Month Archives: October 2015

A Surprising, Pro-Life Lesson from Dr. Seuss

by Katelin Myers

October 30, 2015

A person’s a person, no matter how small!”

Many children grow up reading Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who, the classic story of a brave elephant who works to protect the tiny people of Whoville from destruction. At the end of the tale, the Whos are saved because Horton believes he has a duty to protect those who can’t protect themselves. Horton famously states, “A person’s a person, no matter how small!” Though Dr. Seuss may not have intended it, this story teaches a timeless lesson on the value of life, no matter how small it is.

It is interesting that such a simple and eloquent pro-life statement was spoken by a fictional elephant. If only some Members of Congress would think like Horton and see the value inherent in all lives. If only they would see that a child is a child no matter how small and that we all have a duty to protect life from those who wish to take it away.

There was a time when the abortion industry thrived on the lie that life does not begin at conception, and therefore an abortion does not kill a child. However, science caught up and debunked this claim, so next the industry took refuge in the belief that unborn children do not feel pain, which has now also been disproven. Now, with their foundation crumbling beneath them, the abortion lobby has elected to ignore the life matter altogether and focus on women’s rights (or, as was the case during a recent Planned Parenthood hearing, the need for gun control, better sex education, and various other off-topic subjects).

According to Planned Parenthood supporters at the hearing, the investigation into the abortion giant’s alleged illegal activities is nothing more than a campaign against the “right of a woman to choose what to do with her own body.” Based on this false characterization of the effort to bring the truth to light, Planned Parenthood has done nothing wrong – that is, if you don’t count selling body parts for profit (which is illegal according to 42 U.S. Code § 274e), the daily butchering of innocent babies, failing to report on victims of rape or incest, endangering and permanently injuring their patients, and continuously profiting off government funding, just to name a few examples of the harm this organization does.

Just to be clear, I believe in and support women’s rights—the right to vote, to bear arms, freedom of speech, and all those rights specifically laid out in the U.S. Constitution. Killing an unborn child via abortion is not a human right, but the right to life is. We must also recognize the predatory nature of the abortion industry: Women experiencing great difficulty are exploited by those purveying the death of an unborn little one for profit.

Moreover, if pro-abortion activists want women’s rights protected, shouldn’t that protection extend to women in the womb? Thousands of voiceless girls have lost their lives as others have spoken for them, but thankfully, there are women who choose to hear and protect the vulnerable ones they carry. Brianna was one of these voiceless girls.

When Brianna was in her mother’s womb, she was diagnosed with gastroschisis, a defect in which the developing abdominal wall does not close and thus allows internal organs—in Brianna’s case, her small intestine—to develop outside the body. Her mother’s doctor advised her to have an abortion, saying it would be “kinder to terminate” the child than for Brianna to live a physically challenging life. By God’s grace, Brianna’s mother believed her child was a “person, no matter how small” and chose to carry and deliver her child. Though the pregnancy and recovery was difficult, Brianna is a healthy, thriving eighteen year old woman today.

So what about Brianna? Did she, as a woman, get a say in whether she should be allowed to live or not? Unfortunately, in our nation, a person is only a person when she can survive outside the womb. If only we could remember that God made all people in His image and that they deserve to be protected, since “a person’s a person, no matter how small!”

Katelin Myers is currently an intern at Family Research Council and a senior studying Pre-Law at Liberty University. She was formerly the assistant program director at Greater Grace World Outreach and has spent time abroad in Asia and South America.

Elections Offer Chance to Restore the Rule of Sanity in Fairfax Schools

by Peter Sprigg

October 27, 2015

A decade or two ago, the homosexual movement began its long march through the public schools of the United States. Now, the transgender movement has begun to follow the same path. The issue exploded like a bombshell last May in the Fairfax County (Virginia) Public Schools, the nation’s tenth largest school district. That was when parents and taxpayers first learned of plans to add “gender identity” to the school system’s “non-discrimination” policy — meaning that “transgender” students of any age would be able to choose whether to use the boys’ or girls’ restrooms and locker rooms and which sex’s sports teams to play on.

