Month Archives: January 2014

The Social Conservative Review: January 16, 2014

by Krystle Gabele

January 16, 2014

Click here to subscribe to the Social Conservative Review.


Next week, America commemorates a grim anniversary: It was on January 22, 1973 that the Supreme Court opened the doors to legalized elective abortion-on-demand with its decision in Roe v. Wade.

The historic teaching of the Christian faith is that personhood begins at the moment of conception. Consider some quotes from a widely diverse group of theologians:

Clement of Alexandria, church father (circa 150 - 215 AD): “Abortion is killing human life that is under God’s care, design and providence.”

John Calvin, Protestant Reformer: “…the unborn, though enclosed in the womb of his mother, is already a human being, and it is an almost monstrous crime to rob it of life which it has not yet begun to enjoy.”

Orthodox Church in America: “Because we believe that each of us is willed to be, by God, we cannot accept the belief that the humanity which starts at conception is accidental, or has no value … Every life is valued infinitely by God. This includes the life of the unborn child.”

And last but certainly not least, the media’s favorite “liberal,” Pope Francis:

Among the vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenseless and innocent among us. Nowadays efforts are made to deny them their human dignity and to do with them whatever one pleases … the Church cannot be expected to change her position on this question.

Protecting the unborn and their vulnerable mothers has always been, and always will be, essential to Christian faith. The Apostle Peter, in one of the earliest sermons ever given, called Jesus “the Prince of Life” (Acts 3:15). Let’s keep working to honor that glorious title as we celebrate and defend the precious lives He creates.

Sincerely,

Rob Schwarzwalder
Senior Vice President
Family Research Council

P.S. Listen to two of America’s leading pro-life champions, U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and FRC’s own Dr. Pat Fagan, discuss some of the latest developments in the pro-life movement here.


Educational Freedom and Reform
Homeschooling

Legislation and Policy Proposals

College Debt

Government Reform
Regulation

Waste/Fraud/Abuse

Health Care
Abstinence

Health care reform: ACA/Obamacare

Homosexuality

Abortion

Bioethics and Biotechnology

Euthanasia and End of Life Issues

Stem Cell Research
To read about the latest advances in ethical adult stem cell research, keep up with leading-edge reports from FRC’s Dr. David Prentice, click here.

Human Trafficking

Marriage and Family
Adoption

Family Economics

Family Structure

Media
Pornography

Religion and Public Policy
Religious Liberty

Religion in America
Check out Dr. Kenyn Cureton’s feature on Watchmen Pastors called “The Lost Episodes,” featuring how religion has had an impact on our Founding Fathers.

Secularism

International
Israel

International Economy and Family

Religious Persecution

The Courts
Constitutional Issues

Other Issues

Book reviews

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus joins Tony Perkins on Washington Watch

by Tony Perkins

January 10, 2014

Reince Priebus chair of the Republican National Committee, announced a delay in their annual national meeting in order for members of both the House and Senate to attend the March for Life in Washington DC on January 22nd. This year marks the 41st anniversary of the tragic decision made in Roe v. Wade, the court case legalizing abortion.

Although there have been many applauding this decision by the RNC to delay their national meeting, the applause has been met with its share of criticism. Click here to listen to the entire interview between Tony & RNC Chairman, Reince Priebus.

Don’t Miss out on ProLifeCon

by Krystle Gabele

January 9, 2014

In less than two weeks, we will be hosting ProLifeCon, which is a gathering for pro-life internet activists.  Come and join us, as we hear from experts and legislators, who will inform you about the cutting edge of the pro-life movement and give you ways to make an impact on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the rest of the online world.

Confirmed Speakers include:

  • Ryan Bomberger, Chief Creative Officer, The Radiance Foundation
  • Joe Carter, Director of Communications, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
  • Michelle Duggar, Star of TLC’s “19 Kids & Counting”
  • Brian Fisher, Co-Founder and President, Online for Life
  • Jane Fuller, Executive Director, Assist Pregnancy Center of Virginia
  • Bethany Goodman, Assistant Director, March for Life Education and Defense Fund
  • Arina Grossu, Director, Center for Human Dignity, Family Research Council
  • Anna Higgins, Senior Fellow for Life Studies, Family Research Council
  • Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council
  • Henry Potrykus, Senior Fellow, FRC’s Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI)
  • Sen. Rick Santorum, Founder, Patriot Voices
  • Jill Stanek, Blogger, jillstanek.com
  • More to be announced

Register today for ProLifeCon 2014 and invite your friends.  You can also join in on the conversation on Twitter by using #ProLifeCon.

