February 14, 2014
Valentine’s Day is full of romance and love for many Americans and it is a beautiful thing. The thought of that special person can send sparks flying. Hearts, roses, and chocolates abound. Young love blossoms. Sadly, these scenes of romance are often a façade for a culture obsessed with an emotional high rather than a selfless love. When the day ends the beauty of the emotional romance is gone, replaced by the ugly reality of shallow relationships. Real romance is not a state of eternal bliss but a commitment to love, sacrificing for the good of the other. How can we hold onto love beyond that February 14th feeling? With so few cultural factors that encourage true romance and love it is helpful to use the Valentine’s Day holiday as a reminder of what love truly looks like. I could give a hundred reasons why marriage is good for you, but those are simply side benefits to following God’s plan for love. Here are three things every Christian husband should do this Valentine’s Day to renew a lasting love and romance:
- Remember that you are to love your wife like Christ loved the church. Enough to bleed for her and enough to die for her. Enough to be separated from His Heavenly Father and to become sin for her. I am to love my wife when she sins against me. I am to nurture her, cherish her, and care for her. I am to spend myself for her because I love her and because Christ showed me how.
- Remember that my love for her is not conditional on feelings. Feelings are fickle. They change but my love for my wife can shine brighter even when feelings wane. Choosing to love often brings feelings with it but feelings are not the gauge of love. I want my wife to know that “for better or for worse” wasn’t just a cliché phrase but a life-long promise.
- Remember to do her good. It can be easy to do good to your significant other while dating. But after a few years of marriage, it may require a little effort. Thinking of ways to do her good involves not just gifts but understanding her needs on both a personal and spiritual level. Bearing your spouse’s burdens can be a challenging and fulfilling task, but it is well worth the effort.
I love my wife. She loves me. I still consider myself a newlywed even though I have been married for well over two years. We still act like romantics, we still hold hands. I still kiss her every morning when I leave for work and she greets me with a kiss when I come home. But these are not the deeds that lead to love they are expressions of it. I have chosen to love my wife. Loving my wife, regardless of feelings, with a desire to do her good at all times is a difficult task. But it is a task I have been commanded to pursue and one I promised, on my wedding day, to perform until death. Along with the chocolate and the kisses, may we all renew our commitment to make the rest of “‘til death do us part” a beautiful thing.
February 14, 2014
Steven Massof, a Kermit Gosnell unlicensed assistant who performed illegal late abortions and killed infants born alive was sentenced to six to twelve years in prison on February 12. Massof would have faced a possible death sentence were it not for the fact that he pled guilty to two counts of third-degree murder and cooperated with prosecutors by testifying against Gosnell.
Part of his testimony last year revealed that he saw over 100 babies born alive who had their necks snipped in what he said was “literally a beheading. It is separating the brain from the body.”
Massof told the court that during busy times when the women were given a heavy dose of drugs to induce contractions, “it would rain fetuses. Fetuses and blood all over the place… I felt like a fireman in hell. I couldn’t put out all the fires.”
Three more Gosnell workers await sentencing.
As the horrific Gosnell stories resurface in the wake of new sentences, they remind us of the injustice done to both women and children in this facility. Women were drugged up in a factory-line fashion and in some recorded instances were seriously injured and, in a few cases like that of Semika Shaw and Karnamaya Mongar, killed during the abortion procedure. How many more abortion facilities around the country hide a similar ugly truth behind drab walls? Let us move forth in a renewed effort to help inform women about the dangers of abortion and support women who feel cornered into thinking that taking the life of their child is their only option.
As for their children, they were treated like garbage or like trophy objects in Gosnell’s facility. Let us remember the humanity of the children who fell victim at Gosnell and his staff’s hands and work to defend others against the scourge of abortion.
Photo Source: Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office
Family Research Council
February 13, 2014
Baker Interview 20140212.mp3
FRC President Tony Perkins interviews Aaron Klein regarding the recent controversy over their bakery business.
February 13, 2014
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Joergen Kristiansen likely is not a familiar name. Maybe it should be.
Mr. Kristiansen is the deputy mayor of a community called Krisitansand (yes, I know, the alliterative possibilities are endless). He is also a courageous man who posted a “picture on Facebook showing him holding a plastic doll that is a likeness of an unborn baby at 12 weeks of pregnancy to make a point about how abortion takes the life of a tiny baby.”
