Defenders of the truth that change is possible for those with same-sex attractions will mark the Third Annual Ex-Gay Awareness Month by gathering in the Washington, DC area for a “Safe Exit Summit” on Friday and Saturday, October 2 and 3.
The “Safe Exit” term is drawn from a new program by PFOX to help churches to provide a safe space for those struggling with same-sex attractions, while also providing an exit for those who wish to escape the homosexual lifestyle.
At a recent Democratic Party fundraiser, President Obama reportedly said:
“We affirm that we cherish our religious freedom and are profoundly respectful of religious traditions … . But we also have to say clearly that our religious freedom doesn’t grant us the freedom to deny our fellow Americans their constitutional rights.”
This is a perfect example of the incrementalism by which rights are diminished, relegated to second-class status, and eventually dismissed altogether.
President Obama’s comment may sound innocuous on its face, but what he’s actually saying is the First Amendment is to be subjugated to his own vision of society as implemented through his own view of the Fourteenth Amendment — a view which for our nation’s entire history was never even seriously considered right up to a few years ago. It’s noteworthy that President Obama also publicly opposed same-sex marriage in the not-too-distant past — a fact which should tell us (and his current swooning supporters) something about his convictions. The “constitutional rights” to which he now so confidently refers are actually nonexistent in the text or meaning of the Constitution, only imposed on the nation through one ill-formed opinion of the Supreme Court.
On the other hand, the First Amendment (which he fails to even mention) has plainly and openly provided protection as the first of our Bill of Rights for centuries (since the founding of our country), clearly protects wide-ranging and robust religious practice, speech, and action, explicitly protects the “free exercise” of religion (which protects far more than the “religious traditions” and “religious institutions” the president references), explicitly prevents the government from “establish[ing]” what citizens must believe (in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, the Court said, “no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein”), and has been consistently held by the courts to provide strong and wide-ranging protection from government interference and coercion in religious matters.
Thus, with one off-putting comment, President Obama attempts to use “rights” which aren’t even mentioned in our primary written legal authority (the Constitution) to denigrate rights which are clearly protected by the first provision of the Bill of Rights of that same Constitution.
As it’s said: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Yesterday, FRC Vice President Lt. Gen. (Ret.-US Army) Jerry Boykin appeared on The Dana Loesch Show to discuss the recent situation involving the training of U.S. Marines in Afghanistan. They are being trained that rape in Afghanistan is a “cultural issue.”
Earlier this month, the New York Times published an editorial regarding the First Amendment Defense Act (“FADA,” H.R. 2802 / S. 1598), alleging “G.O.P. anti-gay bigotry threatens [the] First Amendment.” However, FADA is neither bigoted nor a threat to the First Amendment.
In fact, the editorial contains a number of misrepresentations and outright lies about the original bill that was introduced and fails to address the new language Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and Congressman Raul Labrador (R-ID) are pushing. Senator Lee’s letter to the Editor briefly responded to the inflammatory Times editorial.
In his letter, Senator Lee highlights that we “must come to these debates with tolerance and modesty.” Senator Lee also clarifies that the reason he is pushing for passage of FADA is that he is “concerned about what the solicitor general told the Supreme Court: that after Obergefell, the decision that legalized same-sex marriage, faith-based institutions providing valuable public services could lose their nonprofit status because of their now-heterodox beliefs about marriage. Without new protections provided by FADA, hospitals could lose Medicaid funding, and K-12 institutions could have their nonprofit status revoked.” Essentially, the impetus behind the First Amendment Defense Act is a fear of federal government persecution of believers, not outrage over gay rights.
In fact, Senator Lee clarifies that FADA would not “negate federal anti-discrimination measures protecting gays and lesbians. To the contrary, the bill does not alter any civil rights protections, state or federal.” The bill simply says the federal government may not penalize, through tax policy or the grant and contracting processes, those who disagree with the Supreme Court’s Obergefell ruling. The bill does not attempt to overturn the ruling, and, in fact, explicitly prevents a denial of federal benefits authorized under the Court’s new marriage definition. FADA is not an endorsement of discrimination—logically, a bill that explicitly prevents discrimination does not thereby also provide a “legal justification to discriminate.”
The Times editorial presumes that same-sex couples must not only be allowed to be married, which the Court has ruled, but also that the government must force everyone to affirm that view. This view distorts a live and let live approach on the question of marriage, and makes clear the liberal left does not simply want to secure rights for people who identify as homosexual, but wants to punish those who disagree with the Supreme Court’s inclusion of same-sex couples in its new definition of marriage. Senators and Representatives should support and co-sponsor FADA to ensure people who believe in a natural view of marriage are not pushed into the periphery of society.
