FRC Blog

Social Conservative Review - February 15, 2019

by Daniel Hart

February 15, 2019

Dear Friends,

In recent weeks, as the Democratic Party further entrenches itself in the support of late-term abortion to the point of infanticide, I have often found myself feeling angry and disgusted toward these elected officials who seem so lacking in basic human decency. (If these politicians were standing in the room where a late-term abortion was taking place or where a baby was literally born alive after a failed abortion, would they still hold the same view? One has to wonder…)

During such highly-charged emotional times in public life that we are currently in, I’ve found it very easy to demonize and dehumanize these pro-abortion elected officials in my own mind. We human beings have a tendency to condemn without a second thought, and condemnation can quickly become personal. You’ve probably heard it many times before, but it bears repeating: we must condemn actions, not people. But there’s something else we must do as pro-life Christians that goes beyond condemnation of actions, and it’s more important: prayer. Our Savior Himself commanded it: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:43-45).

Are we praying every day for Andrew Cuomo, for Ralph Northam, for Nancy Pelosi, for Chuck Schumer, for all other elected officials who publicly support abortion, that they will have a change of heart? As Christians, prayer must be our very first impulse whenever we face any kind of challenge, or before we do anything at all, for that matter (1 Thessalonians 5:17). When we feel powerless to affect change for good, prayer gives us peace of mind to know that we are doing something. For we know that God listens to and answers our prayers (1 Peter 3:12).

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 Media

Issue Brief: Rebels Without a Clause: When Senators Run Roughshod Over the “No Religious Test” Clause of the U.S. Constitution – Alexandra McPhee

Issue Analysis: Department of Defense on Why Those with “Gender Dysphoria” Are Disqualified from Military Service – Peter Sprigg

A Christian War Memorial in No Way Violates the Establishment Clause – Alexandra McPhee

When Free Exercise Comes at a Price – Alexandra McPhee

What a Title IX Proposal Means for Religious Liberty – Alexandra McPhee

Democratic Congresswoman Condemns Religious Bigotry, Standing up to Her Party in a Rare Act of Courage – David Closson

Chris Pratt’s Bible-inspired diet highlights a discipline from a spiritual dimension – Tony Perkins

New York and Planned Parenthood, a eugenic match made in Heaven – Patrina Mosley

The Conscience of A Nation: Defeating Democrat Extremism – Ken Blackwell

Targeting of Karen Pence is wake-up call to all Christians – Travis Weber

FRC Speaker Series: Religious Freedom, Trade Talks, and China

FRC Speaker Series: Should We Pull Our Kids Out of Public School?

FRC Speaker Series: The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies are Destroying Lives – Jennifer Roback Morse

Party of “Tolerance” is Intolerant to American’s Views on Late-Term Abortion – Patrina Mosley

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

Will Women’s Restrooms Be Ruled Obsolete? – Peter Sprigg

Contributors to Sexual Exploitation are Called Out – Patrina Mosley

Return to the Constitution: Judicial Activism or Originalism? – Zachary Rogers

The Cost of Sending Your Kids to Public School Just Might Be Their Souls – Cathy Ruse

10 Nominees Have Faced Unconstitutional Religious Tests in Less Than 2 Years – Alexandra McPhee

Marriage Gives Love a Canvas to Paint On – Dan Hart

President Trump’s Pro-Life Proclamation – David Closson

The Pro-Infanticide Party – David Closson

Hotel Trans: Check In Any Time, But Never Leave – Cathy Ruse

 

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

The Ever-Present Totalitarian Temptation – George Weigel, First Things

Vermont discriminates against students of religious high schools, lawsuit claims – Jess Aloe, Burlington Free Press

Jewish Therapist Sues New York City Over Law Banning Faith-Based LGBT Counseling – Joshua Nelson, The Daily Signal

Judge says Tampa ban on conversion therapy may violate therapists’ free speech rights – Avery Anapol, The Hill

International Religious Freedom

Pakistan’s Supreme Court Dismisses Challenge to Asia Bibi Blasphemy Acquittal – Hannah Brockhaus, National Catholic Register

