Month Archives: June 2013

The Social Conservative Review: June 20, 2013

by Krystle Gabele

June 20, 2013

Click here to subscribe to the Social Conservative Review


Dear Friends,

Should homeschooling be illegal?

That’s what seems to be its status in Germany. Could it ever happen in the U.S.?

To answer that question, on June 26th FRC’s DC lecture series will continue with Michael Donnelly, the Home School Legal Defense Association’s (HSLDA) director of international affairs, and Daniel Blomberg, legal counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, discussing, “Should the State Be Raising Your Kids?”

Many of FRC’s friends and supporters teach their children at home, which is why the case of the Romeike family of Germany is so troubling. Here’s the background:

The Romeike’s were “granted asylum by a U.S. judge due to the persecution they had experienced for homeschooling their children in Germany …The family believes that the school system in Germany does not teach what they as Christians believe should be taught to their children, so they wish to teach their children in an environment where their convictions are honored - their home … Recently, the U.S. government has denied the Romeike’s request for asylum from this type of oppression in Germany. The family has appealed and is awaiting a final decision on their status. Will America be a land of refuge or will we close our doors to those who wish to direct the upbringing of their children?”

Liberties we cherish and have long taken for granted are being eroded. Join us in person here at our Washington headquarters or watch online, at no charge, by registering here.

Sincerely,

Rob Schwarzwalder
Senior Vice President
Family Research Council

P.S. For more on the education front, learn what you can do to prevent college debt, by visiting, “Save Me from College Debt.”


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

The Courts
Constitutional Issues

Other News of Note

Book reviews

Whose War on Women?

by Robert Morrison

June 18, 2013

Gosnell never happened. There never was a trial inPhiladelphia. Testimony was never received in a public courtroom that “this one is big enough to walk me to the bus.” We never heard that it was “raining blood” in that human abattoir, that late-term abortion facility.

There were never babies born alive, screaming as they were thrown into a toilet. There were never children who survived and who were stabbed in the neck and whose spinal cords were snip-snipped by Kermit Gosnell. None of this ever occurred. Those rows of “reserved” seats—so denoted for the national media—remained empty for weeks. Don’t look. Don’t report. If you ignore it, it all goes away.

Thank goodness, there was J.D. Mullane. He was a pro-choice reporter for a local newspaper. But he reported what he saw in that courtroom honestly. And then, Kirsten Powers. This liberal journalist deserves our gratitude for her powerful column in USA Today.

Infant beheadings. Severed baby feet in jars. A child screaming after it was delivered alive during an abortion procedure. Haven’t heard about these sickening accusations?

It’s not your fault. Since the murder trial of Pennsylvania abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell began March 18, there has been precious little coverage of the case that should be on every news show and front page. The revolting revelations of Gosnell’s former staff, who have been testifying to what they witnessed and did during late-term abortions, should shock anyone with a heart.

Women died in Gosnell’s house of horrors. And yet speaker after speaker in the floor debate in the House of Representatives charge that it is the pro-life members who are engaged in a war on women. These pro-abortion members of the House are not shocked. They act as if they never heard of Kermit Gosnell.

Does the fact that most of those aborted in America, over 50 million unborn children whose lives have been brutally cut short are female not register with these supposed defenders of women?

In China, there have been an estimated 338,000,000 forced abortions since the beginning of the heinous One-Child policy. That is more than the entire population of the United States. And the vast majority of those killed are female. Hundreds of millions of these forced abortions left women injured and devastated.

And still, none of those who charge pro-life members and supporters with making “War on Women” have raised their voices against China’s horrific policies.

The ban on abortions post-20 weeks will protect unborn children and women. This bill respects the opinions of 64% of women in America who, as Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) points out, strongly believe such late-term abortions—where the unborn child feels excruciating pain—ought to be banned.

One of the worst aspects of this debate is the sneering assumption that this vital question is of no import, of trivial importance. Why, one pro-abortion member complained that it costs $24 million a week to run the U.S. House of Representatives. Why, she asked, were we wasting money and time on such a frivolous measure?

