Month Archives: May 2019

With Modi’s Reelection, India’s Religious Minorities Remain Under Threat

by Arielle Del Turco

May 31, 2019

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was re-elected for another five-year term last week in a decisive victory. The Hindu nationalist party he represents, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), secured a majority in the lower house of Parliament, earning the most seats in the history of the party.

All of this is bad news for the Christians living in India.

Persecution of Christians has grown significantly worse during Modi’s leadership and the rise of the BJP. The BJP advances a growing narrative that suggests “to be Indian is to be Hindu.” The fact that Christian and Muslim minorities have chosen a faith other than Hinduism is seen as an attack on the national identity of India. Earlier this year, BJP Member of Parliament Bharat Singh even claimed Christian missionaries were “a threat to the unity of the country.”

The popularity of the BJP’s ideology is reflected in actions taken not just by the government, but also by mobs and vigilante groups. Militant groups are known to patrol neighborhoods “looking for those who do not conform to society’s religious norms.” For Christians in India, mob violence is a continual threat. Violence against the Christian community has included beatings, sexual assault, and forced conversions to Hinduism. In 2017, there were 736 reported attacks against Indian Christians. That’s up from 358 reported attacks in 2016.

Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List ranks India as one of the top ten countries where it’s most dangerous to be a Christian. Before Modi was elected to his first term as Prime Minister in 2014, India was listed as No. 31.

At the recent Taiwan International Religious Freedom Forum, speakers addressed India’s use of anti-conversion laws to target Christians and limit the natural expression of beliefs which is part of religious freedom. The provisions of India’s anti-conversion laws prohibit “fraudulent” conversions or offering “inducements” to convert. For instance, when a Christian claims the price for not accepting Jesus is hell (part of the basic message of Christianity), that’s seen as coercive and a violation of the anti-conversion law.

This has already had consequences for the people of India. Hindu radicals have begun to display “a pattern of accusing Christians of forced conversion, which is a crime in certain Indian states that can be punished with imprisonment.” In 2017, Christian humanitarian aid organization Compassion International was accused of actively attempting to convert children. They were subsequently forced to stop operating in the country. The organization was India’s largest single foreign donor and had provided medical care, meals, and tuition money for Indian children.

Christians aren’t the only victims of the BJP’s attempts to make India an exclusively Hindu country. Muslims in India are also fearful about Modi’s second term and the increasing influence of the BJP.

Modi’s right-hand man, Amit Shah, who was newly given charge of the Ministry of Home Affairs in Modi’s new cabinet, has been particularly critical of Muslims. Shah has called Muslim migrants “infiltrators” and “termites” and promised to “remove every single infiltrator from the country, except Buddha, Hindus and Sikhs.”

Like the Christian community, Muslims have also been the victims of Hindu mob violence. They are often targeted because they eat beef, an offense to Hindus who believe cows are sacred. Since 2015, 36 Muslims have been killed by mobs in the name of “cow protection.”

Religious minorities in India are concerned about what Modi’s re-election and the BJP’s parliamentary victory means for religious freedom in the next few years. As people who care about religious liberty, we need to be monitoring developments in India and praying for the persecuted.

The Trump administration currently wants to maintain a positive relationship with Modi’s government because we need strong allies in a region that continually poses a risk to U.S. national security. There is value in that strategy. Yet, even as U.S. leaders continue to work with the government of India, they should make clear in that relationship that the U.S. values religious freedom and that we notice the way our allies treat their religious minorities.

Missouri’s New Pro-Life Law is Grounded in the Belief in Human Dignity

by Hugh Phillips

May 31, 2019

Life is winning in America! Since New York and Virginia passed radical and unnecessary pro-abortion laws in January, conservative states have responded by passing dozens of pro-life laws in the last four months.

One of the latest is Missouri House bill 126, a fantastic law which bans abortions when a heartbeat is detected, adds common-sense informed consent provisions, and includes bans on abortions after a child in the womb is capable of feeling pain. The beauty of this Missouri law lies in the reasons the legislature gave for passing the bill. The bill states in part:

In recognition that Almighty God is the author of life, that all men and women are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life”, and that article I, section 2 of the Constitution of Missouri provides that all persons have a natural right to life, it is the intention of the general assembly of the state of Missouri to [grant]: (1)  Defend the right to life[to] of all humans, born and unborn [, and to]; (2) Declare that the state and all of its political subdivisions are a “sanctuary of life” that protects pregnant women and their unborn children; and (3) Regulate abortion to the full extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States, decisions of the United States Supreme Court, and federal statutes.

This law, similar to those passed by numerous legislatures this year, codified into law the common law assumption that human life, in any form and at any time, is sacred because humanity was created by God with meaning and purpose. This foundational belief has given human life significance for millennia. When abortion advocates argue for the killing of children in the womb, they usually base their arguments on appeals to the human dignity and rights of women. However, this argument is misleading. An all-encompassing respect for human rights would see all life as having dignity, both born and unborn.

As Francis Schaeffer notes in his classic work Whatever Happened to the Human Race?, pro-abortion advocates cannot logically and adequately justify abortion based on human dignity because their secular worldview argues that human beings are purposeless, cosmic anomalies that are probably better off not being alive in the first place! As Schaeffer noted, if one is simply a biological coincidence, then there is no basis for human dignity or purpose. This explains the corresponding abandonment of the belief in human dignity that occurred among academic and political elites as the culture became more secular.

