Month Archives: September 2013

New FRC Publication: “Social Justice: How Good Intentions Undermine Justice and Gospel,” by E. Calvin Beisner

by Rob Schwarzwalder

September 16, 2013

Social justice is term that alternately suggests economic redistributionism, on the one hand, and freedom from oppression, on the other. It’s loaded, which is why it is so often used by those looking for a rhetorical weapon with which to convey their indignation over a real or imagined evil. After all, who can be for an unjust society?

Dr. Cal Beisner has written a thorough review not just of what social justice is and is not but of the Bible’s understanding of justice itself. FRC has just published his “Social Justice: How Good Intentions Undermine Justice and Gospel,” in order to bring clarity to this important issue.

Many young Christians are enamored of “social justice,” as their hearts are compassionate and their minds romantic. For them, social justice has the joint ring of nobility and insurgency, a wedding of youthful idealism and youthful rebellion. Yet, does that understanding comport with the Bible’s teaching about true justice in a fallen world?

Cal argues that “the sad and unintended consequences of redistribution” in the name of justice stems from confusion not only over the role of the state but the very nature of, and difference between, justice and grace.

You will seldom find such a combination of careful political thought and biblical exposition in a single, short volume. You can download “Social Justice” at no cost by going to www.frc.org or by clicking on the link above.

Adult Stem Cells, the Future of Medicine

by David Prentice

September 16, 2013

Watch Tony’s story of triumph over his disease, and learn why Tony calls adult stem cells “the Future of Medicine”.

Tony Underhill was diagnosed with systemic scleroderma, a disease that gradually hardens the skin and other organs. Doctors attempted to treat Tony, then sent him home and gave him only a few months to live. But Tony wasn’t done. He was admitted to a clinical trial run by Dr. Richard Burt at Northwestern University.  In that program, Tony’s own adult stem cells made the difference, getting him back on his feet and back to work.

 

Adding Insult to Injury: The Latest Shoe to Drop in Today¿s College Scam

by Chris Gacek

September 12, 2013

It used to be that the quality of an American university or college degree spoke for itself.  An employer could evaluate one’s academic achievement by looking at a transcript and making a fair assessment.  Well, those days appear to be fading fast.  Decades of academic bureaucratic bloat, grade inflation, and dumbing down curricula have had such a profound effect that a standardized, online college exit exam is being introduced in the spring of 2014.  The 90-minute test, produced by the non-profit Council for Aid to Education, is called the Collegiate Learning Assessment Plus (CLA+), and its scores can be shared with employers.

This article and this letters column (“Dear Joyce”/ Joyce Lain Kennedy) from the Chicago Tribune provide good background information on the CLA+.  From these articles it becomes clear that “grade inflation” has destroyed the value of the college transcript.  Here is another interesting observation:

Additionally, some employers are rethinking the value of famous-name institutions.  Is a degree from Harvard or Stanford really worth multiple times that of a solid state university? That rethink is why the CLA+ could level the hiring field by valuing the individual over the institution.

Wow.  So, these bloated educational bureaucracies are producing wildly overpriced educations that may soon have to be validated by a $35 national test that assesses “analysis, problem solving, writing, quantitative reasoning and reading.”  Now that is adding insult to injury.

Iran: Facing the Hard Truth

by Robert Morrison

September 12, 2013

While the world’s attention has been focused on Syria this week, the centrifuges of Iran’s nuclear program quietly continue spinning. And the determination of Iran’s mullahs to see a world without America, without Israel, cannot be wished away.

Today, Iran is poised to break through to the nuclear bomb. Iranians are working on Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles. They don’t need those ICBMs for Israel. The ayatollahs have said Israel is only “a two-bomb country.”They need the ICBMs for America.

At the Washington Summit of the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) organization earlier this summer, former Reagan adviser Gary Bauer appeared on a panel with CBN’s terrorism expert Eric Stackelbcck and Dr. Patrick Clauson, the director of research for the Washington Institute for Improving the Quality of U.S. Middle East Policy. Dr. Clauson, the author of many books and monographs about Iran, spoke authoritatively about the hostile nature of the Mullahs’ regime in Tehran. He holds no illusions about Iran’s Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, or about the newly installed president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, whom Western media reports term a “moderate cleric.”

