Author archives: Daniel Hart

Where Are the “Equal Rights” of Unborn Babies?

by Daniel Hart

April 26, 2017

Equality. Equal rights.

In the last few years, these terms have become inescapable in America. Everything from workplace pay for women to LGBT rights has been framed in these terms. “Equality” has become a powerful idea in the American imagination. I’m not entirely sure exactly when the term became so omnipresent, but it’s not hard to see where its origins lie—the preamble of our Declaration of Independence declares these immortal words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”

While we continue to grapple as a society with what “equality” really means in every human context, there is one entire class of people that currently does not have the most basic right among rights. I am speaking of the unborn child, who does not even have the right to live, under our laws. The mother of an unborn child, if she so chooses, can supersede the most basic right of her own offspring. Anyone who honestly assesses this state of affairs would have to admit that abortion is far and away the most egregious example of “inequality” that currently afflicts our society. (For more on this, be sure to tune in to our lecture, “The Equal Rights Argument for Fetal Personhood” on April 27 at noon.)

Recent events continue to put this issue in stark relief. In a study published in Nature Communications, it was revealed that researchers had for the first time suspended premature baby lambs in artificial wombs (equivalent to 23-week-old human fetuses) and successfully nurtured them for four weeks, in which they “opened their eyes, fattened up, and grew coats of white wool.” After another two years of study, and if the method is approved, “the wombs can be tested on human preemies within three to five years.” This new technology could potentially save the lives of thousands of premature babies who are born every year—currently, only about half of the 30,000 babies born before 24 weeks survive.

All of this raises the question: if we are using cutting-edge technology to save the lives of some 24-week-old babies, how can other 24-week-old babies be legally killed? Don’t the 24-week-old babies who are scheduled for abortion deserve the same “equal rights” as the 24-week-old babies who are being cared for in neonatal intensive care units?

Social Conservative Review - April 18, 2017

by Daniel Hart

April 18, 2017

Dear Friends,

Why be Christian? Out of all the religions and philosophies in the world that vie for the God-sized hole in every human heart, why choose Christianity?

For believers, there are a limitless amount of ways to answer this fundamental question, and we should “always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you,” as 1 Peter 3:15 entreats us. But where does one start in this defense? If one were to synthesize the most basic argument for Christ, what would it be?

In pondering this question, I was particularly struck by a point that Regis Martin recently made in Crisis. He describes a Christian as “someone who carries within him the adamantine conviction that Another accompanies him every step of the way.” In other words, Christianity is tangibly human and personal because “in showing us the face of Christ, we are thus given a saving glimpse of Someone to whom we may entrust everything, including especially our brokenness and sin.”

Martin goes on to quote Joseph Ratzinger (who later became Pope Benedict XVI), who wrote that “the most fundamental feature of faith … [is] its personal character”:

Christian faith is more than the option in favor of a spiritual ground to the world; its central formula is not ‘I believe in something,’ but ‘I believe in Thee.’ It is the encounter with the human being Jesus, and in this encounter it experiences the meaning of the world as a person.

[T]he meaning of the world as a person.” It seems to me that this precisely encapsulates “the hope that is in us.” It captures a lightness of feeling that is almost impossible to put into words; it’s that serene trust that comes with the knowledge that no matter what sufferings we undergo in life, Christ suffered just the same, even to the point of dying for our sins. Because of this, we are and will always remain a child of God that was loved into being and will be loved for all eternity.

God, who is one with Christ (John 10:30), is our Heavenly Father and we are his children. For many believers, therefore, the Christian faith beautifully intertwines with our natural experience of growing up under the protection of a loving earthly father. This is why the family must be strengthened, nurtured, and upheld in our society—it is the earthly reflection of God’s heavenly love for us.

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 ‘bigly,’ and necessary, humility of Judge Neil GorsuchTravis Weber

Think Slavery Has Been Eradicated in the 21st Century? You’d Be Wrong.Travis Weber

Hopeful Signs of Resurrection in AmericaDan Hart

The Plight of Jews in PakistanChris Gacek

Gorsuch on International and Foreign LawTravis Weber

Christianity in Iraq Appears Doomed to ExtinctionChris Gacek

 

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

GOP Calls on Trump to Honor Promise to Defend Religious LibertyToddStarnes.com

Texas Governor Abbott: Restore Religious Leaders’ Right To Endorse Political CampaignsHank Berrien, The Daily Wire

Atheist Group Says It’s Unconstitutional for College Football Coach to Tweet About GodSamuel Smith, The Christian Post

Supreme Court readies for religious liberty showdownEvan Wilt, WORLD

International Religious Freedom

Extermination of Christians in Egypt Not Getting Enough AttentionSusan Jones, CNS News

China Installing Spy Cameras in ChurchesKim Smith, Conservative Tribune

Jehovah’s Witnesses banned as “extremists” by RussiaJohn Burger, Aleteia

USCIRF to Launch Extensive List of People Imprisoned for Their Faith WorldwideSamuel Smith, The Christian Post

Religious Liberty Increasingly Under Threat in India Amid Surge of Hindu NationalismJames Di Pane and Olivia Enos, The Daily Signal

Fight for me’Mindy Belz, WORLD

Military Religious Freedom

I am not ashamed of my faith:’ Air Force officer punished for Christian view of marriage speaks outFr. Mark Hodges, LifeSiteNews

 

Life

Abortion

Abortion and Bodily AutonomyJames Gottry, Medium

Why Can Rivers Be Granted Legal Personhood But Not Human Babies? – Zachary D. Schmoll, The Federalist

10 babies born alive after abortions in 2015 – in only 3 statesCarole Novielli, Live Action News

40 Days for Life Ends With 437 Babies Saved From Abortion, 1 Abortion Clinic Closed and One Staffer QuitShawn Carney, LifeNews

