Author archives: Rob Schwarzwalder

The Social Conservative Review - April 28, 2016

by Rob Schwarzwalder

April 27, 2016

Dear Friends,

Modern culture is overloaded with news, social media, electronic images, technological advances, advertisements and so forth. The limits of our time and attention are pressed to new boundaries every day by the flood of external data hitting us from every angle.

There is so much happening in our society and our world that keeping up with it all is impossible. So, with respect to issues of concern to social conservatives and Christians who care deeply about the future of our country, the dignity of all people, and the persecuted around the world, FRC brings you The Social Conservative Review. It’s a unique, one-stop-shop for news and commentary about the critical moral and cultural issues of our time.

This is a content-heavy edition of SoCon. That’s because there’s much to report in the key areas where FRC works to advance religious liberty, human dignity, the health of the family, and the sanctity of life. But that’s also why we send out these editions every two weeks, to give you a chance to read the best of the Web on the issues you care about.

Thanks for your heart for the good things for which FRC stands. Pray we’ll keep standing, and moving forward, with the grace and truth Jesus embodied.

Sincerely,

Rob Schwarzwalder

Senior Vice-President

Family Research Council


Religious Liberty

Free to Believe”

International Religious freedom

Military Religious Freedom

Religious Liberty in the public square

 

Life

Abortion

Adoption

Bioethics

Obamacare

 

Family

Family Economics

Marriage

Human Sexuality (homosexuality/ gender issues)

Human Trafficking

Pornography

What’s Next in a Blurry Culture

by Rob Schwarzwalder

April 21, 2016

Ideas have consequences, Richard Weaver reminded us years ago. What someone believes will affect his behavior. What society endorses will consummate in certain results.

We are living in a time when blurry is the new normal. As Christian rocker Randy Stonehill wrote years ago:

    Right is wrong and wrong is right
    White is black and black is white
    I think I just lost my appetite
    Stop the world I wanna get off

Well, his last plea cannot be fulfilled (and where would we go if it could?), but his larger point—moral confusion is one of the gods of the age—is more valid by the day. Here are some scenarios that are wholly possible at a time when gender is seen as “fluid,” petulant insistencies are seen as “rights,” and petty (and often fabricated) emotional duress is seen as “micro-aggressive.”

Transgender use of restrooms and showers: A man, clothed in attire traditionally identified as masculine and short, crisply-parted hair, walks into a women’s locker room at a gym. The women there are upset and demand he leave. His response: “I am a transgendered man who prefers wearing men’s clothing and cutting my hair in a manner consistent with accepted norms for professional male hairstyles. But I identify as a woman and have every right to be here.”

Marriage: Three men and two women insist upon the right to marry. They argue that the definition of marriage as the union of only two people is arbitrary and culturally-based. They assert that their affection for and commitment to one another, and their free volitional choice to unite in matrimony, entitle them to legal marriage. They cite Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s statement in his Obergefell opinion that “In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.” If two people become something greater than once they were, how much greater will five? Who is anyone to say that the five of them don’t mutually fill one another’s needs uniquely?

Legal accountability: “A Connecticut judge declined on (April 14) to dismiss a lawsuit brought against the maker of the assault-style rifle that a gunman used in the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School to fatally shoot 26 people before killing himself,” reported the New York Times earlier this month.

How about this: A woman is hit by a drunk driver and experiences physical trauma. She sues the manufacturer of the vehicle’s tires for enabling the guy behind the wheel to automate his car and, in his drunken state, hit her.

Hate speech and coercive silence: Is it hateful to quote a Bible verse, express a controversial opinion, or hold an unpopular view? Fascism was supposed to have been America’s enemy in the Second World War; is it now our accepted modus vivendi?

The University of California, Los Angeles Graduate Student Association approved a resolution Wednesday calling those who do not support a pro-Palestine agenda ‘Islamophobic’,” according to reporter Peter Fricke. This is but one example of hundreds, even thousands, of how the Left is seeking to compel uniform cultural allegiance to its agenda and the silencing of those who resist it.

