Author archives: Hugh Phillips

Pastors Lead the Way in… Harming Life?

by Hugh Phillips

June 13, 2019

In the failed bid by the North Carolina House of Representatives to muster the 3/5ths majority necessary to override Democrat Governor Roy Cooper’s veto of the North Carolina Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, four pastors were the difference in the deciding vote. The failed veto override effort in North Carolina came up short because of their four votes.

This heartbreaking result shows us that we cannot be complacent in the fight for life. What made this vote even more heartbreaking was that four pastors rejected the biblical view of life’s sacredness and voted against a bill to require physicians to save the lives of infants born alive after a botched abortion. Thus, pastors were some of those who stood against the sanctity of life in North Carolina.

For example, take Pastor and state representative James D. Gailliard. Gailliard labels himself a “Whole Life Democrat” and claims to be against abortion. Yet, he voted against the born alive bill arguing that “current law is sufficient” to protect infants who have survived an abortion. However, a staff assessment by an attorney for the Senate Rules and Operations committee clearly shows that while infanticide is technically classified as murder under the law, the legislature has never taken a stand on born alive protections. NC S.B. 359 would have made clear that North Carolina does not tolerate infanticide in any form and would have given teeth to the law by creating an affirmative duty to protect these innocent and helpless infants. This should have been an easy decision for any representative, let alone pastor, who claims that they support life.

Gailliard, along with pastors Paul Lowe, Amos Quick, and Ray Russell, all voted against the born alive bill in North Carolina and have therefore rejected the Bible’s basic theological assumption, first introduced in Genesis 1:27 and historically held across every creed and denomination, that man is special because “God created man in his image, in the image of God He created them.” Pastors should be the first to preach and defend the sacredness of humanity. Yet, in rejecting this standard, these pastors are showing that their lives are governed more by the postmodern worldview and a fear of Planned Parenthood and the abortion lobby than by the word of God. These foundational secular assumptions held by such pastors put their congregations and constituents at risk because these pastors seem more likely to make decisions based on subjective morality and outside pressure rather than making objective ethical decisions based on the eternal moral law and God’s truth.

If a pastor cannot even agree to increase restrictions on an act as morally repugnant as infanticide, they are not worthy of holding any elected office in the State or position of trust within the church. This is such a basic tenet of human decency that all North Carolinians, regardless of party, should be appalled and outraged by the cowardly act of these pastors.

The flood of pro-life legislation passing in legislatures across America shows that Americans are demanding that the sanctity of human life be protected. As candidacies begin to be announced for the 2020 elections, voters should have one thing foremost in their minds: will this candidate fulfill the basic role of government and protect life? Republicans are feeling the swelling support of American opinion as they advance the pro-life cause through state legislation. Despite the deplorable attempts of Democrats, and even pastors, to stop the pro-life agenda, we will vote out those who oppose life and advance the pro-life cause to victory with the help of average North Carolinians and the citizens of every state!

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

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

by Hugh Phillips

May 31, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 Arguments Pro-Lifers Must Make in Standing for Life in 2019

by Hugh Phillips

February 19, 2019

Several weeks ago here in Washington D.C., I marched with tens of thousands of everyday Americans to protest Roe v. Wade and urge our representatives to stand for life. It was a wonderful thing to behold. Poll after poll shows that the pro-life movement is succeeding in winning the battle of ideas. Through scientific data and common sense, pro-lifers are convincing Americans that life begins at conception. Yet, as the pro-life movement has celebrated great victories in recent years and mobilized for the fight ahead, the battle for life continues to rage in courts and legislative chambers across the country.

The recent New York bill allowing abortion at any time during pregnancy and the subsequent comments by the Governor of Virginia on similar legislation in that state show that despite the advances of the pro-life cause, abortion will not be eliminated in America without a long political and cultural struggle. Even now, Vermont and Rhode Island are advancing horrendous legislation that would legalize abortion at any time during pregnancy for any reason. These recent bills show the logical outcome of the sexual revolution: the destruction of offspring and future generations in the name of pleasure and personal desire.

Pro-lifers must take a firm stand against this year’s wave of pro-abortion legislation. Yet, as we gasp at the evil of pro-abortion legislation, we must not give in to unbridled emotion but instead stand for life in a winsome and godly manner. Here are three things that pro-lifers must make clear in their arguments against 2019’s slew of pro-abortion bills:

1. The abortion debate is not about the freedom to choose but the right to life.

Pro-abortion advocates regularly argue that the abortion debate is about a woman’s “right to choose.” Yet, in arguing against pro-abortion bills, pro-lifers must be very clear that the abortion debate revolves, not around the “right to choose,” but around the dignity of human life in any form. Only then will pro-lifers effectively convince citizens and their legislators that outlawing abortion is not about depriving women of their rights, but about protecting the fundamental right to life of all Americans, born and unborn.

