We Are More than “Born Equal,” Mr. President

by Rob Schwarzwalder

February 8, 2016

In a speech at a Baltimore mosque last week, President Obama said, “We’re all born equal, with inherent dignity.”

He’s right. But his chronology is inadequate.

Our Declaration of Independence says we are “created equal.” That’s an important piece of phrasing in that it accurately represents the true origin of our humanity. Our Creator, from the moment of our conception, bestows on us His image and likeness. From that fraction of time on, we are persons. All the DNA that composes our beings is there at the union of the sperm and egg. As my colleague Cathy Ruse and I wrote a few years ago, “the scientific evidence is quite plain: at the moment of fusion of human sperm and egg, a new entity comes into existence which is distinctly human, alive, and an individual organism — a living, and fully human, being.”

Throughout his time in elective office, in the Illinois and U.S. Senates and now as President, Mr. Obama has been a consistent and strident proponent of unrestricted access to abortion-on-demand. His health care plan subsidizes it. He is suing in federal court to demand that everyone from faith-based colleges to an order of Catholic nuns provide contraception to their employees. He wants birth control with potentially abortifacient action made widely available. It is thus difficult not to see his assertion of our being born with inherent dignity as a turn of phrase calculated deliberately to avoid dealing with the humanness of the unborn child.

We are created with dignity from the moment when our humanness starts. That’s called conception. It takes place in the womb. No clever phrasing can ever diminish what the conscience cannot deny and science cannot but confirm: That life within the womb isn’t some collection of tissue and blood — he or she is a baby who should be protected by law and welcomed into life.

Millennials Across the United States are More Likely to Identify as Pro-life Than Previous Generations

by Joshua Denton

February 8, 2016

The nation has seen a 12 percent decline in abortions, according to a recent study published in the Associated Press. Improvements in pro-life attitudes are reflected in these encouraging statistics and show the rising popularity of alternatives to abortion among millennials.

The study shows the decline is nearly equal in both the most pro-life and pro-choice states.

The decline in the least pro-life states:

Vermont – Down 9%

New York – Down 15%

Connecticut – Down 21%

New Jersey – Does not collect abortion data

Montana – Down 18%

Washington – Down 17%

Oregon – Down 18%

Nevada – Down 22%

California – Does not collect abortion data

Hawaii – Down 30%

 

The decline in the most pro-life states:

North Dakota – Down 8%

Nebraska – Down 8%

Kansas – Down 13%

Missouri – Down 18%

Indiana – Down 20%

Oklahoma – Down 19%

Arkansas – Down 6%

Texas – Down 12%

Mississippi – Down 6%

Louisiana – Up 12%

This summer, in an article for the Boston Globe entitled American Millennials Rethink Abortion, For Good Reasons, author Jeff Jacoby explained some of the reasoning behind these trends. One factor is “an empathy-driven reaction” that views abortion negatively because of improvements in medical technology such as vivid ultrasound images, which humanize the issue of abortion.

Additionally, improvements in neonatal medicine have changed what constitutes a viable unborn baby. Jacoby explains that because of medical advances, babies born extremely prematurely are able to “survive and flourish,” whereas a generation ago survival might not have been possible.

Jacoby relates a statistic that may be surprising to many. Of all age groups, young adults are now the most likely to think abortion should be illegal in all circumstances. That position connotes a very strong negative opinion of abortion that the majority of millennials share.

According to Students for Life of America, the Marist poll data shows that 59 percent think abortion is “morally wrong”; 58 percent think abortion “does more harm than good”; and 64 percent think the abortion rate is “higher than it should be.” In previous generations, those under the age of 30 were the most vocal proponents of abortion.

On a more personal level, today’s millennials have friends and family members who regret denying their children the chance at life. The Silent No More campaign calls this the Shockwaves of Abortion and has dedicated each month to the healing of various people who have been affected by abortion including the parents, grandparents, siblings, abortion providers, and others. Millennials may also be more hesitant to think about abortion positively simply because they have survived Roe v. Wade. Regardless of the motivations, the increasing support for the protection of the unborn and their right to life is a most encouraging trend.

