FRC Blog

Christians and Public Life: Politics, Culture, and Bearing the Light of the Gospel

by Rob Schwarzwalder

June 23, 2016

Since our first parents fell from a pristine garden head-long into the morass of sin so long ago, the inability of their heirs to extricate themselves from the moral swamp that is our nature has been the salient characteristic of human history.

Yet redeemed in Christ, His followers are called by Him to live in a manner worthy of His Name, of His character and His commission. Among the ways we’re called to do so:

  • Demonstrating in our own lives that His way is good, and that those who know and follow Jesus have found grace and truth;
  • Defending the weak, healing the broken, welcoming those fractured by the dissolution of their families, and upholding our God-given right and mandate to live-out, without repression, the implications of our faith in His Son;
  • Proclaiming that His standards are here for both individual and social well-being, and that when followed, we gain “a culture in which human life is valued, families flourish, and religious liberty thrives.”
  • Affirming that His self-revelation in creation, our consciences, and our reason is sufficiently clear for us all, Christians and non-, to understand what’s morally right and wrong for us personally, in families, in civic life, and in the professions;
  • Creating and celebrating “the good, the true, and the beautiful” such that all aspects of our lives reflect the loveliness of our Creator; and
  • Sharing the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins, rose from the grave, and is Lord of all, and that He offers new and eternal life to all who will trust in Him alone for forgiveness.

To the second bullet, no one is weaker than an unborn child, and no one more vulnerable to predation than her mother at a time of crisis. No one is broken like the person who has departed from God’s plan for human sexuality. No one is needier than a child needing a father or a woman deserted by her husband. And no one can fully realize the nature of his humanity, that of being an image-bearer of God, without the freedom not only to worship Him privately but also to obey Him publically.

Yet we know that complete victory is impossible: As long as sin remains man’s inherent lot, God’s Kingdom, something Jesus warned us is “not of this world” (John 18:36), can never be built on earth. If we say we can usher-in Revelation’s promised “new earth” (Revelation 21:1) without Jesus, we would do well to reflect on a place called Babel.

On the other hand, if all we want is a place of political ease, one in which cultural comfort is the norm, we follow a false god. While the broad affirmation of Judeo-Christian values is, in any culture, welcome, it is insufficient. Social serenity in a world whose prince is darkness itself should never be the disciple’s chief end. We deceive ourselves if we think that those who disagree with us will just slink away if Christian values become more well-received in our culture and reflected more closely in our laws.

What, then, do Christians want? We cannot achieve comprehensive transformation. We are obligated to do justice and stand for righteousness. We will never be without opposition, at least if we’re living as God wants. And as the foundations of American cultural and political life crumble, that opposition will become increasingly savage and uncompromising.

We need to seek to do good to all men, in matters private and public. We need to take into our homes the abused and discarded. We need to advance legislation that affirms human dignity, opportunity, and hope. Private acts, public law. Both.

We need to be obedient to God. This means being winsome and gracious, bold and truthful. These qualities are not mutually exclusive, especially since Jesus embodied them (Matthew 21:12, Mark 10:13-16, John 1:14).

Toward some, we must be respectfully but firmly confrontational (Proverbs 28:1). Toward others, we must be gentle and aim to persuade (Proverbs 15:1). In doing both, depending on the people involved and the needs of the moment, we uphold the truth and proclaim grace.

Truth without grace is only severity. Grace without truth is mere sentiment.

Some argue that if only Evangelical believers were “nicer,” society would be less disposed to stereotype and dislike us. There is never any justification for being obnoxious or dehumanizing others. Yet however warm we are in the presentation of truth, there will be those who hate us; Jesus promised this (John 15:8). Christians are to be patient and persuasive, but we do well to remember that the most gracious Man Who ever lived was nailed to a cross. It’s not all about grace or all about truth. Both/and, now and forever.

We also need to focus on the things that matter most to God in the moment in which we live. Here in the United States, what are those things? I submit that the most salient issues are the destruction of 2,700 unborn children daily and the victimization of their mothers; the hydra of radical sexual autonomy as the highest good; the pending abolition of the family as grounded in one man and one woman in covenantal union, for life; and the pre-governmental duty of man to God and the consequent necessity of the state to safeguard our ability to live-out this duty as individuals conceive it (as long as such a conception does no violence to others).