Asia Bibi stuck in Pakistan, frustrated and afraid amid threats – Brandon Showalter, The Christian Post

Philippine Church Bombing Kills 20 After Vote for Muslim Governance – Kate Shellnutt, Christianity Today

N. Korean Christians keep faith underground amid crackdowns – Hyung-Jin Kim, AP

Military Religious Freedom

Americans Tell Atheists: Keep Your Hands Off Our War Memorials – ToddStarnes.com

 

Life

Abortion

OB/GYNs, Nurses Speak Out Against NY Abortion Law: It Is Never Necessary to Kill Baby for Health, Life of Mother – Heather Clark, Christian News

Planned Parenthood Made $245 Million Last Year Killing Babies in Abortions – Lauretta Brown, LifeNews

Vermont Abortion Bill Goes Further than Virginia and New York’s – Wesley J. Smith, National Review

New York, Abortion, and a Short Route to Chaos – Bishop Robert Barron, Word on Fire

Bookstore Owner Makes Viral Statement About New York Abortion Law – Mary Margaret Olohan, The Daily Caller

Infanticide Becomes Justifiable – Wesley J. Smith, First Things

Abortion’s Devastating Impact Upon Black Americans – Arthur Goldberg, Public Discourse

Adoption

Mothers Are Killing Babies Who Could Fill The Empty Arms Of Millions Of Loving Couples – Adam Mill, The Federalist

 

Family

Marriage

How Can Marriage Be Good for Mental Health? – David Levine, U.S. News & World Report

Giving Up Good Things for the Best Things in Marriage – Selena Frederick, Focus on the Family

Resources for Building a Marriage that Lasts – Alysse ElHage, Family Studies

How We Saved Our Marriage in the Final HourHer View From Home

A Finance Guide for Married Couples – Phillip Holmes, The Gospel Coalition

Don’t Put Your Hope in Date Night – Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler, The Gospel Coalition

More Tips to Promote a Strong Marriage – Jim Graves, National Catholic Register

My Husband Isn’t Romantic, But He’s Still Mr. Right – Jenny Albers, Her View From Home

Parenting

Dad—A Girl’s First and Most Influential Love – Timothy Rarick, Family Studies

Parental Involvement: How Much Is Too Much? – Child Trends

What It’s Like When the Kids Grow Up: A Conversation Between Two Moms – Carolyn Lankford and Anna Meade Harris, rooted

Webinar: The Unique Contributions Of Fathers To Their Children’s Development – Institute for Research on Poverty

Economics/Education

Despite Government Shutdown, Job Growth Soars in January – Timothy Doescher, The Daily Signal

The “Green New Deal” Would Only Crush People’s Spirit – Rob Schwarzwalder, The Stream

Faith/Character/Culture

Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence – Alex Berenson, Imprimis

The Internet and Satan’s Game – Bishop Robert Barron, Word on Fire

You Don’t Have to Have a Well-Formed Opinion on Everything – Trevin Wax, The Gospel Coalition

Psychology as Indoctrination: Girls Rule, Boys Drool? – Leonard Sax, Family Studies

Are Smartphones and Social Media Hurting Our Kids? – Charles Fain Lehman, Family Studies

A Different Kind of Love – Nancy Flory, The Stream

Human Sexuality

The Left is Shunning Liberals With Concerns About Transgender Agenda – Ryan Anderson, The Stream

Pressure to conform – Jamie Dean, WORLD

True love waits: Suggestions for a more holistic purity culture – Alex Ward, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Cohabitation Doesn’t Compare: Marriage, Cohabitation, and Relationship Quality – W. Bradford Wilcox, Family Studies

6 ways pastors can care for victims of sexual abuse – Trillia Newbell, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Human Trafficking

How to Spot Sex Trafficking; Super Bowl Sunday and Beyond – Tiffany Powell, National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Nevada Has the Highest Rates of an Illegal Sex Trade in the Nation – National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Pornography

What kids aren’t telling parents about porn on social media – Gail Dines, The Boston Globe

Seeing is (Not) Believing: How Viewing Pornography Shapes the Religious Lives of Young Americans – Samuel L. Perry and George M. Hayward, Social Forces

Want To Connect More Deeply With Other People? Consider Quitting Porn – Fight the New Drug

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Party of “Tolerance” is Intolerant to American’s Views on Late-Term Abortion

by Patrina Mosley

February 15, 2019

Hillary Clinton, the most popular loser of two presidential elections, keeps talking, and keeps lying. On February 12th, she tweeted, “Only about 1% of abortions happen later in pregnancy—almost always because a woman’s health or life is at risk, or the pregnancy is no longer viable.  Lying about this is dangerous, and a slap in the face to families who face heartbreaking situations.”

