FRC Blog

The Bells of Britain

by Robert Morrison

February 9, 2009

My wife and I took our teenage children to London ten years ago. We tried to get in to Westminster Abbey for Easter sunrise service, but England’s ancient church was filled to overflowing. So we darted in to the smaller, more accommodating St. Margaret’s Chapel next door. Following a powerful resurrection sermon, we stepped out to be greeted by the booming bells of the Abbey. We could not hear the vicar’s Easter greeting for the din. We could not hear one another’s voices as the pealing of the Abbey bells was so thunderous. With a motion of my head, our family trooped off, marching a mile away before we could speak and be heard.

Those bells are the voice of Britain’s past. In 1940, they were silenced by order of Prime Minister Winston Churchill. With the daily threat of German invasion, no church bells sounded in the island fortress for three years. Church bells ringing during the Battle of Britain would have signaled Hitler’s landing. Only with the defeat of Rommel’s Afrika Korps at El Alamein in November, 1942-where “the glint of victory” reflected off their soldiers’ helmets-did the church bells of Britain joyfully ring forth.

Britain’s Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali returned to that theme of church bells during his recent visit to Washington. The Pakistani-born prelate was asked whether Muslim muezzins should be permitted to call the faithful to prayer in British cities. “Certainly,” the Anglican leader said, “as soon as church bells ring out in Mecca.” Bishop Nazir-Ali came to sound an alarm-but for a different kind of invasion. He said Britain’s national existence is menaced by a cringing Establishment. Britain is a Christian culture supported by centuries of English law. Both of these elements are being undermined by a quiet surrender to the demands of political correctness and relentless Muslim pressure.

Should Britain expel the Muslims already there? Should Britain cut off future Muslim immigration? No, the Bishop replied. As Christians, Britons have a duty to welcome the alien, a duty to show him hospitality and not contempt.

The European Union is all for human rights,” he said, “but they are unwilling to say where human rights come from.” They come, he maintains, from the Judeo-Christian ethic. Jews and Christians believe that we are made in the image and likeness of God. Thus, we are endowed with our fundamental human dignity. It is from this source, and not from the Koran, that we derive our laws.

To Bishop Nazir-Ali, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s acceptance of Muslim shari’ah law probably reflects the opinion of the Britain’s deracinated elites, the Establishment. Nazir-Ali said that many times, Muslim women who are coerced into so-called cousin marriages plead for help from the police. In their distress, they are handed over to Muslim police officers, who simply return them to the very families that threaten them with death. “All people in Britain must have access to British law,” Nazir-Ali firmly said.

London is now the center of international Muslim investment, fueled by petro-dollars. The power of that moneyed interest is driving many government decisions.

There is something else at work here. The secularists in Britain and Europe can give no reason why humans should have rights. They cannot say that one culture recognizes human dignity and another crushes it. Their cringing before Muslim threats only encourages more concession. Already, there are vast areas of British and European cities where the police fear to go.

In lands where Islam has predominated, the status of Christians and Jews has been clear for centuries. They are tolerated at best, but subordinated. They are called dhimmis. This Arabic word is often translated as “second-class citizen,” but it is hardly that. It is best understood as a caste system to which the dhimmis are consigned-and to which they are forced to consent. In this caste system, dhimmis are forever marked with the badges of servitude-legal and spiritual inferiority.

The very enlightened secularists of Britain, Europe and the U.S. still hold nominal power. Increasingly, however, they use that power to give way, to salaam, before the daily growing power of their demanding guests. While holding temporary sway, these cringing elitists can best be described as dhimmicrats-empowered only to be impotent.

Listening to Bishop Nazir-Ali-who has received death threats for his fearless Christian witness-you have to wonder why the rest of the Church of England clergy are not standing up and speaking out—or at least ringing their church bells.

Continue reading

Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

February 9, 2009

Here’s what we are reading today.

Continue reading

Change Watch Backgrounder: Elena Kagan

by Family Research Council

February 9, 2009


NOMINEE: Elena Kagan

Born: April 28, 1960

Occupation: Dean of Harvard Law School and Charles Hamilton Houston Professor of Law at Harvard University.

