FRC Blog

Personal Responsibility and Public Service Bring Glory to God

by Alyson Gritter

April 22, 2019

Frequently as an intern in Washington, D.C., I have had a few moments to stand in awe of the towering figure of the Washington Monument. On any given day, gazing up at such a remarkable sight, I am reminded of a fact that not many in D.C., let alone America, know. What exactly is at the top of the monument and why is it so significant to America today?

According to the National Park Service (NPS), the Washington Monument stands 555-feet high, making it the tallest structure in the area. In 1884, when the monument was finished, the Latin words Laus Deo, which mean “Praise be to God” or “God be praised,” were engraved on the east face of the aluminum cap at the top of the monument. Thus, every morning, when the sun rose, the first ray of light to touch D.C. landed on this engraving. The original builders wanted this to symbolize God being given the glory as the first thing to occur every morning. It is a beautiful piece of history and an even more powerful testament to what God has done for this nation. Unfortunately, the story of this gorgeous engraving doesn’t end here.

In 1885, a lightning protection system (or collar) was installed over the top part of the original cap. Though it protected the monument, it rubbed off the original engraving, rendering the Latin words illegible. In 1934, the collar was restored, but the original engravings were not included in the restoration project. Instead, a new engraving was added to the cap. The top of the monument now reads: “Repaired, 1934, National Park Service, Department of the Interior.” This wording was placed directly on top of the original east side engraving Laus Deo.

This story is a fitting illustration of how many leaders in our government operate today—how they work to obscure the Framers’ original intent to honor and glorify God. Similar to how the words Laus Deo were covered over on the top of the Washington Monument, forces are at work in our government to erode, destroy, and erase the Christian heritage of our nation. So many of us today, instead of first giving the glory to God for everything we have, lean on our own “power” and “authority.”

We have done this in two ways. First, we as citizens are overly relying on the government for assistance and guidance to prosper. Former Senator Jim DeMint said it best: “Over the last 50 years, American attitudes have shifted from cherishing self-sufficiency and personal responsibility to craving cradle-to-grave security ‘guaranteed’ by government.” We are increasingly looking to the government to provide all our needs and even our desires, like free college for all. According to Heritage’s Index of Dependence on Government, in 2013, 70 percent of government spending went to dependency programs.

Too many millennials are buying into a narrative of a socialist utopia where the government can and should supply all our needs. In contrast, Paul writes in Philippians 4:19, “And my God will meet your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

Secondly, many of our leaders first seek power instead of surrender. Many lawmakers are wanting to be the solution to our problems instead of pointing us to the only One who can solve our problems. It seems that their desire to be a “functional savior” is fueling their actions so that citizens increasingly rely on them in order to bolster their own image in the culture. Many of our political leaders seem to desire power and glory over truly effective public service.

A few recent examples of this include former President Obama trying to take the credit for economic gains that happened after he left office, and Senator Cory Booker using his infamous, self-anointed “Spartacus moment” to launch momentum for his 2020 presidential campaign. It is a common theme in today’s politics—“How can I further my image and my mission?” instead of “How can I get on board with God’s mission?”

What America needs today is citizens who strive for personal responsibility and service to others and leaders who are looking first to serve, to imbibe the spirit expressed in the faded, worn out words of the Washington Monument—Laus Deo. We need leaders who serve God (Joshua 22:5; 1 Samuel 12:24; Hebrews 9:14) and their fellow citizens (Luke 6:38; Galatians 5:13; 1 Peter 4:10). Jesus himself said, “The greatest among you will be your servant” (Matthew 23:11). We as citizens need to renew our commitment to being responsible for ourselves but also to serve those in need, and our government officials need to rediscover their true vocation: to be public servants.

Alyson Gritter served as an intern at Family Research Council.

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Women Continue to Die After Taking the Abortion Pill

by Patrina Mosley

April 18, 2019

The FDA has updated their adverse events reports on Mifeprex, also known as “the abortion pill,” with two additional deaths since December 2018.

The previous report released last year on adverse events of the abortion regimen from 2000-2017 showed 22 deaths. Now, an update to the FDA’s Questions and Answers on Mifeprex states that “As of December 31, 2018, there were reports of 24 deaths of women associated with Mifeprex since the product was approved in September 2000, including two cases of ectopic pregnancy resulting in death; and several cases of severe systemic infection (also called sepsis), including some that were fatal.” To date, the report now documents nearly 4,200 adverse events, including deaths, hospitalizations and other serious complications.

Just between the years 2012 to 2017, the FDA released a report detailing 1,445 more adverse events from Mifeprex. In total, the number of adverse events from 2000 to 2018 is now 24 deaths, 97 ectopic pregnancies, 1,042 hospitalizations, 599 blood transfusions, and 412 infections (including 69 severe infections), with a total of 4,195 adverse events reported.