Joshua Denton is a senior in college and works with the Indiana Family Institute in Indianapolis. Follow Joshua Denton on Twitter @1776Josh.

Council of Europe Body Calls Actions of ISIS “Genocide”

by Travis Weber

January 28, 2016

Yesterday, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe passed a resolution calling the actions of ISIS in Iraq and Syria as “genocide.” The resolution, passed with 117 votes for and only 1 against, shows clear resolve on the part of our neighbors across the pond to call a spade a spade.

Several statements of the Parliamentary Assembly stand out:

The Parliamentary Assembly … notes with great concern that many of these recent terrorist attacks are claimed by, and may be attributed to, individuals who act in the name of the terrorist entity which calls itself Da’ish and who have perpetrated acts of genocide and other serious crimes punishable under international law. States should act on the presumption that Da’ish commits genocide and should be aware that this entails action under the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

The Assembly recalls that under international law States have a positive obligation to prevent genocide, and thus should do their utmost to prevent their own nationals from taking part in such acts.

Fighters who may have perpetrated acts of genocide and/or other serious crimes prohibited under international law, and who seek international protection upon their return to Europe, should under no circumstances be granted refugee status.

While not specified in the resolution, the genocidal actions of ISIS have targeted Yezidis, Christians, and others. Such a clear statement that genocide has occurred, and a proper conclusion that this obligates nations which are parties to the Genocide Convention to do something about it, is a breath of fresh air.

Parliamentary Assembly member Pieter Omtzigt, who introduced the amendment to the resolution making it clear that ISIS has committed genocide, reiterated that “[u]nder the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, countries are obliged to take positive action to prevent crimes of genocide.”

Next week, the European Parliament will also weigh in on this issue and vote on a resolution on the plight of Christians in the Middle East. We hope its members follow the strong lead of this resolution and call the facts on the ground for what they are. The world depends on it.

We also hope that the Obama Administration recognizes this obvious fact as well, calling the genocide against Christians in the Middle East a “genocide,” and does so before it is too late. While the Administration has recognized actions of ISIS against Yezidis as “genocide,” it is wrong to not bring full attention to the genocide against Christians, and others, as well. Years from now, we may all rue the day when we could have done more to prevent another Rwanda.

Is Vice President Biden Against All “Culture?”

by Travis Weber

January 21, 2016

It is reported that Vice President Biden heatedly demanded LGBT supportive compliance—on the part of everyone, everywhere in the world—while in Davos, Switzerland recently.

Speaking to business leaders, he said:

When it comes to LGBT rights in the workplace the world is looking to you. I know that sounds like hyperbole, sounds like exaggeration, but they look to you. You have more impact than anything the federal government has done, or the Supreme Court of the United States has done, or that Barack Obama and Joe Biden have done, lighting up the White House. You have more impact. You have more impact in countries around the world than we do on those social issues. You literally can change the terms of the debate – not overnight – but collectively you can change the terms of the debate. And shift some public opinion. You actually put governments on notice.

I’ve had it up to HERE with culture. I really mean it. Culture NEVER JUSTIFIES rank, raw discrimination or violation of human rights. There is NO CULTURAL JUSTIFICATION. None. None. None.

Aside from the implicit admission that Vice President Biden and others are seeking to force compliance (a point which could involve a whole separate discussion) and his assertion that business has an incredible impact on these issues (he’s correct about that, as we have seen in the United States), what’s most striking is his condemnation of a “culture” which does not believe that certain sexual acts are pleasing to God.

We must assume that Vice President Biden is exempting himself from having “culture.” I doubt he would say that. Assuming that much, what he is really saying then is that certain cultures are the problem and others aren’t. And if he’s saying that, then in condemning other cultures and demanding acceptance of his own, he must then admit that he is demanding allegiance to the object of worship in his culture: its permission and approval of radical, individual, sexual autonomy.

