Author archives: Daniel Hart

Social Conservative Review - July 17, 2017

by Daniel Hart

July 17, 2017

Dear Friends,

In last week’s message, I discussed the growing problem of hostility to Christianity that many Americans have faced over the last 15 years and continue to face now, despite living in a free democracy.

It’s important to remember that this problem is by no means limited to the U.S.—other freedom-loving countries are also showing disturbing anti-Christian trends. In a recent survey conducted in the U.K., it was revealed that an astonishing 93 percent of Christians “believe that their faith is being marginalized in British society today.” The results were published by Premier Christian Communications, after 12,000 “ordinary Christians” took part in the survey. Commenting on the survey results, Premier CEO Peter Kerridge said that “it is ‘clear’ that the U.K. does not have the ‘liberal accepting society’ that it believes it does ‘if we don’t tolerate and accept everyone, including Christians.’” In just the past year in the U.K., a Christian nurse was fired for speaking about her faith and praying for patients, two Christians were convicted of disorderly conduct and fined for preaching on the streets, and numerous Christian schools were given downgraded statuses by the leading education watchdog group for their teachings on homosexuality and other religions.

FRC will continue to fight for the freedoms of all believers to live out their faith freely in the public square, with the hope that Christians of all nationalities will also fight for their rights. Christ’s words will forever be our guide: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

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

It’s Time to Clean Up Our Elections – Ken Blackwell

Doctors Across The World Are Fighting To Treat Charlie Gard. Will The UK Let Them? – Arina Grossu

Where Are The Decent Liberals?Ken Blackwell

The Serpents are SurfacingKen Blackwell

Movie Review: “Alison’s Choice”Lauren Hand

Those with Gender Dysphoria Can Find Healing Peter Sprigg

No Fear: Coach Kennedy’s Steadfast FaithEmma Gibney

Release Charlie GardArina Grossu

 

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

Has a Civil Rights Stalwart Lost Its Way? – Ben Schreckinger, Politico Magazine

Cakes and Consciences: The Case of Jack Phillips and Masterpiece Cakeshop – Nathanael Blake, Public Discourse

The Urgency of Restoring the Biblical Values of America’s Founders – Arthur Goldberg, Public Discourse

Passion for Equality – Mark Movsesian, First Things

The Pelvic Left Attacks an Innocent WomanAustin Ruse, Crisis

The Media’s Use of This ‘Hate Group’ Label Puts Conservatives’ Safety at Risk – Katrina Trinko, The Daily Signal

Religious Freedom Advocates Fire Back After ‘Hate Group’ Smear Over Jeff Sessions Speech – Fred Lucas, The Daily Signal

International Religious Freedom

93 Percent of UK Christians Feel Their Faith Is Marginalized, Survey Says – Samuel Smith, The Christian Post

Orthodox Jewish girls school faces closure for refusing to teach children about homosexualityBrandon Morse, TheBlaze

The New Totalitarian Laws of CanadaJohn Paul Meenan, Crisis

Chinese Nobel Prize winner dies in prison, first since the Nazi regimeChinaAid

Military Religious Freedom

US Army Tells Female Soldiers to ‘Accept’ Having Naked Men in Their ShowersSamuel Smith, The Christian Post

Work Hard, Pray Hard’: Retired General Reveals the True Path to Inner PeaceErik Rosales, CBN News

 

Life

Abortion

Video: Stephanie Gray: “Abortion: From Controversy to Civility”Talks at Google

Stunning images from inside the womb show that human life begins at fertilization – Becky Yeh, Live Action News

Oregon poised to make abortion freeSamantha Gobba, WORLD

Abortion Fanatics Don’t Want Choice, They Want Fewer BabiesMollie Hemingway, The Federalist

Bioethics

Parental and Governmental Authority in Medical Decisions: The Tragic Case of Charlie GardMelissa Moschella, Public Discourse

Je Suis Charlie, Once MoreR.R. Reno, First Things

Basic Bioethics: How to illuminate the Christian perspectiveJoe Carter, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Obamacare

Needed pro-life protections in potential healthcare legislation – Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Obamacare Is Causing Insurers To Delay Surgeries Patients Need – Richard Menger, The Federalist

Bringing Senate Conservatives and Moderates Together on Health-Care Reform – Michael F. Cannon, National Review

 

Family

Economics/Education

How to Find Hope in the Humanless Economy – Kevin Brown and Steven McMullen, Christianity Today

Here’s How Anti-Conservative Academic Discrimination Works – David French, National Review

Jobs Report Stronger Than Expected, but More Must Be Done to Boost the Economy – Timothy Doescher, The Daily Signal

Here’s Why So Many Republicans View America’s Colleges And Universities Negatively – Gracy Olmstead, The Federalist

Is California anti-family? – Joel Kotkin, Orange County Register

Think Tank: Reconsider Caring For Your Kids Because Money Matters Most – Gracy Olmstead, The Federalist

Marriage

5 Long-Time Married Couples Share Their Secrets to a Happy MarriageJenna Jonaitis, Verily

Married People Have More SexNathan Yau, Flowingdata

Premarital counseling can decrease divorce rates, psychologist saysLaren Hanson, The Daily Universe

Michigan couple, both 99, celebrates 80th wedding anniversaryEliza Murphy, Good Morning America

The 4 Crises Every Marriage Must Make It ThroughPaul Carter, The Gospel Coalition

The Adult Children of Divorce Find Their VoiceLeila Miller, Family Studies

Faith/Character/Culture

Why Is God So Hidden?J. Warner Wallace, BreakPoint

Can Ethnicity Become a Straitjacket?Mike Tong, Desiring God

Don’t be Uncle Rico: A moral snatched from Napoleon DynamiteTod Worner, Aleteia

Hospitality Is Not Just for HomeBethany Jenkins, The Gospel Coalition

What Makes Humans So Special?Matt Nelson, Word On Fire

Want to Lead a Happier Life? Be More Generous, Study SaysBrandon Showalter, The Christian Post

Human Sexuality

Symptoms, Causes and Loving Those with Same-Sex AttractionCarrie Gress, National Catholic Register

Doctors Admit They Don’t Know Which Kids Should Gender Transition But Do It To Them AnywayWalt Heyer, The Federalist

Husband, Lift Up Your EyesJohn Piper, Desiring God

Pediatrician: ‘Transgender’ ideology has created widespread child abuseMichelle A. Cretella, LifeSiteNews

Increase in extramarital sex leading to new STD epidemicFr. Mark Hodges, LifeSiteNews

Most Teens Aren’t Having Sex, and They Deserve More Support for That ChoiceAlysse ElHage, Family Studies

Oral sex spreading unstoppable bacteria – James Gallagher, BBC News

At issue: The push for gender inclusivity in toys – Chris Woodward, OneNewsNow

Human Trafficking

3 things to know about the human trafficking reportTravis Wussow, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Backpage has always claimed it doesn’t control sex-related ads. New documents show otherwise.Tom Jackman and Jonathan O’Connell, The Washington Post

Pornography

What Porn Did To Their Lives – Rod Dreher, The American Conservative

Seven Promises to Pray Against PornJ.A. Medders, Desiring God

Kay Warren: ‘I Struggled With Porn Fascination’ – Nancy Flory, The Stream

Social Conservative Review - July 3, 2017

by Daniel Hart

July 3, 2017

Dear Friends,

From its very beginnings, America has always been the destination of freedom seekers. Immigrants from all over the world have flocked to America’s shores in the hope of finding something that their own native countries often lacked, but which they knew in their hearts must be possessed by every human person: freedom.

But what is “freedom”? This is a debate that we continue to have as a country. As hundreds of U.S. citizens can attest, even a free democracy such as ours is prone to infringe upon the freedoms of its people unless it possesses a proper understanding of “freedom.”

Many think that freedom is simply the ability to choose whatever one wants. The problem with this thinking is that when someone chooses evil, it is not only bad for that person but also bad for everyone who is affected by that person’s evil choice. True freedom, in the words of one author, “is a calling to realize in ourselves what is true about us, a calling to actualize in us all what is true, good, and beautiful.” This Christian understanding of freedom is not constraining, as many argue. Rather, it is freeing. How? Because “the more one does what is good, the freer one becomes. There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just. The choice to disobey and do evil is an abuse of freedom and leads to ‘the slavery of sin.’”

The lightness of being and the joy that we experience when we freely choose good is a testament to God’s design for freedom. This Fourth of July, let us celebrate the true freedom that Christ has fashioned in our lives and in our great country.

