FRC Blog

The Supreme Court Goes Rogue on Sex Discrimination

by Peter Sprigg , Mary Beth Waddell, J.D.

June 17, 2020

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court re-wrote Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by holding that sexual orientation and gender identity are included in the statute. 

The majority opinion in Bostock v. Clayton County, written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, claims to be using a textualist approach, yet its analysis and holding prove otherwise.

Justice Samuel Alito concisely opened his dissent with the summary: “There is only one word for what the Court has done today: legislation.” Justice Alito aptly compared this opinion to a pirate ship sailing under a textualist flag.

He went on to state, “Many will applaud today’s decision because they agree on policy grounds…. But the question in these cases is not whether discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity should be outlawed. The question is whether Congress did that in 1964. It indisputably did not” (emphasis in the original).

Indeed, Justice Kavanaugh’s dissent seems to show sympathy for the policy outcome, yet he agreed that it is not within the Court’s constitutional boundaries to make this change.

Despite its improper analysis of other scenarios, the majority opinion properly makes reference to “an employer who fires a female employee for tardiness or incompetence or simply supporting the wrong sports team. Assuming the employer would not have tolerated the same trait in a man, Title VII stands silent.” Yet it does not carry this analysis through in the cases at hand. The proper analysis is whether or not an employer would fire a female employee for homosexuality or identification as the opposite sex, but would not fire a male employee for homosexuality or identification as the opposite sex.

This wrong legal analysis leaves many questions unanswered. In seeming acknowledgement of the policy Pandora’s box it has opened, the majority opinion acknowledges the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Ministerial Exception, but only to say that how either would be impacted by the decision is not currently before the court—thus inviting litigation. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act is under attack in Congress, and the scope of the Ministerial Exception is currently under consideration before the Court, so these legal protections for religious freedom  provide little solace.

Justice Alito rightly points out that Congress has repeatedly refused to include sexual orientation or gender identity in Title VII or other federal civil rights statutes. Language to do so is included in the Equality Act and other bills which are introduced year after year without success. Yet, with its decision, the Court has essentially enacted the employment provisions of the Equality Act.

Sexual orientation and gender identity nondiscrimination laws are unjustified in principle, because these characteristics are not inborn, involuntary, immutable, innocuous, or in the U.S. Constitution—unlike race and sex. In many situations, such laws pose a threat to religious liberty, which is protected by the Constitution. Not only that, but these laws pose a threat to women and, even those who identify as homosexual or transgender.

Justice Alito acknowledges numerous areas where the majority opinion could have serious implications:

  • Religious employers could face litigation and be compelled to “employ individuals whose conduct flouts the tenets of the organization’s faith [which] forces the group to communicate an objectionable message.”
  • Transgender identified individuals could be entitled to use the bathroom, locker room, etc. of their choice.
  • Women athletes could be forced to compete against athletes who are biologically male in both scholastic and professional sports.
  • Schools could be prevented from having sex-separated dormitories and housing.
  • Employers could be forced to cover treatments and surgeries that are not deemed medically necessary and, for religious employers, are in opposition to their faith tenets.
  • Freedom of speech, as it relates to both pronoun usage and employees’ ability to express their beliefs about marriage, family, and human sexuality, is now called into question.
  • The standard of review by which courts judge claims related to sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination could be upgraded to a stricter standard of review, like that used for sex discrimination.

Sadly, the Court has yet again usurped congressional power to achieve a desired policy goal which Congress has repeatedly refused to implement, and which is detrimental to society. 

With the Court’s invitation for litigation, the American Civil Liberties Union expects hundreds of cases to be filed.

Now, we wait to see how this will play out in future litigation and how Congress will respond to this judicial assault upon its constitutional prerogatives.

Mary Beth Waddell is Senior Legislative Assistant at Family Research Council. Peter Sprigg is Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at Family Research Council.

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Families and Charitable Organizations: The Foundation of American Society

by Connor Semelsberger, MPP

June 17, 2020

This piece was originally published at NRB.org.

Churches and other charitable organizations have been on the front lines of the coronavirus response. A few examples are Samaritan’s Purse building a field hospital in New York City’s Central Park and churches hosting food drives and conducting coronavirus testing. One Alabama church tested 1,000 people in two days! Despite the active role these nonprofits have taken in meeting the health and economic needs of our country, they still rely on donations—at a time when many Americans face financial hardship due to job loss, limited working hours, or increased medical costs. Such hardships may lead to a decline in charitable donations. Thankfully, some leaders on Capitol Hill are championing the important role churches and charitable organizations play in helping local communities.

