FRC Blog

A Bill Allowing College Campus Abortions Shows Reckless Disregard for Young Women

by Patrina Mosley

September 17, 2018

Safe, legal, and rare.”

That’s how the Democrats described their position on abortion over 20 years ago. Nevertheless, in just one year, 321,384 lives were aborted by Planned Parenthood, and nearly 60 million lives have been lost to abortion in the U.S. since Roe v. Wade.

First off, anything legal is hardly ever rare, and when it comes to abortions, it doesn’t take a genius to know they are not safe—physically or psychologically.

We know the phrase “safe, legal, and rare” was just political coaxing mixed with just enough moral undertones to put people’s consciences at ease about abortion rights. But as usual, when you give the Left an inch, they build a highway.

Now, Democrats in California want young women to have as many abortions as they want, right from their dorm rooms. This is the purpose of California bill SB 320, the first bill of its kind, which has made its way onto Governor Jerry Brown’s desk.

SB 320—deceptively titled the “College Student Right to Access Act”—would require public universities with on-campus student health centers to provide abortion pills to young college-aged women by January 1, 2022. If signed, California would be the first state to require access to chemical abortions on-campus, and abortion activists will make SB 320 model legislation for the rest of the country.

Legal abortion has created a pathway for bills like SB 320 that try to reinforce the idea that abortion is healthcare. Elective abortion—the taking of innocent unborn life—should never be considered healthcare, and if anything, legislation like SB 320 shows a reckless disregard for the health of young women and presumes that education and motherhood are not compatible.

We’ve known since 2006 that the abortion pill regimen is dangerous, with thousands of reported adverse health events, including several deaths. Recently, the FDA reported 1,445 more adverse events from 2012-2017. Since the introduction of the abortion pill in 2000, the drug has caused 22 deaths, 97 ectopic pregnancies, 1,041 hospitalizations, 598 blood transfusions as a result of blood loss, 411 infections, and 69 severe infections, with a total of 4,185 adverse events reported.

A former Planned Parenthood manager, Abby Johnson, had this experience with her medical abortion:

A blood clot the size of a lemon had fallen into my bath water. Was that my baby? I knew this huge clot was not going to go down the drain, so I reached down to pick it up. I was able to grasp the large clot with both hands and move it to the toilet.

Then came the excruciating pain again. I jumped out of the shower and sat on the toilet. Another lemon sized blood clot. Then another. And another. I thought I was dying. This couldn’t be normal. Planned Parenthood didn’t ever tell me this could happen.

One of SB 320’s co-sponsors, ACT for Women and Girls, says SB 320 is “about making sure that our young people are prepared for their life.”

Can you imagine the mental trauma that would occur to a young woman who sees her abortion take place in her college dorm room, while at the same time enduring the physical trauma of excruciating pain?

We know already that abortion negatively impacts a woman’s mental health. One study in the British Journal of Psychiatry analyzed 22 studies that detailed women who were post-abortive and found that they were more likely to have issues with substance abuse and had greater anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts than non-abortive women.

Instead of “preparing” women for life, the abortion pill is setting them up to be more traumatized through life.

SB 320 does not prepare men or women for life, to take responsibility for their actions, and make wise, moral choices.

In reality, having the abortion pill readily available steps from college dorm rooms does nothing but incentivize the prevailing hook-up culture. Will the future of college “sex weeks” not only include condoms but abortion pills too?

Neither does it enhance the dignity of women. Instead, SB 320 treats women as sex objects, implying that “if she wakes up pregnant, it’s no big deal, since she can easily go to the health center to get some abortion pills.”

No accountability, no responsibility—the gifts of modern feminism.

Modern feminists place opposition between education, work, and family for women. If you’re a young college student who thinks she is pregnant, modern feminists say abortion is the safest route to ensure you will not be uneducated and poor (as if this is the worst thing that can happen to you… the slight elitism should not go unnoticed). Feminists proudly tout they are pro-choice, but the only choice they are in favor of is telling you to abort your child.

There are serious concerns that are not addressed in SB 320 that make the bill look rushed and politicized. SB 320 disregards the risks to women’s health, the potential liability to schools, and unclear fungibility of taxpayer funds. The bill’s funding mechanism is purposefully vague. Private funding until 2021 ignores the fact that a school clinic’s overhead is paid by taxpayers, and the language of the bill leaves open taxpayer-funded abortion after that.

