Month Archives: April 2013

Which Community?”

by Family Research Council

April 11, 2013

A fundamental clash of worldviews lies behind Ms. Harris-Perry’s controversial statement that children are the responsibility of the whole community. Conor Friedersdorf’s article in The Atlantic does an excellent job highlighting the impracticability of her proposal because

[…] children are raised by individuals, not diffuse collectives. Mother and father are in fact responsible for getting baby her shots, strapping her into the car seat, childproofing the house, noticing her allergic reaction to peanuts, and enrolling her in primary school. If they fail to do these things, or to find someone who’ll do them on their behalf, baby suffers … The fact that most parents feel this responsibility deep within them is literally indispensable to our civilization. Kids whose parents don’t feel or ignore it are often seriously disadvantaged (emphasis added).

But aside from the practical aspect of child-responsibility lies the fundamental question of society’s order: who, or what, is responsible for the individual and the family? Does individual liberty and a moral conscience make adults responsible for their choices and parents responsible for their children? Or is the government the organizing principle of society, taking the place of choice, and mom and dad?

While I am not assuming that Ms. Harris-Perry desires to promote anything other than the best interests of children by her statement, the worldview behind what she said is destructive to marriages, families, and thus the very children she wants helped. In “The Activists Game Plan against Religion Life and the Family: The UN, the Courts, and Transnationalist Ideology,” Pat Fagan and Bill Saunders compare the views of cultural Marxists with those of traditional society and observe:

Influential intellectual roots of anti-family and anti-religious efforts can be found in the writings of Karl Marx’s collaborator, the German philosopher Friedrich Engels. Engels, in his vision of state ownership as the means of production and the ultimate triumph of the proletariat, was keenly aware that two institutions would stand in the way of his communist vision: the family and organized religion. He understood that in order for the international communist vision to come to fruition, the natural primacy of family and religion in society must be undermined (emphasis added).

One thing that Marx and Engels understood was that in a society of personal responsibility and strong families, communism would not be able to flourish. To advance their ideology, family and religion must be undermined. Any idea that transfers responsibility from parents and gives it to the “community”—not the community as embodied by one’s church, school, and neighbors, but the “community” as enforced by national regulation and sustained by government services—does just that. Fagan and Saunders continue that “Cultural Marxists”

[…] try to undermine the family and religion through more subtle means than Lenin used. This is accomplished in an interrelated process: simultaneously, the power of the state is increased while that of the individual and his community is decreased, and laws pertaining to family and religion are undermined. Thus the traditional supports of society-family and religion-are crowded out by government.

When parents’ responsibility is diminished, whether through tragic neglect or government interference (see Mr. Friedersdorf’s article and a family’s encounter with child protective services), something will fill that void. Legitimate inability on the part of parents may be a time when suggest a family needs help. But the idea that, by default, children belong to the community is another insidious way of stating that there is no such thing as personal, and thus familial, responsibility. This subverts the God-ordained family and the very foundation of republican government.

What an Overview of the President’s Budget can Tell Us about our Country

by Henry Potrykus

April 10, 2013

The chart above gives the change in federal outlays (spending) and receipts (taxation in normal times) in constant dollars. The use of constant (i.e. not-inflated) dollars allows us to compare these fiscal changes to realGDP growth.

GDP growth gives the overall baseline for where we are going economically - including, relative to the overall economy, where we are going fiscally. GDP growth gives an absolute marker for the above trends: Grow outlays faster than GDP growth and you are guaranteeing to the outlays’ recipients (federal program participants) a larger and larger part of the economy’s produce. Grow receipts faster than GDP growth and you are banking on taxes (or other mechanisms for transferring a monetary share to the government; in the past governments used seigniorage) taking in a larger and larger part of the economy.

For these cases, outlays or receipts grow faster than the overall economy itself sustains.

GDP growth was 3 percent in the past; in our new economy it is now 2 percent. See our recent paper for why.

Now let us prove our bottom line – that things are not getting better for the United States.

