FRC Blog

Christian Adoption Agencies Face Uphill Battle Even After Fulton

by Gabby Wiggins

July 7, 2021

Public adoption/foster care agencies and private adoption agencies have been co-existing for decades. They each have specific focuses, advantages, and disadvantages, allowing both birth parents and prospective adoptive parents to choose which program they think will be the best fit for them. Christian adoption agencies in particular have proven to be very successful. For example, Nightlight Christian Adoptions served close to 14,000 adoptive families during the 2020 year. Because of their religious nature, Christian agencies have certain criteria for the families they approve, including marital status. The recent 9-0 Supreme Court ruling in the Fulton v. Philadelphia case affirmed that religious agencies like Catholic Social Services (CSS) must be treated equally to other secular organizations. However, even with this narrowly-worded win, the broader reality is that Christian adoption agencies have long been under attack in the U.S. and are continuing to fight this battle.

One of the agencies most targeted due to the redefinition of marriage has been Catholic Charities, which only places children in homes with a father and mother. In 2006, Catholic Charities of Boston was forced to shut down because of a state law that would force them to comply with laws barring “sexual orientation discrimination,” meaning that they would have been forced to violate deeply-held religious beliefs and place children in households with same-sex couples for both foster care and adoption. After their closure, adoptions in Massachusetts dropped by 28 percent in the following years. Soon after, Catholic Charities of San Francisco, the Archdiocese of Washington, and Illinois were forced to close as well. By forcing Catholic Charities to choose between violating their biblical beliefs and shutting down, the number of children waiting to be adopted increased by thousands.

The most absurd part of it all is that the prospective adoptive parents identifying as LGBTQ whom state non-discrimination laws protect are in fact not affected by religious agencies at all. During the oral arguments over Fulton v. Philadelphia, Justice Alito asked, “How many same-sex couples in Philadelphia have been denied the opportunity to be foster parents as a result of Catholic Social Services’ policy?” The response given by Lori Windham, who represented CSS, was simple: “Zero. In fact, Justice Alito, none have even approached Catholic Social Services asking for this approval and endorsement.” There is a plethora of other agencies without religious convictions that same-sex couples can go to for adoption services. Therefore, waging a battle against Christian organizations is clearly driven by an anti-religious agenda that results in more harm than help.

Unfortunately, it seems like the Fulton v. Philadelphia decision is unlikely to provide lasting protection to religious adoption agencies across the nation. The decision was mostly based off a provision of Philadelphia city law that stated that exceptions to Philadelphia’s non-discrimination policy could be overruled at the city commissioner’s discretion, which in this case is what the Supreme Court affirmed. However, the Court did not provide the ruling that CSS pushed for, which would allow a stricter scrutiny standard and an overturning of Employment Division v. Smith. The combination of this lack of protection and the caving of other religious adoption agencies does not bode well for the future of Christian adoption. As of March 2021, Bethany Christian Services, the largest Christian adoption agency in the U.S., announced that they would place children in non-traditional households for both foster care and adoption.

One of the fundamental tenets of America is the right to publicly live by religious values. To slowly strip that away does nothing but take away freedom and harm society’s most vulnerable children. As Christians, we must continue to pray for the religious liberty of adoption agencies like Catholic Charities and pray that they hold fast to their convictions.

Gabby Wiggins is a Brand Advancement intern at Family Research Council.

Continue reading

This Year, It Is More Important Than Ever to Celebrate Our Independence

by Damon Sidur

July 6, 2021

Independence Day has been celebrated in our nation for nearly 250 years, but this year’s celebration should feel different from years past. While many are hopeful about a post-pandemic future, we should think about how many of us saw our liberties seriously challenged by the government over the past year.

Like in Nevada, where the U.S. Supreme Court denied Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley’s request to strike down the state’s unconstitutional 50-person cap on church services in July 2020. Nevada enforced this cap on houses of worship even as it allowed casinos and other types of businesses to operate at 50 percent capacity. Justice Gorsuch said in his dissent of the Nevada ruling, “The world we inhabit today, with a pandemic upon us, poses unusual challenges. But there is no world in which the Constitution permits Nevada to favor Caesar’s Palace over Calvary Chapel.”

Thankfully, the courts have more recently begun siding with churches that were unfairly singled out by state and local mandates. In November 2020, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the state of New York could not unfairly target and restrict church gatherings. While these positive court rulings should inspire hope for the future of religious liberty in America, the jurisprudence and the actions taken by government authorities throughout this past year should still be on our minds as we celebrate America’s independence.

We should consider how much of our freedom we are willing to give away in exchange for the government’s promise of protection. Benjamin Franklin’s answer to that question was: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” This pandemic provided an opening for state and local governments to challenge our freedoms—most significantly our freedom of worship and assembly—in unprecedented ways. In California, churches were asked to submit to stringent restrictions that stated, “Places of worship must, therefore, discontinue singing and chanting activities and limit indoor attendance to 25% of building capacity or a maximum of 100 attendees, whichever is lower.” Although the government does have a role during these times, as the Supreme Court stated in Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Andrew Cuomo, “Even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten.”

Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote in 1998, “It is neither desirable nor is it remotely likely that civil liberty will occupy as favored a position in wartime as it does in peacetime…the laws will thus not be silent in time of war, but they will speak with a somewhat different voice.” However, the entire point of natural rights is that they are universal and objective. Violating them does not become any more justifiable in times of crisis.

When the pandemic began, Americans were initially encouraged to quarantine for two weeks to slow the spread. Most churches and businesses voluntarily closed their doors and accepted what they believed would be a temporary shutdown. Instead, even once houses of worship could safely reopen with COVID precautions in place, churches spent much of last year appealing to courts for relief from unequal treatment and unconstitutional restrictions on worship. Thankfully, the courts eventually sided with churches and agreed that First Amendment protections cannot be violated in the name of public health and safety, nor can churches be treated more severely than secular businesses.

Independence Day should be more than a day off from work to set off fireworks and eat apple pie. This year, in particular, should be a day of reflection for all of us as we acknowledge and give thanks for the blessing of living in the greatest and freest country in the world. If we want it to stay that way, we must take a stand in the face of fear and protect the rights granted to us by God, fought for in 1776, enshrined in our Bill of Rights, and through our history, finally fulfilled for all Americans.

Damon Sidur is a Communications intern at Family Research Council.

Continue reading

Britney Spears and Uyghur Women Share a Terrible Burden

by Arielle Del Turco

July 6, 2021

A recent special hearing regarding the Britney Spears conservatorship revealed shocking details about how the famous pop star is being treated by her father and management team. Most heartbreaking of all was the revelation that the conservatorship will not allow the 39-year-old to remove her intrauterine device (IUD) so she can have another child. This instance of forced contraception, which amounts to temporary sterilization, adds momentum to the already trending #FreeBritney hashtag spearheaded by fans who want to see her father’s abusive conservatorship end.

Under her father’s conservatorship, Britney has been rendered powerless to make her own decisions. She stated, “I wanted to take the [IUD] out so I could start trying to have another baby. But this so-called team won’t let me go to the doctor to take it out because they don’t want me to have children—any more children.” The pop superstar and mother of two should be free to pursue having a family, as should all women.

No one should be subjected to the indignity and despair that results from forced sterilization, even a temporary kind via an IUD. Sadly, Britney is far from being the only person suffering this type of fate today. The Chinese government is currently enacting a large-scale campaign in Xinjiang to forcibly sterilize Uyghur Muslim women. These forced sterilizations, which include IUDs and tubal ligations, are a critical element of the Chinese government’s ongoing effort to limit Uyghur births, an effort that the United States has declared a genocide. Worse, President Biden doesn’t seem all that concerned that reinstating funds to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) will contribute to the problem.

One Uyghur woman previously detained in Xinjiang’s internment camps told the Associated Press that officials in her camp installed IUDs in every woman of childbearing age. At almost 50 years old, she pleaded and promised that she would not have more children. Nonetheless, she and hundreds of other women were herded onto buses and sent to the hospital for their IUDs. Some wept silently, and all were too afraid to resist publicly.

For 15 days, this woman suffered from continual menstrual bleeding and headaches. She claimed, “I couldn’t sleep properly. It gave me huge psychological pressure.” She added, “Only Uyghurs had to wear it.”

Gülgine, a Uyghur gynecologist who fled to Turkey, confirms stories like this. She recounted in an interview, “A lot of women were put on the back of a truck and sent to the hospital” for their IUD implants. “The [sterilization] procedure took about five minutes each, but the women were crying because they did not know what was happening to them.”

Researcher Adrian Zenz found that officials planned to subject at least 80 percent of women of childbearing age in some rural areas of Xinjiang to IUDs or sterilizations by 2019. The devices used in Xinjiang can only be removed surgically by state-approved doctors.

According to Zumret Dawut, Xinjiang hospitals require permission from five government offices before removing an IUD. Concerning her own compulsory IUDs, the mother of three told Radio Free Asia, “They caused a lot of problems for me. I passed out, lost consciousness, several times after the insertions.”

Earlier this year, Chinese state media took to Twitter to argue that the sterilization program liberates Uyghur women, “making them no longer baby-making machines.” The post was later deleted, but the abuses have continued. It is not liberation for Uyghur women—or Britney, for that matter—to be sterilized and made to labor for the benefit of a state or a conservator.

It is tempting, but incorrect, to assume Uyghur sterilizations are far removed from American politics. When President Joe Biden announced his intention to reinstate funding to the UNFPA earlier this year, he paved the way for American funds to go to an organization that partners with China’s National Health Commission (NHC). This is at a time when the United States has determined that the Chinese government is committing genocide in Xinjiang hospitals through forced sterilizations and abortions.

