Action #3 - Establish Transparency Regarding Obamacare’s Abortion Coverage

by Family Research Council

December 16, 2016

Americans should be informed about whether their Obamacare plans cover abortion or not, especially since even the abortion funding schemes in Obamacare require such notice and a “separate” payment for abortion in such plans. However, the Obama administration implemented rules issued on February 27, 2015 allowing insurers to hide the abortion surcharge in plans that cover abortion, and which are subsidized by federal premium credits. Moreover, the ACA requires multistate plans to provide one pro-life plan in each state. However, rules issued on February 24, 2015 implementing this requirement do not require pro-life plans until next year. Another example of lawlessness is the Obama administration’s rule on October 2, 2013 which allowed federal employee subsidies for health plans with abortion coverage for Members of Congress and their staff, despite current law forbidding such subsidies.

Action #2 - Defund UNFPA

by Family Research Council

December 16, 2016

The Obama administration restored funding to the United Nations Population Fund which funds coercive abortion practices overseas, especially in China. Funding such entities violates current law prohibiting U.S. funds from involvement in coercive abortion practices. One way to fix this problem is to restore President George W. Bush’s State Department restriction on UNFPA funding first issued on July 24, 2002, and continued through fiscal year 2008.

The Top 20 Actions the Trump Administration Must Take in the First 100 Days

by Family Research Council

December 16, 2016

Each presidential administration has the opportunity to impact everyday Americans in significant ways by issuing executive orders, agency regulations, and administrative guidance through memoranda, letters, and other internal documents issued by the agencies and departments of the Executive Branch.

In the last eight years, the Obama administration enacted multiple agency actions that were extra legal or illegal.

Over the next four weeks, we will highlight the top 20 ways that the Trump administration can address values issues through administrative and agency actions in order to repair some of the damage that the Obama administration has inflicted on the dignity of life, natural marriage, and religious liberty.

 

Action #1 – Restore The Mexico City Policy

The Obama administration rescinded the Mexico City Policy, which was first implemented by President Reagan, to prevent taxpayer dollars from funding international organizations that perform or promote abortion overseas. Millions of taxpayer dollars have funded abortion providers like International Planned Parenthood. One way to address the problem of funding abortion providers overseas is to rescind Obama’s Memorandum on the Mexico City Policy, issued January 23, 2009, and to restore President George W. Bush’s Memorandum Restoring the Mexico City Policy, issued on March 29, 2001.

Unmasking the DOD’s Endorsement of the Humanism Religion

by Guest Author

December 16, 2016

Disclaimer: The following was written by an active duty Air Force officer who wishes to remain anonymous. It is not necessarily the view of Family Research Council, nor any of its member or partner organizations. While the author does not have legal training, the author has experienced firsthand the DOD’s “sensitivity” and “inclusion” efforts relative to LGBT service members. The Washington Free Beacon recently published a piece on the Naval Academy’s “Transgender 101” course. This officer offers readers a view from the inside of the DOD, further demonstrating just how indoctrinating the Armed Forces have become in their promotion of humanist ideals. 

When you hear the word “religion,” does Humanism immediately come to mind? Probably not. However, pragmatically and legally, Humanism is just as much of a religion as Christianity and Islam. This article articulates the claim that the DOD has endorsed the religion of Humanism by promoting the LGBT movement.

Statements in Humanist writings reveal the pragmatic aspect of Humanism as a religion. One definition of Humanism listed by the American Humanist Association states, “Humanism serves, for many humanists, some of the psychological and social functions of a religion, but without belief in deities, transcendental entities, miracles, life after death, and the supernatural.”[i] In regards to morality, the Bristol Humanist Group says “Humanism is an approach to life based on reason and our common humanity, recognizing that moral values are properly founded on human nature and experience alone.”[ii] While most other religions look to the authority of God, gods, and associated sacred texts to define morality, Humanism establishes human opinion as its moral authority. As for the legal status of Humanism as a religion, a 1961 Supreme Court decision, Torcaso v. Watkins categorized “Secular Humanism” as a religion.American Humanist Association v. U.S. ruled that “…Secular Humanism is a religion for Establishment Clause purposes…”[iv]

Specific views regarding sexual morality are based on presupposed beliefs grounded in a moral authority and religious philosophy. In this respect, sexual morality is no different than other religious topics such as origins, purpose of life, salvation, and so forth. For example, Christianity uses the Bible as its moral authority, Islam uses the Qur’an, Hinduism uses the Dharma Shastra, etc. In this article, religious labels will be used to identify worldviews, not individuals.  

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), which considers itself the “largest civil rights organization,” assumes that sexual orientation and gender identity are civil rights issues such as gender and skin color.[v] However, the HRC fails to distinguish between physical characteristics and moral beliefs. Although an individual may have homosexual or transgender desires, that does not necessarily mean he or she automatically believes that acting on those desires is morally right. Columnist Matt Moore, among others, often writes about this struggle.[vi] While advocating for the “rights” of homosexuality and transgenderism, the HRC and other LGBT organizations inherently assume that these behaviors are morally right. This implies a moral authority and religious philosophy. A light analysis of various moral authorities identifies which one is most consistent with the LGBT movement.

