The New Thought Police

by Travis Weber

August 24, 2016

Several things are notable about David Gushee’s recent column describing the marginalization of orthodox Christian teaching on sexuality. It may at first appear to be a review of legal and policy developments, but it quickly morphs into a cheerleading piece urging the marginalizing to keep on going. Perhaps Gushee simply takes glee in finding himself sitting on the side of the discriminator. The piece is saturated with policy preferences, not theological explanations. In this context, his mention of doctrine as a factor in the discussion makes no sense. If social and political trends and preferences are what matters, who cares about doctrine?

Yet it wasn’t any of these points which stood out the most as I read the piece, but rather the apparent celebration (or at least satisfaction) of the uniformity of the view Gushee saw developing across society. To him, it’s apparently no problem that everyone influential thinks alike—as long as they have the right thoughts.

As Rod Dreher has pointed out, Gushee’s thinking goes hand-in-hand with the suppression of freedom and religious liberty. As I read Dreher’s commentary and Gushee’s piece, my mind went to a book I’m currently reading: James Michener’s The Bridge at Andau—his nonfiction account of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 against Soviet Communism. As Michener recounts in his book, pervasive throughout the secret police apparatus the Soviets helped establish in Hungary was a paranoia about being suspected of disloyalty, of being turned in for perhaps even a comment that could be construed as hostile to the authorities. Conformity was the goal. Disloyal suspects were interrogated and tortured until they “confessed”—until they admitted what the authorities wanted to hear. They had to think as the authorities thought or they were no good.

Yes, we are a far cry from such a system. But never for a moment should we think the evil and oppression underneath it can’t arise in other circumstances and in other forms to take us unawares. Such celebration of uniformity is a threat to the foundational freedoms of our society, and is much larger than any one policy issue. It is a way of thinking about society at large, and Gushee seems to be failing at it in his new piece. At a minimum, he should reconsider his celebration that our elites seem to be “confessing” what he likes to hear.

I invite him to read The Bridge at Andau and welcome a discussion at any time.

Five Things to Know About “Gender Dysphoria” in Children

by Peter Sprigg

August 19, 2016

Gender dysphoria” (GD) is a condition in which a person may feel unhappy with his or her biological sex, express a desire to be the opposite sex, or even insist that he or she is of the opposite sex from what his or her genes and anatomy indicate. People who choose to adopt a “gender identity” different from their biological sex are known as “transgender.”

This condition is increasingly being identified not merely in adults, but even in very young, pre-pubescent children. The American College of Pediatricians (an organization formed as an alternative to the larger and more liberal American Academy of Pediatrics), has now released an important paper on “Gender Dysphoria in Children.” It provides a significant medical and scientific counterweight to the growing ideology that demands affirmation of “transgender” identities—even in children.

I encourage those interested to read the College’s press release and the full study. For those wanting a brief summary, however, here are five key points I took away from the paper.

1)      There is no scientific evidence that people with gender dysphoria are “born in the wrong body.”

Those who identify as transgender often claim that they are “women born in men’s bodies” or “men born in women’s bodies.” Yet the scientific evidence put forward in support of this theory is weak. In fact, studies of twins have shown that when one twin identifies as transgender, only 20% of the time does the other twin also identify as transgender. This finding alone disproves the idea that gender dysphoria results primarily from prenatal genetic or hormonal influences. (Note: “gender dysphoria” is not the same as biological “disorders of sexual development”—DSD—or “intersex” conditions. The vast majority of people who identify as transgender are entirely normal males or females genetically and biologically.)

2)      Most children who experience gender dysphoria do not grow up to identify as transgender adults.

Research has shown that, left to themselves—that is, if they are not given special hormone treatments and not permitted to “transition” into living socially as a person of the opposite sex—most children who exhibit symptoms of “gender dysphoria” will resolve those issues before adulthood and will live as normal males or females with a “gender identity” that corresponds to (rather than conflicts with) their biological sex at birth. Historically, this has been true of between 80% and 95% of gender dysphoric children.

3)      Despite #2, many children with gender dysphoria are now being funneled into a treatment protocol that involves both early and ongoing hormone treatments.

It is one thing (and radical enough) for someone born a boy to be allowed to start living as a girl, or vice versa (that is, to “socially transition”). However, some children (as young as 11) are actually being given hormones to block the natural effects of puberty before it begins. The physical differences between male and female children (when clothed) are relatively small and fairly easy to conceal with clothing. Those differences become greater after puberty, which in turn makes it more difficult for a teenager who identifies as transgender to “pass” as a member of the opposite biological sex. Puberty blockers are intended to forestall that “problem.”