It is unbelievable that Planned Parenthood and the rest of the abortion industry would still market something as lethal as the abortion pill as “safe.” It certainly is not safe for the babies that are destroyed by its use and the women who are physically and emotionally harmed.

In a chemical abortion, it is common for a woman to experience severe cramping, contractions, and bleeding to expel the baby. According to the Mifeprex medication guide, this is expected and shows that the “treatment is working.” How pleasant.

These symptoms can last from several hours to several days, and they can be very intense and painful. Many women also experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and headache.

And these are the pills California wants to freely dispense on college campuses!

What makes chemical abortions unique from surgical abortions is that the mother will have to see and dispose of the remains of her aborted child.

A 2011 peer-reviewed synthesis on the mental health effects of abortion included a survey of 22 published studies combining data on 877,181 participants, showing that abortion increases the likelihood of depression, anxiety, and reckless behavior such as alcoholism, drug use, and sadly, suicide.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, medication abortions accounted for 31 percent of all nonhospital abortions in 2014, and for 45 percent of abortions before nine weeks’ gestation. The abortion pill can be used up until the 10th week of pregnancy.

How many more women will have to die before the abortion pill is banned?

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Under the “Equality Act,” A Woman’s Place is in the Bleachers

by Cathy Ruse

April 15, 2019

Last week, the Heritage Foundation presented another compelling panel on the impact of the transgender movement on women and girls, and its chief legislative vehicle: Nancy Pelosi’s so-called “Equality Act.”

Featuring women leaders like Beth Stelzer of Save Women’s Sports and Jennifer Bryson of Let All Play, the panel examined the devastating impact that this political movement is having in the lives of real women and girls, and women’s sports in general.

The panel included Bianca Stanescu, mother of Selina Soule, the Glastonbury High School Track and Field athlete who had to compete against two large, biological males who identify as girls. Surprise! The males came in first and second place, and Selina was knocked out of the New England regionals for which she otherwise would have qualified.

Not long ago, men dominated sports in this country. That was before Congress passed Title IX to give women an equal opportunity to participate in sports.

There’s nothing “equal” about forcing women to compete against biological men.

Yet that’s what the so-called “Equality Act” will require, a bill being pushed now by transgender activists and their allies.

The Equality Act will not only make men’s sports dominate again—it will relegate women and girls to the bleachers.

But not to worry, there’ll still be two divisions on the playing field: Men competing against men, and men who identify as women competing against each other.

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California Is Trying to Turn College Health Centers Into Abortion Clinics with Taxpayer Dollars (Again)

by Patrina Mosley

April 12, 2019

Last week, the California State Senate Health Committee approved in a 7-3 vote Senate Bill 24, known as the “College Student Right to Access Act.” This bill would amend the state’s public health code to require student health care clinics at all 34 California public colleges and universities to “offer abortion by medication techniques”—a.k.a “the abortion pill”—starting on January 1, 2023.

You may remember a similar bill (SB 320) that went forward last year, sponsored by the same senator, Connie Leyva (D-Chino). Thankfully, this was vetoed by then Democrat Governor Jerry Brown, who saw the mandate as “unnecessary” since “the services required by this bill are widely available off-campus.” In his veto statement he says that “according to a study supposed by supporters of this legislation, the average distance to abortion providers in campus communities varies from five to seven miles, not an unreasonable distance.”

The report he is referring to was commissioned by the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), which is advocating in favor of the campus abortion mandate! But thankfully, a distance of five to seven miles was too short even for Governor Brown, and only showed how college campuses are targeted by the abortion industry.

SB 24 and last year’s SB 320 are virtually identical, with some changes in grant amounts and deadlines for implementation; other than that, they are the same in function. This means Sen. Leyva and other sponsors of the bill made no effort to fix the serious flaws with this type of mandate raised by both sides of the debate. Yes, even the universities themselves are apprehensive!

To bring this bill up for a second time without addressing its many serious flaws shows a reckless disregard for the 400,000 young women on these 34 public campuses.

In a previous blog, you can see what potential risks and liabilities would come with forcing colleges to dispense the abortion pill. Just two concerns (among many) about SB 24 are that this type of mandate once again has vague funding language and has no mention of support for women who choose not to abort and instead choose to parent the child.

Like the previously failed mandate, SB 24 claims it would only take effect after $10.2 million in private funds have been raised for the costs of equipment and “readiness” as the legislation states, but the language of the bill leaves open the possibility of taxpayer-funded abortion after 2023. It provides no safeguards to prohibit state funds or student fees from paying for the ongoing support of the program. Public funding of abortion is something we already know that a majority of Americans strongly oppose, yet SB 24 takes no precautions to prevent that.