The Christian worldview professes God as the highest moral authority via the Bible. Jesus, God in the flesh, affirms in Matthew 19:4-5 and Mark 10:6-9 that God created man and woman at creation, and implies that marriage is for one man and one woman.[vii] This concept opposes both same-sex marriage and transgenderism. Homosexual acts are condemned in biblical verses such as Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Timothy 1:10, and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.[viii] Clearly, the LGBT movement does not submit to the authority of the Bible. Critics of this argument may point to various denominations professing Judaism or Christianity that support homosexuality and transgenderism.[ix] However, these are simply examples of inconsistency concerning moral authority. Individuals and organizations can (and often do) inconsistently submit to different moral authorities on different topics.

By continuing to apply this logic, other moral authorities and religious philosophies can be eliminated in determining which one suits the LGBT movement. The Islamic worldview professes Allah as the highest moral authority via the Qur’an. Homosexual activity is described as “transgressing beyond bounds” in Sürah 7:80-81 and “wickedness” in Sürah 29:28-29.[x] See also Sürah 26:165-166 and 27:55.[xi] Clearly, the LGBT movement does not submit to the Islamic moral authority. Hinduism has a large variety of gods and law books that practicing Hindus use for guidance. The HRC rates the Hinduism position on LGBT issues as “unclear” due to a lack of “central authority.”[xii] The HRC gives the Buddhism position on LGBT issues the same rating for similar reasons.[xiii] Since even a pro-LGBT group such as the HRC rates Hinduism and Buddhism as “unclear” at best on LGBT issues, these religions can be eliminated in this analysis. We have now eliminated the moral authorities of the largest religions of the world as the authority of LGBT beliefs, except one: human opinion, the moral authority of Humanism.

Although human opinion alone can certainly disagree with the LGBT movement, it is not arbitrary to say that the LGBT movement submits to the moral authority of human opinion. Humanist statements explicitly demonstrate the alignment of LGBT causes and the Humanist worldview. The HRC highlights Humanist advocacy for same-sex marriage and transgenderism, and cites the American Humanist Association’s LGBTQ Humanist Council as a resource.[xiv] One of the purposes of the LGBTQ Humanist Council is “…to articulate the values of the humanist philosophy and ethics across the country.”[xv] Similarly, the Galha LGBT Humanists organization is a section of the British Humanist Association (BHA).[xvi] According to the BHA, “…Galha LGBT Humanists is an integral section of the British Humanist Association, promoting Humanism and LGBT equality worldwide.”[xvii] Furthermore, the Galha website notes “For over 30 years Galha LGBT Humanists has promoted humanism as a rational, naturalistic worldview…”[xviii] Humanist groups are in philosophical agreement with the LGBT movement, as evidenced by the fact that they use LGBT Humanist groups to promote the Humanism religion. Since the LGBT movement is consistent with the religion of Humanism, then it is inappropriate for the DOD to endorse such a movement.  

Department of Defense directive (DODD) 1020.02E commits the logical fallacy of equating “sexual orientation” with physical characteristics such as gender and skin color.[xix] This mischaracterization has enabled the DOD to promote the “religion” of Humanism by celebrating LGBT Pride Month, similar to monthly celebrations of ethnic groups.[xx] Like many other military installations, Wright-Patterson AFB celebrates LGBT Pride Month. For example, in 2014 the LGBT Pride Month Committee Chair sent an e-mail to the entire base detailing the celebratory events, which included weekly base newspaper articles promoting LGBT “awareness,” and a Pride Month 5K “Fun Run.”[xxi] In 2016, the base Wing Commander invited the base to an LGBT celebratory luncheon.[xxii] While the DOD celebrates Humanist beliefs, it also reprimands those who oppose these beliefs.

Since the DOD started endorsing the LGBT movement, there have been multiple instances of service members being reprimanded for expressing their non-Humanistic beliefs on sexual morality. An Army chaplain’s assistant was accused of creating a “hostile and antagonistic” environment after sharing her biblical view of homosexuality via Facebook, and was threatened with the Uniform Code of Military Justice.[xxiii] A highly decorated 19-year Navy veteran, Chaplain Wes Modder faced involuntary separation for sharing his non-Humanistic beliefs on sexual morality in a private counseling session.[xxiv] SMSgt Phillip Monk, a 19-year veteran of the Air Force was relieved of his duties after he refused to comply with his commander’s viewpoint (who identifies as homosexual) that beliefs against same-sex marriage are “discrimination.”[xxv]

Evidently, the Humanist LGBT philosophy is the religious preference of choice for the DOD. The DOD needs to consider this matter and make appropriate policy changes. If the DOD fails to do so, the Humanism religion will continue to expand under the guise of “civil rights,” making authentic diversity, inclusion, and religious liberty an impossibility in the U.S. Armed Forces.