Then when they are older (although sometimes as young as 16), they may begin to receive “cross-sex hormones” (e.g., estrogen for males who identify as female, or testosterone for females who identify as male). These continue the suppression of characteristics of their biological sex, while triggering some of the characteristics of the intended gender (such as breast growth or development of facial hair).

4)      Such hormone treatments may have serious negative health consequences—both known and unknown.

Supporters of puberty-blocking hormones contend that their effects are reversible, giving a child the opportunity to change his or her mind about gender “transition” upon reaching adulthood. Case studies show, however, that in reality such an intervention puts the child on a nearly inevitable path to a transgender identity—in sharp contrast to most gender dysphoric children who are not so treated. Completion of the entire protocol of both puberty-blocking and cross-sex hormones (especially when followed by sex reassignment surgery) results in permanent sterility—the inability to ever have biological children, even using artificial reproductive technology. The American College of Pediatricians argues, “The treatment of GD in childhood with hormones effectively amounts to mass experimentation on, and sterilization of, youth who are cognitively incapable of providing informed consent.”

As for cross-sex hormones, a comprehensive review of the scientific literature found, “There are potentially long-term safety risks associated with hormone therapy, but none have been proven or conclusively ruled out.” For example, giving estrogen to biological males may place them at risk for cardiovascular disease, elevated blood pressure, gall bladder disease, and breast cancer; while giving testosterone to biological females may be associated with elevated triglycerides, sleep apnea, and insulin resistance—in addition to the risks associated with obtaining a double mastectomy, which some may do when only 16 years old.

5)      Research shows that “severe psychopathology and developmental difficulties” often precede the development of gender dysphoria.

A more compassionate approach to caring for children with gender dysphoria would involve what was once the “standard approach”—either “watchful waiting” or psychotherapy “to address familial pathology if it was present, treat any psychosocial morbidities in the child, and aid the child in aligning gender identity with biological sex.” Children are in no position to given meaningful “informed consent” for more serious and potentially hazardous procedures such as hormone therapy.

Religious Freedom at Home and Abroad

by Travis Weber

August 17, 2016

At Family Research Council, we have consistently made the point that religious freedom must be protected at home and abroad. It is a human right, protected in the United States most prominently by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause. Internationally, it is protected by Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other instruments. While the language differs slightly, the right protected is the same. People are free to choose the faith they will have and live out that faith in their lives.

So we were pleased to see The Economist highlight the link between protecting religious freedom at home and abroad in a recent piece on the Ahmadiyya Muslims. Ahmadiyyas believe their founder was a prophet, and for this belief, are viewed as outcasts and non-Muslims by many others within Islam. They have come to the West in hope of peace, where they eagerly pledge allegiance to the civil governing authorities of those countries. The Ahmadiyyas seem to have developed a theology of separation of church and state (as Christians had to do hundreds of years ago) as we currently know it in Western countries—places where the Ahmadiyyas appear to appreciate the legal protections for all faiths. They certainly need it, being subject to legal discrimination, violence, and murder for their beliefs. Yet this no longer occurs only in their home countries:

This year anti-Ahmadi hatred seemed to break out in Britain, with the murder in March of a popular Glasgow shop-keeper called Asad Shah. His family had moved to Britain in the 1990s in the hope that life for Ahmadis would be easier than in Pakistan. But Pakistan’s religious passions have clearly been felt in Britain; it emerged in April that literature urging the killing of Ahmadis was being circulated in at least one London mosque. The assassin, from the northern English city of Bradford, openly declared his intention of punishing his victim for “disrespecting” Islam, and in particular, for having wished his Christian neighbours a happy Easter.”

The Economist continues:

The story suggests a wider point. Back in the 1990s, when American officaldom was first mandated by Congress to start making annual assessments of the state of religious liberty round the world, there was widespread confidence in Western capitals that liberal-democratic norms, including religious liberty, would steadily be established in those countries which still oppressed their citizens and curbed their freedom to believe and worship. That missionary confidence is now greatly diminished. But that makes it doubly important that Western governments use all their might at least to protect their own subjects from brutal assaults on freedom of thought. Families like that of Asad Shah, who look to Western democracies as a beacon, must not be disappointed. Or to put it another way, the Ahmadis should feel they are getting something in return for their loyalty to the flag.”

Indeed. This is all part of making sure that true religious freedom—not religious freedom curtailed by blasphemy laws, or religious freedom contained to one’s private life—is protected both in the West and around the world. The United States must do its part to protect this right at home, while revitalizing the role of religious freedom protection in foreign policy.

