FRC Blog

The Dirty Dozen” 2016: The 12 Leading Facilitators of Sexual Exploitation

by Rob Schwarzwalder

February 25, 2016

FRC is proud to be allied with the National Center on Sexual Exploitation and a member of NCOSE’s Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation. The Coalition’s mission is “focused on bringing a variety of people together to solve and end the complex social issue of sexual exploitation and its associated companion – pornography.” We’re grateful to be part of this essential effort.

Today NCOSE announced its annual “Dirty Dozen” list of the companies that foster the intersection of “sex trafficking, violence against women, child abuse, addiction and other forms of exploitation.”

Thankfully, one of the companies listed, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, has now been removed from the Dirty Dozen list because “on February 10, 2016 (Starwood announced) that they officially changed their policies regarding their distribution of pornography on January 1, 2016 and that it will be removed from all 1,270 properties worldwide.”

Sadly, perhaps the most noteworthy member of the Dirty Dozen list is none other than the U.S. Department of Justice, which is on the list for the fourth year in a row. According to NCOSE, “Federal law prohibits distribution of obscene adult pornography on the Internet, on cable/satellite TV, on hotel/motel TV, in retail shops, through the mail, and by common carrier. The U.S. Supreme Court has also repeatedly upheld obscenity laws against First Amendment challenges, explaining that obscenity is not protected speech. Even so, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) refuses to enforce existing federal obscenity laws. From the time Obama took office in 2008, no enforcement actions against illegal obscenity have been initiated by DOJ, and in 2011 former Attorney General Eric Holder dismantled the Obscenity Prosecution Task Force.”

Two former FRC interns, Dani Bianculli, J.D. and Haley Halverson, now serve at NCOSE as Executive Director of the Law Center and Director of Communications, respectively. We’re proud of the contributions Dani and Haley and NCOSE’s courageous CEO and President, Pat Trueman, have made and continue to make in defending women, children, and young men from the deviant exploitation that is at the center of the pornography and trafficking industries. We join with them in seeking to advance a culture where human dignity is protected by law and honored by our society and the businesses operating therein.

Be sure to watch the recent lecture by the Director of FRC’s Center for Human Dignity, Arina Grossu, on “The Link Between Pornography, Sex Trafficking, and Abortion” and read our Issue Analysis, “Daddy’s Girl: How Fatherlessness Impacts Early Sexual Activity, Teen Pregnancy, and Sexual Abuse.”

Continue reading

Dancing for Joy at 106 and “Loving Jesus Christ”

by Rob Schwarzwalder

February 23, 2016

A 106 year-old black woman has made international news for her unguarded joy at meeting the President.

Virginia McLaurin, who was born during the administration of William Howard Taft, fulfilled a dream in meeting the nation’s first African-American chief executive.

A black president,” she exclaimed, “and his black wife!” Mrs. McLaurin ran/danced as she saw the President and Mrs. Obama. The First Couple, moved and delighted, were most gracious to this dear woman.

As reported by a local NBC affiliate, “In her 104 years, Mrs. McLaurin worked as a housekeeper, nanny and seamstress. She first married at 14 and was widowed at 17.”

For the past 20 years, she has “been volunteering as a foster grandparent” to special needs children at Sharpe Health School in Washington, D.C.“‘I love the kids,’ she says. ‘You ought to hear them in the morning when I come in and they say, “Grandma! Grandma!” and I say, “I’m here, I’m here”.’”

In 2014, she wrote Mr. Obama, “I’ve never met a President. I didn’t think I would live to see a Colored President because I was born in the South and didn’t think it would happen. I am so happy and I would love to meet you and your family if I could. I remember the times before President Hoover. I remember when we didn’t have any electricity. I had a kerosene lamp. I remember the first car model Ford. My husband was in the Army. I lost my husband in 1941. I’ve been in DC ever since. I was living here when Martin Luther King was killed. I know you are a busy man, but I wish I could meet you. I could come to your house to make things easier. I pray to the Lord that I would be able to meet you one day.”

The Lord answered that prayer. And that points to something about this lovely woman that deserves particular mention: her deep Christian faith: “One of my secrets for longevity is reading the Bible and praying daily, loving Jesus Christ, and my fellow man. There’s no one that I don’t like; I love everybody.”

We can hope that Mrs. McLaurin continues to bring light and joy to many more people for years to come. And when the Lord calls her home, it’s delightful to think of her dancing into His presence, even as she did with the President and First Lady of the United States.