New Video: 45 Birthdays

by Carrie Russell

January 9, 2014

16,000 lives are saved each year when a mother views the ultrasound of her unborn child at a Pregnancy Resource Center. This means that, thanks to these ultrasounds, there are 45 birthdays being celebrated everyday.

Resources to Help You Fight Pornography

by Rob Schwarzwalder

January 6, 2014

Pornography is one of the great scourges of our time, and is hurting people in the pews of churches in every denomination. Its dangers are well documented, and one need not look beyond the doors of his own church to see the brokenness pornography leaves in its wake. As analyst Paul Coughlin wrote in 2009, “An anonymous survey conducted recently by Pastors.com reported that 54% of pastors admitted viewing porn within the last year. In an online newsletter, 34% of female readers of Today’s Christian Woman admitted to intentionally accessing Internet porn.”

This plague is affecting America’s youth, dramatically. According to “Enough is Enough (EIE),” a nationwide coalition designed to make the internet safer for children and families, “90 percent of 8 to 16 year old children have viewed pornography.”

Once pornography has taken root in one’s mind, it is hard to pull out. A few months ago, writing in The Public Discourse, analyst Morgan Bennett cited research showing that “new neurological research reveals that porn is as potently addictive as heroin or cocaine.”

Thankfully, there are movements and resources (including EIE) committed to helping men (and, sadly and increasingly, women) break free from its bonds. Family Research Council offers many resources regarding pornography, both with respect to one’s personal battle and public policy. Also, our Marriage and Religion Research Institute has done extensive research on the effects of pornography.

In addition, we are grateful for some other wonderful ministries and initiatives designed to stem the tide of pornography in our time. Here are a few of them (there are many others, national and state-focused):

One Million Men Porn Free: Pastor Jay Dennis of the First Baptist Church of Lakeland, Florida, launched this ministry to provide “extensive resources to educate leadership on how to forthrightly, but compassionately, address the issues of pornography. Using One Million Men Porn Free materials, leadership can facilitate a study program that will take men through the steps to freedom, and teach men how to help a Christian brother, or even their son.”

Morality in Media: Since 1962, MIM has been “the leading national organization opposing pornography and indecency through public education and the application of the law.” MIM also leads the “War on Illegal Pornography” coalition, of which FRC is a member, to “stop the growing amount of hard core pornography available in America.”

Proven Men Ministries, led by Liberty University School of Law professor Joel Hesch, last year launched “a Biblically based study program that fills a gap in available help to Christian men who want to overcome their pornography or sexual addiction and live out Proven lives. (PMM) is taking this provocative subject public via Facebook, Twitter, web videos and a targeted campaign to pastors nationwide.”

FRC’s longtime partner Focus on the Family has excellent resources for pastors, churches, families, and individuals scarred by pornography.

There are also many practical articles written by men and woman about how they have overcome their addictions to pornography thorough faith. For those struggling, read them and be encouraged: There’s hope. As one young man who has beaten his pornography addiction has written, “I’m so grateful for the work God has done in my life. I’m a new man. I actually pursue God, not run and hide from Him … and best of all I don’t see myself as a pathetic, cowardly pervert anymore. I see myself as … a man of God.”

Common Core Math Doesn’t Add Up

by Robert Morrison

January 6, 2014

Why would you deliberately dumb down math standards for all American students? That seems a far-fetched claim about the Common Core education standards currently being pushed by the Obama administration. Yet, that is what is happening, according to the highly respected education analyst, Sandra Stotsky, Ph.D.

In a recent Wall Street Journal column, Dr. Stotsky notes that President Obama has been touting his administration’s initiatives in STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math — as essential for America’s workforce of the Twenty-first Century. Of course, America should be a leader in these key areas. Still, as Dr. Stotsky explains:

…the basic mission of Common Core, as Jason Zimba, its leading mathematics standards writer, explained at a videotaped board meeting in March 2010, is to provide students with enough mathematics to make them ready for a nonselective college—“not for STEM,” as he put it. During that meeting, he didn’t tell us why Common Core aimed so low in mathematics. But in a September 2013 article published in the Hechinger Report, an education news website affiliated with Columbia University’s Teachers College, Mr. Zimba admitted: “If you want to take calculus your freshman year in college, you will need to take more mathematics than is in the Common Core.”

