FRC Blog

UN: Religious Persecution of Rohingyas Reaches Horrific Levels

by Travis Weber

February 7, 2017

Many in the West may not know about it, but the persecution of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar has been occurring for some time at the hands of their own government, which wants them forced out of the country. A new report by the United Nations reviews recent developments and documents the cruelty to the group, which includes horrific killings of children and gang-rapes of women—often perpetrated by security forces.

While the facts on the ground are almost always more complex that what we can capture in reports and news stories, it is certainly true that religious persecution is a major element of what is occurring here. Religious freedom is a human right held by all, wherever they live and whatever they believe. All are entitled to be free to choose their faith and manifest it in their lives free from government interference, as articulated in Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This goes for Muslims in Myanmar as much as it does for Christians in the Middle East.

Just because we don’t hear much about this situation in the Western press doesn’t make it any less horrible, or mean religious freedom violations are not occurring.

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What You May Not Know President Trump Said at the National Prayer Breakfast

by Travis Weber

February 3, 2017

The coverage of President Trump’s remarks yesterday at the National Prayer Breakfast was dominated by reference to his comments about Arnold Schwarzenegger. If you didn’t watch his speech or read the transcript, you may not realize what else was said.

Commenting on the denial of religious freedom in the Middle East, President Trump stated:

We have seen unimaginable violence carried out in the name of religion.  Acts of wanton slaughter against religious minorities.”

And:

We have seen peace-loving Muslims brutalized, victimized, murdered and oppressed by ISIS killers. We have seen threats of extermination against the Jewish people.”

Yes, President Trump recognized the fact that Muslims are being killed in the Middle East. This, however, is an inconvenient truth for biased mass media bent on portraying him as “anti-Muslim,” so it’s perfectly logical that the mass media don’t report it.

President Trump’s other reference—to minorities suffering violence—would include Yezidis, Christians, Baha’is, Shabak, Kaka’is, certain Muslims, and others. I enjoyed meeting many people from these groups when I conducted religious freedom training for civil society participants in Kurdistan, Iraq several years ago. They are fascinating people, and unknown to many outside that region. President Trump recognized their plight in his comments at the Prayer Breakfast, yet this has gone unreported, with the “mainstream” press choosing to focus on Arnold Schwarzenegger instead.

True religious freedom advocates support religious freedom for all people, both here in the United States and overseas. Indeed, U.S. and international law protect religious freedom for all people, in all contexts, within the bounds of an orderly, free society. In this sense, not only “justice is blind,” but “religious freedom law is blind.” Thus we can determine the true religious freedom advocates based on who values and supports these religious freedom laws, as opposed to those who try to limit them to certain contexts.

We have yet to see what the Trump administration will do to protect religious freedom overseas. Recognizing the problem, however, is a start.

At the Prayer Breakfast, it was also heartening to see President Trump recognize the source of religious freedom rights:

Our Republic was formed on the basis that freedom is not a gift from government, but that freedom is a gift from God.”

Indeed. Government does not create and grant human rights; it only recognizes them. Such human rights include the right of all people to choose their faith, and the freedom to live it out. This is a hopeful note on which we can proceed.

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Social Conservative Review - February 1, 2017

by Daniel Hart

February 1, 2017

Dear Friends,

For over thirty years, FRC has worked tirelessly to end legal abortion in American public policy. Our commitment to this cause is rooted in the belief that no nation that legally allows the God-given gift of future generations to be killed in the womb can last.

But the pro-life movement to end abortion can and should be fought on all fronts, not just the legal and political side. Efforts to stem the demand for abortion in the first place are equally important. A recent article in Family Studies astutely explores this issue by pointing out that “three-fourths of all abortions are performed on women living at or below the poverty line,” and most of these women are single. What researchers have found is that “rarely do[es] a young woman and her community find abortion justifiable … It is often the pressure of the father that introduces abortion.”

This clearly points to the fact that a cultural change must occur in America in order to help reduce the number of abortions. That is why FRC has funded the compilation of empirical evidence to point out the value of marriage and why it is so important for the flourishing of families, which are the foundation of civilization, the seedbed of virtue, and the wellspring of society. As the evidence shows, when men do not marry, they earn less money. One reason for this is obvious: single men have less incentive to work toward getting higher-paying jobs because they don’t have a wife and child to support. In today’s self-centered culture, many single men still want the sexual benefits of marriage in a relationship without the perceived “restrictions” on their bachelor lifestyle that marriage would cause. So when a single man’s girlfriend becomes pregnant, it’s cheaper for him to pay for an abortion than it is to support the mother of his child and the child for the rest of their lives. As the Family Studies article illustrates, this scenario plays out mostly in low-income unmarried relationships.

