Month Archives: June 2014

And if the D-Day Landings had Failed?

by Robert Morrison

June 6, 2014

General Eisenhower had borne the burden of command for years. He smoked then. Some four packs a day. He had to deal with military prima donnas like Gen. George Patton and Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery. Critics in the press reminded readers that Ike had never commanded troops in battle before. He had to stroke the forever suspicious Soviets. And then, there were the Germans. Fully 85% of all the U.S. war effort was going into fighting the most formidable military force in history.

Ike prepared a short statement for use in case the D-Day landings had failed. It’s instructive in our time to look back at how this Supreme Commander planned to meet defeat. This statement was never used:

Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that Bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.”

Where might Eisenhower have learned such a lesson in leadership? He was a serious student of history, especially military history. He had been stationed near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania as a young training officer during World War I. (He was considered so talented at training others that he could not be spared to go to the trenches himself.)

Clearly, Ike knew the record of the great Civil War Battle of Gettysburg. He knew how Gen. Robert E. Lee reacted to the disaster of Pickett’s Charge. Lee met the shattered remnants of Pickett’s division as they straggled back from their failed assault on entrenched Union troops at the Copse of Trees. Forever after, that bloody battlefield would be known as “The High Water Mark of the Confederacy.” His hat off, General Lee sadly met his beaten troops.

It’s all my fault,” their Marse Robert told his men on that sweltering July afternoon in 1863. He repeated the sentiment to a British observer, Col. Arthur Fremantle, and offered his resignation to the Confederate president, Jefferson Davis.

Ike knew that history. Happily, Gen. Eisenhower never had to issue a statement claiming responsibility for a military disaster. Once ashore on that bloody June 6, 1944, the Allied forces moved haltingly inland. The hedgerow country of Normandy proved to be a far greater obstacle than pre-invasion planners had reckoned. And the Germans stubbornly resisted.

The bocages were a series of barriers to tank and truck movements. These barriers were the result of a thousand years of farming and tillage by Norman peasants. In that decisive summer, they enabled the retreating Germans to make every kilometer count.

In the end, however, the gritty courage of American and Allied troops wore down German resistance. And the Americans brought to bear their almost limitless resources.

President Roosevelt had called America “the Arsenal of Democracy.” The results of wartime production show why that phrase so aptly captured America’s economic muscle.

British-born author Alistair Cooke in The American Home Front: 1941-42 related these stunning facts:

Britain trebled its wartime output between 1940 and 1945, a ratio surpassing both Germany and Russia, who doubled theirs, though Japan excelled with a fourfold increase.

And America? America stepped up its war output a staggering twenty-five times.

D-Day contains innumerable lessons in leadership and responsibility, in devotion to duty and in sacrificing for freedom. We certainly know that all of those men who left those landing craft under heavy fire that day did their duty.

In 1975, as Saigon fell to the Communists and Americans watched as their ambassador to South Vietnam was lifted by helicopter from the roof of our embassy, the U.S. flag tucked under his arm, President Ford said “this is not a day for recriminations.” Ronald Reagan countered, asking: “What better day?”

There are questions we can apply to our leadership today. For example, where was the Commander-in-Chief on the night of September 11, 2012, when our people were killed in Benghazi? We still do not know.

On a more prosaic level, we do not know who has been held accountable for the failure of the ObamaCare rollout. Or for that matter, who has claimed responsibility for the Election Day crash of Mitt Romney’s vaunted computer program, ORCA. That system had been touted as the answer to the Obama voter turnout machine.

As avoidance of responsibility and blame shifting become characteristics of our nation’s political and corporate life, more defeats and disasters become unavoidable. That’s why there is merit in studying the past.

Rare D-Day “Colour” Footage

by Robert Morrison

June 6, 2014

London’s Daily Telegraph provides us a link to this rare “colour” footage of D-Day. The Allied attack on the heavily-fortified coast of Nazi-occupied France was the largest seaborne invasion in history. With this clip, we can see what the uniforms looked like, what color is meant by the German word feldgrau (field gray).

In the White House, President Franklin D. Roosevelt broadcast to the nation over all radio networks. The Commander-in-Chief was unembarrassed about his faith. He asked his fellow Americans to join him in this prayer. He told the people the D-Day invasion was a struggle to preserve “our republic, our religion, and our civilization.”