Schooled by Students

by Bethany Demmin

August 16, 2016













Sometimes I feel myself go a bit numb where this world and her troubles are concerned. Each day, the news is clogged with terror attacks, riots, posturing dictators, refugee crises, genocide, and deadly natural disasters. Taken together with an advancing culture of death, unmitigated sexual license, and growing hostility toward Christians, it’s enough to make me despair. But I’m reminded of Chuck Colson’s often-repeated admonition: despair is a sin that denies the sovereignty of God. He was right. The truth is, one of the ways believers experience the continual work of the Gospel is in knowing that our trust and hope can and should be located outside this world.

That’s not to say I take no hope from what I see around me. On the contrary, working with interns here at FRC means I spend about 9 months of the year interacting with passionate, purposeful, committed young people who not only love the Lord but also love this nation. They come here ready to take on the world, their heads full of knowledge and their hearts full of fervor. Now, it’s not surprising that many of them also arrive without a full understanding of how to defend or articulate their beliefs, but that is why we set aside time to have important, difficult discussions about the issues of our day. The goal is that our students will leave FRC better equipped—professionally, mentally, and spiritually—than when they came. As a result of the time and effort we devote to training in Christian worldview, I get a front row seat to watch interns grow in confidence, thoughtfulness, humility, and coherence. They feel it too, so much so that our interns often cite our weekly worldview training as the highlight of the program.

I’m humbled to be part of such important work, helping form the next generation of Christian leaders. I am also grateful to have had so many opportunities to share about these exceptional students; to let others know that there is reason to be optimistic. Of course, we place our hope first and foremost in the person of Jesus, but the very good news is that there are others coming up behind us who claim and live in response to the very same hope.

Are you interested in more information about FRC’s internship program? Click here to learn more and to download an application.

The Social Conservative Review: August 16, 2016

by Daniel Hart

August 16, 2016

Dear Friends,

If one were to read the headlines in the media on a daily basis these days, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to think that our society is on the verge of collapse. Even when deadly incidents of mass violence aren’t happening, there is always plenty of other doom and gloom to fill up the front page, either real or manufactured. Whether it be a public gaffe by a politician or the latest scandal-inducing revelation that is sure to be the downfall of a political campaign, the media thrives on negativity. While it’s important to stay informed on the real events that directly affect people’s lives, it’s also important to remember that much of the “news” that grabs headlines is just that—meant to grab your attention for a few moments without offering much in the way of real substance that can enrich and inform your life for the better.

That’s why it is so refreshing to see stories like these featured prominently on major newspaper websites, stories that describe the daily lives of faithful and healthy families and the ways they are flourishing against tough economic odds. It’s easy to forget that millions of families like these live under the radar of the “news” and quietly live out their faith by simply loving their spouses and children with joy and self-sacrifice.

This is the kind of news that our society so desperately needs. In order to transform our deeply wounded culture, people need to be constantly reminded of the eternal truths of being human: to be a son, to be a daughter, to be a husband, to be a wife, to be a mother, to be a father. In other words, to love and to be loved. This message is what we here at FRC try to communicate every day. We can release all the facts and figures of the importance of faith and the family that we want, but where the rubber truly meets the road is in our churches that we worship in and in our homes that we lovingly cultivate. It’s the kind of front page news that happens every day, whether the media pays attention or not.

Thank you for your prayers and for your continued support of FRC and the family.


Dan Hart
Managing Editor for Publications
Family Research Council


FRC Blog

Simone Biles Would Have Been Planned Parenthood’s Perfect Target – Arina Grossu

How to respond to the “After School Satan Clubs” – Travis Weber

The Islamic State (ISIS) Lays Out Its Plan for Christians – Chris Gacek

Who’s Waging a War on Science? (Hint: It’s Not Conservatives) – Peter Sprigg

High Court Puts Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. Ruling on Hold – Travis Weber

PolitiFact Falsifies Family Findings – Peter Sprigg

Federal Judge Still Refuses to Let Mississippi Religious Freedom Law Go Into Effect – Travis Weber

Illinois Governor Signs Bill Forcing Pregnancy Care Centers to Refer for Abortions – Andrew Guernsey

Religion in Immigration: How to Handle it Properly – Travis Weber


Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

California Lawmaker Drops Controversial Proposal to Regulate Religious CollegesSarah Eekhoff Zylstra, Christianity Today