Dr. Clauson believes that sanctions can help to increase pressure on the regime and that our best prospects for dealing with Iran would come from the successors to the Ayatollah Khamenei.

Of course, Rouhani has boasted that when he was Iran’s negotiator in nuclear talks with the West, Iran was able to make major gains surreptitiously. And so, it may be helpful to us now to know that Iran has officially installed as its puppet president their Dissembler-in-Chief.

The idea that economic sanctions could obviate the need for military action against Iran’s nuclear program has great appeal in Washington, in London, in EU headquarters and NATO offices in Brussels. Anything but having to fight Iran has appeal to war-weary Western publics.

FRC’s former president, Gary Bauer, did not go into detail about the nature of the Iranian regime. Instead, he spoke of our nature. Gary offered his version of the last minutes of Americans on board United Flight 93 over Pennsylvania on 9/11. Once the passengers became aware that their pilot, co-pilot, and flight attendant had been murdered by hijackers with box cutters, some of them assembled in the aft galley to decide what to do.

Gary envisioned the conversation aboard that jet. One of the passengers said: “This plane has to land somewhere. When they run out of fuel, they’ll have to land. That’s when a SWAT team can storm the jet and kill the hijackers. It’s our only hope for survival. Let’s just sit here and wait them out.” It was compelling advice, not unlike the counsel for tightening economic sanctions on Iran. Reasoned, moderate, and hopeful.

No,” said one of the passengers. “I’ve talked to my wife.They are taking these jets and crashing them into buildings. These are no longer aircraft. They’re weapons now.”

For those who heard those fateful words, they knew it was their own death sentence. And so, as a flight attendant boiled the water she would throw on the terrorist blocking the pilot door, other passengers readied the drink cart to ram into that door. Brave Todd Beamer said “Let’s roll.”

Those hijacked Americans responded with courage and honor to the challenge of their lives. They brought that jet down in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, sacrificing themselves to save our White House or our Capitol; they were not really sure what the terror target would be; they only knew it was America herself that was being attacked.

Gary Bauer’s presentation focused not on what the Iranians are, but on who we are. In that, he was like Winston Churchill, who tried valiantly to rally the British people at the time of Munich. Churchill wanted them to remember who they were.

Gary’s and my great chief, Ronald Reagan, endured many briefings on Soviet affairs. His advisers, too, were deeply learned men. They came to him armed with massive three-ring binders, ready to impart their vast knowledge of the Soviets to Ronald Reagan.

Before we start, let’s get this straight” Reagan famously told his briefer in 1977, four years before entering the White House, “my idea of U.S.-Soviet relations is this: We win; they lose.”

Economic sanctions have always had an appeal. Churchill’s predecessor, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, was dragged reluctantly intoWorld War II. For the first winter of “the phony war,” (1939-40) Chamberlain ordered the Royal Air Force to drop leaflets on Germany, urging the people tooverthrow the Nazis. Chamberlain’s advisers had convinced him that Germany would collapse economically as a result of the British blockade and the isolation of the continent.

Reagan was not averse to using economic warfare against the USSR. But he also invaded Grenada and put pressure on the Communists militarily, politically, and diplomatically. He openly called for regime change—and got it.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the CUFI gathering via satellite. With the greatest resolution, he said: “Iran will not be allowed to have a nuclear weapon.” If the Obama administration will not act to stop Iran now, then we can only pray that the Israelis will do it. We should thank God when they do.

[Full disclosure: Robert Morrison attended the CUFI Summit as a guest of Gary Bauer’s group, American Values.]

Syria … and The Congo, Egypt, etc.

by Rob Schwarzwalder

September 11, 2013

Family Research Council is not a foreign policy organization, nor are American military or diplomatic affairs in the top tier of FRC’s bank of issues. However, we care deeply about global injustice, violence against the innocent, and the persecution of professing Christians in so many regions of the world. In light of the President’s remarks last evening about the brutality of the Assad regime against its own people, it is worth noting that what has taken place in Syria is by no means unique, in terms of evil or currency, in our fallen world:

The Congo: “Conflict and humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo have taken the lives of 5.4 million people since 1998 and continue to leave as many as 45,000 dead every month, according to a major International Rescue Committee study.”