Arkansas Bans Sex-Selective AbortionsBrian Fraga, National Catholic Register

Pro-lifers Celebrate Huge Win at UN CommissionStefano Gennarini, C-Fam

Adoption

Society Can Never Make Up For The Husband Single Moms Don’t HaveRebekah Curtis, The Federalist

Bishops back bill to let agencies opt out of adoption for same-sex couplesCatholic News Service

Bioethics

Canada harvesting the organs of euthanasia patientsSamantha Gobba, Baptist Press

Charlie Gard case: Doctors can withdraw baby’s life supportBBC

Ontario sets up ‘death hotline’ to force doctors to comply with having patients killedLianne Laurence, LifeSiteNews

Rent-a-wombMary Jackson, WORLD

 

Family

Economics/Education

Religion and Inequality – Eric Metaxas & Roberto Rivera, BreakPoint

Surveying Sex, Denying Childhood – Carl R. Trueman, First Things

The Cancer Eating Away at College Campuses – Walter E. Williams, The Daily Signal

Marriage

A Gender-Neutral Marriage Is Not the Only Path to Equality – Ashley McGuire, Family Studies

Family Trees and the Troubling Problem of Absent FathersRoland C. Warren, Care Net

Why Would Millennial Men Prefer Stay-at-home Wives? Ethnicity and Choice FeminismW. Bradford Wilcox, Family Studies

How a Man Loves a WomanBen Stuart, Desiring God

A Child of Divorce Speaks Out on the Importance of a FamilyJim Graves, National Catholic Register

Faith/Character/Culture

Too many Christians have decided that the world is bad …”Tom Hoopes, Aleteia

Love People Enough to Tell the TruthRyan Bomberger, The Christian Post

The Case For Christ” and A Stubbornly Historical ReligionBp. Robert Barron, Word On Fire

Human Sexuality

Sounding the alarmSophia Lee, WORLD

New Research on Unmarried Mothers and Family FormationNaomi Cahn, Family Studies

Surveying Sex, Denying ChildhoodCarl R. Trueman, First Things

Boys Will Keep Winning Girls’ Sports Trophies Until We Are Willing To Re-Assert Sex DistinctionsJoy Pullmann, The Federalist

Protecting Women from Sexual Assault Requires Acknowledging the Differences between Men and WomenAshley McGuire, Verily

Human Trafficking

Eyes of the highways: Raising a ‘trucker army’ for trafficking fightEoghan Macguire, CNN

Pornography

What If My Husband Looks at Porn? – Kara Garis, Desiring God

12 Ways Pornography Just Doesn’t Show Enough – Dustin Murphy, The Federalist

Hopeful Signs of Resurrection in America

by Daniel Hart

April 12, 2017

This Sunday, Christians all over the world will celebrate the Resurrection of Christ from the dead. Easter is the church’s greatest feast day because it encompasses Christ’s fulfilment of his mission on earth: by dying on a Roman cross on Friday, April 3rd, A.D. 33 and rising from the dead on the following Sunday, he conquered human sin and death. The astonishing enormity of this event in history cannot be overstated enough. In one fell swoop, Christ offered the fullness of redemption to every person for all of eternity—namely, release from the chains of our fallen human nature and the prospect of a meaningless death. In and through Jesus, we can become cleansed of our sin and hope in the eternal life that is to come in heaven after our earthly lives are over.

To contemplate these truths for even a moment does wonders in lifting one’s spirit, which can be easily bogged down when considering the tremendous challenges that our country faces with regards to protecting all human life, cultivating natural marriage, and defending religious liberty. And so, in the spirit of Our Lord’s Resurrection, let’s reflect on some very hopeful recent signs of rebirth in America.

Life

In January, it was reported that the U.S. abortion rate is currently at its lowest level since Roe v. Wade was foisted on the country in 1973. There are a number of different factors that have contributed to this welcome decline, but the tireless work of the pro-life movement in state legislatures has undoubtedly been crucial—334 pro-life laws have been passed in the last five years.

Also in January, President Trump signed an executive order that reinstated the “Mexico City Policy,” which halts federal funds from going to foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that commit abortions or “actively promote” abortion. This is wonderful news, as it stops a staggering $600 million from funding the destruction of unborn human life annually.

This past week, Judge Neil Gorsuch was confirmed to serve on the Supreme Court, filling Justice Antonin Scalia’s vacant seat. As we have pointed out in recent weeks, Judge Gorsuch will be a true Constitutionalist Justice who believes that life is “intrinsically valuable and that intentional killing is always wrong.” While he has not directly ruled on abortion, he has stated in the past that “the right to terminate a pregnancy… involves the death of a person.”

Marriage

The current divorce rate is at a 40-year low, while the marriage rate has risen to its highest level since 2009. While the overall rates of divorce and marriage are still depressingly high and low (respectively), recent trends are encouraging for the immediate future.

Another hopeful trend that bodes well for America’s future is, surprisingly, the marriage preferences of millennials. New research has shown that millennials aren’t as obsessed with the progressive talking point of “gender equality” as one would think. As Ashley McGuire points out in Family Studies, “Many of us also feel more comfortable embracing what Pew continues to find, decade after decade: namely, that women consistently say that part-time work is our ‘ideal work situation.’ Millennial women seem to be asserting our autonomy against a culture that turned opportunity for women into a shackle.” McGuire further notes:

The reality is that many married millennial couples with children will readily admit that two full-time working parents is not ideal for a litany of reasons, including marital happiness, individual stress, financial strain, and familial sanity. That’s not to say that lots of couples don’t make it work, but just a gander over to my city’s most-read parenting blog, and you will find plenty who will call the arrangement of two full-time parents “hell.” Many millennial women, like me, take pride in making choices that feel best for their family at that particular time.

