FRC Blog

Pray Tell: Atheist Sues to Lead Legislative Prayer

by Alexandra McPhee

November 1, 2018

In a peculiar turn of events, secularist organization Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has argued before a federal appeals court that an atheist has the right to pray on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Dan Barker, co-founder of FFRF, desired to serve as Rep. Mark Pocan’s (D-Wis.) guest in leading the opening prayer for the following legislative session. Barker is an atheist. His request was denied because it was determined that he did not meet the chaplain-policy requirements to give an invocation on the House floor. His lawsuit argues that the policy unconstitutionally discriminates against nonbelievers under the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution.

It is ironic and hypocritical that the group that routinely seeks to box out religion from the public square is now invoking the principles of religious freedom in order to make a secular invocation in our national legislature.

This anomaly notwithstanding, the greater issue is that the current judicial precedent surrounding the Establishment Clause is so malleable (one federal circuit court judge called it “a hot mess” and “a wreck”) that even something as unobtrusive as prayer is no longer guaranteed protection in the public square. Coach Joe Kennedy of Washington is one example, and there are many more like him across the nation.

As the late Justice Antonin Scalia observed, 1970s-era Establishment Clause doctrine has created a “geometry of crooked lines and wavering shapes” in this area of constitutional law. So what should we expect out of the judges responsible for interpreting constitutional law at our nation’s highest court and in lower courts across the country?

To establish sound Establishment Clause (or any constitutional) doctrine, the most intellectually honest and sustainable approach is to look to the understanding of the Founders at the time they penned and ratified the U.S. Constitution. This means looking at history. As the U.S. Supreme Court once said, “The line we must draw between the permissible and the impermissible is one which accords with history and faithfully reflects the understanding of the Founding Fathers.” This idea of looking at the understanding of the drafters of any law is as true for the latest entry of the U.S. Code as it is for the First Amendment.

Barker’s case involves legislative prayer, which is specially recognized for its undeniable historical precedent. In fact, legislative prayer, or “divine service,” has taken place as early as the 1700s. Largely because of its deep roots in history, legislative prayer is considered constitutional. It is an instructive example of how the courts have used and should use legal history to determine the constitutionality of religion in the public square. Unfortunately, the same is not true for judicial precedent surrounding religiously inspired monuments or certain tax exemptions, which some argue should fail constitutional muster under the Establishment Clause.

Fortunately, scholars have observed a resurgence in the role of legal history in modern judicial decision-making at the Supreme Court. What’s more, President Donald Trump’s laser-like focus on the appointment of judges has resulted in “appointees [that] are showing themselves to be strong spokespeople for what is generally described as the conservative viewpoint.” As such, law professor Arthur Hellman of the University of Pittsburgh said, “[n]ew blood reopens old issues.” And even though this use of legal history, or “originalism,” has become associated with “the conservative viewpoint,” the fact is that it is “ideologically neutral. On various stormy issues, both the conservative and liberal factions . . . have found safe harbor in historical reasoning.” What all this means is stable judicial precedent—not the confusion that exists today.

As with the doctrine of legislative prayer, we need to return to our legal historical roots and use what we find there as our guiding principles for understanding the constitutionality of religion in the public square.

Moreover, with mid-term elections on the horizon, it is critical that we vote in U.S. Senators who will help appoint judges that protect our constitutional rights. Our Republican-controlled Senate has faithfully stewarded its advice-and-consent powers by helping appoint judges who value historical reasoning. We ought to vote for candidates who will continue this trend.

Public prayer in schools and the government workplace, for instance, is more constitutional than it’s given credit for. You can feel assured in this by looking no further than Article III of the Northwest Territory Ordinance of 1787, in which the Founding-era Congress stated, “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”

As for Barker and his legislative prayer case—we’ll have to see whether the judges in his case conclude that history is on his side.

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Ala. Supreme Court Justice: Roe Cuts Off the Unborn’s Full Right to Life

by Alexandra McPhee

October 31, 2018

In a concurring opinion, Justice Tom Parker of the Supreme Court of Alabama called on the nation’s highest court to overturn Roe v. Wade (1973) and remove the last major obstacle to the states’ right to enact protections for the unborn.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of Alabama affirmed that Jesse Livell Phillips will face the jury-recommended death penalty for the murder of his young wife and their unborn child. Prosecutors used Alabama’s Brody Act, one of several laws in Alabama that legally recognize the personhood of the unborn.

Justice Parker agreed with the outcome and wrote separately to denounce what he calls the “Roe exception.” Because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s holding in Roe, he writes, “the only major area in which unborn children are denied legal protection is abortion.” The “unborn child’s fundamental, inalienable, God-given right to life is the only right the states are prohibited from ensuring . . . .”

His proffer comes at a time when advocates on both sides of the life debate are keeping a close watch on the new makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court and how it might rule in a case that allows it to revisit the holding in Roe. But for years Justice Parker has urged that the decision in Roe is outmoded, that the holding in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey (1992) meant to address the decision in Roe only created more issues, and that the unborn are “entitled to the full protection of law at every stage of development.”

Many (though not all) state legislatures agree. Americans United for Life comprehensively documents the “legal recognition of the unborn and newly born” available in every state. Another article covers the numerous state laws governing crime, tort, health care, property, and guardianship that recognize the personhood of the unborn.

But Justice Parker points out that “in spite of voluminous state laws recognizing that the lives of unborn children are increasingly entitled to full legal protection, the isolated Roe exception stubbornly endures.”

At least two courts have ruled on the side of life in cases about statutes requiring abortion clinics to have hospital admitting privileges. But a case from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit may present the opportunity to strike at the heart of the matter and revisit the aberrational decision in Roe. If the justices on the U.S. Supreme Court take up the case on this ground, we hope they heed Justice Parker’s call for the restoration of the power of the states to protect the lives of the unborn in all areas of the law.

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The Gosnell Story: America Deserves to Know

by Alyssa Grasinski

October 26, 2018

Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer, based on The New York Times best-selling book, is a film dramatization of the true story of the investigation and trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, which debuted on October 12 and rose to the top 10 at the box office on its opening weekend. It grossed $1,162,988 in the first three days of its release.

