Month Archives: April 2012

The War on Little Women

by Family Research Council

April 24, 2012

Abortion is profoundly anti-woman,” said Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. “All of the mothers and half of the babies are victims.”

However, it is fact that in some countries baby girls are aborted at a much higher rate than 50 percent. India, China and other countries would fall into this category. In such countries it usually has been the case that when, through utrasound, it is detected that a pregnant mother is carrying a female, the developing female baby is much more likely to be aborted than a male baby. Dr. Nicholas Eberstadt recently reported on the long-term negative demographic impact of such gender-specific abortion in these countries.

But the war on little women has now taken a different sinister twist. An in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinic in Washington State is blatantly advertising in Canadian magazines about the possibility to “create” the gender you’d like through modern technology. They leave out the unsettling detail that the other embryos created are then usually destroyed.

A fertility clinic in Washington state has been targeting Indo-Canadians in British Columbia with an ad encouraging them to ‘create the family you want: Boy or Girl.’ The ad features a picture of an ethnic boy and girl attired in traditional Indian garb. A website address in the ad directs parents interested in sex-selection to the Washington Center for Reproductive Medicine where they learn that preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is the clinics preferred method for selecting an embryo of known gender facilitating family balancing.

Sabrina Atwal, project director for the Indo-Canadian Womens Association in Edmonton said she was ‘appalled’ by the ad and that it was indicative of the devaluation faced by women and girls in Indo-Canadian communities.

Girls are fighting for their lives before theyre even born,’ she said.”

Some News and Recent Articles on College Debt

by Chris Gacek

April 23, 2012

The College Debt issue is heating up. Last week, President Obama argued that interest rates on government-issued student loans should not increase from 3.4% to 6.8% — as would happen if a rate abatement were allowed to expire this year. See article.

Well, at an event today in Philadelphia with Sen. Marco Rubio, Governor Mitt Romney agreed with President Obama. Governor Romney stated that the poor job market for recent college graduates weighed heavily in his thinking. While one might argue that both are behaving badly here, I do have to wonder if the government wouldnt be making out like bandits with a 6.8% spread on their loan portfolio. Isnt that sort of the reason that the feds kicked out the private lenders they were making too much money?

There have been a number of interesting articles recently that have touched on the college debt problem facing the nation. The Wall Street Journal has an excellent story (and accompanying video) by Sue Shellenbarger describing the effect student loan debt is having on decisions to have a career, get married, and have children.

Thankfully, some schools are responding. As Thomas Lindsay notes in a piece for NRO, Texas A&MSan Antonio announced a plan to offer a four-year bachelors degree in applied arts and sciences in information technology for $10,000. Total not per year.

Finally, the student debt crisis is almost always analyzed in terms of the effects on students. Well, it turns out that many parents are being brutalized by the cost of college as well. This Dear Abby column reveals how one couple depleted their retirement accounts and deferred needed maintenance and repairs to their home.

FRC Honors Charles W. Colson

by Jared Bridges

April 23, 2012

As we remember the life and legacy of Charles W. Colson, we’ve collected here a few items of remembrance, including some of the many times Mr. Colson intersected with FRC.

Read:

First, Tony Perkins remembers Colson along with other leaders as a part of National Review Online’s symposium. FRC’s Rob Schwarzwalder, Bob Morrison, and Chris Marlink all weigh in here at this blog.

Watch:

In 2008, and the Values Voter Summit, Colson became the second recipient of the James C. Dobson Vision and Leadership Award, where he gave a speech that well displayed his vision and leadership. Watch it below:

Listen:

Chuck Colson interviewed by Tony Perkins on Washington Watch Weekly Radio —- October 31, 2008

Chuck Colson interviewed by Tony Perkins on Washington Watch Weekly Radio November 20, 2009

Chuck Colson and the Valley of Humiliation

by Family Research Council

April 23, 2012

I met Chuck Colson just once. It was several years ago now atFRCs Values Voter Summit, and my charge was to assist the near 80 year old Colson with navigating the venue and getting to and from his vehicle. There were elected officials and plenty of dignitaries and luminaries about, but having read several of his books, I was most looking forward to meeting Colson. In a few private minutes spent with Chuck, I witnessed a man full of Christian charity and grace. This was the scene.