7 Surprising ways teachers and students can express their faith in public schools – Nate Madden, Conservative Review

International Religious Freedom

The Story of Iran’s Church in Two SentencesMark Howard, The Gospel Coalition

Ominous Signs for Turkish Christians: Post-Coup Targets – John Stonestreet, Breakpoint

A Rough Road Ahead for Religious Liberty, World Missions – Stan Guthrie, Breakpoint

Swedish church to use drones to drop thousands of Bibles in ISIS-controlled Iraq – James Macintyre, Christian Today

Government terminates welfare for ChristiansQiao Nong, ChinaAid

Military Religious Freedom

Former Marine’s religious freedom claims rejected by appeals courtBill Mears, Fox News




Mother talks about raising children born with microcephaly – Sanika Dange, ABC Affiliate

NFL star Benjamin Watson: Planned Parenthood formed ‘to exterminate blacks’…and ‘it’s working’ – Ben Johnson, LifeSiteNews

Planned Parenthood will register voters as they enter abortion facilities – Ben Johnson, LifeSiteNews

High Court in Ireland Rules an Unborn Baby Has a Right to Life – National Right to Life


The Racialization of AdoptionRyan Bomberger, Bound4LIFE

Little Girl Abandoned by Father and Drug-Addict Mother Is Adopted by Christian Texas Family, Becomes Best Athlete in the World – Benny Johnson, Independent Journal Review

The boundless love of adoptionErin Stewart, Deseret News


What Could Go Wrong With the Government’s Proposal to Put Human Cells in Animal Embryos? – David Prentice, Chuck Donovan, The Daily Signal

Brave New World Should Be an Election Issue – Wesley J. Smith, First Things


3 Reasons Why Obamacare Is Bad for MillennialsTimothy Doescher, The Daily Signal

The “Right to Shop” for Health CareJohn R. Graham, Independent Institute

Aetna to pull out of most Obamacare exchangesTami Luhby, CNN




How one family is sending 13 kids to college, living debt free — and still plans to retire early – Erica Johnston, The Washington Post

A Conservative Push for Paid Family Leave – Russell Berman, The Atlantic

Here Are 7 Ways Free Trade Has Helped Michigan – Tom Whiting, The Daily Signal

Why Are American Workers Getting Less Productive? – Adam Chandler, The Atlantic


Reversing the Flight from the FamilyDavid J. Theroux, Independent Institute

The Wounds Public Policy Can’t HealDavid French, National Review

Exporting The Anti-CultureRod Dreher, The American Conservative

Republican Voters Are Not “Moving On” From MarriageFrank Schubert, Public Discourse


What a world! Is it time to despair yet?Fr. Robert McTeigue, Aleteia

Metaxas Speaks Out, So Can You: Be Prepared to Share – John Stonestreet, Breakpoint

Conservatives Must Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying – David French, National Review

Loving Our EnemiesWilliam Doino Jr., First Things

Human Sexuality

President Obama’s Sex-Driven War on ScienceGerard V. Bradley, Public Discourse

The Sexual Revolution and Cultural Marxism: Ideology Over Public Health – Eric Metaxas, Breakpoint

Homosexuality and Bad ArgumentsJohn Skalko, Public Discourse

There isn’t really anything magical about it’: Why more millennials are avoiding sex – Tara Bahrampour, The Washington Post

Human Trafficking

The Road Near Rio’s Olympic Village Where 9-Year-Old Girls Are Being Sold for Sex – Candace Sutton, Fight the New Drug

The Anti-Human-Trafficking CrusaderSharmilla Ganesan, The Atlantic


Millennials, Infidelity, and Porn – Alysse ElHage, Family Studies

Hooked On Porn: Exploring the Damaged Sexuality of This Generation – Fight the New Drug

Olympic Runner Nick Willis Says Quitting Porn Saved His Marriage – Fight the New Drug

Simone Biles Would Have Been Planned Parenthood’s Perfect Target

by Arina Grossu

August 12, 2016

By now you’ve probably seen or heard about the best female gymnast that ever lived, Simone Biles. She is wowing everyone at the Olympics this summer. Simone Biles’ margin of victory is 2.1, larger than the margins of victory from 1980 to 2012 combined. She’s already won gold for team and individual all-around at Rio Olympics. All this girl does is win:

Not only is she the first female gymnast since 1974 to win four consecutive all-around titles at the U.S. national championships, but she’s also the first woman ever to be the all-around world champion three years in a row. Not to mention that she’s won fourteen total world championships medals-the most ever won by an American woman.”

