Category archives: Perkins' Perspective

Perkins’ Perspective: Bailouts - where do they end?

by Tony Perkins

December 12, 2008

FRC has not officially weighed in on the various bailouts simply because the topic is not central to our mission.  There is no question that financial irresponsibility, whether by government or business, impacts the family, but we have to pick our battles and the bailouts are not one of them.  However, having said that, I do get a number of calls and emails from folks across the country asking for my thoughts on this parade of bailouts.  I am not an economist, but I have worked with and on budgets in the private and public sector and studied the basics of our free market system.  From that perspective, this latest failed effort to bailout the auto industry raises a number of questions that require answers. 

First, where do the bailouts stop?  Certainly the auto industry is an important part of our economy.  In fact, most of our manufacturing base has left the country, so it is surely important.  But you could also make the case that as our economy is increasingly driven by the service sector actions should be taken for those businesses as well.  Bottom line - where does it stop?

Second, could this not be the result of poor business practices that come to light in a tough economy?  Economist Walter Williams raises these issues in a recent column.  Williams points to the “cozy relationship” between the Big Three and the United Auto Workers union that drives up hourly wages.  Williams points to GM’s $73 hourly wage cost and compares that to Toyota’s five U.S. assembly plants where the hourly cost is $48.  It doesn’t take an economist to figure that one out.  But it apparently does take more than a congressman like Barney Frank. 

Finally, someone needs to explain how a Washington “Car Czar” would to make sure the auto industry keeps it between the lines.  I am not one of those who say government needs to run like a business.  It is just not the nature of government to be efficient.  Those areas that can be run like a business are the areas that governments most often privatize, but they are a small percentage of the overall responsibilities of government.  Conversely, the last thing America needs is business that runs like government. 

If NAE’s Rich Cizik Doesn’t Speak for Them, Who Does He Speak For?

by Tony Perkins

December 10, 2008

The president of the National Association of Evangelicals, Leith Anderson, has been trying to reassure the association’s board and members that the NAE hasn’t left the reservation on the issues of life and marriage. The reason? Because NAE’s vice president for governmental affairs left the reservation - a long time ago!

In a recent interview with NPR’s “Fresh Air,” Cizik stated he voted for President-elect Obama and said, “I think it’s (faith) very important, but it is not the factor nor should it be [when voting]…” Cizik said the same thing about issues like life: “It’s possible for me to disagree with a candidate on high-profile issues and still believe that on a basis of character or philosophy he is the better of two candidates.” When asked by the host, Terry Gross, if his efforts to identify with younger voters and their priorities had caused him to change his view on gay marriage he said, “I’m shifting, I would have to admit.  In other words I would willingly say I believe in civil unions.  I don’t officially support redefining marriage from its traditional definition, I don’t think.”

This revelation should not come as a surprise. This is the risk of walking through the green door of environmentalism and global warming - you risk being blinded by the green light and losing your sense of direction. How else can you explain enthusiastic support for what will probably be the nation’s most pro-abortion, anti-family president in our nation’s 232 year history?

The question, however, remains. If Cizik does not speak for the NAE, as the Rev. Anderson has said, why is he on Capitol Hill representing NAE and claiming to speak for Evangelicals? Is it possible for a human being to come with a disclaimer?

A Ghost from Christmas Past

by Tony Perkins

December 4, 2008

The clock in downtown Ponchatoula, Louisiana had not even struck one but like a bad dream from the past the Louisiana ACLU was back haunting city officials with threats of lawsuits if the town’s Christmas Lights Festival included an illuminated cross.

Having served in public office in Louisiana I’ve traveled the state many times and Ponchatoula, the Strawberry Capital, is one of my favorite places. It is a quaint little southern town that most have only seen in the movies, kind of Norman Rockwellish. The downtown area is bisected by train tracks. Main Street is lined with antique stores that attract folks from around the state.

My wife’s family comes from that region of the state where a majority of the people attend church and overwhelmingly identify with traditional values. This is the same area of the state where the ACLU has filed multiple suits against a school board for opening their school board meetings in prayer. The leftist lawyers also sued a local court because a picture of Jesus was in the court house building.

Why is the ACLU so active in this predominately conservative area of the country? The answer is in the federal district court, the Eastern District of Louisiana, which is a hotbed of liberal activism. Ginger Berrigan, the judge who ruled against the Tangipahoa school board on the matter of prayer and whose ruling was later overturned, is the former president of the ACLU in Louisiana appointed to the bench by Bill Clinton in 1994.

This is another example of why the courts matter, even at the lowest level of the federal system. As is the case with so many elected officials operating with tight budgets, Ponchatoula’s mayor, Bob Zabbia opted not to fight the baseless claim of the ACLU for fear of what it might cost.

Tragically, it cost citizens a whole lot more in the end when their elected officials won’t defend their religious heritage and freedoms.