This is not to suggest that a number of other issues, whether related to race, economic injustice, crime, and so forth are not important.

Yet nothing is more final than death, and death’s most cherished handmaiden in our time is unrestricted access to abortion on demand.

Nothing is more beautiful than sexual expression as intended by the One Who designed it, and nothing more debasing than sexual expression that deviates from that design.

Nothing is more foundational to human well-being and societal flourishing than the family, and as the family as we have known it starts fading like Alice’s Cheshire cat, children suffer and adults are wounded.

Nothing is more fundamental to our very beings than the fact that we bear the image and likeness of God. Thus, when Christians’ capacity to relate to Him as we believe He desires is curtailed by the state, the fullness of what it means to bear that image is diminished.

Prudence in judgment and persuasion in appeal must be the guardians of our witness. Principled compromise is sometimes achievable. As we exercise sound political and cultural judgment and seek to convince our fellow citizens of the goodness of our agenda, we can do much good and dissuade at least some of our countrymen from courses that will only hurt them and all of us.

However, some compromises are inherently unprincipled and must never be made. Whether that relegates believers to minority status or not is immaterial. We serve an eternal King, not temporal cultural approval.

Whatever the outcome of our endeavors, American Christians engaged in the public life of our nation (and to one degree or another, that should be all of us) must imitate their Savior in character and wisdom, courage and faithfulness, now and until He returns, regardless of political outcomes.

This is why we serve and contend as we do, for by so doing we herald the Gospel to a sin-besotted world, whether overtly or more subtly. Jesus is Lord, is real, and is the one true Light Who offers forgiveness and everlasting hope to all men.

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The Message that Matters: Public Accommodation Laws, Race, and Same-Sex Marriage

by Adam Burton

June 20, 2016

What do Pfizer, Chipotle, and Bruce Springsteen have in common? Perhaps more than you might think, as Mark Rienzi, Senior Counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and Associate Professor of Law at Catholic University, pointed out recently at the “Protecting Religious Liberty“ conference at the CATO Institute. It turns out that each of those companies made decisions about business transactions based on their moral beliefs and the message that each business deal would send. For Chipotle, that meant not sponsoring a Boy Scout event because of their (now previous) take on gay scoutmasters. For Pfizer, that meant no longer selling a drug to state governments that used it for capital punishment. And for Bruce Springsteen, that meant not playing a concert in North Carolina because of objections he had to the bathroom bill signed into law earlier this year. Christian-owned businesses seeking to convey a message regarding marriage only ask to be treated the same.

Public Accommodation laws have long protected individuals from being denied service because of their protected class status. In the 1950-60s, this often meant that blacks could not be turned away from hotels or restaurants because of the color of their skin. Over the years, different locales have expanded the classes protected by these laws. Today, the list of individuals protected sometimes includes sexual orientation.

So does that mean that a cake artist, photographer, or invitation calligraphist must provide that service if a city or state has a public accommodation law? Not exactly.

It is important to note that there is a distinct difference between racial discrimination, like when Heart of Atlanta Motel refused to serve blacks in 1964, and not serving a particular event. As Rienzi asserted, there is “[n]o parallel to the Jim-Crow South, in other words there is no indication that what we have got is a broad denial of service,” for same-sex couples and wedding vendors. The famous wedding vendor cases often involve gay clients who have conducted business at these establishments before. The objection for business owners is not the person, but the message of the particular event.

As the Supreme Court made clear in its 9-0 opinion in Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Group of Boston, public accommodation laws “are well within the State’s usual power to enact when a legislature has reason to believe that a group is the target of discrimination,” as long as “they do not, as a general matter, violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments.” In other words, state governments can protect individuals facing discrimination as long as the laws do not conflict with protections like the Freedoms of Speech and Religion that apply against the states.

In that case, the parade organizer was sued for not allowing a group wanting to march in the parade “to express pride in their Irish heritage” as gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals. The group alleged that Hurley had violated Massachusetts’s public accommodation law by not allowing the message of the group to be incorporated in the parade. In striking down the application of the public accommodation law against Hurley, and noting that gay individuals were not excluded from the parade, the Supreme Court stated that “the Council clearly decided to exclude a message it did not like from the communication it chose to make, and that is enough to invoke its right as a private speaker to shape its expression by speaking on one subject while remaining silent on another.” The Court emphasized “one important manifestation of the principle of free speech is that one who chooses to speak may also decide ‘what not to say.’”