The inception of life remains a beautiful and profound source of wonder. FRC’s Dr. David Prentice, recognized as one of the world’s leading cell biologists, recently wrote that “Since the first umbilical cord blood stem cell transplant over 25 years ago, over 600,000 cord blood units have been stored away around the globe for future lifesaving transplants.” Cord blood stem cells have been used to treat myriad patients, from tiny children to ailing adults.
Joergen Kristiansen and David Prentice speak different languages, have different backgrounds, and even live on different continents. But they stand as one in the battle for the sanctity for life. I hope you will join all of us at FRC in standing with them.
Senior Vice President
Family Research Council
P.S. Be sure to watch FRC’s Dr. Pat Fagan discuss his fourth annual “Index of Belonging and Rejection,” a compelling study of marriage and family in the U.S., here.
Educational Freedom and Reform
Legislation and Policy Proposals
February 11, 2014
Over the weekend, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will now recognize any same-sex couple as married for DOJ purposes, regardless of whether their state of residency recognizes their union. DOJ’s guidance officially published Monday mirrors similar announcements made by other federal agencies in the months since the Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Windsor. In these memos, agencies have adopted rules moving beyond the deference to state laws demanded by Windsor and towards a new federal standard that equates same-sex unions with natural marriage.
While scholars continue to criticize the Windsor ruling for its faulty reasoning and conclusions about the motivation for seeking to protect natural marriage in public policy, the legal framework of Windsor does require the federal government to recognize same-sex unions in the 17 states with laws recognizing such relationships. What Windsor does not require is federal action to undermine and upend the policy in the 33 other states that define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
In fact, the Majority in Windsor reasoned that a key fault with previous federal policy on marriage was that it caused inconsistent legal recognition of marriage in states, with state law and federal law coming to differing conclusions about the status of a same-sex couple. Yet, now DOJ and other rogue agencies are constructing the “contradictory marriage regimes” that “[diminish] the stability and predictability of basic personal relations the State has found it proper to acknowledge and protect” and that were condemned by the Court.
The current federal posture allows some couples to live as married for many federal purposes while state law continues to view them as unmarried for state purposes. The DOJ’s announcement yesterday continues this confusion and perpetuates the very reality Windsor condemned.
The ultimate irony of this weekend’s announcement came not just from the substance, but also the timing. While the Administration trumpeted the need for respect, tolerance, and deference to diversity in the context of Russian laws governing marriage, the Administration decided respect, tolerance, and deference to differing opinions on marriage was not actually important back home. Rather than honoring the legal boundaries now at work in the post-Windsor world, the Department of Justice has decided that shutting down democratic debate over marriage matters more than fidelity to the rule of law.
February 7, 2014
It came up again this week as I was preparing for an FRC radio interview: What to say about President Reagan’s faith, especially in a week when his 103rd birthday coincided with the annual Congressional Prayer Breakfast?
Well, President Reagan used his remarks at the 1983 Prayer Breakfast to announce his Proclamation of the Year of the Bible. Clearly, the participants at that long ago breakfast were happy to hear this good news. Just as clearly, the atheizers and the cultured despisers of religion were unhappy. It was too much mixing of church and state to their taste.
Even so, President Reagan held firm. He never wavered in declaring that:
the Old and New Testaments of the Bible inspired many of the early settlers of our country, providing them with the strength, character, convictions, and faith necessary to withstand great hardship and danger in this new and rugged land.
He even went on to quote President Andrew Jackson in his own. Jackson had said the Bible is “the Rock on which our Republic rests.” Jackson was the first president of the modern Democratic Party, the man most associated with building a powerful political movement that embraced millions of immigrants, especially Irish and German refugees fleeing tyranny abroad.
Many of these new Americans were Catholics and some were Jews. But they came here yearning to breathe free and hoping to avail themselves of the religious, civil, and economic freedoms that America even then afforded.
Reagan’s proclamation quotes Abraham Lincoln’s words about the Bible.
There could be no more fitting moment than now to reflect with gratitude, humility, and urgency upon the wisdom revealed to us in the writing that Abraham Lincoln called “the best gift God has ever given to man … But for it we could not know right from wrong.”
In early 1983, the American economy was still in deep distress. The “malaise” of Jimmy Carter’s failed policies was still being felt in the workplace, the offices, and factories of a recovering nation. Unemployment was still at 10% and inflation had not yet been brought under control.
Many of the atheizers and liberals carped that the President of the United States had, or ought to have, more important things on his mind than proclaiming a Year of the Bible.