In addition, this legislation offers no maternal assistance for women who choose not to abort! It just supports abortions. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that over a quarter of all undergraduate students are raising dependent children—yet no assistance is offered for them. Parenthood and education are compatible, and there are plenty of women who can prove that. To have a bill that purposefully goes out of its way to take away women’s children rather than help them raise their babies and continue their education is a slap in the face to “women’s empowerment” and grossly disregards the human dignity of the unborn.

Any abortion, no matter what stage of pregnancy it occurs at, is a life-changing experience. Even an early-stage chemical abortion can be quite traumatic. What makes chemical abortions unique from surgical abortions is that the mother will have to see and dispose of the remains of her aborted child. It is more than obvious that mental trauma would occur to a young woman who sees her abortion take place in her college dorm room or in a student health center bathroom. Is this really a good thing for a young college woman? I think not.

All in all, this type of bill could care less for women—it only cares about expanding the business of abortion.

Abortion proponents consider this mandate as model legislation for other states to follow, and California is vying to be the first state to implement it.

The California State Senate Health Committee passed the bill. It will now be referred to the State Senate’s Education Committee before going before the full Senate for a vote.

Sitting California governor Gavin Newsom has already insinuated his support for the bill, and this has given activists for SB 24 more optimism. However, it is still unknown how much support will actually come from the public universities themselves who remain apprehensive of the considerable liability that they would have to take on.

To take action on this reckless bill, you can contact California legislators on our action page.

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Medieval” Times in Verona - A Report from the World Congress of Families

by Peter Sprigg

April 12, 2019

[Note: Quotations in the following piece from speakers at the World Congress of Families may be paraphrased. They are based upon my own notes taken at the time, and in the case of speeches not given in English, based on the simultaneous translations provided by the Congress.]

I was privileged to attend and speak at the most recent World Congress of Families (WCF), held in Verona, Italy from March 29-31. Only after hearing what the Italian speakers at the Congress had to say did I realize that this may have been the most controversial of these events—in its own country—held so far.

The most frequently cited (and refuted) criticism of the WCF was that its views are “medieval.” After two days of hearing references from the podium to the attacks upon the Verona Congress, I finally went online to find Italian news in English to document what had gone on.

The source of the “medieval” charge was an Italian politician named Luigi Di Maio. He is the leader of a relatively young political party in Italy known as the “Five Star Movement” (abbreviated M5S), and is a co-deputy prime minister. He also asserted that the WCF was for “right-wing losers.”

Some Americans may not realize the extent to which a parliamentary system creates strange bedfellows. The Five Star Movement—described by Wikipedia as a populist party taking a “big tent” political position—won the most seats in the Italian Parliament in the 2018 elections, but not a majority. Therefore, it had to form a coalition with The League, a more conservative party centered in Northern Italy (where Verona is). Several League politicians were stronger supporters of the World Congress of Families—meaning that Di Maio’s attack was directed at his own coalition partners. Di Maio had said, “The League in Verona celebrates the Middle Ages, we do not.”

When a criticism is repeatedly cited by those who were the target of it, it has probably backfired (think of Hillary Clinton and the “basket of deplorables”). That may well have been the case with the “medieval” charge, which speaker after speaker at the WCF seized upon.

This is an open community.”

For example, Luca Zaia, President of the Veneto Region where Verona is located (roughly the equivalent of a governor in the U.S.), told the opening session of the Congress, “You must thank those who attacked you—you have become well known!”

Part of the reason defenders of the World Congress were able to take the high ground from critics was because of the heavy-handed efforts not only to stigmatize the event, but to prevent it from taking place at all. This had the effect of turning defenders of free speech into defenders of the World Congress, and vice versa.

Zaia reported, “I’ve been attacked a lot—people said we should not have this event in Verona.” However, he declared, “This is an open community as long as I am here. There is freedom for everyone to talk. The fundamental rule is to have respect for everybody … I do not consider this the middle ages.”

Everyone has a right to express their own ideas.”

Federico Sboarina, the Mayor of Verona, struck a similar note. “In my city, everyone has a right to express their own ideas—no one has a right to intimidate them. Verona is being depicted as a ‘medieval’ city. It’s those who stop people from speaking freely who are ‘medieval.’”

The worst thing you can do is prohibit [an] idea.”

This theme of free speech even led to an unscheduled appearance by Italian radio host Giuseppe Cruciani. He said bluntly, “I’m not one of you,” as far as pro-family and pro-life policy is concerned. However, he noted that “for weeks now, there has been a campaign against this event.” He said he had learned from his experience in radical politics, “If you want to fight an idea, the worst thing you can do is prohibit that idea.” Therefore, Cruciani pledged, “Every time they want to stop you from expressing your opinion, I will be with you, even though I do not agree with you.”

