FRC Blog

Testimony in Opposition to H. 1190 and S. 62

by Peter Sprigg

June 7, 2017

Regarding practices to change sexual orientation and gender identity in minors

Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities
The General Court [Legislature] of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
June 6, 2017 

By Peter Sprigg
Senior Fellow for Policy Studies
Family Research Council
Washington, D.C.

My name is Peter Sprigg, and I represent the Family Research Council from Washington, D.C.

However, I am a former 14-year resident of Massachusetts.

It is reasonable for a legislative body to have concern about the safety and effectiveness of medical and psychological interventions for physical and emotional conditions.

For example, I have recently learned of a treatment for a widespread condition. I was surprised to read that this treatment is more effective than no treatment at all in only 20 percent of those experiencing the condition.

It was also troubling to learn that relapses are common with this condition—and the treatment under study was more effective than no intervention in preventing relapses in only 27 percent of those experiencing the condition.

And perhaps most troubling of all was to read “that teenagers consider suicide more often when [undergoing this treatment] … and also actually attempt to take their own lives more often.”

However, I am not aware that Massachusetts—or any other state—has taken steps to outlaw this treatment, despite its limited effectiveness and potential harms.

That’s because the condition I am talking about is not unwanted same-sex attractions, and the treatment is not sexual reorientation therapy (commonly, but inaccurately, referred to as “conversion therapy”).

Instead, the condition I was referring to is—depression. The treatment I was referring to is—antidepressant drugs. And the source of the information I have just shared with you is the National Institutes of Health.

I raise this comparison as a way of pointing out that the arguments used against sexual reorientation therapy and in favor of restrictions upon it—such as this bill—often hold such therapy to a standard which is wholly unrealistic for any medical or psychological care.

Is it possible to find people who will say that they underwent sexual reorientation therapy and found it ineffective? Of course—the same is true of any other treatment, especially for psychological conditions. However, there are also many people who have testified that such therapy was effective for them.

Is it possible to find people who will even say that they underwent such therapy and considered themselves to be in a worse condition after than before? Of course—but this, too, will be true of any psychological condition and any therapy. However, it is also possible to find people who underwent sexual reorientation therapy and felt that they were better off afterwards—even if the therapy was not effective in changing their sexual orientation.

Holding sexual reorientation therapy to a standard of 100 percent effectiveness together with zero risk is so unreasonable as to be irrational.

Therefore, I hope it is clear to everyone in this body that the purpose of this bill is not to protect anyone’s physical or psychological health. The real purpose is to impose an ideology, and outlaw a desire—the desire that some individuals, including some minors, unquestionably have to overcome unwanted same-sex attractions and abstain from same-sex sexual relationships.

That is not the business of this legislature.

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We’re Better Together

by Daniel Hart

June 7, 2017

In a recent column for The Daily Signal, Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) makes a striking observation about the current unease that has infused our society:

…[M]any Americans—poor, middle class, and wealthy—feel that something is amiss. It is a feeling that cannot be reduced to economic anxiety. Rather, there is a sense that our social fabric is fraying.

And these concerns are reflected in objective measures of family and community health.

To cite just a few of the trends that may be grouped under the rubric of “social capital”: marriage and churchgoing have declined, distrust of the nation’s institutions has grown, mixed-income neighborhoods have become rarer, regional polarization has increased, and young men who are neither working nor looking for work have become more numerous and more isolated.

We do less together than in the past, and we are worse off for it, economically and otherwise…

We do less together than in the past…” This insight hits on a deep need that all human beings share: a sense of belonging. We all have the innate desire to be needed and to belong in a community. To accomplish this, human beings need to be together. This seems painfully obvious, but as Mike Lee observed, our society has seen a decline in two of the primary institutions that foster “togetherness”: marriage and churchgoing.

The benefits of marriage to individuals and to society as a whole are incalculable, but let’s focus on the particular power of marriage to bring people together. When a man and a woman marry, they are participating in something far beyond themselves. This is most apparent in the wedding celebration itself, which attracts family and friends from far and wide who gather in one place to rejoice in the mysterious union of two people. This union stretches far beyond the wedding day, however—from that day forward, two wholly separate families are now forever joined to each other “in law.” Marriage, therefore, brings people together in a truly unique and profound way, creating an “extended family” even beyond the newly minted immediate family.