The movie tells the story of Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia abortionist convicted of three counts of first-degree murder as well as involuntary manslaughter. Gosnell’s abortion facility was raided in 2010 by the FBI, detectives from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, and others. There had been reports of illegal prescription drug activity, but what they found instead was a house of horrors, with blood on the floor, urine on the walls, a cat in the facility, cat feces on the stairs and in rooms, and much worse: “…semi-conscious women scheduled for abortions were moaning in the waiting room or the recovery room, where they sat on dirty recliners covered with blood-stained blankets.”

The grand jury report details some of the most shocking and horrifying actions that occurred in Gosnell’s abortion facility.

  • Gosnell often punctured women’s uteruses, bowels, and cervixes and left limbs and other body parts of partially aborted fetuses in women.
  • Unsanitary and reused instruments were utilized to tend to patients.
  • White women were treated in a superior manner to women of color, receiving privileges like placement in a cleaner room and administration of drugs by the doctor rather than a staff member. 

The staff at the facility were not properly licensed or trained and unlawfully practiced medicine unsupervised.

  • Fetal remains were found in various containers, some refrigerated and others frozen, including “bags, milk jugs, orange juice cartons, and cat food containers.”
  • Investigators found the remains of 45 fetuses during the raid.
  • Among the fetal remains were rows of jars containing severed feet of aborted fetuses.

The practice Gosnell ran was largely fraudulent and money-centric.

  • For one woman who changed her mind about going through with the abortion, Gosnell refused to reimburse her the $1,300 she had paid.  
  • He fraudulently and illegally documented the age of unborn children for late term abortions as 24.5 weeks; he and his staff would manipulate ultrasounds to hide the real age. 

The patient who died at Gosnell’s abortion facility was named Karnamaya Mongar.

  • Mongar died due to repeated injections of narcotics administered by unlicensed staff.
  • Gosnell and his employees did not sufficiently attempt to save her life.
  • By the time she got to the Intensive Care Unit, she had no signs of neurological function and was pronounced dead. 

Gosnell had no regard for legal restrictions on abortions past 24 weeks.

  • Gosnell was known for his willingness to perform extremely late term abortions.
  • When babies were born alive, their spinal cords were cut with scissors and their skulls were often crushed and suctioned.
  • The staff members would administer large amounts of medication to the women, inducing them to deliver their babies without the presence of a doctor; babies “dropped out on lounge chairs, on the floor, and often in the toilet.”
  • Gosnell commented on the size of one of the babies born alive, saying the baby was “big enough to … walk me to the bus stop.”
  • A staff member played with one of the babies born alive before slitting its neck.

We all deserve better than Gosnell and abortion.

Gosnell was held accountable for his crimes and is serving multiple life sentences in prison. Now that a few years have passed, we are still left asking why there are not better standards for women. For example, in the Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt opinion, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer referred to Gosnell’s behavior as “terribly wrong,” but denied that any further regulation, specifically admitting privileges (which allow a doctor the ability to admit patients to a particular hospital for services or care) would have made any difference in the outcome. Justice Alito, on the other hand, argued that if Pennsylvania had required “abortion clinics to comply with the same regulations as Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs),” which was recommended by the Philadelphia grand jury that investigated the case, “the Gosnell facility might have been shut down before his crimes” took place.

Even so, Gosnell was already violating countless basic regulations that were already in place and if the state had enforced the regulations that were in place and imposed further restrictions, perhaps Karnamaya Mongar would be alive today. Because of bureaucratic entities turning a blind eye to the practices of Gosnell for over 30 years, we will never know the true totality of his devastation on humanity.

Racism is inherent to the abortion industry.

The idea that white women would be treated more favorably and separately from women of color in a modern-day practice or business of any kind is absurd. However, one of the abortion industry’s best-kept secrets is that the black community is by far the most affected by abortion than any other race. In 2014, black women were 3.5 times more likely to abort a pregnancy than white women; 28 percent of all abortions were performed on black women. Abortion disproportionately affects the black community and perpetuates the negative treatment, and ultimately, discrimination of black women in comparison to women of other races. More abortion will not remedy this controversy.

Indiana and Arizona have addressed this issue by enacting laws that prohibit abortion on the basis of race and other characteristics. Arizona’s 2011 law prohibited abortion based on sex and race; the ACLU of Arizona filed suit challenging the law after its enactment, but the case was dismissed because of lack of standing. Indiana passed HEA 1337 in 2016, which prohibited abortion based on sex, race, color, national origin, ancestry, or disability. Unfortunately, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky filed a lawsuit and the law has since been enjoined from enforcement.

Abortion facilities should be held to the same standard as hospitals.

In addition to legislation focused on the preborn child, state legislatures have recognized the urgency and need for introducing and enacting statutes aimed at holding abortion facilities to higher standards, especially in a post-Gosnell reality.

For example, a 2013 Wisconsin statute, Wis. Stat. § 253.095(2), prohibited a doctor from performing an abortion without holding admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles from the abortion facility. In response to a challenge of the statute, the court affirmed the district court’s opinion granting the permanent injunction of the law, citing as one of the reasons the “rarity of complications of abortion that require hospitalization.” (Planned Parenthood of Wis., Inc. v. Schimel, 806 F.3d 908 (7th Cir. 2015)). Similarly, the state of Texas enacted a law in 2013 requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion facility. The law was challenged but was upheld as constitutional (Planned Parenthood of Greater Tex. Surgical Health Servs. v. Abbott, 748 F.3d 583 (5th Cir. 2014)).

Women continue to suffer from abortion facility malpractice.

Unfortunately, we do not have the luxury of moving on from Gosnell and believing that the horrors he perpetrated are strictly in the past. Similar atrocities are still occurring today. A Planned Parenthood in Chicago has been the source from which “at least six known women have been hospitalized from botched abortions since November 2017.” Multiple abortion patients have experienced heavy and uncontrolled bleeding that required ambulances to be called. Another woman required hospitalization for seizures after an abortion. The reality is that there are still abortion facilities that offer sub-par services and treatment that lead to injured women.    

Whether you believe the practice of abortion is unethical and should be ended entirely or that it should be available to women as a “standard medical procedure,” everyone should at least agree that women deserve proper care and that standards should be put in place to ensure that this happens.

The Gosnell movie has performed quite well at the box office, which is a demonstration of the movie’s quality and importance. You can purchase tickets and find local theater listings here. Watching this film is a must in order to further understand what can happen when regulations are not placed on abortion facilities, and how bureaucratic entities are more committed to political ideology than the safety and protection of women. Let us hope that this film will serve as a stirring reminder to us all that women deserve better.