Well, economists who specialize in human capital, have shown us that each human life in America can be expected to earn, on average, $1 million in his or her lifetime. So, each of the 21,700 human lives taken weekly in this country by abortion might have contributed immeasurably to our national life and economic well-being.

Surely, this protective pro-life measure is a modest step toward restoring the right to life so cruelly and unjustly denied to millions in this land of the free.

What about the Females Being Aborted?

by Sherry Crater

June 18, 2013

Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) and Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) in fighting against the rule and the underlying bill, the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, stated that the bill shows disregard for women denying them the care they need. Rep. Schneider said that pregnancy has “life altering implications for women.”

Really! What about all the unborn females that are not only denied care but will never even have a life because someone is more concerned about life altering implications? Perhaps the males on the Judiciary subcommittee who Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) accused of being “indifferent to the rights of women” are actually the voices to protect the smallest females among us who will not be protected by those defending the personal autonomy of women at the expense of those women yet to be born.

FRC in the News: June 18, 2013

by Karah Kruger

June 18, 2013

Peter Sprigg Comments on California’s Proposed Bill to Allow Boys and Girls to Use the Opposite Gender’s Facilities  

Peter Sprigg, FRC’s Senior Fellow for Policy Studies, was quoted on FoxNews.com about California’s decision on allowing boys and girls to use the opposite sex bathroom and locker room in the state’s public schools. The specific legislation, Assembly Bill 1266, would mandate that all California public schools allow students to use the facility that reflects their gender identity. As a result, boys could use the girl’s bathroom and vice versa, just because they perceive themselves as the opposite gender. Peter Sprigg had this to say about the proposed bill: 

It’s being demanded that we affirm that a man can become a woman and a woman can become a man,” he said. “Even though the chromosomes and every sing cell in their body will never change. This is an absurdity.”

Sprigg said it was especially troubling that advocates are using children to push an agenda, and the proposed law is trying to affirm a falsehood.

It’s one thing for an adult to decide they want to be the opposite sex,” he said. ‘But for us to allow children to make these life-altering decisions – and even affirm and celebrate that – is particularly alarming.”

Stay out of our Health Care?

by Sherry Crater

June 18, 2013

In watching the rules debate on the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, H.R. 1797, I was stunned by the remarks of Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.). Rep. Edwards made the well worn remark that abortion is a decision between a woman and her doctor. However, she followed that remark with an admonition to “stay out of our health care” saying that H.R. 1797 allows for “governmental interference” in women’s health care.

Excuse me…….do we remember that Rep. Edwards voted for the Affordable Care Act, the law directing the massive intrusion by the federal government into every American’s health care? This is the law subsidizing abortion with taxpayer money, and this isn’t an intrusion into your health care?

Perhaps Rep. Edwards should recall that the Internal Revenue Service, currently in the news for egregiously abusing its power, will be instrumental in the implementation of this intrusive health care law and will be collecting an abortion fee paid under this law. How convenient to now claim the government should stay out of health care so she can defend late painful abortion. 

Chen, China, and New York University

by Rob Schwarzwalder

June 17, 2013

FRC has advocated for the blind Chinese attorney Chen Guangcheng for several years. Chen, a self-taught lawyer, received brutal treatment from the Chinese government because he refused to be silent about the forced abortions and inhuman treatment of women intrinsic to China’s notorious “one-child” policy.

Allowed to leave China with his immediate family last year, New York University gave him a fellowship and an apartment. Now, NYU is demanding that Chen leave. According to Chen:

… as early as August and September, the Chinese Communists had already begun to apply great, unrelenting pressure on New York University, so much so that after we had been in the United States just three to four months, NYU was already starting to discuss our departure with us. The work of the Chinese Communists within academic circles in the United States is far greater than what people imagine, and some scholars have no option but to hold themselves back. Academic independence and academic freedom in the United States are being greatly threatened by a totalitarian regime.