A goal for believers should now become crystal clear: In order to help reduce abortion, we must do all we can to help low-income men and women in particular see the value of God’s design for marriage and sexuality. Our modern culture scoffs at such “antiquated morality,” but God’s design for sexuality is beautifully simple because He knows it will bring about our happiness. When one saves sex for marriage and then marries, a vow is taken to love and stay true to the spouse until death. This means that adequate means of financial support must be worked hard for to accomplish this goal. This will most likely lead not only to a stable financial setting for any future children to be born into, but also a loving relationship that fosters virtue in the child, who then pass this tradition on to their children, and so on. When we follow God’s plan for marriage and sexuality, abortion not only becomes morally unthinkable, it becomes culturally and economically irrelevant.

Thank you for your prayers and for your continued support of FRC and the family.

Sincerely,

Dan Hart
Managing Editor for Publications
Family Research Council


FRC Articles

Donald Trump Won the Respect VoteKen Blackwell

What Americans Want In Their Next Supreme Court JusticeFRC Action

The Condescension of the Establishment Media Regarding LifeChris Gacek

The Pro-Life Movement Cares About All Babies, Born and UnbornDan Hart

Pro-Life Bills You Should Know About in 2017

Was Manning’s Sentence Too Long - Or Too Short?Peter Sprigg

Women’s March is Out of Touch with Today’s FeministsBrynne Krispin

Planned Parenthood Goes Hollywood, But Can’t Escape RealityDan Hart

Obama’s Farewell Praised “Democracy” — But His Support for Judicial Tyranny On Marriage Shows He Doesn’t Mean ItPeter Sprigg

 

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

NFL columnist believes faith in God is biggest under-covered story in footballPhilip Kosloski, Aleteia

Atheist Group Sues West Virginia School District Over ‘Bible in the Schools’ ClassesMichael Gryboski, The Christian Post

Religious freedom fight returns to Colorado; opponents line upBrian Eason, The Denver Post

Fake News on Religion: Pew Continues to ConfuseTom Trinko, American Thinker

International Religious Freedom

Christians Not Welcome in India – Eric Metaxas, The Christian Post

 

Life

Abortion

In the Debate Over Abortion, Let’s Talk to the Poor – Meg T. McDonnell, Family Studies

We Know They Are Killing Children — All of Us KnowJohn Piper, Desiring God

3 Ways the Pro-Life Movement Can Help End Abortion – Scott Klusendorf, The Gospel Coalition

Trump bans foreign aid to groups that provide abortionsRobert King and Paige Winfield Cunningham, Washington Examiner

I Thought Planned Parenthood Protected Family ValuesRosaria Butterfield, The Gospel Coalition

Greatest genocide in history’: Groundbreaking report finds 1 billion abortions in past 100 years – Pete Baklinski, LifeSiteNews

New Poll: Majority of Americans Want Bans on Late-Term Abortions and Abortion Funding –  Casey Fiano, LifeSiteNews

Adoption

She’s One of the Rare Pregnant Moms to Go Into Planned Parenthood and Come Out With a Baby. Here’s How – Jay Hobbs, LifeNews

Meet 4 Pro-Life Lawmakers Who Chose to AdoptPhilip Wegmann, The Daily Signal

Bioethics

Awful Study Says Euthanizing More Patients Will Save the Government MoneyAlex Schadenberg, LifeNews

Panel clears Dutch doctor who asked family to hold patient down as she carried out euthanasia procedureThe Telegraph

Disabled Lawmaker: “People Like Me Are Facing Extinction From Abortion” – Micaiah Bilger, LifeNews

Congressmen introduce bill to block DC assisted suicide – Claire Chretien, LifeSiteNews

Psychiatrist Euthanized Six Mentally Ill Patients Who Had Dementia – Micaiah Bilger, LifeNews

Obamacare

How We Can Repeal the ACA and Still Insure the Uninsured – John C. Goodman, Pete Sessions, Bill Cassidy, Independent Institute