Alyssa Grasinski is an intern at Family Research Council.

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How Shall We Engage Politically? A Response to Tim Keller and Kevin DeYoung

by David Closson

October 26, 2018

A perennial question for the church is the issue of political engagement. From broader questions such as the Bible’s teaching on the role and purpose of government to specific issues such as abortion, marriage, and racial equality, theologians have grappled with these questions and offered various models for faithful witness in the public square.

Without doubt, we live in a time of acute political polarization. As evidenced recently in the elevation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, civil discourse has reached a disheartening low. For Christians frustrated by the overall negative tone of politics and extreme partisanship, walking away from politics might be tempting.

However, for Christians called to be salt and light in the world, abdicating their political responsibilities is not an option consistent with Scripture. The gospel is a holistic message with implications for all areas of life, including how Christians should engage the political process and how we should think about our two-party system and voting.

So, what are the principles Christian ought to consider as they seek to live out their allegiance to Christ alongside their civic duties? 

Some Suggestions 

Recently, the question of how Bible-believing, gospel-loving Christians should exercise their political responsibilities has been raised by well-known pastors including Tim Keller and Kevin DeYoung. In thought-provoking articles, both lay out their concerns with the current divisive and coarse nature of American politics and offer guidance for how believers ought to approach their engagement. Whereas Keller mainly considers how Christians fit into the two-party system, DeYoung offers practical suggestions for engaging in the political process.

Much of their advice is helpful. For example, in his article, Keller rightfully argues “to not be political is to be political.” By this he means that those who avoid political discussions tacitly endorse the status quo. Keller’s example of 19th century churches who were silent on slavery is a sobering illustration. By refraining from becoming “too political” these churches were in fact supporting a sinister institution. 

Likewise, DeYoung encourages pastors to engage in the political process by praying for leaders and preaching to controversial issues as they arise in the course of expositional preaching. DeYoung incisively echoes James Davidson Hunter by reminding Christians that faithful presence within the culture should be the overarching goal of cultural engagement and that electoral politics is just one of many ways to express neighborly love.

However, despite Keller and DeYoung’s contributions to the question of Christian civic responsibility, the utility and real-world application of their advice is limited due to an underlying political theology that hasn’t fully accounted for the realities of the political system within which we have to work. Although their warning to not equate the church’s mission with the platform of a political party represents faithful Christian convictions, they don’t follow through with a remedy for our current situation. Christians are left asking: Well, then, how should I engage politically?

Following Through

Answering this question requires an understanding of government’s God-ordained authority, the structure of a representative democracy, and a theologically informed view of voting.

In his article, DeYoung expresses discomfort with hosting voter drives and providing voter guides because it communicates that participation in the political process is “what Christians should do.” Although DeYoung agrees that “voting is a good thing” he does not think it is the church’s role to go beyond praying for candidates or preaching on issues. This is rooted in an admirable desire to preserve the church’s mission. However, despite these noble intentions, does this approach fall short in what full-orbed Christian discipleship requires?

In representative democracies like the United States, the locus of power is the citizenry; government derives its authority from the people. As Alexander Hamilton explained in Federalist Paper 22, the consent of the people is the “pure original fountain of all legitimate authority.” This principle is foundational and provides American citizens with an incredible privilege and responsibility. Unlike billions of people around the world, Americans control their political future.

For Christian citizens, the implications of America’s form of government are even more significant when considered alongside Paul’s teaching in Romans 13 about the purpose of government. According to Paul, government is ordained by God to promote good and restrain evil. To this effect, government wields the sword to punish wrongdoers. Thus, the administration of justice is the state’s responsibility; the government, not individual citizens, is tasked with the actual exercise of the sword.

From these considerations a truth with massive implications for Christian political engagement emerges: suffrage as an exercise in delegating God-ordained authority. Because power resides with the people in a representative democracy, when Christians vote, they are handing their sword to someone else to wield. That’s what voting essentially is; the delegation of authority. Seen from this perspective, voting assumes enormous responsibility and implies that failure to vote is failure to exercise God-given authority.

Voting Is Part of It

Thus, returning to DeYoung’s article, it is simply not enough for pastors to hope their congregations are informed about candidates and issues. If the act of voting is the act of delegating the exercise of the sword, pastors should communicate to their members “This is what Christians should do.” Given the unavoidable role of politics and the real-world impact that the state’s decisions have on people’s lives, downplaying the role of voting amounts to a failure in Christian discipleship and a neglect to offer neighborly love.

On this issue of neighbor love, DeYoung writes, “Political engagement is only one way of loving our neighbor and trying to be a faithful presence in the culture.” Although true, DeYoung minimizes the significance of government and politics. Obviously, neighborly love must be embodied in all aspects of life. However, can Christians really care for their neighbors without substantively engaging the arena that most profoundly shapes basic rights and freedoms? Further, given the United States’ outsized influence in the world, how can American Christians love the people of the nations without having a vested interest in how their own government approaches the issue of religious liberty and human rights? Through the power of the vote, American Christians can determine who will represent their country abroad and what values will be exported around the world: whether abortion education programs funded by American taxpayers or values congruent with the Bible’s teaching on the dignity of human life. Will America’s ambassadors be stalwart defenders of those engaged in religious expression (such as overseas missionaries) and vigorously advocate for their rights, or will they abandon them? Again, American Christians through the exercise of the franchise have a direct say in all of these issues. 

Because of these considerations, pastors would do well to educate and equip their members to think biblically about political issues, candidates, and party platforms. It is not enough to espouse concern for human dignity but not support policies and candidates who will fight to overturn profound moral wrongs. In a Genesis 3 world plagued by sin, Christians are called to drive back the corroding effects of the fall wherever they exist. This must include the realms of law and politics.

Back to the Bible

Thus, in the quest for Christian faithfulness in political engagement, a robust understanding of the nature of government and the act of voting must be applied to the current reality of the two-party system. Addressing this issue is the primary goal of Keller’s New York Times article where he contends that Christians must participate in the political process without identifying the church with a specific political party. Because political parties insist that you cannot work on one issue with them without embracing all of their approved positions, Keller says Christians are pushed toward two equally unacceptable positions: withdrawal from the political process or full assimilation with a party.