Education: BA summa cum laude, Princeton University, 1981; MPhil, Worchester College, Oxford, 1983; JD magna cum laude, Harvard Law School, 1986

Clinton White House: 1995-1996 associate counsel to the President; 1997-1999 deputy assistant to the President for Domestic Policy; 1997-1999 deputy director Domestic Policy Council.

NOTE: From 1986 to 1987 Ms. Dean Kagan served as a judicial clerk for Judge Abner Mikva on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.  From 1987-1988 she also served as a judicial clerk for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.  Dean Kagan briefly served as a staff member for Michael Dukakis’s presidential campaign.  During the summer of 1993 she served as Special Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee to work on the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  


Gays in the Military

Last year candidate Barack Obama repeatedly opined that students should have military service opportunities on campus. However, President Obama’s nominee for solicitor general, Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan, believes the military should be barred from campus. In fact, she fought all the way to the United States Supreme Court, trampling on students’ constitutional rights all the way there, in order to deny qualified students the opportunity to serve our country … Kagan’s staunch ideological opposition to the military and providing qualified students the opportunity to serve puts her well outside of the mainstream. Even Bill Clinton, who dodged a military draft during Vietnam, signed the law Kagan opposes, the Solomon amendment, with overwhelming congressional and public support.

Solomon, simply put, seeks to facilitate voluntary military service by asking colleges and universities to allow students to meet with military recruiters on campus and to participate in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). Schools whose policies or practices obstruct students from taking part are ineligible for federal funding.

Yet, Kagan, who has categorized the law as “immoral” at a 2003 Harvard student forum, argued in support of the position of the Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights, the so-called FAIR coalition, claiming elite schools have a right to taxpayer largesse while simultaneously barring the military - a radical view the Supreme Court unanimously struck down … Yet, leftwing views like Kagan’s still disparage the sacrifices our military makes and cause real, quantifiable harm to students and to our nation at taxpayer expense. According to Harvard’s annual financial statements, the school received $473 million of our hard-earned dollars during the 2003-4 school year, while FAIR, with Kagan’s help, won an injunction against the military in the Third Circuit. Harvard took another $511 million during the following school year and, for 2005-6, $517 million more as the Supreme Court heard and rejected FAIR’s claims.

Even Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a former American Civil Liberties Union lawyer and centerpiece of the liberals’ high court coalition, couldn’t find a way to justify these spurious, anti-student claims and recognized Congress’ ability to condition taxpayer spending.” Flagg Youngblood, “Solicitor General Flimflam,” The Washington Times, January 30, 2009.

Hate Crimes

Believes courts should support hate crime laws and that when reviewing regulations of speech, courts could “evaluate motive directly, they could remove the lion’s share of the First Amendment’s doctrinal clutter.” Elena Kagan, Private Speech, Public Purpose: The Role of Government Motive in First Amendment Doctrine, 63 U. Chi. L. Rev. 413, 516 (1996).

In her 1993 University of Chicago Law Review piece, she wrote that proposed regulations on hate speech and pornography failed to adhere to the fundamental First Amendment principle of viewpoint neutrality - that the government cannot favor certain private speakers or viewpoints over others. Her 1996 article on government motive in First Amendment cases has been cited more than 115 times - an enviably high number for a secondary source. In that article she declares that “the application of First Amendment law is best understood and most readily explained as a kind of motive-hunting.” David Hudson, Jr., “Solicitor-general nominee: impressive First Amendment resume,”

On Questioning of Presidential Nominees

Kagan herself has called for the Senate to use confirmation hearings “to engage nominees in meaningful discussion of legal issues.”  In her 1995 review (62 U. Chi. L. Rev. 919) of Stephen L. Carter’s The Confirmation Mess,  Kagan argues that the “critical inquiry” that the Senate should conduct on a Supreme Court nominee “concerns the votes she would cast, the perspective she would add (or augment), and the direction in which she would move the institution.” Kagan draws as “the fundamental lesson of the Bork hearings … the essential rightness-the legitimacy and the desirability-of exploring a Supreme Court nominee’s set of constitutional views and commitments.”