While there are countless jokes that can be made about the drudgeries of “in-laws,” there is no disputing that marriage forges new familial bonds that last a lifetime, providing husbands and wives with both the trials and joys of having a larger family than they did before marriage. This in turn creates new networks of opportunity for “togetherness,” whether it be through expanded family reunions that yield new friendships and shared passions, or new job opportunities that are made possible through extended family businesses. In the same way, marriage creates a whole new network of friends and acquaintances for the bride and groom, who each essentially have the size of their social circle doubled.

The church provides the other great venue for bringing people together. Houses of worship will forever draw us to them because of the God-sized hole in our hearts—the innate desire to reach beyond ourselves and give thanks to our Creator for giving us the gift of life and every blessing in it, and for the ability to belong to a body of believers that gives us a particular identity as sons and daughters of Christ. Furthermore, churches provide avenues for ministering to one another in both practical and spiritual ways, whether it be hosting soup kitchens and clothing drives for the needy, hosting fundraisers for a family affected by tragedy, prison ministry, running youth groups and Bible studies, and on and on. In short, a church is a place where anyone can come and feel like they belong to a community and where they can find a helping hand when in need, either physically or spiritually.

The overarching point here is this: when we are brought together in genuine and deeply rooted ways, we find true fulfilment. Marriage and the church are the primary institutions of permanence in society that provide this union of persons. God, after all, is a union of Three Persons. When we are in communion with each other, we grow in virtue. Therefore, when we as a culture diminish and abandon these institutions, we deny our intrinsic human need to belong, and we miss out on the resulting opportunities to grow in virtue by ministering to our fellow man. So let us champion marriage and the church as the great forgers of “togetherness,” and therefore of human flourishing.

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Standing for Christ

by Travis Weber

June 6, 2017

The following are remarks by Travis Weber, Director of the Center for Religious Liberty at Family Research Council, to the congregation of Faith Church in Budapest, Hungary (following the conclusion of the World Congress of Families and Budapest Family Summit) on May 27, 2017.

Köszönöm (Thank you). Jó estét (Good evening).

That’s all the Hungarian you’re going to get out of me!

But seriously, it’s a joy to be here, and this place is near and dear to my heart. I have a good friend who is married to a woman from Hungary and I visited here last summer, it is a great place.

My name is Travis Weber, I work with an organization in Washington D.C., in the United States, called the Family Research Council. We are a Christian organization—a non-governmental organization—working to advance the Christian worldview in public policy, law, and culture.

I’m going to talk to you about my work, specifically on the issue of religious freedom—protecting the right of Christians and other people to live out their faith freely. But I’m also going to encourage you as a Christian participating in the public life of your nation how to stand strong for Christ. Because although I’m only from the United States, I only speak English; I’ve never lived in Hungary. We have these differences, but we have the most important thing in common: we both follow the Lord Jesus Christ. This is what defines us, this defines our identity. Our identity in Jesus Christ is the most important thing about us wherever we are. So even as I talk to you about religious freedom I want to encourage you to use your religious freedom here where God has placed you. You are placed uniquely by God where you are, to do things that I cannot do, but you can do, and God has assigned for you to do. So I want you to remember that: remember to stand strong for Christ and remember that God has assigned you a special task to live for him here in Hungary.

So, in thinking about religious freedom and how we stand strong for Christ and how that plays out, I’m going to talk a little bit about how we protect that at the Family Research Council.

We should think of religious freedom as a human right for all people. Because we are created in the image of God, all human beings have the right to freely choose their religion and live that out. There should be no coercion in forcing people to choose one thing or the other. People should be free to choose how they will worship.

In the United States, historically, our law has been very strongly protective of religious freedom. But you don’t need only a law, you need strong cultural support for the idea too. Unless you have strong legal protections and support within the culture—within the hearts and minds of people—religious freedom ultimately will suffer. So, we aim to protect and advance religious freedom in all these areas.

Similarly, around the world, people are suffering because of their religious beliefs and we are seeking to protect their human right to live out their religious faith as they see fit.  We should remember that we do this as Christians because all people are created in the image of God.

One of the primary areas we are seeing this suffering now is in the area of conflict between individual sexual liberty and Christianity. In the United States, huge segments of the culture have bought into the idea that we are ultimately living for ourselves, ultimately living to live out our sexual fulfillment according to how we define it and that’s what guides our lives. This idea is directly in conflict with orthodox historic Christian truth. It is producing all sorts of conflicts and fractures within United States society.