After sitting through nearly an hour worth of tributes from men like Bill Bennett, Robby George, and Tony Perkins, Colson took the stage to receive a vision and leadership award from FRC. He spoke for about thirty minutes, movingly, clearly, sharing his testimony and reminiscing about his family, the call of God on his life, and the challenges facing the Church.

When the event wrapped up, at an hour likely later than Colson was accustomed to, I walked Colson to his waiting car. While we slowly made our way through the hotel, Chuck and his wife Patty, exhausted but full of joy, were interrupted by a man seeking an autograph.

Chuck had signed thousands of autographs. In fact, he had already spent time signing scores of books after his speech. Fielding a fans autograph request wasnt uncommon, even if a bit tedious after the evenings events. Except that this guy wasnt a fan per se. No, he was a history buff, enamored with Watergate.

In his hand wasnt Born Again, or How Now Shall We Live? or The Faith, or any of the other great books Colson had penned over the years. He was holding out a copy of All the Presidents Men by Bernstein and Woodward.

How discordant. How profane.

On a night where Colson was honored for a lifetime of faithfulness to the Gospel, there was a reminder of the mans darkest days. There was Colson at his lowest. On this of all nights Colson could have justifiably responded, At this hour? On this night? Get lost, pal.

As Colsons car stood idling with Patty waiting patiently inside, I contemplated boxing the mans ears. Colson just looked the man in the eyes and gently took the book. He spent a few minutes in conversation, and then signed his name as he had so many times before. Colson bid the man good night and was off.

Standing curbside, I marveled at what had just transpired. Chuck Colson stood at the pinnacle of his career that night. The ministries he led touched thousands the world over. He was the patriarch of a large and loving family. Wise and honorable men loved and admired him publicly. And yet, Charles Colson was humble enough to acknowledge his moral failings. In his weakness, Christ was proven strong.

Chuck stood on the sunny uplands that night, but remembered well theValleyofHumiliation. He did so without guilt, without fear.

Chuck Colsons past had no hold on him. He was born again.

Chuck Colson and the Real Watergate

by Robert Morrison

April 23, 2012

Watergate Figure Chuck Colson Dies at 80. The headline has been written for decades. Only the age and date of death remained to be added by editors of the prestige press. Watergate was the defining event of their lives, as well as that of Chuck Colson. When Chuck Colson famously came to faith, most of the leading journalists in the country reacted with scorn and derision to the idea that the man who was known for wielding Richard Nixons hatchet had been born again. The Boston Globe spoke for many when it editorialized: “If Mr. Colson can repent of his sins, there just has to be hope for everybody.”

What they have written they have written. It is true that if there is hope for Chuck Colson there his hope for all of us. My Websters Dictionary was published in 1946. Its a useful guide to the way Americans used to think, before the sixties changed everything. It defines watergate as a floodgate, a device for controlling the flow of waters. So did Watergate become in the life of Chuck Colson.

Following his guilty plea in Watergate-related crimes of the Nixon era, Colson entered prison a changed man. Though he never said hed walk over his grandmother to re-elect that bad president, his behavior in that dismal 1972 campaign gave people reason to believe that of him.

Thou didst touch my heart with Thy Word, Lord, and I loved Thee, said Augustine. That was the life of Chuck Colson after the floodgates had opened and offered to him bounteous springs of living water. Colsons book Born Again introduced millions to a compelling story of sin and redemption. It was not a story dredged up from the misty past or drawn from distant mission fields. Colsons best-selling confession was as contemporary and real as the headlines of the morning news.

