Month Archives: April 2007

A View from Princeton

by Family Research Council

April 5, 2007

Marybeth Hagan, author of Abortion: A Mothers Plea for Maternity and the Unborn, attended Charmaine’s lecture yesterday at Princeton. Here is how she describes the reaction by the audience:

While some in the audience nodded or facially expressed their approval of Charmaine Yoests anti-abortion message at Princeton University last night, others made it clear during questioning that Yoest spoke a foreign language which they had no desire to learn.

Read the whole thing at Hagan’s blog.

The Politics of Abortion

by Family Research Council

April 5, 2007

Charmaine Yoest, FRC’s vice-president of communications, recently gave a lecture at Princeton University on the topic, “The Politics of Abortion: Moving Toward a Post-Roe America.”

In Germany, Home Schoolers Under House Arrest

by Tony Perkins

April 5, 2007

Here’s today’s Washington Watch Daily commentary from FRC Radio:

For German parents, teaching kids about faith is as tough today as it was under the Nazis. Since Hitlers time, home schooling has been illegal in the country. Parents who ignore the law are usually jailed or fined. In February, the world watched as a 15 year-old home-schooler was taken from her house by force and put in German custody. According to the court, her parents can only get their daughter back by enrolling her in a public school. As one German official said, As long as you practice your faith in a church building you have no problems, but as soon as you act in accordance with your faith… in the education of your children, the freedom [quickly] ends. What has reportedly prompted even greater government aggression against home-schoolers in Germany is the governments growing fear of radical Islam. As Europe becomes Islamized, democratic governments are clamping down on the good and the bad. The tragedy is that the only defense against the spread of Islam is a vibrant Christian church. But increasingly, Christians will find themselves at odds with governments that see tolerance, rather than truth, as a cultural virtue.

To download this commentary as an MP3, follow this link. To subscribe to the Washington Watch Daily radio commentary, go here.

Thinking About Thought Crimes: A Response to HRC

by Peter Sprigg

April 5, 2007

The Human Rights Campaign, a pro-homosexual organization, has accused the Family Research Council of lying about the issue of Thought Crimes (i.e., so-called hate crimes), under which offenders are punished once for their actions and then again for the politically incorrect thoughts they were thinking while committing the action.

HRC President Joe Solmonese says FRC is lying in saying that America doesnt have a federal hate crimes law. Actually, a recent FRC paper carefully explains that there are two federal laws related to so-called hate crimesa 1990 law which mandates the collection of statistics on them, and a 1994 law which provides for sentence enhancement (higher penalties) for existing federal offenses motivated by bias. HRC contends, however, that we have had a federal hate crimes law since 1969, citing the United States Code at 18 U.S.C. 245.

Actually, 18 U.S.C. 245 is not a hate crimes law at all. Instead, it is an extension of the civil rights laws, making it a crime to interfere with someone on account of race, color, religion, or national origin when they are engaged in certain specific activities that are protected under civil rights laws. If you look it up, this section of the code is under Chapter 13, titled “Civil Rights,” and Section 245 is titled “Federally Protected Activities.” The term “hate crime” never appears in 18 U.S.C. 245.

For example, the civil rights laws say that a person cannot be denied the right to attend public school on account of race. Therefore, if a white person beats up a black person outside a school in order to prevent him from enrolling in that school, that is a violation of 18 U.S.C. 245. This is not really a hate crimes law, because the central idea is not simply to protect victims whose assailants think certain specific thoughts about them (as in Thought Crime/hate crime laws), but to protect the exercise of certain rights under the civil rights laws (i.e., attending public school). Creating protections based on the characteristics of the victim alone (i.e., a Thought Crime or hate crime law) is much broader than simply protecting certain activitiesso much broader as to fall in a completely different category.

Solmonese is actually right in saying that H.R.1592, this years version of Thought Crimes in the U.S. House, would only create new, direct federal prosecution of cases in which someone willfully causes bodily injury or attempts to cause bodily injury because of certain characteristics of the victim. But this is an entirely new category of offense under federal law, not just an expansion of existing protected classes, as Solmonese implies.

In fact, Joe Solmonese might want to be cautious about implying that H.R. 1592 would merely add to the existing categories of protection under 18 U.S.C. 245because, contrary to his claims, 18 U.S.C. 245 actually includes penalties for “intimidation,” even in the absence of a violent act. So citing it as precedent actually reinforces the argument that federal hate crime laws could threaten free speech and freedom of religion. Take this as an example: If a white person yelled at a black person, “You’d be better off not coming to this school!” he could potentially be prosecuted under 18 U.S.C. 245 for “intimidation.” So does Joe Solmonese think that if a Christian views a “gay pride” parade and yells at a homosexual, “You’d be better off if you stopped engaging in homosexual sex!” she should be charged with “intimidation” and prosecuted for a hate crime?

Thats roughly what has already happened in cases brought under similar laws in Sweden, England, Canada, and even in Philadelphia. With a hodgepodge of definitions of what a hate crime is, and with even the bills leading advocate confused about what it would do, it is no wonder that many conservatives view H.R. 1592s ostensible limitation to bodily injury cases as a rather thin reed on which to rest the claim that Thought Crime laws pose no threat to freedom of speech or of religion.

