Month Archives: August 2013

FRC’s Leo Johnson: Showing the Love

by Robert Morrison

August 15, 2013

One year ago today, Floyd Corkins entered our Washington offices, lying about seeking a role as an FRC intern. Leo Johnson, our building supervisor, was at the security desk and asked to see some identification. Corkins bent down to ruffle through his backpack. Leo, sensing trouble, stepped out from behind the desk. Corkins pulled out a pistol and Leo, unarmed, advanced toward his would-be killer. Corkins shot Leo in the forearm, but seriously wounded, Leo grappled with him, and took Corkins’s gun away. Soon, Randy Burt and Charles Foster, bothFRC staffers, rushed to Leo’s aid. Corkins was subdued and held until Metropolitan Police arrived.

Why didn’t Leo take Corkins’s pistol and shoot him? Once he had disarmed his would-be killer, Leo could have shot the man in the head. There would be no jury on earth that would have convicted him. Chances are, Leo would not even have been charged.

It would be hard to imagine a more justifiable homicide. And if we were a hate group, as Corkins believed we were, a disarmed assassin could expect nothing less than to be cut down himself. Corkins had been incited to attack Family Research Council because of a “hate map” put out by the SPLC. They libeled us, saying we are no different than the Klan, than neo-Nazis, or the Aryan Brotherhood. Even after the attack, SPLC persists in so labeling FRC.

On that quiet August morning, Leo showed the best that is in us. Recovering from his serious wound—a process that has been long and painful for him and his family—Leo said he heard a still small voice tell him to spare Corkins’s life. Leo was raised in a Christian family. He has been a believer all his life. So this incredible act of mercy may have been second nature to this gentle giant.

Leo that day showed love. He even loved his enemy. “It’s not you, man, it’s this place. It’s your politics,” Corkins said as he was taken down. Leo has been my friend for many years and I still don’t know his politics. (He’s an Eagles fan, which is bad enough!)

I don’t need to know Leo’s politics. I know his heart. He showed his great heart that fateful day. So did Randy. So did Charles. And Leo the Lionheart also acted out the words of Jesus: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Corkins did not plan to stop with killing Leo. Leo was what stood between Floyd Corkins and mass murder. This would-be assassin had fifteen Chick-fil-A sandwiches in his backpack. He planned to shoot as many of us at Family Research Council as he could and then drop a Chick-fil-A on each of our faces. Leo’s greater love is the reason this spectacular crime was averted.

I had occasion to talk about Leo and the August 15th attack last Sunday. After Chapel inAnnapolis, one of our new Navy Chaplains asked me where I work. I told him I have worked for many years at Family Research Council.

I could tell he was curious. I dispensed with the Inside-the-Beltway formulation of “a public policy research and educational organization recognized under Sec. 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.”

Instead, I said: “FRC believes that every one deserves a birth day. We believe that brides should marry grooms. And we believe that America is one nation under God. And for these beliefs, people are shooting at us.”

Put that way, Americans of every faith and every political persuasion may pause and think: Has it really come to this in our home of freedom?

It was the great Irish statesman Edmund Burke who saw the link between family and the nation. “We begin our affections in our family,” he wrote, “no cold relation was ever a warm patriot.” We see every day in random shootings, in brutal crimes, in the betrayals of a Bradley Manning or a John Walker Lindh, that American Taliban, the civil consequences of family breakdown.

FRC’s Leo Johnson showed his love in the most heroic way. We are urging mothers and fathers to marry, to cherish and nurture their children, for their own sake and for the sake of this land we love.

The Pentagon’s Gift: DoD Now Has Money for Homosexual Honeymoons

by Peter Sprigg

August 15, 2013

A report by the Associated Press a few days ago quoted an unnamed Defense Department source as saying that “we are looking at providing extra leave for same-sex couples who want to get married to travel to a state where same-sex marriages are legal.”

This report has now been confirmed with the release of two Pentagon memos (including one from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel) issued yesterday. The second memo, from Jessica L. Wright, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, clarifies some of the details of the newly revised “Leave and Liberty Policy and Procedures.”

The AP report said same-sex couples would be offered “up to 10 days of leave” for a wedding. The actual memo says that Service members assigned within in the Continental United States may be granted up to 7 days of leave. Only those assigned outside the Continental U.S. are eligible for up to 10 days. This special leave is “non-chargeable,” meaning that it will not be charged to the normal leave granted to all Service members.

