FRC Blog

FRC Responding to Newsweek Bias

by Timothy Dailey

December 19, 2008

The day after Newsweek published it’s inaccurate article called “Our Mutual Joy,” FRC sent the following letter to the editor for their exclusive use to provide some small balance to their highly biased article. As it does not appear you will be reading it in the pages of Newsweek, you can see it here for yourself:

Having years ago completed my doctoral dissertation on the subject of the Bible and homosexuality, I found “Our Mutual Joy” to be breathtaking in its summary dismissal of thousands of years of Judeo/Christian belief and teaching regarding homosexual behavior - not to mention the virtually unanimous judgment of societies throughout history in defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

That fundamental understanding regarding marriage is reflected by the 29 states that have passed constitutional amendments and the additional 15 states that have passed laws defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

But this overwhelming conviction is evidently of little consequence to Newsweek, which cobbled together a list of specious pro-homosexuality arguments similar to what I encountered a quarter of a century ago. They were unconvincing then, and have not improved with age. For those interested in the other side of this issue - which Newsweek inexcusably failed to provide - an outstanding treatment of the subject is Prof. Robert A. J. Gagnon, The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics, which makes short work of the tendentious pabulum served up by “Our Mutual Joy.”

Timothy J. Dailey

Senior Fellow for Policy

Family Research Council

Washington, DC

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Review: The Tale of Despereaux

by Family Research Council

December 19, 2008

On Saturday this reviewer had the opportunity to be the only unaccompanied adult in a theater full of parents and tots to see the new Universal release The Tale of Despereaux. The movie is an adaptation of the book by Kate DiCamillo, which came highly recommended by my almost 15-year-old son, who had warm memories of it from his youth but who was, apparently, concerned about being seen in a theater filled with children small enough to have to peep at the screen over the back of the seats in front of them.  I had no such concern, which tells you something about me.  Having not read the book or seen any comments from Ms. DiCamillo before writing my own, I cannot do any comparisons of the experiences of reading and viewing this family fare.  First of all, the film is indeed family fare, having no scatological moments and being blissfully free of any references to bodily functions as substitutes for actual wit.

As regards wit, this animated film is strong on both a visual and verbal level, spinning its interest around the trope of a young mouse whose intention to be anything but mousy turns his fear-driven world upside down.  Young Despereaux Tilling, the swashbuckling rodent, is physically the most delicate creature in the movie, possessed of both absurdly outsized ears and a romantically outsized nature.  He is driven to take on a “quest” that, while executed within the confines of a single castle, has all the scope of Arthurian legend: a lost item of great value (prize soup, in this case), an abject King mourning the loss of his beloved queen, a beautiful princess (voiced by Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame) who waits sadly for the return of both sunlight and rain to her indifferent world, and plotters and villains by the score, including the malevolent and ravenous denizens of “Ratworld,” who despise (and relish, with relish) all things mouse-like.

The film is built on the steady virtues of its heroic characters (in addition to Despereaux, there is the morally conflicted rat, Roscuro, heir to a long line of fairy tale figures whose actions result in unintended harm to the established order and unjust banishment) and the destructive ambitions of a jealous servant girl, Miggity Sow, who, it can be charitably said, yearns for a princess-hood that lies beyond her natural endowment.  This superbly animated film includes some scenes of genuine menace (cat takes the hindmost) that younger children will remember in their dreams, genuine pathos (the servant girl is handed over as a baby to a mean life that wounds her heart and spurs her acts of cruelty), and genuine tenderness (a princess’s gentle kiss) that lingers in the mind.

The voices are supplied by a Hollywood and United Kingdom A-list of talent, and the music, while derivative of other orchestral work, is both professional and appropriate.  Sigourney Weaver provides a wry narration that contains much of the film’s humor, as do the sequences of Despereaux’s fretful parents, who worry that their tiny son’s lack of cravenness will undo the pact of timidity that has become their way of life (in this the movie has relevance to elements of our risk-avoidant culture that would ban such things as kickball in the schoolyard).  Finally, Despereaux is a reader, and he finds his inspiration in tales of courage and selflessness, written in glorious script with bold illustrations in the style of N.C Wyeth that echo in Despereaux’s mind’s eye.  A film that calls viewers back to the written word, and to what those words can do to evoke images, stir courage and instill virtue, is on the right path to a timeless message.

