Author archives: Rob Schwarzwalder

Peas in a Rotting Pod: Woodrow Wilson and Margaret Sanger

by Rob Schwarzwalder

November 24, 2015

So, Woodrow Wilson was a racist. This is indisputable. It’s also why many black students at the school for Wilson was once president, Princeton, are calling for a renewed assessment of his legacy there and as president of the United States.

We don’t want Woodrow Wilson’s legacy to be erased,” said Wilglory Tanjong, a member of the protesting Black Justice League, told the New York Times. “But we think that you can definitely understand your history without idolizing or turning Wilson into some kind of god, which is essentially what they’ve done.”

In my view, that’s a good balance. We need not unduly lionize prominent people, especially people like Wilson whose moral narcissism, disdain for constitutional government, and ineptitude in foreign policy resulted in tragedy and political chaos. Yet we can’t scrub our history of all unsavory aspects of its past. Stalinized portrayals of history, in which people who for whatever reason have fallen out of favor are airbrushed-out of photographs and deleted from written accounts, are dishonest and chilling. Such an approach not only invites fascism and statist control, it embodies such.

Across the street from my building, a bust of the late eugenicist and Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger sits in honored glory in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. Here is one choice giblet of insight from Mrs. Sanger for inclusion in the gravy of her secular adulation:

We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” Woman, Morality, and Birth Control. New York: New York Publishing Company, 1922, page 12

As historian Paul Kengor notes, “Was Sanger plotting to eliminate all blacks? Of course not. But she was plotting to control the reproduction of blacks and of the human race generally.”

And as my distinguished colleague Ken Blackwell writes, “Sanger sought to recruit Black pastors because she did not want the word to get out in our churches that she wanted to eliminate America’s Black population. Sanger constantly denied any such intent, but she argued incessantly for creating ‘a race of thoroughbreds.’ Not since the days of Slavery had such language been used, comparing human lives to horse breeding.”

Later in life, Sanger seems to have changed her tune, at least a wee bit. “The Negro race has reached a place in its history when every possible effort should be made to have every Negro child count as a valuable contribution to the future of America. Negro parents, like all parents, must create the next generation from strength, not from weakness; from health, not from despair,” she wrote in 1946.

Yet one must ask, who did Sanger think she was to determine which baby was or wasn’t a “valuable contribution” to America’s future? Her concerns about the health and well-being of black mothers and their children, expressed elsewhere in the 1946 piece quoted above (“Love or Babies: Must Negro Mothers Choose?”) were in themselves admirable, yet her solutions — widespread use of contraceptives to alleviate the suffering of black women and their babies and compulsory sterilization of “defectives” — hardly constitute a compassionate approach.

In many other writings, Sanger wrote of “human weeds” and advocated widespread forced sterilization. In sum, her belief in coercive population control and her apparent desire to “exterminate” the “Negro race” (note: she wrote this at the age of 43, not as an immature young woman) should animate her bust’s removal from the Smithsonian every bit as much as Wilson’s racism in belief and practice should temper Princeton’s reverential recognition of him as one of its greatest sons.

Who Cares What Era We’re In?

by Rob Schwarzwalder

November 19, 2015

Having spent two full days at the annual gathering of the Evangelical Theological Society, I’ve heard myriad comments from lecturers and participants along the following lines concerning where Evangelicals find themselves in contemporary American society:

We live in a post-Christian culture.”

We live in an era of great promise.”

We are a minority and should ask for protected status.” (Yes, in a seminar I attended, this was seriously proposed.)

The decline of our culture is inevitable.”

The reasons for hope are great.”

As my friend Matt Anderson, founding editor of Mere Orthodoxy, said to me earlier today, in one profound sense, what difference does it make?

Of course, understanding the times gives us a map by which we can better communicate with the current generation, what the critical issues facing our country are, and how Christians can then persuade our contemporaries that the Gospel offers present and eternal hope and how God’s standards for society afford great blessing to everyone in it.