Here’s how to know: First, the hoped-for receipts are: A) calling for a lot more taxes, B) based in wishful thinking, or C) some of both.

For (A), see the chart for tax growth over 2013 to 2014: 15 percent + 10 percent = 25 percent total growth in taxes.

On (B), the “longer term” numbers (2015 et seq.) – 5 percent increases in revenue – are not anywhere near what our new economy can deliver from its growth (2 percent increase per year).

Combining the periods 2013 to 2014 and 2015 et seq., we notice some of both the phenomena we listed: Massive tax growth (A; 25 percent) is hoped to begin to put us back into fiscal alignment (that is, tighten down our massive deficit), but (B) longer term calibrations (5 percent growth in receipts) are not aligned with the anemic economic reality the United States now finds itself in (because of the “second demographic transition” – see, again, the hyperlink above and here). Thus, taxes or other means (like seigniorage) must continue to grow and grow and all the while our fiscal picture must continue to degrade and degrade. This signals calamity.

Second, the [weak] receipts recovery seen in 2010 and 2011 (the “real,” not estimated numbers of the chart) is in actuality worse than presented. In the wake of fiscal 2009, the Federal Reserve has been buying up and claiming interest payments on a few trillion dollars in US government debt (through “quantitative easing,” “twists,” and buying other securities). Yes, interest payment [to the Fed] is an outlay. But this payment is remitted back to the Treasury, so it is also a receipt. This has been explained in congressional testimony. Interest that the Fed is paid goes back to the Treasury, after a dividend is paid to certain banks. If this weren’t enough, there is plenty of ambiguity as to who may claim what (this is called “exposure” or “delta” and is a consequence of complicated derivative agreements on this debt – including repos and swaps – between the Reserve and its primary trading partners). Anyway, call this debt $3 trillion Fed-owned paper at 2 percent interest (our Treasury has been paying exceptionally low interest rates), or a $60 billion outlay-receipt per year. This $60 billion is a large share of the receipt growth seen in 2010 and 2011. Receipts are right around $2 trillion. The charted receipt growth of 2 percent in 2010 is $40 billion; the receipt growth of 4 percent in 2011 is $80 billion. Over those years the Fed has been buying more government debt hence claiming more interest payments hence remitting more interest payments. Splitting this growth in remittance, $60 billion, as $20 billion (2010) + $40 billion (2011), it is not hard to see half of the growth in receipts (the “recovery” in receipts) as coming through an act involving money movements (Fed buys debt, remits interest).

Receipts from the economy have not recovered. They cannot reach the levels hoped-for through growth of the economy. Massive (and increasing) taxation is how the current proposal hopes to close an ever-widening chasm in the fiscal landscape. It is, however, the opening of this chasm that exposes the real problem, the weakness of the State: http://marri.us/fiscal.

Margaret Thatcher: An Inspiration to Women

by Krystle Gabele

April 10, 2013

With the recent news of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s death, we are mourning the loss of a great leader, whose legacy will rest on her relentless strength. She was truly the Iron Lady.

While I didn’t agree with some of her stances, she was an inspiration to women who sought to climb the corporate ladder, as well as those seeking to serve in a public office. I can think of few (outside my Mother and Great-Grandmother) who better exemplifies what is to be strong and lead a moral life. For both the non-feminist and feminist alike, she paved the way by showing that hard work is essential to success.

However, Thatcher’s legacy has been downtrodden by feminists, the ones who should be admiring her for being in a role of leadership and shattering the so-called “glass ceiling.” Yes, Thatcher may have made some bad policy decisions over time, just as all of us have made some erroneous choices.

Shouldn’t we be looking back on Thatcher’s ascendancy to power as something all females should admire and seek out, if it is their calling? Rest in peace, Margaret Thatcher! Your legacy has proven that with a hard work ethic and strength that women can do anything.