Egypt: “The Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters have began forcing the roughly 15,000 Christian Copts of Dalga village in Egypt to pay a jizya tax as indicated in Koran 9:29, author and translator Raymond Ibrahim reported on Sunday. Jizya is the money, or tribute, ‘that conquered non-Muslims historically had to pay to their Islamic overlords “with willing submission and while feeling themselves subdued” to safeguard their existence,’ Mr. Ibrahim explained.”

North Korea: “Up to 20,000 North Korean prison camp inmates … of Camp No 22, one of Kim Jong-un’s most brutal labour camps, have disappeared according to a human rights group … There are fears that up to 20,000 may have been allowed to die of disease or starvation in the run-up to the closure of the camp at the end of last year. The suspicion has emerged from a newly-released report by the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) detailing the situation in penal colonies as Kim Jong-un consolidated his power after taking over as leader from his father, Kim Jong-il who died in 2011.” Source: The Telegraph

Uganda: “For over two decades, the Government of Uganda engaged in an armed conflict with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in northern Uganda that led to the internal displacement of more than 2,000,000 Ugandans from their homes … The members of the Lord’s Resistance Army used brutal tactics in northern Uganda, including mutilating, abducting, and forcing individuals into sexual servitude and forcing a large number of children and youth in Uganda, estimated by the Survey for War Affected Youth to be over 66,000, to fight as part of the rebel force.” Source: GovTrack

These are only four examples. We cannot but be moved by the horror of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, but we should not fail to recognize that great evil is done on an ongoing basis by terrorists, despots, and other brutes throughout the world.

That’s why so many Evangelical and Catholic ministries are reaching out to those in dire need in troubled places. FRC is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, whose “Servant Match” site can connect you with mercy ministries targeted toward the victims of violence and persecution. Catholic Relief Services works to “assist impoverished and disadvantaged people overseas, working in the spirit of Catholic social teaching to promote the sacredness of human life and the dignity of the human person.”

Whatever position one holds on U.S. military intervention in Syria, all of us can pray for victims of oppression and violence in that tortured land and in other countries in similar situations, and prayerfully partner with ministries that are actively helping them.

Manipulations of Life Starting Small

by Rob Schwarzwalder

September 10, 2013

In a brave column in Christianity Today, Jennifer Lahl urges us to consider “the overlooked ethics of reproduction”. She asks, “The barren womb is a matter of great heartache and sadness. But is it unlike any other suffering we are asked to carry? In what ways might Job’s question, ‘Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?’ affect our thinking about infertility?” Great questions, ones with which my wife and I dealt during our years of infertility. We chose not to pursue in-vitro fertilization because we concluded that to do so would involve the almost invariable death of several unborn children (yes, we believe that embryos are tiny people) in order to obtain a child. We could not square that with the God of the Bible’s authorship of life and the sanctity with which He has imbued it. Instead, we adopted three children, and our lives were changed and enriched beyond words.

 

Manipulating nascent life has become a big business. Last year, Jennifer spoke at FRC on the unintended consequences of anonymous sperm donation. FRC’s own Dr. David Prentice has written extensively and eloquently about bioethics (President George W. Bush appointed David to his Council on Bioethics to write its comprehensive review of adult stem cell research) and why adult stem cell research is not only ethical, but unlike embryonic stem cell research, actually works.

We live in an era when boutique babies and sex- and development-based abortion are becoming common. We are tinkering with the very essence of lives created by Someone other than us. We would do well to heed the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Ethics: “Destruction of the embryo in the mother’s womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed upon this nascent life. To raise the question whether we are here concerned already with a human being or not is merely to confuse the issue. The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent human being has been deliberately deprived of his life. And that is nothing but murder.”

