Month Archives: January 2013

Giglio Inauguration Withdrawal—More Intolerance from the Tolerance Brigade

by Peter Sprigg

January 15, 2013

Pastor Louie Giglio of Atlanta’s Passion City Church was forced to withdraw from giving the benediction at President Obama’s inauguration, despite his outstanding record in mobilizing the church to fight the evils of modern slavery and human trafficking. All it took to bounce him from the program, however, was for homosexual activists to attack him for having given a sermon in which he declared that homosexuality is a sin—two decades ago.

None of the comments from Pastor Giglio that I have seen quoted are at all out of the mainstream of historic Christian orthodoxy or of contemporary evangelical thought. If he’s to be excluded, then you are excluding virtually all evangelicals, Bible-believing Christians, or Roman Catholics who believe in the teaching of their church.

What many people do not understand is that when a conservative says “homosexuality is a sin,” it is a reference to their chosen sexual behavior, not to their inherent human dignity. Christian theology teaches that all people, including those with same-sex attractions, are created in the image of God, but it also teaches that all people—liberal or conservative, homosexual or heterosexual—are sinners who can be saved only by the grace of God.

A poll taken just last September (2012) showed that 52% of Americans believe that “sex between two adults of the same gender” is “morally wrong,” and only 42% say it is “morally acceptable.” So the viewpoint that is being used to blacklist a distinguished Christian leader is not only a common view; it remains the majority view, not just of evangelicals, but of all Americans.

Although Giglio himself dodged the controversy by voluntarily withdrawing from the inaugural ceremony, a spokesman, Addie Whisenant, took pains to distance the inaugural committee from Giglio’s views anyway, declaring, “As we now work to select someone to deliver the benediction, we will ensure their beliefs reflect this administration’s vision of inclusion and acceptance for all Americans.”

We are increasingly seeing this—exclusion in the name of “inclusion,” rejection in the name of “acceptance,” intolerance in the name of “tolerance,” and forced uniformity in the name of “diversity.” It’s contradictory, it’s oxymoronic, it’s downright Orwellian—and yet, unbelievably, people make these statements with a straight face.

As goes California…”

by Family Research Council

January 15, 2013

A recent Wall Street Journal article highlighted the challenges that will be facing California, due to

Declining migration and falling birthrates [that] have led to a drop in the number of children in California just as baby boomers reach retirement, creating an economic and demographic challenge for the nation’s most populous state.

California hasn’t always faced demographic challenge. The article continues:

In 1970, six years after the end of the baby boom, children made up more than one-third of California’s population. By 2030, they will account for just one-fifth, according to projections by lead author Dowell Myers, a USC demographer. “We have a massive replacement problem statewide,” Mr. Myers said in an interview.

Demographic decline is a subject the Marriage and Religion Research Institute has analyzed in detail. In his work on the decline of economic growth and population change, Dr. Henry Potrykus looks at the slowdown of GDP growth due to declining numbers of high-human capital wage earners, and he predicts that the U.S. economy will continue to see growth ebb over the coming years. “This slowdown,” Dr. Potrykus says, “is amplified by the retiring of a generation with significant human capital (the baby boom) and its replacement by a generation inadequate in population size to continue the expected and required growth of the macroeconomy.” In other words, the U.S. population will not be able to replace its retirees with an equivalent number of skilled adult workers, due in part to low birth rates.

As the Wall Street Journal Article notes,

[California’s] birthrate fell to 1.94 children per woman in 2010, below the replacement level of 2.1 children, according to the study.California’s rate is lower than the overallU.S.rate of 2.06 children in 2012, according to the Central Intelligence Agency.

This population trend is a significant problem nationally when close to two million people will retire each year for the next 20 years, according to Stephen Levy, director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy.”

As goes California, so goes the nation. 

False Modesty

by Robert Morrison

January 15, 2013

In a key passage in the infamous Roe v. Wade ruling of 1973, Harry Blackmun, author of the majority opinion says this:

… We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.”

It would seem that Justice Blackmun was expressing a becoming intellectual modesty. We don’t know when human life begins. And the experts that courts often turn to don’t know either. So it would be best not to “speculate” about the answer to that “difficult question.”

Ronald Reagan did not attend Harvard Law School, as the media is only too happy to point out. Like President Obama, Harry Blackmun did attend Harvard Law School. Still, President Reagan thought if we were in doubt as to whether an unborn child was a human life, wouldn’t it be better to err on the side of life?