As hard as pro-abortion advocates argue, they eventually run up against the fact that their worldview provides no foundational basis for human dignity. Thus, they must resort to slogans instead of arguments. This rejection of the basis for humanity’s worth flies in the face of the natural Christian belief that we have meaning and purpose because we were created by a loving God.  

The passage of strong pro-life measures in multiple states has proven that a culture of life is returning to America and that the American people are becoming even more pro-life. The fight for life continues, and with the help of brave elected officials such as the Missouri legislature, it is a fight we will win!

Hugh Phillips is a Government Affairs intern at Family Research Council working on pro-life legislation.

The Future of Our Nation Depends on the State of Our Schools

by Cathy Ruse

May 30, 2019

This week the Supreme Court declined to accept a case over whether government schools may force students to follow transgender ideology in official school policies, against science and female students’ privacy rights.

They won’t be able to avoid the issue for long.

We send our children to private, Christian schools. Tuition is high; the financial burden on our family is significant.

But we have determined that government schools are just not an option.

Still, I have come to believe that the future of our nation depends on the state of our public schools.

Last week I chaired a panel on education at Family Research Council’s Watchmen on the Wall conference for pastors.

I opened the panel with the premise that today’s government schools are a serious threat to the minds and souls of Christian children in America.

Is that an overstatement? I don’t believe it is.

Fewer than 5 percent of U.S. kids are homeschooled today. Only 10 percent attend private schools.

The vast majority of American children are educated in government schools—schools that are declining academically, despite the mountains of tax dollars we heap on them.

The notion that a nation’s schools might promote the cause of the nation is a relic of the past. American public schools are often hostile to America. There is much less history taught today—less civics, but more activism. Capitalism is degraded, socialism is promoted—with our tax dollars.

Every week brings news of another school district embracing radical sex-ed for kids, in the face of parental objections—or worse: behind parents’ backs.

Worse even than graphic sex lessons is the new transgender ideology that is forced on children in public schools.

The Human Rights Campaign, Planned Parenthood, Genderspectrum.org, and GLSEN (the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network) are targeting public schools.

They’re going into schools with slick lesson plans for teachers. They demand an answer to the question: “Are you a safe space for LGBT kids? If so, put up this sticker in your classroom.” And so the walls of our public schools are littered with political propaganda that families would never allow in their own homes.

Genderspectrum.org has what looks like a war room chart—four ways to get transgender theory into a public school. They call them “entry points”: interpersonal, instructional, and so on.

One mom at a targeted school said: “Entry points are what a thief uses to break into your house. It feels very much the same way to me.”

And they have gained entry.

Many school districts are now teaching the innocent souls under their care that some of them are born in the wrong body.

Most people know that’s a lie. We know that every child is born in exactly the right body. But it’s children who are being propagandized this way. And it’s a very short step from rejecting God’s creation to rejecting God.

What are these schools doing to children’s souls?

A 2016 nationwide survey found that 35 percent of college freshman call themselves atheist or agnostic. Thirty-five percent.

Now, keep in mind, this is not the result of some radical college professor. These are incoming freshmen, reflecting the cumulative influence of 13 years of public education.

The environment in public schools is hostile to people of faith today. Religious viewpoints are shunned and are replaced with a dogmatic secularism.

Christian families must wake up to the fact that public schools are an actively and strongly secularizing agent in Christian children’s lives.

But the answer cannot be simply to turn our backs or walk away.

There is far too much public money on the table to leave to the ideologues in the education industry to mold the next generation in their image.

Justice demands that we help these children—we’re talking about 86 percent of American kids.

But wisdom demands it, too. These kids will be our nation’s future teachers, doctors, lawyers, politicians, and presidents.

As Abraham Lincoln said: “The philosophy of the school room in one generation, will be the philosophy of government in the next.”

And also the philosophy of the culture in the next.

We must help families who have no other choice for their kids. We must also help the many good and faithful teachers and administrators who are faithful to their calling to educate and not indoctrinate, but who feel isolated and alone against the tide.

If we care about our nation, we must care first about our nation’s schools.

China is Trafficking the Organs of Religious Minorities

by Arielle Del Turco

May 29, 2019

The boldness and scope of the Chinese government’s human rights abuses against the Uyghur Muslim population has been continually increasing in recent years. It is estimated that at least one million Uyghur Muslims are currently detained in what China calls free “vocational training centers” but in reality are massive internment camps in which detainees are indoctrinated with Chinese Communist Party propaganda.

While these developments have been well-documented, lesser known is an even more horrifying accusation leveled against China—the trafficking of human organs.

The Wall Street Journal reported that a team of researchers have proven that patients in China (including those that travel from abroad) are promised matching organs for transplant within a few days—an unbelievably short amount of time compared to the wait in Western countries which ranges from a few months to a few years. This is especially interesting given that organ donation is still culturally taboo in China.

So, where are these organs coming from? Some have accused China of forcibly removing organs from prisoners of conscience and selling them—a program of which Uyghur Muslims are among the victimized minorities.

