FRC Blog

God’s Good Design for Marriage (Part 3): Bone of My Bones

by Joshua Arnold

March 17, 2022

This is the third part of a multi-part series on God’s good design for marriage. Read part one and part two.

It’s no secret that popular culture frowns upon Christian beliefs about marriage and sexuality. The Bible’s view of marriage as a covenant union of one man and one woman for life has become so incomprehensible in America and throughout Western culture that it is seen as downright offensive.

Many Christians are influenced by our culture’s negative view of marriage—and not for the better.

But we don’t have to listen to the culture’s lies; we have God’s Word, which is truth. The Bible says a lot about marriage, portraying it in such glorious splendor that the world’s flashy counterfeits look dim by comparison. Every Christian can afford to spend more time tuning out the world and tuning in to God’s Word. This series aims to examine God’s good design for marriage by taking the Word of God itself as our guide.

Moses wrote Genesis for the people of Israel before they entered the Promised Land. Genesis describes God’s promise to their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the beginnings of God’s relationship with mankind.

In Genesis 2, Moses retells in greater detail the creation of man and woman, which he previously summarized in the first chapter. In verse 4, the words “these are the generations” signal a new section, as they do throughout the book (see Gen. 6:4, 10:1, 11:10, 11:27, 25:12, 25:19, 36:1, 36:9, 37:2). Verses 5-17 tell how God created man and placed him in the garden of Eden “to work it and keep it.” In verses 18-25, God creates the woman and brings her to the man. They are united in the covenant of marriage, established in Genesis 2:24: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” That verse is key to examining the rest of Genesis 2:18-25, where Moses continues to unfold God’s glorious design for marriage.

1. A Helper Fit for Him

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. (Gen. 2:18-20)

The Lord God’s statement in verse 18 is “striking,” writes Tim Keller in The Meaning of Marriage. “It is striking not just by contrast” (God has repeatedly called “good” all he had made), “but it raises a question: how could Adam be in a ‘not good’ condition when he was in a perfect world and had, evidently, a perfect relationship with God?” Keller explains that mankind images the triune God partly through “our intense relational capacity, created and given to us by God,” which is designed to be fulfilled in relationships with other human beings. “Even in paradise, loneliness was a terrible thing,” Keller concludes. God has ordained two institutions to prevent loneliness: the family and the church. Our culture’s “loneliness epidemic” and related disorders are at least partly due to the lack or erosion of both.

But Keller’s interpretation of verse 18 is not the only compelling one. For example, Dr. Alastair Roberts writes, “The problem of man’s aloneness is not a psychological problem of loneliness, but the fact that, without assistance, humanity’s purpose cannot be achieved.” He finds this purpose in Genesis 1, “the task of filling the earth through child-bearing.” One person, particularly one man, cannot fill the earth alone.

Whatever God meant, after diagnosing the problem, God himself prescribes the solution. He provides the man “a helper fit for him.” This translation is not intended to imply that women are inherently inferior to men (“helper” could also be translated as “companion,” and “fit for” could also be translated as “corresponding to”).

Instead, “the word ‘helper’ corresponding to Adam designates a social role for Eve within her marriage to Adam—a role that is inextricably linked to her biological sex,” writes Denny Burk, president of the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Likewise, Burk continues, “Adam’s creation before Eve designates a social role within his marriage to Eve—a role that is inextricably linked to his biological sex. He is to be the leader, protector, and provider within this marriage covenant. And these social roles within the covenant of marriage are not only creational realities, they are also commanded in Scripture.” These distinct, biologically linked, social roles shine most brilliantly when a husband and wife use their roles to “complement” one another, achieving more together than they could alone.

Verses 19-20 prove by negation the importance of human companionship. Before God creates Eve, he parades all the animals before Adam. Adam names the animals, thus exercising dominion over them (see Gen. 1:28), but he does not find what God says he needs, “a helper fit for him.” Only other humans can provide the companionship, love, and affection necessary for biblical marriage. This is the basis of Scripture’s condemnation of bestiality (e.g., Ex. 22:19).

2. The Lord God Caused

So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. (Gen. 2:21-22)

In verses 21-22, God puts Adam to sleep and makes Eve out of his rib. If we allow the Bible to interpret itself (which we should), this creation order (Adam from dust, then Eve from Adam) has a purpose and remains relevant in the church. Paul appeals to this order, “Adam was formed first, then Eve” (1 Tim. 2:13), and “man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man” (1 Cor. 11:8-9), as reasons for the authority, or headship, or a husband over his wife. While these Scriptures are difficult to interpret and apply, and Christians can disagree, they are also “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16).

However, male headship does not mean female inferiority. Paul continues, “Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God” (1 Cor. 11:11-12). Nor could Adam take credit for Eve’s creation, since he slept through it, as Matthew Henry notes in his Commentary on the Whole Bible. He adds that if man was “made last of the creatures, as the best and most excellent of all, Eve’s being made after Adam, and out of him, puts an honour upon that sex, as the glory of the man, 1 Co. 11:7. If man is the head, she is the crown.”