The Tale of Despereaux contains nothing offensive, is rated G, and has no specific religious content.  It opens Friday, December 19 nationwide.

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Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

December 19, 2008

Here’s what we are looking at today:

U.N. divided over gay rights declaration,” Patrick Worsnip, Reuters (December 18, 2008)

Gay marriage debate goes back to court today,” Jessica Garrison, Los Angeles Times (December 19, 2008)

Perry endorses anti-abortion license plates,” Jason Embry, Austin American-Statesman (December 19, 2008)

Obama taps Harvard physicist,” Carolyn Y. Johnson, Boston Globe (December 19, 2008)

Pro-Abortion Catholic Caroline Kennedy Seeking Hillary Clinton’s Senate Seat,” Kathleen Gilbert, LifeSiteNews.com (December 18, 2008)

Obama’s Legal Left Brain Trust,” John Perazzo, FrontPageMagazine.com (December 18, 2008)

Principled and pragmatic,” Joel Belz, World Magazine (December 19, 2008)

The Abortion Industry wants a Bailout,” Angela Stevens, Domestic Divapalooza (December 19, 2008)

Tis the Season for Porn?,” Mona Charen, Townhall.com (December 19, 2008)

Did Dickens Really Rescue Christmas?,” Paul Edwards, Townhall.com (December 18, 2008)

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Bill Clinton creates a conflict at State

by Family Research Council

December 19, 2008

It appears that some of former President Bill Clinton’s donors to his foundation are raising some eyebrows on how it will affect his wife’s new role as President-elect Obama’s Secretary of State. According to the AP:

Saudi Arabia and other foreign governments gave at least $46 million, while corporate donors included the Blackwater security firm that protects U.S. diplomats in Iraq . . .

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia gave $10 million to $25 million to the foundation, and other government donors included Norway, Kuwait, Qatar, Brunei, Oman, Italy and Jamaica. The Dutch national lottery gave $5 million to $10 million . . .

The list also underscores ties between the Clintons and India, a connection that could complicate diplomatic perceptions of whether Hillary Clinton can be a neutral broker between India and neighboring Pakistan in a region where Obama will face an early test of his foreign policy leadership.

Amar Singh, a donor in the $1 million to $5 million category, is an Indian politician who played host to Bill Clinton on a visit to India in 2005 and met Hillary Clinton in New York in September to discuss an India-U.S. civil nuclear agreement.

Two other Indian interests gave between $500,000 and $1 million each.

Kuwait, Qatar, Brunei and Oman gave $1 million to $5 million each.

Saudi businessman Nasser Al-Rashid gave $1 million to $5 million.

Friends of Saudi Arabia and the Dubai Foundation each gave $1 million to $5 million, as did the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office.

China Overseas Real Estate Development and the U.S. Islamic World Conference each gave $250,000 to $500,000.

No. 97 on the Forbes billionaire list, Ethiopian-Saudi business tycoon Sheikh Mohammed H. Al-Amoudi.

Issam Fares, a former deputy prime minister of Lebanon.

Lukas Lundin, chairman of oil, gas and mining businesses including Tanganyika Oil Company Ltd., an international oil and gas exploration and production company with interests in Syria, and Vostok Nafta Investment Ltd., an investment company that focuses on Russia and other former Soviet republics.

For a complete list of Clinton Foundation contributors:http://www.clintonfoundation.org/contributors

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Change Watch Backgrounder: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton

by Constance Mackey

December 18, 2008

POSITIONUNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE

NOMINEE:  Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.)

Born:  October 26, 1947

Family:  Husband - 42nd President of the United States Bill Clinton; daughter, Chelsea Clinton

Occupation:  Senator from the State of New York

Education:  undergraduate degree from Wellesley College; J.D., Yale Law School ‘73

Political Career:  Following law school Hillary Clinton was a Congressional legal counsel in the Nixon impeachment trials.  Married Bill Clinton in Arkansas in 1975 and became the First Lady of the State of Arkansas when her husband was elected Governor.  She was named the first female partner at the Rose Law Firm in 1979.  She was active in a number of organizations regarding child welfare and sat on the board of Wal-Mart and several other corporations.  When her husband became President, she used her role as First Lady to launch her own initiative, the Clinton health care plan, which failed to gain approval from the Congress in 1994, 1997, and 1999.  She was the only First Lady to be subpoenaed, testifying before a federal grand jury as a consequence of the Whitewater controversy in 1996.  She was elected as a U.S. senator from New York State in 2000 and was re-elected in 2006.  She ran for President in 2008.  [source]