With that said, endless pondering over our position in society has become a near-closet industry among the Evangelical intelligentsia. It is only natural that in the wake of the Supreme Court’s fiat dictum on same-sex marriage this past summer, the continuing horror of abortion, genuine and growing threats to the practice of religious liberty, and other concerns as diverse as sex trafficking and domestic terrorism, that trying to understand how we are perceived, where our opportunities lie, where the dangers lurk, and how we speak winsomely, wisely, truthfully, and convincingly to our increasingly diverse society is not just appropriate but necessary, even imperative.

Yet meticulous and repetitive analysis removes our focus from where it should be—Christ and His Good News—and fosters a surfeit of gloom in some and a general sense of ennui in many. We are in a race for the glory of God (Hebrews 12:1-2). That race will not be won by continuous chin-pulling or hand-wringing but by discipline, speed, and agility harnessed in pursuit of a longed-for goal. For Christians, that goal is “the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14), a calling which includes reaching the lost, protecting the weak, and upholding human dignity. 

So, by all means, let’s continue healthy reflection on the cultural canvas before us. But let us not become so immobilized that we don’t work to infuse it with the colors of life and joy offered by the living Savior. The “welfare of the city” (Jeremiah 29:7) and the souls of men require no less.

Social Conservative Review: An Insider’s Guide to Pro-Family News November 12, 2015

by Rob Schwarzwalder

November 12, 2015

Click here to subscribe to the Social Conservative Review

This week at the National Press Club here in Washington, D.C., Baylor University’s Institute for Religion Studies held a fascinating seminar titled, “The End of Religion? An Essential Correction to the Secularization Myth.”

Led by Dr. Byron Johnson, who gave an outstanding lecture at FRC several years ago on how religious faith diminishes crime, the scholars who presented debunked the notion that religious faith is on the wane in the US or the world generally. They noted that more than 80 percent of the world’s population identifies with an organized religion. And in the US, the rise of the so-called “nones”— younger Americans with no professed faith — is a much more complex matter than is often present.

As Baylor professor J. Gordon Melton observed, “Are ‘nones’ to be equated with irreligious? That’s not the case. We have a large segment of the ‘nones’ who are atheists and irreligious, but we have a large segment that fall into (the) spiritual but not religious category. … The largest group are ones who say Christianity is not a religion.”

People long for the vitality of a rigorous faith, not simply some undemanding, self-created religion-of-choice.  As William Voegli, writing in the Claremont Review of Books, says, “If and when people who turned to moralistic therapeutic deism for spiritual nourishment come to regard that creed as a starvation diet, they are likely to seek out, or return to, more fortifying alternatives. In that sense, the serious problem of replenishing moral and religious capital may prove to be self-correcting.”

Christianity is the one true “fortifying alternative.”  It’s the only one that endures and fulfills, since it is grounded in the historic Person Jesus of Nazareth, Who claimed to be God in the flesh and the only way to the Father.  That’s good news, especially since His claim possesses the advantage of being true. 

Rob Schwarzwalder
Senior Vice-President
Family Research Council

P.S. Many of the results of last week’s election were encouraging to conservatives. As FRC President Tony Perkins’ “Washington Watch” newsletter reported on Nov. 4, “If social issues are dead, you could have fooled U.S. voters … the enormous impact of issues like marriage and religious liberty” echoed throughout the nation.  That’s why Molly Ball asserts in The Atlantic that “Liberals Are Losing the Culture Wars.”  One thing is certain: Social conservatives are here to stay.  Regardless of next year’s election outcomes, we’re going to keep both defending and advancing faith, family, and freedom in the public square.

Religious Liberty

Free to Believe” –

International Religious freedom-

Military Religious Freedom

Religious Liberty in the public square –





Fetal Pain

Federal funding of abortion

Healthcare conscience




Human Sexuality (Homosexual/ gender issues)

Human Trafficking



FRC Events and Publications





Publications (booklets, Issue Analyses, Issue Briefs)

 The Government Nondiscrimination Act is focused on preventing government discrimination at the state level.  Like the First Amendment Defense Act at the federal level, states need to pass legislation now to protect individuals and entities from state discrimination on the basis of their beliefs in natural marriage.

As Millennials become more prominent in the workforce, companies are spending small fortunes researching their interests, from specific jobs to new products. Social science studies reveal that the Millennial generation is drifting away from traditional family values towards acceptance of all views as equally valuable. Even so, the strong sense of justice that most Millennials possess provides a glimmer of hope.