Republicans roll out their Obamacare replacements – Paige Winfield Cunningham, Washington Examiner

Covered California Misery Still Getting Worse – K. Lloyd Billingsley, Independent Institute

New Data Show Obamacare Insures Less Than 20 Million, Most on Medicaid – Alyene Senger, The Daily Signal

 

Family

Economics/Education

Could a Renewal of Thrift Education Help Young Americans Save More? – Amber Lapp, Family Studies

The Unintended Consequences of Minimum Wage Hikes – Abigail R. Hall Blanco, Independent Institute

Our Economy Is Barely Growing. Here’s 4 Steps We Can Take to Change That. – Timothy Doescher, The Daily Signal

America’s Great Divergence – Alana Semuels, The Atlantic

Women, We’re Co-Workers, Not Competitors – Bethany Jenkins, The Gospel Coalition

Marriage

The art of patience in a marriageZyta Rudzka, Aleteia

Marital Fidelity and God’s FidelityFr. Timothy Vaverek, The Catholic Thing

Making the Case for Married Parenthood to Millennials – Jennifer Murff, Family Studies

Faith/Character/Culture

Families, Schools, and Churches: The Building Blocks of a Healthy Social EcologyErika Bachiochi, Public Discourse

How a hungry boy taught me the ugly truth about myselfSimone Lorenzo, Aleteia

Affirming Life and Family in Hollywood – Ashley McGuire, Family Studies

Human Sexuality

Time For Parents To Resist Transgender ActivismEmily Zinos, First Things

Is There an ‘Unmet Need’ for Family Planning? – Rebecca Oas, The New Atlantis

Human Trafficking

In-N-Out Burger Matches Donations To Fight Human Sex Trafficking – Fight the New Drug

Pornography

South Dakota’s Senate Just Declared Pornography a Public Health Crisis – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation

How Shame Made My Struggle With Porn Worse, Not Better – Fight the New Drug

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The Condescension of the Establishment Media Regarding Life

by Chris Gacek

January 31, 2017

Last Friday, the annual March for Life took place here in Washington, D.C. It was a successful, peaceful, non-vulgar event as it has been for over forty years. This year, Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the event, making him the highest ranked government official to ever address the March. Hundreds of thousands of people participated—this time-lapse video of the attendees processing toward the Supreme Court gives some idea of the crowd’s significant size.

Crowds of this size have been typical at the March for Life for many years, but the establishment news media has pretty much ignored the March because they support abortion on demand as a policy and have little regard for the pro-life movement. Typical of this disregard and disdain was a short announcement in the New York Times by Jeremy Peters the day before the March indicating that Mr. Pence would speak there the next day.

Peters begins his description of the news in the first paragraph by saying “Vice President Mike Pence will speak on Friday to a gathering of anti-abortion activists on the National Mall…” The description reeks of an attempt to diminish the March.

The largest annual event for those who hold to a range of values about defending life is described merely as a “gathering.” This is technically true—but in the same way that the Rose Bowl game is a “gathering” of football fans near a playing field in Pasadena.

Next we see the annual March described as a meet-up for “anti-abortion activists on the National Mall,” a description that is inadequate, to say the least. There may be a large number “activists” at the March, but, unless you are going to employ the tautology that any attendee who wants abortion ended is an activist, there were tens of thousands of participants who come merely to express concern and sorrow about the loss of lives abortion has caused. They are not political or social activists—they may be priests, pastors, and everyday Americans who “act” by praying tirelessly for abortion’s demise.

Were all those who marched with Dr. King in 1963 “activists”? I think that would be an inaccurate characterization of that group as well. Does standing in public against injustice make you an “activist”? I don’t think so. Christians are exhorted “to stand” and reject the perception that something is accepted by the church when it is not in actuality (see Ephesians 6:13 and Daniel 3). Many of those who attend the March for Life do so merely to leave their normal walks of life for a day “to stand” with the unborn. Many men and women also come to stand as acts of contrition for abortions in which they have participated.

Finally, the usage of the terms “anti-abortion” and “anti-abortion activist” by the media is a characterization that allows for the easiest stereotyping and dismissal of those marchers. This phrasing might be acceptable if those who support abortion, like many who attended the Women’s March held here on January 21st, were always referred to as “pro-abortion,” but they are not. Euphemisms like “pro-choice” have been used for decades to misdirect from the reality of abortion.