Dr. Enver Tohti, a former surgeon from the Xinjiang province, has testified that China harvests organs from executed prisoners and sells them illegally. In the UK, the panel of the Independent Tribunal Into Forced Organ Harvesting From Prisoners of Conscience issued an interim judgement stating they were “certain—unanimously, and sure beyond reasonable doubt—that in China, forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience has been practised for a substantial period of time, involving a very substantial number of victims.”

Uyghurs across Xinjiang are forced by the government to undergo medical exams which include DNA sampling. Uyghur residents claim their information was stored in computers during the exam, but they were never given the results of the testing. According to reports by China’s state media, examinations were carried out on more than 90 percent of the population of Xinjiang. Chinese authorities claim that the Uyghurs’ DNA database is intended to help solve crimes and identify bodies. However, the great expense of the program and forced nature of the exams are causes for suspicion.

Who is buying these organs? Evidence suggests patients from over 20 countries have traveled to China for transplants, including Korea, Japan, Egypt, Pakistan, India, Oman, and Saudi Arabia. The European Parliament has found that illegally harvested kidneys in China and elsewhere costs approximately $167,000 (150,000 Euros). 

Tohti has stated he believes most customers of Uyghur Muslim organs are wealthy Saudi transplant recipients and that China specifically markets these organs as “Halal” to appeal to Middle Eastern Muslims. Tohti argues that the reason for China’s compulsory blood sample collection from the Uyghur population is to develop a “live organ-matching database.”

The Chinese government is investing serious money into their DNA sampling program. China is clearly planning to profit from their human rights abuses—the rest of the world needs to make sure that they don’t. Israel, Taiwan, and Spain have already banned “organ tourism” to China—more countries need to join in to help stop this abuse. It’s imperative that governments take steps to ensure that their citizens aren’t traveling to fund and participate in human rights abuses abroad.

As trade talks between the U.S. and China continue, China’s human rights violations need to be at the forefront of the discussions. China’s organ trade isn’t a minor violation—it’s indicative of systematic harassment, abuse, and even murder of its religious minorities.

Justice Thomas: The Roots of Abortion Are Eugenics

by Patrina Mosley

May 28, 2019

The state of Indiana had asked the Supreme court to review a Seventh Circuit decision striking down an Indiana law regulating abortion. Today, the Supreme Court handed down a mixed ruling in Box v. Planned Parenthood.

Good News: The Court reversed the Seventh Circuit’s earlier ruling invalidating a provision on disposal of fetal remains from abortions. The Supreme Court has upheld part of the first provision of the Indiana abortion law that requires that the fetal remains be buried or cremated after an abortion. No longer will Indiana abortion facilities treat aborted children as “‘infectious waste’ and incinerat[e] them alongside used needles, laboratory-animal carcasses, and surgical byproducts.” These little ones will finally get the dignity they deserve.

Bad News: However, the Court left in place the ruling of the lower court that struck down Indiana’s law that prohibited abortions performed solely on the basis of sex, race, or disability. This part of the law is often referred to as a “nondiscrimination” provision.

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a lengthy opinion voicing his opposition for keeping the “non-discrimination” provision blocked, citing the eugenic roots of abortion (emphasis added):

Each of the immutable characteristics protected by this law can be known relatively early in a pregnancy, and the law prevents them from becoming the sole criterion for deciding whether the child will live or die. Put differently, this law and other laws like it promote a State’s compelling interest in preventing abortion from becoming a tool of modern-day eugenics.

Conclusively, remaining silent on prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex, race, or disability is dangerous:

Enshrining a constitutional right to an abortion based solely on the race, sex, or disability of an unborn child, as Planned Parenthood advocates, would constitutionalize the views of the 20th-century eugenics movement.

As I have discussed previously, abortion is the pinnacle achievement of controlling which class or kinds of people are encouraged to breed and which ones are not.

In his opinion, Justice Thomas takes the country back to school on something so seemingly fantastical, many do not want to believe it. But when the facts are there for all to see, straight from the culprit’s own mouth, there’s no denying that abortion is a double-edged evil: it destroys both lives and consciences.

Justice Thomas begins with the legacy of Margaret Sanger and her dream of a better society which eventually led to the birth of Planned Parenthood (emphasis added):

The use of abortion to achieve eugenic goals is not merely hypothetical. The foundations for legalizing abortion in America were laid during the early 20th-century birth-control movement. That movement developed alongside the American eugenics’ movement. And significantly, Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger recognized the eugenic potential of her cause. She emphasized and embraced the notion that birth control “opens the way to the eugenist.” (Sanger, Birth Control and Racial Betterment, Birth Control Rev., Feb. 1919, p. 12 (Racial Betterment).

As a means of reducing the “ever increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all,” Sanger argued that “Birth Control … is really the greatest and most truly eugenic method” of “human generation.” M. Sanger, Pivot of Civilization 187, 189 (1922) (Pivot of Civilization).

In her view, birth control had been “accepted by the most clear thinking and far seeing of the Eugenists themselves as the most constructive and necessary of the means to racial health.” Id., at 189. It is true that Sanger was not referring to abortion when she made these statements, at least not directly. She recognized a moral difference between “contraceptives” and other, more “extreme” ways for “women to limit their families,” such as “the horrors of abortion and infanticide.” M. Sanger, Woman and the New Race 25, 5 (1920) (Woman and the New Race).

