Month Archives: April 2013

Remembering The Week of Dr. King’s Assassination: It has been worse

by Robert Morrison

April 5, 2013

Talking with dispirited conservatives these days, there’s a tendency to think things have never been worse. One of the men in my Bible study regularly gives in to Jeremiads and thinks we are on the eve of destruction.

I don’t want to stop anyone fighting as hard as he can—within law—to prevent such wrong policies as Obamacare, abortion-on-demand, and the abolition of marriage. But we are still free to oppose these deeply wrong policies. And we should.

And I join with all my friends in decrying the current pressures on the church. These, I strongly believe, have never been worse. Liberal journalists at religious liberty conferences often pooh-pooh these charges. They cite such examples as Bible riots in Philadelphia in the 1840s at which dozens were killed. They note that the anti-black Ku Klux Klan was also anti-Catholic, anti-Jewish, anti-immigrant. And the KKK marched openly through Washington, D.C. in the 1920s.

Well, first, the good news is that there are such conferences being held. And some liberals even feel it necessary to respond to our reports of religious hostility in this home of freedom. Our rejoinder to their dismissive comments about Bible riots in the 1840s and Klan marches in the 1920s is fairly easy to make: None of those examples of religious bigotry was sponsored by the federal government. What we are dealing with today is unprecedented.

But in a large sense, we need to recognize the experiences of our fellow Americans. Millions of our fellow citizens remember the 1960s. This is the week in 1968 when the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated by a white racist in Memphis, Tenn. Following Dr. King’s murder—and in complete contempt for all that he taught and held sacred—riots erupted in a hundred American cities.

The flames of violence and lawlessness were stoked by radicals in those cities and excused by a liberal press that regularly rationalized the violence. Even the sitting Vice President of the United States, the civil rights hero of my youth, Hubert Humphrey, said that if he had to face the injustices faced by minority citizens, he, too, would lead a riot. That was probably the worst thing Hubert ever said.

What happened in those burned-out cities was a national tragedy. Small business owners—black and white—fled to the suburbs. They left a hollowed-out core in many cities. Unemployment, crime and blight wrecked the hopes of millions in what came to be called “Inner Cities.” Detroit had already been scarred—in 1967—by a terrible riot. But more and more American towns began to look like Detroit as a result of the King Assassination riots.

Photographs of the U.S. Capitol taken forty-five years ago this week showed the dome wreathed in smoke. It looked like St. Paul’s Cathedral in London under the Nazi blitz of 1940. But the terrible difference was that in this case, the flames were ignited by our own people.

The year 1968 has been aptly called an Annus Horribilis. America was then embroiled in the Vietnam War. President Lyndon B. Johnson was the commander-in-chief. His own record had been one of physical cowardice in the South Pacific in World War II and in besieged West Berlin in 1961 But he drafted thousands of young men and sent them to fight in a war he could not defend, and from which he had no plans for disengagement. Weekly battle deaths averaged 280 under the misrule of LBJ.

Johnson was reviled by members of his own party. Four years earlier, he had been nominated for a full term at the Democratic National Convention of 1964. The convention hall was draped with huge portraits of Johnson, the kind usually reserved for Communist bosses in May Day parades. But in 1968, Lyndon B. Johnson was chased out of the presidential race and dared not even attend his party’s nominating convention. So hated was the president that anti-war protesters regularly chanted “Hey, Hey, LBJ! How many boys have you killed today?”

When Dr. King was assassinated, one of the greatest speeches of tribute and most eloquent calls for restraint came from Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, then running for president. Bobby Kennedy would himself be gunned down by a Palestinian terrorist in Los Angeles, just two months after King.

Conservatives today are often accused of wanting to “turn back the clock.” Liberals charge us with being on “the wrong side of history.” They want us to believe that all their ideas must be accepted as “progress” and all their initiatives must fulfill some plan of historical inevitability. (And they wonder why we charge them with being Marxists!)

Millions of Americans alive today remember those terrible days. We need to recall them too when placing the bad policies of today in proper perspective—the better to gain the agreement of our fellow citizens.

And we should remember what one of my favorite college profs taught us at University of Virginia in 1968. Norman A. Graebner noted the mood of profound pessimism among the young, the widespread belief that the United States was headed for collapse. “America,” he said, “is like the boxer Joe Louis. America has power to spare.”

I didn’t fully understand Mr. Graebner then. Economic power? Yes. Political and military power? That, too. But “Graebner the Great” as we called this star lecturer was a regular communicant of his local Lutheran congregation. I cannot imagine he did not include spiritual power in his Joe Louis comparison. Let’s never forget that.

I Gave up “The O’Reilly Factor” for Lent

by Robert Morrison

April 4, 2013

I gave up Fox’s “O’Reilly Factor” for Lent. It did my soul good. So I wasn’t watching when the modest and retiring New Yorker slammed us “Bible Thumpers” for having no arguments about preserving true marriage. But, of course, I later saw it all on the Internet.