Henry also finds meaning in God making Eve out of Adam’s rib. She was “not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved.”

Having unilaterally prepared and provided for everything in this marriage, God then gives away the first bride; “he brought her to the man.” God procured, endorsed, and effected Adam’s marriage to Eve. Having created man and woman, he bids them be happy together in their innocence.

3. Bone of My Bones

Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” (Gen. 2:23)

Happy, indeed, are the first newlyweds. “When the man sees the woman, he responds in poetry,” writes Keller. “At last!” is his first response. This is what he has waited for! Such rejoicing and delight God has designed for all who enter into the covenant of marriage. A husband’s joy over his wife is not only natural but normative; God commands husbands to enjoy their wives (Prov. 5:15-19, Eccl. 9:9). If men paid more attention to this command, they would escape so many temptations to lust and adultery (Prov. 5:20-23), and they would spare their wives from much heartache and sorrow. In addition to the prudential benefits, a husband’s joy over his wife also serves to image God’s joy over his people. Isaiah prophesies about Zion’s coming salvation, “as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you” (Isa. 62:5).

Adam continues his poem by noting that he has finally met another like himself. Not only does she, like him, have flesh and bones (so far has he advanced in anatomy in his few hours of life), but her flesh and bones came from his. This is the “helper fit for him” God promised to make. While they are alike, Adam is also the head; he names her “Woman,” much as he had previously named the animals, exercising his dominion over them. Thus, Moses finishes recounting the story of the first marriage and inserts the principle of marriage, which we examined previously, in verse 24.

4. Naked and Not Ashamed

And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. (Gen. 2:25)

Verse 25 concludes this chapter by noting that the man and his wife were naked and not ashamed. That such a condition is worthy of remark implies that there is a shameful sort of nakedness. In fact, chapter 3 will explain how Adam and Eve become ashamed of their nakedness once they become conscious of their sin. It was the first time they had something worthy to conceal from critical eyes. Ever since the Fall, it has been proper for human beings to cover ourselves with clothing because of our sinful condition.

Marriage, a covenant where two persons become one flesh, is the only remaining haven in which such intimacy is still proper. Keller makes this point by contrasting marriage with illicit sexual relationships, where he says both parties feel a need to continually prove themselves. Then he says, “The legal bond of marriage, however, creates a space of security where we can open up and reveal our true selves. We can be vulnerable, no longer having to keep up facades. We don’t have to keep selling ourselves. We can lay the last layer of our defenses down and be completely naked, both physically and in every other way.” Thus, marriage provides mutual security, intimacy, and nourishment within, while presenting a united, delighted exterior—or at least so God has designed it.

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Senate Confirms Abortion Extremist Shalanda Young

by Dan Hart

March 16, 2022

With a disappointing vote of 61-36, the Senate confirmed pro-abortion extremist Shalanda Young as the director of the Office of Management and Budget this past Tuesday.

As we have previously pointed out, the issue with Young isn’t merely that she is “pro-choice,” as is virtually every liberal Democrat. The problem with Young is that she is in favor of forcing every American to fund abortion with their tax dollars and also sees no issue with forcing all health care workers to participate in carrying out abortions, even if they have religious or moral objections.

For Young, repealing the Hyde Amendment—which prohibits taxpayer funding from paying for abortion in Medicaid—is an issue of “racial justice.” Her claim that prohibiting taxpayer funding for abortion disproportionately affects women of color is indeed true, but it doesn’t convey what she thinks it does. As the latest CDC data shows, black women are four times more likely to get an abortion than white women—undoubtedly because black women are targeted by the abortion industry that locates the majority of their facilities in minority neighborhoods. Under Hyde, black babies are much more likely to be protected from a taxpayer-fueled abortion regime.

Young is on the record as being opposed to both the Hyde Amendment and the Weldon Amendment, which are both historically bipartisan measures meant to prevent tax dollars from funding abortion and to protect the conscience rights of pro-life Americans.

The confirmation of Young is the latest example of President Biden’s pattern of filling his administration not just with pro-choice appointees, but with individuals who actively advocate for leaving no room for Americans to have differing views on the most heated and contentious moral and political issue of our time.

Moving forward, FRC will continue to closely track the individuals that the Biden administration nominates and will alert the public to encourage them to contact their senators and congressmen and voice their concerns about far-left extremist nominees. Let us pray that in the future, the Biden administration will avoid choosing divisive pro-abortion activists, especially those whose views leave no room for pro-life Americans to live out their lives in the public square.

