Month Archives: April 2015

New Annual Report on International Religious Liberty Now Available

by Rob Schwarzwalder

April 30, 2015

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), where I served briefly as Acting Director of Communications, has issued its 2015 annual report on religious liberty worldwide.

As noted by Knox Thames, USCIRF’s Director of Policy and Research, “The Commission is an independent U.S. government advisory body separate from the State Department that monitors religious freedom worldwide and makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and the Congress.”

Individual country reports are available in English and in the national languages of each country. Thames comments that the Annual Report, released today, “documents religious freedom abuses and violations in 33 countries and makes county-specific policy recommendations for U.S. policy. This report covers the period of January 2014 through January 2015.” He continues that the report:

  • Recommends that the Secretary of State re-designate nine countries as “countries of particular concern,” or CPCs, for egregious religious freedom violations: Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan;
  • Recommends that eight additional countries be designated as CPCs: Central African Republic, Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria, Tajikistan, and Vietnam;
  • Urges increased U.S. government attention to 10 countries placed on USCIRF’s Tier 2: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Laos, Malaysia, Russia, and Turkey; and
  • Highlights concerns in Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Cyprus, Kyrgyzstan, and Sri Lanka.

In the Annual Report, USCIRF urges that the United States “support a referral by the UN Security Council to the International Criminal Court to investigate ISIL (sic) violations in Iraq and Syria against religious and ethnic minorities” and “that the State Department designate Central African Republic as a CPC. In addition to country chapters, the report provides overarching recommendations for U.S. foreign policy as it relates to the promotion of religious freedom internationally.”

As the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees notes, “With nearly 900,000 people from the Central African Republic (CAR) forcibly displaced since the outbreak of violence in December 2013, the CAR crisis is quickly becoming the largest forgotten humanitarian crisis of our time. There are more than 460,000 CAR refugees in neighbouring (sic) countries and some 436,000 people are internally displaced. In the Central African Republic, a total of 2.7 million people are in need of humanitarian aid.”

FRC has been a strong advocate for the persecuted church worldwide. Under the leadership of FRC President Tony Perkins, we played a leading role in the release last year of imprisoned Christian Mariam Ibrahim, and have held several webcasts on international religious liberty.

To find out about Christian ministries working to protect persecuted Christians and also meet the profound needs of people in places like the CAR, go to the ServantMatch site of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (of which FRC is a member) or the Catholic Charities website.

Kentucky Judge Affirms First Amendment

by Travis Weber

April 28, 2015

In an Opinion and Order released yesterday — and a model explanation of what the First Amendment is designed to protect — a Kentucky state court judge explained why a small business owner could not be forced to print a message to which he objected on t-shirts requested by a customer.

Hands on Originals (HOO) is a small business in Kentucky which makes promotional products like hats, shirts, bags, etc., and prints messages on these products for its customers. The business is owned and run by Blaine Adamson and other Christians who want to express their faith as they run their business.

HOO was asked to produce t-shirts for the “Lexington Pride Festival” organized by the GLSO (Gay and Lesbian Services Organization), but the owners had personal objections to promoting the message of the event and preferred not to.

For as the Kentucky court notes, “producing the t-shirts as requested would require HOO to print a t-shirt with the words ‘Lexington Pride Festival’ communicating the message that people should take pride in sexual relationships or sexual activity outside of a marriage between a man and a woman,” and “Adamson has consistently expressed his belief that this activity would disobey God if he were to authorize HOO to print materials expressing that message.”

Thus, Adamson told [GLSO] that HOO could not print the t-shirts because those promotional items did not reflect the values of HOO and HOO did not want to support the festival in that way.”

Based on the above, the Kentucky court clearly and unambiguously found that the First Amendment protected Adamson and HOO from government coercion requiring them to print the t-shirts.

The First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause prevents the government from compelling and coercing private citizens to communicate a message or speak against their will. As the Supreme Court said in Wooley v. Maynard, these protections include “both the right to speak freely and the right to refrain from speaking at all.”