SB 320 leaves more questions than answers in giving women unsupervised access to abortion.

As the abortion industry creates victims, the pro-life movement creates victors.

For instance, 24-year-old single mom Briana Williams graduated from Harvard Law School with her one-year-old daughter, and many other students have shared their stories.

SB 320 is not empowering or safe for women. Better options are prevailing, and those efforts should be supported and funded. Tell Governor Brown how this bill will harm young women and place public universities at risk.

Resources for Women with Unplanned Pregnancies

Pregnantoncampus.com

Pregnant on Campus is an initiative started by Students for Life of America to empower women to choose life by providing resources and support for pregnant and parenting students on campus.

AbortionPillReversal.com

If a woman takes the first pill of the abortion pill regime and then has second thoughts, there is still a way to stop the process. For more information, visit AbortionPillReversal.com. For emergencies, there is a hotline at 877-558-0333.

Find a Pregnancy Center Near You

Care Net pregnancy centers offer accurate and helpful information in a compassionate environment. If you think you may be pregnant and are in search of information about pregnancy options, a free pregnancy test, or post-decision support, the experts at your local Care Net pregnancy center can help. Search here to find one near you.

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Planned Parenthood’s New President Can’t Erase Its Atrocities

by Patrina Mosley

September 14, 2018

The new Planned Parenthood president, Leana Wen, has been announced and it is clear from her background that she carries all the Left’s qualifiers for being anti-Trump, which will only matter for so long. Planned Parenthood’s attempts to be relevant do not make Wen a shield for the atrocities Planned Parenthood clinics are committing and profiting from every day.

The fact that Planned Parenthood has placed its scandal-ridden organization into the hands of a physician does nothing to dignify abortion as a form of healthcare. It only makes taking the Hippocratic oath to “do no harm” hypocritical. The organization’s introductory video asserts that “having a physician as the head of Planned Parenthood is a sign that what we are doing is mainstream medical care.” Why is it not? Because, Cree Erwin-Sheppard is dead, Jamie Lee Morales is dead, and a 20-year old woman at an unlicensed Planned Parenthood abortion clinic is dead, all due to botched abortions. These are just a few recent examples.

Abortion is the number one killer of African-Americans. Leana Wen, the former Health Commissioner of the predominately African-American community of Baltimore City, should know this. Nearly 80 percent of Planned Parenthood’s centers are located within walking distance of mainly African-American and Hispanic communities.

Planned Parenthood has aborted over 321,000 babies just in the last year—and yet according to the organization, this is to be “understood as a fundamental human right.” The fact that over 60 million lives have been extinguished in the U.S. alone from abortions is the single greatest human rights violation we are facing. Planned Parenthood should be defunded, and the DOJ should follow through with their investigation into Planned Parenthood’s scandalous activities based off congressional referrals. 

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The Department of Veterans Affairs Should Not Fund “Gender Alterations”

by Family Research Council

September 13, 2018

Family Research Council has submitted public comments urging the Department of Veterans Affairs to retain a regulation that prohibits “gender alterations” (hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery) from being funded by taxpayers as part of the VA’s medical benefits package.

The VA had received a “Petition for Rulemaking” from transgender activists urging that it lift the restriction, which is found in 38 CFR 17.38(c)(4).

The comment, written by FRC Senior Fellow for Policy Studies Peter Sprigg, said that the cost of these procedures would be exorbitant, and there is no convincing scientific evidence that they are effective in improving mental health or reducing suicide rates among those who undergo them.

A synopsis of the comments stated:

VA benefits should be aimed at the direst, most life-threatening needs first.  They should not go to surgery on physically healthy individuals who elect to alter their physically healthy bodies.

In 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a memo declining to issue a National Coverage Determination (NCD) mandating coverage for gender reassignment surgery. They declared that “there is not enough high quality evidence to determine whether gender reassignment surgery improves health outcomes.” What CMS was unwilling to do for Medicare recipients, the VA should not be doing for recipients of VA medical benefits.