The media … want to suppress freedom of expression.”

Writer Maria Giovanna Maglie said, “The controversy actually attracted me; but I didn’t think the attack would be so violent. If you read the papers, you would think we were here to create an outrageous scandal, to celebrate the funerals of freedom and liberty.”

Actually, she said, “Freedom is of fundamental importance—but much of the media is here to stop it. They want to suppress freedom of expression.”

Does the World Congress of Families promote hatred?” she asked. “No, it promotes the family” (and “so does the Italian constitution,” she noted. Article 29 of that document says, “The Republic recognizes the rights of the family as a natural society founded on marriage.”).

If you are pro-life, why should you be called ‘medieval?’” asked Maglie. She referred to political correctness as “a new authoritarianism,” and drew prolonged applause when she concluded by calling on all to resist its “tyranny.”

This event has become a symbol of freedom.”

Sandro Oliveri, President of the Federation of Italian Pentecostal Churches, praised the organizers of the Congress, saying that they “have been very brave in light of what you have faced in the last few days,” including “aggressiveness and violence.”

This event has become a symbol of freedom,” he declared—although not the kind promoted by those who “think that freedom is [only] to say what they agree with.”

Why should people be afraid of talking about family?” Oliveri wondered. “This is about protecting the weakest people, the children.”

Saying no” to practices that harm women and children “does not limit anyone’s freedom,” he insisted. “It does not mean to be ‘medieval.’”

So much hatred”—but toward the World Congress of Families, not from it

For Lorenzo Fontana, Italy’s Minister for the Family and Disabilities, the attacks on the WCF had a personal cost. “I saw so much hatred in the polemics of the last few days,” he said. “I had to be accompanied by twice as many police as usual in my own city. Many people suffered: my wife was ill-treated at work because of the polemics. My child has been discriminated against at kindergarten because she is the daughter of Minister Fontana.”

Fontana addressed another stereotype about the Congress. “I was told that those at that Congress are against women who work,” he said. “I was told I wanted to keep women at home.” In reality, he insisted the opposite is true—“All the women in my life work!” Instead, what he wants to do is to aid female employment by facilitating “work-life balance.”

Having a child is positive for business,” Fontana declared, citing research showing “an increase in productivity” with mothers in the workplace. “Unfortunately,” he lamented, “some people in Italy still have a ‘medieval’ view and don’t understand these things!”

The real “backward thinkers”

The fieriest speech at the Congress came from Giorgia Meloni, a member of the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house of the Italian parliament) and president of a conservative political party known as the Brothers of Italy. One article describes Meloni as the “leading lady of Italy’s right.”

They said we are medieval, depressives, losers,” Meloni said. “I reject these [charges] and send them back to those who formulated them.” They are the real “backward thinkers,” she insisted. “A loser comes to insult us when we talk about families,” she declared. “Losers are those who accept abortion at the ninth month!”

The fascists are gone.”

The highest-ranking government official to address the Congress was Matteo Salvini, who serves as both Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister in the current Italian government, and who was described last year by Time magazine as “the most feared man in Europe.” Salvini said that the criticism of the World Congress of Families had been “surreal,” with people asking him, “Are you sure you want to go to Verona? It’s the middle ages, losers, right-wing people.”

Several of the officials who spoke at the Congress are referred to in the media as “far right” or even “neo-fascist”—but it is hard to know how seriously to take those characterizations, coming from outlets that unquestioningly accept the Southern Poverty Law Center’s designation of mainstream conservative organizations like the World Congress of Families and Family Research Council as “hate groups.” Responding to such attacks, Salvini said wearily, “The fascists are gone;” but then added wryly, “There are still communists, though.” Salvini also declared, “Racism and excessive religious beliefs are not here in this room—it is others who are [wrongly] judging us.”

Grazie, Italia!

Given the ferocity of the attacks, the organizers of the World Congress of Families (especially Chairman Antonio Brandi) deserve tremendous credit for persevering. And the speakers who braved the criticism to address and/or actively support the Congress deserve the thanks of all those of us who attended. Special kudos to those not even part of the pro-family movement who nevertheless stood for the principal of free speech. To all of these, I say—Grazie, Italia!

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What if Abortion Laws Reflected the Actual Views of Americans?

by Cathy Ruse

April 11, 2019

On Saturday I led a panel discussion on “Abortion Until Birth: What Happened in New York, What Almost Happened in Virginia, and What Lies Ahead in the Federal Courts.”

I was joined by Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Greg Schleppenbach of the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops’ Pro-Life Secretariat, and Jeff Caruso of the Virginia Catholic Conference.

The following are excerpts of my introductory remarks.

