FRC Blog

Update on California’s AB 2943: Therapy Ban Assaulting Freedom of Speech and Religion Passes Senate

by Peter Sprigg

August 17, 2018

Here are some quick facts on the most recent action regarding California’s alarming bill, AB 2943, with links to sources:

  • The California Senate just passed AB 2943 on August 16.
  • AB 2943 is Round Two of California’s attack upon sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE).
  • AB 2943 is so sweeping it could potentially ban the sale of some books—even the Bible.
  • Therapy bans restrict what therapists can say to clients. The Supreme Court has signaled that this violates constitutional rights to free speech.
  • Ironically, AB 2943 was passed even as a new study has debunked claims that SOCE is ineffective and harmful
  • Most clients who seek SOCE just want to live their lives according to the teachings of their faith, so bills like AB 2943 are an attack upon their freedom of religion.
  • The Assembly or Gov. Brown have a last chance to block enactment of AB 2943. Urge them to do so now.

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3 Ways in Which Brett Kavanaugh Has Supported Religious Liberty

by Travis Weber

August 17, 2018

In light of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s impending confirmation battle, Family Research Council conducted an overview of his record and explained how he would likely rule on the issues we are concerned about. From that review, here are three ways in which Judge Kavanaugh has defended religious liberty:

  1. Judge Kavanaugh Has Defended Religious Believers from the HHS Mandate

In Priests for Life v. HHS, he dissented from the D.C. Circuit’s denial of rehearing en banc, arguing that the HHS mandate substantially burdened the organization’s exercise of religion, pursuant to Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. This is a very important conclusion on an important issue and shows Judge Kavanaugh to have a right understanding of the religious freedom burdens that RFRA guards against in this context. While his assertion later in the same case that Hobby Lobby “strongly suggests” that the government has a compelling interest in ensuring broad access to contraceptives seems unnecessary, he did conclude that RFRA protected the claimants because the HHS mandate was not the least restrictive means of achieving any such interest.

  1. Judge Kavanaugh Has Defended Religious Expression in the Public Square

In Newdow v. Roberts, atheists had argued that “so help me God” in the presidential oath violated the Establishment Clause. The D.C. Circuit rejected their argument, and Judge Kavanaugh wrote a concurrence stating that such “longstanding practices do not violate the Establishment Clause as it has been interpreted by the Supreme Court.”

More recently, in Archdiocese of Washington v. WMATA, the Archdiocese of Washington attempted to purchase advertising space on the Washington Metro during the Christmas season, and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority refused to sell what it deemed a “religious” message for a religious organization. During oral arguments in this case, Judge Kavanaugh told WMATA’s lawyer that this was “pure discrimination” and an “odious” First Amendment violation, showing a keen awareness of potential violations of free speech and free expression with a religious basis.

[In addition], [h]e helped set up a voucher program supporting religious schools in Florida, and also represented the Adat Shalom Jewish group in their legal battle against a Maryland county that was trying to stop construction of a synagogue.

  1. Judge Kavanaugh Has Defended Religious Expression in Schools

During his time in private practice, Judge Kavanaugh chaired the Religious Liberty Practice Group at the Federalist Society, and worked pro bono to write amicus briefs in support of religious expression in schools. He wrote briefs in Good News Club v. Milford Central School, and Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe, in which he argued that a public school must allow religious student clubs to use its facilities in a similar manner as other clubs, and that student-led prayer at football events did not violate the establishment clause, respectively.

For more, see: https://www.frc.org/issueanalysis/why-judge-kavanaugh-should-be-confirmed-to-the-supreme-court 

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Social Conservative Review - August 16, 2018

by Daniel Hart

August 16, 2018

Dear Friends,

When God created the human race, the pinnacle of His creation, He endowed us with a particularly amazing ability. Our souls are actually wired to feel an elevated sense joy, happiness, and hope when we witness an act of charity being performed by someone in service of someone else, even if they are complete strangers. As I know I have, I’m sure you’ve experienced a tear well up in the corner of your eye as you’ve watched one of the seemingly thousands of “random acts of kindness” videos that are all over the internet.