But Sanger’s arguments about the eugenic value of birth control in securing “the elimination of the unfit,” Racial Betterment 11, apply with even greater force to abortion, making it significantly more effective as a tool of eugenics.

Whereas Sanger believed that birth control could prevent “unfit” people from reproducing, abortion can prevent them from being born in the first place. Many eugenicists therefore supported legalizing abortion, and abortion advocates—including future Planned Parenthood President Alan Guttmacher— endorsed the use of abortion for eugenic reasons. Technological advances have only heightened the eugenic potential for abortion, as abortion can now be used to eliminate children with unwanted characteristics, such as a particular sex or disability. Given the potential for abortion to become a tool of eugenic manipulation, the Court will soon need to confront the constitutionality of laws like Indiana’s. But because further percolation may assist our review of this issue of first impression, I join the Court in declining to take up the issue now.

The term “eugenics” was coined in 1883 by Francis Galton, a British statistician and half-cousin of Charles Darwin…

Justice Thomas continues the history and meaning of eugenics in his opinion here. I encourage you to finish reading it and see that this is the philosophy that has been backed and continues to be backed by wealthy elites today.

Consider these facts: Nearly 80 percent of Planned Parenthood facilities are located in African-American and Hispanic communities; women with prenatal testing for down syndrome are encouraged to abort; and females are being aborted simply because they are girls. Is it just a coincidence that the founder of the nation’s largest abortion supplier, Margaret Sanger, was a racist and eugenicist?

Terri Schiavo and the Slippery Slope of Assisted Suicide

by Worth Loving

May 23, 2019

I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect.” -The Hippocratic Oath

On March 31, 2005, Terri Schiavo died after nearly 14 days without food or water. Over 14 years have passed since her court-ordered death by starvation and dehydration. Even as I write this, Vincent Lambert, dubbed the “French Terri Schiavo,” is facing the same death that she faced unless the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities intervenes. Recently, a so-called “right-to-die” or “death with dignity” bill was passed by the New Jersey legislature and signed by Governor Phil Murphy. In Maryland, a similar bill passed the House of Delegates but failed in the state Senate by one vote. Last month, the Nevada legislature defeated a bill that would have legalized assisted suicide. Amid the renewed debate on such legislation, it’s important to understand the implications of such laws and how the story of Terri Schiavo relates to them.

Terri Schiavo’s Story – Timeline of Events

In the early morning of February 25, 1990, Terri Schiavo collapsed at her home in St. Petersburg, Florida. Although no diagnosis was made, her medical records indicate a deprivation of oxygen to the brain. After being placed on a ventilator for the first few weeks following her collapse, it was soon removed, and she was able to breathe on her own for the rest of her life. The collapse left Terri with limited ability to communicate or move. Due to difficulty swallowing, a feeding tube was inserted to keep her nourished and hydrated.

In June of 1990, Terri’s husband, Michael, was granted healthcare power of attorney status because Terri had not designated a healthcare power of attorney in the event she could not speak for herself. She also began physical therapy at a rehabilitation facility in Florida where she would say words like “No,” “Stop,” and “Mommy.” In July of 1991, Terri’s physical therapy sessions were mysteriously stopped. This was the last documented therapy that Terri ever received.

In 1998, the fight for Terri’s life began. With the help of right-to-die attorney George Felos, Michael Schiavo filed a petition to withdraw life support. Judge George W. Greer heard Michael Schiavo’s petition in January of 2000. In his testimony, Michael Schiavo stated that Terri had told him in the 1980s that she would not want life support. Convinced by the testimony, Judge Greer ordered that Terri’s feeding tube be removed. On February 11, 2000, Terri’s parents, Robert and Mary Schindler, appealed the order to the Second District Court of Appeals, which agreed with Judge Greer’s ruling. Both the Florida Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear their case.

On April 21, 2001, Judge Greer’s order was carried out and Terri’s feeding tube was removed. But after over 60 hours without food and water, a judge issued an injunction, allowing the feeding tube to be reinserted. Judge Frank Quesada ordered that Terri’s case be reheard based on new evidence. In October, Judge Greer denied a Motion for Relief from Judgment filed by Terri’s parents based on new evidence and testimony that Terri’s neurological condition had improved. After Terri’s parents appealed the ruling, Judge Greer was forced to hold a medical evidentiary hearing.

In October 2002, Judge Greer held the medical evidentiary trial. Florida law defined a persistent vegetative state as the “total absence of awareness and ability to communicate.” However, Terri did not meet this definition as she was able to, albeit on a very basic level, respond to her surroundings and communicate with her family. Judge Greer ignored this evidence and ordered her feeding tube removed once again, at the mandate of the Second District Court of Appeals.

Terri’s story gained nationwide attention in October 2003 after Judge Greer had ordered her feeding tube to be removed. At least 180,000 people had signed a petition to Governor Jeb Bush, requesting that he invoke Florida’s Adult Protection Custody statutes based on allegations of neglect. Five days later, Governor Bush called a special session of the Florida legislature. Both the Florida House and Senate passed Terri’s Law, granting Bush the authority to order Terri’s feeding tube to be reinserted.

Michael Schiavo’s right-to-die attorney George Felos immediately challenged the constitutionality of the law. Judge Baird of the Sixth Circuit ruled Terri’s Law unconstitutional on May 5, 2004. His ruling was upheld by the Florida Supreme Court, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case.