In a significant article, the New York Times has broached the subject of the rampant sexual abuse of young children and teens by Afghan men. The story is tied to its reporting on the effects this has had on American forces in Afghanistan who have been told to ignore such acts – even if they occur in their presence or on military bases. As the story notes, in one example, “Dan Quinn was relieved of his Special Forces command after a fight with a U.S.-backed militia leader who had a boy as a sex slave chained to his bed.” His story and those of two other Americans is recounted. Apparently, there has been much personal and career damage caused by this amoral policy of non-intervention.
As it turns out, in Afghanistan there is a ritualized form of sexual abuse called “bacha bazi” – or boy play. (The practice was supposedly banned under the Taliban, and it is nominally illegal under current Afghan law.) The boys are often trained to dance and dress as young girls before being used for sex. Some boys are just sodomized if they can’t learn these perverse geisha-like talents.
An Afghan journalist, Najibullah Quraishi, produced a documentary, “The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan,” that was shown in London in late March 2010 (run time: 52 min; this version is available on vimeo.com). In the United States, a slightly longer and more polished production was aired on PBS’s Frontline in April 2010 under the same title. It can be found here.
The nation needs to support the efforts of Reps. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL) who are trying to investigate this horrific practice and salvage the career of Sgt. First Class Charles Martland, a member of the Special Forces who joined Captain Quinn in beating up the Afghan who is reportedly a child-molesting commander.
Arina Grossu, Director of FRC’s Center for Human Dignity, joins Sen. Lindsay Graham and other pro-life leaders in support of the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act — legislation that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, when unborn babies become susceptible to intense pain in the womb.
Commenting on the Obama administration’s inclusion of “transgender activists, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop and a nun who criticizes church policies on abortion and euthanasia” in the welcoming ceremony planned for the Pope’s upcoming visit, the Post comments:
What struck us as we read about this small controversy is the contrast between the administration’s apparent decision to risk a bit of rudeness in the case of the pope and its overwhelming deference to foreign dictators when similar issues arise. When Secretary of State John F. Kerry traveled to Havana to reopen the U.S. Embassy recently, he painstakingly excluded from the guest list any democrat, dissident or member of civil society who might offend the Castro brothers.
And when Chinese President Xi Jinping comes to the White House next week, shortly after the pope leaves town, it’s a safe bet that he won’t have to risk being photographed with anyone of whom he disapproves. Chen Guangcheng, the courageous blind lawyer, for example, lives nearby in exile, but he probably won’t be at the state dinner. Neither will Falun Gong activists, democracy advocates or anyone else who might, well, give offense.
The Obama administration argues that it will include many people of every background. Yet according to the Wall Street Journal, “The presence of these (controversial) figures is especially irritating, (a) Vatican official said, because it isn’t yet clear if the White House has invited any representatives of the U.S. anti-abortion movement, traditionally a high-priority cause for the U.S. bishops.”
Read that, no one active in the pro-life movement is welcome to greet the head of the world’s largest pro-life organization.
There will be some Evangelical leaders present at the event. U.S. News reports that they include “the Rev. Joel Hunter, an evangelical megachurch pastor from Florida who is a confidant of Obama on spiritual matters; the Rev. Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, which represents about 40 conservative Christian denominations; and the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.”
While it’s nice of the White House to include some Evangelicals, the inclusion of persons at overt and public odds with the teachings the Pope represents and the omission of others whose political activities — standing for the unborn and their mothers — are essential to Catholic teaching are startling.
Remarkable: A stinging and blunt calling-on-the-carpet of an Administration far more concerned with advancing an aggressive “gay rights” agenda than defending religious liberty here at home or standing with those being horribly persecuted for their faith in repressive nations around the world. As I have written elsewhere, President Obama “cannot defend abroad what (he and his) administration … are working to erode here at home.”
The willingness of this Administration to affront the leader of the world’s largest Christian tradition is an embarrassment to our country. It demonstrates a moral arrogance so profound as to be one of the few things that still surprises after nearly seven years of the President’s diligent efforts to, in his words, “transform the United States of America.”
Insulting foreign friends while placating foreign adversaries strikes one as an unusual approach to advancing America’s national security and vital interests. Sadly, this Administration seems eager to do just that.