Lady Thatcher: “The Lady’s Not for Turning”

by Robert Morrison

April 9, 2013

It was perhaps her most famous speech. She had beenBritain’s first female Prime Minister. She had been in residence at No. 10 Downing Street for barely fourteen months. The economy did not look bright. As disorder spread and riots greeted her every move at liberalization and deregulation of the economy, senior leaders of the Conservative Party grew worried.

They began to urge a U-turn in policy. Former Prime Minister Edward Heath, a recognized leader of party moderates—those who were then called Tory “Wets”—led the effort to turn Mrs. Thatcher around. She faced down the old bulls of her party at a dramatic conference in October 1980.

We Americans were absorbed with our own presidential election then. The hapless Jimmy Carter was thrashing about, desperate to avoid the voters’ judgment on his singularly failed administration.

In Britain, though, the iron will of Mrs. Thatcher was being demonstrated. She told the nervous party leaders:

If our people feel that they are part of a great nation and they are prepared to will the means to keep it great, a great nation we shall be, and shall remain. So, what can stop us from achieving this? What then stands in our way? The prospect of another winter of discontent? I suppose it might.

But I prefer to believe that certain lessons have been learnt from experience, that we are coming, slowly, painfully, to an autumn of understanding. And I hope that it will be followed by a winter of common sense. If it is not, we shall not be—diverted from our course.

To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catchphrase, the ‘U-turn’, I have only one thing to say: “You turn [U-turn] if you want to. The lady’s not for turning.” I say that not only to you but to our friends overseas and also to those who are not our friends.

The lady’s not for turning” was a pun on the popular British play, “The Lady’s not for burning.” It was an unusual phrase and it caught on. It signaled the difference between this courageous woman and the timorous men.

Those Wets would always run at the first sign of trouble. Knowing they had weak-kneed men to deal with at Number 10 Downing Street had empowered dangerous Communist-led union bosses. Those bosses knew that if they rioted, banged some heads, and burned a few police cars, the Wets would give way. Not Mrs. Thatcher.

What was seen in Britain in 1980 was practically a dress rehearsal for what President Ronald Reagan would face in America two years later. As the U.S. economy in 1982 struggled, the media howled that Reaganomics was to blame. He should never have given working families and businesses all those tax cuts in 1981. He should never have tried to deregulate the economy. He should content himself—as Nixon and Ford had contented themselves—with wage and price controls or with silly lapel buttons that said:WIN—Whip Inflation Now.

Just in time to save Mrs. Thatcher’s Prime Ministership, the Argentine military junta in 1982 invaded the British Falkland Islands. Margaret Thatcher rallied the nation and dispatched a war fleet to the South Atlantic. No sooner had the fleet sailed than one junior Cabinet minister, a Wet, suggested offering peace terms to the Argentine dictators.

Mrs. Thatcher’s response was said to be “thermonuclear” and we have not heard that young Wet’s name since. The British won the Falklands War in a walkover. When a journalist asked a tough war veteran why make such a fuss over a few thousand British sheep herders on remote rocky crags, the Royal Navy Chief Petty Officer replied: “It’s so we can walk around in the world with our heads up.”

Under the British system, the Prime Minister can ask the Sovereign to dissolve Parliament and call for new elections. Mrs. Thatcher took advantage of her sky-high ratings to ask for an electoral mandate from the voters. She got it—and the rebounding economy in her second term solidified her leadership.

Ronald Reagan, too, was coming off a lightning military victory when he again faced the voters. He had invaded tiny Grenada in 1983 when the Caribbean island nation’s Marxist Prime Minister was assassinated by even more extreme, Cuban-directed Communists. Reagan liberated Grenada and, in so doing, gave dramatic proof the Carter policies that gave us a hollowed-out military, humiliation abroad, and a nation mired in “malaise” were past.

Soon, the U.S.economy, too, took off, helped in no small measure by increased trade with a rebounding United Kingdom. It was said Mrs. Thatcher put the “Great” back in Great Britain.

Facing re-election, President Reagan took his improved prospects in good nature. He winked as the recovery gathered steam and said: “I notice they don’t call it Reaganomics any more.” Asked by a friend what to wear to a Halloween party, he said: “Just put egg on your face and go as a liberal economist.”