At the very least, the people at last Friday’s event were concerned with many bioethical issues beyond abortion like euthanasia, fetal tissue harvesting, cloning, and the creation of human-animal hybrids. “Anti-abortion” is an easy but incomplete way to characterize the depth and breadth of the pro-life movement.

The March for Life is a beautiful thing that deserves better treatment. I don’t mean to batter Mr. Peters—he seems like an able journalist who was probably working on a deadline and a word-count. But with that said, the time is long overdue when America’s “paper of record” should be able to write ably and fairly about a critical component of the pro-life movement, a social movement that is winning the argument.

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The Pro-Life Movement Cares About All Babies, Born and Unborn

by Daniel Hart

January 26, 2017

With the somber anniversary of Roe v. Wade this past Sunday and the youthful energy of the March for Life that will happen today, we as a nation are rightly confronted once again with what many would prefer not to think about: In America, one’s unborn offspring can legally be killed.

With abortion front and center this week, it seems like the perfect time to once and for all quash a lie that has been continually regurgitated year after year by those who are in favor of abortion. The falsehood goes something like this: “Pro-lifers only care about the baby when it’s in the womb. Once it’s born, you no longer care about it, even when that child is born into poverty” yada, yada, yada.

Dr. Brian Clowes of Human Life International recently gave a succinct rebuttal of this falsehood at an FRC Policy Lecture:

 “My wife runs one of the 3,000 crisis pregnancy centers [there are actually over 4,000] all around the country. She and her volunteer counselors do everything, including driv[ing] them [women with unplanned pregnancies] to ultrasound appointments, finding them clothes, finding them jobs, finding them housing, and all the rest. No pro-abortion group does that. So I like to ask people, go ahead and pretend that you’re pregnant outside of marriage and can’t deal with this child; call up a pro-abortion group, any pro-abortion group, and say ‘I need help with baby food, with formula, I need help finding a job,’ and they’ll either laugh at you or refer you to a social service agency. Then try any pro-life CPC (crisis pregnancy center) and look at the contrast there. Who really cares about the women?”

To illustrate this point, Live Action recently released a video detailing how abortion groups like Planned Parenthood are the ones that don’t provide care for women if they choose to give birth to their babies—not only do they not provide services for women after birth, the vast majority don’t even provide basic prenatal care.

So next time you run into the baseless “pro-lifers only care about unborn babies” line, be sure to set the record straight: the pro-life movement cares about women and their babies, period—whether born or unborn. The facts speak for themselves.

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Pro-Life Bills You Should Know About in 2017

by Family Research Council

January 26, 2017

As we approach the March for Life tomorrow, we have an unprecedented opportunity before us to advance the culture of life with a unified pro-life House, Senate, and president. Here are some bills you should know about for 2017 that will defend the innocent and protect the consciences of the American people. This year, like never before, let your representatives know of your support for these crucial measures that will save lives.

1. S.184/H.R.7 - No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act

The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act would permanently codify the Hyde Amendment and apply it across all federal government programs, preventing federal funds from paying for elective abortion and health care plans that include elective abortion coverage. This bill (H.R.7) passed the House on January 24, 2017, and its Senate companion bill (S.184) is currently pending a vote in the Senate.

2. H.R.37/S.220 - Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

This bill requires health care practitioners to treat babies born alive after failed abortion attempts with the same care they would provide to a baby born at the same gestational age. Additionally, it includes penalties for the intentional killing of infants born alive. The bill also gives the mother of a child born alive a private right of action to seek relief in case an abortionist were to kill her born-alive infant.

3. H.R.36 - Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

This bill will ban abortions after 20 weeks’ post-fertilization, the point at which science tells us a child can feel excruciating pain.

4. Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act (pending introduction)

With this budget reconciliation bill, a special legislative vehicle that can pass the Senate with just 51 votes, pro-lifers can see Obamacare gutted, stopping subsidies for health care plans that cover abortion and see over $400 million rescinded in annual mandatory spending that currently funds Planned Parenthood. These taxpayer dollars would then be reallocated to other federally-qualified health centers that do not provide abortion. This bill passed the House and Senate in 2016, but unfortunately former President Obama vetoed it. President Trump has indicated that he would sign this legislation.

