Category archives: Religion & Culture

The Dying Art of Gratitude

by Molly Carman

November 25, 2020

If I asked you to list some things you are grateful for in the year 2020, what would you say? In a trying year like this one, it can be far easier to list challenges, tragedies, complaints, disappointments, and frustrations. This Thanksgiving, it’s highly likely that the thing many people are most grateful for is a new year being on the horizon. However, as families gather this holiday season, I want to challenge everyone to look not only to the future but also to reflect upon the past. There is far more to be thankful for this year than we likely have taken the time to consider.

We cannot always control whether our circumstances get better or worse, but we can choose how we will respond. Scripture exhorts us to rejoice always (Philippians 4:4), learn the secret of being content (Philippians 4:12), and give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18). We do not know what tomorrow will bring, and a new year does not necessarily equal a better one. But we do know that God holds the future, and we are called to remember His praiseworthy deeds, thank Him for what He has done, and trust Him for what He will do.

The Thanksgiving holiday is historically a day to remember the pilgrims and the founding of America, and traditionally a day to gather with family and friends to count our blessings. But being thankful ought not to start and stop on Thanksgiving Day.

Unfortunately, gratitude is an increasingly dying art in our culture, and Thanksgiving has become a mere speed bump on the way to Christmas. Far too often, we focus on what we want rather than being thankful for all we have.

God does not waste anything—not even 2020. Sometimes, trials we face may seem wasted when we are not paying attention and learning from our experiences. Everything that we see, hear, and feel is used by God to teach us. “[B]ut we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).

Instead of despising 2020 or wishing it were over, we can seek the beauty in the ashes. Consider Corrie ten Boom and her sister Betsie’s response to their difficult circumstances while being held in Auschwitz, a Nazi concentration camp. These sisters walked through the valley of the shadow of death together; it is hard to imagine anything in Auschwitz worth being grateful for. However, Betsie constantly encouraged everyone in her bunker to be grateful. One day, Betsie said that she was grateful for the fleas that infested their mattresses. Yes, the fleas! The guards hated the fleas and would not enter the bunker. This meant they could worship together without intrusion, and that was worth being grateful for.

The year 2020 has been hard, but it is thankfully not Auschwitz. We have much more than fleas for which to be grateful this year. As you carve the turkey, decorate cookies, roast corn, sit by the fire, sing hymns, or whatever your Thanksgiving traditions might be—and even if you are lonely this Thanksgiving—remember that we need not be anxious for anything, for the Lord has and will continue to supply all our needs in Christ Jesus (Matthew 6:25).

I am grateful for how 2020 has taught me to be humble before the Lord, to surrender my plans to Him, to trust Him in all circumstances, and to run with endurance the race set before me—not because I know what the journey will hold, but because I have hope in the final outcome, which is God’s glory and my sanctification. Being grateful is challenging because it requires us to forsake selfishness, whining, and complaining and embrace contentment. If the art of gratitude were easy, we would not need to be commanded and encouraged to cultivate it. Saying we are thankful once a year on Thanksgiving will not resurrect the dying art of gratitude. Rather, we must endeavor to start and end each day with a grateful heart.

FRC’s Top 7 Trending Items (Week of November 15)

by Family Research Council

November 20, 2020

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

1. Update: Trump Team Looks at Cause and Elect

In courtrooms across the country, the Trump campaign fights on. Whether his efforts will be enough to save his presidency, no one knows. But could they save an election system bogged down by doubts and questions? That, in the long run, may be just as important.

2. Update: Radical ’Heroes Act’ Is a Leftist Wish-List

The Left has recently called for the passage of the Heroes Act—an act Democrats are labeling simply as coronavirus relief legislation. But, this $2-$3 trillion bill goes beyond being a relief package. The Heroes Act is serving as a trojan horse for progressive legislation that foolishly uses taxpayer dollars and undermines pro-life and pro-family values.

3. Blog: 4 Disturbing Trends in Religious Freedom Worldwide

A new report released by the Pew Research Center has found that there has been a 50 percent increase in government restrictions on religion across the globe between 2007 and 2018, the most recent year studied. Such a drastic number indicates that religious freedom is on a rapid downward spiral.

4. Blog: Nagorno-Karabakh Survivors: “My Home Is in Ruins. I Have Nothing Left”

Currently, there is a terrible war in Nagorno-Karabakh, a community of Christians residing in an historic Armenian enclave. Their homeland was invaded in late September by neighboring Azerbaijan, a majority Muslim country. This invasion broke a 1994 cease-fire between the two countries. But to make matters worse, in this latest attack, Turkey seems to have encouraged if not inspired the assault.

5. Washington WatchDr. Albert Mohler Previews Biden’s War on Christian Institutions in the Name of ‘Equality’

Dr. Albert Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, joined Tony Perkins to discuss the Human Rights Campaign demanding that a Biden administration deny accreditation to Christian colleges and schools.

