Month Archives: January 2013

The Pain of Selfishness

by Family Research Council

January 10, 2013

Promoting self-esteem is ubiquitous in today’s culture.  From social media to school classrooms there has been a strong emphasis on the value and worth of the individual.  The problem is this value has been bandied-about so much that people have forgotten that the root of our value does not lie in ourselves but in the fact that we are created in the image of God. 

Dr. Keith Ablow recently pointed out that all this narcissism leads to problems when those illusions of greatness disappear.  He notes that even though many people have become lazier they still rate themselves as exceptional. 

We must remember that while humans have value as beings created in God’s image we are still capable of marring that beauty through our selfishness.  The most beautiful expression of love is giving all you have for others.  Perhaps we should be promoting more greatness through giving and less greatness through gratifying then the next generation could find true fulfillment. 

It’s worth taking a look at Dr. Ablow’s article and reading what a secular psychologist has to say about how, if everything one does is “special,” then nothing truly is special at all.

The Social Conservative Review: January 10, 2013

by Krystle Gabele

January 10, 2013

Click here to subscribe to The Social Conservative Review.


Dear Friends,

Human trafficking” is a term that sounds almost clinical.  In this sense, it is a misnomer, as human trafficking describes something that is evil in every way.

Thousands of American girls, boys, and young women are forced into sexual bondage each year, compelled under severe duress - sometimes, even the threat of death - to commodify themselves in prostitution, pornography, and other vices.

Thankfully, the Christian community is responding.  On Wednesday at FRC, former Congresswoman Linda Smith, founder of Shared Hope International, and Mark Blackwell, founder of Justice Ministries, gave an inside look at this brutal trade and how believers can help the people victimized by it in real, practical ways.  You can view the webcast here

There is no charge to watch the webcast, but you might find the cost high: Your prayer life, your time, and your understanding of our culture could be changed forever.

Sincerely,

Rob Schwarzwalder
Senior Vice-President
Family Research Council

P.S. Be sure to tune into FRC President Tony Perkins’ new daily radio program, featuring some of America’s top political, religious, and cultural leaders and a call-in session where you can voice your views and ask questions.  Learn more by clicking here.


Educational Freedom and Reform
Homeschooling

Legislation and Policy Proposals

College Debt

Government Reform
Regulation

Waste/Fraud/Abuse

Health Care
Abstinence

Health care reform: Political and Legislative efforts

Homosexuality

Human Life and Bioethics
Abortion

Bioethics and Biotechnology

Euthanasia and End of Life Issues

Stem Cell Research
To read about the latest advances in ethical adult stem cell research, keep up with leading-edge reports from FRC’s Dr. David Prentice, click here.

Human Trafficking

Marriage and Family
Adoption

Family Economics

Family Structure

Media
Pornography

Internet

Religion and Public Policy
Religious Liberty

Religion in America
Check out Dr. Kenyn Cureton’s feature on Watchmen Pastors called “The Lost Episodes,” featuring how religion has had an impact on our Founding Fathers.

Secularism

International
Israel

International Economy and Family

Religious Persecution

Sharia law — U.S., foreign

The Courts
Constitutional Issues

Judicial Activism

Other News of Note

Book reviews

Because You are There

by Robert Morrison

January 10, 2013

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins shared a powerful story at Chapel this morning. A team of climbers successfully ascended Mount Everest. Coming down, however, climber Lincoln Hall suffered a collapse. His teammates, thinking him dead, left him there and continued downward to their base camp. But Lincoln awoke after a day. Hallucinating, he came to the edge of the precipice.

An American team came upon him as they climbed up the mountain. Team Leader Dan Mazur and his fellow climbers took Lincoln back down with them. They missed the summit. They sacrificed their goals and some of their wealth. But they saved a life. Because they were there.

