Month Archives: March 2018

As Science Advances, the Pro-Life Movement Swells

by Patrina Mosley

March 19, 2018

For all the progress since 1973, I just know in my heart of hearts that this will be the generation that restores life in America.” These inspiring words were spoken by our very own Vice President Mike Pence at a pro-life luncheon held on February 27th.

Of course, NARAL didn’t miss an opportunity to retort back with their antiquated and overused rhetoric to accuse the Vice President of trying to “normalize” the idea that “women don’t get to…control their own bodies.”

Pence is not trying to normalize anything except the right to be given a chance to live, which we have denied to nearly 60 million children since Roe v. Wade.

These days Pence and other pro-life advocates don’t really have to use slick marketing gimmicks to change people’s minds on abortion when science is pretty much already doing that for us, so Pence may be right—this could be the generation that sees the sanctity of life restored, given Americans’ changing opinions. 

A recent Marist Poll on “Americans’ Opinions on Abortions” found that:

  • Only 12 percent of Americans think abortion should be available to a woman any time during her pregnancy.
  • 56 percent believe abortion is morally wrong.

Now more than ever, Americans are changing the way they feel about abortion and want more restrictions on obtaining an abortion.

When the first oral arguments of the Roe v. Wade case occurred in 1971, the attorney for Jane Roe argued that since obtaining an abortion when the life of the mother was at risk was already legal in the Texas statue (where the original Jane Roe appeal was heard), then it was not the child who was the victim but the mother. She argued further that since there was no acknowledgment of death by the state, it was safe to conclude the baby should be treated as biological waste:

There is no requirement of — even though the State, in its brief, points out the development of the fetus that in an eight-week period, the same State, does not require any death certificate, or any formalities of birth.

The product of such a conception would be handled merely as a pathological specimen.

The “it’s just a clump of tissues” argument has a long history. 

What Roe. v Wade couldn’t predict was the advancement of scientific technology capable of detecting the intricate design inherent in the unborn child and the astonishing level of development taking place earlier and earlier in the womb.

The same Marist Poll asked Americans the question of when life begins: 47 percent said “at conception.”

Contrast this to what presiding Justice Blackmun wrote in 1973 in the majority opinion in Roe:

We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.

There’s no “speculation” anymore. Science, in its respective fields of embryology and bioethics, has given us breakthrough answers. Scientists within the past few years have detected that a bright flash of light erupts when a sperm fuses with an egg, signaling when human life begins.

In addition, we are now seeing that early-stage embryos with abnormalities can still develop into healthy babies if given the chance to live. Thanks to 4D ultrasound technology, we can see an unborn child at 14 weeks respond to the sound of music. Previously, many believed a baby in the womb could not hear music until 26 weeks.

At 20 weeks we can scientifically prove that a baby has developed a mature enough nervous system to feel pain. The Marist Poll indicates that 63 percent of Americans now support a ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and 17 states have already enacted some form of a “Pain-Capable bill” to protect unborn children who are able to feel pain from the brutal abortion methods used at this stage.

Even MSNBC “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough recently had to admit: “You are seeing poll numbers move on abortion for banning abortions after 20 weeks.” He went on:

Why? Because for the past decade, younger Americans have been going in and they have been seeing 3-D imagery where they can look into the womb. If some activist said, ‘Your child is a lump,’ I must tell you, I’ve had four kids, I’ve never once had a doctor go to me, ‘we’ve got your lump, let me show you your lump, look at your lump’s profile.’ This is an example of science, technology changing that is going to change the politics of abortion. This is an issue that culturally is going to change. Americans, younger voters are going to become more conservative on abortion because they see their child very early on in the womb.

It is a marvel to see science catch up to where the morality of most Americans has always been, and where truth will always stand.

These scientific discoveries are just the tip of the iceberg and will inevitably continue to evolve. Many more Americans may begin to doubt the weight of the words from the seven Roe v. Wade Justices who declared abortion the law of the land when the evidence of unborn life right before their eyes cannot be denied.

Of Guns and Prodigal Fathers

by Peter Sprigg

March 16, 2018

After a school shooter murdered 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14, the calls by liberals for new gun control laws were predictable, and received blanket coverage in the mainstream media.

Gun rights activists, in another unsurprising response, resisted efforts to blame the weapon rather than the killer, promoting instead ideas like arming teachers to defend their students.

I’ve been heartened to see that a number of pro-family conservatives have pointed out a third factor that must be addressed when examining violence in our society—the role of family structure, and specifically the negative effects of fatherlessness on boys and young men. The Parkland shooter (whose name I choose not to publicize) was fatherless, just like many other perpetrators of mass murders. Yet most of the media have not focused on this issue.

Susan L. M. Goldberg was one of the first to raise the issue, at PJ Media. Former Sen. Rick Santorum also raised it in a CNN interview. Unfortunately, one statistic that was cited multiple times turned out to be unverified (at this writing, it lives on in a headline at Patheos: “Of the 27 Deadliest Mass Shooters, 26 of Them Had One Thing in Common.”) Paul Kengor, a scrupulous scholar from Grove City College, apologized for having cited this number in a piece in Crisis Magazine. After studying the available (albeit incomplete) data more closely, Kengor said that

[W]e found maybe four or five of the 27 shooters that we could definitively conclude (without doubt) had been raised in an intact family, or a family that included the biological dad at home, or a biological father who was consistently at home… .

At this point, however, what is clear is the vast majority of shooters came from broken families without a consistent biological father throughout their rearing and development. Very few had good, stable, present dads.

(I would also note that the CNN list of the “deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S. history,” starting in 1949 and apparently first compiled in 2013, has now been updated to include 34 incidents, not 27. Only four of those, however, have been in schools, and another three at colleges.)

What is perhaps more compelling than the anecdotal evidence from the most extreme events is the overall data regarding the link between fatherlessness and crime and violence. Here is edited data I accessed from the National Fatherhood Initiative in 2015:

Father Factor in Emotional and Behavioral Problems

      • Children born to single mothers show higher levels of aggressive behavior than children born to married mothers. Source: Journal of Marriage and Family, 2007.

