Author archives: Daniel Hart

Why Is Iceland “Eradicating” People With Down Syndrome?

by Daniel Hart

August 16, 2017

Yesterday, an article appeared on CBS News stating that “few countries have come as close to eradicating Down syndrome births as Iceland.” It turns out that Iceland has made prenatal screening for Down syndrome an enormously commonplace occurrence for pregnant mothers, which has resulted in “close to 100 percent” of them choosing to abort their babies.

It’s telling that the authors of the article chose to phrase this situation by saying Iceland has come close to “eradicating Down syndrome births,” as if this were akin to the country eradicating a disease like malaria.

One has to wonder, who convinced Iceland that people with Down syndrome are such a big problem that they must be completely eliminated from the entire country? According to Helga Sol Olafsdottir, an Icelandic hospital worker, “[w]e ended a possible life that may have had a huge complication… preventing suffering for the child and for the family.”

As it turns out, just the opposite is true. A full 99 percent of people with Down syndrome say they are happy with their lives, while 97 percent “like who they are.” In addition, “[99] percent of parents said they loved their child with DS and 97 percent were proud of them,” and “96 percent [of siblings] indicated that they had affection toward their sibling with DS, with 94 percent of older siblings expressing feelings of pride.”

Seeing proof of this is as simple as doing a quick YouTube search for “down syndrome,” which produces dozens of examples that explode the anti-Downs prejudice that killing them before birth will “prevent suffering.” Here is a tiny sampling of how those with Downs are not only flourishing, but are bringing joy to all those around them:

Instead of “eradicating” a perceived health problem, Icelanders are unwittingly eradicating joy, happiness, and innocence from their midst.

Social Conservative Review - August 15, 2017

by Daniel Hart

August 15, 2017

Dear Friends,

For the first time since the 1930’s, the overall life expectancy rate in America has declined. Why? Because the suicide rate is increasing all over the country.

There are a multitude of factors that have contributed to this increase. However, all of these factors can be boiled down to one primary cause: despair.

From where is this increasing level of despair coming from? I would argue that one of the primary causes for increasing despair is increasing unbelief in God. The Pew Research Center reports that 23 percent of Americans currently describe themselves as “nones,” or those who consider themselves either atheist, agnostic, or “nothing in particular.” This number has been steadily rising since at least 1972, when “nones” made up seven percent of the population. In just the last 10 years, this number has jumped eight percent, from 15 to 23 percent.

It has been statistically verified that those who attend religious services are far less likely to commit suicide: In a study of 89,000 people “between 1996 and 2010, those who attended any religious service once a week or more were five times less likely to commit suicide.” In another study, “of the 6,999 Catholic women who attended Mass more than once a week, none committed suicide” (emphasis mine).

Without a belief system built on divine revelation, human beings will form their own belief systems around whatever suits them. The secular world is more than happy to fill this demand for what to believe—we are constantly bombarded by the news media and popular entertainment about what we should believe is right and wrong, what is good and evil, what is tolerant and intolerant, what constitutes equality and inequality, etc. If we don’t have religious belief that provides a moral framework grounded in absolute truths, we put ourselves in the risky position of having to ultimately trust in human beings for the ultimate answers. The inevitable culmination of purely human thinking is despair, because we are and never can be ends in ourselves. As discussed previously, we know where despair can eventually lead.

Christ reveals an infinitely better way: divinely revealed truth. In Matthew 16:23, he rebukes human thinking: “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” As Christians, we must do all we can to turn back the tide of unbelief that is steadily rising in America, trusting not in the ways of man, but in the ways of God.

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

Sanctuary Cities’ Aren’t Brave. They’re Obstructing Law Enforcement. – Ken Blackwell

When We Choose Love Over Fear, God Stretches Our Hearts – Dan Hart

Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions is bringing the hammer down on leaksKen Blackwell

The Decay of Liberty and the Rule of Law in 21st Century AmericaPeter Johnston

Human Sexuality and the Goodness of MarriageClara Ramos and Shania Burch

Iran Heightens Its Crackdown On ChristiansDan Hart

Attention Millennials: True Religious Freedom May Make You Feel UncomfortableMary Beasley

 

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

Religious Liberty Protection Kit for Students and Teachers – First Liberty

Cake Wars And The Coming Conflict Over Religious LibertyNathanael Blake, The Federalist

The Threat of Free Speech in the UniversityRoger Scruton, Ethics & Public Policy Center

Christian wins the right to refuse to photograph homosexual ‘weddings’Peter LaBarbera, LifeSiteNews

The Continuing Threat to Religious LibertyRyan T. Anderson, National Review

Googling Moral PurityR.R. Reno, First Things

No One Expects The Google Inquisition, But It’s ComingRobert Tracinski, The Federalist

Prayer Walks draw protest in Mississippi school districtRon Maxey, USA Today

Wyoming Judge Appeals To Nation’s Highest Court After Losing Job For Being A ChristianJonathan Lange, The Federalist

International Religious Freedom

Pray for the persecuted church in Sudan and South SudanEthics & Religious Liberty Commission

Iran Punishes Religious Minorities with Lengthier SentencesElisabeth Doherty, 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative

Saving Christians From GenocideWilliam Doino Jr., First Things

Christian Persecution in India Hits Record High in First Half of 2017Anugrah Kumar, The Christian Post

Liu Xiaobo’s Stern WarningJianli Yang, National Review

 

Life

Abortion

American Abortion, American Freedom – Miles Smith, Public Discourse

More than half of women getting abortions also use contraceptionEmma Court, New York Post

Why Life Is WinningJeanne Mancini, Heritage Foundation

Pro-Life Laws Do Not Lead to Poor Public HealthMichael J. New, National Review

Google And Facebook Co-Sponsoring Protest Of Pro-Life Women’s Health Care ClinicPeter Hasson, The Daily Caller

What kind of society do you want to live in?”: Inside the country where Down syndrome is disappearingJulian Quinones and Arijeta Lajka, CBS News

Adoption

The Changing Face of Adoption in the United StatesNicholas Zill, Family Studies

The other Russia story we need to talk about is adoptionMary Vought, USA Today

Mom Walks in Door with Adopted Baby in Arms. Moment Daughters See Her, They’re Brought to TearsCarolyn Marie, Liftable

Bioethics

Hospital tries to force baby off life support, parents won’t give up fightClaire Chretien, LifeSiteNews

Euthanasia Used for 4.5 Percent of Deaths in the NetherlandsMaria Cheng, AP

Stop Assisted-Suicide Opioid AbuseWesley J. Smith, First Things

A Tale of Two Sams: You Should Not Actively Euthanize Your BabyAaron D. Cobb, Public Discourse

Explainer: American scientists “edit” human embryosJoe Carter, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Please don’t edit me outRebecca Cokley, The Washington Post

FDA warns doctor not to promote ‘three-parent’ fertilization procedureLianne Laurence, LifeSiteNews

Obamacare

How Obamacare Is Eroding Private InsuranceJarrett Stepman, The Daily Signal

Thousands Visit Free Clinics In Barns And Fields: ‘We’re The Middle Class, And We’re HereChris Togneri, The Federalist

This is How You Make Health Care AffordableJay Bowen, The Stream

Here Are 7 Implications of Ending Obamacare’s Cost-Sharing Reduction PaymentsEdmund Haislmaier, The Daily Signal

 

Family

Economics/Education

When It Comes to Helping People, Facts Don’t Care About Your Intentions – Jacob Roth, The Daily Signal

How Should American Christians Help the Poor at Home? – Rob Schwarzwalder, The Stream

4 Reasons To Pick A College That Doesn’t Want To Destroy Your Principles – Chandler Lasch, The Federalist

Why Men Are the New College Minority – Jon Marcus, The Atlantic

Play Hard. Work Maybe? – Melissa Langsam Braunstein, Family Studies

Marriage

Half of those thinking of divorce reconsider a year laterCBC News

America Abandons Marriage at Its Own PerilJerry Newcombe, The Christian Post

Parenting Is Not a “Job,” and Marriage Is Not “Work”Jonathan Malesic, New Republic

This incredible medical breakthrough could save the lives of millions of preborn babiesCassy Fiano, Live Action

Faith/Character/Culture

Religion and Politics at the Dinner Table: Challenging the Old Maxim – Christopher W. Love, Public Discourse

Serving God and a woman in need at the WalmartPatty Knap, Aleteia

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?Jean M. Twenge, The Atlantic