While Louise Melling, another panelist at the CATO event from the American Civil Liberties Union, emphasized the harm experienced by LGBT couples referred to other businesses because of the nature of the event, Mark Rienzi pointed to another key Supreme Court case, Snyder v. Phelps. The Supreme Court declared that while the Westboro Baptist protestors said deeply hurtful things at the military funeral for Snyder’s son, speech on matters of public concern is entitled to “‘special protection’ under the First Amendment. Such speech cannot be restricted simply because it is upsetting or arouses contempt.”

These Supreme Court decisions established the precedent that public accommodation laws do not trump the First Amendment protections for people to choose the message they wish to promote, without discriminating against the person. Just like the parade, which allowed gay, lesbian, and bisexual people to participate in the parade, the florists and bakeries at the center of this debate have knowingly served homosexuals in the past and would continue to serve them for other events. It is the current message of the particular event at issue, and the artist has the right to choose what that message is.

As the majority in Obergefell v. Hodges noted, “Many who deem same-sex marriage to be wrong reach that conclusion based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises, and neither they nor their beliefs are disparaged here.” Compelling artists who support natural marriage to speak a particular message by forcing them to participate in a particular event violates the principles of the First Amendment and oversteps the historical use of public accommodation laws.

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Harvard law professor: “Don’t Let Mississippi Establish Anti-Gay Religion”

by Travis Weber

June 17, 2016

That’s actually the title of a piece by Harvard law professor Noah Feldman on Bloomberg View yesterday.

Our ability to reason together as a pluralistic nation has been sorely compromised by unashamed advocacy pieces like this. Those who know better like Noah Feldman will one day hopefully come to regret compromising their accuracy to try to achieve their objective. Sadly, much damage will be done in the meantime.

The harm done by his reckless characterizations of Mississippi’s Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act (HB 1523) demands a response.

What has Mississippi done in HB 1523? It has exempted people with certain beliefs from being forced to violate their conscience should the government make them complicit in a same-sex marriage celebration. That doesn’t sound like any “establishment” of religion to me, and it isn’t—under any reasonably understanding of what the Establishment Clause was meant to accomplish. Moreover, it would protect anyone who holds those beliefs—Muslims, Jews, Christians, or others. Establishment Clause law is primarily concerned with making sure the government doesn’t coerce or force people into a belief system with which they don’t agree.

It’s ironic that this is the precise protection HB 1523 ensures people receive. It’s doubly ironic that Noah Feldman would instead have everyone comply with the government’s “religion” of same-sex marriage acceptance. If Mississippi was doing what Feldman claims it’s doing, why the need for HB 1523’s protections from the government? There wouldn’t be any need. If we are going to use his line of thinking about “establishment,” he should see HB 1523 is needed precisely because our government is increasingly moving toward an “establishment” of support for same-sex marriage.

If Noah Feldman and others making his arguments actually believe such exemptions are constitutionally problematic, I’d expect them to argue against laws providing exemptions in a variety of contexts. Notably, their opposition only seems to arise when Christianity seeks protection.

The title to his piece also contains a misrepresentation of Christian belief: that Christianity is merely “anti-gay.” Actually discovering the truth here requires some study of Christianity, however. Christian teaching on sexuality is comprehensive, and contains a number of precepts for human flourishing and well-being in accordance with God’s design. Same-sex conduct is only one of the parameters. There is no such thing as mere “anti-gay” Christianity. Yet the Christian view of sexuality is consistently mischaracterized by this framing—because advocates who use it aren’t seeking the truth, and they know this propaganda works on people who don’t bother to seek it either.

Claiming the mantle of objectivity and reason in order to further an agenda is not new. But it removes the building blocks on which our pluralistic society can exist. It is especially disheartening when done by those who know better and are entrusted to do otherwise.

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Social Conservative Review - June 16, 2016

by Daniel Hart

June 16, 2016

Dear Friends,

In the wake of the atrocity that occurred in Orlando this past Sunday, there have been many words spoken and much written on who is to blame, which has only deepened ideological divisions and intensified an already toxic political climate in America.