So even though we have had freedom in the past, if we do not fight for it now we will lose it. It is up to Christians across the United States to stand up in the public square and proclaim truth, with love, and defend their beliefs. But many people, as they see these things develop, are afraid of being called names, of being ostracized, of being called “haters.”

As fellow Christians, we should stop and pause and look at Christians being persecuted around the world. We can look at Christians in the Middle East: I know of a pastor in Lebanon who was threatened with death at the point of a gun yet he stayed strong for Christ. He would not stop sharing the Gospel and he faced down the shooter and dared him to shoot. He was willing to die for Christ and for the Gospel. He was not afraid. When we look at that, as Christians in the United States, and then we come back to our own situation and we see people calling us names and marginalizing and ostracizing us, it just doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. The point is not that we try to brush if off and say there is no problem, but rather we rely on the power of Christ and the witness of these Christians around the world to say: yes, we will stand for Christ with you. This enables us to say: it’s okay to suffer for declaring the truth of the Gospel.

You may have some of these situations coming to Hungary. I encourage you as one from the United States, but first and foremost as a brother to you in Christ, to stand strong for Christ and for the Gospel. For our identity ultimately comes from Christ, not what other people think or say about us. For God has already proven his love for us by sending his son to die for us.

Therefore, we needn’t worry about anyone else. And as we go through challenges and face obstacles and opposition, at times it is difficult, but we know Christ is always there with us. Our witness matters. At times people may not be persuaded by our argument, but they are ultimately persuaded by our witness and the way that we stand for Christ. And as you talk about these cultural issues, issues of sexuality, there are opportunities to share the Gospel within them.

So I want to bless you and encourage you to stand strong for God as you face the issues that may lie ahead in the future. No matter whether things bring hardship and difficulty and it seems like, “God, where are you?” Or, whether things are easy and you see God showing up day to day.

And I’m just going to say a quick closing prayer:

Lord God, I ask for your presence and power to be with Faith Church, as Faith Church and the body here and the members of Faith Church live out their lives for you here in Hungary. We ask for the power of your Holy Spirit to be with this place and your hand to be on it, guiding it into your truth. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Even Liberal Feminists Can’t Resist Committed Love and Marriage

by Chris Gacek

June 5, 2017

Caitlin Flanagan is an insightful contributing editor and writer for The Atlantic.  She values the place of hearth and home in all our lives and defends housewifery while not being a social conservative in today’s parlance. For example, in 2006 she published a book, To Hell with All That: Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife.  Flanagan is a contrarian who draws the ire of many feminists and is clearly not considered part of the group. Even though she announced her inability to vote for Hillary Clinton because she believed the Bill Clinton rape victim stories, she is not a Republican.

Now, a hard-core feminist attorney and well-known writer, Jill Filipovic, has written a new book, The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness, and Flanagan has written a review of it in The Washington Post.

Apparently, Filipovic had hewed the standard feminist disdain for traditional male-female relationship dynamics. Flanagan gives her a little grief after revealing a big change in Filipovic’s life—she found a man: 

But reader: There’s a plot twist. It turns out that Jill Fil[i]povic — feminist, badass, rejecter of all that is conventional — is . . . engaged! “I had never been so immediately drawn to someone or felt myself so eager to talk to someone,” she tells us of her new love, and she embarked upon “a love affair unlike anything I had experienced.” It turns out that he has a big, important job in Africa, and — screw feminism! — she packed her bags and followed him. It’s bliss: “He is sometimes the only person I talk to in the course of a day” — and she loves it. “There is a long list of reasons I would marry him,” she confides chattily, queen bee at the Tri Delt pajama party. “As far as individual days go,” she hopes her wedding will be “one of the happiest.” She even starts firing off some of the most socially conservative facts this side of CPAC: “Women report higher levels of sexual satisfaction when they’re in monogamous relationships,” and couples “have more sex than their unmarried counterparts.” Whose side is she on, anyway?

Flanagan further observes, “The truth is that there is great value in what she is doing.” That is, risking one’s career path to follow and be with the person one loves, then “making a lifelong commitment to him or her, establishing a home together that protects you both from the buffeting and heartless forces of the marketplace—those are sustaining and nourishing choices.”