We are seeing in Common Core what we are seeing in ObamaCare: You have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it. Forty-five states were hustled into adopting Common Core. They were pushed and prodded, some would even say bribed, by massive lobbying by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among others.

This effort did not begin under President Obama, it is true. But this centralizing tendency, this usurpation of state authority, has accelerated under Mr. Obama. His “Race to the Top” initiative provides incentives in which the states get to reclaim more of their own money if they jump through the Obama administration’s hoops. No wonder critics of ObamaCore call this program “Race to the Trough.”

Federal educrats are very keen on testing. We might devise a test for them. What improvement in American education can you attribute to the federal intrusion into the sphere that the Constitution reserves to states and localities?  How has the federal government improved a single school in our neighborhood?

President Obama is avid to promote science and technology. Some years ago, he went to Copenhagen with his top science advisers to promote his views on climate change. He was able to persuade the leaders of the world’s governments at this much-touted Global Climate Summit to do exactly what? Little has been heard in the past five years of his accomplishment there. And that was when he was riding high in the polls, buoyed by his freshly-minted Nobel Prize for Peace.

Even his strongest supporters might give him a grade of “incomplete” for his success in getting other world leaders to adopt his stringent demands for change. China and India won’t cooperate in his war on coal, that’s certain. And, of course, their carbon footprints are growing daily.

Presidential historian Michael Beschloss assures us that Barack Obama is the smartest man ever to occupy the Oval Office. That may be, but it was surely curious to come upon this jarring note in the president’s best-selling book, The Audacity of Hope.

[I] came to appreciate how the earth rotated around the sun and the seasons came and went without any particular exertions on my part.”

Well, Sir, with all due respect: The Earth revolves around the sun. It rotates on its axis. I learned this in fifth grade. I recently taught it to my five-year old grandson. It’s no small matter. Copernicus got really famous for making this scientific breakthrough.

So why are we being lectured and hectored by a man who missed this key science lesson in fifth grade in Jakarta? The idea behind Common Core is that the elites in America know what our children and grandchildren need to know and can effectively design a national curriculum to impart it.

We’ve heard it all before. Can they do this amazing thing? They say: Yes, we can.

And they are just as convincing when they tell us: If you like your children, you can keep them. 

Quiz: What percentage of Americans live in states where the people have voted to redefine marriage?

by Peter Sprigg

January 3, 2014

Advocates of redefining marriage to include homosexual couples have taken to using a new statistic that is apparently intended to communicate the growing acceptance of such redefinition. Instead of talking straightforwardly about the number of states which now issue civil marriage licenses to same-sex couples (eighteen as of this writing), they will say something likeXX% of Americans now live in states with same-sex marriage.”

This theme — clearly designed to maximize the impression that homosexual civil “marriage” is widespread — took hold after California began issuing such licenses in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision (or non-decision) last June on that state’s marriage amendment, Proposition 8. (The Court declined to rule on the constitutionality of Prop 8, but it let stand a District Court decision which had declared it unconstitutional. Although there remain questions about the legality of their actions, the same state officials who had refused to defend Prop 8 — thus leading to the non-decision by the Supreme Court — chose to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples statewide.)

Since California is the largest state in the country, with its 37 million residents representing twelve percent of the entire U.S. population, its inclusion almost automatically means that the “percentage of the population” living in states that have redefined marriage will be higher than the “percentage of the states” that have done so.

One could, however, just as easily come up with other ways to statistically describe how widespread the acceptance of marriage’s redefinition has become — ways which would give quite a different impression.

For example, in some states marriage was redefined (or its legal benefits redistributed) by judicial fiat, bypassing normal democratic processes of law-making altogether. Subtracting those would result in a lower percentage figure. In others, it was pushed through legislatures through heavy-handed lobbying, while the people were denied the opportunity to vote on the issue. Subtracting those would result in an even lower percentage. In either of these situations, the mere existence of same-sex “marriages” should not be interpreted as public acceptance of them.

Suppose we look, instead, only at states in which the voters themselves, acting on a referendum at the ballot box, have decided the definition of civil marriage.

There are thirty states where the people have adopted, by referendum, state constitutional amendments to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. (Two of those states, California and Utah, are currently issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples anyway, but only as a result of federal court decisions.) Fully two thirds of the American public — 66.7 percent — live in states where the people have voted for a constitutional one-man-one-woman marriage definition.

On the other hand, in only three states have voters actively endorsed laws to redefine marriage at the ballot box — Maine, Maryland, and Washington (all in November 2012). Combined, these three states represent only 4.5 percent of the American population.