 . . .

Father Factor in Crime

      • A study of 109 juvenile offenders indicated that family structure significantly predicts delinquency.
        Source: Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 2000.
      • [H]igher social encounters and frequent communication with nonresident biological fathers decreased adolescent delinquency.
        Source: Child Development, 2007.
      • [A] more positive father-child relationship predicts a reduced risk of engagement in multiple first risky behaviors. The positive influence of the father-child relationship on risk behaviors seemed to be stronger for male than for female adolescents.
        Source: Journal of Family Issues, 2006.
      • [I]f the number of fathers is low in a neighborhood, then there is an increase in acts of teen violence. Source: Journal of Marriage and Family, 2005.
      • In a study of INTERPOL crime statistics of 39 countries, it was found that single parenthood ratios were strongly correlated with violent crimes. Source: Cross-Cultural Research, 2004.

NFI also offers these graphics as free downloads:



An infographic from the National Center for Fathering reports the following:

Fatherless children are:

  • 11 times more likely to have violent behavior
  • 20 times more likely to be incarcerated


  • 70% of adolescents in juvenile correctional facilities come from fatherless homes
  • 60% of rapists were raised in fatherless homes

It’s clear we have a problem of what we might call “prodigal dads” in our society. (Writer Doug Mainwaring used that term in a piece last year in Public Discourse, “May I Please Speak to My Daddy?”)

More powerful, though, than statistics may be a three-minute film produced recently by students at Gordon College, an evangelical school in Massachusetts (full disclosure: my son is one of those students). If you want to illustrate the pain of fathers and children who are separated, consider sharing “Prodigal.”

Social Conservative Review - March 15, 2018

by Daniel Hart

March 15, 2018

Dear Friends,

A man who lives alone and completely off the grid in the British Columbian woods is the subject of a short documentary I happened upon recently. Dag Aabye is 76 years old and spends his days clearing and building trails to run on so that he can train for 80-mile ultramarathon races. “I’m perfectly imperfect,” he says. “If you’re perfectly imperfect, you always have to work on yourself … tomorrow, I want to be a better person than today.” These are sage words for us all. But then Aabye says something interesting: “And if you work on yourself, you don’t have time to talk about other people or worry about other people … I don’t try to understand people. They do their thing, and I leave them alone. The only person you want to understand, really, is yourself.”

In our modern lives that seem built around being “plugged in” —to the internet, our phones, TV, etc. —it can sometimes be tempting to make a radical break from “the rat race” and “break free” so that we can live a life like Aabye’s, one of complete separation from worldly concerns so that we can constantly search for ultimate meaning in which we only have ourselves to worry about. There are indeed important lessons to be learned from a life like Aabye’s—instead of gossiping about others, improve yourself; instead of wasting time surfing Facebook or cable TV, live with purpose and creativity to accomplish meaningful goals.

But underneath the surface of words like “I don’t try to understand people” and “They do their thing, and I leave them alone” is a sense of loss. In a way, it’s an admission of defeat, of not attempting the difficult task of empathy and sacrifice for our fellow man. Ultimately, it’s an indirect dismissal of the greatest act of love we can ever perform in life: to lay down our lives for another (John 15:13). As tempting as it is to think of a life like Dag Aabye’s as one of ultimate “freedom,” Christ showed us that true freedom lies in self-sacrifice for the other. As Nathanael Blake has written recently, even something as seemingly ordinary as a man and a woman staying true to their marriage vows “is an act of defiance against all of the difficulties of life, from the catastrophic to the mundane. In marriage, men and women promise themselves to one another, and tell fate to go to hell. The traditional promises that solemnize a marriage are some of the greatest assertions of human agency, and therefore of human dignity, possible. Our freedom is not realized in the possibility that we might do anything, but in doing what we have said we will do.”

Thank you for your prayers and for your continued support of FRC and the family.


Dan Hart
Managing Editor for Publications
Family Research Council


FRC Articles

What an Idaho Federal Judge Should Have Said About Transgender Birth Certificates – Peter Sprigg

Sixth Circuit Shows Why SOGIs Are a Threat to Religious Freedom – Travis Weber

Women Speak: A Panel Discussion on Real Issues that Women Face Today

She Persisted: Star Parker’s Mission to End Abortion

Gentle Strength: Why I’m Not a Feminist – Cassidy Rich

Remarks by Tony Perkins at the 2018 NRB Convention


Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

Christian Bakers Appeal Fine for Refusing to Make Cake for Same-Sex Wedding – Anugrah Kumar, The Christian Post

Fourth Circuit Denies En Banc Rehearing in Bladensburg Veterans Memorial Case – First Liberty

Report: Southern Poverty Law Center ignores anti-Semitic hate crimes on campus – Caleb Parke, Fox News

Condo Bans Senior Citizen’s Bible Study, Christian Music –

Christian group sues Michigan university after it is kicked off campus – Caleb Parke, Fox News

School District Bans Baptist Chaplain From Praying with Football Team –

College student kicked out of class for telling professor there are only two genders – Rick Lessard, Fox61

61% of College Students Says Campus Climate Deters Conservative Speech – Tom Ciccotta, Breitbart

Pa. County Continues Fight Against Atheists’ Lawsuit Demanding Cross Be Removed From Seal – Michael Gryboski, The Christian Post

International Religious Freedom

Mike Pompeo’s Nomination is ‘Very Positive for the Cause of International Religious Freedom’ – George Thomas, CBN News

Remains of 40 Iraqi Christians With Their Crosses Found in Mass Grave – Anugrah Kumar, The Christian Post

Christian Parents Praying for Son on Death Row in Pakistan for ‘Blasphemy’ – Stoyan Zaimov, The Christian Post

Military Religious Freedom

Should a ‘secular humanist’ serve as Navy chaplain? Absolutely not – Sen. Roger Wicker, Fox News




Discriminating against people like my son, with Down syndrome, must end – Cassy Fiano, Live Action