If the Supreme Court held in Wooley that the First Amendment ensured motorists could not be forced to display a license plate with the motto “Live Free or Die,” then Blaine Adamson cannot be forced to produce for a customer a t-shirt which he does not want to display.

As the Kentucky court correctly pointed out:

The Hearing Commissioner in its Order attempted to distinguish Wooley from the case at bar with the explanation that “In this case there was no government mandate that the Respondent (HOO) speak.” (Hearing Commissioner Order at p 14). If this is characterized as a Finding of Fact, it is inaccurate, is not supported by the Record and is clearly erroneous. In fact, HOO and its owners, because they refused to print the GLSO t-shirts that offended their sincerely held religious beliefs, have been punished for the exercise of their Constitutional rights to refrain from being forced to speak. The statement is not a fair or accurate Conclusion of Law either based upon precedent from the United States Supreme Court. HOO and its owners have a Constitutional right to refrain from speaking just as much as they enjoy the Constitutional right to speak freely. Wooley, supra.

The court dismissed the argument that HOO treated homosexual groups any differently from heterosexual groups by pointing out that HOO declined to print 13 orders based on the message — whether it was homosexual or heterosexual — over the course of several years. In all cases, HOO declined to print the message because of religious objections, not because of the sexual orientation of the customers.

Indeed, the facts reveal that “[a]t no time did GLSO representatives Lowe or Shepherd disclose their sexual orientation and no HOO representative inquired of them about that issue.”

Moreover, Adamson has a policy for his business, clearly stated on the website, that:

Hands on Originals both employs and conducts business with people of all genders, races, religions, sexual preferences, and national origins. However, due to the promotional nature of our products, it is the prerogative of Hands on Originals to refuse any order that would endorse positions that conflict with the convictions of the ownership.”

If Adamson employs people regardless of their sexual preferences, and at the same time has explicitly stated he rejected the t-shirts due to their message, how is it even conceivable that he made any decision (hence “discriminated”) on the basis of the sexual orientation of the customer?

The Kentucky court also found that the Supreme Court’s decision in Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Group of Boston — holding that under the First Amendment a private citizen cannot be required by the government to include a group in a parade and thus convey message the citizen did not desire to convey — required the same result in this case, where a private citizen could not be required by the government to print a shirt conveying a message the citizen did not desire to convey. Importantly, the Hurley Court held that public accommodations laws could not be used to trump the First Amendment rights of private speakers. Likewise, even though HOO is considered a place of public accommodation, its First Amendment rights cannot be trampled on that basis in this case.

The Kentucky court finally found that Kentucky’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act protected HOO’s rights. The statute covered corporations, and HOO and its owners have sincere religious beliefs which have been substantially burdened by the government decision here. Meanwhile, the government never even attempted to show a compelling government interest justifying its action; indeed, there cannot even be a compelling interest in making Adamson print the shirts when “[s]everal other printing companies later offered to print the t-shirts for GLSO for free or at a substantially reduced price,” and “HOO even offered to contact other printing companies to get the work done at the same price as quoted by HOO.”

Hopefully other courts facing issues regarding how constitutional rights intersect with nondiscrimination claims will look to this opinion as a model for how the First Amendment applies to these situations. We don’t give up individual liberty and the free expression of our beliefs just because we exercise those beliefs and seek to make a living. We must ensure that this continues to be the case.

The Defense of Marriage and the Right of Religious Freedom: Reaffirming a Shared Witness”

by Rob Schwarzwalder

April 28, 2015

In a somewhat unusual alliance, “35 religious leaders representing Catholic, evangelical, Pentecostal, Orthodox and Mormon churches” have issued an “Open Letter … to All in Positions of Public Service” concerning same-sex marriage. As noted by Religion News Service, Imam Faizul Khan of the Islamic Society of Washington Area also signed the letter.