It is yet the latest reminder that there is only one answer to evil, suffering, and brokenness in this world: Jesus Christ. It is only in Him that America will be able to find healing, forgiveness, and unity. That is why it is so critical for all believers to turn to Him in prayer during this dark time in our country and in the world. Family Research Council is encouraging Christians across America to participate in our 8th annual Call2Fall National Prayer Movement. We are asking pastors and churches to consider setting aside time during worship on Sunday, July 3rd to call their people to get on their knees before the Lord in prayer and ask Him to restore and renew our country.

Thank you for your prayers and for your continued support of FRC and the family.

Sincerely,

Dan Hart
Managing Editor for Publications
Family Research Council

 

Religious Liberty

Free to Believe”

Punching Down – Charlotte Allen, First Things

An Open Letter for Preserving the First Freedom of Religious Liberty – Jason Duesing, Canon & Culture

Judge Rules in Favor of Christian Student Group Against NC State’s “Speech Permit” – Faith Vander Voort, The Daily Signal

 

International Religious freedom

Christians Harassed in German Refugee CampsThe Catholic Thing

French and Belgian Catholics Under AttackThe Catholic Thing

Remembering Those Who Suffer – Ian Speir, Ethika Politika

How A 10-Year-Old Refugee Forgave ISIS – Nikolas Grosfield, The Federalist

UZBEKISTAN: Fines for “Illegal” Religious Literature – Mushfig Bayram, Forum 18

In Secretly Written Book, Christian Chinese Lawyer Describes Resisting Communist Torture – Isolda Morillo, The Stream

 

Military Religious Freedom

Drafting Women is Not Only Immoral, it is Disruptive – Daniel Horowitz, Conservative Review

Conservatives Have a Plan to Block Women in the Draft – Philip Wegmann, The Daily Signal

Boykin bounced: Fort Riley cancels Delta Force hero’s prayer breakfast speech – Todd Starnes, FOX News

 

Religious Liberty in the public square

LGBT Bill Threatens California’s Religious Schools – Andrew Egger, The Daily Signal

Judge Rules in Favor of Christian Student Group Against NC State’s ‘Speech Permit’ – Faith Vander Voort, The Daily Signal

The Benefits of Religious Liberty – Rick Plasterer, Juicy Ecumenism

Religious Liberty in the Eyes of Evangelicals, Catholics, Mormons, & MuslimsJuicy Ecumenism

School Sends Sheriff to Order Child to Stop Sharing Bible Verses – Todd Starnes, FOX News

Compelling Reasons to retain Tax Exemptions for Religious Institutions – Michael J. DeBoer, Canon & Culture

 

Life

Abortion

Judge Dismisses Bogus Charge Against David Daleiden for Exposing Planned Parenthood – Steven Ertelt, LifeNews

A Baby’s Kick Changes Everything About Abortion – Georgi Boorman, The Federalist

What Happens When People Share Their Abortion Stories – Cullen Herout, The Federalist

New Evidence Indicates Planned Parenthood’s Organ Harvesting Scheme Broke the Law – Bre Payton, The Federalist

Can Feminists Really Be Pro-Life? Meet Two Women Who Are – Micaiah Bilger, LifeNews

Amnesty International Pushes Abortion in Ireland – Micaiah Bilger, LifeNews

Her Doctor Told Her to Abort Her Baby With Down Syndrome – Ericka Andersen, National Review

More Americans Call Abortion “Morally Wrong” Than “Morally Acceptable” – Lisa Bourne, LifeSiteNews

Christian College offers Certificate in Pro Life Activism, Pregnancy Center Management – Samantha Watkins, The College Fix

Does Carrying Signs Really Save Babies? – Sean DeMars, Desiring God

That Place Where Babies are Aborted? Don’t Call It a ‘Clinic,’ Because It’s Not – David Mills, The Stream

A Mother’s Open Letter to a Doctor Who Told Her to Abort Her Unborn Child – Nancy Flory, The Stream

 

Adoption

Getting Involved in Foster Care by Serving Families – Chelsea Patterson, ERLC

Why Being a Pro-Life Church is Messier Than You Think – Daniel Darling, Christianity Today

Generosity Is … Taking Six Children Into Your Family – Carolyn Moynihan, The Stream

 

Bioethics

Next Station Stop: The Embryo Farm? – Gene Tarne, Lozier Institute

Who May Die? California Patients and Doctors Wrestle With Assisted Suicide – Jennifer Medina, The New York Times

The New Hobbesians – Jeffrey Collins and Douglas Farrow, First Things

Would Hollywood Want the Disabled Dead? – John Knight, Desiring God

 