She accuses President Trump of lying when he rebuked Democrats for their support of late-term abortions and infanticide during his State of the Union speech. However, the second half of Clinton’s tweet is wrong.

According to pro-abortion research from the Guttmacher Institute, “data suggests that most women seeking later terminations are not doing so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment.”

One of the most defining moments of the 2016 elections was the debate between Clinton and Trump on abortion. When Trump vividly and accurately described what happens to a living child in a late-term abortion, it not only woke a lot of Americans up to the morality of protecting life but also showed a powerful contrast between the two parties and made the Democrat’s mantra for women of “my body, my choice” look inhumane and barbaric.

Trump won. Hillary lost.

Even New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is paying a political price as his approval rating has dropped to its lowest level in eight years as governor.

Despite all of this, Democrats are intent on forcing a radical abortion agenda on Americans.

A 2018 Gallup poll on American’s attitudes toward abortion showed that Americans’ “support for the legality of abortion varies sharply when they are asked to evaluate it on a trimester basis” and significantly drops in support after the first trimester.

The most recent Marist polling showed that Americans want limits on abortion:

  • Three in four Americans (75 percent) say abortion should be limited to – at most – the first three months of pregnancy. This includes most of those who identify as Republicans (92 percent), independents (78 percent) and Democrats (60 percent). It also includes more than six in 10 (61 percent) who identify as pro-choice.”

A national survey on late-term abortion from Americans United for Life/YouGov Survey found that even “pro-choice” Americans oppose abortion in the third trimester and removing care for a viable child:

  • 68% of pro-choice Americans oppose abortion the day before a child is born;
  • 66% of pro-choice Americans oppose abortion in the third trimester;
  • 77% of pro-choice Americans oppose removing medical care for a viable child”

A new poll released by Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) finds that:

  • 77 percent of voters support legislation to ensure that a baby who survives a failed abortion “be given the same medical treatment as any other baby born prematurely at the same age” (with 55 percent in “strong” support).
  • 62 percent of voters oppose legislation to allow late-term abortions, “even up to the point when a woman is in labor” (with 50 percent in “strong” opposition).

Even as Rhode Island is attempting to mimic New York’s extreme abortion law, an overwhelming majority of likely voters in the state are saying: NO!

The party of “tolerance” is seemingly unashamed of being intolerant towards Americans who do not want to see babies slaughtered both inside and outside of the womb.

While we pray for all those in power to acknowledge the truth, we should remember the right to life when heading to the polls. Innocent lives depend on it.

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

by Hugh Phillips

February 14, 2019

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

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

1. Marriage is a gift.

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

2. Marriage is a responsibility.

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

3. Marriage is critical to the maintenance of society.

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

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

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

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Will Women’s Restrooms Be Ruled Obsolete?

by Peter Sprigg

February 13, 2019

In a significant ruling last week, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Fifth Circuit ruled against a male-to-female transgender person, Nicole C. Wittmer, who had sued the Phillips 66 Company for employment discrimination. Wittmer contended that Phillips 66 had withdrawn a job offer after learning that Wittmer identifies as transgender. (Hat tip to Ed Whelan for his excellent two-part post on the case at National Review, here and here.)

Federal law does not prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of “gender identity.” After years of failing to persuade Congress to add “gender identity” (or “sexual orientation”) as a protected category in federal civil rights laws, LGBT activists have adopted a new legal strategy. They now contend that discrimination based on gender identity is already illegal because it is a form of discrimination based on “sex,” which was prohibited along with racial discrimination by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Specific lawsuits rest not only on such abstract legal theories, but also on specific facts. In this case, both the District Court and the Fifth Circuit decided for Phillips 66, the defendant. The evidence showed that the plaintiff Wittmer had been fired by his previous employer, a fact which Wittmer did not disclose to Phillips 66. It was the discovery of that deception that led the company to withdraw a job offer—not transgender discrimination.