Among the signatories are National Association of Evangelicals president Rev. Dr. Leith Anderson; the Most Rev. Salvatore J. Cordileone; Archbishop of San Francisco; Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison, President of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod; Most Rev. William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore; Dr. Russell Moore, President of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission; and Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

Here are two excerpts from the document:

The redefinition of legal marriage to include any other type of relationship has serious consequences, especially for religious freedom. It changes every law involving marital status, requiring that other such relationships be treated as if they were the same as the marital relationship of a man and a woman. No person or community, including religious organizations and individuals of faith, should be forced to accept this redefinition …

The well-being of men, women, and the children they conceive compels us to stand for marriage as the union of one man and one woman. We call for the preservation of the unique meaning of marriage in the law, and for renewed respect for religious freedom and for the conscience rights of all in accord with the common good.”

There is much to commend here. Christians who believe in the Bible’s unalterable teaching that marriage exists as the union of one man and one woman should always and often be articulating publicly this truth, and doing so in the irenic manner of this letter.

With that said, this “open letter” is, perhaps, so “open” as to be innocuous: Addressing no one in particular, I fear it will have the effect of shouting out of a window on a stormy day. Additionally, although it mentions this week’s oral arguments on same-sex marriage at the Supreme Court, it nowhere calls on the Court to rule against mandating that all 50 states accept the redefinition of marriage being demanded by the advocates of such. The letter’s omission of calling on the Supreme Court to decide this issue consistent with the Constitution and the natural law tradition (supported by Protestants and Catholics, in sometimes different but still important ways, alike) seems rather odd.

The letter does raise an important question: What of the fear that the law could require churches, synagogues, and mosques to hold, and the clergy who lead them to perform, same-sex wedding ceremonies?

At present, legal protections exist, but churches need to be aware of them and also how to protect themselves from potential litigation. That’s why the director of FRC’s Center for Religious Liberty, Travis Weber, has written a new FRC Issue Brief, “How are clergy protected from being forced to perform same-sex marriages?”

At the same time, FRC’s allies at the Alliance Defending Freedom have drafted “Seven things All Churches Should Have in Their Bylaws,” which lists how church bylaws can protect religious institutions from potential litigation with respect to same-sex marriage and related matters.

I applaud the signatories of the “Defense of Marriage” for issuing this letter, even though its potency seems modest given its rather amorphous audience. Regardless of how the Supreme Court rules in June, people who believe the Bible will keep on standing for Scripture’s truth and doing so with the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

President Reagan’s Shining City on a Hill…and Ours

by Robert Morrison

April 27, 2015

Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking to a student group at my Alma Mater, University of Virginia. My topic was Jefferson and Madison and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. But during the question and answer period, my audience of Young America’s Foundation listeners peppered me with questions about Ronald Reagan. They seemed most interested in my service in the Reagan administration. For young conservatives, especially, but for young Americans generally, Reagan is a wonderful story.

The media in his time could not believe that Reagan was so popular on campus, so well-loved by the young. He returned that affection fully. The young liked Ronald Reagan because he liked them. Columnist George Will commended Reagan’s optimistic vision of the future, saying “he spoke to the future in the accents of the past.” So, for the young, he offered an appealing vision, but one firmly rooted in this country’s storied past. As President, Ronald Reagan quoted the Founding Fathers more than his four predecessors combined, as Heritage Foundation’s Andrew Busch tells us. And, alas, he cited the Founding Fathers more than any of his successors.

After a tumultuous two decades for America, President Reagan said his favorite placard was not one of protest. From his Presidential limousine, he pointed out a college cheerleader holding a sign. It said: “He’s old but he’s cute.”

Ronald Reagan explained for all of us what his vision was. He spoke of the Shining City on a Hill in his Farewell Address in 1989. I thought of his vision as I drove past the U.S. Capitol at dawn earlier this month. There was Reagan’s Shining City on a Hill!

I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.

That’s Ronald Reagan’s love of poetry. It’s his vision. But it also had policy content. And what Ronald Reagan sought to do for America is in many ways what Family Research Council seeks to do. His pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-faith agenda is very much what inspires our organization’s efforts. It’s why I am so grateful to have served in his administration and to have followed up with service in an organization dedicated to Faith, Family, and Freedom.