Chai Feldblum, a Georgetown Law Center professor and an Obama appointee to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, makes it very clear that religious liberty is subordinate to the special privileges of people who identify as lesbian or gay:

For all my sympathy for the evangelical Christian couple who may wish to run a bed-and-breakfast from which they can exclude unmarried, straight couples and all gay couples, this is a point where I believe the “zero-sum” nature of the game inevitably comes into play. And, in making that decision in this zero-sum game, I am convinced society should come down on the side of protecting the liberty of LGBT people.

What’s next? How about these:

  • Teaching the eternal destruction of those who refuse to trust in Christ as their Savior and Lord is made illegal as it is “hateful.”
  • Telling one’s daughter she must dress as a girl is deemed “oppressive” and “genderist.”
  • Preventing people from eating certain foods because they are deemed inherently unhealthy, or in some way tracking the eating habits of ordinary citizens so as to restrict their intake of various kinds of foods.
  • The Supreme Court voiding all laws against full legal recognition of same-sex unions as marriages.

Oh, wait…

Social Conservative Review - April 14, 2015

by Rob Schwarzwalder

April 15, 2016

Dear Friends,

News about the persecution of Christians around the world has become more frequent and more vivid. We are jarred by the growing stream of photos showing bloodied corpses and crying children, by reports of gruesome slaughter and indiscriminate massacres. In many places, professing faith in Jesus is requiring the ultimate sacrifice.

FRC is calling on Christians throughout America to “Stand with the Persecuted” this coming Sunday, April 17th. With our friends at Open Doors USA, The Voice of the Martyrs, the Institute on Religion and Democracy, In Defense of Christians, Christian Solidarity Worldwide-USA, International Christian Concern, and the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative, we’re issuing a call for churches nationwide to show a brief, two-minute video, distribute a special bulletin insert, and spend time in prayer for our persecuted brothers and sisters internationally.

Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body,” we read in Hebrews 13:3 (ESV). This coming Sunday, let’s do just that.

Rob Schwarzwalder

Senior Vice-President

Family Research Council


Lectures

April 11 - Warren Cole Smith: “Restoring All Things: God’s Audacious Plan to Change the World Through Everyday People”

How can Christians tell our story in a culture that is increasingly hostile toward our message? Warren Cole Smith, V.P of Mission Advancement for the Colson Center for Christian Worldview and former Associate Editor at WORLD Magazine, answered this question in an FRC lecture concerning his new book, Restoring All Things: God’s Audacious Plan to Change the World through Everyday People. Co-authored with another longtime friend of FRC, the Colson Center’s John Stonestreet, the book shares “inspiring real-life stories of justice, mercy, love, and forgiveness in our communities and neighborhoods, (through which) you’ll encounter a God who is intimately involved in His creation and using His church to work out the redemption of this world.”

April 6 - Religious Liberty Around the World: Where We Stand as of Spring 2016

Religious believers around the world experience violence, repression, and exile of various forms and degrees. It deserves our attention and America’s action.

This lecture featured remarks by former Congressman Frank Wolf of the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative; Dr. Thomas Farr, Director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University; Tina Ramirez, Founder and Executive Director of Hardwired Global, an organization focused on training and promoting religious freedom around the world.; and Pervez Rafique, President of Bleeding for Belief, an organization working to stop religious persecution in Pakistan and former Member of the Punjab Provincial Assembly in Pakistan.

March 30 - ISIS, Sharia, & the Islamic State Phenomenon: The Caliphate in Light of Sharia

There is perhaps no better authority on radical Islam than someone who at one point espoused that very system of belief. Al Fadi, a former Wahhabi Muslim who has come to trust in Jesus Christ, now works to educate and equip others about Islam for the purpose of reaching Muslims for Christ. In this fascinating lecture, Al explains how sharia and the caliphate drive ISIS and other radical groups in the ideological conflict into which we and many others have been drawn.

Al Fadi is the founder and director of CIRA International, a ministry focused on training and equipping Christian leaders and laypersons on reaching out to our Muslim neighbors, for the purpose of effectively sharing Christ and His message of salvation and hope with them.