Advocates for taxpayer funding of medical gender transition claim that it will reduce the mental health problems and risk of suicide that are known to exist at higher levels among those who identify as transgender. However, one of the strongest studies ever done on the subject, a 2011 study out of Sweden (Dhejne et al., PLoS ONE) did not support such a conclusion. The CMS memo stated:

The study identified increased mortality and psychiatric hospitalization compared to the matched controls. The mortality was primarily due to completed suicides (19.1-fold greater than in control Swedes), but death due to neoplasm and cardiovascular disease was increased 2 to 2.5 times as well… . The risk for psychiatric hospitalization was 2.8 times greater than in controls even after adjustment for prior psychiatric disease (18%).

Finally, the exorbitant cost of these procedures can hardly be justified for so little benefit. Data from the Philadelphia Center for Transgender Surgery suggests that a comprehensive package of male-to-female surgical procedures would cost $110,450, and female-to-male procedures would cost $89,050. That’s not to mention hormone treatment, which is required indefinitely and can cost as much as $200 a month.

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The Catholic Church in Crisis: Two Takeaways

by Daniel Hart

September 10, 2018

Over the last several months and up to today, revelations continue to come out about the cover-up of sexual abuse among the clergy in the Catholic Church, which has now credibly extended to the Church’s highest levels. As a Catholic, I find myself heartbroken for those who have experienced sexual abuse at the hands of the very men whom they trusted the most. I also find myself angry that the very men who have spent so much of their lives studying and preaching about the teachings of Christ could be the ones who would leverage their status as priests and bishops to prey upon the trust of their flock.

Nevertheless, here we are. It is undoubtedly a grace from God that all of these fetid revelations are now seeing the light of day so that the Church hierarchy can at long last begin to clean house, something that is decades overdue, and of which the lay faithful in the Church must hold the clergy accountable as best they can.

At this point, the temptation for those of us who feel powerless to do anything to help right these terrible wrongs is to get bogged down in the minutiae of the all the accusations, denials, and rumors. While it is important that we stay as wise as serpents in the ways of the world, it is equally important to remain as innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16). Therefore, here are two essential points to keep our current moment in perspective so that we avoid becoming embittered and help to bring good out of even the most dire of circumstances, which is what all Christians are called to do.

1. Sin Is Real and Has Real Consequences

Scripture tells us that even the early church struggled with the sexual immorality of the wider culture (see 1 Corinthians 5, among others). It seems that this tendency has only increased in modern times. At least since the Sexual Revolution in the 1960’s (if not earlier), it has become abundantly clear that the Christian church, no matter what denomination or tradition, has been particularly susceptible to being influenced by the wider culture’s view of sex. The Sexual Revolution’s chief export, which has taken root so overwhelmingly in our modern culture, is this: that the primary purpose of sex is for pleasure, which every person has an absolute right to no matter what their age or state in life happens to be.

The wider Christian church has steadily ceded ground and influence in their opposition to this idea for the past several decades, the reasons for which are numerous and cannot be fully explored here. What’s important to realize is that God’s teaching about sex has been and always will be abundantly clear. It is summed up in the Sixth Commandment: “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). Here is an excellent summation of the proper meaning of this commandment through the Bible’s authority:

The [Christian teaching on sexuality] is also set forth in many other clearly worded texts from the Scriptures that forbid homosexual acts, adultery, fornication and other lewd conduct: Ephesians 5:5-7; Galatians 5:16-21; Revelation 21:5-8; Revelation 22:14-16; Matthew 15:19-20; Matthew 5:27-30; 1 Corinthians 6:9-20; Colossians 3:5-6; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8; 1 Timothy 1:8-11; Hebrews 13:4; Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13; Genesis 19; Romans 1:1-18, and 1 Timothy 1:8-11, among others.

The Sixth Commandment is clear — there is a universal call to chastity, and no one is exempt. There is simply no provision for sexual intercourse or sexual touching outside of valid marriage, and those who are married live chastity by complete fidelity to one another. No one is ever permitted under any circumstances to engage in sexual acts with anyone to whom they are not validly married. There are no separate rules for heterosexuals or homosexuals. There is to be no sexual intercourse or touching outside of valid marriage.

I think it can be safely said that this is the most broken and least understood commandment and principle in Christianity, even among Christians. Just one sad example of this is the pervasiveness of pornography. It is no secret that pornography use is the number one sin confessed to Catholic priests and is also widespread in evangelical churches.