Both Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher dared to envision a world without Communism. Mrs. Thatcher never tired of pointing out that while you may not like her policies, you were free to vote her out. No one in Eastern Europe, walled in and held back by barbed wire and armed guards, had that opportunity.

President Reagan was the first American leader to address the British House of Commons. He boldly told his audience, even the Tory Wets, even the leftwing Labourites, that Communism “was destined for the ash heap of history.”

A recent Pew poll of Americans showed that young people here prefer socialism to capitalism by a margin of 48% to 46%. This poll is alarming some of their elders. We should not panic over such skewed questions and confused poll results. The fact is the term “capitalism” is Karl Marx’s own pejorative word for free enterprise.

Abraham Lincoln, Marx’s contemporary, never campaigned for capitalism. Instead, he spoke eloquently of “the right to rise.” And as for socialism, Mrs. Thatcher pointed to its inherent flaw: “Pretty soon, you run out of other peoples’ money.”

The Wets eventually ganged up and turned out Mrs. Thatcher. Their names are already forgotten. Their policies will not be emulated. To this day, the names of Thatcher and Reagan are paired as good and great leaders in tumultuous times. Thank God for them.

Bach’s Bible

by Robert Morrison

April 9, 2013

I don’t speak German. I wish I did. That amazing language wasn’t offered in my Long Island high school or even in any neighboring school when I was growing up. The memories, the wounds of the Holocaust were still very raw. I remember parents of some of my classmates saying they would never buy, or even ride in, one of those new Volkswagens that were becoming popular in the early 1960s here.

When I was selected in 1987 as the first Washington representative of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, I began to get clued in to the German heritage of the LCMS. As part of my responsibilities, I would visit many Midwestern congregations of this confessional church body. Older people in those congregations had grown up in the Missouri Synod at a time when German was used in all church services, in all LCMS parochial schools. They would speak Deutsche to me. I would politely answer them—in Russian.

The LCMS members had fought hard to protect their linguistic heritage. They even went to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1923 to fight back against a xenophobic Nebraska state law that had banned teaching in a foreign language, any modern foreign language.

America had just emerged victorious from World War I and the anti-German sentiment was high. But the Supreme Court in the case of Meyer v. Nebraska sided with LCMS in what became a first important ruling on parents’ rights before the High Court. Shortly thereafter, the Court went further, in the case of Pierce v. Society of Sisters. In that Oregon case, a Ku Klux Klan-inspired referendum had outlawed all private education.

The Court said no, declaring: “the child is not the mere creature of the state.” Pierce is a more far-reaching case than Meyer, to be sure, but what was at issue in Meyer was not just the right of parochial Lutheran schools to teach members’ children in German, it was the right of those kids’ parents to seek the education that comported with their deeply held values.

This is a right not recognized by the modern democratic German government. So admirable in so many ways, the German government nonetheless persecutes home schoolers.

The Romeike (roh-MIKE-uh) family of home schoolers had to flee their native land and has sought refuge here in America. The Obama administration wants to deport this wholly innocent family from their Tennessee home. You can push back against this shameful attempt by visiting the Home School Legal Defense Association’s website. You can help by signing their petition.

Issues of faith and nation were to be seen once again in this amazing story of the Bible of Johann Sebastian Bach. When I would be introduced around Washington as the LCMS’s representative, I would often be teased with: “Ah yes, the Missouri Synod Lutherans—Bach, bier, und Bibel.”

I understood enough German to say, that should be “Bibel, Bach, und bier.” This YouTube video tells the amazing story of the miraculous discovery of Bach’s Bible and its preservation from the clutches of Hitler’s Nazis, as well as the perils of Allied bombing and Russian pillaging.

This much German we can all share: Gottes wort bleibt in Ewigkeit. “God’s Word stands Forever!”