Therefore, it was actually not necessary for the court to decide whether sex discrimination encompasses “gender identity.” However, on this threshold question, the District Court had said yes. Judge James C. Ho wrote a separate concurrence to explain why Title VII does not cover either gender identity (at issue in this case) or sexual orientation. At 14 pages, his concurrence is actually twice as long as the majority opinion (which Ho also wrote).

I highly recommend this concurrence. Judge Ho does a good job of explaining two different theories of interpretation of sex discrimination. Under the “favoritism” theory, an act is only “sex discrimination” if it favors one sex over the other. Under the “blindness theory” (relied on by the plaintiff), an act is “sex discrimination” if it takes sex into account in any way at all (in this case, because women may wear dresses to work but men may not, for example).

Judge Ho points out very bluntly that under the “blindness theory,” it would not be permissible to have “separate bathrooms and changing rooms for men and women.” And an attorney for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, permitted to participate as a “friend of the court,” conceded this point at oral argument (see p. 16 of the opinion).

This is significant. Up to now in the bathroom debates, transgender activists have conceded the legitimacy of separate men’s and women’s facilities, but have argued that people should be allowed to use the one that corresponds to their gender identity rather than their biological sex. But now we have a concession that a logical implication of the argument they are using for counting “gender identity” discrimination as a form of “sex discrimination” is that we could not have separate facilities at all.

Courts should not be rewriting laws just because LGBT activists have not persuaded Congress to do so. But if they adopt the approach transgender activists want, they may not only usurp the powers of Congress—they may abolish separate men’s and women’s locker rooms, showers, and restrooms altogether.

So much for the “right to privacy.”

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Contributors to Sexual Exploitation are Called Out

by Patrina Mosley

February 12, 2019

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), the leading national organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation, has released their annual “Dirty Dozen List” that exposes and calls to account groups, agencies, and businesses who contribute significantly to the normalization of sexual exploitation through pornography, prostitution, sex trafficking, and other forms of exploitation.

At yesterday’s event announcing the list, NCOSE said, “This list ensures that their participation and collusion with the various aspects of the sex trade becomes public knowledge and equips citizens with information and tools to hold them accountable.” The Dirty Dozen List is meant to be an activism tool for consumers and a public call for these companies to reform their exploitive policies.

Since 2011, NCOSE has instigated 98 policy improvements in corporations and government entities. As NCOSE’s vice president of advocacy and outreach Haley Halverson said, “No corporation should profit from or facilitate sexual exploitation.”

Here is this year’s Dirty Dozen List of shame. Click on the organization’s name to join the campaign and send a message to these entities that are profiting from the sexual exploitation of women and children.

1. Amazon

Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer” is “promoting material that sexualizes children and normalizes the dehumanization and sexual commodification of women.” … “Items for sale on Amazon include child-like sex dolls, photography books with eroticized child nudity, pornographic magazines, and clothing items, and more. Their Kindle e-reader is riddled with sexually explicit content containing incest, babysitter, and group-sex themes.”

2. EBSCO

EBSCO Information Services offers online library resources to public and private schools (K-12), colleges and universities, public libraries, and more. In its advertising for schools, it promises ‘fast access to curriculum-appropriate content.’ However, its Explora, Science Reference Center, Literary Reference Center, and other products, sometimes provide easy access to hardcore pornography sites and extremely graphic sexual content.”

3. Google

Google Chromebook, which is often used in schools, is marketed as “built from the ground up to be shared with an unlimited number of students.” “Unfortunately, many schools distribute unprotected and unfiltered Chromebooks when Google could easily turn on a default setting for safer use by children.” … “YouTube, the world’s largest video-sharing platform, regularly hosts pornography and sexual violence while Google shirks responsibility by forcing users to act at content flaggers.”

