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.

Sincerely,

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 – ToddStarnes.com

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 – ToddStarnes.com

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

 

Life

Abortion

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

Adoption

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

Bioethics

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

 

Family

Economics/Education

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

Marriage

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

Faith/Character/Culture

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 You – J. 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 does – J.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

Pornography

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