President Reagan made America strong and respected again. After four years of Jimmy Carter’s misrule (1977-1981), Americans yearned to see their country become once again what Winston Churchill called us: the Great Republic.

Ronald Reagan was pro-life. In fact, he was the first politician to call himself “pro-life.” Prior to Reagan, all those who defended the inalienable right to life were cast in the “anti” mode. The media casts us this way, still.

Reagan knew that it was better to be for something than against. He cut all federal funding for Title X, the so-called family planning program, from his federal budget all eight years of his presidency. He understood how these programs are abused and how these funds support Planned Barrenhood (Parenthood). This outfit kills more than one thousand unborn children every day. They are the world’s largest trafficker in abortion. Liberals in Congress put those funds back in the budget, but Reagan made that important statement.

He spoke about the right to life of unborn children—in his State of the Union Addresses, his messages to Congress, and in hundreds and hundreds of handwritten letters to pro-life constituents. He even spoke of the unborn in his Inaugural Addresses. President Reagan every year issued Sanctity of Human Life Proclamations, many of which lauded the life-saving work of Pregnancy Care Centers staffed and funded by Christian citizens.

Since I had served in the Reagan administration in the Education Department, I knew how strong President Reagan was for parents’ rights, including the parental right to choose a public, private, religious or home school for their children.

Reagan was pro-marriage. I was recently pressed by a student group that wanted to know what Reagan thought of giving marriage rights to same-sex couples. I was hard-pressed to remember if he had ever spoken of that idea—since no one was talking of men marrying men in the 1980s.

Then, it struck me. YES! He did have a view. As with pro-life, Reagan was pro-marriage. First, he became the only Republican candidate for President since 1928 who opposed the Equal Rights Amendment. It was the redoubtable Phyllis Schlafly, of course, who led the fight in the trenches against ERA. Second, it was Ronald Reagan as President who validated her brave effort and those of the tens of thousands of American women who understood what ERA would mean. It would mean drafting women and ordering them into combat, forcing Americans to pay for abortion-on-demand, including sex-selection abortions that overwhelmingly target unborn baby girls, and ERA would mean ending marriage by permitting men to marry men. It would also mean men invading women’s rest rooms and locker rooms, claiming to have changed their sex.

Finally, Reagan’s Shining City figure of speech derived from the famous sermon by John Winthrop to the Puritans in 1630. Sailing on the Arbella on the always-dangerous Atlantic. Massachusetts Bay Colony’s first governor told his fellow colonists the eyes of the world would be upon them, as “a citee upon a hill.”

Reagan’s love of poetry came first from his love of the Bible. He read it regularly from the days of his youth. He actually proclaimed 1983 the Year of the Bible. The atheizers howled, of course. But his Proclamation showed how the Bible had been a formative influence in the life of this self-governing People.

When President Reagan went to the Berlin Wall in 1987, he called upon the Soviet dictator, Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.” But there was another part of his speech that was of great significance. Reagan pointed to the East German Communists’ radio tower on their side of that brutal and ugly wall. They’ve tried to paint out the defect in globe atop that tower, Reagan told his listeners. They’ve tried to sand blast it and etch it out with acid. But still, when the sun strikes that globe, it reflects the Sign of the Cross.

This part of the speech was never covered in the West. Not surprising. The media didn’t like the man or his message.

But Americans did. And especially Young Americans.

In the spirit of President Reagan, Family Research Council is committed to protecting the unborn from the moment of conception onward. To learn more about our work and the resources we make available at no charge, go to www.frc.org

What is the price of adhering to your faith?

by Travis Weber

April 24, 2015

$135,000.00

At least according to the State of Oregon. For that is the amount of the fine an administrative law judge (ALJ) recommended be levied against Aaron and Melissa Klein in his Proposed Opinion released today.

What did they do to deserve this fine?