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

Report: Attacks On America’s First Freedom Increased 76 Percent In Three YearsTravis Weber

We Must Act While We Still CanTony Perkins

Trump, Congress Should Halt Transgender Military Policy that Costs BillionsPeter Sprigg

Supreme Court Delivers Big Wins for Religious FreedomTravis Weber

Abortion Activists are Still Trying to Put David Daleiden in Jail for Exposing Planned ParenthoodTony Perkins

Pentagon Transgender Agenda Won’t Improve Military Readiness, Costs $3.7 BillionTony Perkins

Trump Set to Follow in Gipper’s Footsteps, Making Work Center of Social Welfare PolicyKen Blackwell

FRC’s Updated Hostility Report Shows Religious Organizations on the Front Lines of the Fight for Religious FreedomChris Baldacci

School Board Rigs System for Transgender WinCathy Ruse

When Campuses Become Battlefields: Protecting Free Speech in a Hostile EnvironmentIan Frith

Taxpayer-Funded Transgender Tutorial for Schoolchildren TankedCathy Ruse

5th Circuit Rejects Effort to Take Down Conscience ProtectionsTravis Weber

10 Things Every New Father Should KnowDan Hart

 

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

Nonprofit Tracker Smears Dozens of Conservative Organizations as ‘Hate Groups’Rachel del Guidice, The Daily Signal

The Southern Poverty Law Center Bears False WitnessSamuel D. James, First Things

Supreme Court Rules 7-2: Yes, Christians Are Citizens TooKathy Schiffer, National Catholic Register

Missouri Tried to Discriminate Against a Church for No Good Reason. How the Supreme Court Leveled the Playing Field.Emilie Kao, The Daily Signal

Federal Judge Rules Cross Violates Law and Must Be RemovedToddStarnes.com

Prejudice and the Blaine AmendmentsPhilip Hamburger, First Things

Indiana Christian school at center of LGBT voucher debate – Brian Slodysko and Maria Danilova, The Washington Times

Mississippi can enforce LGBT religious objections law: court – Fox News

University to remove cross and Bibles from campus chapel – Todd Starnes, Fox News

Legal Radicals Don’t Want the ‘Separation of Church and State’ – David French, National Review

International Religious Freedom

Peru Fights Back Against Gender IdeologyVictor Gaetan, National Catholic Register

Russell Moore, Franklin Graham Orgs. Urge Trump to Tackle Severe Persecution of Sudanese ChristiansStoyan Zaimov, The Christian Post

Swedish Midwife to Fight for Rights at European CourtBob Paulson, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

 

Life

Abortion

New Study Shows Why Fathers Matter in the Abortion FightVincent DiCaro, Care Net

US Rejects UN Resolution Supporting AbortionThe Christian Post

This Is The New Face Of The Pro-Life MovementTorey Van Oot, Refinery29

Oregon House Democrats pass bill providing free abortions for all, including illegal aliensValerie Richardson, The Washington Times

Bioethics

Video: How Adult Stem Cells Helped Jackie Stollfus be a MomCharlotte Lozier Institute

Doctor: Insurance Wouldn’t Pay for Patients’ Treatments, but Offered Assisted SuicideKelsey Harkness, The Daily Signal

The Court-Ordered Killing of Charlie GardIan Tuttle, National Review

When the “Right to Die” Becomes a Death SentenceMatthew Archbold, National Catholic Register

Physicians Without Chests: On the Call to End Conscientious Objection in MedicineMichael D. Stark and Grace Stark, Public Discourse

Yanking Life Support From UK Baby Demonstrates Dangers Of Socialized MedicineNicole Russell, The Federalist

Obamacare

Americans Struggling Under Obamacare Tell Pence ‘Real Story’Fred Lucas, The Daily Signal

 

Family

Economics/Education

Why Genuine Liberal Arts Degrees Are A Perfect Fit For Today’s Uncertain Economy – Christine Goss, The Federalist

The Crisis of the Economic Right and the Case for Reform Conservatism – Max Bloom, National Review

DeVos Should Take on Education’s Reformocracy – Frederick M. Hess & Michael Q. Mcshane, National Review

From playgrounds to classrooms – Leigh Jones, WORLD

We’re having fewer babies. Could that kill the economy? – Ariana Eunjung Cha, The Washington Post

Marriage

Ruth and Boaz: A Romance That Models God’s Love for UsRay Vander Laan, Focus on the Family

Faith and Marriage: Better Together?W. Bradford Wilcox, Principles

The Most Important Text on MarriageDavid Mathis, Desiring God

As Wedding Costs Rise, Perhaps It’s Time to Invest More in Marriage PrepAmber Lapp, Family Studies

PTSD and marriage: Advice from someone who’s been therePatricia Eden, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Faith/Character/Culture

Why Can’t Americans Enjoy Life?John Horvat II, Crisis

A Map of the SoulMichael Egnor, First Things

The ‘Church’ of Facebook?Alex Duke, The Gospel Coalition

In Defense of DoubtRobert B. Greving, Crisis

Christianity: A Bargain That Will Cost You EverythingJoe Heschmeyer, Word On Fire

Human Sexuality

Problems with Puberty Suppression in Treating Gender DysphoriaPaul W. Hruz, Lawrence S. Mayer, Paul R. McHugh, The New Atlantis

The Transgender Agenda vs. the ScienceRick Fitzgibbons, The Catholic Thing

Same-Sex Attraction and Therapy: It’s Time to Let People ChooseArthur Goldberg, Public Discourse

German Parliament votes to legalize same-sex ‘marriage’Claire Chretien, LifeSiteNews

LGBT Mega-Donor Reveals Next Goal: ‘Punish the Wicked’ Gay Marriage OpponentsSamuel Smith, The Christian Post

Pornography

The Brain’s Delete Button: How You Can Erase Years Of Watching Porn – Fight the New Drug

Our Odyssey Against Sexual Temptation – Jimmy Needham, Desiring God

10 Things Every New Father Should Know

by Daniel Hart

June 16, 2017

On Christmas Eve of last year, my son was born. As someone who is slow to react to big, life-changing events, the birth of my son left me mostly stunned and awestruck. For weeks afterward (more like months, if I’m honest), I would often have to remind myself that this tiny new human being was actually my son. Even though I had accompanied my amazing wife through the entire journey of our baby’s birth, it sometimes felt like he had suddenly appeared in our home out of the blue, as if a stork had flown into our backyard one day, deposited him in the grass, and flew away with a smirk.

There were times when I felt a bit intimidated by him. That may sound odd to be scared of a newborn, but occasionally it seemed as if he stared right through me, deeming me an unworthy father. This made me worry that he might not like me, that he might not smile or giggle at my attempts to entertain him, that he might cry at my attempts to soothe him, that he might wriggle away from my touch.

Well, guess what? My worries have proven to be unfounded. In honor of Father’s Day this Sunday, I present the top 10 things I’ve learned about fatherhood since the birth of my firstborn son six months ago.

1. Fatherhood begins before the child is born.

Even when your baby is still in utero, he can still hear and feel your presence as a father. The amazing extent to which unborn babies are able to do this is continuing to be discovered by science. Just as he knows his mother’s voice and can recognize other sounds that he hears repeatedly, so too will he recognize his father’s voice if it is a consistent vocal presence. Praying with, talking, reading, and singing to your unborn child is not only a great way for fathers to feel more involved in their wives’ pregnancies, but this will also help the father bond with and grow in affection for his offspring as he feels the baby kick and squirm in response. I’ll never forget the time that I played a song on guitar and sang directly into my wife’s belly—my unborn son began kicking non-stop with such energy that my wife and I could only gape at each other in amazement.

The more that fathers feel the kicks and the hiccups, the more affection they will begin to feel for their child. There will also be plenty of opportunities to attend periodic ultrasound checkups—be sure to attend as many as possible, as there’s nothing quite like seeing the amazing silhouette and unique movements of your child to begin the bonding process.

2. Feeling a bit distant from your newborn is normal.

It’s no secret that the bond between a mother and her newborn is incomparably powerful. The fact that the mother physically gestated her child for nine months and is her baby’s only source of food makes the relationship beautifully symbiotic. The reality for a new father is that for nine months, he has literally been at a physical distance, and for the first few months after birth, he most likely won’t be able to hold the child as much as his wife because of nursing demands.