2. A society that does not protect life undermines its very existence.

This is a commonsense notion but is all too often overlooked by pro-lifers in arguing against abortion legislation. From ancient Rome to modern day America, a fundamental aspect that differentiated civilized society has been its protection of life, especially innocent and helpless life. This goes beyond debates about big versus small government and takes us to the most basic role of the civil authority—the protection of life. Pro-lifers must make the case that the abortion debate revolves around the very essence of what differentiates and protects American society from following in the footsteps of barbaric civilizations.

3. All persons have dignity and deserve respect, even those advocating for abortion.

Christians and pro-lifers should be justifiably furious at the passage of the evil New York abortion legislation or the recent barbaric comments regarding abortion made by the Governor of Virginia. Yet, in the heat of the fight, Christian pro-lifers must not forget that the power of our message rests in the truth that all men, even the Ralph Northam’s and Andrew Cuomo’s of this world, are made in the imago Dei, the very image of God. Thus, while being justly angry for the evil pro-abortion advocates commit, we must also stop to grieve for and have mercy on those so entrapped by the sexual revolution that they would advocate for the death of unborn babies. William Wilberforce, in his battle against slavery in eighteenth century Britain, is a perfect example of someone having this attitude. Our goal must be not to just defeat abortion, but to bring pro-abortion advocates and public figures to the glorious freedom of submitting to Christ as Savior.

The battle before us in the fight for life will be long, but it is one that we will win. The dignity and preciousness of every human life is a principle worth fighting for. May God grant us not only victory in defeating pro-abortion bills in 2019 and ultimately overturning Roe v. Wade, but also in bringing the glorious forgiveness and healing of the gospel to a society and culture that has been so horribly scarred by abortion.

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

3 Things to Remember About the Importance of Marriage This Valentine’s Day

by Hugh Phillips

February 14, 2019

Most people see Valentine’s Day as a fun opportunity to express their love to their spouse or significant other. Therefore, it’s a great time for Christian conservatives to take this opportunity to emphasize, through public policy and social activism, the critical importance and beauty of marriage, both to individuals and to our culture as a whole.

Marriage, designed by God to be between one man and one woman, reveals the beauty of God’s design for social order. FRC has consistently argued that marriage is critical to the maintenance of society and is the foundation of civilization. Yet too often, modern conservatives overlook the importance of marriage in the war for the soul of America. The following are three things Christian conservatives must make clear:

1. Marriage is a gift.

In a time when young Americans are putting off marriage, whether it be to find that perfect job or get one more degree, a sense of loneliness is drifting over American society. Against this background, Christian conservatives must remind society of the importance of marriage and the beauty of a life-long relationship to one person. In today’s anti-marriage and anti-commitment culture, Christian conservatives must argue that marriage is one of the most fulfilling and essential aspects of life. God’s design for marriage is such that having a spouse provides the necessary emotional and spiritual support that we all need every day.

2. Marriage is a responsibility.

In the modern day, many argue that marriage is not only old-fashioned, but unnecessarily restrictive of the freedoms of individuals. Christian conservatives must respond to this argument by showing that marriage is one of the healthiest and most necessary steps a young person must take to mature. A society that values marriage is happier and more productive. When discussing marriage, as with other issues like government, Christian conservatives must make clear that it is not unlimited freedom but ordered liberty that makes for happy, fulfilling lives.

3. Marriage is critical to the maintenance of society.

Only strong families can ensure a stable, healthy, and safe society, and families are only strong if marriages are strong. The many social problems America faces arguably have their root in the breakdown of marriages caused by the rise of the sexual revolution in the 1960’s. If social problems are to be eased, the value of marriage must be upheld in public policy and in the culture at large.

Social conservatives must not give way but instead defend the sanctity and importance of marriage. This can be done on the public policy level by, for example, eliminating the marriage penalty and reforming divorce laws to reflect the value of the marriage covenant. Even more importantly, Christian conservatives must defend and promote the sanctity of marriage in the broader culture. Only then will public policy victories on this issue increase as the nation realizes the importance of marriage to our society. Happy National Marriage Week, and Happy Valentine’s Day!

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

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