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Planned Parenthood’s assault on the unborn outrages our sense of justice, a sense engraved on the hearts upon which the “works of the law” have been “written” (Romans 2:15). Our hearts.
A lot of the articles in this edition of the Social Conservative Review pertain to the sustained and graphic portrayals of human evil depicted in the Planned Parenthood videos. Yet we take comfort in knowing those precious little lives are now in the arms of a loving Savior, their creator and eternal comforter.
It’s up to us, and those we’ve elected, to seize this moment to further focus the national conscience and end these atrocities. Christians are picketing PPFA “clinics,” urging Congress to defund this unseemly behemoth of the culture of death, and calling its justifiers to public account. Don’t let up, and keep checking www.frc.org for the latest updates. And pray for those within PPFA and for their advocates, whose blindness is so clear and whose need of Christ is so great.
Many of those voices are featured in this edition. Read them – and contact them, as many are readily accessible and can always use encouragement. The same encouragement they give us through their bold, thoughtful, promise-bearing young voices.
Ultimately, of course, Christians take encouragement in reflecting on the One of Whom Isaiah said, “He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might, He increases power” (Isaiah 40:29). That strength and power are always there for those “who for refuge to Jesus have fled.”
Rob Schwarzwalder Senior Vice-President Family Research Council
Jennifer Gruenke, a professor of biology at Union University (a Christian college in Tennessee), has written a piece in The Public Discourse challenging the “conservative approach to transgenderism,” declaring that “there are good scientific reasons for supposing that subjective experience of gender is legitimate, even when it contradicts apparent biological sex.”
One example of the “conservative approach” that Dr. Gruenke questions would be found in the Family Research Council’s recent Issue Analysis, “Understanding and Responding to the Transgender Movement,” which Dale O’Leary and I co-authored.
Only a day after Gruenke’s piece appeared, The Public Discourse published a thoughtful and thorough response by Gregory Brown. I commend it (and the FRC paper mentioned above) to your attention, and will limit my comments here to only a few.
First, Dr. Gruenke is a biologist. Therefore, perhaps not surprisingly, her article has a strong bias toward seeking biological (rather than psychological) explanations for transgenderism — the phenomenon of people experiencing an inner mental conviction that they are or should be of the gender opposite to their biological sex.
Because of this bias on the part of Dr. Gruenke, I am inclined to give more credence to the expertise of Dr. Paul McHugh, who as a psychiatrist can be expected to have insight into both the biological and psychological aspects of the issue. Dr. McHugh, former chief of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University and Hospital, is perhaps the leading expert spokesman for the “conservative approach” that Gruenke questions. McHugh has declared bluntly, “It is a disorder of the mind. Not a disorder of the body.” He has also lamented about his profession, saying, “We have wasted scientific and technical resources and damaged our professional credibility by collaborating with madness rather than trying to study, cure, and ultimately prevent it.” McHugh has written about this issue in The American Scholar, First Things, The Wall Street Journal, and The Public Discourseitself.
This is what concerned observers have been saying for years, especially in light of myriad examples of how free religious exercise has been penalized repeatedly when it conflicts with the “rights” of homosexuals (see FRC’s copiously documented “Free to Believe” site for numerous examples). Just last week, Christian educational leaders from across the country joined FRC’s Travis Weber and Greg Baylor of the Alliance Defending Freedom on a nationwide webcast to explore how the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision (finding a constitutional “right” to same-sex marriage) could well jeopardize the liberty and financial viability of religious schools and colleges. And I’ve just published an FRC Issue Brief on how the loss of tax exempt status could do profound harm to churches and religious organizations.
Green’s article begins by noting a recent ruling by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that Green called “astounding:” It says that “sexual orientation is inherently a ‘sex-based consideration,’ and an allegation of discrimination based on sexual orientation is necessarily an allegation of sex discrimination under Title VII.” This is, as Green notes, a “big deal” because it expands the definition of sex from one of biology to one of sexual “orientation,” meaning that homosexuality must now be regarded in federal law as such recognizably benign and immutable characteristics as race and ethnicity.
This should come as no surprise, really. The EEOC is led by Chai Feldblum, a former Georgetown Law professor who is reported to have said in 2006, “in almost all cases the sexual liberty should win because that’s the only way that the dignity of gay people can be affirmed in any realistic manner. I’m having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.”
Ms. Feldblum is, it would seem, as good as her word, a rare and laudable quality in the political class. Too bad that her commitment is to the side of anti-religious bigotry.
Many religious leaders, most particularly Evangelical Protestants and Catholics, have issued statements saying we will close our churches and schools and charities before bending the knee to any insistent demand we compromise the truth of Scripture and the self-apparent evidence of “the laws of nature and of nature’s God.” We have meant it. We continue to mean it.