The university denies that pressure from Beijinghas driven its decision. University spokesman John Beckman “insists that Mr. Chen’s law school fellowship was always meant to be for one year … The fellowship’s end, Mr. Beckman said, ‘had nothing to do with the Chinese government — all fellowships come to an end’.”

Chen’s departure from NYU comes in the wake of NYU’s newly developed campus in Shanghai, which plans to start offering classes this fall. At the same time, other reports indicate that Chen always knew his fellowship would draw to an end and is currently deciding between two professional offers.

Let’s hope this is a case of a brave man overreacting to the previously agreed upon conclusion of his one-year opportunity. But speculation as to NYU’s motivation is understandable. As noted in today’s The New York Times:

In the United States, many colleges have grown increasingly reliant on the tuition from the 194,000 Chinese students who enrolled at American universities last year, a 23 percent increase over the previous year.

FRC’s friend Bob Fu of China Aid, who only recently lectured at our D.C. headquarters on China’s human rights violations, had this response on his organization’s website:

American universities are out chasing the China dollar and are very reluctant to work with dissidents who have a strong voice in China. It does not always have to be direct pressure from Beijing, there is also self-censorship, particularly if a college president believes their China campus or the future enrollment of Chinese students will be sabotaged.

Even if this incident is as benign as NYU claims it is, the fact that it would receive so much attention shows the extent to which China’s “get tough with America” policies has gained genuine, if unwelcome, credibility in the U.S. For example,China’s recent “cyber attacks” have “hit key U.S. weapons systems.” The damage these attacks have done is not public, but they have been targeted, coordinated, and extensive.

One thing is without dispute: Chen is right to refer to “Chinese Communists.” Free enterprise has become an increasing part of China’s urban life, but true liberty is repressed daily as Chinese Christians are persecuted and anyone perceived to be a threat to the post-Maoist government is monitored or, as in the case of Chen, brutalized. Educational content is scripted; political freedom is non-existent, and media censorship of all types widespread.

If eventually it comes out that NYU has ended its relationship with Chen due to Communist Chinese bullying, it will be another telling reminder that moral courage – the bravery to do what’s right, even in the face of financial or some other kind of loss – is never out of season.

FRC in the News: June 17, 2013

by Karah Kruger

June 17, 2013

Anna Higgins Comments on the Obama Administrations’ Prioritization of Politics over Children

Anna Higgins, FRC’s Director for Human Dignity, was quoted in The Washington Times about the Obama administration abandoning a recent lawsuit that would have stopped the over-the-counter distribution of the abortifacient “Plan B” to girls of any age. Higgins stated:

It’s “a clear example of the administration’s willingness to put politics ahead of the health and safety of little girls. We’re disappointed that this administration has once again sided with its political allies and ignored the safety of girls and the rights of parents.”

The Obama Administration to Make Sure Same-Sex Couples Have Access to All Federal Benefits, Regardless of State Borders

Chris Gacek, FRC’s Senior Fellow of Regulatory Policy, was quoted in The New York Times about same-sex couples receiving benefits on the federal level, if DOMA is overturned, depends on if they reside in a state that currently does or does not allow same-sex marriage. Gacek said the following:

We certainly wouldn’t go for imposing gay marriage on the country administratively,” Mr. Gacek said.

He continued, “Once you open up this can of worms, there are a lot of issues here.”

The Supreme Court Decides to Place a Ban on Patenting Human Genes

David Prentice, FRC’s Senior Fellow and Director of Life Science, was quoted in The Washington Times about the Supreme Court decision to ban the patenting of human genes. Family Research Council also determined the 9-0 ruling as an important legal decision. Prentice made the following statement:

That the patent office approved patents on our genes is a profoundly disturbing idea, as is the idea that someone else can own parts of your body, especially your genetics.”

Dürer Redux

by Robert Morrison

June 13, 2013

Source:  National Gallery of ArtIf ever a subject deserved two blogposts in quick succession, it is Albrecht Dürer’s recent exhibit at the National Gallery of Art. How can we not marvel at a man of God who can give us this remarkable likeness of a rhinoceros when he had never laid eyes on one?