Flanagan concludes with this:

The author spent two years criss-crossing the country in search of the key to female happiness, but it turns out she was wearing the ruby slippers all along. It’s like Jim Dobson and Ted Cruz teamed up to write a movie. What are you gonna do? There’s no place like home.

I also recommend this review of Filipovic’s book at National Review by Alexandra DeSanctis. She summarizes the strengths and weaknesses in H-Spot this way: “What’s perhaps most interesting about the book is Filipovic’s ability to correctly identify issues that prey uniquely on modern women—single motherhood, sexual assault and domestic violence, eating disorders, the hyper-sexualization of advertisements and the resulting objectification of women—and yet to so completely miss the mark on the causes of and solutions to these ailments.”

At the end of the day, Flanagan provides, in her examination of Filipovic’s present life, that the modern Left’s feminist worldview doesn’t comport with male and female reality. It often presents a self-defeating ethic that seeks a lowest common denominator existence by spurning “patriarchal” institutions like marriage and family. Filipovich previously rejected the norms of marriage, but she seems to have her ideological predilections subverted, at least temporarily, by a nobler vision of life. She has stumbled into a deeper truth: that we human beings were created for deep and loving relationships. First in the union of male and female in marriage, and then in our eternal relationship with God.

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Giving to Caesar and to God

by Peter Sprigg

June 2, 2017

The following are remarks by Peter Sprigg, Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at Family Research Council, to the congregation of Faith Church in Budapest, Hungary (following the conclusion of the World Congress of Families and Budapest Family Summit) on May 27, 2017.

Good evening.

Family Research Council is a Christian organization that seeks to influence public policy. Our office is in Washington, D.C., halfway between the White House and the Capitol building—a very strategic location.

Like other organizations involved in the World Congress of Families:

We believe in defending the right to life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death;

We believe in marriage being defined as the union of one man and one woman;

We believe that such a marriage is the only appropriate context for sexual relations;

We believe that such a marriage is the ideal environment for raising children;

And we believe in religious liberty for all.

Now, those of us who speak out as Christians on public policy issues are sometimes accused of violating a principle known as “the separation of church and state.” This actual phrase does not appear in our national constitution, but it is a traditional American principle if it’s correctly understood and correctly defined.

The separation of church and state means a separation of the institutions and offices of the church from the institutions and offices of the state. It means a person who becomes a pastor or a bishop does not automatically get power in the government, and a person who takes an office in the government does not gain any power over the church.

But it does not mean a complete separation of God and government, and it does not mean we must completely separate our faith from public policy.

The classic biblical text on this subject is the story of when Jesus was asked if people should pay taxes to the Roman government (Matthew 22:15-22). He replied, “Give to Caesar [the emperor] what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

This was a very clever answer by Jesus. He showed respect for the government by saying people should pay their taxes. But he showed respect for God by saying there are some things we owe to God which government cannot touch.

I heard a sermon once that suggested another way to view this story, though. The preacher pointed out that Jesus held up the coin that was used to pay the tax, and he said to give it to Caesar because it had Caesar’s image on it.

However, this pastor asked, whose image is on Caesar? Caesar, like every human being, was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). So while we have a responsibility to government, each of us—and everyone in the government—has a higher responsibility to God, because we bear his image.

Sometimes, we are accused of not respecting the human rights or human dignity of those with whom we disagree. But the very concept of human rights and human dignity is rooted in the fact that we are created in the image of God.

And sometimes we are accused of hating our opponents. We must guard against this. The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and that includes all our neighbors.

But love does not require that we affirm or celebrate every behavior people choose to engage in. Love requires that we call people to live their very best life. For most people, that means to save sex until marriage; to marry a person of the opposite sex; to build a family based on that marriage; and to remain married for a lifetime. And of course, it means calling them to accept the good news of Jesus Christ.

This is not hate, this is love.

I add my thanks to the people of Hungary, of Budapest, to the Hungarian government, and to Pastor Sandor and Faith Church for all your hospitality.

May God bless you, and your country, and may God bless all of our marriages and our families.

Thank you. 

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Social Conservative Review - June 1, 2017

by Daniel Hart

June 1, 2017

Dear Friends,

Self-professed atheists like Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins often say that Christianity is an absurd religion that believes in things like “talking snakes.” While it’s lamentable that Maher and Dawkins feel the need to take Scripture passages out of context to prop up straw man arguments, I often wonder what they would say in response to profound Christian witness that gets to the heart of why our faith is the Truth.