6. Washington Watch: Senator Lindsey Graham Discusses the Big Tech Hearings in the U.S. Senate

Lindsey Graham, U.S. Senator from South Carolina and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, joined Tony Perkins to discuss the Big Tech hearings in the U.S. Senate.

7. Pray Vote Stand broadcast: A Time of Prayer

On this edition of Pray Vote Stand, Tony welcomed Eric Metaxas, Michele Bachmann, and Rep. Jody Hice to lead in a special time of prayer for our nation.

FRC’s Top 7 Trending Items (Week of November 8)

by Family Research Council

November 13, 2020

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

1. Update: Media’s Early Call: Dancing on the Stealing?

No one expected the media to play fair, but watching the networks declare Joe Biden the winner of a race that’s still unresolved in key states was not only difficult—but frustrating for fans of the democratic process. When all is said and done, Joe Biden may very well be the winner. But first we must make sure the rule of law was respected.

2. Update: The Presidential Election: A Work in Process

There are about 100,000 votes out of 150 million cast deciding states like Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Nevada. If this were Joe Biden, trailing by such a small margin, we would be dealing with the exact same scenario—except for one thing. The media, ever eager to delegitimize Trump, would never have called the election.

3. Blog: The Media Still Doesn’t Get It: Conservatives Tend to Vote Conservative

Four years after one of the most shocking presidential upsets in American history, and after another incredibly close election, the mainstream media still has not figured out why almost half of American voters filled in the oval for Donald Trump. The primary motivating factor is as plain as day: millions of Americans are conservative, and they voted for a president that has enacted conservative policies.

4. Blog: Legitimizing Looting Jeopardizes Liberty for All

The year 2020 will go down in history for a number of reasons, one of which will be the increase of protests, rioting, and looting following the tragic death of George Floyd. While some protestors have been authentically peaceful, others have resorted to destructive actions, which some argue “liberates societies from oppressive infrastructures.” Can that be right?

5. Washington WatchMatt Schlapp Highlights New Evidence of Voter Fraud

Are there legitimate claims of voter fraud? Matt Schlapp, president of American Conservative Union, joined Tony Perkins on Washington Watch to share what he saw on the ground in Nevada and the new evidence of fraud surfacing in Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

6. Washington Watch: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Discusses the World’s Reaction to America’s Election Drama

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo joined Tony Perkins on Washington Watch to discuss the Trump administration’s religious freedom agenda, the latest on China, and the world’s reaction to America’s election drama.

7. Pray Vote Stand broadcast: A Call to Prayer

On this edition of Pray Vote Stand, Tony welcomed Pastor Carter Conlon, Michele Bachmann, and Pastor Gary Hamrick to lead in a special time of prayer as we continue to pray for election transparency, honest public discussion, truth to prevail, and peace to reign throughout our nation.

Legitimizing Looting Jeopardizes Liberty for All

by Molly Carman

November 9, 2020

The year 2020 will go down in history for a number of reasons, including a divisive presidential election, a global pandemic, and high levels of unemployment. It will also be remembered for an increase in civil unrest—numerous American cities were the scene of protests, rioting, and looting following the tragic death of George Floyd on May 25. While some protestors have been authentically peaceful, others have resorted to destructive actions such as burning down buildings, vandalizing, and looting and damaging storefronts.

Vicky Osterweil’s book, In Defense of Looting: A Riotous History of Uncivil Action, was published in August—just three months after the unrest sparked by Floyd’s death began. Osterweil says looting liberates societies from oppressive infrastructures set up by white males—namely, capitalism and the police force—and believes looting is only illegal because it is effective.

Osterweil is wrong. Looting does not liberate society; it jeopardizes liberty.

The Subversion of the Law, Police, Capitalism, and MLK

Osterweil alleges that four aspects of America’s history and social structure have led to an oppressive and racist society. According to Osterweil, change will only occur when these structures are overturned—and one of the essential means of overturning them is looting.

The first aspect is slavery. Osterweil claims Abraham Lincoln did not free the slaves; rather, “The enslaved freed themselves. They did so with an act of mass looting and strike that shook the regime of white supremacist capitalism to its core: they stole themselves…” (p. 39). Osterweil argues that looting was made illegal precisely because African-Americans were the ones doing the looting. In other words, looting was outlawed to ensure white Americans stayed in power. The logical response to this is, what if African-Americans are the ones being looted? Osterweil makes no differentiation between looting minority-owned stores and white-owned stores. In any case, no matter what the ethnicity of the store owners is, the justification or legitimization of the act of looting is always wrong and is always immoral.

The second aspect is police. According to Osterweil, police officers are the new, government-authorized version of the Ku Klux Klan: “The forces doing that everyday work of repression, deferral, and destruction have tended to wear a blue cap or a white hood” (p. 73). Osterweil alleges police officers are not intended to promote justice, uphold the law, or maintain peace in our neighborhoods. Rather, they are intended to oppress minorities and enforce power. Later in the chapter on police, Osterweil makes this all-encompassing statement: “The slave catcher is thus embedded in the DNA of all modern police forces” (p. 82).