Obamacare

California Could Become the First State to Expand Coverage to Illegal Immigrants Under Obamacare – Melissa Quinn, The Daily Signal

Obamacare’s 13th Co-Op Is Closing. Why More Could Follow – Melissa Quinn, The Daily Signal

How the Insurance Market Is Responding to Obamacare – Gregg Keller, The Daily Signal

The Less Affordable Care Act? – Vann Newkirk, The Atlantic

Obamacare Is Forcing People into Part-Time Work – Chris Pandolfo, Conservative Review

 

Family

Family Economics

Ryan’s Anti-Poverty Agenda is Disappointing – Oren Cass, National Review

Hurting the Poor is No Way to Help Them: Payday Lending Rules Edition – Veronique de Rugy, National Review

Church of England: Maybe Margaret Thatcher Wasn’t So Unchristian After All – Joe Carter, Acton Power Blog

The Key to Understanding Christian Advocacy of Free Markets – Joe Carter, Acton Power Blog

For Love or Money? – Jason Carroll, The Family in America

Socialism Attacks the Family, Just as Its Inventors Intended – Paul Kengor, The Stream

 

Marriage

Report: To Divorce-Proof Yourself, Don’t Have Pre-marital Sex – Joy Pullmann, The Federalist

Aristotle, True Friendship, and the “Soulmate” View of Marriage – Angela McKay Knobel, Public Discourse

Would Your Kids Recognize an Ideological Kidnapper? – Anna Mussmann, The Federalist

A Dangerous Fairytale for Future Wives – Liz Wann, Desiring God

10 Top Reasons You Should Have Kids Before 30 – Joy Pullmann, The Federalist

Latest Out-of-Wedlock Birthrates – Roger Clegg, National Review

Couple Vows to Stay Together After Husband is Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at 29FOX News Health

Parents’ Marital Status Boosts Children’s Self Esteem – John Bingham, Telegraph UK

 

Human Sexuality

A Christian Message to LGBT Americans in the Wake of the Orlando Shooting – Michael Brown, The Stream

Born This Way – Jon Bloom, Desiring God

ACLU leader quits over daughters’ safety in bathrooms – Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel

Trans Theory Is A War Against Reality – David Sorrell, The Federalist

Why You Should Stop Using The Word ‘Gender’ – Stella Morabito, The Federalist

Ohio school district sues feds for demanding that students have access to opposite-sex locker roomsAlliance Defending Freedom

I Wish I Had Been Told About These Risks Before I Had Gender Surgery – Walt Heyer, The Daily Signal

Reality Check: Gender Diversity is Driven by a Top-Down Ideological Movement – Mary Rice Hasson, MercatorNet

Being a Stanford Athlete is No Excuse for Rape – Holly Scheer, The Federalist

 

Human Trafficking

Exposed: Planned Parenthood’s Disturbingly Common Practice of Covering Up Child Sex Abuse – Cassy Fiano, LifeSiteNews

Petition Against Amnesty International’s Prostitution Policy Breaks 35,000 Signatures – National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Fighting for the Protection of Young Kenyan Girls at the United Nations – Palmer Williams, ACLJ

Meet the Man Saving Yazidi Slaves From ISIS – Arwa Damon, CNN

 

Pornography

John Paul II, Porn, and the Stanford Rapist – Matthew Sewell, Crisis Magazine

Comcast Refuses to Remove Racist and Exploitive PornographyNational Center on Sexual Exploitation

Why is Amazon.com Hosting Pornographic Websites? National Center on Sexual Exploitation

A Woman Won’t Fix Your Porn Habit – Joshua Rogers, Boundless

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Question of the Week - June 7, 2016

by Daniel Hart

June 7, 2016

Question: I tried calling the Fort Riley base to tell them about my feelings regarding the fact that they would cancel the prayer breakfast and disinvite Gen. Boykin, but their lines are completely full and it won’t let you leave a message. Are there any other numbers to contact the base? 

FRC: Thank you for trying to call Fort Riley. Many others have told us they could not get through on the phones as well. You can try calling the Commanding General of the 1st Infantry Division, Maj. Grisby, at (785) 239-3516.

You can also send a message through Fort Riley’s contact form on their website at http://www.riley.army.mil/Contact-Us/.

In addition, you can write to Fort Riley in the Visitor Posts section of their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/FortRiley/.