**For more information on our work tracking the Biden administration’s anti-family actions and nominees, see: frcaction.org/biden

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Guatemala Declared Pro-Life Capital of Latin America

by David Closson

March 11, 2022

The international pro-life movement achieved a significant victory this week in Guatemala. On Wednesday, March 9, Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei celebrated the Ibero-American Congress for Life and Family (CIVF) proclaiming his nation the “pro-life capital of Latin America.” Joined by his cabinet, members of the Guatemalan Congress, religious leaders, and a large international delegation, Giammattei vowed to protect life from conception to natural death and promised to fight for families in his nation.

In conjunction with the ceremony, Giammattei also unveiled a monument in the presidential palace and declared that March 9 would henceforth be known as the National Day of Life in Guatemala.

Guatemala’s designation as the “pro-life capital of Latin America” comes at a pivotal time for the international pro-life movement, as many countries in the region are rethinking their abortion laws. For example, in early 2021, Argentina’s government legalized abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, and in September 2021, Mexico’s Supreme Court struck down pro-life laws in two states. Most recently, in a February 21 ruling, Colombia’s high court legalized abortion through the first 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Thus, Guatemala’s decision to embrace and champion the pro-life values of its people is significant. Just this week, President Giammattei complained that countries like Guatemala often face pressure from the United States and other Western nations to expand legal abortion and adopt gender ideology as a condition of receiving certain forms of international aid and assistance. Giammattei’s decision to resist cultural imperialism is a remarkable display of courage. Last fall, he courageously added his country to the Geneva Consensus Declaration, joining 35 other countries in asserting that there is no international right to abortion and that abortion should never be promoted as a form of family planning. (Conversely, President Joe Biden withdrew the United States from the declaration in January 2021.)

In conjunction with the festivities at the palace, the Ibero-American Congress for Life and Family hosted the “International Summit of Pro-Life Organizations.” The summit brought together leaders from across Ibero-America as well as 75 representatives from pro-life organizations in the United States, including Family Research Council (FRC). These meetings were held alongside CIVF’s annual gathering of pro-family, pro-life organizations from across Latin America and Spain.

As part of the summit, I hosted a panel with leaders from Students for Life, National Right to Life, Global Life Campaign, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and Americans United for Life. The topic of the panel was challenges facing the pro-life movement. During my remarks, I argued that a lack of a biblical worldview and apathy toward the Bible’s teaching on life are additional challenges facing the pro-life movement. I exhorted the delegates to continue fighting for life and encouraging pastors within their sphere of influence to preach the whole counsel of God’s Word, including how it relates to the issue of abortion.

FRC was able to equip attendees of the summit with resources that apply a biblical worldview to a wide range of relevant issues, including the sanctity of human life.

FRC’s Quena Gonzalez participated in a panel discussion on how to advocate for pro-life policies. Quena encouraged the delegates to be motivated by Micah 6:8, which instructs believers to “Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly” with our God. As Quena explained, “Our love for God motivates us to advocate for justice. Our love of neighbor motivates us to advocate for policies that allow all Americans, not just Christians, to thrive. And our love for the governments whom we seek to influence—the administration, members of Congress, etc.—leads us to see in each of them the imago Dei, the image of God, and to speak the truth to them in love.”

Speakers at the CIVF’s sixth annual meeting included President Giammattei, Shirley Rivera (president of the Congress of Guatemala), Luis Lam (ambassador of Guatemala to the United Nations), Angela Gandra (Brazil’s secretary of the family), Michael Farris (president of Alliance Defending Freedom), and Valerie Huber (president of The Institute for Women’s Health). The CIVF was founded in 2017 in response to the growing need to engage government and policy leaders in Latin and Central America on issues that affect life and family.

Huber, who helped spearhead the Geneva Consensus Declaration during the Trump administration, praised President Giammattei for signing it last October. By joining the declaration, Huber noted that Giammattei “reminded the world that Guatemala has the sovereign right to implement policies consistent with their own national laws and cultural context without external pressuring and meddling… from other countries, international bodies, or from outside special interest groups.”

The CIVF’s meeting concluded after hearing remarks from Mario Bucaro (Guatemala’s foreign minister), Gerardo Amarilla (Uruguay’s deputy minister of environment), and other Latin American leaders. The event concluded with CIVF releasing the Guatemala 2022 Declaration which affirmed the family as foundational for the flourishing of societies in Latin America and stated the organization’s intent to continue engaging political and religious leaders in the region on policies related to life and family.  

While those of us in the United States await the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the U.S. Supreme Court case that could overturn Roe v. Wade, we should be grateful for the courageous leadership of leaders around the world such as President Alejandro Giammattei. Following the official ceremony and statue unveiling on Wednesday, I had an opportunity to personally thank Giammattei on behalf of Family Research Council for his leadership in positioning Guatemala as a leader in the international pro-life movement. Giammattei’s stand for life and family in the face of intense pressure deserves our admiration and respect. May courage breed more courage, and may all of us who care about the dignity and value of the unborn look to Guatemala’s example.