The Sexual Revolution proved to be extremely successful at convincing much of society that it is okay to separate the sexual act from the confines of marriage. Once this was done, the floodgates opened. Sex outside of marriage is so culturally accepted that it is now considered a right of passage. The natural outgrowth of this line of reasoning could not be more clear: if unmarried people can have sex, who’s to say it has to be with someone of the opposite sex? What’s wrong with watching people do it on the internet? And so on and so on.

This viewpoint is very convincing to the human psyche for the simple reason that sex is in fact very pleasurable in a unique and powerful way. “How can pleasure be sinful?” the culture asks. Perhaps the easiest way to answer this is to simply point out the current state of our sexual culture—awash in the #MeToo moment. When the fire of human sexuality is not harnessed within the prism of commitment and mutual self-sacrifice, the inevitable result is wildfire, in which people use and abuse each other.

Our culture, along with a troubling segment of the Catholic Church’s clergy, has lost its sense of sexual sin. Perhaps the current devastation that all of this sin has caused will once again awaken a sense of sexual sin and its consequences. First, truly repentant sorrow and reparations must be expressed. Secondly, prayer, self-discipline, and the hard but infinitely fulfilling work of staying faithful to God’s teachings must be taken up with renewed hope and purpose.

2. “From Everyone Who Has Been Given Much, Much Will Be Required” (Luke 12:48)

A cursory review of human history reveals that we humans love power. We often long for it because we think that once we gain power and have more control, we can finally get what we want, and then we will be happy. But God has a far different purpose for power. Christ Himself specifically addresses the proper attitude we should have toward earthly power when He is brought before Pontius Pilate (who had the very powerful position as the prefect of the Roman province of Judaea at the time): “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above” (John 19:11).

Christ’s lesson here is clear: Nothing we have gained on earth is because of our own efforts. Everything that we have is a gift from God.

This is a hard lesson that all of those who have positions of power and authority must take to heart. They must humbly accept the power that has been bestowed upon them and use it for the greater good of their fellow man, resisting the urge to use it for their own pleasure or personal gain.

As we have seen in recent weeks, this vital teaching from God has been tragically and systematically abused by the very men that God bestowed power and authority to within the Catholic Church—not only through priests who perpetrated the sickening sexual abuse of children, parishioners, and seminarians who held their trust, but also in bishops who used their authority to perpetrate the cover-up of abusive priests under their jurisdiction. We have also seen a pattern of abuse of power in other Christian churches, showing that no earthly hierarchical system is immune to sin.

Indeed, the proper way to view power is to observe the life of Jesus and how he used his power. There couldn’t possibly be anyone more powerful than Jesus—He was God Incarnate. Yet, how did He use His power? In complete self-sacrifice. Those who witnessed His crucifixion were in fact dumbfounded that He did not use His power to save Himself, and derided Him for it: “You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, Come down from the cross and save yourself!” (Mark 15:30)

It’s a perfect illustration of how God’s ways are often not man’s ways (Isaiah 55:8). But Christ continually calls us to strive for more than the tired habits of our fallen nature: “Be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Christ, then, is the ultimate model for how we should use power—as servant leaders in service of others.

What We Are Called to Do

So what can the Christian faithful do who do not hold positions of authority within their churches to help their leaders stay faithful? It can be tempting to throw up our hands in resignation, claiming that we have no responsibility for what goes on in the hierarchy.

Don’t give in to this temptation. First and foremost, believers are called to live out God’s commandments in their own lives so as to be salt and light on the earth (Matthew 5:13-16), testifying to the reality of sin and its consequences when we are called to. Just as importantly, ordinary believers can and must make their voices heard when institutional change is needed, by writing letters to church authorities, starting petitions, and even holding peaceful public protests if the situation calls for it.

Let’s remember in this time of crisis that no person is an island, especially bishops, priests, and pastors, the great majority of whom are not involved in the sexual abuse of others. All of us, no matter what earthly position we do or do not hold, need the support of our brothers and sisters in Christ to get through difficult times. Let’s begin a great renewal of our churches in Christ, who makes all things new (Revelation 21:5).

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Social Conservative Review - September 4, 2018

by Daniel Hart

September 4, 2018

Dear Friends,

After Labor Day, a common emotion that is experienced by many of us is one of melancholy. We get the sense that the season is beginning to change from summer to fall, and with it, many of us seem to be thrust back in to our roles as workers and students after our summer vacations and school breaks, with all the responsibilities and stress that goes along with it. It’s notable that fully 87 percent of people in the world don’t particularly enjoy their jobs, and I’m sure most adult readers remember childhood feelings of dread at the thought of going back to school after summer break.