The cost not only to the religious but to everyone who refuses to bow to subversions of our God-given liberties would be so high as to be difficult to imagine. They would render America a nation its Founders could never have imagined, a quasi-fascist state run by the repressive and coercive elites.
It’s to avoid such a fate that we will use our “tools” with all the grace, truth, courage, wisdom, and tenacity we can muster. We love our opponents too much to do otherwise.
On Monday, the Boys Scouts of America voted to allow gay adults to lead troops and work in the organization, while still letting church-chartered troops make their own decisions on this issue. While this is disappointing considering the BSA had already won a long legal battle culminating in a Supreme Court win against those who wanted to disrupt the group’s First Amendment freedom of association and force it to admit those living lives inconsistent with its values, it was not unexpected considering the BSA’s other recent actions. Despite clearly having constitutional protection, the group gave it up anyway in order to be accepted and make the cultural tension go away. This latest decision is Exhibit A for the claim that law follows culture.
But perhaps even more troubling than giving up hard-won constitutional protections was the response of those who benefit from this change. Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin wasn’t totally satisfied with the change, but added: “Including an exemption for troops sponsored by religious organizations undermines and diminishes the historic nature of today’s decision. Discrimination should have no place in the Boy Scouts, period.”
Everyone should take note of such statements, as further claims by the HRC and their allies of wanting to protect religious liberty simply can’t be trusted. Maybe the HRC never cared about religious liberty in any form, but now just thinks it can get away with making such statements and doesn’t have to hide its disregard for the concept anymore. Who knows.
Regardless, as David French points out at National Review, the fact that the new BSA policy didn’t impose on religious liberty enough “displeased the lords of political correctness” like HRC, who “would rather destroy scouting than see it maintain its culturally and religiously conservative heritage.”
Roughly 70 percent of Boy Scout troops are chartered to religious institutions, most of them Catholic, Evangelical Protestant, and Mormon. If they are forced to choose between the moral teachings of their faiths and allegiance to a BSA that mandates acceptance of gay Scout leaders, they will opt for the latter. This will lead to the collapse of the Boy Scouts of America as a viable organization. However, this evidently is inconsequential to Chad Griffin and his allies in the LGBT movement.
The Mormon church has already expressed concern about this new policy. And many churches behind troops would rather just give up their troops than compromise their beliefs. According to another report on this decision, the “BSA has vowed to provide legal support to any church-backed chartered organizations that are challenged in court over the continued ban.” Far from being heartwarming, however, this statements seems to be a tacit acknowledgement that such suits will be forthcoming. Intolerance always takes its toll on democracy.
Contrast Griffin’s position with that of Michael Harrison, a businessman who led Boy Scouts in Orange County, California, who (though still supporting the resolution) said:
“There are differences of opinion, and we need to be respectful of them … . It doesn’t mean the Mormons have to pick a gay scoutmaster, but please don’t tell the Unitarians they can’t.”
While still troublesome in light of the fact that the BSA didn’t need to voluntarily give up its protections, at least such a statement shows some respect for democratic pluralism, unlike Chad Griffin’s.
If the HRC and others are going to take the official position of not tolerating private free association in a democratic society, then we must start describing these groups as they have described themselves by their own free adoption of such a position: authoritarian, conformist, and Orwellian.
After the recent legalization of same-sex unions, the internet was in a flurry with the logical consequences of the decision. If the basis of the decision was about adult consent and autonomy, what about polygamy?
Chief Justice John G. Roberts said it best in his dissent in Obergefell:
“Although the majority randomly inserts the adjective ‘two’ in various places, it offers no reason at all why the two-person element of the core definition of marriage may be preserved while the man-woman element may not,” Roberts wrote. “Indeed, from the standpoint of history and tradition, a leap from opposite-sex marriage to same-sex marriage is much greater than one from a two-person union to plural unions, which have deep roots in some cultures around the world.”
If marriage is not between one man and one woman, why should it be between two people? Jonathan Turley, the lawyer who won the polygamy marriage case in Utah for Kody Brown and his four “Sister Wives” said “…much of the language of the majority clearly resonates with our arguments against the criminalization of private consensual relations. It also speaks to the stigma that is borne by families in being excluded in society. That is an even greater danger when your entire family is declared a criminal enterprise merely because the parents chose to cohabitate as a plural family.”
While polygamy is as “taboo” today as same-sex marriage was in decades past, the legal reasoning for opposing polygamy now has no foundation, says Fredrik deBoer, writing for Politico. With the Supreme Court decision, same-sex union advocates have succeeded in undoing natural marriage, he says. Now there is no reason for “progressive people” to oppose extending marriage rights to any and all sexual romantic relationships that adults choose.