Terri’s feeding tube was removed for the third and final time on March 18, 2005 at the order of Judge Greer. In a rare weekend session, Congress passed the Relief of the Parents of Theresa Marie Schiavo Act, which allowed Terri’s parents to have a federal court review their case. Robert and Mary Schindler’s subsequent request was denied by both U.S. District Court Judge James Whittemore and the U.S. Supreme Court.

At 9:05 a.m. on March 31, 2005, Terri Schiavo died from severe dehydration. But Terri’s story did not end there—it was only the beginning. Her death ignited a powerful movement to save thousands of other Americans like her.

Death Without Dignity

The so-called “right-to-die” or “death with dignity” movement has established a powerful influence, particularly in the medical community. They have been able to successfully reclassify a feeding tube as “medical treatment,” making it somehow acceptable to starve and dehydrate an innocent human being to death even though we all need food and water to survive. But perhaps even more disturbing is how they have convinced the general public that some people’s lives are not worth living because of their age, illness, or disability.  

The effectiveness of the death with dignity movement, coupled with changes in public policy, now puts the lives of many people like Terri in the hands of doctors, medical boards, and ethics committees. In other words, families are being completely removed from the decision-making process of what care their family member should receive.

Contrary to the picture painted by Michael Schiavo’s attorney, right-to-die advocates, and the mainstream media, Terri Schiavo’s death was anything but “peaceful and painless.” After nearly two weeks without food or water, Terri’s lips were extremely cracked and blistered. Her skin began turning different shades of yellow and blue. Her breathing became shallow and rapid, and her moaning indicated the excruciating pain she was experiencing. Her face became extremely thin and bony, with her teeth protruding forward. Blood began to pool in her deeply sunken eyes.

This is the way Terri Schiavo died. Anyone who calls this type of death “peaceful and painless” is either ignorant or lying. There is a reason the court ordered no cameras or video in Terri’s room—they wanted to hide the truth and conceal a murder.

The Spread of Assisted Suicide and Its Slippery Slope

Laws decriminalizing assisted suicide are gaining traction. Currently, seven states plus the District of Columbia allow physician-assisted suicide. In 2009, the Montana Supreme Court ruled that nothing in state law prevented a physician from helping a terminally ill, fully aware patient commit suicide. Twenty states are debating such legislation this year alone. And while right-do-die advocates argue that these laws allow people to die with dignity, the case of Terri Schiavo proves otherwise.

Assisted suicide laws put the United States on a very slippery slope, a slope that will ultimately lead to more cases like Terri Schiavo. Most “death with dignity” laws require a doctor’s prognosis of six months or less to live in order to administer drugs that will end the patient’s life. And although doctors have far more knowledge than the average person, a prognosis is still an educated guess. That person could live weeks, months, or even years after their predicted death date. In short, assisted suicide laws could kill people who have a lot of life left to live.

Furthermore, assisted suicide opens the door to euthanasia. Assisted suicide always requires the patient’s consent and participation to hasten death, whether by taking lethal drugs or other means. Euthanasia, on the other hand, does not require the patient’s participation but can be administered completely by a doctor. Even more disturbing, not all euthanasia is voluntary. Some patients are euthanized without the consent of themselves or their family.

For example, last month, Fairview Hospital in Edina, Minnesota had threatened to remove oxygen from Catie Cassidy, a 64-year-old lung cancer patient who would have suffocated to death without oxygen. In video documented by the Life Legal and Defense Foundation, Cassidy clearly states that she wants to live. Thankfully, the Life Legal and Defense Foundation won her case and she continues to receive oxygen. But Catie Cassidy’s story represents what will happen when patient consent is disregarded and families are excluded from end-of-life decisions. As the government takes over more and more of the health care sector, they will naturally be more involved in the decision-making process. What is stopping governments from passing laws to weed out the disabled, elderly, or terminally ill—people who some would say cannot contribute anything to society?

In fact, this is already happening. Oregon, ironically the first state to legalize assisted suicide in the U.S., passed a law last year allowing patients with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other mental illnesses to be starved and dehydrated to death. If the patient had not previously given directions about their healthcare (known as a “contrary advanced directive”) should they become mentally impaired, this bill now allows caretakers to deprive the patient of food and water. Countries that have had assisted suicide for years now—like Canada and the Netherlands—are now looking to expand their laws to allow for more and more assisted suicides, even for those who haven’t requested it. This is eerily reminiscent of the eugenics espoused by Charles Darwin and put into practice by Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany. It is also the premise upon which Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood. America, the freest nation in the world, will cease to be free if it embraces these philosophies.  

Life is Precious at All Stages

Who are we to decide when a person should die or when a life is not worth living? Just because a person cannot care for themselves doesn’t mean they can’t contribute something to society, as Terri Schiavo’s life so clearly demonstrated. All life is precious and created in the image of God. We all have something to contribute, regardless of our age, disability, illness, or prognosis. As a nation that boasts of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” we must protect life at all stages—from conception until natural death. 

4 Things Steny Hoyer Gets Wrong About the Equality Act

by Travis Weber

May 22, 2019

In floor debate leading up to the Equality Act vote in the House last Friday morning, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) tried to explain why the bill was so great. In doing so, he got a lot wrong. Here are four examples.