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One could not watch the Republican presidential candidate debate Wednesday evening, nor can one scan the headlines of today’s papers, without realizing that protecting the unborn has become one of the most decisive issues of our time.
The horrific videos of Planned Parenthood personnel coldly discussing income from selling the body parts of the unborn have struck the conscience of the nation, and moved pro-life lawmakers to demand a complete end to federal funding of the abortion giant. FRC stands with them in this effort. As FRC President Tony Perkins has said, “FRC is demanding that Congress zero-out Planned Parenthood’s funding on a must-pass piece of legislation.” This is what legislation by U.S. Rep. Diane Black of Tennessee would do. As she wrote recently in National Review, her bill would “ultimately increase available funding to community health centers by $235 million during this one-year period. The legislation further prioritizes women’s health care over abortion by reallocating federal funding to the more than 13,000 facilities nationwide that provide preventive care to those who need it most and do not perform abortions.”
Pro-life champions like U.S. Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona have offered legislation to curtail the destruction of unborn life. Rep. Franks, who spoke about his efforts yesterday at FRC, has authored the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (H.R. 3504), which is scheduled to be considered in the House over the next several days. And next week, the Senate will consider U.S. Sen. Lindsay Graham’s “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” the House version of which was also authored by Rep. Franks. The bill, which has already passed the House, would protect unborn children from abortion in almost all cases for two reasons: one, as documented by the Director of FRC’s Center for Human Dignity, Arina Grossu, these little ones feel pain — intensely. And two, they have inherent value as little lives created by a loving God.
FRC will never compromise our commitment to those whose precious, God-given lives are treated by the abortion industry merely as revenue sources and saleable commodities. The image of God they bear, from conception onward, calls us to defend them. Protecting unborn babies and their mothers from the predatory abortion industry is one of the highest callings of our time. Affirming the value of life is a privilege. And we can rejoice that in our time, we have the honor of standing for it.
Sincerely, Rob Schwarzwalder Senior Vice-President Family Research Council
Today he reports that California’s Fuller Seminary has “decided not to offer tenure to a New Testament professor, J. R. Daniel Kirk, whose view of marriage does not comport with Jesus’s view.” He notes that while this must not have been an easy decision, it was an important and necessary one: “Had Fuller set a precedent of embracing faculty whose position toward sexual ethics was so at odds with Jesus’s own, it would soon have ceased to be an evangelical institution.”
He is right. And despite calls by some on the Left that schools like Fuller should lose accreditation, federal student loan eligibility, or even tax exempt status, Dr. Gagnon reminds us that the cost of following Jesus is such that any temporal loss is worth accepting if it comes as a result of following Him faithfully. As he writes:
“American Evangelical, Orthodox, and Catholic colleges and seminaries will face greater challenges in the not-too-distant future if they do not bend the proverbial knee to the unconstitutional, new state definition of marriage. They will be threatened with lawsuits and loss of accreditation. Their students will be denied access to federal student loans. This will happen for ‘discriminating’ not only against faculty supporters of ‘gay marriage’ but also against homosexually active job applicants. Eventually sanctions may be imposed even for permitting faculty to teach or write against homosexual practice. Yet no matter what comes, we must heed Jesus’s exhortation to ‘estimate the cost’ of being his faithful disciple and of ‘carrying one’s own cross’ (Luke 14:27-28).”
U.S. Sen. Mike Lee’s eloquent speech on Planned Parenthood in the Senate last week deserves wide distribution. Here is a short excerpt; speaking of the videos released by the Center for Medical Progress, the Senator said:
The evidence points to only one conclusion: Planned Parenthood really does these horrifying things—and makes money at it, and laughs about it over lunch. But aside from the primary evidence, Mr. President, do you know how else we know it’s true?
Because if it were false, we would know for sure. The mainstream media—Big Abortion’s loudest shoe-banger of them all—would be thundering Planned Parenthood’s vindication from every headline, every home page, every network satellite. If the videos were false, Mr. President—if a pro-life group somehow fabricated this narrative of Planned Parenthood’s greed, barbarism, and cruelty—it would be a story.
Who are we kidding? It would be the story: a career-making scoop, with fame and Pulitzer Prizes and lucrative book deals and speaking tours awaiting the journalist who broke it. And yet, if you open a newspaper, click on the legacy media sites, and turn on the news… nothing. The major networks have gone dark on the videos over the last month. And major newspapers have scrubbed the scandal from their front pages.
Why the silence? Simple. They know it’s true, too.