Take U.S.-Soviet relations, they said. Why, Reagan has not even met with his Soviet “counterpart,” the ruler of the Communist Party of the USSR. President Reagan was too polite to lecture these editorial writers that he had no Soviet counterpart. He was the constitutionally chosen leader of a great Republic. He had won almost 44 million votes in a free and open election. The ruler of the USSR had been unanimously chosen by Communist Party delegates who were responsible to no one except the Communist Party.
Instead of a political science lecture, however, on the essential differences between a free country like America and the Soviet Union holding all its Captive Nations behind the Iron Curtain, Reagan deflected critics with humor.
How can I meet the Soviets when they keep dying on me?
Looking back on 1983, that long ago Year of the Bible, we can note some interesting events.
- President Reagan addressed the nation in March of that year to announce his Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). Critics jumped on it and said it was dangerous and wouldn’t work. They called it “Star Wars” to show their contempt. Reagan didn’t mind: He knew Americans loved the Star Wars movies and readily identified the Soviets with the bad guys in the movies.
- Reagan spoke in March to the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) and warned them not to turn a blind eye to “the machinations of an evil empire.” He only used that term once. He never said the USSR was that evil empire. But the next day, in Moscow, the Communist editors of Pravda and Izvestia exploded in rage, charging him with labeling the Soviet Union with those “provocative” words. Deep in the bowels of the GuLAG, the Soviet slave labor system, prisoners read of Reagan’s words and took heart. They excitedly tapped out the words “evil empire” on plumbing pipes. Finally, an American president gets it, they said to each other.
- In September, the Soviet Union shot down a straying civilian jet liner, Korean Airlines Flight 007. All 269 passengers and crew of the unarmed aircraft were murdered in cold blood. Throughout the West, liberals feared Reagan would use this as his pretext for a war with the USSR. Reagan exercised amazing restraint, using the shoot down as an occasion for closing Soviet consulates and tightening the screws of his economic boycott. But he had the grim satisfaction of letting the world see the Russian bear as it truly was—with teeth and fangs bared.
- One month later, President Reagan ordered U.S. forces to liberate tiny Grenada from Soviet-backed Cubans and homegrown Communists. The Caribbean island nation was only 1/10 the size of Rhode Island, but its 100,000 residents, most of them black, greeted the American troops ecstatically. They blessed the Americans for their new-found freedom. In this short, successful, nearly bloodless campaign, Reagan disproved the idea that Marxism was a “historic inevitability.” Leonid Brezhnev had proclaimed: What we have, we hold. Reagan thought otherwise.
- Also in October, 1983, the U.S. economy turned the corner. Job creation began to pick up robustly. Inflation had come way down. The economic indicators all started to show healthy signs of recovery. Reagan joked that his friends could put “egg on their faces and go to their Halloween parties as liberal economists.” The Reagan recovery that began in October 1983 lasted until October 2008—a quarter century of prosperity.
Secular scholars, of course, will laugh at the notion that President Reagan’s Proclamation of a Year of the Bible had anything to do with any of these favorable events in our nation’s life. Let them laugh. God laughs, too. He laughs his enemies to scorn.
February 7, 2014
World-renowned scholar George Weigel addressed a large gathering at Washington’s elegant Mayflower Hotel last night. The biographer of Pope John Paul II spoke on the approaching Centenary of the outbreak of World War I. That struggle consumed some twenty million combatants’ lives and even more, twenty-one million, of non-combatants. Think of any of the mass movements—especially violent mass movements—of the past century, and we can see their origins in the 1914-1918 catastrophe. Winston Churchill had prophesied that the wars of peoples would be far more terrible than the wars of kings. So this one proved to be. Describing bombing cities from the air, shelling cathedrals and universities from railroad cars, using poison gas against defenseless troops huddled in fetid, rat-ridden trenches, strangling enemies with naval blockades, or sending women and children to the bottom of the ocean with torpedoes, Churchill said the only depths of savagery not plumbed by the rulers of “civilized” Europeans were cannibalism and torture. And these, Churchill ruefully wrote, were not employed only because they were not found useful.
Weigel, a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, delivered the William B. Simon annual lecture in a polished style and with a thorough mastery of the literature. And there will be a Lusitania hold of new books on the Great War, as evidence of Europeans’ keen interest. They follow World War I with the same avidity and intensity that Americans show for the Civil War.
From the unresolved issues of this war, and from its most uneasy Armistice and dispiriting Paris Peace Conference, we can see the origins of Communism, Nazism, pan-Arabism, Islamism. The attempts to counter or contain these “isms” can be seen in the League of Nations and its successor body, the UN.