1) Hoyer tries to piggyback on the civil rights movement, but the Equality Act is not a continuation of the civil rights movement.

In his remarks, Hoyer referenced the legacy of the civil rights movement and the steps it made to overcome slavery and racism, claiming today “will be as it was in 1964 when we passed that civil rights bill.” Though Christians shamefully participated in and perpetuated slavery, it was also Christians (William Wilberforce and many others) who corrected this theological error and led the charge on slavery’s abolition—because of their faith.

However, those supporting the Equality Act do not have biblical teaching and history on their side; nowhere in theology or history do we find the notion that “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” define our humanity. Indeed, the gospel of Jesus Christ defines us, and informs who we are.

Hoyer cannot pull this sleight-of-hand to piggyback the Equality Act onto civil rights history.

2) Hoyer tries to invoke the Bible to support the Equality Act, but his attempt fails.

Hoyer went on at length about how Christian love should lead to support for the Equality Act:

The Bible says love your neighbor as yourself … not love your straight neighbor, not love your Christian neighbor, not love your white neighbor, not love your native-born neighbor, not love your neighbor of some other distinction, but love your neighbor as yourself. That means, in my view, love your gay neighbor. Love your lesbian neighbor. Love your trans neighbor. It means love your Jewish neighbor, love your African-American, Latino, Asian-American neighbor. Love your immigrant neighbor. Love your neighbor. Not your hyphenated neighbor.”

Of course, we are to love. Hoyer, however, does not understand biblical love. Biblical love does not mean we should let people do things that harm them; we are to tell them the truth. That’s what true love does—it speaks the hard truths—truths that we must speak for the good of the other person. When Hoyer implies we should let people walk down roads of self-conferred sexual identity that are harmful to them without saying anything to them, it actually shows that we do not love them.

3) Hoyer revealed a faulty understanding of U.S. history, natural law, and human rights.

Near the beginning of his remarks, Hoyer made an uncontroversial reference to the Declaration of Independence:

Many members have quoted that extraordinary doctrine of civil rights and human rights articulated by our founders 243 years ago. We hold these truths to be self-evident… . all men and all women and all people are created equal by God and endowed not by the Constitution, not by this body, but endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.”

The statements from the Declaration are absolutely true, but they certainly don’t lead to the Equality Act. They are derived from a biologically-rooted understanding of sexuality as informed by Scripture and the history of Christian thought—an understanding at odds with the ideology of the sexual revolution which is enshrined in this bill.

Human rights are based on the idea that all human beings are created in the imago dei—the image of God. This assumes an understanding of the human person as derived from God’s revelation and natural law—an objective understanding which does not contemplate or include the modern notions of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” which are anchored into the Equality Act. This natural law understanding is what the Founders were working from when the Declaration was penned—not Hoyer’s understanding.

4) Hoyer recognizes the distinction between men and women, and recognizes he wants to protect both men and women—yet he supports the Equality Act which would obliterate this distinction.

Surely we ought to be able to agree … that all men and all women are created equal and are deserving of equal treatment.”

True enough. So why is Hoyer supporting a law which would force women to compete on unequal footing with men in sports? By locking the notion of “gender identity” into law, the Equality Act would force women to compete against biological men in competitions, and override women’s privacy concerns about being in intimate spaces like locker rooms with biological males. Indeed, Hoyer’s reference above to the Declaration recognizing that “all men and all women” being “created equal by God” shows that Hoyer implicitly recognizes the distinctions between the sexes, the very thing that the Equality Act would abolish.

Abortion Extremists Are Peddling Illegal Abortion Pills at the Expense of Women’s Health

by Patrina Mosley

May 21, 2019

As reported earlier this year, the FDA has finally begun to crack down on organizations that are illegally selling abortion pills over the internet by issuing warning letters to dealers such as Aid Access.

Just a few days ago, 117 members of Congress issued a letter to the FDA urging them to “continue to conduct oversight” of entities such as Aid Access and Rablon.

Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, founder of Aid Access, responded with a letter of her own to the FDA stating her refusal to stop their profits—I mean, “care”—they are giving to women. She stated, “When U.S. women seeking to terminate their pregnancies prior to 9 weeks consult me, I will not turn them away. I will continue to protect the human and constitutional right of my patients to access safe abortion services.”

Abortion is the ultimate violation of human rights, and U.S. women don’t need this Dutch doctor to profit off our legal invention to a “right” for women to kill a child in the womb.

Dr. Gomperts ships unapproved abortion pill regimens of mifepristone and misoprostol after getting the prescription fulfilled from an Indian pharmacy (of all places), and then sells them for $95; or “she’s willing to offer the drugs for free or at a reduced price if women can’t pay.” The average cost for a chemical abortion of an unborn child up to 9 weeks gestation according to Guttmacher is $535. It’s interesting how these services are not targeted to the rich who would welcome such a discreet and accessible service at any fee. But in keeping with tradition, abortion “services” always target the poor—in the name of “care.”

Gomperts prescribed 2,581 medical abortions in the one year Aid Access has been in operation.

The FDA-approved prescription drug mifepristone is marketed under the brand name Mifeprex® and it carries a black box warning of serious adverse or even life-threatening effects. Whatever regimen Dr. Gomperts is concocting with her friends at the Indian pharmacies is sure to be just as dangerous and life-threatening to women. At the end of the day, we are talking about mixing chemicals to kill a living child in the womb.