Continue reading

Adopted or Biological, Children Are a Joyous, Disruptive Mystery

by Rob Schwarzwalder

February 19, 2016

Jamie Hughes has written a tender but candid piece on adoption on the valuable Her.Meneutics website. With her husband, she has adopted two sons.

My wife and I also adopted sons, twin boys, when they were three months old. We had prayed for twins for 16 years and, in God’s remarkable kindness, got them, although not in the biological way we initially anticipated. Our boys are now 18 and our daughter, adopted when she was also an infant, turns 13 next month.

What is striking to me about Hughes’ article is that practically everything she describes concerning the adjustments of having young adopted children could be said about having young children, period. None of us knows if our children, biological or adopted, will have exceptional physical, mental, or emotional needs. No one with a small child is unaccustomed to sleepless nights, meal upon meal of packaged food, or disruptions that are frequent, often unnerving, and, in aggregate, wholly draining. Young children are the sworn enemies of efficiency, privacy, predictability, order, and quiet. Always have been, always will be, adopted or biological.

The point of what I’m writing is that nothing Hughes mentions is unique to adoptive parents except, perhaps, various types of attachment disorder in some children and the occasional untoward comment from a tactless observer (“Are they yours?”). For example, as Hughes notes, “There are … holes in the boys’ childhoods, in my understanding of them and how they work, even in their medical histories.” That’s true — but it’s also true for all parents, to one degree or another. Both of my grandfathers died before I was born. I’ve never seen anything about their medical histories and know them only through a handful of anecdotes. I knew my grandmothers barely before each of them died. My many aunts and uncles and some cousins have passed away from a host of causes.

In other words, children provide no guarantees concerning their health, intellectual capacities, motor skills, perception challenges, or any of a host of other things. Adoptive or biological, our children come suddenly into our lives and unmask our selfishness, our self-preoccupation, and our previously unknown resilience in the face of sleep-deprivation and emotional wornness. They awaken in us a fierce love and loyalty that can be arresting in its intensity. They are fallen and finite, filling our lives with joy, grief, regret, and gratitude. They are human, and they are ours.

Jamie Hughes is a lovely Christian woman whose account of her experience with her kids is beautiful. But her experiences are common to all parents, to all mothers and fathers who can hug a child and say, inwardly and with unspeakable contentment, “Mine.” 

Continue reading

11th Circuit Rejects Religious Liberty in Favor of Government-Mandated Contraception

by Travis Weber

February 19, 2016

In yesterday’s opinion in EWTN v. Burwell, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals caused double the damage by rejecting a clear religious liberty claim and trying to save the HHS contraception mandate at the same time. This is not the court’s job. It was supposed to objectively analyze a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) claim, which it not only rejected in an attempt to set religious liberty back in time, but then jumped through hoops to justify the government’s contraception and abortion-related services scheme which wasn’t even passed by Congress and instead was imposed by executive fiat.

In its opinion, the 11th Circuit recognized:

We accept that the plaintiffs truly believe that triggering contraceptive coverage or being complicit in a system providing contraceptive coverage violates their religious beliefs.”

However, the court then amazingly concluded:

But our objective inquiry leads us to conclude that the government has not put plaintiffs to the choice of violating their religious beliefs or facing a significant penalty. We hold there is no substantial burden.”

The court now looks foolish. It already admitted religious liberty was violated in this case, and is now left trying to claim there is no “significant penalty” when the government threatens religious actors with thousands of dollars in fines if they don’t violate their consciences.

The court continues:

The ACA and the HRSA guidelines—not the opt out—are … the “linchpins” of the contraceptive mandate because they entitle women who are plan participants and beneficiaries covered by group health insurance plans to contraceptive coverage without cost sharing. In other words, women are entitled to contraceptive coverage regardless of their employers’ action (or lack of action) with respect to seeking an accommodation.”

If this is so true, why the need to involve EWTN in this scheme? Why not just provide the coverage directly? The government seems to need (or want) EWTN and others to be involved themselves.

In sum, the court acknowledged that the HHS contraception mandate “accommodation” forces EWTN to violate its religious beliefs or pay government penalties, but still found no substantial burden on religious freedom. This is nonsense. Surrendering your religious beliefs in order to avoid government penalties is the definition of “substantial burden” if there ever was one. Hopefully the Supreme Court will get these cases right when it considers them in the next few months, and settle once and for all that the government is substantially burdening religious exercise by threatening thousands of dollars in fines against religious actors if they don’t violate their consciences, and has no need to even involve them at all in providing drugs and services they believe cause abortions, but can leave religious groups out of the process entirely as it already does for other types of organizations.