Your Kids Belong to the Collective — Resistance is Futile

by Chris Gacek

April 8, 2013

Today, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck discussed the MSNBC promo featuring one of their hosts, Melissa Harris-Perry, who nonchalantly asserts that we should adopt the “notion” that children “belong to whole communities.” Both Limbaugh and Beck appeared close to having strokes.  Justifiably so. 

In the Glenn Beck video, she says:

We have never invested as much in public education as we should have because we’ve always had kind of a private notion of children. Your kid is yours and totally your responsibility. We haven’t had a very collective notion of these are our children. So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.

….never invested as much in pubic education as we should have….”  The United States spends an enormous amount on public education.

This philosophy of political-educational is not new: Plato espoused such totalitarianism, so did Danton during the French Revolution.  FRC has a great essay on statists and education.  See the FRC pamphlet, “Who Should Decide How Children Are Educated” by Jack Klenk for an exploration of how such ideas conflict with American principles of freedom, rights, and constitutional law (see esp. sections 4 and 5).  (Here is the executive summary.)

When Real Love Collides with Our Selfish Hearts”

by Rob Schwarzwalder

April 8, 2013

Growing up in a home where one’s parents are divorced or whose marriage is characterized by hostility can lead to deep pain and an unsurprising skepticism about marriage itself.

My colleague, Carrie Russell, in a blog post for the new “Marriage Generation” movement, has addressed this issue directly and graciously. “Marriage should be treasured for the value it brings to husbands and wives, to their children, and for the character it develops in them,” writes Carrie. “But, for all those little kids who will grow up like I did, with a mistaken idea of what marriage is, and without an understanding of the self-giving that builds character and love, I cheer on the rebuilding of a marriage culture.”

Read Carrie’s full, moving article here.

President Endorses Intelligent Design!

by Robert Morrison

April 8, 2013

In a letter of this date, a two-term President of the United States, writing to his predecessor, wrote this:

…the Theist, pointing to the heavens above, and to the earth beneath, and to the waters under the earth, asked if these did not proclaim a first cause, possessing intelligence and power; power in the production, and intelligence in the design, and constant preservation of the system; urged the palpable existence of final causes, that the eye was made to see, and the ear to hear, and not that we see because we have eyes, and hear because we have ears…

Well, as you will readily discern, dear reader, this is not President Obama’s or President George W. Bush’s accustomed style of writing.

This letter, dated April 8, 1816, was penned by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello and addressed to his reconciled friend, John Adams. It’s worth parsing the eighteenth century language because it’s a keen insight into the minds of our Founding Fathers.

In this letter, the former president, Thomas Jefferson, one of the leading scientific minds of his day, rejects the atheism of some of the French philosophes with whom he shared so many ideas. He ascribes to the Creator “power in the production, intelligence in the design, and constant preservation of the system…”

Jefferson’s ideas of Intelligent Design were put to a court test in Dover, Pennsylvania, in 2005. The federal judge in that case came down hard against any students in the public schools learning what Jefferson actually believed about origins of our universe. The judge found Mr. Jefferson’s reasoning a form of religious indoctrination that was wholly unconstitutional.

Today, liberals routinely cite Jefferson’s “Letter to the Danbury (Conn.) Baptists as their source for all church-state jurisprudence. No matter that they have completely twistified (Jefferson’s own word) what he thought and what he wrote.

Noted author Eric Metaxas shows where such twistifying leads. It leads to a doctrine of religious freedom that is narrowly construed to permit “freedom of worship” and which at the same time comes down hard on “free exercise.” The First Amendment doesn’t just guarantee freedom of worship. It is broader than that.

Here’s a portion of Eric Metaxas’s recent speech at CPAC:

Let me begin with my hometown, Danbury, CT. Some of you know that Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to the Danbury Baptists in [1802], in which he uses the phrase “separation of church and state” — and in case there is anyone who doesn’t know it, the sense in which Jefferson uses that phrase is actually the opposite of how it’s generally thought of today. Today we often hear that it means that the state needs to be protected from religion, and that religion should have no place in government or society.