We Have Met the Enemy and He is Ours” — The Battle of Lake Erie, September 10, 1813

by Robert Morrison

September 10, 2013

Back in the days before President Obama subcontracted our foreign policy to the Russians and before the Saudis lined up as paymaster for our troops, we prized our Independence so highly we were willing to go to war with the greatest sea power in the world to defend our sovereignty.

The origins of the War of 1812 seem misty and vague to us now. But they were anything but unclear to Americans in the first decades of the nineteenth century. Great Britain was then at war with the French under the Emperor Napoleon. The young republic, the United States, had wisely declared its neutrality, avoiding “entanglement” in Europe’s interminable struggles.

We were prepared, however, to defend our rights as neutrals. Britain’s Royal Navy made it a practice to seize seamen from American merchant ships, and even naval vessels, if they could claim the sailors were deserters from their naval service. The standard way for “recruiting” sailors for the Royal Navy in those days was to send out a press gang to grab healthy young men who were unfortunate enough to be caught drunk, or drugged, or were otherwise unable to escape the gang leaders. Ireland was under England’s heavy boot then and thousands of Irishmen did emigrate to America. Some of them, having been virtually kidnaped by the King’s press gangs, did jump ship at the first opportunity to make their way to America, the land of the free.

Impressment of American seamen was thus a long-festering irritant. The British refused to recognize naturalization as citizens of Americans who had left England, Ireland or Scotland for the U.S.

To us, this was a gross insult. It denied our “separate but equal” standing as a nation among the nations. The British also refused to evacuate the forts they had built along the Western frontier of America. This was one of the key provisions of the Treaty of Paris of 1783 that Britain had signed, ending the War of Independence. The British claimed that we had failed to honor those provisions for restoring the seized property of Loyalists (Tories). One of the best Hollywood treatments of this episode in our history can be seen in the film, “Billy Budd,” a fairly faithful rendering of the classic Herman Melville novel.

The British presence on the frontier was a constant threat to American settlers. Congressmen from Western New York, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Tennessee denounced the British for inciting Indian raids against frontier communities. These Congressmen, especially those elected in 1810, became known as “War Hawks” because they wanted America to fight the British in Canada and to eliminate the royal presence from this continent.

Today is the Bicentennial of one of the most significant battles of the War of 1812. American naval hero Oliver Hazard Perry had assembled a fleet to fight the British on the Great Lakes.

We had had numerous defeats in our efforts to conquer British Canada. And we were now in danger of invasion from the North. But Oliver Hazard Perry met the British threat on Lake Erie and turned it back on this day in 1813. His message to General William Henry Harrison announcing his victory was a most welcome break in the drumbeat of defeat and depressing news that had accompanied American failures on land:

We have met the enemy and they are ours — two ships, two brigs, one schooner and one sloop.”

Perry also carried aloft another famous phrase. The dying words of his good friend, Captain James Lawrence of the U.S.S. Chesapeake were “Don’t Give Up the Ship” Perry had had those words stitched in white onto a plain blue banner and flew it from the foremast. It became the inspiration for his little fleet.

Today, there is a huge mural of Oliver Hazard Perry’s victory in the Capitol Dome in Washington. It commemorates the scene where Perry had to leave his sinking vessel, the U.S.S. Lawrence and transfer to the U.S.S. Niagara. Despite the destruction, he had fought his way through to a successful conclusion, and had defended his country from a serious threat.

The British were not finished with the Yankees in what was called our “Second War of Independence.” They would try again — twice — to conquer the Americans. In 1814, they invaded the Chesapeake and successfully seized and burned Washington, D.C. Only with their defeat at Fort McHenry, guarding the approaches to Baltimore, did the British withdraw. And in early 1815, they invaded America again. This time, at New Orleans. An American general, Andrew Jackson, awaited them there.

But today deserves to be remembered as a time when, two hundred years ago, we were ready to fight for our independence — and to avoid foreign entanglements. President Obama recently quoted Ronald Reagan, favorably: “Trust but verify.” That much was welcome. Perhaps we should also remember President Reagan’s warning in his Farewell Address: “If we forget what we did, we will forget who we are.”

Today is a day to remember who we are.