One way the tax code helps charitable organizations is through the charitable deduction. However when the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act simplified and raised the standard deduction to $12,000, it caused many tax filers to take the standard deduction instead of itemizing their charitable contributions. Realizing this problem in the tax code, Congress recently passed the CARES Act, which allows charitable contributions up to $300 to be deducted above and beyond the standard deduction on annual tax returns. This new policy is a great first step in promoting charitable giving during the pandemic. But congressional leaders believe there is much more to be done.

Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) has been the most vocal voice advocating for direct changes to the tax law to support both families and nonprofits. He summed this need up perfectly in a Joint Economic Committee hearing on charitable giving. “We have three safety nets in America. The family is the first safety net. Nonprofits are our second safety net and government is our third…The first two are essential and if the family collapses, nonprofits struggle to keep up and governments struggle to keep up.”

In May, Senator Lankford and Senator Angus King (I-Maine) co-authored a letter to Senate leaders, advocating for nonprofits, charities, and houses of worship in any future coronavirus relief bills. One of the specific proposals Lankford and King offered is raising the $300 charitable deduction limit in the CARES Act to one-third of the standard deduction. This would equate to $4,000 for individuals and $8,000 for married couples. Representative Mark Walker (R-N.C.) has taken a similar approach in the House of Representatives. His bill, the Coronavirus Help and Response Initiative Through the Year 2022 (CHARITY) Act, would expand the charitable deduction to one-third of the standard deduction until 2022.

Families and churches are the foundation of our society. They are, therefore, the societal institutions best-equipped to provide stability when America faces many health and safety challenges. When families and churches struggle, so does the rest of America. That is why the government needs to recognize and support these institutions and charitable organizations. As Sen. Lankford said, “it’s beneficial for us in our official policy and what we choose to do in the tax code to be able to create a tax code that is encouraging to families and that is encouraging to nonprofits.

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Is Judge Duncan an “Ultra-Conservative” or Just an Originalist?

by Katherine Beck Johnson

June 16, 2020

The Guardian put out a piece attempting to criticize Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The piece only succeeded in highlighting the author’s fundamental misunderstanding of the role of a judge. It is not the role of a judge to weigh into what the law should be, but rather the judge interprets what the law is, the law enacted by the people’s representatives. 

Many of President Trump’s judicial nominees are originalist and textualist. While these may be considered “conservative” judicial philosophies, the result is not always conservative policy goals. If the judge is interpreting a “liberal” law, the text will lead to a result that is liberal. The basic goal of originalism and textualism is that the people, not unelected judges, say what the law ought to be. The judge’s role is to say what the law is, or what the people enacted through their elected officials. Therefore, the Guardian’s fearmongering piece claiming that the judges appointed by President Trump have any role in abortion law is false. It isn’t Trump-appointed judges, it’s the people that have the role of saying what abortion laws should prevail in their states. Judge Duncan is no exception to this rule.

The piece quotes the legal director at Alliance for Justice saying, “For the overwhelming number of cases, the constitutional rights of the people in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi will be made by Kyle Duncan and the other ultra-conservatives on the fifth circuit.” This is false. The rights of the people will be made by the people—not the judges on the fifth circuit.

While a lawyer in private practice, Judge Duncan advocated for Louisiana’s law that is currently before the Supreme Court: June Medical v. Russo. This law requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. It’s a commonsense law that demands abortion facilities abide by the same rules as all other outpatient surgical centers. When Judge Duncan was in private practice, he defended this law on behalf of the state of Louisiana until he became a judge. The Fifth Circuit, where Judge Duncan now sits, upheld this law. Judge Duncan followed proper judicial protocol and recused himself from the case because he had advocated for Louisiana when he was in private practice. He has clearly conducted himself in an ethical manner on the Fifth Circuit.

The Guardian piece is yet another example of a judge being attacked for their faith, as the piece specifically points out Judge Duncan’s Catholic faith. In America, one’s religion does not prevent them from being selected for a job. Judge Duncan’s history advocating for religious liberty is another aspect of him that the piece viewed as problematic. A judge that recognizes our first freedom, our freedom of religion, is not problematic. Judge Duncan understands just how important religious liberty is to our Constitution.