That a rising generation of young people feels more comfortable expressing a preference for a male breadwinner is not a setback to equality in a marriage. Rather, it suggests that both millennial men and women are increasingly respectful of what it is that women want most when they have small children. I would call that a step forward for authentic marital equality. It’s only a setback to equality if we measure women in a marriage against their husbands, and not against women’s own benchmarks for happiness. And it’s only a setback for equality if we refuse to allow women to be the ones to set those benchmarks because of antiquated feminist notions about gender neutrality or because it somehow hurts the GDP’s bottom line.

This simply underscores what has historically been common practice: that most families do best when the mother is a stable, nurturing presence in the home for her children, while the father engages in the majority of paid work to support the family financially. As the studies cited previously have shown, this arrangement is what most men and women naturally prefer anyway.

Religious Liberty

The confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is a tremendous uplift not only for the protection of life, but for the defense of religious liberty. He will now be seated on the High Court in time to hear the case of Trinity Lutheran Church v. Pauley, which will decide whether state governments can discriminate against churches and religious organizations in favor of nonreligious organizations in the context of receiving public money.

Another sign of hope is the fact that the Trump administration is currently considering signing an executive order that would strengthen religious liberty protections for Americans of faith. A letter signed by 52 House Republicans underscores the urgency of the situation: “We look forward to coordinating with your administration on these efforts so that critical religious liberty and conscience protections may finally be restored to millions of Americans who have been harmed and left unprotected for far too many years.” The proposed executive order would ensure that government persecution of Christians for their beliefs about abortion, same-sex marriage, public prayer, and other concerns would cease, and that their First Amendment rights would be restored.

All of this should be a great source of encouragement for believers. But even if all of these hopeful signs fail to come to fruition, our hope in Christ cannot fail. Christ suffered, died, and rose again for all of humanity. Therefore, Christ is the Lord of history, who “is intent on remaking and saving his world, binding up its wounds and setting it right.” This wonderful reality will forever resurrect our fallen human hearts.

Social Conservative Review - April 3, 2017

by Daniel Hart

April 3, 2017

Dear Friends,

Should Christians retreat from an increasingly hostile culture into supportive enclaves in order to be “a people set apart,” or should believers instead fearlessly engage the culture with the truth in order to bring Christ’s light to the world? This debate has been raging in the blogosphere for quite some time, but recently it has reached a fever pitch following the release of Rod Dreher’s highly anticipated book The Benedict Option, in which the author argues that the church should “embrace exile from mainstream culture and construct a resilient counterculture.”

Among the many passionate and articulate articles that have analyzed this question lately, I found Eric Metaxas’ recent piece to be particularly thought provoking. In it, he points to a new book by Makoto Fujimura called Culture Care to make the observation that Christians should most definitely engage the culture in order to transform it, but should do so not by focusing solely on fighting the culture wars: “I believe even more important for Christians than being on the front lines of the culture war is participating in the culture—and better yet, helping to create and nurture it. If the main contribution that Christians make to culture is complaining about it, we’re doing something wrong.”

Interestingly, Rod Dreher himself would likely agree. In an interview a few weeks ago, he said: “Even if Trump does everything we religious conservatives want him to do, it’s not going to turn the culture around—it’s the culture that we as believers have got to pay closer attention to; it’s not about politics, it’s about culture.”

I would argue that believers should employ a “both/and” approach rather than an “either/or” one. In other words, our engagement should not be framed in terms of either fighting political battles or focusing on the arts. When the time comes to stand for truth by supporting a political cause, there should be no backing down. But just as important is the effort to support good art that can in turn influence culture in a positive way.

Metaxas cites Fujimura’s analogy of a garden to illustrate this point: “His image of a garden is just one of many he draws from nature, to show how we can carefully and patiently help to cultivate that cultural environment and make good things grow in it. So, how do we do this? Fujimura suggests that both Christians and the arts community start by learning to look at each other as potential allies, even friends, instead of as sworn enemies. He asks us to consider investing in cultural works, as we’re able to afford it.”

Metaxas continues: “This isn’t always easy work, but it’s extremely valuable and worthwhile. It requires thoughtful engagement instead of blanket condemnation, and it may call for us to broaden our understanding and deal with ideas that seem unfamiliar and uncomfortable. But from such efforts come moments that he calls ‘generative,’ or ‘life-giving.’ Christians who enjoy and support art and culture, who make it a priority in their lives, and who reach out to those in the arts instead of reflexively pushing them away, can help bring the culture toward a renewed appreciation of goodness, truth, and beauty. And that is good for everyone.”

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

Religious Liberty: An Introduction to Our Freedom to Believe  Travis Weber

During His Hearings, Neil Gorsuch Answered Tough Questions With EaseMandi Ancalle

Gorsuch’s Pro-Life PromiseArina Grossu

Don’t let ‘TrumpCare’ come at the cost of Trump’s pro-life pledgeJeanne Mancini and Tony Perkins

Should Stay-At-Home Moms Be Forced To Work?Peter Witkowski

Boys Need FathersDan Hart

One Year Anniversary of the United States Declaring ISIS’ Actions to be GenocideTravis Weber

The Amish: America’s Fastest Growing Church?Peter Witkowski

 

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

Justice Alito says country increasingly ‘hostile’ to ‘traditional moral beliefs’David Porter, Chicago Tribune

End Bible classes? West Virginia school seeks to dismiss atheist lawsuitFox News

School Orders Boy to “Tolerate” Undressing with Girl and Make it “Natural”ToddStarnes.com

In Oregon, the left targets an evangelical GOP judgeRalph Z. Hallow, The Washington Times

A Justice Gorsuch will defend religious libertyAmy Vitale, The Hill

International Religious Freedom

To Win Back What We’ve Lost: How Defenders of Religious Freedom Are Fighting to Reclaim International LawBenjamin Bull, Public Discourse