What’s important to remember during this time of transition is that work is actually a gift from God that is meant to fulfill us. John Cuddeback writes: “…work has a humanizing power: [in] some important sense it both expresses and brings about our humanity… Our daily work should … provide a basic and irreplaceable experience of human fulfillment … We can first of all seek the humanizing element in our daily work—whatever that work might be.”

In order for us to be fulfilled by our work, we must be engaged by it, and there are helpful steps we can take to be more productive at and satisfied with our jobs. During this season of new beginnings, let’s make a special effort to use our God-given strengths and talents to excel in our work, not just for the benefit of us and our families, but for the betterment of society and to give glory to the Giver of all that we have.

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

Why Judge Kavanaugh Should Be Confirmed to the Supreme Court – Travis Weber and Chris Gacek

What to Expect From the Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearing – Ken Blackwell

California’s ‘Must Stay Gay’ Bill Is Nearing Passage. Here’s the Severe Harm It Would Do. – Peter Sprigg

SOGI Law Forces Catholic Adoption Provider to Close After 95 Years – David Closson

Forced Use of False Pronouns Kills Faith and Freedom – Cathy Ruse

New CDC Numbers Show the Sexual Revolution Keeps Making Things Worse – Cathy Ruse

India’s Opportunity for Religious Freedom – Travis Weber

Update on California’s AB 2943: Therapy Ban Assaulting Freedom of Speech and Religion Passes Senate – Peter Sprigg

3 Ways in Which Brett Kavanaugh Has Supported Religious Liberty – Travis Weber

 

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

Despite my court win, Colorado Civil Rights Commission is coming after me again – Jack Phillips, USA Today

Southern Poverty Law Center ‘Hate’ Labels Deserve a Vigorous Response – Michael Farris, National Review

SoCal Harvest: Thousands to ‘Take a Stand’ for Bible Amid Greg Laurie’s Billboard Controversy – Samuel Smith, The Christian Post

Pastor Faces Eviction for Hosting Home Bible Study – ToddStarnes.com

In God We Trust’ Motto On Currency Deemed Constitutional By Court After Atheists Complain – Kassy Dillon, The Daily Wire

The Transgender Language War – Abigail Shrier, The Wall Street Journal

Two-thirds of conservatives don’t trust Facebook, say they’re being censored – Jennifer Harper, The Washington Times

Christian Cake Baker Turns the Tables, Sues Colorado for Anti-Religious Bias – Thomas Jipping, The Daily Signal

International Religious Freedom

Nigerian Girl Who Refused to Renounce Jesus for Her Freedom Begs for Help in Newly Released Audio – Stoyan Zaimov, The Christian Post

The Shameful Abandonment of the Yazidis – Judith Bergman, The Christian Post

European Union Religious Freedom Report

 

Life

Abortion

Why we should work to overturn abortion laws – Andrew T. Walker, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Most Damning’ Planned Parenthood Videos Yet Set for Release if Judge Lifts Gag Order – Tyler O’Neil, PJ Media

California state assembly passes law mandating abortion on college campuses – Cassy Fiano-Chesser, Live Action

Trump administration moves to cut Planned Parenthood funding sooner – Live Action

Adoption

States Must Stop the War on Faith-Based Adoption Agencies – Monica Burke, The Daily Signal

Is it OK to get attached to a foster child? – Ashley Gorman, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

The Other Side of Foster Care – Jason Johnson, Family Studies

Bioethics

Oregon dives deeper into assisted suicide with new drug policy – Bradley Mattes, LifeSiteNews

Families of assisted suicide victims plead for the killing to end – Cassy Fiano-Chesser, Live Action

 

Family

Marriage

For Better or Worse: The Marriage-Health Connection – Aaron Cheesman, Sacramento Magazine

How (and Why) Government Should Invest in Marriage – Alan J. Hawkins and Hal Boyd, Public Discourse

Why Every Sane Society Encourages Marriage, Not Divorce – Chuck Chalberg, Intellectual Takeout

An Open Letter from Young Adults to Married Couples – Allegra Thatcher, The Stream

Hospital Wedding of Terminally Ill Woman a Powerful Witness – Maria Ximena Rondon, National Catholic Register