Life Issues:  On all issues of life, Planned Parenthood has its team in place with President Obama at the top and Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.  Hillary Clinton is pro-abortion on all fronts.  She will be influential in forcing Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) legislation that will, with a stroke of the President’s pen, turn back all progress in protecting innocent life that has been made over the past 36 years since Roe v Wade.  Sen. Clinton has been an original cosponsor of FOCA in the past two years.  Addressing the international women’s conferences in Cairo she established her position on abortion as a “basic right” in 1994.  Five years later she addressed an international conference called Cairo Plus Five at The Hague and reaffirmed this position, as well as her support for restoration of U.S. tax support for the United Nations Population Fund.  Clinton has stated her opposition to forced abortion and use of family planning and contends that the UNFPA, which has been barred from U.S. support because of a Presidential finding of participation in China’s forced one-child policy, is cooperating with Chinese officials on voluntary measures and deserves support.  

The current Bush administration has made certain that U.S. foreign assistance, through the Mexico City Policy, does not encourage abortion and abortion referral as an American export.  This policy is certain to change under an Obama-Clinton foreign policy regime.  Adrienne Germain, president of the International Women’s Health Coalition, says, “Without spending a penny more, the new administration can do an enormous amount just by standing strong for the human rights of women and for the kinds of actions that are not simply needed but that countries time and time again - since the Universal Declaration on Human Rights - have agreed to,”  We can expect to see abortion policy advanced as a “human right” following the swearing in of Barack Obama and confirmation of Secretary of State Clinton.  “The rights approach has not been reflected in [Bush administration] policy,” says Jamila Taylor from the Center for Health and Gender Equity.  “Do it from a human rights perspective, not even just a reproductive rights perspective.  ‘Human rights’ runs the gamut of issues - access to education, income generation - all the things that make women vulnerable or empowered around the world.”  Taylor and Germain will play major roles with the State Department under Hillary Clinton and they are prepared to use all international documents in the promotion of abortion.  The Secretary of State can set administration policy on HIV/AIDS and the office of the Coordinator on AIDS is situated in the State Department, meaning the Secretary of State could push the office to make gender concerns a priority in PEPFAR funding. [source]

Senator Clinton voted twice in Congress against the ban on Partial-Birth Abortion.  She led the fight along with Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) to force the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow abortifacients to be sold in pharmacies without a doctor’s prescription.  She also supported legislation to give teens access to “emergency contraceptives.”  Clinton supports expansion of the current federal policy so that more lines of stem cells can be experimented upon, namely those derived from the killing of human embryos. [source]

Human Sexuality & Marriage:  Sen. Clinton is supported by homosexual organizations like the Human Rights Campaign.  She steps away from saying she supports gay marriage but uses the term “civil unions with fully equality of benefits.”  “I believe in full equality of benefits, nothing left out.  From my perspective there is a great likelihood of us getting to that point in civil unions or domestic partnerships and that is my very considered opinion.”  [source]

Clinton voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment and she supports the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and supports allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military, which would require amending the Uniform Code of Military Justice that establishes penalties for certain sexual acts outside marriage.  “It hurts all our troops, and this, to me, is a matter of national security,” she said to a group of HRC supporters.  Clinton has said she would work to pass a federal law outlawing employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and she would work to extend benefits to the partners of federal employees. [source]  She supports and co-sponsored legislation to expand Medicaid benefits to the special class of HIV-positive homosexuals and she supports “hate crime” (thought crime) legislation.  Clinton supports gay adoption. [source]

Judges/Constitution:  Senator Clinton in railing against the Roberts Court asserted the need for a closer tie between Congress and the courts.  In an address to the American Constitution Society in New York on February 27, 2004 she said, “I believe it is time for Congress to reassert itself, and I am pleased to report that Senator Ted Kennedy and I this week introduced a bill called ‘FAIRNESS: The Civil Rights Act of 2004.’  It is an effort to realign the balance between Congress and the courts by responding to recent decisions that have unduly narrowed existing laws.  The bill restores the ability of individuals to seek relief from discriminatory practices in federally funded programs…”  Clearly the bill is intended to impose legislative power over them when they construe a law more narrowly than some in Congress prefer.  She stood in strong opposition to numerous Bush cabinet and court appointees. [source]

Religious Freedom:  While Senator Clinton supported the Workplace Religious Freedom Act (which was written to protect civil rights laws and require employers to make “reasonable accommodations” for their employees to practice their faith in the work environment), she supports ENDA (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act) which would force certain religious entities to hire and promote individuals irrespective of their adherence to the moral tenets of the employer.