The Hebrew commentaries on Scripture, the Talmud, tell us that “he who saves a single life, it is as if he saved the world entire.” Tony’s message this morning gave us great encouragement after a year of defeat and disappointment. Can we say the cause of unborn life, the cause of marriage (the best protection for new life) have prospered? No. Can we say the flame of religious freedom burns brighter this January than it did last year? No.

But we do not despair. We do not lose hope.

I had a memorable experience working in the U.S. Education Department. Like our boss, President Reagan, I didn’t believe there should even be a federal education department. We worked hard to promote the first federal voucher bill for low income families. It failed. We tried to stop the erasure of all evidence of America’s godly heritage from basal readers. We even commissioned a study by respected NYU psychologist Paul Vitz that showed publishers were censoring all references to God from schoolchildren’s texts. We failed. We tried to “zero out” entire portions of the federal education department, to close down this agency we regarded as unconstitutional and wasteful. We failed.

In one area, however, we saw success. Sec. Bill Bennett testified before a congressional committee calling for reduced federal education spending. The chairman, a liberal, criticized Sec. Bennett for not demanding more money. Then, he launched into an appeal for Bennett to back federally subsidized child care.

He said: “Why even the Soviet Union has a national system of subsidized child care, Mr. Secretary.”

Bennett was ready: “Mr. Chairman: The reason the Soviets have that system can be found in the Ph.D. dissertation written by Raisa Gorbachev. She urged the party leadership to do this because the children on the farms were all being raised by their grandparents, who taught them superstitions.”

To the atheist wife of the Communist Party’s General Secretary, Mikhail Gorbachev, those Russian grandparents’ superstitions were the Christian religion.

On our watch, there was no more push for federal day care. And no demand for national subsidized day care to pull little children out of homes, out of church-based pre-schools, out of those settings their loving parents choose for them.

In another area, home schooling, the Bennett years at USED were a success. He brought into the department Michael Farris, the home school leader. It was the first time this had ever happened.

I had known Michael in Washington State in the Reagan campaign. Now, Michael was presenting the case for home schooling to some very skeptical educrats. In the course of his commanding presentation, he said: “My 7-year old son can read the entire front page of the Washington Post, but my wife and I could still be prosecuted in 40 states for child abuse and neglect.”

Michael Farris provided a powerful defense of home schooling. Later out in the hall, I teased him: “Michael, do you really let your 7-year old boy read the Washington Post?”

Home schooling enjoyed some of its greatest gains in the 1980s, when President Reagan held office. And under Sec. Bennett, the federal education department did not join in the attempts to crush this burgeoning movement.

We wish we could have gotten parental choice in education for millions of low-income parents struggling to break free, but we did make a difference for millions of home schoolers. Because we were there.

Support Hobby Lobby as they Take a Stand Against the Obamacare Abortion Drug Mandate

by Krystle Gabele

January 9, 2013

Obamacare has been in the news lately, as the new regulations are being enacted in a swift manner.  Now, employers must decide whether or not to abandon their principles and comply with the regulations which include a mandate requiring coverage of the morning after pill, a drug that can cause an early abortion.  One company, however, refuses to surrender its religious freedom and is disobeying the mandate.  The owners of the Hobby Lobby retail chain is facing daily fines of $1.3 million for their refusal to comply with the mandate.  As of today, they have incurred fines totaling $ 11.7 million.  Unless the courts intervene, the company will accumulate a half a billion dollars in fines by the end of this year.

FRC released a video today regarding Hobby Lobby standing for their beliefs, and you can also support them by visiting our Facebook page.

Also, my colleague, Ken Klukowski, has been covering the news regarding Hobby Lobby and the Obamacare mandate’s attack on religious liberty.  You can read his recent op-eds, which were featured on Breitbart.com.

We commend Hobby Lobby, as they take a stand for religious liberty. 