I Don’t Understand Christians Watching Game of ThronesKevin DeYoung, The Gospel Coalition

Does Conscience Point Towards the Existence of God?Matt Nelson, Word On Fire

Guys Need BrosBryan Stoudt, Desiring God

What Having a Ton of Kids Has Taught MeJared Zimmerer, Word On Fire

On Fields of PraiseRobert Royal, The Catholic Thing

The Great Wall of Cotton: Why We Hit Snooze on GodGreg Morse, Desiring God

Don’t Let Politics Turn America Into Another CharlottesvilleDavid Harsanyi, The Federalist

Human Sexuality

Study finds more Americans are approving of polygamyCatholic News Agency

Talking about sex with your kids: 5 things I’m learningJohn Powell, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Examining the History of Sexual Exploitation and the Fight to Eradicate ItMadeleine Ayers, National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Gender Expert’: Boy Won’t Play With Trucks. Let’s Make Him A Girl. – Hank Berrien, The Daily Wire

This debate is about gender dysphoria, not transgender military service – Jamie Shupe, MercatorNet

Why Are Lesbian Teens Having Two To Seven Times As Many Babies As Their Heterosexual Peers? – Glenn T. Stanton, The Federalist

Human Trafficking

Senators: Alter Internet laws to hold Backpage liable for sex traffickingAamer Madhani, USA Today

At Las Vegas’s Mayweather-McGregor Fight, Human Trafficking May Happen Right In Front Of You – Vinciane Ngomsi, The Federalist

Pornography

Why Both Sides of the Aisle Can Agree that Pornography is a Public Health Crisis – Dawn Hawkins, Huffington Post

Iran Heightens Its Crackdown On Christians

by Daniel Hart

August 8, 2017

The Wilberforce Initiative is reporting that Iran is targeting Christians, re-sentencing them to lengthier jail times despite having already served their sentences. According to the report, Ebrahim Firouzi, a former Muslim who converted to Christianity, was re-sentenced to five additional years for trumped-up charges of “forming a group for disrupting national security” based on “the same evidence used in the previous court case for which he had already served his prison sentence.”

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has reported an uptick in arrests and imprisonments in the last four years of those who are a part of religious minorities in Iran. In the last month alone, “12 Christians have been sentenced to lengthy prison confinement for 10 years or more because of their faith,” according to World Watch Monitor.

Iran is a country of some 80 million predominantly Muslim inhabitants, of which only one percent are religious minorities. This includes about 300,000 Christians, some of whom are Armenian Christians who are considered to be born Christian and are generally not bothered by the Iranian regime. In a country that is over 99 percent Muslim, it is considered a crime to convert from Islam to Christianity, which can carry a death sentence.

With President Trump considering his options on how to pull out of the rashly devised Obama-era nuclear deal, it is also highly important for him to consider the tragic plight of Christians and other persecuted minorities who are languishing in Iranian prisons simply because of exercising their God-given right to freely follow their consciences.

Social Conservative Review - August 1, 2017

by Daniel Hart

August 1, 2017

Dear Friends,

In an age when assisted suicide has been deemed acceptable public policy, it becomes necessary for Christians to unapologetically stand up for the dignity and worth of every human being, no matter what stage of life they are in or what occupation they have.

In the professional world, it’s easy to view jobs through the prism of worldly prestige and monetary worth—a film actor in Hollywood is seen as a much more important person than the cashier behind the counter at a grocery store. As Christians, however, we see these two jobs as equal in dignity and value, because God makes no distinction in worth between them. The actor is called to use his or her skills to further truth, goodness, and beauty through the art form of their acting abilities, thereby imparting new and cathartic insights about the mysteries of existence to the public. In a different but no less valuable way, the grocery store cashier is called to further truth, goodness, and beauty by being knowledgeable, kind, and helpful to his or her customers, thereby creating a life-giving and positive experience to every individual they serve.

Analogously, all people, no matter how old or young, have a role to play in furthering the kingdom of God on earth. As Chris Hazell has written, we discover our role primarily by living in community with others. One of the great tragedies of modern times is the increased isolation that many in our society live in. What we often fail to understand is that instead of taking away our freedom and autonomy, living in community with others actually strengthens our sense of self. God created us for communion, declaring that “it is not good that man should be alone” (Gen 2:18). In the above referenced article, Hazel relates a beautiful quote from Henri J.M. Nouwen: “That is the great joy of being chosen: the discovery that others are chosen as well. In the house of God there are many mansions. There is a place for everyone - a unique, special place.”

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

Trump’s right: Transgender patriotism isn’t the issue — military readiness isTony Perkins

Why We Were Right to Pray for President TrumpTony Perkins

6 Ways Governor Brownback Can Prioritize International Religious FreedomTravis Weber

11 Reasons Why Assisted Suicide Must EndDan Hart

Backpage.com and Human Trafficking: What is Christian America’s Response?Mary Beasley

No, Rev. Barber, Prayer for a President Is Not “Heresy”Travis Weber

 

Religious Liberty

Free to Believe”

Bible verse plaque displayed at Tennessee police department to be movedFox News

Police officer disciplined for refusing to call a ‘transgender’ man a womanFr. Mark Hodges, LifeSiteNews

Lesbian mom asks Christian judge to recuse himself from her divorce case citing his stance against homosexualityMegan Cerullo, NY Daily News

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

FRC Speaker Series: Four Objections to Religious Liberty… and some Possible Answers! with Michael Stokes Paulsen

A Demagogic Bully – Mark Pulliam, City Journal

Indiana school district kowtows to atheist group, promises to end graduation prayersTré Goins-Phillips, TheBlaze

Ultra-Rich Gay Activist On Targeting Christians: It’s Time To ‘Punish The Wicked’Bre Payton, The Federalist

Students sue school for hushing pro-life speechBonnie Pritchett, WORLD

Conservative Students More Afraid to Speak Up on Campus Than Liberals, Study FindsMichael Gryboski, The Christian Post

Christie Signs Bill Requiring NJ Schools Use Preferred Pronouns for Transgender KidsRob Shimshock, The Daily Signal

State Directs Schools To ‘Segregate’ Students Uncomfortable With Transgender BathroomsAmanda Prestigiacomo, The Daily Wire

Millennials approve of religious freedom as a choice, but don’t know what it meansScott Taylor, Deseret News

International Religious Freedom

8 Churches Close in Baghdad Amid Shrinking Iraqi Christian Population – Samuel Smith, The Christian Post

China’s Censorship Powers Are Bigger And More Dangerous Than You Know – Helen Raleigh, The Federalist

Spanish Cathedral Targeted for Reversing the ReconquistaMatthew E. Bunson, National Catholic Register

Pakistani Christians Fear Rise in Persecution After Ouster of Prime Minister Nawaz SharifAnugrah Kumar, The Christian Post

Google’s New Hate Speech Algorithm Has a Problem With JewsLiel Leibovitz, Tablet

4 Surprising Facts About ISISJoshua Pease, Open Doors

Military Religious Freedom

Why Trump Keeping Trans People From The Military Is A Good Decision – Walt Heyer, The Federalist

 

Life

Abortion

Hawaii pro-life centers sue over abortion promotion lawSamantha Gobba, WORLD

An Effective Weapon to Reach Pro-Abortion AdvocatesPatti Armstrong, National Catholic Register

Melinda Gates Commits $375 Million to Global Family Planning to Counter Trump’s Pro-Life PolicyDr. Susan Berry, Breitbart

Why ‘Sidewalk Counselors’ Are Crucial to the Pro-Life MovementPatty Knap, National Catholic Register

I was told abortion would make my life more complete. But it left the biggest hole in my heart…Bettina di Fiore, LifeSiteNews

Pregnancy Center Saves LA Babies from AbortionJim Graves, National Catholic Register

Dem campaign chief vows no litmus test on abortionBen Kamisar and Reid Wilson, The Hill

Kentucky Could Be The First Abortion Free-State By 2018Jeremiah Keenan, The Federalist

Adoption

Adoption: The good and hard lessonsMicah and Tracy Fries, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Why Christians Are Abandoning the OrphanageSarah Eekhoff Zylstra, Christianity Today

How you can learn to love your birth momAshton Morgan, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Bioethics

Republicans in Congress attempt to repeal D.C. assisted suicide lawEmma Kinery, USA Today

How Much Longer Do We Have? Living by Faith While Our Son Is DyingAllison Muedder, Desiring God