Health Care:  This is an area in which Senator Clinton plays out all her issues regarding abortion.  In 1993 her health plan included RU-486 and widely available abortion.  In response to the plan as a clear conduit for expanded abortion, Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) attached an amendment to the bill allowing for a “conscience exemption” in which doctors and hospitals would not be forced to perform abortions.  One of President Bill Clinton’s first acts in office was to push the RU-486 abortion pill regimen to market through an expedited FDA approval process that was criticized by pro-lifers as too quick for the safety of the women who would take the pill.  Injuries and even deaths have resulted from hemorrhage, septic infection and other problems due to or masked by the drug’s action.

On the fourth day of the Clinton presidency, January 23, 1993, the 20th anniversary of Roe v Wade, Bill Clinton signed a series of executive orders undoing the policies of the Reagan era relating to abortion.  This was done at the advice of his wife.  In her view, the milestone anniversary of Roe v Wade was the perfect opportunity to move the new presidency on course in terms of “women’s rights” and signal that what she termed “the religious right” had lost its dominance regarding abortion policy.  [source]

In the year 2009 it is clear that in her new and even more powerful position as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton will deal the country similar if not identical setbacks for the sanctity of innocent human life.

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Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

December 18, 2008

Here’s what we are looking at today:

Breaking: Arlen Specter Quietly Opens Fire on Eric Holder,”  Erick Erickson, Redstate (December 18, 2008)

New Rule Protects Health-Care Workers’ ‘Right of Conscience’,” Rob Stein, The Washington Post (December 18, 2008)

Lawyers wrangle over records in Kan. abortion case,” John Hanna, The Hays Daily News (December 18, 2008)

Calif couples hope ads spur gay marriage support,” Associated Press (December 17, 2008)

Obama Defends Invocation by Conservative Pastor” Jacqueline K. Salmon, Debbi Wilgoren, and Peter Slevin, The Washington Post (December 18, 2008)

Lesbian youth at high risk for pregnancy,” Amy O’Brian, The Vancouver Sun (December 17, 2008)

Conservative Leader Paul Weyrich Dies; First to Lead Heritage,” Rob Bluey, Heritage Foundation’s The Foundry blog.

Breaking news: IL Supreme Court rules for pharmacists/against Blagojevich,” Jill Stanek, jillstanek.com (December 18, 2008).

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Church + Two Parents = Fewer Child Behavior Problems

by Michael Leaser

December 16, 2008

A new study from the Mapping America project, co-released by more than 30 state family policy councils today, finds that children have fewer problems at school and home when they live with both biological parents and frequently attend religious services. Dr. Nicholas Zill, the founding president of Child Trends, and Dr. Philip Fletcher, a research psychologist at Westat, co-authored the new study, which analyzes data from the National Survey of Children’s Health.

Among their remarkable findings: children in this group are five times less likely to repeat a grade, less likely to have behavior problems at home and school, and are more likely to be cooperative and understanding of others’ feelings. Parents of these children report less stress, healthier parent-child relationships, and fewer concerns about their children’s achievement. These differences hold up even after controlling for family income and poverty, low parent education levels, and race and ethnicity.

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Blogs for Life 2009

by Jared Bridges

December 16, 2008

If you haven’t already, mark your calendars for the fourth-annual Blogs For Life conference on January 22nd, 2009. It will again be hosted here at Family Research Council Headquarters in Washington, D.C. and will run from 8:30 - 11:30a.m.

This year’s event will, as usual, precede the March for Life, which marks the 36th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. We’ll be webcasting the event again, and we’re in the process of lining up another great group of speakers, so stay tuned to this spot for more information.

In the meantime, check out last year’s lineup.

More information here.

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Change Watch Backgrounder: Gregory Craig

by Bill Saunders

December 16, 2008

Position: White House Counsel

NOMINEE: Gregory Bestor Craig

Born: Norfolk, Va., March 4, 1945

Family: Wife, Derry Noyes, and five children.