Canada passes motion to silence critics of IslamPete Baklinski, LifeSiteNews

Globalist Illusions and the Folly of Global GovernanceSamuel Gregg, Public Discourse

Military Religious Freedom

Chaplains to Army: Cease training that assaults biblical beliefsChaplain Alliance For Religious Liberty

First Liberty Institute Seeks Justice for Air Force Colonel Targeted for His FaithPenny Starr, Breitbart

 

Life

Abortion

40 Days for Life Prayer Campaigns Have Collectively Saved 13,000 Babies From Abortion – Shawn Carney and David Brando, Life News

California’s Moral Atrocity – Ian Tuttle, National Review

CLOSED: Maryland Planned Parenthood abortion clinic shuts downNancy Flanders, Live Action News

Paul Ryan: Planned Parenthood to be defunded through reconciliationBradford Richardson, The Washington Times

Adoption

First Comes Love, Then Comes AdoptionAaron Menikoff, The Gospel Coalition

Expert talks about the rewards and challenges of international adoptionJon Kelvey, Carroll County Times

Bioethics

Canada Conjoins Euthanasia and Organ HarvestingWesley J. Smith, National Review

Oregon Proposes Outright Legalization of EuthanasiaCullen Herout, Crisis

Handful of Senate Dems help Republicans defeat aid-in-dying billSteve Terrell, The New Mexican

The Demise of Language and the Rise of CloningMichael Wee, Public Discourse

Science For Three-Parent Babies Is Here, But Is It Ethical?Nora Sullivan, The Daily Caller

 

Family

Economics/Education

Family Collapse And Poor Economic Prospects Led To High White Mortality Rate, Study Authors Say – Alex Pfeiffer, The Daily Caller

Lean In’s Biggest Hurdle: What Most Moms Want – Steven E. Rhoads, Family Studies

Marriage

Why the Little Moments in Marriage Matter – Anna Sutherland, Family Studies

Study: Children Born to Married Parents More Likely to Experience Family Stability – Michael Gryboski, The Christian Post

Yesterday’s Love Stories: The Gray Divorce Phenomenon – Rhonda Kruse Nordin, Family Studies

Should stay-at-home moms be outlawed? – Calah Alexander, Aleteia

Faith/Character/Culture

God Will Triumph: A Response to Rod Dreher’s Benedict Option – Rob Schwarzwalder, The Stream

How John Piper’s Seashells Swept Over a Generation – Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra, The Gospel Coalition

Are We Living In The Matrix? – Joe Heschmeyer, Word On Fire

The Beauty of Women Will Save the World – Carrie Gress, National Catholic Register

Christians: Stop Fighting the Culture and Start Caring for It – Eric Metaxas, The Christian Post

Human Sexuality

Fertility Awareness-Based Family Planning: Good for Both Body and Soul – Ana Maria Dumitru, Public Discourse

What Is Really Best for Me? Applying the Bible to the Same-Sex-Attracted – Nick Roen, Desiring God

Supreme Incoherence: Transgender Ideology and the End Of Law – Jeff Shafer, First Things

May I Please Speak to My Daddy? – Doug Mainwaring, Public Discourse

Mike Pence’s Wise Family Practices Expose a Deep Divide Over Human Nature – David French, National Review

Blurred Lines: Understanding The Effort To Redefine Gender And Sexuality – B. Christopher Agee, Western Journalism

Human Trafficking

Trafficking Survivors Tell UN: Strengthen Families To Protect Women and GirlsMarianna Orlandi, C-Fam

Pornography

Resources to Protect Your Children from Pornography – Nebraska Family Alliance

Report: Pornography Use Tied to Relationship Dissatisfaction – Thomas D. Williams, Breitbart

4 Problems With Watching Porn You May Not Have Known About – Fight The New Drug

Porn is dangerous … That’s why Arkansas lawmakers are calling it a ‘public health crisis’ – Peter LaBarbera, LifeSiteNews

Should Stay-At-Home Moms Be Forced To Work?

by Peter Witkowski

March 30, 2017

Recently, feminist author Sarrah Le Marquand made headlines when she reinvigorated a debate over motherhood. She went beyond the traditional fight for paid maternity leave, demanding that her Australian government outlaw stay-at-home mothers of school-aged children.

She writes, “Rather than wail about the supposed liberation in a woman’s right to choose to shun employment, we should make it a legal requirement that all parents of children school-age or older are gainfully employed.” She goes on to say “only when we evenly divide responsibility for workplace participation between the two genders will we see a more equitable division between men and women in all parts of Australian life.”

In an attempt to control how men and women function in society, Le Marquand wants to establish new regulations that will ensure equality. She has good reasons to be concerned. According to Pew Research Center, more women than men want to stay home with their children. And more men than women feel compelled to work to provide for their families. Only 31 percent of women who live comfortably view working full time as their ideal. And only 23 percent of married women view working full time as ideal. When given a choice, most women prefer to stay home.

This reality creates a problem for Le Marquand and other feminists like Simone de Beauvoir, who once said: “No woman should be authorized to stay home to raise her children. Women should not have that choice, because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one.” Both have concluded that women lack the intelligence to choose wisely. Thus, that choice must be removed.

Le Marquand argues that requiring mothers to work makes economic sense, but such thinking is woefully shortsighted. Economic value cannot be measured via the size of one’s paycheck. For example, a student who is in medical school makes very little money. Even so, the person’s earning potential will grow exponentially once he or she is out of school. Lack of gainful employment does not necessarily imply that a person is not contributing to a nation’s economic well-being.