So if new fathers find themselves feeling a lack of intimacy with their newborns as a result, it’s important to remember that this is perfectly normal and okay. Just like with any relationship, the love fathers have for their children will deepen as they get to know them better.

This will play out in practical ways. In time, I learned that my son prefers to be bounced to sleep instead of rocked or swayed. He is absolutely transfixed and delighted by the sight of my wife and I washing dishes and eating. He loves to stand (with our support) in high positions and turn his head from side to side to observe all that is below him. He loves to rub my beard as I carry him around, even as he is falling asleep in my arms. He prefers to ride (and sleep) in the bumpy cheap stroller that is falling apart rather than the nice jogging stroller. As fathers learn the unique quirks and mannerisms that every child develops, his love will in turn grow and deepen inextricably. 

3. Blaze your own trail to get to know your child.

Every child is unique, and in the same way, there is no one right way to dive in to fatherhood. The important thing is to just dive in. Be okay with your child screaming in your arms, because that’s how you learn to soothe him. Be okay with your baby peeing on you as you attempt to change his diaper, because that’s how you learn the best changing procedure.

Let your own creativity be your guide. Make up a special song for your baby that he will get used to so you can lull him to sleep with it and sing it while you horse around with him during play time. Don’t be afraid to be goofy, dorky, and cheesy with your kid. The ability to be a goof with your child in front of anyone is a great sign that you are getting comfortable in your own skin as a dad. It will also give you bonus points with your wife when you can give her a break by rocking your child to sleep yourself or successfully keep your child calm in the baby carrier.

4. Lean in to the suffering.

Yes, there will be times as a new father when you will feel miserable, tired, frustrated, maybe a bit angry, or experience other unpleasant feelings. It will be when your back is aching from a solid 35 straight minutes of trying to get your baby to sleep, or from changing a diaper at 4 a.m., followed by an hour of inconsolability, knowing that you have to get up for work in an hour.

Instead of just stomaching these hardships until they’re over, lean in to these moments when you know you are suffering, and turn it into a prayer offering and sacrifice. Empathize with your baby’s screams instead of letting your frustration level rise, and offer up a word of praise and pleading to the Lord. Babies have an uncanny ability to sense when you are getting stressed, and their stress level will usually rise in conjunction with yours. Your calmness and humble acceptance of the situation will generally pay off. If it doesn’t, and your wife has to save the day, it’s important not to feel discouraged because you know you gave it your best.

5. The more you give, the more you will receive.

The nature of fatherhood is to sacrifice one’s self for one’s child. This may make fatherhood sound like a dreary slog, but my experience has been very much the opposite. Giving of yourself can take a multitude of forms, both large and small.

One (seemingly) small way that fathers give is simply by interacting with their babies as much as possible. Make eye contact and be as facially expressive as you can be—your child will imitate you and respond accordingly. Just as your baby has a symbiotic relationship with its mother through nursing, you as a father can have a symbiotic relationship with your child through interaction. Since your baby has its own unique personality and you have yours, the interaction you receive from your child will literally change your brain chemistry, and vice versa. This mutual gift of self is a beautiful image of the Holy Trinity—the Father gives all that He is and has to the Son, who gives Himself back completely to the Father, resulting in the fruit and bond of their shared love—the Holy Spirt.

6. Kiss your wife in front of your baby.

Don’t be shy about showing physical affection in front of your wide-eyed baby. Children thrive on seeing a physical reminder of the union of their parents and the love they share. This display of unity can take many other forms besides showing PDA. Sharing meals together as a family, with your baby seated between you and your wife or in one of your laps, is another great way to show your child that you cherish your family unit. When a child sees the physical union present between his parents, he will feel whole and secure, because he is the physical incarnation of the union of you and your wife.

7. Your role in your child’s sense of self is vital.

As we’ve discussed, the first month or two of a baby’s life is mostly characterized by the intense bond that the mother and child share through the symbiosis of gestation and nursing. It goes without saying that this is vital to the health and well-being of mother and child, but equally vital is the father’s role in helping to nurture the baby’s independence apart from the mother. When you physically separate your baby from your wife by taking him outside the house for a walk, engaging in rough & tumble play in a separate room, coaxing him to say “dada,” giving him his first bits of grilled hamburger, or presenting him to family, friends, and your church community, you are helping your baby become a distinct entity apart from mom, which aids in the development of his own unique identity and sense of self.

8. Don’t sweat it when you fail.

There will be times when you will feel like a failure as a new father. For me, I have felt most like a failure (and still do) when I spend what feels like hours trying to coax my son to sleep, but to no avail. After a dozen different methods of cradling, patting, singing, bouncing, rocking, murmuring, and massaging have failed, unexpectedly strong feelings of anger and frustration will sometimes bubble up inside me, and after my wife takes over and I walk out of the bedroom still smarting from such a chastening experience, I sometimes fume inwardly that my own child, bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh, was not comforted by his father’s best efforts. These are the times when it’s important to remember that babies are constantly growing and changing from one day to the next. The rough patches that every baby goes through are just stages in an amazingly fast developmental process. So don’t sweat it, and be patient—your baby will soon outgrow whatever exasperating behavior you failed to overcome.

9. You image God the Father to your child.

I say this at the risk of sounding overly dramatic, but it’s true. As touched on previously, fathers have in their nature a unique way of introducing their child to the wider world beyond the home, while at the same time showing the child unconditional love. A child needs to have total and complete trust in his father and feel absolutely secure, just as we are all called to trust completely in Abba (“daddy”), our Heavenly Father. Fathers carry their babies to new environments and introduce, teach, and show their babies new sights, sounds, and smells in the backyard or in the neighborhood, just as God the Father did with Adam in the Garden of Eden. They help their babies develop new motor skills and strengthen their muscles by flying them through the air and letting them stand on their own two legs for as long as possible, just as God the Father challenges us to spiritually grow and mature.

Parents are the images of God to their children. The baby’s first experience of God is through the love shown to him by his parents. Therefore, God the Father is revealed to a child through their father in a way that is totally distinct and unique from their mother.

10. Take this advice with a grain of salt.

As you will find out, when it comes to parenthood, everyone on God’s green earth has an opinion about how to do it best, this blog post notwithstanding. It can all be a bit overwhelming. So, with that said, take my words of wisdom one last time: when there’s an opportunity for a nap, take it, and when there’s an opportunity for a beer, drink it. Happy Father’s Day!

Social Conservative Review - June 15, 2017

by Daniel Hart

June 15, 2017

Dear Friends,

In Matthew 5:21-22, Jesus says, “You have heard it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.”

This passage in Scripture comes to mind in reflecting on the tragic incident that occurred yesterday in Alexandria, Va., in which a murderous gunman attempted to kill members of Congress and their aides on a baseball field, wounding five. It’s important to ponder and take heed of this vital teaching of Christ in the volatile times in which we live.

Christ is teaching us that when we harbor malicious thoughts about other people in our hearts, they can easily fester into physical action, like angry outbursts and violence. This is why Jesus says that we must go well beyond the avoidance of outright killing. We have to get at the root of the problem, which starts in our hearts. We must root out every thought and attitude that causes us to hate others. (In these polarized times, we must insist on the true definition of “hate,” which is “intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury.” Therefore, disagreeing with certain lifestyles and public policies is, by definition, not “hate.”)

This is an important lesson for all of us who are involved in public policy and government. When it comes to politics, most of us have passionate viewpoints, which lead to passionate disagreements, which is very fitting in a free democracy such as ours that requires open and free debate in order to function. However, we must never let our passionate viewpoints turn into anger, as Christ said. As we have witnessed time and time again in our country, anger can lead to vindictiveness towards others, which can lead to violence and murder. Christ has perfect understanding of this dangerous fallibility that is present in every human heart, and therefore warns against it in the strongest terms.