Now, O’Reilly is digging in his heels. And when his sometime guest host, Laura Ingraham took him to task for his offensive statements, he berated her. “You’ve bought into this garbage,” he said. “I don’t have time for any of that,” he said, giving her the back of his hand.

I go back a long way with Bill O’Reilly. I remember well defending him ten years ago when the liberal thought police were after him. O’Reilly had made a remark about young minority men that some took to be racist. Speaking to donors at a fund raiser for an abstinence and character development organization, O’Reilly complained that the young men were late showing up. “I hope they’re not out in the parking lot stealing our hubcaps.”

What a howl went up then. Liberals demanded O’Reilly’s scalp. The 2003 charity event was a 1950’s-style sock hop. Everyone who grew up on Bill O’Reilly’s Long Island, as I did, had heard that jab a hundred times from homeroom teachers. “What are you doing, stealing hubcaps?” In those Happy Days, that was about the worst that could happen in a high school.

O’Reilly is no racist. He’s just a chooch—a wise guy.

I gave up O’Reilly when I tired of his phony populist shtick. He’s looking out for me? Right. He’s the tribune of “the folks?” As we say in New York: Gimme a break.

I was irritated at how rude he always was. Now, we New Yorkers have a problem there.

John Adams complained to Abigail in a letter when he first visited New York City in 1775. “They talk very loud, very fast, and all at once.” And he never met O’Reilly.

I was embarrassed when my kids said: “Dad, he’s just like you!” OK, I admit I do sometimes yell at the tube. But I wouldn’t treat real live liberals like that. I wouldn’t call any of our liberal friends or those in our pews pinheads.

As Family Research Council has reported, as Heritage Foundation and Ethics and Public Policy Center have shown, the reams of studies showing that the married family that worships regularly yields the best outcomes for children. This is especially important for poor children and minority children.

None of these public policy groups thumps the Bible. But none is willing to stomp on Jesus just to get five minutes on cable with Mr. Number One.

Intact families that worship regularly are the key to the success of millions of Asian immigrants. Four hundred Korean-Americans rode buses through the night to come to Washington for the March for Marriage. They came from Flushing, Queens, O’Reilly, your back yard! I was proud to stand with them.

O’Reilly should be commended for his good deeds—when he does them. I’m still grateful for his serving as Emcee for the organization that hosted that fundraiser ten years ago.

But Bill O’Reilly’s arrogant dismissal of the social science case for true marriage, and for the protection of the women and children who are suffering now and who will suffer more if marriage is ended is unacceptable. If he cared, he might find a perspective on true marriage that is even bold, fresh.

He combines arrogance with ignorance. Supine ignorance, as one might say. He doesn’t know because he doesn’t want to know. “I don’t have time to do any of that.”

One hour, O’Reilly. In one hour, even you could learn the case for true marriage. If you were really looking out for us.

But you don’t have time for that, O’Reilly. You’d rather bloviate. “The Factor” moves along, as you say. And it will move along without me.

Does Anything’s - or Anyone’s - Size Matter to God?

by Rob Schwarzwalder

April 2, 2013

The observable universe is about 93 billion light years in diameter. According to NASA, “To obtain an idea of the size of a light-year, take the circumference of the earth (24,900 miles), lay it out in a straight line, multiply the length of the line by 7.5 (the corresponding distance is one light-second), then place 31.6 million similar lines end to end. The resulting distance is almost 6 trillion (6,000,000,000,000) miles!”

When we go to the other end of the size spectrum – to atoms – their almost infinite quantity presents us with a mathematical evaluation equally stunning: The federal Energy Department’s Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility says that an average adult is composed of “approximately 7*1027 atoms. That is, 7 followed by 27 zeros.”

For all practical purposes, the size of the universe and the number of atoms in a single body has this in common: Our universe, our world, and our physical beings are composed of units so enormous as to be pragmatically incalculable. From near-infinite smallness to near-infinite breadth, not to mention near-infinite numbers of stars and planets, the counts are so exhaustive as to be mind-numbing.

These things point to a central truth about the nature of God. To Him, size as we understand it is immaterial. He created the smallest sub-atomic particle as well as a universe so large that astronomers qualify it as “observable” and “non-observable.”

It’s important to realize that God does not live in the universe; He made it, and lives outside it. If He made it, our grasp of its immensity is not commensurate with His perspective but only our own, a grasp limited by human finitude. Such finitude is immeasurably miniscule compared to God’s.

Some critics of Christianity charge that the notion of God becoming a man is pretentious to the point of being laughable because who are we, on this tiny planet in a vast galaxy. ABC News reports that “of roughly 100 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy, a new analysis of Kepler (Space Telescope) data shows that around 17 percent of them have Earth-sized planets orbiting them, meaning there could be as many as 17 billion Earth-sized worlds.”

Yet if we understand the insignificance of size to the God presented to us in the Bible, the location and circumference of the earth become irrelevant. The New Testament claims that God came to our planet in human form. He was Jesus of Nazareth, through Whom the Father created the world and sustains its existence (John 1:3, Hebrews 1:2), incarnate Deity, a first century laborer from a little town in a backwater province of the Roman Empire. This assertion would be ludicrous were not the evidence for it so convincing.