Occupation: Partner in the Washington, D.C., law firm Williams & Connelly

Education: A.B. Harvard College, J.D. Yale Law School

Senate Work: Senior Advisor on Defense, Foreign Policy and National Security to Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) for 1984-1988

Clinton White House: Director of Policy Planning, State Department, 1997-1998; special coordinator to monitor China’s suppression of Tibetan culture and religion, 1998; Assistant to the President and Special Counsel 1998-1999 (impeachment team “quarterback”)

Famous Clients: John J. Kearney (FBI agent accused of illegal wiretapping during the investigation of the Weathermen terrorists), 1977; Richard Helms (CIA Director accused of perjury before the Senate concerning General Pinochet’s 1973 coup in Chile), 1977 (with Edward Bennett Williams); John Hinckley, Jr. (attempted murder of President Reagan), 1981; Sen. Edward Kennedy (testimony relating to the rape trial of his nephew, William Kennedy Smith), 1991; Juan Miguel Gonzalez (custody battle over his asylum-seeking son, Elian), 1998; Kofi Annan (Volcker Committee investigations over Oil-for-Food), 2004; Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada (former leftist President of Bolivia, accused of involvement in the killing of 67 further left-wing protestors in 2003), 2008.

Testimony: “He has the ability to look at issues from a different perspective and he’s very pragmatic and very smart.” - Madeleine Albright

There’s no one I’d rather be with in a crisis. He’s just wonderful and very comforting, no matter how tough the problems you’re dealing with. He never kind of loses it. He’s so rational, says what he has to say very clearly, and he’s always on your side.” - Ethel Kennedy

Nicaraguan Communism

While serving as Senator Ted Kennedy’s Senior Advisor, Craig orchestrated hearings about alleged human rights abuses by the American-backed Nicaraguan rebels, the Contras. During these hearings he brought a number of communist Sandinista sympathizers to testify before Congress. Their politically motivated accounts of the situation in Nicaragua brought significant bad press to the freedom fighters, thus complicating stated administration policy on Nicaragua. Following the hearing, however, after having been criticized in The New Republic for aiding communists, Craig expressed regret, insisting that he did not realize how biased his witnesses were. He subsequently traveled to Nicaragua himself and criticized the manifest human rights abuses of the Sandinista government. [source]

Elian Gonzalez

While technically not a government employee at the time-having returned to his partnership at Williams & Connelly-Craig played a decidedly active role in the entire Elian Gonzalez affair, ostensibly representing his father, Juan, who was under the control of Fidel Castro and his aides. From an article in National Review:

Accounts of pre-raid negotiations between Elian’s Miami relatives and the Justice Department suggest that Reno wasn’t trying to bring peace to the warring Gonzalez family so much as taking orders straight from Craig. It appears that the Miami Gonzalezes had agreed to transfer custody of Elian to his father, as long as they could live with the boy and his father in an environment free of U.S. and Cuban officials. These negotiations dragged on through Good Friday and into the next morning, with Craig reviewing documents in his office past 2:00 A.M.- and ultimately vetoing the proposed settlement.

Craig had been pushing the government to take Elian from his relatives “immediately” for some time prior to the raid. For his efforts Craig was paid $100,000 through a “voluntary fund” set up by the United Methodist Board of Church and Society and administered by the National Council of Churches.

Clinton Impeachment

Part of why Craig’s time at State was unremarkable was his short tenure, since he had to leave that position to head Bill Clinton’s impeachment defense team. It is worth noting that Craig was originally cool to the idea. The Washington Post reported at the time:

I hope you won’t think it amiss if I tell you I’m not enthusiastic,” [Craig] recalls telling John Podesta, then deputy White House chief of staff, when Podesta asked him in early September to consider leading Clinton’s defense team in the impeachment inquiry. “John said, ‘Well, just think about it.’ So I kept thinking about it — and my enthusiasm didn’t grow.”

Even after meeting with Clinton, Craig was not sold on the idea:

[Clinton] was in great pain,” Craig recalls. “He was, I think, profoundly troubled at his own failures, at his own shortcomings, and really at a loss about what to do, how to handle it. And I told him he really needed to talk about it. And he asked for my help. And I said I’ve got to talk to my wife.”

Nevertheless, Craig did take the job, and by all accounts performed competently.

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