May all of our most passionate views always be rooted in love for our fellow man, never anger. 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 Bigotry of Bernie Sanders – Travis Weber

Trump’s Rule on the HHS Contraceptive Mandate Ensures Religious Freedom for All – Travis Weber

Sanders’ Religious Test Goes Against Founders’ VisionTony Perkins

Bern Victim: Christians Need Not ApplyPatrina Mosley

This Pill Could Reverse a Third of AbortionsArina Grossu

President Trump Names Abstinence Education Leader to Top Post at HHS DepartmentTony Perkins

Community Health Care Centers Offer Full Spectrum of Primary Care, Unlike Planned Parenthood – FRC

An Open Letter to Bernie Sanders from a Vermont Pastor – Tim Counts

FRC Summer Reading List – Dan Hart

Testimony in Opposition to H. 1190 and S. 62 – Peter Sprigg

We’re Better Together – Dan Hart

Standing for Christ – Travis Weber

Even Liberal Feminists Can’t Resist Committed Love and Marriage – Chris Gacek

Giving to Caesar and to God – Peter Sprigg

 

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

Bernie Sanders’s Religious Test for Christians in Public Office – Emma Green, The Atlantic

Policy at Michigan College Results in Arrests for Handing Out ConstitutionAlliance Defending Freedom

Trump Administration Considering Rule That Would Help Little Sisters of the PoorRachel del Guidice, The Daily Signal

The Campus Speech Police Come to Fresno StateJake Curtis, National Review

Town Stands up to Atheist Bullies, Refuses to Remove CrossToddStarnes.com

Bernie Sanders Doesn’t Think Christians Are Fit For Public OfficeJohn Daniel Davidson, The Federalist

School: Students May Not Pray or Mention JesusToddStarnes.com

This Farmer Won’t Host Same-Sex Weddings at His Orchard. Now a City Has Banned Him From Its Farmers Market.Fred Lucas, The Daily Signal

International Religious Freedom

Petition calls for repeal of ‘totalitarian’ bill allowing children to be taken from Christian homesLianne Laurence, LifeSiteNews

Ireland’s abortion law violates human rights, UN rulesKenza Bryan, Independent

Public board orders Christian school to stop reading ‘offensive’ Bible passages – Dorothy Cummings McLean, LifeSiteNews

Military Religious Freedom

Supreme Court refuses to review case of Christian Marine who claims she was discharged over Bible verseSamuel Smith, The Christian Post

 

Life

Abortion

Daughter’s thank you note to her parents who chose life as teens goes viral – Nancy Flanders, Live Action

More abortions, more money, less real support for womenSamantha Gobba, WORLD

Harvard Law Journal: Unborn Babies are Constitutional PersonsThe Stream

Israel’s modern-day midwives offer solutions, not abortionJay Hobbs, The Stream

Most Pro-Life Laws are Based on Sound ScienceMichael J. New, National Review

Why We Kill Disabled Kids: For the Same Reason Cain Killed AbelJohn Zmirak, The Stream

Delaware legalizes abortion through all nine months – Samantha Gobba, WORLD

Adoption

Christians who reject transgenderism banned from adoption, working with children in IllinoisDoug Mainwaring, LifeSiteNews

Streamlining adoption the goal of bipartisan working group – David Meade, Lexington Herald Leader

Bioethics

Basic bioethics: How Christians should think about bioethicsJoe Carter, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Doctor: Insurance companies are denying treatment and pushing assisted suicide on patientsCassy Fiano, Live Action News

Oregon Senate votes to allow dementia patients to be starved to deathClaire Chretien, LifeSiteNews

Canadian nurse forced out for refusing to participate in euthanasia – Pete Baklinski, LifeSiteNews

Obamacare

States scramble to prevent ObamaCare exodusRachel Roubein and Nathaniel Weixel, The Hill

Fate of Planned Parenthood funding tied to Senate moderatesJennifer Haberkorn, Politico

Yes, Obamacare Really Does Disadvantage Disabled Americans – Christopher Jacobs, The Federalist

 

Family

Economics/Education

New Poll Shows What College Students Really Think About Safe Spaces – Katrina Willis, The Daily Signal

What Happens at Home Doesn’t Stay There: It Goes to School – Nicholas Zill, Family Studies

Tax Reform for Working-Class Families – Josh McCabe, National Review

Marriage

Maintaining Your Marriage During the Parenting Years – Arlene Pellicane, Focus on the Family

5 Memorable quotes that taught me how to be a better fatherMichael Rennier, Aleteia

A Vow Worth Keeping: A Review of Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give Alysse ElHage, Family Studies

Millennials Are Looking for Parental Guidance on LoveKat Talalas, Family Studies

What It Feels Like To Be A Man Struggling With InfertilityAaron Gleason, The Federalist

The global culture each child needsPatrick F. Fagan, Mercatornet

Faith/Character/Culture

How Christians Should Engage in CultureRob Schwarzwalder, The Stream

Authentic community: How online substitutes damage our empathyJonathan C. Edwards, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman Manages The Tough Task Of Winsomely Portraying VirtueGracy Olmstead, The Federalist

The Bible Got It Right: Why Going to Church Keeps You Alive LongerLorie Johnson, CBN News

Kathy Griffin and the Vanishing of ArgumentBp. Robert Barron, National Catholic Register

Bernie Sanders and the Danger of Theological Ignorance – Rob Schwarzwalder, The Stream

Human Sexuality

Study: Less sex education leads to less sexKiley Crossland, WORLD

4 biblical truths to help fight sexual temptationCasey B. Hough, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Same-Sex Attraction and Therapy: It’s Time to Let People Choose – Arther Goldberg, Public Discourse

Human Trafficking

Cambodia’s Child Sex Industry Is Dwindling—And They Have Christians to ThankKate Shellnutt In Phnom Penh, Christianity Today

Pornography

How Porn Dehumanizes Women Through Sexual Objectification – Fight the New Drug

FRC Summer Reading List

by Daniel Hart

June 9, 2017

As the warm light of the sun stretches lazily out over our summer days, infusing the early mornings with dew-bright resplendence and filling evenings with a languid glow, a single giddy thought can’t help but enthuse America: more time for reading outside! Whether you’re stretched out on a beach chair with the ocean wind nipping at the pages of your copy of Ideas Have Consequences, reclining on your deck with an ice-cold shandy in one hand and an F. Scott Fitzgerald short story collection in the other, or simply sprawled on the couch with the summer breeze blowing through your window and your John Adams biography, there’s almost nothing better in life then long summer days and a tall stack of books.

To help get your literary juices flowing for the warmer months, the staff here at FRC has helpfully collaborated on this compilation of great reads. So put your phone somewhere out of sight on silent mode, sit back, relax, and crack open a book (or a Kindle, if you must).

***

Non-Fiction

Biographies

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

This detailed biography of one of America’s foremost Founding Fathers was the inspiration for the hit Broadway musical Hamilton. Author Ron Chernow’s full-length portrait is a deep dive into how Hamilton in many ways shaped early America with his championing of often unpopular political and economic ideas.

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas

This is a gripping biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor and theologian in the confessing church, which resisted the Nazis. Bonhoeffer also participated in the July 20 plot on Hitler’s life (subject of the movie Valkyrie)—which ultimately cost him his life. While this topic is not as widely explored in the book, it is a thrilling look into a life devoted to God, and the implications of that devotion.

The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams by Philip and Carol Zaleski

This is an in-depth look at the lives of the four primary “Inklings,” the literary circle of Oxford friends who delighted in fantasy, philosophy, and the debates of religion and belief. The Fellowship describes how we came to have the authors of such works as The Lord of the Rings, Mere Christianity, The Chronicles of Narnia, and so much more. The arc of each of their lives allows us a better understanding of their celebrated works.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

A fascinating read detailing the true story of a brilliant neurosurgeon diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. His thoughts and approach to life and death are very thought provoking.

The Wright Brothers by David McCullough

This wonderfully engaging biography of the brothers who invented flight is thoroughly addicting from the first page onward. The story follows Orville and Wilbur from their beginnings as bicycle shop owners, to the famous test flights at Kitty Hawk, to the amazing flying exhibitions demonstrated before hundreds of thousands of gaping onlookers, to fights over patent rights in their later years. Throughout their lives, the Wright brothers displayed a super-human work ethic and humble tenacity that astounded their contemporaries, proving to be an immense testament to the indomitable power of the human spirit to overcome any adversity.

 

General Interest

The Assault on the Sexes by Jim Fordham

Published in 1977, The Assault on the Sexes is a remarkable book that appeared at the height of the debates over ERA (the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex). With both wry humor and solid research, Jim Fordham (“With his indispensable wife Andrea”) took on the then-nascent feminist movement by not only defending but celebrating the differences between men and women. Although grassroots efforts kept the ERA out of the Constitution, many of its principles have nevertheless been implemented since then through court decisions and legislation. The book’s slippery slope arguments that the ERA would lead to same-sex marriage or unisex bathrooms have indeed come to pass.