Abortion Clinics Have Lost 3 Million Customers to This Pro-Life Helpline – Jay Hobbs, LifeNews

To Call Abortion ‘Health Care’ Defies Logic – Bishop Daniel E. Thomas, National Catholic Register

A Miracle Story: Baby Saved After Mother Had Already Started Abortion – Hank Berrien, The Daily Wire

Abortion worker pressured by other workers to abort her wanted baby – Sarah Terzo, Live Action

Michigan pro-lifers now saving babies from within a former Planned Parenthood – Katie Franklin, LifeSiteNews

Kentucky House OKs bill to ban abortion procedure after 11 weeks – Bruce Schreiner, Associated Press

Human Rights Groups Thank U.S. for Rolling Back Abortion in Impending Report – Austin Ruse, C-Fam

Why Is the Abortion Industry Run by Women? – Rebekah Merkle, Desiring God


Video: Family Adopts an Abandoned Newborn Baby – Sarah Zagorski, LifeNews

A ‘perfect’ ending for four Kansas siblings seeking adoption brings judge to tears – Rick Montgomery, Chicago Tribune


The real Down syndrome problem: Accepting genocide – George F. Will, The Washington Post

Euthanasia is Now Being Performed … on Prisoners – Michael Cook, Intellectual Takeout

Appeals court: Hospital can yank baby Alfie Evans’ life support against parents’ wishes – Claire Chretien, LifeSiteNews

VSED: A New Form of Assisted Suicide – Richard Becker, Crisis

Netherlands Euthanized 252 Mentally Ill People in 2017 – Alex Schadenberg, LifeNews

Basic Bioethics: What Christians should know about abortifacients – Joe Carter, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission




Tax Cuts Already Have America’s Small Businesses Moving Again – Chris Stansbury, The Daily Signal

Saving men in the heartland: The case for place-based employment policies – The Brookings Institution


The Romance of Ordinary Marriage – Nathanael Blake, Public Discourse

Don’t Miss the Joy of Family Life – Justin Coulson, Family Studies

7 Questions Every Husband Should Be Asking Himself – Christopher Greco, Relevant

God, Why Won’t You Fulfill Our Desire for Children? – Michael McAfee, The Gospel Coalition

How to Increase Participation in Marriage and Relationship Education – Stephen F. Duncan, Family Studies


3 Things A Father Must Teach His Son So That His Son Doesn’t End Up Dead Or In Prison – Matt Walsh, The Daily Wire

You Must Fight Hard for Peace – Jon Bloom, Desiring God

What Your Kids Need from YouJ. D. Greear, The Gospel Coalition

What Jordan Peterson Has to Say About Motherhood Might Surprise You – Ashley McGuire, Family Studies

9 ways to establish sexual norms for your children before the world doesJ.D. Thorne, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

The Lost Art of Intentionality – Tod Worner, Word On Fire

The Christian’s Hammer – Rob Schwarzwalder, The Stream

Human Sexuality

Guttmacher Report Misleads on Abstinence-Only Education – Michael J. New, National Review

Sex Change: Physically Impossible, Psychosocially Unhelpful, and Philosophically Misguided – Ryan T. Anderson, Public Discourse

Bisexual Confessions, Ex-Gay Testimonies Receive Scorn – Dan Delzell, The Christian Post

Why He Doesn’t Call Himself Gay – Rachel Gilson, The Gospel Coalition

Historic Stand? Kansas GOP Affirms ‘God’s Design for Gender’ – Heather Sells, CBN News

New Resource Lovingly Presents the Truth About Homosexuality – Kathy Schiffer, National Catholic Register

Human Trafficking

Survivors of Human Trafficking, in Their Own Words – Rebecca J. Rosen, The Atlantic

The House acts to fight against sex trafficking – Josh Wester, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Does #MeToo Have the Power to Bring Down Corporatized Sex Trafficking? – Lisa L. Thompson, National Center On Sexual Exploitation


What to do when you can’t “unsee” pornography – Kathleen N. Hattrup, Aleteia

Restricting Online Porn Is Focus of Rhode Island BillNational Catholic Register

10 Things To Avoid Saying To Someone Struggling To Give Up Porn – Fight the New Drug

What an Idaho Federal Judge Should Have Said About Transgender Birth Certificates

by Peter Sprigg

March 13, 2018

On March 5th, a federal court in Idaho ordered that state to begin allowing persons who identify as transgender to obtain revised birth certificates which would designate them as male or female on the basis of their “gender identity” rather than their biological sex at birth.

This decision by U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy W. Dale was both legally and logically wrong.

Ironically, Judge Dale’s written decision contains within it all the facts necessary for a reasonable decision—but she ignored them. Let me begin by quoting two key passages from her actual decision (most source citations omitted):

As explained above, IDHW [Idaho Department of Health and Welfare] interprets Idaho vital statistics law to prohibit changes to the listed sex unless there was an error in recording the sex at birth. Notably, IDHW asserts that Idaho birth certificates reflect the “sex” of a person at birth and do not contain a “gender marker” designation. From this interpretation comes IDHW’s policy of automatically and categorically denying applications made by transgender individuals for the purpose of changing the listed sex to reflect their gender identity.

2. Biological Sex, Gender Identity, Transition

There is scientific consensus that biological sex is determined by numerous elements, which can include chromosomal composition, internal reproductive organs, external genitalia, hormone prevalence, and brain structure. [Footnote: The American Psychology [sic] Association defines sex as “one’s biological status as either male or female” that “is associated primarily with physical attributes such as chromosomes, hormone prevalence, and external and internal anatomy.” Transgender People, Gender Identity and Gender Expression, American Psychological Association (2018),] Sex determinations made at birth are most often based on the observation of external genitalia alone. For most people, this determination aligns with gender identity and gender expression. Of importance here, however, are instances where it does not.