For thousands of those young warriors in the invasion force, June 6, 1944 would be their last day on earth. Many of them would carry among their battle gear small New Testaments. These good books, including the Psalms, had been issued to our troops. They bore an inscription by President Roosevelt encouraging the soldiers, Marines, airmen, and Coast Guardsmen to read and attend to the message they contained.

D-Day has always had a special significance in our family. My father and my wife’s father were both veterans of World War II, and though neither man took part in the Normandy invasion, all Americans of their day felt that those troops who stormed ashore that cold June morning carried our hearts with them.

My wife and I went to Normandy for our twenty-fifth anniversary. We wanted to see the place where so many American, British, Canadian, Polish, and Free French forces had fought. It is an unforgettable sight.

The French have preserved the landing beaches largely as they were then. They are still designated with their D-Day code names — Utah and Omaha (American), Gold (U.K.) Juno (Can.), and Sword (U.K.).

Standing on those forbidding cliffs, high above the beach, we looked down on the approaches from the perspective of the German soldiers who were part of Festung Europa (Fortress Europe). Field Marshal Erwin Rommel had spent a year and millions of man-hours pressing Norman farmers as slave laborers. He made them build up the ugly concrete bunkers and steel obstacles that were supposed to stop the Allied invaders on the beaches. Rommel knew if the Allies gained a foothold in France, he would not be able to stop them pushing all the way to Germany.

We especially wanted to stand at Pointe du Hoc. That’s the spot where President Ronald Reagan stood in 1984 to commemorate the Fortieth Anniversary of D-Day. President Reagan saluted “the boys of Point[e] du Hoc.” He lauded those U.S. Army Rangers as “men who left the vivid air signed with their honor.”

Historian Douglas Brinkley wrote a book on The Boys of Pointe du Hoc. Brinkley believes that Ronald Reagan understood that we cannot focus on the massive number of troops; we cannot appreciate the enterprise of the largest invasion force by a listing of all those tens of thousands of many nations and many units that took part. So, Reagan chose to honor those Rangers who scaled those cliffs and placed their daggers in the land they would soon liberate. In so doing, Brinkley writes, Ronald Reagan sparked a resurgence of patriotism in America.

We stood at Pointe du Hoc, just a few months before President Reagan died in 2004. He had summoned up the best of our nation’s past in the service of his great quest to free that half of Europe still held captive. It was Ronald Reagan’s great achievement. Best of all, he helped to free hundreds of millions from Communism without war.

We wanted to have some remembrance of this signal moment in our lives. My wife, a thirty-year veteran of the Navy, was made even prouder of her service by standing at that spot. As a veteran of the Coast Guard, I was thrilled to see the place recorded for history in this photo taken by Coastie manning a landing craft. He had delivered those dauntless warriors “into the jaws of death.”

The French allow no commercialization of those beaches. They are pristine. No souvenir stands are allowed. The closest museum is in Caen. There’s no place there to buy even a post card.

So she spied a discarded ice cream container neatly deposited in a receptacle. “Let’s take sand,” she said. So I scooped up a gallon of that sand for which our fathers’ great generation bled and died.

Returning home, Capt. Kathleen Morrison filled small plastic containers with those sands of Normandy. For years, she gave these vials to Navy and Marine Corps friends upon their retirement from honorable service to our country. Often, these retirees would tear up when they received these gifts. Today is a time to remember the gift those Invaders of June 6, 1944 gave us: freedom itself. 

The Social Conservative Review: June 5, 2014

by Krystle Gabele

June 5, 2014

Click here to subscribe to the Social Conservative Review.


Dear Friends,

As summer approaches, our experts here at Family Research Council continue to produce valuable research on issues impacting faith, family and freedom. Here are some of our latest contributions to the public debate:

Marriage, Polygamy, and Religious Liberty: Peter Sprigg, FRC’s Senior Fellow for Policy Studies, and Travis S. Weber, FRC’s Director, Center for Religious Liberty, examine the “slippery slope” arguments used by conservatives on the redefinition of marriage as it relates to homosexual marriages and how it would further expand that definition.

FRC’s Common Core Coalition Manager, Sarah Perry, has released three publications on the dangers of Common Core. Common Core State Standards examines FRC’s position, which encompasses the lack of parental control over the quality of education, the impact of the costs on state and local governments, and the overreach by the Federal government. Additionally, we look at the impact of Common Core in Mathematics and English, Language Arts, and Literacy.