Charlie Gard Dies After Life Support is Switched Off: Mother Says “Our Beautiful Boy is Gone” – Steven Ertelt, LifeNews

Charlie Gard’s Case Delivers Déjà Vu Of Twentieth-Century EugenicsCaroline D’Agati, The Federalist

Scientists Kill Unborn Children in Human Genetic Engineering ExperimentsWesley Smith, LifeNews

Mother says adult, disabled daughter traumatized by doctor’s suggestion of assisted suicideJohn Burger, Aleteia

What Charlie Gard Has Taught UsMichael Brown, Townhall

Obamacare

41-Year-Old Father: ‘Obamacare Won’t Pay For My Back Surgery, But It Will Pay For Opioids’ – John Daniel Davidson, The Federalist

Congress Needs to Go Right Back to Work on Health Care Reform – Robert Moffit, The Daily Signal

Bipartisan Group: We Need To Break The Law To Make Obamacare Too Big To FailChristopher Jacobs, The Federalist

 

Family

Economics/Education

Why Melinda Gates Is Wrong About Contraception – John Clark, National Catholic Register

Capitalism and the Quest for Community – Brian Jones, Public Discourse

The American Dream Is in CrisisJ.D. Vance, The Daily Signal

Dodd-Frank Has Held Down the US Economy for Too Long – Rep. Jeb Hensarling, The Daily Signal

Our Cultural Waterloo – Carl R. Trueman, First Things

Conservatives are increasingly hostile to higher ed. Who can blame them? – Noah Rothman, USA Today

This Is the Way the College ‘Bubble’ Ends – Derek Thompson, The Atlantic

Marriage

Long marriage, beautiful lifeCaryn Rivadeneira, Aleteia

Establishing the facts about family breakdown transforming the debate about marriageHarry Benson, Marriage Foundation

Paper, silver and gold: How marriage shapes usTom Hoopes, Aleteia

The Children of Divorce Speak OutRachel Lu, Crisis

Staying Married Is Not About Staying in LoveJohn Piper, Desiring God

Young men giving up on marriage: ‘Women aren’t women anymore’Hilary White, LifeSiteNews

Marriage MattersW. Bradford Wilcox, Family Studies

Faith/Character/Culture

FRC Speaker Series: Not a Day Care: The Devastating Consequences of Abandoning Truth with Dr. Everett Piper

Game Of Thrones’ Is The Ugliest Show On Television. That’s Why We Love ItTitus Techera, The Federalist

Children are Never a BurdenMattias A. Caro, Ethika Politika

Limping Along the Way of Truth – Word On Fire

The Democrats’ Anthropological Field Trip to Study AmericansKyle Smith, National Review

Podcast: Race and human flourishing; Embracing diversity for the good of all peopleGlenn Packiam, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Crude Language, Coarse Culture: We Need to Do BetterRob Schwarzwalder, The Stream

Human Sexuality

Why Premarital Sex Is Wrong – Nathan Smith, Public Discourse

Sen. Patty Murray Calls For Resignation of Trump Official Over Accurate Campus Rape CommentsJoy Pullmann, The Federalist

I felt really humiliated:’ Teen blasts school district’s transgender bathroom policyMatt Miller, PennLive

Activist Mommy Starts ‘Operation Pull Teen Vogue’ After Mag Peddles Sexual Perversion to MinorsCharlene Aaron, CBN News

Trump Cuts Wildly Ineffective Teen Pregnancy Program, Media Flip OutMollie Hemingway, The Federalist

Sex Robots Are (Almost) Here. How Will We Respond?Jay Richards, The Stream

How Embedding Women With Contraception May Keep Them In PovertyElizabeth Bauer, The Federalist

Human Trafficking

FRC Speaker Series: The Battle for Humanity: How Conservatives Can Fight Human Trafficking with Rep. Ann Wagner

Pornography

Twelve Days of Action: Half-Way Through This Year’s Dirty Dozen List – Ben Forsgren, National Center On Sexual Exploitation

You’d Be Surprised to Hear What Porn Is Doing to Sex – Gail Dines and Liz Walker, Verily

After 10 Years, My Partner Won His Struggle With Porn Addiction – Fight The New Drug

11 Reasons Why Assisted Suicide Must End

by Daniel Hart

July 26, 2017

A measure legalizing assisted suicide in Washington, D.C., which was recently passed by the city council and signed by the mayor, has now officially taken effect as of July 17. Thankfully, the federal government has jurisdiction over the District’s laws, and the House Appropriations Committee has advanced a measure that would repeal the assisted suicide law. Republican congressman are currently working to include this measure in an upcoming must-pass omnibus bill that will ultimately need House and Senate approval and a signature by President Trump before D.C. can once again return to sanity on this issue.

D.C. now joins six states (California, Colorado, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington) that have legalized assisted suicide. In a culture increasingly awash in the narcotic of moral relativism, let’s review why assisted suicide is such a grievous blow to our shared humanity and to common sense in general.

1. New cures and treatments for diseases are constantly discovered. Congressman Andy Harris (R-Md.) made this point while proposing the amendment to repeal the D.C. assisted suicide measure: “New, stunning cures in medicine occur each and every day. Encouraging patients to commit suicide deprives them of the opportunity to potentially be cured by new treatments that could ameliorate their condition and even add years to their lives, if not cure them completely.”

2. Taking lethal drugs is cheap and easy. Committing assisted suicide is a much cheaper alternative (about $300 on average) to often highly expensive (and sometimes experimental) medical treatments and procedures that can potentially extend the lives of (or cure) those who are gravely ill. It should go without saying that money should be no object to extending or saving someone’s life. But apparently it is, according to health insurance companies in states where assisted suicide is legal, who would rather cover cheap lethal drugs than more expensive medical treatments that could potentially extend or save lives.

3. Doctors are often wrong about predicting how long a patient has to live. As with assisted suicide measures in other states, the D.C. law stipulates that only those with six months or less to live can get a lethal medication prescription. But doctors admit that it is very difficult to precisely determine how long a patient has left to live, and they are often surprised by how long patients outlive their diagnoses, or in some cases recover completely. It is also important to note that there are numerous types of cancer that will immediately mean that a patient has “six months to live” if the cancer is left untreated. In other words, many patients with six-month diagnoses could just as easily be cured from their cancer after treatment, meaning that assisted suicide policies create a whole patient subset who do not have a terminal illness that can still legally commit suicide.

4. It corrupts the patient-doctor relationship and the Hippocratic Oath. Every patient deserves to have trust in their doctor that they will do what’s best for their health. When a doctor recommends suicide, it is an inhuman violation of the implicit trust that a patient should have in their caretaker. In the Hippocratic Oath commonly taken by doctors, the primary rule is to “do no harm.” Recommending assisted suicide is the most grievous breach of this oath.

5. Assisted suicide limits patients’ access to high quality care. Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Oh.), a doctor, related the story of one Oregon resident with prostate cancer who applied for an expensive form of chemotherapy through the state-run healthcare system that his doctor had recommended. He was denied the treatment; he instead received a letter from the state of Oregon offering to pay for his assisted suicide.

6. It preys upon the weak and vulnerable. Those who are terminally ill are understandably in a very fragile mental state. This makes them more vulnerable to give in to the “compassionate” advice of family members and doctors to end their lives, convincing them that they are creating a monetary and psychological “burden” on their families. Assisted suicide also gives those people who value money over the lives of their family members a convenient way to kill them off.

7. It is a violation of equality before the law. As Ryan Anderson has written, “Classifying a subgroup of people as legally eligible to be killed violates our nation’s commitment to equality before the law—showing profound disrespect for and callousness to those who will be judged to have lives no longer ‘worth living,’ not least the frail elderly, the demented, and the disabled.”

8. Comforting those who are dying is actually life-affirming. Numerous accounts of families drawing closer together around the bedside of a dying family member abound. Here is just one that I found particularly moving. Here is another one from a woman who worked on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, illustrating the fact that standing up against assisted suicide does not have to be a partisan issue.

9. “Until the day we take our last breath, we have something to offer.” Rep. Wenstrup learned this lesson when he examined an AIDS patient in 1985, who died the next day. “He taught me something for a lifetime on his last day,” he said. The man told Wenstrup that he was the first person to fully examine him, because everybody else was too afraid to because of his mysterious disease (at that time). Wenstrup learned a valuable lesson about the dignity of every human life from this man, and what it must feel like to be cast aside and rejected by your fellow man.