I joined Tony Perkins on Washington Watch to discuss the historic declaration of Guatemala as the “pro-life capital of Latin America.” You can listen to the interview here.

**To see where other countries stack up on abortion around the world, see our map and publication.

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Anticipating Gen Z

by George Barna

March 11, 2022

Millennials, the generation born between 1984 and 2002, are a very significant force in American culture. Let’s consider the tail end of the Millennial generation, those aged 18 to 24. That segment represents the latter third of the generation, comprising roughly 30 million individuals.

Based on historical tracking, this segment represents a bridge between their generation and the succeeding generation (widely known as Gen Z). Such a bridge group is often a hybrid, torn between the norms of their own generation and the new thoughts and ways of the upcoming group. As such, they give us both a helpful guide to what is coming as well as hints as to how to have a positive impact on their development.

Data from the American Worldview Inventory, conducted annually by the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University, shows that this “bridge” segment is shockingly distant from biblical orthodoxy in its beliefs and practices. Almost six out of 10 of them describe their faith as Christian (58 percent—alarmingly low in itself), yet less than two percent of bridgers have a biblical worldview. Bridgers who qualify as Don’ts (i.e., don’t know, don’t care, or don’t believe that God exists) outnumber born-again Christians by a two-to-one margin (31 to 16 percent).

We might consider what it will take to draw bridgers—and Gen Z—closer to a worldview that is consistent with Scripture. To do so, let’s consider three types of measures: basic Christianity, applied biblical principles, and life metrics.

Basic Biblical Truths

People are unlikely to develop a biblical understanding of life until they can piece together some of the foundational principles God has provided to us. As you consider how to dialogue with young adults and teenagers about life, keep in mind that most of them do not have a grasp of some of the most basic biblical principles and teachings.

The Definition of God. Less than four out of 10 bridgers believe that God is the all-knowing, all-powerful, perfect, and just Creator of the universe who rules that universe today. Nearly as many of them doubt or reject His existence. Without belief in a holy, omniscient, and omnipotent creator, life is a free-for-all, and the world revolves around our personal thoughts and feelings.

Creation Narrative. Bridgers are more likely to believe in chance and randomness than in the authority and creative yet orderly power of God. Only about four out of 10 embrace the biblical account of creation as valid. If it is not God’s universe, and He does not have control of it, then mankind has no obligation to believe in, much less obey Him.

Basis of Truth. Just three out of 10 bridgers contend that God Himself is the foundation of truth. Six out of every 10 don’t believe in absolute moral truth. Bridgers are most likely to believe that they have the capacity and responsibility to determine truth, which has become the basis of the growing levels of current conflict and confusion in our nation.

The Bible. Less than three out of 10 bridgers accept the Bible as the true and accurate words of God and therefore authoritative and relevant to how we live. Without Scripture as our touchstone for understanding, truth, purpose, and morality, we have no reliable guidance and boundaries for life.

Purpose of Life. Most bridgers contend that the ultimate purpose of life is happiness and pleasure. Only one out of every six believes we exist to know, love, and serve God with all our heart, mind, strength, and soul. The result is selfishness and pride. Any type of community, be it a nation, family, church, or government, cannot be sustained when everyone only looks out for themselves.

Applied Biblical Truths

A benefit of God’s truths and principles is that they are practical and designed to be implemented in our lives. Conversely, rejecting those norms results in accepting and applying deficient and detrimental alternatives, resulting in an unsatisfying and unfulfilled life.

Commitment. Humans are spiritual beings made for spiritual purposes. Yet, a minority of bridgers claim to be deeply committed to practicing their faith—and a significant share of the religious beliefs and practices they embrace are not drawn from biblical Christianity. The insight is that they devote little, if any, time and energy to the Christian faith.

Marriage. A mere one out of every five bridgers believes the marriage of one man to one woman is God’s creation design for all cultures. In essence, bridgers argue that love is a feeling, and marriage is an option whose contours we may define. They have little understanding and appreciation of the nature and role of the family or human sexuality in God’s universe, or the implications of substituting human concepts of human roles for God’s perfect and purposeful design.

Morality. Most bridgers accept as morally legitimate behaviors God defines as unacceptable (e.g., lying, cheating, stealing, sexual experiences outside of marriage, divorce, abortion, drunkenness). Again, they calculate morality based on a fluid formula incorporating circumstances, personal feelings, and outcomes. Instead, God’s righteousness is based upon known and unchanging standards that reflect His character and our best interests.

Salvation. Only one-sixth of the 18-to-24s believe that they will experience eternity in the presence of God solely as a result of confessing their sins and asking Jesus Christ to save them. Almost none of the bridgers believe they will experience Hell. Most of them either believe they will simply cease to exist, be reincarnated, or experience Heaven for any of a variety of reasons other than being forgiven and born again through Christ. American Christians and churches have done a sub-par job of leading sinners to Christ and applying an effective discipleship process.