Thank you for all that you’re doing to help us stand for faith, family, and freedom in the public square!

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Social Conservative Review: An Insider’s Guide to Pro-Family News - June 3, 2016

by Rob Schwarzwalder

June 3, 2016

It was about six years ago that FRC launched The Social Conservative Review. We began publishing the SoCon to provide serious social conservatives with articles about the issues critical to FRC’s agenda of advancing and defending human dignity.

We have grown from a small audience to about 15,000 subscribers, including people affiliated in some way with nearly 300 colleges and universities. We feature stories not only by Evangelical and Catholic writers but leading secular journalists. My colleagues in FRC’s Policy Department and I have sought to offer timely, informative, and motivating coverage of such things as the defense of the unborn and their mothers, the social and political redefinition of human sexuality, the trafficking of persons at home and abroad, and domestic and international religious liberty.

This is the last SoCon Review I will be editing and publishing, as at the end of this month I will be leaving FRC to take a full-time teaching post at Regent University, a wonderful school that is becoming one of the premier institutions of Christian higher education in the world. I am honored to be joining this select band of scholars and students.

I know that as editing duties for the SoCon fall into the very capable hands of my colleague Dan Hart, the Managing Editor for FRC Publications, you will continue to profit from the articles and commentary our colleagues and he will be collating every two weeks.

All the blessings of our country—liberty and security, peace and opportunity, prosperity and community—exist for us because of the benevolent and wise guidance of a loving and just God, One Who has bestowed upon this unique nation gifts unknown to all but a handful of people in the long history of life on earth. Thousands of men and women have sacrificed their lives to ensure the well-being of ours, and every day brave Americans put themselves at grave risk for our sakes. We owe them an inestimable debt.

America’s imperfections, historic and present, are real and apparent. We grieve for them. Yet with God’s direction and strength, may we always work to create a more perfect Union for ourselves and our posterity.

I would be remiss not to close with this: Jesus Christ is real. He is not some imaginary friend whose existence and meaning are obscured in the fog of antiquity. The biblical accounts of eternal deity, His virgin birth, sinless life, atoning death, and justifying resurrection are true. Jesus calls all of us to trust in the forgiveness He offers as a free gift to all who will receive it.

My prayer for SoCon’s readers is that you will accept this gift without delay. There is no greater or more joyous decision any of us can ever make.

With great appreciation,

Rob Schwarzwalder
Senior Vice-President
Family Research Council

 

Religious Liberty

Free to Believe”

Phoenix Artists Threatened With Jail Time If They Don’t Serve Gay Weddings – Leah JessenThe Daily Signal

Judge Faces Removal, $40K Fine Because of Her Beliefs About Marriage – Ken McIntyre, The Daily Signal

Obama Threatens Hospitals: Perform ‘Sex Changes’ or Lose Federal Funding – Bre PaytonThe Federalist

The Left is Now Targeting Christian Schools in its Potty Crusades – Holly Scheer, The Federalist

Dispense Contraception or Pay U.S.$1000 – Wesley J. Smith, National Review

Christian Student Groups In America Require A Permit To Speak To Other Students? – Vinay Patel, University Herald

 

International Religious freedom

The Chinese Christian Crackdown – The American Interest

Four Reasons Why We Leave – Andrew Knight, Desiring God

Christian Refugees in Germany Report High Levels of Religious Violence – Kate Shellnutt, Christianity Today

US official warns ‘door for Christians in Iraq is closing’ – Ines San Martin, Crux

 

Military Religious Freedom

Memorials Under Assault: The Left’s Depraved War on America’s Heroes – Nate Madden,Conservative Review    

Why military chaplains need the Russell Amendment – Mike Berry,The Hill

Making Memorial Day About More Than Grills – Daniel Briggs, Alliance Defending Freedom

 

Religious Liberty in the public square

A new evangelical political alignment: The Liberty Party – D.C. InnesWorld Magazine

Atheist Relents; Enters Legal Agreement to Cease Filing Lawsuits Over Free Exercise of Religion – First Liberty Institute

Group of Atheists, Humanists Sues to Remove National Motto “In God We Trust” from U.S. Currency – First Liberty Institute

 

 

Life

Abortion

Fetuses Are People, Hillary Said; Let’s Make Sure Our Laws Agree – Debby Efurd, The Christian Post