Gender identity, also known as core gender, is the intrinsic sense of being male, female, or an alternative gender. Transgender is an adjective used to designate “a person whose identity does not confirm unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female gender.” Put another way, transgender is an adjective used to describe a person who has a gender identity that differs, in varying degrees, from the sex observed and assigned at birth.

 . . .


 1.      The Equal Protection Clause

The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment requires that all similarly situated people be treated alike. Equal protection requirements restrict state legislative action that is inconsistent with bedrock constitutional guarantees, such as equality in treatment. An equal protection claim is established when plaintiffs show they were treated differently than other similarly situated people. Yet, states are given significant leeway to establish laws to effectively govern citizens and remedy societal ills. Because of this, successful equal protection claims additionally require plaintiffs to show the difference in treatment was the result of intentional or purposeful discrimination.

The whole case could have been settled at this point. Here is what Judge Dale could have said—but, unfortunately, did not:

Since there remains a scientific consensus that “sex” is an inherently different characteristic from “gender identity” or “core gender,” (the former being biological, the latter psychological), and since Idaho birth certificates note only the “sex” of the individual and not the “gender” or “gender identity,” the plaintiffs’ claims fail.

It is understandable that plaintiffs may experience hardships as a result of their “gender” or “gender identity” not matching the “sex” listed on their birth certificates. It is understandable that they might prefer that all identity documents, including birth certificates, should reflect only the male or female designation that they prefer as their “gender identity.” However, these are concerns that they must take to the legislature, not the courts.

For now, Idaho has made the policy decision that birth certificates should reflect the “sex” of the child, defined in biological terms. In the vast majority of cases, this is readily identifiable (and in the rare exceptions, Idaho law and policy already allows correction if the biological sex is identified incorrectly). This decision certainly has a rational basis, since it is hard to even conceptualize how anyone could identify or assign a “gender” or “gender identity” (as distinct from “sex”) to a newborn infant.

It would be within the power of the legislature to authorize retroactive changes to birth certificates in the way the plaintiffs desire. Some legislators may see an individual’s psychological “gender identity” as a more fundamental aspect of who the person is, and may favor the policy change requested by plaintiffs as a way of alleviating the inconvenience and suffering endured by transgender individuals. However, some legislators may see an individual’s biological “sex” as a more fundamental aspect of who the person is, and may prefer to preserve the integrity and accuracy of the birth certificate as a permanent factual record of the individual’s biological sex at birth.

This is a policy choice that only the legislature can make. The Constitution of the United States does not speak to the issue one way or the other. Plaintiffs argue that Idaho’s current policy violates the constitutional guarantee of “the equal protection of the laws.” Yet this claim surely fails, since the current policy treats everyone alike. All persons have their biological sex recorded at birth on their birth certificate. No one has the right to alter this portion of the birth certificate. And it cannot be claimed that this policy is “the result of intentional or purposeful discrimination” against transgender persons, since the policy was in place long before there was any legal or legislative awareness of “gender dysphoria.”

Plaintiffs may argue that the “unequal” treatment consists of the fact that transgender people are denied a birth certificate on which the designation of “sex” corresponds to their “gender identity,” while non-transgender people have birth certificates in which the two aspects of identity match. However, this situation is simply the result of the individual’s unusual transgender condition itself—not any intentional or irrational discrimination on the part of the state.

Case dismissed.

Unfortunately, this judge substituted her own hazy (but politically correct) philosophy for such a straightforward reading of the law. This philosophy does not reflect that “our medical understanding of biological sex and gender has advanced,” as Judge Dale asserts. In fact, her declaration that “there is medical consensus that gender identity plays a role in an individual’s determination of their own sex” is directly contradicted by her earlier acknowledgment that “sex” and “gender identity” remain defined by major medical and psychological associations as two different things. What her decision reflects is not the latest in medical science, but is instead a purely metaphysical view that the mind is everything and the body is nothing when it comes to deciding who is male or female.

She is entitled to hold (or blindly accept) this trendy opinion, but she has no right or power to impose it as law upon the state of Idaho.

Sixth Circuit Shows Why SOGIs Are a Threat to Religious Freedom

by Travis Weber

March 12, 2018

Last week, in EEOC v. R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the religious freedom claim of a funeral home owner who wanted to run his business in accordance with his faith—and did not want to accede to the “gender identity” discrimination claim of an employee who desired to remain an employee while living out his transgendered lifestyle as he saw fit. The case is still ongoing (the appeals court ordered the case remanded for a lower court to continue sorting out), but there’s a very real possibility that business owner Thomas Rost may now be forced out of the marketplace rather than violate his faith.

This is the first federal court case dealing with a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) claim in the context of a sexual orientation and/or gender identity (SOGI) nondiscrimination claim (the only other such case is the state-level case of print shop owner Blaine Adamson in Kentucky), and SOGI came out the victor. The concerns of those who have warned of the religious freedom threat of SOGIs are validated by this decision.

The Sixth Circuit, in an opinion authored by Judge Karen Moore, got its analysis wrong on several levels. First, the court claimed it was somehow very clear that Title VII sex discrimination prohibitions include “gender identity”—despite the fact that no court considered such a possibility for decades. Even Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginburg, writing about the proposed Equal Rights Amendment decades ago, did not take “gender identity” under consideration as she dismissed concerns that sex nondiscrimination provisions could force bathrooms to be opened up to the opposite biological sex. So when the Sixth Circuit says “[n]or can much be gleaned from the fact that … statutes, such as the Violence Against Women Act, expressly prohibit discrimination on the basis of ‘gender identity,’ while Title VII does not,” it isn’t very convincing. If it was so clear, no court would ever have rejected the notion that “gender identity” falls under sex discrimination—yet many have.

The court continued to err when it analyzed the religious freedom issue here. The funeral home relied on RFRA as a defense to the SOGI claim, asserting that a sincere religious belief had been substantially burdened. At that point, the EEOC could only have prevailed if it had a compelling government interest which was accomplished through the least restrictive means.