 

Planned Parenthood: Raking in Government Money, Driving Up Abortion Numbers

by Family Research Council

January 9, 2013

Following the release of Planned Parenthood’s annual report yesterday, the Susan B. Anthony List  issued a press release reporting the following facts:

  • During fiscal year 2011-2012, Planned Parenthood reported receiving a record $542 million in taxpayer funding in the form of government grants, contracts, and Medicaid reimbursements. Taxpayer funding consists of 45% of Planned Parenthood’s annual revenue.
  • In 2011, Planned Parenthood performed a record high 333,964 abortions.
  • Over the past three reported years (2009-2011), Planned Parenthood has performed nearly one million abortions (995,687).
  • Cancer screening & prevention services and contraceptive services provided by Planned Parenthood continue to drop. Contraceptive services have dropped by 12% since 2009, and cancer screening & prevention services have dropped by 29%.
  • Planned Parenthood reported a total of three million clients in 2011, meaning that 11% of all Planned Parenthood clients received an abortion.

Though the Hyde Amendment prohibits the federal government from funding elective abortions, the simple fact is that money is fungible. As the FRC pamphlet America’s Abortion Provider: What Everyone Should Know about Planned Parenthood states, “By funding non-abortion services, the federal government essentially allows Planned Parenthood to cover overhead and other expenses, as it pursues a more lucrative and lethal business—abortions.”

In the Chart 1 from America’s Abortion Provider, we first show the correspondence between Planned Parenthood’s government funding and the number of abortions it performs.

However, in Chart 3, we show the almost perfect co-variance between annual increases or decreases in federal funding for Planned Parenthood and the following year’s increase or decrease in the number of abortions they perform.

The only exception to the very close correlation between present-year funding and next-year abortions is 2007-2008. At this point, we see a shift to correlation between present-year funding and present-year abortions.

As America’s Abortion Provider notes, “[i]n the end, the operating model of Planned Parenthood is such that its abortion activities require the overhead and general funding support of the federal government.”

The Often Ignored Global Crisis

by Krystle Gabele

January 8, 2013

Every day upon arriving at work, I open my internet browser only to find news on the economic crisis or what celebrity got busted for a criminal act.  It is kind of alarming, when the media forgets to shed light on a global crisis, such as human trafficking.

According to a recent report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal acts worldwide.  It is a crime that impacts men, women, and children around the world, whether it is through prostitution rings, forced labor, or even the trafficking of human organs.  

This weekend, there will be a prayer effort across religious denominations to bring awareness to human trafficking.  Weekend of Prayer will take place January 11-13, and it is a time to pray for the victims and survivors of this horrible criminal act.  It is time to lift those who have been impacted by human trafficking and bring awareness to this issue.

Also, Family Research Council is having a panel discussion on human trafficking and what can be done to prevent this crime from occurring around the world.  Former Congresswoman Linda Smith, President of Shared Hope International, and Mark Blackwell, Founder and President of Justice Ministries will discuss how state legislatures can enact stronger laws to address human trafficking and what you can do to bring awareness to this vital issue.

No man, woman, or child should ever have to go through what the victims of human trafficking endure.  It is time to stand strong for human dignity.

Marriage May Promote Safer, Healthier Pregnancies

by Family Research Council

January 7, 2013

U.S. News and World Report reports via HealthDay that “[c]ompared with unmarried women, married women are less likely to experience domestic abuse, substance abuse or postpartum depression around the time of pregnancy,” according to a study published last month in the American Journal of Public Health by Dr. Marcelo L. Urquia, Patricia J. O’Campo, and Joel G. Ray.

The study, entitled Marital Status, Duration of Cohabitation, and Psychosocial Well-Being Among Childbearing Women: A Canadian Nationwide Survey, was conducted with data on over 6,400 women from the 2006-2007 Canadian Maternity Experiences Survey. According to HealthDay’s report, the study found that 67 percent of separated or divorced women and 35 percent of always-single women dealt with domestic abuse, substance abuse, or postpartum depression. Twenty percent of cohabiting women and 10 percent of married women did so, though these problems diminished with duration of cohabitation.