 The purpose of the “Inequality Act” is to give special privileges to people based on homosexual behavior or based on gender identity dysphoria by adding “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” into a number of federal laws. These changes affect “any” provider of goods, services, and programs. This is sweeping legislation that does not provide any protections based on religion, even stripping individuals of a Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (“RFRA”) claim.

A Sheikh, the Supreme Court, and an Abortion Center: Matters of Life and Death

by Rob Schwarzwalder

November 6, 2015

This could be the beginning of a bad joke: What do a Palestinian sheikh, the Supreme Court, and an abortion center in Indiana have in common?

The answer: Life and death.

The Palestinian sheikh, Muhammad Salakh, is one of many Palestinian leaders urging Muslims in Gaza and the West Bank to slaughter Israelis. “Restrain the victim while others attack him with axes and butcher knives,” he said to his followers recently “as he brandished a knife in a sermon that was widely viewed within the territories. ‘Do not fear what will be said about you. Oh men of the West Bank, next time, attack in a group of three, four, or five. Attack them in groups. Cut them into body parts.’”

The “knife of jihad” has, thus far, led to “a dozen dead and at least 19 seriously wounded in 59 separate stabbing attacks, mainly in Jerusalem. Some 72 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces, including 45 who Israel said were involved in attacks and another 27 Palestinians killed in clashes between stone-throwers and security forces.”

Next, the Supreme Court: The Justices have agreed to “hear another challenge to the Affordable Care Act, this time to decide whether religiously affiliated organizations such as universities, hospitals and charities should be free from playing any role in providing employees with contraceptive coverage.”

The court accepted seven cases from around the country, including one challenge involving the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington and the other from an order called the Little Sisters of the Poor, which runs homes for the aged,” reports the Washington Post.

The Post story excerpts an important comment by U.S. Circuit Judge Roger Wollman who, writing for a unanimous panel, “that the issue is whether the groups ‘have a sincere religious belief that their participation in the accommodation process makes them morally and spiritually complicit in providing abortifacient coverage. Their affirmative answer to that question is not for us to dispute.’”

Note the word “abortifacient.” This is not just about contraception, but about an Obamacare mandate that requires those with deeply held, faith-based objections to abortion to facilitate it. Abortion is a matter of life and death, and participation in it in any way would be heinous to millions of Christians in this country. It is wise the Supreme Court takes it seriously.

Finally, in South Bend, Indiana, that city’s last abortion center is shutting its doors—possibly permanently—tonight.

According to TV station WNDU, “Last June, the Indiana Department of Health moved to revoke the license of the Women’s Pavilion in South Bend citing numerous violations. Since then, the clinic has remained open as management appealed the license revocation. This week, the appeal was dropped on the day the clinic was scheduled to begin defending itself.”

Murder in Israel. Abortifacient drugs. The destruction of unborn life and the cruel abuse of their mothers.

All matters of life and death. All critically important. And all evidence that God-given human dignity matters wherever and however it is threatened.

The image of God we all bear is a thing of wonder. In the womb and outside it, all persons merit the protection of law and the respect of every culture. Christians must always bear in mind that their duty to safeguard life is a sacred one. Let’s never neglect it.

It’s “National White Ribbon Against Pornography Week” (October 25-31)

by Rob Schwarzwalder

October 26, 2015

FRC is glad to join with our friends at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) in reminding everyone that this is National White Ribbon Against Pornography (WRAP) Week.

As NCOSE notes, WRAP week “brings together hundreds of national, state and local groups, along with driven concerned citizens in a massive effort to educate the public on the harms from pornography and the many resources available to aid those affected.”

As FRC has argued in the past, “Pornography has spread like a plague in our nation. It has moved from the margins of our culture to the mainstream, attacking marriages, families, and communities. Worst of all, it has stolen a time of innocence from our children.”