Hundreds of angry citizens turned out at a School Board meeting to protest, but their complaints fell mostly on deaf ears, as the Board voted 10-1 with one abstention to approve the radical new policy. Then, within days, they also adopted a new curriculum to teach about transgender issues in the classroom (the timing was a coincidence, the Board claimed).

The Board passed the buck for the unpopular policies to the Department of Education, which has threatened school districts with a loss of federal funds ($42 million annually to the Fairfax Schools) unless they treat the statutory prohibition on sex discrimination to include “gender identity.” Soon, however, Board members will answer to a higher authority — the voters. A number of candidates opposed to the new transgender policies are challenging incumbents in the Fairfax County School Board elections next week. It’s crucial for pro-family voters to turn out and send a message that they do not want to be governed by sexual radicals and federal bureaucrats.

Last night, FRC Senior Vice-President Rob Schwarzwalder joined FCPS Board Member Elizabeth Schultz at a forum discussing the biblical view of parents and education (Schwarzwalder) and the stakes involved in the upcoming election (Schultz).  Watch their presentations here.

Porn, Infidelity, Divorce, and the Depravity of Man

by Mandi Ancalle

October 27, 2015

It’s White Ribbon Against Pornography (WRAP) Week! The purpose of WRAP Week, which is October 25th thru November 1st, is to inform the public about the harms of pornography, and to advocate for decency. After all, George Washington said, “Religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society.”

But, we live in a broken world.

According to CovenantEyes, the pornography industry generates $13 billion each year in the U.S., and internet porn alone is a $3 billion a year business. Even 64% of Christian men and 15% of Christian women say they watch porn at least once a month. While the problem with pornography may begin with the objectification of individuals made in the image of God, it does not end there. Studies show individuals who are unfaithful to their spouses are more than three times (that’s 300 %!) as likely to have looked at pornography.

Pornography is like a “gateway drug” to sexual anarchy.

Unfortunately, pornography’s effects are far-reaching. Not only is the individual’s brain affected by viewing pornography, but their relationships are subsequently affected as well. In fact, CitizenLink reports that 56% of divorce cases involved “one party having an obsessive interest in pornographic websites,” and “68% involved one party meeting a new love interest over the Internet.”

CovenantEyes also reports the average age of a male’s first exposure to pornography is twelve, and nine out of ten boys are exposed to pornography before they turn eighteen. This places a significant burden on parents to be aware of their children’s use of technology, especially considering one in five mobile searches are for pornography.

A biblical sexual ethic is not achieved through passivity; it must be fiercely pursued.

This pursuit begins in the private use of phones, tablets, and computers, and extends to interpersonal relationships. Based on statistics, the more rampant the use of pornography, the greater a person’s tendency toward infidelity, and the more likely a couple is to divorce, breaking families apart. After all, actions have consequences, and those consequences involve deep wounds for the families and communities that surround the unfaithful.

The family is the cornerstone of society. As families crumble because of unfaithfulness, society suffers the consequences of children raised with trust issues, in homes without mothers or fathers. Every child deserves to be raised in an intact, biological family unit. Not only does the child benefit, but the entire family benefits economically, socially, and otherwise.

So, when temptation raises its pornographic and unfaithful head, remember that God provides a way out of tempting situations (I Cor. 10:13); and, it is the duty of believers to run in search of that way out, rather than sitting passively as temptation knocks at the door. In today’s culture, fidelity is not an easy path, but with God all things are possible.

It’s “National White Ribbon Against Pornography Week” (October 25-31)

by Rob Schwarzwalder

October 26, 2015

FRC is glad to join with our friends at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) in reminding everyone that this is National White Ribbon Against Pornography (WRAP) Week.

As NCOSE notes, WRAP week “brings together hundreds of national, state and local groups, along with driven concerned citizens in a massive effort to educate the public on the harms from pornography and the many resources available to aid those affected.”

As FRC has argued in the past, “Pornography has spread like a plague in our nation. It has moved from the margins of our culture to the mainstream, attacking marriages, families, and communities. Worst of all, it has stolen a time of innocence from our children.”

