Month Archives: June 2014

Meriam Ibrahim to be Freed

by Travis Weber

June 23, 2014

In a heartening turn of events, it appears a Sudanese appeals court has overturned a lower court ruling in which Sudanese mother Meriam Ibrahim had been sentenced to death for apostasy and 100 lashes for adultery. According to Sudan’s official SUNA news agency (as reported by the Independent),

The appeal court ordered the release of Mariam Yahya and the cancellation of the (previous) court ruling.”

This is certainly a good bit of news, as numerous human rights organizations and governments had pressured Sudan and called on the ruling to be reversed. The U.S. government had been slow to respond, however, only recently issuing statements bearing on the matter. Numerous groups had spoken and petitioned on the matter, including the Family Research Council. And in Sudan, Meriam’s attorneys had filed appeals and vowed to fight to the end.

Though what exactly caused the ruling to be reversed remains unclear, we are appreciative of all who spoke out against this blatant human rights violation. No one in the world today, no matter where and under what system of positive law they live, should be compelled to adhere to certain religious beliefs under threat of death or any other punishment. Thankfully, Meriam is now free.

Yet, this matter is not concluded. Though there are some in Sudan supportive of Meriam (Sudanese have demonstrated on her behalf, and her attorneys are Sudanese Muslims), there are others who are not. There have been threats to her life. Once she is freed, she will be in a position to leave Sudan. At that point, it will matter what the U.S. government has or has not done. As Family Research Council asked in its White House petition, available here - https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/act-case-meriam-ibrahim-sudan-and-her-baby-and-toddler-prison/D1x1q4VG - we again call upon President Obama to heed the thousands of petitioning Americans who have asked that he grant Meriam and her two children expedited safe haven in the United States.

Human Trafficking: Modern-Day Slavery ¿ Here at Home and Around the World

by Rob Schwarzwalder

June 20, 2014

The State Department has issued its annual report on human trafficking, “Trafficking in Persons – 2014”.  In announcing the release of the report, Secretary of State John Kerry stated that a conservative estimate places the number of trafficked persons at 20 million.

Here at home, it is estimated that up to 300,000 women and girls are at risk of being trafficked – held in bondage to sexual fiefs who use them for prostitution and/or pornography. That estimate was given at FRC by an aide to U.S. Rep. Anne Wagner (R-MO), who has introduced legislation to help combat human trafficking here in the U.S.

The relationship between abortion, pornography, prostitution, and trafficking is acute and extensive. Here are some resources to help better acquaint you with this rats’ nest of evil – and how you can work, in practical ways, to fight it, here at home and abroad (all of these resources are available and accessible at no cost):

FRC Online lecture: “Stopping Online Advertisers of Trafficking Victims: the ‘SAVE’ Act

FRC Brochure: “How to Fight Human Trafficking in Your Community

FRC Webcast: “Human Trafficking: Modern-Day Slavery

FRC Blog/Op-Ed: “How China’s ‘One Child’ Policy Fosters Human Trafficking

Planned Parenthood’s New Jingle: “It Just Depends On What Type of Pain You Can Take.”

by Rachel Del Guidice

June 19, 2014

In its latest undercover investigation, the exploratory pro-life organization Live Action has revealed a shocking glimpse of what Planned Parenthood is really teaching minors about sexual behavior.

It is a known fact that Planned Parenthood unashamedly promotes promiscuous sexual behavior. In a recent blog post, Planned Parenthood stated that “there’s nothing bad or unhealthy about having a big number of sexual partners.” A new exposé by Live Action, released June 10, catches a Planned Parenthood counselor giving an underage girl advice on violent sexual practices. When the 15-year-old girl expressed concerns about how painful types of torture sex (also known as BDSM, which includes the use of whipping, bondage and pain) would be painful, the counselor vaguely replied, “Oh, you know, it’ll feel good to you.”

It’s so offensive and disgusting,” Live Action President Lila Rose stated in a recent interview. “She’s coaching this girl how she can work up to more intense stuff during sex to increase the level of pain and domination.”