Throughout the week, NCOSE is streaming a number of events on such topics “Teaching Kids Digital Literacy: Tips for addressing pornography & other online dangers” and “Hate + Sex + Technology + Apathy: A Discussion about Pornography, History, Culture and the End of Love.”  You can watch them, at no charge, by going to

FRC also offers some great resources on how to fight pornography, including the following:

The Effects of Pornography on Individuals, Marriage, Family and Community (publication from FRC’s Marriage and Religion Research Institute)

The Link Between Pornography, Sex Trafficking, and Abortion (video of a presentation by the Director of FRC’s Center for Human Dignity, Arina Grossu)

Pornography and the Brain: Public Health Considerations (video of a presentation by neurologist Dr. Donald Hilton)

And go to “Pink Elephant Resources,” which provides resources to those wrestling with pornography addiction and mentorship guidance for those wanting to help pornography addicts.

The battle against pornography can be won, in both individual lives and in our culture.  For those not engaged in the fight, WRAP Week is a good time to start.

Winning the “War of Exhaustion:” Persevering in an Eroding Culture

by Rob Schwarzwalder

October 23, 2015

In 2009, retired Army General Mark T. Kimmit wrote in the journal Foreign Policy of what he called “war exhaustion” respecting America’s military efforts in Afghanistan.

The objective in a war of exhaustion is to defeat a nation’s will to fight. The British Empire was not defeated in Afghanistan by a war of attrition, nor was the Soviet Union defeated in Afghanistan through attrition. Both were defeated through exhaustion. And this is how the Taliban intends to defeat the current coalition efforts in Afghanistan — by steadily eroding our will to fight,” he explained.

Whatever is now happening in Afghanistan, there is another “war of exhaustion” plaguing America: The exhaustion of social conservatives as we continue to defend life, uphold marriage, and protect religious liberty.

It’s wearisome to be in combat for a sustained period. Combat is usually a “dirty business fought by tired, hungry soldiers,” wrote Frederick J. Manning, former Director of the Division of Neuropsychiatry at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, in the book War Psychiatry. “High morale demands, for each soldier, a goal, a role, and reasons for self-confidence,” he argues.

Christians involved in the public debates of our day often feel like they are in a “war of exhaustion.” Like the “tired, hungry soldiers” engaged in a “dirty business,” many of us are struggling with a sense of weariness, discouragement, and, in some cases, even hopelessness.

Some need to take a true break, to replenish their spirits and refresh their minds. There are many ways to serve, and not all of them involve political activism. No believer should ever withdraw from serving Christ and those made in His image, but there are seasons when Christians who have long participated in the cultural battle can, as Jesus said to the Twelve, “come away … and rest for a while.”

In the case of His disciples, His call to rest came because, as the apostle Mark explains, “many were coming and going, and they (the disciples) had no leisure even to eat” (Mark 6:31). For Christians enmeshed in today’s social issues, “having the leisure to eat” – to detach from constant engagement in seeking to uphold righteousness and justice in the public arena – might well be merited.

With respect to Dr. Manning’s comments about the need for “a goal, a role, and reasons for self-confidence,” Christians who are committed to life from conception until natural death and protecting it in law, who understand the implications of turning from the historic (and biblical) definition of marriage as the covenantal union of one man and one woman, for life, who grasp the necessity of healthy families for parents, children, and the nation as a whole, and who recognize that religious liberty is under threat at home and being violently suppressed in many places around the world – we have our goal. As Family Research Council puts it, that goal is “a culture in which human life is valued, families flourish and religious liberty thrives.”

And we each have a role. There are various ways to participate in building such a culture, from sending emails to friends about an upcoming ballot initiative to running for office or preaching a sermon on biblical values. Most of us already know the roles we can play, given our time, health, and various other resources.

Perhaps what some of us need is a boost of confidence, not in the sense of “self-talk” or desperate efforts to see a bit of blue amid the gathering gray storm clouds. Rather, true confidence, in the context of the cultural battles we face, comes from surety that (1) we are in the right with respect to the convictions we seek to uphold and (2) in eternity, we indisputably are on the winning side.

As to the first point, I am not suggesting that every position taken by every conservative Christian activist on every issue is correct! Rather, the declarative, clear, and propositional assertions of the Bible concerning the sacredness of personhood from the womb onward, marriage and human sexuality, and human dignity and its obvious implications for religious liberty assure us that on the essentials of our efforts, we are moving in tandem with the Holy Spirit.

As to the second, the temporal scorecard is uneven. There have been some valuable federal court wins and some disastrous court losses. We have had some significant political victories at both the state and federal levels, and some noteworthy losses.