[i]. “Definitions of Humanism,” American Humanist Association, accessed 24 September 2015, http://www.americanhumanist.org/Humanism/Definitions_of_Humanism.

[ii]. Ibid.

[iii]. Torcaso v. Watkins, Supreme Court, 367 U.S. 488 (1961).

[iv]. American Humanist Association v. US, US District Court, Oregon, 3:14-cv-00565-HA (2014).

[v]. “The HRC Story,” Human Rights Campaign, accessed 27 September 2015, http://www.hrc.org/the-hrc-story/about-us.

[vi]. Consider the following: Matt Moore, “Ten Empowering Truths for Gay Christians,” The Christian Post, 31 October 2015,

http://www.christianpost.com/news/gay-christians-bible-homosexuality-same-sex-attraction-148569/.

[vii]. New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), https://www.biblegateway.com.

[viii]. Ibid.

[ix]. “Faith Positions on Marriage Equality,” Human Rights Campaign, accessed 27 September 2015, http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/positions-of-faith-on-same-sex-marriage.

[x]. Abdullah Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur’an, trans. (London: Wordsworth Editions Limited, 2000), https://www.scribd.com/read/235608069/The-Holy-Qur-an.

[xi]. Ibid.

[xii]. “Stances of Faith on LGBT Issues: Hinduism,” Human Rights Campaign, 10 June 2015, http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/stances-of-faiths-on-lgbt-issues-hinduism.

[xiii]. “Stances of Faith on LGBT Issues: Buddhism,” Human Rights Campaign, accessed 29 September 2015, http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/stances-of-faiths-on-lgbt-issues-buddhism.

[xiv]. “Stances of Faith on LGBT Issues: Humanism,” Human Rights Campaign, 29 October 2014, http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/stances-of-faiths-on-lgbt-issues-humanism.

[xv]. “About the LGBTQ Humanist Council,” LGBTQ Humanist Council, accessed 3 October 2015, http://lgbthumanists.org/about/.

[xvi]. “LGBT Humanists,” British Humanist Association, accessed 3 October 2015, https://humanism.org.uk
 /community/lgbt-humanists/.

[xvii]. Ibid.

[xviii]. “Gahla–Home,” Gahla LGBT Humanists, accessed 3 October 2015, http://www.galha.org/.

[xix]. DOD Directive (DODD) 1020.02E, Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity in the DOD, 8 June 2015.

[xx]. “2015 Observances,” Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity, accessed 3 October 2015.

[xxi]. CMSgt Shawn Sill, WPAFB LGBT Pride Month Committee Chair, to Wright-Patterson All Personnel, e-mail, 11 June 2014.

 

[xxiii]. Todd Starnes, “Fox Exclusive: Airman Facing Punishment for Religious Beliefs,” Fox News, 6 August 2013, http://insider.foxnews.com/2013/08/06/airman-facing-punishment-religious-beliefs.

[xxiv]. Todd Starnes, “Former SEALS Chaplain Could be Kicked Out of Navy for Christian Beliefs,” Fox News, 9 March 2015, http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2015/03/09/former-seals-chaplain-could-be-kicked-out-navy-for-christian-beliefs.html.

[xxv]. Todd Starnes, “Airman Punished for Objecting to Gay Marriage,” Fox News Radio, 14 August 2013, http://radio.foxnews.com/toddstarnes/top-stories/airmen-punished-for-objecting-to-gay-marriage.html.

Social Conservative Review - December 15, 2016

by Daniel Hart

December 15, 2016

Dear Friends,

Christmas can be a busy time—between trying to find the right presents, to cooking giant meals, to traveling, to rushing from one “holiday” event to the next, it’s easy to let the great celebration of the miracle of Christ’s birth slip by without taking the time to just… be.

I was reminded of this after watching a short video about bowling, of all things. In it, a Milwaukee resident reflects on how our modern culture is spending less and less quality time in social recreation with one another, illustrated by the fact that more and more bowling alleys in the Milwaukee area, which were once the social hubs of the community, are now closing. “It’s that social aspect that we are getting away from,” the man says. “Because people don’t want to take time to relax for a couple hours, and enjoy the moment. Everybody’s so fragmented with their smartphones … that’s what really bothers me about where our society is going. We’re too focused on chasing the dollar and not enjoying life. It’s not about living.”

This is a great reminder to all of us. As we spend time with family and friends this Christmas, be sure to set aside modern distractions so that we can have genuine encounters with each other. As Mary Stanford writes, spending quality time with each other is vital to our own growth in virtue: “It truly is fascinating, even in everyday life, how we come to know ourselves more fully when we physically encounter others … When our lives “bump up” against one another in … intimate way[s], … we discover much about ourselves through our spouse’s or child’s responses, through his or her reactions to our own behavior. And what we discover about ourselves in this process isn’t always pretty. The fact remains, however, that without such moments of self-discovery, we cannot grow.”