They hold the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman, and asked that they be left free to live according to that belief as they continued to live as they always had — in a quiet, peaceable manner, running their small business.

Too bad, according to the State of Oregon.

For when a couple walked into their shop requesting that Aaron and Melissa create a cake to celebrate their same-sex wedding, the Kleins refused to violate their consciences to do so, the couple sued and brought the weight of the State of Oregon down upon their heads. The State Bureau of Labor and Industries charged them under various provisions of state law for this act of obedience to their consciences. Never mind that the couple was able to obtain another cake for their wedding within days and even received a free cake from celebrity pastry chef Duff Goldman. Aaron and Melissa must be forced to comply. Now the State is trying to force their compliance to the tune of $135,000.00.

The Proposed Opinion contains many errors. It is built on and reaffirms the ALJ’s previous, shoddy reasoning that none of the Kleins’ constitutional rights were seriously implicated in this case.

But chief among the errors here is that the ALJ completely focused on the emotional and other damages the aggrieved couple experienced throughout this matter — while completely ignoring the hateful vitriol directed at the Kleins and other ways they suffered throughout this entire ordeal. An opinion which considers one but not the other is not just. Not only have the Kleins’ constitutional rights been trampled, but their true suffering is ignored.

Moreover, as reflected in the Proposed Opinion, the State of Oregon continued to hound the Klein with demands for more and more punishment:

The [State’s] theory of liability is that since [the Kleins] brought the case to the media’s attention and kept it there by repeatedly appearing in public to make statements deriding Complainants, it was foreseeable that this attention would negatively impact Complainants, making [the Kleins] liable for any resultant emotional suffering experienced by Complainants.”

So according to the State of Oregon, discussing something of public concern which involves an individual’s constitutional rights being trampled is reason to ask the ALJ for further damages against them? (Of course, the Kleins did not “deride[]” anyone — that’s the State’s characterization).

More importantly, the ALJ proceeded to find that “the record contains limited evidence of any events involving [the Kleins] in the media or social media that publicized the cake refusal.”

After reviewing all the allegations of harm supposedly perpetrated by the Kleins, the ALJ concluded that emotional damages related to media and social media attention are not legally recoverable anyway.

However, he then recommended awarding $60,000 and $75,000 to the two aggrieved parties, respectively, based on a summary statement of the legal standard with virtually no analysis:

In addition to the State of Oregon’s obvious bias here, let us not forgot — neither the State nor the ALJ have recognized the fact that the Kleins have faced unprecedented antagonism for merely holding to their beliefs. It seems the no one wants to take responsibility for that. Moreover, the Oregon legal system does not seem interested in considering the substantial harm to the Kleins in its quest for “justice” — thus, there is no justice at all here.

We can only hope that the Kleins achieve justice at some point. Until then, what does this case mean for religious liberty more broadly?

As marriage is being redefined, and governments begin to tell individuals what (in their view) marriage is, individuals will (respectfully) disagree. Many believe marriage is instituted by God and no one can change that. And they will not be forced to violate their consciences by acting against those beliefs.

If we are to alleviate at all the threats to religious liberty going forward, legislative protections for those who dissent from the State’s view of marriage must be enacted. The American public overwhelmingly supports this idea. Recent nation-wide polling tells us that 81% of Americans believe government should leave people free to follow their beliefs about marriage as they live their daily lives at work and in the way they run their businesses.

In the United States, we have long had to live with differences of view among a diverse population. This has not been controversial in the past, and it should not be controversial today.

If you’d like to help the Kleins cover the cost of their forthcoming fines, or otherwise support them, please visit here.

Regnerus Revisited: American Sociological Association is Wrong about Homosexual Parents and “Stability”

by Peter Sprigg

April 24, 2015

One of the key issues regularly raised in the debate over redefining marriage to include same-sex couples has to do with the well-being of children.

Defenders of the historical and natural definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman argue that children have a right to a relationship with both the man and woman whose union created them, and that research shows children raised by their married, biological mother and father have, on average, better life outcomes than children from other family structures.