The Constitution makes it clear that the role of a judge is to say what the law is and not what the law ought to be. The people of the United States are the ones charged with saying what the laws that dictate their lives should be. Judge Duncan knows his role as a judge and has done a wonderful job. We need more judges like Judge Duncan.

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An American Pastor was Finally Released from India. Hostility to Christians is Still on the Rise.

by Arielle Del Turco

June 15, 2020

American pastor Bryan Nerren was finally allowed to return home at the end of May after being detained in India for over seven months on a minor charge. “I am back with family and friends at home,” the Tennessee pastor told Morning Star News. “It is a wonderful time.” While his release is worth celebrating, the fact that the Indian government detained him for so long on such a minor charge signifies deeper religious freedom problems in the world’s largest democracy.

Authorities interrupted Pastor Nerren’s two-week trip to India and Nepal in October 2019, arresting him as he got off his flight in Bagdogra. Officials questioned him about failing to pay duty on $40,000—meant to fund two ministry conferences—that he brought with him when he arrived in New Delhi. 

But Pastor Nerren had done nothing wrong. He maintains he was never told to pay a duty. And he was not carrying enough money to be charged for evading tax duty anyways.

The real issue was his Christian mission. According to his lawyers, Indian officials “specifically asked if he was a Christian and if the funds would be used to support Christian causes.” After spending six days in jail, Pastor Nerren was required to pay a $4,000 fine. He was released but was banned from leaving the country.

The targeted interrogation about Pastor Nerren’s faith reflects a growing problem in India—the Indian government led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is increasingly hostile to Christianity. Since the 2014 election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who rose to power with the BJP, things have been going from bad to worse for religious minorities.

Hindu nationalism advances the harmful narrative that “to be Indian is to be Hindu.” This belief implies that faiths other than Hinduism erode national unity.

Because they do not want Indians to convert to Christianity, Hindu nationalist leaders feel threatened by Christian missionaries and have, at times, been openly hostile to them. One former BJP politician called Christian missionaries “a threat to the unity of the country.”

In 2017, the Indian government cracked down on Compassion International, a Christian humanitarian aid group. Compassion International once provided food and medical assistance to around 145,000 Indian children. Yet, because the government was afraid it encouraged conversions to Christianity, the organization was forced to leave the country. The government’s hostility to Christianity had practical implications for impoverished children of all faiths. 

Just last week, India turned down a request for travel visas by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) which has wanted to review India’s religious freedom conditions. USCIRF, a federal commission tasked with advising the government on international religious freedom policies has been critical of India’s deteriorating religious freedom. In April, USCIRF’s annual report recommended that the U.S. officially designate India a “Country of Particular Concern” on religious freedom, clearly for good reason.

India is the world’s largest democracy, and the Indian government’s growing intolerance toward Christianity should be a concern that the rest of the world takes seriously. Facing discrimination from the government and mob violence from fellow citizens, Christians in India, many of whom are poor and marginalized, lack power to speak up for themselves. It falls to the rest of the world—including the United States, a strategic partner for India—to speak up on their behalf. 

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FRC’s Top 7 Trending Items (Week of June 7)

by Family Research Council

June 12, 2020

 

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

1. Washington Update: “Like a Tweet, Lose a Lease”

For Birmingham Pastor Chris Hodges, a handful of “likes” were all it took to make the biggest church in Alabama homeless.

2. Washington Update: “From Riots to Repentance”

On Sunday, some demonstrations in Washington, D.C., took a different turn. Riots turned into rallies for reflection and repentance as hundreds of evangelicals in the D.C. area led a march. Together, different generations and races called for the church to rise up and help heal our nation.

3. Washington Update: “The George Floyd Culprit No One’s Talking about”

Derek Chauvin was no saint. That much was known long before his knee crushed the life out of George Floyd. After racking up 17 complaints in 19 years, the question most people have is — what was he still doing on the police force anyway?

4. Blog: “Governments Are Allowing Unrestricted Protests. So Why Are Churches Still Restricted?”

Since March, churches all over America have suspended in person worship services to comply with social distancing guidelines. The same cannot be said of many of the protestors in recent days.

5. Blog: “Prayerfully Responding to Civil Unrest”

As our nation faces brokenness and rioting, we must turn to the Lord and his word. Here are some ways we can prayerfully respond to the current civil unrest in our nation.