Stanford further reflects on the effect that quality time has on a child’s sense of self-worth, but this could just as easily be applied to those of any age: “In a fruitful family life, sometimes true ‘quality time’ is in fact identical to ‘quantity time’—time marked less by activity than by availability, by an attentive presence that invites loved ones to approach each other face-to-face with their thoughts or feelings. Such moments of undivided attention for one another may be experienced as a waste to a busy adult, but are in fact critical to a child’s developing sense of identity and security. Looking away from a screen and into a child’s eyes is a physical sign that one is truly receiving and appreciating him.”

This Christmas, let’s not only recommit to genuinely encountering Christ, but also our families. 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

Atone Deaf: Liberals Demand Apology from Religious Trump BaseTony Perkins

Despite Left’s Bullying of Christians, Same-Sex Marriage Isn’t SettledTony Perkins

A transgender military is a weaker, compromised militaryPeter Sprigg

On Elections and the Easy Evil of HatredSarah Perry

Truth Wins at Arkansas Supreme Court Regarding Parentage on Birth CertificatesPeter Sprigg

France Reminds United States of Importance of First AmendmentTravis Weber

CDC: Abortion at Lowest Level in YearsArina Grossu

The ACC’s Bullying of North Carolina is UnacceptableChris Gacek

 

Religious Liberty

Free to Believe”

Christian artists face jail time for refusing to make same-sex wedding invitationsChris Enloe, The Blaze

The Persecution of Professor EsolenGeorge Weigel, First Things

This Small Business Owner Didn’t Want to Make Shirts for Gay Pride Festival. Now He’s in Court.Leah Jessen, The Daily Signal

International Religious Freedom

Canada’s Boldest Professor Defies the Gender PoliceScott Ventureyra, Crisis

French government votes to ban pro-life websitesPete Baklinski, LifeSiteNews

Following death, organ harvesting of prisoner, China Aid releases statementChina Aid

Sam Alone Stands Against the LeviathanJohn Paul Meenan, Crisis

The Sensitivity Police Strike AgainGeorge Will, National Review

Ransomed: The race to free 226 Christian hostages in SyriaLori Hinnant, Associated Press

UK Anti-Discrimination Laws Used as a ‘Weapon’ against ChristiansCBN News

Coptic Church Bombing: ‘Deadliest Attack’ on Egyptian ChristiansTalia Wise, CBN News

Military Religious Freedom

Parallel Societies: How the American Military and Civilian Worlds Parted WaysScott Beauchamp, Public Discourse

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

National Motto “In God We Trust” Can Stay on U.S. CurrencyFirst Liberty

Anglican Pastor May End Up in Jail in California for Offering Prayers for Women Entering Abortion FacilityAndre Mitchell, Christian Today

School Orders Staffer to Remove “Charlie Brown” Christmas PosterToddStarnes.com

Religious Liberty Win: Mass. Backs Off Gender Identity Law That Could Have Jailed PastorsLiberty McArtor, The Stream

Massachusetts churches free to serve their communities without being forced to abandon beliefsAlliance Defending Freedom

 

Life

Abortion

Senate Judiciary Committee refers Planned Parenthood for FBI investigation – Susan Michelle-Hanson, LiveAction

Media Silence: NYC Abortion Rate Is 60% of Birth RateKatie Yoder, National Right to Life

My Dear Friend Chucky Puts To Shame France’s Ban On Talking About Down SyndromeMike Rapkoch, The Federalist

Another ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ at Macy’s2ndVote

Ohio Senate Passes Bill to Ban All Abortions After an Unborn Baby’s Heartbeat BeginsSteven Ertelt, LifeNews

Unconscionable: Threats to Religious Freedom and Rights of Conscience in the Abortion DebateTim Bradley, Public Discourse

Adoption

Foster Children Need the ChurchBrittany Lind, The Gospel Coalition

[Oklahoma] DHS starts new program to speed up adoption processLacey Lett, KFOR

Advocates: Revamp Texas adoption care after mistreated teensFox News

Bioethics

Chaplains of DeathR.R. Reno, First Things

Joni Eareckson Tada: Christians Are Giving Up, Enabling Culture to Be WorseSamuel Smith, The Christian Post

4 in 10 Evangelicals Think Physician Assisted Suicide is ‘Morally Acceptable;’ Joni Eareckson Tada RespondsSamuel Smith, The Christian Post

Death on Demand: Euthanasia Activist Admits Assisted Suicide Not Just for Terminally IllSteven Ertelt, LifeNews

Assisted Suicide MendacityWesley J. Smith, National Right to Life

Obamacare

Don’t Let Democrats Define The Obamacare Debate – David Harsanyi, The Federalist

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell: We’ll Repeal Obamacare on Day One – Steven Ertelt, LifeNews