Dürer can paint anything,” wrote the great Renaissance scholar, Erasmus. To prove it, we have only to see his “Great Piece of Turf.” When you see this amazing work up close the detail staggers the mind. My first thought, perhaps a somewhat irreverent one, is that if we had had any more Dürers, we might never have had photography. He is just that good. View Dürer’s cricket view of this clump of earth and ask yourself if it’s so improbable that His eye is on the sparrow.

My good friend and FRC colleague, Stephan Hilbelink, read my earlier blog post and sent me some excellent comments about Dürer that he had learned studying art. I must share them.

One of eighteen children, Albrecht early in his life knew he was talented.

Why has God given me such magnificent talent? It is a curse as well as a great blessing.”

So many great artists seem to share that sentiment. They do not want to waste a minute. The collection of works at exhibited at the National Gallery of Art recently is so vast, and each one so detailed, that it challenges us to imagine how Dürer could have accomplished so much in his fifty-seven years.

My college students, I recall, were amazed that William Pitt the Younger was Prime Minister of England at age twenty-one. I assured them that you could accomplish a lot in those days because they hadn’t yet invented “teenagers.”

Stephan shares this Albrecht quote: “Help us to recognize your voice, help us not to be allured by the madness of the world, so that we may never fall away from you, O Lord Jesus Christ.”

What? They had “madness of this world” even back in 1500? Who knew? And Dürer’s Knight, Death and the Devil is so grimly realistic it might have been taken from this morning’s world news on CNN. And his signature block “AD” 1513 on this work is surmounted by a death’s head. The vision of death-in-life is ever before him.

Stephan informs me that the “AD” on Albrecht’s work is not only a badge of honor, but it also was prized by those who had the judgment and the means to commission a work by the great Dürer. Think of it as Northern Renaissance Bling.

Stephan Hilbelink adds:

Albrecht, I believe, made his religious stance in his final work, the Four Apostles, given to Reformation-friendly Nuremberg as a present. Dürer deviated from the [artistic canons of his day] by painting John, Peter, Mark and Paul. All four are the central writers in Luther’s reforms with John being Luther’s favorite (“The one fine, true and chief Gospel”). Dürer also added Revelation 22:18, 2 Peter 2:1-2, 1 John 4:1-3, Mark 12:38-40 and Timothy 3:1-7, the Luther’s 1522 Bible versions, along with the following:

All worldly rulers in this threatening time, beware not to take human delusion for the Word of God. For God wishes nothing added to his Words, nor taken from it. Take heed of the admonition of these four excellent men, Peter, John, Paul, and Mark.”

In turn, at hearing about Dürer’s death, Luther response was:

It is natural and right to weep for so excellent a man…still you should rather think him blessed, as one whom Christ has taken in the fullness of his wisdom and by a happy death from these most troublous times, and perhaps from times even more troublous which are to come, lest one who was worthy to look on nothing but excellence, should be forced to behold things most vile. May he rest in peace. Amen.”

Does anyone wonder why we are so passionately committed to the sanctity of human life? Here is Dürer, son of a goldsmith, one of eighteen children. He is praised by Erasmus of Rotterdam, one of the great geniuses of the age, and himself born out of wedlock.

Most of all, these great men and women of faith of past ages give us the inspiration to face the knights, deaths, and devils of our time. Rulers then and now were foolish and sometimes dangerous. We see our own worldly rulers in these threatening times who “evolve” on fundamental questions of our existence and survival. They daily show themselves to be foolish through their ever-changing words. It all depends on what the definition of “is” is. And we are required to suffer them gladly.

C.S. Lewis famously wrote that his faith was like the sun. It was not just that he saw it, but by it he saw everything. So may it be with us.

We are daily told that this or that wrenching and ungodly change in our country and our world is “inevitable.” We can look to Dürer and know that One Thing is unchanging. As he would have said it: Gottes Wort Bleibt in Ewigkeit (“God’s Word Stands Forever.”) Our opponents in this great cultural clash claim to be the party of what’s happening now. And perhaps they are. But we are the party of forever.