Evaluating Life

In my business (social research), we live by the expression “you get what you measure.” What do bridgers measure to evaluate their life? As reflected in the minuscule two percent who have a biblical worldview, they do not embrace the measures indicated by Scripture.

Defining success. Less than one out of every 10 bridgers defines success in life as “consistent obedience to God.” Instead, they rely on measures such as wealth, happiness, accomplishments, fame, and comfort level. Shifting their metrics to be based upon God’s expectations rather than their feelings and reputation will make all the difference.

Avoiding sin. Less than half of bridgers say that they make a conscious effort to avoid sinning because they know it breaks God’s heart. In fact, millions of these young adults do not believe that “sin” exists. Changing their yardstick of righteousness from how they feel about themselves to how robustly they honor God and adhere to His guidelines would not only change their lives but also help to transform the world.

Intentional Christianity. About six out of 10 bridgers believe that all faiths are of equal value, so one’s faith of choice doesn’t matter. This corresponds with their widespread belief that there is no absolute moral or spiritual truth. Helping bridgers to understand that God’s way is the only way is offensive to this niche of young people who argue for inclusiveness and tolerance of all points of view. Effectively explaining that there are many roads that lead to destruction but just one path that leads to real life is an insight that millions of Americans desperately need to adopt.

Bless the Bridgers

God’s plan for us is like a complex puzzle in which every piece has just one proper location and brings beauty and greater clarity to the ultimate puzzle. Rejecting or replacing any piece ruins the perfection of the puzzle and robs us of the joy of experiencing it in its fullness.

As you have opportunities to question the choices bridgers make and discuss biblical alternatives to their choices, you have the privilege of blessing them with insights God has given to you and from which you and others have benefitted. Exchanges with young adults can be frustrating, confusing, and even produce self-doubt, but stay the course of God’s ways and allow the Holy Spirit to lead the way.

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Dems Slip Harmful Human Rights Provision into Russia Energy Sanction Bill

by Arielle Del Turco

March 10, 2022

Congress is rushing through critical pieces of legislation, opening the door for unrelated and harmful amendments to be attached. This is exactly what happened yesterday when the House passed the Suspending Energy Imports from Russia Act (H.R. 6968). It’s a bipartisan bill to prohibit importing energy from Russia in the wake of Vladimir Putin’s brutal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. However, House Democrats seized the opportunity to tack on a controversial amendment to a bill they knew would pass.

The unnecessary language in H.R. 6968 would modify the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act enacted in 2016. This law enables the U.S. government to place financial sanctions on foreign individuals responsible for “extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.” This is an important law, and it is one of the most effective means by which the U.S. government can pressure officials in other countries to stop violating human rights.

However, H.R. 6968 lowers the bar from “gross violations of internationally recognized human rights” to simply “serious human rights abuse.” And although the Global Magnitsky Act targeted individuals who were “responsible” for these actions, H.R. 6968 targets anyone “directly or indirectly engaged in” serious human rights abuse. On the surface, these might sound like small changes, but the effects can be far-reaching.

Representative Chris Smith (R-N.J.), one of Congress’s most stalwart human rights advocates, explained the issue on the House floor yesterday:

I’m for this bill, but there are provisions in this, one in particular, that should not be in here. Mr. Speaker, I’m the prime sponsor of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act…. Under the Act, an actionable offense occurs only when there’s a gross violation of internationally-recognized human rights, which has the meaning given to it in the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. Specifically, the Foreign Assistance Act includes torture, cruel and inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, prolonged detention without charges and trial, causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction and clandestine detention of those persons, and other flagrant denials of the right to life, liberty, or the security of a person.

H.R. 6968, however, radically strikes and replaces the current definition of what constitutes an actionable offense with language that is not defined and is being done tonight without the benefit of a hearing or due diligence. Under the new language, the president may impose sanctions on any individual if responsible for or complicit in what they call “serious human rights abuse.” Exactly what does that mean? There’s no definition. How is that phrase defined? How elastic is it? Especially when it’s not linked to any international treaty or covenant. What does “indirectly engaged” mean? How indirect? Guilt by association?

The Global Magnitsky Act got it right. It was bipartisan and it linked sanctions to internationally-recognized human rights. I hope the Senate will take a look at this. This is an egregious mistake.

We want the U.S. government to be as effective as possible when combating human rights abuses abroad. However, no one should be able to abuse mechanisms like the Global Magnitsky Act sanctions to target foreign individuals based on partisan politics or radical social agendas. As radical activists continue to redefine terms and use “human rights” to mean anything they want it to mean, it’s easy to see how H.R. 6968 could be misused.

The new language in H.R. 6968 also eliminates the five-year sunset provision of the Global Magnitsky Act. Sunset provisions give Congress the opportunity every period of years as specified to review how the sanctioning authority is being utilized and make sure it hasn’t been misused. If the Act no longer sunsets, this important oversight review would be eliminated.