***

One of the most celebrated phony arguments for a right to abortion is the Famous Violinist.

It’s a thought experiment, by a supposed moral philosopher (Judith Jarvis Thomson), and it goes like this:

Imagine you wake up in a hospital bed, and discover that your circulatory system has been connected up to the circulatory system of an unconscious famous violinist, lying beside you.

The violinist has a serious kidney infection, and a rare blood type—and you are the only match.

The hospital director comes in and says:

  • It was wrong for the Society of Music Lovers to kidnap you and place you in this difficult position.
  • But without the use of your kidneys, this man will die.
  • And, well, it’ll take 9 months for him to get well.

Are you morally obliged to make your kidneys available to this violinist for 9 months?

You’re supposed to conclude: no, you have the right to choose what happens in, and to, your body. You’re not obligated to put your body in service of another’s life, even that of a famous violinist.

The argument fails, of course. For many reasons. Chief among them is that mothers and children are natural allies, not enemies—not strangers on a hospital bed. 

But this is what modern abortion politics has done to our thinking.

The first American feminists never saw the child as the enemy. Elizabeth Cady Stanton said women had been treated as property; how degrading that we should treat our own children as property to be disposed of as we see fit.

What would they say about our abortion culture today?

According to the Guttmacher Institute, founded by Planned Parenthood, approximately 4 percent of abortions are done for the mother’s health. And 3 percent for “possible problems affecting the health of the [baby].”

Taken together, that’s 7 percent.

That means 93 percent of abortions are done on healthy women with healthy babies.

What are the reasons for these abortions?

Well, the women told Guttmacher they couldn’t afford a baby, they didn’t feel ready, they were having relationship problems. Or their husbands, or boyfriends, or parents wanted them to have the abortion.

There’s a pattern here, if you look for it. Of women who needed financial help, but no one gave it to them. Who needed emotional support, but no one provided it.

Of women who may have wanted the baby, but were surrounded by people who wanted the baby gone.

Feminists for Life says abortion is a reflection that we have failed to meet the needs of women—that: Women Deserve Better Than Abortion.  

They say the slogan “It’s my body, it’s my choice” has really become “it’s her problem.” The rest of us are off the hook.

The truth is, they know it’s a baby. And they’ve known it for a long time.

Even the Famous Violinist argument concedes there’s another person in the equation.

Planned Parenthood activist Amy Richards wrote an essay in the New York Times Magazine about being pregnant with triplets, and having two of her babies aborted.

After reciting a list of ways her life would change if she were to have triplets, she concluded, with a final lament, that she would have to “start shopping only at Costco and buying big jars of mayonnaise.”

She recounted how Peter, her boyfriend, stared at the sonogram screen and said, “There are three heartbeats, and we’re about to make two disappear.”

If you’re a Planned Parenthood activist, why tell your story this way? Why the heartbeats? Why the mayonnaise?

Very clearly, she’s telling us that she knows they’re really babies.

But she’s also clearly telling us that she doesn’t have to have a good reason to abort them—she can, just because she wants to.

And legally speaking, she’s quite right.

Forty-six years ago, the Supreme Court took abortion policy-making out of the hands of the people, and made abortion-until-birth a constitutional right.

Roe v. Wade made abortion legal before but also after viability, until birth, for “health” reasons.

And then Doe v. Bolton, defined “health” as “all factors”—“physical, emotional, psychological, familial, [or] the woman’s age.”

That’s why pro-lifers speak of “abortion on demand.” That’s why Amy Richards speaks of big jars of mayonnaise.

Most people have no idea how extreme U.S. abortion law is.

If American law on abortion reflected Americans’ views on abortion, the law would look very different.

And that’s exactly what politicians in New York were afraid of: That the people would get to have a say, again, on abortion policy.

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Defending Family Values Across the Globe

by Travis Weber

April 10, 2019

This past weekend I was in Bogota, Colombia, to attend the 2019 Transatlantic Summit of the Political Network for Values—a conference where socially conservative legislators and activists gather from around the world to discuss the pressing concerns of life, family, and religious liberty. Many of the members of this network—which has asked me to serve on its committee of experts—come from primarily Catholic areas in Latin America and Europe, but share the concern of evangelicals in the United States that the historic Christian positions on these issues are being threatened. Meeting inside of the magnificent Congress of the Republic of Colombia, it became clear that there is much we can—and should—work on together.

In addition to remarks by pro-life and pro-family political leaders, the conference featured impassioned speeches like that of Obianuju Ekeocha, a Nigerian pro-life activist living in the UK. Obianuju rose to prominence after penning an open letter against Melinda Gates for pushing population control on Africa, and in addition to her day job as a scientist, she heads the pro-life organization Culture of Life Africa.