With the topic of legalizing marijuana being focused on in the media, FRC has released two publications examining the impact this would have on families. The Effects of Marijuana by Donal O’ Mathuna looks at the impact marijuana usage has on the human body. My own Christian Faith and Marijuana Use looks at the impact of marijuana from a Judeo-Christian perspective.

Conservatives and the Constitution: The Political Imperative of Retaining our Allegiance to Constitutional Governance looks at how conservatism has been at the forefront of arguing for representative self-government and how it should be rooted in an accurate understanding of the Constitution.

Lastly, Arina Grossu, Director of FRC’s Center for Human Dignity, provides insight on how unborn babies can feel pain by 20 weeks post-fertilization in her new publication, Fetal Pain.

Thank you for standing by FRC, as we continue to be in the frontlines of faith, family and freedom.

Sincerely,

Rob Schwarzwalder
Senior Vice President
Family Research Council

P.S. Don’t miss our upcoming lectures in the month of June by visiting our events page. Join us here at FRC or watch online at no charge.


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

John Kerry, Teddy Roosevelt and “Manning-Up”

by Rob Schwarzwalder

June 4, 2014

In an interview on NBC, Secretary of State John Kerry told American turn-coat Edward Snowden to “man-up” and come back to the U.S. and face the consequences of his actions.

Mr. Kerry’s extemporaneous use of this term has ignited controversy. MarketWatch called it a “dated phrase.” The commentariat of the Left is near-apoplectic: Liberal blogger Kevin Gosztola calls the term “jingoistic” (does Kevin, a college student, know what “jingoistic” means?). The Los Angeles Times‘ Robin Abcarian is also upset: “We need to move away from the idea that masculinity and courage are synonymous terms.” Salon‘s Natasha Lennard called Kerry “moronic” for using what she called a “misogyny-soaked” phrase.

Yikes; for once I feel (somewhat) sorry for Secretary Kerry. Having and displaying physical and moral courage – “manning-up” - traditionally has been a masculine trait. This is part of the biblical narrative, to be sure (King David and the Apostle “endure hardship as a good soldier of Christ Jesus” Paul come to mind). Yet do not both biology and innate intuition tell us that men and women, while equal, are different? Is it not reasonable, then, to ask if they are – in their essence as humans – distinct in some observable ways and that, therefore, they should have at least some different roles?

Theodore Roosevelt was a man of indisputable manliness. He personified the toughness and tenderness of what manhood should be about. The Rough Rider who charged up San Juan Hill also once remarked that a baby’s hand is the most beautiful of God’s creations. He loved wistful poetry as much as he liked Viking sagas. He identified fox-sparrow feathers on the White House lawn and killed a rhinoceros still on display in the Smithsonian. I’ll close with a quote from him:

“We need the iron qualities that go with true manhood,” said TR in a 1901 speech in Colorado. “We need the positive virtues of resolution, of courage, of indomitable will, of power to do without shrinking the rough work that must always be done.”

Amen.

What Judge McShane thinks he knows — but is unknowable

by Peter Sprigg

June 3, 2014

Earlier, I wrote a blog post about the May 19, 2014 decision by U. S. District Court Judge Michael J. McShane (Geiger v. Kitzhaber), striking down Oregon’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman — one of a series of such decisions in recent months.

Those interested in why these judges, in general terms, have it wrong should refer to the recent FRC paper, Marriage on Trial: State Laws Defining Marriage as the Union of One Man and One Woman Are Valid under the Constitution of the United States.

I noted that one maddening aspect of the Geiger decision in particular was Judge McShane’s sense of certainty in asserting things which are either a) blatantly false, or b) inherently unknowable.

In the former category (blatantly false) is virtually everything McShane says about the research on children raised by homosexual parents, including his declaration that “children fare the same whether raised by opposite-gender or same-gender couples.”

On the issue of homosexual parenting, however, McShane has a body of methodologically flawed and biased research that tends to support his view, as well as a collection of ideologically-driven policy statements by large professional organizations.

Even less defensible, however, are the blanket statements he made about the impact redefining marriage would have on the institution of marriage in the future — or rather, the lack of impact it would have.

For example, McShane declared:

Opposite-sex couples will continue to choose to have children responsibly or not, and those considerations are not impacted in any way by whether same-gender couples are allowed to marry.”