How To Repeal Obamacare: Repeal Obamacare – Robert Tracinski, The Federalist

Obamacare May Soon Be Over. Here’s What Americans Have Thought of the Law Since 2010. – Elizabeth Fender, The Daily Signal

 

Family

Economics/Education

Meet the congresswoman poised to tear up Obama’s education legacy – Kimberly Hefling, Politico

Why Fewer Americans Outearn Their Parents – Alexia Fernández Campbell, The Atlantic

Feminists Should Fight the Department of Education’s Redefinition of Sex Discrimination – Christen Price, Public Discourse

Marriage

Conflict in Marriage Does Not Need to Be DestructiveJason Whiting, Family Studies

The Three Love DietMARRI

Married-Parent Families Boost Student Performance in OhioNicholas Zill and W. Bradford Wilcox, Family Studies

Faith/Character/Culture

Why Christmas Should Bother EverybodyBishop Robert Barron, Word On Fire

Why You Shouldn’t Change Jobs Every Two YearsSamuel Tran, The Gospel Coalition

Are Atheists Addled?Regis Martin, Crisis

Church Should Feel UncomfortableBrett McCracken, The Gospel Coalition

The Battle Belongs to the Grassroots: This Is Our MomentDoug Mainwaring, Public Discourse

Human Sexuality

State vs. Family: The Tyranny of the “Emerging Orthodoxy”Paul Diamond, Public Discourse

The Transgender Movement Targets Autistic ChildrenElise Ehrhard, Crisis

Sorry, Millennials. Monogamy is Not a “Spectrum”Andrew Stiles, Acculturated

Pornography

Seven Reasons You Should Not Indulge in Pornography – Andrew David Naselli, The Gospel Coalition

Uncovering The Massive Porn Problem In The U.S. Military – Fight the New Drug

7 Areas of Life That Pornography Destroys – Patrick Mabilog, Christian Today

Truth Wins at Arkansas Supreme Court Regarding Parentage on Birth Certificates

by Peter Sprigg

December 9, 2016

In June of 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that same-sex couples could not be denied marriage licenses by states. However, on December 8, 2016, the Arkansas Supreme Court correctly ruled that the Obergefell decision should not be used to re-write all state laws relating to family, parenthood, and vital records, when they are unrelated to the issuance of marriage licenses.

The decision, in the case of Smith v. Pavan, overturned a lower court decision that had declared the Arkansas law governing birth registration unconstitutional. The statute in question says that in the absence of a court order or agreement by all parents and spouses involved,

If the mother was married at the time of either conception or birth or between conception and birth the name of the husband shall be entered on the certificate as the father of the child.”

The law had been challenged by three lesbian couples. In all three cases, one of the women had borne a child who was conceived through artificial insemination involving an anonymous sperm donor as the father. When the children were born, the couples sought to have the names of both women listed on the birth certificate as the child’s parents. The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) refused.

The legal principle involved has long been known as the “presumption of paternity.” If a married woman gives birth to a child, her husband is presumed to be the father of that child. Something which is factually true in the vast majority of cases is simply presumed to be true under the law.

Advocates of same-sex marriage and homosexual parenting, however, seek to convert the “presumption of paternity” into a gender-neutral “presumption of parentage.” Under this view, the legal spouse—regardless of sex—of a woman who gives birth is presumed to be the child’s other parent.

In other words, they would have the law go from presuming something that is almost always factually true to presuming something that cannot possibly be factually true—namely, that two women are both the biological mother of a newborn child.

Fortunately, the Arkansas Supreme Court rejected the absurd outcome of presuming the impossible.

In a model of judicial restraint, they interpreted the words of the statute by “giving the words their ordinary and usually accepted meaning in common language.” Noting that the dictionary definition of “husband” is “a married man,” and of “father” is “a man who has begotten a child,” they concluded that “the statute centers on the relationship of the biological mother and the biological father to the child, not on the marital relationship of husband and wife.”

The court’s opinion cited an affidavit by the ADH’s Vital Records State Registrar elaborating on the rationale for this approach:

The overarching purpose of the vital records system is to ensure that vital records, including birth certificates as well as death certificates and marriage certificates, are accurate regarding the vital events that they reflect…

Identification of biological parents through birth records is critical to ADH’s identification of public health trends, and it can be critical to an individual’s identification of personal health issues and genetic conditions.

To emphasize the significance of—and differences between—biological motherhood and biological fatherhood, the Arkansas Supreme Court also cited language from a 2001 U.S. Supreme Court decision involving a question of citizenship for children born out of wedlock and outside the United States to one American parent. Ruling (in Nguyen v. INS) that Congress could treat children of American fathers differently from children of American mothers, the Court said,

[t]o fail to acknowledge even our most basic biological differences—such as the fact that a mother must be present at birth but the father need not be—risks making the guarantee of equal protection superficial, and so disserving it. Mechanistic classification of all our differences as stereotypes would operate to obscure those misconceptions and prejudices that are real… The difference between men and women in relation to the birth process is a real one, and the principle of equal protection does not forbid [legislative recognition of that fact].