Although the UNFPA may not directly fund sterilizations in Xinjiang, its cooperation with the National Health Commission enables the NHC to divert other funds elsewhere. The hard-earned money of American taxpayers should not be supporting atrocities abroad, even indirectly.

Britney’s conservatorship, and her father and management team’s decision to retain her IUD against her will, brings the issue of forced sterilization closer to home for Americans. Fans and non-fans alike are empathetic as the pop star’s basic rights are violated.

Vulnerable celebrities in America and persecuted minorities in China deserve the freedom to have families and as many children as they desire. The American court system should work on freeing Britney, and the world should work towards freeing the Uyghur people.

Continue reading

FRC’s Top 7 Trending Items (Week of June 27)

by Family Research Council

July 2, 2021

Here are “The 7” top trending items at FRC over the past seven days:

1. Update: Hammer Thrower Nails Contempt for U.S.A.

At the U.S. Olympic track and field trials over the weekend, a scene that’s becoming all-too-familiar played out during the medal ceremony for the women’s hammer throw. Bronze medalist Gwen Berry—who will be representing the United States of America at the Tokyo Olympics—chose that moment to show open disdain for America’s national anthem.

2. Update: Rank Hypocrisy: Top General Pushes Military CRT

Ignoring the controversy over critical race theory didn’t go so well for the Left. So, they tried denying it. That was a bust. Now, they’ve moved on to a new strategy: digging in and defending it—and, considering the latest clash over the military, that might be the worst idea of all.

3. Blog: Does the Bible Really Condemn Abortion?

The topic of abortion and the church has returned to the news due to the U.S. Roman Catholic bishops’ decision to draft a document restating the Catholic teaching that those who oppose Church doctrine on abortion should refrain from receiving Communion. This has sparked debate on whether churches should discipline politicians complicit in abortion.

4. Blog: Southern Baptist Convention Opposes the Equality Act

At the recent Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), dozens of resolutions were submitted. If a resolution passes, that means the SBC is collectively agreeing to publicly affirm the statement contained in the resolution. One of the prominent resolutions passed this year was to oppose the Equality Act.

5. Washington Watch:  Chip Roy, Mary Szoch, Meg Kilgannon

Tony was joined by Chip Roy, U.S. Representative for Texas, who discussed Vice President Kamala Harris’s visit to the southern border. Mary Szoch, FRC’s Director of the Center for Human Dignity, gave tools for talking to your pro-choice friends about abortion. Meg Kilgannon, FRC’s Senior Fellow for Education Studies, shared about the recent FRC Action School Bootcamp broadcast.

6. Washington Watch: Mike Kelly, Chris Carr, Dan Grant, Meg Kilgannon

Tony was joined by Mike Kelly, U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania, who discussed the rising crime rate across the country. Chris Carr, Georgia Attorney General, called out the Department of Justice for suing to overturn Georgia’s election integrity law. Dan Grant, CEO of 2nd Vote, shared the investment options 2nd Vote is offering for the “unwoke.” Meg Kilgannon, FRC’s Senior Fellow for Education Studies, warned parents after Planned Parenthood gave flyers to 8th graders, informing them that they can get an abortion without parental consent.

7. Pray Vote Stand Broadcast: Rewriting America’s History

On this edition of Pray Vote Stand, Tony Perkins was joined by Rev. Dean Nelson, Dr. Ben Carson, Pastor Carter Conlon, to discuss and pray about the Left rewriting America’s story with an effort to undermine and erase our nation’s history, and why it matters.

Continue reading

This Independence Day, Let’s Recommit to Embracing Virtue

by Mary Szoch

July 2, 2021

As we approach Independence Day, it is worth reflecting on our Founding Fathers—George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Jay, and many other fearless patriots. These brave men boldly set out to form a great nation—one committed to the truth that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Miraculously, these men succeeded. Though not a perfect nation by any stretch, historically, America has been a source of source of strength for nations under attack—as the troops were on the beaches of Normandy; a beacon of hope for the those who wish to be free—as President Reagan was as he demanded the dismantling of the Berlin Wall; and a land of limitless opportunity—as Clarence Thomas discovered on his journey from extreme poverty to the highest court in the land. 

Yet, today in America, the unalienable rights of life and liberty are under attack in the name of what some consider “the pursuit of happiness.”

