciences of a minority group of citizens. This is the very purpose of the entire Bill of Rights. Besides, a “moral and religious people” would hold no belief but the belief that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. Indeed, that’s why our country has never seen anyone even seriously suggest the idea that marriage could be between two people of the same sex for over its first two hundred years. If someone is not reflecting the views of a “moral and religious people,” it’s those who want to destroy the entire idea of marriage and family, and then violate the consciences of those who disagree by making them support the idea.

Rep. Leger pharisaically tries to decree the “correct” religious views to his constituents. Instead, he ends up insulting them and revealing what he’s really about.

Indeed, it is “moral and religious” people who now need protection. And it is these people who HB 707 would protect. All the bill would do is prohibit the government from taking “any adverse action against a person” due to that person’s “religious belief[s] or moral convictions[s] about the institution of marriage.” HB 707 would prevent the government from discriminating against people because they believe marriage is the union of a man and a woman, and would prohibit the government from using its heavy hand to condition tax treatment, contracts, and other benefits on a person’s acceptance of the “acceptable” view in support of same-sex marriage.

HB 707 would also help protect those with religious objections to being forced by the government to play a part in same-sex marriage ceremonies under threat of fines and imprisonment.

This is too much for Rep. Leger, who has taken it upon himself to claim that “[m]oral and religious people do not discriminate.” As if that settles it. It doesn’t, and Rep. Leger glosses over the real issue and the bill’s protections as laid out above. The only one talking discrimination here is Rep. Leger, who’d want to discriminate against anyone who doesn’t agree with him (and who would be protected by this bill). The Marriage and Conscience Act would protect people from such discrimination at the hands of an intrusive government. Rep. Leger would rather remove their protections, and potential expose them to fines and imprisonment because they simply want to act in accord with their consciences.

People sharing Rep. Leger’s agenda showed their true colors recently in Indiana, where they harassed the family that owns Memories Pizza with death threats for simply holding traditional views on marriage. This family was minding their own business, just trying to live quietly and in peace and make a living. But reporters came to them and asked them about their religious views and how they exercise their faith. Only when asked did family member and owner Crystal O’Connor explain, “If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no … . We are a Christian establishment.” Yet at the same time they made clear their establishment would continue to serve any gay person who walked in.

As a result of expressing their views on this hypothetical situation, outrage against this family ensued on the internet. Their business was trashed on Yelp. A high school girls golf coach in Indiana tweeted “Who’s going to Walkerton, IN to burn down #memoriespizza w me?” Many failed to grasp that the owners stated they would serve anyone who walked in; they just wanted their religious views protected. Consequently, the O’Connors closed their pizzeria temporarily. “I don’t know if we will reopen, or if we can, if it’s safe to reopen,” Crystal O’Connor told reporters. Kevin O’Connor told the L.A. Times, “I’m just a little guy who had a little business.”

Thankfully, the family had some supporters, and their shop appears to be re-opening. But this incident exposes the danger we are in and highlights the need for laws like HB 707 to protect those like the O’Connors who increasingly are holding a minority view.

If we can’t even protect unpopular views in law, and instead people are allowed to mete out mob justice like this more reminiscent of scenes overseas than in the United States, we are in serious trouble. The gravity of this matter only further highlights the need for laws like HB 707.

It is people like Barronelle Stutzman, who need the protection of laws like HB 707. Barronelle has happily served gay customers. She just doesn’t want to be forced to service a same-sex wedding, which her faith teaches her is wrong. Nevertheless, Barronelle was recently fined for refusing to use her floral skills in support of a same-sex union. She just doesn’t want to be forced to violate her conscience. But without a law like HB 707, she is left at the mercy of the all-powerful state should it seek to coerce her to act against her beliefs.

What would Rep. Leger say to Barronelle? In his opinion piece, he claims, “[f]ederal and state laws already exist to protect religious liberty.” Actually, there are no “federal and state laws” which would protect people such as those protected by HB 707. Rep. Leger is flat wrong here.

The only support he offers is his hyperlink to the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)—which compounds the foolishness of his claim—for he is apparently ignorant of the fact that the federal RFRA does not protect against state-level action (which is the very reason states have been trying to pass their own RFRAs).

Alas, Rep. Leger also tries to be a theologian, claiming to be “appalled at the length to which some people will go to ignore the lessons of love and acceptance that Jesus lived and died for and twist them into an excuse to discriminate.” His exegetical errors aside, the point of civil laws is not to dictate individual moral behavior, but to protect individual rights and freedom (even for those we disagree with). He should be ashamed at misrepresenting God’s Word in this manner, and more ashamed at using it to suppress views he doesn’t like.

He then brings out this sledgehammer: “Would we have stores place “Heterosexuals Only” signs in their windows where “Whites Only” signs once hung?” Ah, yes…. Of course that would be horrible. But who can point to any law which would permit that? All HB 707 does is protect against government discrimination against people based on their beliefs on marriage.

Rep. Leger continues, “[p]reventing a business from discriminating does not hinder the freedom of the business owner to hold his sincere religious beliefs in his heart and in his home. A business operating in the public sphere, relying on public infrastructure, is not at liberty to pick and choose who it will allow to be its customers. Either it is open for business or not.”

Rep. Leger apparently thinks the First Amendment only applies in the “heart” and “home.” It seems we can assume he is for taking away the First Amendment rights of the New York Times corporation to speak and report freely? If not, well why would he take away someone’s religious rights just because they want to make a living? If he would, he’s just discriminating against religion specifically.

Those who believe marriage is the union of a man and a woman are increasingly becoming a powerless minority, especially in the face of media voices, big business, academics, and government elites who look down upon their views. All HB 707 does is protect these relatively powerless people from government discrimination against them based on their beliefs on marriage.

Rep. Leger again exposes his ignorance for criticizing Indiana for passing “similar legislation.” Indiana had actually passed a RFRA very similar to the federal one Rep. Leger hyperlinked when claiming “federal and state laws already exist to protect religious liberty.” Moreover, Louisiana has had a RFRA for some time. Has Rep. Leger spent energy criticizing it?

As if this wasn’t enough, he then insults the people who need the protection of HB 707 by inferring they are racists—as they would bring up “evil apparitions from the Deep South’s dark past.”

Rep. Leger closes with: “[r]eligious liberty by right should and ought to be protected, and it is.” He’s correct that it should be protected, but wrong that it currently is. HB 707 would protect it. Yet Rep. Leger opposes HB 707.

Rep. Leger can’t (and won’t) be allowed to get away with the heavy-handed moralizing of telling believers their religion really means differently than they think it does. He can’t (and won’t) get away with the hypocrisy of claiming he is against discrimination, while at the same time himself discriminating against religious views he doesn’t like by seeking to strip believers of potential protections like HB 707.

Rep. Leger simply can’t claim to support religious liberty and oppose HB 707. He must pick one or the other.

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