To read the customer reviews on Amazon.com of Born Again is to see how Chuck Colson touched millions of lives. Bought for a prisoner is my favorite review. I have a good friend now in prison whose own life has been redeemed by Christ. My friend was a most genial, agreeable fellow before he attempted to murder a woman with whom he was having an adulterous affair. We were all stunned by the news of his crime. But we have to recognize that every one of us is capable of such terrible deeds. Not one of us is righteous apart from the grace of God.

Chuck Colsons work as the founder of Prison Fellowship has convinced even the most skeptical of his critics. Prison Fellowship has reached out not only to prisoners with the Gospel, but also, critically important, to their often broken families. Until Chuck Colson began his salvific work, few among us had given any thought to the children of prisoners.

Its hard to remember, but as late as 1974, Catholics and Evangelicals were still apart, almost wary of one another. The leading spokesmen of these important faith communities were hesitant about making common cause for the defense of unborn life and the preservation of marriage. Now that has all changed.

Chuck Colsons embrace of Catholic friends like Father Richard John Neuhaus was a breakthrough for the author of a thousand Breakpoint commentaries. It is their joint effort as part of Evangelicals and Catholics Together that offers serious and constructive guidance on some of the most troubling issues of our time.

That work must now go forward as we face the gravest threats to religious liberty inAmericaand around the world. Nothing above the state. Nothing outside the state. Everything within the state. That was the 1919 expression of philosophy of Benito Mussolini. That view made a charnel house of the Twentieth Century.

Yet that view is increasingly coming to us today in the guise of benign, secular social democracy. What Tocqueville called a soft despotism has arisen both inEuropeand inAmerica.

As a young Democrat and candidate, I was not prominent enough to make it onto the Enemies List that the unredeemed Chuck Colson compiled for Richard Nixon.

But among the haters of Nixon and Colson, I was among the fiercest. That was until I saw a Newsweek cover photo of a bleary-eyed, beleaguered President Nixon.

Not yet a Christian believer, I had read a quote from Charles de Gaulle that had started me thinking differently about the pursuit of power. Responding to Khrushchevs overthrow, the tall, austere French leader said: Sic transit Gloria mundi. Thus passeth the glory of this world.

Seeing that withered, haunted look on Nixons face, I took pity on him. I still wanted him to resign, but I no longer hated him. My liberal friends derided me for going soft on their archdemon, Nixon. He resigned in disgrace. Thats enough. What do you want, his blood? I was shocked when they said yes.

When Chuck Colson sent me a gracious note several years ago to commend something Id written, I wrote him back. I confessed to him how much I had hated him. And I rejoiced with him that wed been reconciled as brothers through faith in Christ. I was happy to bury the hatchet. As Chuck Colsons life shows: In Christ, there is hope; there is change.

Remembering Charles Colson

by Rob Schwarzwalder

April 23, 2012

In the early 1990s, Mike Gerson and I worked for Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN). Mike had worked previously for Chuck Colson and done a wonderful job of writing and research for him. This was, in part, how he obtained his position with Sen. Coats, an unashamed and thoughtful Evangelical.

Yesterday, Mike - now a columnist for the Washington Post - wrote a lovely column about Mr. Colson that better captures the man than anything I’ve read. You can read it here.

Digging for our Roots

by Robert Morrison

April 20, 2012

There was a blizzard on the East Coast in early 1977. That surely helped keep tens of millions of Americans housebound during the airing of the made-for-television dramatic series, Roots. Author Alex Haley scored a hit with his countrymen as he told the compelling story of Africans stolen from their homes, crammed into slave ships and dragged across the Atlantic in chains. The story of black Americans is a vital part of the enduring national fabric.

I thought of that series often as I attended the Genealogy Fair at the National Archives this week. Presenters from the Archives staff guided hundreds of amateurs and professionals who flock to these conferences inWashingtonand around the country.