4. HBO

HBO, a division of Time Warner, is an American premium cable television network that has consistently produced content which normalizes rape myths, sexual violence, and commercial sexual exploitation through [sic] with sexually exploitive depictions of sex and sexual violence. This has been displayed over the years through shows like Game of Thrones and The Deuce. The HBO GO home streaming service and app make accessing this exploitive content even easier.”

5. Massage Envy

Massage Envy has been and is being, sued by hundreds of women for failing to take appropriate measures when a massage therapist sexually harasses or assaults a client. Among a number of poor policies, the company has hidden clauses in customer agreements which force women to surrender their rights, and many former employees report being trained to do all in their power not to encourage police to show up at their locations.  Massage Envy does not even require reporting of suspected assaults to the Massage Therapy Board and a number of cases against Massage Envy involve prior complaints of sexual assault by customers being made to management and them doing nothing about it, thus allowing perpetrators to continue preying on vulnerable clients.”

6. Netflix

Despite much highly-rated originally produced content on its platform, Netflix sinks to storytelling which portrays gratuitous nudity and graphic sex acts in shows meant for teen and young audiences. Further, Netflix portrays graphic and violent depictions of sexual assault in a number of their shows and has even produced shows normalizing sex trafficking and eroticizing children. Netflix allows a loophole for children to easily get around parental control features and it regularly recommends children’s content paired right next to NC17 and TV-MA content.”

7. State of Nevada

Nevada is the only state in America with legalized brothel prostitution, in select counties. As of February 2018, there were at least 21 brothels active in Nevada. While some may claim that legalization provides better regulation and increased safety – the truth is that sexual violence, racism, and socioeconomic disadvantages are inextricable from the prostitution experience.”

8. Roku

Roku, a leading media streaming company, provides its users with the ability to stream television programs, movies, music, and more, on their personal devices. Unfortunately, Roku also facilitates access to hardcore pornography channels through hundreds of private and hidden channels.”

9. Sports Illustrated (Swimsuit Issue)

Since 1964 this magazine has sexually objectified women for sport and profit.” … “These images are not designed to be empowering. Rather, they are designed to portray women as sexually desirable and available to the male customers purchasing this magazine. Women who have achieved remarkable athletic feats do not deserve to be put back into the box of male sexual accessibility in order to promote ‘body positivity.’”

10. Steam

Steam® is a popular distribution platform, owned by Valve Corporation, which sells thousands of video games for PC, Mac, Linux box, mobile device, or even televisions, in addition to connecting gamers with community forums on its website.” After receiving backlash from gamers about working to remove rape-themed games, Steam instituted a new policy to “allow everything onto the Steam Store, except for things that we decide are illegal, or straight up trolling.” As soon as this new policy launched, the number of games tagged for “nudity” doubled from approximately 700 games to around 1,400 in just four months—and now there are over 2,000 games with this tag.

11. Twitter

For years, Twitter has done little to stem the overwhelming tide of sex trafficking, prostitution, and pornography accounts on its site. In fact, media reports suggest that as many as 10 million Twitter accounts may include explicit sexual content. Twitter prides itself as being a platform for ‘free expression’ yet refuses to remove accounts posting likely advertisements for sexual slavery.”

12. United Airlines

United Airlines fails to adequately train aircrews to address the problem of pornography-use on airplanes and the sexually hostile environment that this fosters. While reports of sexual harassment and even assault have increased in the airline industry, United Airlines has not prioritized policies and procedures to keep customers safe.”

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Return to the Constitution: Judicial Activism or Originalism?

by Zachary Rogers

February 12, 2019

FRC has consistently maintained that the Supreme Court needs to bring legal precedent more in line with the Constitution and the principles of the Declaration of Independence. But if this effort is taken up in earnest by a newly conservative Court, it is likely to be tarred as “judicial activism.” Judicial activism occurs when a judge applies his views rather than a faithful interpretation of the law to the case before him. What is needed, and what we look forward to seeing with the appointment of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh and many more lower court judges, is judges’ faithful interpretation of the Constitution and the laws to the cases before them.

However, many on the Left think that overturning any of the bad precedent churned out by the Supreme Court is partisan judicial activism. It is not. To understand this, we must comprehend the structure the Framers crafted, the role of judicial review within it, and the place of the other branches within this system.