America is led by a president who continuously attacks the unborn child’s right to life and has promised to codify Roe, which would enshrine abortion on demand through 40 weeks as the law of the land. In the name of public health, this past year, religious freedom was trampled, and churches were forced to limit attendance even at Christmas. Free speech has been limited in schools and on university campuses. Biological realities have been denied and males are playing women’s sports and using women’s bathrooms. Teachers who are morally opposed to doing so are being forced to call students by biologically incorrect pronouns. And the federal government is considering completely abandoning any regard for human life by removing the limitations on human-animal chimeras

America’s transformation into a nation our Founding Fathers would barely recognize has been accompanied by a decline in the religiosity of Americans. As the number of Americans identifying as Protestant and Catholic have sharply declined, the number identifying as religiously unaffiliated, as “nones,” has grown by about 20 percent from 1990 to 2019

Our nation, a nation for which the Founding Fathers sacrificed and died, a nation that was meant to be the land of the free and home of the brave, has become the land of the “woke” and the home of the godless.  

The resulting loss of freedom and constant attacks on the rights Americans have always held so dear would not shock John Adams, who so wisely commented, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  Or Samuel Adams, who concluded, “It is not possible that any State should long remain free, where Virtue is not supremely honored.” Or George Washington, who in his farewell address warned, “It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government.”

Though our Founding Fathers were not all Christians, all had a profound understanding of the essential nature of a moral code, of virtue, and of belief in a Supreme Being whose natural laws must be followed. Over the last several years, our country has lost this understanding, but if our nation truly wishes to be great—to be the land our Founding Fathers dreamed of—we as Americans must once again embrace virtue.

Continue reading

State Round-Up: Protecting Fetal Dignity

by Nicolas Reynolds

July 2, 2021

Editor’s note: This is part of an ongoing series about key provisions that states have advanced in 2021 to defend the family and human dignity.

The abortion industry rakes in vast amounts of cash every year by carrying out abortions. This has always been their “M.O.” Their exploitation of fetal remains, on the other hand, is a lesser known practice that the general public has only become aware of within the past decade. Though controversy surrounding fetal tissue and abortion has existed for years, in 2015, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released undercover videos that revealed how Planned Parenthood is profiting from harvesting and selling baby body parts. The conscience of the nation was shocked, and ever since, states have taken the initiative to end this abhorrent practice.

Harvesting and selling the body parts of aborted children for research purposes subsidizes the abortion industry. Furthermore, it incentivizes harmful practices such as late-term abortion, altering abortion methods for the sake of preserving the remains for sale, violating patient privacy, and possibly even killing some children born alive in order to harvest their organs.

To ensure fetal remains are given the respect they deserve and can no longer be wielded for profit, lawmakers have propagated protections for fetal remains, which include:

  1. requiring abortion suppliers to bury or cremate unborn children after an abortion,
  2. prohibiting the sale of (or, in some cases, prohibiting the profiting from) baby body parts, and
  3. prohibiting the transfer of fetal remains.

In addition, some states pass stand-alone bills that recognize fetal dignity in one of two other ways:

  1. providing death certificates for miscarried babies, or
  2. providing income tax credit to parents for miscarried babies.

Although fetal dignity laws vary in their particulars, they all have the effect of promoting the dignity of the unborn.

Between 2015 and 2016, in the wake of the CMP videos’ release, the number of states that introduced fetal dignity laws rose by 500 percent (5 to 26 states). Since that time, a total of 48 states have introduced fetal dignity laws. A record-high seven states have already enacted such laws to date in 2021.

Of the over 240 fetal dignity bills that have been introduced since 2015, Alabama’s Unborn Infants Dignity of Life Act (HB 45, 2016) stands out as one of the strongest. It contained four of the first six provisions listed above (the last two provisions have generally been run as standalone bills). In requiring the proper disposal of fetal remains, as well as prohibiting the sale, transfer, or use of fetal remains for research, Alabama HB 45 put commonsense regulations in place to bar the exploiting of fetal remains.

In addition to Alabama, seven states have enacted strong legislation:

  • Arizona (SB 1474, 2016)
  • Idaho (S 1196, 2017)
  • Indiana (HB 1337, 2016)
  • Louisiana (SB 128, 2017)
  • Michigan (SB 564/565, 2016)
  • South Dakota (SB 24, 2016)
  • Wyoming (HB 116, 2017)

Like Alabama’s bill, these seven prohibit the sale, transfer, or the use of fetal remains for research. They do not, however, mandate the proper disposal of fetal remains—the burial or cremation of fetal remains, a strengthening protection ensuring fetal remains are not discarded as mere medical waste. However, four of these seven states have enacted additional bills mandating the proper disposal of fetal remains:

  • Arizona (HB 1457, 2021)
  • Idaho (SB 1404, 2016)
  • Indiana (SB 299, 2020)
  • Louisiana (HB 618, 2020)

Four other states—Florida, Iowa, Tennessee, and Texas—have enacted legislation that only prohibits the sale and transfer of fetal tissue. However, Iowa’s (SF 359, 2018) only addresses the transfer of fetal tissue, whereas Tennessee’s (HB 2577, 2016) only addresses the sale of fetal tissue, while additionally mandating the proper disposal of fetal remains. Florida (HB 1411, 2016) and Texas (SB 8, 217) enacted legislation that prohibits both the sale and transfer of fetal tissue, although failing to address the final disposition of fetal remains. Three additional states have all passed measures solely mandating the proper disposal of fetal remains:

  • Ohio (SB 27, 2021)
  • Oklahoma (SB284, 2019)
  • Utah (SB 67, 2020)

Another six states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws that take a different approach, ensuring that parents can receive death certificates in the tragic event of a miscarriage or stillbirth:

  • California (AB 114, 2019)
  • Delaware (SB 3, 2017)
  • Florida (HB 101, 2017)
  • Louisiana (HB 177, 2019)
  • Nebraska (LB 1040, 2018)
  • Tennessee (SB 1389, 2019)
  • District of Columbia (B23-0529, 2020)

Interestingly enough, these unique pieces of legislation have consistently received bipartisan support, unifying both sides of the aisle. Similarly, five other states have enacted bills providing income tax credit to parents who have experienced the miscarriage or stillbirth of a child:

  • Arkansas (HB 1457, 2021)
  • Louisiana (HB 146, 2021)
  • Michigan (HB 4522, 2018)
  • Missouri (HB 2540, 2018)
  • North Dakota (HB 1239, 2017)

Granting death certificates and/or tax benefits for miscarried children reenforces the principle that children in the womb possess the same human dignity and deserve the same level of respect as those outside the womb.

Although fetal dignity laws vary in their particulars, they all promote the dignity of the unborn. Following the release of undercover videos in 2015, the growing realization that stronger protections are necessary has motivated some lawmakers to make a difference, contributing to the enactment of 38 bills spanning 21 states and the District of Columbia. These laws move us one step closer toward honoring the unborn, who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. With over 240 bills introduced since 2015, a record number of enactments this year, and some bills seeing bipartisan support, the fight for fetal dignity has never been stronger.

Continue reading

State Round-Up: Total Abortion Bans

by Nicolas Reynolds , Alexander Ioannidis

July 1, 2021

Editor’s note: This is part of an ongoing series about key provisions that states have advanced in 2021 to defend the family and human dignity.

Since 1973, pro-life Americans have prioritized overturning Roe v. Wade and its companion Doe v. Bolton, two U.S. Supreme Court decisions that made abortion on-demand legal in all 50 states. The ruling in Roe, which in the words of late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, “entirely removed the ball from the legislator’s court,” prevented countless pieces of state-level pro-life legislation from coming into effect. But that has not stopped pro-life state legislators from passing pro-life legislation.

In 1992, an effort from the Pennsylvania State Legislature to challenge the Roe decision led to Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Sadly, the Court once again usurped the power of state legislatures to regulate abortion, but pro-life state legislators have remained motivated to change this.

Since 2018, 19 states around the country have seized the opportunity to introduce legislation that bans nearly all abortions and directly challenges Roe and Casey.

In 2019 and 2021, Alabama and Arkansas successfully passed legislation banning almost all abortions (Alabama H.B. 314, 2019; Arkansas S.B. 6, 2021). These pro-life bills recognize that all persons—not just persons outside the womb—have the right to life. They define life as beginning at the moment of conception and call upon the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Although both of these bills have been blocked in lower courts and are pending litigation, their passage signaled to the Supreme Court that states are demanding the power to make their own laws regarding abortion.

In addition to Alabama and Arkansas, three other states—Colorado, Iowa, and Mississippi—have introduced similar abortion bans. Colorado’s ban, HB21-1017 (2021), is nearly identical to those of Alabama and Arkansas, but instead of asking the Supreme Court to overturn Roe, it asserts the 10th Amendment to nullify any federal laws that would keep Colorado from protecting preborn children within the state. Also introduced this year, Iowa H.F. 267 (2021) seeks to establish that life begins at conception. Similarly, in Mississippi, H.B. 338 (2021) looks to ban abortion at all stages.

Oklahoma enacted H.B. 1102, a bill making it unprofessional conduct to carry out an abortion. This bill will cause physicians who carry out or induce abortions to lose their medical licenses for at least one year. Although not as strong as Arkansas and Alabama’s bans, this bill is notable because it is the only total abortion ban that has passed outside of Alabama and Arkansas.

Five other states—Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Wisconsin—have taken another approach. They have attempted to amend their state constitutions. These amendments would guarantee equal rights to preborn humans. In North Carolina, the Republican-controlled state legislature introduced H.B. 158 (2021), a constitutional amendment that seeks to outlaw abortion within the state. In Kansas, after the state supreme court wrongly interpreted their constitution to grant a right to abortion, lawmakers introduced S.C.R. 1604 (2019), which similarly granted preborn citizens of Kansas the same rights as those outside the womb. In 2020, West Virginia introduced H.J.R. 4, which sought to define the word “person” in the state constitution to include anyone from the point of fertilization or in cases of cloning. That same year, Missouri introduced H.J.R. 28, which sought to change the definition of “person” in the Missouri Constitution to include preborn humans. Wisconsin introduced S.J.R. 86 (2020) and A.J.R. 130 (2020), which sought to remove the word “born” from the state constitution to signify when human rights begin.