Osterweil is convinced that the police were organized and established to reproduce and continue colonialism, slavery, and racism. In other words, there are no real criminals, only those whom the police see as a threat to their regime. What Osterweil neglects to mention is that not all police officers are white males. In fact, 65 percent of police officers are white, which means that when you encounter a police officer, they are only 15 percent more likely to be white than a minority. No matter what ethnicity police officers are, the law is meaningless without enforcement, and without enforcement, communities—white and black—will be enslaved to anarchy and injustice.

The third aspect is capitalism. Osterweil claims that capitalism, like the police force, is only beneficial to the powerful and oppresses the poor and marginalized. Osterweil says that organization is good and “revolutionaries love organization” (p. 123), but capitalism steals the spotlight from rioters and looters by calling them chaotic. In short, Osterweil believes capitalism is too competitive for the poor and marginalized. “[A]s long as they [capitalists] measure their success by their ability to direct, to dictate, to marshal, and to focus, they will never be able to achieve the liberation they seek. They must allow the real movement [looting/rioting] to change them, or they can only live to see themselves become its enemy” (p. 148). However, according to the Hoover Institute, it is clear that over the last three decades, capitalism has not only made the rich richer but the poor as well. For example, the poverty level in the United States fell from 31 percent in the 1940s to only 2 percent by the 1980s. While these number have fluctuated over the years due to various external circumstances, the benefits and freedom of capitalism remain.

The fourth aspect is Americans’ common understanding of the civil rights movement. The chapter entitled “No Such Thing as Nonviolence” argues that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was only verbally against violence and looting. Osterweil says, “Rioting and looting were not the accidental offshoots of the Black Freedom movement, not some ‘opportunistic’ or ‘tragic’ consequence of the civil rights struggle. Instead, they formed a central part of the movement’s power and effectiveness…” (p. 152). Osterweil says violence (looting) is the answer to solve unresolved civil rights issues because it is the one thing that white patriarchal supremacists fear. Beyond the blatant absurdity of thinking that only “whites” fear looting, Dr. King’s words clearly and poetically articulate the moral principles of behaving honorably and peaceably: “Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.” Dr. King not only advocated nonviolence with his words but with his actions. All of the civil protests and demonstrations he led were nonviolent.

Are Emotions More Important than Moral Principles?

Osterweil asserts two conclusions in defense of looting. First, authority, boundaries, and order do not equal freedom or joy. “The experience of pleasure, joy, and freedom in the midst of a riot, an experience we almost never have in these city streets where we are exploited, controlled, and dominated, is a force that transforms rioters, sometimes forever: the experience of such freedom can be unforgettable” (p. 206). Second, Osterweil concludes that you cannot be a victim if you are not black or a minority group; being white equals having power. “White supremacist forces always play the victim to justify their ongoing anti-Black oppression” (p. 207).

Osterweil’s defense of looting is emotionally compelling. There have indeed been corrupt systems and institutions that have preyed on and marginalized the vulnerable. Slavery did exist in America and around the world, racism and segregation were prevalent in our nation, and there have been unjust uses of police force. But should we respond to past or present injustice by perpetrating more injustice?

Osterweil says that capitalism destroys opportunities for minorities and is systematically racist, but this book was only published thanks to capitalism. Unironically, Osterweil also suggests that white men are the oppressors of our nation and inherently universally racist; however, Osterweil identifies as a transgender woman, meaning Vicky—originally Willie—is a biologically white male.

The Christian response to In Defense of Looting should be nuanced but resolute. While it is true that we as a society must continue to denounce actual racism in all its forms and work towards rectifying injustice and pursuing racial reconciliation, we must never abandon biblical principles in order to appease agendas that are centered around identity politics and emotional appeals. Osterweil believes that looting “liberates” societies, and individuals deserve free money, free housing, and free education and should not be oppressed by order, boundaries, or authority. However, Christians must remember that boundaries and limitations are essential to maintaining freedom. Psalm 15:6 reminds us, “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” Scripture has clearly said that, “You shall not steal…you shall not covet your neighbor’s house…or anything that is your neighbors” (Exodus 20:15 and 17).

We are called to find contentment in the blessings that God has given us and not seek to steal or fixate on the blessings given to others. Liberty is not locked away to be looted; rather, it is maintained through responsibility, respect, and building relationships.

FRC’s Top 7 Trending Items (Week of November 1)

by Family Research Council

November 6, 2020

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

1. Update: Big Tech: ‘The Single Greatest Threat To Free Speech in America’

In the recent Senate hearing addressing Big Tech CEOs, it was clear that there is one thing both parties agree on, and that’s reining in Big Tech. They may have different motives, but Republicans and Democrats share a distrust of America’s social media moguls.