When it comes to specific issues, Keller writes, “Christians should be committed to racial justice and the poor, but also to the understanding that sex is only for marriage and for nurturing family.” He concludes, “the historical Christian positions on social issues do not fit into contemporary political alignments.” Keller implies that because both major parties hold some views that are faithful with Scripture alongside others that are not, Christians have liberty when it comes to choosing a political party.

This idea that historic Christian positions on social issues do not fit into contemporary political alignments grounds the outworking of Keller’s political theology. Although not explicitly stated, he suggests that while Republicans may hold a more biblical view on issues related to abortion and marriage, Democrats are more faithful in their approach to racial justice and the poor. Implied in this analysis is that these issues carry similar moral freight and that consequently Christians should be leery of adopting either party’s “whole package.”

Although Keller is right in cautioning against blind allegiance to a political party, his analysis of the issues and where the respective parties stand is inaccurate. Without doubt, the issues of abortion, marriage, racial equality, and poverty are crucial, and the Bible has implications for how Christians should evaluate them. Regarding abortion, the Bible is straightforward—life begins at conception and abortion is murder (Ps. 139:13-16, 22:10, Jer. 1:5, Gal. 1:15, Ex. 21:22). Likewise, on marriage; the Bible is clear and presents marriage as a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman (Gen. 2:24, Mat. 19:5, Mark 10:6-9, Eph. 5:22-23). Moreover, Scripture is unambiguous regarding the moral status of homosexuality (1 Cor. 6:9-11, Rom. 1:26-28, 1 Tim. 1:10-11, Lev. 18:22, 20:13, Gen. 19:1-5). On these issues the Bible is unmistakable; there is a clear “Thus saith the Lord.”

As Keller acknowledges, in terms of biblical clarity and priority Christians have rightly seen abortion and marriage as first tier moral concerns; when it comes to voting, a candidate’s stance on them matters greatly. But what does the Bible teach about the other issues Keller identifies?

Concerning racial equality, the Bible is clear that all are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27). Additionally, the good news of the gospel is for everyone; Christ died for all people, and in him believers from every tongue, nation, and tribe are reconciled to God and each other in “one new man” (Eph. 2:14-16). In terms of access to God, the Bible is unmistakable: distinctions based on gender and race are abolished in the new covenant (Gal. 3:28-29, Col. 3:11). Consequently, racism is sinful and must be repudiated by the church.

Finally, God’s concern for the poor is a pervasive theme throughout the Bible. Exhortations to care for the poor abound (Prov. 3:27-28, 22:22-23, 31:8-9, Isa. 1:17, 10:1-3, Zech. 7:8-10) and Jesus himself displayed remarkable concern and compassion for the poor in his healing and teaching ministry (Mat. 11:4-6, 25:45, Luke 6:20-21, 14:14). Famously, Jesus’ half-brother, James, wrote that “pure and undefiled religion” includes care for orphans and widows (James 1:27).

Consequently, the Bible speaks to the issues identified by Keller; committed Christians, therefore, must care about all of them. Faithfulness to God’s Word requires nothing less. However, the tension arises when it comes to application—when biblical imperative intersects with the realities of today’s politics. Therefore, the first step in Christian political engagement—identifying the issues that the Bible explicitly or implicitly speaks to—is the easy part. The challenging part of application requires discernment, prayer, and wisdom. 

No One Ever Said It Wasn’t Messy

At this point it should be stated clearly: neither political party is a Christian party in the sense that everything they advocate for lines up perfectly with the Bible. Evangelical Christians do not think everything the Republican party does is Christian—at least they shouldn’t. In fact, there are numerous policy issues the Bible does not clearly speak on. On tertiary issues like these Christians should debate charitably and extend liberty toward one another on points where they disagree.

However, it is also true in recent years the two major U.S. political parties have clearly adopted positions on first tier moral issues on which the Bible does speak. “First tier” moral issues include questions where the Bible’s teaching is clear and where specific, positive action is prescribed. Concerning marriage, the Bible commends the union of man and woman as representative of the relationship between Christ and the church and prohibits encroachment by any means. Regarding life, every human being is an image bearer of God and possesses inherent dignity. Thus, the responsibility to preserve life is supreme. Therefore, life and human sexuality are first tier issues because of their biblical clarity and priority. Concerning these first tier moral issues of life and human sexuality, one of the major parties has embraced positions manifestly at odds with biblical morality. The result has been increased moral confusion in the culture and the undermining of human dignity.

Thus, although neither political party perfectly represents evangelical Christians, party platforms do allow us to make considered judgments for who to support at election time. Political scientists have shown that politicians increasingly vote in line with their party’s platform—80 percent of the time over the last thirty years. Consequently, a party’s platform is a good indicator for how politicians from that party will vote. Thus, for Christians, in so far as a platform recommends policies informed by biblical morality it is easier to support that party.

So, while it is clear Republicans have adopted positions more aligned with Scripture’s teaching on abortion and marriage, is it obvious (as Keller implies) that Democrats have the moral high ground on the other issues he raises? In short, no. In fact, neither party expressly takes an anti-biblical position on issues related to race and the poor—it is the remedies for these issues that are debated.

Though it is popular to conceive of the Republican party as “anti-poor” and opposed to minorities, these conceptions are not as neatly supported as many in the media would have us believe. Earlier this year Republican lawmakers voted almost unanimously to advance legislation designed to reduce recidivism through vocational training and education courses. House Republicans (262 of them) joined 134 Democrats in advancing this legislation. According to the NAACP, African-Americans and Hispanics make up 32 percent of the general population but 56 percent of those incarcerated. Thus, efforts to reform the criminal justice system represent positive steps forward in addressing problems that disproportionately affect minority communities. Further, not only is the current unemployment rate of 3.7 percent the lowest since 1969, the African American unemployment rate hit an all-time low of 5.9 percent in May 2018; in September, black teen unemployment fell to 19.3 percent, another all-time low. While the factors contributing to this picture are many, the fact remains that under Republican national leadership, more minorities are getting jobs.

On the issue of poverty, no doubt many individual Republicans and Democrats care for the poor (though many others might use the issue to their own political gain). It is simply misleading to conflate the parties’ different economic philosophies with moral indifference—a conflation which widely contributes to popular conceptions of all Republicans as “against the poor.” The fact that conservatives believe in the efficacy of limited government and free markets in addressing poverty does not indicate apathy toward marginalized communities. On the contrary, conservatives believe that the best conditions for economic flourishing are created when the government’s authority is decentralized. The Bible does not endorse a specific economic system—though it does favor some while disfavoring others; the commandment against stealing shows respect for private property as does the Old Testament’s regard for inheritances. At any rate, there is room for disagreement on how to address such issues biblically.