Furthermore, 10 states—Alaska (H.B. 206, 2021), Arizona (H.B. 2650, 2021), Idaho (H. 56, 2021), Indiana (H.B. 1539, 2021), Maryland (H.B. 0997, 2021), Missouri (H.B. 2285, 2020), Oklahoma (S.B. 495, 2021), South Carolina (H.B. 4046, 2021), Texas (H.B. 3326, 2021), and Washington (H.B. 2154, 2019)—have introduced bills totally abolishing abortion. These bills assert state sovereignty to abolish and criminalize abortion within the state. They ban abortion from the moment of conception without exception and classify abortion as homicide in the state criminal code, thus treating preborn children the same as born children. These bills also order the state executive branch to nullify any federal mandate or court opinion that orders the state to allow abortion. However, it should be noted that these bills do not accomplish the goal of challenging Roe in the courts.

Pro-life activists should be encouraged that, since 2018, nearly 20 states have taken action to attempt to ban most or substantially all elective abortions. Arkansas and Alabama, in particular, are examples for the rest of the country. State efforts to ban abortion must continue. The Supreme Court’s decision to review Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health is proof that state legislators’ efforts have not gone unnoticed. Let us pray for a day when state legislators’ efforts are rewarded and the laws of all 50 states protect and defend the right to life of the unborn child in the womb.

Nicolas Reynolds is Legislative Assistant for State and Local Affairs in FRC’s Policy & Government Affairs Department.

Alexander Ioannidis is an intern in State and Local Affairs with FRC’s Policy & Government Affairs Department.

Continue reading

Does the Bible Really Condemn Abortion?

by David Closson

June 30, 2021

On “Worldview Wednesday,” we feature an article that addresses a pressing cultural, political, or theological issue. The goal of this blog series is to help Christians think about these issues from a biblical worldview. Read our previous posts on the Center for Biblical Worldview page.

Editor’s Note: Instances of “Church” with a capital “C” refer to the Roman Catholic Church. Instances of “church” with a lowercase “c” refer to Christians at large.

In recent weeks, the topic of abortion and the church has returned to the news. This perennial issue has reemerged due to the U.S. Roman Catholic bishops’ decision to draft a document on the Eucharist. The controversy over this document is caused by the possibility that one section may reiterate the Catholic teaching that those who manifestly oppose Church doctrine on grave matters, such as abortion, should refrain from receiving the sacrament of Communion. Since the announcement of this upcoming document, news media personalities, politicians, and commentators have weighed in, debating the political and pastoral implications of denying Communion to lawmakers whose actions demonstrate their opposition to Catholic doctrine.

Many are questioning whether churches should enact church discipline against politicians implicated in the sin of abortion. I agree with Andrew Walker, who argues they should. Church leaders have an obligation to call to account those under their spiritual authority, especially those who are highhandedly flouting church teachings in the public square.

Questions related to church discipline and eucharistic coherence are serious, and it will be interesting to see what the bishops decide later this year. But it is worth noting that abortion is once again in the news and at the center of America’s cultural wars. Moreover, in reporting and conversations about the bishops’ forthcoming guidance, the Christian view on life is again being debated. Because of this, it is important to underscore the church’s consistent teaching on abortion, which is rooted in Scripture.

Some commentators have claimed that the Bible’s pro-life ethic is not clear, and neither is organized Christianity’s. In his widely circulated New York Times op-ed, historian Garry Wills, a Catholic widely known for his opposition to Catholic doctrine, claims the Catholic Church abandoned efforts “to connect abortion with Scripture” decades ago. According to Wills, “The Catholic Church no longer claims that opposition to abortion is scriptural.” Elsewhere in the piece, he argues that Pope Francis is “on the side” of women who “have had abortions and still consider themselves Catholics.” In reality, though, the Catholic Church has not abandoned efforts to connect abortion with Scripture. In fact, it has done the complete opposite.

The Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church are clear about Christianity’s historical position on abortion. For example, the Catechism explains in Part 3, Section 2, Chapter 2, Article 5, line 2271:

Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law.

The following line of the Catechism adds:

Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life.

Citing first and second-century church documents and church fathers such as Tertullian, the Catechism shows the consistent teaching of the Roman Catholic Church on abortion.

Moreover, contrary to Wills’ suggestion that Pope Francis is softening his position on abortion, the current pontiff said in an Apostolic Letter in 2016:

I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life. In the same way, however, I can and must state that there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father.