Jefferson and the Founders thought the opposite. They knew that the State was always tempted to take over everything — including the religious side of people’s lives. So they put a protection in the Constitution that the government could not favor any religion over another… and could not prohibit the free exercise of religion.

They wanted churches and religions to be protected from the government — from Leviathan. Why? Because they knew that what people believed and their freedom to live out and practice one’s most deeply held beliefs was at the very heart of this radical and fragile experiment they had just launched into the world.

Okay, so where are the threats to Religious Freedom in America today? Well, for one thing, understand we are not talking about Freedom of Worship. In a speech 18 months ago, Hillary Clinton replaced the phrase Freedom of Religion with Freedom of Worship — and my hero and friend Chuck Colson noticed and was disturbed by it. Why? Because these are radically different things. They have Freedom of Worship in China. But what exactly is Freedom of Worship?

In my book Bonhoeffer I talk about a meeting between Bonhoeffer’s friend, the Rev. Martin Niemoller, who early on in the Third Reich was one of those fooled by Hitler. And in that meeting he says something to Hitler about how he, Niemoller, cares about Germany and Third Reich — and Hitler cuts him off and says “I built the Third Reich. You just worry about your sermons!”

There in a few words you have the idea of Freedom of Worship. Freedom of Worship says you can have your little strange rituals and say whatever you like in your little religious buildings for an hour or two on Sundays, but once you leave that building you will bow to the secular orthodoxy of the state! We will tell you what to think on the big and important questions. Questions like when life begins and who gets to decide when to end it and what marriage is… And if you don’t like it, tough luck! That’s Freedom of Worship and that have that in China and they had it in Germany in Bonhoeffer’s day…

Freedom of Worship is limited to the four walls of your church or synagogue. It creates the “naked public square” that the late Richard John Neuhaus warned about. It crushes civil society and puts everything under the power of the all-encompassing State.

In 2010, in celebration of the Fourth of July, the National Archives breathlessly informed us they had found an early draft of the Declaration of Independence. In that rough draft, Thomas Jefferson scratched out the word Subjects and replaced it with Citizens. The archivists were right to point to the significance of this change of language. It was the first time we Americans thought of ourselves as Citizens of a republic and not Subjects of a king.

Citizens govern themselves. Subjects have to obey Mandates from a distant HHS. Citizens have a right to free exercise of religion. Subjects are granted mere freedom of worship by the overawing power of the State.

FRC in the News: April 8, 2013

by Nicole Hudgens

April 8, 2013

FRC Teams with Ted Cruz to Fight HHS Mandate
As cited in a recent Washington Times article, FRC Action is raising funds to “‘stop Obamacare in its tracks.’” They are doing this by lobbying for Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) bill to overturn Obamacare. As FRC Action President Tony Perkins stated:

“With your help today, we will shine the light of truth and turn up the heat in Washington in the days ahead…We will engage in political guerrilla warfare to stop Obamacare piece by piece.”

Swallowing Camels and Straining at Gnats

FRC Senior Fellows, Ken Blackwell and Bob Morrison, use Jesus’ saying to show how the Obama administration has not been defending religious freedom in their recent article featured on American Thinker and Townhall.com. Blackwell and Morrison highlight the Administration’s actions towards the Romeike family, a German family who has sought asylum in the United States so that their children can be homeschooled. Instead of helping this family, the administration is now “seeking their deportation.” As Blackwell and Morrison state:

HSLDA recognizes that the position being taken by the Obama administration poses a grave threat to religious freedom for all Americans. The Obama view has recently been advanced that “freedom of worship” may be conceded, grudgingly, but freedom of religion—a broader right—is seriously questioned.”

Anna Higgins Speaks Out Against Plan B Ruling

Anna Higgins, Director of FRC’s Center for Human Dignity, was quoted in a recent article in The Examiner which discussed the recent ruling by the U.S. District Court that allows girls under 17 to get Plan B without a prescription. Higgins stated:

“Making Plan B available over-the-counter for any age will put many of these young girls at further risk because it circumvents necessary medical screening for sexually active girls.”

 

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