Throughout the week, NCOSE is streaming a number of events on such topics “Teaching Kids Digital Literacy: Tips for addressing pornography & other online dangers” and “Hate + Sex + Technology + Apathy: A Discussion about Pornography, History, Culture and the End of Love.”  You can watch them, at no charge, by going to http://endsexualexploitation.org/wrap/

FRC also offers some great resources on how to fight pornography, including the following:

The Effects of Pornography on Individuals, Marriage, Family and Community (publication from FRC’s Marriage and Religion Research Institute)

The Link Between Pornography, Sex Trafficking, and Abortion (video of a presentation by the Director of FRC’s Center for Human Dignity, Arina Grossu)

Pornography and the Brain: Public Health Considerations (video of a presentation by neurologist Dr. Donald Hilton)

And go to “Pink Elephant Resources,” which provides resources to those wrestling with pornography addiction and mentorship guidance for those wanting to help pornography addicts.

The battle against pornography can be won, in both individual lives and in our culture.  For those not engaged in the fight, WRAP Week is a good time to start.

Students Are Flying High with the SOAR Act

by Tabitha Walter

October 23, 2015

According to a 2013 Census Bureau report, DC schools are among the top three states or state-equivalents that spend the most money per student. One would think that DC’s robust culture and accessibility to educational venues would provide the perfect atmosphere in which a student would thrive. Unfortunately, last year, DC schools ranked last in the nation for education. This goes to show that something is terribly wrong with the educational system. Congress continues to work on a solution for this problem.

In 2011, Congress passed H.R. 471, the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act (SOAR) sponsored by Speaker Boehner, which provides funding for vouchers and public schools. This program allows for low-income families to choose a different school, including qualified private and parochial schools, while public schools improve. Since the enactment of this program, DC students have significantly improved their math and reading scores. Those who have participated in the program have had higher graduation rates compared to those in DC public schools. This proves that parents and families are more qualified to select the best place of education for their student and that placing a child in a school based on their zip code is an antiquated method.

Even though the SOAR Act expires at the end of the fiscal year of 2016, Speaker Boehner has put the legislation back on the table to ensure its reauthorization for an additional five years. Despite opposition from the left, this legislation has passed the House and is moving forward in the Senate. Another five years of this program could be a game-changer for DC students.

Winning the “War of Exhaustion:” Persevering in an Eroding Culture

by Rob Schwarzwalder

October 23, 2015

In 2009, retired Army General Mark T. Kimmit wrote in the journal Foreign Policy of what he called “war exhaustion” respecting America’s military efforts in Afghanistan.

The objective in a war of exhaustion is to defeat a nation’s will to fight. The British Empire was not defeated in Afghanistan by a war of attrition, nor was the Soviet Union defeated in Afghanistan through attrition. Both were defeated through exhaustion. And this is how the Taliban intends to defeat the current coalition efforts in Afghanistan — by steadily eroding our will to fight,” he explained.

Whatever is now happening in Afghanistan, there is another “war of exhaustion” plaguing America: The exhaustion of social conservatives as we continue to defend life, uphold marriage, and protect religious liberty.

It’s wearisome to be in combat for a sustained period. Combat is usually a “dirty business fought by tired, hungry soldiers,” wrote Frederick J. Manning, former Director of the Division of Neuropsychiatry at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, in the book War Psychiatry. “High morale demands, for each soldier, a goal, a role, and reasons for self-confidence,” he argues.

Christians involved in the public debates of our day often feel like they are in a “war of exhaustion.” Like the “tired, hungry soldiers” engaged in a “dirty business,” many of us are struggling with a sense of weariness, discouragement, and, in some cases, even hopelessness.

Some need to take a true break, to replenish their spirits and refresh their minds. There are many ways to serve, and not all of them involve political activism. No believer should ever withdraw from serving Christ and those made in His image, but there are seasons when Christians who have long participated in the cultural battle can, as Jesus said to the Twelve, “come away … and rest for a while.”

In the case of His disciples, His call to rest came because, as the apostle Mark explains, “many were coming and going, and they (the disciples) had no leisure even to eat” (Mark 6:31). For Christians enmeshed in today’s social issues, “having the leisure to eat” – to detach from constant engagement in seeking to uphold righteousness and justice in the public arena – might well be merited.