The Framers carefully crafted a system of ordered liberty, which entrusted certain enumerated powers to the national government and reserved the rest to the people and the states. The improved science of politics included checks and balances, separation of powers, and elected representatives.

They did this because the legislature and executive branch “could be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void.” In essence, Congress would promulgate laws, the president would execute them, and the Supreme Court would adjudicate the relevant laws in individual cases.

The Framers created a system of checks and balances in which ambition would be made to counteract ambition. Each branch was expected to protect its prerogatives and powers, thus enforcing separation of powers and preventing tyranny—the accumulation of legislative, executive, and judicial power. This system of limited government and ordered liberty under the Constitution has shifted since 1787.

The Constitution is the highest law of the land because it is the settled and deliberate will of the people against which congressional laws, executive actions, and Supreme Court decisions must be measured. Traditionally, all three of the branches were expected to be faithful to the Constitution in the execution of their duties.

The Progressive Era, however, caused the modern American regime to shift dangerously to the left. The president is no longer expected merely to execute the laws passed by Congress but to nudge the American people in a partisan direction. Congress spends little time passing laws; instead, it occupies most of its time overseeing executive agencies while delegating lawmaking to executive agencies. The Supreme Court perceives itself the ultimate interpreter of the Constitution—which could be defined in accord with the intent of the Framers or according to the “living” Constitution desired by the liberals.

The rise of the modern court occurred for two reasons. First, the theory of the living Constitution requires the document to be interpreted in accord with the spirit of the times. This requires it to have no fixed meaning, subject to varying interpretation, and acting as a vehicle of “progress” to move the American people forward. Second, modern liberals were able to use the courts to achieve social and political change. They were forced to do so because they were unable to achieve decisive victory at the ballot box, which would have allowed them to implement their desired laws and policy objectives.

One of the reasons Supreme Court practice has strayed from the Founder’s intentions is an erroneous understanding of Marbury v. Madison (1803). The modern understanding of this case is that the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and all officials must comply with it. In fact, the Court ruled that when a law conflicts with the Constitution it is the Constitution that is paramount.

Judicial review is simply the authority to declare acts void when they conflict with the Constitution. A strict fidelity to the original meaning of the Constitution limits judges’ power. If a law violates the Constitution of the Framers, then it must be declared void.

Therefore, Supreme Court decisions are not the last word and may in fact be revisited in order to uphold a proper constitutional construction. In this partisan atmosphere, Christians and conservatives should expect charges of judicial activism in an effort to tar genuine efforts to return to constitutional law. A true recognition of judicial activism lets the American people distinguish between a rejection, distortion, or return to the Constitution.

Zachary Rogers is a Government Affairs intern at Family Research Council.

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The Cost of Sending Your Kids to Public School Just Might Be Their Souls

by Cathy Ruse

February 11, 2019

Recent decades have seen “Mommy Wars” about daycare and breastfeeding. Are we on the cusp of a new fight over whether to send your kids to public school?

If so, I say bring it on. It’s long overdue.

Should we pull our kids out of public school? Millions of parents with children in public schools can’t believe they’re asking this question. But they are.

Family Research Council hosted an expert panel on this question last week. Grab a cup of coffee and an hour and watch it here.

The panel features Mary Hasson, a lawyer and writer with the Ethics and Public Policy Center discussing her new book, Get Out Now: Why You Should Pull Your Child from Public School Before It’s Too Late.

The first consideration for people of faith is, well, faith. Does attending government schools impact a child’s faith as an adult? Hasson cited bracing research that suggests it does. In one study on Catholic children, only 5 percent continued to practice their faith as adults after going through public school as kids, compared to 40 percent who kept their faith after attending Catholic schools. Evangelical children experience a similar loss of their Christian faith.

Not only are American public schools hostile to religious faith, there are hostile to America. Hasson discussed how there is much less history taught today—less civics, but more activism. Capitalism is degraded, socialism is promoted—with your tax dollars.