10. Human life is cheapened in the minds of everyone. When we declare a certain category of people as not worthy of life, we as human beings begin to doubt the value of human life in general. This phenomenon has been verified statistically in a study in Oregon, Washington, and Vermont, where assisted suicide is legal. After these laws were passed, the suicide rate amongst the general population went up in all three states.

11. Everyone is needed. In the words of Rep. Wenstrup (who gave a superb policy lecture about assisted suicide at FRC headquarters): “With laws like this [assisted suicide laws], we promote the idea that you just aren’t needed here, and I think that’s hurting America across the board … As we go forward, we have to continue to discuss how important every life is, and the positive effects that you can have even in your struggles, not only for yourself, but for those around you. Life brings us together, and so does death; and I believe that until you take that last breath, you continue to give. And then who you were continues to give, forever—that will never perish. We need to take a long hard look at who we are as a society and what we want to be, where we want to go, what’s important to us. I imagine everyone that’s listening today hopefully feels that they have some value. You do have value. You need to feel necessary. We need to talk to each other, and tell each other how necessary each one of us is.”

In concluding his lecture, Rep. Wenstrup related a true story he read in which the author was offered a sandwich by a homeless man while he was hitchhiking. “[The author] didn’t know what to say. He accepted it … What that [homeless] gentleman was doing was making himself needed. Everyone is needed. Everyone plays a part in our lives, and we need to respect that, and hopefully [on the issue of assisted suicide] we can drive that home, because we’re all better served if we value human life and emphasize its importance each and every day.”

Social Conservative Review - July 17, 2017

by Daniel Hart

July 17, 2017

Dear Friends,

In last week’s message, I discussed the growing problem of hostility to Christianity that many Americans have faced over the last 15 years and continue to face now, despite living in a free democracy.

It’s important to remember that this problem is by no means limited to the U.S.—other freedom-loving countries are also showing disturbing anti-Christian trends. In a recent survey conducted in the U.K., it was revealed that an astonishing 93 percent of Christians “believe that their faith is being marginalized in British society today.” The results were published by Premier Christian Communications, after 12,000 “ordinary Christians” took part in the survey. Commenting on the survey results, Premier CEO Peter Kerridge said that “it is ‘clear’ that the U.K. does not have the ‘liberal accepting society’ that it believes it does ‘if we don’t tolerate and accept everyone, including Christians.’” In just the past year in the U.K., a Christian nurse was fired for speaking about her faith and praying for patients, two Christians were convicted of disorderly conduct and fined for preaching on the streets, and numerous Christian schools were given downgraded statuses by the leading education watchdog group for their teachings on homosexuality and other religions.

FRC will continue to fight for the freedoms of all believers to live out their faith freely in the public square, with the hope that Christians of all nationalities will also fight for their rights. Christ’s words will forever be our guide: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

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

It’s Time to Clean Up Our Elections – Ken Blackwell

Doctors Across The World Are Fighting To Treat Charlie Gard. Will The UK Let Them? – Arina Grossu

Where Are The Decent Liberals?Ken Blackwell

The Serpents are SurfacingKen Blackwell

Movie Review: “Alison’s Choice”Lauren Hand

Those with Gender Dysphoria Can Find Healing Peter Sprigg

No Fear: Coach Kennedy’s Steadfast FaithEmma Gibney

Release Charlie GardArina Grossu

 

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

Has a Civil Rights Stalwart Lost Its Way? – Ben Schreckinger, Politico Magazine

Cakes and Consciences: The Case of Jack Phillips and Masterpiece Cakeshop – Nathanael Blake, Public Discourse

The Urgency of Restoring the Biblical Values of America’s Founders – Arthur Goldberg, Public Discourse

Passion for Equality – Mark Movsesian, First Things

The Pelvic Left Attacks an Innocent WomanAustin Ruse, Crisis

The Media’s Use of This ‘Hate Group’ Label Puts Conservatives’ Safety at Risk – Katrina Trinko, The Daily Signal

Religious Freedom Advocates Fire Back After ‘Hate Group’ Smear Over Jeff Sessions Speech – Fred Lucas, The Daily Signal

International Religious Freedom

93 Percent of UK Christians Feel Their Faith Is Marginalized, Survey Says – Samuel Smith, The Christian Post

Orthodox Jewish girls school faces closure for refusing to teach children about homosexualityBrandon Morse, TheBlaze

The New Totalitarian Laws of CanadaJohn Paul Meenan, Crisis

Chinese Nobel Prize winner dies in prison, first since the Nazi regimeChinaAid

Military Religious Freedom

US Army Tells Female Soldiers to ‘Accept’ Having Naked Men in Their ShowersSamuel Smith, The Christian Post

Work Hard, Pray Hard’: Retired General Reveals the True Path to Inner PeaceErik Rosales, CBN News

 

Life

Abortion

Video: Stephanie Gray: “Abortion: From Controversy to Civility”Talks at Google

Stunning images from inside the womb show that human life begins at fertilization – Becky Yeh, Live Action News

Oregon poised to make abortion freeSamantha Gobba, WORLD

Abortion Fanatics Don’t Want Choice, They Want Fewer BabiesMollie Hemingway, The Federalist

Bioethics

Parental and Governmental Authority in Medical Decisions: The Tragic Case of Charlie GardMelissa Moschella, Public Discourse

Je Suis Charlie, Once MoreR.R. Reno, First Things

Basic Bioethics: How to illuminate the Christian perspectiveJoe Carter, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Obamacare

Needed pro-life protections in potential healthcare legislation – Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Obamacare Is Causing Insurers To Delay Surgeries Patients Need – Richard Menger, The Federalist

Bringing Senate Conservatives and Moderates Together on Health-Care Reform – Michael F. Cannon, National Review

 

Family

Economics/Education

How to Find Hope in the Humanless Economy – Kevin Brown and Steven McMullen, Christianity Today

Here’s How Anti-Conservative Academic Discrimination Works – David French, National Review

Jobs Report Stronger Than Expected, but More Must Be Done to Boost the Economy – Timothy Doescher, The Daily Signal

Here’s Why So Many Republicans View America’s Colleges And Universities Negatively – Gracy Olmstead, The Federalist

Is California anti-family? – Joel Kotkin, Orange County Register

Think Tank: Reconsider Caring For Your Kids Because Money Matters Most – Gracy Olmstead, The Federalist

Marriage

5 Long-Time Married Couples Share Their Secrets to a Happy MarriageJenna Jonaitis, Verily

Married People Have More SexNathan Yau, Flowingdata

Premarital counseling can decrease divorce rates, psychologist saysLaren Hanson, The Daily Universe

Michigan couple, both 99, celebrates 80th wedding anniversaryEliza Murphy, Good Morning America

The 4 Crises Every Marriage Must Make It ThroughPaul Carter, The Gospel Coalition

The Adult Children of Divorce Find Their VoiceLeila Miller, Family Studies

Faith/Character/Culture

Why Is God So Hidden?J. Warner Wallace, BreakPoint

Can Ethnicity Become a Straitjacket?Mike Tong, Desiring God

Don’t be Uncle Rico: A moral snatched from Napoleon DynamiteTod Worner, Aleteia

Hospitality Is Not Just for HomeBethany Jenkins, The Gospel Coalition

What Makes Humans So Special?Matt Nelson, Word On Fire

Want to Lead a Happier Life? Be More Generous, Study SaysBrandon Showalter, The Christian Post

Human Sexuality

Symptoms, Causes and Loving Those with Same-Sex AttractionCarrie Gress, National Catholic Register

Doctors Admit They Don’t Know Which Kids Should Gender Transition But Do It To Them AnywayWalt Heyer, The Federalist

Husband, Lift Up Your EyesJohn Piper, Desiring God

Pediatrician: ‘Transgender’ ideology has created widespread child abuseMichelle A. Cretella, LifeSiteNews

Increase in extramarital sex leading to new STD epidemicFr. Mark Hodges, LifeSiteNews

Most Teens Aren’t Having Sex, and They Deserve More Support for That ChoiceAlysse ElHage, Family Studies

Oral sex spreading unstoppable bacteria – James Gallagher, BBC News

At issue: The push for gender inclusivity in toys – Chris Woodward, OneNewsNow

Human Trafficking

3 things to know about the human trafficking reportTravis Wussow, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Backpage has always claimed it doesn’t control sex-related ads. New documents show otherwise.Tom Jackman and Jonathan O’Connell, The Washington Post

Pornography

What Porn Did To Their Lives – Rod Dreher, The American Conservative

Seven Promises to Pray Against PornJ.A. Medders, Desiring God

Kay Warren: ‘I Struggled With Porn Fascination’ – Nancy Flory, The Stream

Social Conservative Review - July 3, 2017

by Daniel Hart

July 3, 2017

Dear Friends,

From its very beginnings, America has always been the destination of freedom seekers. Immigrants from all over the world have flocked to America’s shores in the hope of finding something that their own native countries often lacked, but which they knew in their hearts must be possessed by every human person: freedom.