We need to keep seeking to advance the things we believe God cherishes for any society and do so with grace, courage, integrity, an unremitting allegiance to truth, and prudential good judgment. We must love our enemies, pray for those who oppose God’s rule and rules, and share with them the good news of a King Who died for them and rose again in triumph.

But we need to do so with a firm understanding that eternity awaits us, an eternity in which the Lord of Glory will reign over “new heavens and a new earth” in which justice and purity will be unblemished forever.

With that perspective ever in mind, exhaustion will never be our permanent lot. We will not lose heart (II Corinthians 4:16) nor grow weary in doing good (Galatians 6:9).

That’s our call. That’s our challenge. That’s our confidence.

A Planned Parenthood Lexicon

by Rob Schwarzwalder

October 13, 2015

To understand Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s (PPFA) public statements concerning the videos released this past summer showing its coarse and predatory sale of the body parts of unborn children, reflection on two passages from a couple of great books is worthwhile:

When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master — that’s all.”

Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of (the state), but to make all other modes of thought impossible. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meaning and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods.”

George Orwell, 1984

Language shapes thought. It defines the content of our thinking such that we revert, by mental default, to using words we are used to hearing regarding various subject matter.

An example: When I think of the Grand Canyon, I think of the amazing canyon in Arizona whose depth, variety, and sheer size are both beautiful and remarkable. However, had I been conditioned to think of this geographical wonder as dangerous and hideous, my mental conception would be starkly different.

Words are used to depict or describe; when they are used dishonestly — when they distort one’s understanding of a person or event or idea — they are weapons against intellectual integrity and morality itself.

Planned Parenthood has developed a lectionary, accepted pro forma by the secular Left, to describe its various activities. Not unique to PPFA — this same set of words and phrases is used by the popular media and liberal politicians, as well — nonetheless the brazenness of the organization in using its specialized and euphemized vocabulary has elevated verbal and intellectual misrepresentation to a new level of hypocrisy.

This lectionary is articulated in an announcement made today by PPFA President Cecile Richards. In a letter for National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, Richards said “the organization’s affiliates will no longer accept any reimbursements for costs associated with procuring tissue from abortions.”

Consider just one of the terms used in the letter: “fetal tissue.” When one thinks of tissue, usually it is of the flesh around our bones. Tissue samples are removed and studied; innocuous and common, right?

PPFA is not referring to a “donation” of such “tissue.” It’s speaking of the scavenging of organs of unborn children aborted late in their pregnancies. Dr. Deborah Necotola, Senior Director of Medical Services for the PPFA, explains what her organization really means by “tissue:”

You try to intentionally go above and below the thorax, so that, you know, we’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver … so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m going to basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact … I’ll actually collect what you want sometimes, and put it aside … Why not? I’m right there. Oh, for sure, I mean to me, I don’t know, it makes the procedure that much better.”

Then there’s the term “reimbursement.” PPFA’s decision to end its “reimbursement” scheme amounts to the employment of another euphemism, at best; the videos released by the Center for Medical Progress imply that PPFA has a high profit motive for its organs-for-sale business.

The reality is that there is no cost to PPFA in providing infant cadavers to tissue procurement organizations (TPOs). As David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress wrote to congressional leaders in August,

We now know from Cecile Richards’ letter that $60 per collected tissue specimen is what will “get a toe in” to harvest baby parts at Planned Parenthood Pacific Southwest. Like other TPOs, (Advanced Bioscience Resources) handles all dissection, packaging, and shipping of fetal organs and tissues, and so it is unclear for what PPPS could be receiving “reimbursement.” This is especially suspicious given that Ms. Richards says the $60 fee is paid “per tissue specimen.” Thus, if ABR harvests a liver and a thymus, a common fetal tissue order, from an 18-week fetus aborted at the San Diego clinic, Planned Parenthood receives a total payment of $120 from that case. It stretches credulity to believe that ABR’s technician harvesting two organs from a fetus costs Planned Parenthood $120 — this is a new revenue stream off of fetal tissue with no real cost to Planned Parenthood, and thus a criminal profit.