One of the most promising aspects of this gathering was the number of young people, not only in attendance, but who are seeking to serve their countries through political leadership. The young Colombian leader Angela Hernandez, who I met several years ago in Belgium at the same conference, again gave a fiery defense of the family this year.

Near the end of the conference, I spoke about FRC’s efforts to pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act and end birth day abortion here in the U.S., in light of the increasing radicalism of the Democrat Party on this issue. When we have our own elected leaders openly defending infanticide, we know the time has come for action—and prayer.

We in the United States must remember that there are many fellow believers around the world who share our commitment to life, family, and religious liberty. This year’s Political Network for Values Conference was an encouraging reminder of that. May we continue to work together with all allies—foreign and domestic—to advance faith, family, and freedom.

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Social Conservative Review - April 3, 2019

by Daniel Hart

April 3, 2019

Dear Friends,

G.K. Chesterton once said, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.”

This concise and amusing quote is a wonderful reminder of the state we find ourselves in when we wake up every morning: another chance at a do-over—an opportunity to do more good than we were able to do the day before. It’s also a great theme to begin this new season of spring, a time when God is renewing his Creation with fresh growth.

It’s a time when God seems to be asking us: Will you try to make the same effort I am making when I give you a new day and a new season? Even though My Way is difficult, will you show Me your love by trying Christianity anew?

For believers, God’s invitation to Himself never grows old, and it’s always beautifully refreshing, just like the budding of a spring flower. We know that every time we go to Him through prayer and good deeds, the thirst in our souls is quenched once again, just as it always is when we are feeling spiritually parched.

As Chesterton observed, though, this is difficult to put into practice. Our fallen human natures gnash their teeth against the pleading of our consciences. The darkness we see in our culture and the world today paints a stark portrait of a collective disregard and dismissal of the challenge of Christianity. The easiness of short-term pleasures and self-centered tendencies rule the day, leaving in its wake a noxious mix of rising anxiety, depression, and suicide.

In this new season, let us once again take up the difficult task of trying our Faith. For we know that by entering through the narrow gate instead of the wide one (Matthew 7:13), we will find true peace, consolation, and forgiveness from the one true Source of all Goodness, and the courage to spread this Truth to a world in desperate need of it.

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 Media

Issue Analysis: Evidence Shows Sexual Orientation Can Change: Debunking the Myth of “Immutability” – Peter Sprigg

Speaker Series: The Natural Law: What it is and Why it Still Matters to Policymaking – Professor R.J. Snell

Fight Over Infanticide Is Just Beginning – Tony Perkins

The Church in a Culture of Conflict – Tony Perkins

Shall we finally end birth day abortions? – Patrina Mosley

Gender X’ wages war on reality – Pete Sprigg

Let’s Celebrate the ‘Love Chromosome’ On World Down Syndrome Day – Patrina Mosley

Can a New Establishment Clause Jurisprudence Succeed in Protecting Religious Minorities Where Lemon Has Failed? – Alexandra McPhee

Crosses in Need of a Lucky Clover (or a Good Supreme Court Decision) – Alexandra McPhee

Biden, Pence and the Left’s ‘Decency’ Standard – David Closson

Consumers Beware: PayPal has weaponized financial system with its ties to SPLC – Tony Perkins

Should the Peace Cross even be before the Supreme Court? – Alexandra McPhee

Are walls ‘an immorality?’ Not according to the Bible – Chris Gacek

Book Review: Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination – David Closson

The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act: Just the Facts – Patrina Mosley and Connor Semelsberger

Half of Americans Don’t Fully Know What Their First Amendment Freedoms Are – Alexandra McPhee

FDA Orders Abortions by Mail to Cease – Patrina Mosley

Basic Human Decency Starts with Protecting Babies on Their Birthday – Caleb Seals

Women Naturally Embrace Motherhood, And That’s Just Fine – Alyson Gritter

What the Rise of the “Anti-Hero” in Entertainment Says About Our Culture – Kim Lilienthal

Women: Achieving Balance from the One Who Gives Us Worth – Patrina Mosley

The Art of Disagreement – Travis Weber

 

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

The Equality Act Accelerates Anti-Christian Bias – Andrew T. Walker, The Gospel Coalition

Judeo-Christian Group Sues Michigan for ‘Orwellian’ Witch Hunt Based on SPLC Labels – Tyler O’Neil, PJ Media

Confessions of a Hater – Rob Schwarzwalder, The Stream

Feds side with church in lawsuit against St. Ignace – Melissa Nann Burke, USA Today

Black Christian Disinvited from Cornell Debate Because She Believes in Traditional Marriage – Tyler O’Neil, PJ Media

Yale Law School Yanks Stipends From Students Who Work For Christian Firms – Aaron Haviland, The Federalist