Ironically, the former Dean of Harvard Law School, Archibald Cox agreed with Reagan, at least about the poor job of legal reasoning undergirding Roe v. Wade. As my friend, Jack Fowler, of National Review noted appreciatively at the time of Cox’s death in 2004, this famed Kennedy Democrat put his finger on the fatal flaws of Roe v. Wade.

[“Blackmun’s opinion] fails even to consider what I would suppose to be the most important compelling interest of the State in prohibiting abortion: the interest in maintaining that respect for the paramount sanctity of human life which has always been at the centre of Western civilization, not merely by guarding life itself, however defined, but by safeguarding the penumbra, whether at the beginning, through some overwhelming disability of mind or body, or at death.”

Archibald Cox went on to say of Blackmun’s work:

The failure [of Roe v. Wade] to confront the issue in principled terms leaves the opinion to read like a set of hospital rules and regulations, whose validity is good enough this week but will be destroyed with new statistics upon the medical risks of child-birth and abortion or new advances in providing for the separate existence of a foetus… . Neither historian, nor layman, nor lawyer will be persuaded that all the prescriptions of Justice Blackmun are part of the Constitution.”

We know from Bob Woodward’s book, The Brethren, that Harry Blackmun was desperate for respect. He felt his Harvard Law degree entitled him to that measure of regard that he had thus far in his life failed to attain. Roe was to be his legacy, his fiery boat to judicial Valhalla.

He cannot have been pleased that some Supreme Court clerks—pro-abortion as they were—were dismissive of his work. Behind his back, they referred to his opus as “Harry’s abortion.”

Stanford University Law School Dean, John Hart Ely, is one of those whose respect Harry Blackmun craved. He didn’t get it. Although Ely was pro-abortion, he dismissed Harry’s Roe opinion:

[Blackmun’s ruling in Roe is bad constitutional law, or rather … it is not constitutional law and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be.”

Science has never been in doubt. California Medicine was the official journal of that state’s medical society. Although in favor of liberalized abortion, they let the scientific cat out of the judicial bag when they wrote this in 1970, several years before Roe v. Wade (1973).

The result [of the abortion debate] has been a curious avoidance of the scientific fact, which everyone really knows, that human life begins at conception and is continuous whether intra- or extra-uterine until death. The very considerable semantic gymnastics which are required to rationalize abortion as anything but taking a human life would be ludicrous if they were not often put forth under socially impeccable auspices. It is suggested that this schizophrenic sort of subterfuge is necessary because while a new ethic is being accepted the old one has not yet been rejected.

Note that phrase: “socially impeccable auspices.” The argument that the unborn child is not a human being would be “ludicrous” if it were not being made by socially impeccablefolks.

Socially impeccable, like Barack Obama. In 2008, Mr. Obama told Rev. Rick Warren that the question of when the unborn child comes to possess any rights is “above my pay grade.” Modestly stated.

The policies pursued by President Obama since he rose to the highest pay grade have been anything but modest. He has pressed for the greatest expansion of abortion since

Roe v. Wade. He demands we subsidize abortion through our taxes, through insurance coverage under Obamacare, through U.S. contributions to the abortion traffickers of International Planned Parenthood and the UN Fund for Population Activities. He has turned the U.S. State Department into a marketing firm for abortion worldwide. No modesty there.

As for Roe, it resembles a judicial Berlin Wall. It’s ugly. It’s offensive. It’s an affront to justice and mercy, to law and logic. But it does what its builders intended it to do. And we are left with its tragic consequences.

Russia’s Tragic Ban on U.S. Adoptions

by Cathy Ruse

January 15, 2013

On December 28, 2012 Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a new law banning intercountry adoption with the United States.  National Council for Adoption President Chuck Johnson calls the decision tragic.

I have three close friends who braved the lengthy, expensive, and emotional ordeal to adopt children from Russia. One is a single mom who adopted a baby boy. He and my oldest daughter practically grew up together. The other friends are a married couple who adopted an older boy and a younger girl. These children gained parents, siblings, and unparalleled opportunity in the most free nation on Earth. I can’t help but imagine how all of their lives, our lives, would be different if these adoptions had never been able to take place.

For more information, visit the National Council for Adoption’s website.

Dear Weekend Warrior and Party Animal: Sleep!

by Family Research Council

January 14, 2013

Ahh, another refreshing weekend has passed. I heard a live performance by some talented new musicians, went to a party, had drinks with some friends, and had a hot date with a beautiful young lady.