But what is “freedom”? This is a debate that we continue to have as a country. As hundreds of U.S. citizens can attest, even a free democracy such as ours is prone to infringe upon the freedoms of its people unless it possesses a proper understanding of “freedom.”

Many think that freedom is simply the ability to choose whatever one wants. The problem with this thinking is that when someone chooses evil, it is not only bad for that person but also bad for everyone who is affected by that person’s evil choice. True freedom, in the words of one author, “is a calling to realize in ourselves what is true about us, a calling to actualize in us all what is true, good, and beautiful.” This Christian understanding of freedom is not constraining, as many argue. Rather, it is freeing. How? Because “the more one does what is good, the freer one becomes. There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just. The choice to disobey and do evil is an abuse of freedom and leads to ‘the slavery of sin.’”

The lightness of being and the joy that we experience when we freely choose good is a testament to God’s design for freedom. This Fourth of July, let us celebrate the true freedom that Christ has fashioned in our lives and in our great country.

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

Report: Attacks On America’s First Freedom Increased 76 Percent In Three YearsTravis Weber

We Must Act While We Still CanTony Perkins

Trump, Congress Should Halt Transgender Military Policy that Costs BillionsPeter Sprigg

Supreme Court Delivers Big Wins for Religious FreedomTravis Weber

Abortion Activists are Still Trying to Put David Daleiden in Jail for Exposing Planned ParenthoodTony Perkins

Pentagon Transgender Agenda Won’t Improve Military Readiness, Costs $3.7 BillionTony Perkins

Trump Set to Follow in Gipper’s Footsteps, Making Work Center of Social Welfare PolicyKen Blackwell

FRC’s Updated Hostility Report Shows Religious Organizations on the Front Lines of the Fight for Religious FreedomChris Baldacci

School Board Rigs System for Transgender WinCathy Ruse

When Campuses Become Battlefields: Protecting Free Speech in a Hostile EnvironmentIan Frith

Taxpayer-Funded Transgender Tutorial for Schoolchildren TankedCathy Ruse

5th Circuit Rejects Effort to Take Down Conscience ProtectionsTravis Weber

10 Things Every New Father Should KnowDan Hart

 

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

Nonprofit Tracker Smears Dozens of Conservative Organizations as ‘Hate Groups’Rachel del Guidice, The Daily Signal

The Southern Poverty Law Center Bears False WitnessSamuel D. James, First Things

Supreme Court Rules 7-2: Yes, Christians Are Citizens TooKathy Schiffer, National Catholic Register

Missouri Tried to Discriminate Against a Church for No Good Reason. How the Supreme Court Leveled the Playing Field.Emilie Kao, The Daily Signal

Federal Judge Rules Cross Violates Law and Must Be RemovedToddStarnes.com

Prejudice and the Blaine AmendmentsPhilip Hamburger, First Things

Indiana Christian school at center of LGBT voucher debate – Brian Slodysko and Maria Danilova, The Washington Times

Mississippi can enforce LGBT religious objections law: court – Fox News

University to remove cross and Bibles from campus chapel – Todd Starnes, Fox News

Legal Radicals Don’t Want the ‘Separation of Church and State’ – David French, National Review

International Religious Freedom

Peru Fights Back Against Gender IdeologyVictor Gaetan, National Catholic Register

Russell Moore, Franklin Graham Orgs. Urge Trump to Tackle Severe Persecution of Sudanese ChristiansStoyan Zaimov, The Christian Post

Swedish Midwife to Fight for Rights at European CourtBob Paulson, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

 

Life

Abortion

New Study Shows Why Fathers Matter in the Abortion FightVincent DiCaro, Care Net

US Rejects UN Resolution Supporting AbortionThe Christian Post

This Is The New Face Of The Pro-Life MovementTorey Van Oot, Refinery29

Oregon House Democrats pass bill providing free abortions for all, including illegal aliensValerie Richardson, The Washington Times

Bioethics

Video: How Adult Stem Cells Helped Jackie Stollfus be a MomCharlotte Lozier Institute

Doctor: Insurance Wouldn’t Pay for Patients’ Treatments, but Offered Assisted SuicideKelsey Harkness, The Daily Signal

The Court-Ordered Killing of Charlie GardIan Tuttle, National Review

When the “Right to Die” Becomes a Death SentenceMatthew Archbold, National Catholic Register

Physicians Without Chests: On the Call to End Conscientious Objection in MedicineMichael D. Stark and Grace Stark, Public Discourse

Yanking Life Support From UK Baby Demonstrates Dangers Of Socialized MedicineNicole Russell, The Federalist

Obamacare

Americans Struggling Under Obamacare Tell Pence ‘Real Story’Fred Lucas, The Daily Signal

 

Family

Economics/Education

Why Genuine Liberal Arts Degrees Are A Perfect Fit For Today’s Uncertain Economy – Christine Goss, The Federalist

The Crisis of the Economic Right and the Case for Reform Conservatism – Max Bloom, National Review

DeVos Should Take on Education’s Reformocracy – Frederick M. Hess & Michael Q. Mcshane, National Review

From playgrounds to classrooms – Leigh Jones, WORLD

We’re having fewer babies. Could that kill the economy? – Ariana Eunjung Cha, The Washington Post

Marriage

Ruth and Boaz: A Romance That Models God’s Love for UsRay Vander Laan, Focus on the Family

Faith and Marriage: Better Together?W. Bradford Wilcox, Principles

The Most Important Text on MarriageDavid Mathis, Desiring God

As Wedding Costs Rise, Perhaps It’s Time to Invest More in Marriage PrepAmber Lapp, Family Studies

PTSD and marriage: Advice from someone who’s been therePatricia Eden, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Faith/Character/Culture

Why Can’t Americans Enjoy Life?John Horvat II, Crisis

A Map of the SoulMichael Egnor, First Things

The ‘Church’ of Facebook?Alex Duke, The Gospel Coalition

In Defense of DoubtRobert B. Greving, Crisis

Christianity: A Bargain That Will Cost You EverythingJoe Heschmeyer, Word On Fire

Human Sexuality

Problems with Puberty Suppression in Treating Gender DysphoriaPaul W. Hruz, Lawrence S. Mayer, Paul R. McHugh, The New Atlantis

The Transgender Agenda vs. the ScienceRick Fitzgibbons, The Catholic Thing

Same-Sex Attraction and Therapy: It’s Time to Let People ChooseArthur Goldberg, Public Discourse

German Parliament votes to legalize same-sex ‘marriage’Claire Chretien, LifeSiteNews

LGBT Mega-Donor Reveals Next Goal: ‘Punish the Wicked’ Gay Marriage OpponentsSamuel Smith, The Christian Post

Pornography

The Brain’s Delete Button: How You Can Erase Years Of Watching Porn – Fight the New Drug

Our Odyssey Against Sexual Temptation – Jimmy Needham, Desiring God

10 Things Every New Father Should Know

by Daniel Hart

June 16, 2017

On Christmas Eve of last year, my son was born. As someone who is slow to react to big, life-changing events, the birth of my son left me mostly stunned and awestruck. For weeks afterward (more like months, if I’m honest), I would often have to remind myself that this tiny new human being was actually my son. Even though I had accompanied my amazing wife through the entire journey of our baby’s birth, it sometimes felt like he had suddenly appeared in our home out of the blue, as if a stork had flown into our backyard one day, deposited him in the grass, and flew away with a smirk.

There were times when I felt a bit intimidated by him. That may sound odd to be scared of a newborn, but occasionally it seemed as if he stared right through me, deeming me an unworthy father. This made me worry that he might not like me, that he might not smile or giggle at my attempts to entertain him, that he might cry at my attempts to soothe him, that he might wriggle away from my touch.

Well, guess what? My worries have proven to be unfounded. In honor of Father’s Day this Sunday, I present the top 10 things I’ve learned about fatherhood since the birth of my firstborn son six months ago.