Advocates of redefining marriage, on the other hand, argue that children already being raised by same-sex couples would benefit from the legal stability and social affirmation associated with marriage. They also insist that research which has specifically compared children of homosexual parents to children of heterosexual parents shows, “The scholarly consensus is clear and consistent: children of same-sex parents fare just as well as children of different-sex parents.”

The latter quote is drawn from an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief filed in the U.S. Supreme Court by the American Sociological Association (ASA). It’s one of dozens filed by advocates on both sides in the case being argued under the name Obergefell v. Hodges. Advocates of redefining marriage are asking the high court to overturn a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which upheld laws in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee that define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

A separate brief filed in support of the states on behalf of the American College of Pediatricians (ACP), Family Watch International, and several scholars, has thoroughly rebutted most of the arguments in the ASA brief. The ACP brief, using the most recent studies with the best methodology (drawing on large government surveys in Canada and the United States), shows children of same-sex parents are disadvantaged on a number of measures relative to children raised by their married, biological mother and father. (Patrick Fagan of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute — MARRI — has summarized the ACP rebuttal of the ASA in an op-ed.)

This revolution in homosexual parenting research began with publication in 2012 of findings from the New Family Structures Study, organized by Dr. Mark Regnerus, a sociologist at the University of Texas (and one of the signers of the ACP brief). Although homosexual activists embarked on a nearly hysterical campaign of vilification of Regnerus, his research was not “discredited,” as liberals commonly claim. I have written in detail about the Regnerus study here and here.

While the ASA brief is misleading on the nature and state of the evidence, there is one assertion they make about the Regnerus research which is flatly false — so plainly inaccurate, in fact, that it makes one question whether the authors of the brief have even looked at the scholarly articles they are critiquing.

The false statements are these:

The study [cited as Regnerus 2012a] stripped away all divorced, single, and stepparent families from the different-sex parent group, leaving only stable, married, different-sex parent families as the comparison. (ASA Brief, p. 23)

And:

Regnerus 2012b [a follow-up report with more detailed analysis of the data] continues to ignore stability as the primary factor in child outcomes. (ASA Brief, p. 26)

In reality, Regnerus 2012a included comparisons for eight different family structures. In addition to what Regnerus calls the “intact, biological family” or “IBF” (the “stable, married, different-sex parent families” referred to by the ASA) and two involving homosexual parents (“lesbian mother” or “LM” and “gay father” or “GF”), his comparison included five other family structures with heterosexual parents which might be considered “unstable,” including divorced, stepfamily, single-parent, and adoptive households. Even compared with these “unstable” households, the households headed by homosexual parents did not fare well. For example, Regnerus notes:

Of the 239 possible between-group differences here — not counting those differences with Group 1 (IBFs) already described earlier — the young-adult children of lesbian mothers display 57 … that are [statistically] significant … and 44 … that are significant after controls …. The majority of those differences are in suboptimal directions, meaning that LMs display worse outcomes [emphasis added]. (Regnerus 2012a, p. 764)

In his follow-up article (“Regnerus 2012b”), Regnerus broke down the data on households in more detail, listing fifteen different household structures. To make the meaning of the homosexual parent categories more clear, he described them as “fathers who had a gay relationship” or “FGR” and “mothers who had a lesbian relationship” or “MLR.” In response to criticism that he did not distinguish between children who had lived in the same household with a homosexual parent and that parent’s partner from those who did not, the latter category was broken down to “MLR + partner” and “MLR no partner.” (Only two subjects, however, had lived with a homosexual parent and one partner for the entire duration of their childhood from birth to age 18 — as Regnerus clearly noted.)

Apart from the IBF and (now) three homosexual parent categories, the other eleven categories all involved children of heterosexual parents who had “unstable” household settings — households where the parents divorced, were never married, one parent died, or in which the child was adopted as an infant (with variations based on subsequent relationships and/or remarriage).