With respect to Dr. Manning’s comments about the need for “a goal, a role, and reasons for self-confidence,” Christians who are committed to life from conception until natural death and protecting it in law, who understand the implications of turning from the historic (and biblical) definition of marriage as the covenantal union of one man and one woman, for life, who grasp the necessity of healthy families for parents, children, and the nation as a whole, and who recognize that religious liberty is under threat at home and being violently suppressed in many places around the world – we have our goal. As Family Research Council puts it, that goal is “a culture in which human life is valued, families flourish and religious liberty thrives.”

And we each have a role. There are various ways to participate in building such a culture, from sending emails to friends about an upcoming ballot initiative to running for office or preaching a sermon on biblical values. Most of us already know the roles we can play, given our time, health, and various other resources.

Perhaps what some of us need is a boost of confidence, not in the sense of “self-talk” or desperate efforts to see a bit of blue amid the gathering gray storm clouds. Rather, true confidence, in the context of the cultural battles we face, comes from surety that (1) we are in the right with respect to the convictions we seek to uphold and (2) in eternity, we indisputably are on the winning side.

As to the first point, I am not suggesting that every position taken by every conservative Christian activist on every issue is correct! Rather, the declarative, clear, and propositional assertions of the Bible concerning the sacredness of personhood from the womb onward, marriage and human sexuality, and human dignity and its obvious implications for religious liberty assure us that on the essentials of our efforts, we are moving in tandem with the Holy Spirit.

As to the second, the temporal scorecard is uneven. There have been some valuable federal court wins and some disastrous court losses. We have had some significant political victories at both the state and federal levels, and some noteworthy losses.

We need to keep seeking to advance the things we believe God cherishes for any society and do so with grace, courage, integrity, an unremitting allegiance to truth, and prudential good judgment. We must love our enemies, pray for those who oppose God’s rule and rules, and share with them the good news of a King Who died for them and rose again in triumph.

But we need to do so with a firm understanding that eternity awaits us, an eternity in which the Lord of Glory will reign over “new heavens and a new earth” in which justice and purity will be unblemished forever.

With that perspective ever in mind, exhaustion will never be our permanent lot. We will not lose heart (II Corinthians 4:16) nor grow weary in doing good (Galatians 6:9).

That’s our call. That’s our challenge. That’s our confidence.

Passing Driver Buys Chair for 40 Days for Life Team Member

by JP Duffy

October 16, 2015

40 Days for Life reports that 339 babies have been saved from abortion so far during the campaign taking place now through November 1st in 307 cities. The impact of 40 Days for Life continues to grow each year as thousands of Christians gather to provide a prayerful presence outside abortion centers across the nation. 

This morning, my family and I joined the 40 Days for Life gathering outside the late-term abortion facility in Germantown, Maryland. We hoped to encourage and thank those praying for life, but little did we know how much encouragement we would receive! One car after another honked in support, with numerous drivers giving the thumbs-up, waving, and offering words of encouragement. Not a single negative reaction was seen from any driver.   

One passing driver saw an elderly gentleman sitting on the ground holding a “Pray to End Abortion” sign and was compelled to go to the store to buy him a chair. She had the brightest smile on her face as she walked over to hand him the chair and thank him for praying. I have participated in many such prayer gatherings over the years, but today the public’s support seemed to hit a new high. 

Maryland has long been known as having some of the most radical pro-abortion laws in the world, but like the rest of the nation, it appears to be moving in a pro-life direction. The Planned Parenthood videos have so horrified the American people that an increasing number of states are redirecting those funds from the abortion giant to community health centers. With its poll numbers in a free fall, Planned Parenthood is even finding it difficult to keep its hold on Maryland taxpayer funds.

To those of you involved in 40 Days for Life: Be encouraged. You are doing the Lord’s work and are changing hearts and saving lives. Keep it up! If you haven’t yet participated in 40 Days for Life, I encourage you to check out 40DaysforLife.com and join a prayer gathering in your local area between now and November 1. You can save lives where you live.