There are two things we can take from this. First, this exposé reveals just how far our culture has fallen. As stated in Genesis 2:22-24, God intended sex for a marriage relationship between one man and one woman. While the human body is indeed a beautiful creation, our society has exchanged the truth of God for lies. Romans 1:25 reads, “They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator Himself.” Our society’s obsession with sexual pleasure at any cost has led to the acceptance of sexual practices that disregard not just morality and respect, but even safety. Live Action News reports that their “investigative footage include[s] a clip from the video series ‘A Naked Notion,’ sponsored by Planned Parenthood, where the hostess explains the principles of BDSM, which involves sex partners beating, whipping, or otherwise inflicting pain on each other.”

Second, this discovery sheds new light on Planned Parenthood’s double standard. While PPFA claims to be there for every woman, Planned Parenthood is now revealed to be supporting incredibly degrading and violent sexual practices. Out of one side of their mouth, Planned Parenthood claims to be the staunchest supporter of women, and out of the other side, they encourage sexual practices that hurt those same women. “It just depends on what type of pain you can take,” the Planned Parenthood counselor said about BDSM.

This latest atrocity of Planned Parenthood demands attention and action by the people of God. We must fervently pray for all those involved in Planned Parenthood’s web of deception and lies, both their counselors and those who come to them for help.

In a world that is so dark, it is our duty as Christians to be instruments of light and life. Our witness can bring hope to those living in darkness; our witness can bring freedom to those who have been caught in the clutches of the culture of death. “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

The Social Conservative Review: June 19, 2014

by Krystle Gabele

June 19, 2014

Click here to subscribe to the Social Conservative Review.


Dear Friends,

Does the Affordable Care Act subsidize abortion?

As many of you will recall, President Obama signed an Executive Order stating that the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, would not fund abortion or abortion-related services. Of course, this was legally meaningless, as later admitted by Rahm Emanuel, since no EO can override the content of enacted legislation.

FRC has been concerned that from its inception, the ACA would subsidize abortion through the state insurance plan exchanges, and has now produced a study quantifying that concern.

Abortion Coverage in State Health Care Exchanges,” authored by the Director of FRC’s Center for Human Dignity, Arina Grossu, demonstrates that Obamacare uses taxpayer funds to subsidize abortion by various means, as noted in the bullet points below.

You can download the publication here. A PDF is available here. Please review this new study and share it with colleagues and peers concerned about the ongoing battle for the lives of the unborn and the safety and dignity of their mothers.

Thanks for standing with FRC for the most vulnerable among us. Whatever the momentary wins or losses, the right to life is one we can never surrender.

Sincerely,

Rob Schwarzwalder
Senior Vice President
Family Research Council

P.S. Be sure to watch Dr. Robert Gagnon’s superb FRC lecture on the Bible and homosexuality here.


Human Dignity and the Sanctity of Life
Abortion

Euthanasia/End of Life Issues

Stem Cells and Biotechnology

Marriage & Family
Common Core

Family Life

Human Sexuality

Homosexuality and Same-Sex “Marriage”

Pornography

Human trafficking

Religious Liberty

Religion in Public Life

International Religious Liberty

Other important articles

Book Reviews

Adoption Made Me Love Superman

by Family Research Council

June 18, 2014

Are Superman’s parents aliens, too?”

My nine-year-old brother, Eli, turned to us with curiosity.

No,” Jonas, my teenage brother, replied. “Superman is adopted.”

Eli’s eyes immediately lit up, and a new obsession was born.

Eli is adopted from South Korea. He was brought home to America when he was seven months old, and every year since then we always celebrate that day as a family. He loves hearing us tell the story about how God had a special plan for our family and how excited we were to hold him for the first time.

I was eleven when Eli was born, and so I recall vividly the lengths my parents went to in order to adopt. They had been talking about it ever since I could remember, but demoralizing obstacles continued to get in their way. Birth mothers who backed out, concerns about parental rights, a baby born who only survived for a few days because of mistakes the mother had made while pregnant all seemed to be standing in the way of a successful adoption. Even as a child I couldn’t help but notice the heartbreak each disappointment caused my parents.

Nevertheless, the call on their hearts to adopt only increased as the years passed. Most of all, I remember my dad getting home from a long day at work and rushing to join my mom at the kitchen table. There they would sift through cascading piles of paperwork, make phone calls, and sort through adoption agencies. Eventually, as American agencies continued to be problematic, my parents turned to international adoption and South Korea.