Evangelicals Cheer Pro-Life Vote at Methodist Conference – Kate ShellnuttChristianity Today

Sex-Selection Abortion: The Real War on Women – Anna Higgins, Charlotte Lozier Institute

New Report Wildly Inflates Global Abortion Numbers – Arina O. Grossu & Thomas Jacobson, The Federalist

Why Abortion Supporters Try to Silence Men – Kira NelsonThe Federalist

Humanizing Aborted Fetuses Through Burial – Wesley J. SmithNational Review

 

Adoption

Abortion and the Problem of Personhood – Jonathan Leeman and Matthew Arbo, Canon and Culture

Lawmaker: Adoption Doesn’t Have to Be This Expensive – Diane Black, Christianity Today

Why It Can Be So Hard to Choose Adoption Over Abortion – Emily CarringtonThe Federalist

How to Address America’s Foster Care Crisis? It Takes a Village – Kelly Rosati, Christianity Today

 

Bioethics

Scientists Creating Human-Animal Embryos Raises Ethical Concerns – Anugrah KumarThe Christian Post

Millions of Chinese Parents Turn to In Vitro Fertilization as One-Child Policy Relaxed – Louise Watt, The Stream

When Doctors Kill Patients to Harvest Their Organs – William M. Briggs, The Stream

Democrats Demand GOP Stop Investigating Fetal Harvesting Industry – Dustin Siggins, The Stream

 

Obamacare

Little Sisters of the Poor Win Big in Obamacare Case – Roger Severino, The Daily Signal

Explainer: What you should know about the Little Sisters religious liberty case – Joe Carter, ERLC

Congress Receiving Unconstitutional Obamacare Subsidies – Robert E. Moffit, Heritage Foundation

 

 

Family

Family Economics

Obama’s Overtime Rule Tried at IBM, and It Didn’t Work – James Sherk, The Daily Signal    

Ticketing Children for Selling Lemonade Highlights Overcriminalization Problem – John-Michael Seibler, The Daily Signal

Empty nests are an endangered cultural phenomenon – Ashley Bloemhof, World Magazine

 

Marriage

Sins of their fathers & mothers – Mary Jackson, WORLD Magazine

The Divorce Revolution has Bred an Army of Woman Haters – W. Bradford Wilcox, The Federalist

We All Make This Marriage Mistake—But Here’s How I Overcame It – Kathleen O’Beirne, Verily Magazine

Healthy Individuals Create Healthy Marriages – Jill Savage, Focus on the Family

 

Human Sexuality (homosexuality/ gender issues)

Our Constitutional Right to Privacy Is Missing From Bathroom Debate – Matt SharpThe Daily Signal

Out of Lesbianism, Into Complementarianism – Jackie Hill-Perry, Council On Biblical Manhood & Womanhood

Why You Should Stop Using The Word “Gender” – Stella Morabito, The Federalist

A Former Transgender Person’s Take on Obama’s Bathroom Directive – Walt Heyer, The Daily Signal

Women fight for a safe space in their restrooms – Leslie Loftis, The Conservative Woman

Beware of ‘trans movement’ as patriarchy in disguise – Pia de SolenniCrux

Give Elsa a girlfriend? No, give the kids a break – Carolyn Moynihan, Mercatornet

A De-Sexed Society is a De-Humanized Society – Stella Morabito, The Public Discourse

 

Human Trafficking

45.8 million people are enslaved in the world today– GlobalSlaveryIndex.org

Daughters for Sale: How Young American Girls Are Being Sold Online – Gloria Riviera, Jackie Jesko, and Sally Hawkins, ABC News

 

Pornography

The anti-porn movement is growing. The public is just catching up – Haley Halverson, The Washington Post

The case for banning pornography – Matthew Schmitz, The Washington Post

Why Can’t I Quit Porn? – Eddie Capparucci, The Christian Post

This Research Reveals the Real Side Effects of Our Sexualized Culture – Mary Rose Somarriba, Verily Magazine

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No “Discrimination” in North Carolina’s Bathroom Protections

by Peter Sprigg

June 1, 2016

Who would have thought 2016 would become the year of the “bathroom wars?” Both sides in this cultural battle have now appealed to the courts, with North Carolina’s Gov. Pat McCrory and legislative leaders suing President Obama’s Department of Justice (DOJ), while DOJ is suing North Carolina public officials. DOJ charges that the state’s House Bill 2 (HB 2, enacted in March) violates federal law.

