Month Archives: October 2020

FRC’s Top 7 Trending Items (Week of September 27)

by Family Research Council

October 2, 2020

Here are “The 7” top trending items at FRC over the past seven days:

1. Update: Nancy Pelosi Is “Not Going to Get Into” Defending Religious Liberty?

In recent days, as the list of leading Supreme Court candidates has narrowed, top Democrats have launched unfair and unconstitutional attacks against Amy Coney Barrett for her Catholic faith, suggesting that her beliefs may render her unfit for public office.

2. Update: The Attacks on Judge Barrett’s Faith Are Despicable and Must be Condemned

Amy Coney Barrett is a favorite among many religious conservatives but has been attacked by the Left not only for her position on judicial interpretation but for something far more personal — and protected — under that same Constitution: her Christian, specifically Catholic, faith.

3. Blog: Armenia: An Unwelcome Conflict and a Call to Prayer

In recent days, violence has erupted in Armenia’s corner of the world. This involves Christian Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh versus Muslim Azerbaijan. And now, Islamist Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has entered the fray, fueled by his dream of a neo-Ottoman caliphate.

4. Blog: Presidential Order Recognizes All Newborn Life is Precious

President Trump recently signed an Executive Order (EO) that reinforces existing protections for children born premature, with disabilities, or in medical distress, including infants who survive abortion. The Executive Order on Protecting Vulnerable Newborn and Infant Children responds to credible concerns that some hospitals have refused to provide medical screening and stabilizing treatment to such infants.

5. Washington Watch: Secretary Ben Carson sets out to empower the faith community with HUD’s new Mustard Seed Series

Dr. Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing & Urban Development, joined Tony Perkins to discuss the launch of the Mustard Seed Series, a HUD initiative that will highlight how the faith-based community is working to help some of society’s most vulnerable.

6. Washington WatchJames O’Keefe exposes a massive voter fraud ring in Minneapolis driven by Rep. Omar supporters

James O’Keefe, Founder of Project Veritas, joined Tony Perkins to discuss the organization’s undercover investigation exposing a cash-for-ballots voter fraud scheme in Minnesota.

7. Pray Vote Stand broadcast: The Courts

On this edition of Pray Vote Stand Tony welcomed Pastor Garrett Booth, Senator Marsha Blackburn, Travis Weber, and Dr. Mark Harris to discuss the state of the Supreme Court in light of the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

For more from FRC, visit our website at frc.org, our blog at frcblog.com, our Facebook pageTwitter account, and Instagram account. Get the latest on what FRC is saying about the current issues of the day that impact the state of faith, family, and freedom, both domestically and abroad.

Family Research Council’s vision is a prevailing culture in which all human life is valued, families flourish, and religious liberty thrives. Join us to learn about FRC’s work and see how you can help advance faith, family, and freedom.

Violence Is Increasing Against Nigeria’s Christian Communities

by Lela Gilbert

October 2, 2020

In July 2020, Family Research Council published a major report on the suffering of Nigeria’s Christians, describing the murderous attacks against them and the Islamist ideology that lies behind them. Since then, the death toll of those Christians who are targeted solely because of their faith has continued to soar.

Our FRC Issue Analysis began:

Since the dawn of the twenty-first century, and with horrifying acceleration in recent years, verified reports of murders, rapes, mutilations, and kidnapping of Christians in Nigeria have persistently increased. These attacks are frequently accompanied by the torching of homes, churches, villages, and agricultural fields. A July 15, 2020 headline reports that 1,202 Nigerian Christians were killed in the first six months of 2020. This is in addition to 11,000 Christians who have been killed since June 2015. Such violence has reached a point at which expert observers and analysts are warning of a progressive genocide—a “slow-motion war” specifically targeting Christians across Africa’s largest and most economically powerful nation.

Last week—two months later—Decision Magazine reported, “Pressure has mounted recently on the Trump administration to more aggressively address the violence that has claimed some 60,000 Christians in the last 15 years….In addition, an estimated 2 to 3 million people have been displaced by the violence committed by the ISIS-affiliated terrorist group Boko Haram and militant Muslim Fulani herdsmen. There are reports of widespread hunger and health needs among the displaced, who are often living in squalor.”

The number of Nigerians dead, mutilated, wounded, and left homeless in the past decade is accelerating. This is particularly true when, for multiple reasons, the U.S. and other governments have done so little to stop the carnage.