Adoption Agency Gets Techie

by Maize Pyburn

October 14, 2015

A recent article from Live Action News details a new approach being taken by an adoption agency to get the pro-life message out to women about to have an abortion. The article explains that Bethany Christian Services (BCS), a global nonprofit organization that provides services such as adoption, foster care, and pregnancy counseling, will use geo-fencing to reach out to women in abortion clinics.

For those unfamiliar with the term “geo-fencing,” it’s a location-based service that can send messages (i.e., advertising) to anyone who enters a pre-set location. A company or organization can select particular locations — in this case, BCS selects abortion centers — into which to send their ads.

So, when someone enters a particular abortion clinic and opens up the internet or an app, geo-fencing allows BCS ads to appear in the app or on the webpage. The intended end result, of course, will be that the woman leaves the clinic and seeks out the assistance of BCS or another pregnancy care center.

Thinking outside the box by creatively using technology is just what the pro-life movement needs to propel its message further — even to the darkest corners of abortion clinics.

A Planned Parenthood Lexicon

by Rob Schwarzwalder

October 13, 2015

To understand Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s (PPFA) public statements concerning the videos released this past summer showing its coarse and predatory sale of the body parts of unborn children, reflection on two passages from a couple of great books is worthwhile:

When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master — that’s all.”

Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of (the state), but to make all other modes of thought impossible. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meaning and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods.”

George Orwell, 1984

Language shapes thought. It defines the content of our thinking such that we revert, by mental default, to using words we are used to hearing regarding various subject matter.

An example: When I think of the Grand Canyon, I think of the amazing canyon in Arizona whose depth, variety, and sheer size are both beautiful and remarkable. However, had I been conditioned to think of this geographical wonder as dangerous and hideous, my mental conception would be starkly different.

Words are used to depict or describe; when they are used dishonestly — when they distort one’s understanding of a person or event or idea — they are weapons against intellectual integrity and morality itself.

Planned Parenthood has developed a lectionary, accepted pro forma by the secular Left, to describe its various activities. Not unique to PPFA — this same set of words and phrases is used by the popular media and liberal politicians, as well — nonetheless the brazenness of the organization in using its specialized and euphemized vocabulary has elevated verbal and intellectual misrepresentation to a new level of hypocrisy.

This lectionary is articulated in an announcement made today by PPFA President Cecile Richards. In a letter for National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, Richards said “the organization’s affiliates will no longer accept any reimbursements for costs associated with procuring tissue from abortions.”

Consider just one of the terms used in the letter: “fetal tissue.” When one thinks of tissue, usually it is of the flesh around our bones. Tissue samples are removed and studied; innocuous and common, right?

PPFA is not referring to a “donation” of such “tissue.” It’s speaking of the scavenging of organs of unborn children aborted late in their pregnancies. Dr. Deborah Necotola, Senior Director of Medical Services for the PPFA, explains what her organization really means by “tissue:”

You try to intentionally go above and below the thorax, so that, you know, we’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver … so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m going to basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact … I’ll actually collect what you want sometimes, and put it aside … Why not? I’m right there. Oh, for sure, I mean to me, I don’t know, it makes the procedure that much better.”

Then there’s the term “reimbursement.” PPFA’s decision to end its “reimbursement” scheme amounts to the employment of another euphemism, at best; the videos released by the Center for Medical Progress imply that PPFA has a high profit motive for its organs-for-sale business.

The reality is that there is no cost to PPFA in providing infant cadavers to tissue procurement organizations (TPOs). As David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress wrote to congressional leaders in August,

We now know from Cecile Richards’ letter that $60 per collected tissue specimen is what will “get a toe in” to harvest baby parts at Planned Parenthood Pacific Southwest. Like other TPOs, (Advanced Bioscience Resources) handles all dissection, packaging, and shipping of fetal organs and tissues, and so it is unclear for what PPPS could be receiving “reimbursement.” This is especially suspicious given that Ms. Richards says the $60 fee is paid “per tissue specimen.” Thus, if ABR harvests a liver and a thymus, a common fetal tissue order, from an 18-week fetus aborted at the San Diego clinic, Planned Parenthood receives a total payment of $120 from that case. It stretches credulity to believe that ABR’s technician harvesting two organs from a fetus costs Planned Parenthood $120 — this is a new revenue stream off of fetal tissue with no real cost to Planned Parenthood, and thus a criminal profit.