In sum, as Notre Dame Law School professor O. Carter Snead told the Associated Press today, “Planned Parenthood’s decision is clearly an effort at damage control — to preserve its carefully cultivated (and ferociously defended) image as merely a women’s health care organization. Nothing Planned Parenthood has done today will change its role as the world’s leading abortion provider.”

Indeed. In the words of Tennessee Republican Congresswoman Diane Black, quoted in the same AP story as Snead, “It is curious that, while Planned Parenthood officials maintain there has been no wrongdoing, they still find it necessary to change their policy following the recent undercover videos. Clearly, this was a decision motivated by optics rather than the organization’s conscience.”

And as Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) said, “It is clear that Planned Parenthood knows it is wrong to profit from the sale of baby body parts, but their decision to stop selling organs doesn’t change the fact that Planned Parenthood still profits from the death of children. This organization still engages in the inhumane treatment of children, and our federal government forces taxpayers to give them their hard-earned money. Congress must continue all investigations into their grotesque practices and remain committed to defunding them.”

At this stage, even Big Brother would walk away from trying to market Planned Parenthood. Will Congress? Will the White House? Let us pray to that end.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day” and Planned Parenthood

by Rob Schwarzwalder

October 5, 2015

Since 2006, October 15 has been designated by Congress as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day in the United States.

This day is intended for the remembrance of “pregnancy loss and infant death, which includes but is not limited to miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, or the death of a newborn.”

This is a lovely recognition of the painful loss of a baby, something millions of Americans have experienced.  It’s a loss no parent ever wants to know.

Exactly one week before this date, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing titled, “Planned Parenthood Exposed: Examining Abortion Procedures and Medical Ethics at the Nation’s Largest Abortion Provider.” The hearing, which will take place in the Rayburn House Office building, will address issues raised by the release this summer of a series of videos showing Planned Parenthood officials haggling over the details of harvesting organs from aborted unborn children — and even discussing techniques for aborting those children so as to optimize the collection of their body parts.

The irony is almost overwhelming: We are rightly compassionate toward women whose loss of their littles ones causes such pain, but the Left is fiercely defending the nation’s largest provider of abortion by trying to discredit the organization that revealed its evil behaviors and minimizing the gravity of what Planned Parenthood does to almost-born babies.

The late Anglican theologian John R.W. Stott, writing about abortion and its related wrongs, wrote this more than 25 years ago:

Any society which can tolerate these things, let alone legislate for them, has ceased to be civilised. One of the major signs of decadence in the Roman Empire was that its unwanted babies were ‘exposed’, that is abandoned and left to die. Can we claim that contemporary Western society is any less decadent because it consigns its unwanted babies to the hospital incinerator instead of the local rubbish dump? Indeed modern abortion is even worse than ancient exposure because it has been commercialised, and has become, at least for some doctors and clinics, an extremely lucrative practice. But reverence for human life is an indisputable characteristic of a humane and civilised society.

The only thing that has changed is the further coarsening of our culture and the greater number of unborn deaths.  And that’s why the battle for life and for the dignity of women preyed upon by the abortion industry goes on.

Social Conservative Review: An Insider’s Guide to Pro-Family News October 1, 2015

by Rob Schwarzwalder

October 1, 2015

Click here to subscribe to the Social Conservative Review

The First World War began a little more than 101 years ago.  It shattered a generation and its cost in lives and treasure remains stunning to contemplate.

Yet out of the war came C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, two of the 20th century’s greatest proponents of the importance of Christian virtue for all of culture.  Unlike a generation of young writers who lost faith in the God of the Bible, Tolkien and Lewis produced epic stories infused with the themes of guilt and grace, sorrow and consolation. Giving an unabashedly Christian vision of hope in a world tortured by doubt and disillusionment, the two writers created works that changed the course of literature and shaped the faith of millions. Dr. Joe Loconte’s new book, A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War: How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship, and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-1918 is the first book to explore Tolkien and Lewis’ work in light of the spiritual crisis sparked by the conflict.

One of the things these men came to value was a core Christian commitment to the dignity of every person.  As image-bearers of God, each of us has a primary duty to Him – which is the very foundation of the religious liberty which undergirds all of our other freedoms.  As Lewis wrote in The Screwtape Letters, “Every Government consists of mere men … if it adds to its commands ‘Thus saith the Lord,’ it lies, and lies dangerously.”