Recently it came to light that Simone Biles was born in March 1997 in Columbus, Ohio to Shannon Biles, who at the time was an “unfit” drug and alcohol addict and who was unable to take care of Simone and her younger sister Adria. Their father, who also struggled with addictions, abandoned Shannon and was not part of the children’s life. They were shuffled back and forth between her mom’s house and foster care for her first three years of life. When she was three years old, her maternal grandfather, Ron, and his second wife, Nellie, brought Simone and her sister to Spring, Texas, which is a suburb of Houston. When Simone was six years old, they officially adopted the girls, becoming “mom and dad.” Her adoption story is well-documented here.

NBC Olympics describes Biles as “fearless, teaching herself to do back flips off her family’s mailbox before she even took a gymnastics class. It was a daycare field trip to a gym that led her to the sport—the six-year-old saw the older girls flipping and twisting and immediately started copying them.”

The instructors suggested she continue doing gymnastics. As the story goes, “she returned home with an information packet and a single, insistent demand: enroll me at the gym.” Biles then enrolled in an optional training program at Bannon’s Gymnastix at age six. This was late by competitive standards, since most aspiring gymnasts start as soon as they can walk. She began her training with Aimee Boorman at eight years of age, her coach now of eleven years. And the rest is history.

Her story are what fairy tales are made of. We love the underdog. We love stories of human strength that defy all odds.

Yet, she would have been the perfect target of Planned Parenthood. It’s no secret that Planned Parenthood targets blacks and minorities: 79% of Planned Parenthood’s surgical abortion facilities are located within walking distance of African American or Hispanic/Latino neighborhoods, according to 2010 U.S. Census data.

LiveAction also revealed that Planned Parenthood accepts money for aborting black babies.

Black women make up only 13% of the female population in the United States, but they undergo approximately 28% of the abortions. In the U.S., black children are aborted at nearly four times the rate of white children. In fact, one in three black babies are killed in the womb. Simone Biles seems to have defied the odds in more ways than at first glance.

Margaret Sanger, founder of what is now known as Planned Parenthood, would have wanted women like Shannon never to have children. In her 1920 book “Woman and the New Race”, Sanger said, “By all means, there should be no children when either mother or father suffers from such diseases as tuberculosis, gonorrhea, syphilis, cancer, epilepsy, insanity, drunkenness and mental disorders.”

In a 1957 interview with Mike Wallace, Sanger mused: “I think the greatest sin in the world is bringing children into the world, that have disease from their parents, that have no chance in the world to be a human being practically… Delinquents, prisoners, all sorts of things just marked when they’re born. That to me is the greatest sin-that people can-can commit.”

By Sanger and Planned Parenthood’s standard, Simone Biles would have been eliminated.

Yet Simone Biles stands before us, a marvel of a human being, having beat the odds. This is the constant message of the pro-life movement. No one, absolutely no one, is beyond hope or possibility. Each unborn child deserves the right to life, even when the circumstances seem dire. How many others like Simone Biles who would have started from less-than-ideal circumstances but were not even given a chance at life? How many Olympians, presidents, politicians, and artists have we aborted? Fifty-nine million babies with infinite potential have been aborted in the U.S. since Roe v. Wade in 1973. Without the fundamental right to life, no other rights or potentialities are possible.

Simone Biles’ story also highlights the power of adoption. Every child is a wanted child, whether by her biological family or by someone else. Simone’s biological mother spoke of her deep admiration for Simone’s adoptive mother saying, “It takes a hell of a woman to raise her husband’s child’s children. I’m very blessed and thankful for that. It was the right thing at the time.”

While Simone Biles has undeniable exceptional talent, her worth does not come even from her talent. It comes from the fact that she is human. All people are valuable and necessary, not because of what they do, but because they simply are. Yet, we can also rejoice and marvel at the beauty, strength, and talent of Olympian athletes like Simone Biles who demonstrate for us the peak of athletic human excellence. 

We’re glad you’re here Simone and we’re glad for adoption. The world would, literally, not be the same without you.

Arina O. Grossu, M.A. is the director for the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council, where she focuses on sanctity of human life issues, ranging from conception to natural death.

Washington, D.C. Internship Applications: Do’s and Don’ts

by Bethany Demmin

August 11, 2016

There’s never a dull moment when you run an internship program in Washington, D.C. During the semester, the office is a little louder, buzzing with activity, and more often than not, just plain fun. When students head back to school or off to their new jobs, the office gets quieter and I go into preparation mode, fueled by anticipation for the coming semester.