The Conservative Mind by Russell Kirk

Russell Kirk played a significant role in establishing the intellectual legitimacy of the conservative movement in the 20th century. His book The Conservative Mind fights the public perception that to be liberal is to be academic but to be conservative is “anti-intellectual.” He traces the intellectual history of conservatism from Edmund Burke and the principles of prudence to T.S. Eliot and the importance of faith. The book is both an overview of the movements and individuals that shaped conservative thought as well as a fascinating defense of the conservative belief in a social and political order.

The Drop Box: How 500 Abandoned Babies, an Act of Compassion, and a Movie Changed My Life Forever by Brian Ivie

This book is the inspirational account of a documentary filmmaker who travels to South Korea to film the predicament of orphaned newborns who are left in box and accepted by a pastor. In the process, the author recounts his spiritual journey of redemption.

The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech by Kimberley Strassel

A member of the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board, Kimberley Strassel provides first-hand accounts of how disclosure and campaign finance laws have been hijacked by the Left as weapons against free speech and free association, becoming powerful tools for those who are intent on silencing their political opposition. Strassel carefully catalogues how government agencies like the IRS, FEC, FCC, and SEC as well as state AGs have knowingly participated in the suppression of First Amendment rights of Americans.

Reclaiming Israel’s History: Roots, Rights, and the Struggle for Peace by David Brog

A subject that is often highly disputed, this extensively researched book catalogues the history of Israel, recounting how the Jewish people have maintained a sustained presence there for over 3,000 years, despite centuries of persecution. It also covers the untold history of Palestine’s involvement in the Holocaust, the Six-Day War, and Israel’s modern military practices.

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer

A comprehensive historical review of how the Nazis came to power in Germany, and what led to their downfall. It is an interesting historical education, and one which reminds us of the evil which can arise when human beings discard any appeal to higher authority.

Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East by Michael B. Oren

In what has been called a “towering work of history” and an “enthralling human narrative,” this impeccably researched account of the Six-Day War between the Israelis and the Arabs lays the historical groundwork for a conflict that continues to this day.

Virtue and the Promise of Conservatism: The Legacy of Burke and Tocqueville by Bruce Frohnen

In Virtue and the Promise of Conservatism, author Bruce Frohnen makes the case for the essence of virtue as being the foundation of conservatism. He argues that conservatives must return to what truly made conservativism great—a concerted focus on the structures of family, church, and community.

 

Spirituality

Between Heaven and the Real World by Steven Curtis Chapman

Grammy Award-winning Christian musician Steven Curtis Chapman shares the experiences that have shaped him, his faith, and his music in a life that has included unbelievable highs and earth-shattering lows. It includes breathtaking testimony regarding the loss of his young daughter.

Dancing Through Life: Steps of Courage and Conviction by Candace Cameron Bure

Candace Cameron Bure, former child star of the hit 90’s sitcom Full House, shares how as a participant on a reality dance competition she was able to stand with courage and conviction of her faith when all the world was watching!

Faith and Doubt by John Ortberg

Doubt is often thought to be the opposite of faith, but what if doubt could instead make our relationship with God stronger? In this book by best-selling author and pastor John Ortberg, the nature of faith is explored, particularly in the sense of how uncertainty plays a part in it. Being completely honest about doubts in the faith journey can actually lead to a sense of relief. True understanding requires honest questioning, doubting can actually lead to an increase in trust, and authentic faith can lead to profound hope. This book serves as an encouraging reminder that God desires our whole hearts—even our doubts.

Learn to 4 Give by Gil Mertz

In Learn to 4 Give, author Gil Mertz draws from nearly forty years of ministry experience to help you achieve forgiveness in your own life. He offers 4 practical, hands-on, and easy-to-follow steps that will allow you to release your power of forgiveness, resolve the pain of your past, restore peace in your present, and reclaim your purpose for the future. We all know we are supposed to forgive but this book shows you how by presenting forgiveness as a learned skill that anyone can do, if you have the right tools.

The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence

In this reflective devotional book, the 17th Century monk Brother Lawrence offers his thoughts on intimacy with the Lord, and the joy that comes from submission and walking closely with Him.

The Pursuit of God; God’s Pursuit of Man by A.W. Tozer

The author inspires with his reflections of our pursuit of God, and with how God pursues us, in this deep and enriching devotional guide.

 

Fiction

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr’s highly acclaimed, New York Times bestseller is the story of a blind French girl and a German boy whose worlds collide during the tumultuous period of WWII. Imaginative descriptions of the natural world and the devastation of a world at war are captured in intricate detail as Doerr engulfs you in his “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle). This masterpiece, ten years in the making, will keep you glued to the pages till the very end.

At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald

From the forefather of writers like C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien comes the tale of a young boy and his fantastical adventures around the globe with the mysterious and powerful North Wind. George MacDonald crafts a beautiful work of children’s fantasy literature which masterfully explores the purposes of God amidst a world filled with evil and suffering. This book is ideal for individual reading or for reading aloud to the whole family.

Battlefields and Playgrounds by Janos Nyiri

This work of historical fiction explores World War II-era Budapest through the eyes of a Jewish child. Entertaining and at times meandering, it is an interesting education of how the events of World War II impacted Budapest—from German sympathies to Russian conquest. The author, who spent his childhood in Budapest, offers a fascinating perspective on all this and how it intersected with increasing anti-Jewish sentiment throughout Budapest and around Hungary.

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

This near-1,000 page novel (with copious endnotes) of a dystopian future state in which “cleanliness” is the government’s main goal, the author explores themes of addiction and what we seek to live for. While not necessarily redemptive, the novel is entertaining, and provokes thought in a number of different areas. It isn’t known if Wallace ever became a Christian before his death, but his yearning for higher purpose and power is evident throughout the novel. Recommended for those seeking entertaining reading and some deeper musings of life.

Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset (Translated by Tiina Nunnally)

This epic historical novel set in 14th century Norway is the engrossing masterwork of Nobel Prize-winning author Sigrid Undset. It spans the full life of Kristin, a stubbornly passionate woman who is the daughter of the successful yet humble farmer Lavrans. In a Catholic culture that is still haunted by elements of paganism, Kristin is relentlessly pursued by the dashing Erlend Nikulausson against her parents’ wishes, raises seven sons with him during their tumultuous marriage, and is eventually estranged from him, but finds redemption as the world around her crumbles.

Light in August by William Faulkner

This classic novel about courage in the face of impermanence features some of Faulkner’s most striking characters: including a naïve yet determined woman who is searching for the father of her unborn child; a preacher who is haunted by memories of the Civil War; and a mysterious drifter obsessed by his mixed heritage.

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo

A quirky yet sweet young adult read about Raymie Clarke, a young girl who is dealing with the fact that her father has left her family. The story unfolds as she tries to solve the family crisis and, in the process, makes some unlikely friendships.

Without Warning by Joel C. Rosenberg

Joel Rosenberg’s latest novel is a page-turner set in the Middle East of 2017 amid the ISIS conflict. An attack on Washington occurs, resulting in a global search for the perpetrators. Conservative Christian New York Times reporter J.B. Collins gets to the bottom of the problem even as his faith is tested. The conclusion is a big surprise.

We’re Better Together

by Daniel Hart

June 7, 2017

In a recent column for The Daily Signal, Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) makes a striking observation about the current unease that has infused our society:

…[M]any Americans—poor, middle class, and wealthy—feel that something is amiss. It is a feeling that cannot be reduced to economic anxiety. Rather, there is a sense that our social fabric is fraying.

And these concerns are reflected in objective measures of family and community health.

To cite just a few of the trends that may be grouped under the rubric of “social capital”: marriage and churchgoing have declined, distrust of the nation’s institutions has grown, mixed-income neighborhoods have become rarer, regional polarization has increased, and young men who are neither working nor looking for work have become more numerous and more isolated.

We do less together than in the past, and we are worse off for it, economically and otherwise…

We do less together than in the past…” This insight hits on a deep need that all human beings share: a sense of belonging. We all have the innate desire to be needed and to belong in a community. To accomplish this, human beings need to be together. This seems painfully obvious, but as Mike Lee observed, our society has seen a decline in two of the primary institutions that foster “togetherness”: marriage and churchgoing.

The benefits of marriage to individuals and to society as a whole are incalculable, but let’s focus on the particular power of marriage to bring people together. When a man and a woman marry, they are participating in something far beyond themselves. This is most apparent in the wedding celebration itself, which attracts family and friends from far and wide who gather in one place to rejoice in the mysterious union of two people. This union stretches far beyond the wedding day, however—from that day forward, two wholly separate families are now forever joined to each other “in law.” Marriage, therefore, brings people together in a truly unique and profound way, creating an “extended family” even beyond the newly minted immediate family.