Although Carter’s book and Kagan’s review focus heavily on Supreme Court nominees, they also address DOJ nominations (especially Clinton’s 1993 nomination, subsequently withdrawn, of Lani Guinier to be AAG for Civil Rights), and Kagan’s view of the Senate’s role applies fully to those (and other executive-branch) nominations. That, of course, is hardly surprising, as the case for careful scrutiny of the legal views of DOJ nominees, even if combined with greater deference to the president, seems widely accepted.” Ed Whelan, “Obama’s SG Pick Elena Kagan,” NRO’s The Corner, January 7, 2009.


Despite being asked to be America’s Solicitor General, who argues cases before the Supreme Court, Ms. Kagan has never argued before the Supreme Court.  In fact, she has never litigated a case to verdict or trial.

Continue reading

Senate Stimu-less? Don’t Buy It

by Family Research Council

February 7, 2009

Friend from the Hill sends the following:

On Saturday the Senate will be in session from 12:00 - 3:00 pm for members to speak and there will be no roll call votes. Also on Saturday cloture will be filed on the Collins/Nelson amendment and the cloture vote on the amendment will occur on Monday at 5:30 pm. If cloture is invoked on the amendment post cloture time will run until noon on Tuesday. At noon on Tuesday the bill will be subject to another 60 vote hurdle by either waiving a budget point of order or achieving 60 votes on final passage.

The Senate will not be in session on Sunday.

Why is Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in the Senate taking so long in building bipartisan support to pass the bill instead of just passing it without Republican support like Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the Democrats in the House did? Well one, the Democrats in the Senate do not yet have 60 Members to defeat any filibuster from the Republicans and secondly, as the blog Hot Air points out, a new CBS poll shows “eighty-one percent of Americans say the stimulus bill should be a bipartisan effort. Just 13 percent think it is okay for a bill to be passed with only the backing of the Democratic majority.”

This new bill still has a good chance of passing, especially if liberal spending Republican Senators like Arlen Specter (R-Penn.), Susan Collins (R-Me.) and Olymia Snowe (R-Me.) vote for the bill. So please contact your Senators today. The phones have been lighting up so you might have to try a few times. Many of the problems we have documented (religious institutions, money to ACORN, etc.) remain in the new bill.

Some news reports are calling the new Senate legislation a streamlined bill. Mark Hemmingway over at the Corner has a list of a few of the cuts - however the bill is still full of pork and payoffs. Additionally the Senate Republican Policy Committee have sent around numbers disputing that this bill is more frugal:

Cost of deal: $780 billion

Cost of amendments added on the floor: $47 billion

Total cost of Senate bill: $827 billion

Total estimated cost with interest: $1.2 trillion

Senate bill is $7.5 billion higher than the House bill

Additionally, as Senate Minority Leader Mith McConnell (R-Ky.) points out “According to the figures I’ve been given, the House bill is about $820 billion. The Senate bill, under the compromise, we believe, would be about $827 billion. Bear in mind the interest costs on either of those proposals would be $348 billion. So we’re really talking about a $1.1 trillion pending measure.”

Continue reading

Greatest Hits from the Porkulus Debate - UPDATED 02/09/09

by Family Research Council

February 7, 2009

Darned If You Do, Darned If You Don’t

Because if we don’t move swiftly to put this plan in motion, our economic crisis could become a national catastrophe.” President Barack Obama’s weekly radio address, February 7th.

President Obama’s economic recovery package will actually hurt the economy more in the long run than if he were to do nothing, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said Wednesday.

CBO, the official scorekeepers for legislation, said the House and Senate bills will help in the short term but result in so much government debt that within a few years they would crowd out private investment, actually leading to a lower Gross Domestic Product over the next 10 years than if the government had done nothing.” Stephen Dinan, CBO: Obama Stimulus Harmful Over the Longhaul.” Washington Times, February 4th, 2009.

Hey Wait a Second! What Happened to That Guy Always Talking About “Hope”?

Because each day we wait to begin the work of turning our economy around, more people lose their jobs, their savings and their homes. And if nothing is done, this recession might linger for years. Our economy will lose 5 million more jobs. Unemployment will approach double digits. Our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse.” President Barack Obama, “The Action America Needs,” Washington Post, February 5, 2009.

Bye Bye Bipartisanship?

Washington seems consumed in the process argument of bipartisanship.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) commenting on the attempt to get Republican support for the legislation in the Senate.