Parenting

Stop Criminalizing Parenthood – Kerry McDonald, Intellectual Takeout

How to Reassure Your Children of Who They Are in God’s Eyes – Sara Hagerty, Focus on the Family

Motherhood: Why Society is Making it the Most Stress-Ridden Career – Veronika Winkels, Intellectual Takeout

Talking with Our Children About Homosexuality – Lucy Olson, The Gospel Coalition

How Low-Energy Parents Can Get Their Children to Cooperate – Zac Alstin, Intellectual Takeout

Teach Them About Marriage Before the World Does – Jani Ortlund, Desiring God

Economics/Education

How Our Education System Fails Most Students – Oren Cass, Family Studies

Want More Power To The People? Choose Capitalism – Andy Pudzer, The Federalist

Strong Families Make Strong Schools – Brianna Heldt, National Catholic Register

7 Things I’d Do if I Wanted to Keep Poor People Poor – Brian Balfour, Intellectual Takeout

Faith/Character/Culture

Why Everything Is Wonderful But Nobody’s Happy, And What To Do About It – Nathanael Blake, The Federalist

How an unsatisfying life leads to spiritual freedom – Amy Simpson, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Miracle Baby Born at 22 Weeks and Given a 2% Chance of Survival Heads Home – Micaiah Bilger, Life News

Only 14 Percent Of Americans Changed Their Minds Because Of Something On Social Media – Nicole Russell, The Federalist

Kindness: A Pathway to a Satisfying Life – Barry Brownstein, Intellectual Takeout

Why It Matters That Teens Are Reading Less – Jean Twenge, Intellectual Takeout

Don’t Trust the Peace in Your Heart – Matt Rogers, The Gospel Coalition

Human Sexuality

Can Sexual Orientation Change? – Michael Cook, Intellectual Takeout

I Loved My Girlfriend—but God Loved Me More – Jackie Hill Perry, Christianity Today

STDs continue rapid rise in U.S., setting new record, CDC says – Linda Carroll, NBC News

Pornography

Amazon Pushes Pornography Ads on Website for Boy Scouts – National Center on Sexual Exploitation

18 Mind-Blowing Stats About The Porn Industry And Its Underage Consumers – Fight the New Drug

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SOGI Law Forces Catholic Adoption Provider to Close After 95 Years

by David Closson

August 31, 2018

Last week, after nearly 95 years of providing adoption services, Catholic Charities of Buffalo announced the termination of their adoption and foster care programs because of state requirements that would have forced the charity to violate its religious convictions by placing children in homes without both a father and a mother.  

The agency said their decision was guided by the Catholic Church’s historic teaching on the nature of marriage and family and acknowledged the change was prompted by a same-sex couple’s recent application to become adoptive foster parents.  

In their official statement the agency explained, “As an organization sponsored by the Diocese of Buffalo, Catholic Charities cannot uphold the requirement that contracting agencies allow same-sex couples to foster and adopt children. The teaching and position of the Roman Catholic Church throughout the world recognizes marriage only as a union between a woman and a man.” Noting the obvious, they add: “We’re a Catholic organization, so we have to practice what we do consistent with the teaching of the Church.” 

Tragically, Catholic Charities of Buffalo joins a growing list of faith-based adoption providers that have been forced out of business for refusing to compromise their religious convictions in order to comply with sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) “nondiscrimination” ordinances. Earlier this summer, Philadelphia discontinued their relationship with two adoption providers that could not conform to the city’s SOGI law because to do so would violate their religious convictions. In July, a federal judge sided with the city after the adoption agencies filed a motion for a temporary injunction.  

Behind these developments in Buffalo and Philadelphia is a clear message to faith-based adoption-providers: unless you embrace and subscribe to the new orthodoxy on contested matters related to marriage, sexual orientation, and gender identity, you will be blacklisted, targeted, and ultimately run out of business.  

In Buffalo, intolerance toward Christian beliefs was couched in the language of discrimination. A spokesperson for the New York Office of Children and Family Services said, “Discrimination of any kind is illegal and in this case (Children and Family Services) will vigorously enforce the laws designed to protect the rights of children and same sex couples.” 