Republicans and Marriage

by Tony Perkins

November 6, 2008

In yesterday’s Washington Update I wrote about how the exit polling from November 4 clearly shows that the marriage amendments are non-partisan. In 2004 and to a lesser degree in 2006 supporters of various marriage amendments were accused of using them for partisan purposes to help the Republican Party. There is no question that certain Republican candidates, including President Bush who campaigned in support of the amendments, were aided by the amendments’ presence on the ballot. The benefit to the candidates was in proportion to their alignment with the amendments, not with their party allegiance.

President Bush increased his support among African-American voters in Ohio going from 11% nationally to 16% in the Buckeye State, enough to give him the edge in that battleground state and secure a second term. Those gains among minority voters evaporated in this election even though these voters continued to vote to protect marriage from redefinition.

One could argue that the marriage amendments may have actually hurt Republicans in this cycle, especially John McCain. Literally millions of dollars were invested in the efforts to protect marriage in California and Arizona. Thousands of volunteer hours were spent in those two states and Florida to secure passage of these amendments. The McCain campaign was virtually silent on the amendments and as a result received little benefit from the efforts, which was especially significant in the battleground state of Florida.

It is quite possible that a large portion of the time, energy and resources that were spent in this election cycle to protect marriage would have been invested elsewhere had the federal marriage amendment been approved by the Republican-controlled Congress in 2005. The irony is that Sen. McCain opposed the marriage amendment and joined the Democrats and a handful of Republicans in blocking a vote on the amendment. On Election Day the protect marriage movement ran ahead of the Republican candidates.

Perkins Perspective: Bailing Out - An issue of Responsibility

by Tony Perkins

September 28, 2008

On Friday the USA Today carried a story of Nebraska’s “Safe Haven” law. I authored and passed Louisiana’s version of that law back in 1999. Several states now have those laws on the books which are designed to encourage frightened and confused young mothers not to throw their newborn babies in the trash but drop them at a “Safe Haven” like a hospital or fire station, no questions asked.

Since the Nebraska law went into effect in July there have been some unintended results. Over a half dozen parents have dropped off not new born babies, but kids ranging in age from 1 to 17.

A few parents with challenging teenagers might be tempted to chuckle and leave the article in their teen’s room as a veiled threat, but when you get beyond that temptation you can’t help but realize that this speaks to a profound problem in our nation - a lack of commitment and responsibility.

Men and women faced with the difficulties of parenting find a way for government to bail them out, or should we say rescue them. No matter what street we drive down, whether it is Main Street or Wall Street, the growing refusal to assume responsibility cast a dark and ominous cloud over our nation’s future.

Perkins Perspective: Gustav Update - Back in the FRC Saddle

by Tony Perkins

September 9, 2008

First, let me thank all of you who have been praying for my family and for all the families of Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Gustav. I also want to thank the churches from around the country that have responded once again by sending much-needed supplies and help. Secondly, let me apologize for not keeping you updated on what has transpired over the last week in Louisiana.

This storm, while not as spectacular as Katrina, impacted more Louisianans and has done extensive damage to homes and businesses in multiple parishes. The Baton Rouge area was one of the hardest hit. Gustav caused much greater damage to Louisiana’s power infrastructure than Katrina did — over two-thirds of Louisiana was without power in the hours after Gustav. Nearly one quarter of the population remains without power, and it could be more than two weeks before power is restored to the entire state.

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Being without power doesn’t sound like a big issue, but when it is so widespread it quickly creates a crisis. No electricity not only means lack of refrigeration of food, but also lack of fuel for vehicles. For those few gas stations that were able to acquire generators and pump fuel, the lines in some cases were nearly a mile long. Without power, sewage and water facilities were incapacitated, creating problems for drinking water is some parishes.

This crisis once again gave the Church the opportunity to respond to the real and pressing needs of people, an opportunity they immediately seized. I spent this past week first of all helping PRC Compassion pastors and Gene Mills, the executive director of the Louisiana Family Forum, organize and coordinate the church response. A few days into the crisis, Governor Bobby Jindal asked me to assist the Commissioner of Administration, Angela Davis, in getting food to the hardest hit areas of the state.

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Governor Jindal is a friend of mine with whom I worked closely during my time in the legislature when he was the Secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals. Having the opportunity to work alongside him and his staff in the last several days from sun-up to past sundown, I am greatly encouraged and impressed with his leadership and the dedication of his staff to getting essential relief to the citizens of the state and restoring critical infrastructure.

The rebuilding process is just beginning as officials keep one eye on the Gulf for more potential hurricanes this summer. Please continue to pray for the governor and his dedicated staff. As my schedule allows, I hope to continue to assist when and where needed. For now I am back in the saddle at FRC speaking to a gathering of pastors in New Hampshire and heading to New York to appear on the Lou Dobbs television show. It is only appropriate for me to thank my extremely capable staff, headed by Chuck Donovan, for holding down the fort in my absence.

Perkins Perspective: Post-Gustav Update

by Tony Perkins

September 5, 2008

I now have better access to internet. Here is the latest official information on what is happening (in short). The Governor has asked for me to assist in coordinating volunteer food relief. The need is overloading state government resources. Here is our biggest need: mobile food kitchens and food. As of last night at the joint command meeting, which I am now attending, a little under 1/2 of the state was without power. That is changing by the hour, but some areas will be 3-4 weeks before power is restored, especially in South Louisiana.