While most children are born out of a few hours of labor, my brother was brought home only after years of labor.

The joy we felt when we were finally matched with Eli by the agency was inexpressible. My family huddled around the picture of him as a newborn. I remember looking at his picture and knowing, beyond a doubt, that I loved him.

Growing up in a small Midwestern town, people were friendly but occasionally naïve about our experience with adoption. Especially once Eli was home, and people would see us at the store or in the park. My family would receive comments like, “You are so generous to have rescued him from wherever he was before this.”

Questions like these reveal a fundamental misunderstanding of adoption, and as an eleven-year-old, I could never understand what they meant. It was difficult for me to comprehend how anyone could consider this overwhelming blessing in my life to be something as one-dimensional as a “rescue mission” or charity. While adoption is, in ways, a charitable act mirroring God’s compassionate adoption of all Christians into His family, it is also so much more. The lessons and love that come with a new child or sibling are independent of the means by which they are joined with the family. There was never a single moment that Eli was categorized in our hearts or minds as an outside individual whom we just happened to bring into our home. Instead, adoption was simply the medium through which God united us with the next member of our family. Despite years of setbacks in the adoption process, God used each disappointment to lead us closer to a specific agency, at a specific time, so that we were matched with the person He had always intended to be my brother.

Now, nearly nine years later, I indulge Eli’s obsession with Superman and watch the 2013 movie Man of Steel with him on repeat. It’s what sisters do.

And although this caped crusader isn’t necessarily my favorite, there is one part of the movie that always stands out to me: the moment that the young Clark Kent realizes he is adopted. The young boy looks up at the man who’s been raising him his whole life, and with a quivering voice, asks, “Can’t I just keep pretending I’m your son?” His father immediately embraces him in a hug, and says firmly, “You are my son.”

The first time Eli saw this scene tears began streaming down his face.

It’s almost impossible to explain the depth of my love for Eli, and how it has no distinction from my love for anyone else in my family. To anyone considering adopting, know that it blesses you in ways you can never imagine. I will forever be grateful that God made our family whole through adoption.

Common Core: “A Little Rebellion Now and Then”

by Robert Morrison

June 18, 2014

One of the factors that led to Congressman Eric Cantor’s recent defeat was his failure to recognize the threat posed by Common Core State Standards. His victorious opponent, David Brat, trumpeted his opposition to Common Core. And Brat struck a responsive chord among the voters of Virginia’s Seventh District. We could certainly call the first defeat in over a century of either party’s House Majority Leader “a little rebellion.”

It’s fitting that this little rebellion would get traction in the Old Dominion. It was Virginia’s own Thomas Jefferson who took a fairly relaxed view of Shays’s Rebellion in Massachusetts in 1786. Jefferson was then serving as our minister to France, but almost alone among the Founding Fathers, Mr. Jefferson did not take alarm at the uprising. “I hold that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing. The tree of liberty must be watered by the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”

The entire episode of the grassroots rebellion against Common Core is an example of that spark that Thomas Jefferson never wanted to see quenched in us. “It is in the manners and spirit of the people,” he would write, “that a republic is preserved in vigor.” We don’t have to agree with Jefferson’s dismissive attitude toward Shays’s Rebellion. I don’t. And neither did George Washington or James Madison. Madison would become Jefferson’s most faithful ally and advocate.

We can look at Common Core as the ultimate expression of elite opinion about American education. Americans in this view need to be led, fed, directed, managed, cajoled, cosseted, and coerced—all for their own good. Instead of education reform welling up from the grassroots, it would be better, in the view of Common Core adherents, for the necessary changes to come from the top down. Grasstops will tell the grassroots what they need to know.

The Washington Post recently let the Common Core cat out of the elitist bag by publishing a front-page expose headlined “How Bill Gates Pulled Off the Common Core Revolution.” The story is red meat for the opponents of Common Core. It is replete with insider deals and hurry-up, get on board, this train is leaving the station hustle. The Common Core “revolution” so called has never been field tested, never been submitted to public debate, never fully explained, never honestly presented. It’s been a shell game from Day One.