International Religious Freedom

11 Christians Killed Every Day for Their Decision To Follow Jesus – Lindy Lowry, Open Doors USA

India: Evangelical network reports increase of Christian persecution in 2019 – Samuel Smith, The Christian Post

Christchurch shootings: 49 dead in New Zealand mosque attacks – BBC

Christians in Kazakhstan Fined for Praying Without Permission – Steve Warren, CBN News

Taiwan to donate US$1 million to U.S. Religious Freedom Fund – Focus Taiwan

This Chinese Christian Was Charged With Trying to Subvert the State – Ian Johnson, The New York Times

Military Religious Freedom

Religious Liberty Law Firm to New Hampshire VA Hospital: You’re Right, the Bible Donated by WWII Vet/POW Can Stay – First Liberty Institute

 

Life

Abortion

Why your church needs to welcome post-abortive women – Joane Wrenn with Mamie Edmonston, Care Net

Alabama judge allows teen to sue on behalf of aborted fetus – Caleb Parke, Fox News

The Reason Democrats Voted Against Care For Babies Who Survive Abortion Is Worse Than You Think – Georgi Boorman, The Federalist

New Mexico Defeats Radical Bill to Legalize Abortions Up to Birth – Micaiah Bilger, LifeNews

CA Democrat Pushes Plan that Could Put Planned Parenthood’s Number on Every Student ID – Christian Ellis, CBN News

How The Obama Presidency Normalized Abortion Extremism – David Harsanyi, The Federalist

NBC’s This is Us Airs Incredible Pro-Life Episode – Heather Creekmore, Care Net

Adoption

Adoption perspectives: A birth mom, adoptive mom, and daughter share their story – Lindsay Nicolet and Brittany Salmon, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Bioethics

Alzheimer’s, human dignity, and church that’s truly pro-life – Todd E. Brady, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Experts gather in Rome to fight ‘barbaric’ use of aborted babies in vaccines – Diane Montagna, LifeSiteNews

How Assisted Suicide Creates A Cascade Of Death After It Becomes Legal – Georgi Boorman, The Federalist

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy: ‘I Look Forward to Signing’ Assisted Suicide Bill – Susan Berry, Breitbart

 

Family

Marriage

How to Overcome In-Law Problems – Deb DeArmond, Focus on the Family

When Religious Couples Pray – Mark H. Butler and Hannah R. Herring, Family Studies

Parenting

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

We Were Parents – Nathanael Blake, Public Discourse

Economics/Education

Podcast: Why nonworking men are unhappiest in America – Carol Graham and Fred Dews, Brookings Institution

Girls Have Always Been Better at School. Now It Matters More. – Justin Fox, Bloomberg

New Moms Don’t Need Day Care, They Need Flexible Employers – Margot Cleveland, The Federalist

Toddlers and Seniors Together: The Benefits of Intergenerational Care – Ashley McGuire, Family Studies

Ivy-League Schools Wither – Victor Davis Hanson, National Review

There’s Rampant Academic Fraud – Walter E. Williams, The Daily Signal

Trump set to sign executive order on campus free speech – Michael Stratford, Politico

Faith/Character/Culture

What Makes for a Spiritually Vibrant Household? – Barna

Dear David Frum: U.S. Population Growth Is Not A Problem, It’s A Solution – Lyman Stone, The Federalist

YouTube Revolution – John Waters, First Things

The Mental Health Crisis Among America’s Youth is Real—and Staggering – Jean Twenge, Family Studies

Female Athletes Fear Criticizing Trans Women in Sports Because ‘It’s Not PC,’ Olympian Says – Tyler O’Neil, PJ Media

Christians Need to Recover Fasting – Dcn. David Stavarz, Word on Fire

The Meaning of Meaninglessness – Scott Beauchamp, Public Discourse

An MIT Professor Meets the Author of All Knowledge – Rosalind Picard, Christianity Today

Human Sexuality

I Was America’s First ‘Nonbinary’ Person. It Was All a Sham. – Jamie Shupe, The Daily Signal

Trans Men Erase Women – Charlotte Allen, First Things

Equality Act’ would turn back the clock for women – Kristen Waggoner, The Hill

Trans Through A Teacher’s Eyes – Rod Dreyer, The American Conservative

Teachers’ Union President, Transgender Advocate Push LGBTQ Agenda on Kindergartners – Susan Berry, Breitbart

Hispanic Parents Face Condescension, Spite As They Fight California’s New Sex Ed Curriculum – Kira Davis, Townhall

Human Trafficking

How Sex Traffickers Use Social Media To Contact, Recruit, And Sell Children For Sex – Fight the New Drug

Pornography

Humanly Speaking: Aristotle, the First Amendment, and the Jurisprudence of Pornography – Adam M. Carrington, Public Discourse

It’s What He Does Online That Matters Most: Gaming, Porn, and Relationship Quality – Jeffrey Dew, Family Studies

What Can Drug-Addicted Doctors Teach Porn-Addicted Pastors? – John Doyel, Christianity Today

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All Policy is Family Policy

by Alyson Gritter

April 2, 2019

Recently, FRC hosted Professor R.J. Snell for a Speaker Series event to discuss the relationship between natural law and public policy. He explored the crucial question of what natural law is and what its role should be in making policy.