While there are countless jokes that can be made about the drudgeries of “in-laws,” there is no disputing that marriage forges new familial bonds that last a lifetime, providing husbands and wives with both the trials and joys of having a larger family than they did before marriage. This in turn creates new networks of opportunity for “togetherness,” whether it be through expanded family reunions that yield new friendships and shared passions, or new job opportunities that are made possible through extended family businesses. In the same way, marriage creates a whole new network of friends and acquaintances for the bride and groom, who each essentially have the size of their social circle doubled.

The church provides the other great venue for bringing people together. Houses of worship will forever draw us to them because of the God-sized hole in our hearts—the innate desire to reach beyond ourselves and give thanks to our Creator for giving us the gift of life and every blessing in it, and for the ability to belong to a body of believers that gives us a particular identity as sons and daughters of Christ. Furthermore, churches provide avenues for ministering to one another in both practical and spiritual ways, whether it be hosting soup kitchens and clothing drives for the needy, hosting fundraisers for a family affected by tragedy, prison ministry, running youth groups and Bible studies, and on and on. In short, a church is a place where anyone can come and feel like they belong to a community and where they can find a helping hand when in need, either physically or spiritually.

The overarching point here is this: when we are brought together in genuine and deeply rooted ways, we find true fulfilment. Marriage and the church are the primary institutions of permanence in society that provide this union of persons. God, after all, is a union of Three Persons. When we are in communion with each other, we grow in virtue. Therefore, when we as a culture diminish and abandon these institutions, we deny our intrinsic human need to belong, and we miss out on the resulting opportunities to grow in virtue by ministering to our fellow man. So let us champion marriage and the church as the great forgers of “togetherness,” and therefore of human flourishing.

Social Conservative Review - June 1, 2017

by Daniel Hart

June 1, 2017

Dear Friends,

Self-professed atheists like Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins often say that Christianity is an absurd religion that believes in things like “talking snakes.” While it’s lamentable that Maher and Dawkins feel the need to take Scripture passages out of context to prop up straw man arguments, I often wonder what they would say in response to profound Christian witness that gets to the heart of why our faith is the Truth.

I came across an example of this kind of witness recently from Fr. Peter John Cameron, O.P., who makes this penetrating insight about the nature of our God and how He conforms to the natural desires of our hearts:

If you look into your heart and consider the kind of god you deem ideal, what you come up with is Jesus. Given the chance to custom order the divinity who best satisfies the desires of our heart, we would design a deity tender and compassionate, whose joy was to accompany us as a friend in our earthly travails. We would want a god infinitely wise, eager to teach us the things we need to know in order for life to be filled with meaning and joy. We would insist on a god who was merciful and ever swift to forgive our sins… one with a special preference for the poor and the needy. We would want a god of perfect peace, promising happiness, blessing us with hope… one who was extravagantly generous and totally giving of self. We would want a god who was in love with us.

But, in fact, when we meet such a man in Jesus Christ, we can’t help but to respond the way people in the Gospel do: Where did this man get all this? Don’t we know his father and mother? Isn’t this the son of the carpenter? Which means that the automatic impulse when we meet Jesus Christ is to presume that what makes him so unique and exceptional—unlike anyone else we have ever met—is his Father.

The Son of God exposes our presumption: You know me and also know where I am from. Yet I did not come on my own, but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true (Jn 7:28). The more we gaze upon Jesus Christ in all his ineffable goodness, the more we are compelled to cry with Philip, Show us the Father (Jn 14:8). (Excerpted from Magnificat, Vol. 19, No. 4 / June 2017, p. 3-4)

May we be forever grateful to our amazing God, who consummately fulfills our truest human desire for a perfect Father.

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

Secretary Mattis: Focus on War-Fighting, Ditch the Social EngineeringLt. Gen. Jerry Boykin

Maxine Waters: The Left’s Best Against Donald Trump?Ken Blackwell

Rolling Thunder, ‘Missing Man’ tables and the BibleLt. Gen. Jerry Boykin

Democrat Outreach to Pro-Lifers Will Take More Than TalkTony Perkins

New Research Shows “Adult-Like” Nerves in Very Young Embryos: Affirming the Likelihood of Fetal PainArina Grossu

Hungarian Megachurch a Model of Salt and Light in Europe – Peter Sprigg

Budapest Family Summit Explores Ways to Revitalize the Family – Peter Sprigg

A Fitting Tribute to Memorial Day – Chris Gacek

FRC’s Arina Grossu Speaks at New D.C. Abortion Business Operated by Controversial Abortionist – Arina Grossu

Blasphemy Laws” Violate Religious Liberty – Travis Weber

Emotionally Manipulative Videos Can’t Save Planned Parenthood – Dan Hart

                                                       

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

VICTORY: Court affirms Christian’s right to refuse in good faith to make ‘LGBT Pride’ shirtsPeter LaBarbera, LifeSiteNews

Rage at Rubio’s Bible Tweets: More Evidence of Troubling Bias Against ChristiansJohn Zmirak, The Stream

Sheriff Ordered to Remove ‘Blessed are the Peacemakers’ DecalsTodd Starnes, The Stream

Undercover Planned Parenthood Video Removed from YouTube at Judge’s OrderAlexandra DeSanctis, National Review

Parents Sue San Diego School District Over ‘Initiative to Combat Islamophobia’Heather Clark, Christian News

White House Acts to Roll Back Birth-Control Mandate for Religious EmployersRobert Pear, The New York Times

International Religious Freedom

The continuing tragedy of Egypt’s Coptic Christians – Samuel Tadros, The Washington Post

Trump Should Adopt an International Religious-Freedom Policy with Teeth – Tina Ramirez, National Review

Wives of Chinese torture victims beg Congress for helpJune Cheng, WORLD

5 Ways to give persecuted Christians help beyond the hashtagDavid Mills, Aleteia

India Arrests Christians for Taking Kids to Bible CampSamuel Smith, The Christian Post

 

Life

Abortion

Why The Latest Planned Parenthood Video Is A BreakthroughBecky Visosky, The Federalist

Planned Parenthood’s Main Abortion Clinic Has Injured 4 Women in Botched Abortions Already This YearCheryl Sullenger, Life News

Planned Parenthood to Close Three Abortion Clinics in California – Micaiah Bilger, LifeNews

New law may force pro-life groups to hire abortion activistsFr. Mark Hodges, LifeSiteNews

Undercover Video Exposes Deep Contradiction at the Heart of Planned ParenthoodJay Hobbs, The Daily Signal

Planned Parenthood’s newly released annual report shows abortions have increased – againSusan Michelle-Hanson, Live Action

Adoption

Why women aren’t choosing adoption – and how pro-lifers can change thatMatt Hadro, Crux

Texas Adoption Law Could Jumpstart Christian Agencies AgainKate Shellnutt, Christianity Today

Illinois Purges Social Workers and Foster Families Who Don’t ‘Facilitate Transgenderism’ – Mary Hasson, The Federalist

Bioethics

Creating babies from skin cells turns procreation into transaction: scientistMaggie Maslak, CAN/EWTN News

Time for a “Populist” Bioethics Commission – Wesley J. Smith, First Things

The Dangerous Advance on Assisted Suicide You Probably Haven’t Heard About – Bobby Schindler, NewsBusters

Pope Francis Cautions Against Dangers of Genetic Manipulation That Can Create ‘Super Humans’ – Felix N. Codilla, The Christian Post

Obamacare

McConnell steps into Obamacare firing lineBurgess Everett and Jennifer Haberkorn, Politico

McConnell faces a challenge passing health care in SenateAlan Fram, Associated Press

 

Family

Economics/Education

Deliver Us from iPads – Heather Wilhelm, National Review

What Exactly Are Christian Schools Selling (or Marketing)? – Robert F. Davis, The Christian Post

Many Women Want Careers That Are Compatible with Raising Children – Naomi Schaefer Riley, Family Studies

The Closing of the American Mind Thirty Years Later: A Symposium – Nathan Schlueter, Public Discourse

Do-It-Yourself Biology – Deacon James H. Toner, Crisis

Obama’s regulations in 2016 to drain economy by $2 trillion – David Sherfinski, The Washington Times

Marriage

Delaying Marriage and ParenthoodJohn Stonestreet and Roberto Rivera, BreakPoint

Study: Growing Number of Millennials Believe in Traditional Gender Roles

The Surprising Link Between Broken Families And America’s Opioid CrisisTamás Ungar, The Federalist