If we use our view of size as a means of defining value, the tallest and fattest person on earth is the most valuable and the littlest and thinnest is the least. How far this is from the biblical estimation of human value. According to Scripture, we were knit-together in our mothers’ wombs, and our “unformed bodies” are seen by the eye of God (Psalm 139). From conception onward, we are persons of such value that God superintends every moment of our growth.

A God like this – One who speaks the grandeur and complexity of the universe into being, Who composes DNA with hundreds of billions of atoms – is bound by neither the size of the created order nor the complexity of the human body. He intervenes daily in both, affirming the magnificence of His character and the tender care He has for those made in His image and likeness.

FRC in the News: April 2, 2013

by Nicole Hudgens

April 2, 2013

Christians and Religious Liberty in America on Easter Sunday, 2013

In his recent article featured in Breitbart News, FRC’s Ken Klukowski discusses recent religious liberty, how we’ve neglected the Constitution, the real meaning of free speech, and how important it is to recognize who Christ really is. Klukowski states:

“Freedom of speech is about freedom to disagree. Moreover, in this country you also have the legal right to be theologically wrong. God may not let you be wrong about him, but that’s between you and God; it’s not for the government or for society to decide. For Christians, things in this country are increasingly difficult. Historically Christianity has not been for people who are lukewarm about it. There can be a real cost to identifying yourself with Jesus Christ, and for millions in America many wonder if the time is coming for difficult choices.”

Defending Carson on MSNBC

Ken Blackwell, FRC’s Senior Fellow, Family Empowerment, defends Dr. Ben Carson’s recent remarks on MSNBC about marriage and explains how Dr. Carson’s comments actually help the conservative movement and the GOP.  Blackwell also addresses the issue of young people’s opinions by stating:

“Just as we have on the issue of life, we will, in fact, win at the end of the day with traditional marriage.”

A ‘Nation of Chasms’

Rob Schwarzwalder, FRC’s Senior Vice President, discusses in his recent article featured in Religion Today how the deterioration of values and morality has caused us to do the unthinkable in this country, yet there is hope in Christ. As Schwarzwalder states:

“It is one thing to be horrified by an act of murder. It is something altogether different to have one’s moral sense so confused or so dulled that such things as the ever-earlier sexualization of children in popular culture, the public celebration of homosexuality, obscenity and pornography as normative elements of daily life, and cohabitation as a routine activity are accepted as a matter of course…Where do Evangelicals go from here?  Some ideas will be forthcoming in next week’s column, but the most central of them is true whatever the culture or era: Jesus is Lord and Savior. He has risen from the dead, and is the conqueror of death and sin. He offers abundant and eternal life to all who will trust in Him and Him alone, for their salvation.”

FRC in the News: April 1, 2013

by Nicole Hudgens

April 1, 2013

The Media’s Mistake and How the March for Marriage included Thousands

Last week during the Supreme Court’s hearing on Proposition 8, thousands of pro-traditional marriage supporters crowded the National Mall to let the nation know that traditional marriage and the voice of the people is important. Unfortunately, the media only reported that “dozens” of marchers came. This video shows differently.

Tony Perkins Defends Traditional Marriage on TV

FRC’s President, Tony Perkins, was on CBS’s Face the Nation, Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs Tonight, and MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports to explain why traditional marriage is so important to society. Perkins discussed why it is critical for DOMA and Prop 8 to be upheld by the Supreme Court.

Ken Klukowski on PBS

Ken Klukowski, Director, Center for Religious Liberty at FRC, discussed the DOMA case and the federal issue of marriage, and how the Obama Administration has dealt with DOMA on PBS’s News Hour with Jim Lehrer.

SCOTUS May Throw Out DOMA Cases Due to DOJ Refusal to Defend

Ken Klukowski discusses how the Supreme Court used an hour of the DOMA case to discuss if the case should even be in court. Klukowski states in his article featured in Breitbart News that:

“As Justice Antonin Scalia noted… when a defendant agrees with a plaintiff, typically a federal court will only enter a consent judgment, making it official that the parties agree to something and will be bound to continue abiding by that agreement. The Court does not have the power to then consider striking down a law—any law. If that happens here, all the current DOMA lawsuits would be dismissed, and DOMA would remain on the books until Congress repeals it or a new administration tries to defend it in court.”

SCOTUS: DOMA’s Fate in the Hands of Justice Kennedy

Ken Klukowski wrote an article featured on Breitbart News’ website that discusses the Defense of Marriage Act. He points out that Justice Kennedy’s vote could make or break the ruling and states:

“If Kennedy sticks to his standard in earlier gay rights cases—notably Romer v. Evans in 1996 and Lawrence v. Texas in 2003—both of which failed under this minimal rational-basis test, then he could be the fifth vote to save DOMA. Or he could conclude that Congress and well-meaning, but nonetheless ignorant, and deficient because it fails to serve important public interests.”

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