In summary, according to the FDA’s Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) of Mifeprex®, in order to prescribe the regime you must be certified, have the “ability to date pregnancies accurately and to diagnose ectopic pregnancies. Healthcare providers must also be able to provide any necessary surgical intervention, or have made arrangements for others to provide for such care.”

As we stated in a previous FRC publication:

Chemical abortions involve severe cramping, contractions, and bleeding to expel the baby. These symptoms can last from several hours to several days, and they can be very intense and painful. Many women also experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and headache. Maternal deaths have occurred, most frequently due to infection and undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy. The abortion business makes a chemical abortion sound safe and simple, but this is a multi-day traumatic process that, according to the Mifeprex® medication guide, could take up to 30 days to complete!

The FDA has updated their adverse events reports on Mifeprex® with two more deaths as of December 31, 2018. There were also reports of two cases of ectopic pregnancy resulting in death; and several cases of severe systemic infection (also called sepsis), including some that were fatal. From 2000 to 2018, the total number of adverse events is now 24 deaths, 97 ectopic pregnancies, 1,042 hospitalizations, 599 blood transfusions, and 412 infections (including 69 severe infections), with a total of 4,195 adverse events reported. And these are just the events reported to the FDA.

Gomperts has previously said that FDA restrictions on abortion medications are “based on politics, not science.”

But the FDA does not go far enough in restricting medication abortion when many states themselves are experimenting with telemed abortions that only require talking to a doctor over the internet before ingesting the chemical abortion regimen. Skyping with a doctor and filling out a questionnaire carries the same risk as ordering pills online from a doctor you’ve never met and who cannot physically assess you. Ingesting chemicals that are powerful enough to kill a living child in the womb has serious consequences.

Disturbingly, the physical trauma that happens to a woman’s body as a result is a sign that the “treatment is working.” What’s more, the adverse effects can even be fatal; the risks are eerily similar to what would happen if a woman tried to carry out a self-induced abortion. For years now and still to this day, abortion activists claim that pro-life polices will force women into back alleys and coat hanger abortions; yet at the same time, they push for the abortion pill which is in reality like a “chemical coat-hanger.”

One thing Dr. Gomperts did mention in her letter that is true is that “the landscape of abortion is changing.” As more and more pro-life laws are being enacted in the states, the abortion industry is looking to expand its reach through the abortion pill by attempting to defy and delegitimize the FDA’s REMS so that a “self-managed” abortion—the abortion pill regimen—becomes the new normal for the abortion industry.

This kind of abortion-at-any-cost extremism must be stopped for the sake of women’s health and the lives of the unborn.

Stay tuned for more developments on the rise of the abortion pill in our midst.

When It Comes to Transgender Pregnancy, More Common Sense Will Save Lives

by Cassidy Rich

May 20, 2019

In a recent story that made headlines, “Sam” (name changed in the media for privacy), a biological woman who identified as a transgender man, was brought to the hospital by her boyfriend because she had suffered through hours of severe abdominal pain. Her online medical records classified her as “male,” so the triage nurse who was running the tests on Sam naturally thought she was a biological man. Being obese and admitting to have not taken her blood pressure medication in a while due to losing her insurance, the triage nurse “triaged him to nonurgent assessment. Laboratory samples were drawn, including one for human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) testing, and Sam awaited further evaluation.”

It wasn’t until hours later when the emergency physician came in to examine Sam that they discovered she was pregnant. Her hCG test came back positive, indicating that she was indeed with child. It wasn’t long before it was clear that Sam was in labor and needed an emergency C-section to try to save the unborn baby’s life. Sadly, Sam delivered a stillborn baby.

According to an article in The New England Journal of Medicine, Sam indicated to the hospital staff that she was transgender. The article states:

In Sam’s evaluation, the triage nurse did not fully absorb the fact that he did not fit clearly into a binary classification system with mutually exclusive male and female categories. Though she [triage nurse] had respectful intentions and nominally acknowledged the possibility of pregnancy by ordering a serum hCG test, she did not incorporate that possibility into the differential diagnosis in a way that would affect ensuing classifications and triage decision making. Despite communicating that he was transgender, Sam was not evaluated using pregnancy algorithms. Having no clear classificatory framework for making sense of a patient like Sam, the nurse deployed implicit assumptions about who can be pregnant, attributed his high blood pressure to untreated chronic hypertension, and classified his case as nonurgent.

The problem with this statement is that the authors of the article don’t say when in this entire process Sam communicated she was transgender. Instead, the authors blame the triage nurse for not taking every possible scenario into consideration. Whether or not the triage nurse should be blamed is another issue altogether. What needs to be addressed is the fact that Sam was born a female, transitioned to a male and classified herself as a man on her medical records and forms, and then was rightfully treated as a man by medical professionals because they had no reasonable way of immediately knowing that she was in fact a biological woman.

Biological men cannot get pregnant. It doesn’t make logical sense for a triage nurse to look at a medical form, see the patient classified as “male,” and think that there is a chance this patient is having abdominal pain because of a pregnancy. It seems clear from this tragic situation that when it comes to medical care for individuals who identify as transgender, we should pursue policies that eliminate confusion on what to do in medical emergencies, resulting in more innocent unborn lives being saved.

