Month Archives: October 2013

The frosting can’t cover it up

by Family Research Council

October 17, 2013

Yesterday Planned Parenthood wished itself a Happy 97th Birthday. Its Facebook page and Twitter feed featured the image of a single candle, atop a frosted and sprinkled cupcake, with the following words: “97 years ago the first Planned Parenthood clinic opened in Brooklyn,New York. Today, we celebrate the 3 million patients that come to us every year for high-quality, affordable health care.”

The American Life League took the meme head-on, with a counter-candle and a counterfactual of its own: “Planned Parenthood is celebrating its 97th birthday. But the 6,300,000 babies aborted in its facilities won’t even have one.”

Predictably, Twitter lit up in loud, 140-character disagreements on the subject. Such disagreement isn’t surprising. Our nation remains deeply divided on the merits of the Planned Parenthood business, but there’s quite a bit going on below the frosting-fight.

So, before you take a bite out of that cupcake, or even fling frosting at “the other side,” here are a few things to consider about Planned Parenthood:

  • Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest provider of sex education. It uses millions of taxpayer dollars to create explicit books, videos, social media pages, curriculum and campaigns that promote sexual experimentation which leads to an increased need for contraception and sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment.” (Source: Alliance Defending Freedom)
  • [I]n 2010 Planned Parenthood Federation of America performed 329,445 abortions. In 2009, the number of abortions was 332,278 and in 2008 the number was 324,008. The Guttmacher Institute (originally founded to be the research arm of Planned Parenthood but later becoming an independent body) reports that the total number of abortions in the United States in 2008 was 1,210,000. Therefore in 2008, PPFA provided approximately 27 percent of abortions in the United States.” (Source: America’s Abortion Provider: What Everyone Should Know About Planned Parenthood)
  • According to estimates, a first trimester non-subsidized abortion costs approximately $550. As reported in their 2010 annual report, Planned Parenthood performed 329,445 abortions, yielding approximately $181,000,000 in revenue—solely from abortions performed that year. In contrast, Planned Parenthood made 841 adoption referrals in 2010… In the annual report for fiscal year 2010, the organization claimed an excess of revenue over expenses of 18.5 million dollars… PPFA’s 2010 annual report indicates that it received approximately 46 percent of its income from federal, state and local government grants and contracts. In other words, taxpayer dollars fund nearly half of PPFA’s budget. In 2010, $487,400,000 was paid to PPFA by the government. Another $233,800,000 of PPFA’s budget came from contributions and gifts.” (Source: America’s Abortion Provider: What Everyone Should Know About Planned Parenthood)
  • Planned Parenthood keeps medical standards low to keep overhead low. This puts women at risk. Hundreds of medical complaints have been filed against the organization, and many women have suffered botched abortions or died because of their practices. Medical citations include: non-medical personnel performing medical functions, failing to disinfect and remove blood stains from tables between abortions, using abortion pills after their expiration date, reusing unsanitary sponges to clean instruments, allowing fetal matter and frozen blood to build up on freezers.” (Source: Alliance Defending Freedom)

That is just the beginning. We haven’t even begun to discuss the psychological, emotional, and physical trauma that many a woman faces after trusting Planned Parenthood with the life-altering decision to abort her child.

There is a better way to help women. “A Passion to Serve” illustrates that reality.

If you, or someone you know, are facing a difficult, unexpected pregnancy, there are thousands of people who are prepared to help you. People are reading and waiting to take your phone call.

Don’t get fooled by the pretty little cupcake. There’s so much hiding under the frosting.

Three Cheers for the Santa Clara Broncos (and not for a sports victory)!

by Rob Schwarzwalder

October 16, 2013

Santa Clara University, a Jesuit school located at the southern end of San Francisco Bay, “is dropping coverage for elective abortions under health insurance for its faculty and staff members.”

According to the Los Angeles Times,Santa Clara president Michael Engh, himself a Jesuit, wrote the school’s 1600 employees that “Our core commitments as a Jesuit, Catholic university are not compatible with the inclusion of elective abortion coverage in the university’s health plans.”  Reporter Larry Gordon notes that “as required by state law, the school still will cover contraception and so-called therapeutic abortions, those deemed medically necessary to save the mother’s life or health, among other factors. Santa Clara, which enrolls about 8,500 students, is not offering the possibility of the unsubsidized plan for elective procedures, according to campus spokeswoman Deepa Arora.”