2. Update: In Philly, Coordinated Terrorism Becomes Reality

In Philadelphia, the city council’s $33 million in police cuts has proven to be an example of what not to do. The city of so-called Brotherly Love is now seeing the Left’s rally cry for what it truly is: dangerous to communities and deadly to the economy.

3. Blog: After Election Day Is Over, Christians Must Continue Engaging the Culture

No matter what the results of this election may bring, Christians cannot “check out” and take a vacation from political engagement. As Christians, we must have a long-term perspective. Our engagement in the public square does not start and stop based on election cycles.

4. Blog: Supreme Court Takes a Look at Religious Liberty for Adoption Providers in Fulton Case

Recently, the Supreme Court heard telephonic oral arguments in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, a case that concerns the right of religious foster care agencies to speak and act consistently with their sincerely held religious beliefs.

5. Washington WatchKen Blackwell says both sides have an interest in proving that this was a fair & honest process

Ken Blackwell, FRC’s Senior Fellow for Human Rights and Constitutional Governance and Chairman of the Board for the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, joined Tony Perkins to discuss what was happening in the battleground states.

6. Washington Watch: Franklin Graham insists that voting for a candidate means signing on to their party platform too

Franklin Graham, President of Samaritan’s Purse, joined Tony Perkins to discuss Samaritan Purse’s relief efforts in Louisiana, and his thoughts on an election offering two polar-opposite visions for America.

7. Pray Vote Stand broadcast: Prayer Call

On this edition of Pray Vote Stand, Tony welcomed Michele Bachmann and Jack Hibbs to a special time of prayer, to seek—above all—the Lord’s provision for our nation.

The Media Still Doesn’t Get It: Conservatives Tend to Vote Conservative

by Dan Hart

November 6, 2020

Four years after one of the most shocking presidential upsets in American history, and three days after another election that is too close to call, a vast swath of the mainstream media still has not figured out (or perhaps simply chooses not to acknowledge) why almost half of American voters filled in the oval for Donald Trump.

While it is certainly true that the motivations of Trump voters remain diverse, the primary motivating factor is as plain as day: millions of Americans are conservative, and they in fact voted for a president that has enacted conservative policies. This isn’t rocket science.

Two recent articles in The Atlantic particularly highlight how myopic, and even dangerously prone to vilification (as will be discussed later) so many mainstream media writers remain. In an otherwise insightful analysis of the state of our country, George Packer refers to Trump rallies as “red-drenched festivals of mass hate.” Hmmm. It seems that Mr. Packer has himself fallen prey to becoming, in his own words, an “influential journalist” who “continue[s] to fail to understand how most of their compatriots think, even as these experts spend ever more of their time talking with one another on Twitter and in TV studios.”

Does Mr. Packer really think that those thousands of people who attend Trump rallies are full of “hate”? Or could it be that they simply appreciate Trump for his public policy accomplishments that have helped keep blue collar jobs in America and unemployment low by deregulating the economy, supported the family and religious liberty, respected the value of the unborn, etc.?

Then there is “A Large Portion of the Electorate Chose the Sociopath” by Tom Nichols. Over and over again, without citing any actual proof, Mr. Nichols and many others on the Left continue to carry on the narrative that a massive swath of Trump voters are driven primarily by racism. Mr. Nichols makes this stunningly nauseating assertion: “The politics of cultural resentment, the obsessions of white anxiety, are so intense that his voters are determined not only to preserve minority rule but to leave a dangerous sociopath in the Oval Office.”

Is it possible that intelligent intellectuals like Mr. Nichols, who holds a Ph.D. from Georgetown, actually believe in their heart of hearts, that racism, not policy, is what is driving Trump voters? Again, without citing any actual evidence, he asserts that “far too many of Trump’s voters don’t care about policy.” Once more, Mr. Nichols has apparently not bothered to notice the policies that President Trump has put in place, policies that reflect the goals of the Republican Party platform on protecting the unborn, preserving religious liberty, advocating for school choice, promoting free enterprise and job growth through deregulation, appointing originalist judges, etc.

Millions of American voters also saw through the false façade that Biden is somehow a “political centrist,” as Mr. Nichols described him. How does a “centrist” run on “the most progressive platform of any Democratic nominee in the modern history of the party”? That’s a quote from a Democratic operative in The Atlanticthe very publication that Mr. Nichols is writing for. How does a centrist have a vice presidential nominee that is, according to the left-leaning Newsweekmore liberal than Bernie Sanders, and who openly advocates for public policy that enforces equality of outcome?

But beyond the patent dishonesty of this kind of writing, something much more dangerous is occurring here. The Atlantic is continuing to publish opinion pieces that grossly and disturbingly mischaracterize and demean the motivations behind Trump voters, which will only further demonize conservatives in the minds of liberals, further contributing to the breakdown in mutual respect and assumption of good faith that is critical for a functioning democracy.