What’s amazing about this inborn warmth that we feel when we witness goodness is that it has the power to instantly change our attitudes. For me personally, this has happened dozens of times in my day to day life. These moments usually happen completely unexpectedly, especially when I happen to be feeling a little down or discouraged. After I witness an act of kindness on the street or happen to watch an inspiring video that I come across on Facebook, my outlook on life is instantly transformed to one of hope and joy. What’s more, I feel inspired to emulate the act of kindness myself. This is the phenomenon of kindness being “contagious,” which has been hardwired into our humanness by our Creator.

While acts of kindness naturally move and inspire us, that doesn’t mean we always follow through and do them ourselves—this is where our own sin and shortcomings creep in. Let’s all make a point of moving past any hesitation or self-conscious nervousness we might feel when we see an opportunity to perform an act of charity. You never know who might witness our acts of kindness and be inspired to spread the love, thus transforming our broken world one good deed at a time.

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

 

FRC Articles

Strong Patents: Key to a Strong Economy – Ken Blackwell

CNN Publishes a Hatchet Job on Religious Freedom – Travis Weber

The Remains of Aborted Babies Are Now a Commodity to the FDA – Patrina Mosley

High School Students Enticed into Private Booth for “Queer” Storytelling – Cathy Ruse

The Transgender Movement Just Pushes People Too Far – Cathy Ruse

 

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

I’m Proud To Take A Knee With Coach Kennedy – Bobby Bowden, The Daily Caller

A Sign of the Times? Pastor Greg Laurie Forced to Remove Billboards Featuring the Bible – Emily Jones, CBN News

Alabama public schools may soon add ‘In God We Trust’ displays – Frank Miles, Fox News

Christian Baker Again Under Fire Again—This Time for Refusing to Bake a Transgender Cake – Tyler O’Neil, PJ Media

Hispanic restaurant owner recipient of death threats, outrage mob after hosting Jeff Sessions – Chris Enloe, The Blaze

University of Iowa Reinstates Nearly 40 Student Groups After InterVarsity Files Lawsuit – Samuel Smith, The Christian Post

Trump Admin Upholds Religious Freedom for Federal Contractors – Mark Martin, CBN News

International Religious Freedom

We Must Pay So Dearly’: China’s Churches Raided, Silenced – Yanan Wang, AP

China cracks down on citizens, scans handheld devices for ‘illegal information’ – Calvin Freiburger, LifeSiteNews

Court rejects appeal for American pastor’s release from detention, Turkish media says – Fox News

Lindsey Graham: ‘Normal relationship’ with Turkey impossible with pastor jailed – Tom Howell Jr., The Washington Times

US Congress Urges India’s Modi to Protect Christians, Condemn Attacks on Minorities – Stoyan Zaimov, The Christian Post

Military Religious Freedom

Army Chaplain Faces Possible Court Martial over Religious Beliefs – ToddStarnes.com

Militant Atheist Group Calls for Removal of Edwards AFB Commander over Public Professions of Faith – Paula Bolyard, PJ Media

1,800 Soldiers Have Professed Faith in Christ at Missouri Army Base in Last 6 Months – Samuel Smith, The Christian Post

 

Life

Abortion

Pushing abortion on California college students is institutionalized misogyny – Cassy Fiano-Chesser, Live Action

International abortion pressure was no match for Argentina’s love of life – Kristi Burton Brown, Live Action

The Worst Poll Ever on the Roe v. Wade Decision – Michael New, Townhall

18 years of the abortion pill have made things worse for women and society – Susan Michelle-Hanson, Live Action

Adoption

Toby’s Adoption Day – Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review

4-Year-Old Celebrates His Adoption and New Baby Sister in Sweet Photo: ‘He Was So Happy That Day!’ – Char Adams, People

Bioethics

What Three Identical Strangers Reveals About Nature and Nurture – Mary Rose Somarriba, Family Studies

Slow Code’: Outraged parents say doctors delay care for kids with disabilities – Nancy Flanders, Live Action

California Senate bill allows encouraging terminally ill to choose suicide – Cassy Fiano-Chesser, Live Action

 