Obviously, this is a selective use of statistics (I would not deny that more than 4.5% of Americans now think same-sex couples should be allowed to get marriage licenses). But the “mainstream” media is often guilty of the selective use of statistics, too — for example, in ignoring polls that show most Americans oppose changing the definition of marriage.

Yet I doubt that the media will ever report that almost fifteen times as many people live in states where voters have endorsed a one-man-one-woman marriage definition as live in states where voters have endorsed changing that definition.

ObamaCore: Not his Signature Achievement

by Robert Morrison

January 3, 2014

We all know that ObamaCare is the president’s “signature achievement.” The media keeps telling us so. I don’t know what my own signature achievement might be, but I’m certainly happy it’s not a “screwed up” (his own word) launch of a health care takeover.

Less well known, but equally botched, is the so-called Common Core state education standards. Defenders of this federal power grab howl when critics call it “ObamaCore.”

Not fair. This didn’t start under President Obama, they say. True. And anyway it’s voluntary, they say. Not so true. It’s only voluntary if the states want a chunk of their own money back from the tight-fisted federal education department.

The reason it is fair to call it ObamaCore is because it is the fulfillment of President Obama’s pledge to “fundamentally transform this country.” Like ObamaCare, ObamaCore reduces the states to mere local branches of the federal government. It strips them of their rightful authority under the Constitution. It turns citizens into subjects.

Speaking of signatures though, an incident at my local hospital reminded me recently that ObamaCore really roils Americans at the grassroots. A young hematology technician approached me as I rolled up my sleeve to give blood. She slipped in the needle and asked if I’d heard they were going to drop cursive writing from elementary school curricula. Yes, I had heard something about that, I quickly volunteered. She then proceeded to fill me in. This young professional woman was livid. My blood started to boil, too (not always the best thing when they’re trying to draw it.)

Why would Common Core proponents want to get rid of cursive handwriting? Well, we won’t need it anymore, they assure us. Everything will be done on iPads, iPhones, and word processors. We have to get hip and get moving into the Twenty-first Century, they tell us.

This incident was most revealing. Out in the country — away from Washington, D.C. and its perennial fights over money — people are really agitated about Common Core. The dropping of cursive writing is just one element, but it’s an important one. We all sense this, even if we cannot give all the reasons why.

Let’s start with the Founding Fathers; it’s always a good idea. Benjamin Franklin was the most inventive genius this country ever produced. Yes, he was even smarter than Bill Gates. Let’s look at Benjamin Franklin’s signature. It’s a work of art.

Surely, the man who was a printer, who set type and who made his living not writing in cursive, might have been dismissive of his signature. But his signature is bold and assertive. It obviously is meant to be an expression of Benjamin Franklin himself.

George Washington’s signature tells us here is a man to be reckoned with. Although personally humble, and although he did not sign the Constitution with the same oversize flair that John Hancock employed when signing the Declaration of Independence, there is yet a solidity and an integrity about Washington’s signature that suggests it will last as long as the Rock of Gibraltar does.

Thomas Jefferson affixed his signature to tens of thousands of letters in his lifetime. He wrote with a speed and dexterity that is stunning to us today. His letters—of which he carefully kept copies to keep critics from “twistifying” his words — proceeded like a Niagara from his mountaintop retreat at Monticello. Founding Father Benjamin Rush would say that he and John Adams thought for us of the revolutionary generation.

Lincoln thought out intellectual problems, too, by writing. There seems to have been something in the mechanical process of handwriting that enabled this deeply introspective man to work out the most difficult challenges of statecraft by his writing. As a stimulus to thought, Lincoln’s handwriting expressed logic, eloquence, and vast power. Douglas L. Wilson refers to his craft as Lincoln’s Sword. His words have a biblical cadence and a musical allure.

Microsoft’s founding genius, Bill Gates, is urging us to swallow all of Common Core. But this admittedly clever man recently confessed that he had made a big mistake with Crtl-Alt-Delete. That awkward sequence of keystrokes was something the tech whiz says he messed up. He has not told us whether he also messed up in his large donations to President Obama’s campaigns.

I’m hoping my grandchildren will be media savvy and fully able to negotiate whatever technical devices are yet to be developed. But I also want them to know the joy of writing and the importance of their signatures as an expression of their own immortal selves.

Is all of this precious heritage at risk from eliminating cursive writing? Maybe not. But this change is not hopeful. And it can serve us as a synechdoche — that is, a part that truly represents the whole.