Judge Moore incredibly (and erroneously) claimed it was not a “substantial burden” on religious exercise to “forc[e] [the Funeral Home] to violate Rost’s faith,” which “would significantly pressure Rost to leave the funeral industry and end his ministry to grieving people.” Yet it is an elementary principle of RFRA analysis to observe there is a substantial burden on someone who is told they must compromise their beliefs in order to retain their job. The court accepted that Rost sincerely believed he should not be “directly involved in supporting the idea that sex is a changeable social construct rather than an immutable God-given gift,” but then summarily dismissed his concern, concluding that “tolerating [his employee’s] understanding of … sex and gender identity is not tantamount to supporting it.”

The court tries to rely on lower federal court adjudications in the HHS mandate contraceptive litigation, claiming that “[m]ost circuits, including this one, have recognized that a party can sincerely believe that he is being coerced into engaging in conduct that violates his religious convictions without actually, as a matter of law, being so engaged.” Yet this second-guessing of religious beliefs has been roundly repudiated by the Supreme Court in Employment Division v. Smith, where the Court observed decades ago that “[r]epeatedly and in many different contexts, we have warned that courts must not presume to determine the place of a particular belief in a religion or the plausibility of a religious claim.” Moreover, despite citing HHS mandate cases from the lower courts, Judge Moore skips over the fact that when the Supreme Court handled those cases on appeal in Zubik v. Burwell, the justices told the parties to come to a resolution while honoring the religious exercise at issue, rather than flatly dismissing the substantial burden on the religious claimants.

After concluding there was no substantial burden on religious exercise, Judge Moore didn’t need to continue her analysis, but did so anyway, offering her view that it was a compelling interest to force the funeral home to accede to the transgendered employee’s demands: “Failing to enforce Title VII against the Funeral Home means the EEOC would be allowing a particular person—Stephens—to suffer discrimination, and such an outcome is directly contrary to the EEOC’s compelling interest in combating discrimination in the workforce.” The court did not want to “hoist automatically Rost’s religious interests above other compelling governmental concerns.” The Sixth Circuit then concluded that uniform enforcement of sex nondiscrimination provisions without religious exceptions was the least restrictive means to accomplish this compelling government interest of eradicating discrimination.

What are we to make of this? Aside from realizing that judges are not exempt from the temptation to arrive at a conclusion and then craft reasoning to help one get there, the court’s opinion shows us that businesses seeking religious freedom protections need to state clearly and regularly their religious nature (though part of a separate ministerial exemption analysis, the court did hold the business’s lack of numerous and overt religious indicia against it).

More relevant for our current religious freedom concerns, this case shows the inability of RFRA to adjudicate modern religious freedom disputes with certainty, as the statute allows judges the leeway to craft conclusions of their own liking, an even bigger danger when issues of sexuality—on which they want to be on the “right side of history”—are involved in the case.

Finally, and perhaps most significantly, this opinion demonstrates that when RFRA and SOGI claims intersect, the SOGI claims will likely win (and will almost certainly win in the hands of judges under social and cultural pressure to reach a certain result), thus vindicating many who have claimed that SOGI laws themselves are a threat to religious freedom.

Women Speak: A Panel Discussion on Real Issues that Women Face Today

by Family Research Council

March 9, 2018

In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8th, FRC hosted a panel discussion with women staffers to discuss a variety of issues that women face today.

In a wide-ranging and animated conversation, topics included how the modern feminist agenda intentionally excludes conservative women, the trials and joys of being a stay-at-home mom, the challenges and opportunities of being a working mom, the value of flexibility in workplace policies, the role that husbands have in empowering and enabling their wives to achieve their goals, how the #MeToo movement has exposed ugly realities about the dynamics of power and a Hollywood culture of self-indulgence, and more.

Some fascinating questions are explored here. Can women have it all—both at home and at work? Is personal identity more important than ideals? Can society expect men to treat women with respect when the reality of biological sex itself is being challenged? How can the conservative movement and Christian ministry do more to give women opportunities to succeed and to lead? Don’t miss this enlightening and candid discussion.

She Persisted: Star Parker’s Mission to End Abortion

by Family Research Council

March 8, 2018

March is Women’s History Month, and this year’s theme is “Nevertheless, She Persisted.” One shining example of this fortitude is Star Parker. FRC recently spoke with the Founder and President of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE), who stood strong in the face of a personal attack by Rep. Stephen Cohen (D-Tenn.) during a congressional Subcommittee hearing on the pro-life “Heartbeat Bill” last November that went viral.

Star spoke about her experience of breaking free from a life of crime, drugs, reckless sexual activity, and abortion through God’s help, and how it inspired her to share her experience with others and to start CURE in order to work for pro-life, pro-family public policies in the places that need it most: underprivileged urban areas that suffer not just from economic poverty but also suffer from spiritual poverty.

As Star said, “All of the economic problems in our society today connect to abortion.” That’s why her organization CURE is focused on ending abortion through three primary strategies: a clergy program to help educate pastors so they can in turn educate their congregations about abortion, a policy center that works to change abortion law, and a media center to get the pro-life message out. View the Facebook Live video of her chat with FRC’s Patrina Mosely to learn more about CURE’s mission.

Gentle Strength: Why I’m Not a Feminist

by Cassidy Rich

March 6, 2018

The feminist movement is in full swing and nothing seems to be stopping it. Women are breaking away from the “chains” of oppression and showing the world what they can do. In a slew of my college classes I heard young women talk about how they do not want to be controlled by a man or submit to their husband. Being strong, independent, and successful in the corporate world seems to be what defines women today. Interning in Washington, D.C. and personally witnessing the Women’s March made me realize this in ways I didn’t want to. Thousands of women (and even some men) walked the streets of our nation’s capital holding vulgar and obscene posters that supposedly showed strength and independence, but instead made my stomach turn while also saddening my heart.

With all the gender equality lingo being thrown around these days, I was surprised to hear a girl in my Women’s History class say, “I know that some women look down upon this, but I want to be a stay-at-home mom.” Hearing those words come out of her mouth with such conviction was a breath of fresh air. So often, women want to define themselves by showing how they can do just as good of a job as men, if not better. But what if women were designed to do what men cannot do in order to complement one another and bring glory to God? What if women were created to do something different and special that men do not even have the ability to do? What if all women need to do to show their greatness is embrace the role God gave them, even if society may look down on it?