Having said that, all of us, whether conservative or liberal, have a lot of work to do in order to assume that most of our fellow compatriots hold their political views in good faith—because they honestly think they are what is best for our country.

The mainstream media, though, which has so much power to shape prevailing patterns of thought, has a particularly important responsibility to do better in this area. If George Packer, Tom Nichols, and the vast majority of their mainstream media colleagues did some actual research into the true motivations of most Trump voters, they just might discover that they are actually pretty ordinary: decent, hardworking people who simply want to preserve America as a free republic.

FRC’s Top 7 Trending Items (Week of October 25)

by Family Research Council

October 30, 2020

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

1. Blog: Judging Amy: The Left’s Proclivity for Believing and Empowering Women Is Limited To Their Own

Believe women.” The slogan, born out of the #MeToo movement, was a common refrain during the Senate Judiciary hearings in September 2018. But, during the confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett the Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary—as well as members of the media—refused to take the judge at her word.

2. Blog: Nagorno-Karabakh: Where Armenian Christians Are Fighting for Their Lives

On October 1, 2020, a violent and dangerous war erupted in a tiny Christian enclave—a spot on the globe few Americans can probably find: Nagorno-Karabakh. In his pursuit to further Islamize the region, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has financed Syrian jihadi mercenaries—reportedly thousands of them—to increase attacks on this Armenian territory.

3. FREE Voter Guide: Text your zip code to 53445 for your FREE Voter Guide

Wouldn’t you like to know if someone on your ballot supports partial-birth abortion BEFORE you vote? What about a candidate that supports restricting gun rights or is endorsed by Bernie Sanders? FRC Action has the quickest voter education tool ever created. Simply Text your zip code to 53445 right now and you’ll get FRC Action’s FREE voter guide for the candidates on your ballot.

4. Washington WatchKen Blackwell argues most rioters in Philly weren’t seeking justice, they were seeking new Nikes

Ken Blackwell, FRC’s Senior Fellow for Human Rights and Constitutional Governance, joined Tony Perkins to discuss the riots in Philadelphia.

5. Washington WatchAndrew Bostom says that ‘absolutely’ the media is stoking virus panic for political purposes

Dr. Andrew Bostom, Associate Professor of Family Medicine at Brown University, joined Tony Perkins to share how the media has politicized COVID-19.

6. Washington Watch: James Lee agrees major polling houses are skewing the results to suppress the GOP vote

James Lee, CEO and Founder of Susquehanna Polling & Research, Inc, joined Tony Perkins to discuss how the media polls may be overstating Democratic strength in order to dampen Republican turnout.

7. Pray Vote Stand broadcast: Time to Choose

On this edition of Pray Vote Stand, Tony welcomed David Benham, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. James Lankford, and Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William G. Boykin to discuss how we, by the Lord’s strength, can help our nation.

After Election Day Is Over, Christians Must Continue Engaging the Culture

by Claire Gatzke

October 29, 2020

As political campaigns get more combative and election seasons last longer, election fatigue can come early for many people. With election day now less than a week away, I’m sure many Americans are thrilled that another presidential election cycle will have come and gone so that they can check out for a couple of years before the next one starts up.

While I am empathetic to this sentiment, this is not the right mindset for Christians to have. No matter what happens on November 3 (or whenever the results of this election are called), Christians cannot “check out” and take a vacation from political engagement.

As Christians, we must have a long-term perspective. Our engagement in the public square does not start and stop based on election cycles. Since our political engagement is based on God’s commandments and biblical imperatives, we must keep following these commands and imperatives even when an election is not fast-approaching. How are Christians to continue to engage when there is no voting opportunity any time soon?

For one, Christians must continue to pray for elected officials and government leaders. Obviously, we should pray that leaders that fear God and govern according to biblical principles are put in positions of authority. However, once the election has happened, we should be praying for whoever ends up in positions of power, whether they are God-fearers or not. In 1 Timothy 2:1-2, Paul “urges that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”

As soon as the election is over, Christians must diligently and continually pray for our elected officials, whether we ourselves voted for them or not. No matter who is elected, we must pray that God would speak to them, that they would surrender to God, and that they would govern justly. We must pray this not only for our own benefit so that we can live peaceful lives as Paul said, but we must do so out of our desire for justice and out of love for our neighbor, knowing that God’s way is the best and most conducive way for all humans to flourish.

Not only must we be diligent in our prayers for government leaders, Christians also must be committed to talking about political issues with their family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. The novelty of voting is that everyone gets to do it (if they’re eligible). However, voting won’t help our culture flourish if people are voting contrary to biblical principles and values. The only way to really sway the political and cultural environment is by changing people’s minds so that when they vote, they vote biblically.

For example, even if Trump is elected and the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, decisions on the legality of abortion will be left up to each individual state. The only difference is that abortion will not be legalized at the federal level; it could still very well be legal in many states.