What The New York Times Gets Wrong About Marriage, Health, and Well-BeingTyler J. VanderWeele, Family Studies

Faith/Character/Culture

To Repair Our Fractured Republic, Get To Know Your NeighborsGracy Olmstead, The Federalist

The Kids Are Not Okay—and Neither Is AmericaCollin Hansen, The Gospel Coalition

Anne With an E Trades Realism for ‘Realism’Esther O’Reilly, The Stream

Video: On Pride, Humility, and Social MediaBp. Robert Barron, Word On Fire

America’s Social Fabric Is Eroding. Government Must Avoid Feeding the Problem.Sen. Mike Lee, The Daily Signal

Human Sexuality

Nevada governor signs bill to ban conversion therapy, with exemption for religious organizationsChandrika Narayan, Fox 13

What’s at Stake in the Left’s Effort to Redefine ‘Sex’ in Pennsylvania LawMichael Geer, The Daily Signal

Men and Women Are Not the SameAlastair Roberts, The Gospel Coalition

What’s in a Name? Why Christians Should Be Wary of the Word “Transgender”Andrew T. Walker, Public Discourse

Why the New York Times Now Favors AdulteryAustin Ruse, Crisis

Human Trafficking

New Human Trafficking Foundation May Support Abortion and ProstitutionAustin Ruse, C-Fam

A vulnerable approach to ending human traffickingRaleigh Sadler, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Pornography

5 Steps for Finding Freedom From Porn and Masturbation – Alice Neaves, The Christian Post

5 Reasons Satan loves pornography – Tom Hoopes, Aleteia

Chris Rock Gets Real About ‘Damaging Affects’ of Porn – Jeannie Law, The Christian Post

Why Fighting Sex Trafficking Absolutely Involves Fighting Pornography – Karen Countryman-Roswurm, Fight the New Drug

Fighting the New Drug: Pornography – Sue Haggerty, Catholic Digest

Emotionally Manipulative Videos Can’t Save Planned Parenthood

by Daniel Hart

May 19, 2017

First, it was Star Wars director J.J. Abrams. Now, Avengers director Joss Whedon has joined the Planned Parenthood bandwagon. A Whedon-directed video entitled “UNLOCKED” was recently released portraying Planned Parenthood as the savior of women by providing cancer screenings, STD prevention classes, and birth control.

It’s a video that is long on emotional, slow-motion tracking shots accompanied by heart-rending orchestration, but short on factual reality. The first myth of “UNLOCKED” is that without Planned Parenthood, countless women would be robbed of vital cancer screenings. But this is simply not the case. According to Planned Parenthood’s own numbers, they provide a fraction of care nationwide:

Planned Parenthood performed 271,539 Pap tests in fiscal year 2014-15, out of 28.1 million tests nationwide. That’s less than 1% of the nation’s Pap tests.

Planned Parenthood performed 363,803 clinical breast exams (these are not mammograms) in fiscal year 2014-15, out of 20 million exams nationwide. Planned Parenthood’s U.S. market share for clinical breast exams is 1.8%.

Planned Parenthood’s market share in the nation’s mammograms is 0.0%. Meaning, no, they do not provide any mammograms… at all.

It’s clear from these numbers that the 13,540 health care centers in the U.S. would have no problem picking up an additional 1-2% of cancer screenings, showing that Planned Parenthood is in no way “vital” to women’s health care.

Another myth propagated by the video is that women need birth control pills in order to save them from a life of uneducated misery in servitude to a baby. This is dramatized by showing a pregnant young woman crumpling up a college scholarship, while her mother wails in agony. But if “female empowerment” is the goal, why portray an unplanned pregnancy as a hopeless void? Can’t a situation that millions of women have experienced instead be an opportunity for new beginnings and the pursuit of new dreams? The answer is a resounding “yes.” Here is another example. And here is a direct response to Whedon’s video from a woman who experienced an unplanned pregnancy herself: “Unlike the video, I had scholarships and I used them and I kept them because that’s obviously an option. And I succeeded.”

An additional glaring hypocrisy presented in “UNLOCKED” is that it positively portrays STD prevention classes and birth control pills side by side as if both are vital services to promote young women’s health. But if preventing STDs is the goal, birth control pills certainly aren’t going to help. They will in fact heighten the problem if used by young, unmarried women because of the lifestyle they inherently promote: consequence-free sex with whoever you want.

All of this is mere window dressing to what Planned Parenthood’s business is really all about: abortion. It’s by far the most massive irony in “UNLOCKED”—the biggest “service” that Planned Parenthood provides isn’t given even a passing mention in the video. One third of all abortions committed in the U.S. are done at Planned Parenthood, and the resulting baby body parts are sold for profit. It’s no surprise that Joss Whedon decided not to include that scene in the final cut.

Social Conservative Review - May 15, 2017

by Daniel Hart

May 15, 2017

Dear Friends,

A few weeks ago, an event occurred on my morning commute to work that has stuck with me ever since. As I was exiting the metro car at my station stop, I noticed a man standing to the side of the door outside of the car, waiting for myself and other passengers to exit before entering. His head was turned to his right, angrily glowering at a woman who was also outside of the car waiting to get on. As I stepped out of the car, I overhead the woman say in a low, even, and slightly nervous tone, “You heard me.” I instantly knew that she must have just uttered an insult, and was doubling down on it.

As I walked out of the metro station, I felt a churning clump in the pit of my stomach and a tinge of shame warming my cheeks. It was the same feeling I always get when I witness one person maltreating another, or right after I myself have wronged another person and immediately realize it. Think of those times when we observe a bitter argument, with insults and vilifications flying in every direction, or even in smaller disparagements that go unanswered but are no less cutting and hurtful. That bitterness seems to hang in the air, taking on a metaphysical reality that can be clearly sensed by our God-given consciences. Since our conscience is built in to our souls and delineated by our minds, and since our personhood is a union of mind and body, it makes perfect sense that our bodies react this way. When we witness the sins of others or commit sin ourselves, they physically manifest in our bodies, leaving a pit in our stomach and a bruise in our heart.

I say all this to emphasize an important principle of Christianity: nothing we do in life occurs in a vacuum. Every action has consequences. This reality is often ignored and rejected in our culture of individualism. Somehow, the idea of “victimless crimes” has become an accepted fact. This is wrong—our burning cheeks and sensitive souls tell us otherwise. The fact that we identify ourselves primarily through relationships (as a son, daughter, wife, husband, member of an organization, etc.) underscores how interconnected we are with one another and why our actions affect those around us so intimately. May we always remember that great adage that the character of Maximus instills in his soldiers in the film Gladiator: “What we do in life, echoes in eternity.”

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

GOP religious freedom bill restores free speech, not ‘dark money’Mandi Ancalle

Counterpoint: Trump — Destroying the Johnson AmendmentTravis Weber

Motherhood is Life-GivingDan Hart

Questions Abound Regarding Air Force Academy Commandant NomineePeter Sprigg

Yes, Trump’s HHS Appointee Charmaine Yoest is Pro-Life. Deal With ItDan Hart

 

Religious Liberty

Free to Believe”

Geologist Denied Samples from Grand Canyon Because of His FaithCBN News

Professor Tells Student to Stop Reading BibleToddStarnes.com

Christian Firefighter, Axed for Sharing His Faith, Now Heading to WA High CourtMark Martin, CBN News

Victory! Teacher fired for giving student a Bible — gets job backTodd Starnes, Fox News

International Religious Freedom

Global Persecution Rises for First Time in Three YearsMedium

Under Caesar’s Sword’: A Project to Aid Persecuted ChristiansJim Graves, National Catholic Register

The Land Of Athanasius and Its LessonsCharles J. Chaput, First Things

Persecution of Christians isn’t rareFranklin Graham, USA Today

Catholic School Faces LGBT Backlash for Canceling Gender Show for 5-year-oldsToddStarnes.com

Sentencing is a stark reminder of the global Islamist threatMischel Yosick, American Islamic Forum for Democracy

Whoever Wins Iran’s Election, Its Religious Minorities LoseKristina Arriaga, Wall Street Journal

Human rights lawyer unjustly tried for subversion in Hunan, pleads guilty after months of tortureChinaAid

Military Religious Freedom

Trump’s Army Secretary nominee: The left trying to ‘paint me as a hater’ for my Christian viewsPeter LaBarbera, LifeSiteNews