There was great excitement about the recent release of the 1940 Census. Can there really be a hubbub about getting into musty old government forms? Yes. For these family tree surgeons, there is.

The 1940 Census is the treasure trove of information about an America we would hardly recognize. America was poorer then, to be sure. Millions of us were still without indoor plumbing, without electricity. Millions of us had never visited a dentist. Draft boards would be shocked in many instances by the poor physical shape of young men who had gone through ten years of Depression.

One thing I will be eager to learn from the 1940 Census is the state of the American family. There was no no-fault divorce then. Lets all remember Michael Dukakis, the 1988 Democratic candidate for President. It was Dukakis and his colleagues in liberal social experimentation who pushed hard for this liberal reform. The former Massachusetts Governor and his allies can claim credit for the millions of broken homes and impoverished mothers and children across America. If you seek the monument of elitist, post-moral governance, look around you.

I once read an article in Washingtonian magazine written by a realtor. He said divorce was driving up the home prices in the Washington metro area. Then, he added this poignant detail: A house is more than a house; its a home. And he had not been to a closing on a home in years where the woman was not in tears.

A home is where memories are born and, in these cases, where dreams go to die. So lets hear more about the conservatives and their supposed war on women.

The 1940 Census will show us, no doubt, what former HHSAssistant Secretary Wade Horn has taught us: That on the eve of Pearl Harbor, fully 89% of black children were born to married mothers and fathers.

Somberly, I realize that 420,000 of the young men who are listed in the now famous 1940 Census will not be listed in the 1950 enumeration. They will lay down their lives for this country in the intervening years in World War II.

My seatmate, Deniece, at one of these genealogy sessions in an open-air tent is from New York. She took off three days from her work with the New York City Department of Education. She had been in foster care as a girl. My new friend is searching for her family background. She tells me how a girl friend included her in her familys reunions. My new friend goes on to tell me about the institution of black family reunions and how she had been included as if shed been born into that family. Theyve been gathering on family land in South Carolina for fifty years.

I quickly learn that Deniece was born in Brooklynas I was. As my Dad was. And he, too, was in foster care. From these studies, I hope to learn how it came to be that my fathers father changed the family name from the German-sounding Mouritzen to the anglicized Morrison. Was it, as my father always joked, to avoid a process server? Or was it to escape the fierce anti-German prejudice of the 1920s that caused sauerkraut to be renamed liberty cabbage and led some states to ban the teaching of German language.

In addition to Census records, there are immigration and naturalization records, a rich source of information about families. Entire workshops are dedicated to combing through these and in the process you learn that, except for the Indian tribes, everyone was an immigrant at some point. If your ancestor was denied entry, their appeal will be on record somewhere and you can learn volumes from these.

Military records are vast. I learn a lot from Ancestry.coma for-profit firm that supports all these Genealogy Fairs at the National Archives. Already, I found out that I had a North Carolina ancestor who fought in the American Revolution. One of my distant relatives in 1929 dug up the facts for his application to join the Sons of the American Revolution.

[The Mormons are most active in genealogical research. Thats in large part because of their theology, which I obviously do not share. But its a useful service for the rest of us. Ill probably take advantage of some of their extensive resources. Theres a family history center in nearby Kensington, Md. Or, I can go online at www.familysearch.org.]

When I tell them where I work, people at the Genealogy Fair obviously think this may be a new group to help them dig up family roots. Family Research Council does not, I tell them, assist individual families to search their ancestors.

I might have said: Family Research Council exists so that your descendents will be able to have ancestors. I mean that seriously. Many of these sessions are run by folks you can guess are liberal. They just have that bright and irreverent PBS manner about them.

I wonder how many of them stop to think: if the liberal project in America succeeds, will there even be families to research a hundred years from now?

For example, birth and marriage records are essential. What does abortion-on-demand tell us about births? Would people willingly kill an unborn child if they knew who that childs ancestors were? Chances are, that unborn child is descended from heroes and pioneers at some point.