At noon on Thursday, October 8th, join us at FRC or watch online as Dr. Loconte shares the circumstances which bound together and inspired these two dearly loved authors.

Joe Loconte (Ph.D., King’s College, University of London) teaches history at The King’s College in the heart of New York City.  He has written thoughtfully on many of today’s most pressing issues, and his commentary on religion and democracy, human rights, and international religious freedom appears in the nation’s leading media outlets, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the New Republic, the Weekly Standard, and National Public Radio. He is also a regular contributor to the London-based Standpoint Magazine and Italy’s La Stampa.

To register for this important lecture (either to attend or watch online), go to  We hope you can join us. 

Rob Schwarzwalder
Senior Vice-President
Family Research Council

P.S. Be sure to watch the speeches of leading presidential contenders and other compelling panels and events at this year’s Values Voter Summit. The stakes for the 2016 election are high, and VVS helps us understand what they are and how each of us can make a difference.

Religious Liberty

Free to Believe” –

International Religious freedom-

Military Religious Freedom

 Religious Liberty in the public square –

Threats to Religious Institutions





Fetal Pain

Healthcare conscience




Human Sexuality (Homosexual/ gender issues)

Human Trafficking



President Obama: Insulting Friends, Placating Adversaries

by Rob Schwarzwalder

September 21, 2015

Today’s Washington Post carries one of the most remarkable and surprising op-eds that paper has published in a long time. Note: This op-ed is the paper’s own “voice,” not a piece by a columnist.

Commenting on the Obama administration’s inclusion of “transgender activists, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop and a nun who criticizes church policies on abortion and euthanasia” in the welcoming ceremony planned for the Pope’s upcoming visit, the Post comments:

What struck us as we read about this small controversy is the contrast between the administration’s apparent decision to risk a bit of rudeness in the case of the pope and its overwhelming deference to foreign dictators when similar issues arise. When Secretary of State John F. Kerry traveled to Havana to reopen the U.S. Embassy recently, he painstakingly excluded from the guest list any democrat, dissident or member of civil society who might offend the Castro brothers.

And when Chinese President Xi Jinping comes to the White House next week, shortly after the pope leaves town, it’s a safe bet that he won’t have to risk being photographed with anyone of whom he disapproves. Chen Guangcheng, the courageous blind lawyer, for example, lives nearby in exile, but he probably won’t be at the state dinner. Neither will Falun Gong activists, democracy advocates or anyone else who might, well, give offense.

The Obama administration argues that it will include many people of every background. Yet according to the Wall Street Journal, “The presence of these (controversial) figures is especially irritating, (a) Vatican official said, because it isn’t yet clear if the White House has invited any representatives of the U.S. anti-abortion movement, traditionally a high-priority cause for the U.S. bishops.”

Read that, no one active in the pro-life movement is welcome to greet the head of the world’s largest pro-life organization.

There will be some Evangelical leaders present at the event. U.S. News reports that they include “the Rev. Joel Hunter, an evangelical megachurch pastor from Florida who is a confidant of Obama on spiritual matters; the Rev. Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, which represents about 40 conservative Christian denominations; and the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.”

While it’s nice of the White House to include some Evangelicals, the inclusion of persons at overt and public odds with the teachings the Pope represents and the omission of others whose political activities — standing for the unborn and their mothers — are essential to Catholic teaching are startling.

Remarkable: A stinging and blunt calling-on-the-carpet of an Administration far more concerned with advancing an aggressive “gay rights” agenda than defending religious liberty here at home or standing with those being horribly persecuted for their faith in repressive nations around the world. As I have written elsewhere, President Obama “cannot defend abroad what (he and his) administration … are working to erode here at home.”

The willingness of this Administration to affront the leader of the world’s largest Christian tradition is an embarrassment to our country. It demonstrates a moral arrogance so profound as to be one of the few things that still surprises after nearly seven years of the President’s diligent efforts to, in his words, “transform the United States of America.”

Insulting foreign friends while placating foreign adversaries strikes one as an unusual approach to advancing America’s national security and vital interests. Sadly, this Administration seems eager to do just that.