Thus, by unfairly characterizing Republican views on racial justice and poverty, Keller creates a false dichotomy between the two parties. Whereas the Republican party platform is clearly on the side of biblical morality on abortion and marriage (in contrast to the Democrat platform), it is not at all clear that Democrat policy positions on racial justice or poverty are “more biblical” than those held by conservatives. At a minimum, they can be debated.

Tying Up Loose Ends 

Further, while all of these issues are important, Christians should employ a form of moral triage as they consider their political engagement. As Andrew Walker points out, with abortion there is a “greater moral urgency to repeal morally unjust and codified laws than there is the priority to ameliorate social evils that exist because of social wickedness and criminal behavior.” In other words, the existence of a positive right to terminate the life of unborn children calls for immediate action. Christians concerned about the unborn—the most vulnerable class of people in our country—must leverage their influence, resources, and time to correct this wrong as soon as possible. As part of a holistic effort to create a culture of life, Christians must engage the political process to pass laws that protect life. Mapped out onto the political realities of a two-party system, the outworking of this moral calculus is clear.

In short, if theologically conservative Christians appear aligned with the Republican Party, it is only because Democrats have forced them there by taking positions on moral issues that oppose the Bible’s explicit teaching. Thus, while Keller is right that Christians should not feel perfectly at home in either political party, is it fair to suggest that they should feel equally comfortable in both?

In 2018 the answer would seem to be “no.”

It should also be noted that the challenges facing American Christians regarding politics is not unique; brothers and sisters in other nations face the same tensions. This is because there is no “Christian” political party; no party aligns perfectly with the Bible. This is true even in countries where dozens of political parties participate in any one election. This means that there is never a perfect choice when it comes to political engagement; on this side of the Parousia, faithful Christians will always be choosing from less than ideal options. This is why wisdom, prayer, and counsel are indispensable when it comes to Christian political engagement.

Conclusion

For the sake of Christian faithfulness, we need an informed Christian citizenry. It is not enough for pastors to acknowledge that various policy positions are profoundly evil yet withhold the requisite tools that empower concrete action. It is not enough to pray for candidates and speak on a handful of issues without equipping believers with everything they need to honor God in the voting booth.

Over the last few years, many Christian leaders have lamented the current state of American politics. They have reiterated that Christians have no home in either major political party (a state of affairs to which we might ask whether Christian indifference and distaste for politics has contributed to in the first place) and that in secondary and tertiary issues Christian liberty should abound. While these calls are helpful, people in the pews are yearning for more direction. Of course, it would be pastoral malpractice to pronounce a “Thus saith the Lord” when there is no biblical warrant. However, in areas where pastors and Christian leaders can say more, they should. These areas include grappling with the reality of our two-party system and following our political theology to its logical end by voting.

If political engagement is an aspect of Christian faithfulness, it is also a matter of discipleship. Thus, church members must be equipped to honor God in the political arena in a way that goes beyond merely describing current challenges. Applying a faithful political theology in our context requires a thorough understanding of biblical morality and an awareness of the positions of the political parties and candidates. As this dual knowledge is acquired, Christians will better understand the times and increasingly know what they ought to do in politics.

David Closson serves as the Research Fellow for Religious Freedom and Biblical Worldview at Family Research Council. He is also a Ph.D. student in Christian Ethics (Public Policy) at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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Christianity’s Blessings to Society

by Travis Weber

October 24, 2018

The new life of a believer in Christ motivates him or her to be a good citizen—to seek the well-being of the city or place in which they live. The latest example of this principle comes not from the United States, but from Nigeria.

A recent profile in The Economist, of all places, discusses the development of the “church-city” and the benefits it has brought with it.

Begun as a church, the plot of land north of Lagos, Nigeria now houses 12,000 people and covers more than 6,000 acres. That population will likely double by 2036.

As The Economist notes, “[m]ost African cities are messy, especially around the edges. Suburban roads are invariably crooked, unpaved and unsigned. Houses are plonked down wherever people can acquire land. Many homes are half-built . . .”

Yet in Redemption City, “[e]verything tends to work. Whereas Lagos hums with diesel generators, Redemption City has a steady electricity supply from a small gas-fired power station. It also has its own water supply. ‘We make life easy,’ says Pastor Fola Sanusi, the man in charge of Redemption City’s growth. The city also makes rules, of the kind that could never be enforced in the hurly-burly of Lagos. ‘No parking, no waiting, no trading, no hawking,’ reads one sign.”

‘If you wait for the government, it won’t get done,’” says Olaitan Olubiyi, one of the pastors. “So [Redemption City] relies on the government for very little – it builds its own roads, collects its own rubbish, and organises its own sewerage systems.” The Guardian reports that the government sometimes sends its own municipal experts to learn from Redemption City’s.

Though the properties are supposed to be kept within the community of Christians inhabiting the city, they seem to be making their way into the broader real estate market, being listed on some agencies’ websites.

Other churches in the surrounding area are currently building communities of their own. The Economist concludes: “Pentecostal Christianity has already remade many Africans’ spiritual lives. Now it is remaking their cities.”

While the concept is a bit unusual, this story reminds us that what one believes has direct consequences for society and the conditions in which we live. Our faith leads us to care for our surroundings, and religious organizations often have a widescale impact on the common good. While we are all imperfect, the Christian is (and should be) driven by principles which flow from a faith that seeks the good of our neighbor—and our cities.

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Pro-Life Law Upheld By Another Federal Court: Dare We Say “Momentum”?

by Cathy Ruse

October 22, 2018

The Louisiana law requiring abortionists to have hospital admitting privileges was recently upheld by the federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Last month, a similar Missouri law was also upheld.

This feels like momentum. 

This column contains a good description of where the legal fight stands on requiring abortionists to obtain admitting privileges.

Good, but confusing, because the Supreme Court has confused things so much. 

Here’s my attempt at a shorter description:

Prior to the devastating 2016 Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt ruling striking down Texas’ abortion safety regulations, the Supreme Court had long used the “undue burden” standard from Casey (1992) to measure the constitutionality of state abortion regulations: A law could stand if (1) the state had a legitimate reason for the law, and (2) the law did not impose an “undue burden” on obtaining an abortion (meaning it did not place a “substantial obstacle in the path” to obtaining an abortion).