However, it is also only available to those “assigned to duty stations located more than 100 miles from a U.S. state (or the District of Columbia) that allows same-sex couples to marry.” So, no seven days’ leave just to cross the Potomac from the Pentagon to DC for a wedding.

Two things should be noted. This policy goes well beyond anything that is required by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June striking down the provision of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which defined marriage under federal law only as the union of a man and a woman. A plain reading of the decision in U.S. v. Windsor suggests that the federal government is now only required to recognize same-sex couples as “married” when they reside in a state which also recognizes them as legally “married.” The requirement does not extend to couples whose marriage is not recognized by their state of residence, and Windsor certainly does not require that military personnel be granted extra leave for their destination weddings.

Furthermore, it could well be argued that the new policy actively discriminates against opposite-sex couples—who receive no special leave for their weddings.

How Does Your State Rank on Human Trafficking Laws?

by Krystle Gabele

August 14, 2013

Polaris Project released their 2013 State Ratings on Human Trafficking Laws today, which examined the progress that states have made in passing legislation that will combat human trafficking (sex and labor).  This report ranked states as Tier 1 (meaning they have passed significant measures to combat trafficking and should continue to persevere in upholding these laws), Tier 2 (they have passed measures, but need to strengthen them), Tier 3 (made some effort in passing laws and should work to improve them), and Tier 4 (state has not made any efforts in combating human trafficking through legislation). 

According to the report, 39 states have passed new measures to combat human trafficking since last year, while 32 states are now in Tier 1 status, which was an increase from 2012.  This is good news, as these states have worked to help with assisting victims and placing tougher measures against those who are traffickers.

Meanwhile, there are a few states that could work and improve human trafficking laws. South Dakota was ranked as a Tier 4 state, as they only have provisions against labor and human trafficking, yet has not placed measures to fund programs that could help with identifying, protecting, and providing services to victims. 

While there are 32 states in Tier 1, 11 states and the District of Columbia in Tier 2, and 6 states in Tier 3, more work needs to be done in terms of identifying victims and providing them with the resources to assist them in their recovery.  Hopefully, this report will help Washington with creating national benchmarks towards abolishing this crime against humanity.  

Nellie Gray: She Would Not Give In

by Robert Morrison

August 13, 2013

Miss Nellie Gray passed away one year ago today. Yet her memory remains vivid in the minds of all who knew her. She began the March for Life following the infamous Roe v. Wade ruling of January 22, 1973.

The March for Life is an amazing phenomenon, almost without precedent in American history. What other public demonstration has been cited in Supreme Court opinions as evidence of the Court’s own errors? Justice Antonin Scalia pointed to the annual return of tens of thousands of pro-lifers toWashington’s streets to tell his colleagues they are wrong.

It is one of life’s ironies that Nellie was a Gray. For in Nellie’s world, there were no grays. Nellie dealt with questions of right and wrong on a daily basis. Killing the most innocent, the most vulnerable among us was wrong, is wrong, and will always be wrong.

I had many occasions to talk with Nellie Gray. On some of those occasions, I must admit, Nellie and I were on opposite sides. I supported the Hatch Amendment of 1983.

That proposed constitutional amendment would have set aside the lethal logic of Roe v. Wade, freeing the Congress and the state legislatures to enact protective legislation. I thought it was the right thing to do. As a Lutheran Christian, I was persuaded to work for this amendment by the Catholic Bishops.

There is heavy irony here. Nellie Gray, a devout Catholic, was militantly opposed to the Hatch Amendment. It did not go far enough, she argued passionately. It did not restore fully the right to life of unborn children. It would have permitted liberal states to continue the slaughter of innocents. Nellie Gray was never about compromise.

I tried to reason with her. I even quoted Lincoln. Lincoln faced the bitter opposition of some staunch abolitionists to the reconstruction constitution of Louisiana. The abolitionists said it did not go far enough in extending full civil rights to the freedmen. Lincoln was a statesman who had to deal with unyielding realities on a daily basis.

Lincoln responded to his hardline critics, using a homely farm metaphor. He likened the Louisiana constitution to an egg: “We shall sooner have the chicken if we do not smash the egg. Let it hatch.