Op-ed and Blogs

Ken Blackwell, Senior Fellow for Human Rights and Constitutional Governance

Cathy Ruse, Senior Fellow for Legal Studies

Tony Perkins, President, FRC

Rob Schwarzwalder, Senior Vice-President for Policy

Travis Weber, Director, Center for Religious Liberty

Publications

The Value of Religious Organizations and Businesses to Society,” by Travis Weber. This significant study of how Christian-based companies benefit our culture and economy makes the case the faith should not be divorced from professional life. As Travis notes, “profit making should not exclude a business from having ethical standards and a conscience, whether for large corporations or family owned businesses.”

Investigating Planned Parenthood and Research Using Aborted Babies,” by Arina Grossu, Director, Center for Human Dignity. An update of Arina’s earlier work on this disturbing issue, “This paper synthesizes what we know of Planned Parenthood, its aborted baby parts harvesting, the operations of biotech companies involved in this industry, and its end-consumers, including NIH and FDA taxpayer-funded programs. Planned Parenthood performs about 30 percent of all abortions in the U.S.”

Obeying God, Not Men

by Rob Schwarzwalder

April 5, 2016

In a serious, probing article in Christianity Today, political scientist David Koyzis argues that American Christians are facing an increasingly hostile culture, one which may drive them to a position of respectful but undeniable defiance to a usurping state. 

As FRC has documented, there are far too many examples of believers in our country whose convictions concerning the Savior’s truth outweigh their willingness to accede to government’s demands.  Will this become more widespread?  Undoubtedly, if we refuse to use the political tools we possess to defend our God-given liberties.

Koyzis’s piece is cautious and thorough.  Not every reader of this blog will agree with all of his conclusions, but his efforts to be faithful to Scripture’s demands are admirable and there is much truth to be gleaned from his observations.  As we might be coming to a time when, as the Body of Christ, we will need to “obey God, rather than man,” as Peter put it (Acts 5:29), honest followers of Jesus should contemplate what might be required of them.

Below, I excerpt a few passages from the article I found particularly bracing. 

Among (American) believers, complaining about Caesar’s heavy yoke can look like an affront to victims of genuine persecution—the violent kind meted out by ISIS fighters. It all adds up to a strong presumption that unless there’s a clear family resemblance to the civil rights movement, civil disobedience is simply beyond the pale.

But given the trend lines of our culture, it’s time to rethink this presumption. Christians face intensifying pressure to compromise their convictions and conform to secular ideologies. Calculated lawbreaking won’t be the right response to every government provocation, and it should never be undertaken lightly—especially in democratic societies where offensive laws can be debated, protested, and changed. But no one who confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord can meekly submit to the proposition that man-made laws are sacred and inviolable. We need to restore a bold willingness to treat principled resistance as a live possibility, rather than a relic of a bygone era … (Emphasis mine)

Where we can change laws and constitutions, let’s make every effort to do so. But it’s no secret that Christian convictions run seriously afoul of the spirit of the age. Caesar’s edicts may create situations where living them out puts us on the wrong side of the law.

Civil disobedience is our very last resort, to be contemplated only with fear and trembling. But by no means can faithful believers rule it out of bounds.

Stand with the (Unstoppable) Persecuted” Church on Sunday, April 17th

by Rob Schwarzwalder

March 31, 2016

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is unstoppable.  Consider what happened last year when 21 Christians were beheaded on a beach along the shores of the Mediterranean:

Undaunted by the slaughter of 21 Christians in Libya, the director of the Bible Society of Egypt saw a golden gospel opportunity. “We must have a Scripture tract ready to distribute to the nation as soon as possible,” Ramez Atallah told his staff the evening an ISIS-linked group released its gruesome propaganda video. Less than 36 hours later, “Two Rows by the Sea” (the story of the Libyan victims) was sent to the printer. One week later, 1.65 million copies (had) been distributed in the Bible Society’s largest campaign ever.

We weep with the families of those slain and pray for their killers.  But we also rejoice that what man planned for evil, God has used for good (Genesis 50:20).

Yet even as human evil can be employed by the Lord of all for His glory, He never excuses or countenances it, and He calls on His people to oppose it (see, as just one of many scriptural examples, Psalm 82:3-4).