Continue reading

We Are More than “Born Equal,” Mr. President

by Rob Schwarzwalder

February 8, 2016

In a speech at a Baltimore mosque last week, President Obama said, “We’re all born equal, with inherent dignity.”

He’s right. But his chronology is inadequate.

Our Declaration of Independence says we are “created equal.” That’s an important piece of phrasing in that it accurately represents the true origin of our humanity. Our Creator, from the moment of our conception, bestows on us His image and likeness. From that fraction of time on, we are persons. All the DNA that composes our beings is there at the union of the sperm and egg. As my colleague Cathy Ruse and I wrote a few years ago, “the scientific evidence is quite plain: at the moment of fusion of human sperm and egg, a new entity comes into existence which is distinctly human, alive, and an individual organism — a living, and fully human, being.”

Throughout his time in elective office, in the Illinois and U.S. Senates and now as President, Mr. Obama has been a consistent and strident proponent of unrestricted access to abortion-on-demand. His health care plan subsidizes it. He is suing in federal court to demand that everyone from faith-based colleges to an order of Catholic nuns provide contraception to their employees. He wants birth control with potentially abortifacient action made widely available. It is thus difficult not to see his assertion of our being born with inherent dignity as a turn of phrase calculated deliberately to avoid dealing with the humanness of the unborn child.

We are created with dignity from the moment when our humanness starts. That’s called conception. It takes place in the womb. No clever phrasing can ever diminish what the conscience cannot deny and science cannot but confirm: That life within the womb isn’t some collection of tissue and blood — he or she is a baby who should be protected by law and welcomed into life.

Continue reading

Millennials Across the United States are More Likely to Identify as Pro-life Than Previous Generations

by Joshua Denton

February 8, 2016

The nation has seen a 12 percent decline in abortions, according to a recent study published in the Associated Press. Improvements in pro-life attitudes are reflected in these encouraging statistics and show the rising popularity of alternatives to abortion among millennials.

The study shows the decline is nearly equal in both the most pro-life and pro-choice states.

The decline in the least pro-life states:

Vermont – Down 9%

New York – Down 15%

Connecticut – Down 21%

New Jersey – Does not collect abortion data

Montana – Down 18%

Washington – Down 17%

Oregon – Down 18%

Nevada – Down 22%

California – Does not collect abortion data

Hawaii – Down 30%

 

The decline in the most pro-life states:

North Dakota – Down 8%

Nebraska – Down 8%

Kansas – Down 13%

Missouri – Down 18%

Indiana – Down 20%

Oklahoma – Down 19%

Arkansas – Down 6%

Texas – Down 12%

Mississippi – Down 6%

Louisiana – Up 12%

This summer, in an article for the Boston Globe entitled American Millennials Rethink Abortion, For Good Reasons, author Jeff Jacoby explained some of the reasoning behind these trends. One factor is “an empathy-driven reaction” that views abortion negatively because of improvements in medical technology such as vivid ultrasound images, which humanize the issue of abortion.

Additionally, improvements in neonatal medicine have changed what constitutes a viable unborn baby. Jacoby explains that because of medical advances, babies born extremely prematurely are able to “survive and flourish,” whereas a generation ago survival might not have been possible.

Jacoby relates a statistic that may be surprising to many. Of all age groups, young adults are now the most likely to think abortion should be illegal in all circumstances. That position connotes a very strong negative opinion of abortion that the majority of millennials share.

According to Students for Life of America, the Marist poll data shows that 59 percent think abortion is “morally wrong”; 58 percent think abortion “does more harm than good”; and 64 percent think the abortion rate is “higher than it should be.” In previous generations, those under the age of 30 were the most vocal proponents of abortion.

On a more personal level, today’s millennials have friends and family members who regret denying their children the chance at life. The Silent No More campaign calls this the Shockwaves of Abortion and has dedicated each month to the healing of various people who have been affected by abortion including the parents, grandparents, siblings, abortion providers, and others. Millennials may also be more hesitant to think about abortion positively simply because they have survived Roe v. Wade. Regardless of the motivations, the increasing support for the protection of the unborn and their right to life is a most encouraging trend.

Joshua Denton is a senior in college and works with the Indiana Family Institute in Indianapolis. Follow Joshua Denton on Twitter @1776Josh.