Ironically, the author of the decision in Nguyen was Justice Anthony Kennedy—who also wrote the Obergefell decision on marriage.

LGBT activists, of course, will deplore the Arkansas decision. Perhaps, in the wake of Donald Trump’s election to the presidency, they and other liberals will even be tempted to lump it together with what they stereotype as other acts of “bigotry” committed by “angry white males.” Yet the Arkansas Supreme Court has a female majority—four women and three men. Three of the four women joined the majority opinion in the birth certificate case, while two of the three men dissented. And the opinion of the court was written by Associate Justice Josephine Linker Hart—a female pioneer in the legal profession in Arkansas, an Army veteran, and a woman with Cherokee ancestry.

The truth is that every child has both a mother and a father—even if the latter is only an anonymous sperm donor. The truth is that two women (or two men) alone can never conceive a new human life. The truth is that a birth certificate or registration is supposed to record the factual circumstances of a biological event—the birth of a child.

When the Obergefell decision was handed down, those celebrating it used a simple slogan: “Love Wins.” (The fallacy in that was the assumption that any and every relationship characterized by “love” is constitutionally entitled to be designated a “marriage.”)

Pro-family Americans can be grateful that, at least in the Arkansas Supreme Court, “Truth Wins.”

France Reminds United States of Importance of First Amendment

by Travis Weber

December 8, 2016

France’s legislative effort to ban pro-life websites passed the National Assembly last week, and just passed that country’s Senate yesterday. While the measure criminalizes a number of things, of note is the ban on making statements which bring “moral and psychological pressure” on a person as part of persuading them to not have an abortion. What about moral and psychological pressure to have an abortion? That is not banned.

This is what we in the United States call “viewpoint discrimination,” the most blatant kind of speech restriction prohibited by our First Amendment to the Constitution. Prohibitions on viewpoint discrimination prevent the government from “regulating speech when the specific motivating ideology or the opinion or perspective of the speaker is the rationale for the restriction” Rosenberger v. Rector & Visitors of the University of Virginia, 515 U.S. 819, 829 (1995). For we don’t want the government to be able to “‘effectively drive certain ideas or viewpoints from the marketplace’” Turner Broadcasting Systems v. FCC, 512 U.S. 622, 641 (1994). As the Supreme Court has said, “[i]t is precisely this element of taking sides in a public debate that identifies viewpoint discrimination and makes it the most pernicious…” Rosenberger, 515 U.S. at 895.

While in the United States we may have grown used to the pro-life viewpoint being marginalized and pushed out of certain sectors of culture and academia, we generally rest assured in our strong free speech protections which guard against government efforts to censor certain viewpoints.

Last year, a federal judge found that a public university’s efforts to ban “controversial” speech was actually an attempt to ban the pro-life viewpoint and thus unconstitutional. In that case, the “political and social controversy” the university cited was due to the students’ position on abortion. If the university was concerned with “controversy” connected to the topic of abortion, it might be able to prohibit all speech on that topic in certain areas on campus. But if, as alleged, the university was actually targeting the “controversy” arising from pro-life views, it would be targeting these pro-life students for their position on the issue of abortion, and would thus be engaged in viewpoint discrimination—something the government is strictly prohibited from doing.

France’s ban on pro-life views follows not too long on the heels of a government decision to bar a video featuring individuals with Down syndrome from appearing on French television because the smiles of the children in the video would “disturb the conscience of women who had lawfully made different personal life choices”—meaning, it would offend and upset women who had aborted their Down syndrome children.

Again, we can be thankful for free speech law in the United States, which, despite the efforts of university activists who want to ban offensive words, currently does not permit the banning of speech just because it is offensive.

These efforts by France should remind us of the value and importance of our own Free Speech law. While free speech infringements in France may be appealed, possibly up to the European Court of Human rights, this is already troubling enough. That the government can so easily shut down one side of an important public debate (or ban offensive presentations) are things that should make everyone who loves freedom (whether in Europe or the United States) worry.

CDC: Abortion at Lowest Level in Years

by Arina Grossu

December 7, 2016

According to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), abortion numbers, rates, and ratios have all been on the decline. The CDC reported a total number of 664,435 abortions in 2013, as recorded by state health departments. The 2013 data is based on reported information from 47 states and does not include abortion data from California (since 1998), Maryland, and New Hampshire. Therefore, the actual number of abortions is higher than the CDC data lets on. 

The most recent study from the Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood’s former research arm, reported 1.06 million abortions in 2011. Guttmacher obtains its abortion data from abortion facilities directly instead of using reported state department numbers. Regardless of whether one looks at the CDC or the Guttmacher data, they both agree that there is a general downward trend in abortion numbers. Global Life Campaign data also reveals that abortion numbers have been in a general decline since 1990.  