Urquia stated, according to HealthDay, that “30 percent of children in Canada are born to unmarried couples, up from 9 percent in 1971,” and that the distinctions between married and cohabiting families were important, given out-of-wedlock birth’s rise.

The study’s abstract also noted that “[r]esearch on maternal and child health would benefit from distinguishing between married and unmarried cohabiting women, and their duration of cohabitation.” In fact, many studies do not distinguish between cohabiting households and married households and merely label these “two-parent families.”

For more on the benefits of marriage relative to other family structures, see the Marriage and Religion Research Institute’s 162 Reasons to Marry.

Petitioners on White House Website Call Roman Catholic Church a “Hate Group”

by Peter Sprigg

January 4, 2013

Homosexual activists have mounted a petition drive—right on the White House website—urging the Obama administration to “officially recognize the Roman Catholic Church as a hate group” for its position on homosexuality.

The Obama Administration has promised a formal response to any petitions on the site which obtain at least 25,000 signatures in thirty days.

The anti-Catholic petition says:

In his annual Christmas address to the College of Cardinals, Pope Benedict XVI, the global leader of the Roman Catholic Church, demeaned and belittled homosexual people around the world. Using hateful language and discriminatory remarks, the Pope painted a portrait in which gay people are second-class global citizens. Pope Benedict said that gay people starting families are threatening to society, and that gay parents objectify and take away the dignity of children. The Pope also implied that gay families are sub-human, as they are not dignified in the eyes of God.

Upon these remarks, the Roman Catholic Church fits the definition of a hate group as defined by both the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League.

This particular petition may be somewhat of an embarrassment to the leading homosexual activist groups. Ten days into its thirty-day petition period, it had obtained only 1,713 signatures.

However, the fact that such a petition was even mounted in the first place—and then allowed to remain on the White House website—illustrates the slippery slope of applying the defamatory label of “hate” to those who disapprove of homosexual conduct and resist the pro-homosexual political agenda.

It is the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a left-wing activist group, which has pushed the “hate group” label for organizations that oppose homosexuality. The SPLC “hate group” label is nothing more than the personal opinion (and convenient fundraising tool) of a private organization. Yet liberals have tried to impute to this designation a quasi-official status (describing Family Research Council, for example, as a “certified” hate group).

Now, you have some homosexual activists who have been sufficiently confused by this that they are asking the President of the United States to “officially” do something that the government has no “official” power to do. (It can be argued that the petition violates the website’s terms of service and should be removed, since they forbid “petitions that do not address the current or potential actions or policies of the federal government.”) The government punishes hate crimes, but those are defined on the basis of actual acts of violence. The fact that some people do not understand the difference between a pro-family group, a “hate group,” and a “hate crime” illustrates that our slippery slope warnings prior to the passage of the federal “hate crimes” (or “thought crimes”) bill are coming true.

In addition, the SPLC has insisted that they will not name an organization a “hate group” merely for being theologically opposed to homosexuality, but only for allegations of “lying” or “demonizing” homosexuals. But these petitioners did not get the memo, as they are clearly attacking the Catholic Church for its theological views alone. Again, it proves that any group which holds to traditional sexual ethics—no matter how reasoned and compassionate they are—is vulnerable to attacks from the homosexual movement.

Ironically, tarring individuals or groups with the “hate” label has the effect of generating hatred toward those so labeled—real hatred which, in the case of the August 15, 2012 shooting here at FRC’s Washington headquarters, led to real violence. Homosexuals have sometimes also been victims of violence, but the solution is not to promote retaliation against groups that clearly oppose violence, likeFRC and the Catholic Church.

Oh, and one more thing—the Pope’s address to the Cardinals did not actually make any explicit reference to homosexuality at all (although his defense of traditional marriage was clear). I note that the petitioners to the White House also made no mention of the Pope’s extensive citing of a French publication—by the Jewish chief rabbi of France. Do they want Judaism declared a “hate group” as well?