Family

Marriage

Tips for a successful weekly marriage meeting – Erin Stewart, Deseret News

Soulmate Marriage: An Unrealistic Goal? – Annie Holmquist, Intellectual Takeout

How to Strengthen Your Marriage Through Doing the Dishes – Erin Smalley, Focus on the Family

Parenting

How Dads Can Protect Their Kids – Rob Schwarzwalder, The Stream

How to Navigate the Joys and Challenges of Grandparenting – Diana Divecha, Greater Good Magazine

Moms Who Miscarry Benefit from Going to Church, Research Shows – David Briggs, Christianity Today

Studies acknowledge how traumatic miscarriage is — so why doesn’t society? – Anna O’Neil, Aleteia

To the Young Men Who May Want to Date My Daughters – Whitney Fleming, Her View From Home

Economics/Education

Emails Reveal High School Teachers Plotting To Hide Their Political Bias From Parents – Ilya Feoktistov, The Federalist

Democrats More Positive About Socialism Than Capitalism – Frank Newport, Gallup

Faith/Character/Culture

Your Life Is Not Boring – Jon Bloom, Desiring God

Why Americans go—or don’t go—to religious services – Joe Carter, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

A Case for Fear – Austin Roscoe, The Stream

Human Sexuality

Love, Economics, and Cheap SexC.R. Pakaluk, Public Discourse

Support for Christians Refusing to Serve Same-Sex Weddings Goes … Up – Morgan Lee, Christianity Today

You Won’t Believe What Kids Can Find On ‘Transgender’ At The Public Library – Maureen Mullarkey, The Federalist

Human Trafficking

NCOSE Intern Report from the World Without Exploitation 2018 Youth Summit – National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Pornography

Ministry Leaders Who Counsel People Struggling With Porn Addiction Say It Can’t Be Fought Alone – Michael Gryboski, The Christian Post

For Parents: My Child Just Told Me They Struggle With Porn. Now What? – Fight the New Drug

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CNN Publishes a Hatchet Job on Religious Freedom

by Travis Weber

August 10, 2018

Following the announcement of the Department of Justice Religious Liberty Task Force, CNN decided to post a recent piece that horribly mischaracterized what Christians believe about religious freedom. Whatever accuracy the piece contained was drowned out by glaring falsehoods—assertions and conclusions which are not only untrue, but which have now been released into the public discourse to further sow divisiveness and animosity.

Take this statement, for example: “[Sessions] also portrayed religious liberty as the right of religious groups not to be labeled as hate groups even if their beliefs prescribed hate.”

The author didn’t cite a Bible verse or theological position for “hate” because she can’t—it’s not there. So she just claims (falsely) that Christians’ beliefs “prescribe”—or instruct us to engage in—“hate” (whatever that means). In the process, she defended the Southern Poverty Law Center’s arbitrary “hate” list which Sessions was referring to—a hate list on which SPLC unilaterally labels and places FRC and other groups because we hold to unpopular truths about human sexuality, and a list which led to a gunman entering my organization’s headquarters several years ago with a plan to commit mass murder, wounding a security guard in the process. (FRC maintains no such lists of any of our opponents.)

One need only crack the pages of the Bible for a moment to see how false the CNN piece is about Christianity: “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:7-8).

Our faith leads us to love all people, which means conveying the truth. They may not like that truth, but their response does not mean we are not acting out of love.

For CNN to relay such falsehoods about Christians only serves to toxify the public square. Those commenting on the religious beliefs of others—like this author—need to get their facts right. If there is one thing Jesus “prescribes,” it is love. The cost of failing to accurately describe the religious beliefs of others is further mistrust and social deterioration. Unfortunately, this piece squarely contributes to that.

As a Christian organization, we not only aim to convey the truth out of love, but we believe no one should be compelled to act against their conscience in matters of faith. All people must be free to choose—or not choose—God. Therefore, we desire to protect religious freedom for all people (regardless of their faith), and applaud Attorney General Sessions’ efforts to protect Hindus and Muslims, for example. As mentioned during the Task Force announcement, the Sessions DOJ recently prosecuted an individual “who set fire to a mosque”—a fact which the CNN op-ed author conveniently left out of her discussion of how the Sessions DOJ approaches religious freedom. 