So what does God say about the role of women? Ephesians 5:22 says, “For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” We must recognize that this verse is often taken out of context, and feminists use it as a way to bash the Bible. They seem to think that this verse says they shouldn’t stand up for themselves and have to do whatever their husband demands. This passage is actually much more nuanced than that, for the following verses instruct husbands to love their wives “just as Christ loved the Church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.” Accordingly, God holds men specifically to this standard, as He is instructing husbands to love their wives perfectly just as His love is flawless. Obviously, this is impossible because we are sinful human beings who will never, ever be able to do anything perfectly. God says that He wants husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church because that is what He wants husbands to strive towards. God gave husbands a target to aim at so they know what God expects of them. Women who are married to godly, righteous men willingly submit to their husbands because they know that their husbands love them well, treat them with respect, and honor them. My dad is the most wonderful example of this kind of love.

I’m not a feminist and I don’t plan on ever becoming one. I believe women should have the right to an education and the freedom to pursue their dreams, but I don’t agree with women demeaning men, not taking responsibility for their actions, and trying to show how they can do a man’s job for no other reason than to cut men down. God created men and women equally and doesn’t look at one gender more favorably than the other, but God created men to be the head of the family. My dad demonstrated this beautifully during my younger years and continues to do so to this day. He leads my family with the gentle strength that God talks about in Ephesians 5. My dad loves my mom as Christ loves the church because he listens to my mom’s opinions, suggestions, and ideas and takes them into consideration. He tirelessly serves my family to make sure we have everything we need, and then some. He is not perfect by any means, but this is one of the things I love most about my dad. He admits when he is wrong, asks for forgiveness, and strives to do better. As I heard more about feminism in my college years, I thought for a while as to why I didn’t subscribe to what I was hearing. When I came home from class one day, it suddenly dawned on me.

I am not a feminist because my dad plays his God-given role as a husband and father. My father shows me unconditional love, supports me in pursuing my dreams, and tells me when he thinks one of my ideas is simply a bad idea. When I was younger and incredibly stubborn, my dad constantly reminded me to submit to his and my mom’s authority. I didn’t want to because I thought my parents were dumb and oblivious, but now that I’m an adult I realize that my dad was trying to prepare me to make my faith my own and submit to God. Through my dad’s loving authority and gentle strength, God showed me that submitting to His authority results in a fulfilled life. It’s not an easy life and there are plenty of days when I don’t want to submit to God’s authority because it’s not what I want. I have to remind myself that it’s not about me, but instead it’s all about Him and His glory.

In this fallen world there is unfairness, and we may wonder why God has allowed things to be a certain way. But if we had all the answers, we wouldn’t need Him. He created us to reflect His glory and He has a plan that is truly greater than anything we can imagine. By following in His gentle strength I know I am loved, cared for, wanted, and accepted. That’s what women in the feminist movement desire, anyway. They are trying to find acceptance and equality but are searching down all the wrong avenues. As Katy Perry sang in her “Unconditionally” song: “Acceptance is the key to be, to be truly free….” It’s by surrendering to Christ that we find true acceptance and freedom, for He is the restorer of all things and is the standard of gentle strength.

Remarks by Tony Perkins at the 2018 NRB Convention

by Tony Perkins

March 1, 2018

The following are prepared remarks by Tony Perkins at the National Religious Broadcasters 75th Annual Convention on March 1, 2018.

Winston Churchill once said, “During their lifetimes, every man and woman will stumble across a great opportunity. Sadly, most of them will simply pick themselves up, dust themselves down and carry on as if nothing ever happened.”

The apostle Paul spoke to the issue of opportunity in his letter to the Ephesians when he wrote in chapter 5: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time because the days are evil.”

Now, if Paul had grown up in this country, he might have told the Ephesians “Make hay while the sun is shining.”

The sun is shining right now in American when it comes to our First Amendment freedoms. We need to be wise and act quickly, not only using these freedoms to spread the good news, but also to put in place policies that will protect and promote these essential freedoms, not just for ourselves but those yearning for freedom around the globe and generations yet unborn. 

Some of our brethren remain skeptical or indifferent about our engagement in the political process. Don’t be foolish. Elections have consequences, many far-reaching as we continue to see from the years of President Obama.

But we also see the consequences of the election of Donald Trump and Mike Pence. 

Let me put it in a format that many who track this administration are accustomed to – I’ll put it in the form of a tweet:

President Trump has:

  • Appointed Excellent Judges like Neil Gorsuch
  • Enacted Unparalleled pro-life policies;
  • Cut taxes & is Growing our economy

President Trump is:

  • Restoring religious freedom
  • Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem
  • Rebuilding our military

This is happening because many of you in this room used your influence and your platforms to communicate what was at stake in the last election. I believe America dodged not a bullet in the 2016 election, but a political and cultural H-bomb.

Evangelicals, especially the subset that George Barna calls SAGE Cons—Spiritually Active Governmentally Engaged Conservatives (many of your listeners and viewers)—turned out in record-setting numbers and were unified. Ninety-one percent of SAGE Cons representing 20 million U.S. adults voted, and 94 percent of them voted for Donald Trump.

By the way, almost every time I see the president I don’t have to remind him that evangelicals were the margin for his victory—he reminds me that evangelicals voted for him and they love him!

And by the way, in post-election polling, 59 percent said they voted for the Trump/Pence ticket based on the GOP platform’s position on life and religious liberty. This is important. Despite what the media would say, evangelical voters are sophisticated.  They were able to separate personality from policy.

Evangelicals understood what was at stake and voted.

But the election was not the end of our responsibility, but rather the beginning of our opportunity.

First by acting upon it, but also preserving it.