Quite frankly, raising the next generation by ensuring that children are equipped to contribute to society and to the workforce allows the mother to do more for her nation’s well-being than her spouse does. By running her home well, she empowers both her kids and her spouse to engage society in a more meaningful manner and to work more effectively. To miss this fact is to doom your economy. The demographic disasters that are currently brewing in Japan, China, and all across Europe illustrate this point well. Maximizing a workforce solely for today at the expense of investing in future generations always has disastrous consequences.

Moreover, the equality of function that Le Marquand demands does not exist. Yes, both men and women are fully equal (Gen 1:27). Both are created in the image of God. But equality of value does not equal equality of function. Men and women function differently because they were designed differently. Women are naturally more nurturing than men; this is reflected in the fact that women’s bodies nurture their unborn children for nine months and feed their newborns for many months after birth. In addition, differences in the brain structure of men and women have shown that women have “more wiring in regions linked to memory and social cognition.” This is part of the reason why many women tend to be better at understanding the feelings of their children, and are thus more equipped to nurture them. Even those who wish to argue against the presence of these differences cannot ultimately escape them. As psychologist Emma M. Seppala concluded, “While women’s expression involved nurturing and bonding, men’s compassion was expressed through protecting and ensuring survival.” Women tend to be better equipped biologically and sociologically than men to care for their children.

As Pew Research Center discovered, most mothers will prefer being a stay-at-home mom over being a bread winner. This ability to care for the next generation does not preclude mothers from contributing directly to their nation’s economy if they so choose. But when women make the choice to focus primarily on raising the next generation, they are expressing their special and unique feminine capacity for nurturing their children. This is not a bad thing that must be legislated against. It is a natural function of femininity that should be embraced—not just for the benefit of children, but for all of society.

Peter Witkowski is the Associate Pastor of Preschool and Children at First Baptist Church in Eastman, Ga.

Boys Need Fathers

by Daniel Hart

March 24, 2017

While watching a documentary about the rise and fall of the rock band Oasis recently, I was struck by a comment that the group’s songwriter and guitarist Noel Gallagher made while discussing his relationship with his estranged father, who left the family when he was a child: “I’m long since over whatever was going on with my old fella. All I care about is the music. In the end, none of this will matter. When it’s all said and done, what will remain is the songs.”

I can certainly understand why he would feel this way about a father who was almost totally absent from his childhood. But what struck me was how he dismissed this gaping hole in his life as not even mattering, in the end. We as human beings know intuitively that having a stable childhood with a loving mother and father matters a great deal, often in ways that we don’t comprehend at the time but later realize in hindsight. But as adults, this can often be too painful to admit.

A recent two-part interview (1 & 2) with Dr. Warren Farrell conducted by Family Studies sheds further light on a growing body of evidence that illustrates the devastating effects that fatherlessness causes on kids, particularly boys:

Dads tend to build bonds with their sons by, for example, playing games and rough-housing, and then use the resulting bond as leverage for their sons to “get to bed on time” lest there be “no playing tomorrow night.” This boundary enforcement teaches boys postponed gratification. Boys with minimal or no father involvement more frequently suffer from an addiction to immediate gratification. For example, with minimal or no father involvement there is a much greater likelihood of video game addiction, more ADHD, worse grades in every subject, less empathy, less assertiveness (but more aggression), fewer social skills, more alienation and loneliness, more obesity, rudderlessness, anger, drugs, drinking, delinquency, disobedience, depression and suicide.

A boy looks at his dad and sees the man he could become. If his dad is minimally present, that doesn’t give him much hope that marriage with children will lead to him having the emotional satisfaction of being a fully-involved dad. Some dad-deprived boys see their dad living in a small apartment after divorce, and having to fight in court to be more involved with them, even as their dads are working a job they don’t like to pay for the children they can’t see as much as they’d like. That reinforces their purpose void and an abyss of hopelessness.

This demonstrates what has become a tragic pattern in our culture: when boys do not have their fathers in their lives, they themselves become skeptical and distrustful of marriage as a legitimate life goal. Too often, this leads to these same boys becoming absent fathers through non-marital relationships that break up. And so the cycle continues from one generation to the next.

Farrell observes that part of the solution “involves guiding our sons to seize the opportunity to find more meaningful senses of purpose in work and parenting—ones tailored to their unique self.” He further argues that mentorship is crucial for boys to find their unique vocational calling: “Dads and male mentors are crucial in this process, as are women who understand how to not throw out the baby of masculinity with the bathwater.”

And how do boys find meaning in parenthood? Not surprisingly, Farrell argues that healthy marriages are crucial:

Making marriages better serves everyone. Many couples with children who are legally married are psychologically divorced. Divorces are due less to problems with money, sex or children, and more to each partner feeling that her or his perspectives on money, sex, or children are rarely heard. When our partner airs her or his perspective, we often take it as criticism, and the Achilles’ heel of human beings is our inability to handle personal criticism from a loved one without becoming defensive.

That is, we have a “love dilemma”: while “falling in love” is biologically natural, sustaining love is biologically unnatural. For our children to not fear marriage, then, they need to see that their parents have learned how to do what does not come naturally: sustain love.

This creates the greatest single opportunity for the most radical solution to the boy crisis: parental modeling of how to sustain love. I introduce in The Boy Crisis my “Altered Mindsets Method of Non-defensive Communication,” which has allowed couples to emotionally associate their partner’s criticism as an opportunity to deepen their love. It’s a method I have honed over two decades via couples’ communication workshops… [E]mpathy communication skills need to be part of every elementary school’s core curriculum… This is the most important single global change for love in our families and peace in the world.

When couples continually work at sustaining love within their marriage, divorces will decrease and more and more boys will grow up with their fathers. I think everyone, including Noel Gallagher, would agree that this is a goal worth fighting for, and it matters greatly indeed.