Assembling the class can be nerve-wracking as I go through at least a couple iterations of intern departmental assignments, taking into consideration student interest and background, and the needs of our very busy organization. Once in a while, I have to make difficult decisions, usually based on our housing or program capacity, which inevitably leads to some self-doubt. I suppose a healthy amount of insecurity about these decisions makes sense, most of all because the three months-long contentment of not only our students, but also many of my colleagues is in my hands.

Sometimes I don’t know whether I have made the right decision until our students arrive, but there are a few situations in which I know for sure I have made the right call. If you or a student you know are interested in internships at FRC, or more generally any internship in Washington, D.C., here’s a little bit of free advice on what will make you stick out as an applicant, in the form of a good old “do’s and don’ts” list:

The Experience Collector

Do: Acknowledge your resume, especially if it looks as though you’re wandering a bit. If you have bounced from internship to internship, detail your goals and why specifically you believe an internship here will help you achieve them. That will make me much more likely to consider you.

Don’t: Act like your professional past is of no consequence. If your application features a bachelor’s and master’s degree and four internships both on and off the Hill, my first reaction is to assume you’ve grown to like being an intern a little more than you should. In that case, I am likely to thank you for your interest and nicely tell you that it’s time for you to get a job.

The Creative Writer

Do: Use your application essays to tell me why you are passionate about the issues FRC specifically focuses on, and by all means, find a connection between your interests and our mission, however unrelated they may seem. If that requires a bit of creativity, do the work. I love it when we are able to bring students from all different backgrounds to experience a semester with us.

Don’t: Send well-written essays about your interests that don’t actually answer the writing prompts. If it’s obvious to me that you sent an essay you wrote for another program, your application will most likely be rejected. The same goes for writing essays that show you aren’t actually very familiar with our work. Even if you just learned about FRC, it only takes a little bit of time on our website to learn what you should in order to convince me you are genuinely interested.

The Over-Familiar Communicator

Do: Refer to the intern coordinator with a professional salutation (e.g. Mr., Ms.), and then respond in kind if/when he or she signs off differently. Most communication will be through e-mail, so for instance, when I sign off using my first name, then it is appropriate for you to call me by it in the future.

Don’t: Send demanding, one- or two-sentence e-mails to check on your application status. From my perspective, it’s hard to recover from this, and I am unlikely to consider you if you treat me and this opportunity with anything but respect. Additionally, overuse of exclamation points and question marks is ALWAYS unprofessional.

The Silent Type

Do: Acknowledge e-mails received, even if it’s just a “Got it. Thank you!” Over-communication is preferable in these cases as it shows me you are invested.

Don’t: Ignore an e-mail, even if it is a rejection letter. You never know what contacts you may have need of in the future, and this makes me a lot less likely to lend a hand later. I would be very willing to give a recommendation on an applicant’s behalf, provided he or she treats me with respect and gratitude for the opportunity to be considered for our program. It’s just bad form to not respond with at least a short “thank you” in these cases.

The Retractor

Do: Follow through on your commitment once you have accepted an offer. There isn’t much else to say on this.

Don’t: Come back a week (or two months!) after accepting an offer to join us for an internship and say you won’t be able to come because you got another offer you really wanted. This is a great way to burn a bridge, and it would be nearly impossible to recover from if you ever want to be considered in the future. We expect our students to be men and women of their word, even and especially when it is difficult. That starts before you even arrive.

The Social Butterfly

Do: Feel free to use social media to share your views (and your pics, status updates, etc.) with your friends and family.

Don’t: Post things you’ll regret the next day, or when the coordinator of an internship you applied to views your account.

Some of those items may seem like common sense, but there is a reason why I mentioned each and every one. Like I said, I sometimes struggle with self-doubt while processing applications, but on day one of each of three semesters during which we offer our program, that apprehension typically gives way to confidence that the right students were selected and excitement about what’s in store over the coming months. I am happy to say that when we host students whose conduct reflects this “do’s and don’ts” list, they and we end up loving every minute of their time here.

Are you interested in more information about FRC’s internship program? Click here to learn more and to download an application.

How to respond to the “After School Satan Clubs”

by Travis Weber

August 10, 2016

As has been widely reported the last several weeks, a group called the “Satanic Temple” is looking to set up “After School Satan Clubs” (ASSC) in public schools around the country. What should we think of this, and how should we respond?

From the group’s name, one would presume these clubs are teaching about demonic activity. But a glance at their website shows them prominently proclaiming that they seek to teach “based upon a uniform syllabus that emphasizes a scientific, rationalist, non-superstitious world view,” and explaining their view that “Satanism is a religion that endorses scientific rationalism as our best model for understanding the natural world.” They don’t actually believe in Satan.