The Pitfalls of Population Decline

by Anna Higgins

September 9, 2013

The idea that a decline in population will result in prosperity for a nation dangerous. Such policies are detrimental to the economic interests of any nation. In China, the disastrous economic effects of the brutal one-child policy are causing government officials to contemplate changing the law to allow two children per family. 

As Susan Yoshihara of C-FAM notes in her article, “Two Child Policy in China: Too Little Too Late?”:

The change [in the law] is attributed to the receding influence of the old guard and some bureaucratic reform within the Chinese family planning establishment. The main driver, most agree, is Beijing’s recognition of a looming demographic crisis owing to precipitous fertility decline…[T]he new plan may lead to a baby boom, but would be too little too late to avert economic crises such as the country’s massive pension deficit. … Making matters worse,China’s relative decline in labor is steeper than even the bleak numbers suggest.”

Yoshihara also indicates that small families have become the “norm” in China. The normalization of small families in China coupled with an uncertain economic future means that would-be parents will not necessarily have more than one child, even if the law were changed. In fact, Yoshihara notes that “[i]n the selected cities where Chinese officials launched the new rules, couples have not responded by having more than one child.”

The massive ripple effects of the Chinese one-child policy should be a lesson to other nations. Discouraging child-bearing leads to a decline in the workforce, and eventually creates a workforce that is far too small to carry the financial burden of those who are no longer able to work.

The cornerstone of every society is the traditional family unit. The economic backlash taking place in China can be prevented simply by adhering to Biblical principles encouraging strong families. Children are a blessing to a people. In order to strengthen our society and our economy, we should remove obstacles in the path of married couples who wish to have children and instead do more to support and encourage those who are raising children.

Psalm 127:3-5:

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

For more information about religious liberty and the one-child policy in China, please read our blog post, “Sowing and Reaping: China’s “One-Child” Policy Fosters Human Trafficking,” and watch our lecture, “Freedom and Christianity in China.”  Also, Jonathan V. Last of The Weekly Standard spoke of the danger of declining birthrates at one of our recent lectures.  You can click here to watch his remarks.

FRC on the Frontlines: Special Social Conservative Review Edition

by FRC

September 5, 2013

As the summer comes to a close, there is no shortage of news concerning issues vital to social conservatives. FRC has, as usual, been working hard on many of these issues, seeking to advance both the needs of families and the priorities of the Judeo-Christian tradition in the public square. Here are a few of our recent efforts:

Banning Certain Types of Counseling for Homosexuals: Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) recently signed legislation forbidding licensed professional counselors in his state to “engage in sexual orientation change efforts with a person under 18 years of age.” In First Things, FRC’s Senior Fellow for Policy Studies Peter Sprigg has published an important analysis making the sceintific case that people who want to change should be allowed to do so.

Religious Liberty: When the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that a Christian wedding photographer should be required by law to photograph, same-sex weddings, the Director of FRC’s Center for Religious Liberty, Ken Klukowski, explained in a widely read article on Breitbart.com why this was a serious violation of religious liberty.

Persecution of Christians: Around the world, people who profess Christian faith are under attack. FRC President Tony Perkins and Senior Fellow for Family Empowerment Ken Blackwell (who also served as America’s Ambassador to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights) have been awakening Americans to the urgency of what’s happening in Syria and Egypt in recent columns.

Women in Combat: Watch FRC’s most recent lecture by our Senior Fellow for National Security, Lt. Col. (Ret.) Bob Maginnis, on why the Obama Administration’s policy on allowing women in combat “contradicts centuries of military experience, medical science, and common sense.”

This is only a small cross-section of recent FRC actions on behalf of faith, family, and freedom. Go to www.frc.org to learn more. And thanks, as always, for standing with us. We’re not going anywhere but forward.

Sincerely,

Rob Schwarzwalder
Senior Vice President
Family Research Council

P.S. Register today for FRC’s annual Values Voter Summit (October 11-13 in Washington, D.C.), where you can hear a powerhouse line-up of conservative leaders and speakers from around the country and get recharged to stand for faith, family, and freedom.

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