Thus, under the guise of combatting discrimination, the state government is trampling the religious freedom of faith-based agencies by refusing to grant an exemption or accommodation. Moreover, they are tragically putting the partisan political agenda of adult activists over the interests of children. No one is served by forcing the closure of an organization with a proven track-record of helping children. On average, Buffalo Catholic Charities arranges the adoption of five children per year and currently has 34 children in foster care. When they close, their work of placing these children with adoptive parents will stop. The situation is a lose-lose for everyone, but especially vulnerable children.  

Consider these statistics: there are currently 437,465 children in foster care and 117,794 waiting to be adopted. These numbers highlight the dire need and underscore the reality that the maximum number of partnering organizations are needed to serve the needs of society’s at-risk children. However, if progressive activists have their way and continue enacting SOGI ordinances that preclude faith-based agencies from operating according to the moral teachings of their faith, hundreds of organizations will soon be forced out of the foster-care marketplace altogether. Again, the results would be devastating for at risk-kids.

In short, the development in Buffalo once again underscores the need for federal legislation such as The Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act (CWPIA) that would ensure all available agencies can continue to serve children without compromising the agency’s sincere beliefs or moral convictions.

Until legislators act, stories like these from Philadelphia and Buffalo will reoccur and children will continue to be the unfortunate casualties in an adult culture-war.

David Closson is Research Fellow for Religious Freedom and Biblical Worldview at Family Research Council.

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Forced Use of False Pronouns Kills Faith and Freedom

by Cathy Ruse

August 30, 2018

I highly recommend Abigail Shrier’s piece in The Wall Street Journal today, “The Transgender Language War.

Her lede likens Fairfax County school bureaucrats to “Orwellian” bullies. That is gratifying to this Fairfax mom who has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with other moms and dads against this corrupt school board.

And her overall critique of the centerpiece of the Transgender Movement is spot on.

Forcing kids (and adults) to use certain words—in this case, to use the wrong pronoun for the sex of someone else—is forcing them to declare a creed they don’t believe in and to embrace an opinion they disagree with. How is this not government-mandated religion and thought?

On religion, Shrier writes:  

For those with a religious conviction that sex is both biological and binary, God’s purposeful creation, denial of this involves sacrilege no less than bowing to idols in the town square. When the state compels such denial among religious people, it clobbers the Constitution’s guarantee of free exercise of religion, lending government power to a contemporary variant on forced conversion.

On freedom of thought and speech:

But individuals need not be religious to believe that one person can never be a “they”; compelled speech is no less unconstitutional for those who refuse an utterance based on a different viewpoint, as the Supreme Court held in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943). Upholding students’ right to refuse to salute an American flag even on nonreligious grounds, Justice Robert H. Jackson declared: “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, religion or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.” This is precisely what forced reference to someone else as “ze,” “sie,” “hir,” “co,” “ev,” “xe,” “thon” or “they” entails. When the state employs coercive power to compel an utterance, what might otherwise be a courtesy quickly becomes a plank walk.

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New CDC Numbers Show the Sexual Revolution Keeps Making Things Worse

by Cathy Ruse

August 29, 2018

Fire departments nationwide are going on far fewer fire calls as home fires have declined dramatically over the years. Why? Builders use better flame-resistant materials, and people have better smoke detectors and sprinklers. 

Cigarette smoking has been declining for years, and the motor vehicle fatality rate has been steadily decreasing since 1921. 

This is called progress. And you can see it all around you.

But the sexual revolution just keeps making things worse.

The New York Times reported yesterday that more Americans are suffering from sexually-transmitted diseases than ever before. Every year for the last four years, more and more people have become infected with chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and in 2017 the number of new diagnosed cases rose to 2.3 million.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea often lurk without symptoms,” said the report. Dr. Gail Bolan of the CDC warns that people are unwittingly spreading the disease “silently through the country.”

What’s worse, gonorrhea is becoming a sex superbug. It has become resistant to several antibiotics, and CDC officials predict it will become resistant to the last remaining antibiotic now being used to fight it. Dr. Bolan says it’s urgent for drug makers to develop new antibiotics to treat it.

These are painful diseases—they can cause severe damage to the reproductive system, and in some cases even death. 

And who is it that is suffering? Almost two-thirds of the new chlamydia infections are among youth 15-24 years old. Gonorrhea is now “very common” among young people 15-24 years old. 

It is our children who are suffering. Mere teens. Boys and girls who should be brimming with youth and vitality and health. It is their bodies that are being riddled by disease.

And what are we adults doing about it?