Lincoln endorsed the Louisiana draft constitution in his last public statement. Hearing Lincoln speak from the White House second floor window, John Wilkes Booth said that Louisiana constitution went too far and he resolved to murder the Emancipator.

Let it hatch.” What a phrase. But now, so many years later, I realize with painful recognition that Nellie was right to oppose the Hatch Amendment. We would get only one chance to amend the Constitution—if that was our chosen path—and we could not amend it while sacrificing the core principle: We are all created equal and any measure we approve cannot constitutionally concede the alienation of that inalienable right to life.

By not taking a position on that core question, the Hatch Amendment failed to engage the hearts and minds of tens of millions of pro-life Americans. We are opposed to Roe because it usurps the powers of Congress and the states to protect innocent human life. But if, as has happened inBritain andFrance, the legislatures voted to permit the killing of innocent human beings, it would be no less wrong.

If slavery is not wrong, Lincoln said, then nothing is wrong. We can echo that: If abortion is not wrong, then nothing is wrong.

It is no wonder that our government is going broke. Thomas Jefferson pledged “a wise and frugal government” whose purposes were limited but clear. “The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government,” he wrote.

When our government gives billions of our tax dollars to Planned Parenthood, and that evil enterprise kills millions of unborn children, can we be surprised that our government faces bankruptcy? Human capital economists teach us that those victims of homicide might each have earned a million dollars in a lifetime. Let’s tell the Republicans: Save the Unborn Millionaires!

Remembering Nellie, I cannot help thinking of that famous scene in A Man for All Seasons. The rich and powerful Duke of Norfolk is trying to get Sir Thomas More to go along with King Henry VIII’s divorce. Sir Thomas won’t give in.

And will you forfeit all you have, which includes the respect of your country, for a belief? … And who are you? A lawyer and a lawyer’s son. We [the nobles of England] are supposed to be the proud ones, the arrogant ones. We’ve all given in. Why must you stand out? … It’s disproportionate.”

Sir Thomas More went to the scaffold for his beliefs. And today, he is revered as a saint by the Catholic Church and respected by millions for standing out, for not giving in.

Nellie stood out. She did not give in, either. For that, we all owe her respect.

C.S. Lewis on Homosexuality

by Rob Schwarzwalder

August 12, 2013

C.S. Lewis commented (brilliantly and perceptively) on many things, but his comments on homosexuality have long been neglected. Writing in The National Catholic Register, Mark Shea prints a letter Lewis wrote about this difficult topic to one of the young men he counseled, Sheldon Vanauken. Please note when reading that Lewis abbreviates throughout; as Shea observes, “don’t get bent out of shape by his use of ‘homo.’ Lewis, as you will note, tends to abbreviate lots of words in his personal correspondence (v.=very; wd.=would, etc.)”:

Letter from C. S. Lewis regarding homosexuality, quoted in Sheldon Vanauken’s A Severe Mercy, pp. 146-148, in response to a question about a couple of Christian students of Vanauken who were homosexual and had come to him for advice:
I have seen less than you but more than I wanted of this terrible problem. I will discuss your letter with those whom I think wise in Christ. This is only an interim report. First, to map out the boundaries within which all discussion must go on, I take it for certain that the physical satisfaction of homosexual desires is sin. This leaves the homo. no worse off than any normal person who is, for whatever reason, prevented from marrying. Second, our speculations on the cause of the abnormality are not what matters and we must be content with ignorance. The disciples were not told why (in terms of efficient cause) the man was born blind (Jn. IX 1-3): only the final cause, that the works of God shd. be made manifest in him. This suggests that in homosexuality, as in every other tribulation, those works can be made manifest: i.e. that every disability conceals a vocation, if only we can find it, wh. will ‘turn the necessity to glorious gain.’ Of course, the first step must be to accept any privations wh., if so disabled, we can’t lawfully get. The homo. has to accept sexual abstinence just as the poor man has to forego otherwise lawful pleasures because he wd. be unjust to his wife and children if he took them. That is merely a negative condition. What shd. the positive life of the homo. be? I wish I had a letter wh. a pious male homo., now dead, once wrote to me—but of course it was the sort of letter one takes care to destroy. He believed that his necessity could be turned to spiritual gain: that there were certain kinds of sympathy and understanding, a certain social role which mere men and mere women cd. not give. But it is all horribly vague and long ago. Perhaps any homo. who humbly accepts his cross and puts himself under Divine guidance will, however, be shown the way. I am sure that any attempt to evade it (e.g. by mock or quasi-marriage with a member of one’s own sex even if this does not lead to any carnal act) is the wrong way. Jealousy (this another homo. admitted to me) is far more rampant and deadly among them than among us. And I don’t think little concessions like wearing the clothes of the other sex in private is the right line, either. It is the duties, burdens, the characteristic virtues of the other sex, I suspect, which the patient must try to cultivate. I have mentioned humility because male homos. (I don’t know about women) are rather apt, the moment they find you don’t treat them with horror and contempt, to rush to the opposite pole and start implying that they are somehow superior to the normal type. I wish I could be more definite. All I have really said is that, like all other tribulations, it must be offered to God and His guidance how to use it must be sought.