This is a stunning claim. HB 2 codifies (for government buildings only) something that has, until recently, been completely taken for granted — namely, that multiple-user public restrooms, locker rooms, and showers are to be separated on the basis of biological sex.

HB 2 was written in response to an ordinance adopted in Charlotte that would have barred “discrimination” on the basis of “gender identity.” Transgender activists interpret such laws as requiring that biological males who claim to be “women” be allowed to share restrooms, locker rooms, and showers with actual biological females. HB 2 reversed the Charlotte ordinance, leaving private businesses and organizations free to adopt whatever bathroom policy they choose.

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Question of the Week - June 1, 2016

by Daniel Hart

June 1, 2016

Question: Where can I find a suggested letter to send to my local school board about my outrage over Obama’s transgender bathroom agenda?

FRC: We are unaware of a suggested letter to send to your school board. However, our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom have legal resources that your school can use to fight this policy. They are also willing to legally represent local school districts for free. Thank you for standing up for children’s safety and religious freedom.

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Send us your questions about how you can better live out your faith beyond the four walls of your church, or about any specific value that FRC continues to stand for, whether it be life, marriage and family, or religious liberty. Go to frc.org/contact-frc and enter “Question of the Week” in the Subject line. Thank you for standing with us!

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Question of the Week - May 16, 2016

by Daniel Hart

May 16, 2016

Question: I want to effectively protest the killing/genocide of Christians around the world. How do you suggest I do that? Thank you.

FRC: Thank you for asking how you can protest the genocide of Christians around the world. While believers face growing hostility in America, we have experienced nothing like the mistreatment, displacement, violence, rape, crucifixions, and beheadings experienced by followers of Jesus in Iraq, Syria, Libya, other parts of the Middle East and beyond. The most tangible form of helping persecuted Christians is to participate in practical ministries. If possible, you might consider following the example of a church in Indiana who sent a group of church members to Iraq along with donated medical supplies and additional money to purchase much needed food and bedding. Obviously, most churches would not be capable of this kind of direct aid, so we primarily recommend donating to the organizations listed on World Magazine’s “Aid for Iraqis” site. These organizations have provided aid to those in need ever since the beginning of the conflict, and through this lasting presence in the region have intimately gotten to know the communities they are involved with. It is also very important to promote policies that protect the persecuted. You can help do this by supporting the ministries that we have partnered with like Open Doors USA, Institute on Religion and Democracy, and others listed here. Finally, please pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world. Thank you for standing with us!

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Opponents of Freedom Reveal Their True Agenda: Intolerance

by Travis Weber

May 12, 2016

Before same-sex marriage was constitutionally enshrined, we heard about how it would not affect anyone’s religious freedom. It was just about access to the marriage license, we were told.

Anyone who thinks opponents of Christian morality are not interested in forcing everyone to conform to their views need only glance at a motion filed in federal court in Mississippi reacting to a law which provides, of all things, exemptions on conscience grounds.

In their motion, this group of opponents asks the court to make sure that anyone “recusing himself or herself under Section 3(8) of HB 1523” be forced to “desist from issuing any marriage licenses to any other couples, including opposite-sex couples.”

Why make this request if access is the only issue? No access to any licenses has been impeded. But we know it is not about that. These opponents are requesting clerks not issue any licenses because they just can’t stand the idea that someone would not agree with their same-sex marriage.

The opponents proceed to read into motives and offer blanket generalizations:

Thus, although the most recent efforts by the State of Mississippi to disregard the constitutional rights of LGBT Mississippians through HB 1523 may be somewhat more subtle than the “steel-hard, inflexible, undeviating official policy” of the past, see United States v. City of Jackson, Miss., 318 F.2d 1, 5 (5th Cir. 1963) (ordering end of racial segregation in bus and railway terminals), the underlying impulse is exactly the same.” (emphasis mine)

But calling all genuine Christians everywhere complete racists isn’t enough.

They also mischaracterize the law as “exhorting state residents to discriminate against their gay, lesbian and transgender neighbors in a wide variety of circumstances.” Where is this behavior “exhorted?”

They also want the state to be forced to “post all recusal notices to a prominent place” on a government website. Shaming, anyone?

The real motive is obvious. It’s to force those who now disagree to eventually agree. Nothing more (for now), and nothing less.

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