Zionism and the British Balfour Declaration of 1917 that promised a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine were given a great boost by the exigencies of this vast struggle. Britain needed the help of Jewish troops in the Mideast and Jewish supporters at home and in the U.S.
George Weigel is strongest where the conventional historians are weakest: He shows how the collapse of religious authority contributed to the breakdown of comity among nations, neighbors not loving, but deeply hating neighbors. He described a sorrowful scene where the College of Cardinals assembled in Rome in September 1914. A German Cardinal said to his brothers, “I hope no one will talk of war.” His Belgian counterpart shot back: “I hope no one will talk of peace.”
Neutral Belgium had been that summer overrun by the Kaiser Wilhelm II’s troops and the world was shocked by the atrocities German soldiers committed. The mercurial Kaiser had once urged his soldiers to play the Hun, and the Hun they soon became in Western eyes. “The Rape of Belgium” was said to be the inevitable result of the Germans’ avowed policy of shrechlichheit (frightfulness).
Weigel described the previous century’s philosophies that had taken the place of religious commitment in a Europe once known as Christendom.
Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” evolutionary doctrine was translated into Social Darwinism. Germans adopted this view of nature “red in tooth and claw” as they demanded their own “place in the sun.”
Not content with colonial expansion, Germany’s Kaiser soon began to view the Japanese as a racial threat. He coined the term “the Yellow peril.” Even fellow Europeans were seen in racial terms as Slavs and Latins began to be described by pseudo science and eugenics as lower orders of humans. Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche notoriously said “God is dead” and substituted for Him the “will to power” of the Super Man, or Ubermensch. A great blond beast, remorseless and irresistible, was the ideal. Again, Germany’s famous institutions of higher education promoted the idea of Weltmacht oder niedergang (a stark choice of world power or decline).
These same universities had given rise to German Higher Criticism, which immersed words of Holy Writ in an acid bath of skepticism.
So, why? We will see oceans of ink on the Who, What, Where, When, and How of the Great War. We will all go a long way to Tipperary for answers. But George Weigel firmly locates the WHY of the First World War in the 1983 Templeton Address by a Russian Nobel Prize Laureate. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn told us why this Cataclysm of Western Civilization happened. It happened because “Men have forgotten God.”
This writer was led to faith by the works of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
February 6, 2014
The radicalism of the Obama Administration never ceases to amaze us, does it? This was brought home this week by Mark Levin’s extended discussion of “President Obama personally nominating a former cop killer’s lawyer, Debo Adegbile, to head up the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.” Please listen to the introduction Mark gives to his February 4, 2014 program by discussing this horrifying potential appointment. Follow this link.
Remember also that Mark Levin was the chief of staff at the Department of Justice to a United States Attorney General, Ed Meese. He knows a great deal about the Department of Justice.
Brandon Darby has written a succinct background article on Adegbile who, as an attorney, fought to save Mumia Abu-Jamal from the death sentence and continued imprisonment. Abu-Jamal was convicted of killing a Philadelphia police officer, Daniel Faulkner, on December 9, 1981. This was a completely cold-blooded killing. But, later, “Free Abu-Jamal” was the cry of the Left and Hollywood for years and years. It worked. His death sentence was made impossible.
Even the worst criminals are entitled to a defense under our legal system. However, that does not mean that the lawyers who choose to do that work are worthy of holding highly trusted positions of authority in our government. Do we want this man reviewing the policing activities of law enforcement agencies across America for violations of federal civil rights laws? Do you want him overseeing discipline policies in local schools? Clearly not.
Chuck Canterbury, the President of the Fraternal Order of Police, an organization representing 330,000 police members, wrote this scathing letter of protest to the President on January 6th expressing his organization’s outrage about the nomination. If you want to learn a more about the case go to the website created and maintained by Officer Faulkner’s loving widow, Maureen.
Folks, this nomination does not have to succeed. Spend an hour or two learning about the case, and consider calling the offices of your two United States Senators. Hopefully, this nomination will fail demonstrably, but we can’t be passive and assume it will happen.