But the Hellerstedt majority did not follow this legitimate reason + no undue burden formula. Instead, it asked whether the burdens from the law outweigh the benefits from the law

This is a new balancing test, and there is a lot of room for judicial shenanigans in balancing tests.

As the majority in Hellerstedt saw it, many Texas clinics threatened to close, so that showed a large burden, and since abortion was already safe in Texas (the court’s conclusion), additional safety requirements would provide little benefit.

Importantly, the court disregarded the legislators’ position that hospital admission privileges do provide a health benefit for women. 

But the recent 5th Circuit’s application of the balancing test came out differently.

In Louisiana, only one of the five clinics threatened to close. On the benefit side, the court gave deference to legislative position that admitting privileges provide “a real, and previously unaddressed, credentialing function that promotes the wellbeing of women.”

The really gratifying part of the 5th Circuit opinion is when they call out these abortionists for not even really trying to get admitting privileges—for “sitting on their hands.” One abortionist apparently threatened to close if his was the only abortion clinic left, but then when he learned that another clinic would be remaining open, he changed his position and threatened to close if his was one of only two clinics left. This shows bad faith, and the 5th Circuit wasn’t going to be played for fools. 

It would be best, of course, if the Supreme Court got rid of the Hellerstedt balancing test altogether. Perhaps that will happen now that there are a majority of justices who aren’t keen to make up fancy new standards to get the results they want. 

But in the meantime, pro-life laws are winning, even under a bad standard. 

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Our Moralized Social Tyranny and What Conservatives Can Do About It

by Caleb Sutherlin

October 19, 2018

If one party managed to accumulate 90 percent of our nation’s capital and used it to favor a political agenda, we would all be worried. But today, we see something similar in the social capital accumulated by the Left. On October 12, Justin Pinkerman joined Family Research Council’s Speaker Series to shed light on the institutions of social capital controlled by the Left

Central to his research is the idea espoused by Antonio Gramsci that one cannot just look at the political sphere when looking at a nation; also critical is the cultural sphere. Pinkerman conducted a thoughtful look at our moral and intellectual authority in civil society. The cultural sphere or civil society includes areas of “consent, persuasion, the church, morality, freedom and self-discipline.”

Moral and intellectual authority comes from civil society. Alexis de Tocqueville, a French philosopher that studied the American political system, believed that you really needed to study America’s customs to be able to explain our democracy. Tocqueville used many institutions in his research, including religion, the legal field (respect for law), and the press. At the time in 1831, religion largely controlled the education system. Similarly, the press represented American literature. Clearly, this is no longer the case.

Highlighted by Pinkerman are several facets of civil society that shape the cultural sphere of our present moment. These include journalism, the universities, the tech industry, Hollywood, the legal profession, and religion. Because people “do not have the time to research every single topic, we are reliant on other intellectual and moral sources.” In other words, many in our culture today rely on others to form their moral opinions. 

American journalism has a tendency to lean Left. All journalists are not alike, but it indicates the state of journalism to look at the strength of that lean. Between The Washington Post and The New York Times, 25 endorsements for presidential candidates were made since 1960—none have been for Republican candidates. Pinkerman pointed out that you would have to go back to 1956 to find the last time either one supported a Republican for president. Furthermore, only seven percent of journalists identify as Republican. Democrats outnumber Republicans 20 to one among journalists. This is very concerning, since intentional self-questioning is critical in order to prevent bias from filtering the news.

Colleges and universities are another sector in which a pronounced majority of faculty identify as being on the Left. In the field of social psychology, professors that favor the Left are 314 to one, though they self-identify as 36 liberal for every one conservative. There are similar breakdowns where a profession will skew greatly to one political party. Even the localities where top schools are located lean left. A person is likely to move left in their political ideology simply because of the environment that has been created in and around the top schools.

With so many people receiving their information from online sources, the tech sector is highly influential on American culture. Though companies like Google or Apple are not producing the majority of content, they do control what is seen. When looking at Google’s employees, 97 percent voted for Obama, while 91 percent of Apple’s employees did the same. Tech giants function as gatekeepers, the ones who decide what content is inappropriate or will even come up. Search algorithms of these companies have been called into question in recent years for the way they filter content.

Though difficult to find empirical evidence, Hollywood too leans left. Pinkerman cites a study that shows that for every dollar donated to Republicans, 115 were given to the Democratic presidential candidate. The elites shaping the entertainment industry and thus our thought use are clearly using their political voices to promote liberal views. One would simply need to watch some of the television and film awards shows during the 2016 election cycle to see these views on full display.

In the legal profession, around 80 percent of law school faculty members are liberal. The disparity among practicing attorneys is not quite as pronounced, with 35 percent having conservative views. This is important because the people that shape our understanding of the law, and thereby of justice, have a strong influence.

Going off of what Tocqueville studied, the only aspect that has not veered to the left is religion. Culturally and politically, religion remains diverse. Catholic clergy tend to be about 50-50, with Protestants leaning slightly left and Evangelicals to the right. There is much diversity of ideas in the religious field. However, when looking at religious studies in academia, faculty members on the left are about 70 to one.

Politically speaking, we have great protections and freedoms from the government in our current time. Our freedom seems secure from tyranny. But when looking at social tyranny, the outlook is not so reassuring. Social tyranny can easily devolve into factionalism, with one section of society needing protection from another section. James Madison warned against factionalism because it had historically led to the downfall of democracies. In his time, the expanding country made any singular ideology unlikely to take over.

Today, however, when we look at all of the main areas of our cultural establishment, there is one political sphere that is entrenched. Distressingly, many conservative voices are being squelched. College campuses are a perfect case study for this phenomenon. From speakers being disinvited to protestors disrupting events to student activists accosting conservatives on campus, there is a blatant lack of diversity of thought. 

The danger of one political ideology controlling so many spheres of public influence is that this ideology can be imposed in a way that looks normalized. Voices of opposition can easily be silenced. This can lead to a spiral of silence in which the voices of opposition become fewer and fewer over time. It will take a concentrated effort from within these industries to prevent that from happening. All Americans should keep a close eye on these industries to see if they are telling the whole story, just as we ourselves should be fair and balanced in our own judgments. Most importantly, we should call out the lack of conservative voices in every major cultural establishment and use our own voices to call for an increase in diversity of thought. Be sure to view Justin Pinkerman’s full discussion of this important topic.