But does any genuine analysis of culture here really matter anyway? We know that Vice President Biden, like so many others, seems eager to follow the political winds and to embrace, and be embraced by, social approval from cultural elites. After all, this is from the man who at one time voted in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” 

Social Conservative Review: An Insider’s Guide to Pro-Family News January 21, 2016

by Rob Schwarzwalder

January 21, 2016

Click here to subscribe to the Social Conservative Review


As Washington, DC braces for an onslaught of winter weather, hundreds of thousands of people are coming here from around the country for the annual March for Life.  The March’s president, Jeanne Mancini, previously led FRC’s Center for Human Dignity.  We are deeply grateful for her life’s dedication to the little ones and their mothers.

Those coming will be here to celebrate the beauty of life and mourn for the loss of so many millions of unborn children over the past 43 years.

Along with unborn children, millions of women have been victimized by a predatory abortion industry.  Many others have believed one of the great lies of our time, one that deceives men and women of every age and station: Professional attainment and personal satisfaction outweigh in value not just all other priorities, but other people.

That’s why there are so many broken marriages, casual intimacies, addictions, pathologies, and wounded young people and children. Avarice and greed are rampant. Radical autonomy is the god of the age.

The good news is that the true and living God offers new life to everyone.  Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). 

That gracious invitation is extended to all.  Have you accepted it yet?

Sincerely,
Rob Schwarzwalder
Senior Vice-President
Family Research Council

P.S. Be sure not to miss FRC’s “ProLifeCon 2016,” the premier conference for the online pro-life community. Hosted by the Director of our Center for Human Dignity, Arina Grossu, activists, policy experts, and legislators will be on hand to discuss the issues impacting the pro-life movement, and to share practical ways to make a difference for life on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and your online platform of choice.  Register online or join us here at FRC headquarters.


Religious Liberty

International Religious freedom-

Military Religious Freedom

Religious Liberty in the public square –

 

Life

Abortion

Adoption

Bioethics

Healthcare conscience

 Obamacare

 

Family

Family Economics

Human Sexuality (Homosexual/ gender issues)

Human Trafficking

Marriage

Pornography

A Fundamental Departure from the Faith

by Rob Schwarzwalder

January 15, 2016

My father was a choir boy in the famous “Little Church Around the Corner,” the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration in New York City. One of my aunts was married there. 

On its website, the church makes a point not of noting how many people have been won for Christ through its ministries but, instead, boasts of this:

Continuing its long tradition of inclusiveness, the ‘Little Church’ celebrated the first same-sex wedding in the Diocese of New York in July 2012 and is proud to have performed several since the formal rite of Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant was adopted by the General Convention.”

It is this sort of thing – pride in jettisoning orthodox Christian teaching and practice on human sexuality – that yesterday led “the Anglican Primates - the senior bishops of the 38 Anglican Provinces” - to “formally … (require) that for a period of three years The Episcopal Church (USA) no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.”

As the Primates, who were gathered in Canterbury, England for a special meeting called by Anglicanism’s chief cleric, the Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote, “The traditional doctrine of the church in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds marriage as between a man and a woman in faithful, lifelong union. The majority of those gathered reaffirm this teaching.”

Of additional note at the annual event was “the full participation of the leader of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), a new conservative body, among the leaders of the communion’s 38 provinces.”

As noted in The Washington Post, “Like other mainline denominations, the Episcopal Church, home to U.S. presidents and the nation’s elite, has struggled to fill its pews in recent years. It has lost more than 20 percent of its members since it consecrated (openly gay Bishop Gene) Robinson, and new statistics suggest that membership continues to fall, dropping 2.7 percent from 2013 to about 1.8 million U.S. members in 2014.”