In sum, as Notre Dame Law School professor O. Carter Snead told the Associated Press today, “Planned Parenthood’s decision is clearly an effort at damage control — to preserve its carefully cultivated (and ferociously defended) image as merely a women’s health care organization. Nothing Planned Parenthood has done today will change its role as the world’s leading abortion provider.”

Indeed. In the words of Tennessee Republican Congresswoman Diane Black, quoted in the same AP story as Snead, “It is curious that, while Planned Parenthood officials maintain there has been no wrongdoing, they still find it necessary to change their policy following the recent undercover videos. Clearly, this was a decision motivated by optics rather than the organization’s conscience.”

And as Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) said, “It is clear that Planned Parenthood knows it is wrong to profit from the sale of baby body parts, but their decision to stop selling organs doesn’t change the fact that Planned Parenthood still profits from the death of children. This organization still engages in the inhumane treatment of children, and our federal government forces taxpayers to give them their hard-earned money. Congress must continue all investigations into their grotesque practices and remain committed to defunding them.”

At this stage, even Big Brother would walk away from trying to market Planned Parenthood. Will Congress? Will the White House? Let us pray to that end.

Constitutional Resistance to Obergefell v. Hodges

by Travis Weber

October 13, 2015

Last week, a number of scholars and law professors released a statement calling on all officeholders to resist — within the grounds of their own constitutional authority — the Supreme Court’s illegitimate and groundless ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges. The scholars’ statement points to the grave consequences of letting this decision continue to be treated as legitimate and binding precedent on the entire nation, and urges public officials to exercise their independent authority to follow the Constitution regardless of Obergefell’s dubious claims:

One lacking anything remotely resembling a warrant in the text, logic, structure, or original understanding of the Constitution must be judged anti-constitutional and illegitimate. Obergefell should be declared to be such, and treated as such, by the other branches of government and by citizens of the United States.

The authors of the statement remind us that the Supreme Court is not the only branch of government granted authority by the Constitution. While the Supreme Court has the authority and responsibility to decide cases and controversies between parties, it does not have the authority to declare entirely new doctrines of law binding on parties not before the court.

Quoting President Lincoln, the authors observe:

In 1857, Abraham Lincoln said, “Judicial decisions are of greater or less authority as precedents, according to circumstances. That this should be so, accords both with common sense, and the customary understanding of the legal profession.” If a decision “had been made by the unanimous concurrence of the judges, and without any apparent partisan bias, and in accordance with legal public expectation, and with the steady practice of the departments throughout our history, and had been in no part, based on assumed historical facts which are not really true; or, if wanting in some of these, it had been before the court more than once, and had there been affirmed and re-affirmed through a course of years, it then might be, perhaps would be, factious, nay, even revolutionary, to not acquiesce in it as a precedent.” If, however, a decision is “wanting in all these claims to the public confidence,” it is “not factious” to resist it.

The authors quite understandably conclude that “Obergefell is wanting in all these claims to the public confidence. It cannot therefore be taken to have settled the law of the United States.”

They conclude:

The proper understanding and definition of marriage is self-evidently a vital question affecting the whole people. To treat as “settled” and “the law of the land” the decision of five Supreme Court justices who, by their own admission, can find no warrant for their ruling in the text, logic, structure, or original understanding of the Constitution, would indeed be to resign our government into the hands of that eminent tribunal. That is something that no citizen or statesman who wishes to sustain the great experiment in ordered liberty bequeathed to us by our Founding Fathers should be willing to do.

At Family Research Council, we recognize the Supreme Court as the highest court in the land, charged with adjudicating disputes between parties and determining those parties’ rights under the Constitution. However, the Supreme Court lacks the authority to decide the meaning of certain matters, one of which is an institution — marriage — which predates civil government and is only defined by God.

This must not be forgotten — neither by public officials nor those they are supposed to serve.

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