That’s why FRC and our allies Voice of the Martyrs, Open Doors, In Defense of Christians, and the Institute on Religion and Democracy are hosting “Stand with the Persecuted Sunday” on April 17th.

We are calling on churches across America to “view a brief, two-minute video, distribute a special bulletin insert, and spend time in prayer for our persecuted brothers and sisters internationally.”

To learn how your church can participate, go to http://frc.org/stand.  Stand with “the least of these, His brethren,” and thereby stand with the unstoppable Lord Jesus Himself.

Social Conservative Review: An Insider’s Guide to Pro-Family News March 31, 2016

by Rob Schwarzwalder

March 31, 2016

Click here to subscribe to the Social Conservative Review


Ten states in the US now ban some of the most inhumane forms of animal confinement, several including rules on the treatment of egg-laying hens,” writes Humane Society Vice-President Paul Shapiro in Quartz.  “The more Americans learned about how eggs are produced, the greater their concerns over animal cruelty became. The changing tides pushed both lawmakers and corporations to act.”

No decent person should rejoice over cruelty to any animal.  But how about unborn children?

On Monday of this week, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed a measure “requiring doctors to administer anesthesia to women receiving an abortion at the 20th week of gestation … The bill, the first of its kind in the nation according to the Salt Lake Tribune, states that an anesthetic or analgesic will ‘eliminate or alleviate organic pain to the unborn child’.”

A growing body of science reveals (that) unborn babies can feel pain by 20 weeks post-fertilization,” writes the Director of FRC’s Center for Human Dignity, Arina Grossu, in her study of fetal pain.  Yet for taking this thoughtful, commonsense, and simply humane step, Gov. Herbert has been castigated by abortion advocates and their allies in the media. 

The legislation is based on the disputed premise that a fetus can feel pain at that point,” writes the New York Times.  The online magazine Slate accuses the governor of “defying medical ethics.”  And the Leftist Think Progress site shouts that the Utah bill “Could Literally Kill Women.”

Why are these proponents of abortion-on-demand so upset?  Because the Utah bill operates from the premise that the unborn child should not be dismembered without at least some numbing of its excruciating pain, which itself implies that the unborn child must have some value. 

This they cannot admit: If the unborn child has any value independent of her mother, she must be – what, a person?  And that would mean that maybe we should revisit the whole elective-abortion-at-any-time regime imposed by Roe v. Wade, the sacred text of radical sexual autonomy and a culture that dehumanizes life within the womb.

Yes, let’s treat chickens with consideration. But those who see legalized and unrestricted access to abortion as among the highest priorities in our national life should consider the words of Jesus to His disciples: “You” — people made in the image and likeness of God, from fertilization onward (Psalm 139:13-16) — “are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:31).  And many chickens, too.   

Sincerely,
Robert F. Schwarzwalder, Jr.
Senior Vice-President
Family Research Council

P.S. At noon on April 6, be sure to watch FRC’s panel discussion, “Religious Liberty Around the World: Where We Stand as of Spring 2016,” hosted by the Director of FRC’s Center for Religious Liberty, international human rights attorney Travis Weber, and featuring national leaders in the effort to protect the persecuted in all countries.


Religious Liberty

Free to Believe” –

International Religious freedom-

Military Religious Freedom

Religious Liberty in the public square

Obamacare

Life

Abortion

Abstinence Education

Adoption

Fetal Pain

Healthcare conscience

 

Family

Family Economics

Marriage

Human Sexuality (Homosexual/ gender issues)

Human Trafficking

Pornography

Welfare Reform

MEMO TO THE STATE DEPARTMENT: CHRISTIANS WERE MURDERED IN LAHORE. THAT’S C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N-S

by Rob Schwarzwalder

March 28, 2016

Yesterday, “Jamaat-e-Ahrar, a splinter faction of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility” for a suicide bombing in Lahore, Pakistan that killed at least 69 people and wounded about 300. Why? Jamaat-e-Ahrar makes its reason very clear: “Its spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, said in a statement that Christians were the target.”