Retired Congressman and religious freedom expert Frank Wolf, along with several others, participated in a September 16 press conference hosted by the International Committee on Nigeria [ICON] in Washington, D.C. An outspoken voice against the Nigerian government’s failure to control the killers in their midst, Mr. Wolf addressed the question of whether the crisis is a “potential genocide.” He emphatically rejected the word “potential,” “Genocide!” he asserted. “Genocide is taking place in Nigeria!”

Three groups are responsible for the attacks against Nigeria’s Christians: Fulani radicals, the notorious Boko Haram, and the burgeoning Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP). The UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom or Belief (APPG) noted in a recent influential report that the Fulani herdsmen have adopted “a comparable strategy to Boko Haram and ISWAP and demonstrate a clear intent to target Christians and potent symbols of Christian identity.”

Meanwhile, Nigerian reporter Akin Osuntoku writes, “Today, a new breed of herdsman has emerged: an aggressive and murderous terrorist bearing sophisticated firearms such as AK-47s and even rocket launchers. And they become the mobile avant-garde army of political Islam in Nigeria. Given the country’s porous borders, many of them are recent immigrants from neighboring countries. Herdsmen from Niger, Chad and Mali can walk across the border and immediately lay claim to all the sacrosanct rights appertaining to bona fide Nigerian nationals.”

Because of the aggression of these brutal jihadi groups, and thanks to the muted response of the world’s most powerful nations, Nigeria’s tragic stories never seem to stop. For that reason, reflecting FRC’s increasing alarm over untold numbers of abused and neglected Christians, we invited Richard Ikiebe to the Values Voter Summit to participate in a conversation with us from his Nigeria home. His words bring to life the ongoing struggle he and his fellow believers are facing:

How Should Christians Use Social Media?

by Claire Gatzke

October 2, 2020

In a world ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more of our communications with family, friends, and others are happening online, including our political discourse. With more of our speech happening through social media, we need to evaluate our social media “speech” in light of God’s Word.

With the 2020 election fast approaching, the number of political posts on Facebook and other social media platforms increases day by day, with each side posting things in condemnation of the other. As Christians, we have a responsibility to engage politically on social media in a way that is glorifying and honoring to God. But what does this mean? As Christians, how does the command to love our neighbors affect how we use social media?

Speak the Truth, Even When It’s Unpopular

One way of loving our neighbors is to speak the truth in love. With both candidates appealing to Scripture and claiming that it supports their policy proposals, the question of Christian faithfulness is at the forefront of this upcoming presidential election. Because only 6 percent of Americans hold a biblical worldview, many are unsure which candidate is more in line with God’s Word. As God’s ambassadors, we must be true to his message and be faithful in proclaiming it in a way that reflects His character.

This means not shying away from posting controversial or unpopular things on social media. We must be bold in our affirmation that the Lord’s statutes are good, holy, and just. As Paul wrote in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.” Not only must we not be ashamed of the reality that we are all sinners who can only be saved through belief in Jesus’ death and resurrection, but we also must not be ashamed of anything that God’s Word says is true, including His teachings that are unpopular in our culture. In a society that is increasingly hostile to the truths of God’s Word, we must be bolder than ever both online and in person.

Verify Your Sources

The need to speak the truth offers another guideline as to what we should post on social media. We live in an age of disinformation where it is harder than ever to discern fact from fiction. We must humbly recognize the limitedness of our intellect, acknowledge the possibility that we could be deceived by false information and try to protect ourselves from falling victim to this.

Before posting or resharing something on social media that makes a factual claim, it is wise to double check the source. If it is not a reputable source, it needs to be vetted. What is the source’s background? Do they have reliable information and connections that would bolster the veracity of their claims? Do they have expertise? If not, avoid sharing. As Paul wrote in his letter to Titus, Christians must have “soundness of speech that cannot be condemned” (Titus 2:8). This means that our speech, including the posts we share and claims we make on our social media platforms, must be based on valid reason and good judgment.

Be Respectful

Speaking the truth in love also means that we must be respectful of those with whom we disagree. In 2020, it seems like there is more to disagree on than ever before. Not only is there disagreement between the two main political parties and between the church and the secular culture, but there is also disagreement within the church itself ­—on everything from wearing masks to what political and moral issues are most important. Despite our ideological differences, we must show grace and love to those who disagree with us —even if they are not showing grace and love towards us.

Very practically, this means that we should refrain from writing or sharing inflammatory posts about someone else or responding in anger to people online. We can and should attack false and evil ideas, but we must not attack the people deceived by them. As James explains, “with the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be” (James 3:9-10). Before posting something on social media, ask yourself whether you are being respectful towards those who think differently than you, whether they be your fellow Christian or a non-believer.