Additionally, in 2007, the Episcopal Council of Latin American Bishops—of which Pope Francis, then Cardinal Bergoglio, was a part—produced a document which explained that “eucharistic coherence” necessitated barring public officials who support abortion from taking Communion. In the key paragraph, the bishops wrote:

We must adhere to “eucharistic coherence,” that is, be conscious that they cannot receive holy communion and at the same time act with deeds or words against the commandments, particularly when abortion, euthanasia, and other grave crimes against life and family are encouraged. This responsibility weighs particularly over legislators, heads of governments, and health professionals.

The Bible itself is unambiguous in its teaching on the sanctity of life. Contrary to Wills’ claim, opposition to abortion is deeply rooted in Scripture and is why Christians have opposed abortion for 2,000 years. For example, in one of the most well-known pro-life passages in the Bible, King David describes himself in utero:

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…My frame was not hidden from you, when I was made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:13-16, ESV)

Worth noting is how David refers to his unborn life as fully personal. The entity in his mother’s womb was not an impersonal fetus with no moral value; it was David, whom God was forming and knitting together. Moreover, the personhood of the unborn child is highlighted with David’s repeated use of the personal pronouns “I” and “my.”

Another Scripture passage that affirms the personhood of the unborn is Luke 1, the narrative of Elizabeth and Mary meeting while pregnant with John the Baptist and Jesus Christ, respectively. A few details of this passage reveal a remarkable affirmation of the sanctity of unborn life. For example, upon hearing Mary’s voice, John the Baptist “leaped for joy” in Elizabeth’s womb. John’s response is an emotion that can only be ascribed to a person. Second, Elizabeth refers to Mary as the “mother of my Lord” at a time when most women do not even know they are pregnant (Mary may have been pregnant for less than a month when she visited Elizabeth). Significantly, Jesus, in His embryonic state, is recognized as Elizabeth’s “Lord.” Third, Elizabeth refers to her unborn baby with the same Greek word used for children after they are born. Finally, both Elizabeth and the unborn John are said to be “filled with the Holy Spirit,” meaning their reactions are appropriate and a fitting response to being in the presence of Jesus as a full person. These details point to the reality that Jesus’ incarnation began at His conception rather than His birth.

In short, the Bible is clear on abortion. From cover to cover, the Bible affirms the personhood of the unborn, which is why Christians have opposed abortion for 2,000 years. This is also why arguments denying the Bible’s teaching on the subject are simply not persuasive. Thus, any attempts to bully or intimidate Catholic bishops who believe they should enforce Catholic teaching with disciplinary action should be condemned. As Andrew Walker has argued, “To purport to be a Catholic while denying the sum and substance of so much Catholic moral teaching undermines the credibility that one’s faith bears any resemblance to its doctrine.” As Christians, we must adhere to Scripture and be unwavering in our convictions, applying the teachings of God’s words to every area of life, from the womb to natural death.

Continue reading

Southern Baptist Convention Defends the Hyde Amendment

by David Closson

June 28, 2021

This is the final part of a three-part series highlighting significant resolutions passed by the Southern Baptist Convention this year that apply a biblical worldview to critical cultural and political issues. Read part one and part two.

Last week, America’s largest Protestant denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), held its annual meeting for the purpose of hearing updates from various seminaries, electing new leaders, and passing various resolutions.

Dozens of resolutions are submitted at every annual SBC meeting. Only a handful are accepted by the Resolution Committee and brought to a vote. If a resolution passes, that means the SBC is collectively agreeing to publicly affirm the statement contained in the resolution. Resolutions are traditionally in response to various cultural developments, social ideologies, or legislation under consideration by the United States Congress. One of the prominent resolutions passed during the 2021 convention was in defense of the Hyde Amendment.

The Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal tax dollars from being used to pay for abortions, has been included in every federal spending bill since 1976, when it was first passed by a 312-93 vote. The amendment has long enjoyed bipartisan support; however, the Biden administration did not include Hyde in its recent budget plan. The SBC’s resolution urges the administration to reconsider its position and uphold Hyde.

You can read all of the resolutions passed by the SBC here. Read the resolution “On Taxpayer Complicity in Abortion and the Hyde Amendment,” reprinted here:

WHEREAS, The Bible clearly and unequivocally affirms the sanctity of every human life made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27; 9:6), a truth to which Christians in every century have testified and are called to bear witness in every age and in every sphere of life; and

WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have historically affirmed biblical teaching regarding the sanctity of human life by supporting and funding pro-life initiatives and by adopting numerous pro-life resolutions at national, state, and associational meetings; and

WHEREAS, Since 1973 more than 60 million unborn children have had their lives tragically ended through the evil genocide of abortion as a result of the Supreme Court’s morally repugnant and unconstitutional ruling in Roe v. Wade; and

WHEREAS, The bipartisan, nearly half-century-old Hyde Amendment, enacted in 1976 and reinstated by every administration since, has heretofore prevented financial complicity in the sin of abortion by preventing federal tax dollars from paying for abortions or for health benefits that include coverage of abortion; and