I came across an example of this kind of witness recently from Fr. Peter John Cameron, O.P., who makes this penetrating insight about the nature of our God and how He conforms to the natural desires of our hearts:

If you look into your heart and consider the kind of god you deem ideal, what you come up with is Jesus. Given the chance to custom order the divinity who best satisfies the desires of our heart, we would design a deity tender and compassionate, whose joy was to accompany us as a friend in our earthly travails. We would want a god infinitely wise, eager to teach us the things we need to know in order for life to be filled with meaning and joy. We would insist on a god who was merciful and ever swift to forgive our sins… one with a special preference for the poor and the needy. We would want a god of perfect peace, promising happiness, blessing us with hope… one who was extravagantly generous and totally giving of self. We would want a god who was in love with us.

But, in fact, when we meet such a man in Jesus Christ, we can’t help but to respond the way people in the Gospel do: Where did this man get all this? Don’t we know his father and mother? Isn’t this the son of the carpenter? Which means that the automatic impulse when we meet Jesus Christ is to presume that what makes him so unique and exceptional—unlike anyone else we have ever met—is his Father.

The Son of God exposes our presumption: You know me and also know where I am from. Yet I did not come on my own, but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true (Jn 7:28). The more we gaze upon Jesus Christ in all his ineffable goodness, the more we are compelled to cry with Philip, Show us the Father (Jn 14:8). (Excerpted from Magnificat, Vol. 19, No. 4 / June 2017, p. 3-4)

May we be forever grateful to our amazing God, who consummately fulfills our truest human desire for a perfect Father.

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

Secretary Mattis: Focus on War-Fighting, Ditch the Social EngineeringLt. Gen. Jerry Boykin

Maxine Waters: The Left’s Best Against Donald Trump?Ken Blackwell

Rolling Thunder, ‘Missing Man’ tables and the BibleLt. Gen. Jerry Boykin

Democrat Outreach to Pro-Lifers Will Take More Than TalkTony Perkins

New Research Shows “Adult-Like” Nerves in Very Young Embryos: Affirming the Likelihood of Fetal PainArina Grossu

Hungarian Megachurch a Model of Salt and Light in Europe – Peter Sprigg

Budapest Family Summit Explores Ways to Revitalize the Family – Peter Sprigg

A Fitting Tribute to Memorial Day – Chris Gacek

FRC’s Arina Grossu Speaks at New D.C. Abortion Business Operated by Controversial Abortionist – Arina Grossu

Blasphemy Laws” Violate Religious Liberty – Travis Weber

Emotionally Manipulative Videos Can’t Save Planned Parenthood – Dan Hart

                                                       

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

VICTORY: Court affirms Christian’s right to refuse in good faith to make ‘LGBT Pride’ shirtsPeter LaBarbera, LifeSiteNews

Rage at Rubio’s Bible Tweets: More Evidence of Troubling Bias Against ChristiansJohn Zmirak, The Stream

Sheriff Ordered to Remove ‘Blessed are the Peacemakers’ DecalsTodd Starnes, The Stream

Undercover Planned Parenthood Video Removed from YouTube at Judge’s OrderAlexandra DeSanctis, National Review

Parents Sue San Diego School District Over ‘Initiative to Combat Islamophobia’Heather Clark, Christian News

White House Acts to Roll Back Birth-Control Mandate for Religious EmployersRobert Pear, The New York Times

International Religious Freedom

The continuing tragedy of Egypt’s Coptic Christians – Samuel Tadros, The Washington Post

Trump Should Adopt an International Religious-Freedom Policy with Teeth – Tina Ramirez, National Review

Wives of Chinese torture victims beg Congress for helpJune Cheng, WORLD

5 Ways to give persecuted Christians help beyond the hashtagDavid Mills, Aleteia

India Arrests Christians for Taking Kids to Bible CampSamuel Smith, The Christian Post

 

Life

Abortion

Why The Latest Planned Parenthood Video Is A BreakthroughBecky Visosky, The Federalist

Planned Parenthood’s Main Abortion Clinic Has Injured 4 Women in Botched Abortions Already This YearCheryl Sullenger, Life News

Planned Parenthood to Close Three Abortion Clinics in California – Micaiah Bilger, LifeNews

New law may force pro-life groups to hire abortion activistsFr. Mark Hodges, LifeSiteNews