We are absolutely obligated to restrain evil by voting; however, this is not sufficient. To successfully stop abortion and other evils, Christians must engage with individuals in their spheres of influence conversationally to change hearts and minds. If public opinion on abortion is swayed, then people will not elect officials at the local, state, or federal level who advocate for the moral acceptability of abortion. Also, a cultural shift toward valuing unborn life will have a positive impact on women with unplanned pregnancies to move away from seeing abortion as their only option, which will in turn lead to fewer women seeking underground abortions should abortion be made illegal.

No matter who wins this election, there is still a lot of work to be done in redeeming the culture and influencing the public square. People’s eternal destiny, as well as the soul of our nation, are at stake. As we continue our engagement post-election, we must keep an eternal perspective. Every political loss and win is temporary because this earth is “passing away” (1 John 2:17). While we must engage passionately, we cannot put our hope or faith in any political candidate or party, only in Christ our Savior and King. Regardless of who is in the White House and whether that person is friendly or hostile to orthodox Christianity, Christians have orders from God and must be faithful to Him alone; we cannot disengage, give up, or get comfortable.

FRC’s Top 7 Trending Items (Week of October 18)

by Family Research Council

October 23, 2020

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

1. Blog: A Christian Girl’s Response To a Christian Guy’s Struggle With Pornography

Studies continue to find that well over 70 percent of young men these days view pornography on a weekly basis. Porn teaches men that women are less than human and provides a false sense of intimacy. As Christians, we must honestly address the harm porn causes while also striving to understand this struggle and seek how to helpfully respond.

2. Blog: Christian Voting Myth #4: “I’m Not in the Majority Where I Live, So Why Bother?”

Do the majority of Americans actually decide who wins elections? In part 4 of our 4-part series dedicated to debunking common Christian voting myths, we unpack the myth: “I’m Not in the Majority Where I Live, So Why Bother?”

3. FREE Voter Guide: Text your zip code to 53445 for your FREE Voter Guide

Wouldn’t you like to know if someone on your ballot supports partial-birth abortion BEFORE you vote? What about a candidate that supports restricting gun rights or is endorsed by Bernie Sanders? FRC Action has the quickest voter education tool ever created. Simply Text your zip code to 53445 right now and you’ll get FRC Action’s FREE voter guide for the candidates on your ballot.

4. Washington Watch: Sen. Roy Blunt believes Barrett’s hearing helped highlight the sharp contrast between the parties

Roy Blunt, U.S. Senator from Missouri, joined Tony Perkins to discuss the fourth day of the Amy Coney Barrett confirmation hearings.

5. Washington WatchAndy McCarthy insists there’s a lot more to the Hunter Biden cover-up that includes China & Russia

Andy McCarthy, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and Senior Fellow at the National Review Institute, joined Tony Perkins to discuss the significance of the Hunter Biden emails.

6. Washington Watch: Luke Rosiak exposes the shocking realities of what public schools are teaching in his new report

Luke Rosiak, investigative reporter for WhatAreTheyLearning.com, joined Tony Perkins to discuss what his investigative reporting has uncovered about what children are learning in public schools.

7. Pray Vote Stand broadcast: Gender Reassignment

On this edition of Pray Vote Stand, Tony welcomed Pastor Amado Huizar, journalist Abigail Shrier, Dr. Michelle Cretella and Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) to discuss whether minors have the capacity to make life-altering decisions to change their gender.

 

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

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

Judging Amy: The Left’s Proclivity for Believing and Empowering Women Is Limited To Their Own

by Laura Grossberndt

October 20, 2020

Believe women.”

The slogan, born out of the #MeToo movement, was a common refrain during the Senate Judiciary hearings in September 2018 leading up to Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court of the United States. Some even inserted an “all” to make it “Believe all women.” Essentially, the message of “Believe women” was to forsake bias and take women at their word.

During the confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett last week, the “Believe women” refrain was absent. Maybe it shouldn’t have been. Not because any women were accusing the nominee of sexual misconduct (there are no such allegations against Barrett) but because time and again, the Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary—as well as members of the media—refused to take the judge at her word.

Not only did they often refuse to believe Barrett, but numerous journalists and political pundits also violated a list of rules for reporting on female candidates for public office that a coalition of powerful, progressive women had sent to the news media ahead of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s announcement of his vice-presidential running mate. The list of sexist pitfalls to avoid included:

  • Reporting on a woman’s ambition
  • Reporting on a woman’s likability
  • Reporting on a woman’s appearance or tone of voice
  • Reporting on doubts about a woman’s qualifications, despite her being equally or more qualified than her male peers

Each of the rules listed above were broken during the Barrett confirmation process. This not only reveals inconsistencies between the way the media chooses to report about men and women, but it also reveals inconsistencies between the way the ideological Left insists women ought to be treated and how some of their own number treat more moderate and conservative-minded women. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, tweeted in support of Barrett, alleging that the left “doesn’t like women that have their own mind” and said that Barrett is attacked and denigrated because she does not fit their idea of a “perfect woman.”