Albrecht Dürer Unsequestered

by Robert Morrison

June 10, 2013

I must applaud The New York Times’ review of the Albrecht Dürer exhibit recently offered at Washington’s National Gallery of Art. It is heartening to know that the great Sequestration—about which there has been so much hype and hubbub—did not shut down this amazing exhibit.

Exhibit organizers refer to Dürer’s famed Praying Hands as the most famous painting in the world. Can it be? Can we really say that of this devout artist’s most beloved work?

There is nothing idealized in these hands. They are rough, veined, wrinkled, hard-worked hands. They tell a story in themselves.

The Martyrdom of St. John the Evangelist is a work of the young Dürer (1496-98). It shows the death by boiling oil, supervised by a ruler dressed as a Turkish sultan. No political correctness here. (Or, historical accuracy, either, since these martyrs died centuries before the Ottomans came on the scene.)

Adam and Eve are depicted as ideal human forms, part of Dürer’s lifelong effort to get the human body right. (My theologian friend notes the strategic placement of the leaves, saying that this was chronologically incorrect since Adam and Eve had not yet fallen. Or, Fallen. And thus they had no need to feel shame. But I’m not sure those are fig leaves.)

I especially like the great German artist’s rendering of lions. He drew some of them from the stone lions of Venice, which he had seen on a youthful trek to that fabled republic. But then, in 1521, the mature Dürer sees a real lion for the first time in a Netherlands zoo.

The contrast is startling. One wonders whether we will react the same way when we see the real savior for the first time. Is he safe? Certainly not, but he is good.

I come upon Dürer’s “Head of an African.” The Museum text tells us he probably encountered this young black man during his Venetian sojourn. It’s a powerful portrait, rich in empathy.

You have to think: If all Europeans had seen this drawing could the African Slave Trade ever have existed? Well, all Europeans (and Americans) today have seen incredible pictures of unborn children and yet the abortion traffic still exists.

Albrecht Dürer depicted himself as Jesus in a work titled “Man of Sorrows.” We might think this egotistic, but it was no less a Reformation figure than Martin Luther who said we should each strive to be “little Christs.” Albrecht and Agnes Dürer were childless and they doubtless knew what sorrow was. Dürer announced his sympathy with Luther and grieved when he thought the Bible scholar had been kidnapped and might face the flames of martyrdom.

It is interesting to see Albrecht Dürer as a Medieval figure in his religious sensibilities and also as a bridging figure in his commercial striving and obvious yearning for fame.

By comparison, the great artisans of the High Middle Ages often left us no record of their names. They who carved the statues at the magnificent Chartres Cathedral in France pointedly did not sign their work. It was all done for God, in devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, so why would you need to sign it?

Dürer, faithful as he is, wants the credit. He signs everything. He even makes a signature block print of his initials “AD” and places them where lesser artists might have placed anno domini (in the Year of our Lord).

One Dürer work not included in this exhibit is one I had hoped to see—The Martyrdom of the Ten Thousand. The painting is a vast tableau, an incredibly complex and vivid visual representation of a mass killing dating from the earliest days of Christendom. Dürer has portrayed himself and his friend, Konrad Celtis, in the center of the painting. They are clad in funereal black, as if in mourning, as if they are mere witnesses to the massacre of innocents.

The story of this martyrdom is a part of what is called the Golden Legend, a work familiar to Christians in Dürer’s day, filled with stories of the true cost of discipleship. Ten thousands Roman soldiers converted to Christ are killed in one act of vengeance and persecution. The killers are Persians and local forces aligned with the pagan emperors of Rome and acting upon their direction, just as the Roman procurator Pontius Pilate felt he was remembering Caesar when he sentenced blameless Jesus to death.