Beyond food kitchens, basic food staples that can be cooked is needed: beans, rice, meat (with refrigeration truck). Contributions can be sent to PRCCompassion.net.

Perkins Perspective: Gustav Reveals Winds of Change

by Tony Perkins

September 1, 2008

Unfortunately, I had to cut short what was really shaping up to be a very productive trip to Minneapolis, Minnesota Sunday afternoon in order to return to Baton Rouge for hurricane Gustav that is scheduled to make landfall later this morning. The good news is that several members of the FRC team are still on site to participate in the many events taking place this week and I am confident that they are able to more than cover for me while I am down here taking care of the family and assisting where needed if relief efforts are required.

Before heading south I was extremely encouraged Sunday morning by Pastor Steve Goold and the folks at New Hope Church just outside of Minneapolis where I spoke at two services Sunday morning. New Hope Church is one of the hundreds of churches across the country that is partnering with FRC to make a difference in our nation.

Back to Gustav. Before taking off I checked in with Governor Jindal’s staff in Louisiana and was amazed at how things have changed since Katrina three years ago. Not a single detail has been left unaddressed by Governor Jindal’s team. Of course the Federal response has vastly improved as well. There has also been advance coordination with churches and other non-government entities involved in relief efforts to make sure they were equipped and prepared to handle evacuees and first responders.

Unprecedented preparations have been made, now we pray and just wait out the storm.

Perkins Perspective: Last update from Honduras - for now

by Tony Perkins

August 8, 2008

There are many things we take for granted in the U.S, safe and reliable water, electricity and internet access. Cart.jpg

As we prepared to say good bye to our friends at Antioquia Evangelica Bautista Iglesia, we had an opportunity to take in some of the scenery as we visited Lancetilla Botanical Garden outside of Tela. Lancetilla is the second largest tropical botanical garden in the world, with a various species of trees from tropical climates from around the world. As we hiked through, our guide would routinely point out the various fruit bearing trees and let us taste their fruit. Lancetilla.jpg

As we spent our last night together, we reflected on how a team of 47 people, many of whom did not know each other one week ago, worked together to touch the physical and spiritual needs of over 2,000 people. In the process, we gave these Hondurans a different view of Americans than what their televisions have provided.

Based on what I saw and the discussions we’ve been having about our future efforts in Honduras to help the orphaned children in Tornabe, I am sure at some point there will be more updates from Honduras again. But for now I am headed back to the States to defend faith, family and freedom! For those who joined us in praying for our trip - THANK YOU!

Perkins’ Perspective: More from Honduras

by Tony Perkins

August 6, 2008

Today I was far away from the news whirl with all the prognostications about vice presidential picks. Our team here in Honduras was in a small village about 20 minutes from Tela called Tornabe. Our first challenge of the day was just getting there on the old American school buses that have been given a second life here in Honduras and serve as our transportation. These buses, which are the main means of transportation for most people in the area, had to navigate the craters in the dirt road and the occasional animal that would wander into our path.

Tornabe

Once we are on location it takes about 30 minutes to set up the various aid stations. The people are first registered where basic information is written on a form that will accompany them through the process. Their second stop is where I spent the bulk of my time with the gospel presentation. It was there we soon discovered our second challenge.

The folks in Tornabe do not speak Spanish; they have their own dialect called Garifuna. They understand Spanish well enough to communicate, but in some cases we had to interpret from English to Spanish to Garifuna. I am pretty certain some things got lost in translation. I am accustomed to some people not laughing at my jokes, but when they laugh and I didn’t say anything funny, that causes me to wonder.

I was able to find out a little bit about the origins of the Garifuna people. They were African slaves taken from the Island of St. Vincent who were then marooned on the Island of Roatan in 1797. The Spaniards later moved them to Trujillo where they dispersed along the coast of the Caribbean. They remain pretty segregated in their small communities like Tornabe.

Today we saw around 600 people, again mostly women and children, bringing the total that we’ve been able to help with food, medicine and the gospel to over 2,000. I am constantly amazed at the natural beauty of Honduras, but at the same time the poverty and despair. I’ve also noticed that most of the area is in need of a good anti-litter campaign.

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An unfortunate distinction of Tornabe is that it is reported to have one of the highest concentrations of HIV-positive people in the Western Hemisphere. The local church, under the leadership of Pastor Marvin, which hosted our clinic today, helps feed and clothe over 60 children of various ages who have been orphaned primarily because their parents died from AIDS. I have to confess that talking to these little ones, who have little more than the clothes they are wearing, was not easy. I thought of my own children having to survive on their own as these little ones do. But for a while we laughed with them, shared God’s love with them in word and in our actions, and brought smiles to their faces.

Before I shared the gospel with them I went to the back room of this cinder block building and watched as 60 children were given their one hot meal of the day. We were able to give many of the orphaned children clothes as well as leave Pastor Marvin enough food to feed the children for several weeks. We ended the day with a dinner and multi-church service at Centro Americano Iglesia where Pastor Luis Eucedo’s church made a great Honduran dinner for us. More tomorrow!

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