The Amish: America’s Fastest Growing Church?

by Peter Witkowski

March 17, 2017

When we think of happening Christian groups, we typically imagine big church conferences, exciting worship concerts, and authentic community groups meeting in local coffee shops. Given this mindset, the following information will probably blow your mind and the minds of most people in your church. In fact, you may need to sit down for this.

The fastest growing sector of the evangelical world right now is the Amish. That is correct—our beard sporting, bonnet wearing, and buggy driving brothers and sisters are expanding at a record pace. Over the past five years, the Amish have grown by 18 percent. Between 2015-2016, they started 66 new congregations. They have even reached out to South America, planting communities in both Bolivia and Argentina. During that same time, the number of people that attend Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) churches declined by 11 percent.

Despite our well-trained SBC clergy, our smooth programming, and our billion dollar budgets, SBC churches are losing out to their brothers and sisters who churn their own butter. What’s more, the Amish have no major outreach campaigns. They typically struggle to reach out to people outside their villages, making their growth even more perplexing to SBC and other evangelical denominations. Yet since 1992, the Amish have been beating our church growth percentages left and right.

When researchers began studying this phenomenon, they discovered that the growth of the Amish movement had little to do with cold calling evangelism and everything to do with birthrate and education.

The latest birthrate statistics for the SBC estimate that each SBC couple has around 2.1 kids, a number that sits below the replacement level. Once death and other things are factored in, SBC churches would slowly die even if every kid born to SBC parents stayed in the church. And unfortunately, they do not. Almost 51 percent of all evangelical kids (including our SBC’ers) will leave the church. Most of those children will not return. For a church to maintain its size, every member (including the single ones) in the church must bring about 1.2 people into the church via birth or evangelism.

The Amish do not have this problem. The average Amish couple has 6.8 kids per family. And 85 percent of their children will choose to remain in the Amish community. When given the chance to freely choose between the modern world and the Amish lifestyle, more than 8 out of 10 Amish children choose to stay. Every Amish couple will add about 5 kids to their local church’s congregation, while the average Baptist couple will add about 1. And when the couples die off, the Amish church will have grown by 150 percent, while the SBC church will have decreased by 50 percent if birthrate is the only factor.

These numbers show that evangelism is not the major failing of our local SBC and evangelical churches. Our problem has everything to do with our view of children and the family. Churches that do not have members having children will not succeed.

Now, every Christian does not have to embrace the “19 Kids and Counting” lifestyle. Christ is still our ultimate goal and not family size. But, we must begin to revive pro-family values in our churches. Being pro-family goes well past having a catchy kids’ program. We need to celebrate birth. We need to praise parents for having big families instead of chastising them with snide comments. We need to come to the point where we value kids more than traveling, nice homes, and our own tranquility. We need to live as if children are a blessing.

And then, we need to commit to training our kids. We need to organize our families around the Gospel. We need to have intentional times of family worship. We must realize that going to church twice a week or twice a month will not provide our kids with an adequate religious framework. We must realize that the world evangelizes our kids 7 days a week. We must do the same. And we must intentionally find ways to protect our kids from the dangerous doctrines of the world and find ways to train them in righteousness. Commenting on Psalm 1, the pastor Voddie Bauchman says,

We must not allow our children to stand, sit and walk with those who deny biblical truth and morality … We can no longer coast along and ignore biblical truth when deciding where and how to educate our children … Do everything in your power to place your child in an educational environment that supplements and facilitates their discipleship.

The Amish have understood this truth and have applied it. As a result of their faithfulness, most of their children remain in their communities and churches. The Baptists and other evangelicals have not grasped this principles. And now, we are losing over half of our kids to the world around us. The realities cannot be denied.

Now admittedly, the Amish have not gotten everything right. I do not think electricity leads to sin. I also think our churches should be more evangelistic than the typical Amish farmer. But the Amish have realized that family is key. They have functionally realized that children under the age of 18 are the population most open to being evangelized and have literally devoted a large portion of their life to reaching this next generation. If we want our SBC and evangelical Bible-believing churches to once again flourish, we too must be pro-family and do a better job of training our children in the faith. Are we willing to make the hard choices and to become a little more Amish?

Peter Witkowski is the Associate Pastor of Preschool and Children at First Baptist Church in Eastman, Ga.

Social Conservative Review - March 16, 2017

by Daniel Hart

March 16, 2017

Dear Friends,

By now, you have probably seen or heard about the viral video of a dad whose kids unexpectedly burst into his home office during a live BBC interview he is doing over Skype. It was a hilariously endearing moment, and not just because of the panicked yet heroic efforts of the man’s wife as she swooped in to grab the kids. For me, it was also a messily beautiful reminder of the intimate connection between work and the family.

In today’s culture, work is often trumpeted as an end in itself. A high-paying career is frequently seen as something that can be pursued at all costs, without regard to the detrimental effects that this can have on one’s personal life. This attitude causes a tragic segmentation in life, which should be holistic in nature. A career should never be pursued at the expense of neglecting the relationships that sustain us and that we are called by God to nurture. A “career first” mentality has it exactly backward—work should always be in the service of our families and our communities.

Another sad tendency in modern culture is to distort the definition of “work” itself. When studies come out showing that wives on average do more housework than husbands and husbands on average engage in more paid work than wives, cries of “inequality!” are yelped from the rooftops of mainstream media outlets. But let’s stop and think about this for a minute: one person works for the money to pay for the groceries; the other uses the groceries to prepare the meals. Both activities are different kinds of work that are equally important and intrinsically united—if either of the two are not done, nobody eats.

I say all this to illustrate my central point: an increasingly secular culture tends to strictly divide “professional life” from “personal life.” But in a wonderfully unscripted moment during a live BBC newscast, this artificial edifice was briefly torn down with the help of an excited toddler and her sibling.