According to the CDC data, compared with 2012, the total number, rate, and ratio of reported abortions for 2013 decreased by 5%. From 2004–2013, the number, rate, and ratio of reported abortions also decreased 20%, 21%, and 17%, respectively, reaching their lowest level across the board for that time period. Additionally, the abortion rate for 2013 was 12.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 years, about half of the 1980 recorded rate. The Associated Press reported that the CDC has not recorded a lower abortion rate since 1971, two years before the Roe v. Wade landmark decision. 

Family Research Council posits the decline in the abortion numbers, rates, and ratios to advances in science which reveal the humanity of the baby, a growing pro-life public, and a decrease in sexually-risky behavior with the help of sexual risk-avoidance (SRA) education. 

First, not only do we now have 4D ultrasound technologies that reveal the humanity of the child, but new technologies are continually coming out such as 3D imaging showing the complex anatomy and organ systems of embryos as young as 15 days old. Scientific advancements also allow us to see facial expressions in-utero and to track fetal pain.  

Second, the majority of Americans are pro-life. A July 2016 Marist poll revealed that more than half of Americans (53%) believe that abortion should only be allowed in cases of rape, incest, to save the life of the mother, or never be permitted under any circumstance. Further, we have seen an unprecedented uptick of pro-life laws in the past five years alone—334 pro-life laws as of midyear 2016—accounting for 30% of all pro-life laws enacted since 1973. 

Third, there has also been a sharp decline in teen sexual activity, according to the most recent CDC data. This may be due in part to sexual risk-avoidance education, which takes a whole-person approach to healthy decision-making.

While the CDC abortion data is encouraging, we must continue to work until not one more life is tragically snuffed out by the ravages of abortion.

On Elections and the Easy Evil of Hatred

by Sarah Perry

December 5, 2016

This article appeared in The Christian Review on December 2.

All good is hard. All evil is easy. Dying, losing, cheating, and mediocrity is easy.
Stay away from easy.” Scott Alexander

Hollywood heavyweight Aaron Sorkin weighed in with gusto after the election. In a letter to his daughter published recently in Vanity Fair, Sorkin – clearly gob smacked by what he’d believed was an inconceivable outcome – proclaimed, “The Klan won last night. White nationalists. Sexists, racists and buffoons…Hate was given hope. Abject dumbness was glamorized…” In the letter, Sorkin re-invigorates the enraged rhetoric of both millennials and the overlords of social progressivism. It’s the kind of rhetoric that reduced, is nothing more than simple name-calling. His sneering response was not exceptional. In reply to an article in which Samantha Bee asserted white women needed to work off the karma they’ll get after voting for Trump, a Jezebel commenter claimed that if friends or relatives voted for Trump, “[they are] awful human being[s].”

Enter the protests. In Los Angeles, they burned Trump in effigy. In Portland, protestors attacked police, started a dumpster fire, blocked the highway and did $1 million in damage. A teen wearing a Trump hat was beaten and kicked by other students during a high school walk out (one of many nationwide) in Rockville, Maryland. Hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets burning American flags and hash-tagging their disgust, with statements like #RapeMelania and #KillTrump.

For a movement claiming that “Love Trumps Hate,” it all looked quite a bit like…well, hate.

We know now that what propelled Trump to victory was in large part the mass of red-state inhabitants, those in oft-ignored “fly over” country who had been denigrated as ignorant, homophobic xenophobes. These were the voters who decided they’d had enough of the liberal condescension that has been a hallmark of the last 8 years. In fact, Obama had previewed Clinton’s now-infamous “deplorables” caricature, describing the same group in 2008 as those who “get bitter, [who] cling to guns or religions or antipathy to people who aren’t like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

That’s the easy thing to do with people with whom you disagree: lump them unexamined into categories you find anathema, call them “dumb” and walk away.

Hate is facile. Labels are easy. If we succumb to these visceral, knee-jerk impulses, we reject an entire group as adherents to unthinkable ideologies – no matter what their voting motivations actually were – and dismiss them as unworthy of our serious consideration. Hate makes no room for concessions or understanding.

But make no mistake: hate most definitely works both ways. Honesty demands we recognize the Nazis and Klan that voted for Trump and have taken his ascendancy as a cue to wreak havoc. It requires a clear-eyed view of the spray-painted messages and shouted epithets and threats. But here’s the thing: hating them for that is no different than hating all of Trump’s supporters, or for that matter, all of Clinton’s. One member of a group is not its whole. Hate – at bottom – is ignorant. It is myopic, and self-selecting. It is narrow-minded, and fearful. Hate points fingers and burns flags and never asks “why.”

Hate asserts: “You have nothing to add because you’re (conservative)(black)(Latino)(pro-life).” Hate knows no variations. It is the great equalizing force that is as destructive to liberals as it is to conservatives, with its roots in the arrogance of perceived superiority.