1. Fatherhood begins before the child is born.

Even when your baby is still in utero, he can still hear and feel your presence as a father. The amazing extent to which unborn babies are able to do this is continuing to be discovered by science. Just as he knows his mother’s voice and can recognize other sounds that he hears repeatedly, so too will he recognize his father’s voice if it is a consistent vocal presence. Praying with, talking, reading, and singing to your unborn child is not only a great way for fathers to feel more involved in their wives’ pregnancies, but this will also help the father bond with and grow in affection for his offspring as he feels the baby kick and squirm in response. I’ll never forget the time that I played a song on guitar and sang directly into my wife’s belly—my unborn son began kicking non-stop with such energy that my wife and I could only gape at each other in amazement.

The more that fathers feel the kicks and the hiccups, the more affection they will begin to feel for their child. There will also be plenty of opportunities to attend periodic ultrasound checkups—be sure to attend as many as possible, as there’s nothing quite like seeing the amazing silhouette and unique movements of your child to begin the bonding process.

2. Feeling a bit distant from your newborn is normal.

It’s no secret that the bond between a mother and her newborn is incomparably powerful. The fact that the mother physically gestated her child for nine months and is her baby’s only source of food makes the relationship beautifully symbiotic. The reality for a new father is that for nine months, he has literally been at a physical distance, and for the first few months after birth, he most likely won’t be able to hold the child as much as his wife because of nursing demands.

So if new fathers find themselves feeling a lack of intimacy with their newborns as a result, it’s important to remember that this is perfectly normal and okay. Just like with any relationship, the love fathers have for their children will deepen as they get to know them better.

This will play out in practical ways. In time, I learned that my son prefers to be bounced to sleep instead of rocked or swayed. He is absolutely transfixed and delighted by the sight of my wife and I washing dishes and eating. He loves to stand (with our support) in high positions and turn his head from side to side to observe all that is below him. He loves to rub my beard as I carry him around, even as he is falling asleep in my arms. He prefers to ride (and sleep) in the bumpy cheap stroller that is falling apart rather than the nice jogging stroller. As fathers learn the unique quirks and mannerisms that every child develops, his love will in turn grow and deepen inextricably. 

3. Blaze your own trail to get to know your child.

Every child is unique, and in the same way, there is no one right way to dive in to fatherhood. The important thing is to just dive in. Be okay with your child screaming in your arms, because that’s how you learn to soothe him. Be okay with your baby peeing on you as you attempt to change his diaper, because that’s how you learn the best changing procedure.

Let your own creativity be your guide. Make up a special song for your baby that he will get used to so you can lull him to sleep with it and sing it while you horse around with him during play time. Don’t be afraid to be goofy, dorky, and cheesy with your kid. The ability to be a goof with your child in front of anyone is a great sign that you are getting comfortable in your own skin as a dad. It will also give you bonus points with your wife when you can give her a break by rocking your child to sleep yourself or successfully keep your child calm in the baby carrier.

4. Lean in to the suffering.

Yes, there will be times as a new father when you will feel miserable, tired, frustrated, maybe a bit angry, or experience other unpleasant feelings. It will be when your back is aching from a solid 35 straight minutes of trying to get your baby to sleep, or from changing a diaper at 4 a.m., followed by an hour of inconsolability, knowing that you have to get up for work in an hour.

Instead of just stomaching these hardships until they’re over, lean in to these moments when you know you are suffering, and turn it into a prayer offering and sacrifice. Empathize with your baby’s screams instead of letting your frustration level rise, and offer up a word of praise and pleading to the Lord. Babies have an uncanny ability to sense when you are getting stressed, and their stress level will usually rise in conjunction with yours. Your calmness and humble acceptance of the situation will generally pay off. If it doesn’t, and your wife has to save the day, it’s important not to feel discouraged because you know you gave it your best.

5. The more you give, the more you will receive.

The nature of fatherhood is to sacrifice one’s self for one’s child. This may make fatherhood sound like a dreary slog, but my experience has been very much the opposite. Giving of yourself can take a multitude of forms, both large and small.

One (seemingly) small way that fathers give is simply by interacting with their babies as much as possible. Make eye contact and be as facially expressive as you can be—your child will imitate you and respond accordingly. Just as your baby has a symbiotic relationship with its mother through nursing, you as a father can have a symbiotic relationship with your child through interaction. Since your baby has its own unique personality and you have yours, the interaction you receive from your child will literally change your brain chemistry, and vice versa. This mutual gift of self is a beautiful image of the Holy Trinity—the Father gives all that He is and has to the Son, who gives Himself back completely to the Father, resulting in the fruit and bond of their shared love—the Holy Spirt.

6. Kiss your wife in front of your baby.

Don’t be shy about showing physical affection in front of your wide-eyed baby. Children thrive on seeing a physical reminder of the union of their parents and the love they share. This display of unity can take many other forms besides showing PDA. Sharing meals together as a family, with your baby seated between you and your wife or in one of your laps, is another great way to show your child that you cherish your family unit. When a child sees the physical union present between his parents, he will feel whole and secure, because he is the physical incarnation of the union of you and your wife.

7. Your role in your child’s sense of self is vital.

As we’ve discussed, the first month or two of a baby’s life is mostly characterized by the intense bond that the mother and child share through the symbiosis of gestation and nursing. It goes without saying that this is vital to the health and well-being of mother and child, but equally vital is the father’s role in helping to nurture the baby’s independence apart from the mother. When you physically separate your baby from your wife by taking him outside the house for a walk, engaging in rough & tumble play in a separate room, coaxing him to say “dada,” giving him his first bits of grilled hamburger, or presenting him to family, friends, and your church community, you are helping your baby become a distinct entity apart from mom, which aids in the development of his own unique identity and sense of self.

8. Don’t sweat it when you fail.

There will be times when you will feel like a failure as a new father. For me, I have felt most like a failure (and still do) when I spend what feels like hours trying to coax my son to sleep, but to no avail. After a dozen different methods of cradling, patting, singing, bouncing, rocking, murmuring, and massaging have failed, unexpectedly strong feelings of anger and frustration will sometimes bubble up inside me, and after my wife takes over and I walk out of the bedroom still smarting from such a chastening experience, I sometimes fume inwardly that my own child, bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh, was not comforted by his father’s best efforts. These are the times when it’s important to remember that babies are constantly growing and changing from one day to the next. The rough patches that every baby goes through are just stages in an amazingly fast developmental process. So don’t sweat it, and be patient—your baby will soon outgrow whatever exasperating behavior you failed to overcome.

9. You image God the Father to your child.

I say this at the risk of sounding overly dramatic, but it’s true. As touched on previously, fathers have in their nature a unique way of introducing their child to the wider world beyond the home, while at the same time showing the child unconditional love. A child needs to have total and complete trust in his father and feel absolutely secure, just as we are all called to trust completely in Abba (“daddy”), our Heavenly Father. Fathers carry their babies to new environments and introduce, teach, and show their babies new sights, sounds, and smells in the backyard or in the neighborhood, just as God the Father did with Adam in the Garden of Eden. They help their babies develop new motor skills and strengthen their muscles by flying them through the air and letting them stand on their own two legs for as long as possible, just as God the Father challenges us to spiritually grow and mature.

Parents are the images of God to their children. The baby’s first experience of God is through the love shown to him by his parents. Therefore, God the Father is revealed to a child through their father in a way that is totally distinct and unique from their mother.

10. Take this advice with a grain of salt.

As you will find out, when it comes to parenthood, everyone on God’s green earth has an opinion about how to do it best, this blog post notwithstanding. It can all be a bit overwhelming. So, with that said, take my words of wisdom one last time: when there’s an opportunity for a nap, take it, and when there’s an opportunity for a beer, drink it. Happy Father’s Day!

Social Conservative Review - June 15, 2017

by Daniel Hart

June 15, 2017

Dear Friends,

In Matthew 5:21-22, Jesus says, “You have heard it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.”

This passage in Scripture comes to mind in reflecting on the tragic incident that occurred yesterday in Alexandria, Va., in which a murderous gunman attempted to kill members of Congress and their aides on a baseball field, wounding five. It’s important to ponder and take heed of this vital teaching of Christ in the volatile times in which we live.

Christ is teaching us that when we harbor malicious thoughts about other people in our hearts, they can easily fester into physical action, like angry outbursts and violence. This is why Jesus says that we must go well beyond the avoidance of outright killing. We have to get at the root of the problem, which starts in our hearts. We must root out every thought and attitude that causes us to hate others. (In these polarized times, we must insist on the true definition of “hate,” which is “intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury.” Therefore, disagreeing with certain lifestyles and public policies is, by definition, not “hate.”)