The Taliban murders Christians on Easter Sunday: This is the essential headline of myriad news reports, at home and abroad. But you’d never know that Christians were in the killers’ bulls-eye from the U.S. State Department’s news release. “The United States condemns in the strongest terms today’s appalling terrorist attack in Lahore, Pakistan. This cowardly act, which targeted innocent civilians in the Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park, has killed dozens and left scores injured,” says the statement. No mention of the Taliban. No mention of Islamism and it’s brutal aggression. And no mention of Christians.

What happened yesterday in Lahore was the mass murder of Christians by Muslim radicals. This is not a statement of bigotry or an overreaction to violence. It is not inflammatory or hostile or anti-Muslim. It is a statement of fact, based on the remarks of the killers’ official spokesman (a sickening thought — barbarians have a “spokesman”) and the indisputable carnage at a park where Christian children were playing after Sunday services.

Yet this administration cannot summon the moral courage to say what actually and obviously occurred. This is repulsive and a shame to our country, which proclaims itself “the home of the brave.”

Former federal prosecutor and expert on radical Islam Andy McCarthy, in a recent lecture at Hillsdale College, said, “In the real world, we must deal with the facts of Islamic supremacism, because its jihadist legions have every intention of dealing with us. But we can only defeat them if we resolve to see them for what they are.”

The Obama Administration lacks such resolve. Its fear of giving offense exceeds its willingness to defeat our enemies. Brussels, Lahore, San Bernardino, 9-11: the list goes on and on, as does the Islamists’ intention of destroying us.

It is hard to know how to destroy an ideology grounded in a fanatical faith. But at least we can destroy those of its adherents intent on spreading their faith through vicious brutality. We must do this, even if it necessitates a recognition that such destruction could be a multi-generational endeavor. The security of 320 million Americans and the dignity of human life worldwide demand it.

Listen to FRC’s Executive Vice-President, Lt. Gen. (ret) Jerry Boykin, talk with FRC President Tony Perkins about the threat of radical Islam in a March 21 broadcast of Tony’s “Washington Watch” radio program.

Backpage’s (Rightful) Front Page Humiliation

by Rob Schwarzwalder

March 17, 2016

This afternoon, the U.S. Senate voted “to hold the classified advertising website Backpage.com in civil contempt for failing to comply with a congressional subpoena into how it screens ads for possible sex trafficking. The vote was 96-0.” The vote will force Backpage to cooperate with a previously-issued Senate panel subpoena and account for its facilitation of sex trafficking.

The issue at stake is nothing less than basic decency and the commodification of human lives – in many cases, teenagers and even small children. As Senate Majority Leader McConnell said today on the floor of the Upper Chamber: “The Homeland Security Committee’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations … probe has revealed how trafficking has flourished in the age of the Internet. It’s also revealed how many cases of sex-trafficking — including cases involving children — have been linked to one website in particular: Backpage.com. One national group that tracks the issue has told the subcommittee this: nearly three-quarters of all suspected child-sex trafficking reports it receives from the public through its tip line have a connection to Backpage.”

As Portman and McCaskill said in a joint statement, “Backpage.com’s ongoing obstruction of this investigation will not be tolerated. Our goal is to uncover how sex traffickers get away with selling countless victims through online black markets, so that Congress can devise legislation to more effectively combat this heart-breaking crime … With estimated annual revenues of more than $150 million, Backpage is a market leader in commercial-sex advertising and has been linked to hundreds of reported cases of sex trafficking, including trafficking of children. In a bipartisan staff report issued two months ago, the Subcommittee revealed evidence that Backpage has had a practice of editing advertisements before they are posted by deleting certain words and phrases, which likely served to conceal illegality. The subpoena seeks more information about that practice, but Backpage has refused to turn over documents.”

Now a day of reckoning will come. All decent people can look forward to it, not just so that Backpage will be held up to the public disdain it deserves but so that, through appropriate legislative action, it’s conduit for the selling and buying of human beings will end.