SCU follows the lead of Loyola Marymount University, whose faculty and students last week were informed in a letter signed by university president David W. Burcham and Board of Trustees Chair Kathleen H. Aikenhead that “Catholic heritage and faithfulness to the Catholic Church’s core teaching on dignity of every human being at all stages of life” mandates that it drop coverage of abortion on demand.  Instead, the school will “offer employees a separate, unsubsidized plan to cover those procedures.”

The academic natives are more than restless over these changes: “This really makes Santa Clara University’s express commitment to openness, diversity and inclusiveness ring hollow,” said one SCU history professor.  And Loyola Marymount economics professor Jennifer Pate says the decision demonstrates that LMU “values diversity less than our Catholic affiliation.” 

Diversity, properly understood, simply means that opposing points of view concerning important issues are allowed to flourish.  For example, there are a host of opinions about how best to alleviate poverty and they are welcome as part of the atmosphere of inquiry and debate intrinsic to a college campus.  Diversity does not mean that all preferential practices (you abort a baby, I mainline heroin - hey, everybody’s different!) should be permitted. 

Why?  Because, in the case of abortion, the unborn child is not merely a collection of blood, tissue and DNA.  From the moment of fertilization, the tiny embryo is a person who should enjoy the most fundamental right of a person - the right to life.

Santa Clara and Loyola Marymount have taken modest steps to distance themselves from abortion.  It would be hoped that they would soon join with schools like The Catholic University of America (Washington, D.C.), Ave Maria University (Florida), and Belmont Abbey (South Carolina), and other Catholic and Evangelical Protestant colleges in suing the Obama Administration because it requires them “to violate (their)s deeply held religious beliefs or pay crippling fines of up to $15,000 dollars per day, or more than $5 million per year.” 

For now, let’s applaud the SCU Broncos and the Loyola Marymount Lions for bending the arc of political correctness in the direction of life.

The Malthusians Return

by Family Research Council

October 16, 2013

The tired old argument has returned. People are going to end the planet. The oceans will rise, the land will burn, and aliens will invade. Ok, there are no predictions of an alien invasion … yet. So what is the solution to these problems? Get rid of those pesky people. After all if there were no people, then they would not be destroying earth by releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Of course, limiting the population of earth through encouraging women to have fewer kids would be devastating to economic growth and development. People have been making predictions about the end of the world for a long time. There is one factor common to all of them— they have failed to happen.

Instead of encouraging anti-human, anti-family policies, we should encourage healthy families where God is honored and lifelong marriage is the norm. While we are unlikely to be affected by global warming, we are already being affected by family breakdown. On almost every social measure the breakdown of committed marriages has devastating consequences. We should be focused on the real man-made problem of family destruction. If we don’t fix the family the future will indeed be bleak.

And one more thing, I did a quick internet search while writing this article; an alien invasion could be a result of global warming according to some!

On the intersection between “gayness” and Christian practice

by Family Research Council

October 10, 2013
On a cold morning this past January in Gresham, Oregon, Aaron Klein sat down with two customers at the bakery he owned with his wife, Sweet Cakes by Melissa. The two women, a bride and her mother, were making plans to purchase a wedding cake. Before discussing the details, Klein asked his customers a few standard questions. When would the wedding be? What was the groom’s name? At the second question, there was an awkward hesitation, and the mother explained that this would be a wedding between two brides. Klein politely but firmly told them that because of his and his wife’s Christian beliefs, they would not bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. Without a word, the bride and her mother got up and left.
About ten minutes later, the bride’s mother returned to the bakery and began to debate Klein using biblical references to claim that her daughter was created that way and there was nothing wrong with her marriage. Klein was firm, asserting that he would not be involved in a lesbian wedding. When he refused to back down, the woman left. About two weeks later, Klein received a complaint letter and an official investigation notice from the Oregon Department of Justice.

But the saga is not over. In a recent post for The American Spectator, Claire Healey tells how Aaron and Melissa Klein faced additional harassment for their decision—harassment that eventually led them to close their doors. It is sobering to infer that consistent Christian witness will, at times, collide with the celebration of sexual license.

 

It is also sobering to know that the Kleins are not alone. Family Research Council has partnered with The Liberty Institute, to document hundreds of challenges to religious liberty and practice across the United States. You can review and download that report here: religioushostility.org. Not all of these cases deal with the crossover between Christian witness and sexuality, but it is an especially tumultuous intersection.

But some mainstream Christians and progressive advocates have banded together to proclaim that need be no friction, no disagreement, no critique of homosexual practice. Their premise: Haters gonna hate and we’re “Not All Like That.”

I understand why the “Not All Like That” (NALT) movement is attractive to my peers. It is a rare and difficult sort of person who loves making enemies. I have met them, but I don’t find they make the most loyal friends.