We are calling on drug makers to develop new drugs to give to all of the once-healthy teens who will get infected with sex superbugs.

We are teaching “consent for sex” in public schools in younger and younger grades, which will only cause the demographic of sick children to start at 13 instead of 15.

What we are not doing is helping them find the path that leads not only to health but to happiness: Saving sex for marriage, and then being faithful to your spouse.

The sexual revolutionaries call that offensive. Suffer the children. Ideology above all.

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India’s Opportunity for Religious Freedom

by Travis Weber

August 23, 2018

As the U.S. Secretaries of State and Defense prepare to travel to India next month for high-level talks with their counterparts in that country (the first time such talks have occurred), religious freedom should remain squarely on the agenda.

Pressure will no doubt arise from foreign policy realists to toss religious freedom from the discussion. Desiring to bolster the U.S./India relationship to counter China, they will want to avoid any sticking points—and religious freedom is one of them.

This does not need to be the case. If India could see that advancing religious freedom advances its own national security interests, and economic growth, it might be interested in more seriously addressing the issue. In light of India’s desire to advance economically, it should in particular pay attention to the relationship between increased religious freedom and increased economic growth.

But the issue certainly needs to be addressed. Those urged toward Hindu nationalist sentiment by governing BJP party allies have for years targeted Christians and others. More recently, U.S.-based charities like Compassion International have been restricted, shut down, or forced out of the country. The idea that someone might choose a religion other than Hinduism has these groups in an uproar, and hence their backing of “anti-conversion laws” in several areas of India which do in fact make it illegal to convert to other religions—including Christianity.

While Prime Minister Modi has finally started to acknowledge some of these problems, a verbal acknowledgement alone won’t suffice. If Modi wants to point to this as “progress” if Secretary Pompeo raises the issue, he shouldn’t get a pass. Religious freedom advocates have cause to be skeptical in light of the years of abuse in India.

This very week, events commemorating the 10-year anniversary of the slaughter of Christians by mobs upset about the murder of the Hindu leader Swami ‎Lakshmanananda Saraswati are taking place. What followed this murder on August 23, 2008, constituted India’s worst Christian persecution in 300 years. Despite the fact that Maoists took responsibility for the Swami’s death, over the course of the ensuing months, around 56,000 Christians fled into forests and the homes of friends and relatives. Approximately 5,600 houses and 415 villages were raided and set on fire. The government reported that 38 people were killed and two women raped, though others have reported higher numbers.

In the aftermath, seven Christians (including six who were illiterate) were tried and convicted of the murder in what appears to be as close to a sham trial as one can get. Their case has been stagnating, with an appeals court failing to take it up. One journalist has taken to setting up a petition calling for their release. It currently has almost 70,000 signatures. Those who wish to join with him can sign here.

All of this is additionally lamentable in light of India’s proud history as a Commonwealth country. Formerly part of the British Empire, India and other commonwealth countries pride themselves on matters such as the rule of law. Yet the rule of law has sadly suffered in recent years as it pertains to religious freedom in India. This compounds the negative effect on economic growth, as investors grow skittish of places where the rule of law is threatened.

One way these religious freedom concerns can immediately be addressed is by giving the seven Christians convicted for the Swami’s death a hearing date for their pending appeal, and a fair and speedy trial. Such steps will start the process of remedying the religious freedom and rule of law issues which have developed in recent years, and begin the journey toward remedying the problems for religious freedom in India.

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Update on California’s AB 2943: Therapy Ban Assaulting Freedom of Speech and Religion Passes Senate

by Peter Sprigg

August 17, 2018

Here are some quick facts on the most recent action regarding California’s alarming bill, AB 2943, with links to sources:

  • The California Senate just passed AB 2943 on August 16.
  • AB 2943 is Round Two of California’s attack upon sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE).
  • AB 2943 is so sweeping it could potentially ban the sale of some books—even the Bible.
  • Therapy bans restrict what therapists can say to clients. The Supreme Court has signaled that this violates constitutional rights to free speech.
  • Ironically, AB 2943 was passed even as a new study has debunked claims that SOCE is ineffective and harmful
  • Most clients who seek SOCE just want to live their lives according to the teachings of their faith, so bills like AB 2943 are an attack upon their freedom of religion.
  • The Assembly or Gov. Brown have a last chance to block enactment of AB 2943. Urge them to do so now.

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