Let’s fast-forward to another taboo topic (and with good reason): incest. Some argue that incest should be allowed because of the same arguments for autonomy, self-fulfillment and consent that we find in the arguments for same-sex unions and even for polygamy. Debra Lieberman, assistant professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara said, “We need to start asking if it’s OK to limit someone’s freedom just because we have a ‘yuck’ response to it.”
The author of this article seeks to normalize incest saying,
“When Melissa, an administrative assistant in a law firm who’s in her 20s, met an older woman named Lisa a few years ago, it was love at first sight. The two have been in a relationship ever since but know that marriage is out of the picture. And it’s not because they are lesbian. It’s because they are mother and daughter…
It wasn’t that long ago when homosexuality and sadomasochism were also considered taboo. These days, though, Hollywood’s offerings are packed with homoerotic imagery and commuters are happy to crack open a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey on the morning train to the office. So if pop culture is anything to go by (and when isn’t it?), there are some signs that romantic love between family members is slowly becoming less socially outrageous. Look no further than HBO’s Game of Thrones— which explicitly portrays sex between a brother and sister — or scenes of a mother and son going at it in Boardwalk Empire.”
Normalizing incest would be to irresponsibly promote its painful, horrible consequences—all in the name of autonomy. This would lead to health and psychological consequences which are clearly not in the best interest of those participating in it or of any children involved. Even if the two relatives are consenting adults who perceive their lifestyle choice as normal, should it have a stamp of approval and if not, on what basis do we draw the line if “love is love?”
We see how the cookie crumbles. So if marriage is no longer legally between one man and one woman, then on what basis do we draw the line against any kind of consensual “marriage” relationship? What about the “rights” of polygamists or polyamorists like those described in “One Big Happy Polyamorous Family?” And what about the “rights” of those in incestous relationships?
We have a moral obligation to severely and urgently draw the line.
Whether it is the mind-boggling cruelty of ISIS or the clinical brutality of Planned Parenthood officials contemplating the trafficking of fetal organs, we are reminded of the thin line that separates civilization from barbarism. The heart of man is desperately wicked and deceitful who could comprehend its depravity but for God alone.
Coincidental with these recent events, the AHC cable channel is now showing a new series, “Auschwitz: The Final Solution.” If it is not the best historical documentary series produced about the Nazi extermination machine and its most notorious factory of death, then it is absolutely in the top tier of such programs. It is scheduled for Mondays at 10, but there only a couple episodes remaining at most. My best advice is to set your recorder to pick up and new and repeat episodes. Sooner or later AHC will show it again. I thought that I had a good knowledge of this history, but the series proved otherwise decisively. If you have any interest in the history of the Second World War or the Holocaust you will want to watch it.
If you get Netflix, you can stream “My Italian Secret: The Forgotten Heroes,” a fine 2014 documentary that provides an overview of the manner in which many Italians, including seemingly innumerable Catholic nuns and priests, formed a human chain of cooperation across the nation to hide, move, and save thousands of Jews from the Nazis. This took place after the Germans took over the country in September 1943. Of course, a good many Italians cooperated and betrayed Jews, but the documentary shows a world less hopeless than the one encountered in Eastern Europe. Each of these Italians risked their lives, and the documentary restores some faith in human decency. Especially uplifting is the story of Tour de France-winning cyclist Gino Bartali whose activities are described along with those of other heroes.
For two decades, in the House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, and now as Governor of Kansas, Sam Brownback has stood with conviction and compassion for the unborn and for their mothers, both victimized by a predatory abortion industry. Under his leadership, Kansas has now become the eighth state to address the gruesome videos showing Planned Parenthood officials discuss the marketing of organs from unborn babies aborted late in the term of their pregnancies. Here is an excerpt from Gov. Brownback’s statement:
“Kansas remains committed to a culture that respects the dignity of life at all stages. Recent videos show Planned Parenthood employees treating the unborn as commodities as they discuss the sale of tissue and organs. This does not reflect the culture of life most Kansans want.
“We now call upon the Kansas Board of Healing Arts to address the issue of sale of tissue and organs from the unborn in its inspections of Kansas medical offices.
“Human life has dignity at all stages of life. Senate Bill 95, banning dismemberment abortion in Kansas, prevents the barbaric procedure of dismembering an unborn child.
“We must remind ourselves and others that unborn children are just that — children — with certain inalienable rights that we must respect and protect.”
FRC applauds Gov. Brownback, the governors of Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas, and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine for are standing up to the Planned Parenthood behemoth in calling for reviews of Planned Parenthood practices and how they might violate the law.