6. Washington WatchDr. Albert Mohler talks about the ironic timing of his new book, The Gathering Storm

Dr. Albert Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, joined Tony Perkins to discuss his new book, The Gathering Storm: Secularism, Culture, and the Church.

7. Washington WatchJoe diGenova argues that defunding the police is an experiment in communism

Joe diGenova, Former U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, joined Sarah Perry to discuss the Left’s efforts to defund the police.

For more from FRC, visit our website at frc.org, our blog at frcblog.org, 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. Check out “The 7” at the end of every week to get our highlights of the week’s trending items. Have a great weekend!

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Governments Are Allowing Unrestricted Protests. So Why Are Churches Still Restricted?

by Laura Lee Caum

June 11, 2020

Since March, churches all over America have suspended in person worship services to comply with social distancing guidelines meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For nearly three months, churches have adapted to alternatives including online services and drive-in services. Surprisingly, a few state and local governments punished those participating in drive-in services by handing out tickets. Despite the challenges, the vast majority of worshippers have abided by social distancing restrictions, longing for the days when they can worship together again.

The same cannot be said of many of the protestors in recent days. After the unjust death of George Floyd in Minnesota, many protestors flooded the streets demanding justice. However, these large gatherings of protestors were in direct violation of CDC guidelines. At the height of the protests, Minnesota’s Department of Health was still officially encouraging its citizens to go out only to “buy food, medicine, and other needed items.”

Since the mass protests, there has been a spike in new coronavirus cases in Minnesota. Violence has greatly increased. A number of businesses in Minnesota have been destroyed and one of their police stations was torched. Around the country, several policemen—both black and white— were assaulted and some even murdered while attempting to maintain order. Despite the public health risks of large protests, government officials throughout the country have allowed the protests to continue (and in some cases participated themselves). And while it is important to underscore the justifiable outrage over George Floyd’s death, the acquiescence of authorities to these protests while churches remain shuttered raises the question of a double standard.

In short, if governors allow thousands of protestors to march in cities around the country, when can churches have in-person services? The CDC has cleared churches to hold services in their buildings. The issue seems to be with some state governments who are explicitly discriminating against churches. One example is in Nevada where Governor Sisolak is restricting church gatherings to 50 or fewer people while permitting casinos and restaurants to open at 50 percent capacity; in some of the larger casinos this means allowing hundreds of people to gather at one time. According to these government mandates, church gatherings must abide by restrictions while secular businesses can serve many guests. Clearly, these decisions violate the religious freedom of worshippers.

Freedom of speech is a cherished principle that must include even unpopular views and opinions. If protestors are permitted to chant, “I can’t breathe,” churchgoers should be allowed to sing, “Amazing Grace.” Protestors should be free to peaceably exercise their First Amendment rights of free speech and assembly and churchgoers should be treated no differently.  

Any worshipper will readily admit that church in recent weeks has felt a little different. Church members do not wish to break the law or endanger anyone. They simply wish to worship together. Some outside the church may marvel or be confused about why Christians are so adamant about meeting for corporate worship. The reason is that for followers of Christ, gathering for worship is not a preference, but a command that Christians must obey. The writer of Hebrews says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing.” Though the church is commanded to gather together, government restrictions in many places continue to prevent this from happening. So long as government restrictions are applied equally to all sectors of society, these orders should be followed. After all, Romans 13 teaches that government has been ordained by God. However, it is clear now that the government’s orders are not being applied equally as protestors have been permitted to voice their grievances and stage large gatherings without CDC health guidelines being enforced. Let us meet in the middle: allow protesters to voice their opinion while at the same time permitting church goers to worship together in person.

Finally, churches who dare to open are bending over backwards to abide by and even exceed government guidelines. Pastors are commissioned by God to care for those in their church. State governors should be assured that pastors will take care of their members just as well as a restaurant owner will take care of their guests. To help pastors care for their churches, FRC released a resource titled “Guidelines for Reopening Your Church.” If we are going to protect the right to freedom of speech for protestors, let us safeguard the freedom of religion for those who want to gather for public worship. Only when both free speech and freedom of religion are protected for all will we have a functioning and whole society.

Laura Lee Caum is a Communications intern at Family Research Council.