Global Magnitsky Act sanctions have been used for good in the past, such as when the U.S. government sanctioned Turkish officials in the case of imprisoned American pastor Andrew Brunson. Just a few weeks later, Brunson was released. It’s important to maintain the integrity of the Global Magnitsky Act and ensure it is not abused by partisan agendas in the executive branch. When the Senate considers H.R. 6968, they should remove this provision.

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Bringing Awareness to the Experiences of Detransitioners

by Jennifer Bauwens, Ph.D.

March 10, 2022

As a trauma therapist, I’ve had the honor of working in a profession that aims to serve children and families during some of the most painful and vulnerable moments of their lives. I considered it a blessing to have a career focused on doing what the Bible directs every believer in Christ to do—that is, to care for the widows and orphans (James 1:27). In our modern vernacular, we might summarize this biblical passage by saying it is our duty to look for ways to advocate and care for those who are without resources and have been ignored by society. This description certainly applies to those who once identified as transgender and have decided to detransition to their biological sex.

These individuals have been repeatedly silenced and ignored, particularly by the medical and psychological professions. Before altering their bodies, many who have struggled with gender dysphoria reported that their peers, as well as their transgender advocacy, medical, and psychological groups, rallied around them and encouraged them to hormonally and surgically change their bodies to appear more like the opposite sex. Over time, many have come to regret their physiological alterations.

Only a few studies have tackled the plight of detransitioners. But one such study found that nearly 40 percent of participants who detransitioned said they felt pressure from health and mental health care professionals to medically transition.

At best, it is bad practice for professionals to pressure patients to receive unscientifically validated practices that carry known risks and permanently change the body. But this social pressure isn’t present at the onboarding to medical procedures only. Many report that all the encouragement and affirmation they previously received fades into the background when they decide to detransition. In some cases, hostility emerges from those who once cheered them onward to a course that could permanently alter their lives.

The fact remains that those who have identified as transgender have higher rates of childhood physical, sexual, and emotional abuse than the general population. Sadly, the vast majority of professional groups have not advocated for treatment options that address the issues that are frequently found in tandem with gender dysphoria. For example, in the aforementioned study, 57 percent of detransitioners said their evaluation for gender dysphoria was inadequate. Another 65 percent said that possible contributing factors, such as trauma and other mental health issues, were not considered when assessing their gender distress.

This study’s findings also showed that roughly 45 percent of biological females said their mental health did not improve while transitioning, and 41 percent detransitioned because they realized their gender dysphoria was due to something else (i.e., trauma or another mental health diagnosis). It logically follows that 48 percent of these participants experienced a trauma less than a year before experiencing gender dysphoria. No wonder nearly 40 percent of these biological women said that transitioning made their mental health worse—the real issues were never addressed by the gender clinic or therapist.

On Saturday, March 12, advocacy groups and individuals who’ve suffered the pain of misdiagnosis and the harms of transgender physiological procedures will be gathering around the country to raise awareness about the pain and lack of appropriate treatment options for those who’ve struggled with their biological sex. We need mental health treatment that is responsible and accountable to the public. Please support those courageously taking a stand and join or host an event in your city.

If you are unable to participate in any events on March 12, encourage your elected representatives to hold these professional organizations and gender clinics accountable for their promotion of harmful practices. Let’s call mental health and health practitioners back to their roots of truly helping those without a voice.

**For further reading, please see the following links for more information on ethics and mental health issues related to transgender procedures.

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Real Men Don’t Bomb Women and Children. They Protect Them.

by Arielle Del Turco

March 10, 2022

Throughout his career, Russian President Vladimir Putin has cultivated the image of a “strong man,” in both the political and physical sense. He has projected a powerful masculine image for himself while reasserting Russian influence on the world stage.

Numerous photos published by the Kremlin show a shirtless Putin doing stereotypically manly outdoorsy things. Images of him hunting, fishing, horseback riding, and submerging himself in icy waters for the Orthodox observance of the Epiphany are accompanied by the Russian state media’s glowing reports of how physically fit the president is. Sure, Putin knows international audiences poke fun at these stunts, but he says he sees “no need to hide.”

Yet, with Putin’s unprovoked invasion into peaceful neighboring Ukraine, the humor of Putin’s self-made macho image is fading. Writing for WORLD, Andrew Walker points out, “Putin’s masculinity is one of cavalier ruthlessness and vainglory—one using raw strength to self-aggrandize, bully, destroy, denigrate, and suppress.”

Standing in stark contrast to the Russian president’s shirtless wilderness photoshoots is comedy actor turned politician, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Before the Russian invasion, Zelensky was a relatively unknown figure on the world stage. But now, he has risen to the task of being a wartime leader with determination, good humor, and fearlessness. Standing in the dark streets of Kyiv as the invasion was underway, Zelensky recorded a video on his smartphone reassuring his people and warning his adversaries that “We are here.”