Even if other professing Christians and those we agree with politically are not following these principles, Christians have a responsibility to follow what God’s Word says. As Martin Luther said, “Be careful not to measure your holiness by other people’s sins.”

Full of Grace, Seasoned With Salt”

In today’s world, we have many opportunities to interact with non-believers and share the truths of the Bible quickly through the internet and social media. However, we need to make sure that our use of these tools does not cause more harm than good. Before posting something on social media we need to ask ourselves: “Would posting this damage my witness to my friends, family, and coworkers who follow me?” As Paul said in his letter to the Colossians, “Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversations be always full of grace, seasoned with salt” (Col. 4:5-6). Just as we pray for wisdom and discernment in our interactions with people in person, we need to pray and let God lead us in how we should present ourselves and communicate with others online.

At the end of the day, it is important to remember that our chief goal is not to convince people we are right or persuade others of our position; our chief goal is to glorify God. While speaking the truth is no doubt a part of how we glorify God, the way we speak that truth and the way we speak towards others and about others is equally important. Brothers and sisters, in this election, let us speak the truth loudly and lovingly.

Claire Gatzke is a Policy & Government Affairs intern focusing on biblical worldview.

Communities Need Good Citizens to Flourish

by Molly Carman

October 1, 2020

Most people are citizens of someplace, either by birth or by choice, and with citizenship comes certain responsibilities. But what does it mean to be a good citizen? And how should Christians balance their primary allegiance to the kingdom of heaven with their earthly obligations to their communities and countries? This six-part blog series, produced under the direction of David Closson, FRC’s Director of Christian Ethics and Biblical Worldview, aims to explore how Christians can best steward these responsibilities from a biblical worldview. Learn more at FRC.org/worldview.

This is part 3. Read part 1 and part 2.

Being a good citizen isn’t easy; it takes work, conviction, and determination to uphold truth, reform shortcomings, and seek justice. However, despite the inherent difficulty of good citizenship, good citizens are essential for any community to flourish.

Communities need the good citizenship of their Christians. Although Christians are first and foremost citizens of heaven, we are not called to sit back and passively accept whatever is happening within our communities. Like the Israelites in exile at the time of the prophet Jeremiah, we ought to “seek the welfare of the city” where God has placed us, and “pray to the LORD on its behalf,” because our welfare is bound up in its welfare (Jeremiah 29:7).

It can be tempting to think that our civic engagement is unnecessary because we have the assurance that God is in control. However, confidence in God’s sovereignty does not give us a license to be lazy or passive, as Scripture makes abundantly clear. Christians have an active role to play in our communities as we “let our light shine before men” (Matthew 5:16), modeling for our neighbors what it looks like to fear God and honor those in authority (1 Peter 2:13-17). When the work of good citizenship is hard or unpopular, we should not shrink back in fear, “for God has not given us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7).

While many aspire to be good citizens and expect the same of their neighbors, the truth is, not everyone wants to do the hard work of being a good citizen themselves. Doing the right thing often requires endurance, courage, and resolve, which is partly why we have bad citizens. Most bad citizens are passive, contributing little to the flourishing of their community. Meanwhile, they selfishly expect good citizenship from their neighbors so they can reap the benefits of a thriving community while doing none of the work.

An essential quality that works in tandem with good citizenship is unity. If citizens are self-interested and rely upon their neighbors to do the hard work of good citizenship, the people will be disunified and the community will suffer. As citizens work together for the good of their community, the people thrive, and there is peace. Christ touched on the importance of unity when He said, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand” (Matthew 12:25).

Sin affects every area of life, including our citizenship. Many bad citizens are bad not because they misunderstand good citizenship, but because it is far easier to lean into our human brokenness and think that others can “make up” for our lack of contribution.

Christian reader, do not be fooled; it is not just non-Christian citizens who can be passive. Regrettably, some Christians think that, because God is sovereign, they do not need to play an active role in their communities. They fall for the fallacy that what we do does not matter. However, God invites His people to be part of His work in His world—which includes our communities—for His glory.

During the election, American Christians might be tempted to use God’s sovereignty as an excuse to disengage or not vote. But passivity is the wrong choice. It is not up to politicians, lawyers, and organizations to seek the welfare of our country, states, and cities. Rather, it is the responsibility of all citizens. Taking on this responsibility requires intentionality, discernment, and actively engaging our minds to consider how our prayers, conversations, and votes will further the peace of our communities and the flourishing of our neighbors. Good Christian citizens who are actively engaged and deliberate about their contributions to their communities set a clear example of the gospel message of hope.

September 2020 «

» November 2020

Archives