5. Dismemberment Abortion Ban Act (pending introduction)

This bill would ban dismemberment abortions in which unborn children are brutally torn apart limb from limb (also known as dilation and evacuation abortion).

6. Conscience Protection Act (pending introduction)

This bill would stop discrimination against pro-lifer Americans, by the government and entities it funds, who object to being forced to participate in abortion (such as doctors). This bill would codify abortion conscience laws like the Weldon Amendment that have to be re-added to annual spending bills, and the bill would give pro-life victims of discrimination the right to sue in court.

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Was Manning’s Sentence Too Long - Or Too Short?

by Peter Sprigg

January 20, 2017

One of the last acts of President Barack Obama’s presidency, on January 17, was to commute the sentence of “Chelsea” (formerly Bradley) Manning—the former Army intelligence analyst who was convicted of releasing over 700,000 confidential files to Wikileaks. Manning came out as transgender, requesting to be called “Chelsea” and treated as a female, the day after being sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2013. Mr. Obama reduced the sentence to seven years, meaning that Manning will be released in May.

President Obama’s action was widely panned—even his own Defense Secretary, Ash Carter, said publicly that he opposed it. But Mr. Obama defended the commutation in his final press conference the next day by insisting that “the sentence that she received was very disproportional—disproportionate relative to what other leakers had received.”

This is the argument that defenders of Manning—many of them LGBT activists—had made, depicting Manning merely as a “leaker” or (even more sympathetically) a “whistleblower,”  based on his reported motive of wanting to expose wrong-doing by the U.S. military in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Conservatives have tended to use a harsher word for Manning—“traitor.” In a general sense, there can hardly be any doubt that Manning’s actions were a betrayal of his military responsibilities and his country. From a legal perspective, however, the crime of “treason” was not one with which Manning was formally charged.

Manning was charged with 22 different offenses. He pled guilty to ten, but went to trial on the remaining 12. He chose a bench trial in which the verdict would be issued by the judge, not a jury.

Manning was acquitted on the single most serious charge of “aiding the enemy,” which could have carried a sentence of life imprisonment with no chance of parole. He was convicted on virtually all the other charges. The convictions could have subjected him to up to 90-136 years in prison. Even the ten counts to which he pled guilty could have led to up to 20 years in prison. At trial, the prosecution asked for a sentence of 60 years. In the end, the judge sentenced Manning to 35 years.

While Manning’s defenders on the left call him a “whistle-blower” and critics on the right prefer “traitor,” perhaps a more neutral term based on Manning’s proven crimes would be “spy.” After all, several counts of espionage were among the crimes of which he was convicted.

So instead of comparing Manning’s sentence to that of other “leakers,” perhaps a more reasonable comparison would be to others convicted in prominent cases of espionage.

Aldrich Ames, for example, was a former CIA analyst convicted in 1994 of spying for the Soviet Union and Russia. He is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Robert Hanssen was a former FBI agent, also convicted (in 2001) of spying for the Soviet Union and Russia. He is serving fifteen consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole.

Manning’s defenders point out that he did not provide the information he stole to an enemy government. They seem to believe that releasing confidential documents to the public through Wikileaks—so that our enemies and everyone else in the world can see them—is somehow less serious than releasing them surreptitiously to an enemy government alone. I’m not sure I see the logic in that argument.

Jonathan Pollard was an intelligence specialist for the Navy who, according to Wikipedia, “is the only American who has received a life sentence for passing classified information to an ally of the U.S.”—namely, Israel. He was convicted in 1987, and served 28 years in prison before being paroled in 2015.

Even under his 35-year sentence, it is reported that Manning could have been “eligible for parole after serving one-third of the sentence.” If granted parole, that would have meant Manning’s release after less than 12 years of confinement. It hardly seems like another five years of confinement after seven have already passed would have been the grave hardship Manning’s defenders claim.

Whether because of sympathy with his anti-war stance or sympathy with his transgender status, it seems like President Obama has left Manning with a punishment that is far too lenient—not too harsh.

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Women’s March is Out of Touch with Today’s Feminists

by Brynne Krispin

January 19, 2017

With less than two days to go and over 200,000 people registered, the organizers of the Women’s March have decided now would be a good time to clear up the some of the ambiguity that has been surrounding the event since its creation back in November. Not only has there been confusion about logistics of the event (where they will march, bus parking, permits, etc.), but the purpose of the event has remained vague, stating a simple but admirable mission to stand together for the protection of women’s rights.