This is a very sad day for a once great denomination, but not because it has been formally disciplined for its heterodoxy, but because of its embrace of that heterodoxy itself. The Bible is very clear that the only sexually intimate behavior of which God approves is that which exists between a man and a woman within the covenantal union of marriage. This is clear from Genesis onward.

It is, as the Primates’ statement says, “the traditional doctrine of the church in view of the teaching of Scripture.” As well-known Presbyterian pastor and theologian Tim Keller has written, “until very, very recently, there had been complete unanimity about homosexuality in the church across all centuries, cultures, and even across major divisions of the Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant traditions … One has to ask, then, why is it the case that literally no church, theologian, or Christian thinker or movement ever thought that any kind of same-sex relationships was allowable until now?”

Millions of American Protestants, disenthralled by their former “mainline” churches’ teachings on one or more of a number of critical issues, including human sexuality, are now attending churches whose orthodoxy is uncompromised and whose loyalty to Scripture is firm. Why? Because, as the Anglican Primates wrote, they have come to know “the person and work of Jesus Christ, unceasingly and authentically, inviting all to embrace the beauty and joy of the Gospel.”

To learn more about Scripture’s teaching on human sexuality, listen to Dr. Robert Gagnon’s FRC lecture, “Jesus, Scripture, and the Myth of New Knowledge Arguments about Homosexual Unions” and download my own “Leviticus, Jesus, and Homosexuality: Some Thoughts on Honest Interpretation.”

Open Doors USA Releases World Watch List Highlighting Worst Countries for Persecution of Christians

by Travis Weber

January 14, 2016

Open Doors USA, an advocacy group for the persecuted church, yesterday released its “World Watch List” at an event at the National Press Club.

Sadly, predictions about 2015 had come true—persecution of Christians increased on every continent in the last year. While much of the attention is on radical Islam—which is sure to blame—perennial offenders (like #1 North Korea) continue to make a deadly impact with their incredibly repressive state-sponsored persecution.

The ten worst nations for persecution of Christians throughout 2015 were:

  • North Korea
  • Iraq
  • Eritrea
  • Afghanistan
  • Syria
  • Pakistan
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • Iran
  • Libya

The glum news was tempered by an encouraging story from a Kenyan widow, who recounted her moment of decision after finding out her evangelist husband had been killed. She said, “I decided to forgive,” because “I had to continue living.” Such a simple idea—yet one incredibly difficult to live out at times—encapsulates the importance of grasping our Lord Jesus’s admonition for all of us in this modern era, wherever we are:

Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” 

No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!” (Matthew 18:21-22)

It Is Not the Political Critic That Counts

by Rob Schwarzwalder

January 11, 2016

Many politicians are some combination of the following: hypocritical, venal, self-interested, provincial, demagogic, too ideologically rigid, too easily manipulated, not close enough to the people, too susceptible to public whims, immoral, ignorant and arrogant. And so are many of the people they represent.

Many activists, Right and Left, are motivated by a confection of fear, outrage, anger, insensitivity, a sense of loss, and intellectual myopia, not to mention political unsophistication and a pattern of oversimplifying the complex.

Combined with the fact that the sun rises in the east and that water runs downhill, the above statements should be obvious to any reasonably close observer of the American political scene.

In other words: So what? Human moral and emotional frailties are not new, and that they are evident in the 240 year-long American effort to demonstrate that representative self-governance is not a farce should come neither as a surprise nor a source of contempt.

I am not talking about the excesses of human sin that blot the American political landscape. From marital infidelity to subsidization of abortion, the personal and public wrongs of those we allow to rule us stain the body politic, sometimes hidden beneath the heavy cloth of secrecy, at others as obvious as a rash on one’s cheek.

Yet painting all office holders as contemptible because some fall greatly or because all are imperfect amounts to little more than snide carping and usually is the result of personal non-participation in the arena of public life. Armchair critics enjoy the comfort of indolence and the luxury of indecision. This is not to say their criticisms are always wrong. Rather, it’s to note that their observations are made in the arid vacuum of passivity, preventing a fuller, deeper understanding of the tensions and difficulties found in writing a bill, taking a vote, electing a candidate, or marshalling a movement.