Marriage records are all about husbands and wives. They have been about this for centuries before Thomas Jefferson supervised the first Census in 1790.

Todays liberals want to overturn all of that. Will we start recording Parent No. 1 and Parent No. 2? Why not Parents 3 and 4? Why list any parents at all? Maybe we will get to specify the bar scene from Cheers or the cast of Seinfeld. Not that theres anything wrong with that.

In 2008, George Washington University Law professor Jonathan Turley spoke to a crowd at the Newseum, just a few blocks away. He acknowledged that critics say allowing men to marry men and women to marry women will lead to polygamy. Im for that, he said, and was wildly applauded by his liberal audience.

Edmund Burke is rightly revered as the father of modern conservatism. He said it well in the 1790s. Those who have no respect for their ancestors will have no regard for their descendents. The Founders of this republic were conservative about family formation. They sought the blessings of liberty for themselves and their posterity. We are that posterity.

Prior to this week, I had not understood how genealogy can be our ally in Americas great culture clash of today. But now I do. There is a whirlwind coming. And those trees that put down deeper roots will better withstand it.

In a Culture Without Virtue, We Have Men Without Chests

by Rob Schwarzwalder

April 18, 2012

Over the past few days, reports of vile acts of a handful of Americans abroad - among them the Secret Service prostitution scandal in Colombia and the gruesome photos of U.S. soldiers with the torn corpses of dead terrorists - have evoked much commentary, ranging from the thoughtful to the reactive.

Indignation over sordid conduct is normal and a sign that conscience is not wholly dead in our culture. Still, it’s fair to ask why these things should, any longer, shock us.

Ours is a society where traditional moral boundaries are mocked, where traditional families are derided, and where healthy self-restraint is seen as unduly constrictive. Our films celebrate every form of vice, our marriages are wracked by the effects of infidelity and pornography, and our children are raised in homes without fathers.

Human sexuality is debased everywhere, homosexuality is affirmed as normative, and multiple relational partnerships are seen as rational alternatives to husband-and-wife commitments. Students are taught to make value judgments based on utility, not truth (“If the ship was sinking, would you save a priest or an engineer?” - this kind of question is not uncommon in public school “ethics” classes).

Watch virtually any network television sitcom tonight: Women will be objectified, children sexualized, fathers shown as buffoons, and petty cruelty and sarcasm will be laced throughout what passes for humorous dialog.

To say something is “wrong” is considered harsh, and provokes the disdain of the post-moral elite. Our President rightly speaks of “high standards” for federal employees, but by what measurement are such standards evaluated? Certainly not the Judeo-Christian moral tradition, which increasingly is portrayed as archaic and cruel.

Why, then, should we wonder that some of our fellow citizens indulge their fallen natures so completely? C.S. Lewis asked this question eloquently: “We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and then bid the geldings to be fruitful.”

Our moral disarray is acute, and getting worse. Brethren, let us pray - and act with the compassion and boldness of a Savior who still invites all to the abundant life He alone can offer.

Living Together Before Marriage: An Idea Whose Time Will Never Come

by Rob Schwarzwalder

April 17, 2012

Cohabitation is a rather academic term given to the situation where a man and a woman live together without benefit of marriage.

Cohabitation is common, and becoming more so. According to University of Virginia clinical psychologist Meg Jay, “In 1960, about 450,000 unmarried couples lived together. Now the number is more than 7.5 million. The majority of young adults in their 20s will live with a romantic partner at least once, and more than half of all marriages will be preceded by cohabitation.” (Source)

Interesting facts, but so what? Is there harm in living together before marriage?

Dr. Jay, who says of herself that she is “not for or against living together,” nonetheless acknowledges that for “young adults … far from safeguarding against divorce and unhappiness, moving in with someone can increase your chances of making a mistake.” Dr. Jay outlines many of the potential harms of living together without marriage, including a higher risk for divorce once married and less satisfaction in marriage itself.