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What Does It Mean to Be a Woman?

by Molly Carman

June 10, 2020

As one of many young women who recently graduated college without much pomp and circumstance, I have been home pondering questions about my future and role in this unpredictable world. One of these questions is about the nature of womanhood. This question, and others related to it, led me to read Let Me Be Woman by Elizabeth Elliot, the wife of missionary Jim Elliot who was martyred in 1956.

Originally published in the 1970s, I believe her wisdom is still applicable today. The book is a compilation of Mrs. Elliot’s advice to her only daughter, Valeri, who was engaged and preparing for marriage. Woven throughout her writings are personal memories, stories, and biblical principles for modern women. She addresses many topics, including femininity, womanhood, and motherhood. Elliot ponders the delight of girlhood, discusses the loneliness and joys of singleness, the excitement of dating and engagement, and the sacredness of the marriage covenant.

I know I’m not alone when I say that being a woman who is both Christian and conservative in the 21st century can be challenging and at times exhausting. If I speak up boldly and lead, I risk coming across as a mainstream feminist or anti-men. But if I hold back passively, I am perceived as oppressed and brainwashed by the patriarchy. So, what is a girl supposed to do?

Elizabeth Elliot presents what it means to be a woman who is passionate and strong for the Lord but likewise meek and gentle in her femininity. The purpose of her writing is not to consider what it means to be independent or someone’s girlfriend, fiancé, or wife, but what it means to be a woman. Although these are important subjects to consider in their own right, Elliot recognized that if women do not understand what it means to be a woman and the way that God has specifically created us, we will not do any role we find ourselves in well.

Therefore, I chose to read this book because more than anything, I want to be a God honoring woman, and this begins by understanding God’s unique design and purpose for women. As much as I desire to be a wife and mother one day, becoming a wife or mother is not what makes me a woman. Amid the numerous convictions, encouragement, and insights I gleaned from Elliot, there are three pieces of wisdom that I would like to share. I believe they represent timeless principles for all women but are especially relevant today.

First, Elliot reviews the creation story that explains how God created the first man and woman. After creating Adam, God, in His wisdom, sees that it was not good that man should be alone and created Eve. It is important to note: Woman was created from man for man. Not for his whims, wishes, or wants; but as a helper. When women are who they are called to be as a helper, men can be who they are called to be as leaders. In the same way when men are strong leaders, women will want to follow.

This leads to the second insight from Elliot when she addresses masculinity and femininity, topics that are often misunderstood. She quotes Gertrude Behanna who says, “Men are men. They are not women. Women are women. They are not men.” For the modern-day woman, I believe it is far too easy to forget this “simple truth” as Elliot puts it, that men and women are not the same. When we come to admire the differences rather than resent them, we not only grow in appreciation for one another, but in gratitude for God’s good design. Later Elliot says, “What a real woman wants is a real man. What a real man wants is a real woman. It is masculinity that appeals to a woman. It is femininity that appeals to a man. The more womanly you are, the more manly [men] will want to be.”

Third, Elliot considers the pursuit of equality between men and women and the potential threats to male and female relations. Culture seeks to encourage the pursuit of equality as a virtue, but Elliot reminds her reader that equality is more that capability. She writes, “‘Equal Opportunity’ nearly always implies that women want to do what men do, not that men want to do what women do, which indicates that prestige is attached to men’s work but not to women’s… This is a hideous distortion of the truth, and an attempt to judge women by the criteria of men, to force them into an alien mold, to rob them of the very gifts that make them what they were meant to be.”

It is far too easy for women to blame men for all of the problems or disadvantages that women face. However, I believe that Elliot encourages her reader to remember that both men and women are equally responsible for the problems of the world and have a shared duty to work for a better one.

May Christian women seeking to honor God begin by loving, learning, and embracing who He created us to be, by honoring the virtues of beauty, grace, and meekness that are godly attributes of femininity, and may we never forget that we are not called to do everything that a man is called to do or capable of doing. Rather, we are called to be women who should not let the desire for power override our desire to honor God. I’m grateful to Elizabeth Elliot for these reminders, and pray that in this chaotic and confused world I remain a woman of God and not of the world.

Molly Carman is a Policy and Government Affairs Intern at Family Research Council whose research focuses on developing a biblical worldview on issues related to family and current events.

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D.C. Christians Take to the Streets… to Sing, Lament, and Pray

by Laura Grossberndt

June 9, 2020

Over the weekend, protests in dozens of American cities were held as people continue to mourn the life of George Floyd and others who have recently lost their lives. On Sunday afternoon, another demonstration took place in the nation’s capital. But unlike other protests which have garnered national attention in recent days, this event was distinctly Christian in both messaging and tone.