To learn more about human trafficking, watch a presentation by the Director of FRC’s Center for Human Dignity, Arina Grossu, on “The Link Between Pornography, Sex Trafficking, and Abortion,” and read “Modern Slavery: How to Fight Human Trafficking in Your Community,” by attorney J. Robert Flores, who has represented several anti-human trafficking organizations and served as Administrator of the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in the administration of President George W. Bush.

Social Conservative Review: An Insider’s Guide to Pro-Family News March 17, 2016

by Rob Schwarzwalder

March 17, 2016

Click here to subscribe to the Social Conservative Review


At last: The Obama State Department has finally and formally acknowledged that ISIS is committing genocide in the Middle East.  This follows a unanimous vote (383-0) in the House of Representatives on March 14 to “(declare) the Islamic State is committing genocide against Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East.”

FRC has spoken about this issue for months, even years.  FRC President Tony Perkins, FRC Senior Fellow and former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Commission on Human Right Ken Blackwell, the Director of our Center for Religious Liberty, international human rights law expert Travis Weber, J.D., and this author have all called for official U.S. recognition of the fact that ISIS, or “Daesh” as it calls itself, is committing genocide against Christians and other religious groups in the areas where it inflicts itself upon their historic residents.

Daesh is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control,” said Secretary of State John Kerry today, “including Yezidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims. Daesh is genocidal by self-proclamation, by ideology, and by actions – in what it says, what it believes, and what it does. Daesh is also responsible for crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing directed at these same groups and in some cases also against Sunni Muslims, Kurds, and other minorities.”

Genocide is defined as “a crime of intentional destruction of a national, ethnic, racial and religious group, in whole or in part” in the 1948 U.N. Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.  That genocide is occurring is undeniable, especially in light of a new, authoritative, 300-page report issued by the Knights of Columbus and In Defense of Christians  that documents “over a thousand instances of ISIS’s deliberately massacring, killing, torturing, enslaving, kidnapping, or raping Christians.”

In addition to the atrocities ISIS commits as a matter of routine, earlier this week “Chaldean Catholic bishop Antoine Audo said there were about 1.5 million Christians in the country before the start of the conflict in March 2011. ‘I think now there are maybe 500,000. Two-thirds have left mainly due to the insecurity,’ he told reporters in Geneva. In the embattled northern city of Aleppo, the exodus was even greater, he said, with only around 40,000 of its once 160,000-strong Christian community remaining.”

As Tony Perkins said upon the Administration’s long-overdue recognition of ISIS’s genocidal cruelty, “Now words need to be backed up with actions so that the international community not only speaks with one voice but works to isolate ISIS and those facilitating their reign of terror. Additionally, we call upon Christians to support those non-governmental organizations that are working to provide sanctuary and relief to our brothers and sisters in Christ as well as other religious minorities.”

Tragically, ISIS is a metastasizing entity.  In addition to controlling large swaths of Syria and Iraq, ISIS also occupies areas in Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Libya.  ISIS’s plans are audacious, nothing less than world conquest.

What steps the Obama Administration now takes will be critical to the defeat of ISIS and the protection of those it has targeted for annihilation.  Christians should pray that our President and his national security team act wisely, decisively, and boldly to eradicate ISIS, not just “degrade” it.  For the suffering Christians and other religious minorities, time is running out.   

Sincerely,
Robert F. Schwarzwalder, Jr.
Senior Vice-President
Family Research Council

P.S. Be sure to join us at noon on April 6th for our forum, “Religious Liberty Around the World: Where Do We Stand as of Spring 2016?”  The event will feature remarks by some of the country’s leading advocates for international religious freedom, including former Congressman Frank Wolf (21st Century Wilberforce Initiative), Dr. Thomas Farr (Director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University), Tina Ramirez (the Founder and Executive Director of Hardwired Global), and Pervez Rafique (President of Bleeding for Belief, an organization working to stop religious persecution in Pakistan).  Join us in person or register, at no charge, to watch online.