But the game-changer, said Hasson, is the “fractured concept” of the human person that public schools now teach. Sex confusion and transsexualism are dogma. And this anti-science propaganda is producing disturbing results: some schools see up to 20 percent of their students identifying as LGBTQ, said Hasson.

Even when schools allow parents to excuse their children from classes about their changeable genders, “you can’t opt a child out of the school culture.” Schools have embraced the idea that, since any child can be “trans,” every child must be treated as potentially “trans.” This approach is “baked into the culture” of government schools today.

Activist and public school parent Meg Kilgannon provided another perspective on the question. There’s too much public money on the table to just leave it to liberals to use as they wish to ruin our nation’s children. While conservatives bicker endlessly about charter schools vs. vouchers, Leftists are happily spending our tax money molding the nation’s young minds in their image.

Kilgannon knows the fight in Fairfax County fight well. She is a parent activist par excellence who has stayed in the system but fought to protect her kids every step of the way.

If conservative and Christian families leave, what about the children left behind? These children, said Kilgannon, will be our nation’s future teachers, doctors, lawyers, politicians, presidents, etc. The future of our nation is inextricably tied to the state of our public schools today.

Both panelists agreed that there are good and faithful teachers and administrators who are faithful to their calling to educate and not indoctrinate. But they find themselves in a tenuous position if they question the radical sex ed or identity politics that their professional associations peddle.

Both agreed, too, that parents’ first duty is to their children.

Hasson’s final point has stayed with me more than any other. Every education choice bears a cost, she said. The cost of private schools can be a mountain of tuition dollars, the cost of homeschooling includes time and lost income. But the cost of public schools just might be your children’s souls.

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10 Nominees Have Faced Unconstitutional Religious Tests in Less Than 2 Years

by Alexandra McPhee

February 11, 2019

Imagine that one day you sit down for a job interview. You are prepared to answer your interviewer’s questions and demonstrate your qualifications for the position.

Then imagine getting asked a question that has nothing to do with whether you are qualified for the job. In fact, though irrelevant, the question has to do with something very personal—your faith.

Do you personally believe that gay relationships are a sin?”

Do you intend to end your membership with this faith-based organization to avoid any appearance of bias in your new position?”

As your interviewer keeps probing for an answer, you realize that whether you get the job depends entirely on your answer to this irrelevant question. And you realize that no matter what your answer is, the interviewer has already made up her mind.

After all, how do you respond to comments like “I think whatever a religion is, it has its own dogma” or “religion has been used as a ruse to discriminate”?

You have just imagined the job interviews for 10 presidential nominees and their experience before the United States Senate. Not only were they questioned about their faith—they were questioned publicly and by senators who had every intention of casting them in a negative light based on their answers. And on more than one occasion, senators relied on the mischaracterizations of faith-based organizations perpetuated by groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group hostile to several faith-based organizations.

FRC’s new Issue Brief Rebels Without a Clause: When Senators Run Roughshod Over the “No Religious Test” Clause of the U.S. Constitution catalogs a disturbing trend by senators of interrogating nominees about the particulars of their beliefs or affiliations that demonstrate a hostility towards religion. The questions go beyond a reasonable inquiry into whether the nominee can remain impartial if faced with circumstances that conflict with her personal values. They aim to paint the nominee as discriminatory, partial, and incapable of faithfully carrying out her official duties.

Regardless of the political party of the senator, the nominee’s religious beliefs, or the particular office, these questions deter qualified candidates from pursuing public office at a time when we need them most. Faith and religion, after all, are often the foundation of integrity and character. The hostility and mistrust of religion that underlies these questions threaten to create a deficit of true leaders who are often such great role models because of their faith.

As commentators continue to draw attention to this flagrant display of bias against certain religious beliefs, we hope our elected leaders will understand that voters will not tolerate attacks against qualified candidates in exchange for fleeting political gain.

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Marriage Gives Love a Canvas to Paint On

by Daniel Hart

February 8, 2019

This week is National Marriage Week, so it’s a great time to reflect on the beauty and fundamental importance of marriage.

Over the last few decades, a plethora of social science has come out about how marriage is highly beneficial for the health and well-being of men, women, children, and society in almost every way.