Undercover Video Exposes Deep Contradiction at the Heart of Planned ParenthoodJay Hobbs, The Daily Signal

Planned Parenthood’s newly released annual report shows abortions have increased – againSusan Michelle-Hanson, Live Action

Adoption

Why women aren’t choosing adoption – and how pro-lifers can change thatMatt Hadro, Crux

Texas Adoption Law Could Jumpstart Christian Agencies AgainKate Shellnutt, Christianity Today

Illinois Purges Social Workers and Foster Families Who Don’t ‘Facilitate Transgenderism’ – Mary Hasson, The Federalist

Bioethics

Creating babies from skin cells turns procreation into transaction: scientistMaggie Maslak, CAN/EWTN News

Time for a “Populist” Bioethics Commission – Wesley J. Smith, First Things

The Dangerous Advance on Assisted Suicide You Probably Haven’t Heard About – Bobby Schindler, NewsBusters

Pope Francis Cautions Against Dangers of Genetic Manipulation That Can Create ‘Super Humans’ – Felix N. Codilla, The Christian Post

Obamacare

McConnell steps into Obamacare firing lineBurgess Everett and Jennifer Haberkorn, Politico

McConnell faces a challenge passing health care in SenateAlan Fram, Associated Press

 

Family

Economics/Education

Deliver Us from iPads – Heather Wilhelm, National Review

What Exactly Are Christian Schools Selling (or Marketing)? – Robert F. Davis, The Christian Post

Many Women Want Careers That Are Compatible with Raising Children – Naomi Schaefer Riley, Family Studies

The Closing of the American Mind Thirty Years Later: A Symposium – Nathan Schlueter, Public Discourse

Do-It-Yourself Biology – Deacon James H. Toner, Crisis

Obama’s regulations in 2016 to drain economy by $2 trillion – David Sherfinski, The Washington Times

Marriage

Delaying Marriage and ParenthoodJohn Stonestreet and Roberto Rivera, BreakPoint

Study: Growing Number of Millennials Believe in Traditional Gender Roles

The Surprising Link Between Broken Families And America’s Opioid CrisisTamás Ungar, The Federalist

What The New York Times Gets Wrong About Marriage, Health, and Well-BeingTyler J. VanderWeele, Family Studies

Faith/Character/Culture

To Repair Our Fractured Republic, Get To Know Your NeighborsGracy Olmstead, The Federalist

The Kids Are Not Okay—and Neither Is AmericaCollin Hansen, The Gospel Coalition

Anne With an E Trades Realism for ‘Realism’Esther O’Reilly, The Stream

Video: On Pride, Humility, and Social MediaBp. Robert Barron, Word On Fire

America’s Social Fabric Is Eroding. Government Must Avoid Feeding the Problem.Sen. Mike Lee, The Daily Signal

Human Sexuality

Nevada governor signs bill to ban conversion therapy, with exemption for religious organizationsChandrika Narayan, Fox 13

What’s at Stake in the Left’s Effort to Redefine ‘Sex’ in Pennsylvania LawMichael Geer, The Daily Signal

Men and Women Are Not the SameAlastair Roberts, The Gospel Coalition

What’s in a Name? Why Christians Should Be Wary of the Word “Transgender”Andrew T. Walker, Public Discourse

Why the New York Times Now Favors AdulteryAustin Ruse, Crisis

Human Trafficking

New Human Trafficking Foundation May Support Abortion and ProstitutionAustin Ruse, C-Fam

A vulnerable approach to ending human traffickingRaleigh Sadler, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Pornography

5 Steps for Finding Freedom From Porn and Masturbation – Alice Neaves, The Christian Post

5 Reasons Satan loves pornography – Tom Hoopes, Aleteia

Chris Rock Gets Real About ‘Damaging Affects’ of Porn – Jeannie Law, The Christian Post

Why Fighting Sex Trafficking Absolutely Involves Fighting Pornography – Karen Countryman-Roswurm, Fight the New Drug

Fighting the New Drug: Pornography – Sue Haggerty, Catholic Digest

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Hungarian Megachurch a Model of Salt and Light in Europe

by Peter Sprigg

May 31, 2017

FRC’s Director of the Center for Religious Liberty Travis Weber and I attended several events of the Budapest Family Summit in the Hungarian capital last week, including the Budapest Demographic Forum, the 11th World Congress of Families, and a Family Festival. We have already reported here on the address given on the opening day by Hungary’s conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

However, another highlight of the trip for Travis and I was getting two opportunities to speak at Faith Church, a charismatic mega-church in Budapest which also assisted in organizing several events in connection with the Budapest Family Summit.

