FRC Blog

Change Watch: Dr. Regina Benjamin, Surgeon General of the United States

by David Prentice

September 9, 2009

POSITION: SURGEON GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES

NOMINEE: Regina Benjamin

BIRTHDATE: October 26, 1956 in Mobile, Alabama

EDUCATION:

B.S. Xavier University of Louisiana

M.D. 1984, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Atlantas Morehouse School of Medicine

M.B.A. Tulane University, Freeman School of Business

FAMILY: never married; no children

EXPERIENCE:

Completed residency in family practice at the Medical Center of Central Georgia

1987 Founded the Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic in Bayou La Batre, Alabama;

rebuilt after Hurricane George, Hurricane Katrina, and extensive fire damage

1995 Elected to the American Medical Associations board of trustees

1996-2002 Board Member, Physicians for Human Rights, Physicians for Human Rights Advisory Council

1998 Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights

2000 National Caring Award (which was inspired by Mother Teresa)

2006 Papal honor Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice from Pope Benedict XVI

Served as President of the American Medical Association’s Education and Research Foundation

Named by Time Magazine as one of the “Nation’s 50 Future Leaders Age 40 and Under.

President of the Medical Association of Alabama

Appointed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala to the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act Committee and to the Council of Graduate Medical Education, and also a member of the “Step 3 Committee

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Amsterdam Becomes Green-Light District for Pro-Family Activists

by Peter Sprigg

September 9, 2009

When the World Congress of Families gathered in Amsterdam in the Netherlands last month, it was not considered friendly territory for the conservative, pro-family principles espoused by most of the international delegates. The city has museums devoted to sex and drugs, and its red-light district is treated as a major tourist attraction. Radical feminist groups decried the event, and the offices of one Dutch organization involved in planning for the WCF were even vandalized, with obscenities and anti-Christian slogans being painted on the walls. The Dutch media sought to stir up controversy over the participation in the Congress by several members of the Dutch parliament and one cabinet minister (who sent a video message the opening day). Five scheduled Dutch participants withdrew from the Congress shortly before it began over concerns that anti-gay messages would be promoted.

In the end, protests against the Congress mostly fizzled, and the delegates focused on issues such as the problem of depopulation in the countries of Europe. The Congress featured the European premiere of The Demographic Bomb (a sequel to the film Demographic Winter), which had its world premiere at Family Research Council on June 17.

Peter Sprigg and Pat Fagan represented Family Research Council at the event, with Dr. Fagan making two presentationsone at a breakout session on day care, and one major address on Family Diversity and Political Freedom. He spoke of how the culture of the traditional family, based on lifelong monogamy, is now being challenged by a competing culture rooted in a sexual ideal that is in some sense polyamorous, in that it is built on the expectation of multiple sexual partners through the life course. Dr. Fagan explained some of the political implications of these competing cultures, and offered a suggestion as to how they might be able to co-exist in a free society by insuring that all parents, of any viewpoint, have greater control over the education and upbringing of their own children.

Although liberals claim to place a high value on dialogue, one of the few who actually came to the Congress to engage in it was a Dutch judge and U.N. official, Jaap Doek, who defended the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CROC) and expressed dismay that the U.S. has failed to ratify it. Pro-family activists are concerned that the rights of children established by the treaty would undermine parental authority in the home, but Doek contended that it only imposes limits and obligations on the state, not upon parents.

Austin Ruse of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, or C-FAM (and the husband of FRCs Cathy Cleaver Ruse) offered a darker vision of the impact of the U.N. and international agreements. He delivered an address describing how radical elites have attempted to establish a right to abortion in international law. The soft law strategy involves inserting code words for abortion (such as reproductive health) in international documents and then asserting (falsely) that it is a matter of customary international law. The hard law strategy involves United Nations committees charged with monitoring compliance with actual international treaties and conventions. Although no right to abortion has ever been established in the text of such treaties, these committees will often tell member countries that they must protect such a right to be in compliance (for example, with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, or CEDAW). Ruse declared bluntly that such new norms are being forced upon nations undemocratically through treachery, lies, deceit and raw power.