According to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one year of cohabitation leads to marriage only 27 percent of the time for “non-Hispanic white,” 21 percent for “non-Hispanic black,” and 14 percent for “Hispanic/Latina” women.

In their recent paper “162 Reasons to Marry,” the director of FRC’s Marriage and Religion Research Institute, Dr. Pat Fagan, and two researchers write that, “The future strength of our nation depends on good marriages to yield strong revenues, good health, low crime, high education, and high human capital.” Makes sense: God is the author and sanctifier of marriage (Genesis 2:18-25, John 2:1-11), and His reliability has a pretty strong track record (100 percent isn’t bad).

Smart parents and smart societies pay attention to the state and strength of marriage,” writes Dr. Fagan. Good counsel, that. Let’s take it.

Open Letter to Georgetown University President DeGioia

by Family Research Council

April 17, 2012

In the wake of Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute sponsoring a Sandra Fluke speaking engagement yesterday, President DeGioia received an open letter signed by over 100 concerned current students and alumni. The letter requested clarity on the Catholic university’s policy, as it relates to contraception in light of misinformation spread by Fluke and supporters in the media and in her testimony before the U.S. House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.

Here are some excerpts:

[T]he recent debate regarding the provision of contraceptive services to women by Catholic religious institutions has spurred misconceptions regarding Georgetowns insurance policy and warrants a clarification of issues, particularly because of comments made by Ms. Sandra Fluke in her testimony before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. The primary issue is whether religious institutions such as Georgetown University should be mandated to provide contraceptive services.”

As men and women for others, we condemn the offensive comments made over the past few months against one of our fellow Hoyas…”

But…

Many university students seem to be unaware of both the Catholic Churchs teaching on providing hormonal prescriptions for medical conditions and the universitys exception within its insurance policy for such conditions. It is important that students of this university are informed of these facts. If there have been incidents where female students have not received adequate medical care after following proper procedures in filling out a waiver for an exemption for such services, this is an independent matter that should be addressed.”

[R]ecent activism on campus such as heightened requests to alter the universitys policy on this issue, the presence of Planned Parenthood on campus, and pressure for the university to immediately implement coverage for contraception in Georgetowns Student Health Insurance Plan, foregoing the allowed extension until August 2013, have caused concern among many students and alumni who support the universitys commitment to its Catholic identity. Particularly disturbing is the fact that the university is providing a forum in Gaston Hall for Ms. Sandra Fluke to promote her views which are contrary to Church teaching. If an equal opportunity is not provided for the virtues of the Church’s teachings on sexuality and contraception to be presented, any hope of an adequately informed student body will be lost and we will have not achieved a true dialogue.”

Georgetown supports students who are members of the Knights of Columbus, Catholic Daughters of the Americas, and Georgetown Right to Life, as well as the hundreds of pro-life students from around the country who gather for the Cardinal OConnor Conference on Life held in Gaston Hall on the day before the March for Life. In addition, Nellie Gray (founder of the March for Life), Cardinal John J. O’Connor, (founder of the Sisters of Life), and Rep. Henry Hyde (crafter of the Hyde Amendment) are all alumni of the university. Students for Life of America, University Faculty for Life (founded by Fr. Thomas King, S.J.), and the College Pregnancy Resource Forum were all founded at Georgetown. Some students may choose to attend Georgetown precisely because of its commitment to Catholic teaching and its rich legacy in support of the pro-life movement.”

It would be prudent for the university to release a statement clarifying its position on this fundamental issue of debate so that all students are properly informed of both the details of the universitys insurance policy and its commitment to this policy in light of Church teaching. At the least, a statement clarifying misconceptions should be made. Informed debate is healthy and can be productive, but debate unsupported by adequate knowledge can often result in emotional responses that are unproductive and lead to unnecessary division and misunderstanding. Faith and reason can only work together if students are adequately informed.”

The text of the entire letter can be read here.

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