In this vein, while we continue to fight for science and biology to be the basis of medical care, maybe there should be a box to indicate biological sex, not just gender identity, to hopefully help mitigate these kinds of tragedies in the future.

The Religious Freedom of Public Officials Is Under Attack. These Three Aren’t Backing Down.

by Worth Loving

May 15, 2019


The liberty to worship our Creator in the way we think most agreeable to His will is a liberty deemed in other countries incompatible with good government and yet proved by our experience to be its best support.” - Thomas Jefferson

Often called America’s “first freedom,” religious freedom was key to our founding. In fact, it’s no accident that the Founders listed it as the first freedom in the Bill of Rights. It was the reason the Pilgrims made the treacherous journey across the Atlantic—to escape persecution and establish a haven of religious freedom.

In both their public and private lives, the American Founders were not shy about expressing their faith. But today, there is a growing movement to silence the religious expression of public officials, particularly Christians. On Easter Sunday, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, a born-again Christian, posted John 11:25 on his government social media accounts. The verse reads, “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he may die, he shall live.’” Next to the picture was the caption “He is risen! Have a happy and blessed Easter!” The Arizona Republic quickly denounced the post as a violation of the separation of church and state, arguing that Gov. Ducey cannot use his government social media accounts to promote a particular religion. Yet when former President Obama wished everyone a “Happy Ramadan” in 2013 and 2015 from his official White House account, he was never criticized for endorsing Islam.

But Gov. Ducey isn’t the only public official who has faced such unfair scrutiny. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine was attacked a few days prior for his comments about a Christian ministry. At a fundraiser for Capitol Ministries, an organization whose sole mission is to reach every public servant with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Bridenstine gave a few words of praise for the ministry: “I love what Ralph said earlier: We’re not trying to Christianize the US government. We believe in an institutional separation, but we also believe in influence. And that’s a big distinction and an important distinction, and that’s why I love this ministry.” Once again, leftist groups were quick to denounce Bridenstine’s comments, claiming that he used his government position to endorse a religion and violated the Establishment Clause. Yet these groups were strangely silent when former President Obama spoke at fundraisers for Planned Parenthood and even called for God’s blessing on the abortion giant.

The Left won’t even leave the Second Lady alone. In January, Karen Pence was lambasted for teaching at a Christian school that holds to a biblical view of sexuality, meaning that individuals who identify as LGBT are prohibited from working at the school. Apparently, the Left believes any association with Christianity by a public official is tantamount to violating the Establishment Clause.

It seems the Left is intent on silencing Christians who hold public office from expressing their faith. However, they seem to conveniently forget that our nation was founded on freedom of religious expression and that our Founding Fathers actively exercised that freedom while holding public office. In fact, as President, George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson all called for national days of prayer. In the states, many governors including Samuel Adams, Elbridge Gerry, John Hancock, Caleb Strong, and Jonathan Trumbull all called for days of prayer and repentance.

Furthermore, the First Amendment is clear that there should be “no law respecting an establishment of religion.” This was directly in reference to the Church of England, which the former British colonies were required to support and attend. Under the new Constitution, Americans were free to support or not support the religion of their choice without any fear of government repercussion—and they don’t forfeit this right just because they serve in public office. It is just silly to claim that the comments and actions of Gov. Ducey, Jim Bridenstine, and the Second Lady “established” a religion.

One doesn’t leave their religion behind when they are elected or appointed to a government office. Yes, public officials are rightfully held to a higher standard. But one’s faith remains just as much a part of him or her as it was before, and we remain free to express it while holding public office.  

Gov. Ducey was quick to respond to his critics and showed no intentions of backing down: “We won’t be removing this post. Ever. Nor will we be removing our posts for Christmas, Hanukkah, Rosh Hashanah, Palm Sunday, Passover, or any other religious holiday. We support the First Amendment and are happy to provide copies of the Constitution to anyone who hasn’t read it.” Responding to The Arizona Republic, Ducey said: “With respect to your ‘experts,’ people don’t lose the right to free speech when they run for office. So, no, we STILL won’t be taking the post down. Not now, not ever.”

Gov. Ducey is right—it might do the Left some good to read the Constitution. They’ll be surprised to find that “separation of church and state,” which they are so quick to espouse, is found nowhere in the Constitution. In fact, it is from a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1801 to a Baptist church congregation from Danbury, Connecticut—and the letter states just the opposite of what the Left calls for today. A committee from the church had written a letter to President-elect Jefferson, congratulating him on his election and urging him to protect religious freedom. President Jefferson wrote “that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God.” Jefferson assured the Danbury Baptists of his commitment to protecting the freedom of religion. He went on to quote the establishment clause and that it had built “a wall of separation between church and state.” Jefferson still made public expressions of faith as president but never came close to establishing a religion as defined by the First Amendment.

The Left’s double standard is unbelievable. While advocating for tolerance, they demand that every public official submit to their agenda. Those that do not face a complete sabotage of their career. Because of this, attacks like the ones on Gov. Ducey, Jim Bridenstine, and Karen Pence will continue to escalate on Christians in public office. Like Gov. Ducey, we must be ready with swift responses. The key to preserving our freedoms—including religious freedom for public officials—lies in exercising them. If we don’t exercise those rights, we will lose them. But as long as we keep fighting, religious liberty will remain alive and well.

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