At times it was striking how much people from different countries had in common. For example, at one session, an American state senator from Georgia, Nancy Schaefer, and a lawyer from Sweden, Ruby Harrold-Claesson, both decried the abuses sometimes engaged in by child protective services.

However, there was one notable difference evident in the way American conservatives and Europeans see pro-family policy. Most Americans take a more libertarian approach, believing that the best thing government can do for families is to stay out of their way. Yet it was evident that pro-family politicians from Europe and other countries see government intervention on behalf of the family as the best pro-family policy. For instance, Andre Rouveot, the Dutch cabinet minister who addressed the Congress by video, touted the creation of his Ministry for Youth and Families as a great step forward. Yet most American conservatives do not see the creation of a federal Department of Education as something that improved American education. Australian Member of Parliament Kevin Andrews discussed efforts by some countries to provide child care and family leave as pro-family because they make it easier for working women to become mothers; whereas many Americans would argue what is needed is to make it easier for mothers to stay home.

The Congress ended with the adoption of the Amsterdam Declaration, which cited as its touchstone the statement in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society, and is entitled to protection by society and the State. Several countries are already in contention for the honor of hosting the next World Congress of Families, which has clearly established itself as the premier international gathering of pro-family scholars and activists.

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In the Know…

by Krystle Gabele

September 4, 2009

Here’s some news articles of interest to help kick off Labor Day weekend.

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Spurred on to Service: The Roger Mason Story

by Robert Morrison

September 3, 2009

Heres a story we need to see. Roger Mason, Jr., a star shooting guard for the San Antonio Spurs, is shown in the Washington Times recently giving high fives to a group of boys at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School in Northwest D.C. Mason formerly played for the Washington Wizards, but left to join the Spurs last summer.

Despite moving more than a thousand miles away, Roger Mason has not forgotten his roots. His Roger Mason Foundation is a partner with the local charter school, and Roger is playing a part in the lives of area children. Fifty local students will attend Movie Night with Mase this week. They were selected on the basis of essays they wrote. Many of the kids wrote about Roger Mason and how he is an inspirational figure to them. That means more to me than anything, Mason told The Washington Times sports writer, Tom Knott, thats the cool part. Thats the type of thing thats special to me.

I am especially grateful to Tom Knott for giving us this wonderful story. Too often, the media highlight the lurid, the weird, the criminal. But Roger Mason is not just quiet, steady, dependable Mason, the guy behind the guy but ever capable. Roger is a star.

Roger Mason was a classmate of my children. He graduated from Calvary Lutheran School in Silver Spring, Maryland in the ‘90s. He was a standout athleteeven in fourth grade! And he was quiet, modest and ever capable, even then.

Calvary Lutheran did beautiful things. All 123 children in that school read on grade level.

That is something few schools can boast. Teachers at Calvary had to teach for twenty-three years before they earned as much as an entry-level teacher in Montgomery County Public Schools. The amazing thing is that we had four teachers who were at that level.

I sometimes get ribbed by liberal friends about sending my children to Christian schools.

Oh, joining the white flight, eh? Well, we did join the whiteand blackflight to Calvary, where 85 percent of the students were minority students. But we didnt pay attention to that back then. Instead, we were drawn to those words engraved in stone above the entrance to Calvary: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

I thank God for Calvary Lutheran School, what it has meant to my family, and what it meant to Roger Mason. He continues to bless this community, San Antonio, and any other community that is fortunate enough to know him. Oh, and E.L. Haynes Public Charter School? Its right down the street from Calvary.

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In the Know…

by Krystle Gabele

September 2, 2009

Gone are the days of the Daily Buzz and Blogosphere Buzz. Instead, I decided to incorporate the two to create “In the Know.” Don’t worry, you will still receive your daily dose of news.

Here’s some articles of interest for your morning:

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Daily Buzz

by Family Research Council

September 1, 2009

Here’s some news articles of interest for your afternoon.

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