But what if NALT is selling a counterfeit Gospel, spreading a lie that masquerades as love?

The question looms large on our public conversation. For today, I begin by offering a few resources that begin to inform an answer:

Is America More Pro-life than Ever?

by Family Research Council

October 10, 2013

The gap between the percentage of Americans who self-identify as pro-life and who identify as pro-choice may be smaller than ever, according to reports from Rasmussen and Gallup. In fact, pro-life arguments may be shifting the American people toward protecting the unborn.

Cheryl K. Chumley reports for The Washington Times that Gallup found in a survey of over 1,500 randomly-chosen adults that 3 percent more identified as pro-life than pro-choice, whereas Rasmussen found in a survey of 1,000 likely voters that 3 percent more identified as pro-choice than pro-life. The gaps, in both cases, were within the margin of error.

Rasmussen reported that the percentage of respondents identifying as pro-choice is the lowest it has been in three years, whereas the percentage of respondents identifying as pro-life ties with “the highest finding [in that category] to date.”

Todd Starnes Appears on “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins”

by Bethany Brock

October 8, 2013

Todd Starnes from Fox News on Washington Watch with Tony Perkins: We’ve come to a point in America where we have to take a collection for bail for our military ministers.

Todd Starnes, a Fox News reporter and a speaker at this weekend’s Values Voter Summit, appeared on Monday’s edition of “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” and described an event this weekend where nearly 50 government contracted military chaplains who were furloughed due to the government shutdown were banned from performing Mass on military bases:

I received word from many of my readers.  They confirmed that weekend Mass on their base had in fact been canceled. There were no services. Many have had to go off base to go to church this weekend,” Starnes said.

One of Starnes’s readers told him that at Langley Air Force Base, a priest was told that if he came on base and held Mass, he and his supervisor could be punished and they both could face the possibility of getting fired. 

One of my readers emailed me.  He was on a military base where they did have a Catholic priest (who was not contracted by the government) and they talked about taking up a collection to cover bail for any priest who defied the government and went ahead and celebrated Mass after all.  Now that, in my estimation, is the lowest of low. It’s come to a point in America where we have to take a collection to cover bail for ministers,” Starnes said.

Click here to listen to the entire interview.

Amid Capital Folly, Some Good News from Washington

by Robert Morrison

October 4, 2013

One of our friends teaches at a government institution. When the sequester came, some of the professors and staff were furloughed. Our friend said he could work around the sequester because all of his classes are on one day. He could take his furlough day on another day of the week, he volunteered. He was told, in no uncertain terms, you will now rearrange your schedule to work through this. This has got to hurt. Cancel all your classes and take a furlough.

I’m reminded of the cynical view that H.L. Mencken took of democracy a hundred years ago. The man they called “The Sage of Baltimore” said democracy was the theory that the people should get what they want — and get it good and hard.

Such cynicism was clearly behind the decision to close down the National Mall at the time of the government shutdown. It is good to have knowledgeable guides from the Park Service to help interpret the monuments, to be sure, but many of us have led tours of the Mall ourselves and would be honored to pitch in. I know I will be happy to volunteer.

Closing the Mall was sparked by the same age-old tactic of entrenched bureaucrats called “Closing the Washington Monument.” That tactic says that whenever Congress fails to cough up as much dough as the bureaucrats want, they can respond by closing down the capital’s most popular tourist attraction. But now, of course, the Washington Monument is already closed. This is because of earthquake damage, not bureaucratic bloody-mindedness.

The White House, too, has been closed. President Obama’s administration made that decision for reasons that are hard to recall. We’re sure that his many guests and campaign donors will be able to access the historic halls of what Harry Truman called the People’s House.

My favorite tour guide for the National Mall was the man who starred in the first presidential inauguration to be held on the West Front of the Capitol. In Ronald Reagan’s First Inaugural Address, January 20, 1981, he pointed to the vast expanse and the impressive monuments laid out before him and showed the country and the world what being American means.

I’m told that tens of thousands of prayer meetings are being held on this day, and for that I’m deeply grateful. We are a nation under God, and I believe God intended for us to be free. It would be fitting and good, I think, if on each Inaugural Day in future years it should be declared a day of prayer.

This is the first time in our history that this ceremony has been held, as you’ve been told, on this West Front of the Capitol. Standing here, one faces a magnificent vista, opening up on this city’s special beauty and history. At the end of this open mall are those shrines to the giants on whose shoulders we stand.