The risks to his own life are great, but thus far, Zelensky has refused to leave. In an address from his office, he said, “I stay in Kyiv. On Bankova Street. I’m not hiding. And I’m not afraid of anyone. As much as it takes to win this Patriotic War of ours.” This is a strength and courage that Putin’s vacation pics can’t replicate.

Zelensky’s unwavering and passionate communications to his fellow Ukrainians and the outside world have earned him countless comparisons to Winston Churchill. His leadership has rallied Ukrainians to fight back against the Russian onslaught and stirred the hearts of world leaders to act. Neither Zelensky’s politics nor his lifestyle are a perfect model of masculinity. Yet, as he leads his country’s struggle to fight back against one of the most powerful militaries on earth, people around the world are drawn to his powerful example of what masculinity can look like when channeled in the right direction. He has shown he is willing to sacrifice his life for the good of his people and country after being offered an easy way out.

Instead of modeling sacrificial leadership, Putin chose to put the lives of his troops on the line—for some, perhaps even unknowingly—to assault a neighboring sovereign country without a legitimate cause. At home, Putin’s state media obscures the truth about the war he started in Ukraine, and authorities are severely cracking down on the Russians who are brave enough to protest it.

Meanwhile, Russian forces are ruthlessly targeting residential areas for missile attacks. Over the weekend, Russian forces fired mortar shells toward a bridge civilians were using to flee. Four people died, including an eight-year-old child. That’s what Putin is doing to his own soldiers and the innocent people of Ukraine. This is not masculine strength—it’s cruelty.

While Putin’s military indiscriminately harms women and children, Ukraine is making provisions for their safety. Ukraine instituted a policy that allows women and children to flee across the border but expects men to stay and fight. Extra concern for women and children will be all the more important as some fear increased vulnerability for women in the wake of Russia’s invasion and reports of abuses by Russian soldiers.

Of course, many Ukrainian women have been courageously volunteering to fight. Grandmas, members of parliament, teachers, and many others have taken up arms to defend Ukraine. Even so, the Ukrainian government isn’t placing the bulk of the burden to fight onto women, and that is appropriate. A culture expecting men to protect and defend women and children is an impactful display of healthy masculinity.

Zelensky, like the Ukrainian people, has inspired the world with unexpected bravery and resolve in the face of a seemingly impossible situation. In doing so, he provides a clear alternative to Putin’s faux, destructive masculinity. Real men don’t bomb women and children. They protect them.

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Congressional Leadership Hijacks Ukraine Aid to Push Progressive Agenda

by Travis Weber, J.D., LL.M.

March 9, 2022

Russia’s assault on Ukraine is saturating the news, airwaves, and the public’s focus. It’s understandable that people want to help, and are helping, provide relief and aid to Ukraine. It’s also sensible for Congress to want to help. It’s for this reason (the political pressure to provide relief) that Democratic leadership in Congress wants to combine aid to Ukraine with their domestic social policy preferences in one giant stew of government spending called “the omnibus.”

There are reasons to resist simply going along with this bill.

For one, the omnibus bill contains a problematic reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Congress passed VAWA in 1994 to improve the criminal justice response to domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking and increase the availability of victims’ services. These are admirable aims. But when VAWA was last reauthorized in 2013, language was added (and is in the current reauthorization text) that mandates harmful gender identity ideology, maintains Planned Parenthood’s ability to obtain VAWA grants, selectively applies grant money, and could open the door to funding abortion more directly. You’ve probably heard about biological men competing in women’s sporting events on the basis of “gender identity” and how that is negatively impacting woman athletes. Under the VAWA reauthorization, battered and vulnerable women would face another threat of the same type—that of biological men who identify as women entering private spaces in women’s shelters.

The omnibus bill also turns a program designed to help women succeed financially around the globe into a “Gender Equity and Equality Action Fund.” This new program, backed by previous commitments by the Biden administration to promote gender ideology around the world, will open the door wide for the administration to push a harmful ideology in places like Eastern Europe at a time when security should be the focus. This program will also pave the way for the international abortion industry to continue erroneously promoting abortion as necessary for women’s economic empowerment.

Providing funds to Ukraine is a sensible and laudable goal, and we understand that our government also needs to be funded. However, there is a simple solution: peel off Ukraine (as the House appears to be doing) from other funding. And to completely fix the problem, cut all the substantive policy changes (like VAWA) that have been tacked on to what is supposed to be a spending bill. The current text is 2,741 pages long and has so many sections that it runs through the entire alphabet once and has to start over.

Streamlining the text (and process) along these lines will, in theory, prevent what should be a bipartisan appropriations process from turning into a fight for a partisan wish list.