And now it’s Monday and back to work. But I don’t have a hangover, and I feel refreshed and ready. How can that be? Well, let me clarify a few things—the hot date was with my wife, the drinks were all of a type that don’t require an ID, the party was me and a couple friends watching football, and the live performance of musicians was a lovely ensemble of worshipful church songs.

This is pretty much a typical weekend for me. One in which I spend Sunday resting and worshipping the Lord at church. I have never started a Monday with a hangover, and there is almost no better way to get reinvigorated than spending time with fellow Christians.

God ceased His work on the Sabbath. Since then, man generally has operated on a seven-day week (with the exception of a failed French experiment with a 10 day week, but that is for another post), and Sunday has often been a day off work for even the non-religious.

A recent book by Dr. Matthew Sleeth indicates that God’s way really does work best. Dr. Sleeth suggests that the move to a more 24/7 society of the last 30 years is contributing to depression and anxiety. So, why not plan a crazy weekend and do something you haven’t done in ages—take a day off. You may even want to add in a trip to church. After all if God is right about sleep, it may be worth hearing more of what He has to say about the rest of life.

Join us for ProLifeCon

by Krystle Gabele

January 14, 2013

In less than two weeks, we will be hosting ProLifeCon, which is a gathering for pro-life internet activists.  Come and join us, as we hear from experts and legislators, who will inform you about the cutting edge of the pro-life movement and give you ways to make an impact on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the rest of the online world.

We have an amazing lineup of speakers, including:

  • Jeanne Monahan, President, March for Life
  • Dr. Russell Moore, Dean of the School of Theologyand Senior Vice President for Academic Administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Jill Stanek, JillStanek.com
  • Kate Bryan, Communications Director, Live Action
  • And more to be announced

Register today by visiting the ProLifeCon website.

Theologians for Prayer (You Read that Right)

by Rob Schwarzwalder

January 11, 2013

On January 7, the director of FRC’s Center for Religious Liberty, Ken Klukowski, filed a compelling brief with the U.S. Supreme Court concerning efforts to prevent prayer at the beginning of government meetings (whether they be local, county, state, or federal). Signed by 49 Members of Congress, including the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, the document makes a convincing argument that prayers before government meetings are constitutional and a matter of religious liberty for all Americans. A description of the brief, and the brief itself, are available here.

FRC President Tony Perkins, noting the importance of the case, said:

The Founders understood that religion is good for society, and defended “the free exercise thereof.” Family Research Council is honored that 49 Members of Congress, including the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, have chosen FRC to present their arguments to the nation’s highest Court. We hope the Supreme Court will reject the freedom-threatening Second Circuit opinion in this case, and reverse it.

Ours was not the only brief filed this week. A group of prominent theologians, Protestant and Catholic, filed their own brief with the Court, making a strong argument for legislative prayer. The conclude eloquently:

Ultimately, attempts to promote “civic religion” or “religious neutrality” must establish the judiciary as the arbiters of the “neutral”’ orthodoxy. This orthodoxy would necessarily favor some religions over others. The only way to avoid this establishment of religion and to remain truly neutral is to follow the guidance of Marsh v. Chambers: refusing to consider the content of any prayer and permitting each person to pray according to the dictates of conscience.

FRC’s friends at the Alliance Defending Freedom have compiled a list of all relevant briefs, including FRC’s and that of the theologians, here. As we go forward advancing your religious liberty in this effort, we ask for your prayers, both for wisdom for us and for a sound outcome from the nation’s senior jurists.

The Shrinking Adoption Pool

by Krystle Gabele

January 11, 2013

With the recent decision by the Russian government to ban Americans from adopting children from their country, it is becoming more and more difficult for families who wish to provide a child with parents who will love them. While some families are not deterred by this news, they are becoming discouraged, as it is difficult to provide a loving home to children orphaned in America as well.

This morning, USA Today had an article about prospective parents having difficulties adopting children in the United States. The author of the article commented on the difficulties that many families have in even becoming foster parents.

As a result, the number of U.S. infant adoptions (about 90,000 in 1971) has fallen from 22,291 in 2002 to 18,078 in 2007, according to the most recent five-year tally from the private National Council for Adoption. Though the numbers are only current through 2007, the group’s president, Chuck Johnson, expects the number has remained fairly stable since 2007, citing efforts to promote adoption.