We need to preserve it by communicating to those who look to and listen to us about what is really happening. We have to counter the narrative of the Fake News—which is real. I’ve been in conversations and meetings with this administration, which somehow got into the media based on their sources which were not only inaccurate but if I didn’t know better, I would think there were intentionally misleading.

Because of the importance of the evangelical voter, there is an intense effort on the Left to suppress their turnout in the upcoming elections, by dampening the enthusiasm of conservative voters. If they succeed and your listeners and viewers get discouraged and stay home in the midterm election, the reform is over. The restoration of religious freedom and the freedom of speech will end.

Nancy Pelosi needs just 24 seats to switch from Republican to Democrat to retake the gavel of the House. In every midterm election since the Civil War, the president’s party has lost, on average, 32 seats in the House and two in the Senate. There are more than 40 Republicans that have and will announce that they are retiring. 

If conservatives and in particular evangelical voters do not turn out, it will happen, and one of the first orders of business will be the impeachment of President Trump. They most likely will not succeed in removing him from office, but they will most likely succeed in stopping what this administration is doing.

What are they doing? The Trump administration is not just enacting conservative policies in line with the Constitution. President Trump is the first Republican President to not just stop the liberal policies of his predecessor; he is dismantling, slowly, but dismantling none-the-less parts of the framework of big, liberal government which has been expanded with the election of each Democratic administration since FDR

That is why the Left is unhinged. They won’t be able to jump back in the driver’s seat of big government and restart their programs, they will have to rebuild, and that will take time, especially if they don’t have the courts to help them in their activism. This is why every judicial confirmation is a fight.

We have to act upon the opportunity that we have, to fortify our freedoms, to ensure government does not again try to quarantine our Christian faith within the walls of our churches. A lot has been done, but there is still plenty to do:

  • The Johnson Amendment has to be totally eliminated.
  • The forced partnership between taxpayers and Planned Parenthood must be ended.
  • Patient-centered healthcare must be restored and,
  • God must be welcomed back into our public life.

The president ran and has governed by the theme “Making America Great Again.” But America will only be great again when it has become good again, and that is not government’s mission, but ours, followers of Jesus Christ.    

Benjamin Franklin said, “History will also afford frequent opportunities of showing the necessity of a public religion, from its usefulness to the public; the advantage of a religious character among private persons; the mischiefs of superstition, and the excellency of the Christian religion above all others, ancient or modern.” 

Let’s be wise and make the best use of this moment in time, this opportunity.

In the wake of the tragic shooting in Parkland, Florida, there is a national discussion about how to protect our children in their classrooms. The focus has been on the instruments of destruction. We continue in a defensive posture with almost every school in America now having active shooter drills. 

In some ways, it is reminiscent of their grandparent’s generation that had duck and cover drills in their classrooms as Americans feared a nuclear attack from Russia in the 1950s.

While that threat was external, and today’s is internal, might we learn from how they responded?

In February of 1954, Reverend George M. Docherty, pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., delivered a sermon on the subject of the pledge of allegiance, with President Eisenhower sitting in the front pew. The sermon was about the absence of the words “Under God” in our pledge. America was at the height of the Cold War with Russia, and a bold declaration was needed to show that there was a difference between America and the atheistic communists.

Three days after that sermon, a bill was introduced in Congress to add the words “under God.”

And on Flag Day, June 14, 1954, Eisenhower signed the bill into law, saying, “From this day forward, millions of school children will daily proclaim the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty.”

America will not be great again until it is good again, and that means America must once again not only acknowledge but live as one nation under God. 

Let us redeem the time.

Let us make the most of this moment.

Let us seize this opportunity!

Social Conservative Review - March 1, 2018

by Daniel Hart

March 1, 2018

Dear Friends,

FRC recently published a pivotal brochure, “How to Respond to the LGBT Movement” by Peter Sprigg. In this timely publication, Peter lays out the empirical evidence that refutes seven common claims made by homosexual activists and eight common claims made by transgender activists. As he notes, the claims that LGBT activists make have become a paradigm of assumptions that declare “that for someone to believe that heterosexuality is preferable to homosexuality is equivalent to believing that one race is superior to another, and therefore represents a form of bigotry and even ‘hate’ toward individuals who identify as homosexual.”

The problem with making this claim is that it is based on the assumption that sexual orientation is in fact “inborn.” As this brochure makes clear, this assumption is empirically false based on observable human behavior and scientific evidence. Therefore, it is fundamentally dishonest and counterproductive to label social conservatives as “bigots” based on this assumption because social conservatives do not accept the faulty premises of this argument.

Perhaps the most important idea that this publication conveys is this: in the cultural battles that continue to be fought around LGBT issues, social conservatives “ha[ve] consistently said that they love their neighbor; and ha[ve] consistently pursued policies which they sincerely believe will preserve the life and health and improve the well-being of those involved.”

The brochure concludes with this stirring thought: “If anything should be clear from the information shared here, it is that there are legitimate grounds for debate on the origin, nature, and consequences of both homosexuality and gender dysphoria. Let all people of goodwill—regardless of their politics, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity—agree that the debate should continue, with a respect for honest research and for the freedom of thought, speech, and religion.”

Thank you for your prayers and for your continued support of FRC and the family.