It is long overdue for CNN and other “mainstream” media to start discussing religious freedom in good faith, examining the facts and applying a dose of honesty with regard to what Christians actually believe about this issue. This would go a long way toward achieving the constructive dialogue necessary to heal our divided nation.

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The Remains of Aborted Babies Are Now a Commodity to the FDA

by Patrina Mosley

August 9, 2018

The FDA has signed a new contract for “fresh” aborted baby parts with Advance Bioscience Resources (ABR)—yes,  the same ABR that came under federal investigation for its role in the baby parts for profit scandal that has engulfed Planned Parenthood.

Undercover footage released by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) exposed the buyer-seller relationship between the abortion industry and fetal tissue procurement companies, which included Advanced Bioscience Resources (ABR). The findings were so egregious that it prompted multiple congressional investigations. Part of their investigations showed ABR acting as the middleman—buying baby body parts from abortion clinics and then selling them. Two of their top six buyers were the NIH and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)! ABR would pay Planned Parenthood and other abortion facilities a flat fee of $45 to $60 per baby specimen before turning around to sell the body parts for astronomical prices such as $340 to $550 per specimen. The income tax forms of ABR, a non-profit corporation, report $6.5 million in total revenue for the last five reporting years (2010-2014).

Yet the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 makes it unlawful for the sale of human fetal tissue to be sold for profit!

In 2015 alone, ABR made nearly $80,000 in payments to its top five abortion facilities, which included several Planned Parenthood facilities. Investigations have shown Planned Parenthood officials admitting to falsifying budget items to conceal the fact that they are financially benefiting from the fetal remains of abortions and altering abortion procedures to get more intact baby parts to sell, even while the baby is alive, all without obtaining proper permission from the mother.

Biotech companies like ABR, who had technicians stationed at three of the Planned Parenthood facilities involved, have been complicit in the disregard for human dignity and the law.

This is all done in the name of “science.” When government agencies like the FDA and NIH are so deeply involved in such inhumane and unethical practices, they become normalized in our minds. As a result, reform becomes harder to find, and injustice is perpetuated.

Traditionally, our society has believed that donating one’s body parts should be voluntary in order to prevent the human body from becoming a commodity. Well, now body parts are becoming a commodity. An aborted baby cannot consent to anything because they are dead. The government and the abortion industry are colluding to take advantage of this situation and benefit from one of the most traumatic events a woman can face.

Continuing this type of FDA research does not make us more medically advanced—it instead causes us to devolve into thinking human beings don’t matter, and that the ends justify the means. What is ironic is that this dark business shines a light on the fact that abortion really does take the life of human beings, who are then being used for experimentation.  

This is bad science and does not lead society forward. It instead incentivizes the harvesting of body parts through harmful practices such as late-term abortions and the alteration of abortion methods, which increases the risk to the mother and violates federal law.

The FDA claims that this type of research, which transplants fetal tissue to make humanized mice, can only be done by using aborted babies. In reality, using fetal tissue has yet to solve any medical crisis. Congress has even acknowledged this: “In over 100 years of unrestricted investigation, human fetal tissue research has had ample time to prove useful, yet it has failed to do so.”

Good science is ethical science, and we have seen the blessings of that through the use of adult stem cell therapies, which have already been used to successfully treat at least 73 conditions and over one million patients worldwide. There is no reason we can’t use ethical practices to treat modern humanity’s ailments.

HHS should replace these contracts with traffickers in baby body parts with contracts that reflect ethical and more effective science. As taxpayer-funded entities, the FDA and NIH must be held accountable. Far too many culprits in this baby body part trafficking scheme have gone unchecked. The lives of the unborn demand justice, and America can do better.

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High School Students Enticed into Private Booth for “Queer” Storytelling

by Cathy Ruse

August 8, 2018

LGBT activists are nothing if not creative. Their latest approach involves inviting high school students into, in their words, a “big, gay booth” to talk about sex.

In a recent post on the blog of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the “Beyond Bullying Project” bragged about the success of its latest efforts going into Bay Area public high schools to entice students into private booths to talk about LGBT sexuality.