On board with the mission statement of the march, New Wave Feminists, a pro-life feminist group, applied and was successfully admitted to be an organized partner at the Women’s March, which takes place at the U.S. Capitol on January 21. Seeing their name on the partner list along with groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America gave pro-life feminists hope for the women’s rights movement – proof that the organizers are truly seeking diversity and unity by welcoming women from all different ideologies and walks of life. Are we finally getting past the narrow-minded approach that says only women who are pro-abortion can fight for women’s rights?

But the glimmer of hope we felt with New Wave Feminists’ breakthrough soon diminished when pro-abortion feminists immediately took to social media to bash the organizers of the Women’s March for their decision to allow pro-life women to march alongside them.

Very kind and tolerant things were said, such as:

 

 

 

It didn’t take long for the organizers to cave to their demands and remove New Wave Feminists as an organized partner for the march. In a statement issued Monday evening, they apologized for this “error,” saying that “our platform is pro-choice, and that has been our stance since day one.” For the record, nowhere on their website or social media accounts had they ever mentioned having a pro-choice agenda.

Choosing a pro-choice platform for a movement that is supposed to be for all women is disheartening for a variety of reasons, primarily because it alienates roughly half of the women in this country. It also shows there is much work to be done in bridging the generational gap in the modern-day feminist movement. The feminist movement that grew out of the sexual revolution and fought for abortion rights is changing. Studies have shown that millennials increasingly oppose abortion, and Generations Y and Z are the most pro-life generations since Roe v. Wade, thanks to technology advances such as ultrasounds that show just how human unborn babies actually are (not clumps of tissue). Remember when NARAL slammed Doritos for their Super Bowl commercial and everyone just rolled their eyes?

As a pro-life millennial, this is what encourages me even when I see pro-lifers constantly shoved aside and told their voices aren’t welcome at the human rights table. We recognize that the women’s movement has grown tremendously around the world in the last decade, and many of these women hold different views on abortion than Gloria Steinem – seeing motherhood as an empowering choice that strengthens their communities, not as a weakness that limits them.

Feminism has expanded to mean education rights, fighting against domestic violence, ending human trafficking, and so much more, and yet the world will watch on January 21 as the U.S. reduces it to abortion rights.

When pro-life feminists are excluded from solving issues that women face today, some of the greatest female minds are left out. Why are we jeopardizing the advancement of women’s rights for the sake of agreement on one issue, especially if views on that one issue are equally divided among women in this country? It’s difficult enough for women to fight for their voices to be heard in a male-dominant society. Disqualifying women from the feminist movement only hurts our cause. 

To the women who are fed up with being silenced and told that their opinion doesn’t matter, we must come together and see beyond what the liberal feminist agenda demands of us. We may not see eye-to-eye on every issue, but that should not prohibit us from fighting to protect the rights of women and children in the U.S. and around the globe.

A quote taken directly from the Women’s March website ironically explains why:

It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” -Audre Lorde

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Planned Parenthood Goes Hollywood, But Can’t Escape Reality

by Daniel Hart

January 18, 2017

A video celebrating the legacy of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s number one abortion purveyor, and its founder Margaret Sanger was released yesterday featuring a slew of voice-overs by Hollywood stars, with none other than Star Wars Director J.J. Abrams serving as Executive Producer. It’s unfortunate that so many cultural elites don’t seem to care that the organization they care about so passionately just happens to sell the body parts of discarded unborn babies for profit, as well as aid and abet child sex traffickers.

The dark legacy of Margaret Sanger’s group has been well-catalogued by FRC and many other organizations, including her eugenicist and racist views. Surprisingly, the new Planned Parenthood video actually acknowledges that she “aligned herself with eugenicists.” It then conveniently justifies this unfortunate fact by concluding: “While there’s no question that Margaret left behind a conflicting legacy, it’s also true that she was a champion of progress.” So according to Planned Parenthood, the ends of committing abortions and distributing abortifacient drugs justifies the means of promoting eugenics and racism (back when it was popular) in order to gain legitimacy. In other words, you have to crack a few eggs in order to make an omelet. 