This is an important lesson for all of us who are involved in public policy and government. When it comes to politics, most of us have passionate viewpoints, which lead to passionate disagreements, which is very fitting in a free democracy such as ours that requires open and free debate in order to function. However, we must never let our passionate viewpoints turn into anger, as Christ said. As we have witnessed time and time again in our country, anger can lead to vindictiveness towards others, which can lead to violence and murder. Christ has perfect understanding of this dangerous fallibility that is present in every human heart, and therefore warns against it in the strongest terms.

May all of our most passionate views always be rooted in love for our fellow man, never anger. 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

The Bigotry of Bernie Sanders – Travis Weber

Trump’s Rule on the HHS Contraceptive Mandate Ensures Religious Freedom for All – Travis Weber

Sanders’ Religious Test Goes Against Founders’ VisionTony Perkins

Bern Victim: Christians Need Not ApplyPatrina Mosley

This Pill Could Reverse a Third of AbortionsArina Grossu

President Trump Names Abstinence Education Leader to Top Post at HHS DepartmentTony Perkins

Community Health Care Centers Offer Full Spectrum of Primary Care, Unlike Planned Parenthood – FRC

An Open Letter to Bernie Sanders from a Vermont Pastor – Tim Counts

FRC Summer Reading List – Dan Hart

Testimony in Opposition to H. 1190 and S. 62 – Peter Sprigg

We’re Better Together – Dan Hart

Standing for Christ – Travis Weber

Even Liberal Feminists Can’t Resist Committed Love and Marriage – Chris Gacek

Giving to Caesar and to God – Peter Sprigg

 

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

Bernie Sanders’s Religious Test for Christians in Public Office – Emma Green, The Atlantic

Policy at Michigan College Results in Arrests for Handing Out ConstitutionAlliance Defending Freedom

Trump Administration Considering Rule That Would Help Little Sisters of the PoorRachel del Guidice, The Daily Signal

The Campus Speech Police Come to Fresno StateJake Curtis, National Review

Town Stands up to Atheist Bullies, Refuses to Remove CrossToddStarnes.com

Bernie Sanders Doesn’t Think Christians Are Fit For Public OfficeJohn Daniel Davidson, The Federalist

School: Students May Not Pray or Mention JesusToddStarnes.com

This Farmer Won’t Host Same-Sex Weddings at His Orchard. Now a City Has Banned Him From Its Farmers Market.Fred Lucas, The Daily Signal

International Religious Freedom

Petition calls for repeal of ‘totalitarian’ bill allowing children to be taken from Christian homesLianne Laurence, LifeSiteNews

Ireland’s abortion law violates human rights, UN rulesKenza Bryan, Independent

Public board orders Christian school to stop reading ‘offensive’ Bible passages – Dorothy Cummings McLean, LifeSiteNews

Military Religious Freedom

Supreme Court refuses to review case of Christian Marine who claims she was discharged over Bible verseSamuel Smith, The Christian Post

 

Life

Abortion

Daughter’s thank you note to her parents who chose life as teens goes viral – Nancy Flanders, Live Action

More abortions, more money, less real support for womenSamantha Gobba, WORLD

Harvard Law Journal: Unborn Babies are Constitutional PersonsThe Stream

Israel’s modern-day midwives offer solutions, not abortionJay Hobbs, The Stream

Most Pro-Life Laws are Based on Sound ScienceMichael J. New, National Review

Why We Kill Disabled Kids: For the Same Reason Cain Killed AbelJohn Zmirak, The Stream

Delaware legalizes abortion through all nine months – Samantha Gobba, WORLD

Adoption

Christians who reject transgenderism banned from adoption, working with children in IllinoisDoug Mainwaring, LifeSiteNews

Streamlining adoption the goal of bipartisan working group – David Meade, Lexington Herald Leader

Bioethics

Basic bioethics: How Christians should think about bioethicsJoe Carter, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Doctor: Insurance companies are denying treatment and pushing assisted suicide on patientsCassy Fiano, Live Action News

Oregon Senate votes to allow dementia patients to be starved to deathClaire Chretien, LifeSiteNews

Canadian nurse forced out for refusing to participate in euthanasia – Pete Baklinski, LifeSiteNews

Obamacare

States scramble to prevent ObamaCare exodusRachel Roubein and Nathaniel Weixel, The Hill

Fate of Planned Parenthood funding tied to Senate moderatesJennifer Haberkorn, Politico

Yes, Obamacare Really Does Disadvantage Disabled Americans – Christopher Jacobs, The Federalist

 

Family

Economics/Education

New Poll Shows What College Students Really Think About Safe Spaces – Katrina Willis, The Daily Signal

What Happens at Home Doesn’t Stay There: It Goes to School – Nicholas Zill, Family Studies

Tax Reform for Working-Class Families – Josh McCabe, National Review

Marriage

Maintaining Your Marriage During the Parenting Years – Arlene Pellicane, Focus on the Family

5 Memorable quotes that taught me how to be a better fatherMichael Rennier, Aleteia

A Vow Worth Keeping: A Review of Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give Alysse ElHage, Family Studies

Millennials Are Looking for Parental Guidance on LoveKat Talalas, Family Studies

What It Feels Like To Be A Man Struggling With InfertilityAaron Gleason, The Federalist

The global culture each child needsPatrick F. Fagan, Mercatornet

Faith/Character/Culture

How Christians Should Engage in CultureRob Schwarzwalder, The Stream

Authentic community: How online substitutes damage our empathyJonathan C. Edwards, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman Manages The Tough Task Of Winsomely Portraying VirtueGracy Olmstead, The Federalist

The Bible Got It Right: Why Going to Church Keeps You Alive LongerLorie Johnson, CBN News

Kathy Griffin and the Vanishing of ArgumentBp. Robert Barron, National Catholic Register

Bernie Sanders and the Danger of Theological Ignorance – Rob Schwarzwalder, The Stream

Human Sexuality

Study: Less sex education leads to less sexKiley Crossland, WORLD

4 biblical truths to help fight sexual temptationCasey B. Hough, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Same-Sex Attraction and Therapy: It’s Time to Let People Choose – Arther Goldberg, Public Discourse

Human Trafficking

Cambodia’s Child Sex Industry Is Dwindling—And They Have Christians to ThankKate Shellnutt In Phnom Penh, Christianity Today

Pornography

How Porn Dehumanizes Women Through Sexual Objectification – Fight the New Drug

FRC Summer Reading List

by Daniel Hart

June 9, 2017

As the warm light of the sun stretches lazily out over our summer days, infusing the early mornings with dew-bright resplendence and filling evenings with a languid glow, a single giddy thought can’t help but enthuse America: more time for reading outside! Whether you’re stretched out on a beach chair with the ocean wind nipping at the pages of your copy of Ideas Have Consequences, reclining on your deck with an ice-cold shandy in one hand and an F. Scott Fitzgerald short story collection in the other, or simply sprawled on the couch with the summer breeze blowing through your window and your John Adams biography, there’s almost nothing better in life then long summer days and a tall stack of books.

To help get your literary juices flowing for the warmer months, the staff here at FRC has helpfully collaborated on this compilation of great reads. So put your phone somewhere out of sight on silent mode, sit back, relax, and crack open a book (or a Kindle, if you must).

***

Non-Fiction

Biographies

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

This detailed biography of one of America’s foremost Founding Fathers was the inspiration for the hit Broadway musical Hamilton. Author Ron Chernow’s full-length portrait is a deep dive into how Hamilton in many ways shaped early America with his championing of often unpopular political and economic ideas.

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas

This is a gripping biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor and theologian in the confessing church, which resisted the Nazis. Bonhoeffer also participated in the July 20 plot on Hitler’s life (subject of the movie Valkyrie)—which ultimately cost him his life. While this topic is not as widely explored in the book, it is a thrilling look into a life devoted to God, and the implications of that devotion.

The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams by Philip and Carol Zaleski

This is an in-depth look at the lives of the four primary “Inklings,” the literary circle of Oxford friends who delighted in fantasy, philosophy, and the debates of religion and belief. The Fellowship describes how we came to have the authors of such works as The Lord of the Rings, Mere Christianity, The Chronicles of Narnia, and so much more. The arc of each of their lives allows us a better understanding of their celebrated works.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

A fascinating read detailing the true story of a brilliant neurosurgeon diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. His thoughts and approach to life and death are very thought provoking.