Quoting another judge on the next page, McShane added:

Permitting same-sex couples to marry will not affect the number of opposite-sex couples who marry, divorce, cohabit, have children outside of marriage or otherwise affect the stability of opposite-sex marriages.”

To both of these statements, my response is: “How can you possibly know?”

Decisions about public policy issues (which are actually not the purview of judges — but that’s for another piece) must, of course, rest on at least some informed predictions of what the consequences of a particular course of action will be. 

I made my own set of predictions about the consequences of redefining marriage in a 2011 FRC booklet, The Top Ten Harms of Same-Sex “Marriage.” My predictions directly contradicted those made by Judge McShane, and included these points:

  • Fewer people would marry
  • Fewer people would remain married for a lifetime
  • Fewer children would be raised by a married mother and father
  • More children would grow up fatherless; and
  • Birth rates would fall.

However, there are two key differences between my predictions and McShane’s. I, at least, qualified them with the statement that they were “ways in which society could be harmed by legalizing same-sex ‘marriage’” (emphasis added), whereas McShane declared dogmatically what “will” and “will not” take place. In addition, he did so in the absence of any supporting evidence, whereas I offered specific, tangible evidence in support of my predictions.

Let me offer an updated overview of at least one of these issues, perhaps the most fundamental one. McShane declares, “Opposite-sex couples will continue to choose to have children . . .”

Will they? Of course, we may assume that some will continue to do so, but birth rates in many countries have been falling, with negative consequences already evident or easy to anticipate. (See, for instance, the books The Empty Cradle by Philip Longman, and What to Expect When No One’s Expecting by Jonathan V. Last.)

Would same-sex “marriage” result in lower birth rates? It is too early to identify a causal relationship between the two. It may be that a retreat from a procreative view of marriage contributes to both declining birth rates and the redefinition of marriage to include intrinsically non-procreative relationships. Yet while there are multiple confounding factors at work, there is evidence of at least a correlation between redefining marriage to include homosexual couples and lower birth and fertility rates.

For example, early this year, I researched the latest state-by-state data in the U.S. regarding three key measures of what we might call “reproductivity.” The “birth rate” as such represents the number of annual births per 1,000 total population. The “general fertility rate” is the number of annual births per 1,000 women aged 15-44 years (a general estimate of the childbearing years). Finally, the “total fertility rate” represents the “estimated number of births over a woman’s lifetime” (per 1,000 women).

The most recent national data available, published in December 2013, was a final report for 2012. I took the state data reported and listed the states in rank order for each of the three measures. I then compared these lists with the list of U.S. states that had authorized the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Omitting states with recent (2014) court rulings, but including Illinois (which did not issue such licenses until this week but whose legislature authorized the change last year), there were seventeen states that had redefined marriage. Here is how they stacked up, compared to those states retaining a one-man-one-woman definition.

With respect to the birth rate:

  • All of the bottom 6 states in birth rate have same-sex “marriage” (SSM)
  • None of the top 9 states in birth rate have SSM
  • 8 of the bottom 15 states in birth rate have SSM
  • Only 2 of the top 15 states have SSM
  • Average rank of SSM states in birth rate: 32nd

With respect to the general fertility rate:

  • All of the bottom 6 states in general fertility rate have same-sex “marriage”
  • None of the top 7 states have SSM
  • 10 of the bottom 15 states have SSM
  • Only 2 of the top 15 states have SSM
  • Average rank of states with SSM in general fertility rate: 34th

With respect to the total fertility rate:

  • All of the bottom 6 states in total fertility rate have same-sex “marriage”
  • None of the top 7 states have SSM
  • 8 of the bottom 12 states have SSM
  • Only 1 of the top 12 states has SSM
  • 12 of the 17 SSM states are below the national average
  • Only 5 of the 17 SSM states are above the national average
  • Average rank of states with SSM: 33rd

Overall:

  • There are 12 states which rank in the top 15 in all three categories; only 1 of them has same-sex “marriage” (Hawaii)
  • There are 8 states which rank in the bottom 10 in all three categories; 6 of the 8 (the 6 New England states) have SSM

Judge McShane should re-think his certainty that redefining marriage would have no impact on the larger institution.