The video also laments the passage of the Hyde Amendment, highlighting the tragedy of Rosie Jimenez’s death at the hands of an illegal abortionist as “the first woman to die because of the Hyde Amendment.” To claim that a woman’s tragic decision to let an illegal abortionist kill her unborn child, and in the process kill her, was a direct result of a piece of legislation is a bit of a stretch, to put it mildly. What isn’t a stretch is that the Hyde Amendment has helped save the lives of an estimated 2 million babies who resulted from unplanned pregnancies.

While Planned Parenthood tries desperately to gain positive PR with the help of the Hollywood left, it can’t change reality. The abortion giant is staring directly at an ongoing congressional investigation and a federal defund. No amount of celebrity appeal can cover up decades of abortion profiteering at the expense of poor minority women and girls, its eugenicist founder, its baby body parts trade, and its sex trafficker sympathies.

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Obama’s Farewell Praised “Democracy” — But His Support for Judicial Tyranny On Marriage Shows He Doesn’t Mean It

by Peter Sprigg

January 18, 2017

President Obama’s farewell address in Chicago on January 10—although overshadowed in the news cycle by President-elect Trump’s press conference in New York less than a day later—deserves some attention.

There were some interesting tidbits in the speech for those of us who seek to bring our faith to bear in the world of public policy. My former boss, Rob Schwarzwalder, quickly took the president to task for declaring that “the essential spirit of this country … that guided our Founders” was “born of the Enlightenment … a faith in reason …” In reality, the Founders were guided by faith in divine Providence, as well as a biblical worldview that included a realistic understanding of the depravity of human beings.

Perhaps we should at least be grateful that President Obama did not censor out the Creator when he quoted the Declaration of Independence, citing “the conviction that we are all created equal, endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights.” And after eight years of promoting a cramped vision of “freedom of worship,” Mr. Obama actually cited the broader “freedom of religion” as one of the principles of the post-World War II democratic order.

The Obama address had one over-arching theme: “the state of our democracy.” He used the word “democracy” a grand total of twenty-two times. The outline of the speech identified four “threat[s] to our democracy”—lack of economic opportunity, racial division, increasing polarization, and apathy.

I welcome Mr. Obama’s primary emphasis (appropriate under the circumstances) on over-arching principles rather than specific policy goals.

And I give him credit for laying down challenges that can apply to those on both the left and the right of the political spectrum. For example, there was this passage:

For too many of us, it’s become safer to retreat into our own bubbles, whether in our neighborhoods or on college campuses, or places of worship, or especially our social media feeds, surrounded by people who look like us and share the same political outlook and never challenge our assumptions. The rise of naked partisanship, and increasing economic and regional stratification, the splintering of our media into a channel for every taste — all this makes this great sorting seem natural, even inevitable. And increasingly, we become so secure in our bubbles that we start accepting only information, whether it’s true or not, that fits our opinions, instead of basing our opinions on the evidence that is out there.

Unfortunately, when President Obama did recite a list of policy accomplishments, it belied his professed love of democracy—at least with respect to one issue. In a long paragraph (actually, one long sentence) beginning, “If I had told you eight years ago …,” he included this:

[I]f I had told you that we would win marriage equality … you might have said our sights were set a little too high. But that’s what we did. That’s what you did.”

Although the line drew cheers, it was historically inaccurate. “Marriage equality”—the left’s euphemism for changing the definition of civil marriage to include same-sex couples—was not something either “we” (President Obama and his administration) or “you” (the voters who supported him) achieved. Until the second to last year of his presidency, efforts by LGBT activists to achieve a redefinition of marriage in all fifty states were a notable failure in the vast majority of them.

No, nationwide marriage redefinition was not achieved by President Obama, his administration, or his supporters. It was certainly not achieved by the processes of democracy that the president extolled in his farewell address.

Instead, it was imposed upon the country by the smallest, most elite, and least democratic group imaginable—five justices on the Supreme Court, a bare one-vote majority.

Let’s look at some of the things President Obama said about democracy—and how the outcome of the marriage debate contradicts them.

For example, he declared that “the beating heart of our American idea” includes the conviction “that We, the People, through the instrument of our democracy, can form a more perfect union.” It seems, though, that Mr. Obama and the Court decided that “a more perfect union” required a different definition of our most basic social institution, and since “the instrument of our democracy” was not producing it, other means would have to be used.