We know this much: Those who today grasp for ever more crushing power over 317 million of us Americans have done nothing thus far to earn our trust.

Lost Episodes’ Deserve Discovery

by Rob Schwarzwalder

January 3, 2014

One of the best-kept secrets on the internet is Dr. Kenyn Cureton’s “Lost Episodes in American History” series. Vice-President of Family Research Council’s Church Ministries department, Kenyn was for 20 years a pastor and now leads a movement of more than 23,000 pastors he encourages to “pray, preach, and partner” concerning the key issues of life, marriage, family, and religious liberty.

Kenyn’s Ph.D. training has equipped to view history with a scholar’s eye. His love for God and his love for our country motivate him to study our history’s with a patriot’s passion. For example, yesterday’s entry dealt with God’s remarkable protection of George Washington during the American Revolution. Students will be especially edified as they read these faith-filled perspectives on historic events.

Kenyn’s “Lost Episodes” series is a refreshing reminder that many of our country’s Founders were men and women whose Christian backgrounds strongly influenced them, and who saw God’s amazing provision during that tumultuous time in the nation’s history. You can read these valuable and often-neglected stories of faith, freedom, and courage here. Kenyn publishes the “Lost Episodes” five days a week, and each one will inspire and encourage you.

Hope & Change for 2014

by Robert Morrison

January 3, 2014

There were some conservatives last year who jabbed the president’s supporters by asking: “How’s that hopey-changey thing workin’ out for ya?” It was good for a bitter laugh, perhaps, but Christians are all about Hope and Change. There’s nothing wrong with the message. The follow-through is what the interminable clashes in Washington are all about.

We are all too well aware of the loss of courage among some of those who claim to be leaders. Faced with the first demand that they actually stand for the things they’ve told us for twenty years they stand for, they collapse before the pink panzers of political correctness. Even conservative TV commentators bow to what they see as the inevitable end of marriage in America, and perhaps in the world.

We’ve seen such lost eras before. There was widespread disillusionment among the young following World War I. President Wilson broke his health and his heart in a quixotic quest “to make the world safe for democracy.” His failure bred a corrosive cynicism among “the lost generation.”

It was then that Irish poet William Butler Yeats penned his classic “Second Coming.”

Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

If you are looking for mere anarchy, check out any report from the Middle East. It’s as if the caption Mideast Turmoil has been painted on our TV screens.

If we want to find passionate intensity, we can tune in MSNBC on almost any given night. And it’s little better to hear a conservative radio talker promise to put a boot in your ….

If you want to see the centre not holding, watch mainstream news analysts try to puzzle an answer to the questions: Well, why not polygamy? What’s wrong with children being raised by a commune of “caring” adults?

Over Christmas, I watched as our daughter and son-in-law held their two year old down and put her eye drops in. It wasn’t a serious illness, thankfully, but the child kicked and cried throughout. In a polyamorous unit, whose responsibility is it to care for that sick child?

So why be hopeful? Last year, our son took a cruise to the Caribbean. He and his girlfriend had been dating for several years. He chose this moment to give her a ring. Our friends in Annapolis, the wives of foreign naval officers, were amazed that we gave our son heirloom family jewels to fashion into a special engagement ring. We explained that we are giving something more precious than jewels, we are giving our son. On the cruise formal night, and for the benefit of the cameras, he dropped to one knee and proposed marriage. Scores of fellow passengers applauded. She said yes. There’s hope. There’s change.

On New Year’s Eve, one of my favorite former students was moved by his hope for change. Phil is now a young Army officer. He had met his lady friend only last October. They started spending time together and soon their relationship deepened. Phil asked Lynne’s dad for his daughter’s hand. He must have made a very favorable impression in that short time, because the young woman’s father gave his blessing.

After preparing a special dinner for his intended, Phil escorted her to the community pool where they had met. There he had placed a bouquet of roses in the shape of a heart. He leaped into the pool and came out to present Lynne with a ring.

All the while, Phil had been texting family and friends with updates on the great event. We laughed as Phil said the ring was burning a hole in his pocket. Don’t worry, the ladies call those diamonds “ice,” we told him. Even the forty-degree water couldn’t cool this young man’s ardor. And his enthusiasm for life and love surely will inspire others.

We got to share in this beautiful and hopeful change in their lives. Just one year ago, they did not know each other. Today, they are ready to spend their lives together.

This is how the centre will hold — one devoted couple, engaged for true marriage, at a time.

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