I had the opportunity to march alongside thousands of Christian brothers and sisters through the streets of Washington, D.C., pointing our friends and neighbors to the love, compassion, and grace found in Scripture, as well as testifying to God’s love and concern for justice.

Like many cities across America—and even the world—Washington has experienced a great deal of social turmoil over the past couple of weeks, ever since the release of video footage showing the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. This turmoil is magnified by D.C.’s status as the seat of the federal government. Protestors have been marching through neighborhoods and assembling at the White House and the Capitol on a daily basis.

Before Sunday, however, most responses had been organized by nonreligious activist groups with a wide range of agendas. By contrast, the leaders and organizers of Sunday’s faith-based event were pastors and lay members from evangelical churches in the D.C. area. The organizers explained in the event announcement that the focus of the gathering would be lamentation and crying out to God in prayer.

Attendees were instructed to wear red and white (to distinguish themselves from other demonstrators), wear masks, and keep social distance as much as possible. The organizers also stressed the event was to be peaceful and nonviolent. The march began from two different starting points in majority-black D.C. neighborhoods, then merged into one group shortly before reaching the Capitol.

As we marched, we sang hymns. And when we reached our destination, we prayed. Thousands of us walked down East Capitol Street in the direction of the Capitol building, singing songs like “In Christ Alone,” “This Little Light of Mine,” and “Amazing Grace.” People lounging on picnic blankets in parks or on lawn chairs in front yards turned to watch the peaceful, joyful, and lamenting procession go by.

Participants carried signs bearing messages like: “created in the image of God” and “love your neighbor.” Many signs directly quoted Bible verses, particularly Micah 6:8: “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

When the parade reached the Capitol Reflecting Pool, local pastors led those assembled in praying for the families mourning the loss of loved ones, for the governing authorities, and for the human dignity of black individuals to be respected—beginning from the womb and until death.

As the hour-long prayer session drew to a close, one pastor addressed any non-Christians in the crowd. He briefly shared the gospel, explaining if you do not know Christ as Savior, “you have an even bigger justice problem” than the problem of racial injustice. He encouraged anyone with questions about God or salvation to reach out to those around them. “As you are walking with us, you might find yourself walking in the light,” he explained.

Our nation is currently struggling to deal with the sobering realities of our fallen world. We live in a Genesis 3 world that is ravaged by the effects of sin (Romans 8:22). So often, people know no other way to respond to injustice and hatred than with more hate. But as Christians, we have an opportunity to show the “more excellent way” of love (1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13). We can start by coming alongside those within our own congregations who have been most directly affected by racial conflict: “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). After all, as Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “If one member suffers, all suffer together” (1 Corinthians 12:26). Elsewhere, he instructed the Romans, “weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15).

As we grapple with our country’s current civil unrest—in response to recent events and old hurts that date back to the sin of slavery—we can take positive, practical steps to love our neighbors (Mark 12:31). Sunday’s Christian prayer gathering in D.C., and similar events around the country, are just one example. But you don’t need to wait for an organized event to start praying—you can start right now (read some suggested topics to pray about here). In addition to praying, another step we can take to love our neighbors is being politically engaged. You can read more about political engagement and what it has to do with loving one’s neighbor in FRC’s helpful resource: Biblical Principles for Political Engagement.

Finally, we can love our neighbors by simply being quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry (James 1:19) and looking not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others (Philippians 2:4). As Christians, we believe that every person is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26) and possesses inherent value and dignity. Any devaluation of a particular people group should concern us. Although we live in a world torn apart by sin, we believe that the power of the gospel can make real and lasting change: starting first in the hearts of individuals and moving outward to our nation. As we move forward, we must remain committed to loving our neighbors, speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), and showing by our lives what it means to know and follow Jesus.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).

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FRC’s Top 7 Trending Items (Week of May 31)

by Family Research Council

June 5, 2020

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

1. Washington Update: “What We Need Is Hope”

In a nation as torn and hurting as ours, there are powerful moments breaking through the chaos to remind us: darkness will not have the last word.

2. Washington Update: “The Slow Burn of America”

Mob violence and police brutality spring from the same fountain: moral bankruptcy. The abuse of power, disregard for human life, and uncontrolled rage we’re witnessing in cities across our country, all flow from a society that is rapidly losing a sense of right and wrong.