Continue reading

Council of Europe Body Calls Actions of ISIS “Genocide”

by Travis Weber

January 28, 2016

Yesterday, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe passed a resolution calling the actions of ISIS in Iraq and Syria as “genocide.” The resolution, passed with 117 votes for and only 1 against, shows clear resolve on the part of our neighbors across the pond to call a spade a spade.

Several statements of the Parliamentary Assembly stand out:

The Parliamentary Assembly … notes with great concern that many of these recent terrorist attacks are claimed by, and may be attributed to, individuals who act in the name of the terrorist entity which calls itself Da’ish and who have perpetrated acts of genocide and other serious crimes punishable under international law. States should act on the presumption that Da’ish commits genocide and should be aware that this entails action under the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

The Assembly recalls that under international law States have a positive obligation to prevent genocide, and thus should do their utmost to prevent their own nationals from taking part in such acts.

Fighters who may have perpetrated acts of genocide and/or other serious crimes prohibited under international law, and who seek international protection upon their return to Europe, should under no circumstances be granted refugee status.

While not specified in the resolution, the genocidal actions of ISIS have targeted Yezidis, Christians, and others. Such a clear statement that genocide has occurred, and a proper conclusion that this obligates nations which are parties to the Genocide Convention to do something about it, is a breath of fresh air.

Parliamentary Assembly member Pieter Omtzigt, who introduced the amendment to the resolution making it clear that ISIS has committed genocide, reiterated that “[u]nder the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, countries are obliged to take positive action to prevent crimes of genocide.”

Next week, the European Parliament will also weigh in on this issue and vote on a resolution on the plight of Christians in the Middle East. We hope its members follow the strong lead of this resolution and call the facts on the ground for what they are. The world depends on it.

We also hope that the Obama Administration recognizes this obvious fact as well, calling the genocide against Christians in the Middle East a “genocide,” and does so before it is too late. While the Administration has recognized actions of ISIS against Yezidis as “genocide,” it is wrong to not bring full attention to the genocide against Christians, and others, as well. Years from now, we may all rue the day when we could have done more to prevent another Rwanda.

Continue reading

Is Vice President Biden Against All “Culture?”

by Travis Weber

January 21, 2016

It is reported that Vice President Biden heatedly demanded LGBT supportive compliance—on the part of everyone, everywhere in the world—while in Davos, Switzerland recently.

Speaking to business leaders, he said:

When it comes to LGBT rights in the workplace the world is looking to you. I know that sounds like hyperbole, sounds like exaggeration, but they look to you. You have more impact than anything the federal government has done, or the Supreme Court of the United States has done, or that Barack Obama and Joe Biden have done, lighting up the White House. You have more impact. You have more impact in countries around the world than we do on those social issues. You literally can change the terms of the debate – not overnight – but collectively you can change the terms of the debate. And shift some public opinion. You actually put governments on notice.

I’ve had it up to HERE with culture. I really mean it. Culture NEVER JUSTIFIES rank, raw discrimination or violation of human rights. There is NO CULTURAL JUSTIFICATION. None. None. None.

Aside from the implicit admission that Vice President Biden and others are seeking to force compliance (a point which could involve a whole separate discussion) and his assertion that business has an incredible impact on these issues (he’s correct about that, as we have seen in the United States), what’s most striking is his condemnation of a “culture” which does not believe that certain sexual acts are pleasing to God.

We must assume that Vice President Biden is exempting himself from having “culture.” I doubt he would say that. Assuming that much, what he is really saying then is that certain cultures are the problem and others aren’t. And if he’s saying that, then in condemning other cultures and demanding acceptance of his own, he must then admit that he is demanding allegiance to the object of worship in his culture: its permission and approval of radical, individual, sexual autonomy.

But does any genuine analysis of culture here really matter anyway? We know that Vice President Biden, like so many others, seems eager to follow the political winds and to embrace, and be embraced by, social approval from cultural elites. After all, this is from the man who at one time voted in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” 

Continue reading

Social Conservative Review: An Insider’s Guide to Pro-Family News January 21, 2016

by Rob Schwarzwalder

January 21, 2016

Click here to subscribe to the Social Conservative Review


As Washington, DC braces for an onslaught of winter weather, hundreds of thousands of people are coming here from around the country for the annual March for Life.  The March’s president, Jeanne Mancini, previously led FRC’s Center for Human Dignity.  We are deeply grateful for her life’s dedication to the little ones and their mothers.