There are fewer foster-care children available, because more are reunited with birth parents or adopted by relatives and foster parents. The overall number of kids in the system, 401,000 in 2011, has hit a 20-year low. The number waiting to be adopted fell from 130,637 in 2003 to 104,236 in 2011, according to the U.S. Children’s Bureau. Their median age is 7 and they’re a mix of races (28% black, 22% Hispanic and 40% white.)

However, it’s likely that contributing to the lack of children available for adoption is the prevalence of abortion in America. For example, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), the nation’s largest abortion provider, has released its annual report from 2011-2012 and it shows an alarming statistic: PPFA performed 333,964 abortions in 2011 alone. There is no doubt that this number has increased during the 2012 time frame.

FRC even released a brochure highlighting how Planned Parenthood is one of the greatest advocates and promoters of abortion services. Yet PPFA accounts for only about one-quarter of all abortions nationwide.

While the abortion rates are alarming, there is no doubt that this could be tied to the number of children available for adoption in the United States. Our roughly 1.2 million annual victims of abortion could have been placed with families who wished to love and provide a future for them. Who knows? They could have grown up to find cures for fatal diseases or become future leaders in government, etc. Or they simply could have enjoyed their God-given right to life as the adopted children of loving families. We will never know.

Pastor Giglio Disinvitation Signals Inauguration of a New Era of Religious Intolerance

by FRC Media Office

January 10, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 10, 2013
CONTACT: J.P. Duffy or Darin Miller, (866) FRC-NEWS or (866) 372-6397

Pastor Giglio Disinvitation Signals Inauguration of a New Era of Religious Intolerance
January 10, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C.- Family Research Council President Tony Perkins offered the following comments in reaction to the news that Pastor Louis Giglio has been “kicked out” of the inauguration program because he has expressed his biblical views of sexuality:

This is another example of intolerance from the Obama administration toward those who hold to biblical views on sexuality. Why is the president surprised that an evangelical pastor would teach from Scripture on homosexuality? One would be hard pressed to find an Evangelical pastor who hasn’t preached on what the Bible teaches about human sexuality.

Catholic, Evangelical Protestant, and Orthodox churches all actively proclaim that sexual intimacy within the marriage of one man and one woman is the only biblically-sanctioned human sexual behavior. Are the scores of millions of Americans who affirm these teachings no longer welcome at the inauguration of our president?

What is shocking is the intolerance of the Obama team that put such a high priority on forced acceptance of homosexuality that they totally disregard Pastor Giglio’s life work combating human trafficking. What we are seeing is the inauguration of a new era of religious intolerance in America.

However, I would remind the president that the Constitution does not guarantee us only freedom of worship but also the freedom of religion. The two are very different. Freedom of religion goes further by guaranteeing the right to live out one’s faith not only in the privacy of their home but in the public square as well.

This president appears determined to stir division and create two Americas: One America that holds to a biblical view of sexuality and another that offers tolerance so long as you embrace its redefined view of sexuality,” concluded Perkins.

-30-

 

Same-Sex “Weddings” at National Cathedral Symbolize Decline, Not Advance

by Peter Sprigg

January 10, 2013

Washington’s iconic National Cathedral (an Episcopal church) announced this week that it will begin hosting same-sex “wedding” ceremonies. The announcement itself was not particularly surprising. The District of Columbia legalized civil marriages for same-sex couples in 2010, and the Episcopal Church has been moving away from Christian orthodoxy on the subject of homosexuality for even longer than that. In July of 2012, its General Convention authorized a set of “Liturgical Resources for Blessing Same-Sex Relationships.”

This development is being hailed in some quarters as being “symbolic” of an advance in the cause of redefining marriage. What it really symbolizes is the continued decline of the Episcopal Church in theUnited States, which is increasingly out of touch with the rest of worldwide Christianity, and with the rest of the worldwide Anglican communion.

The Episcopal Church is one of the fastest-shrinking denominations in the country, and their retreat from biblical ethics on the subject of homosexuality is a major part of the reason. The 2008 American Religious Identification Survey found that in just 7 years, from 2001 to 2008, the number of Americans identifying themselves as Episcopalian fell by over a million, from 3.5 million to only 2.4 million—a shocking decline of thirty percent. Not coincidentally, it was during this period that the church was rocked by the controversial 2003 decision to appoint the first openly homosexual Episcopal bishop, New Hampshire’s Gene Robinson.

The more Episcopal churches like the National Cathedral are filled with same-sex “weddings,” the less likely they are to be filled for worship on Sunday mornings.

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