She Can’t Be Syria-ous

by Tony Perkins

April 5, 2007

Splashed across this morning’s newspapers are photos of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sporting a headscarf as she visited Syria, which included a stop at a mosque. While it is troubling that the leader third in line for the presidency (behind only the Vice President) would kowtow to a country that is a major purveyor in the trafficking of women, illegal drugs and terrorism, it’s even more disturbing that she would concede by covering her head—which is usually seen as a sign of submission in the Muslim world.

On the home front we continue to uncover the anti-family efforts of this new Congress. The major accomplishments the new Democratic Leadership in the House can point to are furthering taxpayer funding of destructive human embryo research, de-funding (and demoralizing) our troops fighting the war against terrorists and passing a budget that would raise our taxes by at least $400 billion.

Unfortunately, this is only the beginning. Waiting in the on-deck circle are bills that would treat homosexuals as a special protected class, eliminate abstinence funding and use tax money for abortions—just to name a few. The more this Congress attacks the values important to American families, the clearer it is that they have strayed from their mandate.

Hoosiers Seek New Game Plan on Marriage

by Tony Perkins

April 5, 2007

Due to some backroom machinations by Indiana State House Speaker Patrick Bauer (D), it looks like Hoosiers will be denied a right to amend their constitution and protect marriage. Despite Bauer’s promise that the full House would be given an opportunity to vote on the marriage protection amendment, members of the House Rules Committee failed to pass the amendment in a 5-5 vote. Although several conservative leaders have vowed to reintroduce the amendment, it’s uncertain whether they can do so in time to ensure that the issue appears on the 2008 ballot.

FRC Action has been heavily involved in the fight, publishing an ad in a local newspaper last week and promoting it in an audio/radio alert throughout the state over the weekend. As Indiana’s pro-family leaders regroup, we urge citizens across the state to encourage Speaker Bauer to revive the proposal—before time runs out.

Bible Belt Refuses to Buckle under on Religious Courses

by Tony Perkins

April 5, 2007

A Texas legislator, Rep. Warren Chisum (R), has introduced a bill that would require schools to offer history and literacy classes on the Bible. The proposal, now under debate in the House Public Education Committee, would affect over 1,700 districts throughout the state. If it passes, Texas would join several other states in offering elective courses on the most widely distributed book in the world.

Although some are criticizing the move as a violation of church and state, the bill’s sponsor said, “We’re not going to preach the Bible, we’re going to teach the Bible.” Proving that the Good Book is experiencing an educational revival, five other states are considering similar proposals.

D.C. Loses One, Gains One

by Tony Perkins

April 5, 2007

At FRC headquarters last night, we formally welcomed Ken Blackwell to the staff as Senior Fellow for Family Empowerment at an evening reception attended by many of our allies and friends in the nation’s capital. To a standing-room-only crowd, Ken delivered remarks on the current political landscape and the lessons learned from the 2006 elections. We look forward to showcasing his insight and expertise on issues such as family economics, tax reform, and education.

While a new hero is entering Washington, we honor another who is departing. Jan LaRue, a former FRC colleague, is retiring from her position as Chief Counsel and Legal Studies Director at Concerned Women for America and moving to Texas. Jan has taken a lead role nationwide on issues like pornography, abortion, and judicial activism. Although she will be greatly missed, her efforts in the nation’s capital live on through the many people her work and testimony have touched. Please join us in thanking Jan for her dedication to the cause!

Trying to get something from nothing

by Family Research Council

April 4, 2007

Q: Why are there so few Buddhist rhythm and blues bands?

A: Because Buddhists don’t have any soul.

Some Evangelicals are doing some unusual, but interesting, outreach.

Evangelicals hope to ‘reach’ Buddhists

Workshops coincide with Dalai Lama visit

If you’re a Tibetan Buddhist or you’re leaning that way, you may not know it, but you need Jesus.

That’s the thinking behind a series of Christian evangelical workshops — including one later this month in Wheaton — that will coincide with the Dalai Lama’s trip to Chicago and other American cities this spring.

The Dalai Lama is set to visit Chicago in May. A Philadelphia-based Christian missionary group is holding a series of workshops on how to share the gospel with Tibetan Buddhists.

Interserve USA is putting on the workshops to teach Christians how to talk to Buddhists and, perhaps, to win converts. More …

And in case I havent offended Richard Gere yet:

Q: Why don’t Buddhists vacuum in the corners?

A: Because they have no attachments.

Pill Patrol Sounds The Siren For Emergency Contraception

by Tony Perkins

April 4, 2007

Here’s today’s Washington Watch Daily commentary from FRC Radio:

Youve heard of the highway patrol, but how about the pill patrol? Its Planned Parenthoods latest campaign to police American neighborhoods. Unfortunately, their goal isnt public safety but safe sex. Since the FDA approved Plan B, the so-called morning-after pill, for over-the-counter use, the abortion giant says its a crime that more women cant access it. So, to intimidate pharmacies into carrying it, Planned Parenthoods organizing undercover squads to investigate which stores areand arentselling the pills. According to a spokesman, Every day in America, women are forced to play the lottery when they… ask for emergency contraception. Publicly, theyre calling the drug pregnancy prevention. But if that were the case, women would take them beforenot aftertheyre intimate. Its as backwards as telling people to buckle their seatbelts after they get where theyre going. The truth is, these pills can actually abort an innocent life. Its just another misconception about contraception that Planned Parenthood is once again promoting.

To download this commentary as an MP3, follow this link. To subscribe to the Washington Watch Daily radio commentary, go here.

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