Whether our culture admits it or not, all of these studies merely confirm what we already know deep down to be true. All of us are born with an innate intuition that there is something primal and essential about marriage that goes to the core of who we are as human beings. Even liberal Hollywood stars have an instinctive sense that there is something distinctive and vital about marriage. Liam Hemsworth, who recently married Miley Cyrus after a 10-year on-and-off again relationship, observed: “We’ve been together for a long time and it felt like it was the right time to do it…Not much about the relationship changes [after marriage], but you kind of have… the husband and wife thing, it’s great. I’m loving it.”

Children do too. When a child grows up with a single parent, there will inevitably be a day when that child asks of their own accord, “Where is my Dad?” or “Where is my Mom?” This primordial question about our origins points directly toward what marriage is: the binding, natural, covenantal vow that our Creator designed to keep men and women, mothers and fathers—and therefore society itself—bonded together. When something is missing from this bond, we know it to our core, even as children.

Sadly, the influence of culture has caused many to ignore their intuition, and as a result, marriage is now widely seen as at worst constraining and at best optional. Many now ask, “Why should I bother to get married?” The cultural ubiquity and acceptance of cohabitation, contraception, and divorce has made marriage seem irrelevant in the minds of many.

There’s one simple answer to this question: love. We were created by Love itself (1 John 4:9), we came into the world through an act of love, and our purpose as human beings is to love. Simply put, marriage gives our capacity for love a canvas to paint on, a canvas that is formed by the vow that we make to our beloved. Day in and day out, that canvas is right there in front of us—our spouses and our children—waiting to be loved. And as the years stretch on and we recommit ourselves to our vow on a daily basis, God continually infuses us with His grace, stretching that canvas ever larger and our hearts ever wider, making all things new with each sunrise.

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President Trump’s Pro-Life Proclamation

by David Closson

February 6, 2019

Last night, President Trump delivered his annual State of the Union address, highlighting his administration’s achievements on the economy, taxes, and foreign policy, and calling for bipartisan solutions on immigration, infrastructure, and health care.

However, for social conservatives, the highlight of the speech was undoubtedly the president’s forceful denouncement of late-term abortion. Referring to recent legislation passed in New York that stripped explicit protections for babies born alive following a failed abortion, the president said:

There could be no greater contrast to the beautiful image of a mother holding her infant child than the chilling displays our Nation saw in recent days. Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth. These are living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and dreams with the world.

The president also referenced embattled Virginia Governor Ralph Northam who last week appeared to endorse letting born alive babies die. President Trump did not mince words as he explained, “the Governor of Virginia… basically stated he would execute a baby after birth.”

Continuing with the topic of late-term abortion, President Trump asked Congress to pass legislation to prohibit “the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb.”

He then offered stirring words that may be without precedent in modern American political history. Looking out at the gathered dignitaries, government officials, and lawmakers in the House chamber, President Trump said:

Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life. And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: all children – born and unborn – are made in the holy image of God.

From the perspective of the Christian worldview, one of the most fundamental doctrines affirmed in the Bible is the imago dei, the belief that all people are made in the image of God. By rooting his support for “all children, born and unborn” in the image of God, President Trump affirmed the biblical principle that all people possess dignity and value by virtue of being created by God. For Christians, human dignity and the sanctity of life are grounded in this doctrine, and it is quite remarkable for the President of the United States to affirm this belief in the State of the Union address.

Unfortunately, but predictably, the president’s political opponents did not respond favorably. As the cameras panned across the Democratic lawmakers, their response was painfully and visibly clear. To the President’s call to pass legislation that would prohibit abortion procedures when babies can feel pain, the Democrats sat stone faced, refusing to applaud. The lone exceptions appeared to be Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Congressman Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) who joined Republican lawmakers in giving the president a standing ovation for his support for unborn and newly born babies.

In response to the president’s public support for a ban on late-term abortion and infanticide, FRC President Tony Perkins said:

The president was right to call out the atrocious actions of lawmakers in New York and Virginia in pushing America toward infanticide. President Trump has not only been the most passionate president in talking about the humanity of the unborn, he has been the most persistent in protecting them.

Tony Perkin’s full statement on the State of the Union can be accessed here.

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