WHEREAS, The Hyde Amendment has saved more than an estimated 2 million lives since its enactment and enjoys broad support from the American public; and

WHEREAS, Congress has consistently passed a wide range of Hyde-like amendments that protect taxpayer funds from being used for abortions in other federal programs (the Dornan and Smith Amendments), in international aid (the Helms, Siljander, and Tiahrt Amendments), in research (the Dickey-Wicker Amendment), and for medical providers and others who object to abortion (the Hyde-Weldon and Nickles Amendments); and

WHEREAS, The current administration has proposed eliminating the Hyde Amendment in its budget proposal, thus advocating to make taxpayer money available to fund abortion procedures; and

WHEREAS, Any party platform that explicitly calls for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment evidences a wanton disregard for human dignity and a culture of life; and

WHEREAS, Opposition to the Hyde Amendment represents an effort to make every American citizen complicit in high-handed moral rebellion against the Author of Life (Acts 3:15); now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, June 15-16, 2021, condemn any effort to repeal the Hyde Amendment as morally abhorrent, a violation of Biblical ethics, contrary to the natural law, and a moral stain on our nation; and be it further

RESOLVED, That Southern Baptists call on Congress and the President to uphold the Hyde Amendment and all pro-life Amendments, to protect life, and to prevent taxpayers from being complicit in the moral evil of abortion; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That Southern Baptists should work through all available cultural and legislative means to end the moral scourge of abortion as we also seek to love, care for, and minister to women who are victimized by the unjust abortion industry.  

With this resolution, the SBC is taking a stand not only for the sanctity of human life, but also for freedom of conscience and religion. If the Hyde Amendment is removed from federal spending bills, these essential human rights will be under threat.

Let us pray and do everything we can to end the injustice of abortion. We must remember to “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Eph. 5:11).

Continue reading

FRC’s Top 7 Trending Items (Week of June 20)

by Family Research Council

June 25, 2021

Here are “The 7” top trending items at FRC over the past seven days:

1. Update: Biden: Dragging the Military into a New Era

Recently, Nellis Air Force Base in southern Nevada, home to one of the most advanced air combat programs in the service, made the controversial decision to host its first-ever drag queen show. To the amusement of America’s enemies, some of our most skilled servicemen and women spent their Thursday night gathered around a different kind of runway.

2. Update: The Tax Man Shunneth

Joe Biden keeps saying “America is back.” But what he really means is Barack Obama is back. Everything feels like a reliving of Obama’s worst policies—right down to the former president’s favorite weapon for crushing the opposition—the IRS. Under Biden, the tax agency’s campaign of intimidation is back, and Christian organizations should brace themselves.

3. Blog: New Barna Research Reveals Extent of America’s Loss of Faith

A recent survey was conducted by research fellow George Barna examining the shift in faith commitments over the past few decades in America. The survey reveals an increase in individuals who do not want the Bible, God, or the church. How should followers of Jesus respond to this decline in individuals who hold or desire a biblical worldview?

4. Blog: Thinking Biblically About Racism

Critical Race Theory (CRT) has become the latest fight in the culture wars. Ideological battle lines are being drawn—some states are moving to ban it, while some government agencies are looking to mandate it. School board meetings have become the front lines for debate over this issue. So, what are the biblical truths to help Christians think through this?

5. Washington Watch: Michael Cloud, Mike Pompeo, Tom Cotton

Tony was joined by Michael Cloud, U.S. Representative for Texas, who called on President Biden to remove Vice President Harris as the border czar. Mike Pompeo, former United States Secretary of State, discussed how President Biden has handled foreign policy, including his weak approach to Vladimir Putin. And, Tom Cotton, U.S. Senator from Arkansas, shared what he is hearing from hundreds of military service members regarding anti-America indoctrination in U.S. military training.

6. Washington Watch:  Ted Poe, Herbie Newell, Travis Weber, Ken Starr

Tony was joined by Ted Poe, former U.S. Congressman from Texas, to discuss Iran’s newly elected president, Ebrahim Raisi, who was once sanctioned by the U.S. for human rights abuses. Herbie Newell, President & Executive Director of Lifeline Children’s Services, shared how his Christian adoption agency is reacting to the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling. FRC’s Travis Weber explained the new precedent set when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Catholic Social Services. And, Ken Starr, distinguished attorney and former U.S. Solicitor General, discussed the state of religious freedom in America.

7. Pray Vote Stand Broadcast: The Battle for America’s Schools

On this edition of Pray Vote Stand, Tony Perkins was joined by Natassia and Jolene Grover, Adam Kissel, Meg Kilgannon, and Pastor Gary Hamrick to explore the legal rights of students, parents, and teachers looking to protect our children from indoctrination in schools and to share how the body of Christ can come alongside communities and fight for truth in education.

Continue reading

Archives