Why avoid sexual risk?

by Family Research Council

June 3, 2014

Living in today’s culture, it seems as if one can’t escape the constant exposure to the world’s many sensual messages. One such message that has permeated almost every aspect of influence (our churches, schools, TV programs, etc.) is that sex before marriage is OK. Not just OK, but desirable. Today’s younger members of society — particularly teenagers — have been exposed to this message since they were children. Therefore, they are the most susceptible to its influence. After all, it’s just sex, right? How bad could it really be?

What my generation might not realize is that there actually are harmful (and sometimes devastating) consequences for choosing to have sex before marriage. However, today’s society goes so far as to glorify it. TV shows like 16 and Pregnant, Teen Mom 2, and Pregnant and Dating would like to tell me and my peers that there are few (or no) negative consequences for sex outside of marriage. It could serve to get you a glamorous spot on TV!

In a depraved and confused world that glorifies sex before marriage, is there really even still a place for sexual risk avoidance, aka abstinence? I believe there is. I think we can and should applaud the reality that young women are choosing to carry their pregnancy to term, rather than choosing an abortion. However, we do our sisters, daughters, and friends a disservice if we pretend that sex outside of marriage is the same as sex inside marriage.

I realize that not everyone reading this post is a teenager facing the pressure of having sex before marriage, but more than likely most everyone reading at least knows a teenager who is. Either directly or indirectly, most people are, in some way, affected by the choice to avoid the risk of extra-marital sex.

So my next question is, why choose abstinence?

One practical reason for choosing abstinence is the decreased risk of receiving a STD/STI. According to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, “Nearly half of all STIs (48%) occur in youth 15 to 24 years of age. Human Papillomavirus accounts for half of STI infections among adolescents.” One plausible explanation is that this particular age group is the most susceptible to participating in “casual sex” — and should, therefore, be made aware of the risks of sex before marriage.

Another practical reason to abstain from premarital sex is the reality that there is no guarantee that “protection” that is used will actually work. No protective measure has a 100% guarantee, so if you don’t want to risk having to deal with the consequences of the activity, don’t engage in the activity to begin with. Plain and simple.

However, there aren’t just “practical” reasons for choosing abstinence. While most people may not realize this, there are also psychological effects associated with engaging in premarital sex. According to Arina Grossu’s online publication “Sexual Risk-Avoidance Education,” “[s]exually active teenagers are more likely to be depressed and attempt suicide.” In the same article, Grossu cites a study that reveals the increase in negative psychological effects as the number of sexual partners also increases. In essence, those who engage in premarital sex are decreasing­ — not increasing — their likely overall happiness and well-being. Sure, random hook-ups may seem enjoyable in the moment, but the long-term effects far outweigh the temporary pleasure that is received.

Christians have even deeper, more compelling reasons to encourage sexual risk avoidance. More importantly than the practical and even the psychological reasons for choosing abstinence, there are spiritual reasons as well. What does God have to say about premarital sex? Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:18-20, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (English Standard Version). So, in the end, “choosing” abstinence isn’t a morally neutral choice: you either sin by having premarital sex, or you avoid sin by abstaining. Not only that, but God also indicates that sexual impurity isn’t simply a sin against any other person but, also a sin against one’s self… and fundamentally against God.

So, the question remains relevant: why choose abstinence? Not only do the physical and psychological health benefits of abstinence outweigh the “benefits” of premarital sex, but abstinence from sex outside of marriage is also a way to honor and obey the God who created sex in the first place. Our culture may turn sex upside down, but God promises to honor those who honor him.

Values and Culture

by Family Research Council

June 2, 2014

Having a common culture is important for any nation. More importantly, having a culture with the right values is paramount to a nation’s success. Each year FRC highlights the importance of values at its annual Values Voter Summit.

Recent stories in of kidnapping in Nigeria and persecution of a mother and child Sudan remind us to be thankful that our cultural heritage is one of religious freedom and rule of law. But disturbing social trends such as promiscuous sexual behavior and a disregard for religious freedom threaten our historic moral culture. Many in America realize that to preserve our historic culture we must rededicate ourselves to the Judeo-Christian culture that has brought blessing.

If you are concerned about the threat to America’s culture and about our values as a nation please check sign up for FRC’s annual Values Voter Summit and check out the videos from the recent Watchmen on the Wall conference held in Washington D.C. and inspiring pastors from around the country to reclaim ground and restore righteousness in our nation.

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