The Wright Brothers by David McCullough

This wonderfully engaging biography of the brothers who invented flight is thoroughly addicting from the first page onward. The story follows Orville and Wilbur from their beginnings as bicycle shop owners, to the famous test flights at Kitty Hawk, to the amazing flying exhibitions demonstrated before hundreds of thousands of gaping onlookers, to fights over patent rights in their later years. Throughout their lives, the Wright brothers displayed a super-human work ethic and humble tenacity that astounded their contemporaries, proving to be an immense testament to the indomitable power of the human spirit to overcome any adversity.

 

General Interest

The Assault on the Sexes by Jim Fordham

Published in 1977, The Assault on the Sexes is a remarkable book that appeared at the height of the debates over ERA (the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex). With both wry humor and solid research, Jim Fordham (“With his indispensable wife Andrea”) took on the then-nascent feminist movement by not only defending but celebrating the differences between men and women. Although grassroots efforts kept the ERA out of the Constitution, many of its principles have nevertheless been implemented since then through court decisions and legislation. The book’s slippery slope arguments that the ERA would lead to same-sex marriage or unisex bathrooms have indeed come to pass.

The Conservative Mind by Russell Kirk

Russell Kirk played a significant role in establishing the intellectual legitimacy of the conservative movement in the 20th century. His book The Conservative Mind fights the public perception that to be liberal is to be academic but to be conservative is “anti-intellectual.” He traces the intellectual history of conservatism from Edmund Burke and the principles of prudence to T.S. Eliot and the importance of faith. The book is both an overview of the movements and individuals that shaped conservative thought as well as a fascinating defense of the conservative belief in a social and political order.

The Drop Box: How 500 Abandoned Babies, an Act of Compassion, and a Movie Changed My Life Forever by Brian Ivie

This book is the inspirational account of a documentary filmmaker who travels to South Korea to film the predicament of orphaned newborns who are left in box and accepted by a pastor. In the process, the author recounts his spiritual journey of redemption.

The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech by Kimberley Strassel

A member of the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board, Kimberley Strassel provides first-hand accounts of how disclosure and campaign finance laws have been hijacked by the Left as weapons against free speech and free association, becoming powerful tools for those who are intent on silencing their political opposition. Strassel carefully catalogues how government agencies like the IRS, FEC, FCC, and SEC as well as state AGs have knowingly participated in the suppression of First Amendment rights of Americans.

Reclaiming Israel’s History: Roots, Rights, and the Struggle for Peace by David Brog

A subject that is often highly disputed, this extensively researched book catalogues the history of Israel, recounting how the Jewish people have maintained a sustained presence there for over 3,000 years, despite centuries of persecution. It also covers the untold history of Palestine’s involvement in the Holocaust, the Six-Day War, and Israel’s modern military practices.

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer

A comprehensive historical review of how the Nazis came to power in Germany, and what led to their downfall. It is an interesting historical education, and one which reminds us of the evil which can arise when human beings discard any appeal to higher authority.

Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East by Michael B. Oren

In what has been called a “towering work of history” and an “enthralling human narrative,” this impeccably researched account of the Six-Day War between the Israelis and the Arabs lays the historical groundwork for a conflict that continues to this day.

Virtue and the Promise of Conservatism: The Legacy of Burke and Tocqueville by Bruce Frohnen

In Virtue and the Promise of Conservatism, author Bruce Frohnen makes the case for the essence of virtue as being the foundation of conservatism. He argues that conservatives must return to what truly made conservativism great—a concerted focus on the structures of family, church, and community.

 

Spirituality

Between Heaven and the Real World by Steven Curtis Chapman

Grammy Award-winning Christian musician Steven Curtis Chapman shares the experiences that have shaped him, his faith, and his music in a life that has included unbelievable highs and earth-shattering lows. It includes breathtaking testimony regarding the loss of his young daughter.

Dancing Through Life: Steps of Courage and Conviction by Candace Cameron Bure

Candace Cameron Bure, former child star of the hit 90’s sitcom Full House, shares how as a participant on a reality dance competition she was able to stand with courage and conviction of her faith when all the world was watching!

Faith and Doubt by John Ortberg

Doubt is often thought to be the opposite of faith, but what if doubt could instead make our relationship with God stronger? In this book by best-selling author and pastor John Ortberg, the nature of faith is explored, particularly in the sense of how uncertainty plays a part in it. Being completely honest about doubts in the faith journey can actually lead to a sense of relief. True understanding requires honest questioning, doubting can actually lead to an increase in trust, and authentic faith can lead to profound hope. This book serves as an encouraging reminder that God desires our whole hearts—even our doubts.

Learn to 4 Give by Gil Mertz

In Learn to 4 Give, author Gil Mertz draws from nearly forty years of ministry experience to help you achieve forgiveness in your own life. He offers 4 practical, hands-on, and easy-to-follow steps that will allow you to release your power of forgiveness, resolve the pain of your past, restore peace in your present, and reclaim your purpose for the future. We all know we are supposed to forgive but this book shows you how by presenting forgiveness as a learned skill that anyone can do, if you have the right tools.

The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence

In this reflective devotional book, the 17th Century monk Brother Lawrence offers his thoughts on intimacy with the Lord, and the joy that comes from submission and walking closely with Him.

The Pursuit of God; God’s Pursuit of Man by A.W. Tozer

The author inspires with his reflections of our pursuit of God, and with how God pursues us, in this deep and enriching devotional guide.

 

Fiction

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr’s highly acclaimed, New York Times bestseller is the story of a blind French girl and a German boy whose worlds collide during the tumultuous period of WWII. Imaginative descriptions of the natural world and the devastation of a world at war are captured in intricate detail as Doerr engulfs you in his “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle). This masterpiece, ten years in the making, will keep you glued to the pages till the very end.

At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald

From the forefather of writers like C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien comes the tale of a young boy and his fantastical adventures around the globe with the mysterious and powerful North Wind. George MacDonald crafts a beautiful work of children’s fantasy literature which masterfully explores the purposes of God amidst a world filled with evil and suffering. This book is ideal for individual reading or for reading aloud to the whole family.

Battlefields and Playgrounds by Janos Nyiri

This work of historical fiction explores World War II-era Budapest through the eyes of a Jewish child. Entertaining and at times meandering, it is an interesting education of how the events of World War II impacted Budapest—from German sympathies to Russian conquest. The author, who spent his childhood in Budapest, offers a fascinating perspective on all this and how it intersected with increasing anti-Jewish sentiment throughout Budapest and around Hungary.

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

This near-1,000 page novel (with copious endnotes) of a dystopian future state in which “cleanliness” is the government’s main goal, the author explores themes of addiction and what we seek to live for. While not necessarily redemptive, the novel is entertaining, and provokes thought in a number of different areas. It isn’t known if Wallace ever became a Christian before his death, but his yearning for higher purpose and power is evident throughout the novel. Recommended for those seeking entertaining reading and some deeper musings of life.

Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset (Translated by Tiina Nunnally)

This epic historical novel set in 14th century Norway is the engrossing masterwork of Nobel Prize-winning author Sigrid Undset. It spans the full life of Kristin, a stubbornly passionate woman who is the daughter of the successful yet humble farmer Lavrans. In a Catholic culture that is still haunted by elements of paganism, Kristin is relentlessly pursued by the dashing Erlend Nikulausson against her parents’ wishes, raises seven sons with him during their tumultuous marriage, and is eventually estranged from him, but finds redemption as the world around her crumbles.

Light in August by William Faulkner

This classic novel about courage in the face of impermanence features some of Faulkner’s most striking characters: including a naïve yet determined woman who is searching for the father of her unborn child; a preacher who is haunted by memories of the Civil War; and a mysterious drifter obsessed by his mixed heritage.

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo

A quirky yet sweet young adult read about Raymie Clarke, a young girl who is dealing with the fact that her father has left her family. The story unfolds as she tries to solve the family crisis and, in the process, makes some unlikely friendships.

Without Warning by Joel C. Rosenberg

Joel Rosenberg’s latest novel is a page-turner set in the Middle East of 2017 amid the ISIS conflict. An attack on Washington occurs, resulting in a global search for the perpetrators. Conservative Christian New York Times reporter J.B. Collins gets to the bottom of the problem even as his faith is tested. The conclusion is a big surprise.

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