President Obama also declared:

The work of democracy has always been hard. It’s always been contentious … Understand, democracy does not require uniformity. Our founders argued. They quarreled. Eventually they compromised. They expected us to do the same. 

Note that this is precisely what had been happening for two decades on the marriage issue. Both politicians and ordinary citizens “argued” and “quarreled.” A few states actually redefined marriage using the democratic process. Many more formally defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In some cases, people “compromised” by giving some or all of the benefits of marriage to same-sex couples through civil unions or domestic partnerships. States were fulfilling their role as the laboratory of democracy. This is what the founders “expected us to do”—but it wasn’t enough for President Obama, or for the Supreme Court. Instead, they decided to “require uniformity” by imposing marriage redefinition on all fifty states.

Continuing to extol the give-and-take of democratic debate, President Obama said:

[P]olitics is a battle of ideas. That’s how our democracy was designed.  In the course of a healthy debate, we prioritize different goals, and the different means of reaching them. 

He then went on to caution:

But without some common baseline of facts, without a willingness to admit new information, and concede that your opponent might be making a fair point, and that science and reason matter — then we’re going to keep talking past each other, and we’ll make common ground and compromise impossible. 

In referring to a “baseline of facts,” and to “science and reason,” Mr. Obama probably had in mind the liberal consensus on an issue like “climate change.” But a “common baseline of facts” on the marriage issue would have included an acknowledgment that same-sex relationships are not identical to natural marriages, and that children do best when raised by their own, married biological mother and father; and “science and reason” would have dictated that society has a greater interest in unions that can result in natural procreation than in those that never can.

President Obama spoke about the international order when he warned against

the fear of people who look or speak or pray differently; a contempt for the rule of law that holds leaders accountable; an intolerance of dissent and free thought; a belief that … the propaganda machine is the ultimate arbiter of what’s true and what’s right.

However, “the fear of people who look or speak or pray differently”—intended by Obama to refer to foreigners and immigrants—could just as easily be a warning to the left, who fear people who look like “rednecks,” speak with southern accents, or pray in faith to the God of the Bible. Advocates of marriage redefinition were outraged when Iowa voters used “the rule of law” to hold state Supreme Court justices who redefined marriage “accountable”—by removing them from office. And few social movements are as intolerant of “dissent and free thought,” or have built as effective a “propaganda machine,” as the LGBT movement, which seeks to discredit every dissenter from their agenda as being motivated by “hate.”

Finally, President Obama exhorted Americans to higher levels of citizen participation in our democracy. At the beginning of his speech, he said that Chicago was where “I learned that change only happens when ordinary people get involved and they get engaged, and they come together to demand it.” At the end, he warned:

Our democracy is threatened whenever we take it for granted. All of us, regardless of party, should be throwing ourselves into the task of rebuilding our democratic institutions. When voting rates in America are some of the lowest among advanced democracies, we should be making it easier, not harder, to vote . . .

It falls to each of us to be those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy; to embrace the joyous task we’ve been given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours . . .

So, you see, that’s what our democracy demands. It needs you. Not just when there’s an election, not just when your own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime. If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the Internet, try talking with one of them in real life. If something needs fixing, then lace up your shoes and do some organizing. If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself. Show up. Dive in. Stay at it. Sometimes you’ll win. Sometimes you’ll lose. 

It’s good advice. I worry, though, that historians will fail to note that one of the most effective examples of such citizen activism in recent decades was the movement to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman through state constitutional amendments. “Get a clipboard, get some signatures”? In virtually every state where a constitutional amendment can be placed on the ballot through citizen initiative (that is, a petition process without the involvement of those disappointing “elected officials”), marriage amendments were placed on the ballot and adopted.

Yet President Obama and his allies did everything they could to make it harder for citizens to vote on marriage, not easier. And they celebrated when the Supreme Court overturned the constitutions of thirty states, which had been amended through that admirable citizen activism.

President Obama declared that “our nation’s call to citizenship” was “what led patriots to choose republic over tyranny.” Yet when it came to marriage, Mr. Obama was happy to choose judicial tyranny over the product of our democratic republic.

And when it came to the activism of those who sought to defend marriage, his motto was not, “Yes, we can.”

It was, “No, you can’t.”

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