Religious Liberty

Free to Believe” –

International Religious freedom-

Military Religious Freedom

Religious Liberty in the public square

 

Life

Abortion

Fetal Pain

Adoption

Healthcare conscience

 

Family

Family Economics

Marriage

Human Sexuality (Homosexual/ gender issues)

Human Trafficking

Pornography

Welfare Reform

Social Conservative Review: An Insider’s Guide to Pro-Family News March 3, 2016

by Rob Schwarzwalder

March 3, 2016

Click here to subscribe to the Social Conservative Review


Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Texas’s abortion clinic regulations. This was the Court’s most important hearing on abortion in many years, perhaps decades.

The Director of FRC’s Center for Religious Liberty, Arina Grossu, and our Senior Fellow for Legal Studies, Cathy Ruse, J.D.(formerly chief counsel to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution), were in the Court during the hearing to gain first-hand insight into the justices’ thinking. Their presence was especially important as, with our friends at the American Center for Law and Justice, FRC has filed an amicus brief in the case (Women’s Whole Health v. Hellerstadt) documenting that abortion is anything but a safe procedure for women; Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller cited from our brief in his arguments supporting his state’s commonsense abortion clinic rules.

As Arina explained recently, “The Texas law proposes that fundamental health and safety standards be applied to abortion facilities, standards that are currently applied to ambulatory surgical centers. These regulations are designed to safeguard against unsanitary conditions, inferior equipment, and the employment of unsuitable and untrained personnel in abortion facilities. Second, it requires that abortionists have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion facility when something goes wrong with the abortion and the woman needs to be hospitalized (as is often the case).”

We don’t know whether or not the Court will rule in favor of women’s health. Much will hinge on the unpredictable Justice Anthony Kennedy. As Cathy said after listening to Justice Kennedy’s exchanges with the attorneys arguing the case, “No one hearing arguments today could come away with a clear idea of how Justice Kennedy is likely to vote. Even when he is very vocal, Kennedy’s comments and questions serve as poor predictors of his votes.”

We can be encouraged that we have allies in people like Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc), who made a surprise and very welcome appearance at a pro-life rally in front of the Court during Wednesday’s hearing. “We are the pro-life generation and we are here to stand for life,” he said. FRC is grateful for his leadership.

Political leaders, especially those running for President, should take note of the new survey conducted for FRC by the respected WPA Opinion Research firm, which found, “For possibly the first time, large majorities of Democrats and Republicans say that the direction of the U.S. Supreme Court will be a ‘very important’ determining factor in how they vote for president in the fall, according to a new poll (which) found that 71 percent of Republican voters believe the future of the court will be somewhat or very important to their vote. And 63 percent of Democrats agree.”

Commenting on the poll, FRC President Tony Perkins noted that “Justice Scalia’s replacement may very well be the deciding vote on major cases involving religious liberty, state abortion laws, gun control, and immigration. With so much at stake, the American people should be allowed to decide in November who picks the next Supreme Court justice.”

Finally, yesterday the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives held its first hearing on the horrific organ harvesting of the corpses of aborted unborn children conducted by Planned Parenthood and its contractors. As U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn), chairwoman of the Panel, said in her opening remarks, “Last summer’s videos revealed that something very troubling that is going on related to fetal tissue and research. The weak, the vulnerable, those with no voice — harvested and sold — there is something going on, something that deserves investigating and that demands our best moral and ethical thinking.”

The unborn child is a person, a baby, a being made in the image and likeness of God. She and her mother deserve better than the predation of the abortion industry. That’s why FRC works so hard to protect the unborn in law and supports policies that affirm and support their mothers. Thank you, as ever, for standing with us.   

Sincerely,
Robert F. Schwarzwalder, Jr.
Senior Vice-President
Family Research Council

P.S. To learn more about the upcoming Supreme Court nomination battle, read the new paper by FRC’s Senior Fellow Chris Gacek, J.D., Ph.D., “A Supreme Decision: Filling Scalia’s Seat.”


Religious Liberty

Free to Believe” –

International Religious freedom-

 

Military Religious Freedom

Religious Liberty in the public square

 

Life

Abortion

Abstinence Education

Adoption

Bioethics

 

Family

Family Economics

Marriage

Human Sexuality (Homosexual/ gender issues)

Human Trafficking

Pornography

Welfare Reform

Archives