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure,” said Theodore Roosevelt in 1899, “than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

A bit melodramatically stated, perhaps, but nonetheless a substantively accurate account of life generally and of politics in particular. Public action need not be perfect to be noble, permanent to be valuable, or complete to be worthy.

Cynicism is often tempered by engaging in the very activity condescending detachment sees as humorous or stupid. Tempered because in such engagement one comes to know the moral courage of one’s fellow participants. Even if some of those who act are ill-informed or driven as much by pain as principle, working alongside them shears-off the coat of patronization whose thickness prevents experiencing the empathy, joy, and sadness—the richness—political life can produce.

Those are things worth knowing, and can only be known by those whose intellectual knowledge is augmented by human experience. That combination, founded upon a bedrock of moral conviction, can make involvement in the public life of one’s country invigorating, honorable, and beneficial.

Christians know (or should) that until Christ’s return, political success will always be partial, transient, and pock-marked by sin. They should also know that justice and human dignity call for their faithfulness not only in private endeavors but appropriate public ones, as well.

Armed with that knowledge and stirred by that duty, let the redeemed of the Lord seek to protect the innocent, defend the fatherless, strengthen families, and do justice to the poor and oppressed, at home and abroad. People of the Gospel must do no less.

Social Conservative Review: An Insider’s Guide to Pro-Family News January 7, 2016

by Rob Schwarzwalder

January 8, 2016

Click here to subscribe to the Social Conservative Review


The new year opens with big events here at Family Research Council:

For the Nation: “State of the Family” address by FRC President Tony Perkins - webcast January 11

While the state of the union waxes and wanes with changes in government leadership, the American family has always been the backbone that makes this country strong. Strong families make a strong America. Family Research Council is in a unique position to examine the state of the family in our nation. From the group’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., FRC President Tony Perkins will deliver a 30-minute State of the Family address on January 11, 2016 at 7:00 PM EST. Perkins will examine how the family is doing in the areas of religious freedom, life, and marriage. In attendance at the event will be families and individuals who have been uniquely affected by the erosion of religious liberty. Register to watch here.

For Churches: “Free to Believe” - webcast January 16

In a world where two out of every three people live in regions lacking religious liberty, America is still one of the brightest lights on freedom’s shore. But that light has dimmed of late, as the current administration continues to diminish religious liberty. On January 16, 2016 from 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM EST, FRC is helping to reignite the flame on National Religious Freedom Day during a special Saturday broadcast event. This is an excellent opportunity to gather a group of leaders interested in joining or forming a Culture Impact Team in your church. Saturday’s broadcast will be an inspiring, practical, hands on event that will give you the tools need you to impact the culture in your community and beyond. Register to watch here.

For Pro-Life Advocates: “ProLifeCon” – webcast January 22

On January 22, 2016, pro-life internet activists will gather at Family Research Council headquarters for ProLifeCon, the premier conference for the online pro-life community. As Americans grow increasingly aware of the abortion industry’s agenda, we believe 2016 is a Year for Hope. At our 11th annual event we will be joined by such friends as U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, Ryan Bomberger of The Radiance Foundation, Kristan Hawkins, President of Students for Life, Alliance Defending Freedom’s Alison Howard, and the Center for Medical Progress’s David Daleiden. Activists, policy experts, and legislators will be on hand to discuss the issues impacting the pro-life movement, and to share practical ways to make a difference for life on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and your online platform of choice. Register to watch here.

All of these events can be viewed at no charge. We hope you will join us as we begin 2016 strong for faith, family, and freedom.

Sincerely,
Rob Schwarzwalder
Senior Vice-President
Family Research Council

P.S. Don’t miss the Marriage and Religion Research Institute’s “Family Findings,” a unique weekly summary of research on marriage, the family, and human sexuality.  Subscription – just like the SoCon Review – is free!


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