Critics had also claimed that children were more affected by family “instability” than by parental sexual orientation, and those who lived with a partner were presumed to have more stable relationships. Directly contrary to what the ASA brief claimed, Regnerus reported specifically on comparisons between the “MLR + partner” category and other “unstable” categories:

Group 3 (MLRs who lived with their mother’s partner) compare less favorably with:

  • Group 8 (divorced, lived with mother, no subsequent relationships): 12 differences.
  • Group 13 (parents married until one died, no subsequent relationships): 15 differences. (Regnerus 2012b, p. 1376)

Regnerus reports the raw data for all fifteen family structures, and all forty outcome measures. There are thus a total of 440 comparisons between households with children of a lesbian mother and a partner and unstable heterosexual households (11 unstable household categories times 40 outcome measures). He also reports which of the differences reach the level of statistical significance, not only in comparison to the intact biological family, but also in comparison to the “MLR + partner” category.

I did my own analysis of the data in the charts of the Regnerus 2012b article, and found that 84 of these comparisons showed statistically significant differences. Of those, 76 showed worse outcomes for the children of lesbian mothers with a partner; only 8 of those comparisons showed better outcomes for those children. Five of the eight “better” outcomes for “MLR + partner” households were on a single outcome measures — daughters of lesbian mothers with a partner (but not of those without a partner) have fewer male sexual partners. Having multiple sexual partners of either sex is, rightly, considered an undesirable outcome.

More recent studies using government survey data (which also show negative outcomes for children of homosexual parents) have, arguably, surpassed Regnerus in the quality of the sample studied. However, the Regnerus study remains extremely valuable for the large number of separate outcome measures (forty).

It is also valuable because it does make direct comparisons (contrary to the ASA’s claim) between households with homosexual parents and many different unstable household forms headed by heterosexuals. It thus thoroughly debunks the myth that only “instability” explains the harmful outcomes identified for children of homosexuals.

Muslim chooses to die alongside Christians

by Travis Weber

April 23, 2015

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” - John 15:13 (NASB)

The above-titled recent headline comes to us from the Vatican Insider, which brings us the startling and encouraging report of a Muslim who “offered himself as a hostage because he would not leave his Christian friend to die alone.” Who is the man? Jamal Rahman.

According to the story, Jamal “was among the 28 Ethiopians killed (by decapitation) by ISIS in Libya and shown in the latest terror video by Al Furqan, the caliphate’s propaganda machine.”

Jamal “was not spared, despite belonging to a Muslim family.”

Why was he not spared?

Because “[h]e offered himself as a hostage because he would not leave his Christian friend to die alone.”

It is a “great love” which causes us to give our lives for another.

Ultimately, Jamal was killed with all the Christians in the group.

While there is some haziness over why this was the case, it appears to be a sacrificial act of love.

According to reports given to the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) — by a member of Al-Shabab, of all people — a certain “online newspaper of Somaliland” reports that Jamal “converted to Christianity on the road” and was killed for this reason.

Yet PIME regards as “much more plausible” the alternate explanation, which is “that amidst the jihadists, the Muslim Jamal ‘foolishly’ and willingly offered himself as a hostage to the jihadists, out of solidarity for a Christian friend he was travelling with.” For “[p]erhaps he believed the presence of a Muslim in the group might even have saved the lives of the others.”

Ultimately, “[t]his was not the case: Jamal was murdered alongside the Christians ‘as an apostate’.”

Jamal’s loyalty to his friend, loyalty to the point of death, is humbling, rare and beautiful. His act will undoubtedly serve as an example to others.

Most importantly, it is a model of our Lord Jesus himself, who laid down his life for us — his friends. If we are to be imitators of Christ, we must do likewise. Let us take this moment to reflect on this act of grace on the part of a Muslim to remember that Jesus himself told us:

If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” Matthew 16:24-25 (NASB).

Only by His grace can we do that. But let us ask God for that grace. It will be needed, for God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4), even members of ISIS.