Here are the sections of the papal address dealing with family issues:

The great joy with which families from all over the world congregated in Milan indicates that, despite all impressions to the contrary, the family is still strong and vibrant today. But there is no denying the crisis that threatens it to its foundations – especially in the western world. It was noticeable that the Synod repeatedly emphasized the significance, for the transmission of the faith, of the family as the authentic setting in which to hand on the blueprint of human existence. This is something we learn by living it with others and suffering it with others. So it became clear that the question of the family is not just about a particular social construct, but about man himself – about what he is and what it takes to be authentically human. The challenges involved are manifold. First of all there is the question of the human capacity to make a commitment or to avoid commitment. Can one bind oneself for a lifetime? Does this correspond to man’s nature? Does it not contradict his freedom and the scope of his self-realization? Does man become himself by living for himself alone and only entering into relationships with others when he can break them off again at any time? Is lifelong commitment antithetical to freedom? Is commitment also worth suffering for? Man’s refusal to make any commitment – which is becoming increasingly widespread as a result of a false understanding of freedom and self-realization as well as the desire to escape suffering – means that man remains closed in on himself and keeps his “I” ultimately for himself, without really rising above it. Yet only in self-giving does man find himself, and only by opening himself to the other, to others, to children, to the family, only by letting himself be changed through suffering, does he discover the breadth of his humanity. When such commitment is repudiated, the key figures of human existence likewise vanish: father, mother, child – essential elements of the experience of being human are lost.

The Chief Rabbi of France, Gilles Bernheim, has shown in a very detailed and profoundly moving study that the attack we are currently experiencing on the true structure of the family, made up of father, mother, and child, goes much deeper. While up to now we regarded a false understanding of the nature of human freedom as one cause of the crisis of the family, it is now becoming clear that the very notion of being – of what being human really means – is being called into question. He quotes the famous saying of Simone de Beauvoir: “one is not born a woman, one becomes so” (on ne naît pas femme, on le devient). These words lay the foundation for what is put forward today under the term “gender” as a new philosophy of sexuality. According to this philosophy, sex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society. The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves. According to the biblical creation account, being created by God as male and female pertains to the essence of the human creature. This duality is an essential aspect of what being human is all about, as ordained by God. This very duality as something previously given is what is now disputed. The words of the creation account: “male and female he created them” (Gen1:27) no longer apply. No, what applies now is this: it was not God who created them male and female – hitherto society did this, now we decide for ourselves. Man and woman as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist. Man calls his nature into question. From now on he is merely spirit and will. The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned. From now on there is only the abstract human being, who chooses for himself what his nature is to be. Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of what it means to be human are disputed. But if there is no pre-ordained duality of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation. Likewise, the child has lost the place he had occupied hitherto and the dignity pertaining to him. Bernheim shows that now, perforce, from being a subject of rights, the child has become an object to which people have a right and which they have a right to obtain. When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being. The defence of the family is about man himself. And it becomes clear that when God is denied, human dignity also disappears. Whoever defends God is defending man.

Sherley v Sebelius Update-Federal Embryonic Stem Cell Funding

by David Prentice

January 4, 2013

If you’ve lost track of where things are with the federal lawsuit to stop taxpayer funding of destructive embryonic stem cell research, here’s the update.

The most recent action was filing by attorneys for Drs. Sherley and Deisher of a cert petition to the Supreme Court.  At this point everyone is waiting to hear whether the Supreme Court will take up the case.

Below are links to the various filings and some stories, going back in time to the origin of the case.