Those coming will be here to celebrate the beauty of life and mourn for the loss of so many millions of unborn children over the past 43 years.

Along with unborn children, millions of women have been victimized by a predatory abortion industry.  Many others have believed one of the great lies of our time, one that deceives men and women of every age and station: Professional attainment and personal satisfaction outweigh in value not just all other priorities, but other people.

That’s why there are so many broken marriages, casual intimacies, addictions, pathologies, and wounded young people and children. Avarice and greed are rampant. Radical autonomy is the god of the age.

The good news is that the true and living God offers new life to everyone.  Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). 

That gracious invitation is extended to all.  Have you accepted it yet?

Sincerely,
Rob Schwarzwalder
Senior Vice-President
Family Research Council

P.S. Be sure not to miss FRC’s “ProLifeCon 2016,” the premier conference for the online pro-life community. Hosted by the Director of our Center for Human Dignity, Arina Grossu, activists, policy experts, and legislators will be on hand to discuss the issues impacting the pro-life movement, and to share practical ways to make a difference for life on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and your online platform of choice.  Register online or join us here at FRC headquarters.


Religious Liberty

International Religious freedom-

Military Religious Freedom

Religious Liberty in the public square –

 

Life

Abortion

Adoption

Bioethics

Healthcare conscience

 Obamacare

 

Family

Family Economics

Human Sexuality (Homosexual/ gender issues)

Human Trafficking

Marriage

Pornography

Continue reading

A Fundamental Departure from the Faith

by Rob Schwarzwalder

January 15, 2016

My father was a choir boy in the famous “Little Church Around the Corner,” the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration in New York City. One of my aunts was married there. 

On its website, the church makes a point not of noting how many people have been won for Christ through its ministries but, instead, boasts of this:

Continuing its long tradition of inclusiveness, the ‘Little Church’ celebrated the first same-sex wedding in the Diocese of New York in July 2012 and is proud to have performed several since the formal rite of Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant was adopted by the General Convention.”

It is this sort of thing – pride in jettisoning orthodox Christian teaching and practice on human sexuality – that yesterday led “the Anglican Primates - the senior bishops of the 38 Anglican Provinces” - to “formally … (require) that for a period of three years The Episcopal Church (USA) no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.”

As the Primates, who were gathered in Canterbury, England for a special meeting called by Anglicanism’s chief cleric, the Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote, “The traditional doctrine of the church in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds marriage as between a man and a woman in faithful, lifelong union. The majority of those gathered reaffirm this teaching.”

Of additional note at the annual event was “the full participation of the leader of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), a new conservative body, among the leaders of the communion’s 38 provinces.”

As noted in The Washington Post, “Like other mainline denominations, the Episcopal Church, home to U.S. presidents and the nation’s elite, has struggled to fill its pews in recent years. It has lost more than 20 percent of its members since it consecrated (openly gay Bishop Gene) Robinson, and new statistics suggest that membership continues to fall, dropping 2.7 percent from 2013 to about 1.8 million U.S. members in 2014.”

This is a very sad day for a once great denomination, but not because it has been formally disciplined for its heterodoxy, but because of its embrace of that heterodoxy itself. The Bible is very clear that the only sexually intimate behavior of which God approves is that which exists between a man and a woman within the covenantal union of marriage. This is clear from Genesis onward.

It is, as the Primates’ statement says, “the traditional doctrine of the church in view of the teaching of Scripture.” As well-known Presbyterian pastor and theologian Tim Keller has written, “until very, very recently, there had been complete unanimity about homosexuality in the church across all centuries, cultures, and even across major divisions of the Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant traditions … One has to ask, then, why is it the case that literally no church, theologian, or Christian thinker or movement ever thought that any kind of same-sex relationships was allowable until now?”

Millions of American Protestants, disenthralled by their former “mainline” churches’ teachings on one or more of a number of critical issues, including human sexuality, are now attending churches whose orthodoxy is uncompromised and whose loyalty to Scripture is firm. Why? Because, as the Anglican Primates wrote, they have come to know “the person and work of Jesus Christ, unceasingly and authentically, inviting all to embrace the beauty and joy of the Gospel.”

To learn more about Scripture’s teaching on human sexuality, listen to Dr. Robert Gagnon’s FRC lecture, “Jesus, Scripture, and the Myth of New Knowledge Arguments about Homosexual Unions” and download my own “Leviticus, Jesus, and Homosexuality: Some Thoughts on Honest Interpretation.”

Continue reading

Archives