Until his truth comes to them, and He comes again, let us be thankful for reminders of his grace in men like Jamal.

Austin, TX Charging Planned Parenthood $1 per Year to Rent City Building for Abortions

by Joshua Denton

April 23, 2015

What organization gets charged only $1 per year in rent in order to systematically kill its youngest members? Planned Parenthood in Austin, Texas of course — and for the last forty years.

Planned Parenthood is being charged $1 per year for a city building that is worth $1.86 million and that should cost approximately $7,000 per month to rent.

This is a fiscally irresponsible move on behalf of the city of Austin and certainly needs to be addressed. Austin could be using revenue from renting this city building to an honorable organization for the amount it is actually worth. Abby Johnson suggests that if Planned Parenthood really cared about women’s health, it would pay the $7,000 a month rent which the city could use to provide women with healthy services and mammograms which Abby describes as “grossly underfunded.”

Meanwhile, Austin is facilitating America’s number one abortion provider in its appalling practices. The city would be in a much better position to provide more positive, healthy services to women and the community if they were to charge Planned Parenthood the proper rent instead of charging Planned Parenthood $1 a year for a ten year lease — with a ten year extension, no less.

The favoritism shown to Planned Parenthood is disturbing, but it is more than a city-wide problem. The federal government gives Planned Parenthood a handout every year at the expense of taxpayers.

Sadly, Planned Parenthood shows no favoritism to the unborn or their mothers, on whose vulnerability they prey daily. And as FRC’s Senior Fellow for Family Empowerment, Ken Blackwell, noted recently, Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger, “was part of the eugenics movement back in the 1930s. Her goal was to use abortion to cull what she considered inferior races from the human gene pool. According to Sanger, ‘Colored people are like human weeds and are to be exterminated.’ She opened her first abortion clinics in inner cities, and it’s no accident that even today, ‘79 percent of Planned Parenthood’s abortion facilities are located in black or minority neighborhoods’.”

Last year Planned Parenthood received $528.4 million from the federal government in funding. This is money taken from taxpayers and used to support a business which makes a profit from killing unborn babies. Last year, Planned Parenthood had a total revenue of $1,303.4 million with an excess revenue over expenses of $127.1 million.

Planned Parenthood obviously does not need the financial help the city of Austin is providing to them and is certainly capable of paying the proper amount of rent that every other business is expected to pay for the use of a city building. Surely, the city of Austin can find a use for $7,000 a month to make its underfunded city programs better.

Every city should support only those businesses that are truly concerned with the health and welfare of individuals — including a baby’s right to life. Austin catering to Planned Parenthood in this fashion is just a single instance of favoritism. It is a sad example of the lengths some leaders will go to defend and support a false ideology at the expense of killing their city’s preborn children.

Five Democrat Abortion Policies More Extreme Than Killing 7-Pound Babies”

by Rob Schwarzwalder

April 22, 2015

That’s the title of an op-ed by Alliance Defending Freedom’s Casey Mattox, published in The Federalist, that merits reading.  In sum, here are the five policies Casey cites:

1. Democrats Support Aborting Babies for Race, Sex, and Down Syndrome

2. Democrats Oppose Offering Women Other Alternatives

3. Democrats Want to Make Pro-Life Doctors and Nurses Perform Abortions

4. Democrats Want to Make You — and Your Church — Pay for Abortions

5. Democrats Want to Permit the Most Barbaric and Dehumanizing Abortion Methods

Whether or not these tenets of Democratic faith are more extreme that killing a fully-developed, eager-to-be-born baby is questionable.  But they are evil, extremely so.  No person of conscience should dispute that.

Tony Perkins and Jerry Boykin at the United Nations

by FRC Media Office

April 20, 2015

On Friday, April 18, 2015 FRC President Tony Perkins and Executive Vice President Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William G. “Jerry” Boykin spoke at the United Nations about the global persecution of Christians. In the video below, their segment begins at the 1:40:45 mark:

The Persecution of Christians Globally: A Threat to International Peace and Security

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