 

October 10, 2012

PETITION FOR A WRIT OF CERTIORARI

BRIEF FOR RESPONDENTS IN OPPOSITION

REPLY BRIEF FOR PETITIONERS

 

August 24, 2012

Appeals Court Decision

 

April 23, 2012

Appeals Court Oral Arguments

Oral Argument Transcript

Appellants’ Brief   Appendix v1   Appendix v2

Scholars’ Amicus Brief

Government Brief

AMR Amicus Brief

Appellants’ Reply Brief

Appeal Schedule Set in Federal Embryonic Stem Cell Lawsuit

 

September 19, 2011

Appeal Filed in Federal Embryonic Stem Cell Lawsuit

 

July 27, 2011

District Court Rules in Favor of Taxpayer Funding of Embryonic Stem Cell Research

 

April 29, 2011

U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in a 2-1 opinion overturned the preliminary injunction.

 

September 9, 2010

Appeals Court Stays Preliminary Injunction.

 

September 7, 2010

District Court Judge Lamberth refuses to lift Preliminary Injunction.

 

August 23, 2010

Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the U.S. District Court approved a Preliminary Injunction, ruling that human embryonic stem cell research could not receive federal taxpayer funding.

Judge Lamberth’s Opinion

 

August 19, 2009

Federal Lawsuit Filed Challenging Legality of NIH Guidelines

Attorneys Thomas G. Hungar, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher: Samuel B. Casey, Advocates International; Steven H. Aden, Alliance Defending Freedom filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of a group of plaintiffs including the Christian Medical Association and Dr. James L. Sherley, Boston Biomedical Research Institute, and Dr. Theresa Deisher, AVM Biotech, challenging the legality of the NIH Stem Cell Guidelines on several grounds.

 

July 7, 2009

NIH Stem Cell Guidelines Issued

 

March 9, 2009

President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order that rescinded President Bush’s policy on funding research using embryonic stem cells from embryos destroyed prior to August 9, 2001. The new Obama Executive Order authorized NIH to fund research using embryonic stem cells so long as the funds are not used, per the Dickey-Wicker appropriations provision, directly for destroying the embryos. The Executive Order would permit funding of research on embryonic stem cells from IVF embryos, as well as from cloned human embryos, human-animal hybrid embryos, and human parthenogenetic embryos.

Emancipation: January 1, 1863

by Robert Morrison

January 2, 2013

President Lincoln’s hundred days after he announced his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation were fraught with difficulty. He had to face the crisis of replacing Gen. McClellan, who had “the slows.” Lincoln had to guard against the possibility of a military plot against the government that was talked of openly in McClellan’s headquarters. He had to face down political opponents in his cabinet and on Capitol Hill.

He had to reassure doubting supporters, like Sens. Charles Sumner of Massachusetts and “Bluff Ben” Wade of Ohio. Pennsylvania’s Congressman Thaddeus Stevens was another sometime supporter of the president who prodded always for more radical action.

Abolitionist editor Frederick Douglass, leader of America’s black community, constantly pressed Lincoln to do more and not to try to fight the rebels with one arm—his “sable arm” as Douglass poetically put it—behind his back.

By the end of the Civil War in 1865, Lincoln would use both arms. He would command armies and navies larger in numbers than those commanded today by President Obama. And fully one fifth of his forces were black soldiers and sailors, most of them former slaves. Here, if ever, was abundant proof of the military necessity that prompted Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

But he never failed to say that it was an act of justice for which he asked God’s blessing.

He said it in enduring words:”In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free — honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve.”

We at Family Research Council thank God for Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. And we assert that what was wrong in slavery, and in segregation, is alike wrong in abortion. To strip an entireclass of human beings of their God-given rights was wrong one hundred and fifty years ago. It is wrong today. And will be wrong forever. If slavery is not wrong, then nothing is wrong, said Lincoln.

We agree with Hillary Clinton, who once said abortion is wrong. We agree with Joe Klein of TIME Magazine, that “sonograms have made it impossible to deny that from a very early stage, that thing in the womb is a human life.”

Men and women of conscience in Lincoln’s time were confronted with a famous Wedgewood China plate showing a chained black man with arms upraised, appealing: “Am I not a man and a brother?” We offer a sonogram and ask: “Is this not our child?”

December 2012 «

» February 2013

Archives