Our pitch to would-be storytellers was open-ended,” said the project organizers. “Tell a story about yourself, a friend, your family…the story does not even need to be true.”

The project “collects” the stories on audio and videotape, and claims to have spent time in schools in North America, Australia, and New Zealand.

Apparently, participating schools welcome the rainbow-festooned booths, even directing their shop classes to build the “curricular, emotional space” for “queerness.” Schools also invite project organizers to make presentations in class.

Bay Area students assisted in decorating the booths with rainbow paper, lights, boas, and chalk drawings. “Everywhere, it screamed gay,” said the organizers.

Apparently, students “enjoyed the freedom” to leave class to visit the booth.

What an excellent use of education hours and tax dollars!

For some kids, skipping class was not motivation enough to enter the booth.

The team recognized that approaching a big, gay booth might be a social risk for some students and teachers so we offered them alibis to account for their interest,” the blog continued.

Outside the booth…we placed bowls of granola bars or chocolates, flyers announcing pizza lunches…iTunes gift cards and an iPod touch that we would raffle off at the end of our two weeks at the school.”

For every story a student told, they received a raffle ticket for the iPod.”

Together, these incentives provided enough cover to allow storytellers to enter the booth without inviting too many questions about their interest.”

Apparently, not all students were thrilled with the presence of the booth. Organizers admit that some “seemed to deliberately alter their path through the school so as to avoid meeting our invitations to step inside.”

How difficult to be a student today, tossed about in a sea of cultural Marxism. My heart goes out to them. Now more than ever, they need the solid ground of strong families, strong faith, and strong friendship.

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The Transgender Movement Just Pushes People Too Far

by Cathy Ruse

August 6, 2018

When I read this column by Rafael Castro, I was reminded of other people who reluctantly supported same-sex marriage in order to “get the issue behind us.” They, like he, must feel betrayed and angry. The T in LGBT is a ticking time bomb that could sabotage the activists’ whole operation:

As a religious conservative living in a liberal city – Berlin – I was torn between loyalty to tradition and respect for individual freedoms on the issue of gay marriages. What eventually swayed me to support gay organizations in this field was the argument that alternative definitions for marriages are a human right.

I thus sided with the LGBT liberation movement with the hope that once such marriages were legal, the issue would be behind us and the energies exhausted in this fractious debate would be channeled to fight far more serious abuses of human rights in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

These expectations have been bitterly disappointed. To the best of my knowledge the LGBT lobby has done next to nothing in order to help gays and lesbians who are whipped and stoned in nations like Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Instead of championing genuine human rights it has promoted the issue of transsexuality, blowing it out of all proportion, and has declared war on our historical and science-based understanding of sex and gender.

In its obsession for blurring all gender differences it is pressuring the academic and culture establishments to erase any awareness of gender differences from the youngest of children and harassing any person who refuses to endorse this gender ideology. In addition, it has even encouraged voices demanding that incest, polygamy and pedophilia be normalized in our societies.

In other words, I supported same-sex marriage rights with the understanding that I was contributing to defend human rights. Instead my support has been exploited by the sexual liberation movement to undermine the values and paradigms that give society its bearings and guidance to minors who are vulnerable in their development.

I feel betrayed and angry. From now on I will fight every progressive social cause, regardless of the language used to market it. It is evident that today’s progressives are more interested in dismantling Western society than in repairing its relatively minor flaws.

Looking back, I see that same-sex civil unions gave homosexuals all the legal and fiscal rights they needed . These civil unions respected the rights of all parties, without encouraging extremists to assault heteronormativity and bi-genderism. That’s how things should remain.

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Social Conservative Review - August 3, 2018

by Daniel Hart

August 3, 2018

Dear Friends,

We are now in the month of August, the time of the year that seems to be a kind of buffer between the season of vacations and weddings and the season when school and Congress begin work in earnest again in September. Generally speaking, August is when life seems to slow down a bit. Offices are a little emptier, the summer heat is a bit more intense, and there’s a few more stretches of time to spend in leisure.