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Our Gifts Received through Child Loss

by Katy Downey

October 18, 2018

As October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, I was asked by a dear friend to share my experience with miscarriage. I ultimately decided to write this because I feel I am through the dark, heavy, suffocating fog of infertility and child loss. If I am able to share any words with anyone to make them feel less hopeless or less alone, the past four years of suffering have been worth it. My husband and I together have been blessed enough to discover the gifts and beauty of infertility and child loss. This is a journey that so many of us walk, but it can still feel overwhelmingly lonely.

I married my best friend on an excessively rainy day, but we didn’t notice because we were smiling and laughing the entire time. All our friends and family joked about God’s blessings raining down on us and how this meant we’d have lots of babies. As a naïve, blushing couple, we secretly wished it would be true. We had so many hopes and dreams about growing our family. We planned out our whole path over a bottle of champagne on a beach in Antigua. But as usual, God had a much better plan.

When I reflect on our time of infertility and miscarriages, I think about how my husband and I suffered together, but we very much had to traverse our own journeys of faith and suffering separately as well. The first gift of losing a child is suffering, which counter to popular culture, is indeed a gift. Two quotes often come to mind when considering suffering and they still bring tears to my eyes. The first is from St. Faustina with whom I found so much comfort: “Suffering is a great grace; through suffering the soul becomes like the Savior; in suffering, love becomes crystallized; the greater the suffering, the purer the love.” Child loss made me profoundly feel how pure God’s love for His children truly is and how much He loves me. It shed new light on my ability to feel how our Lord and Savior feels when we offend Him, how deeply He must suffer when we hurt those He loves. It also taught me to offer up my suffering for others; crying feels more productive when you know someone else who is suffering is benefiting from it. I would often offer up my suffering for women who could have children easily, but who were not in a loving marriage and felt trapped by their pregnancies.

The second quote I hold dear is from St. Josemaría Escrivá which says, “God in His providence has two ways of blessing marriages: one by giving them children; and the other, sometimes, because he loves them so much, by not giving them children. I don’t know which is the better blessing.” This quote definitely made me ugly cry, but it helped me realize that the second gift is time. Time is one of the most precious gifts on earth, and child loss gave us time with our Lord, time with each other, time to travel the world, and time to help others. I was able to use my gift of time for and with others to share my talents or help others let their talents shine.

The third gift is one that has strengthened my trust. I had no option but to fully throw my whole soul into trusting God. All the earthly things I had put my trust into—doctors, medication, fertility charts, vitamins, and procedures—had let me down time and time again. I also had to fully trust my husband. We had to have the talk about how he didn’t marry me for my reproductive abilities, but because he loves me, all of me, even if it means we can’t have a child together. As much as we love each other, I never imagined how the solid foundation we built together could grow our love even deeper in the most amazing way.

The fourth gift all of this has brought us is a change in heart. Once our priest told us we may be praying for the wrong thing and to pray for God to change our hearts, we were able to discern that our calling was different than we imagined for so long. We, as humans, can become so blinded by our own wants and perceived needs that we forget we have no control. In our case, it was a loud and abiding call to adoption. We are now traveling down a new path that is still quite narrow and difficult at times to navigate. I also recognize, however, that this new path is indeed glorious as it is filled with light, beauty, and joy because of the gifts we have received along the way.

I urge you to find your gifts along your own difficult journey. They may be the same as ours and they may be unique to you. But remember, there are many gifts, and you are most certainly not alone. We pray for you every night and walk beside you in spirit. May God grant you peace and the ability to find your gifts along the way.

Katy Downey and her husband live in Cheverly, Md. She is a teacher for the Archdiocese of Washington.

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Atlanta’s Kelvin Cochran Settles the Score

by Alexandra McPhee

October 17, 2018

Though former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran lost the position he worked his whole life to achieve, a $1.2 million settlement on October 15 in his favor is closure to his multi-year saga defending his faith.

In January 2015, the decorated former chief and Obama-appointee was fired for authoring a religious book for men, which focused on biblical principles of marriage and sexuality. Mayor Kasim Reed had placed him on suspension and required sensitivity training before his ultimate termination.

The city gave several superficially objective reasons for giving this public servant the pink slip. But a later investigation concluded that there was no evidence that Cochran’s beliefs compromised his leadership. Cochran pursued litigation to defend his right to express his faith in his private capacity.

What it comes down to is that Cochran was fired for his articulation of long-held beliefs on marriage and sexuality. As one city council member tellingly said in response to the book, “when you’re a city and those thoughts, beliefs and opinions are different from the city’s, you have to check them at the door.” As it turns out, the city council member would have to check his own opinions at the door in the face of the $1.2 million city-council-approved payout issued with a vote of 11-3.

Last year, a federal district court ruled that the city “can’t force its employees to get its permission” to engage in free speech.

The court acknowledged Cochran’s reputation as “an excellent Fire Chief” and his mission to “assemble a group of firefighters . .  who represented diverse backgrounds, characteristics, and beliefs,” including at least two employees who identified as LGBT under his leadership.

Not all of Cochran’s constitutional arguments were accepted by the court. But Cochran’s large settlement is a signal that the city knows that it has the losing side of the argument.

The government is here for the people, not the other way around. No American should be punished simply for holding beliefs that are different from the government. As Cochran’s case demonstrates, making such a mistake can come at a price.

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Social Conservative Review - October 16, 2018

by Daniel Hart

October 16, 2018

Dear Friends,

By now, you have no doubt heard the wonderful news about the release of Pastor Andrew Brunson, an American who was wrongly imprisoned in Turkey while spreading the Gospel to the Turkish people. During an interview on Good Morning America, Pastor Brunson related a wonderful insight on how God increases the work of His servants’ hands in unexpected ways: “We’re not known people. We’re not very important people. We’ve been working in Turkey in obscurity for a number of years. But then, around the world, I think millions of people in many countries were praying for us. Even though [being imprisoned] caused us a lot of hurt, I think that God is using this, was planning to use this to bring blessing to Turkey. Now there are millions of people who have prayed for Turkey.”