It All Depends on What Your Definition of Stimulus Is

So then you get the argument, well, this is not a stimulus bill, this is a spending bill. What do you think a stimulus is? That’s the whole point.” President Barack Obama at the House Democratic Caucus Annual Issues Conference in Williamsburg, VA.

Spending Cuts Shmending Cuts

These cuts are very damaging — [the House bill] was put together very carefully.” . . .

The new Senate cuts, if passed, ‘will do violence to the future,’ said Pelosi.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on spending cuts in the Senate version of the legislation.

Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, told reporters he and others hoped that some of the funds on the chopping block would be restored next week when negotiations open on a House-Senate compromise.” “Tentative Deal on Senate Stimulus Bill”, Associated Press, February 6, 2009.

Shortest Night EVER

So it is 6:15 tonight and I would hope in the next 12 hours we could have a piece of legislation we will feel good about it after working on the many hours that we have worked … There isn’t a single senator who has come to this floor who hasn’t said that this economy is in deep trouble, and we have to do something to fix it. And my comment was I hope we can do that. And that’s the reason I’ve said we’ve got to work the night.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on the Senate floor Thursday, February 5th.

We’re going to stop legislating tonight” Senator Reid less then three hours later.

Short But to the Point Award

So what.” House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wisc.) in response to a question on NPR’s “Morning Edition” about the perceived lack of direction from Congress as to how money in the stimulus should be spent.

Party of Personal (Shifting of) Responsibility

The person who spends the money badly will be responsible (not the U.S. Congress).” House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wisc.) on the lack of direction of where exactly the money should go in the bill.

Finally, Something We Can All Agree On

Regardless of what we do, there will be some stupid decisions made.” House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wisc.) on lack of oversight of spending in the bill.

I Don’t Think Neil Kinnok Will Claim Authorship of This Speech

Anybody remember a time when we’re talking about, if we don’t make some real changes, deficits that are a trillion two hundred billion dollars a year for as far as the eye can see, if we don’t, ah, get it right, which you guys have already?” Vice President Joe Biden remarks at the House Democratic Caucus Annual Issues Conference in Williamsburg, VA. It appears he was starting to talk about the deficit and then realized he was talking to a crowd that just greatly increased the deficit. Politico reports “(d)uring the speech, some members read newspapers or checked BlackBerrys in the warm conference room.”

It’s Tiring Spending All Your Money

My staff is worn out, working around the clock. So is David Obey’s staff. So is Nancy Pelosi’s staff.” President Barack Obama at the House Democratic Caucus Annual Issues Conference in Williamsburg, VA.

Man am I tired. Working all day to find enough R votes to get this thing to conference. I confess I’m cranky.” Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) twittering on the Senate negotiations.

Joe the (Lousy) Oddsmaker

If we do everything right. We do it with absolute certainty …there is still a thirty percent chance we are going to get it wrong.” Vice President Joe Biden remarks at the House Democratic Caucus Annual Issues Conference in Williamsburg, VA.

Maybe She Was Talking About In All 57 States?

Every month we do not have an economic recovery package, 500 million Americans lose their jobs.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) The latest census numbers show the U.S. population is 303 million.

Easing Families Burdens by Eliminating Them

One of the elements of this package is assistance to the states. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children’s health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those - one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), on This Week With George Stephanopoulos, defending giving millions of dollars to Planned Parenthood as “stimulus.”

It’s All Bush’s Fault

I do think that there was some spending in the bill that was makeup for a starvation diet under the Bush administration, some important priorities of our party” Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) on why there was a lot of bloated spending in the so called stimulus bill.

This Guy Could Almost Make Me Miss Lincoln Chafee. Almost

If a city needs tree planting and that brings real jobs and it puts people and their trucks and their trees and their nurserymen to work, and if it provides shade, and it provides greenness, and if it absorbs carbon, and if it engages in traffic calming, there are all sorts of good reasons why people would want to do that.” Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) speaking against Coburn amendment 309 that prohibited stimulus funds from being spent on any casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, swimming pool, stadium, community park, museum, theater, art center, and highway beautification project.

Continue reading

In Ogden’s case, pornography is incompatible with Justice

by Pat Fagan

February 6, 2009

As the research shows, frequent use of pornography distorts the perception of social realities in gender relations, weakens and frequently destroys marriages, has deleterious effects on children and ultimately undermines the sexual capacities of those who become addicted to it.