And Common Core resisters have kicked up a fuss from Day Two. I want here to salute these Sons and Daughters (mostly Daughters, frankly) of Liberty. These are the grassroots activists who know what is going on in their local school districts. They know the Constitution and the laws. And they care about their children and, in many cases, their grandchildren. It was easy for sophisticated liberals to dismiss such folks generations ago as “little old ladies in tennis shoes.” Well, now those little old ladies are wearing combat boots.

First to feel the heat (if they didn’t entirely see the light) was the Republican National Committee. Despite the fact that some leading GOP Governors had fallen for the Common Core siren song, the RNC pulled back and passed an anti-Common Core resolution. That helped to legitimize opposition to Common Core.

Here, one is reminded of the French popular leader who sits happily smoking his Gauloise at a Paris sidewalk café. Seeing a massive demonstration headed for the National Assembly, he jumps up. “Those are my people, he says, I have to find out where they are going so I can lead them!”

For whatever reasons, the Republican Party will almost certainly see resolutions offered at its next Platform-writing session to condemn Common Core—and particularly to condemn the stealthy and dishonest way that it has been “pulled off.” States are perfectly free to reject Common Core, we are endlessly told. But if they do, they have no escape from that other terrible idea: No Child Left Behind. The Obama administration has cleverly contrived to let your state get off the rack of NCLB only by signing up for the Iron Maiden of Common Core. Then, the federal bureaucrats will generously let your state spend its own money.

When I served in the Reagan administration, I was given two weeks of “orientation” by Dr. Ed at the federal education department.  Dr. Ed had his Ed.D from Harvard and was a most intelligent, learned, and devoted public servant. He was also thoroughly liberal. Dr. Ed took me to each of the ten assistant secretaryships. Each day for those two weeks, Dr. Ed would assure me that the federal department spends “only 7% of the total education budget.” Just 7%, he repeated like a mantra. Dr. Ed was too diplomatic to say that surely I now understood that what Mrs. Schlafly and all those little old ladies in tennis shoes were saying about our beneficent federal department could not possibly be true.

I reflected on Dr. Ed’s wise counsel. But I recalled my dad’s wartime visits to India. He taught me how the mahouts train elephants there. It takes the mahout about two weeks to break the elephant to the master’s will. Up, down, backward and forward, left and right, the elephant in those two weeks is put through his paces. The mahout only weighs 7% of what the elephant weighs. But the mahout has a stick that he jams behind the elephant’s ear. And the elephant soon learns to do the master’s bidding.

That, Dr. Ed, is how the federal education department works.

And Thomas Jefferson’s great lieutenant, the “magnificent little Madison,” put the dangers in perspective when he wrote:

I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”

As a veteran of the federal education department and a recovering bureaucrat, I am proud of America’s little rebellion against Common Core. Bill Gates almost pulled it off. But the Washington Post let everyone know how corrupting the influence of this powerful man has been. If you bribe the Governor of Virginia, you can get indicted. And the governor can get indicted. You are considered corrupt. But if you lavish money on all the governors to entice them to do your will, you are counted a philanthropist.

What the little rebellion over Common Core proves is that here, the people still rule. And it is heartening to see America rising.

Think About What You Are Seeing

by Rob Schwarzwalder

June 17, 2014

Two ironic but related headlines in today’s news:

(1) From U.S. News and World Report: “Iraqi Christians flee homes as Sunni militants seize land; many say they’re not going back.” Quote: “During the past 11 years, at least half of the country’s Christian population has fled the country (Iraq), according to some estimates, to escape frequent attacks by Sunni Muslim militants targeting them and their churches. Now many of those who held out and remained may be giving up completely after fighters belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant swept over the city of Mosul and a broad swath of the country the past week.”

(2) From The Chicago Tribune: “Met Opera cancels live transmission due to anti-Semitism concerns.” Quote: “New York’s Metropolitan Opera announced on Tuesday that it has cancelled its plans for a live transmission of the opera ‘The Death of Klinghoffer’ in movie theaters because of concerns that it could fan global anti-Semitism.”

Christians around the world are under pressure, if not overt persecution. Jews are the subjects of a growing, noxious anti-Semitism that threatens the very existence of the State of Israel, let alone the lives of individual Jews around the world.

So, consider the unique irony of this story: old-line Protestant denominations are getting into the act.