But what is “leisure”? Most of us tend to think of it in terms of watching a movie or playing a board game. But as John Cuddeback writes, there is an important distinction between leisure and amusement:

Amusement refers to those activities we do because they are fun, or diverting, or simply relaxing. We play a game, ride a bike, go out on a boat, or watch a movie. We enjoy these activities even while they have no obvious product or utility.

Leisure refers to activities that are more serious: we have a deep conversation, we lie on our backs observing the stars, we listen to great music. We contemplate deeper things, we worship God.

Amusement and leisure share a common element: they are not work. But this similarity points to their fundamental difference. At the end of the day, amusement is less important than work, and it takes its immediate meaning from the fact that it serves work, by refreshing us to go back to our labors.

Leisure on the other hand is served by our work. It provides the ultimate meaning and justification for human work.

As we take vacations and spend time away from the office during this season, let’s remember to not only have fun and unwind, but to also spend some quality time in authentic leisure in order to renew our intellects and souls for the work God is calling us to accomplish.

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

 

FRC Articles

Ominous Court Ruling Allows Discrimination Against Christian Adoption Provider – Travis Weber

With State Department Ministerial, Trump Administration Signals Seriousness on Religious Freedom – Travis Weber

Why It’s Impossible To Support Both #MeToo And Planned Parenthood Without Being A Big Hypocrite – Patrina Mosley

Unleashing America’s Entrepreneurial Spirit – Ken Blackwell

Nikki Haley’s Great Advice on Resurrecting Civil Discourse – Spenser White

Transgender “Revolution” is Really an Elitist Diktat – Cathy Ruse

DOJ Announces Timely Religious Liberty Initiative – Travis Weber

RNC: Schools Must Get a “Yes” from Parents Before Teaching Radical Sex Ed – Cathy Ruse

The Lies of Access and Autonomy – Hannah Borchers

Ohio House Bill 658: Parental Rights are Good for Children – Madeleine Lucas

 

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

Town Orders Family to Stop Hosting Bible Studies on Farm – ToddStarnes.com

These 6 Cases Show How Brett Kavanaugh Might Rule on Religious Freedom – Fred Lucas, The Daily Signal

School District Threatens to Call Police After Mystery Person Gives Out Free Bibles on Campus – Will Maule, CBN News

Muslim Who Squeezed $3M Out of SPLC for Calling Him an Anti-Muslim Extremist Says Others Also Wrongly Labeled – Jeremiah Poff, The Daily Signal

Christian club rejects University of Iowa’s mandate to accept LGBT leaders – Calvin Freiburger, LifeSiteNews

Atheist Group Sues West Virginia City for Reciting Lord’s Prayer at Meetings – Michael Gryboski, The Christian Post

International Religious Freedom

Religious persecution in Iran, China must end now – Mike Pompeo, USA Today

American Pastor Brunson Moved from Prison to House Arrest in Turkey – Benjamin Gill, CBN News

China Detaining Over 1 Million Muslims in Concentration Camps but the World Is Silent, Believer Says – Samuel Smith, The Christian Post

Victims of Religious Persecution Tell Their Stories at International Conference in DC – Katherine Rohloff, The Daily Signal

Trinity Western and the Endangerment of Religious Pluralism in Canada – Derek Ross, Public Discourse

US Tells Iraqi Christians Help Is on Its Way (For Real This Time) – Kate Shellnutt, Christianity Today

Military Religious Freedom

Air Force surrenders to demand to replace Bible with generic ‘book of faith’ on POW/MIA table – Todd Starnes, Fox News

 

Life

Abortion

When Arguments Fail, What Do Pro-Lifers Do? – Liberty McArtor, The Stream

Pushing the abortion pill on college campuses is dangerous to women – Kristi Burton Brown, Live Action

Amazing new video illustrates humanity of preborn baby in womb – Calvin Freiburger, LifeSiteNews

7th Circuit strikes down Indiana abortion ultrasound law – Dave Stafford, The Indiana Lawyer

Planned Parenthood opening 14 new facilities in ‘deep red’ states – Claire Chretien, LifeSiteNews