So why not name the clubs “humanist” or “atheist” clubs? Perhaps these activists realized this would not draw the public attention like the name “Satan” would (the actual Church of Satan rejects the ASSC’s methods). The Satanic Temple has already agitated in the name of its “religion” by “creating a gigantic bronze statue of Baphomet for the lawn of the Oklahoma State House, opening city council meetings with Satanic incantations, [and] distributing coloring books featuring the dark lord to schools across the country.” So why do they want to draw public attention and provoke?

These atheist and humanist activists simply don’t like the fact that children could be exposed to the message of Christianity, and appear to want to pick a fight with Christians. They say they want religion totally eliminated from schools, and the group’s homepage prominently displays: “DONATE TO HELP US COUNTER EVANGELISM IN SCHOOLS.” Their main purpose appears to be to try to shut down Christian clubs in schools. How would they accomplish that?

In Good News Club v. Milford Central School, the Supreme Court held that when a school opens up a limited public forum to a certain type of speech, it cannot discriminate against groups looking to use that forum based on the viewpoint of their speech. The ASSC organization seeks to use these forums for its clubs. If the ASSC merely wanted the same opportunity as everyone else to speak their viewpoint, that would be understandable. But their whole purpose seems to be driven by an animosity toward Christian clubs; hence the provocative name.

They are aiming to do that by provoking school administrators into shutting down the limited public forum entirely. As the group’s website states: “Our goal, ultimately, is to place an ASSC in every school where the Good News Clubs, or other proselytizing religious groups, have established a presence.” Group members have said: “We would like to thank the Liberty Counsel specifically for opening the doors to the After School Satan Clubs through their dedication to religious liberty… So, ‘the Satanic Temple leverages religious freedom laws that put after-school clubs in elementary schools nationwide.’ That’s going to be the message.”

The ASSC organization appears to be trying to upset enough parents that school officials would close the forum to all groups (the fact that the group is based in Salem, Massachusetts, seems designed to aid its publicity stunt). If the forum is not open at all, then no clubs get to speak.

Though this would include the ASSC clubs, these activists appear to be fine with this as long as that puts an end to the Christian clubs too. As the ASSC founder reportedly told PEOPLE magazine, “[i]f they would get rid of the Good News clubs, there wouldn’t be a need for the After School Satan program.” In other words, the very purpose of the ASSC is to shut down the Good News Clubs. The ASSC organization, presuming parental outrage, is hoping school administrators take the bait and close the forum rather than allow the “Satan clubs” to operate.

What should we think about all this?

First, school administrators should not be deterred. The ASSC organization would love nothing more than for the school forum be shut down to all groups, including Christian groups. The forum should not be shut down out of concern for this group’s presence (its name does not even line up with what it is teaching anyway). It can be given a place among other student groups, and we can let the battle in the marketplace of ideas play out. Ultimately, neither rationalism nor demon worship can provide the hope and healing offered by Jesus.

Second, we should not look at this as a set-back, but as an opportunity, in at least two areas:

  • The ASSC organization is using a forum which is open to all under the Good News Club case. Why not use this opportunity to make sure that children are aware of their right to start Christian clubs if they don’t exist? As one Family Research Council event recently highlighted, let us also make sure school officials, administrators, and teachers are aware of the legal protections for religion in the public school. The forum is open—make sure we are using it!
  • If the ASSC organization wants to start a spiritual discussion, whether on the national stage or local school, let’s welcome such a discussion. The group’s use of the term “Satan” gives everyone an opportunity to discuss…Satan. Let’s explain his role in the Bible, his power to tempt humans away from God to our own detriment, and the good news that Jesus provides a way out of that temptation. Even if the ASSC organization wants to fall back on rationalism, let’s welcome an invitation to open up the Bible and rationally examine its claims: that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again. He’s either Lord, liar, or lunatic. But nothing else. All must make a choice.

Both humanism (the worship of human progress) and actual devil worship will fail to offer humans a solution to our dilemma of the sense that something is broken, that something is just not right in the world. Only a restored relationship with God through the person of Jesus Christ can do that. Every day, we are already seeking opportunities to tell the world this good news before it’s too late. This is just another opportunity, planted right in our lap! Let us go forth and proclaim the Gospel!

The Islamic State (ISIS) Lays Out Its Plan for Christians

by Chris Gacek

August 9, 2016

In case there is any doubt as to what the Islamic State (ISIS) thinks about Christianity and Christians, the current issue of its English-language magazine, Dabiq, leaves no doubt. Frances Martel of Breitbart News broke the story about its release, and the Drudge Report linked to Martel’s article.