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

I’m Grateful for the Restoration of the Mexico City Policy This International Women’s DayArina Grossu

Another Chance for President Trump to Make Sure Foreign Governments Play by the RulesKen Blackwell

Judge Neil Gorsuch: The Case for ConfirmationTravis Weber and Chris Gacek

The Refugee Implications of President Trump’s Executive Orders – Travis Weber

Joseph Nicolosi, Father of “Reparative Therapy” for Homosexuality, Dies Suddenly – Peter Sprigg

A Biblical Perspective on Immigration – Travis Weber

President Trump’s Executive Orders on Immigration: Religious Freedom and Other Implications – Travis Weber

The U.S. No Longer Funds Overseas Abortions. Canada and Europe Grind Their Teeth – Dan Hart

Voiceless: Christians Must Engage the Culture to Fight Abortion – Dan Hart

 

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

The Rioters Are WinningDavid French, National Review

Over 150 conservative leaders urge Trump to sign order protecting religious libertyClaire Chretien, LifeSiteNews

School: Trump Chant is Hate SpeechToddStarnes.com

Just Because Liberals Call Something ‘Discrimination’ Doesn’t Mean It Actually IsRyan T. Anderson, The Daily Signal

International Religious Freedom

Christians are the world’s most persecuted religious group, according to studiesZoe Romanowsky, Aleteia

United Nations Committee Demands Ireland Legalize AbortionMicaiah Bilger, LifeNews

Pro-Life Counseling Becomes Illegal in FranceMarie Meaney, Crisis

Liberal bill empowers gvmt to take kids from Ontario parents who don’t accept gender ideology: legal experts – Lianne Laurence, LifeSiteNews

Christian Group Compassion International Closes India Operations Amid Crackdown by Hindu Nationalists – Anugrah Kumar, The Christian Post

2016 Annual Report: Chinese Government Persecution of Churches and Christians in Mainland China  – China Aid

Military Religious Freedom

Air Force Says Words Like ‘Boy’ & ‘Girl’ Could be OffensiveToddStarnes.com

Religious Freedom Group Defends Military Chaplains’ Right to Pray at Official EventsLiberty McArtor, The Stream

 

Life

Abortion

Canadian gvmt pledges $650 million to increase abortion globallyLianne Laurence, LifeSiteNews

Hawaii considering bill to force church, pro-life centers to promote abortion – Bradford Richardson, The Washington Times

One Planned Parenthood Clinic Has Injured Women in 64 Botched Abortions, Has 39 Health Violations – Cheryl Sullenger, Life News

Pro-Life, Pro-TruthAlexi Sargeant, First Things

In Iceland 100% of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. Think about that.Lauren Bell, LifeSiteNews

Human Rights Activist: Forced Abortion Policy Leads to 23 Million Abortions a Year in China – Penny Starr, Breitbart

Adoption

New South Dakota law could protect religious adoption agencies – Catholic News Agency

How 5 siblings pleading to stay together as a family became a ‘great crisis’Rick Montgomery, The Sacramento Bee

Nebraska’s budget squeeze puts post-adoption help at riskMartha Stoddard, Omaha World-Herald

Bioethics

Embryo Experiments Reveal Earliest Human Development, But Stir Ethical DebateRob Stein, NPR

Science confirms that human life begins at fertilizationLuke Faulkner, Live Action News

Alaska Legislature Will Hold Hearing on Dangerous Bill Legalizing Assisted Suicide – Steve Ertelt, LifeNews

Democrats Push Bill to Legalize Assisted Suicide in Wisconsin – Erin Parfet, LifeNews

Maryland Pro-Life Advocates Stop Bill to Legalize Assisted Suicide – Dave Andrusko, LifeNews

Obamacare

Repealing Obamacare Will Create, Not Kill, JobsJohn R. Graham, Independent Institute

Pro-Life Groups Sound Caution on Obamacare Replacement Bill – Rachel del Guidice, The Daily Signal

 

Family

Economics/Education

Can Declining Productivity Growth Be Reversed? – Bourree Lam, The Atlantic

Marriage

Your Marriage: You Have No Idea of the Good You Are DoingDoug Mainwaring, Public Discourse

Married Parenthood Remains the Best Path to a Stable FamilyAlysse ElHage, Family Studies

Couple with Down Syndrome Criticized over Engagement. But after Twenty-Two Years of Marriage, See Them NowNoell Wolfgram Evans, Liftable

Is Your Smartphone Coming Between You and Your Spouse?Greg Smalley, Focus on the Family

Sex in the Modern MarriageAshley McGuire, Family Studies

How Faith Influences Divorce DecisionsSteven M. Harris, Family Studies

Faith/Character/Culture

Ideology and the Corruption of LanguageRandall Smith, Public Discourse

Throw Like a Girl: Why Feminism Insults Real WomenRebekah Merkle, Desiring God

Day Without Women’ Measures Women’s Value The Wrong WayGracy Olmstead, The Federalist

Out of the Ashes: Anthony Esolen’s Clarion Call to Restore Culture, Faith, and Sanity – Michael Bradley, Public Discourse

Emma Watson Explains Perfectly Why I’m A Woman Who Is Afraid Of Feminism – Monica Gabriel Marshall, Verily

Human Sexuality

A Requiem for Friendship – Anthony Esolen, Touchstone

Life in a Foreign Country: Navigating Our Culture’s Change on SexualityEd Shaw, The Gospel Coalition

Biology Isn’t Bigotry: Christians, Lesbians, and Radical Feminists Unite to Fight Gender IdeologyEmily Zinos, Public Discourse

Americans having less sex than they once didTara Bahrampour, The Washington Post

Putting genies back into bottles: Sex before marriageKatrina Fernandez, Aleteia

Human Trafficking

Film spotlights human trafficking as Trump promises actionAP News

Human trafficking growing problem in metro AtlantaNathalie Pozo, Fox 5

Pornography

The High Cost of Free Porn – Owen Strachan, Desiring God

Is Life Better Without Porn? – Frank Honess, The Christian Post

The U.S. No Longer Funds Overseas Abortions. Canada and Europe Grind Their Teeth

by Daniel Hart

March 8, 2017

On January 23rd, President Trump signed an executive order that reinstated the “Mexico City Policy.” The policy, which was originally issued by President Reagan in 1984, halts federal funds from going to foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that commit abortions or “actively promote” abortion.