Professor Snell defined natural law as a “universal objective moral normativity.” Translation? Basic human rights are not defined by what is relative based on the cultural trends, or “whims” of today. Instead, much like other great thinkers including Plato, Edmund Burke, John Locke, and Martin Luther King Jr., Snell agrees that natural law is based on an absolute Truth. He stated that “all human reason participates in the natural law of God.”

But what role should natural law play in the making of policy?

Policy should not be about winning for winning’s sake, or power grabbing. It should be about what we value as a society. According to Professor Snell, policy secures the blessings of natural law within our society by ultimately serving the person. Policy teaches society by showing what we value—what we actually seek and why. It is “non-theoretical teaching.”

Snell explained this importance by addressing the audience: “You, policy types, teach just as much as I as a professor do, albeit differently. Now I, as father and husband and citizen, need you to teach well because I need our policy to support my family [and] to support my friend’s family. “

As he observed, many students today have been taught that natural law doesn’t exist and instead are taught that public policy is the highest law: “I as a professor and teacher need you to teach well because by the time I get to students [at] age 18 or 19, they have 18 or 19 years of relentless policy education.” If bad policy is enacted based on relative cultural circumstances, then students learn merely conditional views of what is right and what is wrong.

He emphasized, “You [policymakers] are teachers.”

For example, students in America today are growing up in a society where pro-abortion policies have been enacted and are therefore deemed acceptable by many. This causes these policies to act as a kind of teacher about how society views humanity. So, by the time students get to college, many of them have come to understand the dignity of the unborn child as a flexible concept depending on the circumstances of that child’s conception. They are valued either as “wanted” humans or they are otherwise aborted. Natural law standards instead view both born and unborn life as equally valuable, regardless of the situation surrounding conception.

Professor Snell emphasized that policies based on natural law need to be encouraged in order to have a more stable society. Otherwise, anything can be deemed relative, including life itself. Many students today lack a basic understanding of natural law because they lack a basic understanding of a natural family. In many ways, a person’s family is the natural image of the natural law. Everyone has a family in some form. When the family structure that a child is brought up in does not reflect the natural structure we were created for, it can have a lifelong impact on that child’s life. It distorts a healthy view of marriage, human sexuality, and society.

That’s why the family structure is so incredibly important to teaching children values. It is, according to Snell, “the main bearer of tradition [sacred order].” In other words, it is the way that natural law is most made known and the means to which a person’s morals and norms are formed.

However, many of today’s policies are aimed at dissolving family values that reflect natural law. This leads us, as citizens, to an essential question: What is our public policy teaching our children? Is it aligned with natural law, or is it relative to the “whims” of today’s society? As Snell stated, “All policy is family policy.” Therefore, we must advocate for policies that support natural family values and continue teaching those principles in our homes.

Be sure to view the entirety of Professor Snell’s important lecture.

Alyson Gritter is an intern at Family Research Council.

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How to Protect Religious Minorities in the Public Square (Part 5 of 5)

by Family Research Council

March 28, 2019

Read Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4

Religious minorities, like all Americans, want the law to protect their right to the free exercise of religious beliefs in the public square. But the Lemon test and its related cases and doctrines have led to the scrubbing of religious practice from the public square and do not adequately protect them.

Instead, an Establishment Clause doctrine that, in Thomas Jefferson’s words, reflects the clause’s meaning at the “time when the Constitution was adopted” and “recollect[s] the spirit manifested in the debates” benefits everyone. This is the originalist approach. It ensures judicial objectivity and empowers the political branches to accommodate religious minorities.

Critics of the originalist approach argue that the Lemon test and related cases should stay in place. Yet they shouldn’t, for they are not faithful to the Constitution and fail to protect religious liberty, including for religious minorities. Moreover, the cases we have discussed and the laws and executive action we have highlighted show that the courts should not be the first stop in protecting religious freedom. In fact, they should be the last.

A historical approach for the courts and a reliance on the flexibility and responsiveness of the political branches is the best formula for a robust protection of religion—all religions—in the public square.

This blog series is based on an article in the Federalist Society Review by Alexandra M. McPhee, “Can a New Establishment Clause Jurisprudence Succeed in Protecting Religious Minorities Where Lemon Has Failed?”

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