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

Religious Liberty and the Common GoodGerard V. Bradley, Public Discourse

Gay couple can sue Kim Davis for damages, appeals court rulesLianne Laurence, LifeSiteNews

Christians Fight for Freedom of Conscience in IndianaPeter Heck, The Christian Post

Bible club for 1st-, 2nd-graders shut down by school district after complaintDave Urbanski, TheBlaze

Catholic’ college bans Chick-fil-A over gay students’ complaintsPeter LaBarbera, LifeSiteNews


Life

Abortion

The Problem With Linking Abortion and Economics – Lori Szala, The New York Times

Left Wants To Make Abortion An Economic Issue To Sideline Its AtrocitiesCullen Herout, The Federalist

The Real Life of the Pro-Life HomeRachel Jankovic, Desiring God

Thaddeus was almost aborted because of a rare disorder. His parents chose life, and saw a miracleDoug Mainwaring, LifeSiteNews

Adoption

Children Before PoliticsKevin D. Williamson, National Review

Bill protecting the religious freedom of Alabama faith-based adoption agencies officially becomes lawJordan LaPorta, Yellowhammer

Emotional Video of Adopted Man Thanking His Birth Mother Goes ViralSteven Ertelt, Life News

Bioethics

Sex Scandal: The Drive to Abolish Male and Female—and ChildbearingAlastair Roberts, The Gospel Coalition

The Embryo Orphanage: A Cautionary TaleAna Maria Dumitru, Public Discourse

Physician-Assisted Suicide Tells People Like Me That Our Lives Are No Longer Worth LivingZachary D. Schmoll, Public Discourse

Canada Considering Proposal to Allow Euthanizing Mentally Ill PatientsEric Metaxas, Life News

International furor erupts over embryo jewelry business  Samantha Gobba, WORLD

Obamacare

Aetna to exit Obamacare exchanges in 2 remaining states – Reuters

The House Has Passed Its Health Care Bill. Here’s What Senate Republicans Are Up To. – Sen. Mike Lee, The Daily Signal


Family

Economics/Education

The Decline of Mobility and the Decline of the Family – Robert VerBruggen, Family Studies

The Men Who Take ‘Women’s‘ Jobs – Alana Semuels, The Atlantic

Hidden horror of school sex assaults revealed by AP – Associated Press

Marriage

The Norm of Marital Monogamy Is Not Crumbling – Alan J. Hawkins, Family Studies

Stuffing Emotions is a False Way to Keep the Peace in Your Marriage – Lysa TerKeurst, Focus on the Family

What Makes Motherhood Worthwhile? – Rhonda Kruse Nordin, Family Studies

Video: Reclaiming Fatherhood Promotes Equality – The Wheatley Institution

The Brain Boosting Power of MotherhoodAshley McGuire, Family Studies

What our stay-at-home mom taught us about human dignityJill Waggoner and Allison Hucks, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Faith/Character/Culture

Breaking Free From Identity Politics – Stephen Adubato, Ethika Politika

The real tragedy in the shooting of Jordan EdwardsJemar Tisby, CNN

Historian George Marsden revisits C.S. Lewis’s remarkable case for ‘Mere Christianity’Richard Ostling, GetReligion

How to Take Every Thought CaptiveRob Schwarzwalder, The Stream

Human Sexuality

4 Really good reasons ‘hooking up’ is a bad ideaChloe Mooradian, Aleteia

How Can You Live Without Sex?Ed Shaw, The Gospel Coalition

Democrats introduce bill to ban LGBT ‘conversion’ therapySteve Weatherbe, LifeSiteNews

Sharing Dinner and Jesus with StrippersSarah Eekhoff Zylstra, The Gospel Coalition

How Conversion Therapy Bans Will Trap Transgender ChildrenMarcus Gregory, The Federalist

Too young to cross a street but old enough for a sex changeJulie Borg, WORLD

Researchers Identify 6,500 Genes That Are Expressed Differently in Men and WomenWeizmann Wonder Wander

Pornography

4 Dozen Millennials Were Asked If They’d Watch Porn With Their Partner—Here’s What They Said – Fight the New Drug

Is Porn OK If It’s Made by Women? – Chelsea Samelson, Acculturated

Motherhood is Life-Giving

by Daniel Hart

May 11, 2017

Every May, our country is given the opportunity to reflect on and appreciate a tremendous blessing that God has bestowed on humankind: the gift of motherhood. Mother’s Day is this Sunday. It’s a day to celebrate and honor not just our own mothers, but the capacity that is present in all women to be life-giving, spiritual mothers.

Motherhood is indeed “life-giving” in two fundamental ways: in both a spiritual and physical sense.

First, the spiritual sense. We all have experiences of “mother figures” in our lives that illustrate why spiritual motherhood is so critical to human flourishing. Perhaps the foremost aspect of spiritual motherhood is that wonderfully mysterious and extraordinary power of empathy. This ability to deeply understand and journey with another person in a profoundly personal way is multifaceted, whether it be in shared rejoicing in our successes, offering true comfort when we are hurting, or challenging us to be more of who we are. Mother figures are the ones that make us feel comfortable in our own skin, and make the world feel like a more restful and cozy place. They are the ones that gaze at us in wonder and affirm us for who we are, reminding us of how good it is that we simply exist, which is a reflection of God’s unconditional love for us.

Mother figures are everywhere, enriching our lives in limitless yet often overlooked ways. They are the grandmotherly neighbor who lovingly coos at our newborn child on the sidewalk; the friendly station manager lady that greets each commuter with a personal and genuine smile; the female friend who knowingly listens to our relationship woes with real pathos; the lady across the street who bakes a fresh batch of chocolate-chip cookies to make us feel welcome in our new neighborhood. Without this kind of spiritual motherhood permeating everyday life, society would disintegrate into savagery.

Physical motherhood is life-giving in a more obvious sense, but no less mysterious. Anyone who has witnessed the birth of a child cannot help but be in awe of the magnitude of the moment and its hint of the eternal; a brand new human life, once hidden and silent behind a veil of skin, suddenly there in front of you, wriggling, bloody, pink, and wailing. This illuminates a wonderful paradox of motherhood—it is at once fierce in its labor of love as the mother toils relentlessly through one contraction after the next to propel her child into the world, and yet soft, warm, and tender as she cradles the new life she has delivered.

This motherly fierceness/tenderness never ceases; think of the ferocity of a mama bear protecting her cubs or the Italian mother giving a piece of her mind to anyone foolish enough to wrong her son. Now think of the tenderness that only a mother can bestow; the gentle doting that we gratefully soak up when we are sick, the kisses and caresses we receive just for being a son or daughter, the hurt that our mother feels just as much as we do when we are suffering—mothers suffer not just beside us, but with us, helping us to navigate restless waters.

Mothers are therefore essential to building a culture of life. They nurture life in the womb and in their families and lovingly cultivate their homes, which in turn cultivates society. Mothers bring people alive by giving them an encounter with the Source of love, which is Christ—who is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6)—the life-giving presence in all of us.

Mary, the mother of Christ, further illuminates another crucial aspect of motherhood in the Gospels. Luke 1:38 illustrates her example of gratitude and trust in the Lord: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.” In saying this, Mary recognizes and acknowledges the Source of her child, entrusting him to God the Father.

Her trust is tested further in Luke 2:34-35 with Simeon’s prophesy regarding her son and herself: “This child is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” The unimaginable faith that she possessed to endure her own innocent son’s torture and crucifixion, at the very foot of his cross, no less (John 19:25), is a testament not only to the fierce lengths to which mothers will suffer with their children, but also to the trust they place in knowing that their children’s fates are ultimately in the Lord’s hands.

In the same way, all mothers are called to ultimately let their children go, entrusting them to the Father. Think of all the mothers who have lost their children to miscarriage, abortion, or untimely death, and of all mothers who are suffering because of their children’s estrangement from them. Even though their children are beyond their reach, they are mothers nonetheless who are called to follow the example of Mary and entrust their children to the Lord.

The unique, God-given capacity for motherhood that all women possess is something that our utilitarian culture tends to downplay and even treat with derision. This is tragic. When gender differences and the unique facets of humanity that emanate from womanhood (and manhood) are tamped down because of political correctness, everyone loses. The motherly instincts of women should instead be celebrated for the countless ways that they enrich all of our lives.

This Mother’s Day, let us thank God for the boundless blessings of all the mothers in our lives, both spiritual and physical.

Archives