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Ukrainian Athletes Are Teaching the World a Lesson in Valor

by Mary Szoch

March 9, 2022

As Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin continues to wage war on Ukraine in the weeks immediately following the Olympics, sports stories continue to make international headlines. Ahead of and during the Beijing Winter Olympics, the terrible conditions for Olympic athletes dominated the news, while the Uyghur genocide was a second tier news story.  But now, it is the defense of Ukraine’s freedom that has placed athletics and athletes in the spotlight.

Last week, World Taekwondo pulled all future events from Russia. It also stripped Vladimir Putin of his honorary black belt in recognition that he is, as Ukrainian President Zelensky put it, behaving “like a beast.” Putin’s status as honorary president of the International Judo Federation (IJF) and the European Judo Union has been revoked, and he is no longer the recipient of the International Swimming Federation (FINA)’s highest honor.

In stunning displays of solidarity with the Ukrainian people, the National Hockey League announced they would suspend business partnerships with Russia; the Union Cycliste Internationale has banned Russian and Belarusian teams from competing; the World Curling Federation has removed the 2022 European Curling Championships from Russia; FIFA has suspended Russia from the World Cup; and multiple Russian athletes have voiced their support for Ukraine at great risk to themselves. Even the International Olympic Committee, which did not pull the 2022 Olympics out of China despite the ongoing genocide in that country, issued a recommendation that international sports federations not invite or allow Russian or Belarusian athletes to participate in international competitions.

But the most inspiring stories of all have been the Ukrainian athletes who have joined the fight for their homeland. The Ukrainian men’s fencing team withdrew from a World Cup event in Egypt, where they were set to face Russia. Wearing their national colors, the team announced, “Today, Ukrainian fencing team refused to fence team event against Russian Federation. This is our protest against the Russian aggression in Ukraine. Thank you for all international fencers for supporting Ukrainians in the world. Russia, stop war in Ukraine.” Instead of fencing, the team planned to return home and defend their country.

Ukrainian tennis star Sergiy Stakhovsky was vacationing with his wife and three children in Dubai when he heard the news of Russia’s invasion. He, too, decided to return home and defend his country. “I was born here, my grandparents are buried here, and I would like to have a history to tell to my kids,” he said. “Nobody here wants Russia to free them, they have freedom and democracy … and Russia wants to bring despair and poverty.” His three children, all under seven, believe he is at a tennis tournament.

Ukrainian soccer coach Yuriy Vernydub left at the height of his career to fight for his country. “My son called me at 4:30 am and he told me the Russians attacked us. I knew then that I would return to Ukraine to fight,” he said. “Football is my life. I hope this war won’t last for long. We will win, and I will go back to my beloved work.”

The mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, and his brother, Wladimir, are former boxing champions who are ready to fend off Russian attacks. Waldimir commented, “I am Ukrainian, and I am a fighter…our strongest force is the will and desire to live in a free country.”

And the Klitschko brothers aren’t the only prizefighters bearing different arms. Champion boxers Vasily Lomachenko and Oleksander Usyki have returned to defend their homeland as well. When asked about his decision to fight, Ukrainian heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyki said, “My soul belongs to the Lord and my body and my honor belong to my country, to my family. So there is no fear, absolutely no fear. There’s just bafflement—how could this be in the 21st century?”

Across the country, Ukrainians—including three athletes, Vitalii Sapylo, Dmytro Martynenko, and Yevhen Malyshev—are willingly laying down their lives for their country to remain independent. These men and women are heroes—dying so that others may live free. 

One of the reasons sports are good is because they have the ability to teach life lessons. They teach men and women to work hard, be the best they can be, work as a team, be mentally tough and courageous, and die to self for a greater good.

As Ukraine continues to struggle to maintain its independence, Ukrainian athletes are proving they have learned much more from sports than how to win gold medals. It is time for the rest of the world to learn a few lessons from Ukrainians.

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Congressional Democrats Trying to Cram Activist Bill into Spending Package

by Travis Weber, J.D., LL.M.

March 8, 2022

While Ukraine burns, Democrats in Congress are busy looking for partisan opportunities, like trying to cram the radical Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization into the text of the Omnibus spending package currently under negotiation.

We all are familiar with the fallout of biological men competing in women’s sports on the basis of “gender identity.” Yet, battered and vulnerable women face another threat from the same ideological source—that of biological men who identify as women entering private spaces in women’s shelters.

As we have observed:

Congress passed VAWA in 1994 to improve the criminal justice response to domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking and increase the availability of victims’ services. These are admirable aims, but unfortunately, when VAWA was last reauthorized in 2013, language was added that prevented it from achieving these important goals. The current reauthorization text of S. 3623 continues and exacerbates these problems by mandating harmful gender identity ideology, maintaining Planned Parenthood’s ability to obtain VAWA grants, cordoning off certain grant funds to be used for only limited purposes and limited pools of victims, and now possibly opening the door to fund abortion more directly. In short, S. 3623 would harm the very women VAWA should be protecting.

This bill is bad enough and should be opposed on its own terms. To try to rush it into last-minute spending negotiations is unconscionable.

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