Not only is it indefensible as an industry, rather it should be severely contained and suppressed because of its effects on family, children and adults. David Ogden’s connections to the pornography industry preclude his ability to serve in the Department of Justice.

Continue reading

Blogosphere Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

February 6, 2009

Here’s a glimpse into the buzz within the blogosphere.

  • Konichiwa,” Matthew Continetti, The Weekly Standard Blog Let’s take a look at Japan’s situation after passing a stimulus, as an example of why we should not pass such a pork-laden piece of legislation.
  • Jake Tapper Cleans Robert Gibbs’ Clock,” Caleb, RedState Great YouTube clip of ABC News Jake Tapper’s exchange with Gibbs regarding the dodging of questions by the Obama Administration on issues involving the economy.
  • A Liberal Scalia?,” Peter Suderman, The American Scene What would happen if Obama appointed a liberal equal to Antonin Scalia? The answer would be frightening, so let’s hope that never happens.
  • UK ‘Praying Nurse’ Can Return To Work,” SG, Sweetness & Light What’s wrong with praying over a patient? There’s nothing wrong. I admire this nurse for standing strong for her faith.

Continue reading

Ronald Reagan’s Birthday

by Robert Morrison

February 6, 2009

This is Ronald Reagan’s birthday. The Gipper would have been ninety-eight. Last year, on the campaign trail, Barack Obama paid a tribute to the man they called the Great Communicator. He told liberal supporters he would be their Reagan. Backers of Hillary Clinton pounced. How could you say anything good about Reagan? But Obama held his ground. He said that Reagan was a transforming President. It was for that purpose that Obama was seeking the Presidency.

It’s hard to imagine today how bad things were when Ronald Reagan clobbered Jimmy Carter in 1980. The economy was a shipwreck. The “misery index,” that statistical combination of inflation plus unemployment, had been used by Jimmy Carter in 1976 as a stick to beat the hapless Jerry Ford. In 1976, it was 13.5, but by 1980, Carter’s misery index had jumped to 20.8. Young couples couldn’t buy a home. They were lucky if they could even get gas. Carter warned Americans to prepare for a future that would be colder, darker, poorer. It was a time of “malaise.”

Carter spent days at Camp David conferring with his Cabinet. Then, he descended from the mountaintop to fire the lot of them, retaining only his young, inexperienced White House staff. Even a key liberal congressman was exasperated: “He’s cut down all the tall trees and left the monkeys!”

Even worse was Carter’s record on foreign policy. Millions of people in the Third World lost their liberty and tens of thousands their lives under Jimmy Carter. Communist-backed guerillas rampaged in Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America. When Iranian jihadists invaded the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Carter dithered for 444 days as fifty-two Americans were daily subjected to beatings and threats of murder. Even the liberal media described the situation as “America held hostage.”

Ronald Reagan swept into office in 1981 with confidence and courage. He coolly faced down Soviet threats and brushed off an assassin’s attack with a hearty joke: “Honey, I forgot to duck.” When Libyan jets threatened American planes in international waters, Navy brass asked the commander-in-chief how far they could pursue the hostiles. “All the way into their hangars,” Reagan said.

Reagan slashed taxes and re-built our hollowed-out military. Americans were once again proud of the uniform and the flag it served. It was “Morning in America” as Reagan trounced Fritz Mondale in 1984, carrying forty-nine states.

President Reagan took a strong stand in defense of unborn children. He showed malice toward none. Yet the oldest of our Presidents appealed eloquently for the lives of the youngest of Americans.

Ronald Reagan was never ashamed of his faith. He braved media scorn when he proclaimed 1983 “the Year of the Bible.” He told an Evangelical convention the Soviet Union was “an evil empire.” With Pope John Paul II, he helped the believers behind the Iron Curtain push back against godless Communism. Reagan went to West Berlin. There, he publicly challenged Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.” He lived to see that ugly scar through the heart of Europe removed.

When he died in 2004, after a decade-long bout with Alzheimer’s, even the liberal media was impressed by the American people’s outpouring of feeling. As George Will said of him: “Reagan became the great reassurer, the steadying captain of our clipper ship. He calmed the passengers — and the sea.”

Today, we honor his memory. We thank our Lord for such a leader.

Continue reading