3. Publication: Biblical Principles for Political Engagement: Worldview, Issues, and Voting

How should Christians think about voting and politics and what role do they play? Family Research Council provides biblical wisdom and clear answers to these pivotal questions.

4. Blog: “We Must Never Forget the Tiananmen Square Massacre”

For the past 30 years, crowds have gathered in Hong Kong on June 4th to mourn the infamous massacre of student demonstrators in Tiananmen Square. This year, no legal vigil was permitted, and many fear the Chinese government is silencing Hong Kong dissenters much like they did in 1989. 

5. Washington Watch: DOJ’s Eric Dreiband highlights his team’s work in the trenches restoring freedom in coronavirus

Eric Dreiband, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, joined Tony Perkins to discuss the DOJ’s involvement in states where religious freedom is in jeopardy.

6. Washington Watch: Ken Blackwell says the rule of law must win when the other choice is cultural chaos

Ken Blackwell, former mayor of Cincinnati and FRC’s Senior Fellow for Human Rights and Constitutional Governance, joined Tony Perkins to discuss the growing unrest across the country.

7. Washington Watch: Rev. Vincent Mathews, Jr. insists the church is essential to breaking down the barriers dividing us

Bishop Vincent Mathews Jr., World Missions President for Church of God in Christ, the largest African American Pentecostal denomination, joined Tony Perkins to discuss how to bring healing that is urgently needed for our nation.

For more from FRC, visit our website at frc.org, our blog at frcblog.org, our Facebook page, Twitter 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. Check out “The 7” at the end of every week to get our highlights of the week’s trending items. Have a great weekend!

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Prayerfully Responding to Civil Unrest

by David Closson

June 5, 2020

Here are some ways we can prayerfully respond to the current civil unrest in our nation:

Pray for the Peace of the Nation. Pray for God’s peace to prevail. Pray that people would have soft hearts toward one another—the way God’s heart is toward us. Pray that people would not succumb to fear, but trust God, and assume the best about those with whom we disagree. (See 1 Timothy 2:1-2)

Pray for Families Affected by Recent Events. Pray for the family of George Floyd and those whose loved ones have been harmed, injured, or killed during the unrest. (See Psalm 46:1)

Pray for Affected Communities. Pray for those who are no longer (or maybe never have been) safe in their communities. Pray that the loss of lives, homes, and businesses as the result of violence, vandalism, and looting would end. Pray that affected communities would find healing. (See Romans 12:9-21)

Pray for Government Leaders. Christians are called to pray for those in positions of authority—even those with whom we disagree (1 Timothy 2:1-2). This is especially true during times of confusion, pain, and difficulty. Pray for the president, vice president, other leaders in the federal government, governors, mayors, local leaders, and all those in positions of authority as they respond to current events. Pray for a spirit of cooperation as lawmakers work to address current issues. (See Psalm 2:10-11; Proverbs 11:14)

Pray for Law Enforcement. Pray for the safety of the police, the National Guard, and other law enforcement officers. Pray they would always act justly and uprightly, with the understanding that they are accountable to God, as they carry out their responsibilities. (See Matthew 5:9; Psalm 82:3-4)

Pray for the Church. Pray for unity within the body of Christ (John 17:20-23; Ephesians 4:3; Romans 12:5). Pray that pastors and congregations around the country would have wisdom and courage to respond with truth and love as they serve their communities and address current events—and as they seek to generate healing, cross bridges, and bring reconciliation. Pray that the Gospel would be proclaimed during these trying times.

Pray for Honest and Truthful Public Discourse. Pray that reporters and journalists would convey the news honestly and accurately. Pray that the news media would not stoke fear, inflame anger, or encourage reckless behavior. Pray that those on social media would bring grace and seek to be constructive and not incendiary. (See Proverbs 12:22)

Pray for God’s Guidance. Human wisdom alone cannot solve our current problems. We need God’s wisdom and guidance. Pray that everyone, especially the church, would humble themselves before God and allow ourselves to be shaped by Him. Pray that the church would avail itself of the power and grace only God can supply, in order to take the lead in effectively confronting and dealing with the sins, pains, and hurts of our past—including those of slavery and racism—so that we may truly repent and heal as a nation. (See Psalm 25:4-5; Proverbs 3:5-6)

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