This is an important lesson for all of us who are striving to live out our faith as Christians. As I know I have experienced, there are days (or maybe even weeks or months) during our faith journey when we feel like we are living in obscurity, seemingly unable to accomplish anything of importance and feeling like we don’t matter. I’m sure there were times during Pastor Brunson’s 23 years in Turkey when he perhaps felt discouraged in this way. But day in and day out for 23 years, Pastor Brunson kept the faith and ministered to the Turkish people in “obscurity.” And then, seemingly out of nowhere, he was thrust into the spotlight and into a situation he never could have imagined or asked for. And as Pastor Brunson has pointed out, God used his physically and mentally anguishing experience of imprisonment for a greater good that only He could have imagined.

Following Pastor Brunson’s courageous example, we too are called to live out our faith, day in and day out, even when we feel like we are living in obscurity. When we do this, we are preparing ourselves for the day when God will call us forth to perform a mighty work for His glory.

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

The Kavanaugh Circus Shows The Supreme Court’s Political Power Is Out of Control – Travis Weber

Man Steals Gold Medal From Top Woman in World Cycling Race – Cathy Ruse

Allied for Truth and Freedom Regarding Unwanted Same-Sex Attractions – Peter Sprigg

Hacksaw Ridge and the Value of Conscientious Objectors – Alexandra McPhee

We’re In a Spiritual Battle of Good vs. Evil. Gosnell Proves It. – Patrina Mosley

Christians Should Be Fearless in Living Out Their Faith. Even Supreme Courts Agree. – James Selvey

Pakistani Christian Woman’s Fate Hangs in the Balance – Travis Weber

Millennials and the Future of Marriage – Caleb Sutherlin

Reversing Roe—Or Ignoring Her? – Alexandra McPhee

The Unity of Body and Soul: Why It Matters – Caleb Sutherlin

Americans Can “Afford to Not Care” About Voting. Yet We Should Still Care. – Travis Weber

 

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

Defining The Thing – Dan Hitchens, First Things

Trump Signs Bill Expanding Criminal Code on Church Vandalism to Protect Religious Nonprofits – Samuel Smith, The Christian Post

Senior Google Search Engineer Advocates for Censorship of ‘Terrorist’ Marsha Blackburn – Allum Bokhari, Breitbart

Complaint prompts Utah’s Dixie State University to remove Bible, Book of Mormon from hotel rooms – Peggy Fletcher Stack, The Salt Lake Tribune

Church Ordered to Pay $13,000 in Property Taxes Heads to Court – Emily Jones, CBN News

Swastikas painted on Northern Virginia JCC – Jared Foretek, Washington Jewish Week

Americans By a 2-1 Margin Say Media Coverage Was Biased Against Kavanaugh – Micaiah Bilger, LifeNews

VICTORY! Atlanta Pays Ex-Fire Chief $1.2 Million in Religious Liberty Lawsuit – ToddStarnes.com

International Religious Freedom

Pastor Freed by Turkey Kisses American Flag, Prays for Trump – Chuck Ross, The Daily Signal

China Trying to ‘Rewrite the Bible,’ Force Churches to Sing Communist Anthems – Samuel Smith, The Christian Post

Hindu Attacks Against Christians on the Rise in Southern India – Steve Warren, CBN News

Hundreds of Chinese Christian Schoolchildren Forced to Declare They Follow ‘No Religion’ – Will Maule, CBN News

Pakistan’s Supreme Court Reserves Judgment in Asia Bibi’s Final Appeal – Persecution.org

Iran: Two Christian converts receive prison sentences – Middle East Concern

UK High Court Rules That Declining to Bake ‘Gay Cake’ Isn’t Discrimination – Troy Worden, The Daily Signal

 

Life

Abortion

When the abortion industry fights regulations, it proves it isn’t pro-woman – Cassy Fiano-Chesser, Live Action

Fact Check: Tweet Shows Exponential Growth in Planned Parenthood Campaign Contributions From 2014 to 2018 – Emily Larsen, CheckYourFact

AGAIN? Another pro-abortion activist violently attacks pro-lifers in Canada – Cassy Fiano-Chesser, Live Action

Chicago Planned Parenthood botches at least six abortions in under a year – Nancy Flanders, Live Action

Bioethics

15 Celebrities who are showing us how to welcome people with special needs – Cerith Gardiner, Aleteia

The Expansion of Assisted Suicide North of the Border – John Stonestreet and Roberto Rivera, BreakPoint

 

Family

Marriage

The Best Marriage Ever – Nancy Guthrie, Crossway

Every marriage has its rocky patches. And given good sense, survives – Harry Benson, The Conservative Woman

How Moving In Together Makes It Harder to Know If He’s the One – Galena Rhoades, Family Studies

Parenting

Lord, Teach Us—and Our Kids—to Pray – Megan Kennedy and Jared Kennedy, The Gospel Coalition

In light of Brett Kavanaugh, an indepth look at how and when character is formed in kids – Jennifer Graham, Deseret News

Regaining the Joy of Family Life: A Review of How to Be A Happier Parent – Naomi Schaefer Riley, Family Studies

The Kanye-Trump Bromance Highlights Our Culture’s Yearning For Fathers – Melissa Langsom Braunstein, The Federalist

6 Ways to Ruin Your Children – Jeff Robinson, The Gospel Coalition

Economics/Education

Higher Rent, Fewer Babies? Housing Costs and Fertility Decline – Lyman Stone, Family Studies

Faith/Character/Culture

Rejecting Second-Wave Feminism: A Review of Mona Charen’s Sex Matters – Ashley McGuire, Family Studies

Former Nightclub Owner Addicted to Drugs, Porn, Gambling Now Brings Life-Saving Water to 8 Million – Michael Gryboski, The Christian Post

Obey God with Your Creativity – John Piper, Desiring God

On Moments – Tod Worner, Word on Fire

A Morning with Big Brother – Joseph Pearce, Intellectual Takeout

Why Christians Don’t Go to Church (and Why They Must) – Joe Carter, The Gospel Coalition

Human Sexuality

School District Changes Its Restroom Policy – Then Ignores the Sexual Assault of a Five-Year-Old Girl – Sarah Kramer, Alliance Defending Freedom

How can we discuss sex ed without talking about marriage? – Andrea Mrozek, Hamilton Spectator

Biological Male Wins World Championship Event in Women’s Cycling – Peter Hasson, The Daily Signal

Human Trafficking

123 missing children found in Michigan during sex trafficking operation – Emily Jacobs, New York Post

Amnesty International Expels Member for Standing Against Prostitution – Ben Miller, National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Pornography

The Shame-Free System This All-Guys’ College House Has To Fight Porn Is Brilliant – Fight the New Drug

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