Here are five ways the ideological Left’s handling of the Barrett hearings exposes their hypocritical inclination to believe and empower only certain women—those who conform to their ideology.

#1: By Not Taking Her at Her Word

At confirmation hearings, the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee question judicial nominees under oath. This is so the Senate can better fulfill its constitutional “advice and consent” role.

Confirmation hearings are meant to entail thorough questioning. But Judiciary Democrats seemed determined to disbelieve Judge Barrett from the start. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) implied that Barrett was dishonestly concealing her personal pro-life beliefs by not including two pro-life petitions that she had signed as a member of her church in her initial 1,800-page disclosure (she included these in her supplemental disclosures, which are common to have). Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) doubted whether anyone could ascertain Barrett’s intentions from her sworn statements at the hearings, saying “the only way for the American people to figure out how you might rule is to follow your record and follow the tracks.” Committee members repeatedly asked Barrett if she had any understandings or made any deals with the president, such as voting to end the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or overturn Roe v. Wade. Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) implied Barrett might act as a pawn of the president when she asked whether the judge’s piece commenting on the ACA was a signal for Trump to pick her. Each of the numerous times these doubts were raised, Barrett stressed her judicial independence, personal integrity, and commitment to the rule of law:

I have not made any commitments or deals or anything like that. I’m not here on a mission to destroy the Affordable Care Act. I’m just here to apply the law and adhere to the rule of law.

And again:

I have no mission and no agenda. Judges don’t have campaign promises.

Regarding her integrity as a judge:

I certainly hope that all members of the committee have more confidence in my integrity than to think that I would allow myself to be used as a pawn to decide the election for the American people.

And:

I do assure you of my integrity.

Those who know Judge Barrett best professionally describe her as someone deserving of being taken at her word. Patricia O’Hara, professor emerita at Notre Dame Law School, introduced Barrett at the confirmation hearings, describing her as “fair and impartial.” On the final day of hearings, Laura Wolk, a former student of Barrett’s at Notre Dame and the first blind female Supreme Court clerk, testified on her mentor’s behalf, hailing her as eminently trustworthy: “She is a woman of her word. She means what she says, and she says what she means. When she promised to advocate for me, she commanded my trust.”

During Barrett’s hearings, it was clear that Judiciary Democrats either doubted the judge’s veracity under oath or simply didn’t want to believe her.

#2: By Implying She Doesn’t Have Her Own Mind

Opponents to Judge Barrett’s nomination have had the audacity to imply that she wouldn’t be making her own decisions on the bench. They seem to imagine her functioning as a sort of pawn or proxy “doing the bidding” of a man calling the shots (pick one: the president, her husband, her late mentor Antonin Scalia, the Pope). Insinuations of this nature are highly insulting, as they willfully ignore Barrett’s stellar qualifications as a judge, misunderstand her faith, and disbelieve her own statements under oath that she is intellectually independent and not beholden to anyone or anything but the Constitution. So much for “believing women.”

During day three of the confirmation hearings, Barrett acknowledged that she shares Justice’s Scalia’s judicial philosophy of originalism and textualism. However, she had to clarify multiple times that she should not be mistaken for a carbon copy of Scalia who would always rule in the same manner that he did. As she told Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) (emphasis added):

I do share Justice Scalia’s approach to text, originalism and textualism. But in the litany of cases that you’ve just identified, the particular votes that he cast are a different question of whether I would agree with the way that he applied those principles in particular cases. And I’ve already said, and I hope that you aren’t suggesting that I don’t have my own mind or that I couldn’t think independently or that I would just decide “let me see what Justice Scalia has said about this in the past,” because I assure you I have my own mind. But everything that he said is not necessarily what I would agree with or what I would do if I were Justice Barrett. That was Justice Scalia. So, I share his philosophy, but I have never said that I would always reach the same outcome as he did.

Barrett intelligently responded to Judiciary Committee questioning for hours over the course of two days with absolutely no notes in front of her, an impressive feat that few people could match. Those doubting her knowledge, independence, and competence embarrass themselves.

#3: By Objecting To Her Career Success and Aspirations as “Ambition”

The Washington Post ran a story that described Judge Barrett as “unleashing her ambition,” while Slate disparaged her as “a shameless, cynical careerist who believes nobody can stop her.” The article continued, “what’s wrong with Barrett isn’t that she’s too pious, or that she’s submissive in her personal life. It’s that she’s bent on making herself one of the nine most powerful judges in the country.”

It’s hard to imagine such statements being made about a male nominee or a female nominee whose judicial philosophy and policy positions more closely align with the Left. Indeed, the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been lauded for her “trailblazing career” and breaking the glass ceiling. It begs the question: why would it be wrong for any woman, especially one as qualified as Barrett, to aspire to sit on the Supreme Court? Furthermore, it’s unclear how Barrett fits the description of “ambitious” besides being so good at her job that someone else noticed and nominated her for the Supreme Court.

Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a member of the Judiciary Committee and a military veteran, tweeted in response to the Slate article:

This is the kind of sexist garbage women have been dealing with for far too long. Women can be anything we want to be: a farmer, a military officer, a Senator, and yes even a Supreme Court Justice.

#4: By Judging Her by Her Appearance (to a degree that wouldn’t be done to her male peers)

The clothes Barrett wore to her confirmation hearings were neat, professional, and stylish. They looked an awful lot like the clothes countless other professional women on Capitol Hill wear. A male nominee comparatively well-dressed would not have garnered the reactions Barrett’s choice of clothing elicited. And women the Left loves—like Michelle Obama—are praised for their fashion sense. But even something as innocuous as clothes was seized upon by Barrett’s critics as an opportunity to disparage her.

The Daily Beast published an entire article centered on the dress Judge Barrett wore on day one of the confirmation hearings (and no, it wasn’t about where to buy it or “how to copy her look”). The author interpreted Barrett’s choice of clothing as a calculated distraction, saying her dress “projected capability and congeniality” while she did “the bidding” of the president. Here we have a sexist one-two punch of hyper-focusing on a woman’s clothing choice and portraying her as a mindless sycophant, despite abundant evidence to the contrary.

Barrett’s critics have embraced the demeaning caricature of her as a subservient “handmaiden” à la The Handmaid’s Tale. Former congresswoman Katie Hill thought she saw evidence of this false caricature represented in Barrett’s clothing, tweeting on day three of the hearings: “I hate to be someone who judges women on their clothes but I’m sorry ACB’s outfits are all way too handmaids-y.” Hill later deleted the tweet after negative response. Senator Ernst once again tweeted in Barrett’s defense:

The liberal left is attacking Judge Barrett in this way because they can’t attack her on her qualifications or character. No woman should have to deal with this kind of blatant sexism.

#5: By Questioning Her Ability To Parent and Do Her Job

Some on the ideological Left questioned whether Judge Barrett could handle being “a loving, present mom” and a Supreme Court justice. It’s highly doubtful that anyone has ever questioned a male Supreme Court nominee’s ability to be a loving, present father. If a more progressively-minded judge were being nominated for the Court, would the media express comparable concern for her school-aged children? It’s hard to say since Barrett is the first such mother of school-aged children to be nominated.

Slate described Barrett’s inspirational story as “a trap” to trick women into thinking that they “can have it all” and don’t need abortion in order to succeed. On the contrary, more women need to be shown that they shouldn’t have to abort their children in order to have a fulfilling life or career. Barrett might seem like a unicorn for now, but only because she’s blazing a path for other women to follow.

A True Role Model

Justice Ginsburg recalled being asked when she thought there would be enough women on the Supreme Court. Her reply? “When there are nine … There’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that.” This famous quote by Ginsburg has been hailed by her admirers and many on the ideological Left. Yet, when a conservative woman is nominated to the Court, it is clear that they would prefer a male judge who shares their ideology than a conservative female judge who has sworn that she will interpret the law rather than legislate from the bench.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett is highly qualified to sit on the Supreme Court. Instead of the inconsequential—and, at times, sexist—things her critics have harped on, consider this list of accomplishments and accolades. In other words, things that truly matter:

  • First in her class at Notre Dame Law School, where she was executive editor of the Notre Dame Law Review 
  • Clerked for Judge Laurence H. Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Worked as an associate at Miller, Cassidy, Larroca & Lewin and then at Baker Botts in Washington, D.C.
  • Former visiting associate professor and John M. Olin Fellow in Law at the George Washington University Law School
  • Former visiting associate professor of law at the University of Virginia
  • Professor of law at Notre Dame Law School
  • Member of the American Law Institute (ALI)
  • Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • Endorsed by all of her fellow Notre Dame law professors in 2017
  • Endorsed by all of her fellow 1998 Supreme Court clerks in 2017
  • Rated by the American Bar Association as “well qualified” to serve on the Supreme Court

Patricia O’Hara of Notre Dame Law School summed up Barrett as a judge thus: “In her three years as a judge on the Seventh Circuit, her opinions have been characterized by the same quality as her scholarship — intellectual rigor, painstaking analysis, clarity of legal reasoning and writing. Accompanied by her deep commitment as a jurist to apply the law to the facts before her.”

Throughout her life and career, Barrett has exemplified what we should want in a Supreme Court nominee. What would this confirmation process have been like if everyone had spent less time analyzing her wardrobe and more time looking at her qualifications and taking her at her word? I guess we’ll never know.

Ideological progressives and the media talk a big talk of “believing women” and empowering them. But their treatment of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett in recent days signals to more moderate and conservative-minded women that progressives only believe and empower certain women who fit their preferred mold, to the exclusion of others.

However, to the thousands of women who don’t fit this preferred mold, Judge Barrett truly is a role model.

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