Do Something Beautiful for Life

by David Prentice

August 12, 2013

The March for Life is inviting pro-lifers worldwide to do something beautiful for life, to honor the memory of Nellie Gray. Nellie Gray passed on to her heavenly reward last year, on August 13, 2012. She founded the March for Life and was a tireless champion for unborn lives.

Besides a memorial mass on August 13, 2013, the March for Life is encouraging pro-lifers to do something beautiful for life—Pray, Advocate, Write, Volunteer, Share a video about Nellie, or something else, just a small thing—to commemorate Nellie Gray’s heroic work and help build a culture a life.

You can learn more at the March for Life website. Please remember Nellie Gray and do something beautiful for life!

Is College Worth It?

by Krystle Gabele

August 12, 2013

With many young people preparing to attend colleges and universities throughout the country, there is one thing looming on the minds of many parents and students:  “How am I going to pay for this?”  Student loans seem to be the solution that many are choosing to finance their education.  According to a recent article in Forbes, the average college graduate will have student loans totaling close to $26,600.  This figure might seem daunting, and it especially seems overwhelming considering the economy and the dismal job market.

Join FRC for our upcoming Family Policy Lecture, “Is College Worth It?” on Wednesday, August 14th at Noon.  David Wilezol, associate producer of the nationally syndicated radio show, “Bill Bennett’s Morning in America,” joins us to look at the student loan industry and to examine whether a college education is all that it is cracked up to be.  You can register for the lecture here, and it is also available to view by webcast as well.

In Annapolis: A Royal Baby Shower

by Robert Morrison

August 9, 2013

It was my wife’s idea. She is a retired Navy captain and she didn’t have a lot of time in thirty years of active duty for wedding showers, baby showers and such. Since retiring, however, she has more than made up for lost celebrations. Two years ago, we had a Royal Wedding Reception in our home at the time of the Will & Kate nuptials. Pretty nice event here.

With the TV image of carriages headed to Westminster Abbey from the Royal Mews, Kate’s forty lady guests delighted in the clip-clop of curry combed royal mounts conveying the happy couple to their date with destiny. Here, tea and scones were served on chintz plates. (Do I even know what chintz plates are?)

Today, my wife hosted dozens of ladies for a Royal Baby Shower. On such high occasions, I fly my British and English flags. I am working from home and usually just wave as the ladies arrive. Today, however, I was honored. Kate asked me to offer the prayer.

I thanked God for the marriage of William and Catherine. And I reminded our guests of what the Bishop of London said when he spoke of marriage to two billion people watching around the world. On their wedding day, every couple is the King and Queen of Creation, he said. It is through the blessing of marriage that we are co-creators with God of new human life. This miracle is at the heart of marriage.

No objections heard, I asked the Lord’s blessing on the event. My wife conceived the idea of welcoming the young Prince with an event that would celebrate life. Dozens of guests came bearing gifts for newborns in our town. Many of those invited who could not attend, popped in to drop off their offerings.

Our foyer this morning looks almost as full as it did ten years ago. Then, Kate and her Annapolis friends responded to an urgent call from Bethesda Naval Hospital. Wounded Marines were being Medevaced fromIraq. When they arrived, their uniforms had been cut away and they had only their hospital gowns. In order to walk around, they needed sweats, shorts and tee shirts, socks and skivvies, sneakers and flip-flops.