This 82-page volume should be read widely by Christians, church leaders, and anyone in government. A website, the Clarion Project, focuses on providing “up-to-date news on Islamic extremism, sharia law and human rights” and it makes complete copies of Dabiq available for download (in .pdf). Volume 15 of Dabiq, entitled “Break the Cross,” may be downloaded via Clarion here.

Here is a sample from the chapter “Why We Hate You & Why We Fight You” (pp. 33-33). It contains a six-paragraph section describing the reasons for their murderous animosity, so in the first paragraph (p. 31) one finds:

1. We hate you, first and foremost, because you are disbelievers; you reject the oneness of Allah – whether you realize it or not – by making partners for Him in worship, you blaspheme against Him, claiming that He has a son, you fabricate lies against His prophets and messengers, and you indulge in all manner of devilish practices. It is for this reason that we were commanded to openly declare our hatred for you and our enmity towards you. … [concluding sentences of para. 1:] Thus, even if you were to stop fighting us, your best-case scenario in a state of war would be that we would suspend our attacks against you – if we deemed it necessary – in order to focus on the closer and more immediate threats, before eventually resuming our campaigns against you. Apart from the option of a temporary truce, this is the only likely scenario that would bring you fleeting respite from our attacks. So in the end, you cannot bring an indefinite halt to our war against you. At most, you could only delay it temporarily…

Ultimately even supine submission will buy no respect for the Christian and makes clear why the cruelest persecutions of helpless religious minorities takes place in territories controlled by ISIS in the Middle East (pp. 32-33):

What’s important to understand here is that although some might argue that your foreign policies are the extent of what drives our hatred, this particular reason for hating you is secondary, hence the reason we addressed it at the end of the above list. The fact is, even if you were to stop bombing us, imprisoning us, torturing us, vilifying us, and usurping our lands, we would continue to hate you because our primary reason for hating you will not cease to exist until you embrace Islam. Even if you were to pay jizyah and live under the authority of Islam in humiliation, we would continue to hate you. No doubt, we would stop fighting you then as we would stop fighting any disbelievers who enter into a covenant with us, but we would not stop hating you.

Ultimately, though, the ISIS ideologues let us know that they do this from a mind-set of giving salvation to lost pagans:

We fight you in order to bring you out from the darkness of disbelief and into the light of Islam, and to liberate you from the constraints of living for the sake of the worldly life alone so that you may enjoy both the blessings of the worldly life and the bliss of the Hereafter.

Well, that’s a relief. Christians being crucified, beheaded, burned alive, tortured, raped, kidnapped, sold into sex slavery, denied religious liberty, paying discriminatory and punitive taxes, etc., would be well-advised to remember such jihadi high-mindedness. After all, Christians are being saved from their heretical belief in multiple gods:

As for believing that there are other “gods” who partook in the creation of the universe or who have share in its lordship, then this was a creed so deviant and contrary to the fitrah that not even the pre-Islamic pagan Arabs believed in such. (p. 5)

The other sections of the volume are instructive in laying out the ISIS-jihadist ideology. Let there be no doubt about it—ISIS operates under a well-defined Islam-grounded, religious belief system that has no room for religious tolerance as the West understands it.

Question of the Week - August 9, 2016

by Daniel Hart

August 9, 2016

Question: In reading about Title IX and how the present administration is using it for their sexual experimentation, FRC repeatedly calls it a “law.” I thought it was a mandate that the schools could refuse, even though they might be losing their grant money from the government. Is it a law, since Obama has again overreached his powers by sidestepping Congress’ authority to make laws?

FRC: The Obama administration has interpreted Title IX in a manner that is inconsistent with the Congressional intent in passing the legislation. Until that interpretation is either rescinded by a future administration or overridden by a Court, that interpretation has legal effect.

We encourage you to watch our recent lecture to learn about what is being done legislatively, educationally, and legally to stand for students and families in response to the new interpretation of Title IX. In addition, please refer to FRC’s paper, “Title IX and Transgendered Students,” for more information.

Parents should demand that school boards not sacrifice the safety of children out of fear of losing federal funding, which on average only amounts to about nine cents of every educational dollar. The recent victory in Fairfax County is an encouraging example of the powerful impact that parents have when they stand for truth. It is also time for Congressional leadership to act and rein in this administration. Bottom line, the president’s decree should be resisted with every legal and moral instrument we have available to us in this country.

Finally, please sign our petition to Congress, asking them to take action to protect America’s children.