The Tyranny of Reproductive “Justice” – Regis Nicoll, Crisis

Adoption

Should Kinship Care Be the Default Option for Kids in Foster Care? – Naomi Schaefer Riley, Family Studies

Welcoming an Adopted Baby Home Is Both Beautiful and Challenging — And Here’s Why We Need to Talk About It – Marianne Garvey, Bravo

Bioethics

Children Are Now Being Euthanized in Belgium – Michael Cook, Intellectual Takeout

Who gets the embryos? Whoever wants to make them into babies, new law says – Ariana Eunjung Cha, The Washington Post

Thousands of Euthanasia Killings in Canada – Wesley J. Smith, National Review

UK horror: Patients in ‘vegetative state’ can now be killed without consent – Cassy Fiano-Chesser, Live Action

What does the Bible teach about euthanasia and physician assisted suicide? – Mary Wurster, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

 

Family

Marriage

We All Marry the Wrong Person – Erin Smalley, Focus on the Family

Words of Wisdom on a Silver Anniversary – Michelle Malkin, National Review

Children of divorcing parents want more information and more say in what happens, study finds – Angus Randall, ABC News

Single Sailors Think Navy Hinders Likelihood of Marriage, Survey Says – Brock Vergakis, The Virginian-Pilot

Our Fixer-Upper Marriage – Stephanie Reeves, Family Life

God remembers the barren, and so should the church – Jenn Hesse, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Parenting

What Are Your Child’s Passions? – Dennis Prager, The Stream

Podcast: Parenting through the hard seasons – Nancy Guthrie, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

The Genetics of Parenting – Robert VerBruggen, Family Studies

I Love Being Their Mother – Jess Hunt, Her View From Home

Economics/Education

Parents… Deserve the Right to Know’: RNC Passes ‘Parents’ Rights’ Sex Ed Resolution – Mark Martin, CBN News

In Search of Family Time – Amber Lapp, Family Studies

Free-Market Policies Make the Most of the Sharing Economy – Anthony B. Kim, The Daily Signal

Family Instability in Childhood Affects American Adults’ Economic Mobility – Paola Scommegna, Population Reference Bureau

Faith/Character/Culture

Why Gratitude Is So Good for You (and for Those Around You) – Richard Gunderman, Intellectual Takeout

The family that prays together … feels connected, unified and bonded with less relational tension – Jon McBride, BYU News

Living a Life of Purpose: An Interview with Michelle Singletary – Alysse ElHage, Family Studies

Human Sexuality

The Beauty of Complementarity Goes Beyond Gender – Brett McCracken, The Gospel Coalition

What #MeToo and Hooking Up Teach Us About The Meaning of Sex – Elizabeth Schlueter and Nathan Schlueter, Public Discourse

Thinking Deeply about Christian Love: Same-Sex Attraction, Sin, and Spiritual Friendship – Ron Belgau, Public Discourse

Why ordinary people disregard the transgender movement as utterly insane – Jonathon Van Maren, LifeSiteNews

Religious Male Students Less Sexually Aggressive, Coercive, Study Finds – Anugrah Kumar, The Christian Post

Study finds health risks for transgender women on hormone therapy – Avichai Scher, NBC News

Human Trafficking

The Porn Industry and Human Trafficking Reinforce Each Other – Marlo Safi, National Review

A Need for Child Safeguarding Policies – Lana Lichfield, National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Pornography

Americans Are Rapidly Warming Up to Porn, a New Gallup Poll Shows. Here’s Why – Jon Miltimore, Intellectual Takeout

How Our More Permissive Attitudes Toward Porn May Impact Marriage – Alysse ElHage, Family Studies

Pornography is First Boom in Virtual Reality – Brynne Townley, National Center on Sexual Exploitation

 

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Nikki Haley’s Great Advice on Resurrecting Civil Discourse

by Spenser White

August 2, 2018

Our republic has a problem. Commentators have commented on it, pundits have pontificated on it—it could be the death of our society. What is this issue that could destroy our country? It is, simply, the death of civil discourse. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has been the most recent leader to address this societal problem.