United Methodists: “The pension board of the nation’s largest mainline Protestant denomination, the United Methodist Church, has decided to divest its shares in a British company that supplies security equipment to Israel for use in prisons and in the occupied West Bank.”

United Church of Christ: “The United Church of Christ (has) called for a boycott of goods produced in Israeli settlements, including eastern Jerusalem. In a new report released a few days ago in Canada, which will have severe consequences for the congregation in North America, the Church calls for an economic divestment against the Jewish State.”

Presbyterian Church USA: “The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) appears to be on the brink of handing a major victory to a movement that wants institutions to wield their investment dollars against Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians. The Presbyterian General Assembly, gathering in Detroit through next week, will consider withdrawing its investments from some companies whose products are used by the Israeli government in the Palestinian territories. Divestment advocates were narrowly outmaneuvered at the last Presbyterian convention in 2012, losing a crucial ballot by just two votes. They enter this year’s fight with signs of increasing momentum, within and outside the church.”

So, to be clear: Professed heralds of the Gospel of Jesus – a Jew – decide with great moral unction to jettison investments in companies that are in or do business with Israel.

As FRC has documented, religious liberty in the U.S. is being pressed and diminished. Internationally, the Jewish people and/or the State of Israel are being marginalized, often by professing Western Christians.

There is no space to go into all the theological, historical, or political ironies of these actions. Is the modern State of Israel flawless? Of course not – no human government or institution is untainted by sin and short-sightedness. But is Israel the one beacon of hope, decency, and liberty in the Middle East? Yes, without question. And has Israel been victimized, and the Jewish people brutalized, in ways we dislike even considering? Yes. And yes.

Every morning, I drive past the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. and observe a sign that says, “Think about what you saw.” The memory of the Holocaust should burn in our memories. It’s freakish evil should be an ongoing reminder of the rapidity with which gross malevolence can erupt. Yet in the ostensibly free and sophisticated West, our failure to think about what we know is deliberate, and chilling.

Christians, are you thinking about what you’re reading?

Your Voice is Needed to Save Meriam Ibrahim

by Family Research Council

June 17, 2014

Since having the privilege of interning at the Family Research Council this summer, I have been reminded of how crucial it is for Christians to be informed about what is going on in our culture. Not only is it our responsibility to be informed citizens, but it is an honor to live in a nation where we can use our voice to share our beliefs. Last week, I had the opportunity to raise my voice outside the doorstep of the White House for Meriam Ibrahim.

Meriam and I both love the Lord Jesus and we are both committed Christians. Yet, Meriam has endured persecution for her faith that I cannot even fathom. She was raised in a Christian home and married a Christian American citizen. Amidst severe scrutiny by the Sudanese government, Meriam has remained vocal about her faith and has refused to renounce Christ. As a result, Meriam, along with her two children who are likely eligible for U.S. citizenship, has been shackled in a Khartoum prison since January of this year. If not overturned, Meriam has been sentenced to a beating of 100 lashes and death by hanging. Though she is pressed down on every side, she has remained true to our Lord.

Fortunate to live in a nation where I can utilize my freedom of religion and freedom of speech, last Thursday, I participated in a rally to demand this woman’s release. I joined several others outside the gates of the White House where we urged the Obama administration to take action to help with Meriam’s release. We rallied outside the doors of the White House and we called on President Obama to grant her immediately safe haven.

Let me be clear, every part of me believes that we are to speak the truth in love. It is from a heart that is overflowing with love that I pray for those in authority over me; it is from this same heart that I urged my leaders to help release this woman and her young children.

This life refuses to adopt a lifestyle of passivity. In the words of William Wilberforce, “You may choose to look the other way but you can never again say you did not know.” Every part of me refuses to look the other way.

One day, Christ will come and He will establish His eternal reign. Until then, Paul exhorts the church in Ephesians 6 to “having done all, stand.” Have we done all to act on this woman’s behalf?

Our help is needed. Our voices are needed. Our time to act is now. Please join me in signing this petition for Meriam’s release: www.frc.org/sudan. We are more than halfway to our goal of 100,000 signers, which is the number the White House requires before it will respond to a citizens’ petition.

To whom much has been given, much will be expected. Americans have been given much. We’ve been given a voice. We’ve been given freedom. Let’s be wise stewards.

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