Faith Church was founded in 1979, when Hungary was still under Communist rule, by Sandor Nemeth, who remains its pastor to this day. He and his wife began a small Bible study, which has grown to the point that Faith Church is now the center of a network of other congregations in multiple countries.

The pastor and several of his associates visited Family Research Council on a trip to Washington several years ago. As a result of that contact, Travis and I reached out to the church to let them know that we would be in Budapest. Leaders at Faith Church invited us not only to visit the church, but to speak to a youth gathering on Friday night.

This “youth group” turned out to be an audience of at least four hundred young people, including many students at the college and seminary run by the church, known as St. Paul Academy. I addressed the group about my work on the issues of marriage, family, and human sexuality, and Travis spoke about his field of religious liberty. They then fielded questions from the audience—all while a translator translated their remarks line by line into Hungarian. The entire meeting lasted three hours.

Travis and I were then invited back on Saturday to speak again—this time to the church’s main weekly worship service, which regularly draws between eight and ten thousand attendees. In addition to us, three other Americans from the World Congress of Families were invited to address the church—Larry Jacobs, Managing Director of the WCF, long-time pro-family leader Janice Crouse, and Ted Baehr of Movieguide.

Faith Church also now operates a TV network, a radio station (for which Travis and I were also interviewed), and a news magazine. The church also maintains close ties with the nation of Israel and has worked against anti-Semitism. Faith Church is modeling in Hungary the kind of cultural impact that Christians can have when they serve as salt and light in their community.

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Budapest Family Summit Explores Ways to Revitalize the Family

by Peter Sprigg

May 30, 2017

On Thursday, May 25th, pro-family leaders from around the world gathered in the capital of Hungary for what local organizers have dubbed the “Budapest Family Summit.” Day One of the event was the second “Budapest Demographic Forum”—a focus on the demographic issues of declining birth and fertility rates which are plaguing virtually all of the world’s developed countries, including Europe. Despite long-discredited theories about the dangers of over-population, the real crisis of the West is declining population—especially as other countries (including the Muslim world) continue to grow. The event continued Friday and Saturday with the latest World Congress of Families. Family Research Council is being represented by myself and Senior Fellow Travis Weber.

One unique aspect of the Budapest summit, in comparison with other World Congress of Families events, is that the Hungarian government itself is a principal sponsor. Katalin Novak, Hungary’s Minister of State for Family, Youth, and International Affairs, is the event’s chief organizer and host.

Furthermore, the highlight of Thursday’s kickoff session was an address by the Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban, who returned to Budapest from the NATO leaders summit in Brussels in time to address the Forum. Orban is the dynamic and sometimes controversial leader of Hungary’s governing center-right coalition (he was the subject of a major profile in Politico last year). In 2015, he closed Hungary’s southern border to a flood of illegal immigrants from the south. Orban is also unashamedly pro-family—when his coalition was large enough to amend the country’s constitution, one provision they added was to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

In his address to the Demographic Summit today, Orban did not hesitate to link the issues of immigration and family in the context of the “competition of civilizations.” He bluntly warned that Europe, with its declining population, is “old, rich, and weak,” while the growing countries around it are “young, poor, and strong”—making the likely direction of population flows obvious.

Yet while some people suggest that the West should welcome immigrants precisely as a solution to its population woes, Orban bluntly rejected that option, saying that the countries of Central Europe, including Hungary, prefer the “renewal of our own resources.”

Toward that end, he declared that 2018 will be “the Year of Families” in Hungary, and announced a goal of raising Hungary’s fertility rate (the average number of children borne by a woman in her lifetime) to 2.1 (considered the “replacement” level necessary to maintain a stable population) by 2030.

One notable characteristic at international gatherings like this is that in Europe, even conservative governments are more likely to see government intervention and incentives as a solution to family issues, while in the United States, most pro-family conservatives are also supporters of a free market and limited government, and therefore are more skeptical of government intervention. Orban, for example, proposed to write off student loans and offer subsidies for mortgage payments for families with three or more children. He also proposed building more child-care facilities for the benefit of working parents—although American pro-family activists generally prefer policies that might make it easier for parents to care for their own children at home.