Directly in front of me, the monument to a monumental man, George Washington, father of our country. A man of humility who came to greatness reluctantly. He led America out of revolutionary victory into infant nationhood. Off to one side, the stately memorial to Thomas Jefferson. The Declaration of Independence flames with his eloquence. And then, beyond the Reflecting Pool, the dignified columns of the Lincoln Memorial. Whoever would understand in his heart the meaning of America will find it in the life of Abraham Lincoln.

Hearing Washington thus described as a man of humility “who came to greatness reluctantly,” we are led to wonder how things have come to this sad day. We have been told that our current president is one who “hovers over the nations, like a sort of god.” (Newsweek editor Evan Thomas) He is, says presidential historian Michael Beschloss, the smartest man ever to occupy the White House. So how did we get in this mess?

With all the folly evident in Washington, D.C. these days, we can use some good news from George Washington. There’s at least one historic site is still open and welcoming Americans: George Washington’s home at Mount Vernon. This stately mansion is about twenty miles from downtown Washington and it’s one of the best investments you will ever make.

The estate is the property of The Mount Vernon Ladies Association of the Union. It’s been privately owned for its entire existence. Several years ago, a new $187 million Visitors Center was opened that houses theaters, exhibits, gift shops and dining. Most recently, Mount Vernonadded a new feature, the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington. Now, scholars will be able to access old and new materials on the life and influence of George Washington. The George Washington Library cost $106 million — all privately funded. Another great feature is George Washington’s own handsome leather-bound copy of the Constitution with the Bill of Rights. In the margins of this 222-year old document you can see Washington’s neat, handwritten notes on the powers and the duties of the President. This volume cost $9.8 million at auction and was purchased for Mount Vernon, again using all private funds.

Another piece of good news from Washington is the forthcoming (Oct. 23-26) Hillsdale Hostel conference on “The Character and Statesmanship of George Washington.” With lectures, discussions, and presentations, Hillsdale College’s Alan J. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship will work to inform and inspire attendees about the life and work of our first president. I’m planning to attend this event and to report on it.

In 2009, The New Yorker published a most interesting cover portrait for President Obama’s First Inauguration.

It remains my favorite portrait of Barack Obama. It reminds us of the great promise and the greater responsibility that rests on the shoulders of every man who has stood in the place George Washington stood. It shows us how Washington was and remains the model for what a President of the United States should be. For liberals and conservatives, it’s a sobering thought.

The Social Conservative Review: October 3, 2013

by FRC

October 3, 2013

Click here to subscribe to the Social Conservative Review.


Dear Friends,

The partial shutdown of the federal government and the potential default on America’s debt obligations are all the talk in Washington.

Well they should be, in one sense: The nation’s fiscal house and the operations of government agencies and services must be taken seriously. Yet they are not the only stories worth noting. Here are a few others:

  • Last year… Dr. Angela McCaskill, a senior university official at Gallaudet University … was suspended because she had signed a ballot petition supporting Maryland voters having the right to vote on marriage … Only after the election was over did the University move to quietly reinstate her, apparently in an effort to limit exposure in an expected lawsuit and pacify Dr. McCaskill’s persistent supporters. (On Tuesday), we learned that Dr. McCaskill followed through on that lawsuit.” Read more of FRC President Tony Perkins’ take on this extraordinary case here.
  • Implementation of the President’s health care overhaul has begun, but there are alternatives that offer targeted, effective, and affordable change. One of them is U.S. Rep. Phil Roe’s plan; Rep. Roe (R-TN), a physician, brings both extensive experience and common sense to the debate. He will be discussing his proposal at FRC on October 23; you can register to attend or watch online (both at no cost) here.
  • FRC is urging Congress to support H.R.3133, the “Marriage and Religious Freedom Act” introduced by Congressman Raul Labrador (R-ID) on September 19. As FRC’s David Christensen notes, “This bill affirms that a person’s religious belief in the importance of natural marriage should be treated with tolerance and respect by the federal government.” Click here to listen to Tony’s interview with Rep. Labrador.

The crises of today, however serious, do not erase the profound and long-term issues with which our country is dealing. At FRC, we’re committed to helping you know what those issues are, and how you can make a difference.

Sincerely,

Rob Schwarzwalder
Senior Vice President
Family Research Council


Educational Freedom and Reform
Homeschooling

Legislation and Policy Proposals

College Debt

Government Reform
Regulation

Waste/Fraud/Abuse

Health Care
Abstinence

Health care reform: ACA/Obamacare

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 Issues

Book reviews

  • Page 2 of 2
  • 1
  • 2

September 2013 «

» November 2013

Archives