Dan Hart
Managing Editor for Publications
Family Research Council


FRC Articles

Billy Graham — faithful to the end and still leading us behind him – Tony Perkins

Billy Graham’s Legacy — Faith Looming Large in Public Life – Travis Weber

Despite Leftist Outcry, Americans Don’t Want Federally Funded Pornographic Sex Ed – Kelly Marcum

Democrats have moved far to the nation’s left on abortion – Ken Blackwell

Receiving the Love That We Need: How to Find Healing from Past Wounds

Andrew Sullivan on Opioids: Pointing Us Toward God – Travis Weber

Thank you, Billy Graham – Patrina Mosley

Billy Graham’s Stand on Religious Liberty, Life, and Marriage and Family

How Billy Graham’s Invitation Forever Changed My Life – Peter Sprigg

#MeToo Ignores an Obvious Source of Sexual Aggression: Porn – David Krayden


Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

New HHS office that enforces health workers’ religious rights received 300 complaints in a month – Jessie Hellmann, The Hill

Parents Battle Court to Stop Transgender Teen’s Hormone Treatment – Grace Carr, The Daily Signal

Forced To Resign For Her Faith, This Magistrate Sued The State And Won – Bre Payton, The Federalist

Illinois nurse fights firing over pro-life views – Bonnie Pritchett, WORLD

YouTube Secretly Using SPLC To Police Videos – Peter Hasson, The Daily Caller

Wheaton’s Win Over The Contraceptive Mandate Is A Huge Step Forward For Religious Freedom – Nicole Fisher, The Federalist

University Re-Invites Christian Speaker Who Triggered LGBT Students –

When a University Group Rescinds Freedom of Speech – Ken Ham, The Christian Post

Florida House bill requires schools to display ‘In God We Trust‘ – Kevin Tampone,

Religious Liberty Is a Powerful Anti-Gang Weapon – Noel Sterett, Alliance Defending Freedom

International Religious Freedom

A suspicious and sudden death in China – Mindy Belz, WORLD

Why Don’t We Care About the Slaughter of Nigerian Christians? – Michael Brown, The Stream

Abandoned by the U.S., Syrian Christians and Kurds Seek Help from Pro-Iran Militias – John Zmirak, The Stream

ERLC religious freedom advocacy encouraged by major court decision in Malaysia – Palmer Williams, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Attacks Against India’s Christians Doubled in 2017 – National Catholic Register

Praying for the persecuted church: Jordan – Chase Stevens, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission




Good luck explaining your abortion vote high-fives to your constituents, senators – Ashley McGuire, USA Today

Incredible Surgery in the Womb Corrects Baby’s Spina Bifida After Her Parents Reject Abortion – Micaiah Bilger, LifeNews

Why an unwanted pregnancy is about the baby and the father, too – Garrett Kell, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Dishonoring the Dead: Moral and Constitutional Considerations on Fetal Disposition – Deirdre Cooper and Kody W. Cooper, Public Discourse

The Ostrich Defense of Abortion – Christopher Kaczor, Public Discourse

California Students Are Fighting to Keep Abortion Pills Off Their Campus – Grace Carr, The Daily Signal

Vice President Mike Pence: ‘Abortion Will End in Our Time’ – Amy Furr, Townhall


Bipartisan effort to fix Kentucky’s troubled adoption and foster care system moves forward – Deborah Yetter, Louisville Courier Journal


Pro-lifers dismayed over Oregon starvation bill’s return – Samantha Gobba, WORLD

How would you counsel someone interested in assisted suicide? – Matthew Arbo, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Scientists Make Human-Animal Hybrids That are Part Animal and Part Human Being – Wesley Smith, LifeNews

British Judge Allows Toddler’s Life Support Switched Off, Despite Parents’ WishesNational Catholic Register




Does God Care Where You Go to College? – D. Michael Lindsay, The Gospel Coalition

Research Keeps Showing This Kind Of Teaching Is Very Effective. So Why Won’t Schools Use It? – Joy Pullmann, The Federalist

How to Raise Devoted Catholic Kids When They Attend Public School – Sabrina Arena Ferrisi, National Catholic Register


Billy Graham’s Incredible Ministry … and His Incredible Marriage – Dave Boehi, Family Life

A Man’s Place Is in the Home – Trevin Wax, The Gospel Coalition

Build Your Marriage on the Beatitudes – Austin Bonds, Relevant

A Photographer Asked 20 Couples For The Secret To A Long Marriage – Brittany Wong, HuffPost

CDC: U.S. Fertility Rate Below Replacement for 9th Straight Year – Terence P. Jeffrey, CNS News


How Do I Know If I Really Love Jesus? – Jon Bloom, Desiring God

The desperate cry of America’s boys – Suzanne Venker, Fox News

The Death of an Evangelical Titan – Bishop Robert Barron, Word On Fire

A Better Mom Is a Broken Mom – Kristen Wetherell, Desiring God

The Joy of an Unaccomplished Life – Chad Bird, The Gospel Coalition

It takes a village’: 3 P.E.I. grandmothers help exhausted mom care for triplets – Pat Martel, CBC News

Villains and Heroes Among So Much Tragedy – Jared Zimmerer, Word On Fire

The Hard Truth About Mr. Right – Joy Beth Smith, Christianity Today

Longing for likes: How to capture the hearts of Gen Z with a greater love – Jared Kennedy, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Human Sexuality

Why Transgenderism Threatens Parental Rights – Joe Carter, The Gospel Coalition

Too Much Netflix, Not Enough Chill: Why Young Americans Are Having Less Sex – W. Bradford Wilcox and Samuel Sturgeon, Politico

Sexual Exploitation in the Sports Industry: An Abuse of Power – Mary Urie, National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Pressing Pause on the “Transgender Moment”: Ryan T. Anderson’s When Harry Became Sally – Matthew J. Franck, Public Discourse

Transgender Activists Conduct ‘Giant Experiment’ on Children, Author Says – Kyle Perisic, The Daily Signal

Human Trafficking

House passes anti-sex trafficking bill in defeat for tech industry – Steven Overly and Ashley Gold, Politico

The Combined Crisis of Online Sex Trafficking and Pornography – Patrick A. Trueman, National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Shining A Light On Slavery: Who Are Sex Traffickers, And Why Do They Exploit Other Humans? – Fight the New Drug


Pornography Addicts Might Be Avoiding True Intimacy – Michelle Habel, Focus on the Family

In the massive global scourge that is pornography, men are not the only addicts – Jamie Dean, WORLD

Florida declares pornography a ‘public health risk’ – Lisa Bourne, LifeSiteNews

Is Reading Erotica As Harmful As Watching Porn? – Fight the New Drug

Porn’s “Butterfly Effect”: A New Podcast Exposes Porn’s Unexpected Consequences – Mary Rose Somarriba, Family Studies

February 2018 «