It should be noted that several speakers made clear that the intention is not for government to dictate how many children people should have or to punish those who choose not to become parents. However, surveys regarding how many children people would like to have consistently show that the number is higher than the number they actually have. So the goal of pro-natal policy is not to make people have children they don’t want, but to clear away obstacles that may prevent them from having as many children as they do want.

In addition to Orban and several other government officials from Hungary and other European countries, speakers at the Forum included former FRC staffers like Pat Fagan of MARRI and Allan Carlson.

Stay tuned for further updates from Budapest.

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A Fitting Tribute to Memorial Day

by Chris Gacek

May 26, 2017

If you want to do something on Memorial Day Weekend to honor those fallen and missing in our wars, I suggest that you watch a magnificent PBS documentary entitled, “These Hallowed Grounds.” PBS describes the film this way:

Hallowed Grounds visits 22 of America’s overseas military cemeteries, and tells the story of these remarkable places with historical sequences about the wars and battles that created them, and moving vignettes and interviews about the men and women who rest in them. Created after World War I and World War II, these cemeteries are some of America’s great national treasures.

There are a number of different ways to watch it. PBS provides this site that allows it to be watched online. It can also be watched here on YouTube. Finally, there is an embedded player in this review of the film by Warner Todd Huston (May 29, 2016) on Breitbart.

Even though the documentary describes only the graves of those lost and missing in World War I and World War II, one’s thoughts of those who fell, were wounded, or lost in previous and later wars are not far from one’s mind.

These Hallowed Grounds” is a powerful antidote to the narratives often taught to the young that America has not been a force for good in the world. The story of the fallen and the foreign friends of Americans who visit the cemeteries tell a far different story.

Please watch and remember with your children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. They deserve to know the truth about America and its hundreds of thousands of heroes.

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FRC’s Arina Grossu Speaks at New D.C. Abortion Business Operated by Controversial Abortionist

by Arina Grossu

May 26, 2017

Yesterday, Arina Grossu, Family Research Council’s Director of the Center for Human Dignity, along with other pro-life leaders held a press conference outside of a new D.C. abortion business that Steven Brigham, one of the most infamous abortionists in America, opened up. The following is a transcript of her speech:

It is incredibly unfortunate that we must be here today. It is an outrage and a shame that Steven Brigham, an incredibly dangerous and unscrupulous abortionist, has opened up a new abortion business in our nation’s capital. Brigham runs sham, Gosnell-like abortion operations wherever he sets up shop. Brigham has had his medical licenses revoked in six states because he practices illegal scams and gross negligence such as starting abortions in one state, then crossing state lines to complete them in order to skirt the rule of law. Brigham commits abortions, even late-term abortions, although he has never completed his residency in either obstetrics or gynecology.  

He was caught illegally committing abortions in Maryland although he was never licensed there.  He has operated at least two illegal late-term abortion businesses. Brigham was arrested in 2010 and even faced multiple counts of murder charges involving late-term abortions. 

He has lost at least $6.5 million in malpractice lawsuits and has injured many women including an 18-year-old woman who had such severe injuries that she had to be transported via helicopter to Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore. She was rushed into an emergency surgery where doctors removed the remains of her partially aborted baby, removed and repaired part of her injured small intestine, and repaired her ruptured uterus.

He has lied to previous landlords about the nature of his business and has been evicted from various offices, owing $37,000 in back rent to one Delaware landlord. He did not even tell this landlord about his abortion business until pro-life leaders told him. He also has a history of fraudulent billing practices.

This man is a danger to women and to society, trespassing the rule of law time and time again. 

Where is the outrage from Planned Parenthood or feminists who purport to care about women’s health and safety? We are deeply concerned about women’s health and safety at the hands of Brigham. His practice reveals to us the horrific and shocking reality of the abortion industry.

D.C. must immediately stop Brigham from bringing his horrific, shoddy abortion practice to our nation’s capital. We call on officials to close this business immediately. How has Brigham been able to hop around states, bringing with him his horrific abortion practices? Shouldn’t abortion facilities have more oversight than veterinary clinics, dentists’ offices, tanning salons, and tattoo parlors? All of our states and the District must pass abortion facility regulations to protect the health and safety of women from dangerous abortionists like Brigham.

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