FRC Media Office
February 4, 2014
Below are the remarks that Peter Sprigg, FRC’s Senior Fellow for Policy Studies, delivered before the Maryland State Senate’s Judicial Proceedings Committee
Testimony in opposition to Senate Bill 212
Senior Fellow for Policy Studies, Family Research Council
Resident, Montgomery County, Maryland
Maryland State Senate, Judicial Proceedings Committee
February 4, 2014
I urge you to oppose Senate Bill 212
This bill caters to anyone who is “transgendered,” a broad umbrella term that includes transsexuals (people who have had sex-change surgery), anyone who has changed or is changing their public “gender identity” (regardless of whether they have had surgery or hormone treatments), transvestites (people who dress as the opposite sex on an occasional basis for emotional or sexual gratification), and drag queens and drag kings (people who dress as the opposite sex for the purpose of entertaining others).
It should be opposed by anyone who believes in freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of conscience and religion, and a free market economy. Here are some reasons why:
- The bill would increase government interference in the free market. It would substitute the judgment of the state for that of the employer regarding what qualities or characteristics are most relevant to a particular job.
- “Gender identity” is unlike most other characteristics protected in civil rights laws. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 bars discrimination based on “race, color, national origin, sex, and religion.” The first four of these are included largely because they are inborn, involuntary and immutable. (Religion, while voluntary, is explicitly protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.) Transgender behavior meets none of these criteria.
- The bill would lead to costly lawsuits against employers. In the case of public employers (which are explicitly covered by the bill), such a law could lead to large settlements being paid at taxpayers’ expense.
- The bill would undermine the ability of employers to impose reasonable dress and grooming standards. The bill professes to protect such standards. However, it requires that such standards be consistent with the employee’s chosen and variable “gender identity.” This effectively forbids employers from using the most fundamental standard of all—that people be dressed and groomed in a way that is culturally appropriate for their biological sex.
- The bill would violate the privacy of others. Because transgender status is not dependent on having “sex-change surgery,” SB 212 would allow some biological males (who claim to be female) to appear nude before females (and vice versa) in bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers. (Previous versions of comparable federal legislation included an exemption for “shared shower and dressing facilities in which being seen unclothed is unavoidable.” There is no such exemption in this bill.)
- The bill would mandate the employment of “transgendered” individuals in inappropriate occupations. For example, under this bill, employers in the area of education and childcare would be denied the right to refuse to hire transgendered individuals, even if they consider such persons to be confusing, disturbing, or inappropriate role models for children and young people.
Please vote “no” on Senate Bill 212.
February 4, 2014
It is political sport to write endlessly (and often gleefully) about perceived schisms in the two major parties. Following are but a few examples of recent such articles:
“Scenes from the Republican Civil War,” Eleanor Clift, Daily Beast
“The Democratic Party’s Civil War,” Jacob Heilbrunn, The National Interest
“The GOP’s Growing Divide,” Eugene Robinson, Washington Post
“The Emerging Democratic Divide,” Josh Kraushaar, National Journal
“Republican Party seems as divided, angry as ever,” Steve Peoples, Associated Press
“Angry Liberals in America,” Daniel Greenfield, The Jewish Press.com
The parallelism of these headlines is comic, but also revealing: Discord sells papers and draws viewers. And such headlines are sure to continue, because comprehensive unanimity within political parties is as likely as Harry Reid joining the National Federation of the Grand Order of Pachyderm Clubs.
Political successes almost invariably are transient, and partisan discord is inevitable. Contention and politics are intertwined, not necessarily because the contenders are obnoxious but because convictions run deep. Thus, competition becomes rigorous and “civil wars” break out.
In 1937, a persistent has-been named Winston Churchill wrote a book called, Great Contemporaries. In his chapter on Spain’s King Alfonso XIII, Churchill penned this: “Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities, because, as has been said, ‘it is the quality which guarantees all others’.”
Conservatives need to remember Churchill’s admonition. We stand for principles immune to erosion and beliefs too resilient to be abandoned. Grounded in divine revelation and affirmed by our consciences, they are bequests to us not from any state or politician but from our Creator.
Political victories usually are both impermanent and incremental, but the ongoing nature of our struggle is a poor reason to walk away from it. To do so is merely to hand over the future of the country to those with an agenda we can never accept and a program we must never endorse.
Within three years of the publication of Great Contemporaries, Churchill became Britain’s Prime Minister. He was followed by the socialist Clement Attlee, and decades later by Margaret Thatcher who was succeeded a few years after her tenure by Tony Blair. Wins, losses, ups and downs. But if the struggle for “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is worth anything, we must be undaunted by defeat and undeceived by victory.
Courage, in pursuit of the right and good and true, eternal things whose relevance to public policy is constant, is what counts.