Dürer depicts those ordering the killings as Oriental despots, arrayed in Turkish attire. We know from the legend itself they are not Muslim Turks. Still, it makes one wonder if a public display now of Muslim Ottomans killing Christians would be considered too inflammatory to show.

Will future painters dare to depict the martyrdom of the ten thousand Copts? Will artists memorialize the murder of Christians in Pakistan? Or Northern Nigeria? Maybe Drummer Lee Rigby’s beheading in broad daylight on a London street will be the subject of an artist’s heart’s desire to witness to the truth.

We are living in the times of the Martyrdom of the Ten Thousand. We need to witness to these truths, as our ancestors in the Faith did unhesitatingly. Or will these truths be sequestered?

Albrecht Dürer is at once quintessentially German and a wholly universal figure. Like Johann Sebastian Bach, he exemplifies that broad Christian humanism, that caritas that embraces all mankind.

Message of Abortion — in the church and beyond

by Anna Higgins

June 7, 2013

Many people find themselves in churches in which ministers rarely, if ever, preach against abortion from the pulpit. The abortion issue is also a subject we rarely address in social circles or with family, even though we know it touches the lives of so many. Perhaps because abortion is so prevalent we end up avoiding the topic in order not to offend. Abortion, however, is a subject that must be addressed openly, particularly among Christians, and it can be done both in truth and grace.

Recently, theologian R.C. Sproul Jr. published a blog post in which he explored reasons why pastors do not preach on abortion. He mentions that pastors often think abortion is a political issue, that discussing it will upset the congregation or that it is not in the Bible, and thus, should not be brought up in a sermon. Sproul carefully dismantles each argument and discusses the fact that pastors are often wrestling with their own guilt on the issue or just have no idea how to preach on the subject. He then notes, “Abortion is THE great evil of our day. The preaching of the Word is the great power of any day.” Finally, Sproul targets the most effective message against abortion – preaching repentance.

I suspect this problem of “messaging” or HOW to address the issue that plagues many people who would like to preach or speak against abortion. Sproul’s suggestion, that we seek and teach repentance and act from a spirit of repentance would be an incredibly effective formula in the fight against abortion.

I was also reminded recently of an article by Dr. Russell Moore called, “W.W. Jay-Z?: How Christian hip-hop could call the American church back to the gospel—and hip-hop back to its roots.” Dr. Moore highlighted a few Christian rap artists who are making a real difference for the Kingdom. One of these artists, Trip Lee, wrote a song called “Beautiful Life,” in which he lays bare the evils of abortion with incredible emotion, bluntness, and grace. The structure of the lyrics immediately struck me as a wise model of how to address abortion with others – particularly those who are currently considering abortion or who have had abortions.

You can find the entire song with lyrics here. The first verse addresses the mother who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant. The second verse addresses the father of the child, and the third verse focuses on those who have had past abortions and who are living with pain and regret.

Throughout the song, Lee acknowledges the difficulty of an unexpected pregnancy while emphasizing the fact that the baby in the womb is a person made in God’s image. The chorus is a simple affirmation that life is beautiful and created by God. In the end, he highlights the importance of ministering the love of Christ to those who have been through abortion. It is because of Christ’s sacrifice that they can receive true healing, forgiveness, and joy.

It is up to us to consider how to address the issue of abortion and then to be bold in proclaiming the Truth. Abortion destroys the very image of God and we must stand against it. We can do so with confidence that God’s Word and His message of forgiveness is power.

Beautiful life inside
Living, moving, breathing
So let hope arise
God knew what he was doing when He gave
Beautiful, beautiful life

Dear friends, I know this probably hurts
For those of you who wish you would have gave that baby birth,
But it’s too late now ‘cause you’re child ain’t around
I know it hurts to your core, that guilt that’s weighing you down
But I’ve got good news and some healing for your hurts
Christ Jesus came
He descended to the Earth
But he ain’t come for good people, or even the just
He came into the world just for sinners like us…

Confess it and believe it on the One who paid the cost
He died in your place
There’s forgiveness at the cross

- Trip Lee, “Beautiful Life”

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