The order ensures U.S. aid will continue to go to health care, humanitarian relief, and even family planning in the millions of dollars. It just will not subsidize abortion overseas.

Prior to President Reagan’s actions, American policy on paper was to never promote abortion overseas, however in practice U.S. tax dollars directly supported organizations which advocated and performed abortion. It remained in effect until 1993 when President Clinton rescinded the Mexico City policy on January 22, 1993 for the entirety of his tenure in office. On January 22, 2001, President Bush issued an executive order restoring the Mexico City policy. President Bush had also determined that the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) was complicit in China’s forced abortion and sterilization program, and withdrew its U.S. funding. President Obama ignored such facts and rescinded the policies.

The principal behind the Mexico City Policy is simple: abortion is not health care. Therefore, there is absolutely no reason why the U.S. should fund the killing of babies in the womb by giving taxpayer money to NGOs that participate in or promote abortion.

In response to the U.S. policy’s reinstatement, the Netherlands announced in February that it has launched a new fund to replace the money that the Mexico City Policy withholds from funding abortions overseas. Dubbed the “She Decides Global Fundraising Initiative,” the fund will solicit donations from other countries in order to bankroll “ongoing initiatives that improve access to lifesaving contraceptives, family planning, sexuality education and/or safe abortion,” according to the initiative’s website. So far, seven other countries (Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Luxembourg, Finland, and Cape Verde) have officially joined the fund.

If there was ever proof of the extent to which the pro-abortion mentality has taken over in Canada and Europe, this is surely it. When no quarter is given to withholding taxpayer money from be used to directly fund the killing of unborn children, the true colors of those who tout their support of “family planning” are revealed. What was completely glossed over in the media furor over Trump’s Mexico City Policy reinstatement is the fact that it still fully funds all forms of family planning that does not involve the active promotion of abortion. “Active promotion” is defined as providing advice and information regarding the availability of abortion or encourage women to consider abortion; lobbying a foreign government to legalize or make abortion more available; or conducting a public information campaign regarding the benefits and/or availability of abortion.

In a country that is roughly 58 percent “pro-life” (according to a 2015 CNN poll), the Mexico City Policy is a common sense rule that establishes a solid middle ground regarding abortion and the rights of taxpayers in America. If other countries want to protest this by feigning “human rights” for women and girls in the form of abortion, as the “She Decides” initiative does, that is their inhuman prerogative. Meanwhile, the pro-life movement is thankful for President Trump’s pro-life action and will continue to fight for the human rights of unborn girls.

Voiceless: Christians Must Engage the Culture to Fight Abortion

by Daniel Hart

March 3, 2017

In the powerful new film Voiceless, a war veteran starts a new job in the inner city of Philadelphia as a community outreach leader for a church. He soon discovers that an abortion clinic is located directly across the street. As he wrestles with what to do about it, he has a tragic personal experience which convicts him to take action and start a pro-life ministry. When he asks for support from his pastor, the church community, and even his wife, he is met with resistance. Finally, he is faced with a choice between backing away, or fighting for what he believes is right and risking everything he has.

In a panel discussion about the film, Executive Producer Stuart Migdon boiled down the point of Voiceless to this: to motivate Christians to engage the culture in the fight to end abortion. He cited a sobering statistic that found that over 90 percent of evangelical churches do not have a pro-life presence. Another study found that 90 percent of Christians want to hear their church speak on how to confront abortion. This displays a clear disconnect between what believers know is a grave evil and what their churches are doing about it.

As Migdon pointed out, if more Christians were to “wrap their arms around these men and women who are in these situations where they have an unplanned pregnancy, and they were to help them emotionally, physically, spiritually, financially, if they were to give their all to these people, then we would see a change in this country that we have not seen, even before Roe v. Wade.” Migdon continued: “Eighty-four percent of women that have had abortions … say that they never felt they had a choice. The church is designed to be that voice to give them that choice.”

While Voiceless is a thoroughly pro-life film with a clear message, Pat Necerato, the Writer, Producer, and Director, noted that he wanted to make a “character-driven movie about a real person having these struggles and not make it about throwing pie in the pro-choice people’s face.” He also pointed out that he wanted the film to “inspire people to take a stand for what they believe is right.” Necerato believes that the message of Voiceless could really be applied to any cause that people feel passionate about: “If that [any cause] is what you truly believe, you can watch this film and say, ‘You know what? I need to do something about this. I need to get out there and put a stake in the ground.’”

Stuart Migdon’s wish for Voiceless is that it may inspire Christians to act on their pro-life beliefs: “Be passionate, know that we can make a difference … We can have a pro-life ministry in every church in America, and make a huge difference; so much so, I believe, that it won’t be about making abortion illegal, it will be about making abortion unthinkable.”

Resources For Churches

  • Care Net’s Making Life Disciples is a 6-part DVD curriculum that trains churches on ministering to folks in the church facing unplanned pregnancies (20% Off Promotion Code: FRC20). 
  • The Human Coalition’s Church Toolkit provides pastors and churches with resources to address the issue of abortion with grace and compassion, clear biblical understanding, and concrete steps for the congregation. 
  • Voiceless is coming out on DVD on March 7 and it will help any church and pro-life member jumpstart a pro-life ministry. It can be pre-ordered here.
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