Since her appointment, Ambassador Haley has become a conservative “rock star” for her stunning speeches on the UN floor. At an event at The Heritage Foundation this month, the Ambassador called the UN Human Rights Council, a council which currently includes egregious human rights violators Iran and the Congo, a “cesspool of political bias.” She has defended Israel—America’s main ally in the Middle East—countless times against its detractors in the UN.

Now Ambassador Haley is advising conservatives on their approach to debating and discussing ideas with those who may disagree. In a recent speech to a group of conservative high schoolers at the Turning Point USA conference at George Washington University, she commented on a recent trend by young people on social media: “Raise your hand if you’ve ever posted anything online to quote-unquote ‘own the libs.’” For those not up-to-date with modern slang, in this context, to “own” someone is to render them unable to reasonably reply to a sarcastic statement or zinger.

Quite a few students raised their hands and a few cheered. The ambassador then explained her view of the tactic: “I know that it’s fun and that it can feel good, but step back and think about what you’re accomplishing when you do this—are you persuading anyone? Who are you persuading? We’ve all been guilty of it at some point or another, but this kind of speech isn’t leadership—it’s the exact opposite.” Instead, Ambassador Haley offered her own definition of leadership: “Real leadership is about persuasion, it’s about movement, it’s bringing people around to your point of view. Not by shouting them down, but by showing them how it is in their best interest to see things the way you do.”

Ambassador Haley’s words line up perfectly with what Scripture says (which is not surprising, as she is a Christian). In the book of Proverbs, Solomon advises his son that “A gentle answer turns away wrath.” He then warns that the opposite, “harsh words,” only “stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). Peter writes to his readers that they should “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” and to “do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).

The fundamental issue here is how we conduct discourse. Disagreements should never become merely a platform for “zingers” in and of themselves. When one or both sides resort to name calling and/or mocking their opponent rather than using reason to persuade, nothing of any value is accomplished. For example, suppose a conservative (or liberal) posts a political statement on Facebook or another social media platform, and a commenter on the other side of the aisle replies nastily to the post. The original poster has three options: not replying, replying with the same amount of ire, or replying with the purpose of persuasion. If the poster replies with “gentleness and respect,” there is a good chance that their original argument will get a fair hearing. Obviously, civil discourse needs two participants, and the commenter may not comply, but Scripture demands that we at least try to respectfully persuade our opponents.

If our culture really is coming apart at the seams, as some commentators are bemoaning, then conservatives adding to the cacophony of empty rhetoric will certainly not aid in tamping down the culture war vitriol. If conservatives are correct, than we should be comfortable voicing our opinions reasonably. At the end of the day, resorting to “owning” our opponents with one liners and zingers will not convince anyone of the rightness of our side. Let us resurrect civil discourse for the future our of country.

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Transgender “Revolution” is Really an Elitist Diktat

by Cathy Ruse

August 1, 2018

I commend Jonathon Van Maren’s recent column, “Why Ordinary People Regard the Transgender Movement as Utterly Insane.”

Van Maren points out that the cultural “revolutions” of today—and especially the transgender revolution—are not revolutions at all. “Revolution” suggests an uprising by the people to overthrow an oppressive government or elite class.

But the transgender “revolutionaries” are, themselves, the elitists. And they push their agenda primarily from the top down. Van Maren writes:

Progressive politicians, select academics, and cowed journalists might accept the ideologies of gender-fluidity, but the average working man and woman still find much of this stuff to be insane when they are confronted with the beliefs and implications of gender fluidity. 

These ideas are being imposed on us, not demanded by us. Trans activists are demanding that the people accept their ideas. Trans activists claim that they are championing a new understanding of gender, but it is as of yet largely confined to the elites. They say that language evolves, and that trans pronouns will be ubiquitous in no time—but not even their political allies know most of these recently invented words. Despite the lighting-fast speed at which their cultural revolution has progressed, trans activists have not actually accomplished much at the grassroots level.

I suspect they know this, which is why they try so hard to force their ideologies into the schools, where they can indoctrinate the children of the working class men and women who have far too much common sense to accept their ridiculous ideas. As always, this battle will boil down to a fight for the hearts and minds of the next generation.

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