In the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof had the fortitude to expose his party’s duality by noting, “We progressives believe in diversity, and we want women, blacks, Latinos, gays and Muslims at the table — er, so long as they aren’t conservatives.” He goes on to describe the unique plight of sociologist George Yancey, who said, “Outside of academia I faced more problems as a black…But inside academia I face more problems as a Christian, and it is not even close.” Even Kevin Drum at Mother Jones was honest enough to explain, “We’re convinced that conservatives, especially working-class conservatives, are just dumb. Smug suggests only a supreme confidence that we’re right – but conservative elites also believe they’re right, and they believe it as much as we do. The difference is that, generally speaking, they’re less condescending about it.”

So the conservatives – many of them in the disenfranchised working class, caught in a cycle of stale wages and denied opportunity – voted in droves. Not because of hate. Not because of racism or xenophobia or sexism, but because of the hope for a better personal future. Their choice of president lay in two unsavory candidates. But only one candidate deigned to treat them with respect and offer a vision for their personal prosperity and success. As John Daniel Davidson writes at The Federalist, “The mainstream media caricature of angry blue-collar whites turning to Trump out of racial animosity and misogyny didn’t stand up to scrutiny.” So it was that Trump broke through the industrial wall of the previously-blue Midwest – a region nearly guaranteed to fall for Clinton.

Untenable choices ought not to serve as the platform for hate, but the springboard for hope. Empathy must prevail. Our nation hums with the agitation of polarization. But we who recognize a Savior of the greatest compassion, One who sought out the “least of these” and pursued we lost souls with an everlasting love, must be the first to reach out our hands and ask why. We must set the difficult example, because the easy thing will ensure our discord and our ultimate destruction. We are, it turns out, all members of the same irredeemable cohort, situated comfortably in a basket built for deplorables.

So let us do the hard thing, extend our hand to our neighbor and get ourselves out.

The ACC’s Bullying of North Carolina is Unacceptable

by Chris Gacek

December 2, 2016

On Saturday, the Atlantic Coast Conference (“ACC”) is scheduled to hold its conference football championship at the Camping World Stadium in Orlando when No. 3 Clemson plays Virginia Tech. This championship had been held in Charlotte, North Carolina, since 2010 with an average attendance each year of 70,000.

Why the change? The Conference interjected itself into the political affairs of North Carolina when it decided to publicly repudiate the state’s rejection of transgender bathroom policies. Most outrageously, the ACC announced in mid-September that it would move ten 2016-17 neutral-site championships out of North Carolina. Hence the move to Orlando for the game tomorrow.

I have no issue with the ACC acting as a good citizen and promoting a society that judges young men and women according to their talent and perseverance. That is one of the great virtues of athletic competition. However, it is something altogether different for the ACC to dive into an ongoing political debate with the goal of overturning the will of the people of North Carolina and coerce them into submission.

The ACC was founded in North Carolina and has been embraced by it for many decades. Yet, at the drop of a hat, it appears the Commission has had little difficulty betraying those who have loved it for so long. And, make no mistake, it has done this by implying that the people of North Carolina are bigots. Nothing could be further from the truth. North Carolinians are merely skeptical about the wisdom and propriety of the government mandating that biological males be allowed to enter women’s restrooms, changing rooms, locker rooms, and showers.

At the very least, one might have expected some humility from the ACC. After all, its new operating philosophy is novel, untested, and radically at odds with the biological basis of all human sexuality. Unfortunately, humility does not appear to be one of the ACC’s core values.

Over many decades, the ACC and the Christian community have forged an especially strong relationship in North Carolina. Good relationships are not one-way streets, and even the strongest partnerships can sour. If the ACC believes it can subjugate the rule of law to simple economics, it should think again. North Carolina citizens elected both their legislators and their governor. To insert yourself as de facto jury in this process and render a verdict on a law in which the ACC plays no part, is contemptible.

The ACC’s attitude resembles nothing so much as the self-satisfied arrogance of the Clinton campaign before the people spoke in the voting booth. The cultural elites running her White House bid managed to convince a multi-state swathe of America that it cared more about bathroom policies than whether men and women could find jobs and decent health insurance.

The ACC depends greatly on the continued support it receives from North Carolina’s local and state governments. Its member institutions are subsidized by evangelical Christians who, as taxpayers and voters, are needed to support its costly facilities, highly-paid Conference administrators, lavishly-funded coaching staffs, and numerous athletes—athletes who are unpaid, voiceless, and indentured to the Conference.

In an era of increased moral posturing and preening, perhaps the ACC’s business practices should be more closely scrutinized by those Republican super-majorities in both houses of the North Carolina legislature. Perhaps it is time for the much-condescended-to People to reevaluate the nature and terms of this relationship. Who does make all the money off those athletic shoe deals?

The ACC’s decision to enter the culture war as a partisan opponent of voting Christians needs to be reversed immediately. To the extent practicable, neutral site championships need to be rescheduled for play in North Carolina. Barring a return of prior policies and the recognition of the right of the people of North Carolina to enact reasonable laws regarding public health and safety, the relationship between the ACC and our community is indefinitely fractured.

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