Kate put out the word. In less than forty-eight hours, our front hall was filled almost to the ceiling with enough rec gear to clothe an army. (Yes, she provided the Bethesda’s surplus to Walter Reed’s wounded warriors, too.)

On Ladies’ Days like today, I smile and retreat to my study. Here, I can take my Tocqueville down from the bookshelf and read this:

Religion in America takes no direct part in the government of society, but it must be regarded as the first of their political institutions; for if it does not impart a taste for freedom, it facilitates the use of it. Indeed, it is in this same point of view that the inhabitants of the United States themselves look upon religious belief. I do not know whether all Americans have a sincere faith in their religion—for who can search the human heart?—but I am certain that they hold it to be indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions This opinion is not peculiar to a class of citizens or to a party, but it belongs to the whole nation and to every rank of society.

Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America (1835) astonished the world. He probed deeply into our manners (moeurs). I doubt very seriously whether the community organizers who hold the reins of power in our country today ever read their Tocqueville.

The America they seek to “fundamentally transform” is an America in which the women have always dominated good works, those indispensable works of mercy and compassion. And most of these Christian women.

I was blessed to have seen this event. And I’ll “turn to” later today to help sort and deliver all the baby clothes and gifts that will go to the Pregnancy Care Centers in our town. There, I can already be sure; the volunteers who warmly greet us will be women.

The Social Conservative Review: August 8, 2013

by Krystle Gabele

August 8, 2013

Click here to subscribe to The Social Conservative Review.


Dear Friend:

It’s not every radio program that features a different Member of Congress on an almost daily basis. FRC’s radio program, “Washington Watch,” does just that.

Hosted by FRC President Tony Perkins, “Washington Watch” has become a must-listen broadcast from the nation’s capital. The program provides conservatives with up-to-the-minute information about breaking policy and political developments that affect faith, family, and freedom - developments you won’t learn about anywhere else.

You can listen to the program, at no charge, by clicking here. This site also provides a listing of the many radio stations throughout the country that carry the broadcast.

FRC and Tony offer this program for one reason: We want social conservatives nationwide to learn what’s really going on in Washington, and on the cultural front across the country, and to hear from the key players in the battles for life, liberty, family and faith.

Join us for the next program, which runs every weekday from 5-6 p.m. EST. You’ll be challenged, encouraged, and grateful for the men and women making a difference on your behalf in Washington, D.C and throughout the country.

Sincerely,

Rob Schwarzwalder
Senior Vice President
Family Research Council

P.S. Don’t miss our next lecture, Is College Worth It? Join us here at FRC headquarters or watch online, at no cost, by registering 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

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

Women Oppose Aborting Children Who Can Feel Pain

by Sherry Crater

August 8, 2013

New polling by Quinnipiac and Washington Post-ABC News and others shows a surprising number of women agree with banning abortion after 20 weeks gestation. News stories highlighting the gruesome and unscrupulous practices of abortionists such as Kermit Gosnell and Steven Brigham have been eye openers for many women. More and more women now see good reasons to support limits on abortion, and an even earlier limit than the 24 week line drawn by the Supreme Court.

Bottom line—women are becoming better informed. The wonders of ultrasound technology, the “window to the womb” as it pertains to pregnancy, has awakened many women also. This technology actually shows what previous generations intuitively knew—there is a little human in the womb. This image of the pre-born person undoes the lie that “it is just a blob of tissue” and shows it to be a little human with arms and legs and a beating heart. Now, science has shown that this little person can feel pain at 20 weeks gestation.

Advancements in technology and medical research in fetal development are empowering women to support unborn life and call for more restrictions on abortions. This knowledge is also helping women to think independently and assert opinions based on sound facts and convictions of conscience rather than adopting the ideology of so called “choice” that negates true choices representing alternatives to abortion.

Of course, this new polling and the ensuing discussion regarding the 20-week abortion ban have implications for both political parties. But women have more at stake than political fights. It is one thing to talk about political and social agendas and public policy as it relates to the general public. It is quite another to come to terms with the reality of inflicting pain or terminating the life of a little person within you.

As women gain increased access to the latest in medical and technological research, expect more courageous women to say yes to abortion restrictions.

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